White Nationalists Celebrate ‘an Awakening’ After Donald Trump’s Victory

‘…[I]n the wake of Donald J. Trump’s surprising election victory, hundreds of his extremist supporters converged on the capital to herald a moment of political ascendance that many had thought to be far away…

Emboldened by Mr. Trump’s takeover of the Republican Party, [one spokesperson] said he expected people openly associated with the white nationalist movement to run as candidates in the 2018 midterm elections. The rise of populism and the decline of political correctness, he said, present a rare opportunity…’

Source: New York Times


If you are looking for effective advocacy groups and you are particularly concerned about the rise of the rabid right, consider supporting the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The Right Way to Resist Trump?

University of Chicago economist Luigi Zingales warned about a Trump presidency five years ago and was laughed at. But he came from Italy, and drew upon the Silvio Berlusconi parallels. Berlusconi was able to govern Italy for a total of nine years, Zingales says, because of the incompetency of the opposition, and he warns us against making the same mistakes lest we create a Trump dynasty that will last long beyond his age or term limits would allow.

During the campaign, the opposition’s rabid obsession with his personality flaws, Zingales argues, increased sympathy among moderate voters, increased his popularity, and gave him free advertising. And this trend is continuing since his election, The vehement anti-Trump protests are counterproductive.

“There will be plenty of reasons to complain during the Trump presidency, when really awful decisions are made. Why complain now, when no decision has been made? It delegitimizes the future protests and exposes the bias of the opposition.”

The blueprint provided by the Italian experience — of the only two men to win electoral campaigns against Berlusconi — for how to defeat Trump relies on treating him as “an ordinary opponent”, focusing on issues rather than on his character. To ignore this advice would “crown Mr. Trump as the people’s leader of the fight against the Washington caste” and cripple the opposition’s ability to conduct a battle of principles. The Democrats

“should not do as the Republicans did after President Obama was elected. Their preconceived opposition to any of his initiatives poisoned the Washington well, fueling the anti-establishment reaction (even if it was a successful electoral strategy for the party). There are plenty of Trump proposals that Democrats can agree with, like new infrastructure investments.”

“Finally, the Democratic Party should also find a credible candidate among young leaders, one outside the party’s Brahmins. The news that Chelsea Clinton is considering running for office is the worst possible. If the Democratic Party is turning into a monarchy, how can it fight the autocratic tendencies in Mr. Trump?”

Source: New York Times op-ed

If you’re 27 or younger, you’ve never experienced a colder-than-average month

‘Nowhere on the surface of the planet have we seen any record cold temperatures over the course of the year so far. Every land surface in the world saw warmer-than-average temperatures except Alaska and the eastern tip of Russia. The continental United States has been blanketed with record warmth — and the seas just off the East Coast have been much warmer than average, for which Sandy sends her thanks… This is the 332nd consecutive month with an above-average temperature. If you were born in or after April 1985, if you are right now 27 years old or younger, you have never lived through a month that was colder than average…’

Source: Grist

Bush’s ethics lawyer: Trump poised to violate Constitution his first day in office

‘The incoming president… is actively soliciting business from agents of foreign governments. Many of these agents, in turn, said that they will accept the president-elect’s offer to do business because they want to win favor with the new leader of the United States.

In an exclusive exchange with ThinkProgress, Richard Painter, a University of Minnesota law professor who previously served as chief ethics counsel to President George W. Bush, says that Trump’s efforts to do business with these diplomats is at odds with a provision of the Constitution intended to prevent foreign states from effectively buying influence with federal officials.

The Constitution’s “Emoluments Clause,” provides that “no person holding any office of profit or trust under” the United States “shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.” …’

Source: ThinkProgress

An Alarm Designer on How to Annoy People in the Most Effective Ways

‘When the cockpit recorder transcript from Air France Flight 447 was leaked to the public in 2011, many startling details emerged. The plane, which crashed into the Atlantic Ocean on June 1, 2009, killing all 228 people on board, had been under the control of pilots who were communicating poorly and not realizing one another’s mistakes. The plane’s speed slowed to dangerous levels, activating the stall alarm—the one, in the words of Popular Mechanics, “designed to be impossible to ignore.” It blared the word “Stall!” 75 times.

Everyone present ignored it. Within four minutes, the plane had hit the water.

Alarm sounds are engineered to elicit particular responses in humans. And yet, sometimes, humans choose not to respond, having decided that the situation is not urgent enough or that the sound is a false alarm. Audio alarm designers seek to avoid this by designing sounds that have an intuitive meaning and precisely reflect the level of urgency. But what makes an “awooga” sound more or less urgent than a “ding”? And how do you create an alarm noise that’s annoying enough to get someone’s attention, but not so annoying that said person disables the alarm? …’

Source: Atlas Obscura

The President and the bomb

‘I keep getting asked one thing repeatedly both in person, over e-mail, and online: “Are there any checks in place to keep the US President from starting a nuclear war?”  What’s amazing about this question, really, is how seriously it misunderstands the logic of the US command and control system. It gets it exactly backwards.

The entire point of the US command and control system is to guarantee that the President and only the President is capable of authorizing nuclear war whenever he needs to. It is about enabling the President’s power, not checking or restricting him…

He could launch the kind of devastating attack the world has never seen. He doesn’t have to check with anybody, he doesn’t have to call Congress, he doesn’t have to check with the courts… To be sure, the official doctrine that I have seen on the Nuclear Command Authority implies that the President should be given as much advice as possible from the military, the Department of Defense, and so on. But nothing I have seen suggests that this is any more than advisory — and the entire system is set up so that once the President’s order is verified and authenticated, there are meant to be only minutes until launch.

It isn’t entirely intuitive — why the President, and not someone else, or some combination of people? Why not have some kind of “two-man rule,” whereby two top political figures were required to sign off on the use before it happened? The two-man rule is required for commanders to authorize nuclear launches, so why not the Commander in Chief?’

Source: Restricted Data

imagesThe only tragedy of this election greater than that the narcissistic child Trump will have the authority to launch nuclear annihilation is that the ignorant American voting public would hand it over to him.

Trump’s Hamilton tweetstorm: calculated distraction from fraud settlement, or fragile mediocrity?

‘Yesterday, Donald Trump’s news cycle was dominated by two stories: first, that the president-elect of the United States of America had a well-developed sense of the sanctity of the theatre, such that any on-stage politicking shocked his conscience to the core; second, that he had settled a lawsuit over Trump University, handing $25,000,000 to people whom he had defrauded…’

Source: Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing