UNDER THE BIG TOP: How many boxes can dance on the head of a pin?

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 17, 2022

Lawrence hears confession: How many "boxes of top secret material" can be found on the head of a pin?

For the record, Lawrence was educated by the almost Jesuits before moving on to Harvard. Last evening, on The Last Word, he didn't specify the number of boxes, but he did offer this:

O'DONNELL (8/16/22): Last week was the worst legal week of Donald Trump's life, and so far this week is just as bad. Because Donald Trump learned today, just today, that his top lawyers in the White House have both spoken to the FBI about everything they know about the boxes of top-secret material that the FBI found in their search of Donald Trump's home.

To watch Lawrence's opening monologue, you can just click here. Move to the 5-minute mark for that particular passage.

For the record, we know of no basis for saying that Donald J. Trump "learned today, just today," that those lawyers have spoken to the FBI about the topic in question.

Trump may have known that all along. Lawrence was working off a news report in the New York Times—a news report which makes no claim like the one Lawrence advanced.

That said, how about the claim we've highlighted? How about the claim that the FBI found "boxes of top secret material" when they searched Trump's Mar-a-Lago home?

As far as we know, no one has ever said that the FBI found "boxes of" such material. More careful reporters have generally described the FBI's haul in the manner shown below, at the start of a New York Times front-page report:

HABERMAN ET AL (8/13/22): Federal agents removed top secret documents when they searched former President Donald J. Trump’s Florida residence on Monday as part of an investigation into possible violations of the Espionage Act and other laws, according to a search warrant made public on Friday.

F.B.I. agents seized 11 sets of documents in all, including some marked as “classified/TS/SCI”—shorthand for “top secret/sensitive compartmented information,” according to an inventory of the materials seized in the search. Information categorized in that fashion is meant to be viewed only in a secure government facility.

[...]

In total, agents collected five sets of top secret documents, three sets of secret documents and three sets of confidential documents, the inventory showed. Also taken by the F.B.I. agents were files pertaining to the pardon of Roger J. Stone Jr., a longtime associate of Mr. Trump, and material about President Emmanuel Macron of France—along with more than a dozen boxes labeled only by number.

More careful reporters have generally said that the FBI removed five "sets" of top secret documents. Such reporters have made no attempt to quantify the number of documents found in each set, or to report the total number of pages these five sets of documents contained.

(Presumably, there could be thousands of such pages. Or there could be twenty.)

Did the FBI actually find entire "boxes" of top secret material? That makes it sound like they found rather large volumes of such material—material sufficient to fill five separate "boxes," cartons of undisclosed size.

It's always possible that something like that will turn out to be true. But to date, there has been no reliable evidence to that effect. 

It could turn out that the FBI found massive volumes of top secret documents in last Monday's search. It could also turn out that they found a much more limited amount of such material—that they found five slender "sets" of such documents, scattered in among a bunch of dinner menus, weather maps and letters from North Korea.

The inventory released last Friday doesn't make such matters clear. But our regimen of 24-hour, round-the-clock news now sells scandal as news product—basically, as its only product—and certain tribunes have occasionally put their thumbs on the scales, making it sound like Mar-a-Lago's dank wine cellar contained entire boxes bursting with such material.

On Monday night, Don Lemon said that the FBI found "33 boxes of classified material" in last Monday's search. We'll guess that's simply inaccurate.

Last night, Lawrence failed to name a specific number of boxes, but he specifically cited "top secret" material, thereby restricting his account to the highest level of classification. 

He said the FBI found an unspecified number of "boxes" (plural) of such "top secret" material. Careful reporters have only said that the FBI found five "sets" of such documents, with the size of each set undefined. 

How much top secret material did the FBI find at Mar-a-Lago? Did they find a lot or a little?

The day may come when we all know the answer. As of today, we can't really say.

That said, Lawrence was on a roll last night, working from that news report in this morning's Times. Concerning that news report, a bit more must be said:

For starters, the New York Times didn't seem to think that its report contained some sort of bombshell disclosure. In this morning's print editions, the report appears on A19, the sixth page of the National section.

Maggie Haberman wrote the report. She doesn't report, at any point, that Donald J. Trump has now "confessed" to a crime. 

That's the principal claim Lawrence made last night—and he based his claim upon Haberman's report.

Lawrence was stretching matters a great deal, thereby thrilling viewers. Did he deliberately place his thumbs on the scales? We wouldn't assume that he did.

Much of modern-day "cable news" is built upon wishful thinking. It's tribes gone wild, tribe at war against tribe—Mad magazine's Spy vs. Spy.

For the record, Lawrence stretched the known facts in various ways last night. Here's  a fuller record of what he said at the five-minute mark of his opening monologue:

O'DONNELL: On June 3, when officials with the Justice Department's national security division went to Donald Trump's Florida home to collect documents, one of Donald Trump's lawyers signed a statement saying that all the material with classified markings had been returned. But that statement wasn't true. 

That lawyer now has a decision to make. Take the fall for the crime of lying to the FBI and the crime of concealing illegally obtained government documents, or tell the Justice Department the whole truth about the documents that were found in the FBI's search.

That was thrilling stuff. It was based on the conflation which is central to Lawrence's ministry—the conflation according to which every inaccurate statement will be described as a "lie."

Uh-oh! If Trump's lawyer believed his statement was true, he wasn't telling a lie. And dagnab it! If the lawyer wasn't lying, he couldn't be forced to "take the fall for the crime of lying to the FBI."

As far as anyone knows at present, the situation is much more complex than Lawrence's presentation suggested. But Lawrence was dispensing pleasing news product, possibly having been swept away by partisan dreams of conquest.

There's no "confession" by Donald J. Trump found in this morning's new report. That's why the news report appears on page A19.

Beyond that, Trump's lawyer may not have known that his statement was inaccurate, It's even possible that Trump himself didn't know, as of June 3, that classified materials were still present at Mar-a-Lago!

(It's also possible that the facts will turn out to be totally different. It could turn out that Trump was selling top secret material, that very day, to some foreign power!)

Matters like these aren't known as yet, unless you're watching cable. If you're watching our tribe's cable, Donald J. Trump has confessed to a crime, in addition to which at least one of his lawyers will soon be frog-marched away.

On blue tribe cable, people like Lawrence and Lemon thrill us with their embellishments and their conflations. On red tribe cable and on the red Net, you'll hear every manner of ludicrous claim about the way the jackbooted thugs rifled through Melania's negligees and undermined the republic. 

You'll also hear such things on C-Span's Washington Journal. We now live in two separate worlds, driven along by wholly separate regimes of fact.

What did the FBI actually find in their search of Mar-a-Lago? While we're at it, why were any top secret documents located there at all?

At this point, such questions can't exactly be answered. Unless you're watching cable news, or unless you're listening to us the people making our phone calls to C-Span.

Tomorrow: Attention, C-Span shoppers!

Still on deck: Hillary's emails return


63 comments:


  1. Thanks for documenting this tiny portion of the latest liberal atrocities, dear Bob.

    And for reading/listening to all that mind-numbing dembot drivel, so we don't have to. Not that we would anyhow.

    ...may we suggest, however, a more systemic approach, dear Bob?

    See this, by Matt Taibbi, for example:
    National news media and federal law enforcement are now as indistinguishable in America as in any autocratic country anywhere

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    1. If you had “The Right wants to de-find the police”, take a bow.

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    2. I see Mao still can’t forgive Democrats for allowing black people to vote in elections.

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    3. atrocity definition: "an extremely wicked or cruel act, typically one involving physical violence or injury"

      Somerby documents a trivial nitpick and Mao exaggerates it beyond any limit Somerby would ever tolerate in any media figure, while pretending to agree with Somerby, while Matt Taibbi's statement is a far greater "atrocity" than O'Donnell's.

      That's how things work in Mao land.

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  2. Somerby writes, "Uh-oh! If Trump's lawyer believed his statement was true, he wasn't telling a lie."

    Yes, this is the sacred George Costanza legal rule. Only apply it to scumbag inveterate liars.

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  3. Based on Somerby's unwillingness to make a definitive statement about anything, because "anything is possible" and all things might be true or false, we think he is a natural member of Driftglass's new Tesseract Party, even though he won't have the patience needed to understand how it works. Here is a rundown on it:

    "Our Tesseract party rejects the false divisions of all states of matter, energy and politics!

    We're not Left.

    And we're not Right.

    But we're also not Forward.

    And not Behind.

    Instead, our Tesseract party is fully present in all four dimensions and at all quantum states.

    Our party avoids the partisanship of the Left, Right and Forward parties by recognizing that, at the subatomic level, all of us are equal.

    And that's where true reform must begin: at the quantum level.

    And what quantum level policies and reforms are we proposing to bring Real Change to our broken politics?

    This is where we at the Tesseract party are truly revolutionary, because we dare to take a superpositioning approach to all policy and reform development. (h/t Andy Birss@1957AJB)

    Our proprietary Tesseractarian development methodology begins by recognizing that all policies and all reforms exist in all possible quantum states simultaneously, and are therefore unknowable and unobservable. And they will remain there, as a cloud of probabilities, until a team of Tesseractarian quantum political experts have poll-tested all of them at at the same time, at which point we anticipate that actual policies and reforms may or may not precipitate out of this cloud of infinite possible outcomes.

    Then we send in a second team of Tesseractarian quantum political experts who will test each policy and reform to determine whether or not it can be safely observed by the public!

    But our revolutionary Tesseractarian development methodology can't work without you! We need your passion! Your energy! Your unwavering commitment to never taking any position on anything! And most importantly, your money!

    We have a variety of sponsorship levels available, from Photon and Gluon to Boson and Higgs-Boson, but all contributions at any level are welcome.

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    1. https://driftglass.blogspot.com/2022/08/today-we-launch-tesseract-party.html

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    2. Does your party support the relativity of simultaneity?

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    3. Einstein may not exist in some possible dimensions, we don't know how many. But then again, Trump may not exist either, and Somerby won't in some. Anything is possible, even the relativity of simultaneity.

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  4. "More careful reporters have generally said that..."

    Somerby compares Lawrence O'Donnell, who is a cable news host and commentator, not a reporter, with actual print journalists who have written articles for the NY Times, finding several trivial nitpicks. Is that a fair comparison? I don't think so.

    First, O'Donnell may be speak extemporaneously, not reading from a written script. In such situations, people do not speak like lawyers, but round off corners. They do tend to be less precise than when putting things in writing.

    Second, to the extent that his discussion is extemporaneous, he has not had the same amount of time to gather facts and present them precisely. It takes time to do fact checking and to nail down details.

    Third, the areas Somerby complains O'Donnell has glossed are those that have already been extensively discussed and that can be assumed to be somewhat familiar to viewers. No one is like to think that all 11 boxes were full to the brim with nothing but highly classified documents -- that would be an unreasonable assumption that no viewers except the excessively literal Somerby would make.

    But this is the way Somerby rolls. He finds trivial nitpicks and uses them to imply that nothing whatsoever that O'Donnell says can be reliable or informative. If Somerby's standard of perfection were applied to all media, we would have no one left to trust (because Fox is much worse), and that is perhaps Somerby's goal -- to undermine trust in the media so that voters are left at the mercy of propagandists.

    All communication involving human conversation (even the simulated ones on TV) rely on a principle called linguistic charity. It means, loosely, that listeners accommodate the discrepancies between an imperfectly sent message and its imperfect decoding by focusing on the larger sense of what is being said, not on the small mismatches of intention and reception of what is said. This means that these trivialities which Somerby regularly catalogs are ignored in normal human dialog because they do not affect the larger point of what is being said by one human to another.

    It would have helped if Somerby had ever taken a linguistics or psycholinguistics course at Harvard, but he was too busy flunking advanced courses on Wittgenstein.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principle_of_charity

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    1. O’Donnell should still remind the public that the Republican Party are fascists, every time he mentions them.

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    2. Plus he's gay and black.

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    3. Lemon is gay and black. We don't know what Somerby's beef with O'Donnell is, except that he grew up in a poor Irish Boston neighborhood (Somerby is Boston lace curtain Irish). Somerby has implied that he thinks O'Donnell is a poser, not entitled to claim Irish Southie roots. Somerby has also complained about an Irish mafia among NBC media figures, from the top on down, all with houses on Long Island and hanging out socially together. But I'm sure Somerby's motives are pure when he complains about the trivial mistakes made by any cable news host.

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  5. "It's even possible that Trump himself didn't know, as of June 3, that classified materials were still present at Mar-a-Lago!"

    It might be possible to think this if you hadn't read anything else whatsoever about this case, but this possibility becomes impossible in the light of staff statements that they heard Trump say "It's not theirs, it's mine" on several occasions referring to the documents, while instructing them to delay and obstruct return of the documents.

    Somerby's habit of presenting isolated pieces of information, instead of connecting dots and looking at the whole situation in the context of what was happening (as reported by various people), makes it possible for him to make these outrageous claims. These claims are directly contradicted by other pieces of information that Somerby has withheld from consideration.

    Does anyone think that Trump was allowing those documents to be carried in and out of the poolhouse basement (as corroborated by video supplied to the DOJ) without his knowledge or permission, after asserting that those were his documents, not theirs, and going to months of trouble (involving liaison attorneys working with the DOJ) to keep those documents in his possession? The likelihood of this being true is vanishingly small, but Somerby is willing to entertain the notion anyway. Why? Because it is part of his own pleasing narrative about Trump's possible innocence (in the face of all the other things that he has not been innocent of at all).

    No one reasons like Somerby. That's because the rest of us function in the real world and are not trying to build specious cases justifying the wrongdoing of a political cult leader.

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  6. "(It's also possible that the facts will turn out to be totally different. It could turn out that Trump was selling top secret material, that very day, to some foreign power!)"

    When Somerby places a possibility in parens like this, it isn't because he considers it the most likely to be true, once all the facts are known. It is his CYA statement, in which he presents the opposite of what he has just said as also possible, so he won't have put himself on record as supporting anything at all. It is Somerby's way of preserving plausible deniability for any opinion he might express.

    Which should Somerby be held accountable for? The first statement, not the second one. If Somerby actually considered the second one most likely, he would have said it first. The case he is making involves the statements that are not after-thoughts or also rans.

    Ultimately, Somerby suggests that we all reserve judgment until all the facts are known -- something that is not generally possible in real life situations. But Somerby's actual intention is to undermine liberal positions and beliefs, not to caution is about jumping to conclusions. He wants to undermine what the press is currently saying about Trump and his minions, to defend Trump from press attacks, to preserve his standing among possible Trump supporters, not to correct or prevent liberal premature closure on matters than are becoming more obvious daily.

    Only a fool refuses to use the evidence at hand to form opinions and choose courses of action -- because we never have perfect knowledge or factual completeness, not even 50 years after an event, when details emerge. People must act in the here and now. If they followed Somerby's advice about waiting, people would be paralyzed in their lives and unable to make any choices, which does not tend to work out for anyone.

    Is that a tiger in the brush, or sunlight playing on the leaves of that banana tree? He who waits for perfect knowledge gets eaten whenever it is a tiger lurking. If anyone still thinks Trump is a pussycat and not a tiger, they deserve to be eaten, including Somerby, who is still poised waiting for the sun to go down, so he can determine whether it is a tiger or not.

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    1. Trump has already sold us out to the Russian tigers, while we were sucking our thumbs and waiting for more evidence and having a good time at Hillary's expense.

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  7. "Lawrence was stretching matters a great deal, ..."

    Being a conflation expert, Somerby ought to know/

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  8. "Lawrence was stretching matters a great deal, ...."

    Being a conflation expert, Somerby ought to know/

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  9. "What did the FBI actually find in their search of Mar-a-Lago? While we're at it, why were any top secret documents located there at all?"

    Somerby says the answer to this cannot be known right now. I disagree. We can and do know that there is no legitimate reason for Trump to have held those documents for any amount of time at Mar a Lago, because it is a violation of law. We also know that Trump's staff told him so and he took them anyway. We know this because various staff members have said this, on the record.

    So, we actually know quite a bit about this situation. We do not know Trump's motives for taking the documents, but that is not necessary to charge and convict someone of a crime they have committed based on facts in evidence. We do not know the consequences of his actions, but that is being determined via the damage assessment requested by two Democratic House members last week. It may be that further crimes will be uncovered. But we already know that this was a crime and that Trump committed it (because the documents removed were in his possession, illegally). There is nothing Trump can say that will get him out of this trouble. That applies to Somerby too. Making excuses for Trump at this point is pretty obviously a political attempt to shore up support for Trump, to undermine his prosecution for the crimes he has committed. And that is working for the wrong team, in my opinion.

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  10. Somerby subtitles today's essay: "How many boxes can dance on the head of a pin?"

    This is his own confession that yesterday's questions about how many boxes was just distracting trivia, nonsense. Because that is what the term "dance on the head of a pin" refers to.

    From Wikipedia:

    ""How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?" (alternatively "How many angels can stand on the point of a pin?"[1]) is a reductio ad absurdum challenge to medieval scholasticism in general, and its angelology in particular, as represented by figures such as Duns Scotus and Thomas Aquinas.[2][3] It is first recorded in the 17th century, in the context of Protestant apologetics. It also has been linked to the fall of Constantinople, with the imagery of scholars debating while the Turks besieged the city.[4][5]

    In modern usage, the term has lost its theological context and is used as a metaphor for wasting time debating topics of no practical value, or questions whose answers hold no intellectual consequence, while more urgent concerns accumulate."

    That begs the question of why Somerby is raising these sorts of distracting trivia instead of focusing on the serious aspects of what Trump has done to our nation? And this is nothing new -- it is what Somerby always does during moments that are important to those of us who care about current events.

    I see no point in it, other than the ones I've already listed -- a desire to undermine liberal guests on talk shows, to demean meainstream media and drive viewers to Fox, and a desire to spread conservative memes and defend Trump and other Republican wrongdoers. Because that is the effect of his essays beyond the focus on trivialities that he uses to call us all fools over here and bemoan the demise of our nation, which he says is sliding into the sea.

    The best way to combat this propaganda is to make it explicit, which is why I bother pointing this out every day. I strongly believe that we must fight for truth these days when lies and disinformation are being used as a political weapon by the right wing.

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    1. If Don Lemon says there are 33 boxes of classified materials at Mar a Lago without having any idea whether that is true, and the actual number is far less, is Lemon engaging in propaganda?

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    2. It could be a simple mistake. There were 33 items in the search warrant, including a box labeled A-33.

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    3. I didn't hear the context of the remark, so I don't know what he meant by it. But given that the number of boxes is irrelevant, I don't think it matters what he said. It would tend to magnify Trump's offense, the only to those who don't understand that it is the content of the documents that matters, our exposure, not how many of them there were. I do not believe that Lemon said this in order to inflate Trump's crime, but suspect he just didn't know how many there were total, given that there were 15 at first and then another 11 seized by the FBI. I do not know whether there were 33 total boxes and that number is not being used because it included innocuous boxes that didn't need to be returned. Somerby didn't tell us, but it remains that the number of boxes is irrelevant, meaningless, has no impact on the scope of the crime, and doesn't make what Trump did any nore or less serious. Obsessing over the number used by Lemon makes no sense except as a way of attacking Lemon. No one should care about that number.

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    4. Thank you for looking that up, mh.

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    5. 26 boxes retrieved is less than 33, but not "far less"

      26 is a lot of boxes, too many to have been a mistake

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  11. Establishment Democrats and their supporters seem to desire a situation wherein they are never criticized. Where they are above all criticisms. You see so many personal attacks of anyone who makes any kind of criticism instead of responding to the criticisms themselves. The price they will have to pay for this is going to be enormous. It will not be pretty.

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    1. Polls and primary results are suggesting that you are wrong about this.

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    2. Why can’t Democrats stop with the name-calling, and address criticism from fascists?
      You never see Donald Trump, head of the Republican Party insult others.

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    3. I guess it's true they already paid the price in 2016.

      I'm speaking specifically of insults as a response to and in place of criticisms. Trump whataboutisms is not a super great response, no offense.

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    4. But I don't expect any civil or intelligent response.

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    5. Yes, everyone should have listened to Hillary when she claimed that Trump was colluding with Russia during the election. And someone should have followed up on the rumors about rogue FBI agents going after Huma Abedin's computer instead of just letting Comey reopen that witch-hunt of an investigation. Instead, people just assumed she was being desperate and partisan and they let Trump & Russia steal the 2016 election. Note that Hillary was ahead in the polls in those 3 key states (MI, WI, PA) before Comey's announcement.

      But I don't see how that is attributable to not listening to anyone's criticism?

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    6. Somerby has started deleting my comments again, so I will only say that, if that repetitive comment about Hispanics leaving the Dems is intended as constructive criticism, it is fake. Not only are Hispanics not leaving the party, based on voting and polls, but it is a conservative meme aimed at trying to detach votes from Dems.

      The same thing happened in 2016 when Russia used a divide-and-conquer strategy to detach Dem voters from Hillary (deemed the most viable threat). They gave campaign funding to Tulsi Gabbard, Jill Stein and Bernie Sanders. They conducted a social media campaign aimed at those supporters, as well as black voters in the closest districts in the three states that swung the election for Trump. That wasn't "criticism," it was ratf*cking. I suspect the comments here about losing Hispanic voters are a similar conservative attempt to pull off Hispanic voters from Establishment Dem candidates. Criticism would include constructive suggestions, not just a negative statement about dems.

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    7. 1:56,
      Agree. The Republican Party being nothing but fascists, doesn’t mean Democrats shouldn’t stop insulting Republicans by calling them something worse.

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    8. @1:56 There isn't much worse than being fascist. The Republicans have already chosen the best slurs, such as child-castrators and pedos and sex-traffickers. Not much left for us to choose from, name-wise.

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    9. Somerby is deleting comments again. How does that fit your complaint about Dems not listening to criticism, not that Somerby is any kind of liberal. He may think of himself as an Establishment Dem. Is deleting comments consistent with your idea of listening to criticism?

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    10. There are some things that were not failure to listen to criticism that affected the outcome. For example, the hacking of John Podesta's emails and publication on wikileaks.

      If I were trying to decide between Trump and Hillary, his slurs against others would have caused me to vote for Clinton not Trump. She always took the high road, even when being brutally criticized by the Bernie Bros, not just conservatives. Every old-time Clinton slur and atrocity was repeated by Bernie supporters, encouraged by Russia and the right-wing. No one can win with that kind of "criticism". What was she supposed to listen to in that deluge of attacks?

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    11. 1:56,
      Do you have an example of Democrats using slurs to describe someone making a good faith criticism of their policies? If so, you might want to share them here.

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    12. 1:32,
      What price do you think Democrats will pay? You think voters who don’t like insults, but love bigotry more, are going to vote for Republicans?

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    13. A great example of hit-and-run trolling. He says he won't get any civil or intelligent comments, so if he never responds, we are all too unintelligent. If we do respond civilly, we take him in good faith while he dances off to troll some other blog and earn his rubles, laughing up his sleeve at our earnest attempts to "respond to criticism." Stupid game-playing.

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    14. The Russian social media effort doesn't look influential when one considers the tiny amount of Russian Facebook spending directed at key battleground states — $1,979 in Wisconsin, $823 in Michigan and $300 in Pennsylvania - according the Senate Intelligence Hearings.

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    15. Read the analysis by 538. Actual voting versus registrations and prior voting in key districts shows that blacks and progressives stayed home in the districts targeted by Russian social media activity, corroborated by Mueller report.

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    16. Interesting to see that you don't provide any sources.

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    17. 538 is Nate Silver’s blog. You might also read Hillary Clinton’s book “What Happened” where she examines various theories about her loss.

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    18. Blacks and progresses stayed home across the board in every district and vox and the Mueller report made no such connection to Russia's ads

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    19. 538 makes no claims at all about blacks and progressive staying home because of Russian Facebook ads. Nate silver did talk about Clinton's unpopularity.

      "Clinton was really, really unpopular herself — almost as unpopular as Trump — with a favorability rating of just 43 percent among Election Day voters. Also, the substantial number of voters who disliked both Clinton and Trump went to Trump by a 17-point margin. Voters really weren’t willing to give Clinton the benefit of the doubt. That’s largely because Clinton was viewed as dishonest and untrustworthy,"

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    20. Any criticisms of Clinton's 2016 campaigm is met with these easily disproved scapegoats about Russia. It seems like it would be much more healthy for Democrats to face the criticisms directly. Offering scapegoats that are easily disproved doesn't require or ask that Democrats take a good look at themselves and improve upon their performance.

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    21. (I don't mean the commenters here. You seem to be doing the best you can with what you've been given.)

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    22. Clinton was viewed as dishonest and untrustworthy because of the social media campaign against her. And read the Mueller report before you dismiss Russian influence.

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    23. Sure!!! Clinton was thought of as dishonest because of the $300 worth of Facebook ads in Pennsylvania run before the 4 billion dollar election where television was still the main source of campaign news for Americans. No doubt!

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    24. Before those ads, people just loved her! ;)

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    25. How's Donald J Chickenshit polling on the "honest and trustworthy" metric right now?

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    26. Strong claims about the potency of relatively small scale and poorly targeted internet appeals and propaganda also fit badly with the known facts of how political advertising reaches voters.

      Several studies have attempted to compare the effectiveness of television ads versus internet advertising; in all of these, the amount of repetition necessary on average to change minds seems very high. The fact that as many as ten million Americans might have seen one or another ad sounds impressive but it is anything but conclusive. Even without making strong assumptions about rates of repetition, on the evidence thus far it seems likely that the number of minds changed or immobilized by any Russian trolls could not have been large by comparison with all the other sources bombarding voters.

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    27. Social media, not ads.

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    28. Your mother in law shares a post that says Hillary had 3 abortions in college, a friend knows because she was in her sorority. Then you get a blog post that says Hillary gave special treatment to Clinton Foundation donors when she was SOS, then a standup clip appears with some guy saying her voice makes his balls crawl up into his body ha ha ha. And this comes in a constant stream every day. Social media is not advertising.

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    29. And that all originated from Russia with coordination from the Trump campaign? I think you may have lost the plot there little man.

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    30. Yes, and was targeted to specific districts with information provided by the Trump campaign about which might be swung. And they did swing.

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    31. Unfortunately none of the investigative bodies that looked at the matter agree with you. Nor does anyone who could make a difference.

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    32. We obviously read different things. As Somerby says, there are some people who don’t want to hear about Russia’s involvement, despite the troll farm described in the Mueller report.

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    33. Mueller Page 14 re the FB ads:

      "The investigation did not identify evidence that any U.S. persons knowingly or intentionally coordinated with the IRA’s interference operation."

      Manafort and polling data Page 131

      "The Office did not identify evidence of a connection between Manafort’s sharing polling data and
      Russia’s interference in the election, which had already been reported by U.S. media outlets at the
      time of the August 2 meeting. The investigation did not establish that Manafort otherwise
      coordinated with the Russian government on its election-interference efforts."

      Overall - Page 1
      "the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities. "

      Obstruction, Page 181

      "The Office therefore did not charge any individual associated with the Trump Campaign with conspiracy to commit a federal offense arising from Russia contacts, either under a specific statute or under Section 371’s offenses clause. The Office also did not charge any campaign official or associate with a conspiracy under
      Section 371’s defraud clause. That clause criminalizes participating in an agreement to obstruct a lawful function of the U.S. government or its agencies through deceitful or dishonest means."

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    34. The whole Russia thing is scapegoat and it has been from the very first minute.

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    35. Russiagate was always corporate media nonsense. It was designed, like the made-up “economically anxious” Republican voter, to make it look like Republican voters aren’t just bigots.
      The whole concept is preposterous.

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    36. You’d have to be a moron to think Republican voters aren’t bigots.
      IMO, there aren’t near as many morons in the media , or on TDH, for that matter as there are liars.

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    37. Democrats fell for the oldest trick in the book: Believing liars when they say not all Republicans are bigots.

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