"Detached from reality," William Barr says!

MONDAY, JUNE 13, 2022

Journalists struggle with meaning: The January 6 committee has completed its second day of hearings.

In our view, today's second hearing was much more impressive than last Thursday night's first. For now, we'll only ask you to consider something William Barr said.

Barr was shown on videotape, speaking in a sworn deposition. He was describing the increasingly irrational claims being made by President Donald J. Trump by the end of November 2020.

Then, he described a December 14 meeting. We highlight Barr's conclusion:

BARR: When I walked in, sat down, he went off on a monologue saying that there was now definitive evidence involving fraud through the Dominion [voting] machines, and a report had been prepared by a very reputable cybersecurity firm which he identified as Allied Security Operations Group. 

And he held up the report, and he asked that a copy of it be made for me, and while a copy was being made, he said, "This is absolute proof that Dominion machines were rigged. This report means that I am going to have a second term."

And then he gave me a copy of the report, and as he talked more and more about it, I sat there flipping through the report and looking through it. And to be frank, it looked very amateurish to me. 

It didn't have the credentials of the people involved but I didn't see any real qualifications, and the statements made were very conclusory, like "These machines were designed to engage in fraud," or something to that effect. But I didn't see any supporting information for it.

And I was somewhat demoralized because I thought, "Boy, if he believes this stuff, he has lost contact withhe's become detached from reality if he really believes this stuff."

According to Barr's testimony, he began to wonder if Donald J. Trump had "become detached from reality." The suggestion we'd offer is this:

We'd suggest the possibility that some such diagnosis might have been accurate, not as a flippant figure of speech, but in the literal clinical sense. 

Had Donald J. Trump "lost contact with reality" in some literal clinical sense? As far as we know, some people do! Here's the material we posted last Saturday:

Psychosis is an abnormal condition of the mind that results in difficulties determining what is real and what is not real. Symptoms may include delusions and hallucinations, among other features.


Psychosis may involve delusional beliefs. A delusion is a fixed, false idiosyncratic belief, which does not change even when presented with incontrovertible evidence to the contrary...

Prevalence in schizophrenia is generally considered at least 90%, and around 50% in bipolar disorder.

According to the leading authority, some people are "delusional" in the literal clinical sense. Their fixed, false beliefs are unlikely to change even when they're presented with incontrovertible evidence to the contrary.

That said, the boys and girls of our upper-end press corps have rules against discussing such real-world possibilities. Mental illness and abnormal psychology seem to be playing very large roles within our rapidly failing world, but the children refuse to go there.

Trump kept rejecting the analyses of his experienced campaign people. Instead, he kept embracing the lunatic claims of Giuliani, Flynn and Sidney Powell.

Our "journalists" like to say he was lying. Is it possible that he was actually delusional in some clinical sense?

Is it possible that this metaphorically "crazy" commander-in-chief was detached from reality in the literal clinical sense? He's had us wondering about that for a fairly long time, but our childish, unimpressive "press corps" will never discuss such matters.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep. Our upper-end press corps isn't.

They know about makeup, wardrobe and hair. They know about their programs' Nielsen ratings, and about their own "Q ratings." 

They know how to memorize script. They seem to enjoy repeating whatever the last ten people just said. They get training in "showmanship."

Beyond that, they're actually quite unimpressive. They simply aren't especially sharp, nor do they often seem curious.

Full disclosure: These findings have been transmitted to us by major top key anthropologists.


  1. Jeez, dear Bob. You've been listening to politicians and various media dembots for so long, you positively sound delusional, dear.

    Take care of your mental health, man.
    ...it might be too late, though. Sad.

  2. Dr Somerby seems to want to argue that Trump is not criminally responsible for what happened on January 6 due to being “psychotic” or whatever word he chooses to use today.

    Ok. Fine. (Literally zero Republicans have pushed this line. But whatever. )

    But then, a man so clearly detached from reality should be removed from office, right? Barring the 25th amendment being activated (why didn’t Barr spearhead that initiative for the good of the country? How soon after getting himself hired did Barr realize Trump was “detached from reality”? Day one? Anytime before the 2020 election??), that leaves impeachment (a political exercise, not judicial) as the only remaining opportunity to get rid of such a person from the presidency. Surely, getting rid of such a person from the presidency ought to be a priority for the country.

    And what, pray tell, was Somerby’s reaction to the (second) impeachment of Donald Trump? He opposed it and said it was bad politics and that our election shouldn’t run on impeachment and other such such claptrap. He criticized the Democrats.

    Almost every single Republican from McConnell on down knew on January 6 that Trump was morally and politically responsible for what happened on January 6. They should have voted to impeach the man and to remove him from office. Instead, the very next day they backtracked and refused even to hold a trial in the Senate! They said : it was bad politics and that our election shouldn’t run on impeachment and other such claptrap. They criticized the Democrats. Sound familiar?

    And now, when the bipartisan committee is trying to lay out the evidence surrounding trump’s actions and the actions of people in his administration and other Republicans so that the world will take note and know the truth about what happened, Somerby is there to criticize —-who else: the Democrats.

    Somerby is just acting like your bog standard Republican troll about all this.

    1. MH - I agree with you - TDH is way off on this Trump is clinically disordered jag. It's dumb. I wish he read the comments (especially mine). But I don't see how he is "acting like your bog [?] standard Republican troll" about this. How many republican trolls are claiming that Trump should get off because he's mentally ill? None as far as I can tell. Calling Trump mentally ill is a severe criticism. Also, as a lawyer, in the event Trump is prosecuted (and I don't really like the idea, it will make the divide worse than it already is), he would never raise an "insanity defense", and if in some farfetched way he did, it wouldn't work.

    2. The Republicans aren’t claiming Trump is crazy. That’s true.

      But Somerby’s chastising of the media and the Democrats and the committee seems like Republican trolling, because many of those same Republicans felt Trump was responsible for Jan 6 (we know this from their speeches and some private recordings), but then turned around and blamed the media and the Democrats and the committee for being spiteful partisans and refused to remove him or convict him. That is the behavior of a troll.

      If Somerby truly believes that Barr thought Trump was psychotic, then that should be a huge indictment of Barr, who stood by and did nothing and who had the power to do something, along with all of the cabinet members and the vice president. If they really knew that Trump was psychotic, why didn’t they do something? Instead Somerby turns his anger against the media, the Democrats and the committee, not the Republicans who could have stopped Trump from doing what he did.

      The committee is exhibiting the gigantic moral failure of Trump, the Trump administration and the Republican party in this matter of the election and the January 6 attempted coup. But Somerby wants to chastise the committee, the media, and the blue tribe for …what…laying these facts out? Pointing out Republican failures/corruption? All because they won’t disband after judging Trump to be psychotic?

      It makes Somerby seem like a troll here.

    3. No, he's not arguing that Trump is not responsible for January 6th because he is psychotic,. He's arguing that the subject should not be blackballed as it is by the media.

      Can you not read?

    4. The committee is doing an absolutely stellar job of laying it all out, leaving no doubt, to the dismay of those in the media who began writing their narrative before the first day. We're watching the committee telling the story in the most professional and compelling manner. And they can't stop it. This is why Bob is so frantic.

    5. Republicans ARE claiming Trump is
      to be excused if you accept the
      (Meaningless and ridiculous)
      premise that he thought he was
      correct. Bob just kicks it up
      a notch by adding the mental
      illness card which allows him
      Blame the press.
      The inconsistency you have
      to accept is that Barr, who had
      degraded himself constantly and
      cheated like a partisan hack
      countless times, finally said
      Enough’s enough (and refused
      to risk committing illegal acts
      Is this hard for anyone to

    6. I can not take 5:42 seriously, their comment is so wrongheaded, either they are a right wing troll or sorely misguided.

      The "mentally ill" stance is what allows Somerby to attack "liberals" while maintaining what he perceives as plausible deniability - of course none of us are fooled.

      The reason why what the Dems are doing now is important is because if Trump is not convicted then he will become our next president and the world will suffer greatly from that. It will be really bad.

      The main reason why Biden won is because barriers to voting were not as high as they typically are due to Covid. While Somerby was yammering on about mental illness, Trump was laughing all the way to the bank with hundreds of millions of dollars raised and plans to suppress votes enacted.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Trump was sufficiently in touch with reality to fund-raise off voter fraud, to protect himself from depositions, to steal items of value from the White House on his way out, to make sure he charged the Secret Service full boat for their Trump Hotel rooms, to create a 7-point plan for stealing the presidency, and so on. He has not been sufficiently detached from reality to stop protecting his own financial and legal interests. And that makes him not crazy, not psychotic, except when he wants to escape responsibility.

  4. "And I was somewhat demoralized because I thought, "Boy, if he believes this stuff, he has lost contact with—he's become detached from reality if he really believes this stuff."

    This is an offhand comment on Barr's part. There is no evidence, no testimony, that he considered Trump sufficiently deranged to initiate Article 25 on him, or to do anything else someone would do if they were actually worried about someone's sanity. This is just Barr's way of saying that the report in question was very very shoddy.

    Somerby should know that from the context of the clip. Instead, he grabs it and runs with it to support his pet theory that Trump is crazy. This is akin to the way that Somerby grabs song lyrics, titles of poems, phrases from literature, entirely out of context, simply because a word or two in them suits his own purposes. Such as the way those damn woods are dark and deep. In this case, who cares what Barr meant by his words -- what matters is that Somerby wants us to think that Trump is crazy.

    No one watching the hearing is going to get that impression, because Trump is running a huge con in order to stay president, and that is obvious to all.

    1. He does not have a pet theory that Trump is crazy. Can you not read?

    2. You got that covered mh.

    3. It doesn't lead me to have more sympathy for Trump, not in the slightest. It leads me to have more sympathy for our nation! How did it ever come to this? Whether he's a cheap con artist bullshitting and corrupt businessman or a schizo psychotic, either way the USA should never have got saddled with him and even worse, he's still the Republican favorite? Now that's insane.

  5. The old Somerby would have noted that Barr was just fine with Trump's other corruptions.

    The old Somerby would have noted that, pointedly, Trump fired those in his admin that were not going along with the election fraud tactic, indicating that Trump was not suffering from delusion, but from corruption.

    On a fundamental level Republicans want to win at all costs, including the cost of foregoing integrity or morality. Corruption is closer to a feature than a bug, among right wingers.

    It is important to understand the cause of why right wingers are they way they are so we can know what to do about it, since they are causing tremendous harm to our society.

    To think otherwise is to put one's head in the sand, and frankly that is also an immoral stance.

  6. Nothing matches President Trump’s unhinged
    claims about the 2020 election so much as
    His unhinged claims about the 2016
    election. Barr and Bob both know
    this. It’s significant weirdo like Bob
    are not reviewing the performance of
    The committee or how it’s being
    reported. Bob had attached himself
    to the position of the Republicans
    trying to avoid accountability for
    his crimes, and he sees his job
    now as to promote that
    (Nonsensical) position.

    1. None of what you have written addresses the substance of this post.

  7. Inflation is at a 40-year high. The stock market is plummeting. Illegal immigrants are flooding into the country. Russia looks to probably have permanent control of a big chunk of Ukraine. China is threatening to invade Taiwan.

    Instead of addressing these serious current problems, we're all talking about someone who holds no governmental office.

    1. On prime time no less. As if January 6th is the biggest problem working people are facing. The Democratic leadership could not be more clueless.

    2. Inflation and the way the media is discussing it would make an excellent topic for a media critic. For example, the reporting on Janet Yellen’s testimony before the Senate Finance Committee just last week would be interesting.

      Unfortunately, that is not Somerby’s topic here. He is discussing the Jan 6 committee and whether Trump is “psychotic.”

      Try to stay on topic.

    3. See. David can't stop it either. David is a guy who spent the better part of a quarter century looking up Hillary Clinton's skirt, searching desperately for anything to besmirch her and hoping forevermore to see her locked up.

      Donald J Chickenshit, despite holding no governmental office, remains a clear and present danger to the very survival of our democratic republic. The objective here is to establish the factual record so that fanboys like David can never again try to defend that abomination, and also to make sure the treasonous bastard never gets near the oval office again.

      I have stocked up on my popcorn.

    4. News flash alert: Detached from reality from day one, lying about the inaugural crowd size.

    5. Hey David, did you hear what Barr testified to about the "mule movie"? Remember how you came rushing here to post a link to that ratfucking piece of propaganda? Remember how you said you wished for an objective review of that laughable piece of trash? Does Barr's review count? Does he meet your criteria for objectivity?

      You really are such a fucking hypocrite.

    6. @6:21 PM - I don't think you're commenting in good faith.

      @6:31 PM - today's (2nd) hearing started at 7:58 AM or thereabouts.

    7. When inflation is high, David supports fascists.
      This time Trump. Forty years ago Reagan.

    8. Thanks for the info Jim.

    9. David,
      Be happy you aren’t grown up enough to remember freedom fries.


    10. @DiC, 6:21 PM

      Isn't it what's known as "fiddling while Rome burns"?

      Tsk. ...living in interesting times, aren't we?

    11. The only FACT is the Trump REJECTED the dangerous, nutso proposals. David in CalJune 10, 2022 at 8:30 PM

      You gotta admire the fucking balls on DinC to actually put "FACT" in all caps.

      Did you watch yesterday, David? Who "rejected" what?

    12. Let’s be fair.
      David doesn’t love Trump. David loves Trump’s bigotry.

    13. Let's be pertinent.
      David doesn't love Trump. David loves dominance.

  8. If Somerby is going to consider what Trump believed and whether he was crazy, he must also account for the various Republican members of Team Normal, and explain why they didn't tell anyone about Trump's mental status.

    Digby discusses Bill Stepien, for example:

    "Bill and “Team Normal” did their stepping away “behind the scenes,” as Washington Post’s Josh Dawsey reported. Stepien “didn’t want it widely known” that he disagreed with the party line.

    So in other words, “Team Normal” wasn’t functionally any different from the “Ultra-Krakens.” They just didn’t want to get their hands dirty. They had professional reputations to keep.

    Because Fortune 500 companies don’t hire demented loons spittling at the cameras outside a landscaping business. But they might still bring on a “normal” “professional” who sat in silence as the world burned. He’s a team player!

    “Team Normal” is the latest example of a delusion that was ingrained deep within the Republican ruling class during the Trump era. It was filled with, as I categorized them in Why We Did It, “messiahs” and “junior messiahs” who told themselves they were one of the good ones, trying to nudge things in the right direction—from the inside. In this perverted mindset, the crazier things got, the more it proved that their nudging would be needed the next time things got out of hand. And so they soldiered on. Again and again and again.

    But the story the messiahs are telling themselves ain’t the truth. They weren’t nudging Trump along with them, Trump was nudging them along with him. They were dupes being used to provide cover for the crazy anytime the Wall Street Journal came calling.

    Bill Stepien wasn’t on “Team Normal.” He was on “Team Coup.” After the election he just decided to move back to the jump seats rather than keep riding shotgun, so as to protect his career.

    If you need anymore evidence this is the case, do you know what job Bill Stepien took, after the crazy he presided over had passed?

    Stepien is now consulting for Harriet Hageman, the fellow confederate, who was a former Never Trumper but who is now primarying Liz Cheney for the crime of speaking truths that she, and Stepien both know."


    Those who stood by and watched Trump's grift (or his descent into madness, if you take Somerby's line) are accountable for what happened too, and do not get to whitewash their actions via the 1/6 hearings.

  9. "The hearing has ended and the upshot is that Trump signaled the Big Lie before the election, and on the night of the election he listened to a drunk Rudy Giuliani who told him to declare victory against the advice of everyone else in the White House. The picture is of a man who was told over and over and over again from everyone on his staff and in the administration that the election was not stolen. He carried on with the Giuliani freakshow instead. And, at the end, they pointed out that Trump got a quarter of a billion dollars in fundraising off the Big Lie in the weeks after the election."


  10. Before you jump to the conclusion that Trump must have believed his own Big Lie (as Somerby suggests may be true), remember the elements of Trump's plan:

    "1. President Trump engaged in a massive effort to spread false and fraudulent information to the American public claiming the 2020 election was stolen from him.
    2. President Trump corruptly planned to replace the acting attorney general, so that the Department of Justice would support his fake election claims.
    3. President Trump corruptly pressured Vice President Pence to refuse to count certified electoral votes in violation of the U.S. Constitution and the law.
    4. President Trump corruptly pressured state election officials, and state legislators, to change election results.
    5. President Trump’s legal team and other Trump associates instructed Republicans in multiple states to create false electoral slates and transmit those slates to Congress and the National Archives.
    6. President Trump summoned and assembled a violent mob in Washington and directed them to march on the U.S. Capitol.
    7. As the violence was underway, President Trump ignored multiple pleas for assistance and failed to take immediate action to stop the violence and instruct his supporters to leave the Capitol."

  11. Let’s hope the January 6 Committee lists the marks who donated to Trump’s phony “Official Election Defense Fund” so we all know who he’s been making fools out of.
    I’d expect to see Bob or members of his fan club, as well as members of the political media on the list.

    1. Dig deep into those pockets, suckers!

    2. What kind of RINO doesn’t donate to Trump’s “Official Election Defense Fund”?