Understanding the Muslim Travel Ban kabuki theater

In order to continue advancing their illogical arguments modern liberals have to pretend not to know things. David Mamet   Donald Trump recently issued two different executive orders banning people from a few problematic Islamic countries from entering the US; in both cases, the orders have been blocked by rulings issued by district judges, despite the fact that travel restrictions on foreigners are a prerogative of the President of the United States, meant to protect the country’s interests.   Unnecessary explanation of the legal theater (please skip it)   To get to block the orders, they needed a pretty creative interpretation of a 1965 (Hart-Celler) Act, stating that you shouldn’t…

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More crowd counting lies, less common sense

CGIL rally. Rome, Circo Massimo, 2009

Women vs.Trump, NYT vs.Trump In my last article I discussed the crowd sizes for the Presidential Inauguration Ceremonies in Washington DC, offering my rough estimates: O 2009: 500;   O 2013: 350;   T 2017: 300 (in thousands)   while according to the mainstream media you’d have to believe the following baseless reconstruction: O 2009: 1800;   O 2013: 1000;   T 2017: 250 or some unspecified number in the low 100s (of thousands)   Most news outlets chose to contrast Trump’s crowd with the Women’s March against him, where a large number of people gathered to express their anger against the newly elected President, on the Sunday following the Inauguration. My…

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On Trump, crowd counting & lies. Look what I found!

How big was the crowd at Trump’s Inauguration? Bear with me. I wasted waaay too much time on this study. But the results are significant.   This is a teachable moment. What happens when literally everybody is lying, and the matter is quite difficult to verify to begin with? Ideally, you’d expect people to notice and demand better standards from politicians and journalists, but no. The two sides just choose the narrative they like, then run with it. Eventually the public moves on. But I’m not. I waited a few days to see if someone came up with a decent article on the subject, in vain. See, the topic itself isn’t…

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The Trump Train vs. the station moving backwards

Donald vs. Francis There are 2 main “current events” subjects I want to cover in this blog: the US Presidency and the Vatican. Turns out I’m hardly writing about the Pope, and (based on the number of articles) people may think I’m fixating on Trump. The thing is, not only Trump represents a positive development, while the Catholic Church is depressingly close to its nadir point. The two realities move very differently. While “progressive” bishops are hard at work to destroy their Church from the interior, reflexively reacting in a predictable and passive manner, always manipulated or outmaneuvered by smarter players and pushing for ideas that were fashionable 50 years ago, the Trump…

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The US Media Circus & Trump, as seen from abroad

People attending Trump's Presidential Inauguration

Since I kept a close eye on the US Presidential Election, especially for an Italian, but I didn’t report of the events unfolding from the actual election itself on November 9 to yesterday’s Presidential Inauguration, many fellow foreigners may now ask: what happened during this transition? The short answer is “not much”.     The Trump team was busy putting together a cabinet that seems quite solid and trying to keep the promise of bringing a new approach to politics. Case in point, Trump nominated Scott Pruitt as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, and this move was widely criticized because Pruitt himself previously sued the EPA (alongside many other…

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Trump is the answer to Obama

Barack Obama looking out of the window at the White House; the shiny figure of Donald Trump emerging

Today is the last day in office for President Obama. It’s been more than 2 months since the election, and yet his supporters are still moping and complaining because Trump won.   In many ways, Donald Trump is the exact opposite of Barack Obama: a reaction if you will. In other aspects, though, he’s a natural successor: another pop icon, the type of personality that could win after Obama paved the way for this new approach to politics and popularity.   Here’s some quick points to raise about their similarities and differences.         New media and the young vote. Barack was able to prevail over a decrepit adversary like…

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Why problems are either very easy or very hard

Natural hurdles, human hurdles.   Did you notice? It’s quite uncommon to face medium difficulty problems. In your everyday life you are sometimes tasked to solve issues that seem impossible to come to grips with. There are mysteries that seem way bigger than our puny minds. We often get to comment on issues that on the contrary appear quite easy to deal with, and you are left wondering why people are still struggling with them. But you rarely seem to encounter intermediate level problems. How come?   Let’s put down some examples (I’ll alienate some readers in the process).   Producing a new vaccine requires an excellent research team and years of work, and…

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Behold: a hoax buster in total anti-Trump meltdown

How to ruin your reputation. Paolo Attivissimo is a tech journalist and a semi-celebrity; he’s by far the most prominent debunker in the Italian language web. His work to dispel myths and conspiracy theories is well known and appreciated (including by yours truly): among other things, he and his collaborators created websites dedicated to debunking  9/11 conspiracy theories, or the Moonlanding hoaxes (in Italian). Well, he just became unhinged. A few days ago, he published an embarrassing, painful-to-read article against Donald Trump. Here it is (in Italian): FAQ: perché ce l’ho con Trump presidente? Perché sono un debunker (FAQ: why am I mad at President Trump? Because I’m a debunker). Its’ just pathetic: he sounds…

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It’s all Putin’s fault! (Shameless)

What can you say? It’s ludicrous. Problem is, all those journalists are serious, and lots of people still listen to them.   Hillary Clinton is ranting about a “vast right-wing conspiracy” since 1998. It’s one of her recurring circus acts. I’d say now it’s a good time: it would be advisable to finally let her go. She’s an ex. And yet, here she was, again on TV, railing against those damn fake news that caused Trump’s victory. Obviously the mainstream media were indignant and eager to follow her advice, calling for a new form of censorship-under-a-different-name, against all those unauthorized voices spreading lies all over the internet. Of course the same mainstream media…

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The day when FiveThirtyEight and the pollsters bombed

Trump won, 538 experts lost.

This is a story of people looking down on you. More than that, this is a story of fake scientific data and deception. This is about those who tried to control the result of the election. And lost anyway. I’ve been dreaming of writing this very article for months. All those experts, day after day condescendingly belittling people like me, who wouldn’t be convinced to accept the reality of their data…   Now it’s time for a little revenge. A sweet opportunity to unload all the frustration of the last months. They won’t mind: they still have all the clout and visibility in the world, plus they have all the…

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Don’t do as I did

Dice thrown over a stairwell

Bragging about betting on Trump: setting a bad example   As you may already know, in 2015 I bet on Donald Trump. I feel uneasy about my telling the entire world that I did. Of course that’s how I can boast that I understood the Trump phenomenon long before the vast majority of observers. But I’m also sending a disturbing signal in favor of gambling: placing bets on an event, then imagining yourself enjoying an unexpected, resounding victory. The thing is, you hear a lot about the rare success stories, not so much about the countless losses. The House in the end is the only winner. But many people get…

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Let me gloat. Trump won. I won!

As you may or may not know, in July 2015 I bet on Trump’s victory. Today, thanks to Donald Trump’s triumph, I won more than enough money to cover all the expenses incurred during the a recent tour trip to the USA that me and my wife took in September. I dubbed it “Our Donald Trump Trip” for obvious reasons.   Now I feel the need to celebrate the victory.   (All photos are © 2016 Alessandro Grasso.)   Thanks Donald!   It’s been a hell of a ride. Even if I’m living in Italy I followed the election very closely; not just because this was set to be the…

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