Gauging the Outer Limits of Human Gullibility

From Gaius Publius:

Citing Jeremy Scahill: “Pence’s ascent to the second most powerful position in the U.S. government is a tremendous coup for the radical religious right. Pence — and his fellow Christian supremacist militants — would not have been able to win the White House on their own. For them, Donald Trump was a godsend…”

Citing Allegra Kirkland at Talking Points Memo:

…Pence was absent from many of the key incidents Mueller is reportedly investigating as part of his sprawling probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. But he was intimately involved with several, including the firing of former FBI director James Comey, and the subsequent efforts to settle on a rationale for that firing, which appear to be at the center of the Mueller investigation.

From Consortium News:

In these last eight years, I have never heard Julian Assange complain even once.

From Zero Hedge:

The ‘seamless office process’ to which the Israeli official referred with Caspit, is known as ‘stovepiping’, which is when a foreign state’s policy advocacy and intelligence are passed straight to a President’s ear – omitting official Washington from the ‘loop’; by-passing any US oversight; and removing the opportunity for officials to advise on its content. Well, this has now resulted in the Khashoggi strategic blunder. And this, of course, comes in the wake of earlier strategic ‘mistakes’: the Yemen war, the siege of Qatar, the Hariri abduction, the Ritz-Carlton princely shakedowns…

“Hit them in their pockets”, Netanyahu advised Trump: “if you hit them in their pockets, they will choke; and when they choke, they will throw out the ayatollahs””.

From Al Jazeera:

In 2012, Congress authorised any president to impose sanctions on SWIFT’s board of directors (which includes executives from some of the world’s biggest banks) if it refused to disconnect Iranian banks blacklisted by Washington.

From Daniel Ellsberg:

But the fact is they were gambling in ‘45, and they were gambling in ‘54 and the others, in a way that had the possibility not, it turns out, of destroying all life on earth or the earth itself, but of destroying humanity.

From Zero Hedge:

Many believe South Carolina Lindsey Graham will be tapped to replace Sessions, speculation that has only intensified following Nikki Haley’s decision to resign as UN Ambassador, which some believe she did to set herself up to succeed Graham (Haley previously served as governor of South Carolina) should he be tapped for Trump’s cabinet.

From Andrew Korybko:

The US understands the long-term strategic ramifications of redirecting Afghanistan’s international trade away from Pakistan (and increasingly China) and towards the rest of the world market via the access that it obtains through Chabahar, which is why the railroad that’s supposed to branch off from this port to the landlocked country is also excluded from the sanctions regime….

The US is engaging in long-term strategic planning that won’t yield immediate dividends, but that it’s undertaking this approach because of the high level of trust that it’s established with India since the election of PM Modi in 2014.

From Thomas Frank:

At the other end of the ideological spectrum, meanwhile, the Tea Party movement of 2009 is now in the midst of a full-on populist makeover. Never has there been a phonier, more transparent bid to mislead an angry public. Supposedly a protest against bank bailouts, it was actually launched from among the futures traders on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange—and then backed to the hilt by Beltway libertarians looking for a way to distance themselves from the badly damaged Republican brand. The movement’s Number One heroine, Ayn Rand, spent decades dreaming up ways to express her contempt for democracy and its beloved average citizen. The Tea Party movement’s great demand for solving the problem of out-of-control bankers—more bank deregulation—seems to have been developed as a kind of thought experiment to gauge the outer limits of human gullibility…

What does it tell us when liberals, faced with epic political corruption, spectacular bank misbehavior, and towering inequality, take that opportunity to declare war on populism? It tells us that they’ve lost any sense of their own movement as an expression of the vast majority. It tells us they have no idea why they believe they should be entrusted with power in the first place. And it reminds us that their particular brand of class-based self-delusion is a luxury that the rest of us can ill afford.

From Bernie Sanders:

I think [Tuesday] night was a significant rejection of Trumpism. Not only did the Democrats regain control of the House, which was the most important development, Democrats won seven governors’ races. Democrats won 300 races at the state legislative and in the four states that Trump won in order to get his Electoral College majority — Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan — all four of those Senate Democratic candidates won. And three out of the four [Democratic] candidates for governor won.

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