Archive

November 5th, 2016

Comey's colossal blunder

    Sometimes, the best of intentions lead to calamity. That is the case in FBI Director James Comey's unfortunate report to Congress that another trove of discovered emails might -- just might -- have some bearing on Hillary Clinton's use of her private server as secretary of state in the first Obama presidential term.

    In alerting not only the congressional investigative committees but also the American public only days before the 2016 presidential election, Comey has unleashed a political hornet's nest that could affect the outcome.

    His action has triggered outrage from Clinton and her campaign and reinforced rival Donald Trump's allegations of a rigged election process. It all happens without an iota of factual evidence that the new batch of emails are relevant to Clinton's tenure at the State Department or thereafter.

    At a minimum, Comey has sidestepped a longstanding Justice Department policy against commenting on any ongoing investigation. He has defended doing so on grounds he considered himself obliged to clarify the situation after having earlier ruled that the investigation was complete.

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Comey Should Admit His Error And Resign

    Sorry, but I've seen this movie before and I know how it ends. There will never be a criminal prosecution of Hillary Clinton for two basic reasons: First, she's a cautious, intelligent politician who doesn't take reckless chances. How many failed "investigations" before Republicans get that?

    Second, bogus charges against prominent individuals with first-rate attorneys endanger the prosecution more than the defense. You think the formerly eminent Kenneth Starr fled to Waco, Texas because he was insufficiently partisan? His ace prosecutors lost every Whitewater trial except the one where they convicted his own star witness, poor, sick Jim McDougal.

    But let's go back to the starting place, October 1992, because what happened then has a direct bearing on today's headlines.

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November 4th

James Comey is a good man, but he made a serious mistake

    I began my career in the Justice Department's Public Integrity Section 40 years ago, investigating cases of official corruption. In the years since, I have seen America's justice system firsthand from nearly every angle - as a prosecutor, judge, attorney in private practice, and attorney general of the United States. I understand the gravity of the work our Justice Department performs every day to defend the security of our nation, protect the American people, uphold the rule of law and be fair.

    That is why I am deeply concerned about FBI Director James B. Comey's decision to write a vague letter to Congress about emails potentially connected to a matter of public, and political, interest. That decision was incorrect. It violated long-standing Justice Department policies and tradition. And it ran counter to guidance that I put in place four years ago laying out the proper way to conduct investigations during an election season. That guidance, which reinforced established policy, is still in effect and applies to the entire Justice Department - including the FBI.

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Can U.S. democracy defend itself?

    Donald Trump's presidential candidacy has posed many challenges to U.S. media. In at least one frightening respect, it has failed: News outlets are actively abetting an authoritarian and imperialist foreign power's attempt to manipulate a U.S. presidential election to aid its favored candidate, Trump, and sanctioning an assault on the individual and civil liberties of all American citizens.

    There is consensus among U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement agencies that the WikiLeaks "dump" of emails from the Democratic National Committee, former secretary of state Colin Powell and John Podesta, chairman of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, is the result of illegal, targeted hacking directed by Russian intelligence services. The aim of WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange in publishing the emails is openly stated: to harm Clinton's candidacy. The slow daily release of Podesta's emails is obviously calculated to have continuing negative impact on news coverage of Clinton in the campaign's final weeks. The Russian government's aim in releasing the emails through WikiLeaks is also clear: to distance the emails' provenance from Russian intelligence services to give them greater legitimacy and propaganda value.

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A Historic Election for Women — and Not Just Because of Hillary

    This election may be revolutionary for women for an unexpected reason.

    First woman president? OK, there’s that.

    But I don’t think there’s anyone left who doubts that a capable woman has the same ability as a capable man to be president. You might not like a specific woman’s political leanings — I’m no fan of Sarah Palin, for example — but that’s different than simply opposing her for being a woman.

    No, this election is changing women’s role in America for a different reason. To put it plainly, Donald Trump’s outrageous statements about women — which veer regularly into open misogyny — have sparked a movement of women speaking up about things they normally keep to themselves.

    Like their sexual assaults. And their late-term abortions.

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5 Reasons to Vote Trump

    1.) Who needs experience to be president? It’s true that Donald Trump would have less public service experience than any president in American history, but knowledge is lame. Maybe the Know-Nothing Party in the 19th century captured this spirit in its name — and Trump is the apotheosis of knowing-nothing. In my journalistic career, I’ve never met a national candidate as ill informed, evasive or puerile as Donald Trump.

    Let’s try puerility for a change! What could go wrong?

    Oh, nuclear weapons, you say? Well, other countries walk all over us because they trust us to be reasonable. In, say, a trade dispute with Canada, we’d get much better results if Canadians feared that Trump might incinerate Ottawa. And even if something went wrong, so what? There’s lots more of Canada.

    Look, nobody messes with Kim Jong Un of North Korea, because he’s a crazy, inexperienced guy with nukes. With Trump, we’d have our own Kim Jong Un!

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This election has made Americans angry and sick. Here's how we can recover.

    Are you a political junkie who has grown tired of the news? Flip over to Fox -- no, not Fox News -- and you might catch the network's reboot of the iconic "Exorcist" book and film franchise. The story, a tale of faith-rattling possession and exorcism, has continued to capture the imaginations of new audiences since the 1971 publication of the original novel and subsequent release of the first film version in 1973.

    At the heart of "The Exorcist's" narrative is the tension between facing evil in the world head-on and the risk of falling into despair. "Yet I think the demon's target is not the possessed; it is us . . . the observers . . . every person in this house," author William Peter Blatty wrote in the 1971 novel, "And I think -- I think the point is to make us despair; to reject our own humanity . . . to see ourselves as ultimately bestial; as ultimately vile and putrescent; without dignity; ugly; unworthy."

    The relentless onslaught of ugliness gripping our American politics does not feel too far afield from the description of possession and the faith-rattling, soul-shaking effects described by Blatty.

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Race, not class, dictates Republican future

    The class compositions of the Republican and Democratic parties keep evolving. Democrats have been shedding working-class white voters for decades, while the GOP, long the party of management, entrepreneurs and inherited wealth, has acquired a new affinity for blue-collar blues, including a presidential nominee who promises to keep economically unviable coal operations in business while crushing labor competition from low-skills immigrants.

    A Pew Research Center report last month detailed the shift.

    Since 1992, the share of Democratic and Democratic-leaning registered voters with at least a college degree has increased sharply, from 21 percent to 37 percent. Among Republicans, 31 percent have at least a college degree, up only slightly from 28 percent in 1992. As a consequence, a greater proportion of Democrats than Republicans now have a college degree or more education.

    In the New York Times last week, political sage Thomas Edsall called this process the "Great Democratic Inversion."

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I was born before women could vote. Now I'm voting for one for president.

    I was born on June 2, 1918, in New York City. Woodrow Wilson was president, the United States was fighting World War I, and women could not vote in this country.

    It would be another two years before women could vote in U.S. elections. But when they could, my mother registered and took me to the polls to watch her cast her ballot.

    I cast my first vote in 1940 for Franklin D. Roosevelt, and I have voted in every primary and presidential election since. (Contrary to the notion that women of my generation followed their husbands' lead and voted as the men did, I always voted the way I wanted, and so did the women I knew.)

    I've also never regretted one of my votes. The vote I was most proud of was for Hillary in the 2008 Democratic primary. She didn't make it, but I was very proud to vote for her. And this year, I got to vote for her again: I cast an early ballot for Hillary Clinton for president.

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Hillary’s Male Tormentors

    Weiner or no Weiner, Hillary Clinton is likely to be our next president.

    But she can’t seem to escape insatiable men.

    She married one — for better, for “bimbo eruptions,” for two terms in the White House, for impeachment.

    She’s in the climactic week of a grotesque battle with another. If she prevails, his boasts of sexual aggression will partly be why.

    And if she fails? Again there’s a priapic protagonist. The FBI wouldn’t be examining Anthony Weiner’s laptop if he hadn’t invited so many strangers to examine his lap, and her fate is enmeshed once more with the wanton misdeeds of the weaker sex.

    Over so many of her travails hangs a cloud of testosterone.

    No woman before her earned a major party’s presidential nomination, drawing this close to the Oval Office. Should she reach that milestone and make that history, she’d probably also work with a Congress in which there are more female lawmakers than ever before.

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