The walls have crumbled for Trump

Erens embed’Political scientist and journalist David Rothkopf says Trump’s days in the White House are numbered. In a blistering Twitter thread, Rothkopf makes the case that any high-quality people Trump had supporting him have either fled or are getting ready to, and now that the House is under control of Democrats, Trump’s inner circle of bottom-of-the-barrel crooks and buffoons won’t be able to protect him from his sordid history of sleazy dealings and self-destructive narcissism.…’

Via Boing Boing

Calling Bullshit | The Point Magazine

UnknownCan it become a sort of bullshitting itself?

’Calling bullshit has a venerable intellectual pedigree. Plato first carved out a space for philosophy by distinguishing the philosopher’s search for knowledge from the persuasive speech of the sophists, the bullshit artists of antiquity. These wandering debate coaches instructed the Greek political class in the art of making the weaker argument the stronger. The rhetoric of the sophists is just fancy talk that creates the impression of wisdom, Plato tells us, but philosophy offers the genuine article.

In recent years, calling bullshit has become its own cottage industry. Debunkers like Michael Shermer and James Randi make a healthy living by exposing pseudoscience, and Harry Frankfurt scored an unlikely best seller when Princeton University Press managed to package his essay “On Bullshit” into a very small book. The mathematician Alan Sokal landed a blow against postmodern pretension by publishing a sham article in the journal Social Text in 1996, and when a more ambitious act of pomo-baiting surfaced about a month ago—a team of three pranksters had successfully submitted seven sham articles to journals peddling in what they derisively called “Grievance Studies”—the hoax came to be known as “Sokal Squared.”

Bullshitting has its obvious incentives and pleasures: you get all the kudos of saying interesting and important things without any of the work of actually thinking interesting and important things. As Frankfurt notes, there’s even an enjoyable play in concocting bullshit. Less obvious are the incentives and pleasures of calling bullshit. And yet they’re pretty much the same: you get all the kudos of asserting your intellectual superiority to the bullshitters, and it brings a certain aesthetic enjoyment with it as well. Just saying “bullshit” is deeply satisfying, its rich soup of consonants opening with an aggressive plosive and then sliding into the disdainful slurred hiss of “shit.” Where the bullshitter gets to bask in the glow of unearned wisdom, the bullshit-caller gets to strike the pose of the undeceived straight-talker bravely swimming against a rising tide of baloney.…’

Via The Point Magazine

Why We Should Be In the Streets

Credit CBS NewsAkim Reinhardt writing in 3 Quarks Daily:

’Donald Trump is not a fascist. He’s far too stupid to be a fascist, or to coherently advocate for any complex national political doctrine, evil or otherwise. He is, however, a would-be tin pot dictator. And his largely failed but still very dangerous attempts to establish himself as a right wing autocrat need to be countered, not just by opposition politicians and the press, but also by responsible citizens.

It has been the case for a while now that the proper reaction to Trump’s presidency is frequent public protest. As responsible citizens, we need to engage in not just one or two massive protests per year, but rather in a steady diet of public protests that sends a strong, clear message to the body politic: We the people reject Donald Trump’s would be totalitarianism. That while his very limited abilities and profound incompetence may prove to be our saving grace, it is not enough to quietly accept his likely ultimate and embarrassing failure as reasonable consolation. Instead we must make certain that the power elite in government, corporations, and the media understand our collective revulsion at and resistance to Trump’s failing autocracy. Here are the reasons why.…’

America’s Fever Is Still Rising

Andrew Sullivan writes:

‘Tuesday, if you step back, was an ordinary election in an extraordinary time. The swing against the president’s party in the first midterm election was not far off the historical range. The average loss for the president’s party in the House two years into a first term over the last century is 29. Trump’s GOP, at last estimate, lost 37. For some recent perspective: In 1982, Reagan’s GOP lost 26 seats; in 1990, George H.W. Bush’s GOP lost 8; in 1994, Clinton’s Democrats lost 54; in 2002, W.’s GOP gained 8 (but in the context of 9/11); in 2010, Obama’s Democrats lost a devastating 63 seats. In terms of the popular vote in the House, the Dems’ share — 51.7 percent — is also very close to the norm for the opposition in a first-term midterm.

There was, in other words, no blue wave. It was rather a familiar blue tide (which nonetheless looked more impressive by Thursday night than it did in the wee hours of Wednesday morning). If you just looked at the data, and knew nothing about the last two years, you’d think it was a conventional, even boring, election.

I wrote last week that the midterms would finally tell us what this country now is. And with a remarkable turnout — a 50-year high for a non-presidential election, no less — we did indeed learn something solid and eye-opening. We learned that the American public as a whole has reacted to the first two years of an unfit, delusional, mendacious, malevolent, incompetent authoritarian as president … with relative equanimity. The net backlash is milder than it was against Clinton or Obama (and both of them went on to win reelection). …’

Source: New York Magazine

Overlooked subset of people thrive after major depression

The public “deserve to know”:

Unknown’Long-term studies certainly suggest that a substantial population of people are affected by a burdensome, recurrent form of the disorder. But Rottenberg’s team cite three studies finding that an average of 40 to 50 per cent of people who suffer an episode of depression don’t go on to experience another (for example, this study in Sweden) – but overall these individuals have been little studied. “This omission, and the field’s lack of focus on good outcomes after depression more broadly, virtually guarantees an unduly pessimistic impression of depression’s course”, Rottenberg and co write – and this is an impression they would like to see changed.…’

Via Big Think