Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Morning Joe's Great Adventures in False Equivalence

Morning Joe is now declaring Trump beyond the pale. But when his co-host Mica argued that she's not convinced this stops Trump from winning the nomination, Joe Scarborough argued that while this could happen that he got 30% of the delegates, it is the same thing as 40% of Democrats believing that 9/11 was an inside job.

He declared the Truthers conspiracy just as offensive. And you see this is perfect. It crystallizes the whole problem with the GOP and why they won't slay the the Trump monster anytime soon.

Even now when Joe gets it that this really has crossed a line in our American politics, he still has to hedge and draw some false equivalences. This is why I argued in my last post that the GOP still doesn''t get it even as many of the candidates criticize Trump. I notice that a NH co-chair found Trump's proposal quite reasonable, by the way.
By trying to draw equivalences and shielding his party from special criticism-sure our poll leader wants to ban all Muslims but many Democratic voters believed a crazy conspiracy theory about W so there-Joe is already relativizing what Trump has said so that it is already becoming an acceptable part of our political discourse. So this won't end Trump.

By the way, full disclosure: as I've admitted to Tom Brown, 9/11 Trutherism is one conspiracy theory I don't find so ludicrous. It just seems to me that if it were true it explains a lot. I'm intrigued by it explanatory power

It does seem like 9/11 gave W all this political capital. But I digress.

Even so, assuming it is absurd-and I'm blind to how absurd it is due to my hatred of W and Cheney-you can't argue that it is as harmful as Trump's new 'policy.' To even put it in the same sentence is just obscene.

The 9/11 Truthers don't really do anyone any harm-they just hole up and spend hours talking about it  ,writing books and reading books about it. It's kind of fun to tell the truth. But it doesn't lead me to want to harm millions of innocent people.  At most it might lead us to demand public hearings that won't happen but really would be highly educational even if there is nothing to 9/11 Trutherism at all.

Similarly look at the way Carly Fiorina framed her criticism of Trump.

"Several Republican presidential candidates were quick to reject Donald Trump'sproposal to ban all Muslims from entering the United States, but not everyone."

"Within an hour of Trump's statement, Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham and John Kasich had all publicly disparaged Trump's position."

"According to the Guardian's Ben Jacobs, a spokesman for Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), claimed Paul was on the cutting edge of security for the U.S. and pointed to legislation Paul dropped in November that would have blocked many immigrants from Middle Eastern countries from coming to the U.S."

Think about that. The only real difference between Rand and Trump is that Trump wants to ban all Muslims whereas Rand's framing sounds more like he's looking at various classes. The result of his legislation though would have banned many Muslims as well.

Ok but here is Carly:

"Unfortunately I think Donald Trump's over reaction is as dangerous as Obama's under reaction," says Fiorina on Trump's Muslim statement."

Now if this isn't an example of an obscene false equivalence, nothing is. She is saying that morally Trump calling for the banning of all Muslims is the same as the President not being bellicose enough in a speech in the view of GOPers and certain Very Serious Pundits.

Again, the GOP should stop deceiving itself. This not a problem of just one candidate. This hatred suffuses the entire base.


  1. "9/11 Trutherism is one conspiracy theory..."

    Here's my issue with it: there's no way the Bush administration would be competent enough to pull it off without a leak somewhere! Plus, for all his faults, I don't think Bush was that evil. I don't even think Cheney would be that evil against fellow Americans.

    Plus there's no need for it's explanatory power: PNAC can explain everything Trutherism can, and at a fraction of the crazy! Lol:

    Though I suppose one could combine them... but I don't think they need to be combined: a terrible terrorist strike was glommed onto by the PNAC crowd, and they forced their "vision" though, no matter the cost. It goes without saying that it was a spectacular failure. That's my favorite conspiracy theory!... one that includes incompetence by the perpetrators.

    1. ... ah, the good old days when conspiracies were required because it was generally recognized that the true motivations of the conspirators were shameful.

      Trump has blown that all out of the water! I heard on the radio today that he said this morning that "he doesn't mind being compared to Hilter."

      Might as well shatter that taboo as well!

    2. ... do I think Cheney and the PNACers peed their pants with delight when they realized what 9/11 would allow them to do? Yup!

      Fooling the press and congress was almost too easy. It's not like it went off without a hitch though... there were leaks and mistakes... but the "marks" had an element of WANTING to be fooled! It was like a faith healing revival meeting... a whole tent full of willing marks. You don't have to be that skillful with the old "fix the different length legs trick"... these people WANT to be fooled! Hell, even the NY Times was on board!

    3. ... in fact, to me the ONLY good thing about Trump (other than that he'll hopefully destroy the GOP) is he says openly that he was against the Iraq invasion... that it was clear to him I would upset the balance in the region.

      Of course I don't think Trump gives a fuck about "balance" in general, but it's the one of the few things he says that I'm genuinely glad to hear come out of the mouth of a GOP frontrunner. Perhaps the other being how corrupting super pac $ and influence are.

    4. Yes his 'He kept us safe' rift on Jeb and his brother was great

  2. Mike, I read here "He [Trump] said he would not support internment camps."

    Maybe that's a temporary tactical move that gives him room to grow as the campaign progresses. You don't think he won't support them 6 months from now do you?

    But don't worry, when the time comes for internment, it'll only be "for as long as the war on terror" takes. It'll finish sometime after the "war on poverty" and the "war on drugs."

  3. The main point of this post wasn't to re litigate 9/11 Trutherism, just that Morning Joe's attempt at making this conspiracy-even if it has nothing to it-to a ban on Muslims is obscene.

    That was the main point not whether or not Trutherism is right on its own terms.

    1. Yeah. I know. It caught my eye. Sorry for going down that tangent.

  4. Now to go off on a tangent about Trutherism on its own terms I'll say this. Do you imagine that no conspiracy theory could plausibly be true?

    Isn't that sort of tantamount to assuming the powers that be never successfully lie or cover-up anything?

    I'm looking at this in a very hypothetical way to be sure.

    I to dismiss most conspiracy theories and most are nuts. There are a few that don't' seem wholly implausible to me. 9/11 and JFK. I still feel there's more to what happened with JFK than one lone nut.

    But if so 'we may never know' which is not very satisfying and why it's easy to dismiss it.

    With 9/11 for me it's on the level of motive, means, and opportunity-all these are present.

    But on the other hand like I said in the post, the Truther 9/11 theory leads to some very interesting research and questions. Think about what the economists say-all theories are wrong but some are useful.

    Even if 9/11 CT is totally wrong it's still useful and very interesting. Try reading a book by David Ray Griffin-you will learn an awful lot and all kinds of questions are begged.

    But at the end of the day if it's all nonsense, its certainly relatively very innocent nonsense to banning all Muslims.

    1. No, conspiracies do exist. Pnac for example. Benghazi hearings for another. Lincoln's assassination for another. None of those went off very smoothly... As I'd expect. As for JFK, I'm a lone gunman guy... But I do think there's some dirt that's probably been covered up. Probably some incompetence that's being hidden. Also, I think the Reichstag fire smells fishy. Those are my opinions... But I don't have a way to be sure.

    2. Arch Duke Ferdinand's assassination. Also that leader of Egypt back in the late 70s who was assassinated. All clear conspiracies.

    3. Just to be clear, I agree some conspiracies do exist.

    4. And pnac is my pet 'crazy' one.

    5. That is to say the passive 9/11 theory is less crazy sounding than the active one. To me.

  5. See if JFK was a lone gunman that's a boring story. This is what I mean. Sometimes a conspiracy theory can be a great theory-a jumping off point to all kinds of other discoveries, etc.

    The theory that 9/11 was in some sense an inside job and as Griffin points out there are different levels of this-it doesn't necessarily mean that the W Administration orchestrated it but passively allowed it-explains a lot.

    So for me I still think it's not implausible and enjoy reading about it.

    But again, even if it's totally wrong its harmless enough as CTs go as opposed to the cheering Muslims narrative

    1. My dad hates conspiracy theories like me... But he has one too... Not an original one... The theory that fdr let the japs bomb pearl harbor. He claims inside info. I'll ask him about it! ... That would be akin to the "let it happen" 9/11 one. That doesn't sound as crazy as bush having the towers blown up with demo charges!

  6. I mean with FDR there was a clear desire to get the nation into a war that wasn't popular. He ran in 1940 in keeping American boys out of it while knowing full well that we had to get in.

    This of course by no means means he planned that.

    Your Dad is a Repub and so maybe more willing to believe it of FDR with me a Dem more willing to believe it of W.

    My position with W is its a subject worth more study. I actually did purchase the anti FDR book 'Day of Infamy' as well though I haven''t read it yet-it's waiting for me on Amazon Kindle.

    I like to know the theories and ideas out there including of those I disagree with strongly.

  7. So I dismiss most CT but not all-which sounds like both you and your Dad. It's human to believe in a least a couple of them it seems.

  8. O/t... I see that a bit of daylight has opened between Coulter and ingraham on Trump's latest. Not a lot, but a bit. Of course Coulter says he didn't go far enough. Lol

  9. If I had a super power I'd want to be able to turn people into what they hate. Maybe I'll write a comic about it. Self hatred man? Lol

  10. I just wish I had money to run super PAC ads against Christie, Rubio, and Kasich.

    That'd be fun. I'd have ads that reminded them about Rubio' amnesty, Chrstie's hug of the President, Bridgegate, that Kasich sounds like a liberal attacking Trump as a Nazi. LOL.

    Then in more liberal areas I'd remind them that Rubio now has repudidated amnesty and wants to even repudiate Obama's 2011 executive action for the Dreamers and that Kaisch still wants to build a wall and wanted to ban the 11 million in just 2010.

    That'd be great.