Trump Devotes Press Conference to Instructing Aides to Explain That He’s Definitely Not Mad
He claims Nancy Pelosi has ‘lost it,’ while he remains an ‘extremely stable genius.’
He actually had his aides attest that he behaved with perfect sanity. No other president would have done something so bizarre.
Then he mounted his counteroffensive. He tweeted what even Fox and Friends admits is a doctored video designed to make Nance Pelosi look bad. Yet even in that crudely edited video, she still seems more coherent than Trump does on his worst days. This administration recently demonstrated that it could not spell the
name "Theresa May," yet the Trumpists nevertheless feel that they have a
right to critique Nancy Pelosi's communication skills. Now that is impudence.
But that wasn't the only misleading Pelosi video circulating overnight. According to the Washington Post, other distorted, slowed-down videos of Pelosi have spread across social media to make her appear drunk.
One of those videos was tweeted out by the president's own personal attorney, who questioned Pelosi's speech, suggesting something was wrong with her speech pattern was "bizarre." But Giuliani's own speech pattern was questioned when he tweeted an incoherent statement about the Pelosi video Friday morning.
ivesssapology for a video which is allegedly is a caricature of an otherwise halting speech pattern, she should first stop, and apologize for, saying the President needs an “intervention.” Are
That tweet brought forth these responses:
What the fuck is a ivesssapology?
You put it in your covfefe.
Best enjoyed with a nice hamberder.
What would James Joyce make of the neologism "ivesssapology"? He might point out that this portmanteau word seems to refer to an American composer known for his use of dissonance, combined with feelings of regret, combined with the scientific study of sap. There may even be a sly shout-out to the SS. So what does Charles Ives have to do with Nancy Pelosi? That's the unanswered question.
Say it, Dems! The Democrats are missing an obvious mode of counterattack. Donald Trump is the only president we've had who is a drug addict.
Hope Hicks herself has admitted that Trump once had a problem with diet drugs. My earlier post quotes these words from Kurt Eichenwald:
Hope Hicks, a White House spokeswoman, acknowledged that Trump used them as diet pills for a few days in the early 1980s. However, the medical records contradict the assertion of the length of time Trump used the drugs and photographs of Trump from 1982 show him to be quite slender. In a telephone call from Newsweek, Bornstein, Trump’s current doctor, said he would only answer questions if I could identify the location of Mount Sinai.
Is it fair to note that Bornstein looks like the kind of doctor who would over-prescribe happy pills? Perhaps not. But it is fair to note that Bornstein has been accused of doing such things.
Settled lawsuits alleged Donald Trump’s doctor Harold Bornstein overmedicated his patients—one with Valium and morphine ‘well above therapeutic levels.’
In the complaint, Levin’s husband claimed Bornstein continued to prescribe barbiturates and sedatives “despite full knowledge that these prescriptions were not for the treatment of any known condition and in amounts that were well above therapeutic levels.”
The cocktail of drugs allegedly prescribed to Janet Levin—barbiturates, tranquilizers, and opiates—are all highly addictive and are among the most frequently abused prescription drugs, according to The National Library of Medicine.
Trump's problem with diet pills did not last only "a few days." To prove the point, I must repeat a few paragraphs which originally appeared in an earlier post.
According to Eichenwald, the amphetamine problem began with an endocrinologist named Dr. Joseph Greenburg, who diagnosed Trump as having a "metabolic imbalance" -- an imprecise term that could mean many different things.
The medical records and interviews with former officials with the Trump Organization reveal that Greenberg gave Trump a prescription for amphetamine derivatives in 1982 to treat his metabolic problem; the records show that Trump continued taking the drugs for a number of years and the former officials said that Trump stopped using them in 1990 at the latest.
The amphetamine derivative was Diethylpropion or tenuate dospan (the brand name). This drug quickly becomes addicting. It's hard to believe that Trump could have taken it for years without developing a crippling habit.
Abuse of this drug leads to sleeplessness, paranoia, hyperactivity, delusions, poor impulse control. Sound familiar? I've just offered a pretty fair summary of Trump's whole act.
Dr. Joseph Greenburg was the subject of a Spy magazine expose back in 1992.
Greenberg treated Trump’s nonexistent disease with a hefty prescription of Tenuate Dospan, which is a diet pill known for such side effects as fear or nervousness, false or unusual sense of well-being, severe mental changes, and seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there.
This wasn’t the only mention of Trump’s love for diet pills, aka speed. In the controversial 1993 biography, Lost Tycoon, author Harry Hurt credited amphetamines prescribed by Greenberg for “Donald’s mood swings” and “his fits of distemper.”
On April 19th, 1982, during the period between his license hearing before the Casino Control Commission and the groundbreaking on the Trump Plaza site in Atlantic City, Donald paid a visit to the midtown Manhattan office of Dr. Joseph Greenberg. According to the doctor’s records, Donald had been recommended by his friend Charles Goldstein, an attorney involved in the Penn Central deals. The ostensible purpose of Donald’s visit was to seek assistance in losing weight. He had gone to the right place. Dr. Greenberg was an endocrinologist who specialized in providing patients with drugs to control obesity…
Donald was so delighted with the results that he started recommending Dr. Greenberg’s treatments to his brother Robert, various friends, and celebrity acquaintances such as Diana Ross. The diet drugs, which he took in pill form, not only curbed his appetite but gave him a feeling of euphoria and unlimited energy. The medical literature warned that some potentially dangerous side effects could result from long-term usage; they included anxiety, insomnia, and delusions of grandeur. According to several Trump Organization insiders, Donald exhibited all these ominous symptoms of diet drug usage, and then some.
’The first thing I would do when I got to the office in the morning,” recalled one former vice-president, “was to go see Norma Foerderer and ask her, ‘Is this a Dr. Greenberg day?’ If she said yes, I would do everything I could to stay out of Donald’s way.’”
Why haven't the Democrats attacked Trump for his history of drug usage? This would be an excellent way for one of the less-visible Dem candidates to garner some much-needed attention: In a concerned and solicitous fashion, ask Trump to come clean about his history. Keep pounding home that point until everyone in the country is talking about Bornstein and Greenberg.
We all know Roger Stone's rule: Never defend, always attack. If Stone possessed this kind of ammunition against a Democratic president, would he use it? Of course he would use it. There would be congressional hearings into the president's drug usage. There would be testimony from professionals as to whether drug abuse can permanently affect brain function.
The average person does not comprehend tariffs or energy policy. Sadly, it appears that the average person is not capable of reading the Mueller report (or any other difficult book) -- hence the reliance on misleading summaries. But average people do understand substance abuse issues.
Once the facts become known, the question will shift from "Did Trump abuse drugs?" to "How long did Trump abuse drugs?" and "Did his drug abuse affect his cognitive abilities?"
Democrats would be foolish not to pursue this line of investigation. There is no point in arguing that doing so constitutes taking the low road. With Trump and his supporters, the low road is the only road. That "doctored video" campaign against Pelosi tells us that Team Trump intends to explore a level of lowness that makes the Marianas seem like Everest.
A note about terminology: Is it permissible to refer to Trump as a "drug addict" in the present tense, even if we lack evidence that he takes drugs at the present time? Yes. Attendees at AA meetings call themselves "alcoholics" even if they've been sober for decades.
Previous presidents (Obama, Bush) have used illegal drugs, as have so many other Americans. But youthful experimentation is not addiction. Strong evidence indicates that Donald Trump is the first American president to form an addiction.
Most people are not aware of that fact. Democrats should educate them.
I can't resist ending this essay in the spirit of Rudy Giuliani: Are
Michigan GOP Rep. Justin Amash said Saturday he had concluded President Donald Trump committed "impeachable conduct" and accused Attorney General William Barr of intentionally misleading the public.
Amash's comments recommending Congress pursue obstruction of justice charges against Trump were the first instance of a sitting Republican in Congress calling for Trump's impeachment.
Nobody would mistake Amash for a squishy pseudo-con; he features a quotation from F.A. Hayek on his Twitter profile. Although my disagreements with Libertarianism are profound, I do respect those libertarians who demand consistency.
His full Twitter thread is worth quoting. I'll translate it into conventional prose. The words beneath the asterisks are his.
* * *
Here are my principal conclusions:
1. Attorney General Barr has deliberately misrepresented Mueller’s report.
2. President Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct.
3. Partisanship has eroded our system of checks and balances.
4. Few members of Congress have read the report.
I offer these conclusions only after having read Mueller’s redacted report carefully and completely, having read or watched pertinent statements and testimony, and having discussed this matter with my staff, who thoroughly reviewed materials and provided me with further analysis.
In comparing Barr’s principal conclusions, congressional testimony, and other statements to Mueller’s report, it is clear that Barr intended to mislead the public about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s analysis and findings. Barr’s misrepresentations are significant but often subtle, frequently taking the form of sleight-of-hand qualifications or logical fallacies, which he hopes people will not notice.
Under our Constitution, the president “shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” While “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” is not defined, the context implies conduct that violates the public trust. Contrary to Barr’s portrayal, Mueller’s report reveals that President Trump engaged in specific actions and a pattern of behavior that meet the threshold for impeachment.
In fact, Mueller’s report identifies multiple examples of conduct satisfying all the elements of obstruction of justice, and undoubtedly any person who is not the president of the United States would be indicted based on such evidence.
Impeachment, which is a special form of indictment, does not even require probable cause that a crime (e.g., obstruction of justice) has been committed; it simply requires a finding that an official has engaged in careless, abusive, corrupt, or otherwise dishonorable conduct. While impeachment should be undertaken only in extraordinary circumstances, the risk we face in an environment of extreme partisanship is not that Congress will employ it as a remedy too often but rather that Congress will employ it so rarely that it cannot deter misconduct.
Our system of checks and balances relies on each branch’s jealously guarding its powers and upholding its duties under our Constitution. When loyalty to a political party or to an individual trumps loyalty to the Constitution, the Rule of Law—the foundation of liberty—crumbles.
We’ve witnessed members of Congress from both parties shift their views 180 degrees—on the importance of character, on the principles of obstruction of justice—depending on whether they’re discussing Bill Clinton or Donald Trump. Few members of Congress even read Mueller’s report; their minds were made up based on partisan affiliation—and it showed, with representatives and senators from both parties issuing definitive statements on the 448-page report’s conclusions within just hours of its release.
America’s institutions depend on officials to uphold both the rules and spirit of our constitutional system even when to do so is personally inconvenient or yields a politically unfavorable outcome. Our Constitution is brilliant and awesome; it deserves a government to match it.
Pelosi fanboys tell us her inaction, failure to schedule a full House contempt vote on Attorney General Barr as some kind of 3D chess. I point out while Nancy dithers Trump is pouring gas on the board while holding a match. The late bartcop had a term, Pink Tutu Democrats.
posted by Mr Mike : 9:06 AM
I don't think she's dithering. She's playing Trump like a violin. He's scared to death of her.
Sanders’ new plan would allow school districts to use federal money for busing, drawing a sharp contrast with Joe Biden, who fought against efforts to use busing to desegregate schools in the 1970s.
The plan would try to revive the force of the federal government’s efforts in the 1950s and 1960s to end the separation of students by race, help school districts that are trying to desegregate their own schools, and address funding disparities that mean students of color often end up in schools that have less money and more inexperienced teachers.
I'm all for white and black kids going to schools together. But busing? Doesn't Sanders comprehend how thoroughly busing was hated when it was tried in the 1970s?
Democrats destroyed their own brand when they became linked in the public consciousness with mandatory busing. Remember, this was a time when Watergate and other scandals had the GOP on life support. It can fairly be said that, without mandatory busing, there would have been no Reagan revolution. Busing kept the Republican party alive. Busing created the monster that is modern conservatism.
If the issue of forced busing had not revitalized the Republican brand, this country would have instituted some sort of "single payer" health insurance overhaul in the 1980s. (That topic was widely discussed in the 1970s; the talk ended when Reagan took over.) The busing experiment extracted a heavy price.
Back in the 1970s, I was a high school student in Los Angeles. Freeways were not quite so crowded as today, but they still resembled parking lots during peak travel times. (Last time I drove the Hollywood Freeway, traffic slowed to a complete stop at 1 A.M. -- and no, there had not been an accident. That's just the way L.A. is.) Mandatory busing presented kids with the prospect of rising well before dawn in order to sit through a two-hour ride -- and at the end of the school day there would be a return trip of similar length. After school programs, including athletic events, could be nightmarish.
White parents who objected to this plan were called racist. Reflexively. Constantly.
The parents would say: "We have no problem with black kids coming to our local school. We have no problem with people of different races learning together and socializing. In fact, we like that idea. But we refuse to make our kid spend four hours a day in traffic."
Racist racist racist! came the response.
And that's when the word "racist" lost its sting.
That's when the accusation stopped triggering an automatic guilt complex. That's when life-long liberals -- working class liberals in the San Fernando Valley, Hollywood liberals living "south of the Boulevard" -- warmed to the idea of voting Republican.
If a candidate said "I'm against forced busing," my mom (a JFK-loving liberal) was ready to cast a ballot for that person, even if the candidate was otherwise an odious reactionary creep.
Honestly, I had no problem whatsoever attending a high school alongside youths bused in from Watts and East L.A. They were fine. God knows that our basketball team -- otherwise composed of short Jewish guys -- needed all the help it could get. (The previous sentence may prompt some of you to cry "Racist racist racist!" but it's the absolute goddamned truth.) But I would rather have moved to the USSR than get on that bus, particularly at that time of morning. Even then, I lived like a vampire; the idea of rising at 5 a.m. or earlier evoked true horror. I was never a party animal; I just think better at night. Night was when I read books, made art and listened to classical music. Sunrise has always been my idea of a good time to hit the hay.
Throughout the 1970s, the proponents of forced busing kept referencing Brown vs. The Board of Education, continually pretending that there is no legal difference between de facto and de jure segregation. Guess what? They're still trying to pull off that smarmy trick.
Joe Biden was wiser than an army of owls when he tried to distance the Democratic party from the concept of busing. The party was bleeding from a massive self-inflicted wound; he tried to staunch the flow.
And now Sanders seeks to re-open that wound. He has to be working for Putin. He has to be trying to destroy the Democratic brand. No other explanation will do.
Sanders’ blueprint — called the Thurgood Marshall Education Plan, after the lawyer who argued the Brown case before becoming the first black Supreme Court justice — draws a stark contrast to former Vice President Joe Biden, who fought against desegregating schools in the 1970s. Biden, who is leading Sanders in Democratic polls, sought the support of segregationists in a bitter battle against court-ordered “busing,” or the transportation of students to other schools and districts in order to end racial separation.
"Sought the support of segregationists"? Bullshit. Biden is from Delaware, not Dixie. Busing was unpopular everywhere.
An equation had taken hold in the public's mind -- Democrats equal forced busing -- and Biden sought to erase that perception. Why? Because forced busing advocates kept losing elections.
Democracy is a popularity contest. When will progressives learn that simple lesson?
De jure segregation was and is an absolute evil, one which the federal government ended, and thank God it did. But the only way to combat de facto segregation in our school systems is to combat de facto segregation in the rest of our society. Legislation cannot cure a purely cultural malady.
By the way: Fleets of new buses will pump a lot of extra smog into the air. Aren't we supposed to be concerned about climate change?
Let me add another "by the way": Sanders' proposal comes at a time when "progressive" colleges are instituting segregated dorms, to insure that black students won't have to intermingle with the irredeemable evil known as the white male. See here and here.
You should check out those links. That's the kind of heinous, separatist bullshit that the apostles of Identity politics have foisted on academia: You go over there, and you go over there. Based purely on skin color. Segregation for adults; busing for children. In the postmodernist mind, that kind of insanity is considered woke. Perhaps the progs hope to solve our energy problems by making Martin Luther King spin rapidly enough in his grave to power a city...?
And now these same pomo punks support Sanders, who wants the Democratic party to hop on the bus to SuicideLand.
Funny how much of the defacto segregation problem can be laid at the feet of Donald Trump's second favorite type, real estate agents. Remember redlining? Trump's all-time faves are authoritarian tyrants who offer him building sites and financing.
posted by Mr Mike : 9:16 AM
Mr. Mike is dead on with redlining. Increased segregation and forced busing? This is how the so called "progressives" want to deal with institutionalized racism? Stupid.
This is the back cover for a paperback reprint of Sinclair Lewis's novel It Can't Happen Here.
Lewis did not foresee that fascism's rise would be abetted by the "progressive" left. My insistence on making that point won't make me popular, but I don't care. Someone has to say it.
While researching this left/right nexus, I came across a particularly enlightening volume: A 2002 book titled Prophets Facing Backwards by Meera Nanda (available for free online). Much of the book focuses on India, but don't let that fact scare you off. Nanda lives in the United States, and many parts of her book prophesy current events in this country. This work offers insight into the international fascist resurgence.
She focuses on the links between postmodernism -- which is hugely influential in Indian intellectual circles -- and Hindu nationalism. In that nation as elsewhere, the far left aided the rise of the far right. (Nanda might insist on drawing a distinction between hyper-nationalism and fascism, but I don't see much point in doing so.)
A few passages:
This book will tell the story of how these intellectuals, in their despair over the world they found themselves in, have helped deliver the people they profess to love --the non-Western masses, the presumed victims of “Western science” and modernity --to the growing forces of hatred, fascism and religious fanaticism. We will look at how the Hindu nationalist dreams of a “Hindu modernity” have found a respectable home in the theories of “alternative epistemology” and “local knowledge” popular in the social constructivist, feminist and Third-Wordlist trends in the academia. How the vanguard of radical postmodernist thought in the later half of the twentieth century has served as a bridge to reactionary modernist movements darkening the horizons in the twenty-first century is the theme of this book.
Following Jeffrey Herf’s well-known study of a similar phenomenon in Nazi Germany, I will refer to this kind of modernity without liberalism as “reactionary modernism.” Reactionary modernism, is very simply, “embrace of modern technology by those who reject Enlightenment reason” (Herf 1984, 1). I believe that the social conditions that led to this phenomenon in the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich --namely, “capitalist industrialization without a successful bourgeois revolution [and] weak traditions of political liberalism and the Enlightenment” (6) -- obtain in many parts of the developing world, including India. In these conditions, the dangers of fascistic nightmares can not be ignored.
The ultimate goal of the Nazis was not “just” to liquidate the Jewish people, but to purge Christianity of the Judaic conception of God. What is often forgotten is that Nazism was a response, among other things, to rapid industrialization, urbanization and a consequent feeling of alienation from nature. In a manner chillingly reminiscent of our own deep ecologists and Hindu nationalists, well-known Nazi ideologues, including Alfred Rosenberg, Heinrich Himmler, Adolf Hitler himself, and lesser lights like Savitri Devi and the theosophist, Helena Blavatsky, ascribed the alienation from nature to the Judaic dualism between a transcendent god and life-less nature (see Pois, 1985, Mosse, 1964, 20 Goodrick-Clarke, 1998 for these issues). The Nazis sought a genuine religion of nature that will allow Germans to live in harmony with nature.
In their quest for a non-dualist, immanent conception of God, the Nazis turned to the Vedic monism of ancient India, the supposed home of the “Nordic Aryans” before they got corrupted by “racial pollution” caused by interbreeding with the non-Aryan natives (the “swarthy Sudras,” Alfred Rosenberg calls them). Rosenberg’s Myth of the Twentieth Century, which was considered the manifesto of National Socialist ideology, turns to Varna (the four-fold division of society, the basis of the caste system) and atman doctrines of the Vedic Hindus to find a new myth “suitable for the twentieth century” that can replace the distant, law-giver Judaic God.
Over the last three decades, starting around the 1960s in the West and a decade or so later in many parts of the Third World, influential secular and progressive intellectuals have pointed the finger at one common enemy of human emancipation --the modern age itself. Bringing a radical conservative sensibility to traditional left-wing concerns with alienation, patriarchy, imperialism and ecology, self-described postmodernists have criticized the modern world of industrial capitalism and liberal humanism not for failing to live up to its own ideals, but for upholding and cherishing these ideals as ideals in the first place.
...I will broadly include as postmodernists those intellectuals who have lost faith in the promise of modernity and the (European) Enlightenment. They argue that modern science and modern secular cultures/institutions have lost their liberatory potential, and have turned into sources of subjugation and mental-colonialism of non-Western people, women, cultural minorities. This sentiment gets translated into an opposition to the project of development and modernization in what used to be called the Third World. To varying degrees, postmodernist intellectuals attribute renewed relevance to all that modernity has set aside. Thus, one of their major preoccupations is the preservation and cultivation of “local knowledges” embedded in traditional cosmologies, religions and traditional practices of agriculture; medicine etc. These local knowledges, postmodernists insist, are legitimate sciences in their own right. They cannot and should not be judged the standards of rationality set by modern science. To do that amounts to Western hubris.
Postmodernism challenges the very possibility of knowledge that is not, in the final instance, authenticated by a local cultural tradition. As modern science is the very paradigm of universal knowledge that claims to transcend cultural differences and local traditions, it has become the ultimate target for deconstruction. Postmodernist critics challenge the core assumptions that constitute the self-understanding of modern science as an epistemologically progressive and universal enterprise
The same debauched thinking has overtaken our campuses, where intersectional "feminists" and other postmodern fanatics have worked tirelessly to undermine the values of the Enlightenment. In my eyes, Richard Spencer and bell hooks are brother and sister. Both are devoted to the same project: Undoing science, decrying reason, torching tolerance, unraveling democracy and -- ultimately -- disuniting the United States.
Various feminist, postcolonial and standpoint epistemologists embraced the social constructivist agenda in order to argue for different logics and different background assumptions that would, presumably, lead to “feminist” or “Indian” or “Islamic” sciences. The idea of modern science as the lingua franca of the modern world has been abandoned.
I now define myself as an antifeminist devoted to the concept of sexual equality. I will remain antifeminist as long as feminism remains yoked to the philosophy of postmodernism. Postmodernism and fascism are both beyond redemption; neither the postmodernist nor the fascist are worthy debating partners. One must not engage in dialogue with such people; one must simply oppose them.
One day, someone will write a book about how the postmodern "left" helped pave the way for Trumpism. Right now, the world is not yet ready for such a volume.
Neither party really cares about the elderly, this in turn has created mistrust within the heartland. Anytime there is a horrifying story about elder abuse, the Progressives stay silent, and the conservatives only care if the perp was an Undocumented.
The pomo "feminists," also called "third wave feminists," are not feminists at all. They are totally anti-feminist.
An outgrowth of postmodernism is queer theory, which is arguably the most evil idea ever concocted in the last fifty years. This trash needs to be banned from all college campuses. It isn't just anti-feminist--it is in fact a real threat to public safety in that it advocates for crimes against children. The dirty secret about queer theory is that its biggest adherents either openly advocate pedophilia or they condone it.
There are limits to "academic freedom," and queer theory, a "philosophy" by and for degenerates and perverts, violates this again and again. Anybody who teaches it needs to be investigated by law enforcement. It undergirds so much of what is wrong with this country today and threatens the rights of protected classes including women, LGBs, and children. This crap is no joke.
A good interview is with Susan Cox by Derrick Jensen, who is highly critical of queer theory. Cox methodically takes it apart and makes it understandable to the lay person:
Political extremes drive out the middle leaving the fascist right as the victor. Here today in Australia we are getting our version of this process. A corrupt and grossly incompetent Liberal (think Republican) government has been voted back into office, the voters rejecting a moderately socialist yet highly talented Labor Party with clear, costed policy goals. The reason? A combination of fear-and-greed marketing by the hard Right. Lies, all lies from top to bottom. "They've come to steal your homes, raise your taxes, ...." all in lurid posters with a menacing Labor leader. Don't think because Australians are wealthy and Western that we are immune to the siren song of neoliberalism. Every lie, every BS. Frankly, I've thrown up my hands. The political ignorance of our middle class, especially the rural voter, is shocking.
One interesting feature was that the Libs actually lost votes across the nation. But a wealthy, one-man hard Right nut job named Clive Palmer put up $50 million of his own money to back his own party calling for massively lower taxation. He received the national protest vote and his grubby voting preference deal with the Liberals saw them steal back into office. He got no seats at all. The Greens ran holier-than-thou programs in rural seats that pissed off the locals who gritted their teeth and voted Liberal. It's a complete mess. Nothing remotely Left will get in for a decade. Meanwhile the hard Right can loot and pillage.
posted by fred : 11:50 AM
Henry A.Giroux has a great piece on the rise of modern fascism and the learned political helplessness which comes with the decline of cultural literacy. Just as land enclosures privatized property and the commons became unavailable to the public, so the privatization of public culture has destroyed the idea of a political commons, an abiding set of ideas and practices which sustain democracy. If education is just for jobs training then democracy is just a means for getting money. Enter the brown shirts.
How the "progressive" left has helped the right undo abortion rights
Should I restart this blog? I am feeling a need to piss people off. Here's my attempt to alienate everyone on all sides of the abortion controversy.
I am, of course, outraged by the recent threat to abortion rights coming out of Alabama. Hell, even Pat Robertson thinks that the state has gone too far. I agree with those observers who suggest that the new law was not written by people who actually have addresses in or near Mobile. This is all part of a national strategy to overturn abortion rights.
‘A typical male answer’: Only 3 women had a voice in Alabama Senate as 25 men passed abortion ban
To Coleman-Madison, the moment crystallized a problem that has plagued women’s reproductive health debates over the years in Alabama’s legislature and beyond: They are typically dominated by male politicians. On Tuesday, that was in sharp focus. All 25 votes cast in favor of the bill were from white Republican men.
Yes, but who voted for those males? Both women and men cast those votes. There is no evidence of a massive gender divide in the Alabama electorate. The problem is not that those legislators have committed the "crime" of penis-ownership; the problem is that they really do reflect the views of their constituents.
The next paragraph in the above-quoted WP story concedes this point...
Coleman-Madison and Democratic state Sen. Vivian Davis Figures, the only women who spoke during the four-hour debate, acknowledged in interviews with The Washington Post that the divide on the issue is primarily one of ideology rather than gender; the Republican sponsor of the bill in the Alabama House, for example, is a woman, and Republican Gov. Kay Ivey will is expected to sign it.
I am infuriated by the feminist fantasy version of the war against Roe-v-Wade. You see this sort of talk all over Democratic Underground: Those poor, perpetually-blameless women are being battered into submission by a cabal of evil males!
It's a myth. Sorry, but I refuse to go along with a politically-correct hallucination.
Here's an obdurate fact which is sure to annoy reflexive male-haters everywhere: Men and women oppose abortion rights in equal numbers.
Men and women have similar views on abortion: 60% of women and 57% of men say it should be legal in all or most cases, according to Pew.
That three percent difference is within the margin of error. In fact, some evidence indicates that more men than women favor reproductive rights.
Democratic pollster Celinda Lake said on Friday that women are more likely to oppose abortion rights than men.
“Women are much less likely to be pro-choice," Lake, who is the president of Lake Research, told Hill TV's Joe Concha on "What America's Thinking."
"Women are more religious than men, and so women are slightly less pro-choice than men," she continued.
I don't know if the phrase "much less likely" is justified by the numbers, but it is true that women are more likely to be religious, and to ally themselves with the more fundamentalist forms of religion. See here and here.
Yet delusional feminists perpetually pretend to be the victims of an all-male conspiracy. If you scream the truth at them -- You're doing it to yourselves, sisters! -- they will cover their ears and accuse you of verbal violence.
Since so many people hate what feminism has become, and since feminism is conflated in the public mind with the Democratic Party, it is fair to posit that revulsion against modern feminism helped put Trump in office. Personally, I have no doubt that disgust with both Identity politics and modern radical feminism has helped the GOP maintain a stranglehold on the Deep South.
Modern feminism differs from the old school version in one key respect: Effectiveness.
Before feminism went insane, before "intersectional" became the new buzzword, back when feminism was liberal instead of radical, women's rights were on much firmer ground. Why? Because those fighting for said rights cared about effectiveness. They were more concerned with getting things done -- incrementally, if need be (and I am not among those who disdain that word) -- than with expressing their anti-male rage. When liberal feminism ruled the day, Planned Parenthood was stronger, Roe was the rock-solid law of the land, and an unwed teenaged mother could get an abortion in Alabama.
All of that has either evaporated or will soon vanish.
I blame feminism. And when I say those three words, I'm not blaming the victim: I'm blaming the victimizer.
I blame the monstrous, man-hating aberration that feminism has turned into over the course of the past quarter century, especially on our college campuses. Modern feminists have empowered the far right by making the left look foolish, hyper-judgmental and hate-filled. Modern feminists have empowered the right by presenting segregation, lesbianism and Total Male Obsequiousness as the only acceptable alternatives to "male tyranny."
Postmodernism. Modern feminism is a product of the vile, irredeemable philosophical movement called postmodernism. Postmodernism may fairly be called fascism's twin, since both world-views oppose the values of the Enlightenment. On college campuses across the country, postmodern feminist pseudoscholars denigrate reason itself while celebrating "alternative ways of knowing."
Translation: Let's haul out the tarot cards and the crystals! And if those items are not to your taste, haul out your Bible. And that brings us right back to the fundamentalists of Alabama. How can modern feminists oppose those fundamentalists when both sides hate science and reason?
I strongly urge you to read the above-linked essay. It was written by Helen Pluckrose, one of my new heroes -- or rather, heroines. (In the current radical feminist lexicon, "heroine" is now a verboten word, like "actress." All the more reason to use it.)
Despite all the evidence that racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and xenophobia are at an all-time low in Western societies, Leftist academics and SocJus activists display a fatalistic pessimism, enabled by postmodern interpretative “reading” practices which valorize confirmation bias. The authoritarian power of the postmodern academics and activists seems to be invisible to them whilst being apparent to everyone else. As Andrew Sullivan says of intersectionality:
“It posits a classic orthodoxy through which all of human experience is explained — and through which all speech must be filtered. … Like the Puritanism once familiar in New England, intersectionality controls language and the very terms of discourse.”
Physicists Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont address the same problem from the perspective of science in Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals’ Abuse of Science:
“Who could now seriously deny the ‘grand narrative’ of evolution, except someone in the grip of a far less plausible master narrative such as Creationism? And who would wish to deny the truth of basic physics? The answer was, ‘some postmodernists.’”
“There is something very odd indeed in the belief that in looking, say, for causal laws or a unified theory, or in asking whether atoms really do obey the laws of quantum mechanics, the activities of scientists are somehow inherently ‘bourgeois’ or ‘Eurocentric’ or ‘masculinist’, or even ‘militarist.'”
When the organizers of the March for Science tweeted “colonization, racism, immigration, native rights, sexism, ableism, queer-, trans-, intersex-phobia, & econ justice are scientific issues,” many scientists immediately criticized this politicization of science and derailment of the focus on preservation of science to intersectional ideology. In South Africa, the #ScienceMustFall and #DecolonizeScience progressive student movement announced that science was only one way of knowing that people had been taught to accept. They suggested witchcraft as one alternative.
I ask you: How does the postmodernist assault on reason differ from the anti-science beliefs espoused by the fundamentalist Christians who make the laws in Alabama?
It has become commonplace to note that the far-Right is now using identity politics and epistemic relativism in a very similar way to the postmodern-Left. Of course, elements of the far-Right have always been divisive on the grounds of race, gender and sexuality and prone to irrational and anti-science views but postmodernism has produced a culture more widely receptive to this. Kenan Malik describes this shift,
“When I suggested earlier that the idea of ‘alternative facts’ draws upon ‘a set of concepts that in recent decades have been used by radicals’, I was not suggesting that Kellyanne Conway, or Steve Bannon, still less Donald Trump, have been reading up on Foucault or Baudrillard… It is rather that sections of academia and of the left have in recent decades helped create a culture in which relativized views of facts and knowledge seem untroubling, and hence made it easier for the reactionary right not just to re-appropriate but also to promote reactionary ideas.”
Postmodernism should be renamed Premodernism, since the goal appears to be undoing all respect for democracy and science. The neo-fascism of Alexander Dugin (the evil genius behind Putin) has precisely the same goal. The movements are twins.
This “set of concepts” threaten to take us back to a time before the Enlightenment, when “reason” was regarded as not only inferior to faith but as a sin. James K. A. Smith, Reformed theologian and professor of philosophy, has been quick to see the advantages for Christianity and regards postmodernism as “a fresh wind of the Spirit sent to revitalize the dry bones of the church” (p18). In Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism?: Taking Derrida, Lyotard, and Foucault to Church, he says,
“A thoughtful engagement with postmodernism will encourage us to look backward. We will see that much that goes under the banner of postmodern philosophy has one eye on ancient and medieval sources and constitutes a significant recovery of premodern ways of knowing, being, and doing.” (p25)
“Postmodernism can be a catalyst for the church to reclaim its faith not as a system of truth dictated by a neutral reason but rather as a story that requires ‘eyes to see and ears to hear.” (p125)
We on the Left should be very afraid of what “our side” has produced.
Let's apply these words to the current situation. What must we do about Alabama? How do we face the coming nationwide battle over abortion rights?
First, we must resist the feminist insanity of blaming all our ills on the imaginary Great Penismonster Conspiracy. Pluckrose has a better idea:
In order to regain credibility, the Left needs to recover a strong, coherent and reasonable liberalism. To do this, we need to out-discourse the postmodern-Left. We need to meet their oppositions, divisions and hierarchies with universal principles of freedom, equality and justice. There must be a consistency of liberal principles in opposition to all attempts to evaluate or limit people by race, gender or sexuality. We must address concerns about immigration, globalism and authoritarian identity politics currently empowering the far- Right rather than calling people who express them “racist,” “sexist” or “homophobic” and accusing them of wanting to commit verbal violence. We can do this whilst continuing to oppose authoritarian factions of the Right who genuinely are racist, sexist and homophobic, but can now hide behind a façade of reasonable opposition to the postmodern-Left.
If I had the time I would write a book about Sandra Bland and how a newly discovered video she took somehow unearths new intel about her arrest and subsequent suicide in jail. The 39 second video does not show anything new, just a new angle. The original 40 minute video showed these exact same 39 seconds.
The ultra progressives continue to enflame their base, be it Sandra Bland or any issue that they can misuse to prove that white males are evil.
Your notion of 'pre'modernism is equivalent to the saying "regressive left."
After reading this and a big chunk of Helen's article I had a flash of insight. The reason why the regressive left are so enamored with Islamism/Jihadism is because they are bedfellows - regressives and true enemies of the Enlightenment/modernity, i.e. "the West." It all makes perfect sense now and points the way toward addressing it because we can at least define what "it" is.
The term feminist has been co-opted by the Right starting with Rush Limbaugh's Feminazi. Same way they turned the word Liberal into a pejorative. Unless Huffpo asked a series of questions w/o using the word feminist I wouldn't put too much faith in it. Anyway glad to know you still have a pulse and look forward to subsequent musings.
posted by Mr Mike : 4:32 PM
Terry, I have often felt there is a kinship between the Conservatives and Ultra Restrictive Religions. Now you are saying the Progessive left is doing the same thing. That leaves the Moderates who continually are drowned out by both the Progressive left and the Conservative right.
I went mad this week with the wall-to-wall, one-way reporting on the Alabama "anti-abortion " law that has not the slightest chance in Hell of surviving a SCOTUS review. Stare decisis rulings are few and far between among the Supremes, even when the constitutional basis for protecting "women's rights" while killing babies is stupid, surpassing even the dumbest Donald Trump thought.
Murder has always been against the law and doctors do not have that right. Anyway the parade of talking head after talking head pro-abortionists on CNN and MSNBC got old with nary a word about Pro-Life supporters, nor murdered babies. Worse, the comments quoted from Alabama representatives did not include words like pro-life or dead babies. Dishonesty is easy to spot and that is why I don't watch Fox, but not everyone is for abortion, so why is the story twisted?
First, I beg readers to offer a prayer (if so inclined) for the victims of the horrific Easter church bombings in Sri Lanka. So far, I've seen no news stories naming the group responsible for this tragedy. I fear that these attacks will become propaganda fodder for anti-Muslim activists in this country and in Europe.
Impeach! I stand with Elizabeth Warren: We must all screech to impeach. Fortunately, Laurence Tribe -- previously hostile to the notion -- has come around.
Mueller’s report has in no way cleared the president of grave wrongdoing. It would be a lie to claim otherwise, as Barr and Trump repeatedly have done. The report takes pains to note that the investigation could not establish wrongdoing under the strict framework of conspiracy law, but declines to draw a conclusion on the existence of collusion, which “is not a specific offense or theory” under U.S. law. Further, Mueller does not mince words about the president’s potential obstruction of justice, stating: “If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment.”
In truth, there is some word-mincing here. I would have preferred a straightforward "He did it!" since the evidence is incontrovertible.
(Gotta admit, I loved Rudy's defense: Hey, Trump didn't obstruct. He was joking! It was just a bit!Lighten up, willya? Hilarious stuff. Keep it up, Rudy! I needed that laugh.)
Yes, the polls indicate that the public is not yet with us. On this issue, public opinion must be shifted, not followed. Here's how Democratic politicians should phrase the argument:
"The 'smoking gun' tape which brought down Richard Nixon showed just one act of attempted obstruction of justice. Mueller proved that Trump committed the exact same crime at least ten times over. Trump beat the conspiracy rap by dangling pardons. Only a guilty person would obstruct justice."
These words will do the job. I'm not saying that this argument will persuade everyone; I'm saying that it is reasonable and easily understood. Any Republican who tries to mount a counter-argument will soon start sputtering like Porky Pig.
Even if impeachment does not lead to removal, Democrats should pursue this goal -- first and foremost, for reasons of ethics and national honor. It's simply the right thing to do. Moreover, it's also the tactically correct thing to do. History demonstrates that impeachment will aid the Democrats politically.
Allow me to explain.
The commonly-heard comparison goes to the Clinton impeachment. Unfortunately, our memories have become skewed. Understanding the political fallout from that event requires a degree of nuance which most teevee pundits refuse to provide.
The Republicans had hoped to fare well in the 1998 elections, which followed hard upon the impeachment circus. The GOP did not fare very well. But neither did they receive a "shellacking" (a word used by an MSNBC talking head this morning). The GOP lost seats but retained control of the House, while the Senate remained unchanged.
It is true that Bill Clinton's personal popularity rose. The broadcast of his grand jury testimony made him seem sympathetic; everyone was reminded of how likable the guy could be. (The Republicans had insisted on that broadcast. Boy, did that tactic backfire!)
The citizenry belatedly understood that Republican propagandists had wildly over-promised. For years, we had been bombarded with hyperbolic scare stories which convinced millions that Whitewater was a worse scandal than the JFK assassination, Watergate and Iran-contra combined. Suddenly, we learned that all of those right-wing conspiracy theories were based on pure blather. Starr had nothing. His lavishly-funded, uncontrolled, brutally partisan and absolutely ruthless inquisition had managed to uncover only an extraneous extramarital affair, which the public correctly judged to be no big deal. Though Republicans and feminists (a not-infrequent partnership) tried to portray Clinton as a presidential predator, this line of attack flopped, since Monica Lewinsky clearly took the initiative in the affair. She ended up saying "I hate Linda Tripp," not "I hate Bill Clinton."
When you think about it, the 1998 elections should have been much worse for the GOP, since their star propagandists stood revealed as liars. But the Republicans did not suffer. They came out of 1998 fairly well -- and in 2000, they won the presidency, the House, and the Senate.
The Republicans would have fared far worse if they had not impeached Bill Clinton.
A Republican refusal to pursue impeachment would have been tantamount to a grand public confession: Okay, folks -- you know those stories we told you about Bill Clinton? About how he was the Master of Evil and King of the Illuminati? Well, all of that stuff was bullshit. We simply made up a bunch of paranoid hooey.
Impeachment did not result in removal, but it allowed the Republicans to portray themselves as the Party of Virtue. A neologism took hold: Virtuecrats. William Bennett (whose secret life was then well-hidden) wrote his smarmy Book of Virtues, which begat a small empire -- sequels, children's books, animated films and so forth. This new propaganda line proved to be very effective. In the words of an old Bill Maher joke, Republicans ran on the slogan "I fuck my wife."
Meanwhile, "Clinton fatigue" set in as 1999 gave way to 2000. Teevee comedians continued to use the Lewinsky affair as fodder for jokes, hitting Clinton again and again. Even David Letterman (whose politics skew left) said that the Oval Office would have to be hosed out after Clinton left.
In 2000, Al Gore felt obligated to distance himself from a president whose administration had, by any historic measure, been wildly successful. (Remember when the great public debating point was "What to do with the surplus?") Gore chose the despicable Joe Lieberman as his running mate for one reason only: Lieberman had been a Clinton critic.
In short: If the Republicans had not impeached Bill Clinton, Gore almost certainly would have won the presidency. Moreover, the precariously-balanced Senate (50-50 in 2001) would have fallen under Democratic control. Perhaps even the House would have turned blue.
Today, if the Democrats do not screech to impeach, they will empower Trump's "witch hunt" narrative. The result will be electoral disaster. Impeachment will not impede the Democrats' chances in 2020. In fact, impeachment is a requirement.
Here's another important consideration: The public admires fighters. Dems are disliked because Dems, too often, are wimps.
A word about public opinion. Readers may question my consistency. In previous posts, I've argued that the word "socialism" must be avoided, since all polls indicate strong public opposition to the concept. When it comes to the S word, my counsel is "Heed public opinion." But when it comes to impeachment, my counsel is "Change public opinion."
A contradiction? No.
I'm simply offering my view as to which poll numbers can be shifted and which are intractable. All evidence indicates that, for more than a century, Americans have had a phobic reaction to the S word. Look at the data:
Fewer than one in five Americans view socialism favorably, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll published Sunday.
The poll found that 18 percent of Americans have a positive view of socialism, compared to 50 percent who view it negatively. The poll found opposite perspectives on capitalism, with 50 percent saying they view it favorably and 19 percent reporting that they see it negatively.
The poll also found that only 25 percent of Americans are enthusiastic or comfortable with a socialist becoming the next president.
You may argue that other polls will give different results. Not that different; don't kid yourself. And don't try to convince me that educational efforts can work miracles: Speeches
and essays and songs and movies and Bill Maher monologues simply won't
change the fact that Americans do not like and never will like
socialism. Or rather, they don't like that word; they still intend to cash their social security checks.
("But young people...!" Fuck you. The young are not the only voters.)
By contrast: On this morning, Trump's disapproval is 53.2 percent and his approval is 41.6 percent. Those numbers have been pretty consistent throughout his term. A majority of Americans want to believe ill of this man; they are reachable, persuadable.
Dems, do you really want Trump's "witch hunt" narrative to have purchase? Do you want his propaganda points to prevail? If not, then you must continually push two truths:
1. The Mueller report demonstrates obstruction of justice.
2. Obstruction is the only reason Trump beat the "collusion" rap. If no underlying crime existed, there would have been no need for obstruction. (Besides, Mueller heeded -- foolishly, in my opinion -- DOJ policy which forbids the indictment of a president.)
Those two points will have no impact unless backed by action, by impeachment. If you want to use the term "political theater," fine: Theater can tell important truths. The impeachment process is the way to impress the truth on the public mind. It may be the only way to convey the facts to those who remain locked in the Fox News bubble.
Democrats: "The Constitution demands Trump be impeached but Senate republicans will fight it bc partisanship". Hammer that narrative every chance a reporter asks. Ball gag Steny Hoyer and Pelosi.
posted by Mr Mike : 5:15 PM
He must be impeached. The sooner the better. If the Dems refuse to impeach it will reek of cowardice! There is no other take on an equivocation of impeaching the bastard. The Dems are trying to be too cute in trying to have it both ways. It is time to stand up and impose their will. It is the right thing to do. Or we will have no country or democracy to protect! We have this criminal because Pelosi took impeachment off the table. W deserved being impeached....
posted by Anonymous : 8:59 PM
The Democrat's biggest problem is they want to run the show when it was Trump who was elected. If the Dems don't offifically congratulate Trump for his 2016 win, and if the Dems don't support a Border Wall, then there will be a lot of irriated Moderates who will vote for Trump in 2020.
I've heard this dumb argument that "If Dems impeach and the Senate acquits, that will clear Trump!" No, actually it's the opposite. If after all the talk about Trump and this report, the Dems choose not to impeach, that will tell the public that he hasn't done anything that bad, and he's basically just a normal President. I can't think of a better way to deflate Dem enthusiasm than to say with your actions that Trump basically hasn't done anything wrong.
Another aspect which I think overlooked is what will be Trump and the Republicans reaction be if Democrats don't impeach? They know they stole the election, shouldn't be in office, and have engaged in an unprecedented level of corruption. For all of this to happen, for it all to be revealed to the public, and the Democrats still don't impeach? They will feel bullet proof and see it as a de facto invitation to become a one party country since Dems will have basically waved the white flag and providing any meaningful opposition. At a minimum, Republicans will never comply with any House oversight, and Trump will use the DOJ to close all the investigations against him and use it as his own personal tool to go after his political enemies. It'll be a green light to go wild.
I'll wrap this up by saying the good news is my gut is telling me that the "Dem impeachment would an overreach!" is one of those stupid beliefs that only exists in the DC bubble. The Dem base wants impeachment, and Republicans seem to think it's going to happen. This has parallels to Bill's impeachment in that DC thought the public would be outraged by Monica when in fact the public didn't care. Likewise, DC thinks the public would turn against impeachment, when I and many others believe the public would actually support impeachment the further along we get into it.
posted by nemdam : 7:11 PM
Larry Tribe's first name is spelled "Laurence." Don't publish, just fix the spelling.
Unless a President signs an executive order on a document, then its just hearsay. Nixon audio recorded his desire and that may have been viewed as signing a document, although I doin't agree unless the intent of the recording was verificaiton.
I am curious, are Presidents allowed to give verbal orders that are followed that were never written down. If yes, why?
If we start impeaching presidents for their spoken words in private rather than their "written" words in public they then verify by signing, we are creating a slippery slope of he said, they said. So do Presidents give orders without written verification? Does anyone know?
First: The NYT offers a good summary of the counterintelligence aspect of the Mueller investigation. For the most part, the report does not explore this territory.
The stark reality is that one might have a moderate to high confidence that decisions are being made by an American president who, in the process of getting elected and after assuming office, has acted with the interests of an often-hostile foreign power influencing him.
And that conclusion is deeply worrisome as a national security matter.
Unfortunately, the Times neglects to address what I consider the most worrisome indicator that Trump (or someone close to him) has directly aided Putin.
Why the hell aren't more people concerned about the moles?
During the opening stages of the Trump presidency -- actually, it started during the transition -- Putin systematically arrested a number of people in his national security structure, most of whom were accused of being spies for America. See here and here. Why aren't more people concerned about the ultra-suspicious timing of this purge? Am I the only one willing to posit that someone high up in our national security establishment handed Putin a list of names?
About the report: No, I've not yet completely read all 400-plus pages. But I've read a fair amount, and I've followed the online and cable news discussions ravenously. Bottom line: The report surprised me. Mueller accomplished more than expected, delivering some actual meat to go with the gravy. Meanwhile, Barr's slimy performance unmasked him as the world-class deceiver that I always knew him to be. Arguably, his lies smell worse than those told by Trump, if only because Barr's higher intelligence allows him to beguile more suavely.
In short: I was pleasantly surprised by the report. Yet I remain disappointed.
As noted in a previous post, our political culture maintains an infuriating double standard: When a Democratic president needs to be investigated, only a Republican prosecutor is considered acceptable. Conversely, when a Republican president needs to be investigated, only a Republican prosecutor is considered acceptable. This, despite the fact that the Republicans have established a far more formidable history of trickery and deception. Obvious examples: Watergate, Iran-contra, the lies that begat the Iraq invasion.
If Mueller were a Dem, he would not have given Don Jr. a pass for his insufficient awareness of election laws. Ignorance of the law is no excuse -- except if you are a Republican.
(Winona Ryder should have declared herself a Republican: "Hey, I didn't know that there were laws against shoplifting." She would have walked.)
If Mueller were a Dem, he would not have followed that hoary DOJ guideline memo which forbids the indictment of a president in office. The insufficiency of that guide has become quite apparent; the memo in question was written at a time when no-one contemplated the possibility of a president receiving aid from a hostile foreign power. This "rule" is not a law, merely a tradition -- and tradition should serve the citizenry, not the other way round. Why did Mueller feel fettered by a non-binding memo?
If Mueller were a Dem, he would have explicitly asked for impeachment, as Ken Starr did.
If Mueller were a Dem, he would not have handed important national security cases off to the tender mercies of William Barr, who will surely upend the prosecutions.
If Mueller were a Dem, he would have explicitly stated that Trump committed obstruction of justice, as the evidence clearly demonstrates. It's not enough to say that Trump has not been exonerated; we need something more explicit. Perhaps Mueller should have trotted out that old Doonesbury line: "Guilty guilty GUILTY!" I'm not at all persuaded by the "fairness" argument -- the argument that Trump should not be accused of a crime until he can defend himself in court, and that a court case must be postponed until he leaves office. Trump can (and does) defend himself very effectively, via the presidential bully pulpit and via a massively-effective right-wing propaganda machine.
If Mueller were a Dem, he would have admitted that, by any reasonable standard, the Manafort/Kilimnik interaction constitutes collaboration between a Trump campaign official and a functionary of the Russian government.
If Mueller were a Dem, he would have expanded the inquiry to include non-campaign personnel who interacted with both Team Trump and the Russians. In particular, he would have followed the investigative trail that Marcy Wheeler indicated when she approached the FBI. The more I think about that matter, the more important it seems. (I may explain what I mean in a later post.)
If Mueller were a Dem, he would have made crystal clear that Trump avoided conspiracy charges by obstructing justice. Evidence was destroyed; text messages were deleted. Most importantly: Trump clearly dangled a pardon in front of Manafort's eyes.
(Manafort appears to have been the key Trump/Russia point man. Something similar, I'd wager, could be said of Roger Stone, although we can't be sure at this point because so much Stone material was redacted.)
Here we see the danger of Barr's declaration that an obstruction charge should not be levied without proof of an underlying crime. By Barr's reasoning, John Gotti did nothing wrong when he beat the rap through witness intimidation.
What bothers me most of all is this nation's shifting standard for obstruction of justice.
George Conway, of all people, raised an important point when he compared the Mueller report to the "smoking gun" tape that brought down Nixon. At the time, the tape was said to offer ironclad proof that Nixon had committed obstruction. In fact, the tape documented attempted obstruction: Nixon asked CIA Director Richard Helms to tell a false story to the FBI in order to shoo the Bureau away from investigating the Watergate burglary. Nixon made the ask because he thought he could trust Helms. But Helms did not do as requested.
As one wit noted, history does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme. Anyone should be able to see an obvious rhyme between Trump/McGahn and Nixon/Helms, the major difference being the contrast between McGahn's honorable resignation versus the covert backstabs exchanged between Tricky Dick and the Even Trickier Dick.
In the 1970s, attempted obstruction was considered insufferable: Nixon had to go. Now, in this report, Mueller has given us the Smoking Gun Tape times ten -- yet we tolerate and rationalize the criminality of Donald Trump. Suddenly, attempted obstruction doesn't count.
Can this Republic survive?
I began this post with the intent to say much, much more -- particularly on the topic of Paul Manafort, about whom the report gave us much juicy new information. No-one seems to have noted that the new Manafort revelations buttress my long-held suspicion that the real Trump scandal involves election fraud. Few care to discuss the possibility that Russia directly interfered with the vote tabulation. Well, I'm foolish enough to go where angels fear to tread, and thus I will soon have more to say about that.
Right now, let us ponder both the strengths and the weaknesses of the Mueller investigation. Was he the right choice for the job? Would we have been better served by someone more partisan and less beholden to tradition?
Let us ponder, too, the chutzpah of the Republicans, who have declared vindication even when the report offers nothing of the sort. I'm reminded of that old joke from the Vietnam era: Nixon should just declare victory and pull our troops out. Trump is declaring victory even though he just had half his capacious ass handed to him.
Infuriatingly, this tactic will probably work. And at the height of his victory dance, Trump may well pardon both Manafort and Flynn, while Barr will deep-six all of the "mystery cases" which Mueller referred to the DOJ.
If Mueller were a Dem, he would have found some way to prevent that sorry outcome.
I'm just stunned that Mueller didn't get Trump's financials. Everybody seems to assume that Putin wanted Trump in so Trump could seriously damage America's brand and not object to Putin's actions in the international arena. But what if it's not that, but that Trump needed to repay Russian, Deutshe Bank, loans. What if Trump was in default, like he always is and offered to repay if he got elected? What if it's not the politics, but the money?
If Trump asks someone, or orders someone, he has authority over to obstruct, and they refuse, Trump has not committed a crime. However, if Trump then punishes the person in any way for refusing to break the law on his behalf, then that is another story, and one that at the moment has not yet been addressed. Instead of looking to who refused Trump's Obstruction orders, everyone should be looking at everyone who was fired and see if Trump fired anyone because they refused to break the law on his behalf.
Alessandro, that's silly. You've ignored the precedent I cite: The Nixon/Helms interaction documented by the "smoking gun" tape.
Okay, it IS true that Nixon fired Helms in February of 1973, ostensibly for other reasons. Nobody has ever suggested that the firing was motivated by the refusal to obstruct justice on Nixon's behalf, although I would not dismiss the idea. It gets kind of weird, because on pretty much the same day Helms was fired, Nixon offered him the post of ambassador to the USSR, a job Helms didn't take, although he DID accept a subsequent offer to be the ambassador to Iran. It's all pretty mysterious and I admit that I've never quite understood that series of events. I don't even have a proper theory. It is worth noting that McCord wrote his famous letter to Sirica in March of '73, and that McCord was (I'm told) a Helms loyalist.
At any rate, the special prosecutor never argued that Helms was punished for refusing to go along with the obstruction scheme. It was believed (correctly) that the mere existence of this scheme constituted obstruction.
I am unsure that it makes much difference as to which political party the felonious president or his prosecutor belongs. After all, it was a GOP Senate that voted against Slick Willie's impeachment fate arising from his dalliances with Miz Lewinsky and then Independent Counsel Robert Ray, a Republican, let Bubba walk from further danger from perjury and obstruction of justice charges after his term of office ended for a mere 25 Grand and suspension of his law license. In 1994, Clinton had agreed to settle the Paula Jones lawsuit for $850K, but word has it that this princely sum didn't come from the president.
If Robert Muller were a Dem in the manner of the Third Way caucus, he would have folded. Though Trump has tried, the public knows the republican bona fides of Mueller, Comey, Rosenstein, et al. A flawed report better than none at all. Pelosi was hoping Mueller would give her cover and she wouldn't have to go out on a limb. Now she has to spine up. Here's a thought, the public is against impeachment in a way they weren't against the Iraq invasion. We need a Judith Miller/New York Times grinning up the call to impeach.
posted by Mr Mike : 1:02 PM
Joseph, your Nixon analogy sounds similar, yet there are differences. Nixon was already in the White House when he ordered his people to shoo away any investigation, and he recorded his orders. But if his people did not follow his orders, he should not have been impeached UNLESS he then punished the people who refused his order to obstruct.
Gadly, 50 Republicans voted for Impeachment, five did not. I hardly call that a ringing endorsement. 67 votes were needed, they got 50. And this was for lying about a CONSENSUAL BJ. Absolutely unbelievable.
A perfect example of abuse, over reach,, and excess, Indicting a President for lying abouit an act that did not break the law but would have caused a weakening of the President's Power if admitted do.
I do not expect that the redacted report will offer us many shocks, although I do think that we will be unpleasantly unsurprised by the number of redactions. Barr will slash out anything which concerns ongoing legal proceedings, and that means we may not see one word about Paul Manafort and Roger Stone. There is also a case against Stone pal Andrew Miller, plus an indictment against a whole slew of Russian hackers.
Absent that information, we don't really have a report, do we? How can there be a proper report on Russian hacking if Barr can snip out anything having to do with Russian hackers?
Mueller handed a number of cases off to the DOJ for prosecution by the US Attorney's Office in DC. This move effectively allows Barr to take over those prosecutions. Right now, that office is headed by Jessie Liu, who had a role on the Trump transition. Liu will soon become an Associate AG at DOJ; she will be replaced by someone who will make sure that none of the Mueller-initiated cases does any damage to Donald Trump.
In other words, we're screwed.
Roger Stone now says that he has not spoken to Trump in over two years. Believe that if you are so inclined; I have my doubts. I cannot imagine a universe in which Trump ignores Stone while talking to Alex Jones, and in January of 2018, Alex Jones announced that Trump had called him three times during the past month. Jones says that he missed the calls because Trump insists on phoning early in the morning.
(Does Donnie ever sleep? Texas is an hour behind DC!)
In December of last year, Stone specified that he had not spoken with Trump "about a pardon," but did not say that he and Trump had not talked at all.
Again: We're screwed. I don't think that tomorrow's release will end the controversy over Russiagate one way or the other, although the right will declare victory regardless. We may see very subtle signs that countries other than Russia played a role in electing Trump -- and by "other countries," I mean Saudi Arabia and Israel. One may also point out that Cambridge Analytica is basically an arm of the UK's secret state.
We were wrong to place so much hope in Mueller. Frankly, I've been pretty lukewarm on Mueller from the get-go; all indications are that he planned his strategy without taking the power of the pardon into account. This kind of investigation required a younger person capable of more radical thinking.
Nevertheless, all hope is not gone: We do have the House (until 2020) and there is some possibility that the state of New York will take the kind of action we need. Even my pessimism has limits.
Predictions. If NY can't give us a Trump-killing revelation, my current predictions are that Bernie will win the nomination and will go on to a historic, McGovern-esque defeat. The coming Trump sweep may well put the GOP back in control of the House.
This unparalleled disaster will, I hope, force the Dems to come to their senses. They must give up on their insane insistence on squeaking out a narrow win based on endless GOTV efforts directed at women, blacks and Latinos. If the Ds lose big, they will belatedly realize that they have to win back working class voters, even if those voters have unfashionably pale skin.
Every time a prog calls a working class white person "privileged" (even if he's homeless!), a Republican gets a vote. This country was in much better shape when the word "privileged" was defined in purely economic terms.
Democrats must explicitly denounce identity politics, socialism, progressive purity, and the insane, man-hating version of feminism which has commandeered so much of our national discourse. I'm talking about the kind of feminism now taught in gender studies courses at universities across the land.
Most Americans (including most female Americans) share my position: In overwhelming numbers, they favor gender equality but they have learned to despise feminism, or at least what feminism has become. The word has taken on unsavory connotations because the movement has been commandeered by a bunch of postmodernist nutcases who view males the way Hitler viewed Jews.
Identity politics is really just another form of racism -- anti-white racism. Why should white people (particularly white males) vote for a party that considers them subhuman and inherently bestial?
On campus, the whack-jobs teaching identity politics (the ones who love to use the new buzz word "intersectional") force students to see all social phenomena in race-vision. Long gone are the days when "colorblind" was considered the ideal attitude. Now, students are taught to judge people by the color of their skin, not by the content of their character. Tribalism rules; one must never discuss the individual as an individual.
And for God's sake, one must never discuss issues. Issues are boring. Race is all. The only thing that matters is the ethnic (or sexual) group assigned to you by an accident of genetic destiny.
Naturally, this insistent focus on racial and gender identity has led to a hideous (and very predictable) backlash: Trump is in office, bigotry is on the rise, fascism has gained new muscles, and the number of KKK chapters has risen nationally from 72 to 190. Meanwhile, a woman's right to obtain an abortion is in far more danger now than it was in the "bad old days" of Bill Clinton -- the days before feminists went intersectionally insane.
In short: Identity politics has had the opposite of the desired effect. It turns out white people won't sympathize with your cause if you keep telling them that they are monsters. Democracy is a popularity contest; if you keep telling white working people that they are all born evil, your favored candidate won't be popular and won't get elected. You can't get anything done.
Unfortunately, the imbecilic apostles of identity politics simply do not care if their rhetoric empowers the far right. The concept of effectiveness does not matter to these pseudo-progressive crackpots. All they care about is blaming all of their personal failures on the Great White Male Conspiracy, just as Hitler's followers blamed all of their problems on the Great Jewish Conspiracy.
Neither AOC nor Bernie have come to grips with an ironclad rule of American politics: The only way to implement the kind of changes that an Ayn Randroid would describe as "socialistic" is to pursue those policies while insisting that you are not a socialist. That's how FDR did it. Nowadays, many people speak of him as a "kind of, sort of" American socialist, but in his own day, leftists considered him a tool of the capitalist class. The prog purists of the 1930s viewed Roosevelt the way the Bernie Bros view the Clintons. They hated him and continually worked to undermine him.
Imagine how awful the world would be if FDR had not held power...!
("But young people don't have these hang-ups about socialism!" Oh, fuck you. Are young people the only ones who are going to vote?)
Elizabeth Warren has the right idea. She advocates Medicare-for-all while calling herself a "capitalist to the core." A contradiction? Perhaps, though only if you insist on a very rigid definition of "capitalist." At any rate, the nature of the American electorate demands such a stance. The important thing is to win.
A final word about Buttigieg: I like the guy. Of course, that estimation may shift -- remember, I used to like Bernie. What I don't like are the kind of people who like Buttigieg -- college-educated progs earning more than $100,000 a year. The brie-and-chablis crowd, as we used to say.
That kind of appeal is not how we win back the working class.
Is it permissible, in this cycle, to speak in terms of winning back the working class? Many progs sneer at that goal, and that sneer is the reason why I predict a big Dem disaster in 2020. Liberals cannot win while disdaining the votes of those who struggle to make ends meet. And I'm talking about all the strugglers, including the ones with pale complexions who live in rural areas.
I don't care about a candidate's gender or race, and I don't give a damn about what people do with their wee-wees. All I care about is this: The Dems must choose a candidate who can win the vote of the poor schlub who works behind the counter at a 7-Eleven in Baraboo, Wisconsin. Can Buttigieg do that?
Nope, Pete may be able to work some miracles, even in Wisconsin, but he will never get the vote from an Arab working in a 7 Eleven in the Circus City - Baraboo - simply because there is no 7 Eleven and only one Arab in this community of 18,000,
There are only 16 stores in the Badger State. Brookfield (1) Franklin (1) Kenosha (1) Madison (5) Milwaukee (3) New Berlin (1) Oak Creek (1) Oconomowoc (1) Pewaukee (1) Sussex (1)
My sincerest apology for mis-typing the name Baraboo! It's actually one of my favorite place names in the US. In a previous post, I talked about the legend of the ghost elephants said to roam the forests outside of Baraboo.
And I am shocked to learn that there are so few 7-Elevens in WI. I've traveled across this country several times, and these journeys convinced me that the 7-Eleven is a national constant. I did not mean to imply that a convenience store clerk in that town would be Arab. Where I live, the people holding such positions tend to be white or black. Or brown, at the local small Hispanic market where I do most of my shopping.
Working class is working class is working class. The Dems must focus once again on the working class. THAT was my point.
Remember what I said about effectiveness? Effectively, OTE, you have forced me to double down on feminism. I'll be publishing a lot about it in the future. For a preview, Google the name "Helen Pluckrose," my newest candidate for the position of Best Person in the World.
I allowed your comment to appear here because I've been looking for an opportunity to make an observation about the words "sex" and "gender." When I was young, I read a piece by Anthony Burgess in which he insisted that "gender" should only be used when speaking of male and female nouns in non-English languages. In college, I constantly annoyed my friends by insisting on this point. It's a wonder they didn't smash my teeth in.
Eventually, I realized that there is no way to stop the application of the word "gender" to human beings. In more recent years, I ran into people who posited a more subtle difference: "Sex" (we are now told) refers to a biological distinction between male and female, while "gender" refers to a sociological distinction.
It should be understood that this redefinition is NEW. There's no use pretending that society has made this distinction since time immemorial, because such is not the case. And there's no use trying to get your way by insulting and caterwauling and screaming and holding your breath until your face turns blue. Don't try those tactics with me, because they won't work: You should know by now that I'm an obstinate bastard.
No matter what you say or do, you cannot escape the fact that you are insisting on a NEW way to define ancient terminology. Sorry, but I simply don't much care for that kind of thing. I tend to have rather conservative ideas about the English language.
(That said, I've given in on various points over the years. One example: "Hopefully." As you may recall, a new use of that word gave rise to a huge controversy in the 1970s. My resistance to the new definition of "hopefully" was another point of contention which caused my college friends to consider making me eat my own teeth.)
In popular parlance, "gender" and "sex" are regarded as synonyms. Simple as that. At this stage, I've decided that the popular idea is the right idea.
My main reason for coming to this conclusion is that our society makes the word "sex" do too much work: It serves as both a nice way to say "fucking" and as a way to categorize living creatures as "male" and "female." As a result, "sex" is overused in many sentences. If ever a word needed a synonym, "sex" is the word.
Thus, years ago, I decided to follow the popular will; I now use "sex" and "gender" interchangeably. If you dislike that decision -- well, sorry, but I will not change my course, no matter what sort of insults you lob my way.
Perhaps you could consider my usage of "gender" a personal quirk, similar to Bernard Shaw's idiosyncratic insistence on using "shew" instead of "show." (He also preferred "labor" to "labour," which seemed odd to his British readers.)
Thank you, Joseph, for writing about the American working class. as a former union activist, collective bargaining is one of the greatest tools we have in both the private & public sectors. I hope to see more articles over time like the one below as people wake up to the power we have to bring about real change.
I'm not sure feminism is the prime issue. I think Ageism is a bigger issue. The Dems are doubling down on doing whatever it takes to defeat the "old racists", even if it means lowering the voting age to 16. Core issues that I think Democrat Politicians are discovering through their focus groups is Democrat Politicians need to credit Donald Trump for winning the 2016 Presidency, and for being right about a Border Wall.
Democrats refuse to take away Trump's power base because they loathe him so much. Democrats have put loathing Donald Trump over helping the Heartland and that is what may propel Donald Trump to a second Term.
Natasha Bertrand (a thousand blessings upon her head!) offered this recent tweet concerning the congressional subpoena of Deutsche Bank records:
This was reportedly one of Trump’s red lines for Mueller—Trump was so angry over reports that Mueller had subpoenaed Deutsche Bank for records about their relationship that he sought to fire him in Dec. 2017, per NYT https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/10/us/politics/trump-sought-to-fire-mueller-in-december.html...
Those bank records have an intimate relationship with Trump's taxes. If Trump's stated income to the IRS does not match his stated income to the bank, he has committed fraud. He lied to either the IRS or the bank -- perhaps to both.
It worked like this: between 2011 and 2015, related corporate entities in Moscow and London bought and sold identical quantities of the same stock, through Deutsche Bank’s Moscow equities desk. By this alchemy, rubles in Russia were transformed into dollars in London. The process bypassed tax officials, currency regulators, and anti-money-laundering controls.
The head of Deutsche Bank, Josef Ackermann, was forced out by the scandal. Guess where he ended up? That's right: The Bank of Cypus -- the favorite bank of Vladimir Putin and his Russian oligarch pals. He was chosen for that position by Wilbur Ross, the Trump chum who just became our Commerce secretary, and by a billionaire crony of Vladimir Putin's named Viktor Vekselburg. It seems that Putin turned against Vekselburg late last year; they've since kissed and made up.
As it happens, Vekselburg has a partner named Len Blavatnik, worth $20 billion. Although Blavatnik made his money in Russian oil, he has strong American ties -- in fact, he owns Warner Music. He also made a seven figure donation to a Super PAC controlled by Mitch McConnell -- which explains why you should not expect Mitch to show any enthusiasm for any kind of probe (either independent or congressional) which might inconvenience Trump's Russian buddies.
Trump's lawyers did concede that a Russian purchased a Donald Trump property in Florida for $95 million, even though most observers agree that its actual market value was less than half that. Such a purchase is a good way to hide a "donation" or a bribe. (Paul Manafort seems to have benefited from a similar deal, albeit on a smaller scale.)
The man who bought the house was -- as most of you already know -- Dmitry Rybolovlev, who also owns the largest stake in the Bank of Cyprus. Therefore, we may say that he is part of the Putin/Vekselburg/Wilbur Ross "club." Rybolovlev also owns the private jet registered as M-Kate which has mysteriously followed Donald Trump's peregrinations the way my dog would follow me if I were carrying a BLT sandwich.
Another point. People forget that Deutsche Bank and Donald Trump were not always on good terms -- in fact, their conflict gave rise to one of the more bizarre lawsuits of Trump's career. He later got loans not from Deutsche Bank per se but from a subsidiary, which always seems to go unnamed in news accounts. See this Mother Jones investigation from last year:
Trump has four large mortgages with Deutsche Bank, borrowing against three of his most prized possessions: the Doral golf resort in Florida, his Chicago tower, and his brand new Washington luxury hotel. For the Washington hotel, Trump has a $170 million line of credit from Deutsche Bank that was granted in 2015, just as his presidential campaign was kicking off. According to a bank spokeswoman, all four of the loans were obtained from Deutsche's "private bank"—a division that caters exclusively to high-net-worth individuals and that can lend separately from the corporate side of the bank.
The corporate side of Deutsche Bank previously loaned to Trump, but the relationship fell apart around the time of the financial crisis. In 2005, Trump borrowed $640 million from Deutsche Bank and several other lenders for the construction of his Chicago hotel tower. When he failed to pay back the money on time in 2008, the banks, including Deutsche Bank, demanded he pay the $40 million he had personally guaranteed. In response, Trump sued Deutsche Bank for $3 billion, saying the project's financial troubles were the fault of the economic recession, which he claimed the bank had helped cause. He accused Deutsche Bank of undermining the project and his reputation. The lawsuit was eventually settled.
It's not clear if Trump has personally guaranteed any of the loans his businesses have with Deutsche Bank.
If Trump didn't guarantee those loans, then who did?
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This post contains further insights into the time Trump sued Deutsche Bank...
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I don't care how much money you have -- if you sue a bank for three billion, that bank won't want to do business with you ever again. And this is particularly true in the case of a man like Donald Trump, whom most other banks have long avoided like the plague.
Trump gets loans not from Deutsche Bank per se but from a subsidiary set up for "special" customers, presumably those backed by the Russians.
Last week, Deutsche Bank, the struggling financial giant that is Donald Trump’s biggest lender, anointed a new CEO, a longtime executive named Christian Sewing. He’s worked in a number of roles at the bank, but what’s significant about his résumé is the job he held prior to his promotion: He oversaw the firm’s private bank, the division that caters to high-net-worth clients and has loaned Trump’s company hundreds of millions of dollars over the years, when few lenders (including Deutsche Bank’s own commercial lending arm) would do business with the bankruptcy-prone businessman. According to Trump’s financial disclosures, he has loans with the bank totaling as much as $364 million.
and yet, the borderwall is racist. lol. There is no point in trying to impeach Trump or pile on if the Dems are so stupid they can't even give Trump credit for winning in 2016 and that the majority of Americans OUTSIDE of California want a Border Wall.
Not getting much mention was a fire inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. Fortunately, it wasn't as devastating.
posted by Mr Mike : 6:19 PM
So some children cause a minor fire not at Al Aqsa but at the Marwani prayer hall, which caused no injuries or damage and this is related to the massive fire at Notre Dame? https://israel-thrives.blogspot.com/ I assure you that there were larger fires which did caused greater damage and went unreported.