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Jeff Danziger Comic Strip for February 11, 2021

No matter your politics, the actions of former president Trump aka “TOTUS” in the insurrection was evident and the GOP members who are defending those actions and his part in it does not bode well for the Country. I fail to see how the Dupublican Senators for the most part can still support possibly the worst President in history when his actions and words contributed directly to the assault on the Capitol. They seem to ignore the fact their safety was threatened because of it and their “Champion” did not care if they were affected. This appears to be a case of “Stockholm Syndrome”. The very people we elected to represent us and our interests are representing Trump and his interests in pursuit of maintaining the loyalty of Trumps “base”, the same people who committed the assault on the capitol and put them in harms way. The option we (voters) have is vote for people who truly have the interest of all of us in mind or continue with the “HUTA” pact that now vocalize and show their contempt for the needs of the voters.

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Kevin Kallaugher Comic Strip for February 05, 2021
Non Sequitur Comic Strip for February 09, 2021
Mike Luckovich Comic Strip for February 09, 2021
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Living in Sri Lanka during the end of the civil war, I saw how life goes on, surrounded by death

Indi SamarajivaSep 26, 2020·5 min read

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A water tower bombed by the Tamil Tigers in the final stages of the Sri Lankan civil war in 2008. Photo: Creative Touch Imaging Ltd./NurPhoto/Getty Images

Ilived through the end of a civil war — I moved back to Sri Lanka in my twenties, just as the ceasefire fell apart. Do you know what it was like for me? Quite normal. I went to work, I went out, I dated. This is what Americans don’t understand. They’re waiting to get personally punched in the face while ash falls from the sky. That’s not how it happens.

This is how it happens. Precisely what you’re feeling now. The numbing litany of bad news. The ever rising outrages. People suffering, dying, and protesting all around you, while you think about dinner. If you’re trying to carry on while people around you die, your society is not collapsing. It’s already fallen down.

I was looking through some old photos for this article and the mix is shocking to me now. Almost offensive. There’s a burnt body in front of my office. Then I’m playing Scrabble with friends. There’s bomb smoke rising in front of the mall. Then I’m at a concert. There’s a long line for gas. Then I’m at a nightclub. This is all within two weeks.

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Photos from two weeks in 2006, courtesy of the author

Today I’m like, “Did we live like this?” But we did. I mean, I did. Was I a rich Colombo fuckboi while poorer people died, especially minorities? Well, yes. I wrote about it, but who cares.

The real question is, who are you? I mean, you’re reading this. You have the leisure to ponder American collapse like it’s even a question. The people really experiencing it already know.

As someone who’s already experienced societal breakdown, here’s the truth: America has already collapsed. What you’re feeling is exactly how it feels. It’s Saturday and you’re thinking about food while the world is on fire. This is normal. This is life during collapse.

Collapse does not mean you’re personally dying right now. It means y’all are dying right now. Death is sometimes close, sometimes far away, but always there. I used to judge those herds of gazelle when the lion eats one of them alive and everyone keeps going — but no, humans are just the same. That’s the real meaning of herd immunity. We’re fundamentally immune to giving a shit.

It honestly becomes mundane (for the privileged). As Colombo kids we used to go out, worry about money, fall in love — life went on. We’d pop the trunk for a bomb check. Turn off our lights for the air raids. I’m not saying that we were untouched. My friend’s dad was killed, suddenly, by a landmine. RIP Uncle Nihal. I know people who were beaten, arrested, and went into exile. But that’s not what my photostream looks like. It was mostly food and parties and normal stuff for a dumb twenty-something.

Collapse is just a series of ordinary days in between extraordinary bullshit, most of it happening to someone else. That’s all it is.

If you’re waiting for a moment where you’re like “this is it,” I’m telling you, it never comes. Nobody comes on TV and says “things are officially bad.” There’s no launch party for decay. It’s just a pileup of outrages and atrocities in between friendships and weddings and perhaps an unusual amount of alcohol.

Perhaps you’re waiting for some moment when the adrenaline kicks in and you’re fighting the virus or fascism all the time, but it’s not like that. Life is not a movie, and if it were, you’re certainly not the star. You’re just an extra. If something good or bad happens to you it’ll be random and no one will care. If you’re unlucky you’re a statistic. If you’re lucky, no one notices you at all.

Collapse is just a series of ordinary days in between extraordinary bullshit, most of it happening to someone else. That’s all it is.

One day, I was at work when someone left a bomb at the NOLIMIT clothing store. It exploded, killing 17 people. When these types of traumatic events take place, no two people experience the same thing. For me, it was seeing the phone lines getting clogged for an hour. For my wife, it was feeling the explosion a half-kilometer from her house. But for the families of the 17 victims, this was the end. And their grief goes on.

As you can see, this is not a uniform experience of chaos. For some people it destroys their bodies, others their hearts, but for most people it’s just a low-level hum at the back of their minds.

What’s that buzzing sound you hear now?

Today I assume you went to work. Bad news was everywhere, clogging up your social media, your conversations. Maybe it struck close to you. I’m sorry. Somewhere in your country, a thousand people died. I’m sorry for each of them. A thousand families are grieving tonight. A thousand more join them every day. The pain doesn’t go away, it just becomes a furniture of bones, in a thousand thousand homes.

As a nation you don’t seem to mourn your dead, but their families do. Their communities do. Jesus, also, weeps. But for most people it’s just another day. You’ve run out of coffee. There’s a funny meme. This can’t be collapse, because nothing’s collapsing for me.

But that’s exactly how collapse feels. This is how I felt. This is how millions of people have felt, including many immigrants in your midst. We’re trying to tell you as loud as we can. You can get out of it, but you have to understand where you are to even turn around. This, I fear, is one of many things Americans do not understand. You tell yourself American collapse is impossible. Meanwhile, look around.

In the last three months America has lost more people than Sri Lanka lost in 30 years of civil war. If this isn’t collapse, then the word has no meaning. You probably still think of Sri Lanka as a shithole, though the war ended over a decade ago and we’re (relatively) fine. Then what does that make you?

America has fallen. You need to look up, at the people you’re used to looking down on. We’re trying to tell you something. I have lived through collapse and you’re already there. Until you understand this, you only have further to fall.

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Business Insider

salarshani@businessinsider.com (Sarah Al-Arshani)   7 hrs ago

Trump spent the weeks following the election alleging mass election fraud.

His attempts to overturn the results have reportedly cost taxpayers more than $519 million so far.

More than $488 million was for Capitol security while another $30 million was in state costs.

Former President Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election by propagating baseless claims of mass voter fraud have cost taxpayers more than $519 million, an analysis by The Washington Post found.

The Post tallied the cost from reviews of local, state, and federal spending records, and interviews with government officials. The costs included legal fees, damage costs from the Capitol siege in January, military and security expenses, and more.

Not long after the election was declared a victory for President Joe Biden, Trump falsely claimed there was mass election fraud, saying, with no evidence, that the election was stolen.

Trump and his Republican allies spent the weeks leading up to Biden’s inauguration filing dozens of lawsuits in swing states attempting to overturn the results, delay certification, or throw out votes. They failed to win any of them. Altogether, states spent $2.2 million on legal challenges and security for election officials, the Post found.

Pennsylvania, for instance, paid outside lawyers as much as $480 per hour to work against Trump’s election fraud lawsuits.

At a “Save America” rally shortly before Congress began certifying the electoral vote on January 6, Trump told a crowd of supporters to march to the Capitol and continued to allege mass voter fraud. He also falsely claimed that Congress and Vice President Mike Pence could “decertify” the election results and give him another term.

Not long after his speech, supporters breached the US Capitol and clashed with law enforcement. The riot resulted in the deaths of five people, including a police officer.

The House of Representatives impeached Trump for “incitement of insurrection” for his role in the riot. The Senate will hold an impeachment trial next week.

The riot led to a demand for increased security around lawmakers and the Capitol ahead of the impeachment trial.

National Guard troops were deployed to Washington, DC, following the attack and some will remain there until mid-March. The Post reported that the cost for that is at least $480 million. Additionally, the week of the attack, the DC Metropolitan Police spent $8.8 million protecting the Capitol.

Costs for repairing the Capitol to clean up the damage of the attack, the cost for the US Park Police to clean up the National Mall, and costs for additional staffing, overtime, and medical bills from Capitol Police are also still unknown.

Members of Congress are also now using their publicly funded Members’ Representational Allowances, which comes from taxpayer money, to secure personal protective resources, from bulletproof vests to private security details and surveillance cameras, the Post reported.

Acting Capitol Police chief Yogananda Pittman last month proposed permanently keeping the fence that was installed around the Capitol building following the January 6 riot.

The move garnered pushback from local officials, but if it were to be implemented, beyond being approved by the Capitol Police Board, the House and Senate would also have to approve appropriating funds to fortify the building.

States so far also spent $28 million for security relating to the insurrection and inauguration, the Post reported.

The costs included protecting their own statehouses following the Capitol attack. For instance, state officials in California spent around $19 million deploying National Guard and state troopers to the state Capitol and other locations between  Jan. 14 to Jan. 21, the Post reported.

In Texas and North Carolina, taxpayers paid for helicopters to monitor potential protests, and in cities like Lansing, Michigan, and Olympia, Washington, they paid for temporary fencing and extra security details for state lawmakers going to legislative sessions.

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APR 10, 2019

ORIGINAL:

AUG 18, 2017

Democratic defectors, known as the “Dixiecrats,” started a switch to the Republican party in a movement that was later fueled by a so-called “Southern strategy.”

BECKY LITTLE

The night that Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, his special assistant Bill Moyers was surprised to find the president looking melancholy in his bedroom. Moyers later wrote that when he asked what was wrong, Johnson replied, “I think we just delivered the South to the Republican party for a long time to come.”

It may seem a crude remark to make after such a momentous occasion, but it was also an accurate prediction.

To understand some of the reasons the South went from a largely Democratic region to a primarily Republican area today, just follow the decades of debate over racial issues in the United States.

On April 11, 1968 President Lyndon Johnson signs the Civil Rights bill while seated at a table surrounded by members of Congress, Washington DC. (Credit: Warren Leffler/Underwood Archives/Getty Images)

The Republican party was originally founded in the mid-1800s to oppose immigration and the spread of slavery, says David Goldfield, whose new book on American politics, The Gifted Generation: When Government Was Good, comes out in November.

“The Republican party was strictly a sectional party, meaning that it just did not exist in the South,” he says. “The South couldn’t care less about immigration.” But it did care about preserving slavery.

After the Civil War, the Democratic party’s opposition to Republican Reconstruction legislation solidified its hold on the South.

“The Democratic party came to be more than a political party in the South—it came to be a defender of a way of life,” Goldfield says. “And that way of life was the restoration as much as possible of white supremacy … The Confederate statues you see all around were primarily erected by Democrats.”

The Dixie Democrats seceding from the Democratic Party. The rump convention, called after the Democrats had attached President Truman’s civil rights program to the party platform, placed Governor Strom Thurmond of South Carolina and Governor Fielding L. Wright of Mississippi in nomination. (Credit: Bettmann/Getty Images)

Up until the post-World War II period, the party’s hold on the region was so entrenched that Southern politicians usually couldn’t get elected unless they were Democrats. But when President Harry S. Truman, a Democratic Southerner, introduced a pro-civil rights platform at the party’s 1948 convention, a faction walked out.

These defectors, known as the “Dixiecrats,” held a separate convention in Birmingham, Alabama. There, they nominated South Carolina Governor Strom Thurmond, a staunch opposer of civil rights, to run for president on their “States’ Rights” ticket. Although Thurmond lost the election to Truman, he still won over a million popular votes.

It “was the first time since before the Civil War that the South was not solidly Democratic,” Goldfield says. “And that began the erosion of the southern influence in the Democratic party.”

After that, the majority of the South still continued to vote Democratic because it thought of the Republican party as the party of Abraham Lincoln and Reconstruction. The big break didn’t come until President Johnson, another Southern Democrat, signed the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and the Voting Rights Act in 1965.

Govenor Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, was nominated as States’ Right candidate at the rump convention held in Birmingham on by southern recalcitrants. The Southerners took this drastic action after the Democratic convention added President Truman’s civil rights program of its party platform. (Credit: Bettmann/Getty Images)

Though some Democrats had switched to the Republican party prior to this, “the defections became a flood” after Johnson signed these acts, Goldfield says. “And so the political parties began to reconstitute themselves.”

The change wasn’t total or immediate. During the late 1960s and early ‘70s, white Southerners were still transitioning away from the Democratic party (newly enfranchised black Southerners voted and continue to vote Democratic). And even as Republican Richard Nixon employed a “Southern strategy” that appealed to the racism of Southern white voters, former Alabama Governor George Wallace (who’d wanted “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, and segregation forever”) ran as a Democrat in the 1972 presidential primaries.

By the time Ronald Reagan became president in 1980, the Republican party’s hold on white Southerners was firm. Today, the Republican party remains the party of the South. It’s an ironic outcome considering that a century ago, white Southerners would’ve never considered voting for the party of Lincoln.

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Carey Wallace- TIME-Thu, January 14, 2021, 10:03 AM

Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump pray outside the U.S. Capitol Jan. 06 in Washington D.C.
Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump pray outside the U.S. Capitol Jan. 06 in Washington D.C.

Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump pray outside the U.S. Capitol Jan. 06 in Washington D.C. Credit – Win McNamee—Getty Images

In the past few days, I’ve seen all kinds of statements from Christian leaders trying to distance themselves from the violent mob at the Capitol. Christian writers known for their thoughtfulness lament that “somehow” white supremacy has crept into our churches, and the faculty of a major evangelical institution put out a manifesto saying that the events at the Capitol “bear absolutely no resemblance to” the Christianity they teach. That mob, they’re telling us, is a fringe element. They’ve radically misunderstood the real message of American Christianity.

This could not be further from the truth.

I believe the mob at the Capitol has radically misunderstood the teachings and life of Jesus. But it is an absolutely logical conclusion of white American Christianity.

Hundreds of years ago, the Church laid the foundation for the theft of the Americas, enslavement of Africans and Native Americans, and centuries of brutal colonization worldwide, with the doctrine that it was O.K. to take land and liberty from people who were not Christian.

Within their first decade on this continent, the holiness movement of the Puritans, who told themselves they’d come to the “new world” to spread the gospel, had virtually exterminated the Pequot people, and enslaved many survivors. And Roger Williams, the Massachusetts minister who became the first advocate for religious freedom and the separation of church and state, was banished from his colony by his fellow Christians for objecting to government attempts to enforce the first four of the Ten Commandments, refusing to swear an oath of loyalty to the government of Massachusetts and saying grace over his meals at the wrong time. Alone and sick, he fled into the New England winter, which almost killed him. Though his fellow Puritans gave lip service to the idea that they had come to the continent to share the light of Christ, he was the only one who bothered to learn local customs or languages. Saved that winter by the Narragansett people, he was without a church home when he died years later.

Williams’ doctrine of the separation of church and state was eventually inscribed in the American Constitution. And Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence reflects the strong influence of Christianity in the American colonies, by rooting the rights it demands in our status as creatures of God. But the Declaration of Independence also describes Native Americans as “merciless Indian savages,” and the Constitution defined African-Americans as only three-fifths of a person. Despite America’s early public piety, this country is explicitly founded on the idea that the people who built its farms, roads, cities and wealth, without freedom or payment, are not quite human. And despite Jefferson’s rousing insistence on the equality of “men” in the eyes of God, his own wealth came mainly from a factory he staffed with enslaved children.

Sentimental depictions of Christian faith among enslaved people are popular with American Christians, and the rich tradition of gospel music, perhaps America’s greatest contribution to world culture or the church, was unquestionably created by people living in American slavery. But people in slavery in America did not start becoming Christian in large numbers until around 1800, because American slave-holders avoided sharing Christian teaching with the people they enslaved, so that they wouldn’t find themselves in the position of holding fellow Christians in slavery, which might force them to give up their “property.”

For early voices that spoke out against slavery within the American church, the price was high. Benjamin Lay, who shamed the Quakers into becoming abolitionists with stunts like standing outside meetinghouses on Sunday morning barefoot in the snow to remind the good Christians of the condition of the people they held in slavery at home, died unwelcome as a member in any Quaker church.

For the vast majority of American history, Christian ministers have spoken with passion and vigor in favor of slaverysegregation, and white supremacy. Not even all Christian abolitionists were convinced of the full humanity of the people they fought to free. The Ku Klux Klan is a movement deeply rooted in the church, in both the North and the South.

When Black Christian clergy organized the 1963 March on Washington, where Martin Luther King, Jr., a Baptist minister, delivered his “I Have A Dream” speech, Christianity Todayfounded not even a decade earlier by Billy Graham, and edited at the time by one of evangelicalism’s most prominent theologians, Carl F.H. Henry, called it “a mob spectacle.”

Today, American neighborhoods are more segregated than they were in the years immediately following the Civil War. But churches are even more segregated than the rest of society. Sunday morning, when people stream into services, is one of the most segregated hours in America.

These are not minor aberrations, sidenotes to our history, either as a country or a church. White supremacy, racism and segregation are a cancer running through our major organs. And our apathy toward them, or our comfort with them, compromise and threaten to kill all the other good we hope to do.

We cannot get rid of them by pretending they’re not central to our history, and central to the way we live today. And in our hearts, we know they are. That’s why so many Christian institutions and leaders have failed to speak out directly against racism and white supremacy, instead taking refuge in recent days in vague calls for prayer and healing. We know if we confront these foundational American sins directly, their supporters will cause convulsions that may tear our institutions apart – and knock us from our coveted positions.

But there can be no healing without this direct confrontation. You cannot cure cancer by pretending it is not there.The white American church can’t pretend that the mob at the Capitol is not part of us.

It is us.

To have any hope of healing, we must acknowledge that fact. We must admit our own ignorance. Our own apathy. Our own discomfort with people who are different from us. Our own desire to believe that we’re better than everyone else. Our own willingness to take things that are not ours, and keep things we did not earn. Our profound bent to lie about ourselves. Our willingness to do violence to get what we want. Our willingness to turn away when violence is done to others, because it benefits us.

As Christians, we must forcefully, publicly name and repudiate these things. We must be honest about how long a history they have and how deep they go. And about how much work it will take to eradicate them.

And we must do that work.

Claiming that mob isn’t us might help American Christians beat back the sickening waves of shame and fear we feel at the revelation of the ugly truth of what we’ve been part of all this time.

But it won’t save the life of the American church.

And it will never set us free to be anything better than what we are now.

Read More »


Ben Klayman and Stephen Nellis January 14, 2021, 11:12 PM

(Reuters) – Automakers around the world are shutting assembly lines because of a global shortage of semiconductors that in some cases has been exacerbated by the Trump administration’s actions against key Chinese chip factories, industry officials said.

The shortage, which caught much of the industry off-guard and could continue for many months, is now causing Ford Motor Co, Subaru Corp and Toyota Motor Corp to curtail production in the United States.

Automakers affected in other markets include Volkswagen, Nissan Motor Co Ltd and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

The problems stem from a confluence of factors as auto manufacturers compete against the sprawling consumer electronics industry for chip supplies. Consumers have stocked up on laptops, gaming consoles and other electronic products during the pandemic, creating tight chip supplies throughout 2020.

They have also bought more cars than industry officials expected last spring, further straining supplies.

In at least one case, the shortage ties back to President Donald Trump’s policies aimed at curtailing technology transfers to China.

One automaker moved chip production from China’s Semiconductor Manufacturing International, or SMIC, which was hit with U.S. government restrictions in December, to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co in Taiwan, which in turn was overbooked, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.

An auto supplier confirmed TSMC has been unable to keep up with demand.

“The systemic aspect of the crisis is giving us a headache,” said a supplier executive, who asked not to be identified. “In some cases, we find substitution parts that could make us independent from TSMC, only to discover that the alternative wafer manufacturer has no capacity available.”

TSMC and SMIC did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

On an earnings call with investors Thursday, TSMC Chief Executive C.C. Wei said there was a shortage of automotive chips made with “mature technology” and that it is working with customers “to mitigate the shortage impact.”

It only takes the tiniest of chips to throw off production: a Ford plant in Kentucky that makes the Escape sport utility vehicle idled because of a shortage of a chip in the vehicle’s brake system, a union official in the plant said.

Ford also will idle its Focus plant in Saarlouis, Germany, for a month starting next week because of chip shortages.

The situation is unlikely to improve quickly, since all chips, whether bound for a laptop or a Lexus, start life as a silicon wafer that takes about 90 days to process into a chip.

The chipmaking industry has always strained to keep up with sudden demand spikes. The factories that produce wafers cost tens of billions of dollars to build, and expanding their capacity can take up to a year for testing and qualifying complex tools.

“The long and short of it is, demand is up about 50%. And there’s no asset-intensive industry like ours that has 50% capacity lying around,” said Mike Hogan, senior vice president at chip manufacturer GlobalFoundries and head of its automotive unit.

HUAWEI EFFECT

Tight capacity and soaring demand has made it difficult for chip producers to absorb two shocks from the Trump administration.

First, the White House in September banned Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, the Chinese telecommunications giant and a major smartphone maker, from buying chips made with American technology. Huawei stockpiled chips ahead of the ban in order to keep building what products it could after it took effect. And Huawei’s rivals, eyeing a chance to grab market share, started snapping up chips, analysts said.

Second, the U.S. government enacted rules that bar SMIC from using some U.S. tools to make chips, a move that has prompted at least some of SMIC’s customers to look for a different chip factory because of concerns that production could be disrupted.

“There’s a fear of using a Chinese chip factory if the United States is going to put them on an entity list,” said Daniel Goehl, chief business officer of UltraSense Systems, referring to possible further restrictions.

A Commerce Department spokesman declined to comment on the implications of the SMIC and Huawei blacklistings for the auto sector but said that the top priority was “to ensure the Export Administration Regulation protects U.S. national security, economic security, and foreign policy interests.”

Analysts said the automotive chip shortage is likely to persist for as long as six months. An AutoForecast Solutions report estimated the global auto industry had already experienced lost volume of 202,000 vehicles as of Jan. 13.

Executives at automakers and suppliers said they are adapting production schedules to protect chips used in higher-profit vehicles. And companies are weighing sourcing chips from more suppliers and increasing inventory levels in the future.

“It’s four-dimensional chess all day long,” said one auto official, who asked not to be identified.

(Reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit, Stephen Nellis in San Francisco and Alexandra Alper in Washington. Editing by Jonathan Weber & Simon Cameron-

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By Andrew Higgins

Jan. 10, 2021

Lying as a political tool is hardly new. But a readiness, even enthusiasm, to be deceived has become a driving force in politics around the world, most recently in the United States.

For President Trump’s supporters, rallying near the Washington Monument on Wednesday, it is enough that he says he won.

MOSCOW — In a cable to Washington in 1944, George F. Kennan, counselor at the United States Embassy in Stalin’s Moscow, warned of the occult power held by lies, noting that Soviet rule “has proved some strange and disturbing things about human nature.”

Foremost among these, he wrote, is that in the case of many people, “it is possible to make them feel and believe practically anything.” No matter how untrue something might be, he wrote, “for the people who believe it, it becomes true. It attains validity and all the powers of truth.”

Mr. Kennan’s insight, generated by his experience of the Soviet Union, now has a haunting resonance for America, where tens of millions believe a “truth” invented by President Trump: that Joseph R. Biden Jr. lost the November election and became president-elect only through fraud.

Lying as a political tool is hardly new. Niccolo Machiavelli, writing in the 16th century, recommended that a leader try to be honest but lie when telling the truth “would place him at a disadvantage.” People don’t like being lied to, Machiavelli observed, but “one who deceives will always find those who allow themselves to be deceived.”

A readiness, even enthusiasm, to be deceived has in recent years become a driving force in politics around the world, notably in countries like Hungary, Poland, Turkey and the Philippines, all governed by populist leaders adept at shaving the truth or inventing it outright.

Janez Jansa, a right-wing populist who in March became prime minister of Slovenia — the home country of Melania Trump — was quick to embrace Mr. Trump’s lie that he won. Mr. Jansa congratulated him after the November vote, saying “it’s pretty clear that the American people have elected” Mr. Trump and lamenting “facts denying” by the mainstream media.

Even Britain, which regards itself as a bastion of democracy,  has fallen prey to transparent but widely believed falsehoods, voting in 2016 to leave the European Union after claims by the pro-Brexit camp that exiting the bloc would mean an extra 350 million pounds, or $440 million, every week for the country’s state health service.

Many of the claims of Brexit backers are demonstrably false, but as Britain officially left the European Union, on Jan. 31, some people in London celebrated.Credit…Andrew Testa for The New York Times

Those who advanced this lie, including the Conservative Party politician who has since become Britain’s prime minister, Boris Johnson, later admitted that it was a “mistake” — though only after they had won the vote.

Bigger and more corrosive lies, ones that don’t just fiddle with figures but reshape reality, have found extraordinary traction in Hungary. There, the populist leader Viktor Orban has cast the financier and philanthropist George Soros, a Hungarian-born Jew, as the shadowy mastermind of a sinister plot to undermine the country’s sovereignty, replace native Hungarians with immigrants and destroy traditional values.

The strength of this conspiracy theory, sometimes tinged with anti-Semitism, said Peter Kreko, executive director of Political Capital, a research group in Budapest long critical of Mr. Orban, lies in its appeal to a “tribal mind-set” that sees all issues as a struggle between “good and evil, black and white,” rooted in the interests of a particular tribe.

“The art of tribal politics is that it shapes reality,” Mr. Kreko said. “Lies become truth and explain everything in simple terms.” And political struggles, he added, “become a war between good and evil that demands unconditional support for the leader of the tribe. If you talk against your own camp you betray it and get expelled from the tribe.”

What makes this so dangerous, Mr. Kreko said, is not just that “tribalism is incompatible with pluralism and democratic politics” but that “tribalism is a natural form of politics: Democracy is a deviation.”

In Poland, the deeply conservative Law and Justice Party of Jaroslaw Kaczynski, in power since 2015, has promoted its own multipurpose, reality-shifting conspiracy theory. It revolves around the party’s repeatedly debunked claim that the 2010 death of scores of senior Polish officials, including Mr. Kaczynski’s brother — Poland’s president at the time — in a plane crash in western Russia was the result of a plot orchestrated by Moscow and aided, or at least covered-up by the party’s rivals in Warsaw.

Russian rescue workers inspecting the site of a plane crash that killed Poland’s president, Lech Kaczynski, in 2010.

While Polish, Russian and independent experts have all blamed bad weather and pilot error for the crash, the belief that it was foul play has resonated among die-hard Law and Justice supporters. It has both fed on and reinforced their view that leaders of the previous centrist government are not just political rivals but traitors in cahoots with Poland’s centuries-old foe, Russia, and Poland’s own former communist elite.

The utility of lying on a grand scale was first demonstrated nearly a century ago by leaders like Stalin and Hitler, who coined the term “big lie” in 1925 and rose to power on the lie that Jews were responsible for Germany’s defeat in World War I. For the German and Soviet dictators, lying was not merely a habit or a convenient way of sanding down unwanted facts but an essential tool of government.

It tested and strengthened loyalty by forcing underlings to cheer statements they knew to be false and rallied the support of ordinary people who, Hitler realized, “more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie” because, while they might fib in their daily lives about small things, “it would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths.”

By promoting a colossal untruth of his own — that he won a “sacred landslide election victory” — and sticking to it despite scores of court rulings establishing otherwise, Mr. Trump has outraged his political opponents and left even some of his longtime supporters shaking their heads at his mendacity.

In embracing this big lie, however, the president has taken a path that often works — at least in countries without robustly independent legal systems and news media along with other reality checks.

After 20 years in power in Russia, President Vladimir V. Putin, for example, has shown that Mr. Kennan was right when, writing from the Russian capital in 1944, he said, “Here men determine what is true and what is false.”

Many of Mr. Putin’s falsehoods are relatively small, like the claim that journalists who exposed the role of Russia’s security service in poisoning opposition leader Aleksei A. Navalny were working for the C.I.A. Others are not, like his insistence in 2014 that Russian soldiers played no role in the seizure of Crimea from Ukraine, or in fighting in eastern Ukraine. (He later acknowledged that “of course” they were involved in grabbing Crimea.)

But there are differences between the Russian leader and the defeated American one, said Nina Khrushcheva, a professor and expert on Soviet and other forms of propaganda at the New School in New York. “Putin’s lies are not like Trump’s: They are tactical and opportunistic,” she said. “They don’t try to redefine the whole universe. He continues to exist in the real world.”

Despite his open admiration for Russia’s president and the system he presides over, she said, Mr. Trump, in insisting that he won in November, is not so much mimicking Mr. Putin as borrowing more from the age of Stalin, who, after engineering a catastrophic famine that killed millions in the early 1930s, declared that “living has become better, comrades, living has become happier.”

“That is what the big lie is,” Ms. Khrushcheva said. “It covers everything and redefines reality. There are no holes in it. You so either accept the whole thing or everything collapses. And that is what happened to the Soviet Union. It collapsed.”

Whether Mr. Trump’s universe will collapse now that some allies have taken flight and Twitter has snatched his most potent bullhorn for broadcasting falsehoods is an open question. Even after the Capitol siege by pro-Trump rioters, more than 100 members of Congress voted to oppose the election outcome. Many millions still believe him, their faith fortified by social media bubbles that are often as hermetically sealed as Soviet-era propaganda.

“Unlimited control of people’s minds,” Mr. Kennan wrote, depends on “not only the ability to feed them your own propaganda but also to see that no other fellow feeds them any of his.”

In Russia, Hungary and Turkey, the realization that the “other fellow” must not be allowed to offer a rival version of reality has led to a steady squeeze on newspapers, television stations and other outlets out of step with the official line.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey has shut down more than 100 media outlets and, through bullying by the tax police and other state agencies, forced leading newspapers and television channels to transfer ownership to government loyalists.

This assault began in 2008 with claims by Mr. Erdogan and his allies that they had discovered a sprawling underground group of coup plotters and subversives comprising senior military officers, writers, professors, editors and many others.

Protesters outside a courthouse in Turkey in 2013 where 275 people were accused of trying to overthrow the government. Turkey’s leader later acknowledged the case was a sham.

“The group was completely invented, a total fabrication,” said Soner Cagaptay, director of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and author of“The New Sultan: Erdogan and the Crisis of Modern Turkey.”

This big lie, built around a few shards of fact, convinced not only pious Muslims hostile to the country’s secular elite but also liberals, many of whom then viewed the military as the biggest threat to democracy. Trials dragged on for years before Mr. Erdogan acknowledged that the case against the alleged underground group was a sham.

Long before Mr. Trump, Mr. Cagaptay said, the Turkish leader, who has ruled since 2003, “saw the power of nativist and populist politics” rooted in falsehoods and “brought to prominence the idea of the deep state to justify crackdowns on his political opponents.”

Mr. Trump’s ascent also helped empower a cousin of the big lie — a boom in social-media disinformation and far-right conspiracy-theory fiction.

It has most notably been embodied by the global expansion of Qanon, a once-obscure fringe phenomenon that claims the world is run by a cabal of powerful liberal politicians who are sadistic pedophiles. Mr. Trump has not disavowed Qanon disciples, many of whom participated in the Capitol mayhem last Wednesday. In August he praised them as people who “love our country.”

To some extent, each new generation is shocked to learn that leaders lie and that people believe them. “Lying never was more widespread than today. Or more shameless, systematic, and constant,” the Russian-born French philosopher Alexandre Koyré wrote in his 1943 treatise, “Reflections on Lying.”

What most distressed Mr. Koyré, however, was that lies don’t even need to be plausible to work. “On the contrary,” he wrote, “the grosser, the bigger, the cruder the lie, the more readily is it believed and followed.”

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Kimberley Richards·Trends Reporter, HuffPostWed, January 6, 2021, 4:19 PM

The NAACP called out President Donald Trump over his yearslong attack on Colin Kaepernick for peacefully protesting racism, after Trump supporters stormed the grounds of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.

The Capitol went on lockdown as pro-Trump rioters breached the building, banging on the main entrance of the House chamber and shattering glass windows. Photos and videos posted online show the insurrectionists breaching legislative offices.

Trump, who has often derided Kaepernick’s peaceful protests against racial injustice as unpatriotic, initially responded to the riots by tweeting, “stay peaceful.” He did not tell his supporters to stop rioting in that tweet.

“And you thought ‘Taking A Knee’ was too much!?!” the official Twitter account for the NAACP tweeted.

The civil rights organization has also since called for Trump’s impeachment.

“The pattern of President Trump’s misconduct is unmistakable and has proven time and time again that it is a grave threat and harm to the fragile fabric of our country,” a statement from NAACP President Derrick Johnson read in part.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-4&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1346916733915955205&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.yahoo.com%2Fsports%2Fheat-celtics-players-stage-protest-kneel-in-response-to-attack-on-us-capitol-jacob-blake-decision-004735929.html&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550px

Kaepernick, a former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, famously led peaceful protests against racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem at NFL games. The league has been widely accused of blackballing the activist, who has remained unsigned by any team since he became a free agent after the 2016 season.

Trump has often used Twitter as a medium to complain about NFL protests. In September 2017, he encouraged fans to protest the league to get players to stop kneeling.

“If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast,” he tweeted. “Fire or suspend!”

Trump also called NFL players who peacefully protested sons of bitches during a stump speech for former Sen. Luther Strange in Huntsville, Alabama, that same month.

In May, the president tweeted a threat that people protesting the police killing of George Floyd would have been met with the “most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons” if they had breached the White House fence.

Many people on social media Wednesday called out the Trump administration’s response to the rioters at the Capitol, saying that the police response would have been profoundly different if they had been Black Lives Matter protesters.


Congresswoman Marie Newman@RepMarieNewman·The Trump Admin’s response to a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in D.C. vs. The Trump Admin’s response to violent domestic terrorists breaching and vandalizing our nation’s Capitol. Remind me again how there aren’t two criminal justice systems in America?

🤔

Trump has, for months, spread false claims about widespread voter fraud. He had urged his supporters to march to the U.S. Capitol during a rally earlier on Wednesday, and since November, has repeatedly lied that the election was somehow stolen.

The president eventually told supporters in a video message tweeted later on Wednesday to “go home,” but he again falsely claimed that the election was stolen.

The Twitter account for the NAACP later responded to a tweet by The Grio’s White House correspondent April D. Ryan describing efforts to remove Trump from office. “Get him out of OUR office”!

NAACP@NAACP·Get him out of OUR office!Quote Tweet

AprilDRyan@AprilDRyan · 13hCongressional leaders are in the undisclosed location and focusing on the 25th Amendment to get @realDonaldTrump out of office!

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