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Friday, January 27, 2017

Authoritarian Trump followers at WUWT celebrate USA's secession from the world (and reality)

Sou | 1:42 PM Go to the first of 38 comments. Add a comment
Over the last few days it's become clear that Donald Trump's minders have been unsuccessful in reigning in his megalomania and malignant narcissism. In the one interview since becoming US President, all Trump could talk about was size, and he told multiple lies in doing so. Read the incredible transcript. It was an extraordinary interview. Trump shied away from discussing important matters of state. Instead, as reported in the Washington Post, he was "endlessly obsessed with his popularity".

You've read about people who seriously believe they are Jesus Christ - well that's how Donald Trump behaved. To my mind, he exhibited all the symptoms of grandiosity, delusion and self-obsession. He falsely claimed he would have won the election by "millions" if not for "millions" of fraudulent votes that all went to Hillary Clinton. He falsely claimed that "we had the biggest audience in the history of inaugural speeches". He even went so far as to claim that his much criticised appalling speech in front of the CIA wall of honour drew "the biggest standing ovation since Peyton Manning had won the Super Bowl".


The authoritarian "scum-bucket" leader and his willing, docile followers


If you haven't read about authoritarians and their followers before, I suggest you bone up on the subject. In his booklet, Bob Altemeyer wrote this (my paras):
So (to foreshadow later chapters a little) suppose you are a completely unethical, dishonest, power-hungry, dirt-bag, scum-bucket politician who will say whatever he has to say to get elected. (I apologize for putting you in this role, but it will only last for one more sentence.) Whom are you going to try to lead, high RWAs [right wing authoritarian followers] or low RWAs? Isn’t it obvious? The easy-sell high RWAs will open up their arms and wallets to you if you just sing their song, however poor your credibility. Those crabby low RWAs, on the other hand, will eye you warily when your credibility is suspect because you sing their song?
So the scum-bucket politicians will usually head for the right-wing authoritarians, because the RWAs hunger for social endorsement of their beliefs so much they’re apt to trust anyone who tells them they’re right. Heck, Adolf Hitler was elected Chancellor of Germany running on a law-and-order platform just a few years after he tried to overthrow the government through an armed insurrection. 




About authoritarians and how to counter them


Although some people have criticised the Democrats for not providing a counter to Trump's brand of authoritarianism, it's really quite difficult to do so. Particularly when the populace is flooded with lies on multiple subjects all the time. It seems to me that all that can be done is be constantly vigilant and wear it down over time, countering the lies with facts. In an article at the Washington Post, Xavier Marquez wrote about how lying to the populace may be useful to:
  1. cement shared values
  2. as a strategy to achieve the leader's goals
  3. cement the loyalty of subordinates.
Marquez wrote:
Western political thought has three main arguments about why lying may be useful. First, some kinds of lies can hold political systems together: Myths such as Plato’s “Noble Lie” can cement shared values among citizens. Second, lies can be strategically valuable. This idea is represented by Machiavelli’s argument that princes should lie when necessary to achieve their goals. Finally, lies can cement the loyalty of subordinates. All three provide insight into how and why authoritarian societies and leaders lie.
He goes on to point out that those same lies are normally the undoing of authoritarian leaders, particularly in a Western democracy where the leader doesn't control every aspect of society. However he also warned that  "Where there isn’t competition from alternative sources of information, myths can become deeply embedded over the longer term. "

This points up the importance of countering the lies. Trump spouts so many of them that it's hard to keep up. Maybe by identifying the key lies and focusing on why they are lies and the damage they are causing, eventually all but the most delusional Trump supporters will recognise them. Eventually, people may see that they've been conned.


The secession of the USA from the world, and internal wrecking


This brings me to Donald Trump wanting to secede from the world. He wants to build a wall between the USA and central and south America. He wants to get the USA out of international collaborations like the United Nations. He wants to stop international trade between the USA and the rest of the world. By what he has said and what he is doing, the only time that Trump wants to engage with any other country is to plunder its resources (steal Iraq's oil).

I haven't even started on how Trump wants to wreck the USA internally.
  • Plundering and privatising national parks, turning them into mines and tarring them over, to reduce native plant and animal populations, biodiversity, and destroy the natural world that Americans rely on to sustain them
  • Preventing government agencies from sharing critical (or any) information with the general public, farmers and state and local agencies
  • Privatising the public education system to dumb down the masses. (Trump can't control public education. He has a better chance of controlling private schools through allocation of public moneys.)
  • Slashing the staff of the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure that polluters and despoilers can pollute and despoil the USA
  • Stopping science so that the USA no longer expands knowledge and understanding of the world
  • Stopping the arts and humanities so that people lose all hope and (Trump hopes) will rely more and more on their "leader"
  • Preventing millions of Americans from having access to health care when they need it. (Killing off people when they are at their weakest is not the way to build a strong society.)
  • Making Americans pay for his Mexican wall, by slapping a 20% surcharge (tariff) on goods from Mexico
  • and more.

WUWTers are devout authoritarian followers


Over at WUWT you can see a microcosm of right wing authoritarian followers. These strange people are the worst of the worst, the most extreme. They include wacky conspiracy theorists and right wing extremists. Quoting Bob Altemeyer again, on authoritarian followers:
...first and foremost, followers have mainly copied the beliefs of the authorities in their lives. They have not developed and thought through their ideas as much as most people have. Thus almost anything can be found in their heads if their authorities put it there, even stuff that contradicts other stuff. A filing cabinet or a computer can store quite inconsistent notions and never lose a minute of sleep over their contradiction. Similarly a high RWA can have all sorts of illogical, self-contradictory, and widely refuted ideas rattling around in various boxes in his brain, and never notice it. 

Conspiracy theorists at WUWT, like Willis Eschenbach, who seems to be a sucker for "movements", have been busy rushing to the defense of Trump's efforts to quash science and knowledge. Willis has been publishing multiple articles at WUWT, partly to promote his new blog and partly to just bignote himself for the sake of it (pretending to be some sort of expert in big business and government, when he's got no background let alone expertise in either sphere.) But mostly to rationalise Donald Trump's excesses (which is just about everything). This requires acceptance of internal contradictions. Anthony Watts has published lots of other articles applauding the destruction of the USA and Trump wanting US secession from world affairs (e.g. here).

Willis Eschenbach couldn't help himself, writing, with no evidence of "partisan politics" - ha!:
After the Trump Administration told the Department of the Interior to shut down all their Twitter accounts because they were being used for partisan political purposes by Democratic government employees, some National Park Service employees got in a huff about how their rights were being violated. So they put together a new Twitter account called AltUSNatParkService. 

Check out the official climate twitter feed of US National Parks, which has not tweeted since 19 January. Not a political tweet in sight that I can find. Nor any partisan politics. It's an information tweet feed, only providing straight facts. (To a rampant conspiracy theorist all science and everything climate is "partisan politics".)

It's been reported that the EPA will have to submit all research and information to political appointees for vetting before it's published or released. It's worse - the Trump administration has reportedly shut off research grant spending at the EPA. This is coming from various sources, not all of which I can verify. That's because, there seems to be a purge and definitely censorship and silencing. Dark times.

WUWT-ers have in the past taken great exception to what they call the politicisation of science (which hasn't existed much before now, except as a creation of right wingers in the USA). Now they embrace it. More from Bob Altemeyer:
When your ideas live independent lives from one another it is pretty easy to use double standards in your judgments. You simply call up the idea that will justify (afterwards) what you’ve decided to do. High RWAs seem to get up in the morning and gulp down a whole jar of “Rationalization Pills.” 
And then there's this:
Authoritarian followers are highly suspicious of their many out-groups; but they are credulous to the point of self-delusion when it comes to their in-groups.  


Will Trump be able to carry out the delusions of climate conspiracy theorists?


Trump's actions, lies and promises, needless to say, confirm the self-delusions of climate conspiracy theorists. They are the are just what the illiterati at WUWT were hoping for. For years science deniers have campaigned to stop scientific research and sack all scientists. Well, they might get their wish partially fulfilled under Donald Trump. However science will go on, if not in the USA public service at least in universities, private research facilities, and everywhere else in the world.

I also doubt that the US Congress will allow Trump to destroy US satellites that provide much-needed information not just for understanding how climate change will affect us, but for keeping track of weather. And if the satellites remain, then people will be needed to analyse and interpret the information retrieved from them.

Would Donald Trump really shut down the super-computers that are used to analyse weather and climate information? Would he be able to even if he wanted to? I don't think so.

Would he be able to stop all university research? I don't think so.

The EU has come out and stated that it will continue to provide funds for climate change, so even if Trump does succeed in shutting down the USA and turning off its lights, the rest of the world will hopefully survive.


From the WUWT comments


I don't have time to go through all the deluded comments at WUWT. Here are a small number that illustrate the self-delusion.

Willis Eschenbach, in a sneering reply to someone complaining about the politicisation of WUWT, promoting the conspiracy theory that climate science is a hoax:
January 25, 2017 at 9:36 pm
Danny Thomas January 25, 2017 at 8:33 pm "Will be happy when we move on and return to discussing the science."
Sadly, Danny, these days this IS the science. These people are spreading all kinds of scientific half-truths and falsehoods, under the imprimateur of the US Government. That is both unacceptable and illegal.
My best to you,

More conspiracy theories from Wondering Willis Eschenbach, that climate science = "radical ideas" - WTF?:
January 25, 2017 at 10:31 pm (excerpt)
Thanks, Danny. This site has never been just about the science part of climate science. It is also about the political aspects of climate science, of which this is one. This is not “Yay for us boo for you”, far from it.
The climate alarmists have long used the government to spread their radical ideas about the climate. Having often called for the government to get out of the climate advocacy business, I am overjoyed that this is occurring.

Others, like Jeff Mitchell, are equally deluded. He is delighted to find someone else who has the same delusion:
January 25, 2017 at 11:04 pm
Willis, you used the following Edmund Burke quote “For evil to triumph it is only necessary for good men to do nothing.” I’ve always felt that “necessary for good men to do nothing” is an oxymoron as doing nothing is usually not considered a trait of a good man. Rather, evil will triumph if no one stands against it. Good men, like you, ARE standing against the deceit and corruption of the climate change crowd.

There may be degrees of right wing authoritarianism. Not every science denier agrees with Willis that scientific information should be censored and kept from the general public. Frederik Michiels wrote:
January 26, 2017 at 12:48 am
imvho: science is a debate. i agree that there is also a political side.
but radically censoring is touching at the right of freedom of speech.
if rightfull AGW skeptics wish to be associated with that, i pass.
just ponder that little detail

Reasonable Skeptic has the ultimate delusion, and is still hoping, after all these years, that someone, anyone, will one day prove that everything we know about physics, chemistry and biology is wrong:
January 26, 2017 at 9:12 am
Hi Danny,
I come from the opposite position. To me, the science is the science and alarmists can trot out study after study after study to win any scientific debate by sheer volume.
I am more interested in the process that creates science. If you can demonstrate that the process that creates science is flawed, you can win the debate and get people to understand that the reality of climate science is far more open for discussion than they were led to believe.
This is an example of advocacy masquerading as a scientifically run agency and is thus important for people to understand. They are exposed to a tiny part of the process that is guiding the understanding of climate science by the voters.
Just my perspective :)

Geoff Sherrington  touts his "credentials" as an environmental vandal of the unique wilderness of Kakadu:
January 25, 2017 at 9:58 pm
So that readers should not conclude that those who visit here have all been through an green stage and/or an epiphany, my own path has led to strong rejection of the need for national parks and world heritage area. They are another method of centralist control of land and its use. In practice, some work out well but others become neglected sources of weeds, fire, pests. The park mechanism globally is used to restrict valid land uses like mining.
Credentials. Representing my then corporate employer, I caused action to delay an imminent inscription of Kakadu Australia onto the world heritage list. Be keen to know if anyone else can claim to have tamed the monster to that extent.
Geoff

 There is lots more of the same. However, not everyone agrees with the direction WUWT has taken. Not that it's changed a great deal, perhaps it's just more overt in it's authoritarian worship and political basis. KarlB wrote:
January 26, 2017 at 12:59 pm
I used to look forward to WUWT when it was focussed on climate science, not so much now. Can’t really be bothered with all this recent political ego polishing.


Enough of politics? But here we are...


I know this is a climate blog, however the world is at a crossroads and politics are threatening our future which means I'm going to write about it.  (I'll keep blogging about science, too.) As Sarcastic Rover (from Mars) tweeted:





38 comments:

  1. I note with respect they use of the term "leader".
    I agree as pointed out so well by Mr. Orwell in 1984.
    So to me the new LEADER is a personification of the kind of Orwellian world it would appear we are headed for.
    I was going to mention another book { the rise and fall of the third reich }.
    The tactics explained in the book are being repeated now in this age.
    We have perfect examples in the use of newspeak statements that are incorrect and just plain lies.
    Putin's actions follow the 1939 actions of his western leader to a tee.
    The fact the LEADER has a good understanding of Putin is no accident they both have the same kind of attitude to the plebs.
    Just as a question has anyone thought about the possibility of the new LEADER being impeached due to mental incapacity?
    To me this looks like a very likely possibility.

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    1. I note with respect the use of the term "leader"
      typo apologies.

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    2. Hi John, yes, they have. Either mental incapacity or incapable of carrying out his duties for whatever reason. From Salon.

      It's thought unlikely. With Paul Ryan sucking up to Trump and being photographed alongside him wearing that same imbecilic grin as Trump's other sycophants have plastered on their faces, it might not happen for a while. Pence is probably biding his time.

      BTW - promises and threats keep changing by the hour. It looks as if maybe Americans won't be asked to pay for the wall via a 20% surcharge after all. But who knows.

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    3. The wall build.
      the LEADER has said " i will put a tariff on imports from Mexico"
      Brilliant now the American people who pay tax pay for it.
      This is the kind of myopic no idea about what i am saying.
      I honestly think the person who now has the codes needs to be examined as i do not think any sane person would at 3 am in the morning start sending Idiotic tweets this to me sends an extremely strong signal the person is not mentally stable.
      I think here is a person who could end the world as we know it and this person should have a stable mind I do not think the present person does.
      I do not think any sane person would find my feelings as being in anyway disquieting.

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  2. On Trump's sickening obsession with his (lack of) inauguration popularity, I posted this earlier:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jS9rQEe6CH0

    On his rabid sychophants, my oft-referenced and almost mandatory hat-tip to Erik the Viking:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJh6EQ5gv7g

    The sad thing for me is that I am not sure that the USA now has any feasible route out of its plummetting to ruin.

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    1. Bernard, I wouldn't give up on the USA. It has a wealth of knowledge and a lot of incredibly talented people of good character who are generous to a fault, selfless and altruistic. People who can think outside the square.

      The USA doesn't rate well on the democracy scale and that's always going to make life there difficult. The Economist just downgraded it further.

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    2. The USA will survive President Trump, it is a good democracy even if government distrust is in fashion.

      It is interesting that the EPA and NOAA were created by President Nixon. I am not sure that President Trump is technically their boss as Dr Curry wrote on her blog - they are independent agencies?

      So I am just going to wait and see what happens after the transition period.

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    3. NOAA is part of the Department of Commerce, EPA is independent. But both report to the President, as does NASA. Independent just means that they don't have a cabinet officer between them and the president.

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    4. Seeds of civil war in the US. It could implode.

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  3. The New York Times has a fairly good evaluation of the harm that can be done on the environment with specifics (not paywalled but limit on number of articles per month).

    Trump is also a sadist.

    Yes, we can hope to survive, but the consecutive damages of Reagan and Bush2 haven't helped, and this time we have a corrupt/irrational Congressional majority beholden to their donors along with a degraded judiciary and state and local authorities have been got at as well. Jane Mayer's Dark Money describes the decades long campaign well. The billionaire network has systematically corrupted authority and bought elections. Their system of "think tanks" has grown. If we were not so owned by marketing we would have a better shot at thinking for ourselves. There are massive nationwide resistance efforts, but Democrats are still fighting with each other and Berniebusters are blaming victims rather than perps.

    This is an interesting effort: The Fine Art of Sniffing Out Bullshit

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    1. Forgot to mention, there is a lot of voter suppression (many millions, especially in key states) and this will only increase. Excessive incarceration is also intended to disenfranchise. Removing health care and labor protections will also eliminate voters (death panels for the poor).

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    2. Susan.

      Those links are not working.

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    3. I wonder about Trump being a sadist. I don't think he has one of the key requirements, the ability to feel or take pleasure from the pain of other people. That is, he'd have to be able to imagine the pain of other people, and I don't think he has that ability.

      Trump is so much of an extreme narcissist, and so self-centred, that I doubt he is capable.

      He does seek revenge for real or imagined slights, but that's different. (Note how he treated Mexico. No subtlety, no diplomacy, no "big picture", no sense of the complexity (or strength) of the US-Mexico relationship - just bullying then sulking and a dummy spit when he didn't get what he wanted.)

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    4. HT, thanks for letting me know, and sorry. I thought they were OK when I put them in. Here they are without the html:

      NYTimes on what Trump can do:
      https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/11/21/us/politics/what-trump-wants-to-do-in-his-first-100-days-and-how-difficult-each-will-be.html

      "Fine Art of Sniffing Out Bullshit"
      http://www.chronicle.com/article/The-Fine-Art-of-Sniffing-Out/238907

      I'm not surprised Orwell is bestselling. Entirely appropriate. It's not just trump, but electing TV actors without vetting them for skill or morality.

      I do think he enjoys hurting people, though I agree he is unable to empathize. Bear in mind that we've had him daily for over a year, and knew about him for decades before that. But he is deliberately cruel, whatever his motivation.

      There was that story about Ivana, but you could be right that it was all about him and he didn't perceive her as a person at all except as an unsatisfactory servant.
      http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/10/24/documenting-trumps-abuse-of-women
      "Hurt obtained a copy of her sworn divorce deposition, from 1990, in which she stated that, the previous year, her husband had raped her in a fit of rage. In Hurt’s account, Trump was furious that a “scalp reduction” operation he’d undergone to eliminate a bald spot had been unexpectedly painful. Ivana had recommended the plastic surgeon. In retaliation, Hurt wrote, Trump yanked out a handful of his wife’s hair, and then forced himself on her sexually. Afterward, according to the book, she spent the night locked in a bedroom, crying; in the morning, Trump asked her, “with menacing casualness, ‘Does it hurt?’ ” Trump has denied both the rape allegation and the suggestion that he had a scalp-reduction procedure. Hurt said that the incident, which is detailed in Ivana’s deposition, was confirmed by two of her friends."

      He is reported to have bullied other students in school as well.

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    5. Sou, it's an interesting distinction. If you think of history, some of the cruelest people were probably incapable of perceiving the effects of others' pain while magnifying their own (I'm thinking of some of the Roman emperors from I Claudius (the book).) Being careful about the truth is a kind of unilateral disarmament these days.

      I was thinking something similar about Trump's latest on reinstituting torture reporting with Trump's own words: "torture works" he says. Even though I knew he held that position it was shocking to hear it again. Many of his voters want people hurt. Surprisingly, there are many who don't, but are willing to tune out the awful.

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    6. Torture works? It works against cowards: people who will tell you everything they know if you just show them the instruments. That would be the minority of people, the people who would also find excuses not to serve their country if their turn came. That would be draft dodgers like Trump or Bush. So when Trump says torture works, he is admitting something about himself.

      But people smart enough to create international terror networks do not share important secrets with cowards like Trump. So you would not get important information from a Trump-like guy who was floating around somewhere on the fringes of a terrorist organisation.

      And, of course, what you will get is more people motivated to hate you and to fight you. More terrorists.

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    7. Trump is a psychopath in the sense of being unable to empathise. I think many "successful" people are. It's how they get on, riding rough-shod over people to get their own ends. No qualms entering. Me me me. What makes it dangerous in Trump's case is his vindictiveness, the need to bolster his ego by means of putting other people down.
      Just as a FI: See Selina Scott's account of here dealings with him...

      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JdCZEFueoy8

      Years later he still goes on about her to Ruby Wax ....
      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nsqEoKkTyc0

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    8. "What makes it dangerous in Trump's case is his vindictiveness, the need to bolster his ego by means of putting other people down."

      His vindictiveness is definitely a danger, but I also think his vanity is very worrying - he seems willing to believe anything and anyone that makes him look good, and reject anything that disagrees with his greatness.

      For example, his claims about the size of the crowds at his inauguration and the size of his electoral victory.

      I wouldn't be surprised to see him parading naked, claiming he's wearing the most beautiful suit ever.

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    9. From: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/donald-trump-pressured-national-park-service-inauguration-crowd-claims-a7548676.html

      "For Trump, who sees himself and his achievements in superlative terms, the inauguration’s crowd size has been a source of grievance that he appears unable to put behind him."

      Yep.
      Still the same issue as with Selina Scott.
      But these are just those we know of, and in the grand scheme of things unimportant, save for what I says of the Prez and what that character flaw may cause in the future.

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  4. Trump has picked out minorities to be the targets of hate. Odd to see people pretending to be Libertarians being OK with that. It must be liberty is only for selected people.

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    1. Not just minorities - he has a war on women going as well. And anyone who happens to fall ill.

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    2. Trump has picked out minorities.
      Go get the book 1984 written by George Orwell.
      That is exactly as is pointed out in that old book.
      In fact look at how we are in the age of big brother the dear leader.
      Your every movement being looked at mate this is exactly what was said in the book now we are living in this land of newspeak fake news.
      Just look at the first 3 days of the new administration.
      Fake fake ....... Sorry My hands are up I do not accept a person telling me fake facts end of story.

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    3. Some libertarians may actually believe their ideology will make a better world, but the direct effect of their policies would benefit those who are now in power and hurt minorities. Some will find that attractive.

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  5. I read Altemeyer's book when he first stuck it up there on the web. I've been a skeptic for a good while now, and it's an excellent resource. Only takes a day to read. Also, this article is pertinent to our current struggle:

    http://www.vox.com/2016/3/1/11127424/trump-authoritarianism

    Authoritarianism is there to stay in the U.S. - for a good while at least. How will America deal with it going forward is the question.

    And... as Susan said, I can also recommend Dark Money. It's a very well researched account of not only the Koch Brothers, but of the rise of the many RW think tanks, Donor's Trust, et. al.

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  6. "I wouldn't be surprised to see him parading naked, claiming he's wearing the most beautiful suit ever."

    Yes indeed, the "Emperor's naked" tale.
    Another test would be how many of his acolytes would be prepared to give that degree of "buying-in" to his world if they thought it required by him?
    Would any actually shout out "The King is in the all together, he's all together as naked as the day that he was born"
    Or in more common terms, extreme "brown-nosing".
    Vis the spokesman guy and his "alternative facts" (in non-rabbit-hole terms - lies/delusions) .... which can only be important to the puffed up Prezzy.
    As someone said - if alternative facts are required to big up the Prez for trivial reasons such as that then what "alternative facts" will be uttered when it actually matters? When reporting on conversations with Putin for example.

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  7. Interestingly BBC's flagship Today programme had an interview with Glenn Beck this morning, the thrust of the interview was Glenn Beck admitting that the discourse from the right has become too shouty and create an unhealthy atmosphere

    not total unequivocal contrition, but it made a change

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    1. Beck, oddly, has courted scorn by breaking with Trump. He did that before the election.

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    2. I suspect he's just jealous. He used to be the shoutiest, the craziest. Now trump took his market!

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    3. I think it is probably a little more complicated

      I think they "play to the gallery" quite a lot

      a friend of mine is a sports journalist - and gets invited onto sport radio shows to discuss "sport", it is quite clear to him that the more "controversial" he is, the more calls he generates and the more likely he is to be invited back.

      I don't want to over defend them, but am always surprised when they are on MSM they seem less bat sh1t crazy

      Even Delingpole, when on another flagship BBC TV programme, was nowhere near his hysterical brietbart self


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    4. Charlie Sykes is another right wing talk show host who has come to the conclusion that his efforts to "provide a balance" to the MSM have created a situation where his listeners don't believe anyone is telling the truth. Except Trump, of course, but why they trust him is still inexplicable to me.
      http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/conservative-radio-host-admits-right-wing-media-created-monster-doesnt-believe-facts

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  8. Trump is a narcissist and knows how to communicate to the public to make himself popular (until he can't deliver). A narcissist can become very dangerous if others harm their self-image, which is likely to happen repeatedly to the US president. The media are never going to be Trump's friend because of this.

    Lets hope no major countries piss Trump off. I think Russia is playing of Trump's narcissistic tendencies. If they decide to play nasty they will know exactly the right buttons to push and how to direct his anger. I can imagine Russia leaking information derogatory to Trump, but making it look like another country.

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    1. Wikileaks cheerfully does their bidding, so it's not like they'd have a problem distributing their kompromat. This is a very real issue: if they decide they've got all they can hope to gain from a Trump/Bannon regime, or the GOP security establishment decides, no, the're not going to play the cheer squad while NATO collapses and/or Putin runs riot in the Ukraine the US is one 'pee party' tape or 'Trump gives Putin a free hand in Eastern Europe' recorded phone call away from total chaos.

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  9. What is going on in the US at the moment is astonishing. All that student-of-authoritarianism Sarah Kendzior had prophesied - to much ridicule at the time from the 'maybe take him seriously but not literally' brigade - is coming true. This is not normal, and, if we're not careful (and are not prepared to fight) may never be normal again...

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  10. Mighty and Bill.
    I look at what is unfolding as you do and it is not exactly good.
    A person in power who has an attitude that He is the most important person in the room/world.
    I am frankly not confident that this jump into electing a person of zero knowledge about the world is going to end well.
    I just hope the said person does not do something that will cause the rest of the world harm before he is impeached because of his mental stability.

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    1. The Republican Party has veered into a fantasy world constructed of "alternative facts". Having done that, it seems likely it will inflict even worse creatures on us all in the future.

      But look at how the "opposition" is handling this. We are, it seems, more appalled at the travel ban than we are on Trump's destroying the futures of billions of people.

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    2. Gish Gallop as policy. No-one can possibly keep up with every(bad)thing that's going on - even the vast MSM simply doesn't have the bandwidth.

      Also, a lot of Americans take the whole 'freedom of religion' thing very, very seriously, and good on them. The kids and vets in the airports are the only positive image of the US there is right now, and the only thing that keeps hope burning in the international community that, as far as the US is concerned, there even is an international community!

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  11. Turns out along with all his other liabilities, our latest recruit to Trumpworld, Gorsuch (Supreme Court), is an opponent of voting rights. People not familiar with how big and regionalized our country is perhaps cannot conceive that the studied takeover of local authorities, well within the range of the Koch billionaire network and others, has made it impossible to prevent voter suppression (say 1-3 percent, maybe even more) and outright theft. The public scandal in 2000, when the Florida governor (GWBush brother Jeb) and secretary of state (deeply partisan) and others colluded to override the glaringly obvious theft of thousands of votes. That doesn't even include the millions of Black people who were not even allowed to make their case due to arcane rules of representation (Gore, one possibility, was obviously not able to speak for them in the Senate). Since just after the Civil War jail has also been used to prevent Black people from voting, hence excessive incarceration beginning in schools. It's systemic, broad-based, and growing. The "fraud" accusations are meant to bolster these efforts.

    This means that Republicans have a stranglehold on large parts of the US, and in those parts also Fox/Breitbart are sole source "news".

    ReplyDelete

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