Three Things You Need to Know - September 12, 2017

There Is Nothing Permanent Except Change

Change is a force that can’t be stopped.

Status quo people, status quo businesses will get left in the dust.

Some businesses realize this and are getting creative. Next month, the department store Nordstrom is opening a new store called "Nordstrom Local." It’s an experiment, kind of a hybrid between online retail and the traditional department store. Nordstrom Local will be much smaller, with personal style consultants, a meeting area with full beverage service, areas to try on merchandise and curbside pickup for online purchases.

Nordstrom realizes malls are dying and people like to shop online, but that shopping in-person isn’t totally dead. Nordstrom is trying to give people what they want --- personal service, speed and convenience. It may not work. It’s a total gamble. But they know they have to try something because the department store status quo isn’t working. Ask Sears or JC Penney.

And it's not just stored. The status quo isn’t working for TV networks or the movie business. Old models are being turned upside down.

It’s not working for political parties either. The D.C. swamp that President Trump wanted to drain is more of a tar pit, with Republicans and Democrats content right where they are. You know you have a status quo problem when Chuck Schumer and Lindsey Graham are your party’s flag-bearers.

Status quo thinking is catching up with Republicans and Democrats. That’s part of the reason Donald Trump became President. But soon, a political version of Nordstrom Local will appear. It will be shiny and innovative and a lot of people will like it. Let’s just hope and pray that it is also anchored in America’s founding principles.

You Are the Answer

The power to change America’s course still resides with you.

It’s what the 9/12 project was all about --- your ability to effect change with principles over politics.

It’s the opposite of what we saw this weekend from Steve Bannon.

60 Minutes sat down with Trump’s former chief strategist who said this:

STEVE BANNON: I'm going to be his wingman outside for the entire time, to protect---

CHARLIE ROSE: You will not be attacking Donald Trump?

STEVE BANNON: No, our purpose is to support Donald Trump. By the way---

CHARLIE ROSE: And destroy his enemies?

STEVE BANNON: To make sure his enemies know that there's no free shot on goal.

I remember the days when we called out those who put blind faith in Obama.

Personality over principles.

Tell me what’s changed --- how is Bannon any different?

Charisma over core values will always fall short.

I still believe one voice can change a community. And one community can change a state. And one state can change a nation. And one nation can change the world.

It starts at home. It starts with you. You are the answer.

And together, grounded in our shared principles, we can create durable and lasting change.

Our "Sputnik Moment"

Exactly 55 years ago today (what is it with this day 9/12?), Kennedy gave his famous “we choose to go to the moon” speech. In a span of just 12 years after Sputnik, we went from getting laughed at by the Soviets to landing on the moon.

On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union successfully launched Sputnik into orbit. The Soviets were kicking our butts. Two months later, we tried to keep pace by launching Vanguard TV3, but it exploded on the launch pad.

The “Sputnik moment” had occurred. We realized that we had to roll up our sleeves and get to work.

The modern day Space Race between nations is already afoot, but space is no longer the objective. It’s Artificial Intelligence. The “Sputnik Moment” has already occurred, and the race is on to be the first to birth intelligent machines.

The nation that develops AI “will be the ruler of the world.” That’s what Vladimir Putin said to a group of students last week in Russia. Was this Putin’s version of Kennedy’s “we choose to go to the moon” speech?

The styles are obviously a bit different. Whereas Kennedy was at his inspirational best, Putin was simply classic Putin: “when one party’s drones are destroyed by drones of another, it will have no other choice but to surrender.”

The race is on.

But what are we creating?

Last year, microchip maker Nvidia began testing their version of self-driving cars. But this car was different than others being tested by Google, Apple and Tesla. This car wasn’t programmed by a human, it programmed itself. It learned to drive by watching a human drive and then wrote its own program.

It’s the latest development in AI that has supporters excited and naysayers scared. It’s called “deep learning.” The problem is that some of these systems are becoming so complex, their human creators don’t even understand them anymore.

Machines are writing their own code and learning how to make decisions without being prompted to do it. Their style of reason and thought is completely alien to researchers trying to figure it out.

That’s what the world is racing to create. Super intelligence, that learns on its own, thinks in a completely alien way, and has no human morality.

Will history remember us as winners or losers of the AI race?

MORE 3 THINGS

People should start listening to Nikki Haley

ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images

Okay. Let's take a vote. You know, an objective, quantifiable count. How many resolutions has the UN Human Rights Council adopted condemning dictatorships? Easy. Well. How do you define "dictatorship"?

Well, one metric is the UN Human Rights Council Condemnation. How many have the United Nations issued to China, with a body count higher than a professional Call of Duty player?

Zero.

How about Venezuela, where socialism is devouring its own in the cruelest, most unsettling ways imaginable?

Zero.

And Russia, home of unsettling cruelty and rampant censorship, murder and (actual) homophobia?

Zero.

Iraq? Zero. Turkey? Iraq? Zero. Cuba? Zero. Pakistan? Zero.

RELATED: Nikki Haley just dropped some serious verbal bombs on Russia at the UN

According to UN Human Rights Council Condemnations, 2006-2016, none of these nations is as dangerous as we'd imagined. Or, rather, none of them faced a single condemnation. Meanwhile, one country in particular has faced unbelievable scrutiny and fury — you'll never guess which country.

No, it's not Somalia. It's Israel. With 68 UN Human Rights Council Condemnations! In fact, the number of total United Nations condemnations against Israel outnumbers the total of condemnations against all other countries combined. The only country that comes close is Syria, with 15.

The Trump administration withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday in protest of what it perceives as an entrenched bias against Israel and a willingness to allow notorious human rights abusers as members.

In an address to the UN Security Council on Tuesday, Nikki Haley said:

Let's remember that the Hamas terrorist organization has been inciting violence for years, long before the United States decided to move our embassy. This is what is endangering the people of Gaza. Make no mistake, Hamas is pleased with the results from yesterday... No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has.

Maybe people should start listening to Haley. Hopefully, they will. Not likely, but there's no crime in remaining hopeful.

Here's a question unique to our times: "Should I tell my father 'Happy Father's Day,' even though he (she?) is now one of my mothers?"

Father's Day was four days ago, yes, but this story is just weird enough to report on. One enjoyable line to read was this gem from Hollywood Gossip: "Cait is a woman and a transgender icon, but she is also and will always be the father of her six children."

RELATED: If Bruce was never a he and always a she, who won the men's Olympic gold in 1976?

Imagine reading that to someone ten — even five — years ago. And, honestly, there's something nice about it. But the strangeness of its having ever been written overpowers any emotional impact it might bring.

"So lucky to have you," wrote Kylie Jenner, in the Instagram caption under pre-transition pictures of Bruce Jenner.

Look. I risk sounding like a tabloid by mere dint of having even mentioned this story, but the important element is the cultural sway that's occurring. The original story was that a band of disgruntled Twitter users got outraged about the supposed "transphobic" remarks by Jenner's daughter.

But, what we should be saying is, "who the hell cares?" Who cares what one Jenner says to another — and more importantly and on a far deeper level — who cares what some anonymous Twitter user has to say?

When are we going to stop playing into the hands of the Twitter mob?

When are we going to stop playing into the hands of the Twitter mob? Because, at the moment, they've got it pretty good. They have a nifty relationship with the mainstream media: One or two Twitter users get outraged by any given thing — in this case Jenner and supposed transphobia. In return, the mainstream media use the Twitter comment as a source.

Then, a larger Twitter audience points to the article itself as proof that there's some kind of systemic justice at play. It's a closed-market currency, where the negative feedback loop of proof and evidence is composed of faulty accusations. Isn't it a hell of a time to be alive?

These days, when Americans decide to be outraged about something, we really go all out.

This week's outrage is, of course, the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy toward illegal immigration along the southern border. Specifically, people are upset over the part of the policy that separates children from their parents when the parents get arrested.

RELATED: Where were Rachel Maddow's tears for immigrant children in 2014?

Lost in all the outrage is that the President is being proactive about border security and is simply enforcing the law. Yes, we need to figure out a less clumsy, more compassionate way of enforcing the law, but children are not being flung into dungeons and fed maggots as the media would have you believe.

But having calm, reasonable debates about these things isn't the way it's done anymore. You have to make strong, sweeping announcements so the world knows how righteous your indignation is.

That's why yesterday, the governors of Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and Connecticut declared they are withholding or recalling their National Guard troops from the U.S.-Mexico border until this policy of separating children from their parents is rescinded.

Adding to the media stunt nature of this entire "crisis," it turns out this defiant announcement from these five governors is mostly symbolic. Because two months ago, when President Trump called for 4,000 additional National Guard troops to help patrol the border, large numbers of troops were not requested from those five states. In fact, no troops were requested at all from Rhode Island. But that didn't stop Rhode Island's Democratic governor, Gina Raimondo, from announcing she would refuse to send troops if she were asked. She called the family separation policy, "immoral, unjust and un-American."

There's so much outrage, we're running short on adjectives.

The governors of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York all used the word "inhumane" in their statements condemning the Trump administration policy. There's so much outrage, we're running short on adjectives.

In a totally unrelated coincidence, four of these five governors are running for re-election this year.

I've made my position clear — separating these children from their parents is a bad policy and we need to stop. We need to treat these immigrants with the kind of compassion we'd want for our own children. And I said the same thing in 2014 when no one cared about the border crisis.

If consistency could replace even just a sliver of the outrage in America, we would all be a lot better off.

I think we can all agree, both on the Left and the Right, that children who have been caught up in illegal immigration is an awful situation. But apparently what no one can agree on is when it matters to them. This past weekend, it suddenly — and even a little magically — began to matter to the Left. Seemingly out of nowhere, they all collectively realized this was a problem and all rushed to blame the Trump administration.

RELATED: These 3 things need to happen before we can fix our border problem

Here's Rachel Maddow yesterday:

I seem to remember getting mocked by the Left for showing emotion on TV, but I'll give her a pass here. This is an emotional situation. But this is what I can't give her a pass on: where the heck was this outrage and emotion back in 2014? Because the same situation going on today — that stuff Maddow and the rest of the Left have only just now woken up to — was going on back in July 2014! And it was arguably worse back then.

I practically begged and pleaded for people to wake up to what was going on. We had to shed light on how our immigration system was being manipulated by people breaking our laws, and they were using kids as pawns to get it done. But unlike the gusto the Left is using now to report this story, let's take a look at what Rachel Maddow thought was more important back in 2014.

On July 1, 2014, Maddow opened her show with a riveting monologue on how President Obama was hosting a World Cup viewing party. That's hard-hitting stuff right there.

On July 2, 2014, Maddow actually acknowledged kids were at the border, but she referenced Health and Human Services only briefly and completely rushed through what was actually happening to these kids. She made a vague statement about a "policy" stating where kids were being taken after their arrival. She also blamed Congress for not acting.

See any difference in reporting there from today? That "policy" she referenced has suddenly become Trump's "new" policy, and it isn't Congress's fault… it's all on the President.

She goes on throughout the week.

On July 7, 2014, her top story was something on the Koch brothers. Immigration was only briefly mentioned at the end of the show. This trend continued all the way through the week. I went to the border on July 19. Did she cover it? Nope. In fact, she didn't mention kids at the border for the rest of the month. NOT AT ALL.

Do you care about immigrant kids who have been caught in the middle of a broken immigration system or not?

Make up your minds. Is this an important issue or not? Do you care about immigrant kids who have been caught in the middle of a broken immigration system or not? Do you even care to fix it, or is this what it looks like — just another phony, addicted-to-outrage political stunt?

UPDATE: Here's how this discussion went on radio. Watch the video below.

Glenn gives Rachel Maddow the benefit of the doubt

Rachel Maddow broke down in tears live on her MSNBC show over border crisis.