Bikeshedding and Baloney – Trump Edition

This was Jaime Jessop five days ago:

It’s become a war now and it seems Trump is the only Western leader willing to fight it on our behalf – and his of course. They are gunning for him.

Jaime was pointing to a Daily Mail story succinctly titled Twitter boss Jack Dorsey apologizes for blocking Biden Ukraine story ‘with zero context’ – but STILL doesn’t let users share it because it ‘contains private information like email addresses’ – as Trump threatens to remove Facebook and Twitter protections. (That link is now to an updated version late in 15th October, over 24 hours after the original.)

This was me strongly agreeing with Steve McIntyre around the same time:

Was that unfair to Trump? Or too much wishful thinking on my part?

This thread is an opportunity to discuss the current President and the forthcoming US election, just as we did on the day the result of the last one became clear. See Trump, climate and the future of the world. Brad Keyes spoke for all of us, I’m sure, when he wrote:

First, it’s hard to believe the normally-reliable expertocracy got this one so ass-forwards. 

What can we expect of the expertocracy this time? And how much will it matter?

Bikeshedding and Baloney Bigly

Two weeks ago I defined terms as follows:

In my framing bikeshedding is avoidance of difficult thoughts by staying narrow in mind. And baloney is what happens, internally, and then externally, when we pretend to understand the big picture when we don’t.

Here I’m positively encouraging us to try and express a view, however tentative, on the big picture, just as that phrase “Trump, climate and the future of the world” intimated four years ago.

I guess it’s that subtle difference between an opinion – or indeed a fear – held and expressed with humility and, well, the other thing. But it does seem to me there are some big picture issues arising right now. Here’s a Twitter interaction from two months ago that points to one of my own top concerns:

SSCI is the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and Steve is quoting from their report on ‘Russiagate’. Hmmm… is the previously unknown prodigy who worked out who the Steele dossier’s primary sub-source was. But feel free to count all that as bikeshedding. What’s the big picture here? (I realise that there’s more than one. But I went first. China might well be Steve Bannon’s and yours. And they could be related.)

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October 19, 2020 at 08:01PM

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