Friday, June 28, 2024

Galloping Bullshit


The amount of energy needed to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than that needed to produce it.
-- Brandolini's Law, also: The Bullshit Asymmetry Principle

I can't say I'm surprised. 

The debate was ugly right from the introductions. 

Bash and Tapper looked like they were presiding over an execution. 

Biden started out with a persistent cough and sounded like he had a cold. To be brutally honest, his age was very much on display. 

And there was Trump with what has become his trademark scowl and angry victim demeaner. 

No one was in good humor, none of them looked like they wanted to be there. 

And it didn't take long to realize The Press was going to fail democracy once again. 

I was live posting on Threads and I think my first comment thirty seconds in set the tone for the rest of the night.

The moderators went after Biden first thing. 

President Biden, inflation has slowed, but prices remain high. Since you took office, the price of essentials has increased. For example, a basket of groceries that cost $100, then, now costs more than $120. And typical home prices have jumped more than 30 percent. What do you say to voters who feel they are worse off under your presidency than they were under President Trump?

Biden's answer was predictable. He immediately put the onus on Trump, 

We’ve got to take a look at what I was left when I became president, what Mr. Trump left me...

Biden talked about the economy in freefall, the Pandemic and how Trump mishandled it, dying people, injecting bleach, etc. The economy collapsed, no jobs, unemployment at 15 percent. Terrible. 

Then Biden talked about how "we" had to put things back together again, 15,000 new jobs. 800,000 manufacturing jobs. More to be done. Working class people still in trouble. Biden mentioned he was from a working class family in Scranton, PA. Price of eggs. Price of gas. Price of housing. All those things are personal to him. And he's working hard to bring prices down, cap rents, rein in corporate greed, bring down the price of prescription drugs, cap the prince of insulin for seniors, etc. 

In addition to that, we’re in a situation where if you had to take a look at all that was done at his administration, he didn’t do much at all. By the time he left, there’s – things were in chaos, literally chaos.

That's a good answer. 

Here. On the screen. 

But Biden had something going on with his voice. A cold. An incipient cough. A frog in his throat. And even though it was a good answer, it came out feeble and weak. 



If you watched, you know I'm right. Biden looked old. There's no way around that. Pretending otherwise isn't going to help. 

I warned you about this. 

Debates are not about fact. Debates are theater. No one watches debates for polite exchanges by reasonable people. You watch a debate for the same reason you watch NASCAR or reality TV or the WWF.

Debates are about appearance. 

Let me give you an example. Many years ago I was participating in a cookoff. Chili. Now, I'm pretty good at it. I've won awards for my recipe, I've won a number of contests here and there over the years and I've got the trophies to prove it. But the rules of this contest were different, they allowed for toppings to be added after the initial test tasting. So, after the initial sampling, one of the judges added sour cream and cheese to his bowl. That changed the color of my entry from rich dark red to a light orange. 

Which he then gleefully announced looked like "baby shit." 

Tasted great, he said. First place, taste wise. But it looked like baby shit. Baby shit. Baby shit. He kept saying it. 

Didn't matter that he's the one who changed the appearance. 

Didn't matter that he wasn't deliberately trying to prejudice the results. 

Didn't matter that he thought the taste was first place. 

What mattered was "baby shit."

(I learned later that he and his wife recently had become parents and that likely influenced his comments)

And from that point forward, I was doomed to lose because no matter how good my chili tasted, the only thing the other judges would remember was "baby shit." 

Biden was right. He gave a good answer. It was obvious he was prepared, knew the right things to say, where to put the blame, he used "we" instead of "I" in all the right places. 

But it was baby shit. 

He looked weak and feeble. He kept clearing his throat. He was too quiet -- yes, likely working around his disability, and the ableism that will no doubt be the subject of the New York Times editorials for the next month is certainly something we should talk about. Nevertheless there it was. And there it was immediately on every livestream that I was following, left and right and those pretending impartiality. 

It's about perception.

And once someone puts "baby shit" into the public consciousness, well, no matter how good the recipe tastes you're going to lose. 

And that's how it started. Right there. 

At first, Trump was restrained. 

Well, restrained for Trump. He was likely coached to rein it in. To adhere to the rules. To avoid wandering off into a discussion of sharks and batteries and his unhinged lunacy. 

His answers were the usual nonsense, every declaration ending in "the likes of which we've never seen." Which is the only time he uses "we" and not "I." He was mad, obviously so, glowering like an old 1970s red leather chair that's faded over the years to the color of blotchy orange baby shit. 

He has not done a good job. He has done a poor job. And inflation’s killing our country. It is absolutely killing us.

But in contrast to Biden, well, Trump seemed on his game. 

It was fucking ugly. 

And it did indeed get uglier. 

It was a shoving match between two old angry men who hate each other. 

Biden started to find his footing, but it didn't take long for Trump to lose any appearance of restraint and go full Trump. 

Thirty minutes in and on the subject of abortion and Trump was running roughshod over the debate rules, as expected. Tapper and Bash were trying to hold him down, but by then Trump was wielding a machinegun of rapid-fire bullshit, spraying obvious lies -- and accidental obvious truths that his handlers probably wished he hadn't, like this beauty: 

Like Ronald Reagan, I believe in the exceptions, I am a person that believes. And frankly, I think it’s important to believe in the exceptions. Some people, you have to follow your heart, some people don’t believe in that. But I believe in the exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother. I think it’s very important. Some people don’t. Follow your heart. But you have to get elected also and – because that has to do with other things. You’ve got to get electedThe problem they have is they’re radical because they will take the life of a child in the eighth month, the ninth month, and even after birth – after birth.

I believe in exceptions, but you've got to get elected (and obviously with Republicans and fanatical evangelicals you can't do that by supporting abortion in any form), so now I'm going to immediately lie about Democrats wanting to kill babies after they're born.

Where do you start?

How do you respond? 

Because that was the dismount after two full minutes of absolute bullshit starting with Trump declaring 

Fifty-one years ago, you had Roe v. Wade, and everybody wanted to get it back to the states, everybody, without exception, Democrats, Republicans, liberals, conservatives. Everybody wanted it back. Religious leaders.

Everyone. Democrats. Liberals. Everyone wanted Roe v. Wade overturned. 

Now that is obvious bullshit. Utter nonsense. That never happened. And what followed was even more obvious bullshit, a whole barnyard of bullshit. 

But where do you start?

Trump got two full minutes to spray this firehose of bullshit, falsehood after falsehood, and Biden got one minute to respond, followed by Trump getting another full minute of rebuttal. 

It's called the Gish Gallop. 

It's a rhetorical technique used to defeat normal debate rules. It's where you overwhelm your opponent with bullshit, that is an excessive number of arguments with no regard for the accuracy or strength of those arguments. Quantity, not quality. A dozen subjects, related or not. There's no way to remember it all it, let along counter it in the time allotted. It was named for Duane Gish, a creationist who in any debate with actual evolutionary scientists would spew rapid fire nonsense, making a coherent response next to impossible in any sort of live debate format. Creationists in the audience didn't care about the words, they were there to see those snooty God hating scientists get owned. It's the same here. 

Trump isn't doing it on purpose, or rather I mean Trump isn't doing it as some sort of learned discipline. Trump does it because that's who he is -- an endless source of high pressure liquid bullshit. 

There was no way for Biden or CNN to address each of Trump's lies in the established format of the debate. It's not possible for anyone. That's why the gallop works. 

Biden should have been ready for it.

Yes, Biden should have been ready for it, because this is what Trump does. He does it every time. In every conversation. In every rally. In every speech. In every debate. Biden should have been ready for it. There are tactics for countering the Gish Gallop and Biden should have been prepared. His handlers should have prepped him. He should have practiced those techniques. 

Anyone who engages Trump should be ready for it.

Because Trump is a one trick pony. That's all he's got. Galloping bullshit. 

It's not all on Biden. CNN bears plenty of blame here too, as does the rest of The Press who are already this morning declaring Trump's victory in the lede and burying the cautionary caveats far, far down in the text that no one reads. 

CNN should have been fact checking in real time. 

Yes, there are those who would have protested fact checking as prejudicial to their candidate. 


That's what happens when your guy spews lie after lie. 

The point of presidential debates, allegedly, is to provide the voting public with the information they need to make an informed decision at the polls. That is the reason why The Press is the only private enterprise granted a specific enumerated right in the Constitution. The Press's responsibility is to democracy, to the Republic, not to any particular ideology or political party -- otherwise they don't deserve Constitutional protection. And if the fascism they're enabling gets into power, they'll be the first ones against the wall. 

CNN should have been fact checking in real time, both for Trump and for Biden. Failure to do so is a dereliction of duty. No one gives a shit about fact checking the debate a day later. If you're trying to influence voters, what matters is the moment. That's what people remember. 

Biden should have been prepared for Trump's galloping bullshit. 

Biden should have stuck to his strengths: intellect, the political zinger and above all, humor. 

Everyone involved looked grim. But Biden, well, he's got a great sense of humor. He can mock his opponent without being mean. He can make the other guy look ridiculous without effort, he's been doing it for 40 years in Congress and it was apparent from Republican panic before the debate, that's exactly what they expected him to do. 

But he didn't. 

It's water under the bridge now. 

It's not a disaster. 

Obama bombed his first debate. 

But he got himself elected twice in a landslide. 

I doubt this will have much impact on the election. 

Four years ago, you said "Vote blue no matter who" and "I'd vote for a ham sandwich with rancid mayonnaise over Trump."

We elected Biden to be not Trump and it turns out the ham sandwich has done a pretty decent job. 

Nothing has changed in that regard. 

What has changed is this: the damage Trump did continues to echo years after he left office. The chaos he caused continues to swirl. We're going to have to not only stop and reverse those effects, we have to completely undo it, before we can get back to where we were -- let alone make any progress. Exactly as you were repeatedly warned. And yes, I am talking about the Supreme Court, along with many other things. And again, you were warned over and over and over again. And here we are. 

The debate didn't change that. 

You're faced with the same choices and it doesn't matter if you don't like them, they are the choices.

Now, we can either keep slogging forward, up hill, knee deep in stinking bullshit, or we can give up and lay down and drown in it. 

Same as it ever was. 

I wish Biden was better at debates, but he's not and that's just how it is. 

I wish Trump was a better human being, but he's very much not and he's never going to be, and the odds are he's going to get even worse if we let him back into power. 

Your choices haven't changed. 

The danger hasn't changed, it's only gotten worse.

The people whose lives we must protect, that hasn't changed. 

Our duty to the Republic, to democracy, to the future we leave our children, that hasn't changed. 

The man Biden is, and the man Trump most certainly isn't, well, that hasn't changed. 

Who wins or loses the debate doesn't matter. 

Who wins the election does. 

And you are the one who will decide. 

A good leader can engage in a debate frankly and thoroughly, knowing that at the end he and the other side must be closer, and thus emerge stronger. You don't have that idea when you are arrogant, superficial, and uninformed.
-- Nelson Mandela


  1. You're right. As usual.

    1. I'm still laughing about the "baby shit." chili.

    2. We are 130 days out from the election. Keep the faith. We can do this.

  2. President Joe Biden’s plan of letting Convicted Felon tRump speak is going great. The lies Convicted Felon tRump told were fact checked and I’d rather vote for the decent human.

  3. I'm with Biden based on his record this term and his support for Women. I do not think that this election will be won on anything else, except Reproductive Rights. Trump messed with the wrong gender, and has all his life. Biden did not do well, his stutter certainly got in the way. Trump should have been drug tested. I'm so sick of Trump's outrageous lies. I'll keep pushing back tho. MY vote is BLUE all the way down the line. I live in Arizona.

  4. I did not watch the debate .. I feared it might go the way I hear it went. If I am alive on voting day .. I WILL vote for BIDEN. Biden is a good man who governs VERY well!!! Trump is a LIAR who wants to end our Constitution.

    OUR choice is stark and obvious. EITHER we vote for the good man who gets GOOD things done for us ..OR.. vote for the liar who will do BAD things for the vast majority of Americans.

    1. Exactly. We either both for someone who STILL believes in America or someone who never, ever has. It's that simple.

  5. It’s time for Biden to generously, graciously, patriotically announce his withdrawal from the field and let the convention be open/decided in smoky rooms as it was for many many decades.

    Of course Trump is the unthinkable evil, and of course I will vote to prevent him coming to office. But many people who do not understand the dangers of Trump will simply not vote/vote third ala because Biden is clearly past his prime.

    For the sake of the country, Biden needs to recognize the danger he poses and not hang on to power ala Feinstein and Ginsburg.

    1. That's exactly what the media wants you to think. Jim is so right...this debate didn't lose an election. Just please stop with the defeatism.

    2. You must know that your comment is exactly along the lines of what every agist and everyone to the extreme left whether technically agist or simply extreme left has been saying since Joe Biden first announced running for the 2020 election, and has nonstop continued repeating for months before last night's debate. It was repeatedly said in 2020 all during the debates, and all during the first three primaries. It was being pounded hard -still- a couple days ago in reference to the 2020 primaries in a conversation I had personally with someone who adamantly insisted that he was too old and had been then, and should step aside now as he should have then, and that he didn't win either election or primary because the black community never surged him to the front the first time they had a chance to make their choice known (in the fourth primary of 2020) at all and what really happened was that the DNC made all other Democrats -except Sanders- drop out and endorse him when Biden was in last place (he was never in last place) after the first or maybe the second primary but definitely not as late as after the third. Along with all of the repetitions has been remarks from the left extremists like "We have to undermine Democrats, because when they're in charge things get better, and people won't listen to us" (direct quote from a roundtable strategy session).
      Undermining Biden is either defeatism or deliberate continuation of that. In either case, it is counterproductive unless the aim is seriously to promote changing the US into an authoritarian country or promoting making things so bad that people are more easily propagandized.
      For the sake of the country, those who are not engaged in those aims need to step up patriotically and start/continue telling it like it is about Project 2, Trump's Gish Gallop, Trmp's lies, Biden's accomplishments.

    3. This is exactly the mind think of the MAGA and the media. I would think Biden’s and his cabinet’s track records over the last 4 years should convince anyone with common sense to stay the steady course, to reelect Biden’s administration.
      The incumbent has the statistical advantage of being reelected, and so changing candidates (horses)in the middle of the race would be really stupid and possibly lose the presidency. If anyone thinks to change a vote over this ridiculous spectacle, or not vote, maybe you should think about how educated you are, or what flavor of Koolaid you have been drinking..

    4. NO. Absolutely not. I believe that President Biden is entirely capable of finishing the work he's started, barring a sudden medical crisis, but much younger men have those too. I hope he has it in him physically because it's still there mentally.
      Also, a new candidate won't have the working familiarity that exists now. I hope that 4 years from now we see a younger, fresher person in office carrying on the work that's still just beginning in some areas.

  6. Great commentary. This is what should be on the front pages of The NY Times and Washington Post and all the cable networks this morning

  7. Thanks for not ending with “Democrats MUST replace Biden” drivel that ignores the fact that nobody has ever won an election after replacing their incumbent. What I fear is that we as a nation have become too much “reality TV” audiences and not enough citizens.
    I know how you feel about citizenship being a practice more than a stays.

    1. Oh do you have that right: The nation has become too much 'reality' TV audience and not enough citizenry.

  8. Thank you for watching and assessing the debate so I did not have to. This is what I expected. To me, the actual debate does not make any difference, it is how each sides spins afterward that matters.

  9. I wish you could be on all the news shows today saying what you have written here.

    1. And all these naysayers should check out Biden’s campaign rally speech today and renew their (impotent)faith in his ability to lead!

    2. He looked like a new man this morning. He sounded like it, too.

  10. I admit that I didn't watch the debate but after reading everything this morning, I watched the first question and I honestly don't get it. Biden seemed exactly the way I expected him too. He's old.

    I had my expectations outlined yesterday. I would change my mind about Trump if he admitted that he had no evidence that the election was stolen and if he said that he would oppose Putin and support NATO. (Yeah I laughed out loud imagining that!) For Biden he would lose my support if he wouldn't support NATo and Ukraine and if he would contest the election if he loses. (I wish I had added more specifics like pretended the economy was fine and didn't have plans for continued improvements)

    His first answer was fine. Nothing seemed incoherent and he gave an answer that covered a lot of ground. Quick reminder of what he started with, what he did, and what he's going to continue doing. Maybe my expectations were low but my dad is 82 and his voice sounds like that too. Maybe my expectations were low but I think Biden is fine just old and I accept that. He has a cabinet to do the hard and intensive work. I just need Biden to give guidance and an overall plan. If he doesn't know the exact cost of insulin, I don't see how that's a big deal. He's not the one sitting down writing out the plans.

    1. Great comment!

    2. TY for being so clear as to what matters. :)

  11. A much better perspective than the irrational panic seen elsewhere.

  12. Thanks for this clear-eyed look. If last night was what a cold does to Biden, I have to question his continuing. And I am a Biden supporter. We do have younger, more dynamic people available, and I am thinking we need to have an open convention and offer someone more physically fit. Biden is not as vigorous as he used to be. That's undeniable. The Democratic Party, though, has a penchant for long, drawn-out indecisiveness and indulging in arguments that amount to public self-castration. We don't need any of that. Gavin Newsome was such a contrast last night. Biden could have done as well, once. Trump's trademark spewing of bullshit a la Gish was totally expected. It did not get the derision it deserved from either press or Biden. The abandonment of fact-checking seems to me to be a consequence of weariness of its ineffectiveness by the press and their desire for ratings over presenting facts. This was theater, all right, an existential realistic tragedy with sour farce overlay.

    1. Generally people with colds don’t sound good but they become incompetent…... or worse, evil fascists.

  13. Thank you for your insight. I had forgotten the term "Gish gallop," but I did use the term "endless geyser of bullshit" as my reason for exiting stage right and changing the channel to Aloha DISH scapes last night to lower my blood pressure. trump followers will lap up every word as the "unvarnished truth," as junior might say, but I'll take the old guy with a cold and stammer to pure fascism any day.

  14. A much better perspective than irrational panic. Thanks!

  15. You put my thoughts into words!

  16. The felon is like a talking doll. Pull the string and the same stream of babble is spewed across the nation. Every time. I'll still take Biden.

    1. I have been noting that he acted as if he had specific sets of canned lies made up to use in response to certain "keywords" like a digital version of the old Chatty Cathy dolls -instead of pulling a string and getting a random phrase/sentence, one says "economy" or "abortion" etc and gets a [click whirr] economy lie set or abortion lie set. His lie sets came out like that, with some seeming to be about the actual uestion and some clearly not at all about it.

  17. Well said. Thank you Jim.

  18. Excellent analysis as usual.

  19. Similar argument in this thread:


  20. Karen T (AKA Toofless Granny)

    1. Karen T (aka Toofless Granny)June 28, 2024 at 9:49 AM

      Obviously, I didn't see the part here where I was supposed to write my actual comment. I re-did it but don't know if it will appear now. Oh Well.

  21. Karen T (aka Toofless Granny)June 28, 2024 at 9:39 AM

    I have mentioned this several times since the news of the awful debate landed (I couldn't bear to watch it; my blood pressure gets too high), but what I kept thinking about was the 1983 movie "Something Wicked This Way Comes", in which a Mr. Dark brings his Pandemonium Circus (sound familiar??) to town, and everyone is entranced with the miracle promises. One character, a young boy named Will, has a father who is an old man, a librarian. Will's dad is a good, decent man and is played by Jason Robards. But Mr. Dark hates him because the good, decent man sees Mr. Dark for the charlatan and evil chaos agent that he is. It's a great story (originally written by the wonderful Ray Bradbury), and is a very good movie and possibly an unrecognized classic.
    Anyway, our situation here really reminds me of this story.

    1. Oooh, I'd forgotten about Something Wicked - great story, great film, and a very apt analogy! Thanks for the reminder! --Valerie Lawrence

  22. Maybe this time, Lucy won’t pull the football away at the last second….
    The triumph of Hope over experience.

  23. Thank you. I needed that. I was disappointed in President Biden’s performance, and concerned about his apparent inability to respond to the bullshit with his usual Irish wit or even with clarity. But he has still done a good job for us, and a bad night in a debate is not going to keep him from continuing to work for us. We need to do our part and have his back.

  24. You're right on all counts Chief. Problem is that these 'debates' ARE theater and people don't vote with their brains but their guts, and thus optics matters tremendously.

    I mean, look at the American people! Up to their eyeballs in celebrity whorship. Most vote (if at all!) for the most shallow of reasons. Their pocket book, gas prices, he's 'our guy', ... a people, so dumbed down many of them can't even find America on a world map. It shows now. It's ALL about appearance and substance only matters to the politic nerds, activists and people who still use their brain.

    And on the level of appearance this was such a catastrophic performance from Biden (who has actually done a stellar job!) that I think he is mortally wounded. Would be so against any normal candidate but a million times more against a moral low-life and street dog like Trump.

    At the end of the day it is about the American people. And the big question in the room is it can they still keep the Republic out of the hands of the shit-spewing lunatic or not. And that question goes both to the, what? 60% of non-voters who couldn't be bothered with 'politics', and those who now have to overlook this dreadful performance and focus on what the man did, not what he looked like on stage.

    If I was Biden, I'd resign and allow a younger and stronger candidate to try and fix this mess. But I am not, nor do I have the weight of the presidency and the future of this Republic on my shoulders.

    Anyway, it IS up to the American people (the sane part of it anyway). Can they look away from the surface and focus on what matters? Or are they, as a dumbed down people too far gone now to keep the Republic?

    I don't know....

  25. I like your spelling of demeanor as "demeanor", it's very appropriate for him.

  26. All I have to say to those Democrats who want President Biden withdrawl from the race.

    Be careful what you wish for, cause' you just might get it an live to regret it.

    Cause' the optics aren't good. It sends a message of panic and desperation, especially after one bad debate. And you risk pissing off a percentage of Biden loyalists into voting third party or staying home on Election Day. And with an election this close (which shouldn't be) the Dems cannot risk losing even a sliver of support.

    And good luck trying to convince Independents (even those that may lean Biden).

    You're right Jim, debates are nothing more than a reality show dumpster fire, another example of why the mainstream/corporate media has failed us over and over again.

  27. John Kerry won all three of his debates with George W. Bush. That didn't translate into winning the presidency. It's one debate that will fill up the airwaves and social media for a nano second and then we will move on to the next real or imagined crisis. So let's get the teeth gnashing and hand wringing over with and get back to the business of re-electing Joe Biden. It's still the choice between Democracy and Fascism. Thanks again Jim. Your voice of reason is much appreciated.

    1. I don’t recall that Hillary Clinton losing the 2016 debates either.

  28. I'm used to bullshit, Jim. Grew up on a farm. I'm slogging forward, not going back. I'm still ridin w/ Biden.

  29. Why do so many comment anonymously and why is that allowed? Personally, I have little to no respect for those who for whatever the reason don't stand by their words. I know when I speak on social media, it takes courage to put it out there, there's risk involved. But isn't that an important part of maintaining the freedom to speak? To insist upon it by doing so and standing firmly by it? It seems to me every time one opens ones mouth one is saying this is who I am, count on me for this. But to hide behind anonymity is to be a talking ghost who hasn't the courage to place their personhood behind their words which again I acknowledge takes courage especially given the world that may be coming. I am well aware of what is happening to others who speak their minds in other parts of the world. The other thing is all this anonymity seems so utterly antithetical to who you are and the risks you take everyday in putting who you are and what you stand for out in the world. (Which is so obviously encouraging to so many of us.)If there is something I am missing here I would be so grateful if you would enlighten me. Right now I am just not getting it and honestly it kinda pisses me off at what I feel is a cowardly disrespect of you (well and kinda the rest of us who stand by our words), putting it out there and taking all the risk and them hiding behind what? All that said, I am willing to be educated if I am missing something. I figure when it's Jim , there is usually a method to his madness even if I'm not seeing it yet. With appreciation, Dana

    1. Browser and account settings often make it difficult to comment with a name, as I'm finding out right now. In my case although I know it can be done I don't have the focus to sort it all out. It's not necessarily due to any nefarious intent on the part of the commenter. --Valerie Lawrence

    2. Because it is nigh on to impossible to log onto whatever blogger thingy Google wants me to sign up for. I just spent 30 minutes trying and was completely unsuccessful.

      Back in the day I was Xenatuba.

    3. It's a good question. I don't have a google account, and I don't comment here often, and maybe that is why I am not familiar enough with it to get my name on a comment when I make it. I've got one in that I don't think the name appeared on because I did name/comment in the wrong order (?). I see another person explaining she hadn;t seen the area to write in at first. I am replying because of thinking in some other cases it may also be people just mess up the same ways.
      Just in case I get it wrong this time, Art Jackson. :)

    4. Well, for me at least, coming to the blog from Facebook seems to make it impossible to post as me. Witness my anonymous (but signed) reply earlier. I just wanted to clarify that malevolent intent or cowardice aren't the only explanations for anonymous posts.

  30. I didn't watch the debate. It would not change my opinion of the good old man or the crazed old lunatic. That being said, it makes me crazy that people talk only of Biden and Trump. They both have a team of people behind them, and the team I trust is Team Biden. Also, if it gets to be too much for Biden, there's a strong, smart, capable woman waiting in the wings.

  31. I'd never heard of the Gish gallop before. I went looking and found this: https://successfullawyer.substack.com/p/gish-gallopers-dry-up-the-firehose

  32. Thank you, thank you. Your eloquence is appreciated and you are spot on, yet again.

  33. Thank you so much for your eloquence! You are spot on, as always and I appreciate your clear reasoning and straitforward writing. Your perspective is absolutely necessary.

    So sorry, I did not realize I was writing as anonymous. This is actually my first time commenting ever on any substack! 🙂 please disregard my first post.

  34. I vote for King Log.

    Meantime, compared to what the Supreme Court did today, the debate was barely a ripple. There were three hideous, destructive of law decisions. They all stink, but I note in particular that the Court ruled in favor of Nazis in Grants Pass. Real Nazis.

  35. Oh, and did anyone else notice that Trump spoke in favor of Israel "finishing the job" in Gaza and, implicitly, in the West Bank? That Trump supported genocide in Palestine?

    That ought to swing some Arab-American votes, but probably won't.

    1. You can help on that by spreading the word far and wide as much as you can. I am betting it was missed by many.

    2. trump has the fantasy that Israel can bulldoze Gaza [they won't] and he can gety jared to turnit into Atlnatic City on the Mediterranean. Ref how that worked for trump in the actual Atlantic City. Plus he's far more bent on genocide, in gaza and elswhere, than any other candidate. Not that he knows what the word means.

  36. Sorry. For a year or more, we have had the Battle of Cognitive Decline®. It has raged up and down throughout the Internet. Being a "liberal", I saw many posts about Trump and the sharks, Trump quotes taken out of context, etc. Had I been a Foxer, I would have read the same about Biden. Then came Biden shuffling on stage, looking like an extra on The Walking Dead. Trump strung sentences together; Biden couldn't. THAT is the takeaway people had. Of course 45 lied. We expected that. We did not expect mumbling and constant self-correction from Biden. We expected to see the guy from the State of the Union, and he was absent. For Ear's sake, he jumped into an argument about GOLF. F-ing GOLF. When I saw the Trump-Clinton debates, I knew he would win; I have the same feeling now.

    1. Just one point. trrump emitted canned sets of lies per "keyword" activation, ie, for a question that contained the word "economy" he spewed rapidfire aka Gish Gallop sentence sets that may or may not have anything to do with the actual question like a windup talking toy of yesteryear.
      One bit of advice, passed on from someone else. Go find a transcript today and read it through. Trump sounds deranged. Biden sounds fine.

  37. Mahalo Mr. Wright for your brilliant and cogent analysis -- both of the debate and of the overall situation. Sharing now!

  38. Greg - ETC(SW) USN RetiredJune 28, 2024 at 12:41 PM

    "Now, we can either keep slogging forward, up hill, knee deep in stinking bullshit, or we can give up and lay down and drown in it." This was always where we've been. We don't get the unicorn. There's no such thing. I'm reminded of a quote from the old WWII movie, The Caine Mutiny, by Jose Ferrer playing the defense lawyer, " Ah, you're learning, Willie! You're learning that you don't work with a captain because you like the way he parts his hair; you work with him because *he's GOT* the job, or you're no good!" Biden's the guy with the job, and the candidate for holding the job in this election.

    "Biden doesn't excite me," Jim said in a previous essay. For me, maybe not, but I'm a proud, liberal, progressive Democrat and I AM excited for most all of the Democratic platform of policies and proposals. Biden may not be the flashy standard bearer of an Obama, or Kennedy, but he's the guy with the job, or I'm no good. I'll "keep slogging forward, up hill, knee deep in stinking bullshit," to get to the polls to cast my ballot FOR the man and against the alternative.

    1. Ah, another person who remembers that movie! I learned how to be a good follower in the service, which to most civilians means being a pushover or a suckup or even someone on social media who hearty-eyed crushes on whoever they are "following" to the point of believing that person can do or say no wrong/attacking anyone disagreeing with him on any point like cult members, but to a junior officer means while working with/looking after enlisted personnel also learning to support those higher ranked in the way that best gets the job done whether you agree with their method or not -while also continuing to think and lend your own knowledge and experience to them whether they take it or not.
      Biden was one of my three short list picks by the time the primaries started in 2020, due to the results of my personal extensive vetting of background/record/character/etc of the candidates who were still running after half that huge field dropped out. I don't really understand the idea that a candidate should be exciting as my own process doesn;t work that way, but I saw a lot of people going for surface excitement that year over substance regardless of who they were "hearty eyed crushing" on and that still disturbs me. It looks like it's time for us to go all in with support of the leader who has so well proven he gets the job done better than most -including surrounding himself with those stellar team picks of his you've mentioned- and he fundamentally does care about the USA and us being the best possible shining beacon for those inside and those abroad (no matter how corny that may sound).
      I am in for the long haul, and appreciative of a higher ranker like Joe Biden.

  39. I would not give in to this panic over a cold and a bad debate with a lying piece of $&@! like tRump , first of all trump should be in a orange suit with the secret service serving his prison meals for his actions on Jan 6th , the idea of him ever having the office of presidency is ridiculous and disgusting, Joe Biden rest easy and get well because America needs you not a maga moron from Queens that has done nothing but destroy our democracy in the face of the modern world , POS period!!!

  40. Good analysis. Though I did miss the part where the moderators tried at all to rein Trump in. Oh well. Maybe next time.

  41. A debate between two men, as what happened yesterday, shows how they are able to articulate their ideas to each other and an audience. Trump was the only one who had presence and agency in last night’s debacle. There is a wide range of interpretations on what constitutes ideas, lies and disinformation, and they depend on one’s ideological framework. One man’s dream is another man’s nightmare. People do not vote using logic for the most part. In reality it’s like the path of an emotional Pachinko ball ricocheting off the posts until they finally hit the tray.

    The people who hate Trump are partially responsible for his success. He was an outsider who made it inside, and during the campaign to dismiss and oust him in the court of public opinion, they gave him all the oxygen he needed. In addition, the Democrats adopted a strategy to denigrate the people who did vote for Trump, thus obviating any outreach that could have helped them. Say what you will about them, but there a lot of them and they have long memories. The Atlantic recently published an unusually self-reflective piece about the current state of the Democratic Party, their nominee for president and their future. They listed three strategies. One, that voters would come out of their ‘amnesia’ about how bad Trump’s presidency was. Two, that the economic mood would improve, and three, that Trump’s convictions would sway voters. All three strategies failed, and I think they failed because the only real platform that the Democrats had was ‘Not Trump.’ It was not enough.

    President Biden did not communicate what he wanted to do in the last three and a half years to the voters effectively; the biggest message was that he was not Trump. This was obvious, and while that may have been enough in 2020, today it’s like a discarded pamphlet that is years old, and ignored, like a case of sign blindness. Trump has kept sharp due to the very challenges he has been dealt, and refuses to give up. It is ironic that his detractors have forged the very weapon that may take them out. We’ll see if that boomerang is still in the air in November.

  42. This! "CNN should have been fact checking in real time, both for Trump and for Biden. Failure to do so is a dereliction of duty. No one gives a shit about fact checking the debate a day later. If you're trying to influence voters, what matters is the moment. That's what people remember. "
    This wasn't a debate. CNN staged a spectacle with commercials. A money maker and propaganda stage. Who owns CNN? Warner Bros. Discovery.
    Who owns Warner Bros. Discovery? Institutional shareholders among them BlackRock Inc. Who owns/controls BlackRock Inc? Laurence D. Fink. "He is a co-founder, chairman and CEO of BlackRock, an American multinational investment management corporation. BlackRock is the largest money-management firm in the world with more than US$10 trillion in assets under management." (source Wikipedia) Peter Goodman wrote the book "Davos Man How The Billionaires Devoured the World." He outlines how the system has been shaped to allow the billionaires to acquire vast money and power. Part of the system that maintains their status quo is the control of media companies.
    The news we are fed is shaped by the media companies and here we have an example of that. The billionaires do not want an administration in power that will raise their taxes and regulate how they do business. The Finks want to remain the masters without impediments As Jim says, we must fight to maintain our democracy and recognizing who that enemy of democracy really is, is a key. We must elect Biden and change the rules. Especially about who owns and controls the Fourth Estate

  43. Thank you for your lucid analysis. Last night I was miserable… today, I am just resolved. Of course I will be voting for Biden this fall and I will donate money where I can, but I pray everyone else realizes they need to do the same.

  44. Trumps hair was out of place on his left ear. He is so vain that isn't an accident, I believe he might have been covering a earpiece. No one else seems to mention it anywhere last night and today.

  45. Xenatuba here, who can’t log on any longer.

    Bravo Zulu, Chief.

  46. The debate sucked; not news.

    But I will say this: NO DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE, from this point on, should agree to a debate moderated by CNN. They have VISIBLY abdicated their responsibility to the truth by refusing to fact-check tRump's lies, and dismissed their responsibility to the voting public by allowing tRump to answer anything BUT the question that was asked.

    The response should be immediate and uncompromising: We're not doing that again. Ever.

  47. As usual, a masterpiece of clear thinking. Thanks for bringing your clarity to a muddled world.

  48. "CNN should have been fact checking in real time, both for Trump and for Biden. Failure to do so is a dereliction of duty. No one gives a shit about fact checking the debate a day later. If you're trying to influence voters, what matters is the moment. That's what people remember."

    Exactly. CNN should have spent ten minutes after every Gish Gallop going to town on Trump. So that means that the debate has no real back and forth. Who cares? We're not here as a nation to entertain anyone. I'm sticking to my original statement on this subject. Biden was a fool to give Donald Trump a platform with him in the first place. He should be locked up now, not on a debate stage. He is a convicted felon, after all. https://ranthonyings.com/2024/06/debate-post-mortem/

  49. I think the general terror going around is that the people this debate was actually for, those *somehow* still undecided, are the ones who can be swayed by a monstrous asshole loudly and confidently lying over and over. And not by a decent man mumbling the truth and failing to complete sentences.

    That one debate is all the evidence a whole lot of people will need that the latter is long gone, senile and on his way out just like the Republicans have been saying. Nobody cares if Trump vomits bullshit and lies and nothing else, because it IS all he ever does and it *always* works.

    The only question left is how well did it work this time? On how many people?

    How much were undecided voters actually paying attention? Will they realize only one man on that stage actually answered almost any of the questions? Had anything resembling a plan or policy or an understanding of reality at all?

    Or will the universal human cognitive flaw of believing anything said loudly enough, confidently enough, and often enough win the day again?

    1. Either you have faith in your fellow humans or you don't. I can't convince you the glass is half full if you believe the glass is half empty. This is simply the way the human mind works.

      I've seen this play out countless times. There's no telling who will go to the polls on the day and vote in what numbers for whom until you get closer to the day itself. Everyone paying attention to polls today and tearing their hair out are expending energy simply to draw clicks onto their platforms. There's no more meaning to any of this than that.

  50. You don't need another comment agreeing with you or pumping your tires about how good or right this was, so instead I'll ask:
    Any chance you'd publish that chili recipe?

  51. I would love to see a graphic displaying the moderator's words, TFG's words and Biden's words with color/graphic coding for truthfulness, Gish Gallop and applicability to the topic. Done right it might be a good commercial for independent supporters of Biden to produce and show.

  52. Biden was terrible. Awful. It was like watching a fifth-rate, battered, punch-drunk boxer go up against a industrial threshing machine.

    Meanwhile, Trump was Trump. So in other words, worse.

    The debate didn't change my mind on either candidate, and probably didn't change anyone else's.

  53. I didn't watch the debate, since one participant's voice sends me into a rage spiral that ends with me yelling at my TV, annoying my neighbors and scaring my cats. Turns out muting it and reading the captions has the same effect.

    I think this debate happened early enough that many low-info voters may forget about it by November. Meanwhile, the firehose of baby-shit lies spewing from Donnie's hamberder hole will continue to piss people off. I'm still rooting for cholesterol to finish him off.

  54. Yes, it was painful but it was one night of theatre which serves no purpose b/c anyone who hasn't made up their mind at this point probably has trouble picking a cereal in the morning. And, of course, today the only talk is about "feeble" Biden and not a word about the lie fest conducted by tRump. I mean, WTF NY Times!! CNN couldn't put on a spelling bee without fucking it up! The golf argument was embarrassing but I was pleading with Joe to ask tRump how much of his time was spent playing golf. Also wanted him to point out more of tRump's derogatory comments about servicemembers & those like John McCain. He should've pointed out the tRump wouldn't have lasted 2 minutes in the Hanoi Hilton. It was excruciating to watch b/c I was yelling at the tv for Joe to pounce. He had an off night for a pointless exercise & gave the media fodder for stoking the open convention fires. Where are all the other able, qualified Dems hiding? They threw this task on Joe & now they can't suck it up & support him? Loudly! The Dems need to get their shit together for this election AND the next one. Go, Joe!


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