Surprised to not read anything about whether the Jan 6 Committee should make criminal referrals to DOJ, since clearly they are consciously making a case that a criminal conspiracy existed in the ONLY attempted coup in our nation's history.

It's an interesting question - most of us, in the heat of passion and after 6 years of little to no accountability, would probably answer with a resounding "YES". But think back to Lincoln after the war, or Ford and his pardon of Nixon. They both acted in what they thought was the best path forward to heal a nation.

My own view - they did the right thing from an historical view. But these are not normal times, and if we let an attempted coup go unpunished, we will not be so lucky when the next attempted coup is successful. If trump and his minions have taught us anything, it's that we should not rely on the inherent good nature of "men" to willingly and faithfully keep the "norms" and do the right thing. There's far too much at stake when they choose not to.

I vote for criminal referrals.

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1. Trump has always lied

2. Trump has always been a grifter

3. Trump has huge loans coming due, I believe, on some of his buildings

4. Staying in office meant that he was protected from prosecution

5. It was NEVER about the job, always about the grift and protection

6. The Republican Party sold it's soul to a man who has no soul.

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Donald Trump is a malignant narcissist. His ego can't stand the idea he isn't adored - by everyone. That's why he started the 'voter fraud' crapola after the 2016 election, which he WON. But because he only carried the Electoral College and not the popular vote, his delicate ego needed an excuse. Hence, the claims of voter fraud. He even set up a White House commission to 'find' all those millions of 'fraudulent votes'. And it was a bust.

In 2020, when the polls weren't going his way, he started claiming the only way he could lose would be because of.....wait for it......voter fraud.

Trump knew he was going to lose. He knew he did lose. He kept lying - and grifting - anyway.

There wasn't one person on the White House staff or in his campaign who didn't know the truth about the 2020 election. NONE of them spoke up at the time. Not even to calm the waters Trump was agitating and prevent the growing likelihood of violent retaliation from the MAGA cult.

It wasn't until they were put under oath that any of them finally told what they knew.

There was no 'Team Normal.' Every last person who kept silent about the election was as much a member in good standing of Team Coup as any of the dime store lawyers pushing the Big Lie.

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Re: Cathy Young's "balanced and nuanced" treatment of the transgender issue: Sorry. When the excerpt starts with a quote about "more fraught questions" about the "ethics" of transgender treatment of minors, the balance is already off. If the minor, the parents and the doctor are aligned, what are the "fraught" ethics questions? And when pointing to the Governor's veto message saying the issue basically affects no one, it's not "balanced" to fail to point out that the whole issue is a fake culture war talking point of the Q Anon-adjacent GOP.

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Jun 14, 2022Liked by Charlie Sykes

Thomas Paine’s quote keeps bouncing around in my head, for a number of reasons, but seems especially appropriate today….”Where knowledge is duty, ignorance is a crime.”

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The Saletan piece is a useful reference. It depicts a President who is either mentally ill, very stupid, or totally mendacious. I think Trump is pretty stupid, but I have to give him credit for an amazingly capacious mind. To be able to fill one's brain with that much garbage, and keep it all straight, is a pretty impressive feat. What would it look like if Ken Jennings used his brain to just Hoover up all of the most absurd bullshit imaginable, fill every available nook and cranny in there with goofy, laughable poppycock, and just be able to recall it at will in rapid fire fashion in the presence of the non-delusional? I imagine it would look something like Trump's conversations with "Team Normal."

Speaking of "Team Normal," I thought Tim Miller's Monday piece on Bill Stepien was totally devastating; he just eviscerated the guy. If you see Bill Stepien Bleeding out on the floor with five bullet holes, you don't need to see Tim Miller there to know that Tim Miller did it, to paraphrase the great Sidney Powell. And to see that Stepien is working on the Hageman campaign to primary Liz Cheney, who said publicly everything Stepien said privately, and under oath, is just what I would expect from a member of "Team Normal."

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The "lying or delusional" question has many parallels with the Mueller report which left one with the impression that Team Trump was either involved in actual espionage OR they acted merely as "useful idiots" easily manipulated by Russian agents.

It also reminds me of the media obsession about whether Trump was REALLY a racist (a sexist, misogynist, anti-Semite, homophobe, etc.) which is irrelevant. What IS relevant is that racists believed he was a racist and took comfort and strength from that belief.

And of course this may not be an either/or situation but one where he was BOTH a liar AND delusional.

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My Mechanic has explained it all to me. Rudy Giuliani literally blew a "Head Gasket". That black stuff trickling down his brow was escaping coolant from the rupture. While it can't really be repaired at this point, Giuliani should not allow the cognitive engine to run in the future.

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Delusional Disorder is a psychotic disorder in which a person holds fixed false beliefs despite concrete evidence disputing these beliefs. Delusional Disorder is very rare and found in about 0.05-0.1% of the adult population.

Trump is a manipulator and has been throughout his life. His so called “beliefs” about the 2020 election are opportunistic lies. He has been railing about the possibility of an election being stolen from him since 2015 when he thought he would loose the 2016 election.

Trump is not delusional, so let’s stop talking as if he could be. Acting as if he could have the exceedingly rare Delusional Disorder only gives him cover from being held accountable for his actions.

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Thank you for the definition of willful ignorance/blindness. I was listening to the hearings yesterday and wondering if Trump would be able to escape liability with a claim that he genuinely believed he won the election. Glad to know that's not necessarily a protection. I've also been fascinated to see kind of a pivot over the last few days: Fox reversed itself and ran the hearing, and the WSJ and the NY Post ran editorials blaming Trump for January 6. The hearings are providing the--what, 500th?--off ramp from Trump; maybe this time more on the right will actually take it?

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Jun 14, 2022Liked by Charlie Sykes

Thank you , Charlie, for the links on "Vincible Ignorance", from Catholic theology, and "Willful Blindness", a legal term. They really helped me as I was musing on David French's piece, linked below, about "salt of the earth" people in deep red areas of the country who sincerely don't know the truth about the 2020 election and, in general, the facts about the current state of our government, because they only get their information from sources like Fox "news" that don't give them accurate information. French doesn't excuse the ignorance of these people; this is an explanation to help people like me understand people like them.

These concepts in your piece today really help me resolve for myself the question of whether to hold responsible both ordinary citizens for their ignorance and Donald Trump, if indeed he really believes the election was stolen rather than knowing the truth and lying about it. In both cases, people are responsible for finding out and accepting the truth, and then doing the right thing in response.


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Trump was a candidate/president who mastered the art of willful blindness, which is why the long willfully blind voters of the GOP chose him. The GOP voter base had *long ago* embraced willful blindness as a political tactic on everything from climate change to wealth inequality to gun control. Don't like the fact that the oil/gas job that pays you well is killing the planet? Just call climate change a hoax and pretend it's not happening. Don't like the fact that the assault weapons you love so much are murdering children in schools constantly? Pretend it's just a national mental health problem instead. Don't like the fact that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer? Tell everyone that the rich got to where they were via hard effort--not because they were born into the Trust Fund Brigade and also married someone from the Trust Fund Brigade--and that the poor are just lazy moochers with equal opportunity to climb the economic ladder just like everyone else.

The GOP as an entity has been willfully blind to a whole lot of shit since the 90's. Are we surprised they rallied behind the most willfully blind and morally corrupt candidate in the country when that has been the backbone of all of their policy positions for three decades? I for one ain't surprised by any of this. Conservatives embraced willful blindness a loooooonnng time ago, it just has greater consequences now (being willfully blind to democracy backsliding instead of just ignoring the planet dying, the economy becoming an exploitation machine for the wealthy, and assault weapons being the coolest thing to toxic men since cigarette promotion)

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Kellyanne claimed that Trump really believes he won. I think it isn't a straightforward question in the case of a pathological narcissist who apparently doesn't see a difference between what is morally right and what is good for himself. It could be the same regarding what is factually right-- that his narcissistic need for the self-affirming story to be true overpowers all rational judgment. Or maybe it comes down to the moral question: What is good for himself is simply far more important than what is objectively true.

In either case: Why do people still think he should be given presidential power again?

Mona writes: "we are dealing with someone whose lies are a constitutive part of his psychology. And everyone knows this." I wouldn't say that everyone knows it. I've seen recent reports of Trump loyalists maintaining that he doesn't lie; he only exaggerates (and "an exaggeration is not a lie"). People in the more intellectual wing of MAGA land must be aware that he lies, but they'll say it's never about anything important.

It's been stunning to see so many people deciding that Trump must be telling the truth about the election while all the Republican officials who say otherwise must be treacherous liars in service to the Deep State. Do MAGA thought leaders really believe that -- or did they just tell themselves the story they preferred to believe, and then became too invested in it to admit they might be wrong?

The biggest con that Trump has pulled is making people believe he's honest because he's "unfiltered" and "not PC," so "he tells it like it is." But his unfiltered rudeness arises from the same narcissism as his self-serving concept of truth. And some people have chosen to view it all as a higher form of virtue if it gets them what they want.

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As a country, in this particular case, we can't afford not to criminally prosecute because our inaction would doom us to see this play out again and probably successfully next time. Whether or not Trump and his cronies will receive a guilty verdict isn't as important as making our country aware of what they tried to do and have it recorded in the judicial record as an honest attempt to hold criminal politicians accountable. If the MAGAs revolt because we wanted to hold guilty politicians responsible...than we are doomed anyway.

Do we want to have a civil war before or after a successful coup?

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So the Utah legislature has passed a law to stop one current trans student from playing on girls teams. How much time has the legislature spent on the catastrophic drying up of the Great Salt Lake?

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Willful lying or delusional? Trump read all the pre-election polls showing him losing to Biden. He set the stage to let himself and his followers to believe, long before the elections were held, that if he did not win it was rigged. Either to fight all the way to stay in power if he lost, or to dupe his followers to send him money if he was forced to leave after a loss. I do not see how there was no criminal intent here. For him, and his enablers to take cover behind him being delusional is to avoid legal consequences.

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