Trump is kinda reminding me of how a lot of monarchies function and I dont mean that in a trite “hurr authoritarian dictatorship” way I mean that Trump seems poised to have his own person be the nucleus of power but is also at least somewhat aware that he doesnt know what the fuck he’s doing and thus informal ‘factions’ of advisors  become important (he also seems to know that the people for competing for his ear know this is how its going to work). This contrasts with say the way the explosive growth of Executive power happened under Bush where it was more that formal sub-divisions of the Executive branch became incredibly powerful rather than the specific person George W Bush and kinda reminds me more of monarchies where the sovereign is very much the ‘final word’ and a lot of the power politics revolved around various factions trying to keep the ear of the sovereign in their court like the Ottomans, Imperial Japan etc

newyorker.com
Now Is the Time to Talk About What We Are Actually Talking About - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
In the wake of the election, we must resist the slightest extension in the boundaries of what is right and just.

America has always been aspirational to me. Even when I chafed at its hypocrisies, it somehow always seemed sure, a nation that knew what it was doing, refreshingly free of that anything-can-happen existential uncertainty so familiar to developing nations. But no longer.

The election of Donald Trump has flattened the poetry in America’s founding philosophy: the country born from an idea of freedom is to be governed by an unstable, stubbornly uninformed, authoritarian demagogue. And in response to this there are people living in visceral fear, people anxiously trying to discern policy from bluster, and people kowtowing as though to a new king. Things that were recently pushed to the corners of America’s political space—overt racism, glaring misogyny, anti-intellectualism—are once again creeping to the center.

Now is the time to resist the slightest extension in the boundaries of what is right and just. Now is the time to speak up and to wear as a badge of honor the opprobrium of bigots. Now is the time to confront the weak core at the heart of America’s addiction to optimism; it allows too little room for resilience, and too much for fragility. Hazy visions of “healing” and “not becoming the hate we hate” sound dangerously like appeasement. The responsibility to forge unity belongs not to the denigrated but to the denigrators. The premise for empathy has to be equal humanity; it is an injustice to demand that the maligned identify with those who question their humanity.

America loves winners, but victory does not absolve. Victory, especially a slender one decided by a few thousand votes in a handful of states, does not guarantee respect. Nobody automatically deserves deference on ascending to the leadership of any country. American journalists know this only too well when reporting on foreign leaders—their default mode with Africans, for instance, is nearly always barely concealed disdain. President Obama endured disrespect from all quarters. By far the most egregious insult directed toward him, the racist movement tamely termed “birtherism,” was championed by Trump.

Yet, a day after the election, I heard a journalist on the radio speak of the vitriol between Obama and Trump. No, the vitriol was Trump’s. Now is the time to burn false equivalencies forever. Pretending that both sides of an issue are equal when they are not is not “balanced” journalism; it is a fairy tale—and, unlike most fairy tales, a disingenuous one.

Now is the time to refuse the blurring of memory. Each mention of “gridlock” under Obama must be wrought in truth: that “gridlock” was a deliberate and systematic refusal of the Republican Congress to work with him. Now is the time to call things what they actually are, because language can illuminate truth as much as it can obfuscate it. Now is the time to forge new words. “Alt-right” is benign. “White-supremacist right” is more accurate.

Now is the time to talk about what we are actually talking about. “Climate contrarian” obfuscates. “Climate-change denier” does not. And because climate change is scientific fact, not opinion, this matters…

Global trumpism: how India's brutal leader manufactures reality with trumped-up "polls"

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is an authoritarian war criminal who is part of the worldwide surge of trumpist leaders and hopefuls, including Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte; Hungary’s Viktor Orbán; Russia’s Vladimir Putin; South Korea’s Park Geun-hye; France’s Marine Le Pen; the UK’s Nigel Farage, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and others – bound together by xenophobia, a lack of transparency, violent suppression of opposition, and savvy use of the internet.

We don’t yet have a name for these powers yet, in the same way that the early 1930s didn’t have a name for the “Axis powers” and even today it’s hard to pin down exactly what the Axis was – a military alliance, an ideological fraternity, a marriage of convenience – and who was and wasn’t a part of the Axis.

But they are starting to cohere into a movement whose shared characteristics are increasingly visible. One element of this is “post-truth,” which has been part of the ruling class’s playbook for decades (think of Iran-Contra, the complacency regarding the credit bubble, and, of course, the WMD lie that led to the Iraq invasion).

But the new world of post-truth has a different character; as Masha “Autocracy: Rules for Survival” Gessen points out in this important On the Media segment, the autocratic version of post-truth doesn’t really make a pretense to being truthful: when Trump says there were millions of fraudulent votes, he is really saying two things: first, for the lowest of low-information voters, he’s saying “hey, there are millions of fraudulent voters”; but for everyone else who knows, on some level, that this isn’t true, he is saying, “I can say whatever the fuck I want and you egghead liberal pussies can’t do shit about it,” which serves the dual purpose of demoralizing his opponents and making him seem more godlike to the worshipers in his cult of personality.

When Brexiteer Michael Gove said that “people in this country have had enough of experts,” he was acting out this playbook, asserting his faction’s right to manufacture a new reality to counter the well-known liberal bias of reality.

The Brexit project is built around this reality-manufacture enterprise. That’s why when the best-respected nonpartisan experts released a dismal economic forecast for post-Brexit Britain, right wing politicians slammed them for daring to defy their manufactured world. As Karl Rove said in the early days of this political moment, “[you are] in what we call the reality-based community, [you] believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality. That’s not the way the world really works anymore. We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

Which brings me to Modi, who presides over “the world’s largest democracy.” Modi recently surprised his 1.25B citizens with an announcement that all bills worth more than about $7.50 would be taken out of circulation in 50 days, and that old notes had to be exchanged by queuing up at banks and changing no more than about $150 at a time, with a weekly per-person maximum of about $350. The rubric for this “demonetisation” is to fight corruption, money laundering and terrorism (India is consistently at the bottom of the World Corruptions Perception Index).

However, the move has been controversial (to say the least) – so widely deplored across all ranks of Indian society that it threatens Modi’s reality-manufacture enterprise.

To reassert his trumpian reality, Modi used his app to “poll” the Indian public on demonetisation (like Trump, Modi uses online tools to communicate directly with his base, bypassing the press).

The demonetisation poll is a literal national joke in India, as it is so fantastically biased in its use of leading questions (“Do you think the evil of corruption and black money needs to be fought and eliminated?” is thesecond question on the survey) and its obvious sampling deficits – the Modi app can only be accessed by the minority of Hindi/English speaking Indians who also own smartphones, and is most likely to be installed by Modi supporters.

The push-poll methodology is well understood. It featured in a classic – and now revived – episode of the UK political sitcom Yes, Minister that is tearing up the charts among Indian internet users.

But also familiar is the use of polls that disproportionately survey a trumpist’s political base as a way of proving that the trumpist leader’s policies are broadly supported – this was something Trump himself did frequently in the runup to the election, and is making even more recourse to now that he is struggling to reconcile the ego-bruising reality of having to govern for the next four years as America’s worst-performing minority president of all time.

The always-outstanding More or Less podcast (MP3) features the Modi poll in this week’s episode as a teaching exercise for understanding the abuse of statistics and polls as a means to political ends.

But as important as it is to understand the statistical incoherence of using your followers’ answers to leading questions as a proxy for the entire country’s opinion, it’s even more important to put this move into its wider context as a post-truth, Rovean, trumpist tactic used to create “new reality.”

Reality is real. As Peter Watts points out, there is no negotiating with the climate, despite what Trump thinks: “Okay, we’ll cut our bitumen production by 15%, but then you have to increase your joules/kelvin by at least 5” is not a scientific proposition. But reality assertion can be delayed until the people who denied it have made their exit.

The world’s super-rich are engaged in what can only be described as secession. As the world’s real economy has been eclipsed by the shadow economy of offshore tax-avoidance, as climate has been forced out of the Overton window and the window is slammed shut behind it, it seems like the plan for the future is to fly from mountaintop to mountaintop, high above the rising sea, interbreeding a race of weak-chinned, entitled, murderous idiots who are brought into contact via Harrier jet for scheduled mating visits.

They don’t need to prevent climate change or global economic collapse, they merely need to (literally) rise above it. Just as the criminals behind the 2008 collapse cashed out and walked away free and wealthy, just as CEOs can hollow out their companies, collect bonuses, and deploy their golden parachutes before the crash, so too do the trumpists and their courtiers expect to saunter away from the wreck whistling while the rest of us dig through the rubble for canned goods and drink our own urine.

In ten or twenty years, we’ll know what trumpism is really called, and who it applies to. In the meantime, there’s another political movement in potentia that we have no name for, the group that Rove sneered at and called “the reality-based community.” If you are as worried as I am about Trump, you are fighting the same thing that the Turkey who are fighting Erdoğan, the Filippinos who are fighting Duterte, the French who are fighting Le Pen, the Russians who are fighting Putin, the Syrians who took to the streets against Assad, the Occupiers, the Idle No Mores, the Arab Springers, are fighting. We don’t have a name yet, and we’re not entirely sure what to call the other side, either, but these are the sides, and they are forming.

https://boingboing.net/2016/12/03/trumpisms-global-playbook-h.html

For so long as humanity exists, we will be here.

Hi there. This is the unbroken circle. This is our flag, near as we have one.

You might see us on blogs, on walls, in a zine near you. What are we?

We’re everyone who believes every human being should get to live their life to the fullest, as people with equal rights, equal opportunity, equal recognition as human beings deserving of decency and respect.

We don’t simply reject the fear, authoritarianism, and oppression taking hold of the world – although we do that too. We accept and promote the equality of everyone; we believe we were born better than this.

And we’re not something you join. We’re something you were born with the right to.

You were born with the right to your full personage, your full emotional and intellectual potential, your full consent, your full experience, your full joy.

Some people lose their rights by the force of other people. Some people lose their rights by choosing fear and imposing limitations on themselves. But no one is ever not a part of us, until they decide they don’t want to be. We don’t care if you’re black, gay, Muslim, trans, on parole, homeless.

We don’t even care if you used to be a white nationalist.

As soon as you decide that you want it back, and that you want it for everyone, it’s yours. Always.

That’s why we’re never broken; we’re not destroyable. Every human being ever born starts out as part of us, and stays that way until they decide to impose isolation upon themselves.

Spread the unbroken circle. You can display our symbol in meat space, or you can spread it online. Please repost instead of reblogging. We don’t belong to any one person, and our image isn’t the property of any originator. You can even draw your own and write your own post with it if you want! Or just copy-paste. Up to you.

Tag your post #unbrokencircle.

We are for everyone. Even you. Especially you.

Thanks.

For so long as humanity exists, we will be here.

Hi there. This is the unbroken circle. This is our flag, near as we have one.

You might see us on blogs, on walls, in a zine near you. What are we?

We’re everyone who believes every human being should get to live their life to the fullest, as people with equal rights, equal opportunity, equal recognition as human beings deserving of decency and respect.

We don’t simply reject the fear, authoritarianism, and oppression taking hold of the world – although we do that too. We accept and promote the equality of everyone; we believe we were born better than this.

And we’re not something you join. We’re something you were born with the right to.

You were born with the right to your full personage, your full emotional and intellectual potential, your full consent, your full experience, your full joy.

Some people lose their rights by the force of other people. Some people lose their rights by choosing fear and imposing limitations on themselves. But no one is ever not a part of us, until they decide they don’t want to be. We don’t care if you’re black, gay, Muslim, trans, on parole, homeless.

We don’t even care if you used to be a white nationalist.

As soon as you decide that you want it back, and that you want it for everyone, it’s yours. Always.

That’s why we’re never broken; we’re not destroyable. Every human being ever born starts out as part of us, and stays that way until they decide to impose isolation upon themselves.

Spread the unbroken circle. You can display our symbol in meat space, or you can spread it online. Please repost instead of reblogging. We don’t belong to any one person, and our image isn’t the property of any originator. You can even draw your own and write your own post with it if you want! Or just copy-paste. Up to you.

Tag your post #unbrokencircle.

We are for everyone. Even you. Especially you.

Thanks.

thinking of a post that went by my dash that has stuck with me about the problem with the use of “leftist” and i think i’m in agreement with it. leftist has come to represent both the authoritarian left and the left wing of capital, which i think we can argue are often going to end up working toward the same goals.

The American Fascist

I’ve been reluctant to use the  “f” word to describe Donald Trump because it’s especially harsh, and it’s too often used carelessly.

But Trump has finally reached a point where parallels between his presidential campaign and the fascists of the first half of the 20th century – lurid figures such as Benito Mussolini, Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Oswald Mosley, and Francisco Franco – are too evident to overlook.

It’s not just that Trump recently quoted Mussolini (he now calls that tweet inadvertent) or that he’s begun inviting followers at his rallies to raise their right hands in a manner chillingly similar to the Nazi “Heil” solute (he dismisses such comparison as “ridiculous.”)

The parallels go deeper.

As did the early twentieth-century fascists, Trump is focusing his campaign on the angers of white working people who have been losing economic ground for years, and who are easy prey for demagogues seeking to build their own power by scapegoating others.

Trump’s electoral gains have been largest in counties with lower than average incomes, and among those who report their personal finances have worsened. As the Washington Post’s Jeff Guo has pointed out, Trump performs best in places where middle-aged whites are dying the fastest.  

The economic stresses almost a century ago that culminated in the Great Depression were far worse than most of Trump’s followers have experienced, but they’ve suffered something that in some respects is more painful – failed expectations.

Many grew up during the 1950s and 1960s, during a postwar prosperity that lifted all boats. That prosperity gave their parents a better life. Trump’s followers naturally expected that they and their children would also experience economic gains. They have not.

Add fears and uncertainties about terrorists who may be living among us, or may want to sneak through our borders, and this vulnerability and powerlessness is magnified.

Trump’s incendiary verbal attacks on Mexican immigrants and Muslims – even his reluctance to distance himself from David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan – follow the older fascist script.  

That older generation of fascists didn’t bother with policy prescriptions or logical argument, either. They presented themselves as strongmen whose personal power would remedy all ills.

They created around themselves cults of personality in which they took on the trappings of strength, confidence, and invulnerability – all of which served as substitutes for rational argument or thought.  

Trump’s entire campaign similarly revolves around his assumed strength and confidence. He tells his followers not to worry; he’ll take care of them. “If you get laid off …, I still want your vote,” he told workers in Michigan last week. “I’ll get you a new job; don’t worry about it.”

The old fascists intimidated and threatened opponents. Trump is not above a similar strategy. To take one example, he recently tweeted that Chicago’s Ricketts family, now spending money to defeat him, “better be careful, they have a lot to hide.”

The old fascists incited violence. Trump has not done so explicitly but Trump supporters have attacked Muslims, the homeless, and African-Americans – and Trump has all but excused their behavior.

Weeks after Trump began his campaign by falsely alleging that Mexican immigrants are “bringing crime. They’re rapists,” two brothers in Boston beat with a metal pole and urinated on a 58-year-old homeless Mexican national. They subsequently told the police “Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported.”

Instead of condemning that brutality, Trump excused it by saying “people who are following me are very passionate. They love this country and they want this country to be great again.”

After a handful of white supporters punched and attempted to choke a Black Lives Matter protester at one of his campaign rallies, Trump said “maybe he should have been roughed up.”

There are further parallels. Fascists glorified national power and greatness, fanning xenophobia and war. Trump’s entire foreign policy consists of asserting American power against other nations. Mexico “will” finance a wall. China “will” stop manipulating its currency.  

In pursuit of their nationalistic aims, the fascists disregarded international law. Trump is the same. He recently proposed using torture against terrorists, and punishing their families, both in clear violation of international law. 

Finally, the fascists created their mass followings directly, without political parties or other intermediaries standing between them and their legions of supporters.  

Trump’s tweets and rallies similarly circumvent all filters. The Republican Party is irrelevant to his campaign, and he considers the media an enemy. (Reporters covering his rallies are kept behind a steel barrier.)

Viewing Donald Trump in light of the fascists of the first half of the twentieth century – who used economic stresses to scapegoat others, created cults of personality, intimidated opponents, incited violence, glorified their nations and disregarded international law, and connected directly with the masses – helps explain what Trump is doing and how he is succeeding.

It also suggests why Donald Trump presents such a profound danger to the future of America and the world.  

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.
—  Desmond Tutu
8

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/23/world/asia/in-china-michelle-obama-speaks-out-for-free-speech.html?partner=MYWAY&ei=5065

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chris-ernesto/occupy-arrests_b_1475670.html

http://foxnewsinsider.com/2013/11/10/fox-news-reporter-jana-winter-facing-jail-time-unless-she-reveals-sources-may-have-return

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/08/13/journalist-michael-hastings-was-investigating-cia-director-john-brennan-before-he-was-killed-in-fiery-car-crash/

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/06/21/19079389-us-charges-nsa-leaker-snowden-with-espionage?lite

http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2014/02/25/video-shows-officer-confronting-man-filming-arrests-in-towson/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/26/obama-whistleblower-website_n_3658815.html?1374857923

Put a man in uniform, preferably a white man, give him a gun, and Americans will worship him. It is a particularly childish trait, of a childlike culture, that insists on anointing all active military members and police officers as “heroes.” The rhetorical sloppiness and intellectual shallowness of affixing such a reverent label to everyone in the military or law enforcement betrays a frightening cultural streak of nationalism, chauvinism, authoritarianism and totalitarianism, but it also makes honest and serious conversations necessary for the maintenance and enhancement of a fragile democracy nearly impossible.
— 

It’s been 70 years since we fought a war about freedom. Forced troop worship and compulsory patriotism must end

Calling all cops and troops heroes insults those who actually are heroic – the soldier who runs into the line of fire to protect his division, the police officer who works tirelessly to find a missing child – by placing them alongside the cops who shoot unarmed teenagers who have their hands in the air, or the soldier who rapes his subordinate.

It also degrades the collective understanding of heroism to the fantasies of high-budget, cheap-story action movies. The American conception of heroism seems inextricably linked to violence; not yet graduated from third-grade games of cops and robbers. Explosions and smoking guns might make for entertaining television, but they are not necessary, and more and more in modern society, not even helpful in determining what makes a hero.

Do we really want to diagnose and medicate everyone with “deficits in rule-governed behavior”?

Albert Einstein, as a youth, would have likely received an ADHD diagnosis, and maybe an ODD one as well. Albert didn’t pay attention to his teachers, failed his college entrance examinations twice, and had difficulty holding jobs. However, Einstein biographer Ronald Clark (Einstein: The Life and Times) asserts that Albert’s problems did not stem from attention deficits but rather from his hatred of authoritarian, Prussian discipline in his schools. Einstein said, “The teachers in the elementary school appeared to me like sergeants and in the Gymnasium the teachers were like lieutenants.” At age 13, Einstein read Kant’s difficult Critique of Pure Reason—because Albert was interested in it. Clark also tells us Einstein refused to prepare himself for his college admissions as a rebellion against his father’s “unbearable” path of a “practical profession.” After he did enter college, one professor told Einstein, “You have one fault; one can’t tell you anything.” The very characteristics of Einstein that upset authorities so much were exactly the ones that allowed him to excel.