Ongoing "star chamber" Russia probe scams!


Michael Schmidt, Chris Matthews, several Hardball guests:
In the past week or so, we've been warning you about the lexicon of the "collusion with Russia" probe.

We assume that it's a serious probe on the Mueller level. On the level of the upper-end "press corps," it often assumes the familiar shape of a familiar old scam.

Did anyone in the Trump campaign, up to and including Donald J. Trump, collude with Russian officials last year in some nefarious and/or illegal way? That question still has to be settled. It's also entirely possible that we'll never know.

That said, many impatient members of the press are playing familiar old games as they stampede ahead in search of the answer their customers seek. Today, we'll name two major names:

Michael Schmidt does some appalling work in this morning's New York Times. Meanwhile, Chris Matthews led a segment on last evening's Hardball that was straight outta the "verdict first," Alice in Wonderland tales.

Among other sources of total confusion, Matthews clowned, dissembled and toyed with each of the key terms we've seen abused in recent weeks—the terms "collusion" and "meeting." Several of his guests made fools of themselves, most strikingly Shannon Pettypiece of Bloomberg News.

(It's sad to see how far young journalists are sometimes willing to go to keep themselves in line with the propaganda narratives preferred by powerful cable hosts. It's how it was done in the Clinton/Gore years. It happens the same way today.)

In Schmidt's case, he performs like a genuine clown in this morning's annotated excerpts from last week's testimony by Carter Page.

Has Page now said that he did in fact hold "private meetings" with Russkie officials when he went to Moscow last July? Actually no, he hasn't! But Schmidt has cherry-picked his excerpts to make you think he has. His presentation is a familiar and tedious, tired old "star chamber" scam.

Matthews has played it this way for decades. Schmidt is a ballyhooed newcomer to this familiar old game.

You can watch the tape of the Hardball segment here.
Study hard! We'll examine the texts of each of these gong-shows tomorrow.

Our response to your thoughtful query: Why can't we examine the texts of these gong-shows today?

Simple! Too depressing! Examining the work of people like these has always done serious harm to the life of the mind. As Plato put it, so long ago:

"When I saw all this, and other things as bad, I was disgusted and drew back from the wickedness of the times."

We cite Professor Lee's translation of The Seventh Letter. Eventually, sacred Plato returned, like John Book in Witness.


  1. The big problem with this is the Democrats they're pimping "Russia" to don't have the intellectual horsepower to even understand what is happening to them and what level of irrational bullshit they are swallowing. All they know is it feels good.

  2. "You can watch the tape of the Hardball segment here. Study hard! We'll examine the texts of each of these gong-shows tomorrow"

    No, thanks. I'll spend my time reading the actual transcripts and documents, watching any televised hearings, discussing with friends, and reading sober analysis, so that I can develop a well-informed opinion on the matter. I try to avoid gong shows.

    1. If you were doing that and could combine it with an IQ of 80 or above you would have already dismissed the nothingburger for what it is.

    2. Ah. I see you've made your judgment already, despite 3 indictments (so far). Is that what high IQ people do?

    3. This Russia scandal is starting to remind me of the Republicans reaction to 9/11. What happened or how it happened isn't important. What's important is we don't try to find out.

  3. "His presentation is a familiar and tedious, tired old "star chamber" scam."

    More like "show trial" than "star chamber", I'd say.

  4. Carter Page appears incapable of answering any question directly. That means the kind of evidence Somerby demands isn't going to emerge, even were Page to confess (more explicitly than he has already).

    These phrases Somerby is agonizing over are unimportant because there are other sources of information about who Page met with and what was discussed. Don't forget that Paul Manafort was wiretapped. Page is being cagey but the smart money says that he has already testified for Mueller and has a deal, which is why he doesn't need a lawyer at the Senate hearings.

    1. Page is the single least credible witness I've ever seen.

      Interesting factoids about Page:

      -Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser to during President Trump's campaign, has been the subject of a foreign surveillance warrant since 2014

      -In 2013 Page met with Viktor Podobnyy, then a junior attaché at the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, at an energy conference, and provided him with documents on the U.S. energy industry.Page later said that he provided only "basic immaterial information and publicly available research documents" to Podobnyy. Podobnyy was later one of a group of three Russian men charged by the U.S. authorities for participation in a Russian spy ring;
      The men had attempted to recruit Page to work for the Russian SVR. The FBI interviewed Page in 2013

  5. Who is Somerby calling a "Star Chamber"?

    Here is the definition from Wikipedia:

    "In modern usage, legal or administrative bodies with strict, arbitrary rulings and secretive proceedings are sometimes called, metaphorically or poetically, "star chambers". This is a pejorative term and intended to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the proceedings. "Star Chamber" can also be used in its original meaning, for instance when a politician uses parliamentary privilege to attack a powerful organisation or person"

    Is Somerby implying that the Congressional committees who are investigating Russian meddling are Star Chambers? First, they are not particularly secretive when they public transcripts or broadcast their proceedings on TV. Second, they are the legitimate bodies not some alternative, and they are comprised of members from both parties, elected by the people.

    It wouldn't make sense to refer to Mueller as a Star Chamber because he makes no decisions himself about guilt or innocence, although the grand juries might be thought of that way. But again, they are representative of the people, not comprised of powerful entities.

    Maybe Somerby is trying to say that there is a foregone conclusion and that our various deliberations are not investigatory but are trying to frame Trump's campaign. If so, that is an over-the-top suggestion far worse than any conclusion Maddow has ever leapt to. It challenges the validity of our government itself and the way it is organized to investigate itself and wrongdoing. It is a conspiratorial, deeply cynical suggestion without any evidence at all, given the facts emerging about what Trump's people actually did during the campaign.

    I find this whole line of defense against discovery of the Trump team's malfeasance to be offensive and entirely inconsistent with anything a liberal person, or even a reasonable person, or even a skeptic might say about what has been happening. Every day there are more facts about what happened. Somerby refused to accept that anything being reported is actually factual. He insists that all judgment be suspended until what, Trump confesses? Even then, Somerby might insist the confession was coerced. Short of being involved himself, it is hard to see what proof might be convincing to Somerby these days.

    Why is he being so obtuse? And why so obtuse in favor of the arguably worst actors in this situation? What is wrong with Somerby these days?

  6. "It challenges the validity of our government itself and the way it is organized to investigate itself and wrongdoing. It is a conspiratorial, deeply cynical suggestion without any evidence at all,"

    Except an impeachment of Bill Clinton, the presumable impeachment of Hillary if she'd been elected, and the impeachment of Trump if Democrats are able to gain control of Congress.

    Our government is no longer considered valid by the tribe the loses the election. Which is to say it is no longer held legitimate by anyone and these investigations are tools of destruction of any presumptive legitimacy. Cynicism doesn't apply when that fact is self-evident. You're part of it.

    1. So we should throw up our hands and look the other way if a president commits actual crimes or abuses of office?

    2. 2:59 PM,
      isn't that patented and trademark protected by Frank Luntz and Newt Gingrich?

  7. Hello everyone, do you need of spiritual help or are you in search of how to get your EX, boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife back? Do you have fertility problem or you are unable to get pregnant. Do you want cure for any kind of diseases like AIDS, HIV, Cancer, Herpes Virus E.T.C? If yes, Doctor Casera is here to help you out for you have located the solution to your problems. Contact Doctor Casera via E-mail: { } OR call/text: +1 (518) 460-6400 for i was a victim before but now I'm now a testifier for the good works of Doctor Casera for he's here to help.

  8. TDH, FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2017

    " Will Democrats win in Virginia next week? We have no way of knowing.

    The fact that it's close is a sign of the zombified state of the liberal world."

    Or that the polls were wrong. It wasn't close, was it? Somerby theory fails.