THE RATIONAL ANIMALS FILE: C-Span callers know who they believe!

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2018

Rational animals, 2500 years later:
Long ago and far away—indeed, it was at the dawn of the west—Plato's Socrates established several of the most basic norms which inform western thought, to the extent that that critter exists.

Today, some 2500 years later, we largely observe these norms in the breach. Despite our allegedly rational nature, we might almost seem to be a species of extremely slow learners.

To what norms do we refer? One concerns skepticism concerning intellectual or clerical authority.

Professor Lee provides the background to this foundational tale in his widely-respected "Translator's Introduction." The story starts with a proclamation by the oracle at Delphi:
LEE: The oracle at Delphi, in response to an inquiry by one of [Socrates'] admirers, had said that he was the wisest man in Greece. Socrates was sure that he was not, and set out to prove the oracle wrong.
At the very dawn of the west, in a foundational act, Socrates set out to prove the oracle wrong!

"His method of doing so was to cross-question people he met about their beliefs," Lee writes as he continues. In the Apology, Plato's Socrates, on trial for his life, tells a foundational tale:
SOCRATES OF ATHENS (399 BC): When I heard [what the oracle had said], I said to myself, What can the god mean? and what is the interpretation of this riddle? for I know that I have no wisdom, small or great. What can he mean when he says that I am the wisest of men? And yet he is a god and cannot lie; that would be against his nature.

After a long consideration, I at last thought of a method of trying the question. I reflected that if I could only find a man wiser than myself, then I might go to the god with a refutation in my hand. I should say to him, "Here is a man who is wiser than I am; but you said that I was the wisest."

Accordingly, I went to one who had the reputation of wisdom, and observed to him—his name I need not mention; he was a politician whom I selected for examination—and the result was as follows:

When I began to talk with him, I could not help thinking that he was not really wise, although he was thought wise by many, and wiser still by himself; and I went and tried to explain to him that he thought himself wise, but was not really wise; and the consequence was that he hated me, and his enmity was shared by several who were present and heard me.

So I left him, saying to myself, as I went away: "Well, although I do not suppose that either of us knows anything really beautiful and good, I am better off than he is—for he knows nothing, and thinks that he knows. I neither know nor think that I know. In this latter particular, then, I seem to have slightly the advantage of him."

Then I went to another, who had still higher philosophical pretensions, and my conclusion was exactly the same. I made another enemy of him, and of many others besides him.
Socrates knew that he himself had no wisdom. In order to prove the oracle wrong, he set out to locate someone who did!

But alas! Wherever he went, Socrates found that people with reputations for wisdom actually had no wisdom at all. But these people falsely believed themselves to be wise, and thus were less wise than he.

Beyond that, they hated Socrates for suggesting otherwise. Did we mention the fact that he was on trial for his life?

In the end, Socrates acknowledged that the oracle had gotten it right this time. As it turned out, he actually was wiser than all these others because, while he had no wisdom to speak of, he at least knew that he wasn't wise. The other people believed they were wise, when they actually weren't.

In this foundational tale, Plato's Socrates establishes a preference for the three dirty words you can't say on (cable) TV: "I don't know." He knew that he himself lacked wisdom. The various people with whom he spoke—politicians, poets and artisans—didn't know this about themselves, and in that sense were less wise.

In this foundational tale, Socrates establishes the principle of skepticism in the face of intellectual or clerical authority. Beyond that, he establishes the importance of being able to recognize and acknowledge how much you yourself don't know.

He establishes the idea that wise people know that they often don't know. Twenty-five hundred years later, this principle is observed in the breach all over our floundering public discourse. Consider what happened on C-Span's Washington Journal when Steve Scully fielded the phone calls to which we referred in yesterday's report.

As we noted, many of Scully's callers delivered orations which may not have been perfectly "rational" in every conceivable way. But in that first dozen calls, no one voiced uncertainty about who they should believe in the current contradiction between Professor Ford and Judge Kavanaugh.

Callers spilled with certainty concerning these contradictory accounts! Yesterday, we showed you substantial chunks of the comments made by callers 2, 3, 7, 11 and 12. Today, let's consider callers 8, 9 and 10, focusing on their certainty about whose account should be believed. To hear all calls, click here.

Caller 8 was Philip from North Carolina, on the Republicans line. Rather plainly, he felt he knew whose account was correct, but he never said how he knew:
PHILIP FROM NORTH CAROLINA (9/30/18): I am a Republican, but I think it's time Republicans forgave Dr. Ford. I don't believe her. She just doesn't have credibility. Pray for her, she's got a lot of trouble ahead for her because she got involved in this and stepped up. Maybe she believes that was Kavanaugh, but it wasn't.
"Philip, thanks for the call," C-Span's Scully said. Philip seemed sure about what had occurred, but he didn't say, and he wasn't asked, how he could be so sure.

The next call came in on the Democrats line. This caller seemed quite sure too:
KELLY FROM FLORIDA: ...Yes, I believe Ford, I believe the professor. She put a lot on the line to come out, putting out her integrity and her whole life. And Kavanaugh, he's a spoiled little boy and the Republicans are going to pay him back for helping Bush win.
That could all be true, of course. But what made Kelly so certain concerning the central question at issue?

Sarah from Texas came next. She expressed high certainty too:
SARAH FROM TEXAS: Good morning. I'm glad that you're talking to me. I'd like to say that Miss Ford, she has a Ph.D., she's well educated. To come on TV and act like she did, I think she's a disgrace to the women. And I believe that Kavanaugh is telling the truth and I think that our problem with Republicans is that they're not strong enough, they don't fight back as hard as they could...
We listened to the calls from Scully's "daunting dozen." It's fair to say that no one expressed any uncertainty as to whose account was accurate. Beyond that, no one was asked to justify the certainly being expressed.

Late Sunday evening, Socrates visited us in our spartan founder's quarters in an almost dreamlike incident. "Why did I waste my time back then?" the great elucidator somewhat mournfully said.

Those three dirty words—"I don't know"—were never uttered by Scully's callers. That said, the immortal Socrates proceeded to caution us thusly:

"It's easy for you modern liberals to roll your eyes at the Philips and Sarahs," he thoughtfully said. "But many of your biggest stars have been playing the game this way too!"

Tomorrow: "Incredibly credible"

91 comments:

  1. ""It's easy for you modern liberals to roll your eyes at the Philips and Sarahs," he thoughtfully said. "But many of your biggest stars have been playing the game this way too!""

    Now, that's what they call "false equivalence", Bob: I don't observe any cultist behavior on the R side; just ordinary people who take soap opera bullshit seriously. I have a lot of sympathy for them, and they're nothing like the dembots and lib-zombies.

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    1. "I don't observe any cultist behavior on the R side"

      This is how you know you are dealing with a partisan shill...or a close-minded moron. No one side can be right and righteous 100% of the time. To suggest otherwise shines a bright light...

      You can argue about Bob's analysis, but where he gets it spot on is that we automatically see our side as shining lights of truth and justice while at the same time automatically see the worst in the other side at every turn.

      sad!

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    2. Sounds like the search for cultist behavior is kind of like the search for wisdom. Those who deny having it, do have it, and vice versa.

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    3. Yeah. I don't observe any cultist behavior on the R side, while I see plenty of it on the lib-zombie side. And it's not just me: TDS is a well-known phenomenon.

      And this simple observation morphing into "see our side as shining lights of truth and justice" inside your zombie skull is exactly what is sad about all this...

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    4. You don't "know" anything by deciding ahead of time who is right. The Republicans did that when they limited the investigation of the FBI.

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    5. Do you know what 'non sequitur' is? What makes you dembots so fucking stupid?

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    6. You'd fit right in among those Ancient Greeks, Mao.

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    7. Bob,
      Your blog has become a joke.

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    8. Sorry BOB but reading you since 9/11 as a forward from Krugman and I have to agree that you love the Left so much you always want it to be better but you never call out bullshit on the right with the same analysis and vigor.

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    9. You don't improve the left by making it more like the right.

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  2. Saying "I believe Kavanaugh" or "I believe Ford" is not the same as saying "I know Kavanaugh is right" or "I know Ford is right". Somerby doesn't respect this difference and asserts that these callers are saying they know the truth, instead of expressing belief.

    If you try to do anything in this world based on certain knowledge of truth, you will be immobilized because we do not get to know what is true or not, and yet we must act. That means we must place a bet on one or another outcome and act AS IF we knew the truth, or else do nothing at all. These people are not asserting any wisdom. They are placing their bet based on their own prior experiences.

    Somerby's story about Socrates makes it sound as if he sought to prove the Oracle wrong by behaving like the world's most unwise person, not by finding someone wiser. There was no reason for him to announce his quest to anyone. Also, no reason to assume that a wise person knows he (or she) is wise. Nothing the Oracle said demands that. Further, Socrates begins by assuming he knows what wisdom is and proceeding accordingly, not by attempting to define wisdom so that he will recognize it when he encounters it. Without some definition, he is imposing his own subjective view of wisdom on others, and he is strongly motivated NOT to find it, so of course he doesn't. A child would see the difficulties here. But Somerby pretends this is not only a valid search for wisdom, but a valid result when Socrates finds none, simply because the people who said they were wise were not found to be wise in Socrates' view. That makes no sense at all, but Somerby buys it.

    This silliness is what passes for philosophy? This is why people praise the ancient Greeks? This is why Socrates is called rational but we are not? That's ridiculous.

    Somerby thinks we must shrug and say "I don't know" when it comes to Kavanaugh and Ford. But there is a decision hanging in the balance. Wise people are saying "We don't have to choose someone who is in doubt with regard to his character. Choose someone else." Other wise people are saying "Kavanaugh has lied during this process, so he must not be a judge." His lies are proven. Among the people saying that are 1000 sitting judges. Are they all too unwise to be trusted in this? Somerby implies yes, but they are the best we have and their job is to make decisions under conditions of uncertainty. I believe they are right and the Senate must not confirm Kavanaugh. And I am absolutely sure that I am wiser than Somerby about this stuff.

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  3. Here is the question these callers were answering: “Will the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Judge Kavanaugh affect your vote in the 2018 midterm elections?”

    If these callers do not know what happened to Ford with any certainty, they DO KNOW how this hearing has affected their vote in the upcoming midterms. That is something that is part of their knowledge and behavior and something they have control over. When they are expressing certainty, it is about what they believe and HOW THEY WILL VOTE. Somerby puts their remarks into a different context, never telling us what the question was, making it seem like they were asked who is telling the truth, or some different question. That is dishonest.

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  4. Socrates made his first mistake when he ascribed wisdom to the Oracle. What kind of idiot believes in Oracles?

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  5. Many years ago, I met some kids who claimed the lesson of Socrates was that "nothing could be known". As such, it seemed like a paean to ignorance.

    Indeed, Socrates did NOT say "I didn't know that much" or make similar claims of others. He says of others, that like Sgt. Schultz, they knew NOTHING. He says the same thing about himself.

    Thus, Plato seems to be advancing the infamous dictum that school is teachers who don't know, teaching things that aren't true to kids that don't care. As such, why bother trying to slog through Plato's Republic or a bunch of geometric theorems, when instead you can drink and party and have 'fun'?

    The message of Socrates seems actually to have been taken to heart, at least partially. Socrates, after all, said of "the others" - you don't know anything. Thus we have the spokespeople of each tribe saying about the other tribe and the other spokespeople - "you don't know anything". People get put on cable news not so they can admit their own ignorance, but so they can make the case that the other side is the ignorant one.

    The viewer then watches this shouting match and decides who won. No matter which side they pick, their leaders, their role models are telling them their side is absolutely right, and the other side is vile and dishonest.

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  6. Steve Sculler's callers are a biased sample. People who don't know whether to believe Ford or Kavenaugh are unlikely to call in.

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  7. So, if we dislike Somerby, then it is because he has shown us that we are unwise (when we thought we were wise), not because he is an asshole. Unh huh.

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    1. Personal attacks telegraph that the one making them is uncomfortable and afraid that the person they are attacking may be right. A stronger persuasive tactic would be to directly address the arguments that are being held in contempt and so odiously vile.

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    2. Spoken by the guy who cannot help insulting women with his choice of nym. Do women make you uncomfortable and afraid the women you are attacking may be right?

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    3. Do women make me afraid the women I am attacking may be right?

      I would have to think about that. I don't understand the question. I don't know who are the two sets of women are or about what they are right or wrong.

      I think you need to try a little harder.

      I mean cunt in the non gender-specific Irish way. It's meant to offend everyone.

      Bitch.

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    4. Speaking of "guardians", as Somerby so often does, why doesn't he moderate his own comment section?

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    5. See, look here bitch:

      Cunt
      "Cunt," in Irish-English, is the same as it is in Euro-English. Its primary use is vulgar, but not obscene. It is not primarily a rude term for "vagina" nor "bad woman," and its subject is usually not feminine at all. "Cunt" is just an irreverent way of referring to a fellow.


      http://www.stevenroyedwards.com/cursinginireland.html

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    6. And Bob Somerby, who cringes at comment sections on The Internetz allows this bile in his own. He fails to be a guardian of his own blog.

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    7. "He fails to be a guardian of his own blog."

      Therefore partisans are justified in making judgments they are not in position to make and Maddow isn't a hack. ;)

      Just messing with you sister.

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    8. This is an American blog so American English is used. In American English, cunt is a vulgarity applied exclusively to women or to men as an insult implying equivalence to women. Even in Irish or Euro-English, a term that originated as a reference to the vagina cannot be applied to men without some misogynistic overtones. But this is not Ireland or England, so your reference is offensive, as is the term bitch, which you used knowingly as an insult when someone questioned your use of other offensive terms.

      So, unless you want to offend everyone here (as many trolls do), you need to clean up your act and only offend the people you are directly addressing, not 50% of humanity.

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    9. This is like walking into a room and saying "In my country, idiot is a term of endearment" and expecting no one to take offense. Language doesn't work that way. You don't get to have personal meanings for words. Words mean what people consensually agree they mean. No one here agrees that cunt is inoffensive.

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    10. We've had this discussion before. Don't feed trolls.

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    11. Baby, this is the *World* Wide Web!

      This is the meritocratiois, borderless digital fandango. I see no reason for you to be calling for a closed border policy.

      I guess it must've been a little shocking for you to see the term bitch applied to you and I may have should have put it into a cultural and geographic context even though this is a borderless, nationless, Friedman-esque zone of equality and liberation but strangely enough that term, bitch, is used by female Romanian chess players as an epithet against men, mostly their fellow man players and coaches and referees and officials and various other functionaries and the like but often not only them but spectators and even other men in general who may have done nothing wrong at all except maybe seeve tea slightly cold.

      But that's just the way it is over there. Men and women are markedly different from how they are in the rest of the world.

      But back to liberals who compulsively act quite sure about obvious uncertainties ... what do you think? Is that wrong? Why?

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    12. Using the term "cunt" to disparage others is a cultural thing in some parts of Europe. It's like the way we call people "whitey" here in the USA, when we want to point out that they're okay with casual bigotry.

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    13. It is national taco day by the way and I'm going to go down on one right now.

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    14. 2:07,
      That reminds me of one of Obama's biggest mistakes during his Presidency; not declaring a "Do Not Ingest Draino Day" by executive order.

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  8. Remember Pérez Prado? Here's his version of Louisguy's "Cherry Pink":

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zj64NlRnpDY

    And here's Pérez's own "Patricia":

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtQKHYo4DGs

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    Replies
    1. Back in the day, every wedding party had to include playing Pérez Prado's "Cherry Pink". It seemed as though the marriage couldn't be official without it.

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    2. I like "Cherry Pink", but I like "Patricia" better.

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    3. Back in the day, every kid with a trumpet mastered the lip slur playing Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White.

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  9. "many of your biggest stars have been playing the game this way too"

    Somerby hasn't provided any examples of "our" stars' behavior in this specific case. Nor has he ever provided examples of conservative stars' behavior in this or any other case.

    But what exactly is at issue here? If by "stars" we're talking about TV talking heads, one has to remember that they are often functioning as pundits, expressing opinions. And it's perfectly reasonable for a pundit to say "I believe xyz, and here are my reasons" as long as the reasons are, well, reasonable. A liberal pundit is not required to say only "I don't know what happened" and leave it at that.

    Besides, people are asked to make decisions about guilt or innocence every day when they sit on juries. Jurors are not asked to vote "guilty" only if they are 100% sure that they "know" what happened. Barring a video of the incident or DNA evidence, absolute certainty is practically impossible. And yet, a juror cannot register "I don't know"; it must be either guilty or not guilty, and the juror may even still have doubt, but is asked to judge if that doubt is reasonable or not. Perhaps there is some subjectivity in those phrases, but it really is the only alternative we rational animals have.

    The Kavanaugh case is not a jury trial, of course. Somerby isn't really interested in discussing the evidence here or whether a proper "investigation" might have shed more light on the veracity of the witnesses. There are many reasons why Kavanaugh shouldn't be confirmed, and most senators had their minds made up prior to Dr Ford's testimony. But they will still have to weigh the evidence presented and decide what they believe. If "I don't know" is their response, then they can decide how that informs their vote.

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    1. "If "I don't know" is their response, then they can decide how that informs their vote."

      Oh dear. Ever heard of 'presumption of innocence'? The burden of proof is on the accuser. The most basic principle of law.

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    2. This isn't a jury trial.

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    3. And there are other issues with Kavanaugh besides the sexual misconduct allegation.

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    4. For example, if a senator says "I don't know", because the investigation was a sham, then that senator is perfectly right to vote "no". That senator can vote no because he/she doesn't like Kavanaugh's haircut, or his rulings, or his insolence, or his continued drinking of beer or what have you.

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    5. There were other allegations of sexual assault that Kavanaugh was asked about during closed hearings. It isn't as if Ford was the only one. I do not understand why those weren't investigated too.

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    6. As they say: one old bag can make more allegations in an hour than seven wise men can investigate in a lifetime...

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    7. The idea of Mao furiously typing his 1:40 reply, wearing his "Osama bin Laden Was Innocent!" t-shirt is cracking me up.

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    8. Did you shit your pants imagining me furiously typing, and laughing hysterically, dembot? Just curious.

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    9. "Just curious."
      Thank dog, I thought you'd want to put it on the Supreme Court.

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    10. 2:03,
      Mao would only want to put your dookie on the Supreme Court if it will reliably rule in favor of elites.

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    11. Ah, the traumatized by Iraq war dembot is back, and confessing again? Good. I was worried.

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    12. "I was worried."

      That a black person might be treated as an equal to a white person in America. No kidding.

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    13. You dembots are being "treated". Others live their lives as they like.

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  10. Here's an essay by Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, "Mattering Matters". I read a few paragraphs. Does anybody want to read the whole thing and tell us if it's any good?

    https://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php/articles/8609#disqus_thread

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. It’s not by accident that childhood is known as
      The formative stage
      As our minds bend forward with the universe
      So shall they bend back
      Within our lifetimes bend back as well
      No matter what age
      As we travel ahead, as we drift through the moiré
      It’s towards the end that we tack

      So long to get here, this point in time

      Cells of awareness, and partners in rhyme

      It's taken this long, the cells do divide

      From matter

      What matters, we seem to decide

      As we tack into the wind, and sail on memories

      Leroy

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    3. I tried skimming it. That wasn't enough for me to understand it or judge it. I wonder if there's some way to restate her premise in simple words.

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  11. Gee, where are those professors who ought to be acting as guardians, the ones Somerby admonishes? Oh yeah, here are hundreds of them:

    https://www.politico.com/amp/story/2018/10/03/kavanaugh-confirmation-temperament-law-professors-868125

    I'm sure that will chasten the GOP.

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  12. Talk about a lack of logic. The letter says:

    citing “aggressive” and “partisan” testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee as evidence that he does not have the temperament required to be a Supreme Court justice.

    “Instead of trying to sort out with reason and care the allegations that were raised, Judge Kavanaugh responded in an intemperate, inflammatory and partial manner


    Kavenaugh doesn't have to sort out with reason and care the allegations impartially. He knows what happened. Nor should he be non-partisan about his own fate.

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    1. It's not surprising that hundreds of professors are zombies. In fact, their habitat is, most likely, the ground zero of the lib-zombie disease...

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    2. Perhaps you should check the credentials and political affiliations of that list.

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    3. A woman, Dr Ford, accuses Kavanaugh of misconduct. She comes forward on her own. The Democrats, and some Republicans, feel that they ought to look into that. The Republicans on the committee agree. The Dems are trying to ask questions to see if some light can be shed. Suddenly, they are engaged in some conspiracy against Kavanaugh? That is an indefensible charge. I understand the judge's anger if he is innocent, but it is Ford who initiated this, not the Democrats in some sort of nefarious cabal. One can maintain one's innocence without impugning an entire political party. It raises a serious concern that he will not be a fair justice.

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    4. And David, you say Kavanaugh "knows" what happened.

      So does Dr Ford.

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    5. David in Cal: you do realize that you are illustrating precisely the point that Somerby is trying to make: that none of us "knows" what happened, yet you believe Kavanaugh, just like that caller. It is possible that he is lying, or doesn't know. Just because you are a conservative and TDH is ostensibly a liberal blog doesn't mean Somerby's critique shouldn't apply to you too.

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    6. Exactly, @3:19. Obviously nobody would suggest that Dr. Ford sort out with reason and care her own allegations calmly, temperately and impartially.

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    7. She seems to have done that. But more importantly, Dr Ford isn't up for a seat on the Supreme Court.

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    8. And she didn't blame Republicans or men or conservatives. She blamed Kavanaugh alone.

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    9. She certainly didn't pass on the chance to grab her 15 minutes of fame.

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    10. @3:27 I did not say that I necessarily believe Kavenaugh. Whether or not he's lying, he knows what happened, so it's silly for the Law Professors to say he should impartially weigh the evidence.

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    11. David, Kavanaugh lied, prevaricated, misrepresented, evaded THE WHOLE TRUTH AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH, and in general behaved like a complete dick. This isn't even debatable. No wonder you like him.

      How We Know Kavanaugh Is Lying


      I don't need Socrates to figure out that little shit doesn't deserved to by anywhere near any court let along the highest court in our land.

      By the way, congratulations, you must be very happy to finally learn what a corrupt criminal tax cheat President Chickenshit is. I'll bet you got a hard on reading the NY Times investigative report.

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    12. David, of course Kavanaugh can passionately defend himself from what he feels to be false accusations. But his anti-Democrat rant is like a defendant calling the prosecutor and the judge corrupt, and the trial rigged. A judge, of all people, shouldn't "defend" himself like a two-bit mafia hood, or paranoid drug dealer.

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    13. I don't know whether to believe Kavenaugh or Ford. mm's cited article is unconvincing. If I were a Senator, I'd follow the procedure laid out by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV): “I am looking at the gentleman as an adult from 22 to 53, thirty-one years of professional service. I am looking at him as a father. As a person in a community, how he interacts with his community. I am trying to put the human side to it.”

      BTW mm the tax authorities accepted the Trump tax return, so we know it wasn't illegal, regardless of what the New York Times implies.

      P.S. My liberal wife, for whom abortion is the most important issue, wants Kavenaugh to be confirmed. If he's rejected, he's apt to be replaced by Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who is more conservative and can be expected to live longer.

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    14. My liberal wife also favors confirmation and she is as close to being a one-issue abortion rights voter as one can be. She was moved by his testimony and the liberal ideal of presumption of innocence and became, I guess, a two-issue voter.

      I didn't struggle with my backing, being a moderate Republican. We still exist.

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    15. "...as an adult from 22 to 53"

      Does that time window include a few weeks back when he lied to Congress multiple times?

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    16. "...he tax authorities accepted the Trump tax return, so we know it wasn't illegal"

      Hail Trump!
      The support from America's business class for Trump's grifting has exposed the whole 'not all business people are crooks" schtick for the 100% bullshit it has always been.

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    17. "How We Know Kavanaugh Is Lying"

      Let me guess: your dembot supervisor told you?

      Delete
    18. "Hail Trump!"

      Oh yes - The True American Hero.

      Cheating for hundred million billion in taxes, screwing a trillion contractors, sexually abusing every dembot in front of his breastfeeding wife, and lying five quadrillion times - all while getting elected The Fascist Dictator? It doesn't get more brilliant than that.

      Delete
    19. Mao,
      As long as he doesn't abandon his bigotry, Trump will be alright with white America.

      Delete
    20. Also, Mao, don't sleep on getting yourself a tri-cornered hat. You'll need it after Trump's Presidency hits the shitter, and you'll have to make believe you were never a Republican.

      Delete
    21. Ah, the dembot dreams... How sweet.

      Delete
    22. David, the "tax authorities" accepted Paul Manafort's tax returns as well. What the fuck does that prove, you disingenuous piece of shit. You like tax cheats. We already know that. I am sure this news only enhances Trump in your warped mind. Get back to me when the lying sack of shit Coward releases his tax returns, like he promised he would do a million times.

      Delete
    23. mm - One needs to distinguish between the data in the tax return vs. the methods and assumptions in that return. Filing false data is a felony. OTOH basing the tax calculation on assumptions that result in low taxes is not a crime, even if the IRS disallows that treatment. Anyhow, the IRS did allow the Trump tax treatment.

      Delete
    24. Fraud, David. Your man is a fucking fraud. Just like his "charity" was a fraud. Juest like Trump U was a fraud.

      Now we know some details. and you're devoted admiration to what a self-made successful business genius billionaire is belied by the facts.


      But The Times’s investigation makes clear that in every era of Mr. Trump’s life, his finances were deeply entwined with, and dependent on, his father’s wealth. By age 3, he was earning $200,000 a year in today’s dollars from his father’s empire. He was a millionaire by age 8. In his 40s and 50s, he was receiving more than $5 million a year.

      There was a clear pattern to this largess: When his son began expensive new projects, Fred Trump increased his help. In the late 1970s, when Donald Trump crossed the river into the glittering precincts of Manhattan — converting the old Commodore Hotel near Grand Central Terminal into a Grand Hyatt — his father opened a spigot of loans. When he made his first forays into Atlantic City casinos a few years later, his father devised a plan to sharply increase the flow of aid.


      A flim flam fucking fraud, David.

      Delete
    25. "his father opened a spigot of loans"

      Whoa. Dembot working himself up into a rage on account of someone getting loans from his father is quite a spectacle.

      Thank you, Mr Soros.

      Delete
    26. Being a fraud, just makes someone a "smart businessman" in Right-wing lexicon.

      OTOH, Trump got millions of dollars from his Dad, cheated on his taxes, and still had to file bankruptcy numerous times. He's a Right-wing stereotype come to life.

      Delete
    27. More confessions from the Iraq war dembot, eh?

      Delete
  13. If people were to restrict their discussion only to what they know for certain, that would eliminate an awful lot of discussion.

    For example, how do I "know" that a given policy proposal would help reverse global warming?

    How do I "know" that Medicare for all will solve the problems in our health care?

    How do I "know" that Oswald acted alone in killing JFK?

    How do I "know" that 9-11 wasn't an inside job?

    How do I "know" that the guy running for mayor would be good at it?

    How do I "know" the defendant is guilty?

    How do I "know" that racism is a motivation for various voter suppression schemes?

    Somerby wants liberals to say "I don't know" and just quit? There is such a thing, permitted in rational discourse, called an informed opinion. We are all asked to make such opinions every day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You "know" those things because your cult leaders commanded you to "know" them. That's the only reason. And there's nothing rational about it.

      Delete
    2. Somerby is the one who wishes we had guardians, not me.

      Delete
    3. How do I "know" Mao Cheng Ji is a Russian troll?

      Delete
  14. Since we know that the FBI is engaged in a Deep State conspiracy against Trump, I call for an immediate investigation of the Ford/Kavanaugh investigation. Any results that show no evidence corroborating Ford's account must be assumed to be biased and will in some way ultimately hurt Trump. We need to see the text messages, emails, and refrigerator post-it notes of all Democrat FBI agents involved in this sham, forthwith. Nunes, where are u?

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
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