Category Archives: Self-Deception
This country been on a steady diet of terrible news in the last year. It was like castor oil and thin gruel and we hated every miserable minute of it, like in most diets.
But yesterday, the sane wing of this country broke their fast and supped mightily and greedily.
It was Motherfucking Mueller Time.
The venerated counselor made his first moves as special counsel after a five-month investigation. Paul Manafort and an associate are facing life in prison, on charges stemming from false statements to conspiring to defraud the United States. A parallel and equally damaging (some would argue more damaging) story ran today that another Trump advisor, George Papadopolous had pled guilty to lying about trying to get at the “dirt” the Russians were offering on the DNC and Hillary Clinton. A separate and lesser known case is being assembled against him for having entirely too many vowels in his last name.
Truly delicious. But as people starved of hope for so long, we want Mueller to feed us yet more. We want a shock and awe campaign that will make dumb Donald’s head spin every damn day, revelations that he can’t possibly tweet his way out of.
We don’t know what cards Mueller has, and that’s sort of a good thing. I think letting the ramifications of these two cases sink in is sensible. There’s plenty of places for Mueller to go with Manafort and Papadop…whatever. Flipping Manafort is a strong possibility, because his life is effectively over if he is convicted unless Chump pardons him, which is probably a bad move that would indicate his own guilt while the investigations intensify. There’s really no good move here for President Fumblefingers-he’s acting like the proverbial frog in the simmering pot of water at the moment, tweeting denials and lies like usual and my hope is that things stay that way until he is cooked through.
So. Now that Black Monday is over, where do we go from here? It’s 7AM here in the East and Robert Mueller is still brushing his teeth, so anything could happen that negates what I’m about to proffer.
Yesterday afternoon, something interesting was noted by a McPaper reporter in the DC court docket. I tried like hell to reproduce this graphic by searching the court’s website but got nowhere so I couldn’t really tell you where this is from. His name was Steve Reilly, and he tweeted this image.
Papadoodledoo was the case prior to the ones above. And I can confirm that 17-201 was Manafort. I got at least that far on the site. So this raises some questions as to the nature of the sealed indictments between Felix Pappalardi and Manafort’s. Are they more bullets in Mueller’s bandoleer?
Well, truthfully, we can only speculate for now. But that hasn’t stopped a couple of news outlets from letting it fly and claiming these mysterious “in between” cases are aimed at Trump.
I became aware of this graphic because a friend, who is smarter and more perspicacious than I am, posted that to Facebook.
No sources were given by the person who she got the graphic from. So I decided that it would be best if I did due diligence and seek out more information on these sealed indictments.
I googled some more.
I continued to refresh my searches for hours after her post.
Nothing…until later in the evening. Boom. The Palmer Report and Patribotics were claiming that more indictments were forthcoming.
Now, this is not the first time these websites have been seen together in a search. In fact, it often looks like Louise and Bill are trying to outdo each other. If Palmer claims five, Louise claims infinity kazillion.
The two sites were alone in reporting more Trump indictments. No one in the above ground media wanted a bite, which is important because if you have proof of those indictments you don’t wait for another paper to scoop you. It’s also worth mentioning that McPaper, who Steve Reilly works for, did not publish a story based on the graphic.
So: either these two sites are dodgy as fuck, or they are somehow Chosen by a Deep Throat-type insider to get the news out.
A little history of Mensch and Palmer is in order.
Louise was a right-wing ex-MP before she became an internet sleuth. She moved to America with her husband, and began work in online journalism which was aimed at conservative women. She has always been something of a rogue wherever she goes, getting embroiled in controversy.
She hates Vladimir Putin. So much so that the subtitle of Patribotics is “Exposing Vladimir Putin’s War On America”. By extension, she hates Donald Trump for going balls deep on Vlad. So, even though she’s a conservative, she’s yet another strange bedfellow in the quest to remove Trump from office.
Can she be trusted, though?
A media bias website calls her work “questionable”. To wit:
A questionable source exhibits one or more of the following: extreme bias, overt propaganda, poor or no sourcing to credible information and/or is fake news.
While Patribotics does produce factual content, they also promote numerous unproven conspiracies…Overall, this source does produce some quality investigative journalism, but there are also many unproven and un-sourced claims that render this blog questionable.
Oh, and she’s rather hostile when challenged.
I don’t know about you, but when my media isn’t consistent, it’s useless to me. I don’t have the time to separate fact from fiction just so I can get a jump on certain stories, because there is too much fiction out there to wade through as it is.
Let’s begin to discuss Bill Palmer by talking about one of his writers, Claude Taylor. Claude, an old Clinton hand, has a Twitter feed called TrueFactsStated. He has a habit of tweeting outrageous unsourced bullshit that cynically uses peoples’ confirmation bias as bait to his feed. I got taken in by Claude a while back, posting on Facebook a tweet of his in August that said that high level Trump indictments were forthcoming soon (Louise Mensch, incidentally, also promulgated this story as well). My perspicacious friend waved me off of the story. In my defense, I gave people fair warning that it might not pan out to be truth. But anyway, Claude Taylor is dead to me. I don’t give a shit what he says even if it is right-he’s not to be trusted. We need to fight left-wing fake news just as hard as we fight right-wing fake news. In fact, we should fight lefty horseshit harder, because we need to be as correct as possible. It only takes one fuckup and the wingnuts will present it as evidence that the entire left movement is untrustworthy. They do it all the time inside their alternate media universe. We good liberals have to work harder because the opposition has traded truth for propaganda, and propaganda is much simpler than the facts and therefore easier to spread to the uncurious that need their news spoon-fed.
This is my way of saying that Bill Palmer has one strike on him for associating with a liar. Yet, my perspicacious friend loves the guy. I’m torn, because a) my friend is whip-smart, b) I have been burned by his staff and c) there’s enough skepticism of his work that suggests I probably ought to pass on his bombshells.
Not much is really known about Bill. He’s been behind the creation of several online publications, most notably the DailyNewsBin, an anti-Trump site which kind of morphed into Palmer Report. To me, he came out of nowhere. Snopes is a bit wary of Palmer, who notes that several blasts of his have no foundation in provable veracity (Palmer is derisive of the site’s usefulness). And the same media bias/fact check website I used to observe Louise Mensch’s record finds Palmer’s record mixed and questionable as well. Palmer is embroiled in a fight with that site too, and has angrily lashed out at other critics much like Louise Mensch has. To me, this type of combativeness indicates an inability to let the facts speak for themselves, if indeed they are facts.
Anyway, Palmer published a story on the USA Today graphic. He’s hedging, as you can see by the title, filing the story in his “Opinion” section. It’s a fairly thin piece, with strange leaps of logic like “That doesn’t prove that the four cases are all Trump-Russia cases, but it means that they most likely are.”
Huh? How does that follow?
Am I too dense to understand that? That is entirely possible. Is the Palmer Report like a soap, where I need to have been with the story from the start to know what is going on?
After a bit of time had elapsed last night, someone/something recognizable went with the story.
Fucking Hot Air. Michelle Malkin’s old folk’s home for conservative bloggers. Many of you old bloggers will know some of the names. There’s Ed Morrissey, who ran the fever swamp “Captain’s Quarters”, and Jazz Shaw, who was honest enough back in the day so I was surprised he was consorting with a crazy bitch like Malkin. There’s also Allahpundit, who I never read but I know the name.
Allahpundit wrote up the piece on the potential Trump indictments. Much as it pains me to say this, it’s a good read, better than Palmer’s for sure-even with the conservative bias. He raises the point that sealed indictments are common and typical, and with a little math and a tip from a lawyer, finds that four sealed indictments over 22 days is in line with their frequency as a whole.
That’s the kind of skepticism I can use, especially when we are just guessing at the contents of those sealed indictments. I have enough trouble with my own confirmation bias as it is without somebody dangling a juicy “exclusive” scoop at me.
I need to go to a doctor’s appointment. It’s 10AM, and I will close this piece by doing one last google search for something that corroborates the speculation that there are sealed indictments related to Trump all ready to drop.
Nothing. Same returns as last night. So here is what I’m gonna do: I’m going to watch this story and only this story from Palmer as a test because I believe my friend would not steer me wrong. But if he can’t produce the goods, I wash my hands of him. If he is correct about the nature of the indictments, I’ll become a fan and issue a mea culpa here and say sorry to my perspicacious friend for doing a hit job on their favorite newsbreaker. I’m no stranger to being wrong, so do your own research about sources and come to your own, hopefully better conclusions.
I’ve spent a good deal of time maintaining that the things that Donald Trump and Co. do on a daily basis are NOT the products of any particular rational, intellectual or logical machinations. It was fact to me that they simply didn’t know what the fuck they were doing because the president is a miserable, pathetic, deranged mental midget. People cried “distraction” from this or that ad infinitum. Like Martin Sheen said to Marlon Brando in “Apocalypse Now”, I didn’t see any method at all.
But around about Thursday, my spidey senses tingled as I watched Devin Nunes and Trey Gowdy inexplicably open investigations into Hillary Clinton, on spurious charges that a Google search could have debunked. Duh Fuhrer eagerly seized on the news, making the outrageous claim that she was the target of the Russia investigation and that it was already “common knowledge” that he was innocent.
I said to myself, “Now THAT’S some damn distracting”.
Ham handed as it was like anything involving Trump, it all smacked of desperation that had a different vibe to it. There were so many people muddying the waters in the last few days to conceal headlines that put the lie to the new allegations against Clinton-like the one that found that a conservative newspaper asked for what became the Steele dossier. Fox News began a concerted misinformation campaign (even more hysterical and obsessive than the usual bullshit they peddle)to hastily report all the truffles that the Trump cabal dug up.
Something was up. All hands were on deck to try to get people to focus on hackneyed headlines about Hillary Clinton, hoping that enough people were blissfully unaware of the fact that she wasn’t the president.
Now we know what the sound and fury was all about.
Mark yesterday on your calendar so you can tell people where you were and what you were doing when the worst scandal in the history of this country broke wide open.
The next two days are going to be full of follies trying to pretend that some Trumpist is not gonna be wearing cuffs soon. When the charges were publicized, Hannity barely blinked and asked when Hillary would be indicted. Ben Stein tried to downplay the scandal by downplaying Watergate. So pop your popcorn, because this weekend and beyond is gonna be hilarious if your gallows humor is still intact.
My wife had MSNBC on this morning when I woke up. That’s the default station for background noise in the house.
It has not been fun to listen to (to the degree that any news is) because every day they broadcast stuff about Donald Trump. Sometimes they play him speaking.
I know several people who cannot stand to listen to the president’s voice. And these are no snowflakes, either. I think Trump’s chief of staff is one of them.
That voice makes them uneasy, sad, and angry because it belongs to a fucking grandstanding pathetic lying irritating moronic id-driven maniacal imbecile who loves the smell of his own farts that is utterly unfit to serve a free and democratic people. I am also one of these folks. I would have never guessed that the weird day would come when the mere sound of someone could do what Trump’s voice does to me. I avoid listening whenever possible.
Yesterday, this goddamned changeling of a “leader” was out throwing chum to some of his dumbshit followers (who should all be tagged and chipped for our safety) in Alabama at one of his “rallies” (which are nothing but an extended version of the Two Minutes Hate), after a long week of embarrassing America in front of the whole world by blathering on about how great we have gotten over the last 9 months, fearmongering about the perils of the world, threatening to drop a big one on North Korea’s ‘Rocket Man’ (I can hardly type this without freaking myself out about how mindfuckingly infantile the clownshoe with the football is), criticizing the Iran nuclear deal out of the blue, making jokes about socialism that are only funny in the fever swamp of conservative American patter, and a bunch of other boilerplate that he didn’t look over until it was time to talk.
During this gathering of the Duh-ggalos, he called for the benching or outright firing of sports figures who take a knee during the national anthem in protest of the way America treats its minorities, particularly its black ones. They were, in the president’s words, “sons of bitches” who disrespect the flag.
This is highly alarming rhetoric. I have always had a problem with some people’s need to defend a piece of cloth. Implicit in our national compact is the freedom to call the American government out when it is wrong. Hating America’s policies is not the same as hating America, but some folks cannot tell the difference. But anyway, symbol worship, and to a larger degree, nation worship are slippery rungs on a slide to real, actual fascism.
The question we are still trying to answer is this: is Donald Trump reading from the fascist playbook, or can he read at all?
It has not always been easy to decide what the true character of recent Republican presidents are. Was Ronald Reagan a senile fool, or a brilliant tactician who threatened to weaponize space if the Russians refused to negotiate? Surely most of you remember when we couldn’t decide whether George W. Bush was the dipstick hayseed scion of a powerful political family or an evil piece of shit who set America on its present course of endless war.
And so it is with Trump. Even after 9 whole months of pure uncut ineptitude people are still undecided as to whether or not he has any idea what the fuck he is doing. Yet every fucking day I run into the latest thinkpiece about Trump’s brilliant use of legerdemain. There is little more tiresome to read than this type of analytical twaddle.
I implore you: be done with this. I am not saying don’t be afraid of Trump; his reign is indeed fearsome because the country is in the hands of a dolt. But the last thing I am gonna do is give him credit for anything resembling clever.
Truthfully, Donald Trump knows only one thing rather well; how to get people to pay attention to him. I still think that even though he is behaving like a deranged, militaristic, fascist power-grabbing authoritarian, it’s not something he actually thinks about consciously. I know it sounds a little crazy, but it’s highly plausible that this is just who he is, and not the product of any intelligent calculation based on study of creating a political movement. He’s a moron, simply in tune with morons like himself. Morons need to be led, and they will believe anything you tell them if you pack enough of them together or get enough of them to watch the same TV channel.
Folks, the emperor has no clothes, save for a red power tie and a stupid baseball hat. He will never be a tenth of the president that he succeeded, and that is truly what drives him-envy, not brains. We should consider ourselves fortunate that Donald Trump isn’t anywhere near as smart as he thinks he is. Moreover, we should also breathe a little easier knowing he isn’t as smart as we think he is either.
Numbers usually don’t lie, unless the math is bad. But mostly numbers tell less lies than words do.
In the early hours of November 9, 2016, we began digging a shallow grave for the science of polling. Everybody who was somebody in the polling industry around that time was dead wrong about who was going to win the presidency. Some hedged a little, but pretty much everyone got caught with their ass out.
Donald Trump, who desperately needs vindication because he’s really insecure, crowed and crowed that He beat the odds. And ever since his statistically unlikely win, he has waged a war on information and analysis whether it is in the form of numbers or words. His charisma, or whatever the hell you want to call what he exudes, will always win the day over pesky facts and figures.
Before I go further on that, I should point out that there’s history of this marginalization of information. The right wing has been pushing the bullshit line that most polling is “liberal” for a long time now. The same goes for news. They shit on unfavorable information with abandon, cooking up all kinds of lunatic paranoid scenarios instead- but aren’t ashamed at all to point wildly to the always-wrong evil media hydra when their biases are suddenly seemingly confirmed by it. For a good recent example, there’s Chris Matthews, who is considered a lying fake libtard “MSM” shill-except this time he said something they want to be true. He said after the Comey testimony that Trump/Russia died because of it (an opinion), even though Comey could not answer in an open session as to whether or not Trump/Russia was a thing. As you can see from the link, conservatives fell all over themselves getting that sentence out to its readers, context and setting be damned. The filter for right wing information is very thick, but the transmission of information favorable to the right wing that does dribble out has an incredible velocity. For a minute there Chris Matthews had more cred with you than Karl fucking Rove.
Chris went back to being a paid hack liar etc. right after that utterance, I’m sure.
Frankly, if you ask the vast majority of liberals, you’ll find that Chris Matthews holds little currency among us. It certainly isn’t the first time he’s said something really tone deaf or off base. Wake me up when Rachel Maddow, a much more agile thinker, says something like this.
OK. With that in mind, stand back. I’m gonna say something positive about Donald Trump. No, that’s not the word I’m looking for. Something that is kind of the opposite of not-nice but not nice either.
Oh, to hell with it. Here goes:
Donald Trump is a fucking idiot.
But he’s a cunning fucking idiot. He knows you, and quite well, conservatives. Donald Trump isn’t aware of a whole lot, but one thing he does know is how to get your gears grinding. And like a demagogic Rumpelstiltskin he spins your ignorance and resentments into adulation for him, which Trump is now so addicted to that he’s still throwing victory rallies after seven months and you dumb clucks keep going to them. They’re nothing but ersatz call-and-response revivals with Donald Trump playing the smiling, confident good shepherd, reliving the magic of his miracle win.
Anyway, you all thought his long shot win was the death knell for the lying pollsters and dishonest lib journalism. Trump’s win was your wish fulfillment, after talking yourself silly for decades about how you couldn’t trust anything that Rush Limbaugh hadn’t cleared. Finally, the polls and the seasoned pundits were wrong and you were right.
Well, no one is right all the time. And it’s not really a poll’s job to be “right”, anyway. It’s there to show likely outcomes based on a sampling of the population. There was always a possibility that Trump could make the electoral math work, albeit a slim one. No one denied this. Shit, Michael Moore doesn’t know fuckall about polling but he nailed the election. Yet this was your moment to gloat that the pointy-headed intellectuals blew a call. And now Trump is telling you that after Him they will never be right again.
I wouldn’t count on that, but enjoy the sunshine while it’s on your side of the street.
It is true that at least the polling industry was knocked back on its heels real fucking hard, and it’s going to take more than a few prominent examples of correct prediction and careful information collection to show that the Trump triumph was just an outlier several standard deviations away from most of the predictions and that it’s OK to trust the information gatherers are going to get it just about right. Which is realistically all you can ask of it. It will face its first high profile, post-November test in ten days here in my state of Georgia, where Democrat Jon Ossoff appears to be beating Karen Handel in a district that Handel should win. Should be interesting.
I would be remiss if I did not emphasize the role of the Comey Bomb on the 2016 race, which scrambled the hell out of everything. I just had my carpet cleaned yesterday, and the cleaner had no shortage of disdain for President Trump so we had a fun discussion. But he didn’t vote, because he felt the re-emergence of the email investigation right before the election was evidence to him that Clinton was crooked. How he came to feel that way is part of another essay, one that I do not have the patience or perhaps the stomach to write just yet.
“God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”-Galatians 6:7
Sometimes the Bible is capable of poetry. I mean, on balance it’s kind of a dry read, but there’s a reason so many people keep reading it for reasons other than scaring themselves straight. Much like its cousin, The Koran (and I imagine other books that spawned major religious movements), you can flip it open anywhere and eventually hit on something righteous and obliquely applicable to whatever shit you might be going through. It seems like magic, even though it’s as random as anything in this minutely probable universe.
I’d like to take a peek at the lesser religion called party politics. It runs a close second to actual religion in its power. Amongst the small-minded it’s as impolite to talk politics as it is to discuss religion because of how fucking personal it is.
It’s arguable that you can put politics of any stripe on a strict left-right continuum, because of chowderheads like “libertarians” who are crude individualists (an utter absurdity in any advanced society) who dip from anarcho-capitalist standoffish I-got-mine-so fuck-you politics but also don’t-mind-the-gays-as-long-as they-don’t-try-to-fuck-me. It’s the height of straight male white privilege to call yourself a libertarian because all the doors are open, and you can burn a bridge or ten without incurring much harm. It firmly belongs in the right wing box along with other forms of fundamentalism that seek to stratify and disunite.
Let’s just make it simple and say that there’s a straight line from left to right, and we can overlay the two American parties that really matter upon it without much seepage. I don’t think I need to really explain that. Obviously, if you are a left-leaner, you are highly likely to vote Democratic, and if you cop to being a right-winger you will press the button for Republicans.
We dislike each other with purple passion. They Are Always Wrong And We Are Always Right. One of us is un-American, and who you ask determines who that is.
So we come now to the topic of self-deception. How is it that we so often find no fault in our respective religions? Is there a limit to how many dissonant facts can be swatted away without reconsidering that one’s position is shaky?
I don’t know about you other lefties, but I’ll let you know when Democrats are fucking up. However, I’m willing to allow a degree of transgression in order to do two things: protect that which I have that is good and protect me from the other side who wants to take it.
It’s not an ideal situation, but nothing ever is, no matter how hard you try in this life. Some of you lefties need to fucking figure that out, and soon.
So I have to assume that the same survival instinct is present in Republican voters, and let’s face it, they know how to stick together way better than lefties do. They have their own conception of what is good (God, guns, money, suspicion of difference) and they are supra-forgiving of the occasional shortfalls of Republican leaders.
But no one left or right can really fully explain President Donald Trump. Or can they?
I remember when we on the left side declared George W. Bush “Worst President Ever”. As we know now, we realize how tiny our imaginations were back then.
I must pause for a second to say that Bush was a terrifyingly bad president, and we would do well to remember that things were really fucking bad under him. Donald Trump is bad for different reasons, and also represents the potential to be way worse, especially since his presidency is but an infant.
Trump’s win is the triumph of many “anti”s. Anti-intelligence. Anti-facts. Anti-immigrant. Anti-woman. Anti-environmental conservation. Anti-any religion besides Christianity. Anti-gay. Anti-any race except white. Anti-empathy. Anti-poor. Anti-free and independent press. This is by no means an exhaustive list.
He’s the last gasp of the people who have been running this crazy country from jump. All of the majorities, all the former majorities have their hopes and dreams pinned on a narcissistic crooked stupid heedless belligerent deranged loudmouth billionaire boor who is pretty much using all their shitty feelings towards others to increase his own power. Hate is the fuel which propels the Trump choo-choo, and it seems that the Republican Party doesn’t mind because it has been slyly trafficking in this kind of nasty resentment for a while now.
It remains to be seen just how oblivious the party and its supporters are to Trump’s potentially fatal faults, faults which could slime the whole machine. But we got a taste yesterday after James Comey said under oath that Trump is a goddamn liar, and possibly a lawbreaking one at that. Turns out the Republican frog is not aware that the heat got turned up in the pot yesterday. As with everything…um, questionable this guy has done in the past year, there seems to be a collective ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. After the hearings, no less than the Speaker Of The House, Paul Ryan said:
“The president is new at this, he is new to government, and so he probably wasn’t steeped in the long running protocols that establish the relationships between DOJ, FBI, and White Houses. He is just new to this.”
This is rich coming from a party that couldn’t shut up about the inexperience of the black guy who just vacated. One of two things is happening here: Paul Ryan knows the average Republican is as dumb as a car fender and is aware of his voters’ high pain tolerance. Equally likely is that Paul Ryan is also as dumb as a car fender and doesn’t realize how much trouble the party might be in.
Trump voters are equally deluded/conned. Here’s some highlights from a focus group:
“(Tuckman) had nine Trump supporters watch the morning hearings with him at Rick’s Tavern and Grill and then return to answer questions about the former FBI Director’s testimony.
“First thing i want to ask you, it is a crime when you testify before Congress to lie, it is perjury and you can to prison for it,” Tuckman began. “Raise your hand if you believe James Comey lied. Four of you believe he lied.”
Then Tuckman inquired about the focus group participants’ view of Donald Trump.
Comey “says that Donald Trump quote told lies plain and simple,” Tuckman followed up. “Raise your hand if you believe that Donald Trump lied at all about the situation. None of you believe it.”
The CNN journalist was baffled by results and followed up with direct questions of the voters.
“Well, first of all, things can be distorted and appear like lies, and I think maybe the media might have be distorted some things and now we’re not getting both sides,” one of the Trump supporters rationalized.
“Let me ask you, a show of hands, how many of you feel better about Donald Trump, your president, after this hearing?”
All hands went up.”
And they said Ronald Reagan was the Teflon president.
As I said, it is clear for certain is that they don’t know how heavy an albatross Donald Trump truly is around their necks (although there are interesting signs of fear amongst the brethren here and there). He is still A Republican (corollary: Not A Democrat). They really think they can ride this snake to the lake and get away with all of their irresponsible legislative priorities before anyone sane can do anything about it. Somehow or other, when the Trumpian singularity finally becomes unstable and blows the fuck up all over them it will be someone else’s fault. No one on the right wing will get any smarter about being a Republican because of the criminality of its leaders. It survived Nixon and Bush, Hoover, and Harding.
You can’t kill party politics. It just comes back in a different guise, but at base it’s the same pernicious American way of self-deception and there seems to be no bottom to it. Most, if not all of us are chained to these organizations no matter how naked the lunch is. Some seem to think otherwise, but that shit is for dreamers. In the near future, we good lefties have to do what we can to change from the insides of our beast, but let’s not demand a shaman. We have to play the party game too if we are to survive as a bloc. Otherwise, we can increase the chances of another unabashed monstrosity on the other side-even though Donald Trump by any honest measure is on track to be the stuff of legends, legends that no one will believe unless they had been witness.