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ID: 153929
Uid: 78565
Author: 38
Category: 0
Title: Don't Trump's Voters Care About the Truth?
Source:
Body: <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/sites/default/files/153929-pic.png"></p><p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: smaller;">Clever graphic circulated by Democrats.</span></p><p><em>Rick Shenkman is the publisher of the History News Network and the author of&nbsp;<a href="http://stoneagebrain.com" target="_hplink">Political Animals:&nbsp; How Our Stone-Age Brain Gets in the Way of Smart Politics</a>, from which this article was adapted. You can&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/rickshenkman" target="_hplink">follow</a>&nbsp;him on Twitter. He blogs at&nbsp;<a href="http://historynewsnetwork.org/blog/author/38" target="_hplink">stoneagebrain.</a></em></p><p>Why don't Trump voters seem to care that their president is frequently caught telling lies? &nbsp;To answer this question I want to start with a story.</p><p>Not long after the Watergate burglary, the Republicans held their national convention in Miami to nominate Nixon for reelection. After he gave his acceptance speech, delegates and supporters in the hall were allowed to meet the president, who stood on stage as people, one by one, passed by to shake his hand. In the long line that immediately formed was a young man, all of seventeen years of age, from New Jersey. He had come to Miami without a ticket to the convention, but he had managed to wangle one that afternoon. “Mr. President, I’m a Democrat,” the young man said when he got his turn. “But I am supporting you.” Nixon looked a little flummoxed. Even though he was courting Democrats, he apparently wasn’t expecting to be shaking hands with one at this point in the proceedings of the Re- publican convention.</p><p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/Political-Animals-Stone-Age-Brain-Politics/dp/0465033008/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8 "><img src="/sites/default/files/160130-PA-shenkman-sm.png" "="" style="float:left;margin:15px;"></a> That fall the young man went off to Vassar College, a bastion of liberalism. There he encountered students who despised Nixon. As the Watergate crisis unfolded they repeatedly piled argument upon argument based on well-established facts showing that Nixon was lying and covering up. Can you guess what happened? It will probably not come as a surprise that the young man continued backing Nixon. In defiance of the school consensus, he stuck with Nixon through 1972 and 1973. Active in local New Jersey politics, he joined a pro-Nixon group, the local chapter of the Committee to Save the Presidency. He quickly was elected its vice president. Through the Watergate hearings, the Saturday Night Massacre (in which Nixon abused his power to have special prosecutor Archibald Cox fired), and all the rest, he stood by Nixon. Not until June 1974—little more than two months before Nixon resigned—did he finally become convinced that Nixon had been lying.</p><p>For years afterward that young man wondered why he had been so slow to face the truth. It haunted him. I should know. The seventeen-year-old student was me. The media had done their job. I had kept up on the news and watched the Watergate hearings attentively. And still I stuck with Nixon?</p><p>We shouldn’t be surprised to learn that people don’t like to face facts when those facts contravene their opinions. It’s right there in the most hallowed papers produced by the Founding Fathers, the Federalist Papers. In “Federalist No. 10,” the most celebrated of all the essays, James Madison&nbsp;observes: “As long as the connection subsists between his reason and his self-love, [man’s] opinions and his passions will have a reciprocal influence on each other; and the former will be objects to which the latter will attach themselves.” In other words, we love our own opinions because we love ourselves. And if those opinions conflict with the facts? We’ll choose our own opinions.</p><p>But Madison did not quite grasp the mechanism in play here. As Harvard’s Daniel Gilbert points out, we think we are right and others are wrong not because we love our own opinions but because we want to be right. Studies show that people who think they are right all the time do better in life. They suffer from less stress and enjoy better health. This is a critical factor in what he calls our psychological immune system.</p><p>Furthermore, we don’t hold all of our opinions with equal fervor. We make distinctions. We hold some opinions more dearly than others. Psychologist Elliot Aronson demonstrated this in a famous study. Aronson recruited students—all women—to join a purportedly hot discussion group that promised to delve into the mysteries of sex. But before they could join they had to undergo an initiation rite. For some the rite was fairly innocuous. They had to read aloud a list of words with a sexual connotation, such as prostitute, virgin, and petting. The others went through a much more difficult rite. They had to say aloud in a public setting a dozen obscene words, including fuck, cock, and screw. This was in the 1950s. You can imagine how mortifying this was. Following their initiation, all of the women were allowed to join the discussion, which was already in progress. But when they did, they discovered this wasn’t the fun and somewhat daring group they had been led to expect. The subject wasn’t human sexuality, it was lower-order animal sexuality. And the other participants (confederates of the researcher) were dull. They spoke in a halting fashion and muttered. You could barely follow the conversation. What had promised to be an interesting experience turned out to be a deadly boring one. Afterward, the students were asked if they liked the group. Which ones would you guess said they did? It wasn’t the women who had gone through the easy initiation. It was the ones who had been required to read swear words out loud, an experience that had left them embarrassed.</p><p>You would think the ones who went through the more troublesome initiation rite would be more upset and therefore more likely to denounce the group. They had a legitimate grievance. They had been conned into joining a group that wasn’t what it was cracked up to be. Instead, they defended it. The explanation is really quite simple. Unlike the other young women who had gone through the easy initiation rite, they had gone through something&nbsp;of an ordeal. They couldn’t just write off the experience with an Oh Well. Saying swear words aloud in a public setting had been traumatic. At the end of the experiment they faced a classic moment of cognitive dissonance. On the one hand, they believed themselves to be smart. On the other, they knew that joining the group had been dumb. This left them in a tough spot. They could either admit to themselves that they weren’t as smart as they thought they were, or they could maintain that the group actually lived up to its billing. How would you respond?</p><p>What Elliot Aronson’s study proved was that cognitive dissonance isn’t an equal opportunity phenomenon. Contrary to James Madison, we are not likely to defend all of our own opinions in the face of the facts. We are only likely to insist on our opinions when they involve our own feelings of self-worth. When a decision we make is a referendum on our status as a good and smart person, we are much more inclined to justify it. (The analysis is known as Justification Theory.) Under which circumstance is that likely to happen? When our holding an opinion comes at a cost, as mine did when I defended Nixon at liberal Vassar. As psychologist Carol Tavris puts it, the “more effort we put into something that turns out to be useless or harmful or just plain boring,” the more we have to reduce the dissonance we feel— our conviction that we’re smart and the reality that we “just put a whole lot of time, money, and effort into something that isn’t worth it.” The way we do that is by doubling down, defending our original decision to the hilt. That’s what I did at Vassar. After a time the fight I was waging for Nixon wasn’t about Nixon at all; it was about me.</p><p>It’s no mystery, then, why voters postponed the day of reckoning as long as they could after the Watergate burglary. They couldn’t abandon Nixon without indicting themselves. The election had ostensibly been a referendum on Nixon. But once people decided to support him it was a referendum on them too. For them, Watergate wasn’t really about Nixon at all. It was about them. The more they defended Nixon, the more of a stake they had in his survival.</p><p>Politics is always about the voters. It’s about how they feel. That is so obvious I hesitate to say it. But it’s easy to forget. When a politician is about to go on camera, what does he do? He straightens his tie and combs his hair. The assumption he makes—and that we often make—is that an on-camera appearance is about the candidate. Actually, it’s not. It’s not about how he performs or looks or talks. It’s not about how articulate he is. It’s about how the people on the other end of the camera feel in his presence. Does he make them feel dumb or smart? Does he leave them feeling optimistic or pessimistic? Whether every hair on his head is in place or whether he chooses his syntax right does not really matter.</p><p>What this research suggests is that the darts thrown at Trump for his lies are hitting his voters as well as him. The polls are a referendum on them now, not just him. &nbsp;We shouldn't be surprised that they're reluctant to call him out on his lies. &nbsp;That would be like admitting they themselves had been duped. Who wants to admit that?&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p>
ID: 153930
Uid: 292
Author: 11
Category: 0
Title: Slandering Native Americans this Spring
Source:
Body: <p></p><p><i>Sociologist James W. Loewen is the author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Lies-My-Teacher-Told-Everything/dp/0743296281"> Lies My Teacher Told Me</a>.</i></p><p>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;Across the U.S. over the last two decades I have asked audiences, "What was the most important purchase in the history of the U.S. ever made for the exact sum of $24, in fact for $24 worth of beads?"</p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Across the U.S., they chorus, "Manhattan." Asked, "Did you learn this 'fact' in college? in graduate school?" they chorus, "No." Most think a teacher first exposed them to this information back in elementary school. </p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Acquaintance with this fable is hardly limited to the East Coast. The creators of the newspaper comic "Mother Goose &amp; Grimm" know this; their strip for March 28, 2017, relies on Americans knowing it. </p><p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/sites/default/files/153930-1.png"></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; In a sense, the comic offers a fresh take on this stale tale. Natives are recouping something by charging a lot for drinks at their casino. In another sense, however, it's one more put-down of American Indians by a "settler culture" that has been putting them down for more than 500 years. </p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; What is wrong with this little fable starts with the price. So far as I know, the $24 figure turns out to be arbitrary and bogus.<a href="#_ftn1">[1]</a> Schoolchildren have learned it for decades anyway, even though it becomes stupider every year. Consider: Abraham Lincoln bought his home in Springfield, Illinois, in 1844, for $1,200. He did add a second story to it, but the original home would probably sell today for about $100,000 — 83 times as much.<a href="#_ftn2">[2]</a> If $24 was the price of Manhattan in 1844 dollars, it would have been maybe $2,000 today. This $24 is the only price in the Western World that has never been touched by inflation! </p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Then there are the beads. So far as historians can tell, beads and trinkets were not involved. What the Native Americans wanted and could not make themselves were mainly five items: steel axes, steel knives, metal kettles, which they used as kettles but also as a raw material for other things, guns, and brightly colored woolen blankets. For perhaps $2,400 worth of such trade goods, the Dutch bought the rights to Manhattan, probably from the Canarsies. </p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; You can go to New York City today and take the subway to <a href="http://urbanrail.net/am/nyrk/nyc-map.htm">Canarsie</a>. &nbsp;If you do, you will find yourself in Brooklyn, indeed east Brooklyn, at the end of the line. That's where the Canarsies lived. </p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Why wouldn't they sell Manhattan? </p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; No doubt the Canarsies were as pleased with their deal as the legendary New Yorker who sold Brooklyn Bridge to some later hapless tourist, for they got paid for something that wasn't theirs in the first place. </p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The Dutch didn't really care. They used the transaction to legitimize their presence to the next English ship that came by. The deal also made allies of the Canarsies, who otherwise might have joined with the British or other nearby American Indians against them. </p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The Weckquaesgeeks, who actually lived on Manhattan, were not so pleased.<a href="#_ftn3">[3]</a> They warred sporadically with the Dutch for years – hence “Wall St.” Finally, around 1644 in Kieft's War, perhaps with help from the Canarsies, the Dutch exterminated them as a tribe. Survivors fled to what is now Westchester County. </p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Almost no Americans know the Canarsies/Weckquaesgeeks story. On the other hand, so many of us know the nonsensical $24 myth that cartoonists can count on a laugh by invoking it. Why nonsensical? Well, consider what you'd do if you were the man on the left in the photograph below. Would you sell your share of your village, gardens, fields, your burial ground, and your gathering and hunting rights throughout and around Manhattan, in exchange for a few strings of beads? If you think you might, consider what you would then do the next day. Pack up and move, of course, but to where? New Jersey? People already live there, so you'd have to fight or negotiate with them before moving in. Then what? You'd face at least a year of hard work — clearing new fields, building new houses, planting new gardens ... all for a few beads? </p><p style="text-align: center;"><img src=" /sites/default/files/153930-2.png "></p><p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: smaller;">In Battery Park at the lower tip of Manhattan, at the exact spot where this deal never took place, stands this monument. It's hard to believe that one scene can get so many things wrong, from the headdress to the difference in dress to the beads.</span></p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The obvious falsity of the $24 story raises a question: why do teachers persist in teaching it? </p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; One way to answer this question is to think about what the story accomplishes. Sometimes how a cultural element functions is more important than whether it is true or false. The $24 story mythologizes much more than the taking of one small island. Manhattan is a synecdoche that symbolizes the taking of much of a continent. Indeed, like the Dutch, European Americans repeatedly paid the wrong tribe or paid off a small faction within a much larger nation. Often, like the Dutch, they didn't really care. Fraudulent transactions might even work better than legitimate purchases, for they set one tribe or faction against another while providing the newcomers with a semblance of legality to stifle criticism. </p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The biggest single purchase from the wrong tribe took place in 1803, when Jefferson "doubled the size of the United States by buying Louisiana from France," as all the textbooks put it. And just like Manhattan, what a bargain! Just $15,000,000! Recent scholarship by Robert Lee&nbsp;<a href="#_ftn4">[4]</a> shows that the United States spent at least $2.6 billion in today's terms buying Louisiana from the Natives who owned it. All we got from France was the European rights to negotiate with them.<a href="#_ftn5">[5]</a> Nevertheless, Natives drop out of the textbook accounts of the Louisiana Purchase and off the maps of Louisiana Territory. </p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The $24 myth has at least two important effects. First, it makes Native Americans look stupid. As the cartoon implies, $24 won't even buy two mixed-drink Manhattans at a nice bar today. Those idiotic Indians! They didn't know what they were doing! Second, it legitimizes the taking. We didn't really take the land or invade the continent; we bought it, fair and square. It didn't cost much, either! Thus the $24 myth sets us up to believe that acquiring Native lands was never very problematic. </p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; In reality, how European Americans got the country remains problematic. The U.S. and its predecessor colonies took other people's lands, uprooted their cultures, and in some cases moved them hundreds of miles. Then we kept them from acculturating and succeeding in our society. It can be hard to face these facts. The $24 tale is much more comforting. </p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Surely these functions and the sense of entitlement and moral and intellectual superiority they engender help explain why the $24 story still gets passed on, even though it's so obviously absurd. At this point, however, it's important to consider who is "we" in the previous passage. Literally, it is everyone but Native Americans. </p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Racism means treating people unfavorably because of their racial or cultural group membership. Sociologists identify three types of racism: individual, institutional, and cultural. Most Americans are familiar with the notion of individual racism — David Duke, for example. Institutional racism — unfavorable treatment by a social institution of a group of persons, based on group membership — may have no racist animus behind it. That would be true for the SAT, which uses a statistical process to discard items favorable to African Americans — but not on purpose. </p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Perhaps most deep-seated of all, deeper even than the psychic racism of a KKK leader like Duke, is cultural racism. This is the ideology that one race is superior to others, expressed in etiquette, religion, law, in terms built into the language, and in countless other elements of our culture. The $24 story is an example. Soft-pedaling the invasion intrinsically entails making fools of Native Americans today. How could they be so dim-witted as to give away Manhattan for $24 of beads? The creators of "Mother Goose &amp; Grimm" this spring took their stupidity for granted as the foundation upon which they based their strip. </p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The butt of the bridge joke is always the naïve tourist, who does not realize that the seller has no rights to what he sells. Here, that would be the Dutchman. The Dutchman is not the butt of the $24 story, however. That would be the naïve resident, the Native, who does not realize that he is being swindled. What gets defined as funny and whose behavior gets defined as hapless depends on who holds the power today. </p><hr> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;[1] I review the evidence in "The $24 Myth," Chapter 7 of Teaching What <i>Really</i> Happened (NY: Teachers College Press, 2010), and "Making Native Americans Look Stupid," in Lies Across America (NY: Simon &amp; Schuster, 2000). </p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;[2] <a href="https://www.nps.gov/liho/index.htm">Lincoln Home National Historic Site, Abraham Lincoln Online</a>.</p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;[3] Although many writers call the Natives who lived on Manhattan Weckquaesgeeks, like most pre-contact American Indians in the East, they lived in villages only loosely organized into tribes. Some were called "Manahattans," variously spelled. Some may have been members of still smaller groups, such as the Reckgawawancs who were tributaries of the Weckquaesgeeks. The latter also lived in what is now the Bronx and Westchester County. No Indians may have been living on the southern tip of the island, for the Dutch moved in with no difficulty and lived there for a year with no treaty with anyone. </p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;[4] "Accounting for Conquest: The Price of the Louisiana Purchase of Indian Country, Journal of American History 103 #4 (3/2017), 931. </p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;[5] We also got the land France did control — much of the present state of Louisiana. </p><p style="margin: 0px; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue'; color: rgb(69, 69, 69);">Copyright James W. Loewen&nbsp;</p>
ID: 153931
Uid: 31615
Author: 19
Category: 0
Title: Whose Internet Is It?
Source:
Body: <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">I just watched “The Circle”, a thriller about a computer company which uses internet connectedness to eradicate privacy in the name of “transparency” and “democracy”. The film is fictional, but the conflict between privacy and internet capitalism is real. The giants of the computer world routinely collect as much information as they can about people who use their services, and then employ it to sell us products or sell it to others for that purpose.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">An editorial in WIRED <a href="https://www.wired.com/insights/2015/02/say-goodbye-to-privacy/">warned</a> in 2015, “You aren’t just going to lose your privacy, you’re going to have to watch the very concept of privacy be rewritten under your nose.”</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">The history of “cookies” exemplifies both sides of the issue of internet privacy. Cookies are data stored on your computer by a website you are visiting, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTTP_cookie">perhaps without your knowledge</a>. They were developed in the 1990s as a way for the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netscape">Netscape web browser</a>, dominant at the time, to keep track of whether visitors had used the site before. Cookies turned out to be useful in assembling the “<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shopping_cart_software">shopping carts</a>” that we use to put together a list of online purchases.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Their potential to record and store information about individuals was soon recognized as a window into our personal preferences. When Amazon suggests that you might like to buy a book based on what you have looked at before, or any other advertiser seems to know your browsing history, they are using cookies.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Some cookies disappear when you turn off your computer, but others, called persistent or tracking cookies, are designed to remain on your computer for an indefinite time, monitoring your browsing habits and sending that information to private companies. Cookies are set into your computer not only by the website you are visiting, but by advertisers on that site. A visit to one website can result in 10 or even 100 “<a href="https://webcookies.org/number-of-cookies/">third-party cookies</a>” being put on your computer.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Let’s be specific. The phone companies Verizon and AT&amp;T allowed an online advertising clearinghouse named TURN to track customers’ habits on their smartphones and tablets. TURN used a “<a href="https://www.propublica.org/article/zombie-cookie-the-tracking-cookie-that-you-cant-kill">zombie cookie</a>” which could not be deleted by the customer, even if they opted out of cookie usage. Only after this was <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2014/10/29/the-privacy-lowdown-on-verizon-and-atts-permacookies/#6cfc107d1df0">reported</a> by ProPublica, did AT&amp;T agree to stop the practice, but Verizon didn’t. So cookies are useful commercial tools that invade what used to be our private spaces.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">As Chris Hoofnagle, a lecturer at UC Berkeley Law School, says, “On a macro level, ‘we need to track everyone everywhere for advertising’ translates into ‘the government being able to track everyone everywhere.’”</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">One of the exciting new developments in computer connectedness is the “<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_of_things">internet of things</a>”, the networking among objects we own, like cars, refrigerators, thermostats, and light switches, so they can communicate with us and with each other. In cute ads on TV, a baby turns lights on and off at home by touching a smart phone. In real life, the most basic of your daily actions at home can be monitored and recorded by companies you don’t know about or be hacked by criminals.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Corporations are created to make money, not to be nice, or even fair to consumers. Nest Labs created a $300 device with a “Lifetime Subscription” that allows you to control many of the newly invented home electronics from your phone. Google bought Nest in 2014 and decided in 2016 <a href="https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2016/04/nest-reminds-customers-ownership-isnt-what-it-used-be">to remotely disable</a> these devices <a href="https://arlogilbert.com/the-time-that-tony-fadell-sold-me-a-container-of-hummus-cb0941c762c1">without notifying customers</a>. Short lifetime.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Cookies were being stored on our computers without our knowledge for several years before the Federal Trade Commission began to question whether this was an invasion of privacy that called for some government oversight. This is the context for the current political argument about “net neutrality”. Should the Federal Communications Commission regulate internet providers, as they do for other utilities?</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">The idea of net neutrality is that internet service providers, who control what appears on the internet, should treat all reasonable content equally, not allowing companies like Google, Microsoft and Amazon to decide to create fast and slow lanes of transmission, putting their preferred content in the fastest lane and <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_neutrality">slowing down competitors’ content</a>. Just like the phone companies have to <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/03/technology/daily-report-net-neutrality.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FNet%20Neutrality&amp;action=click&amp;contentCollection=timestopics&amp;region=stream&amp;module=stream_unit&amp;version=latest&amp;contentPlacement=1&amp;pgtype=collection&amp;_r=0">let all calls through</a>, not just the ones they like best.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Ajit Pai, Trump’s newly appointed head of the FCC, says he wants to <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/29/opinion/sunday/fcc-invokes-internet-freedom-while-trying-to-kill-it.html">dismantle regulations</a> like net neutrality that have been placed on internet providers. Republicans in Congress, by party-line votes, are trying to remove regulations which protect our <a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/talkingtech/2017/03/23/congress-vote-may-overturn-net-privacy-rules/99521516/">privacy and freedom of choice</a>. If the government steps out of the internet, how much danger are we in?</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">A few days ago, perhaps <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2017/05/03/technology/google-docs-phishing-attack/">1 million Google accounts</a> across the country, including mine, received fraudulent email messages purporting to be from Google Docs, trying to get us to click on a link so criminals could hijack our accounts.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Who protected me? The IT staff at Illinois College sent out a warning. Google itself noticed the attack very quickly and removed fake web pages. But my government did nothing in this case. Without government oversight we are at the mercy of rapacious corporations and criminal hackers. “The Circle” is a warning: the internet might not be your friend.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Steve Hochstadt</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Jacksonville IL</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Published in the Jacksonville Journal-Courier, May 9, 2017</span></p> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:DoNotPromoteQF/> <w:LidThemeOther>EN-US</w:LidThemeOther> <w:LidThemeAsian>X-NONE</w:LidThemeAsian> 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ID: 153932
Uid: 78605
Author: 42
Category: 0
Title: What Fax Machines Can Tell Us About Electric Cars
Source: https://theconversation.com/what-fax-machines-can-teach-us-about-electric-cars-66896
Body: <p style="text-align: center;"><img src=" /sites/default/files/153932-fax.png "></p><p><i>This is Jonathan Coopersmith's history of technology blog. He teaches history at Texas A &amp; M University. An Associate Professor of History at Texas A&amp;M University, Jonathan Coopersmith’s latest book is&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Faxed-Machine-Hopkins-Studies-Technology/dp/1421415917">FAXED: The Rise and Fall of the Fax Machine</a>&nbsp;(Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015).</i></p><p>Imagine if you could gas up your GM car only at GM gas stations. Or if you had to find a gas station servicing cars made from 2005 to 2012 to fill up your 2011 vehicle. It would be inconvenient and frustrating, right? This is the problem electric vehicle owners face every day when trying to recharge their cars. The industry’s failure, so far, to create a universal charging system demonstrates why setting standards is so important – and so difficult.</p> <p>When done right, standards can both be invisible and make our lives immeasurably easier and simpler. Any brand of toaster can plug into any electric outlet. Pulling up to a gas station, you can be confident that the pump’s filler gun will fit into your car’s fuel tank opening. When there are competing standards, users become afraid of choosing an obsolete or “losing” technology.</p> <p>Most standards, like electrical plugs, are so simple we don’t even really notice them. And yet the stakes are high: Poor standards won’t be widely adopted, defeating the purpose of standardization in the first place. Good standards, by contrast, will ensure compatibility among competing firms and evolve as technology advances.</p> <p><a href="https://jhupbooks.press.jhu.edu/content/faxed">My own research into the history of fax machines</a>&nbsp;illustrates this well, and provides a useful analogy for today’s development of electric cars. In the 1960s and 1970s, two poor standards for faxing resulted in a small market filled with machines that could not communicate with each other. In 1980, however, a new standard sparked two decades of rapid growth grounded in compatible machines built by competing manufacturers who battled for a share of an increasing market. Consumers benefited from better fax machines that seamlessly worked with each other, vastly expanding their utility.</p> <p>At present, there is not a single standard for plugs to recharge electric vehicles. That means that people who drive electric cars can’t rely on refueling at any of a wide range of nearly ubiquitous stations on street corners the way gas-vehicle drivers can. This creates an additional barrier, slowing the adoption of electric cars unnecessarily. Several potential standards are competing in the marketplace now; as we saw with fax systems, the sooner one standard becomes dominant, the sooner the electric vehicle market will take off.</p> <p><b>Making a new standard</b></p><b></b> <p>The two basic approaches to creating standards involve letting the market decide or forging a consensus among participants. Both have benefits and risks. A free-market approach often splits a young market into several competing and incompatible systems. Believing in their technical or commercial superiority, firms gamble that they will create de facto standards by dominating the market.</p> <p>In reality, as my research into the first two attempts at standards for fax machines in the 1960s and 1970s showed, competing incompatible equipment can slow the growth of an entire market. In the case of the fax, poorly written standards attempted to codify into common use certain fax machine manufacturers’ methods for connecting two machines and sending information between them. As a result, many firms sold machines that could not work with other companies’ devices. Some manufacturers even deliberately made their machines incompatible to lock their customers into their equipment.</p> <p>No single firm dominated the marketplace, and nobody agreed to use a single common standard. As a result, the fax world consisted of several smaller self-contained markets, not one larger market. And many potential users didn’t use faxes at all, preferring to wait until an obvious winning standard emerged.</p> <p><b>Third time’s the charm</b></p><b></b> <p>Crowning that winner can take many years. So can creating standards by consensus. In the meantime, the spread of fax technology stagnated.</p> <p>But then a force outside the marketplace began to call for a real fax standard. In 1977, the Japanese government&nbsp;<a href="http://ethw.org/Milestones:International_Standardization_of_G3_Facsimile,_1980">pushed competing Japanese firms and telephone corporations to cooperate</a>&nbsp;and create one standard. The government then convinced the International Telecommunications Union to adopt this as the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.britannica.com/technology/fax">worldwide standard</a>&nbsp;in 1980. What ensued was the fax boom of the 1980s and 1990s.</p> <p>This standard found two keys to its success. First, it was royalty-free, meaning any company could adhere to the standard without paying a fee to its creators. (A similar approach decades earlier proved essential for the adoption of&nbsp;<a href="https://www.iso.org/obp/ui/#!iso:std:59673:en">standard dimensions for shipping containers</a>.) The Japanese officials and companies calculated that the profits from a larger market would more than compensate for any lost income from the lack of licensing fees.</p> <p>Second, the standard was not so restrictive as to prevent fax machine manufacturers from introducing other features – such as faster transmission. That allowed companies to compete on more than just price. The result was a continued flow of new, more capable and cheaper machines that attracted new users.</p> <p><b>The need for a standard for electric cars</b></p><b></b> <p>Successfully commercializing electric vehicles will similarly depend on the development, acceptance and implementation of standards. So far, just as happened with fax machines, incompatible chargers have slowed the spread of electric cars.</p> <p>Depending on the type of car and its age, it may have&nbsp;<a href="https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fast-charge-plugs-do-not-fit-all-electric-cars/">one of four incompatible chargers</a>. If the charging station you pull up to lacks the appropriate charger for your car, you are out of luck.</p> <p>People considering buying electric cars already worry about&nbsp;<a href="https://theconversation.com/range-anxiety-todays-electric-cars-can-cover-vast-majority-of-daily-u-s-driving-needs-63909">how far they could travel between recharge stops</a>. Then they realize that they can’t use just any charging station – the way a gasoline-powered vehicle can use any gas station. That doesn’t relieve their concerns and&nbsp;<a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/0018720814546372">dampens sales of electric vehicles</a>.</p> <p><b>Developing a standard</b></p><b></b> <p>Like fax machines,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/will-incompatible-standards-slow-down-electric-cars/">electric vehicles’ incompatibility</a>&nbsp;reflected both evolving technology and groups of manufacturers promoting their own systems in hopes of dominating the marketplace. Already, the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.evelectricity.com/charging/">first generation</a>&nbsp;of chargers is essentially obsolete because they take so long to recharge a car battery.</p> <p>The real battle is among the three&nbsp;<a href="https://longtailpipe.com/ebooks/green-transportation-guide-buying-owning-charging-plug-in-vehicles-of-all-kinds/electric-car-charging-advice-systems/ev-dc-fast-charging-standards-chademo-ccs-sae-combo-tesla-supercharger-etc/">incompatible</a>&nbsp;<a href="http://www.electriccarpledge.com/electric-vehicle-resources/electric-car-plug-types/">fast charging systems</a>&nbsp;available in the United States: the Japanese&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chademo.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/brochure_04.2016.compressed.pdf">CHAdeMO</a>, the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.charinev.org/about-us/mission/">European-American CCS</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="https://www.tesla.com/supercharger">Tesla Supercharger</a>. (China is developing its&nbsp;<a href="https://longtailpipe.com/2014/02/13/chinas-electric-car-fast-charging-gb/">own standard</a>.)</p> <p>CHAdeMO works only with Japanese and Korean vehicles like the Nissan LEAF and Kia Soul. CCS works only with European and American cars like the BMW i3 and Chevy Spark. The third system, Tesla’s Supercharger, works only with Tesla’s own cars. Tesla sells its customers a US$450&nbsp;<a href="https://greentransportation.info/ev-charging/range-confidence/chap8-tech/fast-charge-adapters.html">adapter to use a CHAdeMO</a>&nbsp;charger but does not offer adapters that would let CHAdeMO or CCS vehicles use Tesla charging stations.</p> <p><b>The end of the battle?</b></p><b></b> <p>This three-way split is changing. In the last few years, Tesla has veered from its initial exclusivity to cooperation. In 2014, Tesla announced it would&nbsp;<a href="https://www.tesla.com/blog/all-our-patent-are-belong-you">share its patents royalty-free</a>&nbsp;– including its charger and plug designs – to encourage the spread of electric vehicle technology. In 2015, the company agreed to make its cars and charging stations compatible with&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/tesla-to-modify-cars-to-meet-china-charging-standards-1431412891">China’s new standard</a>, possibly by using adapters at charging stations.</p> <p>And in 2016, Tesla&nbsp;<a href="https://chargedevs.com/newswire/tesla-joins-charging-interface-initiative-what-does-it-mean/">joined CharIN</a>, an industry group promoting the CCS standard. That raised the tempting possibility that the company might allow CCS charging at Tesla stations, probably by providing adapters. It also threw Tesla’s significant support behind an effort to create a new standard for even faster charging. This could lead CCS to market dominance, effectively establishing a standard by out-competing CHAdeMO.</p> <p>Fax machines needed three generations of standards before real compatibility emerged, thanks to Japanese government pressure to cooperate. For electric vehicles, Telsa’s embrace of CharIN may provide that needed pressure. The real winner would be the cause of electric vehicles.</p> <p>This post originally appeared in theconversation.com</p>
ID: 153933
Uid: 31615
Author: 19
Category: 0
Title: Antarctica is Melting
Source:
Body: <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">The news is all Trump. His ill-considered words and constantly shifting explanations for impulsive actions dominate our public consciousness.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">In the midst of all that Trump, it is hard to think clearly about the faraway future, beyond our lifetimes. When the future does intrude, it’s in the form of space ships and aliens, imaginary futures in faraway galaxies. But we need to think about the future here and now, because Antarctica is melting.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Actually, it’s more complicated than that. Great swaths of sea ice are breaking off from Antarctica, but that won’t cause the sea level to rise. That ice is already floating on the sea, so when it melts, the level doesn’t change. Try this yourself: fill a glass with water and ice, and watch what happens when the ice melts. The water does not overflow. Sea-level rise is caused when ice on land melts, adding to the volume of sea water. Right now, all over the world, glaciers are melting.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">A group of American scientists flew over Antarctica last fall to get </span><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/05/18/climate/antarctica-ice-melt-climate-change-flood.html"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">more accurate measurements</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt"> of changes in the massive ice pack at the bottom of the world. If much of the sea ice melts, that could allow continental ice to loosen, flow into the ocean, and raise sea levels. That would be dangerous.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">The global sea level has been rising an average of </span><a href="http://blogs.agu.org/geospace/2017/04/26/sea-level-rising-faster-now-1990s-new-study-shows/?utm_source=CPRE&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_campaign=this+week+from+AGU&amp;utm_content=this+week+from+AGU+4%2f26%2f17"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">one-tenth of an inch</span></a><span style="font-size: 12.0pt"> every year. That doesn’t seem like much. That rise has been getting faster at about one-thirtieth of an inch per year, an even smaller number. Who cares about such tiny numbers?<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Over the long term, those numbers are scary. The oceans rose less than 3 inches from 1900 to 1950, 3.5 inches 1950-2000, and </span><a href="https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/65/Trends_in_global_average_absolute_sea_level%2C_1880-2013.png"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">2 inches in the last 15 years</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt">. If the acceleration continues, by 2050 the rise would be one inch every year, a foot per decade.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Three-quarters of the world’s largest cities are located on sea coasts. Between </span><a href="http://climatescience.oxfordre.com/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780190228620.001.0001/acrefore-9780190228620-e-417"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">100 million and 200 million</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt"> people live in places that likely will be underwater or subject to frequent flooding by the year 2100. Some estimates put that number at 650 million, nearly 10% of the world’s population. Mathew Hauer of the University of Georgia estimated that </span><a href="https://www.newscientist.com/article/2080502-sea-level-rise-may-displace-13-million-people-in-the-us-by-2100/"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">13 million Americans</span></a><span style="font-size: 12.0pt"> might be displaced by 2100, mostly in southeastern states.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Rising sea levels will do </span><a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/5-terrifying-impacts-of-rising-sea-levels-2015-2"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">more damage</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt"> than flooding coastal cities. Saltwater will contaminate our drinking water and interfere with farming.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">There are many kinds of uncertainty in predicting sea-level rise. Not all geographic areas will experience the same rise. Some, like the East Coast of the US, will experience a much greater rise than the global average.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Can anything be done against the rising seas? After Hurricane Sandy, </span><a href="http://climate.org/sea-level-rise-risk-and-resilience-in-coastal-cities/"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">New York expanded its efforts</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt"> to protect against the next flood. Based on careful geological analysis of the land, the city plans to reinforce beaches and breakwaters, build storm walls and levees, and protect sand dunes that act as natural barriers. That will cost money.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Another way to deal with unpleasant reality is to forbid it from happening, as the North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un did last year when he forbade his population </span><a href="http://www.foxnews.com/world/2016/09/08/north-korean-dictator-kim-jong-un-bans-sarcasm.html"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">to use sarcasm</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt">. After the Science Panel of the North Carolina Coastal Resources Commissioner said it was possible that the sea level could rise more than a yard over the next 100 years, the Republican-dominated legislature in 2012 forbade coastal community managers from </span><a href="http://wunc.org/post/state-outlawed-climate-change-accepts-latest-sea-level-rise-report#stream/0"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">considering scientific projections</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt"> of sea level rise, when they think about roads, bridges, hospitals and other infrastructure. In 2015, the legislature accepted a new report that looked ahead only 30 years, thus with much less dire predictions.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">State legislators in Virginia were surveyed </span><a href="http://digitalcommons.odu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1000&amp;context=publicservice_pubs"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">about their knowledge</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt"> of sea level rise. Republican legislators viewed scientists as less credible than Democrats did, and environmental groups not credible at all. Republicans estimated dangerous long-term effects of sea level rise as less likely, and thought that federal and state government should play a lesser role in dealing with them.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Donald Trump’s budget proposal embodies the Republican solution to rising seas: it would </span><a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/03/16/520399205/trumps-budget-slashes-climate-change-funding"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">eliminate funding for climate research</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt"> by NASA, the EPA, and the State Department. Mick Mulvaney of the Office of Management and Budget said about funding for climate research: “We're not spending money on that any more. We consider that to be a waste of your money.” That response is cheaper now, and the future is uncertain, so why worry?</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Predictions, projections, estimates – these words display uncertainty. Nearly everything about climate change and its consequences contains uncertainty, especially when trying to forecast the future. That is why scientific models include ranges of possibility. One major question mark is how fast Antarctic ice is melting due to the warming of deep ocean currents far underneath the ice pack.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">But this is certain – if we don’t get beyond the conservative refusal to think about the consequences of climate change, our grandchildren could face social and economic catastrophe. My daughter is pregnant. Her child might still be alive in 2100, living in a society trying to deal with an unprecedented disaster, the flooding of American coastal cities.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Political decisions, or their absence, will determine how ready America is for that future.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Steve Hochstadt</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Jacksonville IL</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Published in the Jacksonville Journal-Courier, May 23, 2017</span></p> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> 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ID: 153934
Uid: 78581
Author: 39
Category: 0
Title: Why Trump's Snub of NATO Matters
Source:
Body: <p><img src="/sites/default/files/153934-153934-trump-europe.jpg"></p><p><i>Mark S. Byrnes is professor and chair of the Department of History at Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC</i><br></p><p>Donald Trump went to a NATO meeting last week and never explicitly stated his commitment to Article 5, which states that an attack on one member is an attack on all.</p> <p>Why is this such a big deal? Because he’s undermining U.S. national interests.</p> <p>I often have the chance to teach about the creation of NATO, in four different courses I teach (Western Civilization since 1815, U.S. History since 1865, American Diplomatic History, and U.S. since 1945). Whenever I do, I make a point of stressing what an incredible and important departure it was in American foreign policy. </p> <p>When I tell students that the U.S. created and joined the North Atlantic alliance in 1949, I always ask them when the U.S. last had entered a formal alliance. They often guess World War II, and then World War I. Students understandably assume that since the U.S. fought along side other nations in both the First and Second World Wars, and we casually refer to America’s “allies” in those wars, that there were treaties of alliance. But there were none—in each case, the U.S. quite deliberately maintained its formal separation from those it called its “allies.”</p> <p>NATO was the first formal alliance for the U.S. in nearly 150 years. In 1800, the Adams administration negotiated an end to the French alliance of 1778 that had helped the Americans win the Revolutionary War, and the U.S. had not agreed to a single treaty of alliance since. When revolutionary France went to war with Britain (America’s largest trading partner) in the 1790s, the alliance seriously complicated not only American foreign policy, but American domestic politics as well, and soured Americans on the idea of any binding foreign commitments.</p> <p>After its war with Britain ended in 1815, the U.S. assiduously avoided involvement in European political affairs. Its response to conflicts in Europe was essentially “none of our business.” When both World Wars broke out, the American response was to declare its neutrality. In 1949, that changed.</p> <p>American membership in NATO represented a fundamental shift in American foreign policy. For nearly a century and a half, Americans insisted on complete freedom of action in foreign policy. No binding commitments would threaten to drag the U.S. into a foreign war. That determination was the single largest factor in the Senate’s rejection of Woodrow Wilson’s vision for the League of Nations after World War I. With NATO, the U.S. reversed course and said that it would immediately go to war if one if its allies were attacked. Why such a dramatic change?</p> <p>The lesson of the two World Wars, in the minds of American foreign policy makers, was that the U.S. could not avoid involvement in a major European war. The only way to stay out of such a war, they decided, was to make sure that one never broke out again. The only way to do that was deterrence through a binding collective security agreement. Send the message to a potential aggressor (the Soviet Union at the time) that American neutrality was unequivocally a thing of the past: if World War III broke out, the (nuclear armed) U.S. would be in it on Day One. That certainty would deter any potential aggression and prevent another war.</p> <p>That certainty is what Donald Trump recklessly undermined last week. NATO’s effectiveness depends on certainty, and he created uncertainty. During the campaign, Trump suggested that America's commitment to honoring Article 5 would become conditional. When asked if the U.S. under a Trump administration would defend the Baltic states if attacked by Russia, he said “If they fill their obligations to us.” That one small word, “if,” has the potential to undermine the entire alliance. The whole point of NATO was to take the “if” out of the calculation. </p> <p>Last week, Trump had an opportunity as president to repair the damage he had done as a candidate, and he passed on it. <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/24/world/trump-nato.html?_r=0">Administration officials assured reporters</a> beforehand that Trump would “publicly endorse NATO’s mutual defense commitment.” But he did no such thing. <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/05/25/remarks-president-trump-nato-unveiling-article-5-and-berlin-wall">He briefly mentioned it</a> in the context of NATO coming to America’s aid after 9/11, but never stated his commitment to reciprocate. Instead, he harped once again on the need for NATO nations to pay “their fair share.”</p> <p>There’s nothing inherently wrong with reminding members that they have agreed to spend 2% of GDP on defense. Trump, by refusing to state his commitment to Article 5 while making that demand, however, is turning NATO into just another “deal.” He has said in the past that he thinks the U.S. is being “taken advantage of” in NATO. In his transactional framing of the alliance, European members are paying for American protection, and to get them to pay up, he is implicitly threatening to refuse to honor America’s commitment. This is his simple-minded idea of what constitutes “tough” leadership.</p> <p>As with so many other aspects of his disastrous presidency, Trump here is misapplying his business approach to realms where it is not only not applicable but downright destructive. NATO is not a “deal.” It is not a protection racket. The American creation of NATO was meant to serve <i>American</i> interests. It has done so for nearly 70 years. Undermining the alliance with his childish and churlish attitude is self-defeating. It undeniably damages <i>American</i> interests. The only open question is whether Trump is doing so out of ignorance and foolishness, or for far more disturbing and sinister reasons.</p>
ID: 153935
Uid: 78565
Author: 38
Category: 0
Title: When Will Trump Voters Catch on that They've Been Had?
Source:
Body: <p><i>Rick Shenkman is the publisher of the History News Network and the author of&nbsp;<a href="http://stoneagebrain.com/">Political Animals:&nbsp; How Our Stone-Age Brain Gets in the Way of Smart Politics&nbsp;</a>(Basic Books, January 2016). You can&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/rickshenkman">follow</a>&nbsp;him on Twitter. He blogs at&nbsp;<a href="http://historynewsnetwork.org/blog/author/38">stoneagebrain.</a></i></p> <p>By now the list of people who realize they’ve been played by Donald Trump is longer than a Chinese menu. It includes, of course, the&nbsp;thousands of people who took out loans to pay the tuition at Trump University only to discover their degrees were worthless; bankers who lost millions on over-extended projects&nbsp;through the course of <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2016/live-updates/general-election/real-time-fact-checking-and-analysis-of-the-first-presidential-debate/fact-check-has-trump-declared-bankruptcy-four-or-six-times/?utm_term=.8ca7f80f0899">six bankruptcies</a>; contractors who got <a href="http://thehill.com/homenews/news/312846-dc-area-contractors-claim-trump-owes-them-more-than-3-million">stiffed</a> on those projects; and many many others, and that's all before he became a politician. &nbsp;</p> <p>Since his announcement in 2015 that he was running for president he's humiliated both Mitt Romney, who actually <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/mitt-romney-race-trumps-secretary-state/story?id=44155437">thought</a> he might be named secretary of state (a fantasy, if ever there was one), and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who believed his groveling would at least secure him a spot as attorney general before the prize went to Jeff Sessions (Trump <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/christie-trump-cabinet-ag-attorney-general-2016-12">reportedly</a> promised Christie the position and then withdrew it). Even Benjamin Netanyahu, who&nbsp;welcomed Trump's election after his bruising battles with Barack Obama, has learned that Trump's not to be trusted (Netanyahu was <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/25/politics/netanyahu-trump-settlements-aipac/">surprised</a> if not shocked when Trump chided Israel for expanding settlements).</p> <p>But what about Trump's voters? Nothing less than the fate of the planet rests possibly on their shoulders as well as vital decisions that will determine if millions lose their health insurance and whether refugees from Syria are resettled in the United States. And yet they've by and large stood by Trump. And that's critical. As long as they stick with the president the GOP isn't likely to impeach him or take him on. &nbsp;</p> <p>Their willingness to turn a blind eye to his many obvious deficiencies is infuriating to liberals, many of whom have already <a href="http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/165692">decided</a> that Trump should be impeached, a <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/29/trump-impeachment-cities-238912">conclusion</a> multiple liberal city councils have reached. &nbsp;And if that proves impossible, many liberals have <a href="http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/164868">demanded</a> that he should be removed from office through the 25th Amendment on the grounds that he's cognitively impaired. The feeling that Trump poses a danger is worldwide. After his disastrous performance at the Nato summit German journalists began <a href="http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/donald-trump-is-a-menace-to-the-world-opinion-a-1148471.html">calling</a> for regime change in the United States.</p> <p>Liberals, hang in there! Not all is actually as grim as it seems. Nate Silver&nbsp;<a href="https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/donald-trumps-base-is-shrinking/">reports</a> that the number of Americans who strongly support Trump has fallen from 30 percent to around 22 percent since February. "Far from having unconditional love from his base," Silver observes, "Trump has already lost almost a third of his strong support.” Even better, "voters who strongly disapprove of Trump outnumber those who strongly approve of him by about a 2-to-1 ratio."</p> <p>History suggests it's unrealistic to expect people to change their minds quickly. This is a pattern that has held for centuries. In the 1600s the Salem witch trials dragged on for eight long months before townsfolk finally began to realize that they had been caught up in an irrational frenzy. More recently, Americans proved during Watergate that they are reluctant to turn on a president they have just elected despite mounds of evidence incriminating him in scandalous practices. The Watergate burglary took place on June 17, 1972. But it wasn't until April 30, 1973 – eleven months later – that his popularity finally fell below 50 percent. This was long after the Watergate burglars had been tried and convicted and the FBI had confirmed news reports that the Republicans had played dirty tricks on the Democrats during the campaign. Leaked testimony had even showed that former Attorney General John Mitchell knew about the break-in in advance. But not until Nixon fired White House Counsel John Dean and White House aides H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman resigned did a majority turn against the president. And even at that point Nixon's poll numbers stood higher than Trump's. Nixon:&nbsp; 48 percent; Trump: <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/201617/gallup-daily-trump-job-approval.aspx">42 percent</a>. </p> <p>It's not just conservative voters who are reluctant to change their minds. So are liberals. After news reports surfaced in the 1970s proving that John Kennedy was a serial philanderer millions of his supporters refused to acknowledge it. A <a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/Decoder/2013/1121/Why-is-John-F.-Kennedy-still-so-popular-video">poll</a> in 2013 show a majority of Americans <i>still </i>think of him as a good family man.</p> <p>Thus far not even many leading Democrats have been willing to come out in favor of Trump's impeachment. Cory Booker, the liberal senator from New Jersey, <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/28/booker-trump-impeachment-238898">said</a> this past week it's simply too soon. And if a guy like Booker is not yet prepared to come straight out for impeachment, why should we think Trump voters would be willing to? It is only just in the last few weeks that polls <a href="http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/pdf/2017/PPP_Release_National_51617.pdf">show</a> that a plurality of voters now favor Trump's impeachment. (Twelve percent of self-identified Trump voters share this view, which is remarkable.)</p> <p>It's no mystery why people are reluctant to change their minds. Social scientists have produced hundreds of studies that explain the phenomenon. Rank partisanship is only part of the answer. Mainly it’s that people don't like to admit they were wrong, which is what they would be doing if they concede that Trump is not up to the job. When Trump voters hear news that puts their leader in an unfavorable light they experience cognitive dissonance. The natural reaction to this is to deny the legitimacy of the source of the news that they find upsetting. This is what explains the harsh attacks on the liberal media. Those stories are literally making Trump voters feel bad. As the Emory University social scientist Drew Westen has <a href="https://books.google.com/books?id=71NYEEaMb4oC&amp;printsec=frontcover&amp;dq=political+brain&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=0ahUKEwjjq4DWgJbUAhWJg1QKHbWsB1EQ6AEIKDAA#v=onepage&amp;q=kerry&amp;f=false">demonstrated</a>, people hearing information contrary to their beliefs will cease giving it credence. This is not a decision we make at the conscious level. Our brain makes it for us automatically.</p> <p>So what leads people to finally change their minds? One of the most convincing explanations is provided by the Theory of Affective Intelligence. This mouthful of a name refers to the tendency of people experiencing cognitive dissonance to feel anxiety when they do so. As social scientist George Marcus has explained, when the burden of hanging onto an existing opinion becomes greater than the cost of changing it, we begin to reconsider our commitments. What's the trigger? Anxiety. When there's a mismatch between our views of the way the world works and reality we grow anxious. This provokes us to make a fresh evaluation.</p> <p>What this research suggests is that we probably have a ways to go before Trump voters are going to switch their opinions. While some are evidently feeling buyers' remorse, a majority aren't. They're just not anxious enough yet. Liberals need not worry. The very same headlines that are giving them an upset stomach are making it more and more likely Trump voters are also experiencing discomfort. That's the good news liberals can hang onto as they wait for the Trump story to unfold like Watergate.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>
ID: 153936
Uid: 78784
Author: 47
Category: 0
Title: Political Uses of the Past
Source:
Body: <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/sites/default/files/153936-pic.png"></p><p><i>This blog is by Allen Mikaelian. Allen is an editor and writer who specializes in creating meaningful projects for amazing people. He holds a history PhD from American University, is a former editor of the American Historical Association's "Perspectives on History," and lives in Washington, DC.</i></p><p> History matters, and not just because it enriches our lives or provides transferable skills or prevents the past from repeating itself. History also matters because our political class uses it like currency; their perceptions of the past inform their policies, color their rhetoric, and create world views.</p><p>A member of Congress recently <a href="http://historychecked.com/h2887-2-1180">argued</a> that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, a source of much discontent for the Trump administration, was merely established to bring law to the wild west; now it has outlived its usefulness and can safely be abolished. &nbsp;A White House spokesperson <a href="http://historychecked.com/wh170504-421">asserted</a> that the Johnson Amendment, which limits political endorsements by nonprofits like churches, was akin to silencing Martin Luther King. Another member of Congress&nbsp;<a href="http://historychecked.com/h2832-1-1075">claimed</a> that the present crisis in Africa is much like the Irish Potato Famine—it was created by politics, not by actual shortages. History matters because our elected officials are making it matter, every day.&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://historychecked.com">The Political Uses of the Past project</a> collects statements by elected and appointed officials who deploy history and historical comparisons in their speeches, remarks, and arguments. The collection is updated nearly every day and focuses on Congress and the administration. Historians are invited to rate and comment on these statements. As the collection grows, the project will include a database and visualizations (much like what you see <a href="https://public.tableau.com/views/Politifact-hist/Topics?:embed=y&amp;:display_count=yes">here</a>). Much else is possible; much else is in the works. And the stream of historical statements by politicians will provide an incredible amount of fodder for whatever comes next.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>This project has been brewing for a while, but received a strong push as I watched how our political conversations increasingly disdain facts and expertise. This is of course not particular to history, but historical truth is a frequent victim. Historians are pushing back with solid research and writing, and are taking their expertise into the public square with newfound urgency. This project aims to feed that urge.&nbsp;</p><p>My hope is that a historian will see one of these statements and use it as a prompt for further public engagement. The project provides an easy way to do that with a comment form (available to historians after <a href="http://historychecked.com/contribute-a-rating/">light vetting</a>), but many historians will, I hope, engage by creating longer pieces or find inspiration for lesson planning. Either way, there’s a value in watching closely how politicians are using the past, especially now.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>Each week this blog, generously provided by HNN, will highlight a particularly provocative statement, a new trend, or conversations inspired by recent statements. The project is very open to ideas, suggestions, guest posts, and guidance (which you can submit&nbsp;<a href="http://historychecked.com/contact/">here</a>). Those who are interested in a daily dose of political uses of the past can subscribe to the project's newsletter. (just provide your email in the “Updates” form on the left side of <a href="http://historychecked.com">this page</a>. You will receive one (and only one!) email per day with the day’s updates. Daily updates are also available via&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/checkrdhistory/">Twitter</a>, RSS, and&nbsp;<a href="https://facebook.com/checkrdhistory/">Facebook</a>.&nbsp;</p><p>As I process the daily onslaught of political uses of the past (read the&nbsp;<a href="http://historychecked.com/about/">about</a>&nbsp;page for more on how I’m finding these statements with a nifty bit of machine learning code), I’m finding many more statements than I have time or space to publish, and I’m picking up on some fascinating trends and tropes. Each of these offer opportunities to public-minded historians.&nbsp;</p><p>The Teapot Dome scandal, for instance, is suddenly <a href="http://historychecked.com/h4212-1-257">relevant</a> to the <a href="http://historychecked.com/h4484-1-1074/">issue</a> of Trump’s tax returns. One of the main talking points on the president’s budget is the idea of 3 percent GDP growth being <a href="http://historychecked.com/wh170523-81/">normal</a> throughout US history. And if the administration wants you to take away anything from Trump’s first foreign trip, it is that the trip was “<a href="http://historychecked.com/wh170512-284/">historic</a>” (check the <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/05/30/daily-press-briefing-press-secretary-sean-spicer-51">transcripts</a>—they can’t seem to stop <a href="https://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2017/05/271005.htm">saying</a> it).</p><p>These threads suggest different political uses of the past and different ways historians can engage. If Teapot Dome is suddenly relevant, explainers by historians would be a great public service. And perhaps that 3 percent growth figure is true. Perhaps not. Either way, it’s a statement that cries out for the kind of historical context that you’re unlikely to get from an economist. Or what exactly was historic about that trip to Saudi Arabia? This is a nation that has been an ally for some time; are we really facing a turning point in that relationship?&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>History really matters; it is a constant background hum in the cacophony on the Hill and in the White House. The daily updates to this project will prove that. The question then is: What are historians going to do about it?</p>
ID: 153937
Uid: 4699
Author: 4
Category: 0
Title: The Rabbi Who Captured a Town Alone
Source: The Daily Beast
Body: <p style="margin: 0px 0px 15px; line-height: 29.5px; font-size: 17px; color: rgb(2, 20, 31); font-family: Georgia, Cambria, 'Times New Roman', Times, serif; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">Fifty years ago, on the fourth day of the Six Day War, June 8, 1967, a bespectacled, bearded Israeli army chaplain captured the radical Palestinian town of Hebron, population<a href="http://archive.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=17961" style="transition: color 0.15s ease; background-color: transparent;">&nbsp;38,309</a>&nbsp;-- singlehandedly. Rabbi Shlomo Goren’s solo conquest is a classic Chaos of War story. &nbsp;It’s also a particularly Israeli tale that helps explain the 1967 War’s redemptive significance to most Jews, from religious to secular. &nbsp;</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 15px; line-height: 29.5px; font-size: 17px; color: rgb(2, 20, 31); font-family: Georgia, Cambria, 'Times New Roman', Times, serif; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">Rabbi Goren was one of those larger than life characters who helped make Israel, Israel. Like George Washington when he was president, these post-1948 pioneers often made lasting policies simply by setting precedents in the new state. Born in Poland in 1918, Shlomo Gorenchik was raised in the Religious Zionist tradition. Most Zionists – Jewish nationalists who believed that the Jews as a people have collective rights to establish a nation state in their ancient homeland, Israel – rebelled against Rabbinic passivity. Religious Zionists synthesized faith in Judaism with an embrace of Zionism, seeing secular pioneers rebuilding the Holy Land as doing holy work.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 15px; line-height: 29.5px; font-size: 17px; color: rgb(2, 20, 31); font-family: Georgia, Cambria, 'Times New Roman', Times, serif; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">Gorenchik and his family reached Palestine in 1925. When he was 12, he studied at “Yeshivat Hebron,” a seminary honoring one of Judaism’s four holy cities, along with Jerusalem, Tiberias, and Safed, where Jews continued to live throughout the centuries. Some Jews equated Hebron’s holiness with Jerusalem’s, because of the Cave of Machpelah, the Patriarchs’ Tomb – which Jews, Christians, and Muslims revere as the burial place Abraham purchased for the forefathers and foremothers. The tomb’s exterior looks like the Western Wall – the remnant of the Jews’ Holy Temple. Herod the Great built both structures in Jesus’s day. Unfortunately, Arab riots 1900 years later in 1929 and 1936, destroyed Hebron’s Jewish community, creating a deep symbolic wound, especially for Religious Zionists...</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 15px; line-height: 29.5px; font-size: 17px; color: rgb(2, 20, 31); font-family: Georgia, Cambria, 'Times New Roman', Times, serif; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/the-rabbi-who-led-israel-in-war"><b>Read whole article on The Daily Beast.</b></a></p>
ID: 153938
Uid: 78608
Author: 43
Category: 0
Title: Watching the Trump Administration Unravel Is a Schadenfreude Delight
Source:
Body: <center> <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/lAur_I077NA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> </center> <p><i><br></i></p><p><i>David P. Barash is professor of psychology emeritus at the University of Washington, and the author of numerous articles and books, including&nbsp;<a href="https://www.amazon.com/Peace-Conflict-Studies-David-Barash/dp/1412961203">Peace and Conflict Studies</a>, 4th ed. (with C. Webel, Sage, 2017), the forthcoming&nbsp;Approaches to Peace, 4th ed. (Oxford University Press, 2017), as well as&nbsp;Paradigms Lost: The Pain and Pleasure of Seeing Ourselves as We Really Are&nbsp;(Oxford University Press, 2018). With Judith Eve Lipton, he is currently researching a book taking issue with nuclear deterrence.&nbsp;</i></p><p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Out-Eden-Surprising-Consequences-Polygamy/dp/0190275502/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1457299288&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=barash+out+of+eden"><img src="http://historynewsnetwork.org/sites/default/files/153786-eden.png" style="margin: 10px; float: left" align="left" height="250" width="“375&quot;"></a>Trump&nbsp;can’t stop tweeting; fine for him, since he obviously doesn’t have anything important or beneficial for the country, or the world, to do with his time. In fact, I hope he keeps it up, or even increases his bizarre outbursts—especially given his current impeachable and perhaps&nbsp;criminal&nbsp;entanglements—insofar as this activity corresponds to the legal warning that fish mostly get hooked because they’ve opened their mouths. But what about me? I don’t tweet and have no legal liabilities, but having just retired from my university teaching job, I have many benevolent demands on my time: wife, children, six grandchildren, contributing to the anti-Trump resistance, as well as the maintenance of two horses, a goat, four dogs, four cats, a 10-acre farm, and several book projects underway. Yet I can’t seem to tear myself away from the ongoing legal-political-ethical-personal soap opera that has the Orange One at its center.</p><p>I’m reminded of one of my earliest clear&nbsp;memories, the Army-McCarthy hearings of 1953, which was the first such event televised. I vividly recall my mother glued to our TV, a large wood cabinet with a tiny black and white screen, for literally days on end. Once I even stayed home from school because she was so hooked by the unfolding drama that she forgot to take me there. It was the first of what was to become a periodic punctuation in many people’s news-watching lives: the launch of Sputnik, Kennedy’s assassination, the first moon landing, Watergate, the Anita Hill hearings, Clinton’s impeachment. But the Army-McCarthy hearings – precipitated when Tailgunner Joe went too far, and included the U. S. Army in his smear campaign – was the beginning, so engrossing that it gave rise to a song, “The Senator McCarthy Blues,” by the Atomic Platters. There doesn’t appear to be a YouTube clip of it, but the hilarious lyrics (including “Mommy, mommy, where’s the commie”) are&nbsp;retrievable <a href="http://atomicplatters.com/more.php?id=96_0_1_0_M">here</a>. The song also bespeaks the prevailing ethos of its time, with a man bemoaning that because his wife spends all her time glued to the hearings, dinner goes uncooked, the floor unwashed, and so forth.</p><p>Back to 2017 and my delight and fascination as the noose tightens around Trump’s neck so that if nothing else, his presidency and what I see as his loathsome policy agenda&nbsp;are both increasingly derailed. Why am I caught like this? Sure, I’m rooting for maximum disclosure, pain,&nbsp;embarrassment, and devastating fallout—political no less than legal—from this unfolding story. But it will play out without me, no differently than with. Maybe I’m just a sucker for a kind of newsworthy&nbsp;gossip&nbsp;(although I eschew anything about celebrity culture), or—more likely—having suffered genuine psychic&nbsp;trauma&nbsp;in the aftermath of the November, 2016 election, I’m currently soaking up the Trump Troubles as a kind of soothing schadenfreude.</p><p>My mother would have understood—she felt about McCarthy pretty much as I do about Trump. My father didn’t sing the “Senator McCarthy Blues” when the sink was full of dishes and the washer, with unwashed clothes; he watched the Army-McCarthy hearings, too, whenever he could, just as my wife, like me, spends too much time following the Trump Troubles, enjoying sarcastic comedy clips and devastating political cartoons.</p><p>The key similarity, of course,&nbsp;between the Army-McCarthy hearings and the current Trump Troubles, is that both represent appropriate responses of&nbsp;government reining in rogue politicians.&nbsp;McCarthy was a serious threat to democracy and to basic human decency; so is Trump. McCarthy, however,&nbsp;wasn't literally a threat to the whole planet; Trump is.&nbsp;But into each life, even in the aftermath of a dubious and disastrous election, and a grave danger to all that I hold dear, a little sun will occasionally shine, albeit in this case via grave difficulties for someone I thoroughly&nbsp;detest. And&nbsp;that's not all: when we want entertainment that is equally compelling and even more cheery, we can watch the return of Twin Peaks!</p><p>&nbsp;</p>