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Little Donald Is Probably Still Lying

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The raspberry road that led to Abu Ghraib was paved with bland assumptions that people who had repeatedly proved their untrustworthiness, could be trusted. There is much made by people who long for the days of their fourth form debating society about the fallacy of “argumentum ad hominem”. There is, as I have mentioned in the past, no fancy Latin term for the fallacy of “giving known liars the benefit of the doubt”, but it is in my view a much greater source of avoidable error in the world. Audit is meant to protect us from this, which is why audit is so important.

There has been a consistent pattern in which Little Donald denies something, the truth is revealed, and then he admits to what has been proven while making more easily disprovable lies. Has the pattern now stopped? As Yglesias says, anyone who believes this has probably already paid the $100,000 nonrefundable charge for a Ph.D from Trump University:

But there is still such a thing as common sense. I don’t believe Trump Jr.’s account, and neither should you. He’s a man with negative credibility on this matter, and despite his father’s talismanic invocation of the word “transparency,” he’s been anything but transparent about it.

It’s certainly conceivable that he’s telling the truth and no valuable information changed hands. But when you are caught lying over and over again about a meeting — first by saying it never happened and then slowly being caught out in lie after lie — a reasonable observer is going to doubt you when you claim that this time you’ve fully come clean.

Until Trump Jr. answers a lot more questions and produces a lot more information, there’s no reason to assume good faith on his part. The benefit of the doubt is a valuable commodity, and it’s one that those at the highest levels of Trumpland have squandered.

[…]

But as the old saying says, fool me twice, shame on me. Trump Jr. has already tried to fool us four or five times about this meeting, and there’s absolutely no reason we should trust him. Fox News, tellingly, has in part already moved on to justifying collusion, showing little faith from Trumpworld that the denials of collusion will hold up over the long run. Those of us who aren’t in the tank ought to muster at least the same level of skepticism.

As a couple of commenters has observed, the most likely Trump endgame is “sure, we collaborated with the Russians to beat Crooked Hillary, we won, fuck you.” The fact that Fox News is already there is pretty telling.

As a counterpoint from an anti-anti Trump “left” that is considerably slower on the uptake than Fox & Friends, let’s consider this particularly derpy illustration of the “Hitchens Pinciple” — that is, when someone preemptively describes their argument as being “contrarian” there is a 95% chance this means “idiotic”:

This is risible from soup to nuts, obviously, but I especially like the chickenshit qualifying “the Russian ratfucking scandal is like Birtherism” line with “not with his claims of his foreign birth.” Since the analogy is intelligence-insultingly false if it has any actual content, back away just enough so that if anyone calls you on it you didn’t really mean it. And the “actually Trump collaborating with the Russians is excellent political news for the Republican Party” punchline — perfect.

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  • piratedan

    well, as far as Mr. Tracey knows, no laws have been broken here…

    I dunno Michael…

    – perjury.. pretty sure that’s a crime
    – lying/misrepresenting your contacts on your SF-84 for getting a security clearance.. pretty sure the government considers that a crime
    – calling for a foreign agency to intervene in our elections to damage your opponent, guessing that might be considered a crime too
    – kind of think conspiracy might be in play here regarding this particular meeting

    and we haven’t even gotten to the money yet…

    • majeff

      I am unfamiliar with Tracey and Loury.

      They don’t seem so bright.

      • DN Nation

        Tracey is such a ridiculous character that even many leftier-than-thou types like to dunk on him on Twitter.

      • Do you have to be on Twitter to know who Tracey is? I only know of him through LGM.

        • jmwallach

          Or watch TYT.

          • Or know what that is (I just googled it, had always thought young Turks was just a catch phrase).

            Now I’m off to tend to my bursitis.

        • gmack

          I don’t know Tracey at all; I come across Glenn Loury occasionally on my Facebook feed. The stuff I’ve seen usually annoys me, but I’ve not paid enough attention to determine whether it’s a productive/good annoyance. This post, however, is pretty definitively awful.

  • They can’t even tell when they’re lying themselves. https://twitter.com/NPRinskeep/status/885829636457996288

    • jmwallach

      And Inskeep can’t say lie.

      • Thom

        The name sounds suspiciously like Inski.

      • cpinva

        “And Inskeep can’t say lie.”

        in his defense, that seems to be a common failing amongst the pundit class. as if it would be gauche to accurately characterize a statement. the nuns in my school suffered no such concerns.

        • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

          Yeah, if “knowingly disseminating a statement you know to be false as if it were true” isn’t a lie…

    • patrick II

      Trump and his cohorts continuously go after Lynch and Susan Rice because Trump knows how his forty percent feel about both blacks and successful women. Any other logic one may try to apply is useless.

    • philadelphialawyer

      How does that make sense as an excuse even if it were true? Was the Obama Administration DOJ supposed to keep all foreigners out of the USA, because Donald Trump Jr and Sr couldn’t help but illegally solicit campaign contributions from them if they were in country?

      • rm

        It makes sense if only Democrats have agency.

        • Jesse

          That’s how the anti-anti-Trump left seems to feel about the Russia issue, that only America has agency. We find out Russia hacked our election, the anti-anti-Trump left says, “It’s important to have a working relationship with Russia.”

          • Jesse

            Or maybe it’s the opposite: Russia can do whatever it wants, while America must maintain a working relationship.

            • Hogan

              See what you made Russia do? Now behave.

    • twbb

      “I mean, there’s no way for me to tell if it’s true or not, just being a common citizen with no access to governmental information, but it seems like this is all Obama’s fault.”

    • They apparently don’t think it matters. If it’s comes to your mind, it’s truthy enough. The libs make you admit that “reason” has an objection, but you know in your heart.

    • cleter

      The attorney general doesn’t approve passports.

      • Hogan

        Since her purpose in coming here was to represent Russian defendants in a DOJ case, it’s possible that State ran it by her, but that’s correct.

        • stepped pyramids

          It’s just such a ridiculous counterpoint anyway. It’s not like the controversy is over her having been in the US. It’s not who she is, it’s who she represents and what she offered.

  • Warren Terra

    The Yglesias piece is very good.

    • econoclast

      He’s a much better commentator when the Republicans are in power than when they are not.

      • Yes, I’ve been noticing that.

      • Warren Terra

        I think you’re almost right, but not quite – he’s really good writing about others’ evil, maybe also about others’ good, but when writing about his own ideas he comes across as extremely smug and complacent.

        The reason I quibble is that in the campaign, with the Republicans expected to lose, Yglesias was also very good. He wrote by far the best piece I saw on what the Clinton eMail Scandal was based on, and how it was all a bunch of hooey (he wrote it in mid-October, though, which was about six months too late). That wasn’t “when the Republicans are in power”, except in the sense that they were dominating the media narrative – it was just about the Republicans in general. For all his Third-Way wankery (which in any case largely predated Vox I think), Yglesias has never had anything nice to say about Republicans, nor for that matter for the institutional Third Way types (No Labels, WTF, whatever you call them).

  • AlexSaltzberg

    “Indict somebody, or go home, I say”

    Umm, sure. I’m all for the Democrats indicting someone. How does that work? Is this another case of that neoliberal sellout Pelosi not using her indictment powers?

    • jmwallach

      She has a line to the house Sergeant at Arms.

      • Scott Lemieux

        It involves the marshal of the Supreme Court.

        • And the Crown Prosecutor of Russia.

          • jmwallach

            No – they do single combat to determine if the neolibs or the dirtbags control the left.

            • jim, some guy in iowa

              knees must be bent, and all that

    • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

      This criticism is the legal equivalent of Green Lanternism. It’s echoed in “Obama shoulda put more bank CEOs in handcuffs”

      • LosGatosCA

        I would have settled for prosecuting the robo signers, the people who hired the robo signers, the people who authorized the hiring of the robo signers, and anyone connected to the fraudulent foreclosures.

        That was a total moral failure on the part of the Obama administration and the focus on ‘foaming the runway’ not pursuing justice for homeowners.

        • Dr. Ronnie James, DO
          • LosGatosCA

            I guess they just left out the part where the criminals were convicted and led to jail time.

            You know, for willfully violating securities laws, lending laws, perjury (knowingly filing false documents, whatever) you know the outcomes of successful PROSECUTIONS as opposed to taking a slice of the profits.

            • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

              How do you think they got the $9B? Asking politely? Would a prosecution that failed to convict and resulted in no funds being returned have been preferable?

              • LosGatosCA

                Yes. Consistent prosecution of the preps is a deterrent rather than fines merely being the cost of doing business.

                • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

                  The settlement only happened because the Feds threat to prosecute was seen as credible. At the same time, they only settle if they think the chance of not getting a conviction (and presumably an even larger penalty) was significant. What would you have had them do differently?

                • LosGatosCA

                  People only respond to personal consequences, not penalties on corporations that are not actually, you know, persons.

                  Even Alan Greenspan has expressed astonishment for the absolute non-regard for business continuity by corporate managers when the alternative is a couple of quarters of extreme bonuses before they bail.

                  Fines are like consent decrees, just a slap on the wrist either passed on to future customers or just irrelevant when the entity disappears.

                  Obama had a few blind spots – appointments, education, and a general conservative nature on the economy.

                • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

                  What is your answer to my question, though? Charge corporate officers personally with crimes based on acts conducted while acting as agents of the corporation? Do you think this would have been more / less likely to succeed than prosecuting the corporations itself? IANAL, but my impression is this approach had little to no chance of success. And as much as I would personally like to see Angelo Mozilo in an orange jumpsuit, it would have yielded pennies on the dollar compared to the settlement.

                • LosGatosCA

                  Real people signed the documents. They were paid and instructed by real people to do these illegal acts. Those people had bosses who approved the programs and allocated the money to hire the people to commit the illegal acts.

                  Obama, Geithner, Holder, etc didn’t have the stomach or priority to do make the cases and prosecute the criminals.

                  That’s a moral failing on their part.

                • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

                  You’re sure that’s even plausible in our legal system? How many state AGs prosecuted corporate officers as criminals?

                • LosGatosCA

                  Stick with your view, I simply disrespect it

                • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

                  By not addressing my questions, apparently. Prosecuting these guys in criminal court successfully would have required massive changes to our laws and legal precedents. It wasn’t just some power Obama had unilateral power to do and failed to exercise.

                • LosGatosCA

                  You’ll need to re-read what I wrote about signing false statements/documents presented in judicial proceedings.

                  But it makes no difference to me if you do or you don’t.

                • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

                  No one to my knowledge is disputing that part. What about any of my other questions?

                • notahack

                  Jesse Eisinger of ProPublica has a great book out this week called “The Chickenshit Club,” which I am certain will answer all of your other questions.

                • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

                  I’ll read it. Eisinger does uniformly excellent work, so I suspect it may change my mind.

      • Murc

        Except that Obama actually had that power.

        • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

          And used it (see thread elsewhere). Or were you referring to the power to indict & convict automatically?

  • SpiderDan

    After the developments of the past week, I am frankly unable to conceive of an endgame other than:

    1) the final smoking gun evidence of Trump definitively colluding with Russia (e.g. “Thank you for the hacked e-mails”) is revealed
    2) Trump declares that of course he was working with our good friend Russia to defeat Hillary, and when has anyone else claimed otherwise? After all, he asked them for help on national television!
    3) Fox et al. declares that there really is no such thing as collusion with a foreign government if it’s during an election, especially if The Democrat Party loses as a result
    4) Republican Congress is very troubled by Trump’s actions, but insists that only the voters may decide Trump’s fate in 2020
    5) Media: “Views differ” on whether colluding with foreign government to swing an election is illegal

    That’s pretty much all we can expect from the media and the federal government. The only recourse is the ballot box.

    • I don’t even think that’s where it’ll all end up. They keep getting caught doing shit that reads like a particularly over-the-top and poorly-written comic book. And the party keeps shrugging it off.

    • mattmcirvin

      The ballot-box option may already be gone as well; they’ve got every thumb on the scale they can– that’s where we started, after all.

      I think this may end with them finding some way it’s Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s fault, and indicting them.

      • SatanicPanic

        Indicting Obama would be one of those acts they could take that would guarantee that shit gets real.

      • SNF

        Trump has also announced plans to work with Russia to secure our election system.

        Imagine what Russia could do to the 2018 and 2020 elections if the executive branch is working with them instead of trying to stop them.

    • mausium

      “the final smoking gun evidence of Trump definitively colluding with Russia”

      No such thing to a Republican.

      • the actual Bajmahal

        It’s amazing that people who are soooo pro-Second Amendment could also be soooo anti-smoking gun.

    • gmack

      There is some truth to this. I saw someone cite a poll the other day (I can’t remember where–I waste so much time reading political articles these days), taken a while ago in the middle of the nth scandal of the last six (!) months. The poll was of Tennessee voters, and it asked them what they thought of Senator Corker’s statement that the Trump administration was in chaos. Apparently, 60% of Republicans said that this statement made them less likely to support Corker in the next election. If that result is accurate, and if it holds up, it’s hard to imagine that direct evidence of collusion will lead to impeachment.

      Personally, though, what keeps me up at night is the concern about what happens if/when Mueller brings indictments against people important to Trump. My guess is that he pardons everyone involved and/or sacks Mueller. And then I’ll feel obliged to take the streets in protest, and we’ll finally get to see whether this government can still be called a republic.

    • twbb

      6) The next time a Democratic president takes office, he/she is instantly investigated over fake scandals. “The Democrats started it by unfairly persecuting Trump.”

      • SatanicPanic

        Isn’t this what they’ve been doing?

        • twbb

          Not really; the ridiculous Obama/Hillary persecution wasn’t really justified by anything that happened with George W. Bush — if anything, the Republican establishment didn’t even like to mention him.

          • mattmcirvin

            Not Bush, Nixon. All the investigations of the Clintons were payback for Watergate.

            • twbb

              Explicitly, though? I think they are going to use the Trump “persecution” as a marketing tool, but I don’t think they did that with Watergate.

              • Hogan

                I read William Safire’s NYT columns in the ’70s. They absolutely did. It was hard to make anything stick with Carter, but it wasn’t for lack of trying.

      • the actual Bajmahal

        Pretty bold assumption that there’ll ever be another president, let alone that they’ll be a democrat.

        • twbb

          Not that bold. I was a little worried at the beginning over this but there is no way on earth he has the ability or will to overthrow democracy in the United States.

          • the actual Bajmahal

            Ol’ Pissy is just the puppet though — the shitgibbon in a suit who can scrawl his name on “stuff” with a big ol’ Sharpie. The American oligarch wanna-bes, through the tutelage of their Russian sensei Putin have very nearly gamed the system past the point of no peaceful return. 2018 will be the test. 2020 will be game over. We’re laughing ourselves and snarking ourselves and shrugging ourselves to death.

            • twbb

              His favorability rating is a little under 40%, and that’s only going to go down. He’s alienated most of the federal intelligence, law enforcement, and military establishment. If he loses in 2020, and decides to stay in the office, do you think the Secret Service is going to prevent the rightful President from entering the White House?

              • the actual Bajmahal

                By 2020, it might not be him, but the fix will still be in. It might be Pence or Paul Ryan or Orrin Hatch or Rex Tillerson. By 2020 (maybe 2018), there might be enough Republican controlled state houses to call for a Constitutional Convention — sponsored by Robert Mercer, the Koch brothers, the DeVos family, etc.

              • bs

                The Supreme Court can do it if the vote’s close enough.

    • SNF

      I think people at Fox will also eventually start using the argument that we should be *thanking* Russia, since they saved us from a Hillary Clinton presidency.

    • stepped pyramids

      5) Media: “Views differ” on whether colluding with foreign government to swing an election is illegal

      This would be a pretty abrupt about-face from where they are now. Despite their flaws, the mainstream media has actually taken the Russian thing seriously so far.

      • gmack

        I suppose it depends on what we count as “the media.” My understanding is that the conservative media–particularly its dominant organ Fox News–has been doing whatever they can to downplay the investigation, muddy the water, or throw up as many distractions as possible.

      • SpiderDan

        There is a wide gap between the media continuing to run salacious tales of Russian interference and the media rejecting Republican excuses for why nothing is being done about it.

        You may note that the latter has yet to show itself.

  • Really, what’s the likelihood that a weaselly, rat-faced, oily little bastard like lil’ Don would actually fully truly be…

    a weaselly, rat-faced, oily little bastard like lil’ Don?

  • ColBatGuano

    “As far as I know, no crimes have been committed here. It looks to me like a dangerous witch hunt.”

    He seems like a true logician.

    • “See that guy lying in the grass over there? The one the vultures are pecking at? As far as I know, he’s just taking a nap. So, really, walking over there to see if he’s dead would just be a dangerous witch hunt. Until we have definitive proof that he’s dead, we shouldn’t even be looking for any proof at all.”

      • Robbert

        Your last sentence in particular really nails it. “We don’t have a smoking gun, so let’s stop the investigation” makes no sense whatsoever.

        • FlipYrWhig

          “There may be smoke coming from that gun, but it may also be steam or spores, and checking is an obvious waste of time and feel-good exercise for neoliberals.”

    • BiloSagdiyev

      His glib assertion makes it sound like there aren’t actual non-pundit grownups doing a real investigation on this, with government paychecks and powers ‘n everything. If one wasn’t careful reading his sloppybranez output, one might wind up as confused or misinformed as he is. It’s like he’s a tiny Fox news.

      • Hogan

        Loury in April 1973: “Look, Mr. Cox, if that is in fact your real name, you’ve had a whole month. Either indict someone now or pack it in.”

  • McAllen

    Is Tracey even ostensibly on the left anymore? It seems like all his energy is directed towards defending Trump these days.

    • DN Nation

      Tracey went from Rand Paul to Jim Webb to Bernie Sanders to straight up his own hindquarters. He’s not a leftist.

    • The Great God Pan

      Still on the staffs of the Intercept and Young Turks, two of the defining news sources for millennial leftists. If he appears on an episode of Chapo the trifecta will be complete.

      • Thirtyish

        I stopped watching/following TYT when it became clear that it was little more than a firebagger/Bernie or Bust operation. If they’ve gone full Greenwald at this point, it would surprise me not at all.

      • stepped pyramids

        I don’t get Chapo at all. I think these guys are around my age, but I don’t understand the mindset that makes a podcast with a couple of rich kids calling themselves “dirtbags” a major left-wing outlet.

  • Incontinentia Buttocks

    Since when is Glenn Loury left or even “left”?

    • msdc

      Excellent question.

      Of course, theoretically Michael Tracey should also recognize that Loury is no leftist, but you know, forget it msdc, it’s Michael Tracey.

    • Uncle_Ebeneezer

      When he's on Bloggingheads with John McWhorter, Loury is literally on the left-hand side of the screen! Isn't that enough?

  • Lurking Canadian

    I think it’s time to revisit birtherism. So far Trump has a nearly perfect record of being guilty of whatever he accuses his enemies of doing.

    It’s time to start looking for proof that he was born in Kenya.

    • rm

      I have definitive proof that Trump and the Pulse nightclub shooter were born in the same outlying province just a few miles from each other. What connections is he hiding?

      (Thing is, this doesn’t work because Trump really is hiding nefarious connections, just not so many in Queens).

      • twbb

        As a Queens boy, I would really, really appreciate it if you found proof he was born somewhere else.

        • N__B

          Feh. We already have to live with the Scalia shame.

        • Thirtyish

          I too like Queens. I’m not from there, but it’s a fine borough. I await the day that we find proof that that he’s actually been from Staten Island this whole time.

    • Snarki, child of Loki

      “It’s time to start looking for proof that he was born in Kenya.”

      The proof is OUT THERE! Trump released it his very self, in the early stages of his birtherism obsession: Trump released his (souvenir, non-official, decorative) birth certificate.

      It showed that Trump was born in JAMAICA, yes it did!

      Explains why Trump is such a jerk chicken also, too.

      • I have been trying to spread a rumor that Trump’s real father was a Nazi war criminal (Lebensborn program) and he was adopted as an infant by Fred and Mary Trump. Nobody has been able to disprove this claim. Trump refuses to have a DNA test. Her suspicious.

  • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

    Pardons for everyone!

    I mean, is there any reason he couldn’t/ wouldn’t?

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      the only thing I could see holding him back is he wont want to make the implicit admission they did something wrong

      • jmwallach

        Crooked $someone made him do it.

        • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

          It’s Loretta Lynch*’s fault, donchaknow, for approving the Russian’s visa, thereby creating an attractive nuisance. Somewhat like when they set up Marion Barry in that hotel room and anyway…I need to lie down.

          * (i was really expecting to hear Susan Rice’s name, esp since DOJ doesn’t typically approve visas…I’m sure there’s a decent explanation, probably involving Bill Clinton and a tarmac)

          • the actual Bajmahal

            Maybe Ol’ Pissy got Loretta Lynch and Susan Rice confused. They’re both women and… well, you know.

            • Longitudinally Enabled

              In 2012, I had an… interesting conversation with someone who confused Sam Power with Susan Rice and then Susan Rice with Condi Rice. Yes, it was a guy, why do you ask?

      • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

        “It would be a tragedy if any of these crucial White House advisers were ensnared in this baseless witch hunt, which is very stupid, by the way. For the sake of this great nation’s essential business, we need to move on already! ps also: suck it, libs.”

      • mausium

        He won’t have to make any admissions, he’s pardoning the poor boy for this witch-hunt see…

    • They can’t take the 5th anymore if they’re pardoned (they wouldn’t legally be capable of self-incrimination, so they would be obligated to answer), so that’d be a really good reason for him not to pardon anyone. After all, he only cares about saving his own skin, not anyone else’s.

      Of course, the chances that he personally knows this are almost zero, and if he ever knew it, his apparent dementia has ensured he’s probably already forgotten it, but if his attorneys are even remotely competent, they’ll be reminding him of it every chance they get.

      • Snarki, child of Loki

        “if his attorneys are even remotely competent, they’ll be reminding him of it every chance they get.”

        Evidence shows that this doesn’t actually work with Trump.

      • petesh

        A question for the legal experts: Is it true (as I heard confidently asserted yesterday) that the Presidential pardon only applies to federal offenses? Specifically, states run elections (as they have lately been stressing) so if there was a transgression of, say, New York State law, a Presidential pardon would not apply?

        • As far as I understand, this is correct. If Schneiderman charges someone, the president* can’t pardon them.

        • efgoldman

          the Presidential pardon only applies to federal offenses?

          Correct.
          The federal system gives a lot of agency (sometimes too much – another discussion for another time) to the states.
          [I’m neither legal nor an expert. I just remember middle-school civics]

          • petesh

            Sheesh, efg, I knew you weren't an attorney but I never knew you weren't legal.

  • Michael

    I know it’s fun to mock Greenwald et. al, but I also think they’re deserving a much more serious excoriating. Focusing solely on The Intercept, their inept journalistic practices landed a woman in jail, they’re airing sycophantic interviews of Corbyn, the remaining founders are throwing their own reporters under the bus while questioning the actual reporting, they’re allowing Naomi Klein to promote her book with 2000 word op-eds with barely a shred of evidence or links, they’ve failed to point how Sy Hersh has been reduced to an Assadist conspiracy monger, they haven’t covered the egregious overreach of ICE…it makes me really upset.

    I’ve long felt a rigorous piece on Greenwald’s “journalism’ of the past year in particular is needed. Is there a way to e-mail Lemieux or Loomis (who I think are valuable in calling Greenwald to account?) I can’t find their e-mails on here, but maybe I’m dumb.

    • jmwallach

      And then there was Scahill’s podcast about the Maddow thing. The scandal where someone sent in a forged document to Maddow, she reported receiving it and the possible consequences and then TI crowd declared victory because she pointed out that it was a forgery.

      • Michael

        Yes, as a commentator asked on Greenwald’s own piece about that, is it the contention that it’s extremely common for news offices to be bombarded with fake documents? What processes does a newsroom go through to ensure that they are real? I mean, given that the last time The Intercept sought to verify if a document was real they ended up sending someone to prison, I’m not sure they have much ground to stand on when it comes to criticizing journalistic practices , but it’d certainly be illuminating to hear how The Intercept figures out what anonymous leads are worth investigating and their process for that (again, somewhat ironic that Greenwald himself almost missed the Snowden story for not having due diligence in this matter, but there you go).

  • I’d just like to note that I find the epithet “Little Donald” wonderfully poetic, given his father’s liberal use of the epithet “Little Marco” during the primary.

    Also, isn’t this literally the story of the Boy Who Cried Wolf?

    • Shantanu Saha

      It would be, if the twist at the end was that the Boy was actually the Wolf in disguise.

      • “My, Grandpa, what big lies you tell!”

    • Hogan

      And his father would be Bigger Than Little Donald But Not As Big As Medium Donald Donald.

      • brettvk

        A Pratchett reference always gets a like. How I wish he could be here to write about this.

  • Apparently an increasingly corrupt GOP that is willing to rig elections in order to stay in power is NOT one of the forces and structural shifts Democrats should persuasively (?) respond to.

    Why do I get the feeling that the next paragraph contains the phrase identity politics?

    • BiloSagdiyev

      I heard the same broken whistle, and thought, “Cranky racist fucks in the ungovernable tribal regions are not a “structural shift”, you halfwit! They’re on the losing side of a demographic shift! They have always been with us.

  • Robbert

    I’ll give Tracey this though: at least in stating he thinks the investigation should be terminated he states a clear objective. Most of the pieces from the anti-anti-Trump left that Scott has been quoting over the past weeks indulge in stringing together bad-faith arguments of dubious merit, but most of the time it really isn’t clear to me to what end they are made. Especially since the more recent ones no longer seem to bother with the “let’s not be distracted from the fact that Hilary sucks” angle.

    • The Great God Pan

      Don’t give Tracey too much credit. That post is a lengthy quotation of has-been/never-was gadfly Glenn Loury, not a Tracey original.

      • Hogan

        And Loury has never been any kind of leftist.

  • HugeEuge

    It’s sooo like the birther thing where Obama lied about having Osama bin Laden provide his phony US birth certificate.

    You can be sure that Tracey et al would shit themselves if it had been people (including a former Mossad agent) purporting to represent the Israeli government that sought a meeting with Trump for purposes of dishing dirt on Clinton. Which actually would be the appropriate response. Likewise if it had been Saudi or French or Indonesian or Japanese or Taiwanese or evil Mezzicans or any other government representatives. How is it that Putin and Russia get a pass? Is it the noble Stalinist heritage, the manner in which the kleptocracy stole former state assets under the guise of being reforming liberals when the USSR collapsed, or just that Tracey et al admire the crypto fascist state that Russia has become and see Putin as all the wonderfulness that Ernst Rohm would have been had he not Hitler survived the night of the long knives.

    • msdc

      If the foreign agents were meeting with Trump? Tracey still wouldn’t care.

      Now, if they were meeting with Clinton…

  • Terok Nor

    Why should they let the facts being completely different stop them from feeling like it’s the same thing?

  • Steve LaBonne

    The dudebro “left” reminds me of some of the pre-WWII French “leftists” who ended up as enthusiastic collaborators with the Germans.

    • spork_incident

      I’ve been thinking for some time that the likes of Tracy will end up explicitly on the right similar to how some of the old American Trotskyists became the first neocons.

      “I didn’t leave the left, the left left me!”

      .

  • cpinva

    “The fact that Fox News is already there is pretty telling.”

    I suspect FOX was there from the start. if you think about it, FOX is way more cynical than average, they just assume the Republicans did something slimy, and go into auto-defense mode. that, and Republican/RWNJ propaganda, is their reason for existing.

    I’ve no idea who Mr. Tracey is, but I’ve crossed him off my list of “People I Should Take Seriously”, since he seems like an idiot. But then, the beard kind of gives him away.

    • mausium

      Right, Fox exists to maintain the party narrative. Their ability to “research” and verify is limited to what they can get on the horn from party leaders. The rest of their original programming is short skirts for octagenarian racists.

      • efgoldman

        The rest of their original programming is short skirts for octagenarian racists.

        Good christ. The image of Orally or Shamitty in a short skirt is something I really didn’t need on a Saturday.

  • msdc

    I have to marvel at this gem from Loury:

    One can imagine this kind of campaign being waged from the right against a president Obama — particularly if he had been 25 years older when he ran, with a lifetime of accomplishments behind him that had taken him to every corner of the world.

    Yes, and ovaries too. It’s a good thing the right has not yet stooped to such a campaign!

    Classic right-wing projection, so naturally Tracey repeats it.

    • Bub, the truculent Zombie

      “Lifetime of accomplishments?” Christ, what a farcical statement. Numerous bankruptcies and failed businesses are NOT “accomplishments.”

      • Scott Lemieux

        Come on, every politician who has traveled abroad has been credibly accused of colluding with Russians to ratfuck presidential elections, and has many associates who serially lie about meeting with Russian officials. Everyone knows this.

        • FlipYrWhig

          Maybe I’m being cynical and suspicious but IMHO this line seems like a preemptive strike on “Bernie Sanders went to Russia too.”

          • Anna in PDX

            Ha, or Jill Stein

          • PressSecretaryCaptainHowdy

            “Bernie Sanders benefited from hacked DNC emails too” oh never mind

  • rm

    I also don’t know who either of these guys are, but I have some editorial suggestions for Loury:

    I’ll stop. But, in my contrarian view, I’m stunned and frightened by this Russia collusion witch-hunt, and by the relish with which the left have seized upon it. Ironically, I see an analogy in my mind’s eye just now with the “birther” slander against Obama[.]. . . not with the claims of his foreign birth, but with the subtler claims of his hating America. Once can imagine this kind of campaign being waged from the right against a president Obama – particularly if he had been 25 years older when he ran, with a life of accomplishments behind him that had taken him to every corner of the world. The associations and collaborations he is likely to have engaged in would, given his background, readily become fodder used by right-wingers to buttress their claims that he would betrayed [sic] his country while in office. Of course, it’s not the same thing. But, as I see it, something a bit like this is happening now . . . [.]

    As far as I know, no crimes have been committed here. It looks to me like a dangerous witch hunt. These investigations should be brought to a prompt and definitive conclusion. Indict[!!!] somebody, or go home, I say. And, to Democrats my message is,[:] if you persist in relying on trying to undo the 2016 elections by [F]forcing[e] Trump from office[!!!] ,instead of devoting yourselves to finding a way to persuasively respond to the underlying forces and structural shifts that led to his emergence, then you’ll doom yourselves to irrelevance for a generation[.] . . .

  • high-quality Donny wouldn’t lie. he’s as honest as he is transparent.

    • BiloSagdiyev

      Poor little Donny… he just fell in with a bad crowd.

      (Trumps.)

    • petesh

      Well, he IS as honest as transparent; that is, not at all.

      • Thirtyish

        The oily sheen precludes transparency.

    • the actual Bajmahal

      Translucent, not transparent… common mistake.
      I always assumed that the Trumps were translucent, hence the bronzer addiction.

  • Facts continue to change their shape
    I’m still waiting…I’m still waiting…I’m still waiting…

    • stepped pyramids

      Facts won’t do what I want them to.

  • I see an analogy in my mind’s eye

    Does he see analogies with his body’s eyes? Or his feet? What the hell is this?

    with the birther slander agains Obama…not with the claims of his foreign birth

    Wait…there’s an analogy with the birther slander but not with the actual birther slander? What?

    I guess if you can write this you can write anything. But you shouldn’t write this.

    • BiloSagdiyev
      • I know what “mind’s eye” means, but in this sentence it’s weirdly redundant. Usually you appeal to mind’s eye in contrast with our physical eyes, e.g. “I saw, with my mind’s eye, what the room would look like with different paint”.

        You can only “see” an analogy cognitively. (Indeed, “mind’s eye” is better reserved for actual visualisation as opposed to generalise intellectual perception.)

  • UnsaltedSinner

    So “just like birtherism without birtherism” is the new neo-mccarthyism?

  • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

    It bears repeating: when the party you’re trying to turn does everything you ask with no pushback, collusion isn’t strictly necessary.

    “These TVs fell off the truck, you say? And you have no way of contacting the rightful owner, because the manifest blew away in the wind? Yes, I can see your point that it’d be a waste if they just sat around gathering dust…”

  • Who is choosing between “work for impeachment and nothing else” and “shake it off, let Trump be Trump, and respond to Trump voters,” anyway? Dsquared maybe has a post on false dichotomy.

  • Denverite

    As a couple of commenters has observed, the most likely Trump endgame is “sure, we collaborated with the Russians to beat Crooked Hillary, we won, fuck you.”

    I believe my preferred formulation is “go fuck yourself.”

  • Joe Paulson

    I’m not familiar with this Tracey person, so did a Twitter search. Some prime stuff there.

    eve peyser‏Verified account @evepeyser
    Jul 7
    Replying to @evepeyser @yashar

    *old lady taps michael tracey on the shoulder*

    “Excuse me sir could you help me cross the street?”

    “SHES ASSAULTING ME”

    [Yashar: “How can Michael Tracey be a real person.”]

  • tsam100

    Was it Tracey that was sniveling about being brushed off by Maxine Waters? That was epic cickenshittery.

    • Erik Loomis

      That guy is such a clown

      • Scott Lemieux

        The best part was how Tracey looks right at the camera with the smarmiest smirk you’ve ever seen after Waters brushes him off VICIOUSLY ASSAULTS him

        • Unemployed_Northeastern

          With Disqus it is that gets you that sweet strikethrough.

        • stepped pyramids

          Tracey mugs for the camera a lot, I’ve noticed. He likes to do a thing where he asks protesters specific questions about Trump and then when their answers aren’t very articulate he does a camera take and a shrug. I hope one of these days he manages to get a nut shot on camera. Maybe “Man Getting Hit By Football” style.

          • YNWA40515

            “‘Save my healthcare’ had heart, but ‘Football in Michael Tracey’s Groin’ had football in Michael Tracey’s groin!”

    • The Great God Pan

      And that was after he made fun of reporters for being angry about the Gianforte bodyslam.

  • Jesse

    Democrats need to stop whining about why they actually lost–Comey, Russian interference–and start focusing on why we say they lost: neoliberalism!

  • njorl

    It reminds me of the Watergate witch hunt, where there really were witches and they really were doing bad things.

  • Q. What do you call a gathering of anti anti Trump left?
    A. A bruening of brocialists

  • Breadbaker

    It’s wonderful to see the “Investigate George Soros” ad right above these comments. Is there a particular way I can click on it that will make the sponsors spend more their money here?

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