#206- May 26, 2020 A Conversation with David Frum

 
Nhoj Morley
 
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Nhoj Morley
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26 May 2020 16:08
 

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with David Frum about the shifting political landscape. They discuss the secularization of politics, distrust of the media and other institutions, voter suppression, the 2020 elections, what happens if Trump gets a second term, the role of money in politics, conspiracy theories around Covid-19, the Michael Flynn controversy, the prospect that Trump will refuse to leave office, and other topics.

#206- May 26, 2020 A Conversation with David Frum


This thread is for listeners’ comments

 
 
John V. Linton
 
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John V. Linton
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27 May 2020 04:59
 

There is something wrong with Harris’s ambit when he approaches politics or anything Trump, as much as I admire him in other spheres.

Harris can (almost without exception: Scott Adams) always be counted upon to invite virulent anti-Trump “conservatives” from a small orbit of retreaded interviews (Jennifer Rubin, David Frum, Andrew Sullivan, Max Boot…) instead of anyone serious from the other side, the way he might entertain were he debating any other subject.

This has become farcically predictable, and it’s difficult not to indulge the intellectual misdemeanor of judging his latest podcast without having listened to it merely because those of us who have seen Harris’s decline in this regard already know why he keeps his subset of intellectual sparring partners so limited.

Because someone like Victor Davis Hanson would simply demolish Harris’s absurd filibusters around Trump, and he knows it, and would not want to be exposed before his audience as having to agree with upwards of 90% of the sharper elbows thrown.  (Gad Saad likely now also would hand him his lunch on some of this, or Kimberley Strassel, or Conrad Black…)

Or take Harris’s legal go-to on all matters relating to the prior president’s spying and entrapment of Flynn: Benjamin Wittes.  Wittes routinely can be counted on to turn out Resistance-grade legal legerdemain (as can Jeffrey Toobin) designed to square ridiculous circles, ignoring all kinds of problematic evidence of wrongdoing, and applauding anything but “the rule of law”.  Even legal centrists like Jonathan Turley and Alan Dershowitz make routine mincemeat of the cover-up arguments advanced by such as Wittes, which anyone outside the bubble and of even 70% of Harris’s IQ can see. 

Yet Harris routinely ignores all the extraordinary evidence of malfeasance of the last administration (spying on one’s opponents based on the thinnest of pretexts, entrapment, deploying human intel assets to intercept the campaign, abusing counter-intelligence ops for political purposes) even as he supported a highly politicized impeachment effort that rested on evidence of the square root of all of this…

[ Edited: 27 May 2020 05:19 by John V. Linton]
 
Traces Elk
 
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Traces Elk
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27 May 2020 07:21
 

Hi, John V. Linton

I know you’re really craving somebody to draw you out on the terrible crimes and/or misdemeanors committed by prior administrations. Consider this your invitation. Be sure to submit evidence, you know, so that we can resume beating long dead horses.

 
 
John V. Linton
 
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John V. Linton
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27 May 2020 07:27
 

I never said “crimes”.  I said malfeasance.  Using your own party’s political opposition research to launch a counterintelligence probe of the rival political campaign is extraordinary.  It may well be legal, but nor was such a tool ever countenanced in being used that way, and it’s quite obviously an abuse of power to anyone who can think straight.

At least as much an abuse of power as Trump asking Ukraine to look into Biden.  Trump’s post facto inquiry about a possible Biden quid pro quo did not involve any surveillance of the Biden campaign (that we presently know of) on such flimsy grounds as the Steele dossier.

Lying to the FISA court may be a crime; we’ll see what Durham produces.  17 errors all in one direction were intentional.  The entrapment of Flynn may or may not be a crime, but smells to high heaven.  Any incoming NSA would be making contact with foreign powers, and it’s obvious how intel and law enforcement might have been abused to harass and indict political enemies of the prior administration.  “Let’s see if we can get him fired” is not the proper disposition of a prosecutor towards a man who served our nation for 33 years in uniform.

Unmaskings are routine—in intelligence circles and by intelligence officials—but not so widely practiced by high-level political appointees like Samantha Powers.  The civil liberties implications of 39 requests alone to unmask Flynn by people across the Obama administration are deeply problematic.  The leaking of the Flynn conversation was itself a crime.

There are instances of Comey, Clapper, and Brennan lying to Congress, some under oath.  They certainly lied repeatedly to the American people as well.

[ Edited: 27 May 2020 07:35 by John V. Linton]
 
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27 May 2020 13:51
 
John V. Linton - 27 May 2020 07:27 AM

I never said “crimes”.  I said malfeasance.  Using your own party’s political opposition research to launch a counterintelligence probe of the rival political campaign is extraordinary.  It may well be legal, but nor was such a tool ever countenanced in being used that way, and it’s quite obviously an abuse of power to anyone who can think straight.

At least as much an abuse of power as Trump asking Ukraine to look into Biden.  Trump’s post facto inquiry about a possible Biden quid pro quo did not involve any surveillance of the Biden campaign (that we presently know of) on such flimsy grounds as the Steele dossier.

Lying to the FISA court may be a crime; we’ll see what Durham produces.  17 errors all in one direction were intentional.  The entrapment of Flynn may or may not be a crime, but smells to high heaven.  Any incoming NSA would be making contact with foreign powers, and it’s obvious how intel and law enforcement might have been abused to harass and indict political enemies of the prior administration.  “Let’s see if we can get him fired” is not the proper disposition of a prosecutor towards a man who served our nation for 33 years in uniform.

Unmaskings are routine—in intelligence circles and by intelligence officials—but not so widely practiced by high-level political appointees like Samantha Powers.  The civil liberties implications of 39 requests alone to unmask Flynn by people across the Obama administration are deeply problematic.  The leaking of the Flynn conversation was itself a crime.

There are instances of Comey, Clapper, and Brennan lying to Congress, some under oath.  They certainly lied repeatedly to the American people as well.

Lots of accusations, no evidence.  I sense a pattern.

 
John V. Linton
 
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John V. Linton
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27 May 2020 14:51
 

Check the Horowitz Report for evidence.  I’m not going to waste my time quoting it at length about the 17 violations for someone unwilling to read the most ready sources.

 
Twissel
 
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Twissel
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27 May 2020 21:04
 

John. who would be someone “serious” from the Trump side?
I know of literally no one who hasn’t made an utter fool of themselves trying to defend Trump.

Harris is trying to have a meaningful discussion - none of the Trump fanboys want that.

 
 
John V. Linton
 
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John V. Linton
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28 May 2020 01:31
 

“John. who would be someone “serious” from the Trump side?
I know of literally no one who hasn’t made an utter fool of themselves trying to defend Trump.
Harris is trying to have a meaningful discussion - none of the Trump fanboys want that.”

As I said before, try Victor Davis Hanson.  He is a military historian and a professor of classics in Greek and Latin.  He has written a book “The Case for Trump”.  Wherever he appears on YouTube or in print, he decimates the other side.  He is a “serious” person.  He would easily demolish Harris on Trump.  VDH makes the case on many fronts.

There are arguments against Trump, plenty of them.  But it’s absurd to hold that there aren’t eloquent, literate, highly educated voices on the other side.

Kimberley Strassel at the WSJ is another, and Conrad Black another (from a more literary-journalist bent).  In terms of skewering Russiagate, Matt Taibbi and Glenn Greenwald (both on the left) are others.  All of these along with VDH have brilliantly refuted the Russiagate nonsense and sounded the alarm about the last administration’s political spying.

Camille Paglia, a brilliant light in this world, has had some favorable things to say, though been less present and committed than the above.  (She has called Trump basically a “mensch” and argued against the infantile rage we routinely see against him.)  Or try Gad Saad, who has criticized Trump’s impeachers and his hysterical critics far more than criticizing Trump.  Saad seems to get why Trump might be necessary.

Dave Rubin, a bit too right-wing for my tastes and not nearly as smart as the above group, but remains it strikes me a fairly decent person who makes the more popular middle-brow case.  Jordan Peterson, for what it’s worth, said he would have voted for Trump to dispel the status quo last election.

In the British world, Melanie Phillips and Brendan O’Neill come to mind.

This constellation of intellectuals is hardly a rabble of lemmings.

[ Edited: 28 May 2020 01:39 by John V. Linton]
 
Twissel
 
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28 May 2020 01:47
 

Greenwald is not a lefty - he is a narcissist.
And calling the Trump-Russia connection nonsense is clear evidence of willful ignorance.

But I will check out Hanson

 
 
Twissel
 
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28 May 2020 02:33
 

I’m having some difficulty with taking Conrad Black, someone Trump pardoned for his crimes, seriously as a legitimate pro-Trump defender.

Gad Saad had an interview with Sam Harris, and proved to be a complete lightweight, a single-issue Trump defender who was completely out of his league.

Hanson, seem to be mostly anti-HRC, anti Obama, and not really pro-Trump. Hanson sees Trump through the lens of his classical background, which is cute but also completely beside the point.

All in all, apart from Strassel, I can’t seem to find much about your examples defending Trump right now.
In fact, no one is defending Trump, only claiming that “everyone else” is just mean, overreacting or just as bad.

And Jordon Peterson is, of course, the non-intellectual’s idea of an intellectual.

Trump has depleted the conservative intellectuals, who by now have all become independents or anti-Trumpers. There is no one on the Trump side to have a serious debate about Trump in 2020 with.

 
 
John V. Linton
 
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28 May 2020 02:38
 
Twissel - 28 May 2020 02:33 AM

I’m having some difficulty with taking Conrad Black, someone Trump pardoned for his crimes, seriously as a legitimate pro-Trump defender.

Gad Saad had an interview with Sam Harris, and proved to be a complete lightweight, a single-issue Trump defender who was completely out of his league.

Hanson, seem to be mostly anti-HRC, anti Obama, and not really pro-Trump. Hanson sees Trump through the lens of his classical background, which is cute but also completely beside the point.

All in all, apart from Strassel, I can’t seem to find much about your examples defending Trump right now.
In fact, no one is defending Trump, only claiming that “everyone else” is just mean, overreacting or just as bad.

And Jordon Peterson is, of course, the non-intellectual’s idea of an intellectual.

Trump has depleted the conservative intellectuals, who by now have all become independents or anti-Trumpers. There is no one to have a serious debate about Trump in 2020 with.

It’s really not very impressive on your part to run the gamut of such names and not come up with something better than this.  It’s on the order of discovering there are things you may dislike about each of these figures.  It’s not remotely clear (and I don’t even mean this impolitely) that any of them aren’t at least as intelligent as you, and likely far more accomplished.

To take but one of your absurd examples: “Hanson, seem to be mostly anti-HRC, anti Obama, and not really pro-Trump.”  Hanson repeatedly and continually defends Trump, having written a book in his defense.  He appears weekly on all sorts of podcasts doing so.  That he may also be anti-HRC or anti-Obama would not preclude him from being able to advance intelligent arguments in defense of Trump in any logically conceivable universe.  (Indeed there might be a lot of overlap between these two beliefs, and you have not proved a thing of interest here.)

It’s just absurd to dismiss a roster of such names with such shallow, sophomoric points, with all due respect.

 
Twissel
 
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Twissel
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12 June 2020 04:41
 

Anyone still want to defend Trump?

anyone?