Win One For the Grifter

[Deep Pockets]

Need text instead? How Trump Uses Supporters’ Donations to Pay His Legal Bills

Also of note:

  • Giving Trump too much credit for planning? Maybe Christian Schneider is: Chaos Was Donald Trump’s Plan All Along.

    In any good mystery novel or short story, there is an item that will later reveal itself to the reader as a clue they should have seen all along. A tidbit hiding in plain sight that, in retrospect, is the key to solving the case. It could be a surreptitious whisper by one of the suspects, the style of shoes they wore, or an inconsistency about their whereabouts during the crime. (For instance, in Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Adventure of the Speckled Band,” do you wonder why there is a bell cord in the victim’s room that isn’t attached to any bell? By the end of the story, Sherlock Holmes makes it all clear.)

    One wouldn’t call Donald Trump a mystery, but when divining whether the former president knew he was intentionally creating a conspiracy to overturn a U.S. election, the evidence has always been there, plain as day.

    As in any good whodunit, the clues were buried in a torrent of misdirection. Of course, picking out Trump statements that are truly shocking and noteworthy is difficult to do in real time, as once he utters an absurdity, he moves on to the next one before anyone can run to their computer to properly mock it. At one time, he’s suggesting he is singularly qualified to handle Covid-19 because he had an uncle who was a scientific genius. Then he’s suggesting that people cure Covid by injecting bleach. Or he’s proposing firing a nuclear weapon into a hurricane and correcting the Weather Service’s hurricane-path projections with a black Sharpie.

    But there he was, in Oshkosh, Wis., in August of 2020, declaring that he could lose the presidential race in 2020 only if the election was “rigged.”

    That seems to be the word. David Strom at Hot Air: Did the CIA work to rig the 2020 election? (Seems like it did.) And there's even a tag "rigged election" at Granite Grok!

    At least everyone (except Trump) seems to have backed off "stolen".

  • Speaking of plans, though… Charles C. W. Cooke asks a question of an audience that doesn't seem to be listening: What Is the Plan, Republicans?

    May I risk the wrath of the hive mind and ask Republican primary voters what their plan is? Is there one? According to pretty much every poll I’ve seen in the last year, Donald Trump is running away with the GOP’s 2024 presidential nomination. This is not a favorability test; it means something concrete: It means that, instead of a new candidate being the Republican nominee in 2024, the Republican nominee in 2024 will be Donald Trump.

    And the broader public hates Donald Trump.

    I have no doubt that there are lots of Republican primary voters who do not know many people who hate Donald Trump. Perhaps you are one of them. But the thing is: Those people that you don’t know still get to vote. There are a lot more of them than there are of you. And like it or not, they are sending about as strong a message as it is possible to send that they do not want Donald Trump to be the Republican nominee in 2024. Unlike the party’s primary voters, they do not believe that the many charges against Trump are frivolous. The bringing of those charges has not caused them to like him more than they did before. The public’s impression of him has worsened, rather than improved, over time. Again, this may not be your personal experience, but the data are clear: The gap between the Republican primary electorate and the voting public is now comparable to the gap between progressives in elite institutions and the voting public. Remember that New Yorker cover showing the cramped and myopic view of America that is exhibited by the residents of New York City? At present, one could mock up a similar drawing depicting the GOP base.

    You don't really need to "rig" elections when your opponent is Donald J. Trump.

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    A useful distinction! Robert F. Graboyes makes one: Experts Agree! Scholars Don't

    A thoughtful friend and I recently engaged in a long email exchange over climate change, petroleum, plastics, electric vehicles, cobalt, nuclear power, and, above all, experts and expertise. “Carrie” (not her real name) seems more pessimistic about the state of the world than I am and perhaps more optimistic than I about the capacity of collective action to mitigate problems. At one point, she said: “CO₂ levels are off the charts high, and experts tell us it’s almost too late to do anything about it.” Anticipating my response, she added, “But you tend to dismiss ‘experts.’”

    I don’t “dismiss” experts. I listen, weigh their words, and discount those who feign certainty and hurl ad hominem attacks at those who disagree. I recoil at the expression “experts agree,” and even more so when it’s festooned with faux precision (e.g., “97 percent of experts agree.”). History’s greatest outrages were fueled by agreement among experts and intolerance of dissidents.

    Perhaps it’s useful to differentiate “expertise” from “scholarship.” Expertise (as seen on TV!) often combines the trappings of scholarship with a marketing department, lobbying shop, and protection racket. (“Nice tenure-track professorship you got there. Be a shame if anything happened to it.”) Scholarship, in my mind, is more detached, detailed, and skeptical.

    A good introduction to Graboyes' approach to controversy is The Scout Mindset by Julia Galef. (Kindle link at your right, a mere $6.99.)

  • They just don't like big things. Veronique de Rugy describes how we're getting fooled (again): Corporate Mergers Are Under Attack, But Not on Your Behalf

    Last month, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published a draft of proposed new guidelines for mergers and acquisitions. Sounds like a problem reserved for people who sit in board rooms, right? Not exactly. Such rules will affect all of us.

    If implemented, the proposal will preemptively block private-sector corporate transactions with little regard for the actual impact on consumers. This power grab by progressives in the Biden administration would shift antitrust law from standards that corporations and courts can understand to a series of vague and ambiguous "guidelines" that only give bureaucrats greater power over corporate America.

    Despite the common handwringing over corporate mergers and acquisitions, they should be subject to free market forces. And if there is a role for the government to superintend mergers, the guiding standard should be consumer welfare — the prices we all pay, as well as the quality and quantity of the products being made available to us — rather than politicians' belief that bigger equals bad or the perception of unelected officials that all mergers are problematic.

    Instead of the "consumer welfare" standard, what standard will be used instead? Well, pretty much whatever suits the whims of the people in control of the FTC/DOJ.

    That's from the people pretending to like the "rule of law."

Last Modified 2024-01-30 5:40 AM EDT