Curb Your Bias

Last night on Twitter I posted the comment, “Once you realize the astonishing amount of bull**** which is believed by massive majorities, Clinton vs Trump makes sense” (though on Twitter, as it is a crude place, I didn’t use “****”) and it got a fairly high response for a Tweet by a guy with around 500 followers – 13 likes and 5 retweets. My follow-up Tweet, however, didn’t get any response, at all: “A lot of ‘likes’ for my Tweet about the amount of BS believed. Now, ask me what is BS so I can piss all you off, one by one”.

I can only assume I had no takers because people were a little wary of responding – which leads me to believe that what is BS is, for a lot of people, entirely subjective. People liked having it generally confirmed that everything is messed up because a lot of BS is believed, but weren’t quite ready to have their own beliefs examined under the BS-Detector.

Just how much of a BS detector I want to put out here is based upon just how mad I want to get every last person who reads this; because if I were to list all the BS, then it is bound to offend everyone at some point (and that is leaving aside The Issue Which Shall Not Be Named). But, for now, I immediately call to mind a time when I was effectively banned (actually, put on “audit” where my comments would be reviewed before being published) at a Catholic, Conservative website. Yep, Catholic, Conservative me so angered fellow Catholic Conservatives that I was banned. How? Well, in an historical discussion, I brought up the point that the French Revolution, at bottom, was set in motion because a collection of Bankers figured the only way they could collect on their government bonds (the royal government being de-facto bankrupt) was if the government would confiscate the wealth of the Church…which event would not happen as long as deeply Catholic Louis XVI was in charge.

This assertion just infuriated the guy running the blog – and I can only imagine it did so because he had a conviction that the fundamental reason for the French Revolution was a genuine aspiration on the part of the overwhelming mass of the French people for a Republic. I think the revolt in the Vendee kind of indicated otherwise – even without (I think it was Robespierre who said it) the understanding of the Revolutionary government that a free and fair vote of the people would amount to a recall of the Monarchy. At the end of the day, the Monarchy fell not because of a desire for a Republic, but because the Monarch ordered his troops to stand down when a howling mob of thugs assaulted his palace. A “whiff of the grape” at that time would have worked just as effectively as it did when Napoleon, commanded by the Revolutionary leaders allegedly in favor of liberty, equality and fraternity, blasted heck out a similar mob a few years later.

To me, it illustrated the habit people have of simply confirming their own biases. If there’s something a person disagrees with, they’ll look for reasons to support their disagreement even if it means ignoring evidence that it isn’t, perhaps, disagreeable. So, too, will people find reasons to support what they like, even if evidence exists that perhaps it isn’t so good. As for me, I can only figure that I’ve been lucky – over the past 10 to 15 years, I have come to appreciate that as everything is run by human beings who are Fallen from grace, even the best has some bad in it and even the worst can be explained. I’ve also come to understand that no person – or group of persons – is irredeemable. The worst rat you can think of can still be saved – but, also, the most angelic person can still err.

As it relates to right now, I think this is why I am just not all that upset about Trump – nor about the likely result of a Hillary Presidency that Trump represents. Not for me getting out there and being all fanatic #NeverTrump all day long. What is the point? Trump is a man who is doing things – as such, of course he’s doing some things wrong. It can’t be otherwise. Voting for Trump doesn’t make you either wicked or a fool, nor does voting against Trump garner you any virtue (and ditto with Hillary). Even if we had got our dream candidate, we’d still all be voting for a flawed human being who would make all sorts of mistakes. Naturally, I’d prefer if my choices in November were different from what they’re going to be, but these are the choices I’ll have and I’ll just have to make the best of it and pray that things come out as well as possible.

It is always good to keep in mind our own inability – no matter how smart or knowledgeable any of us are, there is still a vast amount we don’t know, and we’re not nearly as smart as we think we are. Herman Khan was a certified genius – yet the man routinely got lost going between his house and his office. The best course of action I can suggest is that when either pleased or angered by something, think it over a bit before you react. You’re first reaction is probably wrong – or, if not flat wrong, didn’t take into consideration all (or even most) of the factors involved. Curb your bias! Think a bit. Keep silent for a long while, if possible – the words you never write or say are words you never have to take back! Also, of course, if you write or say something you’re very likely to dig in and keep defending yourself, even when you’ve been proven a fool…better to not have to defend folly, you know?

36 thoughts on “Curb Your Bias

  1. Bob Eisenhower June 7, 2016 / 2:39 pm


    I don’t know why the Conservative Catholics got so angry but I can refute the claim the French Revolution was brought about by bankers looking to tax the Church.

    The land tax proposed was to tax the Church and the Nobles. And the nobles – who by definition included the bankers – rejected it (understandably) at the Assembly of Notables. That led to the National Assembly of the Estates General, which broke down. That lead to formation of a de facto Peoples’ governement. Later, when Louis dismissed the finance minister who had been keeping the plates spinning, the people thought he was manipulating the movement and open rebellion broke out.

    Also, saying the King could have done achieved with violence what Napoleon later achieved is to miss the operative word “later.” Napoleon fired on a crowd that had seen plenty of horror and Napoleon’s act was a very believable threat of the greater violence of which Napoleon was capable. Had the historically weak-willed King ordered violence against his people, the revolution would only have accelerated.

    Many factors created the revolution, factors developed over a century. Bankers were struggling to find their way same as everyone else and exerted influence when they could, but they were not in control to the revolution in any way.

    • M. Noonan June 7, 2016 / 2:54 pm

      Not tax the Church – confiscate it’s property, entirely. The Church owned about 25% of all the land in France (all of it purchased or donated over a thousand year period) and was also empowered to collect the Tithe. That was a lot of scratch. It was the only place in France to go and get some money – and it’s not like it was unprecedented: England and plenty of German States had confiscated Church property in the past, and handed off the proceeds to those who either had a lien on government, or were favored by those in charge of government.

      I don’t say it was the sole motivation – but it was a great motivator and we know that a lot of the anti-Monarchy propaganda was set afoot by the well-heeled, and the mob was often funded by rich people with an interest in forcing matters.

      I also don’t think the Revolution would have gone as it did save for this pressure from above – from monied interests. True, many reforms were demanded – but the King was inclined to grant them. People of good will were trying to make some sort of arrangement…but as long as there was a Catholic King there was (a) little chance of full confiscation or (b) keeping the confiscation secure (ie, Louis did eventually very reluctantly sign the Civil Constitution, but as long as he was in charge, there was always that prospect that the confiscated wealth might be returned to it’s rightful owners…he had to go).

      • Bob Eisenhower June 7, 2016 / 3:17 pm

        The King was absolutely not amenable to reforms, which is why the National Assembly locked out the third Estate, who then formed their own government across the street at a tennis court.

        Almost all moneyed interests – your so-called pressure from above – were destroyed in the Revolution, as elites are almost always destroyed in revolutions. The moneyed interests were the ones propping up the King, desperately keeping the financial wheels turning long after the engine ran dry.

        As for the Revolution being funded by rich people that is simply not true. Yes, the primary leaders on the movement were upper class, but that was because they were intellectuals whose education could only be gained by wealthy people. Descartes ideals (among many others) drove the Revolution, not because Descartes was elite but because only an elite had the time and freedom to study and think through such matters.

      • M. Noonan June 7, 2016 / 3:50 pm

        That I think is a misreading of what went on – the King, after all, called the Estates General…and showed himself full willing for major reforms in French law and economic life. The sticking point for him was the general structure of French society – he didn’t want that tampered with. Given what happened – massacres and 20 years of relentless warfare – it would have been better for France, and the world, had the general views of the French king prevailed. To take the opposite view is to merely hold to the idea that if it happened, it must have been for the best…in other words, it is to take a fundamentally Marxist view of the matter.

        It should also be kept in mind what the French Revolutionary leaders actually wanted – a top-down State encompassing the entirety of French life. Where’s liberty in that?

        Also, the rich didn’t support the King – the Nobles did, but they weren’t rich, at least in the sense of being money-rich. They had lands and a variety of feudal dues (which were rapidly atrophying, at any event), but they weren’t sitting on a pile of cash. Neither was the King. The Church also didn’t have lots of cash – but it had land which could be confiscated and sold for cash. The money backed the Revolution – just like it backed Napoleon when the money felt that the Revolution had gone far enough. Don’t be surprised about this – during the English Civil War every advantage was on the side of the King…except the money; it backed Parliament, and so the King was reduced by one head.

      • Bob Eisenhower June 7, 2016 / 5:49 pm


        You are spending an awful lot of effort equating the French Revolution with Marxism. There are parallels in any revolution but the revolutionaries of France did not go in with the ideal of a “top-down State encompassing all of French life.” They wanted to get rid of the aristocracy and chaos ensued, as happens in most revolutions.

        First off, this whole “they wanted to take Church land but the Catholic King stopped them” is complete nonsense. It was the King’s own finance Minister, de Calonne, who proposed reforms that included selling Church lands but the King was too weak to push it through at the Assembly of Notables. Louis toned down the rhetoric at the Estates to taxing the Church and Nobles and things went so bad he closed down the Estates.

        No, at best tangentially did taking Church property be an issue in the Revolution. Of course later, after several the governments formed and devolved the Church got quite a skewering, but that had little to do with the Revolution itself.

      • M. Noonan June 7, 2016 / 7:37 pm

        No, I’m saying your view of the matter is Marxist – that is, it takes the view that because something happened, it must necessarily have happened that way: there are no mistakes. Well, there are some fabulous mistakes out there. The French Revolution was one of them…instead of organic development towards a Constitutional monarchy and slow reform of things back towards a more just social and economic order, France went mad. You go on and defend the September Massacres if you want – I choose not to.

        But you’re also missing the larger point I’m making: Curb your bias. Think about it. Who benefited from the Revolution? Not the peasants who found it very hard going for a very long time after the Revolution was finished. Not the working class which had to wait until 1936 to get the legal right to go on strike. Not the Nobility. Not the Church. Who?

        The rich. That’s who.

        To give you a few more mistakes:

        The Irish War of Independence. Mistake.

        Breaking up the Hapsburg Empire. Mistake.

        Refusing to go along with replacing the Hohenzollerns with the Wittlesbachs. Mistake.

        Refusing to crush Lenin’s regime in the cradle. Mistake.

        Taking the Philippines as a colony. Mistake.

        Not taking Saipan and Tinian as a colony. Mistake.

        Not giving the freed slaves 40 acres and a mule. Mistake.

        Not hanging the leaders of the Confederacy. Mistake.

        Nuremburg tribunals. Mistake.

        Not just taking the Nazi leaders out one, fine morning and shooting them. Mistake.

        I could go on for quite a long time…

      • Bob Eisenhower June 7, 2016 / 5:52 pm

        Also, the bankers were part of the aristocracy, whether they came from noble blood or not. They feared Revolution as much as anyone, and they suffered in the Revolution as much as the other upper class folk. The Rothschilds abandoned their vineyards to escape, only to reclaim them again another day.

      • Amazona June 8, 2016 / 10:36 am

        I’m listening to an absolutely fascinating book, “Masters of the Air” about the air war in Europe in WW II, such a great book that I also just bought the Nook version because I want to be able to look up some of the info later.

        As it goes through the air war the list of mistakes is stunning. So are the close calls, where if a single decision had been different a lot of subsequent events would have been different, many to the detriment of the Allied forces.

        BTW, one thing that shows clear throughout the entire book is the fact that if the leadership back home had not remained steadfast in the need to win the war, hundreds of thousands of deaths would have been made irrelevant. In today’s world a determination to “stay the course” would merely be fodder for political ridicule and attacks.

      • Bob Eisenhower June 8, 2016 / 1:56 pm


        I don’t know how my view is biased towards Marxism. The Revolution was quite simple when painted with broad strokes. France was bankrupt and the King refused to negotiate reforms. Against a backdrop of a hundred years of Enlightenment philosophy and the success of the American Revolution, the Kings continued refusal of Third Estate reforms broke down the government until open revolt occurred. Chaos ensued and many forms of government rose and fell until, eventually Napoleon came on the scene to provide a decade of government stability.

        As for who gained by the revolution, it was not the rich. Nobody was the clear-cut winner, as families fortunes rose and fell many times over the next hundred years.

        As for histories mistakes…every significant point of history was either an unexpected outcome (a mistake) or was driven by a mistake. Alexander the Great would not have ruled but for mistakes. The Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock by mistake. Everything is a mistake in the larger context of history.

      • M. Noonan June 8, 2016 / 2:03 pm

        I didn’t say biased towards Marxism: I said your view is Marxist – in the sense that Marx held that History is a Grand Progress from Point A to Point Z; that what happened must necessarily have happened and that it all worked towards a pre-determined end. You’re wrong in viewing the French King as being against reforms – he initiated the reforms. He was a weak and hesitant king, but he realized full well that things had to change. He just didn’t want things entirely overthrown…but it was only by a complete overthrow of French life that Church property could be confiscated…so, those who wanted that confiscation engineered the overthrow. And this overthrow was done against the wishes of the overall mass of the French people, as indicated by the revolt in the Vendee and the fact that only by imposition of Terror could the Revolutionary leaders retain control.

      • Bob Eisenhower June 8, 2016 / 2:25 pm

        What part of my statement that every event in history is a “mistake” sounded like “History is a Grand Progress from Point A to Point Z” but those two statements seem mutually exclusive.

        Indeed, it is you who are stating the Revolution was a plan to strip the Church of property. In that case, point A (bankers want their money) led to point B (Revolution) and eventually to point Z (confiscation of Church property).

        I state that confiscation of Church property was one of thousands of random consequences of the Revolution. The rise of Napoleon was a random outcome of the Revolution. The establishment of the metric system was a random outcome of the Revolution.

        Perhaps it is you should who needs to check your biases. It seem you are the one with the Marxist view the Revolution was there to serve an anti-Catholic goal.

      • M. Noonan June 8, 2016 / 11:28 pm

        Well, now you’re changing how you write about it – but don’t get confused: I’m not saying you’re Marxist. I’m just saying that your original expressed views – at least as I read them – were of the Marxist variety of thought, even if not consciously on your part. Gotta remember, the Marxist view has massively penetrated the public mind. Even I have to shake myself free from it from time to time. As an aside, it is odd that there are only four really world-shaking philosophies…those expressed by St. Augustine/St Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin’s, Mohammed’s and Marx’. In the past 2,000 years, nothing much else has had as great an impact as those philosophies (though, of course, Marx merely crystalized out bits of thought put out by people as various as Rousseau and Hegel). Right now, though, Marxist thought is dominant – and it comes through with the basic idea people have that things are progressing from A to Z and thus what happened before was (a) inevitable and (b) what comes after is better than what went before.

        But you also miss that what is non-Catholic in the West is inherently anti-Catholic – can’t be otherwise. The civilization was founded (in social, economic and political terms, of course – Jesus is central, but for our discussion we’ll keep to purely human action) on the ideas of Augustine and Aquinas…Mohammed came between the two men (and a good deal of Aquinas’ work was refuting various ideas which had seeped in via Islam), but everything that came after was a refutation of what Augustine wrote and Aquinas expanded upon (and Augustine and Aquinas, while Catholic, took what good there was in Plato and Aristotle, thus fusing the Ancient with the Christian civilization). In Catholicism you have a complete system of thought – you don’t need anything else as all that relates to the human condition is covered (applied science is different – how we physically live is not actually as important as why we exist, at all, and what we’re supposed to do as we live). Since that complete system of thought was finished up (essentially with the work of Aquinas – since then, it’s merely been refinement) people have been looking for ways to knock out some bit they don’t like, add something which was previously rejected or to completely tear down the whole structure. One way or another, if you don’t want to be Catholic, you have to take on the Catholic Church…you have to refute it by some means. My view, of course, is that it cannot be refuted in Reason…and thus September Massacres, GULAG, etc.

        You can take a different view of it all, if you like, but to me you’ll still just be arguing with points settled nearly a thousand years ago, at least.

        Now, as to the specific subject of the French Revolution, confiscation of Church property wasn’t a random action – it was greatly desired by bond holders. Of course, the specific anti-Catholic/Christian parts of it were not motivated by money…so Robespierre’s absurd cult of the Supreme Being and Fouche’ massacring Christians in the Vendee…also not random actions, but long-considered policies designed to de-Christianize France.

      • Bob Eisenhower June 9, 2016 / 12:10 pm

        Wow. I mean, wow!

        As a Jew I guess I am inherently anti-Catholic? That sort of sentiment sounds historically familiar somehow…

        I guess I better go check my biases.

      • M. Noonan June 9, 2016 / 11:05 pm

        I think it’s because you are looking for something to argue about, rather than something to discuss.

        Our civilization is (or, at least, was) Christian. It wasn’t Jewish. No one has seen a specifically Jewish civilization since the 1st century – though it’ll be interesting to see one in about 100 years when the Haredi Jews make up the overwhelming majority of Israel’s Jews. Anyways, for a thousand years what was the West was Christian…Christendom, it used to be called; and, more specifically, Catholic Christendom. You can call all that effort flat wrong (you won’t be the first), but it is what it is; to want to change it or to destroy it means you want to change or destroy Catholicism…because it was the Catholic Church which implemented the faith and morals of the West.

      • M. Noonan June 9, 2016 / 11:48 pm

        I think I see where we might be talking past each other. Think of it like this:

        From about 500 AD to 1500 AD the debate was internal, as it were – people were discussing what it meant to be Christian and have a Christian civilization. After 1500, the debate became a bit external…people were starting to ask whether there should be a Christian civilization. Especially since about 1700, this has been the case…and it has been a long, slow battle but the crux of the matter has always been what, if any, of the old Christian/Catholic civilization should be allowed to remain, and what should be either added to it, or replace it.

    • Amazona June 7, 2016 / 9:31 pm

      What bothers me about the French Revolution is how it has been sanitized, romanticized and glamorized. It was, in fact, a brutal orgy of violence, not a fight for freedom, and represents the ugly reality of mob rule. The fact that we “celebrate” Bastille Day turns my stomach.

      • M. Noonan June 7, 2016 / 11:12 pm

        The only good revolution is a restoration – this is why the American Revolution was a good thing. We weren’t trying to overthrow the established order, but to re-establish what was before…ie, free people living to themselves and running their own affairs. The British government was trying to end that – and not even so much by Royal rule (though there was that), but the mere fact of having officials in London decide how people in America were to live. One thing that does astonish me about it all is that it never appears to have occurred to the Brits to give Americans representation in Parliament. Let Americans elect 25 Members and it probably would have resolved the issue – but it would have had to been done early…by, say, 1770.

  2. Amazona June 7, 2016 / 9:28 pm

    “Voting for Trump doesn’t make you either wicked or a fool, nor does voting against Trump garner you any virtue (and ditto with Hillary). “

    Take that piece by piece:

    “Voting for Trump doesn’t make you either wicked or a fool..” Not wicked, unless you have a malignant reason for doing so. If you vote for Trump because you believe he will, as president, do something wicked, such as try to rule as a tyrant with Executive Orders instead of just signing bills legally passed by Congress, or will act against an ethnic group or for that matter any group you don’t like, then yes, voting for him would make you wicked. Either complicit in wickedness or striving to be complicit in wickedness.

    As for the “fool” part, I think voting for Trump in a primary does indicate a certain level of foolishness. Whether it is the kind of naivete that just accepts what someone says at face value, a world view that equates platitudes and bumper sticker phrasing with deep thinking and actual policies, being star-struck by money/fame/self promotion, or whatever—-choosing Trump over any of the other candidates does qualify, in my book as foolish. Going deeper, if someone tells me he voted for Trump because Trump will surround himself with the best and brightest, I think of that man as a fool, as there is nothing whatsoever on which to base that. At least so far he hasn’t, and he has said he that even if he gets good advice he will still count on what his very good brain tells h him. If he tells me he voted for Trump because Trump is a very good businessman, I think he is a fool, because so many of Trump’s businesses have failed, a couple of them verging on fraud (Trump “University” and taking money for condos that were never built) and those that did succeed were aided in their success by the use of shady, unethical and possibly illegal tactics.

    In other words, I have never seen an excuse for voting for Trump that I thought stood up to even cursory examination, and I think that people who use those excuses are fools. Now if someone says “I voted for Trump because I don’t like Mexicans and I don’t like Muslims and I don’t care about the Constitution and I just want a strong-arm in office who will do things I approve of” I will not call that person a fool, I might not like him, but he is not deluding himself with fantasies.

    Voting for Trump as the GOP candidate does not make you a fool, or wicked. It just makes you a dejected realist trying to make the best of a really really bad situation, one brought about by fools.

    Voting to keep Hillary out of office IS a mark of virtue, at least if you consider fighting for the principles upon which this nation was built, and once flourished, as a virtue.

    • M. Noonan June 7, 2016 / 11:09 pm

      I was thinking of it, “as such”. A person could vote for Trump for foolish or wicked reasons – but such reasons would be the voter’s, not Trump’s. The mere fact of voting for Trump doesn’t do anything to the person…and non-wicked and non-foolish reasons can be determined for voting for the man. Not too many, to be sure – but there are some. Most notably, of course, keeping Hillary out of the White House.

      And you may get your wish – I’m hearing internet rumors of a possible delegate revolt at the Convention. Probably being put out by Cruz people on the side, but it could happen. Unless Trump can somehow get a handle on his own recent enormities, it is a possibility.

      • Amazona June 8, 2016 / 7:37 am

        “… non-foolish reasons can be determined for voting for the man. Not too many, to be sure – but there are some. Most notably, of course, keeping Hillary out of the White House.”

        That is why I separated voting for Trump in a primary and voting for him if he is the nominee. The first was foolish, the second a sad necessity.

        In a letter to a party official I said this:

        “Being a cockeyed optimist, I have been thinking for a long time now that the party was just keeping its powder dry, letting things run their course, but planning to step in as the convention nears to say “enough is enough” and nominate a decent, respectable, reasonable candidate. I knew that the party controls the nomination process, and that a little gentle reminding of this in the lead-up to the convention would prepare people for the nomination of someone other than Trump.”

        …and later in the letter I said this:

        “There was, for a while, a chance. There was, for a while, a window of opportunity. For a while, the party just had to sit back and let Trump carry on, and every now and then issue a mild comment that no decision had been made, that nothing can be “stolen” if it was never owned in the first place and that no nomination has taken place, and so on. But the party has blown every such opportunity. It has let Trump get away with false claim after false claim that he IS the nominee, that anyone else would be “stealing” HIS nomination, that the primary results are binding, and so on. …………………………….. The party is either pushing the candidate it has wanted all along, or it is being helplessly herded by a blustering snake oil salesman who is outsmarting it by using marketing tactics. Neither of these generate a lot of respect for the party or its leaders.”

        My point is that once the party stopped being an observer of the process, which is how it has been trying to present itself, as merely sitting back and waiting for “the voters” to tell it what they want it to do (even though the party was nudging the process in a direction it wanted to go) and started going along with the Trump lie that he IS the nominee, started officially supporting him, started endorsing him, it set itself up for major blowback if it then nominates someone else. Not taking a position, not letting Trump get away with his propaganda that he had already been chosen, not allowing the lie that giving the nomination to anyone else would be STEALING it from someone who has a legitimate claim to it, all would have set up the convention as the final authority and the final decision. When the party crossed that line, it didn’t completely cut off its options, but it certainly made the possibility of a course change a lot more problematic.

      • M. Noonan June 8, 2016 / 9:42 am

        The normal course at this point is that the “presumptive nominee” starts to take over the party apparatus and prepares for the Convention and the fall campaign. On the Democrat side, Hillary already has that control via DWS – the Bernie people are right that the game was rigged for Hillary from the get-go. The GOP, though, is not 100% under Trump control, even now – but the leaders will have to weigh it all and see. In order for a revolt to happen, the GOP, itself, will have to allow it to happen…by the chairman of the RNC not allowing Trump’s people to gain control over the party apparatus. We’ll see how that goes – but if polling at the end of the month starts to show a GOP meltdown, it might well happen.

      • Amazona June 8, 2016 / 8:04 am

        “Unless Trump can somehow get a handle on his own recent enormities, it is a possibility.”

        I think that a last-minute effort to pretend to hold different views and beliefs would not change any minds about Trump. He has already told people who are advising him to stop saying what he is saying, regarding his racist rants against the judge in his latest fraud case, that he has no intention of changing what he says. He is so convinced that he is right (no matter what the real motivation is for his comments) that no one can shift him from this path. That obdurate attitude is, I think, what is making some long-time Trump opponents double down and shifting the attitude of Trump supporters, or at least Trump tolerators, away from him. He is not only pitching a major temper tantrum, he is putting the election of a Republican at risk, and it is clearer every day that the toxic combination of his narcissism (people love him so much they agree with and support everything he does) and his selfishness (this is what he wants to do for HIMSELF no matter what the cost to anyone else) pretty much define the man and everything he does.

        I think what is happening is not just a reaction to his WORDS but to what they are telling us about the man who says them. In the case of the judge, there are a few ways to look at what Trump is doing. One is that he is fighting corruption in the court, which is how he is trying to present it and how the hard-core Trumpists will try to see it. One is that he truly thinks someone with a Mexican heritage will try to throw the case out of racial bias. One is that he doesn’t really think there is any bias at all but is callously using the man’s ethnic heritage to try to manipulate the legal system, in a preemptive effort to set up a perception of bias he can then use later to challenge everything that happens in court, to both influence public opinion and set up an appeal. This latter, I think, is what he is really doing.

        In much the way he tried to use the legal system, in that case eminent domain, to take away the property of a widow, he is also trying to use the media to force delays, recusals, etc. to try to force the plaintiffs out of the case. Every delay costs them money and wears them down, and every obstacle he can throw in their way increases the chance he will be able to force them to drop out. It is brutal bullying.

        I think this peek into the style and strategy of Trump is making people realize that he is really a shady, unethical, manipulative person who will do literally anything to get his own way. When it is known that many of his own supporters are telling him to sit down and shut up and he is telling them he is going to do whatever he damned well pleases and no one is going to tell him what to say or do, it pretty much trashcans the whole “he will surround himself with the best and the brightest as advisors” theory. I’m not sure that a delayed display of remorse and a change of tone is going to make much difference at this point. I, at least, would remember that when he said he didn’t need advisors on foreign affairs because he has a very good brain, and his people beat him up and made him come out with a list of prominent experts he would appoint to advise him, he still had to say at the very end of that comment that even with these people advising him he would still depend on that very good brain.

      • Amazona June 8, 2016 / 10:39 am

        From a recent (yesterday) Trump statement, in which he explains that his attacks on the judge based on his Mexican heritage have been “misconstrued”, going on to his version of “Some of my best friends are Mexican—”

        “Normally, legal issues in a civil case would be heard in a neutral environment. However, given my unique circumstances as nominee of the Republican Party and the core issues of my campaign that focus on illegal immigration, jobs and unfair trade, I have concerns as to my ability to receive a fair trial.”

        Once again, he states that he IS the nominee, and the party remains silent.

        Funny how he manages to avoid the obvious, which is that he is using the campaign to try to influence the trial.

      • M. Noonan June 8, 2016 / 12:04 pm

        He’s just an idiot – but I’m more and more certain we need a new, Conservative party for 2017…Hillary is going to be so terrible (and the chances of a Depression so massive) that we’ll have an opportunity to really score big in the 2018 mid-terms.

      • Amazona June 8, 2016 / 12:58 pm

        I agree, but come down to wondering if it is better to remain within the GOP and work on reforming it from the inside, or joining with an existing party (though the Libertarian freak show/convention kind of kicked them off my short list) or just start from scratch.

        My concern is that the latter two involve losing a lot of ground before starting to catch up, while the first might allow gradual replacement of Liberal Republicans without having to invent a whole new party.

        I recommend doing what I did, and contacting your state organization, as the national GOP has no easy way to contact anyone there, and let these people who are closer to you know how you feel. I have had a couple of local party people say they know the party needs a serious “overhaul” but feel kind of stuck with Trump, though an excuse was that the party had to go with the will of the people and my response was basically “how’s that going over with the 60% who never wanted Trump?”

        As for trying to be cheerful about 2018, a lot of damage can be done in two years.

      • M. Noonan June 8, 2016 / 1:20 pm

        As we saw 2009-2010…I was of the opinion that Conservatism could take over the GOP, but that failed. I guess it is still possible – but the GOP will now be tainted by Trump, which means Conservatism will be. I could well be wrong, but I think we need a clean break. We’re Not Them – neither Democrat nor Republic.

        You and I have disagreement over some specific policies and some different emphasis on what should come first, but the basic thrust of both our arguments is that the current system is broken…and if we can’t grab control of one of the major parties, then perhaps it is best to have a Third Party, ready to take over once the current parties usher us into collapse?

      • Amazona June 8, 2016 / 5:56 pm

        Conservatism hasn’t “taken over” the GOP but it has made inroads and gotten a foothold. The rise of Cruz is, I think, proof of that—-a clearly defined unrepentant Constitutionalist focused more on governance than on issues and with a huge following that nearly made him our nominee (and with any luck still will.)

        We expected pushback against conservatism, and that is what we have been seeing. But I am seeing hints of pushback against the pushback, so to speak, against Trump as the party choice, in the grass roots of the party. I think that with Cruz, Lee, Gardner and anyone else with a commitment to Constitutional governance working from within the party, and plenty of outside pressure from people like me prodding the state officials and reminding the national people (when we can find a way to contact them) that we hold them accountable, I think the revolution is quite doable.

      • Amazona June 8, 2016 / 6:00 pm

        From a purely abstract point of view, a flipping off of the GOP, I love the idea of a brand new third party. What I DON’T like about it is the amount of time it will take to get where the GOP is now, regarding numbers in the House and Senate, which dictate things like committee chairmanships and control over so much of the process. And I don’t want Republicans and New Party people doing the Dems’ work for them by going after each other for ideas, memberships and votes. Long range, I think it would be more productive to just beat the snot out of the Leftist Republicans and either get them out of the party or at least out of control, and use increasing power and authority to get better and better candidates, without having to split non-Dems and lose impact.

  3. Amazona June 8, 2016 / 8:28 am

    “…the astonishing amount of bull**** which is believed by massive majorities…”

    Most recent example: How many people believe that Donald Trump is the Republican nominee?

  4. Amazona June 8, 2016 / 8:30 am

    “….the astonishing amount of bull**** which is believed by massive majorities….”

    How many people believe Ted Cruz “dropped out of the race” when he merely suspended his active campaign?

  5. Amazona June 8, 2016 / 8:30 am

    “….the astonishing amount of bull**** which is believed by massive majorities….”

    How many people believe the Constitution demands “a wall between church and state”?

    • M. Noonan June 8, 2016 / 9:45 am

      Oh, we could go on and on…climate change; that a modern economy requires fiat money; that you can have “free trade” with a tyrannical regime; that protectionism saves domestic jobs; that government spending increases GDP…

    • M. Noonan June 9, 2016 / 11:15 pm

      Seems that everyone is against Trump – and it might be (probably will be) too high a hurdle for him. But Sean Trende tells a cautionary tale:

      …To be blunt, everyone has lost their damned minds lately. Twitter, and commentary in general, has become a giant echo chamber. My Twitter feed has devolved into a mélange of undifferentiated opinions explaining not only why Donald Trump shouldn’t win this election, but also how and why it can’t possibly happen. I don’t just mean an overall take that he’s likely to lose. I mean a complete and utter rejection of any evidence proffered that might point in a direction that is favorable to Trump. Oh, and by the way, he might also be the Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse.

      This isn’t just unfortunate. It’s dangerous. I’m not worried about media influencing the election; media has less influence than it (and its critics) believe. I’m talking about pundits’ credibility. If the entire chattering class finds itself in the grips of a massive epistemic closure, if every bit of analysis is actually nothing more than a conclusion in search of an argument, if all we hear (as in the old apocryphal Pauline Kael story) are the voices of other people telling us that Trump is awful and that he can’t possibly win, then we’re like pilots flying without instruments. Maybe we’ll land safely, but the chances of a crash are much larger. Having just witnessed (and to some degree, participated in) just such a crash in the Republican primaries, I’m particularly on edge about this general election…

      I admit to having a bit of Trende’s problem during the primaries, at least early on. I was certain that Trump was going to self-destruct…and, so, for a while, I managed to find all sorts of rock solid evidence that his self-destruction was upon us. Except it wasn’t. It’s part of the reason I wrote this entry – we all need to curb our biases. It is time to think – and think very carefully

      Certainly it is likely Trump will lose – but there’s that chance he won’t. There is some polling out there showing odd Trump strength in States Hillary must win. Hints that there may be more Trump backers out there than polling is detecting…or can even detect, at all. It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out.

      • Amazona June 10, 2016 / 12:53 am

        I think Trende’s little article is just fluff, a lot of words strung together. At least from my perspective, it is the other way around. Every time someone tries to point out a legitimate concern, such as the polls of disenchanted Democrats who say they don’t like Hillary but will vote for her because they find Trump such a threat, instead of a discussion about things like whether or not the polls are accurate, what they might mean, etc. Trumpsters just say they don’t matter. Every time someone points out whole demographics that have been insulted by Trump, Trumpsters say that doesn’t matter, and besides he is bringing in SOOOO MANY new Republican voters.

        If you ask where they are coming from, and how this has been established, you get a vague response that he just appeals to so many people. If you mention the fact that Trump is not yet the nominee, you hear that of course he is, he WON it. How? He had more votes than anyone else! You point out that something like 65% of Republicans voted for Anyone But Trump, and the answer is that he still got more votes than any other candidate. Yeah, but in the early primaries a lot of those votes were from Democrats in open primaries (to which I’ve gotten a couple of “HUH?” responses) and the only times he seemed to get significant figures was when no one was opposing him. Doesn’t matter—35% or 40% means HE WON !!!!! and of course he is the nominee.

        Almost every Republican I know is willing to vote for Trump, IF he is the nominee, and all of us hope he will win. Any evidence that he has a chance would be good news. I think Sean’s “cautionary tale” is really just a tummy ache at having to face the fact that so many of us are aware of the toxicity of Trump and his blatant, glaring weaknesses as a candidate.

        I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—I am far less worried about a Trump presidency than I am a Trump campaign, because I think he carries significant burdens going into the race. One is his sordid history. One is the fact that he is an oppositional personality and the more anyone tells him he has to do something—shut up about something, stop acting like a buffoon, etc.—-the more he is compelled to keep doing it. One that he is a narcissist, absolutely totally 100% convinced that anything he thinks is brilliant, anything he does is perfect, and even if he said or did something the exact opposite of what he is saying or doing right this minute what he is saying or doing right this minute is exactly right. One is that he is really not a very nice man, and his inner nastiness is starting to shine through enough to make people realize he is a jerk. One is that all he really cares about, deep down, is Donald Trump.

        The latest example of the latter is his temper tantrum about Judge Curiel. All that matters to him is his conviction that his campaign against the judge is what is best for him, Donald J. Trump, in his, Donald J. Trump’s lawsuit, and that is far more important to him than any damage he might be doing to the campaign.

        A rational party would have made your intuition correct—Trump would have self destructed. But the party’s rock/hard place was Cruz/Trump and they bet on Trump. Now I think Trump is causing them a lot of stomach aches and sleepless nights.

      • Amazona June 10, 2016 / 1:20 am

        An example of what will come out after we are stuck with Trump as our nominee: About racketeer and convicted felon and top Trump advisor Felix Sater:

        “According to court documents, Sater allegedly told a man at the bar, “I’ll kill you. I’ll rip your f****** head off and stick it down your throat.” Sater then allegedly grabbed a frozen margarita from the bar, flung the contents in the air, smashed the glass on the bar, and stabbed the man in the cheek and neck, breaking his cheek and jaw, lacerating face and neck and severing nerves. He was convicted of first degree assault.”

        Trump’s relationship with Sater is well documented. The two appear in photos together, are known to have attended business conferences together and worked together on Trump’s SoHo Hotel and Condominium project. On his website, Sater referred to Trump’s SoHo project as “his most prized project.”

        Trump’s relationship with the Russian mobster traces back to at least the early 2000’s. Sater was an executive with a development firm called the Bayrock Group, which was located inside Trump Towers. Sater was awaiting sentencing on the racketeering charges when the two men first began doing business together.

        Given the publicity surrounding the case, which involved four well-known mafia families, it would have been nearly impossible for Trump not to have known that he was doing business with an admitted member of the Russian mafia.”

        In addition, Trump and Sater traveled to Denver together to work on a deal, and were interviewed, together, for a Rocky Mountain News article. Yet when asked Trump could barely, maybe, possibly, remember meeting Sater.

        Early in Trump’s career he became close to Roy Cohn, “..a mob consigliere with clients including “FatTony” Salerno, boss of the Genovese crime family…..and Paul Castellano,” After paying well over market value for a parcel of land owned by a member of a crime family Trump built the Trump Tower using a far more expensive building technique, ready-mix concrete, which happened to be a business controlled by Salerno, Castellano and other organized crime figures. “Trump ended up not only using ready-mix concrete but also paying what a federal indictment of Salerno later concluded were inflated prices for it—repeatedly—to S&A Concrete, a firm Salerno and Castellano owned through fronts, and possibly to other mob-controlled firms,”

        John Cody was a Teamster, a “very close associate of the Gambino crime family” who controlled the flow of concrete trucks. A woman associated with Cody “bought” three Trump Tower apartments and Trump helped her get a $3 million mortgage “without filling out a loan application or showing financials”. Cody was also suspected by federal agents of getting free apartments from other developers.

        “In the summer of 1982 Cody, then under indictment, ordered a citywide strike—but the concrete work continued at Trump Tower. After Cody was convicted of racketeering, imprisoned and lost control of the union, Trump sued the woman for $250,000 for alteration work. She countersued for $20 million and in court papers accused Trump of taking kickbacks from contractors, asserting that this could “be the basis of a criminal proceeding requiring an attorney general’s investigation” into Trump. Trump then quickly settled, paying the woman a half-million dollars. Trump said at the time and since then that he hardly knew those involved and there was nothing improper in his dealings with Cody or the woman.” (David Cay Johnston, May 22, 2016/ Politico)

        Of course, he hardly knew Sater either.

        There are other stories of Trump’s unethical and possibly illegal activities. I am sure that every one of them will be lovingly gone over once we are stuck with him as our candidate, the representative of the Republican Party and presumably the best we could find to go up against Hillary. And seeing the dangers inherent in having him as our candidate does not mean we have “lost our damned minds”.

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