Saturday, August 19, 2017

Sorry, Mitt, But Señor Trumpanzee Is The Circei Lannister Of American Politics


There was a moment during a recent episode of Game of Thrones where Cercei Lannister tells her brother/lover Jamie that she's pregnant with his baby. He asks who she will say the father is. Cercei, having grabbed the crown from her dead son's head and put it on her own, says "you." Jamie says something to the effect of "the people won't like that" and Cercei responds by asking him to remember what their father thought of "the people," basically what many authoritarians with their kind of personality disorder think: "The lion doesn't worry about what the sheep think." And for an ignorant sociopath like Trump, that includes Lindsey Graham, John McCain, Bob Corker, Jeff Flake, Jerry Moran, Marco Rubio... even Miss McConnell-- enough Republican senators to sink his agenda and make the rest of his term a living hell.

Yesterday, on his Facebook page, Mitt Romney, posted a call for Señor Trumpanzee to apologize to the nation for his behavior regarding Charlottesville.
I will dispense for now from discussion of the moral character of the president's Charlottesville statements. Whether he intended to or not, what he communicated caused racists to rejoice, minorities to weep, and the vast heart of America to mourn. His apologists strain to explain that he didn't mean what we heard. But what we heard is now the reality, and unless it is addressed by the president as such, with unprecedented candor and strength, there may commence an unraveling of our national fabric.

The leaders of our branches of military service have spoken immediately and forcefully, repudiating the implications of the president's words. Why? In part because the morale and commitment of our forces--made up and sustained by men and women of all races--could be in the balance. Our allies around the world are stunned and our enemies celebrate; America's ability to help secure a peaceful and prosperous world is diminished. And who would want to come to the aid of a country they perceive as racist if ever the need were to arise, as it did after 9/11?

In homes across the nation, children are asking their parents what this means. Jews, blacks, Hispanics, Muslims are as much a part of America as whites and Protestants. But today they wonder. Where might this lead? To bitterness and tears, or perhaps to anger and violence?

The potential consequences are severe in the extreme. Accordingly, the president must take remedial action in the extreme. He should address the American people, acknowledge that he was wrong, apologize. State forcefully and unequivocally that racists are 100% to blame for the murder and violence in Charlottesville. Testify that there is no conceivable comparison or moral equivalency between the Nazis-- who brutally murdered millions of Jews and who hundreds of thousands of Americans gave their lives to defeat--and the counter-protestors who were outraged to see fools parading the Nazi flag, Nazi armband and Nazi salute. And once and for all, he must definitively repudiate the support of David Duke and his ilk and call for every American to banish racists and haters from any and every association.

This is a defining moment for President Trump. But much more than that, it is a moment that will define America in the hearts of our children. They are watching, our soldiers are watching, the world is watching. Mr. President, act now for the good of the country.
Olga Khazan, writing for The Atlantic Thursday, look a look into the dark minds of the folks in Charlottesville who waved Nazi insignia and chanted anti-Jewish slogans but who Señor Trumpanzee said weren’t all nefarious-- some "were very fine people." The Republican party doesn't want to acknowledge that this isn't just Trump's base of support; it's what Fox News has created for all of them. "A psychology paper put out just last week by Patrick Forscher of the University of Arkansas and Nour Kteily of Northwestern University," wrote Khazan, "seeks to answer the question of just what, exactly, it is that the alt-right believes. What differentiates them from the average American?"
For the paper, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, Forscher and Kteily recruited 447 self-proclaimed members of the alt-right online and gave them a series of surveys. How did they know these people were really “alt-right?” The individuals responded to questions like, “What are your thoughts when people claim the alt-right is racist?” with statements like:
“If it were not for Europeans, there would be nothing but the third world. Racist really needs defined. Is it racist to not want your community flooded with 3,000 low IQ blacks from the Congo? I would suggest almost everyone would not. It is not racist to want to live among your own ... Through media [the Jews] lie about the Holohoax, and the slave trade. Jews were the slave traders, not Europeans ... many people don't even understand these simple things.”
The researchers compared the responses of the alt-right people to a sample of people who did not identify as alt-right. What they found paints a dark picture of a group that feels white people are disadvantaged. They are eager to take action to boost whites’ standing. What’s more, they appear to view other religious and ethnic groups as subhuman.

Importantly, the study authors did not find that economic anxiety was driving the alt-right’s sentiments, debunking a popular theory in the wake of the 2016 election. “Alt-right supporters were more optimistic about the current and future states of the economy than non-supporters,” they write.

 But there were key ways that the alt-right participants differed from the comparison group. The alt-right members trusted “‘alternative’ media” such as Breitbart and Fox more than mainstream outlets. They were much more likely to have a “social-dominance orientation,” or the desire that there be a hierarchy among groups in society.

One can easily guess who they want at the top of this hierarchy. The alt-right participants were more likely to think men, whites, Republicans, and the alt-right themselves were discriminated against, while minorities and women were not. This is in line with past research showing that white supremacists have a victimhood mentality, in which they consider whites to be the real oppressed people of American society.

In this study, the alt-right members were much more likely to be willing to express prejudice, to engage in offensive behavior and harassment, and to oppose Black Lives Matter. And here’s the scariest part. The researchers showed the participants the below scale, which psychologists use to ask people how “evolved” various groups are. A score of zero puts them closer to the ape-like figure on the left, while a 100 is the fully evolved human on the right. It’s a scale, in other words, of dehumanization.

The alt-right members were much more likely to consider groups they see as their opponents-- people like Muslims, Mexicans, blacks, journalists, Democrats, and feminists-- to be less evolved than they are. “If we translate the alt-right and non-alt-right ratings into their corresponding ascent silhouettes, this means that our alt-right sample saw religious, national, and political opposition groups as a full silhouette less evolved than the non-alt-right sample,” the authors write.

Vox’s Brian Resnick further breaks down the data here:
On average, they rated Muslims at a 55.4 (again, out of 100), Democrats at 60.4, black people at 64.7, Mexicans at 67.7, journalists at 58.6, Jews at 73, and feminists at 57. These groups appear as subhumans to those taking the survey. And what about white people? They were scored at a noble 91.8. (You can look through all the data here.)

The comparison group, on the other hand, scored all these groups in the 80s or 90s on average. (In science terms, the alt-righters were nearly a full standard deviation more extreme in their responses than the comparison group.)

“If you look at the mean dehumanization scores, they’re about at the level to the degree people in the United States dehumanize ISIS,” Forscher says. “The reason why I find that so astonishing is that we’re engaged in violent conflict with ISIS.”
Forscher and Kteily also found there were two distinct subgroups in their sample of alt-righters. Some were “populists,” who were concerned about government corruption and were less extremist. The more extreme and racist among them, meanwhile, were the “supremacists.” The authors speculate that people who start out as populists might become radicalized into the supremacist camp as they meet more alt-righters.

This study, once it is peer-reviewed, may have broad implications for the fight against hate groups-- and for psychology itself. As the authors note, modern psychology studies mostly focus on implicit bias-- the internal racism that most people don’t outwardly express. They might be, say, slower to associate “professor” with a picture of an African-American person, but they’re not grabbing torches and heading to rallies. Perhaps psychologists simply thought society had progressed to the point where overt racism is so rare as to be difficult to measure. But this study shows that hundreds of actual, proud racists can be easily recruited online for a study for the low price of $3.

The authors of this paper write that “blatant intergroup bias has by no means disappeared.” It’s something the events in Charlottesville revealed all too vividly last weekend.

Friday, Señor Trumpanzee lost his entire Committee On The Arts And Humanities in one swell swoop. (I can't believe Chuck Close and Kal Penn were ever on a Trump committee!) With the exception of honorary chairman Melania Trump and, inexplicably, George Wolfe of Angeles in America fame the whole committee resigned. Those are going to be some lonely meetings. If you put together the first letter of each paragraph in their letter below, you'll notice it spells out RESIST and you'll get an idea about why it's an arts and humanities council and not a business council, which also disbanded itself-- although Trumpanzee tried to claim he disbanded it... another of his silly, gratuitous, childish, churlish lies.

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At 8:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, but the drumpfsterfire is more joffrey than cercei. He's a hateful despicable little skidmark of a hominid born into wealth and power with not a single redeeming human quality.

The drumpfsterfire just has not been poisoned yet. If art imitates life, maybe soon. He'll have to divorce his wife and marry his daughter... or sarah palin. maybe then. could happen.

If you are searching for the parallel to cercei, it's probably pence.


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