GOSSIP OR JOURNO: Liberals urged to kill the pig!

TUESDAY, JULY 31, 2018

Part 2—Behavior looks like gossip:
Bobby Vee, 18 years old, had a major problem.

Was his girl friend a devil or an angel? He said he loved her either way, but he couldn't make up his mind.

This week, we're asking a similar question about our upper-end press corps. Especially on the pundit end, is their product more like gossip? Or is it more like journalism?

Our question, therefore, takes this form: Gossip or journo? Are leading pundits more like gossips today, or are they more like journalists?

As for Vee, so too today; it's amazingly hard to be sure. We were especially struck by this recent Josh Marshall post, which reeked of small-minded gossip:
MARSHALL (7/25/18): As the news of “the tape” was breaking last night, I tuned in to Laura Ingraham’s show on Fox (don’t mention it) to see what Alan Dershowitz and the President’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani were saying about the new information. Below is a selection of clips that show the comical mix of nonsense and special pleading from these friends of the President.
Giuliani seems like a friend of the president. He's also the president's lawyer.

Is Dershowitz a "friend of the president?" That's what this liberal thought leader was urging his tribal group to believe—and that's what gossip looks like.

In particular, that comment resembles the form of tribal gossip known as "killing the pig."

Is Alan Dershowitz a friend of Donald J. Trump? He has said, again and again, that he has spoken to Trump three times in his life, each time about matters involving Israel.

He has said, again and again, that he voted for Hillary Clinton and contributed to her campaign. But there was Marshall, telling us stooges that Dershowitz is a friend of Trump's.

Why would somebody do that? First, a brief digression:

Over the weekend, we watched the rebroadcast of this July 11 C-Span tape in which Dershowitz is interviewed by Josh Barro. The hour-long discussion concerned Dershowitz's new book, in which he argues that a president can only be impeached and removed from office if he has committed an actual crime.

We watched the rebroadcast over the weekend. We were very much struck by what we saw.

We aren't positioned to make ultimate judgments about most of the constitutional issues involved here. But in our view, Dershowitz is dazzling on the tape, and Barro is remarkably capable in the role of the interviewer/disputant.

How does this discussion compare to the typical discussion on cable? Imagine this:

Imagine seeing the Golden State Warriors in action, then watching a pick-up game at the local gym on the once-a-week Over-60 Seniors Night. On that tape, Dershowitz and Barro perform much like the NBA champs. Cable news presents endless discussions in which creaking participants display extremely little competence.

If you have an hour to spend, we recommend that C-Span tape. Right at the start, Dershowitz says this about his friend:
DERSHOWITZ (7/11/18): This [book] is not a brief for Donald Trump. In fact, if Donald Trump were to commit an impeachable offense, I'd be the first one calling for his impeachment...

Look, there are so many things this president did that I thoroughly disapprove of. I am against his immigration policy. I am against his separation of families. I am against his policies regarding abortion. I am against his tax policies.

I am against his health policies. And I am even against his opposition to women breast-feeding their children—the latest crazy thing this administration did is opposing an international policy.

So don't try to get me to defend Donald Trump, I'm not going to do that.
Two weeks later, Dershowitz was being snidely derided as a "friend of the president." Why would a liberal thought leader turned entrepeneur dumb down his readers like that?

Again, we'd have to say that that's what gossip looks like, that that's what gossips do. Marshall was sending a signal to readers—don't listen to what this man says.

Please note what Marshall was doing. Rather than argue against particular views Dershowitz is presenting, he was advising readers that they shouldn't listen to him at all. Of course, given the way "cable news" works, that is now an easy task for the liberal viewer.

To what extent are we liberals being shielded from debate and divergent views? Consider what happened on cable last night:

If you watched The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, you saw Lawrence deliver a six-minute monologue, then introduce a reliable three-member panel—Jill Wine-Banks, Harry Litman, Neera Tanden.

By "reliable," we mean the obvious. Each guest was guaranteed to agree with everything Lawrence said.

Because three panelists had been assembled to kill ten minutes of discussion time, no one had to say a lot or assemble an actual argument. That said, the number of panelists ensured the program against any down time. And there was no doubt that everyone would agree with the various things Lawrence said.

One hour later, Brian Williams began his show the same way. On this occasion, one of Brian's panelists illustrated a basic rule of MSNBC programming—as long as a panelist agrees with the group, there's nothing he can say that's so dumb that it won't be permitted to stand.

Tomorrow, with transcripts available, we'll show you what one of Brian's panelists said. For today, let's focus on this point:

Last night, liberal viewers were being protected from discussion, debate and dissent. They were being comforted within a womb of tribal agreement. This pitiful practice has virtually come to define MSNBC's method.

Liberal viewers are shielded from dissent. Elsewhere, a wider range of views will still sometimes prevail:

Last night, we saw Litman expressing his strongly anti-Trump views at 10 PM with Lawrence. One hour later, at 11 PM, we saw the very same Harry Litman expressing the very same views—this time on the Fox News Channel while being interviewed by Shannon Bream in a thoroughly professional manner.

Most liberals probably don't know that our own "corporate liberal" channel has become the champion of restricted TribalThink. But that's the impulse Marshall was serving with his pitiful "gossip gang" comment.

Gossiping has always been a way to establish trust among an in group. It has always been a way of conspiring to kill the pig.

There was Marshall, behaving in the age-old way and helping to dumb his readers down. Did his remark seem more like gossip, or did it seem more like journalism?

If you watch that C-Span tape, with Dershowitz being challenged by Barro, you'll see a level of discussion which makes the typical cable show look like a first grade play. We aren't exposed to discussions like that on our "corporate liberal" channel. The owners have decided we want it only one way, and the hosts are giving that to us.

Marshall behaved in the age-old way, telling his readers to kill the pig. Was he behaving like a journo? We'd say it came closer to gossip.

Tomorrow: There's nothing too ridiculous within our tribal tents

For the record: As best we can tell from a Nexis search, Dershowitz has appeared on MSNBC nighttime programming twice in the past six months. (Daytime programming doesn't get transcribed.)

On April 17, he guested with Ari Melber on The Beat. On July 10, he appeared with Paul Butler on Hardball, producing a useful discussion.

In the main, to an astounding degree, MSNBC serves tapioca. You see the same people say the same things, night after night after night.


  1. Yeah, Bob. As far as any lib-zombie out there is concerned, there are only two kinds of people: Good Party-Line Liberals and Putin's Agents ™ AKA The Enemies Of The People.

    Yawn. What else is new?

    1. More good news for those mythological WWC tRumop supporters suffering economic anxiety in those Midwestern diners all day.

      WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is considering bypassing Congress to grant a $100 billion tax cut mainly to the wealthy, a legally tenuous maneuver that would cut capital gains taxation and fulfill a long-held ambition of many investors and conservatives

      Yawn, what else is new?

    2. Yeah, the liberal goebbelsian media, pushing their propaganda lies instead of reporting facts. Indeed, not new at all.

    3. "Treasury Department Secretary Steven Mnuchin said his department is currently reviewing whether it can give out a $100 billion tax cut to the wealthy without congressional approval, according to The New York Times. "

      The source for this is Mnuchin, who is a member of Trump's administration. How is this liberal propaganda? How is it a lie and not fact?

    4. "The source for this is Mnuchin"

      Y'know, if you really believe that Mr Mnuchin used the phase "tax cut to the wealthy" when describing whatever the hell he's planning to do there, then your brain's gone, definitely. All 100 percent of it.

    5. It doesn't matter, idiot, if Mnuchin used that phrase. That is what it is, and if you don't understand that, then you are beyond help and revel in your ignorance.

    6. Of course not Vodka-breath, Mnuchin would never be so honest state in plain English who would benefit.

      Capital gains taxes are overwhelmingly paid by high earners, and they were untouched in the $1.5 trillion tax law that Mr. Trump signed last year. Independent analyses suggest that more than 97 percent of the benefits of indexing capital gains for inflation would go to the top 10 percent of income earners in America. Nearly two-thirds of the benefits would go to the super wealthy — the top 0.1 percent of American income earners.

      Making the change by fiat would be a bold use of executive power — one that President George Bush’s administration considered and rejected in 1992, after concluding that the Treasury Department did not have the power to make the change on its own. Larry Kudlow, the chairman of the National Economic Council, has long advocated it.

      Conservative advocates for the plan say that even if it is challenged in court, it could still goose the economy by unleashing a wave of asset sales. “No matter what the courts do, you’ll get the main economic benefit the day, the month after Treasury does this,” said Ryan Ellis, a tax lobbyist in Washington and former tax policy director at Americans for Tax Reform.

      Liberal tax economists see little benefit in it beyond another boon to the already rich.

      “It would just be a very generous addition to the tax cuts they’ve already handed to the very wealthy,” said Alexandra Thornton, senior director of tax policy at the liberal Center for American Progress, “and it would play into the hands of their tax advisers, who would be well positioned to take advantage of the loopholes that were opened by it.”

    7. Yeah, shit-breath, when you finally get out of your whore-mother's basement, get a real job, and keep it for a few years, you might find out something about indexing things for inflation.

      But till then, why dontcha take your "liberal tax economists" and shove them up your ass, my dear.

    8. Spoken like a true "popularist". This is of course why all those mythical working class voters with economic anxiety (not because they're fucking racist) voted for President Chickenshit, cause they were worried about their capital gains taxes. Hey, Boris, Putin is calling, he needs his knob polished and you're his favorite.

    9. Give Mao his (safe) space.
      That's what you do when someone is suffering a seizure. Even if it's caused by their spastic defense of Establishment, which they love very, very deeply. Amen.

    10. Hey, Maumau, go on down to the WH, President Chickenshit wants to test you in 3 card monte. He's gonna make you rich, just you wait and see!!!! Bwahahahaha!!!!

  2. Somerby seems confused about the personal versus the professional.

    When two people know each other and one feels affection and a bond with the other, you say they are friends. Friends typically care about and help each other. They are loyal to each other. Because they know each other, this happens on the personal level.

    If Dershowitz does not actually know Trump and has no affectionate bond with him, they cannot actually be said to be friends. However, Dershowitz is showing behavior that one typically shows to a friend. He is being loyal. He is helping beyond the limits of disinterest. He has put his own reputation on the line to help Trump. In fact, he has made himself ridiculous supporting Trump. That makes "friend" a useful label, if only as a metaphor.

    Gossip occurs on the personal level, among people who know and care about each other, exploring the relationships and behavior among a group of people. What journalists do is not gossip.

    Journalism keeps a large group of people informed about current events that affect them. The common denominator with gossip is that people care about the information and that it is about people they know. What makes it different is that it is not a mutual activity -- the information goes only one way. Further, the journalists are not friends and the people discussed are not acquaintances or friends either. Just because the journalist discusses personal information (e.g., about births, marriages, scandals) does not make this gossip. The journalist is a paid professional, not a member of an in-group discussing people he cares about, who are part of his family or acquaintanceship.

    You could use the word gossip as a metaphor for journalism but Somerby isn't doing that here. He is claiming that journalism becomes gossip because journalists talk about personal information. That is wrong and a mistake. It ignores the important distinctions and focuses on something that is not definitional to either category -- the personal nature of what is being communicated.

    If someone were to tell a friend that their mutual relation had recently been elected to public office, that would still be gossip. If a journalist were to tell a broad audience that someone none of them know personally had been elected to a public office, that would be news, not gossip.

    Why is Somerby being obtuse about this? He wants to call journalists names for reporting on stuff he thinks they should be ignoring. Stuff like scandals and wrongdoing. But this stuff matters. It is important to voters, if only as an indicator of character. It is important to the public when it means someone is unfit to hold office, should be removed or resign, and it matters especially when office holders are corrupt, blackmailable or doing a poor job.

    Lately people have been suggesting that Dershowitz is being blackmailed. They cannot see any reason otherwise why he would be so blatantly supporting Trump, in the same manner as Trump has been blatantly supporting Putin. We may find out, through journalism, that this is exactly the case and that Dershowitz has some personal information he does not wish to see revealed that has made him vulnerable to manipulation by Trump and his allies, perhaps with Russian spies as intermediaries in the transaction. Stranger things have happened and been uncovered in the past by journalists.

    1. Dershowitz still supports freedom from government persecution and constitutional protections. The Trump-deranged like you do not. It's that simple.

    2. Plus Dersh doesn't want all the info about his fucking underage girls at trump's parties to come out.

    3. 1:01,
      I'm glad Dershowitz's unwavering support of abortion on demand isn't a deal-breaker for the GOP. Big tent, that place. LOL.

    4. "Dershowitz still supports freedom from government persecution and constitutional protections."

      Like the "All Lives Matter" crowd, his silence in the face of what ICE is doing to children, is deafening.

    5. TDH is right - the discussion with Dershowitz on C-Span was at a high level - unlike the usual brain dead content from what I've seen on CNN, MNBC or Fox. Rarely seen, but certainly doable. You guys should watch it before jumping all over Dershowitz. (I do think he toadies up to the Fox hosts to some extent, and he is a publicity hog, but he comes across as smart and reasonable in the c-span discussion, as does the guy who interviews him. And calling each other names doesn't advance anything closer to the good, I would say, after reading some of the above comments.

    6. Oh, shut up, you and Somerby telling us to waste an hour of our summer and an hour of our lives listening to Dershowitz with his creepy pedo associations discussing his Trump-defending book with self-hating Log Cabin Republican gay Josh Barro. (Hey Josh, Mike Pence just announced a Religious Liberty Task force to strip LGBT people of their rights wherever possible. Screw you!).

      There is NO reason to listen for a bloody HOUR to that whiny pedo-friend Dersh moan and complain. The people at Martha's Vineyard are right to shun him, he's a disgusting character.

      THIS is Bob Somerby's idea of quality journalism? Christ, Somerby is way, way off the deep end into far-right Trump propaganda territory, as demented an old bat as Ghouliani is. They sound alike!
      So it would be a great favor if Bob would cut the "we liberals" and "our tribe" shit. Bob Somerby is now a far-right Trumpist nut job, a tap-dancing Fox News freak. He's doing as much as Trump is to discredit the press, every day, in his grinding repetitive blog here. Bob Somerby hates the press and can't stop attacking it with the same slimy dishonesty as Trump.

  3. Now we see Somerby defending Dershowitz because Dershowitz has been behaving oddly and supporting Trump in the same way as Somerby has been supporting Trump.

    What are we to make of these odd liberals who decide to abandon their principles and support someone as odious as Trump? Have they had a collective stroke or are they being bought off in some way? It is beyond belief that anyone liberal would find anything worth defending about Trump, so there must be some other explanation.

    Somerby invokes diversity of discussion to excuse Dershowitz's odd behavior. I don't think that makes any sense at all. A liberal program doesn't have to present conservative views in order to be free from that accusation. Dershowitz can offer all the disclaimers he wishes (just as Somerby has done) but he is still saying things that justify and excuse Trump's behavior. So has Somerby.

    Are there others? What other "influencers" have suspiciously joined the Trump fold to support his illegal and despicable activities? Several would suggest there is some sort of undercover campaign going on to undermine opposition to Trump.

    1. Maybe Steve Croft or Morley Safer of 60 Minutes could do an expose on this clandestine klatch of suspicious, principal-abandoning underminers.

      We'll, Morely Safer is dead but you know what I mean. Maybe 60 Minutes and CBS is a part of it!

    2. "It is beyond belief that anyone liberal would find anything worth defending about Trump,"

      Actually, Trump has done very well against ISIS. Liberals could defend that.

      Also, can you make it clear for me what about Trump Dershowitz is defending? is it anything beyond his right to not be impeached without having committed a crime?

    3. what about Trump Dershowitz is defending

      Abuse of power.

      You're welcome.

    4. "Trump has done very well against ISIS. Liberals could defend that."

      You have gotta be kidding. ISIS is 100% liberal creation, they are liberal heroes. Both ISIS and Jabhat Al-Nusra.

      ...not to mention they're probably the ones manning the dembot operation here.

      In general, peace and prosperity are known to cause painful convulsions in liberals, leading to anguish and agony. And that's what we've been observing here...

  4. "We aren't positioned to make ultimate judgments about most of the constitutional issues involved here. But in our view, Dershowitz is dazzling on the tape"

    Dershowitz's views on the legal and constitutional issues are the crux of his discussion, on C-Span as elsewhere. If Somerby isn't positioned to make judgments about that, then what was "dazzling" about Dershowitz here?

  5. Dershowitz is a relic still supporting quaint ideas like free speech and constitutional protections, when the left has "progressed" into curbing speech and enabling the establishment of a police state for the greater good.

    1. Plus he'd like to keep all his fucking of underage girls at trump's parties under wraps.

    2. 12:59,
      Dershowitz's call for abortion on demand to be the law of the land is admirable.
      Enough with the treatment of women as second class citizens.

    3. Anyone who thinks Trump and the Republicans care about "free speech and constitutional protections" for anyone not named Trump or associated with Trump is an idiot.

  6. Not long ago the knock on these cable discussion panels was that they were nothing but "shout-fests". Now we criticize them for having too much predictable agreement. Guess they can't win!

  7. The word "friend", aside from its most common meaning, also has the meaning "A person who gives assistance". It is also used as in "friend of the court", or amicus curiae.

  8. Dershowitz is selling a book. He is constantly on TV, maintaining a high profile. Trump has recommended the book.

    "Dershowitz has recounted many times that when he had dinner at Mar-a-Lago in March 2017, he was visited at his table by Trump himself, who “started schmoozing” and courting his vote for 2020. "

    Dershowitz says this:
    "I talk to the president on television all the time. Apparently he listens."

    And this:
    "With Trump it’s personal. His personal style is so confrontational. He provokes. He’s a brilliant politician, and let me tell you why. He is pushing Democrats to the left. Because extremism provokes extremism. And the Democrats can’t win from the left. They can only win from the center in a national election. So his fondest hope is that somebody from the left gets the nomination against him."

  9. Dershowitz cares deeply about the civil rights...of rich and powerful people. Gotta keep those fees high to support the lifestyle he's accustomed to.

  10. I've listened to the first eight minutes of the Dershowitz interview


    I have to go now, and I hope to finish it later. So far, it's as good as Bob says it is. I recommend listening to it before commenting on it.

    1. Unconvincing. He has made these points before. Dershowitz says 1) impeachment should only be for a "crime." A crime is exactly what Mueller is investigating. 2) Dershowitz argues that Trump firing Comey is not obstruction of justice. He claims that Nixon ordering his staff to lie to the FBI WAS obstruction, but Trump's attempt to fire the FBI men investigating him is not. Oddly restrictive notion of obstruction. 3) He argues that "collusion is not a crime." But no one said it was. The crime, if there was one, is the colluding about potentially illegal activities, i.e. Crimes.

  11. Does Dershowitz have a book coming out?
    The bigots and racists could make it a bestseller.
    I know Bob will buy a copy.
    It's all about the Benjamins.

  12. 1:38P beat me to it. The word friend can carry the meaning of one who supports or assists someone or some cause. No acquaintance or personal affection required. I checked the OED and found that this usage goes back over 800 years. So TDH is either being disingenuous or has suffered one of those fits of literal-mindedness that afflicts him now and then.

    And Dershowitz certainly fits the bill. He’s a liberal to the extent that he publicly opposes just about every one of Trump’s policies, but he believes that a President cannot commit obstruction of justice in exercising his Constitutional authority and that impeachment is not allowed unless the President has committed a crime. As I understand it, Dershowitz thinks that the Chief Justice could dismiss an impeachment that failed to allege a proper crime. (Recall that the Chief Justice presides at the Senate trial for impeachment of a President.) And he also loves to promote his views on Faux News. Pretty “friendly”, all in all.

    I’ve listened to the Dershowitz-Barro exchange, and Dershowitz has an excellent argument that impeachment requires a crime because the founders considered and rejected maladministration as a reason for impeachment. Dershowitz argues persuasively that if Russia invaded and annexed Alaska the way it did with Crimea and if Trump acceded to the invasion — hardly a stretch of the imagination — that wouldn’t be in an of itself an impeachable act.

    Dershowitz notes that two things are required for a crime, an actus reus (a definite action) and mens rea (a guilty motivation). He claims that no Constitutionally-authorized act of a President can constitute an actus reus. I can’t follow his reasoning because he doesn’t give any. It’s simply an assertion. Barro’s counter is that he can destroy his own papers because the law authorizes him to destroy his own property, but if he does so to avoid a subpoena, then he’s committed a crime. “You’re not the President”, says Dershowitz, a statement I find non-responsive.

    It’s important to remember that Dershowitz is a civil liberties absolutist, and he has spent his career in pushing back against state overreach in criminal prosecutions, particularly when the defendants are unpopular — O. J. Simpson, Claus von Bulow, Tammy Faye Bakker, Leona Helmsley. He’s just a Nazis-get-to-march-in-Skokie kind of guy. And he’s always been a contrarian and a tireless self-promoter. There’s simply no reason to wonder “what happened” to Dershowitz or to invoke the stranger things that have happened and to muse darkly at 12:11P on the possibility that Dershowitz is being blackmailed

    Just as there’s no reason to claim that the “friend” label is untrue because Dershowitz and Trump aren’t BFF .

    1. There's some merit to Dershowitz's position. But who is suggesting that Trump be impeached for reasons other than that he may have committed a crime, which is ostensibly what Mueller is investigating? D can argue that Trump wasn't guilty of obstruction when he fired Comey, but that's debatable at the very least.

    2. I have no doubt that Dershowitz is a smart guy. But:

      “In the end, Hamas terrorists use women and children as human shields in the hopes that they are killed by Israeli soldiers, Dershowitz writes. With lemmings in the U.S. media who report numbers over tactics of terrorists, Hamas wins.

      "The goal of Hamas is to have Israel kill as many Gazans as possible so that the headlines always begin, and often end, with the body count. Hamas deliberately sends women and children to the front line, while their own fighters hide behind these human shields," Dershowitz writes.

      "The cruel reality is that every time Israel accidentally (emphasis added) kills a Gaza civilian, Israel loses. And every time Israel kills a Gaza civilian, Hamas wins," Dershowitz writes.

      "Calling this the 'dead baby strategy' may seem cruel because it is cruel," Dershowitz writes. "Blame those who cynically use it. Blame the media for playing into the hands of those who use it by reporting only the body count and not the deliberate Hamas tactic that leads to one-sided body counts."

      By that reckoning alone, Dershowitz is a scumbag. I have not watched the video to which Bob linked, and from an intellectual angle – vis-à-vis comparisons to our fractured msm – it may have merit. But I can’t stand that guy. Too sleek by a mile.

      In every dark cloud there is a silver lining, so it’s interesting to know that he’s pro-choice. Here are a couple of links of Norman Finkelstein.



      Chomsky offers an excerpt of the animosity between Finklestein and Dershowitz.


      Bottom line, I think Bob might have chosen a better example in comparing MSNBC to C-Span.


    3. And Dershowitz claims the constitution is clear when it says " treason, bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanors". He says the offense has to be a crime by virtue of the wording. But what did Hamilton etc mean by "high crimes"? That phrase is no longer operable. Did "misdemeanor" mean the same thing in 1776 that it does now? If they meant simply "crimes", why didn't they just say " treason, bribery, and other crimes "?

    4. In the list, “treason, bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanors,” we have two specific examples, treason and bribery, and two general terms, which as I recall from the Nixonian era are to be read as “high crimes and high misdemeanors.” There is a rule of statutory interpretation called eiusdem generis (literally, of the same kind) that says that the general case must of the same kind as the specific cases.

      Dershowitz referred to a Supreme Court case (likely McBoyle v US) overturning the conviction of man prosecuted under a federal law prohibiting theft of motor vehicles across state lines. The law referred to “automobile, automobile truck, automobile wagon, or motor cycle” or any self-propelled vehicle not running on tracks. McBoyle had stolen an airplane, which the appeals court had reasonably concluded was a self-propelled vehicle that wasn’t a train. But the Court held that even so, such a vehicle had to be of the same kind as those listed. Since all those ran on roads, airplanes could not be included.

      Misdemeanor didn’t mean the same thing in 1776 (or 1792, for that matter) as it does today. Today in the US it means a lesser crime. Back then, English law recognized capital misdemeanors. Dershowitz argues that whatever the phrase means, it cannot encompass malfeasance or maladministration because the founders explicitly rejected such language. It must mean a serious crime.

    5. Leroy,

      What do find reprehensible about the Dershowitz “dead baby strategy” piece?

    6. I have to lob that back to you. Why do you find it not reprehensible?


    7. Ah hell, I'll add this, deadrat. I spent at least a half hour on it, I ain't the sharpest tool in this shed.


      First of all I must acknowledge Dershowitz's Constitutional arguments, which Bob (by linking to the C-SPAN presentation), and you in fact have made quite clear. The President must follow the rules. Those rules, of course, require that impeachment be initiated by the House of Representatives, which if successful result in the Senate the option of moving forward, if they make the move to do so. And as far as I can tell, Trump is not fit for impeachment, though there might be grounds under the emoluments clause.

      But that just ain’t gonna happen, given the current makeup of our legislature. And even if it did, it would just be one more distraction from the wrecking crew.

      Everyone since Nixon (and perhaps I’m missing a case in history) seems to agree that the President, whoever he is, is above the law. Certainly, the world seems to be paralyzed by that office.

      As far as Dershowitz, what I find reprehensible about him is that he defends human beings in America in strictly Constitutional terms, which is well and good, but seems only to defend Israel in strictly Zionist terms. He doesn’t seem to give a damn about the Palestinians, and accuses them of “the dead baby strategy.” Maybe it’s real. Maybe, that’s how far things have deteriorated. He can say he’s against all sorts of things in regard to Trumps policies here, but he’s totally great with the US embassy moving to Jerusalem. Does that matter? Apparently to some people.

      Look: I am far and away removed from the shit that’s going on in that neck of the woods, except from how I’m paying for it as a taxpayer, and as humanist witnessing the recent atrocities. The two-state solution, like the impeachment of Trump, seems a dead letter. If Dershowitz is imploring for a two-state solution, I haven’t heard of it. In fact, quite the opposite.


    8. Leroy,

      I don’t find statements of fact reprehensible or commendable. They just are. Is there any doubt that Hamas uses human shields? Is there any doubt that when Israelis kill Palestinian non-combatants, Israel loses? Hamas is engaged in an asymmetric war with Israel. They are pretty much out of any other winning tactics. Is your objection to Dershowitz’ language, i.e, “dead baby strategy”? I think that’s a description more than an accusation. Maybe that’s how far things have deteriorated? Maybe? Where ya been? Google

      sbarro pizza shop bombing Jerusalem.

      I’m not sure what it means to defend Israel in “strictly Zionist terms.” Dershowitz is in favor of moving the US embassy to Jerusalem on the grounds that the Jewish Quarter was illegally occupied by Jordan during the 1948 war and thus was and is part of Israel. That’s a legalistic point of view that I think should take a back seat to tactical considerations, but Dershowitz has been a lawyer for 55 years and was a law professor for over 50. He’s also fine with a Palestinian capital in Jerusalem once there’s a Palestinian state.

      I don’t know what you’ve heard, but Dershowitz is a proponent of a two-state solution and has been a consistent opponent of Israeli settlements on the West Bank. At least those not in proximity to Jerusalem. And he’s a vocal critic of Israeli discrimination against its minority citizens and of the Israeli religious right’s discrimination against their fellow Jews. I expect he cares more for Israelis than he does for Palestinians, but I don’t know what else you’d expect from a Jew who supports Israel.

      I’m not sure where you get the idea that Presidents are above the law. Nixon had to turn over the tapes; Clinton had to suffer through the Paula Jones law suit; Obama had to abide by an injunction stopping his immigration policies, as did Trump.

    9. Whoa, scumbag dembot and slimeball hasbara, two in one?

      Now, that's appropriate.

    10. This comment has been removed by the author.

    11. Deadrat,

      Sorry I had to delete my comment. I’m usually basher, not a swooper , and it just wasn’t working. Perhaps I’m more emotionally invested in the various topics than I’d realized.

      “I don’t know what you’ve heard, but Dershowitz is a proponent of a two-state solution and has been a consistent opponent of Israeli settlements on the West Bank.”

      That may be true. Listen to this, a recent interview of Dershowitz’s views on the two-state solution. Question: “Do you think a two-state solution is really still viable,” spake the interviewer. Dershowitz gave a very nuanced reply, and his detailed analysis proves that he’s thought hard about the two-state issue. His comments on settlements is especially nuanced. But his parameters seem obstacles in and of themselves.


      “…what else you’d expect from a Jew who supports Israel.”

      There’s the rub, I suppose. We have a Vatican state, a Jewish State, and arguably a Muslim Caliphate in the form of Saudi Arabia. What do they all have? Support from us. A presumably secularist state, at least in writing. The existence of Israel was, I think, never a good idea, mapped as it was after WWII. I guess that goes to the core of my objection to Dershowitz. But we can’t change history, only live with its consequences.

      American Presidents are above the law, and I understand why Nixon made the argument in terms of executive decision making. But they can’t be touched by international law, laws which the US had a hand in promulgating. The Crusade was wafted a breath of fresh air by GWB, a stunted name. Hitchens does seem to be right about religion poisoning everything, especially in regards to the international stage.

      Ah, wtf do I really know, anyway.


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  14. Yes, I can imagine the overwhelmingly mature and engaging arguments Dersh presented. Maybe Bob missed it, but Al has mostly become a subject of derision for his silly bemoaning of people who don't want to have anything to do with him because Donald Trump is a sickening, obvious crook. If Dersh wants to defend him on the technicalities, well, O.K., but we don't have to like it or find it admirable. The Goldman's don't have to like Dersh either.
    At this point we must recall that six months ago bonkers Bob told us he was going to settle our hash on the deified Robert Mueller. I would guess he struggled mightily with that post but it ultimately proved even too shameless for Bob.

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