Emphatic non-truther Paul Street says "the time has never been riper for a false flag terror attack." Approvals in the 30s not even three months in, his first attempt at repealing Obamacare falling flat on its face, his first two anti-Muslim executive orders dying in court, his utter inability to put the Russian hacking story to rest -- yeah, the new President has sure made an entrance, and don't forget that 54% of the electorate voted for someone else. And don't forget, also, that George W. Bush didn't win the popular vote either, and sure looked headed for a one-term Presidency before 9.11 became his "opportunity" (Condi Rice's word, not mine). At least Mr. Bush actually put together a government; Mr. Trump hasn't even done that much, meaning there'll be fewer people in the conspiracy if there is one (and of course the bigger the supposed conspiracy, the more likely it doesn't exist). Remember that, incidentally, when the attack comes -- along with his refusal to attend intelligence briefings, his purge of the State Department, his golfing weekends in Florida, and his general strutting around like he's got the biggest cock in the universe. But, really, Mr. Trump may not need a conspiracy -- as one of my co-workers says, Mr. Trump's election is ISIS's endgame.
Mr. Trump says he won't scrap NAFTA, formerly "the worst trade deal," but will keep many planks in place when he goes to renegotiate it. And I bet you just can't guess one of them. That's right, the investor-state tribunal -- which the Times doesn't even mention until paragraph 20, though I'd say the mere existence of such tribunals, which threaten to destroy law and order in America and any other country in which they exist, was the main reason folks across the political spectrum hated the Trans-Pacific "Partnership." Were you wondering how Trump was going to fail us on "free" trade? This sure looks like how. But Paul Ryan's smoke-blowing aside, Mr. Trump hasn't exactly convinced everyone he's a "closer," and it looks like our neighbor to the north -- you remember that Canada was also a party to SHAFTYA, right? -- might have more urgent concerns about Mr. Trump's aims than Mexico does. Let's not allow the existence of Mexico's national sales tax lure us into accepting Mr. Trump's proposed
American national sales tax "border tax," either. I'd be happy to accept our withdrawal from NAFTA. I'd even be happy to give Mr. Trump credit for it, as I do for our withdrawal from the TPP. (Not too much credit, though. We really deserve most of that.)
Wondering how to navigate the post-internet privacy world, as delivered by Congress this past week? Quincy Larson at Quartz advises us to set up a Virtual Private Network (or VPN) and certainly to enable HTTPS on our browsers, while Emily Dreyfuss at WIRED advises us to check out the Internet Noise website, which opens five tabs on your browser to websites chosen at random, and then visits five more websites every 10 seconds until you tell it to stop. I will admit to being quite attracted to the latter item -- as we learned in the Star Trek episode "Charlie X," one good way to deal with someone who's got too much power is to give them too much to handle -- but I also imagine that the better ISPs (and the better data-buyers) will ultimately figure out which traffic is trash. You should also worry (especially since Internet Noise's creator hasn't even evaluated all the search terms he uses) that an unscrupulous actor will concoct a terrorist plot from these searches -- Cardinal Richelieu once said "give me six lines written by the most honest man in the world, and I will find enough in them to hang him." There's more than one way to give evil too much to handle, though -- one of my random searches led me here, and that sure brought back some happy memories.