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      by Tony Wikrent Economics Action Group, North Carolina Democratic Party Progressive Caucus Strategic Political Economy How Powerful Ideas Can Shape Society: Aaron Director and the Triumph of Nihilism Matt Stoller [Pro-Market, via Naked Capitalism 9-18-19] Director is the key founder of what is now known as the Chicago School of law and economics, which resha […]
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What’s wrong with this picture?

Picture 1:

Nothing if you think that a small town, intellectually inclined, Ivy League graduate, Rhodes scholar who speaks Norwegian has a better grasp of women’s’ issues than someone like, oh, I don’t know, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris or Kirsten Gillibrand.

Hey, remember when Ms. Magazine made Obama Feminist of the Year or some other self discrediting proclamation. And then he touted Lily Ledbetter for 8 years but did squat on Paycheck Fairness, and on top of that made sure Plan B wasn’t sold OTC to anyone under 18 because he didn’t want his daughters to be able to get it without him knowing about it?

Good times, good times.

Picture 2:

I’ve got a newfangled gizmo on my arm. It’s part of my protocol that started yesterday. (So far, so good, guys. Everything going well. No worries, be happy).

So anyway, this is an autoinjector that is going to beep at the same frequency as my tinnitus in about 7 hours from now and then inject me with something. No, I’m sure it won’t come as a surprise.

Up until 2015, this gizmo cost about $6000.00.

After 2015, it shot up to $17000.00.

So this is the most expensive thing I’ve ever had on my body.

It flashes green at night. I look like a firefly.

Very pretty.

Unnecessarily expensive.

Clarification: As a former pharma R&D researcher, I know that research is expensive. But the drastic price increase on this gizmo was purely a financial one by the MBAs that now run the companies. They rip up the portfolios, lay the researchers off and makes sure shareholders get their value. R&D, who is always taking the brunt of cost savings measures, has nothing to do with the price increase.


53 Responses

  1. Blame the mean and stupid members of our tribe for our ridiculously expensive health care, RD. Those morons (or as we call them here, “cr@wd@ds”) 😉 would rather live without a safety net than let the darker-skinned folks use the safety net, too.

    • Clever and ruthless as he is, even Sith Tsar Vladimir would be helpless to manipulate our country’s politics without these morons. 😡

  2. I guess we can blame the elected officials and the voters who elect them. Somehow, virtually every election, people are tricked into voting against their own interests, or the common welfare. The way the system works, it is hard to get something enacted, unless you control all branches of government. Republicans use that mercilessly. There was this one period, from about 1935-1938, when people were so desperate and frightened of the deprivations of the Depression, that they voted for and supported sweeping legislation for labor rights and general social welfare. (From 1933-1935 or so, the “Nine Old Men” of the Supreme Court had been declaring all of that legislation unconstitutional). Most of what we still have today, was due to that era. Then 1964-1967, another period when Democrats controlled everything, and we got Medicare and the Civil Rights Act.

    Access to affordable healthcare should be one of the two biggest issues in this election, the other being dealing with climate change. Not that there aren’t many others, but voters can only focus on one issue at a time, it seems. But there are all sorts of mechanisms put in place by the Social Darwinist Party, to block anything that would help people pay for medical care. If people realized this, they might throw them all out, but they don’t. The SDP will do everything they can to make the elections about something else: patriotism, illegal immigration, “a great economy” which actually is not; making liberals unhappy; freedom to say “Merry Christmas.” I read that the media devoted 39 minutes or so during the entire 2016 campaign to covering policy issues. Republicans have mastered the art of misdirection, and the media falls for it every time, or else just wants them to win. So here we are. BTW, “Medicare for All,” seems to me like a fruitless effort right now, very long and difficult to implement, even if somehow it passed Congress, which is essentially impossible in itself, the Senate being the way it is. Improving the ACA, and working to help control food and drug prices, would be worthwhile goals. I hope that you feel well, and that most of the difficult part will be over soon.

    • IMO the media has just become a tool of the marketing folks. It was bad enough when there were just newspapers, but then we got radio, TV, and then worst of all the internet and smart phones. Don’t get me wrong, I made my living in IT and think the internet is a fantastic tool, but like the newspapers, TV and radio it has been used by the marketing industry to influence people on a massive level. The confluence of marketing science and the internet has brought us to where we are today. I know this is a minority opinion, but I am convinced that this is the problem.

      Advertising and marketing techniques have been developed that make many people feel they need things that their grandparents never desired or even dreamed of. It requires serious effort to earn enough money to satisfy these artificial needs.

      • Jmac, it is such an important topic, not that there is much we can do about it. I admire your fluency in IT, because I have none. I guess I am a luddite in that sense. I always felt that computers and the internet posed more dangers than appeal. We see how terrorists use it to amplify their message. The social networks turn into a place were outright propaganda is disseminated, and the people who run them care much more about money than decency. Facebook won’t take down the appalling doctored video of Pelosi. Probably everyone would be best to not even look at these places during the campaign, because the Russians and the Far Right are going to once again use them to distort and brainwash.

        As far as marketing, of course that has gone on forever, but TV made it much worse, and now one cannot (at least I cannot, since I have no tech skills) go anywhere on the internet without being assaulted by ads. For one example, I sometimes like to find live music performances from the past on YouTube, which should be easy and innocuous. YouTube used to “suggest” other videos of that or related artists, which I could do without, but is no big deal. Now, every single list of videos includes pro-Trump videos. I never, ever look at them. I have read that if someone does, one is hurled into the abyss of a series of Far Right, anti-semitic, pro-fascist videos. I have read that YouTube, now owned by Google, is filled with these things. If one goes to any Twitter feed of a Democratic official, or a liberal pundit, it is filled with comments by bots and/or Far Right denizens, who try to overwhelm the comments. I guess that the truth is that any technological “advance” becomes a new fertile ground for evil to flourish. In the world that we idealistically imagined in the ’60’s, there would have been some honorable and democratic body (the U.N, Star Trek’s Federation?) which would have protected the public interest. But there is none, so we’re on our own. Intelligent people can weed through most of it, but obviously many voters, perhaps millions, were affected by the lies and libels put on the internet and the airwaves in the 2016 election. Gather so many people in one place, and they are targets for every brainwashing device imaginable. Are we really better off now in terms of technology? In some ways, yes, but in many ways, worse. Stephen Hawking said that the biggest threat to humankind was Artificial Intelligence, and I agree.

        • If we ever get hold of this country again, we will simply be compelled to regulate the social media, and the media in general. Jefferson was wrong, and Karl Popper was right.

          There is a dark and angry portion of my soul–The Good Lord give me strength to control it–which increasingly lusts to go Full Metal Daenarys on the authoritarians, even though a majority of their rank and file comes from my tribe. I think I have lost all love or loyalty for my tribe. I feel like a Marvel Comics mutant, who has decided that Magneto is right about the normals.

        • I am not sure there is a solution regarding the internet since the genie is already out of the bottle. At a minimum I would like to see the US get is tough on privacy as the EU, it won’t stop anything but it would at least be a bit of a help.

      • Jmac, IIRC the Obama campaign received some kind of marketing award for getting “ the one we have been waiting for “ elected.

  3. “I used to remember/ but now it’s all gone/ world war something/ we were somebody’s sons” John Foxx (from England) /”Underpass” (1980 or so).

  4. William,

    What Americans need to start doing and stop putting their collective heads in the sand about is to recognize that we may not have voted a lot of these politicians into office. If you took the time to watch the documentary I posted for you regarding how easy it is to manipulate votes, maybe you would agree with me that the problem may not the people after all but those who control the voting systems. The legitimacy of trump’s so-called win of electoral votes is certainly worth questioning considering all that we know about “hacking”.

    Joseph Stalin said “it’s not who cast the votes but who counts the votes that matters…”

    • Kathleen, yes, this is extremely disconcerting, almost too much to deal with Because, who is going to fix this? Not the people who get into office because of this. Not the Supreme Court, appointed by the same people. Perhaps ballot initiatives in states could circumvent the legislatures of the corrupt states. They passed one in Michigan regarding blatant gerrymandering, and now the Supreme Court is playing around, and who knows if that initiative will even been held constitutional. I suppose that if we elect a President who is determined to fix this, we have some chance. Wait until the census comes out, with the illegal citizenship question, and suddenly the population of minorities and even non-minority Democrats strangely shrinks, and the makeup of the Congress is changed just by that. This is a war, and it needs to be fought as one; and too many candidates don’t dare say much about it, maybe because the think the media and the Republicans will derogate and mock them. I don’t want to blame Obama for all of this, but he had eight years as President, two with sizeable majorities and both houses, and what was done? As long as he won, the rest of the Democratic Party didn’t matter?

      • William,

        How else William? We, the people, are the ones who will make this happen, not those in power. For all good causes, we organize and get involved in spreading the word about these machines (we already did the ground work that is shown in the documentary) to our neighborhood and commounites. It will take a village to raise awareness. We must not believe that taking that first step is a waste of time.

        If the German people can do it, then why can’t we? Is it because Americans have grown lazy and do not want to be the stewards of our own government (as intended by the Founders)? If so, then we really don’t treasure our democratic republic as much as the Germans do. What a sad ending to the so-called greatest democracy in the world!.

        Some things are worth fighting for and this is definitely one of them. Talking about it and giving up before you even try is a self fulling prophecy of failure. After 13 years, I still do everything I can to let people know about the dangers of voting machines despite their unwillingness to listen and to take action. I do it because I love my country and would rather die trying than sitting it out and hoping for the best.

      • This is a war, and it needs to be fought as one; and too many candidates don’t dare say much about it, maybe because the think the media and the Republicans will derogate and mock them.

        The war started with Reagan, and was declared by Newt. The Dems (cheered on by the corporate media) are always looking for the good on the other side. It’s time to say screw them, they must be crushed.

        I don’t want to blame Obama for all of this


        I have no issue blaming Obama, he is a big part of the problem… but don’t forget the person we are looking at to save us from tRump (Pelosi) also holds a big part of the blame for giving us Obama in the first place. I am so tired of hearing about we have to protect Obama’s legacy, IMO he did enough by stepping aside and letting tRump win. What could ensure your legacy any better than being between two of the dumbest presidents ever.

  5. I hope your little clicking box works.

    I generally like Mayor Pete. I just think he’s nowhere ready to be president. Give it 10 years and he probably will be ready. I hear a lot of women say that they think the only candidate that is going to understand how women feel about all the crap that is going on is another woman. And lordy, Biden? You know he’ll roll us under the bus the first chance he gets. I don’t know how threatening Roe v. Wade is going to “ruin” it for Democrats. The last time I remember that happening was 1992 and it did not work out well for the anti-Roe people. This is the first time they have tried anything this large in 25 years. They’ve mostly tried to keep their crap under the radar. Women all over the country are enraged. Here in GA the movie industry is packing up and leaving not that it matters to the nuts that voted for the stupid bill.

    • Yes, it is absurd to contend that the attacks on Roe are somehow going to ruin it for Democrats. I think that the media has a pre-printed form saying ____ is bad for Democrats, and then they just plug in the topic.

      What Democrats need to do, is to pound away on issues which are not only morallly important, but which the strong majority of the populace cares about. “Republicans are going to overturn Roe.” “Republicans are trying to eliminate the ACA.” Republicans are doing nothing about the crisis of climate change.” All this other stuff, the Trump insults, even the coverups, are a misdirection. The media always presents them as “well, this side says this, and the other side says that,” so that people get confused. If people realize that electing Trump and other Republicans will mean an end to their health care, they will not vote for them. Republicans have no coherent defense to this, other than completely lying, which facts will refute. There are so many legitimate issues for Democrats, that they have to be able to focus on the ones which directly impact the average voter. Make it a binary choice for them. We can see what the Republican playbook is going to be. “Dermocrats are guilty of treason.” “They (AOC) are a bunch of Socialists.” This will be the ugliest campaign in the history of America, exceeding even the last one.

  6. Off topic: 😛

    “Your Mother of Dragons was a hamster, and your father smelt of White Walkers!”

    From Minski76: “Listen, strange women flying on dragons setting stuff on fire is no basis for a system of government.”

    • Nor is a “broken” young man with a good story (per Tyrion) who can see the past and the future and watches instead of acts, but hey it is what Westeros got thanks to the white male writers.

      Loved the Dany reference IBW! Still hoping you will try to read at least book one…

  7. For Memorial Day. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0djnEffqkI

  8. Remind me, please. never to watch Chuck Todd again. Yesterday, after gibbering on about something, he said “that’s why history isn’t kind to the Clintons.” Well, now we know were Todd stands for sure. History will be very kind to the Clintons, but not so much to Todd and his fellow travelers.
    Chuckie’s beef was that Clinton saved his Presidency but harmed the Democratic Party by not resigning. Well, no. Bill Clinton stood up for the Constitution, continued working for the American people and when he left office, our country was in far better shape than before he took the Oath. Both he and Hillary Clinton were and are great public servants and did all they could to build up and advance the fortunes of our Party because they believed in our goals and always took the long view. Obama made it all about himself and did very little to ensure a Liberal future, but he’s the Golden Boy.

    • Very well said, Sue! I virtually never watch Chuck Todd, but he isn’t the only one on networks purveying this self-satisfying narrative, or others which make the Clintons the fall guys for everything they don’t like in the country. Todd is not only a jerk, but he’s stupid. Clinton had 65% favorables when he left office. We had a surplus, imagine that. We were in the best situation internationally since 1948 or so. Clinton would have easily been re-elected, had he been able to run. Gore, through his own phony superciliousness, and the urgings of Donna Brazile, picked the sanctimonious Lieberman, who had railed against Clinton, as VP, and then would not let Bill campaign for him. And even so, he won the election, but was cheated out of it by Florida officials, and the Supreme Court.

      Obama won, and the Democrats had commanding majorities in both houses of Congress after that election. So how did Bill Clinton damage the Democratic Party by not resigning? Under Obama, we lost ten Senate seats and about 87 House seats, plus many governorships and all the state houses. One may not choose to blame Obama for this (I do for much of it), but it certainly was not due to the Clintons! Then Hillary, fighting against unparalleled Russian interference, vote suppression (first time since ’64 that the VRMA was not in effect), a biased FBI Director who broke protocol to attack her, and a bunch of idiots in the media like Chuck Todd, won the popular vote by 2.8 million. Anyone who would say that President Clinton should have resigned for having a consensual affair, and that him not resigning hurt the Democratic Party in the last ten years, and somehow led to serial philanderer, liar, crook, and ignoramus Trump being supported by the entire Republican Party, plus the corporate media, is both a total fool, and someone who is trying to rationalize his own idiotic ideas. And if Bill Clinton had been President in 2016, we would have five liberals on the Supreme Court. And the Democratic Party would have been far better off had Hillary own in 2008, and had eight years in office. Right now, on every show I see discussing the current race, I hear someone or other blaming Hillary for the state of things. I blame the media infinitely more for all of it. With halfway fair coverage, she would have won by 5 million votes.

      • Hear, hear. William but you and I know that the useful idiots of the Media will never admit to what they’ve done. And why should they? Those houses in Nantucket don’t buy themselves, you know.

      • This is the sort of thing William writes because law and custom won’t allow him to horsewhip Chuck Turd and his ilk.

        I’m not blaming William, mind you… 😉

  9. During the Obama Administration life expectancy started to decrease for the first time in decades, and several prescriptions exploded in pricing. So how do we know his agreements with Iran and elsewhere were no different than what Trump does so glaringly, make himself look good on agreements that were flawed. The reduction in life expectancy and the overnight jump in prescriptions happened under Obama’s watch and were most likely a direct result of his “negotiations” regarding big Pharma and the AHA.

  10. Awww, I forgot to post this for Memorial Day.

  11. Rather than getting increasingly upset at watching various hosts on MSNBC keep pushing for impeachment, I will say, for whatever it is worth, that I have changed my mind a second time, almost certainly the last on this, and think that impeachment proceedings now, are a bad idea, with much more potential cost than potential gain. Here are some of the reasons, which I will list in no order, but to save writing some dense paragraphs. No one has to agree with this, of course, but I am starting to feel quite strongly about it.

    1) It won’t get rid of Trump before the next election. He will be nominated by the Republicans. There is no way that Republicans in the Senate will abandon him. And it wouldn’t even get to a trial in the Senate, as apparently McConnell has planned to either not hold hearings, in violation of the Constitution, or to do a very quick hearing. Nothing can be done about that, unless we want to try to impeach and convict McConnell, which is obviously impossible.

    2. So what’s the point? To show the American people the bad things Trump has done? That is worthwhile, but these witnesses are not going to come forward like John Dean did. There is no Dean in this group. McGahn might testify under oath that Trump told him to do this and that, but he is not going to try to ruin Trump. He’ll say as little as possible,and try to spin it in Trump;s favor. So would Hicks or Donaldson, or any other Republican who worked for him. And those are the key witnesses we would have to use.

    3 And don’t think that the hearings would be all one-sided. There are plenty of terrible House Republicans who would make speeches about witch hunt, wasting the time of the American people, etc. They would attempt to smear any witness who said anything they didn’t like. These hearings would not be what some think, a daily castigation of Trump. It would be a bunch of arguing and points of order and the media saying that “both sides went at it.” At the end of it, we might have enough votes for impeachment (no sure thing), and then that’s the end of it.

    4. Inevitable acquittal by the Senate would be called total exoneration by Trump, all of his allies, plus most of the media dupes like Ken Dilanian. Trump and his mouthpieces would say, “there was a trial and the jury found us not guilty on all counts. And the House has wasted our time and money, and needs to be thrown out.” And do you think that Americans who didn’t choose to read the Mueller report, who bought the Barr spin, are going to not go along with this? So the end result is no removal of Trump, and a very good chance that he will continue to claim, right through the election, that he has been totally vindicated. And who will say he is not vindicated? Various Democrats, and the same news hosts who claim to occupy a moral high ground. And they will not win the propaganda battle.

    5. Democrats won 40 House seats in the last election. Many of them came from purple or even red districts. This was not a wave from the Left. They could easily lose the next time, if the general feeling was that the Democrats overreached and wasted the country’s time, because the end result was inevitable. This could at least potentially cost us the House, and everything else. It might not, but it’s hard to argue that a protracted impeachment followed by swift acquittal, is going to put us in a better spot going into the election.

    6. So all that’s remaining is the moral argument: “It is the right thing to do.” If it costs us the election? We aren’t supposed to think politically or pragmatically? What has all this high ground gotten us? What will “Noble 236!” (paraphrasing Tennyson), get us?

    7. I saw Jeff Daniels interviewed the other day, and say that if Trump wins again, it is the end of democracy. Adam Schiff said about the same thing recently. If I thought that an impeachment hearing had the slightest chance to get rid of Trump, I would be all for it. But it surely will not. The only way to get rid of him is through defeating him in the election. And while speculation is always open to debate, it seems pretty clear that we have a better chance through our hearings, with no impeachment on the table, of damaging him still more, so that we can beat him.

    8. If I am wrong about all of this, and we impeach Trump, and somehow, incredibly, McConnell allows a Senate trial, and amazingly, 20 Republicans vote with 47 Democrats to convict, we get Pence. Pence is probably scarier than Trump. And Pence can run for a full two terms. What exactly is our end game here? Just a feeling of excitement, that our side is fighting back? Sending all your troops down the hill in an ultimately futile charge, is not the best deployment of them, not if you want to win the war. We well may lose it anyway, there may be too much destruction, the evil powers are too rich and well entrenched. But I just don’t think that holding impeachment hearings is the best use of the strength which we do hold.

  12. Impeachment is necessary because the Congress is now faced with a use it or lose it situation. If Dems don’t impeach, wtih all the evidence in plain sight, then a precedent will be set. There will be no recourse against rogue presidents, especially Rebublican ones. Forget the probabilities of a Senate conviction. A line must be drawn in the sand.

    As for Pence: He is a nasty theocrat, but he has no electoral appeal. Unlike Trump who knows how to rile up his base and use television. I’ll take my chances against Pence over Trump any day.

  13. I used to believe that Pence was more of a threat than Trump, because of the pearl clutching regarding his political “smarts”. I now am viewing himas you are, a not very bright, non charismatic, far right fundy type.

    Say what you will about Trump, he lets his nasty Id hang out for all to see. Pence is buttoned up so tight, it’s almost uncomfortable to watch.

    Doing the right thing almost always means doing the most difficult, and fraught with peril, thing. There’s no easy path to impeachment, but, if not now, when? We don’t have the luxury of perfect timing or circumstances.

  14. William’s points are well taken and as much as i wanted witnesses in the report to testify, his 3rd point is probably all too accurate. I want impeachment articles, I want them public in a dumbed down version, kind of a recitation of Committee and Mueller findings a la Amash and a determination that trump is unfit and corrupt. Let the Rethug Senate explain to the people why he should not be removed from office based on those findings. maybe they impeach Barr at the same time.

    Agree with Centaur and HerStory, Pence has all the appeal of dog poo. Much easier to beat if Mango Moron is kicked to the gutter (and then the pokey) where he belongs.

  15. There’s no questioning Mueller’s honor and meticulousness, but he seems to deliberately refuse to make things clearer. He says there was insufficient evidence to charge President with obstruction. He says that charging Trump with a crime was not an option due to DOJ guidelines. Is he saying that there was sufficient evidence to charge on obstruction? It seems so, but he doesn’t say it. Probably he is of the belief that since you can’t charge, you shouldn’t say that there was sufficient evidence to charge. But then why specifically say that there was insufficient evidence on conspiracy? Why bifurcate the two, if the same supposed DOJ rules simply forbid criminal charges?It seems obvious, but he doesn’t say it. So Trump simply conflates the two and says “insufficient evidence on everything.” Which Mueller clearly did not say. But Mueller kept it somewhat obscure. Again, it sounds like he is saying. “insufficient evidence on obstruction (bar for that is much higher than for the non-legal term “collusion”), and on obstruction, we do not exonerate him, and have no confidence that he did not commit a crime, but we cannot indict him, because of what we think are DOJ rules.”

    First, the DOJ “rules” are not laws, and why do people keep referring to them as laws? DOJ does not write laws, it is not within its power to do so. Second, if you are going to bifurcate “conspiracy” and “obstruction,” saying on one you have insufficient evidence, and on the other you can’t indict anyway, why do you make that distinction? This is such a punt. Why not say, there was much evidence of obstruction, but it is not within his purview to charge? But he doesn’t say that. This is what Congress should ask him about.

    If there is strong evidence that a President has bribed and stolen from people, he can’t be indicted because of DOJ rules? If there is evidence that he has murdered people, he cannot be indicted? Mueller has adroitly managed to avoid saying anything definitively, and refuses to say more. Leaving it to Congress won’t accomplish much of anything, since it is all partisan, and there is no way Trump will be removed. Mueller may have done his job, or maybe he didn’t, since he appears to believe that the only conclusions he was allowed to come to by DOJ rules were of “insufficient evidence” on a matter. Because clearly, if he had found sufficient evidence of conspiracy, he could not state that, either. He just punted the ball to Congress, which obviously will not solve anything. And surely he must realize that what he said will be spun by Trump wholly in his favor. I think it is necessary for Congress to call him in to clarify this.

  16. It is “as if” the person who appointed Mueller set out the rules at the beginning. “You do realize that you cannot indict a sitting president no matter what you find?? “Yes.” “And then you cannot ever say that there is sufficient evidence to indict on anything, because that would be very close to calling for an indictment, which you cannot do.” “Yes.” So the only conclusions you can reach with regard to any matter, are that there is insufficient evidence to indict. That is worthwhile information to present to the public. That’s all you can find as a matter of law.”

    The person who appointed Mueller was Rosenstein. Rosenstein has shown us that he was far from a hero, and that he ultimately has taken the strict partisan Republican line. Rosenstein is a Republican. Mueller is a Republican. Mueller is more honorable than Rosenstein. But it does seem that he has either bent over backwards to keep from saying anything negative about Trump’s actions, or he is just following what he was given as his constraints. For anyone to say that Mueller’s report is damaging to Trump, one has to extrapolate. And the average person out there doesn’t do that kind of thing.

    Mueller then walks away, his work is done, it is up to someone else. He finds that Russia seriously interfered with the campaign. He finds insufficient evidence of criminal conspiracy, but does not verbally say that there was a lot of evidence of improper and very strange relationships between Trump and Russia, not to mention the Wikileaks matter. He finds much evidence of obstruction, but does not say it in that way; says, well it is up to another entity to deal with it, he’s done. He either self-imposed all sorts of constraints, or was given them. He says that he has no problems with how Barr put out the larger report, but of course does not say that he has problems with how Barr interpreted it, which he did write some weeks ago. Mueller is a Republican, and is not going to criticize his friends if he doesn’t have to. He doesn’t want to testify, he’s finished with it. Sarah Sanders of course interprets it in entirely the wrong way, but it is a way that Mueller left open, by not saying more. Congress will never get rid of Trump, and the Russians will certainly interfere in the next election. We needed more from him. He deliberately refused to connect the dots which we can connect, but the other side will not, and is not forced to do. He put himself in a position where he cannot be questioned as to ethics and honor, but where he has given Trump and his people plausible deniability, even if that was not at all his intent. If this goes to Congress, the Democrats will interpret his statements in one way, and the Republicans will determine them in another, and Trump will continue right along until election, if not beyond.

  17. William, I heard Mueller say that by DoJ Regulation he must follow the OLC policy. He did not say anything about either being law. I haven’t gotten my copy of the report yet but I remember some one saying the report said (Vol 1) that they didn’t find sufficient evidence of conspiracy, just a high level of interaction with Russians but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t/wasn’t a conspiracy because: some witnesses took the 5th (why?), some “didn’t recall,” (seriously?) some communications were encrypted (why?) and documents were destroyed (why?). To me, he is trying to say a conspiracy was not improbable but they couldn’t prove it. He made a strong point that the Russian influence on the election was real. I want to know what happened to the CI investigation. Why were they feeding documents to the FBI on that?

  18. William: Legal questions…
    1) If DOJ are rules not laws, who and how can make a call on the difference and act upon?
    2) Isn’t Trump’s conduct of refusal to comply with subpoenas and stonewalling judicial procedures, an obstruction of justice on itself?

    I actually agree with Amash, that is more dangerous not to impeach than do impeach; whatever the circus it may become due to the orange “thing” circus habits.

  19. To my knowledge, a government policy is not a reg and a reg is not a law. Not sure how it works in DOJ, but when I worked for a contracting activity within an agency of the DOD (it gets complicated, it is the government), there were regulations we had to comply with at the federal, department, agency and activity level. Laws were implemented at the federal level and then the necessary changes flowed down to the lower level regulations for implementation/compliance. Same with policies which were different than regulations, not having the same force and effect, and easier to get revised or eliminated. Usually a policy was something that needed to be addressed but wasn’t covered in the regulations. Exceptions or requests for revisions/rescissions to regs went up the chain and approval levels are spelled out in the regs. Getting an exception to a law governing a reg (which we did on rare occasion) takes forever and has to be justified and approved out the wazoo at each level of the government.

    I am guessing that OLC policy must be revised or rescinded by the OLC. Are they part of DOJ? The WH? It might also be possible that Congress could make the policy a law to protect the current and, ahem, future presidents, from indictment while busy with the people’s work….

    • According to wiki, OLC is DoJ. Suspect that policy won’t be changing any time soon. Didn’t Mnuchin purportedly ignore a draft legal memo on releasing trump’s tax returns?

  20. Cats,

    I expected that Mueller would verbally state what his report says and not go any further when they announced he would make a statement (and not take any questions).

    IMO, Mueller is hiding behind the OLC. The crimes and corruption that are already evident only frightens me more as to what crimes has trump committed that we do not know about yet! I cannot believe that he does not recognize what he has unleashed by leaving it up to the democratic house and a republican senate.

    From the beginning, everyone made Mueller out to be some sort of saintly guy. The dems, in particular, wanted to believe he would not allow “policy” to stop him from doing what any patriot who is concerned about the security and survival of his country would do under the same circumstances. I have always expressed, as you know from my past posts, that my confidence in Mueller plummeted when he gve Flynn a total pass. I questioned his judgment then and I question it now.

    No one in the media is questioning Comey’s ignoring of a long held FBI policy when he had the press conference announcing that he was re-opening the investigation into Hillary’s e-mails just days before the election but kept silent about trump being investigated for things that were far worse. Obviously, policies are made to be broken but only when the arrogant white male is making the decision against a woman. I guess Comey felt confident that the media and the public would go along when with his breaking of policy because it was Hillary but not trump. I can’t help but wonder if the OLC policy would have deterred Mueller from takig the next step and indicting if it had been Hillary he was investigating with the same crimes?

    I felt it was Mueller’s prime responsibility to give a definitive report on what he found during the investigation, otherwise, what was the point of appointing a special counsel in the first place? By passing it on to a House controlled by dems who would then have to pass their impeaching trump on to a senate controlled by repugs, it would divide the country even more. I find it hard to believe Mueller did not realize what a debacle the impeachment would be with a Senate willing to distort the reason for not indicting trump and then controlling the message of “no obstruction, no collusion” all the way to the 2020 presidential election.

    I cannot give Mueller a pass for taking the easy way out and leaving us at the mercy of a republican senate who has clearly been compromised or bought off by trump and the russians.

  21. Now i am confused. Joyce Vance just said the OLC policy was law or “the law.” William?

    • Cats, OLC cannot make laws. It can make policies. Only a legislature can make laws, and they have to signed by an executive. Also,the Supreme Court can essentially write law through dicta, ancillary to a ruling they are making. As I understood it from a Maddow show, this DOJ policy was drawn up in the Nixon Administration, and it apparently was a complex idea of wanting to be able to get Agnew to resign, and still have Nixon unindicted, because if he were indicted and tried, and then Agnew had to resign for bribery, Speaker O’Neill (I think he was Speaker then) would be President. Something like that, it was a complex thing. The idea of her report was that this “rule” is really an historical artifact. It’s certainly not in the Constitution, there is no actual law, there is no case law.

      Joyce Vance knows more about the Criminal Law than I do, so I would defer to her. But I don’t think she meant that this OLC/DOJ guideline is a law. There had recently been talk about testing it in court. Again, if the President commits murder, does this “rule” mean he cannot be indicted until he leaves office? If he murdered someone of the other party, and thus his partisan followers liked that, and re-elected him, he still is not indicted? Tested in court, I think it would not hold up. But somehow this has become an accepted rule over the decades. I think that in the hypothetical scenario or one like that, he would be indicted, and then the courts would throw out the rule, as it is not legislation, and it is not based on a Supreme Court ruling. Mueller followed it, either because he is the supreme institutionalist, or because that was part of the constraints placed upon him by Rosenstein, which he ostensibly accepted. The thing is, if there was no chance that he could indict, or even say Trump was guilty of criminal conduct, what exactly was the point of all of this? To take the pressure off the DOJ, when there was a public uproar about the Russia story? Mueller may have done a very thorough investigation, but he was hamstrung by Trump and various other people, and by a rule which he was not going to question. The end result is that his report is ambiguous, and can be read different ways by different partisans, though I am sure that the way we are reading it is the right one. So now it’s kicked to Congress, which will never convict. So what has been accomplished? I bet that Rosenstein knew that from the beginning. It is very frustrating.

  22. Kathleen, what about Mueller saying the OLC memo said it was “unconstitutional” to indict a sitting president because said prez wouldn’t get due process by virtue of his position. Fugluzzi just said Mueller also said that the OLC policy moved the ball to Congress to decide because they had a “constitutional” remedy (impeachment).

    • In my opinion, the only rationale for this “rule” is that if a president could be indicted, various enemies would perhaps file suits against him to try to obstruct his administration. Sexual harassment, or defamation, or this or that. They would have done it to Clinton every day, and they almost did, anyway. That argument has some merit. But to believe that a president can obstruct justice regarding an investigation of himself, and then cannot be indicted for it, is ridiculous. The only remedy is impeachment? And if this is now a wholly partisan country, and there are not 67 Senators on board with impeachment, the President is unassailable? This cannot be morally right.

    • Mueller is wrong about unconstitutional. The OLC CANNOT rule on constitutionality. The Supreme Court can. He used the wrong word, and it is unfortunate. If the next DOJ changed the policy, that would be the new rule, just like that.

  23. Nicolle is doing a great job deciphering the Mueller statement, Kathleen. I’ll see if i can post it tomorrow.

  24. Here you go. Hope you have time to watch, Kathleen. Great show today.

  25. Cats,

    So an illegitimate president should be treated like he is a legitimate one?

    I cannot believe that the crimes and corruption committed by trump and his campaign is nothing less than treason the moment his campaign did not report russia’s efforts to help him in the election but instead accepted aid from a foreign adversary to help him “win” an election. Mueller did not find evidence of this treasonous behavior? Really?

    Everyone (including Mueller) knows that trump will not be indicted by the republican senate if the House impeaches him. Instead, they will control the message by repeatilng the mantra that trump did not commit any crimes, and that there was no collusion or obstruction from now until 2020.

    trump knows he will be indicted if he doesn’t have a second term and the whole truth of the crimes committed and just how corrupt he really is will come to light. The only thing standing between trump & indictment by the courts is his presidential status. The problem is that THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS WILL HAVE RUN OUT BY THE END OF HIS SECOND TERM.

    Because he knows he must have a second term to avoid being indicted, does anyone think trump, his family, the russians, the republicans and his rabid followers will not do literally ANYTHING to ensure that he gets a second term and runs out the clock on being indicted when he is no longer in office. Is that worth the risk? i don’t think it is for obvious reasons.

    If trump is cheated into the WH again in 2020 (and that is a very real possibility), wll anyone give a hoot about the OLC policy?

    • Those are excellent points, and even more of a reason that the DOJ policy is awful. And that is the main reason why Trump is doing everything he can to be sure that Russia interferes with this election more than the last one. And he may well start a war, and he may declare martial law, and try to cancel the elections. And all because people treat this “rule” like it is holy writ.

  26. Kathleen, i understand your outrage and frustration, i share it. Let’s say Mueller did as you wanted him to do, violated the OLC policy, chain of Command, and whatever else prevented him from “saving the country,” how different do you think the outcome would be? Significant? The government, the courts, public opinion and awareness move glacially, so much of his wrongdoing and despicable behavior is awful but lawful. Even treason is defined in the Constitution and the way i read the definition, there is no basis to get him and his fellow evil doers on that either. We are not at war, technically. None of them play by the rules, they know how to weave through the system, without fear or restraint, they are truly a practiced crime family. Don’t get me started on the GOP. We are screwed beyond recognition absent violence and vigilantism and personally I don’t want to go there, do you? I have no faith in the 2020 election saving our asses and you know why.

    The DOJ policy, William, as i understand it, is an interpretation of the Constitution. Let’s say the OLC Policy doesn’t exist, how would you see the results of the investigation play out, especially if the presiding officials were Federalist Society devotees like Barr? How long would it take? Would Pence take over while the alleged crimes were adjudicated? More importantly, would Putin stand by and let his boy lose the WH? How about his lover, Un?

    At this point, my fading hope is that the Amash model (i.e., dumb it down to tweet format) gets amplified to the point that the majority of the citizenry finally gets it, shits their collective pants, demands that trump be removed from office by the Senate and that Volume One gets the attention it finally deserves. Oh and while we are at it, declare the 2016 presidential election results invalid, let Hillary have two years in office and delay the 2020 elections until 2022! We need leaders to get something done without tearing this country apart. Massive changes in attitudes and laws are needed and they were needed yesterday! As I said, we are well and truly fucked without any chance at orgasm. Sorry for the vulgarity, but i am exhausted and stressed.

  27. Cats, the DOJ has no legitimate power to make laws. They just wrote a rule, and no one has questioned it–yet. If it were Clinton, and if he had actually committed a crime , they would have indicted and tried him before a jury. Republicans would have said that it was just a rule, never tested in court. Republicans are infinitely protean, they just pick whatever position suits them, and they do not care a bit how legitimate or consistent it is.

    As to your question of what would happen had there been no such rule. I think that we must go back to the outset, and it is very likely that there would have been no appointment of Mueller. It is very likely that Rosenstein picked Mueller because he knew (or even asked him) that Mueller would never deviate from DOJ policy, and thus would not only never indict Trump, but would not even talk about his guilt, because he would feel that it was unfair, if there could be no indictment. He could only exonerate, which makes little sense, but that is what Mueller did on conspiracy. Another Prosecutor might have not hewed so closely to the DOJ policies. Very likely, then, there would not have been one, since both houses of Congress were run by Republicans. That is a pretty dispiriting thought, that in some sense this game was fixed from the outset,

    Putting that aside, and assuming that somehow Mueller was appointed, and did not have this DOJ guideline to control his actions, I think that he would have written a more forceful report on obstruction, but I’m not sure that he would have indicted him, because that might well be a step too far for him, absent evidence that even Republicans would have bowed to. Mueller would think that by so doing, he would throw the country into turmoil, and that the Republicans would scream bloody murder. We have clearly seen over the last 40 years, that there is one set of rules for Republicans, one for Democrats, in both politics and the media coverage. Oh, it’s dimly possible that they could get Trump to resign by promising no indictments, or a pardon from Pence. That is essentially what happened with Nixon. Republicans still contend that Nixon was railroaded. They are only about winning, in every way. They would do anything to keep a Democrat from being elected, or if he or she somehow got elected, from running the country, or appointing one Supreme Court Justice. Both McCain and Burr vowed to never let Hillary appoint one Justice during her entire tenure. That is obscene. But no one in the media cared much. “Heads we win, tails you lose,” is their way of life. That is what we are facing. I think that Democrats absolutely have to win, and then pack the Supreme Court. Biden would never do it. Some say that this would just lead to Republicans doing it when they won. I would say, so what, I do not respect the Court any longer, not since Bush v. Gore ,when they essentially just handed the presidency to Bush because they were Republicans and so was he. So wreck it all, at least until this stops, if it ever does.

  28. Thank you, William, for stating so well what I haven’t been able to regarding the OLC policy and what could have been and what wasn’t.

    I think there is too much focus on the OLC policy and people are giving it way more “power” than it actually has. You’re right, if it had been Clinton and not trump, the OLC policy would NEVER have been mentioned, much less used to protect Clinton out of “fairness”! Again, where was the “fairness” afforded Hillary when Comey ignored long-held FBI policy? I will never forgive Comey for that. His new found concern for our country lately makes me want to puke. He should just shut up and go away because he is largely responsible for the mess we are presently in and he gets no pass from me. Sadly, he will get it because the average American attention span is that of a gnat!

    There comes a time to fight when you see one side who is totally corrupt and who is willing to do anything to keep power and in the process destroy our beloved country in the process. THIS IS THAT TIME. I have no desire to fiddle while America burns.

    Mueller was acting like a republican in my eyes, just a kinder, gentler version of those that are presently in the WH, Congress and the DOJ.

    Robert De Niro wrote an eloquent open letter to Mueller in the NYT’s stating that Mueller had not done enough and should testify before Congress and answer questions. I agree.

  29. Thanks, Kathleen and William for your insights. Clearly our experiment in democracy has failed, the rule of law is a sham.

  30. Cats,

    Your insights are welcome as well!

    BTW, I think it was you who mentioned earlier that you saw “fear” in Mueller’s face during that press conference…I saw shame.

    • Kathleen, his voice was trembling. I assumed public speaking was not his thing, work horse, not show horse, so i can totally relate. His statement was written, precise and shakily read. He was shouting in his own way and he was not comfortable doing publicly what he thought he must based on what Barr and Rosenstein did to him. I saw defiant, possessive pride in the report and his team. Maybe some day we will know for sure which of us is closer to the mark.

      I agree with you and William that had someone like Starr or creepy Kavanaugh or sin eater Barr produced this report on Hillary, the OLC memo would have been tossed or an exception made for some specious reason and she would have been publicly executed as a Benedict Arnold. I still believe however that Mueller is an honorable man, not a partisan, who did the best he could to reveal the truth given his narrow mandate and the constraints he was bound by which he laid out and tried to briefly explain yesterday. I bet he believed it was not his place to challenge the OLC policy but to follow it, so instead he laid bare every crime and wrong doing he found. He farmed out a lot of shit for a reason and it wasn’t to protect trump et al. I admired his repeated emphasis on Vol I which is the real reason dump obstructed. He did his job and he did it fairly, thoroughly and to the best of his ability, where is the shame in that? It was not his job to save us or the country. We have to save ourselves.

      I just ordered my DoJ copy of the report. Pray for me, i may stroke out when reading it.

      I know you have mentioned Mueller’s sentencing recommendations on Flynn. Have the unredacted transcripts Rachel spoke of come out yet? I will be interested to see what Flynn told Mueller that Barr didn’t want us to hear. Perhaps they contain something that might help us understand why Mueller gave that treacherous snake a pass, re sentencing.

      Lastly, whose to say if everyone does come out to vote, that our side will win? His base and many repubs will still never vote for a bleeding heart, socialist, unpatriotic Dem, they still hate who and what we are, misinformation is still broadcast, there will still be voter suppression (aka ratfucking) and possibly bigger and better foreign interference.

      I wish i had your fire in the belly!

  31. Cats,

    You make some excellent points and I understand what you are saying about Mueller. But I don’t think Mueller’s is a corrupt guy but I do think he is naive about trump and allowed his corrupt administration to undermine his 2 years of work.

    Also, Mueller has testified before Congress before and did not seem nervous about speaking in public then. I really did see a guy who maybe was ashamed that he allowed trump and barr to get the best of him and his report.

    There is an excellent article today which puts into perspective why Mueller is not finished. It states, in part:

    There are 6 reasons why his work is not done yet:

    1. The report has missing sections.

    2. The report was spun and distorted by President Trump and Attorney General Barr so that the report was not allowed to speak for itself. Mueller has a duty to help remedy this malfeasance.

    3. At a time when Trump is obstructing Congress from investigating the very things that Mueller says it needs to investigate, Mueller has a duty to assist Congress, as other Special Counsel have done in previous inquiries.

    4. Mueller himself risks being the next target of Trump’s onslaught on the rule of law.

    5. Mueller would not be the only public official who is going the extra mile to deal with the current crisis.

    6. Mueller has a responsibility to return the country’s trust in him by helping to finish the job.

    Following is the link to the article in its more comprehensive form: https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2019/05/29/muellers-unfinished-business-six-reasons-why-his-work-is-not-yet-done/#7f2865f54b93

    Mueller said at the end of the press conference that he’s done! How can he say that when so much of his work as been screwed up by the trump, his administraton and the republicans. Everyone calls Mueller a patriot. Well, now’s the time to show it by not leaving his work unfinished and us at the mercy of trump.

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