February 16, 2018

When Donald Trump wrote "I've read John Updike, I've read Orhan Pamuk, I've read Philip Roth."

An AP writer has dug up a letter Trump wrote to the NYT in 2005 in response to a review of a collection of New Yorker profiles written by Mark Singer. The review said:
The only instance in which Singer throws and lands a sucker punch is in a 1997 profile of the pre-"Apprentice" Donald Trump, in which his tone becomes a little arch. That Trump is already a caricature of a caricature makes him too easy a target, with neither the foot speed nor the wit to defend himself. A harder thing to do, perhaps impossible, would have been to find the one lonely component of Trump's character that wasn't manufactured as a brand strategy. It is a small quibble, certainly, as most New Yorkers, including me, would readily climb the arch in Washington Square to drop a flowerpot filled with nasturtiums on Trump's astonishing head if given half a chance to do so.
Trump wrote (or had someone write over his signature):
I can remember when Tina Brown was in charge of The New Yorker and a writer named Mark Singer interviewed me for a profile. He was depressed. I was thinking, O.K., expect the worst. Not only was Tina Brown dragging The New Yorker to a new low, this writer was drowning in his own misery, which could only put me in a skeptical mood regarding the outcome of their combined interest in me. Misery begets misery, and they were a perfect example of this credo.

Jeff MacGregor, the reviewer of ''Character Studies,'' a collection of Singer's New Yorker profiles (Aug. 21), including the one about me, writes poorly. His painterly turn with nasturtiums sounds like a junior high school yearbook entry. Maybe he and Mark Singer belong together. Some people cast shadows, and other people choose to live in those shadows. To each his own. They are entitled to their choices.

Most writers want to be successful. Some writers even want to be good writers. I've read John Updike, I've read Orhan Pamuk, I've read Philip Roth. When Mark Singer enters their league, maybe I'll read one of his books. But it will be a long time -- he was not born with great writing ability. Until then, maybe he should concentrate on finding his own ''lonely component'' and then try to develop himself into a world-class writer, as futile as that may be, instead of having to write about remarkable people who are clearly outside of his realm.

I've been a best-selling author for close to 20 years. Whether you like it or not, facts are facts. The highly respected Joe Queenan mentioned in his article ''Ghosts in the Machine'' (March 20) that I had produced ''a steady stream of classics'' with ''stylistic seamlessness'' and that the ''voice'' of my books remained noticeably constant to the point of being an ''astonishing achievement.'' This was high praise coming from an accomplished writer. From losers like Jeff MacGregor, whom I have never met, or Mark Singer, I do not do nearly as well. But I'll gladly take Joe Queenan over Singer and MacGregor any day of the week -- it's a simple thing called talent!

I have no doubt that Singer's and MacGregor's books will do badly -- they just don't have what it takes. Maybe someday they'll astonish us by writing something of consequence.
Ha ha. Very funny. Here's the whole Mark Singer profile, as it was originally published in The New Yorker in 1997 (the Marla Maples era). Nice photo of Trump jumping. Sample:
Of course, the “comeback” Trump is much the same as the Trump of the eighties; there is no “new” Trump, just as there was never a “new” Nixon. Rather, all along there have been several Trumps: the hyperbole addict who prevaricates for fun and profit; the knowledgeable builder whose associates profess awe at his attention to detail; the narcissist whose self-absorption doesn’t account for his dead-on ability to exploit other people’s weaknesses; the perpetual seventeen-year-old who lives in a zero-sum world of winners and “total losers,” loyal friends and “complete scumbags”; the insatiable publicity hound who courts the press on a daily basis and, when he doesn’t like what he reads, attacks the messengers as “human garbage”; the chairman and largest stockholder of a billion-dollar public corporation who seems unable to resist heralding overly optimistic earnings projections, which then fail to materialize, thereby eroding the value of his investment—in sum, a fellow both slippery and na├»ve, artfully calculating and recklessly heedless of consequences....

We then drove down to 40 Wall Street, where members of a German television crew were waiting for Trump to show them around. (“This will be the finest office building anywhere in New York. Not just downtown—anywhere in New York.”) Along the way, we stopped for a light at Forty-second Street and First Avenue. The driver of a panel truck in the next lane began waving, then rolled down his window and burbled, “I never see you in person!” He was fortyish, wore a blue watch cap, and spoke with a Hispanic inflection. “But I see you a lot on TV.”...

Later, Trump said to me, “You want to know what total recognition is? I’ll tell you how you know you’ve got it. When the Nigerians on the street corners who don’t speak a word of English, who have no clue, who’re selling watches for some guy in New Jersey—when you walk by and those guys say, ‘Trump! Trump!’ That’s total recognition.”...

[E]very square inch [of Trump Tower] belonged to Trump, who had aspired to and achieved the ultimate luxury, an existence unmolested by the rumbling of a soul. “Trump”—a fellow with universal recognition but with a suspicion that an interior life was an intolerable inconvenience, a creature everywhere and nowhere, uniquely capable of inhabiting it all at once, all alone.
From the new AP article:
"Naturally, I wanted to believe that Trump was the sole author [of the 2005 letter to the NYT], and certain evidence suggested exactly that — especially the ham-fisted braggadocio and the delightfully obtuse misreading of Joe Queenan's slathered-on irony," Singer wrote. "But what one has learned about and heard from Trump in the meanwhile raises certain doubts: If, as we're now given to understand, he can't concentrate long enough to read a two-page memo, much less a literary novel, the claim to have read Updike/Roth/Pamuk rings nakedly false."...

Singer would recall responding to Trump. He mailed him a check for $37.82, "a small token" of his gratitude for the letter. He suspected Trump would answer back.

"Ten days later I get a letter, Trump organization envelope," Singer said during an appearance at the 2009 New Yorker Festival. "Inside is my letter. He's returned it and across the bottom he has written, 'Mark, you are a total loser.'"

But, according to Singer, Trump did cash the check.
$37.82 — is that some kind of numerology?

90 comments:

Henry said...

But what one has learned about and heard from Trump in the meanwhile raises certain doubts

In the meantime? That's a dog-whistle apology if you can hear it. Siinger: "I'm sorry I normalized Trump."

Of course, the “comeback” Trump is much the same as the Trump of the eighties; there is no “new” Trump

Normalization doesn't get any more normal than that.

traditionalguy said...

Jealous is as jealous does. But the Terrible Trump has developed the reputation of a winning leader in all that he does.

He has now translated that into loyalty from 65% of the American people and 100% of the American Military, Police and ICE agents. Who cares if the Clinton/Obama FBI wants to kill him. They cannot touch him.

Luke Lea said...

Trump plays life like a game of tennis.

Known Unknown said...

"It is a small quibble, certainly, as most New Yorkers, including me, would readily climb the arch in Washington Square to drop a flowerpot filled with nasturtiums on Trump's astonishing head if given half a chance to do so."

#fussybitch

Henry said...

Orhan Pamuk needs his tag!

Sebastian said...

"I've read John Updike, I've read Orhan Pamuk, I've read Philip Roth."

Good thing he didn't say he had read any novels by them. Even by Trumpian standards, that would have taken bullshitting to new depths. But I will grant that he may have read "John Updike," "Orhan Pamuk," and "Philip Roth."

gbarto said...

I hope he really cashed the check. That would be priceless.

Never read Roth. Pamuk's Snow wasn't bad, but I made it about halfway into Updike's first Rabbit book and wondered why I was spending so much time with such a mess of a man. But it's hard to take anyone seriously when they start going on about who they've read (oops).

I am Six Words or Less said...

Misery begets misery: also, garners misanthropy.

-6W

Yancey Ward said...

I suppose Trump didn't write the reply or cash the check either.

Yancey Ward said...

But the bigger point is still valid- Trump lives rent free inside these people's heads, and that simply astonishes me.

rcocean said...

Updike is a bore, Roth is overrated and frantic. I've never read Orhan Pamuk - but his books sound interesting.

rcocean said...

Its fun to read Trump's rejoinder, but why are the Liberals dragging up all this stuff from 12-13 years ago?

BTW, almost every high level executive I worked for never wrote anything. They'd tell their subordinates to draft something that says blah, blah, blah. Then upon getting the draft they would edit and make changes.

The actual writing is grunt work.

MadisonMan said...

The actual writing is grunt work.

Just like painting!

MadisonMan said...

2005: Bill Clinton made more than $12M in speaking and writing fees.

Money well earned, I am sure.

JohnAnnArbor said...

"But what one has learned about and heard from Trump in the meanwhile raises certain doubts: If, as we're now given to understand, he can't concentrate long enough to read a two-page memo, much less a literary novel, the claim to have read Updike/Roth/Pamuk rings nakedly false."

Maybe--just maybe--what you've been hearing along those lines is incorrect, a narrative by those opposed to him?

No, couldn't be. Anything negative about Trump is automatically truth. Auto-truth.

Remember: "If it makes sense to you, if it strikes — if it rings true, it is true."

Michael K said...

The left is disappearing up its own anus.

The FBI is finally admitting that they dropped the ball on that warning about the disturbed kid.

I am very tired of Gabby Gifford's new profession of national scold about guns.

She was shot by a schizophrenic kid whose mother worked for the Pima County Sheriff, a Democrat hack who was the source of the crap about Sarah Palin and gun sights, and who hid the complaints about her son's weird behavior.

There are a lot of enabling mothers behind these mass shooters.

buwaya said...

It will be interesting to see, many years from now, after Trump has passed on, what historians can dredge up from the inner life, writings, and table-talk of Trump.

I don't expect Ronald Reagans previously unsuspected sophisticated position papers and ideological musings. But who knows?

IRL, Trump is a performance artist with the best of them. Or better than all of them. A novelist of his own life you could say. No litterateur could have written Trump the character, or Trump the phenomenon.

William Chadwick said...

I wish "liberals" would do as much reading-- only instead of Updike, Roth and that other guy, Friedman, Mises and Hayek. Bastiat and Aristotle's "Logic" wouldn't hurt either.

Comanche Voter said...

Anybody who could write that Donald Trump has neither the footspeed nor the wit to defend himself is a delusional twit. The Donald's Twitter "shots" are sometimes an embarassment. But anybody who wants to climb in the verbal ring with Trump is going to ultimately feel like he just went 15 rounds with Cassius Clay. Yeah--I know that Cassius became Muhammad Ali, but most of his best boasts were during his Cassius Clay days.

The Donald sort of floats like a hippo, but stings like a rhinoceros horn. (Yup that's Rhino not RINO). May Marc Singer can admit that things change--or maybe someone dropped a nasturtium pot on his head at some time after he wrote that claptrap. Call it getting hit with a cluebat.

mockturtle said...

"I can remember when Tina Brown was in charge of The New Yorker and a writer named Mark Singer interviewed me for a profile. He was depressed. I was thinking, O.K., expect the worst. Not only was Tina Brown dragging The New Yorker to a new low, this writer was drowning in his own misery,"

I remember it, too, as that's when we cancelled our New Yorker subscription after many years. We had a call from the magazine inquiring why [which told me we were not the only ones] and I explained as kindly as was possible the deterioration of what was once a clever and sophisticated magazine. He explained that [IIRC] a woman from the UK had taken over and that her view of the magazine was different and that he understood our decision but was sorry to see us cancel.

A box of clipped articles, cartoons and jokes from the old New Yorker still sits in my closet. I take them out from time to time with amused nostalgia.

I am Six Words or Less said...

Updike, Pamuk, Roth: Tinker, Evers, Chance?

-6W

I am Six Words or Less said...

Optimistic Lesbian Fiction Writer: Up Dyke?

-6W

I am Six Words or Less said...

Writer, Gas Jockey: Fill Up Roth?

-6W

dbp said...

""Naturally, I wanted to believe that Trump was the sole author [of the 2005 letter to the NYT] ... If, as we're now given to understand, he can't concentrate long enough to read a two-page memo, much less a literary novel, the claim to have read Updike/Roth/Pamuk rings nakedly false."...""

I don't think reporters are very smart: Couldn't Trump have written the letter and lied about reading these authors?

Michael said...

George Bush, formerly the dumbest motherfucker born (pre-Trump) was a non reading idiot who it was discovered actually read quite a lot. Could be that Trump is a secret reader, a man who thrives on playing his enemies, allowing them to think he has never opened a book.

Most of my leftie friends think they are smart but I have found that few of them are well read, even thinly read.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

When Donald Trump wrote "I've read John Updike, I've read Orhan Pamuk...

I preferred when he wrote:

I've seen London
I've seen France
I've seen McDougal's
Breast implants

R.J. Chatt said...

The check was probably payback for lunch, just to preserve the appearance the writer had not been paid off. Just a hunch.

Robert Payne said...

We interupt this blog to share the breaking news.....

Althouse is slow.....

Ya need for Mueller to resign.....

Darkisland said...

rcocean said...

Its fun to read Trump's rejoinder, but why are the Liberals dragging up all this stuff from 12-13 years ago?

Really? You have to ask?

With all the shenanigans coming to light about the FBI, Crooked Hillary, Ex President Obama and others you can't figure it out?

They are playing at misdirection. Trying to keep us from seeing the shenanigans by focusing on nonsense.

John Henry

Darkisland said...

Rcocean,

That sounds a bit snarky. I didn't mean it to be.

John Henry

Darkisland said...

So Sebastian and others that mock President Trump for never having been much of a reader.

What books did you read last week? Last month?

Non-readers should not criticize President Trump for being a non-reader. I think he has said that explicitly during the campaign. He is too busy doing stuff to read. (I don't understand that. I don't understand how anyone could ever be too busy to read but I know a lot of people are. Or claim to be)

I don't know if you are a non-reader, Sebastian but I know that plenty of people who do criticize President Trump on this have not read a book in a the past year or more. Furthermore, some of them, progressive/fascist types seem to actually brag about not reading.

John Henry

Yancey Ward said...

I read the entire indictment of the Russians by Mueller- all 37 pages. It is laughable. There isn't a single part of it related to the e-mails the DNC and Podesta had lost. And the notable thing is that the alleged illegal buys and organization of promotions during 2016 were in support of Sanders and Trump, and against the establishment candidates in both primaries. After the primary season, the indictments do indicate that the overall effort might have been anti-Hillary, but here is the thing- the organization accused also promoted efforts like BlackLivesMatter and it supported drives to push Muslim support for Hillary in the election, so it isn't all that clear cut, either. I am hoping to get a downloadable version later today so that I can cut an paste the relevant parts.

If this is it, then Mueller has really nothing because the US government itself has done worse to interfere in elections in Russia, Israel, and the Ukraine. This indictment is almost pathetic, and it basically describes what we had already learned from Facebook last Fall.

Fernandistein said...

Special counsel Robert Mueller said a grand jury had indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities for alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Apparently the Russian meddling and interference consisted of Facebook (etc) posts and some Facebook ads, so not too much different than what thousands or millions of other people did.

But (from the indictment):
"US law bans foreign nationals from making certain expenditures or financial disbursements for the purpose of influencing federal elections. US law also bars any foreign entity from engaging in polical activities within the Unitedf States without first registering with the Attorney General."

Re immigration issues, that sounds like selective enforcement.

Cacimbo Cacimbo said...

1997 - " the knowledgeable builder whose associates profess awe at his attention to detail."
2018 - he "can't concentrate long enough to read a two-page memo."

Guess the blueprints for those skyscrapers Trump built all fit on one page.

Darkisland said...

OT for Six words or less:

I am 3 words

mild.yawned.spilling

John Henry

William said...

Trump's insults are better than Singer's, and Trump is an amateur......,Trump has succeeded in putting up a lot of very tall buildings and has successfully competed against some very sharp rivals. It's stupid to claim that he's dumb and has some kind of ADD disability. Why wouldn't he read Updike or Ruth? Most literate Americans have. Trump's not claiming he read Finnegan's Wake or Gravity's Rainbow. I'm sure he reads for fun occasionally.

Michael K said...

Trump is a performance artist with the best of them. Or better than all of them.

It's fun to read these dumb comments about Trump and remember how Churchill was vilified as a "cad" and a profligate (To be fair, he was) and how each generation has its quota of haters.

The Trump haters just seem more uncontrolled.

Robert Payne said...

Folks--

Go ahead and blow off Mueller. More to come from parties know or unknown to the Grand Jury.
It is fine to be loyal to your Trump team here at Althouse. I am an independent and can see that this could go the other way next time. The other concern is whether at some point the hacks could actually be interfering with the actual ballots. I think that Trump won fair and square, but I see that there could be further attempts at election interference that we need to prevent. You all agree?

Yancey Ward said...

Payne,

Read the indictment and tell me where the election was "hacked"? What was striking about the indictment was that it is all centered around social media buys and rally organizing, and I saw no real evidence the rallies were major in any way. I tried to find pictures of the rallies described on Google just now, and could find none of them.

The other striking thing to me was this- the buys that supported/was directed at social groups inclined to vote for Clinton are colored in a way that makes one think they were reverse psychology operations, but here is the thing- the pro-Trump buys could be colored the exact same way, but aren't in the indictment. It is a tell about the political bias of the Mueller team, and it undermines the work they are putting out. As I wrote above, it seems to just recover the ground Facebook let us know about last Fall, and I suspect that it covers no new ground at all. As I remember, it was about $50K-100K worth of social media purchases. This isn't even a drop in the ocean of foreign political commentary that came into the US during the election. This is simply pathetic on its face.

I am Six Words or Less said...

mild.yawned.spilling: mouth catching flies?

-6W

Balfegor said...

Re: Yancey Ward:

If this is it, then Mueller has really nothing because the US government itself has done worse to interfere in elections in Russia, Israel, and the Ukraine. This indictment is almost pathetic, and it basically describes what we had already learned from Facebook last Fall.

I dunno, I'm happy having foreigners who attempt to influence American elections indicted. I mean, there's a lot of foreigners who try to do that (e.g. every illegal alien activist ever), and I think they ought to be a bit more circumspect about that.

There's some funny details in there, though, like the guy who was apparently paid to hold up a sign saying "Happy Birthday Boss" in front of the White House (complete with an aside that it wasn't actually Prigozhin's birthday) (paragraph 12). Prigozhin himself -- the chap accused of funding this whole effort through his catering company -- is apprently famous for catering formal meals for Putin.

Paragraph 57 is also amusing, noting as it does that immediately after the election, this group decided to sponsor competing pro and anti-Trump rallies.

Based on the earlier Facebook disclosures, I do wonder whether the "Hillary is Satan" comments reported in paragraph 50 were cherry-picked to make the effort look more pro-Trump than it necessarily was. My impression (formed partly from what we have heard about the Facebook ads from other sources) is that to the extent there was any direction to this, it was just to heighten political tensions and conflict in the US, hence their promotion (both "pro" and "anti") of divisive, extremist movements like Black Lives Matter.

I am Six Words or Less said...

Russians under bed: Mueller pillow talk.

-6W

I am Six Words or Less said...

CNN election interference: not Russians, so...

-6W

Roy Lofquist said...

Luke Lea said...
Trump plays life like a game of tennis.

I'd say more like an all night poker game - no limit, table stakes Texas Hold-em.

Balfegor said...

Re: Robert Payne:

Go ahead and blow off Mueller. More to come from parties know or unknown to the Grand Jury.
It is fine to be loyal to your Trump team here at Althouse. I am an independent and can see that this could go the other way next time. The other concern is whether at some point the hacks could actually be interfering with the actual ballots.


Did you even read the indictment? It's basically a couple fake twitter accounts and some Facebook ads paid for through a bunch of front organisations (hence the money laundering charges). The monthly budget given for this "Project Lakhta" apparently reached as high as $1.25M (significantly higher than the $100,000 or so Facebook disclosed previously), but Project Lakhta wasn't specific to the US, since it targeted both Russian domestic audiences and -- from the wording of the indictment -- foreign audiences other than the US (see paragraph 11.a). I'm just skimming to see if anything is amusing, so maybe I've missed the US specific breakdown, but it's probably a tiny fraction of that $1.25M.

I'm all in favour of cracking down on this sort of business by foreigners, but seriously, this is some penny-ante misconduct. Let's not blow this into something bigger than it really is. Investigation isn't done yet, though, so maybe there's something more to come.

I am Six Words or Less said...

Russians on Facebook: Pirozhki recipes, influence.

-6W

Yancey Ward said...

Balfegor,

Well, if you are going to indict foreigners who try to influence the American election, you have to indict them all, and that includes every single foreign government and media outlet that has readers in the US. Any commentary about the election by a foreigner breaks the law as the indictment describes it.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Robert Payne said...

I think that Trump won fair and square, but I see that there could be further attempts at election interference that we need to prevent. You all agree?

I agree. I suspect we will see further evidence of such election interference when IG Horowitz releases his report.

n.n said...

it was about $50K-100K worth of social media purchases

Interesting. The Obama/Clinton/DNC axis while colluding with foreign and domestic assets used several hundred million or trillion, and more indirectly (e.g. JournoLists, IRS, DA, SPLC, Planned Parenthood), to influence the election before, during, and after the election. After however many trimesters, you would think that they would finally deem Trump viable, if not worthy, and recall their cult of abortionists.

Meanwhile, the FBI principals are in the process of reform after more than 30 trimesters of politicization rendered them unreliable.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Balfegor said...

My impression (formed partly from what we have heard about the Facebook ads from other sources) is that to the extent there was any direction to this, it was just to heighten political tensions and conflict in the US, hence their promotion (both "pro" and "anti") of divisive, extremist movements like Black Lives Matter.

I agree. If they were more supportive of Trump, it was because he was behind, and they wanted to make the race closer and more contentious, not necessarily because they preferred Trump over Clinton.

Darkisland said...

Blogger I am Six Words or Less said...

mild.yawned.spilling: mouth catching flies?

China, near Handan

Pirozhki recipes, influence

Waaaay out in the middle of nowhere, Northwest of Perm.

John Henry

Balfegor said...

Re: Yancey Ward:

Well, if you are going to indict foreigners who try to influence the American election, you have to indict them all, and that includes every single foreign government and media outlet that has readers in the US. Any commentary about the election by a foreigner breaks the law as the indictment describes it.

Do we make the BBC register as a foreign agent (like RT)? We totally should.

I'm not an election law specialist, but I think the election law violation isn't so much the foreigners speaking, as the (unreported) payments that were being made to facilitate that speech. And the money laundering/identity theft that went along with it. I just closed the webpage I was looking at the indictment on, though, and haven't gone back to check. That's the impression I took away, though.

That said, the general point with respect to media companies is well taken -- after all, if a foreigner controls a media company (or an ordinary company, or an organisation like a labour union), then the logic of excluding foreign influence would require that we bar them from engaging in political speech. I'm sympathetic to the idea that unions and corporations should be barred from making any political expenditures at all in connection with US elections for precisely that reason. But the impossibility is apparent once we hit media companies (or conglomerates that include media companies), so better to let it all in.

Rabel said...

Dearest I Am SWOL,

It's not working. Give it up.

-6W(R)

Yancey Ward said...

Rosenstein's press conference:

"There is no allegation in this indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity. There is no allegation in the indictment that the [Russians'] conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election."

This is the death of the Collusion Narrative. Mueller is down to obstruction, now.

TheThinMan said...

At the very least, Trump read Updike and Roth in high school and/or college. Goodbye Columbus and Updike short stories were standard academic fare in the 70s, before education became a total farce. And who can get through a 2-page memo of government/bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo? Or feverish left-wing rants (poorly) dressed up as highbrow journalism? That he skims shit like that is, if anything, proof that he's got better things to read.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Yancey Ward said...

This is the death of the Collusion Narrative. Mueller is down to obstruction, now.

Probably. But strictly speaking, it does not rule out another indictment that does include Americans colluding with the Russians.

Yancey Ward said...

"payments that were being made to facilitate that speech."

Payments are always made to facilitate speech over the internet and the broadcast outlets- always. It is just that in some cases the payments are buried in with all the other costs of having a media footprint. It is a distinction without a difference.

The identity theft is a different matter, but as far as I could tell, it wasn't money laundering so much as identity concealment- though one cannot rule out that the entire operation wasn't political at all, but was a cover for real financial fraud- the indictment is silent about that, and I wonder about it as I read it.

What I don't quite get is this- these same entities could have easily bought the Facebook and Twitter stuff in Russia itself- it isn't like there is US Facebook/Twitter and Russia Facebook/Twitter. Hell, they could have bought the stuff in the Czech Republic, too, and just written everything in English. I guess the counter would be that it would be easier to find out that the sources were foreign, but who actually looks that deep at such stuff, and even if someone had done so, what difference would it have made?

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Orhan Pamuk? He read Orhan Pamuk. Who would make that up? That's genius level bullshit, even if it was written by assistants on China.

grackle said...

I am very tired of Gabby Gifford's new profession of national scold about guns.

I don’t begrudge her. It’s just background noise, anyway. Gun stores love hot debates in the MSM about vague “common sense gun control legislation” and anti-gun posturing by the pols and celebrities. I don’t worry because both political parties know that gun control legislation is political suicide.

Prediction: The AR15, the type of rifle allegedly used by the shooter, will see a sharp increase in sales.

It is fine to be loyal to your Trump team here at Althouse.

Well, thanks. Not that anyone needs your permission. And it is also fine to be an anti-Trumper while claiming to be an “independent.” As Scott Adams might say: “Not very persuasive.”

Yancey Ward said...

Ignorance is Bliss,

No, it doesn't rule it out, but here's the thing- there is nothing in this indictment that hadn't already been out in the public realm since last Fall- the social media stuff had already been leaked or revealed by the social media companies. What else in the press have we seen that supports the collusion story? Nothing that I have seen, and I read widely. I mean, the US colluders identified to date are at Facebook and Twitter, but the indictment calls them unwitting. I note for the record that none of the indicted are in the US, and my impression is all them live in Russia- before the election, during the election, and after. It is an odd indictment- the sort of thing you wouldn't proceed on if you had something better to lead with.

Josephbleau said...

Those who call Trump illiterate and stupid are be-clowning themselves. Trumps uncle John G. Trump had a PhD in EE from MIT and was a prof there all his career. He worked on Radar at the rad lab during WWII under Compton, worked with Van De Graf and got the Nat Medal of Sci. Trump got a BA at U Penn. He probably did not do very well because rich North Easterners don't care to. The old joke, what to people in the upper class call Harvard Grads? The help.

I don't know how smart he is but he seems smarter than John Kerry. His working life was seemingly productive if high risk and show businessy. I despised his tv show when it was on.

rhhardin said...

The Russians were only appealing to the stupid, as is the Justice department.

rhhardin said...

worked with Van De Graf and got the Nat Medal of Sci.

That explains the hair.

Bay Area Guy said...

The Mueller indictment is not impressive.

First, you don't need a special counsel to indict a buncha Russians. The normal DOJ attorneys could have done it. Some of the allegations go as far back as 2014, years before. Why didn't Obama's DOJ simply indict the bastards?

Second, on substance, the allegations are picayune and at times laughable. "Boris wrote an outrageous twitter feed under the handle "Crooked Hillary" and then started an organization "US Muslims for Clinton" or some trivial shit like that.

There doesn't appear to be any illegal financing or voting. Just Russians posting stupid shit on the internet during a raucous campaign season, that had no concrete impact.

Indeed, if any commentators on this blog are foreigners, and made outrageous comments about the election (either for or against Hillary), you could be next to feel the wrath of Mueller!

If this is it, it's not much.

Rabel said...

Inga disappears. Mueller indicts Russian trolls.

-6W(R)

Michael K said...

I don't know how smart he is but he seems smarter than John Kerry.

Low bars are easy.

Trump is being called "dumb" by a bunch of people who could not a job in one of his businesses.

readering said...

Trump did not write enough letters to the editor of the NY Times. I'm sure they would have published all of them.

Yancey Ward said...

Rabel

"Inga disappears. Mueller indicts Russian trolls."

Damn, I wish I had thought of this! Thread winner right here!

Bay Area Guy said...

According to Rosenstein (who is unimpressive too, I might add), all of the Defendants (Russian Trolls) are back in Russia.

Are these Russian trolls gonna be tried in absentia? Is there some extradiction treaty with Russia?

This is Mueller's big play?!!?

Roy Lofquist said...

"Probably. But strictly speaking, it does not rule out another indictment that does include Americans colluding with the Russians."

It doesn't rule out my being chosen to ride a unicorn onto the field at next year's Super Bowl either.

"The identity theft is a different matter, but as far as I could tell, it wasn't money laundering so much as identity concealment- "

Does that mean than almost all of the people posting here are headed for the slammer?

Yancey Ward said...

It must have pained the Mueller team greatly to have to admit that the "Operation Chaos" supported Bernie Sanders, and attacked the other Republican candidates during the campaign season. In addition, it probably pained them to have to admit that the ads support BLM, too, but they couldn't bury it because Facebook had already let the horse out of the barn on all of that. Thus the coloring done about certain aspects, but not on others.

Yancey Ward said...

Roy wrote:

"Does that mean than almost all of the people posting here are headed for the slammer?"

Hard to determine clearly. If you are foreigner who wrote comments here and elsewhere about the election and expressed a preference for Trump, probably you could be indicted if you were a Russian. If you were, lets say, an ex-MI6 British agent who expressed a preference for Clinton, probably not.

Sebastian said...

"if you are going to indict foreigners who try to influence the American election" Looking forward to it: starting with Chris Steele.

"So Sebastian and others that mock President Trump for never having been much of a reader." Not at all. I don't care if he's a reader or not. I mock him for claiming he read Pamuk. I wanna see proof. As I do with any other claim he makes about himself: he is a bullshit artist, in the technical sense of the term, so I distrust anything he says, even more than with the average politico. (Of course, with O, I assumed everything he said was a lie, rather than mere BS.)

I say as someone who agrees with Trump's actual policy decisions more often than not.

Balfegor said...

Re: Bay Area Guy:

Are these Russian trolls gonna be tried in absentia? Is there some extradiction treaty with Russia?

No extradition treaty with Russia. Even if we had an extradition treaty, it's standard for extradition treaties to require the offense to be criminal in both countries (e.g. we wouldn't extradite to Saudi Arabia on the basis of a blaspheme indictment or something), and countries usually have the right to refuse to extradite one of their own nationals.

No trial in absentia either. The indictment does mean that the statute of limitations stops running, though. It can also be the basis for an Interpol Red Notice, and other countries' law enforcement might oblige by arresting the defendants if they travel outside Russia. After which DOJ could seek extradition (we can request extradition even in the absence of a treaty).

LakeLevel said...

Indict Carlos Slim. I don't think anyone really believes he bought his stake in the NY Times to make money.

Drago said...

Rabel: "Inga disappears. Mueller indicts Russian trolls"

Remember when Inga/Unknown logged into Althouse blog under the handles of other commenters?

LOL

That sounds awfully indictable these days.

Darkisland said...

Blogger Sebastian said...

I mock him for claiming he read Pamuk.

I've been reading a couple books a week for 55 years or more. I have pretty eclectic tastes. Weird, some might even say. (Currently reading Burnaby's Ride to Khiva and Clavell's TaiPan. Last Saturday read Bagehot's The English Constitution. Anyone want to try to outwierd me?)

I've never even heard of Pamuk. Is he (She?) worth a go?

I tried Roth once years ago, boring as hell and gave up a hundred or so pages in. Ditto Updike.

John Henry

Ignorance is Bliss said...

There is a new post for the Mueller indictments, so discussion of such should probably move there.

Drago said...

Hey, remember when the lefties tried to enlist foreigners to contact Americans to sway our votes in 2004?

Because I sure do....

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/1474828/Guardian-calls-it-quits-in-Clark-County-fiasco.html

snip: "The Guardian yesterday ran up the white flag and called a halt to "Operation Clark County", the newspaper's ambitious scheme to recruit thousands of readers to persuade American voters in a swing state to kick out President George W Bush in next month's election.

The cancellation of the project came 24 hours after the first of some 14,000 letters from Guardian readers began arriving in Clark County. The missives led to widespread complaints about foreign interference in a US election."

grackle said...

Those who call Trump illiterate and stupid are be-clowning themselves.

Yeah. But it is good that they are deluded and ALWAYS underestimate Trump because those delusions prevent them from comprehending what is actually happening.

That Trump is already a caricature of a caricature makes him too easy a target, with neither the foot speed nor the wit to defend himself.

Wow. They were as clueless about Trump back in 2005 as they are today.

Steve said...

Were Facebook and Google unaware of election finance law prohibitions on foreign contributions? Should they be indicted? Should the Mexican New York Times owner Carlos Slim be indicted? If guilty, we should follow rhhardin's suggestion and plug them into a Van de Graf generator----then they'd have Trump-hair for life.

Sebastian said...

"Is he (She?) worth a go?"

Sorry, John: I'd have to go all Pierre Bayard on you. Who is worth reading.

Darkisland said...

I'd not heard about Bayard either though when I went just now he has a book called how to talk about books you've never read. I had heard of that and even, I think, read some portions of it, or an article with extracts or something.

I downloaded, via Ann's Portal, the sample of how to talk about countries you've never visited. We'll see how that goes.

Ann, don't go nuts with your commission for the sample. I suspect/hope that if on reading the sample I click to buy it goes through your portal. Do you know how that works? Or do I need to come back to the blog and buy through the portal?

I seldom buy books directly but normally try the sample first. I'd never thought about how that might affect your retirement. I hope it doesn't but, if it does, let me know and I'll be sure to come back to the portal rather than just clicking through in Kindle.

John Henry

Sebastian said...

"I had heard of that and even, I think, read some portions of it, or an article with extracts or something. "

Bayard has a category for that. You'll need him to step up your game. (Kidding!) Of course, Trump is a lost cause--or better, in light of his letter, he needs a category of his own, the Frankfurt exception to Bayard's classification.

narayanan said...

Trump: I have read books (hush, hush) school assignments

gadfly said...

Michael K said...
I am very tired of Gabby Gifford's new profession of national scold about guns.


Wiki notes that on January 8, 2014, Giffords marked the three-year anniversary of the shooting by going skydiving. The jump garnered a lot of support. Giffords said on an interview with the Today show, "Oh, wonderful sky. Gorgeous mountain. Blue skies. I like a lot. A lot of fun. Peaceful, so peaceful."

Now she is obviously up to scolding in three-word sentences. Complex thought comes from other minds.


Beldar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Drago said...

Not a great day for our Poor Mans LLR Chuck, Gadfly.

I would expect a little lashing out now that the lefts collusion lies have been exposed.

Henry said...

@Darkisland / John Henry

Read Instanbul: Memories and the City. It's a fascinating non-fiction memoir/history of Pamuk's home city.

Assrat said...

>Anyone want to try to outwierd me?

I just finished a murder mystery and I'm starting some books about John Glenn, in preparation for a trip to Ohio. I love me some space history.