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jerryking : edward_luce   16

Donald Trump’s race-baiting strategy to secure second term
July 17, 2019 | | Financial Times | by Edward Luce.

Telling US-born Democrats to go back to the countries they came from is a departure even by Mr Trump’s standards. In 2016 he attacked immigrants, chiefly Muslim and Mexican, as a threat to national security. Now he is portraying opinionated non-white citizens as un-American. Their citizenship is performance-based.

To Mr Trump, whites are automatically American. Others only qualify if they support his idea of what it is to be American. By any measure, this is textbook racism.

But there is method behind Mr Trump’s nastiness. His goal is to force Democrats to unite behind the so-called “Squad” of four non-white congresswomen, whose radicalism is not popular in the US heartlands. Most Americans are not socialist. Nor do they support paying reparations for slavery, or open borders. Most would probably be suspicious of a Green New Deal that aimed to abolish fossil fuels by 2030. These are the kinds of radical ideas Mr Trump wants to force Democrats to support.
Campaign_2020  Donald_Trump  Edward_Luce  GOP  nativism  non-whites  racism  race-baiting  radical_ideas  whites 
july 2019 by jerryking
US declining interest in history presents risk to democracy
May 2, 2019 | Financial Times | by Edward Luce.

America today has found a less bloodthirsty way of erasing its memory by losing interest in its past. From an already low base, the number of American students majoring in history has dropped by more than a third since 2008. Barely one in two hundred American undergraduates now specialise in history......Donald Trump is a fitting leader for such times. He had to be told who Andrew Jackson was.....He also seems to think that Frederick Douglass, the escaped slave and 19th century abolitionist, is among us still.....But America’s 45th president can hardly be blamed for history’s unpopularity. Culpability for that precedes Mr Trump and is spread evenly between liberals, conservatives, faculty and parents........Courses on intellectual, diplomatic and political history are being replaced at some of America’s best universities by culture studies that highlight grievances at the expense of breadth.......Then there is the drumbeat of STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Most US states now mandate tests only in maths and English, at the expense of history and civic education...... In a recent survey, only 26 per cent of Americans could identify all three branches of government. More than half could not name a single justice on the US Supreme Court.....
the biggest culprit is the widespread belief that “soft skills” — such as philosophy and English, which are both in similar decline to history — do not lead to well-paid jobs.....folk prejudice against history is hard to shake. In an ever more algorithmic world, people believe that humanities are irrelevant. The spread of automation should put a greater premium on qualities that computers lack, such as intuitive intelligence, management skills and critical reasoning. Properly taught that is what a humanities education provides.......People ought to be able to grasp the basic features of their democracy. [Abiding] Faith in a historic theory only fuels a false sense of certainty....What may work for individual careers poses a collective risk to US democracy. The demise of strong civics coincides with waning voter turnout, a decline in joining associations, fewer citizen’s initiatives — and other qualities once associated with American vigour......There is no scientific metric for gullibility. Nor can we quantitatively prove that civic ignorance imposes a political cost on society. These are questions of judgment. But if America’s origins tell us anything it is that a well-informed citizenry creates a stronger society.
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here is what robots can't do -- create art, deep meaning, move our souls, help us to understand and thus operate in the world, inspire deeper thought, care for one another, help the environment where we live.......The role of the human is not to be dispassionate, depersonalized or neutral. It is precisely the emotive traits that are rewarded: the voracious lust for understanding, the enthusiasm for work, the ability to grasp the gist, the empathetic sensitivity to what will attract attention and linger in the mind. Unable to compete when it comes to calculation, the best workers will come with heart in hand.
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algorithms  automation  citizen_engagement  civics  Colleges_&_Universities  critical_thinking  democracy  Donald_Trump  Edward_Luce  empathy  engaged_citizenry  false_sense_of_certainty  foundational  historians  history  historical_amnesia  humanities  ignorance  political_literacy  sense-making  soft_skills  STEM  threats  U.S.  vulnerabilities 
may 2019 by jerryking
A preacher for Trump’s America: Joel Osteen and the prosperity gospel
APRIL 18, 2019 | Financial Times | Edward Luce in Houston.

Optimism, hope, destiny, harvest, bounty — these are Lakewood’s buzzwords. Prosperity too. Words that are rarely heard include guilt, shame, sin, penance and hell. Lakewood is not the kind of church that troubles your conscience.....the market share of US churches run by celebrity prosperity preachers such as Osteen, Creflo Dollar (sic), Kenneth Copeland and Paula White keeps growing. Three out of four of the largest megachurches in America subscribe to the prosperity gospel. Formal religion in the US has been waning for years. Almost a quarter of Americans now profess to having none. Among the Christian brands, only “non-denominational charismatics” — a scholarly term for the prosperity preachers — are expanding.......About the only book that Trump is known to have read from cover to cover is The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale, the grandfather of the prosperity gospel. It has sold five million copies since it was published in 1952. His message is that the more you give to God, the more he will give back in return......The prosperity gospel is all about harvesting the seed. The more money you plant in God’s church, the greater your heavenly bounty. Wealth is a mark of God’s benevolence. Poverty is a sign of godlessness...........The more you consider Lakewood’s business model, the more it seems like a vehicle to redistribute money upwards — towards heaven, perhaps — rather than to those who most need it. Like all religious charities, Lakewood is exempt from taxes. All donations to it are tax deductible. It has never been audited by the IRS......On the left, the prosperity gospel is attacked for encouraging reckless spending by those who can least afford it. Among Lakewood’s night classes is Own Your Dream Home. Leaps of financial faith fit into Osteen’s view that God will always underwrite true believers.
.......Some of the home repossessions in the 2008 crash were blamed on irresponsible advice from the prosperity churches, which are concentrated in the Sun Belt. In her book Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel, Kate Bowler says the churches have created a “deification and ritualisation” of the American dream.......people who are depressed should shun the company of other depressed people.... Addicts must steer clear of other addicts. The poor should avoid others who are poor.......“If you’re struggling in your finances, get around blessed people, generous people, people who are well off,” Osteen advises. Misery loves company, he says. Avoid miserable people.........Osteen’s idea of whether God would have hesitated before creating the universe. “He didn’t check with accounting and say, ‘I am about to create the stars, galaxies and planets,’” says Osteen. He just went ahead and did it. All that is holding the rest of us back is a lack of self-belief: “God spoke worlds into creation,”
........The more one listens to Osteen, the harder it is to shut out Trump. Their mutual guru, Norman Vincent Peale...Believe in yourself like others believe in their product, was Peale's message. “Stamp indelibly on your mind a mental picture of yourself as succeeding,” wrote Peale. “Hold this picture tenaciously. Never permit it to fade.”
.........People often ask why so many blue-collar Americans still support Trump in spite of his failure to transform their economic prospects. They might need to widen their aperture. To many Americans, Trump’s wealth and power are proof of God’s favour. That alone is a reason to support him.
abundance  blue-collar  books  churches  Christianity  Donald_Trump  economic_downturn  Edward_Luce  Joel_Osteen  leaps_of_faith  mega-churches  pastors  positive_thinking  prosperity_gospel  religion  the_American_Dream  self-belief  tithing 
april 2019 by jerryking
Why America cannot fly alone
March 13, 2019 | Financial Times | by Edward Luce.

The US does not have a head of the Federal Aviation Administration.

It took about 72 hours for reality to close in on Donald Trump. One by one, the world’s regulators — led by China, swiftly followed by the EU — grounded Boeing’s 737 Max planes following two disastrous crashes. Under pressure from Mr Trump, America’s FAA held out. When Canada joined, America’s isolation was almost complete. Mr Trump’s stance offers a unique example of the world spurning America’s lead on airline safety. His reversal is a “teachable moment”.... on the realities of a fast-changing world. Why? The biggest factor is falling global trust in US institutional probity. Mr Trump’s budget this week proposed a cut to the FAA in spite of the fact that its air traffic control system remains years behind many of its counterparts. Moreover, the FAA lacks a chief.......The FAA has been flying without a pilot, so to speak, for more than a year. Little surprise America’s partners have lost trust in its direction.......More than halfway through Mr Trump’s term, one in seven US ambassadorships are still unfilled, including South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. The same applies to key state department vacancies at home. Such is the level of demoralisation that William Burns, the former deputy secretary of state, talks of America’s “unilateral diplomatic disarmament”. US diplomats increasingly lack the resources — and trust — to do the patient work of persuading other countries to fall in with America...Recent examples of America failing to co-opt a single ally include its withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, pulling out of the Paris climate change accord and asking others to fill America’s soon to be empty shoes in Syria....many countries, including Britain and Germany, have rejected Mr Trump’s strictures on Huawei........Trump appears to be signalling that US courts are no longer independent of political whim. ....the most teachable aspect of the Boeing 737 controversy is the reality of the global economy. When China and the EU agree to the same regulatory standard, the US has little choice but to fall in line.......Under the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which previous US administrations negotiated, the US and its allies aimed to set the global standards for China. .....By the yardstick of might, the US is still the world’s heavyweight. But it works well only when combined with right. US regulatory leadership on drugs approval, technology, environmental standards and much else besides is falling behind. In spite of the US having the world’s leading technology companies, Europe is setting internet privacy standards.
aviation_safety  airline_safety  Boeing  budget_cuts  Canada  China  cutbacks  Edward_Luce  FAA  fast-changing  institutional_integrity  regulators  regulatory_standards  TPP  unilateralism  Donald_Trump  EU  airline_crashes  teachable_moments 
march 2019 by jerryking
The temptation of Oprah Winfrey
January 10, 2018 | FT | by Edward Luce.

[Oprah Winfrey & Donald Trump] share a disqualifying trait: they are celebrities with no experience in politics. If Ms Winfrey is the answer to Mr Trump, what was the question?

I mean no disrespect to famous people. America invented the celebrity and nobody does it as well. But America also came up with modern democracy. The problem is that celebrity culture is taking over politics, which is a dead loss for governing.....But there is nothing in Ms Winfrey’s background that would equip her to tackle the future of work, or the rise of China. All a Winfrey administration would bring is personal brand destruction. What is at stake is America’s ability to govern itself sensibly. The US constitution was designed to exclude mob rule. The people should have their say — but with safeguards. It was set up precisely to stop someone like Mr Trump from taking over. The fact that many Americans do not know this underlines the point. The popular view is that the US was founded as a democracy. In fact, it was born as a constitutional republic. There is a big difference. America’s founding fathers feared the demagogue. Their system worked until 2016. Now it is in jeopardy.
speeches  Edward_Luce  Oprah_Winfrey  African-Americans  demagoguery  founding_fathers  women  celebrities  Donald_Trump  politics 
january 2018 by jerryking
Donald Trump’s unwitting surrender to China
November 22, 2017 | FT | Edward Luce.

If you want to read a nation’s priorities, look at its budget. Mr Trump’s main ambition is to cut the US corporate tax rate to 20 per cent. During Eisenhower’s time, the marginal income tax rate was above 90 per cent. That did not stop US public and private ingenuity from racing ahead of the Soviets. Today America is the world’s technological leader. With Mr Trump in the cockpit, tomorrow may look very different.
Edward_Luce  China  China_rising  America_in_Decline?  ingenuity  artificial_intelligence  Sputnik  space_warfare  unintended_consequences 
november 2017 by jerryking
The Great Questions of Tomorrow: David Rothkopf: 9781501119941: Books - Amazon.ca
“Asking the right question is the biggest challenge we face. People typically let the immediate past shape their questions—how do we avoid another shoe bomber is an example, when that’s not a risk that we’re likely to face. Or they let their area of expertise and their desire to be useful shift their focus. This is kind of the when-all-you-have-is-a-hammer-everything-looks-like-a-nail problem, and it leads people who feel the future is drone warfare to ask questions that end in answers that require drone warfare. Or, to choose an example, it leads people who have spent much of their adult lives fighting Saddam Hussein to ask questions after 9/11 about his role, even though he didn’t have one. And that did not turn out well.”

So, in the end, Hamlet had it wrong. “To be or not to be” is not the question. The question of questions is, “What is the question?” In this respect, history tells us to start with the basics, the foundational questions that we have for too long taken for granted. There are questions like: “Who am I?” “Who rules?” “What is money?” “What is a job?” “What is peace?” and “What is war?”
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Podcast : http://dcs.megaphone.fm/PNP5814408937.mp3?key=6548e439290ceeb43bb04f17f90d55bf
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"The biggest problems with Trump is that his daily melodramas are distracting us from the big challenges of our age," says David Rothkopf, whose book, The Great Questions of Tomorrow, seems to have bypassed the White House. "You cannot tweet or bully your way to leadership in complex times." [29 April/30 April 2017 | FT Weekend pg. 4 | by Edward Luce]
5_W’s  Amazon  asking_the_right_questions  books  David_Rothkopf  distractions  Edward_Luce  existential  expertise_bias  foundational  metacognition  podcasts  questions  recency_bias 
april 2017 by jerryking
Goodbye to Barack Obama’s world
November 27, 2016 | Financial Times | by: Edward Luce

But Mr Trump will not reverse America’s relative decline. The chances are he will drastically accelerate it. The global role that Mr Obama inherited — and tried, to some degree, to uphold — is now in tatters. It would be hard to overstate the epochal significance of Mr Trump’s election. The US-led international order as we knew it for 70 years is over. The era of great power politics is back. An ebullient Russia, led by the strongman Putin, and an increasingly confident China, led by the strongman Xi Jinping, will deal with a wounded America led by strongman Trump. The long-term trajectory is towards China. But the short-term drama will focus on Mr Trump’s dealings with Mr Putin. How they play out is anybody’s guess. But it will not be pretty. Europe will be the loser. So too will American prestige.
politics  farewells  Obama  Donald_Trump  America_in_Decline?  legacies  Obamacare  climate_change  international_system  Edward_Luce  strongman  China_rising 
november 2016 by jerryking
The riddle of black America’s rising woes under Obama - FT.com
October 12, 2014 4:54 pm
The riddle of black America’s rising woes under Obama
By Edward Luce

Without Mr Obama’s efforts, African-American suffering would have been even greater. He has fought Congress to preserve food stamps and long-term unemployment insurance – both of which help blacks disproportionately. The number of Americans without health insurance has fallen by 8m since the Affordable Care Act came into effect. Likewise, no president has done as much as Mr Obama – to depressingly little effect – to try to correct the racial bias in US federal sentencing. Bill Clinton was once termed “America’s first black president”. But it was under Mr Clinton that incarceration rates rose to their towering levels.
By no honest reckoning can Mr Obama be blamed for the decline in black America’s fortunes. Yet the facts are deeply unflattering. Since 2009, median non-white household income has dropped by almost a 10th to $33,000 a year, according to the US Federal Reserve’s survey of consumer finances. As a whole, median incomes fell by 5 per cent. But by the more telling measure of net wealth – assets minus liabilities – the numbers offer a more troubling story.
The median non-white family today has a net worth of just $18,100 – almost a fifth lower than it was when Mr Obama took office. White median wealth, on the other hand, has inched up by 1 per cent to $142,000. In 2009, white households were seven times richer than their black counterparts. That gap is now eightfold. Both in relative and absolute terms, blacks are doing worse under Mr Obama.
Why then do African-Americans still give him such stellar ratings? To understand, listen to the dog whistles of Mr Obama’s detractors. The more angrily the Tea Party reviles Mr Obama, the more ardently African-Americans back him. When Newt Gingrich, the former Republican leader, described Mr Obama as a “food stamp president”, the subtext was plain. It was too when Joe Wilson, a Republican lawmaker, interrupted Mr Obama’s address to Congress to call him a liar – an indignity none of his predecessors suffered.
Likewise, no president has been forced to authenticate that he was born in the US (rather than Kenya). Donald Trump then demanded proof that the president had attended Harvard. How could a black man get so far without cheating? That at least is what many black Americans heard.
African-Americans  Obama  racial_disparities  legacies  generational_wealth  indignities  Donald_Trump  Tea_Party  bigotry  disproportionality  decline  Edward_Luce 
october 2014 by jerryking
A family’s candid friend - FT.com
December 8 | FT | By Edward Luce. A look at uber lawyer Jim Baker
Iraq  éminence_grise  lawyers  dealmakers  Edward_Luce 
august 2012 by jerryking
Lunch with the FT: Zbigniew Brzezinski
January 13, 2012 | FT.com | By Edward Luce.

Strategic Vision: America and the Crisis of Global Power.

“We [Americans] are too obsessed with today,” Brzezinski continues. “If we slide into a pattern of just thinking about today, we’ll end up reacting to yesterday instead of shaping something more constructive in the world.” By contrast, he says, the Chinese are thinking decades ahead. Alas, Brzezinski says, Obama has so far failed to move into a strategic habit of mind. To a far greater extent than the Chinese, he concedes, Obama has to respond to shifts in public mood. Brzezinski is not very complimentary about American public opinion.

“Americans don’t learn about the world, they don’t study world history, other than American history in a very one-sided fashion, and they don’t study geography,” Brzezinski says. “In that context of widespread ignorance, the ongoing and deliberately fanned fear about the outside world, which is connected with this grandiose war on jihadi terrorism, makes the American public extremely susceptible to extremist appeals.” But surely most Americans are tired of overseas adventures, I say. “There is more scepticism,” Brzezinski concedes. “But the susceptibility to demagoguery is still there.”....Brzezinski lists "Ignorance", as one of America’s six “key vulnerabilities” alongside “mounting debt’, a “flawed financial system”, “decaying national infrastructure”, “widening income inequality”, and “increasingly gridlocked politics”.
Zbigniew_Brzezinski  security_&_intelligence  strategic_thinking  China_rising  China  diplomacy  princelings  America_in_Decline?  threats  vulnerabilities  infrastructure  income_inequality  debt  political_polarization  long-term  partisan_politics  fractured_internally  NSC  ignorance  public_opinion  books  Chinese  instant_gratification  demagoguery  APNSA  gridlocked_politics  Edward_Luce  incurious  financial_system  historical_amnesia 
january 2012 by jerryking

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