Five Things: July 9, 2020
Posted on July 9, 2020 Posted by John Scalzi 95 Comments
Slow news day, am I right? Nevertheless, here are five things for you today:
This just in: Trump not king. Which is to say the Supreme Court ruled against him today with regard to the release of his taxes to the State of New York, and didn’t rule for him with regard to having to answer congressional subpoenas. As I understand it everything is going back to lower courts to get hashed out, but the gist of it for me is that the Supreme Court has finally decided on some limits to executive power, and honestly, not a damn moment too soon for that. And while it’s unlikely that any of this tax information will be out before the election, it seems likely to me that it will be out eventually, and if it doesn’t show, shall we say, a certain amount of legerdemain and nefariousness, I will eat my hat (it will be a hat I specially make to be edible, but even so). Short version: Trump’s probably a criminal, probably in hock to foreign interests, and will go down as abjectly the worst American president since James Buchanan, and (depending on how the next few months go) possibly finally edging into a tie with that benighted soul. I look forward to all of that coming out.
Oh, and half of Oklahoma is Native American territory: I mean, that’s certainly a hell of a thing, isn’t it? Apparently the Supreme Court was all “oh, hey, the US has to actually honor a treaty,” which, you’ll forgive for saying so, is a thing I never ever expected any branch of the federal government to say out loud. Maybe I’m cynical. I honestly can’t pretend to understand all the implications of the ruling, since it wasn’t something I had ever thought about before it was ruled upon, but it certainly feels big, both for the ruling itself and what it means for future jurisprudence regarding Native Americans and their treaty lands. Someone with more expertise will need to tell me what it all means.
No mask, no venti latte: Starbucks will be requiring masks for service now, which a) they should have already been doing and b) I expect will be part of a wave of many business finally figuring out that if they’re going to stay open and not be infections pit (and thus be on the hook for liability), they have to tell people to wear masks, which are, after all, the literal least they can be doing so as not to infect other people. I personally won’t be going to Starbucks, since I don’t drink coffee, don’t like paying $5 for drinks, and even if I did the nearest Starbucks is like 11 miles away. But I do appreciate them actually doing more to keep Covid from being transmitted than the literal national government right now. Admittedly the bar is low.
No slurs for Scrabble: The North American Scrabble Players Association has banned the use of apparently 236 racial and -phobic slurs from official play, and Hasbro (which owns the game) is changing the official rules to note that slurs are not acceptable in “any form of the game.” I don’t have the list of now-banned slurs in front of me, but I am curious, outside some of the most obvious, what words are on the list and which are not. I strongly suspect some rules-lawyering bigots are going to be out there trying to get around the intent here. Because some people are just assholes (a word which, by the way, is apparently still allowed in play).
Here, have a hibiscus. They’re pretty. And I get a kick that they grow in my yard here in Ohio. They’re out of place but thriving, which is something I, a native Californian, can empathize with.
Assholes are universal.
Supreme court kicked the can down the road to lower courts. They will be called upon to readjudicate after lower court decisions. If Trump is still president his buds can THEN rule for him. I have NO confidence in the Roberts court. Just waiting for the shoe to drop.
And as for treaties, Bush 2 and Trump have unilaterally abrogated a number of them. Any bets on whether Trump will nullify this one, too? And when it goes to SCOTUS…
We also got to see that Gorsuch has a flair for dramatic writing:
It should be a fucking flat hat if its going to get eaten.
Related to masking…
This is an important paper, just published by the National Academy of Sciences.
Not a long paper, and it has a short, readable abstract. Here’s the takeaway:
The majority of C-19 infections are produced by asymptomatic or presymptomatic cases. These “silent” infections are the PRIMARY way the disease spreads.
Isolating people who are visibly sick will not stop the spread of the disease. The only way this gets controlled is a very high level of contact tracing and sequestering of exposed people, along with almost everyone in the general population wearing the goddamned mask.
If we don’t do that we’re going to end up having to shut down a whole lot tighter than we did in April, and no one is going to like that.
– pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. Dragon Dictate in training! ]
— Ctein’s Online Gallery. http://ctein.com
— Digital Restorations. http://photo-repair.com
“the nearest Starbucks is like 11 miles away”
You live in a Starbucks dead zone? Is that even legal?
Lovely to be reminded that lil Donny is not, in fact, a monarch.
I’m not too pleased about the precautions come lately or the hour-long drive through waits in which they will result (masks or no, I’m not standing in line at any of the stamp-size Starbucks in my neck o’ the woods).
Still, the never-ending string of Covidiot Karen freak-out videos will help to pass the time.
And cue the right wing “PC libturds are ruining Scrabble! “kvetching.
Finally, like you, I look forward to watching the situation in Oklahoma unfold; it’s always nice to see a measure of justice done.
Scrabble tournaments at all levels are now going to have to enforce the new rules. I have not yet reviewed the entire list of non-qualifying words, but I am reminded of what happened lo those many years ago when AOL tried to crack down on words that might refer to pr0n in chat room names, and we ended up with “Hooter Cancer Survivors” chat rooms…
I assume a lot of the banned Scrabble words are just derivations of other words, eg plurals and so on. Still, 236 seems like a lot. Maybe I just don’t have a large vocabulary.
The Tax Records decision was suboptimal but not terrible. There were actually two cases there – one with SDNY getting the records (they can!) and one for Congress (the Court says that Congress can get these but they need to prove they want them for a legislative reason). The 2nd is dumb – the law literally says “Congress shall be provided” the information and it doesn’t mention any additional qualifiers.
The practical effect is that the public almost certainly won’t see these until after the election but it maintains at least the illusion that Trump and the Presidency are subject to law. I think the Roberts Court specifically didn’t want to buy into the “Invincible Executive” theory because they know it would apply to Biden in about 6 months, too.
In sum: The Roberts Court sucks but it could suck a LOT more. It is probably sucking less at the moment for political and not legal reasons.
Say, do you read this stuff?
Thanks for the reminder about Buchanan.
I wonder if after Trump leaves office (hopefully in 2021) we’ll have a Civil War, with deep Red states in the middle and south of the US declaring independence from the north and west. And Florida just keeping on being Florida.
And having now thought through that timeline, I wonder if the CV19 pandemic and the POTUS government handling may actually STOP the above scenario from coming to pass?
1. Trump can be proud of himself. He is 1,000 times worse than any other US president. He’s set a record. That oughta give him something to brag about among his fellow inmates.
2. The Supreme Court has surprised me by remaining independent. I don’t agree with every ruling they’ve made, but I’m happy that they’re doing their non-partisan job, for the most part.
3. On the mask thing — a mask requirement can easily be enforced in the same way smoking laws are enforced: fine businesses for non-compliance. This puts businesses in charge of enforcement. And that seems to work to keep people from smoking in restaurants.
4. Hoping “gypsy” is off the Scrabble list
This article contains a few of the banned words. You’ve been forewarned.
There’s a good article at Just Security that talks about why the SCOTUS rulings are pretty solid and solidly bad for Trump. I found it reassuring.
“236 racial and -phobic slurs”
That many? I thought myself widely read, and I know my share of peckerwoods, but, that many?
I wonder if they list the VT/NH term ‘Masshole’ (Massachusetts tourists)
If you ever do have occasion to eat a non-edible hat, boiling might help ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Werner_Herzog_Eats_His_Shoe )
Trump may not be the worst president we’ve ever had (though I for one would argue the point), but he’s far and away the least qualified, and pretty clearly the worst person ever to become president.
A list of words is here: https://scrabbleplayers.org/w/Slurs
Link is SFW, all slurs are scrambled.
Hey, hey, hey. Don’t badmouth Buchanan. Yeah, he was bad. (And this is coming from a Pennsylvanian.) But Trump Bad? Nah!
On the Scrabble thing: in New Zealand, the Broadcasting Standards Authority does a proper survey every few years to find out what words are actually offensive to the community. They also ask about context — is this word appropriate in daytime news, is it appropriate in dialogue for a late-night crime show, etc.
Does anyone else find it a bit skeevy that the Oklahoma thing came about because a guys rape defence wasn’t “I didn’t do it” but was “technically you can’t prosecute me because of where I allegedly did it”?
The good thing about the Trump tax decision things is that it will keep a spotlight on it. Hopefully Biden’s gang will be able to spin the light fantastic and make the fight worse that what the taxes might actually show.
Good to have a treaty finally enforced.
Scrabble probably banned at least a hundred words that none of us thought were slurs.
That is the first hibiscus that I have seen from Ohio, it looks happy.
I need to stay away from talking about COVID for a while.
“Trump may not be the worst president we’ve ever had (though I for one would argue the point), but he’s far and away the least qualified, and pretty clearly the worst person ever to become president.”
Andrew Jackson masterminded genocide. Warren G. Harding was sleazier, more corrupt, and a bigger criminal. Then you have Dubya, who led us into the biggest overseas child-killing misadventure in a long and storied history of US overseas child-killing misadventures, capping it off with the Great Recession. Then Nixon, Buchanan, etc.
Trump’s not even close to being the worst president we’ve ever had, or even the worst human being in that role. He doesn’t even makes the top (bottom?) five.
“I wonder if they list the VT/NH term ‘Masshole’ (Massachusetts tourists)”
Here we have “Manasshole” (Manassas peckerwood, usually dude, usually drunk, comes to party in the ‘burbs, ends up fist-fighting and urinating on people’s lawns).
Thank you for the gorgeous hibiscus photo, John! :-) A beautiful, peaceful nature photo to brighten my day.
Wait until you find out how “Miranda rights” came about.
Which is to say good law does not require good defendants.
So the cis white males are going to hand over half of Oklahoma to the Native Americans? HAHAHAHAH, I’ll believe it when I see it.
On the Oklahoma case, I think the court is just saying that Congress forgot to write down that they were taking away the land that had been promised in perpetuity. The basis of the decision is more incorrect paperwork than morality.
Fatman: I’ll put in a terrible word for Woodrow Wilson who actively made the US more racist. (Like, actively segregated the federal government.) And then there was the whole Treaty of Versailles thing (not only his fault) and the League of Nations thing and, yeah, he was terrible.
Maybe, as a nation, we should put a little more effort into not picking terrible people to be president? That would be nice.
re: Scrabble – glad it’s happened, should have happened years ago. Someone played the N-word in a Scrabble final a few years back, but was forced to withdraw it and play something else. Having it be explicitly banned beforehand would have helped everybody there.
Is there an American President not complicit in the treatment of Native Americans?
JULY 9, 2020 AT 6:30 PM
Is there an American President not complicit in the treatment of Native Americans?
The closest to that would be … John Quincy Adams, whose diaries are filled with his efforts to force the US federal government to observe the treaties with the tribes, with whom JQ worked with closely, particularly in his later career in the House of Representatives.
It’s pretty hard to defend anything about Buchanan’s presidency as he enabled in every possible way he could the Secessionists to commit treason, steal the treasurey and much of the army’s armaments, and sent the US navy as far away from the US as possible beforeheand — and even before being sworn in, connived to appoint as many slavery positive federal judges as he could where appointments were possible and to help their election where the judges were elected not appointed.
But then when it comes to race relations of all kinds, again except for Adams Sr. and JQ — it’s just about impossible to find a US President who wasn’t awful. Grant did his best, for both African Americans and Native Americans. But he loved his corrupt friends too much, and they committed enormous havoc for the Native Americans.
Why yes, both Buchanan and this vile, malicious, miserable piece of shyte were traitors to the nation — they both took partisanship into that area of treason. Buchanan for his beloved south and southern friends and this one for his own insane purely personal drives.
The Oklahoma case has fascinating implications. Must the tribe (or the Federal Government) reimburse the State for improvements made o the land? (Think roads, schools, etc) Can the tribes charge back-rent (to 1907) for all buildings/businesses etc on their land?
The most probable result will be a bill in Congress retroactively breaking the treaty. It SHOULD come with reasonable compensation to the tribe, but when has Congress ever done something
a) reasonable and b) helping the Indians?
it’s just about impossible to find a US President who wasn’t awful
“Is there an American President not complicit in the treatment of Native Americans?”
Not that I know of. For the purposes of this comparison, I drew a line between “turned a blind eye to slaying and land theft” and “actively enabled and encouraged extermination”. But you’re right, it’s not much of an distinction.
“Maybe, as a nation, we should put a little more effort into not picking terrible people to be president?”
Statesmen are a reflection of society overall. They aren’t going to get better until we change. I’m not holding my breath.
“I’ll put in a terrible word for Woodrow Wilson who actively made the US more racist.”
Agreed. Better than Trump on middle/working class reforms and misogyny, somewhat worse on race.
Woodrow Wilson also went full totalitarian suppressive against the First Amendment to make sure no one voiced negativity of any sort regarding US intervention in WWI. Outrageous in itself, but far worse was the side effect that there was essentially no news or information regarding the influenza outbreak as it was happening, as that would be bad for morale. So no one in the military had any idea what they were dealing with, and the draft, and shipment overseas of carriers, proceeded full speed. The virus got a giant leg up thanks to Wilson to kill people world-wide.
So, yes, Trump’s handling of COVID-19 has been a disgraceful disaster, but it’s not yet at the tens of millions killed level Wilson enabled.
Clearly, it will be a hat made of churros.
John … As a native Californian who lived for eight years in Lebanon, Ohio … I share your enthusiasm for those few plants that can thrive in both places. The hibiscus being, by far, the showiest. We had pink dinner-plate sized hibiscus growing around our pond. So much more fun to think about than current events. Thank you for the Whatever. I find it refreshingly honest.
“Well, where do people think these politicians come from? They don’t fall out of the sky. They don’t pass through a membrane from another reality. They come from American parents and American families, American homes, American schools, American churches, American businesses and American universities, and they are elected by American citizens. This is the best we can do folks. This is what we have to offer. It’s what our system produces: Garbage in, garbage out. If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you’re going to get selfish, ignorant leaders. Term limits ain’t going to do any good; you’re just going to end up with a brand new bunch of selfish, ignorant Americans. So, maybe, maybe, maybe, it’s not the politicians who suck. Maybe something else sucks around here… like, the public. Yeah, the public sucks. There’s a nice campaign slogan for somebody: ‘The Public Sucks. Fuck Hope.” ~George Carlin.
I solved a puzzle on the fivethrityeight website a few months ago. The problem was to find the highest possible scoring New York Times Spelling Bee honeycomb. I used a computer to run through all possibilities. The solution to the problems involved all words containing the letters “e”, “g”, “i”, “n”, and “r”. I was heartbroken to have to check, and confirm, that the n-word was in the list provided by the puzzle creator.
With respect to the Oklahoma reservation decision, is it just me, or is it sort of weird that Roberts, the strict constructionist, is basically saying “I opposed this because it would have wide-ranging and possibly negative effects downstream”? It seems legally and morally clear that the US government should be required to honor its treaty with the Creek, and while Roberts may be right about the consequences, that seems like it’s neither here nor there with respect to the text (and intent!) of the original legislation establishing the reservation. (With the usual caveats – I’m not a lawyer and haven’t read the text of the decision, etc.)
I guess I take it for granted that the Starbucks here in CA requires it. I’m so use to wearing my mask (and face shield) when I go outside that it never dawned on me. I assumed that it was already a policy corporate wise.
I’m bothered by the SC wuss-out more on principle (by existing law, Trump should have lost, full stop) than by any potential effect on the election. At this point the electorate is irreversibly divided into people who want to vote for Trump and people who don’t want to vote for Trump. The first group is going to vote for him no matter how much of a criminal he turns out to be. So it remains to persuade the members of the second group who aren’t already planning to vote for Biden to actually do so. But that needle isn’t going to move as a result of seeing Trump’s finances in all their corrupt glory.
Mongoose (and everyone else):
I was stationed in Oklahoma in the 1980s. Let’s just say that the judiciary there was not… renowned… as even-handed. And still isn’t: https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/usa-judges-deals/ . That goes for both the guilt phase and the penalty phase; the proportion of traffic offenses bumped to the maximum for military personnel was rather astounding.
So leaving aside the whole “Most criminal procedure rights are because someone who was really guilty stood up against unfairness” (a slight paraphrase from my criminal procedure professor on the first day of class, and if you studied criminal procedure you used either his casebook or his reference materials at some point) thing epitomized by Ernesto Miranda, there’s a decent chance that Mr McGirty is innocent of one or more of the offenses he was accused of and didn’t get a fair trial. Rather like Clarence Gideon. Reason enough… especially since the criminal standard is “reasonable doubt” for good reason.
Plus there’s that whole “we’re having second thoughts about the consular-notification cases after the way the Texas and Oklahoma courts have abused them and this is the best we can do to rethink it” thing, but that’s definitely going off-topic.
From the scrambled list of words banned in Scrabble, I found “aehlosss”, so apparently the word you used is not appropriate for Scrabble.
Scrabble has no authority over your blog, of course.
” there’s a decent chance that Mr McGirty is innocent of one or more of the offenses he was accused of and didn’t get a fair trial”
I’m not getting that impression. McGirt isn’t contesting his guilt in the case, and there doesn’t seem to be any of the usual “wrongful conviction” talk around the case.
> I will eat my hat (it will be a hat I specially make to be edible, but even so).
This would be the scalziest of all burritos
The financial records not being released before the election doesn’t bother me. It is not going to tell me anything that I don’t already know. What I DO care about is that Vance gets the evidence he needs to indict him.
hmmm… Burrito hat… Danish shoes… Canadian bacon socks… cream cheese shaving cream…
Heinlein’s Law: “stupidity is a death sentence”
Wertenteil’s Axiom: “stupidity will kill fivefold more Americans during a pandemic than the virus would have”
bitter NYC joke: life insurance not paying out for dead nurses because it was obviously suicidal behavior working in hospitals…
then swap out “nurse” for “elementary school teacher” or “student” or “football player”… gonna be a need for a lot of smallish caskets come the next school year…
@Fatman I disagree. It isn’t POSSIBLE to be more corrupt than Trump is. His corruption started three months before he took office with inauguration shenanigans and it continues today. Plus, he has his entire family installed in his administration grifting left and right. Just today the courts struck down his attempt to roll back nutritional standards for public school students. The same students he’s trying to force back into school in the middle of a pandemic because he thinks it would make him look good. He installed Betsy DeVos to oversee the educational system, when she can take time out from drinking the blood of newborn infants. He’s rolled back environmental regulations to pre-Nixon levels. He placed thousands for small children in cages separated from their parents. He mocks the parents of a deceased Medal of Honor winner in front of thousands, he mocks disabled people in front of thousands. He’s made it cool to be a nazi or a kkk member again. Nope, he is infinitely more evil than Dubya ever even conceived of being. The only reason Trump /hasn’t/ masterminded a genocide is that he isn’t smart enough to figure out how to do it.
Agreed on all but the last bit.
You could make the case that Trump’s antics throughout this pandemic have been genocidal, even if unintentionally (I don’t think this is the case) so.
No one has done more to promote the spread of this virus than Trump and, I don’t believe for a minute that he is unaware of how deadly or contagious it is.
That said, I won’t dismiss the possibility that Stephen Miller (an evil mastermind in his own right) and some others are whispering little do-nothings in Trump’s ear and “guiding” his decisions.
My only wish is that trump spend his remaining years penniless, stripped of all assets. Same goes for all his family members who fattened their wallets on government grift. its the nicest thing we could do for all the needless deaths they caused.
Read a comment about right kvetching about the banned scrabble words – actually I don’t think they will notice. Here is my coastal elitism on display: Scrabble severely disadvantages those without decent education.
1. Trump should have released his taxes. People shouldn’t have been willing to vote for him unless he did. But, that is their choice and his.
2. They probably are unflattering and show morally and legally ambiguous transactions at the very least.
3. A very dirty politician’s taxes are going to look a lot cleaner than a very clean businessman’s. The businessman has the expectation of privacy. The politician knows he will have to release them. All his/her dirty stuff will be through corporations, trusts or other entities that provide a distancing and obfuscatory effect. Add to that the fact that tax law and compliance especially for complex entities is exceedingly contradictory and difficult and there is basically a 100% chance that there are materials for multiple scandals to be seen in his taxes. A good read on this is Five Felonies a Day, which shows how average citizens are actually commuting multiple felonies every day largely due to complex and unjust bureaucratic laws. So yes, there is dirt in Trump’s taxes.
4. Getting Trump is all well and good, but there is this thing about prosecutorial discrimination. You generally need to have very specific cause to be allowed access to private records. You aren’t supposed to be able to just go through your political enemies’ stuff hoping to find something to hang him with. The idea that Trump’s enemies want to use the court system to dig through his stuff, and throw dirt at him before an election, does not exactly suggest the moral high ground is being taken here.
5. Trump already has some pretty fair claims that he has been unjustly investigated and persecuted purely for political purposes.
6. Going after Trump legally in a big way before having one’s ducks in order has backfired a couple of times already.
“Trump already has some pretty fair claims that he has been unjustly investigated and persecuted purely for political purposes.”
I really don’t want to get into a debate about the Mueller investigation and the Steele Dossier, and the impeachment. Whether these things were done in good faith, or just political hit jobs. To me, it’s obvious enough what they were as to be uninteresting And frustrating to debate with people who believe otherwise. I don’t want to be in the position of defending Trump who I don’t like and haven’t voted for.
Just because the target is someone I don’t like doesn’t mean that all attacks against him are right and good.
You may think that all these things were right and good and proper. Which is fine! We can all have our opinions. If you do, than we probably can’t have a meaningful discussion.
1) Those investigations, though, could likely have been minimized (both practically and politically) if Trump had showed his cards. Quick responses would have both made the investigations shorter (or made it really clear that his opponents were making them longer) and would have removed the implication that by not showing the evidence that he was hiding something not good, If he had shown principle in any context, it might be possible to believe that he is withholding information on principle, but that doesn’t appear to be consistent with anything else that he has done as President. With the cards that did get shown in those and other investigations, the presumption is that he’s hiding something really bad. His lack of transparency makes it much easier for people to believe the worst of him, particularly with what he actually says and tweets.
2) If people suck, then we’re sort of screwed, no? The limitations of the federal government are designed to keep bad people from seizing as much power as they can get by pitting them against other bad people with similar goals, but eventually evil won’t be thwarted. And no government doesn’t help, because that only works if people are angels, and we aren’t. The illusion that we can be good (or the belief that we can be better) is useful because that seems to be what Trump and his supporters lack (a coherent moral context other than “Because I want it.”) and it seems particularly destructive – a world where people are getting what they can seems like a world where no one will be getting anything (but dead) for long. (Maybe a nihilist world is better than a hypocritical world where we look like we’re trying to be better but just want what we want – at least the nihilist world is self-limiting while the hypocritical one can go on and on because people’s identities are hooked up in doing good even to the benefit of bad people and lots of people remain in hock).
Translation: I made an extremely controversial and partisan remark in a public forum and do not wish to be challenged.
Message received. Conversation over.
Also, thank you for listing the “attacks” as I requested. Now I know where you stand.
A link to the list of banned scrabble words http://www.seattlescrabble.org/expurg.php
To be perfectly blunt. There is no honest case that either the Mueller investigation or the impeachment can sanely be described as a “political hit job”. They were, in fact, unnecessarily restricted and timid probes (although I do have some sympathy with the reasons for the timidity) that did, however, establish (in the case of the Mueller investigation) that Trump would likely have faced serious criminal charges except for the DOJ policy of not charging a sitting president and (in the case of the impeachment) that Trump should have been removed from office for gross abuse of presidential power..
(The Steele dossier is another matter, but is also not particularly important in the sequence of events.)
1. If I were to feel that my enemies were using the legal system to come after me in bad faith, I would consider myself stupid not to resist and fight back and be as noncooperation as legally possible.
2. I think I agree with you that it is very hard for our system to work in the absence or ethics and morality. I believe Madison said something in the Federalist papers to that effect.
“ To be perfectly blunt. There is no honest case that either the Mueller investigation or the impeachment can sanely be described as a “political hit job”.
You managed to accuse me of dishonesty and insanity in your first sentence.
Hard to have a polite and friendly discussion after that (at least for me,). And, I don’t want the other kind.
But be well, and thanks for the reply anyway.
Same thing for Sarah. I’ll leave now.
Probably, but if good faith isn’t an effective counter to bad faith, then we’re sort of screwed. It also makes Trump’s public statements even more problematic – he can’t easily return fire saying “I’m being screwed by my political opponents” and expect support from unbiased people, because he’s cried wolf so many times (and lied often enough) that his words are not an accurate indicator of his position. The default of “^%& you, you get nussing!” in combination with the rest of his words is counterproductive – it lends credence to his opponents and makes it hard for him to get support when he should get it (as opposed to when it demands or wants it). In the case that he’s being unfairly investigated, being transparent would be acting in his self-interest.
When all else fails, flounce.
Still, if it’s good enough for the president…
Just Saying. “The idea that Trump’s enemies want to use the court system to dig through his stuff, and throw dirt at him before an election, does not exactly suggest the moral high ground is being taken here. … 5. Trump already has some pretty fair claims that he has been unjustly investigated and persecuted purely for political purposes.”
What a bunch of horse shit. Totally partisan accusations against the democrats with zero evidence, and then a “i dont want to get bogged down in details” when challenged for even one example. Fucking horseshit. But hey, standard operating procedure for the die-hard trumpinators these days. Cause horseshit is all they got left.
“I really don’t want to get into a debate about the Mueller investigation”
Hey, look at that. More “lemme make an accusation but then duck out before the facts catch up with me” bullshit. For the historically and factually challenged, Mueller was appointed to head the special investigation by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Rosenstein, for the amnesiatic idiots, was appointed deputy attorney general by Donald Mother Fucking Trump himself. And Mueller, for the fucking clueless, is a registered Republican.
For those who cant keep up, that means a republican appointed a republican who appointed a republican to investigate a republican. And ever since, the insane folks of the right wing have been decrying Mueller’s investigation as a witch hunt from the DEMOCRATS???
As for Muellers investigation, he was constrained from making any direct recommendations of lawbreaking or impeachment against Trump. That was why whenever the subject came up, Mueller danced around the issue so much. Mueller was tasked with investigating russian interference into the 2016 election and russian ties with trump’s campaign and administration officials. He did not have authority to make a judgement on impeaching trump. He was forbidden to do so.
On russian interference, he indicted two dozen russian intel officers for interfering with the election. And with regard to Trumps staff, mueller put half a dozen of them behind bars, mostly for hiding their ties to russia. As for trump himself, mueller could only give his evidence to congress, and let them impeach Trump. Which congress did.
And all of that was done with Trump stonewalling all requests for documents and ordering all adminstration people to ignore subpeonas.
But sure. It was a “democrat” “witchhunt”.
I’ll eat my own (in this case, it’s a mini white chocolate raspberry cheesecake) hat if he/she follows the common flouncer’s tradition of returning “one last time” to defend his/her honor against the mean ole liberal, witch-hunting bullies.
On a side note, so used and abused is the word bully and its grammatical forms that it should be charging by the hour.
I also love the poorly disguised whataboutism, the hypersensitive mischaracterization of Michael I’s post and the rush (out of the left side of the mouth) to disavow (out of the right side of the mouth) a man he/ she rabidly, albeit inadequately, defends.
Just once, I’d like to see a Trumpist post with the courage of his/her convictions and take the lumps that come with it.
Just admit that what he may or may not have done is immaterial as long as he stays in power and protects your interests.
Sarah: “Just once, I’d like to see a Trumpist post with the courage of his/her convictions”
But at the heart of their “convictions” is the notion that they should be able to lie and not have truth get in their way. The whole “fake news” accusation is just man-babies crying about actual news proving them wrong. The whole “politically correct” accusation is just man babies crying about how they cant say bigotted bullshit nowadays without someone calling it the bigotted bullshit it is.
The 150 signatories on JK Rowlings letter are all men, but one, and all white, but one. And they all are upset that they cant say their bigotted nonsense anymore in a world where everyone was too afraid to call it waht it is. Trump’s one and only campaign promise to make america great again is a dogwhistle to the 50’s where being gay was illegal, blacks were segregated, and the KKK made sure people were terrified to stand for equality. The letter is a desire for white men to get back to the time where white men could say anything and everyone else was too afraid to disagree. Trumps biggest supporters want to bring back that fear so no one will disagree with them.
Trump supporters are the most triggered snowflakes of 2020.
Avram Davidson (I think) wrote a short story about what happened after the US Government broke a treaty with a tribe that was to be honored “As long as the grass grows and the sun shines” -the tribe called in their chips.
“5. Trump already has some pretty fair claims that he has been unjustly investigated and persecuted purely for political purposes.”
Trump’s defense during the impeachment trial went from “he didn’t do anything”, to “okay, he did something, but it wasn’t wrong”, to “okay, what he did was wrong, but suck it, snowflakes”. That’s… not a great defense.
“6. Going after Trump legally in a big way before having one’s ducks in order has backfired a couple of times already.”
Again, not really.
Trump’s supporters doubled down post-impeachment. His opponents didn’t buy into “The President can do whatever he wants” argument, and neither did “undecided” voters. The vote in the Senate split almost exactly down party lines.
Agreed on all counts, hence my remark upthread about the Scrabble kvetching.
All of their whining and blustering comes down to abject panic.
Underneath the concentration camps at the southern borders (never hear about European or Canadian “aliens), the abandonment of Puerto Rico, the outright lies about BLM and the bare-faced fight for “murican” freedoms is the need to protect the preferred ethnic and cultural composition of this country.
One of their worst nightmares is the destabilization of the English speaking, Christian, CIS gendered and heterosexual white male as the figure emblematic of “true” and “appropriate” Americanism.
Obama’s two-term presidency and the prospect of a female president made them soil their undies and devolve into apoplexy, so much so that they overcorrected with Trump.
The gory consequences for marginalized folks are just icing and sprinkles.
Generalizations are terrible, and for good reason.
Still, I don’t need to have met all sixty-three million Trump supporters to know what kind of people they were in 2016.
I don’t need to meet the current ones to know what kind of people they are.
Here’s why. This is no longer about what we suspect anymore (that’s bad enough); it’s about what we know.
What we know is that more than 130,000 people lost their lives on Trump’s watch.
We know that millions more were infected.
We know that countless others will contract and/or lose *their* lives as the pandemic continues.
We know that he is actively working to hasten the spread of what claimed them, up to and including threats to defund public schools that don’t expose millions more to covid and to sue states who did not reopen.
We know that he has advocated for a degree of force and “domination” in ways he did not when whites, white supremacists and covidiots took to the streets in support of his plans.
We know that he has advocated for medically unsound and potentially deadly practices in order to bring said plans to fruition.
We know that he had foreknowledge of this virus and chose to sit on it for his own purposes.
We know that he has and continues to downplay the threat it poses, falsely likening it to the common flue and employing xenophobic nicknames in an effort to obfuscate the truth about how things got so dire in *this* country.
We know that this is all within the last six months.
Most importantly, we know that his acolytes are perfectly aware of and in full-throated support of all of the atrocities enumerated above.
Every. Single. Person. Who casts a vote for Trump in November condones everything we *know* he’s done this year and, without a first thought, either handwaves or indorses everything we suspect.
And you’re 1,000 percent correct on that last point; some of the best and most hilarious examples are the accusations of bullying from Larry, the racist “you’re welcome” from Curly, and the “I can’t prove my point or handle impolite challenging so I’m flouncing” from Moe.
All in all, not a very impressive showing.
We know that countless others will contract covid and/or lose *their* lives as the pandemic continues.
And Hibiscus plants are the same as coffee plants, leading us to the stream of thought about Starbucks and you should put your damn mask on!
Scalzi — I’m impressed that you have hibiscus in Ohio and even more that it looks happy. When I was a kid in Hawai’i, we had a hibiscus bush. I have trouble imagining it surviving a midwestern winter let alone flourishing.
When I lived in Seattle, there were a couple of house with palm trees that I drove or rode by regularly. They survived on but didn’t exactly flourish. Probably more Californians.
And I agree with other commenters that a hat burrito would be your ultimate creation. I doubt you’ll have any reason to make one though.
Trump and his supporters decry cancel culture? Well, here’s long hypocritical list of times trump tried to get people “canceled” for saying things he didnt like.
You’ve certainly made strong points both about the fallacy of my original post and my cowardice in flouncing and not facing the music when being shown how wrong I was.
Thank you for taking the time to share your viewpoint. I’ll think on what you’ve said and try to be better.
While it was never my intention to improve you, change your mind or sway you (I find that trump supporters, even of the nose-holding, half-hearted variety, have their minds well made up), I’m glad you found something to consider.
Incidentally, Michael I, Iamthemfshorepatrol and Fatman make compelling counterarguments worth considering and answering.
If you don’t mind my asking, what was your intent?
Multiple courts (including SCOTUS) have ruled multiple times, that no American citizen is above the law. Trump continues to claim to this day that he is above the law. Therefore, since Trump is above the law, he must not be a citizen. Not a citizen – deport him. His words, his policies.
I just want to say that Every. Single. Person. who voted in Canada for Justin Trudeau to be prime minister did not agree with or condone the several times he wore blackface. If his own party members kept silent, did not disagree with him doing blackface, then that was from their party loyalty, not from individually agreeing. I am sure he will not do so again.
In fact many Canadians have taken part in Black Lives Matter protests, as have many British. The latter went so far as to topple statues. (Maybe Canadian have too, I don’t know,I don’t watch Canadian news)
Initially, I wanted you to be more specific about how, in your opinion, Trump is a victim.
Your refusal to elaborate and your deliberate misreading of Michael I’s post put you in the category of nearly every Trumpist I’ve encountered here at the Whatever over the last few months.
With one exception, all do the equivalent of heaving a grenade into a crowded tent and running.
Most importantly, every single one of them tiptoes around what they really think.
For example, if you’re fine with Trump’s employment of foreign entities because you agree with the results and because it demonstrates a ruthlessness you admire, state it plainly.
If you believe keeping a democrat, female and /or Clinton out of the Oval Office was worth burning down the nation, alienating our allies and being beholden to our long-time adversary, admit it.
If you truly believe that Trump is and should be above the law, submit that argument for consideration and brave the Buzzsaw.
To be frank, I am fresh out of patience for republicans and conservatives, Trump supporting republicans and conservatives in particular.
I am especially contemptuous of those republicans and conservatives who, out of fear, “party loyalty” or a genuine hatred for people from marginalized groups, engage in whataboutism and studiously ignore or twist the facts to suit their flimsy and reprehensible arguments.
Also, and this bears repeating, I despise the ones who throw rhetorical stink bombs into a wide audience and run from the reactions, reactions that they wanted all along.
You read like one of that variety and I treated you accordingly.
As I said, Michael I, Iamthemfshorepatrol and Fatman have taken the trouble to engage your argument.
Will you engage them?
-Thanks for the forthright answer.
-I quoted Michael directly.
– No, I won’t be engaging. It doesn’t look to be the kind of discussion that’s good for me, and the thread will probably close Soon anyhow.
-so it doesn’t appear that I am being coy or deceptive, I will try to explain:
I used to spend way too much time on the internet getting into horrendous flame wars. Afterwards I felt small petty mean, diminished and vaguely ashamed.
I promised myself I would only say things to people on the net that I would say to their face, that I would be pleasant and polite. I try to have nuanced non binary discussions, and not ones that are going to get charged or angry.
If I feel that that is not going to happen, I pull back.
So it’s my fault, not yours. My problem not yours. I am not dodging because I am afraid to engage. I’m dodging because I don’t want to be an asshole.
Do you understand?
First, thank you for the explanation.
If this is the case, you might have considered your audience and the content of your posts.
You knew you weren’t posting into the void; you responded, where others could see, to a political observation that multiple posters share.
You had to expect that your argument would be met with dissention or “flames,” if you’d prefer that term.
Your history of emotionally draining and unhealthy online battles should have taught you as much.
I think you threw a stink bomb then bowed out when challenged to provide more explicit, more substantive support for your controversial claim.
In other words, you gave the impression of starting a “flame war” you never intended to finish.
This is common among pro-Trump posters here and elsewhere.
And yes, you cited specific bits of Michael’s post but refused to engage with the substance of his counterarguments.
You’ve done the same with Fatman’s and Iamthemfshorepatrol’s.
Let me be clear, at the end of the day, you don’t owe anyone a fight. If nothing else, this pandemic is cast-iron proof that life is too short and fragile to spend it on things that do not make us happy.
That said, knowingly angering people (I doubt you’re so naïve as to be unaware of the implications of your initial post) and flouncing when challenged came off intellectually lazy and “asshole” adjacent.
That may not have been your intention but that’s certainly how it read.
Ultimately, I and others have just as much right to criticize that as you do to duck out of the argument you initiated.
At any rate, have a good night.
– No, I won’t be engaging. It doesn’t look to be the kind of discussion that’s good for me, and the thread will probably close Soon anyhow.
So intellectually lazy. That deserves only contempt.
Just saying: “I’m dodging because I don’t want to be an asshole”
Too late. For example:
“You aren’t supposed to be able to just go through your political enemies’ stuff hoping to find something to hang him”
The new york prosecutor isnt doing that. You are implying they are. Thats you being an asshole. If they were doing a fishing expidition, the supreme court would have thrown the request out on its ear. That the supreme court granted them the right to access trumps taxes would reflect their investigation is following the rule of law. You attack it, with zero evidence, as being an illegal fishing expedition. Scotus acknowldged it as legit.
Ergo, youre being an asshole.
“Trump already has some pretty fair claims that he has been unjustly investigated and persecuted purely for political purposes.”
Again. Unfounded claim meant to discredit legitimate investigations into trump. An asshole move. Name the biggest investigation into trump that was “purely for political purposes”. It certainly wasnt Mueller’s investigation. 2 dozen russians indicted. Half a dozen trump staff behind bars is not “political”.
“Just because the target is someone I don’t like doesn’t mean that all attacks against him are right and good.”
Again, Mueller indicted 2 dozen russian intelligence officers for 2016 election meddling, which violates federal law, and also is highly anti democratic. Russian SPIES were trying to affect the election. Thats illegal. Also, half a dozen Trump staffers were put in prison. For things like lying to the fbi about their connections to russia which is obstruction of justice, bribing porn stars with campaign money to stay quiet which is a direct violation of campaign finance laws.
Maybe you dont CARE about those laws being broken, but they are laws, and Mueller got half a dozen of trumps staff guilty for them.
And, also, again, Mueller is a republican, appointed by Rosenstein, a republican, so whatever Mueller did cannot be laid at the feet of democrats as some baseless political witchhunt.
There is a difference between you not caring about these laws being broken and the idea that the investigation was a baseless, lawless, witchhunt. That you cant even be bothered to consider the difference is you, being an asshole.
“1. If I were to feel that my enemies were using the legal system to come after me in bad faith”
Who THE FUCK is acting in bad faith?????? MUELLER???? The republican? Appointed by Rosenstein the republican??? You are saying that Mueller did what he did because he was the political enemy of Trump???? Based on FUCKING WHAT BULLSHIT????
AGAIN, you discredit a legitimate investigation, portray it as democratic politcal.witchhunt when it was appointed by a republican and lead by a republican, and ignore 2 dozen russian spies indicted and half a dozen americans put in jail for breaking the law.
Also, and this is a relly fucking big point you fucking keep ignoring here: but Mueller NEVER INVESTIGATED TRUMP. That was never Mueller’s mission. He was assigned to look into russia meddling in the 2016 election and he was tasked with rooting out connections between russian meddling and Trump’s STAFF. MUELLER’S GUIDING STAR WAS THAT IT WAS OUT OF HIS AUTHORITY TO INDICT A SITTING PRESIDENT. MUELLER WOULD NEVER CHARGE TRUMP WITH ANYTHING. He accepted that as outside his authority.
So how the FUCK do you call it was coming after Trump when Mueller said up front his investigation would never indict Trump?
Witchunts sort of require hangings or burning at stakes or things like that. Mueller was never going to indict Trump. Ever.
You know what else witchhunts were notorious for? Spectral evidence. Unfounded evidence from the “spirit world”. Which just meant that prosecutors could throw accusations that had zero real world evidence to back them up, but were also impossible for the accused to refute.
And it sure seems like you’re slinging a lot of spectral evidence around. Calling investigations “witchhunts” while ignoring all the legal groundings they were based on. Mueller’s investigation wasnt a witchhunt. Russian spies did indeed try to influence the 2016 election. And a bunch of Trump’s staff broke a bunch of laws.
If you dont like it, thats on you. But it was as far away from a witchhunt as one can get. You calling a legit investigation a witchhunt is you, being an asshole.
Yup, knowingly initiating a contentious and potentially unhealthy discussion then bowing out is, if not contemptible, intellectually lazy.
For example, popping into a pro-BLM blogpost and thread with something like “Blue lives matter. The sooner blacks learn to respect that, the safer they’ll be” is bound to elicit strong, even confrontational reactions from other posters.
Here’s another. Coming into a covid focused thread primarily comprised of anti-racists and declaring that “widespread deaths in black and brown communities are solely attributable to inherent inferiority and poor diet “is unlikely to go over well with the participants.
Knowing this and balking when challenged is, at the very least, intellectually lazy.
Responding to challenges with something akin to “I’m above supporting my controversial statement” is intellectually lazy, and that’s the kind interpretation.
The less charitable one has to do with bridges and the like.
Anyone who can’t or won’t understand this has bigger problems than those that necessitate white-knighting.
The poster in question seemed to get it.
An outsider’s view of Trump.
He declares his candidacy. What in the what now? A moderately successful TV personality and somewhat less successful businessperson, whose catch-cry is “You’re fired!”? The American people will see this as the clown move that it is. Surely he will not prevail.
The Presidential tweets begin to issue forth. Fair enough; the British royal family’s embrace of then-novel forms of public engagement, such as radio & TV, may have been thought unseemly at the time. It’s worked out well for them on the whole, Diana and now Andrew notwithstanding. Trump, though? Exclamation points!!! ALL CAPS and Random capitalization? Why have his advisors not gently prised his phone out of his hands? He can’t possibly rally any support that way.
An endless stream of lies, misdeeds, bad management and attempted cover-ups. His catch-cry *still* seems to be “you’re fired.” Heck, the man is a one-person Cancel Culture on his own. The American people will certainly want, after this experience, someone less corrupt and less vindictive to represent them on the world stage.
Provided sanity and decency prevail, yes.
Without considering the poster’s prior history, I have some sympathy for a poster politely declining to engage further. I often take a long time to think about what I want to say, and sometimes a much longer time to write it. To try and do that with multiple posters tossing arguments out in all directions, on a blog with a 2-day time limit on responses – yeah, not super-productive.
That said, Republicans held something like 7 or 8 separate Congressional investigations on Benghazi, which was a personal tragedy but a pretty obvious nothingburger as far as wrongdoing goes, for the primary purpose of dirtying up Hillary Clinton as a presidential candidate. Clinton showed up and patiently responded for something like 11 hours. The only thing that Republicans got out of those hearings was the news that Clinton had set up her own email server for non-classified emails, which was again mostly a nothingburger, but one which Republicans hammered away at to try and create an impression of wrongdoing, and which thanks to Anthony Weiner not being able to keep his sexting in his pants and James Comey not being able to follow department policy and keep his mouth shut close to an election, may have cost her a close election to Donald Trump.
So it’s pretty rich for Republicans to be complaining about Congressional fishing expeditions for digging up dirt on a Presidential opponent. Even if that were an accurate description of what was going on here (it isn’t), I would still think a certain amount of turnabout was fair play. But in fact, most of the investigations so far that haven’t been completely stonewalled have in fact turned up significant evidence of wrongdoing, even if it wasn’t quite as bad as the worst case scenario envisioned at the start of the investigation. That’s a good reason to keep investigating.
And with respect to Trump’s taxes, specifically, every major presidential nominee since Richard Nixon has understood that presidential candidates, unlike ordinary private citizens, have a reduced expectation of privacy with respect to their taxes, making several years of their tax returns public for everyone to see. Every nominee except Donald Trump, who promised to make his taxes available “later” and then reneged on that promise as soon as he got elected, and has subsequently fought like hell to make sure that no one gets to see his taxes before the next election.
That raises the question of what might be in those taxes that he is fighting so hard to conceal from the voters. Maybe it’s just something personally embarrassing. Maybe it’s evidence that he was pushing and quite possibly crossing the legal limits of the tax laws – there’s the evidence the New York Times turned up in the old tax forms they discovered, and the stuff he was pulling with the Trump foundation to suggest there might be something like that there. Or maybe there’s something even worse. Given the strange way he treats Putin as opposed to essentially every other world leader, I wonder if there is evidence there that points to some sort of leverage the Russians have over him. It might not be obvious from the face of the tax return. You might need to be able to trace funds through various shell corporations and offshore bank accounts, and it’s possible that even a really good investigative reporter might come up blank even if there is something there. But just from the effort Trump has made to keep his tax return secret, it seems like there is something there he really doesn’t want the voters to see. That’s a good reason for the public to want to know what’s there before they vote. Unfortunately, it looks like Trump is going to be able to run out the clock to keep that from happening before the election.
My own brother being a Trump supporter, I did a little research on what conservatives are all about psychologically. Right-wing people believe at bottom that the world is a dangerous place (and hope that God will save them). Social-dominance people believe that the world is a jungle where the most dominant survive. Since Trump’s remarks reinforce these deeply believed sentiments, they respond emotionally. The liberal agenda is too broad, for them, it doesn’t take into account the fear-based reactions involved, which close your thinking down to sheer panicky survival. They feel threatened. And as many psychologists have pointed out, strong emotions cannot be reasoned with.
If I hadn’t noticed that there were precious few benefits for me, as a woman, in either of those views of life, I might still share them.
Dave:”Without considering the poster’s prior history, I have some sympathy for a poster politely declining to engage further. ”
I might buy it if they started out polite. But “just saying” didnt. JS started out with broad brushstrokes of character assassination against the entire democratic party. The new york prosecuters were on a fishing expedition. Mueller was political theater. The impeachment was a witchhunt. Then when called on it, JS flounced. And when called on the flounce, JS said it was to not be an asshole?
I might believe that if every post by Just Saying up to that point wasnt Just Saying being an asshole.
If some guy firebombs your house and then says “Sorry, but if I stay any longer, i might become an asshole and I wouldnt want that. Pip. Pip.” That shit doesnt fly.
Two posts above is a mention of the republican agenda, and “strong emotions cannot be reasoned with.” I remember when a republican memo was leaked, to say that their “family values” agenda was not to be attempted, because “the belief” was a hoax, empty of actual meaning. I forget the actual words. As best I recall, exposing the hoax had no effect on public opinion.
I think a cynic spoke truth when he said “to explain is to have already lost.” In a world of tweets and soundbites, thinking will not trickle down to the broad public.
As for democrats having too broad an agenda, I wonder if the democrats should come up with an empty slogan too, an emotional one. I suppose “hope and change” by the Obama team was nice enough, but maybe it lacked enough fear and anger. My dad liked, “Throw the bums out.”
I have patiences: It will take time before anyone’s subconscious can pop up a good slogan.
An adult, particularly one with a prior history of toxic internet interactions, might have thought more carefully about enumerating Fox News talking points for an audience that, by all appearances, is primarily comprised of non-Trumpists.
Furthermore, Just Sayin was explicit about his/her “prior history” of articulating for hostile audiences those very same talking points; assembling an aggregated, substantive response would have taken at least as much time and effort as did his/her deliberately incisive post.
People who want to be “productive” don’t toss stink bombs into tents then return to go “Yeah, Hah! I did it and don’t want to talk about it because it’s safer for me” when they get a negative reaction.
This person came to poke and fell into what, by his/her own admission, was an all-too-familiar buzz saw.
He/she wasn’t required to engage and, unless and until John had popped in to brandish the mallet, we weren’t required to be respectfully silent about it.
Those attitudes and their fruits are why I, for the most part, have written off most conservatives, republicans and libertarians. This is also why the sizable chunk of Trump supporters in their ranks are, to me, dangerous people.
Someone upthread made a reference to the kind of “party loyalty” that made Justin Trudeau’s racism tolerable.
His voters weren’t racists; they just held their noses because to do otherwise was disloyal.
Thing is, the Canadian phenomenon isn’t all that comparable to the American one in 2016, and it’s even less so now.
It might have been, had Trudeau gone from wearing blackface (this is bad enough) to emboldening white-supremacists, defending Nazis, enacting legislation and implementing policies that harmed communities of color; Trump’s genocidal pandemic response, his concentration camps and his full-throated support for lynching come to mind.
As I said, Every. Single. Person who casts a vote for Trump in the wake of all he’s done is anathema to me and an immediate danger to anyone who isn’t an English speaking, American born, wealthy, CIS gendered SWM.
Before long, he’ll be a danger to that segment of society, too, only then it’ll probably be too late.
With Trump supporters, we’re not just talking about anti-safety net social Darwinists, misogynist fetus worshippers or homophobic defenders of “traditional” marriage.
We’re not even talking about morally panicking 50s fetishists who abhor “premarital sex, career women,” interracial marriage, Hip Hop music/culture and pornography.
We’re talking about the kind of people who think that covid 19(these are the folks who actually believe it to be a real and present threat) is a necessary evil that will cleanse the American population of the unfit and undesirable.
We’re talking about the kind of people who think that the internment of children is A-Okay because they aren’t from Idaho.
We’re talking about the kind of people who have no qualms about lynching brown people and about those who will “defend, to the death, [they’re] right to [do] it” (Hall).