The Mueller Indictments: Observations And A Spin Report

Late yesterday afternoon the Justice Department announced that it had indicted thirteen Russians and three Russian companies for participation in a scheme to interfere in the United States political system. From the Justice Department website:

“The Department of Justice announced that a grand jury in the District of Columbia today returned an indictment presented by the Special Counsel’s Office. The indictment charges thirteen Russian nationals and three Russian companies for committing federal crimes while seeking to interfere in the United States political system, including the 2016 Presidential election. The defendants allegedly conducted what they called “information warfare against the United States,” with the stated goal of “spread[ing] distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general.”

The full 37-page indictment is here, giving citizens a rare example to read everything reporters know and to thereby be able to gauge exactly how accurate and fair their reporting is, if the citizens are so inclined. SPOILER ALERT: The spin efforts thus far have been staggering.

The press release also tells us in part:

According to the allegations in the indictment, twelve of the individual defendants worked at various times for Internet Research Agency LLC, a Russian company based in St. Petersburg, Russia. …Internet Research Agency allegedly operated through Russian shell companies. It employed hundreds of persons for its online operations, ranging from creators of fictitious personas to technical and administrative support, with an annual budget of millions of dollars. Internet Research Agency was a structured organization headed by a management group and arranged in departments, including graphics, search-engine optimization, information technology, and finance departments. In 2014, the agency established a “translator project” to focus on the U.S. population. In July 2016, more than 80 employees were assigned to the translator project….To hide the Russian origin of their activities, the defendants allegedly purchased space on computer servers located within the United States in order to set up a virtual private network. The defendants allegedly used that infrastructure to establish hundreds of accounts on social media networks such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, making it appear that the accounts were controlled by persons within the United States. They used stolen or fictitious American identities, fraudulent bank accounts, and false identification documents. The defendants posed as politically and socially active Americans, advocating for and against particular political candidates. They established social media pages and groups to communicate with unwitting Americans. They also purchased political advertisements on social media.

Also:

The Russians also recruited and paid real Americans to engage in political activities, promote political campaigns, and stage political rallies. The defendants and their co-conspirators pretended to be grassroots activists. According to the indictment, the Americans did not know that they were communicating with Russians.

Thirteen paragraphs into the release is this statement: “There is no allegation in the indictment that any American was a knowing participant in the alleged unlawful activity. There is no allegation in the indictment that the charged conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election.”

Talk about burying the lede!

Observations:

1 The media’s disappointment, as well as that of the Democrats interviewed and the anti-Trump echo chamber on social media, that the announcement did not connect the Trump campaign to the Russian conspiracy is palpable. Not at election night levels, because there still is hope beating in their hearts that Mueller’s investigation will somehow be able to overturn the will of the voters, but palpable nonetheless. Yes, a substantial portion of the American news media, the public and the Democratic party is bitterly disappointed that the investigation did not announce that an American President has been proven to have engaged in a conspiracy to undermine democracy.

Think about that.

2.  It is too early to conclude that Mueller and his team of compromised and conflicted investigators will not find evidence of wrongdoing by the Trump campaign or the President himself. Thus the President’s gloating tweet…

“Russia started their anti-US campaign in 2014, long before I announced that I would run for President. The results of the election were not impacted. The Trump campaign did nothing wrong – no collusion!”

…is premature at best. Moreover, the President does not know if the results of the election were “impacted,” and it is unlikely that we will ever know. The current set of indictments includes no finding that the results of the election were affected.

3.  It is not to early to say that if, as this announcement at least suggests may be the case, the Mueller investigation does not find any incriminating link between the Trump campaign and the Russian conspiracy, it will be one of the best tests we have ever had regarding the integrity of journalists, pundits and Democratic party leaders and officials.

4. Having read over the indictment bleary-eyed just once, I am not prepared to make any definitive analysis and may never be. However, certain items stand out.

5. The fact that the effort began in 2014 undermines the Democratic narrative that the intention was to elect Donald Trump, since literally nobody thought that Trump would be running, much less nominated, in 2014. It also shows that this attempt to undermine our elections began under the watch of the Obama Administration, and it is accountable.

Watch how this fact is eagerly brushed aside.

6. In Section 34 we learn that

Defendants and their co-conspirators also created thematic group pages on social media sites, particularly on the social media platforms Facebook and Instagram. ORGANIZATION­ controlled pages addressed a range of issues, including: immigration (with group names including “Secured Borders”); the Black Lives Matter movement (with group names including “Blacktivist”); religion (with group names including “United Muslims of America” and “Army of Jesus”); and certain geographic regions within the United States (with group names including “South United” and “Heart of Texas”). By 2016, the size of many ORGANIZATION-controlled groups had grown to hundreds of thousands of online..

I’ll be interested to see how many news reports mention this section, which bolsters the belief that Russia’s purpose was to sow discord, and not just to assist candidate Trump.

7. In Section 43, there is this:

By 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators used their fictitious online personas to interfere with the 2016 U.S . presidential election. They engaged in operations primarily intended to communicate derogatory information about Hillary Clinton, to denigrate other candidates such as Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and to support Bernie Sanders and then-candidate Donald Trump.

In other words, again, the purpose was to disrupt both parties and the election by supporting the insurgent candidates, not necessarily to elect them.

8. Section 35 reveals that the Russians spent “thousands of dollars of US dollars a month” on social media ads.  Yes, thousands. The suggestion that this level of social media advertising had any significant impact on the election is laughable.

9. From Section 53, as we begin learning about various rallies for Trump or against Clinton organized during the campaign (though we never learn how many people attended), and that..

Defendants and their co-conspirators recruited a real U.S. person to hold a sign depicting Clinton and a quote attributed to her stating “I think Sharia Law will be a powerful new direction of freedom.”

I never heard about that sign, and if I had, I would have assumed that it was a fake quote. I doubt that anyone who might have been inclined to vote for Clinton would be swayed by such clumsy false flag tactics; indeed most of the measures described in the indictment strike me the same way. What are described  are a lot of minor rallies and things like paying for a megaphone and fliers for a “March for Trump” rally (section 62). If paying for a megaphone is deemed worthy of mention in such an indictment, it’s fair to assume that we are talking about the Russians emulating Richard Nixon’s “dirty tricks,” and maybe not even that.

10. Let’s see how many news reports highlight this: Section 57 says that the Russian backed groups held and promoted multiple rallies both supporting and opposing the results of the 2016 election including a “Trump is not my president” rally.

 Now onto the spin

  • On CNN, a reporter summarizing the indictments said that “the Russian efforts succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.” This suggests, and was intended to suggest, that the interference elected Donald Trump. That’s a lie, flat-out—complete misrepresentation. The indictment doesn’t say that, or suggest that.
  • Here’s Mother Jones’ desperate headline: “Mueller’s Latest Indictment Shows Trump Has Helped Putin Cover Up a Crime.”  Disgraceful, but this pretty typical of Mother Jones and its chief reporter David Corn.
  • Chris Cillizza, who has been far, far more irresponsible and unreliable since joining CNN from the Washington Post, issued a story with this headline: “Donald Trump’s absolutely disastrous week.” Funny, I would call any week that ends with a huge announcement from the Special Prosecutor that there has been no finding that his campaign “colluded” or that the Russian efforts to interfere with the election had a measurable impact on the results a great week for the President no matter what else occurred…and I’d be right. Silly Cillizza—Cilly Cillizza?—also includes this, which should ring familiar to anyone who has read CNN, MSNBC, the Times, the Post and other perpetually hopeful mainstream news media arms of “the resistance” over the past year:

“Former Trump campaign adviser Rick Gates is finalizing a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller’s office, indicating he’s poised to cooperate in the investigation, according to sources familiar with the case. Gates has already spoken to Mueller’s team about his case and has been in plea negotiations for about a month….Gates’ cooperation could be another building block for Mueller in a possible case against President Donald Trump or key members of his team…”

Or, as is far more likely, the indictment has nothing to do with the “collusion” case at all, just like every other non-Russian indicted by Mueller. “Another building block”? There hasn’t been a single “block” discovered yet!

  • Here is the Post’s Greg Sargent lying in his article, “Three big takeaways from Mueller’s stunning new indictments”:

1. We now know not just that Russians did sabotage our election, but also that crimes may have been committed in the process — and what those crimes were.

Sabotage means “to deliberately destroy, damage, or obstruct.” The indictment and the press release do not say or even suggest that the election was even effected, much less destroyed, damaged, or obstructed. This so wrong that it requires a correction, and any Post editor that let to get though to publication should be sacked.

Now here is his second “big takeaway”:

2. We still don’t know whether Trump campaign officials or any other Americans conspired with this alleged effort to influence the election.

There’s some confusion around this point. The indictment says that some of the defendants “communicated with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump campaign.” At a presser just now, Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein reiterated this, claiming that “there’s no allegation in this indictment” that any American was aware of the alleged crimes. (Emphasis mine.)

Oh, I see! Except Rosenstein didn’t say “there’s no allegation in THIS indictment” [wink wink].  The anti-Trump media now openly interprets a statement that there is no evidence incriminating Trump to mean that there might be.

And “takeaway” #3:

3. This confirms just how massive an abdication Trump’s continued claims of a “hoax” really are. Trump has not simply dismissed the idea of Trump campaign conspiracy with Russian sabotage of our democracy. On many occasions, he has refused to acknowledge that Russian meddling happened at all.

This failure on Trump’s part isn’t merely retrospective. It is having serious consequences right now. In a big expose, The Post recently reported that Trump’s refusal to acknowledge Russian meddling is directly linked to his unwillingness to diminish the greatness of his victory. As a result, the Post story detailed, Trump has utterly failed to organize a serious national response to the threat of Russian sabotage of our next elections, even though intelligence officials continue to warn that it may already be in the works.

This new indictment, by illustrating the seriousness and elaborate nature of the alleged scheme to undermine our last election, underscores what a huge abdication this really is.

You have to love this. The indictment lays out an elaborate scheme by the Russians that took place entirely under the Obama Administration and that exemplifies its thorough incompetence, and the “big takeaway” is that Trump has “abdicated” his responsibilities. And again, Sargent alludes to “sabotage.” The news media is preparing to try to “sabotage” the 2018 elections with far more sweeping efforts, visibility and resources than anything the Russians have mustered or could, and stories like this one are an example. The indictments, contrary to what publications like the Post have been assuring us, did not implicate Trump or his campaign in any way, yet the Post’s three big “takeaways” impugn Trump!  The Post has multiple articles taking this approach.

  • Politico: “Worries about Trump’s legitimacy resurface with Russia indictment”

Again, shameless. Whose worries? I read the indictment, and obviously crimes were committed, but anyone who thinks this motley assortment of social media trolling and fringe muck–raking and rumor-mongering changed the results of the election is an idiot or Hillary Clinton. This is why the press statement said “There is no allegation in the indictment that the charged conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election.”

11. Here is my “big takeaway” so far. The Russians’ goal was to undermine faith in the American democratic institutions. Whatever they may have accomplished, and it doesn’t look like much, it pales in comparison to how the news media has undermined those institutions in its biased coverage of the 2016 campaign, its 95% negative Trump coverage  since his election, and the kind of tortured spin we are already seeing as the journalists get that sinking feeling that Mueller may not have anything impeachment-worthy to announce, now or ever.

 

233 Comments

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233 responses to “The Mueller Indictments: Observations And A Spin Report

  1. How is it that no one from the news organisations exposed this Russian interference?

    • Other Bill

      It was so inconsequential and so bumbling it would have been impossible to detect had not the Russians running the operation had someone tell that Steele character about it so he could tell the Democratic Party and the Clinton Campaign and the DOJ and the FBI and the CIA (John Brennan) and the media about it in late 2016, no one would have noticed it?

      • Other Bill

        Here’s a great explication of how the media actually created the whole collusion story out of the dossier:

        http://thefederalist.com/2018/02/15/media-stopped-reporting-russia-collusion-story-helped-create/

        One big echo chamber.

      • charlesgreen

        Other Bill, that Federalist article you cite was datelined the day BEFORE Mueller issued the indictments outlining in great detail the social media aspects of the Russia investigation – which basically disproves your claim that “it was so inconsequential and bumbling…”

        Nothing that had come out prior to the indictment had indicated anything like that level of detail, and I sincerely doubt it wasn’t for lack of trying on the part of the media. Note Mueller apparently got access to intelligence sufficient to quote Russian operatives. If, as you claim, the Steele dossier had been the primary source, don’t you think the MSM would have been all over it?

        The irony of your making this claim the day before these facts came out is evident.

  2. “11. Here is my “big takeaway” so far. The Russians’ goal was to undermine faith in the American democratic institutions. Whatever they may have accomplished, and it doesn’t look like much, it pales in comparison to how the news media has undermined those institutions in its biased coverage of the 2016 campaign, its 95% negative Trump coverage since his election, and the kind of tortured spin we are already seeing as the journalists get that sinking feeling that Mueller may not have anything impeachment-worthy to announce, now or ever.”

    One aspect of these accusations about Russians spreading messages and content in social media is that it elucidates the fact that media-systems in essence feed certain information to their audience and sway them. Theoretically then, if the influencers had enough resources and reach, the audience could be influenced in any particular direction!

    On one level the established ‘media’ seem to be lamenting and complaining that they have lost the capacity to be the sole feeders of information. So, they can no longer ‘control the narrative’ as is said.

    But the whole situation if looked at a little more problingly seems far more strange and disturbing. In a real democracy you would not have media-systems feeding constructed info-bits to the demos, in a situation in which some other system could interpose with other, contrary, info-bits and thus capture the mind of the population, you would rather have a demos with access to real information which implies ‘accurate assessments about reality’.

    I suggest there is a kind of non-admitted admittal that the Legacy Media is a sham. The larger message here is that there is in fact not really much of a democracy if one were to use the term accurately. There are other Greek terms more apt: plutocracy, oligarchy, et cetera. Whatever it is, it is a sort of machine with many interconnected parts.

    • I suggest there is a kind of non-admitted admittal that the Legacy Media is a sham.

      My opinion since 2015, growing out of years of watching the unfair bias against progressive opponents.

  3. “….and to support Bernie Sanders and then-candidate Donald Trump.”

    Just to reiterate, this plan built on Clinton’s own operation to “elevate” Trump to plausible candidate status. Sanders was also likely a chosen Clinton opponent, as their is evidence some kind of agreement between them concerning limits to their campaigning against each other.

    This is shabby little operation – most of the budget seems to have been spent in Russia rather than on on political activity here. I wonder why the unreachable workers would be indicted, instead of the whole thing being treated as part of an ongoing espionage operation by the government of Russia?

    • Other Bill

      Why indict people you’re never going to arrest? Might as well indict a ham sandwich.

      • valkygrrl

        It limits those people to visiting countries with no extradition treaty with the US. It exposes Putin and annoys the hell out of him, he hates having his covert operations exposed. It also….

        Listen, this indictment isn’t all there is was or will be.

        “There is no allegation in the indictment that any American was a knowing participant in the alleged unlawful activity. There is no allegation in the indictment that the charged conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election.”

        You’ll note that also yesterday afternoon an American plead guilty to aiding the Russians with identity theft for their operations. But it wasn’t part of this indictment. There could be, and likely is, a message to any of the persons known to the grand jury but not named in the indictment that cooperation and a plea deal is the best they can hope for. Of course it also could be that those people known but not named have already decided to cooperate, Only Mueller knows for sure.

        • Yes, this is the desperate hope the Post’s Greg Sargent decided to highlight rather than the indictments. You read the post, right? Because you just repeated the spin I described.

          • valkygrrl

            Huh? Oh I don’t know how to read, I went to public school.

              • valkygrrl

                ah I see, since he pointed out in this indictment and then I did the same except I expanded on that while your quoting just left it there it means I posted the exact same thing.

                Except for the part where again, I expanded on it and pointed out that the very same day, an American was convicted of helping the Russians.

              • Other Bill

                I for one am delighted we’ve had this investigation in order to limit the vacation and travel options of a few Russian government employees. Couldn’t they just have been denied visas by our crack State Department or put on a no fly list?

                • valkygrrl

                  As Julian Assange what living with limited travel options is like and please feel free to completely ignore everything else i typed the same way you do with Chris or anyone else who makes a point you find inconvenient. I’m sure no one will ever assume that you’re just arguing in bad faith.

                  • Other Bill

                    Russians are prohibited from leaving the Ecuadorian embassy in Moscow by virtue of these indictments? Wait, isn’t Assange accused by women of sexual assault? What’s wrong with ruining his life? Isn’t he part of the metoo movement? Bad faith? I’m trying to be a rational as possible. Bad faith? In what sense?

                    • Other Bill

                      Oh, wait. I forgot. Julian Assange is one of the good guys. Chelsea Manning and all that. Or wait, he’s not one of the good guys. He released John Podesta’s emails and other DNC emails. So he’s bad. Or else he’s a rapist, so he’s bad. He must be bad, the Swedes think he’s a rapist and the Swedes are wonderful. And he’s being victimized by the U.S. But wait, that was when Obama was president that he was penned up in London. Oh wait, the Trump administration is going to get Assange escorted to Moscow on orders from the Kremlin so he can hang out there. That’s it. Glad I cleared that up.

                    • Chris

                      You’re really making valky’s “Bad faith” case for her.

                    • Other Bill

                      It’s called reductio ad absurdum, Chris. Standard issue argumentation, going back to Roman times.

  4. charlesgreen

    I am baffled by your obsession on finding media bias in this report.

    Your “big takeaway” is what you buried in your last paragraph: “The Russians’ goal was to undermine faith in the American democratic institutions.” (As you would put it, “talk about burying the lede”).

    Now, that is absolutely my reading too.

    And, it is the headlines in the NYTimes: and WaPo: and LATimes, and so on.

    But you choose to cherrypick three items: MotherJones, Chris Cilizza, and an unnamed WaPo reporter (about whom more later), and to focus on this supposed bias in the “liberal” media.

    You completely ignore, however, the biggest lesson to be drawn from this: the fact that our President continues to obsess about his own reputation, to the exclusion of serious national issues – the very “big takeaway” that you cite.

    Remember – remember?? – how obsessively Trump has trumpeted that the whole “Russian thing” is a fraud? A hoax? A nothing-burger? A weak attempt by Hillary-ites to distract from his legitimacy?

    Notice he has now entirely dropped that bogus line of attack, and has now retreated solely to “no collusion” as a talking point?

    The big political take-away is that his claim of “fraud” has pretty much been blow away. It is now totally clear that, Indeed,”the Russians’ goal was to undermine faith in the American democratic institutions,” and they have had a pretty seriously strong effect on it. Witness this post, and all the other stuff written by you and others about how ‘the press’ has been biased against Trump.

    Meanwhile, what has Trump been doing about this Russian “attempt to undermine faith in the American democratic institutions”? Worse than nothing. Far worse. I won’t recite all the attempts to obstruct all the investigations around it, blowing smoke, threatening firings, and all the while yelling “fraud.”

    Any President worth the office should have been horrified on an ongoing basis about what is now coming to light – a foreign attempt to “undermine faith in the American democratic institutions.”

    But not this President. He can no longer claim a 400-pound guy sitting on his bed did this; but even now, does he suggest we should be doing something to prevent it happening again? No, he merely retreats to his only remaining fig leaf, “no collusion.”

    As I think you’d admit, the report doesn’t absolve him of collusion, it merely says this report doesn’t accuse him or anyone of collusion. Personally I doubt the “collusion” charge will end up resulting in very much at all, but we’ll see.

    The far more serious issue is that it’s now clearly established that there was serious meddling in our institutions, and our duly-elected President doesn’t give a damn. All he cares about is his “legitimacy.” That’s the horror here. And you’re not even talking about it.

    (And about that CNN reporter: you wrote “On CNN, a reporter summarizing the indictments said that “the Russian efforts succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.” This suggests, and was intended to suggest, that the interference elected Donald Trump. That’s a lie, flat-out—complete misrepresentation.”

    Really? This “suggests?” I don’t read it to suggest any such thing. That is YOUR conclusion, YOUR inference. If he said it, why not quote it? Because I doubt he said any such thing. I haven’t found any of the mainstream liberal media suggesting that this report suggests “the interferece elected Donald Tump.” All the mainstream talk I’ve seen suggests it’s impossible to determine, and we’ll probably never be able to draw such a conclusion. Since this is one of your three “examples” of media bias, and it hinges only on your false inference and imputation of what a reporter “meant,” I find it very weak.)

    The Big Big big takeaway: The Russians made serious attempts to undermine our institutions, spending more than many serious presidential campaigns did – and our President is so ego-obsessed that he does at best nothing, and at worst has actively obstructed attempts to uncover the truth about what’s been going on. His horrific response to this attack is the story behind the story.

    • Other Bill

      “there was serious meddling in our institutions”

      Really. I’m shocked. Ever heard of The Voice of America, Radio Free Europe or Radio Marti Charles? I think it’s called “propaganda,” right? I for one am shocked, shocked I tell you that this is going on in this day and age.

      • Other Bill

        But thank you for saying this: “Personally I doubt the “collusion” charge will end up resulting in very much at all, but we’ll see.” Good for you. Could you get Carl Bernstein to say something along the same lines?

      • charlesgreen

        If you can’t tell the difference between VOA and what went on here, then the Russkies have indeed succeeded beyond their own wildest dreams, and you’re Exhibit A.

      • valkygrrl

        We should call that one 2B I’m just as bad. Though Jack would probably file it under The “Tit for Tat” Excuse,

        It is funny that you’re defending Russian interference in our political process though. Ronald Reagan must be spinning in his grave.

          • Chris

            You responded to valky pointing out that you committed a rationalization by committing the exact same rationalization.

            Why did you do that?

            • Other Bill

              Because we were subjected to eight years of being told our enemies are actually our friends by the Obama administration, Chris. But now, our enemies are our enemies again. Why? Because a Democrat lost a presidential election. I’m trying to point out the non-sensicalness of the left’s sudden abhorrence of all things Russian.

              I think the Russians are psychos. I’m reading “The Brothers Karamozov” after having read “The Idiot.” I’m sure you’ve read Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy. The characters are invariably nuts. I grew up in Miami, Florida during the Cuban Missile Crisis. I was ten years old when they were deploying missles in tomato fields in south Dade County. We had bomb drills where we had to get under our desks at school to protect us from the nuclear device the Russians were going to lob into Miami. Good thing we had desks or we’d probably get killed.

              I could go on. But please, please, do’t lecture me about the insanity of the Russians. It’s been a huge part of my entire life.

    • Charles write: “The Big Big big takeaway: The Russians made serious attempts to undermine our institutions, spending more than many serious presidential campaigns did – and our President is so ego-obsessed that he does at best nothing, and at worst has actively obstructed attempts to uncover the truth about what’s been going on. His horrific response to this attack is the story behind the story.”

      ::: far off sound of a sitar, celestial chorus, a blinding ball of light approaches, stations itself in front shimmering, and then a golden figure materializes out of it :::

      Hello Charles. How are things?

      The best I can come up with is that the episode of ‘Russian meddling in our institutions’ in association with the Trump victory and the strangeness of politics these days… is again to focus on something that looks like mass hysteria. There seems to be a massive projection onto the Russians. And the best thing to do with such a projection, to make it conscious, is to take it off the exterior object, and deal with its meaning inside oneself.

      This has very little to do with ‘the Russians’ and much more to do with the Americans and America. The projection onto ‘Russia’ reminds me of a paranoid projection onto a witch who lives in the next village. It is quite possible to get everyone riled up, filled with fear and paranoia on the basis of insinuations. It can quickly become hysterical. In this case though it places focus on some ‘other’ onto whom one projects what one does not wish to see about oneself.

      I suppose I have the sense that this is really the function of it: to keep the focus on some other.

      The crisis within the US does not require a Russian agency nor the agency of any other player. What I mean is that even if there is ‘undermining’ it is taking place by local actors. Subversion is certainly possible though.

      You do not need to look at ‘the Russians’ to find the culprit ‘undermining our institutions’, all you need for that is to turn the examination lens around. If there is agency ‘undermining our institutions’ it is within ourselves, within our polity, people and institutions we know of, processes that we can become aware of.

    • 1. I didn’t cherry pick at all. These were representative MSM spin jobs.In the Warm-Up I also noted the NYT take, which was similarly misleading.
      2. I named the Post reporter: Greg Sargent. And if those 3 tortured efforts to somehow make this indictment a negative reflection on Trump doesn’t strike you as outrageous, I don’t know what to say.
      3. As Althouse points out,the Russian outrage is plain old speech, usually stupid speech, and nothing more. Russian trolls using fake Twitter accounts and blog posts is some kind of super-attack? Why would you believe that?
      4. When Trump says that the Russian think is “a hoax,” what he means is, “They want you to believe this crap changed the election result. That’s crap.” And it is crap. The indictments show its crap.
      5. What Presidential campaign spent “thousands” on ads?
      6. How was this serious meddling if it had no measurable impact? It’s serious like the Watergate burglary was serious, in the sense that all crimes are serious…although the theory behind the indictments has been rejected by the Federal courts.
      7. I quoted exactly what the CNN reporter said, and he didn’t elaborate. What does “succeeded beyond their wildest dreams” mean, if not that they changed the election results? You tell me. It couldn’t mean that it caused discord and controversy, because that was the objective. If it means “They were able to undermine the elected President,” then they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams because of CNN and the rest falsely exaggerating the impact of dirty tricks.

      • Chris

        Trump has repeatedly denied that Russia meddled, as I demonstrated below, so it is too generous of you to assume that he is simply calling the accusations against his own campaign a “hoax.”

        Trump repeatedly providing cover for Russia and casting doubt on our intelligence agencies’ conclusion that they meddled is how the Russians have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.

  5. Other Bill

    Carl Bernstein embarrasses himself and the Washington Post:

    CARL BERNSTEIN, WASHINGTON POST: Well, first of all, as you say, the details are extraordinary. They’re granular. They’re also huge, significant. They’re convincing. They give a great picture of what the Russians did in a way that makes it impossible for the president of the United States to credibly question what has occurred here.

    And that’s the other aspect of this. Mueller’s timing and Rod Rosenstein’s timing on this announcement could not be more brilliant in terms of undercutting the president of the United States in his attacks on the Mueller investigation, the fact that Rod Rosenstein himself chose to do this briefing on television, on national television, when he has been largely not visible to the American public. And the fact that Donald Trump has been intent, for months, on firing and replacing Rod Rosenstein and trying to shut down Mueller’s investigation, that is the other element of this that is a master stroke by Mueller and by Rosenstein that makes it extraordinarily difficult for Trump to end this investigation, for him to curtail it.

    It undermines his continuing to demean and obstruct the investigation. I have little doubt that it will force some Republicans to try to protect Mueller, Rosenstein and the integrity of this investigation and it changes, for the immediate moment, the whole dynamic which the president of the United States and his Republican acolytes and enablers in the Congress of the United States have been trying to discredit and shut down this investigation. Now this investigation would appear to be not only up and running with very strong legs, it gives a picture of the interface between what happened in the election and what the Russians did in a way that makes it impossible to deny.

    • charlesgreen

      I fail to see how this “embarrasses himself and the Washington Post.” Please explain? Sounds pretty accurate to me.

      • Other Bill

        It’s accurate but completely hypothetical and irrelevant.

        • Chris

          What are you talking about? There are no hypotheticals in Bernstein’s comments. He points out that the president has tried to discredit this investigation since the beginning, which he has. He points out that the fruits of the investigation proves that Trump has been wrong to call the investigation a “hoax,” which he has been. How is this embarrassing for anybody except the president and his enablers who have insisted that Russia did nothing and that the investigation is unnecessary and designed only to bring him down?

          • Other Bill

            The left and the media have always branded the Mueller investigation as an investigation into Trump’s colluding with the Russians. If it was just an investigation into Russian hijinks, who would have given a rat’s ass? The hoax part and the witch hunt part has always related to the apparent effort to the GET TRUMP! aspect.

            So, Trump was trying to obstruct an investigation into Russian meddling that had nothing to do with him or his campaign? Why would he do that?

            • Chris

              He has attempted to discredit both parts of the investigation. It is understandable why he wants to discredit the part that impugns him and his campaign. Less so why he spent so much time and political capitol attempting to discredit the notion that the Russians were involved at all.

            • Charles H Green

              “Had nothing to do with him or his campaign”?
              Here’s from the indictment: postings by the Russians:

              “You know, a great number of black people support us saying that #HillaryClintonIsNotMyPresident”

              “I say no to Hillary Clinton / I say no to manipulation”
              “JOIN our #HillaryClintonForPrison2016”
              “Donald wants to defeat terrorism . . . Hillary wants to sponsor it”

              “Vote Republican, vote Trump, and support the Second Amendment!”
              “Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Deserve the Black Vote”

              “Trump is our only hope for a better future!”

              “#NeverHillary #HillaryForPrison #Hillary4Prison #HillaryForPrison2016 #Trump2016 #Trump #Trump4President”

              “Ohio Wants Hillary 4 Prison”
              “Hillary Clinton has already committed voter fraud during the Democrat Iowa Caucus.”

              “We cannot trust Hillary to take care of our veterans!”
              “Among all the candidates Donald Trump is the one and only who can defend the police from terrorists.”

              “Hillary is a Satan, and her crimes and lies had proved just how evil she is.”

            • charlesgreen

              “Trump was trying to obstruct an investigation into Russian meddling that had nothing to do with him or his campaign?”

              Are you kidding? Here are a few sample ads cited in the indictment:

              April 6 2016: “You know, a great number of black people support us saying that #HillaryClintonIsNotMyPresident;”
              Apr. 19, 2016: “JOIN our #HillaryClintonForPrison2016;”
              May 10, 2016: “Donald wants to defeat terrorism…Hillary wants to sponsor it;”
              June 7, 2016: “Trump is our only hope for a better future;”
              Aug. 10, 2016: “We cannot trust Hillary to take care of our veterans!”
              Oct. 19, 2016: “Hillary is a Satan, and her crimes and lies had proved just how evil she is.”

              • What? Charles: those ads came before the investigation. They do not show that his campaign was involved at all. Since his campaign wasn’t involved in the ads, or the meddling, there was no reason for him to obstruct the investigation. Moreover, those Facebook ads are the equivalent of raindrops in the ocean. You are sounding reasonable while making absurd arguments, a neat trick, but still.

                • charlesgreen

                  I DID NOT CLAIM that anything has been proven about his campaign being involved. Neither has Mueller. (Yet.).

                  So stop telling me I’m wrong about something I never said.

                  As to obstruction, look at everything he’s done to try and get rid of the Mueller investigation (which he brought on himself through his ham-handed attempts to get rid of Comey—cf Bannon for how stupid that was).

                  My prediction: Donald will never be proven to have colluded (Manafort, maybe).

                  But remember: Nixon was never found guilty of the Watergate burglary either. But he was convicted of having tried to fix the matter after the fact. We already know Trump has a habit of “fixing” difficult situations, it would not surprise me in the least if he’s found guilty of doing it again. That’s called obstruction.

                  • Ugh. There was a proven crime, by White House operatives, in Watergate. There has been no crime involving any White House staff or Republican staff. Nixon’s White House was guilty, just as Clinton was guilty. Same with Scooter Libby: the classified identigy of Plame had, in fact, been improperly linked. If there was no crime involving Trump or the White House, then there is no reason for a cover-up. But keep wishing and hoping.

                    • charlesgreen

                      Remind me what Manafort is pleading to? Flynn? Pappadoulos?

                    • @charles

                      Remind me what Manafort is pleading to? Flynn? Pappadoulos?

                      Flynn got caught in an FBI perjury trap, a political move by the investigators who did not even believe he lied, but went after him anyway. So what?

                      Manafort (and Gates) are accused as ‘working as unregistered agents of Ukraine’ who hid the money from the Feds. Between 2006 and 2015. How is that exactly colluding with Russians in our election?

                      Pappadoulos is accused of lying to the Feds. His ‘crime?’ Looking for dirt on Hillary. Again, so what?

                      What about this shows the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian to deprive your Goddess, Hillary, of her rightful throne?

                    • Correction. I’m pretty sure Charles worships Athena, with Artemis in reserve.

                    • charlesgreen

                      Slick Willy, I was reacting to Jack’s statement that “There has been no crime involving any White House staff or Republican staff.” My point was, if there had been no crime, then what the hell were these guys pleading to?

                      And if you think perjury is not a crime, I refer you to the Bill Clinton impeachment.

                      As I’ve noted many times, I wouldn’t bet money on Mueller et al charging Trump with collusion per se – though I wouldn’t bet against it yet either; we have yet to hear from Mueller about Wikileaks, for example.

                      But don’t forget: they got Clinton for perjury, Nixon for obstruction, and Al Capone for tax evasion.

                    • Yes, that was certainly imprecise. What I should have said was that there were no crimes involving the campaign by members of the campaign team. Flynn and the rest have pleaded to crimes involving their own individual actions. If one pleads to jaywalking, the same will be true. I keep reading about how three members of the campaign have pleaded guilty or been indicted stated in a misleading fashion to suggest that Mueller is “getting closer.” Deceit.

                    • Please forgive the Goddess comment, charles. I have been catching up on the weekend postings, and had a bit of toxicity from reading Chris’ partisan rantings. You got the ire and did not really deserve it. 🙂

                      Making it illegal to lie to federal agents without being under oath is a tool of tyranny, and is abused often, especially when politics are involved. The law should be thrown out, IMHO. My point is made by the FBI thinking Flynn did not lie, but ‘we are going to indict him anyway, because TRUMP!’

                      Jack made my point that crimes committed that are not part of Trumps campaign are not an indictment of Trump or his campaign.

                      I am sure we could show how many democrat operatives have been indicted who worked for democratic campaigns, after all…

                      They are ALL crooks, as my papa says.

                    • charlesgreen

                      No offense taken, Slickwilly, but thanks for the consideration nonetheless.

            • He has not obstructed anything. As multiple legal authorities not suffering from the Tribe-Painter Syndrome have made clear.

              • charlesgreen

                How do you know that he hasn’t obstructed anything? That is one of the major findings yet to be revealed from the investigation; I don’t know that he has, and you don’t know that he hasn’t. All we’re doing is placing bets at this point.

                • I know that what has been speciously called obstruction, like firing Comey, isn’t.

                • charlesgreen wrote, “How do you know that he hasn’t obstructed anything? That is one of the major findings yet to be revealed from the investigation; I don’t know that he has, and you don’t know that he hasn’t. All we’re doing is placing bets at this point.”

                  Placing bets on the probability of guilt of obstruction without any real facts to support the accusation is foolish, yes foolish.

                  Innuendo that is unsupported by facts is literally nothing but conspiracy theories or gossip fense rumors that’s fabricated to wreak havoc on weak minded individuals.

                  We are innocent until proven guilty Charles; maybe you should consider that fact before you place your “bets”.

                  Here’s what I perceive as a big difference between you and I Charles; I’ll place my bets on innocence absolutely everytime and maintain that bet right up to the point that someone proves guilt beyond the shadow of doubt using real facts. You seem to be willing to begin with guilt as primary, therefore you place your bets accordingly and innocence must be proven.

                  • charlesgreen

                    Ethics are one thing. Bets are another. If I let my ethical principles dictate all my bets, I’ll lose money.

                    In fact, betting on my principles and losing money is a harsh reminder that the world doesn’t always follow my principles—awake-up call to me to be always aware that my views aren’t necessarily held by others. It’s a cold hard exercise in empathy—markets are cold and impersonal.

                    Mind you in my daily life I preach many values that I’m sure you and I would agree on. But actually betting on my power and persuasiveness would just be vain, and often in vain—it won’t persuade anyone.

                    Predictit is not a market of ideas—it is a market of cold hard predictions, with some tough lessons for the Pollyanish among us, too often including me.

                  • Saying one bets that Trump obstructed justice is like saying about a neighbor, “I bet he beats his dog” or “I bet he cheats on his taxes” or “I bet he cheats on his wife.”

                    • charlesgreen

                      Difference: this bet has a defined term (e.g. 1st term, or end-of-2019), and a precise definition.

                      Without definitions and timelines, you’d be right, it’s just gossip. But this is real money, with winners and losers, in other words—a market.

                    • (I hate to admit it, but it sounds fun.)

                    • charlesgreen

                      (Jack, yes it is kind of fun; also cold water in the face from time to time. I’ve lost more than I’ve made at this point. Fortunately I’m only playing with poker money.)

          • Trump has discredited what was widely represented in and out of the Justice Department as a malign fishing expedition designed to undermine his administration. I heard other media shills, who sounded like You (and Charles) here saying “Why has Trump been acting guilty” He hasn’t been acting guilty. This is the unethical “1984” “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear” trap that I have caught the Times and others adopting, proving how corrupt they are. He has been behaving like a leader who is furious that he has been targeted and accused of treason daily in the press, and deeply resents biased prosecutors, as he sees it, determined to destroy him. He has not been protecting Russia; he has been defending himself, and his accusations of bias and unprofessional conduct by the FBI, Mueller’s team and the Justice Department have been substantiated to a disturbing extent. And you can’t admit that.

            • Chris

              That’s because he has been protecting Russia.

            • charlesgreen

              Agreed that he is not trying to protect Russia; he is only trying to protect himself. He doesn’t give a damn about anybody or anything else, including the country.

              • Chris

                Well, he is protecting Russia; that’s inarguable. The question is why. I think it’s because he feels the need to protect Russia in order to protect himself.

                • It’s not inarguable, it is baloney. Your Trump fantasies are pathological at this point. Trump cares about himself, not Russia.

                  • Chris

                    That’s EXACTLY what I just said. What part of “I think it’s because he feels the need to protect Russia in order to protect himself” did you not understand?

                    • Chris,
                      You’re a imbecile trying to spin your way through life. Saying Trump is protecting the Russian government is like saying i’m protecting you because I haven’t punched you in the nose.

                      Trump is not “protecting” the Russian government, he’s just hasn’t jumped on the everything is Russia’s fault bandwagon like other knee-jerk quick-to-condemn international political ignoramus’s. His stance not to do what others have done in regards to this meddling from Russia is actually a good diplomatic facade – none of us have any idea what has been said behind the facade and if you don’t believe that Trump and Putin have had direct very pointed discussions about this you’re not only an idiot but you’re also a damn fool – Trump has show that he plays political hard ball and he has shown that he has a variety of hard ball tactics.

                      As for the Trump campaign Russian collusion accusations and the obstruction of justice accusations; it appears that Trump’s hoax and witch hunt statements are holding up, all this investigating and no one has come up with a thing on Trump. It appears that you and other Progressives are completely loosing your collective marbles because of it – get professional help.

                      By the way; only a damn fool would represent their intelligence, or lack thereof, in this thread in the manner in which you have. An actual intelligent person would have stopped long ago, but you continue with your absurdly illogical and ignorant nonsense as if you’re right. You do know that stupid people don’t know they’re stupid.

                      I continue to wonder how a person with you “reasoning skills” ever got a job to stand in front of a class of middle schoolers and teach English.

                    • Chris,
                      It’s becoming increasing obvious to those of us that read your tripe that your Trump Derangement Syndrome has been gradually getting worse and worse to the point that it appears that you’ve lost your marbles. Maybe you should consider taking a voluntary leave of absence from your regular trolling at Ethics Alarms so you can spend some quality time with yourself gathering up all the marbles you’ve lost since November 2016. Seriously Chris, take a nice long break from Ethics Alarms before you have a nervous breakdown.

                    • charlesgreen

                      Incivility much?

    • charlesgreen

      Here’s Axios’ take on this: Personally I think Axios is about the best source out there today, I’d be curious to hear your of them:
      ———–
      “Robert Mueller’s meaty indictment, accusing 13 Russians (including an oligarch known as “Putin’s cook”) of “information warfare against the United States of America,” shows the special counsel has been doing deep, serious investigative work — totally under the radar, and with zero leaks.

      Amazing that there was no hint of this in the media.
      The gist: “The alleged scheme was run by the Internet Research Agency, a troll farm based in St. Petersburg, Russia, which used bogus social media postings and advertisements fraudulently purchased in the name of Americans to try to influence the White House race.”
      A powerful thought bubble from Axios’ Jonathan Swan:

      We’ve only been reading about [Mueller’s] interviews with Trump associates and White House officials — because these are the folks that Washington reporters talk to.
      But Mueller has been picking apart complicated, secretive and well-funded Russian networks that could only have originated from the Kremlin.
      Mueller’s indictments are not the work product of some frivolous fishing expedition to indict Trump, as some of Trump’s conservative allies have claimed.
      This shows that Trump was wrong when he said during a debate that the DNC hacker “could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds.” It’s not fake news.
      This shows Mueller has been doing consequential work, not just sniffing around the White House looking for an excuse to indict Trump.
      President Trump is either woefully ignorant, or deliberately lying, about the scope of Kremlin influence. This was a major Kremlin operation.

      Why it matters:

      It will now be even harder for Trump to fire Mueller. Capitol Hill already would have gone crazy if Trump tried that. But after Mueller has done such substantive work — even earning the lavish praise of Trump lawyer John Dowd — it’s impossible to imagine Trump getting away with firing him.
      The fact that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein gave a press conference is significant. It was a major vote of confidence in the Mueller probe: This is Rosenstein saying he’s proud of this work, and fully supports it.
      It’s also a notable show of independence by Rosenstein — a Heisman to the White House.
      How it’s playing … Lead story of WashPost homepage: “Justice Dept. deals fatal blow to Trump’s Russia ‘hoax.'”

      N.Y. Times Quote of the Day … Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein: “The nature of the scheme was the defendants took extraordinary steps to make it appear that they were ordinary American political activists.”

      ——
      Axios, Mike Allen, Feb 17

      • Other Bill

        Why should Trump fire Rosenstein or Mueller and what difference does it make? They’re not finding any collusion? There’s no way he’d fire them now. So why is that a story. It’s merely “Look over there!” Complete misdirection.

        • Other Bill

          Charles, be honest. The headline the left is looking for is something along the lines of: “Mueller Indicts Trump for working with Russians to Smear Clinton and Change Votes in Wisconsin Voting Machines in Return for Agreeing to Allow Russia to Re-establish Soviet Union All the Way to Paris.” The fact this is not the headline is the big takeaway. All this other stuff is child’s play.

          • Other Bill

            And as you yourself say, this headline may be forthcoming, but we both doubt it.

            • Other Bill

              And why were these guys and outfits indicted? Complete grandstanding. Why weren’t some Russian diplomats thrown out of their embassy in D.C. and sent packing? Isn’t that how these things are usually handled? Then the Russians could throw some U.S. diplomats out of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and then everybody could go right back to spying on each other and conducting covert operations to frustrate each other’s governments and their wishes.

            • charlesgreen

              “The headline the left is looking for is something along the lines of:”

              Says who?

              I’m looking for the truth, and I think Mueller is doing a careful methodical job of ferreting it out.

              All you’re doing here is imputing motives to other people and then trashing those supposed motives. From a false premise any conclusion follows.

              Go find some facts instead of dreaming them up.

              • Charles, I agree that based on the results, though not the personnel or the methods, the investigation is fair and professional. However, there are conflicts everywhere, the leaking is unconscionable, and the inclusion of some of his staff will make any serious allegations against Trump subject to attack.

            • charlesgreen

              As I have said several times in this blog, I too doubt that they will find collusion on the part of Trump, and probably not on the part of his campaign staff. That, however, leaves a mountain of other worrisome, and probably criminal, activities still of concern to the nation.

              • Other Bill

                See Chris below for the people I’m allegedly making up out of thin air. What else is worrisome and criminal?

                • Other Bill

                  Chris and any number of other people are convinced Trump is a pawn of Kremlin and doing its bidding at every turn. You really think I’m the one who’s making this up? Really? That’s been the entire thrust of this “collusion” thing all along. Come on, Charles. You’re pulling my leg.

                  • charlesgreen

                    OB, the ONLY people I hear yelling about “collusion” are those on the right who wrongly attribute it as a prime motive for those on the Left.

                    What’s very clear – and what Trump and the Trumpists were vehemently denying until yesterday – is that there was serious interference with the elections. The Russians were absolutely putting their thumbs on the scale, and in favor of Trump and Sanders, and against Hillary. That is now crystal clear, and even Trump has stopped calling it a “hoax.”

                    Whether Trump et al colluded is of course an important question, but honestly not as important as the FACT of foreign interference in our elections. We’ll see what turns up.

                    Trump finally was forced to drop the “Hoax” business yesterday, and is left now only with howling “No collusion!” as if that excuses him from his execrable failure to act as a head of state in fighting back against the Russians’ interference.

                    You are carrying water for him by obsessively claiming that I and other Lefties are obsessed with collusion. We’ll see if any collusion shows up: meantime, WHAT DO YOU THINK SHOULD BE DONE ABOUT NOW-CLEAR CRIMINAL ACTIONS TAKEN BY THE RUSSIANS?

                    If you have any ideas for action, maybe you should whisper them in the ear of our feckless president. All he seems to care about is his image (imagine that).

                    • Charles. You can’t seriously be arguing that the entire objective of this investigation has not been to somehow “get” Trump. If you have been reading the papers, watching CNN, or listening to late night TV,you know that’s the motive, that’s the context in which all news, leaks and developments have been interpreted, and it is why this was handed to a Special Prosecutor.

                  • Did all the rational commenters here designate you as the sole combatant while Charles and Chris spin and protest? Or have they been…handled

                    • Other Bill

                      Radio silence. Crickets. I think the Russians have neutralized their phones and computers. This is not a role I’m used to filling. I’m surprised I haven’t lost my temper. Maybe because this has been so easy. Anyway, I need to take a shower and get dressed. But I’ll leave my computer open so it can’t be hacked like the election. Or should I shut it? What to do?

                    • Nah. Been at a birthday party for one of my son’s friends. I’ll try to catch up later. So far it looks like Other Bill has done quite well in the face of brick-wall like obtuseness.

                    • Other Bill

                      Glad to hear, unlike moi, you’ve been doing something worthwhile today, Agricultural & Mechanical. I’m sure your son appreciates his Dad.

                    • Thanks! But hey, you held down the fort here. Well done!

      • My reaction:

        1. Axios is a less blatant version of Vox

        2..“Robert Mueller’s meaty indictment, accusing 13 Russians (including an oligarch known as “Putin’s cook”) of “information warfare against the United States of America,” shows the special counsel has been doing deep, serious investigative work — totally under the radar, and with zero leaks.

        We have no idea whether there have been zero leaks. Leaks of grand jury testimony are criminal: if there were leaks, they were on deep background.

        3.Amazing that there was no hint of this in the media. Not amazng to me: if it doesn’t point to Trump, the news media doesn’t care about it.

        4. The gist: “The alleged scheme was run by the Internet Research Agency, a troll farm based in St. Petersburg, Russia, which used bogus social media postings and advertisements fraudulently purchased in the name of Americans to try to influence the White House race.”

        Except that the scope and method could not possibly do that. The effort was designed to increase chaos and discord, suspicion and confusion. The best way to do that was to pump up the insurgents. I have yet to see any evidence that 1) the Russians thought they could help elect Trump and 2) that they did. Yet the news media keeps implying otherwise.

        A powerful thought bubble from Axios’ Jonathan Swan:

        We’ve only been reading about [Mueller’s] interviews with Trump associates and White House officials — because these are the folks that Washington reporters talk to.
        But Mueller has been picking apart complicated, secretive and well-funded Russian networks that could only have originated from the Kremlin.Mueller’s indictments are not the work product of some frivolous fishing expedition to indict Trump, as some of Trump’s conservative allies have claimed.This shows that Trump was wrong when he said during a debate that the DNC hacker “could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds.” It’s not fake news.This shows Mueller has been doing consequential work, not just sniffing around the White House looking for an excuse to indict Trump.President Trump is either woefully ignorant, or deliberately lying, about the scope of Kremlin influence. This was a major Kremlin operation.

        No, it doesn’t. It wasn’t a major operation at all. Nor do I see what difference it makes who sent out social media ads or how much they weighed. Trump was saying that the interference alleged is being hyped to undermine him, and this indictment shows he was right about that. He has said he accepted the verdict of his agencies, so this “thought bubble” is dishonest. Nor does it prove that the investigation hasn’t been focused on getting Trump. How does it show that? He couldn’t find the smoking guns, so he indicted Russians on dubious charges–a later post—that will never be tested in court. Wow. What a pro.

        Why it matters:

        It will now be even harder for Trump to fire Mueller.

        Fake future news. Trump wasn’t going to fire Mueller, though it could have been justified. This more “We know Trump is guilty” narrative.

        6.Capitol Hill already would have gone crazy if Trump tried that. But after Mueller has done such substantive work — even earning the lavish praise of Trump lawyer John Dowd — it’s impossible to imagine Trump getting away with firing him.
        The fact that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein gave a press conference is significant. It was a major vote of confidence in the Mueller probe: This is Rosenstein saying he’s proud of this work, and fully supports it.
        It’s also a notable show of independence by Rosenstein — a Heisman to the White House.

        How is it impressive for Rosenstein to announce that they found no evidence of wrongdoing by the Trump campaign and no evidence that the election was compromised? Oh…right, because it proves that Trump has been “covering up” for Putin.

        Ridiculous.
        How it’s playing … Lead story of WashPost homepage: “Justice Dept. deals fatal blow to Trump’s Russia ‘hoax.’”

        N.Y. Times Quote of the Day … Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein: “The nature of the scheme was the defendants took extraordinary steps to make it appear that they were ordinary American political activists.”

  6. Chris

    5. The fact that the effort began in 2014 undermines the Democratic narrative that the intention was to elect Donald Trump, since literally nobody thought that Trump would be running, much less nominated, in 2014.

    No, it doesn’t undermine the idea that the intention was to elect Donald Trump at all, because no one but you thinks that has to have been the intention the entire time in order to be factually true that it was their intention. As the report makes clear, it *became* their intention.

    It also shows that this attempt to undermine our elections began under the watch of the Obama Administration, and it is accountable.

    Cool story. Please continue focusing on the Obama administration’s failure to prevent interference they didn’t know was happening over the Trump administration’s failure to react to interference they had been informed over and over had happened and denied vociferously. Do you want a time machine? An indictment of people in the Obama administration? Or do you think it might be time to care that Trump, who is actually president now, *refuses* to do anything to hold the Russians accountable, including refusing to implement sanctions that every single member of Congress except for five agreed were necessary?

    • charlesgreen

      What Chris said.

      • Other Bill

        Isn’t the President responsible for conducting the nation’s foreign affairs? Is this a constitutional crisis?

        • Chris

          No, it isn’t a constitutional crisis. Just indefensible, inexplicable policy that undermines our country.

          Well, not inexplicable. Explicable by reasons which have not been proven, and which you refuse to consider.

          • Other Bill

            i.e., Trump is a pawn of the Kremlin and doing its bidding at every turn. Thanks, Chris. I appreciate the candor.

            • Chris

              Here’s candor for you: you’re refusing to engage with any point that might indicate Trump is being overly favorable to the Russians in a way that undermines the U.S. That’s because this conclusion is essentially inarguable. Whether he does this because he is a pawn of the Kremlin and doing its bidding at every turn certainly *is* arguable, and some have provided alternate explanations for Trump’s behavior. But the fact that he is being overly favorable to the Russians in a way that undermines the U.S. should no longer be in question after these indictments. Trump denied for over a year that Russia did anything wrong at all, and still refuses to implement the punishments advised by the intelligence community and agreed upon by nearly every member of Congress. Defend that.

              But my main point, which you deflected from, was about Jack’s hypocrisy in condemning Obama for doing nothing about Russia’s interference before we even investigated it while providing cover for Trump’s choice to do nothing about Russia’s interference after it had already been investigated. Would you like to address that point?

              • Other Bill

                Chris, I think you’re consistently trying to criminalize and weaponize policy differences. You don’t like what you think Trump is or isn’t doing. You assume his intent is malicious and criminal. You want him impeached. Why?

                • Chris

                  More deflection. I’m simply going to repeat what I said just now, and you can address it or not:

                  Trump denied for over a year that Russia did anything wrong at all, and still refuses to implement the punishments advised by the intelligence community and agreed upon by nearly every member of Congress. Defend that.

                  • Other Bill

                    Please provide me more information on your allegations. My recollection is that Trump has consistently denied he or his campaign colluded with the Russians in order to get elected. He thinks he won the election fair and square. Rosenstein’s statement said the Russian efforts had no effect upon the outcome of the election. Did Trump care whether the Russians goofed around? I don’t think so. Are the arguments pro and con as to whether sanctions are effective? Yes. Is getting Russia to cooperate regarding North Korea’s nukes or Syria’s gassing it’s citizens important? Yes. Can you and I disagree on these matters? Yes. Are these actions or inactions by a president criminal or even inordinately significant?

                    • Other Bill

                      What is it you want done?

                    • Other Bill

                      Seriously, Chris. You’re King for the Day. Tell me what needs to be done to remedy the situation. And you can’t say, “more investigation.” You’re King. You don’t need no stinking investigation.

                      What will make you happy? Please lay it out.

                    • Chris

                      Let’s start by implementing the sanctions that nearly every member of Congress agreed were necessary.

                      No, not implementing those sanctions is not criminal, unless there was a quid pro quo during the campaign that made this a condition.

                    • Other Bill

                      “No, not implementing those sanctions is not criminal, unless there was a quid pro quo during the campaign that made this a condition.

                      Your Honor, may I treat the witness has hostile? Thank you.

                      So, Mr. Chris, what you’re saying is Trump was elected by Russian actions in return for his promise to do their bidding once he was elected. Is that correct? And if so, isn’t it the case that you believe he should be impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate and removed from office post haste?

                      Thank you.

                      I have no further questions of this witness, Judge Green.

                    • Chris

                      So, Mr. Chris, what you’re saying is Trump was elected by Russian actions in return for his promise to do their bidding once he was elected. Is that correct? And if so, isn’t it the case that you believe he should be impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate and removed from office post haste?

                      I’m saying it’s possible, and would explain a lot about his actions.

                      I’ve asked you for other explanations, and you did not do well.

                    • Other Bill

                      Okay. I googled it. Here’s an article that must have gotten your dander up: https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a15922098/trump-no-new-russia-sanctions/

                      My response would be that perhaps the administration thinks it has bigger fish to fry with Russia, as I mentioned, like Syria and North Korea or Chinese expansionism. Maybe they feel additional sanctions aren’t effective and that Congress is encroaching on the President’s authority to conduct foreign affairs?

                      Does that constitute answering your question? I hope so. It’s probably not the answer you wanted, but isn’t it an answer?

                    • Chris

                      It doesn’t resemble the answer given by the administration, which was incoherent.

                    • Other Bill

                      Incoherent is your opinion. To which you are entitled.

                    • Chris

                      The fact that you had to imagine an explanation for Trump’s inaction on Russia that doesn’t resemble the administration’s explanation at all doesn’t pique your curiosity at all? Do you even know what the official explanation was? Do you care?

                    • Other Bill

                      I read the state department’s responses and explanation and found them perfectly plausible. Sorry. A little oblique, but come on, they’re diplomats. At least it wasn’t written in French.

                    • Chris

                      I read the state department’s responses and explanation and found them perfectly plausible. Sorry. A little oblique, but come on, they’re diplomats. At least it wasn’t written in French.

                      Then you’re a gullible moron.

                      https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/01/30/the-trump-administrations-weird-explanation-for-withholding-russia-sanctions/

                  • Again, you are intentionally misleading. Trump has said that the Russian efforts did not effect the outcome of the election and do not undermine his victory. He has never denied that there was Russian attempts at interference; his sole focus has been his election, which the Democrats and Clinton have desperately used every possible excuse to delegitimize. Trump has never said that the Russians didn’t do anything wrong. You broadcast your denial and spin by writing that. He has said that the efforts were not designed to elect him. Certainly at some point that may have been the thrust, but the fact that a single project ran from 2014-2016 does demonstrate that this was not an “Elect Trump” effort but a “Cause chaos” project.

                    I’m really sick of explaining to you the obvious fact that the President’s language is imprecise. The hoax he was referring to is the “hoax” that his election was due to Russian interference, a fake and destructive excuse used to justify “the resistance’s” disgusting conduct and for Clinton to claim she was robbed…of the election she tried to fix.

                    I’ve read the indictment, and while it describes crimes, it does not describe anything likely to affect the election. Nothing described comes within a hundred miles of damaging Clinton’s prospects as much as her lies and machinations about her emails, and the fact that she tried to fix the nomination process—plus her horrible campaign.

                    It is becoming clear that those convinced that the President engaged in wrongdoing will keep shifting goal posts and narratives to avoid admitting, when the time comes, if it comes, that the investigation has proved that this was a politically motivated hype exercise pushed by Democrats to, ironically, undermine American institutions because the voters didn’t do their bidding. Which is disgusting.

                    • Chris

                      He has never denied that there was Russian attempts at interference.

                      Yes, he has.

                    • Chris

                      https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/13/politics/trump-unconvinced-russia-meddled-election/index.html

                      Seriously, Jack. How can you assert that Trump has never denied that Russians attempted to interfere? That is a lie. You are promoting a lie. And it is a lie driven by bias toward the media and the left.

                    • From the article YOU CITED:

                      “Trump has only begrudgingly acknowledged that Russia may have interfered in the election. In a press conference as president-elect, Trump said, “As far as hacking, I think it was Russia. But I think we also get hacked by other countries and other people.” At a June 2017 press conference in Poland, he again said Russia meddled in the election, but added that “other people and other countries” likely did as well.”

                      You’re being an asshole. You just picked this because of the headline. It’s CNN. You have a flat learning curve.

                    • Phlinn

                      Charles, taking your links 1 at a time:
                      1. He didn’t deny meddling, but did repeat that Putin denies it. He did not say that he believe him, only that he thinks Putin seems sincere. Con artists always seem sincere, and as the article noted he didn’t answer a direct question about it, and later stated he didn’t dispute the assessment of the intelligence agencies. Technically, he’s in the clear.

                      2. Repeated Julian Assange’s claim that he wasn’t given the info from Russia. That isn’t the same as saying they didn’t interfere at all.

                      3. Oh joy. Unnamed sources claiming to be familiar with his thought processes claim he’s unconvinced. That’s all it has.

                    • Phlinn

                      Sorry, that was supposed to be directed at Chris. Also, to reveal my bias, I assume the media spins against Trump, based on everything else they’ve ever written about him. That may be making me give him too much of the benefit of the doubt in your mind I suppose.

                    • Chris

                      “Every time he sees me, he says, ‘I didn’t do that,’ ” Trump said. “And I believe, I really believe, that when he tells me that, he means it.”

                      “I think he is very insulted by it,” Trump added.

                      On Sunday, Trump was asked to clarify his Air Force One comments about Putin and the election meddling.

                      “I believe that he feels that he and Russia did not meddle in the election. As to whether I believe it or not, I am with our agencies, especially as currently constituted with the leadership,” Trump said during a joint press briefing in Hanoi, Vietnam.

                      “I believe that our intel agencies, our intelligence agencies, I work with them very strongly … As currently led, by fine people, I believe very much in our intelligence agencies,” Trump said.

                      So he believes Putin “means it” when he says he didn’t meddle, but also believes our intelligence agencies (whom he says are out to get him) when they say he meddled.

                      That clears up everything.

                    • Nevertheless, saying what Putin believes is not the same as denying that he may have done it. Your spinning is making you dizzy, Chris. Even now, all sources say is that the mischief “points to the Kremlin.” That’s not certainty. The point is that Trump is not denying the meddling.

                    • Chris

                      Nevertheless, saying what Putin believes is not the same as denying that he may have done it.

                      !

                      So…your argument is that Putin may have ordered the interference into our election…but somehow believes that he didn’t order the interference into our election.

                      And that’s not “spin?”

                    • NO one has suggested that Putin directly ordered the interference. There is zero evidence of that. Russian entities engaged in this, people loyal to Putin, none of that means Putin did it. It is not inconsistent to say Putin believes he wasn’t responsible, and that it happens. An example would be the IRS illegal discrimination against the Tea Party. Obama is responsible and a accountable. I would not be surprised if Obama honestly believed he had nothing to do with it. He’s wrong.

                      I’m pretty sick of your gotcha style of spinning, Chris. I write comments quickly, and sometimes my words aren’t exactly right: I should have written “Russia” instead of “he.” But since Trump was not denying that Russia interfered, as I showed, you knew my intended thought. It’s a chicken-shit way to argue, to be blunt.

                    • Chris

                      Terrible analogy. Obama, unlike Putin, was not an autocrat. Putin is the Russian government; “Russia did it” and “Putin did it” are interchangeable statements. I’ve never heard anyone argue that it’s possible the Russians are responsible for meddling but that maybe Putin had no involvement; the notion is flatly ridiculous.

              • Chris, the episode being covered in the indictment entire occurred under Obama. That’s a fact. I realize you refuse to engage with that fact, but that’s a fact. Obama did not take appropriate action to protect the institutions he is sworn to uphold, and, it increasingly appears, may have tacitly approved Democratic efforts to undermine them. We have evidence of this. And yet you focus on speculative assumption about what the Trump administration hasn’t done regarding speculative efforts by Russia about which we have no concrete information whatsoever.

                • Chris

                  What in God’s name are you talking about? “Speculative efforts by Russia about which we have no concrete information whatsoever?” The same efforts for which you are holding Obama accountable for not preventing are now just speculative?

                  “Speculative assumption about what the Trump administration hasn’t done?” Nothing I have said about what Trump hasn’t done is speculative. It is fact. How can you say this?

                  How can you continue to spin this to condemn Obama for not doing anything about Russia then when you don’t care that Trump isn’t doing anything *now?* There is no excuse for your hypocrisy and bias here. As with your refusal to own up to the implications of your assumption that the “porn ban” calls came from the left, you are demonstrating that you are determined to blame the left for everything while refusing to hold the right accountable for similar or worse affronts.

                  • Try to recover enough to understand English, Chris. See, the indictment is about what happened under Obama. Got that? Write it down three times. There is no data or report about what has been done about Russia meddling under Trump, just what he has said. That’s speculation.

                    Your comments are wonderful evidence of left-wing anger and denial all by themselves. I’m grateful.

                    • Chris

                      See, the indictment is about what happened under Obama. Got that? Write it down three times.

                      I acknowledged this immediately. I also asked you what should be done about it. You still have not answered that. And you’re going to pretend *I’m* the one with the comprehension problem? You are beclowning yourself.

                      There is no data or report about what has been done about Russia meddling under Trump, just what he has said. That’s speculation.

                      What. The. Fuck.

                      Trump has refused to implement the sanctions against Russia that were passed by a bipartisan majority in both houses of Congress in response to Russian meddling. This is a fact. Not speculation.

                      Do you recognize this fact?

  7. Other Bill

    Why was this indictment of a bunch of foreign nationals that aren’t in the country released on a late Friday afternoon, the time and date usually used to minimize a news event’s impact?

    Why was it released within a few hours of the insufferable Honorable Adam Schiff’s telling the Council on Foreign Relations he was concerned Mueller would not make the results of his investigation public?

    • My guess: because they knew it would disappoint their cheering section, and that their critics would make the assumptions they are, in fact, making. But who knows.

    • Greg

      Why was this indictment . . . released on a late Friday afternoon, the time and date usually used to minimize a news event’s impact?

      It wasn’t released late Friday afternoon. It was released Friday morning, which is usually used to MAXIMIZE a news event’s impact. The idea is that if you release the news on Friday morning, the media will spend all day reporting your version of the story. It will take time for your opponents to process your story and figure out how to respond. Your story will get maximum exposure Friday, while your opponents’ response will get buried on the weekend. The technique is even more effective on the Friday before a three-day weekend, because many of your opponents’ staff will have taken Friday off, meaning that they will find it more difficult to coordinate a fast response. The timing of this news release raises a reasonable suspicion that Mueller’s motives and objectives in this investigation are political, as many of Trump’s supporters complain.

      Of course, there could also be an innocent, nonpolitical explanation for the timing of the release. Mueller may have set Friday as the deadline for his team to get this indictment done and, as usually happens, they used every available minute and got in right under the wire. Alternatively, the investigators themselves, who have undoubtedly been working late nights and weekends, may have wanted to finish up by Friday, so they could enjoy the holiday without this job hanging over their heads.

      • Otto

        Greg, everything you wrote seems plausible, but it makes me wonder, “Who were the opponents in this case?”

        • Greg

          If you believe that Mueller’s political agenda is to get Trump, then you might believe that Mueller views Trump as the “opponent” and that the timing of the release was deliberately calculated to catch Trump’s people on the wrong foot.

          Just to be clear, my own guess is that the real explanation is the second one: that Mueller and his people just wanted to get the job done before the holiday weekend. For what it’s worth, next week is winter break for most schools in New York City, so those investigators who live in NYC had an additional incentive to get this thing off their back, so they could go on vacation with their kids.

  8. Jack Houghton

    Nation states have for centuries or even millennia been interested in watching and influencing and besting their neighbors and rival nation states. The Russians are probably better at it than most and certainly have a longer history of intentionally pursuing this activity than the U.S.A. This practice is well known to go back to at least Peter the Great and especially Catherine the Great. Back in the day, nobody thought much about it and Peter even traveled throughout Europe with an “fake name” looking at western cutting edge technology of the times, although it is doubtful that he fooled anybody with his cover story.

    As I recall, Russians had some of their people in the FDR administration and in the Manhattan Project back in the 1930’s and 1940’s. What harm did that do other than nuclear weapons technology transfer?

    In the 1950’s Joe McCarthy saw Russians and Communists everywhere and became the “poster child” of extreme political paranoia and governmental overreach. The problem is… there were actually Russian illegals engaging in espionage in the U.S. at the time but the backlash against “McCarthyism” allowed the real spies to run free.

    In the 1960’s there is plenty of evidence that the Russians were actively involved in the U.S. Civil Rights movement… not necessarily because they were all that interested in protecting the civil rights of minorities… but because it was an opportunity to foster divisions, distrust, and damage to U.S. institutions, customs and traditions.

    The Russians have been busy. But so has the U.S. government in foreign lands. Before we get too outraged and indignant about what the Russians have done and are doing, maybe we ought to take a good look at what we do including potential interference in foreign elections and other foreign internal affairs.

    Speaking of elections, I am wondering if the recent U.S. presidential candidates spent any money, or used cyber technology to try to fool the American electorate to believe in any totally ridiculous “false narratives” like, for example HRC was “highly competent” or “trustworthy” or “honest” as a candidate; or that The Donald was in anyway temperamentally suitable to be president. Of course HRC and the DNC and the celebrity class and her news media acolytes spent upwards of $2 BILLION DOLLARS doing this while The Donald spent “only pennies on the dollars” to win the election.

    Are we going to prosecute any of these people who were responsible for the deceptive 2016 campaigns of either of these candidates?

    • Chris

      Your last question is dumb, as the kind of deception you describe is not against the law.

      • Ethics Alarms, Chris. Read the heading. Yes, political parties can use fake narratives, false flag enterprises, lies and rumors to mislead and defraud the public and steal power while abusing our institutions. It’s still utterly wrong. The fact that we call the conduct illegal when a foreign power does it doesn’t make the conduct by the parties any better or less unethical. Jack H is properly calling out the hypocrisy, and it is hypocrisy, just like te collusion claim when the Clinton campaign was using Russians for its own plots.

        • Chris

          Funny, I thought Jack H. asked a question about prosecution. Meaning he was talking about law, not ethics.

          But I’m just a dumb kid who don’t read good. I’m sure with your superior English skills you knew what he meant.

    • Other Bill

      Thank, Jack. You didn’t have time to mention Soviet involvement and funding of the U.S. anti-war movement in the ’60s.

    • charlesgreen

      ““false narratives” like, for example HRC was “highly competent”

      I won’t argue your points about honesty and trustworthiness, but seriously – competence? On what planet was Hillary an incompetent candidate? Compared to who? Surely not El Trumpster.

      And you’re suggesting prosecution of people who “tried to fool” the American people into thinking she was competent?

      That is around the bend.

      • Other Bill

        Charles, Jack has very eloquently made the case that HRC has never accomplished anything other than marrying Bill Clinton. Her health care plan? Or, how about her brilliant and successful “Reset with Russia?” A red plastic button? That was brilliant. But any effort by Trump to work with Putin is treason?

        • charlesgreen

          Who brought up treason?

          • Me! Me! An American presidential candidate who made a quid pro quo arrangement to give considerations to a hostile power in exchange for the foreign power taking measures to influence the election would, in my view be a traitor. And that’s one mains reason I have never believed for second that Trump would do that. He’s an American who had benefited greatly from being born in the USA, and he would not betray his country. No one who gets to a point that he is a candidate has, or would. Not even Aaron Burr.

            • Chris

              Me! Me! An American presidential candidate who made a quid pro quo arrangement to give considerations to a hostile power in exchange for the foreign power taking measures to influence the election would, in my view be a traitor. And that’s one mains reason I have never believed for second that Trump would do that. He’s an American who had benefited greatly from being born in the USA, and he would not betray his country. No one who gets to a point that he is a candidate has, or would. Not even Aaron Burr.

              You must realize that none of your conclusions here logically follow from your premises, right?

              • Chris

                What you are saying here is that you can’t believe Trump would do this because you can’t bring yourself to believe that any president would do this. But Trump already does things no other president would do. This is a faith claim, not a reason for rational people to doubt that Trump is capable of making a corrupt deal with Russia for his own benefit. Of course he’s capable of that. He’s Trump. Becoming president didn’t change his character.

                • No, I said that no one who would reach this point as an American would do that.Not because no Presidents think that way, but because no men who get in the position to be President think this way. I spent 2.5 years in scholarly research on that topic. Trump has as many or more reasons to love his country than most: he’s a patriot. Patriot, based on my research and experience, beats asshole. That’s why Nixon didn’t challenge the 1960 election, and he could have.

                  • charlesgreen

                    Let’s not forget that LBJ told Duerksen, on tape, that Nixon committed treason.
                    Though LBJ behaved as you say they all do, and said nothing of it.

                    • Nixon committed treason in fact, though he didn’t see it that way. But he was a broken personality by then. I’m glad I didn’t have to deal with his undermining the Vietnam peace talks, which became known relatively recently. The exception that proves the rule!

              • Not only don’t I realize it, I hereby assert that you are dead wrong. People who get in a position to run for President are, an have always been, patriots and love their country. Those who love their country do not, by definition, betray their country.

                • Chris

                  This is so fallacious as to be laughable. How can you not see that? You already conceded that Nixon committed treason, which invalidates your argument that no one in a position to run for president has ever done it. Trump is at least as much of a “broken personality” as Nixon.

                  Sure, let’s say Trump loves his country. He loves attention and power more. He also has no ethics alarms. You’re saying that if agents from the Russian government said “We’ll help you win if you go easy on us during your presidency,” he would never agree to such terms? You cannot credibly make that argument. No one can. He wouldn’t even see it as treason. He’d just see it as doing whatever it took to win, just like everything else he’s ever done in his life.

                  • 1. If you read the blog, you know that I constantly emphasize that all rules have exceptions. Nixon was an outlier, but I was and am shocked that he undermined the peace talks. It does not disprove what I said
                    2. There are some areas that I know more than you about, and Presidential character is one. Nixon was a broken personality, easily the sickest of our Presidents. He was neurotic, paranoid, insecure, unhappy, angry, embittered. Trump is none of these things. He’s a happy, confident narcissist. Losing the Presidency wouldn’t have destroyed him or even hurt his confidence. In terms of personality, though not in many ther respects, Trump is NOT an outlier at all. He has a very typical leadership personality. He is nothing like Nixon, except athhe is villified like Nixon.

                    Hillary is like Nixon than anyone who has run for the Presidency.

                    • Chris

                      He was neurotic, paranoid, insecure, unhappy, angry, embittered. Trump is none of these things. He’s a happy, confident narcissist.

                      This is how people who aren’t insecure and unhappy behave? You’re out on a limb here, Jack. And even if you’re right, you’ve still shown nothing about Trump’s character that would inhibit him from taking a deal like the one I described.

      • What? WHAT? Clinton was an incompetent Secretary of State, the only substantive job she ever had. See: Libya. See: Email server See: violating own department’s security protocols. See: “At this point what difference does it make?” She was then the most incompetent candidate imaginable. She lost to a completely unqualified creep who didn’t even hide the fact that he was a creep, unlike her husband. Her “Why am I not ahead by 50 points?” ad was like a bullet in her mouth, right up there with Christine O’Donnell’s “I am not a witch!” Her constant lying about her e-mails was idiotic: if she had said in 2015 that she screwed up, she would have won in a walk. Her collusion with the DNC to freeze out Sanders was dependent on Wassermann Schultz, an idiot, and Podesta, who incompetently allowed his computer to be available to any savvy hacker over the age of 12. When DWS was exposed and fired, Hillary hired her! How arrogant–and stupid— can you get? Then, knowing who her husband is and her complicity in his sexual abuse, she kept making statements about how victims should be believed! And Trump smoked her in the debates; not on substance, but because he connected, and she never connects. I though Dukakis, Kerry and Gore were bad candidates; I thought McCain, Dole and Bush 2 were horrible. Any of them would have beaten Trump. Her incompetence is irrefutable. Her judgment was miserable…like showing up in an outdoor event while hiding pneumonia, as the conservative media was claiming she was seriously ill. Idiot! And you’re still arguing that she was competent? “like with a cloth?” Has any candidate ever made so many gaffes in a campaign? Competent? COMPETENT? ARRRRRRRGHHHHHHH!!!!

        • charlesgreen

          She was a terrible candidate, I completely agree with you.
          On the other hand, she was a United States senator and Secretary of State.
          Separate for a moment your opinion about her ethical lapses – some of which I’m inclined to agree with you about – and stick to the marter of the pure competence: there is no way in the world that Donald Trump is more competent than her at the business of government.

    • charlesgreen

      “The Russians have been busy. But so has the U.S. government in foreign lands. Before we get too outraged and indignant about what the Russians have done and are doing, maybe we ought to take a good look at what we do including potential interference in foreign elections and other foreign internal affairs.”

      Jack, what category of ethical mistake does “they did it too” fall into?

  9. Mrs. Q

    Rod Rosenstein said something that caught my attention…”People are not always who they seem…” he said at a normal volume followed by a quieter ending of “…on the internet.”

    People are not always what they seem on the internet – should be a huge story and a bigger focus. Shouldn’t we all be asking if what we see online is true and if not, then for preservation’s sake why aren’t we talking more about discernment. Not only discerning social media posts from potential bots and Russians but news stories, protests, op-eds, political groups, etc.

    Rosenstein mentioned an incident where in NYC on the same day there was both an anti-Trump rally and a pro-Trump rally. This playing both sides tactic is a very old one and works well to cause strife or capitalize on strife already brewing. What this demonstrates is propaganda is real, current, and going on in this country right now.

    But when isn’t propaganda happening really? Jack I believe has mentioned that there can be a type of positive propaganda so that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about not only Russians infusing chaos into American life but all groups and institutions who use lies, mind manipulation, and Edward Bernay’s style menticide to confuse and control. It must be working well as it appears many are missing a key point to all this…which is “people are not always who they seem in the internet.” If we don’t fight letting our minds be manipulated by peoples or entities we will continue to believe in lies and make friends with strife.

    At the end of the day, Russia is gonna do what it does (which I’m not saying is ok) because bullies tend to bully. What really matters is that we will fight for our minds and not let the winds propaganda sweep us into the savagery the enemies of this county are hoping for.

  10. Jack, you should institute a rating system for spin. Something based on Tasmanian devils or tornados. Like some of this spin ought to be rated at an F5 level of tonadic spin…

    Or this is 4 out of 5 Tasmanian devils of spin.

    • Chris

      Yes, the notion that we should be talking about Obama not doing anything about Russian interference when he didn’t know it was happening, while saying nothing about Trump not doing anything about Russian interference for a year after being informed about it, is pretty epic spin.

      • Oh! Check the news… Trump’s DOJ just indicted 13 Russians and 3 Russian companies for just this issue that bothers you so much.

        I think Jack posted about it.

        • Other Bill

          As Jack observed recently, comments of the day don’t have to be lengthy.

          I’m going to stop rolling on the floor now and have lunch.

          • Chris

            Yes, the idea that Trump should get credit for the results of a DOJ investigation he has opposed and undermined at every opportunity is hilariously dumb. Glad you agree.

        • Chris

          If you think Trump should get credit for the results of an investigation he has said since the beginning should not exist and had no control over, you are truly an idiot.

          • Here, I want you to read this slowly, Chris. Because based on your hate-based blinders regarding all things Trump that gleefully adopted a little more than a year ago, I really think you are very stupid person when it comes to this topic.

            Read slowly:

            This IS Trump’s DOJ…it’s not George Washington’s or any of the Presidents’ prior to Trump.
            If Trump really wanted to end the investigation, he could, and all his comments regarding thinking the investigation shouldn’t occur are based on the obvious Out-To-Get-Trump slant the investigation began with.
            He hasn’t ended the investigation.
            This isn’t about “credit” for Trump.
            This is about your incredibly stupid comment, the stupid part in bold:

            “Yes, the notion that we should be talking about Obama not doing anything about Russian interference when he didn’t know it was happening, while saying nothing about Trump not doing anything about Russian interference for a year after being informed about it, is pretty epic spin.”

            See, this is an incredibly stupid, stupid thing to say, because the DOJ is HIS and he has NOT ceased the investigation, so regardless of what you want to say about any of his tangential motives on tangential issues, you cannot say he has done nothing about Russian interference. I don’t think you’ve ever operated in any governmental hierarchy before, or you wouldn’t have said something so stupid.

            Now, carry on your spin.

            • Chris

              See, this is an incredibly stupid, stupid thing to say, because the DOJ is HIS and he has NOT ceased the investigation, so regardless of what you want to say about any of his tangential motives on tangential issues, you cannot say he has done nothing about Russian interference.

              With this, you have discredited yourself from every being taken seriously as an intelligent person again. No, Trump *not stopping* the DOJ from doing something he doesn’t want them to do because it would be politically suicidal for him to do so is not the same as *Trump DOING something.* I can’t believe you needed this explained to you.

              You are a true master of spin. I wish Jack would recognize that.

              • “With this, you have discredited yourself from every being taken seriously as an intelligent person again.”

                Coming from the a vacuous twit who has spent over a year in credibility free-fall, who is demonstrating to the commentariat not before seen depths of discredit, this is a meaningless comment. But nice try.

                This:

                “I don’t think you’ve ever operated in any governmental hierarchy before, or you wouldn’t have said something so stupid.”

                handles your ignorance on the rest of the comment.

                You really really need to stop, take a step back, and reevaluate yourself. I wish telling you that this is embarrassing would work.

                • Chris

                  No, it handles nothing. Explain to me how the fact that Trump’s DOJ has gotten indictments in an investigation Trump did not want, and has made every effort to undermine short of terminating the investigation (which would get him impeached), changes the fact that Trump has done nothing in response to Russian meddling. You can’t, because it doesn’t, which is why you’ve relied on insults and platitudes.

                  • We don’t need to re-demonstrate that Trump has been fed up with the obvious Get-Trump-At-Any-Cost aspect of these investigations. You’ve been schooled on that before, but true to form, you pretend like that has not occurred.

                    What “every” effort to undermine? Firing Comey? What else? You’ve been schooled on this as well.

                    Again, you’ve never worked in a hierarchy before, so I wouldn’t expect you to understand when new leadership takes over, all policies and procedures that are not amended become that leader’s. And a *over* a year into an investigation Trump supposedly wants completely gone (according to you) but somehow seems to keep around, becomes an endorsed procedure. This is leadership and accountability 101.

                    The insults and platitudes are mere descriptions of observable phenomena.

                    “the fact that Trump has done nothing in response to Russian meddling.”

                    There you go, saying patently stupid stupid things again. Prove Trump has done NOTHING. You cannot. You cannot possibly hope to assume what has not happened behind the scenes in geopolitical maneuverings. But by all means, assert a very very stupid conclusion again. It fits you.

                    • Chris

                      We don’t need to re-demonstrate that Trump has been fed up with the obvious Get-Trump-At-Any-Cost aspect of these investigations. You’ve been schooled on that before, but true to form, you pretend like that has not occurred.

                      Irrelevant to the fact that Trump has done nothing about Russian meddling.

                      What “every” effort to undermine? Firing Comey? What else? You’ve been schooled on this as well.

                      Your position is that badmouthing the work of investigators and casting doubt on their conclusions for a year doesn’t undermine an investigation?

                      Again, you’ve never worked in a hierarchy before, so I wouldn’t expect you to understand when new leadership takes over, all policies and procedures that are not amended become that leader’s. And a *over* a year into an investigation Trump supposedly wants completely gone (according to you)

                      No, not according to me, according to anyone who can fucking read a tweet. Your position is that Trump doesn’t want this investigation to go away? It can’t be. You can’t be that stupid.

                      but somehow seems to keep around,

                      Again, ending the investigation would be a red line. It would be political suicide, and possible grounds for impeachment. Even Trump couldn’t recover from that.

                      There you go, saying patently stupid stupid things again. Prove Trump has done NOTHING. You cannot. You cannot possibly hope to assume what has not happened behind the scenes in geopolitical maneuverings. But by all means, assert a very very stupid conclusion again. It fits you.

                      You cannot be serious. First your argument was that the DOJ investigating proved that Trump was “doing something,” and now that the stupidity of that has been pointed out to you, you pivot to “Well maybe he has been doing things about Russia in secret?” Despite the fact that he has refused to implement sanctions against Russia that were agreed to be necessary by every member of Congress save for five, our entire intelligence community, and our (Republican) ambassador to the UN, despite the fact that he compliments Russia at every opportunity in public and private, despite the fact that he has repeatedly cast doubt on whether Russia meddled at all in public and private, despite the fact that every time he has accepted the fact of Russian meddling it has been reluctantly and half-hearted…your position is that it’s stupid to assume he hasn’t done something about Russia behind the scenes?

                      Stop wasting my time. This is fucking ridiculous.

                    • You’re the only one wasting time here Chris. My argument hasn’t changed.

                      And yes, what I pointed out is perfectly relevant: if any comments of Trump that you label as “anti-investigation” can *actually* be categorized as critical of the aspects of the investigation that are obviously “Out-To-Get-Trump-By-Any-Means”.

                      See, those comments are understandable and fair.

                      Only a very a stupid person wouldn’t see that.

        • charlesgreen

          Trump’s DOJ? You’re going to suggest HE take credit for the results of an investigation he tried his damnedest to derail?

          Now that’s rich!

          • Chris

            It really is amazing, and until I see Jack call it “spin”—which it is—I don’t ever want to see that word used here again.

          • It’s not about credit Charles, it’s about Chris’ incredibly obtuse comment.

            • Chris

              You said Trump not stopping his DOJ from doing something is the same as *Trump* doing something. That’s called giving credit. You were wrong to do so. To engage in such transparently stupid spin and then accuse those calling you out on it of same is incredible projection.

              • No, you dummy, I’ll say it again, because apparently you are too stupid to get it the first time, the *bolded* part, from your inane comment is what my response addresses:

                “Yes, the notion that we should be talking about Obama not doing anything about Russian interference when he didn’t know it was happening, while saying nothing about Trump not doing anything about Russian interference for a year after being informed about it, is pretty epic spin.”

                It has nothing to do with giving “credit”. I’ll take your unwillingness to focus on the matter as a concession.

    • It’s a good idea. Dervishes? Spinning Wheels? Linda Blair heads? Carvilles?

  11. Is there really any surprise that there was probably SOME kind of Russian interference? It’s a foreign government we’re not on very friendly terms with. Why would they not try to do items that might effect our election. I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t do something similar as well (we certainly have backed other leaders in elections in other countries).

    I just don’t see anything in here that implicates Trump at all in it. I’m not even really seeing anything that implicates his campaign people outside of the possibility they might have been dupes and taken advantage of (making them more a victim then an accomplice).

  12. My take on Russian meddling in the USA’s politics.

    What concerns me more than anything about Russian meddling, and it should concern every single one of you regardless of your political leanings, is that the Russians felt the time was right for their propaganda influence into our political system to have an effect, regardless of what their desired effect was.

    Why did the Russians choose 2014 to start their political meddling? Why didn’t the Russians start their meddling 2001 or 2003 when wartime propaganda was at its peak and the focus of Americans was elsewhere. Or, why not in 2007-2008 political campaign season when there was clear political outcry from the political right (the beginnings of the Tea Party) at how the government was dealing with things. It’s very obvious that there was a LOT of frustration from the public about the US government in 2007-2008, why didn’t the Russians start their intentional meddling back then? The fact that the Russians began their meddling in 2014 is VERY significant and should not be shrugged off as some random chance occurrence.

    The time frame that the Russians chose to start directly meddling by inserting their seeds of distrustful propaganda into our politics is significant because the Russians felt that a propaganda campaign would have its desired effect on the mindset of the American public in ways that it wouldn’t have had in preceding years. It shows that the Russians felt the already divisional propaganda tainted political environment in the USA, in my opinion was intentionally promoted by the Obama administration and Progressives, had primed the American public for an outright propaganda interference campaign from Russia. To be certain the Russians knew exactly what they were doing; they learned by observing the kinds of political propaganda that worked during the Obama years and how that propaganda negatively affected the American political system and the mindset of the American people. In my opinion this was a test of how the United States political system and the American people would react to such a propaganda campaign and I’m certain as I can be that this propaganda campaign was rooted in the Russian government because there was no real reason behind it other than politics. I’m sure there are government psychologists in Russia right now that are evaluating the deep divisions in the United States that have been fueled by massive amounts of political propaganda since 2009 and figuring out how they can take advantage of the hyper sensitive situation.

    The political environment in the USA has passed beyond turning to poisoned propaganda as random last resort tactics and now it seems that poisoned propaganda is widespread and is now an acceptable presentation of innuendo knowing full well that susceptible people will equate innuendo as fact. We have turned into a society where unprovable accusations and innuendo presented via propaganda and other means are worthy enough to the court of public opinion to destroy the lives of anyone – due process is on its way out. Huge swaths of our society seems to have turned away from our Constitutional roots and are leaning heavily towards authoritarian rule. A vast majority of the media is now literally a propaganda political arm of the extreme political left. The general public is more susceptible to political propaganda campaigns than ever before. The deep and widespread divisions in our society are more numerous and more in-your-face than they were prior to 1861 United States. The United States is primed and ready for outside interference into all our affairs as long as the interference conforms to the end goal of the political left to morph the United States into something else – the ends justifies the means.

    I firmly believe that the political left sees the Russian propaganda meddling as a godsend to their cause. The political left has been building up their base of propaganda believers for many years and now we are reaping the “benefits” of vast sections of our vocal/voting population being propaganda stupid, these ignorant fools will literally believe any twisted propaganda that is presented to them as long as it is steered towards their end goals. Bias makes you stupid.

    Which brings me to this; regardless of the conspiracy theory labels associated with it, there are parts of Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt’s exposé The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America that somehow ring bells today. I know that some people thing she is a complete wacko, but even wackos say things that have a ring of “truth” later; heck even some of the things Ted Kaczynski spewed out about the effects of technology ring some bells today. Is everything these people said “true”, maybe – maybe not, but the possibilities that more of what they said turn out to ring some truth exists.

    Russia wouldn’t even consider meddling with a propaganda campaign where propaganda has little to no effect on the public. I firmly believe that the American public has been literally been dumbed down for many years otherwise propaganda would not be affecting the public as it is. “Thank you” President Obama, progressives, and the reset of the fools in the United States for your intentional divisional politics and for priming the American public to be stupid enough to fall for propaganda meddling.

    When it comes to propaganda and its direct and indirect effects on the American people, the core of the American people need to stand up and say in a loud clear voice “That’s all I can stands, cuz I can’t stands n’more!”

    • Other Bill

      Who was it that always defaulted to a “Ptooey!” Bugs Bunny? Yosemite Sam? I still think the American voting public is fully capable of giving a big Ptooey! to the sort of lame propaganda alleged in the indictment. Praise Allah.

      I also suspect the Russians have been doing this sort of stuff continuously since oh, say, 1917.

      • Other Bill wrote, “I also suspect the Russians have been doing this sort of stuff continuously since oh, say, 1917.”

        Is there anything to support that kind of suspicion? I honestly don’t know about anything like similar or even similar’ish.

        • Other Bill

          The Communist Party of America? 1930s? Misinformation on the Rosenbergs? “We shall bury you!” at the U.N? Underwriting the anti-war protests in the ’60s?They didn’t use facebook then, but they’ve been trying to influence American society to their advantage forever. The tactics are just more up to date.

        • Hello Mr Zoltar. I thought this might interest you:

          [https://youtu.be/5gnpCqsXE8g]

          I was never quite certain what to make of the man, but the ideas about how subversives work, and especially Soviet communist subversives, seemed coherant. But the angle that this fellow is presenting is more along the lines of Marxist infiltration, undermining institutions, religion, the family, etc.

          My understanding that the present accusation of ‘meddling’ had more to do with stopping HRC from being elected who has been described as being ‘hard on Russia’. You likely heard that if HRC were elected there was danger of war and conflict with Russia.

          Now, it appears that the Russians themselves are interested in supporting their own ‘traditional’ institutions: marriage, family, state and religion. Whereas ‘we’ are seeing our own institutions dissolve. Curious reversal.

    • “I know that some people thing she is a complete wacko…” instead of “I know that some people think she is a complete wacko…”; where was your brain at when you typed that Zoltar? Oh well, there’s a few typing brain farts in there, but I’m sure everyone got the idea in those sentences.

    • Will we now ever be able to sort out which agents provocateurs at opposition rallies are Russian dupes and which are just your average “progressive” nutjobs?

  13. 11. Here is my “big takeaway” so far. The Russians’ goal was to undermine faith in the American democratic institutions.”

    If you peel away all the dross, it’s easy to see how the Russians’ actions make sense without clinging to any sort of collusion theory, or the idea that they just wanted to help Trump.

    a) They initially pushed the “spoilers” in the primaries: Trump, Sanders, and Warren. This creates the most disturbance and division in the process.
    b) In the race, Trump is still the “spoiler”, so they continue the tactic. Likely, I think, like most others, not imagining he would win. But, again, that really didn’t matter to them…division and disruption was the game.
    c) As soon as Trump won, they staged two rallies in New York, one pro and one anti-Trump…more division. (Aside: reported that the anti-Trump rally had much higher attendance. Well, it was NYC…)

    • charlesgreen

      Willem has it exactly right. (As does McMaster).

      My question is, why did Trump so aggressively argue—until yesterday—this was all a “hoax”? And why does he still resist any sanctions, as congress has urged?

      When I indulge in my own conspiratorial musings, they tend to wondering, “What have the Russians got on him?” (Also, when will Melania say “enough”).

      • Chris Marschner

        Charles, perhaps if the narrative had not tried to portray him as a collaborator with the Russians he may have been more receptive.

        From day one the push was on to link the Trump campaign to Russian meddling. In December 16, Clapper was quoted by all the media that the Russians wanted Trump to win. He also said during hearings that he had no evidence to support the allegation on collusion but you had to look long and hard for that statement in the media.

        From the outset Trump’s victory was being litigated in the media. The DNC electors demanded that the CIA declassify info they had on Trump before the Electoral College voted. Stories about Trump and Russia connections have been non-stop since then.

        So if you had Clapper suggest that a foreign adversary helped you win an election when you know you never had any involvement with them and the media along with partisans are doing their best to delegitimize your electoral victory by casting doubt daily, you might just call it a witch hunt. You might call into question the underlying motivation for the overly broad mandate of the special prosecutor.

        I wrote a comment here in January of 2017 positing the idea that all Putin had to do was sow distrust among the American people and we would do to ourselves what he could never do economically or militarily. I stated he did not care who won as long as the people were fighting among themselves.

        Maybe had we treated Trump with some modicum of legitimacy he would not have felt the need to push back on the prevailing narrative.

        • charlesgreen

          Clapper was right, we found that out yesterday.
          And I can’t accept the idea that Trump’s bad behavior is excused by people saying bad things about him.

          • Chris Marschner

            No, that was what that analysts came up with and he pushed. The indictment suggests that Russia was creating mischief for multiple candidates. Clapper let the media create an anti Trump narrative without him making an overt collusion claim. Russia may have had a preference but they helped Sanders far more than Trump. Yet, no analysis suggested Putin might have preferred Sanders over Trump. My entire point was that Trump might have been more inclined to promote the investigation had he not been made the principal subject of the investigation. Making him the primary actor in the Russian meddling investigation was unnecessary unless you are working to undermine him.

            Clapper and Brennan are currently working with Hollywood’s Rob Reiner to link Russian operatives with Trump. Reiner admitted this on a talk show last month. They have an agenda.

            • Chris

              Russia may have had a preference but they helped Sanders far more than Trump

              Where did you get this idea? Certainly not from the indictments.

              Also, why is it so hard for people here to believe that Russia has a clear preference for the candidate who talked about how great Russia was at every opportunity? Wouldn’t you prefer that candidate if you were part of the Russian government?

        • I wrote a comment here in January of 2017 positing the idea that all Putin had to do was sow distrust among the American people and we would do to ourselves what he could never do economically or militarily. I stated he did not care who won as long as the people were fighting among themselves.

          And you were 100% correct. Putin did very little. The news media did most of it, and the “resistance,” Hillary, Waters, Perez, Colbert et al did the rest.

      • Chris Marschner

        As for sanctions on Russia none of us know what geopolitical issue might have cropped up since summer 17 when Congress passed additional sanctions.

        The sanctions bill included language that prevented the President from suspending them without Congressional approval. This is unheard of. The role of sanctions is to apply pressure not specifically to punish. Had Trump implemented the sanctions he would have had less leverage on the Russians to close the backdoor on NOKO imports of energy. If he needed to suspend them to get cooperation to choke off oil and gas from Russia to NOKO he would have to get Congressional approval. You cannot conduct diplomacy when you are percieved by your opponent to need permission to deliver a promise made.

        That sanctions bill was an omnibus bill naming 3 countries Iran, Russia, and NOKO. Most are implemented.

        Keep in mind Obama suspended his 2012 EO sanctions against Iran that created criminal penalties for transferring 10Billion converted from Swiss Francs to Iran in the dead of night on an unmarked aircraft. Did Iran have something on Obama? I doubt it but he did it.

  14. I’ll begin by saying that I don’t think my aggressive characterization of Chris’ inability to objectively analyze the Russia-Election fiasco is inaccurate; I just don’t think it’s my place to make *that* aggressive of a censure of his analysis. (Side-note: I don’t think it’s accurate to call it Trump-Russia anymore; it is clear that Russia, predictably and in line with historic precedent, sought to sew discord and distrust in our institutions and processes – success it found largely in the meltdown of the Left.) It really does pain me to see an intelligent person, like Chris, make the arguments he makes. Again, I don’t think it is inaccurate to characterize the effect of bias on his argumentation as stupefying – or as I put it: making him very very stupid on this topic. I don’t think I can say that characterization is wrong…but:

    I understand Jack’s tolerance and patience with Chris’ line of argument because it does show us just how far beyond the pale the Get-Trump-At-Any-Cost crowd has gone. I think I allow this tolerance and patience to occasionally get under my skin. I was first introduced, as a high schooler, to internet arguments in the early days of AOL chatrooms of the 90s (and I’m not certain modern internet incivility is a new thing). I recall a particular smug anarchist whose “argument” was hermetically sealed and it didn’t matter at all how the arguments were picked apart, he just didn’t care about reason. Did this rub me the wrong way? I can’t say that it did, because after high school, I never had another internet argument again until Ethics Alarms.

    The arguments have been made time and time again. They have been debunked ad nausea. I expect the long time commenters of EA to humbly recognize error and amend their world-views appropriately or at a minimum amend their extreme stances and hyperbolic methods of analysis at some point. I am all for tenaciously holding to an opinion, but there comes a point when all logic tells you that you have to change. I don’t even expect a change from Hate-Trump-24-7 to a Love Trump position but at least to a moderated and tempered criticize Trump where it is reasonable to do so.

    That some have not yet done, I have inappropriately allowed this to get under my skin too many times. I am increasingly disciplining my mind to be tolerant of even the most vacuous arguments even past the point that I think it’s obvious an arguer is no longer arguing in good faith, but I don’t think I’ve done a very good job here.

    To get to the point, though I don’t think my characterization of Chris’ comments is inaccurate, I do think I shouldn’t have been the one to point it out in such an aggressive tone. That was up to Jack to do so, and understanding his reasons for extending so much leeway for Chris to argue as he does, I should not have presumed to allow my anger over “nothing being done about it” to censure Chris the way I did. Though I feel that active commentators here do have a responsibility to call each other out for foolish arguments and bad faith lines of discussion, I think the most aggressively termed censures should be reserved for use by the Moderator.

    I’m sorry Jack for stepping into your lane, I should not have, I should have kept my self-control and let you censure the way you deem appropriate in your arena.

    I’m sorry Chris for calling you a very very stupid person, I should not have and my alarms were telling me not to, but I did it anyway. You seem like a reasonably decent person in almost all other regards and I shouldn’t let this particular quirk of stubbornness on your part get to me.

    It’s probably time for commentary by texagg04 to disappear over the horizon. The screen name that has allowed too many aggressive comments to slip by his civility guards probably should fade into the past. Anonymity has become an enemy to discourse in the face of increasingly frustrating lines of reasoning. So, I’m still internally debating, but I think this may be the last comment by texagg04.

    • dragin_dragon

      I will be very sorry to see texagg04 go, as the ‘handle’ imparts a little insight into some of what made you who you are. By the same token, it provides insight into why you have difficulty suffering fools gladly. I assume you will retire the ‘handle’ but not retire from the blog.

      • charlesgreen

        Agree—don’t leave for good, TexAgg!

      • Wait… is the handle leaving, or the writer? Losing the writer would be and epic fail, IMHO.

        However, if we are just changing the name, the handle, can we vote on the new one? Maybe auction it off, with the funds going to a foundation who performs interventions on prolific Trump haters to get them the help they need to lead productive lives? Not that anyone here at EA needs such (ahem)

        Let me start the nominations with a few to get the ball rolling…

        ‘Heystupid’
        ‘Sezu’
        ‘Reveille speaks’ (TAMU reference)
        ‘Texas bites’ (double entendre)
        ‘Army Scout’
        and the ever popular ‘IKYABWAI’

        (i know you are, but what am i?)

    • Chris

      Much appreciated, but not necessary. It’s not like I didn’t respond in kind.

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