The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Mueller’s Russian Indictments

So, Mueller has indicted 13 Russian nationals and three entities. Let’s look at this a bit closer.

In an indictment announced Friday in Washington, Mueller describes a years-long, multimillion-dollar conspiracy by hundreds of Russians aimed at criticizing Hillary Clinton and supporting Senator Bernie Sanders and Trump.

More accurately, I suspect, would be to say that Putin wanted someone who wasn’t as anti-Russian and anti-Putin. Clinton and Putin have a long-time adversarial relationship, and Clinton has been very antagonistic to Russia. In particular she wanted a no-fly zone in Syria after the Russians were there, and Putin sees her as lying to him about Libya: Reassuring him that the no-fly zone there was not about regime change.

This “information warfare” by the Russians didn’t affect the outcome of the presidential election, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told reporters. Trump and his Republican supporters have repeatedly denounced the Mueller investigation as a “witch hunt” and have denied any collusion. The indictment cites no instances of Russians coordinating directly with the Trump campaign.

The election was so close that I don’t see how it can be said that the Russian interference didn’t effect the outcome. Though, it is precisely because it was so close that the outcome can be “blamed” on everything, from Clinton not campaigning in key Rust Belt states, to Republican voter suppression. (The latter is probably most significant, but Clinton racked up a lot of votes where she didn’t need them and didn’t put much in the way of resources into some marginal states which mattered.)

The Internet Research Agency, a Russian organization, and the defendants began working in 2014 to interfere in U.S. elections, according to the indictment. They used false personas and social media while also staging political rallies and communicating with “unwitting individuals” associated with the Trump campaign, it said.
In a Feb. 10, 2016 planning memo, the Russians were instructed to “use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump — we support them).”

The operations also denigrated candidates including Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, Trump’s rivals in the 2016 Republican primary, the indictment said.

The 2014 date indicates plans were in place long before Trump or Sanders could have been expected to run. That Trump was the chosen candidate on the Republican side makes sense; he was consistently Russia- and Putin-friendly. As for the Democratic side, it was Clinton or Sanders, and Sanders, while not a Russia booster, was certainly better for Russia than Clinton.

I don’t see a great deal here to be excited about. The US routinely interferes in foreign elections to a much greater extent than this. The best solution would be an agreement to stop interfering in foreign elections on both sides.

I assume Mueller will continue and indict some more Americans (one American is indicted here on minor charges).

Oh, and…

They spent thousands of dollars a month to buy advertisements on social media groups, while carefully tracking the size of U.S. audiences they reached, according to the indictment. (emphasis added)

Thousands of dollars? Not millions? Or even “hundreds of thousands”? It is hard to take that very seriously.

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Is “Skin in the Game” Good?


Comment Moderation Is Now ON


  1. Bill Hicks

    Any one else find the timing of this announcement, which neatly coincides with the FBI being raked over the coals for dropping the ball in the Florida shooting, more than coincidental? America spends roughly a trillion a year on “defense” and “intelligence,” yet it can’t keep its elections safe from a dozen Russian computer geeks, and its crack agents couldn’t manage to locate one homeless teenage loser?

    These are more symptoms of a terminally sick society that is heading for a fall.

  2. NR

    Read the whole thing if you can. The Internet Research Agency (which is the troll farm the Russian government set up in 2014 or so to sow discord):

    – Pushed for third party voting or no vote protests amongst minority groups
    – Originated much of the voter fraud claims supported by Trump
    – Focused efforts on swing states, particularly florida
    – Controlled a Twitter account with over 100k followers that many people thought was the GOP’s official Twitter account in Tennessee
    – Generally promoted divisive politics
    – Really, really did not like Hillary Clinton
    – Organized and funded divisive rallies in the US
    – Was in direct contact with unwitting members of the Trump campaign
    – Stole US citizen identities to ‘legitimize’ payments

  3. Hugh

    Not sure how Don Jr. meeting with Russians to get dirt on Hillary is “unwitting”. And then there is Manafort who was a Russian asset. I agree that there was a Russian effect, but that it was dwarfed by Hillary being a god awful candidate and a crook, Republican voter suppression, and I would add much greater interference by another foreign actor, Israel. Still it is amazing that after detailing Russian interference that Rosenstein could then add that Russia had no impact on the election. He’s a lawyer, not a campaign analyst, political scientist, or historian. That assertion is simply outside his competence to make.

    I thought Al Sharpton of all people made a very acute observation. Trump released a victory tweet, but tellingly for Sharpton, he walked past reporters today while leaving for Mar a Largo. Sharpton noted that Trump did not take a victory lap with them, and that was totally out of Trump’s bombastic character, an indication that other shoes are still to fall.

    The two principal remain obstruction of justice and money laundering with the associated conspiracy to. It is also important to keep in mind that there is a Russian-Trump connection that is just weird most recently exampled by his refusal to enforce mandatory US sanctions against Russia overwhelmingly approved by the US Congress.

  4. BlizzardOfOzzz

    Not sure how Don Jr meeting with the Russians to get dirt on Hillary is different than Chris Steele meeting with the Russians to get dirt on Trump.

  5. realitychecker

    The ‘above-reproach’ FBI strikes again!

    I would caution against taking any early reporting on this as gospel, I’ve already noted vast differences in the reporting depending on what media team is doing the reporting. I would never expect Bloomberg to be a balanced voice without further investigation.

    But let me share something I haven’t heard anybody else pick up on yet, that is very revealing about the world we live in now.

    The markets peaked on January 29, and had the first big pullback we’ve seen in a very long time. Market commentary has mostly been of the ‘no specific trigger’ variety.

    But with today’s news, we know that there was a guilty plea entered on one of the indictments on February 2. That means the indictments had to precede by a day or two, at least. The market closed on Friday, February 2 down 100 S&P points from the highs of January 29. When it re-opened Sunday night, it went straight down through Tuesday, stopping 350 points below the January 29 high. Then it turned around and went up almost as dramatically as it had previously gone down.

    That looks to me like the indictments getting handed down were the trigger for the sell-off (which was due anyway, I’ve been warning my friends about the market and have been totally concentrated since mid-January on trying to call the exact top). The indictments caused the huge knee-jerk sell-off, the later clarifications that Trump was not directly implicated explains the dramatic comeback of 225 S&P points as of midday today.

    Here’s the kicker—only insider trading based on leaked info about the indictments could have enable any traders to play this dynamic successfully. The rest of the world is just learning that any indictments existed at all, WEEKS AFTER THE FACT. The leak had to come from Meuller’s team or someone in the FBI or Justice Department, because grand jury proceedings are secret.

    Whaddaya think, should we get Martha Stewart to investigate this obvious case of insider trading lol? This is just a very dramatic example of what goes on everyday on a lesser scale. Every damn day, and I know because I spend my days monitoring this stuff.

    But this is the FBI that only traitors would question./s

  6. NR

    “That looks to me like the indictments getting handed down were the trigger for the sell-off”

    Or, a much simpler explanation: The market activity had absolutely nothing to do with the indictments, and the paranoid conspiracy theory you’re pushing is just another pathetic attempt to discredit the people investigating your Dear Leader.

    I know which option my money’s on.

  7. bruce wilder

    I will disagree with Ian emphatically on one point: “The best solution would be an agreement to stop interfering in foreign elections on both sides.” misses the deep political problems on display here entirely.

    The Big Problem with the U.S. election process is that government has become wholly unresponsive to the needs and interests of the vast majority of the public. No matter what the Russians did in 2016 to get a candidate elected more favorable to their interests, the rest of us never had a chance.

    An agreement between Russian oligarchs and U.S. oligarchs that they are not going to interfere with each other is not going to solve any problem I want solved.

    The “dirty tricks” tactics involved are mildly interesting for what they reveal about the extent to which PR has been raised to a high art of cynical manipulation in which “troll farms” and the like are useful — not for actually mobilizing people to act in concert but for getting them excited antagonistically from the comfort of their couch or desk chair and leaving them confused, ill-informed and hopelessly confused.

    One can say that Hillary Clinton was a lousy candidate in many ways, including as strategic director of her own effort to persuade and mobilize. In retrospect, one wonders why she couldn’t see the need to send resources to Michigan or Wisconsin or Pennsylvania, or lie more effectively about having changed her mind on, say, NAFTA. But, the deep question is, why so few people see the gaping failure to govern effectively that is revealed by declining life expectancy and deaths of despair? Or why was it so difficult for Clinton to see that America’s mideast policy of more and more wars is bad policy? She could ritually admit a mistake on Iraq, but she could not say why she repeated that mistake in Libya. The answer, it seems to me, is that she and many of her allies in the Washington political classes are encased in a bubble where they cannot even imagine a politics that isn’t bought and paid for by powerful economic interests to enable economic predation. That the Democratic Establishment and the corporate Media have spent a year on Trump mania, as if nothing matters — and let’s be clear on this point, for all the impassioned scorn heaped on the other Party (or on partisans on all sides if you are playing the centrist card) there’s very little concern for consequences in evidence. Complacency is the odd complement to all the hysteria.

  8. realitychecker

    @ NR

    What would your non-conspiracy theory be, moron? I only have 30 plus years of closely studying and trading the markets to back up my opinions, what do you have to back up yours?

  9. realitychecker

    @ Bruce

    Great comment, very insightful, as usual.

  10. Name Withheld


    “This “information warfare” by the Russians didn’t affect the outcome of the presidential election, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told reporters. ”

    That is not what Rosenstein said. What he said was this:

    “There is no allegation in the indictment that the charge conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election.”

    That statement does not in any way mean that Rosenstein or Mueller don’t think that this interference altered the outcome of the election. It just means that ‘this’ indictment does not claim that. The next one could claim that or the one after that.

    In a similar vein this statement from Rosenstein has exactly the same caveat:

    “There is no allegation in this indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity,” he said.

    It is just this indictment which he states has no claim of knowing partcipation. The next might or the one after that.

    I expect here that Mueller is showing his smarts. Bring down another bunch, seemingly indicate to the administration that he has found no smoking guns yet, this results in a little less likelyhood that Trump goes off the deep end and fires him, and thus he gets a few more weeks of time, and guarantees that he will have the time to lay out another stack of indictments.

    In baseball terms I expect we are at about the bottom of the 2nd inning.

    I do like Bruce’s comment also.

  11. Observer

    So 13 Russian trolls tried to influence an election- what an utter joke. Compare that to the thousands of trolls that Hillary\’s Correct the Record operation hired. Pathetic. If this is all Mueller has as far as Russian collusion, he should be thrown into a dank dark prison for wasting millions on a nonsense investigation. And the Democrat retards who still think there is Russian collusion are dumber than Trump voters.

  12. realitychecker

    @ Name Withheld

    Your careful reading is accurate, as far as it goes, but remember that since we don’t know all the facts yet, it is just one plausible theory among several others.

    Another plausible theory would be that Mueller has nothing that would hurt Trump directly.

    We’ll see.

    But I will say, I have had a working theory since Election Day that anything that looks bad for Trump makes the equity markets go down, and anything good for Trump makes the equity markets go up. Following that theory faithfully would have made one a very rich man by now. And it makes sense, because Trump ascendancy symbolizes to traders that the corporations (my sworn enemies, btw), have everything going their way.

    OR, one could ask the moron NR for guidance, I suppose. He impresses me as a real serious financial genius. Might even have had a failing lemonade stand once.

  13. Charlie

    “In a Feb. 10, 2016, planning memo, the Russians were instructed to “use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump — we support them).”

    Well, they only had 30,000 reasons to criticize Hillary.

  14. Peter


    I suppose that massive short selling could have triggered the sell-off but wouldn’t the trading records show who did this and how they did it?

    I commented at another site soon after the crash that their could have been a trigger signal from the Nunes Memo that was released on Feb 2 after a week of frantic sandbagging by the snowflakes to distract attention from this classified document. The threat to the republic the corruption it exposed is real and involves prime movers from the last regime not some unknown Russians punking Clintonites on facebook.

  15. realitychecker

    @ Peter

    The Nunes memo, released Feb 1, was a good thing for Trump, but the market went down anyway, and went down in a bigger way than a political memo, even a critical one, was likely to do, IMO. Indictments are a nuclear bomb by comparison.

    There’s always a lot of different things going on at any one time that should move the market this way or that, and morons like my adoring fan NR abound who think they know something when they know nothing.

    Also remember that massive short selling produces the same effect as liquidation when stop loss orders get hit, and with moves on the order of what we saw that week, everybody’s stops probably got hit and the margin calls were plentiful and merciless.

    Anybody paying attention to the markets should have known we were playing musical chairs at that time anyway (I was trying to catch the exact top, and advising my friends to prepare for a big drop) we were just needing an immediate trigger to start the snowball rolling downhill. That is the nature of today’s trading markets, most are momentum players who jump and exaggerate any move that starts and has signs of promise as being real (rather than random) reaction to new information.

    But let me add, that the financial markets are a topic that everybody pretends to understand, whereas I can tell you, after dedicating the entire second half of my life to actually predicting the next move and doing high leverage short-term stock index futures trading, that it is too complex these days for amateurs or anybody who is less than fully committed to the process to understand, much less successfully predict. My predictions have been as good as, and in many cases better, than the famous names of traders that the public hears about in the media. That’s the honest truth, but I won’t list specifics because I just know the idiots here will simply say I’m lying lol.

    If you want to have a chance to understand what is really going on in the financial markets, you have to pay your dues and spend many thousands of hours glued to a screen matching up real world events with the immediate price changes that correlate with them. That’s just for starters. It’s never simple, and there is always a measure of uncertainty that one must live with if one wants to take decisive action.

    Snowflakes wouldn’t understand that kind of risk lol.

    Entrepreneurs might, but traders are the ultimate expression of the entrepreneurial spirit, and a special case that is hard for outsiders to understand. It’s a business model with no employees, no premises, no inventory, no sales calls, no advertising. Just pure analysis and risk-reward management. One cannot get there without a lot of hard work and commitment.

    The Peter Lynch days are over. Now trading is a game for dedicated pros only.

  16. realitychecker

    @ Peter

    I should add that the period leading up to release of the Nunes memo was more usefully viewed as a period when the lefty hysteria about it was being debunked little by little, and the market was rising along with that growing awareness that the Dems were full of shit again. Good for Trump.

    Remember, the markets are about seeing what is coming, not about what has already happened that everybody knows about. The smartest guys are first to figure out what should happen, and they take the risk of moving first before most have any clue.

  17. Mongo

    This was an informational indictment, meant to undercut Trump’s consistent ‘no there there’ regarding Russian interference with America’s electoral process. There’s little expectation any Russian named in the indictment will ever be arrested; this was about setting up the chessboard for future play.

    It also creates more context for the cases against Manafort and Paige, busted on charges incidental to election influence. This indictment is a signal, to them and others: make a deal, as Flynn and Papadapalous did. Do it before the next round of indictments — Americans, this time.

    Not arguing any position on the effect of Russian cyber activity on the election, or who benefits. Mueller and his team are the architects of this case, and today we saw one main roof beam set in place.

  18. Chiron

    shitposting defeated the billions wasted on intelligence and defense by the US establishment? It might be true, US is 17 in Afghanistan and the Taliban controls 70% country.

  19. Hvd


    What I find truly impressive about your self described resume is how you abandoned the pursuit of justice for a life as a gambler. I find it impressive as well that you played the same game as Goldman etc, yet rail against a corrupt system in which the precise thing you dedicated you life to was the prime driver of that corruption – the pursuit of gain (money) without producing anything of value. Entrepreneur my ass.

  20. Hugh

    “There is no allegation in the indictment that the charge conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election.”

    Name Withheld is correct as to what Rosenstein said, but there are two things that need to be said about it. First, a determination by Mueller or Rosenstein that Russian interference altered the election is, as I said above, outside their competence. Second, what is important is the attempt. Much as attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder are still crimes even if the attempt fails.

    Re the Steele dossier, opposition research bought and paid for is legal. Accepting such research from a foreign power or a foreign power working with Americans or on its own to influence an election are not.

    The take home of the current indictments is that they establish beyond any reasonable doubt that Putin and Russia made a large and serious effort to meddle in the 2016 election.

  21. Tom


    The only crime in that is the stealing of identities if proven in a court of law. The rest is free speech.

  22. Peter


    Putin sent his crack Katerer Korps on a mission to harass the Red Queen. They choose, as their target, the vunerable soft underbelly of the Homeland where people go to display their cat pictures and other less desireable stupidity.

    Does anyone know if their is an actual law code describing the act of, interfering with the operation of the US government?

    The Steele memos don’t rate being called a dossier it was a smear campaign cobbled together for shock effect to use at an opportune time during the last of the campaign. If Trump had lost the election no one would have cared about fact checking it because it had served its purpose and could be smirked about at the victory parties.

  23. BlizzardOfOzzz

    Well Steele was also representing a foreign power the UK – shouldn’t accepting intelligence from him be a crime according to that logic? Besides which, all Don Jr accepted was a meeting from someone claiming to have dirt.

    We know that the Mexican government was trying to influence the election for Hillary – you don’t suppose anyone on her campaign colluded with them in any way? Sounds like a full investigation is needed.

  24. BlizzardOfOzzz

    Did Trump make any effort to get himself elected? Yes? Then he’s helping Putin! Treason! The whole “collusion” narrative is comical.

  25. mike

    anybody know where I can get a cheap hazmat suit after reading these comments???

  26. realitychecker

    @ mike

    By all means, go buy the cheapest one you can find lol.

  27. @Hugh
    “…they establish beyond any reasonable doubt that Putin and Russia made a large and serious effort to meddle in the 2016 election.”

    The only part I might agree with regarding the effort is the “serious” part, and to even that I would add a caveat – Facebook? Tens of millions are spent monthly on Facebook and they spent thousands. How serious is that?

    There were people in Russia doing things, but that does not mean that Putin and/or the nation were responsible, and the indictment does not even make that claim. If people in downtown Phoenix were peddling drugs two years ago, are you prepared to indict Obama and Congress as drug dealers?

    A large effort? Clinton spent $1 billion in the media and Trump spent $500 million. These people spent less than 1% of that. Hardly a “large” effort.

    And what the indictment charges them with is “undermining confidence in democracy,” along with “attempting to sow unrest and dissent,” all of which we were doing to ourselves at a horrendous pace during the election, and are doing to ourselves at an even more frenetic pace now. We hardly need Russia’s help doing any of that.

  28. realitychecker

    @ hvd

    I guess you don’t know what “freedom” means. Choices are only for your favored victim groups, right?

    Very sad.

    Share your personal history, and let’s see if I can find any way in which you pursued your own personal interest instead of selflessly devoting your entire life’s energies life to achieving social justice to the exclusion of all else.

    E.g. You call yourself a ‘legal analyst.’ So you are responsible for all the outrages and failures that occur in the legal system. And you did it for the money. FOR THE MONEY. That makes you a disgusting human being who should eat shit and die.

    See how that works, asshole?

  29. @mike: I assume you’re joking because as anyone with experience is such matters knows that the price of hazmat suits has skyrocketed since the posts began.

  30. zot23

    This is the second shoe to drop (Gates/Manafort being the first) in a centipede’s parade of dropping shoes from Mueller. I don’t expect there to be a direct link to Trump at any point; no smoking gun phone call to Vladdy in the middle of the night. Still, it is definitely showing that there is fire in all this black smoke we’ve been stumbling through for the last year. I mean there is no doubt, if Mueller has the indictments in a court of law there is evidence, likely concrete.

    The more interesting question as this indictments begin to reign down isn’t how did Mueller see this, but how did every other agency (*cough* House Investigation *cough*) miss it? It’s almost as if they had to strain themselves to avoid seeing anything in this morass. That to me is much more damning than any actual connection to Russia.

  31. realitychecker

    Law and markets are both areas where certainty is rare or non-existent.

    But folks on lefty blog sites always pretend they have certainty about any and all topics in these areas.

    It explains a lot about where we are and how we got here, IMO.

    And shows the futility of even trying to help anyone understand anything complex.

    Ultimately, we all get what we deserve.

  32. Peter


    You do understand that the Manaford/Gates legal problems have nothing to do with Trump or Russia and the assistant AG made it clear that the Trump administration was, if anything, a victim of the Russian Bakers Dozen.

    The Trump/Putin collusion claims have never been anything but a witch-hunt on top of a campaign ploy and any smoke is due to snowflakes with their hair on fire trying to reverse history.

    We are in the early stages of exposing how this farce was plotted by prime movers in the Obama regime. They didn’t cover their slime trail except for Susan Rice who sent a sandbagging email to herself trying to cover for Obama. The report that Comey stated clearly to congress that there was no reason to charge Flynn with lying intentionally to the FBI but he was charged anyway appears to be a political maneuver.

  33. Willy

    My team needs to lie in order to win because it’s the better team because it’s my chosen team and my team is whatever I say it is. Last tag no tagbacks.

    Man, does our culture need the most massive of paradigm shifts.

  34. Ian Welsh

    Deleted a bunch of ad-hom comments. Edited a couple to removed ad-homs. Make your points without ad-homs.

  35. Heliopause

    “The election was so close that I don’t see how it can be said that the Russian interference didn’t effect the outcome.”

    This is a little bit like blaming that last bucket of water for the Titanic going down.

    Look, let’s just be brutally honest about this. The 2016 POTUS election generated the greatest information flow in world history, virtually all of it controlled by elite media and the major party campaigns. The notion that the contribution of these Russian trolls is even statistically measurable is laughable.

    Since the real world import of this effort was non-existent or, at best, microscopic the question immediately arises, why put all these resources into prosecuting it? Our breathless elite media helpfully answer this question straightaway; “…conspiracy by hundreds of Russians aimed at criticizing Hillary Clinton and supporting Senator Bernie Sanders and Trump.” The purpose is to brand anyone outside the narrow centrist consensus as either a dupe or agent of a foreign power, and thereby further consolidate centrist control of public discourse. Once we dispense with fairy tale notions of Mueller and his team upholding abstract notions of Justice and National Security this becomes abundantly clear.

  36. realitychecker

    @ Heliopause

    Wow, some actual wise and careful and accurate analysis.

    Thank you so much, please come around more often.

    We have too many mindless team boosters and not enough thinkers.

    Your voice is needed here to help balance things out.


  37. Willy

    I don’t think Helio’s confusing “centrist” with palatable “moderate” neoliberal ideas which the legalized corrupt kleptocracy tries to hide behind. (?) There really is a Third Way, but has that little glitch where it only long-term benefits the 1% club.

  38. Hugh

    The list of indictees and plea bargains just keeps getting longer and longer, but the usual denialists here continue to say that if you stand upside down on one hand while squinting into the noon day sun there is nothing to see. The cognitive dissonance is aroar. Both the Trump campaign and White House had very few people in them. There aren’t all that many scalps left

  39. BlizzardOfOzzz

    Right, who could forget the indictment of Manafort for evading taxes in 2014, or Flynn on a process crime. If that doesn’t prove that Putin is altering our precious bodily fluids, what will? WAKE UP SHEEPLE

  40. realitychecker

    @ Hugh

    Gee, the cognitive dissonance seems to be in you, Hugh.

    How many scalps are left at the FBI?

    I wonder why. Don’t you?

  41. realitychecker

    Oh, and would it be too ‘dissonant’ to consider the situation of Bruce Ohr?

    Just a bunch of poor, misunderstood Obama/Clinton criminals trying to steal an election.

    No big deal, really, amirite?

  42. Z

    The NYTimes never ceases to amazes me with their pettiness towards Trump and animus towards Russia. And yes, of course, there is plenty to legitimately criticize Trump and Russia about, but this headline is ridiculous: “Trump’s Silence Leaves Struggle Against Russia Without Leader”.


  43. Heliopause

    “Trump’s Silence Leaves Struggle Against Russia Without Leader”

    I’m curious what exactly all the frenetic Russophobes think should be done in this regard, since Trump is not “leading” on the issue to their satisfaction. Seriously, what should be done? Return to Obama era policies which had zero effect inhibiting the behaviors you find problematic? Issue more utterly meaningless indictments? What?

  44. NR


    “What would your non-conspiracy theory be, moron? I only have 30 plus years of closely studying and trading the markets to back up my opinions, what do you have to back up yours?”

    Argument ad hominem

    Appeal to authority.

    Two fallacies in as many sentences. Impressive.

  45. NR


    It is not “free speech” for foreign agents to impersonate U.S. citizens for the purpose of interfering in elections. That is a crime, which is why indictments were issued for it.

  46. realitychecker

    @ NotRational

    You need to read a book on logic. Because you are a real embarrassment.

    Have you EVER made a comment that actually said anything? Show us your best ever.

    We’ll wait. Go ahead, show us you’re not an empty vessel.

  47. Z


    I think this calls more for a George Washington moment: Donald Trump standing on the bow of a rowboat crossing the Bering Sea.

    This is the type of leadership this country needs in these times of peril.


  48. Z

    The NYTimes headline: “Trump’s Silence Leaves Struggle Against Russia Without Leader”.

    Sub-headline to story: “But an indictment secured by the special counsel underscored the broader conclusion that Russia is engaged in a virtual war against the United States.”


  49. Heliopause commented: “Look, let’s just be brutally honest about this. The 2016 POTUS election generated the greatest information flow in world history, virtually all of it controlled by elite media and the major party campaigns. The notion that the contribution of these Russian trolls is even statistically measurable is laughable.”

    This most valuable comment in the thread, which could beg the question of control, virtually existent or not, would nevertheless be of the kind that cannot adequately qualifiy the existence or non-existence of free will. So, yeah, maybe we peasant purveyors of information are discerning enough not to be duped, steered & controlled, or maybe that’s doubtful.

    Whatever, virtually all of the data regarding the elections in question should be viewed as dubious until proven otherwise, and the messengers in this drama — that is, not just the protagonist as well as antagonist teams, but the actors themselves — cannot be believed. It should moreover be instructive that the effective bylaws of binary democracy include an intelligent human capacity to believe one can measure and judge the relative trustworthiness of the least trustworthy in a society, and trust the marginal winner of that competition when in actuality the bedrock of what the Muellers & Trumps & Clintons & Bushes & Obamas & Putins of the world are peddling begs too many important points to be anything but moot. So what if one of them happens to utter a truth that works like a refreshing salve to your sore senses — Is it remotely relevant to their stage movements?

  50. Z

    Virtual war [vur-choo-uh l wawr]
    Def. : no bullets are fired and no one dies, but our rulers don’t get their way.

    I think I’m becoming a virtual warmonger.


  51. Ché Pasa

    The hysterics around the Russia Thing have reached fever pitch. The defenses and condemnations of “Russia” — standing in for any number of systemic failures in US politics and elections — serve primarily to obscure what’s really going on. Ask yourself who benefits. And what might the underlying problem be?

    If we don’t understand by now how vulnerable our elections are, and how easily they can be jiggered then we haven’t been paying attention. As was shown definitively by the aborted efforts at recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, it is impossible to verify the votes of millionsregardless of any “foreign interference”. There is literally no way to know and no way to find out if votes were cast and counted properly, nor in many cases is it possible to know whether or not voting rolls and/or mechanisms were compromised. This is not some accident of fate, it’s is a design feature of our electoral systems, one that is fiercely defended. “The best in the world!” It’s a lie.

    This is all quite apart from any foreign efforts to favor or disfavor one or another candidate. There’s ample evidence that such efforts took place, and equal effort goes into denying it. Or denying that it had any effect if it did take place. What these efforts demonstrate is how easily some public perceptions and beliefs can be manipulated as long as those who are doing it appear to be legitimate and/or confirm pre-existing perceptions and beliefs.

    This feature has long been recognized as a particular vulnerability of social media platforms. The old saw about lies traveling half way around the world before the truth can get its pants on is magnified and intensified on social media and there are very few defenses. Again, it’s not an accident of fate, it’s by design.

    We could go on and on, but the point is that foreign players including Russians really did exploit some of the more obvious vulnerabilities of social media and our electoral systems for their own ends. It had an effect on some people’s perceptions and beliefs and it may have had an effect on the outcome — we don’t know, and we can’t find out. Whatever the case, the fixation on “Russia” has helped to obscure real problems that aren’t being — and likely won’t be — addressed so long as the Right People continue to benefit from the way things are.

  52. BlizzardOfOzzz

    What these efforts demonstrate is how easily some public perceptions and beliefs can be manipulated as long as (they) … confirm pre-existing perceptions and beliefs.

    How will our democracy survive master trolls who manipulate you into believing what you already believed.

  53. Hugh

    So many trolls, so little content. The FBI has always had severe problems. J Edgar Hoover, anyone? But Trump’s war on the FBI is not about checking or reforming it but weakening and discrediting it to save his crooked ass. I think he will fail but do a great deal of damage along the way.

    I wonder if the trolls ever consider how much damage they are doing to Ian’s blog. Of course not, what was I thinking?

  54. THunter

    I’m confused, aren’t Reality Checker’s moronic comments pretty much all ad hominem. His use of moron is pure projection but it makes reading the comments an exercise in filtering idiotic responses he supplies with the thoughtful ones others post, i.e. not very enjoyable to read. His vitriol and constant attacks are complete shit.

  55. realitychecker

    @ Hugh

    You are getting more and more dishonest in your comments. Ignoring all the obvious CURRENT problems at FBI and DOJ, all by Obama/Clinton zealots, is a prime example, but not the only one. I wonder what the hell happened to you, you used to be a voice I could trust and respect. But no more. Now, disagreeing with you makes everyone else a troll? How is that OK?

    That makes Ian’s blog more like every other blog that caters to the left. You want another echo chamber? What makes Ian’s blog special is that he understands and respects the marketplace of ideas concept, which you seem to not do when you play the troll card like you do.

    I wonder if you ever consider how much damage you and other troll card players are doing to Ian’s blog. Of course not, what was I thinking?

  56. realitychecker

    @ THunter

    Nice. You make a comment against ad hominem that is all ad hominem.


  57. Heliopause

    “Sub-headline to story: ‘But an indictment secured by the special counsel underscored the broader conclusion that Russia is engaged in a virtual war against the United States.’”

    Since the NYT tells us we’re at virtual war I will ask the Russophobes again: What do you want done about it that isn’t already being done? What? Please tell us.

  58. realitychecker

    @ Heliopause

    Bomb the Kremlin immediately, of course! If you don’t agree, you must be a troll lol.

    Interestingly, the Times has been virulently and often dishonestly anti-Trump since he declared his candidacy, and somehow nobody ever mentioned that their biggest shareholder was Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, who sold his stake just a few months ago.

    This is where we are now, nobody is honest anymore about their biases. If we can’t talk things out, we’ll wind up fighting them out. 🙁

  59. DMC

    You want secure elections? Try mail-in paper ballots, like Oregon does. They’re countable and verifiable and next to impossible to fake or manipulate.

  60. Willy

    Is the swamp drained yet? Is Hillary still loose? Where’s the wall?

    Or were these just lies told to con voters to get yet another lying asshole into power? Why support yet another lying asshole, just because he proclaimed himself “an outsider”? Where’s the proof of even that?

  61. THunter

    LOL, feels good right? Reading at hominem attacks is boring, my point exactly. LOL, that’s all you’re good for though since your anger and worthless comments are little piles of shit amongst actual interesting and worthwhile comments. Buh bye

  62. wendy davis

    oh, bosh, you sillies! it ain’t just the roosians who’re interfering in our democracy™, it’s all of the chinese, and most especial the close to 400,000 chinese students here who are sent as spies!

    but this is supremely chuckle-worthy from b at MoA: ‘White House: “Iraq Has Anthrax Virus” “Russia Launched NotPetya”, including:

    “Neither the U.S. nor anyone else has presented ANY evidence of ANY Russian involvement in the creation or distribution of the NotPetya malware. The U.S. is simply asserting this while presenting nothing to back it up.

    There is, in general, no attribution possible for any such cyber attack. As John McAfee, founder of an anti-virus firm, said:

    “When the FBI or when any other agency says the Russians did it or the Chinese did something or the Iranians did something – that’s a fallacy,” said McAfee.

    “Any hacker capable of breaking into something is extraordinarily capable of hiding their tracks. If I were the Chinese and I wanted to make it look like the Russians did it I would use Russian language within the code. “I would use Russian techniques of breaking into organisations so there is simply no way to assign a source for any attack – this is a fallacy.”

    I can promise you – if it looks like the Russians did it, then I can guarantee you it was not the Russians.”

    and of course, wikileaks having released the CIA vaults 7 and 8, kinda nails that one.

    russiagate; bah, humbug. wake me when it’s over. a good way to turn the cold war hot, as prof. stephen cohen keeps saying. he’d also asked if ‘russiagate’ is really ‘intelgate’ recently.

  63. NR


    I see you’re still unable to make your points without ad hominem attacks.

    Really tells us all we need to know about the validity of your arguments.

  64. realitychecker

    I love and am totally amused by all the obviously brainless ones who crawl out of the woodwork just to tell me my points are ridiculous, or to tell me in an ad hominem way that my responses to ad hominem attacks are too ad hominem, BUT NEVER NEVER NEVER make a cogent comment of their own OR EVER attack any particular argument I make with an actual counter-argument.

    Seems like every low-grade nothing on the left thinks they are the ones who should be in charge of everything, when in real life they are not and never will be in charge of anything. Because, really, the very stupid never realize how very stupid they are. How could they? 🙂

    Note to the weak-minded—I’m not here to talk to hopeless idiots like you.

    I know you low-normals can’t be educated about anything, or teach me anything, so I’m just here to interact with those who have working brains. I know who they are, and you aren’t them. So, when you see something from me that you don’t like, realize that I don’t want you to read it.

    So, don’t cry, don’t melt, don’t get angry, don’t hold your breath until you turn blue.

    Just scroll.

    OR, if thine eye offends thee, put it out lol. Hell, put ’em both out, for all I care. You’re already blind, as far as I’m concerned.

    Got the message?

  65. THunter

    Who says you make cogent arguments? Oh, you do, that’s right. Stupid is as stupid does.

  66. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    From Hugh:

    I wonder if the trolls ever consider how much damage they are doing to Ian’s blog. Of course not, what was I thinking?

    Never mind the trolls, Hugh. I wonder if Ian ever considers how much damage the trolls are doing to his blog.

  67. Peter


    I’m always skeptical about these types of government pronouncements. When the Moonies rush out their Putin defense forces and have to dig up Saddam to whatabout I have to give the USG position more credibility.

    The FBI director didn’t say that all 400,000 Chinese students in the US were spies just that that was one way their observers enter the country and gain access to information.

  68. escher

    Andrew McCarthy at National Review has been consistently good on “Russiagate” and his analysis of this indictment is no exception.

    McCarthy is a former federal prosecutor (SDNY) and an anti-Trump conservative who leans hawkish on Russia, FWIW.

    Occam’s razor tells us that you don’t need a theory of foreign meddling to explain the loss of an unpopular candidate who ran a weak, tone-deaf campaign. With this development we now have additional confirmation that the practical effect of this Russian “meddling” we keep hearing about was nil.

    Ché Pasa was spot on:

    Whatever the case, the fixation on “Russia” has helped to obscure real problems that aren’t being — and likely won’t be — addressed so long as the Right People continue to benefit from the way things are.

    That’s been apparent from the start.

  69. NR


    Indeed, it’s pretty funny to consider RC’s words in light of the fact that his first comment in this thread said “Someone on Mueller’s team is corrupt!” and then provided absolutely no evidence to back up that assertion. And his latest comment is full of yet more ad hominem attacks while failing to present any sort of cogent argument for people to engage with.

  70. Herman

    Even if Russian meddling had some influence on the outcome of the election given how close it was I still think that the common sense explanations for Clinton’s loss still hold. Basically, she was a bad candidate who lost Rust Belt whites to Trump due to the free trade issue and she couldn’t offset those losses with higher turnout among minorities (especially African-Americans) like Obama could.

    The Russians may have had a small impact but I think people are exaggerating the influence of social media. For one thing, people are not as active online when it comes to politics as you might think and this is probably even more true for older Americans who likely won Trump the election. But those same people DO have a strong memory of losing millions of factory jobs over the last 20 years or so and they know that those jobs left because of NAFTA which was supported by Bill and Hillary Clinton. Nobody believed Hillary’s statements against the TPP after having supported it. They were obviously sops to the Bernie wing of the Democratic Party and it was clear to anyone paying attention that Clinton was going to push the TPP if she won, claiming that it was “fixed” now and a good thing for America.

    I guarantee that Bernie Sanders would have been immune to foreign meddling campaigns had he been the Democratic candidate. Of course, there would likely have been no meddling in the general election at all had Sanders been the general election candidate for the Democrats but assuming for the sake of argument that the Russians would have supported Trump in the general election against Sanders, I don’t think their meddling attempts would have worked.

  71. realitychecker

    @ NR

    This is you:

    NR permalink
    February 18, 2018


    Indeed, it’s pretty funny to consider RC’s words in light of the fact that his first comment in this thread said “Someone on Mueller’s team is corrupt!”

    Do you recognize your own comment, idiot? Do you understand that you are presenting something as an exact quote?

    But you left out the rest of the sentence, where I actually said:

    ” . . . from Meuller’s team or someone in the FBI or Justice Department, . . .”

    Ya know, where all the resignations and demotions are happening? Ten so far?

    This is your specialty, pretending to quote, but not honestly or actually quoting.

    Maybe you are just too fucking stupid to realize what a moron you are?

    Please go drown yourself already. And take the TurdHunter with you, since he has never said anything here of any substance, either.

    Two lazy, broken minds, thinking a five dollar keyboard turns them into something special.

    Spare me.

  72. Peter

    I thought this Russian Baker’s Dozen meddling story would give the snowflakes a boost in the news cycle and some red meat for the hungry witch-hunters. That may have happened but the statement that no one in Trump’s team was intentionally colluding with the Russians has sent some snowflakes into Mad Hatter territory.

    Marcy over at EW delivered one of her Byzantine manifestos where she tries to tie these Russian meddlers to the Manaford charges and all of it to some imagined conspiracy with Trump supposedly verifying Mueller’s mandate to witch-hunt. She finally jumped the shark when she claimed that Manifort was being paid by Russians when he worked for free for Trump. We are supposed to believe that Manafort was carring out Putin’s dictates while whipping the RNC into line to nominate Trump!

  73. mago

    Ha ha. Davidly delivered a coupla punches. So reading the invective not all for naught.

  74. realitychecker

    Why do we have so few here who embrace the idea of making direct and succinct statements of what they think, and instead attract so many who give us only cryptic convolutions in which nobody can discern the true intended meaning with any certainty?

    Would it be unreasonable to surmise that the purpose is to never say anything that can be directly challenged, so that responding to them can only be like shadow-boxing with a ghost?

    Hard to tell if these folks are so limited that they think they have actually said something, or whether they are simply acting in bad faith by pretending to engage in actual debate.

    Just sayin’ . . .

  75. wendy davis

    please at least realize that RC has done us all the honor of admitting that the only reason he goes full-tilt ad hominem is that he recognizes that so many comments don’t meet his requirements for sagacity, even if he used to respect you, or are dead to him. also, he genuflects frequently before our lord and overmaster ian welsh, knowing with certitude that he believes that this is a site in which ‘a marketplace of ideas’ can be discussed.

    but didn’t ian welsh note far upthread that he was deleting some ad hom comments? wonder whose those were….

  76. realitychecker

    Maybe I’ve had private email exchanges with our host that you have always despised so much.

    Maybe I know who got deleted, and you don’t because you weren’t here paying attention at the time.

    Maybe you’d do better crawling back into your little desert hole with your vanity blog and wait for the indigenous women of South America to save the whole world from all the nasty men. You’re not losing patience waiting, are you?

    Maybe you should stop worrying about me, and concentrate on your love life instead.

  77. THunter

    You are like a soap opera, dear reality pecker, full of sound and fury signifying nothing. Maybe you’re entertaining yet not filling, who knew maybe I love you. LOL! This is fun! Maybe!

  78. dbk

    @Bruce Wilder

    As others, I always appreciate your observations.

    Along those lines, Paul Street had a positive review (well, positive for Street) of Wolff’s book over the weekend. I think he made a very good point: amidst the constant tweeting and infighting and headline-grabbing and obsession with emotions and infighting at the WH, Wolff (and by extension others, including the MSM) missed a crucial observation: control has more or less been ceded to the oligarchs and their mandarins, and the MIC. And we’re missing much of what’s actually being done (Federalist Society-approved federal court appointments; rolling back of /weakening environmental regulations [Clean Air Act and Clean Power Plan; offshore drilling; opening up national wildlife reserves to drilling; scaling back the borders of national monuments to allow mining and logging]) and much more in all areas.

    Writing what RC would doubtless refer to as a “vanity blog” these days which follows ongoing developments in health, the environment, justice, and education, I think I agree with Street – a lot of what’s being covered serves to distract most people (how deliberate this is, I cannot say) from what Congress, the courts, and the president’s Secretaries of the Environment, HHS, Ag, Education, and the AG are actually doing, or attempting to do.

  79. realitychecker

    @ THunter

    If you have EVER made a comment here that actually said something of any value whatsoever please reproduce it for us.

    I say you never have. Prove me wrong if you can.

    Lazy sideline sniping is your achievement ceiling.

    Live with it.

  80. Peter


    It’s a shame how easily some people fall into line with pinkos like Paul Street. This is a clown who publicly pines for the days when thousands of card carrying Stalinists infected our government and society. Attempting to portray this Stalinint admirer as a champion of working people or democracy is ludicrous.

    What you see as palace intrigue is mostly the product of our fake news media. Trump has about 50 million people he communicates with completely bypassing the MSM and the fake news translations of his tweets are rarely accurate.

    Unable to stop Trump’s agenda the feeble left uses lazy distractions such as Trump has ceded power to people some of whom are his globalists enemies. Trump is dismantling Obama’s weaponized environmental rules and opening up access to critical mineral and energy supplies while relying on tens of thousands of existing EPA rules to regulate these enterprises.

  81. Willy

    What’s the point in continuously criticizing the left as unworthy snowflakes, when the right has so many clearly and obviously mindless lemmings?

  82. wendy davis


    a few things: an old yaqui teacher had advised us that we might be mindful that Death lives just out of sight behind our left shoulders, awareness of which might cause us to ask ourselves: ‘is this what i’d want to be doing if these might be my last moments?’
    most of us blogging and commenting do indeed seem to have (ahem) rather well-developed personalities, but i find it useful to look up at the night sky and milky way to
    find some perspective as ‘we here are all dust in the cosmic winds’; kinda tames some of my ego.

    i’d also note that your ubiquitous comments on this thread were hard NOT to pay attention to. i’d been trying to inject a little humor into your doings here, and i’d think you might do better to find some of that again, even some of the self-deprecatory sort. (smile)

    i get the sense that in the strength of your convictions, you might see this site as a place that can change the world for the better as you imagine it. while i do understand blogging in bubbles, i think, but cannot prove, that even could you change all other participants here to your point of view, it would change the world very little.

    as to your writing my life script here, as you’ve done with others, it blows me away that you portray me as ‘hating men’, only loving SA women’. but yes, i do recall your ‘wendy’s world, pink pussy juice’ or some such ugly description me. now i will say that i realize that the café is decidedly a boutique blogsite, dunno about ‘vanity’, but it’s gotten even more boutique lately, lol. and yes, i should pay more attention to my love life, as should we all, but given the decreasing commentariat, i’ve begun cross-posting at a larger site, and it’s going rather well as far as kinda radicalizing a few folks there, so…i seem to be online even more these days.

  83. Willy

    Many polls and studies are out there. In the sixties 70% polled trusted government to do the right thing, and today the percentage is not even one fourth of that. Every major institution: law, religion, education… has suffered similar losses of public trust. It’s not that hard. Government and other institutions have increasingly catered to elite power and wealth at the expense of the common good.

    Freedom/capitalism is being skewed from an imperfect system, into a fully corrupt one.

    What’s the point in continuously slapping people in the face with red herrings? The post’s point was that “the best solution would be an agreement to stop interfering in foreign elections on both sides”. If such a thing could be implemented and then enforced, I bet trust poll numbers would begin to change (and of course a bunch of other establishment power game restrictions as well, but that’s outside the scope of this one).

  84. NR


    Just pointing out that this is yet another comment from you that consists of nothing but ad hominem attacks. Again, this tells us all we need to know about your arguments.

    Oh, and telling people to kill themselves would cross a line on many websites. We’ll see if it does here.

  85. realitychecker

    @ NR

    How typical that you don’t refer to your deliberate misquoting of me. But everybody else can see what you are.

    You deserve all the ad hominem you can get. Including a massive beatdown, if that was possible to effectuate. Sadly, it’s not. Cowards like you depend on that.

    I didn’t TELL you to do anything.. I ASKED you.

    I’m asking you again. Pretty please. Use the toilet if necessary. You should feel right at home there.

  86. NR


    “You deserve all the ad hominem you can get. Including a massive beatdown, if that was possible to effectuate.”

    So you think anyone who calls out your bullshit deserves a massive beatdown. You’re just getting more and more unhinged. It’s quite the spectacle at this point.

  87. Willy

    Remember the film “I Am Legend”? The part where Alice Braga has just rescued the doctor whose been completely alone with a dog for years, and after a few exchanges she says: “You’re not so good with people anymore, are you?”

  88. different clue

    The various posters and commenters over at Sic Semper Tyrannis have been discussing various aspects of this in some detail lately. It would take hours of careful reading and careful thinking to read all the relevant posts and threads and make up one’s own mind in a rolling provisional way as more stuff keeps emerging and unfolding.

    Here are just a few sample posts for people to see if they might be interested or not.

    And they keep going back further into time, for those who are interested.

  89. NR


    Let’s go over what happened in these comments, shall we? You claimed that the recent stock market fluctuations were the result of insider trading spurred by someone on Mueller’s team and/or the FBI. I pointed out that you offered no evidence whatsoever to back up this claim of corruption.

    You responded by:

    – Hurling ad hominem after ad hominem at me
    – Telling (sorry, “asking”) me to kill myself multiple times
    – Saying that I deserved a massive beatdown

    I don’t think I really need to say any more. I think your actions here speak for themselves.

  90. realitychecker

    @ NR

    The evidence was the timing, as I explained, drawing on my vast experience and knowledge of market behavior. It was my educated opinion, and I have a long history of sharing my market calls and insights with my supposed allies on the left, and nobody ever lost a dime following my advice or any of the many specific trading calls I shared for years at FDL. I’ve always liked the idea that my progressive allies should be able to make money by doing short term market trades. So I share what I know for free.

    You know nothing about markets, but you challenged me in a derogatory tone anyway, because that is what you have done for months anytime you see my name on a comment.

    Don’t play the innocent now. You are a wiseass who gets slapped down for being a stupid wiseass. And then you whine about it.

    You get what you deserve. And you just can’t quit me.

    It’s OK, I can make morons like you cry for your mama any time, even when you travel in packs.

    When someone shows they can’t think or be respectful as appropriate to their level of ignorance, and persist in being aggressive and obnoxious about it, like you and the other usual suspects, then ridicule is what they deserve, and is the only kind of negative reinforcement I can deliver in this venue.

    You could always avoid that result by not starting up with me. I never have any trouble with the thoughtful or the respectful folks here, but you and your friends are in a completely different category.

    Maybe try growing up.

  91. Ian Welsh

    A variety of comments have been deleted. This thread is now closed. Pre-approved comment moderation is now enabled, as per the post above this one.

  92. realitychecker

    @ Donald

    I don’t know you, and I don’t know how often you read this blog, but there are a half dozen who come here, never have anything of substance to say themselves, and get a thrill out of seeking me out for some kind of obnoxious thrill; it really doesn’t matter what I say. I invite you to pick any half dozen threads at random over the past year, and evaluate the dynamics presented by NR, Willy, The Steve Miller Band, to name just the three very worst offenders.

    If you do that, you will see that they have made a consistent practice of attacking me in specious and dishonest ways.

    I am sorry if it makes you uncomfortable when I push back against them, but you would plainly see that they start it every single time. They make it impossible to carry on any serious conversation with more thoughtful folks, or even with folks who just act in good faith.

    I wonder what you would like me to do about it?

    Ian, to his great credit, does not want to infringe free speech by censoring or banning anyone. I’ll say right now, that if Ian wishes to choose between having these three or having me here, I would be very happy to abide by that decision.

    For myself, I am disgusted at having to interact with these stooges at all, and would NEVER seek them out. I am not here for them, I am here to interact with the more thoughtful and intelligent people that come here because Ian is always worth reading and supporting. I hope to teach some, and to learn some.

    But ironically, while I value Ian because he is not bound by dogma, many here seem compelled to attack anyone who does not embrace current leftist dogma, even though that dogma is in so many respects the opposite of pre-Obama leftist dogma.

    I am trained, and qualified by experience, to have serious discussions at the highest level, and that’s where I’d prefer to be. But I can also be a street fighter, and when I get attacked, I respond in kind rather than flee to a safe space.

    I can’t imagine how the world will ever be saved by the current testosterone-and-reason-free types who now characterize the left, so I am trying to do an intervention of sorts. Sadly, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it think.

    Remember when the idea of reality checks was invented and subscribed to by the left? Now, the word invites automatic attacks. ‘Tis a puzzlement, no?

    Peace to you.

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