The Doomsday clock and the Mad Man theory.


I woke up this morning to the news that the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has moved the Doomsday Clock to 2 1/2 minutes to midnight.

The University of Chicago-based journal “Bulletin of Atomic Scientists” on Thursday morning moved the hands of the doomsday clock to 2-1/2 minutes to midnight, nearly the closest to midnight ever and a message that the probability of worldwide catastrophe is currently very high.

The clock’s hands were moved because of the international community’s failure to come to grips with climate change and nuclear weapons, Thomas Pickering, former U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, and Pennsylvania State University Professor David Titley, the former head of the U.S. Navy’s Task Force on Climate Change, wrote in a New York Times column Thursday about the decision.

“Making matters worse, the United States now has a president who has promised to impede progress on both of those fronts,” the pair wrote. “Never before has the Bulletin decided to advance the clock largely because of the statements of a single person. But when that person is the new president of the United States, his words matter.”

Okay. That’s a problem. Nobody likes having their first cup of coffee while reading that by the time they have their second cup they may not have time on this planet to finish it.

Blogging about Trump is a problem.

There is just more shit than you can keep up with.

One theory is that his tweets and executive orders are distractions. I’m told by friends and those on social media not to pay attention to them. I’m not sure about that. I think we should be paying attention to it all.

Who knows who is doing the distracting?

And distracting us from what?

Trump appears to be provoking tension and a possible hot war with China over islands in the South China Sea. Why should he care about Chinese islands in the South China Sea

What would the U.S. say if China decided Hawaii was of strategic interest to them?

But maybe he doesn’t really care. Maybe this is all part of a Mad Man strategy.

In his business dealings, his art of the deal,  Trump threatens first and then pulls back to get what he wanted in the first place.

When I bargained teacher contracts both sides played this game. It’s kind of like playing good cop/bad cop.

Somebody on our team would play the reasonable one, but warn that if we couldn’t come to agreement with the board then they would have to deal with the crazies.

The board would do the same thing.

The Republican establishment like McConnell and Ryan are the good cops in this scenario. They can and will do the real damage.

Meanwhile they suggest that Trump is just being Trump. Trump being the bad cop, McConnell and Ryan looking not so bad.

Is all this a distraction? Or is it the plan?

So, I  follow the Trump tweets. And the threats of executive action. We have to pay attention to it all.

In global politics it may be the same thing.

Nixon and Kissinger used this Mad Man theory in waging war in Vietnam and Cambodia. 

President Richard Nixon and his national security adviser Henry Kissinger believed they could compel “the other side” to back down during crises in the Middle East and Vietnam by “push[ing] so many chips into the pot” that Nixon would seem ‘crazy’ enough to “go much further,” according to newly declassified documents published today by the National Security Archive.

The documents include a 1972 Kissinger memorandum of conversation published today for the first time in which Kissinger explains to Defense Department official Gardner Tucker that Nixon’s strategy was to make “the other side … think we might be ‘crazy’ and might really go much further” — Nixon’s Madman Theory notion of intimidating adversaries such as North Vietnam and the Soviet Union to bend them to Washington’s will in diplomatic negotiations.

If that is what is going on with China and the islands in the South China Sea, it is a dangerous game and is bringing us closer to a global catastrophe.

Trump and the GOP may be carrying out the Mad Man theory domestically as well.

Or maybe it isn’t all worked out but the results are the same thing.

We have to pay attention to it all. Nothing should be considered a distraction.

Although it can be exhausting.

5 Replies to “The Doomsday clock and the Mad Man theory.”

  1. Well Nixon wasnt really a madman it was a tactic it did not work out. I would suggest 2 bond films here. You only live twice. In that Connery flick Spectre working for an unnamed power which was China was to provoke a war between Russia and the US that would leave weaker power China in charge and Spectre gets Argentina and chaos. Now Spectre. Spectre Agents take over MI 6 . Now combine the two . Look familiar? And now big purges at state so no one can stop wars.

  2. One of the experts fired at state is a balken expert. Isreali intel has been reporting the first strike will be Serbia grabbing Kosovo back and most likely killing muslims. Then there is the tpm report and now msnbc reporting that an exec order lifting Russian sanctions is soon. Make Russia great again

  3. Trump’s shoot from the hip statement of “why have nukes if we don’t use them?” is very dangerous. It is unlikely any country would start a nuclear attack UNLESS they thought someone like Trump was going to attack them. They would not warn us. They would launch a surprise attack from submarines right off the coast and when informed Russian missiles were incoming, Trump would say “you’re wrong, I know Putin, he would never attack the US as long as I am the president!” Kaboom.

  4. The FSB out a bag over the head of the guy that hacked Illinois and Arizona election systems. Interesting choice of states….also fired is the guy that missed him. Not clear if he was working for outside and outed by Russian agent Trump or just had a loose tongue. Maddow has whole thing along with more on fight aganst DeVos. Franken says no den voted for her. Former secret agent Evan McMullen who ran to stop Trump is running a powerful as that causes him of being a Russian agent

  5. I spend a quite bit of time reading a variety of online news organizations. I’m tired of the nonsense that tRump spews. Some prominent people are now coming out saying he is crazy. Even Glenn Beck visited him in Florida and said he is “Nuts”.

    …Baklin listed five likely abuses of the presidential podium, most of which we’ve already seen from Trump and his aides. They start with the fact that Trump is a habitual liar. Trump “has found a way to lie so boldly and so frequently that it’s virtually impossible to hold him to account,” he said. “If politicians lie all the time, and never pay a price for it, there’s no reason to believe any promises they make.”

    Next was the related propaganda technique called “gaslighting,” Balkin said, or “creating a false reality and causing the public to doubt what is actually true or false. By making everything uncertain and a matter of ideological perspective, government officials stoke anger and distrust in elite institutions on the one hand, and produce cynicism, resignation and despair on the other.” That’s what spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway did this earlier month when she told CNN to stop listening to Trump’s literal words and trust what was in his heart—meaning a president-elects’s words have no literal meaning….

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