Trump Watch: The Conservative Condition

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Tiassa, Aug 10, 2022.

  1. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Messages:
    37,257
    The summary, per MSNBC↱:

    Team Trump falsely accused Black election workers of engaging in Georgia election fraud. But a new video seems to show it's Trump's followers who were caught.

    There is a saying that with Trump, every accusation is a confession, and while there were weird ways in which conservatism had been going through such fits before, it was never quite like the maga years.

    Ja'han Jones observes:

    … it's incredibly ironic that surveillance footage obtained by NBC News appears to show Trump-linked operatives engaging in an election scheme of their own.

    The video shows Cathy Latham, then the GOP chairwoman for Coffee County, escorting several members of forensics firm SullivanStrickler into a county election office on Jan. 7, 2021. State officials are currently investigating an election data breach that occurred in the same county on the same day.

    Latham was one of the people who submitted fake Electoral College certification documents to Congress after the 2020 election, falsely declaring Trump the winner in Georgia.

    Trump-allied lawyer Sidney Powell hired SullivanStrickler to copy information from voting machines in several states. A Washington Post report published in August quoted emails between Powell and a firm executive that were unearthed during an investigation by Georgia into the alleged data breach in Coffee County.

    "On our way to Coffee County Georgia to collect what we can from the Election/ Voting machines and systems," Paul Maggio, the firm's chief operations officer, wrote in an email the morning of the alleged breach. (A SullivanStrickler representative on Wednesday denied having "illegally 'breached'" election equipment, calling the accusation "categorically false.")

    But, please, take time to appreciate how incredibly fitting it is that white people were literally caught on tape engaging in what looks to be an election scheme around the same time Trump and his allies spread a conspiracy theory that innocent, Black election workers were filmed doing something nefarious.

    Those who would separate conservatism from the Trump experience should consider the number of conservatives who were in office before Trump, but, while they are part of something other than the Trump experience, are pefectly happy to seek its benefits and even do their parts.

    John Barrasso, Marsha Blackburn, Roy Blunt, John Boozman, Mike Braun, Richard Burr, Shelly Moore Capito, Bill Cassidy, Susan Collins, John Cornyn, Tom Cotton, Mike Crapo, Ted Cruz, Steve Daines, Joni Ernst, Deb Fischer, Lindsey Graham, Chuck Grassley, Josh Hawley ....

    While that's a list of U.S. Senate Republicans, you get the point. The people conservatives elected have facilitated the Trump experience; the only new thing about their ethical, moral, and apparent psychological catastrophe is that the disgrace of it all is writ large for everyone to see, so the easiest thing to do is pretend it was something else the whole time.

    And, yeah, in its way, that does reflect the self-interest of institutional conservatism in history, blindly trying to preserve a broken order to the point that they will wreck everything before they let some unsatisfactory wretch have access to liberty and justice for all. The conservative condition is nearly the same as it ever was, only more so.
    ____________________

    Notes:

    Jones, Ja'han. "The MAGA movement's hypocrisy can be boiled down to one video". MSNBC. 8 September 2022. MSNBC.com. 12 September 2022. https://on.msnbc.com/3L5bDC1
     
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  3. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Messages:
    37,257
    Quick take, in part because it crossed my twit-feed.

    Barry Deutsch↱ acknowledges, "Sometimes I enjoy watching a slaughter". He refers to a twitter exchange between Atlantic staff writer Graeme Wood and Harvard fellow Gautam Mukunda↱.

    The discussion starts with Jamelle Bouie's↱ comment on Wood's article about "The Move to Eradicate Disagreement". The NYT columnist described Wood's Atlantic piece as "basically unreadable", and if one might sympathize with the notion that "whatever point [Wood]'s trying to make is buried under a whole lot of suffocating prose", there really are better responses↱ than , "Dare to read the unreadable!"

    This is where Mukunda comes in↱, explaining that "the real critique" is "that you elide the actual conservative views that the students are objecting to". This is an important point; if Wood is mashing up diverse aspects into a generic caricature, then his assessment of what troubles him might not be quite as reliable as it could be. It is possible, says Mukunda, to be serious about free speech even if he "would be very upset if Harvard gave an election denier a platform. That is not censorship."

    Wood offers a generic appeal, in which, "The more widespread the myth, the more urgent its believers' public humiliation", except we already know, even in our own community, that isn't how it works.

    "Speakers who would, of course, be humiliated in a debate but lie constantly," Mukunda replied, "would, of course, draw great prestige from the platform and lie both during the debate and, of course, to their audience afterward about the results." And here we take a curious turn.

    "You have internalized the view," accuses Wood, "that speaking at a university is an honor conferred on the speaker for righteousness and correctness, rather than an invitation to be heard and criticized." Of the difference, he continues, "Anyone who arrives to a talk in this spirit will arrive unarmed. They should arm themselves". There are a couple things, here, but the second, about arming oneself rhetorically, is symptomatic and extraneous. The first, however, is vital: "The view that speaking at a university is an honor conferred on the speaker … rather than an invitation to be heard and criticized."

    And here begins the proverbial slaughter.

    Wood's proposition is unbounded; Mukunda pounces: It is a "correct view that we don't invite people to speak at random". That is, compared to every last bit and piece under the sun, a prestigious university might actually have basic standards related to its purpose. Moreover, bringing the point close to Wood, Mukunda continues: "Having submitted to the Atlantic, I'm pretty sure you don't publish at random either."

    Wood, for his part, responds that the "Atlantic tries hard to find and publish views that challenge its readers, and the more challenging the better."

    And then he fully commits: "That's why it's a good magazine," Wood asserts. "Others do the opposite. That is bad—which is my point".

    Mukunda asks an obvious question "How many articles has the Atlantic published arguing that the 2020 election was stolen?" There is an obvious point to asking: "If the answer is zero, I'm guessing it's because the Atlantic has standards of accuracy and rigor it uses to assess who should get its platform."

    It's easy enough to refute this point: Wood can claim that The Atlantic does not, in fact, apply standards of accuracy or rigor in its assessment of who gets platform access. Honestly, though, it seems unlikely that the staff writer would boast that his prestigious magazine has such low standards. Mukunda presses:

    How about opposition to interracial marriage? A lot of those articles recently? Creationism? Global warming is faked? If you're going to make the argument, then actually make it, don't hide behind vague and meaningless pablum about censorship that hides what's actually happening.

    There are reasons why The Atlantic is not trafficking in that sort of literature, and Mukunda is correct to suggest, "That is not censorship."

    And in so many ways, this basic difference is vital. It's one thing to seek out alternative views that challenge our own perspectives, but quite another to waste that effort on every two-bit swindle that comes along. I remember one time you asked if we were so afraid of someone that we needed to censor him. That was your answer to whether Sciforums endorsed promotion of white supremacism and white nationalism. It's not a matter of being afraid of the person; that was just you bullshitting on behalf of a direct comparison of white nationalism to Black Lives Matters; that you, personally, could not see how that might promote white supremacism or white nationalism kind of makes its own sort of point¹.

    Okay, so it wasn't a quick take.

    But it's true that I am wary of these generic prescriptions; in the long history of a concept called, 「¿Could you please not?」 circusmtance makes it imperative to assert and remind particular distinctions. For instance, your post is, in itself, not without its merit, but it slips in the sixth graf. The turn to a more generic term, such as, "people"² ought to be insignificant, but you also present the Facebook issue as a generic problem³. And the thing is, you're not wrong per se, but remain weirdly aloof and generic. Inasmuch as your rhetoric might leave a bothsides consideration in play, it is your history that keeps questions of function and equivocation afoot⁴, and toward that, yes, it is important to reinforce the point that ceteris paribus is not in effect, i.e., not all "alternative views" that "challenge [our] own perspectives" have equal merit.

    †​

    Epistemic closure, an issue we've considered for nigh on ten years↱, at least, is an asymmetric phenomenon. It does not occur uniformly within different ideological frameworks, nor does it attend consistent core motivations or value assessments between those diverse outlooks.

    †​

    A more fundamental commonality between flat-earthers, tinfoilers, anti-flouride conspiracism, and the magatude is a hunger for empowerment; this, in turn, is more a reflection of perceived disempowerment than any appeal to an empirically reliable standard of what any one person deserves. One of the ways in which we can cultivate this perception of dearth is to fail to distinguish reliable and valid views and data, to the one, from crackpottery and superstition, to the other. It's kind of like those parents who would refuse medical care for their children in favor of prayer; while you and I might easily agree that, well, if it's your kid it's your kid and you do the job and call the doctor, those parents are so wrapped up in themselves and their sense of dislocation and lack of mastery over the world around them that they will sacrifice their children in order to feel like they are in charge of something.

    Epistemic closure only feeds the sense of empowerment⁵.
    ____________________

    Notes:

    ¹ For reference, see reports/3150. And remember, the point of comparison, here, is alternative views or data that challenge our own current opinions. The generic fact that something challenges your or my opinion about something does not make that alternative viewpoint or assertion valid; e.g., I have my doubts, for instance, about equivocation to justify white supremacism or white nationalism, and while you might not be able to tell me precisely what, say, Arfa Brane did wrong, you do know at least that his alternative viewpoint that might challenge your current opinion is absolutely and unquestionably wrong.

    ² e.g., "The only way to make a start on solving this problem properly is for people to start listening"; it's not actually an objectionable phrase, but your discursive history actually leaves room for ambiguity, which in turn is also part of why a post like this might come about in the first place.

    ³ That Facebook might "feed you stuff you're likely to already agree with" is not quite right, but the more important difference is that the site is asymmetric about its priorities; social media ownership tends to promote particular political ranges in their own way.

    e.g., aformentioned issue in re white supremacism/nationalism, and also the dimensions of your take on "cancel culture" and its pedigree.

    See #3452141↗, ca. 2017, for an intersection of epistemic circumstance and perceptions of empowerment: "here we come to a question of ignorance natural or epistemic", "he is emblematic of the disempowerment many Americans feel".​
     
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  5. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Messages:
    37,257
    Works Cited for #122↑ Above

    @barrydeutsch. "Sometimes I enjoy watching a slaughter." Twitter. 12 September 2022. Twitter.com. 12 September 2022. https://bit.ly/3QCcY4u

    @gcaw. "Dare to read the unreadable!" (thread) Twitter. 11 September 2022. Twitter.com. 12 September 2022. https://bit.ly/3RHCJS8

    @gmukunda. "I would say the real critique of the piece is that you elide the actual conservative views that the students are objecting to. I am very serious about free speech - and would be very upset if Harvard gave an election denier a platform. That is not censorship." (thread) Twitter. 11 September 2022. Twitter.com. 12 September 2022. https://bit.ly/3Rx76dX

    @jbouie. "gonna be honest, tedious argument aside i think this is basically unreadable. whatever point he’s trying to make is buried under a whole lot of suffocating prose". Twitter. 11 September 2022. Twitter.com. 12 September 2022. https://bit.ly/3RZpz2u
     
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  7. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Messages:
    37,257

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!


    Click for instant music.

    David Roberts↱ observes, "I don't think this qualifies as 'the quiet part' any more."

    Right Wing Watch↱ summarizes:

    "I do believe in free speech for everyone, as of right now," says white nationalist Christian fascist Dalton Clodfelter. "However, once we take power, I see no problem with silencing our opposition."

    The transcript of a twenty-three second video excerpt:

    I want to make this very clear: I do believe in free speech for everyone, as of right now. As of right now, I believe that we need an open dialgue; I believe that we all need to talk. And I believe that we all deserve a place on these platforms, these mainstream platforms: Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, whatever it may be. I do believe in that. However, once we take power, I see no problem with silencing our opposition."

    The question of the quiet part has to do with saying it out loud, and in the sense that this sort of rightism is somehow different from conservatism, saying the quiet part out loud has long been part of the difference.

    For the time being Dalton Clodfelter is a podcaster and as much a somebody or nobody in the marketplace as he will be until someone hitches a wagon to his star. By comparison, Nick Fuentes was someone mainline discourse didn't seem to pay much attention to, and then a Congressman skipped an important vote in order to speak↗ at a white nationalist event. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ04) was elected to the House in the 2010 Tea Party midterm; that he turned up at Fuentes' event for America First PAC really isn't much of a surprise.

    Clodfelter, an AFPAC streamer, is not so distant a reach beyond, say, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA14), who identifies as a Christian nationalist. In May, Right Wing Watch↱ noted:

    Clodfelter insisted that he's not a white nationalist because he doesn't advocate for "an all white ethnostate," but then admitted that he does believe in "white Christian dominance in America" and that "there should be a white majority in this country."

    Compared to the arc that leads from Norquist and Reagan in the '80s through the Tea Party in '10 and its tumble into the Trump experience, the Republican Party has for decades only thinly veiled, at best, its supremacist and authoritarian elements.

    And compared to the clown parade that precedes him, perhaps Dalton Clodfelter will toddle off into obscurity as so many have. But if we look back through history, from the Trump experience, Tea Party, anti-government '90s, or the Reagan Awakening in '80, Goldwater and the Birchers, the intellectual conservatism of Buckley, or even reach all the way back to the slaving Democrats of the Nineteenth Century, there is no part of that in which Clodfelter's sort of rhetoric is not in effect, even if not spoken aloud.

    It is not insignificant that some would say it out loud; this is Roberts' point about not calling it the quiet part, anymore. Separating this part of the right from American conservatism is an interesting prospect. It's like that partial list of Senate Republicans↑; they all preceded the Trump experience and its concomitant rightist outburst, and as the conservative voters' choices to serve in office, they and their fellows did their part to bring it about. More directly, the trends that tend and ties that bind are evident; what separates conservatism from even Clodfelter's most doltish expression of rightism is at best a matter of degrees, if not merely a matter of appearances.
    ____________________

    Notes:

    @drvolts. "I don't even think this qualifies as "the quiet part" any more." Twitter. 13 September 2022. Twitter.com. 13 September 2022. https://bit.ly/3DoTKfA

    @RightWingWatch. "Clodfelter insisted that he's not a white nationalist because he doesn't advocate for 'an all white ethnostate,' but then admitted that he does believe in 'white Christian dominance in America' and that 'there should be a white majority in this country.'" (thread) Twitter. 13 May 2022. Twitter.com. 13 September 2022. https://bit.ly/3qHFUx7

    —————. "'I do believe in free speech for everyone, as of right now,' says white nationalist Christian fascist Dalton Clodfelter. 'However, once we take power, I see no problem with silencing our opposition.'" Twitter. 13 September 2022. Twitter.com. 13 September 2022. https://bit.ly/3xmaNuN
     
  8. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Messages:
    37,257
    Then & Now

    Flashback — August, 2020: "The Durham investigation just started," Vociferous↗ reminded, even reiterating eight days later↗, "Durham's investgation is just getting started". Iceaura↗ responded, "Durham's investigation is a year and a half old - his discovery of Clinesmith's misrepresentation dates back to last December", i.e., 2019, and summarized, "Durham? You put it best: Bupkis. It's almost as if there were nothing bad to discover."

    †​

    Earlier today, Steve Benen↱ observed:

    By way of his social media platform, Trump wrote last month, "The public is waiting 'with bated breath' for the Durham Report, which should reveal corruption at a level never seen before in our country."

    The word "should" did a lot of work in that sentence.

    In reality, the longer the political world has waited for the investigation to produce something notable, the more the former president has grown impatient, asking: "Where's John Durham?" It's a line Trump repeated in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

    As it turns out, there's an answer to the question, though the Republican probably won't like it. The New York Times reported:

    Now Mr. Durham appears to be winding down his three-year inquiry without anything close to the results Mr. Trump was seeking. The grand jury that Mr. Durham has recently used to hear evidence has expired, and while he could convene another, there are currently no plans to do so, three people familiar with the matter said. Mr. Durham and his team are working to complete a final report by the end of the year, they said, and one of the lead prosecutors on his team is leaving for a job with a prominent law firm.

    The short recap, here, is that the Mueller report displeased the White House enough that the Attorney General disrupted its release; the Mueller investigation was referred to the Inspector General of the Department of Justice, who in turn found nothing improper about their work. So Attorney Generall Barr put U.S. Attorney John Durham on the case; his investigation has gone on longer than the original Mueller investigation. That is, the investigation into the investigation of the Russia scandal has taken more time than the investigation of the Russia scandal was afforded.

    Benen reminds:

    After an extended period of apparent inactivity, the prosecutor last year indicted cybersecurity attorney Michael Sussmann for allegedly having lied to the FBI. The case proved to be baseless, Sussmann was acquitted, and one of the jurors publicly mocked Durham's team for having taken the case to trial.

    Toward that last, it is true the jury forewoman told reporters↱, "I think we could have spent our time more wisely."

    Indeed, the one guilty plea↱ the Durham investigation secured is the sort of curiosity that will fascinate law students in the future, and the sort of detail a more conservative cynicism about federal law enforcement would prefer to avoid.¹

    It's one thing if, as Benen observed, Trump grew impatient. But as Barr tempered expectations and implications from the Clinesmith plea, Trump grumbled that the Attorney General could "go down as the greatest … or go down as an average guy", telling FOX Business, "Bill Barr is great most of the time, but if he wants to be politically correct, he’ll be just another guy".

    And now we have our answer.

    Still, what does it mean to be just another guy? Perhaps we will find out when we see Durham's final report. Durham, a Clinton appointee tapped by Bush Attorney General Mukasey for special work, and then again by Obama Attorney General Holder, had a significant reputation for integrity. Attorney General Bill Barr served nder the first Bush presidency, and remained in good standing with conservatives throughout the last thirty years. As it is, Durham has potentially sullied his legacy, and Barr has pretty much been what he was the whole time. It's kind of hard to exclude this wreckage from our consideration of the conservative condition.
    ____________________

    Notes:

    ¹ It's more complicated than it needs to be; there are reasons Barr told Hannity the plea was "not an earth-shattering development".​

    Benen, Steve. "John Durham's probe appears to be ending with a whimper". MSNBC. 14 September 2022. MSNBC.com. 14 September 2022. https://on.msnbc.com/3S70C5A

    Johnson, Carrie. "Special Counsel Durham fails first courtroom test in his three-year probe". Morning Edition. 31 May 2022. NPR.org. 14 September 2022. https://n.pr/3qFZUjK

    Prokop, Andrew. "The new guilty plea in John Durham's investigation, explained". Vox. 21 August 2020. Vox.com. 14 September 2022. https://bit.ly/3dei1u5
     
  9. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Messages:
    37,257
    How It's Going

    The brief summary, per Politico:

    The senior federal judge tasked with reviewing the materials seized by the FBI from Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate sharply questioned the former president's attorneys Tuesday during their first hearing before his courtroom.

    Judge Raymond Dearie pushed Trump's lawyers repeatedly for refusing to back up the former president's claim that he declassified the highly sensitive national security-related records discovered in his residence.


    (Gerstein and Cheney↱)

    To be clear: After a Trump-appointed judge wrote an extraordinary ruling granting the former president's demand for a Special Master, and then selected one of his suggested candidates, Mr. Trump is now refusing Judge Raymond Dearie, the appointed Special Master.

    Yesterday, Kyle Cheney↱ explained:

    Special Master Dearie has asked Trump's team for declarations about any acftions he's taken to declassify material. Trump's team says in a filing tonight that it is resisting that request — because it could be a defense to any criminal charges.

    Former federal prosecutor Andrew Weissmann↱ suggesated:

    Why won't Trump lawyers tell Judge Dearie whether Trump declassified the docs? It's because the lawyers don't want to lie and be disbarred and subject their client to a criminal false statement charge. 18 USC 1001.

    As today's session goes on, the reports coming in are brutal; Allison Gill↱ comments:

    Special Master Judge Dearie says he'd like to resolve the matter without him having to see the documents with classified markings, and when Trusty asks about getting himself clearance, Dearie says it's not only about clearance, it's about your "need to know". POW

    Liberal activist Lindy Li↱ summarizes:

    Damn. Judge Dearie did not come to play

    He insists the government provided "prima facie evidence" of classification by the classified markings on the docs

    "As far as I'm concerned that's the end of it"

    She also cheered, "I love when people who give a shit about the Constitution prove Trump wrong", and while the political thrill running through that statement is perhaps a bit extraneous, she is not wrong about what is happening. If, for instance, so much criticism of Judge Cannon's order granting a Special Master might feel merely political, observe that the Special Master does not seem to be amused.

    Former federal prosecutor Barb McQuade↱ observes Judge Dearie telling Trump attorney Jim Trusty, "My view is you can't have your cake and eat it, too", and explains, "Judge Dearie is not going to let Trump lawyers play games about whether the documents have been declassified. Time to put up or shut up."

    Coin toss; yin and yang. The infinitesimally thin barrier between, 「This isn't really happening」, and, 「Yeah, sounds about right」.
    ____________________

    Notes:

    @AWeissmann_. "Why won't Trump lawyers tell Judge Dearie whether Trump declassified the docs? It's because the lawyers don't want to lie and be disbarred and subject their client to a criminal false statement charge. 18 USC 1001." Twitter. 20 September 2022. Twitter.com. 20 September 2022. https://bit.ly/3xDurCK

    @BarbMcQuade. "Most important line of the hearing. Judge Dearie is not going to let Trump lawyers play games about whether the documents have been declassified. Time to put up or shut up." Twitter. 20 September 2022. Twitter.com. 20 September 2022. https://bit.ly/3DHl74G

    @kyledcheney. "JUST IN: Special Master Dearie has asked Trump's team for declarations about any acftions he's taken to declassify material. Trump's team says i n a filing tonight that it is resisting that request — because it could be a defense to any criminal cahrges." Twitter. 19 September 2022. Twitter.com. 20 September 2022. https://bit.ly/3LJHpoB

    @lindyli. "Damn. Judge Dearie did not come to play He insists the government provided “prima facie evidence” of classification by the classified markings on the docs 'As far as I'm concerned that's the end of it'I love when people who give a shit about the Constitution prove Trump wrong". Twitter. 20 September 2022. Twitter.com. 20 September 2022. https://bit.ly/3xF4aUI

    Gerstein, Josh and Kyle Cheney. "Special Master expresses skepticism with Trump team's assertions". Politico. 20 September 2022. Politico.com. 20 Septemeber 2022. https://politi.co/3duaojj
     
  10. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Messages:
    37,257
    Follow-Up: Hold Your Head Up

    Nominee, "Rejoinder of the Year, 2022":

    James Trusty, a member of the former president's team, said he and his colleagues were "not in a position" to say whether Trump declassified the documents. Dearie reportedly replied, "You did bring a lawsuit."

    (Benen↱)
    ____________________

    Notes:

    Benen, Steve. "Judge to Team Trump: 'You can't have your cake and eat it, too'". MSNBC. 20 September 2022. MSNBC.com. 20 September 2022. https://on.msnbc.com/3drpuGv


     
  11. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Messages:
    37,257
    Lisa Rubin↱ of NBC News read through the transcript of the conference with the special master, explaining↱, "there are a couple of stunning admissions". First, she observes, is Trump's attorney explaining "that their side has no index or any other records of what was in the boxes". "Literally," she reports↱, "Jim Trusty told Judge Dearie, '[W]e're not the beneficiary from the plaintiff's side of having some preexisting detailed audit/inventory of our own.'"

    This is in itself bizarre, but Trusty goes on to compound the strangeness; Rubin↱ continues↱:

    The second -- and more significant -- concession was Trusty telling Dearie that he can't represent that Trump actually declassified any documents yet because he hasn't seen the documents DOJ considers classified. 4/

    He explained, "[W]e're not in the position without having seen the physical evidence, and without having a chance to fully explore what these documents purport to be to tell the Court in good faith that I know that I have an argument to be made about declassification." 5/

    So, consider that: First, while Trump might claim to have declassified documents, he apparently does not have any useful inventory of what those documents are. Second, Trump's attorney cannot even say that Trump has declassified any documents because DoJ hasn't told him what documents are classified.

    Activist Li↱ observed that Dearie "insists the government provided 'prima facie evidence' of classification by the classified markings on the docs". Benen↱ related the detail this way:

    James Trusty, a member of the former president's team, said he and his colleagues were "not in a position" to say whether Trump declassified the documents. Dearie reportedly replied, "You did bring a lawsuit."

    The special master, as part of the same exchange, explained that if Team Trump wasn't prepared to challenge the Justice Department's assessment that the materials in question are classified, then he didn't have much of a choice. "As far as I'm concerned, that's the end of it," Dearie said, adding, "You can't have your cake and eat it too."

    And toward all this, Rubin↱ makes a particular point that feels sensible enough¹: "But wouldn’t his client -- aka Trump -- remember what he purportedly declassified and/or have kept a record of when and how he did it?"

    And, sure, you might think.

    But this also says something about the conservative condition; it's one thing if the politics have long sounded more and more like internet arguments, but we find in the Trump experience this distillation of so many years worth of conservative rhetorical sleight. This is what it takes to defend the fruit of generational conservative labor. We see what those conservative values were worth.
    ____________________

    Notes:

    ¹ It really is a strange proposition, the idea that someone is firm on their position because this was a really, really big deal, except for the part where they don't remember what they did because they do a lot and how are they supposed to keep track of every little thing. That is, it's important enough to be indignant and even angry about, but not so important as to remember compared to anything else that just isn't so important.​

    @lawofruby. "I've read the transcript from today's conference with Judge Dearie, the new special master in the Trump records case. 1/". (thread) Twitter. 20 September 2022. Twitter.com. 20 September 2022. https://bit.ly/3BWEpln

    @lindyli. "Damn. Judge Dearie did not come to play He insists the government provided “prima facie evidence” of classification by the classified markings on the docs 'As far as I'm concerned that's the end of it'I love when people who give a shit about the Constitution prove Trump wrong". Twitter. 20 September 2022. Twitter.com. 20 September 2022. https://bit.ly/3xF4aUI

    Benen, Steve. "Judge to Team Trump: 'You can't have your cake and eat it, too'". MSNBC. 20 September 2022. MSNBC.com. 20 September 2022. https://on.msnbc.com/3drpuGv
     
  12. Janus58 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,313
    Trump and his team is suffering from buyer's remorse. When they shopped around for a judge to appoint a Special Master, they got a bargain with Cannon. So, this must have boosted their confidence in their "Judge judgement". On the surface, Dearie must have seemed a good choice to them for some reason*, But apparently, they forgot to check under the hood. **

    *One theory is that an earlier involvement with the FBI dealing with a search warrant would lead him to be distrustful of the FBI, and thus inclined to lean in their favor.

    **I am somewhat curious as to what their reaction was when the DOJ announced that it was perfectly happy with Dearie as a choice. Did it concern them, or did they just believe that they'd pulled one over on the DOJ.
     
  13. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Messages:
    37,257
    Oh, there's a thesis.

    Allison Gill suggests, if the goal is to delay, "I would recommend a special master that the DoJ would be cool with." Next, she would↱ "make sure the judge in my pocket changed the usual language of the appointment to allow herself to fire the special master for any reason". And here, we take a time out, because, per Gill, "usually it's just for delaying", so it's not utterly unique that a judge might be able to remove the appointed Special Master, but the rules this time around are a little different. But more importantly, there is the language about a judge in her pocket, and we must point out that one of Trump's attorneys allegedly claimed to have a judge who would give them what they want; an important difference, though, is that the scuttlebutt is about a chief judge¹, which Judge Cannon is not.

    Still, as Gill's analysis↱ goes, "Then I'd refuse to cooperate with the special master to muddy the waters, make him seem like part of the deep state for being so demanding, and string him along for weeks."

    And↱, "Then I'd have my judge friend fire that special master and start the whole thing over again."

    And there we are. Gill also notes DoJ's appeal to the Eleventh could settle the delay, as well as some aspect of intel assessments Judge Cannon has allowed to continue. Also, an indictment would end this delaying maneuver.

    One of the hardest things to account for in trumptime is a sort of ockham bizarro. It's one thing if the plot seems unreliable and extraneous, but this is Trump, and the parsimony would be defined by extraordinary assertions of necessity and extraneity. It used to be that certain manners of conspiracism were easily enough answered by wondering why anyone would do that; life during trumptime routinely offers some spectacularly stupid answers.
    ____________________

    Notes:

    ¹ Gill's phrasing comes from her summary↱ of a New York Times article, and not an explicit term therein. The idea is that Corcoran and Rowley told Herschmann to claim executive privilege because an unnamed chief judge would extend Trump's power beyond his tenure in office. And it is true, that kind of a result would look like absurdly unnatural favor.​

    @MuellerSheWrote. "BREAKING::THREAD::There are a LOT of breaking stories in the latest NYT piece that just dropped. First, trump lawyers told Herschmann to invoke sweeping executive privilege with the DoJ stating they have a 'chief judge' in their pocket that will rule in their favor. 1/". (thread) Twitter. 16 September 2022. Twitter.com. 21 September 2022. https://bit.ly/3DIBr5l

    —————. "THREAD: if I was Donald (dry heave sound), and my goal was to DELAY, I would recommend a special master that the DoJ would be cool with. 1/". (thread) Twitter. 20 September 2022. Twitter.com. 21 September 2022. https://bit.ly/3S0VO1K
     
  14. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Messages:
    37,257
    Update on a Thesis

    It is not quite what Gill described↑, but if the goal is to delay, Judge Cannon delivers:

    Judge Aileen Cannon rules that Trump does not have to submit a declaration or affidavit about whether FBI supposedly planted any docs at Mar-a-Lago, at least until the review of the seized materials

    (@hugolowell↱)

    Hugo Lowell goes on to explain↱:

    Cannon extends final SM deadline to Dec 16:
    — Oct. 5: Trump and DOJ to finalize a vendor
    — Oct. 13: DOJ to give copies of seized materials
    — Oct. 14: Notice of completion due
    — 21 Days after: Trump to submit privilege claims
    — 10 Days after: Trump and DOJ submit any disagreements

    Marcy Wheeler↱, meanwhile, observes—

    Judge Cannon unilaterally rewrites HER OWN deadlines to make sure that her Trumpy doesn't have to commit until after the election.

    —and declares Judge Cannon "has no shame".

    Law professor Steve Vladeck↱ suggests, "Everyone has a point past which it's hard to believe that a particular person is acting in good faith."

    Such as it is, Cannon went to extraordinary lengths to justify a Special Master, and then selected one of Trump's suggested candidates, and now that Trump doesn't like what the Special Master has to say, Cannon will just override him. We might wonder at the purpose of having a Special Master in the first place.
    ____________________

    Notes:

    @emptywheel. "Judge Cannon unilaterally rewrites HER OWN deadlines to make sure that her Trumpy doesn't have to commit until after the election. Holy hell this woman has no shame." Twitter. 29 September 2022. Twitter.com. 29 September 2022. https://bit.ly/3y2UrYG

    @hugolowell. "NEW: Judge Aileen Cannon rules that Trump does not have to submit a declaration or affidavit about whether FBI supposedly planted any docs at Mar-a-Lago, at least until the review of the seized materials —" (thread) Twitter. 29 September 2022. Twitter.com. 29 September 2022. https://bit.ly/3fwXBxh

    @steve_vladeck. "Everyone has a point past which it's hard to believe that a particular person is acting in good faith. If we weren't there already for Judge Cannon…". Twitter. 29 September 2022. Twitter.com. 29 September 2022. https://bit.ly/3UPid40
     
  15. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Messages:
    37,257
    On the Conservative Condition

    Right Wing Watch↱ observes:

    DeAnna Lorraine, who ran for Congress in 2020, and Lauren Witzke, who was the Delaware GOP's candidate for Senate in 2020, agree that Hurricane Ian is the deep state using "weather manipulation technology" to punish Gov. Ron DeSantis for not enacting a vaccine mandate in Florida.
     
  16. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    9,831
    Do these people actually believe this, or are saying such things solely for the approval of their voters etc? Asking for a friend. :whistle:

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    I mean, I know there are conspiracty theory nuts who do genuinely believe such things, but, politicians??

    It was once noted that American campuses (lecturers/professors etc) tend to be more left-leaning than not (although I am undoubtedly simplofying), with the answer to that question being that "stupid people" tend toward the Right, so it should not be surprising that the majority of lecturers tend toward the left. In the UK it was a matter similarly raised, some time ago, admittedly, by J.S.Mill regarding the Conservative party. But it seems to hold true these days when having a the right (relatively speaking.... we're taling politicians, after all) personality and friends is more important than the policies you have, even if it tanks your economy. Or results in you leaving, via row-boat, an economic haven of an ocean liner for a mythical paradise of an island you can't actually see but have had dreams about. (Bitter? Me? Nooo!

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    )

    That said, I am reminded of something Christopher Hitchens once said: “I have been wondering ever since not just about the stupidity of American politics, but about the need of so many American intellectuals to prove themselves clever by showing that they are smarter than the latest idiot in power.

    What seems to be important, and needs to be addressed by the Democrats, is not that one side is more stupid, but how they are able to sell "stupid" as the winning formula. And maybe the Republicans are more aware that they will always need the "intelligent" to do what's best despite the politics, and that politics is simply a matter of what appeals for purposes of being in power, not of what ultimately gets done?
     
  17. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,224


    If you're disinclined to watch the video. here's a transcription of the exchange:

    Massie: Isn’t it true that you have a science degree from Yale?

    Kerry: A bachelor of arts degree.

    Massie: Is it a political science degree?

    Kerry: Yes, political science.

    Massie: So how do you get a bachelor of arts in a science?

    Kerry: Well, it’s a liberal arts education and degree, it’s a bachelor.

    Massie: Okay, so it’s not really science. So I think it’s somewhat appropriate that someone with a pseudoscience degree is here pushing pseudoscience in front of our committee today.

    Kerry: Are you serious? I mean, this is really a serious happening here?​

    I don't think that anyone has yet satisfactorily answered your query.
     
  18. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    8,124
    There's a lot here, as they say, to "unpack".

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!



    Most people tend to like where they live more than some other system so when a comment is from outside the country there is always an element of "you guys are stupid, you should be more like us".

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!



    That's not a large factor but it's one, IMO.

    There is something to the more liberal politics of the more highly educated vs the less educated. I don't know about "stupid" but it does seem to apply to less educated. It's also cultural. There are more educated people in Texas, I would imagine, that are culturally conservative than educated people in Massachusetts that are conservative.

    Politicians seem to be a separate matter as you allude to. Do they really believe what they are saying? Who knows?

    Regarding your point about whether conservative politicians are counting on "smarter" liberal politicians to do the right thing and to keep the country running...that may be overthinking it.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!



    I do think that most people (non-politicians) are OK with a gridlocked government or at least one with one party controlling the Congress and another one controlling the Executive Branch (Presidency).

    Nothing good, generally speaking, comes from one party being able to promise a bunch of free stuff, get elected and then being able to move fast. This is equivalent to letting a kid loose with a credit card in a candy store. The concept applies to whichever party is in power. It's a problem to suddenly be able to create too much debt without debate and it's a problem to suddenly be able to dismantle social programs from the last administration, without debate.

    It's hard to make sense of the Republican Party at the moment. I'm not thrilled with the Democrats either but it's not a matter of "both sides". One's not sane and one is.

    The reason that the Republicans have as many votes as they do is not because of the crazy people involved as politicians or as voters. Those numbers are larger than one would have thought before Trump but what makes up the difference voter-wise is that one party is racking up the debt with increased spending and one wants to keep taxes low and people who are doing OK just want the government to keep taxes low.

    That point can be argued of course but Democrats tend to rack up the debt via spending and Republicans are said to do the same by not taxing the "rich" enough. Not taxing isn't the same as spending however but it's still a point that can be debated.

    Most people get nothing from the government (beyond the obvious...infrastructure, law, defense, etc). The Republicans are shooting themselves in the foot though with all the nutjobs. There are plenty of people voting for Democrats just because they can't stomach Trump and the like.

    If the Republicans weeded out the nutjobs they would probably win the Presidency and Congress next time.

    It's never about "stupid" vs "smart" though, IMO, even though my knee-jerk reaction would be similar to that line of thought as well.

    I don't even really know how to explain the extreme social conservatism in some parts of the country other than it's just a cultural thing.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2022
  19. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Messages:
    37,257
    The Trump Condition

    The setup is that Trump did manage to hire an ace attorney, Christopher Kise, and appears to have sidelined his three million-dollar acquisition. Per Washington Post:

    A Wednesday night court filing from Trump's team was combative, with defense lawyers questioning the Justice Department's truthfulness and motives. Kise, whose name was listed alongside other lawyers' in previous filings over the past four weeks, did not sign that one — an absence that underscored the division among the lawyers. He remains part of the team and will continue assisting Trump in dealing with some of his other legal problems, said the people familiar with the conversations, who like others interviewed for this article spoke on the condition of anonymity to reveal private talks. But on the Mar-a-Lago issue, he is likely to have a less public role.

    It is a pattern that has repeated itself since the National Archives and Records Administration first alerted Trump's team 16 months ago that it was missing documents from his term as president — and strongly urged their return. Well before the May 11 grand jury subpoena, and the Aug. 8 search of Mar-a-Lago by the FBI, multiple sets of lawyers and advisers suggested that Trump simply comply with government requests to return the papers and, in particular, to hand over any documents marked classified.

    Trump seems, at least for now, to be heeding advice from those who have indulged his desire to fight.

    The approach could leave the former president on a collision course with the Justice Department, as he relies on a legal trust that includes three attorneys facing their own potential legal risks. The first, Christina Bobb, has told other Trump allies that she is willing to be interviewed by the Justice Department about her role in responding to the subpoena, according to people familiar with the conversations. Another, M. Evan Corcoran, has been counseled by colleagues to hire a criminal defense lawyer because of his response to the subpoena, people familiar with those conversations said, but so far has insisted that is not necessary. The third, longtime Trump adviser Boris Epshteyn, saw his phone taken as part of the Justice Department's probe of Trump's fake elector scheme, and appeared before a Georgia grand jury Thursday.

    Two points to consider: Kise is apparently doing what he his supposed to be doing; the WaPo article with four on the byline reports, "Kise told others he wanted to de-escalate the Trump team's pugilistic approach to federal prosecutors", and, "suggested to other Trump advisers that the best solution would be to try to find an 'off-ramp' with the Justice Department before a possible indictment or trial". Moreover, Kise "has said he thinks Trump can avoid criminal charges". In other words, former solicitor general of the Sunshine State is trying to shield his client from being charged. Somehow, this apparently displeases the client.

    Also, Christina Bobb, who signed the inaccurate records declaration allegedly written by Evan Corcoran, is now signaling that she is ready to roll.

    If we suggest Trump is playing a game of chicken he cannot win, what doesn't make sense are "those who have indulged his desire to fight". It's possible that someone like Corcoran doesn't have any other play than full speed ahead, especially if Bobb wants an off-ramp. Still, though, what about others?

    The thing is, sure, it's possible Donald Trump does not understand he cannot inflict the necessary scale of damage, but that doesn't speak of anyone else. Take Epshteyn as an example: Nothing about the Mar-a-Lago fight can possibly blow up the Congressional or state investigations; it is extraordinarily unlikely that they can wreck the DoJ elector investigation. It might be that a patsy like Bobb, a propagandist prior to working as a Trump attorney sees a pathway out while others who are closer to the heart of the operation, like Corcoran and Epshteyn, reasonably suspect they are absolutely drowning in criminal exposure and perceive no other path than fighting to the bitter end.

    I don't even have a battlefield analogy: They're going to hold the hill by forming up for a charge when they don't have the resources. It's like a suicide run, but nobody has a snuke in the snizz.
    ____________________

    Notes:

    Helderman, Rosalind S., Josh Dawsey, Carol D. Leonnig, and Perry Stein. "Trump's legal team divided over how to handle Mar-a-Lago case". The Washington Post. 30 September 2022. WashingtonPost.com. 30 September 2022. https://wapo.st/3UT3BAt
     
  20. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Messages:
    37,257
    The Conservative Something

    Well, you know how it goes:

    When you vote in Alabama, state law requires you to show a photo ID at the polls.

    For most folks, this means a driver's license, but other forms of government-issued ID are permitted — a military ID, a passport or a college student ID, among others, will do.

    And if you don't have any of those, the Alabama Secretary of State's office will help you get a special voter ID. The office will even make house calls for the non-ambulatory.

    But the last few times Alabama Republican Party Chairman John Wahl voted, he presented poll workers with an ID they'd never seen before.

    To someone who had never seen a state employee ID, it could be mistaken for one.

    But it wasn't. It bore a state seal, a barcode and Wahl's picture. The badge said Wahl was a media representative for State Auditor Jim Zeigler.

    As it turns out, Wahl made the ID, he says, with Zeigler's permission.

    And now, the state's top election official, Secretary of State John Merrill, says that badge is not a valid voter ID.


    (Whitmire↱)

    To be clear: The chair of the Alabama Republican Party used a forged state credential as voter identification.

    Something about conservatives, the condition their condition is in, and the day ending in -y.
    ____________________

    Notes:

    Whitmire, Kyle. "Alabama GOP chairman made the photo ID he used to vote". 3 October 2022. AL.com. 3 October 2022. https://bit.ly/3SRqS3X
     
  21. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Messages:
    37,257
    Well, we're back to tracking menstrual cycles.
     
  22. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Messages:
    37,257
  23. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Messages:
    37,257
    Seen That Movie, Too

    The question of a new special counsel arises as expectations of Trump's 2024 presidential campaign rise nigh. Lisa Rubin↱ considers the question: "Is that a prudent conversaton? Sure."

    And then↱:

    Do I think it will happen? No, no I don't. And it comes down to answering three questions: Who could take that job? Who would *want* that job? And what do you want more in dealing with Trump: a heat shield or a functioning clock?

    It is easy enough, given the question of classified material, to imagine a small available pool of suitable attorneys meeting the special counsel regulations, including↱ "apprpriate experience", but Rubin follows a different line↱, reminding that the criteria largely and likely point to "a former DOJ prosecutor". And toward that, she observes↱:

    Sufficiently qualified folks, however, are also politically connected. With rare exception, you don't become a U.S. Attorney, for example, without presidential say-so. It's hard to see how any potential choice doesn't have some partisan baggage, no matter how solid they are.

    What that point means can vary, but Rubin's analysis treads a particular course. The political complicatons of the political relief, a special counsel, are their own, but vis à vis the history of this former president, there is something↱ more obvious↱:

    Even if you could find someone appropriate, would he/she be willing? Imagine all the vitriol Trump has thrown over the years at individual journalists, political rivals, and opponents--and then bottle it up and make one person drink it.

    And that's just the prospect of constant rhetorical attacks and the perversion of their professional lives to that point. That's before we even consider that person's physical security.

    Foremost, though, per Rubin↱, is that the Department of Justice "is sending signals … that it is perfectly willing and able to do this without a special counsel". She↱ continues↱:

    Hiring two SDNY veterans with national security and trial experience--and adding others with public corruption and criminal appellate experience to boot? Forcing Kash Patel to testify through an immunity order? Researching venue, weighing evidence, and analyzing precedent?

    Those aren't things you do when preparing for a handoff. And that's because DOJ, like all of us, has seen this movie before. Mueller's investigation took roughly 22 months from his appointment to the report. Durham's has lasted more than 3 years.

    And, last time↱, "as the clock ran, DOJ had limited or no control".

    Part of me wonders at what point Merrick Garland's egotism finally wakes up; Rubin described a special counsel as "Garland's body armor", and in some way it just seems impossible that the Attorney General is somehow unaware of what it looks like if he backs down again.
    ____________________

    Notes:

    @lawofruby. "After months of investigating Trump's involvement in 1/6 and his retention of presidential and classified records at his home, DOJ is now reportedly considering appointing a special counsel once Trump declares his '24 candidacy. Is that a prudent conversation? Sure. 1/". (thread) Twitter. 4 November 2022. Twitter.com. 5 November 2022. https://bit.ly/3t1jRmk

     

Share This Page