No Collusion, Says the Mueller Report

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W.J. Astore

The Mueller Report has finally landed, not with a thud, but with a whisper.  No collusion.  No more indictments.  Inconclusive evidence of obstruction of justice.

Readers of Bracing Views won’t be surprised.  Back in February 2017, Mike Murry wrote an article for this site (Get Another Goat) in which he explained the inept methods and bizarre mentality of establishment Democrats in blaming Putin and the Russians rather than themselves for losing to a two-bit con man:

At any rate, it appears as if the defeated Democrats have chosen Russian President Putin as an attractive scapegoat simply due to (1) his “foreignness” and (2) the nature of transferred nationalism. This psychological transference, Orwell wrote, “has an important function. … It makes it possible for [the nationalist] to be much more nationalistic – more vulgar, more silly, more malignant, more dishonest – than he [or she] could ever be on behalf of [their] native country, or any unit of which [they] had real knowledge” …

it seems like a monumental waste of time, energy, and limited American attention span for the Democrats to scapegoat President Putin for their own stupidity, arrogance, and insensitivity to their party’s traditional base.

Echoing Mike Murry, it has indeed been “a monumental waste of time, energy, and limited American attention span” to connect Trump’s victory in 2016 to an organized campaign of collusion with Russia.  Mainstream networks like MSNBC and high-profile reporters like Rachel Maddow have spent the last 2+ years pushing the narrative of collusion and even treason when they could have been attacking Trump and his administration for its specific policies and decisions that hurt ordinary Americans.  By pushing the collusion/treason narrative and coming up empty, they’ve only made Trump stronger as he prepares to run for reelection in 2020.

As I wrote here in July of 2018, it’s a fundamental misunderstanding of Trump to accuse him of being a “puppet” because he’s incapable of serving anyone but himself:

Consider the accusations of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.  Trump is never going to side with his intelligence agencies on this issue.  He thinks that, by doing so, he’d be admitting that maybe he didn’t win fair and square over “Crooked Hillary.”  He refuses to countenance Russian meddling, not because he’s a Putin stooge, but rather because he’s an egomaniac.  He’ll admit to nothing that diminishes, however slightly, his victory — and his ego.

Russia doesn’t matter to Trump.  Indeed, America doesn’t matter to Trump.  With Trump, it’s really all about him… Trump lives in his own reality, a narcissistic swirl of fabrications, falsehoods, and lies.  He’s happiest when he’s commanding the scene, when people are kowtowing to him, when he can boast about himself and advertise his businesses…

In short, Trump is not treasonous.  He simply has no concept of public service.  He has no capacity to serve any cause other than himself.

Trump may be a blowhard, a bully, a braggart, a bigot, and a buffoon, but that doesn’t make him a “traitor” who “colluded” with Russia.  By pushing a false narrative for 2+ years, establishment Democrats and the mainstream media have yet again colluded in their usual inept way to strengthen Trump while discrediting themselves.

Ordinary Americans looking for a little more safety and equity in their lives are, of course, the biggest losers.

44 thoughts on “No Collusion, Says the Mueller Report

  1. The 2016 American Presidential election was between, arguably, the most corrupt candidate ever to be nominated by a “ mainstream “ party and a fairly well known real estate developer turned “ reality “ tv show host.

    WJ, you did read “ The Flight 93 Election “ essay, no ?

    All of the psychological traits you list can be reasonably transferred to HRC, and truthfully any other politician at the national level.

    Be that as it may, DJT is too easy to hate. Much more than for just 2 minutes.

    The American people are the biggest losers … ?

    Well, my guess is we both are all too aware of very powerful and just as negative forces in our country. They are quite self reinforcing.

    My guess is it emanates from an absence of the question about most particular issues, What is better for this country ?

    HRC as well as many of her type have long favored the approach of a guy like Alynsky and his demon mates ( soulless ).

    Their question is how can we radically transform this country. My guess is DJT was the last detour to a place going to Venezuala … if we are lucky.

    Be careful what you wish for, you might get it.

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  2. I always knew there was never going to be some E-Mail from Putin to Candidate Agent Orange that said, “I will help you Comrade Trump”.

    Having suffered a thundering defeat in 2016, with Hillary at the helm a way had to be found by the DNC Gang and their media puppets to blame anyone for the defeat, except Hillary. In the 2000 election, Ralph Nader was cast as the villain that contributed to Gore’s defeat, even though Gore lost his home state of Tennessee. The other villain in that election for the DNC was the Supreme Court.

    The Bernie Bots were initially blamed for sitting out the election or voting for Jill Stein in 2016. Then a better target presented itself. Russian trolls brainwashed the American electorate.

    The DNC, the corporate democrats and their stooges at MSDNC and CNN spent roughly two years hammering away at the “Russian” connections. The typical story was some secret source would make an unsubstantiated allegation at the top of the show and by the end through a convoluted series of hypothetical scenarios an unsupported allegation would become a fact. Two plus two would equal Five, in the tradition of Orwell’s 1984. This was like a murder scene and before all the facts could be gathered a person or persons were selected to be framed up.

    As you pointed out the offensive against President Agent Orange and Pastor Pence could have centered on policies and issues. No, the story had to be, candidate Agent Orange and President Agent Orange could only have been elected with outside nefarious help.

    You would think at this point MSDNC and CNN, who counted on Mueller to deliver President Agent Orange’s head on to the the impeachment platter would now back off. The narrative of President Agent Orange’s guilt must be pursued. It is like some WW 1 battle field in France – attack with one division. When that attack fails – send in two divisions. Another failure OK, lets attack with an entire corps.

    I am sure the writers for Maddow, Chris Matthews, Anderson Cooper and Wolf Blitzkrieg, worked over time this weekend to find something anything. – Hell ratings and profits depend upon keeping the narrative of President Agent Orange and the Russians alive.

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  3. Great, so we’re still pretty much on-track for the future I estimated in 2017.

    I hate it when structure starts to matter more than agency in a crisis. The political situation in the US and UK is starkly similar – the existing political order can’t sustain the pressures it is under, because it was never designed to handle the complexities of a 21st century global world.

    So the powers-that-be are playing kick-the-can, hoping that they won’t be caught away from a chair when the music stops.

    Meanwhile, the people who have figured out that the old rules were hollow and ripe for disruption are ripping apart the system and rigging it to suit their narrow interests.

    Under it all is the fact that the US is now comprised of multiple societies battling for control of an over-burdened political architecture. The West Coast and Northeast, as groups of states, have per-capita GDP values approaching $60,000 annually, while the Southeast is more like $45,000 and the Midwest isn’t much better off.

    Americans speak with different accents, have different economic needs, and increasingly consume different media and hold different views on basic political matters. How they view the outcome of the Mueller investigation depends on which tribe they belong to.

    Predictions to 2020 remain stable: Slowing economy in 2019, likely a recession in late 2019 or 2020 and a major stock market correction as a result. Which looks good for Dems – except that Trump’s voters are primed to blame “illegals” and “socialists” for anything going wrong, so no matter what happens they’ll turn out for him in 2020.

    In Spring or Summer of 2020, a “crisis” erupts and airstrikes on Iran ensue, both because Bolton and Pompeo are desperate for regime change in Iran, and because the American media insists on rallying around any President (in India, the media just did this with Modi) whenever missiles fly – instant poll boost.

    And, of course, both legislative (voter ID laws, voter roll purges) and vigilante (white supremacists targeting black-majority voting districts) voter suppression are likely, in an election that despite the national approval polling is still likely to be 50/50 and decided by turnout in the few states that actually matter:

    Sabatos’ take is the closest to my own:
    https://www.270towin.com/maps/sabatos-crystal-ball-2020-president

    The American media continues to fail to recognize that voters are not left, right, or swing – *districts* are, according to the actual data. So neoliberal empty white shells like Biden/O’Rourke/Booker/Klobuchar/Gillibrand will chase “swing” voters who largely don’t exist, while failing to appeal to the black and hispanic voters who will actually decide the election in Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.

    And, being collectively Clinton 2.0, they’ll lose – even if they do some kind of pandering Biden-Abrams type of thing (why not Abrams first?)

    Gabbard-Harris is the team I want to see, with Sanders, Abrams, and Gillum in the Cabinet.

    If Gabbard (or someone else with sense) will adopt a formal military $ reduction plan that redirects tax dollars on a per-capita basis, they can walk into any electoral district promising an annual federal Peace Dividend benefit to voters in that district based on the local population.

    You offer people on the edge a tangible benefit, and they’ll turn out to vote – changing the electoral calculus in 2020 entirely.

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      1. You have that Global Corporate Oligarch slogan precisely backwards. It actually goes like this:

        “Don’t ask what our country club can do for you (like pay our taxes or admit you as a member) but what you can do (like cut the grass and clean the toilets) for our country club.”

        There. Fixed it for you.

        For some informed insight into who does what to — and for — whom, see the following episode of the Kaiser Report: The flowless rally (E1362)

        Trillions of dollars in free-money Fed give-aways to mega-bank frauds and Wall Street gamblers that predictably result in a “Trickle Down” socialism-for-the rich that sticks to those at the top but doesn’t trickle very far downward. The expression “Hoover up,” most accurately describes U.S. economic policy since Ronald Reagan whose own vice president, George Herbert Walker Bush, called the “supply-side” scam “Voodoo Economics.” Speaking of which:

        “Today, the conservative goal is the Third Worldization of America, to reduce the U.S. working populace to a Third World condition, having people work harder and harder for less and less. This includes a return to the “free market,” free of environmental regulations, free of consumer protections, minimum wages, occupational safety, and labor unions, a market crowded with underemployed labor, so better to depress wages and widen profit margins. Conservatives also seek the abolition of human services and other forms of public assistance that give people some buffer against free-market forces.”
        Underemployment is a necessary condition for Third Worldization.” — Michael Parenti, Against Empire, Chapter 9: “Voodoo Economics – The Third Worldization of America,” p. 170

        So, instead of throwing around stale political slogans from the early Kennedy Administration (before Lyndon Johnson got Medicare up and running), you might want to catch up on a half-century of economic history. Things have gotten much worse for half the American population (who now live in poverty) and a good part of the “Western” world, as well. Russia (state-capitalist) and China (state-communist) continue to grow and prosper by investing their economic resources in their own people and infrastructure rather than blundering imperial militarism like the United States, the world’s most hopelessly indebted nation.

        As for the downwardly dropping United States: a country that does nothing for its own people deserves nothing from them.

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  4. Couldn’t agree more : that Clinton herself is to blame for her losing the election and that the ‘Russian hacking’ is a red herring to distract from that embarassement. Of course
    ‘The Russians’ hack and try to influence elections, just as the US do and any other country which can afford to buy the necessary know-how.
    But there are much bigger threats to ‘fair & transparent’ elections, and not only in the US, which do not receive proper investigative attention : Middle Eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia, UAE and Israel – who have the cash and/or the sophisticated hackware; Alt-right which has the cash and the social-media tools (think global Alt-right guru Steve Bannon & the Mercers & Cambridge Analytica or even just Facebook); or even entities such as the NRA, which all can quietly continue their destructive activities while all attention focuses on Put’n (as some insist on pronouncing his name :- ).
    Suggested reading :
    https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2018/09/the-strange-ascent-of-betsy-devos-and-erik-prince
    “And the Prince effect is rippling into other areas, too. Earlier this year, Johnson Ko Chun Shun, Prince’s business partner and the deputy chairman of Prince’s Frontier Services Group, joined the board of a new data firm—alongside heavyweights from Cambridge Analytica—the political data-mining company funded by Steve Bannon’s old patrons, the Mercer family, who some credit as having been pivotal in Trump’s victory.”
    And that was before Mehdi Hasan tripped up Erik Prince into ‘admitting’ he had been at a compromising Trump Tower meeting which he failed to mention when officially questioned about his role in potential collusion.

    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/03/italy-bannon-backed-populists-academy-draws-criticism-190303111226073.html
    Bannon backs an academy for aspiring right-wing politicians in an old monastery in Italy.

    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/03/al-jazeera-films-gun-lobbyists-advising-australia-party-190325145951373.html
    The NRA advises Australian politicians how to swing public opinion to have gun laws relaxed. Which may explain why the Christchurch gunshop owner claimed that ‘this was not the moment to discuss gun laws’ … The NRA training may have included New Zealand.

    Not to mention Facebook’s heavily biased criteria for when to ban content and when to allow it. Right-wing hate speech is by-and-large allowed, but female nipples are out of the question …

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  5. PS regarding the NRA influencing elections – both in US and abroad.
    Part one of three-year investigation documenting their methods :

    Blew my mind, but maybe I was more naive than I realised?

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    1. Dear Pamela,

      one of my favorite songs by Toto was sung about a woman with your name.

      i would have replied to your comment to my write up about scare mongers below, but the reply icon isn’t there, only the like star.

      thank you for making my point, you are afraid that people will go extinct if we don’t stop climate change. the earth will be too warm to support human life ?

      so you are arguing people like me are less adaptable than dinosaurs.

      me thinks you underestimate our abilities.

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  6. This I have now found interesting is the back lash that will happen to CNN and MSDNC as well as other members of the McMega-Media who spent the last two years trying every which way to connect President Agent Orange to Russia.

    Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept, a long-time Russian investigation skeptic, thundered: “If you’re an MSNBC viewer – or reader of liberal sites on the internet – you were fed a steady stream of conspiratorial bullshit that completely warped your view of the world. All while they purposely excluded anyone who questioned their fraud [and] profited off your fears.”

    Greenwald was particularly upset with the MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, who he said “went on the air for [two] straight years [and] fed millions of people conspiratorial garbage [and] benefited greatly”.
    https://theintercept.com/2019/03/25/watch-a-contentious-constructive-debate-on-the-media-and-political-humiliation-from-the-mueller-report/

    A further take by Matt Taibbi: Nothing Trump is accused of from now on by the press will be believed by huge chunks of the population, a group that (perhaps thanks to this story) is now larger than his original base.
    ================================================
    I suppose this story line of President Agent Orange and the Russians is like the boy who cried wolf. Paradoxically, FOX News will be the big winner in terms of Media believably, as FOX spent last two plus years defending President Agent Orange.

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  7. What saddens and angers me is that Trump can (and should) be attacked on so many issues of substance, especially his denial of climate change and his support for vast funding of new nuclear weapons. Both these issues may well prove catastrophic to life on earth. Yet what do Dems choose to focus on? A discredited narrative of Russian collusion.

    Maybe we don’t hear about global warming and nuclear weapons due to fossil fuel interests and the military-industrial complex funding the media? After all, the corporate media doesn’t profit by being friendly to Russia. But they sure as hell make money off of big oil and gas and military interests.

    Indeed, by stirring up cold war fears and grudges vis-a-vis Russia, they boost profits for the MI complex, which is hardly surprising since the that complex either is allied with or owns those same media entities.

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    1. fwiw William, it is commonly believed that dinosaurs lived quite well for hundreds of millions of years under conditions of global warming.

      are some people worried they won’t be able to adapt ?
      oh well, we only have 12 years to go , what’s the use

      http://fulcrum-bioenergy.com/facilities/

      this is an interesting project, feel free to publicize it.
      the engineering analysis is they will make lots of money when they go national and world wide.

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      1. Hello OG: Well, I assume a few humans will “adapt” and survive. But the problems we’re seeing now are only going to get worse. Extreme weather, coastal flooding, rising temps that lead to the spread of disease, etc. Where I live, we’re already seeing more ticks (insects love the warmth) and higher sea levels. And this is just the beginning.

        Maybe nuclear winter will cancel out global warming, and the rich will live happily ever after in their private gated and guarded enclaves. Befriend a rich person now!

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        1. Oh yes, the climate change already locked in by past emissions is gonna be a real ride! I’m writing this into my fiction, ’cause if you want to imagine the 2040s or 2140s, the climate becomes key.

          The Northeast and Northwest are better off than most of North America, though – expect a growing number of climate migrants into these regions over the coming decades.

          The Gulf coast is, well, pretty much screwed. Rising sea levels + warmer oceans + hurricanes is a lethal combo.

          Heh, if the rich do try to retreat into little fortresses, that only makes them easier to isolate and raid. There’ll be plenty of combat veterans around who’ll get together to get that going (another thing I’m writing into my fiction)

          Sadly (?) nuclear winter won’t cancel out global warming, as it would only reduce sunlight for a few years, but the residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere is more than half a century. So you’d get a pause, then warming would continue until the excess CO2 is gone.

          The good news is that scientists know who is vulnerable and where they live, and what mitigation measures can be taken to protect them (while rapidly cutting CO2 emissions and pulling it from the atmosphere). The bad news is that politicians don’t operate on long enough time horizons to invest in the necessary institutions.

          I keep hoping some billionaire will give me start-up money to get things rolling, but so far no dice 🙂

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        2. hi william, as a little toddler who had never been out of my home state, it wasn’t commiefornia in 1967, i was astounded by the dozens of ticks on my grand uncle’s dogs in Wichita Falls, Tx.

          it did take me much too long to figure out the doomsday scenarios are generally an excellent way to … get rich … sell books, scare people on tv, etc. Paul Ehrlich said we’d be long dead by now from starvation when i was 8, the year after our Tx trip.

          something people like me figure out or are told early on, success is the best revenge. although i have enough nickels to rub together to do things i find enjoyable, it’s pretty likely i won’t be here in twelve years. i wonder where occasional cortex will be then. i wonder where her hysterical followers will be. i wonder if they will realize on their way to saving the world, they lost themselves.

          the world will take care of itself. we are just the blink of an eye. and have faith, there is much more to it than just the here and now. here and now is very important, but it isn’t something to go crazy about.

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  8. “In short, Trump is not treasonous.” For an alternative view, visit the writings of Robert Reich (or is he, perhaps because he served in the cabinet of WJC) an “Establishment Democrat?

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    1. Can a man who is loyal only to himself betray anyone? Put differently, does he not betray everyone?

      What are the specific charges of treason? And where is the evidence? Trump’s a horrible president, so I’d love to see him go.

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      1. I continue to hold that Trump stating he would not necessarily respect the outcome of the 2016 election rises to “high crimes and misdemeanours” AND implicates Pence as an accomplice.

        It is a crime to threaten to kill someone (even in the USA) and a presidential candidate threatening an act which would in effect kill the Constitution *should* be disqualified from holding the office of Commander-in-Chief.

        But to make that argument would have required national politicians with intact spines.

        Up until Pelosi took the Speaker’s gavel again, they *could* have installed Paul Ryan after impeaching Trumpence – nice Milquetoast republican with no mandate, operating as a caretaker president.

        Beats what we’ve got now – a Trump strengthened and emboldened.

        But hey, MSNBC still wins – everybody has a job, and can smoothly shift to the next bit of broken coverage.

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  9. Two-and-a-half years of mindless prattle about US President Donald Trump as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s puppet has always reminded me of the following observation from Fire in the Lake: the Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam, by Frances FitzGerald:

    “In and interview with Pham Van Dong, one American asked the North Vietnamese foreign minister how he could call the call the Saigon government an ‘American puppet’ when it acted with such consistency against American interests. ‘Ah,’ replied the minister, ‘it’s a puppet all right. It’s just a bad puppet.'”

    Then I checked out the Moon of Alabama blog and came across this tongue-in-cheek laundry list of bad-puppet performances by “Saigon” Donald Trump since becoming President of the United States: Putin Asks And Trump Delivers – A List Of All The Good Things Trump Did For Russia

    I have no doubt that someone has control of puppet Donald Trump’s strings, but I don’t think that person goes by the name of Vladimir Putin. Sheldon Adelson, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Mohammad bin Salman, certainly. Just not Vladimir Putin who has a large and important country to run and who seems unquestionably up to the job. Wasting his time and energy with silly American political puppet shows just doesn’t seem characteristic of the man.

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    1. A total disaster, Mike, for the Dems. Now watch the Dems do their best to nominate an establishment figure in 2020: Biden or Beto or Booker or Harris. Then watch this person go down to defeat.

      The Dems need to unite behind a true progressive like Bernie — a candidate with positions that actually motivates people to vote. Too bad the Dems are so focused on maintaining their privileges — so much so that they’d rather lose with Biden or Beto than win with Bernie or Tulsi.

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      1. curious how an ameriken political party where so many advise the electoral college system should be discarded … has SuperDuper delegates

        gosh william, you really want to go full venezuela ? i would be interested to know what history you taught. russia is horrible, but you want a communist in the white house. obviously russia is no longer a communist country, but the guy honeymooned in moscow ( my wife and I honeymooned in bora bora in a very nice grass shack over a lagoon )

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        1. OG: The superdelegates are a sham — you’re right — and they should be eliminated.

          Who’s the “communist” in the White House? Not Bernie Sanders. Even if he won, Congress would be against him. What he might be able to do is actually help a lot of workers with a higher minimum wage, better health care, cheaper education, a middle-class tax cut, and so forth. That’s not “communist” — nor is it “Venezuela.”

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I’m an old guy too, but this (recent) throwing around of economic terms leaves me baffled. I’m no friend of Ayn Rand by any means, yet years ago in an essay I think she well defined them: “*Capitalism is when means of production & ownership of production are in private hands. *Fascism is when control of production is in government hands, and privately owned.
            *Socialism/Communism is when control of production is in government hands, as is means of production.”
            Using those definitions, what’s one to say about Lockheed Martin today? Certainly not “capitalist”; they haven’t made a winning commercial aircraft since the 1950’s Constellation Super G. What about the General Motors bailout? Are they now “socialist”? Last I looked GM dealerships still have price lists. And of course WJAstore you are correct: Venezuela is NOT “communist”. The state manufactures no drugs or even consumer goods – they are privately owned. In fact, it was not Hugo Chavez who nationalised their oil company: it was nationalised in 1974 by the Oligarch Venezuelans so they could rob even more, from Shell & BP, etc. Chavez saw this as a opportunity to help the poor, and did, yet the company still made immense profits to stockholders. Hardly “communist”.
            If anyone today, like the NeoCons in Trumps cabinet, is screaming about “socialism” or “communism” in Venezuela, stealing the CITGO chain of gas stations is far more severe. It actually enhances those who think capitalism is a fraud. Because it is highway robbery: most of these stations are owned by American families for an honest income & investment.
            Cut the labels, which so many know nothing about. I’m 73yo Old Geezer, and remember the Cuban Revolution.
            My! (Oh! My!) What’s going on in Venezuela today is EXACTLY what Fidel Castro predicted. Have cynical sense of humour about it!

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  10. IMHO, if enough democrats in power had been paying attention to Thomas Frank’s series of articles in The Guardian during last election season, they would have learnt why HRC lost and there would have been no waste of time and money ( taken away from serious business of the country ). Even now, the elite in the party have not learnt their lesson.
    https://theintercept.com/2019/03/22/house-democratic-leadership-warns-it-will-cut-off-any-firms-who-challenge-incumbents/
    Sadly “power” and “control” is the mindset and not “what they can do for the country”.
    Here is an EXTENDED interview with Ms Gabbard! …. hopefully voting public is paying attention…

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    1. BTW, this is what Mr Tracey has been saying for the past three years.
      Michael Tracey @mtracey
      I can’t stop thinking about the incredible irony that Democrats chose to spend three years validating the one grievance Trump has that is actually legitimate

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    2. BTW, this is what Mr Tracey has been thinking for the past three years….
      Michael Tracey @mtracey
      I can’t stop thinking about the incredible irony that Democrats chose to spend three years validating the one grievance Trump has that is actually legitimate.

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  11. In a senior moment produced by two hungry for dialogue that comes from sites like this, thank you, and permit our glib ranting:
    Having just finished breakfast (guess we’re fueled up), our favorite pastime began as a hearty evaluation of the so far Democratic candidates which then morphed into advice for both the DNC and the future standard bearer At 78 and 85 years young, we feel that the combined 163 years of experience certainly substantiates our abilities for the task at hand and is equal, if not better, than any sitting legislator, particularly if setting the bar is a report card of this administration and Congress.

    Advice for the DNC (we named as the culprit in choosing Hillary over Bernie) centered on choosing a platform that could/would overturn the media feeding frenzy that nmp (not my prez) receives. No easy task, but we’re up to it! At first we chewed on the message, single issue or top two or three and since we were full (finished breakfast), we combined advice for the DNC with advice for the standard bearer.

    So the standard bearer must exude:
    *charisma (ability to foster democracy),
    *name recognition (could be a newbie with charisma, you know, the democracy thing),
    *morality (respect/adhere to rule of law above politics),
    *civility(respect for humanity in action and deed),
    *leadership (motivating citizens to fulfill potential in a healthy environment, you know, the life, liberty,pursuit of happiness thing we teach our kids, right?

    Okay, so now we have this flawless candidate but wait, there are additional important qualifications like the ability to remain perfectly calm when being attacked or challenged and countering/repeating fact checked knowledge/science in order to politely discredit untruths. The polite countering/repeating needs to look like the lamb but the rhetoric must resemble the wolf. We stress this because unfortunately showmanship has recently trumped (ha) all the things just listed so haranguing in good taste–well, you get it, right?

    Now for the message, quite simple: democracy and green. Without democracy we have no purpose; without green we have no planet. These two vital principles will impact jobs, healthcare, foreign policy, world leadership (to be regained) and decency. This is the gift we give for a future.

    We were so happy to solve the problem and now it’s time for our lunch and perhaps a siesta. Feel free to call us with any problem; our rates are reasonable=free for a worthy cause.

    PS This Tulsi is pretty spot on! She seems calm, determined to adopt democracy above frenzy feeding conspiracy!

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    1. Hello Anne: I’m looking for a principled candidate who wants to end war and help the “little” guy and gal, I also think this candidate must be able to motivate people to get off their duffs and vote. The voting rate in the USA seems to hover around 50%. Imagine if we could raise that to 60% or 70%. Usually, the more people who vote, the better progressive candidates do.

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    2. I was watching Cornel West last night and he listed three qualities I’d like to see in any future president: integrity, honesty, decency. And I’d add (citing him) audacity rather than mendacity.

      Cornel likes Bernie Sanders, and for good reason.

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    1. Another spot-on analysis by Matt Taibbi. But I think he only covered half the story. Consider the opening of his article:

      On Sunday, Attorney General William Barr sent a letter to Congress, summarizing the findings of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. The most telling section, quoted directly from Mueller’s report, read:

      “[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

      Notice the glaring omission of the adjective “alleged” before the uncorroborated assumption that the Russian government actually did engage in “election interference activities”, whatever, if anything, that vapid Orwellian euphemism might mean, and I claim that it means nothing at all.

      Essentially the Barr summation of the Mueller Report baldly presumes (1) that “the Russians” [meaning anyone Russian or with a Russian sounding name] did indeed “interfere” (or “meddle”) in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, only (2) Donald Trump did not assist them in any way that Robert Mueller and his shabby Kenneth Starr impersonation could “prove.” But since no evidence of actual election interference by the Russian government exists, the unspoken assumption that it did amounts to a cowardly slander on the part of Attorney General William Barr and Robert Mueller.

      As a matter of fact, Russian government officials from President Vladimir Putin on down regularly and publicly affirmed that they would have to deal with whomever the Americans elected as their president and so they had no preference either way. As well, the actual Russians who mattered thought — like practically everyone else — that Mrs Two-For-The-Price-Of-One would win the election to which she felt entitled and that any partisanship exhibited by them towards her opponent would only further sour relations between the Russian Federation and the expected new US president who had already and openly slandered Vladimir Putin as “Adolph Hitler.” In short, the Russian government (1) had no reason to interfere, (2) several very good reasons not to interfere, and (3) no ability to interfere. How, for example, could the Russians invalidate the Electoral College and insist that the U.S. candidate getting the most votes should win? Also, since few if any Americans speak or read Russian or have any knowledge of that country sufficient for them to understand anything that the Russians might say to them when attempting to “interfere,” how, exactly, could this “interference” possibly have occurred?

      Matt Taibbi has written some very good commentary on this subject and others, but I think he overlooked here what I consider the most egregious sin of the Mueller Report and Barr summary: namely, their failure to debunk the whole idea that “the Russians” did “something” to stupid, easily stampeded Americans, and that the American government and stenographer media owe the Russian people an apology for years of slanderous, baseless accusations.

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      1. Talk about election interference! It was Hillary who owned the DNC, and the DNC that conspired to tip the election to her and against Bernie. And then she foolishly picked a VP candidate who was further to the right, ignoring all of the progressive energy built up by Bernie. Not surprisingly, many voters simply stayed home, and a few Obama voters actually went with Trump.

        The Russians didn’t interfere in the election in any significant way. But the DNC/Hillary sure did.

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        1. Important to remember who the voters were who stayed home – they were disproportionately younger and/or black. They get taken for granted by the Dems over and over again (Obama was the exception that proves this rule), who want their enthusiasm but not their input.

          At a point, people get tired of being taken for suckers. This rumored Biden-Abrams ticket, if it happens, will represent yet another example of the white old guard taking advantage of a core Dem group without seriously considering their material interests. The Dem elites truly believe the average person is an idiot.

          They’ve also got a veritable obsession with trying to appeal to everyone – I’ve read a couple Democratic “Strategy” documents from sites like this:

          https://thedemocraticstrategist.org/

          That essentially abuse statistical analysis to produce the Dem’s favorite bit of conventional wisdom: that they can appeal to everyone, everywhere. They refuse to update their theoretical assumptions to accept that most voters aren’t persuadable, and vote according to their identity – which is *partly* defined by the communications they observe between a candidate and other groups in the electorate.

          Put simply – Biden will *never* appeal to the vast majority of Trump voters because they will *perceive* him to be a liberal democrat, no matter what spin CNN puts on him. Young voters will *perceive* him to be an out-of-touch neoliberal, for the same reason.

          Attempts to appeal to one demographic will always alienate another. The trick is selecting your opponents, and making sure your supporters exist in *just* the right combination of states. The GOP understands this. The DNC does not.

          Here’s another essential link, that in and of itself destroys many of the mainstream media narratives about Election 2020:

          https://morningconsult.com/tracking-trump/

          Check out the geographic patterns. For best viewing, move the slider back to October 2018 – this is my estimate of the best proxy for 2020 that we have, unaffected by the shutdown in December.

          Then compare to the 270towin map with expert evaluations:

          https://www.270towin.com/

          Most state attitudes towards Trump are remarkably stable. There are only half a dozen truly competitive states, and all but New Hampshire will be determined by the comparative turnout between white voters without a college degree and people of color.

          Running *any* white male is a mistake – Sanders less than the other options, because he does actually appeal to younger voters well enough (but will he appeal to older black voters?) that he would have won in 2016, and could win in 2020. Biden will be a disaster. O’Rourke, same thing.

          Gabbard is the one candidate with solid upside, especially when the attack on Iran comes – she’ll look damn prescient. I wish her team would pay me to write some policy stuff – I can out-wonk Warren’s people.

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          1. Uncle Joe Biden is already on the record as saying he has no sympathy for millennials. He’ll really win the youth vote …

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    1. Many thanks for the link, RS. A first-rate piece of work by Kit Knightly. It really should form the basis for an extended analysis. Before getting into specific The discussion here has moved on to other topics, but I plan to stick around for further exploration of this crucial development. I don’t have the time right now to go over all of the points raised by Mr Knightly, but I’d like to start off with the following which relates to some comments I made above:

      “Do NOT make the mistake of thinking this Mueller report makes [the nearly three-year-long Russia-gate hysteria] a failure.

      Think about how our reality has been shaped by this investigation.

      One, it has established as a “certain fact” in the mainstream media, that “Russian interference” is a thing that happened, even though to this date there is NOT A SINGLE PIECE of publicly available evidence to support this.”

      As I pointed out in my earlier comments, Kenneth Starr, Jr. (a.k.a., Robert “WMD” Mueller) and Attorney General William Barr have carefully managed to let billionaire oligarch Donald Trump off the metaphorical hook while simultaneously leaving the even-more-useful EVIL RUSSIAN BOGEYMAN (a.k.a., Emmanuel Goldstein) securely impaled upon it. They could have cleared up the whole matter by simply noting that no credible evidence exists of any Russian interference in our elections and, therefore, no “collusion” could have possibly taken place with something that never happened: the actual truth of the matter, by the way.

      But Mueller and Barr didn’t do this, for they wished to preserve the political and economic usefulness of Russophobic hysteria which would rapidly dissipate should anyone shine the disinfecting light of truth upon the undead vampire’s dessicated corpse, as former Reagan administration Assistant Treasury Secretary Paul Craig Roberts does:

      “I know Democrats are disappointed not to have Trump’s head presented to them by Mueller on a silver platter.  But surely not even Democrats are stupid enough to believe the Russiagate conspiracy tale.  It was all cooked up by the military/security complex to prevent Trump from normalizing relations with Russia, thereby removing the enemy that justifies the $1,000 billion [i.e., $1 trillion] annual budget.” (See: The Democrats Are Self-Destructing, Information Clearing House (March 28, 2019)

      None of the pathetic political/media/military personages flogging “Russia-gate” — “Democrat” or “Republican” — actually believe the preposterous nonsense. They just have their own self-interested reasons for wanting the impoverished American working-class voters and credulous cable-tv consumers (pardon the redundancy) to believe it.

      So much for the bottom line reality of the whole sordid mess.

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      1. Sorry for not cutting out the “Before getting into specific” clause in my comments above, which I had intended as part of a general introduction to my review of Kit Knightly’s fine article. But speaking of specific instances of successful “Russia-gate” hysteria in action, A recent exchange on the Real News Network (Democrats’ Russophobia Hid Trump’s Real Crimes) illuminated just this point:

        Jeff Cohen: “… Now the Resistance can turn to the big issues that were often marginalized by this strategy of waiting for Mueller.”

        Paul Jay: “I actually don’t agree with that… Because the issue of collusion, yes, maybe Mueller put that away. But the fundamental issue, that the Bogey Man is the Russian interference in the election, the Mueller Report reinforces. As far as I understand, it is going to confirm that the Russians did interfere in the elections. And it’s the underlying assumption that this is such a horrendous thing, that’s the real problem. The collusion thing is secondary. The real issue is the Russophobia.”

        And Paul Jay goes on to add:

        “The United States, we know, interferes in every election on earth. … So this goes on all the time. Why raise [this ludicrous “Russia” canard] to such a crazy level? I think it’s partly connected … to the needs of the military-industrial complex to have the Russians as the existential enemy.”

        The needs of the military-industrial complex.” That about says it all. Mueller and Barr in their “reports” have subtly and assiduously seen to those needs while artfully avoiding any substantial discussion of them. The Two-Minutes Haters of the Concentrated Corporate Media and America’s two right-wing political factions will continue to milk the Russian Bogey Man Hysteria with a vengeance (gleefully anticipating Cold War 2), just as Nixon andMcCarthy did with their vicious red-baiting in Cold War 1, only “Cold” does not seem the appropriate misnomer for what may come when the shooting starts in earnest.

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  12. Don’t underestimate a jerk like Joe Biden! He has plugged hair, face lifts, etc. He’s been wrong about Everything! Glad Dem’s are even ‘thinking’ about this loser!

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  13. Matt Taibbi continues doing first-rate work deconstructing this fatuous fable of the Existential Russian Bogey Man:

    Russiagate became a convenient replacement explanation absolving an incompetent political establishment for its complicity in what happened in 2016, and not just the failure to see it coming. Because of the immediate arrival of the collusion theory, neither Wolf Blitzer nor any politician ever had to look into the camera and say, “I guess people hated us so much they were even willing to vote for Donald Trump.”

    Post-election, Russiagate made it all worse. People could turn on their TVs at any hour of the day and see anyone from Rachel Maddow to Chris Cuomo openly reveling in Trump’s troubles. This is what Fox looks like to liberal audiences.

    Worse, the “walls are closing in” theme — two years old now — was just a continuation of the campaign mistake, reporters confusing what they wanted to happen with what was happening. The story was always more complicated than was being represented.

    It still is, which is important to note as we wait for the final release of the Mueller report, which incidentally also won’t be the last word on what happened in the last few years.

    There are a lot of mysteries left with this affair, and none of them will be cleared up anytime soon. We still don’t even understand the beginning of this story.

    All very true, at least up until the final sentence. Unfortunately for the American [if not global] working-class, those furiously flogging this fruitful fable have no intention of helping anyone but themselves understand it. They know what they do and why. They know whose interests they truly, faithfully, and obediently serve. They just don’t want their real victims understanding what they have done and what they will continue doing as long as vast wealth and power continue Hoovering upwards into their bottomless, fur-lined pockets and purses.

    As much as I respect and admire Matt Taibbi’s fine journalistic work, I don’t find any of this difficult to understand. George Orwell described and explained the relevant phenomena in “The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism,” the book-within-a-book from 1984. What literate, civilized people read as a dystopian nightmare, the Global Corporate Oligarchy regard as an operations manual. Or, as Jimmy Dore says about “Democracy Dies in Darkness,” the Washington Post motto: “It’s not a warning. It’s a mission statement.” Orwell put it this way:

    “… war hysteria increases in intensity as one rises in the social scale. Those whose attitude towards the war is most nearly rational are the subject peoples of the disputed territories. To these people the war is simply a continuous calamity which sweeps to and fro over their bodies like a tidal wave. Which side is winning is a matter of complete indifference to them. They are aware that a change of overlordship means simply that they will be doing the same work as before for new masters who treat them in the same manner as the old ones. The slightly more favoured workers whom we call ‘the proles’ are only intermittently conscious of the war. When it is necessary they can be prodded into frenzies of fear and hatred, but when left to themselves they are capable of forgetting for long periods that the war is happening.”

    Two self-serving — and complimentary — Ruling Class narratives apply here: (1) the Democrats’ Russia-gate and (2) the Republicans’ standard-issue Culture War: this time around marketed as “Trump the billionaire champion of displaced American workers angry at the illegal immigrants he hires to clean and staff his casinos, hotels, and resorts.” Both narratives in combination easily divide the proles into antagonistic demographic tribes, “prodding them into frenzies of fear and hatred whenever necessary.”

    Not a new story at all. In fact, an ancient one.

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  14. Short and to the point, I just saw this comment at Consortium News:

    Actually the Mueller report says that Russia hacked the emails and provided them to Wikileaks, though of course no proof has been presented. Mueller just cleared the Trump campaign of “collusion”. They will never give up the idea of Putin as the “evil bogeyman” [emphasis added].

    Saint Robert “WMD” Mueller’s Nightly Children’s Prayer:

    “[With] goulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties
    And things that go bump in the night”
    [Please scare us shitless!]

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  15. How do you justify a $750 billion “defense” budget? When ISIS is supposedly defeated, the Afghan war is winding down, and most U.S. military efforts involve drone strikes and bombing of small groups of irregular forces, with the usual innocent civilians thrown into the mix?

    The way to do this is to revive the Cold War, with Russia and China as “peer” rivals and possible enemies. And that’s exactly what the Pentagon is doing.

    Today, I see the U.S. sent six B-52s to Europe to “send a message” to Russia. The media likes to hype these bombers as being “nuclear-capable” and that their message “couldn’t be clearer.” What message is that? Nuclear war? Over Syria?

    https://www.nbcnews.com/nightly-news/video/exclusive-u-s-air-force-sends-b-52s-to-europe-in-message-to-russia-1468097091954

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    1. Yup! Good post WJAstore. Though I live in Europe now, France, and we have our own problems: finally realising America’s ‘Cold War’ revival is EXTREMELY expensive. Pompeo just recently lectured Germany; they’re not even spending their ‘committed’ 2% GDP to Nato! Now he wants MORE. What’s interesting me as a retired businessman, is it’s the giants of German Industry who scream the loudest! Siemens has been in Russia since the Czars, then USSR. Mercedes & Volkswagen favourite Russian cars today! The Nordstream 2 is almost completed.
      In short, EU refuses to pay for this wasteful & vindictive attack on Russia – which happens to be a huge European market for their goods – which America threw away.
      This whole Russiagate fraud is going to be far more expensive than many think. Sadly to American workers, who had no part in this MIC farce. It’s gonna’ cost them dearly in taxes.
      Things are looking up! But as an old designer still have sympathy for Mercedes/Volkswagen designers working on a new door handle or wheel design. Hard enough to get it right, but a flaccid pro American Merkel PM makes the job even harder!
      Though America has far more severe problems today. Yes, the Boeing 737MAX. Though the B-52’s buzz over old Russian territories, we can’t get 300+ airplanes off the ground.
      Sadly, maybe our bankruptcy will finally end our horrible aggression on innocent nations.

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