FRIDAY, MARCH 24, 2023
Donald J. Trump has gone wild: We may have misled you yesterday. For that, we apologize.
That said, full disclosure:
When Hacks Like Ours service Marks Like Us, their work doesn't have to make sense! So it went on Wednesday's Morning Joe, as the gang flogged the new tribal script concerning the burned-up couch.
In some way which was never explained, the incident was supposed to address the concerns of a band of legal observers. Those observers had voiced concerns about an allegedly shaky legal maneuver—a maneuver which would turn a misdemeanor charge against Donald J. Trump into a glorious felony.
What was supposed to be the connection between the larcenous claim about the couch and Donald J. Trump's "hush money" payments to "porn star" Stormy Daniels?
That never got explained on Wednesday's Morning Joe. We may have misled you yesterday by restricting ourselves to the thrashing of this script in the program's 6 o'clock hour.
Our fuller disclosure starts here:
At the start of Wednesday morning's 7 o'clock hour, Joe Scarborough returned to the sofa script. If anything, he was more unhinged in his presentation in this, his second crack at the apple.
At the start of the 9 o'clock hour, it fell to sidekick Willie Geist Jr. to echo his master's voice. This program's sidekicks always support the themes of the show, no matter how far they may have to wander from presentations which make recognizable sense.
Thanks to the Internet Archive, you can watch Scarborough's recognizably nutty performance at the start of the 7 o'clock hour. All you have to do is click here, then search on the key word "couch" and move to that part of the show.
How did the tale of the burned-up couch relate to the pornstarhushmoney payments? If we might borrow from the later Wittgenstein (section 1):
No such thing was in question here, only how the word "[pornstar]" is used.
Also this, from section 2:
"[Scarborough's presentation] has its place in a primitive idea of the way [our public discourse] functions. But one can also say that it is the idea of a [public discourse] more primitive than ours."
In truth, our current American public discourse is precisely that primitive. Increasingly, this is the way our discourse works when multimillionaire Hacks Like Ours are sent on the air to provide comfort to Marks Like Us.
Did Donald J. Trump commit a recognizable criminal offense in his payments to the hushmoneypornstar? Did he commit a felony in some recognizable way?
That all remains to be seen! For now, we direct you to Kevin Drum's analysis of these events.
Drum posted his analysis yesterday. To his substantial credit, he has left the ranting to others.
He starts by noting that many of Donald's J. Trump's behaviors were, in fact, not illegal. This includes the payment of the pornstarhushmoney itself.
Drum ends up offering this sensible assessment. We don't yet agree in every possible way:
DRUM (3/23/23): However, in order to maintain the secrecy, the payments to Cohen were labeled "legal expenses."
And that's illegal. Moreover, you can argue that the payoff was a campaign expense that Trump didn't report. That would be illegal too.
So the case against Trump is this: In order to keep his payoff of a blackmailer secret, he had it labeled as a legal expense.
This strikes me as pretty trivial, and I have my doubts that a jury would convict Trump if it goes to trial. We should probably save our legal firepower for something more serious.
And like it or not, public opinion matters too...
"You can argue that the payoff was a campaign expense?" That's certainly true, but as various legal observers have noted, you can also argue that it actually wasn't as a matter of law.
Drum continues from there. We note that he describes Daniels as "a blackmailer." We expect to return to that intriguing question this afternoon or tomorrow.
We agree that the conduct in this case, as currently understood, is relatively trivial. In that regard, please note the irony Drum has employed:
If you're paying money to a blackmailer to keep some embarrassing matter secret, you won't likely describe the payment, in some public business record, as "payment to a blackmailer concerning alleged sexual act."
In our view, the ultimate question may perhaps be this:
Do we want our presidential elections to turn on matters like this?
Do we want cash-seeking droogs to produce quadrennial October surprises, encouraging us to think about which candidate (allegedly) engaged in some consensual sexual act, on one occasion, ten years earlier? Is that what we think our presidential elections should turn on?
Sad! More and more on our own's tribe cable, it sounds like our answer is yes!
We close for now by recalling someone who wasn't a Hack Like Us. We refer to Bandy X. Lee, the psychiatrist who lost her position at Yale because her work was insightful and relevant in a way which isn't allowed.
Within the past day, Donald J. Trump's postings on Truth Social have been profoundly disordered even by his own prior standards. Yesterday, he posted this:
WHY WON'T BRAGG DROP THIS CASE? EVERYBODY SAYS THERE IS NO CRIME HERE. I DID NOTHING WRONG! IT WAS ALL MADE UP BY A CONVICTED NUT JOB WITH ZERO CREDIBILITY, WHO HAS BEEN DISPUTED BY HIGHLY RESPECTED PROFESSIONALS AT EVERY TIURN. BRAGG REFUSES TO STOP DESPITE OVERWHELMING EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY. HE IS A SOROS BACKED ANIMAL WHO JUST DOESN'T CARE ABOUT RIGHT OR WRONG NO MATTER HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE HURT. THIS IS NO LEGAL SYSTEM, THIS IS THE GESTAPO, THIS IS RUSSIA OR CHINA, BUT WORSE. DISGRACFUL!
So the candidate said. For the record, he seems to have flipped on Russia and China. Also, the "convicted nut job" to whom he refers would seem to be Michael Cohen.
So the former president posted. Early this morning, he also posted this:
What kind of person can charge another person, in this case a former President of the United States, who got more votes than any sitting President in history, and leading candidate (by far) for the Republican Party nomination, with a Crime, when it is known by all that NO Crime has been committed, & also that potential death and destruction in such a false charge could be catastrophic for our Country? Why & who would do such a thing? Only a degenerate psychopath that truely hates the USA!
As of now, the Manhattan D.A. isn't just a Soros backed animal. He's also a degenerate psychopath!
Right from the start, Dr. Lee had said that, in her professional opinion, the president's psychological / psychiatric condition was going to get worse.
By the established rules of the discourse, no such discussion could be allowed to occur. As of now, Lee is long gone from her position at Yale and her medical assessment seems to have been accurate.
What follows is Anthropology 101, as suggested to us by major credentialed top experts:
Our public discourse is very primitive—and no, it isn't just Trump.
Go ahead! Check the truly stupid performance by Scarborough in Wednesday's 7 o'clock hour. You'll be looking at a Hack Like Ours performing for Marks Like Us
Trump may be some (serious) version of mentally ill. What exactly is the excuse for the conduct of Hacks Like Us?