Tag Archives: Donald Trump

#77 – Defending Trump’s Presidency

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Dr. Larry Fedewa says that Donald Trump would do well to tweet less often and to rein in some of his unseemly language, but, nevertheless, Dr. Fedewa argues that Trump is doing a good job as United States President. In this edition of The Aidan Project, Aidan is speaking to Dr. Larry Fedewa, a conservative political commentator, with countless media contributions to his name, including the Washington Times. How successful has Trump’s administration been in gaining legislative support? What can be said of Trump’s foreign policy? Is Trump a new Ronald Reagan or is he more akin to a much earlier President, Andrew Jackson? Could Trump face impeachment, and if so, how does the impeachment process work? What is the future of the odd relationship between Trump and the mainstream media? All of these questions, and much more, are considered during this intriguing episode.

Aidan also spoke to Dr. Fedewa for the bonus audio episode, #75 – Project Extra: The Gun Debate.

For more information on Dr. Larry, you can visit his website at http://www.mypoliticalinsights.com. Larry is also on Twitter at https://twitter.com/lawrencefedewa, and you can view his Amazon author page at https://www.amazon.com/Lawrence-J.-Fedewa/e/B076P8Q1W8 (US) and https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lawrence-J.-Fedewa/e/B076P8Q1W8 (UK).

Expanded show notes:

‘Trump says Kim meeting is ‘in the making’ despite concerns’, BBC News website, 10 March 2018.

‘Even when Trump is right, mainstream media downplays it rather than be honest — and more media embarrassments’, Fox News website, 10 March 2018.

“He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side; if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion.”

John Stuart Mill (1806-1873)

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#76 – The Evolution of Alternative Facts

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In this edition of The Aidan Project, Aidan is talking to Dr. Gleb Tsipursky of the Pro-Truth Pledge about the battle for honest discourse. This is an important consideration. During a speech at the White House in January 2017, Donald Trump’s Press Secretary at the time, Sean Spicer, famously said: “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe.” This statement has been endlessly mocked, but, in more serious terms, it has come to represent, as stated shortly afterwards without irony by Trump advisor, Kellyanne Conway, as not being a lie, but an entirely different version of the truth. Spicer, explained Conway, was not being dishonest, but was dealing in “alternative facts”. Comparisons to George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four were manifestly obvious and, indeed, were deeply indicative of a very real problem. What is the answer to alternative facts? Utilising research in behavioral science, Dr. Tsipursky is leading a team effort to address post-truth politics, fake news, and those unscrupulous alternative facts. Dr. Tsipursky is asking people, be they members of congress or members of the public, to sign the Pro-Truth Pledge as a commitment to deal in only one type of fact, and not the alternative variety. Dr. Tsipursky explains the motivation behind this movement, and outlines his hopes for a more honest arena of public discourse. Why are humans so easily misled? What can be done about fake news? Is it possible that Donald Trump would sign such a pledge? How has social media been manipulated to spread misinformation, and can this be prevented? These questions, including a fascinating look at why humans are, from an evolutionary standpoint, poorly equipped to deal with the modern age, are featured in this episode.

For more information on the Pro-Truth Pledge, or to sign the pledge, head to https://www.protruthpledge.org/take-the-pro-truth-pledge/

Expanded show notes:

‘Richard Dawkins: We’re too stupid to decide on EU (that includes me)’, The Times, 23 May 2016.

‘Nigel Farage backtracks on Leave campaign’s ‘£350m for the NHS’ pledge hours after result’, The Independent, 24 June 2016.

Related episode:

#10 – George Orwell Versus Alternative Facts
#17 – The Fake News Agenda
#63 – Tribalism Aboard the Ship of Theseus

#67 – Project Extra: New Year’s Revolution

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In this edition of Project Extra, Aidan presents previously unreleased audio from his conversation with Jared Miracle for episode 66, Hope and Chaos: 2017 Unpacked. In this bonus audio, Jared talks about the sexual harassment scandal which rocked Hollywood, the war on experts, and offers his take on a man who needs no introduction – Donald Trump. Aidan also shares his hopes for 2018, including a new revolution in Iran, and what the left needs to do to get back on track. Happy New Year to one and all from The Aidan Project.

For more information on Jared, please visit his web site at http://www.jaredmiracle.com or his Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/jaredmiraclewriter. Jared has also started guest-hosting for the New Books in Anthropology Podcast – see http://newbooksnetwork.com/category/anthropology/ for download links.

Items mentioned on this episode:

Hope and Chaos: 2017 Unpacked

Support The Aidan Project

New Books in Anthropology

Related articles:

Iran protests: Why is there unrest?, BBC News, 2 January 2018.

Related tweets:

#66 – Hope and Chaos: 2017 Unpacked

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In this edition of The Aidan Project, Aidan is joined by cultural anthropologist, Jared Miracle, to review 2017. Taking a thematic approach, Aidan and Jared look at the stories which they believe will retain importance in the coming years. This is not a mere countdown show, but a considered appraisal of what 2017 will come to represent in the future. What will 2017 be remembered for in political circles? What issue of protest or division in 2017 will dominate the history books? And, amongst several stories which are perhaps not conducive to generating a smug sense of satisfaction about human progress, what was the most heartwarming moment of 2017? The year has not lacked in hatred, but what can it offer in hope?

Aidan and Jared have both chosen an option from the following themes:

The Biggest Story
Politics and International Relations
Protest and Division
Science, Technology and the Environment
Popular Culture

To all listeners of the podcast, thank you so much for listening this year – have a wonderful 2018.

If you would like to support the podcast, you can do so here.

References, useful links and further reading:

[In order of episode reference]

For more information on Jared, please visit his web site at http://www.jaredmiracle.com or his Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/jaredmiraclewriter. Jared has also started guest-hosting for the New Books in Anthropology Podcast – see http://newbooksnetwork.com/category/anthropology/ for download links.

All False statements involving Donald Trump, PolitiFact, 2017.

For North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, 2017 has been a very good year, Washington Post, 24 December 2017.

Evergreen State College reopens after violent threat and property damage on campus, Washington Post, 5 June 2017.

Don’t shield students from opinions they don’t agree with, universities minister Jo Johnson warns, The Telegraph, 26 December 2017.

After Weinstein: 47 Men Accused of Sexual Misconduct and Their Fall From Power, New York Times, 22 December 2017.

Posthumous wedding for police officer killed in ​Champs-Élysées attack, The Guardian, 31 May 2017.

Related tweets:

#65 – Project Extra: Trump Tower or Bleak House

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In this bonus episode of the podcast, Aidan and cultural anthropologist, Jared Miracle, discuss Donald Trump’s legislative victory on tax reform. Republicans from the Senate and the House of Representatives have agreed on a joint bill which will sanction significant restructuring to US taxation. The Washington Post and Fox News, to the surprise of nobody, have taken entirely different views on the bill. These contrasting stances are typical of the polarisation of political discourse in the age of Trump. Writing in the Post, Fareed Zakaria claimed that the bill is “ushering in a bleak future.” However, David Moore of Fox News argued that Democrats “can’t ever be happy by anything the president or congressional Republicans do.” According to the media, America is either doomed or is on the march towards greatness. Who to believe? In this episode, Aidan looks at the media’s reaction to Trump’s big win, before Jared explains his concerns about the bill. Aidan also discusses what historians are saying about the reforms.

This bonus audio was recorded after Aidan and Jared’s conversation for an upcoming special episode, ‘2017: The Year in Review’. The episode will be released later this month. For more information on Jared Miracle, you can find Jared’s web site at http://www.jaredmiracle.com, on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/dockungfu, and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/jaredmiraclewriter

Related links:

Historians on the tax fight: “This was manufactured urgency”, Vox news, 18 December 2017

US tax bill: Republicans agree sweeping changes, BBC News, 16 December 2017

The GOP tax bill may be the worst piece of legislation in modern history, The Washington Post, 14 December 2017

GOP tax cuts will strengthen our economy and drive Democrats crazy, Fox News, 14 December 2017

Related tweets:

Archive of all podcasts with Jared Miracle

#64 – Notes on Jerusalem Syndrome

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The status of Jerusalem is a leading news story, following Donald Trump’s historic announcement that the United States will recognise the Holy City as the capital of Israel. Aidan looked at the contentious issue of Israel and Palestine back in episode five, The Demise of the Two State Solution. The ancient city of Jerusalem, well known for its importance to the Abrahamic religions, is also at the centre of a peculiar religious psychosis, called Jerusalem syndrome. On this edition of The Aidan Project, Aidan explores Jerusalem syndrome, a clinical psychiatric condition, defined as a temporary state of sudden and intense religious delusions, which manifest while visiting or living in Jerusalem. Examples of Jerusalem syndrome include that of a man from Austria, who became enraged at hotel staff who would not prepare for him a last supper, and a man from the United States Midwest, who was found wandering the city, dressed in a white robe, claiming to be the Apostle Paul. Indeed, many people have become intoxicated with religious devotion in Jerusalem, including Homer Simpson. In a 2010 episode of The Simpsons, the phenomena served as the key plot point, with Homer believing himself to be the Messiah. Aidan also looks at Christopher Hitchens’ verdict on Jerusalem syndrome, which was as unforgiving as one might expect.


Christelle Evans and Jonathan Behar, ‘Jerusalem syndrome’, Student BMJ, 14, 2006. [Subscription required]

Yair Bar-El, Rimona Durst, Gregory Katz, Josef Zislin, Ziva Strauss, Haim Y. Knobler, ‘Jerusalem syndrome’, The British Journal of Psychiatry, 176, 1, 2000.

Homer Simpson isn’t the only would-be ‘Messiah’ in Jerusalem, CNN, 29 March 2010.

Jerusalem Syndrome: the madness that grips foreigners on the streets of the holy city, The Telegraph, 26 March 2016.

Trump Jerusalem move sparks Israeli-Palestinian clashes, BBC news, 7 December 2017.

Recommended reading:

Christopher Hitchens, God Is Not Great, (New York: Twelve Books, 2007).

Related episode:

The Demise of the Two State Solution

#63 – Tribalism Aboard the Ship of Theseus

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In this edition of The Aidan Project, Aidan welcomes back philosopher, Dr. Benedict Beckeld, for a conversation which explores the current political climate, and delves into intriguing questions regarding the self and personal agency. Why has the political climate become so polarised? What is causing this failure of communication? And how do we understand our own personal self – is the self an illusion and do we have the ability to have acted differently in a given situation? Could letting go of an illusory idea of ourselves liberate us to better live, love and learn? Aidan and Benedict discuss tribalism, free speech, political discourse, journalism, truth, relativism, and the deep questions of the self and free will. Aidan and Benedict also both share an example of an unwitting experience in less than honourable journalism – in Benedict’s case, his comments on inner and outer beauty were used in an egregiously misrepresentative manner by an American tabloid newspaper. The episode begins with a summary of the theme from Aidan and Benedict’s previous conversation, episode 12, Western Downfall: Why Trump Won. Benedict explains whether he feels the conditions which led to Donald Trump’s presidency have begun to change or have continued unabated. Dr. Beckeld was born in Sweden to Brazilian and Jewish parents, but emigrated with his family to New York City as a teenager. Dr. Beckeld’s philosophy has thus far focused primarily on matters of aesthetics, ethics, contemporary culture, political philosophy and the philosophy of history. For more information on Dr. Beckeld, you can find him online at http://www.benedictbeckeld.com and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/benedictbeckeld

Links to items discussed on this show:

Benedict Beckeld web site
Benedict Beckeld on YouTube
Benedict Beckeld, Monism and Inner Beauty, 1 June 2017.
Western Downfall: Why Trump Won