Trump Consciousness

Wow Devin Nunes and Tucker Carlson both have what it takes to become a presidential candidate in 2024!

I wonder who President Trump will select.

The Democrats need to learn a really hard and bitter lesson from all this if they are ever to play a useful role in politics. Every democratic party needs an effective opposition, and maybe America needs a new party to ultimately oppose the Republicans because the Democratic party seems close to collapse.

David
 
I posted this on the Kevin Annett thread, while simultaneously trying to move further discussion of President Trump back here!

On reflection, I think there is a certain connection between the behaviour of the Church and Trump. It is that it exposes a weird feature of the human psyche - many, many basically good people can be persuaded to do unbelievably evil things by gentle but unrelenting peer pressure.

I don't know exactly how it works - possibly it is that if all your friends seem to be reasonable, caring human beings, then if they start to do terrible things - like killing people from an indigenous race, or fabricating shit to throw at a duly elected president, or trying to shut up a scientist who has a better way to treat an illness, they go along with it on the assumption that there must be a good reason for it all, otherwise everyone else would be objecting.


I guess Joseph Goebbels knew a lot about how to do this - and it is very scary when you see it in action.

The minds of ordinary, well meaning people don't have much resistance to this sort of attack.

Any thoughts?

David
 
You'll have to pardon those of us who are not ardent Trump supporters if we don't respond. After repeated attempts at dialogue in this thread, its become patently obvious that a dialogue isn't of interest to the OP. Again, its just a place for him to repeatedly drop propaganda with impunity. This continues to baffle me based on the tenets this site has expressed in the past regarding intellectual rigor.
 
You'll have to pardon those of us who are not ardent Trump supporters if we don't respond. After repeated attempts at dialogue in this thread, its become patently obvious that a dialogue isn't of interest to the OP. Again, its just a place for him to repeatedly drop propaganda with impunity. This continues to baffle me based on the tenets this site has expressed in the past regarding intellectual rigor.
A lot of us have come to the POV that President Trump is a force for good. Obviously you are free to post from a different POV.

Obviously you may call that speech by Rep Devin Nunes, 'political propaganda', but wouldn't it be more constructive to explain what exactly you disagree with, and why?

David
 
Obviously you may call that speech by Rep Devin Nunes, 'political propaganda', but wouldn't it be more constructive to explain what exactly you disagree with, and why?
I'm more interested in responses to the questions posed previously in this thread that have gone unanswered.

Use Laird's post here for example: http://www.skeptiko-forum.com/threads/trump-consciousness.4080/post-135854

This was in response to one of Jim's now tiresome posts with no personal narrative linking a "pro Trump" piece of support/propaganda (depending on one's view of the linked material). It went unanswered and perhaps more rudely: ignored.

Let's do this chronologically. ;)
 
I don't know exactly how it works - possibly it is that if all your friends seem to be reasonable, caring human beings, then if they start to do terrible things - like killing people from an indigenous race, or fabricating shit to throw at a duly elected president, or trying to shut up a scientist who has a better way to treat an illness, they go along with it on the assumption that there must be a good reason for it all, otherwise everyone else would be objecting.


Any thoughts?
If people were rational it would be a puzzle to understand how they could abide something that contradicts their morality. But people are not rational so they have no trouble living with contradictions. Individuals don't see this in themselves because:

Mass hysteria is the ordinary state of human consciousness.
People use reason to defend their beliefs not to form them.
People are persuaded much more by psychological factors than by facts.

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Mass hysteria is that ordinary state of human consciousness.
Here is a somewhat related view by Scott Adams
http://www.skeptiko-forum.com/threa...itual-engineering-392.4215/page-4#post-126242

Scott Adams writes in his book, "Win Bigly", that when you understand the psychology of persuasion, you are not impressed by the consensus of scientists because they are just as suceptible as ordinary people to mass delusions. According to the psychology of persuasion, mass delusion is actually the normal state of consciousness. This is particularly true for scientists studying climate change because their career and financial incentives are involved. In the following excerpt, 2-D is the normal world view and 3-D is Adam's world view that people are not rational but make decisions based on other factors and then use logic to defend their beliefs.​
On top of our mass delusions, we also have junk science that is too often masquerading as the real thing. To the extent that people can't tell the difference, that too is a source of mass delusion.​
In the 2-D view of the world, mass delusions are rare and newsworthy. But to trained persuaders in the third dimension, mass delusions are the norm. They are everywhere, and they influence every person. This difference in training and experience can explain why people disagree on some of the big issues of the day.​
For example, consider the case of global warming. People from the 2-D world assume mass delusions are rare, and they apply that assumption to every topic. So when they notice that most scientists are on the same side, that observation is persuasive to them. A reasonable person wants to be on the same side with the smartest people who understand the topic. That makes sense, right?​
But people who live in the 3-D world, where persuasion rules, can often have a different view of climate change because we see mass delusions (even among experts) as normal and routine. My starting bias for this topic is that the scientists could easily be wrong about the horrors of change, even in the context of repeated experiments and peer review. Whenever you see a situation with complicated prediction models, you also have lots of room for bias to masquerade as reason. Just tweak the assumptions and you can get any outcome you want.​
Now add to that situation the fact that scientists who oppose the climate change consensus have a high degree of career and reputation risk. That's the perfect setup for a mass delusion. You only need these two conditions:​
1. Complicated prediction models with lots of assumptions​
2. Financial and psychological pressure to agree with the consensus​
In the 2-D world, the scientific method and peer review squeeze out the bias over time. But in the 3-D world, the scientific method can't detect bias when nearly everyone including the peer reviewers shares the same mass delusion.​
I'm not a scientist, and I have no way to validate the accuracy of the climate model predictions. But if the majority of experts on this topic turn out to be having a mass hallucination, I would consider that an ordinary situation. In my reality, this would be routine, if not expected, whenever there are complicated prediction models involved. That's because I see the world as bristling with mass delusions. I don't see mass delusions as rare.​
When nonscientists take sides with climate scientists, they often think they are being supportive of science. The reality is that the nonscientists are not involved in science, or anything like it. They are taking the word of scientists. In the 2-D world, that makes perfect sense, because it seems as if thousands of experts can't be wrong. But in the 3-D world, I accept that the experts could be right, and perhaps they are, but it would be normal and natural in my experience if the vast majority of ciimate scientists were experiencing a shared hallucination.
To be clear, I am not saying the majority of scientists are wrong about climate science. I'm making the narrow point that it would be normal and natural for that group of people to be experiencing a mass hallucination that is consistent with their financial and psychological incentives. The scientific method and the peer-review process wouldn't necessarily catch a mass delusion during any specific window of time. With science, you never know if you are halfway to the truth or already there. Sometimes it looks the same.
Climate science is a polarizing topic (ironically). So let me just generalize the point to say that compared with the average citizen, trained persuaders are less impressed by experts.
...​
People use reason to defend their beliefs not to form them.
Why Won’t They Listen? ‘The Righteous Mind,’ by Jonathan Haidt By WILLIAM SALETAN SUNDAY BOOK REVIEW MARCH 23, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/25/books/review/the-righteous-mind-by-jonathan-haidt.html
The problem isn’t that people don’t reason. They do reason. But their arguments aim to support their conclusions, not yours. Reason doesn’t work like a judge or teacher, impartially weighing evidence or guiding us to wisdom. It works more like a lawyer or press secretary, justifying our acts and judgments to others.​

Scott Adams, who in addition to being the author of the comic strip Dilbert, is a trained hypnotist. In an interview on FoxNews@Night with Shannon Bream on March 19, 2018, Scott Adams explained that hypnotism teaches us that people don't use logic to make decisions even though we think we do. (2:59: youtu.be/vLhcrbtbCEg?t=2m59s):
We humans ignore facts but we think we don't. The great illusion of life is that we're rational beings making rational decisions most of the time. But when you become a hypnotist, the first thing you learn is that that's backwards and that mostly we're deciding based on our team, our feelings, our emotions, irrational reasons, we make our decision and then we rationalize it no matter how tortured that rationalization is."​

https://www.economist.com/news/book...g-knowledge-between-minds-making-people-think
People overestimate how well they understand how things work. Direct evidence for this comes from the psychological laboratory. The great Yale psychologist Frank Keil and his students first demonstrated the illusion of explanatory depth, what we call the knowledge illusion. He asked people how well they understand how everyday objects (zippers, toilets, ballpoint pens) work. On average, people felt they had a reasonable understanding (at the middle of a 7-point scale). Then Keil asked them to explain how they work. People failed miserably. For the most part, people just can’t articulate the mechanisms that drive even the simplest things.​
People are persuaded much more by psychological factors than by facts.
In the video below, Scott Adams, who is a trained hypnotist and writer on the psychology of persuasion (in addition to being the author of the comic strip Dilbert), says people are 90% irrational and 10% rational. We make decisions based on emotions not facts. He says you can't be a hypnotist if you don't understand that because otherwise nothing about hypnotism would make sense.
I wanted to understand more about this so I looked into some references on persuasion to see how people are influenced by factors other than facts and logic. Adams has a list of recommended books on persuasion and I tried to find information online about what those authors wrote. What I found is that the vast majority of the techniques of persuasion identified by experts are based on psychological or rhetorical "tricks" that have nothing to do with facts and logic. I think that is what Adams means when he says people are not rational.

Here are some excerpts from Adams reading list on persuasion. I did not list all the books, just examples that help convey what a category is about. See the link for the full list. The full list includes books on skepticism including books by authors such as James Randi that show people are poor judges of objective reality. It also includes books by authors such as Sam Harris that support the belief that we are biological robots "moist robots" .
http://blog.dilbert.com/2015/09/24/the-persuasion-reading-list/
I have grouped the reading list by virtual chapters as if this is one meta book.
...
Chapter 1 – Things You Can Stop Believing
The first chapter is designed to make you skeptical about your ability to comprehend reality. If you are already a hardcore skeptic, you can skip this chapter.
  • An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural – by James Randi
...
Chapter 2 – Stretching your Imagination
These books are selected to open your mind for what follows. If you have experience with LSD or mushrooms, you might not need this chapter. (Yes, I am serious.)
  • Jonathan Livingston Seagull – by Richard Bach
...

Chapter 3 – The Moist Robot Hypothesis
The Moist Robot Hypothesis first appears in my book that is listed below. The idea is that humans are biological machines, subject to cause and effect. According to this view, free will is an illusion and humans can be programmed once you understand our user interface.

With this chapter I ease you into the notion that humans are mindless robots by showing you how we are influenced by design, habit, emotion, food, and words. Until you accept the Moist Robot view of the world it will be hard to use your tools of persuasion effectively because you will doubt your own effectiveness and people will detect your doubt. Confidence is an important part of the process of influence.
  • Free Will – by Sam Harris
...
Chapter 4 – Active Persuasion
...
  • Trump: The Art of the Deal – Donald J. Trump
...
Here are some of the techniques of persuasion I found discussed by some authors on the list (Blair Warren and Robert Cialdini) and by some authors not on the list (I have a link to web site about NLP but the page I quoted from does not mention the NLP authors on Adams list: Grinder and Bandler - I don't know if the quote does or does not reflect their views.) Notice that these methods of persuasion do not rely on facts and logic, that is what I think Adams means when he says people are not rational. And there is a difference between not using reason and using faulty reasoning. But even when people are not using reason, if you ask them why they did something, they will give reasons. Our experience is that we think we are rational even when we are not using facts and logic ie reasoning. And by "we" I mean materialists, non-materialists, new-agers, and self identified super-rational "skeptics".
  • Blair Warren wrote: "People will do anything for those who encourage their dreams, justify their failures, allay their fears, confirm their suspicions and help them throw rocks at their enemies." :http://www.actionplan.com/pdf/BlairWarren.pdf
  • Certain words can influence you to think in ways that will cause your own mind to aid in persuading you. For example, if someone says, "Imagine ...", it causes you to visualize what they want to to believe. "Because" is also a "power" word. When you give a reason, even a weak one, people are more likely to do what you ask. "You" is another "power" word. More of these "power" words and explanations of why they work can be found at these links:
  • Robert Cialdini is a professor of psychology who is a well known author on the subject of persuasion. He has identified several "principles of influence":http://changingminds.org/techniques/general/cialdini/cialdini.htm
    • Reciprocity - We feel obliged to give back to people who have given to us.
    • Consistency and commitment - When we make a promise, we feel obliged to work hard to fulfil that promise. When we make a decision, we like to feel that this is the right decision for us.
    • Social proof - We copy what others do, especially when we are unsure.
    • Liking - If you can make people like you for example by showing them you are like them and or by praising them, they will be easier to persuade.
    • Authority - We defer to people who seem superior.
    • Scarcity - When things become less available, they become more desirable.
    • Click, Whirr - When certain cues are presented to us, we feel an urge to complete actions that have, in the past, been successfully paired with the cue.
    https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/282642
    • Unity - Any sense of shared identity such as family, ethnicity, geography, etc. can aid in persuasion.
    .
    You can take an on-line quiz to test your knowledge of these principles at https://www.qzzr.com/.

  • Subliminal Persuasion, Conversational Hypnosis: The web site nlpnation.com explains several techniques of subliminal persuasion or conversational hypnosis.
    If someone tries to influence you directly you might naturally resist them. But there are several techniques that can be used to sneak information past your "resistance filter". The general principle is that instead of making a statement or suggestion directly, it is included in a broader statement so you hear it indirectly while you are focused on something else.
    1. Questions: If someone makes a direct statement, you might doubt it. But if they put the information into a question that assumes what they want you to believe, you may get distracted thinking about the answer to the question rather than whether the premise is true.
    2. "And" and "But": If someone tells you something you don't want to hear you might start to argue with them. But if they give you the bad news first followed by "but" and something good or positive, you are less likely to start arguing. They also might add more positive statements linked by "and".
    3. Because: People are more likely to do what they're asked if given a reason even if the reason is not very compelling. If things seem to make sense people don't look too closely at it and it may slip past their resistance filter.
    4. A means B: This is another way to sneak things through your resistance filter. If you're reading this, it means you are learning important information that will help you avoid being manipulated. That sentance was an example of a means b. Did you notice it?
    5. Awareness patterns: Certain words and phrases cause you to assume what is being said is true rather than question it. For example, "As you know ... ", "Clearly...", "Undoubtedly ...", "I'm sure you realize / notice / see ..."
    6. Agreement Frames: Instead of disagreeing outright someone may say they agree, but then try to convince you of something else. "I agree, and this means ..." or "I agree, and what's more ...". Notice they use the word "and" not "but". They may agree in principle or agree that something about what you said is true without ever directly saying they disagree.
    7. Pacing and Leading: This technique tries to sneak a suggestion past your resistance filter by presenting you with a natural progression of events. You get distracted by the logic of the progression and are more willing to accept the suggestion.
    The article at nlpnation.com has links to pages with example that illustrate these methods.
The subject of persuasion is related to the subject of how internet applications are designed to make you use them compusively which also shows how we are influenced by factors other than facts and logic. In particular we will unconsciously do things that cause the brain to produce chemicals like dopamine that are involved in experiencing pleasure. Here are some links and excerpts on that subject:
Sean Parker, the founding president of Facebook, said

https://www.axios.com/sean-parker-unloads-on-facebook-2508036343.html


... The thought process that went into building these applications ... was all about: 'How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?' And that means that we need to sort of give you a little dopamine hit every once in a while, because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever. And that's going to get you to contribute more content, and that's going to get you more likes and comments.

It's a social-validation feedback loop it's like exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you're exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology. The inventors, creators - it's me, it's Mark [Zuckerberg], it's Kevin Systrom on Instagram, it's all of these people - understood this consciously. And we did it anyway.
...
God only knows what it's doing to our children's brains.​
I invested early in Google and Facebook. Now they terrify me.Roger McNamee, Aug. 8, 2017, usatoday.com

https://www.usatoday.com/story/opin...s-made-fortune-but-now-they-menace/543755001/

Facebook and Google get their revenue from advertising, the effectiveness of which depends on gaining and maintaining consumer attention. Borrowing techniques from the gambling industry, Facebook, Google and others exploit human nature, creating addictive behaviors that compel consumers to check for new messages, respond to notifications, and seek validation from technologies whose only goal is to generate profits for their owners.

...

Like gambling, nicotine, alcohol or heroin, Facebook and Google — most importantly through its YouTube subsidiary — produce short-term happiness with serious negative consequences in the long term. Users fail to recognize the warning signs of addiction until it is too late.

...

Consider a recent story from Australia, where someone at Facebook told advertisers that they had the ability to target teens who were sad or depressed, which made them more susceptible to advertising.

...

In the United States, Facebook once demonstrated its ability to make users happier or sadder by manipulating their news feed.

...

The fault lies with advertising business models that drive companies to maximize attention at all costs, leading to ever more aggressive brain hacking.

...

The Facebook application has 2 billion active users around the world. Google’s YouTube has 1.5 billion. These numbers are comparable to Christianity and Islam, respectively, giving Facebook and Google influence greater than most First World countries. They are too big and too global to be held accountable. Other attention-based apps — including Instagram, WhatsApp, WeChat, SnapChat and Twitter — also have user bases between 100 million and 1.3 billion. Not all their users have had their brains hacked, but all are on that path. And there are no watchdogs.

...

Incentives being what they are, we cannot expect Internet monopolies to police themselves. There is little government regulation and no appetite to change that. If we want to stop brain hacking, consumers will have to force changes at Facebook and Google.​

Nir Eyal is showing software designers how to hook users in four easy steps. Welcome to the new era of habit-forming technology. by Ted Greenwald in technologyreview.com
https://www.technologyreview.com/s/535906/compulsive-behavior-sells/
Forging new habits has become an obsession among technology companies. In an age when commercial competition is only a click away, the new mandate is to make products and services that generate compulsive behavior: in essence, to get users hooked on a squirt of dopamine to the brain’s reward center to ensure that they’ll come back.​
How Technology is Hijacking Your Mind — from a Magician and Google Design Ethicist Tristan Harris May 18, 2016
https://journal.thriveglobal.com/ho...ian-and-google-s-design-ethicist-56d62ef5edf3
“It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they’ve been fooled.” — Unknown.

...

I’m an expert on how technology hijacks our psychological vulnerabilities.

...

I learned to think this way when I was a magician. Magicians start by looking for blind spots, edges, vulnerabilities and limits of people’s perception, so they can influence what people do without them even realizing it. Once you know how to push people’s buttons, you can play them like a piano.

...

And this is exactly what product designers do to your mind. They play your psychological vulnerabilities (consciously and unconsciously) against you in the race to grab your attention. I want to show you how they do it.

...

Hijack #1: If You Control the Menu, You Control the Choices

...

By shaping the menus we pick from, technology hijacks the way we perceive our choices and replaces them with new ones.

...

Hijack #2: Put a Slot Machine In a Billion Pockets

...

If you want to maximize addictiveness, all tech designers need to do is link a user’s action (like pulling a lever) with a variable reward. You pull a lever and immediately receive either an enticing reward (a match, a prize!) or nothing. Addictiveness is maximized when the rate of reward is most variable.

...

When we pull our phone out of our pocket, we’re playing a slot machine to see what notifications we got.

...

When we pull to refresh our email, we’re playing a slot machine to see what new email we got.

...

When we swipe down our finger to scroll the Instagram feed, we’re playing a slot machine to see what photo comes next.

...

When we swipe faces left/right on dating apps like Tinder, we’re playing a slot machine to see if we got a match.

...

When we tap the # of red notifications, we’re playing a slot machine to what’s underneath.

...

Hijack #3: Fear of Missing Something Important (FOMSI)

...

Another way apps and websites hijack people’s minds is by inducing a “1% chance you could be missing something important.”

...

Hijack #4: Social Approval

...

When I get tagged by my friend Marc, I imagine him making a conscious choice to tag me. But I don’t see how a company like Facebook orchestrated his doing that in the first place.

...

Hijack #5: Social Reciprocity (Tit-for-tat)

...

Like Facebook, LinkedIn exploits an asymmetry in perception. When you receive an invitation from someone to connect, you imagine that person making a conscious choice to invite you, when in reality, they likely unconsciously responded to LinkedIn’s list of suggested contacts.

...

Hijack #6: Bottomless bowls, Infinite Feeds, and Autoplay

...

News feeds are purposely designed to auto-refill with reasons to keep you scrolling, and purposely eliminate any reason for you to pause, reconsider or leave. It’s also why video and social media sites like Netflix, YouTube or Facebook autoplay the next video after a countdown instead of waiting for you to make a conscious choice (in case you won’t).

...

Hijack #7: Instant Interruption vs. “Respectful” Delivery

...

Companies know that messages that interrupt people immediately are more persuasive at getting people to respond than messages delivered asynchronously (like email or any deferred inbox).

...

Hijack #8: Bundling Your Reasons with Their Reasons

...

For example, when you you want to look up a Facebook event happening tonight (your reason) the Facebook app doesn’t allow you to access it without first landing on the news feed (their reasons), and that’s on purpose. Facebook wants to convert every reason you have for using Facebook, into their reason which is to maximize the time you spend consuming things.

...

Hijack #9: Inconvenient Choices

...

Businesses naturally want to make the choices they want you to make easier, and the choices they don’t want you to make harder.

...

For example, NYTimes.com lets you “make a free choice” to cancel your digital subscription. But instead of just doing it when you hit “Cancel Subscription,” they send you an email with information on how to cancel your account by calling a phone number that’s only open at certain times. Hijack #10: Forecasting Errors, “Foot in the Door” strategies

...

Hijack #10: Forecasting Errors, “Foot in the Door” strategies

...

Lastly, apps can exploit people’s inability to forecast the consequences of a click.

...

People don’t intuitively forecast the true cost of a click when it’s presented to them. Sales people use “foot in the door” techniques by asking for a small innocuous request to begin with (“just one click to see which tweet got retweeted”) and escalate from there (“why don’t you stay awhile?”). Virtually all engagement websites use this trick.

...

I’ve listed a few techniques but there are literally thousands.​
 
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I'm more interested in responses to the questions posed previously in this thread that have gone unanswered.

Use Laird's post here for example: http://www.skeptiko-forum.com/threads/trump-consciousness.4080/post-135854

This was in response to one of Jim's now tiresome posts with no personal narrative linking a "pro Trump" piece of support/propaganda (depending on one's view of the linked material). It went unanswered and perhaps more rudely: ignored.

Let's do this chronologically. ;)
Silence,

You know perfectly well that nobody goes through the whole thread linearly to make sure no post has been left unanswered - not even you. However, you responded to one of Jim's posts which seemed particularly hard to argue with - Devin Nunes' speech, so I would have thought you had some response to that specific point.

David
 
Silence,

You know perfectly well that nobody goes through the whole thread linearly to make sure no post has been left unanswered - not even you. However, you responded to one of Jim's posts which seemed particularly hard to argue with - Devin Nunes' speech, so I would have thought you had some response to that specific point.

David
And you know perfectly well what is going on in this thread yet you make no attempts at moderation. Hell, Jim has no resorted to quoting himself and responding to his own posts. I guess posters are free to start and persist threads dedicated to their personal worldview on whatever topic with no intent or interest in discussing, yet alone being challenged, on said worldviews. No different from banal social media platforms it seems.
 
And you know perfectly well what is going on in this thread yet you make no attempts at moderation. Hell, Jim has no resorted to quoting himself and responding to his own posts. I guess posters are free to start and persist threads dedicated to their personal worldview on whatever topic with no intent or interest in discussing, yet alone being challenged, on said worldviews. No different from banal social media platforms it seems.
I don't think I have ever stopped anyone else quoting themselves - it can be useful, though Jim possibly uses it to excess. For those who do not listen to Fox News, I think Jim's posts are particularly useful.

I don't really understand your beef - if you don't like this thread, you have a choice of posting something yourself, or just not bothering with this thread.

What I find odd, is that your posts seem to be rather minimal - not making it clear what you are complaining about - as if you wanted to remain intentionally vague. I mean, what is the point of complaining that Jim, "repeatedly drop(s) propaganda with impunity"? Who decides what is propaganda, and if Jim's posts satisfied that test, what exactly should I do about it in your view?

David
 
I've been quite clear I think. Reading through the past several pages of thread shows a dialogue trying to emerge with posters like Laird, for example, challenging some of the videos and other linked content. No response was forthcoming thus no actual dialogue ensued. Subsequently we see just more links to sources, certainly non-neutral, that support the OP's worldview.

I'm interested in a discussion; not a spewing of one-sided sources or more directly: propaganda. Again, that's readily available to us via our preferred social network echo chambers. Again, this thread just feels so "anti" Skeptiko to me. Its more odd than anything.
 
I've been quite clear I think. Reading through the past several pages of thread shows a dialogue trying to emerge with posters like Laird, for example, challenging some of the videos and other linked content. No response was forthcoming thus no actual dialogue ensued. Subsequently we see just more links to sources, certainly non-neutral, that support the OP's worldview.

I'm interested in a discussion; not a spewing of one-sided sources or more directly: propaganda. Again, that's readily available to us via our preferred social network echo chambers. Again, this thread just feels so "anti" Skeptiko to me. Its more odd than anything.
He’s the patron saint of alternate facts. It’s a perfect fit.
 
The media is misreporting Soundland's testimony, saying it links Trump with a quid pro quo, when it doesn't.

Ambassador Soundland testifies he has no knowledge Trump did anything wrong:



Why the media is falsely reporting that Sondland's testimony provides evidence of wrong doing:


(HT: War room with Steve Bannon https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWVvSbEw0imVIT8hiDcNgcQ/videos?view=2&flow=grid)
 
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I freely admit that I know little about politics and economics. I have no natural interest in them at all and do not identify with either party. My quibble with Trump is that I find his behavior embarrassing towards the country. For me, a good leader needs certain qualities, let alone a leader who is supposed to be directly representing a super power.

If we are going to start looking for a leader and a direct representative of some 330 million people (that’s a lot of people to choose from), one would think that, at a bare minimum, we could start with somebody who is self-assured, possesses dignity, is not offended and reactionary towards every little thing which he/she finds as a threat towards their perceived greatness, doesn’t act childishly insulting and abrasive towards others, and possess a little charisma. Just one mere example, his comment about McCain (paraphrasing), “I sort of like the veterans who didn’t get captured.” Lol what the hell is that? Who speaks like that? Our leader does. The guy we’ve picked out of millions.

let’s start with a little dignity, charisma, and self assuredness. Then we can move onto policy and politics etc. Maybe others don’t find those qualities to be a big deal. I find them immeasurably important. And what we currently have is a surreal and bizarre scenario which feels to me as if it was picked from the twilight zone. I mean Jesus Christ the guy has temper tantrums on Twitter. Is this real! Apparently, if it isn’t I haven’t woken up yet.

The two best candidates we had last year just so happened to be the wife of a former president and a reality TV star? This says a lot about the mentality of the American public. People revere famous folk and familiarity with last names. In this sense, I feel that politics have become a form of a bizarre reality tv show. And more and more people are finding there way into this reality show who got their by virtue of their fame. The people who are probably best suited to lead the country really don’t stand a chance to get in, nor will they ever while Oligarchal status and fame/celebrity worship continuing pulling the amount of weight that they do.
 
I freely admit that I know little about politics and economics. I have no natural interest in them at all and do not identify with either party. My quibble with Trump is that I find his behavior embarrassing towards the country. For me, a good leader needs certain qualities, let alone a leader who is supposed to be directly representing a super power.
I feel the exact same way. Especially when I travel abroad, I am embarrassed.

Sadly though, as far as President goes, we are only provided a binary choice. And because of what the alternative is, which not only, albeit in a different way, embarrasses me and for many, many reasons, when I consider the practical ramifications of 4 more years of Trump versus any currently foreseen alternative, the choice becomes simple. If this current batch of Democrats take the Presidency and ever get a majority in both the House and the Senate, it will be game over. Two things will happen. The senate will go nuclear (50% plus the VP) on everything. And they will change the makeup of the Supreme Court by packing the court with a number of ideological leftists and you can kiss the experiment of the United States goodbye forever.

And I understand that some who read this post are likely cheering for this to happen and the sooner, the better. For me, this would be terribly sad to see. And in my opinion, if this happens, I truly fear for my loved ones, friends, community, nation and the world.
 
The phony witch hunt against Trump resulted from Russians using the Democrat's opposition research program as a weapon against the US and the Democrats fell willingly cooperated. It is tearing our country apart.

Fiona Hill served as an adviser to President Obama.

From Fiona Hill's opening statement:
https://www.vox.com/2019/11/21/20975734/impeachment-hearings-read-fiona-hills-opening-statement
President Putin and
the Russian security services operate like a Super PAC.
They deploy millions of dollars to weaponize our own
political opposition research and false narratives. When
we are consumed by partisan rancor, we cannot combat
these external forces as they seek to divide us against each
another, degrade our institutions, and destroy the faith of
the American people in our democracy.

 
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