Trump Hysteria

I’d say the often hysterical reaction to the election of Trump and his executive orders is baffling to me, but based on my view of politics, it isn’t baffling at all – it’s something I expected.  However, I don’t see much in the way of rational, principled justification for the kind of over-the-top anti-Trump behavior we find not only at the street level, but also in the implied (if not outright) consent and support such intimidating and violent tactics are often provided in public forums by many politicians and media figures. We’ve had people call for the removal of Trump by “any means necessary” and calling for impeachment, military coups and even assassination.

From my perspective, the hysteria is fueled by two things; an identity-politics, virtue-signalling culture that is largely bereft of critical thinking skills and any foundation of reasoned, civil discourse; and an information/media complex that signals, via various figures of authority or popularity, preferred behaviors. (I’ll leave out my third view: that third-party manipulators are paying for agitation towards political and financial ends).

I voted for Trump purely because I agreed with virtually all of his platform.  Usually when I encounter someone who didn’t vote for Trump, I immediately notice an obvious emotional quality to their perspective – they hate or are disgusted by the guy personally, but can’t even tell me what his policy positions are.  They immediately assume I am racist, misogynistic, islamophobic, etc.

I wonder if it’s possible to have a rational discussion about Trump and his policies and actions since being elected with anyone who voted against him?  Do any of you think the way he is being characterized by the mainstream media is unfair?  Do any of you think that there has been a double-standard from the way people and the press reacted to Obama’s actions, and the way they are reacting to Trump’s? Do any of you think the election was “illegitimate”?

371 thoughts on “Trump Hysteria

  1. It seems to me that it’s commonly understood that what people think is likely to influence what they will do. Should we ignore that basic fact about people that we all seem to recognize when making immigration policy?

  2. Mung: It seems to me that it’s commonly understood that what people think is likely to influence what they will do. Should we ignore that basic fact about people that we all seem to recognize when making immigration policy?

    No, we shouldn’t. And even the 1990 Immigration Act that William was complaining about recognizes this,

    The 1990 Immigration Act revised the grounds for exclusion and deportation, shrinking them from 33 grounds to nine. The new law focused more on activity than beliefs. For instance, an alien could be kept out of the country if he were thought likely to involve himself in activity relating to espionage, sabotage, exporting sensitive technology, other unlawful activity, or “opposition to, or the control or overthrow of, the Government of the United States by force, violence, or other unlawful means.” Terrorist activity, past or expected, could keep out an alien, as could activity in Nazi persecutions or genocide.

    Since 9/11, vetting has gotten a whole lot more rigorous.
    So that’s another lame-ass strawman you’ve got there.
    The problem with the EO is that excluding people based merely on their religion, or where they come from
    a) is not effective at apprehending the people we need to apprehend
    b) represents a truly awesome recruiting tool for those who wish to blow us up.
    As everybody who knows anything about anti-terrorism (including a bunch of Republican Senators) already knows.

  3. vjtorley: I think the left has an anger management problem.

    There is no doubt the non trump voters are unhappy, So you have two foreign journalists calling for the killing of Trump, and one American calling for violence which did not include a call for the killing of Trump.In fact the point of the article seems to be chiding the left for their commitment to non violence.
    And Madonna, who apologized for her remarks

    Is your point that the left is overreacting or that such anger is unique?

  4. eigenstate,

    And what if there good reason to believe that meaningful security checks on immigrants are not possible from certain areas due to either lack of infrastructure or intelligence knowledge of a network of fraudulent documentation being used for the purpose of infiltration? What should be done then?

  5. William J. Murray:
    eigenstate,

    And what if there good reason to believe that meaningful security checks on immigrants are not possible from certain areas due to either lack of infrastructure or intelligence knowledge of a network of fraudulent documentation being used for the purpose of infiltration?What should be done then?

    One could adopt an approach that requires certain minimum standards of background information about every potential immigrant. I would actually be surprised if that isn’t already part of the current vetting process.

    Still a far cry from banning everybody outright, irrespective of what information and documentation they can provide about themselves.

  6. William J. Murray: And what if there good reason to believe that meaningful security checks on immigrants are not possible from certain areas due to either lack of infrastructure or intelligence knowledge of a network of fraudulent documentation being used for the purpose of infiltration? What should be done then?

    Then we would need to cultivate and improve our intelligence assets in those areas. One sure way to FAIL at that mission would be to suggest, even for a day, that foreign nationals who risked their lives to provide valuable assistance to US troops would be denied refuge in the USA, all for a self-serving soundbite. The original EO did not provide any exception for people with Special Immigrant Visas. It’s not so much the vanity, hubris and dictatorial nature of the Trump White House that depresses me, it’s the rank incompetence.
    And don’t worry, the freshly recruited al-Qaeda sleepers that we are all worried about will probably show up with Saudi passports and backstories.

  7. Mung: It seems to me that it’s commonly understood that what people think is likely to influence what they will do. Should we ignore that basic fact about people that we all seem to recognize when making immigration policy?

    How the hell are you going to establish what people are thinking? Employ Keiths, I guess! Then you could extend the idea and lock up all potential murderers and rapists. Boost the economy with all the extra employment needed to build and run jails, too!

  8. TristanM:

    Mung: You should thank God that theists continue to tolerate your existence.

    Yikes.Well, we know what side Mung would have played on during the Inquisition.

    That comment leapt of the page while I was skimming. Scratch a IDCist, find an authoritarian.

  9. TristanM: Mung: You should thank God that theists continue to tolerate your existence.

    Yikes. Well, we know what side Mung would have played on during the Inquisition.

    There are certain alienable rights.

    Having to do with the crime of following the evidence. Can’t just wink at major problems, you know.

    Glen Davidson

  10. William J. Murray:
    eigenstate,

    And what if there good reason to believe that meaningful security checks on immigrants are not possible from certain areas due to either lack of infrastructure or intelligence knowledge of a network of fraudulent documentation being used for the purpose of infiltration?What should be done then?

    This has always been true, and security check are just that — checks, not guarantees. There’s always risk even when the check fails to signal problems. We had no way to vet Jews from Europe in WWII, or Hmong or Laotian or Vietnamese refugees during the Vietnam war. It’s a statistical certainty that “communists” or criminals gained entry in all of these, as they do today.

    Failing any positive indicators that warrant denying entry to a specific individual — after whatever practical checks available are performed (in the case of refugees, UN and other NCOs may provide their own screening apart from anything we’d look to get from the country of origin) — we let them in.

    There’s no data to suggest that xenophobic actions like Triump’s actual improve our security. Rather, they are a salve for the cowardice of many citizens, an irrational fear of “muslim invaders”. It’s a boon to the cowardice faction, and so is practically useful for Trump, but just like in policing anything here, individuals start with a clean slate, and we keep watch for signs of trouble or wrongdoing, and react accordingly based on the evidence, not the color of their skin or that their version of an imaginary god is different and competitive with the Christian’s imaginary god.

    To do otherwise is to abandon a fundamental principle in American justice and politics, that all are treated as individuals under the law and the law is not prejudiced against skin color or theology, but looks at actual actions. It’s a high bar, the principle that one is innocent until proven guilty for citizens. Cowards can complain that this principle endangers us, and indeed, to some nominal degree, it does. Guilty persons escape conviction and incarceration every day due to this principle, and by this measure, our highest ideal in criminal justice endangers the populace, but leaving active threats free to commit further crimes.

    If you understand what compels us to uphold this principle, “endangering the citizenry” by requiring due process and a criminal trial with active and competent legal counsel before a jury of citizens, then you understand why we are cowards and fools to endorse or condone Trump’s actions. We don’t have 4th and 5th Amendment protections for non-citizens (although these do apply in some ways through attachments to citizens who do have them), but the risk/reward trade off is the same.

    We benefit ourselves by much more than any losses we incur by taking in people who are not identifiable risks than we do giving into the cowards’ faction. I’m sure we could find Jews who managed to make it to America as refugees who went on and committed horrible crimes here. But for all that, and those crimes are real — if it was your relative who was murdered in 1945 by a WWII refugee who got here without “extreme vetting”, it’s a devastating cost to you personally — we benefit from taking these people in.

    And if you know your history, the refugees of course benefit enormously. It’s another black mark hanging on America’s “cowardice tic” to read of the fates of a great many Jews who refused entry into the US during and after the war as refugees. Trump claims he wants to fight ISIS, but the people most persecuted and tortured and mistreated — muslims from the war-torn areas, are now the victims of Trump’s policies, in the name of this cowardice. We can expect that some refugees will commit crimes, and some may even commit jihadist violence here. But for those who don’t surrender to the fear of terror, and can think rationally about this understand that on the whole, there is great benefit and much needed aid and support on both sides. Which is why the American tradition that doesn’t succumb to cowardice has been so generous and persistent in being a refuge and source of aid and recovery for millions for generations.

  11. All indications at present are that Trump neither reads background information, nor listens to informed advice. He’s clearly not a deep thinker, the poster child for the old aphorism that for every problem, there’s a solution that’s simple, obvious and wrong. Trump knows that his supporters want to lock the doors with them inside, so that’s what he tried to do. Considerations of such things as green cards, family relationships, supporting US troops in Iraq, small children, and the like, these are quite beyond his grasp.

    Any student of history, even a cursory student, knows the effectiveness of the Great Wall of China, and the French Maginot line – not to mention the walls already built along the Mexican border. Walls have never worked, but Trump isn’t really concerned with the wall working, he’s concerned with the adulation he’ll get from his supporters for building yet another ineffective wall.

    The most disturbing thing about Trump to me, isn’t his nomination of people fully unqualified for their positions, nor his scattershot uninformed executive orders, nor his population of his administration with inexperienced people. Instead, it’s his tenuous relationship to reality. Like others we may have experienced, Trump seems to think that SAYING something is true MAKES it true. Politifact calculated that Trump actually tells the truth about 4% of the time, while 17% of his claims are pants on fire, 4-pinnochio blatant lies.

    Yet it seems clear that it’s these lies that got him elected, because they were the lies that enough of the people in the right states wanted to hear. He won clear majorities promising the moon to uneducated poor people, who continue to support him enthusiastically as he fills his cabinet with Wall Street billionaires and promises to take away his voters’ medical insurance. Faith is a strange thing.

  12. DNA_Jock: It’s not so much the vanity, hubris and dictatorial nature of the Trump White House that depresses me, it’s the rank incompetence.

    I love the incompetence,it is the other stuff that scares me. Looks like Trump is about to be tested, if the transcripts of the calls Flynn made add more suspicion. Things could get hot. Trump does not always react well.

  13. Mung:
    Why aren’t all the fear and hate mongers scared to death that Mike Pence will become President?

    The GOP doesn’t have the moral courage to resist or challenge Trump — they have done their deal with the devil, and so long as Trump gives them a good portion of what they want (tax cuts for the rich, dismantling ObamaCare, etc.) Trump can do as he pleases without worrying about trouble from the GOP. So, much as it is beyond deserved, it’s just as unlikely while the GOP controls the House. Even if the Dems take the House in 2018, a GOP controlled Senate will refuse to remove, as they sink or swim with Trump now, their fates are connected.

    That said, though, Pence is a more dangerous and possibly harmful President in terms of policy and action than Trump, were it to somehow happen that Trump rage quit or otherwise vacated the Oval Office. Trump’s a creationist, and has all the nutjob social conservative problems that go along with that.

    Pence has bad values, but he is sane, and connected to reality.

    It’s come to the point where that is a crucial, salient point. Many supposed, naïvely, that Trump was going to “pivot” away from his two year project of Gaslighting America. In just a few days of Presidency, it’s clear that the election was just a preview of the project and Gaslighting America was the goal of his Presidency, once he got over his own surprise that he actually won.

    It’s not just being a liar that explains Trumps ubiquitous whoppers. He asserts that “3-5 million illegal votes” prevented him from winning the popular vote, not just assuage his narcissistic dissonance, but to further his black-is-white campaign, to assault the very idea of facts, and correlation-to-objective-reality-as-truth. This should have been apparent from watching during the election when he launched whoppers like “thousands of people in New Jersey were celebrating the terrorist attacks on 9/11” and Trump saw it on video. The other examples are too numerous to list here, and easy to find (look up Daniel Dale’s work on this, for example).

    If Trump’s going to get his way, he has to disable the media, and so his candidacy and presidency has never been about policy — which is what makes Murray’s citation of policy preferences aligning with Trump so quaint — but about visiting revenge and hopefully nullification of the media complex that has been such a powerful source of humiliation and shame for the Right. To “make America great again”, as the euphemism goes, contemporary notions of “real” and “true” have to be negated, gainsaid, denied outright.

    So we get a a steady stream of naked, unsupported claims, put out there in hopes of creating enough confusion and chaos and partisan polarization that Trump escapes the kind of accountability and review that would constrain him. So we literally have a discussion on the national news as to whether Trump really won New Hampshire on the merits, save for the cheating thousands of votes of (must be all Democrat) voters being bused in from Massachusetts to cost him the state in the election.

    That is a thing.

    It’s not even a lie, in that it’s something worthy of assessing as true or false. It’s completely baseless, and not even offered as a truth claim. It’s an attempt to assert power, power to assert ridiculous falsehoods and show that the media, and everyone else is powerless to hold him accountable, or to get him to bend to reality. In Trump’s deluded world, reality bends to him. Only the weak bend to reality.

    So we have a unique crisis, a United States President who is committed to lying not to avoid the truth, but to establish he can lie, day in and day out, making the most preposterous and trivially debunked claims, as a statement of his power, of the kind of dominance he seeks as a predicate for asserting the kind of authoritarian control he desires.

    Pence, for all his evil aims for America, is just a garden variety right winger. He has a conscience, as twisted as it may be, and he really does aspire to be a basically truthful man of integrity. He’s wrong on a whole host of issues that are important to America, and he’s a coward when it comes to standing up to Trump (which is perhaps his most damning trait), but Pence-as-President would be a very high class problem for us all to deal with compared to the surreal Orwellian nightmare Trump is trying to establish for America.

  14. Mung:
    Why aren’t all the fear and hate mongers scared to death that Mike Pence will become President?

    Excellent point. We have the choice between a buffoon who might get us into a nuclear war because of his incompetence in international affairs and a fundamentalist who will competently work to destroy reproductive rights, marriage equality, and science education.

    If the Flynn thing or some subsequent scandal takes both of them down we’re left with Paul Ryan. I’m not a fan, but he’s looking pretty good right now.

  15. Mung:
    Why aren’t all the fear and hate mongers scared to death that Mike Pence will become President?

    Because we have had Republican Presidents like Pence before ,Trump is sui generis and not in a good way

  16. Here’s an example of Trump’s truth-making powers.

    First Trump made up a terrorist attack in Sweden. The speech is made in Sat, Feb 19 2017, referring to “last night” would mean Friday, Feb 18 which was a quiet day in Sweden, certainly in terms of terror attacks.

    Then yesterday, Feb 20, riots blew up in Rinkeby, a part of Stockholm with ultra-high concentration of immigrants. This does not quite qualify as a terrorist attack, but it’s about immigrants whom Trump was accusing for all the problems in his speech. The point here is that the riots occurred after Trump’s speech, not before.

    An additional twist is that Trump boldly declared (in the very same speech) that he is speaking without the filter of the fake news. I suspect that this hysterically LMFAO ridiculous statement prompted journalists to look for factual errors in the same speech. And they found it.

    Yes, the Sweden reference was incorrect, false, an instance of lack of source criticism, fact indigestion. Trump is a blundering buffoon. There’s no two ways about it. The only sensible thing that the Sweden reference could have meant goes something like, “I was in front of my TV like a zombie and there was something about Sweden” which is absolutely hilarious given that in the same speech he accused the dishonest media for making up sources and that he (Trump) would not let media get away with it.

    However, media walked right into the psychological trap – they were accused of poor factuality, so they scanned the accuser for factuality. They found a falsity and reported about it. The net result is that Trump got more publicity, which reinforces the hysterical blind support that Trump has. Trump supporters only listen to Trump and they like to hear about Trump. They will not do any background-checking or fact-checking. Putting one and one together will never occur to Trump supporters. They will never acknowledge the essence of Trump: A media darling, a celeb who publicly criticizes media, against all rationality, only to see himself on TV later, because privately he is a vain media junkie.

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