Random Saturday Musings

W.J. Astore

Hello, loyal readers of Bracing Views!

If corporations are people, can they catch the coronavirus?  It appears not, therefore they’re not people.  But let’s imagine corporations could catch COVID-19.  Don’t you think if Trump Inc. could be killed by a virus, the president would have acted far faster than he did?

When did fantasy become more important than science in American life?  My guess is roughly 1980, when Ronald Reagan was elected on sunny optimism and trickle-down economics.  It’s only gotten worse since then.

The military-industrial complex has been relatively quiet lately, except for all those loud flyovers in honor of medical workers, first responders, and the like.  I haven’t heard anything about the Pentagon volunteering to cut its budget, either now or in the future, to help desperate Americans make ends meet.

Those demonstrations by Trump supporters who want “to reopen America”: they sure carry some interesting signs, as in this photo from Cape Cod:

Gessen-CapeCodProtests

Some priceless symbols here: “the blue lives matter” flag to the far right, the various “don’t tread on me” flags, symbol of the Tea Party, together with signs to reopen gun shops.  It truly amazed me, as a history professor, to learn that so many of students equated freedom with the 2nd Amendment.  Reducing freedom to guns, God, and Old Glory (and perhaps gold as well) is truly a propaganda victory for the NRA, the Republican Party, and corporations in general.

Another perspective on that photo: these protesters are pro-authority, i.e. they support the police with the “thin blue line” flag but they’re anti-authority in that they resist a Republican governor’s call for social distancing during a pandemic. So they’re selectively pro-authority when it’s convenient for them to be, and anti-authority when they can’t gather and shoot their guns.

Echoing the photo above, this cartoon truly made me laugh out loud, perhaps because I had aquariums from roughly the age of ten to eighteen:

the fish

I love the fish holding the “My Choice” sign.  Except it’s not simply a “choice” when your decision to jump out of the tank imperils the lives of others.

I saw Tara Reade’s interview with Megyn Kelly, which I highly recommend.  Let’s just say I find her account far more credible than Joe Biden’s blanket denial.  Here’s the link:

When it comes to Biden versus Trump, I can’t vote for either man.  Both are deeply flawed individuals.  I do agree with Tara Reade that Joe Biden should be replaced, no matter how unlikely that seems.

We need a leader who’s calm in a storm, a leader with compassion, a leader with experience with adversity, and a leader who wants to end America’s calamitous wars.  Yup: I’d still much rather see Tulsi Gabbard than any other Democratic candidate, even Bernie Sanders.  (Bernie really let me down with all that “my friend Joe Biden” talk.)  Of course, barring the apocalypse, this isn’t going to happen.

What say you, readers?  If Biden can be replaced, who should replace him, and why?

A happy Saturday to all!

46 thoughts on “Random Saturday Musings

  1. In no particular order….. I’d say the protesters are pro-police only insofar as they believe the police to represent absolute authority (as opposed to Governor Whitmer’s state authority). However, if the police, say, attempted to restrict various militia cults from training members in military/police tactics (which I understand is generally against the law), those police would no longer be the good guys. Same if the police tried to restrain the gun-toting nutjobs with the signs.

    The “My Choice” fish is funny, in a tragic sort of way. The cartoon itself is admirably clever, and totally apt. The extrapolation is scarier: the “re-open our state” minority is claiming not freedom for all, but absolute individual freedom (or free-dumb, as I’ve seen it written), and damn the consequences. While the protesters declare that they should be able to go wherever they want during the pandemic, with no restrictions, they disregard the state’s mandate to keep citizens safe. And that would be up to them, if they were only endangering themselves. But just as speed limits are in place to protect all drivers, so the lockdown rules seek to save lives. The right to wander at will stops six feet away from every other person.

    As for Mr. Biden….ye gods! A NY Times commenter today painted a rosy picture of how our country will be saved, if only the Dems win in November. In a very real sense, many Dem supporters are as blind as GOP drones. The fact that Biden has “D” after his name means nothing. Aside from the fact that he’s actually a corporate shill, a DINO, his incompetence would prove to be limitless. Even well-known political observers like Frank Rich say they will vote for Biden without a qualm, which is frightening. I’m a Bernie supporter all the way, despite his pro-Biden statements. He’s trying to make the best of a bad situation, and I don’t approve, but I still think he’s the most qualified, desirable choice. Tulsi Gabbard for VP.

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    1. “…the state’s mandate to keep citizens safe.” The state has no mandate to keep anyone safe. How does the state protect you from asteroid strikes? Lightening? The state has a mandate to keep social order.

      “But just as speed limits are in place to protect all drivers,” An example of the state maintaining social order, not meant to protect all drivers. The state does protect all drivers from other drivers who simply make stupid choices, like deciding to pick something up off of the floor, or turning to speak to their children in the back seat.

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  2. Yes, of course Biden (same old old, bought and paid for, Military Industrial Complex complicit, gueule- de-bois, forever there, business as usual candidate) should be replaced … by YOU! Keep up the great work WJA!

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        1. You want a low bar? A brick or a chunk of driftwood would be a far superior president than what we have now.

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  3. I went to the home center this morning – the one with the big orange signs. What struck me is how many people weren’t wearing masks; a week ago a majority had masks. Even here in Washington, it appears people are deciding that science can be tossed out to make a statement about “freedom”, which means not caring about anyone else.

    Where is Biden? He appears to have nothing to say about anything. Why isn’t he out at least acting like the head of the party and talking about the plans the Dems have to deal with the hunger and lack of money of many of our citizens?

    I’m reminded of the old Star Trek episode (Patterns of Force) where Professor Gill was kept sedated and only his image was used; seems like this is the DNC plan for Biden.

    If the Dems are freaking out about Tara Reade damaging Biden, what are they going to do when the Republicans come like a blitzkrieg with all the Hunter Biden/China allegations? Do they think he’s going to show up in his basement with his aviator glasses and dismiss it by offering to get into a pushup contest with Trump?

    I don’t know there’s any alternative to Biden that will be accepted by the rich elites that actually control the party; well, only one and she lost last time.

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    1. Many thanks for the “Star Trek” reference. Yes, Professor Gill was kept sedated in a quasi-Nazi state.

      In Biden’s case, it’s an act of self-sedation. He has no new ideas; he looks and sounds tired. I can’t remember any memorable thing he’s said (except for his gaffes, that is). And all this makes the DNC and the corporate masters happy. If elected, at best he’ll be a figurehead, but more likely he’ll be a puppet.

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      1. I watched for the past 3 decades while the working man’s wage went lower compared to the top earners while health care and COL went up and up and thought, when this gets bad enough people will take to the streets and turn the country upside down. Occupy Wall Street looked like it may happen but then that fizzled. Now we have the pandemic; the worst thing I’ve seen ever, and still, no one is marching in protest (A la Vietnam/ Nixon). We continue to get what we don’t protest over, meaning if Joe is the guy for the DNC, we have ourselves to blame (again).

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    2. Perhaps those people had already had the disease and recovered from it, and therefor could neither transmit the disease nor be infected by it. I know, I know, “we don’t know if having the disease confers immunity,” but we are still counting on the phenomonon of “herd immunity.” Pick a narrative, please.

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  4. Worst Jobs losses in History now same as the Great Depression! But, n.p. nothing to see here because the Dow jumped 500 points… That’s life in the Trump Pandemic Universe –the Top Dogs, Big Cheeses, Number 1’s, & Fat Cats are still rakin it in!.

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    1. Also a failure of MSM who see the stock market as “the” economy. Part is sheer laziness. The stock market is so much easier to write about with just a few easily gathered numbers to write about. The few economists who’ve been right are usually marginalized or scorned by other media while the ones who get it wrong just keep spouting – and no one seems to mind, probably because it is easier to fill in the “news hole” with big-air talkers.

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  5. Two items with references (I will include URLs so you can check them out to decide whether to post this post:

    1 – The armed “Boogaloo” protesters:
    The author quotes Jared Yates Sexton, “What you saw in Michigan yesterday wasn’t a bunch of ‘posers’ or ‘gun nuts.’ These are paramilitary separatists who are using the pandemic for their own benefit and carrying out dry runs for what they see as a fascist takeover of the US.”
    That is, we need to realize these are not merely some stupid gun nuts or wing nuts. These are people building a take-over movement, since the start of the Tea Party (with astroturf and corporations such as Koch industries). Now they have an administration more than willing to help it along. This is worth following a number of the links in the article, especially the one to Megan Squire, a researcher doing data work on the online presence and interdependencies of these groups.
    This is a long article with fill in details, therefore the URL.
    https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/5/5/1942587/-The-right-may-have-cooked-up-the-Boogaloo-bois-but-will-find-fascists-are-beyond-their-control

    2 – On Tara Reade:
    I am a bit less convinced. At the start I assumed she was probably factual but there are too many changes and contradictions. The URL on DailyKos was written by Christian Dem who had been deep-diving (more than me) into the charges. In this article he goes over the Megyn Kelly interview with detailed criticism of the claims as well as Kelly’s accuracy. There is one area I’ve read elsewhere where Reade, several times, after making her claims said she was still voting for Biden, something which puzzled me. That particular detail isn’t covered in Dem’s article although above you note she is not saying that now.
    Here is the link. It is too long to summarize his points. You have to go there to read it.
    URL: https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/5/9/1943813/-I-watched-Megyn-Kelly-s-interview-with-Tara-Reade-so-you-didn-t-have-to

    Mike

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    1. Thank you for the link to the Daily Kos article, Mike. I’ve read it and will make a copy for future reference. To return the favor, and for those who might appreciate dispassionate journalism and logical argumentation (i.e., disciplined dialectics) I’ve set up on my website a running record of relevant excerpts from Michael Tracey’s Twitter feed reporting on the accusations of “sexual assault” against Joe Biden. I hope the healthy skepticism, disinterested sanity, and emphasis on publicly available facts — as opposed to hyperbole and hearsay — proves helpful.

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  6. Cape Cod, eh? I find this rather droll because many wingnuts elsewhere in the US love to stereotype the residents of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as hopelessly “liberal”! Wingnuts are EVERYWHERE these days, make no mistake. And indeed, when they drape themselves in swastikas and Confederate flags, it would be damned foolish to dismiss them as mere “poseurs.” This element in society has been with us a long time, but never have they had open encouragement from a sitting POTUS!! Wake up, fellow citizens! Wake up and smell the gunpowder!

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  7. Yes — people forget Mass. has a Republican governor. Cape Cod is mostly white, mostly older, and considerably more conservative than the Boston area. Interestingly, Nantucket is the Republican island and Martha’s Vineyard is the Democratic one — and you know where Barack and Michelle bought their ritzy summer “cottage.”

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    1. I believe something of an African-American enclave was established on The Vineyard long ago (a fictional movie was made about it, I didn’t see it, title escapes me [something-or-other “Beach”?], whatever). Connecticut is generally perceived as a “liberal” state. Clinton won it overall in 2016, but as I’ve mentioned before, Trump kicked her butt in the little rural township I’m stuck in. And waddaya know, in today’s CT headlines we find that a group of wingnuts held a “sit-in picnic” protest of restrictions on the State Capitol grounds today (presumably without assault rifles). Yup, like I said, these yahoos are every-damned-where.

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  8. I might vote some “down ballot” stuff in Florida this year…and I would vote for Tulsi if she was on the ballot…but I guess that’s about it for me. I’m wondering if you are familiar with something new I discovered this past week? It’s called OneShared.World and it sounds pretty exciting to me (something along the lines of what I’ve been dreaming about since 1968-69 when I survived my tour of duty in Vietnam) — that there has got to be a better way that this world could be organized top to bottom. (Or better yet, from bottom to top!)

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  9. I have found that, ever since the Koch brothers scuttled the Tea Party from within, most people who wear the label of “libertarian” are not in favour of smaller government at all – they’d like to get government out of the board-room and into the bedroom. Much like the SNP, they are happy to wear a collar – as long as they get to choose who holds the leash. I go into more of that here: https://kjworldsong.wordpress.com/2018/11/20/stupid-religious-arguments/
    On the other hand, I think that fish tank cartoon is a bit hyperbolic to describe the current situation – fish are born in the water, and they can’t ever leave. People living in populated areas are finding themselves under de facto house arrest for having done nothing wrong, and being cooped up for three months will drive anyone mad. Try it some time – or better yet, I’ll let you talk to my friend in Manhattan. Yes, demanding that gun shops and tattoo parlours be re-opened is a step too far at this point, but lockdowns in some jurisdictions are still ridiculous.

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  10. So write in Tulsi Gabbard, if enough people did it to swing the election in a key state, wouldn’t it be great? I’m hoping for a new third party. I also think Hillary will replace Biden. And if you want a totally outlandish prediction from no basis at all, Fauci’s not sick, he’s being interrogated, or else going the way of Seth Rich.

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    1. My own hunch is that Dr. Fauci is being “quarantined” to prevent House of Reps from calling him to in-person testimony about failures of Fed. response to the crisis.

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    2. About that “Hillary will replace Biden” thing:

      Last night before going to bed here in Southern Taiwan, I caught a video presentation by the Canadian youtube blogger David Doel (“The Rational National”) highlighting — and excoriating — She’s-With-Her’s announcement of a pay-to-participate, virtual-video “conversation” with herself and DNC chair Tom Perez. (Not Joe Biden for some reason). I meant to write about it at the time, but figured I would do so today after breakfast, my prescribed medications, and a cup of coffee.

      Somewhat to my disappointment, I discovered that the video had disappeared. But fortunately I found an article on the internet that lays out the particulars (and menu of entry “donations”.) See: Hillary Clinton bids to raise millions for Joe Biden with up to $100,000-a-head fundraising dinner on ZOOM, by Katelyn Caralle, U.S. Political Reporter For Dailymail.com (May 5, 2020):

      “Hillary Clinton is setting out on the virtual campaign trail for former Vice President Joe Biden, and will host her first fundraiser as an official surrogate for the presumed Democratic nominee later this month.

      Clinton and Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez are hosting an hour-long ‘virtual conversation’ on Zoom May 19, where the top tickets go for $100,000.

      ‘Biden for President and the Democratic National Committee cordially invite you to a a (sic) virtual conversation with Hillary Rodham Clinton and DNC Chair Tom Perez,’ the invite reads, with a typo.

      The pricey event’s cheapest tickets go for $2,800, but the invite indicates there is a ‘limited availability’ for this option. Other contribution levels are ‘guest’ for $5,600-per-head, ‘friends’ give $15,600, ‘supporter’ tickets go for $41,100, ‘champions’ for $50,000 and ‘hosts’ are at the top and contribute $100,000.”

      My wife and I had previously discarded the “DNC/Clinton Plan B” theory (because “Plan A” had largely succeeded) in favor of a multi-stage theory of “Gradual Co-Optation Operations.” Stage 1: Use Joe Biden to eliminate Bernie Sanders. Stage 2: Use shabby unproven insinuations of past “sexual assault” (i.e., Retroactive Revulsion) to force Joe Biden into trying to prove a negative (i.e., what DIDN’T happen) which will effectively absorb what little mental acuity he still retains. Stage 3: Insert She’s-With-Her as primary campaign spokesperson and oligarch-money vacuum. Stage 4: Ease the demented Joe Biden out the back door of the Virtual Convention and into electoral oblivion — for “medical” reasons. Stage 5: Have She’s-With-Her’s name printed on the November 3 ballots before the voters can have any say in the matter.

      When I mentioned the “virtual conversation” thing featuring She’s-With-Her instead of Joe Biden (the supposed candidate after all) my wife said simply: “Stage Three.” Then, quoting King Theoden from just before The Battle of Helm’s Deep in The Lord of the Rings she solemnly intoned: “Now it begins.”

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  11. I have no interest in the tawdry tabloid trauma except as a useful tool for developing logical and analytical skills, otherwise known colloquially as the old “Bullshit Detector.” Michael Tracey does an excellent job of exemplifying it. His latest:

    @mtracey Sorry, I meant pump the “brakes.” What’s “breaking” is the credibility of journalists and pundits who pushed this thing.

    @mtracey “I am PLEADING with the journalists and pundits who’ve credulously hyped the Tara Reade story to pump the breaks. Let me assure you, this story is not going to end well. Don’t burn your credibility any more than you already have.”

    @mtracey “Can any experts in domestic/sexual violence please share their perspective on whether it’s common for victims to “tease” information about their rape on social media?”

    This in response to the following two tweets:

    * Ryan Grim @ryangrim – Mar 3 “A head-to-head Biden vs Sanders contest will force voters to take a close look at Biden again. That went very badly for him last time”

    * taratweets (Alexandra Tara Reade) @ReadeAlexandra (replying to @ryangrim and @johncusack – “Yup. Timing… wait for it… tic toc”

    So, now I suppose that we can look forward to Megyn Kelly’s next interview with the “shaken,” “traumatized,” “shattered” leaker of one tacky tidbit after another. Not “tic toc” but “drip drip.” Somehow, I remain (1) unconvinced of the accusations and (2) increasingly suspicious of the vicious political conniving obviously at work here. I mean, first the Democratic Party establishment told us that we had to have Joe Biden (and Joe Biden’s competitors agreed). Now they tell us that we should want someone else (because they do). They either can’t make up their “minds” (such as they have) or they made up their minds long ago but lied to the party voters about just whom they had decided upon.

    The Corona-virus and bungled government response might defeat Donald Trump in November, but not if the Democratic Party establishment has anything to say about it.

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      1. Joe Biden has lied about a great many things. So, apparently, has his accuser. I feel no obligation to believe either of them, although the accuser bears the burden of proof and the accused — presumed innocent — has to prove nothing. Rules of the “justice” game. The question at issue here concerns lies — or truth — about a specific alleged incident, not lies told about other matters. Until someone establishes what, if anything, actually happened, the disinterested person ought to remain agnostic about the issue. I have made this point many times. Again, as for the woefully lacking specifics of the allegations, one might ask:

        @mtracey How about a *day of the week*? Anything to be able to verify even a single detail about the alleged attack?

        @mtracey Even if not an exact date: how about a particular week? Or even a month? As of now we only “know” [cautionary scare quotes mine] the alleged attack occurred sometime in the Spring, spanning several months, on a day that was very hot — causing Tara Reade to choose this particular attire for her Senate office job

        @mtracey Tara Reade now says she was wearing crotchless lingerie on the day of the [alleged] Biden attack — another brand new detail — because she was meeting her boyfriend later on. If she remembers such specific details about her plans that day, shouldn’t she be able to provide an exact date?

        So, can one surmise that if the woman had worn lingerie with a crotch in it, then the accused Senator would not have found it possible to publicly stick a finger in her absent her consent? Just asking . . .

        The accuser’s “story” continues over time to evolve and mutate like a virus, as such things tend to do. For some reason the names Paula Jones and Bill Clinton come to mind. As Yogi Berra used to say: “It’s deja vu all over again.” Anyway, the woman accuser promises even more lurid details to come. Personally, I couldn’t care less what she says. No one voted for her. However, the media feeding frenzy does afford the opportunity to practice a little bullshit deconstruction, which has educational value, so if time permits, I’ll try to do a little of that.

        I do suspect, however, that if Joe Biden doesn’t put a stop to She’s-With-Her putting herself forward as his face, voice, and source of funding, that no one will notice when he has mysteriously vanished from public consciousness.

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  12. Purely as a matter of dialectical disputation — or “debate” — I found the following statement by our blog proprietor of interest:

    “Let’s just say I find her account far more credible than Joe Biden’s blanket denial.”

    For my part, I find the accuser’s vicious aspersions as “credible” as “WMD in Iraq” or “Russia stole the 2016 elections from She’s-With-Her,” to cite only two widely demonstrated examples of recent (and continuing) American credulity. This does not mean that I find Joe Biden especially credible on a great many other issues, but I prefer not to conflate and generalize different instances of duplicity but to judge each on its own demerits. Anyway, as the import of the above comment hinges on the term “denial,” I’ll stick with that for the present. Specifically:

    “… A careful distinction should be made between asserting that “I have no reason to believe that X is true” and asserting that “X is false.” The first does not entail the second. Each is a distinct claim. The first explains why one is not now prepared to affirm or deny the claim; the second is a negative claim for which one must assume the burden of proof. In the absence of a thorough investigation of the issue, the best response in dealing with a questionable claim might be simply to say that you have no reason to believe the claim rather than to deny it.” — T. Edward Damer, Attacking Faulty Reasoning: A Practical Guide to Fallacy-Free Arguments, Fourth Edition (Canada: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning, 2001) p. 14

    Professor Damer goes on to explain the practical strategies for not exhausting oneself trying vainly to “prove” the non-existence of that for which no discernible evidence has yet appeared:

    Another way of dealing with this matter on a practical level would be to simply act “as if” the negative claim is true, without making the denial – especially if you do not have the time, energy, or inclination to defend it. For example, you may not be prepared to prove that ghosts do not exist; but if, on the basis of the available evidence, you do not believe they that they do you could simply act “as if” they do not, without denying their existence. Most persons who do not believe in God do not call themselves “atheists”; they simply act as if God does not exist. They may be neither interested in nor able to take on the burden of proving that God does not exist by calling themselves “atheists.” This is a practical way of contending daily with one’s world without having to defend every belief or assumption on which one acts.” — Attacking Faulty Reasoning, p. 14

    Which all leads back to: “The burden of proof principle.
    The burden of proof for any position rests on the participant who sets forth the position. If and when an opponent asks, the proponent should provide an argument for that position.
    . . .
    “To ask others to accept your claim without any support, or to shift the burden of proof to them by suggesting that your position is true unless they can prove otherwise, is to commit the fallacy of “arguing from ignorance,” for you are, in this way, making a claim based on no evidence at all. Indeed, you are basing the claim on the absence of evidence – that is, on ignorance. . . . In this way you fail to take responsibility for your own claims and even attempt to get your opponent to do your to do your work for you. Moreover, since negative claims are notoriously difficult to establish, you are attempting to set yourself up for a win by default. But in the argument game, there are no wins by default, for the merit of any position can be only as good as the argument given in support of it.” — Attacking Faulty Reasoningp. 13.

    In my view, the accusations levelled at Joe Biden amount to just another cheap campaign to bait him into more and more denials of that which never happened. And the response by those who claim to speak for Biden’s campaign seems rather weak in its understanding of what makes a good argument. The accuser alleges criminal conduct without producing evidence to support the charges — hearsay does not count as “evidence” — and the accused wastes valuable time and energy giving the asinine accusations the unearned dignity of a reply, thus feeding the accuser’s appetite for ever more denials and the media attention they spawn.

    Now who would benefit from Mr Biden wasting his time, energy, and limited cognitive abilities denying non-existence while someone else steps forward to speak for him?

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    1. I love the drip, drip,drip insight. I think there are two plans. She replaces Biden as presidential candidate, or she is VP candidate and pushes him out in maybe January 2021. I love Megyn Kelly’s interview. If it is a ploy, the assault may or may not be true, doesn’t matter. The art off it, Karen the mysterious friend from the Ted Kennedy team. The emotional roller coaster over time. The data, Larry King, the ex’s testimony. I think the interview does great service to women and to courage. If it is a ploy, well-researched for emotional content. So far I am taking it at face value. Tara, shunned by everyone, Megyn throws her a lifeline. If I see the slogan She’s with Her referring to Tara’s with Hillary, or several other She’s with Her, I’ll know you are right. And Trump’s just like that too – it does look choreographed.

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      1. “Data.” A much better word choice than “evidence.”

        The “rational national” has fallen a bit behind the curve here, so to speak.

        @mtracey May 8 A 1996 court document from Tara Reade’s ex-husband makes no mention of rape, and doesn’t even implicate Biden directly. Like most other evidence in this story that’s falsely spun as “corroboration,” this undermines Reade’s case rather than bolsters it

        People can go on repeating the word-like noise, “corroboration,” till their faces turn blue, but if the facts of the matter don’t support the generally accepted definition of that word, then they ought to stop. Additionally, the government of the Russian Federation did not interfere in the 2016 US presidential election. Neither did retired Army General Michael Flynn commit a crime by speaking with the Russian ambassador. Three-and-a-half years of saying otherwise have not established anything more than the incredible lack of journalistic standards in the practically worthless US media. Caveat Lector (Let the reader beware).

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  13. I thought about our current “choices” for President The Trumpet and Corporate Joe Biden. At a High Level the GOP and the DNC (Corporate Democrats) have the same goal – The Preservation of Wall Street’s Steroid Capitalism. Each Party can pretend to value certain voting blocs with some glittering generalities.

    It reminds me of the The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact prior to Germany’s invasion of Poland. Officially known as the Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in August 1939. In this case in 2020 we the people of America are Poland, we will be carved up by the 1% that own and operate the GOP and the DNC (Corporate Democratic Party).

    You may have thought The Trumpet vs Clinton was as low as you could go. Not so, The Trumpet vs Corporate Joe Biden is certainly a new low.

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    1. I dissent from the view that the Democratic Party DESIRES to lose, perhaps eternally, for the sake of maintaining the privileges of the Ruling Class–which carved us up long ago, of course. The egos of politicians alone argues against such a notion. [And now a severe thunderstorm wants to knock me offline! The gods are angry!] They want to be in office to garner the extra perks offered there. But you see, “‘Socialism’ don’t play in Peoria!” So we have the candidate of the party which allegedly still fights for the working class promising to veto any (extremely unlikely!) legislation to institute Medicare For All. Welcome to the USA, version 2020.

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  14. With respect to Tara Reade and Joe Biden, a few observations:

    1. If a person wants to believe Joe Biden, so be it. Join Nancy Pelosi, Stacey Abrams, and similar bastions of honor in believing Joe.

    2. Personally, I can’t see how I’d definitively say Joe Biden is lying, or Tara Reade is lying. I wasn’t there in 1993.

    3. I do know Joe Biden has a richly documented record of lying over a span of four decades, including some whoppers, e.g. he marched in the civil rights movement, he was arrested trying to see Nelson Mandela, and so on.

    4. I do know Joe Biden has a documented history of touching, smelling, and even grabbing girls and women in public, all of it captured in photographs and videos, and for which he has weakly apologized. That same apology he effectively disavowed when he joked, after touching a young boy, that the boy had given him “permission” to hug him. Ha ha! Good one, Joe! https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/nidhiprakash/joe-biden-2020-physical-contact-joke

    5. So, a.) Joe Biden is a regular and opportunistic liar; and b.) Joe Biden has admitted to touching girls and women inappropriately, while disavowing any sexual or malicious intent. These matters of fact make me question his sweeping denial of any assault of Tara Reade, and indeed any harassment of her or of any other woman for that matter.

    6. Finally, if Joe Biden is as innocent as he claims, why the refusal to search sealed records at Delaware, if only for Tara Reade’s alleged complaint from 1993? A search focused on a relatively narrow window in time shouldn’t be that hard to complete.

    I continue to find Tara Reade’s account to be more credible than Joe Biden’s blanket denial. But, hey, if you want to give Joe Biden the benefit of the doubt while painting Tara Reade as a liar, go for it. As the song goes, “If it makes you happy, it can’t be that bad …”

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    1. I am, of course, against Biden as well as Trump. I’m not against Biden because of his creepiness; I’m against him because he’s a corporate stooge, an empty shell, and a man well past his prime. Here’s a good summary of Biden, already reaching out to Republicans while shutting down progressives:

      Biden is not a Democrat. Or, put differently, if he is, I am not.

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    2. Here’s the still missing info needed to reach a sensible, if not “concrete,” conclusion on the Reade accusations: What is the MOTIVATION of Ms. Reade, or those third parties resurfacing the accusations with or without having consulted her first, AT THIS TIME?

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      1. Greg: Here’s what I’ve read. Tara Reade has been trying for months (long before Biden was the presumptive nominee) to get the attention of the mainstream media and politicians like Kamala Harris (her senator) and Elizabeth Warren. Basically, she was ignored until the progressive media picked up her story (The Intercept’s Ryan Grim, and Katie Halper at Rolling Stone), followed by The Hill and a few other sites. Even then, the MSM ignored the story until well after Super Tuesday in March, and Joe Biden was never asked a question about it until his interview on MSNBC on May 1st.

        Listening to Tara Reade, her stated motivation was to air this story to make people think twice about voting for Joe. Yes, it’s political — and personal — to her. Does this imply she’s making it up to hurt Joe? Is she a Russian agent? (This has been suggested since she penned some words in honor of Putin.)

        The simplest solution may be likeliest. Something bad happened between Reade and Biden in 1993, I’d wager. She sees him running for president, boasting of his “character” and all he’s done for women. And Tara snaps. She’s also said that the claims of another woman motivated her in coming forward — hold on — must resort to Google. Lucy Flores, I think.

        Again, people will reach their own conclusions, based partly on the evidence (or lack thereof), and partly on their own biases and blindspots, which they may not even be aware of, or willing to admit.

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        1. As I understand it, the MSNBC Biden appearance was planned to give him a national stage on which to again deny the “affair” ever took place. He HAD (again, from what I’ve seen in the “news”) previously been asked, and denied reality of such an action on his part. And has not Ms. Reade been quoted recently saying we should vote for Joe anyway, given the alternative? I’m struggling to come up with a sum of 4 when trying to add 2 and 2 in this situation.

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          1. Greg: Yes, the MSNBC interview was his chance to deny on the national stage. No, he hadn’t been asked about this before then. Instead, a female campaign staffer had issued a denial (not the same as being asked personally in an interview).

            Tara Reade has said to vote for whomever you wish. She has said she is now without a party — something we can understand! She’s not a Trump supporter. My sense is she’s not voting for Biden but doesn’t condemn those who support him as the so-called lesser of two evils.

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    3. “1. If a person wants to believe Joe Biden, so be it. Join Nancy Pelosi, Stacey Abrams, and similar bastions of honor in believing Joe.”

      Foul! Debate Referee rules “Not Allowed.” Guilt by Association. You have negative feelings about some women politicians. Therefore if someone claims to “believe” Joe Biden — or even NOT believe his accuser (a different matter entirely) — then you wish to transfer those negative associations to (a) those who believe Joe Biden’s denials, (b) those persons who DON’T believe his accuser, or (c) those who remain agnostic in the absence of actual evidence.

      A person can reserve judgment or refuse to suspend disbelief without having to “join” anyone else, even male political “heroes” like Bernie Sanders who now sounds a lot like Nancy Pelosi, Stacey Abrams, and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer who says “Not every claim is equal,” etc. Should the negative feelings you have for a few (and select) political women apply equally to a few (and select) political men whom you agree with (presuming you still do)?

      @mtracey Interesting comments from Bernie on Tara Reade. He says we have got to “listen to” and “respect” Biden’s vigorous denial of the rape claim

      Also Foul! Debate Referee rules “Not Allowed.” Ad Hominem. You have not addressed the facts of the argument but, instead, some of the persons participating in it. Can’t do that in an honest debate.

      Also Foul! Debate Referee rules “Not Allowed.” Fallacy of Equivocation. In this case the word “believe.” To wit: “This fallacy consists in directing an opponent toward an unwarranted conclusion by making a word or phrase employed in two [or more] different senses in an argument appear to have the same meaning throughout” – T. Edward Damer, Attacking Faulty Reasoning, p. 83

      As Charles Sanders Peirce explained toward the end of the 19th century, people fix their beliefs (or habits of action) by one of four methods: the Method of Tenacity, the Method of Authority, the Method of A-Priori Reasoning, or the Scientific Method. The word “believe” as you employ it appears to assume that those who claim to believe Joe Biden do so simply because they have arbitrarily chosen to do so (Tenacity), or that someone whom they consider “respectable” or “knowledgeable” has told them to do so (Authority). One generally cannot hope to change such belief-habits through rational argumentation. I do not think that I misrepresent the implications of the word “believe” in the sense that you have employed it.

      But that same imaginary person (or “Strawman” — another fallacy) that you speak of could also have decided what to believe based on some philosophical principle (A-Priori Reasoning), or an examination of relevant data tested against various hypotheses that might explain them (Scientific Method). One cannot fairly dismiss such persons out of hand because their belief-habits and methods of arriving at them differ from those of others who may or may not belong to a particular political tribe.

      As I have said before and will repeat: I have seen no definitive proof that the accused person has committed the crime that the accuser says he has. The accusing person bears the responsibility for proving their accusations while the accused person has nothing to prove and would wisely refrain from saying anything at all. Does the word “Miranda” ring a bell here? The Bill of Rights?

      I don’t have the time to go through each of your statements debunking the many dialectical fallacies contained in them. So, I’ll just skip to your closing comment:

      “I continue to find Tara Reade’s account to be more credible than Joe Biden’s blanket denial. But, hey, if you want to give Joe Biden the benefit of the doubt while painting Tara Reade as a liar, go for it. As the song goes, “If it makes you happy, it can’t be that bad …”

      Foul! Debate Referee rules “Not Allowed.” Shifting the Burden of Proof, Arguing from Ignorance, <Disparaging Ad Hominem Innuendo, and so on and so forth. Giving Joe Biden — or any other accused citizen — the benefit of the doubt does NOT constitute “painting” his accuser as anything. The accuser — at least so far — has chosen to paint herself (into a corner) by her shifting and conflicting accusations of criminal conduct on the part of another citizen, it doesn’t matter whom. The nature of these accusations and the offering of nothing but hearsay gossip as “corroborative evidence” for them will ultimately determine the painting’s ultimate “colors.”

      Finally, you have no insight into what makes other persons “happy,” and to assume that you have such insight and will cavalierly apply it to those who remain skeptical of unproven charges, does neither your argument nor yourself much credit. And why do you assume that other people must become emotionally involved — i.e., “happy” or “sad” — when they can equally well remain completely indifferent because they wish to avoid having others manipulate them through:

      Irrelevant Emotional Appeals
      Appeal to Pity
      Definition: “This fallacy consists in attempting to persuade others of a position by appealing to their sympathy instead of to relevant evidence, especially when some more important principle or issue is at stake.”

      “Attacking the Fallacy: If you allow yourself to be overcome by the force of an emotional appeal, it is important to remember that you are no less guilty of fallacious reasoning than the one who formulates the appeal. You have allowed the description or projection of a pitiable situation to count as evidence, even though, in most cases, it does not constitute any evidence at all. The possibility that someone may be disappointed or suffer some kind of mental anguish because of your failure to give a desired response to a claim or proposal is usually an irrelevant consideration in the determination of the merit of the claim or of the proposed action.”. — T. Edward Damer, Attacking Faulty Reasoning.

      I didn’t just make up all this stuff about dialectical argumentation. My graduate school thesis adviser required that I purchase and study a book on the subject in preparation for defending my research conclusions from a panel of professors determined to poke logical holes through them wherever found. So I must have learned something of value somewhere along the line. I’ll stick with that.

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      1. So many experts cited, so much (virtual) ink spilled, all in an effort to overwhelm Tara Reade’s story. Michael Tracey denies her in tweets! And he’s an expert! Logical fallacies! C.S. Peirce! Please, spare me.

        Please, spare me all the Tweets from Tracey, the long-winded definitions, and boasts about your graduate research and your expertise in dialectical argumentation.

        What would it take for you to give Tara Reade the benefit of the doubt? Also, based on all of the information available to us, what is your educated guess about who is telling us the truth? Sure, we can remain agnostic, but we still have to vote in November and make an imperfect decision based on the evidence available to us.

        Personally, I’m not voting for Biden or Trump, and it has nothing to do with Tare Reade. But, as I’ve said, based on everything I’ve seen and heard, I find her story more credible than Biden’s denial. And I’ve explained why I believe this. This is not a court of law. I’m not on a jury. Instead, I’m a citizen who has to cast a vote based on imperfect and incomplete evidence.

        Are you completely agnostic here, or are you a “believe Biden” man? Take a simple, clear, position, and don’t hedge it with Tweets from Tracey, lots of expert definitions, and boasts about your logical prowess.

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        1. None of we mere private citizens were “a fly on the wall” in a Senate corridor when this incident allegedly took place. I think we have to be agnostic on the specifics. But we can look at Biden’s general reputation for, shall we say, “uninvited touching” of people, especially women. He really just doesn’t seem “to get” why this is a problem, and was a problem long before #MeToo. To say it concisely, Joey Biden is a DINOSAUR! The ONLY argument FOR voting for him is that he is, indeed, not Trump. As I think most of us in this discussion agree, that sums up the pathetic state of US politics today.

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        2. I agree, Greg, about being agnostic on the specifics. I also think we must be highly skeptical of Biden’s denial because he has a long and well-documented record of lying, a long and well-documented record of inappropriate touching, feeling, smelling, etc. involving girls and women, and an almost sneering attitude toward his lying and complaints about his “overly physical” approach to politics.

          Of course, one thing is certain: when it comes to #BelieveWomen or #ServeCorporateInterests, the DNC and other “elite” Democrats will easily choose the latter.

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