confusedWell, here is the last post in this series on quotes out of context.  I would like to say I entirely understand the response I got, but I don’t. The best I can do is make some observations.

Most of the opposition’s comments in this series landed on the first post in the series. Why? Well, here are my guesses.

  • The post was a straightforward defense of Donald Trump.  There was no mention of H. Clinton. So H. Clinton’s supporters could attack Trump’s supposed narcissism without much fear they would have to defend H. Clinton.
  • The topic is fuzzy. Everyone knows Trump supporters would not stand by him if he started shooting people in the street, but it sounds awful to gun control freaks. Apparently, since sensitive souls can’t take such talk we must condemn it. Still, I wonder how such sensitive souls survive all the violence in the mass media.

Anyway, I would like to thank the commenters.

silenceofmind took the time to remind us that the news media’s bias has become dangerous to our republic.  He also pointed out that “one of THE Donald’s attributes that is so attractive is that he is completely unsullied by political correctness”.

novaDemocrat (AKA novascout) fomented confusion.  He described Trump’s utterance as useless braggadocio, even going so far as to say that people understood what Trump meant when they first heard the remark out of context. Shrug! He is entitled to his opinion.

Stephen thought Trump’s hyperbole imprudent.

But Prudence would dictate that you should not make such violent, hyperbolic statements to begin with.

Here is a list of examples of hyperbole. Here is an explanation of hyperbole as a literary device. People use hyperbole because exaggeration sometimes serves a purpose. If we let the news media deliberately misrepresent what people say to us, at some point we must blame ourselves for wilful ignorance.

Tony only made one comment (here), but it was a doozy. Here we get an elaborate explanation of how we choose our leaders the same way we choose our favorite soda pop and a hateful string of unsupported accusations against Trump. That comment simply disregarded the fact of news media bias.

One last observation, really a question. Has Trump manipulated the news media, or has the news media manipulated Trump? I don’t know.  There is little doubt that Trump’s willingness to express himself frankly and colorfully attracts media attention. However, frank, colorful statements are also easily distorted. So there is a trade-off.

The trade-off worked for Trump in the primaries. Will it work for him in the general election. Arguably, the news media wanted Trump to win the primaries. Given, for example, how a certain ten-year old video was held until October, that is sort of obvious. Nevertheless, Trump had to be aware the media would turn on him after the primaries.  So everything he said would eventually be used against him, and it has been. So how did he plan on dealing with it? Did he have a plan? I don’t know.

What about our plan? As voters, we want the best candidate to lead our country? However, we all have out own opinions about what that best candidate should look like.  That’s is why we have to vote, but voting doesn’t solve the problem of choosing the best candidate. We still have to learn about the candidates, and we still have to give the needs of our country some thought. That requires homework.

If we don’t do any homework, the news media will just tell us what to think. Everyone is biased, and that especially includes so-called objective journalists.  Therefore, if we want to learn about the candidates, we have to take the time to listen to them. That includes checking out their websites and listening to some of their campaign speeches. Otherwise, instead of voting based upon our own biases, we will be voting based upon the biases of our favorite talking heads.

Anyway, my future posts will focus on the issues.  Which of the candidates is more qualified? Which of the candidates has the best agenda.

BTW, here are the second and third posts.


  1. Tom,

    Who said Posner is uncontroversial or that he thinks that he is infallible. I’m guessing from reading the Slate articles that you cited that Posner got a lot of push back from the first article and clarified his position in the second. Posner did not seem inconsistent to me, but even if he was, since when is the ability to be convinced you are wrong and to change your mind accordingly mean that you are not “brilliant”?

    If you actually have read Posner’s books then you know that they are not an easy read. Posner’s views do not translate well into jingoism because, in his books, he takes the long route of slowly formulating a rationally systematic case by discriminating and building upon the works of other difficult-to-read philosophers, economists, sociologists and legal scholars. Whether you agree with Posner or not (and I don’t always agree with him), the depth of his knowledge and range of his insights are extrodinary.

    As you well know, the journey toward wisdom is one of seeking the grace of God through constant openness, new understanding, change and baptismal renewal rather than through close minded and obtuse dogmatism. Changing one’s mind and/or clarifying one’s position in the face of an opposing good argument is a part of wisdom and brilliance, not weakness.

    BTW, if I remember correctly, at the time that I first introduced you to Posner, it seemed that you liked him. So you must have changed your mind or clarified your position on some things as you got new information and feedback over the years.

    Oddly, although you may not agree with Posner that our common law steeped, mostly lawyer Founders intended the Constitution to have a similar common law interpretive juris prudential process and flexibility, you probably still agree with Posner’s views on other areas (such as his classically liberal economic views).

    And you still have not shown here why you disagree with what I have said about Posner’s views on how the middle ground voters provide a stabilizing force against extremism in our democracy. Instead of challenging the argument, as so often happens here, the default reaction is to find flaws with the person’s personal integrity and credibility or through broad mislabeling.

    Smart and informed people, like yourself, are complex and that complexity is not so easily dismissed with such name calling. For example, Trump and Clinton are both exceedingly smart, well educated, complex people, and neither one of these complex candidates conform to the simple, broad and diabolical caricatures that their opposition tries to paint. The problem with such diabolical caricaturing for both sides is it both underestimates the opposition candidate and it is hard to come back from once the election is over and one of these people is the new president. Our form or democracy depends upon ultimately recognizing the legitimacy of the winner.

    Perhaps we all need to take a look at the difference between rational civil discourse that allows ideas to clash while we work together democratically verses simple school yard bullying to get our own way, our democracy be damned.


  2. Glad to see your reading Posner, Tom. Go check out the Becker/Posner blog (I’m assuming it’s still accessible). You could learn a great deal.



  3. Tom wrote:

    “Tony only made one comment (here), but it was a doozy. Here we get an elaborate explanation of how we choose our leaders the same way we choose our favorite soda pop and a hateful string of unsupported accusations against Trump. That comment simply disregarded the fact of news media bias.”

    Admittedly, pithiness is not my forte. (And BTW, where did I accuse Trump of anything that, if you are being honest with yourself, you probably wouldn’t admit about him?). The intricacies of voter psychology, particularly of the middle ground voters who will ultimately decide this election, are not something that can be related well in this format. However, if you don’t think that the candidates and parties brand themselves in many of the same ways that products are branded and marketed, then you have not been paying much attention in the last half century or more.

    It’s not black and white. People (some more than others) do chose a political party and a candidate based upon which brands broadly match their ideological preferences on a variety of issues. However, one would have to be pretty naive to think that charisma, character, personality and emotional appeal are not the major drivers for the vast majority of moderate and independent voters who, by definition, are not at the extreme ideological ends of the spectrum that some of you here are. (Do you seriously doubt this plain fact, or are you just being argumentative and obtuse, which is ok as well, as long as a lack of seriousness is what you intend here).

    This blog is actually an excellent example. You are the media here Tom. However, at least you and this blog attempt to be all about substantive issues of morality. And yet you do not even try to defend your favored candidate on issues of character. Pick any of the common virtues. You don’t have to even scratch below the skin of Donald Trump find his true virtuous soul because he unabashedly and quite spectacularly promotes the extreme vice instead. So rather than dealing with Trump’s proudly representing virtually everything that you claim to abhor, you parrot the party line by shooting the media messengers (other than yourself of course)? This is all about minipulating the media Tom, including your media here and Donald Trump has made a career out of such manipulating. He’s really good at it.

    Trump has no ideals or ideas. He has no experience of public service. His political and ideological affiliations blow with the winds what he thinks sells at the moment. He hypes conspiracy theories, and plays to the most dramatic and outlandish of hates and fears. Trump is a first class, A-number-one showman who has perfected the art of soulless marketing of the product that matters most to Donald Trump, and that is, of course, just Donald Trump. Trump is not the means to some ideological end that you may want – Trump has been and always will be the end of Trumpism. And as such, Trump is the modern media’s wildest wet dream.

    The media would have indeed manufactured Trump if they were actually smart or organized enough to conspire to do any such a thing. But they just are not that smart or that organized to have the grand conspiracies that Trump would have his gullible supporters believe. The mainstream media are a bunch of comericalized ADD ridden puppies that can be distracted by the next stranded kitten or smart squirrel story, not evil corporate geniuses plotting world domination.

    Trump’s only problem with the media is that he has taken it too far. Every time Trump gets outed to decent people as just being the incorrigible and vainglorious Donald Trump that he always has been, Trump shoots his own messengers that he himself has always played so well, and now they are starting to shoot back. It would be hilarious to elect such a scoundrel (because we all secretly love a scoundrel), if America and the world could afford such a circus for the next four years. Those middle ground and undecided voters who actually elect presidents are starting to be horrified by the spectacle of Trump.


    1. @Tony

      I am just a tired old man who needed to get some sleep, not a master a pithiness.

      Am I trying to defend Trump’s character? Not exactly. The problem is that we are all sinners. Is Trump a born again Christian? I don’t know, but even if he was he would still be a sinner working on becoming a saint.

      It often happens in political and religious discussions that the fellow I am debating makes me — my character — the issue. Since I am a sinner and cannot prove otherwise, I just concede the point. My counter is to ask my opponent to explain the relevance of my imperfections to the discussion.

      So why have I defended Trump from specific attacks on his character? There are two reasons.
      1. We have a binary choice: Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. When compared to his opponent’s lawbreaking, Trump’s willingness to abide by the law looks quite good.
      2. The news media has assaulted Trump’s character with dishonest reports. People need to know that.

      So what about your modelling of voter psychology by comparing our party choices to the way we choose soda pop? Two observations.
      1. A little soda pop is a good thing. A little coke can settle your stomach and help make you more alert. If you make a diet of soda pop, your teeth will rot and your health will collapse. There is a similar difference between limited government and Socialism.
      2. If voters make serious decisions the same way they choose soda pop, what idiot wants those voters making decisions about his life?

      The plain fact of the matter is the bigger the government gets the harder it is for voters to exercise any serious control. We use to have three distinct levels of government, and most government was local. Now the Federal Government exercises crushing control. And you say Posner tries to justify that crap by comparing voting to choosing soda pop? Then you have the nerve to call him brilliant?

      Posner may be brilliant, but that stupid model doesn’t demonstrate what you think.

      Anyway, you will be judged the same way you judge others, and you are JUDGING Trump. As voters, our job is to just determine which candidate is most fit to lead us. We have no way of getting inside either Trump’s or H. Clinton’s head. So we should not pretend we can. The journalists who do just make themselves sound ridiculous, like some kind of high school gossip bad mouthing the new kid in school, somebody he doesn’t even know.

      Trump and H. Clinton both have public careers that extend over decades. If we cannot talk about their records — without distorting their records — we have nothing of value that needs to be said.
      You don’t think the election is rigged? Have you checked out this website?


      1. Tom,

        Trump glorifies in his vices. He is proud of them. I’m not judging Trump for his sins – I have no right to. I am judging Trump’s unabashed pride and promotion of vice itself, of his worst vices as his best virtues. As such, Trump is turning all morality, including Christian morality, on it’s head. I judge that as wrong by definition. I know that it is wrong and you know that it is wrong. That is why you do not defend it.

        On the other hand, you have judged and convicted Secretary Clinton as guilty of crimes without knowing the facts, without a trial, without a jury. I hope neither of us are ever judged in such a way, now or in this life or after. As you say, we are all sinners, and she has made mistakes, but, unlike Trump, she does not glorify sin itself.

        Your references to Posner and his explanations on how our democracy actually systemically works are all non sequitur deflections to your tired arguments about extreme collectivism verses extreme individualism. Posner is an economic liberal in the classic sense of that term – if anything he is an extremist on your side in economic terms, if I were actually talking about your one trick pony in my post, but that useless debate had nothing to do with what I was talking about nor does it have anything with the reality of voter psychology that Posner wrote about (nor with any actual reality of our democracy for that matter).

        BTW, you are kind of pithy. But this is about as pithy as I normally get. 😉


      2. Tom – your enthusiasm for the counter-factual constantly gets the better of you. Your long comment tells me nothing new about your vote in this cycle, but I do note that you make reference to Judge Posner’s trying “to justify that crap” (i.e., your view that “the Federal Government exercises crushing control”). Posner does nothing of the sort and he has a very consistent record of prolific writing on that point. You just made that up (and you have a very consistent record of prolific writing that just makes things up). st Posner is, as Tony says in a later comment, an economic conservative in modern terms, a classic liberal in 19th Century terms. He is anything but a defender of the kind of big government excess that haunts your consciousness. And he has enough of a record, both in his published works on a range of subjects and in his opinions from the bench to have earned the description of “brilliant”. That you question this means very little, frankly. You simply don’t know what your talking about until you do a deep dive on the man’s work.



        1. Because Tony thinks he is so brilliant, I read one of Posner’s books. Was not impressed. He is definitely not my sort of judge.
          First he wrote this:

          Then, because he is at least smart enough to backtrack when he sees more trouble than he can handle, he wrote this:

          Yeah, he is brilliant.


  4. Tom,

    It is apparent that today’s’news and news commentators are blatantly bias to favor Clinton over Trump. Why is the real issue? In my opinion, since only six corporations now own 90 percent of all US news media, those six owners do not want Trump to be President.

    Someone said that advertising pays. The question is whether today’s’ news is advertising or reporting? To answer that question, in my opinion, all you have to do is follow the major Clinton donors and they will lead to the answer why reporters are bias. After all, how long will a reporter work for an owner if what they report does not please the owner?

    Yes, some reporters do prefer Clinton over Trump. But my guess is not all really do, but like making money and keeping their jobs, and what the heck, who really cares who is President, it won’t affect them all that much because in the end, big money rules and for the most part has always ruled the USA anyway.

    Regards and goodwill blogging.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sorry Tom, I’m just trying not to pour my dark humor all over these political discussions, but as someone wise reminded me, in about 3 weeks half this country’s hopes and dreams are going to die…. The death of the other half’s hopes and dreams will probably just take a few weeks longer.

    Liked by 1 person

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