Monday, April 29, 2019

The Erosion of Everyday Life

ORIGINAL LINK
Working hard and doing what you're told is no longer yielding the promised American Dream of security, agency and liberty.
Volume One of Fernand Braudel's oft-recommended (by me) trilogy Civilization & Capitalism, 15th to 18th Century is titled The Structures of Everyday Life. The book describes how life slowly became better and freer as the roots of modern capitalism and liberty spread in western Europe, slowly destabilizing and obsoleting the sclerotic tyrannies of feudalism.
Today I want to discuss the erosion of everyday life as a manifestation of the endgame of the current version of state capitalism, more precisely neofeudal state-cartel financialization, which combines financial predation of the home (core) economy and global exploitation of the Periphery (a.k.a. neocolonialism.)
Unlike the era Braudel describes, our era is characterized by the decline of liberty and the distortion of capitalism to serve the few at the expense of the many.
The over-used analogy of the boiled frog remains apt in understanding the erosion of everyday life: everyday life has become increasingly more difficult, more stressful, less rewarding financially, more deranging and less free for the past two generations. This erosion has gathered momentum in the 21st century as the status quo has ramped up its dysfunctional dynamics to keep the increasingly unequal distribution of wealth, power and liberty in place.
Consider the costs and capital flows of planned obsolescence. The consumer, who once was implicitly assured decades of reliable service from an American-made appliance, now gets an appliance that rarely lasts more than a decade, regardless of the brand or origin.
In the relentless drive for higher profits, every component is outsourced to the lowest cost supplier. I can assure you nobody checks the electronic components for durability; the circuit boards that operate your dryer, washer, refrigerator, etc. are checked to make sure they function coming out of the factory (though even this step is slipshod), but that's it.
Since I've replaced defective boards in appliances, I can report that 1) the labor component of the repair is insanely expensive (which is why I did it myself, of course) 2) the boards are insanely expensive--$150 for what I estimate is $10 of commodity chips embedded in a $5 board, to more than $300, depending on the age and brand and 3) replacing the board is no guarantee the new board will last more than a few years, being made of the cheapest components in the lowest-quality factories.
This is the only profitable model of late-stage state-cartel corporate capitalism: force the consumer to upgrade their perfectly functional mobile phone, tablet, etc., every few years, or engineer the appliance/device to fail in a few years.
The favored corporate exploitation/predation mechanism is the long-term maintenance plan: since consumer, distributor (Best Buy et al.) and manufacturer all know the product has been engineered to fail in a few years, consumers are blackmailed into buying incredibly costly long-term maintenance plans, which work for the blackmailers because:
1) many consumers will lose the paperwork or get confused by the claims process and give up
2) other consumers will just decide to buy a new product, having been conned by "new features" or the ease of buying new rather than being on hold for hours trying to get Corporate America to do anything remotely beneficial to customers and
3) if the consumer is especially obdurate and grinds through all the barriers Corporate America sets up to wear them down and gets a repair person to actually show up, the corporation pays its actual cost for the replacement part--$15--not the $150 the consumer is charged should they fail to buy the long-term maintenance plan.
Here's a related issue: corporations have made it essentially impossible to repair or service their products unless you are willing to jump through numerous hoops. I have personally observed how auto manufacturers have covered the oil plug with extraneous shielding, using multiple connectors to make it even more difficult for owners to perform the once-simple core of changing the oil in their vehicle.
I could go on, but those of you who actually maintain and repair stuff know there is no good engineering reason for the rising difficulty of performing basic maintenance and repair.
Traffic congestion. When did two-hour or even three-hour round-trip commutes become a standard feature of American life? When did subways and trains move from being occasionally comfortable to standing room only?
Workloads. When did the workloads expected of private sector workers become heavier (outside a few islands of state-funded torpor) as a matter of course?
Loss of purchasing power, a.k.a. inflation. While we're constantly assured by the federal government and the corporate media that inflation is 2%, real-world prices are leaping higher. (And yet somehow this bogus 2% inflation rate isn't "fake news"?) As the chart below illustrates, healthcare costs have been outpacing modest wage increases for years if not decades.
Loss of political agency: no matter who you vote for, the dysfunctional, grossly unequal status quo grinds on unchanged. No matter how many more bonds you pass, giving local governments billions of dollars to fix traffic congestion, homelessness, public education, crumbling infrastructure, rundown parks, etc., nothing ever actually gets better.
Financial insecurity: if you happen to master entering and exiting the asset bubble inflations and bursts just right, you can maintain some financial security--but don't make a single mistake in buying or selling the bubble du jour, or you'll be wiped out.
Nonsensical narratives: Here's a simple test to prove the derangement caused by the ceaseless hyping of nonsensical narratives: stop watching "the news" and indeed all social media and all corporate media--go cold turkey other than following your local college and high school sports.
Do you feel less upset, less stressed, less deranged, less angry, less hopeless? Of course you do.
I could go on, but you get the picture: everyday life is eroding, getting harder and less free for the bottom 95%. And even the top 5% has increasingly had enough: working hard and doing what you're told is no longer yielding the promised American Dream of security, agency and liberty.
My book Money and Work Unchained is now $6.95 for the Kindle ebook and $15 for the print edition. Read the first section for free in PDF format.


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Go to my main site at www.oftwominds.com/blog.html for the full posts and archives.


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The Martyrdom of St. Julian of Wikileaks

https://russia-insider.com/en/node/26882

U.S Navy Acknowledges: MMR Vaccine Caused Viral Mumps Outbreak

ORIGINAL LINK

by Erin Elizabeth, Health Nut News: Since December, 2018, the U.S. Navy warship Fort McHenry which was deployed to the Persian Gulf, has been quarantined, stranded at sea because of a Viral Mumps Outbreak that has stricken 27 sailors and Marines. All service members on the ship had been vaccinated with the MMR — measles/mumps/rubella—vaccine, […]

The post U.S Navy Acknowledges: MMR Vaccine Caused Viral Mumps Outbreak appeared first on SGT Report.



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Saturday, April 27, 2019

"We Need To Take Action Now:" LA Homeless Deaths Jump 76%

Washington Has Destroyed Western Liberty: The Era of Tyranny Has Begun

Why A Chernobyl-like Financial Disaster Is Inescapable

Russian Foreign Ministry slams 'politically motivated' Butina verdict as a 'shameful stain' on US justice

ORIGINAL LINK

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The Russian Foreign Ministry called the 18-month prison sentence for student Maria Butina a "politically motivated" decision "in the spirit of McCarthyism," adding that her only crime was being a Russian citizen in the US. "From the moment of her arrest we have pointed out that the accusations against her of attempting to influence internal American political processes were completely contrived and fabricated," the ministry said in a statement on Friday. "Her confession, which was coerced through harsh imprisonment conditions and threats of a lengthy sentence, changes nothing." Butina was sentenced on Friday to 18 months in prison and deportation from the US by a federal judge in Washington, DC. She was arrested by the FBI in June last year and charged with being an unregistered foreign agent. The nine months she has already spent in jail - much of it in solitary confinement - will count towards her sentence.

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Saudi Savagery: Kingdom Beheads 16-Year-Old For Sending Whatsapp Message

Friday, April 26, 2019

'Landmark' Victory for First Amendment as Court Strikes Down Texas Anti-BDS Law

ORIGINAL LINK

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In a decision hailed as a “landmark” victory for the First Amendment, a federal judge on Thursday struck down a Texas law requiring government contractors to sign a pledge vowing not to participate in the pro-Palestinian boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement.



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Rumor and Bias, Inaccuracy and Ignorance: The Low State of Journalism

ORIGINAL LINK

William Tecumseh Sherman, a Civil War general not known for his delicacy of speech, once said, “If I had my choice, I would kill every reporter in the world, but I am sure we would be getting reports from Hell before breakfast.”

Like many people today, Sherman detested reporters and journalists. On another occasion, he stated: “I hate newspapermen. They come into camp and pick up their camp rumors and print them as facts. I regard them as spies, which, in truth, they are.”

Regardless of political persuasion, Americans have lost faith in today’s mainstream news media. Reporting on a 2018 poll inquiring about trust in major institutions, the Columbia Journalism Review found print and television news at rock-bottom, exceeded in the matter of distrust only by Congress. When asked why they distrusted the media, about 45 percent of responders cited factors such as bias, inaccuracy, and “fake news.”

The results of the Mueller investigation have brought certain television and print outlets to new lows. Some have lost viewers or readers, while others, accused of Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS), have faced a barrage of criticism for their bias and for the amount of time they gave — and are giving — to the investigation and the Mueller report at the expense of other newsworthy stories.

It should also be noted, as some commentators have pointed out, that these same reporters and journalists have done little to investigate the Clinton campaign, its connections to Russia and to certain European intelligence agencies, the illegal infiltration into the Trump campaign, and the alleged attempt by certain U.S. intelligence agencies to destroy an elected president. (Whether you are liberal or conservative, that last possibility ought to scare you to death.)

The Columbia Journalism Review also reported that, when asked how journalists might once again gain their trust, people cited such factors as greater accuracy in the news, less bias, and transparency, including the provision of fact-checking resources.

In other words, Journalism 101.

In The Elements of Journalism, Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel came up with nine guiding principles for reporting the news:

1) Journalism’s first obligation is to the truth.

2) Its first loyalty is to citizens.

3) Its essence is a discipline of verification.

4) Its practitioners must maintain an independence from those they cover.

5) It must serve as an independent monitor of power.

6) It must provide a forum for public criticism and compromise.

7) It must strive to make the significant interesting and relevant.

8) It must keep the news comprehensive and proportional.

9) Its practitioners must be allowed to exercise their personal conscience.

The contrast between these principles and the debacle of the last few years raises some obvious questions. Do journalists recognize that their first obligation is to the truth? Do reporters practice a discipline of verification, i.e. do they have solid sources for their stories? Does the press serve as an independent monitor of power? Do television and print media keep the news comprehensive and proportional?

In many cases, the answer to each of these questions is no.

As to how those in the media might regain the respect of the American people, the answer is simple: Practice the nine principles of journalism.

--

[Image Credit: Pxhere]



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Why Warning About A Bubble For A Decade Is Completely Rational | RIA

https://realinvestmentadvice.com/why-warning-about-a-bubble-for-a-decade-is-completely-rational/

Thursday, April 25, 2019

BEST OF THE WEB: More than 40 members of the White Helmets admit to staging of chemical attacks in Syria

ORIGINAL LINK

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At least 40 members of the White Helmets organization have admitted during recent interviews that they staged chemical attacks in Syria to provoke retaliation against President Bashar Assad, Foundation for the Study of Democracy Director Maxim Grigoriev said on Thursday as he unveiled the results of a new study at the UN. "We have interviewed ... 40 members of the White Helmets, including those from Douma, who provided a detailed description of their methods commonly used by their organization to fake scenes," Grigoriev said. The foundation conducted a fact-finding mission in Syria and located both White Helmets members and dozens of other people who participated in the staged attacks, Grigoriev said. "Those people told us in detail how they had to participate in the staging for few dollars to buy some food for their families," he said. One woman recounted how she was given white burial shroud to wrap herself up in and then told to lay on the ground and smear her mouth with...

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Japan’s Medical Freedom: No Vaccine Mandates And Healthier Children

ORIGINAL LINK

vaccine.jpg

As politicians in the United States do their best to remove Americans’ freedom of choice when it comes to vaccines, Japan has medical freedom.  There are no vaccine mandates in Japan and their children are growing up healthier than ours. Officials in California are desperately trying to take away the rights of their residents by seeking to override medical opinion about whether or not a person is fit for vaccination, while politicians in New York are mandating the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine for 6-12-month-old infants even though that vaccine’s safety and effectiveness “has not been established.”



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Nearly 102 Million Americans Do Not Have A Job Right Now – Worse Than At Any Point During The Last Recession

ORIGINAL LINK

Wouldn’t it be horrible if the number of Americans without a job was higher today than it was during the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009?  Well, that is actually true.  As you will see below, nearly 102 million Americans do not have a job right now, and at no point during the last recession did that number ever surpass the 100 million mark.  Of course the U.S. population has grown a bit over the last decade, but as you will see below, the percentage of the population that is engaged in the labor force is only slightly above the depressingly low levels from the last recession.  Sadly, the truth is that the rosy employment statistics that you are getting from the mainstream media are manufactured using smoke and mirrors, and by the time you are done reading this article you will understand what is really going on.

Before we dig into the long-term trends, let’s talk about what we just learned.

According to CNBC, initial claims for unemployment benefits just rose by the most that we have seen in 19 months

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits jumped 37,000 to a seasonally adjusted 230,000 for the week ended April 20, the Labor Department said on Thursday. The increase was the largest since early September 2017.

And considering all of the other troubling economic signs that we have been witnessing lately, this makes perfect sense.

In addition, we need to remember that over the last decade lawmakers across the country have made it more difficult to apply for unemployment benefits and have reduced the amount of time that unemployed workers can receive them.  In reality, the unemployment situation in this nation is far worse than the mainstream media is telling us.

When a working age American does not have a job, the federal number crunchers put them into one of two different categories.  Either they are categorized as “unemployed” or they are categorized as “not in the labor force”.

But you have to add both of those categories together to get the total number of Americans that are not working.

Over the last decade, the number of Americans that are in the “unemployed” category has been steadily going down, but the number of Americans “not in the labor force” has been rapidly going up.

In both cases we are talking about Americans that do not have a job.  It is just a matter of how the federal government chooses to categorize those individuals.

At this moment, we are told that only 6.2 million Americans are officially “unemployed”, and that sounds really, really good.

But that is only half the story.

What the mainstream media rarely mentions is the fact that the number of Americans categorized as “not in the labor force” has absolutely exploded since the last recession.  Right now, that number is sitting at 95.577 million.

When you add 6.2 million “officially unemployed” Americans to 95.577 million Americans that are categorized as “not in the labor force”, you get a grand total of almost 102 million Americans that do not have a job right now.

If that sounds terrible to you, that is because it is terrible.

Yes, the U.S. population has been growing over the last decade, and that is part of the reason why the number of Americans “not in the labor force” has been growing.

But overall, the truth is that the level of unemployment in this country is not that much different than it was during the last recession.

John Williams of shadowstats.com tracks what the real employment figure would be if honest numbers were being used, and according to him the real rate of unemployment in the United States at the moment is 21.2 percent.

That is down from where it was a few years ago, but not by that much.

Another “honest” indicator that I like to look at is the civilian labor force participation rate.

In essence, it tells us what percentage of the working age population is actually engaged in the labor force.

Just before the last recession, the civilian labor force participation rate was sitting at about 66 percent, and that was pretty good.

But then the recession hit, and the civilian labor force participation rate fell below 63 percent, and it stayed between 62 percent and 63 percent for an extended period of time.

So where are we today?

At this moment, we are sitting at just 63.0 percent.

Does that look like a recovery to you?

Of course not.

If you would like to claim that we have had a very marginal “employment recovery” since the last recession, that is a legitimate argument to make.  But anything beyond that is simply not being honest.

And now the U.S. economy is rapidly slowing down again, and most Americans are completely and totally unprepared for what is ahead.

The good news is that employment levels have been fairly stable in recent years, but the bad news is that unemployment claims are starting to shoot up again.

A number of the experts that I am hearing from expect job losses to escalate in the months ahead.  Many of those that are currently living on the edge financially suddenly won’t be able to pay their mortgages or their bills.

Just like the last recession, we could potentially see millions of middle class Americans quickly lose everything once economic conditions start getting really bad.

The economy is not going to get any better than it is right now.  As you look forward to the second half of 2019, I would make plans for rough sailing ahead.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

The post Nearly 102 Million Americans Do Not Have A Job Right Now – Worse Than At Any Point During The Last Recession appeared first on The Economic Collapse.



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From The Folks Who Lie, Cheat, & Steal For A Living - Project Fake Duck

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Top 51 Fake News Russiagate 'Bombshells' Spread By The MSM

ORIGINAL LINK

Following the release of the Mueller report, the mainstream media tried to pull a fast one - absurdly claiming that their reporting for the last 2.5 years has been largely vindicated

So many things that were called "fake news" by the president and his team turned out to be true. The Mueller Report is an exoneration ... of the mainstream media.

— Karen Tumulty (@ktumulty) April 19, 2019

Except, they weren't vindicated at all. In fact, they lied through their teeth, peddling falsehood after falsehood

To that end, Breitbart's John Nolte isn't about to let them get away with peddling even more fiction about their reporting, and has compiled a list of 51 instances where the MSM flat out lied, borrowing from the work of Sharyl AttkissonGlenn Greenwald, and Sohrab Ahmari.

John Nolte Via Breitbart

Top 51 Fake News ‘Bombshells’ the Media Spread About RussiaGate

The list below of 51 might sound like a lot, but it is a drop in the ocean when you recall the thousands and thousands of hours CNN, MSNBC, Meet the Press, This Week, PBS NewsHour, State of the Union, Good Morning AmericaReliable Sources, and the Today Show devoted to anchors and pundits pushing the hoax that Trump colluded with Russia.

Not to mention, millions and millions of establishment media tweets and Facebook posts.

Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell, Shepard Smith, Andrew Napolitano, Joe Scarborough, Chris Hayes, Chuck Todd, Joy Reid, Chris Matthews, Jake Tapper, Don Lemon, Chris Cuomo, Brian Stelter, Erin Burnett, et al.,  are alone responsible for thousands and thousands and thousands of hours of lies and conspiracy-mongering.

This list of 51 doesn’t count the half-million — half-MILLION — Russia collusion stories published over the past two years, almost all of which were premised on the idea that Trump did, indeed, collude with a foreign power to steal the 2016 presidential election.

This list cannot begin to count the countless times these 51 fake stories were repeated as fact throughout other news outlets, social media, and thousands upon thousands of cumulative broadcast hours.

What’s more, this list of 51 can’t begin to count the countless examples of fake news launched against Trump that have nothing to do with Russia — desperate and deliberate lies involving fish food and ice cream scoops…

Before we begin, credit where it’s due. This list would not have been possible without the lists already compiled by Sharyl AttkissonGlenn Greenwald, and Sohrab Ahmari.

  1. New York magazine, McClatchy:

Michael Cohen went to  Prague.

  1. BuzzFeed:

Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie, and Mueller has emails proving it.

  1. The New York Times:

Paul Manafort passed polling information to Kremlin.

  1. Axios:

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein forced out.

  1. NBC News:

Federal investigators wiretapped Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen, have recordings of Trump.

  1. Associated Press:

Phony Russia dossier was initially funded by Republican group.

  1. ABC News:

Donald Trump directed Flynn to make contact with Russian officials during the 2016 presidential campaign

  1. Talking Points Memo:

Russian social media company provided documents to Senate about communications with Trump official.

  1. CNN:

Donald Trump Jr. conspired with WikiLeaks.

  1. Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal:

Robert Mueller subpoenaed Trump’s Deutsche Bank records.

  1. ABC News:

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort worked with Russia intelligence-connected official as late as December 2017.

  1. The New York Times:

Trump Deputy National Security adviser K.T. McFarland lied about another official’s contacts with Russians.

  1. CNN:

Trump’s campaign was never wiretapped.

  1. NBC News:

Manafort notes from Russian meeting refer to political contributions.

  1. The New York Times:

Seventeen intelligence agencies concur Russia hacked the 2016 presidential race.

  1. CNN:

Congress investigating Russian investment fund with ties to Trump officials.

  1. The New York Times:

Former FBI Director James Comey says Attorney General Jeff Sessions told him not to call Russia probe an investigation but “a matter.”

  1. CNN:

James Comey will testify he never told Trump he was not under investigation.

  1. NBC News:

Putin admits he has compromising information about Trump.

  1. Politico, the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, AP, Reuters, and the Wall Street Journal:

Trump fired Comey after Comey asked for additional resources for the Russia investigation.

  1. The New York Times:

Numerous contacts between Trump campaign staff and “senior Russian intelligence officials.”

  1. MSNBC:

Among others, a Trump family member will be indicted on February 8.

  1. The Guardian:

Paul Manafort visited WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange on three occasions.

  1. The Washington Post:

Trump campaign changed GOP platform on Ukraine.

  1. The Atlantic:

Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions lied about meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

  1. McClatchy:

Michael Cohen really did visit Prague.

  1. CNN:

Trump is lying when he calls Russia dossier “phony.”

  1. Fortune:

RT had hacked into and taken over C-SPAN and C-SPAN “confirmed” it had been hacked.

  1. USA Today, MSNBC, Associated Press:

Russia’s hacked the election systems of 21 American states.

  1. The Washington Post, ABC News, CNN:

Russian hackers penetrated U.S. electricity grid through a utility in Vermont.

  1. The Washington Post:

“More than 200 websites” were “routine peddlers of Russian propaganda during the election season.”

  1. NBC News, MSNBC:

Russia is the main suspect in the sonic attacks that sickened 26 U.S. diplomats.

  1. Slate:

Trump created a secret Internet server to covertly communicate with a Russian bank.

  1. CNN:

Donald Trump knew in advance of the Trump Tower meeting.

  1. CNN:

Mueller Report will show Trump “has helped” Putin “destabilize” the United States.

  1. NBC:

Russia supports Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI).

    1. CNN:

Sessions failed to disclose meetings he had with the Russian ambassador.

  1. Vox:

“There’s actually lots of evidence of Trump-Russia collusion.”

  1. The Washington Post, The New York Times, NPRReutersthe Guardian, USA Today, CNN, BuzzFeed:

Trump revealed classified information to Russians.

  1. The Washington Post:

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said Russia paid Trump.

  1. Fox News:

Mueller can show Trump campaign “had a connection to Russian intelligence.”

  1. MSNBC:

“Rudy Giuliani just told America that Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia.”

  1. The Washington Post:

Evidence suggests Trump could be a Russian “asset.”

  1. NBC:

Russians began hacking Hillary Clinton’s emails on the day Donald Trump joked about it in July 2016.

  1. Mic.com:

Russia spy visited Trump’s Oval Office.

  1. CNN:

Phony Russia dossier has been “corroborated.”

  1. NPR:

Donald Trump Jr. lied under oath about Trump Tower deal in Moscow.

  1. NBC, The Hill, New York Daily News:

Russia successfully hacked voting systems in a number of states.

  1. CNN:

Trump is “bonkers” for claiming Hillary Clinton behind Russia dossier.

  1. CNN:

“Every intelligence expert, both under the Obama administration and under the Trump administration,” agrees with the assessment that Russia attempted to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

  1. BBC:

Ukrainian president “authorized” an illegal payment of $400,000 to Michael Cohen for additional face time during a June 2017 meeting with President Trump.

Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNCFollow his Facebook Page here.



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Q&A: MSM Lies, Consciousness, Evolution, Australia, Assange, And Me – Caitlin Johnstone

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/04/23/qa-msm-lies-consciousness-evolution-australia-assange-and-me/

Monday, April 22, 2019

Doctor: Facts on Biological Sex Differences Are Being Ignored | Intellectual Takeout

https://www.intellectualtakeout.org/article/doctor-facts-biological-sex-differences-are-being-ignored

The Cataclysmic $243 Trillion Global Debt Bomb Will Explode, Impoverishing Everyone

Multiple Studies Show That Alcohol Is The Real “Gateway Drug” Not Cannabis

ORIGINAL LINK

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According to a series of studies that have been conducted by researchers at the University of Florida over the past several years, alcohol is the real “gateway drug” for teens in the United States. This research finally gives some scientific opposition to the popular myth that cannabis is a gateway drug for young people, that supposedly leads them towards more dangerous drugs like meth or heroin.



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Sunday, April 21, 2019

The Student Debt Conundrum

"Hollow And Laughable": Russia Issues Own Scathing 120-page Reaction To Mueller Report

Medium Has Removed My Article “Debunking The Assange Smears”

ORIGINAL LINK

Hi! If you’re looking for my article “Debunking The Assange Smears”, you can find it by clicking this hyperlink here. As of this writing Medium has removed it citing “A private person who is the subject of publicity or exposure of personal information, despite not having apparently invited public attention to themselves in general or in relation to a particular issue.”

I have no idea what this means, and Medium Staff refuse to specify. I’ve taken a guess that it might have to do with the “rapist” section of the article, so I’ve revised it with the names removed (also removed in the link I hyperlinked to in the preceding paragraph) even though they’ve been mainstream public knowledge for years. I’ve asked that they review the suspension. We’ll see if that works.

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Arsenic in Some Bottled Water at Unsafe Levels - Consumer Reports says

https://www.consumerreports.org/water-quality/arsenic-in-some-bottled-water-brands-at-unsafe-levels/

Escobar: The Deep State Vs. WikiLeaks

Saturday, April 20, 2019

SWAT raid on homeschoolers goes to top court - WND

http://www.wnd.com/2019/04/swat-raid-on-homeschoolers-goes-to-top-court/

Why Schools Don't Educate - The Natural Child Project

https://www.naturalchild.org/articles/guest/john_gatto.html

Watch "Mad World Remix of Moby Video (Are You Lost In The World Like Me)" on YouTube

https://youtu.be/5DU1B_XkyIk

Watch "Greenwald: Media spent years drowning US in conspiracy theories" on YouTube

https://youtu.be/PJszevux0jU

The $1.6 Trillion Student Loan Monster—-End It Now

ORIGINAL LINK

Needless to say, the federal student loan program is a mess, and millions of recipients of its loans are mired in debt. So mired, in fact, that, according to two recent studies :40 percent of borrowers may default on their student loans by 2023: 250,000 borrowers default on their federal student loans each quarter: It takes 19.4 years, on average, to pay off student loans

 

 

 

 

 

https://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/?p=307250&preview_id=307250&preview_nonce=8e81c3e88b&preview=true

 



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How Empires Fall: Moral Decay

ORIGINAL LINK
There is a name for this institutionalized, commoditized fraud: moral decay.
Moral decay is an interesting phenomenon: we spot it easily in our partisan-politics opponents and BAU (business as usual) government/private-sector dealings (are those $3,000 Pentagon hammers now $5,000 each or $10,000 each? It's hard to keep current...), and we're suitably indignant when non-partisan corruption is discovered in supposed meritocracies such as the college admissions process.
But we're less adept, it seems, at discerning systemic moral decay, which infects the very foundations of the economy and society.
Consider America's favorite pastime, corrosive partisan politics. This distemper is often traced back to (surprise!) extreme partisans, but as the chart below shows, political partisanship has risen in near-perfect correlation with wealth-income inequality, which it itself the hallmark of deeply systemic corruption, as the system is rigged to benefit the few at the expense of the many. (Chart courtesy of Slope of Hope.)
There's a phrase that describes a socio-economic system becoming the means for personal aggrandizement at the expense of civil society itself: moral decay.How else can we describe a system whose inputs and processes are rigged so the output is the vast majority of all income gains flow to the top 0.1%? (See chart below.)
When a socio-economic system institutionalizes the extralegal privileges of wealth and power, that is moral decay. When government only responds in ways that first serve the interests of entrenched insiders, that is moral decay. When the financial system is rigged to sluice income and wealth to the top of the wealth-power pyramid while stripmining the productive class below via inflation and taxes, that's moral decay. (See chart below of workers' share of the national income.)
political-polarization-inequality4-19.jp
inequality-NYT8-17a.png
worker-share2-19a.jpg
What are initial public offerings (IPOs) of unprofitable Unicorns but a form of institutionalized, commoditized fraud based on the sale of worthless securities to greater fools who are gambling that a second wave of even greater fools will pay a premium to gamble that the worthless shares can be sold to a third wave of supremely greater fools?
There is a name for this institutionalized, commoditized fraud: moral decay.
IPOs4-10-19.jpg
What are stock buy-backs but a form of institutionalized, commoditized fraud in which insiders borrow vast sums to reduce the number of shares outstanding to boost the per-share profits and hence the valuation of their portfolios and stock options? How does civil society benefit from this hyper-financialized concentration of wealth and thus political power?
There is a name for this institutionalized, commoditized fraud: moral decay.America is fatally riddled with institutionalized moral decay, and so are the competing powers of the EU, Japan, Russia and China.
Moral decay is the only possible output of systems that place the accumulation of personal wealth and political power above all other civic and economic values. When every system is nothing but a means to institutionalize and commodify fraud and extralegal privilege, there is no saving such a perversely asymmetric system from internal collapse.


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Thursday, April 18, 2019

Mueller report takes ‘Russian meddling’ for granted, offers no actual evidence

ORIGINAL LINK

Via RT…


Special counsel Robert Mueller’s ‘Russiagate’ report has cleared Donald Trump of ‘collusion’ charges but maintains that Russia meddled in the 2016 US presidential election. Yet concrete evidence of that is nowhere to be seen.

The report by Mueller and his team, made public on Thursday by the US Department of Justice, exonerates not just Trump but all Americans of any “collusion” with Russia, “obliterating” the Russiagate conspiracy theory, as journalist Glenn Greenwald put it.

However, it asserts that Russian “interference” in the election did happen, and says it consisted of a campaign on social media as well as Russian military intelligence (repeatedly referred to by its old, Soviet-era name, GRU) “hacking” the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the DNC, and the private email account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair, John Podesta.

As evidence of this, the report basically offers nothing but Mueller’s indictment of “GRU agents,” delivered on the eve of the Helsinki Summit between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in what was surely a cosmic coincidence.

Indictments are not evidence, however, but allegations. Any time it looks like the report might be bringing up proof, it ends up being redacted, ostensibly to protect sources and methods, and out of concern it might cause “harm to an ongoing matter.”

‘Active measures’ on social media

Mueller’s report leads with the claim that the Internet Research Agency (IRA) ran an “active measures” campaign of social media influence. Citing Facebook and Twitter estimates, the report says this consisted of 470 Facebook accounts that made 80,000 posts that may have been seen by up to 126 million people, between January 2015 and August 2017 (almost a year after the election), and 3,814 Twitter accounts that “may have been” in contact with about 1.4 million people.

Those numbers may seem substantial but, as investigative journalist Gareth Porter pointed out in November 2018, they should be regarded against the background of 33 trillion Facebook posts made during the same period.

According to Mueller, the IRA mind-controlled the American electorate by spending “approximately $100,000” on Facebook ads, hiring someone to walk around New York City “dressed up as Santa Claus with a Trump mask,” and getting Trump campaign affiliates to promote “dozens of tweets, posts, and other political content created by the IRA.” Dozens!

This is what it takes to bring down an empire! https://t.co/PXrlsfYp8j

— Yasha Levine (@yashalevine) April 18, 2019

Meanwhile, the key evidence against IRA’s alleged boss Evgeny Prigozhin is that he “appeared together in public photographs” with Putin.

Alleged hacking & release

The report claims that the GRU hacked their way into 29 DCCC computers and another 30 DNC computers, and downloaded data using software called “X-Tunnel.” It is unclear how Mueller’s investigators claim to know this, as the report makes no mention of them or FBI actually examining DNC or DCCC computers. Presumably they took the word of CrowdStrike, the Democrats’ private contractor, for it.

However obtained, the documents were published first through DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 – which the report claims are “fictitious online personas” created by the GRU – and later through WikiLeaks. What is Mueller’s proof that these two entities were “GRU” cutouts? In a word, this:

That the Guccifer 2.0 persona provided reporters access to a restricted portion of the DCLeaks website tends to indicate that both personas were operated by the same or a closely-related group of people.(p. 43)

However, the report acknowledges that the “first known contact” between Guccifer 2.0 and WikiLeaks was on September 15, 2016 – months after the DNC and DCCC documents were published! Here we do get actual evidence: direct messages on Twitter obtained by investigators. Behold, these “spies” are so good, they don’t even talk – and when they do, they use unsecured channels.

Mueller notably claims “it is clear that the stolen DNC and Podesta documents were transferred from the GRU to WikiLeaks” (the rest of that sentence is redacted), but the report clearly implies the investigators do not actually know how. On page 47, the report says Mueller “cannot rule out that stolen documents were transferred to WikiLeaks through intermediaries who visited during the summer of 2016.”

Strangely, the report accuses WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange of making “public statements apparently designed to obscure the source” of the materials (p.48), notably the offer of a reward for finding the murderer of DNC staffer Seth Rich – even though this can be read as corroborating the intermediaries theory, and Assange never actually said Rich was his source.

The rest of Mueller’s report goes on to discuss the Trump campaign’s contacts with anyone even remotely Russian and to create torturous constructions that the president had “obstructed” justice by basically defending himself from charges of being a Russian agent – neither of which resulted in any indictments, however. But the central premise that the 22-month investigation, breathless media coverage, and the 448-page report are based on – that Russia somehow meddled in the 2016 election – remains unproven.

The post Mueller report takes ‘Russian meddling’ for granted, offers no actual evidence appeared first on The Duran.



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The Elites Laugh As Americans Revel In Their Enslavement While Fearing Each Other

Robert Mueller Did Not Merely Reject the Trump/Russia Conspiracy Theories. He Obliterated Them.

ORIGINAL LINK

The two-pronged conspiracy theory that has dominated U.S. political discourse for almost three years – that (1) Trump, his family and his campaign conspired or coordinated with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election, and (2) Trump is beholden to Russian President Vladimir Putin — was not merely rejected today by the final report of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. It was obliterated: in an undeniable and definitive manner.

The key fact is this: Mueller – contrary to weeks of false media claims – did not merely issue a narrow, cramped, legalistic finding that there was insufficient evidence to indict Trump associates for conspiring with Russia and then proving their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. That would have been devastating enough to those who spent the last two years or more misleading people to believe that conspiracy convictions of Trump’s closest aides and family members were inevitable. But his mandate was much broader than that: to state what did or did not happen.

That’s precisely what he did: Mueller, in addition to concluding that evidence was insufficient to charge any American with crimes relating to Russian election interference, also stated emphatically in numerous instances that there was no evidence – not merely that there was insufficient evidence to obtain a criminal conviction – that key prongs of this three-year-old conspiracy theory actually happened. As Mueller himself put it: “in some instances, the report points out the absence of evidence or conflicts in the evidence about a particular fact or event.”

With regard to Facebook ads and Twitter posts from the Russia-based Internet Research Agency, for example, Mueller could not have been more blunt: “The investigation did not identify evidence that any U.S. persons knowingly or intentionally coordinated with the IRA’s interference operation” (emphasis added). Note that this exoneration includes not only Trump campaign officials but all Americans:

To get a further sense for how definitive the Report’s rejection is of the key elements of the alleged conspiracy theory, consider Mueller’s discussion of efforts by George Papadopoulos, Joseph Misfud and and “two Russian nationals” whereby they tried “to arrange a meeting between the Campaign and Russian officials” to talk about how the two sides could work together to disseminate information about Hillary Clinton. As Mueller puts it: “No meeting took place.”

Several of the media’s most breathless and hyped “bombshells” were dismissed completely by Mueller. Regarding various Trump officials’ 2016 meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, Mueller said they were “brief, public and nonsubstantive.” Concerning the much-hyped change to GOP platform regarding Ukraine, Mueller wrote that the “evidence does not establish that one campaign official’s efforts to dilute a portion of the Republican platform was undertaken at the behest of candidate Trump or Russia,” and further noted that such a change was consistent with Trump’s publicly stated foreign policy view (one shared by Obama) to avoid provoking gratuitous conflict with the Kremlin over arming Ukrainians.. Mueller also characterized a widely hyped “meeting” between then-Senator Jeff Sessions and Kislyak as one that did not “include any more than a passing mention of the presidential campaign.”

Regarding one of the most-cited pieces of evidence by Trump/Russia conspiracists – that Russia tried once Trump was nominated to shape his foreign policy posture toward Russia – Mueller concluded that there is simply no evidence to support it:

In other crucial areas, Mueller did not go so far as to say that his investigation “did not identify evidence” but nonetheless concluded that his 22-month investigation “did not establish” that the key claims of the conspiracy theory were true. Regarding alleged involvement by Trump officials or family members in the Russian hacks, for instance, Mueller explained: “the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

As for the overarching maximalist conspiracy – that Trump and/or members of his family and campaign were controlled by or working for the Russian government – Mueller concluded that this belief simply lacked the evidence necessary to prosecute anyone for it:

 

And Mueller’s examination of all the so-called “links” between Trump campaign officials and Russia that the U.S. media has spent almost three years depicting as “bombshell” evidence of criminality met the same fate: the evidence could not, and did not, establish that any such links constituted “coordination” or “conspiracy” between Trump and Russia:

Perhaps most amazingly, even low-level, ancillary, hangers-on to the Trump campaign that even many Russiagate skeptics thought might end up being charged as Russian agents were not.

All the way back in March, 2017, in reporting that even anti-Trump intelligence officials were warning Democrats that there was no solid evidence of a Trump/Russia conspiracy, I predicted that the appointment of a Special Counsel (which I vehemently favored) would likely end up finding evidence of financial impropriety by Paul Manafort unrelated to the 2016 election, as well as a possible indictment of someone like Carter Page for acting on concert with the Russian government:

But so vacant is the Mueller investigation when it comes to supporting any of the prevailing conspiracy theories that it did not find even a single American whom it could indict or charge with illegally working for Russia, secretly acting as a Russian agent, or conspiring with the Russians over the election – not even Carter Page. That means that even long-time Russiagate skeptics such as myself over-estimated the level of criminality and conspiracy evidence that Robert Mueller would find:

In sum, Democrats and their supporters had the exact prosecutor they all agreed was the embodiment of competence and integrity in Robert Mueller. He assembled a team of prosecutors and investigators that countless media accounts heralded as the most aggressive and adept in the nation. They had subpoena power, the vast surveillance apparatus of the U.S. government at their disposal, a demonstrated willingness to imprison anyone who lied to them, and unlimited time and resources to dig up everything they could.

The result of all of that was that not a single American – whether with the Trump campaign or otherwise – was charged or indicted on the core question of whether there was any conspiracy or coordination with Russia over the election. No Americans were charged or even accused of being controlled by or working at the behest of the Russian government. None of the key White House aides at the center of the controversy who testified for hours and hours – including Donald Trump, Jr. or Jared Kushner – were charged with any crimes of any kind, not even perjury, obstruction of justice or lying to Congress.

These facts are fatal to the conspiracy theorists who have drowned U.S. discourse for almost three years with a dangerous and distracting fixation on a fictitious espionage thriller involved unhinged claims of sexual and financial blackmail, nefarious infiltration of the U.S. Government by familiar foreign villains, and election cheating that empowered an illegitimate President. They got the exact prosecutor and investigation that they wanted, yet he could not establish that any of this happened and, in many cases, established that it did not.

The anti-climatic ending of the Mueller investigation is particularly stunning given how broad Mueller’s investigative scope ended up being, extending far beyond the 2016 election into years worth of Trump’s alleged financial dealings with Russia (and, obviously, Manafort’s with Ukraine and Russia). There can simply be no credible claim that Mueller was, in any meaningful way, impeded by scope, resources or topic limitation from finding anything for which he searched.

Despite efforts today by long-time conspiracist theorists to drastically move goalposts so as to claim vindication, the historical record could not be clearer that Mueller’s central mandate was to determine whether crimes were committed by Trump officials in connection with alleged Russian interference in the election. The first paragraph of the New York Times article from May, 2017, announcing Mueller’s appointment, leaves no doubt about that:

The Justice Department appointed Robert S. Mueller III, a former F.B.I. director, as special counsel on Wednesday to oversee the investigation into ties between President Trump’s campaign and Russian officials, dramatically raising the legal and political stakes in an affair that has threatened to engulf Mr. Trump’s four-month-old presidency.

As recently as one month ago, former CIA Director and current NBC News analyst John Brennan was confidently predicting that Mueller could not possibly close his investigation without first indicting a slew of Americans for criminally conspiring with Russia over the election, and specifically predicted that Trump’s family members would be included among those so charged:

John Brennan has a lot to answer for—going before the American public for months, cloaked with CIA authority and openly suggesting he’s got secret info, and repeatedly turning in performances like this. pic.twitter.com/EziCxy9FVQ

— Terry Moran (@TerryMoran) March 25, 2019

Obviously, none of that happened. Nor were any of the original accusations that launched this three-year-long mania — from an accusatory August, 2016 online commercial from the Clinton campaign — corroborated by the Mueller Report:

Indeed, so many of the most touted media “bombshells” claiming to establish Trump/Russia crimes have been proven false by this report. Despite an extensive discussion of Paul Manafort’s activities, nothing in the Report even hints, let alone states, that he ever visited Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy, let alone visited him three times, including during the 2016 election. How the Guardian could justify still not retracting that false story is mystifying.

Faring even worse is the Buzzfeed bombshell from January claiming that “President Donald Trump directed his longtime attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow” and that “Cohen also told the special counsel that after the election, the president personally instructed him to lie — by claiming that negotiations ended months earlier than they actually did — in order to obscure Trump’s involvement.” Mueller himself responded to the story by insisting it was false, and his Report directly contradicts it, as it makes clear that Cohen told Mueller the exact opposite:

Equally debunked is CNN’s major blockbuster by Jim Sciutto, Carl Bernstein, and Marshall Cohen from last July that “Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, claims that then-candidate Trump knew in advance about the June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower.” The Mueller Report says the exact opposite: that Cohen had no knowledge of Trump’s advanced knowledge.

And the less said about the Steele Dossier, pee-pee tapes, secret meetings in Prague, and indescribably unhinged claims like this one, the better:

But beyond the gutting of these core conspiracy claims is that Mueller’s investigation probed areas far beyond the initial scope of Trump/Russia election-conspiring, and came up empty. Among other things, Mueller specifically examined Trump’s financial dealings with Russia to determine whether that constituted incriminating evidence of corrupt links:

Because Trump’s status as a public figure at the time was attributable in large part to his prior business and entertainment dealings, this Office investigated whether a business contact with Russia-linked individuals and entities during the campaign period—the Trump Tower Moscow project, see Volume I, Section IV.A.1, infra—led to or involved coordination.

Indeed, Mueller’s examination of Trump’s financial dealings with Russia long pre-dates the start of the Trump campaign, going back several years before the election:

Mueller additionally made clear that he received authorization to investigate numerous Americans for ties to Russia despite their not being formally associated with the Trump campaign, including Michael Cohen and Roger Stone. And regarding Cohen, Mueller specifically was authorized to investigate any attempts by Cohen to “receive funds from Russia-backed entities.” None of this deep diving to other individuals or years of alleged financial dealings with Russian resulted in any finding that Trump or any of his associates were controlled by, or corruptly involved with, the Russian government.

Then there is the issue of Manafort’s relationship with the Ukrainians, and specifically his providing of polling data to Konstantin Kilimnik, an episode which Trump/Putin conspiracist Marcy Wheeler, along with many othersparticularly hyped over and over. To begin with, Mueller said his office “did not identify evidence of a connection” between that act and “Russian interference in the election,” nor did he “establish that Manafort otherwise coordinated with the Russian government on its election-inteference efforts”:

The New York Times originally reported, but then retracted, that Manafort provided that polling data with the intent that it go to “Oleg V. Deripaska, a Russian oligarch close to the Kremlin.” In reality, Manafort thought it would be provided to Ukrainians with whom he had substantial business dealings, part of a long line of acts Manafort took to exploit his connection with the Trump campaign to solve his financial woes. Wheeler insisted that “the NYT had it correct the first time” and, in making their redaction, “they got — badly — played.” The Mueller Report showed that, yet again, conspiracists like Wheeler were misleading and deceiving people while using the tone of authority and expertise:

CONFIRMED: MANAFORT instructed GATES in April/May 2016 to send TRUMP polling data to KILIMNIK to share with Ukrainian oligarchs, as we reported.
*We initially reported, then retracted, that DERIPASKA was intended recipient, but MUELLER confirmed that, too. https://t.co/xfnnr5KNQR pic.twitter.com/gDes57b9Nh

— Kenneth P. Vogel (@kenvogel) April 18, 2019

Also endlessly hyped by Wheeler and other conspiracists were the post-election contacts between Trump and Russia: as though it’s unusual that a major power would seek to build new, constructive relationships with a newly elected administration. Indeed, Wheeler went so far as to cite these post-election contacts to turn her own source into the FBI on the ground that it constituted smoking gun evidence, an act for which she was praised by the Washington Post (nothing Wheeler claimed about the evidence “related to the Mueller investigation” that she claimed to possess appears to be in the Mueller Report). Here again, the Mueller Report could not substantiate any of these claims:

The centerpiece of the Trump/Russia conspiracy – the Trump Tower meeting – was such a dud that Jared Kushner, halfway through the meeting, texted Manafort to declare the meeting “a waste of time,” and then instructed his assistant to call him so that he could concoct a reason to leave. Not only could Mueller not find any criminality in this meeting relating to election conspiring, but he could not even use election law to claim it was an illegal gift of something of value from a foreigner, because, among other things, the information offered was of so little value that it could not even pass the $2,000 threshold required to charge someone for a misdemeanor, let alone the $25,000 required to make it a felony.

Neither the Trump Tower meeting itself nor its participants – for so long held up as proof of the Trump/Russia conspiracy – could serve as the basis for any finding of criminality. Indeed, the key Trumpworld participants who testified about what happened at that meeting and its aftermath (Trump Jr. and Kushner) were not even accused by Mueller of lying about any of it.

None of this is to say that the Mueller Report exonerates Trump of wrongdoing. Mueller makes clear, for instance, that the Trump campaign not only knew that Russia was interested in helping it win the election but was happy to have that help. There’s clearly nothing criminal about that. One can debate whether it’s unethical for a presidential campaign to have dirt about its opponent released by a foreign government, though anyone who wants to argue that has to reconcile that with the fact that the DNC had a contractor working with the Ukrainian government to help Hillary Clinton win by feeding them dirt on Trump and Manafort, as well as a paid operative named Christopher Steele (remember him?) working with Russian officials to get dirt on Trump.

As is true of all investigations, Mueller’s team could not access all relevant information. Some was rendered inaccessible through encryption. Other information was deleted, perhaps with corrupt motives. And some witnesses lied or otherwise tried to obstruct the investigation. As a result, it’s of course possible that incriminating evidence existed that Mueller – armed with subpoena power, unlimited resources, 22 months of investigative work, and a huge team of top-flight prosecutors, FBI agents, intelligence analysts and forensic accountants – did not find.

But anything is possible. It’s inherently possible that anyone is guilty of any crime but that the evidence just cannot be found to prove it. One cannot prove a negative. But the only way to rationally assess what happened is by looking at the evidence that is available, and that’s what Mueller did. And there’s simply no persuasive way – after heralding Mueller and his team as the top-notch investigators that they are and building up expectations about what this would produce – for any honest person to deny that the end of the Mueller investigation was a huge failure from the perspective of those who pushed these conspiracies.

Mueller certainly provides substantial evidence that Russians attempted to meddle in various ways in the U.S. election, including by hacking the DNC and Podesta and through Facebook posts and tweets. There is, however, no real evidence that Putin himself ordered this, as was claimed since mid-2016. But that Russia had done such things has been unsurprising from the start, given how common it is for the U.S. and Russia to meddle in everyone’s affairs, including one another’s, but the scope and size of it continues to be minute in the context of overall election spending:

To reach larger U.S. audiences, the IRA purchased advertisements from Facebook that promoted the IRA groups on the newsfeeds of U.S. audience members. According to Facebook, the IRA purchased over 3,500 advertisements, and the expenditures totaled approximately $100,000.

The section of Mueller’s report on whether Trump criminally attempted to obstruct the investigation is full of evidence and episodes that show Trump being dishonest, misleading, and willing to invoke potentially corrupt tactics to put an end to it. But ultimately, the most extreme of those tactics were not invoked (at times because Trump’s aides refused), and the actions in which Trump engaged were simply not enough for Mueller to conclude that he was guilty of criminal obstruction.

As Mueller himself concluded, a reasonable debate can be conducted on whether Trump tried to obstruct his investigation with corrupt intent. But even on the case of obstruction, the central point looms large over all of it: there was no underlying crime established for Trump to cover-up.

All criminal investigations require a determination of a person’s intent, what they are thinking and what their goal is. When the question is whether a President sought to kill an Executive Branch investigation – as Trump clearly wanted to do here – the determinative issue is whether he did so because he genuinely believed the investigation to be an unfair persecution and scam, or whether he did it to corruptly conceal evidence of criminality.

That Mueller could not and did not establish any underlying crimes strongly suggests that Trump acted with the former rather than the latter motive, making it virtually impossible to find that he criminally obstructed the investigation.

The nature of our political discourse is that nobody ever needs to admit error because it is easy to confine oneself to strictly partisan precincts where people are far more interested in hearing what advances their agenda or affirms their beliefs than they are hearing the truth. For that reason, I doubt that anyone who spent the last three years pushing utterly concocted conspiracy theories will own up to it, let alone confront any accountability or consequences for it.

But certain facts will never go away no matter how much denial they embrace. The sweeping Mueller investigation ended with zero indictments of zero Americans for conspiring with Russia over the 2016 election. Both Donald Trump, Jr. and Jared Kushner – the key participants in the Trump Tower meeting – testified for hours and hours yet were never charged for perjury, lying or obstruction, even though Mueller proved how easily he would indict anyone who lied as part of the investigation. And this massive investigation simply did not establish any of the conspiracy theories that huge parts of the Democratic Party, the intelligence community and the U.S. media spent years encouraging the public to believe.

Those responsible for this can refuse to acknowledge wrongdoing. They can even claim vindication if they want and will likely be cheered for doing so.

But the contempt in which the media and political class is held by so much of the U.S. population – undoubtedly a leading factor that led to Trump’s election in the first place – will only continue to grow as a result, and deservedly so. People know they were scammed, that their politics was drowned for years by a hoax. And none of that will go away no matter how insulated media and political elites in Washington, northern Virginia, Brooklyn, and large West Coast cities keep themselves, and thus hear only in-group affirmation while blocking out all of that well-earned scorn.

The post Robert Mueller Did Not Merely Reject the Trump/Russia Conspiracy Theories. He Obliterated Them. appeared first on The Intercept.



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