2:00PM Water Cooler 4/18/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, I have had a complexified day, and I am going to beg your indulgence for an open thread. I’ll put up some conversation starters on the Mueller Report and its possible sequelae, and rise again harder and stronger tomorrow. –lambert


“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune

Mueller Time

Here is a summary of Barr’s presser:

For those who like primary sources, here is the (redacted) Mueller Report (a PDF): Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller, III, “Report On The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election.” It’s 448 pages long.

Bloomberg’s National Political Reporter on the obstruction of justice charge:

At this point, the only hot takes that have emerged will have been written before the report was released. Hence I see a lot of people claiming their business models priors have been reinforced. To me, the key point going forward, as we say, is that the Mueller Report does say that “Russian” interference with the 2016 election took place, a claim which, as Stephen Cohen points out at TRNN is both dubious and extremely dangerous, given that Russia is a nuclear power. (Playing geopolitician for a moment, I think the anti-Russian warmongering is dumb, unless a two-front (cold) war with Russia and China is a good thing).

Being counter-suggestible, let me present two story arcs that may get lost in the shuffle. The first is Wikileaks and its putative responsibility for the phishing attack on the DNC that led to the exposure of their emails. Charlie Savage:

The second is the weird episode with George Papadopoulos and the mysterious Maltese academician Joseph Mifsud. Papadopoulos — who presents as a sort of innocent abroad — becamme enmeshed with looks like a network of Five Eyes spooks trying to nobble the Trump campaign; see this long interview with Papadopoulos here (he’s written a book). Moreover, Mifsud — right on cue? But whose cue? — seems to have re-emerged from hiding:

Whatever the truths of the matter, it certainly looks like the intelligence community was all over the Trump campaign like flies on sh*t, and if the Papadopoulos interview and book are correct, not merely doing “counter-intelligence,” but setting up honeypots, coat-trailing, installing moles, etc. — even if it’s all of a Burn After Reading caliber. Almost as if the Trump campaign were a foreign power. I assume this will emerge as a counter narrative over the next two years.

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (Phil H):

Phil H writes: “From yesterday’s walk in the Ohio woods: Just about the only green showing in the woods this early in April is moss on the scattered rocks. Here is a smallish rock next to the remains of a fallen tree.” I know this kind of walk. And as readers know, I encourage walks. But be sure to look up at the sky!

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Synoia

    Whatever the truths of the matter, it certainly looks like the intelligence community was all over the Trump campaign like flies on sh*t,… Almost as if the Trump campaign were a foreign power.

    That’s been fixed now they have BoltOn and Imperius Pompeo on the job. /s

    1. allan

      Speaking of the intelligence community, one little tidbit in the report is

      The week after Comey’s briefing, the White House Counsel’s Office was in contact
      with SSCI Chairman Senator Richard Burr about the Russia investigations and appears to have
      received information about the status of the FBI investigation [309].

      Lock him up. I hope one of Burr’s colleagues in the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body has the gumption
      to file an ethics complaint on this leaker. I’m too lazy to look up what he said about Manning and Snowden,
      but it’s not hard to guess.

    2. WJ

      It is very obvious from the narrative of the report that Papadopoulos was being set up, framed, entrapped, by Mifsud and the Australian official (forget his name, and he is anonomized in opening pages of report). (Note that Papadopoulos *still* denies mentioning to the Australian official what the report claims he did, that he had received communiques from “the Russian government” about the publication of HRC dirt for the benefit of Trump Campaign.)

      Once you realize that Mifsud is not, as the report claims, “Russian” connected but U.K. MI6 NATO connected, as lots and lots of people have shown–yet somehow Mueller is still unaware of the fact–then you see that there was a Five Eyes coordinated op against the Trump campaign that began much earlier than the FBI investigation acknowledged by the report. For Mifsud and the Australian guy were clearly tasked with incrinimating Papadopoulos so as to get the domestic investigation going in the first place. And that had to have been planned by late winter 2016 at the latest.

      The Report is a work of propaganda, in other words.

      1. RopeADope

        Mifsud’s ties to KSA are also relevant.


        There are some indications that elements of Ukrainian/Israeli/Russian organized crime/oligarchy are working with Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to run MbS and Bibi’s energy policy. Incidentally, this power nexus is the most likely candidate for the downing of the 2 Malaysian flights back in 2014.

        Steve Bannon in his infinite stupidity thought Russia would tolerate his white nationalism and looks to have gotten Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul’s donors embroiled in a hair-brained scheme with the aforementioned terrorist group to put pressure on Iran in a trade-off for energy policy favors. This level of thinking is not surprising as Bannon actually believed Roy Moore was a thing. Fortunately Mueller appears to have nipped that project in the bud back in early March 2018 or Cruz and Paul may have ended up in the federal pen due to their subservience to their donors.

    3. Roger Smith

      Maybe they should be looking at entities like AIPAC instead. Then again, at this point, Trump is the defacto Israeli President of the United States… so I guess he is a foreign power.

      1. nippersdad

        I sure hope that Engler et al didn’t see that. I doubt that they have rehydrated from the last time they thought they had spotted an anti-semitic trope.

        Have some pity, man. It’s Pavlovian, they can’t help themselves.

  2. DonCoyote

    Here is Hofstadter from 55 years ago The Paranoid Style in American Politics It is a discussion primarily of the American “right” (at the time), but on the release of the Mueller report, it seems to fit the “left” these days:

    The paranoid spokesman sees the fate of conspiracy in apocalyptic terms—he traffics in the birth and death of whole worlds, whole political orders, whole systems of human values. He is always manning the barricades of civilization. He constantly lives at a turning point. Like religious millennialists he expresses the anxiety of those who are living through the last days and he is sometimes disposed to set a date fort the apocalypse. (“Time is running out,” said Welch in 1951. “Evidence is piling up on many sides and from many sources that October 1952 is the fatal month when Stalin will attack.”)

    cf the current “Bombshell/the walls are closing in/beginning of the end” narrative.

    Any historian of warfare knows it is in good part a comedy of errors and a museum of incompetence; but if for every error and every act of incompetence one can substitute an act of treason, many points of fascinating interpretation are open to the paranoid imagination. In the end, the real mystery, for one who reads the primary works of paranoid scholarship, is not how the United States has been brought to its present dangerous position but how it has managed to survive at all.

    1. McDee

      I remember the McCarthy Era. There were lots of people the who were “…manning the barricades of civilization.” They said the Reds were everywhere. In government, the media, movies etc. The paranoids were all around, outing subversives and “ComSymps”
      I especially remember Dr Fred C Schwartz and his Christian Anti-Communist Crusade. He was from Down Under and sounded like Elmer Fudd with an Australian accent. He had a woman on his program who billed herself as a “pro-American folk singer.”
      His shtick, which he peddled all over the country was eternal vigilance and that the Communists were “fiendishly clever and diabolically cunning.”
      Substitute Russians for communists and today’s Russiagaters sound like Like Dr Schwartz and his ilk. One of them even called Tucker Carlson(!) an “agent of the Kremlin”
      I think this whole Russia business has been wonderfully clarifying.

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      Yeah, I was driving and therefore subject to NPR breathlessly recounting all the incidents in the report that allegedly go to obstruction, eg, that Trump flew off the handle at Sessions so many times he started carrying a resignation letter around in his pocket.

      For chrissakes, I thought the investigation was supposed to be about collusion, not whether Trump is a bad boss.

      I think judging from his tweets about Sessions we can all stipulate to that. Some bombshell.

      It is indeed contagion, the convo in the MSM. Such an appalling disservice to we the people.

    3. wilroncanada

      No! It’s still the right; just the other branch of the right. In US politics, there is no left, left.

  3. zagonostra

    >Papadopoulos Interview with Michael Tracey.

    I listened to the interview last night, it was fascinating.

    It reinforced my suspicion that there was a soft coup attempt by the Obama/HRC/Dems/FBI/CIA to overthrow Trump. If the Russians interfered, it wasn’t material, also the experts concluded it was a hack not a leak so Mueller’s conclusion that the Russians interfered is bogus.

    I hope now that people can focus on getting Bernie or Tulsi elected so they can reverse all the bad Sh%! Trumps and the Corporate Dems are doing.

    1. Rojo

      “If the Russians interfered, it wasn’t material, also the experts concluded it was a hack not a leak so Mueller’s conclusion that the Russians interfered is bogus. ”

      Did you mean the reverse?

      1. zagonostra

        Thanks for correction. Former retired intelligence officers looked at the transfer speed and determined it had to be a leak; data was most likely transferred to a USB drive.

      2. WJ

        It’s even shadier than that. From the latest VIPS memo:

        You [addressing Pres. Trump] may be unaware that in March 2017 lawyers for Assange and the Justice Department (acting on behalf of the CIA) reportedly were very close to an agreement under which Assange would agree to discuss “technical evidence ruling out certain parties” in the leak of the DNC emails” and agree to redact some classified CIA information, in exchange for limited immunity. According to the investigative reporter John Solomon of The Hill, Sen. Mark Warner, D,VA, Vice Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, learned of the incipient deal and told then-FBI Director Comey, who ordered an abrupt “stand down”and an end to the discussions with Assange.


        Hmmmm… “technical evidence ruling out certain parties” in the leak of the DNC emails”…….

        It doesn’t take a lot of effort to figure out who those “certain parties” were given Comey’s rush to close down the discussions. They never *wanted* to find any exculpatory evidence for the Russians because the whole aim of the “investigation” from its beginning was to establish their guilt, not the truth.

        Certain other, still darker, implications might be seen to follow from Assange’s proving that the DNC emails were leaked and not hacked.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Such as . . . . that the DNC or whomever the DNC works for had Seth Rich assassinated for being blamable for having leaked the emails?

    2. zagonostra

      From constortiumnews article questioning the “Russia meddled in election” conclusion from Mueller Report.

      But the Mueller report left unscathed the central-but-unproven allegation that the Russian government hacked into the DNC and Podesta emails, gave them to WikiLeaks to publish, and helped you win the election. The thrust will be the same; namely, even if there is a lack of evidence that you colluded with Russian President Vladimir Putin, you have him to thank for becoming president. And that melody will linger on for the rest of your presidency, unless you seize the moment.

      Mueller has accepted that central-but-unproven allegation as gospel truth, apparently in the lack of any disinterested, independent forensic work. Following the odd example of his erstwhile colleague, former FBI Director James Comey, Mueller apparently has relied for forensics on a discredited, DNC-hired firm named CrowdStrike, whose credibility is on a par with “pee-tape dossier” compiler Christopher Steele. Like Steele, CrowdStrike was hired and paid by the DNC (through a cutout).


    3. Lepton1

      When Manafort briefed Kilimnik on that data, he also discussed “ ‘battleground’ states, which Manafort identified as Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota.” And both Manafort and Gates assumed that data would be shared with a close Putin ally in Deripaska.

      Curious choice of states to direct the Russians to, isn’t it?

      1. Pat

        No what is curious is that someone with relatively little American experience recognized the battleground states of the last quarter to half century of Presidential elections and the most qualified candidate ever and her team of experienced professionals managed to ignore them and the need to secure those electoral college votes to win the election.

        But then why notice incompetence when you can pretend that a few Facebook posts were the problem.

  4. Plenue

    “Whatever the truths of the matter, it certainly looks like the intelligence community was all over the Trump campaign like flies on sh*t”

    It’s so hard to keep track. Can someone remind me: wasn’t Trump’s claim that Obama was ‘wiretapping’ him proven to be essentially correct at one point?

    1. pretzelattack

      i dunno, i too am just overwhelmed by the wave of bullshit, which has easily surpassed the iraq wmd tsunami by this point. i don’t even know why the intel community is so devoted to ousting trump, unless it’s inertia. he’s been a good tool on assange and in syria and venezuela.

      1. Carey

        IMO it’s not about ousting Trump; it’s about keeping plenty of dust flying, so the
        Few can continue their looting of the many.

    2. NotReallyHere

      Yes. It turns out Trump claimed he was being wiretapped and was ridiculed for it. Then Flynn was arrested because they found inconsistencies between his FBI testimony and the material gathered from the surveillance, for which Trump was ridiculed. That was an ooops moment for the intelligence people. Also, I think this episode is the key to understanding the scandal.

      I read somewhere that when Vice-Admiral Mike Rogers discovered the existence of this espionage he traveled to the Trump Tower in NYC and warned the Trump campaign of it in person. Trump moved his campaign to Bedminster NJ on hearing this.

      So, the Flynn arrest looks like it was a short term win for the intelligence people but in the end it is the event that subsequently exposed the whole game. The evidence for lying used was an admission that the espionage was in fact taking place.

      This naturally leads to Questions regarding how Flynn’s name was not redacted from espionage reports. It appears that senior people close to Obama requested the unmasking of redacted names ( I.e. names of US citizens surveilled). Also, the authorization to conduct the espionage case from a FISA warrant, but what was in the application, who prepared it and who signed it? Was it all based on the dodgy dossier?

      Then there are the Stzrok texts…..

      This move will run longer than Star Wars.

  5. Louis Fyne

    When scott adams brought up his one world, two realities/two different mental movies hypothesis in 2015 i thought it was an interesting but inconsequential thought.

    But it’s real, this must have been what living through the Red Scare or McCarthyism was like.

    Doesn’t look good for 2020 with so many people still obsessed with Putin

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        quite. the idea that “have you no decency, sir?” was a takedown in the 1950s shows you how far we’ve come (fallen).

    1. Enquiring Mind

      Filter bubbles are self-reinforcing in a world that defies comprehension, or seems to anyway. The more dysfunctional part of the bubble is Don’t confuse me with the facts, my mind’s made up.

    1. nippersdad

      From the article:

      “One event was shared with 1300 users on Facebook, of which 240 ultimately said that they would attend the “One Person One Vote One March,” on Dec. 3rd in New York City, a protest against the Electoral College……….”

      So we look up the National Popular Vote and, lo and behold! Just look at all of these Russians!


      I was always a little suspicious of those people, but now we know…..

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        anyone who wants to expand democracy and govern the wealthy rather than passively accepting being governed by them is a threat to be dealt with.

  6. Robert Hahl

    Cellar Sessions: Lúnasa
    An upright bass is bad enough, but two guitars! Someone should call the trad police.

    Adam Neely – AUDIATION – Play what you hear
    Adam is an independent scholar who publishes on youtube and is paid on Patreon (1100 supporters).

    Hal Galper’s Master Class – all music is played by ear

    Rough Ride – a short movie by Bret Primack, 1971.
    You couldn’t make this movie today. Everyone would just be staring at their phones.

    Glenn Gould and Leonard Bernstein on CBS, 1960.

    1. Robert Hahl

      p.s. I once asked a classical music buff what gives with this endless interest in (maybe) 500 tunes, all centuries old. His answer was essentially what Lenard Bernstein says in his introduction of Glenn Gould.

  7. nippersdad

    While I never found the Mueller report to be of much interest (“Goldwater Girl provokes Red Scare” not being one of my many retro enthusiasms), I was really interested to see the article in this morning’s links (Harper: Russiagaters in IG’s Crosshairs, Sic Semper Tyrannis) about the Horowitz report being done by the Justice Department. Kudos to NK! I have seen no mention elsewhere about this, and there is finally a government report that I am just salivating to read. Hopefully the Trump Justice Department won’t be overzealous with the redactions; I’d like to see every word of it.

    Strange how the Democratic Party or Rachel Maddow haven’t made a stink about this one, but I am sure that now it has been surfaced by those with better journalistic connections they will eagerly make up for any prior deficiencies in their reportage with the same verve that they put into reporting on the Mueller investigation.

    1. integer

      I am looking forward to reading Horowitz’s report too. Having failed at their coup attempt, I think one of the unspoken aims of the Mueller investigation was to get out in front of any new information that exposes the intel community leadership’s malfeasance. The steady stream of propaganda from the liberal media regarding Russia and the Mueller report, along with a steadfast refusal to accept their queen lost the election on her own merits, has led to supporters of the D party establishment tightly embracing a narrative of the 2016 election that is irreconcilable with any kind of objectivity regarding the intel community leadership’s actions. This effectively creates a political stalemate that will act to protect the perpetrators of the attempted coup from any significant action being taken against them.

  8. chuck roast

    I started reading the Introduction to Volume I of the Mueller Report and got as far as the first sentence of the second paragraph…“The Russian Government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion.”

    I am thankful that I got this over quickly since every mountain of horses**t is built on the initial tiny turd.

    1. aj

      Russia’s low-cost Facebook bot farms are so sophisticated that they are able to change the outcome of an election despite the millions of dollars spent by US interests. Maybe our candidates need to start investing in some Russian bot farms of their own.

      In other news: Releasing completely true (but perhaps ill-gotten) information is antithetical to democracy.

      In yet other news: What the US is doing/has done in Venezuela is, like, totally not in anyway interfering in elections, man.

      1. Tom Doak

        We are not interfering in elections in Venezuela* . . . we are just refusing to accept the results of their election, and trying to install who we want against the wishes of their citizens. It’s the new way of doing things. [see above]

        * I am not in any way implying that we didn’t try to interfere in Venezuela’s last elections, too, I just haven’t seen any investigations into that because we are too busy with our own country’s last election.

    2. urblintz

      It must be frustrating to the VIPS that their forensic analysis which produced strong evidence for a leak, not a hack, is being ignored by everyone. Even Aaron Mate, who has has done much excellent work on Russiagate, won’t go there. Apparently the Mueller report provides no evidence for their assertion that Russia was behind Clinton’s e mails, but simply restates the unproven narrative as fact. They never asked for or looked at the servers, which Donna Brazile admitted were destroyed. Yet it is the lynchpin of the investigation.

      Mueller allows everyone to get a little bit of something and although the Maddow cult will never be satisfied there is still plenty for them to keep the crazy show going. Which means the Democrats can continue to vote for 800 billion Pentagon budgets and regime change in Venezuela… which keeps the bi-partisan cabal of corporate stooges happy. It almost inspiresl consideration of a conspiracy…


      1. pretzelattack

        very much so, we can’t survive many more “centrist” dem administrations, looking at it optimistically.

  9. Pat

    Caught part of ABC’s coverage of the Mueller report release. Watching Dan Abrams trying to thread the needle was fun. Watching Stephanopoulus trying to outwit Trump’s lawyer was not (I’m sure who won will be in the eye of the beholder.)

    The thing that caught me, beyond the stupidity of those who say Mueller’s report PROVES Russia interfered, was how much everyone went for Mueller’s double speak on obstruction of justice. Conflating He couldn’t exonerate the President, and he couldn’t indict the President for acts outside the scope of his investigation was rampant.

    Of course one reason my BS meter was off the charts was the helpful history of Mueller provided by NC during this long national waste of funds and time. Dear ABC, IF Mueller really had a shot of indicting Trump on obstruction of justice he would have, THAT was not outside the scope of his investigation as it would have been obstruction of that investigation. HE was trying to get the President to obstruct his investigation, that’s what he does. I don’t know how cooler heads prevailed with Trump, but they did.

    Once again, if people really wanted to examine this investigation regarding Trump with any accuracy, what they would discover is that Trump should have been indicted years ago by the various DAs and AGs in NY state. But since he was a major campaiign donor, well… Unfortunately even those within our intelligentsia that are going to recognize how much Bull all this has been are going to ignore that indictment of the system because it is well their system as well.

  10. zagonostra

    Below story from Politico is truly mind boggling. Anyone familiar with Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the illegally destroyed ballots in Broward County or the reporting of Greg Palast has to be laughing or crying right about now.

    “Hello FBI, want to see a ‘Breach,’ I’ll show you such a breach that’ll it will boggle your mind, no it doesn’t involve Russia, oh, your not interested, I see.”

    The FBI believes that Russian hackers were able to breach “at least one” Florida county government through a spearphishing campaign targeting local election officials, according to special counsel Robert Mueller’s report.


  11. Hopelb

    I met that Bloomberg reporter, Kapur, last Sunday at the Bernie rally. We were standing near the fenced off press tent and I yelled over to him , “Sir is that Matt Taibbi?” When he answered yes, I asked Kapur to ask Taibbi to autograph my Bernie sign. Taibbi did!! Then Kapur interviewed me for about 15 minutes and asked if I thought Trump’s election had been good or bad for the US, to which I answered “Good and bad, but necessary if Dems are ever to get a Party that actually represents us. “ Then I told him that from watching c-span beginning with the lead up to the Iraq, that there were only about 5 truth tellers in all of congress, Dennis Kucinich, Ron Paul and a few others and that the press mocks these people because the press is owned by corporations pushing neoliberal/neocon agendas. I told him Bernie must add a campaign plank to undo Bill Clinton’s Telecomm Act of 96’ which consolidated media so now it’s one voice repeating propaganda in unison and that’s why we got 24/7 Russiagate, scary soundtracks included. I told him right now there is a war on in the Dem Party and the entire establishment Clintonites are against Bernie the real change agent. By this time Taibbi was back sitting at his computer right behind Kapur. Reading Kapur and Taibbi’s article from the following day, you can see which author was actually listening and /or free to print certain truths. Kaput did seem to agree the Dems want to get rid of Bernie. (I sold my Bernie hat design to Guy, a vendor who follows Bernie’s rallies!)

    1. Hopelb

      That’s terrifying!Unless she is there to infiltrate and gather oppo research/ strategies.

      1. Cal2

        It’s Opposition research, unless you think she’s playing a really long, 50 year con working for the Saudis and their brethren…Or, you are working for Pelosi, Buttgig, Biden et al.

        Here’s her latest:

        “The former combat veteran who served in the Iraq War has gotten visibility and vast push back even within her own party for making “ending regime change wars” her campaign focus.”

        “By vetoing the war powers resolution,
        Trump has again proven that he is the servant of Saudi Arabia, the theocratic dictatorship that spends billions of dollars every single year spreading the most extreme and intolerant form of Islam around the world,” Gabbard said in a social media video. “The very same ideology that motivated al Qaeda and other jihadists,” she added, echoing her prior theme calling out Saudi support for al-Qaedia and ISIS.”

        1. Chef

          Opposition research sounds a little to close to Trump’s supposed 3D chess playing.

          And as a bastion of neoliberal thought, I don’t see her objections to Trump’s unilateral MAGA as outside the norm for a CFR member.

          1. Chef

            And implying that I’m working for Pelosi, etc. for simply pointing out a red flag is extremely disingenuous.

          2. Eureka Springs

            I like Tulsi’s words and her actions during the last primary season. That said, one wonders if being on CFR or wanting to be President at all should in and of itself be a dis-qualifier…

            1. Procopius

              There are people who watch Fox News just to avoid epistemic closure, i.e. lock themselves into a closed world of opinion. I think we should get more transcripts of speeches at Davos. I have not been shown that the Council for Foreign Relations is actually a powerful cabal controlling the destiny of nations, but I grew up in the McCarthy Years and have been skeptical of guilt by association ever since.

              1. Chef

                “Powerful cabal controlling the destiny of nations” is a bit hyperbolic and emotes images of early CFR supporters like Rockerfeller and Warburg sitting around a dark, smokey room pulling literal strings…

                I think the moniker ‘America’s Imperial Braintrust’ is an apt description; its members are definitely among the political, business and media elite from both sides of the establishment and they most certainly have some influence in shaping and perpetuating the current world order.

        2. nippersdad

          I agree with Chef. The fact is that she IS a member in good standing with the CFR, and once you take out all of the neocons there just isn’t enough membership in that organization left to organize a two person party at Starbucks.

          It worried me too, initially, that she was a sheepdog for the MIC, but her incessant work on pushing the envelope against regime change wars has dulled my suspicions over time.

          Maybe she is an anomaly, and our contributions to her campaign are predicated on the potential for that.

        3. Carey

          I think Gabbard’s CFR membership is significant. I like what she’s saying
          and sent her money, but it’s significant. She’s a slick package (pardon my
          cynicism, but we’ve seen this movie before).

    2. Yikes

      Link please because she isn’t shown as a member.

      Btw, Jimmy Carter, Mikhail Gorbachev, etc are also members, so it’s not one sided. Some silly comments with out thought or research following your comment. Lazy.

      1. nippersdad

        She is a member because she says so openly: https://gabbard.house.gov/news/press-releases/photos-rep-tulsi-gabbard-hosts-council-foreign-relations-briefing-honolulu

        And because their website confirms it.


        Also, wasn’t it Berzhinski, Carter’s National Security Advisor, who got Carter to send OBL into Afghanistan to create a radicalized Muslim offensive force to destabilize the Russian border? Wasn’t Carter the first to start the deregulation of the banking sector? And, wasn’t Gorbachev the guy who invited the Clintons into Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union to rebuild their economy along neoliberal lines?

        Why should their memberships be used to excuse the tendencies toward neoconservatism and neoliberalism that is on display by the Council on Foreign Relations? It would appear that they would fit right in.

        1. Chef

          “Why should their memberships be used to excuse the tendencies toward neoconservatism and neoliberalism that is on display by the Council on Foreign Relations? It would appear that they would fit right in.”


          And yes, it was Zbignew, who (like so many others) saw the domination of the Eurasian landmass as central to the US’s geopolitical goals. See: The Grand Chessboard

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          It wouldn’t have been Gorbachev that invited the Clintons in because Gorbachev had lost power and position and had faded into an ignominous and near-anonymous retirement. Since Yeltsin was President of the Russian Federation at the time of the Clinton Infection, I suspect it was Yeltsin that invited the Trojan Clintonites inside the gates.

    3. dcrane

      That is interesting. Reminds me of Dick Cheney campaigning against interventionism as part of Bush’s 2000 campaign (mainly in response to Bosnia). Unfotunately I hadn’t yet heard of PNAC.

  12. barrisj

    The Mueller “obstruction” section is revealing in that Trump had directed members of his staff and/or governmental officials to perform several acts arguably obstructionist in nature, but were never executed by those charged with such acts. Which, to a lay person, does suggest “intent” by Trump, but such “intent” failed to produce the intended act. In fact, my reading of what was investigated by Mueller showed, (1) questionable acts where intent could not be conclusively proved, and (2) intent evident but lacking the acts pursuant to that intent, at least not acts committed directly by Trump falling under Art.II Sect 2 powers (e.g., Comey firing). However, few can argue the proposition that Trump’s actions cited in the Mueller Report violated at least in spirit the “take Care” clause of Art.II Sect 3, and provide ample ground for possible impeachment articles. In fact, only recently there have been press reports of Trump ordering DHS officials to deliberately and willfully ignore – indeed violate – aspects of US immigration law or federal court decisions in order to turn back immigrants/refugees at the southern borders, actions for which Trump assured those officials that he “has their backs”.
    There indeed is a “roadmap to impeachment” aspect to Mueller’s findings, but to proceed down that particular road will ignite open warfare between Congress and the Executive, and it remains an open question whether the Demo House Leadership have “seen enough” to sanction impeachment hearings now, or take the more expedient posture of “let the people decide” in 2020.

    1. allan

      But wait, there’s more!

      Mark Kelly Was A Pitchman For A Multi-Level Marketing Company Selling Supplements
      [Huff Post]

      Mark Kelly, the former astronaut and prominent gun control advocate now on a glide path to the Democratic nomination to challenge Arizona GOP Sen. Martha McSally in 2020, gave a series of paid speeches prior to his run, between 2011 to 2016, in the United States and China on behalf of a multi-level marketing company that pitches nutritional supplements.

      Kelly’s paid speaking engagements have come under scrutiny following reports that, for years, he has delivered speeches to financial and pharmaceutical industry interest groups, including Goldman Sachs and AmerisourceBergen. In March, he also returned the $55,000 he took for a speech he gave last year in the United Arab Emirates, to head off criticisms that he could be swayed by foreign influence. …

      Sadly, there is no nutritional supplement that protects against MEFS (Malignant Enlarged FIRE Sector).

  13. Chris Cosmos

    Mueller is and always has been a factorum/bag man for the National Security (Deep) State. He is one of many. The whole narrative of the accusations against Trump are and were bogus and put teeth into Schumer’s warning to Trump. The power lies, above all other entities in the “intelligence community” which is, today, unlike in days of yesteryear a network of agents, officers, contractors, members of organized crime both domestic and foreign that is very robust and fairly robust compared the “the Agency” of the 50s-70s. This group intended to stage a coup after Trump’s election but, it seems, ran into problems one of which was that Trump headed them off by enlisting members of the military and the right-wing pro-Israeli lobby on his side by offering them the Moon so to speak. It worked.

    Meanwhile Plan B was Mueller who went on a fishing expedition intimidating, indicting in part in hopes of “getting something” on Trump, in part warning people not to mess with the Deepsters or else (see Roger Stone). Finally, none of that worked so there is plan C which is to enlist Trump in doing exactly what the Deep State wanted after all, i.e., to completely solidify the Orwellian Second Cold War with Russia–nobody actually thinks Russia is a threat to internal security except the true believers following the sages on MSDNC like cultists in their eternal vigilance against “Putin’s Puppets.” Ultimate goals obviously involve continual rises in military budgets, international tensions and as much chaos as Wall Street will allow (yes, even they have limits). This is not actually a “conspiracy” but, rather a number of networked conspiracies at various levels that have the common goal of keeping everything just as it is particularly with encouraging the public to further put up with the movement of money from the shrinking middle-class to the rich and their courtiers. We’ll see how this plays out–one thing we know from this report is that things don’t look good for Assange.

      1. Cal2

        Then the new governments can ban Facebook from servers in Europe.

        Hereabouts, the only people that still use facebook are busboys, women who put a blue or green streak in their hair to show what rebels they are and high school dropouts trying to save money on promoting their plumbing company.

  14. petal

    With the ongoing discussion about the Notre Dame re-build, I wanted to bring this up. There are videos on youtube that follow it, and they were really fascinating, and it was great to see the skills being used and taught. From the wiki page:

    “Guédelon Castle (Château de Guédelon) is a castle currently under construction near Treigny, France. The castle is the focus of an experimental archaeology project aimed at recreating a 13th-century castle and its environment using period technique, dress, and material.

    In order to fully investigate the technology required in the past, the project is using only period construction techniques, tools, and costumes. Materials, including wood and stone, are all obtained locally. Jacques Moulin, chief architect for the project, designed the castle according to the architectural model developed during the 12th and 13th centuries by Philip II of France.”

    1. polecat

      Humm … Does ITC own any of the surrounding land holdings, by chance …?? Uhm .. Yes, you in the back row .. um, Mr. ..ah .. DONIGER ?

      “Quantum foam makes me roam ..”

    2. The Rev Kev

      Saw a doco once on it and I agree. It is fascinating. Not only are they using the original techniques but they are getting a solid understanding why the people back then did things the way they did with construction. As you can tell, I love experimental archaeology like this.

      1. petal

        Maybe they can tap these wonderfully skilled people that got experience working on the castle.
        Rev Kev, I’m with you on that. I randomly discovered Time Team a couple of years ago and it took off from there. I love it! If I could do things over again…!

  15. Cal2

    I knew it! I was wondering why I was getting emails from
    “Black-Russian Lives Matter”, an organization I had never heard of.

    I went to the rally and there was only this dumpty white chick with green hair and a big nose ring screaming about police brutality and her boyfriend in jail or some such, then her dog bit her and she went home crying.

    With all that sneaky foreign influence from Facebook ads, our democracy sure is fragile.
    I almost accepted a friend invitation from Vladamir Putin!

    This caused me to forget the time, thus I missed my bus to the capitol to hear Bibi Netanyahu lecturing the senate.

  16. Lee

    I like Jonathan Turley’s take: “if the president ordered an act of obstruction and no one listened to him was there obstruction?”


    We are in the “Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?” territory. Since the Justice Department can’t or won’t act, I guess the ball is in Nancy’s court. Given that impeachment would probably be political suicide for the Dems, I suspect she will just stroke it while muttering ghoulishly “My precious!”

  17. Jeremy Grimm

    If only it were possible to capture and use the energy wasted in spinning wheels over the Mueller report — our energy crisis would be over.

  18. nippersdad

    This is kind of fun: https://www.politico.com/story/2019/04/18/biden-dorchester-2020-1282644

    “I’m getting so sick and tired of the way everybody’s being treated” Biden told a crowd of striking union workers here. “We will take back this country…I mean it.”

    So Biden has put on his comfy shoes and is going to tell all those mean people responsible for the strikers misery to cut it out! He is going to take back this country from….um….you know…..all those people who made it a misery for everybody……People like Joe Biden.

    That is going to be a hard act to follow.

  19. Dwight

    I think Charlie Savage misread the passage in the Barr remarks. Savage says: “Trump campaign collusion with WikiLeaks could not be an illegal conspiracy because WL publication of the emails was not a crime since WL didn’t help hack them.”

    Barr says: “[P]ublication of these types of materials would not be criminal unless the publisher also participated in the underlying hacking conspiracy. Here too, the Special Counsel’s report did not find that any person associated with the Trump campaign illegally participated in the dissemination of the materials.”

    The “publisher” to which Barr refers is not Wikileaks, but “any person associated with the Trump campaign.” He’s saying that no member of the Trump campaign participated in the [alleged] hacking, so publishing or disseminating the Wikileaks materials was not illegal. (“Publishing” and “disseminating” are the same here. Wikileaks published the materials, but so did the Trump campaign, and so did anyone who posted them on the Internet or otherwise re-published the materials.)

    This is not Barr saying that Wikileaks did not participate in the alleged hacking, unless he said it outside the passage quoted by Savage.

  20. Whoamolly

    Anyone else notice the nearly complete absence of Tulsi coverage, everywhere?

    Apparently anyone saying “end the wars” is considered a serious threat to the steady flow of benjamins.

    1. Cal2

      The Corporate Democrats are afraid of winning with a real progressive like her, or Bernie.

      They would rather lose to Trump than win with Tulsi or Bernie.

    2. BillC

      Yeah, I noticed that, too. So I just started regular monthly contributions to her campaign, along with Bernie’s. Maybe funding feet on the ground can counteract the radio/TV/newspaper silence … probably a vain hope, but AOC’s victory has retarded the total demise of my naiveté.

  21. tokyodamage

    I’m not sure if this is too off-topic, but. . . as long as we’re talking Russiagate . . . .did anyone else read the recent New Yorker article about ‘What’s New About Conspiracy Theories’?

    They fed their audience a conspiracy for 3 years, and when it blew up in their face, instead of apologizing, they have the nerve to point fingers at all the OTHER conspiracy theorists for being gullible! In a journalistic environment overflowing with chutzpah, this one still manages to stand out, credit where credit is due. . .

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