Weekly Roundup: It’s Mueller Time Edition

Like it or loathe it, the “Mueller investigation” has to be considered a complete and total success.

No, The Man From B.C.C.I. didn’t “get Trump” — but did anybody besides Rachel Maddow really think that “the Russians” had a significant hand in the 2016 election? Even if they’d seriously and illegally tried to game the outcome, with Trump’s encouragement and/or participation, what chance did a bunch of ex-KGB goons with Facebook accounts have against a weaponized Google, not to mention the super-wealthy who put millions upon millions of dollars in play on both sides of the political divide? Nor does the report appear to provide any ready-made basis to impeach the President, the way that Ken Starr’s work did with Bill Clinton — but again, what were the chances that a man with forty years’ worth of experience dodging politically-motivated prosecution in New York City would be an easy target for the man who appears to have been easily manipulated by both George Bush and the Boston Mafia?

From my outsider’s perspective, however, the Mueller investigation wasn’t about keeping Russia out of our elections. It was about making it perfectly clear that any future President who hails from outside the “Swamp” or the “Deep State” will be hounded into madness and bankruptcy by that so-called Deep State. This has little to do with party loyalty; one can easily imagine Tulsi Gabbard or Rand Paul being on the receiving end of a similar battering-via-prosecution after winning an election. Even if our potential maverick politicians are not discouraged by this prospect, surely they’ll have a hard time filling their staffs prior to those elections. You’d have to be a certified moron not to notice the fact that Jeffrey Epstein did thirteen months for raping dozens of underaged girls but Paul Manafort is almost certainly going to die in prison. When it comes to selective prosecution, there really is such a thing as being on the right side of history.

Consider, also, the fact that Mr. and Mrs. Clinton have made nine-figure fortunes from the residuals of their “co-presidency”, while Mr. and Mrs. Obama have received well over fifty million dollars in speaking fees and book royalties since leaving office — but Donald Trump, who entered the White House with a net worth of somewhere between one and three billion dollars depending on which source you believe, will probably spend the rest of his life fighting legal actions and prosecutions designed to drive him into the poorhouse and/or the grave. Forbes thinks that being President has cost Trump over a billion dollars so far, with more to come. In this context, allegations of $40,000 hotel stays on Trump properties by heads of state seem slightly inadequate by contrast. (It should be noted that both of the Bushes entered the job as rich men and left it the same way.)

If Trump’s ongoing public crucifixion frightens Zuckerberg or Bezos out of running for President, then perhaps the whole witch hunt has been money and effort well spent. The true cost of the Mueller investigation, however, will be borne by society, every time the proverbial Mr. Smith doesn’t go to Washington because he doesn’t care to sacrifice his life, and the lives of his children, on a media-operated altar. The only people who can survive winning an election in a post-Mueller world will be the people who have been political creatures since college — all those annoying class presidents and committee leaders who are immune to the lure of any pleasure save the acquisition of absolute power by any means necessary. That should scare you. It certainly scares me.

* * *

For Hagerty, I wrote about big wheels and super-fancy Audis.

For Cycle World, I looked back at the ZRX Kawasakis. It should be noted that this is a late Web publication of a print article from a month or two back; I’m no longer writing about bikes for CW.

55 Replies to “Weekly Roundup: It’s Mueller Time Edition”

  1. AvatarSean

    I think Zukerberg was scared off during his “regular guy” tour. Bezos? If he wants he could just take over. He’s too smart for that.
    The ones we should be worrying about have already been elected.

    Reply
    • AvatarFred Lee

      Agreed.

      I’m pleased that the Mueller probe is over, and that Trump was cleared of collusion. I would have given it even odds, but I’m happy with this outcome.

      That said, I believe Trump is a criminal who deserves to be hounded until the end of his days. When everyone around you is a criminal to the extend that you make the Clintons look like angels, there’s something wrong. Trump’s own statements about Clinton could fill pages of r/suicidebywords . Lock him up indeed.

      Reply
  2. AvatarEconomist

    Unless my Cycle World was delivered late, that ZRX article ran in the issue I got about a week ago. I enjoyed it all the same.

    Reply
  3. AvatarNoID

    Dangit Jack, your article on the Kawasaki bikes is doing nothing (or perhaps too much) for my annual springtime motorcycle lust.

    My heart is saying let’s go, but my wallet (and schedule, and lifestyle, and responsibilities, and spouse, and…) is saying no.

    Reply
  4. Avatarrambo furum

    It’s hard to feel bad for Trump with him doing the MIGA thing with the Golan Heights. That is not what he was elected to do.

    Reply
      • Avatarrambo furum

        Please let me know what they have ever done for us, besides make our legislators rich. We seem to do way, way too much for them. Even tribesman Michael Savage admits this.

        Reply
          • Avatarsilentsod

            Rambo is not referring to the Palestinians in his comment and he has a history of posting similar comments in that regard.

          • Avatarrambo furum

            Silentsod, I would assume this is a reference to Israel’s unprovoked airstrike on the USS Liberty in international waters. To even mention the unjustified death of a few dozen of our servicemen is considered anti-Semitic by Zionists and Jewish supremacists that see Americans as less important than Israel.

          • AvatarRonnie Schreiber

            They also apologized and paid compensation. Is there no such thing as a friendly-fire incident? Since you’re interested in the truth, why has the Navy never declassified what the Liberty was doing at the time of the attack. It was over 50 years ago, why keep it a secret?

          • Avatarrambo furum

            I agree, declassify that info! Of course even wikipedia admits that there is a chance that we were monitoring war crimes being committed by not-Egypt.

    • AvatarRonnie Schreiber

      “Yet all this availeth me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.”

      Reply
      • Avatarrambo furum

        Dare one ask why you would cite from a fable about using political influence to get an enemy and his family killed?

        Reply
        • AvatarRonnie Schreiber

          It’s a free county. You can ask whatever you want, providing Jack doesn’t object. It’s his property, after all. To answer, Haman is your kind of guy. You left out the part where he plots and starts to implement genocide.

          In any case, there are many lessons to be learned from the Bible.

          Reply
          • Avatarrambo furum

            The adage is that a Jew will always tell you what happened to him but will never tell you why.
            Why did Mordechai feel that he was above everyone else in the mythical kingdom that was obligated to bow to Haman based on his position?
            What is this preoccupation with imaginary genocides and murderous revenges?

          • AvatarRonnie Schreiber

            If you had the strength of your convictions you’d boycott anything and everything that Jews have invented or developed, but you’re a coward so you’ll continue to benefit from those you despise. You may think that you are exploiting them but in using their creativity you know, deep down, that they contributed far more to humanity than you ever have.

            Feel free the mention any significant accomplishments you’ve made in your own life.

            Just wondering, is your case of Jews on the brain about genetics or about culture? My orthodox Jewish grandchildren have more gentile great-grandparents than Jewish. Do you hate them less than half as much as you hate their grandfather who is 99% Jewish per DNA tests, or are they equally tainted by the Talmud?

  5. Avatarmichael

    Trump’s narcissistic personality, average (at best) IQ, questionable business dealings, Daddy-Boy upbringing, and overt racism make him a big fat target.

    I’m sure Zuckerberg or Bezos would not get anywhere close to bringing out the hate like Trump does.

    I do fear a country of selective prosecutions, but I think that has always been the case.

    Reply
  6. Avatararbuckle

    I don’t think there is any larger “Deep State” plot going on here. I’ve seen nothing in the last 15 years to make me believe that the high-levels of US federal law enforcement are anything more than a bunch of well-connected Inspector Clouseau-tier chucklef*cks that would struggle that would struggle to solve a Scooby Doo mystery. The competency level is too low to do anything sinister.

    What I think happened here is that one side was angry about losing a presidential election and made loud excuses for it. We’ve seen this happen in ’00 (Bush STOLE the election), ’04 (the Bush admin are war criminals), and ’08 (Obama is a secret Muslim born in Kenya). Usually the wining party gives no quarter to this sort of thing so it doesn’t go anywhere. Unfortunately the GOP of 2016 was largely made up of spineless ‘Aw, Shucks’ types and National Review fart-sniffers so we got a major investigation accusing a sitting president of conducting an international conspiracy.

    Here’s what the Russian “hacking of our election” actually looked liked:
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2017/business/russian-ads-facebook-targeting/img/2300-russian-ads-facebook-targeting-promo-v2.jpg

    Lame stuff created by some Drakkar Noir soaked guys in Volgograd. If that was enough to destroy our country then we didn’t deserve to have one in the first place.

    Reply
    • Avatarstingray65

      The other side in 2008 was Hillary – it was her campaign that started the Kenyan rumor. Of course Obama’s own book publicist said he was born in Kenya until 2007, and I would not be surprised if he claimed foreign birth in his university applications, which is perhaps one reason they are sealed up tighter than Fort Knox (or perhaps its just because his grades were very mediocre).

      Reply
      • AvatarFred Lee

        Citation required on all counts.

        Can we see Trump’s transcripts? What about his taxes? What about evidence of his “heel spurs”? What about details of security clearances for his daughter and son-in-law? What about a record of his discussions with Putin?

        Reply
  7. AvatarDirty Dingus McGee

    “The true cost of the Mueller investigation, however, will be borne by society, every time the proverbial Mr. Smith doesn’t go to Washington because he doesn’t care to sacrifice his life, and the lives of his children, on a media-operated altar”

    Folks might take note that this is happening to Howard Schultz of Starbucks fame, for not spouting the uber liberal viewpoint. To some in the media, he is a junior version of Trump for some of the sound bites they cherry pick.

    It’s not going to get better, only worse. Every yokel and their cousin has a platform; be it Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, or traditional print and broadcast media. And for either side it’s always “I’m right, you’re wrong, end of story”. I’m reminded of a tag line Adam Savage used in the old Mythbusters show; (paraphrasing) “I refuse to accept your reality and substitute my own”.

    Based on the current crop of Dem’s that have declared they are running for president; “Beta” O’Rourke, “Fauxcohontas” Warren, “Gropin Joe” Biden, and a whole pack of unknowns, the only way Trump loses reelection, is to be caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy,

    Reply
  8. Avatardejal

    If Adam Schiff has evidence of collusion, why didn’t he give that evidence to Mueller?

    Kind of off subject because you mentioned Audi.

    Yesterday, in a supermarket parking lot, I park near a black Saturn 4 door and an black Audi A4, they are side by side.

    Guy nears the cars with his wife or girlfriend with a cart of groceries. He’s going to open the door for her.
    Attempts to open the door to the Saturn.
    Realizes his mistake and opens the door of the A4.

    Reply
  9. AvatarJason Smith

    Wow Jack. You really seem to have some animosity towards the Z900RS. This is the 2nd article that I have seen where you take shots at it.

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      Yeah I am bitter about it. I wanted it to be at least as powerful as the standard bike. I dont understand why I have to take a loss in order to have the retro or cafe form factors. If I want a 90-horse retro I can keep my CB1100.

      Reply
      • AvatarJason Smith

        I will give you that one. Kawasaki says that they retuned the bike for more low end power, but when motorcycle.com ran the z900 and the Z900RS on the same dyno……the power curves were almost identical until the upper rpm range where the RS tapered off.

        Reply
        • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

          If an ECU swap would fix it then maybe that’s the way to go.

          The Z900 Cafe in green is the stuff of which dreams are made. Just wish it had the ZX10R engine….

          Reply
          • AvatarRonnie Schreiber

            I guess, perhaps because the engine and transmission are usually a single unit on a bike, that engine swaps on cars are a lot easier than on motorcycles, though I do recall that people used to put Ariel fours in Vincent chassis.

      • Avataryamahog

        You get ABS with the Z900RS, that helps extend the riding season (although your ZX14 has ABS, right? You could just ironically-and-sensibly ride that in low traction days). Also, CB1100 weighs 540 pounds wet. The Z900RS weighs 470 lbs wet. Also, Cycle world puts the Z900RS at ~97 horsepower at the wheels and the CB1100 at ~82 horsepower at the wheels.

        How much would you pay to shave 10% of the weight off the CB? How much would you pay for an extra 15 horsepower?Though if you trace the power/weight curve you’ll find an inflection point at the 701 Vitpilen – 362 lbs wet, 75 horsepower. Food for thought.

        I recently moved out to Silicon Valley & I was cruising a skyline road on top of some of the Santa Cruz mountains on my FJR happened some dudes vaping and yacking in front of their BRZs and WRXs, I pulled over and chatted with them about their cars — oh to own a Subaru BRZ on a weekend — and during the course of the conversation, the owner of a tuned WRX told me about his Z900RS. Apparently the speed scared him and he worked at a Subaru dealer (as a service writer) so commuting on the bike seemed out of the question.

        Make of that what you will, but if the guy was telling the truth, the bike might not be the thrill it should be.

        But it’s a bummer that Kawasaki nerfed the Z900RS motor. Why even add that additional, crapp-ified version of the motor and the additional complexity to the value chain? Bummer. Oh well, they got the memo when they made the ZX-14 and H2.

        Reply
        • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

          The biggest problem for me, and I freely admit that it is entirely irrational, is that if I bought the nerfed RS I would feel like I was missing out on the regular z900. So I might as well get the regular Z900. But I like the vintage look. It’s a puzzler.

          Reply
  10. Avatarbaconator

    Predictable right-wing take is predictable. Mueller report appears low impact, once redacted and summarized by the Attorney General specifically chosen to blunt the impact of the Muller investigation? Also predictable.

    And so it goes. It’s basically a Watergate where an emboldened Nixon continues to be president, and the stochastic terrorists around him are emboldened to ever more brazen acts to please their master. We sort of knew that crooks were running the country anyway, but now they no longer have to pretend to be anything other.

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      The only time we have NOT had crooks running the country since 1988 was during the two Bush presidencies, in which decent, honest, moral men sent midwestern kids to Iraq so they could lose their legs.

      Do you feel that Messrs. Clinton and Obama were honest men?

      Reply
      • Avatarstingray65

        Well Jack, the Obama administration did have zero scandals, as Barack has confirmed many times, and we have to trust him because he is a man of zero scandals.

        Reply
    • Avatarhank chinaski

      Alternatively, the report is redacted because the paper trail of FISA warrants ultimately leads directly to the last sitting president, i.e. worse than Watergate.

      Again, why we aren’t in open dialogue with the only other nation able to vaporize the planet boggles the mind. The choice of post-Soviet Russia as the boogeyman in 2018 is an odd one, and implies an unhealthy fixation on 18th century pogroms.

      There’s no point to Zuck or Bezos seeking the presidency. They are far more powerful where they already are.

      The DNC suddenly pitching Biden suggests that they’ve accepted a 2020 loss. He’s outlived his usefulness and has no political capital to lose. The circular firing squad will continue, and the big-money will stand pat until putting Harris up in 2024. FL will flip by then, and possibly TX as well (2028 latest). At some point we’ll have a dozen or so ‘Omars’ and ‘Ocasios’ and things will get really ugly.

      Trump has been brought to heel, and his last Jeb Bush themed SOTU proves it. Sand in the gears, thrown in by this investigation, the 9th circuit, and Ryan (and company) did exactly what it was meant to do.

      Reply
      • Avatarrambo furum

        “The choice of post-Soviet Russia as the boogeyman in 2018 is an odd one, and implies an unhealthy fixation on 18th century pogroms.”
        QFT

        Reply
      • AvatarRonnie Schreiber

        unhealthy fixation on 18th century pogroms

        Pogroms, at least those against Jews, were more of a 19th century phenomenon in Russia.

        When you consider that Israel’s current government has relatively good relations with Putin’s regime, the idea that Jews in general are against dialog with Russia sounds a bit silly.

        Reply
        • Avatarrambo furum

          Fair enough, but it’s hard to miss the fact that people who happen to be Jewish and have influential positions are incredibly overrepresented in the pushing of the Russian enemy narrative.

          Reply
  11. AvatarMrGreenMan

    They told me George W Bush was Hitler. The Daily Kos called him “Bushitler” and “chimpy”. Then, I saw pictures of Pres. Bush 43 giving Mrs. Clinton a personal painting about Mr. Obama’s Air Force One. It was all a sham for the rubes to think there’s a real difference for members of the club that runs America. It’s no different from Tom DeLay lighting up his cigar, putting up his heels on a restaurant table, and declaring, “Cut the government? Son, I AM the government.”

    America’s entered the bad phases of the Roman Republic. Voting people out of office is not enough. You’ve got people up thread here who want to pursue their enemies for life. If people attempt too many of these performances like confronting the Elaine Chaus of the world in a restaurant for life for having served in government, it’s going to quickly escalate from words to bullets.

    The fanatical desire to destroy those who disagree with you is incompatible with any human society anyone would choose to live in. There’s a reason Tim Poole views his job as keeping people from killing each other over opinions; it’s coming because it’s already a fetishized fantasy.

    Reply
  12. AvatarPaul M.

    One has to wonder how effective Trump would have been, if he didn’t start his campaign putting down Mexican rapists, or Muslim terrorists, and spend so much goodwill trying to stop people from Muslim countries coming to America or build a 30 foot wall to keep America pure.

    When one is so biased to begin their campaign they are already on thin ice, outside or not. Let it be known, in our lifetimes, there has never been a president as divisive as the one we have now, and if we can drive him into poor house (or his children), we have done our duty as Americans. Long live a diversified America.

    Reply
    • AvatarDaniel J

      Paul M,

      Really? Throwing stones in that glass house?

      I get awefully tired of the far left telling conservatives how “unchristian” they are, mocking their religion simply because they don’t want to give handouts.

      But y’all have no problems drawing and quartering anyone who disagrees.

      Just shameful. I voted for Democrats. Their hate and their divisiveness is proving to be even worse than Trump’s bigotry. At least he doesn’t hide it

      Reply
  13. AvatarKevin Jaeger

    I think your assessment is spot on. While I was not at all surprised the Russia hoax was revealed as exactly that, I confess I was quite surprised that they didn’t drop an accusation of some kind in the report.

    After all, anyone who has run as many companies and deals as Trump has could not possibly be in compliance with all laws and regulations even if he were determined to try. It is simply impossible to be in full compliance of all of the laws and regulations of the modern administrative state. I certainly expected them to mine the mountain of raw material that is surely there in New York real estate development and manufacture a 50-count indictment of misstated asset values on loan documents or something like that. I am sure the Democrats in congress were fully expecting at least something to be gift-wrapped for them.

    But in any case the demonstration of deep state power has been made to discourage any future outsiders to get any ideas. Or for any true outsiders to join whatever time remains of the Trump administration. There will be no-one but Washington insiders appointed even if Trump wins re-election.

    While lots of people have claimed Trump was a threat to the country’s institutions, what he has really done is expose the institutions as thoroughly corrupt just by getting elected. And the willingness of the national media to be full partners in this defense of the Washington swamp has been something to behold, indeed.

    Reply
  14. Avatargtem

    A ZRX is one of my favorites. I rode a ’77 XS500 across the US in 2008 and in general am a fan of the UJM style both in terms of aesthetics and utility. After that trip I bought a very well preserved but higher mileage (44k miles) ’78 GS1000, loved it but didn’t have time for any other long cross country trips that it would have excelled at. Once I moved to Indiana I bought a ’99 Bandit 1200S to keep up with my sport-bike riding buddies. Fantastic bike, super satisfying motor on that thing, very comfortable, my friends on Ducatis and 600RRs would be bitching and moaning after a 200 mile day ride, I was ready for more.

    Reply
  15. AvatarBruno Jácomo Balestra Simões de Lima

    Hey Jack!

    I’ve been trying to read the Hagerty articles for a few days now but the connection times out and the page doesn’t load. Is Brazil (my location) blocked or in any way impeded of accessing the site? I’ve been reading your reviews and other texts for at least a decade and would hate to miss it.

    Best Regards!

    Bruno Balestra

    Reply

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