FRIDAY, JULY 29, 2022
No specialists need apply: The January 6 committee has completed its first round of presentations.
Quite a few questions remain. Yesterday, we cited several unresolved questions. One of those questions was this:
Did Donald J. Trump engage in preplanning for the violence which occurred on January 6?
It seems fairly clear that several groups actively planned to engage in violent conduct on January 6.
Did Trump, or his orbit, take part in that preplanning? To this point, the committee has made no attempt to answer that question, one way or the other. (The refusal of major figures to testify complicates this task.)
Did Donald Trump know, in advance, that violence was being planned? Did he himself take part in such planning?
Yesterday, we listed that as an unresolved question. Today, we'll tack another one on:
What was Donald J. Trump planning to do had he himself gone to the Capitol?
It seems fairly clear that Donald J. Trump wanted to go to the Capitol Building after finishing his speech on January 6.
It seems fairly clear that the Secret Service wouldn't let him do that. But what in the world was he planning to do if he had actually gone there?
Quite possibly, there will never be a way to answer this question. (It's also possible that this matter had been discussed by Trump and certain associates.)
But what the heck was he planning to do? Was he planning to give a speech outside the Capitol? Was he planning to lead a mob into the Capitol? Right into the chamber where the certification of Biden's win was taking place?
What in the world was he planning to do? We've seen no one offer a speculation about this intriguing question.
For ourselves, we regard Donald J. Trump as deeply disordered. But how disordered is Donald Trump? What might he have had in his head?
We pose these questions as a way to approach another unresolved question.
In truth, this question isn't simply unresolved. For the most part, it hasn't been approached or addressed. Because we aren't medical specialists, we'll pose the question this way:
Is "something wrong with" Donald J. Trump? Is something seriously wrong with Trump, in some literal / clinical way?
We've asked these questions before. Is it possible that Trump has a serious personality disorder, or a serious psychiatric condition? Is it possible that he's a "sociopath?" Does some other such serious condition obtain?
Our mainstream press corps has steadfastly agreed that questions like these must never be asked. In doing so, they have refused to interact with a major part of the basic science of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Last Thursday night, our own blue cable was having a crowd-pleasing time imagining dastardly possibilities. On MSNBC's The Last Word, excited analysts were floating the notion that [someone in] the Secret Service had plotted to kidnap Vice President Pence on January 6.
The next morning, presidential historian Michael Beschloss went them one better. He suggested that [someone in] the Secret Service had been plotting, with Donald J. Trump, for "intended assassinations" of Pence, and possibly Nancy Pelosi, on January 6.
It was a glorious time on blue tribe cable; the lurid speculating was good. Meanwhile, on that same Friday morning, multimillionaire tobacco lawyer George Conway appeared on CNN's New Day.
Conway rattled off angry claims about Trump's behavior on January 6. In our view, his easily memorized fury helped showcase the emptiness of the press corps' long-standing approach to this matter.
The previous night, the January 6 committee had presented testimony about Trump's behavior during the violent riot on January 6. After being returned to the White House, Trump sat in his private dining room and watched TV coverage of the events.
He made no attempt to cause the violence to stop. He refused to call in the National Guard. He refused to urge the rioters to stop.
He even posted a tweet increasing the rioters' murderous fury at Vice President Pence. None of this was new information, but it was a fairly thorough summary of the president's behavior over the course of more than three murderous hours.
The following morning, Conway appeared on CNN. His first exchange with John Berman started exactly like this:
BERMAN (7/22/22): George, you've now seen all of this. And last night was a moment the committee was building up to. What did you see as the most important part of what we heard last night?
CONWAY: Well, I think it was the entire package. I don't think it was any one element.
I think what we saw was a picture of not just dereliction. I mean, the theme last night was dereliction of duty, but it was depravity, it was utter depravity in Trump's not just failing to do something, but failing to do his duty in the context of a situation that he created and he glorified it. He—
You know, he not just—it wasn't just that he didn't talk to the Secretary of Defense, and didn't talk to anybody about getting security up on the Hill. He didn't talk to his vice president. He affirmatively launched a tweet attacking the vice president that led the crowd to want to storm the barriers even more. And the fact that he showed absolutely no remorse about it. He absolutely showed no caring whatsoever about the fate of his vice president, of the fate of our democracy, the fate of the officers on Capitol Hill. And, at the end of the day, when he went up to go to the residence, all he could say was, Mike Pence let him down.
That's all he cared about. He only cared about himself. He didn't care about the duty that he undertook when he raised his right hand on January 20, 2017, to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution...
"He only cared about himself," Conway rather pointlessly said. From there, he moved to the key building block of blue tribe punditry—the desire to get Trump charged with a crime and locked up.
(For the full transcript, click here.)
We were struck that day by the general emptiness of Conway's presentation.
By the time of Conway's appearance, the idea that Trump "only cares about himself" was older than any known hills. Pundits had been making that statement for years.
Conway had nothing new to offer this day. But in his second statement this day, he went pseudo-psychiatric:
CONWAY: You know, it's just a reflection of his pathological narcissism.
As one of the White House aides whose emails was, or texts were quoted last night, he can't bring himself to criticize the rioters, the insurrectionists, because they were for him and he would be thereby criticizing himself. He can't do that. He identifies with them because they supported him, and it was all about him. It wasn't about the Constitution. It wasn't about the oath. It wasn't about fairness. It wasn't about right. It wasn't about wrong. It wasn't about facts. It wasn't about law. It was all about him and his desire to retain power.
And since those people were supporting him, he couldn't bring himself to criticize them and talk about them possibly breaking the law. And he certainly wasn't going to admit that he lost the election because that's the ultimate blow to his narcissistic, delicate, fragile, pathetic ego.
It was all about Trump's "pathological narcissism," Conway heatedly said.
As far as we know, that might be the actual clinical case. But we were struck by the emptiness of a psychiatric / mental health / medical analysis coming from a multimillionaire tobacco lawyer.
In fairness, it isn't fair to single Conway out. Within the confines of blue cable, every non-specialist on the face of the earth has offered some such analysis of Trump over the past five years.
What anchors like Berman haven't done is speak to medical specialists—people who might have some real idea what they're talking about.
Is it possible that Donald J. Trump is a sociopath? According to standard medical texts, a significant percentage of adult men can be so diagnosed.
Is it possible that he's psychotic? Is it possible that he actually continues to believe that he really did win the election?
There are medical specialists in the world who could bring actual expertise and experience to such obvious questions. But the upper-end press corps has steadfastly agreed that such specialists mustn't be brought on the air.
Instead, they've spoken to the tobacco lawyers. They've found their analyses there.
These non-specialists speak, somewhat metaphorically, about Trump's apparent psychiatric condition. For ourselves, we wonder how disordered he might be in the literal, clinical sense. And knowing what little we think we know about what sociopaths will do in a pinch, we wonder what he might have ended up doing had he gone to the Capitol that day, along with his angry supporters.
Back in the 1990s, Conway clowned around with Coulter and Drudge, trying to make the discourse concern Bill Clinton's (imagined) "defining characteristic."
Today, because he's anti-Trump, he's become a blue tribe hero. Along the way, the defining characteristic of blue tribe discourse is becoming its studied dumbness. We dream up tales about kidnapping plots and assassinations, and we invite multimillionaire tobacco lawyers to deliver psychiatric assessments.
Conway had nothing new to offer this day. It was Storyline all the way down.
Meanwhile, to what extent is "something (seriously) wrong with" Donald J. Trump in the literal / clinical sense? To what extent might his behavior that day have been the perfect, textbook expression of some underlying clinically-defined condition?
Berman's producers didn't send him a medical specialist. They sent him a lawyer instead. He only cared about himself! After all these many years, this is all we want to hear.
At this point, we'll say some things we've said in the past:
For starters, we feel sorry for people who are severely disordered. If Trump is in the grip of a serious clinical disorder, we feel sorry for the loss. "There but for fortune," we'd say.
The question here is a political question. How did someone as transparently disordered as Donald J. Trump manage to win the support of so many millions of people?
Also, what might our own blue tribe be doing to help him win that support? Over Here, on blue tribe cable, we rarely ask such questions. Within the rules of our current media system, it simply isn't done.
Our blue tribe cable was really rockin' as of last Thursday night:
A kidnapping plot was underway. No, it was a plot of "intended assassinations!" Then the tobacco lawyer came on, cast in the role of the shrink.
Also, Trump only cares about himself! This is the state of our flailing blue discourse as our nation, such as it was, keeps sliding towards the sea.
A final point: As we've noted before, it's almost surely just as well that our journalists stay away from medical specialists concerning such matters as these.
Almost surely, a discussion like that wouldn't turn out well. Simply put, we wouldn't be up to the task.
Still, that leaves us with an amazingly childish public discussion. Is Trump some (clinical) version of "mentally ill?" Does that explain what he did that day?
Inquiring minds don't want to know. We just want to hurl standard insults!
I agree that our side's reaction to Trump has been very dumb from the beginning. And we have not tried to address that political question in a serious way. And I think it's really going to come back to haunt us more than most of us realize.ReplyDelete
You can’t “discuss” what you think is a problem while in complete hair-on-fire mode.Delete
That’s been great for the entire media, but not good for our society.
Tell that to Patrick Henry.Delete
The political problem in question is much harder to face than the easy to digest alternatives that have been offered.Delete
Patrick Henry is the poster boy of what happens when discussion is no longer an option.Delete
Btw, mh, Pat is one of my ancestors.Delete
So is Jesse James.
So is JoJo the dog-faced boy. Why not claim Einstein as an ancestor too? Afraid no one would believe it?Delete
I’d claim JoJo any day.Delete
"Is "something wrong with" Donald J. Trump? Is something seriously wrong with Trump, in some literal / clinical way?"
Yes, dear Bob, something is "wrong" with The Commander.
And what that "something" is, is that he is not one your tribesmen, he's not servicing globalist finance of Soros&Co. And that, dear Bob, is insane. Insane, psychotic, sociopathic, and worse. Completely unacceptable.
...to you and your tribe.
But outside of your death-cult tribe, all that is just a meaningless word-salad. Typical TDS drivel. Oh well...
Thanks again for letting us know which bullshit memes your Establishment elite bosses want pushed into the public sphere today.
I truly appreciate it.
he's not servicing globalist financeDelete
He says this as Trump is literally, as we speak, sucking Saudi cock. The same ones who handed his son-in-law a cool $2 billion.
Mao’s boss is the Russian establishment.Delete
The question of Trump's mental state has never been ignored by the press, Bob knows this. Mary Trump's consistent presence on the shows is but one example . From his flunkies who giggled when he cheated everyday at golf, to the journalists who looked the other way when barked that men who had been proven innocent should remain in jail, to NBC who gave him a TV show when the record of his being a creep who stiffed people was quite clear.... it says something bad about our society in general that this happened.ReplyDelete
Trump clearly makes rational choices about what he wants to do and then does, so he is insane at a deeper, more subtle level. Bob's compassion for his metal illness is bullshit as he displays no compassion for Trump's victims. The dead soul Trump displayed as he allowed the rioters to beat cops with polls is only the culmination of his sickness. His crass indifference to others is not that far from the Randian philosophy held by many on the political right. He's sick alright, like most of the people on death row.
Bob doesn't really want an analysis of Trump's mental state. He wants an analysis of Trump's mental state
that exonerates him fully and says liberals are really
to blame for it. Bob is full of shit.
Bob does make a useful point about Trump wanting to
go the Capitol. As I have asked since day one, what would this have looked like if Trump had gotten what he wanted?
He made no attempt to organize a peaceful protest or
demonstration of civil disobedience. (Right wingers,
generally speaking, do not know what that is.)
The best guess is, spurned by some sort of
vainglorious fantasy, Trump aimed an obviously
dangerous mob at the Capitol. Far beyond the time
it was obvious they were hurting people Bob will
never display any compassion for, he allowed it
"There but for the grace of God...." Please.
Trump was born into massive unearned advantage
which he handed so indulgently we were encouraged
to view him as a sort of benign joke. And so we did.
We didn't notice that all the encouragement right
wing people had gotten to become assholes had,
over time, turned them into assholes.
This Blog never, ever, admits when it gets
something wrong, on points small or big. Yep,
overtime you can look at that as a sort of mental
illness. Bob is a hater, he enjoys the losses of the
disadvantaged team. But he also sees a lot of
himself in Trump.
My guess is that they’ve not gotten as far as Georgetown encampments.ReplyDelete
"There's something wrong with Trump" say the Very Sane People who want to sterilize children and castrate them to make them look like something they can never be.ReplyDelete
Go tell lies somewhere else.Delete
The Republican Party 2022: Focused like a laser on your children's genitals.Delete
"Did Trump, or his orbit, take part in that preplanning? To this point, the committee has made no attempt to answer that question, one way or the other. (The refusal of major figures to testify complicates this task.)
Did Donald Trump know, in advance, that violence was being planned? Did he himself take part in such planning?"
The 1/6 hearings have presented evidence that speaks to both of these questions. Somerby's contention that neither has been addressed is wrong. Somerby ignores the evidence, refusing to deal with both the specific testimony and the bigger picture of what Trump was attempting to do to stay in power. You cannot make some hear what they don't want to know.
Somerby repeatedly said that he didn't understand what Einstein patiently explained. He said the same about Godel. He isn't going to understand what happened on 1/6 any better, given that he doesn't want to know what has been clearly and patiently explained in the hearings either.
"But what the heck was he planning to do? Was he planning to give a speech outside the Capitol? Was he planning to lead a mob into the Capitol? Right into the chamber where the certification of Biden's win was taking place?ReplyDelete
What in the world was he planning to do? We've seen no one offer a speculation about this intriguing question."
This question WAS discussed on cable news by several different acadmic experts on dictatorship and regime change, authoritarianism and tyranny, such as Timothy Snyder. What happens when there is a coup anywhere?
Trump expected to remain president. He may have planned to send the question back to the states on a pretext, accepted the alternate electors, declared himself the winner of the election. He would certainly have made a speech. He would not have gotten anywhere near any active fighting and would not have led the mob. He may have explained that another election would be held (whether it would have or not) because of faults in the one he lost. These are all things that were discussed with his conspirators.
What does Somerby think the alternate elector slates were about? Why does he think Trump wanted to confiscate voting machines? Why did he want Pence out of the way, or to set aside the election certification? So he could remain in power. He would have declared himself the winner of the election and stayed in the White House.
Trump sat in his dining room in the White House waiting for the mob to win the insurrection. He wanted to go down to the Capitol and proclaim himself still the president. He didn't call in any help to stop the violence because he wanted the insurrection to succeed. Only when it had clearly failed did he make a non-inflammatory statement asking his mob to go home.
You have to be blind to the evidence presented during the hearings to continue to ask such dumb questions about Trump's intentions. And no, it wasn't crazy to want or seek such things. Insurrections have succeeded in other countries many times. Why not here? Trump just wasn't very good at planning and executing his coup. Coups have failed elsewhere too. That doesn't mean they didn't happen. Nor does it mean that those who tried to seize power using force were crazy.
Interesting which Conway Bob chooses to go after, eh?ReplyDelete
The Conway who was on the talk show?Delete
They both do lots of talk shows. Are you being coy? I think we have covered this. Only the sins (though in this case there wasn’t one) matter to Bob.Delete
The fact that Trump wanted to go to the Capitol is evidence that he was plotting a coup. It is the only interpretation that makes sense of his watching intently, enjoying the violence perpetrated in his name (as testified by several witnesses), providing no help to contain the violence, making no statements to get the mob to go home, expressing no concern or remorse over the violence, even when congress people were in danger, and waiting for the mob to stop the vote certification and pressure the legislators to change the outcome of the election.ReplyDelete
What would Trump do after the riot? He expected to remain president.
"But then he gets to the Capitol. According to Hutchison’s earlier recorded testimony, played during today’s hearings, it was not clear what Trump’s intentions would have been, had he made it that far. “I know that there were discussions about him having another speech outside of the Capitol before going in,” she said. “I know that there was a conversation about him going into the House chamber at one point.” But by the time Trump might have made it to the actual building, things were already getting pretty dire. It’s quite difficult to imagine Donald Trump arriving at the Capitol, grabbing a spear, and clambering through a window. It’s equally difficult to imagine him appealing to the crowd for calm.
The same president who had the National Guard clear peaceful protesters out so he could take a picture holding a Bible had one clear goal at the Capitol, and that was to take a photo of himself, glowering, standing in front of a big building that was filled with losers but surrounded by patriots. It would have been good TV, he thought. (He wouldn’t have been wrong!)"
I could easily find these any many other articles on this topic. Why couldn't Somerby? He clearly didn't look. If there are not specious questions to raise, he might have to face the fact that Donald Trump was guilty of some ugly crimes.
"The next morning, presidential historian Michael Beschloss went them one better. He suggested that [someone in] the Secret Service had been plotting, with Donald J. Trump, for "intended assassinations" of Pence, and possibly Nancy Pelosi, on January 6."ReplyDelete
Several of the people at the insurrection said, on camera, that they would kill Pence or Pelosi if they caught them. Why should someone who is in the process of demonstrating their capacity for violence not be taken at their word about such a thing? There was a gallows on the Capitol steps. Does Somerby think it was decorative?
When Donald J Chickenshit said to the DOJ, "Just say it was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen," he wasn't just whistling Dixie.ReplyDelete
This is what everyone is really not understanding - how astute and cunning Trump actually was. Because he knew, that's all it would have taken for the media to go apeshit with excitement. Or alternatively, if he had gotten GA to "find" him the votes he needed, again, the media would have gone crazy and helped his plan to steal the election.
Trump wasn't dumb or crazy, he really had a good plan.
People like Somerby, who keep asking what crime Trump committed, must think such a plan is legal. Maybe they think this is what a peaceful transition of power looks like?Delete
Trump looks like he smells good.Delete
Trump is too stupid and ignorant to be President. OTOH Trump is incredibly astute and cunning. Apparently Trump has whatever characteristics are needed to justify calling him evil.Delete
Just call him a "Right-winger", and be done with it. If someone doesn't know Right-wingers are evil, it's on them.
“It was all about Trump's "pathological narcissism," Conway heatedly said.ReplyDelete
As far as we know, that might be the actual clinical case. But we were struck by the emptiness of a psychiatric / mental health / medical analysis coming from a multimillionaire tobacco lawyer.”
Somerby is a (insert net worth) vanity blogger. He constantly engages in this kind of armchair diagnosis.
Sure, Somerby says he’s just asking questions, if Trump might be mentally ill, but then proceeds to act as if it’s a settled matter, offering “pity” and “sorrow” and “there but for the grace of God”, etc.
Meanwhile, the expert Somerby most often cites, Bandy Lee, continues to urge that Trump should be prosecuted.
"Then the tobacco lawyer came on, cast in the role of the shrink."ReplyDelete
Then the has-been standup comedian came on, cast in the role of the shrink.
"Still, that leaves us with an amazingly childish public discussion. Is Trump some (clinical) version of "mentally ill?" Does that explain what he did that day?ReplyDelete
Inquiring minds don't want to know. We just want to hurl standard insults!"
Calling people mentally ill (or crazy) IS a childish insult. It is also a lazy way of answering a question about someone's motives. It is like asking "how do light bulbs work?" with the response "magic." Why did Trump whip up a mob to storm the capitol and stop election certification? I don't know, maybe he was crazy. Or maybe he wanted the election results overturned so that he could remain in office? Which do you think is the most likely answer, in the context of everything we know about what he has said and done?
Crazy is not an answer. Even crazy people have motives, reasons for their actions. Their context may not make sense but their actions do, evaluated within that context.
But Somerby is a child and he doesn't know the first thing about mental illness. His motives are transparent. He defends Republicans, just like Conway now attacks conservatives because of their fealty to Trump. What enabled that millionaire, reputedly brilliant Harvard lawyer to see through Trump? Maybe someone should ask that question.
The excellent “Commander in Cheat” explains a lot. What if you got away with all kinds of stuff your whole life, would you be hesitant to try and steal the Presidency? Bob knows this. He childishly despises honest people who loath Trump.Delete