President Biden, pursuing The Other!


The Misleaders and the Misled: Why would former president Donald J. Trump have done the things he did?

Assuming he did so knowingly, why would he have taken those top-secret documents to Mar-a-Lago in the first place? Also, egregiously, this:

Following repeated requests to return the documents, why would he have evaded compliance in the ways he apparently did?

It seems to us that there's one obvious answer to such questions. President Trump has long struck us as severely disordered. He's strongly inclined to display his contempt for everyone, and for every thing, other than himself.

He'll do so in every circumstance. He'll do so every time.

This strikes us as a psychiatric / medical condition. But our high-end journalists have refused, right up to the present day, to discuss his endless behavior in such terms.

Our journalists are shocked anew every time. In this way, they refuse to traffic in basic components of twentieth century science.

Then too, there's President Biden, with his heated attacks on the "MAGA Republicans." We haven't yet studied last night's speech, but excerpts from two recent speeches have us thinking this:

A savvy person should always distinguish the misleaders from the misled. A decent person will criticize the former group, but will maintain the "bonds of affection" with friends and neighbors and fellow citizens who have been misled.

Our blue tribe is often misled too. They hear about this on the other tribe's cable channel. We don't hear about it on ours.

Distinguish misleaders from the misled! Do so every time you speak. Do so before you say anything else.

The rest is basically Otherization, and it's a dangerous game.

(Bill Clinton: We don't have a single person to waste. Barack Obama: We worship God in the blue states, and they coach Little League in the red states.)

Predicting Trump: Bob Dylan predicted Trump in 1967. 

He recommended pity for such a failed being. While trying to stop him from doing harm, that would be our advice too:

I pity the poor immigrant
Who wishes he would've stayed home
Who uses all his power to do evil
But in the end is always left so alone.
That man who with his fingers cheats
Who lies with every breath
Who passionately hates his life
And likewise fears his death.
(Who eats but is not satisfied, who hears but does not see.
Who falls in love with wealth itself and turns his back on thee.)

(Who fills his mouth with laughing, but builds his town with blood.)

For the record, "poor immigrant" was metaphorical. Dylan sings it here.


  1. Yesterday I commented that whatever you hear about Trump, the reality always turns out to be worse. Here is the latest info on Trump's documents:

    "Immediately after a federal judge released the Dept. of Justice's detailed list of items the FBI seized from Mar-a-Lago experts agreed among the most concerning details was that there were a large number of empty folders marked "Classified."

    NCRM reported the DOJ's inventory list included over 13,000 items, including over 100 documents marked with various classification headers.

    Also listed were “43 Empty Folders with ‘CLASSIFIED’ Banners,” and “28 Empty Folders Labeled ‘Return to Staff Secretary/Military Aide.'”

    Glenn Kirschner, a former federal prosecutor of 30 years, tweeted out his surprise and concern.

    "OMG!" exclaimed Kirschner, who is also an MSNBC/NBC News legal analyst. "Court just released an inventory of evidence of crime seized at Mar-a-Lago."

    "Dozens of EMPTY folders labeled 'Classified' or 'Return to Military Aide.' Trump didn’t pack up EMPTY folders to take with him to FLA. Things just went from bad to worse to unfathomably dangerous."

    Others also expressed concern over the empty folders.
    Andrew Weissmann, a former General Counsel of the Federal Bureau of Investigation who has also worked as chief of the criminal fraud section of DOJ observed: "It’s the empty classified folders that are of most concern."

    "Where are the contents? Trump has not addressed that at all in all his bluster and obfuscation. What were you doing with these?" asked Weissmann, who also worked for Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

    Former Dept. of Defense Special Counsel Ryan Goodman wrote: "This is going to get a lot of attention too: 👉43 Empty Folders with "CLASSIFIED" Banners👈"

    "Empty," he emphasized. "Must be fairly alarming to U.S. intelligence community conducting the damage assessment. Now think about how Trump's legal team is trying to keep this info from the FBI/ODNI."

    National security attorney Brad Moss wrote, "Very first question the FBI would ask the person who had in their home office 43 empty folders with classified banners is 'where did the documents from those folders go????'"

    And later he added: "Why. Are. There. Empty. Folders?"


    This presents a quandary for Somerby and his tallies. Does an empty classified folder count as a highly classified document? One cannot just ignore the empty folders since they potentially represent something so much worse than a retrieved document does. How should they be counted?

    1. Why the pointless speculation based on nothing?


  2. "President Trump has long struck us as severely disordered. He's strongly inclined to display his contempt for everyone, and for every thing, other than himself. ... blah, blah, blah"

    There's no need to type any of this, dear Bob. Your TDS affliction is not a secret to anyone.

    But if you absolutely must, why not shorthand it as Orange Man Bad? It's a nice hanzi, dear.

    1. What if you take what Somerby wrote about Trump and instead substitute the name of a recognized criminal, Al Capone:

      "It seems to us that there's one obvious answer to such questions. Al Capone has long struck us as severely disordered. He's strongly inclined to display his contempt for everyone, and for every thing, other than himself.

      He'll do so in every circumstance. He'll do so every time."

      Notice how the paragraph still makes perfect sense, but would anyone seriously argue sympathy for Al Capone? And no one seriously thought that Capone was insane either. Stealing money and accumulating power are motives that everyone understands. So too with Trump. Trump hasn't been painting butterflies on the White House walls. He did things that criminals do, for reasons that criminals do them. The "treatment" should be the same as that accorded to other criminals: jail, public disgrace, restitution if possible, and a public apology would be nice (showing contrition).

    2. You tell me, what did happen to Hitler? As I recall, he shot himself in a bunker. At least Al Capone served his time at Alcatraz. Trump is a known coward. It remains to be seen how he will react when justice catches up to him.

    3. We're telling you that everyone your tribe hates is Hitler. And Capone was the boss of your tribe's politicians in Chicago.

    4. Understandable you would know nothing about Chicago politics, being from Russia and all, but here is some info about Thompson, Chicago Mayor and Boss:

      "William Hale Thompson (May 14, 1869 – March 19, 1944) was an American politician who served as mayor of Chicago from 1915 to 1923 and again from 1927 to 1931. Known as "Big Bill",[3] he is the most recent Republican to have served as mayor of Chicago. Historians rank him among the most unethical mayors in American history, mainly for his open alliance with Al Capone.[4] However, others recognize the effectiveness of his political methods and publicity-oriented campaigning, acknowledging him as a "Political Chameleon" and an effective political machine.[5] Time magazine said in 1931, "chief credit for creating 20th Century Politics Chicago Style" should go to William Thompson.[6]

      Thompson was known for his over-the-top campaigning and uncensored language that, along with his towering height and weight, earned him the nickname "Big Bill".[7] Upon his reelection in 1919, Thompson was at the forefront of the movement for the Chicago Public Library system and education officials to censor and ban many texts and historical recollections coming from the United Kingdom.[8]"

      1. He was the last Republican Mayor of Chicago.
      2. He allied with Capone, not vice versa, and he ran his city machine as Boss, not Capone.
      3. He sounds a lot like Trump in his appeal and popularity, greed and corruptness.
      4. Like today's Republicans, he tried to censor the library.

      The more things change, the more things stay the same, when you are talking about Republican corruption. Democrats tended to head up reform governments that swept out corruption. They were less efficient than Republican governments, but much cleaner in terms of graft. Chicago got its reputation for dirty dealing from Thompson, although Richard J. Daley carried on the boss tradition.

      History is fascinating. Can't wait for Trump to be consigned to the slagheap of history himself.

    5. Al Capone died of tertiary syphilis. Maybe his crimes were, in part, a consequence of his illness.

    6. Seems unlikely given how long he was a criminal. He died at age 33. It takes 10-30 years to develop. He was involved in crime too soon & too long for that to be causal.

    7. That’s why I said, “in part.”

  3. Somerby suggests that Trump has a psychiatric/medical condition that makes him behave badly. Life is a psychiatric/medical condition. Somerby doesn't know anything specific about Trump's health -- it isn't like he's released any information from his medical checkups. But also, there is no known disorder that automatically produces criminal or other bad behavior. Even something like antisocial personality disorder is not a psychiatric/medical condition but rather a descriptive term for a way of interacting with the world. It has no medical etiology, no treatment or "cure" and there is no pill that someone can take to change one's personality. Further, the huge majority of people with that disorder are not criminals (much less serial killers) and are able to conform their behavior to society's demands. If they wind up in therapy, it is for issues related to divorce or job loss, not stealing large numbers of highly classified documents.

    Nor have we, as a society, decided that having certain personality types is grounds for excusing criminal behavior. It is not a legal defense.

    Should we pity someone who has a psychiatric/medical condition when he commits a crime? I don't think so. I think people are expected to seek help and to make an effort to live within our laws, regardless of their health issues. No one excuses a drug addict when he steals to support a drug habit, and that is much more clearly a medical issue than anything Trump has been diagnosed with (which is nothing, since he hasn't revealed any records).

    Being greedy is not an illness. Lusting after women is not an illness. Lusting after power is not an illnes either. There is some irony that the party of individual responsibility (traditionally the Republicans) is now urging that we not hold its own bad actor, Trump, responsible for his actions under the law, simply because he is wealthy and has gained political power. I cannot think of anything that would more undermine our democratic ideal of equality and justice for all.

  4. "Our blue tribe is often misled too. They hear about this on the other tribe's cable channel. We don't hear about it on ours."

    This is Somerby's blatant attempt to pretend that the left engages in disinformation to the same extent as the right. That is untrue. It is also pernicious bothsiderism.

    The "information" on the right about the left is intended to demonize the left. It is disinformation (too mild a word for telling viewers that Democrats are grooming children or doing genital surgery on toddlers or killing and eating babies in order to stay youthful). The right's propaganda is not "hidden facts" that are being concealed from the left by its own cable channels. It is manufactured disinformation, such as that CRT is being taught in preschools or that illegal immigrants are being permitted to vote in CA.

    When Somerby listens to Fox and hears something different than he hears on MSNBC, he seems to think he is learning new facts, but he needs to check out what he hears using some reliable fact-checker because a lot of it is not true but was made up to rile the Republican base and generate animosity toward the left. Somerby is a fool for believing what he hears over there, then twice the fool by telling his own readers that Fox has better facts and that the left is being misled by MSNBC. And that is why Somerby has become a tool of the right, while still insisting he is some sort of liberal. Somerby may have become a confused old man, but that is no excuse for joining the right wing noise machine.

  5. "Distinguish misleaders from the misled! Do so every time you speak. Do so before you say anything else."

    I strongly disagree with this idea. Every person has a responsibility to ensure that they are not being misled. That is inherent in the caveat "Buyer beware" and it is the job of every consumer to evaluate carefully what they buy into.

    I have no sympathy for those people who, in Trump's name and at his behest, engaged in illegal acts during the 1/6 insurrection. Yes, they were misled. But they also engaged in criminal behavior as the result of their deluded beliefs. Some of them are now blaming Trump, but they should be asking why other equally misled people didn't engage in the same violence they perpetrated. Judgment is expected, not gullible belief.

    Somerby tells us to go easy on the true believers because it is all their leaders' fault. No, each person still has responsibility for not just their own actions, but also what they choose to believe among the competing ideas they will hear daily from all directions. Part of that responsibility involves getting educated, which means paying attention in school and continuing to educate oneself after leaving formal education. Part of that responsibility involves choosing one's sources of info carefully, not just listening to whatever is most entertaining or fun or ego-enhancing, or whatever others around them listen to. And choosing sources means looking at the backgrounds, education and training of those making statements, not just being influenced by the authority of someone's voice (as with Dr. Oz, who has long been a purveyor of quack remedies).

    Somerby used to say he was teaching critical thinking at this blog. It has been a long time since he has done anything helpful to consumers of misinformation here. These days he has joined the quacks, and that makes him dangerous, because he used to be something better.

    1. Apparently, Somerby has become a misleader himself.

  6. "Bob Dylan predicted Trump in 1967. "

    No, he didn't. He has song lyrics about rich people in general, but Dylan rarely comments directly on anyone and has said nothing publicly about Trump.

    But, according to Nate White on Quora (2018), Trump has talked about Bob Dylan:

    "Yes I believe he said he loved the Bobdilian people, that they were great people, and that the Bobdilian people loved him too.

    When asked:

    ’Did you hear what I said? I said Bob Dylan.’

    He said 'I do. It's true. I made a gazillion from hotels and I now have over 10 bobdillion dollars in the bank. Maybe 12 bobdillion. It's true.’

    When shown a picture of Bob Dylan he said:

    'I do not know this lady and whatever she says I did with her or to her or on her or over her or in her is entirely false'.

    He then blamed the liberal media for intentionally painting him in a bad light as a confused and incompetent mess and threatened to declare war on Bobdyland since he was sick of these aliens and criminals from Bobdyland swarming into the US and intentionally trying to make him look bad by writing lies about him in the liberal media out of sheer envy."

  7. Biden talked in his speech about MAGA Republicans and Trump. How did he go after the little guys, the misled? Seems to me, and I heard the entire speech, Biden was talking about the portion of the Republican Party that was still supporting Trump and attacking democracy, and he made that clear.

    Somerby's knee-jerk anti-Biden reaction is noted. Oddly, Somerby has ignored all of the very important things Biden said about threats to our democratic process by people who won't accept their losses at the polls, and by those who engage in political violence.

    Instead, Somerby apparently thinks "otherization" of Trump voters is the worse crime. I disagree.

    1. Political Wire asks: "How Many MAGA Republicans Are There?"

      "Philip Bump does the math and finds that about 10% of the U.S. population — plus or minus a few percentage points — favor of the positions of what President Biden called “MAGA Republicans.”

      Notice that Bump himself makes a distinction between MAGA Republicans and the followers, that 10% of the population who favor their positions.

      Biden is clearly talking about Laura Loomer and Sarah Palin, who won't concede that they lost their elections. He is not talking about those nice folks in East Bumfuck County, TN but about Matt Gaetz and DiSantis and Vance and their ilk, Boebert and MTG, and he is talking about all the people on the right who have made death threats to public officials (such as vote counters or school board members), who bring their guns to abortion clinics, and the politicians who egg them on with references to 2nd Amendment solutions. Plus all those who were arrested, tried, convicted (or plead guilty) to insurrection-related crimes, especially the violent ones.

      These are not The Others, in the sense of red voters who disagree with blue policies. These are exactly the people who do not accept the peaceful transfer of power after an election and who threaten or employ violence to achieve political aims. And Biden singled these folks out specifically. He didn't make vague references to red tribe members, the way Somerby always does.


  8. "Then too, there's President Biden, with his heated attacks on the "MAGA Republicans.""

    We find it funny that The Commander appears to be following your script, dear Bob.

    See here:
    "Former President Donald Trump insisted that President Biden “must be insane, or suffering from late-stage dementia” for his attack accusing him and his MAGA supporters of being “a threat” to the country."

    ...nice setup for the Brandon's speech, we must say, with flags and military on the background, and dark red lighting. Very dramatic. What's next, a torchlight procession?

    1. How does someone with late stage dementia manage to read from a teleprompter more competently than Trump ever did? And Biden can walk up and down ramps better than Trump too.

    2. Whatever you say, dear dembot. If you insist on insane, so be it.

    3. Biden continues to speak with absolute clarity. This is bullshit created for the MAGA dolts, but on the other hand, would you want to hear pig boy Mao try to express himself on a policy issue?

  9. Oddly, in the comments at Somerby's link to the Dylan song on the John Wesley Harding album, a few people are debating whether the song is about actual immigrants or not. If it is not about immigrants, the song doesn't really work as about greed or power, because what is the reference about?

    Someone like Trump is not an immigrant. It could be about Trump's father, but I don't see any indicator either of them hated their life. A couple of people in comments took the song more literally and suggested that Dylan didn't know much about immigrants, who tend to be hard-working and not lying or cheating. So what does this image mean to Dylan? Not sure, except that the only part of it that applies to Trump is the lying, cheating, greediness, which is not part of any stereotype of immigrants, but does characterize a class of wealthy people. But if so, why refer to them as immigrants. It makes no sense.

    Somerby has only referred to it lately because it has the word "pity" in the title and refrain, and because he wishes to urge us to pity Trump, despite his greediness and self-satisfied attitudes, con artist approach to life, and his disparagement of others, his misogyny and toxic masculinity, his stupidity and ignorance, and his love of violence. Is any of that akin to immigrants? I don't really think so.

    1. The song is written from God's point of view. Anyone who has stopped following and believing in Him is an immigrant.

  10. Once again, the notion that Trump has mental problems has not been “refused” at all. Why does Bob keep writing this? Is it because before Trump came along Bob disparaged such a journalistic approach in any writer who tried it?

  11. A Trump speech will find Bob citing the most dubious disclaimer to rationalize the speaker. Biden? He doesn’t even read the whole thing for context. Deplorable, you might say…..

  12. This isn't only about classified documents. Trump also ignored the rules about receiving gifts from foreign and domestic sources. Presidents are not permitted to keep such gifts due to the potential for influence. From Raw Story:

    "Information provided to the Committee by the Department of State indicates the Trump Administration 'did not prioritize this obligation' and failed to comply with the law governing foreign gift reporting during President Trump’s final year in office. As a result, the foreign sources and monetary value of gifts President Trump received remain unknown. The Committee has also learned that the Trump Administration mismanaged gifts from foreign sources during President Trump’s term and left the State Department’s gift vault in 'complete disarray.'"

  13. Trump, I believe, was looking for dirt on foreign leaders and others for blackmail schemes. That's his level.

  14. Sometimes people are willing to be misled.