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Electiongate casts a pall of illegitimacy over Trump’s election



When it comes to criminal investigations, there are two kinds of Republicans. The first kind is ALL Republicans when the alleged criminal offense concerns a Democrat, namely, Hillary Clinton and her private email server. The second kind is VERY FEW Republicans when the crime concerns a Republican, namely, the Trump campaign’s use of Russia interfering with an American Presidential election.

In both cases, there was the possibility of criminal activity: Hillary endangering national security through her use of a private email server, and the far more serious case of Putin’s Russia deliberately swinging the recent election to Trump. In Hillary’s case, even though there was not the slightest shred of evidence that she committed a crime—and the FBI exonerated her twice—every single Republican in Congress demanded that she be jailed, or investigated, hounded out of town, denounced. Now, of course, much to the chagrin of these Republicans, she’s been 100 percent, absolutely, totally exonerated, but have we heard a single Republican anywhere who’s come out and said, “I guess we were wrong about Hillary. Sorry, Ms. Clinton!” Nope. And there never will be, for Republicans never own up to their lies.

Now we have another instance in which there seems to be a crime, and a far more serious one, than the accidental use of a private server, and that is Electiongate. You’d think a supposedly reputable American newspaper, regardless of its political orientation, would want to get to the bottom of this unprecedented situation. But no, you’d be wrong. The Wall Street Journal thinks it’s all a “Democratic attempt to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the election,” or so says their lead editorial from yesterday.

Which makes the Wall Street Journal the best and latest example of the second kind of Republican, the kind who doesn’t want an investigation if its target is a Republican. This is the same rightwing newspaper that was obsessed with jailing Hillary Clinton, whose editorial page ranted every chance they got about national security and coverups and how unfit for office Hillary was. When it all proved to be a big yawner (which most of us knew all along it was), did the WSJ apologize for their witch hunt? As if!

Now we have, as I say, a far more chilling scenario: Electiongate. And yet here’s the WSJ sucking up to Trump. They even have the nerve to portray Electiongate as “fake news” (!!!!), and they try to dismiss McConnell’s calling for hearings as a “non-story.”

Why not just call Electiongate a “third-rate burglary,” as Nixon did about Watergate, a scant 1-1/2 years before he was impeached? The Wall Street Journal has said some pretty awful things on their editorial page, but to attempt to sweep Electiongate under the rug is the worst ever. Nor will it succeed.

Look: there can’t be a single reasonable person in this country who doesn’t understand that we should at least expend the slightest effort to find out if, in fact, Putin’s Russia interfered with the recent election by hacking Democratic emails and leaking them to Wikileaks. Why would anyone be against hearings to get to the bottom of the matter? If there’s no there there, as Trump and the Wall Street Journal insist, fine. We’ll all be able to say, Well, we looked into it, there’s nothing there, so sorry, Mr. Putin, sorry, Mr. Trump. (Democrats, you see, do apologize when we’re wrong.)

But how are we supposed to know what really happened unless we investigate?  Because the truth is, until we know the truth, there IS a giant question mark hanging over the results of this election. There IS an air of illegitimacy, and there always will be, no matter how much the Wall Street Journal denies it.

On the eve of destruction, Republicans turn against each other

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With little ammunition remaining to fend off the impending disaster to their party and candidate, Republican Trump supporters are resorting to the most specious and rhetorical of arguments. Consider, for instance, the Wall Street Journal’s William McGurn.

He’s a longtime columnist for the newspaper, which allows us to take a peek at his track record. Gay marriage? After the Supreme Court’s historic decision approving it, McGurn, an avowed Catholic, was in full poopy-pants mode: “A triump for gay rights but not for democracy,” he opined, with lip-licking malice.

Global warming? According to McGurn, President Obama—who just a week ago presided over the strongest climate-change agreement in history, the Paris accord—has “squelch[ed] further inquiry” into the science (!!!!!) of climate change, because he (Obama) chooses to believe the 99.5% of climate scientists who believe in it, not the .05% of Republican hacks who don’t.

But I digress! Onto All Things Trump! Let’s look at McGurn’s column from yesterday, entitled “The Cheap Moralizing of Never Trump.” He attempts to dismiss the anti-Trump movement by, essentially, insulting its adherents. How? First, he says that calling Trump “coarse and boorish” is only to be expected from Democrats: “It’s an old argument for the left.” But, as he’s sadly forced to concede, “Republicans are now hearing it from the right as well.”

This is an inconvenient truth. No longer can McGurn simply vilify Democrats. Now, his own party—large segments of it—has joined the anti-Trump parade. What’s a conservative columnist to do? Instead of claiming that Trump isn’t “coarse and boorish” (how could McGurn? Trump is), McGurn instead deflects the argument by focusing on the insinuation (by the anti-Trump crowd) that Trump’s supporters must be “evil…or…invincibly stupid.”

Well, I’ll give him that. There is a belief on the left (which I share) that anyone who would vote for Trump at this point is, somehow, mentally unhinged. Now, I won’t use the word “evil” because its definition is too tricky, but I do believe Trump voters are “stupid.” (“Invincibly” is a nice writer’s word but I’m not sure there are degrees of stupidity when it comes to bad political choices). Not all Republicans are stupid, and not all evangelicals are stupid; but those Christians who believe in the literal inerrancy of the bible are stupid, and I’ll tell you why.

There are different types of intelligence, according to the respected American psychologist, Howard Gardener, who, in 1983, listed them. Several aren’t relevant here (natural intelligence, musical intelligence, spatial intelligence, etc.) but the most important one, from the point of view of what makes for a good citizen, is logical intelligence. This is what fuels the process of reason; it enables people to discern the truth of things, as opposed to being misled by fantasy, superstition, ignorance and deceitfulness.

In this sense, evangelicals (and apparently Trump himself) have proven they aren’t as logically intelligent as are Americans who actually believe in science. We are blessed, in this modern era, to have the greatest array of scientific knowledge ever collected in the history of mankind; and scientific knowledge is a good thing. It helps us in every aspect of life, has resulted in the healthiest, most progressive human culture ever. (Whether we’re happier is another story…) It therefore follows that anyone who rejects scientific knowledge, as evangelicals do, has a mental problem; labeling them “stupid” is harsh, but we have to call a spade a spade. When it comes to logical intelligence, they really are stupid.

McGurn’s argument is so thin and specious, it could have been expressed in two sentences. But that’s not enough to fill an entire column, so, for the rest, he puts on his pit bull costume and goes after—who else?—Hillary Clinton, with the usual B.S.: she “lies” (no proof offered), her “public life has been a series of scandals” (courtesy of who? McGurn’s Republican Party, which has smeared Hillary for 25 years and come up with absolutely nothing), she would be “a third term for disastrous Obama policies.” Maybe someone forgot to tell McGurn that President Obama’s approval rating is consistently in the low- to mid-fifties, whereas his predecessor, George W. Bush, had an approval rating of only 34% just prior to leaving office. Americans therefore strongly disagree with McGurn: they believe in large numbers that Obama has been an excellent President. This is further corroborated by the polls, in which Hillary Clinton is poised to win red states: Ohio, Arizona, North Carolina, Nevada; and even Alaska, Texas and Georgia are turning pink! Clearly, Americans do not feel like Obama has been a disaster; quite the contrary. If Hillary Clinton governs as well as Obama has, most of us would welcome it.

So McGurn is struggling. Even the arch-conservative Jonah Goldberg—son of Lucianne Goldberg, one of Bill Clinton’s nemeses, a tattling gossip who did her best to bring Bill Clinton down—assaulted McGurn in yesterday’s National Review. He did so rather anemically, but still, the fact that these two radical rightwingers, McGurn and Goldberg, are at war is further proof of how Trump has been a bomb in the Republican Party, blowing it up, turning it against itself, and exposing for all the world to see its internal incoherence.


Repubs show classic Freudian avoidance behavior, try to distract from Hillary’s surge

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In Freudian psychoanalysis, there’s a defense mechanism, called reaction formation, in which emotions and impulses which are anxiety-producing or perceived to be unacceptable are mastered by exaggeration (hypertrophy) of the directly opposing tendency.” (Wikipedia) One example of reaction formation is Stockholm Syndrome: when a hostage develops intense, positive feelings for his or her captor/s. Another is when closeted homosexuals bash gays; Roy Cohn was a classic example, but so have been any number of outed Republican politicians, such as Larry “Wide Stance” Craig, the disgraced, homophobic former Republican Senator from Idaho, who was caught soliciting in a men’s room.

Reaction formation is something politicians sometimes do when they’re afraid they’re on the losing side of an election and they want/need to distract attention from their losing positions and perhaps convince themselves they’re doing okay. Such was the case in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, where the op-ed page could be used in a Psych 101 class, so filled was it with different kinds of reaction formations. But first, a little background.

Nate Silver’s highly respected website has had Hillary Clinton on a real roll lately. Since the first Presidential debate, her chances of getting elected have soared, from 54.8% to 78.8% as I write (Thursday afternoon). This is clearly scary for Republicans. It is information that is anxiety-producing or perceived to be unacceptable” for them, and therefore must be hidden by “the directly opposing tendency,” which is to rachet up their attacks on Democrats. The psychological hope, I suppose, is that WSJ readers (who tend to be conservatives) will be reassured that the Republican Party is sticking it to Democrats—even as that Republican Party is headed towards near-certain doom in the election.

So what do we find on the op-ed page? A deplorable basket of stuff that’s really phony, even for the Wall Street Journal. Fasten your seatbelts and get ready for a bumpy ride!

Aleppo is Obama’s Sarajevo, by Daniel Henninger. A desperate smear of the President by a dreadfully partisan columnist. Henninger is actually trying to pin the Syrian war on Obama, which nobody believes except for red state ignoramuses and neocons. This is in line with Trump’s love-fest for Putin. Henninger will never admit that George W. Bush caused the Syrian war to happen when he criminally invaded Iraq and caused chaos across the Middle East.

The FBI Treated Clinton With Kid Gloves, by Noel Francisco and James Burnham. To paraphrase Bernie Sanders, “Enough with the frigging emails already!” Nobody cares. That manufactured scandal’s shelf life ended weeks ago, but here’s the Wall Street Journal, desperately reaction-formationing this smear. Sad, really sad. The atmosphere in the Journal’s editorial room must be near suicidal.

ObamaCare’s Meltdown Has Arrived, by Andrew Ogles and Luke Hilgemann. The paper could have published this two years ago, one year ago, six months ago, three months ago—wait a minute, they did! Republicans have consistently lied about ObamaCare’s success in insuring tens of millions of Americans. This “meltdown” myth is so transparently fake, you have to wonder why the Journal felt yet another attack on the Affordable Care Act is needed at this time. But then, that’s the essence of reaction formation: the actual choice of behavior doesn’t matter. What counts is coming up with something, anything to deflect the pain of something as “anxiety-producing and unacceptable” as Trump’s crash in the polls.

And here, in a way, is my favorite, from the ever-dependable Karl Rove:

Trump Sorely Needs a Debate Win. Ole Karl must have had a really bad day if this is the best he could come up with. My little dog, Gus, could have told me that!

See the pattern? The Wall Street Journal is panicking. The center is not holding. Republicans see the handwriting on the wall—the disaster they have foisted upon themselves—and the only thing they can do about it is bury their heads in the sand and come up with ludicrous avoidance behaviors to mask the pain. Unfortunately, as Freud himself warned, reaction formation solves nothing. It merely pushes the anxiety down deeper, where it can manifest itself in truly harmful ways.

Use the word “killary”? Face it, you’re really sick



As my readers know, I’m hardly a fan of the Wall Street Journal. I read it to see what the other side is saying—usually lies and smears against Democrats. But every once in a while, they surprise me.

For example, the other day, Dorothy Rabinowitz, a rightwing columnist, came out firmly against Trump and for Hillary. Dorothy has the wits to discern the truth about this election. Putting partisan politics aside—which is hard for the tea party, since that’s all they care about—Dorothy came to the righteous conclusion that Hillary is the right person for the job of President of the United States. Kudos to her: Dorothy, you’ve almost managed to redeem yourself! (But how can you remain a Republican?)

On the other side of the coin—the sicko side—are those Hillary haters, whom Dorothy took care to distance herself from. I, personally, can see no basis for criticizing Hillary Clinton at all. She’s fought all her life for women’s rights, children’s rights, and for bringing sanity and compassion to our politics and public policies. I can understand—barely—differing with her on some minor issue of insurance policy or educational standards or trade deals. But the true haters have me scratching my head, trying to understand their real motive, and all I can come up with is this: they are mentally ill.

Especially those who use the word “killary.” It shows up a lot in my Facebook feed. I have no idea who these people are: they’re my “friends” only in a Facebook sense. I read their rants: Hillary did this, she did that, she murdered, she had her Secret Service agents kill on her behalf, she’s responsible for thousands of deaths—personally responsible, as a woman. Now, these same people don’t hold George W. Bush personally responsible for killing Afghans or Iraqis or whoever else gets offed by us. No, but they have convinced themselves that Hillary Clinton is a special case, satanic, evil. Just yesterday, one of my Facebook “friends” went on a hate-filled rampage about “killary” that was barely coherent. She may have been drunk, or on drugs, she may have simply gotten herself into a rage, who knows? I Googled “killary” and actually came up with 1,640,000 results. Here, from the basket of deplorable comments, are two typical hits:

  • Breaking: evidence that #killary would be in favor of murdering her opponents.
  • The Clinton body count: The following is a partial list of a large number of persons who have recently met their demise in suspicious circumstances who appear to have some connection to the Clintons.

And then there are the high school kids in Ohio whose minds were literally poisoned by their parents: they started an organization they dubbed “Killary Clinton” that was so violent, the Department of Homeland Security visited and made them disband their little hate group.

Can you imagine who these kids’ parents are? “Johnny and Susie, why don’t you blog about Killary’s murder victims?” Would you want your kid associating with such wackos?

I don’t need to talk with people who use the word “killary.” I don’t want to hear their complaints, I don’t want to get their Brietbart links or hear their conspiracy theories. People who use the word “killary” are suffering from a serious mental problem. I can’t begin to fathom it. I just know how wrong it is—evil, even. It comes from the worst instincts in people, from the sewers of their minds. How do you have a conversation with such people?

You don’t. The only thing you can do is beat them in this upcoming election, and as soundly as is possible. They won’t go away—if anything, when their guy loses, they’ll find even more conspiracies to blame it on. Hillary Clinton murdered the people who count the votes! Hillary paid to have the electoral college assassinated! Hillary personally tampered with the voting machines! Hillary paid off the election officials! Chelsea was seen…Well, you get the crazy idea.

But when the killary crowd loses this election, badly, maybe someone close to them will urge an intervention. Because anyone who uses the word “killary” has a very serious psychological problem and needs help.

Peggy Noonan: how a speech writer uses rhetoric to lie

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There’s a rhetorical device people use to defend an unpopular or ludicrous point of view by comparing it to its opposite and then saying that both points of view are bad. For example, on MSNBC lately, they’ve had the rightwinger, Hugh Hewitt, claiming that there are no good choices in the upcoming presidential election. Hewitt, arch-conservative Catholic Republican that he is, cannot deny Trump’s obvious lack of qualifications. So his crafty approach is to say, “They’re both terrible,” as though there were some kind of moral equivalence between them, when there really isn’t. This is a rhetorical device to distract attention from Trump’s unfitness and muddy the waters.

We saw this trick played again in the weekend’s Wall Street Journal, where the prevaricator was none other than Reagan’s second-string speechwriter, Peggy Noonan, a longtime Clinton hater. In her op-ed piece, “The Politics of ‘The Shallows,’” she uses this rhetorical device for a similar purpose: to take the heat off Trump by pretending to be calling for “fairness.” Like Hewitt, there’s no way Noonan can portray Trump’s recent behavior as anything but horrible. She knows he’s a total shambles. Yet she can’t bring herself to admit that her own Republican Party created this Frankenstein monster. So what’s a tea party columnist to do?

Turn to that old rhetorical device! Here’s how Peggy works it. First, she admits how awful Trump’s debate performance was, and how badly he’s mishandled the Miss Universe issue. But she then blames the media for reporting on it! Their “utter antagonism toward” him, she says, is simply unfair. Addressing CNN directly, she tells them to “Tell the story, ask the questions [but] give it to [people] straight…report both sides.” The constant airing of Trump’s incoherences “isn’t helping.”

Well, it’s “not helping” get Trump elected, that’s for sure. Look, when Peggy Noonan is calling for the media to be fair and honest in their reporting, you can’t help but smile. She’s pissed because “the mainstream media” are reporting on Trump’s crazy statements, his thin-skinned tweets, his bullying, his insults, instead of simply “tell[ing] the story.” How many times has Peggy Noonan been on Fox News—on Hannity, on O’Reilly, on the rest of that crowd of haters, where lies and smears of the Clintons and of the Obamas are routine red meat for the tea party? “Give it straight”? Not on Fox.

But have you ever read a Peggy Noonan column where she takes Fox to task for congenital partisanship? No, of course not. Peggy Noonan’s chastising lips are shut tight when her side of the aisle is doing the character assassination. But when her party’s candidate melts down for all the world to see, and CNN and MSNBC point it out, suddenly Peggy discovers “journalistic ethics” and wants everyone to “give it straight.” Do you see the irony? The hypocrisy? More important, do you see her rhetorical device? Here it is, broken down:

  1. The mainstream media isn’t fair.
  2. Therefore, when the media reports on anything negative about Donald Trump, you can disregard it.
  3. But when Fox reports on something negative about Hillary Clinton, you can take it to the bank!

As a strategy, it’s laughable and insulting to thinking people; and, fortunately, it isn’t working. For the past week, fivethirtyeight has continually upped Hillary’s chances of winning; as I write this (Sunday evening), they’re nearly 67 percent. They wouldn’t be that high if the media weren’t telling the American public about Miss Universe, about the bizarre 3 a.m. tweets, about Trump’s obsession with Bill Clinton’s sex life (which is curiously reminiscent of Kenneth Starr’s), about Trump’s insult of Gold Star families, about Trump’s tax evasions, his bilking small vendors, his numerous affairs and his ex-wives and girlfriends. But the media are telling us about these things, and rightfully so. And people are listening. Which drives Peggy Noonan simply, utterly mad, as she sees her nemesis, Hillary Clinton, inching ever closer towards the White House.

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