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March 02, 2019

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and the first comment on that 538 thing is Bellmore. and all the other comments are lamenting how 538 is a "far left", "America-hating" propaganda site.

we're doomed.

A good leader directs emotion toward constructive ends.

alas, "constructive" is subjective.

The distinction between crook and con man escapes me.

A crook is in it for the money. A con man is in it for the high of beating others by fooling them -- thus demonstrating (at least to himself) his superiority. But for the con man, the money is almost incidental.

But for the con man, the money is almost incidental.

Not denying that he is a con man, but I think the money is far from incidental to him. I think his whole life (and that of his family) is ducking and weaving to make people think they're richer than they are, in order to become as rich as they pretend to be. He's also a crook, of course.

On collusion....
https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/03/mcgahn-kelly-memo-to-file-trump-white-house.html
for Kelly and McGahn, both political appointees, the move makes significantly less sense. They seem to have kept notes to exonerate themselves after following orders against their better judgment (and then departed the White House without letting anyone know). That Kelly and McGahn seemingly each acceded to something they believed was profoundly, existentially dangerous, and then somehow convinced themselves they were patriots for privately noting their apprehension, is next-level self-justification. No, gentlemen, you aren’t off the hook. You sold out the country to Jared, and then kept the receipts in case they turn out to be get-out-of-jail-free cards....

Not denying that he is a con man, but I think the money is far from incidental to him.

My sense is that, for most crooks, money is about being able to buy stuff. Specifically stuff that they happen to want. Whereas for Trump, money is merely a marker for how much he has won.

It's the winning, and winning more than others, that is really important. If he decided that the mark of success (among the people whose good opinion he desires) was having the biggest sinkhole in the front lawn, he'd be hiring excavators instantly.

Not denying that he's a crook. But being a crook is merely a means to the ultimate end: which is, apparently, convincing himself that, in spite of all the evidence, he is actually a success. Not because he's President; that's meaningless in itself to him. But because he's rich.

Con men have "marks". The con is getting the marks to think you're doing them a favor.

About 40% of Americans are marks. That number presumably includes the 80-90% of Republicans who can't spot a con with a searchlight.

--TP

Not because he's President

Trump made noises about wanting to run for POTUS before 2016. The big difference last time around was Obama making fun of him at the White House Correspondents dinner.

Having jokes made at your expense is kind of the price of admission for that event. Take your lumps, have a laugh, and move on.

For Trump, it was apparently a profound and shaming humiliation.

There is something profoundly wrong with the man.

So much winning.

So much winning for the forgotten American. So, so much.

American carnage.

On the theory that Trump was unaware of the purpose of the checks he signed...

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/23/us/politics/trump-new-york-times-interview-transcript.html
Now, according to the law, see I figured there’s something where you put something in this massive trust and there’s also — nothing is written. In other words, in theory, I can be president of the United States and run my business 100 percent, sign checks on my business, which I am phasing out of very rapidly, you know, I sign checks, I’m the old-fashioned type. I like to sign checks so I know what is going on as opposed to pressing a computer button, boom, and thousands of checks are automatically sent. It keeps, it tells me what’s going on a little bit and it tells contractors that I’m watching. But I am phasing that out now, and handing that to Eric Trump and Don Trump and Ivanka Trump for the most part, and some of my executives, so that’s happening right now....

FWIW, in the strange, futile game of trying to understand the Trump phenomenon (as opposed to the Trump-voter phenomenon, which actually is worth trying to understand), I don't disagree with wj's 07.05. I think there is something so profoundly lacking and pathetic inside him, that constantly having to bolster himself up with riches, or the impression of riches, boasted brilliance (while ensuring his grades never get out), and noisy adulation etc is the only way to temporarily pacify the inadequate, howling, bottomless pit within. But of course, none of this gets us anywhere, it's just interesting for those of us who are interested in psychological motivation.

"Profoundly pathetic" indeed. And it's why there never was a chance that he would "become Presidential" once in office -- there just isn't any foundation where something like that could grow.

It's just unfortunate how much damage he is inflicting on the world as a result.

i maintain that nobody who has ever dealt with a slimy general contractor or project manager could ever have voted for Trump.

listen to him talk about any project and you can hear the over-promising, the hand-waving over uncertainties, the constant assurances that everything is going to better than you can imagine - just wait, it's all under control!

every pitch he gives sounds like he's reassuring people who have already bought units in a condo tower that is behind schedule and over budget.

so, my cure for Trumpism would be to have Trump voters pre-purchase units in the soon-to-be-developed Cleek Towers.

The only self-deprecating thing I recall Trump saying was when he mentioned that he didn't drink alcohol and added something along the lines of "Can you imagine how bad I would be if I drank?" Otherwise, it's all maintaining the façade of keen intellect, unmatched toughness, good taste (yikes!), sexual prowess, charisma, and so on. I think his parents screwed him up royally.

He also once said something like "I'm not big into introspection, maybe I wouldn't like what I found" (not an exact quote). Very unusually for him, I think there's some real truth in that.

According to Mr Laniado's friends, the only time he forgot about his lack of height was when he asked his accountant to read out his bank statement, something which he did multiple times a day.

I would never normally link to anything in the Daily Mail, which I believe to be a malign force almost as bad as Fox News (although who knows if that will change under the new editor), but this pathetic story reminded me irresistibly of Trump.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6777961/Billionaire-diamond-trader-65-dies-penis-enlargement-surgery.html

According to Mr Laniado's friends, the only time he forgot about his lack of height was when he asked his accountant to read out his bank statement, something which he did multiple times a day.

I would never normally link to anything in the Daily Mail, which I believe to be a malign force almost as bad as Fox News (although who knows if that will change under the new editor), but this pathetic story reminded me irresistibly of Trump.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6777961/Billionaire-diamond-trader-65-dies-penis-enlargement-surgery.html

Gosh, I've just watched Stacey Abrams being interviewed on C4 News, and she is extremely impressive. To hear her is to respect her, I would have thought, unless you are a dyed-in-the-wool white supremacist.

Brad Delong's "Grasping Reality" tag-line has gone through a few iterations over the years, it was initially a response to a reported Karl Rove comment from the Bush II years:

The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. "That's not the way the world really works anymore." He continued "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."
Suskind, Ron (2004-10-17). Faith, Certainty and the Presidency of George W. Bush. The New York Times Magazine.
Danner, Mark (2007). "Words in a Time of War: On Rhetoric, Truth and Power". in András Szántó. What Orwell Didn't Know: Propaganda and the New Face of American Politics (First edition ed.). Philadelphia, PA: PublicAffairs Reports. pp. 17. "... the unnamed official speaking to Suskind is widely known to be none other than the self-same architect of the aircraft-carrier moment, Karl Rove ..."
All politicians operate within an Orwellian nimbus where words don't mean what they normally mean, but Rovism posits that there is no objective, verifiable reality at all. Reality is what you say it is, ...

Rovism posits that there is no objective, verifiable reality at all. Reality is what you say it is, ...

That isn't really what Rove was saying. (What he may have meant is a different discussion.) What he said was that, by acting (NOT, note, just by saying something), we create a new reality.

Which is true, whether one is a politician or a technologist. Does anyone here doubt that the inventors of social media created a new and different reality? Does anyone doubt that the act of building and distributing cell phones didn't create a new and different reality?

That last paragraph was part of what came before it on the WikiQuotes page, not intended to be my own take on it.

However, in the context Rove was speaking of - "we're an empire now" - it seems to me that he's saying that "new reality being created" is also being controlled and shaped to specific ends, something very different from social changes over time due to technological diffusion.

"new reality being created" is also being controlled and shaped to specific ends, something very different from social changes over time due to technological diffusion.

But I think you can make a pretty strong case that, in both cases, the unintended consequences are rather larger than what those who think they are creating the new reality envisioned. Maybe better or worse, but unintended still.

Trump’s reality is an entirely grasping one...

Manafort sentenced to just under four years.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/paul-manafort-sentencing/2019/03/07/77f527b2-3e94-11e9-9361-301ffb5bd5e6_story.html

I don’t take particular issue with the sentence, other than to note the leniency apparently afforded to white collar crime versus most other forms in the US...
That the judge felt it necessary to refer to his “previously blameless life” was a bit of a shock, though. Previous to his decades of criminal activity ?

This is an article from last year, a reminder that Judge Ellis has been unusually hostile to the prosecution. He's a Reagan appointee, and 79years old. Trump has now appointed a sixth of the Federal judges, who have lifetime appointments. Another significant way in which Republicans will be leaving their ruin for generations.

As to Nigel's point about the disparity in treatment of defendants, this twitter thread by Scott Hechinger is illustrative.

“In an otherwise blameless life”....
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/03/paul-manaforts-otherwise-blamess-life-crime/584419/

When he’s buried, they will have to resuscitate Nixon’s corkscrew.

A “previously blameless life” translates to "has avoided being convicted of a crime before now". Wonder if these convictions remove that for the purposes of sentencing for his second set of charges....

Any goal to reduce CO2 emissions by the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, etc. is going to be swamped by what China, India and other developing economies do. India plans to double its coal power production in the next couple of decades.

Wrong thread... :(

India plans to double its coal power production in the next couple of decades.

Where did you get that from? There have been a lot of cancellations, so that new construction in India barely exceeds planned closures.

I saw the claim recently that India's coal power would double in the next twenty years. Perhaps it's based on the Indian government's out of date projections and not what is now likely to happen.

Perhaps it's based on the Indian government's out of date projections and not what is now likely to happen.

I hope so. Green technology is making strides - many people I know in my town are getting solar panels, and I'm looking into it too. Everyone just needs to try to get on board. We have to help create the technologies and workarounds that can be shared with developing countries. It's hard, and it's not going to be done by shrugging our shoulders and resigning ourselves to fossil fuels forever. We need to start being hopeful and innovative, just as our mythology suggests we should be.

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