Knots 2

Back on February 19, 2017, I posted about R.D. Laing’s book Knots, which used to be popular in the circles in which I moved. I thought of the book again this morning.

The Extortion Knot

The evidence of record shows that I extorted Ukraine by withholding military aid needed to defend their country from an invasion.

The evidence of record shows that I did this for political gain.

The evidence of record shows that I released the aid when my scheme was exposed by a whistleblower.

But my coverup has been partially successful, and I have prevented some highly relevant evidence from being made public.

There is a metaphysical possibility that the evidence I am still covering up might disclose some less damning reason for my actions.

I cannot offer any plausible explanation for what that less damning explanation might be.

Nevertheless, because there is a metaphysical possibility that the evidence I am hiding might prove my innocence, you must acquit me.

The Constitutional Knot

I refuse to engage in a reasoned argument about whether my bad conduct is impeachable under the Constitution, because there is a metaphysical possibility that I did not engage in bad conduct.

Just as there is a metaphysical possibility that the evidence I am still covering up might support the some less damning explanation for what I did.

The Swing State Republican Senator’s Knot

Even the Trump Cultists among my base will probably not be fooled by Trump’s Extortion Knot position or his Constitutional Knot argument.

But the Trump Cultists among my base do not bloody well care, and will crucify my ass if I vote to remove, no matter what rationale I might put forward for that vote.

Conceivably, a vote based on “bad but not impeachable” might save me in the next election. Because a vote to acquit might placate the Cultists, and a “bad but not impeachable” rationale might placate enough of the non-cultists to get me over the finish line. 

But if I make the “bad but not impeachable argument,” Trump will tweet me to death, and the Trump Cult base will vote for my primary opponent.

Therefore, I am coerced to spout nonsense, all while avoiding the one argument that might save me in a general election.

Well, Maybe I Wouldn’t Go Quite THAT Far

Referring to the same Washington Post poll I addressed here, Martin Longman enthuses, Hope for Humanity as Trump’s Base Begins to Leave Him:

I need some sign that the mass of humanity has a future, and Republicans who respond to surveys just don’t afford that kind of confidence. But I got a glimmer of hope with my morning coffee on Friday morning. The latest ABC News/Washington Postpoll (see full results here) provided what I’ve been looking for:

Trump is the first president since the early days of modern polling more than 70 years ago never to have achieved majority approval in office, and his average rating is 21 points below the average for his predecessors dating to Harry Truman at this point in their presidencies. Closest to Trump was Jimmy Carter, at 48 percent average approval.

Trump’s falloff from 44 percent approval in July to 38 percent now (it also was 38 percent in September) includes the drop among Republicans, noted above, from 87 to 74 percent. He’s also at just 22 percent approval among 18- to 29-year olds, matching the low…

…Along with Republicans, conservatives are Trump’s obvious mainstay, and another group to watch. From 77 percent job approval among conservatives in July, he’s gone to 67 percent today.

If, on the other hand, you require an antidote to Mr. Longman’s Ode to Joy, then permit me to recommend Garrett Epps, America’s Goodly Veneer Was a Lie: If the country awakes from its nightmare, the knowledge Americans will have gleaned from these years is harrowing.

Tribalism or Gaslighting? Logic, Advocacy, and the Blinding Insight of the Very Stable Genius


Trump’s Two Remaining Defenses

The Gaslighting Defense

Proposition One: Military aid to Ukraine was not dangled as a quid pro quo in exchange for their investigating Democrats. If you think you see evidence of a quid pro quo, then you are mistaken. If you think my coconspirators and I ever said there was a quid pro quo, then you’re wrong. And you did not hear me when I just admitted there was a quid pro quo.

The Pure Tribalism Defense

Proposition Two: Of course there was a quid pro quo, you fool. Get over it.

Logic—and the Logic of Advocacy

The gaslighting defense is factually indefensible.

The pure tribalism defense, however, is not factually indefensible at all.

On the contrary, it relies on the fact—proven beyond peradventureof doubt—that 29 percent of us have unleashed our inner assholes and will support Trump to the end, because he sneers at the people we love to sneer at.

Because the gaslighting defense is factually indefensible, but the pure tribalism defense rests not on facts, but on irresistible compulsion, the logic of advocacy would tell Trump and his minions to abandon gaslighting, go with pure tribalism, and just hope for the best.

The logic of advocacy would tell Trump to rely on pure tribalism to shield his retreat as he cuts and runs, negotiating the best exit deal he can negotiate.

That may yet happen. Who knows?

But interestingly, and somewhat counterintuitively, the Very Stable Genius seems to have had a blinding insight.

The Blinding Insight of the Very Stable Genius

It is that both gaslighting and pure tribalism will work just fine and dandy with his 29 percent hard core.

But pure tribal appeal will only work with about 29 percent. To get beyond that, he’s got to gaslight, gaslight, and then gaslight some more.

A competent defense counsel would tell him that dog won’t hunt.

A competent defense counsel would tell him that he’s using his shovel just to dig a deeper and deeper hole for himself.

And, by the way, a competent defense counsel would tell him it’s not a stroke of genius to withhold from the grand jury all the witnesses who might testify in your favor, while the hostile witnesses keep on trooping into the courthouse to give their testimony and to douse the gaslight.

But Trump is appearing pro se in his defense, thus denying himself the effective assistance of counsel.

And a Concluding Observation

No, ladies and germs, when the gaslighting collapses, as it inevitably will, probably most of the Republican senators will still vote too acquit. But by them, we will have established beyond argument that their votes are based on pure tribalism.

Well, rooty toot toot for them–if they hail from states where the 29 percent of the U.S. population make up 51 percent or more of the folks in their state.

But if the come from states where the hard core base is only say, 42 percent, then they are in a spot of bother.

A Nose Recount

To update my October 9 count:

It is October 13. There are 53 Republican senators. As of this hour this afternoon, of those 53, 39 38 “have expressed no issues with Trump’s behavior” or have stated that they “disagree with the impeachment inquiry.” The other 14 15 “have called for more information” or “have said or suggested that Trump’s actions were inappropriate.”

Happy Resignation Day


Nixon resigned 44 years ago, today.

So this is a meet occasion to pose this rhetorical question: when, if ever, will Congress impeach and remove Trump?

Impeaching and removing Trump would yield President Pence.

I believe the best answer to the question I posed is: Trump will be impeached and removed if and when a lot of Republicans beg on bended knee for Democrats to help them get rid of him.