DAYS OF TRIAL: We could still get Trump locked up!


On Fox, Cheney gets it right: No one seems to think that Donald J, Trump will be "convicted" in his Senate impeachment "trial."

That said, there's still a source of hope for those of us here in Our Town. Last night, Rachel Maddow interview Fani Willis.

We haven't watched the interview yet. Last night, our cable provider pulled one of its all-too-frequent overnight turn-offs shortly after midnight Eastern, just as we sat to watch the rebroadcast of Maddow's program.

This morning, through the miracle of On Demand, we watched a bit of Maddow's lead-in to the interview. Our youthful analysts screamed in pain when they spotted the program's chyron:


That's what the chyron said.

Yesterday, in the Senate trial, the House managers ended their presentation with little hope of attaining conviction. Still and all, there was reason for hope! Down in Atlanta, Willis has started a criminal probe of Commander Trump's telephone call!

At this site, we're favorably disposed toward Willis, the new Fulton County D.A. We base that preliminary assessment on this recent news report, in which we learned that Willis has decided to move the trial of several Atlanta police officers out of her office.

She based her decision on the corruption of her predecessor, Paul Howard, the D.A. who had found a way to charge two officers in the shooting death of the late Rayshard Brooks—not just the one who actually shot Brooks as he fled from a Wendy's parking lot after assaulting the officers.

Here in Our Town, we weren't told much about Howard's corruption at the time of that incident. We didn't spend a lot of time wondering why Howard had charged both officers—why he charged the officer who didn't shoot Brooks (didn't shoot his gun at all!) along with the one who did.

We weren't aske to wonder about the possible corruption involved in that particular act. It doesn't work that way in Our Town when we get a snootful and start to posture about matters involving race.

We took it as a good sign when Willis announced that she was moving the prosecution out of her office. Beyond that, we were glad to see her discussing Howard's corruption. (She had run against him on that basis, in the winning campaign last year which made her the current D.A.)

Needless to say, Willis was on the Maddow Show for a different reason. She's now probing Donald J. Trump's phone call to Brad Raffensperger, the phone call in which the embattled commander-in-chief tried to persuade Raffensperger to "find" enough votes to change the outcome of the Georgia presidential contest.

Did Trump commit a crime that day? Everything is possible, though most things are highly unlikely. At any rate, that's the question Willis is now probing—and through skillful editing of information, the leading tribunes in Our Town are helping us feel sure, oh so sure, that Trump surely did.

Our tribunes have been selling us this popular product over the past four years. The commander is always about to be jailed, according to these skilled salespersons. We're always prepared to believe them.

In all honesty, we just aren't super bright here in Our Town. Also, we're strongly attracted to prosecution and punishment  as the way to solve tribal disputes. 

Our war-inclined species has always displayed such instincts. According to leading anthropologists, we're still primitive and prehistoric in these hard-wired ways.

Oddly enough, it was Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) who offered a different prescription at the start of the week. Cheney appeared on Fox News Sunday, where she spoke with the very non-Trumpy Chris Wallace. 

Cheney appeared on Fox News Sunday. In Monday morning's editions, the New York Times reported what she said:

FANDOS (2/8/21): “The notion that the election had been stolen or that the election was rigged was a lie, and people need to understand that,” Ms. Cheney said on “Fox News Sunday.” “We need to make sure that we as Republicans are the party of truth, and that we are being honest about what really did happen in 2020 so we actually have a chance to win in 2022 and win the White House back in 2024.”


Ms. Cheney said on Sunday that she would not resign [from her House seat] and suggested that Republicans in her home state continued to be fed misinformation about what had taken place. It came a few days after she privately rebuffed a request by the House Republican leader, Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, to apologize to her conference for how she handled herself around the impeachment vote, according to two people familiar with the exchange, which was first reported on Sunday by Axios.

“People in the party are mistaken,” she said on Fox News of the Jan. 6 attack, which, together with nearby protests, killed five people, including a Capitol Police officer. Referring to the Black Lives Matter movement, she added: “They believe that B.L.M. and antifa were behind what happened here at the Capitol. That’s just simply not the case, it’s not true, and we’re going to have a lot of work we have to do.”

Cheney had voted in favor of impeachment—but good lord! In these remarks, she identified misinformation and false belief as a principle problem to be addressed. 

Our side rarely thinks that way. We aim to punish, full stop.

A large modern nation can't hope to function under our current arrangements—under a cultural system in which misinformation and disinformation constitute very big business and generate very big profits.

The Trump presidency has made a surprising point abundantly clear—you can get large numbers of people to believe almost any damn-fool thing you want. That fact was proven by President Trump, but also—perhaps to a lesser extent—by the corporate multimillionaires who toy with our own small brains each evening on "cable news."

Last night, Maddow was dreaming again of Locking Him Up. Over the years, it has become surprisingly clear: Only when she's dreaming such dreams can this grinning corporate foundling ever be fully happy.

In Our Town, we long to punish The Others. It rarely occurs to us that we need to find ways to persuade. 

How clueless can we be when we actually try to persuade? Consider what happened at the start of yesterday's Senate trial.

Rep. DiGette (D-Colorado) spent an hour telling us what the rioters thought on January 6, or at least what they say they thought. They thought they'd been told to invade the Capitol by President Donald J. Trump!

In adopting this stance, DiGette was reporting the impressions of the dumbest known humans on Earth. To be perfectly honest, she was sharing statements from people who are just astoundingly dumb. (We almost never say "stupid.")

It wasn't until the day's second hour that the House managers began to share assessments which came from high-profile Republican officials who had served under Donald J. Trump. Only after an hour of nonsense were we allowed to hear such remarks as these, courtesy of Rep. Lieu (D-California):

LIEU (2/11/21): Former members of the Trump administration, longstanding Republicans, also made clear that President Trump incited this insurrection and it went against our democracy. 

The president’s former Secretary of Defense James Mattis declared that, “Today’s violent assault on our Capitol, an effort to subjugate American democracy by mob rule, was fomented by Mr. Trump.” Former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly also spoke on this as well. And I’d like to play an audio clip of what he said.

KELLY (audiotape): What happened on Capitol Hill yesterday is a direct result of his poisoning the minds of people with the lies and the frauds.

As he continued, Lieu reported devastating assessments of Trump's responsibility for the riot—devastating assessments from the lips of John Bolton, H.R. McMaster and Mick Mulvaney, among others. 

These were ranking members of Trump's inner circle. They were people who had worked closely with Trump, had observed his behavior close up.

They'd offered devastating assessments—but their assessments were presented in yesterday's second hour. During the day's first hour, senators and citizens were asked to listen as DiGette droned on, reporting the stated assessments of the planet's dumbest known humans—of people who thought they could tell Capitol police that they should be allowed to enter the Capitol because they'd been sent by their president!

The analysts groaned and covered their ears as DiGette droned on. In fairness to DiGette, the House managers had presumably chosen this cockeyed order of business as a group.

In fairness, it's highly unlikely that Republican senators were ever going to vote for conviction. But DiGette's presentation gave them the perfect way to dismiss the whole prosecution as the work of a ship of fools.

Who cares what the world's dumbest people claim they thought they'd been told? The analysts pictured Republican senators sighing and rolling their eyes, feeling fully justified in their refusal to listen.

We've always claimed, here in Our Town, that we are the very good, very bright people. Viewers are told a different story on Fox, and we often supply the ammunition.

In fact, we're humans here, just like everyone else—and at times of tribal division, our species has always been strongly inclined to find ways to march off to war. We cast about for ways to punish The Others. We rarely search for ways to persuade deplorable people like Them.

We have to combat the misinformation, Cheney seems to have said. You'll see Rachel embrace that approach when the cow jumps over the moon, then builds a rocket ship to being it safely home.

We humans are wired to march off  to war—to prosecute and to punish, to lock The Others up. We hope Fani Willis will show good judgment. 

More on Atlanta to come.


  1. So, you, dear Bob, are enjoying the goebbelsian clown show?

    And why not. We understand: not a lot of quality entertainment these days.

    1. The only thing more on brand for a Republican than Trump's HUGE tax break for the Establishment, is Trump trying to overturn an election because black people's votes counted.

    2. Mao's ashamed motherFebruary 12, 2021 at 3:03 PM

      My maochik has been locked up in a cess pit for 35 years with no ill effects.
      No biggie

  2. “she was sharing statements from people who are just astoundingly dumb. We almost never say "stupid.")”

    That’s Trumps base you’re talking about. Somerby has spent years accusing liberals of being condescending towards those non-college-educated Trump voters, but here, when it suits his purposes, he just condescends to call them stupid. Nice gaslighting.

    Being “dumb” doesn’t render them harmless. They came from all over the country, they breached the Capitol, they knew where people’s’ offices were, and many were armed. One shudders to think what would have happened if they had encountered an actual Congressperson. And they had help.

    And the rioters being “dumb” doesn’t exonerate Trump.

    I mean, if the rioters had been “smart”, would that be more convincing?

    1. I'm sure Bob has known Republican voters are stupid for many, many years. As have Republican politicians. The best hope for Trump's Senate trial, is getting them on record saying it.

    2. What is the thin slice of meaning Somerby finds between the words dumb and stupid. Does he actually think there is some virtue in not saying stupid? The only difference between the two words is that dumb occasionally refers to someone who is unable to speak, as well as the second meaning of someone who is stupid.

      What virtue is there in mincing words when you are calling someone unintelligent?

  3. Somerby implies that the corruption of Paul Howard somehow involves his charging of two officers in the shooting of Rayshard Brooks. It doesn't. The corruption has nothing to do with race or that incident:

    "The U.S. Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard and his use of a nonprofit to pad his salary with almost $200,000 in city of Atlanta funds, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Channel 2 Action News have learned."

    Instead, Somerby says:

    "Here in Our Town, we weren't told much about Howard's corruption at the time of that incident. We didn't spend a lot of time wondering why Howard had charged both officers—why he charged the officer who didn't shoot Brooks (didn't shoot his gun at all!) along with the one who did.

    We weren't aske to wonder about the possible corruption involved in that particular act. "

    Inflating his salary using funds from his nonprofit has absolutely nothing to do with the shooting, or the charging of officers. There is no basis for Somerby to be calling that charging corrupt or implying that we were never told about the corruption.

    This is dishonest on Somerby's part. But it shows clearly where his sympathies lie -- with the officers and not with Brooks. And certainly not with BLM or anyone else trying to achieve justice for unarmed black people shot by police. Somerby is too busy trying to imply that Paul Howard, a black mayor, was corrupt when he charged both officers in the shooting of a man who was running away, after being found asleep in a car in a parking lot.

    1. Correction: Black DA not mayor. Willis is the new DA.

  4. “she identified misinformation and false belief as a principle problem to be addressed. “

    Cheney used the L-word:
    “The notion that the election had been stolen or that the election was rigged was a lie, and people need to understand that”

    I don’t see Somerby attacking her for using the word “lie” the way he attacks everyone in “Our Town” when they use it.

    Apparently, only members of ”Their Town” get to tell the truth and call it what it was: a lie. It is essential to use that word, actually.

    Another thing: Cheney voted for the impeachment and believes Trump should be convicted.

    And by the way, was the Wyoming GOP “persuaded” by Cheney’s criticism?

  5. The rioters may have been dumb, but they knew exactly what Trump was asking them to do.

  6. "The commander is always about to be jailed"

    Doesn't it seem odd the way Somerby keeps referring to Trump as The Commander (not Commander in Chief), even after Trump is no longer in office, and even after it was shown by House Managers what Trump commanded his followers to do?

    If find this reference more jarring than usual in light of the crimes Trump instigated his followers to commit. It is almost as if Somerby is lauding Trump's commands. Somerby has certainly shown none of the dismay, horror, and anger the rest of the nation has felt, and today he again refers to Trump as Commander. He is not my Commander. Is he Somerby's?

  7. “These were ranking members of Trump's inner circle. They were people who had worked closely with Trump, had observed his behavior close up.”

    Gee, why did none of them excuse Trump on the basis of him being a sociopath? Did any of these inner circle claim that Trump was mentally ill? No? OK then.

    Instead, they offered “devastating assessments” unequivocally laying the blame on Trump for fomenting insurrection.

    And yet, Somerby still thinks the Democrats are being petty and vindictive for trying to hold a president accountable for fomenting insurrection, perhaps the worst thing a president can do.

  8. Kelly: “What happened on Capitol Hill yesterday is a direct result of his poisoning the minds of people with the lies and the frauds.”

  9. "the phone call in which the embattled commander-in-chief tried to persuade Raffensperger to "find" enough votes to change the outcome of the Georgia presidential contest."

    This is an unintentionally revealing sentence. In it, Somerby reveals that his affiliation and sympathies are with Trump, not Our Town. How? He calls Trump embattled when it was Raffensperger and the Dems who were embattled by Trump's aggressive efforts to retain power. By calling Trump embattled, Somerby shows that he sees Trump as the victim, not the perpetrator of an election fraud. No one was attacking Trump, so he could not be embattled. It was Trump attacking Biden's victory and the election officials in swing states.

    Somerby gives himself away with his word choices. No one in Our Town thinks of the President as embattled. We see his actions as an assault on democracy.

  10. “We humans are wired to march off  to war—to prosecute and to punish, to lock The Others up. We hope Fani Willis will show good judgment. “

    Perhaps Somerby can enlighten us on what he considers “good judgment” in this case. Declining to prosecute because Trump is mentally ill, and trying to coerce state officials to manufacture votes to cheat in an election is just what sociopaths do while being president so you can’t really hold them accountable because sociopaths can’t help being sociopaths can they?

  11. "Everything is possible, though most things are highly unlikely."

    We get results here in the comments.

    1. Here are some things that are not possible:

      1. The sun will rise in the West tomorrow.
      2. Somerby will be elected Premier of China.
      3. Women will stop expecting men to celebrate Valentine's Day.
      4. Dogs and cats will declare a truce.
      5. Covid will magically disappear in a single day.
      6. Republicans will stop chasing money.
      7. Santa Claus will be revealed as having been Donald Trump all along.

      Things like this do not even fall into the category of unlikely events, because there are no set of circumstances that will produce these outcomes. Admitting their unlikely possibility is just as incorrect as admitting their possibility at all. And "highly unlikely" is too mild a word to be an accurate description of their likelihood, which has so infinitely small a likelihood as to be impossible.

      So, adding "highly unlikely" is specious and saying that everything is possible is flat out wrong. Reality takes precedence over sophistry.

    2. I would argue that the likely things are the ones that occur most often, thus they are not only possible but they are "most things". Somerby's contention that most things are not highly likely is incorrect because those things are not actually things if they don't occur. They are mostly fictions.

  12. The president is mentally ill, he lost the election, and fascists are conservatives who riot.

  13. How many times has Trump said a variation of "My people will go crazy if I tell them I had the election stolen"?

    He's been priming people for years now. Years.

    1. 2016: "Donald Trump Warns Supporters Could Riot if He Doesn't Get GOP Nomination"

      Donald Trump warned on Wednesday that his supporters would respond with “riots” if he fails to secure the nomination at July’s convention in Cleveland.

      “I think you’d have riots,” Trump told CNN on Wednesday. “I think you’d have riots. I’m representing a tremendous many, many millions of people.”

      “I think bad things would happen, I really do,” Trump said. “I believe that. I wouldn’t lead it but I think bad things would happen.”

      I actually think that the people on the right are tougher, but they don’t play it tougher. Okay? I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump – I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough — until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad.

      No third-world countries would even attempt to do what we caught them doing. And you'll hear about that in just a few minutes.

      Republicans are, Republicans are constantly fighting like a boxer with his hands tied behind his back. It's like a boxer. And we want to be so nice. We want to be so respectful of everybody, including bad people. And we're going to have to fight much harder.

  14. "Our war-inclined species has always displayed such instincts."

    Many anthropologists dispute whether we are "war-inclined" as a species. If we had been, we would not have survived as a species. We are herd animals with a variety of evolved traits that enable us to cooperate, help each other, nurture our young, sick and elderly, communicate (even with strangers), and maintain groups in defense of individual survival, which has so benefited our species that we have survived circumstances that would be extinction events for species with such characteristics.

    Every time Somerby makes this statement, he displays his ignorance and his willingness to invent whatever he wants to further his own purposes, usually in service of conservative memes and defense of Trump.

    "But University of Notre Dame anthropologist Agustín Fuentes, author of The Creative Spark: How Imagination Made Humans Exceptional, believes that violence does not define the basis of human nature. He notes that out of some 2,700 human fossils dated from 2 million years ago to roughly 14,000 years ago, only about 2 percent show any evidence of lethal aggression. After that time, says Fuentes, we see a definite uptick in numbers of sites with clear evidence of aggression and homicide — in fact, it doubles. The incident at Nataruk, he says, was well within this time frame. The apparent surge in violence and aggression coincided with humans beginning to settle and create societies with a shared sense of group identity. And with that came a new category and natural foil: the outsider. In evolutionary terms, the trait we call aggression is a complex cocktail of genes, hormones, learned behavior and culture. Each of these elements on its own performs some task that helped us succeed as a species. These ingredients can combine in different ways and with other elements to form a variety of behaviors, some of which are constructive, and some of which are not. According to Fuentes, war and other destructive capabilities are merely the flip side of the same uniquely human faculty that has enabled us to coexist peacefully, to innovate, to travel in space and shape our world. “We are,” Fuentes says, “both the potentially nicest and the potentially cruelest species on the planet.”"

  15. "But DiGette's presentation gave them the perfect way to dismiss the whole prosecution as the work of a ship of fools."

    A group of people says, independently, that they heard Trump tell them to attack the Capitol, but Somerby thinks this can be blamed on the followers, not the leader who told them what to do?

    Somerby is the fool here.

  16. "Our side rarely thinks that way. We aim to punish, full stop."

    Here is Somerby's big lie. That this impeachment is only vindictive, not an attempt to inform the large number of deluded Trump followers about what really happened at the Capitol. And still, Republican senators are refusing to listen and watch that presentation of information.

    An impeachment brings no punishment with it, other than removal from office (now moot) and barring from future office (also probably moot). How can it be vindictive without punishment?

    We here in the comments have been trying to contradict Somerby's misinformation for years now. We haven't been calling for any punishment, even though his own lying is egregious. He is no liberal. His portrayal of liberals is false. His criticisms are wrong. He is a propagandist on behalf of the right. But no one here has sought to punish him. We try to contradict and correct his misinformation.

    Even Rachel Maddow, who has called for punishment of some wrongdoers (within the law), works primarily to inform her audiences, not rally them to take action against any target, as Trump has done repeatedly with his conservative followers.

    Where does Somerby get the idea that the left seeks revenge? He has made it up.

    1. Thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people are dead because of Trump. Shouldn't there be some punishment for that?

  17. "We've always claimed, here in Our Town, that we are the very good, very bright people."

    I don't get it. Perhaps I'm dumb, but Somerby just said that Trump's followers were dumb (and Republicans were rolling their eyes at them), then he blames liberals for pretending to be smart? We didn't storm the Capitol. We didn't believe Trump's lies. How does that make us the dumb ones?

    Maybe Somerby thinks he is the only one to decide who is dumb and who is bright? If we think it, we are wrong. When Somerby calls someone dumb (implying that he is not), that's OK then and he is apparently not dumb for doing so. So, Somerby has some privilege that others are not allowed to exercise -- the right to decide who is dumb or not.

    This makes no sense at all, except as name-calling. What liberal goes around calling the other liberals dumb? Not any actual liberal I know.

  18. "We rarely search for ways to persuade deplorable people like Them."

    And yet the Democrats are holding this impeachment hearing, aimed at persuading Republicans, in the Senate and across the nation, to see what Trump has done.

    Somerby has been opposed to this hearing, yet he calls for persuasion. What an ass.

  19. Quite a few prosecutions of Trump appear to be in the works, as summarized by Tom Sullivan at Digby's blog:

    Tom Sullivan doesn't use the occasion to knock prosecution of those officers involved in the shooting of Brooks. He is an example of how a liberal approaches the subject (as opposed to Somerby's gratuitous knock on BLM):

  20. Bob may not be dumb, but he sure is stupid.

  21. “It rarely occurs to us that we need to find ways to persuade.”

    Biden apparently persuaded enough people that he was able to win both the popular vote and the electoral vote. A normal GOP would accept these results.

    Instead, Trump, many in the GOP, and right wing media pushed the “misinformation” (or “lie” as Cheney and Kelly called it) that the election was stolen. They refused to admit that the Democrats persuaded enough voters to take back the White House.

    If Somerby agrees with Cheney, that there is “misinformation” to combat, then how does he propose exposing the “Others” to that, when their party and their media refuse to acknowledge it? The Democrats and the msm have been counteracting the bullshit from the beginning, but the “others” weren’t listening.

  22. trump is a liar and a thief.
    Liar: "my agents have proof that Obama was Born in Kenya".
    Thief: Judge in NY ordered trump to repay tuition to people who signed to attend "trump U".
    Or is it "trump Fuck U".

    Somerby is probably an Alumni.

    1. Bob,
      Trump believe that you are a fool.
      He's right.

  23. "We could still get Trump locked up!"

    If we could get Trump locked up, it would have happened after his first crime.

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