Intellectual infrastructure...


...and anthropological learnings: With apologies, we lost a lot of time yesterday morning. 

Indeed, we weren't able to apply ourselves to our award-winning mission until shortly after noon.

Still and all, we knew, after watching Morning Joe, what inquiring pundit minds wanted to know, at least over here in our tribe. Among inquiring (blue pundit) minds, the debate had resolved to this:

On January 6, 2021, was [someone in] the Secret Service plotting to kidnap Vice President Pence?  


On January 6, 2021, was [someone in] the Secret Service conspiring with President Donald J. Trump in an "intended assassination" of that same vice president?

On Thursday evening's Last Word, Claire McCaskill helped blue tribe members imagine that a kidnapping plot had been under way on January 6. 

The following morning, on Morning Joe, it was presidential historian Michael Beschloss who took that [unfounded] speculation to the next, more exciting level.

Again today, we urge you to internalize the basic learning which emerges from this disordered behavior:

Establishing facts can take lots of time. But especially at times of tribal stress, wholly unfounded speculations will emerge in the blink of an eye.

According to experts, our intellectual infrastructure is rapidly falling apart, especially on cable. These ranking experts describe that fact as an anthropological learning.

On cable, Riggleman speaks: What exactly is going on with that lack of Secret Service texts?

Establishing the facts may take some time. Yesterday afternoon, former congressman Denver Riggleman discussed the topic, rather opaquely, with cable TV's Nicolle Wallace.

According to Wallace, Riggleman has worked as a technical adviser to the January 6 committee. He'll be appearing tomorrow on Meet the Press.

Below, you see part of what he said to Wallace. We don't understand this either, but it helps us establish a point:

RIGGLEMAN (7/22/22): I want to say this right now...I think what people need to realize right now, somebody coming from a technology background like I am, I think we can say, at an over 70 percent clip, that there's no text messages really to get.

You know, I know Homeland Security individuals that text with the Secret Service, but they don't text. They use encrypted apps. They use Signal. It was years ago, but [MUFFLED].

This is a low-tech thing, so if you're not following the coms or the processes identified in your Standard Operating Procedure, there's sometimes no text to get. And it's much easier to guard your data on a specific device than people think. So if they're using personal phones, [BLANK] Signal rather than government phones, nobody would know anyway.

And I just, I just don't want individuals to think that, you know, that automatically the Secret Service is culpable for that, because it could be that in their SOPs that they have to use encrypted chats for security, or maybe they have to wipe their phones every week. We don't know.

Riggleman went on from there. In the end, we have little idea what he was talking about. 

Needless to say, Wallace made no attempt to find out. Instead, she threw to Neal Katyal, who quickly returned the conversation to pre-approved Storyline Stylings.

We're fairly sure that, in saying "there's no text messages really to get," Riggleman meant that there would are no text messages that could be recovered at this point, not that no text messages were ever sent in the first place.

All in all, we have little idea what Riggleman meant, and he did a very poor job explaining himself. That said, we think this murky presentation illustrates a few basic points:

Getting the actual information here may take a bit of an effort. Also, it may not turn out exactly the way reliable pundits have been suggesting as (poorly founded) Blue Storyline has spread far and wide.

Has [someone at] the Secret Service actually done something wrong? We can't answer your question today, but we can tell you this:

Establishing facts can take lots of time. But especially at times of tribal stress, wholly unfounded speculations will emerge in the blink of an eye.

As we type, additional information and analysis has been emerging at CNN, in this print report and on a program which aired at 12 noon. We'd only offer this bit of advice:

Stay away from unfounded speculation and Preferred Storyline. Try to wait for the actual facts.


  1. Wasn't what was actually shown by the 1/6 hearing enough of a condemnation of Donald Trump?

    Donald Trump never condemned the violence. Never did anything to try to stop it, either by calling on his supporters to go home or by calling in officers to help stop the violence. He sat and did nothing and afterwards, he said nothing about the violence at all.

    That is very similar to Somerby, who prefers to focus on the secret service's role in whatever was planned, than to talk about the hearing evidence, Donald Trump's culpability, his dereliction of duty. Somerby himself has never said anything about the insurrection and has never condemned Trump for his inaction. Just like Trump himself.

    1. Yes. Obviously that’s why Bob doesn’t want to talk about it. But this is a good sign, the people who try to justify Trump (like Bob) by saying maybe he believed what he was saying are pretty much out of wriggle room.

  2. "Has [someone at] the Secret Service actually done something wrong? We can't answer your question today..."

    Isn't it obvious that someone did something wrong? They were asked to preserve messages and they failed to do that. Of course someone did something wrong.

    Why can't Somerby answer this question? I believe he CAN answer it, but is choosing not to answer it. By refusing to focus on evidence, he can evade admitting that there is something wrong at the secret service and that they may have abetted Trump's insurrection in some way. We all agree that no one knows exactly what the secret service did, but it is clear that there has been wrongdoing because those messages were not preserved and have not been provided to the investigation. These facts speak for themselves. When Somerby refuses to even acknowledge this simple observation, he undermines his own credibility and makes himself a joke when he pretends impartiality. Who benefits if messages were withheld? Trump, ultimately. Thus, Somerby continues to defend Trump and to assist in the cover up of his crimes.

  3. "Stay away from unfounded speculation and Preferred Storyline. Try to wait for the actual facts."

    When facts emerge, a narrative converges around those facts. Those facts, the truth, become the preferred storyline. One cannot determine whether speculation is founded or unfounded without examining the facts in hand.

    Somerby has been utterly ignoring the facts along with his refusal to discuss the presentations of the 1/6 committee. How then can he ever determine what is known as opposed to what is speculation, and how can he know what is founded as opposed to unfounded? He cannot, so his pleas amount to telling us all to ignore whatever is being said as narrative, because he thinks all narratie is unfounded, except that which excuses Trump or harms our news sources. Somerby never admits that any preferred narrative is based on truth -- demanding "absolute certainty" that is impossible when dealing with reconstructed events, as reporters must do. So Somerby believes nothing and criticizes others for accepting narratives they consider well-founded and true.

    This is a political game when Somerby's inability to accept any information as probably true is applied entirely to the events involving Trump and his misbehavior. It may seem like Somerby is merely urging caution, but he is doing more than that -- he is urging disbelief of anything critical of the right.

    1. You still believe that Trump colluded with Russia in the 2016 election which was always unfounded speculation. So what do you really know?

    2. I would ask you how you know I believe that, but everyone with any sense believes it now, so why bother?

    3. Everyone with any sense believes Trump colluded with Russia in the 2016 election?? That's not true.

    4. Yes it is true. Get back to me when Donald J Chickenshit testifies under oath to the Mueller investigation.

    5. That doesn't make any sense.

    6. How could everyone who has any sense know something and then have a person support that thing with a comment that doesn't make any sense? Seems weird.

    7. This is like Somerby complaining that he doesn't understand Einstein, without making any effort to understand it.

    8. At 4:30, we all saw and heard Trump collude with Russia. Just because it’s further away in time than these more recent debauches, you try and con us. Stick it where the sun don’t shine.

  4. It has been a year and a half since the insurrection. Isn't that long enough to wait?

  5. "Needless to say, Wallace made no attempt to find out. Instead, she threw to Neal Katyal, who quickly returned the conversation to pre-approved Storyline Stylings."

    Somerby seems to think that Wallace should have gone wading into the high-tech weeds about how phone encryption works and why cell phones weren't used and if they were, might leave nothing to be recovered. Somerby says he didn't understand the technical parts, but if he didn't understand the simplified explanation, why would he expect to follow a more technical discussion? And is there really time to pursue such details on a time-limited show, where there were more important matters than the details of where the messages went? But Somerby thinks she should have gotten technical by asking followup questions.

    This is more of Somerby's inability to see the big picture, to think about context, to consider the goals and intentions when questions are asked. He focuses narrowly on details when it is obvious that Riggleman is making excuses. It doesn't matter what his excuses are (and there are several). What matters is that the messages were not preserved and they may have important information. But this is exactly the part that Somerby says we shouldn't be thinking about.


  6. "Stay away from unfounded speculation and Preferred Storyline. Try to wait for the actual facts."

    Eh, no, dear Bob, this is not how your liberal tribe operates.

    The Walls Are Closing In, A Tipping Point Bombshell, The Beginning Of The End!

    And then ... nothing. Suddenly, all is forgotten, it never happened, nothing to see here.

    Throw some mud at the wall, hope some of it sticks. That's the game.

    1. The latest Democrat circus is backfiring spectacularly.

    2. At 5:05….. in your dimwit dreams.

  7. While there seems a lot to question about
    The Secret Service’s performance in the National Shame of Trump’s attempt to
    overthrow the Executive Branch, Bob’s
    correct: we don’t know and may never
    know. He’s also correct, I’ve seen MSNBC
    play up stories that come to nothing
    ( some, like Tara Reade, not to the
    left’s advantage) . Over at Fox hacks
    are dragged out to call Biden a lair
    over the rape of a ten year old
    which turned out to be perfectly
    true. Predictable crickets from
    What is not in doubt is that along
    with trying to steal a President election
    thru brute force, President Trump
    would have attempted to corrupt the
    Secret Service as best he could.
    Last night Trump was berating
    White House workers who went
    under oath and told the truth.
    That’s something that neither he
    nor his remaining loyalists will
    never do.

    1. Thank you. It's good to know what a barely literate mediocrity thinks of this column.

  8. Hispanics are cascading into the Republican party.

    1. Republicans never talk about class issues or how powerful big business interests take advantage of common people and workers. They can't because they participate in it with powerful big business interests.

    2. True. You're starting to get it.

    3. Republicans are focused like a laser on your children's genitals. Matt Gaetz would like to be in charge of elementary school inspections.

    4. Hispanics aren't attracted to people as nuts as you sound.


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  10. Women over 50 are the only group that approves of crooked Biden.

  11. Notice how the trolls have devolved to spamming us woth hate messages. The hearings are clearly getting to them.

    1. Yes, they seem really scared about the contents of the hearings. After all, the hearings unequivocally showed that a member of a tour took a picture of a stairwell.

    2. WSJ "Character is revealed in a crisis, and Mr. Pence passed his Jan. 6 trial. Mr. Trump utterly failed his."

      NY Post: "as a matter of principle, as a matter of character, Trump has proven himself unworthy to be this country’s chief executive again.")

      Nothing to see here folks, move along now.

    3. Is that the latest tactic? Move the goal posts to issues of character?

    4. Who's moving the goal post, Magat?

    5. They're scared the hearings will end before they can do maximum damage to Democrats instead of only enough damage to hand the GOP the house and senate.

    6. the moving of the goal post is from Trump committing some kind of crime to issues of character. The hearings were never about Donald Trump's character.

    7. Who's moving the goal post, Magat? The Congressional Committee has no authority to indict, we leave that to the justice department.

      Just to note in passing it is nice to have a real President who understands to not interfere, not like Donald J Chickenshit who didn't give two fucks about crossing the line.

    8. Some dipshit above wrote:

      AnonymousJuly 23, 2022 at 5:05 PM
      The latest Democrat circus is backfiring spectacularly.

      Just this weekend two influential conservative outlets, the WSJ and the NY Post acknowledged the obvious, Donald J Chickenshit is a disgusting slug categorically unfit for office.

      Seems to me the hearings are doing a good job.