MADNESS: Madness is as madness does!


Blue America meets Forrest Gump: "Stupid is as stupid does," Forrest Gump famously said.

On occasion, the statement is also attributed to his mother. We can't instantly confirm Mrs. Gump as the original source of the quote.

Stupid is as stupid does? Except in the most egregious cases, we try to avoid that word. We all say dumb or misleading or mistaken things on occasion. 

Also, it's the rare occasion when anyone's views can be said to be wholly and indisputably correct.

That said, Stupid is as stupid does—the statement has lived on within the culture! In our view, it's a bit like that with madness too—and with that state of mind's second cousins.

As we noted yesterday, the madness was general over that forest in A Midsummer Night's Dream. The fairies were out in force that night, and they crept inside human minds.

About a decade later, Shakespeare presented King Lear, taking us to the place where a lord of men was raging on the moors. Subsequently, President Nixon sobbed and punched the floor—and 37 medical health specialists wrote essays saying that another American president seemed to have a (very serious, indeed "dangerous") mental illness problem.

It was obvious madness when Arianna sewed that deeply disturbing fourth button on Candidate Gore's disturbing suit of clothes. That form of madness went on for years, and the sane people knew to shut up.

Along with its second cousins, our madness comes in varied forms! Some forms are more virulent—they may involve clinical "mental illness. But other forms can sweep through crowds in something like a type of tulip mania. 

The term Groupthink is often used in such circumstances, as is the term True Belief. As for the other term we have just used, this is where it comes from:

Tulip mania 

Tulip mania was a period during the Dutch Golden Age when contract prices for some bulbs of the recently introduced and fashionable tulip reached extraordinarily high levels. The major acceleration started in 1634 and then dramatically collapsed in February 1637. It is generally considered to have been the first recorded speculative bubble or asset bubble in history.

In many ways, the tulip mania was more of a then-unknown socioeconomic phenomenon than a significant economic crisis. It had no critical influence on the prosperity of the Dutch Republic, which was one of the world's leading economic and financial powers in the 17th century, with the highest per capita income in the world from about 1600 to about 1720. 

The term tulip mania is now often used metaphorically to refer to any large economic bubble when asset prices deviate from intrinsic values.

Forward markets appeared in the Dutch Republic during the 17th century. Among the most notable was one centered on the tulip market. At the peak of tulip mania, in February 1637, some single tulip bulbs sold for more than 10 times the annual income of a skilled artisan. 

"Your money or your life," Jack Benny said he once heard a mugger say.

"I'm thinking! I'm thinking!" the exasperated skinflint replied.

In the matter of this famous mania, the stakes were a bit different. The madness had driven Dutch citizens to this:

Your wages over the course of a decade for a single tulip!

The tulip mania came and went. Over here, so did the Salem witch trials, roughly sixty years later. In fairness, everyone believed in witchcraft then, including Isaac Newton.

(Full disclosure: Our own Cousin Elizabeth married the Reverend Hale after the madness ended. Reverend Hale had turned against the Salem trials when his own first wife, later deceased, was suddenly accused.)

Madness is as madness does, and it comes in various forms. Sometimes, it can take the form of TribeThink, or even Red or Blue NationThink, especially inside fevered brains.

In fairness, what should be scored as a "fevered brain?" No mathematical formula allows us to make foolproof designations! We're left with matters of subjective assessment—ideally, with us the people trying to form our assessments in good faith.

This brings us to a pair of remarkable documents which have now appeared on the front. Yesterday afternoon, hey sent us back in search of two other documents on which we've never remarked. 

(Also, to Al Sharpton's speech.)

We're going to link you to those four documents now, just to create the resource. We'll start with the two documents which appeared yesterday, then include the two others:

I’ve Been at NPR for 25 Years. Here’s How We Lost America’s Trust.
Uri Berliner. The Free Press, April 9, 2024.
Which Trump lies stick? Republicans believe some falsehoods more than they did six years ago, our poll finds.
Glenn Kessler, Scott Clement and Emily Guskin. The Washington Post, April 9, 2024.
Trump deploys racist tactics as Biden rematch appears likely
Laura Barron-Lopez, Amna Nawaz. The PBS NewsHour, January 26, 2024.

Interview with cult expert Steven Hassan
Joy Reid, The ReidOut, April 2, 2024.

Then too, we'll cite an astoundingly negative book review, recently published by The Atlantic. 

Long ago, we knew one of the book's two authors a tad. He's a very good guy, and we vote the same way--but does a cousin to madness possibly lurk in the book which was reviewed beneath this headline?

An Utterly Misleading Book About Rural America

Are fairies dancing in a forest inside that new book? We haven't read the book, but we can't say the idea is impossible.

Wow! For scholars of mania and / or madness and its various cousins, yesterday was truly A Day That Was. 

For starters, we'll direct you to Kevin Drum's post about the first document on that list—the document which emerged from deep inside NPR. Kevin's post appears beneath this headline:

The peculiar tale of NPR’s decline and fall

We had read the FreePress essay in question before we saw Kevin's post. We had reacted to the first three items in that essay in much the same way Kevin did—though we will record one difference:

Kevin opined that the author, NPR's Ira Berliner, had "fallen prey to a sort of conventional centrist wisdom." We were struck by the lack of basic analytical skill on display in those first three chunks of Berliner's essay, even coming from a highly regarded member of the American mainstream press elite.

(More on that tomorrow.)

Full disclosure! We also agreed with some criticisms of Kevin's post—criticisms which were offered in comments. We also thought that some of the other comments to Kevin's post showed the shape of the problem we now all live with—the (alleged) problem under review at this site this week.

We'll have to spend a few more days critiquing the contents of those four documents. We think they show a type of madness-adjacent behavior which is infesting, and failing to help. our own Blue America tribe.

For today, we'll leave it at this:

We were most directly struck by the headline atop that Washington Post report. Has an editorial Rubicon been crossed? Once again, the headline says this:

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

To our eye, it looks like an editorial Rubicon has been crossed. 

During the Trump presidency (and beyond), Kessler's long list of Trump's misstatements never used the term "lies." 

At the Post's FactChecker site, Kessler would report the precise number of Trump's misstatements, a slightly overwrought type of journalistic act in itself. 

But when Kessler counted the many misstatements, he would only refer to falsehoods and misleading statements; he wouldn't refer to "lies." Now, it looks like that bond-simple, age-old distinction has been tossed.

It's the most obvious distinction in the book!  A misleading statement or a simple falsehood won't typically be a "lie!" 

That's such a boneheaded, age-old distinction that it defies belief when major journalists and academics decide to conflate the terms. But when fairies start dancing in the forest, it turns out that our most "highly-educated" leadership cadres are eager to wipe away such distinctions. 

At times like these, when the tulips scream, our flawed brains tell us to go there. Fairies danced in the forest and Lear raged on the moors; and Blue America's elites love to do that.

We blame it all on David Corn, who we knew and very much liked long ago. We blame it all on Lawrence O'Donnell.

At Fox, Mark Levin is now "The Man Who Screams." To see (a small part of) Lawrence's famous screaming attack from the days of the Bush-Kerry campaign, you can just click here.

We saw it happen live! It went on and on, then on and on, right through a commercial break and into the next segment. For the record, it wasn't a helpful performance at all. Nor was it clear that John O'Neill was even wrong in his assertions, let alone that he was lying.

Was a bit of madness involved that night? If so, such things sometimes happen. This seems to be the full transcript.

Madness once gripped Agamemnon, lord of men. It held him for more than nine years.

Madness gripped Chris Matthews for twenty months all through Campaign 2000. Earlier, we had lunched with Chris at The Palm.

The mainstream madness was all around during that twenty-month campaign. We chronicled it day after day, sending out mailers as we did, but no one stood up and said so.

Later, Kevin asked, in a slightly annoyed fashion, why we kept saying it so much. Our answer came to us straight from Olympus:

We've kept saying it because we can't get anyone else to do so!

The people we're told to trust today all knew it was going on. Aside from a few tiny dollops here and there, they also chose not to tell you.

In fairness, we wouldn't call that madness at all. We'll guess it was income protection!

Tomorrow: What Uri Berliner said

This afternoon: Amazingly, Gutfeld! again


  1. Somerby calls the blue tribe stupid today -- Forest Gump stupid -- all without providing any evidence. That is just name calling. But why is a supposed liberal calling our blue tribe names like stupid? I suspect it is because Somerby is lying about being any kind of liberal.

    1. This is an example of the "see no evil" attitude that I referred to the other day. When a group has a problem, they need to face reality in order to fix the problem.

    2. Hey, Dickhead in Cal, Donald J Chickenshit just took a huge shit on the women of Arizona. Take a bow, fuckhead.

    3. The problem we have is that Republicans are hell bent on NOT solving problems. Until this is resolved, society will continue it's decline.

    4. Quaker in a BasementApril 10, 2024 at 1:24 PM

      @ DiC
      Nameless, faceless expert manipulators are clearly to blame.

    5. Speaking of "see no evil", Dickhead in Cal.

      Donald J Chickenshit just took a huge dump on the women of Arizona. crickets from you, you fucking treasonous bastard.

    6. Jewish people need to face the crimes of Zionism. Many younger Jews do so. Now it's time for older Jews to be honest.

  2. The lies told by "50 intelligence officials" and the banning of the New York Post on Twitter for telling the truth, and two years of lying about Russia "collusion" have done even more than 1000 Daily Howlers to destroy the credibility of the lying legacy media.

    Most of us recognized the lying in real time and watched in astonishment as the dullard cattle who vote for Democrats swallowed it whole.

    1. Swallowed what whole? What are you talking about?

    2. Russia is still colluding to this day to get orange chickenshit back in office.

    3. The lie was that Hunter Biden's laptop was Russian disinformation. In fact, it really was Hunter's laptop and it confirmed some of the charges against the Bidens. The truth was suppressed by the mainstream media and the big social media sites until after Biden was elected.

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    5. it confirmed some of the charges against the Bidens.
      Really? Against the Bidens? Like what?

    6. Are you objecting to the word "charges"? Or is it that you never heard of any accusations (or "allegations", if you prefer)?

    7. Didn't the laptop confirm that Hunter was doing business with China, something that Joe Biden lied about by saying he was not?

    8. Saying that it was Hunter's laptop and saying that the contents of the laptop originated with Hunter Biden are two distinct things. There is plenty of evidence that the content was modified and did not come from Hunter Biden.

      Saying that some of the charges against the Bidens were confirmed only makes sense if the contents of the laptop were untouched and originated with Hunter Biden. That is not the case. The info was suppressed because it could not be verified. It still has not been verified.

      "Neither analyst could verify the vast majority of the data, nor could they find clear evidence of tampering but they note "key pieces of evidence useful in discovering tampering were not available." In some cases, The Post matched content to other sources "that the experts were not able to assess"."

      Neither analyst could verify the vast majority of the data, nor could they find clear evidence of tampering but they note "key pieces of evidence useful in discovering tampering were not available." In some cases, The Post matched content to other sources "that the experts were not able to assess". The unverifiable emails included some prominently reported previously by other news outlets. The analysis found that people other than Hunter Biden had created six new folders on the drive over a week after the original report by the New York Post and months after the laptop had been taken into FBI custody. It also found that data had been accessed and copied off the drive by people other than Hunter Biden over the course of nearly three years.[4]

      Despite persistent allegations that the laptop contents indicated corruption by Joe Biden, a joint investigation by two Republican Senate committees released in September 2020 did not find wrongdoing by him, nor did a Republican House Oversight committee investigation by November 2023.[12][13][14][15][16],were%20not%20able%20to%20assess%22.

    9. Joe Biden never lied about business in China; indeed, it was Trump and his family that scammed hundreds of millions off China while he was flubbing his presidency.

      The pertinent reveal of Hunter's laptop is that he has a well sized penis, as opposed to Republicans and the little whiners that slink around here, who are ashamed of their undersized components.

      No shame, fools! Some say it's not the size of the boat but the motion of the ocean.

    10. There's nothing on that laptop, even if taken to be accurate, that implicates Joe Biden in anything.

    11. Is that a fact, or is it your opinion formed by tribal propaganda?

      What about this his complaining about "Pop" taking half of his "salary"? Some see it as not "nothing".

    12. Joe Biden seems to have a healthy and wonderful relationship with his wife and children, in stark contrast to the Trumps and their sleaziness.

      Recall Trump had sex with a porn star who was looking to get cast on his tv show, shortly after his "wife" gave birth to their child. To be fair, Trump had warned his wife that she had a week to lose the baby weight. Recall too that Trump treats his children quite poorly, except for Ivanka who Trump considers hot and would like to also have sex with.

      Biden is old, true, but I will take that any day over Trump, who is old, mentally declining, corrupt, and generally disgusting.

      With careful consideration, I will be voting for Biden.

    13. Or this, example:
      "“Your question- ‘why does Super Chair love me so much?’ is easily answered. It has nothing to do with me and everything to do with my last name,” the younger Biden wrote to Archer in a Sept. 22, 2011, missive about his relationship with Chinese businessman Che Feng."

    14. Nobody can figure out why the Saudi Princes have such a weird affection for Donald J Chickenshit's idiot son-in-law. Anyone have any guesses?

    15. He's not an idiot-moonbat?

    16. Biden said his son earned no money from China. Washington Post fact check on that: Four Pinocchios

      He was obviously lying when he said that. Because of the laptop, we know this.

      " The Washington Post reported last year that documents, including emails found on a Hunter Biden laptop that emerged during the final weeks of the 2020 presidential campaign, showed that over the course of 14 months, the CEFC and its executives paid $4.8 million to entities controlled by Hunter Biden and President Biden’s brother, James. "

    17. Jared graduated from Harvard

    18. Following is from Kevin Drum's post (go to his original post to see his emphasis and supporting links):

      In the first half [of Berliner's critique of NPR], he offers three examples of stories where NPR "faltered," and not one of them has anything to do with racism, transphobia, and so forth. Nor is it clear the NPR actually faltered much. Here they are:

      *NPR ran lots of stories about Donald Trump's collusion with Russia but never issued a mea culpa when special prosecutor Robert Mueller exonerated him.

      Mueller specifically said he never even addressed "collusion" because it's not a legal term. 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. He just didn't think they rose to the level of indictment.

      *NPR ignored the Hunter Biden laptop story during the tail end of the 2020 presidential campaign. But the laptop later turned out to be real.

      "Later" is doing a lot of work here. At the time the laptop story was dodgy in the extreme. The narrative about a blind PC repair guy who just happened to contact Rudy Giuliani was bizarre. Multiple outlets passed on the story before the New York Post ran it, and even one of their reporters was so skeptical he refused to allow his byline to be used. Other reporters who followed up on the story found nothing. Giuliani refused to let anyone examine the hard drive. There was never any evidence implicating Joe Biden. The entire thing bore all the hallmarks of Republican ratfuckery and deserved to be treated skeptically by reputable journalists.

      *NPR consistently reported that COVID-19 had a natural origin even though there was plenty of evidence that it might have been the result of a lab leak.

      In this case NPR was entirely in the right. The authors of "Proximal Origins," which supported the natural origins theory very early on, didn't have any secret doubts about what they wrote. There's no serious evidence that Anthony Fauci or anyone else manipulated evidence in favor of natural origins. The lab leak theory was motivated from the start not by scientific evidence but by (admittedly legitimate) suspicion of China's behavior combined with the coincidence of the virus breaking out in a city that contained a major bio-lab. The lab leak hypothesis has always been unlikely, and over time has gotten ever more unlikely. It's all but completely discredited now.

      In all three of these instances, Berliner has fallen prey to a sort of conventional centrist wisdom that requires liberal reporters to bend over backward in order to be "fair" to right-wing inventions. But at least in these three cases, conservatives don't have a leg to stand on. Berliner is accusing NPR of nothing more than exercising pretty good editorial judgment.

    19. A laptop that passed through so many hands and had obviously modified files, is not a source of evidence about income from China or anything else. If there were evidence against any Biden, it would have come up during the hearings, but it didn't. There was not proof of any wrongdoing against the Bidens, much as Republicans tried their hardest to come up with something.

    20. I am sure Jared got into Harvard purely on merit, fuckface.

    21. He unfairly took your place in Harvard, idiot-moonbat, and ruined your life.

    22. Nobody can figure out why the Saudi Princes have such a weird affection for Donald J Chickenshit's idiot son-in-law. Anyone have any guesses?

      Go fuck yourself, mao-mao

    23. Nobody cares about maniacal idiot-moonbattery, idiot-moonbat.

    24. "A laptop that passed through so many hands and had obviously modified files, is not a source of evidence about income from China or anything else. "

      Why not? That doesn't make sense.

    25. Doesn't make sense to you, because you're a fucking moron. Ever hear of "chain of custody"? Who in their fucking right mind would trust Rudy and Russian goon friends?

    26. The original comment doesn't make sense. All one would have to do to verify that the files are real is check against the record.

      Have you really thought this through?

    27. Are you trolling as a joke? Are you saying nonsensical things just to try to be funny or to get attention? All that was done was to ask the people that the laptop showed Hunter to be emailing, if they received an email. Or simply check the bank records if the files on the laptop said a certain amount of money was deposited from China. Right? What am I missing?

    28. @1:23 Yes Jared’s admission into Harvard was helped by a huge donation his family made. But he did the work and graduated. So he isn’t stupid.

    29. He sounds pretty fucking stupid to me, Dickhead in Cal. Do you think there was a snowball's chance in hell they were going to kick that trustfund baby's ass out of Harvard?

    30. @2:22 They did that and found that new material had been added to the laptop and that existing files had been modified. Because the laptop had passed through so many hands, the material on it was considered unreliable (bogus).

    31. Getting into a top school and then graduating from it does not prove that someone did the work themselves.

    32. Let me make this easy for NBC, because they seem to misunderstand this.

      Over 1,500 days after receiving the laptop, the FBI has not done the things it would need to do to validate the laptop. They don’t have an index of what they have and they don’t know how all the embedded back-ups relate to one another. Without that, they cannot make representations that the laptop was not tampered with. Indeed, they’re making laughably false claims about what they have found uniquely on the laptop, a testament that they don’t have the most basic understanding about the laptop.

      Additionally, Hines’ description of the source for the texts between Hallie and Hunter Biden makes it highly likely they came from a device backup that was protected by a password when the FBI got the laptop. Accessing that content without a follow-up warrant — which they did before they got the 2020 warrants that may rely on it — may be a Fourth Amendment violation under Riley. And particularly given that Hunter had just lost two phones in the days before such texts would have been sent, it raises real questions about both their provenance and the compilation of the laptop itself.

      Since Derek Hines made dubious claims on January 16 that the laptop was “largely duplicative” of material found in Hunter Biden’s iCloud, we’ve since learned one reason he was so squirrelly when he made that claim: his most important evidence for the gun crime doesn’t appear to be duplicated in Hunter’s iCloud. And unless the FBI conducted an unlawful search of Hunter’s digital evidence — or unless they indicted based on what they had seen in Murdoch publications — they did not learn that until months after they charged the President’s son. And they didn’t learn that because four years after obtaining the laptop, the FBI has still never taken basic steps to understand what is on it.

    33. 2:30 Hi. How are you?

      A vast majority of the data on the laptop could not be verified. Data had been repeatedly accessed and copied by people other than Hunter Biden.

      However, thousands of emails from the laptop have been verified as authentic by security experts. They found that nearly 22,000 emails carried cryptographic signatures that could be verified using technology that would be difficult for even the most sophisticated hackers to fake.

      And like I said - all you have to do is ask the person who was allegedly receiving an email form Hunter, if they received an email from Hunter. Right?

    34. Unless they are colluding to attest to a fake email. Since you can’t rule that out, the lack of Hunter’s control over the laptop invalidates any statement about its contents.

    35. 2:59 LOL!!! Funny.

    36. Why the hell does no one mention Jared cashing in on $2B from KSA, $300 million from UAE, a $ billion from Qatar, etc.; while he was the mid-east peace envoy working for the President. Fucking Hunter is a lousy tens of million of dollars piker, who was not working for the President when he got the money.

    37. Jared money was an investment. Hunter was straight cash in exchange for ... ????

    38. Go blow smoke up somebody else's ass, Boris. Jared's money was an investment alright (LOL), in what nobody is quite sure yet. and a payoff as well.

    39. You do agree that the Biden family was receiving millions and millions of dollars from communist China for .... ????????????

      You have to admit that the Biden family was getting millions from China and Joe lied about it. There's no way you could dispute that. It's indisputable.

      So I'm just saying what about ... Bidens y China y mucho dinero por nada amigo!!!

    40. We can discuss Jared at a later date

    41. Nobody thinks that about any Bidens. That’s what the Trumps do.

    42. People told me they think about Bidens, China and millions of dollars flowing into shell companies. And sports cars.

    43. Checkout this headline from Fox news:
      "The epic size of Hunter Biden's cock has many Republicans interested in making him their 2024 Presidential nominee."

    44. 7:03 pm,

      No I don't agree, Boris.

  3. Somerby continues to be preoccupied with madness. What a waste of space this blog is.

  4. Thank God he isn't talking about Troy today.

  5. Is Forest Gump an improvement over Homer?

  6. Meanwhile, Political Wire is reporting that Biden has pulled ahead in the national polls. That leaves Somerby's prior histrionic hair-pulling looking pretty foolish.

    1. Imagine having political debates with people who hate the citizens of the United States of America so much, they think they would elect a rapist to be President of their country.
      This is what we, on the Left, has to deal with.


  7. "The peculiar tale of NPR’s decline and fall"

    It did decline, obviously, but it didn't fall. It still attracts hordes of brain-dead liberals. And that's 25% of the population; a respectable niche.

    Also, what's so peculiar about it? It's been happening to all state-run media.

    1. More projection by the 11:08 troll working off an ancient script.

  8. The tulip mania story comes from an amazing book, "Extraordinary Popular Delusions and The Madness of Crowds"

    Written around 80 years ago, it's still in print, and justifiably so. Everyone should read it.

    1. The tulip mania story doesn't come from any book, David. It's a real story.

    2. The book I recommended is a non-fiction history book. What I meant was that people today know about tulip mania because of this book.

      BTW the chapter on John Law is particularly relevant after today's disappointing inflation report. The chapter on witch trials was eye-opening to me. I had no idea of the extent and duration of this mania.

    3. The book is nearly 200 years old (1841) and is full of fiction, including misrepresenting aspects of the Tulip Mania.

      One can read it for a laugh, but it has no current relevancy as we have a learned a thing or two in the 200 years since the book was written; one thing we have learned is that "crowds" tend to be better informed and make better decisions than individuals - in many ways this is exactly what America was founded on.

      DIC is a hopeless case.

    4. "..disappointing inflation report.."

      The CPI was expected to come in at 3.4% growth. It came in at 3.5%, so naturally wall St cretins are jumping out of windows. go fuck yourself, David

    5. @11:48:
      Try leaving your silo for a couple minutes:

    6. I first heard about tulip mania in a history course in college. Somerby repeats his description of it every few years here.

      I find myself wondering why Somerby bothers to write a blog when it seems to be a burden coming up with new material. His repetition of the same themes over and over isn't how most blogs operate. Most writers have new ideas instead of rehashing the same old stuff: Trojans, Wittgenstein, what a doofus Einstein was, Willa Cather, the lady with the lapdog, Robt Frost, Walden Pond, and of course Al Gore's mistreatment. It is tiresome because he never seems to have any new insights about any of these topics. It is as if these old standbys are a shield between Somerby and his audience, permitting him to write without revealing anything of himself, his true thoughts and feelings. As he notes once again, anything is possible, even that he might say something accidentally meaningful in his daily essays.

    7. @12:38 - you think crazes no longer happen? Remember beanie babies?

    8. @12:57 Financial markets are disappointed

      “CPI report for March: Dow Jones tumbles almost 400 points after hotter-than-expected inflation data”

    9. "Dow Jones tumbles almost 400 points"

      Yes, it's going to be more difficult for them to lower the rates for the election, to help the Democrat party.

      It's funny that their beloved WWIII they started may cost them the elections.

    10. Don't worry, the Saudis are cutting their oil production in order to have gas prices spike just in time for the election.

      Nobody can figure out why the Saudi Princes have such a weird affection for Donald J Chickenshit's idiot son-in-law. Anyone have any guesses?

    11. "You think crazes no longer happen? Remember" Truth Social?

    12. "Dow Jones tumbles almost 400 points"
      LOL! A whopping .01%

  9. John Barth and Peter Higgs have died.

  10. Everyone now understands that the Corby comments are fake. I shall no longer flag them. In leaving, I only wish to repeat that I take, and have taken, no funds from Qatar.

  11. Some of Somerby's folly is on display today:

    •excessive literalism
    •specious gleaning of human nature from fictional stories
    •taking things at face value, full stop
    •being pedantic about definitions to the point of making words meaningless
    •believing what people say in polls and surveys
    •avoiding context to make a misleading or false claim


    1. Stipulating to past "folly" doesn't excuse the misbehavior of today's essay:

      making accusations without support
      knocking a book he hasn't read without summarizing any of the reviewer's comments
      pretending NPR is part of the blue tribe
      pretending tulips have anything to do with "madness" or the blue tribe or NPR or Forest Gump
      ignoring all of the rest of the day's events, most of which are hugely important

  12. Here is the worst problem with Somerby's statements today:

    "Are fairies dancing in a forest inside that new book? We haven't read the book, but we can't say the idea is impossible."

    Somerby cites as an example of blue tribe folly, a book he hasn't read. As support, he cites an article that is behind a paywall and thus cannot be read by those of us who do not subscribe to Atlantic. The author of that article appears to have minimal qualifications for attacking the book -- he is not white, doesn't live in any white rural area of America, and his academic specialty is 18th century British literature about apocalyptic change, sci fi, and natural disasters. He might be an interesting guy, but it is hard to see how his expertise intersects White Rage, except that he is on staff at The Atlantic and apparently willing to take on any assignment.

    But that's good enough for Somerby, who now thinks Forest Gump speaks to our times.

    1. Here is Thom Hartmann's take on White Rage:

    2. That's one of the reasons Hispanics are leaving the Democratic Party.

    3. No, univision might be though.

  13. The tenacity with which conservatives cling to their favorite lies about biden illustrates a kind of mental disorder, but no one would call it "madness". It is more like perseveration and delusional thought. A delusion is extraordinarily hard to dislodge, even with contradictory facts. But otherwise non-mad people have delusions that cannot be dislodged.

    The laptop stuff and the beliefs about Joe Biden's crimes are a good example of delusions. Trump's belief that he is being persecuted, that he won in 2020, that he has good hair and is a good golfer, these are all delusions. The problem with delusions is that the person holding one must distort other thinking in order to avoid challenging the delusion, which leads to an imperfect view of reality and that hampers the ability to make good decisions. The more distance between reality and one's perception of it, the more dysfunctional a person becomes in daily life. People then try to limit their exposure to contradictory experience, in order to protect the delusion(s).

  14. DiC - CPI up 3.5% YoY. The Fed will keep interest rates high to cool off this hot economy.

    1. The Fed will keep interest rates high because labor still has leverage over capital.

      Fixed for accuracy.