Part 1—What others saw: Last Thursday's hearing involving Peter Strzok was frequently unattractive.
Frequently, the hearing showed our floundering species, Homo sapiens, at its unattractive less-than-worst. Cable stars played tape of such moments. If you're a resident of liberal cable, you've frequently seen this:
GOHMERT (7/12/18): I've talked to FBI just around the country. You've embarrassed them. You've embarrassed yourself. And I can't help but wonder, when I see you looking there with a little smirk, how many times did you look so innocent into your wife's eye and lied to her about Lisa Page—We liberals have frequently seen that latest moment from Gentleman Gohmert. We've also seen tape of the snarling Rep. Jordan, who specializes in ugly parodies of the time-honored Q-and-A process.
UNKNOWN: Mr. Chairman, this is outrageous!
GOHMERT: Credibility of a witness is always an issue, and you—
UNKNOWN: Shame on you!
UNKNOWN: Mr. Chairman, this is intolerable! Harassment of the witness!
UNKNOWN: What is wrong with you? You need your medication!
GOODLATTE: The gentleman controls the time.
GOHMERT: Thank you.
We liberals were shown lots of tape of people like Gohmert and Jordan. It helps us remember that we are the folk who are decent and good, unlike those in the other tribe.
Those in the other tribe saw other things during that hearing. Here's an excerpt which hasn't been played for we who watch MSNBC:
GOODLATTE: Let's discuss a text that hits home for me. On August 26, 2016, you texted Ms. Page, quote, "Just went to a Southern Virginia Walmart. I could SMELL the Trump support." And "smell" is in capital letters, all capital letters. What does Trump support smell like, Mr. Strzok?That exchange wasn't replayed for us the liberal tribals. Neither was this, which followed:
STRZOK: Sir, that's a expression of speech. I clearly wasn't smelling one thing or the other. What I was commenting on is living in Northern Virginia, driving—
GOODLATTE: Well, what does that mean?
STRZOK: What I meant by that was living in Northern Virginia, having traveled 100, 150 miles south within the same state, I was struck by the extraordinary difference in the expression of political opinion and belief amongst the community there from where I live.
GOODLATTE: And you describe that as "smell," in capital letters?
STRZOK: Sir, that was a choice—the quick choice of words in a text.
GOODLATTE (continuing directly): 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.When he said his neighbors were ignorant hillbillies, that was just an expression of the healthy competition between two neighboring counties!
Is that what you meant? That you consider Trump supporters to be ignorant hillbillies?
STRZOK: No, sir. Not at all.
GOODLATTE: What did you mean by that?
STRZOK: Well, sir, the first thing I'd tell you as a—as a proud Fairfax County resident, there's a healthy, sort of, competition between Fairfax and Loudoun. Second thing I would tell you is that in no way did I or do I believe any resident of Loudoun County, or Southern Virginia or anywhere else in the nation, is—are any of those things. That was a flippant text—
GOODLATTE: So do you understand the implications of this text when my constituents in Virginia read it?
STRZOK: I do, sir. And I would ask you to tell them that that was a—in some cases, certainly, unfortunate use of words that in no way do I believe that those things are what—
Can you smell Trump supporters when you go to a Walmart? Are the people of Loudoun County really just ignorant hillbillies?
Strzok was asked such questions at various times during his long day's journey into Mister Trump's Coming War. Queried by Rep. Grothman, he returned to the "friendly rivals" hook:
GROTHMAN: You refer to people who live in a county just beyond Washington, D.C.—a little bit more normal, still a Democratic county—you refer to them as this county, Loudoun County, as being gentrified but is "still largely ignorant hillbillies." I don't mean to embarrass you in that, because it doesn't surprise me that people in the swamp would refer to people once you get a couple of hours away from Washington as ignorant hillbillies.Grothman knew Strzok was using the argot of those inside The Swamp. For his part, Strzok suggested that Grothman probably speaks in that same playful way manner the people one state away from his Wisconsin abode.
STRZOK: ...You may not have been here this morning. I certainly, I do not view the people of Loudoun County as ignorant hillbillies. I live in an adjacent county and much like, in Wisconsin, you might let folks in Minnesota, with a sense of rivalry—
GROTHMAN: Well, no.
On liberal cable, we the people weren't encouraged to think about these exchanges. Instead, we were encouraged to watch the tape which showed The Others at their dumbest, most venal and worst.
In conservative circles, they the others were encouraged to view moments like these as examples of Agent Strzok's arrogance, of his being too smart by half. This is the way our discourse now works in the era of for-profit Internet/cable.
We liberals are inclined to see Jordan's snarling bully-boy persona as the deep truth about Them. The others are inclined to see Agent Strzok's healthy if unfortunate banter as displaying deep truth about Us.
How do The Others view such banter? At one point, Rep. Comer went ahead and said this:
COMER: With respect to the clear bias against Donald Trump in your text messages, and your clear prejudice against the Trump voters—and by the way, I'm one of those smelly hillbillies from Appalachia that you've referenced in your texts—you were in a supervisory role at the FBI. What would you do if you found texts from a subordinate of yours that exhibited the same type of bias that you had towards a group of people that were key witnesses or key whatever to the investigation? How would you handle that scenario?Comer represents Kentucky's first congressional district. He was born in Carthage, Tennessee. (Hey wait! That's Al Gore's home town!)
Comer pretended to take Strzok's playful banter in a personal way. Or who knows? Maybe the fellow's just so dense that he couldn't see the friendly nature of the statements Strzok had playfully texted.
Members of our warring tribes saw different things last Thursday. People paid by corporate cable encouraged them to do so.
"Both [parties] read the same Bible and pray to the same God." Abraham Lincoln said that!
Tomorrow: Another snapshot
Meh. Sure, it's good that the archetypal lib-zombie racism has now been publicly exposed by this establishment henchman.ReplyDelete
But then I don't think any human being (non-zombie, that is) still has any doubts about lib-zombie attitudes. With or without this unfortunate henchman, they are not fooling anyone. Everybody already knows, Bob. Everybody.
Can you gaslight me into thinking Trump isn't really the best thing to happen to elites in at least a century?
Thanks in advance.
Mao, good work in once again being the first to comment. But more of your idiotic Geobbelsian garbage here about zombies, and everyone supposedly knowing something. Maybe it would be nice if we had a record of every text message, and every conversation, and even every thought of every person on the planet. He had a lot of texts, and the GOP pols were able to find these needles in the hay stack, ignoring others (somewhat like the dems I guess). No effort to be fair or objective, and no evidence that the investigation was biased as a result of his "racism." By the way, I think the "liberal" pundits, and those who follow their lead, are off the rails in the way they are microscopically, and kind of dumbly, focusing so much on this Russian stuff.Delete
I love it when trolls chide other trolls. So much more efficient that way. Now, where did I put that bot?Delete
Mao is not a serious commenter. Mao is only here to stroke his fragile ego via a strategy of stifling discourse. Responding to Mao does nothing but prop up his delicate sense of himself.Delete
I don't know if ad hominem hurts or helps, but it is certainly the order of the day here, and with more sadness than rancor, it is impossible to escape the fact Bob Somerby is an idiot.Delete
Moral of this post:ReplyDelete
Better to be thought of as racist moron, then to vote for Trump/ Conservatives and remove all doubt.
I think Bob gets the moral of this post wrong. Strzok's texts were stupid, but they were private text messages expressing personal opinions. Gohmert's and Jordan's bad behavior is in their official capacity. There's a difference, and if Bob thinks that in order to win we need to prevent every liberal from ever saying anything stupid or insulting, we're doomed.ReplyDelete
I am not clear on how or why Strzok's private texts were "stupid".Delete
The best new representative in congress is Jamie Raskin of MD. As those in the other tribe watched on Fox, Rep Jamie Raskin quotes Republicans saying similar or worse comments than Strzok's about other Republicans:
Raskin Debunks GOP's Conspiracy Theory with Quotes from GOP
Well, those Republicans were running against Trump at the time, or opposing him publicly. Strzok, on the other hand, was investigating Trump in a highly-charged and high-stakes environment. I conduct investigations sometimes, and while I understand that FBI agents are entitled to hold political views, it's still a real stupid thing to put into writing such comments. For crying out loud, just shut your mouth when you're working on sensitive matters.Delete
These were personal, private emails and texts that he did not choose to make public. He did keep his mouth shut.Delete
Investigators are allowed to have opinions. So are jurors. They are asked to set them aside when doing their work. Failure to do so is bias. There was NO evidence of bias presented during the hearing.
I didn't say that there was evidence of bias. I also agree that he's legally entitled to hold political views (as I wrote). But, like I said, I do investigations as part of my work, and I know better than to put anything in writing that could in any way call into question my objectivity, even in private discussions. This is particularly important when working on the single most high-profile investigation of the 21st Century. Saying Strzok was stupid to express those opinions in writing isn't saying that he's biased.Delete
"..but they were private text messages expressing personal opinions. "Delete
Exactly correct! People are allowed to be flippant, cynical, mean -- whatever -- in their private conversations. End of story. Strzok might have made the mistake of using his official phone, but the conversations were still private.
Gomert's questions should have been answered with "non of your fucking business, dimwit". Goodlattes' questions should have been answered with "that was a private conversation".
Mr Trump's voters think his tariffs stink.ReplyDelete
What's Noam's take?Delete
Noam thinks the capacity for language evolved in humans. He thinks this even though he wasn't around to see it happen.Delete
If those Other cable stations think these were the most important clips, the most newsworthy bits of the hearing, they are demonstrating themselves to be the cable news equivalent of ignorant hillbillies.ReplyDelete
Somerby is right to point out that conservative news outlets are ill-serving their audience when they pretend these remarks are the most important things said at the hearings. Feeding the conservative sense of grievance helps nothing, yet that is what Fox News does incessantly. Finally Somerby focuses on the right's media instead of calling liberals names. Oh, wait, he does that too. As if watching different clips on MSNBC makes us all bad people.
Personally, I was very impressed that FBI agents could assess political perspective by sense of smell. That reflects well on their training. Only an ignorant hillbilly would be so unpatriotic as to object when an FBI agent correctly discerns important attributes of the people around him.
""Both [parties] read the same Bible and pray to the same God." Abraham Lincoln may have said that but it has never been true. For one thing, even some of our founding fathers prayed to no God.ReplyDelete
Beyond that, how many editions of the Bible are there? Many. The Lutheran and Presbyterian versions of the Lord's Prayer are different. Catholics have their own prayers too. And Baptists have dumbed down modern language Bibles, those that can read. Not even the same Bible.
And look how Lincoln pretended that there weren't any Chinese in America! What a guy!
"Instead, we were encouraged to watch the tape which showed The Others at their dumbest, most venal and worst."ReplyDelete
This misses the point. "We" (or anyone who chose to watch) can see, not some truth about The Others, but rather a truth about this hearing: that it was staged by the Republicans, who hold the reins of power, in order to haul someone in front of Congress for privately expressing views that the Republicans disliked. There was no attempt at getting at any truth. The truth was already known: that Strzok expressed some views privately. The Republicans insinuated some sort of bias which tainted the investigation, but didn't offer a shred of evidence of such. Indeed, the Inspector General stated that no such thing occurred. Strzok was promptly removed, etc. We know the facts.
It's troubling that Somerby wants to look at some purported tribal nature of the coverage of this hearing, asking us to think about how Strzok's private thoughts make The Others feel, when the real issue is the bad faith show trial aspect. The use of government power (by the Republicans) to police private thought, when that thought is "anti-Trump", is frightening. Who is safe from this kind of overreach?
Agreed. Bob is too smart and too important of an observer, and I wish that he wouldn't get blinded to this fact.Delete
"Both [parties] read the same Bible and pray to the same God." Abraham Lincoln said that!ReplyDelete
Only now, he couldn't. What binds the alleged American people? Not race, nor religion, nor ethnicity, or even broader ideology.
There's no such thing as multiculturalism. Not for long, anyways.
The US has been concerned since its formation about finding a unifying factor. It worried about melding 13 distinct colonies, then it worried about incorporating new territories and healing slave and non-slave states, and it worried about assimilating immigrants. From the start it worried about differentiating the US from Britain, creating a distinctly American culture. The schools have long emphasized the job of telling Americans who we are and what we have in common. There has always been multiculturalism in the sense of heritage combined with shared aspirations and values. This recent challenge to our values will likely result in reaffirmation and a renewed sense that left and right both care about what makes America a unique democratic republic. A few bad apples cannot spoil that, any more than they could at other times in our history. Somerby thinks our most important value is tolerance. I disagree, if that extends to tolerance of evil and treason. Freedom supersedes it. There is such a thing as freedom and it will be our means for combating Trump.Delete
What binds the alleged American people?Delete
Greed, ignorance, gluttony, puritanism, great music.
So, Gohmert’s antics are justified by somebody’s private text messages. Worthless Bob rides again.ReplyDelete
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