Category Archives: news

Something is Going on in Moscow. Just ask Mr. Muzraev

This article from NYT explains why some think so.

The problem for those trying to sort this out is that  investigative reporting in Russia is shall we say, limited. So we read the tea leaves, scratch our heads and wonder.

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Mueller Speaks – It Is Worth Listening To

The Mueller Report speaks volumes about the nasty stuff that happened during the 2016 campaign as Russians attempted to sway the election results, and about how the Trump Administration attempted to throttle the Mueller investigation again and again.

But apparently not many people have actually read the report

Instead, some have listened to what the president says — that he is totally exonerated and vindicated by the report.. Some have listened to Attorney General Barr who said that Mueller’s conclusions were not swayed by DOJ policy that prevents indictment of a sitting president, and that Mueller did not intend his report to be used by Congress. That it is the end of the story.

These comments are misleading. This prompted Mueller to make a public statement. His intention was clear – to clear the air. He spoke carefully. He spoke purposefully.  The key points (1) there WAS a concerted effort on the part of Russian Intelligence to sway the election, (2) his investigation did NOT exonerate Trump, (3) the investigation was constrained by DOJ policy that the president could not be indicted, and so it would be unfair to accuse him if he could not attempt to clear his name in court, and (4) the appropriate forum to decide what action is needed in light of the report is Congress.

You might find more in his comments. Here he is.

And Now, a Word from Estonian Populists

You may have heard. A populist party called “EKRE” won 19% of the vote in recent Estonian parliamentary elections. Other mainstream parties go more, and the Reform Party got the most votes. But through a rather surprising coalition deal, Reform was excluded from forming a coalition and EKRE was dealt in.

Voila. Estonia made news. Here is Bloomberg writing about the situation.

Of course, this is not great PR for Estonia within the European body politic. But it is a wake up call for Estonians. Do they really support folks with these sorts of positions? Anti-gay marriage? Send the blacks home?

And a visit from Marie LePen today is further stirring the pot. It is known, here, for example that LePen’s party receives financing from Russia. That is a major turn off for Estonians.

I will be delivering a speech on all of this today. It should be interesting. Stay tuned!

 

Assessing the Damage at Notre Dame

It could have been so, so much worse

The roof is gone, the spire is gone, but the north and south towers of Notre Dame have withstood the conflagration. The rose windows survived, which is a freaking miracle. I thought they were goners for sure. The bells, including the great 13-ton bourdon Emmanuel, the only bell of Notre Dame to survive the cultural holocaust of the French Revolution, are intact. The artistic and religious treasures it held are safe in an undisclosed location.

Some things have been lost. But Notre Dame will be rebuilt. Of that, I am sure.

And Now for a Word from Russia

from my NYT briefing

Russia: Lawmakers approved a bill that some worry will open the door to sweeping censorship. The legislation is designed to route web traffic through filters controlled by the state communications watchdog. It also provides for an independent Russian internet that could function even if cut off from the global web.

filers controlled by state communications watchdog? Now why would that be needed?  Aren’t those guys busy enough already?