Friday, May 08, 2020

Week-end Republican hypocrisy round-up

I've been collecting headlines that I thought would be worth writing about, but the sheer volume of insanity coming in on my news feed just seems overwhelming because I read it all against a backdrop of the fact that Donald Trump's approval ratings remain in the mid-40s.  The Senate might be in play, but just barely.  Biden holds a small lead over Trump, but only a small one.  A few months ago one might have been able to rationalize all this by pointing to the strong economy and low unemployment, but that excuse is now long gone.
The American economy plunged deeper into crisis last month, losing 20.5 million jobs as the unemployment rate jumped to 14.7 percent, the worst devastation since the Great Depression.
The Labor Department’s monthly report on Friday provided the clearest picture yet of the breadth and depth of the economic damage — and how swiftly it spread — as the coronavirus pandemic swept the country.
Job losses have encompassed the entire economy, affecting every major industry. Areas like leisure and hospitality had the biggest losses in April, but even health care shed more than a million jobs. Low-wage workers, including many women and members of racial and ethnic minorities, have been hit especially hard.
“It’s literally off the charts,” said Michelle Meyer, head of U.S. economics at Bank of America. “What would typically take months or quarters to play out in a recession happened in a matter of weeks this time.”
Of course, this is not all Trump's fault.  He didn't create the corona virus.  But he certainly hasn't helped the situation:
As the coronavirus pandemic spreads, new details continue to emerge about the way President Donald Trump mishandled the United States’ response.
An investigation by the New York Times has revealed that experts and administration officials tried to warn Trump of the serious nature of the coronavirus pandemic early on. Alerts from high-ranking government experts began as far back as January, six weeks before his administration finally sprang into action on March 16, when he issued concrete guidelines for the public.
The report exhaustively outlines numerous ways in which Trump avoided listening to government authorities as they proposed strategies for dealing with the pandemic. It also details an administration mired in political bickering, which hamstrung officials at every phase of their response. The report prompted epidemiologist Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, to respond that “obviously” lives could have been saved if the government had taken the warnings seriously.
In fact, Trump seems to be actively trying to make things worse:
President Trump said Wednesday he will continue trying to toss out all of the Affordable Care Act, even as some in his administration, including Attorney General William P. Barr, have privately argued parts of the law should be preserved amid a pandemic.

We want to terminate health care under Obamacare,” Trump told reporters Wednesday, the last day for his administration to change its position in a Supreme Court case challenging the law...
That's definitely what you want during a pandemic: to terminate health care.

(On a related note, can we finally dispense with this idea that the Republican party is pro-life?  They say they are pro-life, but as a wise man once said, by their fruits ye shall know them.  The Republican's fruits have dollar signs on them.  They're not pro-life, they're pro-money and pro-enforced-birth.)

Sometimes I really have to wonder what it will take -- how much hypocrisy, how many lies, how big of an economic catastrophe, how much pain, how much death,  -- before Trump supporters start to consider the possibility that maybe, just maybe, Donald Trump is not the savior that he presented himself as.  And of course it's not just Trump, it's the whole festering boil that is today's Republican party, because Trump could not remain in power without their unified sniveling support.  How anyone who is paying attention could continue to support any Republican (with the possible exception of, God help me, Mitt Romney) is just beyond me.

Maybe no one is paying attention?  On that off chance, and because I have this pile of links laying around with still no idea of how to weave them into a coherent narrative, I'm just going to throw them all into this post, partly to vent, and partly in the hopes that someone will see them and go, "Hm, I didn't know about that.  Maybe I need to rethink my support of Republicans."


Let's start with this blatant example of corruption from the William Barr's "justice" department:
The Justice Department’s decision to drop the criminal case against Michael T. Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, even though he had twice pleaded guilty to lying to investigators, was extraordinary and had no obvious precedent, a range of criminal law specialists said on Thursday. 
“I’ve been practicing for more time than I care to admit and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Julie O’Sullivan, a former federal prosecutor who now teaches criminal law at Georgetown University.
I was wondering how the Flynn case was going to play out.  I was expecting Trump to pardon Flynn the day after the November election (because doing so earlier might have been a bridge too far even for the bootlicking brown-nosers that are the current crop of Republican senators) but why bother spending political capital on a pardon when you can just get your attorney general to do your dirty work for you?

The message could not be clearer: cover up for the president and you will be rewarded.  Say anything against the president, and you will be punished:
A senior US government doctor who worked on the search for a coronavirus vaccine has claimed he was fired after resisting Donald Trump’s push to use the unproven drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.

Rick Bright was this week ousted as director of the US health department’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or Barda, and as the deputy assistant secretary for preparedness and response.

In a stunningly candid statement, Bright highlighted his refusal to embrace hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug relentlessly promoted by the president and Fox News despite a lack of scientific studies.

“Specifically, and contrary to misguided directives, I limited the broad use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, promoted by the administration as a panacea, but which clearly lack scientific merit,” Bright said.
Likewise if your job entails making sure that federal money doesn't go to line the Trump family coffers:
President Trump has removed the chairman of the federal panel Congress created to oversee his administration’s management of the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package — the latest action by the president to undermine the system of independent oversight of the executive established after Watergate.

In just the past four days, Trump has ousted two inspectors general and expressed displeasure with a third, a pattern that critics say is a direct assault on one of the pillars of good governance.
Lest you think that I'm being hyperbolic here, read this:
When Congress enacted an emergency plan to send $1,200 checks to every American adult, Republicans joked that President Trump would want to sign his name on the checks. A few weeks later, after the Wall Street Journal reported that Trump was exploring this outlandish desire, a reporter asked, “Is that right? Do you want to sign those checks?” Trump denied it: “No. Me sign? No.”
Last night, the Washington Post reported that Trump’s name will be displayed on every check. A measure passed by both parties to alleviate an economic emergency has been expropriated by his reelection campaign. Trump’s presidency has largely consisted of outrageously corrupt notions proceeding from fearful accusation to accepted reality. Within a few days, this one will also probably be forgotten.
Trump has never respected any meaningful distinction between the federal government and the Trump Organization. He expects every federal employee, especially its law-enforcement agents, to advance his personal political agenda. He has functionally mixed its budget with his own by having the government pour money into his properties, and he has treated its official powers as if they are his own personal chits. The authority he has gained through the emergency response to the coronavirus has vastly expanded the potential for corruption, and every sign indicates that Trump is already engaging in systemic abuse.
Some of the corruption is lingering just below the surface. Trump is speaking constantly with corporate leaders, who can position themselves at the front of the line for federal contracts or relief payments. He supports bailouts for industries with a shaky claim to the public purse, like cruise lines, and has staunchly opposed any rescue for the United States Postal Service, which handles essential government communication. Trump of course has been trying to force the post office to raise rates on Amazon, in retaliation for Jeff Bezos’s ownership of the Washington Post. The economic crisis has put the post office on life support, giving Trump the leverage he wants to make it punish a detested rival.
And, as I noted earlier, it's not just Trump, it really is the whole Republican party.  Consider this from today's news, which would normally be a major scandal, but which no one has even heard of because it's buried under a torrent of even more scandalous that nowadays flows day-in and day-out:
U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, who is also the chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, was captured ordering a local party official to report false election results in a primary race for a state Senate seat in a leaked audio recording released earlier this week.
Eli Bremer, the Republican chairman for state Senate District 10, alleged to The Denver Post that Buck had tried to "bully" him into violating the law.
"You've got a sitting congressman — a sitting state party chair — who is trying to bully a volunteer — I'm a volunteer; I don't get paid for this — into committing a crime," he said. "To say it's damning is an understatement."
None of these things are anomalies.  Republican administrations have been massively more corrupt than Democratic ones going back decades (remember Richard Nixon?):
Republican administrations have vastly more corruption than Democratic administrations. We provide new research on the numbers to make the case.
We compared 28 years each of Democratic and Republican administrations, 1961-2016, five Presidents from each party. During that period Republicans scored eighteen times more individuals and entities indicted, thirty-eight times more convictions, and thirty-nine times more individuals who had prison time.
I take some comfort by indulging in a bit of schadenfreude: Trump seems to be unhappy about the fact that he is not constantly being praised from all corners for the fantastic job he is doing:
President Trump arrives in the Oval Office these days as late as noon, when he is usually in a sour mood after his morning marathon of television.
He has been up in the White House master bedroom as early as 5 a.m. watching Fox News, then CNN, with a dollop of MSNBC thrown in for rage viewing. He makes calls with the TV on in the background, his routine since he first arrived at the White House.
But now there are differences.
The president sees few allies no matter which channel he clicks. He is angry even with Fox, an old security blanket, for not portraying him as he would like to be seen. And he makes time to watch Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s briefings from New York, closely monitoring for a sporadic compliment or snipe.
Confined to the White House, the president is isolated from the supporters, visitors, travel and golf that once entertained him, according to more than a dozen administration officials and close advisers who spoke about Mr. Trump’s strange new life.
...
[T]he president’s primary focus, advisers said, is assessing how his performance on the virus is measured in the news media, and the extent to which history will blame him.
But history will not just judge Trump, it will also judge those who enabled him.  It will judge the Republican senators who passed on the opportunity to remove him from office when they had the chance.  It will judge the voters who voted for Trump and for those senators.  It will judge the state party officials who imposed minority rule on the nation through massive voter suppression in the name of eliminating voter fraud (which is nearly non-existent, except, of course, when perpetrated by Republicans).

And if you vote for a Republican this November -- any Republican -- it will judge you.

36 comments:

Don Geddis said...

I'm sympathetic to your perspective, but ... it does strike me that you honestly don't understand why (so many) voters support Trump. Yes, you can talk about the corrupt politicians, and all of Trump's evil, and perhaps "low information" voters. But at the end of the day, millions and millions of people vote for Trump. That's the core of why the elected representatives support him; because they saw earlier ("Never Trump") politicians attempt to fight the wave ... and they got crushed, politically.

I recommend that you do some introspection. "Everyone else is stupid" is not a plausible explanation for half the country supporting Trump. I actually agree with all the examples you've written about, but I'm surprised you're not more curious, more aware that you must surely be missing some part of this story. There are millions of reasonable, intelligent, informed, thoughtful US voters ... who choose to vote for Trump. Why? I suspect if you're honest with yourself, you don't know why.

(E.g. Caplan's Ideological Turing Test)

Ron said...

@Don:

Of course I don't know why. That's what makes this so frustrating.

I understand why people voted for Trump in 2016. I absolutely don't understand why 40% of the country continues to support him now. In all honesty, the best explanation I can come up with is that the country is full of incompetent xenophobic misogynistic assholes who think it's a feature rather than a bug having an incompetent xenophobic misogynistic asshole in the white house because it lets them feel warm and fuzzy about being incompetent xenophobic misogynistic assholes. After all, if it's good enough for the president of the United States it should be good enough for anyone, right?

Honestly, that's the best I can do. And I actually think I'm not that far off the mark. There is no question that America is home to a fair number of incompetent xenophobic misogynistic assholes. I just never imagined there would be so many of them.

You know, I actually forgot to mention that Trump wants to spend $500M to paint the border wall black so that it will get too hot in the sun for people to climb. It's like it never even occurred to him that someone might try to climb it at night or in the winter.

And, of course, everyone already knows about how he suggested injecting bleach to kill the corona virus. He said it was a "sarcastic question" directed at reporters but if you watch the video it is quite clear that his comments were directed at Debbie Birx. It's also pretty clear that he thinks he's coming up with a brilliant idea because, well, he's a stable genius who understands everything better than anyone so of course he would come up with a brilliant idea.

I'm sorry, but the man is just a total moron. He has one skill: he's a consummate showman, a snake-oil salesman without peer. He excels at nothing else. I get that Mitch McConnell likes him because he appoints judges who are members of the Federalist Society, but is that really worth financial ruin and 100,000 American lives or more? Really?

Someone please explain this to me because you're absolutely right, Don. I don't get it.

Don Geddis said...

@Ron: "40% of the country ... the best explanation I can come up with is that the country is full of incompetent xenophobic misogynistic assholes ... I actually think I'm not that far off the mark."

I think that's not a plausible explanation. While those elements certainly exist, Trump has far, far too much support for that to be the real story. You could try telling that story about David Duke. I don't think you can, about Trump.

I don't want to pretend that I have the answer. But I might suggest that it starts with tribalism: most voters consistently vote either Democrat or Republican throughout most of their voting lives, regardless of the candidates or the issues. They have allegiance and loyalty to a "cause". They may even agree on your basic criticisms, but a flawed candidate for "our team" is surely better than any candidate for the "enemy team". Voting for the other party affects the voter's self-identify.

"He has one skill: he's a consummate showman, a snake-oil salesman without peer."

I agree. But I wouldn't underestimate that either. He directly addresses the actual reasons that people choose their votes. I see you complaining that, logically, people shouldn't want to vote for Trump. But most people don't make decisions (at least, these kinds of decisions) based on logic.

Logic is mostly used for rationalization, to justify a decision that has already been made for (hidden) emotional reasons.

Ron said...

I understand tribalism. I understand why people join cults. I understand charismatic leadership.

What I don't understand is how *so many* people can *continue* to support *this particular* charismatic cult leader *under the present circumstances*. Before Covid I could kinda-sorta see a not-entirely-unreasonable person saying, "Yeah, but the stock market," or "Yeah, but at least he's not Hillary."

But now? With 15% unemployment and counting? More dead in three months than were killed in Vietnam (and counting)? Miles-long lines at food banks? People unable to collect unemployment because they can't get through? Public companies getting PPP loans? And absolutely no plan for going forward other than repealing Obamacare and painting the wall black? I mean, seriously, what the actual fuck?

I can understand a few people sticking with him no matter what. 20%, maybe even 30. (Even Nixon never went below 24%.) But >40%? An approval rating essentially unchanged since the inauguration? That I do not get. It either means that *no one* is persuaded by facts on the ground, or as many people have changed from disapproval to approval as vice-versa. I'm not sure which I find more implausible.

Don Geddis said...

The facts on the ground seem to be that covid is a world-wide pandemic, causing chaos in every country under all forms of leadership. Some nations seems to be doing a little better, many seem to be doing much worse (e.g. Italy, Wuhan). Aside from NYC, the vast majority of the US seems to be "getting by", and the worst personal impact (apparently) has been the heavy-handed self-inflicted local government shelter in place and shutdown of the economy.

It's very, very plausible, not that people are ignoring the unemployment or the deaths, but instead that this clearly isn't Trump's fault. He's "doing the best he can", under trying circumstances. And only a fake news Trump-derangement-syndrome libtard could possibly try to take advantage of this natural disaster for political gain, and attempt to blame it on Trump himself.

Or to look at it another way, you just said: "And absolutely no plan for going forward other than repealing Obamacare and painting the wall black?" Surely even you can see that you're engaging in hyperbole here, preaching only to the already converted, and completely failing to engage in an Intellectual Turing Test.

Publius said...

Obama Administration Committed the Most Corrupt Act in U.S. History

@Ron:
>Let's start with this blatant example of corruption from the William Barr's "justice" department:

Dropping the prosecution was anti-corruption; it was reversing the corruption from the Obama administration.

Alan Dershowitz says Barr did right thing in dropping Flynn case: 'There was never a crime'
The Department of Justice (DOJ) and Attorney General William Barr did "exactly the right thing" in dropping charges against former Trump administration national security adviser Gen. Michael Flynn because there was never a crime committed, Harvard Law School Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz asserted Friday.

FLYNN LEGAL COUNSEL: ‘The Documents Prove the Egregious Extent’ to Which FBI ‘Violated His Constitutional Rights’

SMOKING GUN: See the Disturbing FBI Memo on Flynn, ‘What’s Our Goal? Get Him to Lie So We Can Prosecute’

Documents: Obama Knew Details of Michael Flynn’s Call with Russian Ambassador

JUSTICE DELIVERED: See the Timeline for the Total Miscarriage of Justice Against Michael Flynn

Mark Levin on Flynn Documents: This Is "Barack Obama's Blue Dress" Without The DNA

Mark Levin Perfectly Sums Up What New Documents Say About Obama's Role in Targeting Flynn

Publius said...

Naïve realism

@Don:
>I recommend that you do some introspection. "Everyone else is stupid" is not a plausible explanation for half the country supporting Trump.

Ron is exhibiting Naïve realism and can't get past it.

Summary of Naïve realism:
Lee Ross and fellow psychologist Andrew Ward have outlined three interrelated assumptions, or "tenets," that make up naïve realism. They argue that these assumptions are supported by a long line of thinking in social psychology, along with several empirical studies. According to their model, people:

* Believe that they see the world objectively and without bias.
* Expect that others will come to the same conclusions, so long as they are exposed to the same information and interpret it in a rational manner.
* Assume that others who do not share the same views must be ignorant, irrational, or biased.


More details in this article by Ross & Ward, Naive Realism in Everyday Life: Implications for Social Conflict and Misunderstanding

Publius said...

FYI

Ron, I found the laser pointer you need to get:

Quantum Laser Pointers

Although, as you'll see, it smears about the "pointer" bit.

Ron said...

> Dropping the prosecution was anti-corruption; it was reversing the corruption from the Obama administration.

How? Flynn was prosecuted after Obama left office for a crime committed after Obama left office to which he pled guilty after Obama left office. So exactly what corruption from the Obama administration is this reversing?

> there was never a crime committed

Then why did the Trump justice department allow him to be prosecuted in the first place? And why did Flynn plead guilty?

> Ron is exhibiting Naïve realism and can't get past it.

Yep. I believe that the sky is blue and the earth is round and that man did walk on the moon. And you're right, I can't get past it.

Publius said...

Obama Wiretapped the Trump Campaign

@Ron:
>How? Flynn was prosecuted after Obama left office for a crime committed after Obama left office to which he pled guilty after Obama left office. So exactly what corruption from the Obama administration is this reversing?

Then why did the Trump justice department allow him to be prosecuted in the first place? And why did Flynn plead guilty?


It's now obvious you don't know much about the case.

Video: timeline of Flynn case

Written: timeline of Flynn case

The Michael Flynn case was a setup from the start. How many other lives have the FBI destroyed?

The Elaborate and Intentional Hoax Staged by the Most Unscrupulous and Power-mad Political Operatives This Country Has Ever Seen

You might look up Michael Flynn's role in the Obama administration and why Obama turned on him.
You might look up how prosecutor's coerced a confession from Flynn. Who were those prosecutors working for?
Flynn's original lawyers were Robert Kelner and Stephen Anthony, of the firm Covington & Burling. What conflict of interest did they have?


Ron said...

> It's now obvious you don't know much about the case.

I know this: Flynn was indicted in October 2017, nine months after Trump was sworn in as president. He was indicted by Robert Muller, who was appointed by then-deputy-attorney-general Rod Rosenstein. Rosenstein was appointed DAG in April 2017. He was nominated to that position by Donald Trump and confirmed by a Republican senate.

(Muller, BTW, is also a Republican. His government career began in 2001 when he was nominated to be head of the FBI by George W. Bush.)

So not a single one of the events that led up to Flynn's guilty plea occurred during the Obama administration. They all occurred during the Trump administration. Flynn was indicted and prosecuted entirely by people serving at the pleasure of Donald Trump.

So explain to me again how "Dropping the prosecution was ... reversing the corruption from the Obama administration"?

(And BTW, I don't consider Tucker Carlson to be a reliable source.)

Ron said...

@Don:

> "And absolutely no plan for going forward other than repealing Obamacare and painting the wall black?" Surely even you can see that you're engaging in hyperbole here,

Am I? What's the plan then? The only *official* word from the White House is this:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/openingamerica/

That is nothing more than a set of non-binding guidelines for states. I suppose you could *call* that a "plan" but that's not what I had in mind when I said that the White House has "absolutely no plan." See:

https://www.wired.com/story/the-magical-thinking-of-the-white-houses-new-covid-19-plan/

So no, I do not see that I'm engaging in hyperbole. At worst, perhaps I'm being a bit anal about the meaning of the word "plan" in taking it to entail some kind of *action* on the part of the federal government aimed at improving the situation. That, AFAICT, is almost totally absent.

I hedge with "almost" because Trump has taken *some* action: he's shut down immigration, he's blamed China, he's advocated chloroquine and injecting bleach, and he's trying to shut down Obamacare, though as usual with no word on what, if anything, he intends to replace it with. That honestly seems to me to be an entirely sober assessment of the situation. IMHO it is well within the bounds of reasonable political discourse to characterize that state of affairs as "no plan."

Don Geddis said...

@Ron: You seem to be trying to convince me that Trump is doing a bad job as President. You don't need to convince me. I'm not asking you to persuade me.

I feel like you didn't seriously read Caplan's ITT post. My original comment was that you don't understand Trump supporters ... because you aren't seriously trying to. Caplan's insight was to suggest actually attempting to convincingly mimic the best arguments on the other side. To "steelman", instead of strawman.

The exercise of attempting to steelman the opposition allows one to gain insights by yourself, and to strength one's original position. I know you already know all of this. I'm just pointing out that it seems you can't do this exercise with respect to Trump. Any time you write about what Trump supporters are thinking, your descriptions are not plausible.

Trump supporters do not think that Trump's primary response to the coronavirus is to paint the wall black. Even you know that is not true.

Ron said...

@Don:

I have absolutely no idea what Trump supporters are thinking at this point. That's a big part of the problem. My best guesses feel like caricatures and so are probably wrong. I freely concede this.

And I did read Caplan's ITT post. I don't see the point. What difference does it make if Krugman is wrong about which ideological groups are better at dissembling? It would hardly be the first time Krugman was wrong about something. Donald Trump can apparently pass a competent-person Turing test with 40% of the voting-age population despite the fact that he is manifestly incompetent at everything except passing competent-person Turing tests with 40% of voters while lining his own pockets. That's an admirable skill. I wish I had it. But that doesn't falsify the theory that people support Trump *because* he's making the world safe for incompetent xenophobic misogynistic assholes. So Trump is the Eliza of competence. So what? What exactly am I supposed to do with that revelation?

> Trump's primary response to the coronavirus is to paint the wall black

I didn't say it was his *primary* response. And it's true that painting the wall black has not been overtly advanced by Trump as part of his covid plan. (In fact, it hasn't been overtly advanced by Trump at all because even his inner circle realizes how batshit-crazy this idea is and so far have managed to convince him not to further embarrass himself.) However, stopping immigration *has* been overtly advanced by Trump as not only part of his plan, but a *central* part of his plan, e.g.:

https://www.npr.org/2020/04/21/839547087/trump-says-hell-temporarily-suspend-immigration-over-coronavirus-fears

So it is not a huge extrapolation to conclude that painting the wall black in the hopes that that will somehow deter climbers is part of the same plan.

Don Geddis said...

@Ron: "My best guesses feel like caricatures and so are probably wrong."

I agree.

"I don't see the point."

I agree, you don't. Krugman was just an introductory example. This is the moral message: "But the ability to pass ideological Turing tests – to state opposing views as clearly and persuasively as their proponents – is a genuine symptom of objectivity and wisdom."

"Donald Trump can apparently pass a competent-person Turing test with 40% of the voting-age population"

That also misses the point. I'm not asking about Trump. I'm asking about you. Can you pass an ITT, masquerading as a Trump supporter? (The answer is a clear no, but my real comment is that I suspect you're not even really trying.)

"But that doesn't falsify the theory that people support Trump *because* he's making the world safe for incompetent xenophobic misogynistic assholes."

No, that theory is (probabilistically) falsified, because it isn't a plausible description of something like 100 million US adults (1/3 to 1/2 of the voting age population). It's vastly more likely that you're simply mistaken and don't understand.

"I didn't say it was his *primary* response."

Your apparently "best guess" at the full plan listed two things: "absolutely no plan for going forward other than repealing Obamacare and painting the wall black?". So you seemed to assert that it was something like 1/2 the total plan.

Of course, the truth was that you were still mocking, and never presented a serious description of Trump's plan. Which is my whole point: you don't seem capable of trying to express Trump's plan, the way a Trump supporter would.

"However, stopping immigration *has* been overtly advanced by Trump as not only part of his plan, but a *central* part of his plan"

And yet you didn't bother to mention immigration, when you said "absolutely no plan for going forward other than repealing Obamacare and painting the wall black".

Again, it's fine if you just want to be a political advocate, and try to rile up the liberal base. But you seem to complain that you "don't understand" the Trump supporters. I'm only suggesting it's because you're not trying to understand.

Ron said...

> Can you pass an ITT, masquerading as a Trump supporter? (The answer is a clear no, but my real comment is that I suspect you're not even really trying.)

Actually I'm pretty sure I could pass the TSTT (Trump Supporter Turing Test). In fact, I'm pretty sure I could write an Eliza-clone that could pass the TSTT. The I/O behavior of Trump supporters is not that hard to reproduce. In fact, I think it can be boiled down to following a single rule:

TSTT Rule 1: Anything Donald Trump says is true.

It follows immediately that Trump is a very stable genius who is always doing a terrific job and who surrounds himself with people who are always doing a terrific job -- until, of course, one of them says something negative about him, at which point they become pond scum. Even this is a straightforward corollary of Rule 1: anyone who says anything negative about Donald Trump is speaking falsehoods (because Rule 1 and Trump has never said anything negative about himself) and hence not worthy of trust. The more negative things someone says, the less trustworthy they must be (c.f. fake news, Trump-derangement syndrome).

BTW, for several years now I've been taking quite a deep dive into various conspiracy theories. I am 100% confident that I could pass a young-earth-creationist Turing test at this point, probably a climate-change-denialist TT, maybe even a lunar-landing denialist TT. (Still working on flat-earth. It is hard to get that crew to engage.) So *even if* you are correct and I could not pass the TSTT, it is not because of a general lack of ability to pass Turing tests for positions I don't agree with, nor my willingness to put quite a bit of effort into developing such skills.

But I'm pretty sure you're wrong and that I could do it with little difficulty beyond my inability to control my gag reflex.

> you were still mocking, and never presented a serious description of Trump's plan

Don't confuse inability with unwillingness. To present a serious description of Trump's plan I would have to lie, and I don't see what my showing off my ability to do so would accomplish in terms of bringing me to any greater understanding than I currently have.

BTW, it's not just me who thinks Trump has no plan, some Republicans think so too:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/18/us/politics/trump-china-virus.html

Don Geddis said...

@Ron: "Actually I'm pretty sure I could pass the TSTT (Trump Supporter Turing Test)."

I disagree.

"TSTT Rule 1: Anything Donald Trump says is true."

No. You are once again engaging in a liberal parody of the strawman version of a Trump supporter. You are not honestly engaging in the best steelman version of the vast majority of Trump supporters.

I'm not talking about the entertainment pundits on Fox News. This isn't Tucker Carlson, or Sean Hannity. It isn't even racist hicks in the rural south.

Tens of millions of adult US citizens supported Trump in the last election, and will again in the next one. If you asked them why they choose Trump, they would not report "TSTT Rule 1". If that's your approach, you would be easily unmasked as a faker.

"So *even if* you are correct and I could not pass the TSTT, it is not because of a general lack of ability to pass Turing tests for positions I don't agree with"

I agree. That's why I've said numerous times in this comment thread that "you already know all of this", and "you're not trying".

"But I'm pretty sure you're wrong and that I could do it with little difficulty"

I think you're overestimating yourself, and you aren't seriously considering my criticism. My original comment to you was that I believe you are not currently capable of doing this. (And, in my opinion, that is what is leading to your disbelief and frustration at the world.)

"To present a serious description of Trump's plan I would have to lie"

That doesn't at all follow. I can easily present my opponent's strongest argument for their position (e.g. Copenhagen interpretation of QM), even if the argument and conclusion are wrong. It's not my claim. Instead, it shows my understanding of their claim. That isn't "lying".

"I don't see what my showing off my ability to do so would accomplish in terms of bringing me to any greater understanding"

Oh, that's easy. Because I don't think you actually can do it. And your failure might open you up to more study and exploration, and that is the process that would lead to greater understanding.

"Trump has no plan, some Republicans think so too"

Your linked article is about politics. Not about a pandemic response.

Just as a quick example: when discussing Trump's response to the pandemic, why didn't you mention Trump's "ban" (really: restrictions) on incoming flights from China? A Trump supporter would have.

You, on the other hand, didn't mention it at all, but instead chose to mention "repealing Obamacare and painting the wall black". Your criticism is hard to take seriously, because you're engaging in propaganda, not analysis.

Ron said...

> I think you're overestimating yourself

Entirely possible. If you can work out the logistics, I'd be happy to do the experiment.

But it seems a little pointless since I've already conceded the point you would make if I lost (AFAICT).

> If you asked them why they choose Trump, they would not report "TSTT Rule 1".

Yes, obviously I know that. I guess I need to add:

TSTT rule 2: Never explicitly mention TSTT rule 1.

> Your linked article is about politics. Not about a pandemic response.

Those are not mutually exclusive. It is about the politics of Trump's corona virus response (or lack thereof).

> why didn't you mention Trump's "ban" (really: restrictions) on incoming flights from China?

Because I was talking about Trump's *current* plan, not (pretending to) highlight his past "accomplishments".

> you're engaging in propaganda, not analysis

I'm not doing either one. I'm venting.

Publius said...

Part 1: Obama Wiretapping

@Ron:
>I know this: Flynn was indicted in October 2017, nine months after Trump was sworn in as president. He was indicted by Robert Muller, who was appointed by then-deputy-attorney-general Rod Rosenstein. Rosenstein was appointed DAG in April 2017. He was nominated to that position by Donald Trump and confirmed by a Republican senate.

You seem to place a lot of importance on some of the principals involved being members of the Republican party, or being confirmed by a Republican-controlled Senate.

Yet, we have people like Bill Kristol, a neoconservative and lifelong Republican, who is a "Never Trumper."

President Trump is an Outsider. Trump has identified with both the Democrats and the Republicans, but he wasn't part of either Establishment. He's an outsider to the Establishment, and members of the established order seek to purge him. A lot of Republicans opposed President Trump's 2016 election.

Therefore, if you're asserting the Republican affiliation of principals in the matter is evidence of their objectivity, or their bias in favor of President Trump, you need to dig deeper, because that is an unreasoned conclusion.

Rod Rosenstein was a career government official -- part of the Establishment. He also suggested wiretapping President Trump and invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. He would appear to be biased against President Trump.

Mueller hired a team of mostly Democrats -- Ryan Dickey, Kyle Freeny, Greg Andres, Rush Atkinson, Andrew Goldstein, Adam Jed, Elizabeth Prelogar, James Quarles, Jeannie Rhee, Brandon Van Grack, Andrew Weissmann, and Aaron Zelinsky. He also had, for a while, two infamous FBI officials on his team -- Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. By your standard of party affiliation, he formed a team biased against President Trump. He also appears to have been the laziest Special Prosecutor in history and took the job just to collect the checks. He didn't even read the report with his name on it.

>(Muller, BTW, is also a Republican. His government career began in 2001 when he was nominated to be head of the FBI by George W. Bush.)

Here we have the conflict of interest of Mueller -- former head of FBI. Perhaps he had a bias to protect the reputation of the FBI and cover-up its misdeeds.

Publius said...

Part 2: Obama Wiretapping

>So not a single one of the events that led up to Flynn's guilty plea occurred during the Obama administration. They all occurred during the Trump administration. Flynn was indicted and prosecuted entirely by people serving at the pleasure of Donald Trump.

So explain to me again how "Dropping the prosecution was ... reversing the corruption from the Obama administration"?


Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States on January 20, 2017.

The alleged crimes of Flynn stem from his meeting in December 2016 with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. This conversation was wiretapped by the U.S. government. President Obama knew of the wiretap.

Carter Page was wiretapped four times in 2016 and 2017, each for a period of 90 days, based on fraudulent FISA applications. Besides allowing the government to collect, listen to, read, and search and store emails, snail mail, phone calls, text messages, photographs, and bank records of the target of the surveillance, it also allows the same collection for people twice removed from the target. Everyone who contacted Carter Page was under the same surveillance -- they are once-removed. Then everyone who contacted the once-removed people also had the same surveillance, even if they never contacted Carter Page. One wiretap can lead to the government to access the data of 25,000 people. Additional people were surveilled under FBI operation Crossfire Hurricane. Obama advisor Susan Rice used this "incidental capture" of communications to read the communications of Trump campaign officials.

There you have it: The Obama Administration used the wiretapping powers of the government to spy on the Trump campaign. This is the most corrupt action in U.S. History.

All of that happened before Trump was inaugurated.

Publius said...

Part 3 - The Witch-hunt

Preceding Events

March 2, 2017 - Attorney General Jeff Sessions recuses himself from Trump campaign investigations.

March 20, 2017 - The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence — along with several other congressional committees — has been investigating Russian attempts to interfere in the U.S. presidential election.

President Trump fires James Comeny on May 9, 2017.

Over 130 Democratic Congressmen call for a special counsel to be appointed in reaction to Comey's firing.

Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller as special counsel on May 17, 2017. On the same day, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe would open an FBI investigation against President Trump for obstruction of justice.

The Witch-hunt

Rosenstein's appointment of Mueller did not comply with federal regulations. The appointment of a special counsel is proper only if there is a factual basis to support a criminal investigation that the Justice Department is too conflicted to conduct. The Russia investigation was not a criminal investigation; it was a counterintelligence investigation. The latter focuses on the activities of foreign powers for information-gathering purposes, not on criminal activity for prosecution purposes.

On Trump–Russia, there was no factual basis for a criminal investigation, which is why Rosenstein did not attempt to articulate one in his directive appointing Mueller. Therefore, the question of whether there was a conflict requiring the appointment of a prosecutor from outside DOJ should never have been reached. Even if it had been reached, there was no conflict, which is why the FBI and DOJ had been conducting the Russia investigation for nearly a year before Mueller’s appointment. In any event, because the FBI’s counterintelligence mission is not prosecutor work, it normally does not need a DOJ prosecutor, much less an outside prosecutor.

There was no factual basis to believe that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, had engaged in a conspiracy with the Kremlin to interfere with the 2016 campaign by cyberespionage or any other criminal activity. This was a problem, for if Mueller charged anyone, it would result in legal challenges that Mueller's appointment was illegitimate.

Publius said...

Part 4 - the Witch-hunt

To paper over this deficiency, Rosenstein issued the scope memo on August 2, 2017.

We now know that the scope memo authorized the Mueller team to investigate a series of already debunked theories and noncrimes.

Take the section that allows Mr. Mueller to investigate former Trump campaign members Carter Page and Paul Manafort for “a crime or crimes by colluding with Russian government officials.” Every “collusion” allegation the FBI had about these two men came directly from the Steele dossier, paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign. By August 2017, the FBI knew that dossier was bunk.

According to Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, the FBI knew by January 2017 that the dossier’s primary Russian source had disavowed the allegations and the FBI had failed to validate a single claim. Colleagues of author Christopher Steele had warned the FBI of his poor judgment. As was revealed only last month, the FBI had also been warned several times that the dossier might itself be Russian disinformation.

The FBI obtained a surveillance warrant on Mr. Page in October 2016 and renewed it three times. The Justice Department earlier this year admitted to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that the last two of those applications—which spanned Mr. Mueller’s appointment and the scoping memo—should never have been filed, since the government lacked “probable cause.” That’s an admission the government had nothing on Mr. Page even as Mr. Rosenstein was telling Mr. Mueller to go at him.

Mr. Mueller was meanwhile authorized to dive deep into unrelated “crimes”: Manafort financial activities that took place years before the Trump campaign, Mr. Flynn’s supposed lies, Mr. Flynn’s and George Papadopoulos’s ties with, respectively, Turkey and Israel. Russia, anyone?

Most revealing is Mr. Mueller’s authority to investigate abuses of ancient or rarely enforced laws. He was authorized to probe the potential “crime” of Mr. Flynn “engaging in conversations with Russian government officials during the period of the Trump transition.” This is a reference to the Logan Act of 1799, a law that has never been used to convict an American. He was also tasked with investigating whether that foreign work by Messrs. Flynn and Papadopoulos violated the rarely enforced Foreign Agents Registration Act.

Prosecutors admitted in the Flynn withdrawal filing that the department concluded in early 2017 that a Logan Act claim would be too “difficult to prosecute.” The FBI had moved to close its counterintelligence investigation into Mr. Flynn by January 2017, having found nothing on “collusion.” And the filing notes FBI interviewing agents felt Mr. Flynn hadn’t lied or didn’t think he was lying. So why on earth was Mr. Mueller allowed to go to town on Logan Act and lying charges?

The tip-off is the FARA references. No one in the Beltway had thought about that statute until Mr. Mueller’s investigators resurrected it. The inclusion leads one to suspect it wasn’t Mr. Rosenstein writing this memo. It was the Mueller team dictating—demanding wider scope and new authority in order to get something, anything, out of this endeavor.

They weren’t getting any Russia "collusion" charges. That was clear by the spring of 2017, and former FBI Director James Comey knew it would soon emerge that his bureau had made egregious errors. So he leaked his memo of conversations with Mr. Trump with the specific goal of getting a special counsel appointed. The Mueller probe—led by the very people who’d made those errors—then spent more than two years “investigating” bogus or derivative claims, keeping secrets, and giving the escapade a fiction of legitimacy.

The Mueller Coverup

Rosenstein ‘Scope’ Memo Confirms Baselessness of Trump–Russia Probe

Publius said...

Part 5 - Analysis

> Flynn was indicted and prosecuted entirely by people serving at the pleasure of Donald Trump.

Are you arguing that President Trump should have fired Jeff Sessions, Rod Rosenstein, Andy McCabe, and Robert Mueller?
I would have supported that, as the the basis for the investigation was a farce to begin with.

However, do you think it would have been politically possible for President Trump to fire those people? Would you have supported it? Speculation of the firing of Rosenstein brought up talk of the "Saturday Night Massacre" of Nixon. No, it was not politically possible for President Trump to fire them. Furthermore, it's not how the system works -- the President is not supposed to meddle in investigations by the FBI or prosecutions by the Justice Department. It should have been prevented by Jeff Sessions, but he was naive and weak.

>(And BTW, I don't consider Tucker Carlson to be a reliable source.)

Tucker Carlson isn't a source, he's a communicator. He cites the primary sources.

Ron said...

> You seem to place a lot of importance on some of the principals involved being members of the Republican party, or being confirmed by a Republican-controlled Senate.

Yes. I would think this would be obvious, but Obama is a Democrat, so any action done by a Republican is extremely unlikely to be the result of corruption in the Obama administration.

> The alleged crimes of Flynn stem from his meeting in December 2016 with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

So what? The crimes may have "stemmed from" events that took place during the Obama administration, but the crimes themselves and the prosecutions for those crimes took place entirely during the Trump administration.

> The Obama Administration used the wiretapping powers of the government to spy on the Trump campaign.

Yes, that's true. On probable cause of collaborating with a foreign power in violation of U.S. law.

> This is the most corrupt action in U.S. History.

Then why has no one in the Obama administration been prosecuted for it by the Trump justice department?

(For that matter, why has Hillary not been locked up yet?)

> There was no factual basis to believe that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, had engaged in a conspiracy with the Kremlin to interfere with the 2016 campaign by cyberespionage or any other criminal activity.

Yes, there was. Gobs of it. I'll give just two examples here:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/11/us/politics/trump-russia-email-clinton.html

https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2019/01/02/trump-broke-law-russia-clinton-emails-hold-him-accountable-column/2449564002/

Trump openly solicited Russian interference. That in and of itself was a violation of the law:

"Some may say Trump’s invitation was merely campaign rhetoric or hyperbole, which should not be criminalized. But that is to ignore the plain language of the law and its purpose: to protect the United States from the influence of foreign countries in our elections. The statute says, “It shall be unlawful for … a person to solicit, accept or receive a contribution or donation … from a foreign national.” In using the word “or,” the statute makes plain that the act of solicitation in and of itself is a violation."

> Mr. Flynn’s supposed lies

They are not "supposed lies." Flynn pled guilty. Even now, the fact that he lied is not in dispute.

> Are you arguing that President Trump should have fired Jeff Sessions, Rod Rosenstein, Andy McCabe, and Robert Mueller?

If they were indeed failing to prosecute "the most corrupt action in U.S. History"? Yes, of course. He should fire William Barr as well for the same reason.

But the fact of the matter is that the reason that "the most corrupt action in U.S. History" is not being prosecuted is that the whole thing is bullshit. Not only that, everyone clearly knows it's bullshit. How do I know? Because no one -- absolutely no one, not even Tucker Carlson -- is calling for the prosecution of anyone in the Obama administration for this alleged "most corrupt action in U.S. History". No one is even calling for *hearings*! Worse than Watergate, worse than Teapot Dome, and everyone is OK with just letting it slide? Yeah, and the earth is flat too.

Publius said...

Part 1A - Ron Ignores Inconvenient Facts

>> You seem to place a lot of importance on some of the principals involved being members of the Republican party, or being confirmed by a Republican-controlled Senate.

@Ron:
>Yes. I would think this would be obvious, but Obama is a Democrat, so any action done by a Republican is extremely unlikely to be the result of corruption in the Obama administration.

Here you have ignored everything I wrote about "Never Trumpers" and how Republicans can be biased against President Trump. Your conclusions are unreasoned.

>> The alleged crimes of Flynn stem from his meeting in December 2016 with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

>So what? The crimes may have "stemmed from" events that took place during the Obama administration, but the crimes themselves and the prosecutions for those crimes took place entirely during the Trump administration.

The Flynn and Kislyak had a meeting on December 1, 2016 and phone calls on December 22 & 29, 2016. The December 29, 2016 call was wiretapped by U.S. intelligence.

On January 4, 2017, Following the closure of a pretextually dubious and politically motivated FBI investigation of Flynn at the beginning of January, the leadership of the FBI scrambled to reopen a case against Flynn, the man who, in his role as national security adviser, would have to review their Russia-collusion investigation. FBI officials openly discussed their concern about briefing the veteran intelligence official on what they had done to the Trump campaign and transition team and what they were planning to do to the incoming Trump administration. Flynn had to be dealt with. The FBI’s top counterintelligence official would later memorialize discussions about the FBI’s attempts to “get [Flynn] fired.” No reopening was needed, they determined, when they discovered they had failed to close the previous investigation. They found this mistake “amazing” and “serendipitously good” and said “our utter incompetence actually helps us.” Even more noteworthy were texts from the FBI’s No. 2 counterintelligence official, Peter Strzok, to FBI lawyer Lisa Page noting that the “7th floor,” a reference to Comey and his deputy director, Andrew McCabe, was running the show.

Publius said...

Part 1B - Ron Ignores Inconvenient Facts

On January 5, 2017, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, FBI Director James Comey, CIA Director John Brennan, and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper briefed Obama on Russia-related matters in the Oval Office. Joe Biden and Susan Rice (national security advisor) also attended. After the Obama briefing, the intelligence chiefs who would be leaving at the end of the term were dismissed and Yates and Comey, who would continue in the Trump administration, were asked to stay. Not only did Obama give his guidance about how to perpetuate the Russia-collusion-theory investigations, he also talked about Flynn’s conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, according to both Comey and Yates. Interestingly, Clapper, Comey and Yates all said that they did not brief Obama about these phone calls. Rice likely briefed Obama on the calls and would have had access to the intelligence. Comey mentions the Logan Act at this meeting.

Comey and Yates would continue into the Trump Administration and further the conspiracy that Obama orchestrated on January 5. Flynn had to be dealt with, as as national security advisor, he would be briefed on Crossfire Hurricane and their illegal surveillance of the Trump campaign and their other criminal acts. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was next, as he would also need to be briefed on anti-Trump efforts unless he was sidelined. A leak to the Washington Post was designed to tar Jeff Sessions as a secret Russian agent. The leak and fake news story worked; Jeff Sessions recused himself on March 2. With the removal of Trump’s national security adviser and his attorney general, there was no longer any chance of Trump loyalists discovering what Obama holdovers at the FBI were actually doing to get Trump thrown out of office. After Trump fired Comey for managerial incompetence on May 9, deceptively edited and misleading leaks to the New York Times, ordered by Comey himself, were used to gin up a special-counsel run exclusively by left-wing anti-Trump partisans who continued the operation without any meaningful oversight for another two years.

I ask you again: do you think it was politically possible for President Trump to fire Jeff Sessions, Rod Rosenstein, and Robert Mueller?

Obama meeting could be behind corrupt Michael Flynn probe

Publius said...

Part 2 - Ron Parrots The Fake News and The Democrats

>> The Obama Administration used the wiretapping powers of the government to spy on the Trump campaign.

>Yes, that's true. On probable cause of collaborating with a foreign power in violation of U.S. law.

It is now well known that they did not have probably cause. The applications to the FISA court were fraudulent. The perpetrators had no probable cause to begin an investigation.

>> This is the most corrupt action in U.S. History.

>Then why has no one in the Obama administration been prosecuted for it by the Trump justice department?

(For that matter, why has Hillary not been locked up yet?)


The prosecutor is not yet ready to unseal his case. Federal prosecutor John Durham is investigating the origins of the Russia collusion hoax.

AG Barr just signaled that things are about to get ugly for the Russia collusion team

>> There was no factual basis to believe that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, had engaged in a conspiracy with the Kremlin to interfere with the 2016 campaign by cyberespionage or any other criminal activity.

>Yes, there was. Gobs of it. I'll give just two examples here:

Interesting you cite opinion pieces from 2017. Even by July 11, 2017, those theories had petered out. "But Orin S. Kerr, a George Washington University professor and former federal prosecutor, said the notion struck him as a stretch."

Publius said...

Part 3 - Ron Doesn't Bother Engaging With The Actual Details

>> Mr. Flynn’s supposed lies

They are not "supposed lies." Flynn pled guilty. Even now, the fact that he lied is not in dispute.

Nice repetition of the Democrat talking point. You're a good drone for Nancy Pelosi.

Even now, it is in dispute. Flynn withdrew his plea. The DOJ is dropping the case due to significant misconduct by the FBI and prosecutors (who violated the Brady rule).

But let me quote progressive journalist Michael Tracey on the issue:

"The people screaming about Barr moving to dismiss Flynn's case don't even bother engaging with the actual details -- which are extremely damning and more than justify a dismissal. Instead, they just assume something "fascist" is happening and throw yet another Twitter hissy fit"

"The FBI agents who interviewed Flynn "had the impression at the time that he was not lying" -- and even if Flynn *had* lied about his phone calls with the Russian ambassador (which he had no reason to) it wouldn't have materially impeded any investigation. Just a giant farce"

"As usual, liberal pundits crying about big bad Bill Barr instead of grappling with how shockingly baseless the entire FBI Russia investigation was"

"The fundamental logic of the FBI/Mueller investigation was corrupted from the outset, which is why they had to use such corrupt investigative tactics all the way through"

"The entire Mike Flynn saga -- the manufactured controversy, media leaks, his resignation/firing, and later guilty plea -- was a huge factor in why the "Russia scandal" became so all-consuming. Now the basis for the entire episode has been 100% proven to be a complete farce"

"The case against Mike Flynn was always utterly preposterous, and it's also preposterous that it took this long to get thrown out"

Why is a progressive journalist writing these things?

"If you're wondering how I can be simultaneously scornful of Russiagate lies, coronavirus trutherism, and this sad Tara Reade debacle, it's because I try to think independently and critically about every issue and back that up with evidence and reporting. Not rocket science!"

and

"I think jettisoning all critical faculties when evaluating claims like these -- because you have some political ax to grind, or for any other reason -- is really bad in the long run for US politics and culture. And yes, that also applies to claims made against Republicans"

Michael Tracey has integrity. You lost yours a while ago.

Publius said...

Part 4 - Ron Is Revealed To Be In Fake News Bubble

>> Are you arguing that President Trump should have fired Jeff Sessions, Rod Rosenstein, Andy McCabe, and Robert Mueller?

>If they were indeed failing to prosecute "the most corrupt action in U.S. History"? Yes, of course.

You're mixing up the good guys and the bad guys. Rosenstein, McCabe, and Mueller are the bad guys -- they were perpetrating the Russian collusion hoax to try and remove a President.

Jeff Sessions was a naive dupe. Not politically possible to fire him until 2019.

>He should fire William Barr as well for the same reason.

Except Barr is investigating it. He appointed John Durham last year to lead the investigation.

But the fact of the matter is that the reason that "the most corrupt action in U.S. History" is not being prosecuted is that the whole thing is bullshit. Not only that, everyone clearly knows it's bullshit. How do I know? Because no one -- absolutely no one, not even Tucker Carlson -- is calling for the prosecution of anyone in the Obama administration for this alleged "most corrupt action in U.S. History". No one is even calling for *hearings*! Worse than Watergate, worse than Teapot Dome, and everyone is OK with just letting it slide? Yeah, and the earth is flat too.

You need to change the channel from the Fake News.
First, the Russian collusion hoax is being investigated by the DOJ. Second, a lot of people are calling for prosecution of those involved. You just don't see it in your media bubble.

Barr has stated:

"I think what happened to him," he said, referring to the president and the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into his campaign, "was one of the greatest travesties in American history. Without any basis [the FBI] started this investigation into [Donald Trump’s] campaign ... ."

He has further stated:
"And if people broke the law, and we can establish that with the evidence, they will be prosecuted."

Furthermore, Sen. Lindsay Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, will hold hearings the first week of June on the Justice Department and FBI's handling of the Michael Flynn case.


You should be mad. The Democrats and the Fake News have lied to you, and continue to lie to you.

Don Geddis said...

@Ron: This CNN article: How Donald Trump wins again, in 3 sentences is not particularly insightful ... but it does at least attempt to understand what supporters of Trump are actually thinking.

My earlier criticism of you, is that I don't see you doing even this much -- and this is a pretty low bar of effort.

Now, it's fine if you just don't care enough to try, and you find ranting therapeutic. I suppose, in particular, I'm picking out this single sentence from your original post: "How anyone who is paying attention could continue to support any Republican ... is just beyond me." Perhaps I'm taking that sentence too seriously, and it was just a throwaway line of hyperbole. I actually find it a very interesting question to investigate, and worth some effort to try to understand. Perhaps I'm projecting my own interests on to you.

Ron said...

I actually find ranting to be fairly therapeutic nowadays. But in all seriousness I think my original hypothesis is not so far off the mark: people like Trump because he's making it socially respectable to be an incompetent xenophobic misogynistic asshole, which is naturally appealing if you're an incompetent xenophobic misogynistic asshole.

Of course, this is not how a Trump supporter would frame it. A Trump supporter would say something like: I like Trump because he's not a politician, he's a regular guy (except that he's really really smart -- he must be because he's rich and you don't get rich in America without being smart). He's willing to stand up against self-styled "experts" who use their so-called "expertise" to surreptitiously advance a socialist nanny-state agenda. He's also keeping out the flood of illegals who are mostly drug-dealers, rapists and criminals, and those who aren't are stealing jobs from good hard-working Americans. He's a model of what a man ought to be: straight-talking, not willing to take shit from anyone, willing to fight for what he believes in, willing to stand up for my Constitutional right to open-carry an AK-47 wherever the fuck I goddamn please. He believes in good old-fashioned American values like patriotism and loyalty. I believe he's a man of God despite his occasional personal failings. We're all sinners.

None of what's happening right now is Trump's fault. He didn't create the corona virus, and he inherited a horrible mess from the Obama administration which he has been working tirelessly to fix, with the libtard Democrats trying to block him at every turn. If they hadn't tried to impeach him, maybe he would have had some spare bandwidth to stock up on PPEs and ventilators. If we could only repeal Obamacare, everything would be hunky-dory.

Oh, and Hillary's emails.

How did I do?

Don Geddis said...

@Ron: "How did I do?"

Much better! I give you an "A"!

Unknown said...

@Publius:

> Barr has stated: "Without any basis [the FBI] started this investigation into [Donald Trump’s] campaign ... ."

Except that there clearly was a basis: the FBI was acting on evidence that the Trump campaign was attempting to collude with a foreign power to influence an election.

> He has further stated: "And if people broke the law, and we can establish that with the evidence, they will be prosecuted."

Right. Like Trump and his cronies are being prosecuted for attempting to collude with a foreign power to influence a U.S. election. That's a felony. Where are the indictments?

> You should be mad. The Democrats and the Fake News have lied to you, and continue to lie to you.

I don't have to take anyone's word for it to know that the Trump campaign attempted to collude with Russia. Donald Trump Jr. has admitted it. Trump Sr. solicited Russian interference in the election in full public view ("Russia, if you're listening...")

Just because they were brazen about it doesn't make it any less of a crime.

Publius said...


@Unknown:
>Except that there clearly was a basis: the FBI was acting on evidence that the Trump campaign was attempting to collude with a foreign power to influence an election.

What evidence would that be? What evidence did the FBI have to begin surveillance of Carter Page?

> He has further stated: "And if people broke the law, and we can establish that with the evidence, they will be prosecuted."

>Right. Like Trump and his cronies are being prosecuted for attempting to collude with a foreign power to influence a U.S. election. That's a felony. Where are the indictments?

Trump and "his cronies" did not collude with a foreign power to influence a U.S. election. If they had, you would think Robert Mueller would have empaneled a grand jury to hand down indictments. You would think Adam Schiff would have made it an article of impeachment.

>I don't have to take anyone's word for it to know that the Trump campaign attempted to collude with Russia. Donald Trump Jr. has admitted it. Trump Sr. solicited Russian interference in the election in full public view ("Russia, if you're listening...")

Just because they were brazen about it doesn't make it any less of a crime.


Try to distinguish satire from criminal activity.

The only candidate to collude with the Russians in the 2016 Presidential campaign was Hillary Clinton, who paid Christopher Steele to write the fake dossier containing Russian disinformation.

The people who have to worry about indictments are Comey, Clapper, Brennan, Strzok, and McCabe.

Ron said...

@Publius:

That "unknown" comment was from me. I have no idea why it was attributed to "unknown". Anonymous comments are supposed to be disabled on this blog.

Anyway...

> What evidence did the FBI have to begin surveillance of Carter Page?

I don't know, the FBI does not confide in me. I do know that they got a warrant:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carter_Page

"Shortly after Page left the Trump campaign, the Federal Bureau of Investigation obtained another warrant from the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) in October 2016 to surveil Page's communications and read his saved emails.[35][36] To issue the warrant, a federal judge concluded there was probable cause to believe that Page was a foreign agent knowingly engaging in clandestine intelligence for the Russian government.[37] The initial 90-day warrant was subsequently renewed three times."

> Trump and "his cronies" did not collude with a foreign power to influence a U.S. election.

I didn't say they did. I said they *attempted* to collude. They did not succeed, but being a bumbling incompetent does not absolve you of the crime. If you attempt to rob a bank but don't actually manage to get away with any money you've still committed a crime.

Honestly, Publius, sometimes I feel like I'm talking to a two-year-old when I deal with you.

ash said...

Looking from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, I'm very happy Trump hasn't started new wars so far. Unlike previous presidents. Also North Korea situation seemed to improve.

Fortunately, I can't vote in US elections.