FRIDAY: Ignoring the need to win elections?

FRIDAY, MAY 13, 2022

A preference for "locking them up:" From 2009 through 2015, Eric Holder was President Obama's attorney general.

Holder is intelligent, sensible, smart. He doesn't seem to be crazy at all. We'd call him transparently sane. 

Also, Holder has recently changed his mind—or has started to think about changing his mind—concerning a difficult question:

Would it be a good idea to indict former president Trump—to charge him with a crime? 

On Monday evening, Holder appeared on The Last Word. At the start of the program, Lawrence O'Donnell quoted Holder's account of a recent change in his thinking:

O`DONNELL (5/9/22): Our first guest tonight is an institutionalist—the 82nd attorney general of the United States of America, Eric Holder.

The current attorney general, Merrick Garland, is an institutionalist. If you asked either of those Justice Department institutionalists say, ten years ago, if they believe that newly appointed attorney generals, serving a newly elected president, should spend time investigating the previous president of another party, or the actions of the Justice Department itself serving that previous president, they both would have said no.

Yesterday, former Attorney General Eric Holder said:

"I am an institutionalist. My initial thought was not to indict the former president out of concern of what how divisive it would be. But given what we have learned, I think that he probably has to be held accountable." 

Holder has come to believe that Trump "has to be held accountable"—or at least that he probably should be.  

O'Donnell was quoting Holder's Sunday appearance on Face the Nation. Should Donald J. Trump be charged with a crime? Here's the fuller exchange between Holder and Margaret Brennan of CBS:

HOLDER (5/8/22): At some point, people at the Justice Department, perhaps that prosecutor in Atlanta, are going to have to make a determination about whether or not they want to indict Donald Trump. The air is going to be—

BRENNAN: Would you do it?

HOLDER: Well, I think there's going to be sufficient factual information. And I think that there's going to be sufficient proof of intent.

And then the question becomes, What's the impact of such an indictment? 

I'm an institutionalist. My initial thought was not to indict the former president out of concern of what—how divisive it would be. But given what we have learned, I think that he probably has to be held accountable.

BRENNAN: We'll leave it on that incredible note.

Eric Holder still isn't totally certain.

Holder knows how divisive an indictment of Trump would be. But he says that, based upon what he now knows, it looks to him like Donald J. Trump probably should be held accountable—probably should be charged with a crime.

On Monday evening, Holder discussed this assessment with O'Donnell. You can peruse MSNBC's error-riddled transcript. To do so, just click here.

Speaking with O'Donnell, Holder discussed the reasons behind his ongoing reluctance. We've never indicted a former president, this former attorney general said. It's the sort of thing they do in other countries, he said. It's something we've never done here.

For what it's worth, we tend to be even more concerned about this idea than Holder now seems to be.  In the end, we don't know what Merrick Garland should decide concerning Trump's disordered behavior—but we think an indictment of Donald J. Trump would be profoundly divisive, at a time when our badly floundering nation is already breaking apart.

Having said all that, let us also say this—within our flailing, embattled blue tribe, there are major cadres who basically live for the chance to see Trump (and his allies) locked up. 

These people appear, day after day, on Nicolle Wallace's two-hour MSNBC show, Deadline White House. Yesterday, we watched for two solid hours as Wallace and her endless array of upscale guests dreamed of the day when Donald J. Trump would be indicted, with criminal charges against various others thrown in.

On Wallace's popular show, it has been time to "lock them up" for several years now. The program focuses on such delicious possibilities—and on little else.

Holder's concern about where this might lead is rarely mentioned on this show. And of course, the daily issues which bother everyday American citizens also go unmentioned.

Those everyday American citizens are also American voters. For many of them, the dream of locking Trumpists up falls quite low on their current wish list.

That said, the Wallace show brings a daily two-hour focus to the dreams and desires of a highly exercised blue tribe elite. 

Life seems to be good for her wealthy guests. To our ear, they seem to spend little time thinking about the topics which take us beyond their private war with corresponding red tribe elites.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but our nation's systems have long been falling apart for some time.

On balance, the bugs in those systems make it harder for Democrats to win election—to the House, to Senate, to the White House. They even make it possible to imagine Donald J. Trump ending up in the White House again.

We admire Holder for his obvious sanity. We aren't fans of the tunnel vision displayed by Wallace and her endless array of upper-end guests.

For decades now, our own blue tribe has shown little interest in hearing about the interests, concerns and beliefs of The Others—of the people who keep defeating us in elections, helped along by the Electoral College and by so-called "Senate math."

We spent two hours yesterday watching Wallace act out her dreams. Our general view?

Every time she leads a discussion, Trump voters are getting their wings.

Wallace and her stable of guests keep dreaming of locking them up. This emphasis strikes us as unwise.  Holder sees this as a potentially dangerous move. We agree with his reluctance, and raise him some.

Our tribe isn't always real skilled at dealing with Others. With apologies:

As our own focus slowly returns, we expect to offer more cogent thoughts on this topic next week. Our nation has entered a dangerous time. We need to think very clearly.


  1. "Those everyday American citizens are also American voters. For many of them, the dream of locking Trumpists up falls quite low on their current wish list."

    Heh. So what? If your tribal chiefs, dear Bob, could get away with sending the Others to death camps, they would.

    But in reality they don't need to prosecute all of the normal ordinary humyn beings, dear Bob. Just some of them, to make an example. To decimate, as they used to do in ancient Rome. And the rest will probably fall in line.

    So, this is your tribe's solution to "the need to win elections".

  2. “we think an indictment of Donald J. Trump would be profoundly divisive,”

    Has Somerby noticed that our nation is already strongly divided? If liberals voted for the “apple pie” act, conservatives would accuse the “woke” liberals of hating real Americans who like cake. How would indicting Trump divide the country any more than it already is?

    Next: has Somerby weighed the reasons that Holder has (reluctantly) come to believe Trump should be indicted? Do Holder’s reasons carry any weight at all with Somerby? We basically have never had such a corrupt president in our nation’s history, and Trump would clearly use his second term to destroy as much of democracy as he can, while stuffing his and his son-inlaw’s bank accounts with ill-gotten gains. Apparently, Holder thinks the dangers of not indicting Trump outweigh the dangers of inducting him. He has already broken the law; he will do it again.

    Somerby expressed the same disdain for impeachment, a procedure that was included by the Framers in the constitution as a legitimate tool for Congress to use.

  3. Lavrentiy Beria, the most ruthless and longest-serving secret police chief in Joseph Stalin’s reign of terror in Russia and Eastern Europe, bragged that he could prove criminal conduct on anyone, even the innocent.

    “Show me the man and I’ll show you the crime” was Beria’s infamous boast.

    That seems to be how Trump is being treated. There is no crime that he obviously committed, but some people want to find a crime to charge him with.

    1. Well actually he settled the lawsuit with D.C. for misusing nonprofit funds, which did not come with an admission of guilt, but come on...

      The guy is a New York real estate mogul. He has a long history of tax evasion and "creative" bookkeeping.

      But yes, there is a whole industry of keeping salivating readers on the edge of their seats with the latest news about how we will be locked up any day now.

    2. "a long history of tax evasion and "creative" bookkeeping"

      Meh. Tax avoidance. Rich people have lawyers, to stay on the barely legal side of things.

    3. Yeah and you're okay with that?

      How about hedge funds and barely legal market manipulation. Big fan of that too?

    4. You're such a virtuous, saintly creature, dear dembot. It's amazing.

      By the way: what do you think of George Soros? The Pelosi family? The Clintons? The Greatest Abstract Painter of All Times and the Big Guy?

      Lock them up?

    5. What happened on January 6th was criminal, so no one is inventing a crime. Many charges are mundane, but the conspiracy, if proven, would be a bit more troubling.

    6. Fair point, Ilya. A number of people did commit crimes on 1/6. They are being duly prosecuted and convicted. However, Trump specifically called for a peaceful demonstration, so he can't be found guilty of the crimes committed by the rioters.

    7. Trump merely suggested the insurrectionists march peacefully to the Capital after whipping the crowd into a frenzy - telling them they were under siege and they had to fight if the country is to survive; you can't duck responsibility just because you throw out some rhetoric to cover your ass.

      Context matters, right wingers get real literal when it suits their agenda. This indicates a corrupt character, a lack of a moral compass.

      Nobody likes Stalin (especially modern communists), but he too similarly used rhetoric to hide his actions; and of course, he defeated right wing Nazi Germany. Trump defeated efforts to stem the Covid pandemic. Hard to say who is worse, but Trump has a good shot at winning that contest.

      David's position indicates such a lack of integrity, it is startling.

    8. @11:26 - you have a valid point. Trump may be morally responsible for the 1/6 mob. But, legally he's safe IMO.

      A number of Democrats, including the President, are whipping pro-choice people into demonstrating at the Supreme Court. If some demonstrators illegally entered the Supreme Court building, would Biden be guilty of a crime? Of course not.

    9. insurrection is not legal

    10. Does it help you to be able to look yourself in the mirror, David? You backed that gangster who orchestrated a multi-level plan to steal the election.
      You're a shameless bastard, David.

      Why don't you ask Ruby Freeman if she thinks Donald J Chickenshit is a criminal?

      Desperate to overturn his election loss, Donald Trump and his team spun a sprawling voter-fraud fiction, casting two rank-and-file election workers, a mother and her daughter, as the main villains. The women endured months of death threats and racist taunts – and one went into hiding.

      Who's responsible for that David? Who put a target on her back?

      Trump: Well, you have to. Well, under law, you’re not allowed to give faulty election results, okay? You’re not allowed to do that. And that’s what you done. This is a faulty election result. And honestly, this should go very fast. You should meet tomorrow because you have a big election coming up, and because of what you’ve done to the president — you know, the people of Georgia know that this was a scam — and because of what you’ve done to the president, a lot of people aren’t going out to vote. And a lot of Republicans are going to vote negative because they hate what you did to the president. Okay? They hate it. And they’re going to vote. And you would be respected. Really respected, if this thing could be straightened out before the election. You have a big election coming up on Tuesday. And I think that it is really is important that you meet tomorrow and work out on these numbers. Because I know, Brad, that if you think we’re right, I think you’re going to say, and I’m not looking to blame anybody, I’m just saying, you know, and, you know, under new counts, and under new views, of the election results, we won the election. You know? It’s very simple.

      You're ready and eager to stick your head back up that criminal's ass, aren't you David.

    11. David,
      Your tears for Osama bin Laden are duly noted.

    12. David,
      Are you suggesting Trump had nothing to do with the snowflakes who tried to overthrow the United States Capitol just because black peoples votes were counted in the 2020 Presidential election?

    13. David,
      We went to war with the Taliban because they killed 3,000 Americans on 9/11/2001.
      If Republicans flew planes that killed 3,000 Americans, should the country go to war with Republicans?
      If so, is that because Republicans are just as criminal as the Taliban?

    14. What if the Democratic Party suppressed the votes of reliable Republican voters? Wouldn't that show the Democratic Party has no problem with the taking the political representation away from the people?
      Checkmate, libs.

  4. Where there are no distinctions there can be no superiority, perfect equality affords no temptation. The Hispanics leaving the Democratic Party themselves are a temptation to enterprising ruffians in the South. Polls are revealing a rupture with foreign powers where a republican government, by being formed on more natural principles, would negotiate the mistakes the Democrats made with the Hispanics.

    Wherefore, as an opening into that business, I offer the following hints; at the same time modestly affirming, that I have no other opinion of them myself, than that they may be the means of giving rise to something better. Could the straggling thoughts of individuals be collected, they would frequently form materials for wise and able men to improve into useful matter.

  5. Do you think ANYONE should be indicted? Poor people being indicted over a crime wouldn't be divisive, since few people know them or care. Indict poor people because it doesn't divide the nation?

    1. The Nuremberg trials must have really eaten at Somerby, poor guy.

  6. We let Nixon escape, as well as Reagan and the Bush family.
    All committed crimes, actual and moral.
    Trump will escape too.
    The dead at Normandy turn over in their graves.

  7. يختص افضل دكتور مخ وأعصاب بتقديم العلاج الطبي غير الجراحي للحالات والأمراض التي تصيب المخ والعمود الفقري والجهاز العصبي.
    الحالات التي يعالجها طبيب المخ والاعصاب
    تشمل الحالات التي يعالجها دكتور مخ وأعصاب ما يلي:
    • مرض الزهايمر أو الخرف.
    • ألم الظهر.
    • إصابات الدماغ والحبل الشوكي.
    • ورم المخ.
    • الصرع.
    • الصداع والصداع النصفي.
    • مرض الشلل الرعاش.
    • انضغاط الأعصاب.
    • السكتات الدماغية.
    • النوبات.
    • اعتلال الأعصاب المحيطية.
    • مرض التصلب المتعدد.
    • اضطرابات النوم.
    • إدارة الألم.
    • التصلب الجانبي الضموري (ALS) .
    • اضطرابات الأعصاب الطرفية.
    • مشاكل النطق.

    ولأن علم المخ الأعصاب مجالاً واسعاً يتعامل مع العقل والجهاز العصبي بأكمله، فقد يركز الطبيب على بعض التخصصات الفرعية كأن يكون افضل دكتور مخ وأعصاب اطفال او احد التخصصات الآتية:
    • طب أعصاب الأطفال.
    • طب الأعصاب الوعائي.
    • الصرع.
    • علم الأعصاب السلوكي.
    • الاضطرابات اللاإرادية.
    • أمراض الأوعية الدموية (رعاية السكتة الدماغية).
    • اضطرابات النوم.
    • إدارة الألم.
    ما هي مواصفات دكتور مخ واعصاب وعمود فقري شاطر
    هناك العديد من العوامل التي تميز دكتور مخ واعصاب عن طبيب اخر، ويمكن القول ان دكتور المخ والاعصاب المتميز تسبقه سمعته وتتحدث عنه اعماله.
    وفيما يلي نعرض عليكم اهم مييزات طبيب الاعصاب الناجح:
    1- طبيب حاصل علي اعلى المؤهلات العلمية في مجال تخصصه
    2- افضل جراح مخ واعصاب لدية خبرات وافية وسنوات من العمل في المستشفيات والعيادات المتخصصة.
    3- يكون علي اطلاع دائم علي احدث التطورات والدوريات العلمية المتعلقة بمجال عمله.
    4- يكون حاصل على الزمالة من احدي كليات الطب العالمية في تخصصه.
    5- يحضر المؤتمرات العلمية في الداخل والخارج.
    يمكنكم التواصل مع افضل دكتور مخ واعصاب في مصر الجديدة للحصول علي افضل علاج، استاذ دكتور ابراهيم عبدالمحسن ، استشاري طب وجراحة المخ والاعصاب بمستشفيات جامعة عين شمس.

  8. I can't recall reading about America ever arresting a president, but we did have a limited run of de-funding the KKK by revoking their corporate charter. So, considering that Trump has both family and professional ties to literal, tattooed white supremacists, maybe there's something to addressing his crime.

    1. Yeh sure, then the Kansas Historical Association is what, schizophrenic?

  9. "I'm an institutionalist." The most meaningless phrase since "I'm an independent."

  10. Many of Somerby's attacks here have been focused on the New York Times. And yet, the NY Times has been instrumental in examining police abuse of power, as recognized by the Pulitzer Prize Committee:

    "The staff of The Times won the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for revealing the killings of hundreds of unarmed motorists across the country after vehicle stops for nonviolent offenses. Few officers are punished; the blame is often deflected to the victim. We also scrutinized in-custody deaths, piercing a curtain of obscurity around autopsy records. We were the first news organization to expose the use of sickle cell trait to falsely account for in-custody deaths of Black people."

    1. Whoa, dembot publication 'wins' a dembot prize. Quelle surprise.