Are These People High or What?

Keith Olbermann answers his own rhetorical question. Please play it to the end.

Along the way you will learn the good news: 23 percent of Trump supporters disagree with the claim that a Muslim ban is justified because  of the Bowling Green Massacre.

The bad news: 51 percent of Trump supporters are really concerned about the Bowling Green Massacre.

Also, check out the number of Trump supporters who think that Trump gets to overturn judicial decisions he doesn’t like.

Dunning, Kruger, Canute, and Confucius

canute

Though of mature years, Aardvark still relishes learning new information, new ideas, new concepts. This morning I am pleased to share with you, gentle reader, the news that Donald Trump is the poster child for the Dunning-Kruger effect.

Many of you, I am sure, are fully knowledgeable on this topic. For many of you, Dunning and Kruger are as familiar as Freud and Jung.

But in case you, like Aardvark, are not among the cognoscenti, please read Jonathan Chait on how Donald Trump Thinks He’s Good at Being President.

Donald Trump’s disorienting, surreal press conference contained one moment of pristine clarity, when the president predicted, “Tomorrow, the headlines are going to be, ‘Donald Trump rants and raves.’” This prediction, while quite correct, raises the question of why Trump thought it was a good idea to hold a media event whose principal effect would be to produce headlines depicting him as rambling and unhinged. Reports from the administration have supplied the answer, which is quite simple: His boasts spring from a place of utter, self-delusional conviction. … …

Trump, as many have noted, is the world’s highest-profile case of the Dunning-Kruger effect, which is the phenomenon by which incompetent people are unable to gauge their own competence. Of course, Trump is not bereft of talent. He mastered the technique of using the media to raise his profile, flooding the news with arresting quotes and tidbits and scandal, turning the ordinary heir to a real-estate portfolio into America’s most famous rich person — a branding triumph that he leveraged into a lucrative licensing operation, some outright swindles, and, most crucially, a television show in which he played a brilliant executive.

All the evidence suggests Trump truly believes he is the character he plays on television. And now that he is surrounded by courtiers and the trappings of power, and constantly flattered by powerful people who are secretly terrified of his incompetence, he is convinced of it more deeply than he ever has been before.

The link in Chait’s post takes you to Donald Trump, the Dunning-Kruger President, where you may read all about it.

As was so often the case, Confucius captured the essence of the thing:

knowledge

You Can’t Have it Both Ways This Time

Eugene Robinson makes a point that a lot of people have, more or less simultaneously, figured out: if the stuff the low life criminal leakers are leaking is fake, then they aren’t criminal because they aren’t leaking classified information at all, they are leaking stuff they made up.

Conversely, if the leakers are criminally leaking real classified information, then it isn’t fake.

But Eugene Robinson, being Eugene Robinson, says it really well:

It is unclear whether Trump is trying to fool the nation or fool himself. Witness one of the angry tweets he sent out Thursday morning: “The Democrats had to come up with a story as to why they lost the election, and so badly (306), so they made up a story — RUSSIA. Fake news!”

Let me take a moment to unpack the misinterpretations, distortions and contradictions jammed into those two sentences. …

[T]he tweet ends with what has become Trump’s favorite way to dismiss anything he’d rather not hear: “Fake news!” But why would his national security adviser, Michael Flynn, step down over inauthentic news reports? In other tweets Thursday morning, Trump attacked “low-life leakers” in the intelligence community — thus essentially confirming that leaked information about the Russia connection is genuine, not “fake.” Not even a president can have it both ways.

The Dictatorship of the Bubbateriat

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To mock the fake news conference this afternoon would be like taking candy from a baby. It is beneath Aardvark’s dignity, and he will not do it. Besides, gentle readers, I am sure that you have mocked copiously on your own, without my help.

What, we ask ourselves once again, is the method in this madness? The immediate answer is not hard to suss out. The fake news conference, together with the planned weekend mass rally in Florida, is intended to rile up the bubbateriat, who will in turn scare the bejeesus out of any Republicans in Congress who might be inclined to say, investigate Trump’s Russian ties. The roiling masses will strike terror into the hearts of Trump’s enemies and unenthusiastic camp followers.

As an added bonus, maybe the enraged bubbateriat will take to the streets to countermarch against the hordes of progressive protesters.

Such, plainly, is the master plan, the brilliant strategic thinking that inspires the mad king.

But will it work?

Well, I, for one, am really looking forward to the Florida rally, as an indication of where they were headed.

I grew up among lots of people who are now Trump supporters. They have proved to be a gullible lot, but there surely are limits to their gullibility. My mother would have seen through Trump in a New York minute.

Perhaps we can take solace from Jennifer Rubin, to whom the wish is, forever and always, the father to the thought. This evening she writes,

n President Trump’s rambling, combative and at times incoherent news conference, he declared his administration is “a fine-tuned machine,” something few people not employed in the White House believe. He argues “Russia is fake news” — yet fired national security adviser Michael Flynn over information revealed by the media. He asserts he’s accomplished so much, yet his most noteworthy “accomplishments” have been failures — the enjoined travel ban, the rows with Australia and Mexico, the firestorm raised by his team’s purported contacts with Russia during the campaign (which he refused to deny, saying only that he had no dealings with the Russians). …

The latest Pew poll reveals that “Trump’s overall job approval is much lower than those of prior presidents in their first weeks in office: 39% approve of his job performance, while 56% disapprove.” He remains a divisive president, with “75% either approve or disapprove of Trump strongly, compared with just 17% who feel less strongly. Nearly half (46%) strongly disapprove of his job performance, while 29% strongly approve.” We find it noteworthy that the intensity is highest among anti-Trump forces. …

While majorities think he is keeping his promises and is a strong leader, the rest of his character gets a strong thumbs down. “Majorities say that Trump is not even tempered (68%), is not a good communicator (63%), is not trustworthy (59%), is not well-informed (57%) and does not care about ‘people like me’ (56%).”

Ponder that 29% “strongly approve” number. That’s Trump’s core, and they will be with him a while longer, but their enthusiasm will dampen. And, don’t forget, most of them are nice people, with little inclination to act like Brownshirts or Bolsheviks.

No dictatorship of the bubbateriat for you, Donald.

Of course, I may be wrong. If so, it’s time for a toga party.

Knives and Gunfights, or, The Difference Between Trump and Hitler

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What is the difference between Trump and Hitler? Many are asking Aardvark this question. Throughout the world, Enquiring Minds Want to Know.

Aardvark, regrettably, is no expert on twentieth century European history. But I am pretty sure of this: Hitler knew that you do not bring a knife to a gunfight.

It is the morning of February 16—almost, but not quite, a month into our national descent into madness. In his inauguration speech Trump declared war on American political institutions. His spokespuppets have declared war on facts. But venom and ridicule are poor substitutes for jackboots.

He has declared war on the courts, and the courts have reciprocated. When the time comes for Trump to order disobedience to court orders, will the government follow? I don’t think so.

Trump has  declared war on our intelligence agencies. This morning’s news is that he and Steve Bannon will bring in a billionaire buddy to overhaul the intelligence agencies. The gentlemen in question is said to be a great expert in chewing up companies and spitting out the pieces. I think we will see who gets chewed up and spit out.

Trump may not be the anti-Christ, but he is the anti-Sunzi. He doesn’t know his own weakensses and he doesn’t know his enemies’ strengths. In a hundred battles, a hundred defeats.

What to do next? What’s the inevitable next step in his playbook? MASS RALLIES! MASS RALLIES!