Russia Scandal -- Predictions about its impact on the future of the GOP in 2018



  • This is interesting.

    From The Atlantic:
    In 2020, Joe Biden won just 500 or so counties—but together they account for 71 percent of American economic activity, according to the Brookings Institution.
    Donald Trump won more than 2,500 counties that together generate only 29 percent of that activity.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2021/09/blame-the-bobos-creative-class/619492/
    https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2020/11/09/biden-voting-counties-equal-70-of-americas-economy-what-does-this-mean-for-the-nations-political-economic-divide/



  • THE DISINFORMATION FIREHOSE

    Turns out that people become more anti-vaccine if they get their covid news from Facebook than if they get it from Fox News.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/07/27/people-are-more-anti-vaccine-if-they-get-their-covid-19-news-facebook-rather-than-fox-news-new-data-shows/

    All disinformation roads lead to, or thru, Facebook.



  • I’d still like to know who Donald Trump owes $421 million to.



  • THREE BAD IDEAS TAKING HOLD OF THE FAR RIGHT

    1. The idea that the United States is not a democracy, but a republic.
    2. The theory of “replacement,” recently championed by Newt Gingrich and Tucker Carlson. This is the idea that the Democrats are deliberately encouraging both legal and illegal immigration order to “replace” the existing population with foreigners who do not have the same commitment to our “values.” This allows the far right to present the “crisis at the border” as an existential threat to the country’s existence. (Fact: President Obama, a Democrat, deported more undocumented immigrants than any president in history.)
    3. The explicit praise for authoritarian leaders abroad. Their thuggery, corruption, and brutal repression of both political enemies and minorities are dismissed as lies and exaggeration by the “lamestream” media.

    Put it all together.
    The far-right empty argument: Because the Democrats are using illegal methods to “destroy the country,” the right is justified in using all the “republican" methods at its disposal to put a traditionalist, authoritarian figure into power.

    It’s working, to a degree. A majority of Republicans still believe that the election was stolen. This clearly indicates that they are receptive to the specious reasoning, and ready to support explicitly authoritarian measures in order to “save the country.”



  • The US has been forced by Russia to lay off 200 local (Russian) workers at the US Embassy in Moscow.

    https://apnews.com/article/joe-biden-europe-business-russia-moscow-38f506d4d9d7191d4f3d17bb1f2dd54a

    “Although we regret the actions of the Russian government forcing a reduction in our services and operations, the United States will follow through on our commitments while continuing to pursue a predictable and stable relationship with Russia,” [Sec of State Anthony Blinken] said.



  • The US is now experiencing a new political sectarianism.
    It’s the kind you have in Northern Ireland or Lebanon.
    There, groups are so ideologically divided that the mere existence of an opposing group drives the other into blind rage.
    It’s happened here too.
    We’re no different from the rest of the world. We’re not exceptional.



  • SAME AUTHORITARIANS, NEW AUTHORITARIANS

    These last few years have showed us that there are two types of far-right authoritarians.

    GROUP 1 – There were latent elements of authoritarianism already embedded in the GOP. Trump just brought that into the open.
    GROUP 2 – Thanks to hostile foreign actors on social media, modern authoritarian populism has warped many previously rational minds and stoked deranged extremism very quickly.

    You may have known somebody who was an authoritarian type of personality before Trump (Group 1).
    You almost certainly know somebody who has become an authoritarian type of personality during/after Trump (Group 2).



  • TO 2024, WITH LOVE

    Timothy Snyder is a Yale historian of authoritarianism and a global expert in Central Europe and the Holocaust.
    He warns: “We’re looking almost certainly at an attempt in 2024 to take power without winning election.”

    https://edition.cnn.com/2021/08/07/opinions/rich-people-influence-on-elections-aftergut-wertheimer/index.html

    The piece (at CNN!!) looks at all the dangers our democracy faces – primarily “dark money” (including cash from transnational criminal networks) and election subversion.



  • PREMISE #1
    Cognitive decline (loss of critical thinking ability) is a largely metabolic disease compounded by loss of muscle mass and stem-cell exhaustion.
    Loss of muscle mass and stem-cell exhaustion can be traced back to poor diet.
    PREMISE #2
    Membership in QAnon, MAGA, anti-vax, and other lunatic fringe groups depends on a loss of critical thinking abilities.
    Membership in these groups has skyrocketed in the last six years.
    CONCLUSION
    An increasingly poor diet – the standard American diet heavy in processed vegetable oils and refined white flour – may contribute to belief in lunatic fringe conspiracies.

    This is speculative. But I don’t have the time or resources to test the hypothesis.
    Feel free to steal or pass along to someone who might.





  • The GOP is behaving like the election was stolen from Trump.
    What actually happened is that Trump tried to steal the election.

    Don’t ever forget that.

    You should care about this failed coup because each and every attempt to undermine an election frays the fabric of democracy.

    Next time, it might work.
    Eventually, given enough attempts, it WILL work.



  • PSYCHIATRIST ANALYZES TRUMPERS REFUSAL TO ADMIT THEIR MISTAKE

    He does so using the sunk-cost fallacy. (“I’ve invested so much in this, I can’t turn back now.”)

    https://www.patreon.com/posts/43322540

    The first two paragraphs are terrific. Read carefully:

    One of the most confounding aspects of the Trump era is why otherwise/previously decent people continue to support a sociopathic narcissist who lives and governs in a way that violates the personal, ideological, ethical, and even moral (religious) values that these people have spent their whole life claiming to believe in.

    In behavioral psychology, the sunk cost fallacy occurs when people engage in or sustain a self-harming or detrimental behavior, simply because of a prior investment (reputation/ego). In the context of social psychology, the sunk cost fallacy creates motivation for people to continue to engage in those behaviors due to a need to maintain a consistent and positive self image, to avoid public shame/humiliation, and to avoid cognitive dissonance. When taken to the extreme, that motivation, and the resulting behaviors, can rise to a dysfunctional, and even a pathological, level.



  • KREMLIN HITS GERMANS WITH “HAVANA SYNDROME”

    Aka microwave attacks.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-officials-in-germany-hit-by-havana-syndrome-11629279001?reflink=desktopwebshare_permalink

    Fourth paragraph: Some victims were intelligence officers or diplomats working on Russia-related issues such as gas exports, cybersecurity and political interference, according to U.S. diplomats and people familiar with an investigation into the illness.



  • I’ve beaten Lindsey Graham to death in this thread, but sometimes I read a quote from him that STILL spins my head.

    Here’s Lindsey on December 8, 2015:

    “{Donald Trump is] a race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot,” Graham continued. “He doesn’t represent my party. He doesn’t represent the values that the men and women who wear the uniform are fighting for….He’s the [ISIS] Man of the Year.” The senator rightly pegged Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric as cold political calculus of the basest kind: “What Mr. Trump is doing—and I don’t think he has a clue about anything—he’s just just trying to get his numbers up and get the biggest reaction he can. He is helping the enemy of this nation.”

    And then, the money shot: “I’d rather lose without Donald Trump than try to win with with him,” Graham said. “I wish he would leave the party. I don’t care if he runs as an independent. If we lose the 2016 election, so be it. I want to be in a category of the one percent who said ‘B.S., this is not who we are at a party, this is not who we are as a nation.’”

    Then, in 2017, on the back nine at the Trump National Golf Course in Sterling, VA, the screws were applied. Trump did what he’s so good at.
    Blackmail.
    Lindsey suddenly swung the other way. The criticisms stopped.
    Everything he’s said since then about Trump has sounded like a hostage video.



  • THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION CONSPIRED TO GIVE AMERICAN NUCLEAR ENERGY AND WEAPONS TECHNOLOGY TO SAUDI ARABIA

    A House report from 2019 revealed it.
    Title: “Corporate and Foreign Interests Behind White House Push to Transfer U.S. Nuclear Technology to Saudi Arabia”

    https://oversight.house.gov/sites/democrats.oversight.house.gov/files/Trump Saudi Nuclear Report July 2019.pdf

    It’s a massive crime.
    Imagine thinking that you and your corrupt buddies would enrich yourselves by transferring nuclear power and technology from your own liberal democracy to a foreign dictatorship.

    Involved in this conspiracy:
    Jared Kushner
    Paul Manafort (pled guilty to conspiracy to defraud the US on separate charges)
    Tom Barrack (who has since been charged as a spy for the United Arab Emirates)
    Michael Flynn (who was literally texting Saudi groups from Trump’s inauguration as he stood on the US Capitol)
    Donald Trump (who made it all possible)

    The GOP has become a hostile foreign intelligence operation.



  • THE RIGHT’S VIEW OF AMERICAN LIFE

    You are patiently standing in the middle of a long line stretching toward the horizon, where the American Dream awaits. But as you wait, you see people cutting in line ahead of you. Many of these line-cutters are black—beneficiaries of affirmative action or welfare. Some are career-driven women pushing into jobs they never had before. Then you see immigrants, Mexicans, Somalis, the Syrian refugees yet to come. As you wait in this unmoving line, you’re being asked to feel sorry for them all. You have a good heart. But who is deciding who you should feel compassion for? Then you see President Barack Hussein Obama waving the line-cutters forward. He’s on their side. In fact, isn’t he a line-cutter too? How did this fatherless black guy pay for Harvard? As you wait your turn, Obama is using the money in your pocket to help the line-cutters. He and his liberal backers have removed the shame from taking. The government has become an instrument for redistributing your money to the undeserving. It’s not your government anymore; it’s theirs.

    Regardless of accuracy – it’s not – this is the right’s view of contemporary life. It’s the social conservative’s national origin story.
    This is exactly what Trump exploited.
    And what others, before and after him, continue to exploit.



  • In just five years, the percentage of Republicans with at least some trust in national news organizations has been cut in half – dropping from 70% in 2016 to 35% this year.

    https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2021/08/30/partisan-divides-in-media-trust-widen-driven-by-a-decline-among-republicans/



  • Thousands of Trump supporters are taking over local GOP positions.
    It’s an unprecedented grassroots groundswell devoted to Trump’s insistence that a) the 2020 election was stolen and b) Republicans need to stop that from happening again.
    Both are lies. Both represent mass psychosis.

    https://www.propublica.org/article/heeding-steve-bannons-call-election-deniers-organize-to-seize-control-of-the-gop-and-reshape-americas-elections



  • QUESTIONS ABOUT ERIC PRINCE, ANSWERED

    Gregg Smith worked for Blackwater founder and general psychopath Eric Prince for several years.
    He went on Twitter last year and started opening up about the PMC king (sorry, ahem, prince).
    Here’s one of his recent threads, where he answered anybody’s questions about Prince. I found it fascinating.

    https://twitter.com/GreggSmith0351/status/1435707590873272320



  • BANNON’S GONNA BANNON

    Building anti-democratic movements online.

    This is Steve Bannon. This is who he is.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/02/behind-the-internets-dark-anti-democracy-movement/516243/


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