Tulsi Gabbard Sums Up The Mueller Report in One Paragraph

Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who is the Dennis Kucinich of Louie Gohmerts, accidentally said something important this week. While exulting in Trump’s successful repression of the Mueller Investigation, she explained why the outcome is really super:

If the president of the United States had been indicted for conspiring with Russia to interfere with and affect the outcome of our elections, it would have precipitated a terribly divisive crisis that could have even led to civil war. We all need to put aside our partisan interests and recognize that finding the president of the United States not guilty of conspiring with a foreign power to interfere with our elections is a good thing for America.

Everything you need to know about the Special Counsel’s investigation and our present political crisis is in that paragraph.

Since World War II, we have dramatically expanded the scope and power of democracy. A larger proportion of our population enjoys the right to vote than ever before. Women are allowed to compete with men for places at elite universities. Catholics, Jews, Hispanics, to a very limited extent even black people, are allowed to compete with young white men for investment capital, elite government appointments, the judiciary, even academic slots. None of this was allowed before the 1960’s, and little of it was tolerated for decades after.

Thanks in large part to expanded economic competition and in small part to government reforms, more power is spread out in more hands than ever before in our country. As public power has grown, the money and effort devoted to thwarting the public interest has grown along with it. Like the arms race that bankrupted the Soviets, the accelerating cost of subverting democracy is pushing our existing institutions to the brink.

When we wring our hands over skyrocketing election spending, we almost always miss the counter-story. Buying elections used to be cheap. In the 50’s there were no enforceable constraints on campaign donations, no reporting requirements, no limits. And wealthy people could buy a politician with pocket money. The corruption we’re witnessing in the present regime was once ubiquitous, though bounded to some degree by the constraints of class etiquette and noblesse oblige. With so little relative access to information, people just never saw the bribery that dominated our system.

As the costs of subverting our political system have climbed, these panicked elites have found allies in the other losers from expanded democracy – mediocre white men. White men were once America’s darlings. They were carefully protected from any form of outside competition by “family values” that let them expropriate women’s work for free. They were protected from competition by laws delegitimizing immigrants, limiting them to work white men didn’t want to perform. They were protected by rules that kept black and Hispanic people from voting, getting an education, or acquiring any of the skills necessary to challenge white dominance.

As America has democratized, breaking down economic, legal and political barriers to competition, once-coddled mediocre white men have been failing. In recent years, mortality rates for whites have exploded. Like a Soviet state-run industry, mediocre white people felt entitled to a lifestyle they couldn’t sustain in a competitive environment. Like the wealthy, they are panicking. Why are so many middle-income whites lined up with super-wealthy trust-fund babies to oppose the democratization of our society? Because like those wealthy elites, mediocre white people face an existential threat from a truly free society.

Gabbard accidentally acknowledged the calculus that lets powerful white people escape justice. Try to hold your betters accountable to the same rules they apply to you, and they’ll stop giving you treats. Keep pressing our public institutions to apply the law equally to wealthy elites, especially wealthy white elites, and those elites will destroy those institutions in front of your eyes. Want to retain some comfortable illusions about the rule of law? Then settle down and know your place.

Our legal system was not built to hold wealthy white people accountable. Historically, powerful white people have only been constrained by the rival interests of other powerful white people. Jeffrey Epstein *was convicted* of running a child sex slavery ring catering to the interests of powerful politicians and never spent any time in a real prison. Powerful people only go to prison in our system if they are incredibly stupid. However, those unspoken rules are breaking down under enormous public pressure, much of it originating outside the political system.

The strategy adopted by the Mueller team appears similar to the logic behind Nixon’s pardon. To protect our institutions, we must maintain public confidence. The first few letters in “confidence” are “con.” Those institutions may be imperfect and even unfair, but the con tells us that they are all that protects us from worse than Jeffrey Epstein and Donald Trump.

Disruption is coming regardless what compromise we make. Forces behind the expansion of economic and political power will be hard to halt. Established elites would need remarkable insight and leadership to stop the expansion of competition and they just aren’t that clever. Their position is eroding, but as they fail they are destroying valuable institutions we will regret losing. We should not be handling them with kid-gloves.

We need to elect leadership that will end our decades-long Gabbard Compromise. Beware of politicians who tell you to be nice. Reject anyone who uses terms like “civility,” “outreach” or “building bridges.” In reality, we have the upper hand. Trump lost the last election, and he’ll perform more poorly this time around. Most of the remaining power of our embedded elites comes from our fear of them. Those clinging to power and wealth against a rising tide of competition are vulnerable. Force their hand with nerve and determination and we will win.

15 Comments

  1. I was trying to create a reasonably long-winded comment about the parallels between the U.S. and the U.K. in the context of this piece, but simply do not have the writing ability to frame the content well enough.

    Suffice to say, I urge all to go to BBC.com, the Guardian, or any other number of non-U.S. sites to witness a country, nay, a United Kingdom, self-immolate over hatred of the brown man.

    You think it is bad in the U.S? The U.K. a number of hours ago just took another big step towards walking away from the EU without any kind of deal, which will destroy that collection of countries called the U.K. and deal huge harm to the EU and global financial markets. Scotland has already stated it is going to stick with the EU, and there almost a dead certainty of sectarian violence, again, in Northern Ireland if the no-deal Brexit comes to pass, since walls will have to go up immediately again between southern and northern Ireland.

    The U.K. populist movement is just further down the lemming-like path than the U.S.’ movement, but I can’t imagine the U.S. will learn from the coming disaster.

    Oh, and not for nothing, the gov’t is setting up lots of anti-riot measures, specifically concrete blocks and barbed wire, because of the expected violence in the coming days. Now imagine where the U.K. would be today, if something tragic had happened to Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, when they started their campaign of lies, and who both bailed when the referendum was done.

    1. I’ll tell you what would have happened Dins. They would have been seen as martyrs, around which the brexit folks would have rallied around even harder, leading to a higher margin of victory in the referendum. This is what always happens when someone dies during a political battle. The sympathy vote is real.

      But that’s not all. Whoever would have taken their place would have been even more hardcore, and seek to demonize the anti-Brexiters as violence inciting wackos, which would have forced everyone with genuine policy differences to shut up and withdraw from the debate, losing even more ground on the policy debate. Statues would go up and any dissension will be tamped down, with dissenters being sent to prison because of the risk of their “virulent” rhetoric inciting further violence.

      Anti-brexit comments would be classified as hate speech. For the next fifty years, anyone who would dare to raise any sort of objection to Brexit would be dismissed because “they were the ones who killed Johnson, PBUH.”

      Yeah, assassinations in the real world frequently backfire. Or do you think the middle East suddenly turned peaceful after bin laden was gone?

  2. I have thought much the same thing that the white working man angst was about losing white privilege. The power plant I retired from had technical workers from all over the world and country. That is because technical skills are rare and valuable. We simply do not home grow enough of it for our country and economy.

    I learned in my psychology classes that only about 20% of the population has enough IQ to learn and do those jobs. If you are gifted and I consider this like Trump inheriting his money, you are lucky. A product of birth and who your parents were. You are not scared of competition because there are never enough of your kind available. You enjoy the diversity of your work place and field. It is not threatening at all.

    Importing foreign workers allows the company to stay in the US. Those people are consumers as well as workers. They generate jobs that lesser gifted people can fill. It is a win , win actually. Other immigrates do jobs that domestic born people do not want. Another win, win. A lot of white angst is because people are ignorant of how the economy actually works.

    The economy is not a fixed pie but it is an elastic balloon that simply expands as more workers come into it. All the nonsense about Sharia law taking over or raping Mexicans is a cover for the fear of being displaced. What to do about your family and friends who shiver in their fear?

    We have to reassure them that while the world does change they are not being replaced and their economic prospects will not fall because of these new people but actually get better. Just be a decent person , calm and reasoned.

    Trump is of course inciting this fear for political power. As well as is his party. That has worked short term. But they are not making it better and many of his followers are figuring that out. We have to offer real solutions and be mouthy about it. So as not have the demagoguery drown you out. Then actually start fixing our national problems.

    A lot of this is happening locally already. Orange County Florida County Mayor Demings has initiated a program to solve a local problem of unaffordable housing. His last job was our sheriff. He won the mayor office by an huge margin. My minority majority community seen not to care that he is African American. Just that he is highly talented getting it done. In my youth Orange County was about as southern red neck bigoted as it got. In 50 years a complete change over. Take heart this change is taking placed nationally. I am a little sad that I most likely will not live long enough to see it to the end.

    1. Right on the money, Stephen. The process you discuss is exactly what is happening in the dynamic urban areas of the nation. I’m thinking of Denver, Chicago, Washington DC and northern VA, Atlanta, New York and most of the left coast. The necessary talent is only available from outside. That forms a self reinforcing paradigm.

      I differ with you on one area, however. One of the reasons that the US does not “home grow” enough people with technical skills, because we have not been adequately supporting our educational systems for decades,. both at the K-12 and college/university levels. Industry has coped by importation.

      I have personally observed many people drop out of the STEM fields at the university level because they do not have the requisite background from high school to successfully pursue those fields at the university level. There is some truth to the old saying about engineers and scientists being nerdy.

    2. “We simply do not home grow enough of it for our country and economy.

      I learned in my psychology classes that only about 20% of the population has enough IQ to learn and do those jobs. ”

      To add on to what tmerritt said, our education system is failing a lot of kids who could possibly do those jobs. It is true that you need innate talent for STEM. But no one is born a scientist or engineer. It takes many years of training, and even then you are still learning on the job your entire career.

      There’s bitter irony in Mike Lee’s dumbass statement about having more babies as the answer to the bad effects of climate change while saying nothing about the GOP’s dirty work in gutting public education and promoting hostility to experts.

    3. Hi Stephen
      Your psychology classes were talking bollocks – 90% of people have the ability to do almost any jobs
      The problem is NOT NOT NOT “Ability” but opportunity – only 20% of people have the opportunity to do that

      If you have an engineering degree you are NOT as some people believe one of the top 10% – all that can be said is that you are not one of the BOTTOM 10%

      We saw this very clearly in the UK in WW2 – when we had to we were able to train almost everybody to do almost everything

    4. I have some issues with the way you’ve put some things, Stephen.

      The notion that the economy is a balloon that can continue and expand also means that it as it gets filled and grows ever larger, it can and will pop or spring leaks.

      What kind of jobs are there that the “lesser gifted” people can fill? How much do they pay? What benefits do they have? You could go into low-wage food service or working at a Wal-Mart, where your benefits and future prospects are slim. You could work as part of the gig economy, but that’s tantamount to serfdom at this point. You could learn a trade, become an electrician/mechanic/etc. but those blue-collar jobs, while still very necessary and providing good money, still come with a level of stigma attached to them that many may not want to endure.

      The value that the high-skilled workers create also elevates the value of the surrounding area, which can eventually price out the “lesser gifted” folks as neighborhoods or entire cities gentrify. Some of the people working those high-skill jobs are also creating automated technology that will replace the jobs that the “lesser gifted” people do. What then?

      I feel that there is, in fact, a certain degree of systematic unfairness in what’s happening right now. There are solutions to this unfairness. They involve serious overhauls of our institutions and systems from the ground up.

      The first main thing we need is universal healthcare.

      Second, we need to acknowledge that the Internet is a core utility that is utterly necessary for people to participate in the economy as well as prepare to participate in the economy. The Internet needs to be classified as a Title II Telecommunications Service and real Net Neutrality rules need to be enforced under that Title II classification. High-speed broadband infrastructure needs to be built across the entire continental U.S. The 5G revolution that telecoms promise is not an infinite panacea; hard-wired fiber connections are a must. This will enable people, including many of the “less gifted”, to have access to resources that can further their horizons, from accredited online courses for certifications and degrees to remote work/telepresence that enables one to work for a world-class company from their small town.

      Playing off of what tmerritt and Flypusher have said, we thirdly need to give education in the U.S. a massive restructuring, from K-12 all the way to college. College needs to be less expensive overall. More importantly, the fabled four-year degree (especially the STEM degree) needs to be de-glamorized. People need to stop raising it up as the one and only golden ticket to prosperity. It’s real nice to have, and a good achievement, but it needs to stop being framed as the only way to get ahead. More options need to be placed in front of kids in junior high and high school. Post-secondary education such as two-year STEM technical certifications (or even one-year ones with some training taking place during high school), learning a trade, and associates’ degrees all need to be presented to younger people as entirely valid options. Alongside this, accredited online college systems need to become more widespread.

      Attached to the third part: Employers also need to rethink how they hire people. Degree inflation, where degrees get arbitrarily tacked onto jobs that don’t require them, needs to be severely curbed. Technical certifications in STEM fields from colleges should be more than enough for prospective employees to get their foot in the door. Businesses also need to embrace telecommuting and telepresence more than they have in the past.

      Finally, as automation increases, we’re going to want to talk about universal basic income plans as well as take a long, hard look at how work has been attached to personal dignity for almost the entirety of recorded human history. We should possibly consider that now is the time to finally de-couple those two things given that there will be a lot of individuals who simply won’t be able to find work in the future as technology improves and people can’t keep learning and upskilling forever.

      Trump stoked already-existing racial fears as distractions from our systemic inequality problems. We need to shake those distractions off and get to work on real reforms.

  3. Collusion wasn’t proven. Obstruction was not proven nor disproven. What bothers the hell out of me is that the full Mueller Report is not going to be released. I also deeply object to Barr inserting his judgement over that of Mueller when he is not releasing the full report. I hope dems are successful in compelling testimony from Mueller and receiving an unredacted report. I also object to Trump being allowed to redact portions of the report before Congress sees the full report. Other than that, I want to whip him and the Republicans in 2020, but the way Barr handled this is not going to make this easier.

  4. I’ve been focusing on my own wheelhouse, keeping my ears to the ground regarding technology issues and how the elites have been putting the free and open Internet on the slow path to ruin for years now.

    The current hot-button topic regarding tech and the elites is the European Copyright Directive. Its Articles 11 and 13 (Article 13 became Article 17 as of the vote on Tuesday) were the topic of heavy discussion by open-Internet advocates such as Techdirt and the Electronic Frontier Foundation:

    https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2019/02/final-version-eus-copyright-directive-worst-one-yet

    https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2019/03/eus-parliament-signs-disastrous-internet-law-what-happens-next

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20190326/05584741869/eu-puts-end-to-open-internet-link-taxes-filters-approved-just-5-votes.shtml

    The fact that it passed despite widespread public approval is ludicrous. There was a petition in protest to those articles and the Directive that reached millions of signatures, having literally become the most-signed petition ever. There were people protesting in the streets. Yet the vote to move forward with the Directive without discussing any amendments to the Directive and possibly removing Articles 11 and 13/17 still passed.

    The way the EU and some member countries acted here was disgusting.

    The EU wrote a post on Medium, later removed, that openly mocked the people who opposed the Directive and the articles:

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20190321/16154741848/eu-commission-refuses-to-explain-why-it-published-medium-article-mocking-publics-concerns-over-article-13.shtml

    The EU continued treating criticism as the work of “fake news” and bots all the way up to the vote. Axel Voss, in particular, wouldn’t stop lying:

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20190301/21573541712/why-does-mep-axel-voss-keep-lying-about-article-13.shtml

    France kept insisting that it wouldn’t require upload filters. Then after the vote they immediately started promoting filters:

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20190327/17141241885/after-insisting-that-eu-copyright-directive-didnt-require-filters-france-immediately-starts-promoting-filters.shtml

    The most utterly disgusting thing was that Germany caved to France on the issue because they wanted easier access to Russian gas:

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20190325/14404641865/new-report-germany-caved-to-france-copyright-deal-russian-gas.shtml

    Two countries who were oft-christened the leaders of the free world after Trump’s election sold out the open Internet for the sake of Russian fossil fuels. Let that sink in for a moment.

    Institutions the world over need to have their decisions scrutinized. Just because countries and institutions like France, Germany, and the EU are Not-Trump doesn’t mean that they’ll always make decisions that are good for their people.

    Moving on to another topic relating to tech: The TPP. The TPP would’ve been a disaster for the free and open Internet had it passed:

    https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/8q879k/tpp-dead-op-ed

    The trade deal was designed from the start to be a huge giveaway to corporations and the elite. The hoops that were jumped through to get more countries on board and the moral compromises needed to have certain nations join the Partnership were simple feats for the elite, who didn’t really care. The U.S. upgraded Malaysia’s human rights standing so that they could be a part of the TPP, even though mass graves of human trafficking victims were discovered around that same time. We would’ve had Brunei as a trade partner. Brunei, a sultanate that hated LGBT people already, but now has a new law that will allow gay people to be stoned to death:

    https://boingboing.net/2019/03/27/brunei-has-a-new-law-death-by.html

    They would’ve faced no consequences for this under the TPP that we had before Trump got the U.S. out of the agreement, and they’ll likely face no consequences for this with the CPTPP, which is the revised version that Canada and the other non-U.S. TPP nations created. The elites that are best buddies with the sultanate wouldn’t let the country get hit with sanctions.

    The pro-TPP rhetoric was all about us needing this deal in order to “contain” China. But sacrificing the open Internet, ignoring mass graves and human trafficking atrocities, and getting cozy with bigoted governments that allow the killing of LGBT people, essentially becoming more like China, doesn’t sound like the best way to go about “containing” it. The elites, of course, don’t care. As long as they keep their wealth and power they’re down for anything.

  5. “We all need to put aside our partisan interests and recognize that finding the president of the United States not guilty of conspiring with a foreign power to interfere with our elections is a good thing for America.”

    It would be a good thing only if we have sufficient reason to believe that he was innocent, and Barr’s biased book report isn’t going to do that. If he’s truly been vindicated, then no one should be objecting to releasing the whole report (minus what’s reasonable to redact) to the public. I also think that the Chairs and Ranking Members of The appropriate Congressional Committees should have access to the whole document. If nothing else, Rep. Cummings should subpoena Mueller to testify (closed if needed).

    I remember the arguments for Ford pardoning Nixon. I had mixed feelings about it once, but now I’m starting to think we would be better off if Nixon have stood trial and been convicted, so that we had a cautionary example made.

    1. In fairness to Ford and others, there was great fear at the time that this might be impossible. It probably was impossible. Imagine Nixon cleared by a jury, or his case dismissed for lack of evidence. That’s what kept Ford up at night. The pardon was a way of declaring Nixon guilty in a de facto manner, without exposing the hollowness of our justice system.

      1. I also have to give Ford credit for having the guts to do this at the beginning of his time in office, knowing full well he likely killed his chances of getting elected in 1976. I personally think he was acting out of integrity and not because of a deal made with Nixon before he became VP. But I think the Iran Contra people were taking notes.

    2. I have had mixed feelings about the possibility of impeachment from the very beginning. While I felt that there was no way the Senate would confirm the impeachment, I have basically felt that the House bringing articles of impeachment had potential merit, in that it would expose the information and the public would get a chance to evaluate that information. At the same time, I felt that the articles of impeachment had to be for a substantive charge. Not a weak obstruction of justice charge for a minor peccadillo. As it turned out, Mueller appears to not have found enough evidence to support a charge of conspiracy, and at the same time the evidence supporting obstruction seems to be weak. This puts the whole situation into a gray zone. Given this situation, I feel that articles of impeachment are definitely not justified.

      However, at the same time it appears that whatever is released of the report will be heavily censored and redacted. Probably to the point that all that is released is meaningless. That approach smells of cover up and will exacerbate the divisiveness in the nation at this time. So I basically concur with Fly. To me it appears as if there is some substance to the smoke, but not enough to justify charges or articles of impeachment. Alas, we will never know.

      The NY Times had an interesting Op-Ed, by Max Frankel, dated March 27, printed in today’s national edition, that sums up the situation rather well. The link is:
      https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/27/opinion/mueller-trump-russia-quid-pro-quo.html

      1. I agree with you that impeachment should absolutely be off the table in the abscence of a slam dunk case. But I suspect even with a slam dunk case the GOP Senate would weasel out. They’ve been breaking norms and gentlemen’s agreements with no shame, so I wouldn’t put it past them to have the fix in and acquit no matter what. Voting them out is our only recourse, and they’ll get their damage done before they go.

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