Did Kevin McCarthy make that "vow?"

SATURDAY, APRIL 23, 2022

What happens at times of heightened conflict: What happens at times of heightened tribal conflict?

Today, we'll take a look at what can happen, at such times, within the journalistic context, even at the highest levels of the elite national press. 

We'll start with a passage from a front-page report in yesterday's New York Times—a front-page report which has generated oodles of comment. Hard-copy headline included, the front-page report by Burns and Martin started like this:

After Jan. 6, G.O.P. Leaders’ Anger Faded Fast

In the days after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol building, the two top Republicans in Congress, Representative Kevin McCarthy and Senator Mitch McConnell, told associates they believed President Trump was responsible for inciting the deadly riot and vowed to drive him from politics.

Mr. McCarthy went so far as to say he would push Mr. Trump to resign immediately: “I’ve had it with this guy,” he told a group of Republican leaders, according to an audio recording of the conversation obtained by The New York Times.

Our question today will be simple. In the days after January 6, did McCarthy really "vow to drive [Donald J. Trump] from politics?" 

Also, did McCarthy really "go so far as to say he would push Mr. Trump to resign immediately?" Or are we possibly looking at exciting embellishments of what the actual evidence shows?

Burns and Martin chose to begin their front-page report with the statement that McCarthy made that "vow." Reading through their entire report, we see no evidence in support of that claim. 

(Admittedly, the claim is exciting.)

As evidence in support of their statement, the reporters present a 95-second excerpt from the audiotape of an hour-long phone conversation among Republican leaders on January 10. Except, alas:

During that brief audio excerpt, McCarthy didn't even "vow" that he was going to call Trump to discuss resignation at all! Here's what McCarthy says on the tape, as he replies to Liz Cheney:

CHENEY (1/10/21): Is there any chance? Are you hearing that he might resign? Is there any reason to think that might happen?

MCCARTHY: I've had a few discussions. My gut tells me no. I'm seriously thinking of having that conversation with him tonight. I haven't talked to him in a couple of days.

Um, from what I know of him, I mean you guys all know him too, do you think he'd ever back away? But what I think I'm going to do is, I'm going to call him.

This, this is what I think. We know it'll pass the House. I think there's a chance it'll pass the Senate, even when he's gone. Um, and I think there's a lot of different ramifications for that.

Now, I haven't had a discussion with the Dems, that if he did resign, would that happen?

Now, this is one personal fear I have. I do not want to get into any conversation about Pence pardoning.

Again, the only discussion I would have with him is that I think this will pass, and it would be my recommendation you should resign. Um, I mean that would be my take. But I don't think he would take it. But I don't know.

As you can see, McCarthy doesn't even "vow" that he'll speak with Trump at all! He says he's "seriously thinking of" speaking with Trump. He says he "thinks" he's going to call him.

In the event that he does makes that call, does McCarthy really say that he will "push Mr. Trump to resign immediately?" (Our emphasis.) 

That strikes us as a minor embellishment too. To our ear, McCarthy doesn't say that he'll "push" Trump to do anything. He merely says that he will recommend that Trump resign, based on the assumption that, as matters stand, Trump is going to be impeached by the House and will possibly be convicted by the Senate.

(At one point, McCarthy seems to suggest that resignation would be a way to stave off conviction.)

Meanwhile, where does McCarthy ever "vow to drive [Trump] from politics?" Nothing in the audio excerpt, or in the entire front-page report, seems to support that thrilling claim. But there it is, the very first claim the reporters make in their front-page report.

Do these observation matter? Only if expectations of journalistic accuracy matter—and experts say they rarely do, given the way we're all wired.

In the first few days after the January 6 attack, did McCarthy vow to drive Donald J. Trump from politics? It's exciting to say that he did, but we can't find a lick of evidence to support the exciting claim with which the reporters started.

This type of exciting embellishment takes place across competing tribal dials at times of high partisan conflict. Or at least, so major experienced world-class experts have all repeatedly said.

Heightened conflict yields heightened claims! That's what these experienced scholars have despondently said.

Also this: Your lizard brain will urge you to fight back against these observations. "It's our human wiring, plain and simple," or so major experts have said.


160 comments:

  1. Yawn.

    Who cares, dear Bob, what politicians say, whether in public or in the company of other whores ...eh... excuse us... of other politicians?

    Oh, we know, we know: you do. Of course. Never mind.

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    1. No wonder you never criticize Biden.
      LOL.

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  2. Why care how sociopaths behave?

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    1. Um, because those sociopaths stand a good chance of running the country again?

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    2. Then don't vote for them. It's not as if Nixon, Reagan, Bush family, and Trump weren't obvious.

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    3. FDR, the voters are the check against malfeasance by those elected to office. When those officials are sociopaths, it is up to the voters to recall them or to make sure they aren't elected again. That is our duty as citizens.

      Liberals didn't vote for Nixon, Reagan, Bush and Trump. But we care about their sociopathy because we want to make sure they are not reelected, and that motivates a lot of the discussion here.

      If you don't care about sociopaths in office, I wouldn't advertise that. It says nothing good about your civic responsibility and sets a horrible example for others.

      Cynicism as an existential stance is adolescent. If you are not 12 years old, trying acting more like a grown-up.

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    4. FDR GO FUCK YOURSELF YOU'RE A SLIMY PIECE OF SHIT.

      This what we all think, by the way. Sometimes the truth hurts, FDR.

      Today Somerby is back to his comedic ways; he posts a distinction without a difference, utter nonsense, then at the end hilariously tries to outflank the obvious criticism he knows he will get by saying "lizard brain" bla bla bla.

      Somerby watch my eye, it is moving up and then to the side; my parietal eye no less! Perhaps Somerby is jealous since it is clear his compass is broken, his moral compass.

      Watching Somerby devolve into a right wing clown is sad, it is uncertain society can survive the widespread right wing hateful nonsense that Somerby represents and partakes in.

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    5. After googling I learned that lizards have a parietal eye that acts like a compass, thanks 9:24 for the education although you could have explained that, we are not all biologists.

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  3. No clip of Putin telling Kevin McCarthy to drive Trump from politics has been unearthed, so most likely McCarthy, nor any other Republican politician, said it.

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  4. What a big bundle of nitpicks Somerby has conjured up today in order to defend Kevin McCarthy!

    Somerby tells us that vowing to do something is not the same as thinking they will do it and then planning out the conversation in advance with a colleague.

    Somerby tells us that pushing Trump to resign is not the same as recommending that he resign in the face of impeachment.

    Somerby takes that 95-second excerpt entirely out of context of an hour-long phone conversation that the New York Times had access to, but Somerby did not, and claims that there is nothing in the rest of that conversation that may have bolstered the reporters' interpretation of McCarthy's decision (vow) to call Trump about his role in 1/6. In the absence of any information from the rest of the conversation (one hour compared to a 95-second excerpt), Somerby chooses to believe there was nothing else said that would support the reporters instead of his own desire to consider McCarthy off-the-hook for vowing and pushing. The reporters heard the whole thing; Somerby did not, but Somerby is sure that there is exaggeration going on! On what basis, besides his own preferred narrative, one that exonerates McCarthy from hypocrisy.

    This bias toward believing McCarthy and not one's own ears in a recorded conversation shows how Somerby tends to fall into line behind the conservative talking point of the day -- that the conversation was no big deal and Trump doesn't even think McCarthy said or did anything important. Thus Somerby aids the Republican campaign to minimize the political damage done to McCarthy (and Trump, by implication) when McCarthy fell into line behind Dear Leader, as he clearly did.

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  5. "In the first few days after the January 6 attack, did McCarthy vow to drive Donald J. Trump from politics?"

    What does Somerby think it means when a president resigns mid-term in disgrace? Does Somerby think that man has any future in politics? Nixon didn't. He tried but was never accepted, even as an elder statesman. Bush and Reagan consulted him in secret, while Nixon wrote his memoirs, wrote books on foreign policy, and tried to pay off his legal bills. He never again held public office, and neither would Trump if he resigned. That is called leaving politics.

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  6. Excessively literal to the end, Somerby no doubt thinks that a vow means you put your hand on the Bible and swear. But I still don't see how he knows McCarthy didn't do that, given that he was on the telephone and there is no video of his conversation with Liz Cheney.

    Maybe Somerby imagines Scarlett O'Hara waving her fist at the sky and yelling "As God is my witness, I vow that I will never be hungry again!" Talk about overdramatic exaggeration! Marjorie Taylor Greene's vows are so insignificant to her that she doesn't remember taking the oath of office. Why should Kevin McCarthy vow anything, much less over a triviality like "calling Trump, instead of just chatting the next time they see each other"?

    Reporters use the word vow all the time, whereas everyday people only do it during marriage ceremonies: Coach vows his team with exit basement during rally. Mayor vows to open up more seats in science high school. Ali vows to beat Frasier in upcoming bout.

    But Somerby argues that since no oath was involved McCarthy must have resolved to call Trump, instead of actually vowing it, and thus the whole tape must be bogus and McCarthy is clean as the driven snow. Yup yup yup!

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    1. "Reporters use the word vow all the time"

      I think you accidently described the problem. Good writers don't use stale language.

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    2. Print journalists have been trained to use shorter words instead of longer ones. Vow is three letters. Promise is longer, decide is longer, contemplates is much longer, as is considers, thinks about (two words!) and "discusses the possibility of calling". One of the jobs of the editor is to scratch out the long words and substitute shorter ones so that you can save column inches for more news. They build up a repertoire of short synonyms for longer words and those may not be the ones people use in normal speech, which has no similar space constraint.

      Good journalistic writers keep their articles as short as possible.

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    3. Good journalists also use words that accurately convey the truth. A vow is a type of promise, a solemn one, often associated with ceremonies, especially religious ceremonies.

      As it turns out, the most accurate way of describing what McCarthey said is he was 'thinking' about calling Trump. That's far, far different from 'vowing' to call him.

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    4. See the explanation below. You seem to disagree with the journalists about the solemnity of McCarthy's decisuion to talk to the president about resigning. It doesn't make them wrong. It makes you a dissenting voice. And you still don't know what was in the rest of the conversation. Recall that there are 95 seconds quoted and available to Somerby and you.

      There is a little bait and switch going on. The complaint is about two NY Times writers who explain fully the transition from being determined to speak to Trump and recommend that he resign, to backing off and going along with the cover-up. That is the substance of their article -- the shift in view by McCarthy. The transcript Somerby presents actually comes from Newsweek. It does not appear in the NY Times article, except for McCarthy's key phrase about impeachment being passed and recommending that Trump resign. The longer transcript quoted by Somerby from Newsweek comes from the book itself and is partial, excerpted by Newsweek.

      So, Somerby pretends that the two reporters had the excerpt in front of them and summarized it using the word vow, whereas the two reporters are describing a lengthy process of meeting with several different people that led to McCarthy telling Cheney he would speak to Trump (and planning how to go about it).

      You depend too much on Somerby's presentation and he is not entirely honest, just as he has been manipulative in other essays.

      Context matters and Somerby plays fast and loose with it, for his own purposes. You are suspicious about the wrong things.

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    5. I haven’t seen the NYT article or the book. But for your argument to hold, there would have to be a quote somewhere from McCarthy justifying the use of the word ‘vow’. So where’s that quote?

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    6. You mean McCarthy has to say "I vow that I will speak to Trump about this tomorrow?"

      That requirement is excessively literal. People allow synonyms in conversation. It is part of the pragmatics of language, conversational implicature.

      "An implicature is something the speaker suggests or implies with an utterance, even though it is not literally expressed. Implicatures can aid in communicating more efficiently than by explicitly saying everything we want to communicate. This phenomenon is part of pragmatics, a subdiscipline of linguistics."

      Pronouns are an implicature because the implication is that the pronoun refers back to a named person in a previous utterance. It means I don't have to keep saying Somerby every time I refer to him, but can say "he" instead. Implicature goes way beyond this simple example. Figures of speech are another form of implicature.

      When you state bluntly that you will not allow implicature, you are breaking the law of cooperation that governs conversation.

      https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/implicature/

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    7. I would imagine even the most ardent implicaturist would agree there are limits to its powers, and that saying you’re thinking of doing something is not the same as vowing to do it.

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    8. It is just another bad faith argument from an average right winger who has nothing to say about the right wing values and corruption ruining our society.

      There is nothing to gain from responding to the right wing trolls that populate this right wing blog, here are the right wing trolls we should boycott:

      Mao
      Krazy Kat
      Rationalist
      AC/MA
      DavidinCA
      Cecelia
      FDR
      the Russian Hoax moron
      deadrat - er, actually I already ran him off

      This may not be comprehensive, it is a good start.

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    9. Somerby got caught getting suckered on the fake textbook math problem and now he complains "seriously thinking" betrays "vow and "push", what a goofball.

      Then he adds that it doesn't matter!

      A hearty laugh he must be having at our expense.

      It does not even matter, he says!

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    10. "saying you’re thinking of doing something is not the same as vowing to do it."

      Saying I think I will do something is not the same as saying I am thinking of doing something.

      "I think I will take a walk" does not mean "I am thinking about taking a walk". In the first case you are declaring that you will take that walk. In the second case, you are still trying to decide whether to take it or not.

      This is subtle, but native speakers don't get this wrong, especially in context. If you have the dog's leash in hand or have your jacket on and are standing next to the door and say "I think I will take a walk, " everyone knows you are out that door. If you are still sitting at the dinner table when you say "I am thinking about taking a walk" the meaning is different.

      McCarthy was in the middle of a conversation in which he was talking with Liz Cheney about the contents of a conversation with Trump, planning what he would and would not say." That puts a different spin on "I think I will talk to Trump" than if there were no such discussion of what would be said and not said to Trump during a conversation, but only mulling over whether or not to speak to him.

      If you say "I think I will go to the market," people understand this well enough to say "will you pick up some milk while you're there?" Language use isn't as hard as Somerby keeps trying to make it. If you are at the point of planning how to talk to your girlfriend about who keeps the dog, you have already decided to break up, as you say "I think I will break up with my girlfriend." You have vowed to break up with her, if you are deciding about the details of how and when to do it.

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    11. 9:36,

      QANON believers do that same sort of thing. Divide the world into white hats and black hats.

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    12. When they are engaging in the same misbehavior, there is nothing wrong with lumping gray hats in with the black hats.

      The main difference between Q-Anon believers and liberals is that they would label the lists differently. The trolls would be the white hats for the Q-Anon folks and the black-hats for us liberals (Somerby excluded). Implying that they would evaluate the trolls the same way is a major false equivalence.

      I don't like you much KK. You don't engage in good faith discussion about anything. That is why you belong on a list of trolls, not the content of your opinions.

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    13. If you don't like me much, then you must like me just a little. That's something.

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    14. The media zhuzhed up McCarthy's statement in order to insinuate that he later went egregiously wobbly from an initial impulse toward decency.

      Somerby likes his information straight up. No whiskey and water. Without cream and sugar.

      No surprise here.

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    15. McCarthy and Graham were both appalled by what Trump did, then they both fell into line. That is obvious. It reflects poorly on both of them.

      Somerby is an asshole and so are you. Somerby doesn't care what McCarthy lies about. He suggests that the problem is two words used by two reporters, not the traitors we have in Congress. Anyone who is not a total moron must recognize that the focus must be on what McCarthy, Graham, Trump, MTG and the planners of 1/6 DID, their treason, not what two minor members of the press wrote about it.

      You need to go away now. This is not the place for someone who is gleeful about crimes done to our nation and threats to our democracy. You have a lot of nerve writing anything here at all, much less trying to poke at those of us who care about crimes against our nation.

      So Fuck Off Cecelia. This isn't a game and you are not welcome here.

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    16. "The main difference between Q-Anon believers and liberals is that they would label the lists differently. The trolls would be the white hats for the Q-Anon folks and the black-hats for us liberals (Somerby excluded). "

      Are they making sodium pentathol wine coolers now?

      This statement is dead-on correct.

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    17. "So Fuck Off Cecelia. This isn't a game and you are not welcome here."

      Obviously, I am as welcomed here as you. The blogger has not prevented me from posting on his blog.

      Delete
    18. Anonymouse5:22pm, you have two options. I suggest that you choose the later.

      1. You get your own blog and ban my stupidity and incoherence.

      2. You notice the name Cecelia written in green type and you resist reading what's written under it in order to keep from sullying your mind with stupidity and incoherence.

      Otherwise, continue to order me off someone else's blog. I'm sure that's not your sole engagement in illogical and fruitless behavior.

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    19. I write "kidding" and you don't get it?

      Is there anything YOU can be taught?

      I'm teachable. Read me and teach away.

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    20. Btw, I've never left. I read every blog post.

      Delete
    21. There is nothing funny about misspelling a word. There isn't even a pun involved.

      Do conservatives in general think that ignorance is funny? I find it sad, because it usually goes hand-in-hand with poverty and misfortune in life.

      The words latter and ladder don't even sound alike.

      Here is a lesson: when you don't know how to spell a word, look it up and get it right. Spell checker can help, but not if you type in an actual word, such as later or ladder. So what do you do to find out how to spell latter? You can try typing the definition into Google and see if it will come up with the word, and then you will know how to spell it.

      If you type in: last in a list of items, former

      Then you get this back:

      "The terms former and latter are words used to distinguish between two things. Former directs us to the first of these two things, and latter directs us to the second (or last) of them. Do not use former or latter when you are writing about more than two things."

      Try it next time, instead of typing in (kidding) and leaving people wondering what the hell you are kidding about when there is no joke except your own mistake.

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    22. I'll never leave off a "t" or substitute double d's again.

      So there goes lying about my bra size.

      Thanks, Anonymouse8:26pm!

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    23. Another unfunny joke.

      Cecelia, who is most likely male not female, thinks that women routinely go around making jokes about their bra sizes.

      Anyone can make a typo and people frequently do around here without anyone complaining about it. It was your addition of (kidding) that made it clear you don't know how to spell the word, and don't know what a joke is either.

      Delete
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    1. "Heightened conflict yields heightened claims! That's what these experienced scholars have despondently said."

      Then again, heightened importance yields heightened claims too. You say "The humanity!" and "This is the worst of the worst catastrophes in the world!" when the Hindenburg crashes, not when your car has a flat.

      Trump's insurrection was a big deal. The right has been relentlessly downplaying its significance, no doubt to minimize and excuse their own crime. McCarthy was House Majority Leader and that makes it important when he briefly has the right impulse and then joins the cover-up. Should the Republicans gain a majority during the midterms, McCarthy will run for House Leader again. It matters whether he is trustworthy or a crook under these circumstances. It used to matter when politicians were caught in lies. This is a big lie, not a triviality.

      Somerby reveals his allegiance when he joins the right in minimizing the importance of this insurrection.

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    2. What specific words in Somerby's post lead you to conclude he is "minimizing the importance of this insurrection"?

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    3. The specific words are quoted at the top of @12:19's comment. Somerby is saying that political tribal conflict is resulting in overblown language, such as vow and push. Somerby doesn't think that the language of the quoted phone conversation merits the importance given to it by those heightened words. He is calling these heightened claims, which implies that they are baseless and do not merit such claims on their own. That is "minimizing the importance".

      Somerby is saying that what McCarthy did, thinking he would call and recommend resignation, is not the same as what the news report said he did, vowing to call and push him to resign.

      By demonstrating that the report used heightened language, Somerby leads readers to consider the entire report to be hyped up, a nothingburger, less important than it actually is. The substance here is that McCarthy, any way you read his conversation, thought Trump should resign. Whether he vowed to push or merely thought he should recommend resignation is less important than that McCarthy thought Trump would be impeached and removed from office and thought Trump should avoid that. It is the same situation as Nixon was in. That is not nothing and reporters were correct in the importance they placed on the conversation.

      Unless you want to consider Somerby as solely an excessively literal legalistic prune, sucking the life out of journalism, somewhere on the autism spectrum, Somerby has a motive for complaining whenever right-wingers get caught doing something wrong, but never mentioning Tucker Carlson's way-over-the-top bombast, except to call his points reasonable. YMMV

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    4. Somerby writes about the things he finds important, like liberal “wokeness.” If he ever bothers to mention the insurrection, it is to accuse liberals of “wanting to put the Others in jail”, same as he does whenever Republican malfeasance is brought to light.

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    5. I will simply point out that it is possible to think, as I do, that J6 was an abomination and that McCarthy is a spineless suck-up, and still accept without reservation Somerby’s point that the article is flawed in not reporting accurately what McCarthy said.

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    6. KK, the accurate report of what McCarthy said is right there in the quoted excerpt from the phone conversation. Where do you think Somerby got it?

      Somerby is complaining about the accuracy of a couple of synonyms the reporters use, perhaps to add some stylistic variety to their language.

      Do you really see that big a difference between "push" and "recommend"? Enough to write an essay about? Why would Somerby use his time that way? Too few pears to contemplate on his backyard tree?

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    7. I can speculate that what caught Somerby’s eye was not so much “push” but “vow”. A vow is a solemn promise, with a seriousness of purpose behind it. Breaking a vow without good reason is a moral stain.

      What McCarthy said was far less serious, since he basically says he 'thinks' he's going to call Trump.

      And where did the "drive him from politics" come from?

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    8. KK, as explained above, "drive him from politics" comes from the FACT that when you resign in disgrace from an elected office, you don't get a second chance. You are then gone from politics. Look at Andrew Cuomo, trying to come back but gaining no traction. Nixon didn't want to resign because it signals that you are guilty (which he was), and that is why you don't get to come back.

      vow: "noun. a solemn promise, pledge, or personal commitment: marriage vows; a vow of secrecy. a solemn promise made to a deity or saint committing oneself to an act, service, or condition. a solemn or earnest declaration"

      McCarthy telling Liz Cheney that he thought he would recommend to Trump that he resign, have that conversation with Trump, was solemn because of the magnitude of the event itself, the insurrection. It was a serious and solemn transgression against our democracy, an unthinkable event in American history. Such a conversation would be similarly very serious, even solemn, because it concerned the service of an elected president who would be recommended to give up his office. That is about as serious as it gets!

      Those conditions make vow an appropriate word to use for McCarthy's decision about whether or not to have that conversation with Trump. You wouldn't vow to have ice cream after dinner. But you might vow to complete the New York Marathon, because that is a serious undertaking requiring significant effort.

      You are working way too hard to defend Somerby's nitpicking. What is that all about?

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    9. I agree a Presidential resignation can be a solemn topic. But even on a solemn topic, saying you’re thinking of doing something is very different from vowing to do it.

      As for my defense of Somerby, you'll notice my posts tend to be much shorter than those with whom I disagree. So who's doing all the hard work?

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    10. When someone says "I think I will do that," they don't mean they are thinking about it, it means they intend to do it. Their thought is about their intent, not the act involved.

      If I say "I think I will have an ice cream," it means I will have ice cream. It doesn't mean I am considering between ice cream and cake, and it doesn't mean I don't know whether I will have dessert or not.

      If you don't do the hard work of thinking about what things mean, you will be taken in by folks like Somerby every single time. Another word for that is "intellectually lazy." Or you are perhaps just a troll who likes to see people run around.

      I am truly beginning to think that the difference between those who support Trump and Somerby here and those who don't is their ability to parse language. There is no learning without serious effort (after kindergarten) and those unwilling to expend any are lured by the entertainment value and superficial plausibility of con artists. And yes, Somerby is runn8ing his own con here. I think it gives him a kind of "duper's delight" to engage in this act of his.

      duper's delight definition: "The pleasure of being able to manipulate someone, often made visible to others by flashing a smile at an inappropriate moment." Also: "the delight that people feel when they deceive others".

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    11. We don’t have access to McCarthy’s thoughts, only his words.

      Maybe it’s a difference between us in the concept of a vow, which for me (and most dictionaries) implies depth or solemnity.

      I don’t see vows as the kind of thing you often get in a figuring-out-what-to-do conference call.

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    12. The problem is that Somerby has hung a whole theory about press behavior on this difference of opinion about two words, vow and push. That is the flimsiest basis for calling the press names, tell us that they have an agenda, questioning their motives and competence.

      Somerby never deals with the rest of the content of that NY Times article at all. It is just these two words that determine his claims about press overreach. And it shows that Somerby can build far bigger mountains out of molehills than these journalists did with vow and push. And I think that is why Somerby is secretly giggling over your defense of him.

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    13. I think you’ve got it backward. Somerby has hung two words onto a well-developed theory about press behavior he’s documented over a 20-year period.


      Why don’t we stipulate that:

      a) Somerby is a critic (and a bit of a nitpicker), and;

      b) like most critics, he focuses in on what he wants to criticize and doesn’t bother pronouncing ‘I agree’ on top of the other stuff.

      As for Somerby’s giggling at my expense, it’s not a pretty picture. I can only hope that future anthropolgists huddled in caves will look on me more kindly.

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    14. What is the role of the press? Is it successful in it's endeavors. Who is the press, ie where do people get their information from? To the extent that some in the press embellish, which press embellishes more? Which press embellishment does actual harm?

      Is the public informed? Do right wingers have an informed and accurate sense of reality? Where do Dems fall on that spectrum in relation to right wingers?

      It does not take much reflecting to see that Somerby's goals are empty, that his defenders, aka fanboys, have empty goals too.


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    15. Is it possible that those with whom McCarthy was engaging with would characterize what he was conveying with the words "vow" and "push"?

      Is that possible?

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    16. I suspect that Liz Cheney would, and she was on the other end of that phone conversation with him.

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    17. The reporter pretty clearly used the word vow to emphasize that McCarthy said he was going to do something and then changed his mind. It is a good word to use because it conveys the seriousness of the situation in a single word. Somerby doesn't like these words because they tell the truth about what happened in a forceful way.

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    18. Why did the reporter need to "emphasize that McCarthy had said he would do something, then changed his mind." Why wouldn't reporting McCarthy's actual words and subsequent actions have done that?

      What you term "emphasizing" in a "forceful way" is embellishment. Somerby simply pointed it out.

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    19. The reporter did report McCarthy's actual words and subsequent actions. Somerby is objecting to a summary of McCarthy's behavior, which is also accurate.

      embellish definition: "make (something) more attractive by the addition of decorative details or features."

      What did use of the word "vow" add at all, much less in terms of decorative details or features? Vow is a synonym, which means it has the same meaning as the phrase "I think I will". As in "will you take this woman to be your lawful wedded wife?...I think I will." And let's not go through that discussion again. You can disagree with linguists if you want, but I am done patiently explaining to you how language works when you refuse to understand.

      Why is vow providing emphasis and force? Because it is a short word that contains in its meaning the seriousness and intent of the decision that McCarthy stated less forcefully in his conversation with Cheney, but which is inherent in the context of discussing an INSURRECTION AGAINST OUR GOVERNMENT!!!

      Delete
    20. Pastor: "Ricky Bobby, do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife?"

      Ricky Bobby: "I think I will."

      Delete
    21. Thank you for making my point for me. Ricky Bobby clearly means "yes" and not "I have to think on that awhile..."

      And if Cecelia gets it, you can be sure everyone else does too.

      Delete
    22. Ricky Bobby clearly made a vow by saying "I do".

      That clear, succinct, and indisputable affirmation is why it's called a vow.


      Delete
    23. You don't seem to know that different religious denominations include different wording in their marriage ceremonies. Some say "Do you Ricky, take thee Gloria...I do" and others say "Will you Ricky, take Gloria...I will."

      Methodist vow:

      "“Officiant: Will you have this woman/man to be your wife/husband, to live together in holy marriage? Will you love her/him, comfort her/him, honor, and keep her/him in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful to her/him as long as you both shall live?"

      Presbyterian also asks "Wilt thou"...

      People often say I will instead of I do, because it follows the form of the question asked by the officiant.

      And a vow is not called a vow because it is simple or clear but because it is a solemn promise or affirmation.

      Delete
    24. "I do."

      "I will."

      "I think I will." First Church of Doubting Thomas?

      Delete
    25. The concept of a promise is that it is clear and indisputable.

      I do. I will.

      That's why no bride, groom, or written pledge says "I think I will".

      Delete
    26. The First Church of Doubting Thomas would say "I doubt I will."

      The difference between "I will" and "I think I will" is that the latter is in the future whereas the "I will" is a vow made in that moment, in the present.

      McCarthy and Cheney were discussing whether he should meet with Trump to recommend that Trump resign. At the end of that discussion, McCarthy says "I think I will." It is uncertain only because it is a future action, but the "I will" part shows intention to complete that act. Because it is in the future, of course many things might interfere with completion of the intended act. But the intent is there and it is clearly stated, as it would be in a vow.

      "Will you vote for Biden again?"

      "Yes, I think I will." That is not uncertain or doubting. It is an affirmation of a future intended act. It implies that thought has been given to the act and a conclusion has been reached. Otherwise the response would be "I don't know, I may or may not, or I doubt it (the true Doubting Thomas response)."

      Please read the lengthy discussion with Krazy Kat about implicature and the difference between vow and statement of intent, which are synonyms.

      promise definition: "a declaration or assurance that one will do a particular thing or that a particular thing will happen"

      The only part of that definition that is about clarity of being indisputable is the specificity of the word "particular". The thing to be done must be specific. There is nothing there about clarity or indisputability. You have made that part up. You can have very complicated promises in law. It might be nice for promises to be clear and indisputable, but it is not a necessary part of the definition and the fact that many promises are not is why people hire lawyers. And the part of the promise that makes it a promise is WHAT exactly is specified, not the I do or I will part of it, which generic and an assurance.

      I think I will is also an assurance and a declaration. "Would you like a piece of cake? I think I will have one, thanks!"

      And please go back and read what was said about the importance of context.

      Delete
    27. Anonymous7:55pm, "I will" is beyond the qualification of immediancy.

      It is an an unqualified affirmation. I have decided to take her as my wife. I take her now. I have taken her forever.

      I have have decided to tell the truth and nothing but the truth. I will tell the truth and nothing but the truth. I have told the truth and nothing but the truth.

      No more and certainly no less. There is no precedent of "I think I will" as being anything but a consideration in any context.

      Delete
    28. When asked for some reflection, when asked some obvious questions, Kat got quiet real quick.

      ESL Cecelia has not got a chance on understanding nuances in the English language.

      McCarthy did not just trash Trump in this phone call, he publicly trashed Trump in real time, as reported in the...press.

      The further right you are the less integrity you have, by design. It is part of what defines right wing values. It is embarrassing when you guys (right wing commenters) try to obscure your true nature to avoid humiliation.

      Boycott these disingenuous sad lost souls.

      Delete
    29. 8:32 there is a difference between "taking a vow", which is what you are attempting to describe, and vowing to do something.

      What Somerby and his confused fanboys need to do is repeat to themselves "context matters", until it finally dawns on them.

      Furthermore, there is a difference between a formal vow and a conversational vow.

      Did Liz Cheney (and others in the conversation) think that McCarthy was essentially conveying what was reported? This is extremely likely, and it is certainly possible - so possible that those in the conversation might have even conveyed that to the reporters. Hmmmmm.

      Y'all right wingers sure do like to cling to your bad faith arguments; considering the unresolved trauma y'all have likely suffered in childhood, it is sort of like a security blanket.

      Delete
    30. Yes, Anonymouse9:53pm.

      The name Cecelia in green type.

      If you're going to police speech, rather than rebutting arguments, boycott me, baby.

      Delete
    31. Boycott sounds good to me. It worked in South Africa.

      When the not very subtle or nuanced difference between taking a vow and vowing to do something, between a formal vow and a conversational vow, goes over your head by a mile, leaving only a whoosh sound between your ears, you should probably sit that one out. Or maybe put that particular hat on and go sit in the corner.

      But hey, if you want to keep on embarrassing yourself, keep claiming your non sequitur filled nonsense is "speech" of the "argument" variety, more power to you; it is more sad than amusing, but it does provide some amusement, at least from my prospective as a well off White person. I can see how it angers those in less fortunate circumstances, as the goal is obviously to keep certain groups oppressed. Republicans have to be about the most mean spirited, hateful people of all time.

      Delete
    32. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    33. Anonymouse11:12pm, I stick to knowing what words mean and so I ascertain that "vow" has a particular definition in both formal or informal contexts.

      Therefore I understand when I'm being fluffed or being played.

      That is liberating, indeed.

      Delete
    34. It really is hard to believe. McCarthy gets caught with his pants down and his hand in the cookie jar, exposed as a sniveling groveling lying sack of shit, and one of the dumbest motherfucking members of the republican congressional caucus, and Cecelia sits here pouting about a couple words in the story justifying her perpetual need to feel aggrieved by the liberal media, or as is known in certain circles, the enemy of the people. You can't make this shit up

      Delete
    35. Hi 5:16,

      I’m b-a-a-a-ack.

      I commend your industriousness in looking up the definition of embellish. But it may surprise you to learn a word can have more than one meaning. Embellish, for example, while it has the primary definition you gave, means secondarily, “make a statement or story more interesting or entertaining by adding extra details, especially ones that are not true.”

      Had you been an alert looker-upper you might have realized it was this sense of embellish I was using.

      And you seem to confuse the seriousness of the subject McCarthy was discussing with the seriousness of his intent to act regarding that subject. They are not necessarily the same.

      Delete
    36. Dear 7:55,

      Implicature is a formal, academic way of saying one statement can imply another.

      But in a given, concrete situation, you still have to have reasons for thinking that statement X implies statement Y. You can’t simply wave the word implicature around like it’s a magic wand that proves what you want it to.

      Delete
    37. @12:53 Your use of the word embellish is still wrong, for the reasons stated.

      Delete
    38. I’m sorry but it can’t possibly be true that you think my use of ‘embellish’ was wrong ‘for the reasons stated’ since your reasons stated relied on a definition of embellish that was wildly different from how I was actually using it. You at least have to come up with some different reasons.

      Am I trying your patience again?

      Delete
    39. Embellish still means adding something. Here is what I said earlier:

      "Vow is a synonym, which means it has the same meaning as the phrase "I think I will". As in "will you take this woman to be your lawful wedded wife?...I think I will."

      Nothing is added. No additional details, true or not are added when a synonym is used. When you add details it changes the meaning of the word. That was not done in this case.

      The only change in the definition of embellish was to make the details not decorative but substantive. That changes nothing about what I said, when my reason was that there were no details added of any kind.

      Delete
    40. But to embellish is to add details “especially ones that are not true”. So it doesn’t merely add detail, it falsifies, which is precisely what Somerby and I were pointing out about the NYT piece, and what you somewhat pathetically continue to overlook.

      Our debate centers around whether ‘vow’ is a synonym for ‘I think I will’. Your simple and unsupported assertion that they are synonyms adds nothing to the debate; it amounts to you pounding your chest and announcing, “I’m right!”

      If you think any bride wants to hear her husband tell the minister, “I think I will”, then you have a tin ear for the English language.

      Delete
    41. I have already explained why vow is a synonym not an embellishment. I am done with this -- you don't agree. That's OK, but short of taking this to a language expert there is no place to go with your disagreement. It is a very minor quibble and not much for Somerby to hang his objection on.

      Delete
  8. "Your lizard brain will urge you to fight back against these observations. "It's our human wiring, plain and simple," or so major experts have said."

    So, if we disagree with Somerby, it isn't because we have legitimate concerns but because we have lizard brains!

    Major experts long ago discredited the idea that any part of the human brain comes from a lizard, even in the far distant past via evolution:

    "A recent, and entertainingly titled paper, ‘Your Brain Is Not an Onion With a Tiny Reptile Inside’ published in the Current Directions in Psychological Science addresses the many problems with the lizard brain model, and urges people to “abandon this mistaken view of human brains.”

    From the perspective of evolutionary biology (not my expertise) the authors state the triune brain idea is “in contrast to the clear and unanimous agreement on these issues among those studying nervous-system evolution.”

    From the perspective of evolution, they note three major problems with the triune brain model." The article goes on to discuss them...

    https://drsarahmckay.com/rethinking-the-reptilian-brain/#:~:text=Our%20brains%20did%20not%20evolve%20from%20lizards&text=And%20at%20the%20same%20time,top%20of%20pre%2Dexisting%20layers.

    https://mindmatters.ai/2021/03/no-you-do-not-have-a-lizard-brain-inside-your-human-brain/

    "The idea that our brains are essentially Russian dolls of diminishing complexity is a concept that’s fairly easy for us to grasp. That’s part of why this myth is so compelling, Barrett says, especially when the truth can’t be boiled down to a neat, simple idea. (This particular myth is so pervasive, in fact, that the first result in a Google search for “lizard brain” is a link to a blog post called “How To Beat Your ‘Lizard Brain.’”)

    The problem with this story of brain evolution is that it’s fundamentally not true, Barrett says. Humans don’t have lizard brains and a limbic system wrapped in a more sophisticated cerebral cortex, as the story suggests. The brains of most vertebrates are made from the same types of neurons. It’s the number of neurons and their arrangement that differ from species to species.

    Coincidentally, Barrett says, right around the same time that Sagan’s book was becoming popular, neuroscientists disproved the lizard brain theory. Advances in gene sequencing techniques allowed them to discover that most vertebrate brains are made of the exact same ingredients; that there weren’t “new” parts of the brain and “primitive” parts of the brain."

    https://cos.northeastern.edu/news/its-time-to-correct-neuroscience-myths/

    Somerby keeps repeating this worn-out nonsense because he tends to know nothing whatsoever about psychology, neuroscience, how people reason and think, cognitive science, or what "top experts" are thinking on any subject. He repeatedly mocks expertise, and these references to despondent experts are more of that same tired garbage.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A good candidate for what he's describing is the hormone oxytocin. It is involved in trust and love. But it makes you more sympathetic to your friends and more angry at your enemies. The hypothalamus makes it and can be set off by fear.

      That said, this not my politics, I think labeling everything an instinct isn't usually done with any more precision than Bible thumpers calling everyone satanists. I think it's a better to try to be educational and tell people things they never heard of than to tear everyone down all the time. But at the same time, powerful people tear us down calling us lazy and irrational whenever we raise our heads and ask for better pay, benefits, protest pollution etc. so they kinda started it.

      Delete
    2. Actually:

      "The reptilian brain, the oldest of the three, controls the body's vital functions such as heart rate, breathing, body temperature and balance. Our reptilian brain includes the main structures found in a reptile's brain: the brainstem and the cerebellum. The reptilian brain is reliable but tends to be somewhat rigid and compulsive."

      The limbic system, which includes the hypothalamus which makes oxytocin, was contributed by mammal ancestors not lizards.

      Delete
    3. Somerby doesn't know anything about the lizard brain either, any more than anything else he talks about here. Choose your educators more wisely.

      https://thebrain.mcgill.ca/flash/d/d_05/d_05_cr/d_05_cr_her/d_05_cr_her.html

      Delete
    4. @12:54

      I guess I could have been more clear, you never know with the written word.


      A good candidate for the *phenomenon* Bob is describing is oxytocin. I am much less interested lizard genetics.

      Delete
    5. The phenomenon Somerby deescribes with respect to the lizard brain is disagreement with his own essay:

      "Your lizard brain will urge you to fight back against these observations." The observations are the ones he has just made in his essay.

      It sounds like you are applying oxytocin to explain the divide between right and left, the phenomenon of tribalism. You would still have to explain why some people are on one side and some on the other side. And you would have to explain why the cortex does not override and modify such responding, as it does with the other parts of the limbic system during emotional regulation. Somerby writes as if he doesn't believe humans have any reasoning or thinking ability, but that is contradicted by his own essays. If we cannot think, neither can he.

      In humans, instincts are channeled by higher level thinking. Instinctive behavior is modified and that promotes our survival. It doesn't lead to the kind of despair Somerby describes. A discussion of how the brain contributes to political conflict would be interesting but Somerby doesn't know enough to write about it. You can tell because his reference to lizard brains is to a theory that was debunked in 1970, shortly after Somerby learned it Harvard.

      Delete
    6. I explicitly stated that I don't use these instinct explanations for politics. What I was offering was a second set of eyes on Bob's writing.

      About overriding, I personally need medication to treat anger resulting from trauma. Otherwise I'm flipping off drivers on the way to work. Maybe that's what missing in everyone's neocortex, although practicing being aware of your environment also helps. We have all the beer and caffiene we want. What about something to turn that off? Even loneliness is traumatizing they say.

      This goes against a lot of institutions in our society, oddly, because feeling threatened gets clicks and often votes. It's easy to lean into it. Thus we should be careful about how we consume politics and the news in general.

      I also think social groups mostly center around personality. Angry people like angry people, thoughtful people, loving, hating etc. At some point these groups can attach themselves to politics but the tribes are not originally political.

      That's why some people people might feel different about criticizing their own party. They agree on what they want but their mood is telling them to do different things. An angry person might analyze power really well, but annoy activists on his team. A gentle person might raise a lot of money, but not sense impending dangers Etc.

      I think the trick to politics is how to get that big tent to work together. I don't think tribalism necessarily is irrational. You just have to be aware of how it works and doesn't work.

      Delete
    7. You are going through a door and someone bumps into you from behind. You turn around angrily to see who pushed you and notice that it is someone in a wheelchair. Your anger immediately dissipates because your cortex, the thinking part of your brain, recognizes the push as unintentional and not a threat or disrespectful behavior. The reinterpretation of a situation using knowledge gained from understanding what happened is what the cortex provides to guide emotion. It is one reason why talking therapy works.

      Drugs, alcohol work directly on the hormones and neurotransmitters, the brain chemistry. It is a much more heavy-handed way to control emotion and it has the drawback of dulling response to the environment. Cognition helps fine-tune response to the environment, which makes it the more effective way to control emotion.

      I don't believe that people's personalities can be characterized by habitual emotions like that.

      Somerby's use of the concept of tribalism comes from conservative books about current politics, not from any anthropological ideas about tribes and their function for human beings across time and place.

      Delete
    8. They've shown people enjoy the company of others if they have similar anxiety, one on one. People also relate to each other if they have similar moods and philosophy.

      The other tribes I can name would be parties, jobs and churches,etc
      And I say, in a kind of informal way people will try to attend churches and jobs and these larger tribes that match their own character.

      Anecdotally, atheists really are empiricists. There's a reason for atheists to be into things related to science, it goes mostly in the other direction. They started out simply as empiricists, and atheism is almost a political category they join due to how tribes sometimes interact.

      In war you have doves and hawks, and people somewhere in-between or pretending to be the other.

      I think you can trace other tribes in a similar way. Suppose environmentalists can be into appreciation of beauty of nature, or justice, or simply self interest. The idea is, that's where you make the tent.

      Delete
    9. Yes, you can develop personal theories and attach the word "tribe" to them. Somerby does that too, as did the Republican pseudo-intellectuals in the last 15-20 years. You could also call these affinity-groups or social networks or any number of other things that doesn't subvert the meaning of tribe as the word has been used by anthropologists:

      "tribe, in anthropology, a notional form of human social organization based on a set of smaller groups (known as bands), having temporary or permanent political integration, and defined by traditions of common descent, language, culture, and ideology"

      Republicans, Democrats, liberals, conservatives do not fit that definition. That's why it irks me when Somerby borrows the term. Since you do not mean the same thing as Somerby, you might irk each other too.

      Delete
    10. Just a a friendly question: if you don't want to say we have 2 different political tribes engaging in loyalty-to-the-tribe thinking, what words would you use?

      Delete
    11. MY reply would be that I vote for Democrats because they best represent my interests, not because I mindlessly agree with everything they say. Also, anyone who thinks that “the Left” are tribally unified is either a fool or a propagandist.

      Delete
    12. Research shows that right wingers exist in large part due to unresolved childhood trauma which likely impacts brain size - smaller frontal cortex, larger amygdala.

      Delete
    13. "So, if we disagree with Somerby, it isn't because we have legitimate concerns but because we have lizard brains!"

      In your case, definitely.

      Delete
    14. Meh. Dembots ain't got no brains. Of any kind.

      Delete
  9. I agree, I don't see a push or a vow. Kinda sloppy.

    It was news to me that Republicans use the phrase "the Dems." I thought that was just an online thing.

    Also notice his complaint in Newsweek about the unfair press, how second nature it is these days for Republicans to pretend to be progressive. I don't think McCarthy really cares about "corporate" control of liberal media here. They all pretend like they're some radical educators giving a talk. Except nobody on the left would ever take 300 grand from the oil and gas lobby like McCarthy. Maybe Biden would.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, Biden didn't. Here are his donors:

      https://www.investopedia.com/top-donors-to-biden-2020-campaign-5080324

      https://www.opensecrets.org/2020-presidential-race/joe-biden/contributors?id=N00001669

      Keep in mind that because of the way our elections are funded, candidates have to get money from somewhere.

      Delete
    2. Biden would never! But if he did it's okay. Do you apply that logic to Joe Manchin and Sinema? They just want to help!

      1.6 million dollars to Biden from oil and gas in 2020

      https://www.statista.com/statistics/1179621/us-oil-and-gas-industry-campaign-donations/

      He didn't have to take the money. In fact he sent back some.

      www.forbes.com/sites/michelatindera/2020/04/28/a-billionaire-oil-executive-donated-to-joe-biden-he-sent-the-money-back

      Delete
    3. I didn't say it was OK, you did.

      Unlike Biden, Manchin & Sinema appear to be more beholden to their donors, more obviously supporting their interests.

      I like Biden's support for alternative energy and his actions to roll-back Trump's destruction of environmental protections and I especially like Biden's support for measures addressing climate change. Comparing Biden to Manchin & Sinema is ridiculous.

      Delete
    4. Allow me to quote the white house website:

      "The fact is that there is nothing standing in the way of domestic oil production. The United States is already approaching record levels of oil and natural gas production. There are oil companies that are doing the right thing and committing to ramp up production now."

      Delete
    5. Yes, this is intended to address concerned citizens who are worried about auto fuel prices going up due to the Ukraine crisis. It arises from the Saudi deal with Russia to limit their own production, in order to put pressure on the EU to back off of supporting Ukraine (a supplier of natural gas to Europe). Note also that natural gas production increased in order to decrease the much dirtier coal processing. Oil is lumped with natural gas because they are energy sources, but they have different consequences for our environment. This increase in oil production is temporary due to world conditions. Biden must coordinate resources to meet the needs of our economy, including drivers who need to get to work each day without going bankrupt.

      I assume you know all this and are mostly trolling.

      Delete
    6. I remember when "the economy" was Trump's excuse for oil and we didn't believe it. Turns out we were trolling him I guess.

      Lot of ways to help without boosting oil. You can make public transit free like it is in Connecticut and a handful of other places.

      Although it's easier to get things passed when you have publicly funded elections. Connecticut is one example, but look at Germany. Massive green party, an actual political threat. Ours is a splinter group.

      Delete
    7. Trump was not president during a war between Russia and Ukraine that interfered with oil and gas production, as is occurring now.

      Don't hide behind a stance as an environmentalist in order to attack Biden for partisan reasons. Trump cannot even spell "green." No one believes Trump about anything because he is a liar. Biden is not a liar and the war in Ukraine is real, as is the Saudi manipulation of oil supplies to benefit Russia.

      We have a massive green party too -- it is called the Democratic Party. Ask Jill Stein how she liked her visit to Russia.

      Delete
    8. I notice your argument rests on ignoring most of what I said and insisting we can't do better. You seem to have a real skill.

      Delete
    9. No, my argument rests on there being important differences between the world when Trump was president compared to now, when Biden is president. We are already doing better and will do even better when the war with Ukraine is finished or we adjust to it.

      Delete
    10. When is the war in Ukraine going to finish?

      Delete
    11. So.. let's return gracefully to the first thing you said. You need money to run a campaign, after all.

      we have a political tool, which is pubic financing of elections. The state or city issues bonds to citizens to fund campaigns. In Connecticut and New York, your donations are matched. In Maine, the campaign is publicly financed after a certain point.

      These politicians have said they are essentially reaching out to voters and fundraising at the same time. When the new slate of politicians arrived in Connecticut they raised the minimum wage, unfroze a few hundred million that was sitting being unused, passed sick leave, earned income tax credit. It benefited the people by both reducing corruption by the undue attention to donors, and supporting democracy.

      The problem of getting off oil is political specifically because Biden cannot bring himself to refuse that 1.6 million and piss them off too much.

      Delete
    12. No, the problem of getting off oil is that too many people still own and operate cars that run on gas. CA is committed to banning gas cars by 2035, but that length of time is needed to allow owners to transition to EV and to allow the infrastructure of charging stations in homes and on the road to be built. In CT, you can use public transit more readily because it is a small state and things are closer together. Not possible in CA, even in Los Angeles. If you don't have transportation, you don't work and if you don't work you have no housing, not to mention food. These are intertwined problems and they are not as easy to solve as you make them sound. Politics is the way we resolve differences and find solutions (or, it used to be before Republicans made it about misuse of power, corruption and self-interest).

      It would be nice if we all lived in CT, but we don't. There are no Republicans committed to using public funding alone, and that means that no Democrat can win an election that way either. And Biden is not to blame for that.

      Delete
  10. Meanwhile, this is important (from Jamelle Bouie via LGM blog):

    "https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/22/opinion/red-scare-culture-wars.html

    "The Red Scare is, in this view, less a sudden outburst of reactionary hysteria than a political project aimed directly at dismantling the New Deal order and ousting those who helped bring it into being, both inside and outside the federal government.

    Without making a direct analogy between then and now, I think that this perspective is a useful one to have in mind as conservatives pursue yet another witch hunt against those they perceive as enemies of American society, using whatever state power they happen to have at their disposal. Both the crusade against “critical race theory” and the slanderous campaign against L.G.B.T.Q. educators and education are as much about undermining key public goods (and stigmatizing the people who support them) as they are about generating enthusiasm for the upcoming midterm elections.

    To be clear, this isn’t some secret. Christopher Rufo, a right-wing provocateur who helped instigate both the panics against “critical race theory” and against L.G.B.T.Q. educators in schools, has openly said that he hopes to destroy public education in the United States. “We are right now preparing a strategy of laying siege to the institutions,” he said last November in an interview with my colleague Michelle Goldberg. In a recent speech, delivered to an audience at the conservative Hillsdale College, Rufo declared that “to get universal school choice you really need to operate from a premise of universal public school distrust.”

    It’s not subtle.

    Republican lawmakers are similarly open about why they ginned up this panic: to dismantle public education for political and ideological reasons. Last year, Republicans in Michigan backed a bill that would slash school funding if educators taught “critical race theory,” “anti-American” ideas about race in the United States or material from The New York Times’s 1619 Project."

    ReplyDelete
  11. McCarthy being hounded out of the Republican Party for saying the right thing, is almost too on brand for the GOP.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Trump has rallied behind McCarthy and considers this report to be no big deal. If there is any hounding to be done, it won't come from the usual suspects.

      Keep in mind that McCarthy "thought about" calling Trump and recommending that he resign, but he didn't actually do it. He rallied behind Trump's insurrection, unlike Liz Cheney, the person on the other end of that conversation. Was McCarthy talking out of both sides of his mouth to members with different reactions to the insurrection?

      Delete
    2. I don't see how any Republican doesn't shrug their shoulders over an insurrection of the United States Capitol because black peoples votes counted in an election.

      Delete
    3. A tiny disagreement isn't going to stop people who want to dismantle the New Deal from working together.

      Delete
  12. A NY Times opinion essay by Michelle Cottle begins:

    "“What happens when a child sounds out the word ‘lesbian’ and turns to their teacher and asks, ‘What is a lesbian?’”

    I don't understand why this is a problem. The teacher can simply define it as "a woman who wears comfortable shoes," the way Robin Williams always did.

    A 5-year-old will be satisfied with such an answer. It is not possible to shield any child from hearing hard-to-define words in their daily lives, even if you rid your home of all books, TV, movies, comics, there will still be other children around talking to them. Raising a child in such isolation, including isolation from other kids and adults, is abusive, in my opinion.

    That means that some conservative author needs to quickly write some parenting and teaching books about how to answer such questions within a fundamentalist medieval isolationist perspective.

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    Replies
    1. Liberals are such snowflakes!

      Now excuse me while I get offended about something I made up completely, because it makes schools look bad and I like to imagine that.

      Delete
  13. McCarthy said that before he realized they were trying to overthow the country because black people's votes counted in an election.
    Now that he knows what it was about, he supports it.

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  14. "Martin and Burns reported that McCarthy also said at the time that he believed Democrats had enough votes to impeach Trump and that it was his plan to call Trump to urge resignation, although he expressed doubt that the president would do so. McCarthy told other House leaders on Jan. 10 that he intended to say to Trump the following: “I think this [impeachment] will pass, and it would be my recommendation you should resign.”"

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  15. Found on Facebook. And this is why Somerby's defense of those who support Trump is also confusing. There is simply no defense for not seeing what Trump is and how deplorable he and his supporters are.

    "Someone on Quora asked “Why do some British people not like Donald Trump?” Nate White, an articulate and witty writer from England wrote the following response:
    A few things spring to mind.
    Trump lacks certain qualities which the British traditionally esteem.
    For instance, he has no class, no charm, no coolness, no credibility, no compassion, no wit, no warmth, no wisdom, no subtlety, no sensitivity, no self-awareness, no humility, no honour and no grace – all qualities, funnily enough, with which his predecessor Mr. Obama was generously blessed.
    So for us, the stark contrast does rather throw Trump’s limitations into embarrassingly sharp relief.
    Plus, we like a laugh. And while Trump may be laughable, he has never once said anything wry, witty or even faintly amusing – not once, ever.
    I don’t say that rhetorically, I mean it quite literally: not once, not ever. And that fact is particularly disturbing to the British sensibility – for us, to lack humour is almost inhuman.
    But with Trump, it’s a fact. He doesn’t even seem to understand what a joke is – his idea of a joke is a crass comment, an illiterate insult, a casual act of cruelty.
    Trump is a troll. And like all trolls, he is never funny and he never laughs; he only crows or jeers.
    And scarily, he doesn’t just talk in crude, witless insults – he actually thinks in them. His mind is a simple bot-like algorithm of petty prejudices and knee-jerk nastiness.
    There is never any under-layer of irony, complexity, nuance or depth. It’s all surface.
    Some Americans might see this as refreshingly upfront.
    Well, we don’t. We see it as having no inner world, no soul.
    And in Britain we traditionally side with David, not Goliath. All our heroes are plucky underdogs: Robin Hood, Dick Whittington, Oliver Twist.
    Trump is neither plucky, nor an underdog. He is the exact opposite of that.
    He’s not even a spoiled rich-boy, or a greedy fat-cat.
    He’s more a fat white slug. A Jabba the Hutt of privilege.
    And worse, he is that most unforgivable of all things to the British: a bully.
    That is, except when he is among bullies; then he suddenly transforms into a snivelling sidekick instead.
    There are unspoken rules to this stuff – the Queensberry rules of basic decency – and he breaks them all. He punches downwards – which a gentleman should, would, could never do – and every blow he aims is below the belt. He particularly likes to kick the vulnerable or voiceless – and he kicks them when they are down.
    So the fact that a significant minority – perhaps a third – of Americans look at what he does, listen to what he says, and then think ‘Yeah, he seems like my kind of guy’ is a matter of some confusion and no little distress to British people, given that:
    • Americans are supposed to be nicer than us, and mostly are.
    • You don’t need a particularly keen eye for detail to spot a few flaws in the man.
    This last point is what especially confuses and dismays British people, and many other people too; his faults seem pretty bloody hard to miss.
    After all, it’s impossible to read a single tweet, or hear him speak a sentence or two, without staring deep into the abyss. He turns being artless into an art form; he is a Picasso of pettiness; a Shakespeare of shit. His faults are fractal: even his flaws have flaws, and so on ad infinitum.
    God knows there have always been stupid people in the world, and plenty of nasty people too. But rarely has stupidity been so nasty, or nastiness so stupid.
    He makes Nixon look trustworthy and George W look smart.
    In fact, if Frankenstein decided to make a monster assembled entirely from human flaws – he would make a Trump.
    And a remorseful Doctor Frankenstein would clutch out big clumpfuls of hair and scream in anguish:
    ‘My God… what… have… I… created?
    If being a twat was a TV show, Trump would be the boxed set."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nate White gives Trump too much credit.

      Delete
    2. If White has a spouse and kids, they're outside shivering in the cold.

      He's given Trump every square inch of his mind.

      Delete
    3. Meanwhile, Trump brags about his score on a test for dementia and cannot even remember the five words he made up just a few minutes before, while speaking at his Ohio rally. At least Nate White has a mind. Trump clearly has lost his.

      Cecelia, you have no excuse for supporting Trump. Until you do, you are the last person to be criticizing anyone else.

      Delete
    4. In summary, Trump is a standard-issue Reagan Republican.

      Delete
    5. From one moment to the next, Anonymices are telling any and all of their contrarians to shut up.

      That fact is not contingent upon anyone's support for Trump.

      Delete
    6. Yes, you heard the message correctly. No one wants you to be here. Go away.

      Delete
    7. Are all the Anonymices in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?

      Delete
    8. No one cares what you have in your pocket, nor how often you reach in and play with it. Fuck off.

      Delete
    9. Anonymouse4:25pm, nothing you've said indicates a lack of caring.

      Delete
    10. Go away you fucking troll.

      Delete
    11. Cecelia,
      That wasn't me. I didn't tell contrarians to shut up. I called for all Right-wingers to shut up.
      Here's the direct quote: "If you can't make a good faith argument, please kindly shut the fuck up."

      Delete
    12. I am none of the previous commenters, yet I concur; no one appreciates your comments here, your comments have no influence in moving anyone towards your point of view, your only goal is to trigger through bad faith nonsense.

      Most commenters here engage in discourse, whereas all the right wing trolls here engage in spewing their hate via disingenuous arguments.

      It may be rough stuff, but it is true Cecelia, no one here likes your comments. Somerby says none of it matters anyway, so I am not sure why you keep spewing your hatred Cecelia. I hope you find some peace. Right wingers are easily triggered and turn violent very easily, I hope for the safety of those around you Cecelia, that you find some peace of mind.

      Delete
    13. Anonymouse8:32pm, I have so much peace of mind that I need not tell friend-or-foe bloggers that they suck or hate all women, including their own mothers.

      You?

      Delete
    14. You don't seem to know that Somerby put on a one-man comedy show in which he mostly discussed his relationship with his mother.

      If you catalog all of the attacks on reporters and professors discussed here over some specified period (such as the last 5 years), you will find that the majority are women, with a much higher representation of black women than would be expected given their participation in the profession.

      No one here is making up the fact that Somerby has a specific focus on denigrating black women in positions of high visibility because they are professors or journalists. And he throws in Kamala Harris too. Go back and read what he wrote about Chanel Miller if you don't believe me.

      Should a white male blogger be allowed to target black women without anyone saying anything? Why? (That is a rhetorical question, not anything you need to answer with a reference to popsicle sticks.)

      Delete
  16. Steve M at No More Mister Nice Blog quotes Margaret Sullivan about the need to stop pursuing false equivalence and talk honestly about the Republican Party. I think Somerby needs to do this too. Democrats and Republicans are not alike.

    "Among liberals, arguing that the press needs to do a better job of portraying the GOP as a dangerously extremist party is not particularly controversial. I'm saying that Democrats need to do this, too.

    Margaret Sullivan, who writes about media for The Washington Post and who was once the public editor at The New York Times, writes this about her former employer, which has just hired a new executive editor, Joe Kahn:
    ... one of the world’s most influential news organizations is in need of serious soul-searching.

    Our very democracy is on the brink, and how the Times covers that existential threat is of extraordinary importance, especially as crucial elections approach this fall and in 2024. Will the paper’s coverage forthrightly identify the problems posed by a radicalized Republican Party that is increasingly dedicated to lies, bad-faith attacks and the destruction of democratic norms, or will it try to treat today’s politics as simply the result of bipartisan “polarization”? Will it try to cut the situation straight down the middle as if we were still in the old days — an era that no longer exists?

    ... adherence to the press’s true mission and highest calling demands journalism that discards the safety-seeking instinct for false equivalency.
    If we think it's extremely important for the press to tell the whole truth about the GOP, why don't we also believe that it's important for the opposition party to do the same thing? While the feral nature of the present-day GOP leads many of us to believe that the mainstream press ought to rethink old habits, it's understandable that the press would have a natural tendency toward balancing and even-handedness -- but the Democrats have no excuse. A political party's core message should always be "We're better than the other guys." And yet Democrats tiptoe around the majority of Republican positions and the nastiest Republican rhetoric, limiting themselves to talking about disagreements on a narrow range of kitchen-table issues on which Democrats haven't even been able to pass significant legislation during the current administration.

    If the press needs to tell us that Republicans are dangerous, then so does the only party that can prevent Republicans from taking office. Isn't that obvious?"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bob...if you're out there somewhere and have read the above and similar odes to this mindset, please note that my tribe has NOT seceded from the Union. YOURS did.

      Delete
    2. Yes, Cecelia, we all know that you are the problem, not the solution.

      The dishonesty of claiming any affiliation with the party of Lincoln and the Union during the Civil War is astonishing. It demonstrates that you and your "tribe" are telling lies, like the manifestly unfit person YOU chose to inflict on us (with the aid of Russia) in 2016.

      "Upon founding, the Republican party supported economic reform and classical liberalism while opposing the expansion of slavery.[12][13] It consisted of northern Protestants, factory workers, professionals, businessmen, prosperous farmers, and after 1866, former black slaves. The Republican Party had almost no presence in the Southern United States at its inception, but was very successful in the Northern United States, where by 1858 it had enlisted former Whigs and former Free Soil Democrats to form majorities in nearly every Northern state. While both parties adopted pro-business policies in the 19th century, the early GOP was distinguished by its support for the national banking system, the gold standard, railroads, and high tariffs.

      Beginning with the first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, the party largely dominated the national political scene until 1932. Under the leadership of Lincoln and a Republican Congress, it led the fight to destroy the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War; slavery was banned in the United States in 1865. In 1912, former Republican president Theodore Roosevelt formed the Progressive ("Bull Moose") Party after being rejected by the GOP and ran unsuccessfully as a third-party presidential candidate calling for social reforms. After 1912, many Roosevelt supporters left the Republican Party, and the Party underwent an ideological shift to the right. The GOP lost its congressional majorities during the Great Depression (1929–1940); under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Democrats formed a winning New Deal coalition that was dominant from 1932 through 1964."

      Go away Cecelia. It is much nicer here when you are not around. You won't get any sympathy from Somerby because he pretends he doesn't read his comments. The things you write in support of Somerby here just tend to blow his cover.

      Delete
    3. Yes, Anonymouse2:18pm, I know it's still 1861 for your purposes, and that any progress from that dark time is a house of cards resting on rotting popsicle sticks.

      I get that.

      I get that epic pessimism should be reserved as a political tool rather than being a blogger's unblinkered concern for our entire society.

      Delete
    4. Somerby is concerned about the wrong things.

      You belong to a party that is trying to roll back civil rights progress, block progress by black people and obstruct the implementation of our constitution, and subvert the values that our nation stands for. You are a piece of crap and you don't belong here. Have the decency to go away.

      Delete
    5. These people on this ascendant right don't just have different ideas about the role and function of journalism; they don't just believe journalists are biased liberals; they don't just believe the media is too hostile to conservatives; they are hostile to the concept of journalism itself. As in, uncovering things dutifully and carefully and attempting to convey your findings to the public honestly. They don’t want that and don’t like it and are endeavoring to end it as a common practice. You are debating logic and facts with frothing bigots with a bone-deep opposition to your entire project.

      All I would like my unbiased, objective, nonpartisan reporter friends to understand is that they are debating with people that consider them the enemy not just in a partisan sense but in an existential one. The only correct posture to take in response is to make yourself an existential threat to their movement.

      https://theap.substack.com/p/they-know-how-journalism-works-theyre?s=r

      Delete
    6. Anonymices, like many reporters, are impervious to irony.

      Delete
    7. If you are suggesting that Trump was elected out of a spirit of irony and that your lack of concern over 1/6 is also a form of irony, there is something evil about you. No one here thinks that what has been happening in our country is "ironic". You need to go away now. Fuck off.

      Delete
    8. Dembots sound distressed today.

      What is it? Is Thy Lord Soros not feeling well?

      Delete
    9. Your comment about irony makes no sense. These sorts of incoherent remarks are why you need to go away.

      Delete
    10. Cecelia is one of the most clever people the Right has ever coughed up.
      I had a pet hamster that was just like her.

      Delete
    11. Right wingers like Cecelia say "history smhistory" and "history does not matter" and "context does not matter".

      1:21 makes a point devastating to Somerby's mission. Hilariously, Somerby wants us to say "our values and policies are no better than Republicans". Oof

      Delete
    12. Modern Republicans come right up to the line of supporting chattel slavery, and no other group supports wage slavery as much, which is the current state of labor in the US.

      Lincoln opposed chattel slavery and, pointedly, opposed wage slavery. It is such a faceplant when modern Republicans tout Lincoln. Lincoln would have despised modern Republicans.

      Delete
    13. Anonymouse10:35pm, "History smhistory" is what you say. There is nothing about progress that helps in your argument.

      Your entire claim to validity is that we are endemically racist. You have no appeal other than that. Outside of your own white-skinned benefactor cohort, you make no appeal outside of that even as you hail yourselves as paragons.

      There's no power in recognizing progress. You couldn't if you wanted without being denounced by the very people you aim to help.


      Delete
    14. Anonymouse8:34pm, so?

      Hamsters as a breed are more clever than you.

      Delete
    15. Cecelia, there is a lot of social science evidence behind claims that black people are still being treated in racist ways in our society. Are you throwing that out along with history?

      Your opinion of someone else's intelligence is irrelevant to any topic being discussed here. But it does reflect poorly on you that you cannot discuss with reference to anything objective and ultimately resort to name-calling and obscure word salad. What do popsicle sticks mean to you? They don't mean a thing to anyone here and you don't seem to understand that your private references need to be explained to others.

      Delete
    16. 11:36,
      I'll give you credit for knowing black people as a group are much, much smarter than you.

      Delete
    17. "Popsicle sticks" is in position to pass "Lets Go Brandon!" as the smartest, most well-thought-out economic idea the Right has ever come up with.

      Delete
  17. Conservatives think that all black kids need to do is work hard and doors will open to them. In reality, white people cannot stand to see black kids succeed and they impede their progress is large and small ways that make life more difficult for them than for white students.

    Take this example, from today's The Root Newsletter:

    "A new documentary is shining a light on a shameful piece of Springfield, Illinois’ public school history. In “No Title for Tracey,” filmmaker Maria Ansley tells the story of Tracey Meares, a graduate of Illinois High School’s senior class of 1984. Over 30 years ago as graduation approached, Meares was set to be the class’ valedictorian, and the first Black student to be granted the title. But at the last minute, school officials coincidentally decided to do away with the title, opting to have the high achiever named as “top student”, an honor she had to share with Heather Russell, a white student.

    “It was incredibly upsetting when I was 17. I remain angry about it today, and sad,” Meares recalled in the film. She is now a legal scholar at the Yale School of Law. The documentary–directed by Illinois native Ansley—focuses on Meares’ valedictorian snub, and yet, tells a greater tale of systematic racism in America. Meares also recalls being informed that the white assistant principal was caught removing her records from a file cabinet in the school’s office."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The real American Dream has always been about making sure that White People, while for the most part not enjoying the wealth of the bourgeoisie, have more than Black People.

      Today, after all the amendments and laws and court cases supporting civil rights for people of color, a White person has a dollar in their pocket while a Black person has 15 cents. 15 fucking cents.

      Do not tell me racism does not exist, that there is not systemic and institutional racism. It's impact is hard to miss, although Republicans put in a good effort.

      Delete
    2. It's still 1861 and all our progress is predicated upon a foundation of rotten popsicle sticks.

      Without this conceit they have nothing.

      Delete
    3. Another incoherent comment by Cecelia, who doesn't bother to think about anything before posting.

      Delete
    4. Cecelia,
      It's 2022, and the values of Republicans are the same as slave-holders in 1861.

      Delete
  18. The difference between recommending resignation and pushing someone to resign is too thin to distinguish, in my opinion.

    ReplyDelete