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General Comments / hey moderator
« on: October 17, 2019, 04:01:38 PM »
Please unregister me.

You Trumpists who want to live in a post-truth society, gfy!

General Comments / G7 2020
« on: October 17, 2019, 01:03:43 PM »
No, not Crunch's nth incarnation.

Has the White House circulated talking points yet? What's the GOP excuse for blatant self dealing by the POTUS? Does the party accept that Trump's resort is objectively the best place?

General Comments / Trump's Twitter patter
« on: January 26, 2017, 07:05:49 PM »
I'm following Trump's personal twitter account as well as @POTUS.  Between the two, over 30 million followers but there's probably almost total overlap, so let's call it 22 million or so.

He's using this channel to do some interesting things:

1) Attack mainstream news outlets and call them "fake news."  He's equating CNN's coverage of the existence of an unsubstantiated dossier with completely fabricated stories meant to troll the masses and gin up outrage.  By doing this, he gives his supporters - and maybe himself - permission to equate quoting CNN with forwarding and repeating the complete fabrications that actually earn the "fake news" moniker.  He encourages his followers to continue to prefer "alternative facts". 

2) Promote his TV appearances. 

3) Hamfisted diplomacy.  He got Mexico's president to back out of a meeting by trying to keep alive his always-and-forever-ridiculous promise to make Mexico pay for his wall. 

4) Try to steer consumers to products and media companies he likes.  (He likes the ones that stroke his ego, of course.)

5) Attack entertainers for having opinions that don't flatter him.

6) Threaten to "send in the feds".  Granted, nobody seems to be able to make sense of this, but we're left with two options: he doesn't understand how anything works, or he wanted to do something extreme like declare martial law in Chicago.

7) Provide information about the executive orders, meetings, and other things he's working on.

Only one of these things is arguably a good thing (in case you are wondering, it's the last one, and it's not necessarily a good thing if it stands in for reporting and analysis). 

For the rest, he seems to have an incredibly thin skin, poor impulse control, and the inclination to use his bully pulpit to try to pick winners and losers in the marketplace. 

Is there any reason this shouldn't disturb everyone? 

General Comments / Scott Adams is trying to hypnotize the country
« on: October 25, 2016, 04:38:39 PM »

I think Scott Adams thinks he's hypnotizing the country to vote for Trump. 

Adams has been touting his powers of hypnosis for years now on his blog.  Sometimes he just calls it "persuasion", but he thinks he's really good at it.  Here he tries to hypnotize you into having great sex:

Note: an important* part of this is that he said in the post previous to this one that it doesn't matter if you know he's trying to do it or how it works.  He says it will work anyway.  Sadly I missed out on the experiment, it didn't seem to work for me when I read the posts later. :p

The other main theme of his blog for the past 14 months or so has been that Trump is a "master persuader" who is hypnotizing the country to vote for him, and here's the twist, Adams is on board.  He's been predicting a Trump landslide win for a long time, because he thinks Trump can manipulate people just that well.  And he's been very proud of his ability to see it and describe it - he calls it the "3d" world of persuasion, which he says is a more accurate or useful way to look at things than "2d" normals who think that they can be rational.

I admit I'm impressed that Adams called Trump for the nomination, long before anyone else seemed to take Trump seriously.  So I think Adams is at least partly right about how Trump operates and why it's working (on some people). 

But the troubling thing is that Adams consistently waves away any potential problems with Trump's strongman rhetoric, bad-faith proposals and empty policy ideas, fascist leanings, sexism, inconsistency and dishonesty.  He alternately claims that it's part of the "master persuader" act, or that it doesn't matter what Trump says he'll do because none of us know what either president can or will accomplish.

It's been kind of unclear whether Adams is trolling or not about his support for Trump.  He always plugs his latest book, so one plausible theory has been that he's being controversial on purpose in order to draw views and market his book.  But sometimes whiffs of resentment, anger, and pride come through in a way that I think would be hard to fake.  I've been on the fence about whether he's being at all sincere (it's a given that many of his remarks are sarcastic, facetious, or otherwise meant to be funny, but I mean about his larger themes).

At various points he claimed that he was in personal danger if he endorsed anyone else but Hillary Clinton.  This is one of those things that is hard to read: he could be joking about this, or he could actually think that someone will try to hurt him if he endorses Donald Trump.  If he's kidding he's kept a pretty straight face, though.  So he said he was endorsing Hillary Clinton for his personal safety.  Part of this message is "Clinton supporters are mean and dangerous - unlike Trump supporters".  This is important...**

Later, after Trump's "grab 'em by the pussy" scandal broke, Adams said he's endorsing Gary Johnson, who only touches himself.  I think he saw many Trump supporters distancing themselves over this scandal and was trying not to lose them in his own master plan...***

As Trump has been outdistanced by Clinton in the polls Adams has been hedging his predictions.  He has offered theories of how Clinton came up with her own "master persuader" moments (Adams thinks only a handful of people in the world can do this, so he has a theory about the specific person who helped her).  He has tried to be very consistent about his hypnosis thesis, even as Trumps chances seemed to fade.

He has also suggested that Trump supporters are literally afraid to admit it when asked by pollsters.

In the last couple of weeks he's been floating theories that Twitter is doing unfair**** things to him to retaliate for his admiration of Trump:

In the last few days, he's finally openly endorsing Donald Trump, and renewing his prediction of a landslide Trump victory.

I did about a triple take on this line from that entry:
I endorse Donald Trump for President of the United States because I oppose bullying in all its forms.

But here's the money shot:
Today I put Trump’s odds of winning in a landslide back to 98%. Remember, I told you a few weeks ago that Trump couldn’t win unless “something changed.”

Something just changed.


Do you see the theme? He's been planting the suggestion that Clinton supporters are mean, unfair, violent, etc.  And he's been telling us that none of what Trump shows us means anything about our ability to understand what kind of president he will be.

Well, that last blog post coincides with Adams using the word "bully" on Twitter countless times in the past couple of days.

He thinks he's hypnotizing us, or enough of us to swing the election.  By convincing people that Democrats are bullies, he will get enough people to fight back.  It doesn't matter if we know he's trying to do it, he's already explained that. 

By baiting mockery for the last year, he's got evidence of bullying.  There are lots of blogs about how he's acting weird and crazy, paranoid and ridiculous.  Bullies.  Other Trump supporters know how he feels: they are hearing all over the place that the left thinks they are stupid and backward, if not racist scum. 

He's hoping to gloss over all the details - that Trump has earned scorn in spades, that the meanest fringes of the left don't represent the entire left (just as Trump supporters know they aren't evil racist scumbags even if some exist), that there are actually meaningful policy differences between candidates, etc.  He's been repeating phrases and concepts for over a year that are meant to persuade people to stop thinking about this stuff.  Comments have been turned off on his blog for a long time now, and I think it's to avoid disruptions to his hypnotic rhythms.

It's almost impressive. 

It won't work, because it turns out that he is delusional about his ability to persuade/hypnotize people.  Maybe a fraction, but if so it's the same fraction that Trump has been working with, and it's not big enough. 

He can make us feel bad about the bullies of the Left without changing our votes, and worst of all: his effort is very transparent.  And that does matter.

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