CNN keeps pouring it on!


As usual, sophistries chosen:
The truth has become increasingly clear. Just as a matter of fact, no, we can't have nice things!

As of Monday afternoon, we had planned to spend the week discussing Professor Gates' excellent question.

"What difference does it make?" he asked. His question helps us ponder a very important further question:

What does it mean to assert that someone belongs to a "race?"

That plan was blown away in a rush of sophistries chosen by the nation's press corps. But then, this is the fifth Saturday on which we've had to postpone a planned discussion of Dennis Overbye's most recent attempts in the New York Times to explain, describe or discuss gravitational waves.

(If you can believe that you understand this, then it's likely that you'll be persuaded, down the road, by a wide range of other murky presentations!)

So too, we're forced to postpone our learned discussion of the facile term, "collusion." Instead, we think you ought to consider CNN's latest plays.

Yesterday, we showed you Rachel Maddow offering an exciting presentation—an exciting presentation which made no earthly sense. We told you that other cable stars were making similar plays.

Last night, it was CNN's Jim Sciutto who maintained this stampede.

In this latest stampede, the children are determined to claim, among other things, that Jeff Sessions has been lying, or some such thing, concerning the Trump campaign's contacts with the Russkies.

They very much want to say that. This led Sciutto to offer this report, right at the start of Anderson Cooper's program last night:
SCIUTTO (11/3/17): [Transcript not available]
Doggone it! Late this morning, as we type, CNN hasn't yet produced a transcript. We can't say we blame them for that, and no, we aren't going to doing their transcribing for them this time.

We'll only offer this warning:

Just as Maddow did Thursday night, Sciutto offered a report built around a gong-show-level sophistry. That sophistry goes like this:
The children's latest deduction:
1) Carter Page told Sessions that he would be making a speech in Moscow.

2) Therefore, Sessions was lying, or some such thing, when he said he didn't know of contacts between Trump functionaries and Russian officials.
If you have three brain cells to rub together, you can see that this deduction won't hunt. Maddow presented this foolishness very clearly. Sciutto's attempt at reporting was a great deal murkier, but his insinuations were plain.

Your choices, should you choose to consider them:
Choice 1: Sciutto and Cooper lack three brain cells to rub together.

Choice 2: Sciutto and Cooper were willing to traffic in sophistry. Again!
Warning! The children were also busy last night toying with the concept of holding "a meeting." This let them claim that Carter Page lied when he told Jake Tapper yesterday afternoon that he held no meetings with Russkie officials when he gave that Moscow speech.

(For the record, Page didn't actually say that to Tapper, as you can see if you watch the interview in question.)

Did Page meet with a Russkie official when he gave his speech in Moscow? This slippery but stampede-friendly claim originates in this facile report by the New York Times. Your questions, should you choose to consider them:

Does "a very brief hello" with someone constitute an instance of "meeting with" that person? Does it mean that the people in question actually had "a meeting?" (The answer is yes, a thousand times yes, when the children are on a stampede.)

Who knew what about possible meetings? Who knew what about "collusion?" Like you and like the aforementioned children, we can't answer those questions at this point in time. But while we wait for more information, the children are on a stampede.

We still can't tell you who knew what about meetings, collusion and the like. We can tell you this:

The children are currently on one of their stampedes. They've conducted many such stampedes in the past, many of them aimed at major Democrats. (In some quarters, their 25-year stampede against Hillary Clinton still hasn't ended.)

This time, the children are stampeding against Trump associates. Some of those targets may be guilty of misconduct, some of them may not be—but when the children get overexcited this way, they constantly make the unfortunate choice of plying you with sophistries.

Do the children understand the choices they keep making? We wouldn't assume that they do. But the children are very much on a stampede.

When they do this, their target is you. We advise you to proceed with caution as you consume their "reports."

More on the term "collusion" next week. Citizens, what's in a word?


  1. Each time members of the Trump team are caught in an outright lie, such as the concocted story about the meeting in Trump tower, which went through several revisions each time the previous lie fell apart, the claim that these people deserve the benefit of the doubt becomes less viable.

    If these were a bunch of normal people under normal circumstances, Somerby's argument that they should be assumed to be truthful until proven otherwise would be sensible. In the light of the continuous stream of lies that flows from Trump and his associates, that is a ridiculous assertion.

    Somerby is failing the test of common sense today.

  2. Two excerpts from the NYT article stand out:
    "Mr. Page’s trip to Moscow in July 2016 was one of the triggers of a counterintelligence investigation begun by the F.B.I. later that month."

    "Shortly after the trip, Mr. Page sent an email to at least one Trump campaign aide describing insights he had after conversations with government officials, legislators and business executives during his time in Moscow."

    So, Somerby, who is never slippery, latches onto the word "conversation" to deny that that constitutes a "meeting". Also, could Page be accused of being slippery when he claims he just "said hello?" Really? He just said hello to Russian officials? And Page makes this claim in an interview, not under oath. What's next for Somerby - calling Page an "intern?"

    Somerby's attempts to downplay all of this could be considered cautionary; or they could take their place with other world-famous attempts at mind control:

    "These aren't the droids you're looking for."

    "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain."

    "Information is just information." (TDH, 2017)

  3. Overnight we find out that Donna Brazile was lying about Hillary Clinton's rigging of the election by subverting the DNC.

    There is too damned much lying going on! It is the job of the press to sort out the lies from truth. They don't do that by just assuming everyone is telling the truth. They do it by looking for that letter of agreement that Brazile said existed, finding it, and proving that it doesn't say what she claimed.

    They are doing the same thing to Sessions and to Carter Page. This is not a truthful campaign. It was not a truthful election. Trump and his minions made no effort to be truthful. They don't think they have to be. The press should be given latitude as they attempt the difficult job of holding these bald-faced liars to account. The liars always have the advantage of knowing what the truth is. We don't. So the press may make an occasional wrong guess. That goes with the territory. If Somerby doesn't want that to happen, he should write a letter to these guys and suggest to them that they tell the truth more often. He can start with Trump.

  4. Somerby has a throw-away complaint about dumbing down complex science for a popular audience. This is ridiculous. He apparently doesn't understand that all of his college textbooks were similarly dumbed down from what someone would encounter at the graduate level and from what experts know. This is true for every subfield of knowledge. It takes years to acquire the background to truly understand anything complicated. He doesn't know philosophy because he was an undergrad at Harvard, any more than anyone will understand physics by reading a popular book about it. It takes work and no one considers popular trade books to be work, to require the mental exertion that studying a subject requires, even for beginners. It is entertainment and should be judged as such.

    So, Somerby, please don't complain about whatever new physics book you think is too fuzzy -- as if you were qualified to evaluate it -- you are not!

  5. From yesterday's post: "That's the way we liberals are at this point. We're locked inside our tiny world, warning ourselves, day and night, about them English out there."

    Does Somerby think liberals never associate with conservative or independent voters, with Trump voters? That is ridiculous. There is no area of the country that is 100% any political persuasion, even in the deeply red and blue areas.

    I have family members who don't hold the same views I do. I play bridge with Trump voters and I work with independents and Trump voters. We have close encounters with people who hold different opinions all the time. We find ways to remain friendly with them. Some of us are married to such people. We don't call them The Other and avoid them, even when we avoid talking about the things we know divide us.

    It is insulting that Somerby characterizes liberals this way. We aren't Amish. But I'm beginning to wonder if maybe he is. I'm wondering if he spends any time with liberals any more -- whether he gets out enough to know what liberals think, how we feel about things, what we want. You can't tell it from his columns.

  6. Loooong time (a couple decades) ago media clowns had 'talking points'. 'Talking points' presented a 'spin' of a set of established facts.

    Nowadays, when the transition to a 1984-style propaganda model has been finalized, facts don't matter anymore. The Ministry of Truth creates full-blown 'narratives' right out of thin air. These 'narratives' are then endlessly repeated, accompanied by cheerful grunts uttered by liberal zombies.

    1. Just like no one pushed back on Donna Brazile’s ugly attack on HRC.

    2. Mao,
      I'm with you that the Russia story is a cover-up for the electorate's white supremacy fetish.

    3. Mischa has revealed his/her/its alter ego: Winston Smith, wandering the 21st Century, free of reality and fact but full of silly, schoolboy aphorisms and fantasies, hoping for a dystopian future.

    4. "Just like no one pushed back on Donna Brazile’s ugly attack on HRC."

      May I suggest that it's time for the faithful lib-zombies to start using her real name: Dasha Brazilova.

      How many more must suffer before the government takes action against her and other Enemies of The People?

    5. I don't know what your government is doing 'Mao'. Why don't you ask your boss what the latest orders from Moscow are ?

    6. My boss Donna Ivanovna Brazile? Yes Sir, Comrade Tetrarch, I'm requesting further instructions right now.

    7. No, I meant Jenna Abrams.

      And what did your boss say when you walked from your cubicle in St. Petersburg to your boss's office down the corridor, say ? Are today's instructions to talk about how Trump is helpin the working class by using a cabinet of oligarchs in bed with the Kremlin ? Or is it more brown nosing of your bosses in Russia ?

    8. My task is to find the most idiotic lib-zombie drivel of the day and file it under the rubric "the most idiotic lib-zombie drivel".

      ...and I believe I'm done for today; thanks a lot.

    9. My task is to find the most egregiously obvious Russian troll, and my job is done every time I see a post from the 'Mao' collective. Thanks for confirming your allegiances !

    10. You're welcome. Sounds like a perfect symbiosis: we both get what we want.

    11. Msao's task is to make believe Trump is anti-establishment, while the rest of us point and laugh at his nonsense.
      Good job today, Mao.

  7. Here are the Clinton rules in action. Over at Kevin Drum's, where he has posted about the memo that exonerates Hillary of Brazile's charges, someone comments that Clinton must have done something terrible to Brazile, "treated her like shit", for her to be saying this stuff now.

    I remember back to 2008 when Brazile was chair of the rules committee that swung the nomination to Obama. I don't think Brazile has ever liked Hillary much and now she is sticking it to her, for some undisclosed reason. Perhaps because it will sell books. Some are speculating that she is trying to earn a position on Bernie's campaign. But it is hilarious that some people want to blame Hillary for being unfairly attacked -- she must have done something to deserve it.

    1. It was Kevin Drum himself who said that:

      "UPDATE: Either Donna Brazile—who took over the DNC during the general election—is a nutbag or else the Clinton campaign genuinely treated her like shit. I have no idea which it is. But hoo boy, she sure does have a massive grudge against Hillary and everyone associated with her."

      She has never been for Hillary. But Drum thinks Hillary must have done something to piss her off. Clinton rules. I would have expected better of Drum.

    2. Until someone produces evidence that the Democratic Party was coerced into signing off on the Joint Fundraising Agreement or that Hillary Clinton breached the Agreement, it's just another shiny squirrel fed by a disgruntled useful idiot promoting her book.

      It serves the additional purpose of throwing a big, wet kiss to the unfortunate victims of Hillary Derangement Syndrome and the Sanders unicorn hunters who helped pave the way for Trump's election. (Disclaimer: I voted for Sanders in the Arizona Primary but then followed his recommendation and voted for Clinton in the General.)

      Anything to deflect attention from the criminal indictments against Trump's former campaign manager and his assistant, a guilty plea from Trump's former campaign worker, and Jeff Sessions caught in yet another lie under oath is what this is all about.

      Drum's conflicted opinion about this distraction is all on him and is further illustration of how easily he is distracted by all things Trump.

    3. "I found no evidence, none whatsoever" that the primaries were rigged, Brazile said during a Sunday appearance on ABC.

    4. Yes, she walked that back pretty fast in the face of unanimous complaint by a whole bunch of people. It was a ridiculous suggestion given the lack of control the DNC has over the primary process. Brazile has ruined any opportunity she had to continue in politics. Maybe they will hire her over at Fox News.

  8. Bob wants us to waste our time monitoring the trivia and distractions produced by the corporate cartel media. “Our cable stars” EXIST to sow confusion because confusions provides cover for our ruling plutocracy that continues to steal everything that they haven’t yet stolen. Who cares about gravitational waves when we have been suffering under a tsunami of plutocratic domination for decades. The only collusion that matters is the collusion of the rich to create plutocracy.

    Our corporate owned government wants you to be distracted from their real work, which is to steal the wealth of the nation to enrich the corporations. Any issue discussed by the mass-media cartel mouthpiece of plutocracy is designed to distract you from the fact that enormous theft is taking place. Plutocracy’s sole goal is to help the already rich steal everything that they do not already have. Tax cuts for the rich and mega-corporations, trillions going to the gangsters who run the military sector, shredding the EPA so that corporations can profit from pollution---all this is going on while you are being distracted.

    1. Zzzzzzz... Yet every Democrat "solution" to get those evil rich and corporations does nothing but hurt the little guy.

      Maybe that's why a majority of the wealthy and big corporations back the Dems?

    2. Indeed. Especially the banksters.

      "Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has received around $47.6 million from seven financial firms alone, compared to $19,000 donated to rival Donald Trump."

    3. 1. You aren't counting the PACs. 2. Trump gets money from the Mercers and Kochs, for whom he has rearranged regulations and energy policy. 3. Many of Trumps appointees have come from Wall Street and they are happily eliminating controls on their activities, most recently, Yellin's replacement. 4. Clinton didn't self-finance her campaign the way Trump supposedly did (excluding dark money from Russia and in-kind donations on Facebook). 5. The majority of big corporations contribute to both candidates during a presidential election. This time, however, most corporate leaders came out publicly against Trump, begging the country to vote for Clinton because he was such a terrible alternative (even Meg Whitman!). This didn't make Clinton a corporatist -- it showed that corporations were frightened of a Trump presidency.

      Trump is unclean. His presidency will be considered one of the most corrupt in history, from the top on down.

    4. I just illustrates what every informed person already knows. You have to pay off Democrats to screw the little guy; Republicans (and Libertarians) do it for the sheer joy of it.
      Menendez, ABSCAM, etc.

  9. There's nothing wrong with a Presidential candidate discussing policy with a foreign leader. E.g., during the campaign, Trump met with the President of Mexico and discussed policy regarding the wall. That meeting was regarded as a positive for Trump. Nobody thought it was grounds for impeachment or that it required a Special Prosecutor.

    Russia is not our enemy. We're not at war with Russia, nor is there a cold war with the Soviet Union. But, somehow a narrative has been created that meeting with Russians is terrible.

    1. Russia hacked our election in order to give an advantage to Trump who they wish to roll back sanctions imposed for their previous wrongdoing and Trump is their happy puppet. There is a lot messed up about that.

    2. When is Trump the puppet going to do something good for Russia? Since Russia's economy is heavily dependent on the price of oil, banning fracking like Hillary promised to do would be a day one task for a puppet of Russia.

    3. Did Mexico interfere in our election Comrade DinC? Did Mexico govt. hack into one of the Presidential candidates in the previous election and then coordinate with the other candidate the doctored emails? I understand that you don't give a shit because it was Hillary, but Robert Mueller and 17 of the top prosecutors in the country experienced with Russian money laundering in the US and other related matters think otherwise. Ask yourself, why doesn't the president of the US, sworn to defend our country, not care? All of our intelligence agencies have confirmed this. It is not a question of if they did it, but who were they working with, and there's a fucking boatload of people on the trump team that keep fucking lying about their contacts with Russian officials. I wonder why.

      By the way, his bizarre trip to Mexico was an embarrassing disaster.

    4. Nothing was hacked. Emails where leaked by a disgruntled Bernie supporter. Only thing Mueller's actions show so far is he has absolutely nothing and is desperately fishing. And as Somerby keeps pointing out, these "lies" about contacts is nothing but trumped up bs to feed the anger of the tribe.

      But even if you are 100% right, I'll compromise, I'll call it it even for Obama using the IRS to fix the 2012 election.

    5. Yes, Mexico interfered with our election. They said negative things about Trump -- statements which may have swung votes away from him. But, I see nothing wrong with this.

      mm, you implicitly criticized Mueller and his prosecutors. You imply that their minds are already made up -- that they already concluded matters they're supposed to be investigating with an open mind.

      So far the Trump Administration has done nothing at all to help Russia. OTOH the Obama Administration approved a deal whereby Russia got a large amount of uranium.

    6. David, you asshole. Trump was attacking Mexico from the first day he announced. The Mexican government never said a word about it, and in fact agreed to allowing that abomination to travel to their country and meet with their president. The only thing the former president said was that Mexico wasn't going to pay for that fucking wall. And then the abomination Trump called up their president to beg him not to say that anymore with has tail between his legs. So go fuck off.

      And no asshole, Russia didn't get any of the uranium. Get your fucking facts straight. In fact Russia has more uranium they can use and export it to us, you Fox NOOZ jackass.

      The US Senate by a near unanimous vote earlier this year, against protestations from the trump criminal enterprise, passed additional sanctions against the corrupt Russian state. President Trump has not implemented even though the deadline has passed. Take that fucking American flag pin off your lapel, Comrade DinC. You have forfeited your right to wear it. Trump also invited Russian FSB agents into the oval office and gave them classified intelligence right there in plain sight.

      Obama and Clinton colluding to hand over 20% America’s strategic uranium to the Russians? On cue, Fox News gabber Sean Hannity said this could be 'the biggest scandal' in American history.

      But here's the thing ― by 20%, we really mean almost zero.

      Those U.S. facilities obtained by Russia produce almost nothing. The uranium deposits are of relatively poor grade and are too costly to compete on the uranium market. But the facilities do have good milling capacity to process ore, if anyone gives it to them, which hasn’t happened in about 10 years. Theoretically, they could process 20% of our ore, but that will never happen. Uranium One couldn’t give these facilities away.

      Besides, Russia can’t export any uranium they produce in the U.S. They do not possess a Nuclear Regulatory Commission export license.

      The real reason Russia wanted this deal was to give Rosatom’s subsidiary Uranium One's very profitable uranium mines in Kazakhstan ― the single largest producer of commercial uranium in the world.

    7. What negative things did the Mexican government say about tRump? David, you got anything to back that up? Remember, tRump lying about how Mexico was sending all their rapists to our country, the lying sack of shit had no basis to make that slander against our neighbor country, and has never provided an iota of evidence for that smear.

      But I know, you will tell us you didn't take that lying sack of shit "literally", but you know what he really meant.

    8. There's no use arguing with conservative zombies. Facts are discarded or ignored if they don't fit a pre-conceived narrative.
      I swear these conservative commenters love to bask in Somerby's liberal-bashing, but they disregard his other main point, that Tribalism is bad for our public discourse. They love to question liberal narratives, but steadfastly stick with their own.
      Granted, Somerby leans far more heavily on the liberal-bashing, so perhaps they feel justified in following his lead.

    9. mm - here are some negative things Mexico said about Trump. These statements were totally justified IMHO. Mexico had every reason to criticize Trump.

      Not-so-warm welcome
      -- "Mr. @realDonaldTrump although you've been invited you are not welcomed. The Mexicans have dignity and we repudiate your hate speech," tweeted former Mexican first lady Margarita Zavala, who is married to former President Felipe Calderón, according to a CNN translation. August 2016.
      Margarita Zavala ✔@Mzavalagc
      Sr. @realDonaldTrump aunque lo hayan invitado, sepa que no es bienvenido. Los mexicanos tenemos dignidad y repudiamos su discurso de odio.
      8:15 PM - Aug 30, 2016
      1,933 1,933 Replies 27,631 27,631 Retweets 41,373 41,373 likes
      Twitter Ads info and privacy
      -- "He is not welcome to Mexico by 130 million people. We don't like him, We don't want him. We reject his message," Fox said on CNN about Trump's visit. August 2016.
      -- "Former President Vicente Fox, who is railing against my visit to Mexico today, also invited me when he apologized for using the 'f bomb.' " Trump tweeted. August 2016.
      -- "@realDonaldTrump, I invited you to come and apologize to all Mexicans. Stop lying! Mexico is not yours to play with. Show some respect." Fox responded. August 2016.

    10. Those were all from former President Vincente Fox. Not from the Mexican government, asshole. And what are they supposed to do, let the abomination shit all over them, lie about them, spread bullshit without response?

      You want to compare that to the Russian government actively working in numerous ways to attack trump's opponent? Let's see what Mueller comes up with, shall we.

  10. So, this seems not to fit with Somerby's narrative (that "we" can't win, so "we" try to jail The Others):

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) says if Democrats retake the House of Representatives in 2018, they should focus on unifying the country, not impeaching President Trump.

    1. I see your point but I disagree totally with Nancy Pelosi. If crimes were committed and Trump is still colluding with Russia, he must be impeached. Our national security depends on it. But I think there may be a great deal of national unity around that action once Mueller is done and Trump may resign and save Congress the trouble of impeaching him.

    2. Trump will not be impeached and he will be reelected in 2020, most likely picking up a few more states.

    3. He'll win Uzbekibekibekistan and Nambia but lose Puerto Rico.

    4. Trump trumpets his abuse of power and obstruction of justice by firing Comey, threatening Mueller, and other interference with the justice department. These things aren't even necessarily crimes in the standard legal sense, but are nonetheless impeachable. The president must be restrained from this kind of behavior.
      The fact that he continues to profit off his business and uses his office to do so is another impeachable offense.
      The Russian stuff is important; if true, it's clearly impeachable.

      If Congress refuses to exercise oversight over the Executive, then they give tacit approval to its descent into corruption and venality.

      The current Congress would have already impeached Hillary for any of the preceding things.

      A thing you call a principle isn't a principle if you only apply it to your enemy.

    5. A Democratic congress would not have already impeached Hillary for her impeachable offenses.

  11. Here are four things that Kevin Drum suggests may have been done to "clear the field" for Hillary:

    "1.HRC had lots of money and lots of support, and that scared everyone else away.
    2.Democratic bigwigs actively lobbied prospective candidates to stand down.
    3.HRC made various promises to superdelegates, but only if they’d support her and make sure that everyone "knew they wouldn’t switch.
    4.The establishment threatened prospective candidates in concrete ways if they showed interest in running."

    Notice that two of them are things done by Hillary. Again, he cannot seem to analyze politics without blaming her. Would it have been wrong for Hillary to have lined up so much support that others would have considered it too difficult to defeat her? And the stuff about blackmailing the super-delegates! Hillary couldn't get her own pledged delegates to stick with her in 2008, much less the super delegates who had already said they were behind her. What does Kevin Drum imagine she would use as leverage to make those super delegates fall into line in 2016?

    But hey, she's Hillary Clinton, so much have done something dirty to "clear the field" the way she obviously did. Something manipulative, in her own weak, incompetent, inadequate, poorly run campaigning sort of way that made her ultimately her own worst enemy, too non-charismatic and incapable of winning anything!

    I am so tired of this BS. Can someone ask Mr. Drum to go back to putting up graphs about sports teams or mortgage rates, something he won't fuck up with his sexist cluelessness.

    1. It's true that she ran a poor, clueless campaign.

  12. Here is the irony of the day:

    “Donald Trump loves to distract us and divide us, and I’m not playing his game,” she explained.

    ---Donna Brazile

  13. CNN keeps pouring it on!

    change to:

    NRA keeps pouring it on!

  14. social media helps to know more about information about something but it is our obligations to identify which one is the truth
    Pipe Lining Full Bore

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