The Trump Doctrine

It isn't about foreign policy, it is about self-serving manipulation of the public.

When it comes to policy, or the mechanics of governing, Donald Trump appears to be an ignoramus. Just listen to him talk to a Navy officer about steam v. electromagnetic catapults on aircraft carriers during what was ostensibly a call to support the troops for Thanksgiving (or, really, just about anything else, like, to names three:  health carewild fires, or the difference between the Balkans and the Baltic states). I honestly cannot think of a area of policy on which I have heard him speak wherein his words indicated a serious (or even superficial) understanding of the subject under discussion. I am not talking about disagreement on, say, tariffs or immigration policy. I mean that he literally does not produce any evidence that he himself understands the policy issues he professes to wish to effect in any way beyond just knowing he wants some basic outcome. His understandings are all simplistic. Want to fix illegal immigration? Build a wall! Never mind that there are ways around (and over and even through) walls. Never mind that the majority of the undocumented are visa-overstayers. Nope, forget even a modicum of complexity:  build a wall.

The same can be said for his approach to pretty much anything. It is all so simple, and really all that matters is declaring a solution (e.g., North Korea) because the actual work of policy isn’t necessary.

What Trump lacks in terms of policy acumen, he makes up for in raw political instinct. He understands, whether at a visceral level or a conscious one I cannot say, that all he needs to do is to manipulate some segment of the public to sow doubt. It is like trying to taint the jury pool.

Doug Mataconis’ post on Trump’s attacks on the federal courts fits this mold: his assertion that he is being denied justice by “Obama judges” is not about merit.  It is about further convincing his base that the courts are simply partisan actors. It is very much like his attack on Judge Curiel for being a “Mexican judge.”  It is all just part of a pattern of deliberating poisoning the jury pool so that they will have enough doubt not to convict him in the court of public opinion. He doesn’t care if this leads to lack of trust in the justice system. He gives not one whit if he is contributing to, and deepening, partisan polarization. He certainly is not concerned about truth.

His nonsense about voter fraud in Florida including the ridiculous notion that people where changing clothes in their cars and voting multiple times are recent examples of this.  While I can’t get in his head, I can’t believe he really believes any of this.  But he knows that many in the public will, and that, in turn, they will then doubt reality.

His most frequent, and perhaps most insidious, manifestation of this tactic is summed up in two words:  “fake news.”  Note the following from an interview with Leslie Stahl (emphasis mine):

At the Deadline Club Awards presentation, Woodruff asked Stahl about her November 2016 interview with Trump — his first after the election victory. Stahl described going to meet with him at Trump Tower in the months before the interview, along with one of her bosses, whom she did not name. After Trump began to unload on the news media, she said, she asked him whether he planned to stop attacking the press, which was a hallmark of his campaign.

“I said, you know that is getting tired, why are you doing this — you’re doing it over and over and it’s boring,” Stahl said. “He said you know why I do it? I do it to discredit you all and demean you all, so when you write negative stories about me no one will believe you.”

Stahl’s striking anecdote fell into a silent moment in the room. Woodruff shook her head.

“He said that,” Stahl said, raising her eyebrows. “So put that in your head for a minute.”

Some will dismiss this statement as hearsay, but the reality is that it is utterly obvious that is what he does.

He as much as admitted his position on Twitter:

This behavior is irresponsible at best, and highly dangerous at worst.

In general, there is an ongoing pattern wherein he seeks not to defend with facts or reason, but instead seeks only to deflect by sowing doubt in institutions and functions that are vital to our democracy.  He trades attempts at short-term advantage for long-term harm. Worse, many of his supporters not only fail to criticize, but instead praise this behavior.

As usual, I realize that a huge part of the audience for this post will fully agree with this assessment.  I continue to hope that some who adhere to the current administration will stop and think about what the president they support is doing and reassess their support (it is a sincere, if perhaps hopeless, desire).  Tax cuts and Justices are not worth this (or if one thinks they are worth it, then one doesn’t value our system, or even basic truth, because one is engaging fully in ends-justify-the-means logic). Dare I ask if “owning the libs” is worth being played by a demagogue? (And I know that question, while an honest one, will likely create a defensive response–but I do hope that the question will stay in the back of the minds of any Trump supporter who reads this).

At a minimum, as a student of democratic government, I feel the need to keep pointing these things out in the slim hope that someone who needs to pay attention will do so.

The only doctrine that Trump adheres to is self-aggrandizement and the truth, as well as trust in basic institutions, are ongoing causalities of the approach.

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Teve says:

    Dare I ask if “owning the libs” is worth being played by a demagogue? (And I know that question, while an honest one, will likely create a defensive response–but I do hope that the question will stay in the back of the minds of any Trump supporter who reads this).

    I just had a visual of a broke farmer, sitting in a combine harvester, chuckling to a joke Limbaugh made about Pelosi and the dumb Libtards, while plowing under his soybean field because it’s unsellable and rotting.

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  2. SenyorDave says:

    It couldn’t happen without a compliant Republican party. Let’s all give a special shout to Mitch McConnell. Is there a more disgusting politician in the last couple of decades? He is in large part responsible for Trump’s behavior. McConnell is fine with it because it maintains his power and influence. When McConnell leaves this world it will be a blessing – I’ll raise a glass of wine and celebrate.

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  3. Michael Reynolds says:

    Three years ago IIRC I stated that Trump is a ‘stupid psychopath’. He operates on impressive instincts, like a shark smelling blood. But like the shark with its tiny brain, he has only instinct, and no base of knowledge, no beliefs, no moral core. Instinct: A. Brain: F. Every single thing I’ve seen since reinforces that diagnosis. The instincts of a shark, and also the reading level and IQ.

    Trump began by completely mis-understanding how the US government works. And again: stupid. So, many of his instinctive moves have been stymied by law, by courts he has not yet bent to his will. The courts have stood up to him, as has most of the press.

    Congress has abdicated and become entirely complicit because like Trump and like Trump voters, the entire Republican party has been living a lie, professing beliefs they don’t actually hold – rule of law, respect for institutions, fiscal prudence, respect for the military, religious faith, belief in democracy, facts, simple decency – and now they are exposed for what they have long been: the party of greed, racism and misogyny.

    Of course the Trump ‘doctrine’ can be reduced to a single word: Me. How could it be anything else? There is Trump and what Trump wants, and there is nothing else. Not a single thing beyond naked self-interest. Whatever your preferred terminology, psychopath or malignant narcissist, it amounts to the same thing. Trump is not capable of empathy. It is simply impossible for him to care about other people. It’s not a choice, it’s a condition, one that cannot be cured. Trump is, to use the medical terminology, fcked up.

    I think a lot of people have had a hard time wrapping their heads around just what a sick man Trump is. It’s hard for normal people to imagine not caring about anything, anything at all, beyond themselves. It’s hard to imagine that we’ve elected a psychologically- impaired, intellectually crippled clown. But yes, that’s just what 46% of voters did, and what 42% of Americans still think is just swell.

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  4. Kathy says:

    There’s a quotation, I don’t recall it exactly, to the effect that to every problem there is a solution that is easy, obvious, and wrong.

    Unfortunately most people favor that kind of solution. Although I’d add the implementation is showy or with much symbolism.

  5. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Let me push back a little. Trump isn’t stupid, he’s ignorant. It’s not that he lacks mental capability, it’s that he thinks he has something better than working and studying and learning.

    And lest you think I’m going easy on him, I’m a lot more forgiving of stupid than I am of ignorant. Ignorance is a choice. Ignorance displays certain beliefs about the world. For instance, a belief that study and work and details are for the hired help, or maybe not even them. All that’s needed is The Show – looking good on camera.

    Sadly, it has worked pretty well for him.

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  6. Kylopod says:

    If there’s one thing that distinguishes Trump from past political leaders–including the most terrible and autocratic ones–it’s the degree of absurdity. The man is a walking cartoon character. Listening to him, it’s scarcely possible to believe he’s for real–and yet he is. He’s not a performance artist as I (and many other people) once assumed. He is quite possibly the single most ridiculous human being ever to hold significant power in the world–a clown who doesn’t know he’s a clown.

    What a lot of people get wrong is in thinking that he’s a skillful liar. He is not. He’s a compulsive liar, but his lies are utterly, pathetically unconvincing. Take for example this excerpt from an interview with Tucker Carlson:

    Well, you know, I love to read. Actually, I’m looking at a book, I’m reading a book, I’m trying to get started. Every time I do about a half a page, I get a phone call that there’s some emergency, this or that. But we’re going to see the home of Andrew Jackson today in Tennessee and I’m reading a book on Andrew Jackson. I love to read. I don’t get to read very much, Tucker, because I’m working very hard on lots of different things, including getting costs down. The costs of our country are out of control. But we have a lot of great things happening, we have a lot of tremendous things happening.

    Someone please tell me that his claim to be a voracious reader is one whit more convincing than “the dog ate my homework.”

    People don’t want to admit Trump is unconvincing because he obviously has convinced millions of people to accept his version of reality. But there’s a distinction that needs to be made here. Trump is unquestionably skillful at nurturing his cult of personality. It’s like that moment where Winston Smith’s captor forces him to believe he’s holding up a different number of fingers. Trump excels at getting his followers to believe the most ridiculous things simply through sheer power of will. It’s like he’s putting his ability to warp reality in other people’s minds to the absolute test, simply because a certain segment of the populace will believe anything he tells them. It’s not some conscious decision on his part to speak this moronically simply and childishly. He is literally incapable of communicating any other way, because he never had to before, so he never learned how. Then, too, he is protected to some degree by right-wing media which defends and amplifies his every utterance–often in a far more sophisticated manner than he’s capable. If not for them, he’d be reaching a much, much smaller audience.

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  7. Gustopher says:

    His understandings are all simplistic. Want to fix illegal immigration? Build a wall! Never mind that there are ways around (and over and even through) walls. Never mind that the majority of the undocumented are visa-overstayers. Nope, forget even a modicum of complexity: build a wall.

    Symbols are important. His goal is to cut legal and illegal migration from Latin America, and a wall on our southern border is a great symbol for that. And Trump understands symbolism.

    If the rest of the policies were effective, a great big symbolic wall would help sell it to the base, and make it clear to everyone, everywhere where we stand — the Statue of Liberty beckons towards Europe, and we have a wall to the south.

    Alas, the only thing he understands is symbols and cruelty.

    We could cut illegal immigration by working to improve conditions in Latin American “sh.thole” countries, and cracking down on employers here. People don’t leave their home unless they are desperate, and won’t come here without opportunities. Republicans could gets the Democrats on board with this, and wink to their white supremacist fellow travelers.

    Children in cages are another symbol.

    I would say that the tax cuts were also just symbolism, rather than an effective way to stimulate job growth.

    Using the largest conventional warhead, the MOAB, against ISIS… another symbol. (It was good forward planning by someone to make that bomb, so we would have a symbolic big bomb that wasn’t nuclear)

    And that’s the Trump Doctrine right there: symbolism over practical policy.

  8. mattbernius says:

    Steven wrote:

    Tax cuts and Justices are not worth this (or if one thinks they are worth it, then one doesn’t value our system, or even basic truth, because one is engaging fully in ends-justify-the-means logic).

    I have come around to the realization that far more people are “ends-justify-the-means” types than I realized. I mean, multiple evangelical leaders have essentially said essentially this (especially when it comes to conservative Justices and abortion restriction).

    I suspect that a lot of people “valued our system” so long as it was benefiting them. And the moment that stopped, then they were far more interested in getting what’s theirs than maintaining the system. That’s been a motivating thrust of the Tea Party, for example.

    Of course, I think there are a lot of Republicans who — to the degree they even think about it — believe that Trump can’t really damage the system (at least not in any long term sense). Sure he might embarrass them (to the degree they pay attention to him), but they are getting the tax cuts and deregulation that they want and it’s not like he can really hurt the country. And if certain groups lose rights or get hurt along the way, well the world is an unfair place (and it will probably only be temporary).

    And, let’s not forget, that an important part of Trump’s base are relying on “experts” who are literally paid to tell them what they want to hear (i.e. the conservative media complex). Its really telling how much of Trump’s support has dried up among conservatives who don’t primarily rely on radio or outlets like Brietbart and the Daily Caller for their income. But so long as people remain in a symbiotic relationship with media that promises them that they are the real (not to mention smart) Americans who never have to apologize for anything… then what they do is always right (and always the way the system *should* work).

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  9. @mattbernius: I agree with a good bit of this. I fully acknowledge that there are a large numbers of people who would easily support an authoritarian that did what they thought was right.

    I do think that there are still some folks out there who aren’t owning up to what they are supporting. It seems worthwhile to continually point this out, but it may be a fool’s errand.

    There are temptations to go full rant.

  10. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Dare I ask if “owning the libs” is worth being played by a demagogue?

    Answer [sadly]: “Fuck yeah it is!”

  11. Gustopher says:

    I have come around to the realization that far more people are “ends-justify-the-means” types than I realized. I mean, multiple evangelical leaders have essentially said essentially this (especially when it comes to conservative Justices and abortion restriction).

    “The ends justify the means” gets a bad rap. It depends on the ends and the means.

    If you have successfully convinced millions of people that abortion is murder, then the ends (stopping a horrific mass murder) justify almost any means. It justifies voting for Roy Moore in Alabama.

    The left doesn’t really have a cause that has the same immediate impact (global warming will kill lots of people, but indirectly and mostly somewhere else and at some illdetermined time). “Modestly higher marginal tax rates on upper income filers” is weak tea.

    “Don’t put children in cages” is a pretty compelling issue, along with “don’t support actual Nazis”, but historically there was bipartisan agreement on those.

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  12. @Gustopher:

    It depends on the ends and the means.

    Well, sure. But that is rather the point.

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I won’t go into what trump is or is not (what I think is well known, why beat a dead horse) but let me make a point that you guys have touched on tangentially at best.

    27% of Americans are bugnut crazily ignorant stupid and that translates to 47% of the voting public.

    If you can’t fix that, I’m not sure how one fixes the trump situation.

    ETA: and I know my stating that simple fact is probably not helpful, but it is still an unavoidable fact.

  14. Teve says:

    It couldn’t happen without a compliant Republican party. Let’s all give a special shout to Mitch McConnell. Is there a more disgusting politician in the last couple of decades? He is in large part responsible for Trump’s behavior. McConnell is fine with it because it maintains his power and influence. When McConnell leaves this world it will be a blessing – I’ll raise a glass of wine and celebrate.

    He is an amoral POS, besides being gross to look at or hear. And right now he’s the only person holding up prison reform that Democrats, activists, Paul Ryan and Donald Trump all agree too. Probly because he hasn’t figured out how to personally profit from alleviating the suffering.

  15. Teve says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    And lest you think I’m going easy on him, I’m a lot more forgiving of stupid than I am of ignorant. Ignorance is a choice. Ignorance displays certain beliefs about the world. For instance, a belief that study and work and details are for the hired help, or maybe not even them.

    I’m not going to strongly disagree with you here, but it can be a tangled situation. Dunning Kruger and all that. You can choose to not learn more stuff because you’re too clueless to know you need to learn more stuff. It can be an alloy of stupidity and ignorance.

  16. mattBernius says:

    @Gustopher:
    Beyond Steven’s comment, I don’t mean to suggest that “ends justify the means” is unique to a party or ideology.

    However at this moment, to Steven’s point, there are a lot of folks who have historically lectured about their belief in our system (the Constitution, etc) who have largely abandoned them.

    Of course these are also the same people who spent years complaining about Obama’s thin skinned narcissism, vacationing/golfing, and annual of the rule of law who then turned around and think Trump is just peachy.

    I think that is the part that frustrates me the most – the inability to say, yes he is everything I didn’t like about Obama, but he is advancing my interests.

    To Steven’s point, if you are going to be “ends justify the means” at least have the honest to admit it rather than go down empty whataboutism and pretending that you didn’t reverse your previously held “high moral ground” positions.

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gustopher:

    (global warming will kill lots of people, but indirectly and mostly somewhere else and at some illdetermined time).

    Global warming is an existential threat. Thinking science will save us is wishing on a unicorn. In fact if one looks at the science, it is hard to see what kind of an existence humanity might manage to survive in.

  18. Teve says:

    @Kylopod:

    . It’s not some conscious decision on his part to speak this moronically simply and childishly. He is literally incapable of communicating any other way, because he never had to before, so he never learned how.

    When the story initially came out that a former professor of Trump’s called him The Dumbest Goddam Student I Ever Had, I was skeptical in the same way I am when I occasionally pop a friend’s quote meme as a fake because I got suspicious because it was a little too good.

    But now I’m sure Professor Kelley said that.

  19. Teve says:

    I suspect that a lot of people “valued our system” so long as it was benefiting them. And the moment that stopped, then they were far more interested in getting what’s theirs than maintaining the system. That’s been a motivating thrust of the Tea Party, for example.

    The only way I can understand the initial trump support is something I was thinking, but I recently saw it online phrased more succinctly: “If you immerse yourself in pop culture, the message you get is if you’re young and tech savvy and live on the coasts then you’re invited to the party and the world is all for you. And if you’re poor and uneducated and stuck in BFE Nebraska then you’re shit out of luck. And a lot of those people in BFE said, ‘You know what? If I’m not allowed at the party, then Fuck All Y’all.'”

    I’m obviously not saying support for trump was smart, I’m saying there is an angle in which it makes emotional sense. There are plenty of studies I can point to of IQ and GPA and such that show that being poor and frustrated and hopeless kicks your higher-order logical analysis squarely in the balls.

  20. Teve says:
  21. Teve says:

    the same people who spent years complaining about Obama’s thin skinned narcissism

    If I ever develop the technology to reanimate the dead, the first thing I would do is dig up charles krauthammer, show him some footage of him whining about what a narcissist Obama was, then I’d strap him down Clockwork Orange-style and force him to watch Trump appearances until Interpol kicked the door down and dragged me off to The Hague.

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  22. Michael Reynolds says:

    @mattbernius:

    I have come around to the realization that far more people are “ends-justify-the-means” types than I realized.

    This is what so disturbed me about 2016. I’d always been a cynic when I was young, an often facile and superficial one. But later in life, especially after social media put me in direct contact with the kids I write for, and after I was dragged unwilling into public appearances, and also procreated, I chose to adopt a more benign view. I wanted to maybe allow just a bit of sincerity and optimism and generosity into the picture. I wanted to re-evaluate my dark views. I mean, aren’t we all just people? Kumbaya?

    Well. 2016 slapped that bullshit right out of me. Even as an arrogant little shit of a twenty-something with a massive chip on his shoulder I still had too much respect for the American people. Had you asked me what percentage of the population are either creeps or morons I’d have said, ‘surely it can’t total more than a quarter of people.’ Wrong, younger me, we now have the exact number. It’s 46%.

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  23. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: Sorry, but at the end of his career (and life, sadly) Charles Krauthammer was just another hack who was saying whatever the network wanted him to say for a paycheck. Untrue, illogical, nasty, mean spirited, embarrassingly false, none of that mattered. If it got him ratings, he said it.

  24. Kari Q says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I feel much the same. I’m astonished to discover that I had overestimated the entire GOP and the American people. I didn’t realize it was possible, but I did. When I thought I was being cynical, I was actually being a starry-eyed optimist.

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  25. Mister Bluster says:

    I grew up a white boy in the white suburbs. My white parents were High School educated and very white middle class in post war America. Though some of the things I heard them say in their “golden” years (70s-80s) made me wonder how I never picked up on any racial or religious prejudice that they might have been sitting on I like to think that one of the reasons that I did not end up a Nazi Youth or joining The Klan for Christ is they taught me to respect people of all colors and faiths.
    I can honestly say that I never once heard either one of them utter a disparaging word about anyone’s race or religion when I was growing up.*
    This may explain the disappointment and sorrow I’ve experienced at times when I’ve been acquainted with folks who I know have lived with generations of bigotry and intolerance only to see and hear them practice the same bias and discrimination against others who are of the wrong caste.
    Sometimes I am reminded of a song that my dead buddy John used to strum on his guitar out on the front porch in the summer too many years ago. We would pass a joint and a quart bottle of cheap beer and sing along.

    Eggheads cussing rednecks cussing
    Hippies for their hair
    Others laugh at straights who laugh at
    Freaks who laugh at squares

    Some folks hate the Whites
    Who hate the Blacks who hate the Klan
    Most of us hate anything that
    We don’t understand

    (Wasn’t much later that John shot himself in the mouth with his .22 rifle.
    He told me he was going to do it.
    I didn’t believe him.)

    *I do not count my mother’s truly demented utterances after she was diagnosed with schizophrenia when I was 8 years old in the 50s. They were out of her control.

  26. de stijl says:

    Mussolini was what he was, but dude undoubtedly had no style but chutzpah in spades – the chin jut was just a big fake macho tic, but it worked for a bit.

    Trump is just lame-ass Queens braggadocio ridin’ scrub. Wannabe Mussolini.

    BTW, train service did not get better / more efficient under Mussolini. It got markedly worse. Fascists can’t even nail the core competencies. Fascists were actually shitty at city-planning and city-management.

    Their claim to bureaucratic hyper-competence is total myth.

  27. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    Thanks for that, I’ve never heard that song before.

  28. mike shupp says:

    I do have to wonder, how are we going to preserve this era in our histories and textbooks?

    Remember, there’s a state commission that has to approve textbooks in Texas, and half the states in the country rubberstamp the list of acceptable books for their own students. So half of future American voters are unlikely to read anything beyond “Donald Trump’s administration was controversial.”

    Which might seem a bit sarcastic, but I’m of age where American history and civics texts published in the late 1950’s were new, and I recall how well they covered segregation and Jim Crow. They didn’t. Period.

    I recall how much discussion these subjects got in class back in the early 1960s. “I took basic in the south when I was drafted”, my civics teacher in Dayton Ohio told his seniors back in 1963, and shook his head. “It’s a different place.” That’s it, that’s all. Of course, television came along eventually and started to focus on the news stories adults wanted to keep away from children, but that’s another issue.

    Is the next generation of historians and educators intending to do better with the Age of Trump? Or are they going to leave it all to Facebook?

  29. de stijl says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I knew literally everyone on this song. On mic, off, the people who moved stuff, where it was recorded. The B side kinda sucks, sorry. It’s not utter trash, but just adequate at best. Boring, even.

    https://youtu.be/PhDiqew68mw

  30. de stijl says:

    Contemporaneously, same scene

    The Replacements were doing Color Me Impressed
    https://youtu.be/9_358OhIRqo

    and
    Within Your Reach
    https://youtu.be/sOPIySsXZlA

    Seriously, that’s not even remotely fair! Westerberg was the LeBron James of that then.

  31. de stijl says:

    @mike shupp:

    This was recorded in 1984 – it predicted now crazy accurately. Androgynous by The Replacements.
    https://youtu.be/f8J9WssSj7Q

    Tomorrow, who’s gonna fuss?

    This song is from 1983 by Minneapolis straight white boys. I find it astonishing. We were pretty open-minded and non-judgey in that scene, but Androgynous is just fucking stunning in it’s nonchalance. Did I mention this is from 1983?

  32. de stijl says:

    I grew up a white boy in the white suburbs.

    What a lot of folks don’t understand is that are true white ghettos. White folks can be ghetto as fuck. My folks were. Where do you think punk street kids come from?

  33. de stijl says:

    Husker Du did not give one fuck.

    Land Speed Record. Everything Falls Apart.

    Relentless.

    BTS Bob M is actually pretty norm IRL. Greg is now a chef and restaurateur.

    Back then Land Speed Record was the the fastest, hardest record ever.
    https://youtu.be/g3MehtgiKnY

  34. Ben Wolf says:

    So, a “student of democracy” is haranguing people who don’t live in a democracy for failing to be democrats. Lecturing people living in a violent, militarist, authoritarian empire for insufficient appreciation of Federalist #83, for lack of loyalty to institutions that threw them overboard thirty years ago, for just not living up to the Taylor Standard.

    Bravo.

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  35. de stijl says:

    I just learned that Lorde did a cover of Swinging Party. 1. That’s nut’s. 2. Here ’tis, judge for yourself.
    https://youtu.be/H7xxJocfV6I

    Lorde covered Swinging Party when she was 16. That is amazing and baffling – this is a straight up suicide song. I am not sure this was a good thing for a 16 yo to do.

  36. de stijl says:

    @Teve:

    I just had a visual of a broke farmer, sitting in a combine harvester, chuckling to a joke Limbaugh made about Pelosi and the dumb Libtards, while plowing under his soybean field because it’s unsellable and rotting.

    That was brutal.

  37. de stijl says:

    Big Audio Dynamite is to Mick Jones as PiL is to John Lydon
    BAD doing Rush
    https://youtu.be/-h8zs898lr4

    Public image Ltd doing Rise
    https://youtu.be/jPj-8_wOZcA

    That’s a solid brace.

  38. James Pearce says:

    In general, there is an ongoing pattern wherein he seeks not to defend with facts or reason, but instead seeks only to deflect by sowing doubt in institutions and functions that are vital to our democracy.

    Trump is an exploiter, not an innovator and he is not the only one who does this, nor is he the first, nor is he the best at it…

    If you think that police departments across the country are staffed by racist murderers or that the election was compromised by voter suppression efforts, might you also be susceptible to some demagoguery?

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  39. Michael Reynolds says:
  40. @Ben Wolf: Adopting MBunge’s rhetorical style, I see.

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  41. de stijl says:

    @James Pearce:

    What if I believe that it is much more likely than should be statistically true that white cops are likely of employing state-sponsored racial violence? What if I believe that cops are much more prone to sexual violence and exploitative behavior than your average US joe?

    Am I a victim of demagoguery? How much? Please tell me!

    I will be utterly bereft until you tell me how wrong I am!

  42. de stijl says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I called out one of our hosts on repeated, habitual vote suppression techniques ~2 years ago and what moral decision went into continuing to vote for habitual line steppers. Dude chose not to engage then which I understand and I didn’t push. Just lately he publicly bolted from the R column. As in weeks ago.

    James Pearce, supposed D, lags behind a R refusenik who hung tough longer than I thought possible for a morally aware person in acknowledging blatant and racially offensive vote suppression tactics. I’d nearly given up.

    James Pearce is a Democrat like I am a socialist. I don’t hate the concept, and in very narrow and precise circumstances, I could perhaps invision voting for that candidate over the alternative. Maybe.

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  43. Teve says:

    James Pearce is a Democrat like I am a socialist.

    James Pearce is a democrat like you’re a pink leprechaun.

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  44. James Pearce says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Link all the voter suppression articles and if it has anything to do with getting an ID or having to go to a certain place during a certain time frame, I don’t care. That’s not “voter suppression tactics.” That’s just voting.

    Down in GA, both Kemp and Abrams got over 1.9 million votes, but Kemp won by 1 percentage point. Some people look at that and see a racist conspiracy to suppress votes. And others (me) look at it and see a pretty close race that Abrams lost by a mere 50K votes. Try harder and complain less. Those 50,000 will follow.

    @de stijl:

    What if I believe that it is much more likely than should be statistically true that white cops are likely of employing state-sponsored racial violence?

    Sometimes, things that are “statistically true” aren’t “true” at all. See “Race and crime in the United States” in any encyclopedia of your choosing.

    (And, yes, I’m a bad Democrat. If I was a “good” Democrat, I’d be a terrible person, so…choices were made. Sorry.)

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  45. @James Pearce:

    I don’t care.

    That is abundantly clear as it pertains to this topic.

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  46. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Yeah, no kidding. It’s like he’s trying to channel his “inner The Q” but getting his inner Tyrell mixed in by mishap.

    ETA: @Teve: Much closer comparison. Good job!

  47. mattbernius says:

    On the road, but I wanted to share this to bring some facts to a recent topic that was brought up:

    ‘Happy’ to deny the right to vote

    Also in Wisconsin, Todd Allbaugh, 46, a staff aide to a Republican state legislator, attributed his decision to quit his job in 2015 and leave the party to what he witnessed at a Republican caucus meeting. He wrote on Facebook:

    I was in the closed Senate Republican Caucus when the final round of multiple Voter ID bills were being discussed. A handful of the GOP Senators were giddy about the ramifications and literally singled out the prospects of suppressing minority and college voters. Think about that for a minute. Elected officials planning and happy to help deny a fellow American’s constitutional right to vote in order to increase their own chances to hang onto power.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/17/us/some-republicans-acknowledge-leveraging-voter-id-laws-for-political-gain.html

    It’s pretty easy to find multiple examples of Republican law makers saying similar things about voter ID.

    You can also look into studies on photo ID ownership rates to notice certain patterns:
    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://www.projectvote.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/AMERICANS-WITH-PHOTO-ID-Research-Memo-February-2015.pdf&ved=2ahUKEwigkfaU4O3eAhVInlkKHUrrBCwQFjAAegQICBAB&usg=AOvVaw0y-1G55dq_gZlPGTpBSULI

    And let’s not forget other supressionary tactics like failing to automatically restore voting rights to felons.

    In Mississippi, 9.63% of citizens in the state are disenfranchised, or nearly 1 of every 10 adults. This rate is more than triple the national rate of disenfranchisement (2.47%), which affects 1 of every 40 American adults.

    The number of African American residents disenfranchised in Mississippi numbered 127,130 in 2016 or nearly 16% of the black electorate.

    https://www.sentencingproject.org/publications/felony-disenfranchisement-mississippi/

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  48. Michael Reynolds says:

    @James Pearce:
    IOW you don’t understand the issue. Surprising to no one.

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  49. Michael Reynolds says:

    @mattbernius:
    All irrelevant. Pearce starts with uninformed assumption and never gets beyond it. He wakes up each day knowing all he needs to know, all he will ever need to know. Rather like Trump.

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  50. de stijl says:
  51. de stijl says:

    @James Pearce:

    See “Race and crime in the United States” in any encyclopedia of your choosing.

    Your choice – go on. Provide cites.

  52. MattBernius says:

    I also failed to touch on the infrastructure issues that often seen to disproportionately effect certain populations:

    https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2018/02/15/voting-lines-are-shorter-but-mostly-for-whites?amp=1

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.vox.com/platform/amp/identities/2016/11/8/13564406/voting-lines-race-2016

    Also for extra points, that time North Carolina Republicans sent it a press release about how their efforts reduced the amount of black voters:

    https://www.vox.com/identities/2016/11/7/13552832/north-carolina-republicans-black-turnout

    Nothing to see here folks and anyone who says different is a race hustler who needs to learn to be color blind.

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  53. James Pearce says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    That is abundantly clear as it pertains to this topic.

    It’s like Giorgio Tsoukalos accused me of not caring about Gobelki Tepe because I rejected his ancient aliens hypothesis. And it’s like “I just don’t care about woo-woo explanations.”

    Let me put it this way: Almost 4 million Georgians cared enough to vote in the election and only 50K of them cared enough to vote for Kemp over Abrams. Me virtue signaling over “voter suppression” (or not…most likely not) has nothing to do with it at all.

  54. wr says:

    @James Pearce: “Let me put it this way: Almost 4 million Georgians cared enough to vote in the election and only 50K of them cared enough to vote for Kemp over Abrams. ”

    And the ones who cared enough to vote, but whose registrations were thrown out? Or whose absentee ballots were tossed because someone with no experience decided the signatures didn’t match — and who were never informed so that they could make this right? Or the million and a half people thrown off the voter rolls in the preceding years?

    Oh, wait, I know the Pearce answer — “If they cared enough they could have surmounted any obstacle.” Just like if the Jews had really objected to being murdered in death camps they would have found a way to stop it. It’s always the victim’s fault with Pearce — unless the victim is a white man, in which case we must stop everything we’re doing to help him.

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  55. Neil Hudelson says:

    Commentors post sources from Project Vote, Wikipedia, the Sentencing Project, and Pew, and Pearce describes it as “woo woo.”

    FWIW, here’s some more fuel to the fire. Reagan-appointed conservative Judge Poesner’s famous dissent in the 7th Circuit’s Voter ID case: https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1312285/posner.pdf

    I’m sure Judge Poesner is just “woo woo” though.

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  56. de stijl says:

    @James Pearce:

    Sometimes, things that are “statistically true” aren’t “true” at all.

    Please explain further.

  57. @James Pearce:

    It’s like Giorgio Tsoukalos accused me of not caring about Gobelki Tepe because I rejected his ancient aliens hypothesis.

    No. It’s not like that at all.

    You are rejecting clear evidence (and countering with none of your own). This is almost like arguing with a Flat Earther.

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  58. mattBernius says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    Commentors post sources from Project Vote, Wikipedia, the Sentencing Project, and Pew, and Pearce describes it as “woo woo.”

    Honestly, that didn’t even offend me.

    What offended me is using, by comparison, someone who is arguing for “ancient aliens” as a way to hand wave away race-based disenfranchisement despite whatever evidence is produced.

    That is the definition of white privilege at it’s ugliest.

  59. James Pearce says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    you don’t understand the issue.

    No, I disagree with the framing, relying as it does on the perfection of Democrats, the racism of (conservative) white people, and the venality of Republicans in power.

    @wr:

    And the ones who cared enough to vote, but whose registrations were thrown out?

    What makes you think they were all Democrats? Brian Kemp allegedly “purged” 1.3 million registered voters and yet Abrams only lost by 50K? That’s voter suppression?

    No, that’s a story you keep telling yourself in the hopes that someday it will be true.

  60. mattBernius says:

    @mattBernius:

    That is the definition of white privilege at it’s ugliest.

    Just to be clear, I have fallen into the same team in the past. The fact that it was patiently explained to me, versus having my front teeth forcefully removed, is a testament to my (deeply offended) friends.

    But once you see it, it’s kinda impossible to un-see.

  61. de stijl says:

    @James Pearce:

    Almost 4 million Georgians cared enough to vote in the election and only 50K of them cared enough to vote for Kemp over Abrams.

    You have to realize your premise makes no sense, yes?

  62. mattBernius says:

    @mattBernius:

    I have fallen into the same team in the past.

    Goddamn phone. That should have read, “I have fallen into the same “I am smart” TRAP in the past.”

    @de stijl:
    Yes, in closer races is actually where surpression tactics matter more.

  63. James Pearce says:

    @mattBernius:

    What offended me is using, by comparison, someone who is arguing for “ancient aliens” as a way to hand wave away race-based disenfranchisement despite whatever evidence is produced.

    Sorry you’re offended, but I “hand wave away race-based disenfranchisement” because I do not believe that is the source of Democrats’ electoral problems. I believe Democrats haven’t been winning because they’ve been pretty terrible, and people know it.

    10 years ago, did you think we’d still be in Afghanistan in 2018? Still waiting for the big infrastructure projects? Suffering a rise of white nationalism and Trumpism in the highest levels of our government? Housing and healthcare are still unaffordable. Wages still haven’t risen. It’s gloom and doom as far as you can see. Is that what you expected from a post-Obama America?

  64. de stijl says:

    @mattBernius:

    No, the amount of total votes are immaterial. The margin is immaterial.

  65. de stijl says:

    @mattBernius:

    Does the vote total or margin for Orban, or Putin, or Erdogan matter? A flawed election is fundamentally, irredeemably flawed.

  66. James Pearce says:

    @mattBernius:

    Yes, in closer races is actually where surpression tactics matter more.

    Define “suppression tactics.”

    To wit: I don’t believe voter ID requirements, voter registration, signature-matching requirements, or weird polling place locations/hours can be fairly classified as “suppression” tactics. POC have been historically maligned, yes, but accounts of their inferiority are false.

    I wonder how many POC would be willing to vote for less paternalistic Democrats who have their interests in mind.

  67. grumpy realist says:

    @James Pearce: it is when the barriers are set up unequally against different groups. Fewer voting stations, restriction of the hours when one can apply for ID, putting said offices in locations that don’t have bus routes going to them…..there are all sorts of ways that the thumb can be placed on the scale.

    If you’re someone who doesn’t worry about that or think that this presents a problem, then yeah, you are pretty much the description of a self-satisfied jerk who doesn’t want other people to have equal access to voting.

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  68. James Pearce says:

    @grumpy realist:

    putting said offices in locations that don’t have bus routes going to them

    You think white Republicans don’t ride the bus?

  69. wr says:

    @James Pearce: “What makes you think they were all Democrats? Brian Kemp allegedly “purged” 1.3 million registered voters and yet Abrams only lost by 50K? That’s voter suppression?”

    Perhaps if he hadn’t purged those voters Abrams would have won by 1.250,000 votes. Perhaps there are statistics available on exactly who the voters were who got purged, but you choose not to see them because they would prove what a mendacious fool you are choosing to be.

  70. wr says:

    @James Pearce: :You think white Republicans don’t ride the bus?”

    Yes… but they’re not generally coming from the same areas as poor blacks in Georgia, and their polling places are conveniently located on bus routes.

    Honestly, it must take huge amounts of effort to force yourself to be so willfully stupid. What’s your point?

    Oh, right. People are paying attention to you. Carry on.

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  71. de stijl says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    It’s like Giorgio Tsoukalos accused me of not caring about Gobelki Tepe because I rejected his ancient aliens hypothesis.

    No. It’s not like that at all.

    WTF is this? Seriously! WTF is this? I need to know the backstory here!

    It reminds of the time I woke Vlad Tepes up a half hour early. Oops! Sorry, Vlad!

  72. MarkedMan says:

    Unfortunately I am late to this thread and find it has been hijacked by one of our Trumpoids but I’m going to go ahead anyway and reply to something from way up in the chain.

    There was a back and forth about whether Trump was stupid or just ignorant. This an interesting question but I would contend that it is purely academic because the techniques he has used throughout his life don’t require knowledge or intelligence. They require only stupidity… on the part of the people who throw in with him. In his whole life his scam has basically been to walk into a room and announce to all that he’s the smartest, bestest, richest guy there. Any one stupid enough to believe such an obvious blowhard is his mark.

    (BTW, he’s a f*cking moron.)

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  73. de stijl says:

    Is Giorgio Tsoukalos the goofy dude with the super spiked ‘do on The History Channel? Please! Please make that be true! That would be awesome!

  74. David M says:

    Shorter James Pierce: shut up, shut up, shut UP! Attempted murder isn’t a crime

  75. de stijl says:

    @James Pearce:

    You think white Republicans don’t ride the bus?

    Generally not, but if so, they ride in the front of the bus.

  76. James Pearce says:

    @wr:

    Perhaps if he hadn’t purged those voters Abrams would have won by 1.250,000 votes.

    Is that the fantasy world I’m supposed to live in? He “purged” those voters and almost lost

    Have you seen the map? Guess what it looked like? Islands of blue in a sea of red, which is kind of what you’d expect, right? If she did better in Augusta, Savannah, and Columbus, she’d be governor right now.

    @de stijl:

    Is Giorgio Tsoukalos the goofy dude with the super spiked ‘do on The History Channel?

    That is the dude. I mention him because the ancient aliens guys are a great example of “when the narrative takes over.”

    It’s my opinion, not shared by the decent people on this blog, that the left is having a little “when the narrative takes over” moment. And what timing, too!

  77. @James Pearce:

    Sorry you’re offended, but I “hand wave away race-based disenfranchisement” because I do not believe that is the source of Democrats’ electoral problems.

    But, of course, my fundamental objection to making it harder for citizens to vote is because it makes it harder for citizens to vote. My objections are not based on the fact that it harms Democrats.

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  78. But, again, the Earth is round whether one wants it to be or not.

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  79. James Pearce says:

    @de stijl:

    Generally not, but if so, they ride in the front of the bus.

    It’s funny you say that.

    A few weeks ago, I went on vacation and visited DC, Chicago, Memphis, and New Orleans, traveling by train between cities, spending a few days in each one. It was a pretty profound experience. I stood in the exact spot MLK gave his “I Have a Dream” speech and a few days later, I stood in the spot where he was gunned down. Was it a pilgrimage? A little bit. Instead of coming up from the delta like the old blues masters I was chasing, I went the other way.

    Anyway, in Memphis, the site where MLK was murdered is now the Civil Rights Museum. It’s a very solemn but poignant place. You’ll go in there knowing some stuff, but come out with a whole bunch more*. They have a Montgomery bus display and you get on and pass a bronze Ms. Parks sitting dignified in her seat (not in the back), and as you move through the bus and approach the bus driver, also a bronze likeness, he starts barking at you, you, to get in the back of the bus.

    It scared the shit out of me.

    (* Would I recommend a visit? Nah, stay out of Memphis.)

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  80. Mister Bluster says:

    @Michael Reynolds:..you are welcome.
    Encore

  81. James Pearce says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    But, of course, my fundamental objection to making it harder for citizens to vote is because it makes it harder for citizens to vote.

    I support -100%- making it easy as possible for citizens to vote, including by mail, drop-off, or even a drone that comes to their house and scans their eyeballs.

    Ok, might have to think about that last one.

  82. @James Pearce: Except that you dismiss this issue every time it comes up.

  83. James Pearce says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Except that you dismiss this issue every time it comes up.

    I dismiss the drama and, sorry, the woo. But that’s because I accept that even in an “easy as possible” world, we’re still talking about getting IDs, matching signatures, et cetera. Still have to put enough postage on the envelope or get it down to the library. “Easy as possible” does not mean effortless.

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  84. de stijl says:

    @James Pearce:

    Was it a pilgrimage? A little bit. Instead of coming up from the delta like the old blues masters I was chasing, I went the other way.

    OMG!

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  85. de stijl says:

    @James Pearce:

    I dismiss the drama and, sorry, the woo.

    Respectfully, fuck off.

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  86. Kari Q says:

    @de stijl:

    Why are you bothering to argue with him? It’s like trying to patiently explain global warming to someone who will only respond by saying “It snowed outside. Ha! Just totally owned the lib!”

    Or a flat Earther, as Steven said.

    Facts do not matter. Statistics do not matter. Life experiences do not matter. Nothing is going to penetrate his anti-reality barrier.

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  87. MarkedMan says:

    @Kari Q: Exactly. You can never raise a troll’s IQ by arguing with him. Only lower your own.

    Pearce doesn’t care about what you say. He only cares about getting you riled up enough to say it.

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  88. grumpy realist says:

    @MarkedMan: I think Trump has fallen a bit into the Nigerian spammer mindset–he’s learned that people who are captured by his braggadocio are dumb enough to shell out for any other of his con games. Trump University, Trump Wine, Trump Steaks…..smart people would know that it’s crap.

    (How in the hell does someone running a casino go BANKRUPT?! I mean, people are WALKING IN to your establishment to THROW DOWN MONEY on the tables on the minuscule chance that they will win something!)

  89. Kylopod says:

    While we’re on the subject of flat-earthers, there’s a story (which we’ve discussed here before) about how Alfred Russell Wallace, co-discoverer of natural selection, got himself suckered into a fight with a couple of flat-earthers. The story was recounted in a Scientific American article some years ago.

    https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/rosetta-stones/wallace-8217-s-woeful-wager-how-a-founder-of-modern-biology-got-suckered-by-flat-earthers/

    As the article notes, “This new setup showed the same thing as the first: the earth was indubitably curved. No reasonable person could doubt it. Alas, Wallace was not dealing with reasonable persons. They responded in true creationist fashion: by completely refusing to deal with reality.”

    Another quote which I found pretty telling: “One of his many popular lectures on the subject converted William Carpenter, who loved the idea [of flat earth] more for its poke in the eye it gave to the scientific establishment than for reasons of biblical fealty.”

  90. MarkedMan says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Trump has fallen a bit into the Nigerian spammer mindset

    I think I’ve mentioned before the interview with an agent who investigated scams. He was asked why the Nigerian scam had never gotten better. It is full of bad grammar and it doesn’t survive even a little common sense, so surely in all these years someone would have come up with something better. He explained that in fact it had been honed to perfection, not to better convince the average person but to insure that those who responded to it were really gullible. After all, they didn’t want to invest time in people who would eventually figure it out.

    Interestingly, this appears to be Fox News’ entire business plan: present their advertisers not with the biggest audience but with one highly concentrated with gullible fools.

  91. MarkedMan says:

    @Kylopod: My god, that is perfect. The original “don’t feed the trolls*” experience. James Randi, debunker of hoaxes described a similar phenomena. Early on, when he first offered his million dollar prize to anyone who could truly demonstrate psychic powers he thought every psychic or dowser was just a scammer and a phony, but he realized the ones who took him up on his offer often really believed in their own powers. And this meant they somehow lacked the ability to process or even register evidence to the contrary. He went from a delighted glee in exposing fraudsters to a mournful sadness in realizing that at most he was going to cause a momentary confusion in a deluded individual, a confusion that would be forgotten an hour after they left.

    Then there is MarkedMan’s corollary to the “You cannot convince a troll” theorem: You cannot convince certain individuals to stop arguing with a troll. They will spend hours of their lives arguing with what is essentially a bot

    *Defining “troll” in the modern sense of “unconvince-able true believer” as opposed to those, like Guarneri and Pearce, who really don’t care about the truth or falsity of what they are saying but only seek to get a rise out of their audience. In the former case, no winner is possible, as the true believer will remain steadfastly wrong while the hopeful enlightener is doomed to fail. In the latter case, the Troll wins as soon as someone replies. The one replying can never win.

  92. CSK says:

    @grumpy realist:
    That’s a question I’ve often raised on this blog: How in hell does one go broke promoting gambling and peddling booze?

  93. Zachriel says:

    @CSK: That’s a question I’ve often raised on this blog: How in hell does one go broke promoting gambling and peddling booze?

    Nobody shows up.

  94. Kylopod says:

    @MarkedMan: There was a case involving a Holocaust survivor who took up the IHR on an offer to prove the existence of the gas chambers in Auschwitz. In that case, he won the legal and monetary battle, though the IHR still claimed vindication simply because of the publicity they received. (The story was made into a TV movie starring Leonard Nimoy, which I haven’t seen.)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mel_Mermelstein

    I tend to put Holocaust denial in its own category because it’s so utterly offensive, whereas these other crackpots are mostly just laughable. But there are similarities in the dilemma of how to properly confront them. If you’ve ever read Deborah Lipstadt’s book Denying the Holocaust, she opened her book expressing misgivings about even writing the book. She absolutely refuses to debate Holocaust deniers, and she wrote her book in such a way as to avoid giving the impression it was simply a debunking–though in some sense that’s exactly what it was. She aimed to inform the mainstream public about the movement and its history, to expose its thinly disguised anti-Semitic and fascistic agenda, and to criticize those in the media who have given it a platform. One of her central points is that just arguing with them, even if it’s to expose their lies, tends to foster the impression that they’re the “other side” in a debate. As she explains:

    The deniers long to be considered the “other” side. Engaging them in discussion makes them exactly that…. They are contemptuous of the very tools that shape any honest debate: truth and reason. Debating with them would be like trying to nail a glob of jelly to the wall.

    There comes a point in which a crackpot idea earns enough mainstream attention that there is no longer any choice but to rebut it. I think that’s definitely true of global warming denial. However much the proponents may be arguing in bad faith, they can’t simply be ignored; otherwise, the impression it’ll leave is simply that those standing up to science don’t have an answer.

    That’s why you see me engaging with the Trumpists here to some degree, even though I’m perfectly aware I’m not going to get through to them specifically. If they say something false or misleading, we should be prepared to respond, not in order to convince them, but simply to make sure their claims don’t go unanswered.

  95. Michael Reynolds says:

    @MarkedMan:

    *Defining “troll” in the modern sense of “unconvince-able true believer” as opposed to those, like Guarneri and Pearce, who really don’t care about the truth or falsity of what they are saying but only seek to get a rise out of their audience. In the former case, no winner is possible, as the true believer will remain steadfastly wrong while the hopeful enlightener is doomed to fail. In the latter case, the Troll wins as soon as someone replies. The one replying can never win.

    It’s not about convincing the troll. Nor is it about convincing the smarter commentators. There is an invisible audience of lurkers. I don’t have any idea of the number, but I’m pretty sure there are more of them than there are of us. I think it’s important to argue for the truth – the trolls would like nothing better than to be able to speak, un-contradicted.

  96. Teve says:

    Then there is MarkedMan’s corollary to the “You cannot convince a troll” theorem: You cannot convince certain individuals to stop arguing with a troll. They will spend hours of their lives arguing with what is essentially a bot

    Like the old cliché, the only way to win is not to play the game.

  97. Teve says:

    I keep going back to my experiences with creationism, because Evolution Denial and Global Warming Denial are different flavors of the same ice cream.

    One of the best things that ever happened in that arena was the creation of the Index to Creationism Claims. Literally every argument ever mustered against evolution is documented there, with references, and the scientific explanation of why it’s wrong, and notes for further reading. So you don’t have to retype responses to the same old denialist shit, just link to ones already assembled.

  98. Blue Galangal says:

    @James Pearce: In Ohio, literally all you used to have to do to vote was 1) register (could be done at the library, at the Board of Elections, when you renewed a DL – and yes, it should be the government’s job to follow up on that registration – maybe use e-Verify? – not the voter’s job to assemble 75 documents to prove who they are, any one of which can be denied by the person accepting the registration for any reason whatsoever) and 2) show up to vote.

    When you showed up to vote, you gave them your name (no need for an ID), they looked you up in a giant book, and in that book was your name, address, and recorded signature, with a space for you to sign. You signed in the space, they wrote down your ballot number, and you took your ballot and voted.

    Explain to me how this method is susceptible to voter fraud.

    Explain to me how showing a photo ID makes this method any more secure.

    Even if you managed to guess my name and address and showed up to vote as me, you still would be risking the fact that I had already voted, and you would have to match my signature on the spur of the moment with no time to practice. This method alone discourages in-person voter fraud, the incidence of which is already vanishingly small.

    Anything more than this is kabuki theater designed to suppress voting while pretending to address a nonexistent problem.

    It is no accident that the voter suppression efforts are focused on making it harder to register to vote and making it harder to prove your identity when voting (ask me about the time the voting location would not accept an unexpired passport as proof of identity because it did not have my address – the law actually did not require me to prove my address, just my identity) as well as physical barriers to voting (e.g., closing a voting spot and claiming it is because of construction and moving that sole voting spot for 15,000 people to a location outside town a mile from a bus line; in my city, there was a serious proposal to move the sole location for early voting to a similarly inaccessible place that would have required 1 3/4 hrs on the bus as well as 2 transfers, (which now cost money); fortunately the bipartisan BOE overturned this decision).

    These efforts have been shown repeatedly to be unnecessary, given the minuscule incidence of in-person voter fraud, and that they disproportionately affect poor people and people of colour/minorities is a feature, not a bug, for the Republicans.

  99. @James Pearce:

    I dismiss the drama and, sorry, the woo.

    No. No, you don’t.

    You frequently dismiss the actual issue at hand and rarely even admit there is a problem.

    You utterly ignore all evidence on the issue.

  100. Kylopod says:

    @Teve:

    Evolution Denial and Global Warming Denial are different flavors of the same ice cream.

    I’ve often described global warming denial as the elite version of creationism. There’s an asymmetric relationship between the two, because from what I’ve seen most creationists (at least the public advocates–I don’t know about the general public) also deny global warming, but not all global warming deniers are creationists. For example, George Will and Charles Krauthammer are/were deeply contemptuous of creationists, but both have questioned global warming.

    The main difference lies in the underlying motivation. There’s no particular reason why a creationist should be compelled to deny global warming. There’s nothing in the Bible addressing the issue, and it doesn’t speak to some fundamental philosophical divide like the descent of humans from non-sentient animals. Global warming denial is fundamentally a hoax perpetrated by the fossil-fuel industry, and it is their equivalent of tobacco companies that deny the link between smoking and cancer. It is a campaign of misinformation in the service of corporate profits, and the only reason creationists have gotten involved is because they’ve increasingly attached themselves to a broader right-wing, anti-science agenda that serves their own purposes, which would probably have baffled an old-school creationist like William Jennings Bryan.

  101. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    There is an invisible audience of lurkers

    You are right about the lurkers. So I’ll make my pitch on the best way to handle the common household pests, Troll Type 1 (Traditional) and Troll Type 2 (True Believer): 1) Don’t ever hit reply. It’s ok to refute their arguments, but don’t do so by hitting “Reply” or mentioning their arguments or name directly in their threads. A “for the record post” lays out the real facts, without triggering the troll to continue. It was a “known fact” in the early days of usenet that trolls frequented hundreds of groups and set up searches for when someone responded to them. If they didn’t get a response in a particular group they returned only infrequently. (And by the way, regardless of what the usenet group was about, a troll could dissolve the discussion for literally days with just one magic post: “But of course PC users are just a bunch of losers. Macs are superior.” There would be an immediate spate of “Don’t feed the troll!” replies but they never worked. And your alt.games.intfiction group (or whatever) would be useless for two days.) And 2), if they reply to your post, don’t engage any further. As I used to say to my 9 and 12 year olds when they were involved in a verbal death match over some imagined or real slight, “Go ahead, If you repeat yourself just one more time, louder than the last, he/she will finally be convinced!” This sarcasm made me feel good but of course had no effect on them…

    Frequent commenters here might challenge me and say that I often use Pearce’s name in a response, and while that’s true, I feel it is the lesser of two evils. I never respond to his “arguments” which, after all, are only designed to steer the conversation away from anything negative about Trump and into negative things about Democrats or Liberals or Progressives. But because he pretends to be a “disaffected liberal” I point his charade out. Otherwise people might get drawn into his BS simply because he makes statements that superficially resemble things that might really be discussed in those groups.

  102. Michael Reynolds says:

    @MarkedMan:

    So I’ll make my pitch on the best way to handle the common household pests, Troll Type 1 (Traditional) and Troll Type 2 (True Believer): 1) Don’t ever hit reply. It’s ok to refute their arguments, but don’t do so by hitting “Reply” or mentioning their arguments or name directly in their threads.

    Oooh, I like that. Smart.

  103. MarkedMan says:

    On a lighter trollish note, here’s one of Ken M’s greatest hits. Ken is the greatest internet troll of all time.

    From the comment section of a Good Housekeeping article “A Tastier – and Prettier! – Alternative to Baked Potatoes”

    Ken M: also you get more vitamin if you eat the shell

    Big Voice: It’s called the skin……….potatoes have skins.

    Ken M: technically a shell cause potatoes are in the peanut family

    Matt: No Ken you need to stop smoking what ever your smoking there buddy

    Ken M: then how come potato is latin for king of the peanuts?

    OK, another one:

    from an AP article titled “Eclipse season on Mars, so Curiosity took photos”

    Ken M: The Rover would be wise to refrain from sight-seeing and stick to its job

    Chris: Sight-seeing is it’s job

    Ken M: It can do that on it’s own time – every minute there costs billions of MY tax dollars

    Thacransta: you are an idiot THE WHOLE POINT OF EVERY MISSION TO MARS IS TO SIGHT SEE #$%$

    Ken M: well it must be nice to be paid to be a tourist when the rest of us are busting our butts on earth

  104. Teve says:

    @MarkedMan:

    There would be an immediate spate of “Don’t feed the troll!” replies but they never worked.

    Indeed. Not once, in history. More people have washed their rental car.

  105. Teve says:

    And your alt.games.intfiction group (or whatever) would be useless for two days.)

    The message board I help at, we fixed that with a dedicated thread called The Bathroom Wall. If you were a troll derailing a thread your posts got kicked there. And people could respond, and the trollfest could continue without Freeze Peach whining, but it was excised from the discussion. Worked really well.

  106. Teve says:

    @MarkedMan:

    But because he pretends to be a “disaffected liberal” I point his charade out.

    He does a terrible job of hiding the racism, though.

  107. Teve says:

    @MarkedMan: Ken M is the LeBron James of trolling.

  108. Teve says:

    @Teve:

    He does a terrible job of hiding the racism, though.

    But what if Pearce is a Meta-Troll, and he pretends to be a racist numbnut pretending to be a disaffected Dem‽‽‽ So when the racism slips out, it’s deliberate, like when Robert Downey Jr.’s character Kirk Lazarus’s character Lincoln Osiris’s black accent slips, it turns to Lazarus’s australian accent?

    😮

  109. MarkedMan says:

    @Teve: FWIW, I think he let his persona slip so many times in the past few months that he’s not really making much of an effort in the masquerade department. His heart just doesn’t seem to be in it anymore

  110. gVOR08 says:

    @Kylopod:

    There’s no particular reason why a creationist should be compelled to deny global warming. There’s nothing in the Bible addressing the issue, and it doesn’t speak to some fundamental philosophical divide like the descent of humans from non-sentient animals. Global warming denial is fundamentally a hoax perpetrated by the fossil-fuel industry, and it is their equivalent of tobacco companies that deny the link between smoking and cancer.

    There seems to have been a certain amount of continuity of organizations and people starting with the tobacco wars, through Creationism, and on to AGW denial. Creationism may have been relatively slim pickings, but still a living.

    As for Will and Krauthammer, I think Will was too late for tobacco and there wasn’t enough money in creationism. Chuckles the same, plus he seemed to have dropped AGW denial some years before he died, realizing it might prove harmful to his “intelligent” brand.

  111. James Pearce says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    You frequently dismiss the actual issue at hand and rarely even admit there is a problem.

    Yeah, because “the problem” from my point of view is a political party lying to itself about why Democrats are basically unelectable in certain parts of this country. To some, it can be explained in one word: Racism. I find that unconvincing and suspect the phenomena deserves a more complicated answer.

    Surprisingly, being called a flat-earther and a racist do not actually dissuade me from that view.

    @MarkedMan:

    Don’t ever hit reply.

    Also, don’t disparage me by name. Also, don’t tell me to fuck off. Hell, there’s a lot of things you guys shouldn’t ever do…

  112. Teve says:

    Crank magnetism

    “”A sovereign citizen, a creationist, an anti-vaxxer, and a conspiracy theorist walk into a bar. He orders a drink.

    Crank magnetism is the condition where people become attracted to multiple crank ideas at the same time. Crank magnetism also denotes the tendency — even for otherwise “lone issue” cranks — to accumulate more crank beliefs over time. You know that old saying about not being so open-minded that your brain falls out? People with crank magnetism didn’t pay attention to that.

    The physiologist and blogger Mark Hoofnagle, writing in the Denialism blog in 2007, coined the term “crank magnetism” to describe the propensity of cranks to hold multiple irrational, unsupported or ludicrous beliefs that are often unrelated to one another, referring to William Dembski endorsing both a Holocaust denier and one of Peter Duesberg’s non-HIV weird theories.[1] Blogger Luke Scientiæ has commented on the relationship between the number of unrelated claims that magnetic cranks make and the extent of their open hostility to science.[2] He has also coined the phrase “magnetic hoax” in relation to hoax claims that attract multiple crank interpretations.[3]

    Examples

    “”Kosher Food does not have any GMO in it?? Interesting isn’t it.
    —Upvoted YouTube commenter “Zyzyzx Zyzer”[4]

    Take your average tax protester in the United States. There’s a very good chance such a person will also be one or more, or possibly all of the following: a Christian fundamentalist, a white nationalist, an anti-Semite, a neo-Confederate, a sovereign citizen, a conspiracy theorist, a birther, a teabagger, a creationist, a climate change denier, a gun nut, an MRA, a Randroid, an Austrian schooler, a gold standard advocate, a homophobe…

    https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Crank_magnetism

  113. @James Pearce:

    Yeah, because “the problem” from my point of view is a political party lying to itself about why Democrats are basically unelectable in certain parts of this country. To some, it can be explained in one word: Racism. I find that unconvincing and suspect the phenomena deserves a more complicated answer.

    Let me try one more time: you have been presented evidence, quite a lot of it, about the effects of voter ID laws and various other policy choices regarding voting. That these rules make it harder for some citizens to vote ought to at least be addressed more than calling it “woo.”

    At its foundation this is not a a problem for Democrats, it is a problem for individual Americans. In other words, as I have noted, I write about this because it affects the quality of American democracy and because it adversely affects, more frequently than not, vulnerable populations.

    It becomes a partisan issue because the policies in question are being put into place by one party in a way that predominantly affect voters for the other party (and we have even provided evidence of some politicians saying that was their motivation). This is bad for democracy–one party should not be pushing policies that will have the effect of suppressing the votes of the other party–especially to solve nonexistent problems.

    You dismiss all of this.

    If you don’t want to be compared to a flat-earther, don’t act like one.

    I, personally, have never accused you of being racist. I will say that you certainly come across as defending policies that have racist effects. You sound like someone who defends segregated schools as just a natural outcome of zoning and, after all, if the parents of black kids want better schools, they could always move or send their kids to private schools without acknowledging the fact that while that might work for some families, the reality is that it is impossible for the broader population.

    If you want to actually talk about evidence, I remain open to the discussion. However, if you are going to continue to simply be dismissive, I see no point in furthering the conversation now or in the future.

  114. mattbernius says:

    @James Pearce:

    Yeah, because “the problem” from my point of view is a political party lying to itself about why Democrats are basically unelectable in certain parts of this country.

    Call. Serious James, call. Point out ANYWHERE in ANYTHING that ANY OF US WROTE that is advancing this argument.

    Because you keep writing this and I don’t see it anywhere.

    Seriously, where is anyone, beyond you, saying this?

    And extra points for “if minorities wanted it bad enough, they’d find a way to vote regardless of the documented restrictions.” I mean, why did we bother to do away with poll taxes and voting tests? If someone wanted to vote, they should be willing to pay and study. I totally get how arguing for equivalent conditions is coddling those lazy minorities.

    And you’re right, the fact that nearly 16% of the black electorate is Mississippi is permanently disenfranchised for committing a crime will have absolutely no effect on the upcoming runoff. I mean, they shouldn’t have broken the law if they wanted to vote, right (of course almost all other states re-enfranchise felons after they successfully complete their sentences).

  115. mattbernius says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    At its foundation this is not a a problem for Democrats, it is a problem for individual Americans. In other words, as I have noted, I write about this because it affects the quality of American democracy and because it adversely affects, more frequently than not, vulnerable populations.

    This! So this!

    I’m not arguing for improving voting rights (or criminal justice) because I want democrats to win. I am working for these changes (with conservative groups at times) because these are things that are important for a healthy, representative democracy.

    Which gets to the “piss me off” portion of James’ “democrats don’t deserve to win unless they are perfect.” The reality is elections have profound implications for at-risk and under-represented communities. And the more I work with and within these communities the more striking this becomes. And having a more conservative government in place rarely goes well for those communities (especially when said governments actively work to remove political power from said communities — see documentation above).

    I, personally, have never accused you of being racist. I will say that you certainly come across as defending policies that have racist effects. You sound like someone who defends segregated schools as just a natural outcome of zoning and, after all, if the parents of black kids want better schools, they could always move or send their kids to private schools without acknowledging the fact that while that might work for some families, the reality is that it is impossible for the broader population.

    This is such a common trap for liberals. I have seen this argument advance over and over again in some of the most liberal institutions one can imagine. It’s a huge blind-spot and one that is one key marker of a certain type of privilege.

  116. Kylopod says:

    @Teve: Phillip E. Johnson, the godfather of the intelligent-design movement, is also a proponent of Peter Duesberg’s HIV theories.

    I’ve only personally talked to one person who’s into Duesberg, a libertarian friend of mine who’s also a 9/11 conspiracy theorist.

    I confess I’ve always been more than a bit baffled by the motive and agenda behind Duesbergism, defined as the theory that HIV doesn’t lead to AIDS. My reaction is: Let’s say that’s somehow true. So what? What’s the point? What does that even mean? My best guess is there’s some homophobia in there somewhere. But it’s almost like the theory exists simply because of a compulsion to question the conclusions of the scientific establishment, and that the deniers will gravitate toward just about any notion as long as it’s unorthodox. (I’ve definitely seen that when it comes to people who are into medical quack cures.)