Revolted Colonies

U.S. Politics and Culture

Category: Politics (Page 2 of 5)

Breathlessly Awaiting Comey’s Final Chapter

For those of you whose TV viewing will not be disrupted by work today, you will now be treated to a preview of the Soap Opera cum Congressional Hearing known as the Comey Memos.  For former FBI Director James Comey, a pillar of rectitude, a man of unshakable integrity, it’s surprising that his memos read a little like a Harlequin romance.  

Comey writes breathlessly of the first time he met the man he would one day call “President.”

During our one-on-one meeting at Trump Tower, based on President-Elect Trump’s reaction to the briefing and without him directly asking the question, I offered that assurance.

He gushed about how the President-Elect was like no one he had ever met before.

I felt compelled to document my first conversation with the President-Elect in a memo. To ensure accuracy, I began to type it on a laptop in an FBI vehicle outside Trump Tower the moment I walked out of the meeting. Creating written records immediately after one-on-one conversations with Mr. Trump was my practice from that point forward. This had not been my practice in the past.

This hardened professional, a survivor of the George Bush administration, who stood up to Alberto Gonzalez, Bush’s personal attorney, who was trying to compromise bedridden Attorney General John Ashcroft, felt his knees buckle when he realized that the President was trying to get him alone.

He had called me at lunchtime that day and invited me to dinner that night, saying he was going to invite my whole family, but decided to have just me this time… It turned out to be just the two of us….seated at a small oval table in the center of the Green Room. Two Navy stewards waited on us, only entering the room to serve food and drinks.

The besotted Director felt powerless, having been cast under the spell of Don Giovanni Trump. Nevertheless, he resisted. Oh, how he resisted the enticements of his pursuer!

My instincts told me that the one-on-one setting, and the pretense that this was our first discussion about my position, meant the dinner was, at least in part, an effort to have me ask for my job and create some sort of patronage relationship.

 Comey is not like all the rest. He is the product of a strong and supportive home, a disciplined and religious background. He would not cave in like Trump’s earlier prizes. He’s the kind of guy who always keeps at least one foot on the floor.

I replied that I loved my work and intended to stay and serve out my ten-year term as Director. And then, because the set-up made me uneasy, I added that I was not “reliable” in the way politicians use that word….

Trump pressed Comey. 

The President said, “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.” I didn’t move, speak, or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed. We simply looked at each other in silence.

Later, Trump again pressed Comey.

Near the end of our dinner, the President returned to the subject of my job, saying he was very glad I wanted to stay, adding that he had heard great things about me from Jim Mattis, Jeff Sessions, and many others. He then said, “I need loyalty.” I replied, “You will always get honesty from me.” He paused and then said, “That’s what I want, honest loyalty.” I paused, and then said, “You will get that from me.”

Normally, at this point, Comey might have stifled a sob or felt a clutching in his throat. 

It is possible we understood the phrase “honest loyalty” differently, but I decided it wouldn’t be productive to push it further.

Instead, he departed, his virtue intact. He retreated to his car, and before driving off, he wrote the entire discussion down, word for word, so as not to lose a single innuendo to the mercy of faulty memory.  Returning to his office, he logged his recollections in and then told his BFFs  about his trying evening at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Comey decided that he could never let himself to be left alone with the President.  Yet weeks later he found himself face-to-face with his tempter in the Oval Office, the President having excused all the other meeting participants. Trump moved in, invading Comey’s personal space. He asked Comey if he could see his way clear to let it go – the “Flynn” thing.  

When the door by the grandfather clock closed, and we were alone, the President began by saying, “I want to talk about Mike Flynn.” Flynn had resigned the previous day. The President began by saying Flynn hadn’t done anything wrong in speaking with the Russians, but he had to let him go because he had misled the Vice President. He added that he had other concerns about Flynn, which he did not then specify.

“He’s a good guy,” said Trump.

Comey pulled himself up to his full 6’8″ height, put on his stern face and, mildly nauseous, vomited a little in his mouth. After this meeting, Comey would not face Trump again. The President would not relent. He called, beseeching him to lift the cloud of inquiry over his head, to tell the world that he Donald John Trump, was not being investigated. Comey was wracked, pulled in opposite directions by honesty and loyalty.  He could not say anything because he thought it was possible that he would have to retract it.

In a final phone call,  suitor became tormentor.   Trump asked Comey why did he testify before Congress the week before that there was an open investigation, and why didn’t Comey say Trump was not under investigation.  Then Trump added:

“Because I have been very loyal to you, very loyal; we had that thing you know.” I did not reply or ask him what he meant by “that thing.” I said only that the way to handle it was to have the White House Counsel call the Acting Deputy Attorney General. He said that was what he would do and the call ended.

 Less than a week later, while meeting with federal agents in  Los Angeles, Comey heard that he’d been fired, but he did not believe it until he saw the TV news news crawl.  A great deal of confusion ensured about who prompted the firing and the reasons for it. It was Trump, all along, who jilted his FBI director.

Today,  James Comey will come before Congress to tell the rest of his tragic tale. If you decide to watch have a box of Kleenex at the ready.

  © Revolted Colonies 2017

Hacking the 2020 Census

The Trump administration, running the executive branch like a three-card monte game, is trying to pull another fast one. Its next step in replacing majority-ruled government with a permanent, authoritarian plutocracy was unveiled yesterday. As we all chuffed over firing of FBI director James Comey, we were distracted from the resignation of John Thompson, Director of the Bureau of Census, over Congressional refusal to fund the 2020 Census adequately.

The seeds of 2020 electoral manipulation are being sown at the Department of Commerce. John Thompson had been with the Bureau since 1975. He tendered his resignation on May 10, ahead of his plan to retire at year-end. “Your experience will be greatly missed,” wrote Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, as he booted Thompson out the door with his size 9 brogan. Or as the late songwriter Dan Hicks put it, “How can I miss you if you won’t go away?” So it is with Thompson. Ross gladly will miss Thompson’s knowledge of the logistics of obtaining an accurate census.

By Constitutional mandate the census is taken every decade, and the numbers are used to determine the number of districts in each state. In turn, the number of districts determines the state’s number of electors. The number of electors in each state is equal to the congressional delegation, which is the number of representatives in the House and Senate combined. The seats in Congress are reapportioned based on the census. Then each state legislature hacks itself into districts to match the number allocated by the census. This is where gerrymandering comes into play. Eldridge Gerry, a founder, became famous for reshaping the districts of Massachusetts in 1810 to maintain dominance of his party. One district took the shape of a salamander. Hence, the term, gerrymandering,” representing the manipulation of a district’s shape to affect the political outcome.

If the underlying principle of democracy is “one person, one vote,” then getting the number of persons correct is a paramount concern. Yet, John Thompson was struggling with Congress to get more funding from Congress to modernize the data collection process.

The Republican-controlled Congress saw no reason to upgrade the data collection system if it would cost more than the 2010 collection. That’s where they drew the monetary line, even though the new electronic data collection system was proposed as the investment in long-term cost-cutting measures. Congress was happy with the 2010 results, and it saw no reason to ramp up the system. Hacking the census is another means of keeping American leadership in the hands of old, conservative white men. Some of the House members have requests in to use the old-style printouts to make Snoopy pictures for their kids.

Voter suppression takes many forms, and misreporting of the census is fundamental. Errors in the raw numbers skew the apportionment of representatives so that it is effectively beyond the reach of legal action. In other words, counting heads is a political function. If we get that wrong, the error taints all that follows.

Most of the alleged anti-voting fraud laws enacted in the last few years have been overturned. Still, Congress repealed a vital part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. In addition, many state legislatures have shown the inclination to suppress voting claiming fraud as a pretext. The party in power in a state with a growing non-establishment population base has an incentive to minimize its impact on voting. The less reliable and transparent the counting system, the greater the possibility for mischief. No doubt, the Congressional majority would be happy with a back-of-the-envelope tally. So what if a couple of people – or neighborhoods or – cities are under-reported?

© 2017 Revolted Colonies

What a Difference a Day Makes?

Hillary Clinton sat with Christine Amanpour of CNN recently for a lengthy interview about the campaign. In advance of her book about the 2016 election due out this fall, Clinton took responsibility for a flawed campaign. However, she insisted  that the statement made by James Comey, FBI director, on October 28, 2016, effectively turned the election against her.  Comey announced that the FBI capture of a trove of Clinton email from her aide’s laptop  would cause an extension of the investigation. 

The year 2016 may be mentioned along with  years  when the political culture of the world shifted almost in a chain reaction. It may be a year that symbolizes an epoch. Brexit, the ascendancy of Trump, and the as yet unknown fate of the French presidency are keynotes in what shapes up as a turn toward authoritarianism. With that overview, it is awfully hard to say that Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign foundered on a single day, even one so freighted with significance.

According to most reliable  polling experts she was ahead in the two weeks before the election. James Comey’s announcement of an ongoing investigation of her email disrupted the beltway and made headlines running straight up to Election Day. Clinton has good reason to think that the announcement changed minds, but whose and how many? 

It’s not clear though that Comey’s announcement changed enough minds to alter the election result. She also blames Russian intrigue but its reach and effect are still being measured. In any case, the race was close, too close to call decisively especially as voting began.  There were many other reasons why votes might have slipped away from the clearly more qualified candidate.

The authors of Shattered, a history of the 2016 Clinton campaign, argue that dysfunction in the campaign itself, caused in part by the candidate, doomed the enterprise. They nevertheless suggest many other reasons, beyond the campaign’s control, why Hillary Clinton’s fate was sealed. This election will employ historians for generations, assuming of course that History is not repealed by Executive Order.

Give a Leak, Take a Leak: Welcome to Washington

Leaks

 

Leaks come from disgruntled career bureaucrats, or disgruntled  former security contractors and  internet provocateurs, or candidates floating trial balloons,  or political opponents with scores to settle. And now that war has gone digital, leaks can be a military offensive.

 Take a leak like the outing of bad boy Mike Flynn. His past successes  taught him to ignore the rules. For example, when he was in charge of routing ISIS, he decided to leak  US intelligence to Pakistan about Pakistan. Just to show those bastards we know where they live. Well of course we do; we have GPS. It was a blatant violation disclosing classified information. But he got away with it. 

Now the tables have been turned.   His back channel bromance with Russian ambassador Kislyak became front page news. So did his lying to Mike Pence about their sanctions pillow talk. Out came the secret, and down went Flynn.  The source of the leak is a mystery still. Like one of those English mystery stories where the stiff had so many enemies, lots of suspects had opportunity and motive.

 So who are the suspects in this one? The intelligence community for sure. Just yesterday, they said they’re going to withhold information from the President because they don’t trust him. Imagine that. They don’t trust Him with their information because they think he’ll give it to America’s enemies. You don’t need Julius Rosenberg if you’ve got Donald Trump.

A lot of media outlets are pissed off at this administration too. They’ve all been thrown out of the press conferences except for Breitbart and Golf Courses of the World. Not that it matters.  Nothing really is being said at press conference these days that isn’t contradicted  by somebody else in the administration five minutes before or after.  

 If I had to guess, though, I would say it’s some career government employee, stashed in one of the intelligence agencies,  who got so pissed off that he ended up blowing the whistle. Kind of like Milton in the movie, “Office Space.” You just don’t screw around with a guy’s stapler.

 Deep Throat, America’s most famous leaker, is gone, but his advice still rings true: follow the money. It’s a little more challenging though when we have to convert from dollars to rubles.

Leaks are political safety valves and have a purpose; a fact of nature, like gas escaping a Swamp.

© 2017 The Revolted Colonies ™

 

A Wall? Maybe a Fence…

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All Bricked Up

If Humpty Dumpty tumbles off Donald Trump’s wall, he may not have much of a fall. The President-elect has diminished the scale of the wall he pledged to build along our border with Mexico. There will be some portions of wall, but also some stretches of fence.  When fences won’t work, maybe he’ll try a few traffic cones. Or a crossing guard. Trump has reminded us quite early that his promises and proposals were only suggestions.  He is walking back his first and most famous promise –  the Great Wall of Arizona. Trump left his Friday meeting with President Obama looking ashen, his florid orange cast turned a washed-out gray. His shoulders are slumping from their usual military school bearing.  The Oval Office surely aged him, and he does not occupy it yet. 

Modest Proposals

Trump readily admits now that he boasted many outrageous plans in his campaign solely to get elected. He didn’t plan to undertake many of the things he proposed or even to win, for that matter.  He was surprised to escape the gravitational force of  the primaries and planned to throw his support to Chris Christie. At the time of the convention, his son approached John Kasich to offer him effective control of the government in a Trump-Kasich administration.  Trump fancied himself in more of a ceremonial role, like a Greeter at a Trump Casino.

A Tired Tycoon

The realities of the toughest job in the world have quickly borne down on him.  The robust 70 year-old globetrotter has looked distinctly low energy. Asked about Obamacare after leaving his Oval Office meeting, he observed that some parts of the health plan were worth keeping, Trump-speak for pieces that cannot be removed without catastrophic impact. You can’t reinstate the pre-existing condition exclusion without replacing the coverage because no insurance carrier will carry those high-risk cases voluntarily — or affordably. The health plan Trump characterized as a disaster, he now finds that he can’t easily get away from it. In fact, he had to admit that parts of this disaster were actually worth keeping. 

Mixed Messages

Some other early flip-flops: He’s making himself available to the press again. He’s receptive to coaching  from President Obama, his nemesis. He considers same-sex marriage settled law and won’t go after it.  

To be sure, Trump hasn’t retreated from nominating a Supreme Court Judge who is openly pro-life. He intends immediately deport undocumented immigrants with a criminal record. He’s chosen Steve Bannon as his chief strategist, a man aligned with White Nationalism and the racial and ethnic hatred in which it traffics. Reince Priebus, the GOP party chairman, has been elected to the all-powerful chief of staff position. Neither Trump, Bannon nor Priebus has held a government post of any kind.

One week after the November Surprise, we don’t know much more about Trump’s true plans and beliefs. It is clear, however, that he is a man sobered by the sudden realization that running a government is a monumental undertaking, one which he did not expect.

© 2016 The Revolted Colonies

So, What Do You Really Think?

The warning signs were there from the beginning that this was going to be a watershed year. Donald Trump, President-Elect, buzzed through a crowded field of mostly experienced politicians to emerge as the Republican standard-bearer. We could chalk it up to the asymmetry of the field or the brawling of primary politics or an aberration caused by conflating reality and TV.  Now that Trump has won the White House,  his victory, still shocking, is more understandable. 

The country is almost evenly divided between people who reject the empowerment of the federal government as a positive force and those who embrace it.  Trump embodies the former and Clinton the latter.  Trump had a clear vision of his following — he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue in broad daylight and he would not lose his support.  Sexual assault, race-baiting, tax dodging, swindling: none of it mattered because he thumbed his nose at the System. Now he will be the System, until he dismantles it.

Take Trump at his word. He will build a wall. He will get Mexico to pay for it. He will close our borders. He will start sending bills to our allies. He will tip all the sacred cows.  If you like alternate history, this will be a field day. There will be an iconoclast — a vengeful, petty, litigious one — as Commander-in-Chief. Nothing is unthinkable.

 © 2016 The Revolted Colonies

It Used To Be Called Election Fatigue

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A few of us came voluntarily but most were coerced.  My wife and parents cornered me the night after the second debate. They told me that I was obsessed. I didn’t know the date or my children’s names. They kept at it long enough to convince me that I was in trouble. I’d neglected my health and hygiene. I was taking meals sporadically, they said, confronting me with piles of half-eaten sandwiches that were rotting on my desk; coffee cups stacked up in the car console.  I was sleeping two hours at a time, awake through most nights, afraid to close my eyes.  The kids were terrified, asking my wife what was wrong with me. 

  That did it. I broke down, babbling uncontrollably. My wife calmed me until an SUV arrived. Two EMTs extracted me from the house, with nothing but an overnight bag my wife had packed. I was given some kind of sedative and fell dead away. 

 I awoke, still goofy, afloat on a sea of identical beds in a barn-like, white room. The room I later learned was previously occupied by a drug store chain. It was flooded with artificial light and silent though full of people. I recognized the hum of white noise, an ambient background, all but blotting out the random car horn blaring outside. 

I sat up and looked around. I was in a ward of fifty or so beds, scattered  through the store.  My bed was in the row where magazines used to be kept .  I stood up slowly, relieved that I was not under restraint. As I walked around, I noticed that the ward was filled with political junkies.  They looked zonked out. Some I recognized: reporters, commentators and analysts, but also people like me.   I haven’t seen any anchors here yet.  But they just read the news, they don’t have to understand it.  We’re all under observation for post-traumatic stress disorder. This is what my old counselor calls election fatigue. In his day this wasn’t considered an illness. Now it’s PTSD, DSM 309.81. I once was a concerned citizen. Now I’m a diagnosis. 

 We’re free to walk around and talk about anything but the election. Bailey is in the bed next to me, with the covers pulled up. He’s been under there for hours. I suspect he’s writing: journaling or  taking notes. It’s forbidden, and he doesn’t want to get caught because he’ll be forced to leave. This is his second stint, and his insurance won’t pay for another. He’d had a meltdown when Kerry was swift-boated. Don’t misunderstand. He would be happy to leave but his family won’t take him back unless he can stay clean.

Galt is walking up and down the aisles of beds. It seems like she’s talking to herself, saying the same thing over and over.  Galt’s really gone, I think, until I realize that she’s memorizing a column. She’s been mumbling the same thing all day. Then she moves on to new rantings.  Two orderlies return her to bed. She sobs that she’s on deadline. Poor soul. 

  Each day brings the possibility of a new patient and with it news of the campaigns.  There are no phones, television or newspapers and definitely no internet. We are locked away without the faintest sense of what has happened since we were extracted.  When somebody new arrives, the rest of us gather around until a guard disperses us. They try to  minimize the private discussions between patients. It doesn’t matter.  One newbie says he’s up by a point, and another says that he’s down by five. One says New Hampshire’s a lock but at the same time another says it’s in play. Too much conflicting information is like no information at all.

We have group meetings once a day. The idea is so we don’t think it’s just us who are suffering.  There is a new patient with us. Her name is Derry, and she was hosting Talk Radio.  At first, she was a casual listener, but she  couldn’t take the nonsense she was hearing and became a caller.  Soon she was a regular — “Derry from Winston-Salem” — phoning in to argue. She started making things up: Hillary is having closed-door meetings with John Kasich…Trump took an option on the U.N…All Chrysler 300 owners are forming a voting bloc.  The audience loved it, so the station put her on the air. Then she spun completely out of control.  When she accused the network of funding the Militia Movement, it was over for her. 

Every day I meet individually with Andrew, my counselor. The point is to help me figure out what made me go haywire.  I have a vivid recollection of the intervention but the campaign is a blur. I could remember many events and sound bytes, but I cannot put them in order or make sense of them.  Andrew is an elderly African-American man. He’s great at therapy talk — “When I say that, how does that make you feel?” — but he’s a good guy. He seems to be a little jangly himself. I wonder if he’ll end up in one of the beds at some point.

I ask Andrew how long I will be here, and he says that I can walk out any time I want. I realize, though, that I don’t want to leave. It’s quiet and orderly and safe. I’m at peace here, and frankly, I’m scared to go back out there. Andrew says that the ward will shut down after the votes are counted and a winner is declared.

 Bailey and Galt are talking. They’re scared too and don’t want to leave. 
 
“Even after the election?” I ask.
 
“Especially after the election,” they say.
 

©  2016 The Revolted Colonies

 

 

 

Tapped Out and Brassed Off: No More Donations

Money in politics

I’m on a first-name basis with Barack, Michelle, Joe, Hillary, Chelsea, Senator Al (Franken), somebody named Jess and somebody else named Nick.  All my new BFFs write to me, some of them every day to tell me about their opponents’ character defects, and they always ask for money. Not a lot, $5.00 here, $25.00 there, or $50.00 if someone is really sore aggrieved about something.  Lately it’s been about the FBI, but it’s mostly about Donald Trump.  And there’s always a deadline, a crisis, a one-stroke-of-midnight tone to these messages. I wasn’t ready for these desperate pleas for support. I thought that’s what families were for.

Work for (a) Change 

Every time there is a tick in one of the polls, the Clinton campaign turns that tick into a nick for cash.  “Ohio’s up? Help us seal the deal! Ohio’s down? Help us save the U.S. as we know it!” We’re a week away from Election Day.  As of September 30th, Clinton had $385M cash on hand compared to $40M for Trump. Her campaign and its affiliates took in $101M through October 19th, while Trump raised $29M during the same period. Clinton had $62M on hand. On the other hand, Trump had to kick in $31M of his own money to keep the doors open —and he never invests his own money. With a week to go, they’re still spending and whining about money. Frankly, my dears, I don’t give a damn.

The Clinton campaign has been going on for two years. Democrat-affiliate Super-Pacs have been at it even longer.  I contributed to Bernie (“$27.00 —would you like a receipt?”). When Bernie folded, I backed Hillary, even though I am not an ardent supporter.  But seriously, does it ever stop?

The Politics Industry

The answer is No, it doesn’t. Political fundraising is perpetual.  After Obama won, fundraising continued without stopping for a breath. “Support the Agenda.” Then it was issue-driven, against Citizens United, among other things. Now, we get Super-PAC fundraising to limit Super-PAC fundraising? Only in America.

What do you call a perpetual campaign? you call it an industry. Politics for both parties is a business, and together they form an industry. After all, if campaigns were limited to 60–90 days, all the pros would have nothing to do the rest of the time. Pollsters, organizers, lawyers, accountants, and policy wonks would be cashiered. Our contributions keep the politics industry rolling. Our campaign system is a retort to anyone who says that politicians don’t create jobs. They create jobs for themselves. 

None of this fundraising is illegal. In fact, in our end-stage capitalist nation, it is the official language of politics. The Supreme Court said so itself in Citizens United. When I give money to a campaign, I’m not just speaking; I’m also investing, but I have no voice in how the company is run. I don’t get stock, interest or dividends. 

Brassed Off

The only thing I can do is to cap my investment, which is what I’ve done. So, Barack, Michelle, Joe, Hillary, Chelsea, Al, Jess and Nick: I’m turning off the spigot. No more money for 2016. I’m tapped out. But by all means, write to me next year when you’ve got your first quarterly report, and I’ll decide if your company’s prospects look good.

© 2016 The Revolted Colonies. Reprinted with permission.

Politics as Unusual: The FBI, The Bundy Verdict and The Comey Letter

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FBI director James Comey had a lousy week, and next week is not looking any better.  A trial jury in Oregon told him that his G-Men were off-base thinking that armed seizure of a federal bird sanctuary constituted a crime when the panel acquitted the Bundy Gang of conspiracy, gun and other charges. Comey took refuge in Anthony Weiner’s underwear, but they’re not fitting as planned.

Bad Day at the Bird Bath

img_1441The Bundy Gang didn’t walk away. There are other charges against them still pending.  The acquittal was not a blanket exoneration. Still, it will force the Bureau to reconsider its policy in dealing with armed anti-government resistance.  J. Edgar Hoover must be spinning in his grave. 

img_1443The shooting at Ruby Ridge, Idaho in 1992 and the siege and shootout in Waco, Texas in 1993 had previously put the FBI under scrutiny in its encounters with the Militia Movement, of which the Bundys are a part. The verdict handcuffs the Bureau in protecting federal land from armed opposition.  The next step, unfortunately, would be to call up the National Guard. which may be precisely what the Bundys want.

Rifling Through the Underwear Drawer

img_1448The day after the Bundy acquittal and without any apparent connection to it, Comey sent Congress a letter stating that the FBI was reading newly discovered Hillary Clinton emails from a cache recovered a month ago from a laptop it seized from Weiner.  The laptop was shared by the former Congressman and his soon-to-be ex-wife, Huma Abedin, a top aide to the President-in-Waiting. Weiner is under investigation for conducting an online sexual relationship with a minor.

Even though the FBI has had Weiner’s laptop for a month and presumably has known about the emails for as long, allegedly it hasn’t gotten around to reading them.  So, the FBI hasn’t determined if these emails are new discoveries or copies of emails previously recovered.

Nevertheless, Comey thought it necessary to inform Congress of the find. In July, Comey announced that the FBI had found no basis to recommend criminal charges against former Secretary of State Clinton, arising out of her use of a private email server. He then scolded her publicly for mishandling classified material.   Comey came under fire for this ex-officio comment.

Crossing The Boss

img_1447Now, Comey is on the hot seat again. He went against Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s direction not to issue the inflammatory letter adding nothing of substance to the case against Clinton, eleven days before Election Day. The FBI reports to Lynch’s Justice Department. Yet, Comey said that he felt obligated to inform Congress of this newish discovery. Comey’s action may well be grounds for dismissal. Given Lynch’s own political problem over her June  airport meeting with Bill Clinton, creating an appearance of impropriety in connection with the email server issue, she was in no position to block Comey and is in no position to fire him.  

Comey Unchained

Nevertheless, Comey’s feeling of obligation is badly misguided. The emails have not been examined. Right now, they are not evidence—they are data. It is against law enforcement policy to discuss on open investigation of any kind.If Clinton was not running for President in an upcoming election, you can bet that Comey would not even have thought about it. The FBI would continue its investigation and report its findings to DOJ, which then would make a decision as to prosecution.

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Even if he had an obligation to update Congress, his action was premature and knowingly prejudicial. It would be understandable if the FBI had determined that the emails were newly discovered material, containing a “Classified” marking and being sent to or from Clinton’s private server.  Then the Bureau could report something meaningful had been found and that further classification review by other agencies would be required. Until then, it should have remained an internal matter for the Bureau; especially because classified material might involve matters of national security.  

Comey has painted himself into a corner. If the emails are innocuous, he should not have raised it at all. If they involved  classified material, he can’t disclose them but clearly has opened that door. He’s prejudiced the election as well as a potential prosecution.  Clinton along with others accuses Comey of a political hatchet job.  Try as one might, the political aspect is impossible to dismiss.

© 2016 The Revolted Colonies

One for the Congressional Records

lets-work-together1With Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway admitting that the sky  is blue after all, Hillary Clinton’s triumph  is a fait accompli.  The Clinton machine may plug on, attempting to turn red states blue, stacking up a record to rival landslides past.  It would be a waste of time and energy.  If she does not need Arizona, Georgia or Utah to capture 270 electoral votes, she should turn her attention – and war chest – first to the Senate and then to the House. Therein lies the fate of her first term.

Piling up an electoral record would be nice, but it will have an asterisk because of her opponent. Trump was not a Republican long enough to be considered an apostate.  He is an aberration. No matter how big the electoral victory, Clinton is not receiving a mandate from the voters.  Her boosters will be braying, her nose-holding voters sighing with relief, and the #NoHRC contingent gnashing their teeth and engineering her downfall. Assuming that her detractors can sort themselves out well enough for concerted action.

Be assured that the detractors will be sufficient in number to defeat Clinton’s legislative agenda if they are united.  That’s why the Democrats should turn  energy and funding to Congressional races.  Numerical control of the Senate doesn’t guarantee de facto control, due to the Senate Rules. But the Senate sets new rules when a new Congress is called into session, and the majority is critical for setting those rules.  The Rules will  place the Senate in a position to push through needed appointments.  The Supreme Court is the most pressing concern. There are many others.  Clinton will have a lot of bargaining chips. If she plays them wisely she might get what she needs, even if it is not exactly what she wants.

Prognosticators say that Democrats will not win a House majority. Given the rift in the GOP, a large plurality may be enough to build a coalition on fiscal issues. The Members and the White House must be ready to horse-trade, as it used to be done. Pork is back in fashion. If members protect their districts and trade votes to accomplish that end, everyone can go home equally unhappy.  That’s good politics.

It’s not up to Hillary alone.  The Republican shakeout from their Lost Weekend is still uncertain.  Trump will most likely reject the party brand and drag his constituents off to a political Jonestown.  The rump, what’s left of the old GOP, will have to decide if it wants to be a major party. If so, it must be willing to work with Democrats. If it chooses to continue the politics of No, it will not be a majority party in the House much longer.

HRC needs Congress, and she knows it.  Let’s see if she’s smart and skilled enough to play for a working majority rather than an illusory coronation.

 

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