MANIFESTATIONS: On Fox, it's Gutfeld and Watters gone wild!


A type of silent secession:  Just for the record, is it possible?

Is it possible that some Trump voters may have the tiniest hint of a very small germ of a possible point?

As we noted yesterday, Mike Barnicle tried to ask a perfectly sensible question—a question we ourselves have raised on occasion:

If Trump has been running a criminal operation all along, why didn't any of our public officials pursue him in the past?

Barnicle seemed to be trying to raise the question; Scarborough interrupted and moved to a different topic. And then, along came Ruth Marcus—plainly, no Trump voter!—raising questions about the ongoing civil trial in New York. 

Marcus is a veteran columnist and an associate editor at the Washington Pot. Headline included, her new column starts like this:

Does the New York fraud case against Trump go too far?

As Donald Trump’s civil fraud trial begins, it’s important to keep three things in mind:

First, Trump is a fabulist and fraudster, a man who, the evidence shows, flagrantly and repeatedly inflated the value of his assets to finance his business empire.

Second, New York law provides extraordinarily broad powers to go after such misconduct. Under the law, there’s no requirement to prove that Trump’s actions harmed anyone—in this case, the banks that lent him money. There’s no requirement to prove that the fraud was intentional. And the judge in the case has wide discretion to impose the kind of draconian remedy that he did, revoking Trump’s licenses to operate in New York and appointing a receiver to oversee the dissolution of his properties.

But that brings me to a third point, which might require a trigger warning if, like me, you are no fan of the former president: The punishment in his case is, as far as I can tell, unprecedented in its scale.

Later, Marcus almost says that she wants to see Trump frog-marched off to jail. That said. uh-oh! Her column ends in this manner:

I have no brief for Trump. Like many others, I wish there were a way to adequately punish him for his misbehavior—all of it—and prevent its repetition. Not just the alleged crimes for which he has been appropriately charged, but all the noncriminal damage he has inflicted on this country and its citizens. Trump has trashed so many institutions that made the nation better and fairer and safer that no set of penalties seems equal to damage he has done. The temptation to lash out is understandable, especially in the hands of an elected prosecutor deploying a particularly powerful statute.

The rule of law means not allowing Trump to evade responsibility, criminal or civil, for his behavior. But it also entails not treating Trump more harshly than anyone else in similar circumstances, and I worry that is what is happening here.

Marcus holds a degree from Harvard Law School. We have no way of evaluating her claim that Trump is being singled out, in the New York civil trial, for a highly unusual degree of punishment.

We don't know if Marcus is right! But if someone like Marcus suspects that Trump is being treated in a somewhat unusual way, is there any reason why Trump voters may not think that political motives are involved in the wave of prosecutions and civil actions which have proliferated in the past two years?

Marcus wants to see Trump punished. In the main, we don't feel that way.

In the main, we'd like to see Trump's behavior discussed within the framework of modern medical science. We'd like to see major journalists speak to medical specialists concerning the rather obvious possibility that Trump is suffering from a serious "personality disorder—for example, the possibility that he could be diagnosed as a "sociopath."

Long ago and far away, our journalists decided that we can't have such discussions. So it goes as our civilization, such as it has been, rapidly ceases to exist.

Our civilization, such as it has been, has been disappearing of late. Consider:

As of yesterday afternoon, we don't have a Speaker of the House. For at least the next week, we won't have a House of Representatives at all.

For roughly a year, we didn't have a ninth Supreme Court Justice. At present, we have no annual spending bills. In this age of Tuberville, we've been limping along without a wide array of major military leaders.

In all these ways, our failing nation—such as it ever was—is slowly succumbing to a wave of unspoken secessions. 

Then too, we can't have a serious national discourse about any serious topic. 

The mainstream press corps has long played a key role in this withdrawal from service. But then again, consider what we saw last night, on the Fox News Channel.

We refer to what happened in the 10 o'clock hour. At 10 p.m., the Gutfeld! program started precisely as shown:

GUTFELD (10/3/23): Happy Tuesday, everyone. 

So Democrat congressman Jamaal Bowman has had himself a week—and it's only Tuesday. On Saturday, he pulled a fire alarm at the Capitol and claimed he doesn't know what a fire alarm does.

For the record, Bowman never claimed that he doesn't know what a fire alarm does. That silly claim was just the start to the latest hour of inane and bungled claims in service to tribal orthodoxy.

Meanwhile, say what? On the day that Kevin McCarthy was ousted from office, Gutfeld was starting his prime-time program with the trivial tedium of Rep. Bowman and the four-day old fire alarm?

Yes, that's where he started! Let it be said that his opening monologue continued for six minutes—and he spoke about Bowman and the fire alarm and about nothing else.

At 10:06, Gutfeld's monologue ended; he began to introduce his four-member pundit panel. After the introductions were done, his first segment continued until a commercial break at 10:13—with nothing but Bowman discussed.

For the record, it gets even stranger:

Remarkably, the ousting of McCarthy was never discussed at any point in Gutfeld's hour-long program! McCarthy's name was mentioned just once, in a fleeting throw-away remark by a comedian panelist.

It would be hard to imagine a stupider program, whether on a "news channel" or not. As an example of the night's subject matter, here was Gutfeld at 10:30 sharp, introducing the evening's third segment:

GUTFELD: A fat activist's latest fight? America's hallways are too tight!

Yeah, a plus-size influencer named Jae'lynn Chaney  says hotels need to make their hallways bigger to accommodate obese people. It's one of many recommendations she posted to a bill to improve accessibility...

An inane, generally insulting pseudo-discussion followed. You can watch it starting here.

On last night's Gutfeld! program, the topics were generally fringe; the discussions were routinely inane. They tended to resemble low-level "open mike" comedy shows from the 1980s.

Meanwhile, let's say it again. The removal of Kevin McCarthy was never discussed—and this stupidity aired during prime time on our most-watched "cable news" channel!

For the record, Greg Gutfeld has become the ratings king of Fox News. His 10 p.m. show is a ratings hit. Beyond that, he's the prevailing star of The Five, the high-rated 5 p.m. daily program.

These programs are built around snarky, "humor"-based commentary, often about a range of fringe issues. The propaganda is always apparent—and a similar sensibility inhabits Watters World, the largely snark-based tabloid show which replaced Tucker Carlson in the 8 p.m. timeslot.

(The smirk king Watters is another star of The Five.)

A major modern nation can't expect to survive this way—with garbage like this being widely produced for tribal audiences while upper-end, elite news orgs pretend they haven't noticed.

A nation can't survive this way! Plainly, our civilization needs renewal, much as Norman Brown said.

It won't be easy to achieve any such renewal. By now, manifestations of civilizational decay possess some very deep roots.

McCarthy's ouster was never discussed! So runs this evolving "news channel."

Tomorrow: Isaacson considers the worldview of (some) Trump voters


  1. My cousin Norman O Brown was a great man, one of the intellectual leaders of our time. But he was approachable, too. We’d tell jokes back and forth, and I’d call him Abnorman.

    1. Yes, he was brilliant. To tease him, I used to say, “Brown knows!”

    2. At faculty parties Norm would quip, “it’s Brown vs Bored of Education.”

    3. How would the joke come through verbally, since Bored and Board sound the same? Maybe you meant "Bored with?"

    4. Thank you for pointing out that Normon O. Brown was sort of an asshole, which explains his appeal to Somerby.

    5. Anonymouse 1:18pm, how did you come to that conclusions over joshing around about no one having heard of Norman Brown (which Bob acknowledged is now this case)?

    6. A ruling by the Supreme Court that helps black kids get proper education should not be boring to anyone, especially some philosopher who can be presumed to know little about it and should care about kids.

      People who don't care about kids and don't care about black kids getting a better education, and by extension are bored with other people's civil rights, are assholes. The evidence is all there in the fact that he would be telling other faculty such a joke to the point that it got written down somewhere and is part of lore about Norman O. Brown.

      Today, I would assume that he is also a racist, but he might just have been complaining about the decision being in the news a lot. But would someone complain about there being too much news about the impact of Katrina (in the time when it happened) or how boring it is that they keep talking about Covid all the time (during 2020)?

      It does concern me that you don't immediately see why I would say that. Perhaps you found it funny or clever? You might ponder what kind of person that makes you.

    7. Anonymouse 2:10pm, to me it’s obvious that your panties are so far up your crack that it has resulted in a total tonsillectomy.

      At least I hope that sort of neurosis is the case and that your really aren’t a hopeless apparatchik schmuck.

    8. You are the one who asked, Cecelia.

    9. Anonymouse 2:54pm, that wasn’t a response to the question I asked the anonymouse about Norman Brown.

      Your fellow anonymouse took jesting as an opportunity to scold me and to disparage someone who Somerby seemingly admired and had referenced.

      You then jumped in to inveigh on me.

      That’s your life’s work here and Gaia help you, it’s truly your thing.

    10. Cecelia,
      2:10 is acting like a Right-wing snowflake with a rainbow on their beer can?

    11. You don't recognize when someone has answered your question because you are too focused on who is who and not the substance of what anyone has said.

      You asked anonymous 1:18 to explain, which they did at 2:10. You then insulted 2:10, who did nothing more than answer YOUR question. Now you are pretending that there is someone else who responded who you just had to insult. You are the only snowflake here.

    12. Cecelia, when you say “crack” do you mean the fissure between the buttocks? To me, “crack” means the cleft of the vulva.

    13. If Somerby admires Norman O. Brown, there is something wrong with Somerby. What is wrong with a blogger who only admires people who make no sense?

    14. Anonymouse 3:53pm, the anonymouse made a snide remark about Norman Brown as an avenue to insult Bob.

      I then asked her how joking around about Norman Brown could inspire that impulse.

      I didn’t get an answer from her. What I got was the overblown screed from you arguing that my allusion to Brown vs Board of Education would render Norman into an ass if he had actually made the joke.

      That is NOT an answer to what I asked. Anonymouse 1:18pm about her snark toward both men. Instead, it was the usual biddy-in-stormtrooper-garb manner that you handle any levity here that isn’t nasty and pointed at the “right” people.

      Go pull your panties out of your crack.

    15. You quoted a racist remark about Brown v Bd of Ed. supposedly made by Brown. I said no wonder Somerby likes Brown. You asked what I meant. I explained and you insulted me. Now you are revising history. Fuck off Cecelia and stop talking about my panties. It’s creepy.

    16. Anonymouse 6:15pm, it’s even creepier to see your panties where you once had tonsils.

      My remark wasn’t racist and it wasn’t an actual quote from anyone, but you used it to hit two people…who are NOT me.

      You did that in the guise of telling me how I could have made the joke more understandable. .

      Go pull your panties out of your crack.

    17. Brown’s remark was racist. You think it was funny. You do the math.

    18. Cecelia, which part of the body are you calling a “crack”?

    19. Anonymouse 6:32pm, so says your tighty whities.

    20. Crude is your middle name: Cecelia Crude Pieceofshit

    21. Anonymouse 8:12pm, one more statement of which the irony flies over your head.

    22. Cecelia,
      Show me on this doll, where the rainbow on the beer can touched you.

  2. "For the record, Bowman never claimed that he doesn't know what a fire alarm does."

    Hmm. Are you saying that he deliberately, intentionally activated the fire alarm, without a valid reason?

    Are you? For the record.

    1. anon 11:49, I have to scratch my head - how did you come away with what TDH said to come up with that question? TDH was criticizing Guttfield for inaccurately (lyingly) alleging that Bowman said he didn't know how a fire alarm worked. TDH was, in this respect, defending Bowman. Nothing in TDH's post states, suggests, implies that Bowman deliberately pulled the alarm.

    2. Somerby was complaining that Fox and the Republicans haven't released the full tape, which shows Bowman's confusion and the wording of the actual sign, with his actions. The still photo is manufactured evidence to support Fox's claim.

    3. @1:15 PM
      Because if Mr Bowman did not claim (albeit not in these exact words, perhaps) that he didn't know what a fire alarm does, that would necessarily mean that he intentionally activated the fire alarm without a valid reason.

      Is there a problem in my reasoning?

    4. Bowman said he was confused by the wording on a sign and wasn't sure how to open the door.

      The problem with your reasoning is contained in the words "intentionally activated" and "valid reason." There can be many reasons for intentionally pulling a fire alarm besides intending to warn people of fire. He could trip and start to fall, then intentionally grab the bar to catch himself and set it off. He could think there was an armed intruder in the building and need to exit in a hurry, intentionally using that door. He could have been concerned about whether the door worked or not, testing to make sure the building was safe. Or the reason he actually gave -- needing to exit the building quickly to vote and thinking the sign was telling him how to do that (due to confusing wording on the sign).

      Your reasoning suggests that there is only one reason to set off the alarm -- in case of fire. Thus if he denies having that reason, then he must have set it off deliberately to delay a vote. This is incorrect logic because other options are not ruled out.

      The question of what constitutes a valid reason varies with the circumstances. The vote may have been so important that his presence might overrule the inconvenience of having to respond to the fire alarm. That is a matter of opinion. But Congress will sort that out. Logic won't help with that.

      The deductive syllogism you pose is:

      "If Bowman knew there was no fire, then he is pulling the alarm to delay a vote" and p is "If a fire alarm is pulled there must be a fire."

    5. Did Bowman make an honest mistake? Or, was he trying to delay a vote by a foolish action? How can we decide which of these is correct?

      A video or even a photograph would help. Was the fire alarm a stand-alone red box with warnings in big letters? Or, was there just sign on the door saying, "Opening the door will sound an alarm"?

    6. Merrick Garland justifies the persecution of Trump by repeating that no one is above the law. Regardless of why Bowman pulled the alarm, he broke a law. Will Mr. "No one is above the law" prosecute Bowman?

    7. You'll find photos in NY Post:

      Also, this:
      “I am embarrassed to admit that I activated the fire alarm, mistakenly thinking it would open the door. I regret this and sincerely apologize for any confusion this caused.” -- Bowman claiming (quite literally) that "he doesn't know what a fire alarm does".

    8. Judging from the photo, he didn't pull an alarm box but pressed the bar on a door to open the door and leave the building. The wording on the sign affixed to the door IS confusing.

      The message on the door says:

      "Emergency Exit Only

      Push until alarm sounds (3 seconds)

      Door will unlock in 30 seconds"

      That sounds to me like you are allowed to exit if you follow the right procedure to open the door. The instructions are ambiguous and could be a way of disabling the alarm in a non-emergency situation.

      Beyond this, the video would show Bowman standing around, looking confused and thinking about what to do, which would not happen if he were just determined to delay the vote by pulling an alarm.

      The building that Bowman left was not the building where the vote was being held. The building he left had to be evacuated, not the Capitol building, so how would pulling the alarm prevent the vote anyway? This accusation by the Republicans makes no sense and seems like an attempt to embarrass Bowman.

    9. If you scroll down, this source shows a picture of the actual sign. The picture circulated by Republicans and Fox does not show the sign, just Bowman pushing something.

      The sign is in the text circulated by Matt Breunig in a tweet.

    10. David in Cal,
      Trump bragging in public about breaking the law, was a challenge Garland had to accept.

    11. David in Cal is nothing but consistent.
      My favorite defense of David's, was when he called Hunter Biden "smart" for not paying his taxes.

    12. The video! Let’s see the video. That might solve Alarmgate.

    13. The Republicans control the video.

    14. We may infer then that the video would tend to exonerate Bowman. End of Alarmgate.

    15. The video can't exonerate Bowman, because setting off the alarm was wrong. It might have been dumb or malicious or foolish, but it was the wrong thing to do.. Playing a video of it on TV could only hurt Bowman and the Democrats.

    16. David,
      In your humble opinion, will releasing the video hurt Democrats more than when Biden lowered the unemployment and inflation rates?

    17. Great man, Joe Biden. Still taking 50% of his son's loot is, perhaps, a bit steep.

    18. Hunter Biden is the Clarence Thomas of non-Supreme Court justices.

    19. No, there is evidence against Clarence Thomas, but none against Hunter Biden.

  3. Marcus is quoted as saying:

    "But it also entails not treating Trump more harshly than anyone else in similar circumstances, and I worry that is what is happening here."

    There is no one else in similar circumstances. Somerby complains that no one is considering this, but the lack of a comparison figure means that the question cannot be answered.

    For one thing, there is no one who has ascended to financial and political power like Trump -- no one who is as big a con artist and liar who has been given the reins of power. A peculiar set of circumstances that has included meddling by Russia and the nomination of the first female candidate for president has led to Trump's election. There is no comparable circumstance in American history. Second, Trump has a peculiar combination of personality disorders and wealth that has motivated him to commit atrocity after atrocity with impunity. Third, Trump's involvement of his psychopathic son-in-law and his collection of all available Republican grifters and miscreants into one administration, his welcoming of white supremacist Oath Keepers and Proud Boys, and his co-opting of the secret service and other law enforcement, have resulted in unthinking actions against our democracy.

    All of this means that Trump represents the convergence of many destructive forces affecting our democracy and enriching Trump personally. He is like the American Hitler who we were unable to prevent from doing a huge array of criminal and illegal acts, and who is still trying to cling to power. That makes these various civil and criminal trials essential to restoring our nation to sanity. So, this is not a matter of is Trump being treated the same as other megalomaniac dictator-wannabees, but will bringing Trump to the same justice as a lesser man would suffer also remove the MAGA infection and enable us to govern again? The current chaos in the House should make it obvious why this is so urgently needed.

    I don't know why Ruth Marcus would write such a stupid essay. Perhaps her editor required it in order to preserve bothsiderist balance. Perhaps she thinks Trump has already been convicted, so why worry about the effects of claiming he is the target of froth-at-the-mouth revenge? I don't know what world she lives in.

    Somerby is not correct when he argues that Trump shouldn't be held accountable for his actions -- all of them, including his abuse of business practices to enrich himself to the point where he could amass an even greater fortune, enabling himself to buy the presidency (with Russia's help) in the first place. If he were not grossly wealthy, he wouldn't have been allowed to do half the things he did while president, such as appoint his own children to sinecures, disassemble our climate laws, remove animals from the endangered list and take national monuments off of protected status and available for development, mismanage the covid crisis resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths, fill his administration's security staff with traitors and agents of foreign governments, use classified documents as toilet paper, and put children in cages at our border. The list of his wrongs is endless because he is the most rotten person who could ever have been put into office. But Ruth Marcus worries we are being too mean to him. And Somerby agrees.

    Have they even been paying attention?

    1. Good points, and your conclusion that it is other case of The Times trying to cover it's Right flank and strain to appear "fair" is pretty logical. We must take a moment for the people Bob never worries about,
      those being the victims of Trump's crimes.

    2. Hitler took the coward's way out by committing suicide in a bunker as the Allies closed in on him. He thus escaped punishment for his atrocities, but his henchmen were tried, convicted and some were executed while others went to prison. No one suggested letting them off.

      When Al Capone was convicted and went to prison for failure to pay income taxes, no one argued that his treatment was not comparable to the average tax evader, because he was not an average person. He had ill-gotten gains from prohibition racketeering and had ordered people murdered. The public saw his prosecution and conviction within the context of his own actions, not considering him a penniless shlub being targeted for hiding his assets.

    3. Here is what it took to convict Al Capone, who was making over $60 million a year as a gangster:

      "Capone grew more bold, believing that he was untouchable. He failed to answer a subpoena to appear before a federal grand jury, claiming he had bronchial pneumonia and was confined to bed rest.

      He was arrested on contempt charges after prosecutors produced evidence that he had been gambling at the track and cruising in the Bahamas. He was released on bond but was re-arrested on concealed weapons charges and sentenced to prison at Philadelphia’s Eastern State Penitentiary, where he reportedly lived in luxury amid French furniture, plush rugs and a Victrola radio in his cell.

      Federal Tax Case
      During this time, the feds were quietly building a case against Capone. Despite his public and extravagant lifestyle, Capone never filed a federal income tax return, claiming that he had no taxable income. IRS Special Agent Frank Wilson and the “T-Men” followed the money, gathering evidence that Capone had made millions of dollars on income that was never taxed. It paid off: Capone was indicted on 22 counts of federal income tax evasion.

      He wasn’t alone: his brother, Ralph, Jake “Greasy Thumb” Guzik, Frank Nitti and others were also charged. Capone bragged that he had reached a plea agreement that would have sent him to jail for just two years. The judge refused to accept the deal, and the case went to trial.

      Capone was found guilty on October 17, 1931. One week later, on October 24, 1931, Capone was sentenced to a then unheard 11 years in prison. He was fined $50,000 ($798,055 in today’s dollars), charged court costs and ordered to pay back taxes of $215,000 (now, $3,431,640).

      He immediately appealed and was denied a rehearing."

      Meanwhile, Trump and his supporters think that prosecuting someone for less than their most heinous crime is unfair:

      Somerby, via Ruth Marcus, repeats that defense today to defend Trump (it was originally applied by Trump to Paul Manafort's conviction). It is one of the main talking points the right wing is using to help Trump in his current fraud trial.

      But Al Capone never did pay taxes. He thought he was above that law. Trump no doubt feels the same, but these laws exist for everyone and people are not exempt just because they are wealthy or gangsters (or both).

      Reading Al Capone's actual statements, he sounds a lot like Trump.

    4. Al Capone's argument was that he did not owe legal taxes on the proceeds of illegal activities. Trump comes up with similar reasoning. Republicans follow him down that path, but this is sophistry, criminal reasoning, not law and not moral or ethical.

    5. Capone was released in 1939 because he had tertiary syphilis. He died in 1947.

      Remember to practice safe sex.

  4. It seems to never get mentioned that Trump's lifetime status as a harden scoff-law should provoke the harshest possible treatment the law allows, his recent baiting of Judges and others all the more so.

  5. Also, the sometimes ugly clowning that goes on with the
    Five and other Fox shows goes on every day. Let's note Bob
    had nothing to say about Jesse Waters and case of the
    ten year old who needed an abortion.
    The recent addition of an effective liberal (Jessica Tarlov) suggests Fox may be hedging it's bets a bit, in case the tired formula of sheer stupidity is wearing thin, too many old people dying off, etc.

  6. Should we really complain about someone being held responsibile for a lifetime of crime and avoiding responsibility for it? Or is it more valid to ask why now? Somerby sometimes misses the obvious.

    Yes, the right wants to know why now? But to those of us in the center and left, we are fine with "better late than never."

    Sort of flips the script on which side is interested in the law being upheld and personal responsibility for your actions and all that. Guess it's the left now.

    1. Why now? It has taken the Office of the Attorney General of New York three years to prepare their case. Many of you may recall the need to go to court simply to obtain necessary documents to prepare the case. And you should be familiar with the delaying tactics routinely used by the Trump Organization.

      The timing of bringing this case was not entirely up to James and certainly couldn't have arisen from recent events, such as Biden's election or reactions to recent political events.

    2. I thought it was clear I was not asking "why now?"

      Maybe your comments are directed at another reader? Okay, then I was confused by your writing this in the context of responding to my comment.

    3. The Republicans have been asking why now, suggesting that this is a convenient prosecution to keep Trump from running for office. What Marcus and Somerby have written is in service to this theory.

      Try being a little less self-focused. Not everything is about you.

    4. Trump, being wealthy (or supposedly wealthy), means he can file motions ad infinitum, frivolous or not, which the legal system has to deal with. Every brief, every motion, every court appearance costs money, and a not insubstantial amount. Someone in comments here yesterday mentioned a “two-tiered” justice system and tried to claim that Trump was a victim of it. Being rich and shameless gives you better and more access to the legal system, and Trump takes full advantage of that. He wants to delay until he’s president.

      Side note: About the NY case, trump said "I think it's very unfair I don't have a jury”, when his lawyers opted not to have a jury trial.

    5. If your comments are not directed at me, could I humbly suggest that you don't reply to my comment then?

    6. A “convenient prosecution to keep Trump from running for office”, 1:43? Um, he IS running for office. That’s the first point. The constitution doesn’t bar people hit with civil penalties from being elected. Second point. But it seems irrelevant to me, because Trump keeps committing crimes, conveniently. And don’t forget, the burden is on the prosecution to prove their case. These aren’t automatic wins. The judge in NY found that they had proven some of their claims. The criminal trials are still pending.

    7. In which the new establishment left commenters that typically maintain solidarity against all the nasty centrists and old school liberals accidentally argue with each other... (grabs popcorn)

    8. “Establishment Left” is a made up term by right wingers, it is an empty meaningless phrase, attempting to indicate a cohort that in reality does not exist.

      Trump is running solely for the potential of avoiding punishment for his crimes, which should be worrisome for a center right person like Ruth Marcus, since he is failing the “personal responsibility” mantra they live by.

    9. Right wing conspiracy theories often make no sense in the context of reality.

  7. “treating Trump more harshly than anyone else in similar circumstances”

    Marcus doesn’t bother to find anyone else in similar circumstances.

    And, from her column, she tells us:

    ‘To read Engoron’s ruling is to appreciate his justified impatience with Trump’s shenanigans and recalcitrance. “Even with a preliminary injunction in place, and with an independent monitor overseeing their compliance, defendants have continued to disseminate false and misleading information while conducting business,” he wrote. Such “ongoing flouting” of court orders, “combined with the persistent nature of the false [statements of financial condition] year after year, have demonstrated the necessity of canceling the certificates.”’

    “defendants have continued to disseminate false and misleading information while conducting business”…”open flouting of court orders…”

    Not to mention Trump’s reckless and dangerous attacks on courts and legal personnel.

    And yet, Marcus still writes that she is worried about treating Trump more harshly than others.

  8. Somerby says:

    "In the main, we'd like to see Trump's behavior discussed within the framework of modern medical science. We'd like to see major journalists speak to medical specialists concerning the rather obvious possibility that Trump is suffering from a serious "personality disorder—for example, the possibility that he could be diagnosed as a "sociopath."

    Here are some problems with Somerby's proposal:

    1. Trump has never been diagnosed. The labels proposed are speculation because Trump has not subjected himself to any kind of psychiatric examination by a qualified profession. Somerby's call for a "carefully selected" mental health professional is specious, you don't go diagnosis-shopping, as doctors refer to finding a doctor who will tell you what you want to hear.

    2. Being a sociopath does not explain or excuse Trump's behavior. It takes a combination of personality disorder and toxic childhood circumstances to produce a criminal. Only 30% of criminals are sociopaths, but criminals themselves are a small percentage of the overall population and sociopaths are estimated to be about 5% of men. Sociopathy is common in certain professions, such as among surgeons, lawyers, police, businessmen and politicians. And they do well in those fields, not breaking laws or going to jail.

    3. There are a variety of personality types and everyone fits into one or several types of personalities. A type doesn't become a disorder unless someone meets additional diagnostic criteria, including inability to form stable relationships, distress about one's life, being forced by friends or relations to seek help, inability to find and keep a job (while seeking one), conflict with authorities including but not limited to the law. Most sociopaths do not seek mental health help because they are happy with themselves and their lives. Trump has not fit these criteria until recently, with the crimes he has been charged with.

    4. Being a sociopath or having any sort of personality disorder is not a defense against any crime under the law, because none of the personality disorders have symptoms that would prevent someone from knowing right and wrong or participating in their own defense.

    5. Somerby has argued that Trump's upbringing was abusive, but there is no evidence of that. There is more evidence that Mary Trump's father was abused, but he did not become a criminal -- he became an alcoholic. Trump does not drink, nor has he complained about his father and mother.

    6. In our society, we do not use a medical approach to prosecute or evaluate anyone, unless the accused person's attorney is claiming psychological problems that would interfere with the charged person's rights or prove them incapable of committing the crime (as defined). In that case, the courts evaluate the accused person and recommend to the court. It is not a reason to let a person go, as dangerous people are still committed to a treatment facility for the criminally insane. Similarly, a person who cannot cooperate with their own defense is committed to a treatment facility until they have the ability and are then tried for their actions. There are no circumstances where someone is let go simply because they claim symptoms.

    7. A society where people are pitied when they hurt other people and considered mentally ill when they commit crimes would be unable to function without the kind of social structure found in the Scandinavian social democracies. Such a society also infringes on personal freedoms, as people who are considered mentally ill are reqired to accept support payments and legally cannot work or engage in activities where their illness might be a problem for others. In the US, we do not even force the mentally ill to take medication, much less live in provided housing, attend mandatory physician visits and refrain from fully participating in society. So there is a conflict in values involved in accepting Somerby's idea.

    No one would allow someone like Trump to do so much damage and then walk around free doing whatever he pleases for the rest of his life.

    1. Cont.

      But more than this, Somerby is arguing for special treatment of Trump, not arguing that he be treated the same as anyone else. He is saying that Trump should get special privileges with respect to the law and treatment of other people, on the basis of his mental status. Given all the poor homeless people who cannot function because of mental illness and are suffering lack of treatment, it is hard to regard this as anything but special privilege because of his wealth, especially if he is deteriorating mentally due to age or dementia, as some have suggested. I would sooner accept that Trump needs to be protected from himself, but that is not what Somerby is saying.

      There is some bad faith (and huge inconsistency) in using Ruth Marcus to argue that Trump is being treated differently than the average fraudster and then turn around and argue in favor of massive privilege and excuse from wrong behavior because Trump may have some combination of personality disorders. This sloppy reasoning suggests that Somerby is, in the main, grasping for ways to get Trump off, not seriously considering the problem of Trump's fraud and other crimes.

    2. The cognitive test that Trump has bragged about "acing" is a mental status exam. It is used by physicians to determine whether a patient is competent, oriented toward the present, conscious and aware of what is happening to them, not to test for mental illness. It includes questions that are extremely simple for a competent person but difficult for someone with Alzheimer's or in a drug haze from prescribed medication or schizophrenic and delusional (they find it difficult to give any coherent answer).

      That test is so minimal that it is bizarre it would have been administered to a sitting president in the first place. That makes it seem like collusion between Trump and his doctor to take some sort of test that Trump could then wave around as evidence of his sanity. It is a con to make Trump appear to be forthcoming about his health.

      Questions include things like: (1) what day of the week is it, (2) who is the president of the USA, (3) what is the name of this animal [shows picture of elephant or giraffe], (4) connecting numbered dots to complete a figure, (5) repeating back a list of 5 items [5 is normal short-term memory span]. You need to miss several questions to cause any concern. If you do miss some, the test suggests that you take the test to your physician and discuss the results.

      A doctor who briefly pops into a patient's hospital room will ask: "Good morning Mrs. Brown, how are you feeling today?" Then, "Do you know what day it is? Do you know why you are here? If still in doubt about awareness, "Tell me, who is the president of the US?" While doing this, the doctor chitchats with the nurse or family, mixing the questions in with other talk, to make it seem less like a test. Many family members don't recognize what is happening, that the doctor is assessing the patient by doing this.

      It is a totally inappropriate test to be given to a sitting president unless he has just experienced trauma (head injury, car accident) or taken an overdose or had a stroke. Trump's bragging about it was ludicrous. Especially given the way he no longer remembers the list of items he was supposed to repeat and just makes shit up. Making up answers is called confabulation and it is what people with frontal lobe deficits do. Trump claims he passed the test and I believe he probably did a few years ago when it was given. Now might be a different question, but since Trump is not president any longer, it doesn't matter. Republicans wouldn't care if he flunked it anyway -- you don't need any qualifications for the presidency as far as Republicans are concerned, except a certain moral laxity.

    3. "If still in doubt about awareness, 'Tell me, who is the president of the US?'"

      I'd pay to watch Trump answer this one.

    4. Not me. He knows who the president is. It isn't fun watching him lie.

    5. Bob wants to go easy on Trump, but has no interest in the victims of his crimes.

  9. Will Marcus write a column where she worries about Trump being treated differently than others in the confidential documents case? Two words: Reality Winner. That’s enough to show the deference Trump was shown leading up to the charges. Again, he refused to comply with law enforcement requests. And he got major favorable treatment from judge cannon.

    (Did Marcus ever complain about Reality Winner’s treatment?)

    Will Marcus write a column where she worries that the years-long pursuit of Hunter Biden and the picayune nature of the gun and tax charges shows how he is being treated differently than others in similar circumstances?

  10. Quaker in a BasementOctober 4, 2023 at 1:45 PM

    "We'd like to see major journalists speak to medical specialists concerning the rather obvious possibility that Trump is suffering from a serious "personality disorder—for example, the possibility that he could be diagnosed as a 'sociopath.'"

    We really should be discussing Trump's mental health. For a long, long time it has been plain that he suffers from a serious disorder.

    But Our Host's suggestion can't happen. Any medical specialist who is willing to speculate on the condition of a patient he or she hasn't examined personally is not someone whose opinion is reliable. Any medical specialist who reveals the condition of a patient he or she has examined violates that patient's trust.

    So "person, woman, man, camera, TV" is all we're going to get on that score.

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. "In all these ways, our failing nation—such as it ever was—is slowly succumbing to a wave of unspoken secessions. "

      Vacancies are not successions and our nation is not failing.

      Several of those vacancies that Somerby lists are not actual vacancies: there are temporary appointments and second-in-commands filling important positions where leadership is essential. The other positions are not required to be filled -- congress decides how many supreme court members there are, along with replacing those who resign or die. There is no constitutional requirement for 9 justices. It is tradition.

      Does Somerby believe that during a vacation period, there is NO supreme court at all? They take a vacation every year, all summer. The House is in the process of replacing its speaker, but its adjournment for the rest of the week is not a secession. It is a vacation after the stress of the government funding extension bill. All of those House members are coming back to vote on a new speaker.

      This is not a secession, but I do wonder why Somerby is using such histrionic language to talk about the stunts pulled by the Republicans, only the latest of a long series of such maneuvers in the history of our democracy?

      What does Somerby gain by portraying the rough and tumble of politics as something abnormal, permanent, scary? Is he perhaps trying to suppress liberal votes by driving us away from politics -- it is all too depressing Somerby says?

      And why does Somerby not point out that it is the Republicans behind each of these so-called secession attempts? These are Republican tactics, not dysfunction, much less secession. This is what Republicans do. But Somerby never mentions that -- he implies that it is the entire House of Representatives evading its work. That is untrue and a deceptive omission.

      But who else does Somerby blame? He blames the media. His example is Greg Gutfield on Fox. Somerby mentions that he presented a useless hour that never mentioned McCarthy's removal, but Somerby himself never mentioned that Gutfield is supposedly a comedian. He is the Colbert or the John Stewart of right wing media, performing a comedy routine, not seriously reporting the news. He is supposed to be funny.

  12. And the news media is doing it again, letting Dump suck all the air out of the room.

    We don't need to see his every utterance in front of a mic and camera. They could sum it up with one report. Watching his motorcade on the way to the courthouse... ridiculous. And Dump knows just how to play them for the fools they are.

    Remember when they dug up a recording of his fraud years ago where he pretended to be his own PR guy? He called the press and said Dump gets laid all the time, the women follow him around. And he faked his face on the cover of Time and put it conspicuously on a table at Mar a Lardo. He faked his wealth so he could get on Forbes richest people list.

    Dump lives to see his face on the news.

    1. You sound like somebody who voted for him (or voted 3rd party) and now can’t stand to see what you wrought.

    2. Or alternatively, perhaps you're a poor judge of people. Because neither of those things are true.

      It's fun to speculate though, isn't it?

  13. "McCarthy's ouster was never discussed! "

    It isn't over until it's over.

    What is there to say about McCarthy's ouster? Nothing until the Republicans decide who to propose in his place. They went on break and nothing is happening.

    If Gutfield were to waste time speculating about what the Republicans might do next, that would make him an analyst or pundit, but that isn't his function at Fox.

    More than that, Somerby would complain that he is blathering without any substance, over something that no one knows anything about right now. Somerby has gone on record as opposed to empty speculation. The House is not operating without a speaker right now, as Somerby pretends. It has a temporary speaker, whose job is to conduct the election of a new speaker. That is NOT secession and it is not an abdication of responsibility, and our democracy is NOT failing, as Somerby pretends. It is functioning as intended, while the Republicans try to find a member who will do a better job of appeasing its MAGA extremists. If that is upsetting to Somerby, perhaps he should spend his time writing letters to his Congressperson, instead of berating liberals and the media. We are not the source of the Republican party's problems.

    1. So you... are the media? This could make things make more sense around here.

    2. No, I am a liberal.

  14. TDH mentions the McCarthy ouster. The dems unanimously voted with the MAAGA extremists to oust him. The reason for the ouster is that McCarthy, in order to prevent a government, shut down. opened the vote to democrats, who joined the vast majority of republicans to extend the deadline. For that Gaetz moved to oust McCarthy, joined by 7 other extremist MAGAs and all the democrats, strange bedfellows I would say. Can someone explain this to me. The result of the dems joining the Gaetz gang, will likely be more chaos. Are the dems idiots? If they are not, would the geniuses here please explain why they aren't.

    1. It has already been explained here and in various media outlets. If McCarthy wanted democratic votes he would have given them concessions in exchange and not lambasted them on national TV the prior weekend. Moreover the Democrats recognized Him as

      he dishonest invertebrate that he is, motivated by his ambition only. Opening a bogus impeachment inquiry was not endearing to the democrats.

  15. The previous post was me, forgot to add the nym.

    1. McCarthy is the king of chaos, unworthy to be Speaker. The Democrats want Hakeem Jeffries instead. If a few Republicans would vote for him, the House could get back to work.


      McCarthy broke his word multiple times and offered the Democrats nothing for their vote.

    3. McCarthy went against the harliners, and worked with the dems to prevent a shut down. What do you guys think will happen other than chaos. What are the odds that a democrat will become speaker instead of a republican. Any reason you can't face reality? But who knows, maybe things will work out in a way that isn't awful.

    4. AC/ MA,
      Are you saying if Democrats behaved better, Republicans wouldn't have to hit them?

    5. AC/ MA,
      I get that you think Democrats are being paid to run a daycare center in the House, but why are the toddlers also being paid?

    6. (Sigh) No Mr Anon. I was saying that the dems sided with Matt Gaetz and the result likely will be a worse speaker. Apparently no one can provide a good explanation justifying what the dems did

    7. Are you really too lazy to go read the list of reasons that Kevin Drum compiled, cited above @10:07?

    8. Why can't 5 or 6 republican congressmen that are still halfway sane and want to try governing for a change, vote for Jeffries to be Speaker?

      Never mind, the question answers itself.

    9. Try this one:

    10. anon 10:16, "am I really too lazy/" Answer is yes. In my defense, I also work for a living. Could you do me
      a favor and tell me his reasons?

  16. You complain that Gutfeld resembles a "comedy show". Surprise! Surprise! It IS a comedy show, making fun of events of the day. If you're expecting serious news reporting on Gutfeld, you really need to go elsewhere. (And it's taped earlier in the evening, so you wouldn't be seeing any 'live reports' in any case.)

    1. Anyone could be forgiven for that realizing Gutfeld is doing comedy.

    2. I saw Gutfield defending supply-side economics. At first I thought it was hilarious. Then I realized a lot of the jokes were stolen from Ronald Reagan and Arthur Laffer.