The New York Times exhumes Tailgunner Joe!

SATURDAY, JULY 15, 2017

Misfiring all the way down:
The New York Times does some horrible work at the top of this morning's front page.

The Times has dug up the bones of Tailgunner Joe. Covering the same news event, the Washington Post performs a hundred times more capably.

To what news event do we refer? Yesterday, the world learned that a previously unmentioned person was present at Donald Trump Junior's now-famous meeting in June 2016.

That person's name is Rinat Akhmetshin. As the Times begins its front-page report, try to catch the general gist of Eileen Sullivan's portrait:
SULLIVAN (7/15/17): Soviet Veteran Says He, Too, Met Trump, Jr.

He is a veteran of the Red Army, photographed in the 1980s with fellow soldiers in a Russian birch forest.
He collects fine art, likes opera and owns a nearly $2 million townhouse in trendy Logan Circle, in the center of Washington. He often zips around the city on a bright orange bicycle.

On Friday, Rinat Akhmetshin, the Soviet army veteran, revealed another detail of an exotic life: He was one of the people at the meeting Donald Trump Jr. had with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower on June 9, 2016.

The presence of Mr. Akhmetshin adds another development to the evolving narrative about the gathering, which Donald Trump Jr. arranged after learning that a Russian lawyer claimed to have damaging information about Hillary Clinton. The news of Mr. Akhmetshin’s attendance shows how the story of the meeting keeps changing and has increased pressure on the White House to offer a more comprehensive account of what happened.

Mr. Akhmetshin, a naturalized American citizen who talks openly of his past in a K.G.B. counterintelligence unit focused on hunting spies in the Russian military, is well known in diplomatic and media circles in Washington, where he has worked for years on behalf of business and political interests in Russia and other former Soviet states.
Did you catch the general gist of this portrait? Let's simplify it for our lizards:
Akhmetshin, a veteran of the Red Army, speaks openly about his work for the KGB!
Sullivan is telling a scary story, evoking the scary work once perfected by Tailgunner Joe.

As it turns out, Sullivan actually knows very little about Akhmetshin's service in that scary "Red Army." According to Akhmetshin, he spent two years in the Soviet army as a teenager, after having been drafted. There is no sign in this Times report that Sullivan knows anything different.

But so what? At these highly exciting times, the androids are doing a lot of misfiring. At the Washington Post, by way of contrast, the journalists manage to keep themselves under control today as they handle this same topic.

Sullivan wasn't finished with her colorful evocations of Akhmetshin's scary behavior in those Russian birch forests. First, though, she entertained us a bit:
SULLIVAN (continuing directly): It was in that capacity, Mr. Akhmetshin said in an interview on Friday, that he accompanied a Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, to the meeting as part of an effort to amend an American law known as the Magnitsky Act that sanctioned Russians for human rights abuses. The 2012 law infuriated President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, whose government retaliated by restricting adoptions of Russian children by Americans.

Mr. Akhmetshin, who wears his curly hair high in a manner that associates compare to the protagonist in the 1977 cult-classic horror film “Eraserhead,” said in the interview that he took part in the meeting at the request of Ms. Veselnitskaya. He said he had no ties to the Kremlin.

“I am a target of well-coordinated and financed smear campaign,’’ he said in a text message.
Sullivan writes for a major newspaper whose biggest stars have focused, in the past, on Mayor Giuliani's comb-over, on Candidate Gore's bald spot, and on Candidate Edwards' $400 haircuts.

Its stars have even profiled Candidate Romney's hair stylist, on page one no less! In a related bit of clowning, Sullivan thus moved from Akhmetshin's pogrom-laced past to his amusing hair style.

That said, she wasn't through with the scary stuff about Akhmetshin's work in those forests for the KGB. As she continued, she finally let him have his say, then gave her readers another good scare with another colorful passage:
SULLIVAN (continuing directly): He described his time in the military as routine, serving from 1986 to 1988, like “millions of other Soviet boys.” He said he left the military with the rank of sergeant.

NBC News first reported Mr. Akhmetshin’s role in the Donald Trump Jr. meeting, but did not identify him. He first confirmed to The Associated Press that he attended the meeting.

Mr. Akhmetshin has boasted to associates that he had served in the military with a group known as the Osoby Otdel, or Special Section, which in the Soviet period was a division of the K.G.B. The group was distinct from the G.R.U., or Main Intelligence Directorate of the defense ministry, an organization with which he has denied any affiliation.
In 1986, Akhmetshin was 18 years old. There is no sign in Sullivan's report that his claim—his claim that he served two years as a teen-aged draftee—is anything other than accurate.

(On-line, the Times eventually shows us that photograph of their man, with his comrades, in that scary forest. The gentlemen do indeed look like teens. Decent people can perhaps feel sorry for very young men forced to perform such service.)

There is no sign that Akhmetshin's claim is anything other than accurate.That said, Sullivan wanted to give us one more thrill ride in this general area.

And so we're told that Akhmetshin "has boasted" about the service he gave the KGB. It actually wasn't the GRU, we're also skillfully told.

(As readers, you should always be wary when reporters turn to the insinuative verbs "boasted" and "bragged." Absent very careful reporting, the use of these insinuative terms tends to be a weapon aimed at a disfavored figure.)

As he ponders Sullivan's work, Tailgunner Joe is smiling in his grave. Sensible people will simply say, "There they go again"—a weary reference to the fact that the androids tend to misfire, sometimes badly, at thrilling times like these.

Over at the Washington Post, Helderman and Hamburger wrote a lengthy front-page report about this same new figure. To their credit, they managed to keep themselves under control, starting out like this:
HELDERMAN AND HAMBURGER (7/15/17): A Russian American lobbyist and veteran of the Soviet military said Friday that he attended a June 2016 meeting between President Trump’s oldest son and a Kremlin-connected lawyer.
In truth, we're not sure that Akhmetshin's military service belongs in paragraph one at all. But after that, you have to read all the way to paragraph 25 to find another reference to that military service.

That scary service in the Red Army is played for scares in today's Times. By way of contrast, the Post engages in behavior which resembles actual journalism:
HELDERMAN AND HAMBURGER: Akhmetshin [is] a controversial figure. In a letter this spring to U.S. government officials, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) described Akhmetshin as a person who “apparently has ties to Russian intelligence.”

Akhmetshin said he never worked as an intelligence agent, but he did say he was drafted as a teenager and served for two years in a unit of the Soviet military that had responsibility for law enforcement issues as well as some counterintelligence matters. He immigrated to the United States in 1993 and gained citizenship in 2009.

“I was not an intelligence officer. Never,” he said.
To its credit, the Post managed to report what is known in this area without throwing the scary terms KGB and GRU all around. For what it's worth, Akhmetshin would have been 25 or 26 when he came to the U.S.

That said, we'll offer one small word of warning concerning Grassley's scary statement.

The scary letter Helderman cites can be seen here. In that scary letter, Grassly quickly voices scary claims about Akhmetshin's "apparent ties to Russian intelligence."

We don't know what sorts of ties may, or may not, exist. We do know this:

Grassley's scary claims are sourced, in footnotes 3 and 4, to a Politico report. The claims he sources to that report are, simply put, not present in that report.

In reality, the scary claims are made in a report by the Daily Caller, an org which may perhaps be less trustworthy. But even there, the Grassley letter quotes the claims in a very slippery manner, heightening the sense of what the Caller actually said.

The androids were apparently misfiring in this tired old hack's office too. Remember this as your favorite liberal stars excitedly sell you this claim from this Republican hack.

Have Donald Trump Junior, or his associates, engaged in illegal or unethical conduct? There are several areas in which the Trump camp could turn out to have broken the law (or not).

They may have helped the Russkies direct "fake news" at voters deemed susceptible (or not). In that instance, they would have been playing an active role in a full-blown election operation which was plainly illegal.

Beyond that, they may helped the Russkies with the dissemination of stolen emails (or not). Presumably, that too would be baldly illegal. (We'll note that some news orgs now screaming about this had a field day pimping those stolen emails all around. They often did so in the most ludicrous and irrelevant manner.)

It isn't clear that anything illegal occurred at that now-famous meeting. (It's also true that no one actually knows, at this point, what did occur at that meeting.)

Based on what is currently known, the conduct at that meeting doesn't rise to the level of the possible scenarios sketched above. But having said that, we'll also say this:

We find it instructive to see major journalists squealing and complaining about the apparent attempt, by Trump Junior, to access information from that Russian lawyer, who may or may not have been a Russian government lawyer. Here's why we find that instructive:

We have said, for many years, that information and facts play almost no role in our discourse. Our "journalists" work from novelized scripts. Again and again and again and again, our "journalism" is novelization all the way down.

Trump Junior says he wanted information about Candidate Clinton. Our journalists are currently avoiding that term, recasting it as "dirt."

We aren't fans of scandal campaigning. But we find it amusing, in a dark way, to see our journalists shrieking, squealing and complaining about an apparent attempt to attain information. As we've told you for many years, it's something they themselves would almost never do!

That front-page report in this morning's Times is pure perfect novelized crap. The androids are misfiring badly today. At our most famous least competent paper, they're misfiring all the way down.

Tailgunner Joe loved the Times report. Citizens, how about you?

Also these: Two additional points:

Here's the headline at TPM: "Former Soviet Counterintel Officer Says He Was In The Room With Don, Jr. Too"

We'll grant you, that's scary/exciting. We should also mention this:

In a 37-paragraph, front-page report, the Washington Post never got around to describing Akhmetshin's wonderfully comical hair. At the Times, a possible android went there in paragraph 6!

54 comments:

  1. Once again Somerby tries to convince us that Trump and his son are innocent because two newspapers couldn't figure out how to prove that a Russian agent was actually connected to the Russian government, other than by referring obliquely to his military service.

    Somerby thinks that the plausible deniability cultivated by people who work in the shadows should and does afford them cover when their wrongdoings are discovered. He doesn't come right out and call this a witch hunt, like Trump has been doing, but he calls it a "chase" and he blames the media for smearing the upright citizens now serving in the White House.

    Does Somerby think Russian agents go around with ID cards and willingly admit "Yes, I am proud to be serving Mother Russia!" whenever anyone asks? Apparently he does. He never asks why this man was present at this meeting. Nor does he ask why no one admitted his presence until the info accidentally came out. Somerby never asks why no story told by any of these participants makes any sense.

    Here are the parts of today's coverage that are not novelized crap: (1) this guy attended the meeting with Don Jr.; (2) he has no legitimate reason for being there on the face of his stated credentials; (3) he was not mentioned by Kushner or Trump Jr. or anyone else at the meeting until forced to by news reports; (4) no one has stated what he was doing there; (5) nothing about his self-described background justifies his presence; (6) he says the lawyer left a secret file with either Trump or in the room because she arrived with it but did not leave with it; (7) he attended the meeting at the Russian lawyer's request; (8) she already had a translator with her there.

    Somerby -- the information promised to Trump Jr. was about Russian funding of the DNC. It wasn't about Clinton. It wouldn't be "dirt" but evidence of illegal fund raising by the Democratic Party organization. Oddly, that information was never made public. Other information obtained via Russian hacking was made public by Trump's campaign before it also appeared separately as leaked information on the internet. How do you think that happened if there was no communication, no collusion between Trump and Russian hackers?

    Somerby thinks the media should treat Trump as if he were innocent and as if anything he says is true -- even when his narratives do not fit objective facts and events about the campaign. That is not how journalism works. Trump's stories are falling apart because they are false and the news reporting is getting some of it right and some of it wrong, but the truth is coming out.

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    1. There is no illegality in what Don Jr. did. You'd like to criminalize the exchange of information because it would be a means to an end. The difference between people who would have made exemplary Nazi and Commie cultists and those who wouldn't.

      The truth is coming out and none of it will support the witch hunt. Trump will enjoy a full term, probably two, with little interference in exercising his most important powers.

      Delete
    2. "the information promised to Trump Jr. was about Russian funding of the DNC. It wasn't about Clinton. It wouldn't be "dirt" but evidence of illegal fund raising by the Democratic Party organization."

      Is this sarcasm?

      Delete
    3. Nixon enjoyed a full term too. I don't think he enjoyed his partial second term as much.

      Delete
    4. @1:49

      Hillary is not the DNC and she had little connection to it. Even in Shattered it describes her frustration with it. She has complained about the DNC in interviews since the election. For example, the DNC failed to protect her database from hacking by Sanders and then did little to redress. The DNC failed to respond when informed their own computer had been hacked. If the DNC failed to monitor illegal contributions from Russia, that would not be on Clinton. There are similar suggestions that Russia funded Bernie and Jill Stein, as well as Trump.

      "Dirt" about Clinton implies some sort of scandal about her. If they had anything like that, it would have come out. Nothing did. Just a bunch of petty stuff about DNC staff trying to help Clinton and hurt Sanders and some cynical emails by John Podesta (none of them about funding from Russia).

      Similarly, the RNC is not Trump and Trump's campaign organization is separate from the RNC. Now that Trump is President, he is nominal party leader and has some influence over the RNC. Obama, not Clinton, was in that position in 2016.

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    5. Lame attempts by the Trump team to deflect by raising complaints against Hillary are par for the course. They are still doing it today -- suggesting that Hillary received info from Ukraine. That cover story carries as much weight as the explanation that the meeting was about Russian adoptions. The meeting was most likely about the hacking and disinformation campaign launched against Clinton by Russia on behalf of Trump (and apparently with his help).

      Delete
    6. 1:49

      "Just a bunch of petty stuff about DNC staff trying to help Clinton and hurt Sanders..."

      You are an ignorant slut. That fact is not "petty", it's really important. The DNC is not supposed to take sides in the primary,the fact that they did reeks to high heaven. And I don't care who hacked or leaked the information, whoever it was did us the service of exposing the rotting core of the Democratic party.

      Leroy

      Leroy

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    7. Oops, this was meant to be addressed to 1:58. I apologize for the error. And there's just one of me.

      Cheers!

      Leroy

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    8. No evidence the DNC took sides. Just one person who said some things they didn't act on, and a bunch of paranoid bros. Don't call me a slut again.

      Delete
    9. There was actually not much the DNC could have done to help either candidate. One thing they could have done however would have been to once and for all take Iowa and NH out of their special position of going first. Without Iowa and NH going first there would have been no Bernie.

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    10. 1:18

      You're right - ignorant should have sufficed. As far as no evidence, well... QED.

      And mm, I'm not sure I follow. Admitting my own ignorance. Is your contention an electoral college thing? Cuz it seems to me Bernie had wide support nationwide. Why would the state voting sequence have an effect? Hope you can enlighten me.

      Thanks,

      Leroy

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    11. How can you claim Bernie had wide support nationwide when he couldn't win an actual primary -- just states with caucuses that could be manipulated. Any place there was an actual primary vote, Sanders not only lost but showed much less support than his people claimed.

      Delete
    12. Hey Leroy, why don't you enlighten me first what specifically did the DNC do to affect the results?

      Iowa and NH are two of the least representative states in the union. Sanders win in NH gave him a win right off the bat. And that was predictable. If the DNC wanted to put their thumb on the scale they would have pushed Iowa and NH to the end of the line. It is a complete falsehood that Sanders ever had a chance. She beat him soundly and the race was effectively over by May. go take your sore red ass somewhere else.

      Delete
    13. Nah, I like it here. Smart people most the time, and I get a kick out of your posts.

      I take your point. Despite the fact that the DNC did anoint Hillary, despite that the leaked emails (not to mention Brazile) proved that this supposedly neutral organization was anything but, makes me angry. Yes, I was a Bernie supporter, and yes, I did end up voting for Hillary. But that shit stank, whether it made a difference or not. The DNC is rotten. So is the party – except for the progressive caucus.

      And I certainly take your point about state representation. ‘Twould be nice if we had a more parliamentary system. Can you imagine Trump in front of the British form of this? Ah, that would be sweet.

      Fantasies aside, I just wanted information. “Effectively over in May…”

      Why?

      Leroy

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    14. 5:20

      Alright, I’m the ignorant slut now. I don’t know what you mean. I suppose I could do some reserch on this, but perhaps you have some information at the ready? Truly, I just want to understand.

      And I’m still unabashadly pro-Sanders, but reality does intrude.

      Leroy

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    15. Leroy, I asked you to name anything specifically that the DNC did to effect the results of the Democratic presidential primary which Secretary Clinton won easily and decisively. You failed miserably in responding with anything concrete, mainly because as I said earlier, "There was actually not much the DNC could have done to help either candidate." You answered that the DNC anointed Secretary Clinton, as if that answers the question. You apparently have no idea how this works.

      I can't tell if you are a troll or just an ignorant immature child with no experience in these matters.

      You asked why was the democratic primary effectively over in May. Because by that point she had an insurmountable lead in pledged delegates. There are no winner take all primaries for the Democratic nomination, and by May the basic simple math said that Sanders would have had to win almost 80% of the remaining delegates to overtake her lead, a certain impossibility. Rather than withdraw with dignity, and unite the party against the abomination she was running against, his campaign then began begging the superdelegates to go against the will of the voters and switch to him, an astounding bit of bold hypocrisy since all along Sanders had been complaining about the SDs. His campaign degenerated from there into non-stop character assassination of Secretary Clinton consisting of smears promulgated by the wingnuts and Russians.

      The damage he did to her campaign was just enough to convince the pure self-righteous "progressives" to waste their votes on him or Putin friend, Jill Stein.

      Delete
  2. Here is the worse crime in today's NY Times. Trump is being described as expansive and genial with the press. They are all good buddies today because Trump is being warm and genuine and joking around with reporters. What a guy! Then he got peeved because no one reported on his warm genialness and passed along the self-serving stuff he said about the Rosenbergs (those were the REAL spies). No one apparently bothered to ask themselves why he was suddenly buttering up the press corps. They just decided he was in a good mood because he was going to visit another golf tournament.

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  3. The disgusting Sen. Joseph McCarthy told many lies, made up facts, and demonized people unfairly. But, he did get one basic item right: there were some Communists secretly in high positions in the government.

    The Dems and their media allies make up facts about Russia and demonize people unfairly. But, it's not clear that the Trump Administration has ever done anything to help Russia. On the contrary, they have treated Russia worse than Obama did, e.g., by providing anti-missiles to Poland, and by allowing Russia to own a substantial portion of US uranium.

    Incredibly, the current Trump-Russia scandal is making McCarthy look good!

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    1. Somerby and David, eating from the same trough.

      Delete
    2. Trump fired Preet Bharara who was investigating a Russian firm for money laundering. After that, the case was quickly settled favorably to Russia. Trump gave Russian emissaries a private audience in which he discussed classified information. Trump is in the process of returning to Russia the properties confiscated by Obama as punishment for their hacking in the 2016 election. Trump did nothing to hold Putin accountable for that hacking but accepted his statement that Russia didn't do it. Trump has been pressuring congress to vote against the sanctions bill. Trump has appointed numerous pro-Russian cabinet and staff members to positions throughout the government.

      Trump couldn't be more favorable to Russia if he were an actual Russian spy.

      Delete
    3. David is just showing off that he got the Tailgunner Joe reference. That is Somerby's way of sliming the press.

      Delete
    4. AnonymousJuly 15, 2017 at 12:10 PM -- Trump didn't specifically fire Preet Bharara. Trump fired all of the other party's US Attorneys, just as Bill Clinton did. In fact, Trump waited longer to fire them than Clinton did.

      Delete
    5. Trump didn't specifically fire Preet Bharara.

      here's what happened shithead liar.

      Traitor pussygrabber tRump tried to cultivate an inappropriate relationship with the US Attorney who was in the middle of a huge money laundering investigation of a client of Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya - one of the Russians trump junior had a meeting with.

      US Attorney Bharara was told he would stay on in his position until the day he refused to return lying bastard conman tRump's repeated phone calls.

      A few months after junior tRump's meeting where "nothing" happened, the case against Natalia Veselnitskaya's client for money laundering THROUGH NEW YORK REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS that involved $200 million was suddenly settled for a ridiculous trivial amount of $5 million.

      You really are a fucking joke DinC.

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    6. Joe McCarthy did very well until he attacked the Army.

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    7. We all know Comrade DinC to be a man of high integrity and intellectual honesty.

      So when he says this,

      "The Dems and their media allies make up facts about Russia and demonize people unfairly.",

      we know we can take it to the bank that Comrade DinC would be equally outraged about the lies told about Secretary Clinton over the past few years.

      For example when some guy using the screen name David in Cal wrote the following,

      For Hillary and her staff to discuss Shahram Amiri on their personal e-mails was extremely careless. Not only was an ally of the US executed, but Hillary's irresponsible action will discourage others in positions of danger from coming forward to help the US.
      David in Cal August 8, 2016 at 10:22 AM

      we know for certainty that our friend, Comrade DinC would have been equally outraged, since every word written by that imposter, David in Cal, was either an outright lie or total misrepresentation coming from Wingnut Land in order to damage Secretary Clinton's electoral prospects.







      "

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    8. "But, he did get one basic item right: there were some Communists secretly in high positions in the government."

      Who?

      Delete
    9. [snark] Richard Nixon [/snark]

      Or maybe not snark. Who switched recognizing Taiwan for Red China? Who had sabotaged the Paris Peace Talks in 1968, meaning over just the next four years "more than 20,000 US troops died in Vietnam, more than 100,000 were wounded, more than a million Vietnamese were killed" — and ultimately the Communist North swept through the South?

      Delete
  4. Donald Trump calls the Russia story a hoax and Somerby falls right into line, calling this latest addition novelized crap.

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  5. https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/7/14/15971836/dont-believe-trump-jr

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  6. "The alleged former Soviet intelligence officer who attended the now-infamous meeting with Donald Trump Jr. and other top campaign officials last June was previously accused in federal and state courts of orchestrating an international hacking conspiracy."

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    1. The story about the lobbyist hacking a Dutch firm turned out to be false. That said, if Bob read a bit more widely, he'd have found out that our former seargent is a obbyist for Russian firms with interest internationally and in the U.S. he'd have found out that he lobbies for lifting the same sanctions regime that the other lobbyists at that meeting came to discuss with Don Jr. she used the possibility of sharing Russian sourced information about HRC's campaign as a pretext to discuss trading lifting sanctions against Russian oligarch's finances for lifting Russian restrictions on Americans adopting Russian orphans. Those adoptions were suspended when the US clamped down on Vlad's friends financial dealings in the West.
      Bob, get a twitter account and follow Laura Rozen. You'll learn a lot about, international affairs, well-sourced journalism, and Iranian cuisine.
      Reading sources/outlets beyond your usual media diet can make you a better reader.

      Delete
  7. "They may have helped the Russkies direct "fake news" at voters deemed susceptible (or not). In that instance, they would have been playing an active role in a full-blown election operation which was plainly illegal."

    Lying to voters to cause a result that aligns with the preferences of Russia by repeating falsehoods reported by Russia, CNN or any other unreliable source is not illegal. It's up to voters to evaluate information.

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    1. No, this stuff is all admirable. We should admire strong leaders who win, win, win by fooling people and committing fraud and telling many lies. Integrity, honesty, etc., are all values for fools and the best leaders are those who entirely ignore civil restraint to win win win!!!!! and win some more!!!! so much winning we are all tired of winning so much!!!!! It is up to the stupid voters to make sure they are not so easily conned by public servants running for the highest office in the land. F**k em if they can't take a joke!

      Delete
  8. "Beyond that, they may helped the Russkies with the dissemination of stolen emails (or not). Presumably, that too would be baldly illegal."

    No, it wouldn't. A role in the stealing would be baldly illegal. A campaign or news source accepting and disseminating the stolen information is not illegal regardless of how much it pleased the Russkies.

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    1. The quid pro quo of favorably settling a money laundering investigation in exchange for campaign help is corruption and is "baldly illegal."

      A meeting that includes a hacking expert, a representative of the Russian government and Donald Trump Jr. and other assorted campaign staff shortly before a bunch of hacked emails were released looks like conspiracy to me.

      Delete
  9. Bob, I'm shocked! Shocked you left out Hairgate, when President Clinton tied up air traffic and road traffic at LAX while he thoughtlessly received a $200.00 haircut. Evidently, Edward's coifs buried the story.
    Is it possible Seamus had to be groomed after his hair-raising journey atop Romney's woody? Will we ever know?

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  10. Indeed, for decades now, demonization — of gays, immigrants, Democrats, the media, feminists, etc. — has been the animating spirit behind much of the right. It has distorted its assessment of reality, giving us anti-immigrant hysteria, promulgating disrespect for the law (how many “respectable” conservatives suggested disregarding the Supreme Court’s decision on gay marriage?), elevating Fox News hosts’ blatantly false propaganda as the counterweight to liberal media bias and preventing serious policy debate.

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  11. Well, the NY Times reference to "Eraserhead" is snarky and dumb, and should have been called out by and editor.

    Beyond that, one can only really say.....
    Lordy, Bob Somerby has become a hapless nitwit.

    Somerby was at Harvard in the sixties, when a lot was going on,
    but it is difficult to imagine he had NO opportunity to learn a thing
    or two about the fifties, and what happened with McCarthy, but
    obviously this didn't happen. He would also seem to have no
    grasp on blacklisting which continued through the sixties.
    Otherwise, he would have understood that the hoary "left
    McCarthism" card is always nonsense. Indeed, the likes of
    David in Ca might also wonder if Ronald Reagan was also
    smiling in the grave, as he both participated in blacklisting and
    then lied about it ever having existed.

    Whatever. These times seem to have driven Bob around the bend,
    though perhaps it was also a short trip. His moronic playing of the
    McCarthy card is much worse in these horrible days. Because
    Trump, who all circumstantial evidence (and it's he who is hiding
    the real evidence) would seem to be the recipient of money and
    favors from the old Stalinist block, has indeed clouded the
    usual sentiments on Russia. But is Bob such a clueless number
    that he didn't understand the Red Army WAS scary?
    So, beyond the Earserhead crack, Bob doesn't have nothing
    but fair play to Donald Jr. notions that are not very well formed.
    Indeed, look at the downright sleazy way Bob insults the
    Washington Post here while admitting their work in this instance
    is just fine. Doesn't Bob understand that Fox is not just bad,
    or universally understood as bad, but as serving as a Russian
    Propaganda tool in our Country?
    Lordy, what a sad old dope.

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    1. “…should have been called out by and editor.”
      Moron.

      Delete
    2. 5:18 Fuck you, name calling know nothing.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous 5:18: Wow, a spelling flame.

      And you’re staying safely anonymous and unsigned so you needn’t ever account for your own track record of spelling.

      Unless that five-letter word was your signature....

      Delete
  12. I have to say, Bob, this does take “bending over backwards” to new extremes. You sound more like Sean Spicer and Sarah Huckabee Sanders every time I come here, in your special pleadings for the Trumps.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Newby.

      He's not pleading for the Trumps, he's pleading for a rational public discourse.

      What's your go-to in that regard?

      Leroy

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    2. Trump is getting what he deserves from the NY Times and Wash Post. Somerby sounds like he is defending Trump, not arguing for higher journalistic standards. Why is that? Something is clearly wrong with the way Somerby makes his arguments, if his focus is on discourse and not on politics. Maybe it was the snide allusion to McCarthy.

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    3. 5:17

      Yes, the chase is on. That's only what Bob has been saying for weeks. His focus _is_ political, in case you haven't noticed.

      What is lacking is clear, coherent discussion of these issues, and that's the rub. Democracy 101 depends on an informed electorate.

      You must cast far and wide to find news sources that actually inform. NYT, WP, do some good reporting, but they have always wilted when it come to the real truth. See: Invasion of Iraq. Possibly the most consequential event we'll see in our lifetimes.

      Leroy

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    4. Leroy, unlike you I’m not posting as “Anonymous”, so how quickly and easily you could have found out that I’m also not a “Newby”. [example]

      > “He’s not pleading for the Trumps, he’s pleading for a rational public discourse.”

      Oh, so all those Trump critics are being irrational, and only Bob Somerby retains his rationality?

      Ye gods, goddesses, and little green goblins, it’s a good thing that’s not a claim he made on his own behalf. Considering all the symptom-reading he does on other people, what a megalomaniac-sounding claim that would be.

      But, quite frankly, how sycophantic it sounds coming from anyone else.

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    5. Raven gets it right. To believe Bob is conserned with rational public discourse at this point is laughable. He's a bitter man with scores to settle who wants to come off like a priest at the same time. His lip service to progressive virtue at this point is about as convincing as Kelleyanne Conway's.

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    6. Dave the Guitar PlayerJuly 17, 2017 at 1:33 PM

      Greg and Raven: Please re-read your replies and then explain to me what rational public discourse looks like to you. Thanks.

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    7. Dave, does it look like leaving blatant smears and fallacies un-rebutted, as did e.g. John Kerry’s 2004 campaign vs. spurious Swift Boat claims? Because we know how well silence worked as an argument then.

      Being for peace means not starting fights, but if you (having the ability to do something) also stand idly by when bullies and thugs are already terrorizing others around you, you’re not furthering peace any more, you’re enabling violence. Likewise, I might guess your sense of “rational” implies not starting verbal brawls... but here the attacks had already been underway, and oddly enough you’re criticizing only those who’ve responded to them....

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  13. It is fashionable to compare the investigation of Trump's campaign's Russian ties to McCarthy but usually it is the Republicans making the comparison.

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    1. Naturally. Democrats and media won't accuse themselves of practicing McCarthyism.

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    2. Ya know, if you think about it, McCarthy's main targets were the Ivy League trained diplomats in the State Department, and the fancy-schmancy Hollywood scriptwriters.
      What are now called coastal elites.

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