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Trump Comey — utterly devastating, no match

[ by Charles Cameron — trump triumphing, trump trumped — which is it, obvs? ]

Both op-eds, both from Washington Post, yesterday, June 10 2017:

My point being that we tend to write as though what seems obvious to us is obvious period, when it obviously isn’t always. A pity.



  • Why Comey’s testimony was utterly devastating to Trump
  • Boy Scout James Comey is no match for Donald Trump
  • Oh I mean, everyone does it — I no doubt do it too. But according to Dorothy Lee, Linguistic Reflection of Winto Thought, among the Wintu there is an “attitude of humility and respect toward reality, toward nature and society”:

    I cannot find an adequate English term to apply to a habit of thought that is so alien to our culture. We are aggressive toward reality. We say, This is bread; we do not say, as the Wintu, I call this bread or I feel or taste or see it to be bread. The Wintu never say starkly this is; if he speaks of reality that is not within his own restricting experience, he does not affirm it, he only implies it. If he speaks of his experience he does not express it as categorically true.

    9 Responses to “Trump Comey — utterly devastating, no match”

    1. Cheryl Rofer Says:

      Hi Charles – Great point about “aggression toward reality.” My style tends more toward the Wintu. In trying to be accurate, I’ve often specified whether what I’m saying is my opinion or others’, a probability or a certainty. But people don’t hear when you qualify your conclusion.
      My observation, and I know some readers here will be offended and will tell me reality is otherwise (see “aggression toward reality”), is that those execessively positive characterizations of reality are very much a male thing. I’ve learned to do them too, in the service of being able to join the conversation, but I’m not comfortable about it.
      I think this has been written about, maybe by Deborah Tannen.

    2. Charles Cameron Says:

      Hi Cheryl:
      Tannen, I just realized prompted by your comment, is really a precursor to Rebecca Solnit.
      A freind commented that the Wintu quote is “very Kantian”. I’ve never read Kant, (a) because my interest in philosophy ran from the Presocratics up to the Renaissance and skipped the Enlightenment to go on a world cruise (eventual peaks seen: Ibn Arabi, Abhinavagupta, Dogen, the Navaho Blessingway), (b) because he seemed unbearable tough, aka I was too scattered to read him, thus he figures in my self-narrative as a huge rock around which my waters have flowed. If he thinks like the Wintu, maybe I should read him, now!
      There’s also a likeness to Heinlein’s “fair witness” concept in Stranger.
      Epistemic humility, right? I would imagine it is basic to real science — whether explicitly stated on any given occasion or not, no?

    3. Charles Cameron Says:

      Here’s a Comey-Trump piece that doesn’t view it as a zero-sum issue:

      Team Trump sees silver lining in Comey cloud
      Aides and allies of President Trump are focused on the upside of former FBI Director James Comey’s momentous testimony to Congress.
      Their take is that Comey’s appearance before the Senate Intelligence Committee was damaging but not devastating, that the former FBI director threw his best punches without putting Trump in imminent legal peril and that they can now look forward to a period of relative calm as special counsel Robert Mueller gets on with the investigation of Russian meddling in U.S. politics — in the absence, they hope, of leaks.

      I like this because at least it has some nuance.
      Dapple. The Gerard Manley Hopkins rule I live by:

      Glory be to God for dappled things.. all things counter, original, spare, strange.. Praise him.

    4. Cheryl Rofer Says:

      Yes, epistemic humility, and basic to science, although not always adhered to in public comments.

    5. Charles Cameron Says:

      It would be nice to see a history of epistemic humility in science writings, from Francis Bacon —

      Lastly, I would address one general admonition to all; that they consider what are the true ends of knowledge, and that they seek it not either for pleasure of the mind, or for contention, or for superiority to others, or for profit, or fame, or power, or any of these inferior things; but for the benefit and use of life; and that they perfect and govern it in charity. For it was from lust of power that the angels fell, from lust of knowledge that man fell; but of charity there can be no excess, neither did angel or man ever come in danger by it.

      — to Popperian falsifiability, which would seem to demand it, and beyond!

    6. Charles Cameron Says:

      Another neat DoubleQuote observed:

    7. Charles Cameron Says:

      And then..

    8. Charles Cameron Says:

      Both sides frequently practice what they preached against when the other side did it, eh?


    9. Charles Cameron Says:

      And then there’s the symmetry JM Berger writes about:
      London and the Clash of the Extremists:

      The violence ISIS carries out in the west provides fodder for anti-Muslim attackers, and violence against Muslims feeds back into the ISIS narrative

      and the symmetry his colleague Ingram Haroro oberves as a loop:


      “That is what the terrorists want”: Media as amplifier or disrupter of violent extremist propaganda

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