The Widdershins

Posts Tagged ‘James Comey

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As I have written many times, often writing posts in the Trump-age feels like an exercise in futility because by the time they are posted they are already out of date. I fear this post will be the same… so we must stay on top of latest news via the comments!

What we know: FBI Director James Comey has been fired by Donald Trump, his Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, with Rosenstein writing the explanation. (Rosenstein had previously been viewed as an honest man. He was confirmed just a few weeks ago to the Justice Deparment with a 94-6 vote in the Senate. But as Philippe Reines pointed out, if Rosenstein was an honest man he would have answered Trump and Sessions’ demand that Comey be fired with: “No, I refuse.” Instead, he wrote his own epitaph as a coward.) The administrations explanation for firing Comey is: it’s Hillary’s fault. Also, her e-mails.

I cannot defend the Director’s handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary Clinton’s emails, and I do not understand his refusal to accept the nearly universal judgment that he was mistaken. Almost everyone agrees that the Director made serious mistakes; it is one of the few issues that unites people of diverse perspectives.

It is not the function of the director to make such an announcement. At most, the director should have said the FBI had completed its investigation and presented its findings to federal prosecutors. The director now defends his decision by asserting that he believed Attorney General Loretta Lynch had a conflict. But the FBI director is never empowered to supplant federal prosecutors and assume command of the Justice Department.

This is, of course, laughable on its face and no one can take this explanation seriously except maybe Fox News, which suddenly shows great concern for how Comey treated poor Hillary Clinton. Even Roger Stone (!) expressed regret: “What Comey did to Hillary was disgraceful. I’m glad Trump fired him over it,” he said to Alex Pfeiffer. We know, of course, the firing had nothing to do with Clinton. It is about the FBI’s investigation of Trump campaign’s collusion with Russia to steal the 2016 Presidential election.

Comey

James Comey has been an enigma for a long time. His press conference announcing that his agency would not recommend charges against Clinton over use of a private e-mail server, while blasting her in such a public manner, seemed inexplicable. Some stories later suggested Comey wanted to reveal information about Russian interference in our election in the summer of 2016, but was stopped by Obama. Then Comey refused to sign on to other agencies’ announcement of this info in the Fall of 2016 because it was too close to the election and he didn’t wish to interfere. But his Letter just days before the election, announcing discovery of new e-mails on the computer of Clinton’s aide Huma Abedin’s husband, did precisely what he claimed earlier he didn’t wish to do: he changed the outcome of an election. What a bizarre story arc for a man who once rushed to the hospital bed of Attorney General John Ashcroft to stop the Bush/Cheney administration from spying on Americans. None of it made sense. Until last week when Comey testified before the Senate. Finally the fog lifted.

I could see two doors and they were both actions. One was labeled speak, the other was labeled conceal. Because here’s how I thought about it, I’m not trying to talk you into this, but I want you to know my thinking. Having repeatedly told this Congress, we are done and there’s nothing there, there’s no case there, there’s no case there, to restart in a hugely significant way, potentially finding the emails that would reflect on her intent from the beginning and not speak about it would require an active concealment, in my view.

And so I stared at speak and conceal. Speak would be really bad. There’s an election in 11 days, Lordy, that would be really bad. Concealing in my view would be catastrophic, not just to the FBI, but well beyond. And honestly, as between really bad and catastrophic, I said to my team we got to walk into the world of really bad.

In the end, this long term public servant fell for the oldest tragic flaw, the one Greeks wrote plays about: Hubris. Comey just thinks of himself as the last honest man in America. Our own Prolix has written a few times that Comey isn’t corrupt, he is Righteous and his own belief in his Righteousness is where things can get murky. It’s true that his Righteousness is why I think ultimately he could have been trusted with the FBI investigation into Trump/Russia. But his zealotry came with unintended – even by him – consequences: the election of Donald Trump as President. In an honest desire to be seen as non-partisan Comey managed to ruin the reputation of his favorite agency. With his fear of being taken to task by Republicans, who would smear him and the FBI if he did not tell them about the Abedin e-mails, Comey compromised himself as an honest broker of truth. He misassigned the concepts of “bad” and “catastrophic.” He thought not telling Congress about the e-mails would be catastrophic. In fact, not telling Republicans and becoming the target of their wrath would have been bad. Affecting the outcome of a Presidential election was catastrophic.

-Joy Reid Sally Yates comment

(There were also the grave issues that in his testimony to the Senate Comey gave inaccurate information about Abedin’s e-mails, falsely claiming “tens and thousands” of messages had been sent by her to her husband’s computer. It took 6 days, and prodding from ProPublica and Washington Post, for the FBI to issue a correction. The same day Comey was fired. Trump had his bodyguard Keith Schiller deliver the firing letter to the FBI headquarters, but they didn’t realize Comey was not in the office. Comey was delivering a speech and learned he was fired when the news popped up on the screen behind him.)

-COmey fired Petri

This brings us to the present. What does Comey’s firing mean in the larger scheme of things? Many Clinton aides have expressed concern, not joy, at the developments. That Clinton aides, who dislike Comey as much as anyone, are concerned about the firing speaks volumes about the Clinton candidacy and the people who supported her. We are more concerned about the Republic than petty revenge. Because what does Comey’s firing mean for the Russia/Trump investigation and the future of the Republic? It is impossible to know just yet. Some high profile Republicans, like Lindsey Graham and Susan Collins, have lined up behind Trump. Collins told Judy Woodruff: “Well, the president didn’t fire the entire FBI.” Graham said: “I believe a fresh start will serve the FBI and the nation well.” This is worrisome because it shows a continued support for the insupportable Trump, his administration and his policies. The good news is that some others Republicans have expressed concerns. (And not just the Nixon Library tweeting an objection to people calling Trump’s behavior “Nixonian.”)

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John McCain tweeted that “Removal of Director Comey only confirms need for select cmte to investigate #Russia’s interference in 2016 election.” Tea Partier Justin Amash tweeted: “My staff and I are reviewing legislation to establish an independent commission on Russia. The second paragraph of this letter is bizarre.” Republican Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, who heads the Senate investigation into Trump/Russia, wrote:

I am troubled by the timing and reasoning of Director Comey’s termination. I have found Director Comey to be a public servant of the highest order, and his dismissal further confuses an already difficult investigation by the Committee. In my interactions with the Director and with the Bureau under his leadership, he and the FBI have always been straightforward with our Committee.  Director Comey has been more forthcoming with information than any FBI Director I can recall in my tenure on the congressional intelligence committees. His dismissal, I believe, is a loss for the Bureau and the nation.

Other notable Republicans who have expressed concern about Comey’s firing are James Lankford of Oklahoma, Bob Corker of Tennessee, Mark Sanford of South Carolina, and Senate Judiciary Committee member Ben Sasse of Nebraska.

I think we are at a cross-roads. What happens next is what history books will say about all of us. Will the firing of Comey bring about Trump’s downfall? Or will Republicans close ranks and save him, kill the investigation… and damn us all to a banana republic?

-History joke

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Okay, okay, I know we have been stewing like ceviche in the citrusy juices of the imPOTUS Tangelo for 106 days now, but the allusion to 101 Dalmatians was just too good. If only the birthing of my new googling machine had cooperated, I could have used the title last week.  

The head fake to 101 Dalmatians does serve a purpose though. Taken individually, pups are adorable, even two or three at a time is manageable, but 101 all at once is a herd of pooping madness. It’s like the sophisticated engineering of a single locust, but multiply that evolutionary design by millions and suddenly we are breaking out the Old Testament for gardening tips.

My point is this – no matter if you are an American who sees the daily onslaught of issues as adorable Dalmatians or plagues of pestilence, something alarming is happening in the country.

As disconcerting as yesterday was, with one-sixth of the economy and perhaps 24 million gleefully sentenced to Republican indifference in order to provide the largest historical wealth transfer from the poorest to the richest, it isn’t yet benedictory.

Likewise, it doesn’t even worry me that the poor souls who voted for Dolt 45 are doggedly clinging to him like dung-beetles to an elephant with acute diarrhea.

And not even the extinction level event of me linking to something George Will writes causes my alarm bells to chirp.  Yesterday while describing one of the Trumpanzee’s many disabilities, Will wrote, “[T]he problem isn’t that he does not know this or that, or that he does not know that he does not know this or that. Rather, the dangerous thing is that he does not know what it is to know something.”

What bothers me most was paraded in full view of the world on Tuesday. It is the reason we were denied the most qualified President in history. We were denied not because of hacking or Putin or Wikileaks or gerrymandering or voter suppression or not going to effing Wisconsin enough.  We were denied our rightful President because we have allowed aberrant behavior to be normalized. Not just normalizing Dolt 45’s behavior, but normalizing the wholesale disregard for shared values and expectations.

Notice in GOP Crazyland, Breitbart is larger than Fox in terms of creating a narrative…

That’s how we are punching the clock in our little piece of history. For the past thirty years there has been unparalleled asymmetric polarization. The Right has gotten more philosophically turgid while the Left has stayed philosophically consistent. When the intellectually lazy say, “Both sides do it,” tell them there are library ranges straining under the weight of sociological studies proving they are stupid and should be castrated to improve the gene pool. Both sides don’t do it. It is the Right that has gone off the page in any diagram of philosophical leaning.

To service and empower this time-reversing way-back machine, an epistemic closed loop has extinguished fact and replaced it with tribal truisms.  Tribal truism is a simple construct: Does whatever is said or heard help my tribe or hurt my tribe? If whatever is said hurts my tribe, I ignore it, deny it, or engage in “whataboutism”. I neutralize whatever hurts my tribe since it can’t be true.

For instance, Paul Ryan didn’t want to hear what the independent Congressional Budget Office had to say about the AHCA so he ignored it, called a vote before the CBO score, and for good measure, the Michelin Man doppelganger, Newt Gingrich, called for the abolishment of the CBO altogether. Protect the tribe!

Used to be the press enforced the rules by shaming offending politicians. Not anymore. There is no longer shame on the Right. When you get to the outer reaches of the philosophical spectrum, there is no longer the gravity of shame.

As DYB has so eloquently pointed out, access journalism has rendered the First Amendment a toothless lap dog. When I see Glenn Thrush, Maggie Haberman, Frick Halperin, Frack Heilemann, or “rock hard abs and Employment Whack-a-Mole” Andrew Sullivan, I’m reminded the only appreciable talent these people have is balancing both pen and paper in one hand while they are otherwise engaged on the business end of a journalistic glory hole.

Even birds are skeptical…

So what does all this have to do with Tuesday’s hearing with the almighty King of the Fibbies? Simple. Comey made a decision to violate DoJ procedure and write his misleading October 28th letter because there were no consequences. The bad consequences for him would have come from complying with the rules and not writing the letter.

The cost/benefit analysis was clear: He would be hounded unmercifully by the Fox/Breitbart/Drudge/Limbaugh/Hannity/PeeWeeHerman infotainment complex if he didn’t write the letter no matter if Hillary won or lost. There were only upsides to feeding the shameless nutjobs of the far, far Right. There were no concomitant upsides from adhering to the shared values and expectations.

Contrary to Comey’s statement, at no point in the criminal justice process, beyond basic fairness, is the reputation of the investigator of any consequence. Comey knew the Democrats would play according to the rules, but he knew the Republicans would not. In reality his contrived self-serving dilemma of “reveal versus conceal” should have been “violate and copulate” since he broke established procedure in order to f*ck the country in order to please himself.

Good government, efficacious policy, and the republic itself is under attack, we will be lucky if it is only 101 predations.

A case of the “bigly sads”…

If you’ve noticed, I’ve purposefully kept the links to a bare minimum today in order to emphasize one superb Vox article:  Donald Trump and the Rise of Tribal Epistemology by David Roberts. It is a few weeks old, but it is a wonderful synopsis of a very complicated web of problems. If you read nothing else today, take the time or bookmark it. It is truly exceptional.

One last thing – thanks to Fredster, DYB, and GAgal for covering during my technological convalescence. I appreciate them.

What are you thinking about today?

Comey

James Comey is the strangest, most mysterious man in the known universe. And boy, does he have a poker face. What is his deal? What is his game? Officially people in the world of politics still vouch for his integrity. But the rest of us mortals can probably say: “Comey, I hate you. I love you. I hate you. I love you. I hate you. I like you. I’m not sure. I hate you. Huh?”

Most citizens probably never gave Comey much thought until his press conference announcing FBI would not recommend charges against Hillary Clinton for using a private e-mail server, although Clinton was very very naughty. The bizarre “She broke rules but we won’t prosecute” announcement brought out angry responses from Republicans and grudging gratitude from Democrats. When Comey was called to explain his actions before Congress, Democrats shielded him. Then the tables flipped when 12 days before the election Comey sent The Letter, making Republicans dance with joyful glee and sending Democrats into apoplectic fits of rage. There is no doubt that The Letter swung the election to Trump. Through all this Comey was investigating Trump’s connections to Russia. FBI started their investigation at the end of July. (July 27th is when Trump called on Russia to hack Clinton’s e-mails, but rumors of Trump’s relationship to Putin were already swirling. See Robby Mook/Jake Tapper clip below.) How in the world does the head of the FBI throw one candidate’s candidacy into chaos while knowing that the other candidate may be colluding with a foreign power to manipulate the election? These actions are inexplicable. And through it all Comey’s Mona Lisa smile is infuriating.

Now again Comey, with Trump installed in the White House, has unleashed the wrath of the Republicans and weary excitement from Democrats in Congress. Democrats need him. Republicans and Trump need him to shut up. If you’re keeping score, Comey has pissed off Republicans more often than Democrats. But he also handed Republicans the ultimate gift: The Presidency of the United States. What is his deal? What is his game? Will we ever actually know? Or will his motives and actions forever be the source of speculation? What will history books say about James Comey?

Of the people within Trump’s administration who seem likely to go down hard are Paul Manafort, Carter Page and Roger Stone. (Davis Nunes says he’s never heard of Page and Stone… make of that what you will… )  CNN put together a handy guide to Stone’s public comments regarding his connections to Assange, WikiHacks and Guccifer 2.0. These are great for when Stone says he didn’t know anything about anything. The timeline spans from August 10, 2016 (“Stone tells a local Republican Party group in Florida “I’ve actually communicated with Julian Assange”) to March 20, 2017 (“It’s only fair that I have a chance to respond 2 any smears or half truths about alleged “Collusion with Russians” from 2day’s Intel Hearing.”) I hope Stone starts prepping himself for a stone cold cot.

Alfa Bank

One of the sources of concern to Trump and Co. is Alfa Bank. The second largest private bank in Russia it came to some people’s attention when it was caught trying to communicate with a Trump server. The original story on the bank’s strange behavior came to light before the election, but the story was dismissed by almost the entire media. NY Times infamously dismissed it on October 31, 2016 with the following headline: “Investigating Donald Trump, F.B.I. Sees No Clear Link to Russia.” And with that, the media’s interest in the Trump/Putin connection died. The only person who followed up on it was a Republican writer Louise Mensch. She reported days later (late evening of November 7, to be exact) that the FBI had a FISA warrant to examine communications between Trump’s campaign and a Russian bank. Mensch claims the NY Times (Erich Lichtblau and Steven Lee Myers wrote the article) knew about the FISA warrant. And that they even interviewed then Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid about it. But threw out the entire Reid interview and buried the FBI/FISA detail. She continues to question Lichtblau on twitter about why he did these things and he largely ignores her. Meanwhile Alfa Bank is now claiming they have been hacked and are suing one of the analysts who examined their suspicious communications with Trump organization.

The information on Trump’s connections to Russia were discussed in public as early as July 24, 2016 by Robby Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager. On CNN’s State of the Union, on the first day of Democratic convention, Mook told Jake Tapper there were great concerns regarding potential Trump campaign collusion with Russia, stolen DNC e-mails published via WikiLeaks, and RNC’s watering down of Republican platform on Russia/Ukraine. These are now all vital parts of FBI’s investigation that could sink Trump and will most certainly sink many of the key players of his campaign. The media did not investigate this story until it was too late. (Notice also the chyrons on the Mook/Tapper video. An intellectually dishonest representation of the e-mails being published by WikiLeaks.) The media dedicated all of their resources to the Clinton e-mails. They dedicated no resources to potential collusion between Trump and Russia. This will always be one of the great journalistic disasters of all time. Perhaps greater than their failure to vet the Iraq War (NY Times again.)

Trump

Which brings me to Donald Trump himself. I won’t use any of the big words like sociopathic or narcissistic. I think he’s just a man who has never in his entire life had to deal with consequences for any bad behavior. Rich white man. If he did anything wrong, he got a gold star from daddy and lawyers took care of the fallout. He said and did as he pleased. No blowback on anything his entire life. 70 years of this. Imagine what this complete lack of accountability and self-awareness can do to a human brain. He goes bankrupt 7 times? Meh, someone will take care of the fallout and get him more loans. Wife isn’t pleasing anymore? Meh, someone will take care of the divorce and settlement. Being sued for racial discrimination? Meh, someone will take care of the settlement. This is a man who has thrown money at his problems and the problems went away for 70 years. He behaved during his campaign the way he has behaved his entire 70 years on Earth. Badly. Rude, arrogant, mean, vicious, malicious. Said everything that came into his head. And the crowds adored him. Think about what a crowd of 10,000 people chanting “Lock her up!” can do to your brain. Adoration. Say and do anything you like – and TV gives you hours of non-critical coverage. The crowds go crazy. Your approval ratings go through the roof. Your opponents, seasoned politicians all, go down in flames. And you don’t even have to do anything different! It just happens. For a man who has spent his entire life with zero accountability runs his campaign the same way – and he is rewarded with the Presidency of the USA. Think what that does to your brain. Everything he has ever done and said has been vindicated. He does not recognize that things are different now. His brain can’t process this information. Incapable of self-awareness or awareness of others. For 70 years he has done as he pleased, said as he pleased. And an army of Yes-Men have enabled and encouraged his delusions for 70 years. But it is different now. He is stunned that his inauguration crowd isn’t as big as his predecessor’s! (A Black Man!)

“No, it’s just not possible. Fake news! The Black Man wire-tapped me! Obviously. Why do I have to retract this? I don’t have to do anything I don’t want. I want to golf. Why can’t I golf? I said I want to golf! This is my resort! This is my home away from gilded home in NYC! I’ll do what I want! I’m President! I won! I did everything the way I always do! And I won! People love me! They all voted for me! All voted for me! Because I’m President! Those who didn’t vote for me have no right to exist! Deep state is out to get me! How else to explain that these things I said are being held against me? I always say what I want! Why are you ganging up on me?! I’m not a puppet! Tillerson will go to Russia! Because I said so! Because I won! This is a conspiracy to destroy me! You can’t tell me what I can and can’t say about Putin! You don’t like Putin? Too bad! I love Putin! I’ll say what I want! I won! I’m President! And you are nothing.”

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I will finish on a completely different note. It is a story of love, regret and perseverance.

Through all the madness music has been a great source of solace to me. (Classical music and opera generally, but then…) Here is my favorite performer Madonna, in a “pirate” recording of her classic song “True Blue” at Barclay Center in Brooklyn on September 19, 2015, as part of her “Rebel Heart Tour.” Two nights earlier Madonna celebrated 30 years since her Madison Square Garden debut with a concert at MSG. (Amy Schumer was Madonna’s opening act at the NY shows in 2015, that’s why Madonna gives Schumer a shout-out in the clip below. At that tour way back in 1985, “The Like A Virgin Tour,” her opening act were the Beastie Boys.)

“True Blue” was written in thL. Cohene mid 1980’s by Madonna as a declaration of love for her then-husband Sean Penn. He was in the audience at MSG two nights earlier and there is private video of him watching Madonna singing the song. At Barclay’s (one of the two times I watched this show), Madonna told the story that after the MSG anniversary concert she received a letter from Penn. In it he wrote that watching her perform that night, after so many years and everything they’d each been through, he really appreciated everything she had accomplished and he acknowledged he was a fool to not have recognized her talents when they were married. “Thirty years!” Madonna screamed to the audience. “Thirty years I’ve been waiting for those words! And that, ladies and gentlemen, is marriage and why I will never get married again.”

Last time she sang “True Blue” live was in 1987, just as her marriage to Penn was falling apart.

Coming up with a theme wasn’t easy this year.  I thought about doing a takeoff on Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children and entitling it Miss Melania’s Tower for Beastly Boys, but there weren’t enough arrows in that quiver. 1950-boy-and-bird

So here are some things for which I’m backhandedly thankful.

 

Thanks to Donald Trump for single-handedly spurring sales for doomsday gear, creating years of work for ethics lawyers, and bringing about the end of the Republican Party.

Thanks to Mike Pence for proving Hoosier hypocrisy is second to none when it comes to the disclosure of emails.

Also, thanks to Mr. Pence for ensuring Donald Trump will be safe for four years as he works on the destruction of the Republican Party.

Thanks to Jefferson Beauregard Sessions for proving racism isn’t just a job requirement for Alabama Senator, but it can also be an asset for the highest law enforcement officer in the country.

friends-thanksgivingThanks to Steve Bannon for proving to middle-aged Coke addicts there’s always a second act.

Thanks to Donald Trump for not saying “just kidding” after telling white supremacists to “stop it” on 60 Minutes and then naming Bannon and Jefferson Beauregard Sessions to Administration positions.

Thanks to Rudy Giuliani for proving that the extortion of millions of dollars and poor dental hygiene are not mutually exclusive.

Thanks to bankers for proving an entire industry can be into submissiveness in S & M relationships.

As for white supremacists, thanks to the Alt-right for proving you can’t be too crazy to have a platform.  Also, thanks to the Alt-right for single-handedly making great strides in turning the country bilingual by translating their speeches from the original German.dancing-turkey

Thanks to the Judge in Texas who saved accountants the trouble of calculating paycheck increases for millions of working class Americans by enjoining the raises proposed by President Obama and the Democrats in Congress.  Make America great again by working overtime at the same hourly rate.

Thanks to the pundits for using “angry white working class” when “angry white” was enough.

Thanks to Sherwin-Williams for the new spring color, “Angry White”, it is a retro-color that can only be used in areas where time stopped in the 1950s and lady parts are only discussed at the beauty parlor.

Thanks to all those voters who proved no one likes a quitter by voting for an economic policy that has provided thirty years of wage stagnation and diminished social mobility.

magic-plateThanks to Donald Trump for creating a market for old pictures of German World War II soldiers by tweeting them out superimposed over the American flag.

Thanks to the Trump Transition Team for draining the swamp by replacing old lobbyist swamp creatures with new lobbyist swamp creatures.

Thanks to the press for not bothering us with the intricacies of the tax-dodging, law-breaking Trump Foundation since it was so much easier to understand than the contrivance around the non-existent conflicts of the Clinton Foundation in keeping eleven million people alive.

And also, thanks to the press for the temporary amnesia around the ten thousand or so articles during the election about the “forgotten white working class man” since all it would have taken was one more article to prove the anger had nothing to do with racism.

One last thanks to the press for not confusing us with any investigative analysis proving that the manufacturing jobs the “forgotten white working class men” were always complaining about were never in the rural areas where these “forgotten angry voters” were.

Thanks to the Robert Mercer family for proving in America any old multi-billionaire can buy an election if you launder your money hard enough.turkey-on-the-table

Thanks to Kris Kobach for not knowing about cover sheets or folders because we wouldn’t want his plan to round-up 3 million people to be a surprise for everyone.

Thanks to Chris Christie for proving lap-band surgery does nothing to reduce one’s ego.

Thanks to Ben Carson for being a fast learner since H.U.D. is only a half a trillion dollar generator and last week he said he wasn’t qualified to run an agency, but since he grew up in a house in a city he believes he’s got the housing, urban, and development parts covered.

Thanks to Donald Trump for reminding everyone what emoluments are and that people still read the Constitution.

Thanks to Lt. General Flynn for reminding us that he always uses the bathroom stall because he doesn’t like anyone bigger than him around.

pumpkin-pieThanks to James Comey for proving a paranoid, subversive, cross-dressing Director isn’t the worst thing or biggest embarrassment that can happen to the F.B.I.

And a final thanks to Hillary Clinton for being too good for America and proving the Harvard research correct that found there is always a backlash against women in leadership positions, no matter how qualified, no matter how experienced, and no matter how extraordinarily capable they are.

 

Friends, 2016 has sucked.  Hard.  But, I am thankful we made this journey together.  We are more clear-eyed, resilient, and defiant.  For those things we can be truly thankful.

Your thankfulness thoughts or just your thoughts will be gratefully appreciated.

 

 

Folks, tumbling through the stages of grief I find myself smack-dab in the middle of a state fair, prize-winning depression.  I slid right through shock, denial, and anger.  Spent no time with bargaining because there’s nothing with which to bargain.  And I’ll never go into “Hope” unless I find myself, for some inexplicable reason, sightseeing in Arkansas. black-swan

Wherever you are on this spectrum, don’t rush.  When you get to depression, look to the left and I’ll be the sad troll in the corner repeatedly mumbling, “Why?”  That is the question consuming me.

We can parse and cipher the demographic data.  We can point our fingers at the pollsters, but they were just reporting numbers.  Polls don’t vote.  We can fret and fume, but the plot line is relatively simple.  White folks without college degrees, particularly men, turned out in record numbers.  Support for Hillary from poor folks making under $30,000, and support from minorities fell dramatically from Obama’s 2012 numbers.  That’s the story.

Polling was within the margin of error as to the popular vote.  Hillary is winning the popular vote. For Democrats, that’s six times in the last seven elections.

Individual state polling was faulty.  Even wringing the “noise” out of the studies by polling aggregation didn’t sound an alarm.  Statistical regression analyses didn’t isolate the aggression of white, disaffected middle class males.

The most concise answer is this:  Pollsters missed the weighting formula because they didn’t take into account the increase in disaffected white guys who crawled out from under their rocks to vote for the Orangeloupe and people wasting their votes on a protest vote for a pothead and a funkdafied nutzoid.

It’s just that simple.

women-for-trumpWhat fascinates me is why people of color would vote for someone who turned “dog whistles” into a bullhorn?   Why did white women, by 10%, vote for an admitted sexual predator?  Why did 27% of Latinos vote for the Xenophobe-Elect?  Why did 23% of Millennials vote for a climate change denier who will have them in designer Fallujah-wear before the calendar turns to an even-numbered year?  One-quarter of the Yam’s voters said he was NOT qualified to be President.

For people of color, I hope you enjoy a federal “stop and frisk program” administered by Attorney General Nosferatu Giuliani.  For ladies, get used to a “Race Bannon-looking” mother-clucker poking around your lady parts at the Gyno-Garage – that is if you can find one after Pence outlaws them.  For Latinos, Skyping with family members is easy and fun.  For Millennials, the dry desert air does wonders for the complexion.  For those who voted for someone even though they believed he was unqualified to occupy the most powerful office on the planet, no need to call ahead, your place in hell is reserved.  And by the way, don’t expect to get a thank you from the top one-tenth of one-percent for their tax cuts. Enjoy the Trump Administration.

Perhaps, just perhaps, I’m not quite through the anger stage.

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If you have been under a rock since last Friday, here are a few stories to catch you up.  Try this one and this one with ten questions and answers about the email story.

This was a conversation overheard last Friday at the corner of Pennsylvania and 10th outside the Hoover Building in Washington, D.C.  One guy was an old fellow and the other was James Comey.diogenes-2

Comey:  Hey old feller – you okay?

Old Guy:  Why yes young man.

Comey:  That’s a mighty fine-looking lantern you have there.

Old Guy:  I’ve had it for years.

Comey:  What are you doing this fine day?

Old Guy:  I’m looking for an honest man.

Comey:  Look no further.  I am the honest man you have been seeking.  In fact, I am the most honest of all men.

Old Guy:  How do you measure your honesty?

Comey:  On occasion, everyone has said I am a man of integrity and a servant of the people.  Being the most honest of all men, I believe I can declare I’m above all others.

Old Guy:  I must continue my journey since any honest man would not declare their honesty above all others since self-exultation is living in dishonesty.

comey-raising-his-hand

Of course, the old guy was Diogenes searching the world for an honest man.  Sadly, James Comey is not the first man and won’t be the last to confuse his high self-regard with self-righteousness.  And once that level of self-righteousness is reached, it is but a short hike to where the rules no longer apply.

Comey has firmly taken up residence in the world of “the rules apply to thee, but not to me.”  His failure to follow established Department of Justice guidelines is what the law calls res ipsa loquitur – the thing speaks for itself.

It has just been reported a couple of hours ago, when Comey was faced with a decision on whether or not to release definitive proof of Russian hacking and thereby meddling in the U.S. election, Comey unbelievably said, “It is too close to the election.”

Too close to the election weeks ago to associate the FBI with a report on Russian hacking, but just eleven days from the election, the violation of DOJ protocol was justified when some emails were discovered that “might or might not be pertinent” to the Clinton private server investigation.

In Comey’s self-righteous mind, he, or someone, was justified to sit on these emails for a month and announce their existence before even a warrant was sought to examine them.comey-spotlight

Comey’s delusional hubris is excused by a couple of logical leaps that wouldn’t even work on a schoolyard playground.  The first is to say, “Hillary brought this on herself.”  This type of sophistry is based in some preordained orchestration of life meaning Hillary is responsible for the misjudgment, malfeasance, and misfeasance of everyone who might cross her life’s path.  Hillary is not responsible for Comey’s failure to follow DOJ procedures.

The other line of Republican defense is, “Democrats have said Comey is a good public servant with integrity.”  Just because someone has integrity and a fine record as a public servant does not mean they are immune from making bad mistakes and exhibiting abysmal judgment.  Both things are not mutually exclusive. 

It will most likely be impossible to ever prove Comey’s real intent in releasing that vacuous letter last Friday, but there are a few things we do know:

  1. Comey knew his letter was so vapid and meaningless; he did an internal memo to the FBI to assuage various warring internal factions.
  2. Comey violated FBI procedures last July by his press conference, his release of investigation notes, and investigation materials. Bending to Republican pressure was proof he is vulnerable to “working the ref” psychology.
  3. Anonymous sources say that Comey fears leaks from disgruntled conservative FBI agents who wanted to indict Hillary this summer. If Comey can’t stop leaks from inside his own house, he needs to move on.  If there are factions of disgruntled FBI agents who want someone indicted for political motivations, they need to be unearthed, shamed, and banned.
  4. The lament that “Comey was damned if he did and damned if he didn’t,” is unmitigated horse crap. Here’s what Comey did do, he decided between his own self-congratulatory reputation and the national election.  Comey chose his deluded self-interest at the cost of the national election.  He chose the coward’s course.  He should be treated accordingly.
  5. The pattern of outrageous Republican behavior is paying dividends. To drag civil servants before the Congress and excoriate them in the public eye is to chasten all civil servants.  The fear of impeachment and investigation chills a civil servant – even a civil servant with a ten-year term like Comey.  This episode has whetted the appetite for more of this behavior.
  6. Comey knows if Hillary is elected she can’t fire him.  Comey has made peace with congressional Republicans who now love him for giving Trump a shot.  It is a win/win for him and he’s gambling with the house’s money since it is our election that is at stake.  Whatever reputation Comey had should now be indexed to Joe McCarthy in the history books.

hillary-presidential

It was never going to be easy for Hillary to win the presidency.  First, she’s a woman.  Second, her last name is Clinton.  Third, well, there is no third.  The hatred and vehemence directed toward Hillary would have silenced any normal human.  Hillary’s perseverance, courage, strength, and stick-withedness are truly super-human.  She will weather this.  She expected this or something like it.  She’s better than all those who are trying to stop her.

One last thought – permission to “hate on Hillary” was made socially acceptable in 1993 when it became almost mandatory for good Republicans to despise her.  And what was her great sin of transgression?  Wanting to make sure poor people and children could see a doctor when they were sick.  It is from that act of benevolent kindness she has suffered a lifetime of animosity and antagonism.  I don’t know if the Methodist Church has saints, but Hillary surely qualifies.

What’s on your mind today?

 

Good morning! Fighting through last week’s sadness will be no mean feat. It will take persistence to escape being taken hostage by the maudlin teams of glibly morose cable emcees. Hillary Clinton

It shouldn’t be too difficult to find those sites where the argument of the day is one side or the other in the raceguncivilrightsprivilegepoliticalimpolitic debate. Ratings come before understanding and there is neither separation nor confusion in the hierarchy between the two.

Being a one-stop shop here at the Widdershin Mart, I thought I’d leave it to others to delve into those indecipherable issues. I wanted to share something more definite and infinitely more quantifiable.

Last week FBI Director James Comey proved himself with quite a principled performance before the Chaffetz House Oversight and Overreach Committee. The most significant charge leveled at Hillary was that she is no technogeek. After two years of investigation, Director Comey pronounced Mrs. Clinton unfit for service on an IT help desk.

As I watched the nearly five hours of testimony, I had the feeling of déjà vu all over again. I felt I had been there before – that we’ve all been there before. And we have. So with the help of the Googling machine, I did a little research to see how much it cost for this experiential familiarity.

So I started, there were investigations into Nannygate, Travelgate, Filegate, Whitewater, Rose Law Firm, Vince Foster, Special Prosecutors, Benghazi Committees, and now the FBI email probe. Congressional Republicans actually took 140 hours of sworn testimony on the urgent question of whether the Clintons had misused the White House Christmas card list. That really happened. Best I can tell, these are the costs:

  • The FBI email probe of Hillary looks to clock in at about $20 Million for the FBI alone. There is really no good estimate of State Department or other agency costs.

So all told, conservatively, our government has spent somewhere between $110 and $120 Million on Clinton investigations. Outside of Bill lying about a blowjob, Hillary has been charged with nothing, nada, nil, not a whit of wrongdoing.

What’s more – this political talking point of the “system being rigged” is so inconceivably far-fetched and improbable it should come with a roll of heavy-duty aluminum foil suitable for designer hats.

In the inimitable words of Sol Wachtler, former chief judge of New York State, “You can indict a ham sandwich.” In fact, Judge Wachtler, himself, was later indicted and spent fifteen months at taxpayer’s expense in federal prison.  Like most successful and quotable attorneys, Wachtler was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and eventually got his law license reinstated. Ham sandwich indeed.

Multicolored coatIf any of these prosecutors or investigators had believed for one moment during these $100 Million worth of investigations that Hillary was indictable, she would have been indicted.  Celebrity hunting is the sport of the ambitious and it’s always open season – no limit. If there had been a whiff of smoke, you better believe that $100 Million would have bought a roaring fire.

You can be sure you will use this tidbit from the Widdershin One Stop during this political season. File it away for future use.

What’s on your mind today?

 


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Our 2016 Ticket!

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The team we’re on

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Kellyanne Conway’s new job

So similar

Take the kids to work? NO!

3 turds control fate of healthcare for millions

That moment when *your* pussy gets grabbed

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