The Post explores the scarf and the brooch!

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2019

Embarrassed experts complain:
With apologies, it has happened again—and according to expert anthropologists, it tells "the ultimate story."

The article appears on the front page of this morning's Style section, the only part of the Washington Post anyone actually reads.

The article explores an important part of yesterday's impeachment hearing. Rather, it provides a novelized account of same, appearing beneath this headline:
CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK
At hearing, former ambassador's scarf is draped with symbolism
By Robin Givhan
On Thursday morning, the New York Times had teased a vast amount of meaning from George Kent's bow tie. That ridiculous piece, by Vanessa Friedman, had been published as an actual news report in the Times' National section.

This morning, the Washington Post asked Givhan to fabulize in similar ways about the wardrobe selections of former ambassador Marie Yovanovitch. The headline focused on her scarf, but after some introductory sputtering, Givhan started with the various things we could learn from her brooch:
GIVHAN (11/16/19): She entered the room with her American flag sparkling and sabers flying.

Former ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch sat before the House Intelligence Committee already speaking the language of diplomacy with its peculiar mix of calm, bluntness and symbolism. Before she uttered a single word, she had already announced her patriotism, toughness, experience and individual humanity, all with her style.

[...]

Her clothes sketched out the broad strokes of her identity as a veteran of Washington. “The woman,” as President Trump referred to her in a July 25 phone call, had slipped off her red coat to reveal a sizable American flag brooch glittering from the lapel of her dark jacket. It was striking because of its size, but also because it was a classically feminine accessory with its sparkly stones and its swirling lines. It was notable in the room, because the lapels of the mostly male panel—which was separated by party—were adorned with their congressional pins. Those little round discs rooted them in politics, in the inescapable talking points, inevitable grandstanding and poisonous unctuousness.

Yovanovitch signaled that she was there for country, for elusive, nonpartisan facts. Her brooch was in the stylish tradition of former secretary of state Madeleine Albright who built an entire diplomatic vocabulary on the symbolism of her many and varied pins.
Before she'd uttered a single word, Yovanovitch had defined herself—had signaled her intentions—through the lines of her sizable brooch, which borrowed from Albright's diplomatic vocabulary. The tribalized conclusion was inevitable:

Through the magic of her brooch, Yovanovitch had somehow "signaled that she was there" to provide "nonpartisan facts." She wasn't there for grandstanding or even for poisonous unctuousness!

Given the messages conveyed by her brooch, it's odd to think that Yovanovitch had been required to take any questions at all! At any rate, Givhan now transferred her anthropologically meaningful mind-reading act to the former ambassador's scarf:
GIVHAN (continuing directly): In addition to her jewelry, Yovanovitch was also wearing an oversize scarf draped around her neck. It wasn’t tied. It wasn’t prim. The scarf was like a silken billboard. The eye was drawn to the gold, military references in its formal design. The scarf appeared to be a “grand uniforme” design by Joachim Metz for Hermès. In the center of a red border, there are eagles and crowns and references to sabers. It’s not a ghoulish or overtly violent pattern. It’s a stately declaration of military might, of a willingness to fight for one’s honor and the importance of respected traditions.
To those who would fabulize in these ways, that oversize scarf was no scarf at all. The oversize scarf was a billboard, and it wasn't ghoulish at all!

The Post has allowed Givhan to fabulize and dream in these ways since 1995, with a four-year "sanity break" starting in 2010. On this occasion, the fabulizing was so extreme that even the Princeton grad briefly took a step back, taking stock of her procedures:
GIVHAN (continuing directly): Is that reading too much into a few feet of silk? When committee chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) asked Yovanovitch to assess her work abroad, she noted, “I actually think where I’ve served over the years, I and others, have made things demonstrably better.” And then, she quietly but firmly pointed out that credit for improvements in areas where she was stationed goes to “the work of the United States and to me as the ambassador.”

Yovanovitch did not come before Congress to deny, play down or shrug off her professional acumen and her experience. She was prepared to defend her reputation because it was a presidential assault on it that had brought her there in the first place. And as she stood up for herself, she also tried to protect the country she served. Her scarf was a billowing reminder of the value of the state—the beauty of it, even.
Even Givhan briefly wondered if she might be "reading too much into a few feet of silk." Quickly, though, we got her answer—Hell no!

Stating the obvious, "journalism" of this type lies just this side of madness. The same was true of the New York Times' bow tie exegesis, which it published as a news report in the paper's "National" section.

Anthropologists pulled us aside, then glumly denounced the foolishness. "They might as well be running news reports about the witnesses' horoscopes," these despondent future exoerts exclaimed.

The disconsolate scholars despondently told us what this sort of thing means. "Our species was never the 'rational animal,' " these future credentialed experts said, exhibiting a slightly embarrassed tone.

"The impulse toward building tribalized fictitions was in fact always bred in the bone," these scholars despondently told us. Any impulse toward "rational" conduct was especially likely to disappear at times of major tribal warfare, these experts despairingly said.

Indeed, novelized stories are everywhere as impeachment looms. Next week, we'll be covering "The Impeachment Monologues" at this site, with some emphasis on the excited, self-involved presentations of Our Own Rhodes Scholar.

That said, the stone-cold flight from "Enlightenment values" is now on display wherever you look. Or so these experts have told us.

For ourselves, we almost "got Schwedeled" today when Slate offered a link to the latest exploration by its most puzzling journalist. ("A Viewer’s Guide to the Conspicuously Hot Guy Who Comes Out of Nowhere in Charlie’s Angels.")

For our anthropologists, though, the note of sadness was brought in when Andrew Sullivan discussed Ibram X. Kendi's current best-seller, which apparently includes this proposal for an antiracist constitutional amendment:
KENDI: It would establish and permanently fund the Department of Anti-racism (DOA) comprised of formally trained experts on racism and no political appointees. The DOA would be responsible for preclearing all local, state and federal public policies to ensure they won’t yield racial inequity, monitor those policies, investigate private racist policies when racial inequity surfaces, and monitor public officials for expressions of racist ideas. The DOA would be empowered with disciplinary tools to wield over and against policymakers and public officials who do not voluntarily change their racist policy and ideas.
To those who thought the DMV was occasionally poorly run, this proposal may seem unwieldy.

Wryly, Sullivan notes that these “formally trained experts on racism” would "presumably all [be] from critical race-theory departments." He also notes that these formally trained experts would be "unelected"—and according to our future experts, therein lies the ultimate illogic of Kendi's proposal:

Who would choose these "formally trained experts on racism?" Who would decide that these formally trained experts were actually "experts" at all? Such questions take us back to the dawn of the west, to the western world's first halting attempts at logic, when Plato suggested rule by philosopher kings.

"There's no escaping this hard-wired mess," embarrassed anthropologists have told us. Persistently, these scholars lament their failure to speak in real time.

Coming next week: Next Monday, we'll finish our series on the fictitions which have flowed out of Flint. At that point, it will be on to impeachment.

That said, we plan to transfer soon to "The Rational Animal Files." One thinks of Plato's despair in the Seventh Letter. We still think that Professor Lee has it just about right:
PLATO: The existing constitution, which was subject to widespread criticism, was overthrown...and a committee of Thirty given supreme power. As it happened some of them were friends and relations of mine and they at once invited me to join them, as if it were the natural thing for me to do. My feelings were what were to be expected in a young man: I thought they were going to reform society and rule justly, and so I watched their proceedings with deep interest. I found that they soon made the earlier regime look like a golden age. Among other things they tried to incriminate my old friend Socrates, whom I should not hesitate to call the most upright man then living, by sending him, with others, to arrest a fellow-citizen, and bring him forcibly to execution; Socrates refused, and risked everything rather than make himself a party to their wickedness. When I saw all this, and other things as bad, I was disgusted and withdrew from the wickedness of the times.
Is it all anthropology now? Yes, but this opens the door to the humor of despair.

Bring on Lord Russell's wonderfully comical "set of all sets not members of themselves!" Or so we jauntily cry, in these last few final days before we meet Mister Trump's War.

68 comments:

  1. "She was prepared to defend her reputation"

    Who cares about her zombie reputation? And what the fuck is she doing at that show-trial anyway? Oh wait, it is a show-trial. Never mind.

    Incidentally, this Yovanovitch woman was appointed by Barry The Demigod, the notoriously corrupt ruler, who, as we all know, replaced a whole bunch of ambassadors and other high-level diplomats with his campaign donors.

    Not to mention that Yovanovitch, judging by her actions in Ukraine, was (extremely likely) on Soros' payroll too.

    Defend her reputation? Gimme a break, dear Bob.

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    1. Yovanovitch was first appointed by Ronald Reagan and she served four Republican presidents.

      In a way, since she worked for the State Department and was paid by our taxes, Mao paid her too, assuming he pays taxes in the USA and not Russia.

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    2. She wasn't "appointed by Ronald Reagan", dembot. She started her career during Ronald Reagan.

      She first became an ambassador, like I said, under Barry the Demigod. Who, like I said, was routinely - more than ever - giving ambassadorships to his campaign donors. Like candies.

      Incidentally, if you you zombies really wanted to find a quid pro quo, it was right there back then, in plain sight. No show-trials necessary.

      As for being paid by the government, who said she wasn't? By the governed and by Soros.

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    3. Mao didn't bother watching the hearings.

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    4. “Yovanovitch was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan on November 20, 2004”

      ...by GW Bush.

      “Yovanovitch was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Armenia on August 4, 2008;”

      ...by GW Bush.

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    5. Fine, I stand corrected. On this minor point.

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    6. ...but then GW Bush and Ronald Reagan are two different people.

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    7. Definition of ambassador: "an accredited diplomat sent by a country as its official representative to a foreign country."

      In a broad sense, anyone who serves the US in an appointment to a foreign embassy is an ambassador. They are not THE Ambassador, who is the head of the embassy and chief of the mission to that country. Ronald Reagan appointed Yovanovitch to her first foreign posting.

      Mao's larger point was to paint Yovanovich as some kind of Obama appointee, a Soros puppet, a partisan, as if that would explain her removal. He tells lies to get that across, because Trump desperately needs an alternative reason for targeting her, besides to please the Oligarchs paying Guiliani to clear the way for their corruption.

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    8. There's no need to explain her removal. Ambassadors serve at the pleasure of the president, and can be removed any time, for no reason whatsoever.

      Barry The Demigod, for example, fired scores of Bush-appointed ambassadors in 2009.

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    9. That's right, and the testimony was that Trump recalled her in a way that damaged her professional reputation. No one disputes his right to fire her or anyone else who serves at his pleasure. The manner of her recall makes him a jerk, but the reasons for recalling her are related to his corruption and that is why she was testifying.

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    10. Only Yovanovitch herself could damaged her own professional reputation.

      And indeed she was very successful at that, by working for Soros&Co, with all the blatant corruption it usually involves.

      See this, for example: https://thehill.com/hilltv/rising/434875-top-ukrainian-justice-official-says-us-ambassador-gave-him-a-do-not-prosecute

      You could learn much more by reading John Solomon's excellent investigative articles. But of course you won't.

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    11. We agree about the content of the slanders against her. The question is whether the things she is accused of doing actually happened. And no, I won't read Republican propaganda.

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    12. No, it's not 'the question'. The Prosecutor General of the Kiev regime claims that she personally gave him a "do not prosecute" list. That's a fact, the straight-up fact, not a question.

      Incidentally, a former Prosecutor General (Mr Shokin) testified under oath that he was given the ultimatum to stop investigating Burisma or be fired, at which point he resigned. This is another fact.

      These are the facts.

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    13. ...and if, in the face of these facts, your zombie celebrities are denying any wrongdoing, then they should demand these incidents to be investigated. By the justice system. Which is exactly what the justice system is for. To investigate credible allegations.

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    14. Look Shokin up on Wikipedia. Your story is very far from the facts, which are that he was forced out by the legislature because of his tolerance of corruption and his refusal to prosecute those who shot protestors in 2014. He is the guy Obama held up aid money in order to encourage him to be fired. At one time he pretended to resign but then returned to his job, so they had to remove him. How on earth would you trust what he says?

      Lutsenko was sentenced to jail for abuse of office and embezzlement. As testified in the hearings, he engaged in self-dealing and was in prison in 2010-13, years before Yovanovich arrived in Ukraine. He was pardoned for health reasons by Yanukovych. These two corrupt individuals who were run out of office are the ones telling stories against Yovanovich, who refused to issue them a visa to go to the USA. She also failed to play ball with Guiliani's scheme to investigate the Bidens, so they told Trump a bunch of lies about her.

      Trump doesn't like Ukraine -- he likes Russia. He believes whatever people tell him, including ridiculous conspiracy theories. His willingness to pursue this plan to smear the Bidens arises from his support for Russian objectives in Ukraine, not from any truth about Yovanovich. It is shameful that he would believe these cretins over his own long time State Department staff, but that is what Trump is like.

      And you talk about "credible allegations"!

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    15. Yes, dembot. When the prosecutor general of a country testifies under oath, that is known as credible.

      And when an anonymous snitch is 'concerned' about something he says he heard from other anonymous people, that is known as bullshit.

      ¿Comprende?

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    16. When the prosecutor general is removed by his own legislature for corruption, his credibility suffers.

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    17. Who was removed by "his own legislature" for corruption? Have you been reading zombie wikipedia again?

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    18. People are entitled to their own opinions but not their own facts.

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    19. Yes. So, who was removed by "his own legislature" for corruption?

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    20. Shokin was removed by act of the Ukrainian legislature. Lutsenko went to jail for corruption. These are Guiliani's pals.

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    21. Shokin resigned because of Creepy Joe's blackmail.
      Creepy Joe then bragged about it, openly. Direct quote: "I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money. Well, son of a bitch. He got fired."

      Are you so scared to be corrupted by "Republican propaganda" that you've never seen this quote?

      Lutsenko, indeed, was convicted and sentenced to 4 years in prison, back in 2012.

      Then the European Court of Human Rights declared the conviction unlawful and politically motivated, and Lutsenko was released.

      And then, following the pro-western coup in 2014, all his convictions were overturned and he was fully rehabilitated, by the new pro-western 'democratic' government.

      All this should make the poor bastard your zombie martyr and hero, n'est-ce pas?

      But hey, zombie talking point, even the most slimy one, is all that matter, right?

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    22. Biden demanded that Shokin be removed because it was the official policy of the US and the EU, and because he was directed by Obama to do so. Aid was withheld as leverage. This was before Hunter Biden held any position in any Ukrainian company. Everyone knows about this.

      Lutsenko was released for compassionate reasons because he was in poor health. He was pardoned for political reasons. Lutsenko was removed as Prosecutor general over the attack on Handziuk. It was perhaps no coincidence that Yovanovich was attending a ceremony in Handziuk's honor when she was abruptly recalled. She also refused Lutsenko a US visa. Yovanovich says that she did her job in accordance with official US policy, working on anti-corruption measures with Ukrainians, which was obviously dangerous work. Targeting Yovanovich because she was on the other side of Yutshenko's political maneuvering constitutes meddling in foreign affairs in ways that undercut the effectiveness of the State Department staff on the ground.

      It has been suggested that this situation was Trump's fault for failing to clarify his policies in Ukraine with his State Department staff. Instead he seems to have pursued a competing, incompatible policy effort via Giuliani and his Ukrainian cronies that was at odds with the official State Department efforts there.

      You can argue that Trump was a terrible manager, but the damage done to the government staff is real and not the fault of anyone testifying in this impeachment hearing. From Trump's remarks during that hearing it is obvious that he not only knows who Yovanovich is, but has personal animosity towards her, derived from the campaign against her waged by Yutshenko and others who were on the receiving end of those anti-corruption efforts. Further, Trump is no doubt being egged on by Putin, who has no wish to see internal politics in Ukraine cleaned up, conflicts resolved, or conditions improved. Dissent in Ukraine helps Putin.

      And here you are Mao, spreading lies and bullshit.

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    23. spelling should be Lutsenko throughout, sorry

      Delete
    24. "This was before Hunter Biden held any position in any Ukrainian company. Everyone knows about this."

      Every zombie, I'm sure. According to wikipedia "Biden served on the board of Burisma Holdings, a major Ukrainian natural gas producer, from 2014 to 2019"

      Creepy Joe blackmailed Poroshenko into firing Mr Shokin in 2016.

      Of course Burisma Holdings, albeit owned by Ukrainian oligarchs and operating in Ukraine, is registered in Cyprus. Which allows you, dembots, to spread your slimy lies.

      Lutsenko, again, was
      1. cleared by the European Court of Human Rights, and
      2. all his convictions were overturned and he was fully rehabilitated by the new, pro-western, 'democratic', 'strategic ally' of your zombie cult government.

      So, you type a bunch of slimy zombie lies, and then you fall back into the most comfortable bullshit talking point 'Orange Man Bad', is that it? Yeah, it figures.

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    25. 1. Lutsenko was cleared by the ECHR but all of his convictions were not overturned, they were pardoned. He returned to government because the party in power changed.

      Here is Wikipedia's story about Burisma and the Bidens and Shokin:

      "Since 2012, the Ukrainian prosecutor general had been investigating Ukrainian oligarch Mykola Zlochevsky, owner of the natural gas company Burisma Holdings, over allegations of money laundering, tax evasion, and corruption.[25] In 2014, then-U.S. Vice President Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, joined the board of directors of Burisma Holdings.[26] Hunter Biden was paid $50,000 a month for this role according to the Wall Street Journal.[27] In 2015, Shokin became the prosecutor general, inheriting the investigation. The Obama administration and other governments and non-governmental organizations soon became concerned that Shokin was not adequately pursuing corruption in Ukraine, was protecting the political elite, and was regarded as "an obstacle to anti-corruption efforts".[16] Among other issues, he was slow-walking the investigation into Zlochevsky and Burisma – to the extent that Obama officials were considering launching their own criminal investigation into the company for possible money laundering.[25]

      While visiting Kiev in December 2015, Joe Biden threatened Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko that if he did not fire Shokin, that the US would hold back its $1 billion in loan guarantees. In a later recollection, Biden said, "I looked at them and said, 'I'm leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you're not getting the money.' [...] He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time."[28][29] Shokin was dismissed by Parliament in late March 2016.

      In a sworn affidavit dated 4 September 2019 for a European court, Shokin testified that "On several occasions President Poroshenko asked me to have a look at the criminal case against Burisma and consider the possibility of winding down the investigative actions in respect of this company, but I refused to close this investigation."[30] Shokin wrote the affidavit in support of Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash.[31] John Herbst, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine during the George W. Bush administration, said that Shokin's support of Firtash, who had been arrested for bribery in 2014, undercuts Shokin's claims to be motivated by transparency.[32][33] "Firtash is arguably the most odious, or one of the most odious oligarchs in Ukraine," according to Herbst.[32]

      Shokin claimed in May 2019 that he had been investigating Burisma Holdings.[13][34][35] However, Vitaly Kasko, who had been Shokin's deputy overseeing international cooperation before resigning in February 2016 citing corruption in the office, provided documents to Bloomberg News indicating that under Shokin, the investigation into Burisma had been dormant.[36][37] Also, the investigation into Burisma only pertained to events happening before Hunter Biden joined the company.[38]"
      -----------

      The investigation involved matters that happened before Biden joined Burisma. Shokin was not actively pursuing the investigation, so what Burisma-related reason would Biden have for removing him? Biden's efforts were on behalf of Obama and consistent with US policy, not personal because Hunter Biden was in no danger from any investigation of Burisma.

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    26. Continuing directly...

      These situations in Ukraine are so complicated that you can tell any story and most people are not going to look anything up and check what you say. But it was Kent, Taylor and Yovanovich's job to understand all of this and they are certainly more trustworthy than a Russian troll like you or than conservatives trying to muddy the waters with a ridiculous conspiracy theory against Hunter Biden, whose father probably won't even be the nominee.

      "On 3 July 2012, the ECHR stated that the arrest of Lutsenko violated his human rights and the court ordered the Ukrainian government to pay 15,000 Euro to Lutsenko as compensation for moral damages.[73][74]

      On 17 August 2012 Lutsenko was sentenced to two years in prison for the extension of an investigative case concerning Valentyn Davydenko, the driver of former Security Service of Ukraine First Deputy Chief Volodymyr Satsiuk, as part of an investigation into the poisoning of then presidential candidate Viktor Yuschenko.[74] He served his time in a prison in the city of Mena.[75] During his imprisonment Lutsenko was moved several times to hospital to receive medical treatment.[76]

      Lutsenko lost his appeal on 3 April 2013; this High Court ruling could be challenged in any other Ukrainian court.[77]

      The judges of the Higher Specialized Court on Civil and Criminal Cases will on 10 April 2013 announce a ruling on the appeal against the second conviction of Lutsenko regarding the poisoning of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko; this will not influence the term of Lutsenko's imprisonment.[78]"

      Some of this seem out of date. The original arrests do seem to have been based on trumped up and trivial charges, such as being drunk in public, failing to rescind a holiday and signing an order while on vacation. We cannot understand the politics on the ground in the Ukraine by reading Wikipedia, obviously. But it doesn't make Lutsenko an upright and honest player that he was pardoned or won some appeal of an arrest for being drunk at the airport. Great suspicion should attach to whatever meddling in Ukrainian or US affairs is committed by this man and Guiliani, on behalf of Trump, who is clearly not operating through any legitimate channels with this smear campaign (which seems to be entirely consistent with what happened to Lutsenko, by your account).

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    27. "The investigation involved matters that happened before Biden joined Burisma."

      Meh. If so, what of it?

      Burisma was paying Creepy Joe Family Protection Racket, Inc. to protect Burisma, period.

      What Burisma crimes were investigated and when they were committed is irrelevant. Burisma paid -- Burisma got protected by Creepy Joe firing the prosecutor.

      Comprende? Is something still not clear to you?

      As for Lutsenko, like I said, all his convictions were overturned, in 2014.

      Do you have anything else?

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    28. https://talkingpointsmemo.com/muckraker/lutsenko-giuliani-tied-yovanovitchs-ouster-to-help-with-investigations

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    29. Your link is the usual meaningless dembot word-salad.

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    30. Translation, you didn't read it.

      https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/john-solomon-hill-parnas-ukraine

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    31. I looked through it. Lutsenko met Giuliani in NYC, and give an interview about the meetings. As far as I know, none of it is criminal or interesting.

      You can watch the interview, or read the transcript on the linked website, https://www.pravda.com.ua/.

      The dembot author of your link should've published an English translation of the whole interview. If he thinks it could be of interest to someone (I'm not one of those).

      Instead, he's feeding you some bullshit out-of-context snippets.

      That's all.

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  2. That's the style section, Somerby. There's lots of serious coverage of the impeachment hearing, but TDH ignores it because he doesn't want to attack his hero, DJT. TDH is a Trumptard, after all.

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  3. "Those little round discs rooted them in politics, in the inescapable talking points, inevitable grandstanding and poisonous unctuousness."

    Those little round discs identify them to security so that they are not detained at checkpoints or elevators.

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    1. How can those discs root them in politics, talking points or grandstanding when they are all the same, American flags, not symbols of either political party? The discs root House members in patriotism, duty, and dedication to American values and service to its citizens.

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  4. Does it seem likely that deliberately chosen decorative items such a scarves and broaches mean nothing at all, especially when they contain well recognized symbols such as flags and eagles? I might agree that Givhan's language is over the top, but I disagree that recognizing symbols is fiction or narrative superimposed on otherwise meaningless choices.

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    1. Madeleine Albright wrote an entire book about her pins: Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat’s Jewel Box.

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  5. Somerby generalizes from eagles on scarves to tribalized fictions mourned by anthropologists. Then he introduces a suggestion by Kendi (who is not this month's representative of the so-called liberal tribe) that no one has proposed and no Democrat has submitted as legislation, and mocks it because he doesn't think there is any such thing as an expert on racism. One would hope that every department of the government were engaged in anti-racist analysis to ensure fairness and lack of bias in all aspects of government. THAT would be the liberal approach, but Kendi is easier to mock. Note that it is the conservative writer Sullivan who brings in the critical race theorists, not Kendi, as if thinking about racial issues were something to be ashamed of. Somerby and Sullivan, of course, are safely white and need not consider how race might affect anything they have done in life, because that is nature of being a member of the racial majority.

    But what does Kendi's book have to do with those scarves and label pins? Yovanovich, of course, was chosen as ambassador explicitly because she is an expert on the Ukraine. How does one become an expert? She studied Russian in Russia and earned a Masters at the National War College. Her college degree is in Russian history. She grew up with Russian parents who fled Stalin so she has some first-hand knowledge before serving in the foreign service. Those are actual qualifications that transcend any scarve broach (which reminds us not of Russian expertise but of her patriotic attachment to the US).

    What is Somerby's goal in undermining the value of expertise? The same as Mao's (above) who suggests she is a partisan tool of Obama only recently appointed with no qualification beyond Soros's backing. Conservatives disparage training, expertise, knowledge, experience, commitment to abstract values that embody patriotism and dedication to service. Somerby joins them today, as he has so many days in the past.

    But supposedly those anthropologists are upset about liberal scarves, not Republican perfidy. What anthropologist would condone anything Trump and his crew have done? Which of them would approve of Trump's supporters or the Republican attempts to grab the mic during yesterday's hearing? Only in Somerby's imagination are tears of future anthropologists wasted on scum.

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    1. 'What is Somerby's goal in undermining the value of expertise? '

      He's a Trumptard and Trumptards hate experts.

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    2. Exactly what is "anti-racist" analysis?

      Conclusions that schools should not read so many dead white guys in literature class? Too many white male teachers?

      Bob's point I think is clear, and valid. What does that mean in general?-- and that wacky ideas like this are entering the mainstream of liberal life.

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    3. Using statistics to see whether there is a bias toward hiring white male applicants for jobs would be an example of an anti-racist analysis.

      Performing a content analysis to see whether materials produced by an agency for public consumption refer only to white male concerns or also include visibility for women and relevant minorities would be an example of anti-racist analysis.

      Making sure that solicitations during comment periods on rules and proposed legislation reach minority communities and not just mainstream media outlets by examining where such solicitations are placed, would be an example of anti-racist analysis.

      Sullivan and Somerby substitute critical race theory for anti-racist analysis, but there is no reason why that should be the implementation of the term. Anyone trained in analysis based on demographics could and should examine the extent to which our government is being inclusive. That would be an anti-racist analysis.

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    4. Making sure policies and practices ensure that brown people from shithole countries have a fair chance to immigrate legally or seek asylum would be an example of anti-racist analysis.

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  6. Somerby describes Plato as a depressive. Since Plato is our only way of knowing anything about Socrates, it is possible that Plato superimposed his own depressive suicidal tendencies onto the story about Socrates drinking Hemlock. For all we know, Socrates could have died a natural death in his bed.

    We also have no way of knowing how Plato's retrospective view of Socrates colored his reported views. Remember that Plato is the guy who classified people into metals and justified slavery by asserting that some people were born to be slaves because they didn't merit higher status, resembling base metals not gold or silver.

    Not surprising that Somerby would first mock Kendi's goal of achieving a non-racist government and society, then quote Plato, just as many white supremacists have been appropriating classical writings to justify their own hateful views.

    And Somerby has the nerve to lump himself in with "we liberals"! He won't be the first old white man to express bigotry in his dotage. We shouldn't mistake him for any kind of liberal when his views are so clearly drifting away from respectable thought in either party. No wonder he won't state anything directly. He knows he is wrong, but he also knows that he will be recognized as a fellow-traveler of the hateful right by those who are repairing their tiki torches for the next rally.

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    1. "And Somerby has the nerve to lump himself in with "we liberals"!'

      As I've been saying for a while, he should just say 'We Trumptards".

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    2. It's insane to claim that Somerby likes or agrees with Trump in any way.

      Delete
    3. Actually, it is insane to claim that Somerby is not repeating conservative talking points and memes in his daily posts here.

      Whether he is doing this because he is a conservative or because he likes or agrees with Trump is moot. If a conservative doesn't toe the line, he or she will be drummed out of the "tribe" (to use Somerby's word). He gives his pro forma "Trump is mentally ill" statement then proceeds to express the same talking points as anyone else on the right, dressed up with references to Aristotle or links to Andrew Sullivan (who is a conservative pundit).

      Why would anyone who is seriously interested in defeating Trump in the next election spend all of his time here attacking liberals, and especially female candidates?

      Delete
    4. 'It's insane to claim that Somerby likes or agrees with Trump in any way.'

      Only that he concern trolls liberals, says all Dem candidates are terrible and devotes most of his blog to defending the likes of DJT, Roy Moore and Ron Johnson.

      Somerby is a Trumptard.

      Delete
  7. “The impulse toward building tribalized fictitions was in fact always bred in the bone," these scholars despondently told us.”

    Somerby has already announced his opposition to impeachment, evidence or facts be damned. That provides the context for his posting about it.

    He wants to portray the whole exercise as the building of tribalized fictions, not limited to the way it is being dealt with by the press.

    Regardless of the overwhelming evidence of impeachable offenses, Somerby wants to dwell on the idea of “narrative” and how he thinks that turns the impeachment process into a merely partisan exercise of novelization.

    He fails to mention or perhaps understand the intense and mostly bogus narratives being built by Trump and Republicans and their media, and how it is necessary to counteract that by showing that the witnesses aren’t what Trump says they are. As it is, it’s very difficult to reach “The Others” with the facts when they are constantly being lied to and propagandized. Every prosecutor builds a narrative to enable the jury to understand the facts of the case and their implications.

    It is telling that Somerby said yesterday that he understands how Trump voters might see these witnesses as “eastern elites” or members of the “deep state.” But that is no less a narrative than anything else, and he believes these people view anyone with an education or extensive resume of government service as evidence of nefarious deep state intentions.

    But that is a misinterpretation. These witnesses are testifying to Trump’s abuses, and are *therefore* members of the deep state, to Trump voters.

    Objecting to someone because they are educated or have long careers in government is the height of shallow, tribal thinking, and sympathizing with this kind of view is an enabling of that view.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Bob,
    Your obvious obsession with fashion is fascinating.
    Bowties, Brooches.
    e.g. Gore's Number of buttons on his suits. Color of his suits. Golf shirts worn. Bald spots.
    A quick reminder: Gore lost Tennessee, his home state.

    Trump usually wears extra long red neckties and elevated shoes.
    Your thoughts?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Seeing what Trump says and does is much more important to me than what any reporter says.
    Bob has a much more forgiving, universal exculpatory attitude towards anything re:Trump: "He's nuts". So let us all move on.
    What about Romney's dog?

    Trump is a liar, a thief and a traitor.
    And president of the USA.
    The worst president ever in the history of America.

    I have reluctantly come to this conclusion: Give it up Bob.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Trump's presidency has been a boon for the American people.
      • Poor people are better off, because so many were lifted out of poverty
      • Blacks are better off, because many fewer are being murdered
      • Military people are better off, because fewer are being killed or wounded
      • Unemployed people are better off, because so many now have jobs.
      • Legal immigrants are better off, because there’s less job competition from illegal immigrants
      • Middle class people are better off, because their average income grew substantially
      • Investors are better off, because of the huge rise in the stock market
      • Cities and states are better off, because the rising stocks made their pension funds stronger

      Delete
    2. Clinton’s presidency was great for the economy. Didn’t stop the Republicans from impeaching him.

      But nice to know that a good economy is now an excuse for a president to be able to commit crimes.

      ( For purposes of discussion, we assume you are correct about the economy . I could go with Trump back in 2016, when he thought the government was lying about the unemployment rate. He thought it was 30, 40%. Since Trump and his minions constantly lie, I would say it’s a good bet they *are* lying about the economy.)

      Delete
    3. The entire recovery started under Obama. Every quarter while he was president showed growth in the economy and employment.

      You could look it up.

      I know you will lie, but you could look it up.

      Delete
    4. DinC,
      Do you remember the economic wreck that was left when Bush left office?

      Delete
    5. From Rawstory, by Lucian Truscott:

      "...What happens in the background of practically everything that Donald Trump does or fails to do is that people are dying. This is why the impeachment hearings are about more than Rudy Giuliani running around trying to get Ukrainian prosecutors to investigate Joe Biden and his son or some spurious right-wing conspiracy theory that it was Ukraine, rather than Russia, that meddled in the 2016 election. Ukraine is quite literally fighting for its life against Russian aggression on its eastern border. As Taylor’s testimony made clear, the fact that Trump ordered that American military aid to Ukraine be withheld had deadly consequences.
      ..."

      Delete
    6. AnonymousNovember 16, 2019 at 6:31 PM - yes, the economic recovery started under Obama. But, based on past patterns, the recovery should ended by now. The US economic expansion is now the longest in history. The US economic expansion, at 121 months and counting, became the longest on record on July 1. The continuing strength of the economy is to Trump's credit. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/07/02/this-is-now-the-longest-us-economic-expansion-in-history.html

      Delete
    7. DinC,
      If my math is correct, 8 years of Obama times 12 months per year equals 96 months. So of the 121 months of growth Trump can claim 25 months.
      Am I right?

      Manipulate those numbers.

      Delete
    8. "the economic recovery started under Obama"

      Meh. Forbes Magazine, 2012: Obama Wins The Gold For Worst Economic Recovery Ever

      "If mismanaging an economic recovery were an Olympic event, President Obama would be standing on the middle platform right now, accepting the gold medal.

      Deep recessions are supposed to be followed by strong recoveries, but, under Obama, the worst recession since the 1930s has been followed by the slowest economic recovery in the history of the republic. In a very real sense, there has been no recovery at all—things are still getting worse."

      It took liberal-zombie politicians 8 years and $9 trillion in debt to bring the unemployment rate to where it was in 2007.

      Delete
    9. Notice how Mao and David avoid talking about the deaths.

      Delete
    10. AnonymousNovember 16, 2019 at 9:56 PM - Having an economic recovery following a recession is normal. Extending a recovery beyond any historical precedent is special.

      Delete
    11. David, middle class income grew substantially? Like - back to the levels they were in 2006? Don't lie to yourself. The middle class hasn't had a raise in a generation save for a short period in the late nineties.

      This is the game sweetie:

      The bottom half of all U.S. households have 32% less wealth than in 2003. The top 1% have more than twice as much as they did then. https://on.wsj.com/32hOx3c


      Don't try to sugarcoat it with your bs stats.

      Delete
  10. “Is that reading too much into a few feet of silk?”

    Like you don’t know that whether it was Sarah Palin as a candidate or the witnesses appearing in congress now, this stuff is analyzed by “experts” and plotted down to buttons and pocket squares.

    The NYT is right on script.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cecelia, there is no reason to believe that any "experts" were involved in the hearing wardrobe choices. For one thing, Kent has worn that same bow tie and suit on previous occasions. There was nothing unusual about Taylor's attire. Yovanovich's scarf is a Hermes, which is a well known brand almost ubiquitous in business and government at higher levels. The pin may have been an homage to Madeline Albright, but where is the evidence that some "expert" selected it?

      I agree that this stuff is analyzed after the fact, but I don't think it is manipulated or chosen in advance to create impressions (which sounds kind of like another conspiracy theory to me).

      Women's garb is dissected whether you are an author, an actor or a candidate for office. This matters to some people and not at all to others. I disagree strongly with Somerby's idea that these people are signaling to other elites. They are wearing the uniform that goes with being in the State Department, which allows them to travel in a variety of places at different times without sticking out or being gauche. That's about it.

      Delete
    2. “The NYT is right on script.”

      True. The NYT should really stop to analyze the substantive issues surrounding impeachment, such as the revelations of Trump’s abuses, and the extent of his crimes, rather than focusing on matters of “style”. Surely that is Somerby’s complaint....

      Delete
    3. 'Surely that is Somerby’s complaint....'

      I assume you're being sarcastic, since TDH's speciality is defending the likes of DJT, Roy Moore, Ron Johnson and Brock Turner

      Delete
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