Recent quotes:

Renewing American Purpose - The American Mind

The Right needs to throw off the precedents and legal paradigms that have wrongly developed over the last two hundred years and to study carefully the words of the Constitution and how the Founders would have responded in modern situations to the encroachments of other branches. Originalism should not just be interpreting the words in their original meaning. It should be to understand the logic of the original Constitution and how these authorities should be used unencumbered by the scar tissue resulting from decades of bad cases and bad statesmen.

Trump's Messianic Video About God Sending Him To Save World

I need somebody who can shape an ax but wield a sword. Who had the courage to step foot in North Korea? Who can make money from the tar of the sand turned liquid to gold? Who understands the difference between tariffs and inflation? We’ll finish this 40 hour week by Tuesday noon, but then put in another 72 hours. So God made Trump.

“You’re Telling Me That Thing Is Forged?”: The Inside Story of How Trump’s “Body Guy” Tried and Failed to Order a Massive Military Withdrawal | Vanity Fair

McEntee’s efforts to root out Trump infidels in the administration were often comically petty, but they came with the force of a presidential mandate. Just weeks before the 2020 presidential election, for example, somebody on McEntee’s staff discovered that a young woman in the office of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson had liked an Instagram post by pop star Taylor Swift that included a photo of Swift holding a tray of cookies decorated with the Biden-Harris campaign logo. The transgression was brought all the way to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, who placed a call to Carson’s top aide. The message: We can’t have our people liking the social media posts of a high‑profile Biden supporter like Taylor Swift.

'Trumpism isn't a cult'

How I define it in my class is by two benchmarks. The first is: Cults manage to shift people’s beliefs rapidly away from the broader society and away from the beliefs they had before they joined. The second thing I emphasize is that cult members act against their own interests and their families’ interests quite strikingly. The reason I highlight those two things is that when I’m talking about the psychology of cults, I’m interested in how the cult, and usually the cult leader, is able to have this kind of influence. Typically, the cult leader is benefiting in an exploitative way off of these two things, so many of those strange beliefs are about the leader being very important, often divine, the key to salvation against the apocalypse, etc. And then, more importantly, often the cult members’ labor is making the leader rich, or female cult members are expected to have sex with the leader and all men, besides the leader, have to be celibate. Cult members make extreme sacrifices that benefit the leader.

Does Hungary Offer a Glimpse of Our Authoritarian Future? | The New Yorker

Lauren Stokes, the Northwestern historian, is a leftist with her own radical critiques of liberalism; nonetheless, she, too, thinks that the right-wing post-liberals are playing with fire. “By hitching themselves to someone who has put himself forward as a post-liberal intellectual, I think American conservatives are starting to give themselves permission to discard liberal norms,” Stokes told me. “When a Hungarian court does something Orbán doesn’t like—something too pro-queer, too pro-immigrant—he can just say, ‘This court is an enemy of the people, I don’t have to listen to it.’ I think Republicans are setting themselves up to adopt a similar logic: if the system gives me a result I don’t like, I don’t have to abide by it.”

Does Hungary Offer a Glimpse of Our Authoritarian Future? | The New Yorker

The lights came up, and Szánthó walked to the lectern, waving stiffly. “Hungary has fought wars, suffered unthinkable oppression, to gain and regain our liberty,” he said. In the current war, he went on, the enemy was “woke totalitarianism,” personified by George Soros (he paused for boos); the hero was “one of the true champions of liberty, a man you know well, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán” (a generous round of applause). He praised “President Trump” and tried to initiate a cheer of “Let’s go Brandon,” a substitute for “Fuck Joe Biden” used by right-wing culture warriors who spend too much time on the Internet. He quoted the old chestnut “Hard times create strong men,” although, the way he said it, it sounded like “strongmen.” And he invited the audience to join him at the next CPAC conference, the first to be hosted on European soil: CPAC Hungary.

#StopTheSteal: Timeline of Social Media and Extremist Activities Leading to 1/6 Insurrection

Most of the material found in this report was posted in plain sight on social media platforms and online forums, designed to convince more Americans of falsehoods about the 2020 elections. The Stop the Steal movement was far from monolithic, though, and included groups across a spectrum of radicalization: hyperpartisan pro-Trump activists and media outlets; the neo-fascist Proud Boys, a group with chapters committed to racism and the promotion of street violence; unlawful militias from around the country with a high degree of command and control, including the so-called Three Percenters movement; adherents to the collective delusion of QAnon; individuals identifying with the Boogaloo Bois, a loosely organized anti-government group that has called for a second civil war; and ideological fellow travelers of the far-right, who wanted to witness something they believed would be spectacular.

How Science Explains Trump's Grip on White Males - Scientific American

“Individuals selectively credit and dismiss asserted dangers in a manner supportive of their preferred form of social organization,” wrote Slovic and collaborators in a 2007 research paper that rings no less true today. In other words, for certain individuals, supporting Trump is a psychologically palliative response to perceived risks.

The Plot Against George Soros

It began in 2008, when Orbán decided to seek reelection. His old friend Bibi — as Netanyahu is known — introduced him to the two people who would guide his success. Before long, Finkelstein and Birnbaum were applying their formula to Orbán’s election campaign — and then turbocharging it. Enemies were easy to find in Hungary. The country was an economic basket case and had to be bailed out in 2008. Austerity measures were demanded by their creditors at the World Bank, the EU, and the IMF. Finkelstein and Birnbaum told Orbán to target “the bureaucrats” and “foreign capital.” Orbán won the 2010 election with a two-thirds majority as the country shifted to the right. Birnbaum is still amazed today how easy it was: “We blew the Socialist party off the table even before the election.”

What Donald Trump Could Learn From Playing Poker - POLITICO

In 2004, the game of poker in full boom, Trump once again gave an interview about the game, when he graced the cover of the newly launched Bluff magazine. He still hadn’t found time to play, he admitted. But he did know where he would direct his invitations if he had to pick six historical figures to play with: Winston Churchill, Napoleon, Abraham Lincoln, Robert Moses, Leonardo da Vinci and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. He reckoned he would be a favorite in the lineup. “Would I win?” came his musings. “Most likely.” An interesting assumption, given that at least one of his imaginary opponents, Churchill, was no poker slouch. But that’s the thing about bad players—they always think they’re going to win. Right until the moment they lose.

Tinker, Tailor, Mobster, Trump - PREVAIL by Greg Olear

The only way to know for sure if Donald John Trump is a Confidential Informant is if he admits it himself (unlikely), or if law enforcement comes forward (illegal). But the circumstantial evidence is compelling. The pattern is: 1) Trump deals with mobsters as usual; 2) Law enforcement begins investigating Trump; 3) Mobsters suddenly get busted, while 4) investigation into Trump is scuttled. This happened three times that we know about. I’m not counting the first known instance of Trump providing information to prosecutors, concerning Cody and concrete, in the late 70s[…] I can conceive of no scenario in which Trump was not a CI, and a top echelon one at that. He’s avoided indictment too many times. No one is that lucky.

Pence Will Control All Coronavirus Messaging From Health Officials - The New York Times

The White House moved on Thursday to tighten control of coronavirus messaging by government health officials and scientists, directing them to clear all statements and public appearance with the office of Vice President Mike Pence, according to several officials familiar with the new approach.

The Mueller Report Is Much Worse For Trump Than Barr Let On | WIRED

Barr previously had quoted in his summary the second half of a single sentence on the first page of volume I, telling Congress that "the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference efforts." The full sentence is decidedly more troubling. As Mueller actually wrote: "Although the investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts, the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference efforts."

Thanking and apologizing: Talk that isn't cheap -- ScienceDaily

The researchers proposed that, for the communicator, all four types of communications involve a trade-off between projecting competence and projecting warmth. Thanking and apologizing make the speaker appear caring or generous, but usually at the cost of seeming incompetent or weak. The opposite is true of bragging and blaming, which can bolster the speaker's perceived competence and status, but at the cost of seeming selfish or inconsiderate. The recipient of the communication experiences a different impact on their image: Thanking and apologizing elevate both perceived competence and warmth for the recipient, while bragging and blaming decrease both.

Sticking to your narrative: drumming in someone's face as peacemaking

Neither do they detail the fact that Phillips only walked near the writhing mass of sneering young white men as a way to try and calm them.

The terrifying depths of Donald Trump's ignorance, in a single quote - Macleans.ca

“Russia used to be the Soviet Union. Afghanistan made it Russia, because they went bankrupt fighting in Afghanistan,” Trump began. “The reason Russia was in Afghanistan was because terrorists were going into Russia. They were right to be there. The problem is, it was a tough fight. And literally they went bankrupt; they went into being called Russia again, as opposed to the Soviet Union. You know, a lot of these places you’re reading about now are no longer part of Russia, because of Afghanistan.”

Vladimir Putin uses speech to herald end of US hegemony | Financial Times

“Empires often think they can make some little mistakes . . . because they’re so powerful,” he said. “But when the number of these mistakes keeps growing, it reaches a level they cannot sustain.” “A country can get the sense from impunity that you can do anything,” he told an audience at a ski resort close to the southern city of Sochi. “This is the result of the monopoly from a unipolar world . . . Luckily this monopoly is disappearing. It’s almost done.”

A Spymaster Steps Out of the Shadows - The New York Times

“I try to be careful with the language that I use,” he said. “When people ask me questions, for example, about why is Mr. Trump so submissive to Vladimir Putin, and whether or not Mr. Trump fears that the Russians have something on him, I say, I don’t know. Perhaps. Maybe. I just don’t want to get into details about what I know or don’t know.” He added: “I have to be very mindful of my obligations as far as classified material is concerned.”

This is why white evangelicals still support Donald Trump. (It’s not economic anxiety.) - The Washington Post

Rank-and-file white evangelicals have the most negative attitudes toward immigrants of all U.S. religious groups. That’s true despite the fact that conservative white evangelical leaders strongly favor a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. My research indicates white evangelical conservatism correlates strongly with their perceptions anti-white discrimination, even after taking into account economic status, party, age and region. Fully 50 percent of white evangelical respondents to our 2016 survey reported feeling they face discrimination that’s comparable to, or even higher than, the discrimination they believe Muslim Americans face. Those who hold this perception are more likely to hold conservative attitudes on issues as wide-ranging as climate change, tax policy and health-care reform.

'No longer a nuclear threat' from North Korea, Trump says

“Just landed - a long trip, but everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office,” Trump tweeted early Wednesday. “There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea. Meeting with Kim Jong Un was an interesting and very positive experience. North Korea has great potential for the future!”

Stock Bulls in Trump Country Are Freaking Out Their Brokers - Bloomberg

To those who study market psychology, it’s no stretch that passionate belief in a president would translate into throwing money on the table. Particularly this president, with whom his admirers have a strong bond. “There’s a feeling of identity with Trump,” said Nobel laureate Robert Shiller, an economics professor at Yale University. “The man they identify with is in power and that’s exhilarating.”

Excerpts From Trump’s Interview With The Times - The New York Times

Which I did and then won Wisconsin and Michigan. [Inaudible.] So the Democrats. … [Inaudible.] … They thought there was no way for a Republican, not me, a Republican, to win the Electoral College. Well, they’re [inaudible].

How Doug Jones Destroyed Roy Moore’s Whole Shtick with One Well-Chosen Verb

Look at the word choice in that sentence. Not “walking” or “marching,” but “prancing.” Not at a rally, but “on a stage.” Not dressed like a cowboy, but “in a cowboy suit.” These were precise, cutting words. They didn’t just make fun of his opponent. They went straight at the central conceit of his public persona – his toughness. Words like “prancing” and “cowboy suit” suggest the opposite of masculinity. Where Roy Moore presented himself as an alpha male, Doug Jones exposed him as a kind of right-wing cabaret act.

The Hidden History of Trump’s First Trip to Moscow - POLITICO Magazine

As Trump tells it, the idea for his first trip to Moscow came after he found himself seated next to the Soviet ambassador Yuri Dubinin. This was in autumn 1986; the event was a luncheon held by Leonard Lauder, the businessman son of Estée Lauder. Dubinin’s daughter Natalia “had read about Trump Tower and knew all about it,” Trump said in his 1987 bestseller, The Art of the Deal. Trump continued: “One thing led to another, and now I’m talking about building a large luxury hotel, across the street from the Kremlin, in partnership with the Soviet government.” Trump’s chatty version of events is incomplete. According to Natalia Dubinina, the actual story involved a more determined effort by the Soviet government to seek out Trump. In February 1985 Kryuchkov complained again about “the lack of appreciable results of recruitment against the Americans in most Residencies.” The ambassador arrived in New York in March 1986. His original job was Soviet ambassador to the U.N.; his daughter Dubinina was already living in the city with her family, and she was part of the Soviet U.N. delegation. Dubinin wouldn’t have answered to the KGB. And his role wasn’t formally an intelligence one. But he would have had close contacts with the power apparatus in Moscow. He enjoyed greater trust than other, lesser ambassadors. Dubinina said she picked up her father at the airport. It was his first time in New York City. She took him on a tour. The first building they saw was Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue, she told Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper. Dubinin was so excited he decided to go inside to meet the building’s owner. They got into the elevator. At the top, Dubinina said, they met Trump. The ambassador—“fluent in English and a brilliant master of negotiations”—charmed the busy Trump, telling him: “The first thing I saw in the city is your tower!” Dubinina said: “Trump melted at once. He is an emotional person, somewhat impulsive. He needs recognition. And, of course, when he gets it he likes it. My father’s visit worked on him [Trump] like honey to a bee.” This encounter happened six months before the Estée Lauder lunch. In Dubinina’s account she admits her father was trying to hook Trump. The man from Moscow wasn’t a wide-eyed rube but a veteran diplomat who served in France and Spain, and translated for Nikita Khrushchev when he met with Charles de Gaulle at the Elysée Palace in Paris. He had seen plenty of impressive buildings. Weeks after his first Trump meeting, Dubinin was named Soviet ambassador to Washington.

These are the Facebook posts Russia used to undermine Hillary Clinton’s campaign – ThinkProgress

Because where pro-Trump and anti-Clinton material have dominated the accounts that have thus far come to light, a key theme emerges throughout: The Russian operations also targeted the cultural schisms and tensions coursing through the U.S., muddying messages and exacerbating tensions to the point of nearly breaking.

New Yorker Menuchin on the eclipse: meh.

"You know, people in Kentucky took this stuff very serious," he told the conference. "Being a New Yorker and (living for a time in) California, I was like, the eclipse? Really? I don't have any interest in watching the eclipse."