Claire Berlinski. Profile picture
Elite creds. Interesting jobs. Writes books. Good-looking. If you like my Twitter feed, you'll love my FREE newsletter. https://t.co/Eqe8rc9Mg0
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18 Sep
Donald Trump either doesn't know that ISIS is still "on the rampage" or he knows it perfectly well, but doesn't care. Which is worse?

If you plan to vote for Trump because you don't want ISIS "on the rampage," may I draw your attention to the following?
Read 54 tweets
18 Sep
Hey Democrats--is this so? Do you want to abolish capitalism, Whiteness, and America? Do you think America is irredeemable? Because I didn't see that in the platform: demconvention.com/wp-content/upl…
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Read 4 tweets
18 Sep
As an anxiety-reduction exercise--I got this from a therapist, once--let's envision every element of the worst-case scenario. Let's say we fail to hold an election that's widely viewed as free and fair, and the US descends into chaos and violence.
What's the very worst thing that could happen? Be detailed and plausible. What will *you do* if this happens? What's your plan?

The theory is that envisioning the worst case scenario, in detail--and then making a plan to cope with it--will diminish your anxiety.
The idea is that the most anxiogenic state is the vague sense of dread that accompanies feeling you have no control over a future you can't predict.

So describe the worst-case scenario, as far as you're concerned, then tell me how you plan to cope with it.
Read 7 tweets
16 Sep
In poll after poll, we find the Americans no nothing. They don't know when the Civil War was fought. They don't know whether we should bomb Agrabah. They can't name the three branches of government. They're always stumped to name a single Cabinet member. They can never
remember when or why we fought the first or second world wars. Barely half of adults know how long it takes for the Earth to revolve around the Sun. 40 percent believe the earliest humans and dinosaurs lived at the same time.
73% of Americans can't distinguish between astronomy and astrology. 60 percent don't know how many justices serve on the Supreme Court. Only 13 percent know when the Constitution was written.Asked to name the United States’ largest trading partner, most get it wrong.
Read 13 tweets
14 Sep
Every day, Trump does or says something so nuts, so indecent, so opposed to the my understanding of America--to the open, tolerant, and free America in which I grew up, to the America I've been hopelessly devoted to all my life, the America whose political genius I've--
--proudly explained everywhere in the world--that I really don't know if we can return after this.

Before him, we were in the Garden of Eden. We had our political differences, but we didn't hate each other so much that we truly hoped the others would die.
But the bitterness and division are so deep now, so rancorous, that we've become like all the other countries, the ones we fled from.

We'll never trust ourselves the same way again.
Certainly, we'll never forget we were capable of coming to the verge of civil war--
Read 10 tweets
14 Sep
I agree with almost all of this.

I'm not sure that all 200,000 deaths are his fault. A very significant number are, however. If we'd had a by-the-playbook response from the President, our death toll would have been similar to that of other developed countries.
We probably wouldn't have done as well as East Asia, but there's no reason we couldn't have done as well as Canada.

Canada: 243 per million pop. deaths
USA: 599 per million pop. deaths.
Denmark: 109.
Germany: 112.
Greece: 29.
Finland: 61.
France: 473.
Hong Kong: 13.
Ireland: 360.
Israel: 122.
New Zealand: 5.
Peru: 929.
Senegal: 297
Switzerland: 233.
Thailand: 0.8.
Vietnam: 0.4.
From:worldometers.info/coronavirus/#c…
Read 18 tweets
12 Sep
On the one hand, this is glib, QAnon isn't just a rebranded Nazi cult. justsecurity.org/72339/qanon-is… On the other, it's too close for comfort, and something has gone terribly wrong with our education system, because people should know this.
People shouldn't be able to graduate from High School without knowing about the The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and the important role they played in the Nazis' propaganda arsenal. If they had been taught that, they would see the echos for themselves and reject it.
But we seem to be sending a lot of Americans out into the world without any knowledge of history, and in a case like this, it's dangerous: It seems to be the case that under certain forms of social stress, ideas like this gain purchase--ideas, in particular,
Read 8 tweets
10 Sep
I wrote this on March 17. claireberlinski.substack.com/p/life-in-lock…
Trump understood perfectly, in early February, that the virus was highly dangerous, airborne, and wildly contagious. He presumably understood this from Xi, and perhaps from diplomatic or intelligence sources in China.
I wrote this on April 13. claireberlinski.substack.com/p/a-preventabl…. I argued that January 20 was the key day. By then, it was obvious--to anyone who could read--that this was an emergency.
Any politician who failed to take this as an emergency, I wrote, by January 20--and to behave as if he or she took it as an emergency--should resign.

We now understand that Trump grasped very well that this was an emergency. He just didn't think it mattered.
Read 13 tweets
9 Sep
Prominently featured in the NYT magazine: an article that reports a Brown University study alleges, "At least 37 million people have been displaced as a direct result of the wars fought by the United States since Sept. 11, 2000."
It says little about the study itself, save to say that it may well be an undercount. It concludes with this quote from the study's author: Image
I presume most people won't look at the study. But if you do, you'll find that it leaves much to be desired, methodologically.

The authors are right to draw attention to this. They're right that displacement in war is a horror. Image
Read 26 tweets
9 Sep
Serious, no-strings-attached offer: Are you a low-income parent, or do you know a low-income parent, who is worried his or her kids are falling behind in school because of the pandemic shutdowns? (Or for any other reason?)
I'd like to spend about three hours of the week--time that I now spend doom-scrolling--doing something useful. So I'd like to tutor your kids. For free. In any subject, up to high-school level, and in most subjects at the high-school level:
There are a few I probably can't handle--foreign languages that I don't speak, for example.

But I can teach math (except trig; I never really got the hang of it); first-year biology and physics; and possibly first-year chemistry, so long as your kid isn't way smarter than me:
Read 8 tweets
8 Sep
I wasn't generous enough when I introduced myself to @OnGBandC. I was too shy, because I assumed he must be so cool--because of his talent--that he'd be unapproachable. So I'd like to make up for it here. I found his poetry because he slipped one of his poems into a conversation.
On Twitter. I had no idea who he was, but I clicked on the link and was suddenly a world away from Twitter, from empty clichés and bromides, even from a website that looks as if it was made after 1995--and to a place where people still cared about poetry--
enough to spend time--years, even--looking for le mot juste. I stopped worrying about nuclear wars, pandemics, and the global retreat of liberal democracy. I read for hours.

"He's really good," I thought, assuming he was an important poets I should know about, but don't.
Read 9 tweets
7 Sep
"The best chance for Mr. Trump, Republicans say, is to drive at a singular message linking Mr. Biden to the far left." nytimes.com/2020/09/06/us/…

This in turn suggests what Biden should do. @JoeBiden, if anyone operating your Twitter account is listening, the advice below is free: Image
It comes from one of the shrewdest people I know (at least when it comes to people, politics, and communication):

Biden needs to say two things very clearly to the American electorate:
A. He needs to state the parameters of his leftism and repudiate clearly the policies, behaviors and concepts that animate the far left and madden the center.

B. He needs to state clearly: more than anyone before in American history, Trump tells willful lies to frighten people.
Read 10 tweets
6 Sep
Many Americans feel the far left has directly affected their lives, for the worse, and don't feel that Trump has, all that much. They're inclined to treat the pandemic as a massive anomaly, rather than "the consequence of having a nut at the head the executive branch."
I think this is wrong: Having a nut at the head of the executive branch made the pandemic vastly worse for the US than it had to be, and that's just a foretaste of the consequences we can expect if Trump remains in office.
Most people only really feel the consequences of having the executive branch in total chaos when the catastrophe slams them in the face. The chaos that leads up to the catastrophe is "something happening in DC." But that level of chaos will, predictably, lead to catastrophes:
Read 4 tweets
6 Sep
He is a traitor. But I think we need a new intellectual category--and perhaps even a new legal one--to describe "a traitor who could not have been one had the government not been involved in a massive scheme to violate American liberties." I don't think he should be pardoned:
I believe he committed treason--and caused massive harm to legitimate government programs that served the legitimate function of protecting our national security. I believe, too, that he placed Russia's interests above ours.
But there needs to be some kind of category--in our minds and probably the law's--that matches the public's intuitions about this. We know that his form of treason is not like that of a man who sells out his country for money, or because he's been blackmailed,
Read 5 tweets
6 Sep
Trump re-tweeted this.

I support the decision to crack down on teaching critical race theory in the federal government. But can you see that there's a difference between rejecting this useless ideology and affirming this tweet?
Trump is not rejecting critical race theory as a principled intellectual argument. He's just playing white grievance politics, and this retweet demonstrates that.
Does this matter? Yes, it does. Trump's twitter feed radicalizes not only the right but the left. It *confirms* the narrative that Trump is all about "white supremacy."

If you think this is a victory in the culture war, think again. It can't be won this way.
Read 6 tweets
5 Sep
This statement is bananas. I have no idea if it actually reflects French strategic thinking--he's just one academic--but how does this make sense? How is indulging Russia's propensity to murder its opponents a "strategic resource?" nytimes.com/2020/09/03/wor… Image
The article suggests many in Europe have the idea that imposing meaningful punishment on Putin has to be saved for a rainy day. What exactly must he do to convince people that the rainy day is here, and he's *not interested* in having a reasonable conversation about things?
"We can't punish Putin for murdering his opponents with chemical weapons--domestically and abroad, with no care who else he kills--because Putin is *also* causing us problems by invading Ukraine, murdering his way through Syria, propping up murderers in Belarus--
Read 4 tweets
4 Sep
No. The heart of his personality is shame. If you're curious, Otto Kernberg is a classic source on malignant narcissism and narcissistic personality disorders. Heinz Kohut, too.

Trump is an *astonishing* textbook case.
He will be taught as a textbook case for years, if we survive him.



Watching his behavior over the past five years has resolved, in my mind, all debate about the real existence of Axis II personality disorders and most of my questions about their origin. Image
These aren't pop-psychology or empty theories, as they're too often dismissed. They're powerful and useful.

Essential, in fact. Without these ideas, you can't make sense of someone like him.

Read 8 tweets
4 Sep
What's galling isn't that he said that. That's Donald J. Trump. It always has been. It always will be. What's galling is that knowing who he was, my country put him in the White House. And knowing who he is, they are willing to defend him still. It is a betrayal.
Knowing that this is *exactly the sort of thing he would say,* his defenders and surrogates spread their garish tailfeathers like peacocks, muster themselves into spasms of faux outrage, and pronounce this a scurrilous lie, for Donald J. Trump would *never* say such a thing!
Not Donald J. Trump! Not the very paragon of civic virtue, decency, and military valor we have all come to know! In his comprehension of the honor of the fallen he is a veritable Pericles! Why, how very very dare you!
Read 4 tweets
3 Sep
From Navalny’s team: his most recent video investigation, denouncing the corruption of the United Russia party. Switch on subtitles/CC for English. This is why Putin ordered him poisoned with a ghastly chemical weapon.
He was poisoned as his team was returning from a trip to Siberia, where they'd been filming a series of investigations into the region's politics. This is the first of the series, filmed in Novosibirsk.
"It is here on September 13 that the main round of the fight against United Russia will take place," it says. "Why? There is a very strong opposition in Novosibirsk."
Read 24 tweets
3 Sep
This combination of essays by @gcaw--together--is particularly powerful and suggests why we might not want to have a degenerate culture that glamorizes violence. theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/…
theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/…
There's actually no politician who can change this culture. You can reward or punish politicians who luxuriate in it at the ballot box--and Trump is an obvious candidate for this sort of punishment. But you can't vote for or against a culture.
What you can do is *not participate in it.*
Boycott all forms of violence porn.
Don't glamorize, esteem, or valorize it.

And women: Don't reward men--especially young men--who are caught up in the mythos of violence with sex.
Read 4 tweets
2 Sep
Let's denote that list of policies as q.
Let's call the group of people disproportionately affected by q, S.

What you're saying is--logically--the same as saying, "If you weren't affected by q, you're in no position to tell people in group S to vote *against* Biden.
Your view is that only people in group S have the requisite information or experience to urge people to vote for or against Biden.

This seems a strange view, because we're facing a federal election in which Biden and Trump are the only viable candidates for the presidency.
One of them will win. One of them will then be president of *all* 330 million American citizens. One of them will have the sole power to launch nuclear weapons, command the American military in combat, and wield the power of the executive branch over every American citizen.
Read 15 tweets