Posts tagged ‘comey’

Obstruction of Justice

I have said this a million times before, it is about the money.  It is always about the money.  When, according to Michael Wolfe in his new book, Steve Bannon verified that, he was just saying the obvious.  Money is power in Trump world, well in our world too sadly, so colluding with the Russians, which of course they did and as Steve Bannon also got right, was treasonous, was all about money laundering. Trump never expected to win the election, but the Russians wanted to cripple a Hillary Clinton Presidency, and President DFF was indebted up to the hilt with money laundered loans.  That has always been the giant Trump fear that his illegal loans would get exposed

Up till now Republicans could throw cold water on all of that because there was still no real smoking gun, just circumstantial evidence that would even convict Jesus in a court of law.  But the gullible, the fools who voted for him and watch Fox News could delude themselves.  No more.  We have the damning book by Michael Wolfe that points out (and there may be tapes which is why those quoted have not denied they said what is quoted) that everyone who works with him understands he is dangerous and incompetent.  But more important was this little tidbit in a NYT story about how President DFF tried to get little Jeffey Sessions to not recuse himself:

The special counsel has received handwritten notes from Mr. Trump’s former chief of staff, Reince Priebus, showing that Mr. Trump talked to Mr. Priebus about how he had called Mr. Comey to urge him to say publicly that he was not under investigation. The president’s determination to fire Mr. Comey even led one White House lawyer to take the extraordinary step of misleading Mr. Trump about whether he had the authority to remove him.

This should terrify the White House because the Special Counsel has written evidence corroborating the Comey notes.  What else does he have?  The obstruction of justice “fake news” is quickly moving into a sure thing.  The collusion will come later and what is important about the money laundering is the motive for the collusion.  So it is panick time in the White House. Since it is clear he cannot be controlled, what will he do next?

But what should really concern us is those that know he is incompetent, ignorant, immoral, and dangerous and enable him.  Michelle Goldberb in a NYT op-ed today said this:

And yet these people continue to either prop up or defend this sick travesty of a presidency. Wolff takes a few stabs at the motives of Trump insiders. Ivanka Trump apparently nurtured the ghastly dream of following her father into the presidency. Others, Wolff writes, told themselves that they could help protect America from the president they serve: The “mess that might do serious damage to the nation, and, by association, to your own brand, might be transcended if you were seen as the person, by dint of competence and professional behavior, taking control of it.”

Then she points out this is wild fantasy and they are maybe irreparably damaging the country.  But one misses the real enablers, Republicans in the House and Senate.  This is the real travesty here.  The Founders knew that a president like our DFF might be elected and they gave us tools to deal with it.  Instead of dealing with an incompetent and dangerous president, they have tried to thwart the investigation into him, using smoke and mirrors of the appearance of an investigation without any meat.  Their need for implementing their unpopular ideology (most of the nation is against the tax cut, killing Obamacare, etc.) trumps (pun intended) our basic values and the Constitution.

Failure to subpoena witnesses, and provide their swore testimony or evasions to the American people is treasonous.  Their attempts to smear and defame the Special Counsel and his investigation as some partisan witch hunt is paranoid delusional, kind of like the email thing and Benghazi they pursued to against Hillary. They have proven themselves unfit for office.  In fact what they have done may itself be treasonous.

We will know when the tide has changed when Republicans. like the low life rats they are, start to abandon the sinking Trump ship.  But I can only hope Americans will remember, and Democrats will remind them, of how they enabled this travesty of a President, and if fact showed they are the problem in America.  Government is not the problem, Republicans in government is the problem. If you want to run against Trump in 2018, use this to show your Republican opponent is unfit for office.

While We Were Looking the Other Way

There are games afoot and we are so focused on Comey and the VIIC/LIC’s (maybe I should shorten this to VicLic, Village Idiot in Chief/Liar in Chief) obstruction of justice (which can be in little doubt at this point), bigger issues are going ignored.  First is the obvious, the whole Russian incursion into our election.  If you recall, we found out that the Russians were actually trying to hack into a company that provides voting machines so they could actually change the numbers.  And how did we find this out?  A leaker who now sits in jail.  There is something very wrong here.

Next up is the question that with such obvious misdeeds and incompetence, how are the Republicans able to still defend the VicLic?  Well that is the next game that is afoot:

If they can fake respect for him long enough, they might manage to enact their agenda. While Americans focused on the Comey hearing on Thursday, the House passed a bill rolling back Wall Street rules aimed at preventing another financial crisis. And in the Senate, behind closed doors, Republicans worked to shove a bill gutting health care coverage to a vote without a single hearing.

Yep, they don’t care if the Russians hacked our election because it turned out to their benefit.  Many commentators over time have pointed out that the politico Republicans (those that hold office) don’t really believe in much except holding onto and excercising power.  That would be evident in the fact that for years the source of evil in most of their political rants is now not important when it comes to their agenda.  And while we all have our heads turned away, they are gutting healthcare and setting us up for another massive theft by Wall Street. It turns out Trump is this great giant distraction while they gut our country implementing failed ideas that will truly hurt all of us in the long run.

Now there are two things you should really be worried about in international affairs while the Village Idiot distracts us with his clown act.  First is that Russia turned loose will try to restore Eastern Europe to its realm.  An emboldened Putin and a weakened NATO (yes, the VicLic said he would support Article 5 this week, but who knows what that really means) could result in oversteps that lead to a war in Europe.  And note that while we are fixated on obstruction of justice and the wonderful spectacle of Comey versus Trump, Russia scored a major victory in their hacking and fake news and are emboldened to increase those efforts.  So what are we doing about it? And as noted above, Republicans don’t really care as long as they can continue to distract while they promote their agenda.

The second thing was the VicLic’s new alignment in the Middle East and our best friends the Saudis.  His statements about “transactional” relationships (not pushing our basic fundamentals beliefs about human rights) to increase the benefits to the United States (read this lives for dollars) and Iran as the enemy are setting up the classic religious war across all of the Middle East between Sunnis and Shiites.  Qatar is just the latest example.  This should really worry you because the Middle East could bring back the religious wars of our Middle Ages, except the weapons are much more advanced.

So while the Village Idiot provides great entertainment for reality TV (news these days), the Republicans are using covert tactics to ram through legislation that no one will like except their true clientele, the wealthy, and Europe and the Middle East simmers.  When will we restore sanity to our government, have responsible leadership, and really tackle the issues we face with new ideas instead of old failed ones?  When Republicans have been driven off the face of the earth.  Sorry, but at the root of all of this, from the rise of Trump to the abrogation of responsibility today lies squarely on the Republicans.  Democrats have been feckless and slow to rise to the challenge, but never would they accept a new world order where transactional relationships were okay.  The VicLic is a goner, but the real question is how much damage can the Republicans do before their whole game goes up in smoke?

Friday Morning (WTF?)

Well, what a mess. I mean really.  The Brits were supposed to have a “snap” election to clarify things and instead there is total confusion about the country’s direction.  Here at home we have a village idiot where it is now common for respected journalists and public figures to commonly call him a liar.  So the British Empire and one of its former colonies is running amok, and France and one of their former colonies, Canada, seem to have young vivacious leaders who have a vision of the future.  WTF.

Our Republican Congress is patting themselves on the back because they passed a bill to repeal most of the protections put in place to try to restore Dodd-Frank after the great financial debacle in 2007 when we thought the banks would not over extend themselves in the hunt for profits.  Like it won’t happen again?  And since corporate profits are higher than ever, where is the need for this?  I kind of look at this as part and parcel of putting a village idiot in charge of the country.  We just de-regulate everything and business will take care of all of us, like they always have.  Again, WTF.

Meanwhile the VIIC (Village Idiot in Charge) really got slammed in the Senate Intelligence Committee yesterday and he responds with accusations of lies, fake news, and vindication.  Boy do we live in two different realities.  Just for a reality check image, if this was Hillary doing this, would the Republicans be claiming that she is just inexperienced to the ways of Washington and did not really mean, “Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest.”  This is laughable.  Paul Ryan is telling us that the VIIC just doesn’t understand the ways of Washington, “He is just new at this,” which might work on the unwashed (his base), but for the rest of us, what he is talking about is ethics and morality.  And no, he does not understand ethics and morality.  If that quote by Paul Ryan was not a WTF moment, there simply aren’t any.

So what to expect after the big day?  Well, the quiet before the storm.  First, I can’t wait for the morning White House briefing to see how they reinvent reality.  Of course they may not turn on the cameras and if that is not a WTF moment about what is happening to our country, there aren’t any.  My guess here is that the VIIC and his minions will claim vindication, that there is no connection between the VIIC and the Russia investigations, and then we are sitting on a smoldering volcano.  That volcano is all the people with security clearances that know what is going on, and know we can’t keep pushing this under the rug and let the VIIC lie his way to giving away the country.  See Reality Winner.

That raises a whole host of WTF questions.  We knew probably back in 2015 that we were being hacked, and by 2016 we knew it was a full blown attack, and we said nothing?  Sorry it’s secret.  We can’t know we are under attack because it might reveal sources?  It raises the question which is worse, the disease or the cure.  So we find out in drips and drabs from leaks or being told by our allies who are concerned about the number of contacts of Trumps people with the Russians*.  We can’t know if there was real collusion because there is an ongoing investigation, while the perpetrators destroy the country?  WTF.  We can’t even know when we will know.  Again, WTF.  Thank god for the leakers.

So we have a President who has attempted to obstruct justice (Ignore Alan Dershowitz.  Like John McCain he is well past his prime).  You know it is nonsense when you Goggle it and all you get are right wing propaganda organizations (Brietbart etc.)), some very obvious collusion, and to nail the VIIC all you have to do is quote his sons or follow the money.  Hopefully that is what special counsel Robert Mueller is doing.  But you have to wonder what the Republicans are thinking (Republicans/thinking, is that an oxymoron?).

The case is getting bigger and bigger and if Mueller does his job sooner or later the truth will out.  And if he does not, there will be a revolt in government to get the truth out.  We may already be seeing the signs of a real crisis in government as those tasked to carry it out no longer trust either their leaders or the VIIC.  So how do they backtrack after all the cover they are providing the VIIC?  Are they so enthralled with their ideological agenda that they don’t care in the short term?  Watching them equivocate about the VIICs behavior is watching fat old white men (usually with a southern accent, but not always) is just another WTF moment except of course for the unwashed who suck in every word as the obvious truth.

And that leaves me with my last WTF thought:  Where the fuck are the Democrats?  Thomas Edsal delivers a devastating analysis of the state of the Party.  Now you can do one of two things with this analysis.  The first is what Democrats have always done and has, in my opinion, destroyed the Party (See Bill Clinton and the Democrats turn to conservative politics) and that is chase the numbers.  By that I mean, well if whites are afraid of immigration maybe we ought to pander to that, you know, be Republican lite.

The other option is to recognize it is a new world out there, understand the message of the young disaffected voter, and turn progressive.  Stand for something in a direction that actually moves the country instead of looking backwards.  Do the hard thing, the right thing and stand for something. So far I have seen or felt nothing.  Clearly we have to get the Clintons off the stage if we want to move forward. She may have been wronged, but moving forward is not opening old wounds.  So all in all we are living in amazing WTF times.  Let’s just hope this is not the new normal and to be WTF, they get even more extreme.

*Ex-Director Comey said in his testimony that these reports of multiple contacts was mostly false.  Nobody knows what he means by that and the NYT wrote a nice rebuttal.  One of the points they raised is that the FBI has a much tighter definition of a Soviet spy than other organizations, meaning they may discount meetings with bank and financial people that are really puppets of the Kremlin.   This is where Comey is his own worst enemy.  He is parsing definitions and loses the big picture, just as he did with the October surprise.

Constitutional Crisis

We have arrived.  Clearly the testimony of Dan Coates, director of national intelligence and Mike Rogers the director of NSA, yesterday before the Senate Intelligence committee should make that point even before the testimony of James Comey:

Two top intelligence officials refused to answer senators’ questions on Wednesday about whether President Trump had asked them to intervene in the F.B.I. investigation into Russian election interference, saying only that they had never felt “pressured” by the White House to do anything improper.

Isn’t the Senate Intelligence committee the ‘oversight” for these agencies and since there was, by their own words, no executive privilege claimed and did not involve classified material, there was no basis to refuse to answer the question.  They were duty bound to answer it and they both demurred claiming it seem inappropriate.  Actually there was a reason, loyalty to the Village Idiot in Chief (VIIC), and not loyalty to their oath to defend the Constitution.  Now on this item alone we have a Constitutional Crisis where the Executive Branch and the government of the United states is no longer answer to the judicial branch.  It was disgraceful.

I also want you to note that words are important.  Saying they did not feel pressured to intervene in the F.B.I. investigation is not the same as saying you were not asked.  In fact, it implies you were. Unlike Comey who we heard today, these guys will sell their soul to keep their jobs.  Now there are two other conclusions to draw here.  The first is that this sends a chilling message to the people who work for them.  Truth needs to be shaded to make the VIIC happy.  There will be a revolt and it turns our agencies against the Executive Branch, not serve as a partner.

Second, we are going to see massive leaks as those in the trenches see their bosses compromise the truth or try to hide.  The hearings for Coates and Rogers was Exhibit A.  Sessions is Exhibit B.  Most of us are starting to wonder why what we know about the Russian attack on America is still so classified.  Why should not we who vote know what the threat is and understand and ask questions about why the VIIC continues to call this much to do about nothing.  Leakers like Reality Winner may be more of a patriot than a criminal as many believe the true problem is being hidden for political reasons, not protecting intelligence sources.  Coates and Rogers almost make that point.

Okay, on to the hearing today with ex-FBI Director Comey.  My thought is that it was fairly damning.  There were two camps as always.  The Democrats wanted to know what happened, and the Republicans are trying to either sully Comey (subtly) or make the interpretation of what happened just a misunderstanding (the ignorance excuse for the VIIC).  It is bull shit and obvious bull shit.  The President clearly asked for his loyalty (to take orders over and above the Constitution), asked him to end the Flynn investigation, and lied about both.

But there were some other things that should really get your attention.  The first one is about whether the President was or was not being investigated.  Comey clearly told him he was not, and that is the only truthful thing the VIIC has said about the whole affair.  But there was a big caveat and that was when Comey explained about the meeting of the senior leaders and there was dissent about whether they should tell him that based upon two reasons.  The first was that they were investigating the Trump campaign/administration and it could lead to him.  The second was that there is that problem of once you make that statement, you then have the responsibility to notify them if it changes.  Remember for Hillary and the October surprise?

The second was that ex-Director Comey telling us that he briefed President Obama multiple times on the Russian incursion into our election, and has never been requested once to brief the VIIC.  That about says it all.  We have a president who has and is lying, and does not seem interested at any level in pursuing the Russians and protecting our institutions.  Republicans can dissemble all they want, the pile of shit is growing and so is the smell.  If what we know about Mueller (the special counsel) is true, at some point, he will be fired.

Listening to the VIICs attorney, he heard a totally different hearing than I did.  And of course as I noted earlier, words matter.  He claims the president is not under investigation.  We don’t know that.  His people are and if there is a trail to the top, it will be followed until the VIIC then fires the special counsel.  The claim about Comey being the Leaker-in-Chief is just ludicrous in that the notes were not classified, nor were they held back by asserted executive privilege (which probably would have failed in the courts).  The VIIC already told us his version and Comey simply replied.

So here we are in a true Constitutional Crisis where the Republicans have basically abdicated their responsibly for the Constitution and their Congressional duties.  We have the heads of many of the VIICs executive agencies hiding facts from Congress.  There is no longer just smoke, but a raging fire.  I stand by my prediction he will be gone by September.  Stand by.  The Twitter rant will eventually come out.

One last thing.  Comey explained why in July he came out to explained why he was dropping charges against Hillary instead of just dropping charges without commenting.  I bought it.  He saw the meeting with the then Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton as tainting the whole process and felt unless he came out with a full explanation, their would be doubt cast against both the Justice Department and the FBI.  I get that.  That was a colossal blunder by Bill Clinton and Loretta Lynch.  In many ways, that move ended Hillary’s campaign.

However, I don’t buy the second part, that because he had announced the investigation was over, when they found what they thought were additional emails on Anthony Weiner’s computer, he had to announce he was reopening it.  There was policy at that point that said don’t do it, but he still felt that the Justice Department and the FBI would once again in jeopardy of appearing biased.  That was wrong and he changed who was elected president.  But in the end, Bill Clinton and sex have done immeasurable damage to this country and  I wish the Clintons would just go away.

How Much Smoke is There?  UPDATE SEE BELOW*

While the media is distracted with a Trump head fake to restart the war in Afghanistan which I will comment on later, but do you really think the guys who want a tax cut for the wealthy want to fund another war, the Russia thing just gets bigger and bigger.  What we know is not much since everything we do know is based upon leaks and the Republicans seem to be in no hurry to get to the bottom of it.  So let’s see if we can itemize the smoke columns;

Said another way there is just too much really weird stuff going on that makes no sense if there is no Russian connection.  And that brings me to the investigation.  As an American, I am apalled that I had to learn about the investigation through a leak.  It is an obvious question that if the Russians are being investigated for interference in our campaign, was there collusion by the Trump campaign.  Directory Comey felt compelled to tell us about reopening the Clinton investigation but said nothing about an investigation into the Trump administrations connections with the Russians.

Clearly in a perfect world we would not want to pre-judge someone based upon an investigation that might clear of criminal wrong doing, which is what happened to Hillary.  But when you are talking about Russian interference in our election and the potential for a president’s administration (or maybe he himself) colluding with the Russians, we need to know about it so we can make informed choices in a democracy.  This idea that nothing can be said, and we have to find out from a leak that the Trump administration was told Flynn was compromised and then they did nothing is truly disturbing.

Directory Comey is a poor choice for this role and we may have to set some deadlines.  Why not supeona Trump’s tax records?  Why is the Senate dragging their feet?  Why don’t the agencies get together and tell us what investigations are going on without naming names and when we will get some sort of report?  It is at times like these we thank our lucky stars for leaks.  How much longer would Flynn have had access to the highest secrets we have before his compromised position forced him out.  Clearly we have problem with secrecy in this country and maybe it is time to start a discussion about how the public can be informed about potentially very damaging actions that are being investigated.  Just having no comment because it is an ongoing investigation does not seem to work when the stakes are this high.

*PRESIDENT CHEETO-HEAD FIRES COMEY.  THIS SCREAMS SPECIAL PROSECUTOR/INDEPENDENT COMMISSION AND RAISES ALL KINDS OF QUESTIONS ABOUT TIMING AND RELATIONSHIP TO THE RUSSIA INVESTIGATION.

They Still Don’t Get It

Jimmy Kimmel, the late night TV host, was given great kudos for giving an impassioned plea for a health care plan that covers pre-existing conditions since he is now the father of a new son that has them.

But in this, he said this:

“This isn’t football,” Mr. Kimmel added. “There are no teams. We are the team, it’s the United States. Don’t let their partisan squabbles divide us on something every decent person wants.”

WTF is he talking about?  This isn’t about a partisan squabble unless you consider Republicans feuding with each other partisan.  Democrats gave you coverage of pre-conditions, and Republicans are trying to take it away.  This is not some partisan both sides do it and they just need to get along thing.  It is a basic dividing line between Democrats and Republicans.  Mr. Kimmel just played into the hands of Republicans by being politically correct and not pinning the blame on the Party that deserves it.  The Press does the same thing which is why Americans see the problem as “Washington” instead of doing the brave thing and naming names.

And now they are taking this to a whole new level as we see the reality of President Cheeto-Head as an ignorant, dangerous man and press continues to not label it and tries to pretend things are normal, just different. He is  not and we need to understand that while he has a base that thinks he is doing fine, they are a small minority and he is a true danger to democracy as we know it.  Congress can be as dysfunctional as they want (Republicans actually), but when the man who leads the nation has to lead and not backwards.  He cares less about human rights or America being a beacon of democracy in the world and he is doing his best to destroy it.

As I write this Comey is explaining why he had no choice which is total nonsense and he and the Russians changed the direction of the country.  Now the Russian investigation is being stymied by the Administration and Republican leaders in Congress.  As I wrote yesterday, Cheeto-Head keeps making statements that show he is either delusional or an idiot.  Stephen Colbert did a number on Cheeto-Head on Monday, speaking truth to the nation and people are just shocked, shocked, shocked.

This is the reality.  And up next is his executive order on “Religious Freedom” which will actually be a license to use religion to discriminate in the public square.  It is rolling back history and the Enlightenment to bring religious discrimination back into government.  Add in to that and this Administration’s willingness to lie and deny science and we are really going back to the 17th century. And you want me to be tolerant of the misguided and ignorant people who voted for this moron?  I don’t think so if you really understand what is at stake here.

And I will leave you with caution to President Obama who very much tone-deaf, signed up to cash in with Wall Street.  This what middle America is turning away from along with young people.  They get that the present economic system does not work for most of them and this raises all kinds of flagsas to whether establishment Democrats get this.  Wall Street is not the answer.  It is the reason Hillary never rang true on understanding Progressivism.  But now we are faced with a very damaged and dangerous man in the White House being enabled by Republicans.  They are the enemy.  If Obama doesn’t stand up and take him on he is a fool.  These are not normal times and treating them as such will be our demise.  Resist.

 

Well if You Thought It was Both Sides…

Yesterday Director Comey started off the hearing on, well basically Cheeto-Head, by saying that the FBI was investigating the Russian hacking of our election, and get ready for it,  Cheeto-Head’s campaign organization’s involvement in it.  Republicans were shocked, shocked, shocked I tell you.  Then while the Democrats pound Comey with questions about all the circumstantial evidence we have seen that we all want to know answers to, but he would not answer, the Republicans decided the threat here was the fact that we had found out about the investigation in the first place and needed to find those leakers.

It got even better when Cheeto-Head tweeted during the hearing saying the Russian Hack did not affect the election, and savvy Democrats read the tweet to Director Comey and he replied that that is not what he said, just that they were not investigating that.  Meanwhile back at the White House Press Lying (Briefing), Sean Spicer told a bold face lie by saying Paul Manafort had very little to do with the campaign, when he was basically in charge of the Republican Convention.  Basically if you follow Cheeto-Heads tweets and the testimony, the hearing pointed out what a bold-faced liar President Cheeto-Head is.

Meanwhile the Republicans, still shocked from Directory Comey’s announcement that they were investigating the hack and Republican collusion with it, quickly recovered and tried to make the whole hearing about the leaks.  Now just step back a moment.  If this were Hillary as President would the Republicans be concerned about leaks?  No, they would already be gathering the lynch mob.  No people, both sides don’t do it and what you are watching is craven pandering to staying in power.  Remember when they did not give a damn about the country and just said no.  This is not both sides do it.  One side is so lost in a fantasy ideology that they hang on to a demented and dangerous President while his danger to us becomes ever more obvious.  We can’t trust him or the White House to give us facts and he may just do something crazy.  Tick, tick, tick.

 

Not Crafty, Not Smart, Just Stupid

Many pundits and politicians refer to Cheeto-Head as crafty or he knows exactly what he is doing.  In their minds, maybe because they don’t want to believe we elected a moron, each move, tweet, or utterance which seems so out of step, is actually a smart move by the master reality showman.  The response to the State of the Union address was typical.  If you examine the policy it was insane, but he sounded normal so he must be. It is part of the general denial that our government was put in the hands of a truly damaged human being who is taking a wrecking ball to everything we believe in.

The latest is the insanity with the false claim picked up from a talk show lunatic and then put out by conservative news, that Obama ordered his campaign wiretapped. Now there is that whole thing about a President not having the authority to order one, and if he did, and the FBI complied, they would have been breaking the law.  Of course Comey is no fan of the Democrats so on the face of it, he would not break the law for them.  NSA may be picking up those calls because none of us know the extent of their eavesdropping capabilities, but then we are all being surveilled.  But wiretapping a campaign?  Not a chance.

But when the FBI Director calls the Justice Department and asks them to refute the false allegation, Justice does nothing, and Trump basically calls Comey a liar through spokespersons, it is clear to me he has no idea what he is dealing with. Think about this a minute.  The chief of domestic investigations, the FBI, who is investigating you and your comrades for dealings with the Russians, tells you it is false and you call him a liar (nice words are we don’t believe him), you are pissing off a bureaucracy that you don’t want to piss off.  Then Comey calls Justice and they don’t respond (Sessions) you have an agency steeped in a tradition of fairness and justice thrown into a bureaucratic war.  You don’t think there are going to be mini-revolts?

So on one had you have the “master” manipulator trying to disparage sources of information that sooner or later are going to present information that is highly damaging to him, which maybe in a corporation would be a good move to try to tarnish the source of damaging information.  But on the other hand you have woken up several large bureaucracies filled with career civil servants who are now fully aware of your unsuitability to hold the office, and trying to paint them as political hacks.  You don’t think they do not know how to fight back?

I spent my younger life as a lower level bureaucratic lackey and for 30 plus years I learned the tricks of the trade.  If President Cheeto-Head thought the leaks were bad before, well look out.  And there are so many ways that a bureaucrat who knows how the system works can work around it to get the truth out.  There are so many ways he can make an order get delayed or even turned around using the system to their advantage.  Cheeto-Head has declared war on the very people who can stop him because he thinks he will scare them.  Well he does scare them, but like me, they take their service to the country seriously and the fear they feel is from an incompetent, unstable, ignorant autocrat who is leading our country.  They will fight back.

So make no mistake about it.  Don’t let the media and the spinners try to normalize this.  This is not some trivial conspiracy theory that Cheeto-Head believes.  It is a sign of how truly misguided and dangerous this man at the helm of our country is when he is alienating the very people whose job it is to speak truth to power.  And he can’t tell the difference between truth and fake news.  It is displaying the obvious reality that we have a madman at the helm.  But not to worry.

Remember when President Obama use to talk about his faith in the American people, and then they elected Cheeto-Head?  Well I will tell you what I have faith in as a life long federal bureaucrat, my fellow bureaucrats.  Most of them are smart, hard working, and really, really care for this country.  They may have been fooled by this man, but the blinders are off.  They will bring him down not with an insurrection, but with the truth, which they will make sure gets out.  They really do believe in the system and they will make sure the rest of us have the facts we need to put a stop to Cheeto-Head and his minions.

Funny how all those conservatives who “hate” government and scorn those who work for government (get a real job), may just get saved by government and those who have dedicated their lives to it.

It Was Comey’s Fault!

Well it certainly did not help and when the critical question was could you trust Hillary to fight the establishment, it may have been the final straw.  Note that the Washington Post tells us this election was decided by 107,000 votes in three states Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.  It was 68,236 votes in Pennsylvania, 11,837 votes in Michigan, and 27,257 votes in Wisconsin.  This is such a small margin that certainly Comey could have in fact had a big effect.  But I think that is way too narrow a view.

What about third parties?  In Wisconsin, Clinton lost by about 1% of the vote – but if Stein’s supporters had voted Democratic, Trump would have lost the state. In Michigan, Clinton appears to be on track to lose by about 0.3% of the vote – but if half of Stein’s supporters had voted Democratic, Trump would have lost the state.  In Pennsylvania, Clinton lost by about 1.1% of the vote – but if Jill Stein’s supporters and half of Gary Johnson’s backers had voted Democratic, Trump would have lost the state.  So it is quite reasonable to say this also had an affect.

But I think the critical issue was that she never really presented an economic plan for Middle America.  Oh, I hear you now, of course she did, look at her policy plans.  Policy plans do not make a vision for change and economic success.  They certainly will help Middle America much more than anything Donald Trump will or can do, but we are not talking about policy wonks out there voting, we are talking about an election run on emotions.  The Donald kept presenting a vision of America (total fantasy) that they could identify with.  Hillary did not.  It was there and we saw it at convention but then it got lost on attacks on the Donald’s character that became the center of her argument for the presidency.

I have opined here that I thought that was a giant mistake to make the final days of the election about Donald’s character as opposed to her plan for challenging the whole Republican machine and our way forward.  It turns out that while I got who would win the election wrong, this may have played a much larger role in her failure than anything else.  Bernie had a vision and he might just have won.  On the trust issue, third parties, and vision he had Hillary beat. Hillary started out by telling us she was a moderate and had no clue about the distrust of the establishment of which she cemented her connection to with this statement.  Then she never gave us a consistent vision of our future, instead focusing on attacking Donald’s character in the final days.

So what really happened?  I will leave you with Andy Borowitz’s explanation to his six year-old daughter:

When my daughter came home, I sat her down at the kitchen table, gave her a Kit Kat from her hoard of Halloween candy, and offered this explanation of the election: “Imagine the stupidest thing you could ever do, like peeing on a stack of pancakes. Now, imagine that the United States is a stack of pancakes. Millions of grownups just peed on it.”

She started giggling. This explanation made sense to her. As she ran off to play, I was relieved, and grateful for the alacrity with which children laugh at their elders. But I am still waiting for someone to explain the election to me

 

 

Oh, Never Mind.

So after doing damage to the Clinton campaign for 9 days, and with 2 left until the election, FBI Director Comey says, never mind.  As most of us reality based and rational people concluded the new emails were probably duplicates and even if there were new emails, we remember Director Comey’s original statement when he cleared her the first time:

“Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information…In looking back at our investigations into mishandling or removal of classified information, we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts. All the cases prosecuted involved some combination of: clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information; or vast quantities of materials exposed in such a way as to support an inference of intentional misconduct; or indications of disloyalty to the United States; or efforts to obstruct justice. We do not see those things here.” (FBI)

And why would you think after all that there would be any now?  Something does not smell right here and after this election, the FBI needs a Justice Department investigation into how politics got infused into an organization that has to be above politics.  With a rational President, a Democratic Senate, and some chipping away at the Republican mob in the House, America might just move forward and heal some of the hatred and partisanship out there.  Comey, whether intentionally or forced by inside partisan leakers, threw a wrench in that and in doing so, did a great disservice to our country.

Meanwhile in Trump land, the world is collapsing as reality maybe sinking in about the election.  As the NYT described Donald is, “…a candidate who also stands for torture, reckless war, unchecked greed, hatred of women, immigrants, refugees, people of color, people with disabilities. A sexual predator, a business fraud, a liar who runs on a promise to destroy millions of immigrant families and to jail his political opponent.”  His pathological lies are self-evident, and yet almost half of us bought into it.  I have wrestled with that one for quite a while, but I think I read something yesterday that kind of explains how the White Mob and Donald can live in an alternate reality.

In Jason Stanley’s (professor of philosophy at Yale) piece, Beyond Lying:  Donald Trump’s Authoritarian Reality, Professor Stanley makes the point that the lying is necessary to justify the authoritarian values that Donald and his supporters hold.  Donald’s lies are to establish a value system to base his authoritarian power upon. He has established a flow of authoritarian propaganda that installs that values (racism, xenophobia, nativism, homophobia, misogyny) that whisk him to power.  But as Professor Stanley tell us:

…the “chief disability” of authoritarian propaganda is that “it cannot fulfill this longing of the masses for a completely consistent, comprehensible, and predictable world without seriously conflicting with common sense.

The goal of totalitarian propaganda is to sketch out a consistent system that is simple to grasp, one that both constructs and simultaneously provides an explanation for grievances against various out-groups. It is openly intended to distort reality, partly as an expression of the leader’s power. Its open distortion of reality is both its greatest strength and greatest weakness.

Donald Trump is trying to define a simple reality as a means to express his power. The goal is to define a reality that justifies his value system, thereby changing the value systems of his audience. Two questions remain: What is the simple reality that Trump is trying to convey? And what is the value system to which this simple story is intended to shift voters to adopt?

…The simple picture Trump is trying to convey is that there is wild disorder, because of American citizens of African-American descent, and immigrants. He is doing it as a display of strength, showing he is able to define reality and lead others to accept his authoritarian value system.

The chief authoritarian values are law and order. In Trump’s value system, non-whites and non-Christians are the chief threats to law and order. Trump knows that reality does not call for a value-system like his; violent crime is at almost historic lows in the United States. Trump is thundering about a crime wave of historic proportions, because he is an authoritarian using his speech to define a simple reality that legitimizes his value system, leading voters to adopt it. Its strength is that it conveys his power to define reality. Its weakness is that it obviously contradicts it.

…Describing what Trump has done requires us to talk not just about the importance of honesty and accuracy, but also about power, value systems and in-groups vs. out-groups. It also requires us to confront the failures of elite policy that have led to an erosion of democratic norms, primarily public trust, that make anti-democratic alternatives suddenly acceptable.

Did you ever think that here in the home of the brave and the land of the free we would have an authoritarian dictator warping reality and half of American supporting him (well about 40%)?  Is democracy really that fragile?  We have a lot of work to do after this election.