Empty Chairs

Will Biden Really Share a Stage with Trump?

Empty ChairsI don’t think he will.

With less than a week to go before the first presidential debate, speculation as to how it will turn out is rising to a fever pitch. This isn’t especially unusual as the debates have been the centrepiece of US campaigns for many decades. What makes this debate unusual is that the conversation isn’t about who might win, it’s all about whether Joe Biden can remain coherent throughout, or whether he’ll even turn up at all.

Although the Biden camp dismisses claims of his cognitive decline as conspiracy theories, the instances of verbal fumbles and garbled, meaningless sentences continue to stack up.

Whilst it’s true that a lack of eloquence alone is not evidence of dementia, it’s hard to avoid that conclusion when the Joe Biden from 2012 is compared with the version we have today. This is especially ironic as one of the early manifestations of Trump Derangement Syndrome was a whispering campaign surrounding the 25th Amendment and Trump’s mental fitness for office. It’s hard not to feel a frisson of schadenfreude as Biden’s problems pile up.

Any objective observation of Biden’s behaviour must lead to concerns over his mental health. The former Vice President is showing signs of dementia and everybody knows it, especially his campaign staff. Thus, it doesn’t take a tactical genius to figure out that he’ll be extremely vulnerable in a high-pressure debate environment. Why else would expectations about his performance be so low?

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Kanye West for President? Seriously?

clownOnce again Kanye West has put himself firmly in the spotlight with his unexpected and some would say bizarre announcement that he will run for president of the United States. To be clear, both his much discussed Twitter announcement and his #2020VISION hashtag leave enough ambiguity for a run in 2024 or perhaps even later. He’s still relatively young and he has plenty of time.

The only question that matters right now is whether he’s serious about challenging Donald Trump for the presidency come November. To be honest, it’s difficult to imagine him putting forward a viable presidential run this late in the day, but at the same time it would be foolish to dismiss West’s announcement as the empty daydreams of a vainglorious clown.

Kanye West has a plan, and it doesn’t involve becoming president of the United States in 2020. He’s a smart boy and he understands the media, just like the current occupant of the Oval Office.

In truth, Kanye is probably still figuring out whether he really has any interest in public office. In the meantime he’s got plenty of ground to break and money to make, so we won’t know where he really stands until sometime after 2030.

So why do it?

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Donald Trump

Did Twitter Just Re-elect Trump?

Donald TrumpIt’s finally happened.

President Trump has finally issued the Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship. This hasn’t come a moment too soon and by the looks of this very detailed document, Trump’s had it ready in his desk for some time. All he had to do was wait patiently for someone to cock up massively like Twitter just did.

At this early stage it’s not clear whether the social media giants will respond by feigning shock and ignorance, loudly protesting their innocence or just carrying on like nothing’s actually happened. None of those responses would surprise me but if I had to guess, I’d say they’ll just carry on, while maybe announcing some kind of internal review which is far too little and way too late. Nobody would believe the findings of such an enquiry anyway. Not now.

Whilst this isn’t an actual change in the law, the executive order does explicitly state what everyone in the world, and his dog, has known for many years; namely that the tech giants have been wantonly abusing Section 230(c) of the Communications Decency Act with impunity for decades. Worse than that, they’ve been using the legal protections of Section 230(c) to censor law abiding platform users for no good reason other than their will to dominate discourse and control information.

“Section 230 was not intended to allow a handful of companies to grow into titans controlling vital avenues for our national discourse under the guise of promoting open forums for debate, and then to provide those behemoths blanket immunity when they use their power to censor content and silence viewpoints that they dislike.”

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Alphabet letters

Our Alphabet Soup is Rotten

Alphabet lettersDonald Trump’s threat to freeze World Health Organisation funding has sparked a flurry of press interest and comment from around the globe. Not surprisingly, these hot takes on the situation range from “orange man bad” on one side of the aisle to “4-D chess” on the other. In fact, neither of these knee-jerk responses teaches us anything useful as they miss a much bigger and far more revealing picture

Whatever you might think of the President’s current attitude to the WHO, taking a step back to gain a wider view shows that far from being some Trumpian outlier, questioning the legitimacy of the WHO is in fact part of a wider pattern of dissent. The sense of weariness, disenchantment and growing hostility towards the alphabet soup agencies entrusted to run international affairs with no direct democratic mandate is now palpable, especially here in the West. Everywhere we look, nationalism is on the rise as once unimpeachable institutions are revealed to be rotten with corruption, incompetence and shameless self-interest.

This shouldn’t be surprising really, as Oscar Wilde pithily pointed out how bureaucracies primarily exist to meet their own needs and only secondly to execute the functions they were designed to carry out.

Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look.

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Brandon Straka

Brandon Straka – Modern Heretic

Brandon StrakaBrandon Straka has become something of a living meme since the US election of 2016. Like many Democrat voters and avid Clinton supporters, Straka was not only disappointed at the election result; he was also bewildered, angry and afraid. As an openly gay man, Straka was convinced that the US had taken a sharp turn towards state sponsored oppression and bigotry. Like hundreds of thousands of others, he believed that he was in great danger following the 2016 electoral upset.

Prior to the election, Straka was pretty much a run-of the mill, box ticking American liberal, and it was those professed values of inclusivity and compassion that led to his now famous #WalkAway journey. Although he was doing the usual crying and condemning on social media following the Trumpocalypse, Straka possessed enough self-awareness to realise he must’ve missed something really big to be so badly blind-sided by Clinton’s defeat.

So began his quest to understand why millions of ordinary Americans had voted for a man the mainstream media had declared officially off limits due to his racism, bigotry, misogyny and stupidity. What was happening? Were all these voters just dumb, easily fooled, or were they all just secret racists?

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