The Widdershins

The End Times are nigh…

Posted on: July 18, 2016

Political Science was one of my majors in college.  One of my professors said, “Welcome to the only social science where everyone you meet with an opinion considers themselves an expert.”

All the pundits, columnists, and paid marionettes have an opinion as to why the Bogey Yam so decisively won the primary.  Why he so “resonates” with “his people”?  Why the demon Yam inspires such unyielding loyalty?

Here’s the eye opener – the yammering Yam might just be the caterwauling canary in the coal mine of authoritarianism.  Here’s a video explaining the political science niche of authoritarianism.

If you want to read more about this subject, Vox has done some good, long journalism and original research on the subject.  The article is The Rise of American Authoritarianism.  Another article is Congressional Republicans — and everyone else — should take Trump’s authoritarianism seriously.

Fear is the aphrodisiac, revenge is the religion, and xenophobia is the calling card of the authoritarian.  Evolving social norms and demographic changes frighten authoritarians.  Overreaction is the only acceptable reaction to change.  Democracy is only tolerated to the extent it provides the instruments to further the interests of authoritarianism.  Curtailing civil liberties is praised as a means to an end.Trump Salute

At the risk of violating Godwin’s law, the concept of authoritarianism emanated from studying fascism after World War II.  Whatever the genesis, the conservative media infrastructure preaches how terrifying the world is and how little the god-less liberals care about protecting our security.  This is the Siren song of authoritarians.

Terrorism, instability, and instantaneous communication channels have turned the world into a Petri dish for authoritarianism.  The clamoring Yam is Patient Zero.

As a political strategy it is not new.  Nixon used it in 1968 by creating a zeitgeist of rampant lawlessness and then sculpting his candidacy to fulfill the need he created from whole cloth.  The election of 1968 was the first where the concepts of Vance Packard’s Hidden Persuaders were put to use.  It was Mad Men meeting The West Wing for the first time where it was love at first sight and an inseparable bond was forged.

Trump and babyAuthoritarianism plays to the basest of human instincts, but it creates fierce and fulsome adherents.  The bond between an authoritarian and their followers is unshakable.  As the blabbering Yam said, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, OK?”  Finally, he has said something that is true according to the research.

Don’t for a second think this concept is lost upon Trump or his henchmen.  Roger Stone’s first self-proclaimed dirty trick was during the 1968 Nixon campaign.  And there isn’t an authoritarian despot or two-bit murderous dictator for which Paul Manafort hasn’t worked.  Authoritarianism is the clamoring Yam’s campaign strategy.  After his declaration of being the, “law and order candidate,” there is no doubt it will be the recurrent campaign theme.

It is easy to see that the Republican Party might well cleave itself into an establishment wing and an authoritarian wing.  Holding power in Congress will force cooperation between the two factions, but such cooperation will mean no comprehensive immigration policy or investment in infrastructure.  It will also mean cooperation to invalidate Hillary’s presidency through continued BenghaziemailserverWallStreetwhatever conspiracies.Trump Mexicans

This week will be awash with fear-mongering.  The end times are here and they will be broadcast live from Cleveland.  It is no coincidence that the only way to get to the stage at this week’s Republican Convention are by ascending white steps.  Authoritarians would have it no other way.

This week will be difficult.  There will be no concern for damage to the country, inciting violence, or healing.  In fact, just the opposite will serve the campaign interests of the clamoring Yam and his goons.

A quote from the article:

“For authoritarians, in case of moral threat, lock down the borders, kick out those who are different, and punish those who are morally deviant.”

For the Republican Party, the party platform seems to channel authoritarianism — build a wall, block Muslims, deport 11 million, torture, punish women for controlling their health care decisions.  These positions aren’t a stretch if your voters are those who profit from fear and proclaim pain is the prescription for “the others” — more like coming out of the authoritarian closet.

What’s on your mind today?



99 Responses to "The End Times are nigh…"

Great post Prolix. It’s downright scary how many people are so blind to Trump’s rhetoric that their eyes glaze over.

Hillary has a new ad with the same guy who did the 1964 “Confessions of a Republican”. This is the original:

Here is Hillary’s new ad:

@1, thanks GAgal. I’ve seen that ad — I think it’s great.

@2, sometimes I think they are just baiting Trump to get in his head. That ad will do it. It’s excellent.

Yesterday when Obama came out and made the statement about Baton Rouge. He specifically called for calm and deescalating rhetoric knowing full well that was catnip for Trump. Simultaneously with Obama’s statement, Trump was tweeting his, “America is a divided crime scene.”

He took the bait.

Here’s a great article, it is from The New Yorker and it is the guy who actually wrote The Art of the Deal. He’s Dr. Frankenstein who created the monster Trump. He feels guilt and is donating the new royalties to all the groups being victimized by Trump.

@4: Yep, there was a piece at HuffPo on how Obama and the Dems deliberately set the trap for Drumpf and he immediately took the bait. Couldn’t help himself.

(sigh) The “problem” with dear Prolix’s posts is that they are filled with so much of what Lambert Strether called “linky goodness”.

I get absorbed in reading all of his great links that it takes me awhile to get back here to his post to make comments. We should all have such a problem. 🙂

Good read here at WaPo on Trump’s reading habits or lack of them.

Prolix, this post is brilliant, funny and terrifying. Terrifying because it is so true. I believe Hillary will win, but still, the next 3 1/2 months will be very uncomfortable.

GAgal, thanks for posting those ads. I’d seen the older one before. I’m glad he did the new one.

@8, Fredster, great article. It just shows Trump is completely devoid of a necessary ingredient of leadership — a sustaining set of values. He doesn’t stand for anything other than himself. I don’t believe I’ve ever heard him say, “I believe…”

The newsies are picking up on The New Yorker article, particularly the quote from his ghost writer where he says a Trump presidency would lead to the end of civilization.

@9, thanks Annie. Are y’all back home?

I tried adding some links for alternative coverage of the conventions but it’s coming out as pure text and won’t add the links. I’ll play around with it and if y’all can think of any other links to add just put them here in the comments and I”ll try to get them added over there.

@11, yes, we’re home safe and sound, although my poor kid is sick.
I read the New Yorker piece. Trump is such a phony. I also looked at the convention for a few minutes and there was a lot of anger about the decision to not have a roll call vote. Good. I hope its an unmitigated disaster. It would be hilarious if NoSensePence changed his mind.


That’s funny.

Okay, the two links I have are under the politics label.

Rumors are that Jon Stewart will join Stephen Colbert on The Late Showfor convention coverage.

@13, glad y’all are home, but what’s the matter with Laker? I don’t want my buddy to feel puny. NoSensePence is so absolutely perfect.

The Colorado delegation took a powder and walked out. With Colorado, off the table for Republicans, Hillary needs only 6 more electoral votes to win. End of story.

@15, I’ve been jonesing for Jon Stewart. He needs to be poking fun at the Boogey Yam. I hope they have put more bandwidth in Twitter world tonight because he will light it up.

Thanks for posting that Fredster.


@17, W.O.W., just W.O.W. The Murdoch boyz have wanted to get rid of Ailes for quite some time — now they finally found a kangaroo pouch to ride to the Ailes barbie.

In the New Yorker article, Trump’s ghost writer says he doubts Trump has read a single book straight through in his entire adult life because he doesn’t have the attention span. The WaPo article lists all these books Trump said he read. I don’t think anybody believes that.

I laughed at the reference to Cheney as “former vice president Richard B Cheney”. Nah.. We all know his name and it ain’t Richard B.

@18: Oh I can’t wait.

OMFG, little willie (and I mean that most unkindly) of the Duck guys is on the podium speaking now. Glad the tv is muted.

@19 Whoa. That IS sad. Is that normal? I’ve never watched a RNC. Was that all that was left after the Never Trump people had their hopes dashed and found something better to do?

@20: Can you imagine the firing, right now, right in the middle of the elections? Hope they walk him out the door immediately.

GAgal, I’ve never been to a political convention either but those sessions during the early part of the day are probably sparsely attended. Most people are probably still in their hotels quaffing bloody Marys and dealing with hangovers.

Chachi is on the teevee! Wonder if he’ll get residuals from this?

I liked this in the Ailes article:

The internal investigation at 21st Century Fox was expanded into an inquiry about Ailes’s management style in general, the magazine reported, and interviews conducted by the law firm were moved to Paul, Weiss’s offices over concerns that Fox’s offices were bugged.

Better check for vermin, too.

A little info on Marcus Luttrell who just spoke.


Since writing his memoir, Luttrell began a foundation and has become an entrepreneur, starting his own lines of clothing and ammunition.

Ex Rep. Senator, unhappy with the actions of Trump peeps at Day 1 of the convention refers to them as brownshirts who act like fascists. He also had this to say about Trump in the past…

“Trump is a sick sociopath. He has no conscience. No feelings of guilt, remorse, empathy or embarrassment. He has never apologized to Carly [Fiorina], the disabled reporter or Senator McCain on the horrible things he said about them. He has severe personality disorders and is not fit to be president.”

@30, Ken Cuccinelli, of transvaginal fame, was just exorcised this afternoon when they didn’t get the roll call vote. The camera was on him and he tore his credentials off, stomped them on the floor, and said there was no reason to have rules because the RNC just cheated.

The guy was so angry he could barely speak, but I wasn’t sure if it was the anger or just the fact he’s so stooooopid.

@31: So I wonder how many of these folks are walking out of the convention completely, as in not coming back for the rest of the circus?

@29, here’s an alternative telling of the Luttrell fantasy who is not in the running for a movie deal or a clothing line.

@32, oh, they will come back because they can’t stay away — like roided-up moths to a flame, they will be back.

It took me forever to find that dead elephant image.

@34: Or an addict to their heroin.

@35, did you put that dead elephant in the library? I will use that!

Jamiel Shaw whose son was killed by an illegal immigrant during the Bush Administration. Really! What does Obama or Hillary have to do with that?

Wonder if they are passing out quinine tablets for Malaria’s speech?

I confess I’m not watching this circus. I can’t believe Chachi was speaking. What did he say? “Wah, wah, wah” to an empty chair? Or did he sing? ( Please, G-d, no. )

Here’s some proof NonSensePence is cannon fodder — they are sending him out next week for a Latino engagement tour. The most recent polling Hillary leads among Latinos 76% to 14% or a plus 62%.

Wonder what the opening line of NonSensePence’s Latino engagement speech will be?

@37: Yep, it’s in there. It took forever because I have four folders with subfolders labeled “pics to upload”. I probably need to cull through a bunch of them.

@39: LOL, hater. She’s just a poor immigrant who had to fight her way out of Slovenia with a fine pair of…, um, cheekbones.

@40: I had the tv on mute but then I saw MSNBC cut to Mrs. Greenspan and I switched over to TCM.

@43, yeah, she escaped Slovenia without a stitch of clothes on her back or so says the pictures that are all over the intertubz.

I wonder if Ivana or Marla are watching tonight?

@41: Oh my goodness. That’s stepping up and in front of the firing squad. That should be good.

That piece about Lutrell was really good. Why am I not surprised that Gulab was the one who sacrificed the most and garnered the least? I’m not sure I can believe “lone survivor” tales when there is no one left to corroborate.

@42, I really like the dead elephant. It will get a lot of use.

@44: Good move.

I wonder if Ivana or Marla are watching tonight?

I hope they’re looking at their bank balances.

@47, I liked the fact that he said he took out 11 clips of ammo and had 11 clips when Gulab found him.

@49: There’s only so much the teevee can do even with the mute button on.

Who is this guy that’s on there now? He’s in a police uniform.

Wonder if he got permission to speak at a political event?

Oh good, Sean Duffy and his wife, both reality teevee punks, are out there now. I knew he couldn’t pass up a teevee camera.

Melania may not have had a stitch of clothes, but she had a fur throw to lay on. That’s more than some people have. 🙂

@47 and 51: The grains of salt I use when seeing things like that are yuuuge!!

@54, the fur throw was probably baby seal.

Oh boy, the hawg de-nutter is going to speak.

@56: I was wondering if it was a meerkat pelt? (snort)

A 2020 Presidential candidate is about to take the stage — Tom Cotton, the pride of Arkansas and bigots everywhere.

They have Hugh Hewitt, the burn victim, giving color commentary, but the only colors he knows are white, tan, ecru, beige, and eggshell.

Okay, can someone tell me why Republicans all have elephantine ears? If Tom Cotton and Marco Rubio got together they could hear a gnat fart at 2 miles.

Tom “The Neck” Cotton is speaking. He’s supposed to have some gravitas. I don’t see it. All I see is the neck.

@59: You forgot alabaster. Hugh knows him some of that.

A little info on Concerned Veterans for America.

Oh gawd…Jefferson Beauregard.

I have a coupon to use at CVS which expires today so now is a good time to go there.

My Mom can’t figure out why I giggled at her for eating a bowl of popcorn while she’s watching the Convention. And I’m not telling.

@65: Because it’s fun!

Folks, I swear I have yet to see one non-white Republican at this convention. You reckon they have bleached everyone or they are just bigoted, prejudiced, racists?


As Pat Smith, the mother of one of the Americans killed in Benghazi tearfully addressed the Republican National Convention on Monday, Donald Trump phoned into Fox News host Bill O’Reilly’s show and bashed John Kasich for not showing up to the confab.

In an extraordinary moment of counterprogramming, Trump shifted some of the spotlight back to himself, even as a string of speakers in Cleveland spoke optimistically about an America that would be led by the presumptive Republican nominee.

Slovenian Lives Matter!

I am not making this up. My stepdad just came out to the porch to smoke and said, “I didn’t know Trump’s wife was a foreigner”. Man, that FOX news is so informative. I filled him in with a few more details about Trump and his wives since FOX will never tell him.

@67: But, but: WHITE LIVES MATTER!!

@70, that is a great commentary right there. I was just rereading the article about Ailes being fired. It was written by Gabriel Sherman and he is the “Fox whisperer” — he has written about Fox, Ailes, and Murdoch for years. He’s whip smart and has, to my knowledge, never had to correct any of his stories. He is well-sourced inside Fox.

Oh, just think about it — what if Fox had to start reporting facts and stop being a mouthpiece for the RNC?

what if Fox had to start reporting facts and stop being a mouthpiece for the RNC?

There would be a lot of people looking for jobs.

FOX “news” is not going to change because Ailes leaves. The Murdochs know they have that RW market sewn up. Let’s just hope it doesn’t get worse. (I’m trying to imagine what that would look like)

Politifact on Pat Smith’s speech tonight.

I guess perhaps it lets her sleep at night.

Here’s tomorrow’s story — all day — all channels:

It sure looks like Melania Trump copied her speech from Michelle Obama

@76: Here’s the tweet mentioned.


They’re yakking about the speech now.

There’s another Vox article here on the 4 winnahs and 4 loosahs of tonights conclave.

Several speakers implied that Latin American immigrants are the reason we have traffic fatalities in America.

And Republicans stood and cheered. Time and again the cameras panned over a sea of white faces standing and clapping for a demagogic anti-immigration message that made no pretense of being grounded in fussy concerns about labor market economics. This is the kind of thing that people remember.

@75 It’s sad that she is still in the “anger” phase of her grieving and taking it out on the wrong person is typical. Hell, sometimes there is even no “wrong person” to blame. That prompted me to check out the wiki page for him which is very short. This paragraph kinda says it all to me.

Smith was an only child and grew up in the Clairemont neighborhood of San Diego, California. He graduated from Mission Bay High School in 1995, enlisted in the United States Air Force in July 1995 and served for six years. He was a ground radio maintenance (2E1X3) specialist and was promoted to staff sergeant in August 2000. He completed his military service in 2002. As a Foreign Service employee, he lived in The Hague, Netherlands, with his wife, Heather, and children, Samantha and Nathan.[4][5]

Only child, hence his Mom can’t move forward. Six years in the USAF as ground radio guy, then Foreign Service living in the Netherlands. Ten years later, he’s a private contractor in Libya while Amb. Stevens is meeting in a CIA outpost/consulate hundreds of miles from the embassy on 9/11. What a huge disconnect to blame (any) SOS of state for that decision. I wonder which Republican operative it is that keeps her from moving through her grief. Some faction is keeping that going for her and it started well before Trump came on the scene. She is obviously not getting the help she needs.

Wow, Melania’s speechwriter must have “had a dream”. Just wait till the media jumps Trump about this. I might have to watch Fox for a few minutes because this is too big for them to ignore. Trump’s meltdown begins.

@GAgal, said: Some faction is keeping that going for her and it started well before Trump came on the scene. She is obviously not getting the help she needs.

(putting on my non-professional psych hat here) :

It’s just so sad that this gives her something to fixate on and not be able to move on. It’s a horrible event that happened to her son and her as his mother. I’m sure she wants someone to blame for it. But as you said, huge disconnect.

GAgal, wait until the press vultures start circling around and closing in on Melania if she shows up in public with Trump.

Fredster, actually it’s been my thought that Melania would do this speech and never speak to the press again. Certainly not campaign for him. Always stand behind him with that non-smile thing that models do that won’t wrinkle their eyes or nose. In other words, a smirk. Whoops.

Always stand behind him with that non-smile thing that models do that won’t wrinkle their eyes or nose

Oh you mean like the ones they used to have at the auto shows, right? Well good luck with that now. And if they try to hide her it’s only going to make things worse.

Rude Pundit has an excellent post up on Trump, the Republicans and the whole ugly mess.

I will have a new post about the MelaniaMichellespeechgate in the morning.

There’s some good stuff to work with here.

Prolix is going to be a busy blogger this week. 🙂

Careful P; don’t develop a case of carpal tunnel.

I haven’t been that fond of Charles Pierce lately but he has a good piece up about the sad spectacle that was Pat Smith.

My stepdad inspired me. I’m gonna sell bumper stickers that say “I didn’t know Trump’s wife was a FOREIGNER!” Can’t wait to see how that goes down in Georgia.

@90 LOL

I’ve got a new post in the cue for the morning. All I can hope is that each day there will be something as great as coping the speech of Michelle Obama.

@90: You should rack up the $$$s.

@89, that is a good piece by Charlie — perhaps after his cat fight with Steve King this afternoon, he finally got his head on straight.

@90 Probably not the bucks I saw in this little town on the back of a car in the late ’90s that said ” Too bad Hillary wasn’t OJ’s wife”. And that was just tea and cookies. I’m READY FOR HILLARY!! Assholes be damned.

@93: Oh my, I wish I had seen that.

@94: Oh boy…(rolling eyes)

We clicked on the hideous spectacle a few times. Lots of empty seats and lots of empty heads. What stupid people. Love the Melania speech plagiarism.

@96: annie, how is Wade feeling?

@86, very good!

@70 & 90: GAgal, that’s hilarious! I hope you told your stepfather that ex-wife Ivana was a foreigner, too. Obviously der Drumpf’s strategy was to take Czechoslovakia first.

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