Trump’s win revealed the hollowness of US politics. Stronger leaders will exploit this.

Summary: Trump has proven himself a clown president, who intends to damage the government and refocus it on the needs of the 1%. But more importantly, he has shown the hollowness of America’s political regime. Powerful people have taken notice, people with a greater appetite for power. If Trump can win the Presidency, then so can they. Expect bigger changes after 2020, the next step towards an American plutocracy.

Leadership as Chess

Trump is a clown. His team consists mostly of far-right plutocrats and their retainers (not a populist among them), many with little or no relevant experience for their job. The lower ranks are filled with people selected for their loyalty and conservative ideology, not their training, experience, and competence (see how they are wrecking the State Dept).

The foolish errors, ethics violations, and disorganization of the first six weeks of the Trump foreshadow what we can expect during the next four years. They intend to hammer America’s governments back into the Gilded Age model: an engine to serve the 1%, boost inequality, and boost corporate profits. Given the Republican Party’s dominance at all levels, they will accomplish much.

Those changes seem large to us. But larger changes are coming. Trump is just the beginning.

Read more


New research reveals the people guilty of wrecking America!

Summary: This is the scariest thing you’ll read this year. For a decade, since 4 July 2006, I’ve warned that the Republic was dying from our neglect — that the Constitution has died in our hearts (the only place it lived). Surveys, such as Gallup’s Confidence in Institutions poll, showed the rot. Now a larger survey reveals that the very foundation of the Republic is washing away while we remain complacent and self-congratulatory. See the For More Info section for ideas what to do about this.

Our burning constitution

The Danger of Deconsolidation: The Democratic Disconnect.”

By Roberto Stefan Foa and Yascha Mounk
In the Journal of Democracy, July 2016.

Read the full paper. Here is an excerpt. Headers and red emphasis added.


“The citizens of wealthy, established democracies are less satisfied with their governments than they have been at any time since opinion polling began. Most scholars have interpreted this as a sign of dissatisfaction with particular governments rather than with the political system as a whole. Drawing on recent public opinion data, we suggest that this optimistic interpretation is no longer plausible. Across a wide sample of countries in North America and Western Europe, citizens of mature democracies have become markedly less satisfied with their form of government and surprisingly open to nondemocratic alternatives. A serious democratic disconnect has emerged. If it widens even further, it may begin to challenge the stability of seemingly consolidated democracies.


The difficulty of predicting social change

“For four decades, Die Welt, one of West Germany’s leading newspapers, refused to acknowledge the existence of an East German state. Since the paper’s editors expected the communist regime to collapse within a matter of years, they put scare quotes around its initials whenever they discussed the German Democratic Republic (GDR). While other papers reported about the policies pursued by the GDR, Die Weltun failingly wrote about the “GDR.”

“Sometime in the summer of 1989, the paper’s leadership finally decided to give up on the pretense that the East German regime was on theverge of collapse. The communists had been in power for so long, and seemed so well-entrenched, that the scare quotes had become an embarrassing denial of reality. On 2 August 1989, reporters were allowed to drop the scare quotes when writing a bout the GDR for the first time in the paper’s history. Three months later, the Berlin Wall fell. On 3 October 1990, the GDR ceased to exist.

“The editors of Die Welt radically misjudged the signs of the times. At precisely the moment when they should have realized that support for the communist regime was dwindling, they finally reconciled themselves to its durability. They were hardly alone. The collective failure of social scientists, policy makers, and journalists to take seriously the greater confidence in the durability of the world’s affluent, consolidated democracies.

“But do we have good grounds for our democratic self-confidence? At first sight, there would seem to be some reason for concern. Over the last three decades, trust in political institutions such as parliaments or the courts has precipitously declined across the established democracies of North America and Western Europe. So has voter turnout. As party identification has weakened and party membership has declined, citizens have become less willing to stick with establishment parties. Instead, voters increasingly endorse single-issue movements, vote for populist candidates, or support “antisystem” parties that define themselves in opposition to the status quo. Even in some of the richest and most politically stable regions of the world, it seems as though democracy is in a state of serious disrepair.

“Most political scientists, however, have steadfastly declined to view these trends as an indication of structural problems in the functioning of liberal democracy, much less as a threat to its very existence. …

“In our view, however, this optimistic interpretation may no longer be tenable. Drawing on data from Waves 3 through 6 of the World Values Surveys (1995–2014), we look at four important types of measures that are clear indicators of regime legitimacy as opposed to government legitimacy:

  1. citizens’ express support for the system as a whole;
  2. the degree to which they support key institutions of liberal democracy, such as civil rights;
  3. their willingness to advance their political causes within the existing political system; and
  4. their openness to authoritarian alternatives such as military rule.

“What we find is deeply concerning. Citizens in a number of supposedly consolidated democracies in North America and Western Europe have not only grown more critical of their political leaders. Rather, they have also become more cynical about the value of democracy as a political system, less hopeful that anything they do might influence public policy, and more willing to express support for authoritarian alternatives. The crisis of democratic legitimacy extends across a much wider set of indicators than previously appreciated.

Read more

Trump brings the crisis in journalism to a flashpoint

Summary: Campaign 2016 and the advent of Trump have brought the crisis in journalism to the front pages. Fake news, conflicts with the president, calls for advocacy journalism, loss of the public’s trust — together these are forcing journalists to reconsider the craft and their business. Failure to find solutions will mean a new information regime for America.

Lois Lane



  1. Watch journalists burn the news media.
  2. Do we trust journalists or Trump?
  3. Do we trust journalists?
  4. Jay Rosen explains the news.
  5. For More Information.

See journalist in Lois Lane in 1972…

(1) Watch journalists burn the news media to the ground

Their business relies on the public’s trust. I feel sad watching them burn their business to the ground. Their long decay has accelerated since the election of Trump.

16 Fake News Stories Reporters Have Run Since Trump Won” by Daniel Payne at The Federalist “Journalists, media types, reporters, you have two choices: you can fix these problems, or you can watch your profession go down in flames.” Payne provides detailed documentation of sixteen fake new stories. None were well-researched. All received lavish attention from mainstream journalist. All proved false, with the retractions lightly reported.

A WaPo op-ed: “The media botched this Trump story last week — and that’s bad for everyone” by Jackson Diehl (Deputy Editor).

“The Trump administration has launched a raft of ill-considered, reckless and wrongheaded foreign policy initiatives in its first two weeks… One thing Trump has decidedly not done, however, is downgrade the participation of the director of national intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the deliberations of the National Security Council. Opening…

“You may have heard and read otherwise, repeatedly. Therein lies an illustration of how communication between the executive and mainstream media, and with it coverage of the Trump administration, has already come unhinged. …Media organizations look less credible on the real Trump transgressions when they, inadvertently or otherwise, report the routine as scandalous. “

Read more

Who won the election? Were the polls accurate? What lessons learned?

Summary: The results of the election are in! The Republic lost, with a new President who got second place in the public vote. Then came a barrage of lies about the simple facts of the election, propaganda which our institutions seem unable to fight. Can we reform the Electoral College before 2020? That will show if the Republic remains vital or has become decrepit. The clock is running.

Election 2016


  1. Who won?
  2. How accurate were the polls?
  3. Our necessary response.
  4. For More Information.

(1)  Who won?

The right-wing lie machine is gearing up to deceive Americans about the 2016 vote. The lies start at the top. We must draw a line in the sand beyond which we become a reality-based community. Let’s start now.

Trump won the Electoral College (EC) 57% to 43%, with (tentatively) 306 votes to Clinton’s 232. See this sortable table of historical EC results. Trump’s EC margin is the 46th largest among the 58 presidential elections. The lies about this continue, despite being obviously false. On Nov 27 Trump tweeted “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide…” An unsigned statement from Trump’s transition team on Dec 9 said “The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history.” On Nov 28 by Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, said…

What about the popular vote? Most of the ballots have been counted. The current totals show Clinton with over 2.8 million more votes than Trump, winning by 2.1%. See this sortable table of election results. Trump has the third largest losing margin among the five presidents that lost the popular vote. But on Nov 27 Trump tweeted “I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.”  Like sheep, conservatives quickly adopted that as scripture, despite the near-total lack of evidence for Trump’s claim.

Read more

We no longer trust each other, or America. It’s our core problem.

Summary: We’ve frittered away the 2016 election talking mostly about personalities and trivia. But this partisan sniping, each side seeing only its own version of America, reveals the breakdown of trust that social scientists have long warned about. Deteriorating for decades, it has become one of our core problems. It makes solutions to other problems almost impossible.

“Mankind are not held together by lies. Trust is the foundation of society. Where there is no …trust, there can be no society.”
— By Frederick Douglass in “Our Composite Nationality“, 7 December 1869.

Broken trust

The Decline of Trust in the United States

By Josh Morgan at Medium, 20 May 2014.
“A Look at the Trend and What Can Be Done About It.”

“Trust is the glue that binds people together. …Trust is correlated with —

“…Data from the DDB Life Style Survey indicates that trust began to increase throughout the country after World War II, and rose steadily through the 1960s. According to the data, trust peaked in 1967–1968, when roughly 56% of survey respondents agreed that “most people can be trusted.” From there, trust began to decline, and the trend has continued ever since.

A poll published by the Associated Press and GfK found that only 1 in 3 three Americans would agree that “most people can be trusted.” …Pew found that less than 1 in 5 adults trusted the government in Washington. In the workplace, the American Psychological Association found that roughly 1 in 4 adults did not trust their employers. …The Pew Research Center recently found that less than 1 in 5 adults between 18 and 29 years old believed that most people could be trusted, which is lower than the general population. Harvard’s Institute of Politics also found that political trust was low among Millenials {sic}.

“…Using the 2012 edition of the General Social Survey (GSS) data set, I was able to compare how groups in different categories responded to the variable “trust”, which asks, “Generally speaking, would you say that most people can be trusted or that you can’t be too careful in dealing with people?” This was the variable used by Pew and the AP-GfK to determine trust among the general public and among Millenials. {sic}”

Read more

A new survey reveals American’s top fears, showing our true selves

Summary: The Chapman University Survey reveals American’s top fears. Many of them are exaggerated; some are delusional, most are influenced by the sea of propaganda that blankets America. Here we see one reason why the reform of America is so difficult.

Fearful faces in the dark

For the third year, the Chapman University Survey of American Fears asked 1,500+ adult Americans about their fears (details here). The slide show presentation of their results appears below, with a video at the end of the post. The top 10 things we fear the most are…fearful woman

  1. Corruption of government officials (also #1 in 2015).
  2. Terrorist attacks.
  3. Not having enough money for the future.
  4. Being a victim of terror. {Twice on the list!}
  5. Government restrictions on firearms and ammunition.
  6. People I love dying.
  7. Economic or financial collapse.
  8. Identity theft.
  9. People I love becoming seriously ill.
  10. The Affordable Health Care Act/”Obamacare”.


Read more

PollyVote gives a reliable forecast about the Election. Prepare for Hillary.

Summary: The polls dominate the election news, but there are better ways to forecasts of its results. Here is one of the best: aggregating the various forecasting models. The results gives us time to prepare for the Clinton administration. See below for links to posts describing what we’ll see.

Prediction: a landslide for Hillary Clinton in the Electoral College

Pollyvote - Electoral Count - 16 Sept 2016

From the PollyVote website

“The PollyVote is based on the principle of combining forecasts. That is, PollyVote combines forecasts from different forecasting methods, the so-called component methods, each of which relies on different data. The PollyVote forecast is calculated by following a two-step approach:

  1. Averaging forecasts within each component method.
  2. Averaging the resulting forecasts across component methods.

“In other words, we use equal weighting of all forecasts within each component method, then equal weighting across these forecasts from different methods. This is the same approach that the PollyVote successfully used to forecast U.S. presidential elections since 2004, and the 2013 German federal election.” {Read the rest here.}

“The PollyVote was launched in 2004 by forecasting expert J. Scott Armstrong and the political scientists Alfred Cuzán and Randy Jones. In 2007, Andreas Graefe joined the project. For more information about the team click here.”

Read about their track record and their publications about the PollyVote project. To learn more see their Frequently Asked Questions page. News stories about PollyVote data are automatically generated by software of the German-based company AX Semantics. Here’s how they do it…

Read more