Donald Trump and the Authoritarian Temptation – The Atlantic

Source: Donald Trump and the Authoritarian Temptation – The Atlantic

The candidate has exposed in America the tension between elections and values—just like the Arab Spring did.

What if voters don’t want to be liberal and vote accordingly?

When the stakes are high, there is more to lose, and if there is more to lose, those on the losing end of a ballot box have powerful incentives to play “spoiler.” Fortunately, in the post-Civil War United States, the stakes have never reached what political scientist Barry Weingast calls the “threshold” at which citizens decide to defend themselves through extra-constitutional means, including by appealing for the military to take sides. This, in part, is why (good) constitutions are so important: They lower the stakes, reassuring citizens that even if their preferred party loses the election, it’s still just that—an election.

FBI Harassment | Patterns in the Void

Source: FBI Harassment | Patterns in the Void

Everyone knows you don’t talk to the police.

Is my family safe in the US? Should I worry about the FBI raiding my parents’ house and shooting our family dog? Should I worry about FBI agents stalking and harrassing my mother?


Is there currently a branch of government at any level in the US which a large majority (75%, 3/4ths) of Americans nation-wide would recognize as the government and instinctively/intuitively expect to serve and protect them without caveat or wary reservation? EMS (emergency medical services)? Firefighters?

How about any law enforcement? FBI, CIA, NSA, state police, local cops – are there any that you think most people would be content to see show up at their home (in person or communication by mail or telephone) and communicate with them freely, without extenuating circumstances (e.g. actively reporting a crime, recent natural disaster, legal counsel present), under the assumption that they aren’t personally at risk?

In U.S., Confidence in Police Lowest in 22 Years | Gallup News

*** It is a problem if the populace is afraid of bad-apple law enforcement to the point that it complicates the job of the good people trying to actually protect average people from actual criminals. There needs to be more active self inspection, more active removal of bad apples (sorry, but even the optics matter; they only have to *look* like bad apples to a moderately/passingly informed outsider to be a problem!), and much less crying wolf (if everything is a SERIOUS THREAT to NATIONAL SECURITY, then nothing is).

Italian court rules food theft ‘not a crime’ if hungry – BBC News

Source: Italian court rules food theft ‘not a crime’ if hungry – BBC News

A homeless man did not commit a crime when he stole small quantities of food, an Italian court rules, because he clearly acted out of need.

right to survival prevails over property

in a civilised country not even the worst of men should starve

It criticised the fact that a case concerning the taking of goods worth under €5 went through three rounds in the courts before being thrown out.

Status of the F-35 program using the Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Annual Report

Source: Statement by J. Michael Gilmore, Director,
Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E), Office of the Secretary of Defense, before the Senate Armed Services Committee

the F-35 system remains immature and provides limited combat capability

there are still many unresolved significant deficiencies, the program continues to fall behind the planned software block development and testing goals, and sustainment of the fielded aircraft is very burdensome

aircraft continue to be produced in substantial quantities (all of which will require some level of modifications and retrofits before being used in combat)

What will kids today tell their kids about “back in the day”?

How will the present be remembered? Join the discussion on Wait But Why’s weekly Dinner Table forum.

Source: What will kids today tell their kids about “back in the day”?


– Back in my day, we entrusted other humans with deadly weapons to police society.

– Back in my day, Florida stretched almost all the way to Cuba and Kansas was a bread basket of farms instead of a desert.

– Back in my day, schooling cost thousands of dollars per year after you turned 18, and that used to be a lot of money.

– Back in my day, our grandparents’ generation had gone to the moon but we were afraid we’d never leave the earth and land on another gravity well again.

– Back in my day, we had to physically or verbally interact with a computer in order to make it do things instead of just thinking about it.

– Back in my day, there were still old people who drove cars themselves, manually. They had a wheel and pedals and a bunch of buttons.

– Back in my day, people frequently got lost and there was no overmind to find them and bring them home.

– 在我们那个时代,英语比汉语中国更重要,谷歌翻译没有工作。(“Back in my day, English was more important than Mandarin Chinese, and Google Translate did not work well.”)