Living in a tin can.

Why I Have Given Up on Trumpism By Roger Kimball – “One factor was the increasingly surreal commentary that surrounds the whole enterprise of Trumpism. I have found that many of those discussing it would say the most bizarre things.

There are leaders who promulgate -isms or “doctrines.” The so-called Brezhnev Doctrine, for example, articulated a Soviet policy of tenacity when it came to conquered territory: no territory once brought under the Soviet sphere was to be allowed to leave the Soviet sphere. Pundits discerned in Ronald Reagan’s anti-Soviet policies the lineaments of a “Reagan Doctrine,” but I do not know that Reagan ever articulated it as such.

But when it comes to Donald Trump, pragmatism overwhelms ideology. Which is why I believe that there no such thing as “Trumpism.” Its putative author is constitutionally averse to the spirit that would give substance to the -ism.

Trump’s chief of staff John Kelly was onto something essential about his boss when, in his powerful press conference last month, he observed that Trump’s agenda was “what’s good for America.” That is to say, he has no “agenda” as that term is often used, i.e., no set of hidden or ulterior motives for his policies. He simply wants to pursue initiatives that are good for the country: policies that will “make America great again.”

From One Frenzy to the Next By Victor Davis Hanson – “Frenzy is almost a living, breathing monster. It moves from host to host, fueled by rumor, gossip, and self-righteous furor.

The Greeks knew well of the transitory nature of these mass panics. They claimed such fits were inspired by the Maniae, the three daughters of Night who were the goddesses of insanity, madness, and crazed frenzy. We’ve seen all three of them in action throughout the past year.

Pundits and talking heads without evidence echoed each other with ever more preposterous charges.

We were lectured at the height of the collusion frenzy that Trump would be 1) impeached, 2) removed by the emoluments clause, 3) forced to resign under the 25th Amendment, or 4) simply quit in shame.

The font of this 24/7 hysteria was the Clinton campaign’s purchase of a leaked smear job from an opposition research firm, which in turn had hired a disreputable former British intelligence agent, who had paid for concocted Russian slanders designed to disrupt an election.

As the collective furor grew, the net widened. More stories, but from 10, 20, 30, and 40 years past, surfaced—calibrated to the current celebrity or perceived visibility of the perpetrator.

As in the case of the other hysterias, such collective fits cool when they begin to snare the supposedly exempt

Human nature is prone to a herd mentality and the politics of excess. Groupthink offers a sense of belonging and reinforcement to most people.

In all these hysterias and frenzies, caution and moderation become proof of complicity.

History is full of such frenzies—the stasis on Corcyra, the Spanish Inquisition, the Committee of Public Safety, or the strange career of Joe McCarthy. They all can start over some legitimate grievance and all can quickly turn manic. And as we play each fit out, expect the madness to come full circle as it always does, when the spell wears off and 51 percent of people finally revolt at the very thought of tearing down Washington’s statue, or lumping together a criminal rapist with a loudmouthed sexist of 20 years past, or envisioning a multimillionaire spoiled, has-been quarterback as the next Jackie Robinson—or treating a fake-news smear document as if it were the New Testament.

President Trump has made 1,628 false or misleading claims over 298 days By Glenn Kessler, Meg Kelly and Nicole Lewis – “Trump’s most repeated claim, uttered 60 times, was some variation of the statement that the Affordable Care Act is dying and “essentially dead.” The story does more to show just how obsessed the authors are about Trump than it says about Trump … unless you’re in the anti-Trump denial camp. It would be interesting to see a comparison of Presidents using the same criteria, attitude, and perceptional bias that Kessler et al are using to judge Trump. Media stars, like Rather and Williams, might be in the study as well for a referent.

Praying for a Sessions Write-In Candidacy by Ben Shapiro – “If you say you don’t have enough evidence to make a judgment, you are judging Moore’s accusers to be not credible.” This one is good to examine for it’s flaws and that is important because flaws in the arguments are telling and critical in the Moore scandal. A first flaw is in the title. The author has an axe to grind. Another flaw is that Shapiro does not note critical differences between the accuser’s stories. Another is the attempt to simplify the issue by asserting that only certain, defined, resolutions exist. Hyperbole and exaggeration in accusation, social context then and now, what was done to surface the accusations, the selective outrage, and the sloppy use of language are all factors as well.

Did you hear about that candidate stalking young women? No… the other one by Jazz Shaw provides an example for comparison and contrast that puts the Moore scandal hyperbole and outrage in context.

Harvey Weinstein? Roy Moore? What About the Crimes of Bill Clinton and Robert Byrd? By Dov Fischer – “In this new time warp, are there not aspects of bewilderment juxtaposed amid all these unwanted-sex accusations dating back 30 and 40 years?”

And yet the allegation of the 14-year-old who asseverates that she was intimate with a Moore over 30 raises its own questions.

It is unclear whether or why some people claim things that never happened.

It turns out that sometimes people make false accusations, even placing their own morals and lifetime reputations into public disdain. But there are more questions:

The net neutrality boomerang comes full circle by Bret Swanson – “Last week, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) fulfilled a prophecy of net neutrality critics.

From the start, one of net neutrality’s big conceptual problems was that it was not neutral — legally, technically, or economically. Its advocates insisted it should apply only to one portion of the internet and only one type of firm: those that delivered broadband connectivity in the “last mile.” But the very nature of a sprawling, dynamic, hyperconnected internet made the possibility of neatly segregating these firms unlikely.

A tale of 2 US delegations at climate talks By Conor Finnegan Stephanie Ebbs – “While the world meets in Bonn, Germany, to hammer out the final details of the historic Paris climate accord and lay the path forward on combating climate change, there may be some confusion over who speaks for America.” The fact is that there should be no question about who speaks for America and that those who participate in this usurpation of the properly elected government need to consider the implications of their actions for anarchy, especially when their rationale is based on deceit and dishonesty.

Skepticism ‘requires high cognitive ability, strong motivation to be rational’ by Anthony Watts – “Stephan Lewandowsky tried to make climate skeptics look stupid (by not even bothering to sample them, but impugning their beliefs as irrational from out of population samples), this study turns the tables on his execrable work and suggests that climate skeptics are both analytical and rational.”

The article notes that despite a century of better educational opportunities and increased intelligence scores in the U.S. population, unfounded beliefs remain pervasive in contemporary society.

Epistemic rationality: Skepticism toward unfounded beliefs requires sufficient cognitive ability and motivation to be rational

Arabella’s Gift… by sundance – “The most notable aspect amid President Trump’s granddaughter Arabella delivering a folk song in native Mandarin wasn’t the song itself, it was the response from Madame Peng Liyaun, the wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

If you have followed the foreign policy pattern of President Trump you immediately recognize he does not restrain himself to DC political customs or DC political norms. Indeed as Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi optimistically noted, President Trump can accomplish many things because he brings a unique perspective to the world of policy and diplomatic engagement. Later al-Sisi repeated: “He Can Do The Impossible“.

America’s warrior-monk: Right man at the right place at the right time By Russ Vaughn – “Army veteran David Brown was visiting the graves of fallen friends in Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans’ Day when he spotted a lone but familiar figure

That other visitor was secretary of defense James Mattis, a retired four-star Marine general.

… he watched Mattis “listen patiently to stories from surviving friends and family members. An old man visiting his Marine son’s grave told Mattis that he was his boy’s hero; the Warrior Monk smiled sadly and said that the old man’s son was one of his.”

That put a lump in the throat of this old Vietnam vet, and I silently thanked Donald Trump for selecting this tough but eloquent warrior to lead our military forces. In my 76 years, I have never heard a similar vignette about any other SecDef. This one is, in my opinion, most assuredly, the right man in the right place at the right time.

Why do people do what they do? Why have so many allowed aberrant behavior to escape? Why can’t they see?

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