Category Archives: Idiocy
First this form David Horsey, editorial cartoonist of the Los Angeles Times:
Just how sociopathic is Trump?
Well, consider his latest demonstration of his total lack of compassionate humanity.
That a self-absorbed narcissist could become the leading presidential candidate for the GOP is hardly surprising, given the inherent narcissistic character ofr the neoliberal corporatist agenda the party has adopted.
But that such a candidate could openly mock a journalist for the simple fact of being disabled is simply breathtaking.
From BBC News:
Republican presidential contender Donald Trump has been criticised for mocking a disabled New York Times reporter.
Mr Trump performed an impression of Serge Kovaleski, who suffers from a congenital joint condition, at a rally.
He has used a 2001 article by Mr Kovaleski to back up widely disputed claims that “thousands” of Muslims in New Jersey celebrated the 9/11 attacks.
More from the Washington Post, where Kovakleski worked at the time of the 9/11 attacks:
The gesture was all the more personal because Kovaleski covered Trump while reporting for the New York Daily News between 1987 and 1993, a tumultuous period for Trump in which he struggled through several financial setbacks.
“The sad part about it is, it didn’t in the slightest bit jar or surprise me that Donald Trump would do something this low-rent, given his track record,” Kovaleski said.
Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks declined to comment on the record about the incident. A campaign official speaking on background said Trump was “not aware of any condition and was not mocking his physical appearance in any way.”
A New York Daily News headline sums up:
Donald Trump’s marathon of meanness reaches new low, mocks reporter’s physical handicap during campaign rally
And now for the video of the event, from CNN:
Trump mocks reporter with disability
Donald Trump is under fire again, this time for mocking a New York Times reporter that suffers from a chronic condition. CNN’s John Berman reports.
As for the rumors of celebrating Muslims, here’s an excerpt of a story from the 23 September Newark Star-Ledger:
Hours after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, a story spread across the state: Palestinians in Paterson were celebrating in the streets.
Braced for a riot, the Paterson police rushed to South Main Street, the center of the city’s Middle Eastern community.
“When we got there,” Paterson Police Chief Lawrence Spagnola said, “They were all in prayer.”
In the ensuing days, the rumor went national, lighting up talk radio phone lines. In the end, it was nothing more than rapid-fire urban myth. But it spawned fear of a backlash against Middle Eastern residents that sent this vibrant strip of Turkish pastry shops and Palestinian groceries into virtual lockdown for days. And for Paterson, a downtrodden city struggling to remake itself, it was yet another black eye that is proving difficult to heal.
Ironically, five men were detained after a witness called police to report a group filming the burning towers, apparently celebrating, as ABC News reported:
Maria says she saw three young men kneeling on the roof of a white van in the parking lot of her apartment building. “They seemed to be taking a movie,” Maria said.
The men were taking video or photos of themselves with the World Trade Center burning in the background, she said. What struck Maria were the expressions on the men’s faces. “They were like happy, you know … They didn’t look shocked to me. I thought it was very strange,” she said.
She found the behavior so suspicious that she wrote down the license plate number of the van and called the police. Before long, the FBI was also on the scene, and a statewide bulletin was issued on the van.
The five were all Israeli citizens — three of them in the country illegally — and at one time were suspected of links to Mossad, the Israeli equivalent of the CIA. The intelligence links were never proven and the five were deported.
But Trump never mentioned them, needless to say.
They didn’t fit the narrative.
From Andrew Cohen of New York University Law School’s Brennan Center for Justice:
It is the opposite of journalism to call something “controversial” when in fact it is demonstrably false. Now more than ever, when so much fiction and hoax is passed off as truth on the campaign trail, journalists have a professional responsibility, if not a moral obligation, to set the record straight, loudly and quickly, before the myth these politicians seek to perpetuate takes public hold. There is no room today for any sort of cheesy false equivalence, for pretending that one idea or thought or theory is equal to every other.
So when Donald Trump or his online handlers re-tweeted patently false statistics about black (and white) crime rates Sunday it was incumbent upon journalists covering that campaign to do more than merely mention the contents of the incorrect Tweet and then chronicle the predictably furious response to it. Trump’s act was “controversial” only because it reveals his flawed judgment, his disregard for facts, and the increasingly ugly direction of his campaign — a series of dog whistles designed to pit citizen against citizen. If Trump today uttered the words “The sun rises in the West” it would not be enough for reporters to run through the litany of people who disagreed.
From the London Daily Mirror earlier this month but just brought to our attention:
Worrying footage shows nuclear warhead get rear-ended by its own armed escort on busy motorway
This ‘Bent Spear’ incident causes a nuclear drama as plans for smooth transportation of warhead go awry
This astonishing film shows the moment a nuclear weapon in transit is rear-ended by its own armed escort earning it the title of a “Bent Spear” incident.
According to reports the weapon of mass destruction was being transported on the back of a lorry surrounded by a convoy of heavily-armoured cars along a busy motorway in the United States.
Eyewitnesses say a number of helicopters were flying overhead as a police escort and the army attempted to transit the dangerous load near Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana.
And here’s the video, from vlogger Paul Tedford:
Nuclear missile gets rear ended!
Have you ever seen a nuclear missile being transported in a convoy? Several helicopters in the air and federal marshals leading the way. The crazy thing is that the fed pulled over and was yelling and waving his hands that I can’t record this video! And then a truck rear ended the nuke!
Huckabee: Obama ‘probably’ wants Americans to learn Koran verses
A recent episode of Christ Hedges’s news series for Telesur English features an interview with Canadian intellectual provocateur John Ralston Saul on the twisted origins and pernicious intellectual distortions of neoliberal ideology.
An erudite scholar and ferocious analyst, Saul has relentlessly pilloried the intellectual perversions underlying much of modern economic thought in a series of books [most famously Voltaire’s Bastards: The Dictatorship of Reason in the West] and essays, with his most recent targets being the twisted rationales employed by apologists for an economic order that has given rise to modern plutocracy.
In conversation with Hedges, Saul worries that modern neoliberalism has proven to resemble Beniuto Mussolini’s fascism.
From The Real News Network:
Days of Revolt: Neoliberalism as Utopianism
From the transcript:
SAUL: Right? And what they did, most universities, was they did an intellectual cleansing of the economic historians to remove the possibility of doubt, the possibility of speculation on ideas, leaving these sort of hapless — mainly hapless macroeconomists, who fell quite easily into the hands, frankly, of the ideologues, the neoliberals, neoconservatives, who were — you know, let’s face it. What is this ideology? It’s an ideology of inevitability, an ideology based on self-interest, an ideology in which there is no real memory. And at the end of the day, it really is — it’s about power and money.
HEDGES: It’s about, you write, making every aspect of society conform to the dictates of the marketplace, which, as you point out, there’s nothing — and I think you say something like 2,000 or 5,000 years of human history to justify the absurdity that you should run a society based on —
SAUL: On the marketplace.
HEDGES: — the marketplace.
SAUL: Let me just take a tiny step back as a historical marker, which is the day that I realized that the neos were claiming that Edmund Burke was their godfather or whatever, I realized that we were into both lunacy and the denial of history, ‘cause, of course, in spite of his rather crazy things about Mary Antoinette and the French Revolution, most of his career was about inclusion, standing against slavery, standing for the American Revolution, and of course leading a fight for anti-racism and anti-imperialism in India — amazing democratic [incompr.] a liberal in the terms of the early 19th century. So when you see that these guys were trying to claim him, it’s like lunatics today claiming Christ or Muhammad to do absolutely unacceptable things.
And I think that the fascinating thing is once you get rid of history, once you get rid of memory, which they’ve done with economics, you suddenly start presenting economics as something that it isn’t, and you start saying, well, the market will lead. And these entirely theoretically sophisticated experts are quoting the invisible hand, which is, of course, an entirely low-level religious image–it’s the invisible hand of God, right, running the universe. As soon as you hear that term and they say, oh, that’s what Adam Smith said — but when you talk to them, they haven’t read Adam Smith. Adam Smith isn’t taught in the departments of economics. You get quotes from Adam Smith even when you’re doing an MA or whatever. They don’t know Adam Smith. They don’t know that he actually was a great voice for fairness, incredibly distrustful of businessmen and powerful businessmen, and said never allow them to be alone in a room together or they’ll combine and falsify the market and so on, so that what we’ve seen in the last half-century is this remarkable thing of big sophisticated societies allowing the marketplace to be pushed from, say, third or fourth spot of importance to number one and saying that the whole of society must be in a sense structured and judged and put together through the eyes of the marketplace and the rules of the marketplace. Nobody’s ever done this before.
HEDGES: How did it happen?
SAUL: Well, I mean, I think it happened gradually, partly by this emptying out of the public space, by this gradual —
HEDGES: What do you mean by that?
SAUL: Well, by the advancing of the idea of the technocracy and the gradual reduction of the space of serious political debate and ideas, and with that the rise of kinds of politicians who would be reliant on the technocracy and really were not themselves voices of ideas that would lead somewhere, you know, the humanist tradition, democratic tradition, egalitarian tradition. And we can see this all sort of petering out. And you can like them or dislike them, but you can see when the real idea of debate of ideas and risk on policy starts to peter out with Johnson and suddenly you’re into either populists or technocrats.