T Nation

Political Red Pill Thread: wtf, 'Murrica


Hello friends,

I’m looking to change my politically-naive ways. Unfortunately, after watching the past few debates, the only thing I’ve really learned is that these people must think I’m a fucking idiot who doesn’t understand what is expected from a question mark. Every fucking question given to these turds was answered with the same formula:

  1. confirm for all who are wondering that the moderator - a respected, professional journalist who is being paid to oversee a nationally-televised debate between the front-running candidates for the presidency of the United States of America, each representing one of the country’s major political factions and hundreds of millions of people - did indeed ask a good (sometimes great, occasionally excellent) question

  2. while doing #1, try to remember what having a soul was like; summon vestigial memory for channeling

  3. assure the American people that they ask themselves this very same good, great, occasionally excellent question all the time, because they are both aware of, and give a shit about, the good, great, and occasionally excellent concerns of their fellow citizens

  4. break eye contact with camera to prevent blood clot from dislodging under the strain induced from trying to appear sincere

  5. insert an evasive redirect Trojan-horsed within a pseudo-topical platitude to allow for:

  6. meandering, self-congratulatory soapboxing about a different issue they actually want to answer (or at least answer more than the initial)

  7. project a chunky regurgitation of their CV’s least offensive/ineffectual efforts that are, if said in sufficient quantity and with sufficient confidence, possibly able to be mistaken as either actual accomplishments or at least tangentially relevant to either the question or the evasion

  8. accuse the other candidate of not having the same sweaty, fevered dreams about that good (sometimes great, occasionally excellent) question that they themselves do

  9. brandish a wad of used toilet paper fished from the other candidate’s septic tank earlier that day by an intern, then launch a concerted effort to convince the American people that it is actually their opponent’s CV; allegations of corruption/incompetence/racism salt-and-peppered throughout to taste

  10. increase speaking volume over moderator until he fucks off

  11. finally stop talking

  12. immediately interrupt the other candidate to remind the audience that the only reason their opponent is running is because whatever party they represent has plans to drag the country down to the 9th circle of hell so Satan can run for president in 2020

  13. depart event in whatever million dollar contraption brought them there to engage in backroom economic/political “eyes wide shut” parties with the Illuminati, CEOs of any industry referred to with the prefix “Big,” and whatever other person/agency/institution they doth protested too much about during the debate

So, OK, we have two candidates: a bloated reality TV buffoon whose neurons have clearly overdosed beyond resuscitation on whatever chemicals he uses to tinge his skin the shade of an irradiated Chernobyl carrot, and a Frankensteinian amalgamation of overly-practiced attributes, positions, and behaviors geared to resemble a sincere human who would never ever fuck you over despite what literally everyone except she and the team she pays to keep herself out of jail is saying. The moderators are too neutered to call them out on their bullshit and no one seems to care.

Assuming a guy wants to edumacate hisself before deciding how exactly he goes about getting fucked raw for the next few years, what sources would y’all recommend to someone looking to wrap his head around the whole circus of American politics? Any networks or website you like? What are your favorite books? Anything that should be avoided? Any place I can go to find out what other countries think of US foreign policy that won’t put me on a watch list for waterboarding? I’m down for whatever as long as it keeps the bullshit to a minimum.

Also, besides being white, male, STEM-educated, with a native grasp of English, what else can I do to ensure expeditious relocation to another country when Trump personally ignites a nation-wide riot/uprising/revolution when he loses? The media has basically promised me that this is exactly what he meant by “not accepting” the election results.



Sorry buddy, that was very long. Modafanil will do that.

What sources or references do you like for keeping up to speed on 'murrican politics?


Also, how is Clinton not in jail for perjury yet? During the Benghazi hearings, she explicitly told Rep. Gowdy that she did not know of any business interests Blumenthal had in Libya. Aren’t there emails in which Blumenthal discusses hooking TNC up with OGS?

Why was none of this shady shit discussed during the debates?


To learn the most about Trump, just flip through the '70s issues of Playboy and Penthouse and look at the product advertisements. That’s him in a nut shell.

To find accurate info on Hillary, read The Complete Works of H.P. Lovecraft.


That was, quite honestly, one of the most accurate and simultaneously fucking hilarious descriptions of presidential debates this year.

I salute you!

In a serious answer to your question on educating yourself before voting…my response would be fact check them both lol. Sorry, that would take too long even for modafinil to handle. I read my news and fact check all stories–I find that spending time in front of a TV news channel is one of the worst ways to get news because even though printed media is also looking for headlines and viewership it is less overtly fearmongering and angering to me. Parsing the written word and reasoning is more reliable than getting yelled at for a couple hours every day.

Also, I have no fucking clue how HRC is not in federal prison yet other than her last name.


Because Trump can’t make words let alone complete arguments. Anybody else would have spitted and roasted her for a barbeque.


I wanted more than anything to watch Ted Cruz destroy that woman. The facts are not on her side and just like every democrat they make debate into “I care more.” That shit works against Trump because he can’t see it coming and he doesn’t understand how to combat it. I really think Cruz, who is a very strong debater, would have exposed her to the world as the imbecile criminal that she is.


Hi anonym! I think you have a pretty good grasp on things. It’s a royal mess.

Re: trying to learn about politics.

I like the Wall Street Journal so much. Absolutely great paper. It tends to lean a bit toward the right on the political spectrum (see article link below) which will give you some balance to most of the other press, at least toward what I see while watching the morning shows, CNN, MSNBC on the treadmill at the gym. There’s some free content at WSJ.com, but I’d tell you to try a cheap introductory rate. Or, if you’re a still in grad school, they have student rates. $49/year for digital content. Worth it.

It’s a little more expensive than digitial, but I really like to have a physical newspaper on the breakfast table. We have 3.5 newspaper readers, so it’s worth it for us. My son can log in from university to read it. He likes to follow world news and politics.

Some things I like. Wonder Land, Global View, Potomac Watch, and Declarations are all great Op Ed columns related to politics. My husband really likes to follow Best of the Web on his phone. They do some great in depth articles on world topics like Syria, China, etc…

 Best of the Web Today by James Taranto
Global View by Bret Stephens
Wonder Land by Daniel Henninger
Potomac Watch by Kimberley Strassel
Weekend Edition – Rule of Law, Declarations by Peggy Noonan

This might be helpful.

@ActivitiesGuy, I believe you made a comment in another thread about news sources and politics, saying you think it’s fairly evenly divided in terms of right and left? Here’s an article that shows the news/ political spectrum.


This x I million.

I never watch TV news, unless I happen to catch a few minutes while walking on the treadmill at the gym. It’s generally just quick soundbites. The content is mostly simplified/ dumbed down for a wide audience. There’s not enough information to really understand anything.

I rarely listen to talk radio. I just don’t spend a lot of time in the car.

On the web, I mostly avoid the more extreme news outlets and bloggers, on both ends of the spectrum.


They need to make that pictorial a graph with a Y axis labeled “credibility”. WSJ is much more credible than Yahoo News and The Economist is much more credible than Buzzfeed.


Agreed, I really enjoy reading Peggy Noonan. I think she calls it pretty fair for the most part.


Oh my God, I was salivating at the thought of watching Cruz annihilate her repeatedly. I’m beyond pissed.


My life is infinitely better without them, and much, MUCH more enjoyable. I stay informed through print and online ‘print’ and spread out my sources.


OK, so I’m watching the debate a second time around and I have to know: just who the fuck was delegated the task of ensuring that the same country that managed to put Joe Sixpack on a giant pockmarked stone circling our planet was simultaneously able to get basic homo sapien communication so fucking wrong?

First of all, these aren’t even debates. They are, at best, a bout of tandem questioning with a sporadic inclusion of bonus rounds to allow for controlled flurries of counter punches to low blown, but not entirely untrue, character attacks. These people don’t answer the question, they just provide a 120 second sales pitch in the liberal gist of whatever vein the actual question was pumping in.

We gotta get these charlatans on a leash. Their utter inability to answer any direct question with a direct answer is BEYOND unacceptable. These fucking people would get booted from an interview at Red Lobster, but we as a society are somehow tacitly accepting this behavior on a systemic level as an application to the presidency of the United States?

WHy are the moderators such pussies? Why can’t they buzz out a candidate, or cut their mic off when they nose dive off the reservation? Why can’t we agree that if tehse same alleged patriots only agree to suffer the indignity of being in the same room together for 270 minutes total, we as the very same people they claim to be in proud servitude of should at least demand clear answers to plain questions? Give them their two minutes, but the second one of them snakes into something irrelevant to the question, cut them off and slough the difference into the other candidate’s trough. Make them at least consider the shit we want to hear.

And what does it say about the world we live in, in which American Idol has been able to get audience feedback/participation so damn right when the people responsible for keeping the electricity zapping and the bad guys hiding get it so damn wrong? I can literally text an emoji and have a fresh pizza materialize on my doorstep within 30 minutes, but Big Brother can’t coax audience feedback under threat of Putin-induced Armageddon? Where are these questions even coming from, and why do we fucking care? So Trump said he likes to grab clam, who cares? If you have made it past the first dozen syllables of anything he’s ever said ever and were STILL accosted by what a degenerate loon he is, that’s on you. And what were you even expecting from him, really? A fresh perspective on sexual assault that might resonate on an an electable level? Why do we even let Trump speak? He has no perceivable credibility beyond a raw talent for aggressive ignorance that somehow tickles the deepest part of our reptilian brain stem. Clinton is the one we need to dissect, because she has against all odds somehow managed to insulate her corrosive personality to critical review by spackling a thick veneer of strained credulity over every alleged felony.

“Mrs. Clinton, why are you unable to recall any information in response to 20 of 25 Judicial Watch-issued questions about your email setup? Are you brain damaged, absent minded, or a liar? Which scenario, to you, allows for the most sympathetic presidential candidate?”

“Mrs. Clinton, you claimed that your disinclination to promulgate initial news of the Benghazi attacks to the American people was because, at least in part, Sunday talk shows aren’t your “favorite thing to do.” Suspending disbelief in support of the insinuation that informing the country of the brutal deaths of four American lives due to terrorism, including the ghosting of the first US Ambassador in over 30 years, is anyone’s “favorite thing to do,” (by OP’s poor memory and disinterest in confirming), you participated in ~20 Sunday shows during 2016… can you explain the juxtaposition between your zealous enthusiasm for stumping in furtherance of your political metastasization and the dismissive nonchalance you ooze when confronted with the snuffing of four lives dedicated in service to the very country that shoulders the albatross your shit?”

I remember as a kid thinking how smart these fellers must be, talking about the environment and the economy and the hottest current events… now I watch it and see what an utter farce this process actually is. Why not force these people to actually rebut their opponent’s plans, or clearly elucidate the ways in which their ideas will prove superior? I’m not an economist, a financier, or whatever, so when Trump tells me that he’s going to solve poverty by personally depositing a Sacagawea-shitting unicorn into the account of every impoverished person from sea to shining sea, who am I to say otherwise? I might not entirely believe currency-intolerant zoomorphs exist, but do I really have much of a reason to find their existence less credible than the idea of HRC icing poverty by finally making those greedy corporations, CEOs, etc. pay their “fair share?” How much confidence do I have that these CEOs, board members, and other upper crust elite all have giant Scrooge McDuck pools of money hoarded that they backstroke through every night while the country collapses? How much confidence do I have that they’ll just let the government kick in their door and siphon off their deep end to keep derelicts and deadbeats hydrated?

How much of Trump’s spray tan do I have to inhale before I have any confidence that putting Hilldog and Slick Willy within the remotest spitting distance of classifying what constitutes “fair” is a good idea?

How can I believe that HRC’ll keep her poker face with Putin when she lets Trump “excuse her” into silence like a recalcitrant child who ends up in her room without any dessert? When she literally can barely manage eye contact with the camera when selling us on her ideas in the last debate? Say what you will about Trump, but the dude has great TV presence: 95% of his eye contact was with the moderator, camera, or Clinton. It’s like, dude, you are making statements so bold and unfounded they are just plain ignorant… but I kinda like it. Hillary not only couldn’t produce an echo of authenticity if Trump forced her to plead for her life at gunpoint, but by the end of it all probably got a rough estimate in the number of splinters that comprised her podium.

It’s almost painful to pay attention!


Yes! I’ve detoxed on network television “Gloom and Doom” and now only like it as an indulgence. And besides, I’ve got a slow brain so I like to be able to stare at an idea for a bit.


I’m tremendously glad you chimed in, PP. I had a complimentary subscription to the WSJ at one point, but never considered it as any more more than an excipient for the garbage in my trash can.

I’m a tactile reader too, so ditto the physical newspaper… and thanks for the recs.


Sorry, this is long.

Not talk radio or YouTube. You’ll get dumber the moment you tune in or log on.

Avoid anything - and I mean anything - where the political commentator/observer is simply preaching to the choir that already agrees with him/her. Left or right. Rush Limbaugh is worthless trash, as is Rachel Maddow. Their purpose isn’t to persuade people who think differently from them - their goal is to rile up nodding bobble heads in an effort to get more views and therefore larger bank accounts.

Read good material from all sides of politics. National Review, American Prospect, The Atlantic, New Republic, Weekly Standard. There’s plenty to choose from, but be choosy - stay away from trash internet publications and sites. There are some good blogs, but too many of them are just unskilled opinionators not worth any time.

Pro tip: any post or article that includes capital letters (someone is getting DESTROYED, or certain news is JAW-DROPPING) is a total waste of your time and neural pathways. Nothing exposes an ignorant hack like citing one of these pieces of trash.

Read the papers. Even if you find yourself disagreeing with their editorial slant, read them anyway. It’s generally good writing and content, and disagreeing with them just means you have an opportunity to form a better opinion as to what you believe.

My overall advice is the most important thing, in my opinion, is just don’t read a bunch of confirmation bias stuff. Leaning conservative? Be sure and read a liberal opinion mag. Feeling like a social democrat? Still read quality conservative blogs.

And one more thought: not that you would personally, but generally don’t read a few articles and then decide and declare you’ve discovered The Political Truth and present yourself as having it all figured out (libertarians are the worst at this). Politics will never be reduced to pure philosophy because it involves messy trade-offs. No one has the one true recipe for Utopia, and perspectives have to change with the changing times.

Have fun.

Edited to clean up a broken sentence.


Your post already shows you get this.

Absurdly earnest attempt to answer the question: Read the WSJ, New York Times, the Financial Times, and Foreign Affairs while understanding that every journalist who posts anything in any of those has his/her own biases. Avoid TV news and online info with the possible exception of politico. Also understand that the debates are controlled by the two major political parties and so they have a vested interest in allowing the candidates to give long winded and self-serving non-answers to probing questions. Then accept that this shyte show will continue to get worse until people finally vote for third-party candidates.


@thunderbolt23 - Great advice. Really nice post.

Other things I like to read -

I can’t believe I forgot this. I really like reason.com They have a more Libertarian slant.

american enterprise institute - new home of the carpe diem blog.

the city journal - quarterly magazine published by the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank based in New York City. They have some very intelligent writers, some of which also write for the WSJ.

the atlantic -

imprimis - We’ve subscribed for years. Conservative. They get some fantastic constitutional scholars/ guest writers/ presenters. You can get the newsletter for free, or read on the web.

I highly recommend this to anybody who likes to talk politics, and genuinely wants to understand and appreciate how the other side thinks, or why you feel so strongly about your own views. Haidt does a fantastic job of talking about the research regarding politics and religion, and the differences in moral reasoning and fundamental values of people across the political spectrum. FYI, he’s a liberal, secular Jewish guy. A must read. I talked about it in another thread. Can’t say enough about it. Go read the reviews. It’s a great book.