SILICON VALLEY, California – Big Data is increasingly taking center stage in our postmodern lives. President Donald Trump is making use of new social-media tools that take his messages – be they loved hated, ridiculed, despised or ignored – straight to the American and global public via Twitter. In doing so, President Trump is bypassing the establishment media. This page automatically updates with data on the latest Trump-related news while pulling in mentions from Twitter, Facebook and other sources.
We have truly entered a new era. Bill Gates (Microsoft) and Steve Jobs (Apple) broke the mainstream-media monopoly and its grip on the control and flow of information. Elites who do such (non-conformist) things have historically been “punished” in some form. For example, the late President Lyndon Johnson was punished for escalating the Vietnam War, and he didn’t run for re-election. For Gates, he’s had to atone by spending billions on global population-control initiatives. Lehman Brothers was (allegedly) put out of business after one of the recent global financial catastrophes because it failed to pony up for the Mexican peso crisis and bailout back in the 1990s. Qatar wants to sell its natural gas in Yuan via a partnership with Iran. How’s that playing out for the elites in Doha?
You usually don’t see the piranhas eating each other. Those with the money and media power make the rules. They are the gatekeepers, for lack of a better term. And so a new dynamic has been thrust upon mankind. Donald Trump is at the center of the emerging paradigm.
This dynamic included elites (transnational, national, 1 percent, .01 percent) versus the common peasantry ready to storm the castle (or the White House) with their pitchforks. North versus South divide. The expanding global middle class (U.S., Europe, China, India) versus the upper and lower classes, not to mention the billions living on less than $1 per day. Those who have access to technology versus those who don’t. Those living a normal life of consumerism versus those trying to merely survive in places like Syria and Yemen.
Issues like climate change, immigration, the border wall, health care and trade dominate the headlines in the Trump era. Yes, it is true that Trump has surrounded himself with unqualified family advisers and seemingly shoots himself in the foot on a daily basis. Yet merciless pundits like Bill Maher are already acknowledging Trump could be re-elected in 2020. Maher set out all of the advantages Trump has at his disposal, and he is accruing and consolidating advantages even as you read this. They include the so-called “Alt-Right” media, donations from the super-rich, Wall Street indexes, the support of Middle America and other ancillary factors.
Additionally, Trump has important friends in Saudi Arabia and Israel. He has bombed Syria, which won him applause even from the major media outlets that hate him most. His recent and “defining” speech at the G-20 was “pro-West” and offered a vision hundreds of millions around the world will rally around. The Wall Street Journal analyzed Trump’s speech in this article.
If this is, indeed, the case, it would be interesting from a Big Data and journalism perspective to deconstruct Trump’s meme on the factors listed above (if possible), while also using the power of the pen to try to push the president to acknowledge real-world problems no one seems to be addressing.
For example, one of the things Trump has not mentioned on Twitter is Fukushima. Some are calling it an “extinction level event,” or “ELE.” Did anyone hear Fukushima mentioned even one time during the 2016 presidential election cycle? It should be noted that, in Japan, the domestic nuclear power industry wields power that is similar to the military industrial complex in the United States. Using robots to help fix the meltdown at Fukushima is a positive step. Yet it has already been spewing radiation into the Pacific Ocean since 2011. Maybe by the time Trump’s re-election campaign rolls around in 2020, he will finally have commented on the issue. Perhaps adorning himself with an “eco warrior” façade, he will take actual action.
Another issue that’s on Trump’s plate is “Plan Mexico.” Remember “Plan Colombia,” in which the U.S. directly aided the government of Colombia against the FARC rebels during the cocaine wars? Well, now a similar plan is ready to be launched south of the border in Mexico. Forget the romantic and courageous “Autodefensas,” ordinary citizens-turned-militias taking on the vicious drug cartels. Watch “Cartel Land,” and you’ll hear one local Mexican woman shouting at the regular Mexican Armed Forces while saying, “You’re in the mouth of the wolf now!”
While the 1776 spirit of the everyday Mexicans is admirable, amateur hour is over as U.S. Special Forces will now begin training and perhaps taking the fight directly to the drug cartels. Trump made dealing with drug abuse in the U.S. one of his major campaign promises. In the 1980s, the crack epidemic hurt the inner cities. In recent decades, meth has infiltrated the rural areas. Beyond that, opium-derived drug abuse can no longer be ignored. “Plan Mexico” will help Trump in 2020.
Consider the MS-13 gang rampaging on Long Island. Ordinary parents in Brentwood won’t send their children to school because of the gangs. What’s happened to Long Island, once the playground of the super-rich like August Belmont? George Washington commissioned the lighthouse at Montauk Point, but now the light is going out. Will Trump’s border wall stop MS-13’s human and drug trafficking, as well as its murders? Additionally, in terms of the new “identity politics” as promoted by the Democratic Party, if they turn into the ANC, in the long run this will only benefit the Republicans, as those eschewing identity politics look for a new home.
Jobs, employment and the economy are on everyone’s lips. What if you don’t want to mine coal and/or you don’t work for Goldman Sachs? Artificial intelligence and robotics will take away 50 percent of all jobs present today by 2030. South African Elon Musk is recommending a universal basic income to deal with our robot-induced “jobless future” and “jobless economy.” The majority of college graduates in the U.S. with worthless degrees (art, anthropology, Chaucer and “The Canterbury Tales”) come back home to live in the basements of their parents.
In some ways, keeping families together longer is a great thing for society. But it must be a terrible burden to have a degree that has no value in the free market. Those snowflakes easily offended by “micro-aggressions” sporting undesirable college majors won’t be getting hired by Apple any time soon. How will Trump address the postmodern economy? More STEM curricula would be one idea, as well as promoting full stack engineering. As they say, “Data is the new oil.”
Finally, climate change will have to be addressed. The Arctic has melted. Mother Russia is setting up military bases to protect her commercial mining interests. The U.S. is not even in the game. This is the new reality and the new normal. As sea levels rise, some cities will be lost. National Geographic explains which ones in this article. Other cities, like San Francisco, can be saved. By 2099, one of the leading sources of employment in the San Francisco Bay Area will be working on the massive engineering mechanisms that will control the level of the encroaching Pacific Ocean. This is vital, not only for Google, Apple and Stanford University, but to also protect the agricultural marvel known as the San Joaquin Valley.
Although that area represents just a tiny portion of the total U.S. land area, it produces a massive amount of fruits and nuts. Any rise in sea level will eventually pollute the fresh water currently (and historically) feeding the San Joaquin Valley with salt. This simply cannot be allowed to happen. Trump can turn this issue into a “winner” for himself by launching the heady engineering projects needed to save the San Francisco Bay Area. (A fresh water pipeline from the Sierra Nevada to Los Angeles would also be a godsend.) Would Trump reach out to a blue state in this way?
Ultimately, the truth will reveal itself through Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other social media.