The Art of the Troll

Trump is a master of instantly changing the narrative so we forget about yesterday.

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

President Trump keeps constitutional law professors busy. On Monday and Tuesday, all reporters needed to know whether President Trump can order Governors to re-open their states. On Wednesday and Thursday, all reporters need to know whether President Trump can adjourn Congress to make recess appointments. And who knows what Friday will bring? Maybe he'll argue that California and other states have entered into unconstitutional interstate compacts. (See Derek Muller's post on this issue).

President Trump is able to instantly change the narrative by saying something outlandish. In doing so, he forces his allies to rally around his novel position, thus shifting the so-called Overton Window. And Trump forces his opponents to viscerally and instantly oppose his position. Even if, for example, the Obama Administration largely agreed that pro-forma sessions were "phony." Most importantly, as soon as he changes the topic, we all forget about whatever the most pressing issue was yesterday. President Trump has truly perfected the art of the troll.

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  1. He wouldn’t be so successful if his detractors weren’t such reactionary dunces who immediately take the opposite position of him.

    1. Speaking of taking the opposite position, let’s look at the case here…

      Congress is already in session right now by the pro forma method of graveling a session open and closed over a few minutes. Trump cannot order Congress to convene because they’re already convened. Trump cannot order Congress to adjourn, because there’s no disagreement between the houses of Congress by which to base that action.

      And how do we know Congress’ current pro forma sessions are legitimate? Because Obama challenged them and SCOTUS said Congress alone gets to define what constitutes a session. Yet Trump’s lickspittles respond to this latest attempt to playact “presidential” in one of two ways : Either they somehow take this nonsense seriously (who knows how), or dismiss it with a “children will be children” indulgent shake of the head.

      Yet when Obama challenged pro forma sessions? Oh, they howled with rage, spraying spittle on everyone within a twenty-foot radius. Seems like that’s an example of “reactionary dunces who immediately take the opposite position” eh?

      1. “Congress is already in session right now by the pro forma method of graveling a session open and closed over a few minutes.”

        They were wrong under Obama to do so and wrong now and will be wrong if they do so under the next Democratic president.

        “immediately take the opposite position” eh?”

        And Obama defenders defended Obama before Noel Canning as much as the reverse is true now. Changing position depending on the the ox being gored is a political norm. [See reaction on both sides to Reade accusation against Biden for the latest example.]

        1. Well, Bob, it would be wonderful to see you produce evidence of your fierce support of Obama during his challenge to pro forma sessions. You’ll excuse me if I don’t hold my breath…

          Also : In the interim between Obama’s challenge and Trump’s stunt there was ….. wait for it ….. a Supreme Court ruling that conclusively settled the issue. Good luck finding anyone on the Left who thinks that ruling wasn’t legitimate, then or now. Seems like everyone claiming that is on your side.

          As for Ms Reade’s accusation against Biden, here’s a cogent description of the problems with it:

          https://tinyurl.com/y9ho99z7

          Good luck making the case that mess is anyway comparable to Ms Ford and Justice Kavanaugh.

          1. “fierce support”

            Did I say I “fiercely” supported it? Its not a fierce issue.

            “Good luck making the case that mess is anyway comparable to Ms Ford and Justice Kavanaugh”

            Thanks for proving my point. Its always different when my side does it.

            1. You don’t get to retreat.

              1. Retreat from what? He added “fierce”.

                1. Well, obviously, you could provide evidence that you supported Obama on the pro forma issue, but instead you quibble over the word “fierce”. That’s a retreat.

          2. Good luck making the case that mess is anyway comparable to Ms Ford and Justice Kavanaugh.

            I think it’s been pretty well demonstrated that Ford’s accusations were just as problematic (though not, of course, in exactly the same ways for exactly the same reasons) and should have been given the same level of credence. Indeed, the only thing in the linked piece that really is used to distinguish the situations is that Marcus had personally interviewed Ford.

            To be clear: I accept the accusations against neither. I can’t say with 100% certainty that either accused is innocent, but neither accusation comes close to any standard of being treated as valid.

            1. ” I can’t say with 100% certainty that either accused is innocent, but neither accusation comes close to any standard of being treated as valid.”

              Well, both accusations are comfortably within the believe woman, #metoo standard of being treated as valid. They fall withing the standard that Biden himself set for treating accusations as valid. But this, as well as the accusations against the Va. Lt. Governor, demonstrate the problems with such standards.

        2. Ya see, grb? Totally predictable. Jesus Christ, these fucking Trumpians.

          Can Trump Order Congress Home and Unilaterally Fill Vacancies Via the Recess Appointment Power?

          Sure… whatever it is that Dear Leader wants will be justified by some bullshitter telling us about something OBAMA did.

          1. “America will never be a Socialist Country”

            – Dr. President Trump

            1. The President’s prediction bodes ill for those of us who do not want America to become a socialist country.

              1. Already is.

      2. Okay, first, I hope Trump doesn’t do it, even if it is constitutional.

        Second, Trump only *threatened it* which is trolling and/or putting up a trial balloon. He does this all the time.

        Third, Obama actually did make an (or several, I don’t know which) appointments when the Senate was still, in the current system, in session. So, to get angry that Obama violated the Constitution, which the Supremes said he did, was a normal reaction. It is akin to the left’s anger at the travel ban.

        (And “spraying spittle on everyone in a 20″ radius,” isn’t that over the top rhetoric?)

        1. mad_kalak : And “spraying spittle on everyone in a 20″ radius,” isn’t that over the top rhetoric?

          Never underestimate the ability of the Right to spray spittle when they playact rage….

          1. I dunno, I distinctly remember images of women screaming at the sky the moment that Trump took the oath of office, and angry lesbians and gays screaming when some small bit County Clerk wouldn’t let them get hitched in that particular county, etc. etc.

            Oh, I don’t disagree that people get passionate about politics. Check the videos of the crying when Hillary lost, and I suppose you could post some links to videos of angry Tea Partiers. If it makes you feel morally superior to make it sound like liberals are calm and collected while conservatives vent and rage, I can’t stop you, but it’s not quite correct to think as such.

            1. I’m still trying to figure out what Trump that got the LGBTA+ bunch so mad anyway. I can’t recall anything specific although he once said something to the effect they had already gotten what they and kind a shrugged.

              1. They hate Trump, they hated W, they hated W’s father, they hated Reagan, Ford, Nixon, and Eisenhower. They just hate all Republicans.

      3. spraying spittle on everyone within a twenty-foot radius

        Too soon.

        1. All I can say is good thing it was back in the Obama Era & pre-Social Distancing

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  2. This is the gift of ADHD — the ability to multitask and run various processes independently (much like a computer does). I seriously doubt that he has forgotten about his ability to overrule various confederations of states (and I use the word “confederation” for a reason) — he’ll bring that back in good time.

    1. Dude, that’s not how ADHD works at all. You work in education?!!!

  3. Eh. Who cares? Stumpy is irrelevant to our current problems. I’ve been ignoring his ongoing tantrum/cry for help for well over a year.

    Even if he steals the next election, he’ll be drooling on himself like a 1979-vintage Reagan by 2021.

    1. “1979-vintage Reagan”

      I think you meant like a 2020 Biden. He can’t even keep straight the number of grandkids.

      1. Trump in a recent speech :

        “Look, having nuclear—my uncle was a great professor and scientist and engineer, Dr. John Trump at MIT; good genes, very good genes, OK, very smart, the Wharton School of Finance, very good, very smart—you know, if you’re a conservative Republican, if I were a liberal, if, like, OK, if I ran as a liberal Democrat, they would say I’m one of the smartest people anywhere in the world—it’s true!—but when you’re a conservative Republican they try—oh, do they do a number—that’s why I always start off: Went to Wharton, was a good student, went there, went there, did this, built a fortune—you know I have to give my like credentials all the time, because we’re a little disadvantaged—but you look at the nuclear deal, the thing that really bothers me—it would have been so easy, and it’s not as important as these lives are (nuclear is powerful; my uncle explained that to me many, many years ago, the power and that was 35 years ago; he would explain the power of what’s going to happen and he was right—who would have thought?), but when you look at what’s going on with the four prisoners—now it used to be three, now it’s four—but when it was three and even now, I would have said it’s all in the messenger; fellas, and it is fellas because, you know, they don’t, they haven’t figured that the women are smarter right now than the men, so, you know, it’s gonna take them about another 150 years—but the Persians are great negotiators, the Iranians are great negotiators, so, and they, they just killed, they just killed us.”

        Yeah. Biden has never been that incoherent his entire life, but this is everyday Trump. Mental acuity is not the grounds Trump wants to run on. Better he stick with lies about Ukraine……

        1. “I’m going to, Barack, significantly increase the number of pell grants that are out there. A pell grant is a family basically less than $50,000 you’re able to get at the time, it was less than six but it raised it to $6000.” March 25, 2020 “Well, they have to deal with the — look, there’s institutional segregation in this country. From the time I got involved, I started dealing with that. Redlining banks, making sure we are in a position where — look, you talk about education. I propose is we take the very poor schools, triple the amount of money we spend from $15 to $45 billion a year. Give every single teacher a raise to the $60,000 level. Number two, make sure that we bring in to help the teachers deal with the problems that come from home. The problems that come from home, we have one school psychologist for every 1,500 kids in America today. It’s crazy. The teachers are — I’m married to a teacher, my deceased wife is a teacher. They have every problem coming to them. Make sure that every single child does, in fact, have 3, 4 and 5-year-olds go to school. Not day care, school. Social workers help parents deal with how to raise their children. It’s not that they don’t want to help, they don’t know what to play the radio, make sure the television — excuse me, make sure you have the record player on at night, the — make sure that kids hear words, a kid coming from a very poor school — a very poor background will hear 4 million words fewer spoken by the time we get there. MODERATOR: Thank you, Mr. Vice President. Biden: No, I’m going to go like the rest of them do, twice over. Because here’s the deal. The deal is that we’ve got this a little backwards. By the way, in Venezuela, we should be allowing people to come here from Venezuela. I know Maduro. I’ve confronted Maduro. You talk about the need to do something in Latin America. I’m the guy that came up with $740 million, to see to it those three countries, in fact, changed their system to people don’t have to chance to leave. You’re acting like we just discovered this yesterday. Thank you very much.” September 11 democratic debate

          1. I’m curious Bob : How many separate Biden quotes did run together to try and equal Trump’s debacle above? Any qualms about stooping to that tactic?

            1. Biden inappropriately handles and sniffs little kids.

              1. And adult women too… Now the women I know would turn around and punch him, but that’s the difference between TEA Party women and head-in-the-sand Democrats….

                1. Yeah, that’s much stronger ground for Trump to run on, mistreatment of women.

            2. So, your defense of Biden is that instances of incoherent verbal meandering are more often and more consistent. Got it.

        2. Trump in a recent speech

          “Recent” as in 4 years ago? Oh dear. Putting aside how far you had to reach back for that one when Biden has that many gaffes before breakfast on a typical day, here’s the larger thing in my mind: Meanderings and asides are one thing. Yes, Trump could take some more care to organize his thoughts (for example, he could just read everything off a teleprompter). Biden’s regular slurring of his speech, literally incomprehensible sentences, and sometimes apparently just forgetting mid-sentence what the hell he was talking about, is quite another. When even the WaPo points out the only way he can seem to keep it together is to keep his speeches down to a few minutes (even WITH a teleprompter), I’m not sure there’s really much to honestly debate.

          1. Damn. Got that “recent” part wrong fer sure.

            Also : Trump’s incomprehensible incoherence is incoherence, tho I admit “take some more care to organize his thoughts” sounds a whole lot better. The problem is there’s no evidence Trump CAN organize his thoughts, much less express them better. He flits from idea to idea, from one child-like passion or snit to another, from one position to its exact opposite. He often shows the attention span of a toddler. He rages at his aides if they bring up unpleasant topics. He has to be briefed with cartoons because he’s no capable of reading anything longer than a page. He rarely expresses a clear thought and lies more frequently than he meets that benchmark.

            These are massive problems in a president. These are not problems Joe Biden has. Stick with Ukraine. Sure, it’s all lies, but at least it’s not a total embarrassment, argument-wise….

            1. Curious how you just ignored (without denying, ’cause sentient and intellectually honest beings really can’t) the entire issue of Biden’s obvious impending senility, and tried to pivot back to “well, Trump sux, and Biden doesn’t suck like THAT!!!!” Along with the obligatory Ukraine confetti.

              Trump speaks in paragraph-length sentences. Biden, if elected president, would most likely meet his maker via electrocution from drooling into the secure Oval Office phone. One is an annoying stylistic preference. The other is… well, a bit more problematic.

              The fact that the Democrats have settled on desperately trying to prop up Jimmy, with the sole hope they make it through the election before he disintegrates, is profoundly sad.

              1. (1) Biden seems to have a “senior moment” occasionally

                (2) Trump has the mind of a brat-child, dull-witted & stubbornly stupid

                (3) Trump’s affliction is 24/7; Biden’s isn’t.

                (4) Your “Biden is senile” shtick won’t work because it’s 1-2 sound bites a month.

                (5) Too bad for you, because the voters in the middle who decide elections will opt for Joe as a basically decent rational human being, over the drama-queen human turd that is Donald John Trump….

  4. ” Most importantly, as soon as he changes the topic, we all forget about whatever the most pressing issue was yesterday. President Trump has truly perfected the art of the troll.”

    Interesting way to look at it! Or, maybe, let’s look at it from a slightly different point of view.

    1. Trump lies. Constantly. All the time. Why? I mean, why does a dog lick itself?

    2. Trump constantly does things that should offend any normal sense of propriety, because, um, Trump. Why? I mean, why does Dr. Ed have a convenient and wrong anecdote for all occasions?

    3. Trump’s defenders reflexively feel the need to defend whatever he does, coming up with inventive characterizations that constantly change. Why? I mean, why is Sam Gompers unable to spell DOG if you provide him the D and the O?

    What happens when you combine all of these things? Pretty simple, really. You get a constant stream of Trump doing outrageous things (holding up checks so that they have to reprograms they system and put his name on the checks, for example) that wouldn’t fly under any prior President. You get a constant stream of Trump just … lying, constantly, about things. And you get a constant stream of Trump’s defenders saying…

    It’s just a troll.
    Take him seriously, not literally.
    He’s just owning the libtards.
    He’s so smart, that he’s just pretending to be dumb, to make you look dumb when you point out that he’s lying.
    He’s just renting out space in your head because you care about things like the country doing well and the truth.

    …you know, stuff like that. It’s not “perfecting the art of the troll.” It’s a complete and total failure of so-called “responsible” and “smart” conservatives, who care more about power and self-aggrandizement than they do about any principles.

    I mean, Dr. Ed and Sam Gompers are easy to make fun of; but it’s the people who kowtow to Trump, the so-called responsible people who might, at most, “tsk tsk” a little and say that he’s just trolling while they burnish their resumes for a judgeship down the line; that’s the real problem.

    1. That comment reads like Trump is successfully trolling you, too, and not just the media. Just a thought.

      1. No.

        Because, unlike the moron brigade here, I remember who Trump really is. Do you? The failed New York businessman who only cared about three things:
        1. Lying.
        2. Getting his name in the press.
        3. Getting laid.

        If you had even half a brain cell, you would realize that Trump isn’t TROLLING, he’s the same as he always was. The only difference is that, for whatever reason, he has a bunch of easy marks now.

        So, yeah. Good luck with that! I hope you at least ask him for a reacharound. ‘Cuz otherwise, you’re just getting screwed.

        1. The comment is not meant to be responded to. It can’t be. It’s the equivalent of accusing somebody of being defensive. They can’t respond without proving the accusation, at least in part.

          If the President is lying, it’s just to get a rise out of you. You have risen. Ergo, the President’s genius lying is justified. There’s no need to defend the lie itself, the fact that you responded is all the proof we need. And if you aren’t outraged, it just proves how many lies the President can get away with, proving how smart he is to lie. There’s no way for you to react that doesn’t prove the President is a genius.

          Conspiracy theories have this quality. (All evidence in support of the theory is accepted, all evidence against the conspiracy is evidence of it being covered up.) Anyone who has an unfalsifiable theory should abandon it. But they won’t.

          1. Well said, NTOJ.

          2. I imagine this scenario : Trump finally shoots a random stranger on Fifth Avenue and a member of his Trump base is the key witness. Two things would happen : (1) The Trumpsterite would first insist there was no actual evidence Trump killed the victim : Yes, he saw DJT raise the handgun and, yes, he heard the weapon discharge and, yes, he saw the victim collapse to the ground wounded – but he didn’t actually see the bullet go from gun to victim. We’ve seen there’s a whole new standard of evidence in Trump-World. (2) And when asked by the police interrogator if Trump really did scream out, “Die you nobody”….? The Trump supporter would say, “Oh, he was trying to own the Libs…”

            1. “The Trumpsterite would first insist there was no actual evidence Trump killed the victim…” Maybe the Trumpsterite would write an op-ed in the NYT: “What to do with the vision of Trump murdering someone on 5th Avenue…”

              1. “How the murder committed by Trump is being used to troll the pro-life movement…”

            2. When Trump screamed, “Die you nobody ______!”, he didn’t mean it–he was just being aspirational. (Which, apparently, will be the brand-spankin’ new 2020 euphemism for Trump lying or saying inconvenient things.)

      2. I’d say loki13’s comment is pretty accurate.

        And he seems to have Blackman sucked in pretty well. If Trump’s doing it it can’t be stupid or incompetent or malign. It must be part of a deep strategy. Right, Josh?

        1. And he seems to have Blackman sucked in pretty well. If Trump’s doing it it can’t be stupid or incompetent or malign. It must be part of a deep strategy. Right, Josh?

          I’m a bit unclear on your taxonomy there. It’s all of those things. (But, like all trolling, the “strategy” has no endgame beyond the trolling itself.)

          1. David, I did not intend “or” as exclusive.

        2. Well, it’s not all 8th dimensional chess as some sycophants think, but some of it is deliberate, and much of it works. Witness this thread as evidence.

          1. “Witness this thread as evidence.”

            See? It’s brilliant. If you don’t criticize the President, he gets away with it because that’s what he wanted. If you do criticize the President, it’s because that’s all he wanted. There is no result that involves the President erring.

      3. Look, I can’t disagree about Trump being a brusque windbag who lies. He’s only different from Obama in that Obama was a polite windbag who lies, or Hillary who almost took the job, who was a cackling windbag who lies.

        I myself believe that Trump’s trolling is part deliberate, and partly just who he is. Please remember, part of the reason he won, was that enough folks, including Dems who crossed over, admire a politician who is disruptive. He plays to that, and if you had half a braincell, you’d recognize that he is disruptive and insulting on purpose, which, by definition, is being a troll.

        1. “Look, I can’t disagree about Trump being a brusque windbag who lies. He’s only different from Obama in that Obama was a polite windbag who lies, or Hillary who almost took the job, who was a cackling windbag who lies.”

          But Hillary…. but Obama….

          No. You miss the point completely, perhaps on purpose.

          Do politicians lie on occasion? Sure. Of course they do. But if you look back, you will see that this is something that they rarely do. Most politicians try not to lie. I’m not talking about statements that people will disagree with because they have different values; or that the politicians might not change a position.

          But traditionally, lying was considered … bad. They didn’t want to get caught out in a flat-out lie.

          What Trump has learned, emboldened by people like you, is that it doesn’t matter. No one holds him accountable. No one cares.

          He can lie with impunity, just like he always has. Just like he did in the 70s, and the 80s, and the 90s, and the 00s. Before he was President.

          The only difference is that his words, now, have more consequences than just Page 6, and the complete and total submission of the GOP and the government to him is … not great.

          But in the end, that’s something for you to live with. My conscience is clear.

          1. Everyone compares presidents all the time. Seriously, get over it. It’s not a dodge. Had I said that Trump was like Andrew Jackson (he is) for his brusque manner, you wouldn’t be so upset because it’s not your bro Obama, whom you clearly have warm feelings for.

            I suppose I am missing your point. Please try to express it again, in different words. Because I assure you, I am trying to get your point. It’s like your forgetting history…for example, Clinton was a notorious fibber, even his own party admitted it, and enabled him like you say the GOP is enabling Trump, which admittedly, they are.

            1. I think he’s in love with him. Like love-love, not like-love.

            2. No, you aren’t trying to get the point; that much is obvious. Anyone who immediately defaults to a “But Obama,” and “But Hillary” (who, again … wasn’t a President) isn’t trying to get the point.

              And if you then think, “Well, I could have used an early 19th century comparator, but I didn’t, because … {implied THAT WOULD BE STUPID} …” well, you kind of make the point for other people.

              But no, Clinton was not a “notorious fibber.” Nor was GHWB because he said, “Read my lips: no new taxes.” Nor was Reagan for Iran Contra. Nor was GWB for WMDs. And we could keep going back.

              What you are missing, what you refuse to accept, is everyone, to some extent, lies. Politicians lie because they have to for national security reasons, or because they change their mind on a policy (raise taxes a little as a compromise, maybe …). But generally, they don’t want to lie. They are supposed to hold, and they do hold, truth as a value; they believe (apparently wrongly!) that voters will eventually care about the truth.

              And as we see, that’s not true. As you agree, the GOP is enabling Trump.

              I am not the one here, forgetting history. I am not the Dr. Ed of this conversation, who, like Trump, conveniently remembers things that didn’t happen (or forgets things that did).

              1. The GOP isn’t enabling Trump, the voters are. The party hates him, but he still holds the office.

                And you have a hard time grasping portions of reality, my friend, if you think that Bill (or Hillary for that matter) Clinton didn’t lie as much as Trump.

                1. Nobody lies as much as Trump by several orders of magnitude. Your assertion that the GOP is not enabling Trump is falsified by all the votes they have made doing exactly that. You can believe and say anything you want, but we know what you really believe by observing your actions. Which is how we judge Trump–his actions tell us what he really thinks is important.

                  1. A number of media outlets have compiled purported lists of Trump “lies” ascending into the tens of thousands. For instance, from the Washington Post. If you check them out, you find they’re rife with multiple counting, declaring opinions to be lies, and even declaring the truth to be a lie if they don’t like the implications. The lists are jokes. Example: “Hydroxychloroquine — I don’t know, it’s looking like it’s having some good results. That would be a phenomenal thing.” This is counted as 9 lies. I’ve read medical studies saying exactly that it’s showing great results, so what are they disputing, that it would be a phenomenal thing if we had an effective treatment? They’re calling it a lie because it isn’t absolutely proven to be effective in all cases without any side effects, essentially. And that gets it four Pinocchios?

                    1. They treat President Trump’s figurative speech as literal. They do this because they are half-brained dopes.

                  2. Trump lies like a Democrat and gets away with it like a Democrat, which chaps your hide. Sucks for you.

                2. mad_kalak : And you have a hard time grasping portions of reality, my friend, if you think that Bill (or Hillary for that matter) Clinton didn’t lie as much as Trump. One of the unique things about Trump isn’t just the frequency of his lying, but his willingness to baldly do “black is white” falsehoods without a hint of shame. There are pictures of the inauguration, but DJT says ignore your eyes. There are official vote tallies, but Trump creates over three million imaginary voters to eke out a popular vote victory. Trump doesn’t care if his lies are grotesquely phony. With a base that prefers fantasy to fact, who cares? Now we have mad_kalak, a member of that base, who clearly learned at the feet of his Cult Lord. Does he even believe his own crude lies? Does he care about fact vs fiction? Probably not. Like Trump, I’m betting mad_kalak holds the bigger the lie the better…..

                3. mad_kalak, you are not grasping important portions of reality if you think that Bill (or Hillary for that matter) lied as much and in the same way as Trump. I despised Bill Clinton for his obviously pragmatic relationship with honesty. But he lied as loki describes, strategically and in limited circumstances so that he generally maintained at least a patina of credibility. Mostly, when he stated a fact, it was true. If you were paying attention, however, you couldn’t trust him very much if there was a possibility he had a substantial interest in spreading a falsehood. For example, he would lie that he had “sex” with that woman. But that’s an excellent example of how his lying was different from Trump’s. Bill still tried to fit his deception into a technically true statement. Well, I have an idiosyncratic definition of “is” or “sex’ or what have you. Trump, on the other hand, will lie about literally anything without making any effort at all to couch his deception in terms that might be technically accurate if certain definitions and parameters are used. He just straight up lies. And he has expanded the category of things in which a President has “a substantial interest” to include literally anything that might, in some way, reflect on his greatness. He lies about his voice on the “pussy-grabbing” video, he lies about crowd size, he lies about ordering one or another person fired, he lies about the number of coronavirus tests, he lies about what he said about coronavirus, he lies about Ted Cruz’s father, he lied about paying off Stormy Daniels. The list is virtually endless and encompasses lie that implicate U.S. foreign policy, lies that undermine the legitimacy of our elections, lies that appear to conceal inappropriate use of his executive authority or conceal criminal or borderline criminal conduct, lies merely to protect a very, very fragile ego (my crowd was bigger than Obama’s, my electoral college victory was the largest in a long time), and lies that serve no discernible purpose other than to drive home the belief that truth doesn’t really exist and being “on the team” is more important than anything as pedestrian as facts. With Bill Clinton, most of his factual statements were true, but you would be a bit gullible if you weren’t skeptical of his statements when his direct personal interest was involved. With Trump, the fact that he says something does not correlate with its truth or falsity at all. His statements are true to the extent his personal interest aligns with the underlying truth of the matter and are false to the extent his personal interest does not align with the facts. I mean, seriously, he has specifically said he never apologizes and he has demonstrated that. This aspect of his character and belief system is intimately connected with his lying. If you never apologize, why not lie about everything. If you are caught, you unapologetically lie about lying or “look, squirrel.” Unlike every prior President, Trump sees no cost in lying and, thanks to his GOP enablers and his complicit supporters, he does not pay a price for lying. This is different. Prior Presidents expected to pay a price for lying and generally did. For some reason I have never been able to fully grasp, Trump is able to corrupt everyone around him, everyone who joins his team, even people who, in more normal times, I thought were incorruptible. (McCain is a notable exception, but then he never joined the team, Jeff Flake and Justin Amash resisted the pull too). I think Trump’s talent to corrupt ordinarily good men is even more pronounced than even his considerable marketing/branding skills.

                  1. There were paragraph breaks when I it submit….don’t know what happened.

                    1. I had the same thing happen to me. Glitch’n the program. Incidentally, now is the perfect time to again bring up my proposal we all boycott sputtering partisan strife – wild-eyed liberals and zombie-right-wingers alike – until Management caves to our demands and gives us an edit function……

                    2. I am with you, grb.

              2. “But no, Clinton was not a “notorious fibber.””

                Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

                Bill Clinton could lie by technically telling the truth better than anyone on this entire planet. This was known before he was elected President, even. That you would deny this makes you look more stupid than even the most rabid Trump defender.

                Now bloviate some more and prove me right.

                1. Yes, that’s exactly the point they are making, you are actually agreeing with them. By “technically telling the truth,” he was buying into the norm that telling the truth matters, and he was going to at least try to hide his lies with that strategy. Trump doesn’t believe that the truth matters.

          2. Do politicians lie on occasion? Sure. Of course they do. But if you look back, you will see that this is something that they rarely do. Most politicians try not to lie. I’m not talking about statements that people will disagree with because they have different values; or that the politicians might not change a position.

            I don’t think this is right. Everybody lies on occasion. Politicians lie more than most. Trump is in another class altogether, though.

            Indeed, as I’ve pointed out many times before, Trump is not a liar; he’s a Frankfurtian bullshitter. (Seriously; it’s not a long essay; read it.) The difference, as described by Prof. Frankfurt (who was not describing Trump, except he was) is that a liar lies for a purpose: to get you to believe something false. It helps the liar obtain something to which he isn’t entitled, or avoid being caught in doing something wrong, or whatever. He cares about the truth; he just needs you to think the opposite. The bullshitter doesn’t care about the truth:

            But the fact about himself that the liar hides is that he is attempting to lead us away from a correct apprehension of reality; we are not to know that he wants us to believe something he supposes to be false. The fact about himself that the bullshitter hides, on the other hand, is that the truth-values of his statements are of no central interest to him; what we are not to understand is that his intention is neither to report the truth nor co conceal it. This does not mean that his speech is anarchically impulsive, but that the motive guiding and controlling it is unconcerned with how the things about which he speaks truly are.
            It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth. Producing bullshit requires no such conviction. A person who lies is thereby responding to the truth, and he is to that extent respectful of it. When an honest man speaks, he says only what he believes to be true; and for the liar, it is correspondingly indispensable that he considers his statements to be false. For the bullshitter, however, all these bets are off: he is neither on the side of the true nor on the side of the false. His eye is not on the facts at all, as the eyes of the honest man and of the liar are, except insofar as they may be pertinent to his interest in getting away with what he says. He does not care whether the things he says describe reality correctly. He just picks them out, or makes them up, to suit his purpose.

            Another term is “sociopath.”

            1. “I don’t think this is right. Everybody lies on occasion. Politicians lie more than most. ”

              https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/trust-us-politicians-keep-most-of-their-promises/

              That’s about par for the course. And it’s also true when it comes to local politics as well (if you are involved in same). I would trust a local politician any day of the week over a real estate developer (umm…). Politicians learn quickly that they have to deliver on certain things- that there is a level of accountability that they should have with their constituents.

              It doesn’t mean that they won’t succumb to other pressures, or that they might have to change directions, or that “stuff happens.” Because everyone lies. But politicians generally try to keep to their word.

              At least, they did .

              1. I don’t think (from your link)

                Most of the literature suggests that presidents make at least a “good faith” effort to keep an average of about two-thirds of their campaign promises;

                really refutes my point so much as supports it. If you tell your wife you’ll take care of A, B, and C for the house and X, Y, and Z for the kids, and then later say, “Okay, I didn’t actually do any of the stuff I promised to do, but, hey, I made a good faith effort to do a lot of it,” you’d be lucky if you weren’t quarantined from your quarantine.

                But that’s sort of a side point anyway, because I didn’t say anything about carrying out promises; I said lies. Most politician lies, like everyone else’s, are not about failing to fulfill their promises; they’re lies about existing facts.

                1. “But that’s sort of a side point anyway, because I didn’t say anything about carrying out promises; I said lies. Most politician lies, like everyone else’s, are not about failing to fulfill their promises; they’re lies about existing facts.”

                  Again, most politicians at all levels, in the past, didn’t lie. They would use weasel words. They might equivocate. They might try their darnedest to avoid making definitive statements on the record. On occasion, they might make statements that they either knew to be untrue or likely to be contradicted by the need to be pragmatic later (“Read my lips” etc. etc.) or would “evolve,” but generally, before the past few years, politicians tried very, very hard to not outright lie about factual matters.

                  So no, I think that this is an incorrect characterization for the past. In fact, given the disparity between the recording and checking of politician’s statements, I would say that generally they have had incentive to be truthful (or vague) moreso than most people.

                  1. Exactly this.

            2. The less pejorative term is “braggadocio”. It’s not an admirable trait, I’ll grant you that. But it’s worlds away less offensive than Obama’s calculated lie about getting to keep your insurance policy, for instance.

              1. Brett, You can’t really go the route of “Obama’s lie was worse” when Trump (and Ted Cruz and many other prominent Republicans) have made a mirror image lie: “We will always protect patients with preexisting conditions.” Yet, Trump is trying to repeal the ACA in its entirety with no replacement bill that would protect patients with pre-existing conditions. He supported legislation that would have essentially eliminated the protections for patients with pre-existing conditions (insurers could provide insurance without such protections which would segregate the market into people with pre-existing conditions who would pay dramatically higher rates and those without who could buy the cheaper plans, which is basically the same thing as not having a requirement that pre-existing conditions be covered). His administration has implemented regulations which directly undermine the protections for patients with pre-existing conditions. Etc. So, Trump tells those sorts of lies, the ones that misrepresent the full impact of legislation on people, though the statement is sort of true if you take into account various caveats (most people can keep their insurance, if your plan is grandfathered you can keep it unless the insurer changes it which the law doesn’t require but…; versus technically insurers have to offer plans that protect insurance consumers with pre-exisiting conditions (unless ACA is repealed in which case they won’t), but insurers can basically segregate the consumers with pre-existing conditions from those without pre-existing conditions which is basically no different from a market that has no requirements and leaves people with pre-existing conditions facing premiums that are essentially unaffordable and, so, puts the policies just as out of reach as in the “you can keep you plan/doctor” case of Obama’s sell. At best, you have established that sometimes Trump (and Cruz, et al.) lie in the same way Obama lied about the ACA (which is also a rather typical lie for which politicians generally do pay a price when caught out as exemplified by Obama doing the very unTrumpian think of explaining he meant “if your plan is grandfathered in” which would still have been misleading though technically true; Trump doesn’t even bother trying to conform his statements to some narrow, if misleading, path to the truth), but it remains true that Trump lies in lots of other ways both petty and substantial (lying about paying off a porn start to help his campaign, lying about crowd size, lying about being involved in drafting a false statement about members of his campaign meeting with Russians) with a frequency that “nobody’s ever heard of”. One superlative he’s actually earned. Trump is different. You might (I can’t imagine why, but you might) still prefer him to another candidate for some reason (judges?), but he lies more frequently and in different ways than any President in living memory. That is indisputable.

                1. Why aren’t paragraph breaks working for me…..

          3. I’m not going to deny that Trump lies a lot. But it is ironic that his base elected him, and supports him much more fervently now than in 2016 because he has been much more honest than the other elected conservatives we have been saddled with. Lies or not about all the insubstantial crap he comes up with, he’s told the truth about the things that matter to his base: immigration, rewriting and pushing back on trade deals, conservative judges that will protect the 2nd amendment. Its sad that we’ve been so accustomed to honest men like Mitt Romney and the George Bush’s, and John McCain that would do anything to deny the base any victory on the policies they wanted enacted when they cast their votes. All of them tried to sell immigration amnesty, or would betray the base to do so if they got elected, all of them were much more concerned with Wall Streets haul from trade deals than how many factories would shut down as a consequence. And most had no real commitment to the 2nd amendment, and at the most would just be satisfied with the status quo rather than a real commitment to a critical civil right. Trump lies more than any of those other honest men, and certainly has a worse character, but when it matters he’s been as good as his word, despite the fact Mexico isnt paying for the wall, at least he’s building it.

            1. Kazinski, He hasn’t told the truth about the wall (part of the immigration truthiness you highlighted; It isn’t going to be built the way he promised and Mexico will not pay for it). He has the same incoherent views on immigration as his base, but that isn’t exactly telling the “truth” when you demonize immigrants but hire undocumented workers for your business (as he and many of his supporters do…I know many of his supporters who do the same thing he does). He lies about trade deals (He didn’t know TPP was to oppose China, so did not include China; NAFTA 2.0 is really mostly NAFTA 1.0 plus Democrat-favored labor protections and otherwise very minor tweaks, but he sells it as if it is a major change…nevermind the chaos he caused to get little more than a re-branding of the original NAFTA.). He came through on judges, but that’s not really telling the “truth” about anything, but it is fulfilling a campaign promise. So, of your four, he definitely lied on two, one just involves hypocrisy on ideology, and the fourth was a campaign promise he fulfilled. 1 out of 3 of items that you cherry-picked to prove his truthiness. You are making our point.

              1. See that makes my point: even your begrudging 1 out of 3 makes him the most honest national politician in a generation.

                And I agree E-verify would be more effective than the wall to discourage economic migrants.

                1. That is entirely stupid. Trump promised GDP growth that never materialized, promised balanced budgets and paying off the debt. He will be the worst deficit spender and will have added more to the national debt in one term than any other President, whether measured by dollars (real, nominal, inflation-adjusted, you choose) or by percentage growth. It is 1 in 3 of your cherry-picked promises. Meanwhile, Obama promised to ban torture by the U.S. and did ban it. He promised to cut net oil imports in half. He did cut them. He promised to sign a credit card bill of rights to protect consumers and did it. He promised to expand health care coverage and delivered the ACA which did, in fact, expand health care coverage to millions of Americans. Meanwhile, Trump promised to repeal and replace the ACA. He has not managed to repeal it (though he keeps trying to make it less effective which is as cynical as you can get) and has no plan to replace it. Trump doesn’t keep his promises, he lies about facts, he lies about his intentions, and he lies about the past. But you know this. Stop trolling. (Yes to e-verify and punish the employers, not the already disadvantaged, desperate, relatively powerless people.)

        2. He’s only different from Obama in that Obama was a polite windbag who lies, or Hillary who almost took the job, who was a cackling windbag who lies.

          Nope. Pathetic excuse, but a version of the standard RW approach. Trump, or some other leading GOPer does or says something outrageous, so you find an obscure Democratic official, or maybe a celebrity, who once said or did something vaguely similar and it’s whatabouttery all the way own from there.

          This is different but along the same lines. “Hey, Obama lied once or twice,” so Trump’s nonstop prevarications, even the most harmful, even the most ridiculous, even the ones that just make him look like an utter fool, are fully justified, according to you.

          That’s nonsense. In buying it you sink to the level of some of the fanatical Trump idolators around here.

          1. Your problem, Benard, is that you never saw Obama’s strawmanning as prevarications. That one sounds like a toff when he speaks doesn’t change them. Moreover, Obama lied as much as Trump, but there is a fungible nature to many “facts” in life.

            1. It amazes me that thinking people believe Trump’s behavior is comparable to Obama (or Bush if you prefer). Trump is not lying because he is a politician. He is lying because he is a man-baby.

              1. I never said his behavior was comparable. C’mon man. Trump is more brusque and argumentative in his manner towards his opponents. In fact, I said he was different in that manner specifically. I am ALSO saying that he in a lying windbag like Obama and Hillary, who where lying windbags in different and more polite ways.

                Trump a man- baby? Sure. I miss politicans like Ike. But Trump is no more a man baby than the skinny, wimpy, stuttering equivocating Obama who did NOT like to be questioned. Remember him jumping on that reporter for asking a question at the Rose Garden news conference when Q’s weren’t allowed…and the press took their cue and chased the guy to the Washington Monument? That’s man-baby behavior.

                1. But Trump is no more a man baby than the skinny, wimpy, stuttering equivocating Obama.

                  I have to bend down and pick up my jaw.

                  1. Calm down — he meant without the teleprompter.

                  2. mad_kalak, Trump is no more a man baby than Obama? LMFAO https://youtu.be/OFnhq5awB60

            2. Moreover, Obama lied as much as Trump, but there is a fungible nature to many “facts” in life. This is simply delusional.

              1. “not a smidgen of corruption” in Obama’s administration, according to him. What’s delusional is you standing up for Obama’s lies more fervently than any pro-Trumper standing up for him.

                1. Finrod,

                  To whom are you replying? (Presumably, bernard11, but then…) Who are you quoting? I doubt any administration can be said to have had “not a smidgen of corruption”, but, by any objective measure, the Obama administration was less smudged with corruption than any since Carter’s (fewer convictions of cabinet officials or high level officers, fewer resignations for ethics or worse violations, etc., etc.). The Trump administration is easily the worst.

                  “What’s delusional is you standing up for Obama’s lies more fervently than any pro-trumpet standing up for him.”

                  Yet, you cite no lies. The only Obama lie I have seen mentioned in this thread relates to overselling the ACA. I didn’t defend it and bernard11 explicitly acknowledged Obama lying a few times in a manner and for the purposes most politicians lie. Trump lies about stupid things like crowd size (which I don’t know any other President who tells those sorts of lies) and is defended. Trump lies about his policy proposals (Mexico will pay for the wall, GDP will be 6%) and is defended. Trump lies about important intelligence matters (whether he order McGahn to fire Mueller, dictating a statement in which his son would lie about the Trump Tower meeting and then lying about whether he was the one to dictate the statement) and is defended. Lying about coronavirus mitigation and prevention efforts (everyone who wants a test can get a test, etc., etc.) and is defended. Obama never lied in either quantity or quality the way Trump lies and his supporters don’t defend his more “normal” lies as either not lies, unimportant lies, just his “brusque manner”, or as “braggadocio” in the way Trump supporters defend Trump’s ridiculous lies, his outrageous lies, his U.S.-damaging lies, his lies on serious matters, and his lies on frivolous matters. But you know this. You’re just trolling.

          2. Has Trump told a single lie as consequential as “You can keep your doctor and your insurance plan”?

            Most people care more about policy and results, not rhetoric. You referenced what is “harmful” – that’s a judgment about policy and results.

            You call it whatabouttery, and maybe it is. To me it’s just away of illustrating that the vehement anti-Trumper in question doesn’t really care about “the truth” even if they think they do. Rather, they’re just politically motivated. They’re tribal and have hated Trump since day one, or they’re ideologically motivated. This doesn’t mean any particular thing is “justified.” It just means you’re weighing the imperfect alternatives and looking at results and policy over rhetoric. And, that there are some pots calling kettles black. If someone can credibly claim to be making a case against the “lesser evil” paradigm of American politics, and saying we shouldn’t accept various deficiencies, that’s a different story and I’m all for it.

            1. Trump’s behavior is so far from the norm, he cannot be a lesser evil on the basis of policy. His mafia-boss man-baby antics have likely cost lives in the COVID crisis, and that conclusion has nothing to do with political ideology.

              1. Name one other country that’s handled Covid-19 better than the US has. Merkel is doing well in Germany, but almost all the other major 1st world countries with numbers you can trust have done no better or even a lot worse.

                1. Name one other country…..but not Germany? South Korea? Canada. Denmark. Norway. But, at any rate, we are just nearing the end of the beginning. Trump’s multiple mistakes are well-documented, as are his lies to the America people. It’s on tape. His lies, about this, do cost lives.

                2. The only countries (ignoring tiny ones like San Marino) with mortality rates (deaths per total population) worse than the USA are Belgium, Spain, Italy, France, UK, Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland.

            2. They hated Bush just the same. Don’t forget that. It’s part of their core being to be deranged and full of hatred for the Other.

              1. I agree the unfair demonization of Bush was a factor in the rise of Trump. Too many on the left cried wolf, and when the real wolf arrived, the nation was eaten.

            3. Has Trump told a single lie as consequential as “You can keep your doctor and your insurance plan”?

              Yes.

              “It’s going to disappear. One day it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”

              “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China.”

              “We think we have it very well under control. We have very little problem in this country at this moment — five. And those people are all recuperating successfully. But we’re working very closely with China and other countries, and we think it’s going to have a very good ending for it. So that I can assure you.”

              “Now, the virus that we’re talking about having to do — you know, a lot of people think that goes away in April with the heat — as the heat comes in. Typically, that will go away in April. We’re in great shape though. We have 12 cases — 11 cases, and many of them are in good shape now.”

              “So we’re at the low level. As they get better, we take them off the list, so that we’re going to be pretty soon at only five people. And we could be at just one or two people over the next short period of time. So we’ve had very good luck.”

              “And again, when you have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero, that’s a pretty good job we’ve done.”

              “We are testing tremendous numbers of people. We’re doing tremendous testing.”

              “Anybody that wants a test can get a test. That’s what the bottom line is. But as of right now and yesterday, anybody that needs a test — that’s the important thing — and the tests are all perfect, like the letter was perfect. The transcription was perfect, right? This was not as perfect as that, but pretty good.”

              1. Now please show the policy results and consequences of this. Remember there has been an extreme amount of uncertainty in the data and conclusions about this virus early on. “We think we have it very well under control” is true if you think that. Fauci thought it at that time unless he’s lying too.

                Show me one action that Trump should have done differently (action, not words) which would have made a big difference.

                1. Well he could’ve left the borders open like the Left demanded, that would’ve made a huge difference…

                  1. Biden’s rhetoric is much better though, don’t worry he’s got a handle on coronavirus.

                    “We cannot let this, we’ve never allowed any crisis from the Civil War straight through to the pandemic of 17, all the way around, 16, we have never, never let our democracy sakes second fiddle, way they, we can both have a democracy and elections and, at the same time, correct the public health.”

                2. Trump had six weeks between the travel restrictions and urging social distancing to ramp up testing and insuring the availability of medical supplies. Instead to listening to Azar’s recommendation to urge social distancing, he replaced Azar with Pence, and took another three weeks to reach the same conclusion only when Birx scared the hell out of him.

                  1. Interesting. (A) You are saying that Trump should have urged social distancing sooner in the sense that he should have told the public to do it sooner voluntarily, or that he should have encouraged governors issue lockdowns sooner? (B) What would sooner social distancing have accomplished precisely? It appears the curve has been flattened enough to avoid exceeding health care system capacity thus far. Cuomo claimed he would need 30k or 40k ventilators, and it turned out he only needed 5k, and Cuomo is now giving ventilators away to other states and the peak in NY has passed. New York and Michigan are canceling and downsizing plans to set up emergency hospitals. Detroit area is dismissing more patients than admitting. So if the curve was flattened sufficiently to avoid overburdening of capacity, what is the failure? Keep in mind some experts advise that herd immunity is also very important, that the curve should not be flattened more than necessary, and that it’s ultimately not possible or advisable to attempt to completely stop all spread of this virus through lockdowns.

                    I do agree with you that:

                    1. Testing is an issue. This is due to the FDA’s command and control regulatory stance going back decades. (See How Government Red Tape Stymied Testing and Made the Coronavirus Epidemic Worse, Reason, March 11, 2019 and It’s Time to Track the FDA’s Death Toll, Mises Institute, April 1, 2020).

                    2. Medical supplies are an issue. Bad trade policy going back decades as resulted in dependency on China for critical medical supplies (not to mention everything else critical). https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/13/business/masks-china-coronavirus.html

                    1. Trump should have done what he did on March 16 three weeks earlier, and yes that would have likely saved lives by resulting in fewer people infected (it is likely herd immunity cannot be safely reached until we have a effective treatment or vaccine).

                      On testing and supplies, you sound like Trump (the buck stops anywhere but with Trump).

                    2. Trump should’ve taken measures before literally just about everyone else in the world and against the advice of just about everyone else in the world because Orange Man Bad.

                    3. The trade policy thing is economic illiteracy, and of course factually wrong; indeed, Trump was so certain that he could talk his way out of a pandemic the way he talked his way out of Ukrainegate, so certain that we couldn’t be threatened as long as he denied the threat, that he shipped 18 tons of PPE to China on February 7.

                    4. Josh R- “it is likely herd immunity cannot be safely reached until we have a effective treatment or vaccine”

                      No that is not “likely.”

                      “Trump should have done what he did on March 16 three weeks earlier”

                      Trump followed the advice of his experts. Are you saying that Trump should have known better and not listened to the experts?

                    5. David
                      “The trade policy thing is economic illiteracy”
                      No, it isn’t. If you rely on China and other countries to manufacture your PPE, for example, that obviously causes a problem for you in situations like a pandemic. Fortunately this pandemic is quite mild, with current fatality rate estimates being revised down near the seasonal flu. If it were really bad then the supply issue could have been catastrophic.

                      Adam Smith laid waste to any sort of unilateral “free trade” absolutism, when he wrote about a number of important considerations, from keeping a level playing field between domestic tax burdens and tariffs, to retaining critical industry sectors within a nation.

                      “It will generally be advantageous to lay some burden upon foreign industry, for the encouragement of domestic industry, when some particular sort of industry is necessary for the defence of the country. The defense of Great Britain, for example, depends very much upon the number of its sailors and shipping. Defense is of much more importance than opulence.”

                    6. Given that herd immunity requires at least 200 million people to be infected, and the case fatality rate for the young and healthy are about 0.1%, that would be 200,000 dead to reach herd immunity. I don’t find that result acceptable.

                      The Task Force under Azar recommended restrictive measures at the end of February.

                    7. Don’t pretend you know the fatality rate. You don’t.

                      What we do know is that the various best guesses and estimates offered by experts on deaths, rates and so on have so far been disastrously wrong. Those estimates are being revised downward in stunning amounts of 70, 80, 90, 95 percent and more.

                      That’s a lot! For comparison’s sake, the drop in the S&P500 from its all time high in February to the low in March was around 30%.

                    8. Don’t pretend you know the fatality rate. You don’t.

                      We cannot be sure until we have better testing and full accounting of deaths. Worldometers has reported a 0.2% case fatality rate for the young. For policy making, it would be indictable to assume a rate less than half that figure.

                      Those estimates are being revised downward in stunning amounts of 70, 80, 90, 95 percent and more

                      Citation?

                    9. IHME model:
                      100k-200k deaths was “best case scenario,” ranged higher than that
                      April 5 – projects 81,766
                      April 8 – projects 60,415

                      WHO mortality rate – 3.4
                      It’s dropping like a rock and nobody knows where it really is. BUT guess what? Brand new today is the first wide-scale testing study:

                      https://abcnews.go.com/Health/antibody-research-coronavirus-widespread/story?id=70206121

                      Suggests 50x-80x more infections than known cases.

                      If that holds accurate, coronavirus has a lower mortality rate than the regular flu.

                    10. No, it isn’t. If you rely on China and other countries to manufacture your PPE, for example, that obviously causes a problem for you in situations like a pandemic.

                      The problem is that you’re looking at it ex post instead of ex ante. If one needs X but one does not have X in one’s possession and cannot obtain it, then yes, that’s a problem. But if one operates as if one must possess everything one needs at all times rather than being able to trade for it, one will be much poorer and worse off.

                      Fortunately this pandemic is quite mild, with current fatality rate estimates being revised down near the seasonal flu.

                      Of course, that’s not even a little bit true, and shows either dishonesty or an inability to tell the difference between legitimate information and right wing loon information.

                      Adam Smith laid waste to any sort of unilateral “free trade” absolutism, when he wrote about a number of important considerations, from keeping a level playing field between domestic tax burdens and tariffs, to retaining critical industry sectors within a nation.

                      Setting aside the weird notion that Adam Smith is to be treated as inerrant scripture, that is not at all an accurate reading of what he said; it’s the cherry picking of a quote that anti-traders aways rely on. Smith argues that this is bad for the economy, and was not talking about “critical industry sectors,” a vague term that could mean almost anything. He was only talking about something necessary for national defense.

                    11. The IMHE model’s highest estimate for deaths in the USA was just over 93,000.

                      On the basis of one study, just now coming out, no responsible official is going to implement a policy of getting to herd immunity by allowing the young and healthy to do as they wish, while truly quarantining (not just a stay-at-home order) the old and sick.

                    12. @Josh R
                      April.16.2020 at 4:51 pm

                      “Trump should have done what he did on March 16 three weeks earlier…”

                      So, three weeks earlier than 16th March, was 24th February (it’s a leap year, so not the 23rd). Therefore by your reasoning, those guidelines for social distancing, closing schools, avoiding bars/restaurants, and so on, should have been issued by Trump…

                      …on the same day Pelosi was touring Chinatown and telling everyone to come to the area, and that there was nothing to worry about.

                      …over two weeks before DiBlasio, on 10th March and in contrast to advice from his own health officials and national experts, was telling New Yorkers that the virus causes nothing worse than a bad cold.

                      …five days before Dr. Fauci was telling the American public, and presumably had told the president, that there was no reason to alter their daily ac,tivities and that it was currently a “low risk” situation.

                      If you need more examples to showcase how unreasonable your “three weeks before” assertion is, given the contemporary understanding of the facts (including especially by Fauci), they should be easy for you to find. In fact, I’d say that they’re so easy to find that there was really no excuse for you posting that.

                3. Show me a lie!

                  (long list of lies)

                  Okay then, show me how it mattered!

                  (points to deaths)

                  Okay then, MEDIA HOAX!

                  (sighs loudly, asks how his reacharound is going)

                  1. Exactly what you say when presented with Obama’s lies, hypocrite.

                4. Show me one action that Trump should have done differently (action, not words) which would have made a big difference.

                  1) Ramp up testing. In January. 2) Stockpile PPE. In January. 3) Invoke the DPA. In January. 4) Restrict travel with China. In January. (Trump will repeatedly brag about how quickly he did this. He’s hoping to fool rubes, who don’t realize that he was not quick to do this; 45 countries had done so before Trump did. (Trump will also repeatedly claim that it was a ban, but it wasn’t.)) 5) Warn people to start preparing. In January. Instead of calling it a hoax. 6) Urge Republican-led states to start implementing lockdown weeks earlier than many of them did, at the same time as Democratic-led states were doing it. 7) Tell his acolytes to stop promoting conspiracy theories about actual experts and instead to listen to them. (Remember when Dr. Nancy Messonnier warned us in February that the pandemic was coming, and they came up with the idea that because she’s Rod Rosenstein’s sister her statement was a conspiracy to bring Trump down?) 8) Stop ranting about how the country needs to reopen by arbitrary and ridiculously premature dates like Easter or May 1. 9) Give Jared Kushner something to do commensurate with his talents, like redecorating a post office in Spokane, rather than letting him have any input on policy.

                  1. Dr. Fauci says that Trump followed all of the expert advice immediately. Is Dr. Fauci lying, or did all of the experts also get everything wrong which you are now correcting with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight? Pelosi and everyone else was downplaying the virus early on as well. You are full of shit and purely politically motivated.

                    1. Dr. Fauci says that Trump followed all of the expert advice immediately.

                      Fauci said no such thing. He said the first and only time a formal presentation was made to Trump, he accepted it. Three weeks earlier, Trump refused to hear a formal presentation.

                    2. Alex Azar is a pharma lobbyist with no medical education or expertise whatsoever.

                      Trump followed the recommendations of the experts immediately.

                      On February 29 Dr. Fauci was making public statements that this wasn’t anything Americans even needed to worry about at all.

                      When will you stop trying to pin blame on people and just accept the fact that this pandemic took almost everyone by surprise? Except the Wuhan lab in China of course.

                    3. Azar chaired the team of experts (the same team that Pence now heads). Your spin doesn’t match reality.

            4. Has Trump told a single lie as consequential as “You can keep your doctor and your insurance plan”? Yes. Pretty much all of them. Especially the ones about how the coronavirus was no big deal – totally contained, etc. Also, pretty much every lie Trump told that got him any votes had very bad consequences, and most of what he said about his policies. As to Obama’s statement that you love to quote in defense of Trump: First that it was true for a large majority of people. Second, if the consequence you’re talking about was passage of ACA then it’s hardly clear the statement was necessary for its passage. Third, the consequence was beneficial, and would have been a lot more so if the Republicans had not done everything they could to sabotage the system.

              1. “Third, the consequence was beneficial”

                [citation needed]

            5. M L, Tump lied about protecting insurance consumers with pre-existing conditions although he was undermining those protections on multiple fronts (legislative, executive, and judicial). That lie actually likely affects more people (as Obama’s statement was true with respect to the vast majority of people with insurance, but still untrue and he was wrong for saying it). But it is exactly the same sort of lie, for the same purpose and just as consequential. Then Trump also lies about releasing his tax returns, about whether he has business in Russia, about what he said about the coronavirus in January/February, about the extent of election fraud (he won the popular vote, he claimed, if you didn’t count the fraudulent votes), about the meeting between his campaign staff and Russians (Trump Tower statement that he dictated but denied dictating), about whether Russian interfered in the 2016 election (which is highly consequential to the continued fairness and legitimacy of our elections) and on and on and on. Be serious.

              1. Under current law, health insurance companies can’t refuse to cover you or charge you more just because you have a “pre-existing condition.”

                Next?

                You want to talk about the Trump-Russia hoax, really? Incalculable damage was done by this scandal of the century, but it wasn’t by Trump.

                1. M L, First, Trump supported legislation which would have reduced those protections and it failed. He also supports (and has the DOJ pursuing) a lawsuit that would eliminate the protections for pre-existing conditions. Second, Trump has managed to weaken the protections by changing regulations to permit some plans not to cover pre-existing conditions and do charge higher prices for people with pre-existing conditions. (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/13/upshot/trump-tweets-health-care.html)

                  Trump…and you…are being dishonest about this. Stop it.

                2. M L,

                  Yes, the scandal of Trump carrying water for Russia on their interference in the 2016 election has done incalculable damage. We can agree on that. A rational, mature human could both acknowledge Russian interference and try to stop it in the future, but for Trump doing either of those things somehow means his victory was less great. Consequently, he takes the side of Putin over the CIA, NSA, FBI, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and every other western intelligence agency that has weighed in on the issue.

    2. It’s a complete and total failure of so-called “responsible” and “smart” conservatives, who care more about power and self-aggrandizement than they do about any principles.

      At one time, there were many conservatives and Republicans who were never-Trumpers. That number dwindled in response to the Republican rank-and-file supporting Trump. I’m shocked that politicians bent to the will of the voters instead of doing the right thing. The hostile takeover of the Republican party by Trump is complete.

      1. “The hostile takeover of the Republican party by Trump is complete.”

        It’s not surprising. The mistake that the “responsible”* and “intellectual”** (I use the words …. advisedly) wings of the GOP made was thinking that the voters were the useful idiots.

        When, in fact, the useful idiots were the intellectual and responsible appendages of the GOP. They will get their crumbs in exchange for their service. Thirty pieces of silver is the going rate, right?

        *Like the Chamber of Commerce types.
        **Like, you know, the VC bloggers.

      2. I agree that the neocon establishment Republican wing has failed spectacularly. In many respects their high-minded supposed adherence to principles was shown to be phony. It’s really a disaster for the Democrats, because these folks were the most gracious and compliant designated losers you could imagine, happy to oversee the complete defeat of conservatism from the perch of their comfortable sinecures.

        But now Republicans are beginning to operate more like Democrats — strictly as a team focused on winning, pragmatic and flexible, adopting today what they disavowed yesterday when it’s expedient. I predict if they keep moving in this direction, Democrats will suffer catastrophic losses for years to come.

        1. “But now Republicans are beginning to operate more like Democrats”

          I would love to have what you are smoking.

          Poe’s law and all that.

        2. You figure America is becoming more white? More bigoted? More religious? More rural? More backward?

          How are Republicans going to maintain an effective electoral coalition for backwardness and intolerance as America’s electorate continues to improve? Perhaps, if you live in some desolate backwater populated by half-educated bigots, that might influence your perspective and degrade your perception . . . but what is another explanation for predicting great improvement in Republicans’ electoral prospects?

          1. On the contrary, America is becoming more post-racial, which does not bode well for the Democrats’ 150-year old strategy of racial identity politics.

            1. Just not enough bigots or half-educated losers left in America to keep Republicans competitive in national elections, M L. Soon enough, not even the trinity of Republican electoral strategy — gerrymandering, voter suppression, structural amplification of backwater votes — will be enough to keep the clinger coalition afloat.

              1. Don’t worry, the Democrats have plenty of low-educated losers and bigots like you to keep them getting at least 40 percent of the vote in every Presidential election. Even Mondale got that much against Reagan.

                “structural amplification of backwater votes”– it’s not the fault of the Republicans that Democrats lack geographic diversity, which the Constitution rewards.

            2. ML says “On the contrary, America is becoming more post-racial, which does not bode well for the Democrats’ 150-year old strategy of racial identity politics” Well, here’s a question for ML : Which of the campaigns in the last presidential race was built around racial identity politics? I’ll give you a hint: It wasn’t Hillary Clinton’s. For a certain type of person “racial identity politics” is only racial identity politics if it’s about those Other Kind of People, not right-thinking God-fearing Fox-watching White people…..

              1. “Which of the campaigns in the last presidential race was built around racial identity politics?” Democrats as usual. They talked about race nonstop, lying with almost every breath.

          2. “You figure America is becoming more white? More bigoted?”

            You persist in associating “more white” with “more bigoted”, even after being corrected on that point multiple times. I would expect that sort of foolishness from a Young Earth Creationist, which is ironic given your disdain for religion.

            Since I’m a sucker for hopeless causes, let’s look at your association of “more white” with “more religious”. Regarding religion, the US is certainly declining in overall religious belief. However, the greatest pace of that decline is for whites: https://www.pewforum.org/religious-landscape-study/racial-and-ethnic-composition/

            From the “Racial and ethnic composition by religious group” table, 68% of so-called “religious nones” (agnostics, atheists, etc.) are white.

            From the “Belief in God by race/ethnicity” table, only Asians have a greater percentage than whites in the “Do not believe in God” column. In the “Believe in God; absolutely certain” column, Latinos are only 2 points lower than whites, “other/mixed” are 5 points higher, and blacks are way higher.

            I’ll not belabor the figures from the “Importance of religion in one’s life by race/ethnicity” table, but it’s clear even at a glance that only Asians consider religion less important than whites.

            Now, it’s also true that whites as a proportion of US population are declining. Although the linked Pew study does _not_ consider the possibility that a smaller subset of whites will contribute to a _slower_ decline in overall US religious belief, I’d say that it’s a very good bet. Furthermore, I would not be surprised if that decline in religion might even be reversed, given that the two most religious demographics represented in that study are also the fastest growing in the US.

            As is often the case with your posts here, the things you bleat reveal a poor grasp of the data which help informed persons to understand our reality.

        3. “Democrats will suffer catastrophic losses for years to come.”

          Trump’s approval rating hit 43 today.

          Other than that, great comment!

          1. And what was Trump’s approval rating when he was elected?

            Oops!

            I didn’t even vote for Trump, but I still enjoy watching half-wits like you driven bug-fuck nuts by him. You’re going to go pull the lever for dementia-addled Biden in November because of it, and then whine like a stuck pig when he loses more than 30 states.

            Sucks to be you.

    3. “holding up checks so that they have to reprograms they system and put his name on the checks, for example”

      FACT CHECK: Checks were not held up

      “A Treasury Department spokeswoman, however, denied any delay and said the plan all along was to issue the checks next week.

      “Economic Impact Payment checks are scheduled to go out on time and exactly as planned — there is absolutely no delay whatsoever,” the spokeswoman said in a written statement. She said this was a faster process than the stimulus checks the George W. Bush administration issued in 2008 to head off a looming recession.

      “In fact, we expect the first checks to be in the mail early next week which is well in advance of when the first checks went out in 2008 and well in advance of initial estimates,” the statement said.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/coming-to-your-1200-relief-check-donald-j-trumps-name/2020/04/14/071016c2-7e82-11ea-8013-1b6da0e4a2b7_story.html

      1. I don’t think you understand that quoting the administration saying, “Hu uh” is not actually a “fact check.”

        1. Er, what I meant to write was:

          I don’t think you understand that quoting the administration saying, “Nuh-uh” is not actually a “fact check.”

          1. Sure it is. The Treasury Department is the authority on this question. If you are going to claim they are lying, you will need to produce acceptable evidence. Until then, you’re rebutted.

            1. “Denial” is not “rebuttal.”

              1. That depends on what is being rebutted.

                Anonymous “accusations” don’t require any more rebuttal than this.

                1. Evidentiary pointers from birthers are always appreciated!

                  1. Are you confused about who you are talking to, senile boomer?

                    1. I was referring to you, bigoted clinger.

                    2. Evidence of me being a birther?

                      The only time I’ve mentioned birtherism is to compare it to the deranged and now debunked Trump-Russia conspiracy theory.

                  2. Stop drooling on yourself.

            2. Notice the things they don’t deny. No denial that President Trump privately asked the IRS if he could sign the checks himself. No denial that the plan was presented to the IRS staff internally on Tuesday (even as the Treasury official insists the schedule was “the plan all along”). Note the misdirection; rather than addressing the specific substance of the story, make it about the 2008 stimulus checks.

              1. What is your point? Why should I care that Trump put his name on checks? The biggest issue here was obviously the idea that the checks were delayed.

                1. Great question.

                  Why should corruption bother anyone?

                  1. What “corruption”, TDS-sufferer?

                2. What non-sinister reason would there be for President Trump putting his name anywhere on a stimulus check from the government?

                  1. Are you guys kidding or serious? Trump adds $2.2 trillion to the debt and your problem is that he is putting his name on the socialist Trumpbux?

                    1. I get it now: you think that we’re incapable of objecting to more than one behavior at once. That’s your strawman and you’re welcome to die on that hill if you like.

                    2. You are really dumb.

                    3. Why don’t you just answer the question? And do you think the President wanted his name on the check to highlight that he’s increasing debt? Or can you imagine some other reason why he wants his name on it?

                    4. The same reason any politician does anything. See, politicians are the embodiment of virtue and selflessness, and everything they do is to help their countrymen and make the nation a better place.

                      So here, Trump put his signature on a $2.2T bill and some checks to help people by giving them money, and even moreso to help people by getting himself re-elected so that he can continue to help people even more, and advance his agenda so that the country and the world will be truly and maximally helped.

                      Someone supposedly once said “When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.” But what they didn’t realize is that the end of one thing is the beginning of something else. Something really great.

                      The only problem is that relatively few people get physical checks these days. It seems Trump failed to get his name on the direct deposits.

                  2. In 2001, Bush 43 had the government send out a separate mailer before stimulus checks. In 2009, Obama had the government put up signs before stimulus checks. Both of those actions were no less politically motivated than Trump having his name put on stimulus checks. However, extra ink on a subset of paper checks (most payments will be direct deposits) will cost the taxpayers less than the analogous actions of the two prior presidents.

                    Is it necessary or worthwhile? No. Is it political manipulation? Yes, of course. Is it sinister? No.

                3. Because he’s not supposed to. He can put his name on all his buildings as much as he wants, but slapping it on government checks is jut bullshit. And yeah, they were delayed. What did you expect the Treasury to say? They’re lying.

                  1. So, everybody who would have any way of knowing says they weren’t delayed, but “What did you expect the Treasury to say? They’re lying.” Might as well just admit you’re starting from an irrefutable presumption of guilt.

                    1. Brett, Statement from any administration source contain zero information. Zero. Because they are wholly predictable. There is zero chance that Treasury would admit that the signature business caused a delay. Zero. Anyone who disputes that is a fool. So you have no evidence, whereas there is at least some evidence on the other side. I know you don’t accept any fact, any report, that reflects negatively on your god. But don’t expect to be taken seriously. Trump has fully earned the disdain. When someone lies repeatedly it’s pretty stupid to think that this time they are telling the truth.

                    2. And yet you’ll swear that Obama was telling the truth when he was lying through his teeth all along.

                      You just refuse to believe the White House when it’s not occupied by Team Blue, which just makes you another fuckwit partisan.

                  2. Well if bernard says he’s not supposed to, I guess that settles it. There’s no evidence the checks were delayed. Just some made-up anonymous sources, as usual.

              2. You do realize the past Director of the CIA is a subject of Grand Jury deliberations? Evidence in the public domain prove the CIA was (still is?) spying on the Trump campaign, and then, the Trump administration? The CIA doing domestic spying. The FBI was giving private contractors access to 702 communications data bases? More than 80% those searches lacked legal providence? The FBI and the DoJ lied to the FISA courts? But President Trump had the temerity to slap his name on stimulus checks? People have some seriously flawed priorities.

                1. You do realize the past Director of the CIA is a subject of Grand Jury deliberations?

                  No. Grand jury deliberations are secret, so you couldn’t have any way to know that.

                  Evidence in the public domain prove the CIA was (still is?) spying on the Trump campaign, and then, the Trump administration?

                  No. Even if surveillance were to be called “spying,” there is no evidence of any spying on the Trump campaign, let alone by the CIA.

                  The FBI was giving private contractors access to 702 communications data bases? More than 80% those searches lacked legal providence?

                  Are you just throwing random words together that you read on twitter?

                  1. Double-digit IQ Team Blue types like yourself won’t believe that Saint Obama ever did anything wrong.

                    1. I am absolutely Team Blue. Huge Obama fan. You have definitely figured it out. You are totally a genius.

      2. “FACT CHECK: Checks were not held up”

        Ha!

        Did you know that the word “gullible” isn’t in the dictionary?

        1. If you are making a claim based only on an anonymous source, and I’m making a claim based on a named source, then I win and you lose.

          1. Uh, no.

            1. Why not? If there’s no extrinsic evidence whatsoever and just a he-said she-said with one side being anonymous, then this seems obviously right.

        2. “Did you know that the word “gullible” isn’t in the dictionary?”

          This claim has already been discussed and refuted on this blog this week.

      3. “FACT CHECK: Checks were not held up…”

        So it looks like there are two possibilities. Either Trump is narcissistically delaying the checks so he can have is name on them, or the media is being overly credulous of anonymous sources that make Trump look bad.

        1. I’ll go with number 1. Look, TIP. This guy is an egomaniac who slaps his name on everything. Further, he’s a sociopath who doesn’t give a flying fuck about anyone or anything but himself. He’s one of the most loathesome people ever to walk the earth, and those who surpass him are mostly mass murderers and the like. But you think he wouldn’t do that. The devotion you and your ilk are showing to this con man is destroying the country.

          1. IRS Joins Treasury in Refuting Washington Post’s Claim that Trump’s Name on Stimulus Check Delayed Delivery https://www.law360.com/articles/1263960/trump-s-signature-won-t-delay-stimulus-checks-irs-says

          2. “I’ll go with number 1. Look, TIP. This guy is an egomaniac who slaps his name on everything.” Sure. Which makes a thinly-sourced inflammatory story like this quite tempting for journalists. But even though Trump shits himself a lot, the media runs a lot of false “Trump shits self” stories that play into the “fake news” narrative.

          3. You’ll believe anything that makes Trump look bad. Thanks for demonstrating.

  5. You don’t think some of his ‘mastery” as a troll might have something to do with the fact that he has the bully pulpit of the Presidency to do it from ?

    I’m sure there are more talented trolls – no not you, Arthur – who have to do their trolling from less advantaged positions.

    Whether it is desirable for the Republic for the President to be a troll is debatable, of course. Back in the 80s, the Sainted Ronnie was able to get his points across even against a very hostile media, because he was a very talented communictor and because although hostile, the media wasn’t yet wholly rabid. Norms were still quite normy.

    Bush 43 found himself temporarily invulnerable because of 911 but ultimately found no way to counter the increasing rabidity of the media. McCain and Mittens were eaten alive.

    Trump has used twitter trollery to pretty good effect, because it allows him to bypass the rabid press pack, while commenting on their rabidity. But it hardly adds to his dignity. Maybe dignity is passe, though. No Republican since Reagan, apart from Trump, has come up with any kind of tactic to counter the press.

    I rather doubt that Trump’s method will continue to work – Twitter et al are quite happy to censor and block those they disagree with, they just haven’t summoned the cojones yet to censor and block the President. But those qualms will pass. Possibly before November.

    1. I agree that there theoretically should be diminishing returns on Trump’s tactics. However, in practice, though, there hasn’t been because those he trolls (the media and liberals in general) have had no diminishment in their existential angst about him.

      This is not to say that there has been some awareness of this problem. Bill Maher for example, has admitted that they cried wolf that Romney and G.W. Bush were as bad as Hitler, but that with Trump this time it’s for real. Still, though, it’s not changed their behavior because they don’t want to “normalize” Trump by turning the dial down from 11 to say 8.

      Lastly, expecting liberals and the media to not be trolled so easily, would require them to be more intellectually humble about what they “know” is right. That is a very difficult thing to do for anybody.

      1. Nice post. But a requirement for intellectual honesty and humility means for everyone, not just liberals and the media, to be beholden to data…facts.

        Unfortunately, the extreme TDG liberal and MAGA Trump enablers are talking past one another with their opinions and feelings – not facts. Both groups inflame, personalize and engage in the ad hominem attack. Both try to score points instead of making a case. Both try to declare their biased views and opinions “facts” and conversely defame the others facts as “fake”.

        Facts are tricky things. Facts are raw, unbiased data points . A data point – a fact – has no intrinsic unbiased interpretation without an equally unbiased, accurate description of the methods of measurement. Interpreting data is highly dependent on context: understanding how a measurement turns into a datapoint. Unfortunately, humans in general have a bad tendency to substitute an objective description of how a measurement is made with how the data point conforms to their world view. The biased interpretation becomes the fact. Or in the case of Trump a fake fact.

        Sometimes amid the obnoxious trolling on these posts there are glimmers of reason (no pun) where someone will point out the discordance between a supposed “fact” and reality or rather “interpretation” . There will be a “fact check”. But scrutinization of the the method of measurement requires more nuance. If done well it puts a boundary on an interpretation. Opinions are no longer cast in stone – right or wrong – but are flexible. And that requires humility because as the test method is altered to get better facts, your opinion may have to change considerably. In science that is called hypothesis testing. At that point an interpretation is always challenged and subject to disproof. That is when progress is made. Unfortunately, it happens far to little generally and in a politcally charged atmosphere hardly at all.

        1. Thank you for the compliment, and I agree. I would just respond with a quote that that I love from the Federalist Papers showing how we can’t fix the problem. “Had every Athenian been a Socrates; every Athenian assembly would still have been a mob.”

    2. “Maybe dignity is passe, though. ”

      Bill Clinton killed it, Trump is just the undertaker.

      The thing with Trump is just to roll with it, not run around with your hair on fire or do a Monica on him.

    3. “I rather doubt that Trump’s method will continue to work – Twitter et al are quite happy to censor and block those they disagree with, they just haven’t summoned the cojones yet to censor and block the President. But those qualms will pass. Possibly before November.”

      Blocking him definitely would bring things to a head — and it would raise a lot of issues because he *is* the President. I’m not sure how it would shake out legally, but politically it would be quite incendiary and probably be the end of Twitter.

      After all, what would it take for an intrepid conservative to create a competitor to Twitter? And if you became the sole outlet of the President, the Orangeman Bad cult would have to join, wouldn’t they?

      And an Executive Order banning any Federal agency (possibly Federal fundee) from using Twitter would only take a signature. From a “good government” standpoint, the government ought to publish its own electronic communications much as it publishes its own paper ones.

      1. “After all, what would it take for an intrepid conservative to create a competitor to Twitter?”

        More than conservatives have, the record indicates.

        Conservatives have been moaning about mainstream institutions for decades. Sometimes, they try to form a separatist organization — the right-wing AARP, the right-wing NAACP, the right-wing ACLU, etc. — but they turn out to be hollow shells.

        Conservatives have been unable to build strong conservative-controlled colleges and universities, for example, despite whining continuously about the strong mainstream schools.

        Conservative schools are still fourth-tier, unranked, nonsense-teaching, science-disdaining goober factories with sketchy accreditation, lackluster graduates, and crappy faculties. Conservative schools (Wheaton, Hillsdale, Ouachita Baptist, Biola, Regent, Liberty) barely can see the exhaust trails of their mainstream betters, even with binoculars.

        Republicans and conservatives are all talk when ranting about building competitors to Twitter or other elements of mainstream society. In America, the liberal-libertarian mainstream operates the strong institutions and conservatives operate paltry facsimiles. New York City vs. Lubbock. Harvard vs. Liberty. California vs. Alabama. ACLU vs. FIRE. AARP vs. AMAC. The Washington Post vs. Washington Examiner. NAACP vs. CORE. Any mainstream news vs. Fox News. The Daily Show vs. The Greg Gutfeld Show. Hollywood vs. the producers of Left Behind movies.

        If conservatives could build a Twitter for clingers, they would have done it by now. They’ll still yap about it, though.

        1. Clean that drool off your chin, loser. Nothing you say comes from a place of truth, and you’re too stupid to even realize that.

    4. Ever since our supreme hacks in black declared the people in government are the ones who confer dignity through government tax and licensing schemes, dignity has been on the outs.

    5. witter et al are quite happy to censor and block those they disagree with, they just haven’t summoned the cojones yet to censor and block the President. But those qualms will pass. Possibly before November. I’ll just make a note of this prediction.

    6. The President his going to take his business to a different Platform? Twitter would step on their own dick, to the tune of going bankrupt? That’s comedy gold!

  6. (holding up checks so that they have to reprograms they system and put his name on the checks, for example) that wouldn’t fly under any prior President.”

    Back in 2001, my $300 rebate check had Bush & Cheney’s names on it, and when I had to file for underemployment in 1999, President Clinton’s name was all over the paperwork.

    Clearly this *did* fly under other Presidents. All Presidents are vain and love to see their names everywhere.

    1. The sad thing about Trump, is that for almost every outrageous thing he does, you can point to a precedent from a previous president, and often enough it came from a Democrat.

    2. Dr. Ed- really, how is it that you lie so much?

      Is it just a faulty memory that you have because of you age?

      Or do you simply make stuff up all the time? You know that the President is not an authorized signatory for these disbursements? So, why don’t you provide some evidence?

      Inquiring minds want to know! Really.

      1. ” You know that the President is not an authorized signatory for these disbursements? So, why don’t you provide some evidence?”

        I thought the same thing about authorized signatories when I saw Bush/Cheney on my $300 check some 19 years ago, but the check cleared… And this was 19 years ago — it’s not something that I would still have kicking around even if I hadn’t cashed it.

        1. No, you didn’t, you’re just a lying liar who lies. You are a ridiculous person.

          1. He’s largely a standard-issue Republican these days.

            Which is fine. I like my political opponents gullible, downscale, superstitious, resentful, bigoted, and inept.

            1. You’re just pissed because Trump lies like a Democrat and gets away with it like a Democrat. Sucks to be you.

        2. So, no evidence, because there isn’t any.

          When will you stop lying?

          Better question, since you can’t stop lying- why are people, like Mad kalak, so gullible that they still believe you?

          1. You’re way off in “Dead men *do* bleed!” territory.

    3. “Back in 2001, my $300 rebate check had Bush & Cheney’s names on it…”

      They really didn’t. Although (in a non-election year) President Bush asked the IRS to put his name on it and they declined because it was too political. They also declined to include on the memo line “giving you your money back” because it was too political. President Bush did manage to get a letter included informing recipients that “Congress passed and President George W. Bush signed into law the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001”. In 2008, President Bush again asked to get his name on the stimulus checks, but the IRS pushed back, again.

      Compare that to the 2009 stimulus. They didn’t send checks at all, it was just a rebate on monthly tax withholding.

      President Trump is not a morally serious person, so even if his IRS was willing to push back (which I doubt), it would never have done any good. You have to have the ability to feel shame to be shamed into not doing something.

      1. The piece of paper I took to the bank had Bush/Cheney on it.

        1. “The piece of paper I took to the bank had Bush/Cheney on it.”

          No, it didn’t. The check did not.

          You are a liar.

          1. Quit calling people liars when you have ZERO proof, fuckwit.

      2. Well, I remember from 20 year’s ago seeing Bush’s name because I wondered in my apolitical days where it came from and got an answer. I guess it was on a letter not the check itself. Does it make it any better that it wasn’t on the check itself?

        Thanks for the clarification!

        1. Right, they think not remembering fully something from 2001 is a huge gotcha.

          Neither did he say Bush signed the check. Just his name was on it.

          1. “Right, they think not remembering fully something from 2001 is a huge gotcha.”

            No, it’s not a “huge gotcha.”

            It’s just another edition of, “Someone says a real fact. Then Dr. Ed ‘remembers’ a story that can’t be true to rebut a real fact.”

            Not so much a gotcha as Dr. Ed making stuff up, again. Like he always does. Wake me up when his Alzheimers is used to support something he doesn’t agree with.

            1. Get the log out of your own eye before you worry about a splinter in someone else’s. You spew more shit than a broken sewer line.

          2. He also said Cheney’s name was on the check, which was another lie. (Cheney didn’t sign the letter, either, so it can’t be chalked up to confusing the check with the letter.)

            It’s not matter of gotcha. Nobody forced Dr. Ed to lie. We didn’t draw him in to remembering anything. And if we all came to this with amnesia about the fact that he’s a compulsive, rambling idiot, it probably wouldn’t even be worth addressing. But unfortunately we don’t have amnesia. We have to listen to this idiot day-in day-out tell us about how he used to wear onions on his belt because it was the style at the time.

            1. A misremembered anecdote from nearly 2 decades ago is not a “lie”.

              You all jumped on Dr. Ed last week when he talked about an “ambassador” who left South Korea off a list of those under the US umbrella but it was actually true, if slightly garbled by him. It was the Secretary of State.

              “On Jan. 12, 1950, U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson under President Harry Truman announced the so-called Acheson Line. In the announcement he made in a speech entitled “Crisis in Asia” at the National Press Club, Korea was excluded from the line stretching from the Aleutian Islands to the Philippines in the Pacific. Japan and Okinawa were included in the U.S. defense line aimed at deterring Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong’s communization of East Asia, but Korea was not.”

              1. Except Dr. Ed endlessly spews pointless, rambling, incoherent anecdotes that can’t possibly be true, and in many cases are demonstrably not true. I don’t have to presume that he’s just “misremembered” the anecdote. The only possible source for authority on the truth of that is Dr. Ed. And since he’s a demonstrated compulsive liar, it’s really no evidence at all. Am I positive? No, but I’m subjecting endlessly to competing claims, like you, and am capable of evaluating them based on experience, probability, etc. Dr. Ed has a long way to go to persuading anyone that anything he says is not made up whole cloth. That’s his problem, not mine. “You all jumped on Dr. Ed last week…” I don’t have any idea what the fuck you’re talking about. But to the extent Dr. Ed gets something only trivially wrong and doesn’t get the credit he otherwise would if he weren’t a compulsive liar, that’s, again, Dr. Ed’s problem. He is the source of his won misery, by being a perpetual bullshitter.

                1. I don’t know why your side hates him so much. I mean he seems pretty harmless. Not worth the kind of rage you just showed.

                  1. Because he’s typical of so many Trumpists, especially the influential ones lie the Fox gang and Limbaugh, etc. They all just make shit up and whatever Trump does or says is instantly defended and supported, whether it’s remotely sensible or truthful or not.

                    1. Like the Democrats do, which infuriates you.

                      Sucks to be you!

                  2. He is voluminous, and he lies. Also, he’s pushing conspiracies.

              2. Thank you!

            2. “…We have to listen to this idiot day-in day-out tell us about how he used to wear onions on his belt because it was the style at the time….” We’re nerds on the VC, so I suspect that most of us got the ‘Simpsons’ reference. Nonetheless, it made me laugh out loud while sitting in my court’s law library, and I had to show the thread and the reference to 3 lawyers who came over to see what was going on. My coolness reputation just went up 25%, so thanks for that.

        2. “Does it make it any better that it wasn’t on the check itself?”

          Not really. I thought it was cheap political theater for the President to do it, but at least the letter adds some of the nuance that the stimulus itself was authorized by Congress. But Democrats did complain, in real time, that the letter itself was a political event, and it cost millions. Ari Fleischer’s contemporaneous account that the letter was the IRS’s idea, was questionable because the Bush Administration had attempted to word craft the letter (although the IRS rejected their attempt). And not an election year.

          Is it even close to the worst thing President Bush did? No. The tax cut itself had a much more serious consequence than any gamesmanship by President Bush. Call it an unstatesmanlike mistake in his rookie year, maybe more forgivable because he wasn’t up for reelection for several years.

          1. He only got it done in the start of his presidency because of the honeymoon period, and the country gave the GOP both houses because they got sick of the Dems (for a spell at least).

            Makes me wonder what else he would have focused on if 9/11 didn’t happen. Privatizing SS when nowhere, but by then the shine was gone in 2004.

    4. I really have to start a journal to track the Daily Ed Made Up Anecdote.

  7. I think this is giving Trump too much credit. Or maybe the wrong way of looking at it.

    Trump has been and continues to be called many names but I don’t think “troll” really fits him. He isn’t that hard to understand. If you want to understand him just keep in mind that he sees everything — and by that I mean absolutely everything — as a PR issue. No point of law or economics or science or national defense or propriety or even common decency matters to him.

    Except how it plays out on media. That’s what he pays attention to and for the most part it works. He was and is furious with his former AG because although Sessions was on “his side” he wouldn’t do the PR game the way Trump wanted. Now that Trump has Barr as AG and McConnell in the senate nothing much can touch him. There will be no revolt by Senate Republicans. His rabid base of MAGA hat wearers who believe in him have them 100% cowed. The level of submission is astonishing.

    If you don’t believe that then look at the case of Mitt Romney.

    So Trump may pull off a Troll move now and then but that doesn’t make him a master. He is more the victim of trolling than the master of it. Trolling is good for a chuckle among the one group of people or gnashed teeth among another but it is pretty much over with in well less than a news cycle.

    What he has mastered is the absolute nullification of any system of checks and balances we had in this country. Trump would have been destroyed long ago had the system been functioning. Same with the whole crew: McConnell and his wife, the Trump family, clown actors like Nunes and Pence. This is Trump’s one true achievement and he did it through PR exploitation.

    We’ll see if it works for the next phase where the body count starts mounting up. I’ll give it 50-50.

    1. “What he has mastered is the absolute nullification of any system of checks and balances we had in this country. ”

      That is utter nonsense. Or at least hyperbole. You can’t mean that literally, can you?

      I’d say he’s mastered the system of checks and balances we have in this country. The bogus subpoenas re: the impeachment are a good example.

      1. The entire Executive branch is now perfectly free to ignore any congressional subpoena at will.

        Court decisions say that Congress has no oversight authority over the executive branch. The only constitutional remedy is to impeach the president. With the president’ s party in control of the senate then impeachment is meaningless. As demonstrated.

        Congress appropriations can be overruled at will by the president. For example money allocated for military project can now be spent on the border wall and Congress has nothing to say about it.

        Does this sound like functioning checks and balances to you?

        1. Orbital Mechanic, I honestly can’t tell if you are exaggerating to make a point, or if you sincerely believe what you say.

          You say: “Court decisions say that Congress has no oversight authority over the executive branch. ” The courts said no such thing. The subpoenas for Trump staffers issued by the house committee, for example, were not valid because the full house never voted to give the committee that power. And to just issues a subpoena and when it’s resisted, as the executive has the right to do, and just throw up your hands and cry “obstruction of congress” is nonsenes.

          Regarding funding the wall, I suppose you have forgotten the protracted legal battles over this, including a Washington judge issuing an injunction, the 5th circuit staying the injunction, and finally the supreme court weighing in on the matter.

          Checks and balances doesn’t mean “my side lost, so no checks and balances.”

  8. It’s the art of the pig. Trump somehow gets his opponents to jump in the mud with him, and Trump’s better than them in the mud. And it’s not a grand strategy, it’s just a bad personality trait that happens to be effective.

    1. “bad personality trait that happens to be effective”

      Agreed but its only somwhat effective. Its not effective on upper middle class suburban woman around Philly for instance. They don’t like it.

      1. We’ll see in Nov. Hope you are correct about this. (From your lips to God’s ear.)

  9. It’s astonishing how many Republicans, including people who were ostensibly never-Trumpers, have convinced themselves that having a dangerous lunatic for a president is somehow a good thing. As long as you get your tax cuts, I suppose…

    1. He has and has had 85-90% [sometimes near 95%] approval from GOP voters. They don’t consider him either “dangerous” or a “lunatic”. Some like his insults and “trolling”, some don’t but accept his policies.

      1. “He has and has had 85-90% [sometimes near 95%] approval from GOP voters.”

        The junk merchant doesn’t sell his product to the consumer, he sells the consumer to his product. He does not improve and simplify his merchandise. He degrades and simplifies the client.

        Yep. It’s not the libtards who are getting owned, Bob.

        1. “owned”?

          The alternative was Clinton and a Dem majority on the Supreme Court. In 2020 the alternative is a brain addled mediocre career politician who has a long history of lying [Neil Kinnock} who will replace Ginsberg and Breyer with younger libs.

          Backing Trump is the rational alternative. Warts and all.

          1. Still wondering why guys like me have been shoving liberal-libertarian progress down the whiny right-wing throats of guys like you for so long as we have been alive, Bob?

            Spoiler: The only thing to stop the losing for you will be your replacement.

            1. You must have cried like a little baby when Trump started repealing Obama’s bullshit that you think is fine caviar.

      2. I’m about 60/40 on his policies. His temperament and crude style just is what it is, not really positive or negative. Hard to see how anyone with any sort of working class background, or anyone who has been in the military, can be remotely troubled by it.

        1. I was led to believe that people in the military cared about honor. If so, it’s hard to see how they could not be troubled by Trump’s conduct.

          1. I’m referring to any kind of crude style, profanity, wanton insults, meanness, and the like.

            People in the military may dislike Trump for many possible reasons, and possibly even for this reason, but they wouldn’t generally be unnerved by it. I’m not military, but I’m basing this on friends and family who are. Several Marines have commented that while they have various problems Trump, they aren’t bothered by this in the least because Trump is polite compared to each and every Marine commander they’ve ever known.

            1. The problem isn’t his crude style, profanity, etc. It’s that he acts like a mafia-boss man-baby. You must kiss his ring or the petulant child takes it out on you.

              1. If you work for him and don’t like it, then quit. If he’s like this toward political opponents who challenge him politically, then perhaps that might be a shrewd political strategy? Not a big insider politics guy so I don’t know or care, but I can certainly understand why people have a problem with this. Personally, I tend to be more concerned with policy and results.

                But more than that I have a sneaking suspicion that this entire exercise of being interested in national politics, pretending like national elections make a big difference, bothering to vote, etc is more of an exercise in vanity and futility that only makes things worse. Admittedly Trump has shown that it’s possible for a politician to disrupt things more than I thought.

                1. Trump acts this way to anyone, and everyone. It’s got nothing to do with politics or ideology. He is not a normal functioning adult, and as evidenced by COVID, he is causing damage.

                  1. [citation needed]

            2. I’m referring to any kind of crude style, profanity, wanton insults, meanness, and the like.

              Do I think Trump is undignified and immature? Of course. But it’s about #1,529 on the list of complaints I have about him.

        2. You’re 100% on defending everything this blog takes issue with.

          I know you wish he were smaller government. But that’s because you wish the Confederacy had won so you’re rather an outlier.

          1. I love that you love to bring up the Confederacy, civil war, secession and so on. Keep it up, please. But for the record, I never said any such thing.

            1. Nonetheless, you’re a big fan of Lost Cause ideology, the noble Confederate soldier, etc.

    2. As opposed to the other dangerous lunatic Trump defeated in the 2016 election?

  10. You know what this thread needs? Sarcastro trying to sound above it all but still ending up as partisan as a precinct committeeman. It’s just not the same w/o him.

    1. Maybe he decided to pass on this one. I could see how several weeks of confinement in one’s glass house could help bring home exactly how thin its walls are.

      1. Damn, that’s funny.

    2. I guess you really wanted to insult me so you just kinda brought me up?

      I’m partisan. Never said I wasn’t – often say that I am.

      Calling you and your ilk out on needing to bring up Obama (Hi, ML!) or hypothetical President Hillary isn’t being above it all, it’s not falling for constant attempts to distract from the President being awful by wallowing in your negative partisanship.

      Think for a moment – would you be driven crazy if a Dem successor’s screwups are continually defended by people quoting some dumb BS Trump said and ignoring whatever the screwup is? I may be partisan, but I’m going to try my best not to fall for that cognitive nonsense.

      1. I didn’t insult you, if you call accurately descibing your behavior as an insult, then that’s on you.

        I said you pretend to be above it all, but are partisan as the day is long, which is why your above it all shtick fails…including in this most recent comment.

        Glad you appeared though.

        1. Glad you don’t care so very much.

        2. “I said you pretend to be above it all, but are partisan as the day is long, which is why your above it all shtick fails…including in this most recent comment.”

          You keep using that term “above it all.” I don’t think you know what it means.

          Rational is what you are looking for. Just because someone isn’t a partisan howler monkey slinging poop like you, doesn’t mean that they are above it all.

          Just means that they aren’t a total moron.

          1. It’s funny how you think your Team Blue friends are all “rational”.

            I do not think that word means what you think it means.

      2. “if a Dem successor’s screwups are continually defended by people quoting some dumb BS Trump said and ignoring whatever the screwup is?”

        That will certainly happen.

        Then the next GOP president will be praised as at least being better than Trump.

        “I guess you really wanted to insult me so you just kinda brought me up?”

        You are supposed to wait until you name is invoked 3 times like Bettlejuice.

        1. So things are bad, but because humans have no agency, we cannot choose to make them better.

          Vintage Bob.

        2. Usually only RAK is summoned when he’s not in a thread. I’m not sure I like the implications…

  11. “In doing so, he forces his allies to rally around his novel position,”

    What has forced Republicans and conservatives to rally behind Trump? They do it because they want to. They embrace or appease the bigotry. They revel in the attacks on the media, Democrats, immigrants, scientists, cities, Muslims, advanced states, agnostics, and the liberal-libertarian mainstream.

    When right-wingers brush themselves off, take off their dopey red hats, put down their Confederate flags, and ask to be taken seriously after Trump departs, will better America forgive and forget?

    I do not see why it should. Let’s hope recent events have persuaded America’s successful and modern elements that rural electrification, acceptance of euphemisms such as “traditional values,” farm subsidies, accreditation of nonsense-teaching schools, and other concessions to society’s stale-thinking losers were bad ideas all along.

    1. What has forced Republicans and conservatives to rally behind Trump? They do it because they want to.

      Exactly. They weren’t forced. They chose.

      Would Bill Barr face homelessness and starvation if he showed some integrity? No. He’s happy to be a toady if he can be AG.

      1. He was already AG once. He is a rich lawyer.

        Maybe he just thinks Trump needs a good AG.

        1. He’s a superstitious, authoritarian, stale-thinking, bigoted clinger doing what he can to advance the Republican Party while that is still possible. That’s why he auditioned for the job. That’s why he got it. That’s why he keeps his tongue firmly affixed to Trump’s scrotum — figuring sacrifices must be made to maintain hope for a Great American Revival . . . or the Rapture.

          1. In other words, he is just like the Chicago municipal government?

        2. “Maybe he just thinks Trump needs a good AG.” Maybe he thinks that Trump needs a loyal AG who is also strong enough to stand up to him. He hasn’t always agreed with Trump.

  12. Reported elsewhere, not just Fox. This is just the easiest link for me to find.

    https://trends.gab.com/item/5e979c46773baf4236c61fe7

    1. Whoops, wrong thread.

      1. How about a link to the thread you intended that for, it’s bound to be more interesting than this one.

      2. “There is increasing confidence that the COVID-19 outbreak likely originated in a Wuhan laboratory, though not as a bioweapon but as part of China’s attempt to demonstrate that its efforts to identify and combat viruses are equal to or greater than the capabilities of the United States, multiple sources who have been briefed on the details of early actions by China’s government and seen relevant materials tell Fox News.

        This may be the “costliest government cover-up of all time,” one of the sources said.

        The sources believe the initial transmission of the virus – a naturally occurring strain that was being studied there – was bat-to-human and that “patient zero” worked at the laboratory, then went into the population in Wuhan.”

        Huh, who’da thunkit.

        1. Certainly not anyone on Team Blue who have been denying this came from a Chinese lab all along.

          1. Our media and the Democrats (redundant) are carrying water for Chinese Communist Party propaganda.

    2. WTF is gab?

  13. Good, “the narrative” needs to mercilessly questioned anyway.

    I need someone to offer some intelligent thoughts on this.

    “Think again if you believe draconian controls recommended by a few (but far from all) medical experts are saving many lives from COVID-19. Facts reported by mathematician Yitzhak Ben Israel of Tel Aviv University don’t support such beliefs.

    Professor Israel found that no matter how much or little politicians quarantined the population, “coronavirus peaked and subsided in the exact same way.” Whether the country relied on politicians shutting the country down (the US and UK, for example) or private voluntary actions (Sweden), Prof. Israel’s work shows that “all countries experienced seemingly identical coronavirus infection patterns, with the number of infected peaking in the sixth week and rapidly subsiding by the eighth week.”

    In short, coercive measures imposed to protect the public from COVID-19 are as effective as throwing magical “tiger dust” in Central Park to keep tigers at bay in Manhattan. ”

    https://www.aier.org/article/the-tyranny-of-alleged-experts/

    1. Maybe it’s not as clear as all that.

      We’ll see.

      1. We’ll see, yes. But in the mean time, now is when we are making decisions, not later. Later, when see the data, that’s when all of the Monday morning armchair quarterbacks, who knew and said nothing at the time, will use it to launch criticisms that conveniently align with their politics.

        Kidding! This is already happening now, we don’t need to wait until later when we see the data. Every unhinged Trump hater is spinning like a top trying to pin blame for the coronavirus on Donald Trump.

        1. Neither bernard11 nor the post he responded to mentioned Trump.

    2. Perhaps I missed the peer-reviewed paper that presented a multi-variate model that allowed Israel to reach his conclusion, which he somehow did even though we are just at the end of the beginning stage of the epidemic (e.g., Sweden is seeing a rise in deaths and is considering more restrictive measures after banning groups of more than 50 in late March).

      1. It’s still quite interesting though, is it not? We’re operating with imperfect information here, but we’re operating each day nonetheless.

      2. Sweden . . . is considering more restrictive measures”

        Do you recall where you saw that? I’ve been tracking Sweden fairly closely and hadn’t seen anything pointing that direction.

            1. Much obliged.

  14. From what I have heard, Roy Cohn taught Trump how to be troll when he represented him against charges he violated the Fair Housing Act back in the 1970s. The playbook was to 1) claim success, 2) blame others for failures, and 3) rewrite history if necessary, all without any regard for the truth.

    I think Blackman is correct that this strategy is designed to bewilder and confuse to the point that you can’t fight back on the merits. And sadly, it has served Trump fairly well over the years.

    Trump doesn’t have an ideology, other than himself. If the circumstances had been right, he could have run and governed as a liberal Democrat. I’m a liberal, but would never have voted for him even if I agreed 100% with his policies.

    1. Like when the Left wants to talk about the “culture of hate” Trump supposedly encourages when there is a mass shooting, then a Bernie Bros shows up to a Republican baseball game and almost murders the House minority leader and the media suddenly starts talking about hurricanes and storms?

  15. The voters seem more interested in policy outcomes than anything that is said.

    1. The most surprising thing about Trumpism for me is still the pervasiveness and persistence of support for someone who arguably gives Roy Cohn a run for his money, to be President of this country. I see 4 subgroups:
      1) People who voted for and support him because of their friends, their party affiliation, and perhaps some of his angry one-liners, but who are basically disengaged and won’t abandon him unless their friends do.
      2) People who believe or forget most of Trump’s lies and like most of his policies, and who consider his evisceration of various societal, international, and political norms to be a mix of BAU and cost-of-doing-business to get the emotional and policy benefits.
      3) People who disbelieve most of Trump’s lies and understand that his norm evisceration is unprecedented and harmful, but who still like his policies enough to consider him on net better for the U.S. than the Democratic alternative.
      4) People who disbelieve his lies and disrespect his harmful behaviors but believe he is the best way for them and their friends/families to get and keep a leg up relative to others.

      I am guessing that Trump supporters in government are mostly in categories 3) and 4), while Trump voters are spread across all 4 categories.

  16. To the uninitiated, this is also called “politics”….

  17. When someone has to take refuge in ‘he pooped his pants AGAIN on purpose to make you react like he pooped his pants and not think of his past pants pooping! What a master manipulator!’

    I feel like they’re not really being honest with themselves abut the poopshow going on.

    1. The fact that the media lies and distorts everything Trump says contributes much to this show.

      1. Interesting that’s where you go. Because that’s not what the OP claims – the OP says Trump is actually a pants-pooping artist and it’s all on purpose.

        1. He is an “artist” of sorts. I think it is just his standard operating procedure though. Say something outrageous. The media spends two spin cycles reacting. Say something else newly outrageous. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

          1. So in your view he does poop his pants on purpose, but also the meda distorts to make it look like a worse poop than it really is.

            1. He engages in bluster that the media amplifies (and the media acts surprised when they turn a whole spin cycle into what Trump said and distorts it into a 3 second sound clip that this happens). There is also a degree of bad faith in the media when they take something Trump said, spin it to put it in a bad light, then parade it out. Trump and the media go part in parcel. Both reach their objective though. Trump moves everyone on to the next thing and CNN gets viewers.

              1. How is showing a video of his idiocies “distorting” them, as opposed to just reporting them?

                1. Playing a video of someone saying something is one thing. Couching everything being played in that video as being the speech of a “nazi”, “white supremacist”, “dictator” etc. etc. is something else completely different.

  18. Both Trump’s supporters and his critics credit much too much of what he does and says to the intentional when almost all of it is simply the insane.

    Trumps brain is a pachinko machine where little shiny balls of pure crazy bounce wildly off little pins of as old as he or older loony ideas.

    Quinine synthetics and / or derivatives for C-19 are a timely example. Trump has been in full snake-oil drummer mode for them throughout this pandemic. In his Cspan Book TV talk on his book Influenza, Dr. Jeremy Brown highlighted how in the 1918-19 pandemic there was a similar snake-oil craze for Laxative Bromo Quinine, a very dangerous and ineffective laxative and quinine concoction.

    Electing an old, mad snake-oil drummer President and rationalizing his madness and antiquated, goofy ideas as anything more are our new and unique mistakes; but repeating history due to not learning from it is an old mistake.

    1. What you are saying is also known as “sales” (or now called “business development”) and that is “believe in your product” which is true even if the product is crap. You don’t sell a product by realizing it isn’t the best one on the market or there is higher quality merchandise available. You sell your product by being behind it 100% and making others believe the same. Maybe quinine derivatives are the next great thing, maybe not. Point is Trump is behind them and his sales instinct kicks in.

      1. A perfect example of:

        Both Trump’s supporters and his critics credit much too much of what he does and says to the intentional when almost all of it is simply the insane.

        Trumps brain is a pachinko machine where little shiny balls of pure crazy bounce wildly off little pins of as old as he or older loony ideas.

        Also of why business schools have for long taught a holistic version of marketing of matching products and services to markets rather than that silly old concept of sales from the ’70s and long before. Mad Men was a TV show from a decade ago and was set in NYC of the ’50’s and 60’s, kinda like Trump.

  19. Trump is inside a lot of OODA Loops. Particularly the press and the governors. Who had to react Monday and Tuesday? From my seat, a half dozen blue state governors took ownership of whether their state stays locked down.

    Now we are discussing whether this is an extraordinary situation that would let him adjourn Congress. If not, why are we locked down?

    I am not sure his supporters are the ones with whiplash.

    A reminder: The Press (including Reason) takes Trump literally, but not seriously. They took Obama seriously, but not literally.

    1. Trump’s supporters are the poorly educated, roundly bigoted, gullible, unskilled, backwaters-inhabiting, disaffected losers of our society. Whiplash would be the least of their problems.

        1. Open wider.

      1. This is a tired old bigoted horse to trod out….

      2. A majority of high school dropouts are Democrats, fact-challenged cretin.

  20. Next…

    Trump’s not a politician. He doesn’t talk like a politician. He doesn’t act like a politician. He does do PR, in his own way, which is branding.

    Y’all are worried far too much about Trump “says”, and not enough about what actually happens or what he actually does.

    1. You and Jimmy the Dane may need to deconflict your opposite defenses of Trump.

      1. I don’t think there is anything to “deconflict” here. Trump is engaged in politics. It is not the politics of the usual brand, but it is politics. That is largely why he is successful because he says things that no other mainstream politician, left or right, is going to say. That stands out and makes him stand out. He looks like an innovator because he doesn’t say the same old predictable slogans. Amplify that 10000000 times over and the result you get is a man elected to be President. Why? His brand stands out. Just think of it in terms of the fashion world. Republicans and Democrats continue to all market blue jeans. All they do is tinker with the frill of the design though. Some change up the wash. Others change the trim. Some offer a slightly different cut (boot cut vs. relaxed, etc.). But in the end they are all stick selling blue jeans. Then, in this tired old marketplace, comes someone selling shiny new space pants. These things look ridiculous when you put them on but people start liking them because they look so different then all the tired old blue jeans everyone else is wearing. Before you know it tons of people are wearing the space pants. And that is how Trump became President.

        1. Yeah, if I wanted proof that the truth doesn’t matter to you lot, this bit of nonsense would be a pretty strong contender. Branding? Trumps the new fashion? You’re being unserious.

          1. What in untruthful about saying the sales guy is good at selling himself and he did such a great job at doing it that people are still wearing MAGA hats and planning on voting for the man?

        2. That is largely why he is successful

          He is?

          1. Well Trump is President and if that isn’t an indicator of marketing success I don’t know what is going to qualify.

      2. Because in your mind all Trump supporters march in lockstep.

        Like the Democrats do. Watch them line up to vote for a man caught plagiarizing speeches decades ago, who talks like an Alzheimer’s patient.

    2. I’d like you to use your “words don’t matter” philosophy in your own life and see how well that works out.

    3. Y’all are worried far too much about Trump “says”, and not enough about what actually happens or what he actually does. First, when the President says something it has an effect. It’s not like you or I talking to our friends Second, I’m worried about what he does and, in the case of the pandemic, didn’t do.

  21. Trump hasn’t mastered the art of the troll anywhere nearly as well as the media has mastered the art of knee-jerk stupidity.

  22. I am reading all about how who is more coherent or honest between Biden, Trump and Obama, with some Reagan and Bush tossed in for good measure. Biden or Trump… We have two monkeys flinging poo at each other and we are fighting amongst ourselves over which monkey is smartest? We are basing our decision on which has the smelliest poo. So we can elect one of them to lead the most powerful force in the United States? Public Schools. Ghod help us all.

    1. Jeb, I get your disgust, since you see Biden and Trump as moral equivalents. For many of us, we see Biden as gaff-prone, who sometimes does not tell the truth; but we see Trump as a pathological liar. And, based on posters here, I guess there are people who think that Biden (and all other top Democrats recently) just lies and lies, while Trump is relatively honest. I would not try and compare OJ Simpson (spousal abuser and murdered two people) with Pol Pot or Chairman Mao. Far far different levels of evil, IMO. (See, I avoided any “Hitler” or “Nazi” comparison . . . Godwin’s Law successfully avoided!!!)

    2. You have to vote for the lizards or else the wrong lizard might get in.

  23. The news media have all abandoned journalism for vicious lies and the constant invention and promotion of phony emergencies, and they complain that the President is trolling them? It’s much nicer treatment than any of them deserve.

    1. You can’t abandon something you never had, IMHO.

  24. See, today’s thing is a perfect example of how it’s hard to read Trump. He named every GOP senator to his Potemkin commission. Every one except Romney. Now, why did he do that? A) Did he really truly omit Romney in retaliation just because he was mad about the impeachment vote?; or B) Did he retaliate against Romney because he knew it would get a reaction from people? In other words, is he a petulant child? Or is he a petulant child and a troll? And does it really matter? He’s a sad pathetic excuse for a human being either way.

    1. Perhaps he assumed Romney would feel out of place in the President’s commission, since Romney doesn’t think Trump should still be President.

      It would be like inviting an ex who’s never accepted the divorce, to your second wedding.

      1. A valiant effort, but like all defenses of Trump it founders on the shore of actual facts. Namely: Trump did put a bunch of people who don’t think Trump should still be president on this commission. Just not Romney.

        (Also: stupid argument even if it were factual. It’s a coronavirus task force, not a Trump reelection campaign.)

  25. Conservative originalist scholar asserts that statements of conservative President are meaningless and/or random and/or simply false. Perhaps this explains why we are in the worst economic crisis since the the Depression. Thanks.

  26. When he was seeking the GOP nomination, Trump declared, “I can be more Presidential than anybody…more Presidential than anybody other than the great Abe Lincoln. He was very Presidential, right?” Would any of the Trump supporters here care to say when in the course of his almost 39 months in office, Trump has in their opinion been maximally “presidential” and closest to Lincoln in stature as president of the United States?

    1. I wouldn’t say that Trump is “maximally presidential” but he’s not a mass murderer so he’s definitely miles ahead of Lincoln.

      1. let’s hope he is the pinnacle of the recent trend toward electing incompetents to the job of the Presidency.

  27. Sure, Trump makes mistakes, like relying on the World Health Organization. But now he knows better and Won’t Get Fooled Again, by the WHO.

    1. Scapegoat harder.

      1. Should Trump listen to the experts, or not listen to the experts? Which is it?

        1. Ideally, he’d listen to the experts AND understand what they’re telling him.

      2. I sense a “whoosh!”

      3. He will forgive them though and restore their funding, as soon as they announce an investigation of Hunter Biden.

    2. “Trump makes mistakes”

      Which would be more OK if it weren’t so reliably his first instinct.

  28. He may be able to change the narrative, but that doesn’t fix the underlying mistake that had previously held peoples’ attention. For example, He thinks putting his name on the coronavirus stimulus checks will leave people with a positive opinion of his performance during the crisis. But getting his name on the checks is delaying them going out, a reminder of exactly whose name belongs on the mismanagement of the crisis.

  29. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo complained at a press conference on Friday that everything the state needed to fight the coronavirus was made in China, which should be a strong wakeup call for leaders in the United States.

    “You want to talk about lessons learned?” he said. “We need masks, they’re made in China; we need gowns, they’re made in China; we need face shields, they’re made in China; we need ventilators, they’re made in China.”

      1. What are you talking about? Politico doesn’t even mention the trade and national security issue here at all. There’s no take on it, different or otherwise.

        If you just mean they have a “different take” on Cuomo’s many remarks today as a whole, Breitbart covered all of that political pot shot entertainment stuff as well. What I was interested in is this very real issue of trade and national security. Cuomo went on:

        “No one has the chemicals because everyone’s been overrun with demand, and the chemicals come out of where? China, where everything has come from the last 40 days,” he said.

        Cuomo chuckled with apparent exasperation.

        “How? How?” Cuomo asked. “And these are all like national security issues when you’re in this situation.”

        “I don’t do China relations, I don’t do international supply chain, and that’s where the federal government can help,” he said.

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