Saturday, November 5, 2016

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Anne Marie Kennedy - A Matter of Modesty

Wish I'd Said That: Samantha Bee's Donald Trump Thesaurus - I laughed till it hurt when I heard it just now.

Karel Husa - Music For Prague 1968

Northern Iowa Wind Symphony
Ronald Johnson, conductor

Hate Mail:  Well, as I recall the events of  August. 20, 1968 in Prague had a huge impact on my thinking about the reality of Marxism after they couldn't hide its real nature behind Stalin.   Not to mention the Cultural Revolution in China was going on at that time,  which I believe even the present day government admits to killing c. 30 Million, just as part of that mass murder.  Mao's total body count is far larger than that.

I'm still reading lefties of my age cohort and younger who are promoting the Maoist Progressive Labor Party (the guys who destroyed SDS the next year when they couldn't mount a putsch and take it over) as some kind of great and wonderful thing.  I see it as, if anything, worse than the German American Bund and other efforts to mount a PR campaign for the Nazi regime in the run up to the war.  The Nazis didn't start the serious mass killing until relatively late in the Nazi regime.   Decades later I was still reading people like Alexander Cockburn trying to draw the distinction between the moral atrocity of Stalin and Hitler based on the fact that under Stalin a Jewish man who was willing to be in the Red Army was not included in the mass murder well after 1968, I don't recall him commenting on Stalin's last purge that didn't quite get off the ground because he died in his own filth before he could really get down to killing, a result of the, in his mind, "Jewish Doctor's Plot".  Such writers were also apologists for the dreary, oppressive and not entirely unblood-soaked Brezhnev regime, as well.

As for Susan Sontag's conveniently omitted statement that someone who had gotten everything they knew from the Reader's Digest of the 1950s and 60s might end up more right than someone who read things like The Nation, perhaps she never really knew anyone who got their information from such sources of right-wing, crypto-fascism.  Living in the provinces, someone who was living among many such people instead of living the life of a New York City culture vulture, I can tell you that while they were not dupes of communism, they were equally duped by fascists, racists, segregationists, opponents of equality and political and economic justice.   Sontag's lack of imagination that came up with that dichotomy is telling, apparently she didn't see that there were entirely viable alternatives to that one two-step she knew.

The Most Pleasurable 100 Minutes I've Spent In Months Carla Bley In Convesrsation

If you don't listen to anything else, her response at the very end of the video,  to the question of what advice she'd give is worth listening to but it makes a lot more sense if you listen to all of what comes before.

Update:  Yeah, yeah, it's a typo.  As I said several weeks ago my eyesight is failing and maybe I'll eventually have to give this up.

Why Does It Seem That Academics Are So Much More Likely To Like Anti-Democratic Ideologies Than Democracy? - Hate Mail

There are few things more guaranteed to raise a wailing whine on the left than to diss Marxism. You'd think that Marxism was some great moral force rather than the system under which more people were murdered than under Nazism, under which hundreds of millions, going into the billions were deprived of their rights, enslaved, sent to work-death camps,... continuing today in such paradises as North Korea and China.

Let me break this to you, yet again, what you and I were taught, that communism was the polar opposite of fascism was a lie.  It was a lie made under the absurd theory that verbiage about economics was more important than people getting murdered by the millions.  It takes a completely decadent and corrupt academic culture to ignore that mountain range of bodies while concentrating on the stated intentions about how the greatest mass murderers in history were going to manage their economy.   But that is exactly what almost all of political "science" has done, what all ideological assertion on that point in the past century is based in.  That such academic, so-called experts were willing to overlook the mass murder and concentrate on the money tells you everything you need to know about them, their motives and their minds.  It also provides one of the best reasons academics have ever given for normal people to reject and ignore their proclamations about everything.

The dead giveaway of the moral equivalence of Marxism with Nazism and other fashions of fascism lies in the behavior of Marxists who were quite OK with even the Nazis at times.   Stalin's pact with Hitler caused Communists in the United States and elsewhere to do a 180 turn and go from being vehemently anti-Hitler to sounding like American businessmen who said he was someone they could do business with.   If you read what they were saying during the brief period after the pact was signed until Hitler did what anyone with the ability to think would know he would do, invade the Soviet Union, it was a stream of double-talk so as to be amazing.  And if you want to talk about the opponents of Stalin among Marxists, it was about the same time that the first of the Trotskyite defectors to American domestic style fascism were inventing neo-conservatism.   Now we have the example of Putin and the Russian oligarchs, many of them from the old Soviet ruling class who are probably the biggest promoters of neo-Nazis and neo-fascism in Europe and here.

In the past decade or two I've come to have to face the extremely unpleasant fact that much of official modernism was created by people who were very enthusiastic for fascism.   Many icons of modern art and literature were wildly enthusiastic about fascism in the early 20th century even up to and during World War Two.  Some of them were also extremely ignorant and stupid, such as Gertrude Stein, some of them were intellectual icons, Yeats, Pound, etc.*  Though I will say that music was somewhat less prone to it.

What is an equally unpleasant thing to face is that at least as many intellectuals in my generation and that immediately preceding it were enthusiastic about the Communists in their various guises.

It is amazing how large the percentage of academics in the West, especially among English speakers, have been entirely more enthusiastic about anti-democratic ideologies than they have been for egalitarian democracy and how their promotion has not kept them from being considered admirable and emulable and published in the mutual admiration networking of the small journal set and even in wider markets of journalism.   It's a lot harder to think of academics who were as staunch in their advocacy for democracy without wavering into quasi-fascist or Marxist accommodation than it is academics who have been enthusiasts of forms compatible with dictatorship.   The resultant magnification of the sins of democrats and the obscuring of the far more massive sins compatible with their chosen anti-democratic system has had a real effect among the educated and would-be educated classes.

I suspect a number of things are at work, first is the widespread snobbery of the academic class, who love to believe themselves to be a number of cuts above the hoi polloi or "the masses," as pointed out in the thing which got me slammed.  Another is the fetish for total, complete closure of "theory" in a neat, tidy totalistic system.   I remember hearing an old, blue-stocking, ex-Stalinist who left the old Communist Party several years after Khrushchev tried to consolidate his power by revealing a few of Joseph Stalin's massive crimes.   When Khrushchev did that, it was final permission for Communists to admit to what had been denied by them since it first become known in the 1930s, that Stalin was a mass murderer and much more.  When asked in the 1970s how she had remained in an explicitly and rabidly Stalinist party even as the crimes of the Communists were fully known, she said the wanted "a more logical kind of government" than boring old American democracy provided.

The old lie that Marxism was the good form of dictatorship and it was the polar opposite of Nazism was one of the most transparent of commonly asserted lies in the 20th century.  Hitler opposed Marxism because Marx was a Jew and his theoretical system was a rival form of dictatorship.  Both were, though, opposed to egalitarian democracy which is the polar opposite of both of them.   Politicians and political systems and theories are most honestly distinguished based on how close they get to egalitarian democracy as opposed to dictatorship.  Egalitarian democracy is the polar opposite of all dictatorial systems, if you want to chart that on a line instead of in reality which is far more complex than can be graphed in that way.  Though it's a lot harder to come up with some tidy little thing that can fit into a small journal or a magazine article or get taught in an intro class for three credits.   Poly-sci is largely bull shit, as is economics.   Real politics can't fit into an academic school or major.

*  Overt fascism under the American language guises of "federalism" "originalism" and even often disguised as "civil libertarianism" is rampant among the academic and scribbling class of the United States.  Not to mention the babbling class I wrote about earlier, below.

Update:  Let me guess, you've never read Suasn Sontag's piece, have you, you read about it.  As it is, dopey, I'd figured out at least that much more than a decade before she wrote it and I was a lot younger than she was.  It was just about twelve years earlier that I heard the dopey blue-stockings mentioned above and I already realized what she said was a crock of crap.  I remember thinking when I read Sontag's brave declaration against communism, MADE DURING THE REAGAN ADMINISTRATION was her attempt to remain au courant.  Here is how it was later described in The Nation:

That this would be a relatively uncontroversial thing for someone—even someone on the left—to say today is a testament to how flat our historical thinking has become. The intellectual climate of 1982—Reagan and Thatcher ruled, and it was still several years before glasnost and perestroika—meant that Sontag’s comments created a firestorm. In the best of our tradition, The Nation reprinted Sontag’s remarks and opened its pages for comment from other prominent intellectuals of the left, like current Nation editorial board member Philip Green (“If Susan Sontag really needed to learn from the right, that was her problem, not ours”); the longtime (self-described) liberal anti-communist Diana Trilling (who called Sontag insufficiently scrubbed of the Red-tinged trace); Phillip Pochoda (“I, for one, should hate to see Sontag, long one of the most valued assets of the American left, allow herself to become caricatured as Norman Podhoretz with a human face.”); and Christopher Hitchens (“Let us be charitable and assume that she was trying to galvanize an audience by deliberate exaggeration.”). In a follow-up editorial, The Nation dug up a few noteworthy Reader’s Digest headlines from the period in question—i.e. “What is a Communist?” by Whittaker Chambers—but, fortunately, now you can go through our own archives here to see what we did write about communism and the Soviet Union between 1950 and 1970. (Or, since there is no reason those should be the operative years, you might read our two-part series by Bertrand Russell from 1920, headlined on the cover, “I went to Russia believing myself a communist, but…”)

I'd never "believed myself a communist, but...."  I've always been an egalitarian democrat and a Democrat.  I never had any problem figuring out that not only the various American communists where hypocrites and liars, unlike so many of those who wrote and produced The Nation, even some who declare it today, I never thought the Maoists of "Progressive Labor" were anything but a bunch of scum who didn't care about millions of people getting murdered when they weren't Europeans.

Update 2:  "my point about Sontag is that she was an atheist"  If that was your point it's even stupider than most of what you mistake as relevant.  You're a total asshole and an atheist, it's totally irrelevant to the fact that you're lazy and stupid as well.

The 24 Hour Cable News Operations Have Made America Stupider Because They Tell Us Lies

I missed it being ol' Walter Cronkite's 100th birthday yesterday.  So I'll talk about TV "news".  The medium he pioneered, which used to be staffed by real journalists and which had to follow standards.  They don't much do either, anymore and they have played a big role in the destruction of democracy.  

When Donald Trump's primary robo-blonde shield, Kellyanne Conway,  went on Anderson Cooper's show, he asked about Melania Trump's  cluelessly ironic speech about how, as First Lady she intended to use her powers to cleanse the internet of meanness and incourtesy and personal statements about personal appearance.   Considering it's her husband who has raised all of those to new levels in public discourse, especially with vulgar, cruel, crude comments about the appearance of women, disabled people, etc.  she should have broken the irony meter with that speech.

Well, when Anderson raised the contents of some of Donald Trumps tweets to his campaign manager, her response was to accuse him of "cherry picking" things Trump said, as if Anderson couldn't have brought up hours and hours of video and audio clips, scores and hundreds of Trump tweets,  to illustrate the point that Ms. Trump and the Trump campaign was massively and obviously hypocritical in complaining about a practice that their own guy, Donald Trump, has promoted by example and by encouragement in his own fanatical followers.   Anderson Cooper wasn't "cherry picking" he was forced by his format to to be negligent in choosing only what he did, there should have been a long segment illustrating how Donald Trump has driven down political language to Nazi brown-shirt, Hitler Youth levels of cruel, vulgar and taunting invective.   

If Melania Trump broke the irony meter with her speech, Kellyanne Conway should have broken the phrase, already misused to the point of uselessness, "cherry picking".   It's time it was retired, along with people like Conway. 


I have begun to wonder if any of the lying surrogates for Donald Trump will pay a price for their role in his campaign.  In our media, I doubt it.  They'll be hired just as CNN hired Corey Lewandowski, pretending he was a credible commentator on the very campaign he was a part of and that of Hillary Clinton's which he has used his position at CNN to attack.   Well, it is clear that they have bent their own rules because several times, most recently the other day, it's clear that CNN has maintained him despite it being obvious he's still working as part of the Donald Trump campaign.   He and Kellyanne Conway would be considered fatally damaged goods in any journalism that valued truth instead of spin and the cabloid media seldom has demonstrated they do in the past.  

Ted Turner was a businessman who thought he had a good idea in creating the 24 hour news format in CNN, it turns out that the 24-7 news format is mostly going to be filled with empty headed people with good skin and good screen tests prattling about stuff they don't know about, saying what they figure their bosses will want people to believe.  

No, it turns out the longer they've got to talk, the worse it gets.   I always used to give the example of CBC radios great half-hour news program,  The World at Six, which managed to give more straight news in 30 minutes than CNN did in a whole day of babble.   I strongly suspect the United States would be a smarter country if the cabloid news operations went out of business altogether.   For one thing they would stop operating as a bad example to the rest of the media which has followed its example in unscripted, loose talk, frequently false and mostly misleading.   It doesn't help that a lot of the people they hire are pretty unintelligent and superficial media models. 

MSNBC has a few hours at night where people like Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes, try to do better and generally succeed, but they don't make up for the mostly crap schedule of even that station.  I have generally avoided watching Mika and Joe but, watching some of their show in clips the other day,  I couldn't stand how both stupid and dishonest they are.  

[Wait, before going on.  I had to edit that last sentence.  At first  first I wrote, "I couldn't believe how..." but it was wrong,  having seen a lot of TV "news" of course I believed it, it is entirely in line with what TV news is. ] 

The world would be a lot better off if anyone who wanted to broadcast on American airwaves or to take up the attention of the American electorate had to fund a totally non-commercial, totally independent news operation- the for-profit guys dumping any pretenses about really caring about more than making money by peddling stuff between crap entertainment.  But I wouldn't include something with the continual babbling of the cabloid "news" stations.   That format can't do anything other than act as a means of stupid people to say stupid stuff off the top of their heads.  There's a reason Rachel Maddow comes off as intelligent, most of what she says on TV is intentional, much of it written CAREFULLY beforehand.  What impromptu discussion there is is generally kept in check by the questions asked and by not having on people in the Kellyanne Conway - Corey Lewandowski class of liars without carefully having on people who can refute them or knowing the refutation of their lies.  But that's hardly ever the case on cabloid "news".  

Cable "news" has made the country believe lots of lies, that is the same thing as making America stupider.   And when Americans are made stupider, the politics that depends on them knowing the truth so the truth can make them free, is stupider. This year that results in Donald Trump being in reach of the presidency, perhaps bringing the Rodrigo Duterte style of governance he's been promising his TV addled cult members. That should not be allowed.  There is no rational reason to allow it in a democracy, the friggin' First Amendment either serves democratic self-government instead of being permission to destroy democracy or it is just a meaningless stream of words. 

Friday, November 4, 2016

Weber Iago - Count Your Blessings

Not Hate Mail

"Steve Simels called it a "classy bodice ripper on PBS," 

Well, I guess if you're the kind of person who thinks a bodice ripper can be classy, I'd guess that's your idea of "classy".    I'll bet he watched every episode of Downton Abbey, too. 

I've got to say that this really has got me wondering if, in his senectitude, Simps isn't turning into what he really always wanted to be.  

Update:  Simps has been repeatedly simpering that I'm "making fun of a successful woman".  Well, yeah, successful at producing tons of pulp bodice rippers.  I'd suspect Simels of devouring them like Archie comics but I doubt he has the attention span for that.   Let me break your heart, Simps, I also make fun of Thomas Kincade and Billy Collins.  

Update 2:  Now Simps' girdle's in a twist because I used the word "senectitude."   He claims that it's outmoded.  Well, I don't care, though I know he just made that up.  He makes up a lot of stuff when pressed.  Mostly he just repeats stuff he's heard.   Here, read what it says in "The Thinker's Thesaurus". 

Update 3:  Now he's claiming I'm "gay baiting" him. Considering I'm gay and he's not, that's as stupid as he always gets.  I know lots of fussy, poofy straight men, many of them the kind of city boy who has a secret addiction to romance unprovided by their white-collar jobs.   I'll bet George F. Will shares Simels' passion for these ripping yarns.  I'll bet John Roberts does, too. 

Update 4:  He says "name three"[straight guys other than Simps the Sophisticated who are saps for romantic fiction].   Brian, Vern and Larry come to mind.  Then there's Steve.  Yeah, Steve is a real sucker for romance TV.    Not to mention all of those guys who produce it while being straight men.  Not to mention guys who write that crap, like Julian Fellowes whose big ripper you're pretending to disdain.   And, oh, yeah, the guy Fellowes is said to admire and owe so much to for his literary style, Winston Graham who wrote those Poldark novels who started this whole thing.   There's some connection between the author of Downton Abbey and that series you're so addicted to but, off the top of my head, I can't remember what I read in passing.   You know, Simps, you can find out if those guys were straight married with children by googling them.

Oh, and, Freki talking about lapses in logic is rich.  Of course when she does it it's usually just plain old lying that produces it. She's in Roger Stone's league when it comes to lying.  Not that it bothers the attention deficient Eschatwits.  

This Is What It Looks Like When Democracy Dies

You would think there would be some patriotic FBI agents who would name and condemn their colleagues who are leaking to FOX and fueling the anti-Clinton feeding frenzy but so far that hasn't happened.  You would think that someone at the Department of Justice would think their career was of less importance than, you know, DEMOCRACY but that doesn't seem to be the case, either.  

Anyone on the left, in the middle or on the "moderate" right would have realized what we're seeing the FBI do this week, from its Director down to agents who are using its power to work in concert with the most lying alleged journalists in the country to destroy someone and, in the process to destroy democracy in the most effective way, by lying to an effective fringe of voters who can be easily swayed by which ever way the electronic media blows.   

This is a prelude to a police state, this is what it looks like, this is what George Orwell warned against almost seventy years ago.   

It is hard to know how to counter this because those of us who do not own the real media that has a political impact, the electronic media, have no real power except to shout the truth as loudly as we can.  I suppose we might pray for some miracle to save us, if you have some other suggestion, you'd better make it now because this is looking, increasingly like fascism is right at the doorstep.  

The FBI is obviously fully poised to participate in a police state, going after its opponents and enemies with the full power of their resources in concert with the corrupt media.  A police state based in FOX and the FBI doesn't look like some outrageous fantasy right now, imagine if Trump wins or the Republicans retain the Senate.  If the Republicans retain the Senate they have already announced they are prepared to go so far as to destroy the Supreme Court rather than confirm any nominees that, not only a President Clinton would nominate but any Democratic President.  The Heritage Foundation is pushing that, I have no doubt that you'll hear that from the "federalist" fascists and the "originalists" who, somehow, seem to forget that the CONSTITUTION GIVES THE SENATE THE RESPONSIBILITY TO CONFIRM OR REJECT NOT THE RIGHT TO OBSTRUCT.  

This has been one of the most dangerous weeks in the history of the United States, in the history of modern democracy and there is precious little good news as it ends and goes into an even more dangerous one.   So far, other than Hillary Clinton, there has been no hero.  Barack Obama has gone from having his press secretary issue a statement that he didn't believe James Comey acted with the intention to influence the election to making some somewhat less foolish though equally weak response to the reality that that is exactly what he did.  If, by that miracle mentioned above, we end up avoiding the nightmare of a Trump presidency with a Republican-fascist Senate or the almost equally terrible one of a President Hillary Clinton having to face down Republicans in control of both houses, I doubt Barack Obama will have the courage to fire Comey, put him and his rogue agency under criminal investigation and to expose the most dangerous rot in the federal government in its history.   I certainly don't think the allegedly liberal part of the media will be much more than an obstruction in the effort to reign in their lying profession and to at least force it to not promote fascism.  

And I haven't even gone into the role that the Russian oligarchic-fascist crime regime has played in the corruption of the United States or its role in promoting neo-Nazism and neo-fascism in Europe.  We are far past the day when the old Soviet Union was proud of that much, its role in defeating Nazism, now the Russian and some of the shards from that broken vessel are gaming it to try to gain advantage for their own criminal system.  That Marxists went to fascists in such a tiny step certainly gives the lie to all of those pretenses that it was entirely incompatible with its close cousin among dictatorial forms.   You would think our domestic Marxists having generated neo-consevatism, a fascist ideology, would have shown that was a lie, as well.  

I am scared in ways I have not been scared before that my nieces and nephews, and your children and grandchildren might live in a fully fascist United States and so may even those of us old enough to be thinking about our last years.   Anyone who isn't scared to the extent that it forces changing in their thinking are idiots whose every other idea is probably as idiotic as their faith in the impossibility of it happening here, now, under the American Constitution as interpreted by recent courts.  If we, again, by that miracle, dodge the bullet this time and we let things remain as they are, we have just delayed its inevitable future.   The American People have been sold lies and those lies will imprison us.  No miracle of "more speech" has prevented that happening, it enabled the liars, it didn't protect democracy. 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

When He Lies, He Speaks Out of His Own Character

You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44

I have spent most of this week listening to and reading what Donald Trump and his supporters are saying and must say that the level of lying coming from them has taken on a supernatural character.  If any of them have said a single thing that is true, it must have been out of exhaustion from lying with all their might.  Literally everything I've read from them that I've checked out before or this week has been a lie, most of them enormous whoppers of lies.  

It took the Donald Trump campaign and the events of the past week to make me consider that there really might be such a thing as the devil and that some people give themselves over, entirely to it.  You can call it selfishness, you can call it sadism, you can call it any number of personality defects but when you see it at work in so many people all working to do evil all at once, it makes you wonder what is coordinating it.  This is more than just natural dishonesty, banal evil, this is something entirely out of the ordinary level of lying.  

How ironic that it was set off by a banal, self-righteous, legalistic Babbit like Comey.  

Make The Media Accountable For Lies Or Democracy Dies

The flood of lies issuing from the FBI to FOX and other venues of lying in the final days of this presidential campaign should be enough to change the minds of some of the fools who figure a nation fed on lies can be free.  

The fact that so many on the so-called left can witness this and still deny that the trouble all started in 1964 when the Supreme Court permitted the media to lie about public figures without risking being sued only shows how the self-interested media has played the left for total suckers.  Unable to "more speech" against the tidal wave of lies - when it wasn't busy lying about Democrats in office themselves - we find our country on the precipice only to have them deny the central role that lying with impunity by the media has played in putting us there, even as the media and the FBI and other Republican-fascist riddled entities send a tidal wave of lies to try to push us over it.  

The superstition of the moderny, secularist voices of the post-war media that, somehow, lies told to tens and hundreds of millions by the self-interested electronic media, owned and run by the rich in their own interest were not going to be stronger than the pathetic, puny ink on paper operations that pushed that nonsense is truly laughable, only the results can only appropriately be wept over.  The whole effect of The Nation, The Progressive, In These Times, The Village Voice, etc. doesn't add up to the power of the third rated commercial broadcast network. 

If we get out of this it is only a matter of time before this situation in which lies rule produces fascism in the United States, if not under a Trump, then under a Pence or a Cruz or any of a number of other overt fascists who the media will lie into office if it means their owners get more money and more power.  

The left that doesn't realize that we either stop the lying with impunity or we lose democracy is a left that has no viability, it is one that deserves to die.  You can quote any number of otherwise admirable or wise people who held that nonsensical idea in the past but it has been given the test of time and it is totally wrong.  That you can only be free if you know the truth is a Biblical truth that has won the argument, the secularist magic formula of "more speech" is a lie in itself.  A lie which has had a huge role in damaging, perhaps fatally, American democracy. 


Hate Mail

Here's my answer to Simels.

Dame Simels is having a hissy fit because I don't watch TV and I don't watch his favorite TV bodice ripper.  I can live with that.

When I looked it up, it was hilarious how just about everything about it denied it was a bodice ripper.  I looked at one of the books, they're bodice rippers.

Hristo Vitchev · Weber Iago - The Last Leaves which Fell in Fall

Memories in Black And White 

Mary Lou Williams - St Martin De Porres

Today is the feast day of Saint Martin De Porres.

No, That Was Not A Cross-Dresser

Apparently one of my younger readers mistook the photograph I posted yesterday as being a particularly gaudy cross-dresser or female impersonator.  No, horrifically enough, that was a very real photograph of Dame Barbara Cartland who wrote or at least had her name placed on scores, maybe hundreds of cheap, pulp romance novels.   The kind of thing that can get you all Damed up by ol' Liz II.  

Back while working at a public library, I remember the crusty old librarian who, during a discussion of what to do with the many, many duplicate copies of her crap dumped on the library asked,  "Have you seen her?  What a painted doll!"  followed by her infectious cackling laugh.   Here's another view of Dame Barbara.  

James Comey The Man Who Tried To Turn Jerry Falwell Into Reinhold Niebuhr?

Other than his official acts in the government that are reported, I don't know much about James Comey.   His outrageously wrong act of intervening with the power and reputation of the FBI in a presidential election, on the side of his Republican Party*last week is possibly seen as many things, bald partisanship by an FBI Director, plain bad judgement, self-righteousness that seeks to be displayed in the self-ignited limelight, etc.   I do think it's obvious that James Comey is either by temperament or by intention not suited to be the head of the most powerful law enforcement agency in a democracy.   The problem is how to get rid of him or even if you should get rid of him.  

Since his act - an act shared in by some of his subordinates at the FBI who have also used the agency on behalf of the Republican Party - is baldly political I don't think political considerations should be irrelevant in how a Democratic President handles this.   Barack Obama could fire him, as he is reported to consider him the worst person he appointed as President that would be the responsible thing to do.  Perhaps Barack Obama should have fired him back in July after the unseemly and improper press conference in which Comey declared that she wouldn't be prosecuted for any issue that had come to light - a decision that didn't rest with him but by the prosecutors in the Department of Justice.  That on top of Comey's editorial comments slamming Hillary Clinton during his press conference would have been reason enough to fire him at a time when it would have confounded those who were furious with him for admitting they hadn't found any crime in her use of a private e-mail server. 

I think whether or not Barack Obama fires the out of control Comey depends on the results of the election.  If Hillary Clinton is elected I think it would be just about essential to get rid of Comey and the Republican partisans who have used the FBI in a political manner during this election.   They have certainly given cause to be fired and he has the power to fire any employee in the executive branch with cause.   There must be a criminal investigation of their acts which are far more seriously wrong than using a private e-mail server, something which broke no laws and which was done by her Republican predecessors in office.   

Looking at that decision in the most cynical manner, Comey is still in the job in January it is tempting to imagine him becoming a thorn in the side of a possible President Trump, but only if the pattern of using the FBI on his behalf and the behalf of the Republican Party is stopped.  That would largely hinge on whether Comey's behavior is based in the self-righteousness his friends claim or in the clear partisanship where I believe his motivation and those of many of his subordinates lie.  Another consideration is who would replace him.  I cannot imagine Donald Trump - especially with a Republican Senate - would appoint someone less bad in his place.   

With his behavior this year, including the entirely improper announcement in July, there is no reason for any Democrat to ever trust James Comey, there is no reason to not think the FBI and possibly the Department of Justice is riddled with Republican Partisans who should be distrusted by Democrats. If we are lucky enough to have Hillary Clinton as President next year it will be necessary to expose any wrongdoing or malfeasance by them in the past to public view and clean the thing out.  

If Hillary Clinton, or any other Democrat gets to appoint his successor, they should remember both Comey and his Republican predecessor Louis Freeh who also used the FBI to launch bogus investigations of Democrats for clearly political purposes.  When you add in William Sessions, Patrick Gray, there is a history that shows it's a huge mistake for a Democrat to give the job to a Republican, especially on the recommendation of the DC establishment.  How that establishment fell for the melodramatic story of the rush to the bedside of John Ashcroft while ignoring that a few weeks later James Comey signed onto the plan to use torture and that he administrated its use in one of the most infamous cases from the George W. Bush era, shows their judgement should never be followed by a Democratic President.

There has to be a full criminal investigation of the FBI and one for it being used in politics by those inside and outside of it.  Without that it will never be fixed and it will be more of a danger to democracy and rights than it will be a law enforcement agency.   Most of the worst of what J. Edgar Hoover used it for during his period in office would have been ended by shining a bright light on those.  If Barack Obama wanted to clean up the mess he made in this appointment, he should get it started.  I would do it the day after the election with a report issued before he left office. 

In looking into this issue, I came across the  bizarre fact that James Comey, while he was a senior in college, wrote a thesis trying to find similarities on the view of public action between Reinhold Niebuhr and  Jerry Falwell.   Considering that one was the most eminent American theologian of his generation and the other one was a TV huckster who in his idea of public action peddled videos accusing Hillary Clinton of murdering Vincent Foster, that alone would have been a huge red flag that the mind even coming up with the idea was bizarrely able to twist things to suit their own preferences instead of even the most blatant of reality.   The DC insiders and media who promoted Comey and his self-constructed legend, the current world of journalism which also promoted his legend, they're entirely comfortable with that mode of thought, as long as it comes out serving Mammon in the end.

* From what I read he officially left the Republican Party earlier this year.  Why this particular year is a fair question.  Among other reasons I can think of is to more self-righteously claim that he has entered into a political race, clearly to the benefit of the Republican, as an "independent".  I don't see any reason to pretend that it is otherwise.  

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Hillary Clinton Has Been Proven In The Fire Of A Quarter Of A Century Of Attacks

I can say this year something I don't think would have occurred to me to say before,  that I genuinely like Hillary Clinton while I genuinely disagree with her on several issues, one or two of those quite important issues.  I can also genuinely say that the treatment of her by the media has had a large part in making me genuinely loathe the media, though it's hardly the only reason I loathe them.  

Kevin Drum points out that Ezra Klein is saying something I've been saying about her for years, that she is the most thoroughly vetted and tested politician in the history of presidential politics and whatever she has done wrong is thoroughly and exhaustively known, especially as compared to Donald Trump.   They consider her as compared to the massively dishonest and phony Donald Trump this way.

But basically she's a fairly ordinary politico—ironically, an unusually honest one. When she makes a deal, her word is good. When she talks about policy, she's careful not to overpromise. On the honesty front, she is Mother Teresa compared to Donald Trump.

Actually, I think that the testing, THE UNPRECEDENTED AND BRUTAL TRIAL BY ORDEAL which she has been subjected to reveals far more about the deepness of character in Hillary Clinton.  I can't imagine any other politician in the history of this country who, knowing what they were going to do to her as a candidate for president and as president AND IS STILL WILLING TO WITHSTAND THAT, AGAIN AND AGAIN TO SERVE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND DEMOCRACY  is a pretty extraordinary politician.  

Not Hate Mail

"Simels is in love with Poldark, he can't stop talking about it." 

Really?   Simps the Sophisticate is addicted to a BBC remake of a bodice ripper?   I guess he's just letting his inner Dame Barbara show these days.  

Update:  I had to ask what it was, I don't have a TV and I gave up BBC costume drama crap way, way back before I dropped TV altogether.  I vaguely remember Ellen Goodman of the Boston Globe drooling over the first one, back when she had a column.  I don't know if she's still around or not.   I do have to say it's really altered my image of Simps, this romance novel made into TV movies stuff.  

James Comey Is A Criminal His FBI Is Now A Criminal Organization Rivaling The Corruption of the Hoover Period

There can be absolutely no question now, with the dumping of tweets by the FBI concerning Bill Clinton's long-ago pardon of Marc Rich that under James Comey it is being used as an adjunct of the Republican Party in this years political campaign.  He and agents of the highest law enforcement body in the country are illegally inserting it into this on behalf of Donald Trump and the Republican Party, that is so obvious now that it should overcome even President Barack Obama's reluctance to admit that appointing James Comey to that post was a huge mistake. 

It should become an issue in the campaign, the clearly illegal use of the FBI and James Comey's clear decision to try to swing the election to the sleaziest person to have had the nomination of a major party since at least Harding and likely in the history of parties in the United States.  When a person who pretends to uphold the law has done what James Comey and others in the FBI have done, it's time to get some Hercules in to clean out the dirty stable.    It certainly makes the appointment of a special prosecutor necessary.  

I remember reading how the George W. Bush administration was filling up civil service positions with far right ideologues, many of them trained by institutions such as Pat Robertson's Regents University, I strongly suspect what we are seeing is the product of that program being put to the use that it was obviously intended for, to politicize key parts of the federal government on behalf of Republicanfascism.  

This is certainly a huge reason to elect Hillary Clinton and Democrats to the Senate and House, Comey and his out of control and politicized FBI have got to be stopped, anyone in that agency who was a part of politicizing it has to be removed and, if possible, prosecuted for some of the most serious crimes against democracy possible.  Comey is no boy scout, he is a corrupt, self-serving and thoroughly political Republican agent, not an enforcer of the law, not someone who can be trusted to protect democracy from those who would destroy it.   It's clear he's one of those who is hell bent on destroying it in this election.  

The politicization of the FBI has now reached an unprecedented blatancy that probably surpasses the corruption under J. Edgar Hoover.  If this is what Comey and his agents are doing overtly, you can only imagine what they're doing when we can't see what they're up to.   There has to be a special prosecutor assigned, one without Washington DC insider investment in the social pecking order there. It was those people who are to blame for James Comey and his now known to be false legend.   Those were the very same people who have encouraged Democratic administrations to make some of their worst appointments in the past, including many of those made by Bill Clinton.  

I will have plenty to say about how a President elect Hillary Clinton should manage Bill Clinton if we are fortunate enough to have to face that problem.   Though I expect she knows the potential he has to be trouble better than anyone else.   He should be seldom seen, never heard and should have as few official duties or responsibilities as possible.  The trouble he's caused her, it's the least he owes her to stop generating new problems.  I have to wonder why smart guys like him continue to make such stupid decisions that cause their wives such grief.  She's never shown that kind of bad judgment in a quarter of a century of it being possible. 

There should be a backlash against the FBI which is obviously functioning as just another part of the Trump corruption of everything.  If he became president it would never stop rotting and being used ever more blatantly as an arm of his regime.  It could become as dangerous as it potentially could without civil and democratic control.   This is dead serious, this next week is one of the most dangerous our country has ever faced.  

Update:  I know it's a more complex distinction than you're used to making or could possibly make, Simps,  but any vote that Hillary Clinton took as a Senator was of zero political trouble for her husband who was out of office at the time.  I'm going to have to start using a different name when I comment at Media Matters and other places.  You're an Anthony Weiner level jerk. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

You Can Take Your Polls And ...

I don't do predictions, I have no idea who is going to win any election.  I doubt anyone really has a good idea of what's going to happen in an election based on polls, not Nate Silver not this Sam Wang who is everyone's favorite entrails reader this month.   I am always prepared to be horrified by the results of American elections, I lived through two Nixon wins, two Reagan wins, three Bush wins so it would not surprise me if the TV addled American population voted for the totally phony, totally and disastrously wrong TV reality star over the most harshly vetted and so most objectively honest and qualified candidate who has ever run for the office.  That she is a woman adds to the possibility of America making this biggest mistake ever.   And TV and the rest of the media are, largely, the reason that we could very plausibly make that biggest mistake in our history, they are the source of the rot that may kill democracy.  

A lot of people see the decline into decadence we are in is a failure of intelligence, of education.  I don't think that's the primary reason for it, the primary reason for it is the corruption of the morals of the American People through the media.  I know some people of average to more modest intelligence who are voting against Trump due to his moral depravity, I know people with degrees and high intelligence who are voting for him because they figure he'll be good for their tax rate.  Our media is certainly dominated by people a lot more like the later category than the former.  

I hope for the best but I expect the worst and this year that worst is the worst of my lifetime.  And I remember when Nixon ran in 1960.  I couldn't vote yet but every one in my family was terrified that that horrible man would win that year.  We lived through him, though I think there is a lot more reason to think we might not live through a Donald Trump regime. 

Hate Mail

I'm unaware of that particular Eschatwit ever reading anything I wrote.  It's as meaningless as easily 85% of the rest of what gets typed out there is.   As for TV, she'd just another self-absorbed asshole, they're a dime .... well, I don't know if you can still count them by the dozen there anymore but it's still a dime. 

This is exactly the time to start holding Federal officials and office holders accountable for their attacks on democracy.

I am asked to explain why I am so adamant about the need of a criminal investigation of James Comey and his agency in relation to his unprecedented letter of last Friday.

My short take on the argument of those like Senator Leahy, for a quick return to "normalcy" is that this is a violation of the most basic of all acts in democracy, the vote in a general election.  The election doesn't belong to those who are running for office, IT BELONGS TO THE VOTERS.  All public offices belong to THE PEOPLE, not the people who ask for and are allowed to borrow those offices for a while.   Unless The People have a free, honest, fair election no one can be really said to honestly fill those offices.  That's as true of the office of senator, president, house members, judges and justices, directors of the FBI.   When one of them, in this case the Director of the FBI, inserts himself and his agency into the election on the side of one party or more than one party, they are violating their trust and delegitimizing their term in office.  No senator, no president, no other person in public office has the right to brush that violation aside, LEAST OF ALL WHEN THEY ARE ONE OF THE HIGHEST LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS IN THE COUNTRY.   If law enforcement breaks the laws, a ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee is the last person who should be trying to sweep it under the rug.

The elections system in this country is a total mess, few if any of the defects that led to the disastrous election of 2000 have been fixed, if anything the past six years of Republicans putting voter suppression measures into state laws have made things far worse than they were then.  The Republicans on the Supreme Court who have crippled the Voting Rights Act have played at least as despicable a role in delegitimizing our elections and damaging any rational confidence in them.  This is exactly the time to start holding Federal officials and office holders accountable for their attacks on democracy.

Today, thanks to a line of  some of the most dangerous Supreme Court rulings, going back more than a half a century, combined with a line of coy and covert neo-fascist attacks under the guise of "fedralism" and "originalim" and joining the new class of sociopathic billionaires, democracy is dying, being strangled.   The courtly members of the Senate, such as a majority of those on the Judiciary Committee have proven they don't have what it takes to even begin to address these attacks on egalitarian democracy.   They are too busy striking poses of lofty comity, doing a pantomime of outrage at every new attack without ever really risking their position to save democracy.  

It is my greatest hope that a President Hillary Clinton, the one politician in the history of the presidency who has had the full effect of that attack on democracy for more than a quarter of a century, will be the one to start the defense of democracy.   Her opponent is a fascist who is supported by the fascist dictator of Russia, a man who has promoted neo-fascism in Europe and who is working hand in glove with the Trump campaign and the sleazy criminals under Julian Assange to do that.  If there is anyone qualified for us to put our hopes in, it is her.  If she loses, American democracy is almost certainly doomed.  If she wins and fails to effectively defend democracy against all of these attacks, it is doomed to a slower death.  But she certainly can't do it alone, she will need our support and our advice and when she missteps our full objection to those missteps.  We live in a democracy, for the time being, not an elected monarchy.   We have to start by acknowledging how we got here and the regime of court permitted lies that is the basis of fascism, here and now.

No, Senator Leahy, If She Is Elected Hillary Clinton Owes The American People A Full Criminal Investigation Of James Comey's Behavior

You can forget just how bad MSNBC is outside of the ever fewer liberal ghetto hours of the evening if you don't have a TV.    I saw the interview of a typical cabloid dummy with Senator Patrick Leahy.  I don't know the dummy's name and I don't think that's important, the cabloid dummies are pretty much all the same kind of Republican-establishment flacks.  This particular MSNBC dummy tried to blame any poisoning of the relationship between Hillary Clinton and  James Comey on her when he has likely broken the law in trying to throw the election to his party.  But Leahy's response shows exactly what's been wrong with Democrats in the Senate all along.  While I agreed with much of what Leahy said, when the dummy sought his opposition to prosecuting Comey Leahy more or less said that Hillary Clinton should give Comey as pass.   To that I say NO!

James Comey is the head of the FBI, he has been a prosecutor and held other prosecutorial positions in the government.  He is exactly the kind of person who has to be held to the highest standards of legal scrutiny, not let off because the DC insiders like him.   For a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee to more or less advocate giving him a pass is an outrageous example of how they have enabled the extreme Republicans, the fascists of Federalism and originalism and just plain right-wing plutocracy to run down democracy in the carjacked government for the past thirty years.

I stopped being able to watch Senate Judiciary committee hearings a long time ago because the crap that oozes like honey form the hypocritical mouths of its members is absolutely sickening.   The last people in the world who should be listened to are the Patrick Leahy's of the world.  I'd rather listen to someone who cares more about American democracy and equality under the law than the guys who irresponsibly gave everything away to its enemies.

James Comey must be subject to the same level of scrutiny that he has advocated others be subjected to.  He's a man who signed on to the torture program of the George W. Bush administration after it was made more legally proper BUT IT WAS STILL A TORTURE PROGRAM.  As Heather Digby Parton said:

At the time, everyone in Washington seemed to be very pleased with the choice, seeing Comey as a “straight-shooter” without a political agenda. That was largely based on his dramatic congressional testimony about the night in 2004 that he and then-FBI director Robert Mueller raced to John Ashcroft’s sick bed to stop Alberto Gonzales from coercing the ailing attorney general into signing an illegal domestic spying order. A lot of civil libertarians understood that to mean the heroic Comey was arguing the constitutional point, but he wasn’t. His concerns were over a technical problem with the program’s legal basis. They fixed a few little details and Comey himself signed the order that month to keep the secret domestic surveillance program going for many years. A civil liberties hero he is not.

Comey was also the U.S. attorney who oversaw the prosecution and torture of José Padilla, an American citizen convicted of terrorism whose horrific treatment was described by a forensic scientist at his pre-trial hearing as “essentially the destruction of a human being’s mind.” Again Comey took to the microphones to gallantly inform the public that his purpose was to “allow the American people to understand the threat he posed, and also understand that the president’s decision [to prosecute Padilla as an ‘enemy combatant’] was and continues to be essential to the protection of the American people.” If there’s a camera for Comey to preen before to proclaim his righteous purpose, he’ll find it

There should be a rule set in stone that a law enforcement officer who not only advocates torture but administers its use should at least be subjected to a special prosecutor when he breaks the law. 

I also heard Barack Obama's press secretary saying that Obama doesn't think Comey was trying to influence the outcome of the election, which I think should pretty much convince anyone who maintains the delusion that Obama should be named to the Supreme Court that he would be a truly awful Justice.  The man simply can't shake his obsession with trying to get the Republican-fascists who will always hate him and use him and play him like a slide whistle to love him.  He will never stop trying to get the DC insider media to say nice things about him.   He would be a truly awful Supreme Court Justice, an anti-David Souter who would always be doing things that favored Republicans and which made Democrats ask why any Democrat would have put him on the court.  If there is something that the Obama Administration has to say about this matter it should be "no comment".   If they hadn't put Comey in that position to start with, this and so many of his other acts favoring Republicans and damaging democracy wouldn't have happened.   On this matter, Obama was played by the Republicans and the insider community and he's still being played.  He plays along, willingly.  Seven plus years of them treating him more disrespectfully than any other president in modern history hasn't changed that habit of his.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Imagine If Comey, The FBI and Congressional Republicans Were Held To The Hillary Clinton Standard Of Compliance With The Law

We now know that James Comey declared that October 7th was too close to an election for the FBI to say that there is credible evidence that the Russian government is trying to get Donald Trump elected president through its various e-mail stealing activities.  We also know that James Comey thought that October 28 was not too close to an election to make vague and unsubstantiated insinuations that Hillary Clinton may have done wrong with e-mails, based on no evidence at all.

James Comey has got to be investigated for the crime of violating the Hatch Act to benefit his party, the Republicans, he has to be investigated for wrongdoing in performance of his job as Director of the FBI, he must be investigated to see what other people in the FBI and in the Congress* and elsewhere may have participated in his crime or in others related to it.  He must be fired at the very least because he has proven he is not trustworthy and he is not competent to control out of control agents of the FBI or to withstand political pressure applied by Republicans.  

This gets worse with every new fact that comes out.  As Keith Olbermann points out, there is strong evidence that there was collusion between Comey or agents of the FBI and Congressman Jason Chaffetz in the release of the letter, Chaffetz giving that away by the time line of his behavior surrounding the Comey letter being sent.

I'm getting pretty sick and tired of people talking about what a boyscout James Comey is.  He pretty much proved that he's not one last week.   In fact, though, he has proven that he has been tearing up the rules of how the Director of the FBI and other employees of the Justice Department are supposed to handle investigations since early last summer when he gave his press conference in which he admitted that the FBI had found nothing to indict Hillary Clinton on even as he slammed her during the press conference.   The man has proven to be willing to apply double standards based on who he is dealing with and, or political pressure when it is applied by Republicans in congress.  What James Comey is now is a law breaker and someone who injected the FBI into a presidential campaign to the benefit of a man who is reported to be under investigation by the FBI for things more serious than leaving e-mails on an unauthorized computer, and perhaps not even that.

I don't want him to resign, I want him investigated by a special prosecutor with the full range of tools and powers that prosecutors have to compel people to tell the truth and to seek evidence with a warrant.   He can't be allowed to use his DC insider reputation to get out of this, he's only the head of the most powerful law enforcement agency in the country, he should at least be held to the normal level of compliance with the law that anyone else would be.  It's a far, far more generous burden than the one which he, the FBI, the Congress and the media have placed on Hillary Clinton.  She has been regularly prosecuted in the media for breaking no laws at all.

Nothing Less Than A Full Criminal Investigation of James Comey And The FBI Must Be Demanded

Everything that is coming out about the decision of James Comey, the head of the FBI, to release his letter to Republican Congressmen about e-mails that may or may not be by Hillary Clinton, which may or may not be relevant to any possible criminal acts by her or those around her shows that James Comey is in violation of the law which prevents employees of the executive branch from taking actions that benefit a political party or political candidate during an election.  

What he did certainly is being used by those he so informed and their Republican Party and the Donald Trump campaign to try to influence the election and from what he said and was advised by the Attorney General and others above him in the Department of Justice, he did what he did knowing that he was breaking the law.  Senator Harry Reid and even Republican ethics lawyers such as Richard Painter have said he was violating the Hatch Act, even Republican lawyers who were quite active partisans such as Alberto Gonzales have said he violated longstanding"protocol".

A number or excuses have been made for why Comey did something so clearly and uniquely wrong, committing a clear violation of the law AGAINST THE ADVICE OF HIS SUPERIORS IN THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT to influence an election.   Some have said he was worried that his own agents were prepared to leak information about the e-mails on a laptop belonging to Anthony Weiner, obviously any FBI agents who did that would have been in violation of the Hatch Act perhaps even more so than James Comey now is.  

To put it mildly, that some people supposed to be under his control might have been thinking of breaking the law is a pathetic excuse for him to have broken the law, himself.  If he was concerned he had an obligation to take actions to prevent them from doing what they were thinking of doing,  not to do it, himself.   If he couldn't control them, he had an obligation to hand it to people who might have been able to.  That he couldn't control his agents is no excuse for him to have broken the law. 

Well, it's been done, the head of the FBI broke the law and among other things that must be insisted on is that there is a criminal investigation with full powers to subpoena witnesses, take statements under oath and to seek warrants for any communications that Comey, his agents, his agency had with Republicans in Congress, in the Republican Party, in the Trump campaign or others who may have been involved with encouraging James Comey to break the law.   The integrity of law enforcement is at risk if Republicans are effectively pressuring members of the FBI to break the law.   This is something so serious that it cannot be allowed to be suppressed.  

The Republican Party has reached new lows in the Trump campaign and it risks dragging the country down.   James Comey has refused to comment on the FBI's investigation of activities by the Putin regime and possible, I would say entirely likely coordination of their illegal activity with the Trump campaign.   For him to be silent on that in exactly the way he has not been silent on the, so far baseless, investigation of Hillary Clinton, only adds to the necessity of there being a FULL investigation of James Comey's criminal behavior and the possible involvement of his FBI with supporting the Republican Party through their work for the government.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

James Comey Should Be Investigated For An Act Which Blatantly Favors His Own Republican Party

I am not buying the excuse being peddled for why James Comey released a letter which was of obvious political usefulness to Republicans - HIS PARTY - eleven days before an already red-hot election which every indication shows the Republican candidate was likely to lose and lose badly.  The people using the stupid decision of Bill Clinton to have a short meeting with the Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, as cover for Comey over this are grasping at straws.   Yes, Bill Clinton should never have met with Loretta Lynch under the circumstances in place AND SHE SHOULD NOT HAVE AGREED TO MEET WITH HIM.   That was stupid on the part of those two.   Perhaps if Lynch had had someone running interference for her as Huma Abedin is documented to have run for Hillary Clinton the Attorney General wouldn't have met with him.

But just as Loretta Lynch should have known that the required propriety of her conduct in office not to mention common sense should have kept her from meeting with Bill Clinton, James Comey should certainly have known that the required propriety of his conduct in office should have kept him from doing a number of the things he's done this year.   It should certainly have told him that he should not send the letter he sent to the Republican hit men in congress who have pursued Hillary Clinton for obvious political purposes eleven days before an election.   JAMES COMEY HAS PLAINLY AND BLATANTLY INSERTED THE FBI INTO PARTISAN POLITICS, NOTHING ELSE ABOUT THIS CASE CAN MITIGATE HIS CHOICE TO DO THAT.   If Loretta Lynch was committing a highly problematic act in meeting with Bill Clinton, Comey has multiplied that by an enormous factor in what he did Friday.  

NPR, in one of its typical both-sides reports had an unnamed senior Department of Justice official putting it plainly.

"You don't hold press conferences to announce that someone should not be charged with a crime and then proceed to dump all over that person and to publicly discuss the evidence against them," he said. "That's kind of one of the 10 commandments for being a federal law enforcement officer. And another commandment would be — you don't publicly announce that you're conducting a criminal investigation against someone. And you especially don't do it if that person is a candidate, 11 days before an election. That's true whether it's a presidential election or an election for dog catcher."

James Comey should be investigated, any communications he had with Republicans in Congress and elsewhere are pertinent to deciding if his decision to become a political player was influenced by what they or other Republican officials said to him.   The decision to send the letter when he did was so damaging to our political system, our law enforcement system and was such a clearly wrong thing to do that reasonable people might speculate there must have either been some threat made or implied or some inducement given for him to do it. There are reasons that it is against explicit Department of Justice policy that James Comey is covered by, policy that he obviously and explicitly broke in an act that favors his own political party.   If anything like that was said to him it must now be made public.   With his decision, as the head of the FBI, to insert himself into a presidential election must get at least as full and as public scrutiny as that which Hillary Clinton has been subjected to on a far lesser and far more speculative range of possible, though we now know, improbable wrongs.   James Comey should be suspended from office pending that investigation, his action was so irresponsible and wrong that if he had any judgement he would offer to do that and he, as a law enforcement official, should willingly cooperate with an investigation of what he clearly did.  

I have never thought it was a good idea for Barack Obama to appoint Republicans to high positions, it certainly has proved to have been a bad idea in Comey's case.   His conduct this year has been bad enough that he should be fired but his conduct last Friday is so bad that it must be fully revealed so his reasons for doing so are known.  One of the reasons I can think for him to have released the letter on Friday was that it is virtually impossible for that to happen to inform voters  before the election on whether or not he corruptly did the bidding of his fellow Republicans as the head of the FBI.   I don't think it is wrong to raise that possibility as a serious issue in the remaining days of the campaign.