A need to return to the greatest of books!

SATURDAY, JUNE 4, 2022

The sunshine of the prairie summer would come sifting down: We'd planned to do something a little bit different today. 

For a hint of the statistical glory involved in that plan, see this morning's postscript. That said, for better or worse, we were knocked off course earlier this morning. 

First, we watched the tape of Cooper and Prokupecz all over again. We marveled anew at the immensity of their corporate and tribal arrogance. 

(We recalled Cooper's pair of pandering interviews with Candidate Trump back in 2016. As has been widely acknowledged, the corporate bosses at cable channels were cashing in on the high ratings associated with Candidate Trump at that time. "None of us human beings is perfect," we kept reminding ourselves.)

At any rate, we watched Cooper and Prokupecz again, as the pair performed their moral greatness and  their journalistic ineptitude. Then, we spent the 7 A.M. hour listening to C-Span viewers discussing President Biden.

It was a painful though highly instructive hour. It drove us to one of the greatest books—Sandburg's poetical two-volume biography, Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years. 

The nation was much smaller in those years, and it was in great trouble. At the end of his second volume, Sandburg describes the last journey Lincoln took, as president-elect, before heading off to meet his fate in the nation's capital.

As we've noted before, Lincoln took one last journey out of Springfield to visit his beloved stepmother, Sally Bush Lincoln. She was the one who had seen the potential in Lincoln when he was still a boy. 

By most accounts, she was the one who had encouraged him to be himself—to respect his heart and his head. Now he was going to see her for what would turn out to be the last time.

Lincoln hitched a ride in the caboose of a freight train out to Coles County, Illinois. He spent the evening conversing with friends. Sandburg takes over from there:

SANDBURG (page 417): The next day Lincoln drove eight miles out to the old farm along the road over which he had hauled wood with an ox team. He came to the old log house had cut logs for and helped smooth the chinks; from its little square windows he had seen late winter and early birds.

"From its little square windows," Sandburg noted, Lincoln "had seen late winter and early birds." 

Lincoln's stepmother still lived in that house. Sandburg continues from there:

SANDBURG (continuing directly): Sally Bush and he put their arms around each other and listened to each other’s heartbeats. They held hands and talked; they talked without holding hands. Each looked into eyes thrust back in deep sockets. She was all of a mother to him.

He was her boy more than any born to her. He gave her a photograph of her boy, a hungry picture of him standing and wanting, wanting. He stroked her face a last time, kissed good-by, and went away.

She knew his heart would go roaming back often, that even when he rode in an open carriage in New York or Washington with soldiers, flags or cheering thousands along the streets, he might just as like be thinking of her in the old log farmhouse out in Coles County, Illinois.

The sunshine of the prairie summer and fall months would come sifting down with healing and strength; between harvest and corn-plowing there would be rains beating and blizzards howling; and then there would be silence after snowstorms with white drifts piled against the fences, barns, and trees.

"The sunshine of the prairie summer and fall months would come sifting down with healing and strength." Or, at least, so Sandburg alleged. His chapter ends as shown.

It's hard to listen to the foofaw which comes at the modern-day citizen from so many sides—for example, from cable stars like Cooper, who is presumably doing what he thinks is best. 

At the start of the week, we may show you what some of C-Span's callers said this morning. For today, Cooper and Prokupecz, and those callers, drove us back to Sandburg's book—to his poetical portrait of a future president who was said, by a Springfield resident, to be "a man who often had dry tears."

Something a little bit different: Recent events on the NBA front had us thinking of a certain set of statistics.

Those statistics describe the invention of the modern home run. The numbers look like this:

American League home run champions, 1916-1920
1916: Wally Pipp, 12
1917: Wally Pipp, 9
1918: Babe Ruth, Tilly Walker, 11
1919: Babe Ruth, 29
1920: Babe Ruth, 54

That's right! In 1920, Babe Ruth led the league with 54 home runs. Three years earlier, another Yankee—Wally Pipp—had led the league with 9!

It was during that era that Babe Ruth invented the modern home run, at least within the MLB context.  

Players had hit home runs before, of course—but never in anything resembling these numbers. Ruth hit 59 in 1921, and baseball never looked back.

In a somewhat similar way, Bill Russell invented the modern blocked shot back in the mid to late 1950s. 

People had blocked shots before, but never in numbers like this. Today, everyone in the NBA is Bill Russell, if perhaps a tiny bit less so. 

(Even by professional standards, Russell was unusually gifted athletically, something he demonstrated as a college track star.) 

Today, everyone is Bill Russell! Back then, there was no Russell but Bill Russell. There was no one but Russell himself. 

We ourselves were just a kid, listening on our bedside radio as the brand-new Celtic accomplished this feat roughly ten miles from our home. In 1960, we got lucky. Our family moved to California. We were twelve years old.

Not long ago, Stephen Curry invented the modern 3-point field goal. There had been plenty of 3-pointers before Curry came along, but he basically reinvented the practice. 

As he did, he also helped engineer a changing of the guard within the NBA. Is it possible that today's Celtics will author a new changing of the guard within the next two weeks?

On Thursday night, did the Celtics begin to author a changing of the guard? We wondered about that possibility after Thursday night's game. It's possible that they'll do so, of course—or the Warriors could win the next four games.

Meanwhile, gaze on that hundred-year-old data set. Babe Ruth invented the modern home run. At least within the world of sports, you rarely see a set of statistics which look anything like that!


108 comments:

  1. "We recalled Cooper's pair of pandering interviews with Candidate Trump back in 2016."

    Somerby claims that Cooper was going for ratings, but it seems equally likely that Cooper was giving Trump a chance, trying to be even-handed and fair to him, respectful and unbiased.

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    1. That’s true of much of the Press Trump got. But the evidence of his totalitarian goals was right there, and he was fair played into a pass.

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  2. "It's hard to listen to the foofaw which comes at the modern-day citizen from so many sides"

    Sandburg's description of Lincoln's meeting with his step-mother, with all the weather allusions, is pure imagination. As such, it is its own kind of foofaw. Doesn't Somerby think any of that took place? It is purely idealized and based on Sandburg's poetic yearnings, not Lincoln's life. Pure foofaw, but Somerby accepts it and not the closer-to-reality efforts that appear on Anderson Cooper's show.

    Somerby perhaps even imagines that Robert Frost ventured into nearby woods in order to write his lines about "the woods are lovely, dark and deep", instead of sitting at a desk surrounded by books and perhaps a shot glass or a coffee cup. Foofaw indeed, but Somerby buys his kind of foofaw while accusing the innocuous Cooper of wrongdoing. Somerby is once again an ass.

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  3. Why did Babe Ruth hit so many homeruns in 1919? First, he started as a pitcher and pitchers don't play every game, which decreased his home runs in previous years. His homeruns increased when he stopped pitching, after being traded from the Red Sox to the Yankees. Second, the quality of pitching wasn't as good as it became later on, so he was thrown more hittable balls. Third, he drank a lot -- many of his homeruns were "beer powered."

    Somerby wishes to portray his success as pure athleticism, but there were other contributors to his success. He didn't "invent" the modern home run -- he was placed in a situation where he could hit more of them and supported in that effort by his team.

    Why does Somerby say that he got lucky by moving from Boston to California?

    Bill Russell was tall. He was also a member of the first team to start 5 African American players. He did change the nature of basketball, but so did the Celtics, by hiring the first African American player (not Russell). Russell showed the advantage that big and tall men could have in the game. Could he have done that if he were not tall?

    Somerby seems moody and his musings are confusing because he never says what he means by them. I get it that he likes sports, but beyond that, what is his point?

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    1. IOW It's frustrating when he doesn't commit to anything because there's nothing to attack.

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    2. Because there's no accountability for his opinions. He can have things all ways. It is cowardly.

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  4. "Meanwhile, gaze on that hundred-year-old data set. Babe Ruth invented the modern home run. "

    Better yet, gaze on this data set, without cherrypicking the years:

    https://www.baseball-almanac.com/hitting/hihr5.shtml

    Not only did Babe Ruth hit more home runs than previously after 1920, but so did quite a few other players. Nor did Babe Ruth hit the most every year after that. Others vied for that honor and several beat his numbers from year to year.

    Gary Cravath was hitting 19 and 24 homeruns in 1913 for Philadelphia, before Babe Ruth hit 11 in 1918. Lots of men equalled or exceeded Babe Ruth's home runs in the 10 years after the period selected by Somerby. In 1922, Ken Williams hit 39 and Rogers Hornsby hit 42, both beating ?Ruth. So what?

    Babe Ruth is a larger than life figure, not solely because he hit home runs, but because he was promoted and idealized, treated as a star. There were many others among his contemporaries who also hit home runs, some exceeding Ruth's accomplishments from year to year. Frank Schulte hit 21 in 1911, way more than Ruth. Why didn't he get credit for inventing the home run? There is no dramatic increase in stats after the 1920s until Roger Maris hit 61, then the totals continue in the same range until the present.

    Somerby seems prone to idealize whatever sport is happening on his own TV and radio. His use of stats is ridiculous, as he tries to cherrypick data to show that Ruth was exceptional, when he was a capable player who became larger-than-life due to personality and promotion, not home-run hitting. I suppose boys need heroes, but Somerby's figures here are an example of abuse of statistics.

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    1. anon 12:23, you are way off. Ruth hit 54 homeruns in 1920, breaking his own record of 29 set in 1919. (George Sisler was second that year with 19). Before that Cravath had the record, 24, and batters would often lead the league with home runs in the teens. Obviously, Ruth didn't "invent" the home run - but TDH's metaphor is apt. Your ridiculous comment that Ruth was merely a "capable" player, or your claim that TDH "cherrypicked data" in order to "show that Ruth was exceptional." Ruth hade a lifetime average of .342, lifetime on base percentage of .474, lifetime slugging average of .690, and a lifetime OPS of 1.164in addition to hitting 714 home runs. ON top of that, he was a great pitcher before he switched to exclusively playing the outfield, with a 94-46 won lost record, and a 2.25 ERA. If he stuck to pitching, he almost surely would have made the Hall of Fame anyway. Sure there were other great players in the Ruth era, Gehrig, Hornsby, Foxx, but Ruth was extraordinary.

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    2. The rules changed in 1920. That’s why he went from 29 to 54. Others showed similar increases, occasionally doing better than Ruth. They changed the balls. Somerby is romanticizing Ruth. Look at the stats I posted, the complete record.

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    3. I assume you are the same anon who posted that the rules changed in 1920 (e.g., new balls replacing scuffed up ones) as a result of the fatal beaning of Ray Chapman by a Carl Mays spitball) and this accounts for Ruth hitting 54 homers in 1920, breaking his own record of 29 home runs set in 1919. But Chapman was hit in the head on August 16, 2020 and died within hours. Baseball seasons ended the first week of Sep[tember back then - so if the rule was changed after the beaning, that would hardly account for Ruth's 54 homers. Sure, the numbers of homers increased after 1920, and there were a lot of sluggers, but no one equaled Ruth (Gehrig came closest - maybe a lot of Ruth's greatness as well as Gehrig's came from playing in Yankee stadium). Look it up at Baseball.Reference.com - look at Ruth's incredible stats; other were great too, but not as great. To say that Ruth wasn't "special," that he was merely "capable" is silly. What do you have against the Sultan of Swat - or is it just foolish animosity toward TDH?

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    4. Both Roger Maris and Hank Aaron beat Ruth’s record. Both suffered opposition because of it. I assume you mean 1920, not 2020. The rule change started in 1920, not 1921. That is clear, no matter when the player died. There have been many special players. I object to allowing nostalgia to overcome facts. I’m not fond of drunks — how much better might Ruth have been without the alcoholism?

      Also Steph Curry is a fine player but Michael Jordan made a whole lot of 3-pt shots too. Why can’t Somerby enjoy the games without the specious myth-making?

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    5. Yes, 1920. Yes Aaron broke Ruth's lifetime homerun record, which was later broken by Barry Bonds (largely attributed to steroids). Yes Maris hit 61 homeruns in 1961 (in a 162 game season)(broken by Bonds, McGwire & Sosa, also attributed to steroids). Aaron was a great player, never his 50 in a season, Ruth did it 4 times, Aaron hit for a much lower average than Ruth and had a lot more at bats. Not to take anything away from Aaron, but statistically, his record doesn't compare with Ruth's astounding record. Maris comes nowhere near to Ruth (or to many other great hitters). I'm not sure in what way TDH "let nostalgia overcome facts." You don't make much sense.

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    6. The idle quest for GOATs doesn't make any sense. GOAT -- greatest of all time -- seems to be a game that bored sports commentators play. There were many fine athletes across time. Their records depend on many times besides playing ability. Fetishizing Babe Ruth is sickening because it minimizes the contribution of team and the many other capable players who put their hearts into providing entertainment for men who identify with them.

      Somerby is at the end of his life and looking back on his own accomplishments. Claiming that Bill Russell changed basketball because he was tall and could do thinks others could not, such as rebounding, ignores the totality of his effort as a player. It makes him into a freak. In any given year, there were other hitters whose records were close to Ruth's. His consistency is not exactly the flashy kind of trait that Somerby responds to. Today's baseball bears little resemblance to the game Ruth played, made possible by a change in rules. What might have happened had they standardized the distance to the outfield fence, making the home run playing field equal for all batters?

      Somerby doesn't care about baseball. He uses the lives of people like Ruth, Malala, MLK, to pretend there is some divine touch that endows greatness, setting such people aside from everyday mortals. Maybe that is a comfort when he looks back on the string of mediocrity that characterizes his own careers. But Ruth was not a happy man either, even if he hit a few more home runs than those nearly as high in the standings, while Somerby cherrypicks the data to prove that Ruth was The Greatest of All Time. Whether Ruth was or was not, changes nothing whatsoever about his life or who he was as a person. And it won't for Somerby either.

      Meanwhile AC/MA, you complain that there are some here who crtiticize Somerby no matter what he says, while you defend Somerby, no matter what he says. My point was that Somerby misused statistics to cook the books for Ruth. He plainly did that by ignoring info about rule changes and limiting the comparison to just a few years (before and after the rules changed), ignoring that the rule change had the same impact on all players, including those batting similarly high. That is deceptive. But you think my comment was about Ruth and you ignore what Somerby did and defend him anyway.

      And why? What does it matter how many home runs Ruth hit back in the early 1900s?

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    7. anon 1:15 - I've often criticized TDH. Bill Russell was a 6'9" center, not especially tall for that position. I don't think you know anything about him. You don't realize it, but you tend to draw conclusions with little or no basis in fact or logic. If I had to correct every goofy comment you make, I'd have to spend hours every day, which really isn't worth it.

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    8. Bill Russell was 6'10". His teammates were Sam Jones who was 6'4", Satch Sanders who was 6'6", K.C. Jones who was 6'1", Tommy Heinsohn who was 6'7", John Havlicek who was 6'5", Bob Cousey who was 6'1", Jim Loscutoff who was 6'5", Larry Siegfried who was 6'3", Don Nelson who was 6'6", Bill Sharman who was 6'1" -- so you get the picture. 6'10 was indeed tall. He was one of only 15 black players whe he started, but the NBA was half black when he finished his career.

      If you are looking for a GOAT, I vote for Magic Johnson.

      You have so far not corrected any comment I've made, and you have not shown anything I've said to be "goofy". You are embarrassing yourself here. Go away.

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    9. In 1965, the average height of an NBA centre was 6'5"
      That makes Bill Russell 5 inches taller than average.

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    10. I was a teenager in Boston in the Celtics hey day when Bill Russell was their center. I distinctly remember him being described as 6' 9" - and if you google "boston celtics 1964-1965 roster" he's listed there at 6'9". but Wikipedia and other sources have him at 6'10" tall - 2.08 meters (which is about 6'9 9/10" feet). It is what it is. The other players on the roster listed by 5:58 were guards or forwards. Centers, like Russell, are almost always the tallest players on the team. You misunderstand my point. Whether Ruth or Russell were GOATs is strictly a matter of opinion. It's subjective. Certainly a strong case can be made for Ruth, and many would call Russell a "GOAT" - I actually agree with you that the GOAT arguments can be lame. Your characterization of Ruth as merely a "capable" player is goofy.

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    11. anon 6:00, no "centres" or centers in 1965 in the NBA were 6'5" - there was one center who was 6'7", three centers were 6'8". No center was under 6'7". The average height of an NBA center in the 1964-1965 season was between 6'9" and 6'10" You can look it up in Basketball reference.com.

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    12. https://runrepeat.com/height-evolution-in-the-nba

      There is nothing at Basketball reference.com that gives the average heights of players in any year.

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    13. "foolish animosity toward TDH?"

      Spot on. So they must criticize Ruth and Russell, trying to minimize their legendary status. It was just coincidence that a candy bar got named after him, he was only a "capable" player...

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    14. Not criticizing them at all. Merely not mythologizing them. He was a capable player and a habitual drunk who the Yankees built up for publicity. Of course he was popular, while Roger Maris was reviled. But none of that is about baseball. It is about capitalism. Bill Russell quit basketball because the Celtics wouldn't pay him more than Wilt Chamberlain. That shows the character of a true champion!

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    15. "The events unfolding in the conservative bastion of Oklahoma reflect a sort of legal nirvana for the antiabortion movement, whose leaders see the potential demise of Roe as a path to shuttering abortion clinics across roughly half of the country. As state Rep. Todd Russ (R), one of the leading antiabortion members in the legislature, put it in a recent interview: “We won the tournament, you might say.”

      Somerby might say that they invented banning abortion.

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    16. Well, better explain your vastly superior knowledge of sports to ESPN so they can remove Babe Ruth from the #6 spot on the top players of *all time* across *all sports*. Send us the link when they update it based on your "just a capable player" feedback.

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    17. Likewise you have a lot of work to do with regards to your take on Bill Russell. #9 NBA player of all time at complex.com, #5 at hoopshype.com, #4 at ESPN. It's a good thing you came along to sort us all out.

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    18. As I said, not criticizing them but not mythologizing them either. I don’t worship athletes. Lists like that are ridiculous.

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    19. The original commenter has it right, Somerby and his fanboy are servile to what they consider superior beings. This is common to all right wingers, and it is why they do not like progress.

      The ability to hit a ball or throw a ball in a basket has no value for me, it is very weird why it would for anybody. Free will does not exist; society is not served by unduly creating hierarchies based on arbitrary traits in which no one had a sentient role.

      Somerby and his fanboy spend all their days shitting on people who want to advance society, diminish oppression, make life more enjoyable, meanwhile they ogle and idolize random and arbitrary traits like servile cucks.

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. Somerby credits Babe Ruth with inventing the home run, but it was also rule changes in 1920 that produced more home runs:

    "Rule changes (1920)
    The dead-ball era came to an end after the fatal beaning of Cleveland shortstop Ray Chapman during the 1920 season. Chapman was killed by a submarine pitch from Carl Mays in the 5th inning of a twilight game against the New York Yankees. Witnesses stated that Chapman never moved to get out of the way of the ball, and it is assumed he simply could not see it. The new Commissioner of Baseball, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, instituted several new rules during that season in response to Chapman's death as well as in an effort to liven up the game.[citation needed]

    Rather than change the construction of the balls, which remained consistent between the transition from the "dead-" to "live-ball eras",[1] rule changes were instituted around how the balls were treated. Starting in 1920, balls were replaced at the first sign of wear, resulting in a ball that was much brighter and easier for a hitter to see. Additionally, pitchers were no longer allowed to deface, scuff, or apply foreign substances to the ball.

    Impact of 1920 rule changes
    The impact of the rule changes was felt almost immediately. In 1920, the game changed from typically low-scoring to high-scoring games, with a newfound reliance on the home run. That year, Babe Ruth set a record for slugging percentage and hit 54 home runs (smashing his old record of 29). Aiding in Ruth's success was the fact that he held the bat lower and swung with an uppercut, essentially trying to hit home runs. His 54 home runs in 1920 were a total greater than 14 of the other 15 teams at the time, and it nearly tripled fellow slugger George Sisler's second-highest total of 19 that season. Seeing his success (and his popularity that followed), young players who debuted in the 1920s, including Lou Gehrig and Mel Ott, followed Ruth's example. The home run has been a significant part of baseball since.[2] Ruth broke his own record in 1921, hitting 59 home runs; six years later, he passed his own mark once again by hitting 60 home runs, a single-season record that stood for 34 years.

    While the rule changes instituted in 1920 were a major factor in the increased scoring and number of home runs seen in Major League Baseball, established sluggers who had been successful prior to 1920 (including Sisler, Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker) were able to maintain their previous successful hitting styles into the 1920s. Such success is attributed to Sisler (and others) choking up on the bat, resulting in fewer strikeouts and more doubles. In 1920, George Sisler also set his long-standing record of 257 hits in a single season, which would not be eclipsed until 84 years later in 2004 when the Seattle Mariners' Ichiro Suzuki hit 262.

    The live-ball era also had a lasting impact on pitchers. Between 1910 and 1920, the last decade of the dead-ball era, eight pitchers had 30-win seasons. Since the beginning of the 1921 season, the first full season of the live-ball era, only three pitchers have had 30-win seasons: Lefty Grove in 1931; Dizzy Dean in 1934; and Denny McLain in 1968."

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  7. Today Driftglass reprinted the rules followed by David Brooks to write each of his columns. I was struck by the similarity between Brooks' rules and those that Somerby must be following. Simply substitute the name Somerby for Brooks in the following list:

    "Brooks' "style" was so mind-numbingly predictable that 12 years ago I published "How To Write a David Brooks Column" just to make sure the blueprints for Mr. Brooks' scam were not lost to history:

    ...In just 10 Easy Steps you'll be punditting like a pro!

    1) Pick a subject. Any subject. From Tasseled Loafers to Torture, it literally does not matter.

    2) Quote extensively from one person or group on the subject. It's OK to just more-or-less copy and paste in big hunks of what whatever-you-happen-to-be-reading-at-the-moment to flesh out your 800-word column. Here at the Times we call that "research"!

    3) Quote from some other person or group on the same subject who appears to hold a different opinion. If no actual opposition exists, just put on your Magic Green Jacket and invent an opposing opinion.

    4) Although such is not the case with today's subject, as often as possible, try to impute these fictional distinctions to the different hemispheres of the political Universe. So no matter how bigoted, reckless or just bugfuck crazy the Right behaves, you just go right ahead and blandly assert with no supporting evidence whatsoever that the Left is equally and oppositely bad in exactly the same qualities and quantities. Here at the Times we call that "seriousness"!

    5) Discover in your final paragraph or two that -- amazingly! -- the precise midpoint between those two completely artificial positions on an imaginary spectrum just happens to be exactly the Right and Reasonable answer!

    Oh boy!

    6) Rinse and repeat. No matter what the subject, no matter how false or bizarre the equivalence, just rinse and repeat. Twice a week.

    7) Every week.

    8) Year.

    9) After year.

    10) After year.
    Long ago this stopped being a "style", and started being a fetish, Mr. Brooks.



    The scope or details of any given issue were immaterial to Mr. Brooks. His goal was, by dint of sheer repetition, drive home the Big Lie that every problem in American life was the result of the dogmatic insanity of the Extremes on Both Sides and that he, David Brooks, was speaking ex officio on behalf of a vast, voiceless, unrepresented (and almost entirely fictional) Sensible Center."

    Like Brooks, Somerby has made it his life's work to chide the left for not meeting right in the middle. He no longer demonstrates any bothsiderism, but just asserts that the left is like the right, and all of humanity is sliding into the sea lefties dispute "the others" (the right). The body is each essay is lifted from others via meaningless quotes that rarely mean anything relevant to Somerby's bottom-line message about the venality of the left.

    Sometimes Somerby quotes from Brooks, Andrew Sullivan, or some other bothsiderist dead-ender -- achieving the height of irony.

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  8. This is so fucking sad! Imagine poor Somerby longing to have a mother who loved him as much as Lincoln's stepmom loved him, according to Sandburg, who made up a bunch of atmospheric shit to gloss a conversation that no one was there to hear, much less describe (except Lincoln) who perhaps mentioned leaving behind a picture for her to remember him by. Imagine Somerby thinking that if he had a mom like Lincoln's mom, he could perhaps have been president too, or maybe Babe Ruth. And then there is the fantasy of replacing one's true mother with an acquired and much better substitute, who was better than that awful birth mom, and provided the unconditional love and admiration that all young boys crave -- without which it is hard for them to excel at sports! And how sad is it that Somerby's psyche is spewing out these images despite a lifetime to get over it? Perhaps he imagined Lincoln's stepmom holding his hand in the doctor's office, while he gave not a thought for all the many opportunities he messed up, when he might have established an actual adult relationship with another human being. Except for Al Gore.

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    1. Does Somerby know that Babe Ruth grew up in a home for abandoned children? His "mother" was a Catholic priest.

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  9. Carl Sanburg on Abraham Lincoln is the "greatest of books"?

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    1. I think Bob's being a bit sarcastic because the Sandburg book is notoriously unreliable in the hopeless narrative dept.

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  10. Bob, hoping you're doing well I am. Don't go just yet, enjoy your essays.

    Yah, sports is sports. It's all about money and spectacle at this point, just like politics, and the reporting of it. Or anything else which is “reported” on the MSM.

    Always loved basketball I have, and watching clips of “the old days”, with the “legends”, incurs a nostalgia that is hard to explain. But I think you do it quite well.

    Kind regards,
    Leroy

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  11. Lincoln got it wrong. He should have let the south go. The Confederacy remains alive and mentally ill, and we remain stuck with the it.

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    1. If he could have insured no new States became Slave States, I agree with you. But I don’t know how he could have done it.

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    2. Build the border wall at the Mason-Dixon line.

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  12. Lincoln seems to be a type of hero for Somerby. I’m not complaining. Lincoln was an amazing figure.

    But I think that Somerby tends to focus on the aspect of Lincoln’s character that extended forgiveness to the South (“the better angels of our nature”, etc.) This was a commendable stance. But you can’t ignore the fact that it was Lincoln who waged total war on the South in the first place, resulting in the need for reconciliation. The war didn’t occur like some natural phenomenon.

    There was a lot of opposition to Lincoln and to waging war on the South even in the North. Lincoln had to maneuver against this opposition to commit the North to the war. Preserving the union was more important to Lincoln than finding common ground with “the others.”

    I often suspect that, if Somerby had been blogging back in 1860, he would have criticized Lincoln for not listening to “the others”, especially since he (Somerby) seems so determined to remain blas√© in the face of attacks on voting rights and the January 6 riot and its consequences. Lincoln clearly had a limit to the amount of compromise he was willing to engage in.

    Many in the South today still view Lincoln as a tyrant, not a hero. I guess that’s OK too. But they would view Sandburg’s biography as hagiography.

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  13. America is always at war.

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    1. Money for war but not to feed the poor.

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  14. Oh... Bob has had NOTHING to say about Durham
    getting his one shitty case thrown out, or the soft
    peddling of the story in the Press. Had Sussmann
    somehow been convicted, would Bob gloat...maybe
    just a LITTLE?? Ya Think??

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    1. Sussman's acquittal is less exonerating of Clinton and the fact her campaign invented a story tying Trump to Russia than you think. That's why powerful Democrats and their allies in the media are not saying much about the acquittal. Although they have tried to make it look more exonerating than it is in an effort to trick people like yourself who are not good at doing basic research or very smart to begin with.

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    2. Russia, if you're listening, get better trolls.

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    3. Haha. Good comeback.

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    4. The Golden State Warriors and the Boston Celtics showed their support for the “End Gun Violence” campaign on Sunday as both teams donned orange t-shirts before Game 2 of the NBA Finals.

      Both Warriors coach Steve Kerr and Celtics coach Ime Udoka wore the orange t-shirts and expressed the need for more awareness around the issue. Players from both teams wore the shirts during warm-ups.

      Kerr said the NBA feels “very strongly” about the issue and wants to be a part of a nationwide effort to limit gun violence, according to his pre-game interview shared by the NBA on Twitter.

      “There are things we can do that would not violate people’s Second Amendment rights, but would save lives. The idea behind wearing the shirts for both teams is to make people aware that they can contribute to different gun safety, gun violence prevention groups,” he added.

      According to Kerr, the majority of people in the U.S. want gun safety measures put in place, and with the mid-terms this year “people got to vote.”

      “If you feel strongly about saving lives and possibly even someone in your own family, get out and vote,” he added.

      Celtics coach Udoka also spoke up in his pre-game interview and said that gun violence continues to take place and the only way to change that is through awareness.

      “The awareness is about things that continue to happen in our communities. They are devastated and their families are devastated and we kind of go on with our normal life and business. Just continue to keep those thoughts in mind and those people are struggling. It continues to happen. And awareness and changes need to be made and we are all on the same page as far as that,” Udoka said.

      Delete
    5. The information that came out of the Sussman trial was really damning for Hillary Clinton. He got off on the charge of lying to the FBI but in doing so had to release the number of documents and have testimony from Clinton's campaign manager Robby Mook that confirmed Hillary herself signed off on the plot to falsely tie Trump to Russia with the Alfa Bank story. It may not have really been an illegal. Just an insight into how sleazy politics are played.

      Delete
    6. You don't have to be a moron to believe in Russiagate. It's probably the biggest most successful propaganda campaign in world history. So lots of people of all levels of intelligence got swept up in it for all sorts of different reasons.

      Delete
    7. Calling the media "liberal" is more a cry for help, than trolling.

      Delete
    8. I still don't understand what is sleazy about asking the FBI to investigate whether Trump's server in the Trump Tower is communicating with Russian bank Alfa Bank while Trump was running for President. Had Trump been transparent about his finances, there would have been less suspicion. But we now know that Trump couldn't be transparent because he was engaging in financial wrongdoing involving the Russians.

      It isn't sleazy to investigate a criminal operation for its crimes.

      Delete
    9. Anonymous, just read the Sussman indictment and you won"t be so puzzled.

      Delete
    10. 11:20,
      A more successful propaganda campaign than using 2016 pretending to care that Republicans were pretending to care about Hillary's email protocols?
      That one was so successful, it cost her the Presidency.

      Delete
    11. The Sussman indictment is a must read. Once you read it you'll know all the allegations that weren't proven about Hillary's involvement in the Russiagate story.

      Delete
    12. Ie. It is sleazy to make up crimes and try to pin them on any organization, criminal or otherwise, and then take that story to the FBI and trick them into investigating it by saying the media is going to cover it, and then go to the media and trick then into covering it by telling them the FBI is going to investigate it.

      It's the exact same tactic Dick Cheney used with aluminum tubes.

      Delete
    13. Of course it's a far far more successful and detrimental and reckless propaganda campaign. It affected the entire world and still is.

      Delete
    14. 11:42,

      That didn't happen. There was nothing false about what Sussman told the FBI and there was zero evidence that he did it because the Clinton campaign told him too. Stop fucking lying.

      Democrats didn’t gin up the focus on Trump’s ties to Russia, Trump’s own begging for more hacking did.

      The trial also showed that this wasn’t an investigation into Trump. Rather, it was opened as an investigation into Kirkland & Ellis client Alfa Bank, which FBI believed had ties to Russian intelligence.


      The investigation even considered whether Alfa Bank was victimizing Trump Organization.

      Barr is similarly lying about whether supervisors revealed the source(s) of this information and what it was.

      The source for the allegations was not Hillary, but researchers. And the trial presented repeated testimony that David Dagon’s role as one source of the allegations being shared with investigative agents. That detail was not hidden, but agents nevertheless never interviewed Dagon.


      So sorry you have you head up the ass of a lying sack of shit, treasonous corrupt moronic megalomaniac. Hillary isn't responsible for him being such an asshole.

      Delete
    15. No, what I said was true. It did happen. The source of the allegations were researchers that were working at the behest of Clinton operative. You can put it all together and see that it's true if you want to take the time to do the research and can be made comfortable with understanding something that you don't want to be true actually is. Either way, I wish you the best and hope you have a great day and a great week.

      Delete
    16. Just read the Sussman indictment. It talks about David Dagon. He was the researcher that pushed back on how completely silly the accusation was. It goes through the whole story. But I understand if you don't want to go there. Just do what you got to do man. Believe what you got to believe. I respect you no matter what you believe or say.

      Delete
    17. Actually, he has proven a crime. A FBI agent pleaded guilty to falsifying information to get a warrant that started the whole thing. Clinesmith. The quotes you are posting are propaganda. I'm not lying. Everything I'm saying is the truth. You are not even addressing the substance of the issue and you haven't even read the Sussman indictment. And you don't have the courage to know the truth if it conflicts with your pre-existing beliefs.

      Delete
    18. Do you think profanity and vitriol make a good argument? If you want to know this case, read the indictment. Or don't. I don't care. I know it's hard to swallow.

      Delete
    19. You should just address the issue at hand with facts and sources.

      Delete
    20. It wasn't a narrative. It was emails. It was hard evidence. That's really kind of the point. They're completely busted. There's no question about it. There's no debate about it.

      Delete
    21. And now we have the testimony from Clinton's campaign manager Mook who testified under oath that Clinton knew about it and signed off on it. You don't know what you're talking about. There's no debate about any of this. That train left the station a long time ago.

      Delete
    22. Acting like a fool isn't going to change any of the facts of the matter.

      Delete
    23. Actually, he has proven a crime. A FBI agent pleaded guilty to falsifying information to get a warrant that started the whole thing. Clinesmith.

      Durham didn't even do that.

      ***
      This entire three year process was launched with no evidence that a crime was committed, and it seems likely that only the Kevin Clinesmith prosecution, which DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz handed Durham months after he was appointed as a fait accompli and which could easily have been prosecuted by the DC US Attorney’s Office, provided an excuse to convene a grand jury to start digging in the coffers of Fusion GPS and Perkins Coie.

      There was no crime. Durham was never investigating a suspected crime and then, as statutes of limitation started expiring, he hung a conspiracy theory on a claimed false statement for which he had no solid proof. Eight months into Durham repeating those conspiracy theories at every turn — conspiracy theories that Durham admitted would not amount to a crime in any case! — a jury told Durham he had inadequate proof a crime was committed and that the entire thing had been a waste of time and resources.
      *** https://www.emptywheel.net/2022/06/02/there-was-no-crime-predicating-the-durham-investigation/

      Delete
    24. The allegations about 12:16 and goats are damning.

      Delete
    25. Speaking of mooks, check out the one up post, trying to pass off the media as liberal.
      The poor deluded soul.

      Delete
    26. I agree that it may not be a crime. It just show one how sleazy politics works at the highest levels

      Delete
    27. I'm not claiming Mook testified he knew the Alfa Bank information was false and ordered Sussman to bring it to the FBI knowing it was false. I never made that claim, sir. Seems a little silly to ask a question about a claim I never made and then wait for an answer to the question. Seems really weird if you ask me. I'm claiming he testified that Hillary Clinton approved the strategy to take to the story to the media. The emails in Sussman indictments connect the concoction of the false story to the Clinton Campaign.

      Delete
    28. This whole discussion is so stupid and boring. There's no debate. The Clinton campaign, through the tech executive and researchers, made up a story connecting Trump to the Russian Bank, the researchers knew it was false, the tech executive knew it was totally false but wanted any kind of information that could make some kind of connection no matter how absurd. So they made a dossier about it. Sussman wrote the dossier, they took the dossier to Hillary and she approved disseminating it to the media and the FBI. There's no debate. They are caught. It may not have been a crime. But they are caught. It's not that big a deal. Why are you crying and acting like a woman about it? Man up already.

      Delete
    29. This is all proven in the Sussman indictment. With emails. And billing records. Sussman was billing his time to the Clinton campaign for writing the dossier. They are caught. There's no debate about it whatsoever. Stop crying like a little girl. It's boring.

      Delete
    30. 1:03. you're twisting the story. Of course the Clinton campaign wanted the media to write about the story, but they didn't "concoct" the data. It was real and didn't order Sussman to bring it to the FBI.

      Sussman wrote the Steele dossier? You don't say?

      Delete
    31. Not tje Steele dossier. The dossier that was created to bring to the media and the FBI with the false information connecting Trump to the Russian bank. Maybe the Clinton campaign didn't order him to bring that dossier to the FBI but he billed the Clinton campaign for it when he did. Yes, of course they concocted the data. It's in the Sussman indictment. You can see the emails. There's no debate. You're boring.

      Delete
    32. Please enjoy this brief interlude, soon they'll be back once they surf some more debunking/fact check sites with fresh talking points.

      Meanwhile, let's revisit this gem of a post and the ensuing response which was a particularly entertaining exchange:

      "12:32, post the testimony of Mook saying he 1) knew the Alfa Bank information was false and 2) ordered Sussman to bring it to the FBI knowing it was false.

      Go ahead, I'll wait here you lying sack of shit."

      ...

      "I'm not claiming Mook testified he knew the Alfa Bank information was false and ordered Sussman to bring it to the FBI knowing it was false. I never made that claim, sir. Seems a little silly to ask a question about a claim I never made and then wait for an answer to the question..."

      Delete
    33. Haha. Taxi receipts. Did the jury get the taxi receipts they asked for?

      Delete
    34. Sussman billed the Clinton campaign for writing the dossier with the false information that was concocted by the tech executive and his researchers who kept exclaiming how absurd it was to make such a implausible claim . There are no taxi receipts to disprove that. It's just a fact. I'm sorry if you can't deal with it baby. I'm sorry. Fortunately for you there are propagandists who will gladly give you some plausible deniability and a way to make you think it's not true that the Clinton campaign made up this story out of whole cloth. If it makes you feel better, believe that.

      Delete
    35. True, wherever there are true believers there's a ton of lucrative work to be had in creative writing.

      Delete
    36. Haha. Yes, they did, disappointed dunski.

      You seem to be quite comfortable with the AG using the power of a Special Prosecutor to launch a counter political narrative and in the process abuse a patriotic American.

      "...the role of the prosecutor is not to help build a political counter-narrative but to prosecute if “the evidence will probably be sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction.” Under these established Department of Justice principles, it is a “matter of fundamental fairness.” There is no “other aspect,” as Barr’s commentary suggests, concerned with “getting the real story out” about a matter that is a profound political dispute.

      Barr has chosen to embrace, in this instance, the rankest politicization of the criminal justice system.

      For good measure, he excused Durham’s prosecutorial failures by dismissing the chances of any fair trial of Clinton campaign “dirty tricks” before a District of Columbia jury. He declared these to be the “facts of life,” apparently related to his view, vaguely stated, that there are “two standards of the law” rather than the one standard we would all hope for. It was a fitting flourish to a sad moment: a former attorney general breeding cynicism about the legal system, in relation to a prosecution widely viewed by seasoned criminal justice professionals as strikingly weak and doomed to fail."


      https://www.lawfareblog.com/return-angry-political-man

      Delete
    37. Sussman billed the Clinton campaign for writing the dossier with the false information that was concocted by the tech executive and his researchers who kept exclaiming how absurd it was to make such a implausible claim .

      Once again, jackass, show me what information Sussman brought to the FBI that was false.

      Delete
    38. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    39. The dossier that he brought to the fbi. It's described in his indictment. You're boring.

      Delete
    40. Read pages 18-20 of the indictment.

      Delete
    41. Lawfare and Marcy Wheeler are propaganda.
      They are right about some things. But the opinion piece you posted is propaganda.

      Delete
    42. Wheeler could be right that the Clinton campaign's dirty tricks are not illegal.

      Delete
    43. Here's what Lawfare wrote at the time - I agree with this. This is the truth you have to deal with and has been obscured from you for the most part. Sorry pal, that's the way it is.

      But the machinations that the Clinton campaign, its lawyers, and a group of unnamed computer security researchers and executives went through to get the matter in front of the FBI and media occupies pages and pages of Durham’s 27-page indictment.

      This story is, indeed, a sleazy one, in which a group of private investigators, computer security researchers, tech executives and Clinton campaign lawyers access nonpublic data to try to make a colorable case that the Alfa Bank connection represented something nefarious. They put together some white papers on the subject, displaying a pretty casual relationship with the truth along the way, and they dangled those documents in front of the press and law enforcement. It’s not a pretty picture, but it’s pretty typical of opposition research efforts in high-stakes campaigns. The sleaziness and lack of regard for truth is a good reason to be skeptical and careful about such efforts when they inevitably emerge in public during a campaign, but it’s not especially surprising either. It’s also a good reason for the FBI to vet carefully allegations that show up at its door, rather than immediately accept them as true.

      What’s more, all of this material, which constitutes the majority of the indictment, is wholly non-germane to Sussman’s alleged lie. Sussman, after all, is not accused of lying about the substance of the Alfa Bank allegations, the manner in which the information was obtained or researched, or the role he played in preparing any of it. He is accused of lying about only one thing: who his clients were when he approached the FBI with the material in September 2017.

      In other words, not only has Durham gone from investigating whether the FBI ran a secret spying operation against the Trump campaign to alleging that it was the victim of crime, but he has used this indictment to tell a mostly-unrelated tale about opposition research by the Clinton campaign and its supporters and lawyers.

      Delete
    44. The liberal media claim is a “tell” that the person writing it is not arguing in good faith.

      Delete
    45. "a pretty casual relationship with the truth", "not a pretty picture", "sleaziness and lack of regard for truth"

      That is the information Sussman brought to the FBI that was "false", faggot cucksucker. Want to call it a pretty casual relationship with the truth instead of false, cuntrag?

      Delete
    46. 2:53,

      you can't do it, huh MAGAT? Sorry, disappointed dunski, you'll get her next time, I am sure of it.

      Delete
    47. 2:37, why didn't Durham charge Sussman with bringing false information to the FBI?

      Delete
    48. I've lost track. Which side is posting the homophobic and sexist slurs? I need to penalyze their debate points accordingly.

      Delete
    49. "2:37, why didn't Durham charge Sussman with bringing false information to the FBI?"

      It may not have been a crime as I've said a number of times.

      Delete
    50. "2:53,

      you can't do it, huh MAGAT?"


      Delete
    51. I'm a Democrat who voted for Clinton.

      Delete
    52. 3:23,

      See how stupid you are. Durham charged Sussman with lying about who his client was, but didn't think bringing false information to the FBI was a crime? You are the one who keeps claiming Sussman brought a concocted story to the FBI. that would be a crime much more serious than not telling the FBI his client was the Hillary campaign. Are you too stupid to see that?

      Delete
    53. Once again, jackass, show me what information Sussman brought to the FBI that was false.

      Delete
    54. You are making a number of assumptions that are false. It may be a much more serious crime (I don't know) but it may not be provable for example. You need to think these things through a little further. But the fact Sussman brought a concocted story to the FBI isn't up for debate. It's a stone cold fact as the Lawfare article above states. At leas they don't weakly deny it as you do. Maybe Sussman could have used plausible deniability. I don't know. But you never even read the indictment, so what the fuck do you know? You just go looking for confirmation bias on emptywheel and paste the first thing you find. You don't know shit.

      Delete
    55. 3:43 okay, let me stop fucking your mother for a minute and show you. A tech executive who was working with the Clinton campaign and Sussman, meeting with Sussman regularly, asked his tech researchers to link Trump to something Russian. They immediately pushed back because all they could find was completely tenuous bullshit. The tech executive wrote this back to them:

      "Please read as if you had no prior knowledge or involvement, and you were handed this document as a security expert (NOT a dns expert) and were asked: 'Is this plausible as an explanation?' NOT to be able to say that this is, without doubt, fact, but to merely be plausible. Do NOT spend more than a short while on this (If you spend more than an hour you have failed the assignment). Hopefully less. :) "

      This is the information that they went with. There is never anyone anywhere who claimed it was true. It was dug up by a standard, as we know directly from the email, of only plausibility. This is the information that Sussman took to the FBI. Everyone knew it was not true and had been invented with the purpose of only sounding plausible. Sussman was working with this Tech executive the whole time. He took the information that only had to meet the standard of being merely plausible and everyone knew was bullshit ("NOT a fact"), wrote a paper about it, and took that paper to the FBI and the media, telling each that the other was moving forward on it, tricking both. The same thing Cheney did with aluminum tubes. So that's the lie dumb ass bitch. How long are you going be my bitch, bitch?

      Delete
    56. 3:55, you're full of shit.

      The Alfa Bank story was never a big part of L’Affaire Russe. Yes, there was a flurry of press investigation of it in the month before the election, but major press outlets treated it cautiously, as the gravamen of the allegations—that there was some secret link between Trump and Russia through a Russian bank—couldn’t be substantiated. Lawfare, for its part, wrote almost nothing about the matter as part of our extensive coverage of Trump-Russia ties. The reason, quite simply, was that the allegations never made a great deal of sense. For those who need a refresher, the basic issue was that some computer researchers noted what the Senate Intelligence Committee later described as “unusual internet activity connecting two servers registered to Alfa Bank, a Russian financial institution, with an email domain associated with the Trump Organization.” The researchers’ hypothesis was that this activity might suggest a secret line of communication between the bank and Trumpworld.

      It didn’t, as the FBI later discerned. The whole thing had an innocuous explanation. As the inspector general put it, “The FBI investigated whether there were cyber links between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank but had concluded by early February 2017 that there were no such links.”


      Why do you think Sussman went to the FBI to investigate the “unusual internet activity connecting two servers registered to Alfa Bank, a Russian financial institution, with an email domain associated with the Trump Organization.”

      Obviously because he thought it might be true, jackass. And he did not have the capability to find out by himself. You dumb fuck.

      Delete
    57. What is your basis that he thought it might be true?

      Your quote says, "the allegations never made a great deal of sense", "the whole thing had an innocuous explanation", " there were no such links.".

      So why would he think it might be true? He worked with the tech executive to get data that was merely "plausible", "NOT a fact". There's no reason he would think it was true. You're stupid but that's cool.

      Delete
    58. 4:16,

      I read the indictment, you filthy mouth MAGAT.

      The document is 27 pages long. And it takes Durham until the eighteenth page before he bothers to discuss the charge that he is alleging. By the twenty-first page, he is on to other uncharged conduct.

      Fucking prosecutorial abuse. And you find it just fine and dandy. If I wanted to hear delusional conspiracy theories from RW fever swamps, I could just turn on FOX NOOZ.

      Durham sought to use a false statement case to tell a much larger story. He clearly believes there was a deep web of impropriety in the relationship between the Clinton campaign, its lawyers, Fusion GPS, and the FBI. But he has been unable to make that case. So he tried to cram as much of it as he could into the case against Sussmann, which he sought to use to unseat the standard model of the Trump-Russia scandal.

      https://www.lawfareblog.com/thoughts-michael-sussmann-verdict

      Delete
    59. (The researchers’ hypothesis was bullshit. The researchers themselves pushed back against it saying that it was obvious the only reason they were making it was because they hated Trump. All of this is in the indictment. You can see that the Tech executive who have been working with Sussman the whole time replied by asking if they could just sign off own it as being merely plausible, not a fact. So that's what they did. Their hypothesis was false, it was concocted, it was a lie that Sussman eventually brought to the FBI and the media, telling each that the other was moving forward on it.)

      Delete
    60. 4:36. - Yes, I pretty much agree with that. You didn't read the indictment though. You're a liar. If you had, you would know, as lawfare admitted, the case is clear-cut and obvious. There's no debate about it. You're so boring man. There may not have been able to make a legal case about it. That's true. But to deny the case is absurd. Sorry. You can keep doing it. I don't care!

      Delete
    61. 4:28,

      Because as a matter of FACT, there was actually

      “unusual internet activity connecting two servers registered to Alfa Bank, a Russian financial institution, with an email domain associated with the Trump Organization.”

      Asshole. If he was knowingly trying to spread a false story, the last thing he would do would be to ask the FBI to investigate and debunk it.

      Don't worry, your acne will clear up soon.

      Delete
    62. That's your basis? Well you certainly didn't read the indictment. You shouldn't lie like that.

      Delete
    63. the case is clear-cut and obvious.

      What "case" is that, Magat?

      Delete
    64. What kind of heinous childhood trauma would cause someone to believe a word Bill Barr says?
      These people are obviously suffering from PTSD.

      Delete
  15. Meanwhile, Steve M. engages in actual media criticism at No More Mister Nice Blog, while Somerby moodily indulges his nostalgia over sports -- Babe Ruth no less. Republican outlets spreading disinformation are posing as small town newspapers in order to spread fake stories about liberal causes. The NY Times reported on it and Somerby has been ignoring it, because he doesn't seem to have any interest in being a media critic, beyond sliming the people he dislikes and distorted the messages of those everyone else likes, such as Lincoln. Somerby's fake liberal stance is no less deceptive than these Republican outlets pretending to be small town papers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. https://nomoremister.blogspot.com/2022/06/disinformation-wants-to-be-free.html

      Delete