In which we're chastised by the gods!

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 8, 2017

Al Franken's appearance with Lawrence:
Late last night, we found ourselves chastised by the gods.

First, though, let's channel the late John Lennon. Let's try to imagine something:

At this time of moral stampede, have you ever imagined a possibility? Have you ever imagined the possibility that much of what we liberals say is just silly scripted cant, as is the case Over There?

At this time of moral stampede, you ought to consider that possibility. We think of what happened just last night when Al Franken was Lawrence O'Donnell's guest.

Senator Franken came on The Last Word to say that Jeff Sessions has perjured himself. As became clear long ago during some of his greatest meltdowns, this general topic is right up Lawrence's alley.

The nonsense began with the throw from Rachel. Here's what the cable stars said:
O'DONNELL (3/7/17): Hey Rachel, we have an open invitation to Jeff Sessions to come on the program. He has not made it yet, but tonight we do have Senator Al Franken, whose question created this gigantic Jeff Sessions controversy.

Is it perjury? We'll ask Senator Franken if he believes it's perjury, we will roll the tape of exactly what was said. Which today, as you know, in the Judiciary Committee, they had a fight, the chairman arguing about what was actually said in the video where Al Franken asked that question—

MADDOW: As if we don't have a record of it, as if we can't all check it—

O'DONNELL: Yes, and in the hearings, Senator Franken said to the chairman, "Show—just check the video."
Sad! "As if we don't have a record of it, as if we can't all check it," Rachel said.

This was Rachel's way of suggesting that the videotape interprets itself. Rachel Maddow was talking down to us liberal speak-chuckers again!

That said, we liberals seem to love that treatment, or so last night's program suggested. Lawrence started with a monologue about lying. Along with the evils of Mormonism, it's one of Lawrence's favorite topics. The topic has led to some of his most famous meltdowns.

Soon, Lawrence was priming the pump. "We've already seen a national security adviser forced to resign because of lying," he said. "We now have an attorney general caught in an apparent lie in his Senate confirmation hearing by Senator Al Franken, who will be joining us in a moment."

So far, Sessions only stood accused of an apparent lie. Much later, after much more than "a moment," that changed when Franken appeared.

Lawrence played videotape of the full exchange on February 10 between Franken and Sessions. After we got to watch the tape, this first Q-and-A occurred:
O'DONNELL (3/7/17): Was Jeff Sessions' response to you perjury?

FRANKEN: It is hard for me to draw any other conclusion given the letter that he wrote. We asked him, the Democrats on the committee, asked him why he didn't, in the seven weeks after he misled us there, why he didn't correct it. And the response is absurd.

He said, "Having considered my answer responsive and no one having suggested otherwise, there was no need for a supplemental answer." We, of course, didn't know he was giving us misinformation, so of course we wouldn't have asked for a supplemental response.

Look, this is very, very serious stuff. He's the second administration official who has lied about contact with the Russians, and this all goes to the fact that the Russians interfered with our elections.
This is very serious stuff, Franken said, even as he and Lawrence treated it like a joke.

Why do we offer that assessment? Consider what Franken had said.

Had Sessions engaged in perjury? According to Franken, it became hard to avoid that conclusion given the letter Sessions now sent to the committee at the start of this week. Forget what Sessions said at the hearing last month! The letter he sent the committee this week really revealed his crime!

What was so incriminating about Sessions' letter? Below, you see the part of the letter that really tipped Franken off. In this passage, Sessions was explaining why he hadn't supplemented his original testimony sooner:

"Having considered my answer [at the hearing] responsive, and no one having suggested otherwise, there was no need for a supplemental answer."

According to Sessions, he had considered his original answer to be responsive to Franken's question. Since no one had suggested otherwise, Sessions had seen no need to supplement what he'd said.

Franken ridiculed this statement, which had pretty much convinced him of Sessions' perjury. How could we have told him his answer wasn't responsive? the funnyman/senator thoughtfully asked. "We didn't know he was giving us misinformation" [at the original hearing].

Franken's point made perfect sense, except for the fact that it didn't. Might we offer a tiny guess as to what Sessions actually meant?

Did Sessions mean that no one on the Senate committee had "suggested otherwise"—had suggested that he supplement what his testimony? Or did he possibly mean that no one on his own staff had made such a suggestion?

We don't know, and neither does Franken. But so what? In line with the law of the moral stampede, Franken only considered the interpretation which convicted his target of crime.

(For Sessions' full letter, click here. The meaning of the sentence Franken quoted isn't clarified.)

This is what precisely happens at times of moral stampede. Such stampedes tend to make tribal players immoral, indignant and dumb.

Throughout the interview, Franken railed about that "absurd" statement by Sessions. With Lawrence eagerly egging him on, he kept saying that SEssions' letter had convinced him of Sessions' guilt:
O'DONNELL: In Jeff Sessions' letter to the committee, he said, "My answer was correct." Now that means that, if he was lying in his answer, then he's lying again in his letter?

FRANKEN: Yes. The letter really is, just sort of insults your intelligence in a way that is just mind boggling. That's why I say there's no other conclusion that can you can come to other than that he was lying and was committing perjury.

[...]

O`DONNELL: So just to clarify your own thinking on Jeff Sessions` testimony, you were given reason to suspect that there was perjury once it came out that he indeed had contacts with Russian officials, but it's his letter to the committee, combined with his testimony, that then leads you to the actual conclusion that he committed perjury?

FRANKEN: Yes. I can't come up with any other conclusion, but I would like him to come and testify before the committee, before—so he can at least explain this, but this letter is just ridiculous and insulting to anyone's intelligence.
Poor Franken! The letter insulted his intelligence, or so he kept insisting. Sadly, his specific complaint about the letter doesn't exactly make sense.

Late last night, the gods of Olympus came to us a dream. "What ever made you say, in the past, that Franken is smart?" they said.

The worst thing is, the gods weren't angry at us last night; they said they were just disappointed. Somehow, it always seems worse when they take that tack.

Why did we think that Franken was smart? From our vantage point in this time of stampede, it's a question we can't really answer.

23 comments:

  1. Bob! Obviously! Franken meant that only Sessions knew he'd talked with the Russian Ambassador, and that his statement under oath was therefore incorrect — and he'd had seven weeks to think about it (to remember that detail if he'd forgotten it), and notify the Senate committee of his omission.

    By "We didn't know he was giving us misinformation" Franken points out that, not knowing Sessions had talked with Kislyak, how could anyone on the committee possibly have "suggested" to Sessions that he should say anything about it?

    Come on, did this really need explanation?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
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  2. I just hope someone is looking after him now. Sad.

    ReplyDelete
  3. That quibble of Bob's about who might have "suggested otherwise" is a red herring because it changes nothing about the essential unresponsiveness of Sessions' letter. As an excuse for not correcting the record, it is lame no matter how you interpret it. The lameness, not the excuse, suggests deliberate perjury. Why is Somerby defending Sessions like this?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dave the Guitar PlayerMarch 9, 2017 at 12:19 PM

      I think you can see that Jeff is being "tried" in the court of public opinion (stress opinion) and many Democratic partisans are jumping on the bandwagon to make Sessions look as bad as possible. Bob, on the other hand, is not defending Sessions, but pointing out that in a "real" court, Sessions will get the benefit of reasonable doubt (innocence) and would not likely be convicted with the available evidence, since the statements can be interpreted in different ways. This will ultimately make the whole affair appear to be a "witch hunt" and damage the credibility of all those involved with the general public (not partisan). Why not just wait for the investigation (real evidence)before we string them up?

      Delete
    2. It must have been the Benghazi witch hunt turning out to be nothing which won Hillary Clinton the title of 45th President of the United States in a landslide.
      Sessions is a racist and a perjurer.

      Delete
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    husband and I have been
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    life. So as time went on, I
    began to notice this strange
    attitude that he was
    possessing. He was now going
    out with other girls, to the
    extent that he was no longer
    picking up my calls, and he
    was not even sleeping in my
    house anymore. I became
    confused and didn't know what
    to do anymore. So i
    became worried and stranded,
    that brought so many
    thoughts into my mind, because I
    have never experienced
    a thing like this before in my life.
    So I decided to visit a spell
    caster, to see if he can help
    me out. So immediately I went
    to the internet, where I
    saw an amazing testimony of a
    spell caster who brought
    someone's ex lover back,so I
    contacted him immediately
    and I explained to him all my
    problems and he told me
    that it will be very easy for him
    to solve, compare to the
    ones he has done before. And he
    also gave me some
    proof to be really sure of her
    work, and he assured me
    that my husband will come back
    to me immediately after
    he is through with the spell
    casting. And also he told me
    to put all my trust in him and I
    really obeyed him.
    So it was 8:00 am on the next
    morning, when I was about
    going to work, when i received
    my husband's call, and he
    told me that he was coming back
    home, and he apologized
    to me, and told me that he is
    very sorry for the pain that
    he has cost me. And after some
    hours later, he really came
    back home, and that was how we
    continued our marriage
    with lots of love and happiness,
    and our love was now
    stronger than how it were
    before.
    And these great man also told
    me that once my heart
    desire has been granted unto me
    that i should go and
    testify of his work right here on
    the internet. Right now I
    am the happiest woman on earth
    today as I am writing
    this testimony, and I want to
    really thank
    dr alexzander for
    bringing back my
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    love to my family.so you
    all there having dificulties or the
    other don,t worry every
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    contact him on these email
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    ReplyDelete
  5. In line with the law of the self righteous, funnyman/pundit Somerby only considered the interpretation which convicted his targets of tribalism.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi, my husband and I have been together 17 years are married for 5, I recently had a one night stand with a man and I told my husband about it, he basically said ok we will get through this, a week later I found out that for months he has been talking to women on adult chat rooms, I’m upset about this and now we keep arguing over everything that’s happened. I suggested counselling but he won’t go, last night he said he can’t get passed this and wants a divorce, I love him very much and I want to stay with him, we have 2 children ages 7 and 5 and I know their hearts will break. We also own 2 businesses together and I don’t want things to get messy. Please give advice, I don’t know what to do anymore. basically and recently i found out about a love site on how to stop marriage divorce and get your husband back fix up your broken relationship, coz some many have testify about this love site created by Dr happy the spell caster which i also contacted about my marriage with my husband trying to get me divorce so i sent him an email regarding my problem with my husband so he gave me the best assurance that i will have my husband back, to love and to cherish me more forever i never believe in this coz it was my first time so i put all faith in him and god so the next day after the spell, my husband call and come back home with some surprise gift, and go down on his ness apology and feel so sorry about the past and how he treated me. my husband is madly in love with me again all grateful and thankful to Dr happy the indeed he is a genuine spellcaster.contact him via happylovespell2@gmail.com
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    ReplyDelete
  7. Why do you allow so much spam in your comments Bob?

    ReplyDelete
  8. I could be wrong and often am but I always thought the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth meant just that (unless you're a cop testilying). Sessions gave testimony Franken didn't ask for, so what, it still needs to be truthful. Sessions knew he was lying when he said he had "no contact" with Russian officials. He's guilty of perjury and I am sure that if I, as an ordinary citizen, did the same thing I would be in deep trouble. He's now the head law enforcement official in government. I would think this position needs to have someone with unimpeachable honesty. He does not have that and should resign.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Think about this more but this time ask yourself why someone would volunteer a "lie" about no contact with Russians, knowing that records are kept and others were present at at least one of the meetings. It will be painful to analyze these events dispassionately but the alternative is reaching the wrong conclusion.

      Delete
    2. 11:25 PM,
      I don't see a liberal doing such a thing, knowing that records are kept and others were present at at least one of the meetings. The mainstream media would never stand for such a thing, from a liberal, and would chase this down for a decade if needed.

      Delete
  9. Once, long ago, when the Daily Howler server a useful purpose, Bob tended to write very carefully. He would take some foolishness, sometimes related by our side, and take it apart with care, until the motive more or less spoke for itself. But now no one takes The Daily Howler less seriously than Bob, he writes like a seventh grader who has been told he is clever too often.
    Trump has revealed, in his attitude toward the truth and other matters, a degerate mantality. Sessions has been a toady for Trump and endorsed that Degenerate aspect, many Americans view this as a national emergency.
    Yet Bob may well argue it is critical we behave with fairness and integrity even towards those we regard as degenerate, that being the backbone of a society one can respect.
    Yet that is not what we get here, we get the seventh grader. Bob is so fulsome it's hard to tell what he's even snarking about. Bob's old whipping posts, at MSNBC and elsewhere, are shaming him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Daily Howler never served a useful purpose. Bob Somerby is a whiner given voice by the creation of the initiative of Al Gore.

      Back when we had real gatekeepers, old cranks like Bob would never have been heard from.

      Delete
  10. Sessions is a racist AND he lied under oath. So far he's winning Conservative Bingo in the Trump Administration.

    ReplyDelete
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  12. Hi, my husband and I have been together 17 years are married for 5, I recently had a one night stand with a man and I told my husband about it, he basically said ok we will get through this, a week later I found out that for months he has been talking to women on adult chat rooms, I’m upset about this and now we keep arguing over everything that’s happened. I suggested counselling but he won’t go, last night he said he can’t get passed this and wants a divorce, I love him very much and I want to stay with him, we have 2 children ages 7 and 5 and I know their hearts will break. We also own 2 businesses together and I don’t want things to get messy. Please give advice, I don’t know what to do anymore. basically and recently i found out about a love site on how to stop marriage divorce and get your husband back fix up your broken relationship, coz some many have testify about this love site created by Dr happy the spell caster which i also contacted about my marriage with my husband trying to get me divorce so i sent him an email regarding my problem with my husband so he gave me the best assurance that i will have my husband back, to love and to cherish me more forever i never believe in this coz it was my first time so i put all faith in him and god so the next day after the spell, my husband call and come back home with some surprise gift, and go down on his ness apology and feel so sorry about the past and how he treated me. my husband is madly in love with me again all grateful and thankful to Dr happy the indeed he is a genuine spellcaster.contact him via happylovespell2@gmail.com
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    ReplyDelete
  13. It seems to me you are being deliberately obtuse. Reread the Sessions letter.

    ReplyDelete
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