MADNESS: Blue America spots the LIES!


The joy of fighting words: Perhaps surprisingly, there aren't a whole lot of "fighting words" in the verses of The Iliad.

Within the modern American legal context, what the heck are "fighting words?" The leading authority on the concept offers the following thumbnail:

Fighting words

Fighting words are spoken words directed to the person of the hearer which would have a tendency to cause acts of violence by the person to whom, individually, the remark is addressed. The term fighting words describes words that when uttered inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace.

The "fighting words doctrine," in United States constitutional law, is a limitation to freedom of speech as protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

In 1942, the U.S. Supreme Court established the doctrine by a 9–0 decision in Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire. It held that "insulting or 'fighting words', those that by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace" are among the "well-defined and narrowly limited classes of speech the prevention and punishment of [which] … have never been thought to raise any constitutional problem."

Such automatically "insulting" terms are remarkably rare in The Iliad, an ancient poem of war. As we've noted, the lengthy, fictional siege of Troy was a war between two different civilizations, with the Achaeans (Argives, Myceneans, Greeks) venturing to Asia Minor to try to get "Helen, radiance of women" back.

For those present at the scene, there was little question which side you were on—which side you wanted to win. There was little need to stir up partisan juices.

Helen, radiance of women, was now living with her second husband inside the towering walls of Troy. The Achaeans wanted her back. 

As far as we know, the Trojans are never shown considering any such action. And so it came.

(In a somewhat similar way, our only slightly more modern nation starts next week with the trial of a former president concerning Stormy Daniels, our nation's most famous "porn star." 

(That president is accused of having consensual intercourse with Daniels on one lone occasion, back in 2006, ten years before he ran for the office. Perhaps somewhat comically, Blue America's pundits agree to refer to this one alleged event as "an affair."

(In what strikes us as a constant embarrassment, Blue America's major pundits go on TV and say that voters needed to know about that allegation before they could know how to vote in November 2016.

(Such pundits operate under a hard tribal lawthey repeat the term "porn star" as frequently as possible, Would voters have needed to know if the former president stood accused of having consensual relations, on one occasion ten years before, with a corporate accountant? 

(Presumably, many fewer would care. It was all about the control of women back when men fought on the plains outside Troy. Given the tiny parameters of our limited human minds, it works in somewhat similar ways in the modern context now. Just watch Gutfeld! any night if you want to see a more aggressive, even stupider form of the gender political rollback by the underfed modern humans who want the ancient order retained, or watch Eyes Wide Shut again.)

(It's still all about who's zoomin' who inside our small human brains.)

Back to the fighting words! The Achaeans wanted Helen back. Troy's King Priam loved his daughter-in-law of ten years, and the Trojans wanted to keep her.

Everyone knew the siege would continue until one side or the other won. There was no need to stir tribal hatreds. People knew which side they were on.

In our modern pair of Americas, the laws of war are different. Members of the two Americas live on the same streets in the same towns and show up for the same jobs. When the martial spirit flares, we need to find ways to heighten the eternal human desire to split ourselves into angry tribes so we can march off to a brutal war.

And so the fighting words come out, as one did, just yesterday, in the Washington Post. We refer to the start of this analysis piece by Kessler at al., in which a Rubicon seems to have been crossed:

Which Trump lies stick? Republicans believe some falsehoods more than they did six years ago, our poll finds.

Fictions, misleading claims, wild exaggerations, lies—former president Donald Trump dispenses untruths of one variant or another relentlessly. The falsehoods range from the inconsequential, like the crowd size at his inauguration, to the democracy-shaking, like the “stolen” 2020 election.

With Trump barreling toward November, when Americans will have a chance to choose him to lead the nation again, The Washington Post Fact Checker sought to get a sense of the staying power of his lies—whether people are more or less likely to believe them over time and which lies prove the stickiest—as well as measure the value Americans place in a president’s honesty, however they define it.

Midway through Trump’s presidency, in 2018, we documented through a poll that most Americans, including Republicans, did not believe many of his most repeated claims.

A fresh Washington Post-Schar School poll shows that remains largely the case, with an average of 28 percent of Americans believing Trump’s false claims tested in the poll.

But Trump has made significant inroads in convincing Republicans that his lies are the truth. That applies to election integrity especially—the basis of Trump’s “big lie.”

"Even more significant, Americans appear to have diverged on the meaning of honesty itself," the three authors write as they continue. At that point, their use of the terms of everyday language has become almost wholly incoherent.

The headline spoke about Donald Trump's "falsehoods." In the body of the piece, the language quickly turned to "lies," then moved back to "untruths." 

Falsehoods, untruths, false claims—and lies! It's as we noted yesterday:

For Glenn Kessler's Washington Post, that seems to mean that a Rubicon has finally been crossed. And yes—terms like "lying" and "lies" function as a species of fighting word within the modern political context.

Were we omniscient like the great god Zeus, how many of Donald J. Trump's (many) "false claims" would qualify as "lies?" It isn't easy to know such things, no matter how tempting it may be to pretend that "falsehoods," "untruths" and "lies" are all the same kettle of fish.

Over the centuries—over the millennia—speakers of the world's many languages developed the semantic distinctions which let them speak in a more intelligent way about the real events which really take place in the real human world. 

Today, the Post had decided to pleasure its readers with the promiscuous use of a specialized term—a term which provokes the kind of reaction, within a political discourse, which is recognized under constitutional law with respect to the insults delivered by "fighting words."

Instead of "using our words" to report what we actually know, we turn to this fighting word. It's a deeply childish turn of mind—but it helps us create the onset to war between our Red and Blue Americas, a pathway no one needed to take back when a conglomeration of angry white males fought on the plains outside Troy.

At the Post, they're no longer "using their words" as carefully as they did in the past. Instead, they seem to have decided to offer a form of pleasure to their audience, 

The term "honesty" plays the same role in that childish opening passage—a passage to which Kessler has apparently agreed. 

How often is Donald Trump being "dishonest" when he makes some sort of false statement? Once again, it's quite hard to say. 

In our reading of the Post's analysis piece, its reporters have a hard enough time discerning when some of Trump's statements are actually false without providing themselves the pleasure of deciding what may have been going on inside his mind—a mind which 37 medical health professionals have said, in a major best-selling book, may be in the grip of a (severe) mental illness.

When is Donald Trump "lying?" Kessler and his colleagues don't exactly know. But the assertion that someone is lying tends to end all political discourse. It acts as a fighting word within the political context.

So, of course, does the claim that members of the other tribe are racist, misogynist, bigoted (and on and on and on). We'll postpone till tomorrow this recent attempt by the PBS NewsHour to come to terms with those ubiquitous fighting words—to tell us Where Those Wild Things Are. For today, let's look at the instinct to trigger modern political war, as that instinct was put on display in some of the comments to Kevin Drum's recent post about NPR.

Like Kevin, we almost never listen to NPR. We have no pre-existing view as to how its journalism currently works.

When Uri Berliner published an essay accusing the org of a type of political bias, we didn't have much to go on. But at one somewhat comical point, Berliner authored this claim:

BERLINER (4/9/24): For nearly all my career, working at NPR has been a source of great pride. It’s a privilege to work in the newsroom at a crown jewel of American journalism. My colleagues are congenial and hardworking. 

I can’t count the number of times I would meet someone, describe what I do, and they’d say, “I love NPR!” 


It still happens, but often now the trajectory of the conversation is different. After the initial “I love NPR,” there’s a pause and a person will acknowledge, “I don’t listen as much as I used to.” Or, with some chagrin: “What’s happening there? Why is NPR telling me what to think?”

In recent years I’ve struggled to answer that question. Concerned by the lack of viewpoint diversity, I looked at voter registration for our newsroom. In D.C., where NPR is headquartered and many of us live, I found 87 registered Democrats working in editorial positions and zero Republicans. None. 

So on May 3, 2021, I presented the findings at an all-hands editorial staff meeting. When I suggested we had a diversity problem with a score of 87 Democrats and zero Republicans, the response wasn’t hostile. It was worse. It was met with profound indifference. I got a few messages from surprised, curious colleagues. But the messages were of the “oh wow, that’s weird” variety, as if the lopsided tally was a random anomaly rather than a critical failure of our diversity North Star. 

Stating the obvious, we have no way of knowing if any of those statements are accurate. We don't know if Berliner's reported census created an 87-0 count. Assuming that's what actually happened, we can't verify Berliner's account of staff reaction inside the D.C. headquarters. 

For the record, Berliner says, early on, that he himself "eagerly voted against Trump twice but felt we were obliged to cover him fairly." 

We can't verify those claims either, but they may seem to suggest that Berliner himself was one of the NPR 87—though some commenters to Kevin's post aggressively pushed back against any such thought, name-calling Berliner as an obvious right-wing hack as they bowed to the ancient impulse to create a state of war between the Very Good People (Us) and the Very Bad.

This war will be, and is, an internal war within a pre-existing nation state. It's being promoted inside Red America, and inside Blue America too.

Some commenters inside Drum's post were eager to use even harsher fighting words against their fellow commenters. We refer to insults coming from the edges of Blue America in ways which are every bit as stupid as the garbage peddled on Gutfeld! each night, possibly even more so.

We humans are not "the rational animal," except in limited contexts. We long for division into tribes. Also, we know what we know, even when we may not exactly know it.

This comment came from a good, decent person early on in the Comments wars:

COMMENTER: I largely quit listening to NPR years ago. Two much "both sides do it" and a serious lack of insightful reporting. It took them four years to use the L-word (LIE!) in describing Trump's claims. They reported Trump's claim that he would be meeting with union workers in Detroit when he was actually meeting with paid actors at a non-union plant. From their reporting it is clear they view Biden's age as a greater existential threat than Trump’s dictatorial ambitions. Like the NYT, their inevitable lead is "How does this hurt Jor Biden."

The commenter—a good, decent person—seems to have longed for a type of moral certainty and for a clear moral division. He wanted to hear the term LIE. "Flatly false, repeated misstatement" simply wouldn't do.

Concerning the way NPR "reported Trump's claim that he would be meeting with union workers in Detroit when he was actually meeting with paid actors at a non-union plant," here's the transcript from Morning Edition on the morning after the visit, whose location had been shrouded in mystery during the previous week:

GONYEA (9/28/23): The event was at a small automotive supplier, a factory in Macomb County that's half-hour north of the city or so. Trump did not talk about the [Republican Party] debate at all. He said he was there with a vision for a revival of American nationalism. He accused President Biden of killing the auto industry. He promised to put tariffs in place to protect that industry.

It's notable, Steve, that he came here with a message for UAW members who are on strike, and this was a non-union shop. And over and over, he returned to the ongoing transition to electric vehicles, saying it would be such a failure, that it would completely wipe out the industry. This is where he mentioned the strike:


INSKEEP: OK. You mentioned the United Auto Workers who are on strike. He referred to striking workers. Were they listening?

GONYEA: The room was full, maybe 500 people or so—a rough guess. There were UAW members there. They stood on risers in the front on either side of the stage. Still, they were nowhere near the majority in the room—maybe 1 in 5 or so.

No reporting can ever be perfect. Our recollections can be faulty or limited too. When our brains instruct us to move toward a state of war, we may be inclined to remember the reporting we didn't especially like. We ourselves have sometimes "remembered" reporting which never took place at all! 

(That's why we try to check.)

Do our brains instruct us to move toward war? Fighting words help us do that! They make us feel moral and good, and they bring discourse to a halt.

Early in the feature film Gone With The Wind, the silly, cavorting Southern boys are trying to impress Miss Scarlett on the staircase outside Tara. Miss Scarlett was their Helen of Troy. (Their "21-year-old intern," to adopt a bungled but thrilling formulation our journalists ran with for years.)

Boldly, they tell Miss Scarlett what they plan to do to "the Yankees." Midway through the film, the camera pulls back from many acres of land in Atlanta, where many acres of Southern boys are stretched out on litters.

Their fighting words felt good at the time. Now they were dying or dead.

That one good and decent person wanted to hear the word LIES. Other comments to Kevin's post are actively poisonous—and ugly and deeply stupid. We're speaking here of poisonous comments which are delivered from Blue America's side of the aisle.

We'll offer an example or two tomorrow, reminding you that the human brain is still inclined to march off to war, even all these thousands of years after the death and dying which took place on the plains outside Troy.

Our brains instruct us to create two warring sides. Fighting words make us feel very good, and they help us accomplish that task!

Did Trump have sex one time in 2006! Inquiring minds need to know!

Could this all be a form of madness? As always, you decide!

Tomorrow: PBS spots the racists

This afternoon: Ingraham spots Biden's "lies"


  1. Dahlia Lithwick and Julia Kayyem agree with Bob: the courts won’t save us:

    1. I agree. It's going to take federal, state, and local law enforcement and intelligence-sharing to protect the United States of America from Trump-driven violence.

    2. The courts won't save us from Trump any more than not having a gun protected Trayvon Martin from being assaulted by George Zimmerman.

    3. 10:17's claim is not a fair assessment of the interview.

      First, they point to the courts having played a significant role in nullifying Trump's attempt to incite violence.

      Secondly, 10:17 is relying on this part of the interview:

      The counternarrative cannot simply be, “Well, the court will get him.” It’s not going to work. It’s not going to work politically, and it’s not going to work legally. We know that now. There’s lots of smart legal people saying, “This is the case, this is the one!” And I’m like, “Really? because I’ve been hearing that for four years and it’s not the case.”

      But it is clear that this not a strong argument, nor intended as such; first they establish that the legal cases can not be the ONLY counternarrative, which both indicates they think courts have a role to play and is a strawman since nobody claims this, and secondly all they offer to support this view is essentially their vibe that it won't work because they have yet to see Trump pay a price in court, which is both false and weak. Furthermore, they admit that smart people disagree with them.

      Based on 10:17's misguided smug gloat, we can fairly say that Somerby has in some small way made progress with his goal of manufacturing ignorance.


  2. Frankly, I find it surprising that they have zero Republicans.

    In this brave new world, their main mission is Get Trump. A whole bunch of registered Republicans are totally onboard for it; certainly most Republican politicians are. The people they're paid to hate are MAGA, the working class, not Republicans.

    1. LOL!!! Sure, chickenshit is the "populist". Do you have your gold sneakers yet? How about a handy new Bible with the trump stench on it?

    2. "their main mission is Get Trump." And why shouldn't it be? Trump is the head of a fascistic movement that threatens American democracy, our justice system, our free press, and many of the government functions we take for granted.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.


    4. If you want to understand how utterly corrupt, how unpatriotic, how utterly selfish the Republican party has become, watch the first 16 minutes of this interview with Republican Adam Kinzinger. The last few minutes (of the first 16) are jaw dropping:

    5. "Frankly, I find it surprising that they have zero Republicans."

      Why would Republicans go to work for NPR, which they've been told for decades is biased liberal propaganda? And probably doesn't pay well, either?

  3. “That president is accused of having consensual intercourse with Daniels”

    That is not what he is charged with.

    1. Bob has lost his way. Can you imagine someone watching as Hitler rose to power, understanding the danger that Hitler posed, and instead of doing everything in their power to stop it, they quibble about whether Hitler's statements about Jews are technically lies or just misstatements? Further, imagine they undermine confidence in a perfectly respectable, fact-based, mainstream news org like NPR that reports on Hitler's many "controversial" statements and behavior; additionally, they downplay stories like the Stormy Daniel thing, because, in most other contexts, most people wouldn't get so worked up about such a story. This is all missing the raging forest fire for the trees.

      Also, regarding the Stormy Daniel thing: the repeated use of the word "porn star" is likely politically advantageous (it also happens to be true, which is something Bob usually cares about). There are lots of evangelical prudes on Trump's side. If associating Trump with porn stars peals off any of the prudish vote from Trump, is that a good or bad thing, Bob? Similarly, the fact that Trump cheated on his wife is likely a strike against him in many voters' eyes. Was it important for voters to know about any of this prior to the election? That's a "matter of judgement," as Bob likes to say, but apparently Trump himself thought it was an important enough story that he paid Daniels to shut up about it, and then engaged in illegal activity to hide the fact that he had done so. And this is what the lawsuit is really about. Most people I would guess DON'T have a problem with consensual sex with a pornstar; many probably don't think it's THAT big a deal to cheat on one's spouse one time. But what about someone who does this and then takes illegal steps to cover it up? THAT matters. It matters generally, but it especially matters when it comes to deciding whether you want to put a person who does that kind of thing in the most powerful position in the country and possibly the world.

    2. Saying he had sex with Stormy Daniels one time overlooks that he had sex with other women during that same time period, multiple people and multiple instances with the same person.

      I wouldn't have a problem with consensual sex with a pornstar or anyone else, but I do have a problem with someone running for president who routinely lies to his wife about that sex and who thinks it is OK to engage in such behavior within his relationship. The suggests someone who is not presidential material and I would likely not vote for him (unless he were the only one running against someone like Trump). I think character matters and is part of deciding who to vote for as president. It is as much a matter of trust and the lying is, in my opinion.

    3. Fair enough. A lot of people feel similarly.

  4. Troy, or its ruins, is in Asia.

    1. A small part of Turkey is in Europe, and Troy is not there. It's in the larger, Asian part of Turkey.

    2. It is in the Westernmost part of Turkey along the NW coast of Asia Minor, in Wilusa on the Aegean sea. It doesn't make sense to think of it as Asia when it is as far toward Europe as it could be without being in Europe. Notice how often Somerby has remarked that Homer's Iliad is part of Western Literature (the first war story).

    3. You don’t think Asia Minor is in Asia?

    4. I don't think Troy is in Asia culturally speaking. Where such divisions are drawn is also a matter of culture. Troy was oriented toward the Greeks in Europe, not toward the East.

    5. It really doesn't matter since Troy hasn't existed for a long long time, except in Somerby's imagination.

    6. Matter or no matter, Troy was in Asia.

    7. Troy doesn’t exist.

    8. Nine archaeological layers of Troy exist. They’re in the Asian part of Çanakkale Province, Turkey.

    9. So, which is true, the Iliad or Asian remains?

  5. I expect Donald J Chickenshit will be having John Barron or David Dennison calling in bomb threats to the courthouse on Monday morning. The fucking coward is squirming like a stuck pig.

    1. Literally a case of fucking around and finding out. HeHeHee

  6. Probably the shift at NPR reflects that the Republicans who worked there did what Bob refuses to do: appraise Trump in an adult, reality based way. Bob cannot do this, because he is A) determined to go through life insisting white racism does not exist B) determined to not admit MCNBC got the Trump era right, while he, see A).

  7. From time immemorial people have noticed and joked about politicians lying. E.g., "How do you know a politician is lying?" "His lips are moving." Or, how about President Biden last October promising Israel: "We will continue to have Israel's back as you work to defend your people.”

    Now we're supposed to treat Trump's lies as something new and uniquely bad. No, lies are normal for politicians.

    1. There is a long-running running joke about dropping soap in prison shower rooms.
      Now, we're supposed to treat rape as something new and uniquely bad. No, rape is normal in the USA.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. I'm so old I can remember a world before Trump, back when words meant something.
      I miss those days.

    4. "Our commitment to Israel's security against these threats from Iran and its proxies is ironclad," Presidentish Joe Biden said at a joint press conference Wednesday with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. "Let me say it again: ironclad."

      Yet, Biden is demanding that Israel give Hamas a unilateral ceasefire. And, Biden proxies are publicly talking about Israel being as evil as Hamas.

      When two statements are inconsistent, at least one of them must be false.

    5. David in Cal,
      We can't afford to protect Israel. Have you seen the size of the USA's deficit Republican voters don't give a shit about?

    6. If you don't think orange Jesus's lies are unique and unprecedented, there's something seriously the fuck wrong with you, Dickhead in Cal. You have sunk to a level of depravity I didn't think possible.

    7. Biden is asking Israel to stop engaging in a genocide and stop trying to incite a broader war, if you have a problem with that agenda, you are likely psychotic, and certainly a lost soul.

    8. Our main problem today is the border. We can't afford to aid Israel. Our second most important problem is abortion. We must not let Israel distract us from protecting the unborn here at home.

    9. 12:46,
      Re: the border and protecting the unborn
      These problems are nothing that bringing back the 90% top income tax, and rolling back Trump's HUGE tax breaks for corporations can't solve.

    10. We can't afford the taxes we're already paying. We can't afford Israel.

    11. Quaker in a BasementApril 11, 2024 at 1:44 PM

      "And, Biden proxies are publicly talking"

      Biden "proxies."

      Why not just start out your post with, "Here's another transparent misdirection," eh, DiC? "Joe Biden said A, but another person (who I won't bother to name) said somewhere, some time that A and B might be true. LIES! LIES!"

    12. Quaker -- I was thinking of John Kirby.

    13. Quaker in a BasementApril 11, 2024 at 2:35 PM

      This John Kirby right here?

      “You can’t read that manifesto and not think that this is a terror organization with truly genocidal inclinations against Israel and the Israeli people. What they did on the seventh of October — you cannot look at anything from that day and not come away believing that this group is evil,” Kirby adds, while avoiding characterizing Israel as “good” or commenting on the Jewish state’s conduct at all.

      Source: The Times of Israel,

    14. Quaker -- correct. I can't find it, but just a few days ago this same John Kirby was comparing Israel to Hamas. President Biden also made this comparison.

    15. But you "can't find it."

      I see.

    16. Kirby:
      “This word ‘genocide’ is getting thrown around in a pretty inappropriate way by lots of different folks,” said Kirby. “What Hamas wants, make no mistake about it, is genocide. They want to wipe Israel off the map. They’ve said so publicly on more than one occasion—in fact, just recently."


    17. This is what DIC is lying about: Secretary of State Blinken said the following "As has been said, whoever saves a life, saves the entire world. That's our strength. It's what distinguishes us from terrorists like Hamas. If we lose that reverence for human life, we risk becoming indistinguishable from those we confront." This is a truism. It's complete, noncontroversial boilerplate. 
      John Kirby was then asked about Blinken's comment by Wolf Blitzer (Blitzer paraphrased Blinken's comment poorly):
      BLITZER: You heard Secretary Blinken earlier today suggest -- he warned that there's a real risk. The way Israel is waging its war in Gaza right now is making it indistinguishable from Hamas. How close is Israel to that point?

      KIRBY: Well, it's difficult to say on a scale like that. I mean, we have to remember, Hamas -- there was a ceasefire in place on the 6th of October. Hamas broke it. Mr. Sinwar chose to start this war. Mr. Sinwar and Hamas fighters choose to bury themselves under hospitals and civilian infrastructure, use the innocent people of Gaza as human shields.
      They are increasingly placing innocent Palestinians at greater risk as well. I think we can't equate what they did on the 7th of October to the kinds of operations that Israel is conducting.
      That said, and we've been clear about this too, it's not just the right and responsibility of the IDF to go after Hamas. It's the way they do it that matters. And it is the way that they have been doing it in recent weeks and months that have caused increasing frustration by us in terms of civilian casualties, the damage to civilian infrastructure and now the potential impact on humanitarian organizations being fearful of moving into Gaza.

    18. @ Mike L
      Ha. He's clearly "talking about Israel being as evil as Hamas," here, yeah? Good find.

      Something jumped out for me in the transcript you snipped: "Secretary of State Blinken said the following 'As has been said, whoever saves a life, saves the entire world.'"

      Blinken isn't the originator of that treasured aphorism. I would recommend anyone interested to research its origin.

    19. Thanks for finding that Mike. That's what I was thinking of.

      Kirby's comparison of Israel to Hamas may be ambiguous, but Secretary of State Blinken clearly made such a comparison (if one can trust Wolf Blitzer): "The way Israel is waging its war in Gaza right now is making it indistinguishable from Hamas."

      BTW when President quotes casualty figures from Hamas as if they were reliable, is that a falsehood? Biden or his experts ought to know that Hamas figures are unreliable. E.g., see

    20. DIC, are you being serious? As I've painstakingly explained twice (now three times), Blitzer was paraphrasing (badly) the following quote from Blinken:
      "As has been said, whoever saves a life, saves the entire world. That's our strength. It's what distinguishes us from terrorists like Hamas. If we lose that reverence for human life, we risk becoming indistinguishable from those we confront."

    21. The quote about saving lives is literally from the Talmud.

  8. OJ Simpson has died.

  9. Also, Bob’s reaction to Drum’s piece is suspiciously faulty, Drum is much more
    critical of Berliner (though probably still
    too generous) than you would know from
    reading Bob.

    1. Bob links to Berliner, but not go Drum…hmmmmm…

    2. Drum made misleading and inaccurate claims re. Russiagate.

      1. "Mueller specifically said he never even addressed "collusion" because it's not a legal term." (misleading - he substituted 2 other legal terms for it and then stated there was none found.)

      2. "However, he did document a large number of links between Trump and Russia. These links are the things everyone was reporting about, and Mueller mostly confirmed that they had happened." (inaccurate - the links were not the things everyone was reporting about, plus Mueller said this about the links: The Office identified multiple contacts—“links,” in the words of the Appointment Order—
      between Trump Campaign officials and individuals with ties to the Russian government. The
      Office investigated whether those contacts constituted a third avenue of attempted Russian
      interference with or influence on the 2016 presidential election ... Based on the available
      information, the investigation did not establish such coordination.

      Bob, Drum's response to the accusations by the NPR reporter show how poorly liberal media and bloggers have served and still serve their readers re. Russiagate and Mueller. They can't bring themselves to report bad news.

    3. 12:31, orange chickenshit is still colluding with Russia, all during his presidency, right to this very day. But thanks for your thoughts, dickhead.

    4. Russia is a gate and has always been a gate. We just try to be nice to them because they sold us Alaska at a good price.

    5. @12:31 PM
      "They can't bring themselves to report bad news."

      You think they are TDS-affected good-decent persons? Not likely, I think. They are simply operatives doing the job they're paid for. They know they're producing garbage, poisoning the well.

    6. "they are simply operatives doing the job they're paid for."

      Drum isn't though. What is his excuse?

    7. It's interesting in that Drum probably could not tell his readers the truth about Russiagate. If he did, he would be cast out of the club. There's no dissent allowed - especially if it involves a major truth that the audience in diapers can't handle. Reading the comment makes one wonder where do they find such idiots? Such incurious, childish dopes?

    8. “A major truth that the audience can’t handle.” Sounds like you are describing Trump voters.

    9. "Sounds like you are describing Trump voters."

      Exactly. Which backs up Somerby's claims about our side of the two warring tribes being as deeply stupid as theirs. Drum's commenters on that story are embarrassingly ignorant and childish.

    10. Damn, I almost completely forgot that Donald J Chickenshit completely obstructed Mueller, tampered with witnesses, dangled pardons and then installed his coverup specialist, Barr, to misrepresent the report. Good job, shit for brains. Get back to us when Donald j Chickenshit testifies under oath like he agreed to do.

    11. "Drum isn't though."

      Why not? I think it's likely that he is.

    12. He doesn't seem like the type. I'm going to email him about his misrepresentation of Russiagate. But it's religious dogma all the way through on that topic. Which is incredible because the report is right there for everyone to read.

      "the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities" First fucking page. It's nuts.

    13. Are you talking about the investigation that obstructed 10 different ways by Donald J Chickenshit and the one he refused to answer questions under oath to? LOL, that was a good one, Boris.

    14. But not all liberals (formerly) of the media do it; see Taibbi, Greenwald. It's not impossible to be honest. At this time, you will not be killed, or jailed, or committed to an asylum. You will not be welcome at the trough, that's all.

    15. Taibbi and Greenwald are Putin's most favorite liberals. Bwahahahaha!!!! Keep going, Boris.

    16. "You will not be welcome at the trough, that's all." Yes. It's interesting. It's a little surprising to me at how cowardly they are.

    17. Republican voters would have to be influenced by a foreign actor, to elect a bigot to be President of the United States. Said no one ever.


    18. The NPR employee noted the pervasive whiteness of NPR:

      Despite all the resources we’d devoted to building up our news audience among blacks and Hispanics, the numbers have barely budged. In 2023, according to our demographic research, 6 percent of our news audience was black, far short of the overall U.S. adult population, which is 14.4 percent black. Hispanics were only 7 percent, compared to the overall Hispanic adult population, around 19 percent. Our news audience doesn’t come close to reflecting America. It’s overwhelmingly white and progressive, and clustered around coastal cities and college towns.

      This reflects the whole Democratic Party and legacy media and especially blogs: it's all whites. Privileged white dead-ender anchorites who traded one religion for another.

    19. This comment has been removed by the author.

    20. NPR is a superb news organization, at least the national shows. I can't speak to the quality of local shows as I don't listen to them. They cover things in an extremely thorough, balanced way. I can tell that no one on here has spent much time actually listening to the major NPR national shows (like Morning Edition). There's no way you could honestly dismiss them as not being models of quality journalism. The claim that a large number of its staff are registered Democrats means nothing. The quality of their coverage is what matters. (Same applies to the claim that most of their staff is white.)

      Regarding the supposed debunking of Drum's post:  "Mueller specifically said he never even addressed 'collusion' because it's not a legal term." This is perfectly accurate. It MIGHT be misleading -- it depends on if the non-legal term "collusion" is perfectly synonymous with the LEGAL definition of "coordination" and "conspiracy." I'd like to see how Drum would reply to the accusation that it's misleading.

      "inaccurate - the links were not the things everyone was reporting about..."

      I have no idea what you mean. The links were probably the single biggest topic of news coverage related to indications of possible Trump-Russia collusion. (Maybe the Steele Dossier came close.) I haven't seen a statistical analysis of coverage. Feel free to share if you have one. The links were what fueled the (well grounded) suspicions of collusion, which it's worth pointing out hasn't been disproven -- there is a lot of circumstantial evidence, even if it isn't sufficient for a criminal charge, and Trump and his criminal cronies (Manafort and Stone) obstructed the investigation, so there is likely stronger evidence that we'll never know about. Btw, why would they do that? I know if I'm innocent of something that law enforcement is investigating, I'm going to cooperate instead of risking getting in trouble by obstructing justice. And why do you suppose Trump dangled the prospect of presidential pardons during the height of the investigation? It should never be forgotten that Trump did this and later followed through with those pardons, pardoning Stone and Manafort for their obstruction, plus pardoning Manafort for his other crimes uncovered during the investigation. You guys ok with that? Of course you are -- no matter what Trump (or Putin for that matter) does, you'll defend it.

    21. Also too, the Republican Senate Majority investigating Russian election interference after the 2016 election FOUND IT!!!

    22. @3:39 PM
      This doesn't exactly answer all the questions, but it's relevant, I think. Taibbi interviewing Chris Hedges:

      But you probably won't see the whole thing without subscription.

    23. Thanks for the link. Anxious to read it. At some point the media and the Dems will have to come clean about the Russia hoax. If anything, to get some credibility back. But they are so invested in it. It's the mother of all snowball lies.

      And the Putin evil villain narrative works so well with these gullible white people. I never would have thought that possible for that to work to the extreme degree it has. Deceiving people with unreasonable fears about the outside world that involve evil conspiracies and persecutions is a way to control them.

    24. "the Putin evil villain narrative"

      It's interesting how propaganda likes to personalize, anthropomorphize geopolitical conditions and social/political phenomena. It's like Emmanuel Goldstein and the "two-minute hate" in 1984.

      Osama bin Laden. Saddam Hussein, Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump. I'm surprised it's "Hamas" now, instead of a some specific face and name to hate.

    25. Hilarious. Kind of like the lefties on here blame Biden for the "genocide" in Gaza, and the right-wingers blame him for, well, everything - including inflation.

  10. Quaker in a BasementApril 11, 2024 at 2:24 PM

    "Were we omniscient like the great god Zeus, how many of Donald J. Trump's (many) "false claims" would qualify as 'lies?' It isn't easy to know such things,"

    Perhaps it would be best, then, to erase this offending word from the English language altogether? We can't seem to ever know that we apply it accurately, so what is its usefulness as a part of our language?

    I say we *can* use it fairly and accurately and we can apply it correctly to some statements of the former president. We know, for example, that Trump has been told by various trusted allies and subordinates that the 2020 election was not marred with widespread voter fraud. He has been told many times that he did, indeed, lost that election.

    Nevertheless, Trump continues to tell his followers--repeatedly--that his election victory was stolen from him and leading experts have determined that it happened as he says.

    Is it possible that Trump believes what he is saying? And if he believes it, can we say with certainty he is "lying?"

    In American law and in everyday life, we rely on the concept of a "reasonable person." Would any "reasonable person" find evidence in a trial convincing? Would a "reasonable person" fall victim to fraudulant misrepresentations? Would a "reasonable person" consider specific language offensive? Our greatest jurists rely on this foundational concept, even though they might struggle to define the idea precisely.

    Given the number of times we know that Trump has been told that the 2020 election was on the square AND the underhanded efforts Trump expended in trying to subvert the outcome, would any reasonable person conclude that he actually believes he was deprived of victory in the election by dishonest balloting?

    No. Of course not.

    This is what Trump does. He asserts baldly false facts then, when called out, sets about a campaign of deflection and distraction until the original point is forgotten. Meanwhile, his false statement stands.

    Birtherism, for example.

    So yes, Trump lies. He lies knowingly and repeatedly. Can we know his thoughts or whether he believes he's being truthful? If the standard we apply requires certainty in knowing his inner thoughts, then no, we can't ever know. The acusation of "lie" is always, well, a lie in itself. Strike it from the language.

    A reasonable person, however, can determine that Trump has heard the truth about the election many, many times from sources that are reliable. We have observed his own attempts to substitute his own version of facts to undermine the truth. In this way, reasonable people can reach a reasonable conclusion.

    Trump is lying.

    1. @Quaker

      I thought this was a good essay, despite Bob's incessant harping on the subject of lies – but he has a good point. Trump is undoubtedly mentally ill, and part of that illness has emphasized a persecution complex at this point (not totally unfounded), so even if he were told by subordinates that the election was hunky-dory, he may perceive their advice as proof of his persecution – and hence “lies.” Who knows with such a person, (Trump), the point of the essay, and the many before it.

      Been following this blog for a long time. You know what you’re wading into, media criticism with some rather interesting asides, but I often find his work entertaining and often erudite, not always, but entertainment isn’t really the point.


    2. Trump is not “undoubtedly mentally ill.” He is undoubtedly a criminal and con artist.

    3. @ Leroy Then let's just retire the word. It serves no function.

    4. OF COURSE Trump is lying!! He's been caught over and over again lying -- he lies to his wives, he lies about his golf game, he lies about the value of his properties, he lied about sending investigators to Hawaii to investigate Obama's birth certificate and how "you wouldn't believe" the things they were finding out out. The man is a pathological liar. OF COURSE he's lying about the election. Steve Bannon said BEFORE the election that Trump's plan was to say he won regardless of the outcome. He wasn't only told repeatedly by his own team that he lost, but he was told by the most senior members of his team that they had looked into specific claims of cheating and found them to be false, and yet he would turn right around the following day and spout those same false claims at one of his rallies. Someone testified under oath that once or twice in private he even acknowledged that he lost. He's a fucking liar, a cheat, a conman, a fraudster who doesn't give a shit about the country, only about himself. To give someone with his track record the benefit of the doubt is a form of "madness" (to use Somerby's term) in and of itself.

    5. "He's a fucking liar, a cheat, a conman, a fraudster who doesn't give a shit about the country, only about himself."
      In other words, a Republican.

    6. Anonymouse 6:16, exactly. It doesn’t matter who runs on the Republican ticket, you’ll have them “worse than Trump” in half a minute.

      You will still be in front of a mirror ranting, gesticulating, pulling your hair out, and practicing all your other poses.

    7. I don’t pull my hair out.

    8. Anonhmouse flying monkey, which hair on your body is no longer growing back? Your head or your pubes?

    9. Both. I’m that old.

    10. Anonymouse Flying Monkey, don’t go cowering on us now, big shot.

    11. Cecelia shows up and discussion ends.

    12. Anonymouse 8:39pm, no, you’re able to continue haranguing Bob.

    13. I still don’t understand what my dear friend Cecelia was saying about the anonymouse’s hair.

    14. Cecelia would like to like anonymouses hair.

  11. From Mediaite:

    "During his poolside speech at the “Border 9/11 Gala” at Mar-a-Lago, Trump suggested that the 2024 election could be ended and that he could be declared the winner. Trump started off by claiming he has "experts" that will be watching "the cheating very carefully" and claimed that COVID was used against him last time:

    “We're going to bring our country back. We're going to get out there. We're going to vote. We're going to watch the cheating very carefully. We have great, great experts. They took advantage of COVID last time. We're not going to let that happen."

    Trump then suggested that he has "so many more votes" than Biden that "they could cancel that election" and declare him the winner:

    "Because, I'll tell you what, if it's just by the vote, they could cancel that election. We win that election right now, We have so many more votes than they do, but we have to be very vigilant. We have to be very careful."

    Suggesting that an election can be cancelled to automatically declare a winner comes from threats to democracy. Trump has called himself a dictator on "day one," but his autocratic intentions would likely go unrestrained past one day.

    Ending elections is unconstitutional, but these type of suggestions is what we expect from Trump who attempted to subvert the will of voters in 2020 by scheming to overturn their votes."

    Isn't Trump stating that he will do something he is not allowed to do by law, a kind of lie in the sense that he is saying he will not observe rules that everyone else follows?

    There is a violated expectation that when he runs for an office, he will do the things that other candidates are expected to do. His statements here seem like bad faith to me, but what would be the name for such behavior?

  12. “Did Trump have sex one time in 2006! “

    To be scrupulously honest, Trump was also supposedly having an ongoing affair with Karen McDougal from 2006 to 2007, and he paid her hush money as well, more than Daniels got. We shouldn’t forget about this!

  13. Zeus may have been mentally ill.

    1. Ya think? I mean, raping ladies while disguised as a water fowl? That's messed up.

    2. Hera didn’t get him the compassionate care that he needed.

    3. Didn’t liberals use to call that a man’s “private life”?

    4. I understand he was a real cock.