Like the song "Lawyers In Love" we have a land with too many in high places willing to do anything for money neglecting people, honor and principle but a change is coming. No more falling for the lie of living only individualistic and independent leaving us divided and conquerable by powerful special interests but a people, a nation collaborating for the greater common good in various groups all across the nation. A land of people working together to help one another with a vision moreover as Jesus would have us be. Love, Mercy, Forgiveness, Kindness....something about another Land. The change is coming

Monday, February 12, 2018

Fascist Idiocracy And The Angry, White Male Syndrome

WARNING! Questionable content! but it's too late isn't it? That's the real world, not the fake news, the real world and attitude and hate of so many Trump supporters, the one way too many evangelicals and fundamentalists support in the religious mystery of the century.

A prototypical angry, ignorant, bigoted, hateful, white male voter who helped Donald Trump become president or a non-white was asking for directions to the front. This guy might be a reasonably friendly person to be around but boy the true colors come out at the in-group rallies.


Anger. Depression. Rage. Despair. Nausea. Befuddlement. Consternation. Uncertainty. Anxiety. Fear. These are just a few of the confusing barrage of emotions that have haunted myself and millions of other Americans just a few sleepless nights removed from another debacle of an American presidential election that might plausibly be regarded as a silent coup. It feels like a death in the family. It is soul-crushing and dispiriting. The nightmarish, fascist Idiocracy we have now placed ourselves in by our own stupidity portends very dark days ahead. Historical events like the “election” of asshole Trump almost never happen in a vacuum and almost never happen overnight in some sweeping watershed moment. They are years in the making. They are the product of approximately forty years of simplistic, racist, pernicious, anti-government hostility emanating from the worst adherents of right-wing zealotry. I certainly recognize we should not be flippant about using the term fascist unless it is truly warranted. But one does not have to be overseeing gas chambers or death camps to be considered a fascist. And plenty of other thinkers, including ones I respect like Kathleen Frydl, have used the term in this context. I think it is safe to say that even if we are a democratic republic on paper, fascist-leaning citizens have elected—through the electoral college and not the popular vote—a leader with fascistic tendencies who has no regard for constitutional norms likes checks and balances. The oldest written constitution still in operation may cease to have much meaning when the authoritarian ghouls about to take over in Washington have had their say. 
I wrote about the historical origins of Trumpism in a June article that appeared in History News Network. Like so many at the time, I did not predict a Trump presidency. The numbers, I thought, just didn't add up. My thoughts here in the immediate aftermath of Trump's stunning upset may perhaps be less measured and more emotional, but justified based on the gravity of the situation. Remember, a partisan explanation is not necessarily a wrong one. No doubt the abolitionists of the 1830s were partisan, even if many of them avoided formal party politics (heck, they were even labeled as fanatics and much worse); no doubt the Radical Republicans who succeeded them were partisan. But would anyone deny that they were right? Sometimes—nay, oftentimes—it is more important to exhibit moral clarity than it is to just present “both sides.”

There are plenty of people and institutions to blame for this calamity but the best place to start is with poorly-educated, angry, white men. They have been manipulated into a frenzy, transformed into apoplectic bouts of hysteria over the slightest perceived reductions in their power and privilege. In an ahistorical pathology of nostalgia, they long for a past that never truly existed and a past that almost always contained significant government influence in the economy; a government influence that helped build the middle class that they yearn to resurrect. Unfortunately they can still tip elections in this country by their sheer numbers. If the rise of Trump has demonstrated anything, it is that the white working-class who are the base of his support only think about themselves and entrenching their own power. Whites without a college degree,especially in the South and midwestern Rustbelt, drove Trump to victory. The men and women who make up this group are still the largest voting bloc in the United States. Adding up whites who have not gone to college with whites who have completed some college but do not have a degree, the total is approximately 100 million voting-age persons. They dominate in key areas that Trump won, including Missouri, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. I say to them, "Congratulations," you’ve "taken your country back" where you think it belongs. Now let’s count how many people suffer because of your white male entitlement. There are already many reports of swastikas being spray-painted on walls, white men telling Mexican Americans to "go back to Mexico" and Muslim Americans having their religious garb angrily ripped from their heads. This is the America of Donald Trump. Congratulations because you’ve proved that racism, misogyny, and tribalistic exclusion can win elections (just barely). As an American and as a white male, I offer my sincere apologies to sane Americans and the rest of the world. We just made a shameful choice that completely abdicates and undermines our ability to be world leaders.

What will come of the Trump presidency? There is no doubt that the poorest, most vulnerable in society--those for whom government is supposed to work in a rational society--will experience significant hardship, whether it is because of a rollback of civil rights, overturning environmental regulations so that industry can pollute with impunity (something not coincidentally that disproportionately harms the poor), or the reductions in social insurance benefits. Notice that I deliberately don’t use the word entitlement to describe programs like unemployment insurance, social security, Medicare, and Medicaid. That is because I do not wish to give the erroneous impression that we are undeserving of them. We do pay into them after all. If you think that eliminating or rolling back these categories provides more freedom to the majority of Americans, and not less, then you have been conned into believing that the economic interests of billionaires somehow constitutes the public interest. You need to study harder. And shame on you for being such a selfish prick. Beyond the mounting human suffering, which cannot be measured, the national debt, because of the irresponsible tax cuts that will be rammed through as part of Trump's fiscal policy, will almost certainly explode. And without batting an eye, the very same people who carelessly exacerbated the debt will, just like the Bush-ites in the 2000s, call for further reductions in an already weakened social safety net. How selfish and greedy so many Americans have become!

Make no mistake: a lot of people will suffer immense pain. Some of them may even be my own students. People don’t often discuss openly whether or not they are undocumented immigrants. It's really none of my business. But I suspect that at least of few of my students have close family and friends who are undocumented, assuming some of them are not undocumented themselves. A Trump presidency could very well bring us back to the dark days of the 1930s when Mexican repatriation deprived tens of thousands of American citizens of the right to due process. Same with the so-called “Operation Wetback” under Eisenhower. Ah, but hate-monger Ann Coulter says we won't have a country without mass deportations, so this must be a legitimate perspective, right? I am lucky in this sense because my ancestors came to the US in the late-19th century. But just as no one has control over the color of their skin, I had no control over when my ancestors came to populate a nation of immigrants. And I thought America was about providing opportunity for everyone. Isn't that what conservatives have always been telling us?

For any number of perfectly valid reasons, I will never refer to Trump as president. Ever. Trump's ascent to the presidency has been enabled at least partially by a radical Supreme Court with a pre-New Deal mindset that is determined at all costs to uphold the property rights of business owners at the expense of everyone else. The Republican Party has spent the last handful of years enacting voter ID laws because they don't want blacks, Hispanics and young people voting and because they have given up on persuasion and would rather design tricks to tip close elections. Well it worked this time. If you want me to call asshole Trump "president," and I do not believe he deserves the dignity of that title, then release his tax returns. He broke a forty-year precedent there. Then show me all the raw footage of The Apprentice. Give an unbiased and fair trial of Trump university. Show me his college transcripts. Show me his birth certificate and then all the depositions from his divorces. So no, I don't respect the outcome. They won a narrow election by bringing American Nazis out of the woodwork to vote in large numbers. Trump supporters would not have accepted a Clinton presidency, so I won't respect his.

Now what about all of this mumbo jumbo from those saying, oh, we must come together, and oh, we must listen to each other? My response is this: it is your side, and not mine, that is primarily responsible for the toxic polarization that plagues this country. It is your side, not mine, that decided from day one, that you would do everything within your power to use the power of obstruction, dysfunction, and hostage-taking to gum up the works and prevent the Obama administration from securing any political victories after the racist Tea Bagger revolution of 2010. It is your side, and not mine, that has assembled a remarkably un-diverse coalition of white asshole businessmen and white supremacists (e.g. Steve Bannon) to lead the new administration. It is your side, and not mine, that decided that your party was more important your country. It is your side, not mine, that wants to turn every public good—the press, our schools, our prisons, our hospitals—into a business. It is your side, not mine, that overlooked and normalized all of Trump's ignorance and hatred. You gave excuses for those who called the Obamas monkeys, something imperialists and slave owners historically did to justify oppression. You stayed silent when the literal scum of the Earth questioned the birth certificate, religion, and citizenship of the first African American president because you were craven politicians who wanted their votes.

It is disappointing to say the least that in spite of the heroic, courageous protests currently dotting a lot of our major cities that so many on the left have just given up. Bill Maher and Stephen Colbert, whom I normally respect, have told us to come together. The problem is that this never goes both ways. I don’t remember a kumbaya moment in 2009 when Barack Obama was taking office. I remember hearing about Mitch McConnell having a secret meeting with Republicans in which they vowed with all of their might to obstruct everything Obama did to try to make him a one-term president. So much for patriotism and putting country first, right? If they had any common sense, Chuck Schumer and his allies should do the exact same thing. We know they won’t because Democrats are the adults who are too afraid to break the rules of civility and Republicans are the whiny, spoiled children who throw temper tantrums. This election tells us many things, but Mitch McConnell must be jumping for joy. Why? Because he took a bold risk in denying a vote on Antonin Scalia's replacement in the slim chances that Trump would win. Scalia died in February and Garland's nomination has lasted longer than any other in the entire nation's history. That's right, a history of almost 230 years. Well great, Mitch, you got your way. You effectively stole a Supreme Court nominee, and thereby a majority, from Obama when it was his decision to replace Scalia. Because you decided not to play by the rules, you'll get another asshole Scalia on the Court to give us another Bush presidency, another Citizens' United, another Hobby Lobby, and another gutting of the Voting Rights Act.
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Trumpist Troglodytes listen intently as if this sorry case of a human being actually has something important to say. Against much evidence they're convinced that blacks, Mexican-Americans, and gays--and not CEOs--are the source of their problems.
It is the job of the historian to remind us of patterns we would otherwise forget, particularly in this fast-paced digital world of short attention spans. 
Let us take a moment to remind ourselves of who Trump supporters are….They are disproportionately whites without a college degree. Trump has drawn support from parts of the country that voted for segregationists and who still want to wave the Confederate flag, in spite of its long association with terrorism, slavery, Jim Crow, and most recently, its association with Dylan Roof, the Charleston shooter.

Most troublingly, a good many of Trump supporters are people who can’t recognize their own intellectual deficiencies. This is called the Dunning-Kruger effect. In a nutshell, people who lack expertise and knowledge in certain areas, including logical reasoning, grammar, emotional intelligence, financial literacy, and yes, political judgment, often fail to recognize how much they lack these skills. What comes with more knowledge, in other words, is the realization that there tons of categories in which we truly lack expertise.Incompetent people do not recognize how incompetent they are. Here is a link to some of the academic research that informs this analysis.

In August, 50 Republican National Security officials who worked from the Nixon to George W. Bush presidencies wrote an open letter opposing Donald Trump. Among the reasons they stated were that he was unqualified, dangerous, lacked character, knowledge, displayed ignorance, and complimented the nation’s adversaries.

Trump lies pretty much more than any other politician around. He has been fact-checkedrepeatedly and the results are just baffling. He lied about countless things, including his supposed opposition to the Iraq War. He is full of falsehoods and errors. Oh, but I forgot, according to Trump supporters, getting your facts straight is “elitist.”

Here is Keith Olbermann’s list 176 reasons for why Trump should never be president.
Here is a VERY long list of everyone Trump has insulted.

Many Trump supporters think the South should have won the Civil War.

He was endorsed and supported by David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan. He unleashed toxic forces of white nationalism and neo-Nazism. Remember, the KKK is a domestic terroristorganization that played a major role in the country’s dark history of lynching, which contributed to over 4,000 deaths from 1877 to 1950. This is about the same as the American fatalities from the Iraq War and more than the number that died on 9/11. For some other important historical context, see the report compiled by the Equal Justice Initiative and a map of lynching during WWII.

Bret Stephens, an op-ed columnist from the Wall Street Journal, not exactly a bastion of leftist politics, wrote in June how Trump was spreading a lot of damaging and misleading information about Mexico.

On his deathbed, ex-senator Bob Bennett of Utah, a Republican, apologized to the nation’s Muslims for Trump’s hateful rhetoric.

The entire op-ed team of the Washington Post labeled Trump unfit for the presidency. 
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An angry Trump supporter spewing hateful invective and obscenities at the media, conveniently ignoring that Trump's rise was largely a media creation.
My Message to all Trump Supporters: You tell us that you are angry because you no longer have your job in manufacturing or construction and that NAFTA is to blame. I cannot discount this perspective completely as there is some truth in it. But the degree and magnitude of your hatred in no way comports with the facts. These are things we can measure and somehow you skipped class, fell asleep, or weren't listening to the professor when they told you that your beliefs should have at least some basis in reality and facts. The unemployment rate is at 4.6%. Even if we account for the relatively low labor force participation rate, this is still a fairly healthy unemployment rate. We may, in fact, be closer to full employment than we initially expected. Almost every month since 2010 has witnessed job gains on the order of 100,000-200,000 jobs per month and wages have recently gone up. So no, I'm tired of hearing all this rhetoric about NAFTA and "economic anxiety" and "coastal elitism" that completely absolves Trump Troglodytes of any culpability for the lies and hatred they spew. Then you tell us you are angry that drug addiction now plagues your community and that life expectancy for white men has fallen. I get that and I feel your pain. The question is, who is responsible for this? I would submit to you that you are mad at the wrong people and have let them distract you. It was the CEOs of the world—people in the same social class as Mitt Romney and Donald Trump—who broke unions, stopped paying pensions, shipped your jobs overseas, and destroyed your communities. It was absolutely NOT the professors and environmentalists whom you despise. And besides, I thought you were always trumpeting self-improvement and pulling yourself up by your bootstraps? I thought conservatives were the party of “personal responsibility” and yet now they are the first to scream about how larger, impersonal, and international forces have left them behind, regardless of hard work. So how does looking at yourselves as victims and seeing Trump as the savior fit that narrative of self-improvement? Isn’t that part of the American exceptionalism narrative you’re always telling us about? As Trump voters, you've displayed with remarkable clarity that you have absolutely zero ability to think about anyone else’s problems but your own. You are clueless that perhaps more people out there than white men without college degrees might be suffering. You've exhibited a Neanderthal, ape-like attitude in voting based on your basest instincts.

My message to the GOP: You guys are a bunch of cowards, frauds, and charlatans. I will never have any respect for your ideas… ever…until you actually come up with some new ones that are evidence-based and show the potential of addressing the problems that plague our society in any serious and sophisticated manner. You rile up the base, throw them red meat, squeak out a narrow victory without winning the popular vote, and then act as if nothing strange happened. You steamroll the rest of us because you think you are the rightful heirs to power. You assume from day one that you’re the good guys and so anything you do to maintain power, whether it is blackmail James Comey into issuing a pointless letter to Congress, obsessing about Benghazi while ignoring the Iraq War, supporting an undemocratic electoral college—it does not matter so long as white, asshole businessmen maintain power. My big question to you is: what would it take? If Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, or Napoleon came back to life but promised tax cuts and deregulation, would you still vote for them? What would it take for you to put your country above party and vote for a Democrat? You claim to love your country—that’s the mindless bumper sticker you’ve been shoving down our throats for an entire lifetime—but all you really care about is power. Hmmmm…power over principle; ends justifies the means…what other twentieth-century political movement does that remind you of? I just can’t put my finger on it…wait for it…(head banging on table). Twice in the past sixteen years you’ve stolen the presidency with less popular votes because of this outdated, archaic electoral college first designed by southern delegates to the Constitutional Convention who were suspicious of popular rule, or what they called a “mobocracy.” That’s right, James Madison and Pierce Butler, both of them working to protect the interests of southern slaveholders, gave us the electoral college. It wasn't bad enough that Gore won five hundred thousand more votes than Bush? The votes are still being tallied but Clinton's lead could be as much as FIVE TIMES as much as Gore's. None of this will matter. A twenty-first century society is still, remarkably, bound by the assumptions of late-eighteenth century propertied white men. If you want to read a great piece on the proslavery origins of the electoral college, read Paul Finkelman’s 2002 piece. Robin Einhorn has made similar arguments in noting southern delegates’ suspicions of democratic majorities that might tax their slave property, thus, creating the push for the restraints on popular rule and direct democracy that came with the new U.S. Constitution. Finkelman notes that the three-fifths clause, which inflated white southerners’ power in the House of Representatives, was connected with the electoral college. This makes sense because the electoral college is based on the House and Senate. Wyoming gets 3 electoral votes despite the fact that practically no one lives there because it has a minimum of 1 representative and 2 senators. Therefore, a concession to slaveholders in 1787, when there were only three banks in the country, has given us the Bush and Trump presidencies. Bush and Iraq were disasters. Gore would not have invaded Iraq. Will Trump make a similar blunder? It’s hard to think otherwise. But given how firmly entrenched partisan loyalty is, with tribalism clearly subverting critical thinking, it will be hard to imagine how Republicans, despite any and all of the blunders they commit, will suffer any electoral consequences.
         
Trump Troglodytes are always whining and complaining that coastal “elites” are looking down upon them. In other words, that the “elite” don’t take them seriously. But here’s the problem: you’ve decided to enter politics in a fundamentally unserious manner. Trump and his voters have unserious ideas propagated by unserious media outlets like Breitbart and Dana Loesch; they've concocted unserious notions of how the world works and manufactured out of whole cloth unserious controversies and unserious scandals; and yet you want me to take you seriously? You can't demand that I respect your opinion if it is rooted in hate and ignorance. Voting is a tremendous responsibility. You’ve wasted this responsibility by voting for a monster. So no, I don’t and won’t take you seriously insofar as your ideas have merit. I will take you seriously insofar as your unserious ideas may bring irreparable harm to millions of people in this nation and world. Sad to say, I inhabit a country filled with a bunch of loud-mouth racists and misogynists, frat boys who shout the n-word at an African American driver in Memphis. Last Tuesday was their moment of wrath and vengeance, taking it out on those “elites” they despise. But you know what? The so-called “elites” will not respect you anymore. They will hate you because you have no sense of your own country’s history; you have no sense of what true patriotism means; you thought it’d be a funny game to elect some clown of a reality tv star. And you know what? He will do absolutely nothing for you. You have shown nothing but empty, hallow rhetoric for all of you who said you were troubled by Trump’s rhetoric and yet still planned to vote for him. This is an outlandish lack of integrity. You are Troglodytes; you live in a fact-free universe; you deny that racism exists; that global warming is a reality; that the last two Democratic presidents have presided over economies in which tens of millions of jobs have been created. There was no shortage of articles written by myself and others that Trump would be disastrous. But therein lies the problem. Trump supporters don’t read. Or at least, they don’t read anything worthwhile, outside of the Wall Street Journal editorial page or Alt-Right websites. They have comforted themselves with an easy cop-out—to dismiss nearly all expertise as “elite” as if learning itself is somehow suspect. The problem with you overusing the word “elite” is that you’re not actually engaging evidence here; you’re just slapping a label on something because that’s what Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh—both immense hypocrites in their own right—told you to do. You haven’t put any thought and effort into this. Tell me this…is a professor who lives on food stamps considered elite merely because they took out tens of thousands of dollars of student loan debt to obtain a doctorate?

The white, evangelical Protestants who supported a fascist have revealed themselves for what they’ve always been: a bunch of shameless hypocrites who will support anyone so long as it has an “R” next to their name. They used to ostensibly care about "family values." Then we saw how Newt Gingrich, Larry Craig, Mark Sanford, Mark Foley, and Dennis Hastert all voted for the impeachment of Bill Clinton. And guess what? They all had MAJOR sexual scandals of their own!! Read the article entitled “Evangelicals Without Standards,” written by National Review editor Rich Lowry, with whom I am almost never in agreement.

For those of you who stayed home and think “both sides are bad.” Shame on you. Yeah. Just shame on you. Shame on you for believing such simplistic non-sense and your failure to recognize proportionality; that Benghazi and emails (and I’ve still yet to figure out precisely what those scandals were or are) are even remotely close to the hatred, ignorance, fraud, and racism propagated by the fascist about to occupy the White House. If you think that both sides are equally bad, you need to study harder. Take a communications class and learn about false equivalency. To Gary Johnson voters: are you happy now? Do you see what you’ve done?

For those of you who object to the ideas contained in this post:
1) Open your mind and see if you can learn something.
2) Realize that I’m trained as a political historian. It doesn’t mean I’m right in every circumstance, but it does mean that I’ve probably spent a good deal of my life thinking about these issues and probably have more expertise than the average Joe on the street. Expertise has got to count for something. We wouldn’t have been able to achieve all that we have thus far on Earth without experts.
3) Settle down. Trump will run roughshod over the Constitution but there’s still a First Amendment, at least I think.
4). This is a blog, not a lecture. Blogs by their very nature express a personal stance. This material is not in any way, shape, or form part of my class content. I won’t test students on it.
5) There’s a difference between an opinion and an informed perspective. If I had an opinion that vanilla is better than chocolate, this would be relatively mundane and I wouldn’t expect that my opinion about ice cream flavors is superior in any way to your opinion about what shirt to wear to class. But what I am expressing here is an informed opinion, backed by links, articles, research, empirical evidence, etc.
6) Whether they will admit it to you or not, or whether they speak about it publicly or not,most historians agree with me. In fact, it's probably not even close. If you respect what historians do, then you should have listened to us when we warned you about Trump.

For those of you in the center and on the left: You didn’t turn out when we needed you. Bernie-or-Bust folks, leftists, socialists, and even anarchists, we could have used you.

For those in the mainstream media: 
I blame you in large part for Clinton's loss. You freaked out over Comey letter, which essentially said nothing. You deliberately made this campaign about personality. It was a fact-free and substance-free campaign. One need not look far for the stranglehold that oil companies have on media and politics to see that zero questions were asked of the presidential candidates on climate change when as far back as 1988, there were questions asked of Dukakis and Bush and scientists have been warning about this issue since the 1950s. It is the job of media to define the boundaries of what is acceptable and what is unacceptable in public discourse. They should have stopped Trump in his tracks the moment he said that Mexicans were rapists, but media executives salivated at the opportunity for a public ratings bonanza. They put a black Democrat alongside a black Republican on television numerous times, giving the viewer the misleading assumption that it was a 50-50 debate where each side deserved consideration. They didn’t. 90% of African Americans vote Democratic so if cable new really wanted to portray an accurate representation of reality, they would put 9 African American Democrats alongside the 1 brainwashed, incoherent stooge like Omarosa or Katrina Pierson. Cable news outlets like Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC bear a lot of the blame. They devoted a ton of time to the white working-class, ignoring that the working-class is represented by much more than just white people. Jeff Zucker said this was good for ratings. So did the CEO of CBS. It is an enduring feature of modern capitalism that the short-term profits of shareholders take precedence over the public good. Cable news and talk radio are fundamentally bad for America. They are poisonous for an informed citizenry. If you want to be informed, do it the old-fashioned way: read a book or newspaper. Or listen to Democracy Now! As much as I like Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes, Lawrence O’Donnell, and Joy Reid, I will never watch cable news again. To Phil Griffin: you fired some of the best minds, including Alex Wagner, Cenk Uygur, and Melissa Harris-Perry, because you thought it was more within your economic self-interest to be “objective” than it was to provide hard-hitting, cutting analysis. 
Because there are so many others who have been able to capture the ridiculous Trump phenomenon, I will attach some of their words. 

This is from Drew McGary: While Trump is a miserable bastard, YOU are the people who have handed him the bullhorn. YOU are the people willing to embarrass this nation and put it on the brink of economic ruin all because you wanna throw an electoral hissy fit.YOU are the people who want to revolutionize the way America does business by voting for its worst businessman, a disgusting neon pig who only makes money when he causes problems for other people instead of solving them. YOU are the thin-skinned yokels who clutch your bandoliers whenever someone hurls the mildest of slurs at you (“deplorables”), while cheering Trump on as he leaves a bonfire of truly hateful invective everywhere he goes. YOU are the people willing to overlook the fact that Trump is an unqualified, ignorant sociopath because DURRRR HILLARY IS BAD TOO DURRRR.

Here is a nicely written article by David Fagin entitled “An Open Letter to My Friends Who Voted for Trump.” Here is another good one, written by David Remnick, that will surely be dismissed by Trumpites as “elite” merely because Remnick knows how to construct a sentence.

And this is from Sean Illing at Salon.com, written Feb 24, 2016:
Trump’s wager was simple: Pretend to be stupid and angry because that’s what stupid and angry people like. He’s held up a mirror to the country, shown us how blind and apish we are. He knew how undiscerning the populace would be, how little they cared about details and facts. In Nevadafor instance, 70 percent of Trump voters said they preferred an “anti-establishment” candidate to one with any “experience in politics.” Essentially, that means they don’t care if he understands how government works or if he has the requisite skills to do the job. It’s a protest vote, born of rage, not deliberation.

In no other domain of life would this make any sense at all. If your attorney drops the ball, you don’t hire a plumber to replace him. And yet millions of Trumpites say they don’t care if Trump has ever worked at any level of government or if he knows anything about foreign policy or the law or the Constitution. It’s enough that he greets them at their level, panders to their lowest instincts.

He even brazenly condescends to his supporters, as the opening quote illustrates, and they fail to notice it. Trump, a billionaire trust fund baby who inherited $40 million from his father, has convinced hordes of working-class white people that he’s just like them, that he feels their pain and knows their struggle. He’s made marks of them all.
- Dr. Stephen W. Campbell

My Take: The pic at the top is the original, i selected the second one to replace it but decided the real world(not fake news) should show through here....at least for a few days. Oh yea, this article smokes.

Why Republicans Hate Obamacare So Much



When President Barack Obama was first sworn into office in January 2009, he immediately began the process for passing his key policy issue - reforming the country’s expensive and haphazard health insurance industry. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which would eventually be known as the Affordable Care Act, the ACA, or simply “Obamacare,” was then introduced in the fall of 2009. By November, it passed with a mere five-vote majority in the House, and the following month, it passed the Senate 60 to 39 .
In both chambers, not one single Republican voted in favor of the bill.

It didn’t have to be that way. Health-care reform was an issue both parties were in favor of and previous efforts had enjoyed bipartisan support. The most hopeful-looking option was the “Healthy Americans Act,” a reform bill introduced by Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, and Sen. Robert Bennett, a Republican from Utah. The 2007 bill had multiple co-sponsors on both sides of the aisle but never managed to make it out of committee.


Still, when it came to the Affordable Care Act, Republican politicians were lockstep in their refusal to so much as consider any sort of common ground - even though many aspects of the plan were quite similar to a 2006 Massachusetts law developed and signed by Republican Gov. Mitt Romney. Their opposition was immediate, total, and relentless, to the point where many find themselves wondering just what do they hate so much about Obamacare?

Based solely on official conservative principles, there are actually a number of issues that the GOP legitimately would have with the ACA. Just like Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare, they view Obamacare as an entitlement program they would be more than happy to discontinue, believing that the government should never be involved in assuring minimum standards of living are met. “[S]ome conservatives oppose it for the same reason that liberals favor it. Through the Medicaid expansion and the exchanges, it subsidizes insurance coverage for people of modest means by raising taxes on people of less-modest means,” explains Reilhan Salam at Slate, adding, “Conservatives tend not to be enthusiastic about redistribution, and they’re particularly skeptical about redistribution that isn’t transparent.”

The industry regulations that are a part of the Affordable Care Act are also another stumbling block for fiscal conservatives who believe that businesses should always be allowed to govern themselves and are justified in gaining as much profit as they can for shareholders. As part of health-care reform, insurance agencies were forced to spend 85 percent of all revenues on medical care rather than administration costs or bonuses or perks. They could also no longer cap how much they spend per patient in coverage due to medical conditions or other need for chronic care, either on an annual or lifetime basis. These restrictions on profitability are opposed by Republicans who think free market principles will keep businesses in check.

And of course there were issues with reproductive health care such as abortion and birth control. Anti-abortion groups claimed the Affordable Care Act to be “the largest expansion of abortion since Roe v. Wade” due to the inclusion of some insurance plans in the exchange that allowed coverage for elective abortions. They considered plans purchased on state and federal exchanges to be a means of forcing other taxpayers to “subsidize” elective abortion coverage, despite the fact that the government set up additional steps to ensure that federal funding to private insurance plans that cover abortions remain separate, and the president’s additional executive order reaffirming the Hyde Amendment’s federal ban on abortion funding. They also demanded exceptions for all companies - for-profit and nonprofit - who had religious objections to birth control. The birth control mandate declared contraception an essential service for women’s health and required all companies to offer plans that included hormonal birth control, emergency contraception, long-acting birth control methods, and female sterilization procedures.

Religious institutions were allowed a conscientious objection to the coverage, but social conservatives wanted the loophole extended to any business or organization whose owners disapproved of any birth control use for moral reasons – regardless of how many of their own employees or other insurees may have different opinions on the issue.

Yet while the GOP has strenuously opposed all of these individual aspects of the ACA, it was the individual mandate that appeared to irk them the most - and had the least reason to do so. Republicans, using language that originated with the conservative Heritage Institute, were advocating for a requirement that all people be required some form of health insurance as long ago as the late 1980s and it was championed by GOP Congress members during much of the early 1990s. It was even a key component in the Massachusetts health care law approved by Gov. Romney in 2006. But the individual mandate instead went from being something that Republicans were willing to support in order to bring down the costs of insurance to a policy they claim strips personal liberty and is even tantamount to slavery.

So what flipped the switch? Election Day, 2008. When Obama won his first presidential election, that also put both the House and Senate into Democratic control. The House Democrats outnumbered Republicans 257 to 178, and Democrats and their two independent allies outnumbered the Senate Republicans 59 to 41. According to the Brookings Institute’s Thomas Mann, GOP strategy experts decided that the best way to win back majorities would be to keep their entire conservative block united in rejecting any legislation that could potentially be viewed as a Democratic success if it passed. Congressional Republicans were urged to filibuster any bill that came before the Senate and harshly criticize any law that they couldn’t stop in an attempt to make what did pass as unpopular as possible. That decision doomed any chance for bipartisan health-care reform.

The GOP’s refusal to vote in favor of Obamacare’s passage and their aggressive opposition to every element of the bill - even those they had agreed with in the past - served to help them sweep into power in both Congress and a number of state legislatures when the 2010 midterms came around. And by taking over a number of state legislatures and governors’ mansions, Republicans could then block portions of the ACA from going into effect, further hampering the reforms. Red-state legislatures often refused to expand Medicaid so more people could receive subsidized insurance plans, leaving their residents with far more expensive out-of-pocket costs than blue-state counterparts.

They also often opted out of opening their own state exchanges, forcing the uninsured to enroll through the federal exchange instead, which limited their coverage options and put a greater burden on the federal site. By first refusing to support Obamacare and then purposefully trying to make it fail, Republicans believed any consumer dissatisfaction would rest completely on the shoulders of the Democrats, since they were the only ones to vote in favor of the law.

So do Republicans really despise the Affordable Care Act? Despite the fact that they have voted in some way, shape, or form to repeal some or all of the ACA more than 60 times in the six years since it was signed into law, the answer may surprisingly be no. Or at least, not as much of it as they claim. But they do hate the “Obamacare” that was passed solely with Democratic votes and signed by a Democratic president, and they will do anything to tear that down completely. And when they later replace it with a new plan that has a surprising number of policies similar to the law they just undid, well, then we will know the thing they hated most about Obamacare was always Obama.
-Robin Marty

My Take: It should not be hard to discern that it's an underlying racism that creates a common cord among right-wing Republicans and today in their fearful group think almost all of them have been pressed into going along. They had all their public reasons for so obstinately opposing President Obama at every turn but it all was so easy to fuel wasn't it? The whole Republican place went up in flames against Obama almost immediately like a flash fire.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Neuroscientist Explains What Is Wrong With Trump Supporter's Brains



The only thing that might be more perplexing than the psychology of Donald Trump is the psychology of his supporters. In their eyes, The Donald can do no wrong. Even Trump himself seems to be astonished by this phenomenon. “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, OK? It’s, like, incredible.”
Senator John McCain, who has been a regular target for Trump during his campaign, has a simple explanation for his unwavering support. “What he did was he fired up the crazies.”

While the former Republican presidential nominee may be on to something, he doesn’t exactly provide a very satisfying scientific explanation.  So how exactly are Trump loyalists psychologically or neurologically different from everyone else? What is going on in their brains that makes them so blindly devoted?
  1. The Dunning-Kruger Effect:
Some believe that many of those who support Donald Trump do so because of ignorance — basically they are under-informed or misinformed about the issues at hand. When Trump tells them that crime is skyrocketing in the United States, or that the economy is the worst it’s ever been, they simply take his word for it.

The seemingly obvious solution would be to try to reach those people through political ads, expert opinions, and logical arguments that educate with facts. Except none of those things seem to be swaying any Trump supporters from his side, despite great efforts to deliver this information to them directly.
The Dunning-Kruger effect explains that the problem isn’t just that they are misinformed; it’s that they are completely unaware that they are misinformed. This creates a double burden.

Studies have shown that people who lack expertise in some area of knowledge often have a cognitive bias that prevents them from realizing that they lack expertise. As psychologist David Dunning puts it in an op-ed for Politico, “The knowledge and intelligence that are required to be good at a task are often the same qualities needed to recognize that one is not good at that task — and if one lacks such knowledge and intelligence, one remains ignorant that one is not good at the task. This includes political judgment.” Essentially, they’re not smart enough to realize they’re dumb.

And if one is under the illusion that they have sufficient or even superior knowledge, then they have no reason to defer to anyone else’s judgment. This helps explain why even nonpartisan experts — like military generals and Independent former Mayor of New York/billionaire CEO Michael Bloomberg — as well as some respected Republican politicians, don’t seem to be able to say anything that can change the minds of loyal Trump followers.

Out of immense frustration, some of us may feel the urge to shake a Trump supporter and say, “Hey! Don’t you realize that he’s an idiot?!” No. They don’t. That may be hard to fathom, but that’s the nature of the Dunning-Kruger effect — one’s ignorance is completely invisible to them.
  1. Hypersensitivity to Threat
Science has unequivocally shown that the conservative brain has an exaggerated fear response when faced with stimuli that may be perceived as threatening. A classic study in the journal Science found that conservatives have a stronger physiological reaction to startling noises and graphic images compared to liberals. A brain-imaging study published in Current Biology revealed that those who lean right politically tend to have a larger amygdala — a structure that is electrically active during states of fear and anxiety. And a 2014 fMRI study found that it is possible to predict whether someone is a liberal or conservative simply by looking at their brain activity while they view threatening or disgusting images, such as mutilated bodies. Specifically, the brains of self-identified conservatives generated more activity overall in response to the disturbing images.

So how does this help explain the unbridled loyalty of Trump supporters? These brain responses are automatic, and not influenced by logic or reason. As long as Trump continues his fear mongering by constantly portraying Muslims and Mexican immigrants as imminent dangers, many conservative brains will involuntarily light up like light bulbs being controlled by a switch. Fear keeps his followers energized and focused on safety. And when you think you’ve found your protector, you become less concerned with remarks that would normally be seen as highly offensive.
  1. Terror Management Theory
A well-supported theory from social psychology, called Terror Management Theory, explains why Trump’s fear mongering is doubly effective.

Terror Management Theory predicts that when people are reminded of their own mortality, which happens with fear mongering, they will more strongly defend those who share their worldviews and national or ethnic identity, and act out more aggressively towards those who do not. Hundreds of studies have confirmed this hypothesis, and some have specifically shown that triggering thoughts of death tends to shift people towards the right.

Not only do death reminders increase nationalism, they influence actual voting habits in favor of more conservative presidential candidates. And more disturbingly, in a study with American students, scientists found that making mortality salient increased support for extreme military interventions by American forces that could kill thousands of civilians overseas. Interestingly, the effect was present only in conservatives, which can likely be attributed to their heightened fear response.

By constantly emphasizing existential threat, Trump creates a psychological condition that makes the brain respond positively rather than negatively to bigoted statements and divisive rhetoric. Liberals and Independents who have been puzzled over why Trump hasn’t lost supporters after such highly offensive comments need look no further than Terror Management Theory.
  1. High Attentional Engagement
According to a recent study that monitored brain activity while participants watched 40 minutes of political ads and debate clips from the presidential candidates, Donald Trump is unique in his ability to keep the brain engaged. While Hillary Clinton could only hold attention for so long, Trump kept both attention and emotional arousal high throughout the viewing session. This pattern of activity was seen even when Trump made remarks that individuals didn’t necessarily agree with. His showmanship and simple messages clearly resonate at a visceral level.

Essentially, the loyalty of Trump supporters may in part be explained by America’s addiction with entertainment and reality TV. To some, it doesn’t matter what Trump actually says because he’s so amusing to watch. With Donald, you are always left wondering what outrageous thing he is going to say or do next. He keeps us on the edge of our seat, and for that reason, some Trump supporters will forgive anything he says. They are happy as long as they are kept entertained.

Of course these explanations do not apply to all Trump supporters. In fact, some are likely intelligent people who know better, but are supporting Trump to be rebellious or to introduce chaos into the system. They may have such distaste for the establishment and Hillary Clinton that their vote for Trump is a symbolic middle finger directed at Washington.


So what can we do to potentially change the minds of Trump loyalists before voting day in November? As a cognitive neuroscientist, it grieves me to say that there may be nothing we can do. The overwhelming majority of these people may be beyond reach, at least in the short term. The best we can do is to motivate everyone else to get out to the booths and check the box that doesn’t belong to a narcissistic nationalist who has the potential to damage the nation beyond repair.
-Bobby Azarian

My take if I dare: Or they might be smart enough to know something is very seriously wrong with the system but are essentially being diverted from the truth of it by a highly influential ,charismatic but covert advocate of that failed system. In other words they are NOT smart enough to realize they are being deceived by an agent of the failed system in order so that the failed entrenched system and all the favor it gets will not really be changed.
Trump has done nothing but support laws and legislation favorable to Wall Street and the failing system and so is fulfilling in spades that purpose of the system's covert agent. Nothing at all is really changing except maybe Obamacare and it is this that so many of those Trump supporters will benefit from. They are fooled to accept what is not working for them and reject perhaps what is working for them. Not smart.
Create a pie full of the right rhetoric, bogus populist allusion, and other choice words and yes, the conservative right-wing mind gobbles it up. You're not taking that pie away, no way. Got it?

Another theory is they know exactly what they are doing, knew Trump was the only possible way to beat Hillary and keep Bernie Sanders populism from catching on. The failed entrenched system was scared to death Sanders populism would in fact catch on and so used Trump to diffuse Sanders. One thing we all know is some kind of populism is on the brink of revolution and we better pray it is not Trump's.

Some good news; reports from Europe indicate right-wing populism has run it's course at least there.

Source Of PSYOPS Operations IN Army Manual



Http://www.enlistment.us/field-manuals/fm-33-1-1-psychological-operations-techniques-and-procedures.shtml - (click on Chapter 4.) This is the site where you find the basis for using PSYCOPS(psychological operations to influence a targeted population. Many conspiracy theorists use this angle as in Black Ops and False Flag Operations but it is a fact our government uses these techniques and knows how to use them. Whether the government or deep state has taken the cue to use them on the U.S. population is the question. It would probably be naive to think they do not or have not. If in the most subtle but effective ways you can influence the population, you have authority over and think you need to control, it must be a great temptation to use it. The problem is when people in authority over this nation have financial/security issues to deal with they, I believe, will do almost anything it takes. Money talks and when it does there is not a laugh in the room, it is all dead serious. So very dead serious. Money straightens everyone up and wipes the smile off the face. What ever it takes.

Donald’s Bogus Journey: President Trump’s Behavior at NATO Summit Makes a Bad Trip Even Worse


If anyone had any lingering doubts about the head-spinning rapidity with which President Donald Trump’s administration has reoriented American foreign policy away from its 70 years of postwar leadership of NATO, the images and stories beamed out from the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels on Thursday should have laid them to rest.

Prior to Thursday’s meeting, NATO members had been rightfully nervous about Trump’s intentions towards the organization. The president has been bad-mouthing NATO ever since he first called it “obsolete” during the presidential campaign. Since Trump took office, he has sometimes praised the alliance in individual meetings with foreign leaders like Germany’s Angela Merkel. Other times, his praise of dictators and strongmen like Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines has made observers wonder if he even understands America’s role as a purveyor of democracy.

It would not have taken much for Trump to soothe the fears of NATO members about his intentions. He could have taken the opportunity of a speech on Thursday to reinforce America’s commitment to Article 5, the NATO charter’s article that cements the concept of “collective defense” in the alliance by calling an attack on one member an attack on all, and obligating the nations of NATO to come to each other’s defenses.

Instead, Trump behaved like the stereotypical ugly American abroad, literally pushing the leaders of other nations out of his way so cameras could have an unobstructed view of him, and railing about membership dues like a shakedown artist demanding protection money from neighborhood merchants.

In fact, money is at the heart of Trump’s apparent problems with the alliance, which should be no surprise for a man so cheap he probably still has the first dollar he ever made screwed into a wall somewhere. His critique of NATO seemed based on two complaints: That the alliance’s military posture was not oriented enough towards fighting terrorist organizations like ISIS, and that most of the member states were not spending their “fair share” of their GDP on building up their armed forces.

On that second complaint, Trump makes a somewhat salient point. In 2006, the alliance had agreed that each member nation should aim to spend 2 percent of GDP on its military, a target number to which countries reiterated their commitment at a NATO summit in 2014. As of 2016, only four other countries besides the United States have hit that target, while the remaining 23 have not.
The U.S., meanwhile, spends around 3.6 percent of GDP on its military, a number that has actually been declining for a few years. Still, it has long been by far the largest military contributor to NATO, which is why American presidents have pushed members to up their contributions for decades.
But presidents do not usually do so by publicly calling out allies to their faces like a building contractor yelling at the guy he hired to build his hotel’s bathrooms for giving him a bad deal on tile. Which is essentially what Trump did in his Thursday speech.
This is not the behavior of a diplomat. But it is the behavior of a man who does not understand the role of alliances, or the role that NATO has played in preserving the Western liberal-democratic order in which Trump and his outsized ego have flourished since the day he was born.
That Trump would not care about NATO’s solidarity and stability is unsurprising. For one thing, he fails to see international alliances as anything but transactional. While some see a benefit to a smaller nation remaining stable thanks to America’s protection, Trump sees a freeloader who owes him money.
For another, there is the influence of some of his advisers. In particular there is Steve Bannon, who built his empire at Breitbart by railing against the international order and smearing anyone who believed in it as a globalist who did not have America’s best interests at heart. Bannon has long pushed for a more nationalist America, at the expense of a fractured Europe. That this goal aligns with that of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who rejects the postwar consensus of alliance-building in favor of an old-fashioned, great-power “spheres of influence” model, provided plenty of motivation for Russian meddling in our last presidential election.
One can always make a case against NATO, and many have. Its intervention in Afghanistan after 9/11 – the only time Article 5 has ever been invoked – has long since drifted into a never-ending occupation. Post-intervention Libya is essentially a fractured state.
But no one should be happy with a president who seems determined to unwind a 70-year alliance that, on balance, has served as a bulwark against Russian expansionism. Europe’s pre-NATO history is one of widespread warfare and suffering, and nature abhors a vacuum. No wonder our European allies are so nervous.
- Gary Legum

Thursday, February 08, 2018

White Rightwing Politicians Still Manipulate Poor White Man To Resent Gains By Non-Whites




Excerpt from 2017, June 23 PBS interview(yesterday) with Rev. William Barber II.

CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: In recent weeks, Reverend William Barber stepped down from heading the NAACP in North Carolina to focus on what he calls a national moral revival, updating the Poor People’s Campaign started by the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. that linked the civil rights struggle for African-Americans to demands for equality for all poor people.

REV. WILLIAM BARBER II, Repairers of The Breach: There was this thing, if you will, called the white Southern strategy.

And the goal of it was undermine black and white fusion coalitions. What we’re going to do is, we’re going to figure out a way to talk that makes poor whites think that they’re losing because black people and brown people are gaining.

And what you do in that is, you make poor whites, who should be allies with poor blacks, think that their problem, their poverty is being caused because black and brown people are acquiring something or taking something from them.

CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: So, what led you to try and bridge that gap, and what made you want to do that?

REV. WILLIAM BARBER II: Dr. King said — back in the ’60s, he said, the only transformative force that could really, fully transform America would be for poor whites and blacks and brown people and working people to come together.


Excerpt from Only A Pawn In Their Game by Bob Dylan - 1964

A South politician preaches to the poor white man
"You got more than the blacks, don't complain
You're better than them, you been born with white skin, " they explain
And the Negro's name
Is used, it is plain
For the politician's gain
As he rises to fame
And the poor white remains
On the caboose of the train
But it ain't him to blame
He's only a pawn in their game

The deputy sheriffs, the soldiers, the governors get paid
And the marshals and cops get the same
But the poor white man's used in the hands of them all like a tool
He's taught in his school
From the start by the rule
That the laws are with him
To protect his white skin
To keep up his hate
So he never thinks straight
'Bout the shape that he's in
But it ain't him to blame
He's only a pawn in their game

My take: My question is; So have we been spinning our wheels all these 47 years? Well no, we elected a black president but has this idea that both Williams and Dylan expose here, been articulated well enough that racism breaks down and fusion between the low-income white and black becomes reality?

The white man needs to be made to focus on this point but he has been manipulated to feel shame in giving credence to policies that will help the poor black even though it would help him and the dishonorable Trump just exploites it by using the ridiculous birther issue, dog whistle code words and as you have seen the low-income white man overwhelmingly supports Donald Trump.
He needs to be able to accept that he was used by white southern politicians then and that much of that mentality and manipulation is continued today through dog whistle politics.

The bottom line here being of course that same tactic survived and continues today.
So Rev. Williams is of course right on re-igniting this idea because it is at the very core of it all but I have to admit that interview and those lyrics from Bob Dylan almost seem like low points of which time between just froze. So i guess I'm saying; Shouldn't we be way past that now?

Again Rev Williams is spot on and we should articulate and even shame those that continue those old really astronomically dumbheaded tactics.

Asteroid DOUBLE The Size Of Devastating Chelyabinsk Meteor To Skim Earth TOMORROW

An asteroid is set to shoot pass Earth this week in what NASA is describing as a ‘potentially hazardous’ space rock that could wreak havoc on humanity.


Boffins at the space agency say the asteroid called 2018 CB will whizz past Earth just 39,000 miles away – just a fifth of the distance between the Earth and the moon.
Anything that comes closer than 4,650,000 miles of Earth is classified by NASA as a “near-Earth object” (NEO).
The asteroid will be travelling at hypersonic speeds as it flies by at close to five miles per SECOND – making it four times faster than the speediest ever man-made machine, the North American X-15 which can travel at 4,520 miles per hour.
The rock could be up to 40 metres wide which would be double the size to the meteor that almost wiped out Chelyabinsk.
In 2013, a 20 metre meteor exploded over the Russian city which smashed windows and caused injuries to more than 1,000 people.
NASA says that the newly discovered asteroid will shoot past Earth on Friday at around 22.30 GMT.
Experts say it is likely to be between 15 to 40 metres in size and that space rocks like these only come this close “once or twice” a year.
Paul Chodas, manager of the Centre for Near-Earth Object Studies at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory , said: “Although 2018 CB is quite small, it might well be larger than the asteroid that entered the atmosphere over Chelyabinsk, Russia, almost exactly five years ago, in 2013
“Asteroids of this size do not often approach this close to our planet - maybe only once or twice a year.”
For anyone wanting to watch the asteroid’s flyby, the Virtual Telescope Project will be hosting a live stream from location in Italy, beginning at 20.00 GMT.
- Sean Martin