"Joy and pleasure are as real as pain and sorrow and one must learn what they have to teach. . . ." -- Sean Russell, from Gatherer of Clouds

"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

"I love you and I'm not afraid." -- Evanescence, "My Last Breath"

“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Friday, November 04, 2016

A Thought (Updated, and Again)

(A Note: I may be adding links to this as the day goes on, when I find stories that illustrate some of my points.)

This spins off of a comment I left at this post at AmericaBlog, which concerns itself with how James Comey -- working against DoJ and FBI policy and quite possibly in violation of the Hatch Act -- announced "new evidence" in FBI's investigation of Clinton's State Department e-mails and how the FBI is building on it that leak. Aravosis has done a Facebook Live session on it in which he's done a good job of pulling together all threads of the various FBI leaks over the past week and going back to Comey's press conference in July when he announced the results of the e-mail investigation (which itself caused some raised eyebrows, especially considering how he went out of his way to indict Clinton without being able to call for an indictment). You'll have to watch that at the post, since I can't embed Facebook videos. You can skip the first couple of minutes, when he's fiddling with the camera, but it is worth watching.

Here's the comment that sparked my larger thought, and my response:
crazymonkeylady • 5 hours ago

Even if Donald Trump Doesn't win, he has scarred elections for years. And Comey has undermined the trust we have in the FBI for the future. Who do we have left to trust? Nobody.

rmthunter -- crazymonkeylady • 37 minutes ago

This is just another step in what I see as the Republicans' long-term effort to undermine the American system -- shutting down the government when they don't get a budget that guts the safety net, questioning the integrity of the courts when there's a decision they don't like, refusing to fill a Supreme Court vacancy until they can make it a blatant political appointment, using their power of "government oversight" to instigate political witch-hunts against their opponents, and now undermining our trust in not only our electoral system, over and above voter suppression, but also in our federal law enforcement agencies.

After all, a healthy democracy and an oligarchy are pretty much mutually exclusive.

Think back to the Clinton years and the investigations that led to his impeachment. Can you say "fishing expedition"? And shutting down the government when the Republican budget -- no deficit, no revenues -- failed to pass. (That bit them in the ass, happily.) Stonewalling Obama on everything -- it's a good thing the ACA passed when it did, and a good thing the Democrats in Congress took the reins on DADT repeal. Fast forward to the "investigations" of Benghazi!!1! (ten so far?) and E-Mails!!! (which some Republican senator, I've forgotten which one, was dumb enough to admit was purely political against Hillary Clinton).

And how about the reaction to Obergefell? And now, refusing to fill a Supreme Court vacancy. Not stalling, not holding interminable hearings, just flat-out refusing until a Republican president can make the appointment. We don't even have the pretense of compromise any more.

I don't think this is random. The pattern is too clear, and while I don't think it's the result of any grand strategy (sorry, I don't do tinfoil hats, and the Republicans aren't that together), it's the inevitable playing out of a trend, with each new player ready and more than willing to build on what's gone before. The Republicans' goal is quite clear, and they've been quite open about it: a permanent majority, by whatever means necessary. (They can't do it by honest elections, because what policies they do have most Americans find distressing, at best. In spite of what the press has been telling us, the only way we've moved to the right in this country is by measure of which wingnuts get elected, and that, more often than not, is not the result of honest elections -- not after all the gerrymandering and voter ID laws and dangling chads.)

I'm a great believer in the processes of history, which itself is a series of reactions. I think right now we're seeing the tail end of the reaction to the liberalism of the 1960s and early '70s -- conservatism has gotten too radical for most Americans to tolerate, and the advent of Trump - and something like Trump was inevitable -- painting the picture in somewhat garish colors is starting to turn people off. My basic optimism says the pendulum will start to swing back.

But, a thought experiment: Way back, when Bill Clinton right after assuming office took the first steps toward open military service for gays and lesbians, the reaction was swift and violent. What you don't hear about these days is that it was a group of generals who went flying to Congressional Republicans to put a stop to it. Now, given that it's at least as likely that there is a group of mid-level officers at the Pentagon who are as unhappy with the left as that group of disgruntled agents at the FBI, transpose that little rebellion to the armed forces.

If that doesn't set you tossing and turning in your sleep, nothing will.

Footnote: When I said "By any means necessary" I meant it. Check out this from Joe.My.God. and think who has the Russian connections.

Update: Just ran across this from the Guardian, which throws some light on the chaos at the FBI:

Deep antipathy to Hillary Clinton exists within the FBI, multiple bureau sources have told the Guardian, spurring a rapid series of leaks damaging to her campaign just days before the election.

Current and former FBI officials, none of whom were willing or cleared to speak on the record, have described a chaotic internal climate that resulted from outrage over director James Comey’s July decision not to recommend an indictment over Clinton’s maintenance of a private email server on which classified information transited.

“The FBI is Trumpland,” said one current agent.

Add this Update, from Rachel Maddow:

This week, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal reported that there has been, I guess you’d call it, like, a breakout? There’s been a breakout from this otherwise insular little Breitbart.com corner of conservative media and political activism.

Those two papers reported that apparently there are Breitbart.com fans, there are Breitbart.com true believers, there are people who buy this stuff who are working inside the New York field office of the FBI.

The New York Times and Wall Street Journal were first to report that the New York field office of the FBI used that anti-Hillary Clinton book, and the DVD of the same name, from the Breitbart.com guys, from the Breitbart.com editor and his boss who’s now the head of the Donald Trump campaign, the one funded by Donald Trump’s biggest donor, right? They actually used that Breitbart.com, anti-Hillary Clinton book as their source for launching a local FBI inquiry into Hillary Clinton. That was their evidence. That was their research.

And let's not forget this (via Joe.My.God.):

There is no denying that former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani has become one of the most significant surrogates of this campaign cycle.

Mr. Mayor has been going to bat for his longtime pal Donald Trump in just about every conceivable media arena, and recently seemed to slip in a bit of surprising information to Martha MacCallum of Fox News. At the conclusion of an interview on October 26 about the presidential election, Giuliani (while speaking about FBI Director Jim Comey) said, “I think he’s got a surprise or two you’re going to hear about in the next two days. I’m talking about some pretty big surprises.” When MacCallum prompted the Mayor for follow-up, he coyly continued, “You’ll see.”

Don Lemon reported it on his show. Video at the link.

Maybe I'd better rethink this whole "no grand conspiracy" thing.

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