Trump and Objective Reality
By Dennis Loo (2/19/17)
“One of these things just doesn’t belong here,” as they sing-a-long on Sesame Street. Of course, the two - Trump and Objective Reality - exist alongside each other in a most uneasy way, with Trump insisting that what he says is true because, well, he said it, ergo it is, no matter what. Anyone who says any different is “the enemy,” “fake news,” and “dishonest.”
On the one hand, Trump represents a continuation of a trend that began some decades ago which Obama was the previous most egregious purveyor of untruth, but Trump and objective reality know no relationship whatsoever, with a Trump untruth just hanging out there like a sore thumb.
Before going on, let’s deal with a concern that many have expressed: if we get rid of that pest Trump, we are left with Pence, and then we’ll have a competent reactionary rather than that clown Trump. What people need to visualize is that the level of political mobilization that is going to be required to force a Trump resignation – in the tens of millions – means that this dramatic change in the political balance of forces does not just go away with a Pence presidency. Pence will not act like a crazy person the way Trump does, but he will confront a thoroughly aroused populace and will be restricted by that. If he pushes too hard in the face of that, well, then he can face the whirlwind that brought his predecessor down.
I will summarize what I will say next at near the start: if you construct your plans or policies on lies that bear no relation to objective reality, then those plans may only go so far as your power to persuade people of lies can go. That is to say, not very far at all. Objective reality has a way of asserting itself eventually.
Leaks and Donald Trump
By Dennis Loo (2/18/17)
Given that the current administration got into office because of leaks in the first place and Trump went so far as to say he loves Wikileaks and publicly called for Russia to hack Hillary Clinton and the DNC’s emails, for him to try to now make the issue leaks and not contest the truth of said leaks, means that he does not understand how investigative journalism works in the first place or the media’s role in general.
Leaks and anonymous sources are part of how newspapers’ stories are written. If the news media did not use them as part of what they do, and verify those leaks or sources as not just coming from one source alone, they could not do their jobs. If bureaucrats and other authorities were banned from ever speaking anonymously and could only be attributed by name, and never off the record or speaking about background, then the press would become only official mouthpieces for the government, relying exclusively on government press releases only.
Here is a current example from CBS News:
“CBS News has learned that on Thursday, an angry President Trump called CIA Director Mike Pompeo and yelled at him for not pushing back hard enough against reports that the intelligence community was withholding information from the commander-in-chief.”
A Case for Removing Trump: Reasons Why Literacy Matters
By Dennis Loo (2/15/17)
For the nation and planet’s sake, and for his own sake, we need to relieve Trump from his duties as POTUS. The man is clearly not happy in the job and didn’t want it in the first place. He did not expect to win the nomination or the election. What he really wanted originally was a better deal from NBC for The Apprentice. We need do him and ourselves a favor by getting him back where he belongs as a reali-TV star.
After watching David Pakman’s two recent episodes of February 2, 2017 and February 6, 2017 on Trump’s low literacy rate, initially raised by Samantha Bee’s show Full Frontal on October 31, 2016, Trump’s peculiar behavior is even better explained by his low literacy than by his narcissism, as extreme as the narcissism is. (You should watch these shows before you continue.) His narcissism can, in fact, be at least partially explained by his reading problems since empathy, the ability to put you in someone else’s shoes, is what reading helps develop.
I am a university professor and what I have to say next is informed by that experience. I am also very interested in and apply in practice in my teaching and in other aspects of my life my evolving understanding of how we become critical thinkers. The upshot of this is this: how we learn, what we learn, and how we end up making decisions, are all bound together.
This site aims to accomplish two related goals. First, it complements Dennis Loo's book Globalization and the Demolition of Society so that people reading the book can get more deeply into it. (See navigation bar above, labeled "GDS Book Annotations"). We believe that his book is a landmark, providing a solid foundation for politics of a new path. Taking such a path is critical to humanity and the planet's future. As his book's dust jacket states:
[F]ree market fundamentalism - also known as neoliberalism - makes us not more secure or prosperous: it tears the social fabric and undermines security, leading inevitably to disasters on the individual, regional, and global levels.
Neoliberalism is based on the mantra that market forces should run everything. It aims to eliminate job and income security, the social safety net (including welfare and other social guarantees), unions, pensions, public services, and the governmental regulation of corporations. It consequently undermines the basis for people to voluntarily cooperate with authority as almost everyone is increasingly left by themselves to face gargantuan private interests, with governmental and corporate authority ever more indifferent to the public’s welfare.
Those in charge of our collective fates in government and business personify a heartless system based on profit and plunder. They have been relentlessly instituting profoundly immoral and unjust policies even while they insist that they are doing the opposite. We, on the other hand, stand for and are fighting for a radically different system and set of values than this.
Second, in order to get at the truth and because the ways in which humanity's historic striving for understanding and its capacity to wonder and imagine are very rich and diverse, we seek to reflect that richness and diversity on our site. See "About Us" on navigation bar. We intend to be engaging and compelling, as the best investigative journalism and art are, and relentlessly scientific, rigorous, and direct, as those who cherish the truth are. We believe that we can be both accessible and sophisticated. As Loo lays out in his book,
Defeating the empire is not something that occurs only on the literal battlefield. It is also something that is determined throughout the continuum of battles over many issues, including: ideas; philosophy; forms of organization and leadership in economy, politics, and other realms; ways of arguing; ways of responding to and respecting empirical data; interest in truth as opposed to expedience; how people and the environment should be treated; the nature of relations among people (e.g., between women and men, different races and ethnicities, rich and poor countries, etc.); ways of responding to criticism and ideas that are not your own; ways of handling one’s own errors and those of others; and more, all the way up through how warfare is carried out. The contrast between the methods and goals of the neoliberals and those of us who seek an entirely different world is stark. (Globalization and the Demolition of Society, Pp. 326-7)