What did Graham and Schumer know?


What kinds of people are we:
Immediately after lunch, we started watching the videotape of last night's Maddow broadcast.

All things considered, we were doing well—until the star offered this pleasing claim, early in her show:
MADDOW (10/23/17): The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, made himself available to the Pentagon press corps today to actually deliver some information about what happened to these four soldiers in Niger. Between his prepared remarks and the very lengthy list of questions he took from the sharp Pentagon press corps today, General Dunford spoke to the press about this matter today for nearly an hour, and he did advance our understanding about what happened.

At a time when even senior U.S. senators from both parties are admitting that they had no idea that the U.S. had troops in Niger, General Dunford clarified today that not only are there something like 800 U.S. troops serving in Niger right now, there are more U.S. troops serving in Niger right now than in any other country in Western Africa.

If senior U.S. senators with national security responsibilities like Lindsey Graham and Chuck Schumer didn't know that we had any troops in Niger, let alone more than any other country in that part of the world, you could guess that the American public had no idea of that either. But General Dunford made that clear today.
Did Graham and Schumer actually say that?

Their statements were made on Meet the Press. Did they actually say they didn't know we had any troops in Niger?

Actually no, they didn't. Everything is possible, of course, but that isn't what they actually said, and Chuck Todd made no attempt to clarify what they meant.

Using Nexis, we find no sign that anyone has tried to clarify what they actually meant. There's an obvious possible reason for that. No one actually cares!

On liberal entertainment TV, the murky statements by Graham and Schumer became fuel for the type of embellishment we liberals tribally love. Hint:

Everything has to be totally wrong during this reign of Trump! Aside from tribal uses like that, no one actually cares about any of this, as has been clear for years.

Also, does anyone care about the deaths of American soldiers? When did anyone care about that, except as a way to invent Benghazi tales for use against Candidate Hillary Clinton or, now, Niger tales for use against Donald J. Trump?

(Our pitiful tribal voices in action: "This will be Donald J. Trump's Katrina! This will be his Benghazi!" Oh please, please, please let it be!)

You think it's tribal in western Niger? How about in the U.S.? Over here in the States, every utterance or event is used to serve the goal of tribal ululation, full and complete freaking stop.

Maddow embellishes pretty much nightly, but does so for a good cause. (Michael Flynn was on the payroll of the Turkish government!) As Willa Frej noted at The Huffington Post, these techniques produced ratings gold for Hannity and Jones before her.

That said, does anyone actually care about the deaths of American soldiers? Except for the opportunity to produce tribal lore, we see few signs of that.

We expect to extend this point with a post about the way CNN may have triggered the whole "condolence call" gong-show on the weekend before Donald J. Trump made his ridiculous claims about which presidents have actually called the families of the fallen. This takes us back to a type of gong-show we recall hearing when we were maybe nine years old, when Dwight D. Eisenhower was the president.

We refer to a CNN report about Donald J. Trump—what else?—playing too much golf.

Since we were maybe nine years old, those "too much golf" allegations have never stopped. (Ditto for the standardized "but he cheats at golf" brain cell-killers.) But then, on the level of our elites, we're silly and empty and not very smart and we like to stick with what works.

Modern nations can't function this way. But the stars can have lots of fun, and the tribes can get upset.

Graham and Schumer spoke on Meet the Press. To check the transcript, click here.

To watch the videotape, click this.
Go ahead—check one or the other out. See what they actually said.

Their statements to Todd were quite unclear. According to Nexis, no one has followed up.


  1. "What kinds of people are we: Immediately after lunch, we started watching the videotape of last night's Maddow broadcast."

    You are a weirdo, Bob. But I'm sure you know it already.

    "Aside from tribal uses like that"

    You don't understand: it's not tribal. The neoliberal-neocon elite - and that's the whole of the US elite - is destroying the duly elected president whom they consider an imposter, because they planned to install someone else.

    Yes, liberal zombies (your 'tribe') do cheer insanely, but that's just a side-effect.

    1. Your Kremlinj paymaster was the one trying to install someone else.

    2. Mao,
      Can't wait until Trump signs the legislation killing a new ban on financial companies requiring customers to surrender their right to sue financial service companies in order to open accounts. You know, because he's "anti-establishment" and all. LOL.
      In your defense, Mao, I think you're paid to write such absurdities online, rather than be stupid enough to think Trump is any way, shape, or form "anti-establishment". Although, if you want to make the argument that your actually a moron, and not paid to act like one on the internet, i'm all ears.

  2. Trump triggered the “condolence call gong show” by using a question about Niger to brag that he called families of fallen soldiers whereas previous presidents did not. This started with Trump — not liberals or the press.

  3. Trump actually does play too much golf.

  4. "According to Senate documents, Lindsey Graham was present at the March hearing where the head of AFRICOM said U.S. troops were in Niger."

    You can see a copy of the Senate Document confirming this at https://twitter.com/seanmdav/status/922475708219355136

    1. That's nothing. Congressional Republicans lowered secxurity funding for International outposts, like Benghazi, just to tie the hands of President Obama by making believe the richest nation in the history of mankind was broke.
      Sure, that's just typical "party over country" stuff from Republicans, but they actually had the nerve to try to blame the deaths at Benghazi on Obama and Hillary Clinton. Fortunately, the only people gullible enough to buy their alibi was the corporate-oewned MSM and other dipshit Conservatives.

  5. "we started watching the videotape of last night's Maddow broadcast."
    Videotape? I didn't know you could even buy videotape anymore.
    Is this how Somerby spends his days? No wonder he's so f*d up. Find the thing you hate the most, then wallow in it. While the "profoundly dangerous" man in the WH lays waste to the country. I frankly don't understand what kind of criticism of Trump Somerby thinks is allowable. Somerby himself pronounces Trump "profoundly dangerous", then proceeds to denounce all criticism of Trump.
    God, this blog is so f***ing repetitious. The same tired tropes, day in, day out. (What's with Somerby using "we" to refer to himself? Is it some sort of distancing technique, a way of diluting responsibility for his own opinions? Trying to be cute?)
    Even if the criticism here is occasionally on target, it feels less and less effective as time wears on.
    Somerby: "Also, does anyone care about the deaths of American soldiers? When did anyone care about that, except as a way to invent Benghazi tales for use against Candidate Hillary Clinton or, now, Niger tales for use against Donald J. Trump?"
    That statement is profoundly cynical, and typically hyperbolic. Somerby is every bit the drama queen that he accuses Maddow of being. Of course there are people who care. Just as there are people who care about the lies and the corruption of the "profoundly dangerous" man in the White House.
    By the way, does Somerby care about those soldiers' deaths? He seems to be using them in the abstract as a weapon to use against the media. He sure as hell never discussed them in any concrete way, or in any other context. The most important thing to Somerby about Niger isn't why we're there, or what actually happened, or how the press is actually trying to find the answers to these questions, but as the latest in a string of purported "false narratives". It is a foregone conclusion for Somerby that every single issue that arises illustrates his pet theory, so he never has to dig very deeply into any specific issue; it's much simpler that way; it allows one to use a "cut and paste" approach to blogging.

  6. Tired of Bob? Try Noam.



    1. I got tired of Noam and am trying Bob.

      Go figure.

    2. A. 4:57--what a self-indulgent empty piece of whining. The question remains, as so often here, this one: who is farther gone? Bob, if he is guilty as so flatfootedly and redundantly charged, or the people who read him, only to play can you top this with the other sad souls, who, like them, live to attack a blog that, faults and all, is light years better than anything they could create.

      And again, the "we" rhetorical device is as old as the proverbial hills. If you don't like it, who the hell cares, but to carp on it this way and blame Bob for it is asinine.


    Senator McCain is frustrated, rightly so, we don’t know exactly where we’re at in the world militarily and what we’re doing. So John McCain is going to try to create a new system to make sure that we can answer the question why were we there, we’ll know how many soldiers are there, and if somebody gets killed there, that we won’t find out about it in the paper.
    But I didn’t know there was a thousand troops in Niger. John McCain is right to tell the military because this is an endless war without boundaries, no limitation on time or geography, you gotta tell us more. And he’s right to say that.


    All right. I want to start actually with Niger, because I've got to ask, as the Senate Democratic Leader, have you been briefed?


    Not yet. I hope to be briefed early next week.


    Why haven't you been briefed? Was Jack Reed briefed?


    No. I don't believe he was either. He sent a letter along with John McCain demanding that they come in and brief him.


    I understand that. I guess uh if you get this briefing and you heard what Senator Graham believes this is part of part of the larger battle against radical Islamist fundamentalism and the spread of it, the cult-like spread of it now taking place in Africa. What does this mean for the war authorization? You heard Senator Graham there. He didn't know we had a thousand troops in Niger. Did you?


    Uh No, I did not.

    1. Somerby says: "Their statements to Todd were quite unclear. According to Nexis, no one has followed up."

      Looks like Maddow's bold statements were correct and Somerby lied.

    2. Dave the Guitar PlayerOctober 26, 2017 at 12:48 PM

      Maddow says that "senior U.S. senators from both parties are admitting that they had no idea that the U.S. had troops in Niger". Neither McCain or Schumer ever said that they had no idea that there were troops in Niger. They addressed the question as to whether they knew if there were 1,000 troops in Niger. That could easily be true if they knew that there were U.S. troops in Niger, but they didn't know how many. Nobody asked. Maddow put words in their mouths to make a point. That is not journalism and it mocks the truth. But is sure is fun! Yeah!