BREAKING: Thoughts achieved during jury duty!


Cultural revolution accomplished:
Thoughts achieved during a long, leisurely day of jury duty:

RE revolutionary heroine Gillibrand and the way these "revolutions of the saints" work:

1) First, our moral leaders do and say nothing whatsoever about the mammoth moral crisis, even in the face of harassment pay-outs taking place under their noses and very much on their watch.

2) Then, they stage their heroic Cultural Revolution. All offenses must be viewed the same; all accusers must be believed. All offenders must leave the stage right now, if not a few minutes sooner.

There is no time for assessment or judgment. A great stampede is on!

Fatuous pundits cheer them on. "Watershed moment" accomplished!

That said, also this: Ruth Marcus spots the problems with this familiar behavior pattern in today's Washington Post. Along the way, she did feel the need to heap the requisite words of praise on Our Own Chairman Mao.

We humans simply aren't smart. The exercise of judgment isn't our typical tendency. Future anthropologists told us this, right there in the jury room, in something which almost resembled a dream as we briefly nodded off.

(It's all anthropology now! They keep telling us that they're living in caves in the aftermath of Mr. Trump's War. "Yes, but what about 'the resistance?'" So we've often said.)


  1. Let me first say that Sen. Franken and anyone else accused of harassment or what have you is entitled to a fair hearing. And I do think there are degrees of inappropriateness, contrary to what Sen. Gillibrand said. A particular action may be interpreted as offensive by one person, and benign by another. It's tough to know sometimes what the truth is in a given situation.
    If this is what Somerby means or feels, I agree with him. Although his seeming disapproval of what he terms the "Cultural Revolution" is lacking in cultural or historical sensitivity.
    Why did our country allow the evil of slavery to exist? A number of reasons can be put forward, but at a particular favorable moment in time, there was a "Revolution" that abolished it once and for all.
    Why did we not have a black president until we did? There's always a confluence of factors.
    Similarly with sexual harassment. Somerby sourly asks why this wasn't dealt with earlier, instead of right now. Well, there's always a before and after. Now is the time. Perhaps the election of proud pu**y-grabber Trump took us over the edge. That unleashed the firestorm against Weinstein, and here we are. Perhaps if Hillary had won, there would have been less impulse to break the silence. There is a palpable anger that Trump prevailed despite his treatment of women.
    But there has possibly been an overreaction in some cases.
    (Perhaps calling someone "Chairman Mao" is also an overreaction?)

  2. And then, when their tales of moral culpability start to fall apart -- as with Roy Moore's yearbook accuser, whose entire credibility is now seriously impugned -- they're so invested in their old narrative that they just go on to something else, and never, ever look back.

    I actually agree with Gingrich on this one-- didn't liberals used to be the tolerant, understanding ones?!

    1. Decent human beings don't tolerate criminal sexual misconduct, especially when directed at 14 and 16 year olds by an adult.

    2. What impugned "Roy Moore's yearbook accuser," that back in 1977 Beverly Nelson had written 12-22-77 and printed Olde Hickory House directly under Moore's inscription which was written and signed in cursive by his own hand? As a reminder, here's what Moore wrote and is lying about:
      To a sweeter more beautiful girl I could not say "Merry Christmas"
      Christmas 1977
      Roy Moore DA.

    3. She clearly tried to amend his inscription and pass it off as his own. Those were not "explanatory notes."

      Worse, she then tried to alter the signature itself by printing in the same way her dumb "D.A." from the late 90s
      court assistant. She screwed up royally by doing so.

      Her credibility is thus seriously impugned, because if she embroidered the yearbook entry, what else has she embroidered? She'd get destroyed in court for this -by even the judge. So would Allred her attorney.

      Why btw did Allred not reveal these "notes" at the time then?

      Because her client got caught later on, that's why.

    4. "I actually agree with Gingrich on this one.."
      That's unfortunate. Not because Gingrich might be correct (I don't care either way), but because that means either someone interviewd the bomb-throwing piece of shit as if he would offer his opinion in good faith, or he just said it and someone thought reporting Gingrich's views on anything is 'news".
      Fuck that guy. Has he ever apologized for laying the blame for Susan Smith drowning her children on "secular liberals", when, in fact, Smith had been sexually molested by her right-wing Christian step-father? Until that piece of shit Gingrich apologizes to liberals and begs for forgiveness, no one should give a flying fuck what the bomb-throwing, lying, fat ass says about anything.

  3. Dear Senator Gillibrand,

    I believe you were wrong (and possibly misguided) in leading the call for Senator Franken to resign when he fully agreed to submit the charges of sexual harassment to the Senate Ethics Committee. In pushing for this you unnecessarily short changed the process which would have helped to determine what was factual, what was not and specifically how the Senate, as an institutional body should have responded (censure, expulsion, something else). Perhaps something else would have come to light through a formal investigation that the process you initiated shortchanged.

    I do not excuse Sen Franken, nor am I clear on what exactly transpired between him and these women and what did not. It is one thing to "take the women seriously," and another thing altogether to assume that what they have claimed (some anonymously) as the axiomatic truth, particularly when a career and a legacy are in play.

    I share some of the reserve of columnist Margaret Carlson, in her daily Beast article, titled, Fishy. ( What's "fishy," according to Carlson is Roger Stone's likely knowledge of the charges against the Senator by Leann Tweeden before the story became public.

    In light of the recent right-wing attack on Sam Seder that initially got him pulled from the MSNBC commentator's line-up, until the network knew it got scammed by Mile Cevonovitch, one wonders what role, if any, Roger Stone played in bringing Sen. Franken's first accuser to light. Perhaps nothing, but in short changing the investigative process it's a lot less likely than we will find that out now.

    Also, it would have been interesting to hear more on how Sen. Franken remembered the encounter differently than did Ms. Tweeden. Perhaps she did get it exactly right; yet, perhaps not. An investigation could have gotten to that, and yes, truth matters, but it is much more likely that we will not find that out, including the possibility that Sen. Franken's career and powerful progressive voice were unjustly shortchanged. We also do not know what the longer range political impact will be; whether someone like a Norm Coleman will become the next republican Senator from Minnesota for a seat that was in Democratic hands until 2020.

    To conclude, it's one thing, and a very important thing at that, to take the voices of sexual harassment and abuser accusers seriously. It is another thing altogether to assume axiomatically that they are telling (or recalling) the full story. In the case at hand there was a process in play to get as much of the full story out as possible. You played a major role in derailing that process. I'm not so sure that is the higher ground.

    Thank you

    1. Good letter.

      I'll let you know that liberal women in NYC today were extremely unhappy at Gillibrand their senator. They thought this was all so rushed and unfair, and out of scale considering the claims.

    2. Let me add that I suspect Franken knows that a Republican Senate ethics investigation would immediately turn into a referendum on the 1970s, with SNL in the middle. Everyone would get dragged into it.

      And so he said to hell with it all. It's not worth it. It will never end.

    3. Aren't we talking about Al Franken here? Why does he get judged on a Moore basis?

      Why bring up Moore.

    4. Under Senate rules, the Ethics Committee has an equal number of Democrats and Republicans (three each). It would not have been a "Republican Senate ethics investigation."

  4. “Fatuous pundits cheer them on. "Watershed moment" accomplished!”

    But WHY WHY WHY exactly do these upper-end journalists—right and left—present, discuss and spin the news this way? Sure, it gets obliquely brushed on occasionally, but:

    -Are many journalists just too effin’ lazy to do their homework, too intellectually negligent to learn about a subject before opening their yaps about it?

    -Are some superficially articulate but generally not very smart; nay, really fucking stupid? Are top-end universities not so good at educating the sons and daughters of the privileged class?

    -Are some angry and morally indignant over what they perceive is our society’s move away from their values (gulp), their lofty ideals (gag)? Does this anger cloud judgment and obfuscate objectivity?

    -Are they expected to present talking points that satisfy the views and interests of what Bob has called their “corporate owners,” thus maintaining job security and “earning” large salaries? Is the willingness to sell out and play the game more important than knowledge, honesty and integrity?

    -Are they showing off to impress rich and powerful benefactors? Are they sniffing ass and fetching sticks for Cape Cod, Newport, and Upper East Side players, thus earning more opportunities, more book deals for their vacuous tomes, invites to more cocktail parties, more hooking up?

    -Did progressives notice that media blitzkriegs have worked for years in the conservative world and reasoned that adopting the same scatter-gun aggressiveness and shrill would be the best way to swing the pendulum back? Are progressives really inept at this?

    -Do they perceive that it might be working, that people could be believing their bullshit, engendering defiance and reinforcing their will to continue?

    -Are mollifiers like Cooper, Blitzer and Lauer (ha!) scared of getting scolded by loud talkers like Hannity and Limbaugh?

    -Are jack-asses like O’Reilly and Bannon and jill-asses like Cupp and Dowd rotten to their soulless cores?

    -Do media executives desire chaos because it’s good for business, without so much as a mouse fart of backlash from their vestigial consciences?

    -For $64,000, is our society so morally rancid and humans so intrinsically dishonest that our current tribalism and cultural insanity represent what we have become, what we really are deep down, and thus we can only expect more of the same?

    All seven deadly sins are represented. Ding ding! Give the nation a prize! Except for the last question, the answer to all the others is a resounding “Duh!” For $64K, it’s: probably. Bob is right that it’s all anthropology now. (That is, if he brings a few other disciplines along for the ride. Hell, maybe he can finally put his degree to practical use). Are we moving on now as promised?

    1. They get paid too much to rock the media boat.

      It's why no one on MSNBC -- meaning NO ONE -- asked whether maybe Franken might be innocent. Instead, they all talked about how "right" it was for the Democrats to reach that "higher moral plain..."

      Even Krugman in the NYT. One contrary word and the bookings disappear. It's persona non grata time.

      That's one good reason why no one says anything. It pays more to be agreeable and dumb.

  5. Bob, mosey on down to the Mount Royal Tavern and have a drink. You need it.

  6. I don’t believe Al Franken would have resigned if there weren’t some substance to at least some of the accusations. If this were just a partisan hit, I believe he would insist on awaiting the ethics investigation outcome. But he didn’t, and that says a lot.

    1. Possibly. He might have figured that a Republican Senate might probe 24/7 his SNL drug days, etc., and so he said fuck it.

      Or, those affairs he kept joking about in print and on the radio. He knows it would turn into a zoo.

    2. Under Senate rules, the Ethics Committee has an equal number of Democrats and Republicans (three each). Republicans would not have controlled the investigation, though they could certainly have brought up other embarrassing history.

  7. "We humans simply aren't smart"

    Speak for yourself, Bob.

    Your awareness of the fact that you (not to mention the rest of your 'tribe') aren't smart should be restraining your propensity for grand generalizations.

    "Then, they stage their heroic Cultural Revolution. All offenses must be viewed the same; all accusers must be believed"

    Okay, although I'd prefer: "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!" Just to emphasize the comical side of this spectacle, y'know. It might make you sad, by the rest of the world is laughing...

    1. Over his time in office, Putin has managed to collect a vast portfolio of expensive properties.

      The most lavish of his presidential pads is his palace on the Black Sea with a reported price tag of $1 billion (£800 million).

      The palace allegedly includes a private theatre, a landing pad with bays for three helicopters, and accommodation for security guards.

      He enjoys 20 houses, four yachts, 58 aircraft, and a collection of watches worth £400,000, according to a scandalous dossier drawn up by a former deputy prime minister in 2012.

      Boris Nemstov. the author of the dossier, said: “In a country where 20 million people can barely make ends meet, the luxurious life of the president is a brazen and cynical challenge to society from a high-handed potentate.”

      Browder's testimony sheds light on the wild corruption in Russian politics and money. He recounted the story of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Russia's biggest oligarch who was put on trial and convicted by Putin in 2003. After this public trial, other wealthy Russians asked Putin what they could do to avoid the same fate as Khodorkovsky. "Fifty percent. He wasn’t saying 50 percent for the Russian government or the presidential administration of Russia, but 50 percent for Vladimir Putin personally," Browder said. (See also: Vladimir Putin: Rise to Power and Fortune)

      "From that moment on, Putin became the biggest oligarch in Russia and the richest man in the world."

      Read more: Vladimir Putin: World's Richest Person? | Investopedia

      You shouldn't post when you're drunk so early in the day Comrade Mao.

    2. What, in the world, could compel you to reply to my humble observation with this drivel?

      Why, there could only be one reason, I suppose: to confirm Bob's frequently repeated thesis of incredible liberal stupidity.

      Thanks, much appreciated.

    3. Mao doesn't know what the Spanish inquisition was.

    4. @10:31 AM doesn't know what the "Flying Circus" was.

    5. Of course I do, but random summoning of that sketch is just dumb. The Pythons knew their history. Mao doesn’t.

  8. Somerby, random thoughts are not an achievement.