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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Links - 14th May 2019 (1) (Mueller Report)

Charlie Kirk on Twitter - "Democrats in 2015: Eveyone must accept results of the election
Democrats day after the election 2016: We do not accept the results of the election
Democrats 2017: Everyone must accept findings of the Mueller report
Democrats 2019: We do not accept findings of Mueller report"

Lucas Lynch - Tell me again just how much leftists care about... - "Russian air force planes land in Venezuela carrying troops"
"Tell me again just how much leftists care about actual Russian interference"

Exclusive breaking bombshell report reveals Trump colluded with...Russian ice hockey player - "After Robert Mueller’s ‘no collusion’ report spectacularly dismantled the ‘Russiagate’ narrative, some media outlets can’t let it go. The New York Times has found some bonus collusion: between Trump and a Russian hockey player.President Donald Trump welcomed the Washington Capitals to the White House on Monday, following their Stanley Cup victory in June. A ceremonial visit from an American sports team normally wouldn’t raise any eyebrows, but journalists see things differently when they’re all hopped up on Russian kool-aid... In the two years since Special Counsel Robert Mueller began investigating Trump’s supposed links to Russia, readers have been force-fed 533,074 articles about Trump, Russia, and Mueller, according to analysis published Tuesday. In that time, the media has dropped “bombshell” after “bombshell,” predicted the “beginning of the end” for Trump, and time and time again described the “walls closing in” on the president."

Tired Of Mueller? Poll Says Americans Increasingly Believe Russia Investigation Is A 'Witch Hunt' - ""28 percent say they have a lot of trust in the former FBI director's investigation to be fair and accurate. That's the lowest level to date, and down five points since December," according to the Aberdeen News' rundown of the poll results. "In comparison, 30 percent express a lot of trust in Trump's denials, the highest to date." The "witch hunt" line is particularly resonant: "[f]ifty percent say they agree with Trump's assertion that the special counsel's investigation is a 'witch hunt' and that he has been subjected to more investigations than previous presidents because of politics; 47 percent disagree. Just 3 percent don't have an opinion." A majority of Americans — 59% — say they generally trust in the president's denials, even though around 52% say they don't trust the president generally. By comparison only 28% say they trust that Mueller's investigation is fair and accurate. Worst for Democrats, only about 28% of Americans say that they believe initiating impeachment proceedings is a good idea, down a whopping 10% from the same poll taken in October, before the 2018 elections"

As The Russia Hoax Begins To Unravel, The Gaslighting Begins - "Politico warned Trump haters, “Prepare for disappointment.” Other examples of expectation managing can be found, such as here, here, here, and here. Mueller’s longtime top deputy at the FBI recently warned, “A public narrative has built an expectation that the special counsel will explain his conclusions, but I think that expectation may be seriously misplaced.”... Attorneys assigned to the Mueller team have quietly begun to slip away before the outcome of the investigation is made public... The Russia hoax is crumbling and people can’t run away fast enough. We’ve seen signs from the very beginning that many of the people who promoted the Trump-Russia collusion smear have always known it was a hoax. These signs have been in plain sight"

Opinion | Barr Is Right About Everything. Admit You Were Wrong. - The New York Times - "Journalists don’t like being called “fake news,” but too many of them uncritically accepted the Trump-Russia narrative, probably because of their strong distaste for Mr. Trump himself. But that lack of objectivity represents a major professional failure, and it’s Exhibit A in why Mr. Trump’s taunt resonates with so many Americans. Gallup polling shows that for 69 percent of Americans, trust in the media has fallen over the last decade. Among Republicans, it’s 94 percent; for independents, it’s 75 percent and for moderates it’s 66. Only among self-identified liberals and progressives does a majority continue to trust the media. They like what they hear... the allegations of collusion are not true and because most people who are not deeply committed to irrational Trump hatred see them for what they are: an inside-the-Beltway story being used as a political weapon to undermine the president and overturn — or at least neutralize — the 2016 election... For nearly four years, members of America’s ruling class, especially those in the media, the academy and government, have operated on one central, unquestioned assumption: orange man bad. This stifling orthodoxy led to a blind, counterfactual faith in the theory that Mr. Trump had somehow colluded with “the Russians” (never well defined) to win the election. Again, the specific charges were always amorphous — plastic enough to change as needed. That’s hardly surprising: That’s the way conspiracy theories always work. The Russian collusion hoax was in fact nothing more than a massively multiplayer coping mechanism for people who couldn’t accept the results of the 2016 election.But why is it not enough to simply acknowledge that you dislike Mr. Trump and disagree with his policies? What psychological purpose does adding the fiction of a conspiracy serve? The French philosopher and literary critic René Girard held that such scapegoating and ritual sacrifice is an essential part of group identity and solidarity. That seems to apply here. Mr. Trump ran against American elites and their insular culture. Their response was to load onto him all of the sins they see in American society and attempt to sacrifice him to appease their gods. Mr. Girard asked a question that is pertinent today: “Why is our own participation in scapegoating so difficult to perceive and the participation of others so easy? To us, our fears and prejudices never appear as such because they determine our vision of people we despise, we fear, and against whom we discriminate.”... Shortly after Mr. Mueller concluded his investigation without any indictments related to Russian collusion with the Trump campaign, Representative Adam Schiff, now the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, did not admit he was wrong — far from it. He brazenly doubled down"

I Warned That Russiagate Would Help Trump. Now You See Why - "As one of the vanishingly few people in journalism who has been pointing out the fundamentally fallacious premises behind “Russiagate” since the day it started, I can attest to how vociferously skeptics of this charade have been denounced as Donald Trump apologists or even secret supporters... Because Democrats and their media allies invested so much political capital in the now-discredited Russia collusion theory, they have not only failed to topple Trump, they’ve actually strengthened his hand immeasurably. There’s just no way to sugarcoat it: Robert Mueller has fully exonerated Trump on the core conspiracy charge that impelled the creation of the special counsel in the first place, and Trump is absolutely justified to celebrate this as a profound humiliation for Democrats and huge swaths of the national media. Heading into a re-election campaign, liberals witlessly gifted him the standing to rightly declare victory over opposition forces that compromised their integrity and abandoned their critical faculties in a vain effort to oust him from power. Rather than focusing on any number of Trump’s very real crimes and corruptions... they instead chose to stoke this groundless Russia fever dream for nearly three straight years. In so doing, Democrats effectively insulated Trump from legitimate criticism, such that the real harms of his tenure have escaped scrutiny... It’s astonishing but true: Democrats and the national media chose to spend three years validating Trump’s one grievance that actually has merit. By ignoring the obviously flawed premises behind this investigation, Democrats ceded to Trump the authority to opine justifiably about the wrongdoings of what he calls the “Deep State”—a cadre of nefarious bureaucratic actors hellbent on undermining him... Trump was fundamentally correct. There was a cohort of unelected security state officials who acted unilaterally to thwart him, on grounds now resolutely proven by Mueller to have been extraordinarily flimsy... For years, Democrats and members of the left-leaning media displayed remarkable incuriosity about the national security state machinations that brought about the Trump-Russia non-scandal in the first place. Agencies they once would have regarded with extreme skepticism—the FBI, CIA, NSA, and foreign intelligence services—suddenly became valiant defenders of truth and liberty because they appeared for the moment to be arrayed against Trump... Because the national media discussion of Russiagate was so dominated by former security state officials, all the abuses that are now clearly evident—politicization of intelligence agencies, surveillance overkill, prosecutorial overreach—were excused or even celebrated because in the moment they appeared to disadvantage Trump. Democrats often posture as opponents of overzealous state power, but in this case they turned around and cheered things like the months-long solitary confinement of Paul Manafort, the Trump campaign manager convicted on charges that had zero to do with any collusion conspiracy. Solitary confinement would ordinarily be widely regarded by liberals as tantamount to torture, but all their principles seemingly went out the window in the context of Trump-Russia. Consequently, they have weakened the progressive critique that could have otherwise be used with good reason against Trump... Even the candidates themselves look profoundly foolish"

Mueller Report Is a Reckoning for Democrats, Media and Deep State - "It’s a reckoning for Democrats who saw almost every development in this almost-two-year investigation as another dot connecting a conspiracy Mueller has not found. It’s a reckoning for many in the media that dutifully passed along this theory without scrutiny or context. And it’s a reckoning for many national security officials who abandoned their traditional nonpartisan role as custodians of state secrets to engage in a campaign against a president they loathed... The most important takeaway so far of the Mueller probe is that this dossier is garbage... Trump, it should be noted, has appointed Russia hawks at the highest levels. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Adviser John Bolton and his predecessor H.R. McMaster, and former Secretary of Defense James Mattis all have long public records when it comes to Russia. If Trump were a Russian stooge, why would he appoint them to such posts? And despite his own baffling sycophancy toward Russian President Putin, Trump has not been weak on Russia in terms of policy. The end of the Mueller probe is more than just a reckoning. It is also a reminder, if anyone needed another one, that the FBI and the intelligence community can be wrong. And it is a powerful illustration of the importance of keeping spies and lawmen out of politics."

It's official: Russiagate is this generation's WMD - "there was little pretense that the Mueller probe was supposed to be a neutral fact-finding mission, as apposed to religious allegory, with Mueller cast as the hero sent to slay the monster.The Special Prosecutor literally became a religious figure during the last few years, with votive candles sold in his image and Saturday Night Live cast members singing “All I Want for Christmas is You” to him featuring the rhymey line: “Mueller please come through, because the only option is a coup.”... The biggest thing this affair has uncovered so far is Donald Trump paying off a porn star. That’s a hell of a long way from what this business was supposedly about at the beginning, and shame on any reporter who tries to pretend this isn’t so... This was similar to a laundering technique used in the WMD episode called “stove-piping,” i.e. officials using the press to “confirm” information the officials themselves fed the reporter.But there was virtually no non-conservative press about this problem apart from a Washington Post story pooh-poohing the issue. (Every news story that casts any doubt on the collusion issue seems to meet with an instantaneous “fact check” in the Post.)... Early on, I was so amazed by the sheer quantity of Russia “bombshells” being walked back, I started to keep a list. It’s well above 50 stories now. As has been noted by Glenn Greenwald of the Intercept and others, if the mistakes were random, you’d expect them in both directions, but Russiagate errors uniformly go the same way... The worst stories were the ones never corrected. A particularly bad example is “After Florida School Shooting, Russian ‘Bot’ Army Pounced,” from the New York Times on Feb 18, 2018. The piece claimed Russians were trying to divide Americans on social media after a mass shooting using Twitter hashtags like #guncontrolnow, #gunreformnow and #Parklandshooting... the same outfit, New Knowledge, and in particular that same Jonathon Morgan, had participated in a cockamamie scheme to fake Russian troll activity in an Alabama Senate race. The idea was to try to convince voters Russia preferred the Republican."

How the Mueller fairy tale ends - "Perhaps the best argument I have seen in favor of repealing President Trump's pointless tax cuts is the superabundance of disposable income American liberals apparently spend on things like Robert Mueller bobble-head dolls, "Mueller is Coming" and "It's Mueller time" T-shirts, Mueller "prayer" candles, and even children's books featuring a super-buff bare-chested but tie-wearing Mueller lookalike hero. Turning the affectless head of a special counsel investigation into some kind of badass comic-book character who is going to rescue America from the nefarious clutches of — I wish I were making this up — "President Ronald Plump" could not be more childish. Goodness knows how many adults really believe all this stuff... There are some obvious lessons here. One is that our enemies, real or perceived, are not all working together to destroy all the things we love. Another is that simple explanations are better than complicated ones — an insincere campaign that doesn't even try in the states that it needs to win is probably going to lose, especially to an opponent who has broken with his party in historic ways in order to appease voters in the states in question. The last and most important is that politics is not an episode of The West Wing: Do-gooders rolling up their shirt sleeves and completing some boring procedural task — writing a complicated report, polishing the text of a rousing speech — in between monologues is rarely how the good guys beat the bad guys"

Vanity Fair Summarizes All The Problems With The Mueller Investigation Trump Critics Don't Want To Admit - "Esteemed Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, a self-described "liberal" who has frequently defended Trump over the last year, has likewise asked his own versions of "Is this it?" in his recent television appearances."I think the weakness of Mueller’s substantive findings are suggested by the fact that he has to resort to false statement prosecutions, which really shows that he didn’t start with very much, and that the very fact that he’s conducting an investigation has created these crimes""

Is This It?: A Trump-Hater’s Guide to Mueller Skepticism - "We see the familiar cycle of hype, and there’s no use fighting it, but, once heart rates have slowed, the same old question remains: so what?... Certainly, Trump’s ethical standards are low, but if sleaziness were a crime then many more people from our ruling class would be in jail. It is sleazy, but not criminal, to try to find out in advance what WikiLeaks has on Hillary Clinton. It is sleazy, but not criminal, to take a meeting in Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer promising a dossier of dirt on Clinton. (Just as, it should be mentioned, it is sleazy, but not criminal, to pay a guy to go to Russia to put together a dossier of dirt on Trump. This is one reason why the Clinton campaign lied about its connection to the Steele dossier, albeit without the disadvantage of being under oath.) It is sleazy, but not criminal, to pursue a business deal while you’re running for president. Mueller has nailed people for trying to prevaricate about their sleaze, so we already have a couple of guilty pleas over perjury, with more believed to be on the way. But the purpose of the investigation was to address suspicions of underlying conspiracy—that is, a plan by Trump staffers to get Russian help on a criminal effort. Despite countless man-hours of digging, this conspiracy theory, the one that’s been paying the bills at Maddow for a couple of years now, has come no closer to being borne out. (Or, as the true believers would say, at least not yet.) Partisanship is hostile to introspection, but at some point maybe we’ll look back and think again about what was unleashed in the panic over Russian influence. Trump’s White House has pursued what is arguably the harshest set of policies toward Russia since the fall of Communism... As for those tapping along to S.N.L. songs in praise of Mueller and his indictments, they might want to remember that Trump won’t always be in office. The weapons you create for your side today will be used by the other side against you tomorrow. Do we really want the special-counsel investigation to become a staple of presidential life? It’s a creation with few boundaries on scope and a setup that encourages the selection of a suspect followed by a search for the crime, rather than the other way around. This caused calamities in the era of Bill Clinton, and it doesn’t get any better just because the partisan dynamics are reversed... Like Starr, Mueller is also likely to include footnotes and selections that will hint at criminality, the things he suspects but couldn’t prove, and the most ardent believers in collusion will claim vindication. But the international conspiracies will be few, and the collateral damage of the Russia scare will be extensive, stretching far beyond Trump or his circle to the country as a whole. It might hurt a president who many Americans hate, but even the president’s most ardent foes should reflect on a question that will linger: Was it worth it?"

Byron York: Five things that didn't happen in the Mueller investigation - "1. Mueller did not indict Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, or other people whose purported legal jeopardy was the subject of intense media speculation in the last year.
2. Mueller did not charge anyone in the Trump campaign or circle with conspiring with Russia to fix the 2016 election, as was the subject of intense media speculation in the last year.
3. Mueller did not subpoena the president, as was the subject of intense media speculation in the last year.
4. The president did not fire Mueller, as was the subject of intense media speculation in the last year.
5. The president did not interfere with the Mueller investigation"

Is Mueller taking orders from Russia?
Ever since the report was released, this is one of the straws that those with Trump Derangement Syndrome are clutching at

Eoin Higgins on Twitter - "The Russians got to Mueller. That’s the only explanation that makes sense"

KEEM on Twitter - "Dear @SusanWojcicki @TeamYouTube , since YouTube is taking a hard stance on conspiracy theories, will the late night talk show hosts & main stream media be terminated off of YouTube for the "Russia Collusion" conspiracy theory?
They hurt people with these lies."

Investigation targets claim of Hillary Clinton-Ukraine collusion - "A Ukrainian government official told The Hill he has ordered an investigation into an allegation that Ukrainians colluded with Hillary Clinton to sway the 2016 election in her favor.The strategy allegedly was to release “black-ledger files” on the financial maneuverings of then-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort in Ukraine."

The Tables Turn in Russian Collusion Hunt - "The irony of the entire Russian collusion hoax is that accusers who cried the loudest about leaking, collusion, lying, and obstruction are themselves soon very likely to be accused of just those crimes... Former CIA Director John Brennan has admitted to lying under oath to Congress on two occasions. He may well face further legal exposure. When he lost his security clearance, he repeatedly lied that Trump was guilty of collusion, however that non-crime is defined. And as the Mueller probe wound down, Brennan with pseudo-authority and trumped-up hints of phony access to secret intelligence sources deceitfully assured the nation that Trump within days would face indictment—perhaps along with his family members.Brennan in 2016 also reached out to foreign intelligence services, primary British and Australian, to surveille and entrap Trump aides, as a way of circumventing rules preventing CIA monitoring of American citizens. And he may well have also reverse-targeted Americans, under the guise of monitoring foreign nationals, in order to build a case of so-called Trump collusion."

Christopher Steele’s Former MI6 Boss Slams Trump Dossier As ‘Overrated’ - "The former boss of the ex-British spy who produced the uncorroborated, salacious dossier on President Donald Trump’s alleged Russian collusion says the document is “overrated,” and wouldn’t comment on the character of the man who wrote it. Sir John Scarlett, who was the chief of the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) from 2004 to 2009, said after a recent national security panel in Washington, D.C. that the dossier Christopher Steele, who ran MI6’s Russia desk from 2006 to 2009, wrote was “overrated” and could never be corroborated... Newly unsealed legal documents from a lawsuit in which Steele was deposed reveal he used unverified information from internet searches and an article from a “random person” who posted to CNN’s old citizen journalism initiative to back up parts of his dossier"

Be wary of anonymous reports alleging Mueller's team is unhappy - "Be wary of these news reports. We've been burned before by supposedly momentous, anonymously sourced Russian collusion “scoops.”The Times' report, titled “Some on Mueller’s Team Say Report Was More Damaging Than Barr Revealed,” does not include any quotes, anonymous or otherwise. Rather, the entire story revolves around the authors paraphrasing nameless “government officials and others familiar with [the Mueller team’s] simmering frustrations,” anonymous “government officials familiar with [Attorney General William Barr’s] thinking,” and anonymous “government officials familiar with the investigation.”... we have spent the last two years watching dozens of these anonymously sourced collusion news reports fall apart. I'm going to wait until someone goes on the record or provides evidence to back up what these unnamed “government officials” suggest. That's based on the press' lousy track record of such anonymous Mueller bombshells, which previously guaranteed prosecutions or even impeachment. Barr announced on March 24 that the special counsel had failed to “establish that the members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” Barr also said the investigation's 2,800 subpoenas, 500 search warrants, and 500 witness interviews could not find enough evidence “to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.”Whatever complaints Mueller’s underlings may have, that there will be no further prosecutions speaks volumes. Also, Barr's track record for accuracy is at least better than the Post or the Times... Mueller himself has not disputed Barr's assessment. And Mueller has gone on the record before to refute mischaracterizations of his team’s findings. If Barr has undersold the special counsel’s investigation, Mueller has picked a funny time to go silent."
Mueller disputed Buzzfeed's claims but not Barr's. This is proof that Mueller has been corrupted by Russia!

Mueller Report Reveals Russia Taped Bill Clinton Having Phone Sex With Monica Lewinsky

No One Mentions That The Russian Trail Leads To Democratic Lobbyists - "Lobbying for Russia is a bi-partisan activity. Gazprombank GPB, a subsidiary of Russia’s third largest bank, Gazprombank, is represented by former Sen. John Breaux, (D., La.), and former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R., Miss.), as main lobbyists on “banking laws and regulations, including applicable sanctions.” The Breaux-Lott client is currently in the Treasury Department list of Russian firms prohibited from debt financing with U.S. banks."

Obama White House counsel Gregory Craig charged by federal prosecutors - "The charges stem from the federal investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election led by special counsel Robert Mueller, which came to a formal end last month."

Why Western elites now can’t resist conspiracy theories - "I was born into a nation of conspiracy-mongers. For all their many admirable qualities, Iranians have a penchant for explaining the world through conspiracy theories, a talent for discovering a hidden hand — usually a Jewish or American one — behind every national setback and personal mishap.Now I’m afraid that the West has succumbed to the same fever.Only in the West these days, the hidden hand is usually a Russian one. And unlike in the Muslim world, where it’s typically the man on the street who suspects elites of serving nefarious foreigners, in the West, it’s the reverse: Many elites imagine that the common people, vast swaths of their own populations, are Kremlin agents. The latest symptom of this elite mania appeared in France, where authorities blame Russian cyber operations for the mass protests that have erupted across the country... If it’s a challenge to liberalism, it must be the Russians’ doing... Russian trolling even gets blamed when movie franchises disappoint their fans. In October, a University of Southern California researcher claimed that online trolls had spread and amplified political criticism of last year’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” with its cringey PC themes. The aim was to propagate “discord and dysfunction in American society,” which “remains a strategic goal for . . . the Russian Federation.”This style of conspiracism allows political and cultural elites to shift blame for mass dissatisfaction with liberalism to someone else. In this sense, it’s not unlike the Persian variety, which would sooner blame national failures on wily Zionists and Yanks than look closer to home."

Report Blames 'Russian Trolls' for Negative Reactions to 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' - "A university report claims “Russian trolls” are responsible for the widespread negative reactions to Star Wars: The Last Jedi, despite admitting there is no evidence for this.The 38-page report was written by the University of South Carolina’s Morten Bay and is titled, “Weaponizing the haters: The Last Jedi and the strategic politicization of pop culture through social media manipulation.”During the report, Bay states that 44 out of 206 negative comments about The Last Jedi sent to its director Rian Johnson — who shared the report — on social media were made by “bots” and “trolls.”Bay also claims that 16 of the accounts “appear to be Russian trolls,” however he fails to provide evidence for this claim, and adds that it is “impossible to attribute any sort of cyberattack or strategic operation in the online sphere to an actor with absolute certainty.” “These accounts should be viewed as having a high likelihood of being trolls/sock puppets, bots and Russian trolls. No absolute attributions are claimed,” he noted, despite using the words “Russia” or “Russian” at least 48 times during the report."
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