Fire and Fury Demands a Critical Eye

Is Michael Wolff's new book fact of fiction?

The new book Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff is the talk of the political world. I love gossip. This feels like gossip and not news. Take the exchange between Roger Ailes and Steve Bannon in this article. Wolff writes dialogue and assigns emotion to the characters. How can he know the emotions of the two men when they were the only ones in the room, and one is dead? That leaves Bannon as the only source. This is dubious considering Steve Bannon is a less than honest broker. Ben Shapiro worked for Bannon and makes the case that he’s a complete fraud. Today Michael Wolff admitted, “I certainly said what was ever necessary to get the story.”

As the Washington Post said, “Wolff’s admission does not directly undermine the veracity of his reporting, but it creates the appearance that he might have approached some members of the president’s team under false pretenses, leading sources to believe that when they opened up they were speaking to a sympathetic ear. That’s a bad look — one which the White House can use to impugn Wolff’s integrity and, perhaps unfairly, cast doubt on whichever elements of his work the president doesn’t like.”

Trump is bizarre, and we have to be careful not to believe anything about him because it could be true.  Twitter user PixelatedBoat made up a story about Trump in this new book as a parody, and everyone is so desperate to make fun of Trump that they bought it and he had to change his username. I believed it at first.

We have to be careful not to give up the truth when it is information about someone we find morally or politically grotesque. It is very easy to sell believable gossip so the incentive is higher to fabricate stories. Is Michael Wolff’s book as bad as an Edward Klein book? I don’t know, but I will be reading it with a very critical eye. No matter what, it cannot be less credible than Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan.

Undercutting of Trump Moves from Russia to Mental Fitness

The Atlantic
January 3, 2018

The Atlantic has published a thorough piece on Trump’s sanity called Is Something Neurologically Wrong With Donald Trump?

The Russia investigation failed to bring Trump down, so the press and Democrats are now pivoting to Trump’s mental fitness. I am torn. I don’t want to set the precedent of questioning the sanity of those I disagree with politically. Trump makes this a very easy case for his enemies to make, though. Obviously, I am no doctor, but I do think the recent slurring, the declining verbal ability he’s had over the last three years, and his lack of impulse control are worrisome. Watch interviews from the 1990s, and there is a significant difference. Something is off with him. The revelations in this new book are only fueling the fire.

Psychiatrists aren’t allowed to comment on politicians due to something called the Goldwater Rule. Section 7 in the American Psychiatric Association‘s Principles of Medical Ethics says it is unethical to comment professionally on public figures. Trump is putting that to the test.

Mental fitness will be the next front Democrats and the Washington press will fight on to undermine Trump, and his behavior only helps make their case. Trump’s insistence on seeing Hillary Clinton’s health records should apply to Trump himself. Given his immense power, he should undergo medical testing with transparency as other Presidents have.

Facebook Is Deleting Accounts at Direction of the U.S. & Israeli Governments

Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept
January 2, 2017

We don’t need to have sympathy for monsters, but we do need to realize that the mechanisms created by a government are used in times of crisis to silence more voices. It is a nibble at the edge of a cookie until it all eventually disappears.

Glenn Greenwald:

Just as one might cheer the censorship of someone one dislikes without contemplating the long-term consequences of the principle being validated, one can cheer the disappearance from Facebook and Instagram of a Chechen monster. But Facebook is explicitly telling you that the reason for its actions is that it was obeying the decrees of the U.S. government about who must be shunned.

It’s hard to believe that anyone’s ideal view of the internet entails vesting power in the U.S. government, the Israeli government, and other world powers to decide who may be heard on it and who must be suppressed. But increasingly, in the name of pleading with internet companies to protect us, that’s exactly what is happening.

The Real Story of Collusion Emerges in the Mueller Investigation

A friend recently asked me to boil down the Russian-Trump investigations. What were the smoking guns? What had he supposedly done wrong? The truth is that no one has articulated clearly and accurately what Trump or his campaign had done wrong. I offered the following analysis:

Incredibly, the educated guess has become a reality due to leaks, likely from Republicans on various Congressional committees, which are exposing the seedy inner workings of the FBI and the special prosecutor’s investigation. One text, in particular, is a damning piece of evidence.

Trump Declares Jerusalem the Capital of Israel

Lookout fam… The internet is about to be filled with foreign policy experts.

The truth is that no one knows how the Arab street will react in the short-term. The long-term? There will never be peace as long as Israel exists and the governments of the U.S., Russia, and China are willing to ship weapons to Israel and Muslim nations by the billions. America will have a vastly diminished role in the Mid-East peace process, but so what? We are only involved in it so President’s can be the “one” that solves this problem. It is a vanity project. The sky is not falling and the world is not coming to an end.

This is Trump delivering on promises to his base. Trump is the first President to not pretend that he is everyone’s President. He is the President of his base. He is just not faking that he cares about the opinions of his opposition

Digital Lynchings Aren’t New – Fatty Arbuckle

No, none of what we are experiencing is new.

“At a raucous, three-day party in September 1921, a young starlet became severely ill and died four days later. Newspapers went wild with the story: popular silent-screen comedian Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle had killed Virginia Rappe with his weight while savagely raping her.” – It wasn’t true.

Fear of chaos and identity politics robs individuals of their ability to grow personally.

Jordan B Peterson (born June 12, 1962) is a Canadian clinical psychologist and professor of psychology at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Mike Munger (Professor, Political Science & Economics) joins Dave Rubin to discuss political science, the importance of state’s rights, Trump, Gary Johnson’s candidacy for President, libertarian politics, the mob mentality of people and media, safe spaces, and much more.

Author Kay Hymowitz talks about her book Manning Up: The Rise of Women has Turned Men Into Boys with comments by St. Francis College Professors Michele Hirsch and Eric Platt in a forum sponsored by St. Francis and the Manhattan Institute on April 4, 2011.

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