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Poll shows Americans don’t think for themselves

Americans perceive public policy as good or bad not based on its merits or lack thereof, but based on whether their favored politicians backs it

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A recent survey conducted by Reuters shows how many Americans base their support or opposition to a given political stance not on the soundness of the policy, but based on whether or not it comes with the backing of a favored or disfavored political authority.

The present situation surrounding the breaking up of migrant families at the border is a case in point. Support and opposition for Trump’s policy on the matter seems to come largely from either a desire to defend Donald Trump or from a desire to oppose him in some way. That there are moral issues to be solved here and problems created not just for the migrants, but also for the judicial system, highlighting the corporate cronyism in America, seems to be lacking in consideration.

Those supporting it even go to lengths of manufacturing disinformation about its origin and history, as well as ill conceived notions about the nature of crime and punishment. The mechanics of the policy itself, its implications, and the moral predicament which it imposes are by and large ignored, or speciously justified, while support for the policy seems to stem from a desire to defend their partisan leader’s policies. The public’s reaction to this policy demonstrates in yet another way the manner in which Americans perceive political policies, that is not on the merits of the policy, or lack thereof, but based on their political persuasions and the personality cult attached to their favored politician.

Intellectual Takeout observes:

It is generally believed that America is more polarized than ever. After all, one need only look at the fallout from the last election to test this theory: both liberals and conservatives are convinced that their ideas and principles are the best and should be followed.

But a recent survey by Reuters casts a bit of doubt on how well people really know their own minds and understand the political principles they say they adhere to. It appears that many Americans base their views on whether a particular authority figure holds them.

As Reuters explains, surveyors read a variety of political statements which Donald Trump made on the campaign trail to mixed groups of Republicans and Democrats. One group was told that each statement was made by Trump; the other omitted that important detail. In almost every case, Democrat support for the statement decreased when Trump’s name was attached, while Republican support increased.

Government-run health care is a prime example of this. When asked if government should take care of everyone, 68 percent of Democrats agreed. Only 33 percent of Republicans did the same. But when Trump’s name was thrown into the ring, both parties had a sudden change of heart. Democrats in particular exhibited a 20 percent drop in support for government-run health care.

 A similar scenario unfolded when respondents were asked about American exceptionalism. When told that Donald Trump believed that American exceptionalism is insulting to people from other countries, Republicans displayed a dramatic jump in agreement with the president. Democrats, however, demonstrated another 20 percent drop in support for the idea.

 Such outcomes shouldn’t be surprising given the vitriol which has surrounded presidential politics of late. Nevertheless, such outcomes are a bit alarming, for they clearly demonstrate that a good chunk of the American public do not make decisions based on thoughtful, informed reasoning. Instead, they pick a public figure they like (or dislike) and move with him (or away from him) as the winds may blow.

This situation is far from healthy for the American government. As Thomas Jefferson once noted, “Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone.” To avoid this scenario, Jefferson insisted the American public must be equipped with sound and well-educated minds:

“The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories. And to render even them safe, their minds must be improved to a certain degree.”

Sadly, the improvement of American minds isn’t happening in today’s schools. Many students cannot distinguish between fact and opinion; instruction in logic and critical thinking, while given lip-service, seem to have disappeared from schools; and only 12 percent of the nation’s high school seniors are proficient in history, the subject which lays the groundwork for American government.

If America’s schools are not teaching students to be independent, well-reasoned, and educated thinkers, is it any wonder that the American public is so easily swayed in their political beliefs and opinions?

The mainstream media has a hand in this process, however, steering the public to accept or oppose a given action or policy, instead of just reporting the news. The issue of a US president meeting with the North Korean leader is another example. When Obama broached the topic, the right slammed it furiously. Now, when Trump goes to do the same thing, the right wing media loves the idea, while this time, it’s the MSM on the left which is voicing opposition for something which they promoted under the previous democratic presidential administration.

Remember how the left painted President Bush as a bad guy for his actions in the Middle East? But Obama bombed and overthrew even more countries than his Republican predecessor did, but when it comes to this, all one hears on the left is crickets. Ever notice how abortion and identity politics are touted as major reasons for voting republican in every election cycle, but, once in power, the Republicans go on to do nothing about it, even when they have control over both the legislative and executive branches of government? But once the Democrats are back in power, they’re major issues all over again. Because as long those issues persist, there’s a reason to vote Republican and a reason not to focus on economic issues and major corporate and government corruption on the ground level impacting every American of every political persuasion.

 

 

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JackLarry TateJNDillardtomBrad Golding Recent comment authors
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Jack
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Jack

Over period of several decads majority of societies of westerners stopped thinking rationaly because they have been bribed by those who hold their minds at randsom. Secondly migration issue is totally artificial driven by a cabal who wants to change the order of the world for their own end only. There is no justification for migration at all in millions as we are witnessing it nowadays whether it is Europe or America. The key to stop this procedure of killing our white culture and heritage is to have right wing Govs. with strong borders and banned visa free movement.

Larry Tate
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This is a direct copy from a FB post I made: This source is tremendous for a radical centrist perspective. This article should be required reading for… whomever. This is the danger of hyperpolarization and is so very important to be aware of and to fight against, for the sake of peace and love (as Ringo would say). From the article: “Americans perceive public policy as good or bad not based on its merits or lack thereof, but based on whether their favored politicians back it.” For me it’s the reverse, I perceive public policy as good or bad based… Read more »

JNDillard
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JNDillard

Reuters and Sellers and the Duran are providing a valuable public service by bringing this information to the public. However, the scope is too narrow. I believe it it were reproduced globally we would find that it is true everywhere – people don’t think for themselves anywhere. They follow the lead of “trusted” opinion makers. Of course this is idiocy, but it is understandable. But living in Germany, I see it as much here, implying it is world-wide.

tom
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tom

A well-written and persuasively argued thesis. It’s clear enough to anyone intelligent and moderately well educated that democracy is just a word with lots of sex appeal and little or no real meaning. Logically it derives from the Greek “kratia” (power) and “demos” (the people, in a political sense). The name was carefully chosen instead of, for instance, the more obvious “pollarchy” (the rule of the many, as opposed to “oligarchy”, the rule of the few). Even in ancient Greece, where democracy was carried to far greater lengths than anywhere in modern times, its limitations were glaringly obvious. Over and… Read more »

Brad Golding
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Brad Golding

Australians are getting to be much the same from what I see here!

John Vu
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John Vu

And the whole of Russia has only one capable – or strong – man to run the country for 24 years and maybe more.

Flem
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Flem

Here’s how the Republican Party works in the U.S. They can’t win without votes. And, their policies only benefit a few percent of the population (the 1%). They couldn’t survive without people voting against their own interests, so they go after the politically ignorant by avoiding the issues (which would cause them to lose) and focus on emotional charged fake/non-issues. “They’re going to take your guns!” “Abortion” “They’re going to ban religion!” They live and die by the ignorant vote. Turns out it’s not hard to get ignorant people to vote against their interests when you can lead them to… Read more »

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FBI recommended Michael Flynn not have lawyer present during interview, did not warn of false statement consequences

Flynn is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 18.

Washington Examiner

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Via The Washington Examiner…


Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who arranged the bureau’s interview with then-national security adviser Michael Flynn at the White House on Jan. 24, 2017 — the interview that ultimately led to Flynn’s guilty plea on one count of making false statements — suggested Flynn not have a lawyer present at the session, according to newly-filed court documents. In addition, FBI officials, along with the two agents who interviewed Flynn, decided specifically not to warn him that there would be penalties for making false statements because the agents wanted to ensure that Flynn was “relaxed” during the session.

The new information, drawn from McCabe’s account of events plus the FBI agents’ writeup of the interview — the so-called 302 report — is contained in a sentencing memo filed Tuesday by Flynn’s defense team.

Citing McCabe’s account, the sentencing memo says that shortly after noon on Jan. 24 — the fourth day of the new Trump administration — McCabe called Flynn on a secure phone in Flynn’s West Wing office. The two men discussed business briefly and then McCabe said that he “felt that we needed to have two of our agents sit down” with Flynn to discuss Flynn’s talks with Russian officials during the presidential transition.

McCabe, by his own account, urged Flynn to talk to the agents alone, without a lawyer present. “I explained that I thought the quickest way to get this done was to have a conversation between [Flynn] and the agents only,” McCabe wrote. “I further stated that if LTG Flynn wished to include anyone else in the meeting, like the White House counsel for instance, that I would need to involve the Department of Justice. [Flynn] stated that this would not be necessary and agreed to meet with the agents without any additional participants.”

Within two hours, the agents were in Flynn’s office. According to the 302 report quoted in the Flynn sentencing document, the agents said Flynn was “relaxed and jocular” and offered the agents “a little tour” of his part of the White House.

“The agents did not provide Gen. Flynn with a warning of the penalties for making a false statement under 18 U.S.C. 1001 before, during, or after the interview,” the Flynn memo says. According to the 302, before the interview, McCabe and other FBI officials “decided the agents would not warn Flynn that it was a crime to lie during an FBI interview because they wanted Flynn to be relaxed, and they were concerned that giving the warnings might adversely affect the rapport.”

The agents had, of course, seen transcripts of Flynn’s wiretapped conversations with Russian then-ambassador Sergey Kislyak. “Before the interview, FBI officials had also decided that if ‘Flynn said he did not remember something they knew he said, they would use the exact words Flynn used … to try to refresh his recollection. If Flynn still would not confirm what he said … they would not confront him or talk him through it,'” the Flynn memo says, citing the FBI 302.

“One of the agents reported that Gen. Flynn was ‘unguarded’ during the interview and ‘clearly saw the FBI agents as allies,'” the Flynn memo says, again citing the 302.

Later in the memo, Flynn’s lawyers argue that the FBI treated Flynn differently from two other Trump-Russia figures who have pleaded guilty to and been sentenced for making false statements. One of them, Alexander Van der Zwaan, “was represented by counsel during the interview; he was interviewed at a time when there was a publicly disclosed, full-bore investigation regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election; and he was given a warning that it is a federal crime to lie during the interview,” according to the memo. The other, George Papadopoulos, “was specifically notified of the seriousness of the investigation…was warned that lying to investigators was a ‘federal offense’…had time to reflect on his answers…and met with the FBI the following month for a further set of interviews, accompanied by his counsel, and did not correct his false statements.”

The message of the sentencing memo is clear: Flynn, his lawyers suggest, was surprised, rushed, not warned of the context or seriousness of the questioning, and discouraged from having a lawyer present.

That is all the sentencing document contains about the interview itself. In a footnote, Flynn’s lawyers noted that the government did not object to the quotations from the FBI 302 report.

In one striking detail, footnotes in the Flynn memo say the 302 report cited was dated Aug. 22, 2017 — nearly seven months after the Flynn interview. It is not clear why the report would be written so long after the interview itself.

The brief excerpts from the 302 used in the Flynn defense memo will likely spur more requests from Congress to see the original FBI documents. Both House and Senate investigating committees have demanded that the Justice Department allow them to see the Flynn 302, but have so far been refused.

In the memo, Flynn’s lawyers say that he made a “serious error in judgment” in the interview. Citing Flynn’s distinguished 30-plus year record of service in the U.S. Army, they ask the judge to go along with special counsel Robert Mueller’s recommendation that Flynn be spared any time in prison.

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Macron offers crumbs to protestors in bid to save his globalist agenda (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 36.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at French President Macron’s pathetic display of leadership as he offers protestors little in the way of concessions while at the same time promising to crack down hard on any and all citizens who resort to violence.

Meanwhile France’s economy is set for a deep recession as French output and production grinds to a halt.

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Via Zerohedge


As if Brussels didn’t have its hands full already with Italy and the UK, the European Union will soon be forced to rationalize why one of its favorite core members is allowed to pursue populist measures to blow out its budget deficit to ease domestic unrest while another is threatened with fines potentially amounting to billions of euros.

When blaming Russia failed to quell the widespread anger elicited by his policies, French President Emmanuel Macron tried to appease the increasingly violent “yellow vests” protesters who have sacked his capital city by offering massive tax cuts that could blow the French budget out beyond the 3% budget threshold outlined in the bloc’s fiscal rules.

Given the concessions recently offered by Italy’s populists, Macron’s couldn’t have picked a worse time to challenge the bloc’s fiscal conventions. As Bloomberg pointed out, these rules will almost certainly set the Continent’s second largest economy on a collision course with Brussels. To be clear, Macron’s offered cuts come with a price tag of about €11 billion according to Les Echos, and will leave the country with a budget gap of 3.5% of GDP in 2019, with one government official said the deficit may be higher than 3.6%.

By comparison, Italy’s initial projections put its deficit target at 2.4%, a number which Europe has repeatedly refused to consider.

Macron’s promises of fiscal stimulus – which come on top of his government’s decision to delay the planned gas-tax hikes that helped inspire the protests – were part of a broader ‘mea culpa’ offered by Macron in a speech Monday night, where he also planned to hike France’s minimum wage.

Of course, when Brussels inevitably objects, perhaps Macron could just show them this video of French police tossing a wheelchair-bound protester to the ground.

Already, the Italians are complaining.  Speaking on Tuesday, Italian cabinet undersecretary Giancarlo Giorgetti said Italy hasn’t breached the EU deficit limit. “I repeat that from the Italian government there is a reasonable approach, if there is one also from the EU a solution will be found.”

“France has several times breached the 3% deficit. Italy hasn’t done it. They are different situations. There are many indicators to assess.”

Still, as one Guardian columnist pointed out in an op-ed published Tuesday morning, the fact that the gilets jaunes (yellow vest) organizers managed to pressure Macron to cave and grant concessions after just 4 weeks of protests will only embolden them to push for even more radical demands: The collapse of the government of the supremely unpopular Macron.

Then again, with Brussels now facing certain accusations of hypocrisy, the fact that Macron was pressured into the exact same populist measures for which Italy has been slammed, the French fiasco raises the odds that Rome can pass any deficit measure it wants with the EU now forced to quietly look away even as it jawbones all the way from the bank (i.e., the German taxpayers).

“Macron’s spending will encourage Salvini and Di Maio,” said Giovanni Orsina, head of the School of Government at Rome’s Luiss-Guido Carli University. “Macron was supposed to be the spearhead of pro-European forces, if he himself is forced to challenge EU rules, Salvini and Di Maio will jump on that to push their contention that those rules are wrong.”

While we look forward to how Brussels will square this circle, markets are less excited.

Exhausted from lurching from one extreme to another following conflicting headlines, traders are already asking if “France is the new Italy.” The reason: the French OAT curve has bear steepened this morning with 10Y yields rising as much as ~6bp, with the Bund/OAT spread reaching the widest since May 2017 and the French presidential election. Though well below the peaks of last year, further widening would push the gap into levels reserved for heightened political risk.

As Bloomberg macro analyst Michael Read notes this morning, it’s hard to see a specific near-term trigger blowing out the Bund/OAT spread but the trend looks likely to slowly drift higher.

While Macron has to fight on both domestic and European fronts, he’ll need to keep peace at home to stay on top. Remember that we saw the 10Y spread widen to ~80bps around the May ’17 elections as concerns of a move toward the political fringe played out in the markets, and the French President’s popularity ratings already look far from rosy.

And just like that France may have solved the Italian crisis.

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Watch: Democrat Chuck Schumer shows his East Coast elitism on live TV

Amazing moment in which the President exhibits “transparency in government” and shows the world who the Democrat leaders really are.

Seraphim Hanisch

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One of the reasons Donald Trump was elected to the Presidency was because of his pugnacious, “in your face” character he presented – and promised TO present – against Democrat policy decisions and “stupid government” in general.

One of the reasons President Donald Trump is reviled is because of his pugnacious, “in your face” character he presented – and promised TO present – in the American political scene.

In other words, there are two reactions to the same characteristic. On Tuesday, the President did something that probably cheered and delighted a great many Americans who witnessed this.

The Democrats have been unanimous in taking any chance to roast the President, or to call for his impeachment, or to incite violence against him. But Tuesday was President Trump’s turn. He invited the two Democrat leaders, presumptive incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and then, he turned the cameras on:

As Tucker Carlson notes, the body language from Schumer was fury. The old (something)-eating grin covered up humiliation, embarrassment and probably no small amount of fear, as this whole incident was filmed and broadcast openly and transparently to the American public. Nancy Pelosi was similarly agitated, and she expressed it later after this humiliation on camera, saying, “It’s like a manhood thing for him… As if manhood could ever be associated with him.”

She didn’t stop there. According to a report from the New York Daily News, the Queen Bee took the rhetoric a step below even her sense of dignity:

Pelosi stressed she made clear to Trump there isn’t enough support in Congress for a wall and speculated the President is refusing to back down because he’s scared to run away with his tail between his legs.

“I was trying to be the mom. I can’t explain it to you. It was so wild,” Pelosi said of the Oval Office meet, which was also attended by Vice President Pence and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). “It goes to show you: you get into a tinkle contest with a skunk, you get tinkle all over you.”

This represented the first salvo in a major spin-job for the ultra-liberal San Francisco Democrat. The rhetoric spun by Mrs. Pelosi and Chuck Schumer was desperate as they tried to deflect their humiliation and place it back on the President:

With reporters still present, Trump boasted during the Oval meeting he would be “proud” to shutdown the government if Congress doesn’t earmark cash for his wall before a Dec. 21 spending deadline.

Pelosi told Democrats that Trump’s boisterousness will be beneficial for them.

“The fact is we did get him to say, to fully own that the shutdown was his,” Pelosi said. “That was an accomplishment.”

The press tried to characterize this as a “Trump Tantrum”, saying things like this lede:

While “discussing” a budgetary agreement for the government, President Donald Trump crossed his arms and declared: “we will shut down the government if there is no wall.”

While the Democrats and the mainstream media in the US are sure to largely buy these interpretations of the event, the fact that this matter was televised live shows that the matter was entirely different, and this will be discomfiting to all but those Democrats and Trump-dislikers that will not look at reality.

There appears to be a twofold accomplishment for the President in this confrontation:

  1. The President revealed to his support base the real nature of the conversation with the Democrat leadership, because anyone watching this broadcast (and later, video clip) saw it unedited with their own eyes. They witnessed the pettiness of both Democrats and they witnessed a President completely comfortable and confident about the situation.
  2. President Trump probably made many of his supporters cheer with the commitment to shut down the government if he doesn’t get his border wall funding. This cheering is for both the strength shown about getting the wall finished and the promise to shut the government down, and further, Mr. Trump’s assertion that he would be “proud” to shut the government down, taking complete ownership willingly, reflects a sentiment that many of his supporters share.

The usual pattern is for the media, Democrats and even some Republicans to create a “scare” narrative about government shutdowns, about how doing this is a sure-fire path to chaos and suffering for the United States.

But the educated understanding of how shutdowns work reveals something completely different. Vital services never close. However, National Parks can close partly or completely, and some non-essential government agencies are shuttered. While this is an inconvenience for the employees furloughed during the shutdown, they eventually are re-compensated for the time lost, and are likely to receive help during the shutdown period if they need it. The impact on the nation is minimal, aside from the fact that the government stops spending money at the same frenetic pace as usual.

President Trump’s expression of willingness to do this action and his singling out of the Dem leadership gives the Democrats a real problem. Now the entire country sees their nature. As President Trump is a populist, this visceral display of Democrat opposition and pettiness will make at least some impact on the population, even that group of people who are not Trump fans.

The media reaction and that of the Democrats here show, amazingly, that after three years-plus of Donald Trump being a thorn in their side, they still do not understand how he works, and they also cannot match it against their expected “norms” of establishment behavior.

This may be a brilliant masterstroke, and it also may be followed up by more. The President relishes head-to-head conflict. The reactions of these congress members showed who they really are.

Let the games begin.

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