The madmen who won’t go away (update #3)

Updates

  1. Originally published, June 5, 2021, 11:17 pm.

  2. June 6, 2021, 10:32 am:

    • Donald Trump performed about as expected in North Carolina yesterday[21] but perhaps his re-litigation of the 2020 election was a bit broader than Jonathan Chait had expected.[22]

    • There is another new blog post entitled, “We refuse to atone.”

  3. June 6, 2021, 7:16 pm:

    • Uber and Lyft’s dream of replacing human drivers with autonomous vehicles,[23] belied by their decisions to sell off their self-driving development units,[24] is still years or decades away.[25] Not that that would really solve their profitability issues anyway.[26]

      One thing that’s emerging, however, is that artificial idiocy[27] may be inadequate to the task,[28] which would be to say that not all driving problems can, even with “big data,” be reduced to statistical aggregates.[29] Well, damn. No shit, Sherlock.

    • As the end of the moratorium on evictions looms at the end of this month, rent relief money has yet to reach people who need it.[30]


There is a new blog post entitled, “On the origin of COVID-19.”


Donald Trump

If there is indeed such a thing as an addiction to grievance,[31] Donald Trump might well be another step beyond it.[32]

Jonathan Chait says that Trump’s sycophants—his term, not mine, but it works—are trying and, of course, failing to get Trump to focus on something besides his election defeat last November and maybe not suggest quite so loudly that there will be a coup to restore him to power in August.[33] The trouble, of course, is that Trump isn’t the only lunatic. There are others advocating the restoration of Trump to the presidency in various, at least mostly non-electoral ways,[34] and in truth, we don’t know how many they are, let alone what capability they bring to try to make it happen. See that new blog post about what we don’t fucking know.[35] It applies here as well.

That’s not to say the efforts seem likely to succeed. Chait certainly doesn’t think so[36] and I doubt anyone else who’s serious thinks so. I’m thinking the most probable worst case scenario is an attempt on the order of January 6, which was certainly scary for folks on Capitol Hill, but lacked any coherent plan for keeping Trump in office.

January 6 didn’t make any sense. And August, as far as anyone seems to know, makes even less. But here’s the thing: We don’t know until we know.

I’m remembering that the psychologists I’ve spoken with generally are not fond of diagnoses, seeing them as not really helpful, but Trump has racked up a few that, as a non-psychologist myself, seem to me to fit really well, including narcissistic rage,[37] addiction to grievance,[38] obsession, delusion,[39] and psychosis.[40] And I’m just guessing we might be able to fit in a few more.

It really has to be something that this man is still so scary, even out of office, even obviously insane.

Jonathan Chait, “Trump Sycophants Pleading for Less Coup Talk at Saturday Rally,” New York, June 4, 2021, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/06/trump-sycophants-plead-for-less-coup-talk-at-saturday-rally.html

Meredith McGraw, “Trump reemerges on the trail and plays the hits of yore,” Politico, June 5, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/06/05/trump-north-carolina-speech-gop-492000


Atheism

You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.

Phil Torres, “Godless grifters: How the New Atheists merged with the far right,” Salon, June 5, 2021, https://www.salon.com/2021/06/05/how-the-new-atheists-merged-with-the-far-right-a-story-of-intellectual-grift-and-abject-surrender/


Gig economy

Christopher Mims, “Self-Driving Cars Could Be Decades Away, No Matter What Elon Musk Said,” Wall Street Journal, June 5, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/self-driving-cars-could-be-decades-away-no-matter-what-elon-musk-said-11622865615


Eviction

Kyle Swenson, “The eviction moratorium is about to end. Rent relief hasn’t arrived. These renters decided to take action,” Washington Post, June 5, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2021/06/05/prince-georges-rent-strike-eviction/


  1. [21]Meredith McGraw, “Trump reemerges on the trail and plays the hits of yore,” Politico, June 5, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/06/05/trump-north-carolina-speech-gop-492000
  2. [22]Jonathan Chait, “Trump Sycophants Pleading for Less Coup Talk at Saturday Rally,” New York, June 4, 2021, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/06/trump-sycophants-plead-for-less-coup-talk-at-saturday-rally.html
  3. [23]Rich Alton, “Basic economics means Uber and Lyft can’t rely on driverless cars to become profitable,” MarketWatch, August 12, 2019, https://www.marketwatch.com/story/basic-economics-means-uber-and-lyft-cant-rely-on-driverless-cars-to-become-profitable-2019-08-12; Matthew Beedham, “Uber: Is this the beginning of the end for the ride-hailing Goliath?” Next Web, March 2, 2021, https://thenextweb.com/shift/2021/03/02/uber-is-this-the-beginning-of-the-end-for-the-ride-hailing-goliath/; Igor Bonifacic, “Lyft is selling its self-driving unit to Toyota for $550 million,” Engadget, April 26, 2021, https://www.engadget.com/lyft-sellss-level-5-self-driving-toyota-woven-planet-204353240.html; Eliot Brown, “Uber Wants to Be the Uber of Everything—But Can It Make a Profit?” Wall Street Journal, May 4, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-wants-to-be-the-uber-of-everything-11556909866; Ryan Felton, “Uber Is Doomed,” Jalopnik, February 24, 2017, https://jalopnik.com/uber-is-doomed-1792634203; Edward Helmore, “Will Uber ever make money? Day of reckoning looms for ride-sharing firm,” Guardian, August 4, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/aug/04/uber-ride-share-lyft-ipo-earnings; Kia Kokalitcheva, “Uber says it’s likely to pay Waymo or revamp its self-driving tech,” Axios, November 7, 2019, https://www.axios.com/uber-says-its-likely-to-pay-waymo-or-revamp-its-self-driving-tech-ffa6e420-4273-4cf1-8161-fc40e25b61da.html; Christopher Mims, “In a Tight Labor Market, Gig Workers Get Harder to Please,” Wall Street Journal, May 4, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/in-a-tight-labor-market-gig-workers-get-harder-to-please-11556942404; Stephen Wilmot, “Uber’s Long Road to Profits,” Wall Street Journal, August 22, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/ubers-long-road-to-profits-11566471068; Julia Carrie Wong, “Disgruntled drivers and ‘cultural challenges’: Uber admits to its biggest risk factors,” Guardian, April 12, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/apr/11/uber-ipo-risk-factors
  4. [24]Kirsten Korosec, “Uber in talks to sell ATG self-driving unit to Aurora,” TechCrunch, November 13, 2020, https://techcrunch.com/2020/11/13/uber-in-talks-to-sell-atg-self-driving-unit-to-aurora/; Heather Somerville, “Uber Sells Self-Driving-Car Unit to Autonomous-Driving Startup,” Wall Street Journal, December 7, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-lyft-face-a-no-sharing-economy-11603710180;
  5. [25]Christopher Mims, “Self-Driving Cars Could Be Decades Away, No Matter What Elon Musk Said,” Wall Street Journal, June 5, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/self-driving-cars-could-be-decades-away-no-matter-what-elon-musk-said-11622865615
  6. [26]Rich Alton, “Basic economics means Uber and Lyft can’t rely on driverless cars to become profitable,” MarketWatch, August 12, 2019, https://www.marketwatch.com/story/basic-economics-means-uber-and-lyft-cant-rely-on-driverless-cars-to-become-profitable-2019-08-12
  7. [27]David Benfell, “Our new Satan: artificial idiocy and big data mining,” Not Housebroken, April 5, 2021, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/01/13/our-new-satan-artificial-idiocy-and-big-data-mining/
  8. [28]Christopher Mims, “Self-Driving Cars Could Be Decades Away, No Matter What Elon Musk Said,” Wall Street Journal, June 5, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/self-driving-cars-could-be-decades-away-no-matter-what-elon-musk-said-11622865615
  9. [29]David Benfell, “Our new Satan: artificial idiocy and big data mining,” Not Housebroken, April 5, 2021, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/01/13/our-new-satan-artificial-idiocy-and-big-data-mining/
  10. [30]Kyle Swenson, “The eviction moratorium is about to end. Rent relief hasn’t arrived. These renters decided to take action,” Washington Post, June 5, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2021/06/05/prince-georges-rent-strike-eviction/
  11. [31]James Kimmel, Jr., “What the Science of Addiction Tells Us About Trump,” Politico, December 12, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/12/12/trump-grievance-addiction-444570
  12. [32]Jonathan Chait, “Trump Sycophants Pleading for Less Coup Talk at Saturday Rally,” New York, June 4, 2021, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/06/trump-sycophants-plead-for-less-coup-talk-at-saturday-rally.html
  13. [33]Jonathan Chait, “Trump Sycophants Pleading for Less Coup Talk at Saturday Rally,” New York, June 4, 2021, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/06/trump-sycophants-plead-for-less-coup-talk-at-saturday-rally.html
  14. [34]Fred Kaplan, “How the Military Should Deal With Its Michael Flynn Problem,” Slate, June 1, 2021, https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2021/06/michael-flynn-coup-court-martial.html; Bess Levin, “Trump Has Reportedly Been Telling People He’s Going to Be President Again by August, Which Would Suggest He’s Planning a Coup (Or Has Fully Descended Into Madness),” Vanity Fair, June 1, 2021, https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2021/06/donald-trump-august-reinstatement; Alex Shephard, “Trump’s Republicans Want a Coup,” New Republic, June 1, 2021, https://newrepublic.com/article/162586/michael-flynn-trump-myanmar-coup
  15. [35]David Benfell, “On the origin of COVID-19,” Not Housebroken, June 4, 2021, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/06/04/on-the-origin-of-covid-19/
  16. [36]Jonathan Chait, “Trump Sycophants Pleading for Less Coup Talk at Saturday Rally,” New York, June 4, 2021, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/06/trump-sycophants-plead-for-less-coup-talk-at-saturday-rally.html
  17. [37]George Simon, “Understanding and Dealing with Narcissistic Rage,” Counselling Resource, July 24, 2017, https://counsellingresource.com/features/2017/07/24/understanding-narcissistic-rage/
  18. [38]James Kimmel, Jr., “What the Science of Addiction Tells Us About Trump,” Politico, December 12, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/12/12/trump-grievance-addiction-444570
  19. [39]Michael Kruse, “Is Trump Cracking Under the Weight of Losing?” Politico, December 20, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/12/20/trump-white-house-losing-448903
  20. [40]WebMD, “Psychosis and Psychotic Episodes,” July 13, 2019, https://www.webmd.com/schizophrenia/guide/what-is-psychosis#1

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