BREAKING: Our press corps' brain on stampede, part 2!

SATURDAY, AUGUST 25, 2018

Bret Stephens believes in the truth:
Almost surely, CNN's Chris Cillizza isn't the world's dumbest person.

That said, he'll do in a pinch! Or so we thought when we clicked a link from the New York Times' Bret Stephens—a link which took us to this recent post by Cillizza.

Stephens starts his new column as they'll all be doing now—with a throw-away reference to "truth isn't truth." This is very much the way their brains look on stampede.

In fact, it was perfectly obvious what Rudy Giuliani was saying when he made his "truth isn't truth" remark on Meet the Press. He was making the world's most obvious statement, as the full transcript of the exchange makes perfectly clear:

He was saying a person can make a true statement which won't be accepted as truth. He was saying a person can be charged with lying even though he's telling the truth.

It's perfectly obvious that this is true, and that this is what Giuliani was saying. But when our "journalists" start a stampede, they like their claims against their target to be comically obvious.

They'll rarely read a full chunk of transcript if a comical claim can be derived from the first few words which were said. It's how their brains work on stampede. They've behaved this way many times in the past, and they'll do so again.

People are dead all over the world because they behave this way. But thanks to a basic fact of life, people like Stephens will continue to function this way.

That basic fact of life is this: we actually aren't "the rational animal," as Aristotle is said to have said. As Professor Harari has instead suggested, we're "the animal inclined to gossip and to adopt group fictions." We're the animal inclined to stampede, as our journalists are currently doing.

"Witch hunts" can be directed at guilty parties; that doesn't mean they weren't witch hunts. Truth to tell, there's a bit of a hunt going on right now, a bit of a press corps stampede.

Regarding Cillizza: We'd planned to discuss one part of the Cillizza piece to which Stephens links. We'd planned to connect it to something Brian said last night.

Our intentions were the best. Sorry. Too depressing.

Regarding Lanny Davis: Has Lanny Davis ever met his client, Michael Cohen? That's the question with which we were left after watching Davis speak with Anderson Cooper this past Wednesday night.

Has Lanny Davis ever met Mike? To see what your best guess might be, you can peruse the transcript here.

45 comments:

  1. Mention of Bret Stephens reminds me that the New York Times's idea of a balanced op-ed staff is to include conservative Trump-haters as well as liberal Trump-haters. The PBS NewsHour follows a similar standard, with never-Trumper David Brooks as their conservative pundit.

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    1. Most of these people were hired before Trump declared his candidacy. How did the NY Times know it would work out that way?

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    2. Anybody with a heart and a soul hates Mr Trump.

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    3. Does Somerby hate Trump?

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    4. Comrade DinC, you treasonous bastard, once you eliminate the neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and discredited degenerate sexists as well as former John Birchers such as yourself, there aren't that any left, to be fair willing to love ( is that the opposite of hate?) President Chickenshit, the lying sack of shit depraved racist traitorous coward.

      By the way, what do you think of CNN paying former trumpsters who have signed NDAs and are being paid monthly by President Chickenshit to commentate on their shows, without ever disclosing to their viewers that they are legally prohibited from voicing any criticism of President Chickenshit? You OK with that, Comrade DinC, you treasonous dishonest lying bastard?

      I also enjoy watching CNN daily "debates" between a pro-trump republican and a never trump republican. Looks like they covered the full spectrum there too.

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    5. My friends who are Trump supporters dislike Trump but they like what he has been doing to our country. Like the Republican establishment, they support him because he is implementing their agenda. So, they get to hate him while getting what they want done, without having to take any responsibility for it.

      These people who have been my friends and now occupy some other poorly defined category, don't seem to have much heart or soul either, despite giving lip service to hating Trump.

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    6. Anon 2:18 "Most of these people were hired before Trump declared his candidacy."

      That's what my wife said when I made this observation about the PBS NewsHour, her favorite TV show. My response is this: Suppose the same thing had happened with Barack Obama. That is, suppose the NewsHour wound up with two Obama foes. I am sure they'd have done something to get an Obama supporter on the team.

      BTW I will give the Times credit for publishing this article
      Breaking Norms Will Renew Democracy, Not Ruin It
      Most of President Trump’s alleged transgressions offend against the etiquette of modern liberal governance, not the Constitution.

      By Charles R. Kesler

      https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/23/opinion/trump-democracy-norm-breaking.html

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    7. How would you feel if you read an article in your local paper that said "breaking laws will renew law and order, not ruin it"? Would you find it plausible?

      These so-called norms are not simply a matter of etiquette. Some of them are important boundaries that haven't been explicitly spelled out because it never occurred to anyone that they would ever be broken by a person elected President. A constitution that had to spell out everything would be too cumbersome and bulky, but also too inflexible to apply to new situations.

      Trumps transgressions offend against what decent people consider to be civilized behavior -- who would ever think it necessary to make a rule against separating toddlers from their parents?

      The NY Times is giving a platform for Trump apologists who are contributing to the feeling that craziness has taken over and we are no longer safe with Trump at the helm. That cannot be good for the country.

      The rules that are most obvious to everyone are never codified because everyone knows them. Trump horrifies good people because he stomps on decency. There is no way to construe that as a good thing. Those who try are bent inside and have a dark place where their heart should be.

      Don't be that guy, David.

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    8. Thanks for a well-written rebuttal 6:27 (except for the last two sentences, which are beneath you.)

      Trump has not broken any laws, (that is, not as President.) He has violated norms. The article gives examples of past Presidents who violated norms. Violating norms can lead to improvement. E.g., Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement violated norms that blacks were 2nd class citizens. Women's rights and abortion rights and gay rights all violated the prior norms, leading to a better American society,

      Trump followed the law while violating unwritten rules by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital and now withholding withheld money from the Palestinians because they were using it for terrorism. Trump violated the norms by pressuring other countries to behave better in NATO and regarding trade. Time will tell whether his pressure leads to improved or worsened situations.

      BTW the unwritten rules haven't always been actually followed. E.g., we now know that JFK and probably FDR didn't follow sexual rules.

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    9. I will not go read Kesler's article. If he said MLK violated norms, he is wrong. MLK deliberately broke laws as "civil disobedience" and both he and those in his civil rights movement were arrested and jailed repeatedly. Women's rights activist (called suffragettes) also broke laws and were imprisoned. Margaret Sanger was imprisoned because she broke laws against birth control. They went on hunger strikes while in prison. I am less familiar with the gay rights movement but I believe those who demonstrated at Stonewall were imprisoned too and certainly many gays have gone to jail, not simply been ostracized before cruel laws were changed. So these are spectacularly bad examples that confuse the definitions of law and social norm.

      Trump has broken a lot of laws. He has yet to be tried for them and I hope to live to see him imprisoned. Trump has violated treaties (which is NOT what is meant by violating norms). His foreign policy is the least of his legal problems.

      Examples of violating norms include but are not limited to such things as: (1) appointing his children to paid federal office, (2) appointing unqualified people to responsible cabinet and other positions, such as science officers with no science training, (3) failure to express condolences after tragedies, failure to visit troops overseas, failure to write letters to military families after death in combat (until prodded), (4) failure to attend church, excessive golfing and taking more vacations than anyone ever before, (5) selling Mar-a-Lago memberships and permitting those who buy them to influence government activity, (6) use of public office to sell condos, hats, other merchandise, (7) use of public functions to engage in campaigning, (8) conducting meetings with Russian leaders without any US witnesses present, (9) tearing up public documents instead of preserving them, (10) tweeting things no President should ever say, (11) commenting on trials while in progress to taint the jury, (12) replacing secret service with his own paid security staff, (13) failure to keep relationship with first lady cordial so that the first lady participates in public functions appropriately, (14) failure to read documents and receive briefings, no effort at all to be informed about important background information but reliance on a partisan TV channel instead...and so on. For example, no one would ever think to make a law that the president must learn about the specifics of his job -- that is taken for granted, except that Trump has entirely ignored it and made no effort whatsoever to know what he is doing, ever.

      Beside these things, whatever dalliances JFK or FDR had were nothing, especially since they had no impact on government. In contrast, Trump has done things that weaken government and demonstrate his complete incompetence.

      He will be taken down because of the laws he has broken, and they are major and not listed above. But you cannot try someone with evidence, so we must wait while our intelligence services do their job. But that delay doesn't mean Trump is off the hook or not guilty. It means they are being thorough in preparing facts to be used in his removal -- assuming Congress will step up and do its job.

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    10. typo: without evidence (not with evidence)

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    11. (15) Failure to release his tax returns and health report (e.g., writing his own report instead of letting people know the status of his health).

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    12. Never Trumpers are Republicans shocked to learn the Republican Party has been infiltrated by Republicans.

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    13. AnonymousAugust 25, 2018 at 7:22 PM -- maybe you and I have different understandings of the word "norms". To me "norm" represent whatever normal behavior happens to be at the time. But normal behavior may not always be good behavior.

      Before the civil rights movement, Jim Crow was normal in the South and extreme discrimination was normal in the rest of the country. These were the "norms". Civil rights workers blew away these ugly norms, and we are all grateful that they did so. Ditto for gay rights, women's rights, etc.

      Before Trump it was normal for Republicans like George Bush and Mitt Romney to respond politely when they were called racists, fascists and other false slanders. Trump responds to false ugly slanders with false ugly slanders of his own. in a vacuum that's bad behavior for a President. But, from a Republican POV there's something to like when your guy fights back.

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    14. "Norms are the unwritten but understood rules of a society or culture for the behaviors that are considered acceptable and expected." That means they are not just what people do, but what people are expected to do. Jim Crow may have been prevalent in the south but it was not the nation's norm. It was an aberration.

      Responding to slander with slander is not normative. It is aberrant. It is bad behavior when an eight year old does it, and not expected for an adult or certainly a president.

      Why hasn't Trump released his tax form? What does that have to do with fighting back? Why did he appoint his kids to office? None of that bad behavior is explained by "fighting back."

      You are telling us that you take pleasure when Trump hurts someone, because they are Democrats? Do you also feel the same way when he hurts immigrants?

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    15. David is a truly warped individual, a man who was given every privilege and opportunity this great country had to offer, yet walks around resentful and bitter and carrying grudges and forever playing the fucking victim. Fuck you David.

      The president of the US is abusing his office to punish critics who have served our country selflessly. He is abusing his office to push the independent Justice Department to harass his political opponents. He is abusing his office by using his power of the pardon to obstruct justice in plain sight.

      This despicable wannabe dictator couldn't tell you the first thing about our Constitution or name a single Bill of Rights. And he's a fucking lying sack of shit coward.

      I think Steve Schmidt has expressed it as well as anyone can.

      This president is an autocrat. He is not a small d democrat. He doesn't believe in liberal democracy.

      And what we're seeing here every day are five behaviors:

      One, he incites fervor in a base through constant lying.

      Two, he scapegoats minority populations and he affixes blame for complex problems to them and them alone.

      Three, he alleges conspiracies that are hidden and nefarious and linked to those scapegoated populations.

      Four, he spreads a sense of victimizations among those fervent supporters. [that's you, David, you fucking treasonous bastard]

      And five, he asserts the need to exert heretofore unprecedented power to protect his victim class from the conspiracies and the scapegoated populations.

      Through all of history, you understand totalitarianism, you understand how democracies fall. You will find those five behaviors. Now, the Republican Party and the Democratic Party I would argue and you and I disagree on many many things but we are fidelitious to liberal democracy.

      That government of the people, by the people, for the people must continue. The Republican Party has abdicated, conservativism has become synonymous with obedience to the leader -- a leader who says "I am the law. I am above the law. I will define what truth is, truth is what the leader says it is."


      On this day when the nation mourns the passing of Senator John McCain, there are many who call themselves Republicans like David who despised McCain and are celebrating. Fuck you David.

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    16. "One, he incites fervor in a base through constant lying. "

      I'm sure David in Cal would agree that Trump only does so, because his base wants desperately to be lied to.

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    17. Most Republicans want a supreme court that will implement their policies, judges picked for partisan reasons. They cannot achieve this by convincing a majority, so they will cheat to get it. They don't care who or what Trump is, as long as he gets them those justices. They will even sell out their country to the Russians. David is part of their attempt to convince the rest of the nation this isn't what's happening.

      This isn't about lies. It is about power.

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    18. Anon 1:23 Most Republicans want a supreme court that will implement their policies, judges picked for partisan reasons. They cannot achieve this by convincing a majority, so they will cheat to get it.

      IMHO it's liberals who want a Supreme Court that will implement their preferred policies. E.g., consider abortion. I happen to be pro-choice, but it's clear that the Constitution says nothing about abortion or when human life begins. Nevertheless, liberal Justices ruled that the Constitution requires that abortion must be legal everywhere regardless of state laws.

      If conservatives behaved as 1:23 PM claims, then conservatives would want the Court to rule the opposite -- that the Constitution requires that abortion must be illegal everywhere, regardless of state law. But, no Justice takes this and no Conservative demands that Justices take this position. The Conservative position on abortion is that the decision should be made by elected officials.

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    19. mm,

      I admire your argumentation, your vehemence, and your coherent use of language.

      (Well, except for fidelitious, which is not a word, and if were, sounds like it would mean faithfully delicious or perhaps deliciously faithful. You could go with the obsolete fidelious, but your best choice is the simple faithful.

      Sorry. I just can’t stop the editing. It’s a gift.

      No, what’s that other thing? Oh, yeah. A curse.)

      Alas, I believe that your efforts are wasted. David is a moral and intellectual idiot. The latter means that he is incapable of understanding an argument grounded in reason, which leads to the former state in which he reaches moral conclusions absent rational thought. What do you do with someone who claims to be pro-choice but thinks elected officials should be able to control the bodily integrity of women? You can argue all day that forced-birthers should not be able to demand that a pregnant woman relinquish the right to deny another the use of her body without her consent. But David will be unable to understand. He actually believes that fetusolators, who equate abortion with murder, don’t demand that abortion be illegal everywhere.

      To convince him otherwise is like teaching your dog to solve quadratic equations. Would you scold your dog for his refusal to learn algebra? “Bad boy! You have to divide by twice the coefficient of the squared term.” That’s what you’re doing when you call him a treasonous bastard.

      By the way, I love David’s term “false slanders,” which leaves open the possibility of true slanders, which I suppose would be in the same class as alternative facts. It is sometimes worth pointing out David’s egregious ignorance. I’ve done that myself. Anonymous on August 26, 2018 at 10:27A did an admirable job on norms. (10:27A might have also pointed out that David can’t find a single example of anyone in the opposing political apparat who called Bush père et fils or Willard racist or fascist.)

      But the waste of effort and talent only gives him credence as a rational opponent. Save it for those who can learn algebra.

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    20. David can’t find a single example of anyone in the opposing political apparat who called Bush père et fils or Willard racist or fascist.

      BUSH IS A FASCIST AND A RACIST

      Olbermann may be the case in point here. Appearing nightly on cable news during the Bush presidency, he accused Bush of being a fascist and a liar who was “siding with the terrorists.” He likened Bush to the “greatest political felons of our history.” He suggested Bush might have committed treason.
      https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/11/04/i-apologize-to-george-w-bush-trump-is-the-really-dangerous-one-is-a-terrible-argument/?utm_term=.7ccd6e29e6e4

      https://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2015/may/12/rich-lowry/did-liberal-writer-warn-about-bush-fascist-takeove/

      Loudly and regularly, Presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush were all accused of fascism. https://www.google.com/search?q=bush+fascist&rlz=1C1GGRV_enUS751US751&ei=IBSDW9iqCZyv0PEP9ZqAiAw&start=20&sa=N&biw=1280&bih=629

      The idea that the Bush administration is imposing fascism on the United States has become increasingly commonplace in leftist and liberal circles. It's often taken as a given in political discussions, at protest rallies, and on the Internet. Sometimes this is little more than name calling, but over the past six years, a number of critics have offered serious arguments to back up the claim, http://newpol.org/content/bush-administration-fascist

      BARBARA BUSH WAS THE ULTIMATE CASUAL RACIST “NICE WHITE LADY” http://afropunk.com/2018/04/barbara-bush-was-the-ultimate-casual-racist-nice-white-lady/

      False charge that Bush refused to sell his home to blacks. https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/bush-whacked/

      George Walker Bush 11th most racist President (this nutty article sees No Child Left Behind as racist, even though it was the exact opposite. And the list excludes Woodrow Wilson!) https://www.huffingtonpost.com/ibram-x-kendi/would-a-president-trump-m_b_10135836.html




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    21. ROMNEY IS A FASCIST AND A RACIST

      Mitt Romney's Racist Appeals: How Race Was Played in the 2012 Presidential Election https://www.researchgate.net/publication/274307150_Mitt_Romney's_Racist_Appeals_How_Race_Was_Played_in_the_2012_Presidential_Election

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      Last time, the complaint was that Mitt Romney’s slogan was formerly used by the Ku Klux Klan – a claim that turned out to be complete fiction. Now Romney’s latest slogan is being criticized for supposedly promoting racial stereotypes.
      https://www.commentarymagazine.com/politics-ideas/campaigns-elections/romney-new-slogan-termed-racist/

      DNC Chair: Romney Welfare Attacks Are Racist https://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/robert-schlesinger/2012/08/30/dnc-chair-romney-welfare-attacks-are-racist


      5 Disturbing Signs Romney Would Steer Us to Towards a Capitalist Dictatorship...Capitalist dictatorship has many similarities to fascism https://www.alternet.org/election-2012/5-disturbing-signs-romney-would-steer-us-towards-capitalist-dictatorship

      Mitt Romney; Is He Fascist Enough for the GOP? http://blamebush.typepad.com/blamebush/2007/02/mitt_romney_is_.html

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    22. deadrat David will be unable to understand. He actually believes that fetusolators, who equate abortion with murder, don’t demand that abortion be illegal everywhere.

      I was responding to Anon 1:23 PM's claim that "Most Republicans want a supreme court that will implement their policies...". As you say, anti-abortion Republicans want abortion to be illegal, BUT they don't ask the Supreme Court to do that job for them. All they ask of the Supreme Court is to not rule on abortion one way or the other.

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    23. deadrat,
      I like it when mm kicks David in Cal's ass over and over. I hope mm continues.

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    24. deadrat,

      I share your admiration for mm’s various stellar qualities. And, I have to agree that arguing with Snickelfritz in Cal is wasteful (both of time and neurons). Regretfully, I’ve indulged a few too many times and am slightly older and more frazzled for my troubles.

      Although, one could still admire (or at least be in awe of) the chutzpah-on-meth of this one:

      "Civil rights workers blew away these ugly norms, and we are all grateful that they did so. Ditto for gay rights, women's rights, etc."

      We! All! Holy shit. One might even surmise Snickelfritz in Cal is talking about conservatives, republicans or even trumpies when he says “we…all” are grateful for these awesome societal improvements. One might base this extrapolation on—well—every fucking word he’s ever written in this comment section. If so, that would be quite comical, even for him. In fairness, when he says “we,” it’s certainly possible he is referring to himself, his (far) better half and a few long-suffering family members.

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    25. Dude,

      You’ve pointed out David’s moral blindness, what I call his moral idiocy. Somehow he’s managed with regard to civil rights to come down on the right side, although this isn’t always the case. But here it’s through the lens of belief that makes the American Era of Southern Apartheid (1872-1966) a “norm” for our society.

      But really it’s his intellectual idiocy that’s the major problem and that makes conversation with him a waste of time. He simply doesn’t understand what evidence is. He claims sans evidence that Bush and Romney were accused of being fascists. When he read my challenge to find evidence, he came up with the website blamebush.typepad.com. Who’s behind this website? Who knows? But here’s the endorsement section of the site:

      <quote>
      Raging Dave
      "...you f*cking piece of sh*t. You're a f*cking moron."

      Goose-Steppin' Dana
      "I want to bear Liberal Larry's love child."

      blogoSFERICS
      "If you’re not reading Blame Bush every day, you’re...not reading Blame Bush every day. "

      Mike Webb, Talk Radio Icon
      "You're so full of sh**!"

      Scrutiny Hooligans
      "One of the most offensive sites I've seen in blogtopia"

      Generation Why?
      "Your idiocy reaches epic proportions..."
      </quote>

      Clearly the site isn’t part of the Democratic Party apparat, and it clearly isn’t taking itself seriously. But David simply can’t tell. I should use the past tense about the website since it hasn’t been updated since 2009. The enduring present tense is still apt for David.

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    26. It is worthwhile answering David when he gets too ridiculous because you are not talking to him but to the uncountable lurkers.

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  2. "It's perfectly obvious that this is true, and that this is what Giuliani was saying. But when our "journalists" start a stampede, they like their claims against their target to be comically obvious. "

    To be fair, Giuliani and Trump have both abetted the nonsense these reporters are engaging in. They have both told so many lies that they insisted were truth that they have lost any standing to discuss the truth. This current mockery is about the larger picture in which neither Giuliani nor Trump has made many truthful statements.

    So, I agree that journalists tend to take things out of context to poke fun at their targets, but in this case, Giuliani and Trump wouldn't know the truth if it bit them.

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  3. OMG, please, not Lanny Davis again; not this hack, one of the most disgusting liberal hacks of the Bubba's era...

    How can you survive watching this scumbag for more than 10 seconds, Bob? Are you a zombie, by chance?

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    1. It was so nice while you were gone.

      Isn't it obvious that part of Davis's value to Cohen is the in-your-face affront to Trump of hiring a Clinton staff member. Haven't you been following politics for the past five years?

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    2. And of course Somerby's main focus at the moment is to discredit Davis.

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    3. A new Mao has been assigned. Will he be as big an arsehole as the old Mao?

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    4. Even trolls take vacations, I guess.

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    5. Hope you enjoyed the dacha.

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  4. "That basic fact of life is this: we actually aren't "the rational animal," as Aristotle is said to have said. As Professor Harari has instead suggested, we're "the animal inclined to gossip and to adopt group fictions." We're the animal inclined to stampede, as our journalists are currently doing."

    Being rational and engaging in gossip and group fictions are not mutually exclusive. One can do all three of these things. Gossip is not necessarily incorrect. Fiction is by definition made up, but that doesn't make it irrational. There are lots of made up syllogisms that conform perfectly to the dictates of formal logic. You can probably write one that includes gossip. But Somerby wants to consider rationality incompatible with gossip and fiction. He is wrong about this and we know that because we can produce examples that contradict his assertion. Further, the truth value of a statement is unrelated to its rationality in terms of logic.

    Then Somerby keeps saying that the journalists are being stampeded. When people do things in a similar way, they aren't necessarily blindly following a leader in a state of panic. In this case, they are using a paradoxical statement by Giuliani as a lede because they independently recognize that it will attract attention to their work. That is part of being skillful at their job.

    Presenting Giuliani's remark as paradoxical is unfair to Giuliani, but it is not entirely incorrect to portray him as saying something contradictory about the truth when he is an obvious liar with no real regard for truth. Hard to weep for Giuliani in this situation. But those journalists know what they are doing and they aren't copying each other but more likely independently reinventing an obvious device.

    Again, I have to ask why Somerby is so concerned about defending Giuliani from the press. Seems to me he is fair game. He has chosen to represent a liar by telling lies himself, so mocking his statements about truth seems like justice, not the kind of abuse handed out to Al Gore when his statements were lifted out of context. In this situation, truth-telling (or the absence thereof) is the larger context, so it is hard to argue this mockery is really out of context at all. Giuliani has earned this.

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    1. What's the point of interviewing Giuliani?
      Are they hoping he might accidentally make a good faith argument? If so, they're wasting their (and our) time.

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  5. "Stephens starts his new column as they'll all be doing now..."

    Apparently, Somerby is blaming journalists for a stampede that hasn't taken place yet (note future tense in quote).

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  6. "He was saying a person can be charged with lying even though he's telling the truth."

    Mueller, if he even bothers to "charge" Trump with lying, will not "charge" him solely on the basis of Comey's testimony. Any competent prosecutor will only charge when there is corroborating evidence to prove the lie.

    Giuliani is doing two things: he is attempting to suggest that Mueller will act prejudicially, and thus is biased and untrustworthy, and Giuliani is concocting this as a bogus reason why Trump shouldn't testify.

    That Somerby, as someone dedicated to defending "our discourse", is trying to explain away the awful abuse to our discourse that is being committed by Giuliani and Trump is a dereliction of duty.

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  7. “Has Lanny Davis ever met his client, Michael Cohen?”

    The answer to this rhetorical question is yes. And here’s what Davis had to say about his client:

    <quote>
    Well, there are people in life who have transformative experiences and they're sincere and there are people who continue to lie and are opportunists. You have to judge which is which when you use your instincts, when you get to know someone. I took a while in making the judgment that he was ready to talk about Mr. Trump and his knowledge about Mr. Trump and the disadvantages that he now saw that as a businessman were very dangerous as president.

    Now, whether he's telling the truth or not is anybody's judgment. And your skepticism is certainly not only entitled [sic; I expect he means warranted] but founded [sic; I expect he means based] on what he did in the past. I made the judgment that I believed him. And I would believe him based on his words and his deeds.
    </quote>

    (Emphasis mine.)

    Now, I don’t believe either of them. Cohen has been a liar and a grifter so long that I expect he wouldn’t recognize the truth if he accidentally encountered it. I think the USA in the SDNY had the goods on Cohen for crimes committed in the course of his business, and in the expectation of leniency, promised or dearly hoped for, Cohen confessed to conspiring with Trump.

    Davis is Cohen’s lawyer and thus his advocate, and he’s a soi disant “crisis manager.” Both roles dictate that he present Cohen as repentant.

    But I can’t imagine a fairer statement about the situation than the one I quoted. Apparently TDH believes as I do, but he can’t know any more than I do about the interiority of either man. So what’s the problem here?


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    1. Depends on the size of his body parts.

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    2. Somerby has yet to specify his problem with Davis. Apparently.

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  8. Somerby says: "Witch hunts" can be directed at guilty parties; that doesn't mean they weren't witch hunts. Truth to tell, there's a bit of a hunt going on right now, a bit of a press corps stampede."

    Definition of Witch Hunt: "a campaign directed against a person or group holding unorthodox or unpopular views"

    We can measure the popularity of Trump and his views, but any opposition of Republican views by Democrats could fit this definition, since the views of the opposing party and not orthodox or popular for our party. Does this mean that Democrats can never campaign against the opposing party without it being a witch hunt? Apparently not.

    The term witch hunt is highly negative because the persecution of witches was not only politically motivated but witchcraft didn't exist, so all of the witches were innocent of being witches.

    In the case of Trump and his minions, they do exist, and they have committed crimes of which there exists considerable evidence, now being collected by Mueller. Given that the crimes are real, does it matter whether Trump's views are orthodox or popular or not?

    It is a huge insult to Democrats to accuse them of calling for the investigation and prosecution Trump for his views when it is his crimes that are the affront! Further, this investigation began with a non-partisan agency of government because of suspected interference in our election by a foreign country. That has nothing to do with the popularity of Trump's views. But Somerby has repeatedly accused both the press and us liberals of pursuing this investigation because we dislike Trump and his policies.

    Much as a I do dislike Trump, I wouldn't support an investigation because of that dislike. I consider Trump a suspected traitor and believe he needs to be investigated and prosecuted for his crimes against our country, not because he is an idiot who believes in conspiracy theories and supports the alt-Right. He is a liar, a thief, and Putin's bitch. And he needs to be prosecuted for his crimes no matter what the political climate, no matter what his level of popularity, and no matter how orthodox or unorthodox his views. Because he is a mobster and a crook.

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  9. Here is the violation of a norm. Trump has returned the American flag to full staff (from half staff) before the funeral of Senator McCain. It is the norm to leave it at half staff until the funeral.

    Why has Trump broken this norm? Because he is a petty person, unfit to be President.

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  10. Lanny Davis is apparently walking back statements he made previously "on background" about what Cohen knows about Trump's knowledge about Russian interference in the election.

    Somerby portrayed that as the press rushing in, but it seems that the press was just reporting what it had on good authority and it is Davis who is changing his story:

    "“Lanny Davis, a spokesman and attorney for Cohen, said in an interview this weekend that he is no longer certain about claims he made to reporters on background and on the record in recent weeks about what Cohen knows about Trump’s awareness of the Russian efforts.”

    I believe Somerby owes the press an apology. It wasn't the stampede that got things wrong -- it was Davis who jerked them around.

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