Trump Watch: The Conservative Condition

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Tiassa, Aug 10, 2022.

  1. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Right. But I'm a liberal and I don't support everything other liberals are doing - but I also don't do much to stop it (other than vote when and where I can for people who would do a better job, and of course complain about it on line which does next to nothing.) Liberals in Burbank, for example, banned the book To Kill a Mockingbird because there was racist content in it. I disagree with pretty much any book banning, but since I can't vote for the Burbank school board, I don't have much power over that.

    Does that make me a hypocrite? Does the fact that most liberals aren't doing anything about that ban make them vicious book-banners?
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  3. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    It's not that I didn't expect the literal nitpick but...really? What's next? Something about Hitler?

    Nothing in print is literal. There would have to be an addendum with pages of exceptions. Maybe with Tiassa's posts but not mine.

    In effect, you agree with my post. Why go for the slavery angle? You know that I'm not "pro-slavery".

    The financial system needs stability, for example. If you have money in a bank, you don't want a run on a bank. If your bank has insurance and has to be bailed out to prevent wide-spread panic in the country, I assume you want stability too.

    If you have an investment in your house, if one party or the other wants to change the exemption rules, you'd like to have some warning and not find out at retirement that all the rules were just changed.

    Even if the reasoning had something to do with some group being treated unfairly in the past, if there is going to be a change it's more unfair to just spring it on everyone that made life long retirement plans based on the old rules.

    You probably don't want a nuclear treaty with Iran to be changed by the next administration on a whim or for tariffs to suddenly appear on Chinese goods just because a nutty President is having a bad day.

    In 99 percent of all cases, stability is generally a good thing.

    Do most of your statements hold up to the 100 percent validity standard or is it generally understood that most statements aren't that literal. Do we always have to take into account "slavery", "Hitler" or some other extreme case before we make any statement? Nope? I thought not.
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  5. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    I find your equivocation inappropriate.

    Seriously, what is it that even you, a self-described liberal, will promote conservative false equivocation?

    Okay, how many vicious book-banners are which liberals electing in their what jurisdictions? For instance, you, who aren't in Burbank, and can't vote for the school board there, can vote for someone in your own community. How many vicious book-banners are you backing in this Democratic primary cycle? How many liberal vicious book-banners from other communities and jurisdictions are you promoting or supporting on social media?

    To what degree was it "liberals in Burbank" who removed five books from the curriculum, in the context of liberalism? This would actually speak toward questions of prevailing narrative, especially with white supremacists blaming books for their conduct and apparently this was what a small handful of Black parents and some school officials came up with compared to the district's inability to deal with racist behavior in the student body.

    And, in any case, it's Burbank. What kind of liberals do we expect to find in Burbank? Affluent, non-intersectionalist, LoCal liberals, perhaps and, sure, this kind of thing happens from time to time. That you would pretend equivalence is dubious.

    Does what make you a hypocrite? That you would let conservatives off so easy is its own kind of suggestive.
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  7. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    When is equivocation appropriate?
  8. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Comedy and deathbeds.
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  9. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Nope. Something about slavery, which is an example of a rapid (and I believe necessary) change to law.
    Yes - and I suspect that you would also agree that with slavery it's OK to NOT be gradual.

    There are things that need to be changed rapidly. Slavery was one. I believe CO2 emissions are another one. These rapid changes will surely piss people off. But often they are necessary. For matters of lesser import, I agree that gradual changes are generally a better idea.
    ?? I very much hope we take into account slavery when we consider things that must be changed rapidly! It is part of our history and changed the country radically for the better.
  10. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    OK, yes, if your house is on fire, don't put the fire out gradually. I don't want to be misunderstood on that point.

    If you want to forgive student debt, that's OK too but you should raise taxes to pay for it so that it's obvious that there is a cost to any program. It's not enough to make it appear as if there is a free program which seems to be the case to many since money is handed out like candy but taxes never go up.

    People don't want student loans and would like for higher education to be free. It's never free. If you don't like a student loan payment I'm not sure you will like state income taxes any better or higher property taxes.

    The feedback loop would be to see if college tuitions go down as a result of forgiving debt or whether they go up.
  11. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    We've been gradually easing our way into the Fourteenth Amendment for over a century and a half. I'm pretty sure the first equal-protection era generation of supremacists is done being uncomfortable with the end of supremacy.

    There isn't any excuse for sympathizing with white, male, or Christian supremacism in the twenty-first century. To borrow Billvon's↑ phrase, we might wonder what makes human rights a matter of lesser import.

    Do understand, please, #98↑ really is an odd post in its moment; it's one thing if you somehow expected the "literal nitpick", but you certainly didn't account for it, and that's the thing: Your post, or its follow-up at #102↑ might have some discursive merit of their own, but in the present thread they seem a weird change of subject.

    The difference between slavery and what you might have meant is not unnoticed; compared to Trump and the conservative condition, your brief memo on what is needed and what is lacking is extraneous, poorly conceived, and a change of subject; Billvon's application of your sketch to actual circumstances related to Trump and the conservative condition at least has the merit of trying to make your post relevant to the thread.

    Meanwhile, your "feedback loop" example about college tuition↑ is arbitrary and unscientific. Insufficient debt relief will not have any real effect on college tuition, i.e., if tuition rises because of minor debt relief, the problem isn't the debtors or the relief, but the capitalists who set tuition rates.

    But that's kind of how it goes, isn't it? When the political news is bad for conservatives, the first, most obvious thing to do is change the subject.
  12. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

    the secret documents that trump & his cult took from secure lock-up
    was not stored correctly & left open to people to view
    i think that may be the same as releasing those documents to the public because they did not control security of them
    and with 2 Chinese nationals who gained entry they had a duty to increase security.

    so he knowingly took documents he was not allowed to remove to a location that had been compromised TWICE.
    and then once there did not lock them up to restrict access.

    surely this must be as bad as spying
    what guests did he have that may have had access to these documents ?

    he needs to supply a list of all people who gained entry to have them subpoenaed to testify if they came in contact with the secret documents.

    the people who physically removed the documents...
    were they authorized to handle or read them ?
    did they read any ?
  13. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    Of course you only address the part of my post about a house fire and nothing else. Am I surprised? No, of course not.
  14. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    I mean, to the one,you missed the point (i.e., "… they seem a weird change of subject …"); to the other, you lied (e.g., "… your 'feedback loop' example about college tuition …").

    But, here, just for you, let's go ahead and run through it: As I said, #98↑ really is an odd post in its moment.

    The general subject is Trump, and the condition of American conservatism, and largely per the legal woes swirling around the former president, and while nothing precludes subject creep, the turn to a partisan personal thesis on governance is a little strange.

    Of your three points, one would simply be called doing a little science, except your examples are more political than scientific; the other two are partisan talking points that, historically speaking, are inconsistently applied both in politic and practice.

    Still, look at your "feedback loop". I won't explicitly nitpick—or, at least, in any binding sense—the point about what you put in quotes, but it does make a subtle difference. As it is, though, to establish a feedback loop would be, approximately, doing a little bit of science. Toward that point, it's not simply a question of results, even regardless of intentions; part of doing a little bit of science would involve looking into the history of how these political philosophies, arguments, and outcomes work, compared to what history shows us they brought.

    And it would be easy nitpick your examples, that the one is a conservative policy goal and the other a vague expression of a complex liberal policy, but the more important points are that we have some historical information, and the actual "feedback loop" for legalization is much more complex than the conservative policy priorites in re drugs.

    If the question is doing a little bit of science, the doubt I show your context is easily enough explained by the other two points; you might suggest these points should apply whether one is liberal, conservative, or otherwise, but they are generally conservative talking points. The balanced budget thing is, historically, just an excuse for sustaining and even augmenting domestic suffering. Think of a complaint that goes, approximately, 「If we had spent the money we just spent on wars for domestic programs …」, and the thing is that it probably wouldn't have taken that much money. Domestic spending would provide some return that would, at least, mitigate the expense significantly, and some part of the historical record would argue can create certain economic growth. There is a big complex of feedback loops about economic returns on domestic spending.

    And the point about gradual changes is always an unwieldy beast. The thing about people needing time to adjust is that, for instance, is that it means different things under different circumstances. Unless you mean people need time to adjust on broken obligations and usurped trust, then ending Social Security means paying out a lot of obligations.

    Here is another aspect that your analysis overlooks: Purpose.

    There was a time, not really so many years ago, when conservatives went through a trend of demanding every piece of legislation include its constitutional justification, and, for the most part, it was a quasi-originalist thing disdaining penumbras; it's complicated, and kind of stupid, but the Supreme Court might finally settle the question for them, although I can't imagine the actual case path. Anyway, a bit of important trivia, here, is that the one part of the Constitution the Court does not hold binding is the part that tells us what the Constitution is for↱. Toward our moment, in the spirit of constitutional justification, and considering the context of the feedback loop, how does this or that policy fulfill its constitutional purpose?

    How would the end of Social Security promote the general welfare? What would the end of Social Security contribute toward the establishment of justice?

    Or the question of homelessness: Can you police your way into domestic tranquility? Can you patrol and arrest enough to secure the blessings of liberty? How does this establish justice, and, again, what does it do to promote the general welfare?

    Rousting the camps certainly isn't a solution. Or, perhaps, we might wonder what rousting the camps actually solves. To reiterate: Compared to Wilde's↱ argument that the "proper aim is to try and reconstruct society on such a basis that poverty will be impossible", the requisite poverty of capitalism and the aesthetic priorities by which it is allocated really do stand out as both craven and arbitrary. What passes for justice, or tranquility, or welfare? And the blessings of liberty? If too much liberty can be tyranny, then not all of what liberty brings is a blessing.

    Which, in turn, brings us 'round to conservatives, Republicans, and Trump. Like I said, compared to the idea that William F. Buckley Jr. would somehow be distressed by what conservatism has become, the actual point that would trouble him is the lack of subtlety. Or, per Ben Stein↑, "Trumpism is basically old-fashioned republicanism." The part of conservatism and the Republican Party that Trumpism destroys with its craziness↑ is the careful strategic planning and tactical calculations of more institutional and mainstream conservatism. There is no question, for instance, that the last three or four decades of conservatives looking at supremacism and deciding to complain that Democrats would criticize is any sort of accident. That's who these people are, and they're willing to destroy the institutions they never really believed in for the sake of assuaging their consciences by legitimizing their supremacism. The thing about conservatives and Republicans is that, as two different subjects, Republicans were the lying face of conservatives, and Trumpism destroyed that pretense by saying pretty much all of the quiet parts out loud. After all, if it was something conservatives and Republicans wanted to distance themselves from, they might do something other than dutifully lining up to complain about Democrats, liberals, women, people of color, schoolteachers, doctors and nurses, homosexuals, transgender, Aunty Phở, workers, migrants, imaginary radical leftists, imaginary child traffickers, and even actual windmills. It's a pretty miserable conservative condition.
  15. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    To the one, your comment is an odd one (surprise) and to the other it's not true (I didn't "lie" about anything).

    After 6 pages I think it's time to broaden the subject (Trump and the Conservative Condition). I don't even think there are any MAGA Republicans here and quite possibly there are no Republicans here. So, you are largely preaching to the choir, especially with posts showing your disdain for book removals in Idaho libraries. Is anyone here for that? Probably not.

    Feedback loops aren't just for the scientific method. They are used in engineering and in good governance. It's the same for stability and being responsible should apply to most everything in life.

    In a post somewhere, I can't be bothered to track it down, you imply that your real issue is with money and capital. You spend your time blogging about conservativism but you actually seem to be to the left of Bernie Sanders. Anything not posted along those lines is either a "lie" or somebody's "talking points". Those type of responses are just intellectual crutches to avoid the real issues as are long, verbose diatribes preaching to the choir that essentially say nothing and offer no help or positive solutions.

    Homelessness is an example. There are two issues. One is the underlying problem of drug addiction and mental illness. The other is that there shouldn't be homeless camps in city parks and in our neighborhoods.

    You can address one or both but doing nothing shouldn't be an option. This subject starts to be as convoluted as those on the far right promoting chaos in the name of "freedom". It's not about the right to assembly when the mentally ill and drug addicted are in our parks. They need to be cleared out.

    It would also be nice if the mental illness and drug addiction was also addressed but they are two separate issues. Both don't have to be addressed in order to deal with the other.

    People don't like Trump's "whataboutisms", nor do I. Yet, it seems to come up quite often as in your comments about what about the money spent in Iraq and Afghanistan and what if it had been spent on the homeless?

    Many of us weren't for the war in Iraq and most weren't for staying in Afghanistan for more than a year. We also can't afford endless wars or anything else if our national debt continues to grow. How hard is that to understand? If you can't afford it, it's not a policy that you should pursue. "Taxing the rich" is more scapegoat than solution. It basically just means that you don't understand economics, finance and our tax code.

    This is also true in comments about bailing out corporations, tax breaks for the rich, etc. when talking about Biden's school debt relief.

    When the government gets involved they generally cause the problem in the first place and then make it worse. The sub-prime mortgage mess was made worse (0r caused) by government guarantees in the first place. Had it not been for those, financial institution couldn't/wouldn't have gotten in that deep (they still face blame of course).

    By the time the bail-outs come, it has to be done to stabilize the financial system. The problem isn't the bail-out. The problem was guaranteeing the underlying behavior in the first place.

    There is no major student loan crisis. Biden is forgiving everyone and not just those in "crisis". I don't think this will stand up legally in the courts as I don't think he has the authority under the HERO act to do what he did.

    There are too many excessive student loans because of the government guarantees. If people can't earn enough to pay them back (most do) then there is no need for the program in the first place. The guarantees just raise the cost of tuition and forgiving loans tends to raise them even more. There is nothing that says 12 years of education is insufficient but 16 is great.

    When in a hole, quit digging. Yet, what is being discussed, taxing the rich, how much was spent bailing out banks, etc.? Total slight of hand IMO.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2022
  16. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Ben Collins of NBC News tweets↱, "I think it's time we start covering Trumpism for what it is now," and the obvious question would be to wonder what they thought they were doing, before. Journalists of this period will probably never truly countenance the difference, though not all of the answers are particularly damning inasmuch as part of what went wrong was either stupidly tragic or tragically stupid. The rest of the tweet goes on to assert that Trumpism is "no longer a political movement", but, rather, "a violent fairytale of revenge on political enemies.

    "Feds could've found a body in those Mar a Lago boxes," he continued, "and followers wouldn't care. It's about retribution, not facts.

    And it's true, we can wonder about terms like, "now", or, "no longer"; as David Corn↱ reminds, it was six years ago when he "reported that the three things that motivate Trump over all else" were "revenge, revenge, and revenge".

    Collins includes a little more detail in a video clip from last week:

    COLLINS: They're looking for weaponizable data points. They're looking for people they can target. They're looking for people they can doxx and harass. They're not looking for an endgame, here. They could have found a body in these boxes, and that wouldn't have been enough for them. They would've been like, "Ah, that's somebody else's body, like it's not― Donald Trump had nothing to do with that body." There is no endgame here, for them. The endgame is to keep stalling, keep delaying, keep pushing this forward, keep making it look like some sort of political persecution, and then, you know, there is no possible way this ends, for them, other than political persecution.

    MSNBC: So the interest you're seeing in some far-right corners of the internet is not to defend Trump, and it's not necessarily to get more information or seek the truth, it's actually almost retribution?

    COLLINS: Yeah, it's just retribution. That's what Trumpism is, now. It's retribution and revanchism on political enemies and what they view to be, y'know, some sort of culture war norms. They want the world to return to, y'know, the pre-Nineties world in general, but they also just― they want to get revenge on the people who changed the world to make it so they had less power, in their view, in their eyes. That's what they thought they were getting with Trumpism 1.0; they didn't think he was serious enough about this culture war. Now they think he's actually going to exact that revenge when he gets back into office.

    MSNBC: I remember when the details of the search warrant were first released, and that property receipt, and you had actually pointed out a conversation online in which someone said it doesn't matter if state secrets were delivered to Saudi Arabia on a silver platter with a cheeseburger: Why does that not matter?

    COLLINS: Because that's not what it's about; it's always― he's always being done wrong. It's persecution, to them. It's not about facts or information, it's about buffeting the narrative, that this guy stands in for all of them who have been persecuted by the Left. So if they can find more ways to make that the truth, they will do it. But they need enemies; they need new characters. That's why the affidavit didn't land today. There was no new person in there, they could be like, "Ah, that's the bad guy, now!" So now they need to move― that's why tapes would help a lot: They get to identify people; they get to search for these specific FBI agents who did the search; they get to search for the snitch, or the narc, that they thought was somewhere in the Trump cavalry. So that's why it didn't land, today, they're looking for somebody else to blame.

    It's one thing if Trump supporters have been like this the whole time, and while some might dispute in order to separate out conservatives or Republicans from Trumpism, the fact of the Trump experience dominating American conservatism and guiding the Republican Party makes it a bit harder to parse the overlapping elements. While hardly the exclusive criterion defining the Trump context, this cultish, conspiracist thirst for revenge is a striking testament to the conservative condition.


    @DavidCornDC. "In 2016, I reported that the three things that motivate Trump over all else: revenge, revenge, and revenge". Twitter. 29 August 2022. 29 August 2022.

    @oneunderscore__. "I think it's time we start covering Trumpism for what it is now. It's no longer a political movement. It's a violent fairytale of revenge on political enemies. Feds could've found a body in those Mar a Lago boxes and followers wouldn't care. It's about retribution, not facts." Twitter. 29 August 2022. 29 August 2022.
  17. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

    It's funny, now and again we used to get the odd flat earther or conspiracy theorist barking their latest nonsense right here on these forums with many of us laughing and mocking them. Now, we realize there are tens of millions of them all across America and were just hiding in plain sight.
    Neddy Bate likes this.
  18. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

    Watch here how Jesse demonstrates Republicans meet all 14 point criteria for being Fascists.

  19. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    I think that both problems share similar causes.

    One prominent cause of coming to believe nonsense lies in never seeking out alternative views or (importantly) data to challenge your own current opinions.

    Hardened conspiracy theorists congregate in online conspiracy-believer support groups, where everybody constantly reinforces the faith-based positions of the group. Flat Earthers join flat earth groups and discuss all the reasons why the earth must be flat. The flat earthers refuse to engage with evidence that undermines their beliefs. For them, as a matter of faith, evidence that tends to refute the flat earth belief must be either in error (though they will never take the time to try to work out exactly where the error lies) or part of a deliberate conspiracy to promote the falsehood of a round Earth (though all evidence of such a conspiracy is always circumstantial, as it turns out). Ad hoc explanations are trotted out regularly. Inconvenient facts are waved away without thought or, perhaps, with the thought that one ought not allow evil disruptive thoughts into one's pretty little head.

    Believers in Trump's Big Lie are no different. They live in their Fox News bubbles, talk only to their Fox News watching neighbours and family, claim that (a) there's a grand conspiracy or three to try to prevent the Saviour from again taking his rightful place as President of the MAGA nation, (b) the "liberal" media all tell lies, (c) it's not a problem to have "alternative facts", (d) if enough people believe something, that makes it true; and so on and so forth.

    What all these people have in common is how easy it is to pull the wool over their eyes; how easy it is for duplicitous people to control them in the service of narrow-minded self-interest (i.e. the self-interest of the controllers, not the sheep).

    The only way to make a start on solving this problem properly is for people to start listening - really listening - to what people who aren't in their "in group" have to say. Sadly, many factors conspire to make this more and more difficult these days. Your Facebook feed tends to feed you stuff you're likely to already agree with; if it didn't, you might want to stop using Facebook, which means less profit for Facebook. The Fox network doesn't want you spending any time watching CNN or - heaven forbid - PBS; it wants your undivided attention. The most outrageous stories make the most effective clickbait. And so it goes.

    The United States is in real and imminent danger of losing what actually made it great: freedom of speech, democracy, freedom of religion (including freedom from religion), equality under the law, etc. etc. While some Americans are deeply concerned about this, I think that many others either are not aware of what they have to lose, or else they actually just want a "strong man" to come along to tell them how they need to live their lives. If they can, they want - of course - to make sure that their "strong man" is the guy in the charge, so that they get to hold onto the illusion of still having the sort of power they think their daddy had in a mythical past golden age.
  20. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Once again, we check in on this part:

    Anyway, as Ryan J. Reilly↱ of NBC News explained:

    Buried in the DOJ filing is an explanation for why they (lawfully) initially seized Trump's passports: They were co-mingled with classified documents in a desk drawer.

    And he went on↱ to explain:

    The passports themselves, and their location, are very good evidence that Trump unlawfully retained national defense information.

    Or, just to reiterate↑: The idea that FBI agents collected the passports, established their legitimacy, and then returned them would not be unusual in the history serving search warrants; apparently the magatude weren't aware.


    —chatter grows as a Trump-appointed judge formulates her ruling on a motion for special master that even former AG Bill Barr says is a red herring, but former U.S. Attorney Andrew Weissmann↱ suggests was "a huge misstep" because, "DOJ has used its response to disclose damning proof of a series of crimes, which it would not otherwise have been able to do."

    But then there was this—

    —which seemed strange in its moment, but, sure, whatever.

    Of course, it was less than ten days later that the tale of Project Veritas brought us guilty pleas↱ from the right-wing organization's thieves.

    And so, again:

    This sort of gullibility is apparently something we are supposed to take seriously, but it also seems well enough to ask what the magagaga have done that should inspire anyone else's faith in them.


    Not every political argument receives the sort of grace that much of American conservatism has received in recent decades. Part of the reason people become so gullible is that they are not obliged to be otherwise. We can see it happening yet again as some people try to parse the difference between conservatism and the produce of a decades-long conservative effort.

    Conservatives do not need to make sense, or uphold any sort of integrity; it's an epistemic symptom, and there is always some sympathetic fool to pander on their behalf. It's one thing, for instance, if someone disdains information that disagrees with their own views, but there is also a question of who would help shield them, and why. The comfort of familiarity↑ is not the only driver of such sympathies; it's not necessarily that so many people want or intend to be a part of something, but they make excuses because they would somehow feel badly if they didn't.

    And that's the thing: Maybe one person's extraordinarily wrong post on the internet is just one person on the world wide web, but to what degree does life imitate 'net? The entire Trump argument feels like an internet dispute, and this is not new compared to the conservative condition, but at some point we must acknowledge the significance of the larger conservative epistemic phenomenon. Such as the part about Trump "wildly" missing the point↱, and publicly complaining in such a manner as to further the case against him; I actually know that move from seeing people try it over and over and over again on the internet. It never really has been clear what, other than the sheer force of pout, actually justifies or legitimizes such behavior.


    @AWeissmann. "The Trump filings for a Special Master were a huge misstep. DOJ has used its response to disclose damning proof of a series of crimes, which it would not otherwise have been able to do. And one very compelling photo." Twitter. 30 August 2022. 2 September 2022.

    @ryanjreilly. "Buried in the DOJ filing is an explanation for why they (lawfully) initially seized Trump's passports: They were co-mingled with classified documents in a desk drawer." (thread) Twitter. 30 August 2022. 2 September 2022.

    Benen, Steve. "Trump wildly misses the point of notorious Mar-a-Lago picture". MSNBC. 2 September 2022. 3 September 2022.

    Department of Justice. "Florida Residents Plead Guilty To Conspiracy To Commit Interstate Transportation Of Stolen Property". United States Attorney's Office Southern District of New York. 25 August 2022. 2 September 2022.
  21. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Plot twist:

    For months, the conservative provocateur Dinesh D'Souza teased that the book version of his widely debunked film "2,000 Mules" would provide compelling new evidence that the 2020 election was "stolen." The film has been repeatedly promoted by former President Donald Trump, who even hosted a screening at his Mar-a-Lago resort.

    Then, just before the book's scheduled release - and after copies had already arrived in stores - D'Souza's publisher, Regnery, abruptly pulled the book from shelves and delayed the e-book release, citing an unspecified "publishing error." Regnery is a division of Salem Media Group, which reduced its quarterly earnings estimate because of the delay. On Twitter, D'Souza blamed Regnery for the recall.

    "Somehow a significant error got missed by the publisher," he said.

    But not every copy of the book got recalled.

    After traveling in Los Angeles traffic to more than a half-dozen booksellers, NPR found a copy of the "2,000 Mules" tucked into a shelf of the "Current Affairs" section at a Barnes & Noble in the San Fernando Valley.

    The book does not appear to suffer from an obvious production error which might explain the delay; a misaligned photo, incorrect page numbers or blank pages.

    The book does, however, regurgitate the content of the film "2,000 Mules" including misleading claims, which have been thoroughly debunked by fact-checkers and critics across the political spectrum. Former Attorney General Bill Barr called the film's underlying premise "indefensible."


    It's a curious mess: While "some elements of the film were difficult, if not impossible, to fully fact-check", the "book adds new details … which NPR has been able to scrutinize". And one of the first things we should note is that some of those details are harshly criticized: "One group, whose data are cited in the book, said it would request a correction. Another raised the possibility of legal action." Circumstances are so sensitive that the organization True the Vote, and its founders Catherine Engelbrecht and Gregg Phillips, have distanced themselves from the book. Research by True the Vote was near the heart of the film; Engelbrecht and Phillips are executive producers. The organization claims it "had no participation in this book, and has no knowledge of its contents", including "any allegations of activities of any specific organizations made in the book". True the Vote "made no such allegations", according to an email statement. "The book reflects the views of the author, not of True the Vote, Catherine Engelbrecht, or Gregg Phillips."

    The NPR report explains:

    The film version of "2,000 Mules" does not name a single nonprofit that D'Souza or True the Vote allege took part in the alleged scheme, let alone give them a chance to respond to the accusation that they committed crimes.

    D'Souza told interviewers that the reason for the omission was due to legal concerns.

    "Basically, when you're putting a movie in the theater, you need three different types of insurance … And so we got into a big fight with these lawyers who insisted that we can't name the nonprofits. Now, normally, I would have battled them over this. But the problem was I was trying to get the movie out right away because it's so timely."

    The book, however, does name seven different groups. NPR contacted all of them for comment.

    The New Georgia Project suggested the book's allegations were "not based in fact", "based ion conspiracy theories", "can be viewed as libelous", and "sounds like a bunch of lies committed to paper". Aklima Khondoker explained, "And there are legal consequences for doing that."

    NPR checked with True the Vote, "whether it provided the names of the groups to D'Souza", and the spokesman "simply re-sent the group's statement with 'We made no such allegations' in bold".

    The NPR report goes on to consider some of the misleading and false claims from the movie and book, including misrepresentations of the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project: In May, ACLED suggested, "This is not the type of analysis you can use ACLED data for, and it is highly unlikely that these conclusions have any basis in fact." In a statement about the Regnery book, ACLED says, "Every reference to ACLED in the new book version of '2,000 Mules' is incorrect or misleading."

    And it is one thing to consider the note that Mike Gallagher and Hugh Hewitt are said to have declined to participate, but we might note the names that did participate in the film, "including Sebastian Gorka, Larry Elder, Charlie Kirk and Dennis Prager". These folks, like D'Souza, work for Salem Media.

    In a time when some would seek to parse the differences between conservatives and what the Republican Party does, the relationship of media entities like Regnery and Salem with conservative politicians, institutions, movements, and supporters, is important in understanding how a mythopoeic archetypal conservatism fell to such ruin as the Trump experience has wrought. In the long history of what seemed like a good idea at the time, conservative politicians have entertained, engaged, and even encouraged and hoped to exploit these rightist agitators.

    Moreover, the book claims that in April, D'Souza and True the Vote presented to members of the Republican National Committee, and speaks of their supportive reactions: "Many erupted with something to the effect of, 'I knew it!'"

    The separation between "conservatives" and crackpot-rightist Trumpism is not so clear as some would insist. RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel, for instance, was present at the April gathering in Memphis, even announcing the Committee's resolution forbidding Republican presidential candidates from participating in events by the Commission on Presidential Debates. Was the Romney scion always part of the something that isn't conservatism?

    Or maybe that question really is as strange as it reads. But regardless of whether it seems a long, long trail a'winding from "conservatism" to the Trump experience, or, as such, not really so far from there to here, Regnery and Salem are not outliers to the tale. They're not mere goofy hangers-on who happened to make it this far; they are vital players in the story, and modern Republicans and conservatism since 1995¹, or even 1980², have increasingly relied on such notorious conspiracism verging into and justifying extremism.

    And in that context, the idea that D'Souza has found some way to make Regnery flin― ... or, rather, that Regnery has managed to make D'Souza turn tai―... I mean, okay, whatever. However this works out, it's an impressive mess.

    It might seem to reflect poorly on the conservative condition, but they're probably not conservatives. Still, maybe they can blame cancel culture all the same.


    ¹ i.e., When Lind delcared the death of intellectual conservatism.

    ² i.e., The so-called Reagan Awakening.​

    Dreisbach, Tom. "A publisher abruptly recalled the '2,000 Mules' election denial book. NPR got a copy." NPR. 8 September 2022. 8 September 2022.
  22. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Like Ashes from the Sky

    It seems worth noting that Christina Bobb has retained counsel.

    Last month, Allison Gill↱ suggested:

    If they had only found documents in trumps office during the search, Bobb could say she conducted a rigorous search in response to the subpoena. But DoJ points out 76 additional docs were found in the storage room ALONE. Dead to rights. Time to withdraw as counsel and lawyer up.

    News is emerging tonight that the attorney who signed the clearly inaccurate June attestation that a Department of Justice subpoena was fulfilled has, indeed, lawyered up.

    Another attorney, Marc Lippincott↱ made an important point: "Crime Fraud in her flip could also avoid atty/client privilege. If she acts fast and pleads quick and has the goods on Trump's intent and plan, she might avoid prison." Translation: What is known as the crime-fraud exception to attorney-client privilege is likely in effect, which means Christina Bobb can roll on her client, Donald Trump, and it would probably suit her personal interest to do so as thorougly and promptly as possible.


    @marclippincott. "Crime Fraud in her flip could also avoid atty/client privilege. If she acts fast and pleads quick and has the goods on Trump's intent and plan, she might avoid prison." Twitter. 31 August 2022. 10 September 2022.

    @MuellerSheWrote. "If they had only found documents in trumps office during the search, Bobb could say she conducted a rigorous search in response to the subpoena. But DoJ points out 76 additional docs were found in the storage room ALONE. Dead to rights. Time to withdraw as counsel and lawyer up." Twitter. 31 August 2022. 10 September 2022.
  23. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    I understand MAGA now means "Making Attorneys Get Attorneys".

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