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

Tag: Mueller

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.

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The Mueller Report: Who Cares?

I’m running a little late on this one as I found out Friday night that I had to be out of my place Tuesday. My landlord was not up to fire code, and the city was (is) going to shut the place down on Tuesday. So, a scramble to find a new place, though in the end I found something nicer in a better location.

Right then, Mueller. I haven’t written much about “RussiaGate.” There are other people who have done a better job, taken a closer look.

The Barr letter (pdf) summarizes the finding. Mueller found that the Trump campaign was not engaged in a conspiracy with Russia to steal the election, although the Russians did try to effect the election. He punted on whether Trump was guilty of obstruction of justice, and Barr, as one would expect, decided that obstruction had not occurred.

I’m not going to go into the weeds on this. Trump is clearly corrupt and clearly meets the emoluments bar for impeachment.

I never liked RussiaGate, for a number of reasons:

The DNC Hack Information Was Correct

I think that for ordinary people the fact that the DNC was trying to fix the primary for Clinton over Sanders is actually more important that the fact that the scuzzy behavior was discovered by hacking.

Mueller Is a Republican

I really don’t understand this fetish for thinking Daddy Republicans will take down other Republicans. I’m not saying Mueller is corrupt or looked the other way, but why keep expecting Republicans to do your job for you?

It Distracted from Real Problems

Clinton just ran a bad campaign. She didn’t campaign in the key post-industrial battleground states which cost her the election and she ceded the populist economic argument to Trump, among a number of errors. She just isn’t a good campaigner. She lost a Primary to Obama which was hers to win, she lost against Trump, the Presidential candidate with the highest negatives of any candidate since polling. She was just a bad candidate.

But more to the point, acting as if Trump was more important than bad campaigning, gerrymandering and voter suppression puts attention away from issues that Democrats could actually learn from and do something about onto a spooky “evil” foreigner. The demonic Putin, who despite leading a state which is much smaller than the US, the EU, or China in terms of population and GDP, is apparently the Dark Lord reborn and from whom all bad things follow.

If Russian interference made the difference it made the difference because the election was so close that everything made the difference, and because there were real American problems (and wrongdoing at the DNC) to exploit.

Russiaphobia Is Baaadddd

Russia may be a declining great power, but it is still a great power with a LOT of nuclear weapons and one into whose sphere of influence the US has been aggressively pushing. A lot of Russians genuinely think America wants war with them. They’re scared.

And, yeah, a scared declining great power with a lot of nukes is… baaaaddddd.

Concluding Remarks

Trump is corrupt and has engaged in illegal activity. Mueller was never needed to prove that, because he does much of it openly. He never did get rid of the Magnitsky sanctions, which is mostly what Russia wants (and which I think should be gotten rid of), and when you look at substantive actions has done little that is good for Russia. I actually would like better relations between the US and Russia, to avoid war and possibly nuclear war and so on, so I think this is bad, but it’s all a sideshow.

If Democrats want to impeach Trump, you can do it now. Can’t convict in the Senate, but he’s clearly guilty and they can drag him through the mud any time they want: He’s corrupt and rotten to the core. (In ways that are more obvious than Obama’s terrible corruption, because Obama waited to be paid off until after he was out of office, just like Bill Clinton.)

Russiagate, whatever validity it has, was always bad politics and a way of avoiding real problems. Democrats need to stop expecting Daddy Republicans and the FBI to save them and take steps to win and defeat Trump themselves.

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Mueller’s Russian Indictments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh, and…

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

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

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