WHAT SHOULD BE DONE: Return of the silence of two groups of lambs!


O'Donnell mentions just one:
At 10:05 PM Eastern, last night, Lawrence O'Donnell landed a direct hit on Deborah Birx.

In our view, his attack on Dr. Birx was constructive and perhaps a bit overdue. O'Donnell may have overstated a bit, but it seems to us that his critique takes us in a constructive direction.

O'Donnell was attacking the silence of one group of lambs—even though, at yesterday's televised White House briefing, there were two groups of silent enablers present in the room.

O'Donnell went after "the Trump team." Below, we'll mention the journalists.

O'Donnell's criticism of Dr. Birx concerns the recent peculiar decision by Georgia governor Brian Kemp. He has given permission for tattoo parlors to open in Georgia—also, barbershops and massage parlors, and bowling alleys too.

These entities have been cleared to open, even though the state of Georgia shows no sign of getting the coronavirus under control. Nor has the state come close to satisfying the guidelines for (very limited) Phase One reopening, as announced by Trump late last week.

As O'Donnell noted, Georgians will now be able to get a tattoo, then head to the bowling alley. He then launched his attack on Birx. Note the key words "once again:"
O'DONNELL (4/21/20): Dr. Deborah Birx was asked about this at the White House briefing today and, once again, Dr. Birx gave the kind of answer that a Republican Party lawyer would give, an answer designed to protect any Republican office holder with a bad idea.

Dr. Birx actually said that it's perfectly OK to open these businesses as long as you can maintain social distancing inside those businesses. Social distancing for a massage. Social distancing for a tattoo. Social distancing six feet away for a haircut!

Dr. Birx actually pretended that all those things were possible:

BIRX (videotape): If there’s a way that people can social distance and do those things, then they can do those things. I don’t know how, but people are very creative.

O'DONNELL: That is a purely Trumpian answer. Dr. Birx is saying that someone can cut your hair from six feet away.
Can someone cut your hair from six feet away? Edward Scissorhands maybe!

At any rate, O'Donnell's paraphrase of Dr. Birx may have been slightly overstated. In our view, it wasn't overstated by much—and it moves the discussion in the right direction.

For ourselves, we've found Birx's performances at these prime-time sessions increasingly maddening. She's become a master at performative bafflegab—at meandering, technocratic orations which rarely seem to address the matter at hand in a way TV viewers and high-end journalists are likely to understand.

Unexplained slides flash by at warp speed as Dr. Birx pretends to address whatever topic may be at hand. But in these performances, Birx conveys the impression that various actions by Donald J. Trump are supported by scientific authority.

Last night, O'Donnell continued his critique of Birx after playing tape of Donald J. Trump himself. The tape showed Trump saying that demonstrators have been practicing social distancing at their LIBERATE MICHIGAN protests.

Trump said they seemed to be social distancing—plus, they had a lot of American flags! O'Donnell responded with this attack. Note the key word "her:"
O'DONNELL: If there was a serious public health official in that White House briefing today with the president, she would have raised her voice and said something like:

"I have seen the pictures of those protesters and they are not social distancing.
And they are all risking their own lives by doing what they're doing and they are risking the lives of other people in their communities—their neighbors and their families, who they might come in contact with after being in the thick of one of those reckless and dangerous demonstrations."

But everyone in that room working on the Trump team knows that being a Trump team member requires keeping their own safe distance from a truth like that.
Was O'Donnell being fair? He said that Birx should have "raised her voice" at yesterday's session and openly contradicted the commander-in-chief. Does that advice make sense?

Many observers have assumed that Dr. Birx and Dr. Fauci (he was absent again yesterday) have avoided speaking freely and clearly in service to the greater good. In theory, such reticence may make sense—but it has seemed to us that Birx has drifted increasingly far in this "Trumpian" direction.

At any rate, O'Donnell savaged the silence of one group of lambs in that room yesterday. He savaged the silence of the lambs serving "on the Trump team."

Trump team members refuse to speak up, O'Donnell said. But as he did, he failed to mention the silence of a second group who pleasantly sat in that room.

We refer to the various lambs of the upper-end press corps. Theoretically, they'd been assembled in that room to question Commander Trump.

In recent days, several upper-end journalists actually had aggressively tried to challenge President Trump.

As we told you yesterday, they'd tried—and they had failed. In the process, they were insulted by President Trump—savaged for their failed attempts to serve.

Yesterday, the lambs were back. We refer to those in the upper-end press, not those who serve on the Trump team.

Obvious questions went unasked; obvious follow-ups didn't occur. Most strikingly, Trump wasn't pushed about Kemp's weird decrees, which fly in the face of the very guidelines Trump announced late last week.

The lambs in the press corps behaved themselves, as did the lambs on Trump's team. You can imagine an excuse for the silence of Birx. We can't say the same for the journalists.

For liberals, it's easy to see the weird misconduct and mental disorder of President Donald J. Trump. It may be harder to recognize the abject failures—the failures and the refusals to serve—of our upper-end journalists, who may seem to be "on our side."

Yesterday, this second group of lambs displayed a remarkable silence. In recent days, several others had failed to serve through their remarkable lack of even the most basic skills.

Tomorrow, we'll return to Yamiche Alcindor and Weijia Jiang as they try to challenge the commander in chief concerning an obvious point. On successive days, they tried to ask Trump an obvious question—they tried, and in each case they failed.

Tomorrow, we'll peruse the remarkable lack of skill which doomed their attempts to serve. On Friday, we'll offer a list of ways our upper-end journalists and upper-end news orgs should serve in the face of the virus itself, and in the face of these ridiculous prime-time "briefings."

"What's to be done?" So the other Vladimir once quite thoughtfully asked.

What should the upper-end press corps be doing? On Friday, we'll offer a list.

Tomorrow: In search of the most basic skills

A correction: Yesterday, we said that Yamiche Alcindor works for the New York Times.

Alcindor seems like a very nice person. She moved from the Times to the PBS NewsHour way back in the faraway past.


  1. "he failed to mention the silence of a second group who pleasantly sat in that room."

    Anyone who sits in a room full of people is risking his or her life, not having a pleasant afternoon.

    It is one thing for Somerby to criticize the press, but to imply that they too are not making a sacrifice by continuing to do their job, in public, under conditions of adversity, is wrong. We should respect the FACT that they left their homes to be among other people, just to ask questions and produce reports for public consumption, because a free press with access to news is important to the survival of a democracy.

    It is not pleasant to worry about whether today is the day you picked up the virus, and to get up every morning and check for symptoms the moment your eyes open. It is not pleasant to expose your own family to whatever you encounter as you do your assigned work each day. Trump can test everyone he comes into contact with -- a reporter cannot do that. But Somerby thinks they are pleasantly sitting in a room doing less than their best work because... why? He doesn't say. Maybe he thinks they are stupid or that they are befuddled by their Ivy League educations, or have some motive that is more important than protecting themselves and their families. But he never quite says what that would be. Just that they are screw ups. I am sick of Somerby's insults aimed at people who are essential workers sticking their necks out for us, because we can't be there to question Trump or Dr. Birx ourselves. He should thank the press, but then who would he berate in service of Trump's reelection? Who would he scapegoat? Not himself and those Bernie Bros who damaged Hillary's chances in three key states that were lost by less than 70,000 votes. No, must be those ratty reporters, the ones wearing masks and trying to sit apart while listening to Trump shine them on, because they are dedicated to their work, even if Somerby doesn't appreciate what they do.

    1. Everyone would be better off if the people calling themselves journalists stayed home. As an older person, Trump should be thanked for risking his life every day to inform Americans without the filter of fake news.

    2. Trump isn't risking his life. No one gets within 6 feet of him without taking a virus test first. He is no hero.

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  2. "Obvious questions went unasked; obvious follow-ups didn't occur. "

    Obvious answers by Trump were avoided, so that limited time could be used in less useless ways.

    "Most strikingly, Trump wasn't pushed about Kemp's weird decrees, which fly in the face of the very guidelines Trump announced late last week."

    What is the obvious answer to a question asked about Kemp's actions? Trump will tell the reporter to go ask Kemp about that. He'll shrug, as he does, and say "I don't know. Go ask Kemp, I'm sure he had good reasons for what he did but he's the Governor of Georgia, not me..." and then he'd ramble off into some nonsense about what a fine job Kemp is doing and how Governors are supposed to assess their states and so on. So what would be the use of pressing Trump about Kemp?

    Further, reporters are trained to ask the *person responsible* about an action, not someone else, although plenty of Georgia Mayors and other officials are issuing their own statements. I'm sure Kemp was asked about his decision. He is saying that the opening will be done in strict accordance with health concerns and measures to protect people, with a lot of testing and evaluation of results. Not the rebellious stance of protesters. Kemp is the source of the interesting statements -- not Trump.

    1. "Most strikingly, Trump wasn't pushed about Kemp's weird decrees, which fly in the face of the very guidelines Trump announced late last week."

      The question was asked and Birx fielded it.
      She did a marvelous tap dance worthy of Fred Astaire. People working for Trump are trained to appease him no matter how debasing it is to their reputation.

  3. ""What's to be done?" So the other Vladimir once quite thoughtfully asked."

    A few days back, Somerby made this statement and linked back to Vladimir Lenin. Today he makes the statement again and refers to that other Vladimir, but to what purpose? What does Lenin have to do with this situation or anything else he has said today or in the past few days, for that matter? Clearly Somerby likes the phrase "What's to be done?" and clearly he likes making obscure references, but shouldn't they fit the occasion? If not, he is behaving like a person with autism (and a repetitive compulsion) who responds with movie quotes, relevant or not, because he likes the sound of the words, oblivious that words have meanings.

    1. Corby - give it a rest please. "He is behaving like a person with autism" - your behaving like a person with a screw loose.

    2. The reference is clearly to Tolstoy's book of the same name, which itself is a reference to Luke 3:10-14.

      Everybody knows that.

  4. No discussion of Weijia Jiang today, despite including her in his headline yesterday, in the article where he slimed Yamiche Alcindor, calling her incompetent.

    Somerby has an unfortunate habit of blaming journalists for Trump's actions. Will Jiang be blamed for being female, so that Trump could treat her in a patronizing, sexist manner reserved for bullying women? Will Somerby consider that Jiang's fault and not Trump's?

    1. Trump and Somerby have a similar technique of over-complimenting black people while simultaneously criticizing them. The criticism negates the compliments and makes it seem clear that they are insincere, perhaps politically coerced. It is a "look how nice I'm being" moment that serves as a racial dog whistle. It works the same way with female journalists, giving a compliment before telling them to "relax" or "don't raise your voice" while translates to "don't be so screechy and stop reminding me of my exes".

      But lets see what Somerby finds incompetent about Jiang's work. If he ever returns to that subject. He pretty much has to, or risk letting commenters know that he does actually read his comments.

    2. Alcintor is incompetent and Trump is too kind to compliment her. Criticism alone is more fitting.

    3. We all approved of Trump telling the screechy journalists to relax and stop reminding us of our exes.

  5. "In our view, his attack on Dr. Birx was constructive and perhaps a bit overdue."

    Very good, dear Bob, right in line with your totalitarian zombie cult's M.O. Never mind the substance, repeat after me: Orange Man Bad.

    As for your zombie "social distancing" BS, it's quite telling, isn't it dear Bob.

    You zombies are hellbent on totalitarian control.

    Clearly, you zombies don't believe that humyn beings are capable to decide for themselves when "social distancing" recommendation does make sense, and when they may decide to get the fucking haircut nevertheless.

    Nice going, dear Bob.

    1. Meh.
      Ostracize these dipshits for their needing a haircut, like they're Colin Kaepernick protesting police brutality.

    2. Mao, give it a rest please.

  6. I'm usually all on Bob's side, but this just isn't true:

    "These entities have been cleared to open, even though the state of Georgia shows no sign of getting the coronavirus under control."

    That's completely false. Yes, even Georgia, with its wacky governor, has shown some signs of getting the coronavirus under control.

    I wouldn't criticize Birx too much - she has to walk a fine line. And in the great scheme of things, she knows (much better than Bob) that whether Georgia opens it hair salons and tattoo parlors is not that big a deal.

    Bob is just himself buying into the idiotic "team blue" thing of thinking we need maximal lockdowns, because Trump doesn't. It's better to not give a rat's ass what Trump thinks, since for the most part there really aren't very many needles Trump can move at this point. (Sins of omission he can still do, but sins of commission are not so easy for him - who's going to listen?).

    1. On PBS yesterday they had an interview with a young man whose mother (age 72 and in good health) had just died of the virus. He said she insisted on going to the grocery store and the hairdresser. He was heartbroken because he considered her death preventable and because no one could visit her during her hospitalization and she died alone. "She didn't deserve that" he said.

      So, yes, people can die from going to the hairdresser. And yes, it is a big deal.

    2. Yeah. That young man on zombie radio, he should've shaved his mother's head and handcuffed her to the radiator.

    3. If hairdressers were closed, she wouldn't go to one under the assumption that it was safe or it wouldn't be open.

    4. From Taegan Goddard at Political Wire:

      "First Read: “Another set of striking numbers from our latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll is the divide between those who know someone infected by the coronavirus (40% of registered voters) and those who don’t (59%).”

      “The 40% who know someone infected has a more negative opinion of President Trump’s handling of the issue, trusts the president less, and is more supportive of stay-at-home restrictions.”

    5. Well, first of all, you don't know if the hairdresser had anything to do with it.

      But more importantly, believing that ordinary people are stupid and can't balance risks vs necessity in their lives, that government bureaucrats should make decisions for them, this is a typical totalitarian mindset.

    6. It's called the "Pro-life" movement, but thanks for playing.

  7. Not a word about Governor Cuomo's catastrophic policy of sending seniors with COVID-19 back to their nursing homes to infect everyone else?

    1. Where else are they going to go, if they are not hospitalized?

    2. Think of all those whose loved ones died because of incompetence and inaction of gov Cuomo.

      Horrible. Terrible...

    3. I'm sure the voters will hold Cuomo accountable and express their feeling about his performance next time he runs for office, just as they will with Trump in 2020. Trump is going down and Russia cannot save him.

    4. How can you be so heartless, dembot? Have you no sympathy for all those whose loved ones died because of incompetence and inaction of gov Cuomo?

    5. 12:07 do tell!

    6. Moo moo, Drop whatever you are are doing and report to the designated extermination plant for processing. The nation needs more Soylent Puke.

  8. The Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee released a report confirming the findings of the intelligence community that Russia helped Trump win in 2016.

    1. That was never in dispute. The crazy part was the push by Democrats to connect Trump to the Russian interference.

      Just so you know, Russia always interferes with our elections. Just like we always interfere with theirs. (we bragged about it on the cover of Time magazine in 1996). There has not been an election where both of us have not interfered with each other's elections.

      Russia's choice of Trump has been well-documented. But no, there never was a conspiracy or collusion or any kind of connection to Trump's actual campaign. Liberals wasted almost two years obsessing about that idiotic non issue.

    2. "Russia's choice of Trump has been well-documented."

      Do tell, dembot zombie.

    3. "...or any kind of connection to Trump's actual campaign."

      Please don't accidentally read the Mueller Report, snowflake.

    4. "That was never in dispute."

      True if we never listen to Right-wingers, which, for the sake of the world, is the least we should all do.

    5. That was never in dispute


      "They said they think it's Russia. I have President Putin. He just said it's not Russia. I will say this: I don't see any reason why it would be." Donald J Chickenshit, Acting President, Helsinki July 16, 2018

      The crazy part was the push by Democrats to connect Trump to the Russian interference

      It wasn't Democrats, asswipe, it was the entire intelligence establishment.

    6. There doesn't have to be a direct connection for the election to be invalidated by Russian interference and Trump's presidency illegitimate. The election was stolen from Hillary Clinton and if she were president now, many things would be much better.

    7. "inferring"

      "Russia, if you're listening."

      "Thanks Rob I appreciate that. I am on the road at the moment but perhaps I just speak to Emin first. Seems we have some time and if it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer. Could we do a call first thing next week when I am back?"[19]

      Stone was put in the crosshairs of the FBI over communications with a Russian hacker and his alleged communications with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as the FBI look for connections between Trump's campaign and Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

      Mueller's January indictment of Stone repeatedly referred to Stone's contact with "Organization 1," which had "posted documents stolen by others" from the US government and citizens.

      The filing said it "released tens of thousands of documents stolen from" people including the Democratic National Committee and the personal email account of Clinton campaign chairman, John Podesta.

      asswipe -

    8. In Trump's defense, he's wasn't smart enough to realize he was being blackmailed into being a Russian asset until it was way too late.

    9. The I love it comment Wow, you have a lot of research to do. Start by reading the Mueller report.

      Let's start with the I love it comment. What did the Mueller report say about that? Did they from that establish any connection between Russia and Trump? Or any evidence of any?

      Read the report.

      You think organization one is Russia?

      In your defense, the no longer relevant blogs that you read and are made for dumbassess probably have inundated you with propaganda and misinformation on the matter.

      But yes any coordination, collusion, conspiracy any type of connection between Trump campaign and Russia was never established as you know now.

    10. 1:41 Mao the Virgin Gamer:


      "Putin: I wanted Trump to win the election"

    11. 1:43 sadly, it is you who has not read it.

      Page 1:"the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities. "

    12. Case closed morons.

    13. ***
      Finally, although the evidence of contacts between Campaign officials and Russia­ affiliated individuals may not have been sufficient to establish or sustain criminal charges, several U.S. persons connected to the Campaign made fa lse statements about those contacts and took other steps to obstruct the Office's investigation and those of Congress. This Office has therefore charged some of those individuals with making false statements and obstructing justice.

      Donald J Chickenshit, Acting President, fucking obstructed the investigation, asswipe. This is one reason why Roger Stone will soon be having carnal relations with Bubba, asswipe.

      But go ahead, tell us again how it was the Democrats who pushed Comey, and then Rosenstein by appointing a Special Counsel, to investigate that fucking treasonous bastard. Go ahead, let's laugh again at your uninhibited ignorance and shameless dishonesty. Go ahead, asswipe.

    14. It's case closed. No evidence "Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference"

      You think the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia? There isn't any proof of it and it never made any sense.

      Russia's interference was always a joke because of its tiny scale. Accusations of coordination was always insane for many reasons, the incompetency of Trump being one as mentioned.

      Sorry mm. You're wrong. You're poorly researched and you have been played.

    15. mm read the report couple of times. That is if you want to understand the situation on a level not that of a 9 year old as you currently do. You're also totally ignorant of the Stone case.

      But I get it, you turn to ignoramuses for information about this issue.

    16. dumbass:

      When you read the Mueller Report, did you happen to notice an entire Volume II? Do you have any idea why Mr. Mueller would include almost 200 pages documenting myriad instances of Donald J Chickenshit, Acting President, committing criminal obstruction of investigation? Asswipe.

    17. Yes, of course. I read it 4 times.

      That doesn't change anything. Russia interfered with the election but it was on a tiny scale that didn't mean anything. And " the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities. "

      Case closed.

      If they can prove criminal obstruction they should go for it!

      But Russia and Trump were never in cahoots.

    18. Obstruction isn't conspiracy. All of it is spelled out in the report. Sometimes you have to read between the lines because they do try to make it look like it there was a little somet there but there wasn't really.

      Read it man!!

    19. mm
      Do you want to look like a fool your whole life? Step it up a bit. Try a little harder.

    20. Why is obstruction of justice a federal felony?
      Think about it, but don't hurt your 2 remaining brain cells.

      I never said obstruction is the same as a conspiracy.

      Whoever corruptly, or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication, endeavors to influence, intimidate, or impede any grand or petit juror, or officer in or of any court of the United States, or officer who may be serving at any examination or other proceeding before any United States magistrate judge or other committing magistrate, in the discharge of his duty, or injures any such grand or petit juror in his person or property on account of any verdict or indictment assented to by him, or on account of his being or having been such juror, or injures any such officer, magistrate judge, or other committing magistrate in his person or property on account of the performance of his official duties, or corruptly or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication, influences, obstructs, or impedes, or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede, the due administration of justice, shall be punished as provided in subsection b)?

      Sound like anybody we know?
      So, why is that a crime?

    21. The point is the "news" is Russia hacked the election, which was never in dispute. They always hack the election. We always hack theirs.

      It's only news to saps who never followed the story and get their information from low quality, histrionic, no longer relevant blogs.

      What today's news was not: Russia and Trump coordinated with each other innd the 2016 election.


    22. That would be awesome if they got him on obstruction. They should go for it!

      Conspiracy though is a non starter. It was always a stupid claim as is made very clear in the Mueller report.

    23. mm, as someone who has very significant antipathy toward "Trump, I think the Dems made a huge mistake with all the Russia stuff. It's not a winner, and the evidence that Trump or his campaign somehow colluded with Russia is weak, if not nonexistent. As far as the statute on obstruction of justice - to get a real sense of whether what the Mueller report says Trump did constitutes a valid case under the statute, you'd have to read the appellate decisions under the statute (which I haven't done and don't plan to). but to interpret a statute, you have to read the relevant decisions (and maybe there's a lot of them) and then be able to interpret them like a judge or lawyer would.

    24. AC/MA:

      No, I don't have to read any appellate decisions. I watched him do it in broad daylight day after day. A jury would hang the bastard in 5 minutes with the mountain of evidence against him. That is my lay opinion.
      And another thing, if Hillary Clinton had done even a fraction of the acts committed by Trump they would have properly removed her from office and she would be rotting in prison right now. But we're living in a world where one political party will let the bastard get away with anything. What's the over under on when his fucking campaign manager Manafort will get a presidential pardon? Day after the election?

    25. It wasn't all due to the Democrats push but a lot of it was. Of course they pushed it. Hillary still uses Russia as a canard to fool the rank and file. It's all Maddow talked about for two years. Democrats absolutely ate it up. It took their attention off the real issue, their own shortcomings.

      Yes but it is you who is drawing a conclusion from the obstructed investigation.

      The Russia collusion thing was always a total joke. I didn't need the Mueller report to tell me that. But you can read it and see that again and again there is no evidence, apart from the obstruction stuff. You haven't read it! It's not fair for you to speak on these matters if you haven't read it. Read it! It's all spelled out. You can draw those conclusions cuz they're explicitly written in the report. Your stupid lie hanging onto a dream that was always always foolish from the very, very beginning.

      I do understand what you're trying to say but it is false and wrong. And you are propagandized and oh, you're just hoping. I get it. It's human.

      your level of intelligence and knowledge on this matter is that of about a nine-year-old.

      Of course you bring up I love it. Cuz if you don't know anything about the issue and never read the report. That was the red flag right there.

      Read the part in the report about the meeting after I love it.

    26. "The Mueller report documented obstruction of the investigation likely making it impossible to prove the obvious coordination between Putin and the treasonous bastard "

      This could only be written by someone who did not read the Mueller report.

    27. "...someone who did not read the Mueller report."

      Like a common Bill Barr.

    28. Hopefully mm can try a little harder in the future. Get himself together. Stand on firmer intellectual floors.

    29. It's a big leap from "Russia wanted Trump elected" to "Russia made Right-wingers vote for a guy who wears his bigotry on his sleeve".
      Russia? GTFOH with that shit.

    30. Theses conspiracy theories are what you get when you can't admit the Republican Party would gladly elect a Nazi for President of the United States.

    31. 6:59,
      Anyone not a bigot, left the Republican Party in the 20th century.

    32. mm sez,

      AC/MA: … I don't have to read any appellate decisions.

      AC/MA has a point: to understand the law, you have to know how the courts have interpreted the law. You can’t rely only on the text of the law. Case in point were the Republican charges that Comey had given Clinton a free ride because the law supposedly criminalized the misuse of classified materials. Comey noted that he had found no intent by Clinton to misuse classified materials, and Republicans counter-noted that the law doesn’t make intent an element of the crime.

      They're right about the law on the books, but the Supreme Court had ruled that without a provision for intent, the law is unconstitutionally vague.

      First, regarding obstruction:

      The law spends a lot of text defining obstruction of justice. It’s in 18 USC Chapter 73, which consists of twenty-one sections (§ 1501-§ 1521) with a host of specific crimes and two so-called omnibus sections § 1501 (which applies to judicial proceedings) and § 1503 (which applies to proceedings in the other two branches).

      The omnibus sections are extremely broad, with similarly broad (but not unanimous) support from circuit courts. As the Fifth Circuit ruled in US v Neal, 951F.2d630 (1992), relying on SCOTUS in Osborn v US, 385US323 (1966):

      The omnibus clause of 18 U.S.C. § 1503 makes an offense of any proscribed endeavor, without regard to the technicalities of the law of attempts or the doctrine of impossibility. It is intended to cover all endeavors to obstruct justice. It was drafted with an eye to the variety of corrupt methods by which the proper administration of justice may be impeded or thwarted, a variety limited only by the imagination of the criminally inclined.
      (Internal citations removed. Emphasis mine.)

      It’s no excuse that your actions were ineffective or indeed, that they couldn’t possibly have been effective.

      There are two limitations in bringing prosecution for obstruction — Intent and nexus. You have to be aware that you’re trying to obstruct the machinery of government, and your actions must be closely-enough related to the operation of that machinery.

      For instance, lying to FBI agents is against the law per 18USC1001, but it won’t be obstruction under 18USC1503 unless the agent is investigating a crime that has been brought before a jury, grand or petit.

      Second, regarding conspiracy:

      Here’s 18USC371:

      If two or more persons conspire either to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States….

      So legal conspiracy is conspiracy in the vernacular, namely planning to commit a crime. You have to agree to participate in the plans with at least one other person, and somebody in the know has to take a concrete step to implement the plan.

      It’s all fun and games, when you and your buddies just talk about robbing the nearest bank, but when one of your buds actually goes out and buys the ski masks, you’re all guilty of conspiracy.

      This is why conspiracy is the USA’s best friend. You don’t actually have to do anything besides talking to be part of a conspiracy. It’s enough that one of your co-conspirators acted in furtherance of the plan. You don’t even have to know all your co-conspirators because the prosecutor gets to take the transitive closure of all the planners under the operation of “talked about it.”

    33. God, all the pseudo-intellectual dimwits are getting in on this one. So deadrat, where can one find proof of conspiracy between Russia and Trump in the Mueller report? Should one start on page 33 and proceed carefully from there as you once stupidly suggested? You had obviously never read it and were pathetically posing as if you had. How does it feel to be in a league with Fox news viewers? Pathetically posing and lying to support political events that you wish to be true yet too lazy to even do 10 minutes of basic research on them? It's no wonder we lose with intellectual laziness and personal moral weaknesses as vast as this lot's.

    34. " It's no wonder we lose with intellectual laziness and personal moral weaknesses as vast as this lot's."

      I thought we lost because we feel superior to the people who think they can beat a virus by way of a dick-measuring contest.

    35. deadrat,

      I understand your point.

      My intent here was not to get into a debate about the ultimate conclusions of the Mueller investigation. I was only trying to push back at Anonymous April 22, 2020 at 1:27 PM as gently as possible. Because he annoyed the hell out of me by being an asshole.

    36. The best way to push back is by not being stupidly wrong and making false claims about something on which you haven't taken the time to do even basic research.

    37. mm,
      His "That was never in dispute" line is the worst piece of gaslighting on the internet this week.

    38. ..false claims..

      You mean like, "That was never in dispute" ?

      "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,"

      "They said they think it's Russia. I have President Putin. He just said it's not Russia. I will say this: I don't see any reason why it would be."

    39. Disputed by Trump? He disputes everything that is not in accord with his fantasies. It was never in dispute by anyone who can do basic research, a group which should include yourself. Russia always interferes with our elections. It was news that they were interfering in real time, during the election. And not just them, Americans and all sorts of people overseas were interfering with the election on Facebook because it was a great way to make money. Stir up anti-Hillary sentiment on pro Trump Facebook groups was getting a lot of clicks and making people a lot of money. All of that was common knowledge in real-time, well apparently, I don't know what you morons were doing, sitting around with your dicks in your hand I guess.

      So yes, it was never in dispute that Russia was interfering with the election among the non delusional who know how to perform basic research for two minutes. It was never remotely true that Trump campaign and Russia were coordinating. That was obvious even before the Mueller report. the Mueller report itself just spelled out how laughable and crazy that claim was. It was obvious that Democrats made a huge mistake by pushing the Russiagate thing so hard, (see Jennifer Palmieri's op-ed in the Washington Post and Adam Shiff's constant lies and bs on the matter. Or Brennan's lies). It was always obvious that Democrats were spending more time on this because it took attention off of their own shortcomings like when Adam Schiff voted to give Trump an extension on the Patriot act and even deeper surveillance powers something Democrats and those stupid low IQ blogs didn't even talk about! Or when the Democrats rubber-stamped the military industrial complex has budget. No need to talk about that! Let's talk about the I love it meeting!

      That shit was always such a non-starter.

      It never occurred to you dolts that the CIA was pushing Russiagate because having them as an enemy is good for the military industrial complex.

      You expose yourself to biased, junk information written by histrionic partisans. They only talk about if Republicans are bad or if Democrats are good. That's all you expose yourself to and that's why you come across so foolishly. You never expose yourself to information about when Republicans are right and Democrats are wrong. Exactly. Exactly like Fox news viewers. You are now a Fox news viewer, leading the charge of your team over the deep end because you bought into a false dichotomy. So get it together dumb shit lazy asswipe.

    40. 9:48 is correct. If you disregard the entire Right-wing of the country, who disputed that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, nobody disputed the obvious Russian interference in the 2016 election.

      I will not dispute that disregarding everything said by the Right-wing is the best strategy for moving this country forward.

    41. Wait a minute, I thought Crowdstrike moved the DNC server to a basement in the Ukraine to conceal the fact that Russia didn't criminally hack the server and then release a slow drip of hacked emails through Julian Assange and Wikileaks.

      Trump just LOVES Wikileaks.

    42. mm - are you saying there was a dispute whether or not the Russians interfered with the election?

      And you base that in a dispute by Trump??

    43. ...the CIA was pushing Russiagate because having them as an enemy is good for the military industrial complex....

      Bwahahaha!!! That's so fucking dumb, can I save that for future reference?

    44. I'm just glad to finally be able to show you numbnuts that what you think is in the Mueller Report is not. And to expose you as frauds for pretending as if you had read it. Hopefully you can now see what a total waste of time the whole affair was and you can begin to question the people to whom you turn to for information as to why they got The best way to push back is by not being stupidly wrong and making false claims about something on which you haven't taken the time to do even basic research. so deeply and you can begin to look for the important, real and relevant stories they missed while they were diverting your attention away with this idiotic chimera. Like how both parties let the banking industry run roughshod over American citizens like you and me.

      Stop playing Cowboys and Indians boys. Time to grow up. The Cowboys and the Indians are stealing from you and they have been stealing from you for years.

    45. When Trump's head is on a pike for his criminal negligence, 9:48 will tell us no one ever disputed that Trump was totally unfit for the job of President of the United States.

    46. 10:34

      You feel like whether or not Russia interfered with the election was in dispute? By who?

    47. Nevermind 10:34.

    48. Shorter mm 10:35:

      "No, that never did occur to me."

      mm - well now you know the truth. you have to research it yourself though. You can't sit around waiting for low IQ partisan blogs to tell you about these types of things.

    49. It's like seeing a little baby being born.

      mm thinks the notion that the National Security State exaggerates threats in order to keep the big budgets and the big paydays coming is "dumb".

      It's the education of mm.

      mm, spend 20 minutes researching that today.

      you don't think the National Security State exaggerated its threats in order to keep the big budgets coming?

      You think that is dumb?

      You got a long way to go but we're going to get you there my man.

    50. No, that never did occur to me.
      Tell us all, why did this the CIA just come up with the devious plan in 2016? Why not in 2012 or 2008 or 2004 or 2000....?
      Keep going dumbfuck. Are you wearing your tin foil hat right now? I can't get mine out of the cleaners, you know with the Covid-19 and everything.

    51. Military budget 2021 - 989 billion. Happily passed by Democrats with no discussion as they all talked about Russiagate.

      You think the receivers of that money are going to fight for peace? You think that when they find peace they are going to give up that money?

      Over exaggerated threats are the lifeblood that keep those budget alive. It's been that way for years. This is something you should know about and be aware of.

      That money, properly spent, could eliminate poverty - for example.

    52. mm the answers to the questions are out there. Put simply, Hillary was a hawk and Trump wanted to relax relations with Russia and have good relations with them. He explicitly talked about it on the campaign trail. That's it. If Trump were to do that, there are no longer a threat, and it's less of a justification for the obscene rip-off budgets.

      I can only educate you if you want to be educated. If you want to keep playing dumb, it's your business.

    53. Let me ask you this, why did that never occur to you??

    54. God mm those blogs really keep you fat and stupid don't they?

      How dumb it is to suggest the CIA systematically exaggerates foreign threats. That has never happened. ;)

      Broaden your horizons. You deserve better.

      For real though, are you 9 years old?

    55. Bwahahaha!! Keep going guys.

    56. https://bit.ly/2Vw9PK3

      Hawk = MIC

      "One of the biggest influences on Clinton was Jack Keane, a retired four-star general whom the Times describes as "a well-compensated member of the military-industrial complex" and "the resident hawk on Fox News, where he appears regularly to call for the United States to use greater military force in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan."

      Keane took an immediate liking to Clinton and took her under his wing."

    57. That is why the CIA exaggerated the Russian threat, feeding sheep like you and Maddow propaganda about how Trump was in bed with Moscow (Brennan
      Trump‘in the pocket of Putin’.)

      That is why so many of Maddow's and CNN's guests (on the payroll!) are ex CIA and FBI. To propagandize you about false foreign threats that keep the party going.

      Sorry to break it to ya. I know life is easier when it's my side is all good your side all bad. I know that upends that particular strain of entrenched somnolence you have been living with since you were born 9 years ago. ;)

      Just joking. You're right. The CIA would never misinform people about their noble missions.

    58. "Military budget 2021 - 989 billion. Happily passed by Democrats with no discussion and signed by President Nancy Pelosi."

      Fixed it for you.

    59. Thanks retard.

    60. Here's the book that described the Clinton campaign's post election plan to write the "script they would pitch to the press and the public. Already, Russian hacking was the centerpiece of the argument.”

      And later surprise, surprise former Clinton campaign communications director Jennifer Palmieri compared, “Russiagate” to Watergate and encouraging the press and other Democrats to “turn the Russia story against Trump" in a Washington Post op-ed

      This gives you a glimpse into how the Democrats disingenuously focused on Russia to fool you.

      The whole affair was sad and probably bought Trump 2 terms. Trump!!! That's how f'd up the Democratic party is! Trump!!!!!


    61. Anonymous on April 23, 2020 at 7:58 AM,

      I tend to ignore frantic Anonymi Ignorami like you. After all, what am going to do? Post “Did so read the report!” “I’m not stupid; you’re stupid!” so I can seem as ignorant and childish as you?

      I try to inform myself, but I’m not a lawyer, so I could be wrong. When it comes to making judgments about legal cases, even lawyers can be wrong.

      Proof of conspiracy, or any other crime, is made at trial. The Mueller Report is basically an indictment that Mueller decided he couldn’t seek because he was bound by DOJ policy not to.

      If you’d like to sit down with the sections of the United States Code defining conspiracy and obstruction on your left, and the Mueller Report on your right, and point out how the Report fails to make its case, I’m more than willing to listen. I’ve given you the relevant sections of the USC — 18USC371 for conspiracy; 18USC1503,1505 for obstruction. For the Mueller Report, start on page 33.

      You could, for example, dispute my claims that the thresholds for these crimes are low and their coverage is broad. If you’d rather not do the work, but would rather call me a pathetic liar with a weak moral code, I won’t particularly mind.

      But I’ll just feel free to tell you to piss off.

    62. You are a liar. You pretended to have read the Mueller report. There is nothing on page 33 or the whole thing tying Trump to Russia. It's the opposite. I could care less about your pointless claim. Fuck off dumbass.

    63. Certainly you're not trying to justify some sort of coordination between Trump and Russia at this late date. Certainly you're not that dumb. Maybe though. Is that what is behind your claims the threshold is low for these crimes from the relevant sections of the code? YOURE A FUXKING IDIOT.

    64. Nobody at TDH is going to make that argument, 4:31.
      Bill Barr is going to make that argument, when Judge Walton walks him through the un-redacted Mueller Report on camera.


    65. Anonymous Ignoramus on April 23, 2020 at 4:15 PM:

      “You are a liar,” he explained.

      I basically asked you to put up or shut up. You couldn’t do either. So noted.
      Now piss off.

      Anonymous Ignoramus on April 23, 2020 at 4:23 PM:

      Certainly you're not trying to justify some sort of coordination between Trump and Russia at this late date.

      No, of course not. Justifying any such coordination is the job of feral Trumpers, his mouthpieces, and other hangers on. Besides, “coordination” is not an element of either crime.

      Anonymous Ignoramus on April 23, 2020 at 4:31 PM:

      I’m guessing it would take a magnifying glass to accomplish, but no thanks. How often is your first thought on any topic your being fellated by a stranger?

  9. We don't know all the details regarding the Georgia re-opening. Is the re-opening statewide, or only in certain areas? If the latter, are these areas meeting Dr. Birx's standards? Are there other factors that we don't know regarding Georgia's situation?

    Not knowing the answers to these questions, Dr. Birx properly declined to criticize the GA decision on national TV.

    1. There are any number of articles online (use Google) describing the re-opening, the criteria used to decide where and when to reopen and so on. Lots of information out there, so it isn't accurate to say "we don't know" and would be better to say "I don't know" or "I haven't looked at the news but..."

    2. Correction noted, @1:04. Let's just say that Dr. Birx didn't know all these specific details, and Bob's post gives no indication that he knows them.

      For some reason, the mainstream media have taken a stand to oppose re-opening. Almost all their questions and articles point to the likelihood of its failure.

  10. “On successive days, they tried to ask Trump an obvious question—they tried, and in each case they failed.”

    Whether or not the questions have been up to Somerby’s standards, the outcome would be the same regardless of the questions.

    The greatest questions in the world would elicit the same (non-)responses from the people on that podium. The handful of questions/questioners that Somerby has praised show that; they didn’t really accomplish anything.

    The journalists in the press briefings can only do so much anyway. We have to rely on investigative journalism to find out the truth, and there is quite a bit of good work out there right now, trying to keep us informed in the midst of the lying and stonewalling from this administration.

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