Thursday, April 13, 2017

Sean Spicer

I know how difficult public speaking is. I'm relunctant to jump on someone's case for making a public gaffe. I don't think I could do a good job as White House press secretary. But Sean Spicer can't do a good job either.

A good rule of public speaking is to be mindful of Godwin's Law and avoid comparing an adversary to Hitler or Nazis. To be sure, there are bona fide Nazis out there who prefer to be called National Socialists. None of them are running a country right now. If a Nazi or worse does rise to power somewhere, we need to save our best rhetorical ammunition for the occasion.

And when you do decide to open fire with a worse-than-Hilter comparison, make sure that you know what you are talking about. The Nazis are notorious for killing Jews with all sorts of methods, including poison gas. Some of these Jews were German citizens by birth. And the Nazis just didn't murder their own people. They even murdered other Nazis.

Perhaps Sean Spicer was trying to say that Hitler refrained from using chemical weapons on the battlefield. I still fail to see how it's more moral to use Zyclon B on a crowded room of naked prisoners than it is to use against infantry on the Eastern Front.

Which brings us to one more point. Russia has suffered way more from Hitler's atrocities than America has. The Siege of Leningrad makes 9/11 look like a trip to Disneyland. Hitler ordered the destruction of the very city that Vladimir Putin was born in. It would be very hard to convince Putin that Assad can top that level of evil.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Conpiracy Falsifiable Claim (CFC)

I have been dead wrong about Trump in the past, and I hate conspiracy theories. Nevertheless, there are instances where high-level government official have secretly used their power and influence in a criminal manner.

In science, a theory is something that scientists know to be true. It's more than just a guess. So I don't really like to use the word "theory" unless I'm 100% sure about something. I prefer the term "Conspiracy Falsifiable Claim" (CFC) when I have an idea that something is up but I just have circumstantial evidence instead of concrete proof.

My CFC regarding the cruise missile strikes in Syria is that Trump had colluded with Putin.

Trump doesn't want to look like Putin's puppet, so he decides to "intervene" in Syria. He notifies Putin about the airstrikes, and Putin warns Assad. The Navy launches missiles at a bunch of empty buildings.
Assad is tired of the civil war even though he is "winning". So he uses the attacks as a pretext for peace talk with the rebel factions that he hates the least. He makes himself look like a moderate.
Trump gets credit for ending the civil war, and paints himself as the second coming of Ronald Reagan.
Putin sits in a cozy leather chair in his dacha petting a fluffy white cat.

Right now a lot of alt-right guys are turning their backs on Trump. If this is sincere attempt to dislodge Assad, they are opposed to it for realpolitik reason. Even most of the alt-right sees stupid wars as a waste of lives and resources, and they spend most of 2016 painting Hillary Clinton (accurately) as a warmonger.

But if Trump spins the strikes as having ended the Syrian civil war, then he'll get back his gullible fan base.