How on earth did life begin?

SATURDAY, MAY 16, 2020

Regarding Flynn, Hsu gets it (more) right:
We've mentioned at least three different trees during these pandemic Saturdays.

We've mentioned sacred Thoreau's "sympathy with the alder." We've mentioned Anne Frank's "bare chestnut tree glistening with dew," which left her "so moved and entranced" that she couldn't speak.

We've mentioned the pear tree just off our own back deck, which forms part of this morning's review of the Michael Flynn case. We haven't yet mentioned Frost's "window tree," perhaps the most perfectly rendered tree in our brief human history:
Vague dream head lifted out of the ground,
And thing next most diffuse to cloud...
So now we've mentioned it too.

Our pear tree loves to grow. Extending to the west, it has formed a canopy over the deck. Extending to the south, it is now forming a canopy over the stairs to the deck.

Pandemic seclusion has encouraged us to consider this tree in the way we always should have.

Why do such living things grow at all? With this question in mind, we returned to a book we perused when it appeared back in 2016:
A Brief History of Creation: Science and the Search for the Origin of Life
How on earth did life begin? Right in their preface, before they get started, Mesler and Cleaves tell us this:
We still don't know how life began. No one was there to witness the event, and almost all the geological record of that period has long since been erased by billions of years of constant geologic change.

What we do know is that by at least three and a half billion years ago, a single-celled living organism appeared on a sterile Earth. We don't know how it got there, but we can infer that it emerged from nonliving matter...
As best we can tell, this book wasn't reviewed by the major newspapers, except for the Wall Street Journal ("thoroughly engaging"). For the Science magazine review, you can just click here.

At any rate, a living organism somehow emerged from rocks and water—and from the presence of "energy," whatever that familiar term might actually mean. From there, we moved ahead to trees, and onward to such living organisms as us humans.

How did we get from rocks and water to something that's alive? For a question which may be even harder, how did we get from single-celled organisms to organisms possessing consciousness, even analytical skills?

We'll only say this—as a general matter, it's easier to get from consciousness to matter (or to the belief in matter) than it is to get from matter to consciousness. At any rate, this is just a way to praise the Washington Post's Spencer Hsu for getting it (more) right than the New York Times recently did.

In this morning's Post, Hsu offers a profile of Emmet Sullivan, the judge in the Michael Flynn case. The New York Times beat the Post to this mark, profiling Sullivan in Thursday morning's editions.

In this matter, slower but steadier won the race. Hsu's profile is generally positive, but it's much more balanced than the fan-person profile which appeared in the Times.

The profile is generally favorable. Hsu stresses Sullivan's "intolerance for official misconduct." As he closes, he tells us that Judge Sullivan "loathes double-talk," no matter where it comes from.

The profile is basically favorable. But along the way, Hsu cites a dew examples of Sullivan's occasionally unusual conduct, telling us that some observers have "griped about the judge's bluntness."

As if to torture blue tribe readers, Hsu even tells us this:
HSU (5/16/20): In 2016, Sullivan roiled the political waters when he criticized Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email address while secretary of state, at one point during a public records lawsuit decrying the “drip, drip, drip” of revelations about her email use. “When does it stop?” he said.
Admittedly, that's an extremely fuzzy account of what Sullivan did in that instance. Still, though, "first, you cry."

In our view, Hsu's profile was much more balanced, and much more informative, than the piece which appeared in the Times. We're never told that Sullivan is fiercely or ferociously independent, let alone that he is both.

For our money, there's a conceptual problem which appears early on, a conceptual problem which tilts the scales against Flynn's current position. Still and all, this profile might even help us understand that the world consists of many imperfect players, that it isn't always angels v. demons all the way down.

Somehow, we got from rocks and water to living things, even to living things with analytical skills. That said, we haven't perfected those skills as yet. In our view, it's important to remember that fact when watching "cable news" TV shows or even when reading our high-end newspapers.

As for trees, one of the great souls offered the passage shown below during her own enforced seclusion. It appeared in the version of her diary which she had rewritten during her final year:
SATURDAY, MAY 13, 1944

My dearest Kitty,

Yesterday was Father's birthday. . . and the sun was shining as it's never shone before in 1944. Our chestnut tree is in full bloom. It's covered with leaves and is even more beautiful than last year.

Father received a biography of Linnaeus from Mr. Kleiman, a book on nature from Mr. Kugler, The Canals of Amsterdam from Dussel, a huge box from the van Daans (wrapped so beautifully it might have been done by a professional), containing three eggs, a bottle of beer, a jar of yogurt and a green tie. It made our jar of molasses seem rather paltry. My roses smelled wonderful compared to Miep and Bep's red carnations. He was thoroughly spoiled...
Our analytical skills remain imperfect; that' an important point which we should keep in mind. Morally, we have a very long way to go. Many people are living in very cramped quarters, with no pear tree out back.

That said, teenagers were already able to see in the way that passage suggests, even in 1944. The chestnut tree was even more beautiful that year. We'd see that as something to build on.

97 comments:

  1. "The chestnut tree was even more beautiful that year. We'd see that as something to build on."

    What was being built for Jewish people in 1944?

    Somerby is so deep.

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  2. Dear Bob, perhaps you, as a world-renowned expert on mental health, could analyze this judge on narcissism and superiority complex?

    Please, dear Bob, go ahead, don't restrain yourself, my dear.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Here's a decent summary of l'affaire Flynn by Matt Taibbi, for your reading pleasure, dear Bob.

      Some (not all, by far) reactionary characteristics of your liberal-zombie cult are also discussed. Educate yourself, dear Bob, please.

      Delete
    2. Prosecuting corruption and treason makes the numbers go up.

      Delete
    3. Here, dear Bob, is another decent piece, by Jonathan Turley, describing your zombie cult's ratfucking PsyOps, aided and abetted by your zombie media.

      Enjoy.

      Delete
  3. From The Political Wire by Taegan Goddard:

    "Former FBI counterintelligence agent Asha Rangappa tells Vanity Fair that contrary to the Trumpian line, the volume of unmasking requests related to Michael Flynn’s behavior “is a bad look for him—not the Obama administration.”

    Said Rangappa: “This does not help Flynn. This is a long list of names of people across disparate areas of government who independently felt that the intelligence reports they were reading were so alarming that they needed to know—without knowing, by the way, who it was beforehand—[who] the person was that was engaging in that communication or activity.”

    Driving this point home, Rangappa asked of Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell: “Why not go ahead and disclose the underlying intelligence report?”"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's hard to take a counterintelligence official at their word, isn't it? One of their primary functions is to deceive people.

      One has to look at this whole Russia affair as a insider battle between Trump and the intelligence community, FBI, CIA, etc. that's why quotes from former counterintelligence officials or petitions by ex Justice Department employees need to be examined closely if one is really committed to understanding the truth.

      One also has to be careful when one sees an ex-CIA or FBI official, even an ex FBI or CIA director on cable TV making claims. They deal in deception. Some have a track record of lying. They are experts in deception. They may be guiding the lilly or God forbid, deceiving the public.

      Just making an observation. This ex-officio's claim may be right on the money and as objective as Jesus.

      Delete
    2. An intelligence official might deceive people as part of their work (gathering intelligence, not lying for its own sake). A counterintelligence official's job is to uncover and thwart the intelligence agents of other countries. The mission of intelligence and counterintelligence is different. The listening in on conversations is not a form of lying -- it is a form of counterintelligence.

      One has to ask why Trump is in conflict with the people who are working to support American interests to the point of taking Russia's word for things over what his own intelligence staff were telling him.

      You also confuse the field agents who gather intelligence with the directors and officials whose job is to evaluate information and direct the activities of their staff. There is no routine lying in administrative activities that directors engage in. Their job is to summarize and report information to higher ups, all the way up to the president, who is a fool if he doesn't seriously consider their input.

      Delete
    3. I'm sorry, counterintelligence involves deception. You should know that. You can read about our approach to counterintelligence deception here:

      https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/csi-studies/studies/vol51no2/strategic-counterintelligence.html

      Yes, one has to ask why Trump is in conflict with our intelligence agencies. That is the heart of the matter and where a large part of the truth lies.

      But your take on our intelligence agencies and their roles is hopelessly naive and simple. I'm not interested in engaging with you further if you think our counterintelligence agencies don't deal in deception,

      Delete
    4. Bracket, you said that one of the primary functions of counterintelligence is to deceive people. That isn't true. Their primary function is to counter the intelligence activities of other nations. That is why they are called "counterintelligence".

      Lying may be a tool, among many. Surveillance is a more important one. When you reduce counterintelligence to primarily lying, you are distorting their function.

      You don't have to respond to me. People can read both of our comments and decide for themselves if you are making sense or not.

      Delete
    5. In the case of Brennen, Clapper, and McCabe, they are the paid expert voices on a matter in which they were involved. Something that they have a stake in.

      Delete
    6. Brennan was in charge of the secret, billion dollar CIA war in Syria. He was using a strategy Trump had explicitly opposed while he was campaigning in 2016. Brennan did not want to stop that covert CIA war and Trump was going to if he was elected. (Obama was also opposed to the secret war but didn't pull the plug on it.)

      It could be Brennan was opposed to Trump's election because he was going to pull the plug on his covert war. Brennan was, after all, the father of Russiagate, making accusations about Trump and Russia from the very beginning. Fortunately for him the Trump/Russia narrative dovetailed perfectly with liberal's hatred of Trump, credulousness and inability to do basic research. So here we are.

      Just a thought.

      Delete
    7. May 15, 2020: Steve Linick, State Department IG
      May 1, 2020: Christi Grimm, HHS IG
      April 7, 2020: Glenn Fine, DOD IG
      April 3, 2020: Michael Atkinson ICIG

      How you froggies doing? Water getting hot yet?

      Delete
    8. It could be the CIA has the American people's best interest at heart in all matters hitherto and forthwith.

      Delete
    9. Bracket,
      I've read about corruption in our court system as well, so why are we letting these corrupt judges enforce contacts?

      Delete
    10. contracts, not contacts.

      Delete
    11. Just a thought, Bracket, Trump wanted to enact Russia's policy in Syria, supporting Assad and stopping support for those opposing him, changing our policy to be more aligned with Turkey too (Flynn's client). That's why he and Brennan were at odds, because Trump didn't want to tell Brennan that Putin was giving him orders, it might sound like he wasn't fully in charge. So instead, he just got rid of Brennan. You call this Brennan's secret war, but what if it was US policy and came from Obama, not Brennan, and only changed because of Trump's indebtedness to Russia, his need to appease Putin. That is consistent with your assertion that Brennan was on to Trump's collusion with Russia during the campaign. It is also consistent with Trump's actions in the area. His warning to Russia that he was going to bomb the airstrip, his bombing that did no damage to Russian planes, his pulling out troops and abandonment of the Kurds to Turkey and the rest of the country to Assad and Russia. Trump did just what Papa Putin asked him to do.

      Delete
    12. Because Obama was advocating a basically similar policy to Trump's.

      "Obama proposes new military partnership with Russia in Syria"

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/obama-proposes-new-military-partnership-with-russia-in-syria/2016/06/29/8e8b2e2a-3e3f-11e6-80bc-d06711fd2125_story.html

      In the end, we didn't pull our troops out of Syria. They are still there. There's no evidence of collusion at all. That has always been a ridiculous and stupid premise. mm you're living in a fantasy. It will be interesting how you finally come to terms with it.

      Delete
    13. In the case of Brennen, Clapper, and McCabe, they are the paid expert voices on a matter in which they were involved. Something that they have a stake in

      On the other hand the cable news networks give unlimited free time to Donald J Chickenshit, Acting President, to call them human scum. Seems like a good deal from President Baby Huey.

      Delete
    14. They do that because they make money off of it. He brings in big ratings and they sell advertising for more than usual. Remember what Les Moonves said.

      And the historically crazy and corrupt CIA and FBI are given carte blanche to come on and trash Trump or say whatever because credulous viewers have the impression they are objective and don't understand they are professional liars.

      mm have you read Manufacturing Consent? They should put it out in comic book form.

      Delete
    15. Bracket,
      What is the new information that has been brought to light, which explains why Barr's DOJ no longer thinks Flynn's lies were material?

      Delete
    16. You can read their filing here:

      https://bit.ly/2T76LT9

      Delete
    17. The only way you make any sense is if one accepts your premise that the CIA and FBI are historically crazy. This is the problem with these conspiracy theories. They make no sense at all unless you first accept a set of premises that also make no sense.

      Delete
    18. "You don't have to respond to me. People can read both of our comments and decide for themselves if you are making sense or not."

      This character Bracket seems like a sad lost soul, as such it should not be expected that they would make sense.

      The Obama proposal with respect to a partnership with Russia in Syria is actually completely different than any comments Trump made about Syria and Russia. Trump had no policy proposal about Russia and Syria, all he ever did was make some offhand remarks during an interview.

      Trump has been all over the map with Syria, often contradicting himself through the years; this is due to the forces that drive him - hate for Obama, and self interest (monetary gain through Russian relationships).

      The FBI and the CIA have done good and bad things, generally depending on who is in command. It is an empty reaction to claim otherwise.

      Liberals do not hate Trump, he is an incompetent and corrupt person, so criticism is appropriate. This is almost universally recognized, his supporters are dogmatic Republicans (admittedly a redundant notion), they do not care what he does as long as they are defeating The Others (Dems, libs, progressives, etc).

      If one looks at Trump's behavior as an insider battle, one is being naive and ignorant. Trump is ruled solely by self interest.

      Trump did collude with Russia. This is detailed in one of the two chapters in the Mueller Report. Mueller detailed as much collusion as he could investigate; however, his investigation was obstructed and he felt that while there was much evidence of collusion, he could not recommend any immediate indictments. To claim there was no collusion with Russia is an empty reaction.

      In a foreign affairs blunder, we did pull troops out of Syria.

      Cecelia, government oversight is a vital institution, one that is typically shunned or twisted by Republicans.

      It is corrupt and illegal to work as a rogue official and go against administration policy for personal gain, which is what Flynn did. Trump did not want to drop sanctions against Russia for the benefit of the US, it was for his personal benefit. As a progressive, I am not keen on sanctions as a policy because they often are used to punish innocent people (Iran, Venezuela); however, the Russian sanctions were targeting specific corrupt Russian oligarchs. Those sanctions continue to not be enforced.


      Delete
    19. Bracket @ 8:15

      I did. There wasn't anything new there. That's why I was asking someone who fancies they are informed on the subject if they knew.
      I guess you couldn't find anything new either.

      Delete
    20. You should read it again then I guess. I don't know what to tell you.

      Page 2 of the filing says "After a considered review of all the facts and circumstances of this case, including **newly discovered and disclosed information** appended to the defendant’s supplemental pleadings ... " Did you miss that or what? Read the attached exhibits. It also cites "recently
      declassified information" which are in the attachments as well.

      And all of this has been in the news.

      So I don't know what to tell you, friend. Good luck.

      Delete
    21. Bracket,
      I read the motion to dismiss. There's some stuff in there they say they just learned about, but it's stuff that was known when Barr's DOJ thought the information was "material".
      There is no account of any new information that has come to light, which could change one's opinion of whether Flynn's discussions were "material" or not..

      A guy as a bright as you (and so informed, BTW), could easily point it out if there were. Hence, you don't know what to tell me.
      Good luck to you, too. Hopefully you'll find someone who buys your both sides bullshit.

      Delete
    22. Yes, you're reading of it is strange because it's explicitly in there.

      And the new information has been reported pretty thoroughly. Maybe you should watch Fox News. They talk about it all the time which speaks to the point of the posts Somerby wrote this week. One side hears one set of facts, and the other side hears a whole different set of facts. You not even knowing what the new information is proves that in a small way.

      Thanks, wishing you the kindest regards.

      Delete
    23. Here you go my friend:

      https://youtu.be/uJVc5GSjpSU

      Delete
    24. Bracket,
      Again, you provide me stories about how this changed things, because some FBI agents weren't fans of Flynn.

      You can't provide me what I'm asking for, because Bill Barr and Timothy Shea haven't provided it. It's not public, if it exists at all. BTW, It doesn't.

      I'm not a reporter trying to keep my access to Barr and the President's Administration, so i don't have to take their word for it. They either have this new information, or they don't. Until they provide it, I say they don't.

      Be safe, and try not to be suckered by propagandists.

      Delete
    25. if you want to know why the motion to dismiss is bullshit:

      https://www.emptywheel.net/2020/05/07/to-justify-dismissing-mike-flynns-prosecution-timothy-shea-claims-information-doj-has-always-had-is-new/

      Delete
    26. The reporter in the clip describes what the new information is. And the new information is listed in the attachments of the filing. If one wants to make an argument that it is not really new information, it could be. We'll see what the judge says. But correct me if I'm wrong, you're asking what the new information is in the filing. That's very clear. I was wondering why you were asking such a stupid question. You're trying to entrap me like an FBI agent! If you want to say that the new information isn't really new, great. Then that is making a claim that the DOJ has submitted a weak argument and the judge will sort it out. But it's clear what they thought of and documented as new information. And it was new to Flynn's lawyers and the public. The blogger's argument is speculation. It could be a hundred percent right. The judge will have to sort it out. We can read his ruling together and see.

      If so, then you're pretty much left as it was before. He's guilty of a crime for which Mueller recommended no prison time. In other words, not a big deal compared with other government crimes.

      And the phone call itself isn't a crime either unless you pull out a hundred fifty year old obscure statute, which no one ever would. So he's guilty of lying but beyond that, he never did anything illegal. Unless you want to enact the Logan act which would be desperate, foolish move.

      You have to understand, you will always lose with Flynn and Russia and Trump and Russia. Trump's approval ratings are at an all-time high. 3 years you've had of Trump and Russia and it has got you nothing. You have to understand this is a tact and focus you will always lose. Actually, it helps Trump enormously. But I am glad to see that blogger will at least talk about the facts of the case that are talked about on Fox News. That is very good. But overall, no, it's a colossal losing issue. A colossal waste of time.

      Do you want to beat Trump? It's very easy at this point. He dropped the ball on the virus. You have to focus on that. If you want to find him guilty of something, it's all there. And it's true. It's not a bunch of comic book innuendo. You focus on what Trump did in the first three months of this year. You focus on what he did about pandemics in the first three years of his presidency. And you focus on what he is doing now. That is how you take him down.

      Then you focus on American people. And what concerns them and how your party can make their lives better and help them adjust to the new country that will arise out of the old country that Trump destroyed.

      Delete
    27. It's not new to Bill Barr's DOJ. They knew about this "new" information when they were claiming Flynn's discussions were "material".
      Sorry, to pick on you, but that's what the guy who fancies himself informed enough to tell others they're the ones who are ignorant get.

      One can want to beat Trump AND support the rule of law at the same time.
      Do you want to beat Trump, or do you want to eat food to sustain your life?

      Delete
    28. You have to understand Trump and his DOJ's obstruction of justice, the GOP-controlled Senate's indifference to treason against the United States of America, and the corporate-owned media's disregard for both helps Trump enormously.

      Fixed it for you, Bracket.

      Delete
    29. Great advice about focusing on one thing.
      Look at Trump. He botched the response to COVID-19, because he was fixated on fucking his daughter.

      Delete
    30. Good luck focusing on the concerns of the American people as an election strategy.
      I can already picture Trump's re-election ads; one side of the screen is a list of benefits Democrats want to provide the American people, on the other side are the faces of America's minorities.

      Delete
    31. Wow Bracket, you could not even back up your claim about Flynn. That aside, and even legality aside, how can one think it is acceptable to go rogue and go against administration policy to make deals with a foreign country with which we have an adversarial relationship, a deal which is not in the interest of the US, is solely in the interest of those involved in the deal? This is extremely corrupt.

      Trump's current approval rating is not at an all time high, it is where it has been most of his presidency (low 40's), which also happens to be the lowest in modern history. Your assertion is false, which is par for the course with you, a regular propagandist.

      Delete
    32. What claim about Flynn? What deal are you talking about? Let me know and I will back it up.

      Trump has a higher approval that Obama did at this point.

      https://www.newsweek.com/donald-trumps-approval-rating-reaches-highest-point-since-2017-administration-battles-1503554

      Delete
    33. The point about the approval rating is that Russia and Flynn only helps Trump. All the attention and focus on it makes Democrats look dumb. I'm not saying you're dumb.

      But at this point it's like trying to convince an alcoholic they have a problem. You are going to have to hit rock bottom I guess. Or whatever, keep pursuing it. I'm just here to tell you it's a mistake and a waste if time. And it's not even correct. Putin never had or never would have any sway over the president. That misunderstands and misrepresents their power and misunderstands and underrepresents our power.

      but maybe you're right. Maybe there's something there. Until now, absolutely no proof and no connection has been made after three years. It seems quixotic to keep pursuing it.

      Delete
    34. Your claim about "new evidence" is false. Flynn was conducting his own foreign policy with Russia. Citing a single poll from a week ago is laughable, today Trump is at 44 (some as low as 41) holding steady where he has been his entire presidency (the lowest in history), Obama was at 49, indeed there is not a single day where Trump has had a higher approval rating than Obama (graph at 538). The only time Trump has had a noticeable jump in approval is during his Covid briefings. The investigations into his corruption is morally necessary, but it also suppressed his approval. You have never read the Mueller Report which details some of the collusion. Trump has a long history of connection with Russian criminals connected with Putin. If you do not want to read the report, there's the stuff widely known - Trump Tower meeting, "Hey Russia", Helsinki, no sanctions, on and on and on. You obfuscate like a proper propagandist.

      Delete
    35. I'm afraid the pathetic Bracket is about as good a troll as we can expect from the Right.

      Delete
    36. There isn't collision proved in the Mueller Report. (Collusion isn't even a crime as Mueller points out early in the report.)

      Show me where it is. You can't.

      Bye!

      Delete
    37. Come on, Bracket, there's collusion all over the place in the Mueller Report.

      I think the fundamental problem with people like you who would like to blow off the whole Russian government's criminal interference in our election and the trump gang of liars, beggars and thieves actions to protect the Russian government from the consequences of their actions, is that you all don't really care because it was only Hillary. Do I have that about right?

      Delete
    38. Show me where it is. You can't.

      Delete
    39. I'm not saying Russia didn't interfere. I'm saying that there was no collusion, conspiracy or coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia. Trump is not and never was Putin's puppet. The mere idea of that is totally idiotic in my opinion but objectively, it has not been proven. Feel free to prove me wrong. But you can't.

      Delete
    40. The problems I have with Trump/Russia collusion spy novel comic book fantasy are:

      1. It's false
      2. It takes time and energy away from more important things
      3. It's divisive, red and blue are both getting screwed royally by the oligarchy
      4. It makes liberals look stupid and paranoid, vindictive and out of touch
      5. It makes Trump look good
      6. It gives a liberal rank-and-file like yourself a false sense of security, in other words, we need to improve after that loss, not spend years blaming ghosts. You are shielded from the shortcomings of the party with the comic book fantasy diversion
      7. The entire premise is so stupid and unrealistic, it offends me

      Delete
    41. Well, at least Bracket stopped pretending there was some new information which made Mike Flynn's treasonous contacts with Russians no longer "material".

      Baby steps.

      Delete
    42. "The entire premise is so stupid and unrealistic, it offends me"

      Exactly. How would a person even go about blackmailing someone for laundering Russian mob money through overpriced real estate deals?

      Delete
    43. Show me where it is. You can't.

      Delete
    44. "Show me where it is. You can't."

      Yes, Bill Barr. Show us the "new" information which made you change your mind on whether Flynn's discussions are "material" or not.
      Bill Barr, you can't.

      I'm surprised that Bracket, a person who fancies himself too smart to fall for propaganda, is such a suck-up to Bill Barr's propagandistic lies. I feel bad for Bracket, but some day, hopefully, he'll grow up.

      Delete
    45. Bracket,
      Do you really care if Trump colluded with Russia or not? Can you explain why?

      Delete
  4. Somerby's gotta get that dig in about Hillary's emails.

    There is nothing marvelous about a tree getting bigger, having more leaves, as it grows older. Kids get taller too. Ain't nature grand? But endowing his tree with special significance is something people with schizophrenia do. But I just don't know whether I should pity Somerby or condemn him for his sappy co-option of Anne Frank. Trump's alt-right buddies would treat her no better than the Nazis did but Somerby has given her some symbolic importance in his crusade against liberals. In his vague allusions, his point is lost except for his tone of wonder that trees still stand and Trump is still president, and the Russians are at it again despite a worldwide virus pandemic.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Does Somerby understand that the Diary of Anne Frank is a book assigned to children in school because it is hoped that they will identify with her thoughts while also learning about history and the inhumanity of war and intolerance?

    Why is Somerby so gleeful about an oblique and offhand criticism of Hillary? Does he hate her so much? Does he dislike liberals so much? Does he think Hillary's emails were wrongdoing of some sort? Only conservatives believe that -- and it is unclear whether they were sincere in that or just pursuing political advantage. It is as if he is saying: "See, your liberal savior judge disliked Hillary too!"

    The energy referred to is sunlight. Does Somerby really not know that? If he can't figure that one out, Anne Frank's diary may be his speed.

    Kids may need to discover that a jar of molasses made a good birthday gift during hard times, but adults are reading more challenging books. Thoreau has that same kind of appeal to teenagers. In an adult, it is pretentious, especially when sitting safely indoors while others are forced to work to provide the safety in which Somerby muses about tree leaves. He would do better to rake his neighbor's leaves for her. He apparently missed the class about the value of self-sacrifice.

    ReplyDelete
  6. It seems remotely possible that Somerby might believe that he can reduce the polarization between red and blue sides by presenting the merit in red beliefs so that blue thinkers can understand them. In that case, his project is undermined by his choice of red beliefs.

    The problem with this approach to promoting peace in the world, is that liberals do already consider what is being said by the right and they reject it because it is not factually true, seems like propaganda, or supports values they do not believe in. It isn't that liberals don't understand why conservatives feel as they do.

    In this particular case, liberals are looking beyond the specific justifications for dismissing Flynn's plea deal, to see Flynn as an instrument of Donald Trump's activities in collusion with Russia. To liberals, this isn't about FBI agents who didn't follow rules -- it is about a president who is paying back Russia for help during an election that was stolen from the Democratic candidate. Flynn did so many other things to further Trump's conspiracy and to benefit himself (his work for Turkey) that it doesn't matter if the FBI didn't follow procedure -- it matters that it is just for Flynn to do jail time and he shouldn't go free, as other Trump minions are doing because the DOJ is behaving corruptly in furtherance of Trump's goals.

    There is no way to bridge that gap in thinking about this issue. Instead of coming across as a peacemaker, Somerby is coming across as a Trump apologist and conservative in liberal clothing.

    It is a peculiarly WASP notion that conflict is a bad thing. Conflict itself is healthy because it can lead to resolution of differences and satisfaction of everyone's needs through compromise. There are good and bad ways of dealing with conflict, violence and war being the most extreme, and suggesting a failure of other approaches.

    If Somerby thinks that Flynn has a case or that it is OK for the DOJ to intervene in support of Flynn this way, he should enumerate his reasons and make an argument. This coy quoting evades responsibility for his own beliefs and makes readers guess at what he means. It is frustrating, not helpful.

    That's why I believe that Somerby's actual purpose here is to full up a page with words without much care given to expression (and no proofreading), as if he were being paid by the word. Buried in the word salad are statements that advance Trump's agenda, support his candidacy, undermine liberal values and candidates, and denigrate women, knowledge, professors, expertise, and similarly undermine faith in sources of information in our society. The presence of these things suggests that Somerby isn't simply a misguided Thoreau admirer seeking the path of Malala and MLK and Gandhi. Somerby is working to undermine things that liberals care about -- and soiling Anne Frank's pages in the process.

    ReplyDelete
  7. So the treatment of Michael Flynn reminds Somerby of Anne Frank?

    That is ... disgusting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It echoes the Republican who said that wearing a sticker to show virus antibody status was like being required to wear a yellow Jewish star on one's lapel.

      Somerby seems to be obsessed with Anne Frank and Malala and Roy Moore's innocence and the evilness of adult women who seduce Stanford swimmers with promising Olympic careers, and Stormy's grifting.

      Delete
    2. The neo-Nazis are very concerned with the purity of their women. That is what they are fighting to preserve as race warriors.

      Delete
    3. Yes, it’s just so obscure and tangential right now to reference life arising from the rocks and light seeping thru cracks.

      What would any of that traitorous distracting bullshit have to do with our present state of actual and metaphorical isolation.



      Delete
    4. It's not a metaphor for the coal industry Trump promised he'd save, that's for sure.

      It's not that big of a surprise, since Trump had never play-acted as a coal titan on any TV shows.

      Delete
  8. Here is something liberals care about, with respect to Chestnut trees. We don't have them any more in the US. They used to be widespread in New England. Then a beetle invaded and they were dying, so most cities cut them all down. Sort of like a pandemic, except for trees.

    It would be nice if Somerby cared about people the way he pretends to care about pear trees. We, like the Chestnuts, are being invaded, sickened and even killed. Our president might do something to save more of us, but he either can't or won't. Maybe he thinks the virus is only killing Chestnuts while sparing the Pear trees, or maybe he thinks there are so many trees that it won't matter if a few go down.

    I find it odd that Somerby doesn't mourn the loss of the Chestnuts while comparing Anne Frank's enjoyment of her view with his own Pear tree. But he is sort of an ahistorical kind of guy, plucking things here and there and never thinking about context.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hopefully, Sullivan will conclude that Flynn was caught in a perjury trap by the FBI (despite their assessment that Flynn was fully cooperative), and agree with the Justice Department on this one.

    Leroy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hopefully, this will set a precedent, and the justice system will never be allowed to catch someone in a lie ever again.

      Delete
    2. If Sullivan goes that way, Anne Frank will be smiling in heaven.

      Delete
    3. Anne Frank and her family were disobeying the legal authorities (Nazi collaborators) and the family that hid her was lying daily and breaking the law too. These are generally considered good lies.

      Are you suggesting that Flynn's lies were similarly good lies? On what basis? Was the comparison of Flynn's answers to his actual conversations any kind of FBI lie, much less a "trap," because Flynn didn't know he would be caught in his self-serving lies? I don't understand why the right keeps insisting that Flynn was lied to. There is no reason why the FBI should have to tell Flynn that they already knew the contents of his conversation(s) with Kislyak.

      Delete
    4. Hopefully, Leroy will grow a brain.

      Delete
    5. In 1998, Ruth Bader Ginsburg argued that the law prohibiting lying to the FBI (the The False Statements Statute of March 2, 1863) is unconstitutional because it gives prosecutors “extraordinary authority” to “manufacture crimes”.

      https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=10759801532331326210&hl=en&as_sdt=6&as_vis=1&oi=scholarr

      Delete
    6. What about perjury laws then? Should people be permitted to lie under oath without consequence?

      Delete
    7. That seems like a weird idea.

      Delete
    8. Yet you're willing to let Flynn escape any accountability for having done so.
      If I didn't know better, I'd find that weird.

      Delete
    9. I don't care at all what happens to Flynn.

      Delete
    10. Bracket,
      That explains why you didn't question the DOJ's motion to dismiss his case.
      For those of us who do care about Flynn (and, more importantly, the rule of law), we're still waiting for the DOJ to back-up their assertions with facts.

      Delete
    11. Caring about Flynn is a very, very, very strange thing to do in light of our current situation IMO. But to each, his own. Let me know how it works out for you.

      Delete
    12. Yes, I practically didn't notice your countless posts on this thread trying to defend the indefensible.

      Delete
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  11. When one contemplates the blue team’s thinking about crazy Michael “Lock Her Up I Pled Guilty Twice” Flynn, Somerby is led to contemplate the miracles of nature and the suffering of Anne Frank. As one does.

    On the other hand, when the red team finds clouds and shadows in Joe/Hunter Biden/Burisma, that leads me to contemplate the infinity of time and space and the awe-inspiring perseverance of a rose beneath the April snow.

    As one does.

    ReplyDelete
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