Author Topic: The Donald Trump Thread  (Read 130918 times)

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Offline waldo

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Re: The Donald Trump Thread
« Reply #1515 on: February 03, 2018, 06:31:00 pm »
the more 'official' Democratic Party response to the Nunes memo (from the same Intelligence Committee) is yet to be released. However, Rep. Nadler (ranking member of the House committee on the Judiciary) who has seen the Carter Page FISA warrant, earlier this afternoon sent a rebuttal to the Nunes memo to all his Democratic colleagues in the House:

https://democrats-judiciary.house.gov/sites/democrats.judiciary.house.gov/files/documents/Nadler%20to%20Democratic%20Colleauges%20re.%20Nunes%20Memo%202.3.18.pdf

I. The FISA court found probable cause to believe that Carter Page is an agent of a foreign power. Nothing in the Nunes memo rules out the possibility that considerable evidence beyond the Steele dossier helped the court reach that conclusion.

II. Christopher Steele is a recognized expert on Russia and organized crime.

III. The Nunes memo provides no credible basis whatsoever for removing Rod Rosenstein as Deputy Attorney General.

IV. The Nunes memo shows that House Republicans are now part and parcel to an organized effort to obstruct the Special Counselís investigation.

Offline Omni

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Re: The Donald Trump Thread
« Reply #1516 on: February 03, 2018, 06:57:54 pm »
I would thus imagine that Trump's lawyers, at least his personal ones who haven't been fired) are spending time trying to keep his attention span focused long enough to get a handle on what taking the the fifth is and how it's done in case he ever has to sit face to face with Mueller.

Offline cybercoma

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Re: The Donald Trump Thread
« Reply #1517 on: February 03, 2018, 08:01:57 pm »
Fine for Trumpistan.

Exactly this way.  American democracy was not designed for mass communication and therefore it is exactly that which is challenging to bring it down.
I beg to differ. Mass communication isnít the problem; a culture that mistakes being entertained for being informed is the problem.
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Offline Omni

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Re: The Donald Trump Thread
« Reply #1518 on: February 03, 2018, 08:17:29 pm »
I beg to differ. Mass communication isnít the problem; a culture that mistakes being entertained for being informed is the problem.

A quick perusal of Fox, Breitbart, or Limbaugh will bear that out. Apparently Hannity gets his prompts directly from Trump by phone on a daily basis.

Offline MH

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Re: The Donald Trump Thread
« Reply #1519 on: February 04, 2018, 10:20:50 am »
I beg to differ. Mass communication isnít the problem; a culture that mistakes being entertained for being informed is the problem.

But now we're in a chicken-and-egg discussion.  Unless you believe in blaming cultures, which I don't, then blaming culture feels suspiciously like an 'othering' argument. If you don't believe in blaming an entire people, if you believe that groups of humans are largely similar in how they respond to circumstances, then how can you parse and then dissect the culture-communication issue ?

I don't happen to think that American culture is a long-term characteristic of people like race, or religion may be. Even if they are,  these things are still not immutable.  Granted that the search for root-causes can result in a magnificent pageant of staring at ones' shoes.  And also granted that so few people are able to engage in such a discussion objectively that it's not worth trying. 

Still - I feel that the communication modes of a society are more about topology than blaming a 'failed' people, and therefore a better way to look at how national character finds itself directing the nation.  How can the same peoples who gave us the New Deal give us McCarthyism ?  What aspects of American tribalism changed, or otherwise how did America change ?  The answer is unknowable, I think, but also largely undiscussable.

We can try, since it's a great interest for me, but also best suited to another thread.

Offline kimmy

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Re: The Donald Trump Thread
« Reply #1520 on: February 04, 2018, 12:02:18 pm »
Yes, Iím sure any new Trumpian law enforcement agency would be great for democracy of the USofA.  ::)

I hope they give it an ironic, dystopian name like Patriot Patrol.  David Clarke could be the obermarschall.

I'm picturing large video billboards of Sean Hannity saying "Is your friend or family member not as patriotic as they should be? Give Uncle Sean a call. We'll help them out."

 -k
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Offline cybercoma

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Re: The Donald Trump Thread
« Reply #1521 on: February 04, 2018, 12:35:33 pm »
But now we're in a chicken-and-egg discussion.  Unless you believe in blaming cultures, which I don't, then blaming culture feels suspiciously like an 'othering' argument. If you don't believe in blaming an entire people, if you believe that groups of humans are largely similar in how they respond to circumstances, then how can you parse and then dissect the culture-communication issue ?

I don't happen to think that American culture is a long-term characteristic of people like race, or religion may be. Even if they are,  these things are still not immutable.  Granted that the search for root-causes can result in a magnificent pageant of staring at ones' shoes.  And also granted that so few people are able to engage in such a discussion objectively that it's not worth trying. 

Still - I feel that the communication modes of a society are more about topology than blaming a 'failed' people, and therefore a better way to look at how national character finds itself directing the nation.  How can the same peoples who gave us the New Deal give us McCarthyism ?  What aspects of American tribalism changed, or otherwise how did America change ?  The answer is unknowable, I think, but also largely undiscussable.

We can try, since it's a great interest for me, but also best suited to another thread.
Do you not think entertainment is valued far more highly than information?

Offline MH

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Re: The Donald Trump Thread
« Reply #1522 on: February 04, 2018, 12:37:06 pm »
Do you not think entertainment is valued far more highly than information?

I'll just say 'yes', provisionally to read where you're going with it.  My 'yes' is more emphatic if we're talking about contemporary western/N. American/USian culture.

Online wilber

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Re: The Donald Trump Thread
« Reply #1523 on: February 04, 2018, 02:55:24 pm »
I hope they give it an ironic, dystopian name like Patriot Patrol.  David Clarke could be the obermarschall.

I'm picturing large video billboards of Sean Hannity saying "Is your friend or family member not as patriotic as they should be? Give Uncle Sean a call. We'll help them out."

 -k

Well, they already have The USA Patriot Act.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2018, 02:57:07 pm by wilber »
"Never trust a man without a single redeeming vice" WSC

Offline kimmy

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Re: The Donald Trump Thread
« Reply #1524 on: February 04, 2018, 04:02:10 pm »
American democracy was not designed for mass communication and therefore it is exactly that which is challenging to bring it down.

The problem isn't with mass communication (which has been around for a very long time and is an essential part of democracy). The problem is with our new breed of personalized communication, which literally gives you the news you want to hear.

People can now choose media sources based on their political preferences. If you think Trump is a shining knight fighting for truth and justice, you can opt for media outlets that will give you stories that support that notion for you, and downplay any news to the contrary.  If you think Trump is a crook or a Russian puppet, you can do the same.  People can now choose their own reality, and the existence of an objective reality outside their preconceptions doesn't matter.  This goes beyond politics... anti-vaxxers and other conspiritards of many varieties do the same.

And it's gone beyond just people choosing to only follow media that supports their preconceptions.  Artificial intelligence is now fueling this as well.   When I open my web-browser now, it offers me a list of trending topics from around the web, but also topics that it knows I'm interested in.  Based on my previous searches and sites I visit, it knows that (for example) I was very interested in the Harvey Weinstein scandal. And when there's new information about Harvey Weinstein, it shows up on my list of suggested reads.   It also knows what websites I like, so it recommends articles from CBC rather than Fox News for example.  The artificial intelligence algorithms at work here are based around finding stories it thinks I will like, not around stories it thinks are the best or most objective source of information. Its goal is to make me happy, and its algorithm to try to do so is based on my existing prejudices.  The net effect here is that my web browser is guiding me toward content that confirms my preconceptions, as opposed to presenting an objective reality.

So once maybe mass communication provided you with a window to the world, but increasingly that window is turning into a mirror.

 -k
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Offline cybercoma

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Re: The Donald Trump Thread
« Reply #1525 on: February 04, 2018, 04:22:25 pm »
I'll just say 'yes', provisionally to read where you're going with it.  My 'yes' is more emphatic if we're talking about contemporary western/N. American/USian culture.
My point is just that youíre leaning in the mode of communication, which indeed has blurred the lines between entertainment and information. However, Iím suggesting that little has been done to push back against that cultural shift and politically it has benefitted the power-hungry to the detriment of society as a whole. These politicians donít care if they ď**** where they sleepĒ as long as they have the deed to the house. The Tea Party has countless examples of stoking that anti-intellectual fire, if you want an example, but theyíre certainly not the only ones. He attack on expertise over the years might make the uneducated feel better, but it is a disastrous approach to politics that opens the door to tyranny. Trump is just a stepping-stone along the way. Someone like that only gets elected by people rejecting expertise and being informed. Trump gets elected only in a time where people would rather be entertained than informed. They distrust expertise so much that the most qualified people for the White House (not just Hillary, but even staff and advisors) are rejected for sycophants who confuse blind loyalty and unthinking partisanship for informed policy.

Youíre pointing to mass communication as the problem, maybe youíre right. Maybe thatís the catalyst that makes everyone think they can be an expert, since they have access to more information than ever before in human history. However, there needs to come a time where people realize that access to information is not the same as being able to effectively use that information or even understand it. You could give me a box full of car parts, but I would never be able to put an engine together. Why people donít realize that the same principle applies to public policy is beyond me.

The idea of a democracy was that people would look up to and promote the most intelligent and well-informed amongst us to lead our nations. There was a value placed on these qualities that no longer exists. Frankly, itís post-modernism completely misunderstood. The irony that Peterson claims this too is not lost on me. What I mean, however, is that pomo is misconstrued as all positions are equally valid and informed. Thatís not true. Post-modernistsí epistemological perspective is more accurately about accounting for subjectivity and what that means for analysis, rather than arguing for a nihilistic ďeverything is subjectiveĒ approach that discounts learning, education, and expertise.

Mass communication may be the mode through which the democratization of expertise has flourished, but it was not an inevitable path. Itís only through the sustained exploitation of ignorance for political gain, the abandonment of values (by both conservatives, but especially libertarians, and liberals) that put community and society at their core, that brought about this anti-intellectual era. It is completely unsustainable.

Make no mistake about it, this at its foundation is about intellectual laziness. People pick their politics like they pick their favourite sports team, literally rallying around their team and treating them as bough they can do no wrong. This is entertainment over information. This allows others to make decisions for you. Just pick your party and follow unwaveringly with the utmost loyalty. When the majority of the populace becomes too lazy to think for themselves, tyranny is inevitable. Trump, who flings **** at anyone who holds him accountable (e.g., the media, the department of justice, even other Republicans), is simply a step along the way.

You say itís mass communication and maybe it is. Maybe people are incapable of wading through the mountains of information, so they don their political colours and let party lines make the decisions for them. However, Iím arguing that there needs to be accountability somewhere for fostering a culture that sees intelligence as a defect, that meets expertise with reckless distrust, no matter how advanced that expertise is. Politicians who exploit this, should be harshly and swiftly criticized. And the media has a responsibility to contextualize and present information in a way that educates rather than entertains. Mass communication is not the problem. Itís whatís being done with it thatís the problem.
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Offline TimG

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Re: The Donald Trump Thread
« Reply #1526 on: February 04, 2018, 04:57:42 pm »
However, Iím arguing that there needs to be accountability somewhere for fostering a culture that sees intelligence as a defect, that meets expertise with reckless distrust, no matter how advanced that expertise is.
Part of the blame for this rests with politicians and advocates who try to use "expertise" as an excuse to ignore opinions on policies which they disagree with. There is nothing that will destroy the credibility of an expert faster than a politician saying "my values are  the only ones that count because these experts, who share my values, agree with me".  Such arguments leave people with no choice but to destroy the weapon (i.e. experts). If you don't like that then stop conflating value based policy judgements with what the science actually says. For example, the science may say that CO2 is causing the planet to warm but it says nothing about how to make the complicated political and economic trades offs between competing priorities. The latter are "value judgments" and everyone is entitled to express their opinion on "value judgements". If you insist on dismissing the values of people that don't share the values of a privileged academic then you should not be surprised that those people start to dismiss the opinions of privileged academics.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2018, 05:12:36 pm by TimG »
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Offline cybercoma

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Re: The Donald Trump Thread
« Reply #1527 on: February 04, 2018, 05:48:53 pm »
No one, other than Waldo, gives a **** about your crusade against global warming policy.
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Offline TimG

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Re: The Donald Trump Thread
« Reply #1528 on: February 04, 2018, 06:00:48 pm »
No one, other than Waldo, gives a **** about your crusade against global warming policy.
If you had actually read my point you would see that broad comment on the use of "expertise" in political debates. It applies whether you are talking about   minimum wages, pipelines, GMOs or immigration. What makes the the climate change debate unique is the widespread abuse of "expertise" as an excuse to silence people with different values that inform their policy choices.

When it comes to the abuse of "experts" you are a case study of a hypocrite who talks a fine game about accepting expert advice when it supports your desired policies but immediately dismiss experts if they say something different. The minimum wage discussion is an excellent example. I provided a link to someone that could be described as an expert expressing the opinion that the literature clearly showed that minimum wages hurt the poor. You dismissed his opinion and made no attempt to address the specific claims he made (which included a statement explaining why the studies you prefer are inadequate).

So spare me the crocodile tears for the plight of expertise. You are no different from the people you criticize.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2018, 06:11:08 pm by TimG »

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Re: The Donald Trump Thread
« Reply #1529 on: February 04, 2018, 06:21:29 pm »
Part of the blame for this rests with politicians and advocates who try to use "expertise" as an excuse to ignore opinions on policies which they disagree with. There is nothing that will destroy the credibility of an expert faster than a politician saying "my values are  the only ones that count because these experts, who share my values, agree with me".  Such arguments leave people with no choice but to destroy the weapon (i.e. experts). If you don't like that then stop conflating value based policy judgements with what the science actually says. For example, the science may say that CO2 is causing the planet to warm but it says nothing about how to make the complicated political and economic trades offs between competing priorities. The latter are "value judgments" and everyone is entitled to express their opinion on "value judgements". If you insist on dismissing the values of people that don't share the values of a privileged academic then you should not be surprised that those people start to dismiss the opinions of privileged academics.

On the other hand, those who would dismiss 'expertise' because it doesn't align with their values or because they've made a subjective decision that politicians are 'virtue signalling' or 'in the pocket' or 'some other agenda' and should thus be ignored/dismissed aren't doing us any favors, either.   I'd even go so far to say that it's those who dismiss expertise, for any reason, that do the greater harm.   Consider that great stand-by, anti-vaccers.  They choose to believe a minority of experts rather than the combined expertise of dozens of people around the world, not to mention the empirical evidence of decades of research and evidence; as a result, more kids and adults get sick, and more die.