A little Sunday morning despair


High on my list of evidences that it’s all the media’s fault: that Tim Pool, a shallow, incompetent hack has gotten incredibly wealthy off of YouTube’s inscrutable algorithm.

It’s not just Pool and YouTube, though. I see the entire lineup of commentators on Fox News, FaceBook’s bizarre promotion of quackery everywhere, and the rise of 4chan (or whatever they call it nowadays) and its enabling of conspiracy theories. It’s everywhere. The entire damn country is soaking in a cesspool full of idiots bobbing at the top, and there are no checks on them anywhere. The only checks they see is the money billionaires sow to fuel a chaos they can profit from.

Comments

  1. James Fehlinger says

    The entire damn country is soaking in a cesspool full of idiots
    bobbing at the top, and there are no checks on them anywhere.

    Alas, there is no “Standard Model” of Truth.

    There was a (what struck me, anyway, as a) remarkably naive
    article about this the other day in the New York Times.
    In what clueless universe or academic bubble are “social workers,
    school counselors and teachers, mental health experts and religious leaders”
    assumed to be less irrational than any other denizen of social media
    these days?

    https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/05/opinion/jan-6-domestic-extremism.html
    ++++
    America’s Most Urgent Threat Now Comes From Within
    Jan. 5, 2022
    By Cynthia Miller-Idriss

    Ms. Miller-Idriss is director of the Polarization and Extremism Research
    and Innovation Lab at American University.

    . . .

    Because extremist ideas are no longer limited to an isolated,
    lone-wolf fringe, the United States should focus less on isolating
    and containing a few bad cells and more on reducing the fertile
    ground in which anti-democratic and violent extremist ideologies
    thrive. It needs a public health approach to preventing violent
    extremism.

    This means that federal, state and local governments should invest in
    and promote digital and media literacy programs, civic education
    and other efforts to strengthen democratic norms and values.
    American leaders should lead by example in rejecting disinformation,
    propaganda, online manipulation and conspiracy theories. It’s not an
    easy fix. . .

    No one wants the federal government to police people’s beliefs.
    But the U.S. government’s focus on using conventional counterterrorism tools
    fails to account for the generally unchecked spread of disinformation
    and conspiracy theories, propaganda targeting racial and religious minorities
    and the increasing dehumanization of those with whom one disagrees.
    These are important precursors to violence. . .

    Many of the Americans who stormed the Capitol last year were immersed
    in a universe of disinformation that convinced them that they were heroes
    acting to save democracy.

    Some of them later expressed regret for their actions and shame about
    how easily they had been manipulated. “He now realizes he was duped into
    these mistaken beliefs” about a stolen election, a lawyer for
    Dominic Pezzola, who is alleged to have been a member of the Proud Boys,
    explained.

    A public health approach to preventing violent extremism would shift
    prevention work away from security and intelligence experts — away from
    wiretaps and cultivated informants — and toward social workers,
    school counselors and teachers, mental health experts and religious leaders
    to focus on social support and democratic resilience.

    In a world where America embraced such an approach, Mr. Pezzola’s life
    would look very different. First, because he would have been taught in
    school or through programs in sports clubs or faith communities to
    recognize disinformation, he’d be less susceptible to claims about a
    stolen election. Were he to flirt with these claims and mention them
    to a family member or friend, the relative or friend would know how
    to get help — just as many do today for difficult issues such as
    suicidal ideation and substance addiction. There would be dedicated resources,
    like a toll-free support line or gatherings akin to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings,
    that could offer counseling and intervention support to discourage him from
    radicalization. . .

    No approach can totally prevent radicalization, but a more holistic one is
    better suited to defend against mainstream extremism.

    This model would be similar to the post-World War II German approach known
    as defensive democracy, premised on the idea that the best way to
    reduce insider extremist threats is to strengthen mainstream society
    against them. [Yeah, and how well has that worked?] . . .

    The United States has made some encouraging moves on this front, but more
    needs to be done: The Department of Homeland Security doubled its budget
    for programs aimed at preventing radicalization to violence. The Defense Department
    held a militarywide stand-down to train everyone in the military on the threat
    of domestic extremism. And in June the Biden administration released the
    first national strategy to combat domestic terrorism. It makes broad leaps
    in recognizing the role of public health-style prevention, the need for
    gun control and the need to combat racism as parts of this approach. . .
    ++++

    Excuse me, what planet are we on today? :-0

    “So what did the judge make you do?”

    “He said I had to submit myself to a course of QAnon deprogramming.”

  2. F.O. says

    Not only in the US.

    I seem to circle back to blaming the media every time I think about the ills of our society.

    Billionaires certainly put a lot of money into influencing media and culture, but I’m not even sure about the extent that they need to do it, it seems like the greed of media executives to create engagement is all that is needed.

    But the problem remains: people will make choices according to the information they’re given, and when this information is geared towards extracting money, the whole system is not any more compatible with a functioning democracy.

    This would be terrible in a society where people are aggressively taught critical thinking, but with state education unwilling to teach even the most basic of the subject we’re completely at the mercy of anyone with a large enough megaphone.

  3. StonedRanger says

    Look at the bright side, with the government doing everything it can to thwart fighting climate change, in another 30 or 40 years we will all be dead and then the joke will be on them. /s

  4. Akira MacKenzie says

    FO @
    I seem to circle back to blaming the media every time I think about the ills of our society.

    Messenger 3: My Lord, news…

    King: What?

    Messenger 3: Lord Wessex is dead.

    King: Ah-This news is not so good.

    Messenger 3: Pardon, My Lord?

    King: I like it not. Bring me some other news.

    Messenger 3: Pardon, My Lord?

    King: I LIKE NOT THIS NEWS! BRING ME SOME OTHER NEWS!!!

    Messenger 3: Yes, My Lord!

    Messenger 4: My Lord, news…

    King: What?

    Messenger 4: Lord Wessex is not dead.

    King: Ah, good news! Let there be joy and celebration; let jubilation reign!

  5. Akira MacKenzie says

    Sorry, I was in rush and forgot to format that last one. Let’s try it again:

    FO @ 2

    I seem to circle back to blaming the media every time I think about the ills of our society.

    Messenger 3: My Lord, news…

    King: What?

    Messenger 3: Lord Wessex is dead.

    King: Ah-This news is not so good.

    Messenger 3: Pardon, My Lord?

    King: I like it not. Bring me some other news.

    Messenger 3: Pardon, My Lord?

    King: I LIKE NOT THIS NEWS! BRING ME SOME OTHER NEWS!!!

    Messenger 3: Yes, My Lord!

    Messenger 4: My Lord, news…

    King: What?

    Messenger 4: Lord Wessex is not dead.

    King: Ah, good news! Let there be joy and celebration; let jubilation reign!

  6. guerillasurgeon says

    I never thought but I would be living in a country where scientists got death threats for explaining science. It’s happening in NZ.

  7. davidc1 says

    @6 Not just in NZ,over here in GB as well.But England has been turning batshitcrazy ever since 2016 when 17 million dickheads voted to leave the EU.

  8. James Fehlinger says

    There was a. . . remarkably naive article about this the
    other day in the New York Times.

    . . .followed up by a rather more sensible analysis in today’s (Sunday)
    New York Times.

    The critical paragraph in the whole article is:

    “Democracy is premised on the belief that we can trust ordinary people to make
    consequential decisions. It’s in some ways an Enlightenment ideal premised on another
    Enlightenment ideal: the triumph of reason and the capacities of ordinary people.
    To buy into it, you have to believe that people will be more loyal to principles
    and discernment than to leaders and groups, and in that sense, democracy has always
    been a risky project.”

    The all-too-depressing likelihood seems to be that “ordinary people” are
    not, in fact, up to making “consequential decisions”. And they will be
    the ones to suffer for that lack — their “betters” will make decisions that
    benefit themselves, and to hell with everybody else.

    “Is justice ‘JUST ICE’, governed by greed and lust?
    Just the strong doin’ what they can,
    And the weak sufferin’ what they must. . .”
    — Joni Mitchell, “Sex Kills”

    (In a world “premised on. . . the triumph of reason and the capacities of
    ordinary people”, the “birther” nonsense espoused by Trump long before
    he announced his candidacy, all by itself and apart from anything else
    about the man, would have instantly and utterly disqualified him for
    public office in the minds of all our enlightened proletarians.
    But alas. . .)

    https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/05/opinion/republicans-trump-lies.html
    ++++
    Why Republicans Keep Falling for Trump’s Lies
    Jan. 5, 2022
    By Rebecca Solnit

    Ms. Solnit is a political essayist.

    When called upon to believe that Barack Obama was really
    born in Kenya, millions got in line. When encouraged to believe
    that the 2012 Sandy Hook murder of 20 children and six adults was
    a hoax, too many stepped up. When urged to believe that Hillary Clinton
    was trafficking children in the basement of a Washington, D.C.,
    pizza parlor with no basement, they bought it, and one of them showed
    up in the pizza place with a rifle to protect the kids. The fictions
    fed the frenzies, and the frenzies shaped the crises of 2020 and 2021.
    The delusions are legion: Secret Democratic cabals of child abusers,
    millions of undocumented voters, falsehoods about the Covid-19
    pandemic and the vaccine.

    While much has been said about the moral and political stance of
    people who support right-wing conspiracy theories, their gullibility
    is itself alarming. Gullibility means malleability and manipulability. . .

    Distinctions between believable and unbelievable, true and false
    are not relevant for people who have found that taking up outrageous
    and disprovable ideas is instead an admission ticket to a community
    or an identity. Without the yoke of truthfulness around their necks,
    they can choose beliefs that flatter their worldview or justify
    their aggression. I sometimes think of this straying into fiction
    as a kind of libertarianism run amok. . . Too many Americans now
    feel entitled to their own facts. In this too-free marketplace of ideas,
    they can select or reject ideas, facts or histories to match their
    goals, because meaning has become transactional.

    But gullibility means you believe something because someone else wants
    you to. You’re buying what they’re selling. It’s often said that the
    joiners of cults and subscribers to delusions are driven by their hatred
    of elites. But in the present situation, the snake oil salesmen are not
    just Alex Jones, QAnon’s master manipulators and evangelical hucksters.
    They are senators, powerful white Christian men, prominent media figures,
    billionaires and their foundations, even a former president. . .

    It’s true that these leading lights of the right often portray themselves
    as embattled outsiders. But they’re not; they’re the status quo gone rogue.
    They are still powerful, still insiders, but something even more potent
    is changing — you could call it the zeitgeist or the arc of justice or
    historical momentum or just demographic reality. The world is moving on;
    those who’d rather it stand still are eager to push narratives depicting
    these shifts as degeneration and white Christian heterosexual America as
    profoundly imperiled.

    A lot of conspiracy theories are organic or at least emerge from true
    believers on the margins when it comes to topics like extraterrestrials,
    but those at the top of conservative America have preached falsehoods that
    further the interest of elites, and those at the bottom have embraced them
    devoutly. Though when we talk about cults and conspiracies we usually look
    to more outlandish beliefs, climate denial and gun obsessions fit this
    template.

    Both originated as industry agendas that were then embraced by right-wing
    politicians and the right-leaning public. For decades, the fossil fuel industry
    pumped out ads and reports and supported lobbyists and front groups misleading
    the public on the science and import of climate change. The current gun cult
    is likewise the result of the National Rifle Association and the gun industry
    pushing battlefield-style weapons and a new white male identity — more
    paramilitary than rural hunter — along with fear, rage and racist dog whistles.
    I think of it as a cult, because guns serve first as totems of identity
    and belonging. . .

    Democrats operate on the basis of reasonably factual premises and usually accept
    the authority of science, law and history, while Republicans uninhibitedly push
    whatever’s most convenient for their goals and incendiary for their base. . .

    [S]ome of these stories are proxies for existing beliefs. Birtherism was a
    roundabout way of saying a Black man could not possibly be a legitimate president;
    the ruckus about critical race theory is wrong about its actually being taught
    in schools but right in that how we think and talk and teach about race has
    shifted from when whiteness was unquestionably supreme. Issues from climate to
    Covid are anathema to the right because solving them would require large-scale
    cooperation, in conflict with the idea that individual rights should be paramount. . .

    [T]rue believers in Mr. Trump’s big lie [are] threatening and assaulting election
    workers. In one case in Houston in October, a former police captain, who had been
    hired by a wealthy Trump supporter, allegedly ran a repairman off the road and
    held him at gunpoint, claiming falsely that he had as many as 750,000 fake ballots
    in his vehicle. Reuters reported in June, “Election officials and their families
    are living with threats of hanging, firing squads, torture and bomb blasts.”
    It’s as though Mr. Trump’s supporters believe they can bully truth itself into
    submission.

    Democracy is premised on the belief that we can trust ordinary people to make
    consequential decisions. It’s in some ways an Enlightenment ideal premised on another
    Enlightenment ideal: the triumph of reason and the capacities of ordinary people.
    To buy into it, you have to believe that people will be more loyal to principles
    and discernment than to leaders and groups, and in that sense, democracy has always
    been a risky project. If democracy requires independent-minded people who can
    reason well, autocracy requires the opposite: people who will obey orders about what
    to think as well as do. . .

    Authoritarians don’t just want to control the government, the economy and the
    military. They want to control the truth. Truth has its own authority, an authority
    a strongman must defeat, at least in the minds of his followers, persuading them
    to abandon fact, the standards of verification, critical thinking and all the rest.
    Such people become a standing army awaiting their next command.
    ++++

  9. DanDare says

    The thing about truth is people’s somewhat religious desire for “truth authorities”. The answer is understanding the method of seeking truth and questioning claims to truth. Epistemology. Sadly too few folks have the training or a methodological focus.

  10. says

    @#8, James Fehlinger:

    It would be a heck of a lot easier to combat the crazy conspiracy loons if we were not restricting ourselves, for reasons which nobody seems to be able to express, to people and policies which may not be awful in the ways the conspiracy nuts believe, but which are nonetheless awful.

    Was Bill Clinton part of some kind of global drug-using cabal? Of course not. But he was a serial adulterer who lied under oath, helped Alan Greenspan and the Republicans manipulate the economy for the benefit of Wall Street at the expense of everybody else, cut social spending but maintained the massively overinflated military budget, and had foreign policy which provably killed at least hundreds of thousands of innocents in order to avoid confronting the right-wing press.

    Was Hillary Clinton some sort of monstrous pederast? No. But she was a clueless, out-of-touch waste of space with absolutely no ethical or moral grounding, who supported the Iraq War despite having extra intelligence briefings to show that Bush was lying, supported all the authoritarian power grabs of that administration like the creation of DHS and ICE, supported actual Nazis abroad (as the Biden admin as now admitted) as Secretary of State despite outcry from our allies, lied us into a needless war, and conclusively proved when she ran her disastrous campaign in 2016 that she had no clue whatsoever what it was like not to be part of the 1%.

    Was Obama a Kenyan who was secretly a Muslim? Don’t be absurd. But he was somebody who abandoned essentially all of his platform once in office, continued all of GWB’s foreign policy and even extended some of the worse parts to newer and fouler heights, pushed through the domestic spying that GWB couldn’t get through Congress, started another war (in Libya) based on lies (or, if you believe his statements, permitted Hillary Clinton to do so without any sort of restriction), refused to seriously confront Republicans at any point on the economy and instead championed austerity to the point where he was offering to cut Social Security and Medicare, had his lawyers argue successfully to set several absolutely disastrous legal precedents, and ignored or actively combatted all populist movements like Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter.

    Is Joe Biden the head of a fiendish conspiracy to put kill the public with microchips in vaccines? No, the idea is stupid. But he is a guy who spent decades in Congress being racist, let police unions write a major crime bill, let credit card companies write a bankruptcy bill, spread homophobia and antiabortion rhetoric for years, supported all the terrible things the GWB administration did like Hillary Clinton, and helped Obama do every damn one of the evil things Obama did, too.

    It would be nice to be able to say “no, the people you are accusing of crimes are not criminals and they would have to be ridiculously greedy and amoral to do any of that, so obviously you are wrong”. It is much, much harder to argue “yes, the people you are accusing are ridiculously greedy and amoral in really obvious ways, and are basically unindicted criminals in various ways, but they aren’t that kind of criminal.” But no, we have to keep supporting these damned idiots for some reason.

  11. James Fehlinger says

    [I]f [only] we were not restricting ourselves. . .
    to people and policies which may not be awful in the ways
    the conspiracy nuts believe, but which are nonetheless awful.

    Was Bill Clinton. . .?

    Was Hillary Clinton. . .?

    Was Obama. . .?

    Is Joe Biden. . .?

    Well, there was another bit in that second Times article,
    that I elided:

    What’s often described as a weakness of the Democratic Party — the
    existence of a variety of views and positions, freely debated
    or even fought over, and a restless, questioning electorate — is
    a strength of democracy. The Republicans remain committed to
    punishing and casting out dissenters. . . only further inhibiting
    open debate and, these days, inconvenient facts.

    But there are, of course, far deeper issues here — issues of basic
    human psychology. And I haven’t the faintest idea how to “address” them.
    They may well be about as “addressable” as that Chicxulub asteroid was
    for the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.

    ++++
    Clinton, of course, is a wholly sui generis character, someone who is to
    other great campaigners like Reagan, Kennedy and FDR what Cy Young
    was to Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan and Bob Gibson — the greatest of the
    greats, even among a crowd of Hall of Famers. During both of Clinton’s
    presidential campaigns, rallies and other events chronically ran late,
    not just because his volubility could keep him talking long past the
    planned length of his stump speech, but because he could not resist
    the lure of the rope line. As long as there were hands outstretched,
    he wanted to shake them. Obama, no slouch on the campaign trail, always
    did better in big areas than in the more intimate dynamic of the
    one-on-one. Reagan, who did excel at the face-to-face, also adhered
    to a clock — enforced by his handlers — and ducked out after a
    prescribed time. Clinton never had enough.

    “I like the job. That’s what I’ll miss the most,” he said somewhat
    poignantly near the end of his presidency. “I’m not sure anybody
    ever liked this as much as I’ve liked it.”

    Part of Clinton’s joy, of course, came from the fact that every hand
    he touched was touching his back and every vote he won was like a
    kiss — a validation, a sign that one more person had not only chosen
    him but liked him. More than a decade after Clinton’s presidency
    ended — when he remained a globally incandescent presence with his
    foundation and speaking tours and work on both his wife’s 2008
    presidential campaign and Obama’s two campaigns — Time magazine’s
    Joe Klein was asked what Clinton’s long game is, why he keeps
    working so hard. “Clinton’s long game is the same as it’s always
    been,” Klein answered. “To be loved by every one of the seven billion
    people on the planet.”

    That combination of hunger and charm did not always serve Clinton
    well, as his reckless 1998 sex scandal illustrated. Part of that
    was surely nothing more than adolescent appetite — he liked sex,
    he wanted sex, and he was surely in a position to get sex. Such
    impulses and opportunities hardly make him special among presidents,
    but most of them also have an internal policeman, a piece of the
    self that can hold up a hand and ask, You know this isn’t a good
    idea, right?
    Clinton’s cop was on the take. The part of him
    paying that behavioral bribe money was the part that needed not just
    the metaphorical kiss of a vote, but the real kiss — and more —
    of a person who could validate him in the most primal way possible,
    tell him he was good enough not just to send to the White House,
    but to take to bed.

    Whatever the price to the nation and to Clinton’s own presidency
    that his ravenous needs exacted, his craving to be loved is wholly
    of a piece with the mask model of narcissism, the endless
    attention-seeking that compensates for a bottomless emotional
    hole of some kind. Nobody can really psychoanalyze someone else
    from a distance, and even a psychologist would not pretend to
    try without meeting and treating the person. But Clinton’s
    upbringing is a matter of historical record — his biological
    father died in a car accident three months before he was born;
    his stepfather was an abusive alcoholic; he was something of a
    misfit at school, describing himself as “the fat kid in the band.”
    There are few psychologists who wouldn’t trace a pretty direct
    line from that kind of background to a deep need to seek and feel
    love.

    Clinton was very, very good at achieving that goal, something that
    I got to experience at close proximity one day when I improbably
    found myself in the Oval Office. It was July 1995, several months after
    my first book, Apollo 13 , had been published and just one month after the
    release of the movie that was based on it. I was invited to the
    White House to be present when Clinton awarded Apollo 13 commander
    Jim Lovell — with whom I had collaborated on the book — the
    Congressional Space Medal of Honor. It was a tribute that many historians
    had long agreed Lovell had earned, but since NASA had always preferred to
    forget about its one lunar landing mission that didn’t actually land, Lovell
    had been denied. It would be up to a sitting president — who actually
    chooses the recipients, despite the congressional reference in
    the name of the award — to choose Lovell. And that month Clinton
    did.

    A small circle of other people involved in either the movie or the
    space program, including Tom Hanks, who played Lovell, and Pete
    Conrad, the third man on the moon, were in attendance as well, but
    our little group was dwarfed by the staffers and the press scrum,
    who were there to cover the award presentation and also to question
    Clinton afterward about that day’s most pressing news, which was
    how the United States planned to respond to that month’s mass killings
    of civilians in Bosnia. When both the presentation and the press availability
    were done, Clinton came over to our group to shake hands. I scanned the four
    people in line who preceded me, realized that I was the only one
    he had never met before, and reckoned I’d better introduce myself.
    I began to do so, but I had barely gotten out my name, much less
    what business I had being there, before he waved me off.

    “I know,” he said. “I know who y’are.” There was a nonchalance to
    it, a matter-of-factness that implied of course he knew who
    I was. How could anyone not know who I was? Every rational brain
    cell I had told me that this was the Clinton charm I’d heard about, the
    make-you-feel-like-the-most-important-person-in-the-room-for-five-seconds
    magic that so many other people had described. I recognized it for
    exactly what it was — and fell for it all the same.

    That experience might be common to anyone who’s ever shaken Clinton’s
    hand, but a few minutes later there was a tiny, silent moment
    that I like to think was more particular to the circumstance. The
    room had broken up into two small conversational clusters by that
    time, with Hanks, Conrad and a couple of others to my left, and
    Lovell and Clinton to my right. The dynamic between those two fascinated
    me. Lovell was the Eagle Scout, astronaut and Naval Academy officer,
    a man who had been married to the same woman for more than forty
    years and served his country for most of his adult life. Clinton was
    the philanderer, the bad boy, the too-cute-by-half pol who may never
    have technically dodged the draft but had done a nifty job of tap-dancing
    around it. And yet he was also Lovell’s commander-in-chief — which
    means a lot to a career naval officer — not to mention the man who’d
    accorded him the space honor others had wrongly denied him. I had
    come to know Lovell well and care about him and his family quite a bit —
    and still do, for that matter — and wanted to stand alone and watch
    that moment play out.

    There by myself in the middle of the Oval Office rug, however, I must
    have looked like the social misfit — the fat kid from the band at
    this particular party. Clinton, who never took his eyes off Lovell,
    spotted me peripherally, touched Lovell’s arm, steered both of them
    three or four steps my way and gathered me into their conversation.
    It was a very small gesture — something I’ve done a thousand times
    for other people at parties and other people have done for me.
    But this was the President of the United States doing me that little
    kindness, and to the extent that it would ever matter to him,
    he’d won my support for as long as he remained a public figure.
    The man is that good — and if he weren’t a love-hungry narcissist,
    he’d be less good.

    — Jeffrey Kluger,
    The Narcissist Next Door: Understanding the Monster in Your Family,
    in Your Office, in Your Bed — in Your World

    Chapter Seven, “The Peacock in the Oval Office”,
    pp. 162-165
    ++++

    The problem is — Così fan tutte . They’re all like that, all
    the folks who are willing to do what it takes to claw their way to
    the top of power hierarchies. Not just in this country, but everywhere.
    Not just in government, but in all hierarchical organizations —
    corporations, churches, model railroading clubs. Love hungry, power hungry,
    whatever. The operative word is hungry.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/27/opinion/the-twinned-egos-of-cruz-and-trump.html
    ++++
    The Twinned Egos of Cruz and Trump
    Frank Bruni
    JAN. 27, 2016

    OSCEOLA, Iowa — For a few minutes I wondered if I’d wandered
    into the wrong barn.

    Rick Perry, the former Texas governor, was introducing the
    candidate I’d come to see, but with descriptions that bore
    no relation to the candidate I’d come to know.

    He called this man “one of the great listeners that I’ve
    ever been around in my entire life.” He praised him as
    “a person who is full of humility.”

    Then it hit me: Perry was playing defense and asserting
    the precise virtues that the candidate famously lacks. . .

    Cruz is cut from the same flamboyant cloth. It’s striking how
    many explorations of his past wind up focusing on the magnitude
    of his confidence, the scale of his ambitions and the
    off-putting nakedness of both.

    As a cocky teenager, he said that his life goals were to
    “take over the world, world domination, you know, rule everything.”
    He separately wrote of plans to “achieve a strong enough
    reputation and track record to run for — and win — president
    of the United States.”

    That last detail comes from a recent story in Politico whose
    themes included Cruz’s zest for attention, quickness to
    grab credit and utter self-consumption. . .

    Every successful politician is a self-promoter. Every campaign
    is a sequence of boasts. In an ideal political environment,
    the narcissism is tempered and the worst narcissists foiled.

    But the current ecosystem is toxic, and Trump and Cruz flourish.
    Neither demonstrates an especially robust appetite for listening,
    though listening is important. Both are full of a great many
    things. Humility isn’t among them.
    ++++

  12. John Morales says

    Vicarish:

    But no, we have to keep supporting these damned idiots for some reason.

    You certainly never did, so this is not a truthful claim.

  13. StevoR says

    @ ^ John Morales : Depends who “we ” and “damned idiots” refers to really..

    Which would be? In the Vicars case Trump & the Trump enablers maybe?

  14. StevoR says

    PS. I haven’t heard of Tim Pool before now Despite spending ages on youtube. He apparently says “leftists” are “crazy” and also claims to be a leftist himself so .. is that an admission? Sorry bit ablist but still..

  15. davidc1 says

    @16 I think a big part of mindset of these climate denialists is not wanting the scientists to be proved right.
    A bit like the Mayor in the film Jaws.

  16. unclefrogy says

    the sad part really is it wont work. The denialists all the conspiracy followers the right wing crazies the neo-nazis and white supremacists all the authoritarians it will not work even if they succeed and capture the countries power structure it will not lead to anything they desire only failure. there will be no order there will be little prosperity. You need look no farther then the results of the current pandemic or watch the relentless progress of climate change to see that humans are not in control their god can not make all go away. absolutely none of their ideas come any where close to being able to address the real world we are facing, not religion, not blaming some others and attacking them (racism) nor the really distorted fantasy ideas of free capitalism as worshiped by the libertarians.It wont solve anything wont solve the climate problems they wont solve the energy problems they wont solve the population problems nor the water problems and they wont solve the pandemic problems this nor the next one. They can not even keep the f’n economy we have now going for more then a few years before the dam thing just goes bloooy
    f’n monkeys with ideas

  17. James Fehlinger says

    But no, we have to keep supporting these damned idiots for some reason.

    Demo-crazy.


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