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Trump's twisting of facts and logic do not trouble his base

Trump's twisting of facts and logic do not trouble his base
Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin
Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Donald Trump talking before a session of the APEC summit in Danang, Vietnam, on Saturday.

To belabor the obvious, President Donald Trump is not a slave to facts or logic. Perhaps, by his political success, he has taught those of us who attach great importance to accurate facts and logical inferences drawn from those facts that we may overrate the importance of those twin towers, facts and logic.

I don’t have a term ready to describe what Trump uses in place of facts and logic, perhaps some sort of a gut-level connection with the anger and grievances of many Americans. (A little more on that below.)

But first, an example of the kind of facts/logic vortex that passes for presidential leadership these days, at least in the president’s own mind.

After conferring with Russian President Vladimir Putin during his foreign travels, Trump told the media that Putin absolutely denies that Russia interfered in the U.S. election last year and that he, Trump, believes him, Putin.

'I just asked him again'

Here, for example, is what he told reporters traveling with him after his most recent conversation with Putin during his current international trip:

He [Putin] said he didn’t meddle. I asked him again. You can only ask so many times. I just asked him again. He said he absolutely did not meddle in our election. He did not do what they are saying he did. Every time he sees me he says, ‘I didn’t do that,’ and I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it. I think he is very insulted by it, which is not a good thing for our country.

As you may know, it is the consensus view of the U.S. intelligence community that such Russian interference occurred, and that the interference was intended to help Trump defeat his 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton.

So, for a period of time, it seemed that Trump was taking the word of Putin that – contrary to the consensus conclusion of the U.S. intelligence community across its several agencies – Russia did not do the 99 things you have previously read that Russia did do to interfere in the election and specifically to help Trump and hurt his opponent Clinton.

But no. On a subsequent press conference during his foreign travels, following up on the quote just above, a reporter asked the president:

Could you once and for all, definitively sir, confirm whether you believe that President Putin and/or Russia interfered in the election?

'I believe he believes it'

Replied the president (and I do not believe he intended this as a comedy routine, in the style of Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on First” routine):

What I said there is that I believe he believes it. And that’s very important for somebody to believe. I believe that he believes that he and Russia did not meddle in the election. As to whether I believe it or not, I’m with our agencies, especially as currently constituted with their leadership. I believe in our agencies. I’ve worked with them very strongly.

Don’t ask me what “very strongly” is doing at the end there. But nonetheless, there it lies, for now:

Trump believes that Putin meddled in our election. But he believes that Putin believes that he didn’t meddle. So, for a facts and logic guy, here’s the problem, in the form of a follow-up question that I fear may never be asked because at some point reporters will just give up.

Proposed follow-up question:

Mr. President. You believe that Putin meddled in our election. But you believe that he sincerely believes he did not. Mr. Putin is widely viewed as very smart and very tough. So smart and tough that he could perhaps lie to your face about this matter without you realizing he was lying.

But on the assumption that you are right about what Mr. Putin actually believes, what theory of Mr. Putin’s personality or psychology are you positing, in order  to believe, as you do, that he believes, as you believe he does, that he did not meddle in our election, even though he did?

I await illumination, but I fear I may be waiting forever.

Connection with base remains strong

Lastly, for now, as promised above on the question of how Trump’s connection with his base might fare as it becomes increasingly obvious that he is not going to do a great many things that he promised to do during the campaign.

I refer you to a really great Politico piece from last week, based on a recent visit to Johnstown, Pa., by reporter Michael Krause.

Johnstown is a formerly-prosperous-now-depressed steel mining city that Krause had visited a year earlier,  a city that voted heavily for Trump — based, it seemed, on the belief that he and his make-America-great-again program was going to revitalize places like Johnstown.

Krause went back, a year after the election, to see if Johnstownites were seeing any of the revival Trump promised them and, if not, whether they were feeling like suckers and maybe even getting over their faith in Trump.

The answer is no, things are not getting better. But also no, they haven’t turned against Trump.

A complicated reality

Again, a facts-and-logic addict like me should be surprised. It’s hard for me to let go of the idea that if they don’t see the great-again results that they were promised starting to come true, they will become disenchanted with Trump. But no. Here’s an excerpt that captures the more complicated reality:

Johnstown voters do not intend to hold the president accountable for the nonnegotiable pledges he made to them. It’s not that the people who made Trump president have generously moved the goalposts for him. It’s that they have eliminated the goalposts altogether.

This reality ought to get the attention of anyone who thinks they will win in 2018 or 2020 by running against Trump’s record. His supporters here, it turns out, are energized by his bombast and his animus more than any actual accomplishments. For them, it’s evidently not what he’s doing so much as it is the people he’s fighting.

Trump is simply and unceasingly angry on their behalf, battling the people who vex them the worst—'obstructionist’ Democrats, uncooperative establishment Republicans, the media, Black Lives Matter protesters and NFL players (boy oh boy do they hate kneeling NFL players) whom they see as ungrateful, disrespectful millionaires.

And they love him for this.

"I think he’s doing a great job, and I just wish the hell they’d leave him alone and let him do it,’ [a Johnstownite name] Schilling said. ‘He shouldn’t have to take any shit from anybody."

Facts and logic people, who are waiting for the moment when Trump supporters might decide they’ve been taken, should read this piece.

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Comments (78)

Kruse's (not Krause) words

Include describing the local Social Security office as the busiest place in town. Yet, those who can weigh the facts in a rational manner (ie: not the Trump base) understand that the up coming tax policy will blow the doors off the deficit and the GOP will certainly not blame their tax cuts and never reverse course and rescind them. The preferred option: the long awaited day of reckoning for the social safety net begun by FDR, and added to by LBJ (Medicare) and Obama (ACA). And as these programs are gutted by Trump and his allies the good folk of Johnstown will blame liberals and minorities for all their problems.

One could almost describe them as deplorables; but, that would likely not help...

Facts and logic

How much should facts matter in our discourse? How much should logic matter? These are both good questions, I think, that the Donald Trump phenomena brings to the fore.

The problem factuality presents is just with the facts themselves, rather that it's just that their are two many of them. I think of it as a question of oceans of facts, that they are immense, that they come in waves, and that they are ruled by factors beyond anyone's control, the weather, the tides of the moon. And of course Fox News. There are facts that can be marshalled to support any idea. The trick always is to select the ones that support your views and are advantageous to the people you represent. The fact is, our politicians support trade policies that hurt some Americans and benefit some foreigners. There are other facts too, some which contradict those views, but in thinking about these and other facts, truth, factuality isn't really the issue in dispute.

Logic is one of my least favorite things. Logic just isn't what it's cracked up to be, and when examined it never fails to disappoint. At it's humble best, logic is a tool that helps clarify what is being said, and just as importantly what is not said. Logic is a process and a tool, but like any process or tool, it's value depends on how it is used. The logic that many people use, which is that I shouldn't vote for people who want to ship my job abroad, works just fine, the syllogism operating smoothly and like clockwork. The problem with people who vote that way, isn't either with their facts or their logic, and politicians who want to represent them need to understand that.

Your excellent commentary rises above the rest here.

I want to add something: the "ocean of facts" is better described as an "ocean of propaganda", as the lion's share of information available in the public space is propaganda, not facts.

Some is gross (we don't need to look far to find examples, do we?), some is subtle, but you'll be hard-pressed to find any piece in this "ocean" which is purely factual.

I agree with your example of Fox News, but only ONE citation falls far short, as most major distributors of information as news have abandoned all pretense of objectivity in favor of mimicking the very successful model of Fox News - except of course for the point of view. It has become standard practice throughout the industry to seek to sway opinion even in stories which could be presented as factual matters.

No wonder the electorate is confused !!

Labels

Labels don't change anything. Jobs are moving from the United States to other countries. Whether that's a fact or whether that's propaganda doesn't change the underlying politics. As Democrats, whether you label it factual or propaganda, we have to ask ourselves why are we losing on this issue? Why and how was Donald Trump ever allowed to eat our lunch with respect to what Democrats should care most about, the interests of American working people?

It's not a matter of labels - there's a real difference

...between fact and propaganda, the latter defined as:

"information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc."

and here's a definition of fact:

"a thing that is indisputably the case" - in other words, it is true.

These two are NOT THE SAME !!!!

To characterize the difference as merely a matter of labeling is to trivialize the difference between something true and something false, which serves the interests of the propagandist nicely, thanks so much !!

When voters know the difference, propaganda efforts don't work so well.

An answer to your question of "why and how" Trump ate our lunch, so to speak, goes to this problem of fact failing in its competition with propaganda.

In an age when we are swimming in an ocean of propaganda, it is critical to our politics to discriminate between fact and propaganda, and it's a very tall order.

An aside

It’s interesting to me (I use the term “interesting” advisedly) that supporters of the Current Occupant have managed to convince themselves that they are the only ones who dislike the current system and the increasingly and artificially-limited choices it presents to those of us not born with the proverbial silver spoon. Even more worrisome to me than the ignorance of the individual in the Oval Office at the moment is the fact that so many of my fellow citizens have decided to abandon reason almost entirely in order to support someone who absolutely does **not** have their interests, or the interests of the vast majority of Americans, at heart.

We have Archie Bunker (you have to be of a certain age for that name to resonate) in the Oval Office, elected by people much like himself, only not as wealthy. It’s not a good thing, if we want a reasonably democratic society to survive.

“so many of my fellow

“so many of my fellow citizens have decided to abandon reason almost entirely in order to support someone who absolutely does **not** have their interests, or the interests of the vast majority of Americans, at heart.” So why do you think they do it?

I wish I knew

Were I the entrepreneurial type, I could make a fortune, and very quickly, if I had a genuine answer to your question. Numerous pundits of left and right (and center) have offered their theories, and many of those theories have at least some degree of plausibility, but I'm not genuinely convinced—yet—by any of them. As has been demonstrated more than once in this country and others, humans are irrational creatures. All by itself, that makes democracy a risky proposition.

But logically, if you don’t

But logically, if you don’t know why they “abandon reason,” doesn’t it mean that you can’t say that they actually abandoned it? I mean, they may have the reasons you don’t think of… And their reasons may be very valid… If I don’t know exactly how a computer program works, it doesn’t mean I can say that its results are invalid.

Archie Bunker

I am old enough to remember Archie Bunker and Trump is no Archie Bunker. Sure, there's a superficial resonance between the Bunker character and the Trump supporter: beleaguered, old, white guy who feels like the American dream is slipping away and just wants things "the way they were". But the Bunker character was, at heart, a good, honest person. That does not describe Trump.

Everybody is so concerned

Everybody is so concerned about the Trump base, who are, as Eric reminds us, not relying on facts or logic in their interpretations of what is happening to our country and the world with Trump as president.

What about the majority of the country? Most Americans are deeply embarrassed and ashamed by our president when he speaks publicly or goes abroad for meetings where he seems to prefer being with authoritarian and oligarchical figures (Trump loves the young Saudi guy, the president of China, the killer who is president of the Philippines, Putin, the autocrat in Egypt; he's more at ease with them than with any democratic leader like Macron or Merkel or May, etc.). His ignorance boggles the mind, his lack of human empathy takes the breath away.

We cringe when Trump overtly and ignorantly contradicts himself on issues, sometimes in the same sentence (the man doesn't really have the capability to do paragraphs). He is a truly pitiable man, except when we consider how he might destroy our country and destroy huge parts of the world if he isn't controlled by an adult who has the ability to see consequences.

The majority of Americans simply have to start coming out to vote, as they did last week in a number of states. Trump's base is very weak, compared to our numbers and we can't give up our country to that weak base that doesn't represent America.

“the Trump base, who are, as

“the Trump base, who are, as Eric reminds us, not relying on facts or logic in their interpretations of what is happening to our country and the world with Trump as president.” And what if it is the other side which does not rely on facts and logic? Don’t we need an impartial referee to make that determination?

Not a big fan of Trump, but I am a

conservative, his words don’t bother me as much as the actions of other countries do. Trump’s talk about Russia and trying to work with them doesn’t bother me as much as them taking over a part of the Ukraine, with the USA doing nothing. Trump denying the Russians intervened in our elections doesn’t bother me as much as them actually intervening in our election under Obama with no one raising issues until Hillary lost. Trump claiming the Russia investigation is a witch hunt doesn’t bother me as much as the DNC actually being run by the Clinton Machine. What is actually happening is more scary than Trump’s words!

Since you aren't a Democrat

and would never vote for a Democrat anyway, why would the myth of the DNC being run by the"Clinton Machine" strike fear into your heart?

So let me get this straight.

So let me get this straight. You criticize Obama for what you consider a weak response to Russian intervention but it's perfectly fine for Trump to ignore it, deny it, and possibly even embrace it?

Obama created it now Trump

Obama created it now Trump has to deal with it. Since he can’t nuke Russia, he must deal with it but I do not see him “deny it, and possibly even embrace it.”

Trusting the word of a former KGB agent over

His own intelligence agencies tells us all we need to know about Trump's judgement and his patriotism. The fact that Conservatives are more concerned about making political points than they are about a hostile foreign government interfering in our politics tells us all we need to know about their judgement and patriotism.

Blackwhite

Trump supporters have managed to conflate "things we wish were true" with facts. Anything contrary to what they want to hear is dismissed as "fake," even when the evidence is right in front of their faces.

The motive for this lying is unclear.

“Trump supporters have

“Trump supporters have managed to conflate "things we wish were true" with facts. Anything contrary to what they want to hear is dismissed as "fake," even when the evidence is right in front of their faces.” Can you please give examples of those things they “wish were true" they conflate with facts?

Begin at the Beginning

Let's start with voter fraud, and the fantasy that the only reason Senator Clinton won the popular vote was fraud in California. Is there any evidence of this? Remember, the person who makes a claim has the burden of proof, so it is not incumbent on anyone to prove that it isn't true.. Where is the evidence of the massive voter fraud?

As Madison said in Federalist 10, "As long as the connection subsists between his reason and his self-love, [man’s] opinions and his passions will have a reciprocal influence on each other; and the former will be objects to which the latter will attach themselves."

I guess I got carried away

I guess I got carried away and asked you the wrong question. What Madison said is absolutely correct but it is correct, of course, for every man (and woman), regardless of the party affiliation. So I should have actually asked you if you think that this is different for Clinton or Sanders supporters. And then I would remind you about “"let him who is without sin, cast the first stone.”

Everybody Must get Stoned

"So I should have actually asked you if you think that this is different for Clinton or Sanders supporters." The difference is in the magnitude of the lying; or rather, in its sheer volume. Do either Clinton or Sanders lie as much as Trump does? Combined, do they lie anywhere near as much as he does?

There is also the persistence of the belief in the lies, even after they have been debunked. How many Republicans still believe President Obama was born in Kenya, even after Trump halfheartedly conceded that he was in fact born in Hawai'i?

Clinton and Sanders are not

Clinton and Sanders are not being checked as often as Trump is so no one really knows. But even if I grant you that Trump’s volume is higher, his lies are kind of childish (I think I wrote about that before): “I had more people for inauguration” or “I lost popular vote because of voter fraud” type of stuff. It doesn’t really matter for anything and those are the things which cannot be verified (I know, I know, but he can always say that more people came to his inauguration but were not there at that particular moment) meaning, at least in theory, that Trump may believe that those are not lies which means, by definition of a lie, that he does not lie (and again, I know, it’s a stretch so consider this a rhetorical point only). Clinton’s lies, on the other hand, are personal ones such as “I landed under fire” or “I just didn’t want to carry two phones” meaning that they are invented by her personally and that she knows that they are lies. But still those are not really harmful ones either. The really bad ones are the ones which present false political narratives such as “We should be like Denmark” or “We should give everyone free college education” because they mess with people’s minds and give them false hopes.

And yes, people don’t like admitting that they believed in lies because it makes them feel bad about themselves but, this also crosses party line.

And why are They not Being Checked?

"Clinton and Sanders are not being checked as often as Trump is so no one really knows." Why are they not subject to the same level of scrutiny? Once again, it's because Trump is the President. Sanders is a member of the US Senate, representing Vermont; Clinton is a private citizen. Trump is the President of the United States. He comes under greater scrutiny by virtue of that office.

"But even if I grant you that Trump’s volume is higher, his lies are kind of childish . . ." That's certainly comforting. Has it ever been said about any other President that his lies were on the level of a child?

"The really bad [lies] are the ones which present false political narratives such as “We should be like Denmark” or 'We should give everyone free college education' because they mess with people’s minds and give them false hopes." False hopes? Sure, we don't want people thinking that their welfare is of any concern to the government. We also don't want anyone getting the foolish idea that access to higher education is a priority (Republicans are scotching that foolish notion in their tax bill).

“Why are they not subject to

“Why are they not subject to the same level of scrutiny? Once again, it's because Trump is the President.” Nope, it was exactly the same pattern during elections when all of them were on equal footing.

“Has it ever been said about any other President that his lies were on the level of a child?” No and I have not said it with approval. I just wanted to point out that they are the least damaging ones, compared to others.

“False hopes? Sure, we don't want people thinking that their welfare is of any concern to the government.” So would you be OK with a politician promising to make everyone a millionaire? It’s not about concerns but about reality. Promises should be realistic; otherwise they just give false hopes, as I said.

"For them, it’s evidently not

"For them, it’s evidently not what he’s doing so much as it is the people he’s fighting."

And there it is. It's how and why Bill Clinton and Obama are still loved by the left despite their lies illogical and (in Clintons case) sociopathic behaviors, and why Trump will be re-elected despite his obvious flaws.

And, make no mistake, this goes beyond American politics and political operatives. The Nobel committee awarded Obama a Nobel, despite not having actually done *anything*, because it stuck a finger in the eyes of people that didn't agree with his positions.

It's our divided world. Nothing unusual.

Whoa Whoa Whoa There!

There are plenty of lefties that are not enamored of Bill Clinton or Obama. For many lefties the scales have fallen from their eyes, and they recall with regret the Clinton-GOP welfare de-form as well as the deregulation of Wall Street and the mega banks that led to global economic collapse in 2008. Similarly they recall the way the corporatist Obama let Wall Street off the hook after they were bailed out by Bush and Bernanke, then passed a half-hearted economic recovery act for the little people. If only more lefties saw those two POTUS for the free trade loving corporate lap dogs that they were before their elections. As for myself, given four chances to vote for the two of them, I passed on each opportunity.

And given the fact that fully one-third of the Obama stimulus was in the form of tax cuts (the DNC was too dumb to campaign on "the Obama tax cuts"), and we were told the stimulus was a failure, why do we now find conservatives telling us that tax cuts stimulate the economy?

Right!I disliked Bill

Right!

I disliked Bill Clinton's Republican Lite approach to politics so much that I voted for Ralph Nader in 1996 and came close to doing so in 2000, although I didn't, so don't blame me for Bush in the White House.

As far as Obama is concerned, he talked somewhat like a left-wing populist, but unlike real left-wing populists, he didn't say much that was specific. Sure enough, when he was in office, he continued with Bush's penalty-free bank bailout program, including no loss of bonuses for executives "because contracts are sacred" while treating the contracts of the Detroit auto workers as easily breakable. He kept pursuing the futile Iraq War and doubled-down in Afghanistan, and given a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reform America's health care non-system from the ground up, he put forth a variant of the Heritage Foundation/Mitt Romney plan, because it was more important to try (in vain) to win Republican votes than to do the right thing for the country.

I was unenthusiastic about Hillary, but I don't hate her, and I regret that she ran such a bad campaign. Although I know that some women are staunch members of the Hillary fan club, I voted for her because I could recognize that a competent president would be better than the loose cannon we are stuck with.

An awful lot of people like me vote Democratic only because our system allows just two viable candidates, and the Republicans keep putting up people who are even worse than the Democratic candidate.

Our weakling President has self inflicted problems.

Let’s recall what George W. Bush said after he looked in Putin’s eyes. Good old GWB said he saw an honorable man. Trump asked Putin if he meddled in our election. Putin said he didn’t, so Trump was satisfied he didn’t meddle. What are the naïve assessments the Republicans have of Putin all about? They don’t believe their own intelligence agencies. Well, Trump must have been informed he had intelligence agencies, so then he sided with them that Russia did meddle in our election. Trump met his only goal of the Asia trip when he shook the hand of his idol, Putin. Trump wants so badly to be an authoritarian leader. Now Trump feels like he is a real President. Of course, Putin is playing Trump like a chump. His Asian trip has only had one good aspect to it. Trump has been out of the country. He has presented himself as an extremely weak leader to the rest of the world. China is building an island in the South China Sea and there is a dispute as to which country has the rights to that area. When Trump landed in the Philippines he offered to mediate the dispute between China and the countries claiming rights in that area. Realizing Trump is an irrational, weak leader they turned him down. Trump can’t solve the problems he has at home, so how could he ever solve their problems?

The bad news for Trump is that when he returns, all the problems he left behind will still be waiting for him. Ryan and McConnell have been spending time shading the truth about their tax reform bills trying to make it seem like the middle class will get a good deal, when they won’t. You can be assured the wealthy will get their share. The super-rich, who have influence over our congressional leaders, told Ryan and McConnell that they better pass something. Mr. Muller will be waiting for Trump to return so he can release more bad news about Trump’s team, some of whom may be charged with criminal offenses. Republicans, which Trump needs, are retiring or choosing not to run again because of their dislike of what Trump is doing to the Republican Party. The problems continue for our President. I believe he doesn’t care about how much trouble his party is in because it generates attention. It doesn’t have to be favorable attention, it just must be the attention that he thrives on. It is going to be a very long three years if Trump completes his term.

“Of course, Putin is playing

“Of course, Putin is playing Trump like a chump.” Just like a couple presidents before Trump…

The Value of the Assumption

"HE (Putin) said HE didn't meddle." This whole rant is about Russians interfering. Putin was talking about himself, not other Russians. Who knows who gave the order in the attempt to mess with the US. A normal person would expect them to.
Still, Mr. Black again falls victim to seeing what he wants to see. By the exact literal meaning of Putin's words, Putin is talking about himself. but Mr. Black immediately assumes the word HE means Russians in general when you read his article.
Now, could Putin be involved? Probably. But this is the answer you are going to get like any leader ever known.
Willy Clinton said, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman" only because the literal meaning is intercourse. Clinton technically told the truth there, he just used other words and many gave him a pass. But we know what really transpired was much more than just a pat on the back.

"Who knows who gave the order . . ."

Do you know how decisions are made in the Russian government?

Russians know

what Putin wants.
He doesn't always have to give explicit orders.
And unlike our Great Leader (he says so himself) Putin is consistent enough so that his people (and yes they are bound to him) can anticipate what he wants done.

Not sure where this will end

Not sure where this will end up in the line-up of comments, but you can already see in the comment section why logic and reason do not matter. Obama and Clinton are the enemy. The fact that Trump is still fighting those dastardly villains is reason enough for his base not to turn on him. A corrupt dictatorship led by a former KGB agent is more believable and less dangerous than liberals. It's just unbelievable and these folks think of themselves as the real Americans!

Yes ....

I too read the headline and immediately thought this is going to activate certain posters to essentially become evidence for the very title. So then I proceed to read then go to comments. And low and behold the prescience of the title comes alive. At best some cut hairs a bit more then usual. That being said, Clinton never had my full unequivocal support and neither did Obama. I still although more marginally consider myself a DFLer which I might point at it’s roots is not a Democrat as now viewed. Why the base for this Kleptocrat cannot seem to engage human reflection is totally beyond my grasp. However what is happening around Moore seems to be different. Maybe the logic applied might find itself engulfing Trump. And maybe even more deeply lead to a deeper consideration of exactly how much devastation will reign with either tax proposal on the table.

This article twists the facts...

Yes, Russia meddled, but few articles state what is most probably the truth, that the Russians’ meddling was meant to hurt Hillary, not help Trump. Trump just happened to be the one running against her.

Most coverage focuses on Trump somehow being tied to the meddling... Twisting the facts…

The author twisted the facts when he stated that the Russian “interference was intended to help Trump…” Why didn’t the author state that the “interference was intended to hurt Hillary…”?

And there is the bias.

Confusing logic?

If the Vikings are playing the Packers, and someone meddles with the referees to bias the game for the Vikings, who is the greatest beneficiary of the meddling, the Toronto Blue Jays?

Beneficiary v Harmed Party...

If a former Packer fan wanted to hurt the Packers and sabotaged their game, shouldn’t the press report it as sabotaging the Packers?

Sure, it would help the Vikings, but that was not the point of the sabotage.

Sorry

Can't bite on that one.
By definition: Sabotage: deliberately destroy, damage, or obstruct (something), especially for political or military advantage.
The point being If we only have a 2 potential outcome scenario, sabotaging 1 can only benefit the other, intended or not, you don't get to chose or redefine the definition.

Bias

When sabotage is meant to hurt one party, reporting only on how it helped the other party shows bias.

So:

You need to report on how the other party got screwed? Which is in essence how the other party won.
Seems like the explanation being provided is spot on to Eric's topic. (Twisting of facts and logic do not trouble his base)
There aren't 2 separate issues here to call out a bias. Your comment says: OK, guy gets called for roughing the passer, how come the Referee isn't reporting on how the passer got roughed? Isn't that what he just did, called out the infraction? What it appears you are really trying to say is, in your and many "T" folks minds, Hillary must have cheated or did something wrong, that needs to be investigated, after all, all "T" voters know for a fact that Hillary is a crook, and "T" is clean as a fresh winter driven snow. See noone is investigating Hillary that is the bias. Point from this perspective is, its a propaganda/con game "T" voters fell for. And now they are trapped in the, I've been conned but can't admit for fear of looking not so smart. Again, a reinforcement of Eric's article. Anything but the truth or reality. You like "A", don't like "B", "A" shoots "B", "B" is dead, why aren't we investigating the bad things that "B": might have done instead of "A"? Great twisted logic, good for an "A".

There is a huge difference

There is a huge difference between saying that Putin tried to help Trump and Putin tried to hurt Clinton. The former implies (and Democrats are trying to emphasize it all the time) that Putin and Trump are buddies and Trump is guilty if by nothing else but by association. The latter has no bearing on Trump’s character and that is why Democrats abhor this version. So who is twisting the facts and logic? Yes, the ultimate result may be the same (and the one that Putin most likely could not have even imagined in his wildest celebratory dreams) but intent matters.

Rewind

Please enlighten me on your tri-state logic: Win/lose is a 1 bit, binary 1,0, situation, no twisted facts or logic, "Huge Difference" suggests there is a tri-state situation?

I thought I explained it in

I thought I explained it in my post (different moral implications) but let me try again: A person can be dead or alive – definitely a binary situation; however, it matters whether a dead person was killed or died of the old age…

Not to

the dead person.
Follow the implication.
And then there's Schroedinger's cat.......

Thanks Paul

"Schrödinger wanted to show that this way of thinking about quantum mechanics would lead to absurd situations"
Case closed:

Bias?

"The author twisted the facts when he stated that the Russian “interference was intended to help Trump…” Why didn’t the author state that the “interference was intended to hurt Hillary…”?"

First, why is Senator Clinton identified by her first name only? That's kind of demeaning, don't you think?

Second, when there are, effectively, two candidates running, trying to hurt one amounts to trying to help the other. I honestly cannot fathom why that is evidence of "bias."

Third, it's looking like Trump's campaign may have, at least, encouraged the meddling. It is not implausible that he had no idea what they were doing, but it was still his campaign. Crying about "bias" can't change that.

Bias is reporting only one side of the truth.

I have the greatest respect for all that have served and are serving in office, including Trump and Hillary.

To your other point, why doesn’t the press report that the meddling was designed to hurt Hillary?

Yes, you are correct that the meddling “may have” been encouraged by Trump’s team, and that has been reported.

The meddling also “may have” been encouraged by Hillary’s poor relationship with Russia. But that is not reported. Both are probably true, but one story is printed. That is bias.

Meddling

"The meddling also “may have” been encouraged by Hillary’s poor relationship with Russia. But that is not reported." Does it matter why Putin wanted to help Trump? It could have been due to his poor relationship with Senator Clinton, it could have been due to an urge to flex his geopolitical muscles in a new way, it could even be due to the residual effects of the old Procter and Gamble logo. Saying all possible hypotheses have not been reported is not some revelation of bias.

Biased Reporting.

Ah, there you go, saying Putin wanted to help Trump. No, he wanted to hurt Hillary. Huge difference in intent. The reporting is one-sided, thus biased.

And There You Have It

When all else fails, claim the reporting is biased.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but does this "bias" of which you speak mean that the Russians did not meddle in the US election?

Does it perhaps mean that representatives of the Trump campain did not meet with the Russians about this meddling?

Or does it just mean we have another way of muddying the waters ("Yeah, but bias!")?

Even-handed reporting

That's just it, RB. I agree that there is a chance that those things may have happened in the Trump camp. It is good to report on that.

The bias is excluding reporting on how Russians wanted to hurt Hillary. I am not trying to muddy the waters, but if you want to go down that road, be my guest. Where is the reporting that the Russians wanted to stick it to Hillary for the way she treated them when she was Secretary of State? That is the bias. I don't think reporters are trying to hide anything or protect anyone, but they are telling half the story. I would like both sides.

And

Where did the information that "the Russians wanted to stick it to Hillary for the way she treated them" come from? Not of course from the biased media! That's where I heard/read it, the biased media, But are we sure it isn't fake news?
Problem, when folks twist and turn facts sooner or later they come back to haunt them, isn't that what Eric is driving at in this article?

There are two points in this

There are two points in this story: Trump-Putin relations and Trump’s voters. Let’s deal with them one at a time.

“Russia did not do the 99 things you have previously read that Russia did do to interfere in the election and specifically to help Trump and hurt his opponent Clinton” OK, I am aware of just two (and I would be happy to read about the other 97): hacked DNC and Podesta’s e-mail and made them public though WikiLeaks and spread fake news. When they did the latter, they played both sides https://www.minnpost.com/glean/2017/10/russian-linked-facebook-activity-... and when they did the former, how is it different from the Trump’s Hollywood tape? Should the public just be less informed?

Now, to answer Mr. Black’s question, I can come up with plenty of responses such as: a. Putin believes that his meddling was so insignificant compares to American meddling (see PBS series on Putin) that it doesn’t even count as meddling; b. Putin believes that his minor meddling didn’t make any difference so it is irrelevant (hacking voting machines would have been meddling); c. Putin meant that he personally didn’t meddle and everything was done by his people who never got any direct order from him except hearing Putin say “I hate Clinton;” d. Putin is, as Mr. Black noticed, smart and tough and could have lied in Trump’s face convincingly enough for Trump to believe him (many before Trump also believed Putin). So where did Trump ignore facts and logic?

Another point is that statement “Putin tried to help Trump defeat Clinton” makes sense only if one assumes that Putin believed that Trump could defeat Clinton. Since most people in the world believed that wouldn’t be possible, including, I think, Putin, his mission, assuming there was one, could not have been to help Trump but only to weaken Clinton. If I play tennis with Federer, calling all questionable line calls in my favor could not be considered “helping me win” because it will have negligible effect on the result.

Now on to the next topic: Trump’s voters (and I appreciate that they were not called names). It is amazing (and actually sad) how little left-leaning intelligentsia understands them. Of course, they are still with Trump who fights on their behalf. His lack of results is due to everyone trying to undermine him – Democrats and Republicans alike with the help of the media (and by the way, it is a fact that they do; the only debatable question is whether Trump deserves it) so it’s not a matter of goalposts but that he is prevented from even running and kicking. And, it’s been just one year since he was elected. Plus, when he can, he does act (re: executive orders). So again, what is illogical or not fact-based here?

Did I miss something .....

“........b. Putin believes that his minor meddling didn’t make any difference so it is irrelevant (hacking voting machines would have been meddling); .....”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/dhs-tells-states-...

This article refers to

This article refers to Putin’s alleged attempts to hack not actual hacks…

Rewind II

The article stated:
"As you may know, it is the consensus view of the U.S. intelligence community that such Russian interference occurred, and that the interference was intended to help Trump defeat his 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton."

So our US intelligence should have said "alleged" view and not "consensus view"? Or, the US intelligence has it all wrong, should be rogue Russians, excluding Putin? Kind of like, it wasn't Putin that invaded Crimea, it was rouge Russians troops, he didn't actually have anything to do with it.

My point was about Putin’s

My point was about Putin’s not hacking voting stations so I emphasized that a referenced article did not refute my point. As for what else this article says, I can only say that it is a very left-leaning paper rephrasing what Obama’s intelligence agencies said. And yes, US intelligence may be wrong…

Not, that is not a fact ...

"His lack of results is due to everyone trying to undermine him – Democrats and Republicans alike with the help of the media (and by the way, it is a fact that they do; the only debatable question is whether Trump deserves it) ..."

Your assertion that the mass media are actively trying to undermine Trump is your opinion, and one that is not supported by facts.

Unless, of course, you believe that whenever the mass media point out that Trump has lied is evidence of active efforts to undermine Trump. You may very well believe that, I don't know. I know that many conservatives analyze the situation in that way and reach that conclusion.

I call it "doing their jobs" (and I wish they did it with more vigor).

I'm not sure why you blame the Democrats

The Republicans have TOTAL control of the Whitehouse, House, and Senate. All the floundering and failure is on the Republican. Republicans brought Trumpcare to failure on their own. Trump's so called immigrations reform was been stopped by the courts because it was misguided. All the floundering and failure is on the Republican. What the House and Senate try to do is brought down by the President all by himself. Nothing to do with the media or Democrats. The media didn't say Trumpcare would be ready on day one. They just reported what the President said. Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell's poor leadership is another reason they can't get anything done. All the floundering and failure is on the Republican. It all boils down to stupid partisan politics.

Reminded me of the way you say

Just read a column with the title, "Just how bad are Republicans?" written by Jennifer Rubin, a conservative (of all things) and thought you might agree with what she had to say.

www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2017/11/16/just-how-bad-are-r...

I have not found a single

I have not found a single “conservative” thought in her piece (I actually didn’t find a single original thought there either) – everything is just a repeat of standard liberal talking points about Trump. Boring. But remember, she works for WaPo – they pay her money.

Well, a simple answer to your

Well, a simple answer to your question why I blame Democrats along with Republicans is right here https://www.minnpost.com/community-voices/2017/11/indivisible-trumps-ame.... To make it more sophisticated, I can mention their “resist” approach to anything Trump does, their attempts to impeach him from day one, their calling him names, their insistence on Russia collusion investigation and acting as if it is already proven, etc. So yes, at the end, you are correct: “It all boils down to stupid partisan politics.”

Do You Remember?

How was it okay that Republicans were the party of "NO" during President Obama's 8 years, but now you want the Democrats to fall in line? Remember Mitch McConnell saying that his only job was to make sure President Obama was a one-term President? Well, McConnell failed! Now McConnell and Ryan want cooperation from the Democrats because they can't get enough Republicans to pass legislation. At some point Republicans have to take responsibility for their own party FAILURES. The party isn't going to fix anything until they admit they have problems. You can't be against everything until you get TOTAL control and then when you get TOTAL control, not have anything to back up your resistance. The party is approaching one year without any accomplishments of stated goals. It should be a signal that the party has major problems. In President Trump's own word, "SAD"!

I agree with you that

I agree with you that Republican Party has major problems and it is sad that they can’t pass any legislation. Remember, I said that I blame Democrats ALONG with Republicans. But I am not sure I would like it if Republican Party would line up behind Trump in everything and agree with him on everything even if that would have resulted in actually achieving something: I still want them to have some independence in thoughts and not fall in line all the time as Democrats did with Obama.

When I said “they,” I meant

When I said “they,” I meant both Republicans and Democrats and the media, not just the media… But, what about all cases when media reported something and then had to retract it? What about calling Trump names (racist, sexist, fascist, xenophobe, etc.) without any real proof of it? And what about media NOT pointing out when Obama did something wrong (for example, promised that he would be more flexible after American elections in conversation with Medvedev or being very secretive)? And here is the latest example: https://www.yahoo.com/news/hate-america-comes-back-100032161.html. Please note that hate crimes increase started in 2015 but it is still attributed to Trump.

I laugh

every time I hear far lefties talk about facts, logic and reason. folks on the extremes are emotional and stack up the facts they need to make their points usually. As Mark Twain so aptly said "Get your facts first and distort them as you please"

The next laughable moment is the Politico hit piece about Pennsylvania. What? 10 months in any President transforms the world, every town and zip code? What a joke. The swamp, media, entertainment business, etc. have hysterically fought against the administration at every level, so nothing can change. Liberals brag here every day that Trump has nothing, so why the hysteria? Have your cake and eat it too folks.

and...still waiting for those iron clad FACTS that Russia changed our election.....

It can never be -proved-

that the Russians changed the outcome of the Presidential election of 2016. That's the point of a secret ballot.
What can be established ('proof' is a logical construct, not an empirical one) is that they tried to affect the results, and were one factor in the outcome.

“What can be established

“What can be established ('proof' is a logical construct, not an empirical one) is that they tried to affect the results” Actually, not necessarily. I said it before, if I play tennis with Federer, calling all questionable line calls in my favor could not be considered “trying to affect the results” because it will have negligible effect on a practically predetermined result. Clinton’s win was supposed to be a done deal.

“and were one factor in the outcome” This is true, just like bad weather or high gas prices. In other words, it is entirely possible that Trump gained a few votes…

It dosen't

Make any difference:" I believe Trump over Jesus" (It is impossible for anyone to refute "T" with this type of thinking. Yes he could go and kill 5 people in times square, ave 5000 witness's and get away with it, with his twisted turn BS.

http://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2017/11/20/voter-panel-trump-supporte...

You know Eric really nailed it on this article.

Let’s talk about meddling

Let’s talk about meddling again. We all know that all candidates for high offices try to find dirt on their opponents (and so do the media, by the way). So is providing dirt on a candidate to the opponent meddling? If it is, Russia meddled by providing dirt on both candidates to their opponents (helping compile a dossier vs. leaking e-mails through WikiLeaks). If not, what are we talking about?

Americans don't take Trump

Americans don't take Trump seriously as a president or as an individual and there is little reason to think foreign leaders will regard him any differently. As a leader of a united coalition of nations, one that doesn't put America First necessarily, the US was a vastly powerful presence on the international stage, far more powerful than an isolated Russia. That was the strategic problem that confronted Putin. What's the solution? To break up the alliance. To facilitate the withdrawal of American power from the global consensus. For these purpose, there was never a more ideal candidate than Donald Trump with his deeply seated lack of understanding of global issues in all their forms. Putin's low cost medium tech bet paid off to an amazing extent. America is led by a weak president, both personally, and in terms of political support. He is a guy who sees our partners as customers instead of allies, failing to understand that unlike the Manhattan real estate market, the people he deals with have lots of opportunities to go elsewhere.

Donald Trump has an obsessive fear of being laughed at. Does anyone really doubt in those secluded dachas surrounding Moscow where the leaders of Russia's kleptocracy engage in non stop partying, the atmosphere is any less than riotous when Donald Trump's name is mentioned?

“That was the strategic

“That was the strategic problem that confronted Putin. What's the solution? To break up the alliance. To facilitate the withdrawal of American power from the global consensus” I don’t think Putin cared about American power in global consensus; he didn’t want American power in the real world… and Obama withdrew from it.

WWYD?

What would you do?

What would you have done to make sure America didn't, as you put it, withdraw its power from the real world?

And, if you think whatever caused that withdrawal was a mistake, what would you do to correct it?

It's estimated that the military costs (sometimes referred to as "government spending" and an "American taxpayer liability") in Afghanistan and Iraq were somewhere between $3 and $6 trillion when Obama left office (and continue to grow).

A headline from last March said:

"Civil engineers say fixing infrastructure will take $4.6 trillion

" . . . the nation's association of civil engineers said Thursday that the nation's roads, dams, airports and water and electrical systems need $4.6 trillion of work -- more than the entire federal government spends in a year."

http://money.cnn.com/2017/03/09/news/infrastructure-report-card/index.html

And that's just ONE example of the kind of thing America has been neglecting to take care of because "we can't afford to." But, somehow, we've had no problem paying for the privilege of, as you might put it, projecting our power in the real world while, at the same time, keeping wealthy people's, corporation's and their shareholder's taxes a minimum average of 30 percent lower than they were from 1933 until the 1980s.

So the questions are:

What would you have done instead of what Obama did?

What would you do now?

How much would it cost?

How would it be paid for?

Who would pay for it?

What would they be getting for their money (in terms of "return on investment")?

And while we're at -- and speaking of gaining or maintaining "power in the real world" by military means and the associated costs -- how well did that work out for the Soviet Union when they were projecting their real world power in Afghanistan and, if that's such a smart and effective strategy, why did they abandon it and withdraw?

Well, your question requires

Well, your question requires way more space than I have here but I can try. For example, I would not do stupid things, such as, in no particular order, bombing Libya, resetting with Putin, promising things to Medvedev, signing that agreement with Iran, helping Muslim Brotherhood, helping Castro, drawing fake red line for Syria, ignoring North Korea, etc. What would I do now? Telling Europeans to pay for their defense is a good beginning (can you imagine how many bridges we can fix if we don’t spend money defending them considering that they are wealthy enough to do it on their own). Forcing Iran to quit meddling in the Middle East is another good thing. Admitting that Putin is the greatest strategic threat (remember, Romney said that long ago) would help. And no, it will not cost that much, really… if you want to know more about what I would do in the Middle East, you can read my piece here: https://www.minnpost.com/community-voices/2016/03/what-do-about-isis-fiv....

New McCarthyism

While not a fan of the Orange One, I find the new McCarthyism of the "Rooskies ate Hillary's homework" problematic.

First, there has been no hard evidence that any tampering took place. The only one is hearsay evidence provided by Clinton's private security firm, "Crowdstrike" who would not allow the FBI to inspect the email servers in question. It is like someone claiming a murder takes place, but the accusing person does not allow the police to inspect the evidence and says, "trust us". Meanwhile, people like former British Ambassador, Craig Murray, who claims he was the courier from a DNC insider to Wikileaks, has yet to be interviewed by the FBI.

Secondly, the "consensus" of intelligence agencies is not a consensus, but a subset of agencies, the NSA, CIA, and National Security oversight. The people picked to do the assessment were hand picked, not picked at random as is normally the case, and other than the evidence claimed by Crowdstrike, no other evidence was provided other than judgements. such as that RT did some non-flattering stories on Clinton. Please refer to an archive of information by Robert Parry on Consortium News, consortiumnews.com for information going back to December, 2016.

Thirdly, the primary complaint of "tampering" was the release of Wikileaks information that showed that Clinton rigged the Primary Election, which surprisingly enough was admitted to:

a) by the DNC in a Baltimore Court lawsuit where they confessed to rigging the primary, but said they were entitled to because they were a private corporation;

b) in a NY court where the DNC was found responsible from purging voter rolls;

c) by Donna Brazile, who claimed that Clinton rigged the primaries in her new "tell all" book.

The serious damage done to freedom of speech in the US through this McCarthyism is people like US government whistleblowers like John Kiriakou being barred from panels from being associated with Russian media.

This will only get worse, and the culpable party is now the Democrats, who have become the people with whom I once identified. They have become the War Party.

Since I became a Democrat as part of process of opposing the American War against the Vietnamese people, I find the particularly troubling, as the people now in charge of the party are advocates of the US overthrowing foreign governments, invading other countries and shutting down free speech, all while decrying questionable Russian influence in our government,

Friedrich Schiller Was Right

“Mit der Dummheit kämpfen die Götter selbst vergebens”

And Trump proves it.

Maybe there's some value in repeatedly pointing this out

A large segment of the Republican "base" long ago succumbed to magical thinking as part of their anti-science anti-intellectual movement. This is a standard characteristic of the 4th "Awakening" that Susan Jacoby points to in her book: "Age of American Unreason".

Suffice to say that psychologists, sociologists, and others have observed for decades if not centuries that magical thinking is impervious to facts and logic. Even Forbes Magazine has labeled the latest Republican tax plan as pagan superstition:

"...the GOP tax bill may be enacted without anyone who votes for it having any understanding of the damage it could do to the economy. They have wishes, hopes and prayers but in reality nothing beyond the economic equivalent of pagan superstition."

https://www.forbes.com/sites/stancollender/2017/11/19/gop-tax-bill-is-th...

We know many things about magical thinking but one particularly relevant observation is that more dis-confirming information "believers" are confronted with, the more they double down on their magical thinking. This was first confirmed by Leon Festinger back in the 50s.

So no, don't expect Trumper's to change their minds or be swayed by facts and logic (and this isn't "new" by the way, it goes all the way back to Reagan beyond) But that fact just begs the question: "Given their minority status and their preference for magical thinking- why are some Democrats and liberals so determined to try to capture their votes?" This idea that wining the next election depends on turning Trump voters is almost a form of magical thinking itself.