OUR LOGIC, OUR FACTS: What do The Others really believe?


Trump Junior, left in the dark: Liz Cheney's presentation last night has produced a great deal of reaction.

Cheney read a series of texts—and we're glad she was willing to do it. The texts had been sent to Mark Meadows during the January 6 riot at the Capitol. 

"These texts leave no doubt," Cheney said. "The White House knew exactly what was happening at the Capitol."

Some of the texts came from embattled members of Congress—from badly frightened people right there on the scene. Perhaps a bit more surprisingly, other texts came from major figures at Fox News. 

Cheney established the record:

CHENEY (12/23/21): Indeed, according to the records, multiple Fox News hosts knew the President needed to act immediately. They texted Meadows that:

"Hey Mark, the president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home...this is hurting all of us...he is destroying his legacy." Laura Ingraham wrote.

"Please get him on tv. Destroying everything you have accomplished." Brian Kilmeade wrote.

"Can he make a statement?...Ask people to leave the Capitol." Sean Hannity urged. 

Hannity, Ingraham and Kilmeade were disturbed by what has happening. That said, the most intriguing of these texts to Meadows came from a Trump family member. 

According to Cheney, Donald Trump Junior had texted Meadows "again and again" as the riot continued. This is what the dutiful son had said:

CHENEY (continuing directly): As the violence continued, one of the President's sons texted Meadows:

"He's got to condemn this s*** Asap. The Capitol Police tweet is not enough." Donald Trump, Jr. texted.

Meadows responded: "I'm pushing it hard. I agree."

Still, President Trump did not immediately act.

Donald Trump, Jr. texted again and again, urging action by the President:

"We need an Oval address. He has to lead now. It has gone too far and gotten out of hand."

But hours passed without the necessary action by the President.

Trump Junior texted again and again. In reply, Meadows said he agreed with Trump Junior. Meadows said that he was pushing that point of view hard.

Was Meadows really telling the president that he needed to "condemn this s***?" At this point, there's no obvious way of knowing.

It's possible that Meadows really was telling Trump that he needed to act. It's also possible that he was just saying that to Trump Junior.

What was actually happening inside the White House? We can't exactly tell you. 

But in all the attention which has been given to Cheney's presentation, we don't think we've seen anyone note a certain point, though someone certainly may have. That basic point would be this:

If we take those messages at face value, that means that Donald Trump Junior didn't expect a violent riot to take place that day. 
Unless he was deceiving Trump Junior, it looks like Meadows was unaware of any such plan as well.

Was that riot part of a plan—a plan involving President Trump? Had Donald J. Trump, and other coup-plotters, really planned for that violent riot to happen?

We don't know the answer to that question but, within the liberal world, that theory has functioned as conventional wisdom for a long time now. 

It may well be that the theory is true. It may well be that Donald J. Trump did plan, all along, for a violent physical invasion of the Capitol to take place. 

Who knows? In time, the January 6 committee may end up demonstrating that President Trump was involved in some such plan. But we were struck, last night, by the apparent fact that Donald Trump Junior was unaware of any such plan—and that the same was true of the hapless Meadows, if his texts to Trump Junior can be believed.

Surprise! Three Fox stars were surprised and disturbed by what was happening that day! So was Donald Trump Junior—and so, it seems, was Meadows himself.

That struck us as a surprising "reveal" in Cheney's presentation. If Donald J. Trump had been plotting a coup, his own son hadn't known it! Neither did those major Fox hosts—and neither, it possibly seems, did his hapless chief of staff.

That struck us as an interesting takeaway from Cheney's presentation. That said, we don't think we've seen anyone articulate this point.

Instead, the anti-Trump crowd within our own tribe has criticized those Fox News hosts for their subsequent behavior. At times like these, tribal warriors will possibly tend to be somewhat selective in what they do and don't choose to say following some reveal.

If Donald Trump Senior had been plotting a (violent) coup, Donald Trump Junior had been left in the dark! Could that mean that Donald Trump Senior was also caught by surprise when the violence started?

We don't know the answer to that. Nor will you see the question asked on our own tribe's cable channels.

At times like these, the Montagues and the Capulets will have their own facts, their own logic. The Jets and the Sharks will possess dueling stories—and so will our "cable news" stars.

Indeed, at highly partisan times like these, our very capacity for logic and fact may sink beneath the tsunami of our more primal emotions. We may tend to fall back on Storyline, and the more of that the better.

That said, just how logical have we "rational animals" ever actually been? Consider:

Over the weekend, we saw Kevin Drum draw some basic distinctions as he asked a perfectly sensible question about the pro-Trump tribe.

Do conservatives really believe that the last election was stolen? In his discussion of that question, Drum drew some basic distinctions—and after that, the deluge!

After that, the comments began! Drum had drawn some basic distinctions. They were quickly observed in the breach.

All week long, we'll be asking a question:

Should we trust our own tribe's facts, our own tribe's logic, as current discussions unfold? 

The other tribe's facts and logic are routinely quite bad. The other tribe's facts and logic are bad—but how about our own?

Tomorrow: What do The Others believe?

This afternoon: We return, perhaps for the final time, to one of our own tribe's recent "facts"


  1. Who knows? In time, the January 6 committee may end up demonstrating that President Trump was involved in some such plan.

    Accurately stated.

    If the Jan 6 Committee were going to do an unbiased investigation, Bob might have written, "In time, the January 6 committee may end up demonstrating whether or not President Trump was involved in some such plan."

    1. "unbiased"

      Fuck off, David. Your fascist party decided not to participate in a non-partisan commission so Speaker Pelosi had to do the next option. Your fucking treasonous party wanted no part of it.

      Trump is directly responsible for the death of Ashley Babbit.

      You got some fucking balls.

    2. That's what Bob wrote. 'May [demonstrate]' means that it may or may not, i.e. there's no certainty. However, it's irrelevant whether Trump and his minions had planned for all the violence that took place. It only matters that they engaged in a conspiracy that was an illegal act, in which case everything that flows out of that conspiracy is on them.

    3. D in C - Mitch McConnell summed up Trump's responsibility for this pretty well, right ever the Jan. 6 episode, don't you agree?

    4. Climate change damage dwarfs any damage done by "rioters" - compare the damage in Kentucky for example, yet all we hear from the Right and faux Dems is how protestors are ruining our country. Brother, please, these people have no integrity.


  2. Oh dear. What we certainly do know is that the liberal cult was planning and actively inciting last year's blm-antifa riots. Hundreds of them.

    So, what now? Is the liberal cult going to be held responsible? Alas, no, we don't think so.

    1. It might be comparable if the "liberal cult" incited a blm-antifa mob to burst into the Capitol with the intent of depriving Trump of his election victory back in 2016, with several dem senators claiming that VP Biden had the constitutional right to overturn the election. Mitch McConnell, of all people, summed up Trump's responsibility fairly well at the time.

    2. You're right, dear AC/MA, they are not exactly comparable.

      Personally, we feel that meaningless blm-antifa riots were worse, much worse. Because normal ordinary people suffered.

      Sorry, not much sympathy for politicians. Besides, the Jan 6 protest, before it (unfortunately) turned into a riot, was, unlike any blm-antifa action, an actual political protest.

  3. Here it is, the defense that everyone has been expecting from Somerby. Note how he writes it in italics, as if he were quoting someone else's idea! This is Somerby's opinion:

    "If we take those messages at face value, that means that Donald Trump Junior didn't expect a violent riot to take place that day. "

    Note that Junior is urging Meadows to make Trump get in front of the cameras and show leadership. I don't think that demonstrates deniability about the rioting. We have no idea which part Jr. considers to be out of control. It certainly doesn't mean there was no plan to take action against the capitol. It means Jr. perhaps expected no resistance and that no one would be hurt. Perhaps that the police would roll over for the insurgents. The whole rest of the plan, involving various congressmen refusing to certify state vote totals and Pence not doing his job may have been something Jr. knew about, about Meadows knew about. It may be simply that they didn't plan to have anyone fighting back, use of vicious in-fighting to gain entry to the building, crazed people bragging about killing Pelosi and Pence, and so on.

    But notice how willing Somerby is to use Jr.'s words to excuse the whole plot! As if anything Jr. could say would excuse any part of this attack on democratic government!

    And once again, who cares what Republicans really believe about the last election. The FACT remains that the election was not stolen. Drum is eager to suggest that past elections have been stolen by Democrats, so that excuses current Republican voter suppression efforts and their claims, but (1) there is no proof that any past election was swayed by Democrats, (2) there is no proof that Democrats won in 2020 by election interference, (3) all cases of illegal voting has involved Republicans, not Democrats, (4) all audits have come up empty-handed. Drum may think he is being fair-minded by admitting past voter corruption on the left, but he instead is fueling hopes of conservative apologists such as Somerby, who want to excuse Trump's attempted coup using such flimsy arguments as today's nonsense.

    And before you think that this exonerates Trump, ask yourself who Donald Trump Jr is, exactly, and what his role in the government was. What office did he hold? Why should anything he thought or did matter to Trump's administration? And when you've answered that, you should understand why this invented quote by Somerby suggests corruption instead of showing that no one knew aobut the plans for insurrection.

  4. The "others" choose to be uninformed. So how can a person who uses their brain have an intelligent conversation with them. Yes, I usually do look down at people who do not use their brains.

  5. Bob, Bob, Bob. I yield to no one in my admiration and respect for you. But this is just the wrong question to be asking.

    I don't know that I've seen anyone argue that Trump et al. planned a "violent" event. Maybe people have made this argument, but I don't recall seeing it. In any event, the key isn't whether they "planned" for violence, but rather that they exhibited reckless disregard for the consequences of what they were doing, which was conspiring to disrupt and prevent Congress from performing its Constitutional duty.

    And the fact that these communications from Ingraham, DJT Jr., etc., went unanswered for hours strongly suggests that Trump himself wasn't bothered by the violence. That's the key. Another key point is that these people, who were horrified by what was happening in real time, very quickly re-booted and began defending the mob's actions, or blaming the violence on people who weren't involved at all.

    1. Well said and correct, except for respecting Bob.

  6. If there had been a conspiracy, which could be deemed illegal, to thwart counting of the electoral votes and preventing the Congress from doing its job, then from the legal perspective it's irrelevant whether the violence had been planned or not. Everything that is a proximate cause of an illegal action falls on the actor(s). For example, if you're driving a getaway car after your partners robbed a store and cops are chasing after you and get into an accident and someone dies, you'll be charged with felony murder.
    So, if Trump had stirred up that shit, and there was some illegal conspiracy, everyone who participated in that conspiracy is on the hook for everything that happened.

    1. If the police cruiser pursuing you runs over and kills someone then you're guilty of murder -- is this what you're saying, dear Ilya?

      Whoa. Citation needed.

    2. That's correct, Mao, that is what I am saying. It's the essence of the felony murder charge: any death that is a proximate cause of the crime, e.g. a police cruiser striking while in pursuit, will probably result in a felony murder charge. I can give you an example from my ex-wife's bar exam prep flash cards, but here's something that was in the news very recently: the Arbery murder trial. Everyone, including William Bryan, got convicted of felony murder, even though Bryan didn't even have a gun at the time. However, he participated in the chase, which was deemed illegal, and was found guilty of the resulting death.

    3. Most cop violence happens when cops are in pursuit, various cities and states have instituted policies to prohibit cops from many types of pursuits, which has led to a decrease in cop violence.

      Pursuit are solely about the individual cop involved, cops' duty is to protect property, not to any individual's safety, so pursuits are unnecessary and only serves the cop.

      Strawman aside, 18 U.S. Code § 1111 covers the concept of transferred intent.

    4. Here's a citation from Wikipedia:
      "There are two schools of thought concerning whose actions can cause the defendant to be guilty of felony murder. Jurisdictions that hold to the "agency theory" admit only deaths caused by the agents of the crime. Jurisdictions that use the "proximate cause theory" include any death, even if caused by a bystander or the police, provided that it meets one of several proximate cause tests to determine if the chain of events between the offence and the death was short enough to have legally caused the death.[3]"
      So, to some extent it depends on the jurisdiction.

    5. Indeed, someone driving a getaway car in a heist where murder was committed will be charged with murder. That we know.

      But cops in pursuit running someone over? That's a different story.

    6. Cops and right wingers have immunity from murder, stop publicly playing with yourself, it is gross. The degree to which you generate interest is bound by your skull.

    7. Again, depending on the state, you may be charged with felony murder for any death that's deemed a proximate result from your crime. Now, it may not fly depending on how far the prosecution tries to stretch that notion. Here's one example from my own memory, back when I lived in Chicago. A store owner set his shop on fire. He was charged with arson, but the prosecution also tried to charge him with felony murder when a fire department captain got into a fatal accident on the way to the fire. Didn't fly. It was a bridge too far.

  7. In the close to a year that has now passed, few have asked what these Trump supporters WERE trying to do, how they saw it playing out if they accomplished what they wanted. In one interview Trump said he didn’t expect them to go inside, and this drew no follow up.
    Bob, I have zero respect for you, but I do see how difficult your task is, even as of course you will ask the wrong questions. Fox News had been lying for weeks, supporting Trumps attempt to steal the election. Along with Trump, they clearly helped assemble a violent mob and pointed it at the Capital. That they were scared when it blew up in their faces excuses nothing.

  8. Or maybe Jr. knew his text messages would one day be subpoenaed.

  9. Kevin Drum is pretending that Democrats engage in voter fraud, but then there is this:

    "At least two Donald Trump supporters have been arrested at The Villages in Florida for voting more than once."

    Most cases of voter fraud turn out to have been committed by Republicans.

  10. From Political Wire:

    "Vanity Fair: “Finally, there’s the question of why Don Jr. was trying to communicate with this father through Meadows. Yes, Trump was the leader of the free world at the time, but surely most presidents inform their staff that calls from their children should be put through, particularly if they’re important. Did Junior initially try to contact his dad directly, only to find himself screened? Did he realize from the get-go that Trump—who’s never appeared particularly fond of his namesake—wouldn’t listen to him and then decide to try Meadows as a back channel? After all this, will Trump change his phone number and forget to give it to his son?”

    “Don Jr. has been uncharacteristically quiet on Twitter for the last two days, but perhaps he’ll fill us in soon.”"