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Saturday, November 9, 2019

The Impeachment Is Over. What's Next?

Imagine - you want to pass an intersection, you are close but the light just become yellow.
You have a choice to make: you still have time to stop, or you can try to drive right through hoping it's still gonna be yellow. You decide to drive it through, and as soon as you entered the intersection, the yellow changed to red.

You passed through the intersection (when you made your mind, there was no turning back wasn’t there?) and when you did that, you saw a police car waiting for you on another side behind a bush.

The question is - what will the policeman do?

Now it is not up to you, now the policeman has to make his or her mind.

It might happen that the policeman was distracted and didn’t even see you driving on red.
Or the guy may have been in a very good mood and decided to let it slide.
Or the policeman may stop you and give you a verbal warning.

Or you can get an official printed warning.

And finally, you can get a ticket.

As soon as the policeman makes his/her mind, your fate is sealed.
No matter what you would say, how hard would you try to get out of this, your fate is made by the policeman based on different factors including his/her mood, experience, etc. 
Now, imagine that the policeman is actually your neighbor - the guy who hates you because of whatever reason; in that case you are definitely gonna get a big ticket. And even if you would decide to dispute the ticket in a court, the guy would definitely show up (and BTW: technically, exactly the same could have happened even if the light was solid green).

In this example we have many features that are similar to the impeachment inquiry happening right now.
#1 is your action.
#2 is the set of options the policeman has.
#3 is the choice the policeman makes based on whatever comes to his/her mind.

In order to make the resemblance even closer, we can also imagine that while the policeman is making the decision, there is a crowd of pedestrians chanting “Let him go! Let him go!”, and another crowd chanting “Give him a ticket! Give him a ticket!”.

An impeachment is a legal choice that the Congress can make (or not) based on actions done (or not) by the President. The Congress decides if an action is impeachable or not,  the Congress decides if it wants to initiate an impeachment inquiry or not.

Of course, in the current political environment, when we say “Congress” we mean the majority party. Since the majority party in the House of Representative is Democrats - democrats make a decision about the impeachment. And when they made that decision, there is nothing Republicans or anyone else could do. Chanting “Let him go!” using mass media will not move Democrats. The legal structure of the impeachment has been established, and all Democrats need to do is to follow the steps all the way up to the final vote.

That is exactly what will happen - no matter what Republicans will do. Top Democrats have not always demonstrated smart strategies; however, they are not complete idiots - they wouldn't ever started the impeachment inquiry if they wouldn't be willing to finish it.

The media chanting, of course, is to keep the base excited all the way to the end, and, hopefully, to move some undecided folks closer to your view. Right now there are three large groups of Americans:
1. Who do not care about politics at all.
2. Who want to remove Trump using any means; they would do it using even illegal means, like fabricating "facts", or else.
3. Who want Trump to stay no matter what, would not believe anything bad about him, and would do anything, including illegal actions, to keep him in the WH (because ... - just read other posts).
There is also a very thin layer of people who have some interest in politics but still have not maid their mind about Trump and impeachment. For the Democrats and Republicans, and for politics is general - those are the worst people of all. But those are the people who can tip the scale one way or another. The fight we see now and that will continue for a year ahead is for those the minds of those swinging indecisive people. Even when the impeachment is over, and Trump remains in the office, Democrats will have an opportunity to keep saying to those people - see, you wanted him out, but the Senate made him stay, hence go and vote him out, and also all Republicans senators - that will be the main game.

There are three possible outcomes from the impeachment process.

#1 is Donald Trump will resign before the final vote, citing health issues, which actually might be the real case - he doesn't look so healthy or mentally stable.

The second option is the one that everyone expects, i.e. the House of Representative votes for the impeachment of the President, but the Senate decides not to remove him. This outcome would energize both parties - supporters of Donald Trump and the opposition.

However, my personal favorite outcome is the third one.

I believe that there is some probability that a small number of Republican senators would switch sides on the impeachment and would join the Democrats; and also a small number of Republicans would not attend the impeachment vote at all. That could give sufficient number of votes for removing the President. As the Constitution says: “no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two-thirds of the Members present.

That’s all what pro-impeachment people need - two-thirds of the Senators present during the vote.

Of course, for anyone (except Mitt Romney) this flip would be the end of their political carrier as a republican. But it doesn't mean that from making that decision they won't gain something else instead. Given up a Senate seat is not the end of a productive life, especially if in return one can gain a nice position in the government or in the private sector.

The reason I think this option is not entirely impossible is that I'm sure that the impeachment itself started only after main players made some kind of a deal behind close doors.

I'm confident that among those players we would see (if we could watch what was happening behind those doors) are Intelligent Services of the United States.

In three years, Donald Trump succeeded to significantly lower the influence of America in the world. His presidency has become a threat to American interests – at least in the eyes of top Intelligent Services officers.

The first rule of any conquer is “Divide and Conquer”.

First – divide, and then conquer.

Donald Trump was able to bring a stronger divide to American public. Nowadays, it's very easy to make Americans fight each other. And while Americans are being dragged into an internal squabble, competitors are slowly but surely gaining the influence in the “post-American” world.
When people start loving an adversary more than a fellow American, even a political opponent, Patriotism pretty much has left the building (i.e a country).

Mistreating the allies, giving away sensitive information, attacking people in the uniform, especially in the Intelligent Services - all those actions resulted in the growing opposition to the president.

But the last straw was leaving Syria.

I'm pretty sure that the Democrats and the Intelligence Services have been collecting (independently) different options for an impeachment (and for different reasons).

It's not like the whistleblower went to Mr. Schiff and next day the impeachment was initiated.

Most probably one of the people listening to that “perfect” call had a discussion with some people involved in the area of national security (Mr. Schiff?). Someone somewhere made a decision that (a) enough is  enough and now is the time to begin an impeachment; and (b) the “perfect” call may be used for that purpose. The decision was also made on who will become “a whistleblower”. And so – the train has left a station, and now nothing will stop it until the final vote will be casted in the Senate.

At this point, though, it is absolutely does not matter anymore how the decision was made, and why. The only facts that matter are that the President (1) can and (2) will be legally prosecuted.

From the point of view of the Intelligence Services, if the impeachment will be successful, then the threat will be removed, and that is why I believe that right now there are many conversations happening on the Capital Hill about what Republican senators could be flipped and who and how would approach those people.

However, even if the Senate will not remove President Trump, the impeachment process itself will at least restrain Donald Trump from making more damaging actions on the International arena.

To summarize: the impeachment is “a go”; it does not matter what anyone thinks or says or screams or streams about it - as long as the House Democrats stay focused, they will push it through all the way to the end.

Most probably, the Senate will not remove Donald Trump.

There is however a chance that the impeachment succeeds.

The fact of the matter is that the Democrats should NOT build their 2020 strategy based on some assumption about how would impeachment end.

If the Democrats would be really smart, they would realize that the only strategy that will bring them a victory is the strategy that does not depend on the result of the impeachment and on the name of the candidate.

That strategy exists, and I described it in numerous previous publications, like:

BTW: after I wrote this piece, I found a good piece of advice for Democrats in this publication from The Politico (main ideas are similar to mine).

So, the impeachment is over (one way or another). What's next?

Below is my brief analysis of the future. 

Senator Sanders and Senator Warren have no chance to win, because whether they like it or not, the majority of American people do not like word “socialism”. Even if they will face Mike Pence instead of Trump (BTW: if Trump is impeached, who stops Mitt Romney jump in?). It doesn't matter if the same people may like socialism as a governmental approach, if some elements of it would be implemented. The most important fact is people really do not like this word. Hence, and everyone who can be described as a socialist will not beat Trump. How blind one must be NOT to see that?

Trying to educate people about what “socialism” might mean is a job of a teacher, but not a politician.

All other candidates, except Mr. Joe Biden, may be good for becoming a vice president, or for holding an important governmental position, but unfortunately carry no weight sufficient to outweigh Donald Trump. Whether we like it or not, but so far, the best candidate to beat Donald Trump is Mr. Joe Biden. Of course, if the Democrats would be smart enough and ballsy enough to pursue the strategy not dependent on the name of a candidate, the name would not matter as much. But, (1) they are not smart and ballsy enough; and (b) even when using the strategy, having the candidate with the highest chance of gathering the largest public support would be very helpful. And now, that candidate is Mr. Joe Biden.

In order to win the nomination and the presidency Mr. Biden does not have to do much. He should speak in a way similar to Pete Buttigieg – vague and inspirational (like I advised to Sen. Sanders). No need for issuing a new specific project every week – for that he will have experts from both parties. The focus should be on American values, American pride, economy and jobs. He should not sink into the debates media want to drag him in; he should stick to “this is not important for most of the Americans, this is and I will talk about this”. He should praise all other candidates, telling how good they would be as the Secretary of State, or the Secretary of Commerce, or else – and he would be glad to invite all of them in his team. Ideally, he should find and announce before the Convention who would be his running mate (Cory Booker? Juli├ín Castro? Kamala Harris? Oprah Winfrey? ).

He has to stop mentioning Obama.

And he needs to address his son’s allegations.

Which is simple.

All he needs to say is “I don't know why my son was invited, what he did, we have never discussed that, he is an adult and can do whatever he wants, and if people wanted him to hire, I guess they had their reasons. But I raised my son, and I know that he is a responsible and hardworking person, and I am sure that he worked and done more than the sons of the Donald Trump combined”.

But the biggest problem the Democrats face is not who will be the candidate; it's the turnout. All candidates should promote one simple thought:

if your life is good/fine/OK and you did not vote because of that, and other people voted, and new politicians came to a power and made your life worse - IT'S ON YOU!

Some people us as an excuse for not voting "I don't know all those candidates, how do I chose?" 
those people don't understand that we do not vote for candidates - we vote for our life: if our life is fine, we need to vote to keep current politicians in power;is we do not like our life we need to vote current politician out, and it does not matter much who will replace them - those guys will know that if they cannot make your life better they will also be out.

* The quality of governing is defined by the quality of the government;
* The quality of the government is defined by the quality of the people in the government;
* The quality of the people in the government is defined by the quality of people electing the people in the government;
* The quality of people electing people in the government is defined by the quality of mass education.
That is why all republicans candidate should be voted out – they sabotage education reform and then brainwash poorly educated people into voting for them.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

The Road To World Domination Lies Through Mass Education; Part I

Note: this post is a part of the series:

China v. The U.S.: The Battle Of Strategic Thinking


It has become a common opinion that the country that “cracks” AI will dominate the world economic and technological development.
However, the road to an actual human-level AI is still long; scientists do not know yet what intelligence is and how it is developed and functions (for example, read “The New Stage of the Race for AI domination”, more on the page about AI).
But let us imagine that human-level AI has been developed.
Immediately the Earth population will be divided into two uneven groups.
The first group will represent a very narrow layer of the population, and will be composed of people who will be able to communicate with AI on its level – those are smart and well-educated people.
The vast majority will be composed of less educated people inferior compared with AI.
For AI those people will be like children who grew up physically, but have not grown up mentally or intellectually.
This situation may be seen as a new type of a society where intellectual elite is composed of natural and artificial species, and that elite rules over the rest of the population.
I do not make any judgment on if this would be a good or a bad situation.
My point is that this separation will affect all countries. And the country with the smallest percentage of uneducated people will automatically be the country with the highest percentage of highly intelligent species - human and artificial. If the number of human elite would become much less than the number of AI species, the society would become too much dependent on AI and unstable.
In order to minimize the risk of this instability to happen, governments need to apply strong efforts to ensure that the majority of people will be as smart and educated as AI.
This brings us to the issues of the quality of mass education.
The key word is – mass.
There is no problem for providing high quality education to a select group of people. All is needed (1) a good principle, who (2) hires good teachers and other professionals, and (3) has good funding. Done.
But the mass “production” of highly educated people is a serious issue for many countries with large populations.
I have described in numerous publications the dire state of education reform in the U.S.A. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent without making an impact. The publications are collected under title “III. Critical reviews of philanthropic and governmental approaches to reforming education”.
Inventing gadgets, adopting merit pay, and all other “innovations” will never make any impact unless the vast majority of teachers will have adequate professional preparation.
Education reform must begin from reforming the system of teacher professional development.
Doing anything else is like treating just a running knows of a patient who has cancer.
There are two major issues with the current system of teacher professional development:
1. the absence of measurability; there are no criteria to measure its effectiveness.
2. the invisibility of true innovations; among numerous proposed innovations there are few that truly make difference, but in the absence of measurable criteria, those effective innovations are being lost in the ocean of pseudo-innovations.
To address the first issue, a government needs to give to teachers the tools for assessing the quality of their professional preparation (the specific approach is described in the following publication on “Teacher Professional Development”).
To address the second issue, a government needs to give teachers the tools for communicating the best practices.
Of course, in both cases public needs to have assurances that teachers remain accountable for the quality of their work. There have been many approaches proposed to establish such accountability. None of them worked. And none of them will work because they all are based on a top-down control, i.e. require special agencies or agents that would control teachers. But those agents also need to be accountable and controlled and professionally developed. And that requires additional actions. And that road does not lead to any significant improvement – if it did, we would not have serious issues within mass education.
The new approach has become possible due to recent leapfrogs in technologies.
They say (in different variations): we are what we do when no one is watching.
If we flip this paradigm, we arrive at another important rule: we do what we need when everyone is watching.
Or at least, when we think that someone may be watching.
The most efficient way to make teachers accountable for their work, to help them exchange their professional experience, and to motivate them toward sustainable professional development is to make their work visible – open for observation and judgment.
The further motivation and specific details of this approach are described in the following publications: “An Open Classroom Initiative I”  and “An Open Classroom Initiative II”.
The dominant position in the future world will not be taken by the country that “cracks” AI; it will be taken by the country that “cracks” high-quality mass education. In the future, the most dominant country will not be the one that will figure out how to develop AI,  but the one that will figure out how to develop HI - Human Intelligence - en masse.
Because citizens of that country will not be dependent on the absence or presence, on the help and involvement of AI or other technologies.
However, in order to propel “An Open Classroom Initiative” a country needs to do major investments in education; but most importantly, a government needs to manage those investments in a centralized fashion. Giving away funds to different districts in a hope they will find out the best way to use them is no different from just giving away money on a street to random people. This approach has been used in the U.S.A. for many decades, and has not led to a visible improvement in the quality of mass education.
Expecting from U.S. officials and politicians to change their spending habits is no different from a wishful thinking.
Hence, we cannot expect that U.S. will be making significant gains in the quality of mass education.
What seems more possible is that the countries with more centralized governmental management and less individualized psychology – e.g. Russia, China, India – will be able to make a breakthrough in reforming their education system sooner and faster than U.S..
In the world where national borders are getting stronger due to anti-globalization movements, and the brain drain is slowing down, the early adoption of the new and effective approaches to teacher professional development may significantly increase for those countries their ability to compete on the global arena.