Sunday, February 05, 2017

How Donald Trump Could Build an Autocracy in the U.S.

David Frum in the Atlantic has a long-form piece describing a frighteningly plausible scenario of how Donald Trump can lead the U.S. into an autocracy.  The TL;DR is that it won't be obvious that it's happening.  It's a splendidly written piece, worth reading all the way through despite its length.  I can't even find an excerpt that does it justice.  Just set aside some time and read it.  I don't assign homework that often.

Also, this cartoon came through on my feed today, noteworthy not just for its content but also for its (historical) context.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Autocracy: Rules for Survival by Masha Gessen

Commenter Tony pointed me to this piece by Masha Gessen.  I'm not entire certain yet whether Trump is actually planning a Machtergreifung or if it just seems that way, but the warnings and portents are all looking quite ominous to me.  Worth reading.

I'll just leave this here

To which I would add:

Countries where Donald Trump does business: Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Lebanon.  (Oh, and Turkey, which is also excluded from the ban.)

Filling in the Countries where Donald Trump does not do business is left as an exercise.

A vicarious deep dive into climate change

I've had an item on my todo list for months to take a deep dive into the question of anthropogenic climate change.  Alas, with everything going on right now I just don't have the time.  Happily, it turns out that a Berkeley physics professor named Richard Muller has done it for me.  Muller was a climate-change skeptic who did an exhaustive study of the literature in 2012 and changed his mind.  He now runs an organization dedicated to sober, objective, open, and reproducible analysis of climate data.  It's a model of how science ought to be done.  They've done a much, much better and more thorough job of cutting through the gordian knot than I could ever hope to.  So thanks, Prof. Muller!

Welcome to your new theocracy

Donald Trump vowed today to 'totally destroy' the wall of separation between church and state.

Of course, in Trump's America, not all religions are created equal.
We've seen unimaginable violence carried out in the name of religion. Acts of wanton slaughter against religious minorities. Terrorism is a fundamental threat to religious freedom.
I'm pretty sure he was not referring to Christian terrorists, of which there have been many.  (So many, in fact, that I ran out of words before I ran out of links.)

Let's hope this doesn't become a self-fulfilling prophecy

Donald Trump's closest advisor Steve Bannon thinks there will be war with China in the next few years.  And he probably has the power to make it happen.