Sunday, July 3, 2022

Literary Corner: Confidence

Trump in 2018 stumping for Florida gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis in his beloved shtik about how "anyone can act presidential". 

Today, in another blast from the past, somebody tweeted an example of Trump actually attempting to act presidential in the normal sense of the term, during the last presidential campaign, reading a fairly simple statement about the kind of thing presidents normally talk about and getting tripped up by the Specific Reading Comprehension Deficit. Not in the most familiar way when he realizes he's misread a word in the text and tries to cover up the error—in this case he's looking for an error but can't find one; in fact he's not making any mistakes (other than a minor glitch between "the" and "an"), but can't believe it because he doesn't know what it means, what he's hearing coming out of his mouth sounds like complete nonsense to him, and he's really panicked.

So Think of That

by Donald J. Trump, July 2020

consumer confidence
which is great
that's a great number
to me because
that means confidence
is really good
if you don't have good consumer confidence
it's like life
if you don't have confidence
then you're not going to do very well
consumer confidence has risen twelve points
since April and six-month job expectations hit
the all-time
an all-time high
so think of that for a second
with all we go through
with all of the trials and tribulations
that we read about every night
much of it totally fake news
and if the consumer didn't get it
you wouldn't have good consumer confidence

we have
consumer confidence has risen
twelve points since April
an all-time high
think of that

Friday, July 1, 2022

Democrats Get in the Gutter But Not Like THAT Kind of Gutter

Who says we're hopelessly divided into camps that are unable to communicate with each other? Here's David F. Brooks of The New York Times ("Why on Earth Is Pelosi Supporting the Trumpists?") agreeing with Jeet Heer of The Nation ("Why Centrist Democrats Love Promoting Right-Wing Extremists") that the Democratic establishment ought to stop buying attack ads against "moderate" Republican primary candidates in what seems to be the hope of helping the wacky candidates become the ones Democrats will face in November.

Which seems to be what some of them have been doing:

In Illinois alone [writes Brooks], the Democratic Governors Association and Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker spent at least $30 million to attack a Trumpist’s moderate gubernatorial opponent. In Pennsylvania, a Democratic campaign spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on ads intended to help a Trumpist candidate win the G.O.P. gubernatorial primary. A political action committee affiliated with Nancy Pelosi worked to boost far-right Republican House candidates in California and Colorado.

Pritzker actually spent $32 million of his own money attacking Mayor Richard Irvin of Aurora, and the DGA another $18.4 million, which is certainly an awful lot—Irvin himself had a war chest of $50 million, from the Citadel hedge fund manager Kenneth Griffin, who's been mostly concerned with stopping Pritzker from replacing Illinois's flat income tax with a graduated one. Irvin, an African American veteran and former prosecutor who voted as a Democrat in the 2016 and 2020 primaries (Illinois has open primaries) and hedged publicly on his feelings about Trump, but not in text messages unearthed by WTTW-TV:

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Narratology: State of the Theory


Fall of the Winter Palace, St. Petersburg, October 1917

The most surprising news to me in the Tuesday hearing was the story that Trump really meant it on January 6 at the Ellipse:

And after this,
we're going to walk down,
and I'll be there with you,
we're going to walk down,
we're going to walk down.

I mean of course he was indeed lying about the walking part. It's two miles from the Ellipse to the Capitol, he hasn't walked anywhere near that far in 60 years and clearly can't, any more than he could walk the 700 yards with the G7 leaders in Taormina in 2017, when he had to chug behind them in a golf cart, and as Kayleigh McEnany recounted it, he seems to have pulled back from that notion pretty quickly:

Monday, June 27, 2022

Kristol Ball

Haven't given you all a good pundit prediction in a good long time, so here's one, with reference to tomorrow's surprise Select Committee session, 

to hear what the panel called “recently obtained evidence” and take witness testimony.

The hearing is scheduled for 1 p.m., according to a news release issued by the committee, in which it provided no other details about the surprise session.

Hearing some ideas of the usual celebrity golf type about the identity of the mystery witness—is it Ivanka? Is it Eric? or Alex Holder, the Brit filmmaker who has been making a documentary on the Trump family—

and worst of all, is it Ginni? as if Mrs. Thomas had enough of a grasp on reality to know anything at all (what her text exchanges with Mark Meadows show is that Meadows was pretty anxious to keep her sweet and make her feel heard (that is he didn't want her complaining about him to Trump), but not to carry out any of her suggestions or (more important) give her any information. If she does know something she's way too addled to be a useful witness. 

But there was this one idea that impresssed me:

That sounds plausible—Alexander's evidence for the committee is certainly "recently obtained"—and of course (motivated reasoning alert) that's what I'd really like to be true, because Alexander—organizer of the "Stop the Steal" movement in particular close touch with Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, Michael Flynn, Congressmembers seeking pardons (at least Mo Brooks, Paul Gosar, Andy Biggs, and conceivably drunk doctor Ronny Jackson) and especially ratfucker Roger Stone, the single person I would much rather imprison than Trump.

Alexander has provided the Committee with testimony before now, contrary to my tweet; he's been cooperating for a while (since back in December), but the three hours he gave them on Friday could easily have been on something new, related to all the new stuff about the Capitol invasion and its direction from outside the Capitol, or about its social organization as represented by the 47 participants in a group call of 30 December 2020, the time around which Thursday's hearing was focused.

It was known as F.O.S. — or Friends of Stone — and while its members shifted over time, they were a motley cast of characters.

There were “Stop the Steal” organizers, right-wing influencers, Florida state legislative aides and more than one failed candidate loyal to former President Donald J. Trump. One participant ran a website that promoted disinformation about the Capitol attack. Another was an officer in the Army Reserve allied with Michael T. Flynn, Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser.

At least three members of the group chat are now facing charges in connection with the riot at the Capitol in January 2021. They include Owen Shroyer, the right-hand man of the conspiracy theorist Alex JonesEnrique Tarrio, the onetime chairman of the Proud Boys; and Stewart Rhodes, the leader of the Oath Keepers militia.

Update: Bad call, Alexander is busy with the grand jury today.

Looks like this one:

She's terrific, judging from video of her we saw last Thursday (she was the one who listed all the congresscritters scrambling for pardons; asked about Marjorie Taylor Greene, she said, "I didn't interact much with Marjorie Taylor Greene.' making a really droll face). Her old boss Meadows is as central to the conspiratoriality as Alexander or more so—he was in the Oval Office, Alexander on the phone with Roger Stone, and I think Stone did more than Trump. Maybe DOJ is working my angle while the House Committee is working yours.

"Someone who isn't frightened of what's going to be done to their reputation"


Jeffrey Clark, the loathsome Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division who offered himself up as the Roy Cohn Trump was always saying he wanted, somehow had an aide in his office beginning in mid-December 2020, Ken Klukowski, who was simultaneously working for John Eastman, one of Donald Trump's private attorneys. It was Klukowski who drafted the letter to the governor of Georgia and leaders of the Georgia legislature dated 28 December that acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen and his deputy Richard Donoghue refused to send when Trump told them to:

Friday, June 24, 2022

For the Record: "The people, through their elected representatives..."


Sorry, make that "all or most".

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Wednesday Cheap Shots

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

For the Record: Prayers and Thoughts

A really awful Supreme Court decision handed down today in a church-state case from Maine, where a private-school voucher program to compensate for the lack of public high schools in rural areas forbade funding for "sectarian" schools in which religious instruction was part of the program: