BROKEN: What did Vladimir Putin propose?


Your lizard brain gets a good workout:
According to the future elders—they come to us quite late at night—the "Embellishment Industrial Complex" flourished during the so-called Final Human Era, an era defined by the rise of corporate "cable news."

These future elders still laugh about the way Arianna sewed that fourth button onto Candidate Gore's suits in the fall of 1999. Then they remember the way this conduct led to Down Home Bush's Transitional War, with its untold thousands of innocent dead, and they burn with a fury at players like Brian, who spent so many nights, back then, obsessing about Gore's wardrobe.

(At the time, Brian was lobbying to succeed Tom Brokaw as anchor of NBC Nightly News. Because Jack Welch was his corporate owner, this led to lunatic embellishments and theoretics about the various elements of the candidate's troubling wardrobe.

(The liberal world accepted every one of Brian's endless jibes. As Brian played us again and again, we were laughing about the ignorant hillbillies we'd spotted at Walmart.

(Later, when Brian embellished about his own courage in Iraq and New Orleans, he surrendered the anchorman post. Today, he provides each evening's "Last Word" for us, the liberal masses. Through his florid language and his courtly behavior, we can tell that he's On Our Side.)

The Embellishment Industrial Complex ruled the roost at cable news during that final era. For one example, compare what Vladimir Putin proposed to what you've been offered on cable.

The proposal was first made in Helsinki, during the initial summit of Presidents Sundance and Butch. No one knows what Putin said during his private session with President Mitty, but when the two fellows spoke in public, everyone was able to see his statement.

Below, you see Putin's remarks as they were translated in real time. You'll note that what he actually said in the public session doesn't match what you've been hearing on Corporate Embellishment Cable.

Warning! More than ten words:
PUTIN, AS TRANSLATED (7/16/18): Now let's get back to the issue of these twelve alleged intelligence officers of, of Russia.

I don't know the full extent of the situation, but President Trump mentioned this issue and I will look into it. So far, I can say the following things off the top of my head.

We have enacting (sic) an existing agreement between the United States of America and the Russian Federation, an existing treaty that dates back to 1999. The Mutual Assistance on Criminal Cases. This treaty is in full effect. It works quite efficiently.

On average, we initiate about 100, 150 criminal cases upon request from foreign states. For instance, the last year there was one extradition case upon the request sent by the United States.

So this treaty has specific legal procedures we can offer the appropriate commission headed by Special Attorney Mueller. He can use this treaty as a solid foundation and send a formal—an official request to us so that we would interrogate—we want to hold a questioning of these individuals, who he believes are privy to some crimes. And our law enforcement are perfectly able to do this questioning and send the appropriate materials to the United States.

Moreover, we can meet you halfway. We can make another step.

We can actually permit official representatives of the United States, including the members of this very commission headed by Mr. Mueller, we can let them into the country and they will be present at this questioning. But in this case, there is a—there's another condition.

This kind of effort should be a mutual one. Then we would expect that the Americans would reciprocate, and that they would question officials, including the officers of law enforcement and intelligence service of the United States, whom we believe are—who have something to do with illegal actions on the territory of Russia, and we have to—to request the presence of our law enforcement.

For instance, we can bring up the Mr. Browder in this particular case. Business associates of Mr. Browder have earned over $1.5 billion in Russia. They never paid any taxes, neither in Russia nor in the United States, and yet the money escaped the country. They were transferred to the United States. They sent huge amount of money, $400 million as a contribution to the campaign of Hillary Clinton. Well, that's the personal case. It might have been legal, the contribution itself, but the way the money was earned was illegal.
You'll note the following points:

1) Vladimir doesn't suggest that anyone should be extradited, whether from Russia to the U.S. or from the U.S. to Russia. More specifically, there is no suggestion that any Americans will be forced to travel to Russia.

2) He doesn't say that Mueller or his associates would be allowed to question the twelve indicted Russkies. He seems to say that they would be permitted to watch as Russkies questioned these twelve Russkies, on their own sacred soil.

3) He doesn't seem to say that Russkies would be permitted to question any Americans. He seems to say that they would be allowed to be present as American officials questioned certain Americans on our "American soil," which is once again precious to liberals.

4) He doesn't mention Ambassador McFaul. He mentions only Bill Browder by name.

That's what President Soccer Ball proposed in the public session. That's the proposal which President Rain Man briefly described in this way, briefly abandoning his desire to discuss his many electoral votes:
TRUMP (7/16/18): I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.

And what he did is an incredible offer. He offered to have the people working on the [Mueller] case come and work with their investigators with respect to the twelve people. I think that's an incredible offer. OK?

Thank you.
That's what President Murky said about his best friend's proposal. More precisely, Murky only described a plan in which American officials would "come" (presumably to Russia) to "work with their investigators with respect to the twelve people" Mueller has indicted.

He didn't mention, let alone endorse, any other part of any proposal. It should be noted that he didn't say that he was accepting this offer.

What did Vlad propose in private? To this day, no one knows! But that's what he proposed in public, until the denizens of cable news began their embellishment games.

One caveat should be offered. After Monday's "Bro Summit" was done, Russkie officials seem to have described some variant of Putin's proposal to some Russkie news sites.

Because of the nature of American "journalism," we don't know what this variant may have been. We say that because, starting with the New York Times, we know of no major newspaper which bothered describing these variants, or bothered explaining how these variants may have differed from what President Alpha Male had said in his public presentation.

Beyond that, and stating the obvious, we saw no stars of "cable news" developing this information. In the age of the Embellishment Storyline Industrial Complex, the practice of developing "information" had largely disappeared from the American neo-press.

We've seen what Presidents Spin and Marty said in their public session. As such, we've seen the proposal which President Goofus did, in fact, describe as "an incredible offer." (It should be noted that he never said that he was accepting the offer.)

Vladimir proposed no extraditions. He didn't even seem to propose that Russkies should be allowed to question Americans.

But so what? After that, embellishment culture stepped to the fore. Here's what Lawrence told the liberal masses on Thursday night:
O'DONNELL (7/19/18): The Senate showed how quickly it can actually do something today when the Senate really wants to. It took the Senate's Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer exactly three minutes and eight seconds to convince the Senate to vote on a resolution, quote, expressing the sense of Congress "against the making available of current and former diplomats officials and members of the armed forces of the United States for questioning by the government of Vladimir Putin."

The Senate vote was 98-0 in favor of that resolution after Donald Trump on Monday publicly said that it was a good idea to hand over, among others, Obama administration ambassador to Moscow Michael McFaul, who Vladimir Putin specifically mentioned on Monday as he stood beside Donald Trump. Vladimir Putin accused Ambassador McFaul of being a criminal and said he would trade the extradition of the Russian military officers who have been indicted by Robert Mueller for Ambassador McFaul and other Americans...
Where did Embellishment Culture step in? Let us count the ways:
Embellishments by Lawrence:
1) On Monday, Putin didn't "specifically mention" McFaul as he stood beside Donald Trump. McFaul was never specifically mentioned at all.

2) As such, Donald Trump didn't "publicly say that it was a good idea to hand over McFaul." (By now, the notion that people would be "handed over" was a key element of Standard Scripted Thoroughly Pleasing Tribal Embellishment Speak.)

3) Putin didn't accuse McFaul of being a criminal. McFaul wasn't mentioned by Putin.

4) Putin didn't say that he would "trade the extradition of the Russian military officers who have been indicted by Robert Mueller for Ambassador McFaul and other Americans." He never mentioned extradition at all. He never seemed to suggest that anyone would be forced to leave his own country.
Needless to say, this was Typical Everyday Lawrence. It was also a type of behavior which typified the work of "cable news" during the Entertainment / Embellishment Era.

Nor was Lawrence done! Before he was finished on Thursday night, he falsely said that, as of Wednesday, Sarah Huckabee Sanders had said that the administration was "still considering whether to hand over Ambassador McFaul and other Americans to Vladimir Putin."

Sanders hadn't said that. Moments later, Lawrence embellished further, in this question for a cable news potted plant:
O'DONNELL: Ambassador Burns, I just want to go to you first on what Donald Trump called "an incredible offer," this cooperating with Vladimir Putin and how Vladimir Putin wants to investigate, among others, Ambassador McFaul, possibly have him arrested, extradited to Moscow for trial.
By now, Lawrence seemed to have Trump agreeing that McFaul should be arrested and sent to Moscow for trial. Possibly, that is! (Possibly with a bare-chested Putin whipping him! From horseback, right there in court!)

We'll only note that Donald Trump was referring to no such offer when he made his statement on Monday. But this is the bullshit we humans had chosen during Embellishment Days.

Candidate Gore wore four-button suits—and President Trump publicly said that it would be a good idea to hand McFaul over to Putin for extradition! That was the bullshit we'd chosen.

Needless to say, Lawrence wasn't alone.

The leading player on the channel had already embellished beautifully by the time Lawrence came on. Here she was, describing that Senate vote:
MADDOW (7/19/18): That is the Senate voting unanimously that the president maybe shouldn't send former American diplomats and other U.S. officials and U.S. citizens over to Russia to be interrogated by the Russian government just because Vladimir Putin told Trump that's what he wanted.

I mean, it is still almost impossible to believe that the White House did really spend a few days thinking over that request from Vladimir Putin at the summit earlier this week. I mean, the White House acknowledged that yes, that's what Putin asked; yes, there was some conversation about that. The White House acknowledged that the president was meeting with his team and talking over that request from Russia.

I mean, incredibly, they do appear to have mulled over the possibility of doing this, handing the Americans over to the Russians.
In fairness, she did say "incredibly!" Even so, we're forced to tell you that that was embellishment all the way down. That said, there was more excitement to follow:
MADDOW: The White House this afternoon put out a short, very complimentary statement about Vladimir Putin's sincerity in making this request to get his fangs into former U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul and other U.S. officials who he wanted Trump to hand over on a platter. But despite the sincerity of Putin's request to have those Americans handed over, the White House announced that they have finally concluded at least this time, that we won't be sending anybody to them.
Maddow is a more skillful dissembler than Lawrence. But what you're seeing there is tribal excitement, and tribal embellishment, taking the place of information and fact, elements of the old order.

Was Matthews possibly the craziest player this night? Over the course of many years, no one did more to drive the demonology which would eventually let Trump slip past Hillary Clinton.

(Or to build the demonizations which let Bush slip by Gore. Matthews has the blood of thousands on his money-soaked hands. On the bright side, this made him quite rich.)

Matthews was a powerful player during that earlier period. For that reason, the children all knew they mustn't complain as he demonized both Clintons and Gore with years of lunatic statements.

But now, his craziness (and his trademark lack of preparation) had been redirected. They were invested in dumbing the liberal world down in the following ways:
MATTHEWS (7/19/18): What would [Trump officials] have done if Barack Obama had kowtowed to a Soviet or Russian leader, like this guy has, who suggested this subjecting American officials like our former ambassador McFaul to be dragged over to Moscow for interrogation?

MATTHEWS: The attacks, the suggestion that they want McFaul, former ambassador, to come back there and be investigated by the KGB like his crowd, that is how [Trump types] are.

MATTHEWS: Coming up, President Trump described it as an incredible offer, handing over U.S. citizens, including former U.S. ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, to Vladimir Putin and the KGB for questioning in exchange for interviews with Russians.

MATTHEWS: Nobody's going to take us from anywhere outside the United States to justice. No American is going to be brought before some tribunal. And here's Trump letting this out that we might actually let our people, including our top State Department officials, be facing Russian justice under a KGB colonel.
People are dead all over the world because this disordered jackass played these games, for many years, against both Clintons and Gore. Now his disorder has been redirected, and we liberals say he's the best.

Your lizard brain is telling you that we have this totally wrong. That's the nature of lizard brains, and of our badly failed public culture in these, the last few years before The Dispositive War.

You can see what Presidents Nutcase and Insaner said in their public session. Then, you can see what a bunch of millionaire corporate wh*res told you the fellows had said.

Mercifully, Mister Trump's Fully Dispositive War brought all this to an end. We're told that future historians grudgingly cite this as his one achievement.

For today, we thought your lizard might need a good workout. For that reason, we showed you these quotes.


  1. Somerby picks a specific instance and insists the media has been embellishing what was proposed.

    Booman today chronicles the collusion between Trump and Russia. Here is some of it:

    "Somehow, Trump has been clear on a host of issues that align perfectly with Russia’s interests, and he’s been clear on them since the earliest days of his campaign. Here’s a partial list:

    1. Advocating that Americans pull their troops out of the Far East.
    2. Advocating that Americans pull out of Syria and arguing that the Russians only want to be there to fight ISIS.
    3. Arguing that Crimea rightfully belongs to Russia because many ethnic Russians live there.
    4. Saying NATO is obsolete.
    5. Refusing to commit to the protection of former-Soviet NATO members in the Baltics.
    6. Refusing to commit to the protection of NATO member Macedonia.
    7. Attacking the European Union.
    8. Calling the European Union a “foe.”
    9. Supporting the United Kingdom’s split from the European Union.
    10. Supporting the same Euro-Skeptic far right white nationalist parties that Putin supports.
    11. Attacking and undermining the governments in London and Berlin, which present the strongest resistance to Putin’s influence in Europe.
    12. Attacking the U.S. intelligence community and federal law enforcement agencies to undermine their credibility with the American public.
    13. Decimating the Department of State.
    14. Pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership

    It’s not so much any one thing on this list as the combination of them all pointing in the same direction. Seemingly everything Trump does serves Russia’s interests. Even disputes with Canada and Mexico weaken Western unity and resolve and undermine America’s ability to exert leadership to counter Russia’s influence. "

    Booman wonders how Trump could have achieved such coordination when he is such an idiot, reaching no conclusions.

    I wonder how Somerby can see what is going on since the beginning of Trump's campaign yet still insist that there is any doubt about Trump's collusion with Russia.

    Media pundits are not being hysterical and they are not making things up. They are rightfully concerned about Trump's behavior. Somerby can imply that because there is slight wiggle room in denying this particular claim, there is nothing to get excited about, the media is manufacturing a tempest in a teapot, but Somerby is hugely wrong. He is so wrong, that it is hard to see why he is defending Trump and his minions in the fact of the ways Trump is aiding Russia.

    My lizard brain and my non-lizard brain (Somerby should know we think with the cortex not the amygdala) are both telling me that Somerby is an ass. I do not understand why he keeps defending wrongdoers and by extension helping those who want to tear down Western democracy.

    1. What part of your brain told you that TDH was talking about Trump’s collusion with Russia? I suspect the part involved in reading.

      TDH was talking about the media simply making things up about Putin’s comments about questioning suspects in criminal cases.

      What part of your brain told you that TDH is implying that there’s nothing to get excited about in Trump’s overall capitulation to Putin? I suspect the part that can’t distinguish your own inferences from others’ implications.

      Putin didn’t mention McFaul and neither Trump nor Putin mentioned extradition.

      What part of your brain told you that they did or that it was OK to report that they did?

      These lapses may be isolated signs of excessive partisanship on your part or they may be an indication of a larger cognitive deficit. Check with a neurologist just to be on the safe side.

    2. "What part of your brain told you that TDH is implying that there’s nothing to get excited about in Trump’s overall capitulation to Putin? "

      Somerby can write about anything he chooses. He ignores the most urgent issues of the day in order to try to rehabilitate Trump by insisting on a literalism so narrow that it is laughable.

      And now you do the same. That gives rise to two speculations: (1) you are Somerby, (2) you defend Somerby because you think like he does or have the same interest in defending cretins like Trump as he does.

      I think your lizard brain is out searching for flies because it doesn't seem to care about the things that are important. That goes double for Somerby.

    3. The most urgent issue of the day is IMHO the thousands of black Americans being murdered.

    4. No, it's actually the theft and destruction of democracy by Republicans at the behest of their paymasters.

    5. No, I’m not Somerby, but I’ll tell you this for free: if I were Somerby, I wouldn’t waste my time reading the collective Anonymous cluelessness of this commentariat.

      Yes, Somerby gets to write about anything he chooses. And you get to believe that he’s ignoring the “most urgent issues of the day.” But I have to ask — what are you doing here if TDH is writing about things you consider not worth the time? You’re the guy who shows up at a poker game, throws down his hand, and yells, “Bingo!” And then wonders why the other players are staring at him.

      I read this blog because I’m interested in the topics it covers. I don’t regard anything TDH has written as “defending” Trump. If I want to read cogent opposition to Trump, Republicans, and “conservatives”, I read Charles Pierce on

      Think of the size of the smallest thing you can imagine. Now divide that by the largest number you can think of. You’ll now have an approximation to how much I care about what you think I don’t care about.

    6. "The most urgent issue of the day is IMHO the thousands of black Americans being murdered."

      Yet you are against anti-poverty programs, which will reduce the violence in poor communities. Go figure.
      BTW, I'd love to see a Republican political candidate run on helping black people. Has anyone ever gotten zero votes in a GOP primary?

    7. AnonymousJuly 21, 2018 at 11:34 PM -- repeating something over and over doesn't make it true. Do you know of any evidence that anti-poverty programs reduce violence in poor communities? I don't. But, intelligent, effective policing has been shown to reduce violence.

    8. David In Cal, just shut the fuck up. You're revealed yourself as a racist and Putin knob-gobbler over and over. The topic is your master Putin's "summit" with his blackmailed slave Trump, and you try to hijack it to "black violence" . How about violence against black people by white police? Don't answer, I don't care what you say about that because you're a racist Putin fan and flying monkey who thinks anyone aside from maybe 15 people reads senile Somerby's shitty blog. You hate black people and love Putin. Go sea-lion over at Dead Breitbart, where you belong.

    9. "But, intelligent, effective policing has been shown to reduce violence."

      And great FBI investigative work finds an entire political party to be corrupt traitors to the United States of America.

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  2. "Putin accused Ambassador McFaul of being a criminal and said he would trade the extradition of the Russian military officers who have been indicted by Robert Mueller for Ambassador McFaul and other Americans..."

    Well, yeah, Messrs Joe Goebbels and ‎Joe McCarthy would've been extremely proud.

    But hey, we're already well aware of the current state of affairs; what else is new...

  3. Here are some Russian sources reporting that Russia wants to question McFaul:

    McFaul himself tweeted:

    Here McFaul talks about being hacked and harrassed by Russia (in 2012). It isn't as though Russia doesn't care about him:

    Somerby says:

    "Because of the nature of American "journalism," we don't know what this variant may have been. We say that because, starting with the New York Times, we know of no major newspaper which bothered describing these variants, or bothered explaining how these variants may have differed from what President Alpha Male had said in his public presentation."

    Other journalists went to these Russian sources and looked up what they said, putting two and two together, just as Congress members did, and opposing what was clearly being put forward by Russia (especially given that media is not distinct from the government in Russia).

    Somerby clings to the legalistic letter of what was said to the press in Helsinki. He ignores what may have been said in the closed meeting because it is unknowable, but he also ignores what was clearly said by Russia afterwards. He thinks if it wasn't in his preferred transcript, it didn't happen.

    Trump doesn't record anything, doesn't invite press into meetings, allows no witnesses to his deals with strongmen, because he wants to maintain plausible deniability. He doesn't want to be accountable for anything. It is the job of the press to hold him accountable. They are doing so but Somerby thinks they shouldn't because Trump took away any record of what was said. It doesn't work that way. If there is no record, Trump has no defense against any speculation. He gave away his right to claim he is being misquoted or misunderstood when he denied access to meetings.

    So, this is not embellishment. It is an attempt to pin down what Trump said and what he intends to do. By proposing possibilities and letting Trump deny them, we can hold Trump accountable for what he said and did with Putin.

    Somerby should understand this process. Instead he again wishes to give aid (not aide) and comfort to the enemy and enable Trump's ongoing collusion with Russia. No American president has the right to sell out his country to an enemy. Somerby needs to rethink his own position on these matters, in my opinion.

    1. It’s fine to report that the Russians are interested in McFaul, whom they believe to be involved in criminal activities. it’s fine to report that McFaul’s opposition as a diplomat to Russian malfeasance is likely the real reason for Russian displeasure. It’s fine to report that Trump’s ignorance, naivete, or complicity led him to describe Putin’s offer as incredible.

      What’s not OK is to report that based on the news conference, Trump is considering honoring Putin’s request to extradite McFaul to Russia. To point out this misrepresentation does not enable Trump’s collusion. Every time the media exaggerates and misstates, it undermines its own credibility and makes it easier for Trump to use the smokescreen of “fake news”. This in turnmakes it easier for Trump to get away with collusion.

      “aid (not aide) and comfort” — thank you.

    2. You and Somerby are both being excessively legalistic about this.

      Connecting the dots is part of journalism.

    3. You can connect 'me; you just can't make 'em up.

    4. Somerby shriekingly accuses the press of not "proving" anything about Putin meeting his bitch slave Trump, without noting that Trump shut out all press and even all Americans from the meeting. An astonishing level of secrecy that Somerby is too lazy to examine, while Trump repeatedly attacks the press as "enemies of the people". A fascist, eliminationist phrase.

      Why does Bob Somerby not say anything about Trump's attacks on a free press, declaring them "enemies of the people"? To say nothing of Putin's having journalists slaughtered by the score. Why should anyone give a damn about what Somerby has to say about journalism when he seems to hate the press as much as Trump and Putin? Boggling what a cowardly dotard he is on theis issue, I guess it's much easier to attack Rachel Maddow. And Bob would never DREAM of even commenting on the cavalcade of lies and Trumputinist propaganda on Fox News. Somerby is a fraud.

    5. Belvoir,

      Here’s what this blog isn’t about: Trump’s malfeasance, Putin’s criminality, and right-wing propaganda machines. That’s why TDH doesn’t note that Trump had a secret meeting with his handler, doesn’t say anything about Trump’s attacks on a free press, doesn’t say that Putin has had journalists killed, and doesn’t comment on Faux News.

      Here’s what this blog is about: the quality of the reporting from the mainstream and liberal press. That’s why Rachel Maddow’s performance comes in for criticism.

      Now I don’t think it’s unreasonable to argue that TDH is focused on trivia when he should discuss the more-important issue of the destruction of democratic institutions by Trump and the cowards in his party.

      But since that’s not what TDH wants to do, I have to ask what the fuck you’re doing here. Do you go to vegan websites and complain about the lack of recipes for pulled pork?

    6. "Here's what this blog is about..."

      This would mean something if Somerby had written it. But he didn't, did he?

    7. ~Belvoir,

      He pretty much did. It’s right up there as the subtitle of the blog: musings on the mainstream "press corps" and the american discourse

      Are you claiming my characterization is wrong?

    8. deadrat,
      I'll claim your main charcterization is dead wrong, due to this: "Here’s what this blog is about: the quality of the reporting from the mainstream and liberal press."

      The "liberal press" is Mother Jones Magazine. I have never seen Somerby post about Mother Jones reporting quality. Instead, he harps only about corporate-owned, Right-wing mainstream media, like CNN, MSNBC, NYT, WaPo, etc.

    9. C'mon, now you're just quibbling about labels. By "liberal press", I mean the outlets that editorially support Democrats

  4. Just FYI, lizards cannot read and they spend very little time watching TV.

  5. This is like pointing out that the bill of rights isn't contained in the constitution itself, so the rights don't exist.

    The information to which these commentators alluded comes from other Russian, Putin-controlled sources. That information is part of the bigger picture. Somerby wants to ignore it but it nevertheless exists. He cannot decide that if Putin never explicitly said he killed journalists, then he didn't kill anyone and our media is making a big fuss about nothing. He cannot decide that if Putin said he didn't meddle in our election, he didn't have anything to do with hacking. Somerby needs to stop being so narrowly focused and literal and look at what is going on in totality, all the sources of information.

    Pretending Trump is right because Putin never said explicitly he wanted McFaul makes no sense. Russians have been persecuting McFaul since the beginning of his term as Ambassador, because of his help to Browder. Putin had Browder's attorney, Magnitsky, killed in prison. The Magnitsky act was passed to punish this act by sanctioning Russian oligarchs. Putin wants it repealed. Of course Putin wants to get his hands on Browder and McFaul, those he holds responsible for the sanctions. This is at the heart of why Putin is meddling and has corrupted Trump.

    Somerby can pretend that Russia doesn't care about McFaul, but he would have to be living in oblivion to do so. Why is Somerby being deliberately obtuse once again? It is not only frustrating but makes me believe his stupidity is motivated -- most likely by money.

    Now deadrat wants to carry water for Somerby. How sweet.

    1. This is like pointing out that the bill of rights isn't contained in the constitution itself, so the rights don't exist.

      Seriously? Even if we decide that “in the constitution” means “in the Constitution as originally adopted”, what possible logical argument could conclude that the rights don’t exist? To apply this tortured analogy, even if we report correctly and honestly, that nothing Putin said in the press conference concerned extradition of anybody, let alone McFaul, what possible logical argument could conclude that this means necessarily that Putin doesn’t want to get his hands on McFaul?

      The answer is no such logical argument exists in either case. We can understand that the bill of rights applies even if we define it not to be contained in the (original) Constitution. Just as we can understand that the Russians would like to prosecute McFaul, even as we report that Putin didn’t ask for any extraditions during the press conference.

      Notice that I don’t need to accuse you of “carrying water” for anybody when I point out that you’re wrong and TDH is right in this particular case. Nothing about reporting the facts about the press conference precludes putting the Trump-Putin exchange in context.

      Trump didn’t accept a Putin proposal to extradite McFaul to Russia. And there’s no sense in reporting that he did. That doesn’t mean that Putin didn’t kill journalists or that he didn’t meddle in the election or that he doesn’t want to persecute McFaul. And nothing TDH wrote indicates that he thinks otherwise.

      You can pretend that TDH is pretending that Russia doesn’t care about McFaul. You can pretend that TDH is stupid, obtuse, and oblivious to the larger context of the news conference. But look where that gets you — convinced that TDH is being bribed to write a blog that nobody reads but you, me, Mao in California, and David Cheng Ji.

      Get a grip. And learn to read for comprehension.

    2. You just smell, deadrat. The person you are replying to made tremendously good points. You're a plant and a troll, and the way you write "TDH" over and over is just weird. Everyone knows it's just sad old Somerby.

    3. Belvoir,

      I just smell? That’s what you’ve got?

      The person I was replying to didn’t make good points. And if you could demonstrate otherwise, then you’d have done so instead of commenting on my odor.

      Are you so clueless that you think when I write “TDH” I don’t understand that it’s Somerby who’s owns the blog? I write “TDH” when I’m talking about Bob Somerby, the author of The Daily Howler. I tend to avoid using the author’s name because I’m not on a first- or last-name basis with him. I know almost nothing about him except what he writes.
      Other commenters call him by name when they claim to know personal things about him. Kinda like you, who seems to know that Bob is “sad.”

      I think that’s what’s weird. But there’s no accounting for taste.

      Or, for that matter, your curious sense of cyber-smell.

    4. "I just smell? That’s what you’ve got?"

      OK, you stink. You reek. You give the schnoz a real workout.

  6. (Note that the quotes from MSNBC are all from 7/19)

    On 7/16 press conference, Putin said this:
    "So we have a solid reason to believe that some intelligence officers accompanied and guided these transactions. So we have a -- an interest of questioning them. We can all -- that -- that could be a first step, and we can also extend it. Options abound, and they all can be found in an appropriate legal framework."

    What "intelligence officers" was he referring to? On 7/17, the Russian Attorney General's office specified:

    "The Russian Attorney General’s Office has named several American state officials and intelligence officers wanted for questioning in the criminal case against Hermitage Capital founder Bill Browder. The list of names includes former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul"

    It's clear that McFaul was one of the "state officials" that Putin wanted to question. McFaul was an ambassador, and as such, enjoyed diplomatic immunity. He is accused of various things by Putin.

    The same source (Meduza), in its 7/17 report, stated:

    "At Monday’s summit with Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin offered to let American investigators participate in the questioning of Russian citizens accusedby the U.S. Justice Department of interfering in the 2016 presidential election, if the Americans agree to hand over British citizen Bill Browder. Russian courts have twice sentenced Browder in absentia to nine years in prison for alleged tax evasion, fraud, and deliberate bankruptcy."

    The report says that "handing over" Browder was part of the "deal."

    Finally, what did Putin mean when he said "we can also extend it?":

    "So we have a -- an interest of questioning them. We can all -- that -- that could be a first step, and we can also extend it."

    1. Somerby was lying. Yes, McFaul was named.

  7. Well, White House doesn't deny McFaul was an intended interrogation target:

    Q    Thank you, Sarah.  Russian authorities yesterday named several Americans who they want to question, who they claim were involved in Bill Browder’s “crimes,” in their terms, including a former ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul.  Does President Trump support that idea?  Is he open to having U.S. officials questioned by Russia?
    SANDERS:  The President is going to meet with his team, and we’ll let you know when we have an announcement on that."

    Oof! Busted, Bob.

    1. So busted. Somerby was lying. Yes, McFaul was named. And look at the cowardice of Sarah Sanders saying, "yeah, we'll think about handing Americans over to Putin, sure."

      And look at the cowardice of Bob Somerby who is FINE with Trump calling journalists "the enemy of the people". And shutting them out completely from this "summit", the secret meeting with his handler. Somerby won't defend a free press, so why the f-ck should we care what he has to say about journalism?

    2. Belvoir,

      McFaul was not named in the Helsinki press conference. Browder was, not McFaul. You can check for yourself here.

      The Huckster didn't say, "We'll think about handing Americans over to Putin." She issued the usual "we'll get back to you as soon as we get our lies in sync with whatever craziness Trump has spewed." That’s bad enough; no need to make up stuff.

      This isn’t a blog about defending the free press. I know that’s what you claim to want, but it’s not your blog. If you don’t give a fuck about what TDH has to say about journalism, then what the fuck are you doing here?

    3. Deadrat, you always revert to the narrowest reading of whatever Somerby posts. Yes, it is OK to use a person's name even if you've never been introduced. You almost never engage the substance of people's comments except to call them out of bounds. And you are rarely civil. Hard to see that you add anything to this community.

      People can and do address what they want in comments. That's what comments are for, especially since Somerby has established no rules and no moderation. So you defining the blog purpose is ridiculous.

      Maddow has been doing an especially good job lately. But the rightward drift of Somerby's posts is perhaps best measured by the increase in conservative commenters here, including Leroy, AC/MA and an anonymous.

      I will probably leave when Somerby admits he is no liberal. Your comments that I don't know how to read are pretty silly when you consistently miss the implications of Somerby's posts and insist that if something isn't explicit, it isn't there. Being unwilling to use a man's name is a symptom, not a virtue.

    4. Anonymous on July 22, 2018 at 3:21 PM,

      Deadrat, you always revert to the narrowest reading of whatever Somerby posts.

      Revert is the wrong word here, but I think you mean that I take TDH completely literally to the exclusion of any reasonable inferences that can be taken from his words. I don’t think I do that, but I’m open to the criticism if it’s backed up by evidence. Do you have examples of my missteps? Be aware that if TDH criticizes Rachel Maddow, it is not a reasonable inference that he doesn’t care about a free press.

      Yes, it is OK to use a person's name even if you've never been introduced.

      Of course. And I never said otherwise. Please feel free to use Somerby’s name in any way you choose. All I said was that I use “TDH” instead of Somerby’s name to separate myself from those who use his given name to comment on his personal characteristics, as though they were personally acquainted with him. This is strictly idiosyncratic.

      You almost never engage the substance of people's comments except to call them out of bounds.

      I don’t think this is true. For example, you can check my long exchange with a forced-birther about abortion, which certainly engaged substance. It’s true, however, that I don’t engage with people’s comments when they’re out of bounds, for instance comments on the depravity of Trump and the complicity of right-wing propaganda sites like Faux News. For the most part, I agree with these comments, but I don’t find them germane to this site.

      And you are rarely civil.

      True. And your point?

      Hard to see that you add anything to this community.

      First of all, this is not a community. It’s the commentariat on a blog. What I add is the admonition to the clueless not to lose track of what this blog is about. You may not find this useful, but you can guess what I think about that.

      People can and do address what they want in comments.

      Of course they can. When have I said they can’t? And how would I be able to enforce my preferences in any case?

      So you defining the blog purpose is ridiculous.

      I don’t define the purpose of this blog. The owner does.

      Maddow has been doing an especially good job lately

      I haven’t watched Maddow in a while. Not since her egregiously bad reporting on Christie’s Bridgegate scandal. And perhaps it’s unfair, but I find her smug, simpering persona annoying. Perhaps you could point me to something recent that you find worthy.

      But the rightward drift of Somerby's posts is perhaps best measured by the increase in conservative commenters here….

      The best measure of the rightward drift of Somerby’s posts would be his espousal of of right-wing causes and memes. I think he’s been obsessively if not compulsively on the same track for years. TDH is a jeremiah of the liberal side, but that doesn’t make him a conservative.

      I will probably leave when Somerby admits he is no liberal.

      Up to you, of course. I find that attitude rather odd. First of all, Somerby is unlikely to admit anything on TDH, and why would you care whether he did or not?

      Your comments that I don't know how to read are pretty silly when you consistently miss the implications of Somerby's posts and insist that if something isn't explicit, it isn't there.

      Since you don’t have the courtesy to use a nym, I can’t really tell which comment you’re referring to. i tell lots of commenters that they can’t read, at least not for comprehension. TDH isn’t particularly subtle, so I doubt I’ve missed any of his implications. Are you sure you’re not talking about your faulty inferences? An example or two would help here.

      Being unwilling to use a man's name is a symptom, not a virtue.

      It’s neither; it’s just a personal preference.

    5. Here is a perfect example of what I mean by excessive literalness:

      I said: "Hard to see that you add anything to this community.

      You said: "First of all, this is not a community. It’s the commentariat on a blog."

      Here you take my statement and reject it for one of your own that states only the literal fact that people here are writing comments.

      Your lack of civility may arise from your lack of connection with others. You seem to assume that if you feel no connection with anyone here, neither does anyone else.

      Trolls are usually people with the dark triad of personality traits: narcissism, Machiavelliaism and sociopathy. All three are characterized by a lack of empathy and a lack of connection with others, the feeling that others exist to be used for one's own benefit.

      There is also an oddness to preferring not to use Somerby's name while also insisting that everyone else who comments here must use a name. Even though you don't know any of us. If I were psychoanalytically inclined, I would speculate about what names mean to you -- they are obviously important in some way. And then I would speculate about the name deadrat. But I don't give a rat's ass about you and that takes a great deal of the interest out of thinking about how you reveal your problems with every word you write. And how the fear of that limits you to consideration of only the surface meanings, the literalness of what others write -- so that you do not have to think about your own visibility to anyone who reads your comments here. You are indeed naked.

      And your lack of civility keeps others at bay, mustn't let anyone get too close. What might they find out?

    6. "The best measure of the rightward drift of Somerby’s posts would be his espousal of of right-wing causes and memes. I think he’s been obsessively if not compulsively on the same track for years. TDH is a jeremiah of the liberal side, but that doesn’t make him a conservative."

      Somerby has been consistently expressing right wing talking points for at least a couple of years now. But he keeps referring to himself as "us liberals," as if he himself were liberal. And then he uses his column not to analyze media but to bash liberals while advancing those right wing ideas. Many are identical to things that have been said by Republican members of congress or spokespeople for Trump or Fox News pundits.

      So, the problem is that Somerby was once considered a leading liberal blog, continues to refer to himself as liberal, but hasn't represented liberal attitudes and beliefs for a long time now. That will be confusing to those without any sense of the history of the left blogosphere. So, several of us take it upon ourselves to point out the congruence between Somerby's ideas and those being circulated on the right, and to challenge Somerby's attacks on the left, including his attacks on people like Maddow and his attacks on liberal rank and file (e.g., most of us here).

      Maybe no one really cares what Somerby writes, but it does seem to me that lies should be combatted by truth, that we liberals should not yield netspace to conservatives without a fight, that freedom of speech includes what we do here, and that truth and our right to state our views are best defended by their vigorous exercise.

    7. deadrat -
      " ... then what the fuck are you doing here?"

      You raise a good point.

      After following The Daily Howler virtually from its inception, primarily as a lurker (and occasional commenter once Bob Somerby added a comments component to his blog), I now see it as consistently failing in fulfilling its oft-cited mission statement and instead using the low-hanging fruit that is our media as the excuse and justification to castigate Democrats and liberals.

      What the fuck am I doing here anyway? I've stuck around in the forlorn hope that Bob will impart a pearl of wisdom or two that will make the wait and the endless repetition worthwhile.

      Since that forlorn hope is obviously too optimistic anymore, your question resonates with me. Since I can no longer give a valid answer to the question in good faith for continuing to follow The Daily Howler, I see no reason to continue my approximately 20-years in following it.

      Appreciate the spark, Sparky.

    8. 4:39

      “Maddow has been doing an especially good job lately. But the rightward drift of Somerby's (sic) posts is perhaps best measured by the increase in conservative commenters here, including Leroy, AC/MA and an anonymous.”

      So wrote anonymous. The irony is too rich. Ingestation impossible. Is that you, Rachel? Ah, you clever minx!

      Whilst others including me append a moniker, you hide. I’m going to guess that you are the one whom I’ve named Ebola. I felt a twinge of regret for that afterwards, it seemed unfair. Given your word count, which is only surpassed by the good dr, I realize now that I shouldn’t have had any regrets.

      Nothing, of course, will make you leave. You as are as you described, “ [a troll is] usually people with the dark triad of personality traits: narcissism, Machiavelliaism (sic) and sociopathy.”

      I don’t have any of those traits, but it appears that you do. I can’t really tell. Is that you, Rachel? Have you ever been psychoanalyzed? If not, I think you should hie yourself to a doctor.


    9. “…consistently failing in fulfilling its oft-cited mission statement and instead using the low-hanging fruit that is our media.”

      Hm. Since this site is expressly involved with media criticism, perhaps you’ve wasted your time, old-timer. But come on back, we’ll have lemonade. I hear it tightens up the dentures.


    10. Anonymous on July 22, 2018 at 4:39 PM,

      The literal fact is that people here are writing comments, and that’s all they’re doing here. You don’t know any of these people; you don’t know anything about them. All you know is what they write. If you think that makes for a community, then either you have a very low bar for the term or you actually think you have “a connection” with commenters, which makes you delusional.

      Let’s see. You think my lack of civility arises from my lack of human connection. I’m a triad of narcissist, Machiavelli, and a sociopath. I think that others exist to be used. Names are important to me in “some way”, especially given my nym, and I reveal my problems with every word I write. Fear limits my consideration to surface matters, but I’m naked. I keep others at bay because they might find out about, well, something.

      But you don’t care about my ass, which I suppose is a good thing.

      Just one question: how did you figure out that I write my comments while naked?

      I’ve told you that I prefer to use the blog title TDH instead of the blogger’s name to indicate that I’m responding to blog posts and not like others, who respond to the blogger, or at least their image of him.
      Why do you find that odd?

      And I don’t insist that everyone use a name. However could I enforce that? I simply note the lack of courtesy in commenting as one of the Anonymi. It make it hard to follow a conversation.

      I once likened this blog and its commenters to a dysfunctional family. There’s Bob, the distant and uncommunicative father, and his brood of unruly children. Some, like Mao, are acting out. Then there’s David, who was dropped on his head as a baby, and has always been a bit slow. Of course, we have a passel of angry teenagers, telling Dad that he’s stupid and doesn’t understand.

      But I was joking.

      You ask what people might find out about me. I’d say it’s that I’m even more unpleasant in person than I am in this comment section. But that has no bearing on the substance of what I write. Why dontcha stick with that?

      BTW, deadrat is part of a private joke that’s probably older than your are. You have as much chance of sussing its meaning as you have of drawing an accurate psychoanalytic portrait of me from my comments.

    11. Somerby has been consistently expressing right wing talking points for at least a couple of years now.

      But you can’t specify a single one of those right-wing talking points.

      [H]e uses his column not to analyze media but to bash liberals while advancing those right wing ideas.

      But you can’t name a single one of those right-wing ideas.

      the congruence between Somerby's ideas and those being circulated on the right

      But you can’t delineate a single such “congruence.”

      [I]t does seem to me that lies should be combatted by truth

      When will you start?

      [F]reedom of speech includes what we do here,….

      So chalk up freedom of speech as something else you apparently know nothing about.

      [T]ruth and our right to state our views are best defended by their vigorous exercise.

      They’re best defended by the vigorous exercise of intellect. You’re just flapping your gums.

    12. "But you can’t specify a single one of those right-wing talking points."

      Are you kidding? How can anyone miss Somerby's claim that "coastal elite liberals" look down at those who live in "flyover country" (the Midwest)? This is a 100% made-up Right-wing claim, which has zero basis in reality. But somehow, you missed it.
      Dr. deadrat, heal thyself.

    13. So the following from the Strzok testimony is 100% made up?

      GOODLATTE [VA-Treason Party]: Well, OK. So earlier, you had texted Ms. Page that another part of Virginia—Loudoun County, which is, I think, in Northern Virginia—is quote, “still ignorant hillbillies,” end quote.

      So Hillary Clinton didn't characterize Trump supporters as deplorables?

      So Frank Rich didn't write a piece for the NYT Magazine titled "No More Sympathy for Hillbillies"?

      So Bill Maher didn’t say in a monologue, ““I know you real Americans hate being called stupid, [but] you gotta meet me halfway and stop being stupid”?

      Have you ever met anyone from New York City?

      Now I happen to believe that if you voted for Trump, you’re likely to be a deluded, ignorant bigot. I also believe that the rightard characterizations of liberals is as bad or worse than any sentiment running the other way.

      But don’t tell me that liberal disdain for their opposite political number is a right-wing fantasy.

      So you might want to lay off the medical advice.

    14. Deadrat, your willingness to reply to the stunning array of varied but predictable idiocies (many of which ironically exemplify TDH’s points about liberals, amusingly enough) launched at this blog via the comment section is nothing short of heroic. I am sincerely grateful that you take the time.

    15. "But don’t tell me that liberal disdain for their opposite political number is a right-wing fantasy."

      Nice job, deadrat. Those goalposts weren't going to move themselves. It's almost as ridiculous as you calling any

      Also, Bill Maher, liberal. LOL.

    16. Sorry, I don’t follow. Could be just me.

      Rightards are fond of squawking about how liberals look down on them. I claim there’s plenty of truth to that claim, and I gave a few examples in response to an Anonymous comment that “This is a 100% made-up Right-wing claim, which has zero basis in reality.”

      Which side are you taking here? Is there disdain or is that made up?

      If there’s some truth to the claim, and it’s harmful politically to liberals, what’s your position on TDH pointing that out? Does he become a right-winger for pointing out liberal disdain?

      It’s almost as ridiculous as you calling any
      Something got lost in the editing. As my calling any what?

      And Blll Maher isn’t liberal enough for you? Would you agree that he’s a member of a “coastal elite,” the west coast in his case? Is this a quibble about labels? Maher famously gave $1M to an Obama PAC. Would you say that qualifies him as an opponent of rightwing nuttery?

    17. Having (at least) two brain cells to rub together, makes one an opponent of right-wing nuttery. Are you suggesting that all of those with (at least) two brain cells to rub together are "liberals" or "coastal elites" for that matter?

      Of course there is disdain for Conservatives. Why wouldn't there be? But to make believe that disdain is only from
      "liberal coastal elites" is a 100% Right-wing made-up story.
      Also, doesn't DavidinCal being a Right-wing superfan (inCal), show the folly of thinking "coastal elites" disdaining Right-wingers is true?

      Hillary Clinton calling those who support treason against the USA in exchange for bigotry "deplorables" instead of "pieces of shit we have always known they were" is just quibbling about labels.

    18. The base of the GOP-voting know-nothings live in the suburbs all over America (many are "coastal elites"), not just in the Midwest.
      Somerby not only bought the 100% made-up Right-wing meme about "coastal elites" being "liberals and "looking down on flyover country", he repeated their nonsense.

    19. You’re preaching to the choir. As I’m fond of saying (and I wish I could say it’s original), “If you could reason with Trump voters, there wouldn’t be Trump voters.” My hero is the woman in Georgia who had a sticker on her pickup that read, “Fuck Trump and fuck you for voting for him.”

      So I guess even you would conclude that I have at least two brain cells that fire occasionally. But having those brain cells lets me understand logic and allows me to properly evaluate an argument I might not agree with.

      Are you saying that TDH qualifies as an opponent of right-wing nuttery? I can’t distinguish among the Anonomi, and some of those think that TDH is a Trump supporter.

      If I say that “liberals” or “coastal elites” generally support Democrats and don’t support Trump, why would you ask whether I think that all anti-Trumpers are liberals or coastal elites? If A then B is not the equivalent of if B then A.

      If TDH says that “liberal” disdain is politically harmful for liberals, why would you argue that “non-liberal”disdain is also a thing? If A then B is not the equivalent of if ~A then B.

      And why bring up that moral and intellectual idiot David? Is he an “elite”? For that matter, is he even from California? How is he a counterexample to anything? If some A are B is not the equivalent of All A are B.

      TDH’s thesis seems fairly simple to me: when anti-Trumpers oppose Trumpers on a tribal basis, i.e., when they heap contempt on people for who they are, then anti-Trumpers lose elections.

      There are ways to attack this position and remain reasonable. You can say that anti-Trumpers generally don’t act tribally, that they almost always voice opposition to people’s political choices. Or you can say that the tribal approach is actually beneficial for anti-Trumpers because say, that motivates their base.

      There are other arguments, of course — Trumpers deserve all the contempt that comes their way or Trumpers are as bad or worse when it comes to contemptuous treatment of their opponents or not all anti-Trumpers act tribally or anyone who doesn’t see that Trumpers deserve contempt must himself be a Trumper.

      But I just don’t see how those arguments impinge on TDH’s claims.

  8. These gross errors were promulgated a few days ago. Where are the corrections from the New York Times and other media? I suspect that if they had run corrections, Bob or some commenters would have mentioned them.

    1. These "errors", as you call them, are not all errors. (McFaul was an intended interrogation target). Secondly, Somerby only quotes from and attacks MSNBC. The accounts in the press were by and large correct.
      Thirdly, no, Bob won't mention when the press corrects itself. He wants you to believe that they, like Trump, always lie.

    2. @David:
      Here is a typical report about the relevant portion of the press conference, this one from the NYT:

      "Mr. Putin said he would look into the possibility of having Russian law enforcement authorities assist Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating Moscow’s election interference, in questioning the 12 people who were charged. Mr. Trump called it an “incredible offer.”

      But in return, Mr. Putin [...] said that Russia would expect American assistance in cases of interest to Moscow, including the ability to send Russian law enforcement officials to work in the United States."

    3. David's a tap-dancing Putinist freak who is never ever honest.

  9. From Helsinki press conference, note Putin mentions "extradited":

    "At the request of foreign states, we open 100-150 criminal cases in Russia. A few years ago, a [Russian] former nuclear energy minister was extradited from the United States to Russia and sentenced by a Russian court," Putin pointed out. "It is a functioning treaty and that treaty stipulates certain procedures of joint work."



  11. Was this the essence of debate at Harvard? To prevail in complex points, or to draw distinctions in contentious matters, simply apply the “lizard brain” stratagem, causing you opponent to collapse in shame and befuddlement. I hope Bob paid his own way through school....



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