Category Archives: Mueller Report

High Fives to Jimmy Dore for Laughing Russiagaters out of the Room

Jimmy Dore is a comic who has taken on Russiagate, a deadly serious matter.  He is one of those brave souls who count themselves as progressives but dared to call into question Russiagate.

There are those who will tell you that Trump is a despicable human; and so if Russiagate tarnished Trump, the argument goes, what did it matter whether it was true.  (The proposition that Trump is more monstrous than his predecessors, Obama, W or the Clintons is highly dubious to say the least – but that is a different topic.). There is, however, a very good reason why it does matter whether the charges making up Russiagate are true; for opposing Trump over his tax policies or stance on health care is quite a different matter from labeling him a Manchurian Candidate who colluded with Vlad Putin in 2016.  Russiagate put a US President in a position where he was unable to negotiate crucial issues with the other nuclear superpower.  To do so invited charges of being a Putin puppet, as evidenced by the howls that went up from the Establishment and most progressives over the Helsinki Summit.

What if the tensions between the US and Russia were to spin out of control in hot spots like Syria, where troops from the two nuclear superpowers pass within a whisker of one another, or Ukraine or even Venezuela?  To extract us from such a predicament, Putin and Trump would need to make concessions to one another, as Kennedy and Krushchev did successfully in the Cuban Missile Crisis.  But with the cloud of Russiagate hanging over his head Trump could make no such concession without being labelled a treasonous Putin puppet.  So Russiagate took away from Trump the ability to negotiate his way out of an existential threat should one emerge.  As such it should have been based on the highest levels of evidence.  In fact, it was not based on any hard evidence at all – there was none for the central charge of collusion.  And the Mueller investigation finally admitted this.  Given this, those who knowingly concocted Russiagate owe us all a great apology, for they committed the most serious of crimes by creating a situation that potentially threatened the existence of the American and Russian peoples – and perhaps all of humanity.

The absurdity of Russiagate and the absence of evidence for it was evident from the start.  But very few on the progressive side broke with the mainstream media and the Democratic Party political herd to say so.  That carried the risk of being shunned in progressive circles.  Or as one brave Russiagate dissident said under his breath, “I don’t have much social life any longer.”  That fact, in itself, is a sad commentary on what is called “progressivism” in the U.S.

Nevertheless, a handful of Russiagate debunkers emerged on the left, including Robert Parry and others at Consortium News, Aaron Maté now at The Nation, Pulitzer Prize winner Glenn Greenwald at the Intercept, Michael Tracey, Stephen F. Cohen of EastWestAccord.com, Ray McGovern of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, Matt Taibi of Rolling Stone, Craig Murray and others. They deserve enormous credit for poring over the detritus that the media dumped on us 24/7 for over two years and refuting it, one noxious bit at a time.

A standout among these dissidents is Jimmy Dore, a nightclub comic with a YouTube show run out of his garage in Pasadena. Dore took on Russiagate just as he took on the Dem Establishment and backed Bernie in 2016, and as he now offers high praise for Tulsi Gabbard, the peace candidate for 2020.  Jimmy Dore made the exposure of Russiagate fun.

Dore enjoys raising a simple question in the wake of the Mueller report:  How did a “jagoff comedian,” as he calls himself, who claims on occasion to smoke marijuana when he gets out of bed in the morning, get Russiagate right when grads of the Columbia School of Journalism and pundits like Rhodes Scholar Rachel Maddow and David Corn got it so wrong?

Dore has the answer, taking Maddow as an example who earns $30,000 for every single show.  For that and the celebrity career that goes with it, she lies – simple as that.   Dore even allows that he might be willing to lie at $30,000 an hour. But, he laments, the invitation has not been forthcoming.  And what is true of Maddow and the other Cable “News” talking heads is just as true of the upscale propagandists who dump their extrusions into gilded receptacles like the NYT, WaPo, New Yorker, NPR.  In contrast to be a Jimmy Dore or any of the other truth tellers requires a considerable dose of courage, because swimming against the mainstream can be a career terminator as Chris Hedges once of the NYT and a number of others can testify.

One of Dore’s approaches is especially powerful.  He provides a quote from the mainstream media, an establishment journalist or a faux progressive, reads it and then tears it apart.  Dore likes to play down his intellect – a good comic shtick – but the precision of his takedowns tells another story.  The takedown is followed by invective that is as accurate as it is impassioned.  Dore’s invective for which he has considerable talent would turn Jeremiah green with envy. In this task he is usually aided by his fellow comic, the insightful Ron Placone and Dore’s wife Stefane Zamorano, who styles herself The Miserable Liberal.

It is very satisfying to watch Dore in action – and funny.  In fact, at the gym I watch Jimmy on my iPad to save me from looking up at the omnipresent fake news on CNN.  My cardiac health, as well as my mental health, over the past two years has depended on his show.  If Dore were a physician, he could bill me.

You can best appreciate the Jimmy Dore show by going to YouTube and watching an episode.  I recommend this one, “Mueller Report Drops! Aaron Maté Explains.”  Here Maté also names the names of the fake progressives who caved to the Establishment narrative and some of the heroes who did not.  Dore expresses his usual sympathy for Mate’ for having to live among journalists most of whom compromise themselves whereas Dore gets to dwell among comics.

For a dose of truth, sanity and fun – catch the Jimmy Dore Show.  Russiagate is behind us but Dore already has the bogus basis for war on Venezuela and Iran clearly in his sites – along with the 2020 election and its rich veins of hypocrisy to mine.

Obstructiongate!

I owe the corporate media an apology. For the last few years, I’ve been writing all these essays explaining how they were perpetrating an enormous psyop on the American public … a psyop designed to convince the public that Donald Trump “colluded” with Russia to steal the presidency from Hillary Clinton. Up until a few days ago, I would have sworn that they had published literally thousands of articles and editorials, and broadcast countless TV segments, more or less accusing him of treason, and being a “Russian intelligence asset,” and other ridiculous stuff like that. Also, and I’m still not sure how this happened, I somehow got the idea in my head that the investigation that Special Counsel Robert Mueller was meticulously conducting had something to do with Donald Trump conspiring or “colluding” with Russia, or being some kind of “Manchurian president,” or being blackmailed by Putin with a pee-tape, or something.

In any event, the publication of the Mueller report has cleared things up for me. I get it now. The investigation was never about Trump colluding with Russia. It was always about Trump obstructing the investigation of the collusion with Russia that the investigation was not about. Mueller was never looking for collusion. It was not his job to look for collusion. His job was to look for obstruction of his investigation of alleged obstruction of his investigation of non-collusion, which he found, and detailed at length in his report, and which qualifies as an impeachable offense.

Not that he proved that there was no collusion! On the contrary, as professional hermeneuticists have been repeatedly pointing out on Twitter, given that Mueller wasn’t looking for collusion, and that collusion could never have been legally established, and isn’t even a legal term, Mueller’s failure to find any actual evidence of collusion is evidence of collusion, notwithstanding the fact that he couldn’t prove it, and wasn’t even looking for it, except to the extent it allowed him to establish a case for the obstruction he was actually investigating.

In other words, his investigation was launched in order to investigate the obstruction of his investigation. And, on those terms, it was a huge success. The fact that it didn’t prove “collusion” means nothing — that’s just a straw man argument that Trump and his Russian handlers make. The goal all along was to prove that Trump obstructed an investigation of his obstruction of that investigation, not that he was “colluding” with Putin, or any of the other paranoid nonsense that the corporate media were forced to report on, once an investigation into his obstruction of the investigation was launched.

See, and this is why I owe the media an apology. All those thousands of hysterical articles, editorials, and TV segments accusing Donald Trump of treason, and of literally being a Russian agent, and probably Putin’s homosexual lover, were not just ridiculous propaganda. The corporate media were not engaged in a concerted campaign to convince the public that Trump conspired with a foreign adversary to brainwash millions of African Americans into refusing to vote for Hillary Clinton with some emails and a handful of Facebook posts. No, the media were simply covering the story of his obstruction of the investigation of the made-up facts the intelligence agencies got them to relentlessly disseminate to generate the appearance of a story, which, once it was out there, had to be reported on, regardless of how it came into being, or whose nefarious purposes it served.

Moreover, regardless of whether Mueller did or did not establish obstruction (or attempted obstruction, which is just as impeachable) of his non-investigation of collusion, he absolutely established that Russia attacked us by brainwashing all those African Americans who were definitely going to vote for Clinton until they saw those divisive Facebook ads and those DNC emails that Putin personally ordered Trump to order Paul Manafort to personally deliver to Julian Assange, who was hunkered down in the Ecuadorean embassy poking holes in King-size condoms, abusing his cat, and smearing invisible poo all over the walls of his kitchen.

Now, these are all indisputable facts, which Mueller establishes in his report by referencing the repeated assertions of a consensus of U.S. intelligence agencies, and the corporate media’s relentless repetition of those agencies’ assertions, and the feeling a lot of people have that they must be factual to some extent, given how often they have been repeated, and referenced, and authoritatively asserted, and how familiar they sound when they hear them, again. The fact that there exists no evidence whatsoever of any “Russian attack,” and that all we’re actually talking about is the publication of a bunch of emails that DNC members actually wrote, and some ridiculous social media posts, should not in any way detract from the fact that the Russians launched a totally devastating, virtually Pearl Harbor-scale attack on the fabric of American democracy, which Trump obstructed an investigation of, or attempted to obstruct an investigation of, or conspired to attempt to obstruct an investigation of obstruction of.

Or whatever. The point is, now they’ve got him! His justice obstructing days are numbered! Break out the pussyhats and vuvuzelas, because next stop is Impeachment City! So what if he’s not a Russian agent and didn’t conspire or collude with anyone? He got elected without permission, and insulted a lot of powerful people, and … well, who cares what they impeach him for, as long as they impeach him for something!

They kind of have to do it, at this point, don’t they? They just spent most of the last three years rolling out an official narrative in which the Russians are running around attacking democracy, poisoning ducks with Novichok perfume, fomenting populist uprisings in France, and just generally being the evil enemies that the Islamic terrorists used to be, before they turned into freedom fighters and helped us try to take over Syria.

If the Democrats don’t impeach Donald Trump, that official narrative might fall apart. Liberals might have to face the fact that Americans elected Donald Trump president, not because they were brainwashed by Russians, or had any illusions about what a thuggish, self-aggrandizing buffoon he is, but because they were so disgusted with the neoliberal Washington establishment, and the global capitalist elites that own it, that they leapt at the chance to vote against it, and probably would have elected anyone who promised to even marginally disrupt it … but there I go drifting off into my crazy conspiracist thinking again.

Anyway … I’m really sorry about all that stuff I wrote about the corporate media. Rest assured, that won’t happen again. Admittedly, I blew the Russiagate thing, but I promise to do better with Obstructiongate, or Tax-Returnsgate, or Whatevergate. It doesn’t really matter what we call it, right? The important thing is to teach the masses what happens when they vote for unauthorized candidates. We’re only halfway through that lesson. Stay tuned … there’s much, much more to come!

From Brexit to Trump, it’s Death by 1,000 Cuts

Has anyone else noticed how over the past few years the corporate media has been dedicating ever more space to articles on how to deal with loneliness, anxiety and insomnia, as well as ways to immerse ourselves in escapist new technology?

Our attention is being diverted away from the political to the cultural, medical and technical. When our elites have no solutions to the most pressing problems of the day, when all the objective evidence indicates that the political system they oversee and have designed to enrich themselves is driving us over a cliff edge, with our economies going bankrupt and our planet dying, they desperately need to rechannel our energies. Instead of blaming them, we are told to fix ourselves – or at least to pacify ourselves with entertainment.

That, of course, all sounds a lot more plausible when we clearly do need to fix ourselves. We are more anxious, more isolated, more confused than ever before. And for very good reason.

A new poll finds that 83 per cent of Britons are exhausted by hearing blow-by-blow news of Brexit, Britain’s interminable struggle to find a credible way to leave the European Union. Two-thirds believe that the anxiety provoked by this slow-motion plunge into the unknown is bad for people’s – presumably including their own – mental health. They are not wrong.

Heavy emotional toll

Meanwhile, Russiagate – the establishment-promoted conspiracy theory that Donald Trump stole the 2016 presidential election by colluding with Russia – has similarly sucked out all oxygen from the US political arena. For more than two years pundits there have spoken and thought about little else.

I suspect surveys of US public opinion would find a similar ennui among most Americans about these wildly improbable, and now disproven, claims against Trump. American friends who consider themselves part of the so-called #resistance to Trump tell me they wish they could just shut their eyes and the whole mess go away. It’s clearly not helping their mental health either.

A heavy emotional and psychic toll is being inflicted even on those fronting these establishment narratives, as was evident when Rachel Maddow, TV cheerleader-in-chief for the Russiagate conspiracy theory, had to announce on air that the Mueller investigation she had so excitedly played up for two years was a dud. Robert Mueller had found zero evidence of collusion.

Maddow’s pained facial contortions, her manic laughter as she tried to prop up the last vestiges of a narrative that had just been discredited by the very establishment she is a key pillar of was distressing to watch. Here was a woman who looked more in need of therapy than a major TV show.

Boring us to death

But maybe it’s too simple to see this as nothing more than an example of mass cognitive dissonance. Maybe the emotional, mental and spiritual breakdown is actually the point. Maybe the goal is to frustrate and bore us quite literally to death.

Politically and ideologically we are stuck. Capitalism has failed – and not marginally but ignominiously. Any ideology premised on an outcome that burns the planet to a crisp, or grows the world’s population until the resources to support it are exhausted, or both, is not only mistaken but dangerously deluded. Insanity, in fact.

But for decades we have all been caught up in that spell. Think of the Thatcher and Reagan years, of how most of us lapped up the idea that there was no such thing as society, that each of us was an island as our governments sold off public infrastructure and the common good. And at some level we all absorbed those mantras, even those of us in the UK who railed against Thatcher’s poll tax and supported the miners.

We all watched “serious” debates on TV in which eminent intellectuals told us that history had ended and that free-market capitalism had triumphed. We were on our journey to nirvana. Even when some of us wondered whether such arguments might be wrong or too simplistic, we rarely greeted them with the derision they so obviously deserved.

Now the delusion, the insanity cultivated in us over those past decades, is coming home to roost. We have so deeply imbibed the ideology of those who exploit us that we cannot imagine – we even fear – the possibility of being liberated from it.

Distracted by baubles

The elites whose power and wealth derives from the current system have absolutely no interest in changing course, in allowing new ideas, new paradigms to emerge. They are no more likely to provide a platform for radical or experimental thinking either in the establishment media or in our legislative echo-chambers than they are to fund Extinction Rebellion or shut down the offshore tax havens where they hoard their gargantuan wealth.

Even efforts to return us to the order that predated Thatcher and Reagan – one that placed some value in the collective – is being aggressively snuffed out by our elites, whether it’s Jeremy Corbyn in the UK or Bernie Sanders and the Congress’s insurgency lawmakers in the US.

The self-destruction of capitalism – the signs of its internal contradictions, its need for endless economic growth on a resource-finite planet – has been evident for some time. Once we could be distracted with baubles, with new iPhones and home entertainment systems, and by politics as fun-filled spectacle. Trump in the US and Boris Johnson in the UK may be the logical endpoints of that political process.

Political paralysis

Now we are moving from spectacle, from politics as entertainment, to politics as death by a thousand cuts.

Britain cannot leave the EU, but also it cannot stay. The UK cannot move forward, and it has no possibility to move back. It is trapped, politically paralysed. A decision either way will tear the fabric of the social contract to shreds.

Does Brexit not offer us a parable for our times? It is in miniature our predicament as a species. We cannot move forward with capitalism because it is killing us and most life on the planet, but the capitalist class will not allow us the space or resources to find another way out of the mess they created. And brainwashed for so long, we fear even a modest diversion from our current suicidal path.

So we aimlessly watch TV unfold as if we have no power over either our individual fates or our collective fate. We stare into the abyss, a mixture of boredom and creeping anxiety our only responses to our own imminent demise.

We feel lonely, anxious and confused. We medicate ourselves with trivia, with entertainment, and we allow ourselves to be briefly distracted with establishment shadow plays that invert reality, from Corbyn’s supposed anti-semitism to US war criminals assigning themselves the right to pick Venezuela’s president.

No time for boredom

We have been on this path to collective insanity for a while, as the renowned psychologist Erich Fromm warned decades ago. It is at least a sign of hope that it is finally dawning on many of us that we are immersed in delusion, that we are mentally, emotionally and spiritually at a dead end.

That requires understanding that Trump isn’t the enemy, he is a symptom of our collective illness. Similarly, Brexit isn’t really the end of the world, it is grand displacement activity – our effort to distract ourselves from much deeper questions. Whether the UK stays in Europe or leaves, capitalism will still be herding us towards extinction. Brexit is unlikely even to affect how quickly we bring about such end-times.

The deeper questions we have been evading force us to address who we are as individuals and as a society, and whether we wish to have a future, to belong to a planet that possibly uniquely in our small corner of the universe can sustain higher life forms and the supreme achievement of our evolutionary branch-line, human beings.

Only in facing those questions can we rid ourselves of our political confusion and our individual anxiety. Standing on the edge of an abyss should be no time for boredom. It is time for deep reflection, and rapid personal and collective growth.

LTR Mueller Probe Observation and Nation

Democrats, the Mass Media Industrial Complex and the Deep State Pentagon Intelligence Surveillance Industrial Apparatus seem to have missed these two memos in ninth grade world history from Ralph Waldo Emerson and Niccolo Machiavelli.

In September, 1843, Emerson wrote in a letter to a young Oliver Wendell Holmes:

“I read your piece on Plato. Holmes, when you strike at a king, you must kill him.”1

Four hundred years before, in 1505, Machiavelli wrote in The Prince what has been translated as “Never do an enemy a small injury.” He also wrote that “the injury that is to be done to a man ought to be of such a kind that one does not stand in fear of revenge.”

Two years of the frothing-at-the-mouth Russia Collusion narrative shows the narrators have laboured mightily producing not even a mouse. Indeed it was all “fake news” and the Mueller investigation flop has probably insured Trump’s re-election.

Somehow Sean Hannity’s Fox News has become more credible than Rachel Maddow’s msDNC and cnn plus the big New York and Washington dailies and networks and what’s left of magazines have lost whatever shreds were left of their post-WMD Iraq War credibility.

Congratulations!

When Lord Cornwallis sent his second-in-command to surrender to George Washington and the French at Yorktown in 1781, the British band played a tune called “The World Turned Upside Down.”

Indeed.

Welcome to the accelerating decline of the US Empire, the successor to the Roman Empire, but with drone bombs, iPhones, microwaves, LED TV screens, gluten-free groceries, rock’n roll, microfiber, fast food, lattes, regime change uber alles, thermonuclear bombs, Donald Trump, John Bolton, Monsanto, Elliot Abrams, the Boeing 737 MAX, Nancy Pelosi  and Goldman-Sachs. Are We Not Already Great Again?

Perhaps room is now available to talk about

* New Improved Medicare for All,

* The Green New Deal going to a ZERO CARBON economy,

* canceling student loan debt, making college tuition free,

* increasing the minimum wage to not below $15 an hour,

* creating millions of jobs with a trillion dollar infrastructure project paid for by canceling Obama/Trump’s trillion dollar nuclear warhead “upgrade,”

* fiercely and ferociously regulating the banks and corporations,

* restoring national sovereignty from usurpation and negation by international finance cartels,

* giving both Israel and Saudi Arabia the heave-ho,

* paying for everything else by cutting the Deep State Pentagon Intelligence Surveillance Industrial Apparatus and weaponized police by, say, 34.334 percent,

* home-porting the fleet and shutting down overseas bases,

* embracing authentic democracy (mere elections do not a democracy make) plus embracing democratic socialism to replace totalitarian financialized catastrophic capitalism, and

* finally smashing the Central Intelligence Agency into the thousand pieces President Kennedy vowed to do but somehow never got around to.

And then there is the looming apocalypse – ongoing actually as we speak – of fossil-FUELED, global HEATING-causing climate EMERGENCY leading to species EXTINCTION (i.e. US and every other living thing.)  Time to nationalize Exxon-Mobil et al and shut ‘em down. Along with the telecoms, Silicon Valley and the twitterverse.

Time to start talking about principles, not personalities.

  1. Said to a young Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., who had written a piece critical of Plato in response to his earlier conversation with Emerson, as reported by Felix Frankfurter in Harlan Buddington Phillips, Felix Frankfurter Reminisces (1960), p. 59.

A Russiagate Requiem

So the Mueller report is finally in, and it appears that hundreds of millions of Americans have, once again, been woefully bamboozled. Weird, how this just keeps on happening. At this point, Americans have to be the most frequently woefully bamboozled people in the entire history of woeful bamboozlement. If you didn’t know better, you’d think we were all a bunch of hopelessly credulous imbeciles that you could con into believing almost anything, or that our brains had been bombarded with so much propaganda from the time we were born that we couldn’t really even think anymore.

That’s right, as I’m sure you’re aware by now, it turns out President Donald Trump, a pompous former reality TV star who can barely string three sentences together without totally losing his train of thought and barking like an elephant seal, is not, in fact, a secret agent conspiring with the Russian intelligence services to destroy the fabric of Western democracy. After two long years of bug-eyed hysteria, Inspector Mueller came up with squat. Zip. Zero. Nichts. Nada. Or, all right, he indicted a bunch of Russians that will never see the inside of a courtroom, and a few of Trump’s professional sleazebags for lying and assorted other sleazebag activities (so I guess that was worth the $25 million of taxpayers’ money that was spent on this circus).

Notwithstanding those historic accomplishments, the entire Mueller investigation now appears to have been another wild goose chase (like the “search” for those non-existent WMDs that we invaded and destabilized the Middle East and murdered hundreds of thousands of people pretending to conduct in 2003). Paranoid collusion-obsessives will continue to obsess about redactions and cover-ups, but the long and short of the matter is, there will be no perp walks for any of the Trumps. No treason tribunals. No televised hangings. No detachment of Secret Service agents marching Hillary into the White House.

The jig, as they say, is up.

But let’s try to look on the bright side, shall we? Disgraceful as this Russiagate fiasco has been, at least it was all just an honest mistake, and not any kind of plot, or conspiracy, or anything as disturbing as that. It’s not like the majority of the corporate media perpetrated a massive, coordinated, intelligence agency-initiated psyop on the Western public for two and half years. No, they just “got it wrong,” again … like they did with those Iraqi WMDs.

The corporate media, after all, are comprised of dedicated, professional journalists, who maintain the highest ethical standards, and who would never knowingly bombard the masses with hysterical McCarthyite propaganda based on absolutely nothing but the word of a bunch of deep state types who were trying to force a president out of office and delegitimize a populist backlash against the spread of global neoliberalism.

Plus, there is no “deep state.” Not really. That’s just one of those right-wing conspiracy theories that only Trump-loving fascists believe in. I mean, it’s not as if elements of the FBI, the DOJ, and the DNC paid a former MI6 spook working for a Washington PR firm contracted by a Washington law firm contracted by the Clinton campaign to fabricate a “dossier” alleging that “the Russian regime [sic] has been cultivating, supporting, and assisting Trump for at least five years” in order “to sow discord” within the Transatlantic Alliance, and then fed that fabricated dossier to their contacts in the corporate media, who used it to generate mass hysteria, which the Congress then used to justify the appointment of a special prosecutor, whose investigation of the allegations contained in the fabricated dossier the corporate media and deep state types used to generate even more mass hysteria … and so on, until hundreds of millions of people actually believed that Donald Trump was some kind of Russian intelligence asset, and was going to be impeached and tried for treason.

Now, that would be scary, if that had happened!

Another thing that (thank Christ!) didn’t happen was when the corporate media hired a bunch of ex-intelligence agency officials to appear on their “news” shows every other night disseminating Russiagate propaganda while at the same time effectively banning journalists with dissenting views from challenging their lies. Well, and OK, to the degree they did that (and they certainly did it to some degree), they didn’t do it intentionally, or knowingly, or with malice aforethought or criminal intent. They probably just misplaced the telephone numbers (and the email addresses and Twitter handles) of Matt Taibbi, Glenn Greenwald, Aaron Mate, and other infamous “collusion rejectionists,” so they had no choice but to bring in the spooks.

Look, I don’t want to beat this to death. The important thing is that we can all be grateful that none of that stuff I just mentioned happened, and, basically, just shut up and get back to work. This is not the time to remind everybody how totally insane and hysterical things got, and how they ran around like headless chickens squawking about “Russians” coming out of the woodwork, accusing anyone they disagreed with of being “Kremlin agents” or “Russian bots,” and begging corporations to censor the Internet.

No, it’s time to, you know, let bygones be bygones, and just forget about all this “Russiagate” business, and the FBI, and that made-up dossier, and how respected publications like The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Guardian, and others published completely fabricated stories about secret meetings that never took place, power grid hackings that never happened, Russia-linked servers that never existed, imaginary Russian propaganda peddlers, and … well, too many other examples to list.

Talking about all that is just a distraction (as my former colleagues on what has recently become the radical Rooskie-hunting Left wasted no time in advising everyone). Worse, it only helps Donald Trump, who, OK, maybe isn’t a Russian intelligence asset anymore, but is still almost literally Adolf Hitler … or at least some sort of inhuman monster that bears no resemblance whatsoever to Obama or any other normal president, and who is certainly going to declare martial law, proclaim himself Führer, and unleash his underground white supremacist army on us, or something more or less along those lines.

And as for the non-existent deep state, and the Democrats, and the corporate media, and the millions of Americans they accidentally bamboozled … well, I imagine they’re feeling pretty silly right now. So this is not the time to demand a full accounting from the patriots in the intelligence community, or to compare the professionals in the corporate media to the keys of an enormous Goebbelsian piano mechanically hammering out whatever tune the ruling classes decide to play. Yes, they made a few mistakes, and got a little carried away, but they’re only human, after all. I’m sure they’re all very, very sorry, and will never, ever, do it again.

Three Lessons from the “Failed” Mueller Inquiry

Here are three important lessons for the progressive left to consider now that it is clear the inquiry by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russiagate is never going to uncover collusion between Donald Trump’s camp and the Kremlin in the 2016 presidential election.

Painting the pig’s face

1. The left never had a dog in this race. This was always an in-house squabble between different wings of the establishment. Late-stage capitalism is in terminal crisis, and the biggest problem facing our corporate elites is how to emerge from this crisis with their power intact. One wing wants to make sure the pig’s face remains painted, the other is happy simply getting its snout deeper into the trough while the food lasts.

Russiagate was never about substance, it was about who gets to image-manage the decline of a turbo-charged, self-harming neoliberal capitalism.

The leaders of the Democratic party are less terrified of Trump and what he represents than they are of us and what we might do if we understood how they have rigged the political and economic system to their permanent advantage.

It may look like Russiagate was a failure, but it was actually a success. It deflected the left’s attention from endemic corruption within the leadership of the Democratic party, which supposedly represents the left. It rechannelled the left’s political energies instead towards the convenient bogeymen targets of Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Mired in corruption

What Mueller found – all he was ever going to find – was marginal corruption in the Trump camp. And that was inevitable because Washington is mired in corruption. In fact, what Mueller revealed was the most exceptional forms of corruption among Trump’s team while obscuring the run-of-the-mill stuff that would have served as a reminder of the endemic corruption infecting the Democratic leadership too.

An anti-corruption investigation would have run much deeper and exposed far more. It would have highlighted the Clinton Foundation, and the role of mega-donors like James Simons, George Soros and Haim Saban who funded Hillary’s campaign with one aim in mind: to get their issues into a paid-for national “consensus”.

Further, in focusing on the Trump camp – and relative minnows like Paul Manafort and Roger Stone – the Russiagate inquiry actually served to shield the Democratic leadership from an investigation into the much worse corruption revealed in the content of the DNC emails. It was the leaking / hacking of those emails that provided the rationale for Mueller’s investigations. What should have been at the front and centre of any inquiry was how the Democratic party sought to rig its primaries to prevent party members selecting anyone but Hillary as their presidential candidate.

So, in short, Russiagate has been two years of wasted energy by the left, energy that could have been spent both targeting Trump for what he is really doing rather than what it is imagined he has done, and targeting the Democratic leadership for its own, equally corrupt practices.

Trump empowered

2. But it’s far worse than that. It is not just that the left wasted two years of political energy on Russiagate. At the same time, they empowered Trump, breathing life into his phoney arguments that he is the anti-establishment president, a people’s president the elites are determined to destroy.

Trump faces opposition from within the establishment not because he is “anti-establishment” but because he refuses to decorate the pig’s snout with lipstick. He is tearing the mask off late-stage capitalism’s greed and self-destructiveness. And he is doing so not because he wants to reform or overthrow turbo-charged capitalism but because he wants to remove the last, largely cosmetic constraints on the system so that he and his friends can plunder with greater abandon – and destroy the planet more quickly.

The other wing of the neoliberal establishment, the one represented by the Democratic party leadership, fears that exposing capitalism in this way – making explicit its inherently brutal, wrist-slitting tendencies – will awaken the masses, that over time it will risk turning them into revolutionaries. Democratic party leaders fear Trump chiefly because of the threat he poses to the image of the political and economic system they have so lovingly crafted so that they can continue enriching themselves and their children.

Trump’s genuis – his only genuis – is to have appropriated, and misappropriated, some of the language of the left to advance the interests of the 1 per cent. When he attacks the corporate “liberal” media for having a harmful agenda, for serving as propagandists, he is not wrong. When he rails against the identity politics cultivated by “liberal” elites over the past two decades – suggesting that it has weakened the US – he is not wrong. But he is right for the wrong reasons.

TV’s version of clickbait

The corporate media, and the journalists they employ, are propagandists – for a system that keeps them wealthy. When Trump was a Republican primary candidate, the entire corporate media loved him because he was TV’s equivalent of clickbait, just as he had been since reality TV began to usurp the place of current affairs programmes and meaningful political debate.

The handful of corporations that own the US media – and much of corporate America besides – are there both to make ever-more money by expanding profits and to maintain the credibility of a political and economic system that lets them make ever more money.

The “liberal” corporate media shares the values of the Democratic party leadership. In other words, it is heavily invested in making sure the pig doesn’t lose its lipstick. By contrast, Fox News and the shock-jocks, like Trump, prioritise making money in the short term over the long-term credibility of a system that gives them licence to make money. They care much less whether the pig’s face remains painted.

So Trump is right that the “liberal” media is undemocratic and that it is now propagandising against him. But he is wrong about why. In fact, all corporate media – whether “liberal” or not, whether against Trump or for him – is undemocratic. All of the media propagandises for a rotten system that keeps the vast majority of Americans impoverished. All of the media cares more for Trump and the elites he belongs to than it cares for the 99 per cent.

Gorging on the main course

Similarly, with identity politics. Trump says he wants to make (a white) America great again, and uses the left’s obsession with identity as a way to energise a backlash from his own supporters.

Just as too many on the left sleep-walked through the past two years waiting for Mueller – a former head of the FBI, the US secret police, for chrissakes! – to save them from Trump, they have been manipulated by liberal elites into the political cul-de-sac of identity politics.

Just as Mueller put the left on standby, into waiting-for-the-Messiah mode, so simple-minded, pussy-hat-wearing identity politics has been cultivated in the supposedly liberal bastions of the corporate media and Ivy League universities – the same universities that have turned out generations of Muellers and Clintons – to deplete the left’s political energies. While we argue over who is most entitled and most victimised, the establishment has carried on raping and pillaging Third World countries, destroying the planet and siphoning off the wealth produced by the rest of us.

These liberal elites long ago worked out that if we could be made to squabble among ourselves about who was most entitled to scraps from the table, they could keep gorging on the main course.

The “liberal” elites exploited identity politics to keep us divided by pacifying the most marginalised with the offer of a few additional crumbs. Trump has exploited identity politics to keep us divided by inflaming tensions as he reorders the hierarchy of “privilege” in which those crumbs are offered. In the process, both wings of the elite have averted the danger that class consciousness and real solidarity might develop and start to challenge their privileges.

The Corbyn experience

3. But the most important lesson of all for the left is that support among its ranks for the Mueller inquiry against Trump was foolhardy in the extreme.

Not only was the inquiry doomed to failure – in fact, not only was it designed to fail – but it has set a precedent for future politicised investigations that will be used against the progressive left should it make any significant political gains. And an inquiry against the real left will be far more aggressive and far more “productive” than Mueller was.

If there is any doubt about that, look to the UK. Britain now has within reach of power the first truly progressive politician in living memory, someone seeking to represent the 99 per cent, not the 1 per cent. But Jeremy Corbyn’s experience as the leader of the Labour party – massively swelling the membership’s ranks to make it the largest political party in Europe – has been eye-popping.

I have documented Corbyn’s travails regularly in this blog over the past four years at the hands of the British political and media establishment. You can find many examples here.

Corbyn, even more so than the small, new wave of insurgency politicians in the US Congress, has faced a relentless barrage of criticism from across the UK’s similarly narrow political spectrum. He has been attacked by both the right-wing media and the supposedly “liberal” media. He has been savaged by the ruling Conservative party, as was to be expected, and by his own parliamentary Labour party. The UK’s two-party system has been exposed as just as hollow as the US one.

The ferocity of the attacks has been necessary because, unlike the Democratic party’s success in keeping a progressive left-winger away from the presidential campaign, the UK system accidentally allowed a socialist to slip past the gatekeepers. All hell has broken out ever since.

Simple-minded identity politics

What is so noticeable is that Corbyn is rarely attacked over his policies – mainly because they have wide popular appeal. Instead he has been hounded over fanciful claims that, despite being a life-long and very visible anti-racism campaigner, he suddenly morphed into an outright anti-semite the moment party members elected him leader.

I will not rehearse again how implausible these claims are. Simply look through these previous blog posts should you be in any doubt.

But what is amazing is that, just as with the Mueller inquiry, much of the British left – including prominent figures like Owen Jones and the supposedly countercultural Novara Media – have sapped their political energies in trying to placate or support those leading the preposterous claims that Labour under Corbyn has become “institutionally anti-semitic”. Again, the promotion of a simple-minded identity politics – which pits the rights of Palestinians against the sensitivities of Zionist Jews about Israel – was exploited to divide the left.

The more the left has conceded to this campaign, the angrier, the more implacable, the more self-righteous Corbyn’s opponents have become – to the point that the Labour party is now in serious danger of imploding.

A clarifying moment

Were the US to get its own Corbyn as president, he or she would undoubtedly face a Mueller-style inquiry, and one far more effective at securing the president’s impeachment than this one was ever going to be.

That is not because a left-wing US president would be more corrupt or more likely to have colluded with a foreign power. As the UK example shows, it would be because the entire media system – from the New York Times to Fox News – would be against such a president. And as the UK example also shows, it would be because the leaderships of both the Republican and Democratic parties would work as one to finish off such a president.

In the combined success-failure of the Mueller inquiry, the left has an opportunity to understand in a much more sophisticated way how real power works and in whose favour it is exercised. It is a moment that should be clarifying – if we are willing to open our eyes to Mueller’s real lessons.

Three Lessons from the “Failed” Mueller Inquiry

Here are three important lessons for the progressive left to consider now that it is clear the inquiry by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russiagate is never going to uncover collusion between Donald Trump’s camp and the Kremlin in the 2016 presidential election.

Painting the pig’s face

1. The left never had a dog in this race. This was always an in-house squabble between different wings of the establishment. Late-stage capitalism is in terminal crisis, and the biggest problem facing our corporate elites is how to emerge from this crisis with their power intact. One wing wants to make sure the pig’s face remains painted, the other is happy simply getting its snout deeper into the trough while the food lasts.

Russiagate was never about substance, it was about who gets to image-manage the decline of a turbo-charged, self-harming neoliberal capitalism.

The leaders of the Democratic party are less terrified of Trump and what he represents than they are of us and what we might do if we understood how they have rigged the political and economic system to their permanent advantage.

It may look like Russiagate was a failure, but it was actually a success. It deflected the left’s attention from endemic corruption within the leadership of the Democratic party, which supposedly represents the left. It rechannelled the left’s political energies instead towards the convenient bogeymen targets of Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Mired in corruption

What Mueller found – all he was ever going to find – was marginal corruption in the Trump camp. And that was inevitable because Washington is mired in corruption. In fact, what Mueller revealed was the most exceptional forms of corruption among Trump’s team while obscuring the run-of-the-mill stuff that would have served as a reminder of the endemic corruption infecting the Democratic leadership too.

An anti-corruption investigation would have run much deeper and exposed far more. It would have highlighted the Clinton Foundation, and the role of mega-donors like James Simons, George Soros and Haim Saban who funded Hillary’s campaign with one aim in mind: to get their issues into a paid-for national “consensus”.

Further, in focusing on the Trump camp – and relative minnows like Paul Manafort and Roger Stone – the Russiagate inquiry actually served to shield the Democratic leadership from an investigation into the much worse corruption revealed in the content of the DNC emails. It was the leaking / hacking of those emails that provided the rationale for Mueller’s investigations. What should have been at the front and centre of any inquiry was how the Democratic party sought to rig its primaries to prevent party members selecting anyone but Hillary as their presidential candidate.

So, in short, Russiagate has been two years of wasted energy by the left, energy that could have been spent both targeting Trump for what he is really doing rather than what it is imagined he has done, and targeting the Democratic leadership for its own, equally corrupt practices.

Trump empowered

2. But it’s far worse than that. It is not just that the left wasted two years of political energy on Russiagate. At the same time, they empowered Trump, breathing life into his phoney arguments that he is the anti-establishment president, a people’s president the elites are determined to destroy.

Trump faces opposition from within the establishment not because he is “anti-establishment” but because he refuses to decorate the pig’s snout with lipstick. He is tearing the mask off late-stage capitalism’s greed and self-destructiveness. And he is doing so not because he wants to reform or overthrow turbo-charged capitalism but because he wants to remove the last, largely cosmetic constraints on the system so that he and his friends can plunder with greater abandon – and destroy the planet more quickly.

The other wing of the neoliberal establishment, the one represented by the Democratic party leadership, fears that exposing capitalism in this way – making explicit its inherently brutal, wrist-slitting tendencies – will awaken the masses, that over time it will risk turning them into revolutionaries. Democratic party leaders fear Trump chiefly because of the threat he poses to the image of the political and economic system they have so lovingly crafted so that they can continue enriching themselves and their children.

Trump’s genuis – his only genuis – is to have appropriated, and misappropriated, some of the language of the left to advance the interests of the 1 per cent. When he attacks the corporate “liberal” media for having a harmful agenda, for serving as propagandists, he is not wrong. When he rails against the identity politics cultivated by “liberal” elites over the past two decades – suggesting that it has weakened the US – he is not wrong. But he is right for the wrong reasons.

TV’s version of clickbait

The corporate media, and the journalists they employ, are propagandists – for a system that keeps them wealthy. When Trump was a Republican primary candidate, the entire corporate media loved him because he was TV’s equivalent of clickbait, just as he had been since reality TV began to usurp the place of current affairs programmes and meaningful political debate.

The handful of corporations that own the US media – and much of corporate America besides – are there both to make ever-more money by expanding profits and to maintain the credibility of a political and economic system that lets them make ever more money.

The “liberal” corporate media shares the values of the Democratic party leadership. In other words, it is heavily invested in making sure the pig doesn’t lose its lipstick. By contrast, Fox News and the shock-jocks, like Trump, prioritise making money in the short term over the long-term credibility of a system that gives them licence to make money. They care much less whether the pig’s face remains painted.

So Trump is right that the “liberal” media is undemocratic and that it is now propagandising against him. But he is wrong about why. In fact, all corporate media – whether “liberal” or not, whether against Trump or for him – is undemocratic. All of the media propagandises for a rotten system that keeps the vast majority of Americans impoverished. All of the media cares more for Trump and the elites he belongs to than it cares for the 99 per cent.

Gorging on the main course

Similarly, with identity politics. Trump says he wants to make (a white) America great again, and uses the left’s obsession with identity as a way to energise a backlash from his own supporters.

Just as too many on the left sleep-walked through the past two years waiting for Mueller – a former head of the FBI, the US secret police, for chrissakes! – to save them from Trump, they have been manipulated by liberal elites into the political cul-de-sac of identity politics.

Just as Mueller put the left on standby, into waiting-for-the-Messiah mode, so simple-minded, pussy-hat-wearing identity politics has been cultivated in the supposedly liberal bastions of the corporate media and Ivy League universities – the same universities that have turned out generations of Muellers and Clintons – to deplete the left’s political energies. While we argue over who is most entitled and most victimised, the establishment has carried on raping and pillaging Third World countries, destroying the planet and siphoning off the wealth produced by the rest of us.

These liberal elites long ago worked out that if we could be made to squabble among ourselves about who was most entitled to scraps from the table, they could keep gorging on the main course.

The “liberal” elites exploited identity politics to keep us divided by pacifying the most marginalised with the offer of a few additional crumbs. Trump has exploited identity politics to keep us divided by inflaming tensions as he reorders the hierarchy of “privilege” in which those crumbs are offered. In the process, both wings of the elite have averted the danger that class consciousness and real solidarity might develop and start to challenge their privileges.

The Corbyn experience

3. But the most important lesson of all for the left is that support among its ranks for the Mueller inquiry against Trump was foolhardy in the extreme.

Not only was the inquiry doomed to failure – in fact, not only was it designed to fail – but it has set a precedent for future politicised investigations that will be used against the progressive left should it make any significant political gains. And an inquiry against the real left will be far more aggressive and far more “productive” than Mueller was.

If there is any doubt about that, look to the UK. Britain now has within reach of power the first truly progressive politician in living memory, someone seeking to represent the 99 per cent, not the 1 per cent. But Jeremy Corbyn’s experience as the leader of the Labour party – massively swelling the membership’s ranks to make it the largest political party in Europe – has been eye-popping.

I have documented Corbyn’s travails regularly in this blog over the past four years at the hands of the British political and media establishment. You can find many examples here.

Corbyn, even more so than the small, new wave of insurgency politicians in the US Congress, has faced a relentless barrage of criticism from across the UK’s similarly narrow political spectrum. He has been attacked by both the right-wing media and the supposedly “liberal” media. He has been savaged by the ruling Conservative party, as was to be expected, and by his own parliamentary Labour party. The UK’s two-party system has been exposed as just as hollow as the US one.

The ferocity of the attacks has been necessary because, unlike the Democratic party’s success in keeping a progressive left-winger away from the presidential campaign, the UK system accidentally allowed a socialist to slip past the gatekeepers. All hell has broken out ever since.

Simple-minded identity politics

What is so noticeable is that Corbyn is rarely attacked over his policies – mainly because they have wide popular appeal. Instead he has been hounded over fanciful claims that, despite being a life-long and very visible anti-racism campaigner, he suddenly morphed into an outright anti-semite the moment party members elected him leader.

I will not rehearse again how implausible these claims are. Simply look through these previous blog posts should you be in any doubt.

But what is amazing is that, just as with the Mueller inquiry, much of the British left – including prominent figures like Owen Jones and the supposedly countercultural Novara Media – have sapped their political energies in trying to placate or support those leading the preposterous claims that Labour under Corbyn has become “institutionally anti-semitic”. Again, the promotion of a simple-minded identity politics – which pits the rights of Palestinians against the sensitivities of Zionist Jews about Israel – was exploited to divide the left.

The more the left has conceded to this campaign, the angrier, the more implacable, the more self-righteous Corbyn’s opponents have become – to the point that the Labour party is now in serious danger of imploding.

A clarifying moment

Were the US to get its own Corbyn as president, he or she would undoubtedly face a Mueller-style inquiry, and one far more effective at securing the president’s impeachment than this one was ever going to be.

That is not because a left-wing US president would be more corrupt or more likely to have colluded with a foreign power. As the UK example shows, it would be because the entire media system – from the New York Times to Fox News – would be against such a president. And as the UK example also shows, it would be because the leaderships of both the Republican and Democratic parties would work as one to finish off such a president.

In the combined success-failure of the Mueller inquiry, the left has an opportunity to understand in a much more sophisticated way how real power works and in whose favour it is exercised. It is a moment that should be clarifying – if we are willing to open our eyes to Mueller’s real lessons.