STARTING TOMORROW: Questions remain!

MONDAY, JULY 25, 2022

Blow seeks prosecution: Charles Blow says that former president Donald J. Trump must be prosecuted—must be charged with a crime.

He advances this view in a new opinion column for the New York Times. His column appears beneath this headline:

We Can’t Afford Not to Prosecute Trump

We can’t afford to proceed without prosecuting Trump. Blow states his nugget here:

BLOW (7/25/22): With the conclusion of this series of hearings about the Jan. 6 insurrection, it has become ever clearer to me that Trump should be charged with multiple crimes. But I’m not a prosecutor. I’m not part of the Department of Justice. That agency will make the final decision on federal charges.

The questions before the Justice Department are not only whether there is convincing evidence that Trump committed the crimes he is accused of but also whether the country could sustain the stain of a criminal prosecution of a former president.

I would turn the latter question around completely: Can the country afford not to prosecute Trump? I believe the answer is no.

Blow says we have to prosecute Trump, apparently for one or more federal crimes. He goes on to explain why he feels that must happen.

We can't say that Blow is wrong—but we also can't say that he's right.

In the macro sense, our view is this. It isn't clear that we can incarcerate our way out of our current political problem—and our current political problem may be existential.

On the micro scale, we note this fact. At no point does Blow explain what crime or crimes Donald J. Trump has committed. In our view, it's easy and fun to insist on prosecution when you aren't even required to name the crime!

Has Donald J. Trump committed a crime? Had he committed a recognizable crime—a crime which can be defined in a way the wide range of people can understand?

At this point, we don't know how to answer those questions. We also fear that it's too late to solve our massive political problem. We suspect that our political and journalistic systems have fallen apart in ways which will be extremely hard to repair.

Here within our liberal tribe, the desire for prosecution is general. On MSNBC, highly-paid TV stars propagandize for this outcome on an hourly basis.

Seldom is heard a discouraging word about this proffered solution. As part of our journalistic breakdown, TV shows on our cable channels now feature—now brook—no dissent.

Everyone you see on these shows will agree with the host's point of view. No challenge to that preapproved view—no disagreement, question, or point of nuance—will intrude on the pleasures of these segregated "cable news" programs.

(You will be told that the members of these preapproved panels are among the host's "favorite reporters and friends." You will be told that these panels have been selected "to help us get smarter." This pabulum will be spooned to you on a daily basis. It's part of corporate branding.)

Trump may well end up being charged with a crime; as lunatic as his conduct has been, we don't know if he should be. But in our view, our nation—such as it is—is facing a political problem which almost surely can't be solved in that way.

That said, our own blue tribe is clamoring widely for prosecution. We can't say that this viewpoint is wrong—but in our view, a wide range of basic questions remain largely unaddressed. 

Two of those questions are these:

Unaddressed question: Is it possible that Donald J. Trump really believes that the last election was stolen? This takes us into the general area of Donald J. Trump's cognitive / psychiatric state, an area our upper-end press corps will never agree to address. 

Unaddressed question: Is it possible for any nation to survive our current media regime of wholly partisan talk radio shows; wholly partisan cable news channels; wholly partisan Internet sites; and crackpot social media? 

We'll return to the first of those questions tomorrow, then proceed onward from there. Other such unaddressed questions exist. Our general view would be this:

Round the decay of our nation's wreck, quite a few questions remain. The specific nature of Mister Trump's crime would be one such question. But there are quite a few others besides.

One thing seems dangerously clear:

Almost surely, we can't incarcerate our way out of our current political mess. Whatever you think of the proposed prosecution of Trump, it seems to us that it's very unwise to imagine that we can solve our political / journalistic / existential problem in that particular way.

Our nation—such as it was—has basically ceased to exist. Silent secessions are taking place. Especially given our media structure, it seems to us it will be very hard to patch things together again.

Could it be that Putin is right? Has the future, such as it might have been, already been lost to us?

Tomorrow: What George Conway said


  1. The crime is creating a shadowy network of operatives that, hiding in plain sight, took multiple pictures of a stairwell.

    1. And that's how all those armed rioters got within feet of Pence, when he tried to leave his office...

    2. Those so-called "operatives" made Pence's secret service scared enough to call their loved ones when they thought they were done for, in mortal fear for their lives. But @9:35 thinks this is a big joke.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. 9:35, apparently not plain sight enough for Loudermilk to remember he was there.

    5. The pictures of the stairwell, the big scoop from the scary 1 6 commission were taken in a building that was not the Capitol and a building that was not infiltrated by rioters.

    6. The question is not the vice presidents' stories of his family's reaction to the danger he was in. It's whether or not Trump is guilty of a crime. On that score, the 16 commission brought a lot of smoke, a lot of sideshow. Nothing of substance.

    7. It's a lot like Russia gate in that way. Just a sideshow to keep you entertained that adds up to absolutely zilch in the end.

    8. The 1/6 commission was not convened to prosecute Trump. It was convened to investigate and report to the people on the events of 1/6, which it has been doing. The DOJ will decide whether to prosecute Trump and others, and what charges to bring. Then the DOJ will try those cases and juries will decide guilt. This is how our system works. It is not surprising that Russian trolls would find this confusing.

    9. "The pictures of the stairwell, the big scoop from the scary 1 6 commission were taken in a building that was not the Capitol and a building that was not infiltrated by rioters."

      The pictures were taken in a corridor leading to a tunnel that connects the senate/house chambers to offices. It is a technicality to say these were not the Capitol, since the Capitol complex consists of several buildings, all under attack during the insurrection. The pictures were not just of stairwells but also of security checkpoints and they included the tunnel through which congress members were evacuated during the actual attack.

      Mocking the fear of congressmen and secret service agents who were chased by an armed mob strikes me as callous and demeaning to both those who served our country as police and security (some who died) and those who were trying to conduct our nation's business. That's partly why the 1/6 Committee showed the picture of Josh Hawley, who egged on the mob, then ran away from it (literally, not at the sedate pace of some others). This fear was apparently shared by Republicans who supported the insurrection.

    10. The January 6th Commision is a failure, if it can’t convince morons, like 9:35 that Republicans are bigoted snowflakes.

    11. "in a corridor leading to a tunnel" That's frightening. The unproven implications of this unimportant triviality of a story must be enormous. ;)

    12. @11:35

      These are paid trolls working from a script. They have probably not even watched the 1/6 Commission, especially if they live in a troll farm in Eastern Europe. Stop treating these assholes like they have honest opinions, when they are just trying to rile up libs and earn their rubles.

    13. It's not the troll's fault the pictures of the stairwells non-story represents the quixotic pointlessness of the 1/6 Commission.

    14. What does this have to do with Donald J Chickenshit sitting on his fat corrupt treasonous ass encouraging his armed mob of insurrectionists to kill the VP?

    15. 11:35 got suckered by a grifting real estate clown from Queens.
      His parents must be so proud of him.

    16. You know when you talk to these people they often will admit they don't like Trump. They just loathe the democrats so much. Like, where does it even come from? Something I've wondered. Why did some people just hate Obama so much? I mean besides the obvious racism there has to be something else at play.

    17. Kevin Drum attributes it to Fox News.

    18. “Armed” mobs and reconnaissance tours now.

      It’s a lot of effort and hokum to keep Trump from running again, and in the meantime there’s a 79-year-old showing a significant amount of wear-and-tear and a VP who is definitely not “positioned for success”

      Green energy and drag queen diplomacy.

      Is student loan forgiveness coming in October or something?

      Otherwise, I think there’s been better strategies, dear Loyal Opposition.

    19. Cecelia, if you still believe this after watching the hearings, you are stupider than I thought.

      Did you know that students of Trump's University were refunded their tuition after the courts determined his school to be a fraud?

      Did you know that the Trump supporters in the trees, refused entry because they wouldn't go through the metal detectors and have their weapons confiscated, were shown in photos with AR-15s? Trump threw a tantrum and demanded that they be let into his speech, because "they aren't here to hurt me", he said. But you put "Armed" in scare quotes! Dishonest, Cecelia. People were arrested with weapons and convicted for injuring police and others. They are in jail. But you're pretending this is hype? Dishonest, Cecelia.

      Why do you bother coming here to soil the screen with excrement like this? Then you pretend you are interested in discussing things. And today you illustrate why liberals are not interested in talking to The Others, dishonoring Somerby's plea on your behalf by showing yourself to be a total cretin.

    20. Yeah, you’re right, Anonymouse 7:52pm, it was, indeed, a bloodbath.

      A young unarmed womanwas shot in the throat and killed.


  2. "We Can’t Afford Not to Prosecute Trump"

    Whoa, that's ...something.

    This is well beyond a garden variety banana republic. You must be real proud of your tribe, dear Bob, eh?

    1. Mao, there is a low bar for you to find anything the dems or their pundits do or say to be an "atrocity" are in this case, "beyond a garden variety banana republic" and I sky high bar for you to acknowledge that Trump's and the MAGA's bizarre insistence that Trump won the 2020 election, which is actually pure banana republic.

    2. The Commander lost the 2020 election, dear dembot. That's just a fact.

      Another fact is that it wasn't a clean and fair election.

      Time Magazine aptly describes it as "a well-funded cabal of powerful people, ranging across industries and ideologies, working together behind the scenes to influence perceptions, change rules and laws, steer media coverage and control the flow of information."

      If you don't like it, take it up with them.

    3. If your point was that the voting population is stupid and easily swayed by the media/power elite I would agree. So in that sense, no election is fair. But what do you expect? It's one of the flaws of democracy. That the population will vote sensibly.

    4. Mao, no doubt certain "elites" molded or attempted to mold the public's perception. NO FAIRSIES, for sure. But right wing elites did the same thing for el Trumpster, and el Trumpster himself has his own way of doing it, non-stop did the same type of thing, and they seem, to me at least, more relentlessly manipulative. That's how 'democracy' works, and it seems to be getting worse.

    5. Why a word-salad, dear dembot? Your 5:40 PM drivel makes zero sense. What do you want from us?

      This is what right-wing elites, also known as 'the deep state', did, in 2020: "a well-funded cabal of powerful people, ranging across industries and ideologies, working together behind the scenes to influence perceptions, change rules and laws, steer media coverage and control the flow of information." Every trick in the book. As described by Time Magazine.

    6. Mao, in your first statement from Time Magazine, you left out the words "This is what right-wing elites, also known as 'the deep state', did in 2020. In the first quote you implied that the left was doing what you attributed to the right-wing 'deep state' in your second statement. Then you accuse AC/MA of not making sense.

      The right accuses George Soros while the left accuses the Kochs. It would be nice if the supreme court had not determined that corporations can participate as individuals in politics, but wealthy people have been trying to tip the scales since the creation of our nation, when our Founding Fathers tried to prevent non-property-owners from voting.

      The most pernicious influence on Trump's election in 2016 was funding from Russia via oligarchs, laundered through the NRA and via small donations (like those funneled to Jill Stein and Bernie Sanders to oppose Hillary). Republicans are still receiving funding from unreported lobbying activities (such as for Turkey) and illegal bundling of contributions from China. So this isn't just about a deep state.

      Campaign Finance Reform is a real issue. Only Democrats have supported it. But you go ahead and gang-up on AC/MA, one of the few people who still talks to you here.

    7. Mao, good one, "word salad." You can always rely on that instead of making an actual argument. Some out of context Time magazine passage is supposed to prove something?

    8. No. The out of context Time magazine passage is a good description of it.

      Of course it leaves out the criminal component, but if you were really interested you could get it elsewhere, easily.

  3. "It isn't clear that we can incarcerate our way out of our current political problem—and our current political problem may be existential."

    Is Blow really saying that prosecuting Trump will solve our current political problem (whatever Somerby considers that to be -- he never says)?

    Part of our current political problem must be that conservatives don't understand what Trump has done wrong -- just as Somerby does not appear to understand, when he says:

    "At no point does Blow explain what crime or crimes Donald J. Trump has committed."

    "Has Donald J. Trump committed a crime? Had he committed a recognizable crime—a crime which can be defined in a way the wide range of people can understand?
    At this point, we don't know how to answer those questions." -- note how the standard has shifted to understandable crimes.

    "as lunatic as his conduct has been, we don't know if he should be. " [charged with a crime]

    And most outrageously, Somerby asks: "Could it be that Putin is right? "

    And this is the man who claims to be liberal, a member of the blue tribe!

    This bait and switch, in which Somerby poses an unstated and undescribed national problem, and then insists that not only must Trump be proven guilty of a specific crime, but that prosecution MUST solve his unstated national problem too, and if it cannot, then Blow MUST be considered wrong. But we know already that Blow is always wrong in Somerby's world.

    It is as if Somerby wants a way to prosecute Trump while also making Republicans happy about it. That is obviously not going to happen, but at least we can preserve the integrity of our justice system by demonstrating that no one is above the law -- a value Somerby neither recognizes nor cares about. In his many essays, he has never recognized the importance of patching up faith in our democracy and he doesn't give a damn about how liberals feel about the way Republicans have run roughshod over the things that are important to us. Any patching will be to satisfy the right, not the left.

    1. Yes. At least in the days when Bob
      was defending Clinton from his most
      ludicrous attacks, he would sometimes
      exclaim..”I’m not that liberal!”

  4. When will Blow write a column that Somerby approves of? Never, obviously. Today, Somerby insists that Blow must not only argue the value of prosecuting the president, but also conduct that prosecution, since Somerby doesn't understand what Trump did wrong. And, by the way, Blow must also fix our national problems and make the right love the left again. And balance the budget, cure poverty, put us on Mars, make unicorns real again, and regrow hair on bald men's heads. In 1200 words or less. Or he should shut up about Trump's wrongdoing. Because opinion writers can never write about problems they cannot solve, even though Somerby does it always. But Blow is black and Somerby doesn't like him much, so that bar is raised for Blow.

  5. "Unaddressed question: Is it possible that Donald J. Trump really believes that the last election was stolen? "

    This is irrelevant. Had Somerby watched the hearings, he would have seen that Trump was told repeatedly by his own advisors, that he lost the election. Trump has slipped and said it himself. Bannon said that Trump planned to call the election stolen whether he won or lost. Trump began saying it would be stolen before he won in 2016. Trump's beliefs do not define reality. It doesn't matter what he believed -- his actions are not justified by mistaken beliefs.

    "Unaddressed question: Is it possible for any nation to survive our current media regime of wholly partisan talk radio shows; wholly partisan cable news channels; wholly partisan Internet sites; and crackpot social media? "

    This question is also irrelevant. We have a party-system in which adversarial claims are reported by the media -- and this is how it has always been. There has always been crackpot radio and fringe publications and weird rumors and beliefs circulated about candidates. What is different is that our institutions are no longer respected by Republicans, who see advantage in undermining our democratic system and wish to win at any cost. Somerby wants to blame the media, but he himself has done nothing to uphold our institutions himself. This, more than anything he has said, makes him a conservative and not a liberal.

    Republicans are going down in flames during these midterms. Their misdeeds are being made visible by the hearings. The people will reject them at the polls, and they will go back to being what they were, while the fascist elements are shoved back into their dark holes where they belong.

    Somerby has no shame. He thinks these questions make a difference to Trump's prosecution when neither question is relevant. Trump desired to stay in power. He liked the hamburgers and the kowtowing and the ability to manufacture money using government power, but he didn't like governing, so the people voted him out. He didn't want to go, so he whipped up a mob on his behalf and plotted a coup. But he was too lazy and stupid to do it right, and those with better values held their ground and defeated him. Now he must be prosecuted because that is how we demonstrate that our system works, that what Trump did was wrong, and that wrongdoing is punished when it is caught and proven in court. Trump needs his day in court, but our nation needs it more.

    So, why is Somerby working so hard to prevent the national healing that would result when our people see that the mechanisms of justice still work? I would pretend that Somerby is too stupid to understand what Trump did, but I believe Somerby is too venal. Whoever pays him to write this column doesn't want that message and Somerby is enough of a lickspittle to choose money over truth. Well, he should have put away some savings while he was working as a standup comedian, or stayed in school long enough to merit a teacher's pension. Or been nicer to his mother. Anything to avoid having to do the devil's work to support his craven old age.

  6. Every thinking person doubts the accuracy of the reported outcome of the election. Trump is one among tens of millions.

    1. Real blogs are moderated. Somerby tolerates a slew of trolls who add nothing to discussion.

      Does anyone else here find it odd that the only instances of election fraud reported after investigation have been committed by Republicans voting for Trump?

      Most recently, it was a man in CO whose wife has been missing for 2 years who forged her ballot. (He is suspected of killing her, but there is not enough evidence to charge him.)

    2. I keep trying to convince myself Ginni Thomas isn’t a fascist but, like Republican voters, I can’t come up with anything that will support that view.

    3. Both sides know Ginni Thomas is a fascist.
      Don’t let the media divide us.

    4. " among tens of millions"

      Meh. Everyone knows. Everyone.

      That's what makes dembots so excited...

    5. Everyone knows Republican voters are bigots.
      Don’t let the corporate-owned media fool you into thinking it isn’t true.

    6. Remember that show The McLaughlin Group on PBS? Where some pretty capable people, liberals and conservatives alike, where (sometimes in quite a heated fashion) they would actually converse with each other and (usually intelligently) debate the topics of the day? Or maybe I dreamed of it.

    7. anon 10:58, on what basis do all these "thinking" persons doubt the accuracy of the "reported" outcome? What basis do they have, other than wanting to believe the outcome is inaccurate, other than wanting to believe it?

    8. There was too much yelling on the MacLaughlin Report and his comments were often annoyingly high-handed ir dismissive (without support). I never liked it much. You can’t do serious discussion in sound-bites.

    9. "too much yelling"

      As opposed to today's, restrained discussions like we see here? LOL

      They had productive debates.

  7. "Is it possible for any nation to survive our current media regime of wholly partisan talk radio shows; wholly partisan cable news channels; wholly partisan Internet sites; and crackpot social media? "

    Somerby says this as if these were the only shows available for viewers. They are not. The term media generally encompasses EVERYTHING that appears on various media, not just news shows. Social media includes a lot more than political memes and discussion. Movie reviews and entertainment series are part of media too.

    Somerby has regularly complained about the other sorts of articles in the NY Times and other places, including fashion, cooking, parenting and relationships, lifestyle, but oddly, never sports. These other aspects and other forms of media dominate most people's lives and fill their hours of watching and engaging in personal interests and pursuits. These are what preserve sanity for most people. These are what bring people together and these other interests and endeavors knit us together, bridge political gulfs and make our lives worth living.

    It may be that Somerby's life is full of nothing but politics and cable news. If so, he won't be experiencing the ties that overcome political divisions. It may be that he only talks about politics when he is together with others at family functions or baseball games. If so, that is on him. Most people talk about other things too, even predominantly.

    There is perhaps a balance between consuming politics 24/7 and ignoring it entirely, but people do tend to back away from politics when it is too upsetting, and they do talk about other things with The Others who are part of their social circles (such as family members). When crises die down, these ties will restore balance, not any melding of parties or appeasement of the right by overlooking their crimes. Somerby might know this if he didn't keep scoffing at the social balance and inclusiveness of interests in the NY Times.

    1. Somerby has a bad habit of considering things that are less partisan equivalent to those that are strongly partisan. There are still informative shows among the Fox News noise makers, just not on Fox. Somerby would also, no doubt, call the more moderate shows "liberal," like the Republicans do.

      His kind of mislabeling makes the media crisis appear worse than it is. For example, Trump was only endorsed by the Las Vegas newspapers owned by Stuart Adelman, while Hillary had the endorsement of all other newspapers, in red and blue states in 2016. That seems pretty bipartisan to me.

    2. It's always so heartwarming to see the government scientist from Colorado commenting on hir own comments!

      Can we have more of that, please?

    3. Do you seek out irony or stumble into it by accident Mao?

  8. Bob’s let a few days pass, hoping we
    will all forget about Thursday, and now
    he’s back to the same old con.
    First, in terms of media performance,
    Bob argues the press never talks
    about Trump’s mental problems.
    Mary Trump’s regular appearances
    alone illustrate that’s bullshit. And
    She is all over the shows Bob hates
    the most.
    Trump’s supposed belief that
    he won the election (same as the
    Popular vote in 2016) as a defense
    is an idiotic notion well debunked
    at this point and now embraced
    only by Trump’s most hair-brained
    defenders, like Bob.
    Bob jumping on Blow may or may
    not have something to do with his
    being a black man, but in any
    event it’s quite selective. See the
    Wall Street Journal editorial board,
    the New York Post, etc.
    When Trump led “lock her up”
    chants, Bob never worried if he was
    trying to incarcerates his way out
    of a political problem. Nor did he
    care when Trump and Barr openly
    corrupted the DOJ.
    It’s easy for Bob to claim he
    doesn’t know if Trump broke the law
    when he simply ignores not just the
    suspicious actions but the obvious ones
    that reek of criminality.
    Last Thursday it was allowing the riot
    to inflame and taking no action. In
    Georgia it’s the caught on tape
    election tampering. There is of
    course a great deal more.
    Al Franken has said the only thing worse
    than prosecuting Trump is not
    Prosecuting him. Which I think is
    about the price of looking the other
    way at rank criminality committed
    by the powerful. That simple concept
    is way more complicated than
    Bob wants to go with this; and
    how he attracts the Qanon types
    who now seem to comprise a lot
    of his readers.
    Was Bob ever not the nincompoop
    he now appears to be? In any event,
    it’s a public transformation worth of

  9. 10:07,
    Add bigotry, and he’d be the perfect Republican voter.

  10. Who says Trump is not going to be charged with a crime? Investigations can take a long time. and prosecuters want to make sure their i's are dotted and their t's are crossed so that they have the greatest chance for a conviction. anyone with a brain (excluding Trump supporters) knows that he has broken many criminal and civil statues. All in due time he will be charged.

    1. Not to worry: when Michael Avenatti is elected president, not only The Commander but everyone who is not a dembot will be charged with a crime.

      We guarantee it!

    2. You think Michael Avenatti is going to be elected President?
      In what bizarro world, where Republicans aren’t suppressing the votes of minorities do you live in?