Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The next four years

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  • John Farrell,

    I've noticed a surprising level of engagement by conservative denizens of New Zealand messageboards, with Trump's election. From their reaction, you would think they were Americans. Few seem to have considered side effects for New Zealand in "making America Great Again."

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 425 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to John Farrell,

    Few seem to have considered side effects for New Zealand in “making America Great Again.”

    It is weird. People I figured had some capacity for thought seem sort of excited about it, if anything.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22148 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Attachment

    A screenshot just posted on Twitter. It appears Rick Perry literally did not know what the Energy Secretary does when he took the job.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22148 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Regarding the effect of Trump and his cronies on climate change policy worldwide and even within the USA, the BBC Discovery podcast just did an episode looking at exactly that. It was interesting in that most people interviewed seemed to feel that the momentum towards clean energy and the desire to reduce CO2 emissions is too great for Trump to have much effect.

    The optimism somewhat surprised me. I guess the point is that while Trump's donors will make a killing exploiting their power, they won't be able to do much beyond their own business empires. Outside those empires most businesses are now convinced the future is clean energy. And most countries included China and India are making big changes to their energy economy.

    Trump and the slime he's dragged into power with him can't do as much harm to the climate as we feared.

    On the other hand it's pretty clear that The GOP is going to take this total power and use it to push through some abhorrent changes to the US. The big one is a massive tax grab by the rich - that's what is driving the changes to the ACA.

    In many ways the idiot in charge is the least of the concerns, it's the fact that the GOP has no restrictions now and frankly they look like they are going to tear the US social structure apart. It is not going to be fun if you aren't a wealthy white male.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4319 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Russell Brown,

    People I figured had some capacity for thought seem sort of excited about it, if anything.

    So one of the predictive questions on OKCupid is "In a certain light, wouldn't nuclear war be exciting?" For men, a yes on that has an 83% correlation with wanting sex on the first date. The other questions that correlate like that for men are "Assuming you were in the position to do so, would you launch nuclear weapons under any circumstances?" and "Could you imagine yourself killing someone?"

    Draw your own conclusions.

    (Some of those women are even Trump voters.)

    I mean... what? Maybe, optimistically, this bodes well for a one-term presidency? Maybe I'll just have another beer.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4597 posts Report Reply

  • Pete Sime,

    I'm still at a loss at how I'm going to process the next four years, but I have done one thing and subscribed to print journalism after relying on the internet for years. This month I set up subscriptions for the ODT and North and South as well as digital editions of the New York Times, Vanity Fair (basically because Trump was having a go at them) and The Atlantic.

    Also National Geographic, but I expect their political coverage to be thin - but given the uproar over putting a transgender girl on their cover, maybe not.

    Dunedin • Since Apr 2008 • 163 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen R, in reply to Emma Hart,

    People I figured had some capacity for thought seem sort of excited about it, if anything.

    So one of the predictive questions on OKCupid is “In a certain light, wouldn’t nuclear war be exciting?” For men, a yes on that has an 83% correlation with wanting sex on the first date. The other questions that correlate like that for men are “Assuming you were in the position to do so, would you launch nuclear weapons under any circumstances?” and “Could you imagine yourself killing someone?”

    I suspect there's age influences there. As I get older, I can still imagine myself killing someone, and most of what I imagine is pretty terrible and not at all attractive. I find subjects and movies that I used to really enjoy a lot less attractive, as I imagine the effects on the unseen people. Second order empathy - it can be learned!

    (I found "the War Prayer" quite thought provoking, and it has stayed with me a long time.)

    Applied to politics, the people who think that "interesting times" are interesting, probably aren't thinking of the people for whom even minor extra difficulties could be enough to sink them.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 252 posts Report Reply

  • Scott Michael Savidge,

    It's good to see the Press Corp shaping up for the challenge ahead with an open letter to the Donald:

    http://www.cjr.org/covering_trump/trump_white_house_press_corps.php

    Since Nov 2006 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Stephen R,

    Applied to politics, the people who think that "interesting times" are interesting, probably aren't thinking of the people for whom even minor extra difficulties could be enough to sink them.

    I did mean it in the Chinese proverb sense :-)

    But I will happily admit to find the media dimensions of this of compelling interest.

    And Russia: I read Peter Pomerantsev's book over Christmas and I've just realised we have more than enough Hotpoints for a book voucher to buy Mikhail Zygar's 'All the Kremlin's Men', which is still only in hardback. So that's next.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22148 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Emma Hart,

    I mean… what? Maybe, optimistically, this bodes well for a one-term presidency? Maybe I’ll just have another beer.

    Remember when the stupid liberal media was being lambasted for taking what Trump said literally, while the voters knew better? Yeah.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22148 posts Report Reply

  • WH,

    That’s great writing.

    There was a series in the Guardian filed by John Harris in May that really brought out the extent to which Trump’s messaging around trade and outsourcing was resonating in the Midwest. Michael Moore (of Flint, Michigan) made an eerily accurate prediction along similar lines.

    As that New Yorker article you linked to put it:

    [Some conservative intellectuals have] discerned the outlines of a simple and, in [their] view, eminently sensible political program: “less foreign intervention, less [free] trade, and more immigration restrictions.”

    That’s fine, as far as it goes – if you can still see it in the blizzard of concern Trump’s behaviour and musings have stirred up.

    Since Nov 2006 • 700 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to WH,

    Michael Moore (of Flint, Michigan) made an eerily accurate prediction along similar lines.

    Moore made much the same prediction for "President" Romney. Spooky.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4483 posts Report Reply

  • Tess Rooney,

    I'm dreading the next four years. For people who rely on the Affordable Care Act it's going to be deadly. Having the Republicans in control of the US government is going to be terrible, especially for poor and marginalised people.

    I just hope the professional diplomats can soothe down international conflicts, but Trump is so ignorant and undisciplined who knows what he will launch the US into.

    Since May 2009 • 267 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    But I will happily admit to find the media dimensions of this of compelling interest.

    How the US media respond to the next few years really will be interesting.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4319 posts Report Reply

  • Karen Hester,

    When I first arrived in the States, I glommed onto the NPR/WNYC radio show/podcast On The Media which reminded me of your (Russell) work on Radio NZ back in the day. Loved Bob's incredulity at how the media didn't back up CNN at the press conference. The impassioned argument between the two hosts over their role as journalists post-Trump was emotional listening.

    On The Media's series on American poverty myths is particularly interesting.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • Tess Rooney,

    "Loved Bob’s incredulity at how the media didn’t back up CNN at the press conference."

    This is a bit scary actually. I'm assuming the media will be concerned about losing access to Trump, but it means that he controls the narrative.

    FOX NEWS - 'fair' and 'balanced' and approved by the Trump...

    Since May 2009 • 267 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Karen Hester,

    When I first arrived in the States, I glommed onto the NPR/WNYC radio show/podcast On The Media

    Oh, wow. I used to listen to On The Media a lot when I was making a media radio show myself. They've been going a long time!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22148 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Great post, thank you Russell. That must have taken quite some reading and thinking to pull together.

    Earlier this month, House Republicans voted to gut the House's independent ethics office – only to reverse their decision on a message from Trump.

    I understood it was a swarm of constituents putting pressure on their representatives, though the Chump claiming credit is no surprise.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19362 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Tess Rooney,

    ’m dreading the next four years. For people who rely on the Affordable Care Act it’s going to be deadly. Having the Republicans in control of the US government is going to be terrible, especially for poor and marginalised people.

    There appears to be a non-trivial number of Americans who voted against “Obamacare” and are now shocked to discover they voted to abolish the ACA, on which they rely.

    I just hope the professional diplomats can soothe down international conflicts, but Trump is so ignorant and undisciplined who knows what he will launch the US into.

    It’s going to be interesting. Most new ambassadors are likely to be dingbats – and that New Yorker story about the Trump team's inability to even talk intelligibly to foreign governments isn’t promising.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22148 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    This twitter thread via Lamia Imam is convincing about how the Repugs have seized power. That will last beyond Trumpyboy's impeachment or assassination.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19362 posts Report Reply

  • artig,

    In the interests of accuracy, Andrea Merkel should be changed to Angela Merkel.

    BoP • Since Oct 2010 • 39 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    the ACA, on which they rely

    Republican officials are apparently surprised by the intensity of resistance - threatening some people with certain death may bring that.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19362 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Pence has to "clarify" Trump's promises of health insurance "for everybody".

    Which now does not mean, you know, everybody. It's utterly incoherent.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22148 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to artig,

    In the interests of accuracy, Andrea Merkel should be changed to Angela Merkel.

    Ha! Let me do that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22148 posts Report Reply

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