Concerning the con men and the conned!


This problem has always existed: Early yesterday morning, Joe Scarborough was ranting about the "bumpkins" in Virginia who couldn't clear I-95.

Almost surely, he didn't know what he was talking about. But at least he was talking real loud!

Sometimes Scarborough gets that way; often he's very insightful. This morning, in the Washington Post, he starts a column in the manner shown:

SCARBOROUGH (1/6/22): My grandmother’s faith in God sustained her as she struggled to raise her family through the Great Depression, said goodbye to her teenage son as he left for World War II and buried her husband a decade later.

The sounds of Billy Graham’s crusades would fill my grandmom’s Georgia home in the 1970s. A decade later, Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker’s “PTL Club” would win her loyalty, as well as her monthly tithes. My parents gently tried warning her that the “PTL” stars were scam artists less interested in her spiritual welfare than in her monthly Social Security checks. Even after being treated rudely by Tammy Faye in a chance encounter, Grandmom kept sending money the Bakkers’ way as they built their empire on the backs of working-class Christians. The dreadful pair’s get-rich schemes leveraged Americans’ love of God for cold, hard cash.

Scarborough's grandmother got conned by a pair of con artists. She'd come to trust Jim and Tammy Faye, and she couldn't be dissuaded.

Decent people have been conned by con artists down through the annals of time. They'd purchase their phony elixir cures. They'd purchase their stories of faith.

As Scarborough continues, he moves on to a contemporary target. He goes after the "false prophets" who have convinced a large chunk of the electorate that the last election was stolen. 

He says we should be tougher on those powerful people than we are on the people they've fooled. Adjusting for possible mental illness, we think that's good advice.

It's always difficult for people to know who they can trust. And here's the thing:

When people decide to trust the wrong person, they don't know that they're being conned. To cite one memorable example, how many of us infallible liberals fact-checked an unnamed cable news star when she made that ridiculous presentation, on that Monday night program, about the way she'd been researching the gender wage gap all day long?

His grandmother trusted the wrong people. That didn't make her a bad person, and it's been a part of the human experience as long as we've all been around.


  1. "He goes after the "false prophets" who have convinced a large chunk of the electorate that the last election was stolen."

    Jeez. Your liberal-goebbelsian dembots really have no shame, dear Bob.

    ...but hey, thanks for the laughs.

  2. "Scarborough's grandmother got conned by a pair of con artists. She'd come to trust Jim and Tammy Faye, and she couldn't be dissuaded."

    Even after it has been proven that a person has been conned (e.g. by police), many resist admitting that idea because of the sense of shame and the disruption of their sense of competence at recognizing reality and truth. They insist that they were never conned.

    That doesn't change the reality that con artists do con people and steal their money, damaging victims in more ways than financial loss. And this is not ignorance but an unwillingness to admit to being a victim of a con.

    Somerby's example should have been Donald Trump, not Rachel Maddow (or Kamala Harris, who said the same things, or the Department of Labor, which provided the statistics about the gender wage gap).

    In Somerby's example, no con is involved. There does exist a gender wage gap, demonstrable via statistics. Somerby nitpicks whether the jobs being compared are equal work, not whether the pay is equal, and wants to argue that when you control for all extraneous factors there is no gap. That is untrue. The gap is lower, but it doesn't disappear because there still exists gender discrimination above and beyond those other factors. But Somerby refuses to admit that those extraneous factors also reflect discrimination in our culture and results in differences in job titles, job content, hours worked under unequal working conditions, less opportunity for promotion, less incentive to pursue higher education especially in certain higher paying fields, and a wide variety of ways that gender discrimination affects women, beyond Somerby's simple-minded narrowly limited comparison. Then Somerby accuses not only Rachel but Kamala and Hillary before her, and the entire feminist movement, supported by The Department of Labor itself, of being a con.

    That is Somerby's misogyny speaking. He doesn't know what he is talking about, and he is motivated to deny that women have disadvantages compared to men in the job market, so he clings to his own wrong beliefs. Is that a con? Or is he conning himself, motivated by dislike of women?

    If Somerby were to admit to his own con, he would have to acknowledge his unfairness to women and perhaps his own mother, perhaps acknowledge that women don't like him because they sense his dislike of them (as a group), and revise too many of his own opinions and sense of reality to ever admit he is wrong about this. So, like Scarborough's granny, he will slog on with this crap that amounts to slander against many women who have been trying to improve working conditions for women.

    And, need I repeat that few liberals feel as Somerby does about the gender pay gap? But many conservatives do...

  3. Here is a litmus test (from Political Wire):

    “A year ago, while Republican lawmakers tried to overturn the 2020 presidential election by blocking the certification of the results, President Donald Trump incited a mob to storm the Capitol in an effort to obtain the same objective,” NBC News reports.

    “Now, with official Washington observing the anniversary, Republicans are accusing Democrats of politicizing the attack and blaming them for what the GOP describes as lax Capitol security.”

    If you can read this and agree that Democrats are exploiting 1/6, then you are not liberal. If you believe that Republican congress members had nothing to do with the insurrection, then you are not a liberal.

    If reading this doesn't make you angry, then you are not a liberal.

    I saw Biden's speech today as an attempt to push back against the Big Lie told by Trump to justify his attempts to stay in power. It may be too late to forcefully and official condemn the mistaken beliefs espoused by too many Republicans, but Biden, Harris, and many other Democratic senators and house members are trying to reverse that impression. THIS is what Republicans are calling "exploitation".

    It may be too late for anyone to stop the juggernaut of lies coming from Trump and the right. But if the violence justified by belief in those lies persists, this is going to be a year of bloodshed. The irresponsibility of fostering and widening the gap between Trump believers and everone else should be apparent to all, including Somerby. If Somerby persists in telling us that the right has a point, that they need to be listened to, that Fox News has the best facts and the left is being misled, then he will have blood on his own hands, no matter how many Kumbaya moments he pretends to evoke while insisting that liberals must capitulate to wrong beliefs.

  4. What makes more sense?

    1. Believing that the president who has told more lies than anyone in our history, is right about the 2020 election or much else he tells his supporters?

    2. Believing that even though the media occasionally makes a mistake, the mainstream media is closer to the truth than Fox News.

    Which of these statements do you think Somerby would endorse? (Hint: definitely not #2, since he argues against it daily.)

  5. Don't believe Somerby's con about the gender pay gap:

  6. The President made an important speech today. It was finished well before Somerby posted today. Yet Somerby says nothing whatsoever about it, even though it is on the same topic that Somerby addresses frequently here.

    What liberal would ignore what Biden said today? None.

    1. You can watch the speech here, in case you missed it:

  7. Bob inadvertently explains today why his abandonment of any serious journalistic critique, his notion that Fox World should get a pass because he gets too upset when he watches it, was such a epic moral failure. A cruel irony in how far Bob went in defending Mel Gibson's Jesus movie, and now Gibson's Jesus has gone full QAnon. But such examples are now pretty endless. America may never come back from the damage done by the lazy stupidity of people like Bob.
    And of course, some people are not good people. We learn this week Ashli Babbit was a mean, stupid bully. A judge let her off on violent charges (yes, sometimes whites DO get treated with kid gloves) and probably signed her death warrant.
    And when Bob says he "hasn't seen much" of this kind of reporting, he's probably being dishonest and doesn't care. These stories have been run by the Post and the Times, for instance, since very early in the Trump disaster. Other elements Bob ignores are relevant, we hate bad news: the Right made the Press the enemy of the people for bringing home the truth about Vietnam all those years ago. Killing the messenger is a very human thing. Viewing these things in the light of sore loserism is fair too. But the very human flaw of being a sore loser was magnified into a grotesque phenomena by Trump, and Bob doesn't want to talk about Trump.
    So, as Bob delighted in making fun of the kids who got away at Parkland, he matches that evil by ignoring the Capital fallen today.

  8. "Florida has more citizens involved in federal cases regarding the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol than any other state by far, Axios reports."

    Who knew that Florida was such an antifa stronghold?

    1. Are you, dear Corby, under the impression that Rapist Joe's AG's actively pursuing antifa?

    2. Calling the legitimately elected President of the US a rapist over accusations that were thoroughly investigated and found to be untrue should reveal you for the scum that you clearly are. Crawl back under your rock and leave the decent people here alone.

    3. Oh, dear. You can call them whatever you like to call them, dear Corby.

      We're just trying to understand the logic of your 1:12 PM, dear. The Feds choose to prosecute a bunch of Floridians of the Jan 6 incident, and therefore - what?

    4. Mao is obviously pretending that prosecutions and convictions can happen in the absence of evidence of wrongdoing. Mao, there is video that the insurrectionists took themselves and posted to their social media sites. What does it mean that so many came from Florida? You tell me. Is it a coincidence that Trump moved to Florida?

    5. The Feds have chosen to prosecute a bunch of Floridians. What does it have to do with antifa, dear Corby? Without word-salads this time, please. If possible.

    6. If you had been paying attention, you would have heard quite a few prominent Republicans (in and out of Congress) trying to blame the 1/6 insurrection on antifa, even while video of folks in MAGA hats were on TV.

    7. Mao seems to be claiming selective prosecution of Trump supporters after the 1/6 insurrection! Talk about cons.

    8. We've heard allegations that the event was provoked by antifa, dear Corby. As far as we're aware, no one has ever claimed that a significant portion of the participants were antifa.

      Are you acting willfully ignorant, dear Corby, or is it plain stupidity?


      This guy was interviewed at Mar-a-Lago today claiming that antifa and the FBI organized the insurrection. He is the organizer of a pro-Trump rally outside Mar-a-Lago. He isn't the only one to claim this. It is a common belief on the right among Q-Anon types.

      There is evidence that the insurrection organizers expected and prepared for anti-Trump protesters to create turmoil, but the left spread the word not to attend and the anti-Trump protest never materialized. No antifa presence has been identified at the Stop-the-Steal rally or the insurrection. The left feared that a violent clash might give Trump an excuse to invoke martial law or use troops against the lawmakers doing their job at the Capitol building. That hasn't stopped the right from trying to blame antifa, and now the FBI, for what happened. Anyone can see the videos and read the descriptions of what happened, in the insurrectionists' own words. You have to deny a whole lot to see this as anything cooked up by the left, but that doesn't stop people trying to put across these Big Lies.

    10. Corby left the building, Mao. You are arguing with someione else...

    11. We aren't arguing with any dembots here, dear Corby. Reasoning with dembots is not possible. We merely asked for an explanation for your 1:12 PM.

      Never mind; carry on.

    12. The left feared that a violent clash might give Trump an excuse to invoke martial law or use troops against the lawmakers doing their job at the Capitol building.

      Exactly. That was part of the dumb orange fascist's plan.

  9. So called good people are conned all the time.But when their con kills thousands of people, I have the right and the duty to call them out for it. If they don't like it, that comes under the category of "too bad".

  10. "“No members of Republican leadership have said they plan to attend Thursday’s events commemorating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob,” the Washington Post reports."

    Republicans are trying to make the commemoration appear partisan by boycotting the ceremony. The insurrection itself was partisan, supported by conservatives including many in Congress, opposed and watched with horror and dismay by liberals, Democrats, some other Republicans and Independents, and the world as a whole also watching in horror and dismay. Now the Republicans who supported the insurrection are boycotting the rebuke of those who participated. What does that tell you about their allegiances and their patriotism? It tells me that they do not take pride in our countries history of democracy and peaceful transfer of power, but are mainly interested in winning and enhancing their own positions, financial and political. They wear the red letter S for sedition as surely as if it were stitched on their lapels. We should all see them for who they are and what they stand for -- naked self-interest at the cost of our country's well-being. They are filth and now we have a list of who they are, at least the ones in Congress, if not the ones like Somerby who are carrying water for them today.

  11. “The threat continues. And it’s very important, if you look at what’s happening today in my party, the Republican party, rather than reject what happened on 6th, reject the lies about the election and make clear that a president who engaged in those activities can never be president again, unfortunately too many in my own party are embracing that former president, are looking the other way, are minimizing the danger. That’s how democracies die, and we simply cannot let that happen.”

    — Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), in an interview with NBC News."

    If all Republicans had the courage to tell the truth, the way Liz Cheney has, we wouldn't be in this predicament today. Democrats need Republicans to help fix this problem of their own creation. Soon!

  12. "Dan Pfeiffer: “The fact Republicans are moving ahead with a plan to steal the election in 2024 without fear of consequence is frightening and depressing. The political winds heading into the midterms are at their backs. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema remain more interested in protecting their centrist credentials than American democracy. Too much of the political media has normalized election theft as a legitimate political strategy in a fruitless attempt to avoid accusations of bias.”

    “The time, place, and plan for perhaps the greatest crime in American history have been identified. We have three years to stop it. Yet, our political leaders are either unwilling or unable to intervene.”

    1. Republicans planned the 1/6 insurrection in plain sight too. We should take a lesson from that.

    2. All we have to do is get the right polling data to Russia and the election will be ours.

    3. Or we could just blame ni""as.

  13. Playbook: “For those who always despised him, feel betrayed by him, or fear his return to power, today is about remembering — never forgetting — his lowest point as president: the day he incited a mob to attack Congress while it affirmed Joe Biden’s clear victory, the final desperate move in a plot to overthrow an American presidential election.”

    “For those who love him, merely tolerate him, or crave his return to the White House, today is a media stunt: a contrived anniversary of an insignificant event boosted by Democrats and the press to punish Republicans and cynically advance Biden’s legislative priorities.”

    “Americans often have a shared understanding about big traumatic national events. That is not the case with Jan. 6, which is why the cliché about our politics feeling like a civil war has more and more resonance.”

    How do you think Somerby feels about today's activities? He seems to believe there is a widening gap that needs to be addressed, but he thinks the way to do that is for the liberals to "listen" to Trump supporters. He clearly doesn't believe that today's speech and commemoration are important, so he appears to fall into the group regarding it as a stunt by the left to manipulate the right into supporting Biden's initiatives. He has supported Manchin's intransigence here, although not Sinema (except when her clothing was being discussed).

    I have never heard Somerby urge Republicans to repudiate the violence of 1/6, to join forces with Democrats to enact laws that will protect the validity of our elections and the rights of voters to cast their votes. I have never heard him dispute the Big Lie about the 2020 election, no matter how many times he suggests that Trump is perhaps mentally ill for his narcissism and psychopathy. I have only heard him justify the complaints of Southern right-wingers about CRT and a parent's right to choose how schools teach their kids. I've heard him object to the 1619 project and historical views about slavery. But never heard him object to the way the right views 1/6 and the insurrection.

    When folks like Somerby, who pretend to be liberal, instead model the craven behavior of Republicans, how can any of us prevent our slide into authoritarian regimes that will repeal every civil rights advance made since the 1960s? The people arguing as Somerby does while calling themselves liberal curmudgeons (and similar lies) are not helping this situation in any way -- they are selling our country down the river, and us with it.

    Some liberals believe that they will be able to flee to more liberal countries as immigrants, should the worst happen here. Covid has complicated such plans. Many other countries have tightened their residency requirements and are no longer allowing Americans free access (beyong the 6 months allowed on a tourist visa). We need to see the seriousness of current events, especially today, and work to defend our democracy. And Somerby is not our friend in that fight.

  14. Unfortunately almost everything we citizens know about the world and the country is based on trusting somebody. We don't have a way to personally verify news. So, should we trust Bjorn Lomborg or Michael Mann? Paul Krugman or Milton Friedman? Donald Trump or Joe Biden? CNN or FoxNews?

    Sadly, imo nobody is completely trustworthy. That leaves us guessing and hoping we're right. One corollary imo is that I don't look down on people who disagree with me. They're not ignoramuses. They're just trusting people different from the ones I trust.

    1. It isn't only a matter of trusting authorities. People also compare what they hear to things they hear elsewhere, evaluate the motives and context of the information they get various places, and use common sense applied to new information. Further, there is a reason why people choose one source and not another. There is a push toward consistency of belief and behavior, and toward coherence of beliefs over time and place, so not just anything will be accepted. Previous lies will be remembered. I think this is more complicated than you want to make it. People aren't robots who believe and do what their chosen sources tell them to. And they aren't children, to trust without evaluation.

      And you have left out personality entirely. The sources someone chooses are those who provide information consistent with the personalities and needs of the listener. Personal "verification" is far from the only consideration.

      When I hear someone say something I know to be ignorant about Hillary Clinton, I know not to trust anything on any other subject from that person. That is a kind of personal verification.

      Your desire to reduce the differences between left and right to nothing more than listening to different sources strikes me as akin to what Somerby is doing when he suggests that the left listen to Fox News because mainstream media was wrong about a state line crossed. There is so much more to why people believe what they do, beyond what you are calling trust.

      What you are doing is also a kind of both-sides-ism, which equates Trump with Biden and Krugman with Friedman, as if they were both reasonable and valid choices, with only minor differences. That is far from true too.

      I was repelled by Trump before he ever became a candidate. He has nothing to recommend him as anyone I would consider serious even as a businessman. And that was before politics, back when he was a supposed Democrat and still a flaming narcissist and obvious misogynist (his glory days as Jeffrey Epstein's wingman and Howard Stern's BFF.)

      Unless you want to be fleeced on alternate days of the week, you must follow your reason and instincts about who to trust, and when you disagree with people, take your own concerns seriously, because anything less is a betrayal of your own integrity.

      But maybe conservatives are governed by principles in the same was as liberals. It wouldn't surprise me. When people disagree with me, I listen to them to see whether I should reconsider my opinions, and if they talk like ignoramuses, I stop listening. Because, in addition to trust, there is the matter of intelligence and knowledge and expertise to consider.

    2. typo: are NOT governed by principles in the same way...

    3. Anyone who isn't a bigot, was repelled by the Republican Party before Trump ever became a candidate.

    4. You're so full of shit it's coming out of your ears, David.

      David voted for a sitting president who, it has now been shown, tried to execute a coup for the first time in our nation's history. Every day we're learning more and more of that monster's multi-level plan to steal the election.

      Any remorse, any self-reflection? Any apology? No, what does David do? He tries to both sides the matter and slander the current president.

      David is Exhibit A in the case proving why TDH's thesis is so ridiculously manifestly absurd.

    5. Correction:
      Anyone who isn't a bigot, was repelled by the Republican Party before George W. Bush ever became a candidate.


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