TRUMP AND TRIBE: I know you are, but what am I?

THURSDAY, MARCH 7, 2019

Tribal cries abound:
In a single unfortunate moment, Candidate Hillary Clinton offered the most famous example of the phenomenon to which we wish to refer.

In that one unfortunate moment, she stated a view of the 63 million people who would end up voting for Donald J. Trump.

Most significantly, she stated a view of 31.5 million of those people. Aside from her more specific assertions, some or all of those people were "irredeemable," she unwisely said:
CLINTON (9/9/16): You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump's supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? They're racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic–you name it. And unfortunately, there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people—now have 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive, hateful, mean-spirited rhetoric. Now, some of those folks–they are irredeemable, but thankfully, they are not America.
It wasn't clear if all those people were "irredeemable," or if it was only some. As Clinton continued, she said the other half of Trump's supporters "are people who feel the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them...Those are people we have to understand and empathize with as well."

This statement drew a lot of attention. It's possible to imagine that Clinton would have ended up in the White House if that statement had never been made.

(As it was, she won the popular vote by 2.9 million votes.)

If Clinton had ended up in the White House, we'd currently be enduring a nightmare of crackpot congressional investigations amid a welter of crazy charges and claims, just as we did throughout the Clinton presidency and the Gore campaign.

We'd be inside an insane asylum, as we were during those earlier years. There would have been more push-back this time, but our species' capacity for irrational conduct would have been on full display once again.

Doggone us rational animals! We're strongly inclined to stampede off in thrall to tribal battle cries—in thrall to the compelling group "fictions" Professor Harari describes in his best-selling book, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind.

According to Harari, our species' ability to invent and rally behind such "fictions" explains the way our ancestors came to drive all other human species into extinction. We have no idea if that's true, but here's part of the way he describes it:
HARARI (page 17): But if the Neanderthals, Denisovans and other human species didn’t merge with Sapiens, why did they vanish? One possibility is that Homo sapiens drove them to extinction...Sapiens were more proficient hunters and gatherers—thanks to better technology and superior social skills—so they multiplied and spread. The less resourceful Neanderthals found it increasingly difficult to feed themselves. Their population dwindled and they slowly died out, except perhaps for one or two members who joined their Sapiens neighbors.

Another possibility is that competition for resources flared up into violence and genocide. Tolerance is not a Sapiens trademark. In modern times, a small difference in skin color, dialect or religion has been enough to prompt one group of Sapiens to set about exterminating another group. Would ancient Sapiens have been more tolerant towards an entirely different human species? It may well be that when Sapiens encountered Neanderthals, the result was the first and most significant ethnic-cleansing campaign in history.
Oof. Is that what our species' ancestors did? For ourselves, we have no idea. But we'd have to say that Clinton's sweeping remark tends to fit Harari's template.

Clinton issued a sweeping statement concerning half of The Others. They weren't just racist, she said—though, like Michael Cohen last week, she started her portrait with that.

Half of The Others were also some combination of sexist, homophobic, xenophobic and/or Islamophobic, Clinton also said. "You name it," the candidate said, perhaps in a bit of a species-specific self-portrait.

On this unfortunate occasion, Clinton chose to be "grossly generalistic." "You name it," she cheekily said, to applause and laughter, telling members of her tribe that they could denounce The Others pretty much as they chose.

In Clinton's assessment, The Others weren't simply racist; as many as half of Trump's supporters were simply "irredeemable!" So it may have gone, Harari suggests, when the Neanderthals and the Denisovans were driven into the sea by our ancestors, among whom tolerance may not have been a defining trait.

Our species is strongly inclined to invent and pursue The Other. And it doesn't just happen Over There; it happens within our liberal tents too.

All across the globe, tribal groups within our species tend to invent and demonize The Other. Within our current liberal tribe, we tend to do so under the battle cry of "racism." This comes quite close to being the type of persuasive group "fiction" Harari describes in his book.

That doesn't mean that no one is "racist." It means that we love to issue this bomb, and tend to do so in a remarkably casual manner.

We love to call people racist! The term is applied in scattershot ways, with little need for careful assessment. Consider what happened during Michael Cohen's public hearing last week.

Late in the session, Rep. Rashida Tlaib accused Rep. Mark Meadows of being a racist, or at least of having committed a racist act. Storm and fury ensued, with Tlaib formally saying that she hadn't called Meadows a racist.

Along the way, Meadows accused Tlaib of committing a racist act herself. Increasingly, "I know you are but what am I?" is becoming the way our warring tribes pretend to debate.

That night, Lawrence O'Donnell stepped boldly into the fray. He started by assuring viewers that Tlaib had indeed called Meadows a racist. She had only pretended to walk her charge back for procedural reasons, Lawrence told us.

As he did, he brushed Tlaib's account of her own actions and intentions aside.

After "mansplaining" Tlaib's behavior, Lawrence led us into battle. "If Mark Meadows isn't a racist, no one is," he eventually said, specifically saying that Meadows was even worse than George Wallace.
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Without any question, everyone can be seen as a racist if we want to have it that way. For one outstanding example, consider Lawrence himself.

As he teased his segment about Tlaib and Meadows, he said this about Tlaib's initial remarks and her subsequent explanation of same:

"I`ll explain why all of that happened, in the sequence that it happened, and what you need to know about the House rules that explains why all that happened. Next!"

So great! Lawrence proceeded to tell us what Tlaib had really done, brushing aside her own account of her own behavior. Why isn't that a racist and sexist act, perhaps a sign of misogyny?

The answer to your question is simple: Because Lawrence is part of our own tribe Over Here! At times like these, the heated accusations are reserved for The Others, for the irredeemable Neanderthals who can be found Over There.

Lawrence brushed Tlaib aside, mansplaining her intention. He also said that no one's a bigger racist than Meadows:

"If Mark Meadows isn't a racist, no one is. Even George Wallace eventually apologized for his racist tactics as governor of Alabama before he died."

So true! We've dealt with Hitler and David Duke, but no one's worse than Meadows! So it goes when "rational animals" expand their tribe's group "fictions."

Is Rep. Meadows a racist? Thanks to people like Lawrence, we're no longer sure we know what that term even means.

Lawrence wants Meadows to apologize for having made two comments, during the 2012 campaign, suggesting that President and Candidate Obama really did hail from Kenya. By the time Lawrence spoke, Meadows had already addressed that issue, but Lawrence forgot to say that.

It's also true that Rep. Cummings—he lives half a mile from our sprawling campus—said that Meadows is "one of my best friends" (Cummings' emphasis). Frankly, it's starting to sound like Cummings is a bit suspect too.

Is Rep. Cummings a racist? When we decide to march to war, eventually everyone is! Everyone but you and your friends, and you're no longer sure about them!

We humans are strongly inclined to behave in these slightly sub-rational ways. We'll ask the question we've asked all week:

Is it possible that this could help Donald Trump win re-election?

Tomorrow: Tomasky follows Clinton's lead; Lemon slices and dices

54 comments:

  1. "It's possible to imagine that Clinton would have ended up in the White House if that statement had never been made."

    Clinton herself analyzes the impact of her unfortunate statement (for which she apologized) in her book "What Happened." She explains the reasons why she believes it had minimal impact on the election. Nate Silver also analyzes the impact of that statement and other factors on her election, concluding that the biggest impact was Comey's last-minute announcement. Other influences that had a biggert impact include the Russian social media attacks targeting left voters and funneling them toward Jill Stein and abstention (in support of Bernie). These alone were enough to account for her loss in those three unexpected states. The claim that Clinton didn't spend enough time there becomes ridiculous when you see how much time she spent in PA (which she lost) and figure in Biden's appearances as her surrogate. Those who think Biden can win should understand that Clinton lost several states despite his supposed help there.

    So, Somerby's repeated claim that Clinton's deplorable statement mattered in the election has little support. It is just another way to bash Clinton while advancing his view that Democrats need to coddle the feelings of The Other, who we supposedly vilify every chance we get.

    Worn out, tired old theme. Doesn't Somerby ever have a new thought in his head? A real person would. That's why I think Somerby is acting as an agent of Russia in advance of the coming election in 2020. It takes extreme gullibility to believe that Somerby is any kind of liberal or acting in good faith these days.

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  2. Actually, in my opinion, Hillary is correct.
    She shouldn't have said it, but it, in my opinion is true.

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    1. I agree. I felt a sense of relief when she said it, because someone was pointing out the truth. Then I was sad when she walked it back. Here was Hillary, accused of being inauthentic, being authentic for once and then being so chastised that she had to go back to being circumspect. In my opinion what she said was true too.

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    2. I remember thinking. "Oooh, very, very dumb move."

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    3. When you think of all the awful things Trump says about others and then compare it to what Hillary said, her remark is so tame.

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    4. Relax, Bob. We're heading into 2020, you don't have Hillary to kick around anymore.

      Just this past weekend, Donald J Chickenshit, Acting President, stood up for more than two hours in front of the circus otherwise known as the Republican Party, vomiting an open sewer of vicious lies, malicious slander, inflammatory bullshit, and everyone just shrugs.

      What am I supposed to feel when the fucking ignorant lying sack of shit says I'm a baby killer, Bob? Is that as bad as saying some of his supporters are "deplorable"? Just wondering, since that will be the theme of the upcoming campaign.

      "if they didn’t want the child, who is now outside of the womb — long outside of the womb — they will execute the baby after birth."

      Bullshit!


      The "Green New Deal" proposed by some Democrats "would end air travel."

      Bullshit!

      "Robert Mueller put 13 of the angriest Democrats in the history of our country on the commission."

      Bullshit, you fucking coward.

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  3. "Thanks to people like Lawrence, we're no longer sure we know what that term even means."

    Sure we do, Bob. And don't be coy, you know it as well as I do.

    'Racist' is anyone hated by your totalitarian lib-zombie cult.

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    1. I was about to post exactly the same.

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  4. "Without any question, everyone can be seen as a racist if we want to have it that way"

    So, lets just ignore racism and let everyone go back to being as racist as they want, as racist as our society used to be, as blatantly racist and vocally racist as they would be now had civil rights activists never objected.

    And racist words tend to accompany racist deeds. Shall we let those deeds rise to their previous levels again? If any small act can be considered racist then why try to deal with overt racist behavior any more?

    There are still racists saying and doing racist things in our society. They should pay a social cost for doing so, and a legal one where their deeds break the law, and a political cost if they are politicians.

    Somerby wants us all to stop talking about racism. Then he won't have to worry about his own racist thoughts and he can live comfortably in his racial haven of Baltimore, where black people think racism is a thing of the past and no one cares if the occasional white person screws up and uses a black person as a token, promising her a reality show role in exchange for validating the non-racist character of the person using her to his benefit. And heaven forbid anyone should call him out on it. Or call out Somerby or Bernie or any other white person on their latent racist words and deeds, because no black person should ever embarrass a white person by pointing out that racist behavior. It might make them upset and The Other can NEVER be upset or they won't vote for Democrats, as if they ever would anyway.

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    1. *** Public Service Announcement ***

      First in a new series:
      *** Explaining Things to Anonymous Stupid People ***

      TDH: Without any question, everyone can be seen as a racist if we want to have it that way.
      @12:04: So, lets just ignore racism

      No, the opposite of calling everyone a racist is not ignoring all racists.

      @12:04: And racist words tend to accompany racist deeds. Shall we let those deeds rise to their previous levels again?

      No, TDH is talking about accusations of racism, not racist “deeds.” Why are you?

      @12:04: Somerby wants us all to stop talking about racism.

      No, TDH wants us to stop applying the term racist over-broadly.

      @12:04: Then he won't have to worry about his own racist thoughts….

      Your own thoughts are so disordered that I’d advise tending to that problem before you start guessing the thoughts of others.

      @12:04: And heaven forbid anyone should call him out on it.

      Heaven has done a particularly poor job of forbidding you from “calling out” TDH on variety of bogus claims.

      Time to start reading for comprehension, @12:04. Past time, in fact.

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    2. deadrat,
      Does bob not think trump voters are bigots? Or is Bob making the point that being honest about Trump voters is a losing electoral proposition?

      If it's not Trump's bigotry, I have no idea what Trump offers to get them to vote for him.
      It's not his failed economic policies. Howard Schultz can do that (without the bigotry), and he has a 4% favorability rating from Republicans.
      Bob needs to be clearer with what he is saying here.

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    3. Does bob not think trump voters are bigots?

      I don’t know what TDH thinks about Trump voters. He doesn’t talk much about them.

      Or is Bob making the point that being honest about Trump voters is a losing electoral proposition?

      The point is that people are probably wrong to paint all or most Trump voters with the pejorative brush, and that doing so might well be a losing electoral proposition.

      If it's not Trump's bigotry, I have no idea what Trump offers to get them to vote for him.

      It’s a mystery to me why people fall for conmen, but they do. That doesn’t make them all bigots.

      It's not his failed economic policies.

      To be fair, people have been falling for Republicans’ economic policies that hurt them since Reagan was elected.

      Bob needs to be clearer with what he is saying here.

      Check the receiver before you blame the transmitter. TDH has been saying the same thing over and obsessively over for years: don’t create an “Other” and imbue them all with all the faults.

      Is this really so hard?

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    4. So there are one group, Democrats and Republicans.
      There are one group, the Left and the Right.
      There are one group, when it comes to abortion policy, those who believe in a woman's right to choose what to do with her body, and those who don't.

      Now that I understand Bob's point, I'm pretty sure he's an idiot.

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    5. I think you’re getting close, but there are always two groups: the one you identify with and the one that you don’t.

      So, in TDH’s view if you like the Democratic nominee, then you and the others who support that nominee are (real) Democrats. Those who don’t support the Democratic nominee are the Other. To a close approximation the Other is the Republican Party.

      You are generally right, and the Other is generally deplorable. This precludes membership in the Other by those who are sincerely motivated by a different philosophy or by those who are mistaken or by those who aren’t paying attention.

      Let’s try another. Let’s say you believe that it’s a pregnant mother’s right to determine at any time during her pregnancy whether she carries to term. In this case, you are Pro-Choice and the Other are Forced Birthers. You are right, and the Other are fanatic Christianists.

      TDH says not to act like that.

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    6. Got it. People who believe 2+2=4, and those who don't. Can I say they're bad at math, or is Bob against that too?
      ------------
      Also,
      I think you missed my point above. I'm saying Trump voters have NOT fallen for Republicans’ economic policies that hurt them since Reagan was elected. If they did, they would love Howard Schultz. He has the same failed ideology and policy "fixes". They don't, because Schultz isn't a bigot.
      Trump's favorability with Republicans is 87%, Schultz's is 4%.
      You and Bob are correct. Not all Republicans are bigots. Only 83% are.

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    7. The answer to 2+2 makes for a simplified example. But let’s take Ponzi schemes, or even better, MLM schemes. Lots of people fall for those, and I think it’s fair to call those who thought about what they were joining “bad at math.” But should we call them stupid? What about the ones were didn’t give it enough thought? Or who trusted the wrong person?

      I can think of a hundred reasons to prefer Trump over Schultz. Trump is a winner. Trump is a showman. Trump is a conman. Trump isn’t a typical politician. Trump lives a glamorous life. Trump pisses off people I don’t like. Trump voices my concerns. Trump opposes changes I find scary. Trump tells me comforting lies. And most of all … dumping Trump means I made a mistake.

      Now as it happens, you’re preaching to the choir. I used to say I hated only Republican officials, but I quit fooling myself. At this point I don’t even think the rank and file are human — they merely walk amongst us as human. If you’re a Republican, somewhere along the line, you’ve lost your moral compass. If you can support a regime that takes young children from their parents as a tactic to deter people seeking asylum, you’re a monster. If you don’t know that your regime is doing that, then your negligence makes you as culpable.

      Exceptions as usual for moral and intellectual idiots, who don’t have agency.

      But I also recognize that I’m driven by a visceral disgust to a position that might be neither warranted nor productive. That’s why I read TDH. His position isn’t irrational or incomprehensible, even if I disagree with it.

      And when he says that we shouldn’t overuse the epithet racist until it loses its meaning, I can still discern that he’s not saying to stop discussing racism altogether.

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    8. Unfortunately, Somerby doesn't say "don't overuse the epithet." That's your interpretation. Somerby offers no discussion of what does or doesn't warrant being labeled racist. He says don't call anyone racist. More than that, he says that calling others racist is pleasing to liberals and that Cohen only did it to please us, not because Trump is racist and he had personal knowledge of that. I don't buy your argument that Somerby is just urging us to go easy with the labels. I believe Somerby has jumped on Bernie's bandwagon about eschewing so-called identity politics (a conservative term) in favor of economic issues. Bernie and Somerby are both wrong. If Somerby meant what you attribute to him, that's what he would have said.

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    9. So a person who responds to "Black Lives Matter" with "All Lives Matter", but thinks refugees from war-torn and gang infested nations should be turned away at our border, shouldn't be called "racist"?
      Fuck that shit.
      I'm not going to run away from the truth, because it hurts Sean Hannity and Bob's fee-fees.

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    10. Bob's point is that calling people "racists" isn't going to sway them.
      My point is that Conservatives hate political correctness, until you start telling them the truth about themselves.

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    11. "Bernie and Somerby are both wrong"

      Hmm. Saying that someone 'is wrong' just makes a noise no different from farting.

      Why are they wrong, in your opinion?

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    12. Because, despite the talk about town, people CAN walk and chew bubblegum at the same time.

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    13. Somerby criticizes Cohen for calling Trump a racist.

      "And when he says that we shouldn’t overuse the epithet racist until it loses its meaning, I can still discern that he’s not saying to stop discussing racism altogether."

      If the term ever applied to anyone, it applies to Trump. He embraces White Supremacism from the White House. He enacts racist policies and makes racist statements. His past is full of racist behavior. The term applies to him in every sense of its meaning. It is right to call him racist.

      I do not understand how Somerby can claim to be a liberal and still say that Cohen was only using the term to please Democrats on the committee, and not because (1) Trump is a racist, and (2) it matters that our President is a racist.

      Further, I believe that Somerby can be no kind of liberal if he misses this point about Cohen's testimony. It doesn't please anyone on that committee or any liberal watching the proceedings to know that Trump is a racist. It sickens most of us. Somerby's assertion that calling folks racist (who ARE racist) is pleasing to liberals is one of the most offensive things Somerby keeps saying here. It is a slur against liberals to say that we enjoy calling out racism, that it feels good. And further, that is a conservative slur (the one about virtue signaling) that Somerby echoes here. And I have to ask, why is Somerby, a supposed liberal, once again repeating conservative attacks on liberals in a so-called liberal blog?

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    14. Clarification from @11:11 -- the quote above is from deadrat, not Somerby.

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    15. No, it's not like "walk and chew bubblegum at the same time". More like making your feet fight each other, while pretending to try walking.

      Separating the working class into segments preoccupied with bullshit grievances against each other. Standard right-wing tactic of 'divide and rule'.

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    16. "bullshit grievances"

      Good luck with that. Telling straight white males that black lesbians and immigrants should share in the same rights they do gave us the MAGA hat.

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    17. Somerby doesn’t say, “don’t overuse the epithet”; you think that’s just my interpretation? Are you kidding me with this?

      Here’s TDH’s assessment of Clinton’s “irredeemable” statement:

      In that one unfortunate moment, she stated a view of the 63 million people who would end up voting for Donald J. Trump.

      Most significantly, she stated a view of 31.5 million of those people.


      Clinton issued a sweeping statement concerning half of The Others. They weren't just racist, she said—though, like Michael Cohen last week, she started her portrait with that.

      On this unfortunate occasion, Clinton chose to be "grossly generalistic.”

      All across the globe, tribal groups within our species tend to invent and demonize The Other. Within our current liberal tribe, we tend to do so under the battle cry of "racism." This comes quite close to being the type of persuasive group "fiction” Harari describes in his book.

      Is Rep. Cummings a racist? When we decide to march to war, eventually everyone is! Everyone but you and your friends,….

      In all these,emphasis mine.

      Can you read for comprehension at all? What do you think these quotes mean?

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    18. So a person who responds to "Black Lives Matter" with "All Lives Matter”… shouldn't be called "racist"? …. I'm not going to run away from the truth, because it hurts Sean Hannity and Bob's fee-fees.

      You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth. Mostly because can’t seem to think straight. If somebody responds with “Black lives don’t matter,” I’m convinced he’s a racist. If somebody responds with “All lives matter,” I’m pretty sure he’s at least an ignoramus and I’d suspect he’s a racist.

      TDH’s thesis has nothing to do with his feelings or Sean Hannity’s. TDH says that if all you know about somebody is that he belongs with the Other, then calling that person a racist is ill-considered and counterproductive.

      You don’t have to agree with him. I’m not sure I do. But at least I can give fair consideration to what he’s saying. You might want to try that.

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    19. I do not understand how Somerby can claim to be a liberal and still say that Cohen was only using the term to please Democrats on the committee, and not because (1) Trump is a racist, and (2) it matters that our President is a racist.

      I think you’re right about Trump on both counts. But that shouldn’t matter for the committee Cohen was testifying before. Being a racist is not a crime, let alone a high crime. It’s not even a matter within the committee’s purview.

      Law breaking and maladministration — now those are both important and germane to committee business. So why did Cohen start out with an irrelevancy?

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    20. There was a time when I was growing up when segregation was the law in the South - Blacks couldn't go to the same schools, drink from the same water fountains, swim in the same pools, sit at the same lunch counters, stay in the same hotels, etc as whites. They were effectively barred from voting. Restrictive covenants in deeds barring sales to blacks were enforceable. The "N" word was in common parlance. A black and a white couldn't marry - and even where they could, it was shocking. I recently saw a documentary about Nat King Cole. He was very popular. But when he played in Las Vegas, he had to go to a blacks only hotel. He bought a house in Beverly Hills - the neighbors were up in arms about how it would affect property values. He even had a network TV variety show - Southern stations wouldn't carry it. Movies and TV - no Black characters other than servants. Now, things have changed enormously. Sure there is still "racism" of one degree or another, in the extreme our own Nazis. But the way it is now presented by the left has gone completely off the rails. You'd think we were living in South Africa during Apartheid. Being crazy doesn't solve any problems. As it has recently dawned on TDH, people are often irrational. I'm not sure how saying 'all lives matter' is evidence that someone is a racist - isn't it a true statement? I hear about how there should be a 'conversation about race.' What I don't hear, from any direction, is any intelligent conversation about it. (Intelligent discussions about anything are all too rare). There are surely various reasons people voted for Trump besides 'racism.' (I sure didn't vote for him, his winning was sickening). He promised to cut taxes, bring factory jobs back from overseas, increase military spending, not cut social security (along with all sorts of things, much of it bullshit). And Clinton lost for all sorts of reasons too.

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    21. "I'm not sure how saying 'all lives matter' is evidence that someone is a racist - isn't it a true statement?"

      Oh dear. Someone hasn't been practicing doublethink, and is now dangerously close to committing a thoughtcrime.

      Thoughtcrime is a dreadful thing, old man. It's insidious. It can get hold of you without your even knowing it.

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    22. Deadrat @4:40 -- we have laws against racial discrimination. To the extent someone breaks them, they are both being racist and they are also committing illegal acts.

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    23. @8:35, I’m sorry, but I don’t understand your comment. Yes, we have laws against racial discrimination, and I’m given to understand that Trump probably broke some of these in his rental buildings in the ‘70s, when the DOJ sued his company for racial discrimination.

      But the DOJ didn’t sue him for being a racist, because that in itself is not illegal. Likewise, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform has jurisdiction to investigate illegality in government operations, including the breaking of laws against racial discrimination, but they have no portfolio to investigate anyone for their racial prejudices alone.

      In his opening statement, Cohen gave the following testimony to support the claim that Trump is a racist:

      Trump courted white supremacists and bigots.
      Trump called poorer countries “shitholes.”
      Trump said, referring to poor neighborhoods, that only black people could live that way.
      Trump said that black people would never vote for him because they were too stupid.

      How is any of that either illegal or any of the Committee’s business?

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  5. It is odd that Somerby keeps repeating Harari's speculation about tolerance and violence among early humans without noticing that Harari is an Israeli writing from the perspective of someone whose nation has felt itself the object of genocide, characterized as "The Other" for many centuries, the object of current violence. Why might Harari propose such ideas given such a background? Somerby never asks. He instead coopts Harari's argument to advance his own, that people should all get along and not criticize each other (or that liberals should be nice to conservatives, even when conservatives have become uglier and uglier toward liberals over the past several decades. Very biblical, Somerby, but also very one-sided, since he never urges conservatives to play nice and they are the nastiest specimens on the political scene today.

    Harari isn't talking about Democrats (Homo Sapiens) or Republicans (Neanderthals) but needs to see that it is Democrats (Neanderthals for not fighting back) and Republicans (Homo Sapiens bent on wiping out their opponents and anyone not WASP). Where is any urging toward tolerance on the right? You will never hear it here, and why is that?

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    1. Interesting point about Harari, but TDH really has no more idea of Harari’s motivations than Harari knows about those of early Homo sapiens. So it’s a good idea that TDH doesn’t speculate. All the more reason that he should abandon Harari’s speculations.

      The lesson here is not that we should never criticize, but that we should do so reasonably.

      The lesson here is not that we should be nice to conservatives, but that we shouldn’t be not nice to people in the way that conservatives are. Otherwise people won’t be able to see much difference between us on our way to becoming them.

      Where is any urging toward tolerance on the right? You will never hear it here, and why is that?

      Maybe because that’s a fool’s errand. Maybe because there are plenty of outlets doing just that already. But mostly because that’s not what TDH is about.

      Are you paying attention or are you @12:04?

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  6. The new Bernie campaign has hired a more diverse campaign staff in order to attract non-white voters. It has addressed its gender problems by coaching the staff in how to avoid being assholes. But I haven't heard that Bernie has been hiring more female campaign staff, especially at higher levels, nor that he has addressed equal pay issues among his staffers. It suggests he is again going to permit his bros to treat women badly, but will point to his training sessions and say "I didn't tell them to do that stuff," much as he did to Hillary.

    You'll never hear Somerby write an essay about how Bernie treats women, or how Bernie feels about women's issues, or anything about women's issues at all, setting aside Bernie. But you can bet we'll hear more Hillary bashing as the campaign advances. Because reminding male voters about those screechy women's voices is the best way to attack solid candidates like Elizabeth Warren (Bernie's closest competitor), Amy Klobuchar, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris.

    By the way, Tulsi Gabbard is the anointed Russian candidate in 2020. She is getting the money, the push from Russian media and presumably the social media help. Bernie got Russian help in 2016. The very large influx of contributions suggests he may be getting it again now, but time will tell. We know that Russia is still getting involved in our elections, so the savvy voter needs to figure out how, since no one else seems to care.

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    1. Russia has always been involved in our elections dummy. Just as we have always been involved in theirs.

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    2. You need to understand, anon: the only way for the totalitarian lib-zombie cult to win is to suppress all dissent and keep its corrupt and criminal dealings secret.

      "Russian influence" is a code-word, to justify lib-zombie bullying, suppression, and censorship.

      Delete
    3. ""Russian influence" is a code-word, to justify lib-zombie bullying, suppression, and censorship."

      I get it, like "Heartland of America" and "Midwest values" is code-word for white.

      Delete
    4. "Coastal elite" is code for brain dead leftists defined by abortion and efforts to extinct men and masculinity like celebrating cosmetic genital surgery and use of inaccurate pronouns and hating on normal families.

      Delete
  7. Anon 1:19.you silly goose, maybe true, maybe not, but the difference here is that one candidate and his entourage of liars, beggars and thieves were "involved" with Russian totalitarian hybrid Russian mobster/Government. That's the more interesting thing warranting serious investigation.

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    1. It's getting an investigation as you know. So you'll be able to see the extent of the collusion or absence of it or just get a handle on any kind of illegal activity or lack of illegal activity.

      I wouldn't waste my time on it if I were you. It's been a big waste of time for the left. we should concentrate on his actual policies and getting our party together.

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    2. Hopefully your 'party' will attempt an impeachment, and it will certainly bring the cult together.

      This looks like the most likely scenario at the moment, and we all look forward, enthusiastically, to the forthcoming show, and the fallout from it.

      And Bob's incomparable comments, obviously.

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    3. We already know for a fact certain that the president of the united states has been actively working to undermine, obstruct, delegitimize and interfere in the investigation since before it even started. We know for fact certain that even as the Russian government was actively continuing with their criminal interference, and he had been briefed by our major counterintelligence agencies that this was ongoing, he continued to give the Russians cover by publicly disputing our intelligence. We know for fact certain that the president's son, son-in-law and campaign manager met in Trump Tower with Russian government representatives promising the government's help in his campaign and never reported this information to the FBI. Instead he's been dangling pardons, firing and or threatening career law enforcement patriots has been going on now for more than 2 years, all in plain sight.

      Mr. Trump’s public war on the inquiry has gone on long enough that it is no longer shocking. Mr. Trump rages almost daily to his 58 million Twitter followers that Mr. Mueller is on a “witch hunt” and has adopted the language of Mafia bosses by calling those who cooperate with the special counsel “rats.” His lawyer talks openly about a strategy to smear and discredit the special counsel investigation. The president’s allies in Congress and the conservative news media warn of an insidious plot inside the Justice Department and the F.B.I. to subvert a democratically elected president.

      The story of Mr. Trump’s attempts to defang the investigations has been voluminously covered in the news media, to such a degree that many Americans have lost track of how unusual his behavior is. But fusing the strands reveals an extraordinary story of a president who has attacked the law enforcement apparatus of his own government like no other president in history, and who has turned the effort into an obsession. Mr. Trump has done it with the same tactics he once used in his business empire: demanding fierce loyalty from employees, applying pressure tactics to keep people in line and protecting the brand — himself — at all costs.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/19/us/politics/trump-investigations.html


      There are some who say we should just let it go and concentrate on policy differences. That is how we got in the nightmare mess. That's what was said about Reagan and Iran Contra and some of those same criminals are now back in positions of power in the US Government.

      It's exhausting but it has to be done.

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    4. There was collusion going on and it does involve Russia. It was the Trump campaign colluding with Israel.

      What Flynn was discussing with the Russian ambassador was getting Russia to vote against the impending UN resolution criticizing Israeli settlement activity and "flagrant violation" of international law.

      Some Trump donors (reportedly) and Israel officials were lobbying Trump to get Russia to vote against the resolution in an effort to undermine Obama (who abstained).

      On that, Flynn and the Trump transition team were caught colluding. But it was colluding with Israel not Russia.

      Surprised you don't mention that mm.

      As for the rest, it remains to be seen. I wouldn't hold my breath.

      https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium-mueller-filing-details-how-flynn-got-in-trouble-over-israeli-un-vote-and-became-an-1.6720013

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    5. Colluding? Don’t you really mean “conspiring”? To break the law, that is.

      And what law do you imagine that to be?

      Haaretz is behind a pay wall, but Jpost says that the Trumpists talked to the UK, Egypt, Russia, Uruguay and Malaysia about scuttling the resolution. Whole lotta colludin’ goin’ on there.

      Surprised you don’t mention that.

      As for the rest, please go ahead and hold your breath.

      Delete
    6. Trumpists may have also talked to those countries but it isn't confirmed that I know of. Do you? They probably did. But Flynn is on the record and charged with conspiring or colluding with Israel to sway Russia's vote (and caught lying about later). The point is the same - there was collusion or conspiring with with Israel and the Trump transition team re. the UN vote with Russia for sure and many others probably. This we know for sure.

      As far as Trump colluding with Russia on criminal election interference, doubtful. Mueller hasn't made any charges, provided any evidence or even made any allegations about it thus far.

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    7. OK, I’m going to type verrrry slowly, so you can follow.

      Conspiracy is a crime unto itself. By definition, it’s planning with others to commit an underlying predicate crime. So suppose you and Flynn plan to rob a bank, and Flynn actually robs the bank, then you can both be charged with conspiracy. (Actually, all Flynn has to do is take a concrete step toward carrying out the plans.)

      According to you, during the transition, the Trumpists planned to ask UN diplomats to vote against a resolution condemning Israel. Then they went ahead and asked those diplomats. According to you, the planning involved Trumpists (like Flynn), Trump campaign donors, Israelis, and for all I know, the Elders of Zion.

      None of this is conspiracy unless the act planned is illegal. Please cite the section of the United States Code that makes lobbying UN diplomats illegal. If it helps, I’ll note that Flynn was not charged with “colluding with Israel.” He was charged with lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russians.

      There are two other problems with your Israeli collusion theory. The first is that it seems unlikely that the Israelis could have been in any position to plan the diplomatic contacts. The most they could have done is asked the Trumpists for intercession on behalf of Israel. If they were asking the Trumpists to commit a crime, then that might be subornation or solicitation of a crime. So, again, what crime?

      The second problem is that this happened during the transition (December 2016), when the Trumpists were all private citizens. So, again, what crime prohibits private citizens from asking for favors from foreign diplomats?

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    8. It's not according to me, it's according to Mueller, "“On or about December 22, 2016, a very senior member of the Presidential Transition Team directed Flynn to contact officials from foreign governments, including Russia, to learn where each government stood on the resolution and to influence those governments to delay the vote or defeat the resolution.”

      https://www.justice.gov/file/1015126/download

      According to Mueller the planning involved Trumpists. It has been reported that the planning involved Sheldon Adelson and Israeli officials. I think you are right, all Israel did was ask the Trumpists for intercession on its behalf. I don't think there has been a direct link made establishing that they asked Trump to intercede. Buzzfeed quotes a Trump transition official re. Kushner saying “Jared called Flynn and told him you need to get on the phone to every member of the Security Council and tell them to delay the vote”.

      The Logan Act is "a United States federal law that criminalizes negotiation by unauthorized persons with foreign governments having a dispute with the United States" and prohibits private citizens from asking for favors from foreign diplomats. It is the section of the United States Code that makes lobbying UN diplomats illegal. Trump transition officials would be "conspiring" to "directly correspond with a foreign government with intent to influence or defeat the measures of the United States".

      Do you think "a very senior member of the Presidential Transition Team directed Flynn to contact officials from foreign governments and to influence those governments to delay the vote or defeat the resolution” on its own without without the cooperation and influence of Israel?

      Bien sur - c'est possible'.

      Who knows? It sounds like you know more about these things and the law than I do so I will defer to you.

      Whatever you say, I agree.


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    9. First of all, congratulations on actually citing the law. Because of my style, I’m required to say that I’m not being snarky here.

      Unfortunately, the law in question is the Logan Act, which has been on the books since the turn of the century. The 18th century. In that time, there have been two indictments, the last about 170 years ago. The act prohibits private citizens from dealing with foreign governments about a dispute with the US or to defeat a US foreign enterprise.

      I doubt a UN vote counts as a “dispute” with the US. The Act was passed when John Adams was trying to negotiate an end to undeclared hostilities (all at sea) between the US and France. Now that was a dispute. (Also the occasion of the XYZ affair, famous for its appearance on midterm tests in US high-school history classes.) A busybody, the eponymous George Logan, tried concurrent negotiations with France, and Congress passed the Act to criminalize such activities.

      Even if the Security Council vote was a US enterprise, the Trumpers couldn’t have “defeated” it because the US held a veto (which it chose not to use).

      If the Act was not invoked for Richard Nixon’s sabotage of the Paris Peace talks or Republican Senators’ attempt in 2015 to kill the Iran nuclear treaty, I doubt it would apply to the feral Trumpers during the transition. Notice that Mueller certainly didn’t bother.

      I checked, and some partisans want them indicted, but the Act would likely fall afoul of substantive due process as unconstitutionally vague. That and the 1st Amendment.

      Do I think the clown car that was the Trump Transition Team tried to influence the UN without prompting from donors or Israeli agents? No, I don’t think they were capable of doing anything without direction. I just don’t think what they did was criminal. Stupid, sure. Reprehensible, a given. But not criminal.

      But don’t defer to me. Do your own research and find your own position.

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    10. Cite a law - just not an old one you disagree with. Lol.

      Nixon's sabotoge wasn't known until 2007 and Republican senators are not private citizens.

      But I will agree that it is not a crime and whatever other points you want to make. I agree with whatever you say.

      Delete
    11. When Bill Clinton was President, Jimmy Carter negotiated an arms deal with North Korea. My fuzzy memory is that Carter went as a private citizen without being specifically authorized by the White House. After Carter negotiated a deal with NK, the White House did sign it.

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    12. “Lol”? How old are you? Twelve?

      I’ve already given you props for making a substantive argument, but to be fair, the Logan Act isn’t just old and a law I disagree with. It’s ancient — 220 years old — has been used by the gov only twice — the last time about 170 years ago — and has never resulted in a trial, let alone a conviction.

      Don’t believe me that the law is defunct? Would you take the word of the Southern District of New York? The Logan Act came up in a civil suit, Waldron v. British Petroleum Co, 231 F Supp. 72 (SDNY 1964), in which the court wrote:

      Another infirmity in defendants' claim that plaintiff violated the Logan Act is the existence of a doubtful question with regard to the constitutionality of that statute under the Sixth Amendment. That doubt is engendered by the statute's use of the vague and indefinite terms, "defeat" and "measures." …. Neither of these words is an abstraction of common certainty or possesses a definite statutory or judicial definition. (Citations omitted.)

      Not entirely dispositive, of course. That’s just dicta, but we’re not likely to get a SCOTUS ruling any time soon.

      My bad on three counts. First, for not knowing that prosecutors would have had to dig up Nixon’s body to indict him, something I would be in favor of. Secondly, for writing “private citizens.” The Act applies to unauthorized citizens.

      Private citizens would likely have a powerful shield in the First Amendment. State office holders and those in the executive branch, maybe not so much, since they might be accused of acting under the color of authority they didn’t actually possess.

      Lastly, my example of Senators was inapt. I doubt a court would allow prosecution of sitting legislators for merely writing a letter. In any case, if they’d read the letter on the floor of the Senate, they’d have enjoyed absolute immunity.

      If you’re going to agree with whatever I say, then I say you owe me $10,000 for my cogent and well-supported argument. When can I expect payment?

      Delete
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