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Donald Trump’s New York Times interview reveals a dangerously lazy mind at work

‘Being president of the United States is hard work, it’s important work, and Donald Trump has proven time and again he’s much too lazy to do the job. Not too lazy in the sense of sleeps in too much — he’s clearly happy to maintain a frenetic pace of activity when doing things that engage him, like tweeting or doing television or phone interviews — but too lazy in the sense of being unwilling to put in the time and repetition necessary to master new things.

That is the unescapable message of the interview he conducted with David Sanger and Maggie Haberman of the New York Times that’s published today on their website. It’s an interview that demands to be read in full, because the full context is much more horrifying than the one headline featured where Trump suggests he would unilaterally abrogate America’s NATO commitments to the Baltic countries and possibly spark a third world war.

The problem with Trump is not just the specific things he says but the casual way in which he says them and the comical “logic” that ties them together. Most of all, it’s the repetition — the fact that it keeps happening without Trump showing any capacity for growth or any interest in doing the work that would make him better at answering questions. For better or worse, Trump is now the GOP nominee, and there are hundreds of professional Republican Party politicians and operatives around the country who would gladly help him become a sharper, better-informed candidate.

It doesn’t happen because he can’t be bothered. It’s terrifying…’

Source: Vox

However, George W. Bush too was not too swift and decidedly anti-intellectual. In this blog, I wrote at length about how appalling the attractiveness of such a stupid man was until I realized that this was part of his appeal to Republican voters. And, I fear, is again.

By the way, I regret that, with such heavy coverage of Trump, I have made you stare at his loathsome face so many times in the thumbnails which accompany my posts. I am considering refraining…

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Trump’s version of law and order is the reason we lead the world in incarceration

‘During the 1968 election, Richard Nixon successfully ran as the candidate of law and order against a backdrop of rising crime and civil unrest. There was then, as there is now, a very unsubtle racial element at play in the statement. In ’68, Nixon plastered Americans’ TVs with images of protests and urban upheaval, urging the nation to “vote like your whole world depended on it.”

Today, Trump vows that without his guidance regarding Hispanic immigrants, Muslims, and the “threat” of Black Lives Matter, “we will cease to have a country.

“That’s because “law and order” in American politics has always been a dog whistle — a way of speaking in code to one group of Americans to exploit their fears regarding another.

But it’s not just racist posturing. Appealing to white America’s anxieties about black crime was more than smart election strategy for Nixon — it ended up shaping the criminal justice policies of both his administration and the ones that followed. The result was an unprecedented explosion in incarceration and aggressive community policing that continues to disproportionately target people of color…’

Source: Vox

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Donald Trump’s NATO comments are the scariest thing he’s said

‘Wednesday night, Donald Trump said something that made a nuclear war between the United States and Russia more likely. With a few thoughtless words, he made World War III — the deaths of hundreds of millions of people in nuclear holocaust — plausible.

This probably scans like hyperbole, the kind of thing you hear a lot in politics. I assure you, it’s not. Not this time.

What Trump said, in an interview published by the New York Times, is that he wouldn’t necessarily defend the United States’ allies in NATO if they were attacked by a foreign power. This extended, Trump said, to the Baltic countries right on Russia’s border — countries Russia might conceivably invade…’

Source: Vox

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Newt Gingrich’s convention speech was an absurd dive into fearmongering

‘In a convention full of irresponsible speeches, Newt Gingrich’s may have just taken the cake. Its takeaway message — and I’m paraphrasing only slightly — is that if you don’t elect Donald Trump, ISIS could nuke an American city. He said that electing Hillary Clinton could very well destroy the United States.”The cost of Hillary’s dishonesty could be the loss of America as we know it,” Gingrich warned.

His speech was useful, in a sense. Not as instruction on terrorism — it wrong was in every major particular.It was useful instead in exposing what’s so terrifying about the role foreign policy plays in Trumpism. At the Republican convention, foreign policy is generally reduced to terrorism, and terrorism is hyped to make the world look far more terrifying than it is. ISIS isn’t a problem to be solved; it’s a culture war wedge, one designed to make Hillary Clinton into a villain and Trump into a conquering hero. It is base fearmongering, designed to terrify people into voting for an authoritarian who wants to punish huge numbers of Muslims for the actions of a tiny few.

And that crowd, judging from the reaction to Gingrich’s speech, is eating it up.

Gingrich is wrong about everything, Much of Gingrich’s speech is too vague to fact-check — just scary-sounding platitudes masquerading as truth-telling and brave honesty. But the basic message, that the terrorists will somehow defeat America, is impossible to miss.”We are at war with radical Islamists, we are losing the war, and we must change course to win the war,” Gingrich says. This threat is so grave, according to him, that electing Hillary Clinton might well cause a catastrophic terrorist attack, which (somehow) would endanger the United States itself…

When Gingrich gets specific, attempting to actually defend his theory that the US is “losing” a war on terrorism, his speech becomes nonsensical…’

Source: Vox

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First Proof That Wild Animals Really Can Communicate With Us

‘When humans speak up, the little African birds called honeyguides listen—and can understand, a new study confirms for the first time. Honeyguides in northern Mozambique realize that when a man makes a special trilling sound, he wants to find a bees’ nest—and its delectable honey. Birds that hear this trill often lead human hunters to a nest, receiving a reward of honeycomb.

Communication between domesticated species and people is well known, but “the fascinating point in the case of the honeyguide is that it describes such a relationship between a wild animal and humans,” says behavioral biologist Claudia Wascher of Anglia Ruskin University in Great Britain, who was not involved with the new research…’

Source: National Geographic

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A Touching Study Suggests Marine Mammals Ache for their Dead

‘Scientists have long believed that non-human animals care only about survival, spending their waking hours in search of food and engaging in activities that enhance their odds of survival in some way. Now a recent study in the Journal of Mammalogy of the way animals linger around their dead, and touch them, says we’re witnessing something much different than a survival instinct. It’s grief…’

Source: Big Think