Thursday Open Thread

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

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  1. The Atlantic article about Trump. Is there any honest, unbiased media in existence?

    1. What evidence do you have that the article contains falsehoods?

      1. I previously posted that one of my favorite lines by then-Judge Cardozo was in Ultramares v. Touche, that gross negligence can raise an inference of fraud.

        The Atlantic article ignored its own journalistic standards. The author and editor admitted that anonymous sources are “not good enough,” but he went with it anyway.

        They might have hit on the truth anyway, like a broken clock being right twice a day. But the article did so in a reckless manner, one that never would have been employed against, say, President Obama.

        1. IOW, no evidence, and a made-up counterfactual.

          Sorry, but there is plenty in the public record to suggest that Trump is disdainful of the military. Do I really need to cite his comments concerning McCain?

          1. You missed my point. That the article may turn out to be true does not mean that the write did not lack honesty and integrity, or was not biased.

            If a surgeon amputates the wrong limb, and then it turns out the limb had a malignant tumour, the doctor still committed malpractice, even if he accidentally did you a favor.

            1. BL, anonymous sources are not by themselves indicative of journalistic malpractice, although they could be a cover for malpractice. Using anonymous sources may be bad practice, if sources on the record can be found instead. If not, and if the story is important, sometimes the judgment of editors and publishers will be that anonymous sources will have to do, in the interest of getting the story out. In my experience, that judgment has always been accompanied by intensive vetting of whatever anonymous sources there may be, to be sure they are positioned to know what they claim, and that no contradictory information which might be found has gone uninvestigated.

              It would be a mistake to say this as a general rule, but in the case of responsible publications—the Atlantic being an example—you can probably assume that a major story (such as this one) from an anonymous source has been more carefully vetted than other work done to the usual standard. Your imputations about a lack of honesty and integrity, and bias, are unwise and unsupported. They suggest a prejudiced critique by you.

              1. “…and that no contradictory information which might be found has gone uninvestigated.”

                Stephen, that is exactly what happened here. The flight records and other government records contradict the Atlantic narrative, as do several people who have gone on record refuting this story, who were veritably there. The Atlantic could have easily discovered this, and did not.

              2. Its a he-said-she-said. The only way for a reader to be able to evaluate who is more credible is if they know who is he and who is she.

                1. It’s “They said, on the record, with contemporaneous written records agreeing, she anonymously said.”

              3. After 4 years of Russia, Russia, Russia, reporting, based repeatedly on “sources close to the investigation” only an idiot believes anonymous sources. Unless you don’t find NYT, WAPO, CNN, reputable media. But if not them, then which ones are reputable.

            2. BL,

              If the writer relied on just one source, there would be a problem.

              But here, unless you think Goldberg is just lying, there were several independent sources.

              I think this is common journalistic practice – get confirmation.

              Whether the writer is “biased” or not is irrelevant. I doubt Goldberg cares much for Trump. But if what he wrote is factual then I don’t see how he lacks honesty and integrity.

              1. I think somebody is just lying. Might be Goldberg, might be his conveniently anonymous sources.

                The bottom line is, anybody who trusts anonymous sources is an idiot, and anybody who trusts them once you have on the record sources with documentary evidence contradicting them is worse than an idiot.

                1. How do you have “documentary evidence” about what someone said?

                  And did it ever occur to you that here is a reason some sources want to be anonymous and others go on the record?

                  It’s one thing to say, on the record, “Trump is wonderful and would never say anything like that” (more or less what Sanders said.) and something else to say something highly critical.

                  You’re kidding yourself, Brett. It’s another case of your “Trump Can Do No Wrong” disease.

                  I suppose you’ll be spinning the Woodward book next, tape recordings or not.

                  1. Bernard,

                    Part of the issue with anonymous sources, especially in a story like this, is that nothing can be verified. Nothing can be disproven. And that’s a problem. A big one.

                    With a case like Watergate and Deep Throat, the elements of the conspiracy revealed could be followed up on. The information the anonymous source gave could be verified. Or if it was incorrect, it could be disproven.

                    With this “story” nothing can be verified. Somebody said something in the past. End of story. There are no records. There’s no conspiracy. No one on the record verifies any of the critical details. But because it’s all anonymous, it can’t be disproven. The sources could be lying. They could be embellishing. They could have misheard. The journalist could be lying. And there’s no way for anyone to be sure of anything.

                    With a story like this, where nothing can be proven or disproven, it’s essentially gossip. “Anonymous former government officials heard Joe Biden call Obama a N***** repeatedly behind his back.”

                    Joe Biden vehemently denies it. But he has a history of making indelicate racial comments. And how do you disprove what “anonymous” government officials said?

                    1. The one thing that CAN be verified in this story is the reason the trip to the cemetery was cancelled. And it was cancelled because of weather, the fact it wasn’t safe for the helicopter to travel. That’s verified by multiple confirmed, non-anonymous sources. The ONE detail that the anonymous sources gave that could be checked out was wrong.

                      So, then you’ve got a problem. You’ve got to take the rest of the anonymous source’s word on faith, despite the only thing that can actually be checked out is incorrect.

                      https://thepoliticalinsider.com/atlantic-editor-admits-main-point-of-trump-hit-piece-could-be-wrong-21-officials-go-on-the-record-to-refute-story/

                    2. In fact, multiple news orgs have independently corroborated the Atlantic’s story.

                    3. The helo was/is a nuke war issue — the POTUS has to *always* be extractable to either a secure bunker or airplane. That’s what Bolton was talking about.

                      Trump could have said “send the helos” in the unsafe weather, perhaps staging a half dozen pairs along the route, and then gone by motorcade. He’d be safe — it’d be the Marines who got killed because they were flying in lousy weather.

                      It was the value of the Marines lives that prevented this.

                    4. Most people would find it so hard to believe that Biden repeatedly called Obama a Neocon behind his back that I wouldn’t think such a report would have much credibility.

                      Although, if true, I suppose it could suggest we are in for a hell of a ride in the next couple years as Biden, in his dying gasps and with his last few marginally functioning synapses, reveals his true colors as a far, far, far, left wing radical having cleverly disguised this for 90 years (or however old he actually is).

                    5. “In fact, multiple news orgs have independently corroborated the Atlantic’s story.”

                      In the sense that they’ve corroborated that somebody is shopping the story around. NOT that the story itself is, you know, TRUE.

                      But that is a good indication that the Atlantic isn’t lying about having sources. It just does nothing to indicate that the sources themselves aren’t lying.

                    6. Brett,

                      An in fact, in the one detail we can verify, these sources were wrong.

                      Which makes the sources questionable, at best.

                  2. “And did it ever occur to you that here is a reason some sources want to be anonymous and others go on the record?”

                    Sure: It’s safer to defame someone if they can’t identify you.

                    1. It’s also harder to disprove.

                      If it’s a person who has been identified, you can figure out if they were on the trip, when they were around Trump, who else was with him and Trump at the time to get confirmation, etc.

                      But if it’s “anonymous”…well, it’s impossible to verify any of those details

                  3. How do you have “documentary evidence” about what someone said?
                    The sources claimed President Trump decided not to attend.
                    Documents show Marine One could not guarantee the ability to move the President to and from the event, due to weather. Documents show the Secret Service could not shut down Paris Traffic, twice in one day, to use a motorcade.

                    These documents prove the anonymous sources lied.

                2. One things for certain, though, whoever is lying it’s definitely not Trump’s defenders, sycophants, and hangers-on because they’re on the record!

                  1. You say that as though it were meant to be sarcasm. But, yes, as a general matter we SHOULD trust people who go on the record more than we trust people who remain anonymous. If you go on the record, and are proved wrong, it hurts your reputation, so you’ve got a motive not to lie. If you’re anonymous and you’re proven wrong, it has no effect on you at all, there’s no cost to you.

                    In theory, if journalists were in the habit of burning anonymous sources who proved to have lied about something, we might have some reason to trust such sources, because they’d have something to lose from being caught in a lie. But I think I can recall one case in my entire live where a journalist actually burned an anonymous source in retaliation for being lied to. It’s not a common thing.

                  2. One things for certain, though, whoever is lying it’s definitely not Trump’s defenders, sycophants, and hangers-on because they’re on the record!

                    They also have going for them the verifiable fact that the reason given by the “anonymous sources” for the cancellation of the visit was false, and that at least that bit of documented proof is consistent with the accounts given by those who are on the record.

              2. “unless you think Goldberg is just lying”

                Of course he is. No downside.

            3. ” That the article may turn out to be true does not mean that the write did not lack honesty and integrity, or was not biased.”

              Why would it matter how biased the author was if they write the truth?

          2. McCain crashed FIVE airplanes. The first in Corpus Christi Bay — McCain falsely claimed engine failure but the USN said no, pilot error as engine was running (and seen running) when it crashed. The second was when he took out power lines in Spain, returning to the boat with a severed oil line and 10′ of powerline dragging. The third allegedly was another engine failure but the plane wasn’t recovered. He was taking a private jaunt to the Army/Navy game.

            At that point, who but an Admiral’s son wouldn’t have been grounded?

            Then there was whatever happened on the USS Forestall, and the fifth plane is the one that got shot down.

            1. 1. He crashed the plane in Corpus.
              2. Not a crash.
              3. The Naval Aviation Safety Center concluded that it was caused by an “undetermined component of the engine”.
              4. McCain didn’t crash a plane on the USS Forestall or have anything to do with the explosion.
              5. Yes, he definitely lost this plane.

              1. 2: Come back trailing power lines with a civilian aircraft and see what the FAA & NTSB call it. He caused an International incident.
                He hit something on the ground — I call that a “crash.”

                3: “undetermined component of the engine” means “we don’t know” but we do know the last time he claimed engine failure, it wasn’t.

                4: It is reported that McCain’s “wet start” stunts rattled the ground crew and that’s why they didn’t notice the missing safety pin on the Zuni rocket pod.

                All I know is that they got him off the boat real quick afterwards.

                1. “It is reported…” By who? Where? Your grandmother in a chain email? Check Snopes.

                  This lie originated in 2008 when liberals were trying to discredit McCain during his presidential run against President Obama. You are so beholden to confirmation bias that every any “fact” which confirms your priors is immediately accepted with no skepticism, but any fact that disagrees with your priors is guilty until proven innocent (“All I know is that…”).

                  1. OK. Cite me ONE case where a civilian aircraft returned trailing powerlines that it had hit and both the FAA and NTSB ignored it….

                    Just one….

                    1. One time, at band camp, a civilian plane hit power lines and landed and the FAA ignored it.

                2. In my youth, I was trained by the USAF as an Aircraft Armament Systems Specialist. This training includes a significant amount of safety training, and the USS Forrestal comes up. The triggering event was a rocket launcher being mounted on a pylon that had electricity where it shouldn’t have. This is believed to have been a result of hot-loading, which is the practice of loading munitions on a running aircraft, which is a part of trying to turn around an aircraft to make a second sortie in the same day. This practice is currently considered contraindicated, for obvious reasons. Combat aircraft are armed, then powered up. On NORAD interceptor bases, they keep a pair of aircraft armed and fueled at all times, but they are physically isolated from the rest of the aircraft and munitions.

      2. That’s laughable. The author of the piece presented no credible evidence that anything he asserted ever happened. It’s just made up stuff with four (I think) anonymous sources. There is no credible corroboration of those sources’ information.

        On the other hand, there is plenty of evidence that the article contains falsehoods. Several people who were at the meeting where these statements were supposedly made, and who have gone on record, including some who don’t like Trump, have said it never happened, including John Bolton. And government aviation and other records refute the article’s assertions.

        Now the author is walking it back.

        1. Several people who were at the meeting where these statements were supposedly made, and who have gone on record, including some who don’t like Trump, have said it never happened, including John Bolton.

          They said they didn’t hear it. Since they weren’t with Trump 24/7 that doesn’t mean much. And if you believe a word that come sout of Sarah Sanders’ mouth you’re a gullible fool.

          Besides, it’s been conformed by others.

          How is the author walking it back?

            1. Those quotes from Goldberg do not walk back the story in any way, they just (correctly) point out that whether Trump couldn’t get to Aisne-Marne because of weather is about the least important point in the story.

              1. “Jeffrey Goldberg, editor-in-chief of The Atlantic and the journalist responsible for the “bombshell” report that President Trump disparaged America’s war dead, conceded that anonymous sources were “not good enough” in reporting such as his.

                “I share that view that it’s not good enough. But, you know, like other reporters, I’m always balancing out the moral ambiguities and complications after anonymous sourcing with the public’s right to know,” Goldberg said during a Monday evening interview on MSNBC’s “All In with Chris Hayes.””

                The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg says anonymous sources are ‘not good enough’

                1. That’s still not walking back the story, and it seems to me that the balance Goldberg talks about in the quote you pulled is an important one. If you’re a reporter and you have information about a topic of significant public importance and only have anonymous sources for it, do you just sit on it even if you’re fairly convinced it’s true?

                  I’m not sure this story is important enough in terms of public interest to cross that threshold, but since at least two other news outlets (including Fox News, which is hardly biased against Trump) have verified at least portions of the piece, it seems like lots of people think it’s newsworthy.

                  1. No, he doesn’t have the integrity to walk it back.

                    On one side of the scale is journalistic ethics. On the other side, the importance of smearing a politician he doesn’t like. Sadly, it wasn’t much of a contest.

                    Look, if you’re weighing journalistic ethics against fill in the blank, and fill in the blank wins, you don’t have ethics. Ethics is doing the right thing anyway, not when it conveniently lines up with other values.

                    1. So is your idea that you should never use anonymous sources because it’s inherently unethical?

                      As a sanity check for your answer: do you think that the anonymous corroboration for Tara Reade’s accusations against Biden should have been suppressed from the reporting on that topic as well?

                    2. JB,

                      Note the important phrasing there. “Corroboration.” An allegation, already on the record, from verified sources, with multiple pieces of evidence that assist in the story.

                      Anonymous sources are fine, so long as the details can be followed up on. So long as the information they give you can checked and verified. So long you have other pieces of evidence that support the claim you’re making.

                      But if all you have is an anonymous source or 4, and you can’t check or verify any of the major details, and there’s no way follow up on any of it? Then you’ve got a big problem. It’s even worse if the one thing you CAN check up your sources were wrong about.

                      Because that way just leads to gossip, not news. “Joe Biden said Obama was a N***** behind his back” – Anonymous source. How do you prove it? How do you disprove it? Is it even possible to disprove? Biden will deny he ever said it, but so?

                  2. “That’s still not walking back the story,”

                    The one single detail revealed by the anonymous sources that could actually be checked and confirmed came up…wrong. That’s a big deal. It implicates the trustworthiness of the sources.

                    None of the rest of it can be checked. So, how do you trust these sources, who remain nameless, when the only thing you CAN check about what they said was wrong?

                    1. So it seems like you’re saying if someone says something that turns out not to be true that we should probably not trust the rest of what they say.

                      …like when Breitbart (or ThePublius by proxy) asserts that Goldberg walked back the story and it turned out that he actually did not?

                    2. Indeed. That’s why people who are inventing smears usually take care to include in them accurate, but innocent, details that can be checked. “So and so took the 11PM flight to Vienna, and afterwards drove to Amsterdam for gay sex.” It’s publicly verifiable that he took the flight, so idiots assume the rest of the story must be legit.

                      You saw some of this going on in the Steele dossier: There were perfectly honest things that checked out, but all of them were no big deal. They were just there to make the lies look more plausible.

                    3. ThePublius: He’s walking it back!
                      jb: no, he isn’t.
                      BB: That just proves he has no integrity.

                      That’s a nice catch-22 right there.

                    4. “So it seems like you’re saying if someone says something that turns out not to be true that we should probably not trust the rest of what they say.”

                      In part. If “anonymous” someone is saying something, and the one thing you can actually check turns out not to be true, the rest (that you can’t check) is probably not trustworthy either.

                    5. So it seems like you’re saying if someone says something that turns out not to be true that we should probably not trust the rest of what they say.

                      Unless we’re given reason to ignore the fact that they lied and just blindly trust their other claims…yes. Given proof that they’re not only anonymous, but also lied about one major and easily verifiable fact…what exactly are you basing your decision to believe them on?

                      Anonymous source(s) claim X and Y about a highly polarizing public figure. X is immediately proven to be false, while Y is contradicted by multiple source who are NOT anonymous, whose account of the incident is consistent with the known facts (unlike the anonymous sources’) and some of whom are not particularly fond of the public figure in question.

                      So, on balance…what exactly is your reasoning for accepting the truth of Y?

                    6. Armchair Lawyer – It seems like you’re suggesting that we shouldn’t trust most of what an anonymous source says if it turns out part of their claims turn out to be untrue, but that if someone is wrong on the record that it’s cool to believe other things they say.

                      That doesn’t really make sense to me, so either I’m misunderstanding you or I need more help understanding the anonymous vs. on-record distinction.

                    7. jb,

                      There are several elements that make anonymous sources “worse” than on the record sources.

                      1. You can check the past history of things that on the record sources have said. You can’t do the same with anonymous sources. That’s actually quite significant. If an on the record source has a history of accurate statements, that increases their trustworthiness. On the other hand, if an on the record source has a history of inaccurate comments or lies, their trustworthiness is significantly reduced.
                      1a. Perhaps in light of point 1, you think an anonymous source should be treated as a blank slate, since there’s no history. However, this misses the obvious tactic for an “untrustworthy” source to go anonymous to “increase” their trustworthiness. Which is a real problem.
                      1b. With anonymous sources, ALL you have is what they give you. And if the one thing that can be checked is wrong…they’ve effectively “lied” 100% of the time in the past.

                      2. With an on the record source, you can check their biases and locality. Did they just get fired? Do they hold a grudge? If they don’t, their word can be viewed as more trustworthy. If they do, could these grudges sway the allegations made? With an anonymous source, you cannot. It’s another reason to go “anonymous’…to hide the grudge.

                      So, these are some of the problems.

                    8. “There are several elements that make anonymous sources “worse” than on the record sources.”

                      Depends (in part) if they are known to the reporter. Just because you don’t know who they are doesn’t mean the reporter doesn’t know who they are.

                  3. FOX never verified anything. The reporter talked to the same anonymous sources. The sources said they were quoted correctly.

                    Confirmation would be finding new witnesses that can corroborate what the original sources claim. No one has corroborated the unnamed sources. People in the room during the discussion, refute the anonymous sources. Identified witnesses carry the day against sources that refuse to submit to examination.

                    1. Which shows that the Atlantic reporter wasn’t lying, as many on here have argued.

                  4. ” If you’re a reporter and you have information about a topic of significant public importance and only have anonymous sources for it, do you just sit on it even if you’re fairly convinced it’s true?”

                    “Follow the money” — Mark Felt, speaking anonymously

            2. Breitbart is full of shit, as usual. Why do you read that crap?

              No one is walking anything back.

              No one claims that the helicopter could safely fly. The claim is that he refused to be driven because he didn’t give a shit, and was afraid the rain would muss his hair.

              Nor is Goldberg “walking back” anything about Trump’s comments. Why should he? Trump made them.

              1. Breitbart is full of shit, as usual.

                Maybe the two of you can form a support group.

        2. Publius, a major journal, with its reputation at stake, has four sources for the same allegation, and you think that isn’t credible?

          And no, the author is not walking it back. That was an opinion from Brietbart, and not at all supported in the link.

          1. Four sources that are all anonymous.

            Yes, I would say that is not all that credible.

            1. Four alleged sources.

              We have no way to confirm any existed.

              1. Other journalists have affirmed the sources. Including FOX News.

                Do you think it’s a conspiracy?

                1. They cannot confirm the existence of Goldberg’s sources unless they know the names of the sources. Do you think he told them the names?

                  1. That’s not a better story for you. If they have different sources that confirm Goldberg’s account, that’s even stronger validation.

                    1. If they have different sources that confirm Goldberg’s account

                      Make up your mind about what claim you’re making. Did they affirm the sources, or did they come up with different anonymous sources? Or are you just talking out of your ass as usual?

                    2. Read what Bob said, and try again Wuz.

                    3. I read what Bob said. He said that they cannot have “affirmed the sources” as you claim. He did NOT say that they had additional sources.

                      As usual, you’re making shit up.

                    4. That’s correct. But if they
                      1) corroborate the story, and
                      2) don’t have the same sources

                      I leave to you what possibility remains.

                    5. If each outlet were talking to a different group of anonymous sources, you’d start to wonder just how many people were in that room. But that would tend to make the story more plausible, if they were actually independent sources. IF.

                      It’s more likely that it’s the same group of anonymous sources, shopping the story around for over a year, and not getting any bites until the election drew near.

                      But if The Atlantic and FOX aren’t sharing the names back and forth, I don’t know how you’d tell which it was.

                    6. If they have different sources

                      IF

                      Got it.

                    7. A thousand anonymous sources isn’t any validation at all.

                    8. My conditions come from Bob’s 2:15 post.

                    9. That’s correct. But if they
                      1) corroborate the story, and
                      2) don’t have the same sources

                      I leave to you what possibility remains.

                      1) They’re lying.
                      2) They’re regurgitating the same claim from the same “anonymous sources” with no idea that they’re the same sources.
                      3) They’re regurgitating the same claim from different anonymous sources who are themselves just regurgitating that claim because they heard about the Atlantic story.

                      I’m sure there are others that I haven’t thought of.

                    10. Of course, there’s one explanation that ALWAYS works.

                      It’s a huge conspiracy against President Trump.

          2. Are you guys still talking about this? This is so three days ago. The hot topic right now, and I mean right now, is the president covering up something by telling it to the most famous journalist on the planet six months ago!

      3. We do not require that people prove negatives; the person asserting the claim has the burden of proof. Anonymous sources are not proof.

        This is the President we’re talking about. FOIA his calendars and who is with him; determine if those four people were actually with him during the event(s) in question; find other people who were there who can confirm or deny hearing it. Ask why this was sat on for 30 months in a notoriously leaky White House. Ask why they didn’t come forward sooner (the press loves to bash Trump, so it’s not like trying to get someone to publish dirt on Obama’s daughters or something).

        As we learned with Christine Blasey Ford, when you name the people allegedly there, other people point out that they never remember such a gathering even existing. It’s almost like the lesson the Left took from that exercise was to not name anyone involved, so that it can’t be disproved.

        “Habit” evidence is notoriously unreliable and not admissible in court. But if we’re going with “Trump hates the military,” let me point out that Trump punches UP, not down. He rags on Meryl Streep, fellow politicians, high-ranking generals, the rich and famous. To normal people, he is actually a fundamentally decent person.

        Now, you can hate that about him, think he should be kinder to those in power, or whatever, but that is not and never will be evidence for having said something nasty about rank-and-file American soldiers.

        1. Anonymous sources are absolutely proof.

          This is not a court of law – journalists having anonymous sources (and protecting their anonymity) has been an accepted practice for a very long time.
          There are protocols on these sources that oftentimes do the investigations you’re talking about. And when a journalist is caught making a source up their career is over.
          Moreover, other journalists have independently verified the events.

          1. That’s nonsense.

            “Anonymous sources are absolutely proof.”
            No, they are not!

            “This is not a court of law – journalists having anonymous sources (and protecting their anonymity) has been an accepted practice for a very long time.
            There are protocols on these sources that oftentimes do the investigations you’re talking about.”
            Only when the medium has a reputation for integrity. The Atlantic does not.

            “And when a journalist is caught making a source up their career is over.”
            Not so!

            “Moreover, other journalists have independently verified the events.”
            No, they haven’t, the supposed corroboration is more anonymous sources.

            1. So you say the Atlantic is lying because you think they are lying. That’s ridiculous.

              1. No, I say they are lying because what they say is in direct contradiction to the evidence, in government records and the testimony of several sources who have gone on record, i.e., non-anonymously, and who were veritably present.

                1. Publius, there is no evidence in government records that Trump did not say what the Atlantic said he did.

                  1. The government records go to the reason for the cancellation of the cemetery visit, not what he said.

                    1. The government records say the helicopter couldn’t fly. That’s all. He could have driven, but didn’t want to go to a cemetery filled with “suckers and losers.”

                      The “security” argument is nonsense.

                    2. “”By the way, when the helicopter couldn’t fly to the first cemetery in France because of almost zero visibility I suggested driving,” Trump tweeted. “Secret Service said NO, too far from airport & big Paris shutdown” for centennial events attended by world leaders.”

                      “Trump…went on Sunday to the Suresnes American Cemetery, about five miles west of Paris, in a driving rain for a visit that he said was mostly ignored by the media.”

                      Secret Service Said No to WWI Cemetery Visit in France, Trump Says

                    3. Trump is not a credible source on anything. He will always say whatever is in his own interest.

                      Nor does this have anything to do with whether he made the comments he has been quoted as making, by several sources.

                      You’re grasping at straws.

                    4. AL,

                      Thanks.

                      That’s interesting, but it doesn’t really refute anything, just says it’s possible there was a legitimate issue.

                      It does not address the comments at all.

                    5. bernard,

                      What it means is that Trump, given the constraints and the context, really couldn’t have driven. The large disruption to France and the local roads would have made it politically infeasible.

                    6. “It does not address the comments at all.”

                      The anonymous source turns out to have been wrong about all the details that could actually be checked, and you assume they must be right about anything else they said?

                    7. “Would losing an aircraft and its occupants be worth the trip to that ceremony? Wouldn’t it be reckless if they decided to toss out their training and mission guidelines and pushed for the sortie anyway?

                      Remember that even if Trump had gone by motorcade, they’d STILL have had to fly the helos, in weather they are taught not to fly in…

                    8. ““Secret Service said NO, too far from airport & big Paris shutdown” for centennial events attended by world leaders.””

                      Trump claims the Secret Service told him “no”, sorry “NO” and we believe him because he has absolutely no history of ignoring people telling him “no” and doing whatever the hell he wants. And the excuse is nonsense. The SS told the President he couldn’t go to an event because there was an event being attended by world leaders? Did the President of the United States stop being a “world leader” when Trump was elected, or did that happen later?

              2. I say the Atlantic has lost all credibility as an objective news magazine because they’ve demonstrated that they have no credibility.

                1. So you don’t believe them because you don’t believe them.

                  Nothing circular about that logic.

          2. “journalists having anonymous sources (and protecting their anonymity) has been an accepted practice for a very long time”

            True, but central to this practice has always been independent verification of the anonymous sources information, which did not get presented in this piece (if done). Much like the CNN/Trump/Wikileaks story there were people and entities that could have been contacted to give non-anonymous verification. Here the Secret Service was not pursued as to their position about a motorcade’s feasibility. Former Trump officials that were there such as John Bolton were not contacted. There are many other blatant errors of this type.

            1. I don’t know that it was not independently verified.

              I do know that after it’s publication it’s been independently verified all over the place. Including FOX News.

              Pretty sure the Secret Service doesn’t act as independent verification, for obvious reasons.

              1. The only thing that’s been independently verified is that there are people out there shopping this story around anonymously. Not that any part of the story is true.

              2. ” independently verified”

                LOL

                Assuming Goldberg didn’t make it up, did Goldberg tell the Fox News lady who his “sources” were? If not, then her”sources” could be the same “sources” as is.

                Repeating a false story multiple times does not make it true.

              3. Its only independent if they have different sources. The CNN story I referenced had two anonymous sources, and multiple reporters involved. However, the central claim that the Trumps had gotten the email on the 4th instead of the 14th, meaning before instead of after the documents were public, all stemmed from one person’s misreading a document and repeating his claim to another person.

                If those same two reported the same to a Fox and MSNBC reporters, that would not be verification.

                The Carter Page FISA application had similar problems where they used the Steele Dossier as evidence, and then also used news stories that were based on Steele’s leaks to the news outlets as “verification” of the contents of the Dossier.

                1. That’s not true. Independent verification of a source also has value. For instance, it proves the journalist is not lying.
                  Which a bunch of people on this thread still argue.

                  It also shows the source kept their story straight, which is hard to do.
                  It also proves there has been no misunderstanding.

                  1. “For instance, it proves the journalist is not lying.”

                    Finding someone telling a lie you like, and quoting them, is HOW journalists lie. There are always people willing to tell a lie you want to publish, especially if you guarantee them anonymity.

                    1. Assuming someone you disagree with is lying is a great way to discard a story you don’t like without having to do any work.

                    2. If an anonymously sourced story came out saying that Trump attended somebody’s funeral in a purple pimp suit, and hit on their widow, and you were presented with video showing he wore a charcoal gray suit, and everyone present at the funeral denies it happened… Why would you assume the suit was the only mistake, and he’d hit on her while people weren’t looking?

                      Provably wrong details impugn the reliability of accounts, and when the account is anonymous, it doesn’t start out with surplus reliability. Everything about this story that could be checked out, checked out false, and you continue to credit it?

                    3. You’ve absolutely wrecked the strawman that anonymous sources are incontrovertible evidence.

                      What’s provably wrong here, though?

                    4. You’ve absolutely wrecked the strawman

                      ROFLMAO!!!!

                    5. “You’ve absolutely wrecked the strawman that anonymous sources are incontrovertible evidence.”

                      What the hell do you think “absolute proof” means, if not “incontrovertible”?

                      “What’s provably wrong here, though?”

                      That the claim that they couldn’t visit the cemetery due to the weather was just an excuse.

                    6. What the hell do you think “absolute proof” means, if not “incontrovertible”?

                      Brett, an adverb doesn’t modify the same thing as an adjective.

                    7. Fair enough, you said “absolutely”, not “absolute”.

                      You’re still wrong.

                      “Evidence” is something that rationally moves the meter, but doesn’t peg it.

                      “Proof” is something that pegs the meter, abolishing doubt.

                      An anonymous source is absolutely evidence. If the journalist knows the source, and the anonymity is a service the journalist is providing, agreeing to not reveal their name, then it may, from the journalist’s perspective, be strong evidence, depending on their past history. Say Goldberg knows the source is Bolton, and Bolton must remain anonymous to avoid being (properly!) fired, losing his opportunity to leak to Trumps disadvantage, which he treasures.

                      It’s still weak evidence as far as anybody else is concerned, because so far as WE know, the source is the cleaning lady, relating a water cooler rumor.

                      In neither case is it “proof”, and I think we have to assume it wasn’t Bolton, because he would have known better than to lie about the necessity of the travel cancellation. While the cleaning lady might have been clueless about that.

                      Anyway, bottom line: Evidence, sure. Proof? Not on your life.

                    8. Your semantics are wrong, Brett. As I talked about below in the thread about eyewitness testimony offered as proof, but not dispositive proof.

                      https://reason.com/2020/09/10/thursday-open-thread-8/#comment-8452338

                    9. Sarcastro, “Proof” and “evidence” are NOT synonyms!

                    10. I’m not arguing they are. Proof is distinguished in that it may by itself make a case. But it is not incontrovertible, nor does it end the need to investigate.

                      OK, no more semantics. This time for real.

                    11. ” Why would you assume the suit was the only mistake, and he’d hit on her while people weren’t looking?”

                      His (known) history of hitting on women and then paying people to claim he did no such thing.

                  2. Lying is certainly bad. Failing to produce reliable reports is also bad. That is why we normally require independent, non-anonymous verification of critical facts given in an anonymous report. Documents, other on the record sources, photographs of a person in a place that it previously wasn’t public knowledge that they were there. These are the sorts of things that increase the reliability of a report.

                    As my wikileaks example shows, misunderstandings within sources is just as important as between the journalist and the source. Had the CNN reporters merely asked to read the email, as proper procedure would have demanded, they would have not run a totally false and embarrassing report. If Goldberg had called Bolton for comment he would have concluded that the story was now having <50% chance of being correct. If he had contacted secret service for their opinion on motorcades on that date.

                    I don't think journalists extensively lie. When they do, its likely about the number of sources, rather than content. I do think they get lazy when a source confirms their own biases.

                    1. I think journalists absolutely will run with a story they at least suspect is a lie, if they like the story, and not bother to check. “Too good to check.” is endemic at this point.

                      How often they’ll run with a story they are morally certain is a lie, I don’t know. I doubt they’re the only profession that doesn’t have any liars in it, though.

                    2. Some do run with stories too good to check. And take the risk they’ll be ruined. Journalists do take that stuff seriously.

                      But to generalize and make that your default assumption is more you than anything else.

                    3. “Some do run with stories too good to check. And take the risk they’ll be ruined. Journalists do take that stuff seriously.”

                      Jake Tapper is still on CNN after running with the story I have been using as an example.

                    4. Some do run with stories too good to check. And take the risk they’ll be ruined.

                      At a mag that is mostly owned by a deep-pocketed Biden supporter? I think that risk is pretty low.

                    5. “At a mag that is mostly owned by a deep-pocketed Biden supporter? I think that risk is pretty low.”

                      So it seems like you’re making the case that we should just assume that everything from the WSJ, Fox News, the Vegas Review-Journal, and any of the Sinclair Broadcasting stations are in the bag for Trump and we shouldn’t trust anything they say.

                    6. So it seems like you’re making the case that we should just assume that everything from the WSJ, Fox News, the Vegas Review-Journal, and any of the Sinclair Broadcasting stations are in the bag for Trump and we shouldn’t trust anything they say.

                      It would only seem that way to an illiterate buffoon. I was responding to the assertion that a reporter for The Atlantic was taking a risk of “being ruined” for playing fast and loose with the facts in a story accusing Trump of something…at a magazine owned by someone who donates heavily to Trump’s opposition.

                    7. “I think journalists absolutely will run with a story they at least suspect is a lie, if they like the story, and not bother to check. ‘Too good to check.’ is endemic at this point.”

                      This is what Brett would do. Whether or not it implies anyone else would do it is left to the reader.

                    8. “It would only seem that way to an illiterate buffoon. I was responding to the assertion that a reporter for The Atlantic was taking a risk of ‘being ruined’ for playing fast and loose with the facts in a story accusing Trump of something…at a magazine owned by someone who donates heavily to Trump’s opposition.”

                      Whereas Trump apologists are well-known for strict adherence to fact and integrity.

          3. “Anonymous sources are absolutely proof”

            Are you mad, or just utterly shameless?

            At best, at very, very best, anonymous sources are low grade evidence. A basis for looking for better evidence that you might sanely rely upon. They’re NEVER proof of anything.

            1. Journalists try to avoid it, but many stories have been published relying entirely on anonymous sources.

              Deep Throat ring a bell?

              1. What was it Deep Throat famously said? “Take my word for it!”?

                No, “Follow the money.”

                But, yes journalists have frequently run stories based entirely off anonymous sources, especially in the last few years about Trump.

                People have frequently done all manner of unethical things.

                1. The cited Deep Throat in the article, Brett. If they’d just followed the money, they wouldn’t have had to do that.

                  Anonymous sources have been an accepted practice for quite a while. That you suddenly come out and say it’s unethical and always has been is unsurprising, but that kind of retconning only works on yourself, not other people.

                2. Running stories based on anonymous sources is not remotely unethical.

                  Of course, to you, saying anything critical of Trump is unethical, so there’s that.

                  1. Ethics and journalists have little to do with each other.

                    1. whereas random Internet commenters are always thoroughly fact-checked.

                      You criticizing anyone’s ethics is particularly amusing, Bob.

              2. Journalists try to avoid it, but many stories have been published relying entirely on anonymous sources.

                Deep Throat ring a bell?

                Just when I think you can’t possibly be any more full of shit…

                Woodward and Bernstein didn’t publish “relying entirely on” their anonymous source. He gave them some clues and told them when they were on the right track while they did some actual investigative journalism. In fact they uncovered a lot of stuff without him.

                https://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2012/06/woodward-bernstein-downplay-deep-throat-125950

                1. Gosh, Woodward and Bernstein pursue a narrative that suggests they did all the work. Must be true.

          4. “Anonymous sources are absolutely proof.”

            No. Anonymous sources require you to take on faith the credibility of the journalist, the credibility of the source, the ability of the journalist to correctly interpret the source, the ability of the source to correctly interpret the evidence, etc.

            1. I will note that this story didn’t really catch fire until it was confirmed by other journalists. Because anonymous sources are viewed with some wariness these days, as you said.

              But unless you want to argue there’s a conspiracy, those independent verification really do a good job getting at all the errors you talked about.

              But your broad argument here is like saying eyewitness testimony isn’t proof.

              Lots of ways to poke holes, but we accept it as proof. Because good journalists work hard to minimize those places for error (most of which are the case for any and all stories, not just anonymous sources.)

              1. “Lots of ways to poke holes, but we accept it as proof. ”

                We?

                1. The justice system, including juries.

                  1. “The justice system, including juries.”

                    ?? The justice system, including juries, determine that eyewitness testimony is insufficient to prove a claim all the time.

              2. “But your broad argument here is like saying eyewitness testimony isn’t proof.

                Lots of ways to poke holes, but we accept it as proof.”

                This is simply wrong. Sworn eyewitness testimony, with confrontation, can be accepted as proof if a fact-finder finds that it’s proof. Fact-finders are certainly free to reject eyewitness testimony. We don’t blindly accept eyewitness testimony as proof.

                1. You won’t get very far telling people ‘well aktually, eyewitness testimony is not considered proof…’ Offering something as proof means it counts as proof.

                  Proof does not mean always dispositive and never rebuttible.

                  1. “Offering something as proof means it counts as proof.”

                    What the fuck are you talking about? Eyewitness testimony is evidence. The claim that a specific type of evidence “counts as proof” is nonsensical.

                    1. I’ve often said that Sacastr0 has to be a pathological liar, because there’s no way he’s as stupid as he makes himself out to be. I might have been wrong about that.

                  2. Science tells us that eyewitness testimony is imperfect at best. Especially given that memories are changed every time you access them.

                    Eyewitness testimony is absolutely, definitely not proof, it’s a piece evidence. A likely, and potentially, wildly inaccurate piece of evidence.

                    Care to deny the science Sarcastr0?

                    1. I am aware, Vinni. Glad to see you on board the innocence project train.

                      My point is that everyone still talks about ‘eyewitness evidence proves…’

                      This argument has gotten dumb and semantic. It is clear now that we are both saying the same thing, and now arguing about who is communicating badly.
                      I have resolved not to get into semantic arguments anymore.

                2. “This is simply wrong. Sworn eyewitness testimony, with confrontation, can be accepted as proof if a fact-finder finds that it’s proof. Fact-finders are certainly free to reject eyewitness testimony. We don’t blindly accept eyewitness testimony as proof.”

                  The judge finds the sworn affidavit from the cop sufficient enough to justify a warrant. Then the cops go out and serve the warrant, where they find the defendant with the drugs and the money. When the trial comes, the defense may try attacking the sufficiency of the warrant application, but it has to be pretty bad to get the evidence excluded.

              3. “I will note that this story didn’t really catch fire until it was confirmed by other journalists.”

                It caught fire because the election is getting close, they’re desperate to smear Trump, so their standards are dropping accordingly. This story has, according to what I have heard, been circulating two freaking years. Nobody touched it until now because they knew it was a steaming heap.

                All that happened is that they stopped caring that it was a steaming heap.

                1. Retweeting is not confirmation.

                2. Election was still close when the Atlantic published. And somehow it wasn’t really viral yet.

                  1. Somebody had to be the first to throw their integrity out the window, and give the rest of the pack courage to do the same.

                3. “It caught fire because the election is getting close, they’re desperate to smear Trump”

                  Yeah, they’re all out to get him.
                  And it’s so hard to believe that he’d be anti-military, given his proud history of military service.

              4. I will note that this story didn’t really catch fire until it was confirmed by other journalists.

                What…exactly…is it that you’re claiming has been “confirmed” by other journalists?

                1. Jennifer Griffin
                  @JenGriffinFNC
                  Two former sr Trump admin officials confirm .@JeffreyGoldberg reporting that President Trump disparaged veterans and did not want to drive to honor American war dead at Aisne-Marne Cemetery outside Paris.
                  ==============================
                  She is not alone.

                  1. So she (the journalist) didn’t “confirm” anything. She simply repeated what two “anonymous sources” allegedly told her.

                    1. She confirmed that they told her the same thing they told .@JeffreyGoldberg.

          5. Sarcasto, which journalist have lost their careers by using “sources close the investigation” during Russia, Russia, Russia? Those sources were FBI and Intel community sources. They were lying. The journalists never attempted to corroborated the information, never tried. All are still working, still making it up. Yet for some reason, you still believe them.

            1. No, they were not lying.

              Hope this helps.

              1. Because they truly believed it? There’s an awful lot of faith in the “Congregation of Exalted Reason”. I’d suggest you leave the church of Artie. Quick, fast, and in a hurry.

                1. I don’t understand this comment.

                  1. He’s suggesting you might be partisan. Because only a partisan would care that Mr. Trump does not respect a substantial portion of his political base.
                    It’s funny how the people who were so offended by Bill Clinton’s lack of military service are so willing to embrace Mr. Trump.

        2. To normal people, he is actually a fundamentally decent person.

          What?? Tell it the demonstrators he wants beat up, or that handicapped reporter he mocked. He’s a complete asshole, among his other faults.

          You know, if a Democratic President had been quoted saying that stuff the right would be all over it, calling him a traitor, yelling for impeachment, etc. But because it’s the object of your cult worship you deflect.

          1. “Tell it the demonstrators he wants beat up…”

            Decent people don’t call for commies or nazis to be beat up. But that seems to be a controversial position nowadays.

            1. You’ve called me a commie apologist before. Do you think I should get beat up?

              1. ??
                1. I don’t recall saying ‘apologist’.
                2. As my comment made clear, commies and nazis should not get beat up.

                1. :-), in case it wasn’t clear.

                2. I did miss your don’t there.

                  OK, I agree with you.

                  I don’t much care for the so-called dirtbag left myself. This is how I can tell I’m getting old.

            2. “Decent people don’t call for commies or nazis to be beat up.”

              How about people who respectfully ask if we could maybe kill a slightly-smaller number of unarmed black people? Or, as they’ve been called by commenters here, “BLM terrorists”.

          2. “if a Democratic President had been quoted saying that stuff ” you Bernard would be defending him.

            1. How about neither you nor bernard make up speculative double standards. It’s just going the long way around to insult someone.

    2. Is there any honest, unbiased media in existence?

      1. In the aggregate, I’d say the media does trend towards honest and unbiased reporting, however…
      2. Why do you think there should be honest and/or unbiased media? 1A ensures freedom of the press which means the media can publish anything they want (with the narrow legal exceptions). There’s NEVER been an expectation or requirement for honest and unbiased reporting.

      1. What are you smoking? The fact that the 1A allows all kinds of things does not mean that what is permitted is desirable, or that journalists do not claim to have more integrity than that. The First Amendment protects both the National Enquirer and the NY Times, but that does not mean that the NYT does not claim to have higher integrity and standards than the Enquirer.

      2. obviously most news sources are biased to some degree, and that’s fine. but when they let it affect their honesty, they deserve to suffer harm to their reputations.

      3. Why do you think there should be honest and/or unbiased media? 1A ensures freedom of the press

        You know, I think most people with even an average IQ learn the difference between “can” and “should” before they leave high school. What has been stopping you from accomplishing that?

      4. ” There’s NEVER been an expectation or requirement for honest and unbiased reporting.”

        “All the news that’s fit to print.” I once read that, somewhere.

    3. The problem this article creates for Trump is that even if it is completely made up out of whole cloth (which I am not conceding), it is entirely consistent with comments Trump has made about the military in the past, starting with his disgraceful statement that John McCain, an American war hero, was a loser for getting caught. So the article starts out being entirely believable. And Trump’s denial is the rough equivalent of Ted Bundy saying “I did not murder *that specific woman*.

      It’s also entirely consistent with Trump’s world view that people who act out of honor and play by the rules are losers and fools.

      1. That’s nonsense. The case with McCain was as a political rival. Name another instance that supports what you assert.

        There is a mountain of evidence that he supports and respects the military that you choose to ignore.

        1. You know, I disagreed almost entirely with John McCain on policy, but to say that an American war hero who spent years being tortured as a POW is a loser, is vile, despicable, and repugnant, and in a sane, rational world would have been enough to keep Trump from getting elected all by itself. I don’t care if they were rivals; that was just unforgiveable. There are some lines that simply are not crossed.

          Kindly provide some of the mountain of evidence that you claim exists.

        2. And since you wanted “another instance,” it took me all of fifteen seconds to find this on google, and there’s plenty more where this came from:

          “Upon closer inspection, in fact, his patronage of the military fades quickly. For starters, it isn’t clear how much this president — who suspiciously avoided the Vietnam War-era draft as a privileged and athletic college student and claimed to have bone spurs in his heels — even cares about soldiers.

          “In January, after Iran launched a missile attack that left dozens of U.S. troops with mild traumatic brain injuries, Trump dismissed the wounds as mere headaches, despite the fact that a generation of veterans suffered such wounds, some with lasting deficits, from blast exposure during years of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

          “Trump has also been stingy about visiting troops in those war zones. And he seems to have little time for the war-wounded. Where President Barack Obama went to military hospitals 29 times in eight years, Trump has made three visits in more than three years, according to CBS News correspondent and unofficial White House historian Mark Knoller.

          “As with the West Point cadets, those in uniform are too often employed as props for a Trump conceit. He sent thousands to the border and away from their families for an immigration “emergency” to paint walls and post razor wire (diverting billions of military construction dollars to pay for the wall that Mexico was supposed to fund).

          “During a Pentagon briefing early in his presidency, Trump launched into a derogatory tirade against a room full of top military leaders that included Defense Secretary James Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, both decorated combat veterans. According to the book “A Very Stable Genius,” Trump called the military leaders “dopes and babies” as they tried to brief him about the value of allies and overseas commitments. “You’re all losers,” an irritated Trump reportedly said. “I wouldn’t go to war with you people.”

          https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/todaysdebate/2020/05/05/trump-says-he-supports-troops-his-record-says-otherwise-our-view/4870524002/

        3. Trump called Mattis “the world’s most overrated general” and said he wasn’t “tough enough”.

        4. Publius, Trump’s public treatment of Khizr Khan is entirely consistent with the substance of the Atlantic’s allegations.

          As is Trump’s public disparagement and firing of Col. Alexander Vindman.

          The fact that McCain was a political rival does nothing at all to excuse Trump’s shocking attack on McCain’s military conduct, which was beyond exemplary.

          1. Kahn was not a soldier, his son was. Kahn was used to attack Trump, you enter the arena, you might get hurt.

            Vindman tried to get Trump removed from office. Try for the king, you best not miss.

            “beyond exemplary”

            No more than any other POW. He was a poor pilot too.

            1. Bob, I would like to believe that you are a far more decent human being than your post would suggest, and that your loyalty to Trump has simply blinded you to the fact that his comments are beyond the pale. Am I wrong?

              1. Prove he made the Atlantic comments without reference to unknown alleged sources.

                1. I’m not talking about the Atlantic article; I’ve already said I don’t know if it’s true or not. I’m talking about his comments about McCain, his attacks on the Khan family, his comments about traumatic brain injuries suffered by members of the military being just headaches (which come to think of it sounds a lot like his comments that Covid is just the flu) — whether or not the Atlantic story is true, it’s not like he doesn’t have a history of attacking the military and those who have served in it. I thought conservatives supported the military.

                  1. I liked McCain but he was a publicity hound who learned early that attacking his fellow GOPs was the ticket. He was no secular saint, just a guy who gave as good as he got.

                    Mr. Khan waived his son’s bloody shirt to make a political point. Trump punched back, that is all.

                    The headache comment was about one incident. The Press seized on precautionary temp removal from duty of a few as evidence that Trump lied when he said no casualties. I am not aware that any soldier there actually had traumatic brain injuries.

                    I can point out multiple incidents of Trump saying or doing good things toward soldiers. The strongest point is that he has gotten far less killed.

                    1. Bob, even if I agree with everything you just said, and I don’t, the point you’re overlooking is that there are certain categories of attack that are out of bounds, and attacking a gold star family is one of them.

                      Suppose I were running for public office, and my opponent found a victim of child rape to go on television to claim that I’m soft on child rapists. It would be fair game for me to respond, on the merits, to the allegation that I am soft on child rapists. It would not be fair game to personally attack the child rape victim, to say things deliberately calculated to increase her personal suffering, or to mock her pain. All of which Trump has done to members of the military who served honorably and their families. Which is why, when the Atlantic story comes along, it’s easy to believe; it’s precisely the type of thing he’s said before.

                      That doesn’t mean that this particular story is true; for as much as I know, it could be a total fabrication. But, if you’re going to say detestable things about the military and those who serve, don’t complain when people find it believable that you said something detestable about the military.

                    2. Not overlooking anything.

                      Kahn used his status as a sword to attack Trump, he can’t then use it as a shield to fend off the response.

                      Kahn was using his dead son merely for politics. Worse IMO than anything Trump said in response.

                    3. Ok so you’re not a far more decent human being than your initial post indicated. I’m sorry.

                    4. “so you’re not a far more decent human”

                      I shall cry myself to sleep tonight because of your disapproval.

                    5. Just trying to fill in for your conscience, since it’s obviously taking some time off. Well deserved time, too, I might add, since it has a hard job.

                    6. Yeah, Bob is not that more decent person.

                      Kahn was not a soldier, his son was. Kahn was used to attack Trump, you enter the arena, you might get hurt.

                      Just to recap, Kahn said this:

                      “Go look at the graves of brave patriots who died defending the United States of America,” Khan said, addressing Trump. “You will see all faiths, genders and ethnicities. You have sacrificed nothing and no one.”

                      So Trump said this:

                      “If you look at his wife, she was standing there,” he said. “She had nothing to say. She probably, maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say.”

                      Thereby confirming Trump’s religious bigotry.

                      Other Republican leaders, not particularly known for their courage, then saidthings like this:

                      “I agree with the Khans and families across the country that a travel ban on all members of a religion is simply contrary to American values,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a statement that didn’t mention Trump’s name.

                      Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) also didn’t mention Trump in a statement lauding Capt. Khan’s sacrifice and condemning a religious test for entering the country.

                      In sum, Khan made a legitimate point about a policy position and anti-Muslim rhetoric. Trump responded with personal attacks, including attacks on Mr. Khan’s religion. And Bob thinks this is all perfectly fine conduct by Trump. Bob is not the decent human being we both would hope he actually is.

                      Then we have this:

                      Vindman tried to get Trump removed from office. Try for the king, you best not miss.

                      Vindman was subpoenaed to testify and his testimony was not helpful to Trump. Bob thinks that, in the United States of America, it is fine and dandy for the President to seek out retribution against people who show up pursuant to a subpoena and testify under oath to what they saw and heard. (Notably, Vindman is not one of the people accused of lying to Congress. Those are generally Trump allies and, presumably, Bob has been fine with their prosecution for actual perjury….oh, wait, no. The law means nothing to Bob, the only thing that matters is the color of your political jersey.) Bob is not the decent human being we imagine him to be.

                      No more than any other POW. He was a poor pilot too.

                      But maybe there’s hope for Bob. He couldn’t bring himself to say McCain did make incredible sacrifices for his country as a POW and couldn’t bring himself to defend Trump’s attacks on McCain, but was reduced to complaining McCain “was a poor pilot.” McCain acted with considerable integrity and honor as a POW, refusing to be released early based on his relative privilege and thereby knowingly subjecting himself to additional years (!) of torture. Meanwhile, Trump used his privilege to avoid putting himself even in hypothetical peril. And Bob defends Trump….maybe there isn’t hope for Bob after all.

        5. “There is a mountain of evidence that he supports and respects the military that you choose to ignore.”

          Trump supports and respects people who are, at that exact moment, being personally loyal to him. Not many cases of support and respect outside that window.

      2. so it worked as a work of fiction because it was plausible, if you were biased in the same way as the author and predisposed to believe it.

      3. entirely consistent with comments Trump has made about the military in the past, starting with his disgraceful statement that John McCain, an American war hero, was a loser for getting caught

        Great example that proves you are wrong.

        President Trump went after the man, McCain, because McCain turned into a vile old coot. He attacked President Trump, and Trump went back after him. McCain is a big boy, if he couldn’t stand up and fight for himself, he doesn’t get perpetual immunity because he was a POW. But the larger point is, President Trump did not denigrate the military. Just a veteran, whose mouth wrote a check his ass couldn’t cover.

    4. If this is not the one about the President saying mean things about veterans, can you link the article?

    5. No one who is on the anti-Trump side of this story has addressed the fact – the FACT – that there are people on the record, including John Bolton, who said this wasn’t said, and there are government records refuting Goldberg’s assertion that Trump cancelled the cemetery visit for reasons other than weather and security.

      1. Like Trump, most of those people have long records of lying on the record. That’s the problem with lying all the time–when you actually want people to believe you, they are unlikely to do so.

        Bolton is more interesting, and I guess it depends on how credible you think he is. (That’s got to put Trump supports in a bind, no?) He definitely contradicts all of the claims about the cemetery visit, so I think people who support the story need to be able to explain why he might be wrong since I don’t see any reason why he’d be lying.

        Bolton does not seem to take issue with the broader set of allegations about Trump’s other comments towards the military, though (and specifically says that the statements about McCain are accurate):

        “I can’t prove the negative that he never said those things. The president has a habit of disparaging people. He ends up denigrating almost everybody that he comes in contact with whose last name is not Trump.”

        1. Your tribe is lying! My tribe is telling the truth!

          1. I don’t think that lying is a generalized Republican thing. There’s plenty of people I have policy disagreements with (including Bolton) who aren’t habitual liars. Trump and his spokespeople have long, documented records of making provably false statements, though.

        2. You have more fundamental credibility saying that someone you hate didn’t do a bad thing than in saying someone you hate did do a bad thing. Bolton doesn’t like Trump. That gives more weight to him saying that something that would have been damaging to Trump didn’t happen.

          This isn’t a hard concept.

          1. Uhh, that’s why I said Bolton was more interesting.

      2. By the way, the only thing the government records confirm is a point that Goldberg concedes in the article: it was too rainy for the planned helicopter flight.

        1. But this point that Goldberg concedes was wrong was kind of central: They were claiming that he was refusing to make the trip BECAUSE OF his dislike of losers. The supposed statement just floats out there inexplicable if the trip was called off for other reasons.

          1. They were claiming that he was refusing to make the trip BECAUSE OF his dislike of losers.

            They were claiming he refused to drive there because of that. The weather business gave him a way to cover his ass.

            He knew he had to go if he could fly.

            Do you honestly think Goldberg just made this up out of whole cloth? Because that’s what your claim amounts to.

      3. I don’t know if the story is true or not. I do know, as has already been pointed out, that this story is so perfectly in keeping with Trump’s character and his previous statements about the military that it’s certainly believable, which is a far greater problem for Trump than any other feature of the story.

        1. It’s a made up fake news story about a very pro-military President. There’s like 20 sources on the record refuting it in addition to documentary evidence, and 4 anonymous cowards who made it up.

          1. Knowing guys like you are on the other side, M L, reassures me that the better elements of American society will continue to prevail, shaping progress against your wishes.

              1. Should I figure you have at least several decades of swallowing progress shoved down your throat by your betters to look forward to?

                Try to enjoy the ride, clinger.

          2. Very pro-military?

            Wonder if the generals agree?

            1. He’s not pro military industrial complex.

        2. and his previous statements about the military

          This inability/unwillingness to differentiate between individuals and the groups to which they belong goes a long way towards explaining things like identity politics and the mindset that makes one so easily duped by it.

        3. you need to provide all those statements.

    6. “The Atlantic article about Trump. Is there any honest, unbiased media in existence?”

      Disaffected clingers, railing at the mainstream for failure to flatter the preferences for backwardness and stale intolerance at America’s uneducated, left-behind fringe, are among my favorite culture war casualties.

      1. There you go again.

        This time we’ll try a combination act.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fDfnQgtIMk

        1. If you didn’t like one-note partisan polemics, you wouldn’t be here.

          1. Psychological projection is a defense mechanism in which the human ego defends itself against unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others. For example, a bully may project their own feelings of vulnerability onto the target. It incorporates blame shifting and can manifest as shame dumping.

            The only one-sided polemics I see are your posts, which apart from having the single-minded, clueless self-righteousness of a Soviet apparatchik, are often not even on the topic being discussed.

            Other posters, for the most part, engage in on-topic, intelligent discussion. Even when I disagree with them, I generally find their posts have intellectual value.

  2. Whose more likely to follow constitutional constraints if elected President? B or T?

    1. Depends on which specific constitutional constraints you’re referring to.

    2. Presumably B napping on the presidential sofa won’t violate a lot of constitutional constraints. The people who will actually be running things, on the other hand….

      1. Ah, so you’re all on board for the sekret leftist cabal Trump is working hard to convince people is real and scarier than Biden.

        It’s no wonder QAnon is catching fire.

        1. Ah, so you’re all on board for the sekret leftist cabal Trump is working hard to convince people is real and scarier than Biden.

          Wut? There’s nothing particularly secret about the people surrounding any president. Simply a note (that you don’t refute and bernard11 tacitly acknowledges) that he’s not going to be in any sort of shape to actually call many shots, so apedad’s question didn’t capture the comparison that actually matters.

          1. Check out the double standard you hold Trump and Biden to.

            Neither bernard nor myself took your scenario about Biden being a nonentity as President seriously enough to go through the trouble of telling you this speculative thing you said was wrong.

            1. Check out the double standard you hold Trump and Biden to.

              If you truly believe that Biden is in sufficient control of his mental faculties such that he can hold it together even for the few pre-scripted minutes here and there that don’t hit the cutting room floor, you’re in some major-league denial.

              I suspect in reality you don’t really believe that, and are just posturing.

              1. Yeah, I think he’s fine. Haven’t seen any evidence otherwise. Your narrative is not reality, no matter how much confirmation biased anecdotes you swallow.

                The fact that you have resorted to an appeal to incredulity means you’ve got nothing other than your own extremely deep partisanship.

                1. Yeah, TOPLINE MESSAGE I think he’s fine.

                  Fixed that for ya.

                    1. Exactly.

                2. Yeah, I think he’s fine. Haven’t seen any evidence otherwise.

                  I can’t tell if you’ve been living in a cave for the past year, or if you’re just thoroughly committed to looking like an idiot.

                  1. Come back if you have an argument to make.

                    1. Come back if you have an argument to make.

                      My argument is (and was) that you’d have to have been living in a cave in order to make your claim without being a pathetic liar. His mental decline and his handlers’ attempts to compensate for it with staged “press conferences”…complete with pre-prepared answers to the questions asked…has been so well documented and publicly commented on that it quite literally (as much as I’ve come to hate that word) isn’t funny.

          2. I didn’t acknowledge it at all.

            I merely said that even if your stupid parroting of your cult hero were true, it would still be less harmful than Trump’s Fox-watching.

            1. I didn’t acknowledge it at all.

              Maybe look up the word “tacitly” sometime — the more you know etc.

              I merely said [something that everyone can look downthread and see is not at all what I said]

              Par for the course.

          3. Life of Brian : “…. that he’s not going to be in any sort of shape to actually call many shots ….”

            You know, usually politicians labor to lower expectations so a minor victory (or even a draw) seems impressive. Only Biden is lucky enough to have his dull-witted opponent & army of cultists do that work for him. In just a few weeks Biden will debate Trump and do fine, just like he did one-on-one against Sanders for two hours back in March.

            Joe will win by default, because a substantial number of people gullible enough to buy into the Biden-Dementia shtick will see they’ve been conned once again. Do those here peddling this nonsense consider the risk in justifying Trump’s reelection by something that will be proven a lie? On national TV, no less? It ain’t a way to win elections…..

            1. Joe will win by default, because a substantial number of people gullible enough to buy into the Biden-Dementia shtick will see they’ve been conned once again.

              From your posting history, I strongly suspect that outcome would overjoy you. If you truly believed yourself, you’d let the process continue rather than try to get people to stop….

          4. “he’s not going to be in any sort of shape to actually call many shots”

            He seems to be able to run up a ramp faster — and steadier — than Trump can manage his way down the same ramp.

            Plus, there’s the ‘clinically obese guy who has to lie about an emergency trip to the hospital’ part.

            And, for decent Americans, the ‘bigotry vs. inclusiveness, reason vs. superstition, backwardness vs. progress, education vs. ignorance, backwaters vs. successful community’ part.

      2. Napping on the sofa is better than sitting on it watching Fox.

        At least it doesn’t do any active harm.

    3. It’s a close question that may depend on whether Republicans keep the Senate. Republicans, I think, are slightly better at constraining the other side’s president than Democrats are. Republicans and Democrats are about equally bad at constraining their own presidents. If Republicans keep the Senate, B for sure. If Democrats take the Senate, I still think it’s B but very close.

      Also depends on the outcome. If B wins in a landslide and treats it like a mandate, you’ll have more executive overreach than you would in a close popular and electoral college victory. If T wins I don’t think it matters whether he wins in a landslide, or not. I don’t think he internalizes constraints on his power based on feedback loops. Or he’ll deny the feedback loop as rigged, so long as it tells him he only won by a little.

      1. If Trump wins, and the Republicans hold onto the Senate, the judicial confirmations will resume. But they’re about the only thing he and McConnell actually agree on, aside from them McConnell has made the Senate a killing ground for conservative initiatives during the first two years, when they had a Republican House. (He was doing this, I assume, to protect RINO Senators from being exposed and primaried.)

        Notice, for instance, that McConnell has kept the Senate in nominal session, instead of going into recess. If he and the President were actually allies, letting Trump get in some recess appointments would have been simple enough. But he went out of his way to block it.

        Biden with a Democratic Congress, even a hair thin majority, is going to be doing some big things, because the Democrats are really good at party discipline, and because the filibuster is walking dead at this point: The only reason McConnnell kept it around was to have an excuse for not scheduling votes he didn’t want held. The Democrats would kill it day one.

        1. “Biden with a Democratic Congress, even a hair thin majority, is going to be doing some big things…”

          Yes, that’s how democracy works. If you win all the elections and control the government, you get to do things that you wouldn’t otherwise get to do.

          “…because the Democrats are really good at party discipline…”

          This is a relative term. Democrats are better at party discipline than Republicans. In America Democrats and Democrat leaning humans outnumber Republicans and Republican leaning humans. This is because Republicans have welcomed people into the party so insane that it makes the brand look like shit. If they would purge them and run the middle, they’d quickly outnumber Democrats and Democrat leaning humans.

  3. How does the first amendment define religion? This article discusses social justice as a functionally religious worldview per (1989) “Defining Religion in the First Amendment: A Functional Approach,” by Ben Clements. How would this work? Would someone with standing have to sue?
    https://newdiscourses.com/2020/09/first-amendment-case-freedom-from-woke-religion/

    1. It’s an important question that I think SCOTUS will have to go further on at some point. At one time they did start to lean towards defining it to include a wider range of philosophical belief systems, but then they seemed to back off from that approach…

  4. It’s fascinating how Fox News tried to shift the blame for delayed COVID-19 action onto Bob Woodward and the Washington Post. It must not have played well though, they seem to have backed off pretty quickly.

  5. Are we 20 years into a slow-burn Marxist Subversion, and is it time for us to start fighting back? To crack down on blocking Interstates the way we cracked down on OUI 40 years ago — and that worked.

    1. Funny to watch Ed turn the authoritarian dial furiously trying to find the sweet spot to shut down his political opposition.

      Today it’s not gassing people or a new KKK, it’s criminalizing protesting like it’s Operating While Under The Influence.

      Ed, the constant rejections and mockery you pick up here warm my heart. It’s shows that we still live in a country that has freedom deep in it’s bones and that you remain far on the outside looking in, left with no purchase other than vainly hoping that conservatives start shooting people over education policy.

      1. Actually, Ed and a few others make me long for the days of RWH.

        1. Oh that guy’s too pathetic to not still be here.

          Aktenberg has dropped a few references to rampant members, alongside killing the libs. It’s unmistakable IMO.

      2. What Ed actually said: “To crack down on blocking Interstates”

        Your predictable bullshit spin: “criminalizing protesting”

        Did you lose whatever sense of integrity you might once have had over time, or were you simply born without any to begin with?

        1. Finish what Ed posted: the way we cracked down on OUI 40 years ago

          And maybe cut it with the insults.

          1. Finish what Ed posted: the way we cracked down on OUI 40 years ago

            And how exactly does that magically transform “blocking Interstates” into the more benign “protesting”?

            And maybe cut it with the insults.

            That’s not something you’re owed. It’s something you need to earn by abandoning your habit of being a thoroughly dishonest asshole.

    2. ” Are we 20 years into a slow-burn Marxist Subversion, and is it time for us to start fighting back? ”

      We are 50 to 60 years into ‘shape American progress against conservative wishes and efforts,’ and positioned for decades of continued improvement at the expense of right-wing preferences.

      Clingers get to complain about it as much as they want, so long as they continue to comply.

  6. Given events in Portland, anyone want to comment on my long-standing suggestion that it would be a good idea to define bringing arms to political demonstrations as an offense against the 1A requirement that demonstrations be, “peaceable”?

    1. “Peaceable” already has a definition, and bearing arms is an explicitly guaranteed constitutional right. The rioters have already demonstrated the ability to be violent, even murderously so, without firearms.

      Moreover, once you’ve defined peacefully bearing arms as legally not peaceful, you’ve created an open door to go after peacefully bearing arms under all sorts of circumstances.

      It would be more to the point to rule that demonstrating masked (As Antifa we’re doing long before the virus.) is not peaceable, because it represents advance preparation to avoid being identified while committing assault. That IS why they have been going masked, after all.

      1. Good luck turning the tide of American progress and persuading the American people — outside the yahoos in a few diminishing pockets of backwardness — to respect your absolutist, ‘shoot-’em-up’ preferences with respect to guns.

      2. It would be more to the point to rule that demonstrating masked (As Antifa we’re doing long before the virus.) is not peaceable, because it represents advance preparation to avoid being identified while committing assault. That IS why they have been going masked, after all.

        They might argue that they wear the masks in order to avoid being discriminated against at a later time, analogous to the NAACP refusing to disclose its membership list in NAACP v. Alabama.

        1. To avoid being discriminated against, in the sense of being prosecuted for the assaults they were committing, yeah.

          1. To require disclosure of an association’s membership lists, a state must have a compelling justification for this infringement on the right of free association. What is the compelling justification for requiring disclosure of the identity of an Antifa member who is merely protesting and is not engaged in criminal behavior, thus exposing these members to economic reprisal, loss of employment, threat of physical coercion, and other manifestations of public hostility? Can’t criminals caught in the act be arrested whether or not they are wearing a mask?

    2. I am impressed that you have recognized that a large number of these “protests” have indeed not been “peaceful.” I assume you realize that shields, lasers, rocks, bricks and molotov cocktails are all arms.

      1. Ridgeway, indeed I do recognize that. In previous comments to suggest that a requirement for peaceable assembly exclude bringing arms, I specifically included body armor.

        So now, do you join me in that advocacy?

    3. Given events in Portland, anyone want to comment on my long-standing suggestion that it would be a good idea to define bringing arms to political demonstrations as an offense against the 1A requirement that demonstrations be, “peaceable”?

      Given that murdering someone for their political beliefs (after ducking into a parking garage to let them pass by you unaware and then jumping out to come up on them from behind and ambush them) is already super-duper illegal…and still didn’t prevent someone from doing it…I’m not sure what you think another law against doing something far more benign would have accomplished.

  7. I’m surprised no one at VC has yet posted on the Justice Department’s request to take over the defense of the Carroll defamation suit.

    1. You must be new here.

  8. Kevin Drum collects one day’s worth of headlines :

    1. Trump acknowledges he intentionally downplayed coronavirus threat

    2. N.I.H. Director Undercuts Trump’s Comments on a Vaccine by Election Day

    3. As NFL reopens, Trump resumes attacks on players who demonstrate for racial justice

    4. In crackdown on race-related content, Education Department targets internal book clubs, meetings

    5. Patients may have seen ‘significant’ delays in medicine deliveries by USPS, Senate report finds

    6. Whistleblower Says DHS Leadership Tried to Halt Reports on Russian Interference

    7. Mike Pence slated to speak at fundraiser hosted by QAnon supporters

    8. Emails show HHS official trying to muzzle Fauci

    9. Senate paralyzed over coronavirus relief

    The sooner Trump is spiraling down the toilet bowl post-election, the better. Let’s hope he takes as much of the GOP with him as possible. Their disgrace should have consequences.

    1. I really like him. Less stuff like that which I can find on twitter daily, but his data wrangling is second to none.

      1. He’s also willing to say his side is wrong if that’s where the facts lead him. And there are precious few people on either side of the political divide who do that these days.

        1. Yeah – he had a good one about leftist nonsense a couple of days ago.

  9. Trump downplaying COVID-19 made sense when it was consistent with the narrative that Trump did so to increase his reelection chances (hoping that things would turn out well and the economic disruption would be minimal). But now that we know Trump believed COVID-19 was serious, I can’t figure out why he would downplay it given that he had to believe doing so would cost lives, which would hurt his reelection chances. Wouldn’t telling the truth and becoming the “war president” he said he would be help his reelection chances? And yet, per the tape, he somehow thought panic caused by telling the truth would be worse than lying?

    1. Exactly. In their heart of hearts most politicians long for a national crisis so that they can show leadership skills, monopolize the airwaves, and make the opposition seem unpatriotic. Rudolph Giuliani in the wake of 9/11 is the outstanding example — people’s opinion of him turned around almost overnight. In fact crises have been deliberately manufactured for that purpose (Reagan with the Nicaraguan Contras, GWB with Iraq).

      Why didn’t Trump grab the chance? Simply put, to take control in such a way takes a fair amount of forcefulness, and the ability to focus. Trump does not have those qualities in him.

      1. The “victories” Trump seeks are all paper-thin PR. Get the photo-op with Kim Jong Un, declare the nuclear threat over, and then call it a day – the lack of substance being completely irrelevant. The man spent his entire business career careening from one disaster to another but it didn’t mattered as long as the branding & image management still worked. That’s his approach to the presidency.

        I also think Trump really believed most of the damage would be confined to “Democratic” cities. He could stay in the background and let them suffer, never challenging or burdening his rural base.

    2. I can’t figure out why he would downplay it given that he had to believe doing so would cost lives,

      Because he’s a bungling, incompetent, fool, whose only skill is self-promotion. The guy is a human wrecking ball.

      1. But, self-promotion would mean becoming the “war president,” something I think he had the skills to do.

        1. He knew it was potentially dangerous and catastrophic and thought he would be able to pin it on Democratic Governors/Mayors, which is what he has done, notwithstanding that first he offered no leadership, then chaotic leadership (from criticizing Georgia for not shutting down to “LIBERATE MICHIGAN” in something like a day, masks, no masks, hydrochloroquine. If anyone is paying attention, at all, they can see that he is temperamentally, intellectually, and morally incapable of genuine leadership in a time of crisis.

          His first and only response to anything is: how can I market this to enhance my own standing or trash my enemies?

          And for him “enemy” is anyone who isn’t a sycophantic Trump supporter willing to lie, cheat, steal, etc. to promote Trump’s interest. Show any integrity over loyalty to Trump and you are the enemy. And, yet, people still flock to him. It’s bizarre.

    3. You guys are spinning in circles with this. Just go look back at what Dr. Fauci was saying at the same time – the exact same type of stuff. Trump was listening to his experts, that’s all. They knew it was “deadly” but they didn’t know it was going to make it to the US and that it was going to be so easily spread. Then for good measure see what Pelosi and others were saying at the same time.

      1. On February 7, Trump acknowledged it was easy to spread. On March 19 when it was clear that it made it to the USA, Trump admitted he did, and would continue to downplay it.

        1. “This is not a major threat to the people of the United States and this is not something that the citizens of the United States right now should be worried about.”

          Fauci Jan 21

          “The American people should not be worried or frightened by this. It’s a very, very low risk to the United States”

          Fauci Jan 26

          “No. Right now, at this moment, there’s no need to change anything that you’re doing on a day-by-day basis. Right now the risk is still low”

          Fauci Feb 29

          1. Perhaps Trump downplayed it through mid-March because he felt it wouldn’t reach the USA. But after that, he continued to intentionally downplay it, knowing he was lying. Moreover, he had the opportunity to become a “war president” by getting ahead of Fauci, and blew it.

          2. The trouble with your narrative is that Trump has admitted deliberately downplaying it, despite knowing how serious it was.

            What Fauci said or didn’t say is irrelevant to that.

            Who’s spinning? The people who quote Trump, or those who deflect with quotes from Fauci?

            1. And he admits to continuing to downplay it. The whole “he was just listening to Fauci” is ludicrous.

              For instance, a things Fauci never said:

              Trump – “This is a flu. This is like a flu,” the president said in a briefing. “It’s a little like a regular flu that we have flu shots for. And we’ll essentially have a flu shot for this in a fairly quick manner.”

              Trump – “We lose thousands and thousands of people a year to the flu. We don’t turn the country off,” Trump said from the Rose Garden. “And actually, this year we’re having a bad flu season. But we lose thousands of people a year to the flu. We never turn the country off. We lose much more than that to automobile accidents… I would love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter.”

              He lied to the American people. What’s funny to me is that conservatives so often talk about the nanny-state, but here they full-on support Trump’s view that as the country’s daddy, he needs to lie to the little children to keep them from panicking. I thought they had more self-respect than that. It becomes clearer every day that the principles they espouse, from small government to individual responsibility, from religion/morality to responsible foreign policy are all just team slogans that they are happy to abandon when the team owner decides on a new marketing strategy. It’s gross, actually.

              1. There is no lie there, you are the liar. And President Trump was absolutely right with those comments. We should never have shut down the country.

                Again:

                “No. Right now, at this moment, there’s no need to change anything that you’re doing on a day-by-day basis. Right now the risk is still low”

                Fauci Feb 29

                1. M L,

                  If you are going to call somebody a liar, you should identify the lie. I didn’t lie, though you may disagree with the analysis.

                  Your response is incredibly misleading.

                  A. Your one Fauci quote doesn’t support anything Trump said, it is just that he determined that the risk was low and that people didn’t need to change their behavior on a day-to-day basis, while Trump said there was nothing to worry about. “Risk is still low” is different from “15 within a couple of days is going to be down to zero.”

                  B. The second Trump quote above is from late March, not late February, and includes this lie: “this year we’re having a bad flu season”. No. Not true. And anyone paying attention at the time knew this wasn’t a bad flu year (50,000 – 60,000 deaths), but would be much worse than that absent drastic action. But Trump was “hoping” for opening by Easter and it disappearing by then, which was either horribly incompetent or knowingly fanciful.

                  As to whether we should have shut down the country, remember that Trump was for it before he was against it. Don’t you see that one of his catastrophic weaknesses is that he has a chaotic management style. Trump criticized the Georgia governor for not shutting down, for Pete’s sake, then went off on “LIBERATE MICHIGAN” and such. No coherent plan is much worse than picking a plan (whether yours or Fauci’s) and following through based on sound science and economics. But Trump has been all over the place based on base preferences and marketing strategy. And you defend it and cast unfounded aspersions on people who point this out.

                  Trump lied and he also mishandled this situation, by your own standard (“never should have shut down”). To wit:

                  “I told the governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, that I disagree strongly with his decision to open certain facilities which are in violation of the Phase 1 guidelines for the incredible people of Georgia,” Trump said, referring to preliminary guidelines the White House issued on beginning to reopen the country following statewide lockdowns to curb the spread of the virus.

                  Why aren’t you mad at Trump for advocating for shutting the economy down? (Just because he later advocated for opening up? Again, for introducing chaos and mixed messaging from his own administration instead of sticking to a strategy….)

    4. “…I can’t figure out why he would downplay it given that he had to believe doing so would cost lives, which would hurt his reelection chances.”

      What makes you think he knew that? Because he told Woodward he thought that? Why are we falling for it when he talks to Woodward? He was lying to Bob, too.

      DMN has made the point that the President is the embodiment of Frankfurt’s On Bullshit. What the President says, to anyone, can be dismissed as bullshit. Including what he said to Woodward. The President doesn’t speak in truths or lies. He just fucking speaks, like your idiot cousin or brother-in-law.

      1. Trump lies when he thinks it will help him. I’m not following how he thought lying to Woodward would help him.

        1. Trump just says shit. I’m not sure he cares enough about the truth to lie.

          1. I disagree. I think he lies to advance his own interests.

            1. I think he says shit to advance his own interests. It’s an insult to the truth and to liars to say that the President “lies” to do anything. It’s so congenital that I don’t trust things he says even when he thinks no one is listening. Why would any of us? How much stupid, incoherent, obvious untruths and nonsense does he have to present before you concede that he’s not a trustworthy source for anything?

              1. NToJ, I agree. Reading between the lines of statements made by many ex-senior officials after their resignations or dismissals, I think they tend to agree too.

                That, of course, makes a case for a 25th Amendment solution to the Trump dilemma. It is a shame that Trump’s empty incoherence gets the surfeit of attention it does, when so many have seen he is in over his head.

                The larger problem is the utter failure of Republicans to take action on behalf of the nation. I think Democrats would do better in the upcoming election if they switched their attacks, and instead of targeting Trump, just deplored him in sorrow, and attacked the Republican party instead, as his enabler. I think it would work better because more folks would recognize that approach as an accurate assessment of what has been hurting the nation.

        2. I agree with NToJ and others that he just lies. But the Woodward thing is also explainable. Woodward wrote a book that Trump found unflattering, so Trump thought he could charm Woodward. For him, charm involves flattering the person to whom you are speaking (because he assumes other people are like him in that regard) and telling the person what you think that person wants to hear. He never takes the long view, as basically everything he has done as President shows, rather he views everything as a PR/marketing issue and news cycles last for days. So he thought lying to Woodward would help him win Woodward over to “his side” and, therefore, Woodward would say about him the things Trump says about Kim Jong-un. Of course, Woodward isn’t a childish narcissist, so Trump’s Svengali routine did not work on Woodward.

          Also, Woodward wanted access, not anything in the future from Trump. Trump assumes people getting close to him and appearing to flatter him are people he can use because they will continue to be a part of his cult and will continue to want things he can offer. But this is precisely why Trump gets played by Putin, Kim Jong-un, Erdogan, and Woodward (the last being nothing like the former, other than recognizing Trump’s psychological defects that lead him to be manipulable.) Functioning, intelligent, strategic adults with their own source of income and power don’t need abusers like Trump, but can easily get what they want from him.

      2. I’m not going to put up much of a fight about that. I think it some regards he’s more honest than your average politician, because he really doesn’t bother with the major league lies, (If you want to keep your doctor, you can. The embassy was attacked because of a youtube video.) because he thinks his policies are actually defensible.

        But as a general matter, he’s very casual with the truth. If he’s boasting, it’s generally bullshit, and he’s boasting most of the time his mouth is open.

        That said, the extent to which he lies has been somewhat exaggerated by the media.

        100 days of Trump claims

        “We are going to pursue a complete renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement: We’ve lost nearly a third of our manufacturing jobs in the 23 years since that terrible deal was approved.”; Washington Post lists that as a lie.

        Well, did he renegotiate NAFTA? Yes.
        And in the 23 years prior to that statement, the US had lost 30% of it’s manufacturing jobs, I looked the numbers up. Is it a lie to say that 30% is “nearly a third”?

        You’d think that, if you were going to make a list of somebody’s “lies”, you’d be careful about checking to see if they were true…

        1. On expressing his policy preferences, he generally doesn’t lie. But when confronted with anything that makes him look bad, he does instinctively, just like a 6-year old would.

          1. “On expressing his policy preferences, he generally doesn’t lie.”

            Why do we have to assume he has “policy preferences” in the first place? From 1987 to 2012, the President went from (1) Republican to (2) “Independence Party of New York” to (3) Democrat to (4) Republican to (5) “no party affiliation” to (6) Republican. While a Democrat, here is the deep level of analysis he expressed to support his purported convictions:

            “It just seems that the economy does better under the Democrats than the Republicans. Now, it shouldn’t be that way. But if you go back, I mean it just seems that the economy does better under the Democrats…But certainly we had some very good economies under Democrats, as well as Republicans. But we’ve had some pretty bad disaster under the Republicans.”

            Even if you assumed that he had real policy preferences (besides, I guess, “derp derp economy does good is good”), why believe he’s being truthful about that? Why special pleading for “policy preferences”? Why isn’t he “just like a 6-year old” when he’s stating policy preferences?

            1. “Why do we have to assume he has “policy preferences” in the first place?”

              Because he persistently pursues predictable policies, and this is evidence of having preferences.

              I will grant you that he espoused different preferences before he got serious about running for office. It may be he changed his mind, it may be that he was afraid that if Democrats didn’t like him, he’d find it really hard to get building permits in NYC.

              The guy has an ego the size of Trump Tower, he brags, he’s defensive, and he’s really not firmly committed to telling the truth. (Which doesn’t stop his foes from dishonestly inflating the number of lies he tells, as I documented upthread.)

              But, in limited areas, he seems functionally honest, attempts to do what he said he’d do. I think this might be because he views being honest in these areas as beneficial. For politicians, that’s what passes for honesty.

              I’d rather Rand Paul were President now. Not enough people agreed with me. But I think he’s generally been a decent President, by the degraded standards of this era.

              1. “Because he persistently pursues predictable policies, and this is evidence of having preferences.”

                The problem is you’d only know what he “persistently pursues” based on what he says. There might be people around him that push government towards policy, but you can’t take anything the President says as a serious statement about policy preferences, for the same reason that you can’t take anything he says seriously at all. Again, you’re falling into the trap of treating one segment of things he says as somehow immune to the same compulsive bullshit drive. This is like Gell-Man Amnesia Effect, applied to the President. If you know that what he said about A, B, C, D, E, F, G… is all bullshit, why do you come at H like “Oh well that’s probably true!”

                “…attempts to do what he said he’d do.”

                Is it your sincere believe that the President attempts to do what he says he will do more often than he says things that he never does? Do you believe he is above or below average in following-through on the things he says he will do? If so, what’s the factual basis for your belief?

            2. I agree Trump’s policy preferences do not reflect any beliefs he has, because the only thing he believes in is himself. They are preferences only to please his base. When I say he does not generally lie about his policy preferences, he will bluntly state them the way his base likes them.

              1. Everything he says is blunt. That doesn’t make it not bullshit.

  10. Happy Thursday to everyone, even the socialists and the globalists and the liberals and the nationalist centralized government supporters.

    If there is any common ground to be found among at least some members of our disparate warring factions, and I hope there is, it must be that at least some people in each group suppose themselves to have the good intentions of maximizing human flourishing.

    Let us found such efforts upon an honest assessment of the whole of history, human nature, and the human condition rather than utopian thinking, upon charity and peace and tolerance rather than force and coercion and bloody imperialism, upon facts over “empathy” and rational thought over emotionalism.

    1. facts over “empathy”

      I think you misunderstand “empathy.”

      My understanding is that it refers to one’s ability to see things as others see them, to understand things as they are observed from a different POV.

      In that sense, empathy is fact-finding of a sort.

      1. Sure. I’m not saying don’t have empathy, but I’ve seen calls to disregard and deny facts and history and reasoning for the sake of some notion of “empathy.” That’s why I wrote that. I was trying to shift away from the contrasts of opposites earlier in the sentence, to more of a sort of hierarchical statement by saying facts _over_ this idea of a a sort of reality-disregarding empathy.

        1. And my point is that empathy is not sympathy. Empathy is an attempt to understand reality, not disregard it.

          1. Empathy is an attempt to understand reality

            No, it’s an attempt to understand someone else’s perception of reality. The two are not even remotely the same thing.

            1. Eh, I suppose, insofar as other people are part of reality, their perceptions are, consequently, also part of reality. Empathy is an attempt to understand the reality of other people’s inner states.

              As long as you understand those inner states don’t necessarily correspond to outside reality, it’s a worthwhile endeavor.

  11. Journalism’s New Propaganda Tool: Using “Confirmed” to Mean Its Opposite

    Glenn Greenwald

    Outlets claiming to have “confirmed” Jeffrey Goldberg’s story about Trump’s troops comments are again abusing that vital term.

    https://theintercept.com/2020/09/05/journalisms-new-propaganda-tool-using-confirmed-to-mean-its-opposite/

    1. How can so many big words end up making the reader stupider for having taken the time to try to wade through it?

  12. Why is there so much systemic racism in Democrat controlled institutions, cities, and states?

    1. Because the racism is systemic. Why do you ask a question that answers itself?

      1. Democrats create and manage racist systems?

        1. Sure. So do Republicans. You can do work to overcome a problem without having resolved it. I think this is a pretty good summary:

          “Discrimination based on race and ethnicity takes many forms. The United States has made progress in eliminating some of the
          institutional, legalized racial discrimination of years past such as slavery, Jim Crow laws, “separate but equal” schools, and prohibitions on voting or owning land. These hard-fought victories deserve to be remembered and celebrated.

          Still, these advances are incomplete. Data on social and economic welfare show disparities between many persons of color
          and their white counterparts.”

          (from https://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/racism/upload/racism-and-systemic-racism.pdf )

          1. LOL that Sam thinks this is some amazing argument.

            1. Progress is going to continue to occur, at the expense of racism and other forms of bigotry in America.

              Conservatives are going to continue to dislike the progress.

              Conservatives are going to be increasingly irrelevant in national elections.

              Unearned privilege is going to become less important in America.

  13. This guy is alright.

    https://theweek.com/articles/936808/theres-nothing-shocking-about-bob-woodwards-new-book

    “The fact Bob Woodward has written another book about the current occupant of the White House should be greeted with roughly the level of enthusiasm reserved for such annual or semi-annual non-events as the Biennial Conference of the American Hippotherapy Association or the Pro Bowl. I would be tempted to suggest that the latest affectless, indifferently written Woodward volume is a matter of at most seasonal interest, like the early September appearance of Halloween candy in supermarkets, except that unlike the former, Rage is unlikely to bring pleasure to any living American.

    This is true with two exceptions. The first is the only class of persons likely to be aware of the book’s existence, namely Woodward’s fellow journalists and the rapidly aging subset of upper-middle-class white liberals who will purchase and perhaps even read parts of it. In these circles Rage will be feverishly and uncritically discussed and tweeted out in snippets — all five or so pages of a total 480 capable of arousing even minimal if still largely feigned enthusiasm — until it is promptly and inexorably forgotten. (Who now can remember a single thing “reported” in the vast shelf of books he wrote about the administrations of Bill Clinton, the two Bushes, and Barack Obama?) The second is Woodward himself, who can somehow never get over his luck at finding a vindictive FBI agent passed over for promotion willing to give him the time of day. Verily I say, he has his reward.

    Hence my inability to get worked up about the 52-second snippet of conversation between two septuagenarians released amid a great deal of manufactured outrage on Wednesday afternoon. “

    1. Walther is an especially committed clinger (disaffected and superstitious variety) who, from limited exposure, tends to be wrong about just about everything and lurches toward contrarianism. He knows his side has lost the culture war; he just likes to throw bombs these days.

    2. The first is the only class of persons likely to be aware of the book’s existence, namely Woodward’s fellow journalists and the rapidly aging subset of upper-middle-class white liberals who will purchase and perhaps even read parts of it.

      Let’s check the sales figures when the book is published.

  14. Very good open letter signed by a bunch of good folks.

    An Open Letter to Our Fellow American Citizens

    https://www.realclearfoundation.org/liberty-and-justice-for-all/

    “…Over the next several years, the noble sentiments and ideas that gave birth to the United States will either be repudiated or reaffirmed. The fateful choice before us will result either in the death of a grand hope or a recommitment to an extraordinary political experiment whose full flowering we have yet to realize. The choice will involve either contempt and despair or gratitude and the self-respect worthy of a free people who know long labors lie before them and who proceed with hope toward a dignified future.

    In the name of justice and equality, those animated by contempt and despair seek to destroy longstanding but fragile American institutions through which justice and equality can be secured. Destruction of these imperfect but necessary institutions will not hasten the advent of justice and equality but rather accelerate our collapse into barbarism and degradation.

    Groups of Americans who today advocate endless racial contempt, who systematically distort our history for political gain, who scapegoat and silence whole groups of citizens, who brazenly justify and advocate violence and the destruction of property invite us not to justice and equality but to an ugly future whose only certainty is fear.”

    1. More ranting from the depths of the failed clingerverse . . .

      1. “More ranting from the depths of the failed clingerverse . . .”

        Yes, we know why you’re here. Same ol’ gibberish.

  15. New revelations:

    Supposedly Reliable Steele Acted ‘Crazy,’ His FBI Handler Says: ‘People’s Ears Were Bleeding.’

    https://www.realclearinvestigations.com/articles/2020/09/09/supposedly_reliable_steele_acted_crazy_his_american_handler_says_peoples_ears_were_bleeding_at_the_fbi_125142.html

    “Crazy” was the term the FBI agent used to describe the behavior of Christopher Steele, author of the now-debunked Trump-Russia dossier. “I’ve seen crazy source-related stuff in 20 years in New York and this was one of the craziest,” the veteran agent testified to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

    1. ML, I would respectfully request you quit spamming the open thread with articles attempting to red-pill the VC.

      Maybe 2 a day?

      1. Okay. I’m done posting crazy right wing stuff like Glenn Greenwald. And Senate Intelligence Committee hearing testimony. For today.

        1. No! Keep it coming!

          I like the Volokh Conspiracy’s crazy right-wing mode. That ‘measured tut-tutting from the loyal opposition right’ stuff gets boring. Ditch the scant legal veneer and go full-bore wingnut!

          1. Glenn Greenwald, the crazy right winger. Good one.

            1. Not on the right. But Greenwald is definitely not on the left either these days. He and Tucker are pals now.

              Point is, for better Thursday open threads, please don’t spam partisan stuff as hard as you are.

              1. But Greenwald is definitely not on the left either these days.

                So holding political views that are to the left of the political center, but refusing to blindly march in lock-step and promote every bullshit left-wing narrative makes one “definitely not on the left”?

                1. Go tell it to CJ Roberts, Wuz.

              2. They are open threads. He can do whatever he wants, you don’t own him.

                1. You would be the type not to know the difference between an order and a request.

      2. ML, quit spamming.

        Sarcastr0 and Artie, totally fine spamming.

        Cool.

        1. Look up what spamming means.

  16. So how — if at all — does the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) affect [new] state laws regarding mail-in voting? Is it possible that some mail-in votes in some states ultimately might be rejected? It is possible to quantify the “some”s prior to the election?

    1. Interesting topic!

      It seems like you can satisfy the ID requirement by submitting a copy with your ballot. Yes, this probably increases the chance that some ballots will be rejected. We already know that mail-in ballots have a higher rejection rate than in-person ballots, this will probably exacerbate that if there’s a lot of first-time voters voting by mail.

      1. I do think it’s an interesting topic. Not many folks — state legislators included — actually think about the HAVA.

  17. I remember like 2 weeks ago when the open thread wasn’t just another partisan shitshow thread.

    In an attempt to be the change I want to see, lets talk Star Trek.

    I like Next Gen a lot. Didn’t when I was a kid – I was a TOS head then. But nowadays, I like how unrealistic it is. How aspirational and utopian about technology it is in a way that I don’t think would fly post 9-11. I don’t think it captures how humans really are, but that’s kind of what I like about it? Add in the creative spur of writing under the constraint of humans not being so crappy, and you get a universe I think you can’t find anywhere else.

    I don’t like DS9 as much. Deeper characters but a darker side of humanity. Phenominal sci-fi, but it’s a departure from the possibly unrealistic tenets I associate with Star Trek. I can get DS9 stuff lotsa places – Babylon 5, Battlestar Galactica. Heady company to be sure, but makes this Star Trek purist a bit grumpy.

    The Trek movies. Fun stuff, some Trek flavor, but not Trek. There was a great Onion article about how Trek fans decry new Trek movies as ‘entertaining’ and ‘accessible.’ That’s where I am, alas. High quality action movies are a dime a dozen. Tickling my fanboyness doesn’t really mean you’re playing in the unique space I like.

    New Trek. It’s beautiful; I hate it. It posits a Federation alternatively stupid and evil. I can’t even appreciate it as sci-fi, it does so much violence to the themes of the setting it’s appropriating.

    There are some interesting conclusions one could draw about America’s relationship with itself via the differing levels of competence and corruption in the Federations of it’s Star Trek.

    One day I’ll write a grand sociological thesis on what the various incarnations of Khan say about the US’s image of its foes at various junctures in history.

    1. “I like Next Gen a lot. ”

      Not surprising.

      At least you are not a Voyager fan.

      1. I’m aware I’m pretty on my own these days. DS9 runs away with it for most.

        But I could wax about TOS. As a kid, I could recognize most episodes within a minute. Probably still can.
        A pretty good Kirk Speech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiFEzc_gsuw

        Who was your favorite of the TOS 3? Used to love Spock, now I love McCoy.
        Scotty was a hit for a reason though.

        No one is a fan of Voyager. I think more people love *Enterprise* than Voyager.

        1. Kirk of the 3 leads but all are great characters.

          Scottie is great too. Did you know that the actor got a finger shot off on D-Day and they used a hand model on the transporter closeups?

          1. Yep – Doohan has a badass past.

            I did feel bad leaving Kirk out. He also brings the fire, no doubt. Shatner’s actually a high-quality actor (last episode excepted, IMO).

            Movie wise, I go 4-2-1-6-5-3. Don’t much like making Kirk into a racist, even if he gets better.

            TNG movies are all trash.

            1. Hating the enemy is not racist.

              Wrath of Khanis one of the best films of al time. The whale one was more comedic but excellent. The others were all enjoyable.

              So 2, whales, all the others.

              1. Fair.

                Thinking the entire Klingon people are your enemy when they are no longer at war gets pretty bigoted in my book.

                1. To be clear: I think it’s a realistic reaction. But I don’t come to Trek for my characters to be realistically flawed. Plenty of dark and gritty sci-fi for that.

                  1. My reaction was the opposite: I was rather turned off by the way the later series’ tended to be populated by people who lacked serious personality flaws. It was like they’d all undergone some kind of 24th century psychotherapy, or the Enterprise had Soma in the water.

                    Maybe that was actually what was going on. Wouldn’t shock me.

                    1. I don’t think Kirk or Spock or McCoy or Scotty or Chekhov or Sulu were flawed. Flaws were for some guest star.

                    2. Kirk really was a womanizer, (And not in Riker’s more casual way.) and the Klingon in The Trouble With Tribbles was not being entirely unfair in characterizing him as a “tin plated dictator with delusions of godhood”. Spock was suppressing the human side of his personality, Scotty routinely lied about how long tasks would take, in order to look like a miracle worker when he pulled them off faster. (He confessed this to Gordy in an episode of STNG. (Relics.) And they all had bad tempers when things got rough.

                      Yeah, I think the next generation Enterprise had soma in the water. How often do you recall anybody actually losing their temper?

                    3. Kirk’s womanizing was not portrayed as a flaw, but rather a strength. Never got him into trouble; often got him out of it.
                      Spock’s identity was fine and well integrated until the movies.
                      Scotty lying was a retcon, alebit a cute one.

                      If you squint you sure can find flaws, but they were not written as flaws until later on. Famously that’s why Harlan Ellison required his name be taken off City on the Edge of Forever – he wanted a drug dealer in Starfleet. Roddenberry said no.

                      TNG had the right balance if you ask me – written-in flaws, but rarely all-consuming. And they got more nuanced when Roddenberry’s control got lighter as he aged.

                      Though some stuff…LaForge and Barkley and the holodeck…yeesh.

    2. Shut up, Wesley!

    3. My wife and I have been watching TNG. What network offers it? Why, BBC America.
      We had watched the first couple of seasons in the original, but didn’t watch much TV after we started putting kids to bed. We’re liking TNG, with it’s range of characters and scenarios.

      1. My favorite episode is from Season 2: A Matter of Honor. Riker goes on board a Klingon Ship and has to punch, eat, and flirt his way to victory.

  18. I saw Laura Ingram say that you can question the degree of force used to take an alleged rapist into custody without saying that you are proud of the alleged rapist. I don’t like it when she is one of the more sensible people out there.

  19. Why are capitalists too greedy and selfish to trust in a free market economy , but bureaucrats aren’t too greedy and selfish to trust in a centrally planned, socialist economy?

    1. Plenty of us recognize that both of those extremes ignore the reality of human psychology. But why do people who recognize the need to protect against greedy, selfish bureaucrats nonetheless see no need to protect “ordinary people” from large powerful corporations?

      People are people. People with power tend to abuse it, especially to protect their power and gather more to them. Trusting government to do everything for you is silly (and basically no American politicians suggest that, much less try to implement it), but trusting the 0.1% to run things via a capitalist system is just as silly (and there are many who are fine with that, because the 0.1% are necessarily smarter, wiser, more virtuous or some such or else how would they be the 0.1%?!?!?).

      Sam, you asked exactly the question (only sort of reversed), I have had for quite some time. I am pretty sure the plank is in your eye.

  20. With all the renamings, statue topplings, and discussion of police abuses, I’m surprised the feds and their allies continue to honor people who died enforcing the Fugitive Slave Act.

    https://www.swtimes.com/news/20200103/us-marshal-honorees-raise-questions

    Well, at least they weren’t active abolitionists or Union Army soldiers or similarly “problematic” people (to take a couple examples of recent cancellings)

  21. I know that Florida Republicans reacted to the prospect of felons voting en masse by passing legislation that required those felons to repay all owed fees and fines before regaining the right to vote.

    Question: How is this legal? How is this not a poll tax? If I owe the IRS (or my state tax revenue board) millions of dollars, I’m still allowed to vote. (At least, until I am convicted of a crime and sent to prison.)

    1. I believe the 11th Circuit held that it was indeed illegal.

      1. It was argued en banc last month. Not aware of a decision yet.

      2. Bored,
        Do you happen to have a cite or link to this?

    2. Its part of the sentence, not a tax.

    3. I don’t agree with this from a policy perspective, but let’s take as a hypothetical someone who commits a felony that allows for either a prison sentence and/or a fine as a punishment. The judge chooses to fine the felon as opposed to imprisoning him or her. If you accept the general premise that felons shouldn’t be allowed to vote until they’ve completed their sentence it seems totally fair that this felon shouldn’t be able to vote until paying their fine in the same way that someone in prison can’t vote until they’re released.

      1. JB,
        Yes, I would agree with that specific sort of sentence as an exception…that sort of deal seems unobjectionable to me. I have grave moral reservations in regards to other “deals” that can be made. (Back in the 80s or 90s, I think there were some sex-related crimes where a convicted person was offered a deal that included chemical castration.) But not with your hypo.

        But would you agree that, in the 99+% of other cases, denying a right to vote would be a real problem?

        Bob, it’s obviously NOT part of the parolee’s sentence…this new voter-suppression law was not in effect when all these ex-felons were convicted and sentenced. Is it possible that you meant to use a different word than “sentence?”

        1. No, I was completely correct.

          The fines and court costs were imposed by the court as part of the original sentences along with prison time. Felon served the time but failed to pay the fines and costs.

          The state is taking the position per statute that all the sentence must be completed, not merely the prison part, before the right to vote is restored.

        2. “Back in the 80s or 90s, I think there were some sex-related crimes where a convicted person was offered a deal that included chemical castration.”

          Forced sterilization as part of plea deals is currently practiced in the US. See here.

    4. The answer is, ” Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section,
      any disqualification from voting arising from a felony conviction
      shall terminate and voting rights shall be restored upon
      completion of all terms of sentence including parole or probation.”

      “all terms of sentence”. Not some.

      Owed fines, at least, are “terms of sentence”, not a tax.

      I’m kind of ambivalent about the fees; If they’re imposed at sentencing, yeah. If they’re not, no, they shouldn’t count for this purpose.

      And to be enforceable, the state absolutely, no kidding, has to provide the felon with an accurate tally!

    5. How is this not a poll tax?

      If you don’t understand the difference between a tax and a fine imposed as the result of a criminal prosecution….

      1. Fine. How is this not *functionally* equal to a poll tax? Many Republican politicians in Florida are on the record as saying that this new law was pushed in to lower the number of ex-felons who are allowed to vote. (Much like how Republican leaders in many states cheerfully bragged about how their own voter suppression efforts would lead to more Republican wins up and down the ticket.)

        Given that the motivation for this Florida law was to decrease the votes from historically-Democrat demographics, it seems quite similar to poll taxes, literacy requirements, etc..

        Someone upthread said that this new voter suppression law has been ruled unconstitutional. I don’t think that is correct. (A bunch of courts did make that factual finding, but I thought the 11th Circuit then decided to ignore the factual findings of the trial court and ruled in favor of voter suppression. And the Sup. Ct, naturally, refused to intervene. That’s my understanding of the current state of the law, anyway.).

        The state of Florida has said that it should take about 6 years to wade through the red tape and thereby give these felons the amounts that are owed. So, maybe the will of Florida voters will not be thwarted in the 2028 presidential election. I’ve given up being embarrassed by my Republican party. But I’m making an exception here. . .

        1. Relax. The Democrats have plenty of ammunition in these battles (voter suppression, structural change), and I sense a strong resolve to use it.

        2. “Fine. How is this not *functionally* equal to a poll tax? Many Republican politicians in Florida are on the record as saying that this new law was pushed in to lower the number of ex-felons who are allowed to vote.”

          What new law are you talking about? I haven’t followed the details closely, but my understanding this that Florida voters passed an amendment saying that felons can get back their right to vote once they complete all the terms of their sentence. That’s great! Of course, sometimes the terms of a sentence include fines and and fees.

          And Florida Republicans passed a statue implementing the amendment. So what are you objecting to exactly? Is it the amendment, or the implementing legislation?

          1. I’ve read that this precise question came up during the drafting of the amendment, and is why the amendment says “all terms of sentence”.

        3. “How is this not *functionally* equal to a poll tax?”

          A poll tax is an unconstitutional deprivation of a constitutional right if you don’t pay a tax. You can constitutionally LOSE rights when convicted of crimes.

          It’s not a poll tax because it’s not a tax, it’s a criminal penalty. In order to be a poll tax, you’d have to subject people to it NOT as a result of a criminal conviction.

        4. Fine. How is this not *functionally* equal to a poll tax?

          For starters, because it doesn’t deprive you have a right that you did not forfeit through your own criminal actions, nor is it a fee on the exercise of a constitutional right.

        5. Given that the motivation for this Florida law was to decrease the votes from historically-Democrat demographics

          The, “But felons are a historically-Democrat demographic” argument never fails to amuse me.

  22. As I type this, the word “Barr” has appeared only twice in the VC in the last week. Where has the Attorney General been hiding, anyway, has he been overwhelmed by Mr. Trump’s personal docket?

    Guess no VC person thinks it is legally noteworthy at a website that pimps for the plutocracy.

    1. The Conspirators have adopted a “hands off” approach to Barr. I doubt the Heritage and Federalist folks needed to say a word — it’s just understood.

    2. “As I type this, the word “Barr” has appeared only twice in the VC in the last week.”

      How many times per week does the name of the current AG usually appear in the VC?

      1. How many times does an attorney general claim that a president lying about an assault that occurred decades ago constitutes conduct within official government duties (in a transparent, Hail Mary attempt to defer embarrassment until after an election)?

        Other than that, though, great comment!

        1. This is settled law already. Clinton, Bush, and Obama all had the AG defend against the same type libel suits, that were filed while they were a govt employee. If you got a bitch take it up with Obama’s wingman.

          1. Gonna need some recepts on that. Clinton had a private lawyer for the Jones case, IIRC.

          2. “This is settled law already. Clinton, Bush, and Obama all had the AG defend against the same type libel suits, that were filed while they were a govt employee. If you got a bitch take it up with Obama’s wingman.”

            Is that a Regent or Liberty law degree talking (or maybe a Hillsdale undergraduate legal studies course); something you think you remember from an off-brand homeschooling outline; or what you heard on Ingraham, Hannity, or Carlson last night?

            Until you cite some authority, I chalk this up to ‘clinger fever dreams.’

          3. The SG appeared before SCOTUS to argue that Clinton was immune from suit as president, and the Clinton v Jones op says that the DoJ did a bunch of work in the case on behalf of “the interests of the United States.”

  23. Serious question about the bullying of Trump’s supporters:

    Are there counterexamples in the other direction – where Democratic voters are harassed, etc. for how they vote? And if so, is that likewise tacitly accepted (i.e., ignored) by mainstream Republican politicians?

    https://youtu.be/FYqa-sRFNNk

    1. I posted a list of these last week. Yes, they happen and yes they are ignored by mainstream Republican politicians:

      https://reason.com/2020/09/03/thursday-open-thread-7/#comment-8441954

      1. Thank you. Republicans should absolutely condemn things like that, just as Democrats should on their end.

        1. Absolutely, nobody should be beaten up just because they’re identifiable as a member of a party, or supporter of a candidate. No, not even the idiot communists; They should be reviled, scorned, but hands off.

          1. It’s a hell of a thing.

            Idiot communists and godless globalists against half-educated bigots and superstitious . . . well, can’t use the right word around here, so we’ll go with yahoos or goobers.

            Anyway, it’s a hell of a thing.

            (Unless you like where the American mainstream has taken our nation during the past sixty or seventy years.)

            1. I don’t like the national debt.

              I think you’d be able to criticize it, since Trump and the Republicans are to blame. You may even find a way to ignore or laugh off the blameworthiness of the Democrats in this bipartisan problem.

              1. I don’t like the debt, either, but I am confident it will be addressed reasonably and successfully.

                1. Wouldn’t that be nice?

                2. I’d always assumed you were trolling, not clinically insane. What part of history makes you think the debt will be addressed “reasonably and successfully”? I’d expect it to eventually be repudiated, (Despite the Constitution’s language barring that.) either openly, or by inflating it away.

                  That’s what always seems to happen in fiat currency systems when the debt gets too big. “What can’t go on, doesn’t.”

                  1. You predict the financial demise of the United States of America, Brett Bellmore? Because of borrowing? And repudiation of debt? And fiat currency?

                    You spend too much time among the poorly educated misfits and gold standard zealots of Idaho, or Alabama, or South Carolina, or Kentucky, or whichever desolate backwater you have chosen for your residence.

                    1. I predict it because of creeping Marxism and Cloward-Piven.

                    2. So, rev, you’re saying Trump is *right* about increasing the national debt?

                      You’re discussing a bipartisan practice. I’d love to see you explain why it’s actually only one party’s fault – or to one party’s credit, if you like deficit spending.

                    3. I have many issues with Trump. Increasing the debt isn’t one of them.
                      Of course, he’s a hypocrite about it and promised otherwise, and that I do take issue with.

                      Sam brings up an old Obama-era conspiracy theory like the madman he is.

                    4. He actually proposed a budget with spending cuts his first year in office. Congress responded by passing a budget with spending increases by a bipartisan, veto-proof majority.

                      He then took the hint, and moved on to issues where he might actually be able to do things.

                      I would have personally preferred if he’d vetoed it, and forced them to override the veto, and just gone through the same exercise each year, to make it clear who was responsible for the deficit. But I’m a fan of futile gestures, he’s not.

                    5. LOL that Trump takes hints.

                    6. “You’re discussing a bipartisan practice. I’d love to see you explain why it’s actually only one party’s fault – or to one party’s credit, if you like deficit spending.”

                      I decline the invitation to explain why national debt is only one party’s fault. For starters, I do not believe it to be true.

                    7. “For starters, I do not believe it to be true.”

                      You’re getting soft, rev.

                      We’ve got to the point where I blame the clingers for something and you don’t.

              2. Yeah, the national debt is a problem. And if it concerns you, vote Democrat. Democratic presidents have been better on the debt than Republicans for the past 50 years, at least.

                On percentage terms, Democrats have consistently been better than their predecessors and successors (Republicans, obviously, vice versa). And Trump who promised to eliminate the deficit (and maybe the debt?) has been the worst deficit President on record. In one term, he has done two terms worth of damage. Give him a second term, and Reagan’s record (worst non-World War deficits as percentage of prior debt) will be broken. He already will very nearly do in one term what Bush and Obama each did in two terms.

                Just for the record:

                Nixon: 34% increase in debt in 5 years
                Ford: 47% in 3 years
                Carter: 43% in 4 years
                Reagan: 186% in 8 years
                G. H.W. Bush: 54% in 4 years
                Clinton: 32% in 8 years
                G.W. Bush: 101% in 8 years
                Obama: 74% in 8 years

                (Source: https://www.thebalance.com/us-debt-by-president-by-dollar-and-percent-3306296)

                Trump: already at roughly $6 trillion baked in with another $2+ trillion for FY 2021, meaning he will have overseen/signed off on nearly an $8.5 trillion increase for four years (roughly equivalent nominal dollars to the Obama increase over eight years) which would represent somewhere around 40% increase in just four years (and, of course, percentage increases get harder as the debt balloons). In nominal terms, he likely will do in four what no one else had done in eight.

                And Republicans are worried about Democrats turning us into Venezuela?

                (And to be clear, Republicans controlled Congress and the Presidency for the first two years of Trump’s term when over $2 trillion was added to the national debt during “best economy ever” (TM). This is/was the epitome of hypocrisy and irresponsibility. But will it be rewarded with your vote?)

                1. I’m convinced – I’ll vote for the Democrats and the platform of fiscal responsibility!

                2. Neither party is good on spending. But to say that you should vote for Democrats to rein in spending is truly deranged and moronic.

                  Right now Dems are fighting for a $3 trillion bill that includes bailing out Dem states and cities for their gross fiscal irresponsibility. Bailing out states and cities for gross fiscal mismanagement is the worst fiscal move possible. Repubs for their part are pushing a $500 billion bill.

                  And then there’s the Green New Deal.

                  Of course, your cherry picked statistics from bygone decades are totally irrelevant. What is relevant is what I’ve mentioned and it shows why Dems are several orders of magnitude worse than the already very bad GOP when it comes to spending.

                  1. M L,

                    So you ignore evidence that voting in a Democratic President is the smarter choice on the deficit because…what, your feelings or Republican messaging?

                    You don’t have to conclude that the Democratic Party is wedded to fiscal responsibility to acknowledge the obvious evidence. There are other, much more likely, explanations for the behavior during the terms of Democratic Presidents.

                    1. The economy tends to be better under Democratic Presidents too, so that helps.

                    2. Republicans grow a deficit-hawk spine while during a Democratic presidency.

                    3. Republican Presidents pay no price for profligate spending/borrowing because their voters (like you) just assume Democrats will be worse, while Democratic Presidents are more constrained by Congress and need to show some restraint to woo/satisfy independent voters and more fiscally conservative but socially liberal voters.

                    4. And your current example: Republicans already spent like drunken sailors under Trump and Democrats are partly playing a political game, better to have this spending under Trump than under Biden because it will continue to support the narrative I laid out (and Republicans will be against it which will help as the country is hurting and why don’t Republicans want to help?). (In other words, that the Democrats are advocating this under Trump doesn’t mean they would advocate for or get it under a Biden administration. They can advocate for it right now because it puts Republicans who control the Presidency and the Senate in the more difficult position…they will either upset deficit hawks or voters concerned about avoiding a depression or, more likely, end up in a stalemate doing nothing when they should do something.) I don’t like this last, but it’s the kind of game both sides play. The point is that, no matter how wrong it is (#4), it doesn’t undercut my point that electing a Democratic President will almost certainly be better for the deficit/debt. History shows it and Trump has been the worst ever….if the deficit/debt is your thing, Trump is not your guy.

                  2. M L,

                    And “cherry-picked statistics”? I gave complete statistics going back 50 years and noted Trump’s unprecedented (Bernstein TM) spending. Those are facts. And the trend is clear. You ignore the trend with “but rhetoric, rhetoric, rhetoric and Democratic spending dreams”. As I point out in my earlier response, the rhetoric on the deficit and the action on the deficit are basically reverse. Democrats promise these spending programs, but, even when they deliver, they improve on the Republican deficits. Meanwhile, Republicans promise to be fiscally responsible (Trump even promised to eliminate the national debt), but then run up larger deficits than the Democrats.

                    In light of this, pointing to the rhetoric of either party as your evidence and relying on that rhetoric in casting your vote is truly deranged and moronic.

  24. Bagpipes and highland dancing. Anyone else a fan? Do you play, or dance? What, where?

    1. Very much so (a fan, not a player or dancer). Our biggest regret about vacationing in Edinburgh (among other UK and Ireland locations) a couple of years ago was the inability to get tickets to the Royal Tattoo. I also don’t mind the occasional contemporary spin on the pipes…

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXm8JdC4k4c&ab_channel=TheSnakeCharmer

      1. That’s cool, thanks for sharing. I saw many British and Scottish Military Tatoos in NYC before the IRA activities put an end to that, unfortunately.

        My father was an accomplished piper, and my brothers and I highland dancers. I’m taking up the pipes again, after a 50 year layoff. 🙂

    2. “Bagpipes and highland dancing. Anyone else a fan?”

      Familiar with the Unipiper? Not sure how the unrest in Portland has affected him.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGGO035dolE

  25. New term on the horizon: pedophobes

    In relation to the controversy regarding a certain film released on Netflix. Cancel Netflix is #1 trend on Twitter right now.

    https://twitter.com/JackPosobiec/status/1304092902511923200

    1. That’s a Pizzagate guy you’re posting. Not a great follow.

      1. Also a “Lincoln Fellow” at the Claremont Institute.

        Apparently the qualifications are minimal.

      2. Well, at least you’re taking a break from your usual non-stop straw many bullshit and trying your hand at some attacking-the-messenger bullshit.

        1. I’ll attack Jack Posobiec any day, messenger or no. He sucks.

          1. What I posted has nothing to do with this Jack person. I was marveling at the #cancelnetflix #1 trend and saw this tweet. This shouldn’t be a left/right thing hopefully.

            1. The distinctions among RedState, FreeRepublic, Instapundit, Gateway Pundit, Stormfront, Newsmax, the Daily Caller, Breitbart, and the Volokh Conspiracy diminish daily.

          2. I’ll attack Jack Posobiec any day, messenger or no.

            Acknowledging your reliance on pathetically fallacious argumentation makes it no less pathetic.

    2. ” Cancel Netflix is #1 trend on Twitter right now.”

      People who pay attention to Twitter are twits.

  26. New Documents show that the Mueller team “accidentally” wiped their phones when the DOJ inspector general asked for them to be turned over.

    Andrew Weismann accidentally wiped two of the phones he was using, because he put it into airplane mode, locked it, then “misentered” the password.

    James Quarles and Greg Andre apparently ALSO had this magically happen to their phones. They were “accidentally” wiped via the same mechanism.

    12 other members of Mueller’s team SOMEHOW had this happen to their phones…right when the Inspector general was going to seize them….

    Un. Believable…

    https://twitter.com/seanmdav/status/1304131579397189634

    1. Don’t worry, nothing will happen to them. They have Democrat Privilege.

    2. Entirely believable. Even saw it coming.

      1. How many times is this going to happen with current investigatoins

        How many times are hard drives mysteriously going to crash, emails suddenly be bleach-bitted, phones mysteriously locked and deleted.

        Can we please start charging these people under US Code 1519 for destruction of records?

    3. because he put it into airplane mode, locked it, then “misentered” the password.
      Yes, you have to “misenter” your password TEN times, to wipe the phone clean of data.
      Of course if investigators are looking for collusion in committing a crime, wiping you phone is only half the communication. To the one sending to you, and you responding back would be captured on another phone…But lots of people on the Mueller team, had the same bad luck with forgetting their passwords. coincidentally, 15 different persons had the same “bad” luck. all coincidentally are on the same Mueller team.

    4. @seanmdav has bad reading comprehension skills.

      Most of the phones were wiped after being returned by the IG because they were locked and a passcode wasn’t provided.

      That still might be sketchy, but let’s at least get the facts straight.

  27. https://courts.michigan.gov/courts/michigansupremecourt/pages/default.aspx#whatsnew

    Anybody have any thoughts on the Michigan Supreme Court oral argument on whether the Governor can keep renewing 28-day emergencies forever, and if so, whether it’s constitutional for the legislature to let her rule by decree indefinitely and without constraint? Seems like maybe the most important civil liberties question of the past twenty years, but I see zero attention paid to whether governors need to follow due process or have any actual statutes to limit their powers.

  28. Why did Mueller’s Special Counsel team wipe 15 phones after the IG requested them?

    1. Afraid he might touch some germs?

    2. I think in any rational world, that puts an end to any claim the Special Counsel investigation wasn’t a partisan witch hunt. This is how criminals act when the cops are closing in.

      In THIS world the left will probably find some way to spin it as proof that Trump was guilty.

      The one thing that pisses me off is that you could see this coming a mile away. There’s a track record of things like this happening, the IRS did it during the targeting scandal investigation, too.

      There were ways to prevent them from doing this. Admittedly kinda “Mission Impossible” looking ways, but ways. Why didn’t they try, rather than giving them the opportunity to wipe them? Unless they already had the data some other way, and were just deliberately panicking them into acting guilty, it strikes me as incompetence.

      1. You guys keep using the term “witch hunt” incorrectly. Why is that?

  29. An Antifa agitator has been arrested setting fires in Oregon.

    How will Baghdad Sacrastro memory-hole this?

    1. Show me a link, Sam.

      Otherwise you got taken in by narritivist bullshit again.

        1. Seems like this guy is a legit arsonist. What a bastard.

          I don’t see an Antifa connection at all.

          Seems a crazy person who has fastened onto BLM. Can you tell me what this says about the movement generally?

          1. The people on my side who do bad stuff are just outliers and crazies!! They aren’t the peaceful protesters!

            1. That’s right. Similarly, I don’t think the crazies shooting people on the right represent conservativism. I’ve always said nuts that kill people are nuts first and partisans second.

              I don’t recall you being quite so symmetrical in your blame. Of course, you’re on the record saying killing liberals may be necessary so…you’re part of the problem.

              And there is a partisan asymmetry here – I see Congressional candidates with guns making threats. I see more and more posters on the Conspiracy contemplate political violence. There will be no civil war, but I don’t like the idea of where the party is moving.

              Conversely, you have yahoos on the left with their guillotine memes, but they ain’t running for Congress, nor do they have cable TV shows.

              1. You keep bringing up some comment of mine. Do you mind sharing it so I can refresh my memory?

                ” I see more and more posters on the Conspiracy contemplate political violence. ”

                But you somehow can’t see all the actual political violence going on around us right now because you are Baghdad Sacrastro, of course.

                1. https://reason.com/2019/11/09/reflections-on-the-30th-anniversary-of-the-fall-of-the-berlin-wall/#comment-8005275
                  It’s too bad we didnt get rid of the communists and socialists in America.

                  No, the violence going on is not associated with the Democratic Party. Some of it is angry leftists, some of it is just opportunists. I do think there are yahoos on the left. I do not think the Dem brand is political violence. It’s not a thing on the right wither – y’all are still in the talking and threatening stage. But it’s not a good direction you’re moving in.

                  1. ” Of course, you’re on the record saying killing liberals may be necessary so…you’re part of the problem.”

                    That doesn’t describe this:

                    “Sam Gompers
                    November.9.2019 at 12:46 pm
                    It’s too bad we didnt get rid of the communists and socialists in America.”

                    You lying piece of human execrement.

                    “No, the violence going on is not associated with the Democratic Party. ”

                    Yes it is, you lying sack of dog crap.

                    1. Sure, Sam. You meant get rid of by some other means. Sure.

                      “No, the violence going on is not associated with the Democratic Party. ”

                      Yes it is, you lying sack of dog crap

                      No, it isn’t. Now ain’t we got a fun contradiction-off.

                      Burden’s on you, though.

                    2. The burden’s on me to disprove your stupid dog whistle?

                      You’re trash.

                    3. Sam,

                      Unless you have a credible explanation for your lament that “we didn’t get rid of the communists and socialists in America” that doesn’t involve violence, you are the lying piece of human excrement who also advocates political violence.

                      There are violent people on the fringes of both parties who commit violence, but this doesn’t mean “the violence going on” is “associated with” either party.

                      But, as sarcastro pointed out, the President has explicitly lamented that he can’t use violence and has implicitly endorsed violence or the threat of violence (even having alleged felons who recklessly and needlessly brandished weapons appear on his behalf at the RNC) and a Republican Congressman actually committed violence against a media person and other Republican Congress people have made threats of political violence. Speaking in violent terms and, at least implicitly, encouraging political violence is, unfortunately, becoming more of a thing on the right. Conversely, Biden unequivocally denounced political violence and I am unaware of Democratic politicians committing, threatening, or advocating political violence. This is a thing on the right.

                      For the record, I am against political violence. Period. Moreover, whether you are on the left or right, if you bring a gun to a political protest at which some disorder is expected and non-fatal violence is highly likely, and you kill someone, it should be strict liability murder. You made the choice to introduce fatal force in a situation that generally doesn’t even fatal force, you should be held responsible for the loss of life. Whether you are a leftist shooting a right winger (in self-defense, allegedly) in Portland or a Trump supporter shooting a leftist (in self-defense, allegedly) in Kenosha. Both brought a gun to a fist fight, basically, and should be held to account. Of course, police killed the Portland leftist while the right winger was allowed to walk past police holding his murder weapon openly and then go home and be peacefully arrested.

                      While these are only two incidents and anecdote is not the singular of data, it’s not a good look for law enforcement.

                    4. So you’ve gotten into an argument over what kind of excrement the other is.

                      surely a great debate.

                    5. “Speaking in violent terms and, at least implicitly, encouraging political violence is, unfortunately, becoming more of a thing on the right.”

                      they imagine they have all the guns.

              2. “There will be no civil war, but I don’t like the idea of where the party is moving.”

                Have you read that Transition Integrity Project report from your side?

                You’re side is already gaslighting and preparing for a coup if Trump wins.

                1. Since y’all have called everything from the media doing reporting to judges making rulings to COVID to FBI investigations to impeachment all coups, I’m not really sure you know what a coup is.

                  1. A coup is when unelected bureaucrats plot to remove a president.
                    A coup is when generals plot to remove a President. Like Woodward’s book exposed.

                    And you can read the TIP report for yourself.

                    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/read-the-transition-integrity-projects-full-report/ar-BB17x0w3

                    I don’t care anymore about your gaslighting and lies. You are the enemy of the people.

                    1. Nah, I’m lazy.

                      You got any quotes that indicate a coup?

                    2. What does it matter? You’re trash and you will continue to be trash no matter what the facts are.

                    3. “A coup is when unelected bureaucrats plot to remove a president.”

                      Yeah, except not. A coup is when the military seizes control of the government.

                  2. You are going to have to quote for the TIP report what you think constitutes plans by Democrats to undertake a coup. That you refused to when asked by sarcastro strongly suggests that you are simply the trash you allege sarcastro to be.

                    Make your argument or don’t. But just insulting people asking you to flesh out your argument, well, it’s pathetic.

        2. These words appear in the link you supplied:

          “These fires are allegedly linked to Antifa and the Riots.”

          so, no actual proof that antifa activists are arsonists. Just an allegation, which fits your preferred narrative.

  30. The real challenge for Trump apologists is how often something he is vociferously denying today becomes something he openly admits tomorrow.
    So when you defend something he allegedly said by claiming Trump never said that, you can’t be sure he won’t send out a tweet overnight that says “Yeah, I said that” before launching another claim about why.

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