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Gender: Male
Hometown: Chicago
Home country: USA
Current location: Chicago
Member since: Fri May 4, 2007, 11:12 AM
Number of posts: 4,612

Journal Archives

Strugglilng to make sense of Trump's authoritarian shit show?

This is an important work on the subject, and it's free!

Bob Altemeyer's - The Authoritarians


The feedback I’ve gotten from those who have read The Authoritarians enables me to give you the major reason why you might want to do so too. “It ties things together for me,” people have said, “You can see how so many things all fit together.” “It explains the things about conservatives that didn’t make any sense to me,” others have commented. And the one that always brings a smile to my face, “Now at last I understand my brother-in-law” (or grandmother, uncle, woman in my car pool, Congressman, etc.).

Maybe it’ll work that way for you too.

Bob Altemeyer
May, 2010

OK, what’s this book about? It’s about what’s happened to the American government lately. It’s about the disastrous decisions that government has made. It’s about the corruption that rotted the Congress. It’s about how traditional conservatism has nearly been destroyed by authoritarianism. It’s about how the “Religious Right” teamed up with amoral authoritarian leaders to push its un-democratic agenda onto the country. It’s about the United States standing at the crossroads as the next federal election approaches.

“Well,” you might be thinking, “I don’t believe any of this is true.” Or maybe, you’re thinking, “What else is new? I’ve believed this for years.” Why should a conservative, moderate, or liberal bother with this book? Why should any Republican, Independent, or Democrat click the “Whole Book” link on this page?

Because if you do, you’ll begin an easy-ride journey through some very relevant scientific studies I have done on authoritarian personalities--one that will take you a heck of a lot less time than the decades it took me. Those studies have a direct bearing on all the topics mentioned above. So if you think the first paragraph is a lot of hokum, or full of half-truths, I invite you to look at the research.

For example, take the following statement: “Once our government leaders and the authorities condemn the dangerous elements in our society, it will be the duty of every patriotic citizen to help stomp out the rot that is poisoning our country from within.” Sounds like something Hitler would say, right? Want to guess how many politicians, how many lawmakers in the United States agreed with it? Want to guess what they had in common?

Or how about a government program that persecutes political parties, or minorities, or journalists the authorities do not like, by putting them in jail, even torturing and killing them. Nobody would approve of that, right? Guess again.

Don’t think for a minute this doesn’t concern you personally. Let me ask you, as we’re passing the time here, how many ordinary people do you think an evil authority would have to order to kill you before he found someone who would, unjustly, out of sheer obedience, just because the authority said to? What sort of person is most likely to follow such an order? What kind of official is most likely to give that order, if it suited his purposes? Look at what experiments tell us, as I did.

If, on the other hand, you’re way ahead of me, and believe the extreme right-wing elements in America are poised to take it over, permanently, I think you can still get a lot from this book. The studies explain so much about these people. Yes, the research shows they are very aggressive, but why are they so hostile? Yes, experiments show they are almost totally uninfluenced by reasoning and evidence, but why are they so dogmatic? Yes, studies show the Religious Right has more than its fair share of hypocrites, from top to bottom; but why are they two-faced, and how come one face never notices the other? Yes, their leaders can give the flimsiest of excuses and even outright lies about things they’ve done wrong, but why do the rank and file believe them? What happens when authoritarian followers find the authoritarian leaders they crave and start marching together?

I think you’ll find this book “explains a lot.” Many scattered impressions about the enemies of freedom and equality become solidified by science and coherently connected here.

You think I’m pulling your leg? Click the link.

(Another) Crucial Question Trump Refuses to Answer

Over the summer, we learned that Trump's Secret Service code name is "Mogul".

Anyone care to suggest a post-inaugural code name update?

Orange Hitler?


A golden opportunity for Trump to rebrand.

Ha ha! AreYouSorryYet.com - A Collection of Regretful Trump Voters

Frightening, yet amusing to see before/after tweets from Trump-twits, as they slowly realize they've been duped.

Here are a few samples of the 'after' tweets showing buyers remorse (funnier when you see before/after juxtaposition)-

Trumps Crime Wave Cabinet Is Trying To Dodge Disclosing Conflicts Of Interest


A letter from Office of Government Ethics Director Walter Shaub is warning that the Republican Senate Majority is about to confirm Trump nominees who have not provided sufficient information or disclosed potential conflicts of interest.

What is happening is that Trump’s nominees are following the precedent established by their boss. Donald Trump didn’t disclose his medical records, tax returns, or potential conflicts of interest as a candidate, so his nominees are also not disclosing critical information about interests and activities that could pose a conflict.

Trump and his nominees are setting the stage for the most corrupt presidential administration in modern political history, but the blame does not rest solely with the ethically challenged individuals that Trump has nominated.

The majority of the blame rests with Senate Republicans who are willing to push through nominees without proper vetting and information. Republicans are giving the most corrupt president-elect potentially ever a free pass. When this all goes wrong, it will be Majority Leader McConnell and company who will be responsible.
Posted by Snarkoleptic | Sat Jan 7, 2017, 03:12 PM (5 replies)

Egads! Were not only dealing with Trumps own conflicts of interest but also his family's.


Comments by Robert Reich on Facebook (regarding the above linked article)
Egads! We’re not only dealing with Trump’s own conflicts of interest but also his family’s. Jared Kushner – Trump’s son-in-law -- is now deeply involved in steering Trump policy, deciding on appointments, and intermediating between foreign leaders and Trump. And he is on the way into the Trump White House.

But Kushner’s multi-billion-dollar real estate business is backed by foreign money and by big banks, especially Goldman Sachs. According to today's New York Times:

1. Kushner was instrumental in getting Trump to appoint Goldman Sachs president, Gary D. Cohn, as his chief economic adviser.

2. Kushner has received multiple loans from Israel’s largest bank, Bank Hapoalim – now under a Justice Department investigation into allegations that it helped wealthy Americans evade taxes.

3. Kushner is also a major borrower from Deutsche Bank, which recently reached a $7.2 billion settlement with the Justice Department over its sale of toxic mortgage securities, and remains under investigation over allegations that it disguised trades that helped Russian clients move money offshore.

4. When the Chinese ambassador to the United States called the White House in early December expressing concern that Trump spoke by phone with the president of Taiwan, the call was relayed to Kushner. At the same time, Kushner has been negotiating with Wu Xiaohui -- the chairman of China’s giant Anbang Insurance Group, with estimated assets of $285 billion and close ties to the Chinese government -- on a joint financial venture in Manhattan.

5. Several of Kushner’s foreign investors are beneficiaries of a federal program that grants two-year visas and a path to permanent residency in exchange for investments of $500,000. The program is popular with real estate developers as a cheap source of financing. But the U.S. Government Accountability Office has issued several reports raising concerns about the program’s insufficient background checks and lax safeguards against illicit financing.

How will Americans ever know whether the Trump White House is acting in the interests of America or in its own financial interests?

What do you think?
Posted by Snarkoleptic | Sat Jan 7, 2017, 03:01 PM (2 replies)

Still Supporting Donald Trump? This Message Is For You The Resistance with Keith Olbermann

Nice piece that should be shared far and wide.
Posted by Snarkoleptic | Thu Jan 5, 2017, 11:46 PM (8 replies)

Kitty Kommercial - Self Cleaning & 2016 Models Are Compatible w/ Windows

Posted by Snarkoleptic | Thu Jan 5, 2017, 09:34 AM (2 replies)

North Carolina environmental chief moves to block his own removal by new governor

Maybe the new Governor can put him in a rowboat and have him collect samples in the hog waste ponds?


A top state environmental regulator who has urged Trump to rein in the EPA and has been criticized for his lenient treatment of polluters, stepped down over the holidays — giving himself a staff position that will be protected under the new North Carolina administration.

Donald van der Vaar, former Secretary of the North Carolina State Department of Environmental Quality, will be an environmental program manager, the News and Record (Greensboro, NC) reported, a position that enjoys normal employee protections and is not subject to gubernatorial appointment.

Under Van der Vaart and McCrory, the agency has been criticized for protecting Duke Energy, the state’s largest utility, where McCrory spent decades of his career. Duke has numerous environmental violation for its storage of coal ash, including ongoing leaks, a massive 2014 spill, and drinking water contamination.

In addition, Van der Vaart has made a name for himself as an opponent of the federal EPA, sending a letter to President-elect Donald Trump in December, calling on him to give states the power to not enforce environmental regulations. (The federal Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act set baseline environmental protections. State agencies are largely tasked with ensuring those regulations are met, although many states have their own laws that go even further.)
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