Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 11/3/17: Democracy Dies In Darkness Edition

GOOD MORNING!

1 Related to the previous post is the fact that the President of the United States should not be recommending the death penalty for anyone before they are tried and fund guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, even vile terrorists who attack and kill children. Yet President Trump did this in his usual impulsive, infuriating fashion. It is not the first time he’s crossed this separation of powers line, either: his comments also caused problems in the prosecution of deserter Bowe Bergdahl,

The gratuitous interference with the justice system by premature pronouncements of guilt and deserved execution serve no purpose; the President is just grandstanding. President Obama made premature  comments on unresolved legal matters several times too; he did it more articulately, of course, but he still did it, and he’s a lawyer. Is this particularly stupid conduct “Presidential” now?

2. Speaking of the concept of presumed innocent until proven guilty: I wonder if there has ever been anything in U.S. history as widespread, unfair, and vicious as the assumption by so many in the public and the news media that the President of the United States engaged in criminal acts to steal an election—without any evidence whatsoever. It is like a mass delusion, and all, as far as I can see, because of three factors: past business dealings with Russian entities (which is not illegal) by many of Trump’s associates; Trump’s Trumpish and obviously facetious call on the campaign trail for Russia to reveal Hillary’s (illegally) spoliated emails, and the accusation from Clinton and others that Russia’s interference—you know, with brilliant, persuasive internet ads—explained Hillary Clinton’s loss and made Trump’s election “illegitimate.”

I had another conversation with a friend about this yesterday. He’s just certain that Trump did something illegal. What? He doesn’t know, but he’s sure. Why is he sure? because it’s Trump, that’s why, and because my friend still can’t believe that the man could have been elected without some kind of conspiracy. It’s stunning, and the news media is fanning these flames of delusion. Here’s a post on the Daily Beast; the title: “The Rise of George Papadopoulos, a Trump Adviser Who May Kill Trump’s Presidency.”

The title is blatantly dishonest ckickbait: I clicked. It’s out there for people like my Trump-Hating, Trump-Fearing friend, who reads this and thinks, “Yippee! My wait will soon be over!” Would you like to guess at how much factual support is revealed for the conclusion that Papadopoulos “may kill Trump’s Presidency’? None. Absolutely none. An equally accurate headline would have been, “The Rise of George Papadopoulos, a Trump Adviser Who May Eat a Honda,” or “The Rise of George Papadopoulos, a Trump Adviser Who Could Be  A Concert Cellist If He Practiced Really Hard.”

This is unethical, but it’s also nuts.

3. According to Newsbusters, who obsesses over such things,  neither ABC, CBS, nor NBC covered Donna Brazile’s explosive accusation yesterday that Hillary Clinton and her campaign bought the Democratic National Committee and rigged the nomination process. There is no excuse for this; it is a dereliction of journalism ethics and the profession’s duty to the public. There is also no benign explanation for it. It was obviously the top story of the day, and one with great national and civic significance. Newsbuster’s typical assessment:

“The reason the networks wanted to keep Brazile’s findings secret was simple: They didn’t want to ruin their narrative that Clinton was a pure angel who was a victim of Donald Trump and Russian collusion”

That seems harsh, but it’s not unfair. What other explanation is there? They just somehow never got the memo? They really believed that more coverage about how three Mueller indictments unrelated to illegal Russian contacts by the Trump campaign mean there were illegal contacts with Russia by the Trump campaign?  They have decided to prove, once and for all, that the news media is totally corrupt and biased? Hillary Clinton has bought the networks too?  What then?

4. I have to admit: this makes me angry, and it’s pretty unusual for ethics stories to make me angry. I’m not angry at the networks—disgusted, yes; saddened that our democracy, which can only be healthy with objective, competent journalism informing the public, is endangered, but not angry. Not after all this time: it was clear beyond debate that journalism had become largely partisan Democratic Party and progressive propaganda at least by the 2008 election. I’ve been documenting it, as have others. It’s not my imagination. Yet regular commenters on this blog, people of intelligence and (usually) honesty and perception, have protested that this just isn’t true, that the problem is MY bias.

There have been so many smoking guns that show the news media’s flagrant bias and news manipulation that if you gathered them all you could film Stephen King’s “The Mist” without any dry ice, but these people keep denying it.  PBS allowing Gwen Ifill to moderate the 2008 VP debate while she had a book at the publishers celebrating the election of Barack Obama?  Conflict of interest? What conflict of interest? CNBC’s prosecutorial GOP debate moderation? Eh, it wasn’t so bad, and besides, those bastards deserved it. Blaming the Tuscon shootings on Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh? OK, the media got carried away, and what about all those guns? The Boston Globe’s fake news front page about the dystopian hell of a Trump Presidency? Oh, it was just a joke! Newsweek sending out an edition announcing that Hillary was elected? Anyone can make a mistake! The New York Times announcing that it was now its duty to defeat Donald Trump? Well, he’s a special case! News anchors looking, sounding and acting as if their parents had just died of Ebola while announcing the 2016 election results? Come on! They’re only human!

CNN’s April Ryan screaming, “Is slavery wrong? Sarah, is slavery wrong? Does this administration think that slavery was wrong?” at Sarah Huckabee Sanders on live TV…the nearly total embargo on the Madeleine Leader story–still!—in the non-conservative media…there are hundreds and hundreds—thousands—of equally damning examples, and yet progressives and Democrats who I—we, all of us— should be able to trust as responsible citizens, Americans and ethical human beings  continue to refuse to say, “OK, I agree, this is a catastrophe, and we have to do something about it.”  And because they won’t, and don’t have the integrity to do it, the news media feels vindicated and empowered to continue spinning, lying, manipulating and refusing to practice honest journalism, as responsible citizen civic participation becomes literally impossible.

Yes. It ticks me off, and it ought to tick off everyone. And the fact that it doesn’t also ticks me off.

5. I’m going to say it: every American, liberal, conservative, moderate, should fall on their knees and thank the ghost of that creep Roger Ailes for Fox News.

Yes, it’s a sexist, misogynist, sloppy news network, and yes it employs shameless hacks like Sean Hannity, and yes “Fox and Friends’ is the worst TV abomination since “My Mother The Car,” and yes yes yes its Republican bias is persistent and palpable, and yes I’m still boycotting it as I have for almost two years. Nevertheless, if it were not for Fox, many genuine, imprortant stories the rest of the news media didn’t want the public to know about would have been successfully buried. That was the original justification for the establishment of Fox News, and it outweighs all the other flaws and garbage. Democracy DOES die in darkness, as the Washington Post, so often a purveyor of darkness in recent years, has the chutzpah to say, and without Fox it would be a whole lot darker than it is.

62 Comments

Filed under U.S. Society

62 responses to “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 11/3/17: Democracy Dies In Darkness Edition

  1. # 3 Can’t comment on Newsbusters, a tacit NDA exists because I used to write free lance current events satire for its now defunct “Newsbusted” segment.

    https://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/nb-staff/2016/05/31/newsbusted-series-finale-thanks-your-support-over-last-great-nine-years

    # 5 ”if it were not for Fox, many genuine, important stories the rest of the news media didn’t want the public to know about would have been successfully buried.”

    Ditto with the Daily Caller, there are certain Righty sites to which I prefer not to link, and they were one of them.

    But they led the way with the still-developing-messy-as-hell non-story about DWS and a ‘Lone Wolf’ IT guy named Imran Awan when seemingly no one else would.

  2. JP

    Sarah Huckabee Smith?

    I haven’t watched Fox news since 2012. I found that in order to determine the truth I need more objective facts. After reading this blog I have come to the conclusion that isn’t possible anymore. Almost no one reports objectively anymore. I think the only way I am going to find the truth is to read multiple sources and try to find the truth in there somewhere.

    Frankly, I don’t have time for it (does anyone?). I wonder if part of the media’s strategy is just to get people to the point they don’t care anymore. It certainly has to hurt readership.

    • Rusty Rebar

      I wonder if part of the media’s strategy is just to get people to the point they don’t care anymore.

      I really think so and it is very effective. Although we have long had an issue of 20% of the population installing the president.

    • ”I wonder if part of the media’s strategy is just to get people to the point they don’t care anymore.”

      Ever read ”Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media” (Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky)?

      The concerning part? It’s nearly 30 years old.

      The more concerning part? It draws on Walter Lippmann’s “Public Opinion” (1922) and Edward Bernays’ 1923 “Crystallizing Public Opinion.”

      They’ve been at this for a looooooooong time.

      “It certainly has to hurt readership.”

      “Readership” isn’t the long game, what is is anyone’s guess. Mine is it would give Ghostbuster’s ”Total Protonic Reversal” a run for the money.

    • Yes, the coincidentally named Sarah Huckabee Smith has twice stood in for Sanders, and it has confused reporters. I should have clarified.

      (I fixed it.)

      At least I didn’t call her Sarah Huckleberry Hound. I’ve come close a few times…

  3. Isaac

    “There have been so many smoking guns that show the news media’s flagrant bias and news manipulation that if you gathered them all you could film Stephen King’s “The Mist” without any dry ice…”

    Just wanted to compliment you on this. This is masterful.

  4. 1) now he’s trash talking the Bergdahl outcome.

    I think the Senate should draft a letter and forward it to him, in better more lawyerly terms than this, but to shut the hell up.

  5. carl brizzi

    Assuming for the sake of discussion that the Russians wanted Trump over HRC. Has anyone ever offered an explanation as to why? What policies etc…made the Russians pick one over another?

    • Might it be them there Russkies are still terminally chafed at her hilariously misspelled “Reset” (Perezagruzka)?

      She used the word for “overcharged” (peregruzka) instead.

      http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jun/3/russian-fm-sergey-lavrov-failed-reset-was-inventio/

    • Emily

      According to a friend from Europe (who doesn’t think the Russians interceded, for the record) Hillary is widely disliked in the region for alleged CIA involvement both under Bill and during her time as SoS. They expected more intervention from her, whether overt or covert, in Syria, the Ukraine, and possibly Turkey than they expected from Trump. When it looked like she was going to win, the weeks before the election his country happened to send out a surprise reminded that all of the citizens were technically part of the military. For no reason in particular, of course.

      So whether the Russians did anything or not officially, it’s no secret in that part of the world that they were anti-Hillary.

      • ”it’s no secret in that part of the world that they were anti-Hillary.”

        Does “that part of the world” mean all of Mother Gaia? Put another way, where she isn’t ”disliked” is…um…well-defined to say the least.

        Finite to say the most

        HRC (whose support for an armed skirmish or new weapons system has never wavered) has been/is/will be the most fervent female hawk (outdoing most Y-Chromosomal Units!) of our generation.

        Don’t take my word for it, the bedrock Conservative HuffPo can flesh that out.

        https://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeffrey-sachs/hillary-is-the-candidate_b_9168938.html

        Et tu, HuffPo?

        It’s no secret to the lucid that she’s really an anti-Lefty: Hawk, Wall Street/Walmart/Corporate/Big Money/Oligarch/Pay-to-Play/1 % er beholden.

        A self-proclaimed feminist? Seriously? Riding a Y-Chromosomal Unit’s coattails, enabling sexual harassment/abuse/assault, kicking Sistahs to the curb, sluts-n-nuts, rubbing shoulders with EVIL male despots, etc., etc., etc.

        Anyone that tells me something like having money isn’t important to them I believe will lie to me about other things as well.

        Same thing for anyone that tells me that HRC should have been POTUS, or would have been a good one.

        • Emily

          “Does “that part of the world” mean all of Mother Gaia? Put another way, where she isn’t ”disliked” is…um…well-defined to say the least.”

          I seriously suspect it does, but I don’t have inside information there. I think it at least covers “everyplace where relations with the US are strained and there’s a non-zero possibility that the US will decide they need a new government in the next four years.”

          For all his tough-guy talk, I think people everywhere (outside of New York and California) can see that Trump is refreshingly uninterested in military adventures. Hillary, on the other hand… that article sums it up nicely.

          Anyone who lives someplace that the US isn’t BFFs with (which includes places like Iran and North Africa and Russia, but also places in Eastern Europe and the Balkans, South and Central America, China and South East Asia, etc.) was probably ready to forward a poorly-made Facebook meme against Hillary in hopes of not getting bombed or suddenly catching a case of civil war against suspiciously well-armed rebels.

          • ”everyplace where relations with the US are strained”

            Such places exist…?

            “in hopes of not getting bombed or suddenly catching a case of civil war against suspiciously well-armed rebels.”

            Mercy me! Now might not be the time to this bring up, but Puerto Rico ought thank their lucky stars that the Clinton Slush Fund, I mean, the Clinton Foundation, wasn’t involved.

            Just ask Haiti.

    • Chris

      Trump was alarmingly pro-Putin even before he started running for president. Once the campaign started, he repeatedly refused to say a negative word about Putin when prompted. As president he has delayed implementing sanctions, cast doubt on the intelligence community’s conclusions about Russian meddling, and continued to speak favorably about Putin. It isn’t a stretch that Putin would prefer him.

      Of course there’s also the explanation put forward in the Steele dossier–that Putin has dirt on him, and Trump’s behavior toward Putin is a result of some type of blackmail. This has never been backed up with evidence, but Steele has generally been reliable, the exact type of blackmail mentioned in the dossier is specific and believable, and the rest of the dossier has never been debunked.

      • You sound incapable of rational thought, Chris. The dossier has been thoroughly discredited. This isn’t even reasonable by conspiracy theory standards. The thing wouldn’t be admissible as evidence in any trial, and was a contrived justification for investigations. You, like others among the Trump Deranged, want to believe the rumors and unsubstantiated anonymous claims, so you do. It might as well be “Chariots of the Gods,” or “JFK.” Or, most ironic of all, the birther conspiracy.

        • Chris

          Can you link me to where it has been discredited?

          • Sure. This one is fair and thorough: http://thefederalist.com/2017/10/25/top-10-things-to-know-about-dossier/

            The Hill, which is a left-leaning news source, admits a lot of it has been debunked, and the most inflammatory allegations are unsubstantiated, but says as mitigation, “the broad outline of the memo — that the Russians sought to interfere in U.S. politics through email hacking and disinformation campaigns — has been confirmed by U.S. intelligence agencies.” That’s like trying to mitigate the Kennedy conspiracy theories by noting that they correctly say that JFK was shot.

            Comey called the memo as “salacious and unverified” in testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Such a memo should not have been the basis of any formal investigation or any credible news story. That it was is disgraceful.

            • Chris

              After reading through that article from the Federalist (a website so terrible that Ken White made an entire Twitter account to satirize it), I’m astounded you think it’s a good debunking.

              Only one of its ten points even deals with the specific claims in the dossier it says are debunked, and they are minor; the rest of the points are just attacks on its funding and the consequences of the dossier. Whether Fusion GPS is reliable or not is immaterial; the dossier was compiled by Christopher Steele, and his reputation is impeccable. Funnily enough, I stumbled across this article that was shared by Cathy Young today, and it does a good job at rebutting many of the Federalist’s points:

      • Isaac

        “Once the campaign started, he repeatedly refused to say a negative word about Putin when prompted.”

        Good. That’s actually sensible. Especially for him. On its face, letting yourself be goaded into taking a hard stance on geopolitical issues about which you have no inside knowledge yet would be a bad thing. After the election, when Obama and Hillary seemed physically on the verge of tears and practically demanding war with Russia, Trump seemed, for a brief moment, like the least hawkish president in decades.

        If Trump had done something overtly sycophantic towards Putin, like, say, suppose, he was overheard on a hot microphone promising to do Putin favors only after the election, or perhaps sending him a goofy “reset button” as a gift…or if Russian investors had floated 150 million dollars his way and tossed another half mil at his wife…imagine how shocking that would be.

        • Chris

          This is a comically bad take.

          No, saying that it doesn’t matter that Putin has had critical journalists killed because “at least he’s a leader” isn’t good. No, Obama and Hillary were not “practically demanding war” with Russia, and no, they were at no point more hawkish than Trump, who has been saber-rattling with North Korea like crazy.

          • Chris

            I should add: No, a president telling a foreign head of state they’ll be able to negotiate more after an election isn’t sinister, certainly nothing like a member of a president-elect’s promising the same thing in violation of the law, and no, speaking fees and donations to a charity are not inherently sinister either.

            • Except for the salient point that there is proof that Obama told Putin that, and there is no evidnece whatsoever of any deal between Trump and Putin. See, real deals are always worse than imaginary ones.

              Birtherism and Truther conspiracies, Chris.False narratives to illegitimize a President with a lie, playing to the distrust of the gullible and the hateful. The Russia smear is no different.

              • Chris

                Except for the salient point that there is proof that Obama told Putin that, and there is no evidnece whatsoever of any deal between Trump and Putin. See, real deals are always worse than imaginary ones.

                Huh? Real deals are not worse than imaginary ones when there isn’t anything wrong with the deal in the first place. And I pointed out equally real comments made by Michael Flynn that you are surely aware of—they got him fired. Those were not imaginary. You’re employing a double standard here.

                I’ll have to respond to the Federalist piece, which is typically terrible, tomorrow. (I also must admit I crack up every time you describe The Hill as “left-leaning.”)

                • “(I also must admit I crack up every time you describe The Hill as “left-leaning.”)”

                  Patronizing the host. Bold strategy.

                • 1. Nothing wrong with saying, in effect, I’ll be lying to the American people about my intentions, but once there’s nothing they can do about it, we can talk. Great.

                  2. Michael Flynn was fired for many reasons, and shouldn’t have been appointed. In any event, nothing he said indicates what you are imagining: a conspiracy with Russia by the Trump campaign. He lied about not meeting with the Russian ambassador. Meeting with the Russian ambassador is not a crime. All fantasy.

                  3. When you are too far left, everything looks Right. Almost every source ranks The Hill as moderate Left, which is what left-leaning means. The Daily Kos, in its ranking (from the far Left) of political publications on the ideological scale, rates The Hill as Middle—you know, along with Politifact, AP, Bloomberg, and…that bastion of objectivity, The New York Times. Which should tell you what that ranking means.

                  Oh—Kos calls the Washington Post, Slate and CNN “conservative.” Is more liberal biessed than the Post and CNN “left leaning”? I’d say that’s fair. So your obnoxious chortling is just ill-informed, and based on your own bias-warped perception.

                  • #2. Jack, this is ludicrous that you have to keep re-litigating this. Over half a dozen discussions (probably over a dozen) have belabored this conclusion time and again, soundly and solidly…many of those discussions specifically directed TO CHRIS.

                  • Chris

                    1. I really don’t think that’s what he was saying.
                    2. Meeting with the Russian ambassador for the purpose of negotiating was against the law for Flynn at the time Flynn did it. Whether that was part of a larger conspiracy is immaterial to my point, which was that Isaac is overhyping interactions between liberal politicians and Russia—interactions which were definitely not crimes—and ignoring more damning interactions between Trump’s people and Russia.
                    3. I don’t read The Daily Kos, which is garbage. My opinion on The Hill is based on my experience reading them.

                    • It is not a Logan Act violation until the content of the discussion is known, and it involves negotiating against the sitting government’s policies. A meeting is not a violation. I’ve met with ambassadors myself. I’m a lawyer. If the law regarded proof of criminal activity what you seem to think, everyone would be a felon.

                    • Chris

                      Jack, we have known that Flynn discussed sanctions and lied to the FBI about it since February. Honestly, I think sometimes there have been so many Trump scandals that one can’t remember or keep track of them all.

                      While I don’t know if it’s been confirmed that Flynn “negotiated against the sitting president’s policies,” the point stands—Isaac was hyping bad activity on the part of liberal politicians while ignoring similarly bad activity on the part of Trump’s people.

          • Chris. Saying that an attack on the United States will be met with overwhelming force is only saber-rattling to the clueless pacifists and appeasers who got the US in this mess in the first place.

            It is crucial that any foreign power that thinks the US can still be rolled, bluffed and intimidated like it was under Obama or Carter be informed in no uncertain terms that it is making a fatal error. That is competent leadership. The fact that so many progressive like spineless and irresolute anti-military and anti-defense posturers like President Red Line is one more reason to fear them.

            • Chris

              Jack,

              You’re leaving out the context of my reply again.

              My comment was in response to Isaac’s ridiculous statement that Obama and Hillary were more “hawkish” than Trump. I trust you agree that his statement was ridiculous, as you are now arguing that Trump being more hawkish than Obama and Hillary is a good thing. But that wasn’t the argument, and I didn’t contradict it.

              • Except you crappily shifted the goalposts. It was obvious Isaac made his observation in the context of Russia relationship only, and a climate that hadn’t yet had a saber rattling North Korea raising it’s ugly head.

                You knew this, yet you still shifted the goal posts. Doing that kind of stuff is why people are slowly committing to no longer engaging you in discussion because they can’t rely on coming to you for a good faith discussion. You should stop.

                • Chris

                  No, the goalpost established by Isaac was that “Trump seemed, for a brief moment, like the least hawkish president in decades.”

                  This was a common pro-Trump talking point during the election, and intelligent, informed people pointed out that it was a bullshit talking point that contadicted every available fact during the election. It is more clearly bullshit now, but it was also clearly bullshit then.

                  • Well, this is a half inch from dishonesty, though most would categorize it as an outright intentional mis-characterization.

                    The context established in Isaac’s comment speaks for itself.

                    But if you want to play this silly obtuse game, then feel free…I would fully understand Isaac returning to tell you off and completely disengage.

                    • Chris

                      If Isaac only meant that Trump was less hawkish on Russia, he’s welcome to clarify that. He’ll be right; Trump is less hawkish than everyone on Russia, because Trump loves Russia.

                      But I think he meant that Trump was less hawkish in general, which is bullshit, and I don’t think it’s dishonest to reach that conclusion from what he wrote.

                    • You can’t be less hawkish on Russia than Obama, who let Putin march into the Ukraine and basically made mean faces at him while shrugging it off. we all recall his mocking Mitt Romney for suggesting that Russia was a threat, right? That called “showing your throat” in international poker. Trump has already been tougher on Russia than Obama was.

                    • I think Isaac’s comment was aimed at the campaign rhetoric of Hillary and the notionally made attitudes by Obama (not actually implemented plans).

                    • Your reading and English comprehension needs serious practice. Isaac’s comment is self-evidently in the context of Russia. I will not belabor that again. Isaac’s comment about hawkishness was *clearly* a comparison regarding the comments made regarding national attitudes towards Russia to back up Isaac’s opening sentence that it was a good thing for a realpolitik novice (like Trump) to not make aggressive comments regarding one of our top international rivals.

                      But no. You wanted, like you are prone to do, to take a piece of the terminology he used, expand it outside of his intended purpose, then use it as a cudgel to beat on a wider context he wasn’t even discussing. I should have also mentioned it was an egregious strawman in addition to goal post shifting.

                      Have your last word. You’re still wrong on this.

                    • Chris

                      In what way has Trump been tougher on Russia than Obama? Again, Trump delayed implementing sanctions that Obama signed into law.

                    • To clarify now that we’re in the nesting nightmare:

                      This Comment by me:

                      “Your reading and English comprehension needs serious practice. Isaac’s comment is self-evidently in the context of Russia. I will not belabor that again. Isaac’s comment about hawkishness was *clearly* a comparison regarding the comments made regarding national attitudes towards Russia to back up Isaac’s opening sentence that it was a good thing for a realpolitik novice (like Trump) to not make aggressive comments regarding one of our top international rivals.

                      But no. You wanted, like you are prone to do, to take a piece of the terminology he used, expand it outside of his intended purpose, then use it as a cudgel to beat on a wider context he wasn’t even discussing. I should have also mentioned it was an egregious strawman in addition to goal post shifting.

                      Have your last word. You’re still wrong on this.”

                      is a response to Chris’ comment:

                      “If Isaac only meant that Trump was less hawkish on Russia, he’s welcome to clarify that. He’ll be right; Trump is less hawkish than everyone on Russia, because Trump loves Russia.

                      But I think he meant that Trump was less hawkish in general, which is bullshit, and I don’t think it’s dishonest to reach that conclusion from what he wrote.”

                    • Chris

                      Tex, your defense of Isaac’s argument only makes it sound even dumber.

                      No, the proper response to a superpower that hacks our politicians and attempts to influence our elections is not to avoid “aggressive comments.” Which isn’t even all Trump did—he continued lavishing the country and its leader with outsized praise while saving his anger and outrage for the intelligence community for having the gall to identify Russia as having done these things.

                      Furthermore, in context, Isaac’s comments do not make sense as only referring to Russia. He said Trump seemed like “the least hawkish president in decades.” Who was the last president to be hawkish against Russia prior to the 2016 election? Obama wasn’t; he mocked Romney’s hawkishness against Russia in 2012. Bush wasn’t either. Nor was Clinton. Ergo, it made sense for me to conclude Isaac was referring to hawkishness more broadly.

                    • Chris

                      Well, I didn’t believe you when you said you’d let me have the last word, but I had hoped when you went back on that you’d at least reply with an actual argument.

                    • Go back and read again, you vacuous twit. Then you can take back the insinuation that I reneged on anything.

              • I agree that saying Hillary and Obama are more hawkish than Trump is hard to justify. Hillary is certainly more hawkish that Obama, and many think that as President she would be pretty hawkish….like other female national leaders like Thatcher, Gandhi, and Golda Meir.

                I sure wouldn’t want to cross her.

                • Isaac

                  All I said was that for a brief moment (concerning Russia at around November/December 2016) Trump seemed less hawkish than Obama and Hillary. Which he did. He actually won over a few Libertarians and isolationists at that time. (I have no doubt those Libertarians have changed their minds about him now.)

          • Isaac

            You didn’t even READ the “comically bad take” apparently. I don’t know what the point is if you’re just going to rhetorically answer things without substantially even addressing them.

            I plainly said that “for a brief moment” Trump seemed less hawkish than both Clinton and Obama, and that is an understatement. The New York Times referred to Obama’s sweeping measures to “punish” Russia after the election as the “strongest American response yet to a state-sponsored cyber attack.” There was real talk of escalation to possible war. Bear in mind that not long previously, China hacked millions of US soldiers, veterans, and public employees and provoked no such retaliation from Obama. Trump’s refusal to grab a pitchfork was a rare respectable moment for him.

            I also am saddened by your need to white knight poor Obama over a gaffe that most Democrats wouldn’t even defend. Here’s a scenario for you: Suppose I were running for Jr. High class president, and promised in a speech to stand up to school bullies and teach them a lesson. Then I passed a private note to the school’s most notorious bully that said, “don’t worry, I’m just telling them what they want to hear. Please don’t beat me up. After the election we’ll meet up and discuss what it will take to make you happy.” Sinister, or not sinister?

            I should add that you and I have different definitions of “speaking fees.” Taking $400,000 from a Kremlin-tied bank, for giving a speech, is not a fee. Especially if the Kremlin is greasing your wife to push a crooked uranium deal through. But I’m sure there’s nothing sinister about that either.

  6. Kyjo

    I had noticed that the Brazile story doesn’t seem to have gained a lot of traction on Facebook. I figured it might be because of the lack of coverage in major outlets; on the other hand, I can’t trust Facebook’s algorithms.

  7. No. 5:

    Hey! What’s wrong with “My Mother The Car”? That was excellent entertainment. It gave us such comic gems, as “What Makes Auntie Freeze”? What about, “And Leave the Drive-In to Us”? Brilliance, I tell you.

    jvb

    • Isaac

      Our thoughts go out to the Brazile family in light of her tragic suicide next week.

      (I wish all conspiracy theories were as hilarious and not-to-be-taken-seriously as the “Hillary kills people” memes.)

  8. Henry David Ritscher

    I believe that President Trump has just as much right as any one else to express his personal opinion on any subject. If he does not actively do any illegal action, what difference does it make. Whether he says someone is guilty or innocent, does not make it so. Whether we agree or disagree with the verdict does not matter. It is what it is. We all have the right to express or opinion.

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