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Biden never won
Trump 2024
Why Stormy Daniels matters
Why banning TikTok is a bad idea
Articles on the USA published before 2023

  • (may 2023) Biden never won
    Biden's bid for reelection is really bad news for the Democratic Party and for the USA. He put his ego before the good of his country. As i wrote elsewhere (see Change the US constitution), it would be nice to have age limits on presidents. Those limits currently don't exist but Biden should have noticed that the vast majority of the electorate wants neither him nor Trump to run again. The median age in the USA is 38. What makes an 80-year-old man think that he relates to the values and aspirations of the majority of the country that is at least 40 years younger than him? That's almost two generations younger. Xi and Putin are bad examples of aging leaders who make increasingly stupid decisions. The US democracy should produce something better than an aging leader.
    By running, Biden increases the chances that Trump or some other aspiring Mussolini will win, which could spell the end of whatever democracy is left in the USA (see The USA never was a Democracy).
    In 2020 Biden didn't win: Trump lost. Millions of us voted for Biden simply to "fire" Trump. Despite record low unemployment and despite all the bills that Biden signed, Biden has one of the lowest approval ratings of all presidents, but millions of us would vote for him again if it's him against Trump. Biden's future hangs on Trump: no other Democrat seems to be willing to get into a nasty fight with Trump. There is a general consensus that Biden (a straight old white man) can beat Trump whereas others cannot beat Trump because they are other not white, not straight, not male or not old enough.
    The scary thing about Biden is how little he notices the truly important factors. When inflation started kicking in, he repeatedly denied that it was a real problem, repeatedly arguing that it was just a bleep on the radar. To this day, it is the main reason why Biden's approval ratings are so low. Biden has also been incredibly naive or blind about the migrant crisis. There are tens of thousands of people marching towards the US border, and Biden keeps repeating that it is not a crisis. Biden doesn't seem to appreciate that Trump would not have been president without the mess at the border. The "wall" was the call to arms of his MAGA movement. Millions of people who don't like him voted for him simply because he promised to build a wall. It was a rational rallying cry by a nation that was exhausted by the endless invasion of Hispanics. Biden doesn't seem to appreciate how angry people are about the left-wing cultural aggression (Woke, cancel culture, and all that stuff), how sensitive parents are about schools indoctrinating their children.
    Biden gave a great "State of the Union" speech... that nobody heard. He just doesn't excite people. People tune off when he speaks. If they stay tuned, it's because they want to make fun of his stuttering. Biden has been a good president. He has accomplished more than his predecessor Obama, more than Bill Clinton, and has avoided the catastrophes caused by George W Bush (two failed wars and one giant recession) and by Donald Trump (the genocide caused by his mishandling of the covid pandemic). Biden is presiding over record job creation and low unemployment. The USA has the lowest inflation rate of any major Western country. Biden has architected a massive infrastructure bill and a massive investment in "green" energy. Biden has managed to unite the Western world against Russia, while Bush failed to unite the world against Iraq and Trump, who was a staunch Putin puppet, did exactly the opposite of uniting it. He bears quite a bit of responsibility for the undignified exit from Afghanistan (although the surrender had been signed by his predecessor Trump), an event that probably emboldened both Xi in China and Putin in Russia, but otherwise he has created strong alliances against both powers. China now faces the formidable quadrilateral security alliance among USA, Australia, India and Japan, as well as the trilateral security pact among USA, Australia and Britain. Russia is more isolated than it ever was. Biden will go down as one of the most consequential presidents in a century, but he just doesn't excite people, and he is in denial: it's all about his age.
    Biden needs to face the simple fact that he didn't win the election against Trump: it was Trump who lost it, and lost it badly. Most of the USA disliked (or plainly hated) Trump and everything that Trump stands for (the endless scandals, the collusion with Russia, the reckless stupidity during the covid pandemic) and Biden was basically elected just to get rid of Trump.
    If he cares for his nation, it is time to retire and write his memoirs.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2023 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (may 2023) Trump 2024
    Trump "will" run for president in 2024. It is not an "if". He will run either because he is nominated by the Republican Party or because he starts his own third party (presumably called "Truth", like his social networking platform, which in Russian translates as "Pravda", an old Russian idea).
    The relationship between the Republican Party and Trump is dysfunctional: Trump wants a Republican Party that is about him, that exists for him and works for him (in particular, to keep him out of jail, and also to rescue his bankrupt financies). The Republican Party, instead, wants to win elections, and the simple problem with Trump is that Trump keeps losing.
    Trump never won anything. He didn't get the majority in the Republican primary of 2016. He lost by 3 million votes to Hillary Clinton in those elections, and then lost the midterm elections to Nancy Pelosi in 2018, and then lost by 8 million votes to Joe Biden in 2020, and then lost the midterm elections of 2022. The Democratic Party has to thank Trump for still having a majority in the Senate and for having a Democratic president. The majority of Trump's favorite candidates for Congress, Senate and even local governments lost. Trump is fundamentally a loser. Just check his businesses. He would be living under a bridge without the money that his father left him and without all the scams that he ran.
    But Trump also knows how to make others lose. The Republican Party has a big Trump problem: Trump is disliked by the whole Republican establishment (from the Bush family to the Senate), but, if Trump is not nominated by the Republican Party, chances are that he will start his own party and split the conservative vote. That's the real blackmail to the Republican Party: it's either Trump or a "split ticket". As i have written before, Trump is fighting for his own survival: anybody else would already be in jail: he'd rather lose as the leader of a third party than not run at all. And then any Democratic candidate will win against a split Republican ticket.
    The whole Trump Crime Family would be in jail if judges, FBI and various levels of government were not held back by the political implications of sentencing him to prison. He must run for president, one way or another.
    Pollsters are obsessed with Florida's governor DeSantis, but DeSantis belongs to the same "Mussolini" branch of the Republican Party as Trump. It will be even more difficult for him to win where Trump lost. And Trump was right about Florida's dismal record (quote): "In education, Florida ranks among the worst in the country, and on crime statistics, Florida ranked third worst in murder, third worst in rape, and third worst in aggravated assault. For 2022, Jacksonville was ranked as one of the top 25 major crime cities in the country, with Tampa and Orlando not doing much better". That's according to Trump, not me. Trump could also have added that Florida has one of the highest covid death rates in the entire world. DeSantis is an anti-abortion fanatic, a pro-gun fanatic (Florida now has a law that allows the carrying of concealed firearms even without a permit), a Christian fundamentalist, and even a bit of a socialist (he thinks he, a politician, can decide what a business like Disney should do). DeSantis may have committed political suicide by signing a six-week abortion ban, an extreme measure even by Islamist standards. If one doesn't count Disneyworld (a company owned by Disney, which is based in DeSantis' least favorite state, California), the main business success story of Florida is... Tupperware. DeSantis likes to disparage California, but this will backfire against him: California is the fifth economy of the world, triple the size of Florida's GDP; California's GDP per capita is 50% higher than Florida's; Florida’s covid death rate (383 per 100,000 people) is 50% higher than California’s (246), and higher than the national average (332); Florida's homicide rate is 7.8 vs California's 6.1 (per 100,000 people), and higher than the national homicide rate (6.5); etc. DeSantis boasts that Florida's education system was ranked #1 in the nation, but that was done by a newspaper (U.S. News), whereas the official statistics say that in 2017, 2019 and 2022 Florida ranked 33th, 34th and tied for 31st in eighth-grade math tests. No doubt California has the same problems in education, but California benefits from the inflaw of tens of thousands of highly educated immigrants from India, China and Europe. California has Stanford, Berkeley, UCLA, UCSF, UCSD, and many other top universities. Florida has none of the top universities. Stanford's Educational Opportunity Project, a study of state-level standardized tests, showed that Florida’s “learning rate” was the worst in the whole USA. One can name 100s of California corporations that are global leaders, from Apple to Google, from Disney to Mattel, from Qualcomm to Netflix, from Intel to Gilead. DeSantis boasts that Florida is enjoying the biggest population growth of any state in the USA, but Pakistan and Congo are posting even bigger population increases and it's probably not the kind of company that most countries want to keep. It is not all DeSantis' fault, but his famous "record" is dubious at best.
    Last but not least, Florida is becoming "little Russia", where the governor decides who wins (including for governor itself). Florida now has partisan voting laws limiting drop boxes and mail-in ballots, and DeSantis enacted widespread redistricing that favors Republicans everywhere (see this article). Scary stuff, unlikely to impress independents.
    The more serious problem that politicians like DeSantis and former vicepresident Mike Pence have is that they are serious about what they say. We all know that Trump is a scambag who would do and say anything, and then the opposite of anything. He flip-flopped on just about every issue, and frequently denies having said what he said (even when there are recordings) or claims that he was just kidding ("bleach yourself"). We all know that he never goes to church, doesn't really care about abortion, doesn't really care about anything. This fact actually makes him more likely to get the vote of people who are in favor of abortion and gun control: he's not a fanatic. DeSantis and Pence will have more trouble getting the vote of independents because they ARE fanatics. They WILL try to ban abortion all over the country, they WILL make guns even more available, they WILL do what they say. Trump is scary because he's corrupt, incompetent and fundamentally a traitor. DeSantis and Pence are scary the way the Taliban are scary.
    Republican strategists are tired of losing, but their radical "Mussolini" candidates are hopelessly antagonizing the majority of voters at the same time that Republican moderates (whom the base so far despises) have a policy problem: we still don't know what the Republican alternative to "Obamacare" would be, what their immigration reform would be, what they would do about Russia and China. China, incidentally, became a superpower because of policies enacted by Nixon, Reagan, Bush I and Bush II, all Republican presidents. Putin was rescued by Bush II ("I looked the man in the eye and I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy") and by Trump, both Republican presidents.
    Most likely, Trump will be the Republican nominee again, and he will lead a campaign of colossal lies that his base will ecstatically swallow, and we will reluctantly vote for Biden again, and Trump will lose again, and Trump will again claim that there was voter fraud. He's the best whiner in the USA, and why not? So far the endless whining of this sore loser has kept him from landing in a prison. Make America Whine Again.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2023 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (april 2023) Why Stormy Daniels matters
    Trump was indicted by Manhattan's district attorney Alvin Bragg for falsifying business records in order to hide the "hush money" he paid to a porn star nicknamed Stormy Daniels. The indictment of Donald Trump over a minor technicality is correctly considered a wild exaggeration (a "persecution", not a "prosecution") by Trump's supporters. Ordinary people would not be "prosecuted" because omitting hush money from business records is a minor offense. Trump's detractors, on the other hand, point out that Al Capone too was "prosecuted" for a minor offense: he was basically sent to jail because he failed to report all the money that he made out of the 200+ mafia murders that he ordered (not because of the murders themselves). The two stories are in fact similar because they both have to do with the way the law can ignore the obvious truth. The obvious truth, known to the whole nation, was that Al Capone was a serial killer. But the trial never tried to proved that he killed even a single person. The obvious truth, known to the whole nation, is that Donald Trump is a serial cheater, having cheated on all his wives. But the prosecution in this case didn't spend a second trying to prove that Donald Trump had sex with the porn star Stormy Daniels. The weirdest thing is that Donald Trump's henchman who actually delivered the hush money to the porn star, Michael Cohen, did go to jail. Cohen was found guilty of campaign-finance violations and lying to Congress. Donald Trump did the same: why didn't Trump go to jail too? On top of it, Trump is the one who actually cheated on his wife, not Cohen. And it was Trump's money, not Cohen's, that was used to pay the silence of Stormy Daniels (and, in my opinion more relevantly, of Karen McDougal). Cohen advanced the money, but Trump repaid it handsomely. Incidentally, this case revealed that Trump even cheated on the people who helped him cheat. We learned that David Pecker, once a friend, bought the exclusive on the story of Karen McDougal for his magazine National Enquirer as a way to make sure that she would never talk about it to anyone else. Trump was supposed to reimbourse Pecker but he never did. Just like Trump didn't come to Cohen's rescue when Cohen was arrested for carrying out Trump's orders. Regardless of the legal technicalities, any moral person would find Trump's behavior objectionable at best. He cheated (with McDougal) on his wife right after his wife had given him a son, and then cheated on the lover (McDougal) with a porn star (Stormy Daniels), and then tricked the lover (McDougal) into a deal that would silence her forever, and then tricked the two men who worked for him to set up the whole scheme (Cohen and Pecker). It's a dizzying labyrinth of lies and deceit. Incidentally, the porn star took a polygraph test, and passed it, while Trump never did. Cohen swore under penalty of perjury, while Trump never did. The funny thing is that none of this seems to have any effect on Trump's fan base. The reason is probably simple: ever wondered who watched Stormy Daniels shows? In her book "Full Disclosure" (2018), Stormy Daniels explains how her fan base is mostly made of white middle-age men (Generation X) with no college degree, which she herself identifies as Republicans. Basically, her fan base is the same as Trump's fan base. When Trump cheats on his wife with a porn star, he is doing what many of his supporters have done or would love to do. Then there are the religious bigots, who see Trump as sent from their god. No matter how obvious it is that Trump is closer to the Antichrist than to Christ, they repeat that we humans cannot understand "God's ways". We have known for 1400 years that a virtuous life is not the way prophets are chosen: look at the one picked by the Muslims as their prophet. There are more similarities between the Evangelicals and the Muslims than either would like to admit: check their stand on abortion, vaccines, gay marriage. And both Evangelicals and Muslims are willing to gloss over the sins of their prophets: we cannot understand "God's ways". And so the Stormy Daniels story does matter because, while it tells us nothing new about Trump, it tells us something about the Trump base.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2023 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (march 2023) Why banning TikTok is a bad idea.
    The main reason to ban TikTok is the fear that the Chinese government will take hold of data about the users. Nobody is planning to ban Google, Facebook, Amazon and countless other corporations that routinely store data about their users, so somehow it’s ok if US corporations harm Internet users but not ok if the Chinese government does so. I happen to believe that US corporations are way more effective in harvesting user data than the Chinese government. Worse: those US corporations are generally free to sell those data as they like. Many websites collect users data precisely because their main source of revenue is to sell those data to anyone who wants to buy them. Whenever an app insists that there's a new version and you should install it, there's a good chance that they simply found a more efficient way to spy on you and sell your data. China and any other government can buy those data, which are way more than what China can get from TikTok. If China wants to know whether someone like me ever posted about Tiannamen Square or Taiwan independence, China doesn’t need to spy on my TikTok activities: it can simply buy data about my online life from one of the many companies that sell those data. Those data probably contain even more information that we ourselves remember about our online behavior. While China’s ability to gather users data from TikTok is only hypothetical, China’s ability to purchase data about me from third parties is very real, and lawmakers are doing nothing about it.

    This grotesque ideas are similar to the idea of banning Huawei products in the USA because they could be used by mainland China to spy on US citizens, forgetting that most chips sold by US chip manufacturers (e.g. Apple) are made in China, and therefore China could have implanted something in those chips. There are on average 3,000 chips in a modern car. Most of them are made in China.

    But I digress. Back to TikTok.

    The second motivation for a ban of TikTok is that it could be used by the Chinese government to spread Chinese propaganda. This is almost embarrassing. Of course, the Chinese government can use ANY social-networking platform to spread propaganda and disinformation. Russia did it and in 2016 even got its favorite candidate elected president. I am sure that China did it, and many other countries (even friendly ones) probably did it. But the logical way to respond is to simply use the same tools to spread our propaganda to them. US agencies could bombard TikTok with millions of videos about the Tiannaman Square massacre of 1989, or videos about the prosperous and democratic Taiwan, and videos about the president of Taiwan (virtually unknown in mainland China). During the Cold War the USA did not ban radio: it used radio to broadcast propaganda into the Soviet Union.

    Some lawmakers are saying that they want to protect US children from TikTok’s perverse influence. Many of us laugh out loud: the number-one threat to US children is the 300 million guns owned by US citizens. These are the same lawmakers who oppose gun control and are responsible for countless shootings in schools.

    Cui prodest? TikTok is the world’s most downloaded app and US social media like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Snap are probably freaking out that TikTok is the future and they are being left behind. Banning the world’s most popular app would certainly help them survive. These are ugly, stupid, obsolete social media that have indeed caused great damage to society.

    TM, ®, Copyright © 2023 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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