Civil Wars Are Not Civil | Links & Comments | 3.7.2016

There is often some bizarre connection to adjacent items in my RSS news reader or Twitter stream. The following three stories all appeared about the same time in my RSS feed. They seem related. But none reference the other, so I guess they are just coincidence. However, as any New York Times reporter knows when you see three items that mention “civil war” the same day, it’s enough to justify a trend story. However, I looked at when I saw these items earlier today and saw nothing referencing a mutiny, civil war or Bin Laden warnings.

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 6.20.08 PMNPR | Osama Bin Laden Warned Of Civil War Between Jihadi Groups | Video Shows Dozens of Fighters “Deserting” ISIS in Syria
Jerusalem Post | ISIS gunmen stage mutiny, kill local commander in de facto capital

Here is NPR’s 4-minute story about the predictions of  civil war among competiting groups of jihadists found in Bin Laden’s compound during the raid by the Navy Seals:

donald-trump-michael-bloombergFormer Mayor Bloomberg says he won’t run an independent race for President because if could potentially help Trump.


“(Trump) has run the most divisive and demagogic presidential campaign I can remember, preying on people’s prejudices and fears. Abraham Lincoln, the father of the Republican Party, appealed to our ‘better angels.’ Trump appeals to our worst impulses.”

04-trump-chait.w529.h352Speaking of excoriating Trump, this quote today in an essay by Jonathan Chait on the New York Magazine’s website is near poetic:

“Whether or not Donald Trump the human being is intelligent, there’s no question that ‘Donald Trump,’ presidential candidate, is not. His entire campaign operatestrump4well below the level of rational thought — it’s all boasting, absurd promises, repetitive sloganeering, and abuse. Just as email scammers intentionally salt their messages with typos in order to weed out anyone educated enough to see through their swindle, allowing them to focus on the most gullible, Trump seems to consciously repel anyone possessed of a brain.”

Links & Comments | 3.6.2016 | Ran across this site while looking up information for the previous post. It looks very old school, but the stats related to the primaries are kept-up-to-date and the total delegate counts (the stat that actually matters) aren’t obscured in infographics and interpretation.

@obit | Raymond Tomlinson, the inventor of modern email and selector of the “@” symbol, has died. Raytheon Co., his employer, on Sunday confirmed his death. (via

How to Move to Canada

The chart below is the past week’s Google trend graph for U.S. Google users searching the phrase, “how to move to canada”?

The turning point is three days ago, Super Tuesday (3.2.2016), the day people who were still skeptical of the chances of Donald Trump winning the GOP presidential nomination, went from skeptical to hysterical.

I’m guessing that an American who must Google, “How to Move to Canada” needs other answers to questions like, “Do they have running water in Canada?” or “What language do they speak in Canada?” or “Where exactly is Canada?”

As a helpful aide, I found these on the inter-web. A map that answers the question, “Where’s Canada?”:


Nutqarrit_-_Stop_sign_in_CYCBI also found this recent movie from Canada where a park ranger and a park visitor (just guessing, however) are singing what is perhaps Canada’s national anthem. So yes, they speak english. (However, they have another language on their traffic signs, French, I think, but I have no idea what nutoarrit means in french..)

(P.S. I love Canada. )

Hey, What About All Those Trump Magazines That Failed?

I was starting to believe the magazine industry was being ripped off.

Until the past weekend, I hadn’t seen any Trump branded magazines among the many lists of Trump failures appearing. I recalled some as I blogged about them nine years ago.

Even better, my friend Dylan Stableford, now covering the campaign for Yahoo News, was back then at the trade magazine Folio: and in 2007, was already covering the parade of Trump magazine failures.

Trump Style | Started in 1997, Failed circa 2004
Trump World | Started in 2004, Failed 2007
Trump Magazine | Started in 2007, Failed circa 2009

There has probably been more Trump magazines launched (and failed).
I know just who to ask. Oh, Mr. Magazine?

P.S. This feels like the early days of this blog.

Why Donald Trump Fans Think He’s For Real

Two years ago, in an issue of the Hammock Idea Email, I wrote about research into why people aren’t convinced when presented with irrefutable evidence that something they believe in, is false. As Donald Trump’s supporters are exhibiting such a pattern — even he admitted it with that remark about shooting a pistol while on 5th Ave. — here’s an excerpt from that Idea Email:

Social scientists are only now beginning to comprehend why people refuse to believe evidence that challenges their existing beliefs. In 2006, political scientists Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifler identified a phenomenon they called the “backfire effect.” They showed that “efforts to debunk inaccurate political information can leave people more convinced that false information is true than they would have been otherwise,” according to the New York Times

They now have conducted similar research related to healthcare beliefs like childhood vaccination fears and have discovered the same type of backfire effect to scientific evidence that differs from people’s existing beliefs. “Giving people corrected information is often ineffective with the people whose minds we’d like to change, and in some cases it actually can make the problem worse,” Nyhan recently told NPR social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam. “It’s much harder to change people’s minds than we might have thought.”

While not fully understood, a leading theory on why people cling to long-held, yet incorrect, beliefs is that such beliefs contribute to our sense of who we are are and even can be a factor in our self-esteem. So when someone presents us facts disproving what we believe, we may subconsciously fight back against the new information because it damages something about our self identity.

I went on to suggest that marketers should focus on customers’ needs than attacking their beliefs. But now, in hindsight, I never imagined people would embrace Donald Trump as part of their self identity and would believe in him even after discovering he is a villain out of a cartoon.