Joe and Mika silence the gods!


Make Donald and Hillary birthers:
Let's imagine a startling event—an event which won't occur.

In the not-too-distant future, some documents are uncovered. These documents, which are unassailable, make it unassailably clear:

Joe and Mika were paid $10 million each to shill for the Trump campaign.

Presumably, nothing like that will ever happen. Presumably, nothing resembling our premise is true. Still, if that startling event did occur, sensible people would draw at least one conclusion:

Ohhh, those sensible people would say. That explains the first twenty minutes of the September 16 Morning Joe!

This morning, the children devoted their first twenty minutes to the birther question. As you can see if you watch the tapes, Joe played his initial moral equivalence card right in the program's first minute.

"There also, of course, Mika, is the lingering question of where this all began," Joe said.

"Right," Mika deferentially said, and Joe wound it forward from there.

Quickly, let's run through some of what happened:

At 6:03, Mika read the full text of the Trump campaign's claim that "it was Hillary Clinton's 2008 campaign that first raised questions about the president's birthplace."

Later, it became clear that Mika knew that this statement was false. But she didn't say anything like that until 6:12.

When she did, she garbled her explanation so much that confusion remained about who actually did start the birther claims, whether it be Clinton herself, "the Clinton campaign" or perhaps "Clinton supporters."

At 6:05, the Washington Post's Robert Costa authored one of the segment's strangest moments. Costa wrote today's front-page report, in which Trump refused to say where Obama was born. Believe it or not, at 6:05, Costa jumped in and said this:
COSTA (9/16/16): With Trump, it's always good to remember—when I'm reporting on him, I like to remind myself that this is someone who was really devoted to the birther issue at one point in his political career. It was not a flirtation for a small period, it was something that dominated his thought.
No, we didn't make that up. Costa almost made it sound like Trump deserved sincerity points for all these years of apparent lies. They dominated his thought!

At 6:06, Joe offered some messaging advice. Trump "can even say, 'I proved it by making Obama release his long-form birth certificate," the presumed non-employee said.

One minute later, Mika lamented the way Trump's refusal to drop his birther pose was "stepping on his doing things pertaining to policy." She referred to Trump's ludicrous economic policy speech. She seemed to think that it had been a policy masterwork.

Eventually, some ugly truths were actually put on display. At 6:12, Mika read prepared text describing the many times Trump has questioned Obama's birthplace in the years since 2012. She even played videotape of Trump questioning Obama's birthplace in 2014 and then again in January of this very year.

These obscenely stupid tapes refute Rudy Giuliani's recent attempt to claim that Trump abandoned the topic long ago. Needless to say, none of Morning Joe's stooges made any such observation.

The tapes were obscenely stupid. Kevin Drum wants these claims to be called lies. To us, we'd have to include the possibility that they represent derangement, some form of mental illness. But if we assume their author is sane, we can presume that they're also disgraceful lies—disgraceful mostly for the way they dumbnify the public.

(Disgraceful lies? No one raised that possibility at any point today. According to Costa, they were just part of Trump's "thought.")

Whatever those statements are judged to be, the videotapes extended into this very year. And that's when Mika and Joe brought out the moral equivalence. Their play turned on Mika's earlier semi-conflation of Clinton herself, the Clinton campaign and mere "Clinton supporters."

At this point, Mika played tape of Clinton on that ancient 60 Minutes program. The tape showed a thoroughly pointless, repetitive exchange which literally started like this:
STEVE KROFT: You don't believe that Senator Obama's a Muslim.

CLINTON: Of course not!
On the basis of outrageous statements like that, the pair of non-employees made their play. After playing fuller tape of the pointless exchange, Joe had seen enough:

"How Trumpian was that, Mika?" Mika's boss demanded.

"That was Trumpspeak," the underling said. "No, that was— Something's going on!"

From there, the moral equivalence rolled down like a mighty stream. Trump had spent years advancing the craziest claims since the endless crazy claims about the Clintons' endless murders. Equivalently, Clinton had once failed to give a perfect answer when she was asked the same question for the third time about her knowledge of her opponent's religion.

On that basis, Joe dared to speak loud and clear:
SCARBOROUGH: Is this not just one more reminder of why voters are saying, "A pox on both of their houses," that nobody seems to have clean hands?
A highlight: Don't miss the timid, deferential way Gene Robinson pretends to counter.

Eventually, Joe and Mika offered political advice to the fellow who doesn't employ them.

"Just put it behind you," Mika implored. Joe then jumped in with his best guess. After today, Trump "will not talk about it again for the rest of the race."

We tried to remember! Was Candidate Clinton granted the right to speak about the emails once, then "just put them behind her?" Because all the stooges seemed to agree that that's what Trump should do!

If it turns out that Joe and Mika actually were getting paid by Trump, that will at least begin to explain this morning's performance. Of course, that won't explain the overwhelming cowardice of Robinson, Halperin, Ratner.

As we watched this display in real time, we thought of the gods on Olympus. Sacred Homer always said they watched the mortals and just laughed and laughed.

Today, we wondered if Homer was wrong. Surely, even the Olympian gods were looking on with tight faces.

Feel free to watch the whole thing: For the first eight minutes, just click here.

To complete your review, click this.

Very much worth reading again: No, we really aren't making this up. Yes, he actually said it:
COSTA (9/16/16): With Trump, it's always good to remember—when I'm reporting on him, I like to remind myself that this is someone who was really devoted to the birther issue at one point in his political career. It was not a flirtation for a small period, it was something that dominated his thought.
It was something that dominated "his thought." On Olympus, embarrassed silence obtained. Even the gods didn't laugh!


  1. I don't think this issue matters to most voters. As pollster Sindlinger once said, "The American voter is a selfish pig." Voters care mostly about what what the candidate will do for them.

    1. David in Cal, in my honest opinion, is too smart [lol] to actually vote for people like Reagan, Pete Wilson, Chris Chris in New Jersey and other GOP None-Girlie men. I think they actually have some joy of knowing gentlemen like them CAN'T govern and enjoy the misery the rest of us have to deal with. Us, the 99%.

    2. This issue matters very much to Trump's racist base. They view the contention that Obama is from Kenya as justification for why they need not recognize Obama as President of the USA. It is their form of denial of something that upsets them tremendously. I believe that Trump felt the same way about Obama because at his core, he is as racist as they are. So, yes, this issue does something important for racist voters and it matters very much to Trump and his supporters.

    3. Jimmy Buffet's coke dealerSeptember 17, 2016 at 12:53 AM

      "Voters care mostly about what ... the candidate will do for them."

      Another obtuse conservative justifying the morality of greed while clueless to other motives, like voting for a candidate that might positively influence the country/state/city/community that the voter loves, or voting to prevent an unqualified bigot and xenophobe from ruining the country that the voter loves.

      Let's face it: you really need to troll much harder.

    4. About 2 years ago, September 6, 2014, Donald Trump went on his twitter and literally asked people to commit a crime,

      Attention all hackers: You are hacking everything else so please hack Obama's college records (destroyed?) and check "place of birth"

      More recently, he asked Russian hackers to hack into the email of a former United States Secretary of State.

      “I will tell you this, Russia: If you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” the Republican nominee said at a news conference in Florida. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

      David in California will happily vote for this immoral wretched human being.

    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    6. Why do so many call D in C a troll? He's just a real right-winger and not a troll. His posts are not insincere as far as I can tell, and he is not impolite.
      Of course Donald Trump's racist birtherism matters to minorities. D in C probably means that it won't matter much to most Republican voters and I guess maybe he's right, except for the Powell, Brooks and Romney types.
      I don't know. Three months ago my Christian, right wing, Ben Carson following mother wrinkled her nose at Trump. Now she proudly declares that she is voting for Trump. The Republicans are falling in line. Now that it's Trump vs. Hillary it's easier for them to see it as Good versus Evil. The hatred of Hillary is beyond rational. For my mother and many others, Trump is like Churchill- a flawed human, but a bold, decisive man who understands and can fight the evils (such as Hillary!?) of our time.

      It is sad that the demonization of the first female candidate has gotten so irrational and dangerous.

    7. You haven't been around long enough to know him that well. He has made several comments that are patently insincere and reveal him to be the troll he is, not a reader with conservative. You are correct that he is not impolite. I'm sure we all appreciate that.

      Every day another prominent Republican announces for Hillary and distances himself from Trump. You can pretend that there is a difference between the rank and file Republicans and these Republican leaders but I don't buy it. Trump has not been increasing his support in the polls among Republicans. He appears to have hit his ceiling -- your claim that Republicans are closing ranks around him is not supported by polling.

      Your fictional mother is no doubt a nice old lady but there is nothing in the news that would have convinced someone like her to "fall in line." It is hard for me to imagine her hating anyone, much less Hillary, who has become more humanized since her pneumonia. Trump's waffling over immigration and now birtherism is the opposite of decisive and bold. He is redfaced and defensive these days. Even a nice old lady like your mom surely sees that!

      It is sad when trolls must come to the rescue of other trolls in such transparently feeble ways.

      Conservatives should be worrying about how Trump will explain himself when one of his deplorables grabs his gun in response to his latest call to arms to take down his opponent for him. Doesn't a bold, decisive strongman fight his own battles?

    8. I guess you are calling me a troll.

    9. Yes, and I strongly suspect you are David under a different name.

    10. Conservatives should be worrying about how Trump will explain himself when one of his deplorables grabs his gun in response to his latest call to arms to take down his opponent for him.

      This is from 12:58's imagination. But, here in the real world, it was Trump's opponents who actually attempted an assassination.

      Michael Steven Sandford... allegedly tried to pull a gun from the holster of a police officer at a Trump rally in Las Vegas on Saturday. He was arrested and later told the Secret Service that he had driven to the event from California and had been planning to kill the candidate for a year, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Nevada.

      12:58 might not have aware of this event. Due to media bias, it received less publicity than a (hypothetical) attempted assassination of Hillary would have received.

      Jimmy Buffet's coke dealer -- perhaps my comment was unclear. I wasn't endorsing what Sindlinger said. I don't know what his politics were. I was just describing what I believe is political reality.

      Source of quote:

    11. Neither was Jimmy Buffet's cke dealer. He was commenting on "what you believe is political reality" and how well it describes your longtime, well-known preference for greed.

      Then you pull out a big shiny squirrel to support your pathetic false equivalence.

      Finally, I hear no denial that mark carpenter is your sock puppet.

    12. What good would a denial do? If I'm lying by having a sock puppet, I could lie and say I didn't have one. No doubt yoou remeber this famous cartoon,_nobody_knows_you%27re_a_dog

    13. Plus, your credibility has been long shot to hell, and for good reason.

  2. It matters to too many Americans who read the whole episode as a reiteration and confirmation of white (and male) grievance.

  3. It matters to too many Americans who read the whole episode as a reiteration and confirmation of white (and male) grievance.

    1. Why do you always post twice? Can you figure out how to avoid doing this, please?

    2. I make the same mistake too often on my Android device and I know better. Once you post you should close the window and leave the site. If you hit the back icon to go from the comment thread to the site's home/front page after your comment posts you'll end up reposting.

    3. Anonymous and CMike raise vital points in our discourse.

    4. Right. Whole forests are wasted when Boo Boo does this; not to mention all the sparrows that die.

    5. It is a matter of courtesy to other readers here. Civility matters -- Bill Maher said so.

  4. It's interesting that on this topic Bob criticizes many liberal pundits and education "experts". This more or less illustrates Robert Conquest's First Law of Politics:

    Everyone is conservative about what he knows best.

    1. Bob criticizes MANY PUNDITS, whether you INCORRECTLY label them LIBURL[sic] or CONs[sic!]. It doesn't really matter WHO they are, it is what the lame brains do and say. I give you credit, but not much, for "quotes" around education experts. You are almost ON to something there.

    2. "Everyone is a conservative ...." Tattooed on David's butt, where it belongs.

  5. Bob, you're off in suggesting Costa's statement that Trump was devoted to the issue in the sense that was accepting or giving merit to that position. He seemed to be saying Trump was obsessed rather than there was sincerity to Trump's thinking.

    1. What seems is what is.

    2. Unknown-- you just said what I came here to post. Costa is kind of a strange dude with little affect to bounce off of. He also assiduously avoids strong language because his frequently devastating reporting, like Trump's unwillingness to renounce birtherism, speaks for itself.

      And BOB is quibbling over the word "thought" instead of the more pleasing word Costa might have said, "obsession." But "obsession" is very clearly what he meant, and he's made that clear in other appearances around that story.

      So BOB, Costa is pointing out something not all political journos seem to get, which is that birtherism has been no "flirtation" for Trump, it's been constantly in his mind (is that too Beltway a word, BOB?) for many years.

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  7. While you are at it, imagine that Bernie Sanders got paid a large sum too, to spread disinformation about Clinton among liberal voters, especially millennials. There is a conspiracy theory that says Sanders got numerous small donations from Russia because she small amounts are untraceable and need not be identified when filing those campaign finance reports. Remember all those Berniebros chanting conservative slogans? They are responsible for Clinton's declining favorability ratings, far more than any gaffe or campaign decision.

  8. I was trying to see irony or sarcasm in what you wrote 10:44, but all I ended up seeing was stupidity.

    Have a nice day

  9. It's worth noting that Morning Joe truncated the "as far as I know" clip from the 2008 Hillary 60 minutes interview to make Clinton look bad. Via Mediamatters, , here is the transcript of that piece of the interview:

    KROFT: You don't believe that Senator Obama is a Muslim?

    CLINTON: Of course not. I mean, that's -- you know, there is no basis for that. You know, I take him on the basis of what he says. And, you know, there isn't any reason to doubt that.

    KROFT: And you said you'd take Senator Obama at his word that he's not a Muslim.

    CLINTON: Right. Right.

    KROFT: You don't believe that he's a Muslim --

    CLINTON: No. No. Why would I? There's no --

    KROFT: -- or implying, right?

    CLINTON: No, there is nothing to base that on, as far as I know.

    KROFT: It's just scurrilous --

    CLINTON: Look, I have been the target of so many ridiculous rumors. I have a great deal of sympathy for anybody who gets, you know, smeared with the kind of rumors that go on all the time.

    Kroft asked the question 5, count them, five times. Morning Joe (and the clip available on youtube) dropped the 5th and last asking, where Clinton was clearly standing by her other denials that Obama is a Muslim, removing whatever tiny ambiguity there might be in the "as far as I know" comment from Clinton.

    However, I also have a question. I cannot find the original clip of the 60 minutes interview, but I recall seeing it back in 2008. My recollection of what I saw back then is rather different in other ways from the Morning Joe/youtube version, which has a lot of cross-talk, with Kroft asking his later versions of the question as Clinton is answering the earlier versions. My recollection, by contrast, is that Kroft asked his 5 versions of the question much more deliberately, one after the other, with little or no talking over Clinton's answers. In fact, my recollection is that Kroft's questions got kind of creepy, as he kept asking the question, and apparently not accepting Clinton's answers. By the fourth asking (in my recollection), it seemed as if Clinton thought Kroft must know something that she did not...hence the puzzled, "as far as I know". For my recollection to be correct, the Morning Joe/youtube clip would have to have been edited far more extensively and subtly than just dropping the final asking. Does anyone have access to the 60 minutes version behind their paywall? Am I just misremembering?

    1. It's worth noting that Morning Joe truncated the "as far as I know" clip from the 2008 Hillary 60 minutes interview to make Clinton look bad.

      They all do. I saw Jake Tapper do it yesterday.

    2. Truncating "As far as I know" was part of a successful effort to make this belief an acid test of kookiness. Hillary and Trump have no more knowledge of Obama's birthplace and religious beliefs than you and I. But, the media demand that they state unequivocally that Obama is not Islamic and was born in the US. Expressing doubt isn't allowed.

      Hillary gave a proper answer when she included "As far as I know". But that's not what the media wanted. That answer means that she thinks Obama might be Muslim. That would put her a bit in the kooky camp (as defined by the media).

      The media now exclude that phrase in order to forward the narrative that Trump is comletely kooky and Hillary is completely not kooky.

    3. Knowledge of Obama's birthplace is an objective, verifiable fact that has been proven for all to know. A person's religion is between himself and his God (if he has one). There are plenty of atheist priests. It is a subjectivity and is not verifiable. Far from meaning that Obama must therefore be Muslim, it means that he could be anything, including Christian and there is no basis for saying that he isn't.

      Someone's religious practice -- what they do in their life -- is again objectively verifiable. While there is evidence that Obama attended religious schools briefly, there is much more evidence that he freely chose to attend Christian services for many years, called himself Christian, raised his children as Christian and continued to attend Christian services while President. That is all verifiable fact because it concerns observable behavior.

      Hillary was at no time expressing any doubt about the verifiable aspects of Obama's religion and birthplace. Focusing on that phrase "as far as I know" does nothing to negate that.

      Trump is completely kooky and Hillary is not. You got that part right.

      The media is trained to tell the difference between fact and nonsense. This doesn't seem to be part of training for conservative actuaries.

    4. Anon 11:46 -- I agree with you. On the issue of Obama's birthplace, Trump has been kooky and Hillary has been reasonable.

      But, the next President isn't called upon to do anything about Obama's religion or birthplace. The next President IS called upon to make economic decisions. In this area, they've both been kooky. Trump proposed an unaffordable tax cut. Hillary claims that switching from fossil fuels to more expensive alternatives will be good for the economy.

      In foreign policy, Trump has no experience or expertise. The Hillary/Obama policy has been a disaster in the Middle East, in Afghanistan, in the Ukraine and potentially in the Baltics.

      Trump got one thing right that Hillary got wrong: Bringing Islamic refugees into a country is costly to the people already there. That's why German voters are now rebelling against Angela Merkel. We see one problem this week with the bombings in New Jersey and in New York and the mass stabbing at a mall in Minnesota. Another problem is that uneducated, homophobic, anti-semitic, misogynistic immigrants are more of a problem than an benefit.

    5. Correction to above: Some Hillary surrogates did push the Obama birther meme when she was running against him. But, I don't think that makes her a bad President. Her campaign was simply doing whatever it could to try to win.

      Another journalist --the second one in two days -- came out Saturday to confess that Sid Blumenthal aggressively shopped the rumor to him in 2008 about then-Senator Barack Obama being born in Kenya.

    6. pjmedia says it all.

      Hillary die-hards say they didn't hear the birther meme being circulated until August, after Hillary had already ended her campaign.

      There was a staffer who sent it to someone on Hillary's campaign and that person was fired because of it. Blumenthal reportedly asked that the story be investigated. He didn't "shop the rumor" or tell anyone it was true. He asked that it be checked out, which is what reporters supposedly do. Blumenthal was not part of Hillary's campaign or one of her surrogates.

      Pumas, after Hillary was defeated, came in two types. One was genuine Hillary supporters. The other were anti-Obama people trying to peel away Hillary supporters for McCain. There is some speculation that the story was being circulated by them (folks like Larry Johnson at NoQuarter). Pumas were never Hillary surrogates and her campaign had nothing to do with them.

      Some of us were around and remember this stuff vividly. There was a book that came out that pushed the Kenya birth meme but that came from the right and had nothing whatsoever to do with Hillary or any of her people.

    7. My husband has been suggesting that the Indians should have built a wall and made the Pilgrims pay for it.

      You cannot ignore all of the economic analyses over our countries history that say that immigration has been very good for us as a nation -- just because you think a few immigrants are icky.

      When you read the nativist screeds of the early 1900s, they sound just like today's fearful bigots, you included, David. Since the 20th century turned out pretty good, I see no reason the 21st will be destroyed because of continued immigration. Just substitute the word Islam for Catholic (the bugaboo in 1900). You are on the wrong side of history, David.

    8. When you read the nativist screeds of the early 1900s, they sound just like today's fearful bigots, you included, David.

      Sorry, this is bad logic. The implicit syllogism is
      Some objections to immigrants were wrong
      All objections to immigrants are wrong

      Take a look at Germany and see what damage the migrants have done recently, with hundreds of sexual attacks. Take a look at France where Jews are literally being driven out of the country by frequent attacks by anti-semitic Muslims. Look at Rotherham, England where numerous girls were raped or forced into prostitution over a period of years. And, don't forget the bombing of a gay club in Florida recently.

    9. 8:43 - you're incorrect about who committed terrorist acts in Europe.

      In less than two weeks, Western Europe has witnessed the calm of everyday life repeatedly shattered by high-profile, indiscriminate acts of savagery, raising the sense that violence is becoming a new normal.

      After the Bastille Day massacre in Nice, then an ax attack on a German train and a shooting spree in Munich, the list of violent acts grew again on Sunday not once, but twice. One Syrian asylum-seeker allegedly hacked a woman to death with a machete in southern Germany; police said it didn’t appear connected to terrorism. Then another Syrian asylum-seeker detonated a bomb outside a concert in Ansbach, killing himself and injuring others.

      The motives and circumstances of each attack were different, but the string of violence has thrown Germany—until last week, mostly untouched by the terror that has struck its neighbors—into high alert, assured France will remain in a state of emergency through year’s end and poured fuel on an already contentious debate about Europe’s migration crisis and its security.

      BTW "terrorism" is a slippery word. When the police said the machete attack wasn't "terrorism", I suppose they meant it wasn't linked specifically to some organization. But, you can bet that Germans were terrorized by the run of attacks including that brutal murder.

    10. Most terrorism in the USA is economic terrorism, and it's mostly perpetrated by Wall Street and the financial industry, not Muslims.

    11. Dear racist troll:

      "BTW 'terrorism' is a slippery word."

      Like when a presidential candidate advocates use of "2nd amendment rights" on his opponent if he loses.

  10. "Joe and Mika were paid $10 million each to shill for the Trump campaign."

    Joe and Mika were never paid any money to shill for Trump. However, there are two theories going around about why they were initially very favorable to Trump and then turned on him when he won the GOP nomination.

    The first is that Trump knew about their long affair and were afraid he would call them out on it publicly if they were too tough on him. He may have even threatened to do so privately. This led to Mika quietly filing for divorce in 2015 which was then finalized in June of this year, about the same time they became critical of him.

    The second theory is far more 'House of Cards'. Joe was hoping that Trump would ask him to be VP. Because Joe thought Trump would either do something to be impeached or would hate the restrictions of the Presidency and resign after a year or two, being the VP would be a ticket to Joe becoming President. Mike with dreams of being first lady, filed for divorce so she could marry Joe. However, that plan came to an end when Trump refused to make Joe his VP. This led to resentment from Joe and Mika so they started attacking him.

    However, it is far more reasonable to just assume that they had a friendship with Trump and saw no harm in being nice to him in the beginning. But over time became dismayed by his statements and decided to not let them pass.

  11. Trump doesn't have any friends. He uses people and he is a sociopath and narcissist. That means he burns up friends and throws them away like used tissues. People are only nice to him because of his money. So it all comes back to $ for Mika and Joe.

    1. "Trump doesn't have any friends."

      Who needs friends when you have trolls like David in Cal.

    2. And who needs friends when a trolls like David in Cal have cute little sockpuppets like mark carpenter.