I am nothing without my morning coffee.

Co-Moderator for the @Neoliberal@kbin.social magazine on kbin.social
Co-Moderator for the @neoliberal@lemmy.world community on Lemmy.world

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kbin: @CoffeeAddict@kbin.social
Mastodon: @CoffeeAddict@mastodon.neoliber.al

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Joined 11 months ago
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Cake day: August 14th, 2023

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  • The demise of third party apps made me look for a Reddit alternative. I had been using Apollo for years, and it was so much better than the official app. I had been using Reddit for more than a decade when they made the API changes.

    The official reddit app is trash. The’ve injected more advertisements, and now they’re even injecting ads into comment sections. it’s the very definition of enshittification.

    This is all only stuff that’s visible on the surface, too. Under the hood, there’s definitely bots manipulating the conversation and posts that get upvoted and downvoted.

    It’s still fine for smaller communities that are more niche, but that doesn’t change that Reddit has a monopoly over online forums and we really need alternatives. The fediverse seems like it’s able to do that, though it still needs to grow and diversify a bit more.




  • Lol my comment actually is “off the dome.”

    I took the deep dive into this question after Trump won in 2016; like many, I was absolutely floored that he won. My comment is an accumulation of information I found since then.

    I feel the conservative news media was ultimately the biggest factor (of many factors) that led US conservatives and the United States into its current situation; as journalists, they failed to present the unbiased truth and knowingly distorted it. By constantly confirming their viewers’ priors, they basically constructed a different reality for them.


  • This is really long and for that I apologize. I think it really goes back to the whole of United States history. I’m going to focus mostly on news media and major political periods, starting with Nixon and the 1970s. Some stuff I am going to have to only mention in passing because it would require its own essay lol. I’ll try to keep it general.

    The TLDR is the radicalization was slow and occurred over decades. They’ve been lied to and misled by their preferred news organizations for years at this point. They do not realize they have been radicalized. It all goes back to their media and the republican establishment trying to control the narrative.

    The long story? I’ve heard it started with Nixon’s impeachment, and I think I agree. Republicans realized they needed news organizations to be in their camp to prevent something like Watergate from happening again. So, the genesis of right-wing news organizations really lies in the 1970s.

    Then, you have Reagan’s decisive victory in 1980 and (especially) 1984. I am not a big fan of Reagan, but his charisma significantly grew the republican base. Personally, I think many of the problems with today’s government and economy have their origins in his presidency, but his popularity at the time is not deniable; he won 49 of 50 states in 1984 which is unthinkable today. As untrustworthy as the Reagan Administration was, he had the trust of most Americans.

    Following that, you have the rise of republican Newt Gingrich in the 1990s during Bill Clinton’s presidency. As Speaker of the House, Gingrich made it republican policy to not compromise with democrats. To this day, that is still republican policy towards democrats.

    So, even prior to the 2000 election, the foundation for partisanship was laid. Compromise had become a dirty word. But the critical moment was, in my opinion, Bush vs Gore, where the Supreme Court basically handed Bush Jr. the Presidency despite problems with the vote in Florida. Not coincidentally, that is also the year the democrats became “blue” and the republicans became “red”; prior to that election, they would swap back and forth each election cycle.

    The 2000 election cycle ended in a way that was extremely divisive, and people ended up watching the news that most closely matched their point of view. From here, I would argue, is really the point in time where the news organizations started to seriously diverge from each other.

    It started subtly. Fox News, for example, initially just had a slight conservative bent, so conservative’s preferred to watch it. Also, being cable television it (and I should also say that the majority of modern news media sadly follows this rule as well) was dependent on ad revenue and therefore had an incentive to increase viewership and engagement. This, combined with the fact that the republican establishment wanted to control the narrative, pushed Fox News (and others) in an even more conservative direction; with each passing election cycle, they presented the news ever more partisanly. Like an anglerfish’s lure, they pulled their audience with them.

    The partisanship became even worse after Obama was elected in 2008. While many conservatives did not care Obama was a black man, many did and became determined to unseat him. It is difficult for me to say exactly how much a role Obama’s race played in the rise of the Tea Party, but it was definitely a factor. Their influence over the republican party began to grow and was immediately felt in the 2010 midterms. That being said, I argue that Mitt Romney getting the republican nomination in 2012 was the republican establishment suppressing the Tea Party’s influence in favor of a more polished, mellowed-down candidate that they felt was actually electable.

    But as history would prove, that did not work out for them. Personally, I doubt any candidate the republicans fielded could have defeated Obama (who quite frankly was a superstar candidate).

    I think it was after 2012 when many republicans and conservatives began to lose faith in the sort of “compassionate conservativism” that Bush or Romney promoted. Even by then, “Reagan conservatism” was becoming a distant memory and many young conservatives were not alive to see his presidency. An ideological power vacuum had opened up, and ultimately would be filled by Trump.

    But back to conservative news media. This narrative would not be complete if I did not address media figures such as Glenn Beck. While there were others like him, he is the one that sticks out. It’s difficult to articulate the damage Glenn Beck has done. To my knowledge, he was the first, mainstream talk show host to actually give a platform to the alt-right, and many conspiracy theories he started are still a problem today. He took conservative’s distrust of government, validated it, and presented distortions to make them think the democrats were secretly communists that were hellbent on bringing about the downfall of the United States.

    His show is the perfect example for a mainstream, Fox News talk show host that also basically taught people how to justify their own conspiracy theories. He pretty much walked everyone through his “thought process” on every show. He also did it in a way that radicalized people who originally were just disgruntled with, or distrusting of, government. I remember one time he even went so far as to have a purported “insider” come on the show as a black silhouette with a fake deep voice to “confirm” everything Beck was saying about Obama and the “Liberal Agenda.” How people fell for that is beyond me, but they did. Eventually, he got so out of control Fox News fired him. But the damage was done.

    So, with Romney’s failure in 2012, the “moderate” republican establishment was rudderless and the rise of Tea Party continued. They basically became even more mainstream. Meanwhile, as Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnel continued and perfected Gingrich’s “obstruct and do not compromise,” and Fox News was a decidedly conservative platform. The stage was set for Donald Trump.

    As far as republicans go, Trump is pretty much the opposite of Romney. Romney is polite, polished and presentable, whereas Trump is vulgar and derisive. Many conservatives had become convinced they must “save America from the socialists” and Trump was their strongman. It also did not help that the conservative media machine spent decades trashing Hillary Clinton, who was the democratic nominee. Conservative’s had their hated enemy, and their unlikely strongman hero.

    The worst part of this narrative? Trump actually won. The mean, vulgar, derisive candidate won, and proved to many conservatives that his way was the only way they could win. Trump had beaten the republican establishment into submission and emboldened all the worst parts of America. Trump validated all their conspiracy theories and won. Their radicalization was complete.

    Of course, there is a lot I am leaving out of this narrative such as the obvious racist and fascist undercurrents that have existed in the republican party ever since Nixon’s “Southern Strategy.” For more context, the democrats more-or-less ejected the racist “Dixiecrats” (southern white racist democrats) from the party with President Lindon B Johnson’s signing of the Civil Rights Act. Nixon made it his mission to pick them up (and he did, turning the US southern states into republican strongholds). It also leaves out the sexist undertones that come with conservative traditionalism. There is also an entire religious component and the economic decline of rural America. Each of these would require its own essay lol.

    But basically, the radicalization was slow and occurred over decades and now we are seeing the result.





  • Considering how big a piece of shit Henry Kissinger was…

    This should be interesting.

    Edit: In case anyone is having trouble with the website on mobile (I was) I pasted the article content below:

    In response to a lawsuit by Rolling Stone and National Security Counselors, the Department of Justice has turned over two tranches of FBI documents related to former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

    Rolling Stone’s Freedom of Information Act request, filed hours after the announcement of his death in November 2023, seeks expedited processing of FBI files related to the former Secretary of State and National Security Advisor to President Nixon. Kissinger is widely considered to be a war criminal for his role in the bombing of Cambodia, a coup in Chile, and massacres in East Timor and Bangladesh, and his legacy remains controversial among historians despite his bipartisan embrace by Washington, D.C. power players over the last half century.

    While a historic figure in American foreign policy, Kissinger had an impact on American diplomacy right up until his death. After his death in late 2023, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken lauded the former Nixon advisor and revealed that he had sought Kissinger’s counsel ”as recently as about a month ago.”

    “Even after only two releases, we’re already learning new things about one of the most polarizing American public figures of the last hundred years, and that’s just from the archival records,” said Kel McClanahan, an attorney at National Security Counselors representing Rolling Stone. “This is a man who single-handedly shaped much of post-WWII US foreign policy and kept his fingers in every foreign relations pie up until his death, and we will keep pursuing the truth and our right to learn it as soon as possible, not when the FBI feels like telling us.”

    The Department of Justice has released two batches of documents thus far in response to Rolling Stone’s suit. The documents, which cover the background investigations into Kissinger throughout successive administrations, illustrate the extreme deference shown to the former Nixon foreign policy strategist, despite severe lapses in ethics and his role in the illegal wiretapping of an employee.

    In 1969, Kissinger instructed the FBI to wiretap one of his deputies on the National Security Council, Morton Halperin, without a court order based on the false belief that Halperin had leaked news of the Nixon administration’s bombing of Cambodia to the New York Times.

    Halperin learned of the wiretapping in 1973 as the Watergate investigations unraveled the Nixon presidency, and he filed a lawsuit against Kissinger.

    But the FBI appears to have paid little mind to the suit when reviewing the then-secretary of state’s security clearance that year. In files released by the Department of Justice, the FBI notes glowing reviews about Kissinger’s character and judgment from luminaries like Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Harvard foreign policy scholar Samuel P. Huntington. Tucked into a sole paragraph labeled “miscellaneous,” agents noted the existence of the suit and that it was “pending at the present time.”

    Kissinger received his clearance, which many successive administrations continued to grant him over decades. But a court found that the wiretapping of Halperin was illegal and a violation of his Fourth Amendment rights. After a nearly 20 year long lawsuit, Kissinger and his former deputy settled the case in 1991 following an apology letter from the late strategist and diplomat.

    Reached by phone on Friday, Halperin was forgiving of his former boss.

    “He believed — and with reason — that this was something that had been done by every president in the postwar period and continuously by the FBI,” says Halperin. “The attorney general signed off on the wiretap, so I think he did not think that this was not legal.”

    “The apology letter, we actually worked on it together,” Halperin explains. “We reconciled for a while but he seemed more distant after that. I was always ready to reconcile and friends were constantly trying to get us together. It never really quite happened and I’m not sure whether he really didn’t want to reconcile or was just too busy and had other priorities.

    The files indicate that the FBI in particular could be sensitive on the subject of Kissinger’s security clearance. Cable traffic from the Bureau released in response to Rolling Stone’s lawsuit detailed a 1973 incident in which retired Marine Corps Col. Mitchell Paige, a recipient of the Medal of Honor for his heroism in the Guadalcanal in World War II, said that FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover “would never grant Henry A. Kissinger, now Secretary of State, a top secret clearance,” adding that “Hoover did not trust Dr. Kissinger and considered him to be a threat to the United States.”

    The incident took place in a private setting among individuals outside of government who weren’t privy to the director’s thoughts, much less Kissinger’s. But the files indicate that the Bureau was sensitive enough about criticism on the subject that the Special Agent in Charge of the San Francisco field office planned to ask Paige to “cease making these statements” and inform him that the FBI does not “clear” anyone.

    Paige, the FBI later noted, had a history of intemperate remarks, including a 1961 ”statement that Earl Warren, then Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, should be hanged.” The Bureau drily noted that “He subsequently apologized for having made this statement.”