TURNING POINT

I've written sparingly about the Russia stuff. As I expected – and this is not a novel thought, as many other smarter people were issuing the same warning – there was no Great Big Reveal in the Mueller Report.

I know why you're disappointed: you're disappointed because you wanted to have faith in The System and believe that The System would work. But the system doesn't work; it never has and it certainly isn't going to start now.

Over time the Russiagate crowd really started to rub me the wrong way, and my sniping at them got more caustic and frequent (as many of you noticed, sometimes approvingly and sometimes not). It's not that there's any part of me that believes Donald Trump's campaign didn't do anything wrong. It was the clear drift toward conspiracy theory thinking and language. I started calling it Liberal QAnon at one point and while that's an exaggeration – nobody is as insane as QAnon people – it's uncomfortably close even if the two are not identical.

Robert Mueller was latched onto as a savior by a lot of the same people who very deeply wanted to believe that Hillary Clinton didn't lose the 2016 election, because if that belief could be maintained then there is no need for any kind of self-reflection about what might have led to Hillary Clinton losing the 2016 election. You could see this kind of mental gymnastics on MSNBC most prominently, where every show that isn't Chris Hayes sort of veered into full-time Russia speculation.

"Hey, maybe we got fucked by the Electoral College, what can we do to prevent that in 2020?" or "I dunno, maybe the campaign did some things wrong, what were they so we don't do them again?" are two lines of thought that could have been productive but, if not entirely avoided, have certainly been sidetracked in favor of Russia conspiracy theories and other ways of casting blame for what happened on anyone BUT the candidate. It was Russia, or if not Russia it was Comey, or if not Comey it was Bernie Bros, or if not Bernie Bros it was blah blah blah.

This feels like a good turning point. The Democratic candidates in 2018 barely talked about Russia – and many of them did extremely well. The idea that anyone was going to be running on The Mueller Report in 2020 is a figment of the Sunday pundit imagination. But the pedestrian ending of the Mueller investigation – yes, it resulted in a lot of indictments and uncovered a lot of evidence of crimes, but the final report doesn't seem to have added to what we learned slowly over the past two years – is an excellent opportunity for a clean break. Stop thinking about Russia. Stop talking about Russia. Russia tried to fuck with our election. They will try again in 2020. Russia wants a destabilized U.S. because that suits its foreign policy and economic ambitions. None of this is new and nothing has changed.

But seizing upon Russia as the focus of what's going on in politics right now, and more importantly as a catch-all explanation for what happened in 2016, simply isn't productive. This went from an intriguing story to something of an obsession with a minority of liberals, and 2018 candidates were right to ignore them and focus on things that will help them win elections. Health care available to everyone. Increasing wages. Oversight of the Executive Branch. Weaning the country off fossil fuels in the long run.

These things are all popular. Let's rally around that instead of "Trump is a criminal." Talking about Don Jr.'s meetings with the Russians at Trump Tower is not of interest to anyone outside a narrow circle right now. If it isn't obvious yet that Trump is going to suffer no legal or political consequences at all from his wrongdoing and that neither life nor our system are fair, I don't know what it's going to take to convince you of that. If your reaction to the Mueller news is, "Well just wait til the SDNY prosecutors start going!" or "Russia must have compromised Mueller" or anything other than "OK, this fits the well established pattern of Republicans and Donald Trump doing whatever the fuck they want and getting away with it," you need to take a deep breath and reconsider.

As I've said from the beginning, the only thing short of the 2020 election that could bring down Donald Trump is the Republicans in Congress deciding that he was a threat to their survival and throwing him under the bus. They have instead decided that electorally it is to their benefit to cover for him. So be it. No amount of evidence can change that. And it's hard to imagine who in the voting public remains on the fence about this. By now you're either one of the 42% of people who love and support Trump no matter what, or you hate him. Nobody's really changing their mind three years into this.

It's disappointing to see behind the curtain and realize how goddamn unfair everything is, including and perhaps especially criminal justice. Yeah, rich white right-wing assholes can get away with pretty much anything. Nobody who supports Donald Trump gives half a shit if he committed a felony or a thousand felonies. He could behead their children and these people would cheer him for it. Nothing Robert Mueller said or could say was going to change those basic facts about our political landscape.

So my advice is to do what many of us did at some point throughout this lengthy process: stop thinking about it. Assume nothing is ever going to come of it, and be pleasantly surprised if anyone is ever held to account for their crimes. It would have been nice to have some big reveal at the end, Robert Mueller's unassailable conclusion (complete with video evidence) of Trump doing X, Y, and Z with the wrong people. But it wasn't realistic to expect that. To continue to hope for it in the future goes beyond unrealistic and tiptoes uncomfortably close to an obsession.

In short, everything sucks, nothing is fair, and rich, shady assholes get away with being rich, shady assholes. These things apply to Donald Trump because they apply broadly to our society. I don't like it, but at 40 I am used to it.

30 thoughts on “TURNING POINT”

  • I get what you're saying but the Mueller report needs to be fully revealed because of all of the obvious criminality of the Trump Administration since he has been president, which was outside Mueller's brief, including the kowtowing of Trump to Putin and his disastrous foreign policy generally that has followed Putin's recommendations.

    There's also a lot of problems with the ambiguous language quoted about obstruction of justice.

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  • c u n d gulag says:

    I'm done being a "Waiting for Godot" Democrat.

    First, when I was in my mid-teens, I wanted Nixon punished.
    I waited and hoped.
    WRONG!
    Ford pardoned Nixon, while about 70% of the public (and 100% of its sentient members) wanted him frog-marched to the damn helicopter, and upon reaching 1,000 feet, being thrown out without a chute!

    And so on.
    "Waiting for Justice."

    Reagan and "Papa Doc" Bush skated on Iran-Contra – which made Watergate seem like a kid's water park.
    But Clinton, was impeached for lying about a blowjob (yup, first man ever to do that!).

    Then I was "Waiting for Fitzgerald" in the 00's.
    Nothin'.
    Lying to the public to start a war?
    IOKIYAR!

    Now, like a sap who keeps thinking, "THIS time, I can beat the three-card monty dealer!", I was "Waiting for Mueller."
    "Oh Waitress! Can I have a nothingburger with nothing on it?"

    So , thanks Ed.
    I'm done "Waiting for ____________."

    Justice never shows up – at least not for Republicans.

    Anybody hear anything from SDNY tonig…
    AAAAAAAAAARGH!!!!!!!!!!

  • So Ed, what you're saying is, everything is terrible all the time?

    The breathlessly awaited Mueller report could have contained photos of the Pres. eating a live baby and it wouldn't matter. Ms. Pelosi said BEFORE IT WAS RELEASED (it's like 2007 all over again) that the Dems would not impeach. I don't care if there aren't enough votes in the Senate to actually remove the guy from office, maybe put it on record that it's not ok to obstruct justice, or I dunno, own a fucking hotel right down the street from the White House.

    Check out Matt Taibbi's " It’s Official – Russiagate is This Generation’s WMD" over at substack(?) for more on how the Siberian candidate narrative falling apart has effectively immunized Trump against accusations of wrongdoing and given his reelection chances a real boost. Great job MSNBC!!

  • I sorta wish that I could compile all my comments from various sites warning people that they were putting way too much stock in the Mueller report. I suspected that it wouldn't conclude anything and wouldn't be a conclusion to anything. I wishes that I had been wrong. I also wish that all of Pelosi's comments about "waiting for the Mueller report" could be erased; see where that got us.

  • It needed to be said and the investigation needed to be done.

    Those of us who've been around since Harry Truman was in office know what to expect–doesn't mean that we shouldn't do the exercises.

  • Safety Man! says:

    I do think the Mueller investigation has had a net positive result though. Having watched the debacle, I’m still in favor of launching an investigation for every President the day after Inauguration, to better gently encourage adherance to law.

    Also, you forgot to add, for god’s sake vote people!

  • U.S. gummint policy and the sheeple's devotion to the Twitrantter-in-Chief have made politics in the U.S. most cloesly resemble the Yugo automobile–or maybe the Trabant.

    At least that's what BigEd wants us to think!

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  • Big Ed is correct. The system is working when the mastubatory needs of leftists are fulfilled.

    Meanwhile, time to lick wounds amid "truth is elective, and evidence contingent" fatuities.

  • I really just wanted Don Jr., Ivanka and Jared to be named as morally bankrupt fucks who sold out our country for some rubles. I still want them all held to account and brought to their knees, but I know they won't.

    *sigh*

  • The Lee Harvey Oswald principle: just because literally everything about you is suspicious as hell does not mean you were involved in a specific conspiracy.

  • Phineas Coltrane says:

    I know you've tried tying Sarah Kendzior to the Scooby Gang "team patriot" group led by Mensch, but this thread from December 2017 is one of the reasons why I kept up with her https://twitter.com/sarahkendzior/status/943864815726026754

    She's always held the position that Mueller is not going to save us (see August 2017 for example https://twitter.com/sarahkendzior/status/901456510269698048), and we need to imagine the worst because they will probably do worse than that. That, along with her other warnings trying to tell people that Democrats need to secure the elections, and have plans to address inequality, and lift up the vulnerable, are why imho she is far better than that group.

  • This reminds me of how so many liberal friends have been sure, with each electoral cycle, that changing demographics would presently deliver a bulletproof Dem majority. Sorry, there is no demographics fairy. If you're driving off-road, there is no traction fairy. Now, despite Rachel Maddow's breathless commentary, there proves to be no prosecution fairy.

    It has amazed me throughout this shit storm how ostensible liberals, heirs to the civil rights and anti-war movements, became such squealing fandroids of the FBI, CIA, DOD, and other three-letter agencies that have thwarted them at every turn. I'd say it's like imagining BLM waiting for the cops to put down the nazis, but black people know better.

  • Gregory Bissky says:

    Not quite done yet. Manafort gets a pardon and Cohen gets a shiv in the exercise yard. Sigh.

    Can everyone agree on just one thing, that you will do everything to vote the fucker out of office next year? Come November 2020 I'll vote, change my jacket, vote again, put on a hat, vote again, change my shoes and vote again, and I'm a flippin' Canuck.

  • @ Gregory Bissky:

    Thanks for the offer, but if you could just send a couple of dozen of them really big white gents from up in the Churchill Bay area to make sure that voter suppression doesn't take place…

  • Bear de Oursistance says:

    @mojrim — I can't speak for all of us, of course. But when one's alternatives are the FSB and GRU…….

  • Nicholas Thompson says:

    Personally, the situation with Russia is extremely important. It may not win elections, but just having Trump in the office is a huge, ongoing threat to national security. We should demand that the full report is released, and we should demand that Democrats subpoena Trump and his associate's business records, tax returns, and other important documentation. There's more than enough public information to start impeachment proceedings – he's been directly implicated in multiple crimes that Cohen and others have plead guilty to.

    I'm not a historian, but Nixon was very popular when he won re-election, and it was the long, slow process of investigating and uncovering the truth about his actions that lead to the start of the impeachment process. The Watergate break-in occurred in June of 1972, the recording system was first revealed in July of 1973, and Nixon fought the full release of the tapes to the Supreme Court – it wasn't until August of 1974 that the smoking gun tape was released to the public.

  • The Onion has a response for you, Ed.

    https://www.theonion.com/self-actualized-historians-urge-nation-not-to-get-hung-1833635182

    Clearly, at least SOMEONE is reading you at a major publication! /s

    I'm glad for the end of Mueller investigation. I don't know what I expected, because the process of tossing Flynn, Manafort, Cohen, and Stone into the US justice system but avoiding Kushner, the Trump family, etc. seems odd. I guess there will still be a cottage industry of "The US is a horrible country run by racist kleptocratic rapists" and "Trump is a treacherous idiot and I read everything in the world to prove it" books to sell. Just maybe not as many sales of the "Square Jawed Republican Daddies Ride to Save the Nation From Criminals" books.

  • "Just maybe not as many sales of the "Square Jawed Republican Daddies Ride to Save the Nation From Criminals" books."

    See Dick. See Dick be a dick. Hear Dick lie. See Dick be lionized for his perfidy and comfortably retired.

    See Ronnie & George & Shrub & Trumpligulamygdala–rinse and repeat.

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