The Demand for Applause

I was reminded today of the story recounted by Solzhenitsyn in The Gulag Archipelago about how the great leader demanded applause:

At the conclusion of the conference, a tribute to Comrade Stalin was called for. Of course, everyone stood up (just as everyone had leaped to his feet during the conference at every mention of his name). … For three minutes, four minutes, five minutes, the stormy applause, rising to an ovation, continued. But palms were getting sore and raised arms were already aching. And the older people were panting from exhaustion. It was becoming insufferably silly even to those who really adored Stalin.

However, who would dare to be the first to stop? … After all, NKVD men were standing in the hall applauding and watching to see who would quit first! And in the obscure, small hall, unknown to the leader, the applause went on – six, seven, eight minutes! They were done for! Their goose was cooked! They couldn’t stop now till they collapsed with heart attacks! At the rear of the hall, which was crowded, they could of course cheat a bit, clap less frequently, less vigorously, not so eagerly – but up there with the presidium where everyone could see them?

The director of the local paper factory, an independent and strong-minded man, stood with the presidium. Aware of all the falsity and all the impossibility of the situation, he still kept on applauding! Nine minutes! Ten! In anguish he watched the secretary of the District Party Committee, but the latter dared not stop. Insanity! To the last man! With make-believe enthusiasm on their faces, looking at each other with faint hope, the district leaders were just going to go on and on applauding till they fell where they stood, till they were carried out of the hall on stretchers! And even then those who were left would not falter…

Then, after eleven minutes, the director of the paper factory assumed a businesslike expression and sat down in his seat. And, oh, a miracle took place! Where had the universal, uninhibited, indescribable enthusiasm gone? To a man, everyone else stopped dead and sat down. They had been saved!

The squirrel had been smart enough to jump off his revolving wheel. That, however, was how they discovered who the independent people were. And that was how they went about eliminating them. That same night the factory director was arrested. They easily pasted ten years on him on the pretext of something quite different. But after he had signed Form 206, the final document of the interrogation, his interrogator reminded him:

“Don’t ever be the first to stop applauding.”


Stalin is long dead. Trump is nothing like that in terms of power, or competence. He's not Stalin, or Hitler. He's Berlusconi (but worse). People need to calm down.

Yes, because apathy it's what is called for.

That is true most of the time.

There's quite a lot of room between apathy and hysteria.

No, sanity is what's called for.

'He’s Berlusconi (but worse).'

Maybe, maybe not - has Trump ever been caught with an underage prostitute? Because really, Berlusconi still has a completely different dimension than Trump, and though Trump has time to pull even, it will take more than a prayer breakfast or two for Trump to catch up with Berlusconi's larger than life ratings achievements, as exemplified below -

'In November 2010, 17-year old Moroccan belly dancer and alleged prostitute Karima El Mahroug (better known as "Ruby Rubacuori") claimed to have been given $10,000 by Berlusconi at parties at his private villas. The girl told prosecutors in Milan that these events were like orgies where Berlusconi and 20 young women performed an African-style ritual known as the "bunga bunga" in the nude.

It was also found out that, on 27 May 2010, El Mahroug had been arrested for theft by the Milan police but (being still a minor) she was directed to a shelter for juvenile offenders. After a couple of hours, while she was being questioned, Berlusconi, who was at the time in Paris, called the head of the police in Milan and pressured for her release, claiming the girl was related to then President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and that in order to avoid a diplomatic crisis, she was to be brought to the custody of Nicole Minetti. Following repeated telephone calls by Berlusconi to the police authorities, El Mahroug was eventually released and entrusted to Minetti's care.

The investigation of Berlusconi for extortion (concussione) and child prostitution regarding Karima El Mahroug has been referred to as "Rubygate".

MP Gaetano Pecorella proposed to lower the age of majority in Italy to solve the case. Minetti was known for previous associations with Berlusconi, having danced for Colorado Cafe, a show on one of Berlusconi's TV channels, and on Scorie, an Italian version of Candid Camera. In November 2009 she became a dental hygienist, and shortly afterward treated Berlusconi for two broken teeth and facial injuries after he was attacked with a marble statue at a political rally.[citation needed] In February 2010, she was selected as one of the candidates representing Berlusconi's The People of Freedom party, despite her lack of any political experience, and was seated on the Regional Council of Lombardy the following month.'

Just Google "Trump rape".

What I found here - - doesn't even register on the Berlusconi scandal meter.

Trump is inconsequential, as are his scandals, in comparison to a man who owned essentially all Italian broadcast media while in office, changing laws to ensure his innocence. What has changed the scale is that the American president has a much larger stage on which to demonstrate unfitness for office, making Trump seem larger than life, at least to some.Trump has a long way to go before bunga-bunga is attached to his list of accomplishments while in office. A measly proclamation of a National Day of Patriotic Devotion does not even come close.

Wasn't we connected in some way to the whole p2 Masonic lodge thing as well?

Everyone with two brain cells knows those false rape/sexual misconduct claims were simply dirty tricks by the Democrats. The real criminal in these cases are the Democrat operatives who bought and paid for these lies. Shame on you for continuing those dirty tricks.

This has a brand name. Quisling Lite.

The Stalin excerpt was truly chilling.

The SNL skit was a little funny.

Your and Alex's pearl-clutching are also a little funny.

I realize you too have a lot invested, but when a President normalizes another President just killing dissenters, he is implicitly claiming that right for himself. That is, very sadly, the direct reading.

You have to at least be a Quisling Lite to say that is "just words."

Get the heck out of the way, and let people who still think murder is bad, have the stage.

Pretty sure my comparing you to Walter Mitty is more apt than your comparing msgkings to Quisling.

You are hysterical. Seriously, grow up.

I mean, ok I'm getting out of the way, the stage is yours. Now what, 'anon'? Tell us how we can save the world from Trumpler, with our anonymous pixels.

Trump has the right to kill dissenters. Obama made the Left insist that it was just peachy to kill Americans. That pass has been sold.

Obama could kill Anwar Al-Awlaki and later his 16 year old son. No one complained. Yes Putin is a killer. So is Obama.

Meanwhile, in the real world. Masked leftists are committing assaults on republican men, women, and children, to the resounding applause of every influential leftist.

All Democrats love Pol Pot and Stalin. And apparently SMFS loves Anwar Al-Awlaki.

Yes, the Left did love Pol Pot and Stalin. They marched en masse in places like Berkeley to make sure that the former could implement the ideas of the latter.

But I made no case for Awlaki at all. I did not say if I approved of Obama's use of a high tech death squad. I just noted he did.

And it must have struck home because you need to reply so dishonestly.

SMFS: Obama could kill Anwar Al-Awlaki and later his 16 year old son. No one complained. Yes Putin is a killer. So is Obama.

False equivalency, you partisan asshole.

Al-Awlaki was an al-Qaeda operative involved in planning attacks against the U.S. and thus a traitor. His son was collateral damage in a war.

Identify a case of Obama ordering/signing off on the murder of an American journalist on American soil in retaliation for investigative reporting and/or political dissent. Then, you can equate Obama with Putin.

The story was supposed to relate to Trump?

You have to dig through the mud that was slung to find it but of course it is a politically motivated attack on Trump.

Never misunderestimate your enemy.

If people want to imagine our system of goverment is in danger right now, I think the greater danger is from the hysterical side. Their view would seem to justify ANY measure to save us from the Hitler/Stalin monster we are facing.

What is a coup, or other violent removal from power, if you stop Hitler?

To be clear, I don't think we are in much danger of either scenario (except to the extent the hysteria might encourage mentally ill lone wolves toward violence).

Yes, and the distinct lack of an NKVD-like entity in the US makes the current situation considerably less threatening, also. Trumpistas can't even get a decent band to come play at his inauguration, and we'really supposed to be worried about loyalty displays and independent thinking being crushed? Alex, you're a swell chap, but this was one thought better left unshared.

I think he is Mussolini.

Don't ever be the first to say: there are only genders, SAT scores based on race have been largely unchanged for a generation, women are incredibly weak on average compared to men, the idea that a supreme court justice is progressive or conservative and changes the law based on their feelings...

Two "sexes", not two "genders". Don't give them an inch.

The US Supreme Court has repeatedly held there is no difference between "sex" and "gender," in the law while admitting that there could someday be a case where such a distinction is necessary.

Alex, that YouTube video you link to as your source -- are you making fun of disabled people? Your pretentious literary comparisons between Trump and a notorious mass murderer are in predictably poor taste, but I'm actually more concerned about why you should enjoy watching, or take seriously, disabled comics furiously throwing their arms about. I expect good taste at MR, though with Trump in the ascendancy poor taste may be the last line of defence. It doesn't help your cause.

Who said anything about Trump?

It's what the leftists call a "dog whistle".

When it specifically links to a SNL sketch about Trumps Press secretary it's definitely a "whistle". However, I thought a dog whistle was something only a Leftist could hear?

Right? If there's a dog whistle involved I guess I didn't hear it.

Just to put this into perspective, an anecdote from Germany in 2016: After Merkels speech at the CDU party convention last year the attending party members also managed 11 minutes of collective clapping. This was widely reported in the news, however, nothing was being heard about the fate of the first guy to stop applauding. Party discipline among german conservatives seems to be better than among the Bolsheviks. I wonder how they do it....

Germans are much better at incentives and discipline.

I lived in one of the world's few true cult of personality dictatorships in the 2000s. Each time the president visited my city I saw thousands of people, including young students, mobilized to potemkinize the main thoroughfares and required to gather in the heat and cold many hours in advance his arrival, preparing to sing songs, gift flowers and...applaud until they were told they may stop. Of course we're not anywhere close to that in the US now, but the fact that Alex can raise this and it is in fact relevant should be concerning.

Geez, in the case of our beloved Obama the thousands of Potemkin residents were actually gainfully employed during his visits, especially with security details that rival those guarding Super Bowl LI.

That's what first came to your mind? Want to take bets on how much we'll spend protecting and caressing the Trump family, including for Trump Co business trips, in the next few years? I assume you saw the bill for his son's recent Uruguay junket.

The Obama regime's financial profligacy in jetting around the world at public expense sets a precedent that subsequent emperors will be happy to follow. Even the worst excesses of Nero, Caligula and Commodus pale in comparison to those of the last president.

it must be nice to not care about what you say, just throw words out without any pretence at whether the argument fits, the situation is comparable, the actions are worth defending.

Cost estimates for keeping Melania in New York range from $500,000 to $1M per day, but surely you'll justify that to me or call that inconsequential.

That AT did "raise this" is a fact, that it is "relevant" is not a fact.

the fact that Alex can raise this and it is in fact relevant should be concerning.

Mostly about the state of his and your mental healths.

Trump's lies serve the same purpose: to distinguish the true believers from the imposters. True believers stand behind Trump's lies, as is the case with Sean Spicer and Kellyanne Conway. Defending lies ("alternative facts" in Trump-speak) seems far worse than applause since it requires suspension of disbelief.

I don't particularly get this post, what could possibly be more acceptable than not applauding trump. Isn't Tom Brady getting crap for the exact opposite? Who exactly feels like they are being pressured to pretend to like trump?

Alex lives in a fantasy academic world, where the secret police are at the doorstep, ready to arrest courageous university professors for speaking truth to power. Those of us in the real world note that Alex has guaranteed lifetime employment, which he achieved by demonstrating rigid ideological conformity, and that it is his left-wing friends who are throwing firebombs and suppressing free expression on campuses while the faculty mouth left-wing pieties in unison.

" it is his left-wing friends who are throwing firebombs and suppressing free expression"

Yes,only the Left causes problems of any kind. Because Yours Is the Only Virtuous Political Tribe. And Fox, Breitbart, Drudge etc. tell you that so often that you believe it.

In fact, several professors have been caught on camera asking for "some muscle" or to have the police beat those whose mere speech they oppose.

Plus infinity. Oh well, autists gonna aut.

I will never, ever tire of lefties making asses out of themselves regarding Trump.

"Trump is a brutal dictator, on par with Hitler and Stalin for his crushing of dissent. And hey, check out this clip of him getting DESTROYED on SNL for it!!"

Yesterday I briefly considered what it would be like if he got re-elected after four years of this complete self-beclownment on the left.... and I had to stop myself, because I couldn't stop laughing.

Yes, I understand that you can't stop laughing whenever you imagine pain being experienced by anyone Left of Center. The Politics of Cruelty is very very common in Right Wingers.

Stalin and Hitler didn't start out their most brutal behavior on Day 1. There was a time, at the beginning when people might have made fun of them and gotten away with it.

I am also aware that the Right Wing thinks that everyone should wait until Trump has killed 6 million people before expressing any concerns about his behaviors.

Keep talking. This type of talk justifies any action in response. Please please act according to your conscience.

A wise man said Go ahead, make my day.

Derek, just let him blather on. It's comedy gold.

It should make us all very happy that someone this dense did not get his way in what Hillary Clinton called "the profoundly historic 2016 US Presidential Election."

I voted for HRC and every day, I see a post, tweet or some other public teeth-gnashing or hair-pulling that makes me regret my vote.

Hillary and Trump were the two worst major candidates in a very long time.

I swore off MR for a few weeks before the election, but then I returned. I can see little has changed: the same mix of recycled stories from the NYT, the WaPo, with the Guardian, NPR, etc., inconsequential economic studies proving either that water is wet, or some other tendentious results. The commenters are many of the same dreary lot.

I think I have to reassess my bookmarks.

You won't be missed.

Rich is one of the few that thinks before he posts. I'd say he'd be missed well before you, Alan.

You're approaching it the wrong way, Rich.... yes, there is a dreary lot here, but the schadenfreude opportunity is off the charts.

It is hilarious to see "intellectuals" who were wildly in favor of weaponizing the Executive Branch - because the Dems would never, ever lose another election (never mind this one!) - reduced to this level of childish whining and despair. The popular vote, for God's sake!

That, combined with Tyler and Alex's increasingly-futile attempts to pretend they are anything other than partisan Dems, makes this site good for laugh every day.

Yes, for those who enjoy the Politics of Cruelty, this site can be great fun.

And seeing the Alt Right people here categorize Tyler and Alex as Democrats, because they are to the Left of Attila the Hun politically, is also interesting.

The elites of any persuasion didn't do well in this election. The Republican elite got their teeth kicked in early on, then the Democrats. The Libertarian elite backed Clinton, so they deserve any opprobrium that could be coming their way. Hillary Clinton? Are you kidding?

'The elites of any persuasion didn’t do well in this election.'

The billionaires seem to have made out pretty well. But then, they generally do.

.... makes it even more satisfying to be in a yacht.

"Tyler and Alex as Democrats, because they are to the Left of Attila the Hun politically"

Using Attila the Hun as a reference to Tyler and Alex is just comedy gold.

A more rational statement would be that Tyler and Alex are to the Left of George H Bush.


Don't be too hasty. I already miss Andrew! terribly. I can't name every one I think makes these comments essential, without offending many worthies, except to say that JosieB is my new heart throb. I would gladly be a backer of a blog made of my top ten commenters here.

Hoping to be serious enough,


I have seen four examples of Yankees fan giving long, spontaneous standing ovations because they actually liked the person they applauded. The first was at Mickey Mantle Day early in 1969. Mantle was introduced, and the fans gave him a five minute standing ovation. I was amazed. Later that year, at Old Timers Day, Mantle was the penultimate player introduced, and he received another five minute ovation. The last player introduced, Joe DiMaggio, then received a ten minute ovation! They loved Mantle, but he was no DiMaggio.

Finally, in 1979, catcher Thurman Munson died in a plane crash. At the first game after his death, the team took the field with the catch position empty. PA announcer Bob Shepard asked for a moment of silence, and instead the crowd broke into a ten minute standing ovation. No one tried to quiet the crowd. The players stood on the field with their heads down crying. When it finally died down, Shepard intoned, "Thank you." to the crowd.

Not all long ovations are staged or fake.

As the for Soviets, they never should have stopped clapping. Think of the lives they would have saved in Stalin had to stand there for years waiting for the applause to stop!

My first thought (having not seen the linked sketch) was: Good point, Trump's America is the OPPOSITE of that!

Then I read the comments... I could hardly believe my eyes.

BTW, the sketch had some really funny parts.

Yes, how can anyone have any concern whatsoever about what Trump has been doing? In fact, as a Trumpeter, Yours Is the Only Virtuous Political Tribe, and Trump is a God Man. No one would ever feel like stopping applause. EVeryone should just naturally stay there and applaud until dying of old age.

I think the point is that there are millions of ravenous opponents to Trump ready to protest everything he does

Wonders never cease. Trump has accomplished another miracle. The beginnings of the Communist rehabilitation that we have seen over the last couple years has come to an abrupt end. People are reading 1984, and now this.

Are we going to start understanding the Communist apparat? I heard the term samizdat the other day in the context of some bureaucrats taking a stand for freedom to continue to tell everyone else what they should do. Solzhenitsyn described it as the communist bureaucrats that were hounding him and others either to death, to prison or out of the country using the typewriters and copying machines that they had access to for copying his work for their own pleasure.

Dude. The President of the United States just said that another President, who just kills people, is just like us, just like him.

If you can't get on the right side of that, what can you do?

What are you talking about? That has been the left's position since the early 60's.

Are all those Che Guevara shirts only a signal of profound ignorance?

The number of people on the Left who own Che Guevara shirts, or who are Communists, is very tiny, in spite of what Fox, Britabart, and/or Drudge or other Right Wing media may tell you. They're lying to you.

Many leftists don't own a Che shirt but most also didn't push back against those that did, for example punching them at rallies

This is apparently you. Thread.

At least he didn't give them a reset button? Would you prefer he declare war. Like it or not Putin is the guy we have to deal with and allowing a media person to push you into saying bad things about Putin before you even get a chance to negotiate with him would be a mistake.

What presidents cannot risk is to be considered inept, a laughingstock. All presidents make mistakes, the difference is in how they define themselves to the public: as simply human and capable of human foibles or as all-powerful and incapable of mistakes. President Kennedy used humor, self-deprecating humor, to great affect, as did Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, and Reagan. The public is willing to overlook their mistakes because they haven't created an image of themselves as all-powerful, their humor providing the human connection between the president and the public. Presidents who are humorless, who define themselves as all-powerful, who insist that they don't make mistakes, don't have humor to fall back on when the inevitable mistakes happen. Their only recourse is to double-down on the image they have created for themselves: all-powerful, authoritarian.

Good point.

"What presidents cannot risk is to be considered inept, a laughingstock." This was Obama's downfall. He was the only one to take himself seriously.

What downfall? Obama did a B+ job, and left with solid approval ratings.

He did a C- job. Trump's first year will be reversing the garbage legislation that Obama has put through.

"What downfall? Obama did a B+ job, and left with solid approval ratings."

No way. Obama pushed through a lot of feel good Executive Orders, Memorandum and Regulatory actions but his actual Legislative accomplishments are pretty thin. Nearly his entire legacy will be stripped away in the next year, because he failed to do the hard work of reaching bipartisan Legislative compromise that would have resulted in enduring changes.

seems Alex as though you are offending a core constituency. Under the circumstances, I doubt that you are enjoying it.

Alex would have preferred Jeb.

I like Jeb. I think he is genuinely a nice guy and would love to have him as a friend. But he is gutless and a wimp and in a dangerous world he would wimp us into more tough situations with Iran or North Korea. Jeb is a great guy I wish he was my grandfather but certainly not my protector.

Nice post.

Maybe a better title: The Supply of Applause

The significance of this is not that Trump == Stalin. It's that it is becoming much,much easier for the people in charge to see who was the first to stop applauding.

There was someone who muttered liar when Obama was giving a speech, and he was pilloried by the press. How dare someone do something like that.

I'd get really worried if Trump starts using the strong arm of government to go after his political opponents. The IRS would be great for this; they know almost everything there is to know about people and have paramilitary powers available to them to ruin their lives.

"Muttered?" He yelled it during the State of the Union address.

Even better. I didn't write yelled because I didn't remember how it was heard and am too lazy to look it up.

It is significant that what Obama said in front of the entire congress was in fact a lie!!!

Yes, Obama's presidency made news because of all the unprecedented and undeserved bashing directed at him. And Trump' presidency is already making news because the Snowflake in Chief and his staff hire people to applaud for him at a meeting with the CIA, demand that journalists be fired for reporting truths that he finds to be uncomfortable, and bash anyone who disagrees with him.

Except, Sweet Pea, it was not a lie, and it was also unprecedented.

I feel bad for the Trumpkins who just want to read how they are not wrong (for once). They live in a harsh world that is unkind to tender snowflakes.

Alex is a meanie.

"But, but I'm not the Snowflake. You are." says the Trumpkin.

Most "Trumpkins"' on this site can't hide how glad they are about these kind of posts. Winning elections in America is normally hard- the left is making it extremeley easy by melting down. Look at how childish your own post is. Would you vote for a whiny twerp that baby-moaned like that?

Seriously? What's his approval rating at, what's the derivative, and what's the 2nd derivative?

I see a lot of spouting by Jill and Anon on one side , and most on the other. So let's cut the bullshit.

Sam, what odds will you take that Donald serves another term? Jill, what odds would you take? What about approval rating over 50% 1/18, 1/19 1/20? You both seem pretty confident so "show me the money"

I put Trump's chances at a second term at 80%.

I put the odds that his political opponents will continue underestimating him at 100%.

It's too early for me to call it, but even now I'd readily give Trump a 40% chance of winning re-election.

If you're supremely confident he'll be a disaster, then bet me $15 bill versus my $10?

That was one of a few sections of The Gulag Archipelago I never forgot, either: it must have appeared in Parts I or II, since I don't recall ever getting to the rest. The scene often comes to mind whenever I get to the printshop scene in Tarkovsky's Mirror, where the poster of Stalin's genial face oversees each day's activities.

Solzhenitsyn died in 2008, and so we are unable to know how he would react to such a trivial comparison. My guess is that he would be more likely to associate Stalin with the nasty little twerp who has his foot on the neck of every single unlucky resident of North Korea.

Trump is not my favorite guy and was not my favorite candidate for president. There was no good candidate last year, and our political parties should face consequences for this.

So far, trumpians aren't tear-gassing protestors or throwing Molotov cocktails to prevent people from listening to speeches made by people who disagree with him. His goons aren't beating up people who wear Make America Great Again caps on college campuses. HIs immigration order was nullified quickly by the courts, and if he doesn't learn something from that he probably will deserve impeachment, which will follow swiftly.

This is not Germany in the 1930s or the USSR in the Stalin years. Observing the derangement of ardent SJWs who don't understand the difference would be amusing if it weren't so pathetic.

The current situation feels like high school -- all the cool kids agree that the wrong prom king was selected and exact disproportionate revenge on the nerds or students who play the trombone or wear the wrong clothes.

As a serious person, I find it difficult to take this crap seriously.

Thank you, and too bad so many don't want to understand those differences

I'm disappointed that Alex can't grasp that 1) he just just signalling and that 2) his analogy is ridiculous. Trump might be narcissistic (and who doesn't enjoy applause?) but Stalin had tens of thousands liquidated. Moreover his courts, one of the means through which he ruled, were not independent at all. On the contrary they took their marching orders from Stalin's office, through appointments and ideological adjustment. Once again, Alex's contribution to the blog let him down.

But it is serious. There are serious people who are off the rails.

The fourth possibility is one that until recently I would have said was unthinkable in the United States of America: a military coup, or at least a refusal by military leaders to obey certain orders.

Who wrote that?

Rosa Brooks is a law professor at Georgetown University and a senior fellow with the New America/Arizona State University Future of War Project. She served as a counselor to the U.S. defense undersecretary for policy from 2009 to 2011 and previously served as a senior advisor at the U.S. State Department. Her most recent book is How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything.

If the over the top, often violent, profoundly unhinged reaction to Trump seems a bit crazy, it is in fact coming from lunatics like this grandmotherly looking women with impeccable credentials.

I said here that the reaction post election to anywhere else in the world would be recognized as events leading up to a coup.

So if you are Trump, elected and holding the presidency with all the powers and limits of power, what do you do when a good percentage of the people who voted against you would support any measure imaginable to remove you from power, who also make up almost the entirety of the media, bureaucracy and finance?

First. Recognize and never forget that they are lunatics. Lunatics will act irrationally. That is a strategic advantage.

Second. Recognize and never forget that your core support will get immeasurable pleasure from seeing a lunatic act in lunacy in response to what you say or do.

Third. These lunatics are collectively responsible for the catastrophe in North Africa and the Middle East, the financial crisis of 2008, and the impoverishment of much of America all the while having almost unlimited power and resources for their personal benefit. They are not nice people. And they aren't very smart.

Everything that Trump does is with an in his bones recognition of these facts. He has people who have been in these fights before and done very well.

So Alex watches an SNL skit and is reminded of Stalin. Who is the buffoon? One by one these 'serious' people remove themselves from the serious conversation and sound more and more like the Berkeley rioters, just older and not willing to get off their couch.

LOL, yes Trump's is the Only Virtuous Political Tribe. Other people are all responsible for all the evils that have ever happened. Trump is the Savior of the working class and the middle class, even though he has filled his cabinet with Goldman Sachs guys and other crony capitalist welfare queens eager to gorge themselves at the public trough, with complete acceptance by Trump.

Trump indeed can not be responsible for what happened before he took office, because he had zero experience in government. And he continues to have zero knowledge or interest in how government works. But just because he is an outsider, you think that makes him perfect. No. It makes him inexperienced and clueless.

Yes, indeed, "He has people who have been in these fights before and done very well" gorging themselves at the public trough, doing a Reverse Robin Hood routine where they take from the middle class and the poor and give to the .01%.

Of course anyone outside your tribe "are not nice people. And they aren’t very smart." Because Yours Is the Only Virtuous Nice Smart Political Tribe.



(sorry to turn this into a math problem)

I remember when Bret Favre didn't applause enthusiastically enough for Caitlin Jenner at the ESPY awards. Massive criticism.

He couldn't fake his true feelings. Next time I'm sure he will do better.

Do you remember him being arrested for that?

Caitlin who? After she came out as a Trump supporter, I've completely forgotten about her.

Made me think of this:

Marilyn Geewax Verified account @geewaxnpr

When it comes to clapping at #SOTU, @RepTomPrice is resolute: one of the few who did not applaud the idea of curing cancer.

Of course Tom Price is objectively Pro-Cancer. Why else would Trump have picked him to run HHS?

Anyone can tweet anything. And plenty of people of all political stripes tweet stuff that's silly. But of course you only quote those who are in a different political tribe than you are. Because Yours Is the Only Virtuous Political Tribe

A deliciously self-referential post. Who will be the first of the anti-Trump coalition to dare stop posting regular rants against him? Smart many is not on Tabarrok.

Yes, was at a corporate event last week. At the event EVERY SINGLE speaker, without exception, dropped in an irrelevant comment that signaled their contempt and derision for Trump. It was like a ritual - status signalling among the anointed ones to reassure each other that they weren't one of those revolting proles.

It was totally irrelevant, as our line of business has nothing to do with who is president.

But I can see this just escalating over time. By the end of Trump's term they'll be competing with each other with ever more strident calls for impeachment, military coups or assassination to put an end to it all.

Truly, the actual brave thing to do would be to get up in public and say you wish the new President well. That would indeed risk social ostracism and on America's more prestigious campuses probably a mob attack.

That's because Trump is terrible. Of course you don't want to be seen as liking him.

The most noitceable social pressure has been against any approval of Trump since early in his campaign. Not only must you not support anything he says or does, but if you aren't denouncing him loudly enough you are suspect.

Rex Ryan (who was a shit coach, regardless) caught flak for just introducing him at a rally in Buffalo.

The idea that anything Trump does that you can associate with a totalitarian means we are on the road to totalitarianism (or that Trump is a totalitarian) is amazingly idiotic. The signal to false positive noise ratio is vastly in the favor of false positives.

Anyone who would subject themselves to a Presidential campaign (and probably anything beyond a campaign for small town mayor) is an egomaniac, a narcissicst, and insanely power-hungry. That is why we have our system of government. We assume our leaders aren't Angels.

This is all getting hysterical, in both senses of the word.

But maybe Alex is cleverly commenting on the hysterical people.

Trump has won the prize for the most narcissistic president ever, in many categories already.

I know that Trumpsters want to wait and see whether Trump will execute 6 million people or so, before anyone dares to make any criticism of him. But, if that does happen, don't you think it will be a little late to start trying to address the situation?

Oh yeah, no one has DARED criticize Trump. It has just been nearly two years of Heil Trump! since he announced his campaign.

Soon they will be marching the commenter known as "anon" to the gulag, if he is lucky enough to avoid summary execution.

My point is that you seem to think that Anon and others ought to wait until they are being marched to the Gulag, before daring to criticize or question Trump. I think that will be a bit late.

Trump actually got more positive press coverage than Hillary did during the campaign, as documented by numerous articles I have posted here before.

You can criticize someone without claiming they are about to establish a dictatorship or liquidate millions.

Here is something from Peter Daou's twitter feed yesterday, that I found interesting.

1. Permit me a short thread on how red and blue media/pundits approach ethics (and thus politics) differently. A stark difference. (1/10)

2. Broadly speaking, the blue side starts from big principles (equality, fairness, justice...) and applies them to specific events.

3. A barely-concealed religious ban is viewed by the blue side through the filter of fundamental fairness and justice. Therefore rejected.

4. Similarly, when the President attacks a federal judge, the blue side treats it as a violation of sacred Constitutional principles.

5. Red-friendly media/pundits, by contrast, extrapolate from specific events to larger rules. One liberal did a bad thing = all liberals bad.

6. To the red side, if a protest gets out of hand and (reprehensible) violence occurs, all marchers are painted as violent agitators.

7. The red strategy is to highlight individual egregious acts on the left in order to make specious generalizations about ALL blue America.

8. For the red side, isolated blue transgressions are filtered through pre-conceived biases to become broad indictments of their opponents.

9. You see it all the time in red-friendly media: Their 'moral code' is less a code and more about painting the blue side as immoral.

10. So this isn't a battle of opposing moral imperatives. It's one side (red) claiming superiority through deceptive extrapolation.

Islam is an ideological political system calling itself a religion. If Nazi's had been smart enough to declare that Nazism was a religion should we have refused to defend against it because of the 1st amendment????

The seven nations affected by President Trump's executive action on immigration are not actually countries where any terrorists have come from, who have carried out fatal attacks in the United States.

I know that Fox, Breitbart, Drudge, and other Right Wing news must have failed to cover this. So I am including it here to let folks know.

Hey, I'm trying to contain my anger and sarcasm. Hi Jill. Why the qualifier for "domestic terror attacks"? You're either retarded, obtuse, or deliberately obfuscating the truth. How many Americans have died in terrorist attacks committed by Iraqis or Iranians or Syrians ? Why do you retards always try to redefine it to "domestically"?

Give us the real numbers and defend them, or be a trumpian retard whose alternative facts are as meaningless as his fake hair and liar in chief Kelly-Anne's bs.

I thought you were committed to the truth ?

So, for instance, if someone spray painted a swastika somewhere, the blue side would (i) apply the general principle of respect for free speech and (ii) recognize and acknowledge that most Trump supporters are not, in fact, Nazis, and would not suggest that the incident reveals anything about "Trump's America"? No one with internet access would believe that for a second.

Your name is sooo apropos

As I recall, Solzhenitsyn claimed that right up until the attack by Germany in 1939 the Soviet Union was delivering goods to Germany as war reparations under the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. That's not true -- the treaty was repudiated in 1918. He also claimed that gulag prisoners were being used to build pointless, worthless projects like empty buildings along the Trans-Siberian railway. He was correct that the White Sea Canal was a terrible waste of life to build because it's only 18 feet deep therefore useless for anything but barges and pleasure craft, but he failed to recognize the importance of those empty buiildings. That's where the Soviet Union evacuated their military industry in the weeks following the attack. Far out of the reach of Germany, that's where the tanks and aircraft were built which won the war. I find Solzhenitsyn to be a somewhat unreliable source of information.

I meant 1941, of course.

See, in the good old days Mark, you could simply have airbrushed that correction out.

Well the Soviet Union was delivering goods to Germany right up to the attack by Germany, far more than Germany was sending to the Soviet Union under commerce agreements made after the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact and that is probably more important than the exact treaty under which the goods were sent.

Totalitarian dictators often came to and/or cemented power because of a wide fear that some other dangerous ideology was near achieving power and destroying the nation.

Franco launched a coup after the election of the Popular Front with substantial socialist/communist/anarchist made the fear of a leftist takeover seem very real.

Hitler geatly expanded his powers because of the fear of imminent communist revolution following the burning of the Reichstag. The entire Nazi movement was in many ways built as a reaction against the perceived danger of a communist takeover.

The rise of the fascists in Italy, and Mussolini's ascent to power, was in large part a reaction to the fear of a communist revolution.

Might the hysterical reactions to Trump be akin to fears of imminent communist takeovers in these nations at these times?

Did you notice that Obama's lawful actions were commonly called unconstitutional? That routine laws were called socialist?

As has been note elsewhere, what you describe was played, in the "terrible" state of the country.

Has there been a new President from a different Party who didn't say there was something terrible about the past President, and that they would lead us into a glorious future?

There is no fear that Obama is about to re-take power and institute a socialist dictatorship.

The fear is coming from you, and in its hysterical form it justifies any action to save us from the Hitler we just elected.

I have no idea what you are talking about. I respect the Constitution. I don't mind Presidents walking up to the lines it represents, but it is vital that they respect the courts in that process.

Did you happen to notice that last week the Trump team took "The Judicial" off the list of "Branches of Government" on the Whitehouse website. Replacing "The Constitution."

I still regard that as inept rather than nefarious, but it is a worrying parallel.

No, I never signed up for the "Trump Outrage of the Day" listserv.

Look, I can see that some time ago this was more opaque. It was less obvious what Trump's values were, and what public positions he would take.

That is gone.

He just excused murder of political opponents. When you excuse that, you too excuse murder.

It really boggles my mind that you put party, or side, or winning on the internets as more important than actual murder.

That you would actually play games to distract from that.

"I respect the Constitution. I don’t mind Presidents walking up to the lines it represents, but it is vital that they respect the courts in that process."

I didn't really want to get into responding to this, but my Super Bowl party hasn't started quite yet and I have some time to kill.

You do not describe our system of government in what I quoted. There are not lines that the branches step up to and then, of their own Angelic nature, stop at.

Rather, the basic premise underlying our system is balancing powers. This envisions a constant battle between each branch for power - a constant stepping-over-the-line, in your framework - only to be punched back by the other branches. Sometimes the placement of the lines change over time because of changed circumstances, or because other branches have been insufficiently pushing back.

I tend to think that both the Executive and the Judiciary have pushed their boundaries beyond where they would ideally be. But the cure for the exists within the system itself: the Legislature and Judiciary can independently act to restrain the Executive; the Legislature and Executive can act independently or jointly to restrain the Judiciary.

Deriding the Judiciary is actually a very soft way for the Executive to try to push back on their power. Certainly softer than, say, threatening to institute a scheme to pack the Court with ideologically-agreeable appointees, or limiting the jurisdiction of the Court.

But Anon, Trump excused murder of political opponents by someone who LIKES Trump, speaks well of Trump, and even hacked Trump's opponents, in order to win Trump the election.

To Trump and his supporters, the meaning and virtue of everything and everyone is seen in how much they support and help Trump. Nothing else matters to narcissists and to their worshipers.

Obama had his people lie to a judge. But now youre concerned about the principle.

I believe this was poorly phrased - 'Has there been a new President from a different Party who didn’t say there was something terrible about the past President, and that they would lead us into a glorious future?'

I believe you meant to say that no new American president has ever criticized a past president as 'terrible.'

Undoubtedly, just a little slip.

Overall, the administration has managed a record of 79-96, a win rate of just above 45 percent.

Obama was, by far, the president most frequently overruled by the Supreme Court in the past 50 years. Second place was over 60%. Yes, Obama was flagrantly acting unconstitutionally more often than his predecessors. 50% more unanimous losses than Bush II and Clinton.

Sorry, this link.

Thanks, Anon. An interesting twitter account there.

Another thought occurs. Some have argued here that a public morality is never a real morality, it is always empty virtue signalling.

If that sounded good to you then, you might pause to consider how absent a public morality has become when state murder is not called murder.

When it is called, by our President, what we do.

For some people a public morality is only virtue signaling. For others, it has more substance. You can see what's virtue signaling and what's not, by whether it continues, once the behavior is no longer praised or rewarded, or if actually becomes punished.

Many examples of that now, in who sucks up to Trump and who doesn't, and what effect that has on the person sucking up or not.

I was struck as well by this passage when I read it a long time ago. Even party loyalists close to Stalin could not relax.The axe could fall any time, for no particular reason. Molotov's wife was arrested on Stalin's orders, even tortured and spent 5 years in a labor camp. Stalin even talked to Molotov about it. Molotov kept on working alongside Stalin all these years (what choice did he have ?).

Poskrebyshev's wife was also taken and then executed. He continued to work as Secretary of the Central Committee, reporting directly to Stalin. Stalin's comment to him was to the effect that they would 'find him another wife'. Tales of Stalin's appalling ruthlessness are quite well known - and documented.

Yes, if you support a ruthless authoritarian, he won't change his character just to protect you or your family. He might show gratitude to you, or he might not, depending on his whim.

The YouTube link at the beginning of the post is down. Can someone either (preferably) provide a mirror of the video, or at least summarize what it was?

This link still works. Funny stuff.

Almost like the pressure to stand and remove ones hat during the anthem at sporting events.

You don't get arrested for not standing and removing your hat.

You don't get arrested because of President Trump's self-aggrandizing impulses either, which I assume is what Alex's post alludes to.

From the U.S. Holocaust Museum-- how fasism begins:

Not yet, you don't get arrested because of President Trump’s self-aggrandizing impulses. Can't blame people for wanting to nip this in the bud. See Holocaust museum url below.

I mean url above.

It's quite impossible to nip "nothing" in the bud.

An SNL piece of garbage.

Untalented idiots. Leftists of course...

Their mentors and ideological ancestors: Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot: 100 million dead.

Only difference between the American left and the Communist murderers of the 20th Century is that the Americans are cowards and hypocrites. Cowards who don't have the courage of their convictions and who as hypocrites hide their ultimate goal in meaningless messaging. Of course, all the while behaving as a nomenklatura being busy lining their pockets.

High time for pockmarking and staining walls.

These Alt Right folks are ridiculous. As if everyone Left of Center is Communist. But then they think they live in a very simple world where everything is black and white. There are almost no Left of Center folks in the U.S. today who admire Lenin, Stalin, Mao, or Pol Pot.

That's like saying every Right of Center person is Hitler or Mussolini.

Except, Albert, the person currently actively rehabilitating the late Joseph Stalin and having statues of him built, really, is none other than Vladimir Putin, the authoritarian murderer whom our president has repeatedly praised and whose murders he has just dismissed because we have committed murders (and we have, but not of political dissidents within our country recently). And as it is, we also have reason to believe that this Russian president possesses compromising material about our president as well our president quite likely being in serious financial hock to cronies of that Russian president, but given that our president is refusing to release his tax returns in violation of all precedent, well, we shall not know, even though his sons have admitted that back in 200i9 when our president declared bankruptcy and no US bank would lend him money, money "poured in" from Russian sources

So, you are right. The problem is all on the side of Trump's critics, those monstrous supporters of Stalin and other mass murderers. There is nothing here to look at, nothing at all. So move right along and get back to watching Fox News all the time.

It's remarkable to just how much we're diverging in our interpretation of the same events. Lefty friends on FB described the riots around Milo - a despised or reviled figure in most quarters whose mainly relegated to conservative media ghetto (even Noam Chomsky was invited to and spoke at Google years back, and Ahmadinejad at Columbia, with less pushback than Milo) - as a form of "dissent." Milo adores Trump, after all, and Trump is the president. Conservative FB friends believe Milo is the one speaking truth to power, and the real dissenter.

"The Patriots in Super Bowl LI: A Foreshadowing of Trump's First Term"

Trump seems to have some kind of cheat code for life...

Belichick gave Trump three deadpan words of advice: "Short white guys."

(Oops, meant to be a reply to msgkings)

Solzhenitsyn was a big Putin fan, although he was disappointed that Putin didn't want to annex Ukraine and Belarus. He would probably have entirely approved of Trump.

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