Russiagate: “The question now is, has the Mueller report finally freed up the rest of us to challenge the more insane flights of fantasy?”

But was it consummated?

As usual The Onion wins.

Shocked Vladimir Putin Slowly Realizing He Didn’t Conspire With Trump Campaign (The Onion)

‘Who The Hell Was I Working With Then?’ Asks Russian President

MOSCOW—Saying that he had been “totally blindsided” by the revelations from the recently released findings of the Mueller investigation, a shocked Vladimir Putin reportedly came to the realization Tuesday that he didn’t conspire with Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign after all …

… “I spent so much time emailing back and forth with about compromising the democratic voting process, and now it turns out it was all fake?”

America spent the Cold War exaggerating the capability of our Soviet foes, so I suppose we might as well travel the same path with Putin and today’s Russians. Concurrently I loathe Trump, but persist in believing we must do things for the right reason — or it’s just more fake news. 

This essay from an old Russian hand amid the journalistic ranks hits all the correct notes. Russiagate has been a massive distraction from discussions that should have been taking place since The Donald became president.

Russiagate: The Great Tragic Comedy of Modern Journalism, by Matt Bivens (Medium)

 … I was not surprised to see politicians up on their hind legs, panting mindlessly about Russians. But to see journalists at CNN, The New York Times, NPR, MSNBC, competing to be even dumber … hot on the trail of a non-story, recklessly discarding fairness and professionalism … dragging us gleefully down every rabbit hole … applauding the collateral damage to bystanders, as they indulge their collective rage against Donald Trump, their hysterical certainty that he must be a Russian asset … What can I say? It’s been heart-breaking.

I know of smart, progressive-leaning journalists who politically oppose Donald Trump, but who feel like strangers in their own newsrooms, afraid to speak out against this mob psychosis. When I meet old colleagues, we have to feel each other out cautiously, until with relief we realize: Thank God, you’re not one of them — not one of the pod people from “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” that might point at me and scream.

I would hear their tales of the lunacy in their journalistic operations, shake my head in concern, wish them the best. And then I’d go back to my job in the emergency department, taking care of people with heart attacks and strokes and broken bones.

Watching from afar, I would cheer on those few brave enough to ask questions — people like Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept, Aaron Maté of The Real News, John Solomon of The Hill, Masha Gessen at The New York Review of Books, and my old friends Leonid Bershidsky at Bloomberg and especially Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone. And I would wait for the madness to end. But it didn’t.

And then Stephen Cohen of The Nation, another voice of reason, sent me a copy of his book, “War With Russia?” It’s a collection of his heretical writings about our new, unnecessary Cold War, and the opening essay, adapted from a talk he gave in Washington D.C., made me ashamed of my silence.

“Some people who privately share our concerns — again, in Congress, the media, universities and think tanks — do not speak out at all. For whatever reason — concern about being stigmatized, about their career, personal disposition — they are silent. But in our democracy, where the cost of dissent is relatively low, silence is no longer a patriotic option,” Cohen wrote, adding, “We should exempt from this imperative young people, who have more to lose. A few have sought my guidance, and I always advise, ‘Even petty penalties for dissent in regard to Russia could adversely affect your career. At this stage of life, your first obligation is to your family and thus to your future prospects. Your time to fight lies ahead’.”

Well, what was my excuse?

Special Prosecutor Robert S. Mueller has now turned in his findings, and there’s not much there. For weeks beforehand, mainstream media warned about this — exhorting readers against succumbing to feeling “disappointed”.

Disappointed? I guess, as my friend Taibbi has noted, it would have been an immense relief had the U.S. president been found to be a high-level traitor. We could have all brought picnic lunches to his execution.

Right before the species-ending war with Russia.

In their fanatic loyalty to the narrative, what used to be my favorite media have stridently reminded us that, Mueller aside, “it’s not over!” The “focus of the investigation” will move now to the New York prosecutors, to House committees. The American intelligentsia will continue to dream up wild theories — they’ll be Scotch-taped on every vertical surface, connected by bits of yarn and magic marker scribbles and hyperverbal mania.

The question now is, has the Mueller report finally freed up the rest of us to challenge the more insane flights of fantasy? Or is it instead so close to the 2020 presidential elections — and so legally dangerous for some of the intelligence insiders who have tried to bring down the president — that skeptical journalists more than ever will be bullied to keep silent?