Monday, May 23, 2016

Thank you, "Vox" - A little tribute


By Patrick

When I started blogging in 2009, it was a different world, as far as blogs and news websites were concerned. Outside the mainstream news websites, the choice of liberal and progressive websites was rather limited. Back then, my "first choice of the day" usually was the good old "Huffington Post." There was "Alternet", there was "Think Progress", and as far as I can remember, "Raw Story", today a pretty important website, was still quite small back then. 

These days, there is much more choice, and not just that. I think that the "quality" of liberal news has increased over time as well. Not only have some websites become much more professional in my opinion, like "Raw Story", but several new websites have been added to the mix. One of the most remarkable of these new websites is "Vox", which was only founded in April 2014, so it is still very young in comparison. But its contributions have already been excellent, and especially the emphasis on science and data differentiates "Vox" from the competition, The website already "left a mark."

So it seems appropriate to highlight this website in a post, especially since they recently published some very good articles about the rise of "American authoritarianism", and about Donald Trump, and that's exactly what we need these days, because knowledge is power.





One of the most important quotes in my opinion:

Norm Ornstein: When you look at populism over the longer course of both American history and other countries that have suffered economic traumas as a result of financial collapse, you’re gonna get the emergence of some leaders who exploit nativism, protectionism, and isolationism. They’re components — sometimes greater, sometimes lesser — that are baked into the process. So you’ve got a bit of that.

But if you forced me to pick one factor explaining what's happened, I would say this is a self-inflicted wound by Republican leaders.

Over many years, they've adopted strategies that have trivialized and delegitimized government. They were willing to play to a nativist element. And they tried to use, instead of stand up to, the apocalyptic visions and extremism of some cable television, talk radio, and other media outlets on the right.

And add to that, they've delegitimized President Obama, but they've failed to succeed with any of the promises they've made to their rank and file voters, or Tea Party adherents. So when I looked at that, my view was, "what makes you think, after all of these failures, that you're going to have a group of compliant people who are just going to fall in line behind an establishment figure?"

Trump clearly had a brilliant capacity to channel that discontent among Republican voters — to figure out the issues that’ll work, like immigration, and the ways in which populist anger and partisan tribalism can be exploited. So of course, to me, he became a logical contender.

This is exactly "it." Donald Trump did not come from "nowhere", but he benefited from a Republican strategy that existed for many years - I would call it "making a mockery out of Democracy." Ultimately, the country will pay to price for disrespecting the democratic institutions, rules and culture.

Another groundbreaking article at "Vox" filled with research and data: "The rise of American authoritarianism - A niche group of political scientists may have uncovered what's driving Donald Trump's ascent. What they found has implications that go well beyond 2016."




Quote:

Perhaps strangest of all, it wasn't just Trump but his supporters who seemed to have come out of nowhere, suddenly expressing, in large numbers, ideas far more extreme than anything that has risen to such popularity in recent memory. In South Carolina, a CBS News exit poll found that 75 percent of Republican voters supported banning Muslims from the United States. A PPP poll found that a third of Trump voters support banning gays and lesbians from the country. Twenty percent said Lincoln shouldn't have freed the slaves.

Last September, a PhD student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst named Matthew MacWilliams realized that his dissertation research might hold the answer to not just one but all three of these mysteries.

MacWilliams studies authoritarianism — not actual dictators, but rather a psychological profile of individual voters that is characterized by a desire for order and a fear of outsiders. People who score high in authoritarianism, when they feel threatened, look for strong leaders who promise to take whatever action necessary to protect them from outsiders and prevent the changes they fear.

So MacWilliams naturally wondered if authoritarianism might correlate with support for Trump.

He polled a large sample of likely voters, looking for correlations between support for Trump and views that align with authoritarianism. What he found was astonishing: Not only did authoritarianism correlate, but it seemed to predict support for Trump more reliably than virtually any other indicator.

"Vox" published a follow-up several weeks later: "After Trump: how authoritarian voters will change American politics."





Quote:


The Republican party thought, in 2012, that its challenge would be to expand its coalition of voters enough to make the party nationally viable again. But it turns out to be facing an even worse and more urgent problem: the coalition it already has.

That coalition is dividing in two, split between Republicans as we typically know them — social conservatives who believe in small government, low taxes, and limited regulation — and a newly active block of voters known as authoritarians, defined not by demographics but by psychological profile. Authoritarians are hostile to outgroups and embrace aggressive, punitive policies toward them, including harsh anti-immigration laws and aggressive, militaristic foreign policy. But they aren't particularly interested in the traditional Republican economic agenda. Indeed, they're uninterested in tax cuts, protective of entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare, and skeptical of foreign trade.

The GOP is essentially now two parties in a shaky, contentious coalition. These two factions want different policies and different kinds of politics. Their split has made the 2016 GOP primary one of the strangest and most shocking political developments in a generation, but there is more to come.

The authoritarians, in the coming years, will not break the GOP, but they will deeply alter its electoral politics. They will likely put the White House out of Republicans' reach. In Congress and in state legislatures, they will make GOP caucuses more unruly and more extreme, worsening polarization and gridlock. They will weaken the party as an institution, opening up more right-wing primary challenges and an even greater role for outside donors.

They could bring, in other words, an era of Republican politics that combines the disruption and chaos of the Tea Party with the divisive, xenophobic policies and politics of Donald Trump playing out across the electoral map.

Another very informative article, based on political science: "I asked 5 fascism experts whether Donald Trump is a fascist. Here's what they said."





Quote:



The University of Wisconsin's Stanley Payne, author of Fascism: Comparison and Definition and A History of Fascism, 1914–1945, emphasizes that fascism is a "revolutionary nationalist project. Not just a nationalist project, but a nationalist project that is revolutionary and breaks down all the standards and the barriers." Trump and other far-right populists don't count.

"It's what you'd call a right-wing populist movement," he says of the Trump campaign. "They take conservative positions that were very common, say, 75 years ago or 100 years ago, and not at all common now. … You can call them more genuinely reactionary in their discourse. They go back to older kinds of political and social values that have been discarded. That would be a more accurate characterization than calling them fascist."

Payne also notes that Trump lacks a connection to the pro-violence philosophy at the heart of fascism. This dates back to Georges Sorel, a French syndicalist philosopher who was revered by Mussolini and the Italian fascists. Sorel praised violence as a necessary tool of the class struggle. "Proletarian violence … appears thus as a very fine and heroic thing," he writes. "It is at the service of the immemorial interests of civilization; it is not perhaps the most appropriate method of obtaining immediate material advantages, but it may save the world from barbarism." King's College London's Jeremy Jennings, in an introduction to a recent edition of Sorel's Reflections on Violence, writes that Sorel is "prepared to equate [violence] with life, creativity, and virtue."

While fascists obviously don't share Sorel's interest in the class struggle, this valorization of violence carried over. Fascism, Payne says, requires "a philosophical valuing of violence, of Sorelian violence. [Fascists believe] that violence is really good for you, that it's the sort of thing that makes you a vital, alive, dedicated person, that it creates commitment. You make violence not just a political strategy but a philosophical principle. That's unique to fascism."

Just a few days ago, "Vox" published another very good article, together with an excellent short clip, which is a must see: "The rise of American authoritarianism, explained in 6 minutes."

Here is the clip:




Finally:

Well, we talked a lot about Donald Trump. Yes, we are all sick of him, but it is still necessary to examine the reasons for his success. Finally, we have something more uplifting. Just today, "Vox" published another great article, together with another excellent clip: "Barack Obama is officially one of the most consequential presidents in American history."







Here is the clip:





Thank you, "Vox", for your tireless efforts to educate us, and to preserve our sanity.

Good night, and good luck!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Ladies and Gentlemen, Sarah Palin will never, ever be Donald Trump's VP - However, Sarah Palin left an ugly legacy, which Donald Trump now exploits with a vengeance


By Patrick

Twitter is buzzing with messages about Sarah Palin again, after Ben Carson revealed that she is on Donald Trump's VP-shortlist. The most insufferable presidential candidate of all times together with the most insufferable VP-candidate of all times: What sounds like a very surreal dream will also remain a "dream." Sarah Palin fled from public scrutiny when she suddenly abandoned her quest to become the US president in October 2011. What came as a surprise for many people back then, did not come as a surprise for us.

There can hardly be any doubt that Sarah Palin is one the most unpopular political figures these days. You only need to take a look at twitter, where 99 percent of all messages about her are negative. She definitely would be Donald Trump's downfall, but this is not necessarily why she won't be Trump's VP in the end, as Donald Trump is certainly capable of committing such a "blunder" in my opinion.

The reason why she will never be Trump's VP is simply the fact that Palin is paranoid of being vetted again. As we all know, her life is full of private secrets and scandals, like her faked pregnancy with Trig, and while she was never properly exposed by the mainstream, she also knows very well that far too many people are aware of her secrets. Sarah Palin does not want to be elected, she wants to be appointed. 

The mainstream media used to treat Sarah Palin with kid gloves, and took her far too seriously. There were times when the media was intimidated by Palin and her fanatical followers, and while the media certainly does not want to be reminded of this fact, I still remember it very well. For example, back in 2010, when I was blogging at Palingates about Sarah Palin virtually every day, it was a daily struggle against media ignorance, and it was incredibly important to expose the "real Sarah."

These days, it is also easy to forget how popular Sarah Palin actually was until she folded in October 2011. Far too many conservatives really liked her, and only several years later most of them started to see the "real Sarah." Today, the most active "anti-Palin blogs" are websites like "Red State" and "The Right Scoop", and this is a truly amazing development, and one step towards a more sane political environment (a "small" step, but still).









However, the damage that Sarah Palin has done to the political environment in the USA is huge. She promoted ignorance as well her special brand of nastiness and vindictiveness, and some people think that this paved the way for Donald Trump.

We always warned of the dangers of not properly exposing Sarah Palin, and getting her out of politics for good. While some people might be happy that Sarah Palin causes constant chaos, whatever she does, Palin also showed that even an extreme, nasty politician "can get away with it." She certainly provided the "blueprint" for others, including Donald Trump, who then knew that one could say and do the most outrageous things, and will still not be properly challenged by the media. On the contrary, you will get invited over and over again by the media, because outrageous statements also provide great ratings. Stupidity sells, and the combination "extremism, celebrity & stupidity" makes you apparently irrestible.

So that's where we are now. Donald Trump will the Republican nominee. Sarah Palin won't be his VP, but her ugly legacy remains. However, it will be interesting what happens next, as many conservatives now "morphed" into the most determined enemies of Sarah Palin, Will there be a new attempt for full exposure of this wicked woman? I doubt it, but it is certainly not totally impossible.

I am convinced at this point that Donald Trump's VP will be Newt Gingrich. He looks like the "natural choice", and the fact that "America's ugliest billionaire" Sheldon Adelson, a big friend of Newt Gingrich, now pledged to support Donald Trump, is a clear sign in my opinion that Gingrich will eventually be Trump's VP-candidate.

Finally:

Jennifer Lawrence's message to Donald Trump as well as Johnny Depp's comments are very appropriate:




But should they be "afraid"...?

Maybe, Yes, Donald Trump is dangerous. I believe that he is capable of doing many evil things. He will not forget. He is even more vindictive than Sarah Palin, judging by his constant threats against critics.

In a new interview with Piers Morgan, Donald Trump openly threatens London's new (Muslim) Mayor Sadiq Khan, who criticized Trump.

Trump's quote:

"I think they're very rude statements and frankly, tell him, I will remember those statements. They're very nasty statements."


So what is "President Trump" going to do? Bomb London?

Video:




Well, as usual, we like to end our post about these clowns on a funny note. For the cartoonist, it is truly heaven on earth these days. We appreciate their efforts very much!











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SPECIAL BONUS CARTOON:


Thursday, May 5, 2016

The hostile takeover of a stricken monster: Donald Trump now owns the GOP, and will now try to bully himself into the White House - BONUS: Say goodbye to "GOP dropout" Ted Cruz!


By Patrick

So now have the situation where only Hillary Clinton stands between peace and world chaos. Well done, GOP! You as a party have successfully dug your own grave, and every sane person can now only pray that the voters won't be dumb enough to vote for Donald Trump in the general election.

What I personally find incredibly strange that our "main subject" over the years, this woman called Sarah Palin, who already as a politician was as dead as one can be, has now been "resurrected" once again, by being very close to the designated GOP candidate. This feels just incredibly surreal.




Of course it was nice to see that Sarah actually did not help Trump at all during the campaign so far, just the opposite. She merely made headlines for giving weird and disjointed speeches, and turned GOP voters off. Still, it feels strange. But in any case, if anyone can stop Donald Trump, it is probably Sarah Palin.

I personally do not believe that voters will be dumb enough to give Donald Trump a majority, but this is definitely not totally impossible. Propaganda and demagoguery can be very, very effective, and just like Donald Trump bullied his way through the GOP primary, he will try to bully his way into the White House.




It is good to see that Hillary Clinton fights back with very effective campaign adverts, as well as forceful speeches. She tweeted for example an amazingly hard-hitting advert, in which Trump was slammed by his Republican colleagues, and I also uploaded this clip to Youtube, for easier sharing:




One of the biggest problems during this GOP primary was the fact that Donald Trump was given huge amounts of free time by the US media. He did not have to run an expensive campaign, as he was given virtually all the PR he needed for free. 

The MSNBC-show "Morning Joe" played a particularly bad role in this respect, and it was refreshing to see how "Morning Joe" and his panel was called out by filmmaker Rob Reiner:




In one of the most revealing articles ever about Donald Trump, "Politico" today published a very long list about Donald Trump's statements and glaring contradictions over the years:




By the way, several months ago, "Vanity Fair" already created a terrifying "White House" parody video with Donald Trump - the puppets seem just too real:




If that's not giving you nightmares, I don't know what will! ;-)

So, what else? Oh yes, the

BONUS!!!

Say goodbye to Ted Cruz! It is important to watch the complete video for the full benefit:



Thursday, April 28, 2016

Exclusive: The next Palin baby drama - Jordan Loewe, Track Palin's former girlfriend, whom he assaulted, is pregnant with Track's child - UPDATES

Jordan Loewe and Track Palin: A rocky relationship

By Patrick

We need a new post, but the pure thought of Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and their friends just makes me sick. I also don't know what to say about these sad individuals any more, who hopefully will fade into history after being resoundingly defeated by the US voters.

Thankfully, we have received very interesting news from Alaska. As you all know, we always had an excellent network there, and we had our fair share of scoops about the Palins since we started blogging. Today, we have the another scoop: From an extremely reliable source from Alaska we received the information that Jordan Loewe is pregnant with Track Palin's child.

This is a rather dramatic development after the complete breakdown of Jordan Loewe's relationship to Track Palin, following his brutal assault on her


Therefore the next Palin baby drama is on the horizon, and we can only hope that the whole affair won't be as "belligerent" as many of the other "Palin dramas" which we had to witness during the previous years.

This will also very likely be Sarah Palin's third "official" grandchild born out of wedlock (after Bristol's two children).

Track already has a daughter which his former wife Britta Hanson, with the marriage lasting just 18 months.


What is there more to say? Do we need to remind everybody that Track Palin not just assaulted Jordan Loewe (read the police report), but also played a notable role in the big Palin brawl from September 2014, where he also prominently "flipped the bird" to various guests.

Excerpt from police report about Track Palin's assault on Jordan Loewe



Authorities responded to multiple 911 calls at the Palin family home, where he and girlfriend Jordan Loewe told authorities they had fight, according to an affidavit obtained by KTVA Alaska.

Track was found with a visible injury to his right eye and smelled of alcohol, according to the report. He was "uncooperative, belligerent, and evasive," the reports says, and his blood alcohol level was 0.189 percent.

Loewe was later discovered hiding under a bed on the property, and told authorities that Track had punched her in the face and kicked her in the right knee. Loewe had "bruising and swelling around her left eye," according to the affidavit.

Loewe told officers that Track had also threatened to shoot himself with an AR-15 assault rifle.

In a statement to PEOPLE, Palin's family attorney John Tiemessen said: "We appreciate the press respecting the family's privacy as Track receives the help that he and many of our returning veterans need."

According to the court documents, Track remained in custody until an arraignment was held later that day when bail was set at $1,500.

Track is scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 19, and again on March 24.

The U.S. Army veteran has had multiple other run-ins with the law dating back to 2007, mostly for traffic violations like speeding. Most of his charges are in Alaska, except for one traffic-related incident in Arizona.

In December of 2012, Track was back in court, this time filing for divorce from his high school sweetheart, who he was married to for one year.

Most recently, the entire Palin family was involved in an alleged backwoods brawl in late 2014, in which onlookers told PEOPLE that Bristol Palin repeatedly punched a man in the face. Another source told the media that Track had lost a tooth in the fight.

Jordan Loewe removed all photos of Track and her on Instagram after the incident.

Just as Donald Trump and Sarah Palin love to "flip the bird" to everyone who does not adore them and sing their poisoued tunes...

Well, that's it for today. There can apparently never be enough Palin baby dramas. What is Bristol doing these days, by the way? I do hope that she is a good girl.


Picture: Jordan Loewe's Instagram

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BONUS:


 

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UPDATE:

The lastest: We were informed by our impeccable source in Alaska that Jordan Loewe and Track Palin are back together again. They separated for a few months after the assault incident.

Just for clarification: We do not know how far along Jordan Loewe is in her pregnancy.

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UPDATE 2:

The latest developments in Track Palin's upcoming criminal trial: According to the Alaska Court Records, there is another pre-trial conference scheduled for the 10th May 2016, and then another "trial call" for the 25th May 2016.

Track is indicted on three counts, all "Class A Misdemeanors":

Charge one: Assault in the 4th degree - Reckless Injury
Charge two: Interfere with report of DV crime
Charge three: Possession of weapons while intoxicated

It remains to be seen what impact the "renewed" relationship between Track and Jordan as well as Jordan's pregnancy will have on the trial.

Screenshots from the Alaska Court Records, many thanks to our reader junasie14 (click to enlarge):




Sunday, April 17, 2016

Springtime in Frankfurt - Open Post


By Patrick

We need a new post, but I am not really in the mood the write something about politics right now. We had beautiful weather today in Frankfurt, just the right weather to take some pictures. Spring has arrived, and I hope that my photos will "get you in the mood." 

I heard that in other parts of the world the weather is not great right now, but I do hope that we will all have a lovely summer in the end. Let's keep our fingers crossed!

Click on pictures to enlarge (or right-click and open in new tab, for full-size).