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

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.…’