Thursday, April 27, 2017

Will Artificial Intelligence Save, Replace or even Affect Education Practices? (a venture capitalist’s view)

Will Artificial Intelligence Save, Replace or even Affect Education Practices?
(a venture capitalist’s view)
Some time ago I had a meeting with one of the high-level executives and a businessman at one of large tech companies located in Cambridge, MA.
The mere fact that we met was already extraordinary for me; it was the first time I talked to such a person (BTW; I asked for a meeting three more companies, but only one decided to take a risk).
Even more impressive was the fact that we spent talking for more than an hour.
That conversation helped me to take a look into a mind of a person responsible for guiding multi-million projects.
Of course, we talked about education.
It did not surprise me that people like my opponent formed their view on education via reading or watching science fiction.
In their view, in the future a student will be interacting with AI via screens, speech, gestures, like a student does today when interacting with a teacher.
AI will tutor students, and will do it better than today an average teacher does.
Out conversation has clearly shown two facts: (a) business and tech leaders have a very overestimated view of the role AI will play in 10 to 20 years; (b) business and tech leaders have a very trivial (if not primitive) view on education.
Regarding the first fact I have been writing in the past, for example:
In part, I wrote: “People working on AI believe that they can make an “artificial brain”. This type of belief is nothing new. For thousands of years, people have been dreaming about flying like a bird. And finally, Wright brothers invented an airplane. At last, men can fly! Yes. But NOT like a bird! What we – humans – created is a device which replicates one function of a bird, i.e. flying above the ground, but to this day there is no device replicating an actual bird. The field of AI is NO different.”
The second fact, that business and tech leaders have a very trivial (simplistic) view of education, is no surprise at all. They have grown up within the same cultural framework as all regular folks have, with only one difference; since they have achieved staggering success in life, they have even less doubts in their abilities to make right decisions than regular folks have.
Let us ask a question, who is smarter, Albert Einstein or Steve Jobs; Elon Musk or Stephen Hawking? Who is smarter, the guy who was smart enough to write the first version of what had become MS-DOS (Tim Paterson? Gary Kildall?), or Bill Gates who was smart enough to buy it from Tim Paterson for $50,000 and make billions of it? Is IBM’s Watson really smarter than Garry Kasparov?
Different people may approach this question differently.
One may say that we would need to give all those people to solve some abstract (not based on a specific content) problems and see how would they do.
Another approach would be saying that this question does not make any sense, because there are multiple types of “smartness” (in the same sense Dr. Howard Gardner talks about multiple intelligences); i.e. there is “programming smartness”, “business smartness”, etc.
Both these approaches fit the field of cognitive psychology.
Many people, however, do not bother with coming up with a psychological definition of “smartness”; they just equate “making big money” with “being smart” (folk question “if you are so smart, why ain’t you rich?” is an indication of this attitude). And people who made big money in tech especially susceptible to this sentiment.
Self-made tech millionaires and people who made it in the tech world from the bottom to the top believe in paradigm: “If I made big money, that means I’m smart.”
And that might be even true.
But even the smartest person in the world cannot know everything. When a car, or a refrigerator breaks, even the smartest people call a professional.
“We have talked to many teachers”, I was told during our conversation.
“How do you select who to talk to?”
“What is the chance that those people are not as good as they present themselves?”
“How do you assess if those people are as good as they present themselves?”
“You told me that at least two thirds of school teachers are not good at teaching. How do you know that? How do you know who is good and who is not? How do you know that people you talk to are from another third?”
“What is the chance that you are so visionary and charismatic person that when you tell people your vision they accept it without giving to it any critical thoughts (the “Halo effect”)?”
“What is the chance that people are much smarter and cynical than you think, and just tell you everything you like to hear, as long as they keep getting from you free stuff (money, books, tablets, computers, etc.)?”
“What is your personal description, definition, of “good teaching”? How does the structure of good teaching look for you? What is the most important result of teaching – for you – and how do you know it was achieved?”
That type of questions I would like to ask my conversation opponent, but I could not fit it in our hour. If I had more time, I also would ask the same questions about “experts” who are usually hired to support the ideas of the influential “non-experts”.  Speaking about experts, there is one question to which I never could get a clear answer: “How did it happen that $200,000,000 spent in Newark, NJ with the help of many experts on “improving education”, didn’t really lead to improvement in education of Newark children?” The fascinating story of Newark can be found in book “The Prize: Who's in Charge of America's Schools?” by Dale Russakoff ( A similar question I asked in my open letter to Mss. Laurene Powell Jobs, but, also, without an answer (
At some point in our conversation, I was presented with a vision that in the future, when a student is struggling with a homework, AI would recognize the struggle, and would offer a hint, like “click on this link and watch a movie”, or something else, exactly like a human tutor.
I mentioned that there are already various tutoring systems on the market, and many students just hate them.
Of course, this company has extensively studied those systems and knows how to develop AI tutor which will be much better than the existing ones.
In case it was not very clear, the last sentence was sarcasm.
As a person with an extensive tutoring experience, I know that a human tutor does much more than just offering guiding questions, or hints ( As an example, I used an episode from movie “Sully”. In the episode, test pilots used a simulator to demonstrate that the airplane did not have to land on water, that it could have been brought back to an airport. And Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger said to the commission: “You do not take into account the human factor” (one of my favorites moments in this great movie). When I was listening to my opponent, I said exactly same words: “You do not take into account the human factor”; in short, learning and teaching is simply much more than maintaining the flow of information, or the sequence of physical actions – that would have been just training (
I also used an example from a science fiction story. Long time ago a red a short story about the future. At the age of 16 all children would be assessed with the use of a “mental machine” which would prescribe for each child his or her profession for the rest of their life. Then each child would put a helmet, and a technician would charge the machine with a tape holding all professional knowledge needed for the child, and in a minute everyone would learn everything he or she would need to do the work. Except some guys, who could not learn anything from the machine, because their brain was special. Turned out those guys would be going to a regular school to learn how to program those machines and to develop those tapes.
The vision of education presented to me by my opponent was of sort similar to the one described on the science fiction story.
Instead of machines with tapes – computers with AI.
For masses, teaching essentially would be no different from training animals to do tricks.
I admit, that many students – those who today do not have a good teacher – would be getting better knowledge from AI tutor than from a human teacher.
However, parents with resources would be lining up into elite schools where human teachers good at teaching would be teaching their children (of course, with the help from AI).
To answering my title question, AI will affect education, and it will affect it greatly.
Mass education will become less dependent on the quality of teaching cadre. Knowledge and skills of an average student will increase. Businesses will have better prepared workforce for doing more complicated but still mostly routine work. Teachers will not disappear. Most of them will be working in public schools using all technologies offered by AI (in a way, this will be similar to construction workers who replaced a simple shovel with an automatic trench digger).
The best teachers will be concentrating in elite schools where students will learn more than just a very specific set of skills. The will also learn how to use those skills to create knew knowledge.
At some point in our conversation I was told: “My child complains that it is hard to write with a pen on paper. But using a stylus and writing on a screen is easier!”
I said: “Easier does not mean better.”
My phrase resulted in a long pause.
For me, who has been teaching physics and math for many years to all types of students, it was obvious that in education “easier” does not always mean “better for students”. On the contrary, true learning happens via overcoming obstacles and difficulties we call “mistakes”. Another known fact is that learning how to manipulate with fingers (including writing) helps children’s brain development.
Overcoming mistakes is the essence of learning. Guiding through this process is coaching (training, instructing). Teaching includes instructing but also has more (
But for my opponent, and many others, “easier”, “funnier”, “down to earth” automatically means “better teaching”.
Based on their view of education, they only support ventures which fit their view.
I was asked “Is the project method of teaching better than a traditional teaching?”
I said: “No”, and I was met with a bewildered glance, and an “attack”: “But when students do projects, it is fun, they are active”.
“OK”, I said, “I take my answer back. I change it to – there is no evidence for either to be better”.
That is exactly the situation.
I know that many so called “project based” approaches make it look like students learn more (students definitely look happier, though). But I also know that if the same students would be taught by a really good teacher who would use “traditional” approach, those students would learn even more. But I could never prove it; as well as no one can prove the opposite.
Today there is no scientific evidence that “project based teaching” is better than “traditional teaching”, or the opposite (
First, there is no commonly accepted definition of either type of teaching.
Second, there is no commonly accepted measuring procedures which would allow to compare the learning outcomes of students.
Third, there is even no commonly accepted list of the learning outcomes expected from students at the end of a school, or a given grade.
Today, measuring students’ learning outcomes is like measuring temperature using different devices and scales without any conversion factors.
The majority of the papers describe teaching “experiments” like – paraphrasing –
1) “We want our students to do better. For that we plan on trying this.” – if the project mostly involves faculty or teachers who directly teach students.
2) “We want our school teachers to teach better. For that we plan on trying this.” – if the project mostly involves faculty from a school of education.
Which leads us to a simple conclusion: nowadays, every single statement about how good or bad some form of teaching is, represents no more than a personal opinion and can be challenged by the opposite statement, and there is no scientific data to support either.
That means that today there is no such thing as science of education (the scientific field does exist, but there is no yet science).
Here we finally have come to the goal of my visit – to discuss the state of the science of education.
Only after the meeting, reflecting on our conversation, I realized that for more than an hour we talked about two different things (“apples and oranges”). I was talking about science of education. My opponent was talking about education. No wonder, we did not understand each other (which is completely my fault – I was not clear enough).
Before the meeting, I sent a letter, which had this part:
“This book (“The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” by Thomas Kuhn) is a very famous book. First time I read it about 20 years ago. It was a Russian translation. At the time, it was just one of many books I read on the history and philosophy of science. But recently I decided to read it again because I started seeing symptoms described in this book. Symptoms of a paradigm change in a specific area; in the field of education. The crisis is not here yet, but close, and the new paradigm has not been yet formulated, but it's in the air. The old paradigm, which is still the current one, is very simple. It says that learning is basically a process of imprinting the previously collected knowledge into student’s mind, and a teacher is a person who knows what students need and don't need to know.
There is however a feeling that the old paradigm might be outdated. More and more people write that students need to learn how to think critically. However, there is no common view on what critical thinking is, what is its structure, and more importantly how to teach it, especially on the massive scale. Different groups offer different approaches. And we can see the pockets of studies which, from my point of view, will lead to a formulation of a new paradigm. Right now we are in the transition from the old paradigm to a new paradigm, which has not been yet presented. We are in the pre-paradigm stage”.
My intention was to attract attention to the project which would help to advance science of education to a true science (
Only after the meeting I realized that my expectation was premature. I should have not expected from people of such status to think about science: “Hmm, what could we do to change things in science of education?”
I do not think this type of a question has ever popped up in the mind of my opponent before our meeting; due to a simple reason – those people do not think about advancing science, because they do not consider themselves scientists ( And also, because for many people any kind of a search is already seen as a scientific research; which is not actually a case.
In hindsight, I should not have been expecting from my opponent any attention to science of education. Unfortunately, many scientists in the field of education are not involved into scientific projects, too. Even a top-level official at a large research university told me once, that science of education is not possible. Even more, there is no need for science of education at all, because education is more like a craft; we just need more good “craftsmen”. And that was a person who ran at some point a teacher preparation institutional entity. Finally I understood, why my appeal to business leaders ( and my GoFundMe campaign ( were bound to fail.
In this paper,, I have shown that more than 90 % of NSF funded projects are not scientific, but social by their nature. For those projects, their primary goal is not producing new knowledge, but helping teachers teach better (
Almost all “experiments” funded by the NSF, or described in various magazines, fit the clear and universal law: “if we take two large groups of fairly similar students, and students in the first group will have a more extensive or diverse learning experience (for example, more contact hours with an instructor, or more time used for guided discussions, or more time spent on certain exercises, or training through more and/or different exercises, etc. than students in the second group), students from the first group, on average, will demonstrate better learning outcomes than the students in the second group” (the 1st Law of Teachology:
In teaching, this law has the same explanatory and guiding power as the Newton’s Second Law has in physics. There is no need for trying to prove it again and again; it should be used for designing new teaching practices.
I have no doubts that the use of various technologies, including AI, will lead to better education – as a human practice.
To advance science of education someone would need to adopt a “Manhattan Project”, or “An Apollo Program” type approach (
My hope was to find a tech business leader who would be interested in advancing science of education.
My search is still open (
Although, I doubt that this particular company will invite me back again; my talking stile is too "confrontational".

Sunday, April 23, 2017

“Being Polite” versus “Being Nice”; what is the difference for a debater?

“Being Polite” versus “Being Nice”; what is the difference for a debater?
I would like to add my two cents to the debate about “party unity”, “censorship”, “Facebook rude posts”, etc.

1. People keep confusing “being polite” with “being nice”.
“Being polite” means – no any physical encounter, no offensive words, no name calling, etc., and REQUIRED by the law.

“Being nice” means – “do not tell me what might upset me”. And there is NO law which requires people to be nice.
An imaginary conversation.
"You should not tell me this".
"Because it makes me feel sad".
"You should not tell me this"!
"Because it makes me feel sad"!!
"Why should I care about how you feel?"
"Because ...
you need to be nice!"
"Because! ... I'm leaving! You are impossible!"

If someone gets so easily upset, that one just should not go even close to politics (or management, or any professional field, really: for more follow to

2. The more debates take place the better. Censoring posts on the ground “I disagree with it”, or “this makes me feel bad” only leads to pushing people out of THIS place of the debate, but not out of the debate.  
People will not stop thinking what they are thinking, but will find other venues to express it (for example, by voting for Trump). 
In the long run, that is exactly what we need these days – we (democrats, progressives) need to get separated ("give each other a space"), give time to different groups to get a better, clearer understanding who wants what and who is who, and what they really want. Then those different factions, groups, "cliques", would be able to find a common ground.
To the advocates of censorship "because it cuts fake news" - (a) if you cannot see which news is fake, you should not go into politics; (b) if you afraid people would be influenced by fake news you should offer your counter-opinion; (c) make sure that for you "fake news" is not just something "I don't like it".

3. At some point, everyone will need to make a decision: am I BY the movement, or IN the movement (does not depend on what movement)?

BY the movement means – providing types of support – verbal, monetary, etc.

IN the movement means – allocating a certain amount of time on various political actions. Among those actions, #1 is education themselves on the laws governing social changes.

For better or worse, Karl Marx’s “Das Kapital” became the theoretical foundation of the following social revolutions (many!).

For a "progressivist", the theoretical foundation is “Saving Capitalism” by Robert B. Reich.

Read, think, discuss, plan, act.

Or, offer another book!
Your (and mine, many of us) twits and Facebook posts do NOT represent a solid logical theoretical foundation for the actions needed to do "Our Revolution".

Let us be clear – without deep understanding of the true reasons for the country getting to the current social, political, economic state, the fate of any movement (all movements) will be the same as the fate of the “Occupy Wall-Street” - gradual decline and dissolving.

4. Bernie Sanders said It wasn't that Donald Trump won the election, it was that the Democratic Party lost the election”

BTW: he said it five month after the election day; I said the same right after it (, but the difference is – no one cares what I say, Bernie’s every word gets scrutinized from right and left.
After Sanders said it, there is no turning back. Now everyone inside and outside of the Dem Party has to express his or her position toward the statement: agree, disagree, not sure, or ignore (acting like he has never said it).Arguing about the meaning of this statement is just useless
This type of a statement cannot be logically proved or disapproved; it is a belief-based statement - like "aliens, a.k.a. ETs exist". One can say that the universe is so vast, and there are signs of aliens visiting the Earth, so they exists. Or one can say there are no facts (bodies, machinery) proving the alien existence, hence they don't.

5. Politics needs knowledge and logic; political actions need time, effort, and SLOGANS!

6.  An ice cube in a freezer remains an ice cube as long as it remains in a working freezer. What will happen if one cuts the power cord, or just opens the door and keeps it opened for a long time? Ice turns into water (hopefully, no one has doubts about this). This is just an example of how external conditions, a.k.a. environment, affects properties of a system. It works for any system and any environment.
Four words:
describe the drastic change in the social and economical environment of all countries in the world. 
That is why all countries now are "melting".
What will they turn into?
1. no one really knows
2. everyone has a chance to push it in a direction one likes - and eventually the melting social and political structures will take the new stable form. 
What form?
No one really knows.
Can be ANYTHING (democracy, fascism, you name it).

Why did Hillary Clinton Lose the Race? Or. Conformism and Arrogance of The Establishment. And. What To Do Now?

Today’s Democratic Party
(this post originally was published a week after the election day, but after Senator Sanders said: “It wasn't that Donald Trump won the election, it was that the Democratic Party lost the election” I decided to re-post it.)

1. My first president was an idealist dreaming of a perfect society.
My second president was a power-grabbing irrationally acting drunk.
My third president was a former low level army spy.
In a case, you did not recognize them, they were Mikhail Gorbachev, Boris Yeltsin, and Vladimir Putin.
When I realized that my third president was becoming my last president I moved in the U.S.
I never would have thought to have again “Boris Yeltsin” as my president (only speaking English and not drinking).
Of course, I am very disappointed with this. However, as a scientist I find a relief in knowing that social forces do obey social laws in a way very similar to physical forces obey physical laws.
Despite the popular belief, Trump’s victory WAS predictable (all pollsters – go back to school).
What happened on November 8, 2016 was a bloodless revolution of a certain type, called a mob revolution.
It was not the first mob revolution known in the history of mankind (but one of the few of bloodless, at least so far).
Two of the most well-known are: the French Revolution of 1789-1790 (, and the Russian Bolshevik coup of 1917 (
The designer of the Bolshevik coup Vladimir Lenin studied the French Revolution (among many other studies) and wrote books on the matter. Then he successfully used his theory to design and to organize the coup.
Those books have been available in many languages for about a century. In different countries, many Marxists extremists used them successfully to take over a power. The theory works like a clock! But only under certain conditions (like any scientific theory). To win a power takeover organizers have to ride a wave of a deep populace disappointment and to direct it into actions (hopefully, just a massive voting turnout). That deep populace disappointment happens when the social establishment concentrates all energy on an internal power struggle and loses touch with the needs and feelings of common folks.
All mob revolutions had been based on a frustration masses felt due to economic downturns in the countries. People felt tricked, lied upon, neglected, exploited and powerless. As the result, they embraced leaders with strong rhetoric and simple solutions. “The system is rigged, those … (rich, Jews, intelligent, foreign powers, immigrants, …) are our enemies, we have to destroy them, demolish the system, and start from scratch”. “The International” (the hymn of Socialists and later Communists of the 19th and 20th centuries) has these words: 
“Stand up, damned of the Earth
Stand up, prisoners of starvation
Reason thunders in its volcano
This is the eruption of the end.
Of the past let us make a clean slate”.
The latter line describes the typical emotion of people who have been feeling frustration for a long time. When negative emotions have been brewing for a long time, eventually logic just gets shot off. People just don’t care anymore about current social structures and what to crash them. It is like a movie detective who has to let go a criminal and in frustration brakes his beloved coffee mug against a wall.
If Clinton’s people read the books and knew the theory, they would be on guard and would be able to develop the right strategy to curb Trump’s enthusiasm.
But that exactly is the problem. Neither Clinton nor her team were able to step outside of a circle of traditional views on politics.
2. All those pundits, political scientists, sociologists, media analytics professionals, think tank members, pollsters, etc. have to admit that they have no idea how to access populace mood and how to predict populace behavior in extraordinary social circumstances. The current school of polling has completely failed.
One of many pollsters said today on a radio: “Clinton’s numbers were within the margin of error”. Another one said: “Evidently, many of those who did not show any indication to vote, voted for Trump.”
If the “margin of error” included the losing scenario, did you warn your client? Did you even know that the losing scenario was within the “margin of error”? Did you consider a scenario with a large percentage of hidden voters? Did your polls show a possibility of the last-minute voters? Did you even try to assess how many last-minute voters might exist? Questions can – and should – go on and on.
Right after Trump’s nomination it has become extremely clear that this election is far from regular, the social landscape is highly abnormal. It should have become self-evident (like it has now) that current technologies of social predictions work only for regular social events and cannot help with analyzing this race. Instead of asking "Who will you vote for?", right questions would be "What do you talk about when you are in a bar with your friends?", "What are your fears?", "Describe the leader you want to see in the WH?", etc. The problem is that no one from social-analytical establishment – on both sides – really saw how distorted the social landscape was, hence no one tried to developed methods which could capture those hidden abnormalities and irregularities. Well, now they have four years to figure it out.
3. For the Democrats this loss is the result of “a failure of imagination”. November 8 2016 is Democrats’ 9/11.
Number 1 reason for this loss is the arrogance of the Democratic establishment. They saw how Trump just broke the establishment of the Republicans, but they didn’t believe that this could happen to them, they didn’t even consider this option (instead of thinking “I know I am right” they should have asked a question “What if I am wrong?”). That is why they didn’t try to listen to Trump supporters, didn’t really try to understand their motives, just dismissed them as “deplorables”. If they did, maybe they would see that in addition to “deplorables” there was – and still is – (a) a layer of people who felt tired of hard living and just wanted to feel for once as a winner (sport team psychology); (b) a layer of people who felt ignored and wanted to feel relevant (teenager psychology); (c) a layer of people who did not want to be pushed to vote for Hillary merely because “Trump is bad” (rebellious psychology: you want me to do this – here is the opposite!).
Currently I am an Independent.
During the Primaries, I voted Democratic. I was walking to the voting booth ready to vote for Hillary. I loved Bernie Sanders, but I knew he had no chance to get the nomination. And in the last second with a pen in my hand I changed my mind and voted for him. Yesterday I voted for Hillary. But I am sure that lots of people just could not force themselves to vote for her. We will discuss soon why couldn’t they do it. But the fact of the matter is that no one in the democratic camp even thought of this possibility and hence no one even tried to work with it.
Arrogance results in rejecting any ideas which do not belong to an established set of views. That is why Hillary’s team has been using the same old playbook used by Obama. I do not watch news on a regular basis. Lately, when I did – randomly and sporadically – I saw Trump and crowds of people speaking out, or I saw Hillary on a stage with celebrities. If you see these images again and again you get an impression of who is with people and who is above. But Hillary’s team did not try to dig into a psychology of undecided voters. They just kept pushing the “bad Trump” agenda.
We – humans – love our independence, we do not like to be forced into something to do, even if that is for our own benefit (ever tried to make your kid to eat green stuff?). We want to be convinced, not forced. We do want to feel as a winner. If we feel frustrated for a long time our logic just gets shot off. We react like a movie detective who has to free a criminal and brakes his beloved coffee mug against a wall. We just stop caring about consequences of our actions. We just want to break something to feel just a little bit better, do something unexpected, out of order – to feel power again. And this part of human psychology is very well known. However, even when the polls showed a big and sudden (!) drop for Hillary, which was a clear indicator of something unexpected, her team did not try anything from the outside of the playbook they used.
You cannot treat unexpected using methods established for well expected cases.
Arrogance results in surrounding yourself only with people with whom you feel yourself comfortable, which means, talking only to people who confirm your views. During my Russia days, I watched Putin’s closest advisers expressing views almost opposite to the boss’s. Maybe it was just a play, but maybe it was a deliberate politics. What I see around me now is a strong motivation to avoid any disagreement. No one wants to have any discussion if there is a chance to be criticized. Everyone wants to talk only to people with whom one feels comfortable. Conformism within Democratic establishment is the real reason of “a failure of imagination”. But the same conformism has taken place in all social establishment strata, including government, science, education. People within the same circle do not argue with each other, do not criticize each other – that would mean for them that they do not belong to the same circle. The only arguing these days, or years, is happening between opposing camps.
This division is clear when you watch or read news media. Different media outlets have very different audiences, which do not talk to each other. For more than a year late show hosts laughed at Trump, mocked him and his supporters, but for the last couple of months they’ve been communicating to the same group of people, who made their mind a long time ago (hence, didn’t help to grow the number of Hillary’s voters). These hosts also mocked Hillary, but for her singing, or dancing, or dressing. No one mocked her for not trying to step out of her circle and to reach out to people with unorthodox ideas.
Because no one wants to hear unorthodox ideas.
Because that would require unorthodox thinking (a.k.a. thinking).
Much easier to rely on names.
If a big fish establishment name says or writes something – we publish or promote it.
The result is – The Boston Globe (just as an example) has not published any interesting view, any unexpected opinion, any unusual examination, because who would read something extraordinary (a.k.a. outside of ordinary), if the most of the readers represent that establishment which representatives got published in The Boston Globe?
4. Republican establishment did not see a large stratum of people who brought Trump to the win. Democratic establishment did not see the same stratum of people who could bring Hillary to the win. That stratum is not composed of the obvious Trump supporters, who truly believe in his ability to build the wall, who hate minorities, LGBT, and abortions.
A typical representative of this “hidden” social stratum said on a radio, that her brother is a gay, in her school they have and love many people from minorities and immigrants. Why did she vote for Trump? Because she felt ignored. Establishment was busy solving their own problems and simple folks got neglected, left on their own.
The meaning of this is simple:
(A) If I vote for Trump it does not mean I am a bigot or hate immigrants.
(B) My vote for Trump is me screaming – I’m hurting and I want to be noticed!
The first statement represents a form of a psychological escape tactic – by doing this (voting for Trump) I do not do anything immoral.
The second statement is the expressions of fears and feeling of being trapped and helpless. Those fears come from many sources, like dying local economy, stagnated wages, rising cost of leaving, seeing other social forces growing up in power (yes –immigrants taking jobs, minorities whose life matters). Hence – revolt against the current status quo; the current system does not work, we need to break it.
Vladimir Lenin wrote books and successfully used his theory to organize and to win the Bolshevik coup of 1917. I doubt that Trump’s or Hillary’s teams read those books (which is another sign of being conventional). But Trump was following his gut feeling, replaced his team three times searching for people with similar gut feeling, and who, like him, were able to think outside of the ordinary set of ideas (for good of for bad). Hillary relied on people using the same old strategy, which was her own strategy.
Arrogance of Hillary Clinton pushed her to enter the race. Then her arrogance made her say: “We have seen that our nation is more deeply divided than we thought”. This is just silly (at the minimum). We all have clearly seen the big division in the country. Hillary did it, too. But she hoped that this division would be in her favor. That did not happen.
Arrogance of the Democratic establishment led to nominating the worst possible candidate.
Party culture led to that no other valid candidate, including Biden (!), risked to challenge Hillary’s party rank. Only one outsider stepped in, but due to arrogance of the party apparatus he was outmaneuvered. And even with all this arrogance Hillary still had a chance to win, if she and her team would be able to step outside of the playbook they used for the campaign. Instead they just have been running ahead like horses with blinders (in this case a narrow-sightedness is worse than a short-sightedness; hope this explains the picture – this how
I see today’s Democratic party).
5. Whose fault is it? What do we do now? (Two beloved Russian unanswered questions)
Previous parts of this piece answered the first question.
The answer to the second one comes automatically.
Everyone who cares about the future has to become an active Democrat.
Has to participate in all local party events.
Has to vote out all current selected party officials and replace them with new ones.
Remember the lady on a radio who voted because she felt ignored and neglected?
I bet she has not been voting for a long time, she did not go to primaries or local elections. She did not want to participate in routine social activities, did not want to read various analytical articles and to participate in lengthy discussions. All she and many others want is having “a strong and fair king” who would make all important decisions to make their life better but without making them to participate.
Well, everyone who cares about the future needs to do just the opposite.
That lady also represents “whites without college degrees” who brought Trump to a victory. She does not see the big disconnect in her own logic. Yes, she personally is not a bigot and does not hate immigrants. But she elected a person who on his own just incapable of being a good political manager (yes – this statement is based on personal view of “political management” and facts about Trump). Hence, like it has happened in the history of mankind many times before, he will be an object of constant manipulation. He will not be managing the country, but his circle of influence will (among so many historic examples, check this one about Grigori Rasputin:
But to see that, one needs to know a history, and to know basics of political management, and just management, and just be able to derive relatively long logical conclusions, and act upon facts and reason instead of upon emotions.
All these skills come from good education.
All these skills come only from good education.
This is why the 2016 Presidential elections has been a testament of the U.S. educational system.
This is why the number one goal for all activists across the country should be fighting for making education great! (not again, though, because so far it has not been great, so – just great).

Here is more old posts on the matter:

This post has some more specifics on what to do:

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

a Short Letter to Jon Ossoff

Mr. Ossoff,

Today I got an email from Tom Perez (please, scroll down for the letter).
He asked me to send him some money to help you to win the election.

First, I want to congratulate you on your spectacular result, indeed!

And second, instead of money, I am sending to you a more valuable gift – a protocol toward your victory (each slogan needs an unambiguous and memorable pictorial representation).
Your priorities are perfect. But some people need more than that. They need clear statements which make sense to them – slogans.
Using these slogans, you will win the seat.

1. “Restore the American promise!”
“I promise to you that together we will restore the American promise!”

N.B. It is exactly what you are trying to do, so no need to pretend.
But more importantly, that is exactly what America has lost over the last two decades.
Gradually, slowly, little by little, it has become harder and harder for regular folks to maintain a decent life for their families. This goes to whites and none-whites, rural and urban folks.

2. “Make America fair for ALL!”
“Fairness should not depend on wealth!”
"Same Constitution for ALL!"
“We need to bring back American values: fairness for all, opportunities for everyone, people-centered economy, strong communities, kindness, honesty, and human decency.”

3. “Politics for people is politics without lying!”
“Do not let yourself be dragged into the fog of lies! When Republicans have nothing to say they lie and lie and lie!”
“Do not trust angry yellers, rely on your common sense!”
“A difficult problem has no simple solution! If someone promises you a quick fix, it is “the chees in a mouse trap!”
“Republicans are pouring tar of lies on me and all free thinkers! Don’t let that tar stick to you”.

4. “Democracy is the goal. The party is just an instrument!”
“Yes, I am a democrat, but I am a new democrat, I am an independent democrat, and I am a pragmatic democrat. Besides Obamacare, what else have Democrats achieved? Obamacare is not perfect, but no one sent a bill to improve it. Taxes effectively funnel our money from us to the rich. But Democrats didn’t dare to touch the tax code because it was “too toxic”. Little by little too many Democrats forgot why people elected them. And I will remind them about that! We - new Democrats - will reform the Democratic party from the inside!”

5. “Stop talking about what to do. Start doing!”
“The first things we – new democrats – will do are the tax reform which will benefit the middle class; the bill to fix the Obamacare and start the transition to the single payer insurance, … .”

6. “Abolish economic slavery!”
“Ten percent of Americans own three quarters of total American wealth! They force ninety percent of Americans to struggle for one quarter of what those folks make. 13 % off all American households are in debt! Imagine, you and 99 others together run a business. At the end of the year your business generated $1000,000 in profit. Out of 100 people who worked together, 10 people take $75,000 each, you and 76 more people take about $3300 each (which is about twenty-five times less!), and 13 people get nothing. This how America works today.
America made a full circle! Today America again has barons who own the most of the country, and the rest who generates the wealth which the barons take for granted! Today 90 % of Americans wear chains of economic slavery.”

7. “The rich bent the rules, we will bend them back!”
“1 % of American population controls one third of the total American wealth! How did it happen?
The rich did not break any rules, they slowly bent the rules in their favor using Republicans as their puppets. We need to bend the rules back. We need to take the governing power back, and make it work in the favor of the working folks.”

8. “Share wealth fair!”
“Our goal is the new optimization of wealth allocation! Sound fancy, but describes a simple idea: working folks need to take back their fair share of what they produce.
For thousands of years some people have been producing wealth, and other people have been deciding who gets what. Ancient Egypt - slaves and a pharaoh; middle centuries France – peasants and a king. American Constitution established that all people have equal rights for a fair share of the wealth. But the Constitution does not write the rules. People write the rules. And over the last two decades those rules have been greatly beneficial for a few and depressive for the rest. During the last ten years, the U.S. Federal Reserve added to the market about “$4.5 trillion worth of assets“ (! They called it “quantitative easing”, but essentially, it was just printing money and giving it away. If the average wage of 90 % of Americans has not changed, where did those $4.5 trillion go?

N.B. a must-read book on the matter for everyone in a progressive camp is “Saving Capitalism”, by Robert B. Reich.
FYI: after your victory, please pass theses slogans to the next new Democrat.

Mr. Ossoff, do not get sucked into “he said, she said” debates. Just tell your story!

Good Luck!

Dr. Valentin Voroshilov




“In 2007, the richest 10 percent of U.S. households owned over 71 percent of total household wealth; in 2013 they owned almost 75 percent.”

This chart shows, that since 2013 one tenth of the American population owns three quarters of total American wealth! They make ninety percent of Americans to struggle for one quarter of what they make.

A letter form Tom Perez.

Friend --

For 38 years, Georgia's 6th congressional district has been a deep shade of red.

That means that after each of the past 20 elections, a Republican has gone to Congress who wouldn't fight for affordable health care, wouldn't stand up to protect the right to vote, and wouldn't demand a fair, livable wage.

On June 20th, we have the chance to change all that by sending Jon Ossoff to Congress. But to break nearly four decades of precedent, he's going to need all the help we can give him.

Can you split a $10 donation between Jon Ossoff and the DNC to help elect Democrats in Georgia and all across the country? 

I know Jon, and I know he's someone who cares about the people of Georgia's 6th district. He got into this race because he believes, in the words of his mentor John Lewis, in getting in "good trouble" to create change. In a Congress that has become paralyzed by partisan gridlock, I know Jon will be a breath of fresh air.

Jon put up an impressive display in yesterday's primary, but now he needs all of us with him to win again in just 62 days. Pitch in $10 or more today to help elect Jon Ossoff and Democrats like him across the country.