LOCK HIM UP: Cable star says yay yay yay!

FRIDAY, JUNE 16, 2017

Epilogue—Locking Pence up:
Yesterday, Vice President Pence acknowledged the fact that he has hired a lawyer.

More precisely, he has hired "a personal criminal defense lawyer to guide him through the various investigations encircling the White House," according to this news report in the New York Times.

The Times report appears today at the bottom on page A20. In reality, no one is actually surprised to learn that Pence has hired a lawyer. The Times report downplays the significance of the hire in the following manner:
RUIZ (6/16/17): Mr. Pence, who had little relationship with the president before joining the campaign ticket just before last July’s Republican convention, is most likely a peripheral figure in the government’s inquiry into Russia’s interference in the election and potential collusion with members of the Trump campaign...

But as the special counsel investigation progresses—focusing increasingly on the president himself and his actions in office—the vice president’s account as a possible witness may become more relevant.
Pence will be wanted as a witness, the New York Times seems to believe.

(Warning: If we lock Trump up, and Pence takes over, he could possibly get some bills passed!)

For all we know, Pence could turn out to be the globe's top criminal mastermind. That said, no one was surprised that he hired a lawyer, a behavior which is quite routine when a chase like this is on.

Last night, the topic arose during Anderson Cooper's program. Shortly after 8:30 Eastern, Jeffrey Toobin and Alan Dershowitz spoke to the CNN star.

What did Cooper's legal panel think about the hire? They thought it was a nothingburger! The segment started with this:
COOPER (6/15/17): Jeff Toobin, the fact that the Vice President Pence has retained an outside attorney to deal with the special counsel, it's not only his right to do so, I assume any lawyer worth his salt would recommend it and it, obviously, doesn't mean he did anything wrong?

TOOBIN: That's exactly right. I mean, there have been many, many significant developments in this investigation recently. Mike Pence hiring a lawyer is not one of them. I mean he is, obviously, going to be interviewed at some point. There may be document requests. He did the prudent thing in hiring a lawyer. But I don't think it suggests anything about any possible culpability on his part. It's a non-event.
"It's a non-event," Toobin said.

Dershowitz didn't comment at all. The discussion moved to an ongoing debate between the two men about the possibility that Donald J. Trump has committed obstruction of justice.

That dismissive exchange about the hire occurred just after 8:30 PM. A half hour later, another major corporate star explosively went on the air.

In her world, the fact that Pence has hired a lawyer ranked up there with Babe Ruth's sixty home runs and the bombing of Hiroshima. As usual, her program was built around our great tribal dream, the dream of locking them up.

Rachel Maddow started last night's program with a rambling 22-minute segment. It was built around the pleasing fact that Pence had hired a lawyer.

On CNN, it was a non-event. On the Maddow Show, it was a glorious chance to pleasure us rubes with our greatest tribal desire.

Maddow started in a familiar old way. She pleasured us with a loving review of all the Republicans who got indicted during Watergate and, in the Reagan years, as part of the Iran-Contra scandal.

According to Maddow's loving recital, "nineteen people were indicted in the Watergate scandal." Later, in Iran-contra, "fourteen Reagan Administration officials were indicted, criminally charged in that scandal, up to and including the serving Secretary of Defense."

"They both happened to be scandals from Republican presidencies," the cable star reminded us at one point. In this way, she made sure that we'd ingest the key nutrients in her porridge.

Over the course of her endless segment, the cable star went on and on, then on and on some more. But at 9:05, she introduced her central theme:

Mike Pence has hired a lawyer! We learned this fact today!

There followed a convoluted but familiar recitation of all the Mueller-led investigations which may be under way. At 9:14, she introduced a key figure:

She introduced us to Richard Cullen, Mike Pence's newly-hired lawyer.

By now, we were so deep in the weeds that children of Maddow's viewers were acquiring lime tick disease as they slept in their beds. There followed an utterly pointless eight-minute history of Cullen's legal career. Inevitably, the history was built around this claim:

"One of the things he is known for in his career is the very interesting role he has had in other big Republican presidential scandals."

Yay yay yay yay yay yay yay! Tribally, that sounded good!

Cullen sereved as a lawyer during Iran-contra, Maddow now revealed. And then, at long last, we were rewarded! We were handed one of this cable star's patented "Maddow tales!"

It started at 9:18. As she neared the end of her segment, Maddow spent several minutes pretending that Cullen had also served as a lawyer during the Watergate probe.

That pleasing assertion was false. But this kind of "truthful hyperbole" is the sort of service we liberals get, night after night, from this corporate seller of cars.

If you want to punish yourself this weekend, watch the tape of this 22-minute segment. If you do, be advised that the closing story about Richard Cullen, Watergate lawyer is, alas, factually false.

Whatever! Also this:

As you watch this endless piffle, try to remember that this whole segment was built around yesterday's "non-event." But also, remember the role this nonsense plays in our current tribal culture.

It's as we've told you all week long. In the hands of corporate stooges like Maddow, our approach is increasingly clear:

We lose elections all over the country, partly because stooges like Maddow mug and clown and entertain us and keep refusing to fight. After we manage to lose these elections, we then try to lock them up!

We hope and pray that the FBI can catch the winners in some sort of crime. We pretend we've staged a resistance.

We pray the courts will reject their executive orders. We know we can't win public debates, and so we pray for this!

Maddow is skillful at selling the car. Last night, the car was built around a "non-event."

We even got a "Maddow tale." The pleasing tale was false. But it felt so good going down!

Coming next week: "Ridiculous us!" An award-winning look at our tribe in action

Concerning Maddow transcripts: As best we can tell, MSNBC has stopped producing transcripts for the little people.

The channel still has a transcript site. But it hasn't posted a Maddow transcript since May 16. In its typical sketchy way, the channel hasn't explained why this service has ceased.

The channel still posts transcripts on Nexis, but you have to pay for that. As ratings and corporate profits go up, services seem to go down.

The world of the suits can be like that. Lawrence just won a rich new contract. As with the GOP, so too here:

Cutbacks in services to us rubes will pay for his third or fourth home.


  1. I have students who are undocumented. For them, there is no pretense to resistance. It matters that California is a sanctuary state. Others are battling against the defunding of community programs that have aided other constituencies. For them, this is a real resistance too. But Somerby is no doubt comfortable and sheltered from the depradations of Trump's administration. So, this is a nothingburger to him.

    "(Warning: If we lock Trump up, and Pence takes over, he could possibly get some bills passed!)"

    By many accounts, Pence has been delegated more power than any previous Vice President and is the person who is actually running this administration while Trump fiddles with his tweets and fumes and postures on the world stage.

    If Pence becomes President, it seems unlikely he will do any better than Trump has done at advancing legislation and remaking our government. Pence is already President for most intents. Why doesn't Somerby know this?

    I don't care what Maddow does on her show. I also am not willing to stipulate that Pence has no reason for concern about his role in the current investigations. He pretends to be uninvolved, to be a background character and people are taking him as a traditional VP, sidelined with only ceremonial duties. I do not believe that is what is happening and it may be that he is central to corruption and fully involved since joining the campaign. We do not know. So Toobin has no more basis for assuming Pence is uninvolved than I have for believing he may have been a player. But lawyering up suggests he has some reason to protect himself. We just don't know from what.

    Somerby thinks Maddow should be fighting for the liberal cause. Maddow doesn't think that is her job. MSNBC is hiring right-wing talent these days. Her primary focus is bound to be ratings because she no doubt wants to keep her job at MSNBC. That means manufacturing interest while not actually advancing any liberal agenda. Hard to claim she hasn't done an excellent job at that.

    It was bad when Fox was the propaganda organ for conservatism. Now Somerby argues that Maddow should be part of a liberal propaganda organ. But if she does that, she gets criticized too, for feeding liberals raw meat. If Maddow created the kind of stats-filled informative show that bored everyone on NPR in its early days, she would be off-the-air. Even liberals wouldn't listen. John Oliver knows how to do it, but not everyone is creative and has his imagination in presenting dry info in an engaging way. He is already promoting liberals aims, but maybe Somerby could aim Maddow his direction so we can have two effective promoters of liberal issues? Would MSNBC stand for that? I doubt it.

    So, what's a Maddow to do?

    1. Lawrence O'Donnell won his rich new contract because of viewer protests. That resistance kept a liberal voice, however imperfect, on the air.

      Those who have presented their concerns at town meetings, expressing their fear that health care will go away or become too expensive to afford, exerted pressure on legislators that has slowed the repeal of ACA. That too is resistance and it has been effective, not pretend.

      Why must Somerby offend readers here in gratuitous ways while making whatever indirect point he has in mind?

      His comment about resistance being pretend only makes sense if you assume he thinks a Sanders-style revolt is the only real resistance.

      He says we didn't vote, but we gave Clinton the majority and manipulation of the process via foreign intervention, WikiLeaks and Comey stole our victory. He says we want to take back the presidency by locking up the "winner." Of course we do! We want justice and a fair democratic process.

      Somerby's remarks only make sense if you assume Trump won the election fair and square. Only Republicans believe that. No liberal does. Does Somerby? He seems to be implying that. He has no sympathy for our distress over the stolen election. He seems to think there is no point to prosecuting the criminals now in office. What kind of liberal thinks that?

      I am coming to agree with whoever has been repeatedly commenting here that Somerby is no liberal. No liberal would spend the end of every post telling us we are crap because we didn't win. Perhaps he thinks WE should be the ones colluding with the Russians next time -- oh, wait, Bernie already tried that.

    2. Anon. @ 12:42: You write: "Somerby argues that Maddow should be part of a liberal propaganda organ." You do not seem to realize that your tenses are confused. Maddow IS part of a propaganda organ. You also seem to think that her job as a journalist (she has described herself as a journalist) is not to investigate and report the news, but to "manufacture interest"?
      You would benefit from reading "Manufacturing Consent" by Herman and Chomsky. Perhaps it will be an eye-opening effort for you.

    3. Chomsky has always been something of an idiot from an academic perspective. Why shouldn't he be the same when dealing with political issues? I am not interested in reading Chomsky. His writing on linguistics is unreadable. I assume his book on media would be the same. In any case, it is outdated. I can create my own paranoid outlook from more recent sources.

      For example, what does Chomsky say about the role of social media in the last election? Anyone Gen-X and younger is not watching TV to get news.

    4. Lol, so delusional. Your beaners are headed South. Soon!

    5. Actually, Trump today decided to preserve the Dream Act, so no, they will be staying and finishing college. Not sure why he would make an exception for them, but maybe the optics of tossing out good kids who did nothing wrong themselves would be too harsh, even for him.

    6. Lol, so Anglin. Your 2nd-rate trolls are 5th-rate. Now!

  2. Not too long ago Somerby was critical of media giving Pence the benefit of assuming Flynn lied to him. Somerby seemed to be suggesting Pence may have known of Flynn's conduct before it was revealed and was lying when he defended Flynn.

    Flynn lying to Pence was the official excuse Trump gave for firing Flynn. We now know the official excuse for firing Comey was false. The Tweeting President may reveal something about Flynn's firing that could put Pence in the investigative crosshairs.

  3. Bombshell! Bob's narrative on Trump's claim of not being investigated falls apart.

    Trump confirms he is being investigated, furthermore he admits that he has been investigated for the last seven months.

    Trump's tweet:

    "After 7 months of investigations & committee hearings about my "collusion with the Russians," nobody has been able to show any proof. Sad!"

  4. Mr Trump's lawyer has hired a lawyer.


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