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Sawyer Fliers

Forwarded by a faculty member:

From: “Haynes, Leticia”
Date: July 12, 2018 at 6:10:36 PM GMT+2
To: WILLIAMS-PERSONNEL@LISTSERV.WILLIAMS.EDU
Subject: Fliers recently discovered in Sawyer Library

Williams faculty, staff and students,

On Monday, July 9, a faculty member reported finding a large number of copies of a flier in the library stacks. The fliers contain content that is hard to interpret overall, but some of the images and statements are clearly offensive to college values. This was the second such flier found in the library in the past week. Images of both are below.

Flier front

Flier back

1) How are these images “clearly offensive?” I realize that the Confederacy is, in and of itself, offensive to many Ephs but are we really required to erase history? I hope not!

2) How can the “statements” here by offensive? Aren’t they just accurate Bible quotes?

3) What is up with the Star of David?

One nice aspect of these controversies is that they provide an excuse to learn some history. Below, from Wikipedia, is an actual Confederate $500 note.

CSA-T2-$500-1861

I did a reverse image search and came up with these possible sources for the Williams flyer. Earliest reference I can find is this (incomprehensible to me) discussion thread.

4) The third image from the e-mail is, obviously, problematic.

Horizontal flier

The link to a Democracy Now story is perplexing. Democracy Now is a lefty news network, not the usual information source (I assume!) for nativist troublemakers. Is the intent here to heighten the contradictions on the left? I really don’t know.

Back to Haynes’s e-mail:

Independent of content, outside materials may only be distributed on campus with college permission. Leaving the fliers in the stacks was a violation of these rules.

Really? The College has a history of only enforcing rules against those whose politics it dislikes. The student group Uncomfortable Learning was repeatedly hassled about violating “rules” that Williams never enforced against liberal student groups.

I also find this phrasing confusing. Does the College require permission for outside groups to distribute stuff (which seems sensible) or for the distribution of “outside materials”? That seems nuts. If Williams Democrats want to distribute “outside materials” — like a flyer from the Bernie campaign — do they really need “permission?” I doubt it! I suspect that this is just sloppy writing (and thinking?) from the Administration.

Using security footage, and guided by information from the new report, Campus Safety and Security (CSS) isolated pictures of the individuals we believe responsible. By sharing this information with counterparts at nearby schools CSS was able to help police identify one of the people, who, we learned, resides in another state. He is now banned from campus.

Note the subtle spin. Why bother telling us that he resides in “another state” unless they want us to think that he is far, far away and that we don’t need to worry about it? But if that other state is Vermont, then this guy might live closer to campus than Pittsfield!

Meanwhile, CSS received a corroborating report from a witness who had seen the second individual in the Sawyer lobby during the July 4th reading of the founding documents. The individual was carrying an American flag on a short pole, and inserted themselves into a peaceful student protest at the event. A photo of this person is also included below.

July 4 suspect at protest

1) Kudos to Hayes and Klass for their transparency. The more details — like these photos — which they provide to the community, the better.

2) Can anyone parse the symbol on the hat? UPDATE: Thanks to comments below, seems that this is just a standard “FD NY” — New York City Fire Department — hat.

3) I assume that the “peaceful student protest” referred to is those folks dressed in black who marched in the July 4th parade and then went to the reading. Was every single one of them a student? I have my doubts!

If you have seen them, or have other information that may aid in identifying them, please contact Campus Safety and Security at 413-597-4444. Once a person is banned from campus any attempt to return is considered trespassing and the trespasser may be subject to arrest.

We would like to thank CSS, our colleagues at Bennington College, the Williamstown Police Department, and the Williams community for helping protect the inclusive environment the college is committed to upholding.

Sincerely,

Leticia S. E. Haynes, VP for Institutional Diversity and Equity
Steve Klass, VP for Campus Life

1) The reference to Bennington College makes me think that the banned person lives in Vermont. Does anyone know what group he is associated with?

2) Since this is, obviously, not a false flag operation — unlike many recent events on campus — the closest historical analog is probably Mary Jane Hitler.

3) There are many other issues to discuss here. Worth spending more time on?

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#1 Comment By anonymous On July 12, 2018 @ 5:34 pm

Looks like FDNY. Similar hats can be found on eBay.

Williams’s commitment to banning people from campus for freedom of expression is remarkable, given that banning people from the country for freedom of religion was the subject of a message by the interim president. The living, breathing Constitution is a fickle beast.

#2 Comment By David Dudley Field ’25 On July 12, 2018 @ 5:43 pm

Got a link for the hat? I don’t see anything that looks like that:

https://www.ebay.com/bhp/fdny-hat

And the “F” sure seems awfully narrow. I thought it was an “I”, but my googling of “ID NY” went nowhere . . .

#3 Comment By PTC On July 12, 2018 @ 6:04 pm

The protesters (who I believe were all Williams students) were indeed protesting the 4th of July. Not protesting on the 4th, but protesting the actual holiday itself, and the parade/ festivity participants.
It was a protest against Americanism. They held signs accusing anyone who participated of being complicit in the jailing of children/ racism/ etc. etc.

Freedom of speech reigns. I fully support their right to speak, but the “America Sucks and so do you” message on the 4th fell flat big time. I think I’ll wait another day or two before I let elite college students tell me what it means when I march with veterans in a 4th of July Parade…

Not exactly the “god bless America crew.” It was bad form, and it made Williams look bad.

#4 Comment By PTC On July 12, 2018 @ 6:08 pm

“The individual was carrying an American flag on a short pole, and inserted themselves into a peaceful student protest at the event. A photo of this person is also included below.”

Translation- we get to break the ranks of your parade on public street with anti American slogans in protest, but you come near ours with an unproved message, an American flag no less, and we will use our authority to shut you down.

Williams College owns this town- you should know better than to speak out of turn.

#5 Comment By PTC On July 12, 2018 @ 6:10 pm

Yes, the very offensive FDNY hat wearing, American Flag holding person on the 4th of July.

#6 Comment By David Dudley Field ’25 On July 12, 2018 @ 6:11 pm

1) Maybe this is the hat, but in blue? The more I look, the more I agree that it is FD NY and not something more obscure.

2) PTC. Interesting! Could this have been a local who, on the spur of the moment (and pissed at the obnoxiousness of the college students interrupting the town parade), decided to interrupt the students’ protest? If so, please introduce us!

#7 Comment By anonymous On July 12, 2018 @ 6:16 pm

Similar event at Middlebury.
https://middleburycampus.com/38404/news/white-nationalist-propaganda-found-in-library/

Link for hat:
http://r.ebay.com/tv1BOF
http://r.ebay.com/NPh8dU

Serious question: how prevalent is video surveillance on campus?

#8 Comment By PTC On July 12, 2018 @ 6:24 pm

David-

I doubt he was there as some kind of planned thing. 10 to 1 this was just someone who showed for the fourth, went to a planned and advertised event, saw the students anti American speech, and decided to inject himself in the conversation.

I don’t know who he is… nor do I care. As long as he did not violate any laws there should be no search for this person. Williams opened the forum, and can do as it pleases because it is private property, but it goes against well established free speech liberties to go after a person for giving a counter view during a protest (when a forum is open).

If someone left that stuff in the library that is screwed up… but we have seen this movie before. Just because you have footage of someone coming and going at a time when the campus was open does not mean he left behind the garbage found.

Who knows. Trump is making everyone crazy- especially the left.

#9 Comment By PTC On July 12, 2018 @ 6:26 pm

Serious question: how prevalent is video surveillance on campus?

Very. Well hidden but all over the place.

#10 Comment By PTC On July 12, 2018 @ 6:30 pm

I was surprised they mentioned that in their report. I don’t think it is well known that Williams is monitoring the campus with video feeds.

#11 Comment By anonymous On July 12, 2018 @ 8:30 pm

I wonder If video surveillance could help find out who put these materials on campus:
https://mobile.twitter.com/mousey1030/status/1014557996255465472

#12 Comment By anonymous On July 13, 2018 @ 5:43 pm

#13 Comment By David Dudley Field ’25 On July 13, 2018 @ 5:51 pm

Thanks for the links!

#14 Comment By Tikhon On July 13, 2018 @ 8:34 pm

“1) How are these images “clearly offensive?” I realize that the Confederacy is, in and of itself, offensive to many Ephs but are we really required to erase history? I hope not!”

What? Please explain how the removal of these inflammatory leaflets represents, in any manner, an erasure of history.

#15 Comment By David Dudley Field ’25 On July 13, 2018 @ 8:45 pm

> explain how the removal of these inflammatory leaflets represents, in any manner, an erasure of history

My points:

1) Symbols of the confederacy, even with no other words or images, are rapidly becoming, in and of themselves, unacceptable hate speech in the US. The simplest example of this was Apple’s decision to remove all Confederate flag symbols, even non-political (?) ones that the General Lee car from Dukes of Hazard.

2) Have we reached the stage at Williams where, even if the only item on the flyer were the Confederate Flag, the College would act as it has? I think we may have. (Not that that is even the wrong decision.)

3) The leaflets are certainly “inflammatory,” since they did in fact inflame people. But precisely what about them is inflammatory? I am honestly curious. If they, for example, did not have the Star of David, would you find them just as inflammatory?

4) This is, potentially, relevant to Williams because it helps to outline the rules which might apply to student groups. Would the College prevent, say, Uncomfortable Learning, from handing out similar flyers? I honestly don’t know.

#16 Comment By Tikhon On July 13, 2018 @ 11:19 pm

In response to your points:

“1) Symbols of the confederacy, even with no other words or images, are rapidly becoming, in and of themselves, unacceptable hate speech in the US.”

“2) Have we reached the stage at Williams where, even if the only item on the flyer were the Confederate Flag, the College would act as it has? I think we may have. (Not that that is even the wrong decision.)”

As is often the case in life, context is important. Contrary to what you assert, there are in fact innumerable reproductions of the Confederate flag in Sawyer, in books and periodicals devoted to the study of American history and culture. *Nobody* has ever argued that such pages should be ripped out of those books. At best, it’s disingenuous to suggest that students will forget about the Confederacy as a result of not seeing a pro-confederate flyer in Sawyer. A policy in the Williams College Student Handbook will not eradicate symbols of hate that are leading already robust existences in the larger world.

“3) The leaflets are certainly “inflammatory,” since they did in fact inflame people. But precisely what about them is inflammatory? I am honestly curious. If they, for example, did not have the Star of David, would you find them just as inflammatory?”

Your response here verges on obtuseness, if not moral relativism. Among other things, the poster suggests that the social institutions of the Confederacy are God-given. Williams is not obliged to provide a public stage or mortarboard for racialist Dispensationalists who go all dewy-eyed about the ‘sacred contract’ among social and racial stations in the ante-bellum South.

“4) Would the College prevent, say, Uncomfortable Learning, from handing out similar flyers?”

So you do acknowledge the racism of at least some of the speakers in Uncomfortable Learning? Murray’s and Derbyshire’s books, together with many other regrettably influential publications of racist claptrap, are on the shelves of Sawyer; they are freely available for students to read, and to use as a partial basis for drawing their own conclusions. I know this for a fact, because I used those books in Sawyer while doing background research for an article a few years ago. It should go without saying that no critique of qualified good, or blatantly bad, ideas can move forward without a thorough familiarization with their contents. Williams is not, however, obliged to provide a physical space other than its library acquisitions for flat-earth theories and–let me be blunt–abysmal scholarship that rejects basic standards of research and intellectual rigor.

#17 Comment By PTC On July 14, 2018 @ 6:57 am

Tikhon-

Books in a library are a different from public monuments, but we did see a mural of the founder of the college and Chief Hendrick covered in the log.

The Haystack Monument, the name Mission Park, the Civil War Soldier Monument, etc. were considered for removal from campus.

In public spaces on campus, what is acceptable?

In terms of speech, when you have a forum that is open to the protesting of the celebration of the Fourth of July, or the protesting of Israel, America, and walls separating nations, what exactly is acceptable counter speech and who gets to say it?

Here the college community has a distinct advantage of being able to stand on a school owned lawn, in public view, and block outside messages from entrance.

When public institutions open their forums they cannot block opposing views without violating the First Amendment. Williams can kick whoever it wants off of campus at any time for any reason. How much should Williams be assessable to counter views during a protest? From students? Staff? Faculty? Townies?

It is unclear why or where these men who are “wanted” crossed the line? If there is no crime, why is the local police department looking for these men?

Who decides?

Hope all is well.

#18 Comment By PTC On July 14, 2018 @ 7:00 am

So you do acknowledge the racism of at least some of the speakers in Uncomfortable Learning?

Is this a unique feature of uncomfortable learning at Williams? Other invited speakers have no racism?

Who decides that?

#19 Comment By Tikhon On July 14, 2018 @ 11:59 am

As you might have noticed, I was discussing only the matter of the leaflets, and was responding to David’s interpretation of their significance. I think that the monuments, the July 4th protest and the matter of those who are being sought by the police involve issues that are quite different from the ones raised by the presence of the leaflets in Sawyer.

#20 Comment By Tikhon On July 14, 2018 @ 12:23 pm

“Is this a unique feature of uncomfortable learning at Williams? Other invited speakers have no racism?”

To be honest, I don’t know. I’m only acquainted with the work of Murray and Derbyshire, and stand by my assessment of what they wrote. It was David who suggested that flyers for Uncomfortable Learning was somehow “similar” to the pro-Confederate leaflets. I simply asked a follow-up question, in response to his point.

“Who decides?”

In my view, it is the scholars who have honestly and ethically toiled in the vineyards of those fields of study for years. There is a difference between vigorous academic and cultural debates on the one hand, and meretricious and time-wasting scandalmongering on the other. Murray has represented himself as a serious researcher. What are we communicating to our students, if we place the unrefereed work of a cherry-picking mountebank such as Murray on the same level as the articles and monographs of researchers who make a legitimate effort to engage with empirical reality, and who respond in conscientious manner to scholars who disagree with them? This dialogic give and take is essential for ethical scholarship, and sets it radically apart from fringe academic subcultures such as ‘race realism’ and Creationism. The problem with Murray and his ilk is that they want to revisit the early stages of long-settled debates, without establishing a compelling discursive framework for explaining how and why the vast majority of researchers have scuttled–in some instances decades earlier–the methodologies that they rely upon. It’s easy to be a contrarian who scorns the need to rebut or respond.

#21 Comment By frank uible On July 14, 2018 @ 12:33 pm

We all know that censorship is wonderful so long as one is the censor.

#22 Comment By PTC On July 14, 2018 @ 1:42 pm

Tikhon-

Thanks. The problem with an academic quorum on the decision to have or ban speakers and such is:

(1) There is no such quorum at Williams. The administration decides, not academics.

(2) Even if you had such a system, the academy is subject to all kinds of work that may or may not be deemed of value.

How do you measure a public policy figure, for example? Donald Trump would certainly be a person who has not been subjected to academic rigor in your and other professors’ expert opinions, but should Williams ban him from speaking on campus? Paul Ryan? Nancy Pelosi? What about other politicians? Artists? Art? Music groups? Comedians?

There are a number of reasons to have people outside the realm of the academy speak openly and show expressive work on a private college campus.

Right now the administration at Williams has a policy in place where someone decides. I am not certain who that someone is? Ultimately is it the President of the college? Is the president of Williams truly a scholar? Is his allegiance to scholarship or money? My guess is that that line is blurred- money means better scholarship.

The college policy is that students must apply for any event, and that “the college can refuse for any reason.” Also, that the college does not need to give a reason for the refusal.

#23 Comment By PTC On July 14, 2018 @ 2:11 pm

Frank and Tikhon,

I have to agree with the sentiments of frank above.

I don’t think academic rigor has much to do with this (and other) protests.

Unless you want to argue that celebrating the 4th means that I (and everyone else who celebrated) supports imprisoning children? I don’t have a PhD in sociology, but I am fairly certain that such a premise might lack academic integrity (rigor).

I wonder if this was the result of online activity. If these clowns from the extreme right showed up because they got wind of what the students were planning on social media?

I think the flyers are total crap. The people that spread them are full of it. That does not change the fact that the students entered the 4th with a controversial message of their own.

The college did open the forum at the library for speech. Once you invite the public in, and allow for protest, that changes this dynamic.

The students did march outside the parade on a public street, protesting the 4th of July, while accusing anyone who celebrated of being complicit in racism, child imprisonment, etc. The college per se brought that protest from a public forum back to Sawyer. They actually invited the public to a protest.

Free Speech on campus is not so simple that academics can censor it based on academic rigor. It’s messier than that.

#24 Comment By 89’er On July 14, 2018 @ 4:04 pm

PTC –

I would agree that Trump’s effect on public discourse in the country has been regrettable, divisive and damaging.

And I would agree that some of the rhetoric and actions on the left are counter productive and also serve to diminish the quality and civility of the public sphere.

But to not acknowledge what Trumpism has done to the GOP and conservativism in this country seems an egregious omission.

Did you miss Gohmert, Jordan and Gowdy earlier this week?

Calmer heads on all sides would be a good thing.

But the complete abdication of Congressional oversight by the GOP has been an extraordinary and very damaging dereliction of duty.

The Republic staggers on, but is there a limit to what the GOP congress will tolerate?

#25 Comment By PTC On July 14, 2018 @ 4:33 pm

89- I do not think the situation is that dire. I believe the left is venting anger after the election and the right is doing what politicians always do- protect there own.

I am old enough to remember the congressional meeting during the Clinton era… the diminishing of Independent Counsel Ken Starr, especially after president Clinton got caught lying under oath during a civil sexual harassment case. Pretty normal stuff.

This is pretty normal antics. Even from the far left campus perspective; this is very similar to what we experienced at BU during the apartheid protests.

The extreme right is going to be drawn like a magnet to these kinds of protests.

Donald Trump is a blow hard. And he is going to work this the way he does- through extreme division.

#26 Comment By PTC On July 14, 2018 @ 4:52 pm

I don’t think the Left wins this argument with a message of 4th of July sucks, sanctuary cities now, and Abolish ICE. This is essentially an open border policy, or ate least “once you get by the border open door policy.” The left denies that but then can never explain what that means.

The left is going to lose this to Don again unless it comes up with something better. Personally I think they should use his ego to get some of what they want. Its not like Don is a republican. This is the first time I can remember that the left (other than the neo-liberals) has been so adamantly for laissez faire capitalism, with its opposition to tariffs.

I wonder if the congress could work an immigration deal that drastically increased a path to citizenship under Trump? I know the plan is to oppose everything and all that he does because he is so abhorrent, but he is not a republican. There is a lost opportunity with Trump.

Trump has thus far reduced our involvement in direct action- war. Yes, he is scary in the way he deals with foreign policy. His rhetoric is dangerous. But for his record thus far- Donald Trump has been less adventurous than President Obama was. Hillary was a hawk, in my opinion. I thought Clinton was a Hawk as the Secretary of State. I know it sounds Crazy, but Clinton reminded me of Kissinger.

But I think well be fine. This is America, and we got it made. No need to blow it this year… and even if we do, we’ll pull it back together. Not broken yet…

#27 Comment By 89’er On July 15, 2018 @ 1:57 am

PTC –

Are you drawing an equivalency between Clinton lying about his sexual predations with Ms. Lewinsky and Trump’s actions during the 2016 campaign and as President related to Russia’s interference in our electoral processes?

Yes, both involve the question of whether the President is above the law.

But only one involves an attack on the foundations of our republic by an adversary. Only one involves a foreign government and their intelligence service attempting to sway the outcome of a Presidential election. Only one involves a President refusing to take action to prevent or deter a repeat of 2016 in 2018.

There is rot and there is arson. Both are bad. But the differences are critically important.

#28 Comment By PTC On July 15, 2018 @ 3:54 am

89- the equivalency is that partisan politics are in play… in terms of what the legal comparison for their Clinton v Trump) crimes- I am not making a comparison on anything- because as of yet Trump *is* not accused of anything.

Clinton lied under oath. He lied in a sexual harassment case. We know he did that. He is on film doing that in a deposition. Perjury is a felony.

As of yet, Trump has not been accused or charged with any crime. When that day comes, then Congress can sort all that out, since a sitting president can probably not be formally charged with a crime while he is in office.

Same thing was true for Bill Clinton. He was never charged because he was a president at the time.

But I guess “it depends on what your definition of is, is.”

#29 Comment By PTC On July 15, 2018 @ 4:06 am

However, “whether the Constitution allows indictment of a sitting president is debatable,” Brett M. Kavanaugh, who served on the staff of Kenneth W. Starr, the independent counsel who investigated President Bill Clinton, wrote in a 1998 law review article. Mr. Kavanaugh, who is now a federal appeals court judge, also concluded that impeachment, not prosecution, was the right way to address a sitting president’s crimes..”

I thought this was an interesting nugget I got from “the google” given the current pick for the Court.

#30 Comment By PTC On July 15, 2018 @ 4:30 am

https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/clinton/stories/gperjury092498.htm

Clinton was accused by the special counsel who reported to congress. We have to wait for the report from Mueller to see if Trump is formally accused of anything. Then the congress will measure that and other evidence.. yada, yada, yada.

Maybe the democrats will take control of the House at the midterm and vote to impeach?

Getting 2/3 from the Senate will be difficult.

#31 Comment By Alum-Anon On July 15, 2018 @ 5:34 pm

But only one involves an attack on the foundations of our republic by an adversary. Only one involves a foreign government and their intelligence service attempting to sway the outcome of a Presidential election. Only one involves a President refusing to take action to prevent or deter a repeat of 2016 in 2018.

Chinagate not ring any bells for you?

#32 Comment By 89’er On July 15, 2018 @ 6:19 pm

Please sketch out the (false) equivalency for me.

#33 Comment By frank uible On July 15, 2018 @ 6:22 pm

An attempt at impeachment would be politically dumb, but of course they are Democrats.

#34 Comment By Alum-Anon On July 15, 2018 @ 7:04 pm

89’er says:

Please sketch out the (false) equivalency for me.

Please learn to do your own research before making ridiculous claims.

#35 Comment By Alum-Anon On July 15, 2018 @ 7:06 pm

frank uible says:

An attempt at impeachment would be politically dumb, but of course they are Democrats.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Cl5iyHVWMAQGv8L.jpg

#36 Comment By Tikhon On July 16, 2018 @ 12:03 am

“Frank and Tikhon,

I have to agree with the sentiments of frank above.”

And what sentiments those be, in a knee-jerk statement such as “[w]e all know that censorship is wonderful so long as one is the censor”? Nose-thumbing does not an argument make.

#37 Comment By 89’er On July 16, 2018 @ 12:37 am

I’ll just assume that Alum Anon is unable or unwilling to support his assertion.

Its just lazy to make an assertion in passing and refuse to support it. Degrades the dialogue.

And then to replace actual argumentation or logic with a gratuitous insult.

Certainly Trumpesque in its execution and tone.

#38 Comment By PTC On July 16, 2018 @ 1:00 am

89-

You never did respond to me.

Trump has not been accused of anything.

That is a fact.

A sitting president can probably not be charged with a crime.

That is a fact.

#39 Comment By Alum-Anon On July 16, 2018 @ 1:45 am

@ “89er” –

You’re the one who made the assertions, and I courteously responded with a hint that your “case” (consisting of three unsupported assertions) does not pass muster for anyone at all familiar with what transpired with the Clinton administration in the mid-1990s (the 1996 Democrat campaign finance controversy, or “Chinagate”).

You responded by claiming it was a false equivalency without even hearing the argument. Not even going to waste my time.

#40 Comment By 89’er On July 16, 2018 @ 3:12 am

The issue in question was Clinton’s testimony regarding the Lewisnky affair.

I stated that these situations are not equivalent. Clinton’s perjury (noted and not in dispute)eroded the rule of law. But what is known about the Russian meddling and Trump’s actions regarding that meddling post briefing by the FBI (spring of 2016 – followed up by a meeting with Russians to get dirt on Clinton and numerous other contacts by the campaign and Trump family members with Russian government and intelligence personnel), the seriousness of the underlying attack on core instutions of our Republic during and post 2016 and Trump’s actions and inaction since then – are of much greater import.

This is why Strojak (sp?) could say quite reasonably that the FBI investigation of Russian attempts to interfere in the 2016 election took precedence over the investigation into Clinton’s handling of classified info.

PTC takes issue with that. I think he gives short shrift to the actions and inaction of President Trump since he was first briefed by the FBI and subsequently by the CIA and other intelligence services as to Russia’s activities in prior to the Trump tower meeting 2016. In essence Trump has signaled by word and action that he does not view it as serious or even credible. To paraphrase the words of Trump’s own NSA director, we should be sending a clear message that there will be costs for such interference. We have not done so.

Trump continues to call an investigation that has secured 30 indictments and 5-6 guilty pleas to date a witch hunt.

My argument is not based on what legal case now exists re: Trump and the Trump campaign. Although that will resolve itself in due time if Trump does not intervene before it concludes. It is based on the national security issues raised by Russian meddling and Trumps response as a candidate, as President-elect and as President.

PTC you are correct that Trump has not been charged or named as an un-indicted co-conspirator. The investigation continues. And his national security advisor and campaign chairman have plead guilty and been indicted, respectively.

I wont presume to weigh in on whether a sitting President can be indicted. I do believe there is precedent for a sitting President to be compelled to testify via Nixon (tapes) and Clinton (civil proceeding) precedents – but I also understand this may not be settled law.

Alum Anon introduced an argument and made an allegation regarding the affair Chinoise during the 1996 election (I believe) – with no supporting argumentation as to why this is equivalent to our current circumstance.

I did posit that Alum Anon’s “what about” argument is a false equivalency. Alum Anon believes I have to back up my allegation that his one line “what about” assertion (lacking any detail or facts to support it) is a false equivalency.

His position is Trumpesque. Shorter Alum Anon: I will make arguments without any supporting detail, but how dare you make an assertion about my argument without any supporting detail.

To this, I say harumph. Make an argument and support it. If you dont support it, you have no standing to tell others that their comment about your argument reqires supporting facts and argumentation. Lets call it the Ephblog Golden Rule.

My argument (you are free to disagree or poke holes in it) is that the 30 +/- indictments to-date and the direct and substantiated involvement of an adversary’s intelligence service to effect the election of their perferred candidate – and the known lies to-date by the candidate, president-elect and now President – is a far more serious matter than the Lewisky affair.

PTC – yes, both situations are fueld by partisanship and tribalism. But just because two situations share some of the same charasteristics does not make them equivalent. I will concede that part of my apprehension regarding Trump, is that he has been shown to haved lied about everything we now know about Russian meddling and contacts with members of his family and campaign. What do you think the odds are that he is telling the truth about what we dont yet know?

#41 Comment By PTC On July 16, 2018 @ 6:21 am

I think Trump is a complete fool and a total blowhard. I also think the democrats are playing his game.

I cannot get onboard with the “America sucks, and so do you” message coming from the left right now. I will never vote for Don Trump. Last election, I wrote in Giant Meteor. That is what it is looking like again for 2020.

I have several friends who work for ICE, in their child trafficking division. I don’t think we should “abolish ICE.” I thought that was just just hard left chatter, until several Democratic Senators weighed in in support of that beauty. I also have friends at the FBI, who Trump chides all the time. The FBI did screw up big time. The texts are a big deal. Not just politically, but ethically as well.

I do prefer Trumps picks for the Court. I prefer conservative to liberal justices. So, there is one big positive aspect to Trump.

#42 Comment By PTC On July 16, 2018 @ 6:36 am

What do you think the odds are that he is telling the truth about what we dont yet know?

Who knows, but if a FISA Warrant does not reveal it, then nothing will. I am uneasy about the use of FISA on Americans in general, and have to see what the warrant brings. If it does not bring anything really significant- like team Trump was involved in hacking voting- then I am more likely to question the use of FISA on a presidential candidate than what team Trump ma1y have done.

FISA is the keys to the whole kingdom. My guess is that they will find something on Trump, but that like Clinton, “that something” will not be related to the original investigation.

#43 Comment By PTC On July 16, 2018 @ 9:26 am

89er

Trump probably has enough skeletons in his closet generally that he may have no idea what angle Special Counsel Mueller might come at him. Mueller is probably finding all kinds of suspect criminal activity not related to the the 2016 election.

Could be something to do with taxation, use of campaign funds, business connections generally, business blending with his political campaign and hence breaking finance laws etc.

I am not sure where this is headed. I would guess that they have him on something with the use of FISA.

#44 Comment By frank uible On July 16, 2018 @ 11:10 am

Unsupported assertions are what makes this board fun! You’ll never catch me making a supported one.

#45 Comment By 89’er On July 16, 2018 @ 4:52 pm

Trump’s performance today sepaks for itself.

Suffice it to say it is another reason I believe we are in uncharted territory.

#46 Comment By frank uible On July 16, 2018 @ 5:05 pm

The U.S.’s fiscal irresponsibility will certainly get it long before Vladimir Putin does.

#47 Comment By 89’er On July 16, 2018 @ 5:57 pm

Perhaps or perhaps not.

That does not alleviate one’s duty to defend the country.

#48 Comment By frank uible On July 17, 2018 @ 12:56 am

An endless chorus of childish hissy fits constitutes no remedy for the country’s not-inconsiderable ills, the first and gravest of which is fiscal irresponsibility.

#49 Comment By 89’er On July 17, 2018 @ 6:45 am

I would agree that passing a hug tax cut while the economy is at full employment is reckless.

Yesterday was Trump’s Quisling moment.

How many GOP lemmings will follow him over the cliff?

#50 Comment By Tikhon On July 17, 2018 @ 10:03 am

“An endless chorus of childish hissy fits constitutes no remedy for the country’s not-inconsiderable ills, the first and gravest of which is fiscal irresponsibility.”

The federal government has a range of moving parts that can function simultaneously. The business of fiscal responsibility can be conducted at the time as other matters. Why are you so intent on mitigating the clear awfulness of Trump’s behavior at Helsinki?

Many of Trump’s press releases and twitter posts about Russia are little more than recycled pap from Sputnik and RT, the English-language arms of the state media in the Russian Federation. Reading those news feeds in the original Russian is in itself an eye-opener, as it draws attention to the clueless bottom-feeding and jaw-dropping intellectual laziness of the Trump administration’s parroting of sub-par buckram from the global alt-right, and Trump’s own temperamental affinity with a leader who has, since 2007, gone out of his way in his own country to gut constitutional safeguards and power-sharing between elected representatives and the office of chief executive.

Trump sees fit to verbally assault the leaders of essentially democratic nations in Europe, while kissing the ass of a murderous ideological nostalgist such as Putin. Go ahead and explain away—if you can—his addle-pated idolatry of a former KGB colonel and autocrat who worships Stalin, and his abject groveling at the feet of a plutocratic foreign power that is now unfortunately built on oil money and revenue from what is arguably globalized organized crime. Trump’s cowardly refusal to make even the mildest of rebukes to Putin’s rubber-stamping of the persecution of the LGBTQ community in Chechnya—in which gay men have been placed, for the first time since the Holocaust, in what can only be called a concentration camp—is, in itself, an egregious moral howler.

#51 Comment By 89’er On July 17, 2018 @ 10:14 am

Well stated, Tikhon.

The reflex to rationalize, excuse and deflect is not what is required of Americans at this point.

#52 Comment By frank uible On July 17, 2018 @ 10:21 am

Trump is awful in a multitude of ways. So are the Democrat and Republican leaderships. Consequently the economy is doomed. It will only take some time for manifestation.