The person who merely reacts to what others say and do is not likely to be successful. The smart thing to do is to try to anticipate what others will say and do. It's common sense. When I was a kid and I wanted some money from my parents, I knew to ask for twice as much as I wanted, because I knew they always gave me half of what I asked for. (Conversely, I have read, when you answer a doctor's question about how much you drink, he doubles it in for records, because he knows you have cut the true amount by half.)Donald Trump is always thinking ahead like that. If you've read his "art of the deal," that's how he has done business. You open up with something outrageous. Not just an offer so outrageous you know the other party won't accept it. So outrageous that the other party thinks you've lost your freaking mind. That softens him up for the offer you really want him to accept. After your outrageous opening bid, your real offer sounds so reasonable he can't possibly refuse it.
And that's how he's running for president, too. He knows just how to press our outrage buttons, and he hits the right one every time. Then, when we're exhausted from sputtering and muttering about how crazy he is, he'll soften up and say something closer to what he really wants. He's playing everybody, especially the press, like a Steinway.
I've learned, over the years, to be a little slow in letting my outrage trigger get tripped. Every time I hear about a group with an agenda denouncing the extremists in their movement, I mostly discount it. Environmentalists need the Green Peace nuts, because it makes what the mainstream movement wants seem more reasonable. Animal rights advocates treasure the PETA nuts because they look calm and normal by comparison.My thoughts are going down this path because of a couple of outrageous proposals I saw this week.
One of the leaders of the Chicago protests said this week on MSNBC that one of their main goals was to defund the police department.
"So getting Mayor Rahm Emanuel to resign is definitely not the main goal of the movement right now," Breanna Champion, leader of the Black Youth Project. "In Chicago, police receive 40% of our city’s budget to remain operational. That is completely unheard of and unacceptable."
"One of our major demands is that police be defunded and that that money used to fund police be used to fund black futures, and be used to fund our communities and things that we need," she said.
And a writer in the New Republic magazine says it is time to stop fooling around with gun control:
Ban guns. All guns. Get rid of guns in homes, and on the streets, and, as much as possible, on police. Not just because of San Bernardino, or whichever mass shooting may pop up next, but also not not because of those. Don’t sort the population into those who might do something evil or foolish or self-destructive with a gun and those who surely will not. As if this could be known—as if it could be assessed without massively violating civil liberties and stigmatizing the mentally ill. Ban guns! Not just gun violence. Not just certain guns. Not just already-technically-illegal guns. All of them.
Defund police? Preposterous. You think Chicago is near anarchic now, just wait till there's no thing blue line. Ban all guns? What an idiotic suggestion. Never heard of the Constitution? Won't the bad guys just love it when the whole country is a gun-free zone?
See. Outrage. Just like we're supposed to feel, just as they intend we feel. Give in to it a little, if you must, but don't stop paying attention. The next thing out of their mouths, the one we're supposed to accept is more reasonable, is the one we have to fight.
ELSEWHERE IN THE NEWS
Rand Paul is likely to be dropped from the prime time stage at the next GOP debate. Can't say he will be missed. I expected more from him than he has delivered.
Amazon Prime is now offering one-hour alcohol delivery service in Manhattan and may expand it to other cities. Nature is being mocked here. We should go out and drink in bars so we can crash on the way home like God intended.
I've never been one of those income-inequality denouncers. But it's worth noting that the middle class is no longer the majority in this country. In 1961, the middle class made up 61 percent of the country. Now, they're slightly less than 50. The overall share of the upper-income tier increased from 14 percent to 21 percent. And the overall portion of lower income households increased from 25 percent to 29 percent.
Military vets might be interested to know that the U.S. Army is changing its dog tags for the first time in 40 years. The high-tech reason for the change to this low-tech ID: Fear of identity theft. On the new tags, the soldier's Social SEcurity number will be replaced by a randomly generated 10-digit Department of Defense number. "Dog" tags. Says it all, huh?
Pope Francis says it's time for Catholics to leave Jews alone and stop trying to convert them. Well, yeah. Know the top group victimized by religiously-motivated violence in this country? Yep.
Finally, science has spoken. If you end your text with a full-stop period, you are a monster. Or at least you're message is seen as less sincere. If you end with an exclamation mark, by contrast, are deemed more heaartfelt and profound!!!
WORD OF THE DAY
hyperbole (high-PURR-buh-lee), n. — obvious and intentional exaggeration; an extravagant statement or figure of speech not intended to be take literally, such as "to wait an eternity," as in: "If you want to wallow in hyperbole heaven, just wait till the next GOP presidential debate."