Holiday readings about things that might rock America in 2016

Summary: Here are some powerful readings for your holidays about things that might rock America in 2016. Read about them now. If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Knowledge is power


  1. The Quiet Revolt among Democrats led by Bernie Sanders.
  2. The world of threats to the US is an illusion.
  3. Deaths from Guns, Cars, and Drugs.
  4. The advertising glut that will crash the social media industry.
  5. Two books and two films I highly recommend.

(1) The Quiet Revolt among Democrats led by Bernie Sanders

The Left is also rebelling against its political leaders: “Bernie Sanders: The Quiet Revolt” by Simon Head at the NY Review of Books. The amazing fact about early 21st century US politics is that the leaders of both political parties advocate policies largely repugnant to many or most of their members.

While the GOP’s has produced powerful insurgents who get the most attention, the similar gap in the Democratic Party appears to have grown sufficiently wide to support a strong protest candidate. Sanders does not appear to excite the minority groups, an essential component of the Democratic voting bloc, he has proved the weakness of the Party establishment (much as the defeats of McCain and Romney did to the GOP establishment). This might attract other and more powerful insurgents.

No Fear

(2) The world of threats to the US is an illusion

A few people dare call “bulls**t” on the fear-mongerers that dominate the US media and leadership: “The world of threats to the US is an illusion” by Stephen Kinzer (visiting fellow at Brown), op-ed in The Boston Globe.

Michael Cohen said something similar in January: “Are threats to US bigger than ever? No“. Perhaps more Americans will realize that our national security leaders are lying to us about the magnitude of the threats facing us today, as they have so often in the past …

Deaths from Guns, Cars, and Drugs

(3) Deaths from Guns, Cars, and Drugs

Guns vs. Cars (and Drugs)” by Robert VerBruggen at RealClearPolicy. The death rate from guns is flat, that from cars is dropping, and the rate from drug overdoses is skyrocketing — and now higher than the other two. This is a stunning demonstration of journalists’ inability to report the news, keeping us blind.

Popping the bubble

(4)  The advertising glut that will crash the social media industry

The Advertising Bubble” by Maciej Cegłowski. He tells the story with clever graphics.

“There’s an ad bubble. It’s gonna blow. … Investors are herd animals. When they bolt, the adtech swamp will drain, and who knows what hideous monstrosities will be left flopping on its muddy bottom.

The problem is not that these companies will fail (may they all die in agony), but that the survivors will take desperate measures to stay alive as the failure spiral tightens. These companies have been collecting and trafficking in our most personal data for many years. It’s going to get ugly.

The only way I see to avert disaster is to reduce the number of entities in the swamp and find a way back to the status quo ante, preferably through onerous regulation. But nobody will consider this.

The prognosis for publishers is grim. Repent! Find a way out of the adtech racket before it collapses around you. Ditch your tracking, show dumb ads that you sell directly (not through a thicket of intermediaries), and beg your readers for mercy. Respect their privacy, bandwidth, and intelligence, flatter their vanity, and maybe they’ll subscribe to something.

For more about this see The advertising glut dooms the social media industry.

(5)  Two books & two films I strongly recommend

See the reviews..

Closing of the American Mind
Available at Amazon.
Disasters and Climate Change
Available at Amazon.
Kingsman Poster
Available at Amazon.
Pacific Rim
Available at Amazon.

7 thoughts on “Holiday readings about things that might rock America in 2016”

  1. With the possible exception of #3, I regard this collection of thoughts as one of your most hopeful posts of the year. May all of these trends (with the possible exception of #3) accelerate in 2016.

  2. Another area that is rarely mentioned but is increasing also is antibiotic resistant deaths, roughly 23,000 in 2014. Our factory farm food supply is the cause of this. Use of antibiotics to grow animals larger instead of using them for infections. A steady supply of low dose antibiotics causes antibiotic resistant strains to explode.

      1. I’d like to hope you’re right but I seem to be less believing than you seem to be. The overuse of antibiotics has been well known for some time but the use has only grown, quite a bit actually, by 23% from 2009-2014 according to the FDA. FDA issues guidance, not rules, and everything is voluntary. Instead of cleaning up our factory farms the focus will be on developing a new antibiotic. Maybe and hopefully consumers will force the issue because it won’t come from the industry or government, which is run by industry. I was watching this video on the subject. Also, the recent bill that was just passed to keep the gov’t running had a part on it where we will no longer know where our food is coming from.

      2. ellifeld,

        People usually despair of solutions on the eve of the solutions. That’s because by then the scope of the problem is fully understood. But that’s why the solution follows. It’s a cycle I’ve seen repeated countless times since 1970.

        People often deny even the possibility of a solution even after the solution is well underway.

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