Tag Archives: Trump

Muddying the water

New Europe reports that Yale psychiatrist, Dr. Bandy Lee is calling for a psychiatric evaluation of Donald Trump.

Lee argues that President’s Trump public language in infused with a pattern of “decompensation,” that is, “loss of touch with reality, marked signs of volatility and unpredictable behaviour, and an attraction to violence as a means of coping.” Dr. Lee believes that the President’s deteriorating condition is perhaps triggered by the ongoing Robert Mueller investigation over his campaigns links with Russia.

President Donald Trump’s Twitter account has become a major concern, as he recently retweeted violent videos posted by a British far-right violent group and he referred to Elizabeth Warren as Pochahontas during a speech honouring Navaho World War II heroes.

I can’t help but feel that speculation about Trump’s mental state is a bit beside the point. His behavior makes him unfit for office and it’s because of his behavior that he should be ejected from office.

Why he behaves as he does doesn’t really have any bearing on this and speculation like this — regardless of how professionally grounded it is — runs a sizable risk of distracting attention from his many failings.

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Quote of the Day: You’re all suckers

A guy basically went mad, right there on the stage in front of you, and you cheered and booed right on cue because you’re sheep and because he directed his insanity at all the scapegoats that your favorite radio and TV personalities have been creating for you over the past three decades.

— Charles P. Pierce addresses the people who waited for hours in 105-degree (Fahrenheit) heat to listen to Trump vent his spleen.

Via Pharyngula

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President Snowflake to avoid White House Correspondents’ dinner unless comedians promise a ‘safe space’

From Newsthump:

President Trump will not be attending the White House Correspondents’ dinner this year due to fears that people will make jokes and be mean to him.

America’s premier snowflake said he will break a 35-year tradition by avoiding the dinner in April because his skin is as thin as the margin of his electoral victory.

‘President Snowflake’ is such an obvious moniker, I’m surprised that this is the first time I’ve seen anyone use it.

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Manipulating System 1

In Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman looks at the mental shortcuts we take and the ways in which these shortcuts mislead us. In doing so, he describes two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is quick, intuitive and emotional while System 2 is slower, more deliberative and more logical. Both systems have their place, but System one tends to dominate and is relatively easy to manipulate.

AC Grayling argues that this has happened, both in the Brexit referendum and the Trump election.

What Kahneman and other researchers have empirically confirmed in their work is that the majority of people are ‘System One’ or ‘quick’ thinkers in that they make decisions on impulse, feeling, emotion, and first impressions, rather than ‘System Two’ or ‘slow’ thinkers who seek information, analyse it, and weigh arguments in order to come to decisions. System One thinkers can be captured by slogans, statements dramatised to the point of falsehood, and even downright lies, because they will not check the validity of what is said, but instead will mistrust System Two thinkers whose lengthier arguments and appeals to data are often regarded as efforts to bamboozle and mislead.

Grayling goes on to say:

A senior BBC news editor told me that there was fierce debate among his colleagues about how they were reporting the Brexit referendum campaigns. They were conscious that that the Leave campaign, in particular, was putting out highly doubtful if not downright dishonest statements either very late or very early in the day in order to have them reported in morning news programmes, knowing that fact checking and the need to modify or retract misleading statements would only come later in the day, by which time the statements would have done their work with System One audiences.

And the media often compounds this problem by seeking a balance that (unintentionally) results in false equivalence.

I’m not sure what the solution to all of this is – or even if there is one – but surely it starts with more teaching and use of critical thinking and a better use of journalistic resources so that untrue and misleading claims can be quickly and effectively debunked.

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