Saturday, October 13, 2018

First lady says ‘I really don’t care’ jacket was meant to troll press (Source) - so says the woman who claims to be the most bullied person ever. (Source)

Friday, October 5, 2018

This article by Christopher Browning published in The New York Review of Books puts the unprecedented polarization of American political life in an eery historical context. As he puts it, “Trump is no Hitler and Trumpism is not Nazism” but certain parallels are inescapable. The article surfaces an old question that I’ve harboured for almost a decade - Is the chaotic concentration of all power the intentional end-game of the Republican party or did they simply provoke the worst darkest tendencies of voters, only later finding they couldn’t control what they started?

Thursday, October 4, 2018

This piece in The Atlantic by Adam Serwer is a reminder that for Trump’s supporters, cruelty isn’t just a side-effect of Trumpism. It’s a feature. That the current U.S. president chose to mock the victim of a sexual assault by a Supreme Court nominee is hardly surprising. But what little hope I had for Trump supporters, particularly those at the Mississippi rally who joined Trump in his mockery, is gone.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Oh, those fiscally-responsible Republicans The president of debt Axios has an article on Trump’s love of debt. He’d borrow the first installment from Russia.

How fascism works

A recent piece in The Atlantic by Peter Beinart filled in a cognitive gap in understanding how a large minority of U.S. citizens continue to support an abjectly incompetent, almost certainly criminal, willfully ignorant, and generally hateful man as president. The article Why Trump supporters believe he is not corrupt makes the argument that when Trump defenders concern themselves with the idea of corruption they are not thinking of political corruption so much as corruption of the purity.

Quarantining extremist ideas

This is an interesting essay in The Guardian on the idea of quarantining extremist ideas. A non-trivial proportion of the population regards the media as having a responsibility to represent all idea with equal validity. So the appearance of extremist ideas in the press, even if they are treated negatively, results in more legitimacy than they are due. The authors in this essay make a case for quarantining these extreme ideas, refusing to cover them.

A letter to Jerry Brown

Dear Governor Brown, By now you are aware of Nicholas Kirstof’s piece^[Was Kevin Cooper Framed for Murder: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/05/17/opinion/sunday/kevin-cooper-california-death-row.html] in The New York Times in which he presents abundant evidence that investigators and prosecutors framed Kevin Cooper for the murder of four people in Chino. Advanced DNA testing could produce potentially exculpatory evidence. Or not. But the truth must be pursued. You have rejected calls to exercise the authority of your office to order such testing.

What was the purpose of that tweet?

The thriving New York Times just published a list of questions being posed by Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller, III. What I found particularly interesting was his question about Trump’s intent behind his tweet on May 12, 2017 in which he said: “James Comey better hope that there are no “tapes” of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!” The question being posed by Mr. Mueller is insightful because it will require Trump to admit to the office of the Special Counsel that he was deliberately attempting to intimidate a party to a Federal investigation.