PATIENCE IS A FINITE RESOURCE

Many years ago I saw a judge at on academic panel making a great analogy in defense of laws that punish "sovereign citizen" and Tax Protester types for filing frivolous lawsuits based on their gibberish-level understanding of the law and a whole lot of nonsense they find on the internet.

Imagine that a man in attendance at an academic conference raises his hand to ask a question to a panel of astronomers. He steps to a microphone and asks if anyone on stage can prove that the moon is not made of cheese. Laughter ripples through the room. He smiles and waits politely for it to die down. "I am waiting for an answer," he says. Only light laughter this time, as everyone realizes that he might be serious. He waits. Someone on the panel will eventually say, with tenderness due a person who may not be quite All There mentally, that multiple space programs have flown to the moon and taken samples and conducted observational studies of the moon and ran tests that demonstrate, with complete confidence, that the moon is made of rock.

Still, the guy persists. No, that is all fake, nobody has ever been to the moon, and the moon is actually cheese. Now there is no laughter from the audience and the panelists are probably getting a little cranky. No, they say sharply, you are proposing a conspiracy theory. It is easily debunked and there are literally millions of pieces of information, freely available, that demonstrate the fact that the moon is a rock. "No, it is similar in color to cheese," he says. "Therefore it is cheese." What started out as polite amusement devolves into a general frustration at wasting time. Having politely played along for a bit, now they just want someone to drag this guy out of the room so they can get back to doing something more useful (or at least more interesting; useful might be a high bar for an academic panel to achieve).

Consider at this point the number of things our political system and government have had to devote time, money, and attention – all valuable and finite resources – to things Donald Trump insists are true that are not. Birtherism. Mass voter fraud. Having a record inaugural crowd. The size and historic nature of his victory in the election. And now this ridiculous two week long fiasco about being wiretapped. Despite the continued partisan nature of the reaction – at the Comey hearing on Monday the Republicans asked questions exclusively about leaks, ignoring the Trump-Russia ties more broadly – there is a sense of weariness from everyone involved at playing this game. In less than three months in office, even Republicans and people generally friendly to Republicans appear to have found this exercise useless and frustrating.

It was cute the first time, maybe. The birther thing didn't waste the time of members of Congress. Trump was just Some Guy back then. Now the need to respond to his fantasies and conspiracy theories eats into their time directly, time they would prefer to spend raising money, distributing the benefits of being in power, and passing some legislation. Every moment they have to devote to explaining with practiced patience to the President of the United States that, no, that thing he saw in the comment section on Brietbart is not actually true is a moment they have wasted.

Without a doubt there will be some new and equally baseless conspiracy theory from the White House before we know it, and the hearing that took place on Monday – not to mention the time the FBI was forced to waste "investigating" his delusions – will be repeated in the future. One certainty is that patience for playing a redundant and pointless game is not infinite, at least for an adult. A toddler will throw his sippy cup on the floor a thousand times just for the joy of watching you have to pick it up. At some point you simply stop giving it back.

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32 Responses to “PATIENCE IS A FINITE RESOURCE”

  1. Andrew Laurence Says:

    Today marks exactly two months in office. Two is less than three, sure, but why not just say two?

    Your analogy is flawed because while your toddler is throwing the sippy cup to get your attention, he/she is not destroying the country on the side while you're focused on the sippy cup. Trump is. He's not stupid; he's evil and a Russian asset.

  2. Lless Says:

    He is manipulating the process to find out what intelligence has got on him.

  3. April Says:

    "..former NSA intelligence analyst John Schindler provided some insight into the reaction of national security officials.
    “Now we go nuclear,” he wrote on Twitter. “[Intelligence community] war going to new levels. Just got an [email from] senior [intelligence community] friend, it began: ‘He will die in jail.'”

    This is what keeps me going.

  4. Sarah Says:

    Anyone who pulls this shit without being born into daddy's money would be working the Quizno's line right now, but how do you ignore someone who you can't ignore. Because the more he's ignored, the most he says something outrageous for the attention. Should the right be majorly stroking his ego on the few things that he's not fucking up for them?!

    He's going to kill us all.

  5. Huntly Says:

    https://www.google.ae/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=secret+service+laptop&*

  6. Whitt Staircase Says:

    Still, it is not as if all previous congressional hearings were serious & substantive, with no political agendas being exercised. Political posturing is as old as politics (before that, it was just regular posturing). One of the reasons Fat Orange was able to slither into office is the disgust that many people felt for politics-as-usual, & their impression that things would change if Schmuck L'Orange got in. Surprise: we get even more politics-as-usual with a side order of incompetence in the executive branch.

  7. Jestbill Says:

    What would they have done about the sippy cup on tRumper Room?

  8. Dave Dell Says:

    57 news channels and all of them broadcasting 24/7. The millions of active blogs and websites … The supply of "patience for wackaloon thoughts" has grown exponentially in my lifetime.

  9. democommie Says:

    "One of the reasons Fat Orange was able to slither into office is the disgust that many people felt for politics-as-usual, & their impression that things would change if Schmuck L'Orange got in."

    A convenient meme to explain away all sorts of Rapepublican skullduggery. From gerrymandering through obstructionism to vote suppression/tampering and NOW maybe having some of Vlad's techies helping out during Trumpligula's campaign it's not only an uneven playing field–the whole fucking game is rigged.

    Trumpligula is not really destroying the country. Bannon and Miller, along with various cabinet members and the enabling if not outright complicity of a Congress full of Trumpbaggistfuckwitz are doing that job–while tsk, tsking about the "special snowflakes" who are (rightly, btw) complaining about their naked, corrupt, immoral, unethical and, almost certainly, unconstitutional overreach and misapplication of the powers alloted them.

    Trumpligula is just their useful idiot–right up until they have their very own Baathist Congress, ala Saddam Hussein's in 1979. This:

    "Saddam hurriedly convened an assembly of party leaders on July 22. During the assembly, which he ordered videotaped,[1] he claimed to have uncovered a fifth column within the party. Abdel-Hussein, broken after days of physical torture and under the threat of his family's execution, confessed to taking a leading role in a Syrian-backed plot against the Iraqi government and gave the names of 68 alleged co-conspirators. These were removed from the room one by one as their names were called and taken into custody. After the list was read, Saddam congratulated those still seated in the room for their past and future loyalty. Those arrested at the meeting were subsequently tried together and found guilty of treason. 22 were sentenced to execution. Those spared were given weapons and directed to execute their comrades.[2][3]"

    is from here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1979_Ba'ath_Party_Purge

    and,no, I didn't google up the original sources.

    I did see the video that circulates on the internet in its original form, on Frontline (IIRC), years ago.

  10. mothra Says:

    It seems to me that the Republicans in Congress have infinite patience and are even helping Toddler Trump toss his sippy cup to the ground.

    Andrew Laurence: has it only been two months? Feels like two centuries to me.

    April: He's not going to jail. The only way he would go to jail is if someone prosecuted him. Who's going to prosecute him?

  11. NC_Nate Says:

    My representative, a Club for Growth man through and through and a 110% booster of the president for the last year, finally admitted today that he will not vote for Trumpcare. If that guy is against it, it is going down in flames. It would have been his signature "achievement" and, aside from the stupid wall, is the thing he ran on from the very beginning. If it fails while Trump is pushing for it hard, it's the beginning of the whole thing falling apart.

    I realize that is a small thing to hang your hopes on, but it really feels like patience is beginning to grow very thin.

  12. c u n d gulag Says:

    Hey, since the don't believe in evolution, or math, or science, we at least know that conservatives DO believe in at least ONE theory:
    Conspiracy Theory!

    They know that that's not just a theory, but a reality – because they start almost all of them.

    The list of other things they think are completely unimportant, include
    history, philosophy, poetry, literature. performing arts, etc., etc., etc…

    Conservatives live in a bubble of their own making.
    And no prick ever bursts their bubble, because that bubble is chock-full of pricks!

  13. cromartie Says:

    Now the need to respond to his fantasies and conspiracy theories eats into their time directly, time they would prefer to spend raising money, distributing the benefits of being in power, and passing some legislation.

    These are Congressional Republicans we're talking about here and, based on previous performance, we can conclude reasonably they have no intention of doing any of these things beyond raising money.

  14. Michael Says:

    Since the GOP platform is a bunch of loosely connected tinfoil hat conspiracy theories, I suspect they will have at least eight years of patience for what develops.

  15. democommie Says:

    @ cromartie:

    True. Otoh, Caeser fucked with his senates revenue streams, IIRC.

  16. Mo Says:

    Today someone revealed the existence of this to me:

    an illustrated bible of bad arguments

    Just think how much fun this could be in dealing with Trumpster Cheesers.

  17. April Says:

    @mothra – So I looked it up. Yeah, he would have to be impeached and then thrown out of office, THEN he could be indicted for treason. Ok, it's a long shot, but I think if the evidence I think exists exists, even most repugs would have to do something, wouldn't they?

    Wouldn't they?

    (Clinging to that hope like a drowning rat to a log….)

  18. April Says:

    @ Mo….that is super cool! Thanks!

  19. April Says:

    Realistically, I'm just waiting for the Reichstag fire to happen. I think we're going fascist before we get sane again.

    I've never hoped so strongly that I'm wrong.

  20. democommie Says:

    "Just think how much fun this could be in dealing with Trumpster Cheesers."

    I saw that and immediately thougnt, "Cheese Doodles? Nah,Cheese Doofuses.".

  21. NoelBp Says:

    Yes April – I don't doubt the strong possibility of a Reichstag fire but in the mean time President Drumpf is filling the various Sportspalasts throughout our fair land – poor Schikelgruber had only one in which to rally his poor boobs. Drumph is building a cadre of hyper screaming supporters who raise signs instead of arms – just wait until they are let loose by the Bannons et al when Drumph is dethroned and if justice prevails is tossed in the hoosegow.

  22. April Says:

    Noel – Schikelgruber had a smaller country to take over. Also too (wonkette) it appears that his cadre of supporters is getting smaller. Not that they won't be a factor, but what with the number of people who are actively mobilized against I think angry supporters are the least of our problems if/when the fascism comes. The key is which side the military and police go.

    Either way it's going to be bloody with uncertain results.

  23. democommie Says:

    @ April:

    That's why Trumpligula won't let his gunzloonz strumpetabteilung bring their CCW and "brandished" gunz to his Trumpligupalooza stadia shows. He doesn't want to tip his tiny hand by letting us know he has MILLYUNZZZZZZZZZ of armed militias ready to to his bidding.

  24. Robert Walker-Smith Says:

    That there are people who are starting to say, "hey, wait, this isn't what we wanted when we voted for him" is somewhat heartening.

    That there are people who are saying, "yes, this is EXACTLY what we wanted, more please" is very much not.

    I'm hoping that the first group somehow outscreeches the second.

  25. democommie Says:

    I'm pretty sure that the second group is bleeding into the first, a little slower than some would like but it's happening. With each new and devestatingly stupid tantrumpictweet a few more people who didn't get the, "EVERYBODY gets fucked, not just YOUR enemies!", body language, bearing and–let's face it–OBVIOUS insanity of La Sauveur l'orange.

    I was having a kwesadilla and MurKKKan pint (14 or so ounces) of Ithaca's #9 last night. The guy on the next stool and I started talking about the quality of various restaurants in town (not a fruitful conversation, in itself) and then it got into the politics. He says that "Welfarestate,argle,bargle,deepstateNSA…". I said, "There is NO fucking 'deep state'. Who killed Kennedy? I don't know and 54 years out, I don't even give a fuck. Welfare budgets, aside from Medicare and SS, since 1965 are prolly STILL less than what we "Welfared" the Ponzibanktraderz with back in 2008. People who work at minimum wage jobs and bring home about $16K/per, after buying groceries and paying market rates have NO money to save. College students who graduate with anything from $40-200K in student loan debt will be paying those bills, instead of mortgages on homes, for about the same period of time unless they are 'legacied' by familial connections or are in the relatively small %age of truly exceptional graduates.". I actually went on in that vein for a while, without getting punched.

    He's a Trumpligula supporter. He thinks unions are a nuisance. He works at National Grid. How the fuck do you even begin to reach people whose selfishness/ignorance/fear is in that "deep state"?

  26. Mo Says:

    Trumpster Cheeser regret? Doubtful.

    According to this survey, Trump retains the passionate support of nearly his entire voting bloc

  27. democommie Says:

    Mo:

    I was one of those people that said, "Hilz ain't go the lock on the vote", despite a number of pollsters having her placed highly. I don't know a lot of republicans–few if any of them are gloating at the moment, even the pols.

    That in itself is meaningless. But, considering how much these same people will rag on me when it comes to my "Socializzzzzzzzzm" and the absolute glee they display when my BoSox, NEPats or BoBruins are getting pummeled by their faves, Yankees, Giants, Rangers I doubt that they're lying or being quiet in order to spare my feelings.

    The only "poll" that I pay any attention to is the one where they let me cast my vote.

    Not arguing with your numbers, just not thinking they're all that.

  28. Katydid Says:

    LOL @ "Cheeze Doofuses".

  29. Periscope Says:

    @April: When the top of the military and police chain of command have to submit to psychological exams as a prerequisite for their job, but the commander in chief does not, an inherent conflict of trust is set up – especially when the SCROTUS is saying stupid crazy shit. I'm guessing that the loyalist and the rational in command of the military would first fight among themselves. Us proles will have to watch and wait for the outcome. Go armed reasonable people! But, maybe not violence – just mutiny.

    It's spring! I'm planting daisies for sticking in gun barrels.

  30. Skepticalist Says:

    Too bad that we didn't put a real 3rd grader in the White House rather than a brainless twit.

    I'll believe that Trumpcare is dead when I see it. It's never too late for what used to be Republicans to catch the other side with their pants down.

  31. Brian M Says:

    Hmmmm. Interesting REASON for wiretapping?

    The FBI found out about one of The Tangerine Menace's little real estate deals?

    Nice tenants you got there, Your Fraudulency Donald the Trump

    March 21, 2017 by badtux99

    FBI wiretapped a Russian gambling ring headquartered at Trump Tower. Only three floors below Trump’s own apartment. Not just a gambling ring, they specialized in extortion and money laundering too.

    Donald Trump’s connections with the Russian Mafia are extensive. They rent his apartments and hotel rooms, they buy his houses, they lend money to him, he is, basically, up to his shoulderbones in Russian mafiosos. What do they have on him, and how much have they shared with Russian intelligence?

    – Badtux the Not-Russian Penguin

  32. democommie Says:

    @ Brian M:

    Wow, it's like "The Anderson Tapes" all over again.