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

Republican Daddies and Democratic Mummies

Robert Mueller

So, Mueller, the Savior, the Chosen One, He Who Was Going to Take Down Trump, has testified, and it’s a big, flat, flop.

As before, he won’t clearly say anything. It’s all dancing. Yes, you can read between the lines and get what he’s saying, but he won’t be straight and give lines on which to hang a prosecution.

Mueller, of course, is Republican.

Democrats go crawling to a Republican to save them, and then he doesn’t. This is a surprise?

Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi, who as Majority Leader in 07-08 refused to use her power against Bush in any meaningful way, also refuses to impeach Trump.

Of course, Trump has been impeachable since day one on emoluments charges. He’s clearly in violation, there is no defense.

It’s almost certain the Senate wouldn’t convict him, but impeachment hearings would let the Democrats control the news cycle for months, and drag every piece of corruption out into the daylight.

It would help, of course, if Pelosi was willing to use inherent contempt to force testimony from reluctant witnesses.

Pelosi is party leader because she fundraises and gives to other Democrats. She is personally rich, as with essentially all political leaders in the United States. The country is being run more or less how she wants it run. She’s done fine, her family has done fine, her friends have done fine.

She pushes through some stuff on the margins to help, but will never push to change anything fundamental or really rock the boat.

That’s who she is, and anyone who denies it is has their head up their ass, or perhaps up hers.

The Republican daddy won’t save you (why did Obama put a Republican in charge of Defense?). The Democratic Mummy’s job is to keep you pacified while her class get richer and richer.

Those are the simple truths. If you support Pelosi, and you aren’t doing really well, you’re a fool. As for Mueller, he was never going to save anyone, and he gives no appearance of particularly wanting to do so.

If they wanted to use it, the Democrats have the power of inherent contempt (and can use the DC jails if they choose–DC is under Congress’s control).

They refuse to even do that, let alone impeach.

This is because they don’t, actually, want to. Why would they? They’re doing fine, and if some of their supporters aren’t, well, a sucker is born every second.

The results of the work I do, like this article, are free, but food isn’t, so if you value my work, please DONATE or SUBSCRIBE.


Who Bans or Encourages Crypto?


Open Thread


  1. nihil obstet

    I’ve never understood any of this. Usually even on the crazy stuff I can figure out why people believe it, but this? Trump’s a crook, and has always been one. He could have been prosecuted on a number of fraud and labor laws at any time over the past twenty years, and has continued with prosecutable corruption since his election. Neither other politicians nor the media have made an issue of that.

    Then there are the allegations about Russian interference in the election. We’ve established a system so opaque and so apparently corrupted that the usual ways of checking on honest elections, like exit polls, don’t give the right answer. Any addressing of this issue has focused on stopping troll farms on social media rather than serious reforms like paper ballots publicly counted, voting rights enforcement, transparency laws with regard to political/issue funding.

    So I can understand why totally corrupt leaders would put on this show, but I don’t understand at this point how it can have any effect whatsoever on anybody outside their cocktail party lists.

  2. Ché Pasa

    “Democratic Mummies” heh. You got that right.

    I understand deference to elders and all, but the Dems are ruled by a gerontocracy that stopped learning/growing around 1982, and that’s true pretty much up and down the Party apparatus. It’s not just Nancy, far from it. There is a younger progressive caucus, but by and large, they have no power, and their elders delight in slapping them down and telling them to shut up. By and large they do as they’re told.

    As for Dems hoping for Rs (the Daddies) to do the right thing, haha. Nope. Nah gonna happen. But hope springs eternal, no? Of course Dem leadership is conditioned to accept and protect things as they are. The status quo, whatever it is, is just fine for them. The restive lower orders can just wait. Eventually they’ll be elders, too, and when it’s their turn, some of them will be rewarded. Other’s won’t.


  3. Mallam

    Che Pasa has the general dynamic correct: these people are all too fucking old, they all came of political age in a different time, and they fear Republican backlash if they exercise any power in governance without asking permission first. It’s not because Pelosi is rich, although it doesn’t help. It’s that she doesn’t want to take a risk and endanger her majority because of her own political upbringing and experience taught her that taking such risks only spur backlash. And with no hope in the Senate “what’s the point?”

    Of course, it’s not Morning in America anymore, the 1990’s are over, and there is growing support for increased liberalism. There’s not much evidence I can see that there would be any kind of backlash to exercising this power, but no one cares about evidence anymore. The media declared it a failure, so it is.

    As far as Mueller, I don’t think his being a Republican really affected his decisions either, but I do think Trump successfully intimidated him. Many campaign finance experts for example believe Don Jr. clearly should have been charged/indicted, and I think if it was anyone else he probably would have. Maybe not, all our campaign finance laws are being junked under “free speech” rights under this Supreme Court anyway.

    With the recess upon us, flooding Congressional townhalls when the critters go back home would probably be worthwhile. Pelosi is complicit, she’s also a coward and derelict of her duty. However, she can also count votes. If the votes move, she’ll move.

  4. Willy

    What has Nancy ever even promised? I see a bunch of vagaries like “unity”, “strength”, “dynamism”, “the future of the party”, etc.. So we get the party all whipped into a frenzy, but then what? Towards what ends? Certainly not what the polls suggest the people want.

    For their part the daddies hate her guts. But specifically, why? Because she’s the Official Bad Mommy? Do they much describe the reality, that she’s just another effete elite whose primary purpose is Being There to grandly hobnob and engage in mock battles with her own kind?

    Talk about a dysfunctional family. I’ve known sane kids from such families, where parents and siblings are selfishly messed up and they’re the lone normal one. Mueller seems a little like that kid. Just lay low and survive. Don’t rock the boat. Just do the job. Then get the hell out of there as soon as possible.

  5. Hugh

    I agree. It wasn’t just Democrats but the Establishment in general who wanted Mueller to save their asses and get rid of Trump. In fact, the Establishment has serially anointed virtually every Republican who issued some random, unserious peep against Trump. Invariably, after taking a quick star turn in the media, they folded immediately back into the brothel of cowardly whores that is the Republican party. They even did this with a career hack like William Barr. He lobbied to be Trump’s hitman at the DOJ, but that was supposed to be OK because he was deemed an “institutionalist” –until of course he wasn’t. Then they moved on to Pelosi, the grand strategist, the 52-dimensional chess player. But Pelosi’s strategy her whole career has been to do nothing. In Pelosi-speak, this is called “leadership.” She just waits until the pendulum that swings toward Bush or Trump swings back in her direction. When people get sick enough of Republicans, then they will come back for a cycle or two to the Democrats. Standing for anything, fighting for anything (other than as Ian says, her rich friends) are just so much wasted energy. The thing is if Trump has been derelict in the discharge of his duty, Nancy is being equally derelict in hers by failing to hold him to account as prescribed by the Constitution.

    End of first part of comment.

  6. Dan

    I share nihil obstat’s confusion about the motives and mentality of people who believed Mueller would or could prove collusion with Russia to throw the election while ignoring obvious and provable crimes as well as the opacity of the electoral system and its known vulnerability to hacking and voter suppression.

    Matt Taibbi is probably right that the press and political establishment cannot let go of Russiagate, but why did they latch onto it so intensely and exclusively, and why have they not pursued low-hanging fruit and clearly quantifiable, solvable problems?

    Everyone’s doing it, just not with Putin.

    My best guess is that Trump’s crimes and scandals that can be easily demonstrated are the kinds of things every oligarch is doing at home and abroad with all kinds of terrible people and murderous regimes, especially the Saudis since the 90s. There have been presidentially favoured despots in every administration. Tax evasion, fraud, labour abuse, money laundering, greasy kickbacks and bribes — this is just business as usual too. But the class of people who exist at this level have to morally differentiate themselves, so they always need a monstrous, demonized enemy who is not their despot of choice at the moment. Why not a mafia-controlled petro state they raided and got pushed out of by an ex-KGB strongman turned white Christian nationalist and NRA fan?

    1) Maybe out of all the dirty things everyone is doing, colluding with Russians (or any foreign national) to throw a US election is one thing no other political or financial elite has done or can imagine doing, so it’s safe to pin on Trump without any near or long-term blowback.

    2) Maybe the political and financial elite truly believe Trump’s campaign colluded with Russian state actors because most thought they had the fix in for Clinton, and what else could explain their humiliating defeat? Regardless, the heartland and evangelical base of the GOP is clearly aligned with RT’s messaging, so if you want to change that, you have to discredit Trump+Russia. Maybe the idea was that Mueller would achieve this twofer.

    It seems to come down to a question of why Russia is deemed to be such a threat to so many western establishment figures and mouthpieces that they would pursue the election meddling and campaign collusion narrative so strongly, for so long, in the face of such failure to make it stick.

    I imagine there are a lot of historical reasons for Russophobia among western elites, but it is a bit of mystery to me why it has continued to be so strong after the Cold War. Bannon openly challenged this and called for a strategic pivot away from (or with) Russia toward China as a key part of his “economic nationalism.” Bannon is gone, and his ideas never seemed to get any traction.

    It’s impossible to know motives, but judging from their behaviour, western liberals and neoconservatives (non-nationalists) who have a hand on the levers of power and influence fear and/or hate Russia quite deeply and sincerely. Maybe they dimly understand Putin has locked onto the formula for helping the liberal west dismantle itself from within. Maybe it’s about Israel and Iran, which is to say oil and gas. Maybe rumours and anecdotes pile up fear and revulsion — what Putin said to Merkel that time on the phone, how he duped Bush, how he humiliated Kerry and encouraged racist taunts and depictions of the Obamas.

    Elites at a certain level are paranoid and have armed guards around all the time for a reason. Sometimes people take shots at them, and it’s not going to go in the news, but stories go around. Conspiracy theories might be even more prevalent in their weird world than agitated average internet users. It’s possible things get crazier as you move up the food chain, not less. That’s definitely true for the right-wing billionaires, but why not all of them? All evidence suggests widespread and increasingly unmasked insanity.

  7. Dale

    I once read that Thomas Jefferson was a terrible public speaker; He had an irritating voice and people couldn’t stand listening to him. But boy howdy, that man could write. His fingerprints are on so many of this country’s founding documents. hat is what his reputation is based on.

    Mueller and his staff wrote two reports. The hearings today got him to agree that once Trump leaves the presidency his actions are indictable. Many of his staff lied under oath for him, he colluded with the Russians. What more is needed? As Mueller kept repeating, “Read the reports.” The man isn’t a movie star, how do people expect him to act?

    Have the citizens and “journalists” of this country become so inbred that they need action movie type drama to understand that? Edward R Murrow must be rolling in his grave.

  8. Mallam

    Look Dan, I know you’re overly conspiratorial minded, but the facts are the facts. Many people here — including our host, who once posted bullshit nonsense from The Nation because it confirmed his own priors re: Russia’s hacking — continue to be in denial about what occurred. Look around at what has happened in Austria, what was literally recorded on tape with respect to Italy and Lega Nord.

    It doesn’t mean that KSA, Israel, UAE and maybe Turkey/China weren’t also in on the take. They got a piece of the action. Some of the election meddling tracks back to private Israeli firms. But the fact of the matter is that Trump has always been involved with Russian mafia and money laundering. It’s been his entire business because he’s a failure and a fraud at business itself. And he wanted a Trump tower deal in Moscow, and there was a quid pro quo whereby the Russian state hacked his political opponents in exchange for sanctions relief on oligarch money. We are still waiting for Roger Stone’s trial that will show other aspects of so called “collusion”. The Senate Intelligence report (much of it redacted) doesn’t document those other actors tampering with the voting systems, but all the evidence points to Russia. It’s not “Russophobia” to acknowledge these facts.

  9. Hugh

    As for Mueller, I think that what has gotten shorted in the media’s sanctification of Mueller and his investigation was the institutional view. What I mean is the Iron Law of Commissions (and/or probes, investigations, etc.) Commissions and special investigations are sold to us rubes as impartial attempts to get at the truth. What they actually are are mechanisms to kick the can down the road until such time as we rubes have forgotten, our tempers have cooled, or the waters have been sufficiently muddied. On top of this, commissions can be limited by their budget and timeframe. But the really fundamental way the product of a commission is controlled is by who gets named to them (or put another way who does the naming) and what the scope of the commission is. I learned much of this from studying the 9/11 Commission. It was at least the third such commission. The White House had operatives in its structure. They sought to limit its time, budget, and access to White House officials. Very specifically the Commission was prohibited from assigning blame. And most of its recommendations were left to twist in the wind for a considerable time. So what does this have to do with Mueller?

    Mueller was chosen by Rod Rosenstein, the then Deputy Attorney General, after AG Sessions had recused himself. What is important to remember about Rosenstein is that he wrote a memo laying the ground work for the firing of Jim Comey, the FBI director, on the basis of his handling of the Clinton emails when Rosenstein knew at the time that the real reason was the Russia investigation. (

    In doing this, Rosenstein obstructed justice, as set out in 18 US Code 1505:

    “Whoever corruptly, or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication influences, obstructs, or impedes or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede the due and proper administration of the law under which any pending proceeding is being had before any department or agency of the United States, or the due and proper exercise of the power of inquiry under which any inquiry or investigation is being had by either House, or any committee of either House or any joint committee of the Congress—

    Shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years or, if the offense involves international or domestic terrorism (as defined in section 2331), imprisoned not more than 8 years, or both.”

    Rosenstein did not want to name a special counsel at all, but was eventually pressured into it. So in some really fine CYA, he chose someone who was credible but would defer to him and the DOJ (a godsend to AG Barr when he decided to hijack the report) and stay within the limited scope of the inquiry as he Rosenstein laid it out. Mueller a conservative Republican with a long history in law enforcement and even longer deference to the chain of command was the perfect candidate. On top of this, Rosenstein oversaw Mueller and could tabs on his activities.

    If the Establishment media had not been so enthralled with Rosenstein and Mueller, and the narrative they wove around them, the tells were there. First, the primary objective of the investigation should have been interviewing Trump under oath or before a grand jury. They knew what the political considerations were, the appeals process in the courts, and election timing. Everything should have been scheduled with this in mind. So Mueller’s it got late in the process and we ran out of time does not ring true. Second, the media created this narrative that Mueller was working his way up from small fish to bigger and bigger fish. But this too was untrue. Mueller had fairly early on both Mike Flynn and Rick Gates (Manafort’s chief lieutenant) under the gun and cooperating. So he started out near the top. But then seemed to go nowhere particular with them. Third, if you want to be taken seriously, you go hard and you go heavy with your indictments to send a message to all concerned that they better deal early and fruitfully, or else. But Mueller’s indictments went exactly the other way. People like Papadopoulos were undercharged and received barely a slap on the wrist. Later, when Manafort (essentially a career criminal reneged on his deal, something Mueller et al should have seen coming for miles) this opposite message had been sent and was received by Manafort’s judges who sentenced him more lightly (the inequality of our justice system) as a white collar offender and not an inveterate criminal. Fourth, after we saw the report, several other pulled punches became evident. Mueller did not follow Trump’s finances. With Trump, a life long crook himself, if you want to understand him and his actions, you follow the money. This was a no-brainer. Mueller could have but did not name Trump as an unindicted co-conspirator or state that only Trump’s position as President and DOJ policy precluded his indictment. He could have talked about collusion, its association with conspiracy, and while not itself a named criminal offense, certainly a term that does occur in the law. He could have and should have indicted Don Jr. on lying to Congress at the least, and possibly Kushner as well for his pattern of lying on government forms about his Russian and other connections, and certainly Rosenstein. Fifth, then there was the whole, here’s the report, I’m done hand off to Barr who immediately sat on it, lied about it, and hacked and edited it to pieces. This elicited a brief ten minute response from Mueller, looking very tired, and another I’m done. Then the final Congressional subpoena, delay, testimony, and final now I’m really done. Speculation on my part, but Mueller’s health may have determined the timing of the report’s release but not its overall content and trajectory. The report does show that Trump obstructed justice on multiple occasions and that the Russians were certainly trying their best to meddle in the election, with highly debatable results. But as a conservative Republican, Mueller was not going to do Nancy Pelosi’s work for her. And Pelosi is not going to do her work if she can possibly avoid it. So there we are.

  10. Eric Anderson

    Dale, Dan & nihil —

    You don’t get it b/c, I’m going to assume, you don’t watch a lot of television.
    I watch, maybe, 4hrs of television a week, which isn’t even really television b/c I just pirate the shows I want to watch — think GoT type stuff. However, the average american watches just over 5 hours of TV a day. 5 hrs a day being exposed to content created by social psychologists who know the viewers brain & its heuristic frailties better than the viewer does. All the while existing for one single purpose that it not your entertainment — it’s to sell you things you don’t need. And one of the things you need the least is to hear the views of rich people. But that is ALL you hear when you turn on that idiot box. They own it. They control it. And through it, they control you.

    Now add facebook on top of that 5 hrs.

    95% of this country is simply vacuous. It’s really that simple. Everyone thinks it applies to everyone but themselves — that they’re smarter than the ad execs and the spin doctors.
    They’re not.
    They’re zombies. Whether they’re red or blue zombies just depends on which particular channel is propagandizing them the most. They don’t listen to people like us. We’re to fringe. Our ideas so foreign. We’re all tinfoil hat wearers. Reality is what Jake Tapper tells you it is. Reality is a TV show. How could it be otherwise for them?

    Go ahead, pick up the latest edition of social psychology textbook and start reading. There is an entire world of tried and true research with no other intent than to lure you in for the score. You think you’re aware. You’re not. Dunning-Kruger got ya again.

  11. Eric Anderson

    Final thought:
    Said it once and I’ll say it again. The revolution won’t be televised because it will never happen until enough people don’t have a television.

    TV is revolution kryptonite. Don’t think for a second the media owners aren’t banking on that fact. Just keep you slack jawed and compliant b/c you don’t want to miss the latest installment of Survivor.

    Worthless junkies.

  12. Bill Hicks

    This why I have no respect for Sanders or “the Squad.” As long as they call themselves Democrats or run for president as such, they are useless and just as beneath contempt as the rest of that hideous party.

  13. Chiron

    Trump is good for Israel, that is the answer.

  14. bruce wilder

    Eric Anderson may have the right of it: television rots brains.

    There was never any substance to the “Russia meddled” allegation, let alone the “Trump colluded with evil Russians” allegations. It was always just baseless, irresponsible propaganda fed thru the completely uncritical corporate Media.

    The weirdest thing about the whole “Russia,Russia,Russia” narrative is that it found enough of an audience to be a ratings winner. I find the narrative incredible and the motives of those entertained by it difficult to fathom, but it is what it is: Sheldon Wolin called our passive acceptance of nonsense and non-involvement in political action, the inverse of totalitarianism to contrast it with early 20th century propaganda-driven total involvement of the individual in mass movements.

    An actual revolution is not being televised; instead, the mindspace of actual politics is filled with a substitute, a hack-scripted drama that instead of dealing with current problems, uses faint memories and myths of past political dramas to create an illusion of democratic politics.

    We have been descending into a political culture of silly reboots and sequels, repeating once successful political dramas as formulae. Not “like” the vapid entertainment programming served up as television and movies in our post-500-channel media rcosystem but as an extension of the same.

    Mueller and Russia,Russia,Russia was a simple re-write of Watergate as vaguely remembered: with expectations of dramatic revelations and inexorable political power shifts. All built very cleverly not on the substance of what was done, what happened, what mattered, context but on imagination triggered by groundless speculation and innuendo.

    It is hardly the only such synthetic political drama creating a false and useless organization of political inaction. Much of the appetite for social justice on the left has been channeled into campaigns for the rights of transgendered people or accusations of “racism” that are as rote as they are empty of substance.

    Trump, birther-in-chief and ridiculous reality teevee star is more progenitor than victim of this system.

    As for Pelosi, i would note that she does sometimes give hints that she wants to “do things” and she gets shut down by her caucus — which she has worked hard to shape into more complacent, conservative directions by promoting blue dog candidates from the suburbs with military or natsec or police backgrounds.

    But, what keeps this system going is the combination of the tidal wave of noise in ordinary people’s lives (television on 5+ hours a day!) and the lack of social affiliations. The critical voices in corporate Media who might model good judgment and question substance-less narratives however breathlessly presented are simply not employed by CNN or the NY Times.


    I commented about the Mueller investigation a couple of years prior. I had it right. Spot on, in fact. This isn’t rocket science. It’s perception management.

    Don’t Get Your Hopes Up

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Lawyers are scumbags. I have yet to meet one or know of one who is worthy of my respect. They are the worst of civilization. They’re even worse than pedophiles, and that’s pretty f*cking bad. Why are they worse than pedophiles? Because lawyers have the ability to do much more damage than pedophiles. Pedophiles can only damage one victim at a time as horrible & heinous as that is, but lawyers, especially government lawyers, can ruin millions, nay tens of millions and perhaps even hundreds of millions, of lives with their diabolical “legal” machinations.

    I have no faith whatsoever that justice will come from Rod Rosenstein’s (imagine that — a Jewish Lawyer — I didn’t know there was such a thing!!) appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel. The following Politico article validates my assertion. It didn’t inform my assertion, it validated it.

    Lawyers suck. Shakespeare had it right — what he said is as relevant today as it was centuries ago. They are evil Incarnate. If you believe Mueller can be independent & objective in this endeavor, you are a fool and I have some swampland to sell you in the Arizona Desert. No lawyer is independent & objective, especially Robert Mueller despite the lamestream media’s admiration for him & his “stellar, impeccable credentials.” Prove me wrong. I want to be wrong, but I know I’m not.

    Mueller’s Law Firm’s Clients Could Cause ‘Wrinkle’ In Appointment

    Robert Mueller could face one significant issue with his appointment as special counsel to lead the Justice Department’s investigation into ties between Russia and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign: The law firm he’s worked at since 2014 has represented several prominent players in Trump’s bid for the White House.

    Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Trump’s daughter Ivanka and his son-in-law Jared Kushner are all clients of Wilmer Hale, the firm Mueller is leaving to assume the position of special prosecutor overseeing the high-profile Russia election probe.

    One prominent expert on government ethics rules said Wednesday that lawyers entering federal service would normally be required to recuse themselves from decisions regarding individuals who were represented by the new official’s former firm.

    “It’s a possible wrinkle in all off this,” said Richard Painter, a University of Minnesota law professor and former White House ethics lawyer under President George W. Bush. “Usually, there would be a one-year cooling off period.”

    More at the link behind the title.

    Robert Mueller, appointed FBI director by George W. Bush, was the genius behind turning the FBI into a highly contrived, and illegal in my opinion, counterterrorism unit that creates terrorist plots out of thin air and recruits unwitting, basically retarded, Americans to engage in terrorist acts. Do you trust this geriactric, aristocratic ass to find justice in regard to anything Trump has done and will do? If you do, you’re an IDIOT!!! He has been appointed for containment purposes only, not to find or bring justice. He will drag this out for many years to the point most people will forget about it and not care any longer. This born-with-a-silver -spoon-in-his-mouth old codger works for the plutocracy because he’s one of the plutocracy. He always was and always will be until the day he dies. The containment crew is being called in to mitigate the spectacle & contain the damage. Mueller’s one of the wealthy elite. He has nothing but disdain for the little people. Wake up, people!! The foxes are guarding the hen houses, and I have some news for you, Trump is not a hen. You are.

    Here’s an article from Rolling Stone about the FBI’s new mission set in motion by George W. Bush and the then FBI director, Robert Mueller. What a bunch of sick, twisted, sadistic bully boys. These people are about as anti-democratic as one can be. They rival Putin’s Russia in their mendacity. And we’re to believe they will be independent & objective about Trump’s chronic criminality? Give me a break. Get the f*ck out of here. How stupid do you think people are? Nevermind, you’re right, they’re pretty f*cking stupid.

    How FBI Entrapment Is Inventing ‘Terrorists’ – and Letting Bad Guys Off the Hook

    The feds have seized an Orwellian power – the power to decide which ideas are dangerous, regardless of the genuine threat they pose.

    This past October, at an Occupy encampment in Cleveland, Ohio, “suspicious males with walkie-talkies around their necks” and “scarves or towels around their heads” were heard grumbling at the protesters’ unwillingness to act violently. At meetings a few months later, one of them, a 26-year-old with a black Mohawk known as “Cyco,” explained to his anarchist colleagues how “you can make plastic explosives with bleach,” and the group of five men fantasized about what they might blow up. Cyco suggested a small bridge. One of the others thought they’d have a better chance of not hurting people if they blew up a cargo ship. A third, however, argued for a big bridge – “Gotta slow the traffic that’s going to make them money” – and won. He then led them to a connection who sold them C-4 explosives for $450. Then, the night before the May Day Occupy protests, they allegedly put the plan into motion – and just as the would-be terrorists fiddled with the detonator they hoped would blow to smithereens a scenic bridge in Ohio’s Cuyahoga Valley National Park traversed by 13,610 vehicles every day, the FBI swooped in to arrest them.

    Right in the nick of time, just like in the movies. The authorities couldn’t have more effectively made the Occupy movement look like a danger to the republic if they had scripted it. Maybe that’s because, more or less, they did.

    The guy who convinced the plotters to blow up a big bridge, led them to the arms merchant, and drove the team to the bomb site was an FBI informant. The merchant was an FBI agent. The bomb, of course, was a dud. And the arrest was part of a pattern of entrapment by federal law enforcement since September 11, 2001, not of terrorist suspects, but of young men federal agents have had to talk into embracing violence in the first place. One of the Cleveland arrestees, Connor Stevens, complained to his sister of feeling “very pressured” by the guy who turned out to be an informant and was recorded in 2011 rejecting property destruction: “We’re in it for the long haul and those kind of tactics just don’t cut it,” he said. “And it’s actually harder to be non-violent than it is to do stuff like that.” Though when Cleveland’s NEWS Channel 5 broadcast that footage, they headlined it “Accused Bomb Plot Suspect Caught on Camera Talking Violence.”

    In all these law enforcement schemes the alleged terrorists masterminds end up seeming, when the full story comes out, unable to terrorize their way out of a paper bag without law enforcement tutelage. (“They teach you how to make all this stuff out of simple household items,” one of the kids says on a recording quoted in the FBI affidavit about a book he has just discovered, The Anarchist Cookbook. Someone asks him how much it says explosives cost. “I’m not sure,” he responds, “I just downloaded it last night.”) It’s a perfect example of how post-9/11 fear made law enforcement tactics seem acceptable that were previously beyond the pale. Previously, however, the targets have been Muslims; now they’re white kids from Ohio. And maybe you could argue that this is acceptable, if the feds were actually acting out of a good-faith assessment of what threats are imminent and which are not. But that’s not what they’re doing at all. Instead, they are arrogating to themselves a downright Orwellian power – the power to deploy the might of the State to shape a fundamental narrative about which ideas Americans must be most scared of, and which ones they should not fear much at all, independent of the relative objective dangerousness of the people who hold those ideas.

    To see how, travel with me to rural Florida, and another arrest that occurred at almost exactly the same time. On April 28, members of American Front, a white-supremacist group labeled “a known terrorist organization” in the affidavit justifying the arrest, took a break from training with machine guns for a race war in order to fashion weapons out of fake “Occupy” signs which they planned to use to assault May Day protesters in Melbourne, Florida. No script, no choreography for maximal impact on sensation-hungry news broadcasts, no melodramatic press conference with a U.S. attorney and FBI Special Agent in Charge; this arrest only went down after an informant working with state law enforcement fled in fear for his or her life after being threatened by the group’s leader Marcus Faella with a 9mm pistol. And though the media reported the involvement of a “joint terrorism task force of FBI and local law enforcement” the arresting affidavit does not even mention federal law enforcement; the charges filed were state, not federal. A circuit court judge scrawled a bail amount of $51,250; that was accidentally knocked down to $500. The Cleveland anarchists were held without bond.

    The contrasts are extraordinarily instructive. When federal law enforcement agencies take an affirmative role in staging the crimes, the U.S. Justice Department then prosecutes, leaving more clear-and-present dangers relatively unbothered, the State is singling out ideological enemies. Violent white supremacists are not one of these enemies, apparently – because, as David Neiwert, probably the nation’s top journalist on the subject, told me, the federal government has much less often sought to entrap them, even though they are actually the biggest home-grown terrorism threat. That is unconstitutional, because law enforcement’s criterion for attention has been revealed as the ideas the alleged plotters hold – not their observed violent potential.

    Who else are we supposed to be afraid of? Certainly animal-rights and environmental radicals. In 2006, when FBI Director Robert Mueller announced the indictments of Animal Liberal Front activists who burned down a horse-rendering plant in 1997, harming no humans, he called such property destruction one of the agency’s “highest domestic terrorism priorities.” We’re supposed to be afraid of Muslims, of course – though not even necessarily Muslim militants. In a sting stunningly anatomized on a Pulitzer-worthy This American Life episode from 2005 the target, British citizen Hemant Lakhami, known as “Habib,” was an Indian-born Willy Loman, so dumb he referred to night-vision goggles, which he’d never heard of, as “sunglasses” and so broken down and desperate for attention he told the federal informant he had full-sized submarines to sell. He was egged by the informant into selling him Stinger missiles (Lakhami had approached him hoping to sell him mangoes). Upon Lakhami’s terrorism conviction then-U.S. Attorney Chris Christie stepped up to the press conference microphones to announce, “Today is a triumph for the Justice Department in the war against terror. I don’t know that anyone can say that the state of New Jersey, and this country, is not a safer place without Hemant Lakhani trotting around the globe attempting to broker arms deals.”

    But don’t worry your pretty little heads over the epidemic of far-right insurrectionism that followed the election of Barack Obama: all told, according to a forthcoming data analysis by Neiwert, there have been 55 cases of right-wing extremists being arrested for plotting or committing alleged terrorists acts compared to 26 by Islamic militants during the same period. The right-wing plots include the bombing of a 2011 Martin Luther King Day parade in Spokane and the assassination of abortion doctor George Tiller in 2009. Neither of their perpetrators, it goes without saying, had been arrested before they attempted their vile acts; neither required law enforcement entrapment to conceive and carry them out. It’s just too bad for their victims they did not fit the story federal law enforcement seeks to tell.

    I use the word “story” advisedly. Entrapment is the most literary of abuses of power: Investigators and prosecutors become as unto little Stephen Kings, feeding into, and feeding, the fear centers of our lizard brains in order to manipulate their audience. Unsurprisingly, the tactic crops up whenever the powers that be are themselves most frightened for their power, such as during the 1960s, when instigation of criminal acts by agents provacateurs infiltrating the anti-war movement became extremely prevalent. When one of the accused Chicago 7 left the courtroom just as a witness for the prosecution left the stand, the other six became horrified when it became clear that the guy who had just got up (actually to go to the bathroom) was a plant about to testify against them.

    The antiwar movement soon learned whom to be afraid of: people who don’t quite fit in, who always seemed ready to volunteer for anything (if you’re on the FBI payroll, you don’t need a job), people pressing violence when everyone else in the room preferred peace. In the 1972 “Camden 28” trial of Catholic left conspirators who tried to steal and destroy registration records from a local draft board, the star witness got his breaking-and-entering training from the FBI and swore in court that the accused never would have raided the building absent his leadership. Although the people the FBI preferred to recruit were the sort who had trouble keeping jobs anyway. They were frequently mentally unstable: the agent provocateur whose recordings got twenty-three members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War indicted for supposedly conspiring to attack the 1972 Republican National Convention with “lead weights, ‘fried’ marbles, ball bearings, cherry bombs … wrist rockets, slingshots, and cross bows” had received a psychological discharge from the Army. And they were usually criminals. In the Harrisburg 7 trial of in 1972 (in which the feds fantastically claimed that a pacifist priest, some nuns, and their confreres intended to blow up the steam tunnels beneath Washington, D.C.) the prosecution’s star witness had offered himself to the FBI as an undercover New Lefty from the jail cell where he was serving time for so many crimes the U.S. Attorney had classified him as a “menace to society.”

    The entrapment game still works the same. In the case documented on This American Life, informant “Habib” was such a notorious liar, thief, and con man that the feds deactivated him – until after September 11, when suddenly “different FBI bureaus were fighting” for his services. The key informant in the Animal Liberation Front arrests was a truck thief and heroin addict. The dude in the Cleveland anarchist case, identified by as a Donald Trump fan named Shaqil Azir, had convictions for cocaine possession, robbery, and passing bad checks – and was also under a current check-fraud indictment the FBI covered up in its affidavit. They also neglected to mention his frequent appearances in bankruptcy court.

    Such choices are a feature, not a bug: Criminals with cases pending are able to act more convincingly as, well, criminals, and will do anything the government asks to reduce their sentences; sociopaths are better able to manipulate the emotions of macho young men. The play’s the thing. Although sometimes the play becomes too convincing: In the Watergate hearings in 1973, some of the witnesses testified that hearing about VVAW’s violent plans to disrupt the Republican convention were what convinced them it was OK to break laws on behalf of their president.

    Not everything is the same since the 1970s, of course. The media has changed: Newsday editorialized in 1972 of the Camden case, “We have come to expect such tactics from totalitarian nations that have no respect for individual rights permitting dissent. They have no place in American and those who advocate them have no place in this government.” You don’t see that sort of language much any more. Indeed, Newsday appears not to have covered the arrest and trial of Hemant Lakhami at all. “Such tactics” are just not a very big deal any more.

    You know what else has changed? You and I – to our shame. Entraptment is illegal – but the question of whether law enforcement set up a legal sting or illegal entrapment is for a jury to decide. Entrapment was why juries acquitted the defendants in the Camden, VVAW, and Harrisburg cases. “How stupid did those people in Washington think we were?” a Harrisburg juror told a reporter. The feds don’t have to worry about folks like that any more. Not a single “terrorism” indictment has been thrown out for entrapment since 9/11 – not the Liberty City goofballs supposedly planning to blow up the Sears Tower who had no weapons and refused them with offered; not the Newburgh, New York outfit whose numbers included a schizophrenic who saved his own urine in bottles. (Even the judge who sentenced them said “the government made them terrorists.”)

    The civil liberties of the Florida white supremacist Marcus Faella, at least, have been honored. He was out on bail the day he was arrested. There’s no police informant to monitor his activities any more, but not to fear. His experiments in attempting to produce the deadly toxin ricin, according to the Florida affidavit, have not so far been successful. And Connor Stevens, heard on the menacing video shown on Cleveland news saying that his favorite part of Occupy protests ” is meeting people walking down the street, average people, talking to them, hearing about how they’re affected by the economy, by the justice system, things like that”? He is safely behind bars. So, for the rest of his life, is Hemant Lakhami, the hapless Stinger missile salesman. The man who put him there, Chris Christie, is now the celebrated governor of New Jersey, and was all but begged by his fellow to run for president. Republicans think he tells a good story.

  16. Ten Bears

    What Chiron said.

  17. “Those are the simple truths”

    Not interested in these particular simple truths. There are far deeper agendas at play. E.g., George Webb has pointed out that 4 US intelligence assets have been misrepresented as Russian Spies:

    July 24th, 2019. Did Mueller’s Team Commit Prosecutorial Malpractice. Or Malfeasance?

    Webb also says not to trust Barr (who did, after all, start out his career in the CIA).

    The coup-like intelligence operation against Trump had roots in British intelligence, something our Republican and Democratic friends seem ignorant of. More to the point, they act like they want to remain ignorant.

    That’s one sure way for us sheeple to remain ignorant, isn’t it?

    Robert Mueller’s Deep State affiliation is far more relevant than his Republican affiliation.

    Not surprising for the guy who was FBI director when this went down:

    Ole Bob didn’t exactly get to the bottom of that one, either!

  18. Ché Pasa

    As for Mueller’s “performance”: I can only believe that all the principals knew full well how addled and aged he had become. Not only that, I suspect he was selected — as many old men have been — specifically because he wasn’t entirely on top of his game. Whatever else he is, Rosenstein is no fool, and though Sessions was certainly a fool, he wasn’t stupid.

    The whole thing smacked of performance art from the get go. Nevertheless it was a credible if incomplete investigation of some truly hinky shit that suffused the 2016 election, shit that is still going on, and shit nobody — who can — wants to do anything about.

    In other words, this is not just the New Normal, it’s been the Normal for a long time. It’s not and has never been just Russia. It’s not and has never been just the corruption of a Family Named Trump. It is instead an entire class of wrong-doers who sit on top of the rest of us. Trump represents his class (which is why he isn’t liked, he’s too icky); Russia represents a whole raft of foreign money-influence, one of many cash spigots that keeps our rulers ruling.

    Our national elections are farces. They are easily manipulated, and Our Rulers like it like that. That’s why nothing substantive is done about it, except in some cases to make things worse. Of course! The easily jiggered election is necessary for the proper control of the masses. And it has a long history.

    Mueller’s report digs into an aspect of that corruption and manipulation, but you can be sure that unless the Revolution comes, his report is going on the shelf to gather dust like almost all the other Reports commissioned in our lifetimes.

  19. Eric Anderson

    Hey now. Easy on the lawyers. There are those of us out there who are continually trying to use what little power my license gives me to make the world a better place one client, one 501c3, and one argument at a time.

    The problem isn’t the lawyer per se, but the adversarial English common law system. Do a dive into the European. Ivil law system and see if lawyers still get the same bad rap.

    Like any profession, the sociopaths seem to rise most quickly to the top because capitalism rewards sociopathic wealth accumulation behaviors. Same with politics. The two party system is designed off the legal system that bore it — adversarial.

  20. ponderer

    Well before Trump was elected I commented that at least if he won he wouldn’t be able to get away with anything because his enemies were so rabid and numerous. I don’t understand how Ian or others are convinced of criminal behavior that no one can manage to get in a court room. The same names with the same diatribes appear over and over yet “evidence” that would hold up in a court, never materializes.
    It could be that he really is guilty and that his support for Israeli policies over American ones is delaying the inevitable convictions until after his terms. The israel lobby being one that Pelosi would never go against. I haven’t seen anything on Emoluments that every previous President couldn’t have been charged with for example. In which case just wait another 5 years and we’ll see what happens.
    As documented at Moon of Alabama and Sic Semper Tyrannis the corruption the Mueller’s report gives evidence to is that of the Clinton’s, DNC, Obamas, and the establishment generally. Using MI6 and Israeli assets through the CIA to set up collection on the trump campaign to start a rigged FBI investigation should dismay any decent people, but rarely gets mentioned on this site. That the Russian connections were clearly entrapment operations and involved multiple intelligence sources gets blissfully ignored by most here. As was the fact that they were entirely unsuccessful. Maybe its to bring in more DKos readership, but you’ll have to start singing the praises of Biden before that happens.

  21. bruce wilder

    @ ponderer

    The DKos readership, like much of older, suburban professional-class electoral base of the Democratic Party, is living inside its own delusional bubble. Mueller and Russia,Russia,Russia is just one of many gaslit rooms in a mansion of many such rooms.

    re: Mueller as a lawyer

    The charge that Mueller is a bit of an entrapment artist has some force. And, not just because he charges the cover-up rather than the crime. He also focused his prosecutorial resources on technicalities rather than his investigatory resources on establishing facts. It made for a crappy report, with either sweeping theses with no support in factual detail or propositions framed as empty negatives. Ultimately, Mueller carried water for the Intelligence Community in empty buckets and his inability to find some moral force for his prosecutorial zeal, such as it was, doomed his effort to irrelevance.

    It is not the Mommy Party v the Daddy Party — both of those metaphors imply moral force of some character. But, I think at this point, neither Party has any moral force left. Each was looking to the other Party to come up with some. And they have nada.

  22. BlizzardOfOzzz

    It’s a sign of how lazy the left has gotten from having their agenda imposed by unelected judges and bureaucrats. They’re just totally convinced there must be some rules-lawyering they can do to invalidate the election.

    “Republican Daddies” — I guess this is as close as we’ll come to a white man’s lament that his party is run by women, queers, and foreigners … LOL.

  23. Eric Anderson

    Hey Ian,

    What was that you said recently about Markos pulling up the ladder?
    Couldn’t find the tweet.

  24. Marcus

    A little bit off-topic, but where in America can one live without being stuck in a one-sided culture of self-congratulatory progressives or convservatives, or – as is my case, in a midwestern town with a big progressive clique – stuck between both? Does such a place exist?

  25. Ian Welsh

    Haven’t said anything about Markos recently, but basically he wanted in and now that he’s in he a gatekeeper rather than a crasher. He didn’t want to crash the gates for everyone, just for himself.

  26. Hugh

    I agree with Ché Pasa. We can vote for Trump’s party which serves the rich or Nancy Pelosi’s party which serves the rich. The Establishment hates Trump even though he is one of their own and if you want to see something really revolting, watch a bit of Morning Joe when they are in full-on Establishment mode. They are positively salivating at the prospect of a return of their chunk of the rich and elites to power. Then they go on and say all the things they are going to do and that we can’t have. They do this in complete arrogance and completely uncaring of the fact that what they are saying is exactly why so many people voted for Trump in the first place. For them, it is either Trump or them, and we schmucks have nowhere else to go. So suck it up.

    I wish people could accept a more nuanced, complicated narrative. Putin is a dictator and a neo-imperialist. Russia is even more heavily looted by its oligarchs than we are by ours. And it did meddle in the elections. Russians were crawling over the Trump campaign like ants over like food dropped at a picnic. And no that is not normal. And yes, it is suspicious that virtually everyone in the Trump campaign lied and lied repeatedly about their contacts with Russians. None of this denies that a country like Israel routinely interferes in US politics and elections. Or that Hillary Clinton became the Democratic nominee in a thoroughly corrupt and rigged process or that she was one of the worst campaigners in Democratic party history, which when you think of people like Gore and even Biden is really saying something.

    I would say too that legal does not equal legitimate. Trump won in an anachronistic, anti-democratic electoral college but he lost the popular vote by 3 million votes. So he became President legally but his Presidency is not legitmate. Get used to it. And even though Putin did meddle, it is unlikely this meddling changed the outcome. It simply further delegitimized Trump and his Presidency.

  27. Ché Pasa

    For himself and a bunch of would-be political consultants who helped him start the site and hung around until they were hired by candidates or office-holders. 

    Once they were in, the goal was achieved.

    Then they got bored. Being political playahs wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.

  28. Hugh

    Should read “like ants over food”.

  29. Hugh

    Moulitsas through things like Netsroots appropriates the progressive label and applies it to a bunch of center-right policies and politicians. Also have you noticed in the MSM there is no Left? There is only a Far Left and this gets applied to anything that is not center-right.

  30. Eric Anderson

    Here’s a sign that trend may be starting to change. This is a pretty damning piece from Krystal Ball (I’d hate my parents) of The Hill who was a former MSNBC host:

    I’d say The Hill is pretty mainstream — google news certainly thinks so.

  31. Herman

    People put way too much stock in politicians. Anybody who puts their faith in Pelosi or Sanders or AOC or Trump or any of these people is foolish. That is why I don’t understand people who ruin friendships and family relationships over politics. Your inner circle of family and friends might be there for you if you end up in a bad spot but not any of these politicians.

    As far as less affluent people supporting Pelosi and the Democrats, some do it out of naked partisanship (“Team Blue vs. Team Red”) or because of identity politics or social issues or because they figure that voting for the lesser of two evils is worth it which is not something that I would sneeze at. “Support” doesn’t always mean that you are a fervent supporter. You can give qualified support to bad politicians because you think the alternative is worse. That is why I understand why some people still vote for the Democrats even if they find them disappointing. The same could be said for people who dislike the Republicans but vote for them because of their stance on abortion or some other issue that makes them lean to the GOP instead of the Democrats even if they don’t really like either party.

  32. NR

    So, are we just gonna ignore the fact that Blizzard is using slurs to talk about types of people he doesn’t like?

  33. Ten Bears

    Blizzard has advocated here that the dead students and teachers and grieving parents and first responders at Sandy Hook Elementary School are crisis actors, and that those dead students and teachers are not dead. Sucks but, the Blizzard of Ooze is pretty easy to ignore.

  34. Willy

    Four out of five Bliz comments recommend sugarless racism, for the economically stressed who need better jobs. Myself, I just chew gum. Solves everything.


    The second round of the farcical democratic party debates should be enlightening if not entertaining. Brought to you by Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey.

    I’m not arguing against M4A, but what exactly does M4A look like with unstoppable tsunamis of refugee migration coupled with the deleterious health effects of climate change (chronic kidney disease) and the runaway price of technological innovation in extending lives?

    Last time I checked, hunter-gatherers didn’t have dialysis and insulin. When their time came, they laid down under a tree and died instead of bankrupting the village.


    Unless you believe in unicorns, considering the implications of climate change to include an uncontrollable, exponential increase in chronic kidney disease requiring dialysis to extend life, the burden upon the healthcare system becomes untenable. And that’s just one specific healthcare implication of climate change.

    The cost of dialysis treatment varies widely depending on where the patient is treated.

    Dialysis treatments are most expensive at the hospital. Some hospitals charge as much as $9,900 for a single emergency treatment.

    Receiving the same treatment at a health clinic would cost an uninsured patient about $500. It’s estimated the annual cost for hemodialysis is $89,000. A year of peritoneal dialysis will cost around $53,000.

    Costs are increasing but they can be managed.

    $42 billion is spent on hemodialysis in the USA every year. The vast majority of the money comes from Medicare.

    It’s likely that kidney disease care represents a large part of your clinic’s budget.

    The average kidney dialysis cost in USA is very steep. Every year, only a fraction of the people on the kidney transplant are matched with a donor organ.

    That means that the vast majority of ESRD patients still rely on dialysis. They represent 1% of the Medicare population but they use 7% of the resources.

    Figuring out how to lower the costs would help a lot of patients. It would also ensure you have more funds to run your clinic.

    Absent forcing slave labor to produce the dialysis machines and administer the dialysis, you can only minimize the costs so much. There is a floor at which point you can go no further and the cost is as low as it’s going to get. Discussing this with progressives like AOC is like discussing the concept of God with evangelical christians. They effectively say, “talk to the hand.”

  37. sleepy

    Bill Hicks

    Due to highly restrictive ballot rules here is literally no way to run for a national public office unless you run as a dem or repub.

    Sanders has far more chance running as a democratic socialist in the dem party than he would running as a democratic socialist in a democratic socialist party.


    About the age thing–young voters under 45 prefer the oldest candidate, Sanders, by far. It’s not age but policy, or we’d all be in on Teacher’s Pet Pete candidacy. The vast majority of pols dem or repub are repugnant no matter the age. Age is useful for someone as an identity politics tool, but it’s not useful for the rest of us.


    Hugh: I wish people could accept a more nuanced, complicated narrative.

    Yes, perhaps one where the original story mongers and their motives were identified? One where unsupported accusations and sweeping statements by the Intelligence agencies and their corrupt leadership were examined critically. Or the role of Clinton-associated think tanks in pushing story lines might be part of \”the narrative\”.

    If we were to get really \”nuanced\” we might talk less about nothing-burgers like the infamous Trump Tower meeting with the Russian lawyer and more about U.S. Foreign Policy and whether it is a good idea to gin up hostilities and \”war\” talk vis a vis a nuclear-armed foreign power. Or to perpetuate numerous, chaotic hot conflicts in the Middle East.

  39. different clue

    The “legal but not legitimate” rubric becomes a “one’s own petard” one becomes hoist on if Sanders were to win by an electoral majority but a popular vote non-majority.

    If that were to happen, and a President Sanders were to find himself thereby delegitimized, the hustlers of that “legal but not legitimate” canard will have only themselves to blame.

  40. different clue

    After all, “legal but not legitimate” is exactly what the soon-to-seccede Southern Leadership held against President Lincoln.

    And the “legal but not legitimate” canard has exactly as much truth value today. Perhaps California and New York should seccede and form a NeoConfederate States Of America 2.0 . . . . because that is where almost all of this “3 million popular vote majority margin” came from.

  41. Willy

    Absent forcing slave labor to produce the dialysis machines and administer the dialysis, you can only minimize the costs so much.

    You don’t get to the doctor much, do you? Price gouging is common today in the medical, pharma and insurance industries. In my own personal experience, it’s far worse than even just 20 years ago.

  42. Ché Pasa

    Treatments for my chronic condition are billed at more than $100,000 a year; Medicare pays about 40%, I pay about 5%. In civilized countries, the cost for the same medications and treatments is a few hundred dollars a year, and as far as I know, slaves aren’t forced to make and administer the medications. No, the costs are astronomical in this country because the makers of the medications are allowed to charge whatever they want, and by golly they do.

    It could be administered in a clinic by any competent nurse; instead, I’m required to spend 8 hours in the hospital twice a year, further inflating costs.

    M4A could potentially reduce these costs significantly, but since Medicare is paying these huge inflated costs as it is, though only a percentage of what’s billed, it makes you wonder.

    I’m all for nationalizing drug manufacturers at this point. They are vampires. All of them.

  43. Hugh

    No matter who you are if you win the electoral college but not the popular vote, your Presidency isn’t legitimate. Erecting strawmen gets us nowhere.

    bruce07, perhaps you have trouble with the legal concepts. As was said about Nixon, it wasn’t the crime, but the coverup that ended with his impeachment and resignation.With the case for obstruction clearly laid out in the Mueller report, what will get him done in, if he is, is his coverup. Similarly, with the Trump Tower meeting, it isn’t the content, it is that it happened at all. How is the weather in Saint Petersburg BTW?

  44. Why secede, dc, when it’s gonna’ all fall apart in a few years? I have had this conversation with proponents of Cascadia!, before the NAZIs began their attempt to hijack the movement: don’t even talk about secession, it’s a waste of time and effort, of air. Far better to keep quiet and prepare for when we are once again a hinterland, an afterthought, of only peripheral value. The Untied States has grown too large, too diverse, spread across too much territory, its infrastructure too hollowed out, and as with a perpetual motion machine, bound by the laws of dog and nature to fail, it is a statistical inevitability it will fail. Don’t waste time talking secession, be prepared for when we are kicked to the side of the road.

  45. Willy

    Somebody here once suggested a M4A system which was ‘mixed economy’, where patients could choose between government, private or some combination.

    Sadly, the actual competition between different public and private systems, all competing to check and balance each other, would resemble capitalism. That would be risky. Everybody knows that normally functioning capitalist societies always lead to totalitarian communism.

  46. BlizzardOfOzzz

    Hugh, at this point I honestly hope you are actually Jewish. Otherwise you’re reaching a level of shabbos goy that shouldn’t be possible.

    For your next act of shilling, maybe you could explain how one would cover up a crime that didn’t go through the formality of happening? Or how accepting oppo research from Russia is a criminal conspiracy, but accepting it from Britain is totally (as your people say) kosher?

  47. bruce wilder

    Hugh, with Nixon there actually was a crime, the investigation and prosecution of which Nixon actually obstructed.

    As Mueller has insisted repeatedly, no attempt to reach a judgment on, let alone build a case for, obstruction was made. Without an underlying crime, obstructing the investigation and prosecution of which would be the objective of an alleged obstruction, it would be very hard to establish criminal intent.

    The weather this Sunday in Russia’s federal city on the Baltic is still quite warm, but a shower is expected to introduce cooler days ahead.

  48. different clue

    The alleged “difference” between legal and legitimate is the strawman here.

    And consider this . . . if we had no more Electoral College and a single national-count popular vote election for President, and the huge Urban Concentrations won the election by virtue of a bigger popular vote, and used that win as an excuse to rule the rest of America as their Conquered Province, they would create for themselves a Spanish Civil War here on this continent. For their Popular Vote Majority would be “legal” but it would be illegitimate.

    No? It would certainly be illegitimate in the eyes of the Colonial Victims of a California-New York Dictatorship. Such a Dictatorship would not stand. It would drown in blood and burn in fire.

    But that is not likely. Because the Electoral College can only be abolished by Constitutional Amendment. And it is not likely that a lot of small or low-population States will voluntarily vote to amend the Constitution to give a few High Population States a permanent Imperial Overlord status against the whole rest of the country.

  49. Do I read correctly, as saying that climate change causes kidney disease?

    If so, can anybody de-mystify this shocking claim? It seems quite insane, to me.

  50. bruce wilder

    Of course, as it is, the deplorables in flyover states have been treated to deindustrialization in service to the Clinton agenda of financialization and globalization that has made a small coastal elite very rich and created at least a semblance of prosperity for neighbors further down the food chain. No one out there in the heartland can possibly realize that they are screwed; it must be those decisive Facebook ads from St Petersburg.

  51. bruce wilder

    Google it, metamars. Apparently it is a line of active speculation by serious people.

  52. NR

    “if we had no more Electoral College and a single national-count popular vote election for President, and the huge Urban Concentrations won the election by virtue of a bigger popular vote, and used that win as an excuse to rule the rest of America as their Conquered Province, they would create for themselves a Spanish Civil War here on this continent.”

    So you favor minority rule over majority rule?

  53. Hugh

    Thank you, Blizz, for hitting us over the head with your toxic bigotry just in case any of us were unsure.

    I invite everyone to re-read the statute I cited above. It says nothing about needing an underlying crime to be successfully pulled off before coming into force. It is not especially hard to make a case for intent when you have a stable genius surrounded by attorneys ten times as chronicled in the Mueller report engaging in obstruction.

    Mueller made no judgment about a crime because it was DOJ policy not to indict a sitting President and Rosenstein chose Mueller precisely because he knew Mueller would stay within the guidelines he and the DOJ prescribed. But as Mueller said in his short May 29, 2019 presser:
    “And as set forth in the report after that investigation, if we had had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.” And they, of course, hadn’t.

    I agree with NR. It is bizarre that we rail here daily about the damage and destruction rule of the many by the few does to us and to our country, but somehow if those few come from places like Wyoming, it’s all OK. The problem is it’s all a con. The ordinary people of Wyoming are not that much different from the ordinary people of California and New York. But what is true is that it is much cheaper for the rich to buy the politics and politicians of low population states like Wyoming than it is high population states.

  54. @bruce wilder

    OK, I duckduckgo’d it.

    I skimmed over “Climate Change and the Emergent Epidemic of CKD from Heat Stress in Rural Communities: The Case for Heat Stress Nephropathy” @

    It was actually pretty interesting, and seemed balanced and fair. (I ignore the fact that it lacked ultimate cost/benefit analysis, as I point out, below).

    Some excerpts:

    “Recently, an epidemic of CKD of unknown etiology has been recognized in Central America (Mesoamerican nephropathy), which has been linked with recurrent dehydration and heat stress (24–26). We and others have previously suggested, based on both experimental and epidemiologic studies, that this disease may be a type of heat stress nephropathy (HSN) and could be an example of a disease that is accelerated by global warming (27,28). If true, one might hypothesize that similar epidemics should be occurring among those working manually in other hot environments.”

    “Mesoamerican nephropathy was first reported in 2002 in El Salvador by one of the authors (R.G.T.) during his medical residency, when excessive numbers of individuals were presenting at Hospital Rosales in San Salvador with ESRD (35). The disease typically presents in male sugarcane workers from the Pacific coast of Central America, but has since been reported with less frequency in other occupations, including in construction workers, corn and rice farmers, cotton plantation workers, and miners (32,36–38). ”


    “For outside workers the Occupational Safety Health Administration recommends frequent work breaks (15 minutes per hour) for a WBGT of 26°C and breaks of 45 minutes per hour for a WBGT of ≥30°C, whereas at temperatures >35°C humans cannot maintain their body temperature by usual mechanisms (sweating) for >6 hours (12,50,51).”


    “While the rise in disease prevalence may be due, in part, to improved diagnosis and surveillance, there is likely a true rise in incidence that correlates with climate change. Inadequate hydration is also a key factor, as some subjects are afraid of drinking well water as it may contain toxins, and others drink fructose-containing sugary beverages (juices and soft drinks) that may exacerbate the renal injury (56). Laboratory rats with heat-associated dehydration show worse renal damage if they are rehydrated with sugary beverages as opposed to water (68).”



    I allso skimmed over
    “The disturbing hypothesis for the sudden uptick in chronic kidney disease”

    Some excerpts:

    “Meanwhile, the odds of acute kidney injury increased by 47 percent for every 5-degree rise in the heat index in Florida. So people in the study were more likely to experience acute kidney injuries on hotter days.”

    “They found that more than half (52 percent) showed up at work already dehydrated — perhaps because of a hot commute to work or not drinking enough water when they woke up. By the end of a shift, that number rose to 81 percent. And a third of the workers had endured at least one episode of acute kidney injury — a sudden decrease in kidney function that happens over a few hours or a few days — on a workday.”


    The net/net that I take away from this is that the .8c temperature rise (I believe only 1/3 to 1/2 of it is anthropogenic) is partly causing more kidney failure in vulnerable populations; but that the risk can be mostly mitigated by humane working conditions (e..g., following OSHA recommendations).

    If we compare the risk of kidney failure due to a hotter planet, keeping in mind that it’s begging for problems to work dehydrated in a hot climate (and worse yet if you drink sugary drinks, because you’re avoiding toxic well water), vs. the greater agricultural productivity due to the greening of the earth due to increased CO2 (which is “plant food”), one should ask the question of which problem is more pressing.

    I’ve little doubt that it’d make more sense to treat workers humanely and wisely, and still reap the benefits of increased food production. Perhaps somebody like Lomborg has already run the numbers. But, even if not, it’s precisely this sort of net/net analysis that needs to be done. Society makes this sort of tradeoff calculation all the time. E.g., nobody makes airliners crash proof, or even installs air bags, because a heavy airplane is an extremely uneconomical one.

    Neither do we (normally) tell professional tennis players to stop playing during hot days. Presumably, they all know about the need to hydrate. It turns out, though, that they certainly are in violation of OSHA standards:

    From this nytimes article:
    “They should have canceled the matches. It was not healthy,” he said. “We are fit, but this was too much. It is dangerous out there. The ATP doesn’t have a heat rule but they should stop the matches. They will not make a change until someone dies.”

    If a tennis player does die before they change the rules, we will hopefully blame the rules, and not global warming….

  55. bruce wilder

    @ Hugh

    Of all the regular commenters, you are the most attentive to documented facts, the most likely to make the effort to find and report relevant facts. (As in this case, the statute on obstruction.)

    It is therefore almost more disturbing to me to see you embrace tendentitious partisan narratives in place of good judgment and careful, circumspect reasoning.

    So, you have discovered that statute law is overbroad and leaves discretion in the hands of prosecutors. And, Justice Department policy is that prosecutors are to suspend that discretion in the case of a sitting President.

    That a purely technical case for literal obstruction can be made, overlooking the fact that the investigation proceeded to its conclusion with no effective inhibition and concluded that there was, in fact, no conspiracy or (loosely) collusion between the Trump Campaign and the Russian state to cover up — seems to me to make the whole controversy of two years duration nothing but a distraction, and now morally and politically irrelevant, except insofar as it has derailed politics in the U.S. for still another extended period — nothing featured in the discourse of mainstream Media has made any real sense since roughly 2008. “Outrage” of the kind you exhibit cannot be credited as genuine or sincere given the facts of the case.

    It is simply not possible to have a democratic politics while arguing with such falsified passion over non-issues. Which is, i suppose, by design, at least for the tptb who hire Morning Joe and the talking idiots at CNN. What you get out of it, to align yourself with such synthesized nonsense, i cannot guess.

  56. different clue


    My brain-mind system is very literal and linear in its operation and I often think in very slow and careful straight lines with plodding ponderosity. I may be slow but I am not dumm, and while it takes me a while to “get there”, I usually “get there” . . . as long as I don’t have to decode various mysterious hints and clues and stuff.

    So with that in mind, could you explain to me in clear linear language what Hugh has written that is either Jewy or Shabbos Goyful? What is the basic Jewiness or Shabbos Goyfulness that you are comparing Hugh’s writing to, and what specifically that Hugh has said resembles or tracks that basic Jewiness or Shabbos Goyfulness?

    Since I can be a little hard-of-thinking at times, I hope you will use small words. And please type real slow, if you would please, so I can keep up.

  57. different clue

    I decided to look at the search-retrievable Images for Ian Welsh to see where the portrait-image of Mustapha Kemal would fall. And I don’t see it anywhere. It is all the way gone. Isn’t that interesting?

    Now what would really be strange is if my mention of that fact in this comment were to cause that image of Mustapha Kemal to re-appear. What if it is a Schroedinger image? What if it is here, or not-here, or here . . . for purely probabilistic reasons?

  58. Hugh

    I am sorry that neither the law nor the report say what you want or think they should say, but they don’t. The Mueller investigation was engineered to be as narrow as possible. Even so, on May 6, 2019, hundreds of former federal prosecutors signed a letter saying,

    “Each of us believes that the conduct of President Trump described in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report would, in the case of any other person not covered by the Office of Legal Counsel policy against indicting a sitting President, result in multiple felony charges for obstruction of justice.”

    As of May 22, 2019, the number of signatories had risen to 1,024.

  59. bruce wilder

    2^10 prosecutor out of control

  60. Hugh

    The new Trumpian normal: conclusion first, facts second or not at all.

  61. Eric Anderson

    “It is simply not possible to have a democratic politics while arguing with such falsified passion over non-issues.”

    Well then we should scrap the entire constitution because, as I’ve said here many times, the U.S. is based entirely on an adversarial political and legal system. Theory being if we argue about stuff vehemently enough the truth is sure to fall through the cracks sooner or later.

    Thus Churchill’s maxim about the U.S. getting it right after trying every other option first.

    That’s all well and good in the past. However, our bicker and argue system has now brought us to ecological inflection point in which we have no time to lose.

  62. Dan Knauss

    Mallam and Eric — I don’t watch any TV. Left the US in 2016. (For a variety of reasons.) I wasn’t posing any conspiracies, just speculating what might make sense of the people who make and believe the news favouring the old neoliberal order, especially the hokum about Russian spooks directly colluding with Trump and his people. There are no “facts” that show both sides (or even Trump’s) knowing that’s what was going on, nor “facts” that polls were actually rigged. (The one investigation right after the election — Jill Stein’s Green Party in Wisconsin — came out with a couple hundred *more* votes for Trump.)

    There’s just no evidence of any of scheme on the Trump side or an attempt to pull it off. Russian attempts to break in are constant I’m sure, and they’re not the only ones. Effectively changing results and active collusion is about more than proving opportunity and motive — where is the victim? Where are the screwy numbers? Nobody wanted to dig into that when it mattered, and they were blaming Russia then as well.

    This whole thing is a joke since the polling systems in use have been exposed for their hackability, the gerrymandering and voter suppression that goes on is clear, and there’s small cases of voter fraud executed by Republicans in the south. Ashcroft and his cronies (which include the theocrats around Pat Robertson’s network) bought big stakes in Diebold’s successor ES&S a while back. (That’s the major voting machine manufacturer, which also serves much of Canada now.)

    Who knows what happened — a lot of bad things could have gone on and likely did. But without investigating that, without evidence, and conclusive evidence of collusion (which Mueller did not provide), we’re just making stuff up. The “Russians+Trump threw the elecction” story is a conspiracy theory and nothing more without facts to ground the main claims.

    I imagine what actually went on as being like the classic Pink Panther film where assassins from every country are trying to kill Clouseau in a crowded Munich beer garden, and mostly they kill each other while their idiot target bumbles along. I imagine the cascade of incompetence, screwups, and weird luck that happens in elections that are this sensitive and this vulnerable must be beyond unravelling, certainly down to a single masked villain shaking hands with Putin.

  63. Eric Anderson

    Good lord. When will everyone realize that the problem is not Trump and stop all extrapolitical dreaming. The problem is us. We, the people, who are supposed to be smart enough not to elect people like him. Or, at least be sensible enough not to put the worst candidate in history up against him. But no. Nobody wants to do the work that it takes to be an engaged and educated voter. They’d rather do the fucking Al Bundy and sit around in front of the TV with their hand down their pants.

    That is us. Full stop.

  64. NR


    You’re right of course, but it’s not just stupidity, racism played a big part as well.

  65. bruce wilder

    Eric: We, the people, who are supposed to be smart enough not to elect people like him. Or, at least be sensible enough not to put the worst candidate in history up against him.

    Yes, but we aren’t, are we?

    It does not matter how smart any of us might be individually, nor how committed to civic engagement in principle.

    Politics is a team sport, a collective activity, a social process.

    Politics has to be organized, and it matters by whom it is organized, for what purposes and by what means.

    And, politics is about choices. But, not necessarily neat discrete choices. In a representative system, the voter chooses, well, representatives, who then argue among themselves over abstract rules.

    I, personally, did not vote for either Trump or Clinton. And, i know enough math to recognize that my individual vote is beyond insignificant, and enough philosophy to recognize that the choice of President is an existential mystery, impossible to predict for its consequences.

    I have said that politics is a society thinking, and i think you would be right to observe that American society is, even by its own dubious historical standards, remarkably stupid.

    I think it has been made stupid, both deliberately and inadvertantly. I do not think its stupidity is individual laziness. Not to get unnecessarily Marxist, but class has something to do with it. (Saying “racism” is about class.) Deliberately poisoning politics to further corporate business interests and promote the ideas of very rich individuals is a big part of what is going wrong.

    The extreme centralization of decision-making, in business and finance especially, is paralyzing the political processes. The focus of political attention on Presidential politics is a symptom of this paralyzing centralization, which is also driving a corrupting irresponsibility at all the lower levels of administration and business where most of us live and work.

    Most of my acquaintances are Democrats, who are too stupid to see that Obama was a very bad President, that Hillary was a monster, and that Trump was elected in desperation. And if they were not already stupid enough, they are told Trump is a racist leading racists and that is all you need to know, shut up and, by the way, Russia,Russia,Russia. But, “smart” enough to “see” that none of this is their fault and it is foolish to think anything can or should be done about, say, ending perpetual war or enacting medicare for all.

    The important thing is outvoting the racist rubes who refuse to believe in climate change, even if it is to elect Democrats who will complacently do nothing while signalling their Party’s Virtue.

  66. Ché Pasa

    Dan Knauss is correct. Our elections are a farce, and the obsessive focus on “Russia” as the cause of the 2016 outcome was/is absurd. But that’s the state of our politics and media these days, and please note, the Russia Thing has been as bipartisan as just about anything could be. Dems and Rs alike and nearly the entire national media establishment kept the topic in the forefront for years. They love it. Because it keeps the focus off our increasingly serious electoral issues.

    Which include but are not limited to:

    *Inability to verify votes with paper ballots;
    *Hinky voting machines, some of which apparently change votes or don’t properly (and verifiably) record them;
    *Eligible voters not allowed to vote or whose votes aren’t counted (this was the case in Wisconsin for example in 2016);
    *Active and constant voter suppression and arbitrary impediments to voting;
    *Refusal to make election day a national holiday;

    and on and on and on.

    These electoral issues and many more have been known for decades, and proposal to solve them often have the effect of making them worse, such as the Help America Vote Act passed after the electoral debacle of 2000. That was one of the sources for the acquisition of so many unverifiable and hinky voting machines, many of which are still in use.

    That doesn’t even get into the problems of how candidates are selected — a problem which seems to be insoluble since it’s been a feature of our elections from the beginning.

    These issues are not limited to one party alone; they don’t depend on (but they certainly don’t prevent) foreign involvement/interference; and they aren’t the product of KGB plotting in the Kremlin. They are very deep-seated domestic electoral issues that aren’t going to be rectified by next year.

    So we stumble along. But for how much longer?

  67. ponderer

    Obstruction is a nothing-burger. There was a book that postulated that the average person commits 3 felonies a day. The “law” is so big and so broad that actually adhering to it is probably impossible, the ruling class like it that way. Like Epstein, the Elite don’t think those laws apply to them anyway. Only the President is supposed to be above it. It’s more than a little Ironic that a degenerate class of scum can criticize Trump for being above the law (he’s POTUS, so while he is in office, he is) at the same time they ignore their own vast crimes.

    @Electorial College hate
    I have been arguing for years that the NFL should use the total yardage to determine the winner. Forget field goals, they are anti democratic. For get touch downs, those are just for the hi-light real. The Russians want you to go for touchdowns. Forget that, run the ball. The winning team runs for the most yards, the rest are paid Trump bots.

  68. NR


    “It’s more than a little Ironic that a degenerate class of scum can criticize Trump for being above the law (he’s POTUS, so while he is in office, he is)”

    Yeah, no, that’s not how it works, sorry.

  69. ponderer

    “Yea,no,that’s not how it works, sorry.”

    That’s exactly how it works, it’s in the Constitution. You’d think after a hundred years or so, more people would have noticed that the branch that enforces the law is necessarily “above” it. There is only one remedy, impeachment. Just like Judges and Law Enforcement giving each other “wide” latitude in what is and is not allowed. That parts’s not in the Constitution, but is has been everyday practice for a few hundred years.
    It might not be desirable, but it is what it is. Don’t start confusing how you want things to be with how they really are.

  70. Hugh

    I love how crimes become nothingburgers when it’s their guy or their side. I love how, when that guy has been a crook all his life, suddenly it is impossible for there to be a crime and equally impossible that such a guy could ever have criminal intent. I love how their guy can be so openly and casually racist in ways that the country has not seen since the 1950s and Jim Crow, and yet they think they can support and defend him without being equally racists themselves. I love how in a very complicated world facing existential challenges they think that their idiocy and hate are something other than the dark dead end they are.

  71. Eric Anderson

    bruce wilder:
    “I think it has been made stupid, both deliberately and inadvertantly. I do not think its stupidity is individual laziness. Not to get unnecessarily Marxist, but class has something to do with it. (Saying “racism” is about class.) Deliberately poisoning politics to further corporate business interests and promote the ideas of very rich individuals is a big part of what is going wrong.”

    Couldn’t agree more. And the TV is the direct line to the stupid making. TPTB know this chapter and verse, which is why rich people historically buy up the media. Tell me it doesn’t actively encourage lassitude.

  72. Eric Anderson

    ponderer & NR —

    It is a dilemma that multiple scholars have struggled over. The counterargument to lifetime tenure is obviously elected office that is obviously an ethical minefield for judges as well. In my mind, the best solution under a two party system for the lifetime tenure option, which I support, is to never allow a judge to sit on a bench alone. Further, the executive doesn’t get to appoint. Special committees are formed in Congress and each side gets to appoint depending upon which side leaves a vacancy. That, is an independent judiciary.

    Many countries that actually have their shit together do it this way. But again, I come back to the founding principal of this country. An adversarial approach is always the best method to get to the truth.

    It’s a bullshit theory in my mind. But it’s reality.

  73. NR


    “That’s exactly how it works, it’s in the Constitution.”

    Okay, quote me the section of the Constitution that says “The President is above the law.”


    I have to laugh at the numbskullery of Trump supporters who claim the deep state and the establishment are out to get him. If that were so, he never would have been elected. Trump’s election isn’t because of Russian meddling or the electoral college. It’s because of all the free publicity & advertising he got from the mainstream media. It was Donald Trump 24/7 and still is. The deep state and the establishment want Donald Trump as POTUS. He’s their foil. For what, I’m not sure, but he’s in the Oval Office because they want him there. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be there and/or he’d be dead as in JFK dead. Where have all the Lee Harvey Oswalds (versus cowboys) gone? Too busy playing Pokemon Go on their smart phones? I think so.


    A-h-h-h, he apparently had the support of PART of the Deep State. He had a bunch of generals support him as a candidate. I’ve also heard they solicited him, though I don’t have confidence in this being true, and know of no evidence that it is true. Given Trump’s age, though, I certainly find this plausible. At his age, we could have expected that he would have lost the fire in his belly, and be content to play golf and lay on the beach.

    Saying a bunch of generals supported him doesn’t mean they were acting in a Deep State capacity. However, certain damning things about candidate Trump were kept out of the media, so I assume the military dudes had something to do with that. That would demonstrate an illegal, or at least hidden and anti-democratic, capacity.

    The Deep State is not monolithic, as any non-numbskull should be able to infer from the lethal conflicts in Syria between Pentagon proxy forces and CIA proxy forces. Recall, also, that (some power center in) the Pentagon bombed Deir Ezzor, Syria, within about a day of Kerry striking a deal with the Russians, thus blowing up agreement. The Russians concluded – rightly – that the US is not “agreement capable”. So clearly there were Deep State actors within the Pentagon who subverted Presidential authority, also, before Trump arrived on the scene.

    So, for your comment to be true, all Deep State factions would have been in the tank for Trump.

    And that is a laughable proposition. “Pee pee dossiers” used as reasons for FISA warrants, government spies (“informants”) placed in the Trump campaign, etc., etc. Perhaps when you’re done laughing at the Trump supporters, you can educate yourself on the elite shenanigans perpetrated against Candidate Trump, and President Trump.


    So, for your comment to be true, all Deep State factions would have been in the tank for Trump. And that is a laughable proposition.

    It is laughable, I agree. That’s the numbskullery of a substantial contingent of Trump supporters. It’s their, not your’s obviously, definition of the deep state you’re taking to task, not mine. I refuse to serve in their place for I am not them and they are not me.

    Read my comment again. I’m using logic applied to their implied definition of a deep state. If the deep state as Bannon believes it exists has it in for Trump, my comment holds, logically.

    I believe it’s more complex than Bannon’s perception and perspective. There’s a permanent trans-institutional governance, for sure, but ultimately it answers to the money interests (the plutocracy/oligarchy) and the money interests are factionalized right now, but never when it comes to treatment of the masses, and that factionalization, like a wave, makes it way through the permanent government that supports the plutocracy in maintaining the status quo class hierarchy.

    Any one of these factions have enough power and clout to have prevented the ascension of Trump. Any one of the factions has enough power to remove Trump by any and all means before the end of his term. They have chosen to refrain from doing so in either case, and that must mean they find Trump useful and not a threat to the status quo class hierarchy, as onerous as he is otherwise.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén