The Wrong family is back from graduation weekend, Rod’s homebrew was the best, and a good time was had by all. Except for possibly the newly minted graduates, who had to listen to recycled exhortations to put down their screens, find their own compass, etc.
Trump started infrastructure week saying we should privatize the FAA. You might see this:
British Prime Minister May’s snap election strategy backfired:
Wonder Woman dominated the news:
And many wondered about the Wonder Woman vs. Working Woman comparisons:
How did Comey rehabilitate himself with Democrats?
The Saudis say the Qataris support terrorism, but what about them?
(There will be no Saturday Soother this week, and Sunday Cartoon Blogging will appear on Monday. The Wrong family is attending the high school graduation of our granddaughter in Pennsylvania. Congrats Claire! She is #8 in our 12-part series of grandchild HS graduations)
Everyone is following the Comey testimony, and Wrongo has nothing to add, except that none of this matters unless and until Special Counsel Robert Mueller provides a report that the public can review. That may never happen. There might be a report, and it could go to Congress and disappear without any public scrutiny, just like the report on CIA torture.
The bigger story of the day is the outcome of the snap election in the UK, where PM Theresa May lost control of Parliament. The Tories lost 12 seats, when just two months ago they reasonably hoped to gain nearly 100. Labour did far better than the pundits expected, but that outcome should have been clear to everyone. After nearly 40 years of neoliberal policies in the UK, the pundits believe that ordinary citizens are content to get the short end of the stick forever. Probably not, since the backlash has started.
ICYMI, here is an interview by NPR with the head of RT, the English-language news channel funded by the Russian government:
(Wrongo and Ms. Oh So Right are heading to Europe today. We will be gone for 10 days, so blogging may be sparse. Please keep America great while we are away.)
Happy Mother’s Day to all. A few more thoughts about BLOTUS (Big Liar of the US): Not only does he have the worst approval ratings of any president at this point in his term, but he’s also incapable of moving the needle of public opinion toward his positions. Ironically, for all of Trump’s sycophants’ talk that Trump’s words ARE his actions, his tweets and public pronouncements are making his positions more unpopular.
For the past few days, it has been “All Comey, all the time”, both in America and around the world.
You can count Wrongo as one of those who thinks that Comey made some huge mistakes trying to position himself after his take-down of Hillary Clinton, and her self-inflicted email disaster. You can also count Wrongo as thinking that Hillary’s loss was mostly her own fault. That means that you can also count Wrongo as agnostic regarding whether the Russians were behind the hack into the Democratic National Committee, or that their intervention was because they wanted to help Trump win the election.
Democrats argue that Trump and/or members of his administration are “soft on Russia”. Democrats have adopted a neo-con worldview that just a few years ago, they would have hated: That policies are either pro-America or pro-Russia. And, it’s in that pro-Russian box that Democrats are trying to stuff The Donald.
This makes Democrats blind to the possibility that people (even Trump!) could genuinely believe that it’s in America’s interest to be friendlier to Russia. That we could cooperate on certain issues without being agents of Putin. Perhaps you remember that Obama said just that in his first term.
It’s the kind of game that has become acceptable in today’s Washington swamp.
Wrongo isn’t happy with Comey’s performance as FBI director, but we now stand on the edge of a precipice without him. He ran into trouble because AG Loretta Lynch had to recuse herself during the Clinton email investigation. That led to his free-lancing, and his inexplicable testimony. Then AG Sessions had to recuse himself from any Russia-related investigation. And shortly thereafter, the tempo of the investigation changed, and Comey needed someone to approve additional resources for the Russia investigation. The WSJ reported:
Comey started receiving daily instead of weekly updates on the investigation, beginning at least three weeks ago…Comey was concerned by information showing possible evidence of collusion.
Now, the firing of Comey opens up the FBI and the DOJ, by custom and tradition an agency that is independent from politics, to outside political control, to a new director forcing a reduction in funding or other resources critical to the investigation.
Ostensibly, the issue isn’t the fact that Comey was fired. It’s about the timing. In turn, that is directly linked to the fact that the FBI is investigating Trump. Most think that the FBI Russia operation was breathing down the neck of the Trump campaign and their operatives. They think that the Comey firing is an effort to slow down, or wind down, the investigation prematurely.
The question is, will the new FBI director do either of those things? Wouldn’t the FBI agents involved in the investigation revolt/go public if a new director defunded the effort, and/or reduced the commitment to it? And the FBI is not running the investigation by itself. Their investigation is overseen by prosecutors. We heard this week that there is a grand jury. We hear that they’re issuing subpoenas. That’s not being done by the FBI. It’s being done by prosecutors in the DOJ.
And that’s where the ball sits. The American people have to rely on AG Jeff Sessions, who may be recused, but who guarantees that? Or it rests with Deputy AG Ron Rosenstein, who is in the job for a couple of weeks. Or it rests with a to-be-appointed FBI Director. Bloomberg is reporting that Trump is considering former Congressman and former FBI agent Mike Rogers, who is far too political, or former New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, who is all hat and no cattle.
There are hundreds of thousands of stories and millions of words being written about this. Trump shouldn’t expect this to go away.
In fact, he should publicly support getting to the bottom of it, rather than acting like Richard Nixon. That didn’t end well.
Some music: Here are the Waifs, an Australian blues/rock band formed in 1992, fronted by two sisters, doing “Crazy Train”. It’s the train America is on right now:
Those who read the Wrongologist in email can view the video here.
But the damage is done. James Comey caused this and must resign, assuming Clinton is inaugurated. He tried to sabotage her campaign, he stalled her momentum, and caused quite a few people who planned to vote for her to have a false and negative impression of her honesty.
No American should have faith in Comey’s impartiality. But, once again, it is “mission accomplished” for the GOP, they used the go-to Republican tool of character assassination.
It works every time if it involves a Clinton, and the media is always happy to oblige.
The Republican presidential nominee knocked US officials as a “group of losers” for not launching a “surprise” attack and said he was convinced the offensive — which is led by the Iraqi military — was launched “for political reasons” to benefit his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton. He suggested she would get “credit” for its success.
This was after his Friday musing in Hersey PA, where he questioned the core rationale behind the military offensive, which is central to defeating the terrorist group in Iraq:
Who benefits by us getting Mosul? You know it’s going to benefit Iran. We’re not going to benefit. Because Iran is taking over Iraq.
Trump misunderstands the goals of the US program to defeat ISIS, which he claims to support. Retaking Iraqi territory from ISIS is key to that goal.
Trump also misunderstands military strategy and tactics. He says we shouldn’t announce plans to attack Mosul, but US military officials say it is impossible to move tens of thousands of troops and the associated materiel into position without alerting the enemy. They also stressed the importance of warning civilians of the coming battle.
And despite forces pushing ISIS back around Mosul, Trump said on Saturday that the offensive has been a “disaster,” directly contradicting accounts from our military leaders.
Trump’s ego tells him that he knows more than the generals about military operations, that he knows more than economists about economics, that he’s an incredibly virile 70 year old man, and that he was the greatest athlete in NYC during the 1960s.
If you haven’t voted yet, go vote, because otherwise, no one will want to hear your pathetic excuses about why you didn’t go to the polls. Please don’t talk about why you chose to cop out, or to cast a third party ballot, when the actual choice before us this week is as stark as we’ve ever seen in our lifetimes.
A popular rationale to justify not voting, or voting for a third party, is: “I don’t like either candidate, they’re both terrible.”
The thing is, there are no perfect leaders. We have never had a flawless president. There are always weaknesses, foibles and scandals. It takes decades before we really understand who the great leaders were, and even then, most had defects that would diminish them with today’s scandal-focused media.
So, undecided voters, look into your soul, and find that part of “us” that’s within you. Remember that while dystopian nightmares are fine in the movies, you really don’t want to actually experience one firsthand.
And, when you wake up on Wednesday morning in a country that hasn’t turned into a hellish wasteland overnight, pat yourself on the back for having done the right thing.
It’s time for America to wake the F up! With one candidate, you pretty much know what you’re going to get. With the other, you have no idea what you’re going to get, but, as his Mosul comments show, you can be sure he doesn’t know shit from Shinola about anything other than real estate.
To help America wake up, here is Sunnyland Slim with “Be Careful How You Vote”. Sunnyland was a patriarch of the Chicago blues scene from the 1940s to the mid-1990s when he died. Slim was in his mid-70s at the time of this recording:
Don’t be buying Trump’s lies about “building a wall” or “bringing back manufacturing jobs“. Neither will ever happen. Be careful how you vote.
Those who read the Wrongologist in email can view the video here.
Here we are, the Sunday before Tuesday’s presidential election, and the time change just added another hour to our long national nightmare.
The contest between Clinton and Trump has become uncomfortably close since the FBI’s intervened in our political process.
Can we build a wall around the FBI? It will be the best wall, and we’ll get James Comey to pay for it.
The WaPo reports that it has moved Ohio from “toss-up” to “leans Republican” and moved New Hampshire and Arizona from “leans Democratic” to “toss-up”. This leaves Clinton with 290 electoral votes. CNN, as of Friday morning had Clinton below 270 electoral votes for the first time in a long time.
This election reminds Wrongo of 1988. That was George H. W. Bush vs. Michael Dukakis. In July, Dukakis led Bush by 17 points in a Gallup poll. In fact, Dukakis led Bush by comfortable margins into August, but things went badly for the Democrat. A number of false rumors were reported, including the claim Dukakis had been treated for mental illness. Then came the ridiculous picture of Dukakis in a tank, and the Willie Horton ad, and Dukakis’ goose was cooked. Bush took the popular vote by nearly 8 points, winning 40 states and 426 electoral votes.
Let’s hope we are not witnessing the second coming of a Dukakis loss in Hillary’s inability to close out Donald Trump.
This means we need an extra helping of cartoons. Something has to give us a smile before the crying starts on Tuesday. Face it, one team or the other will be crying.
Cubs win, Cubs WIN:
Some voters will definitely have some ‘splaining to do:
When you think that all the choices are bad, what are ya gonna do?
Views differ on Comey:
FBI Director takes on a new meaning:
If Trump wins, some are going to Canada, others are just going:
When it’s all over, we’ll call it a “Wave Election”:
As we go down the stretch to Tuesday’s election, the political dynamic has switched from being a referendum on Donald Trump to a referendum on Hillary Clinton.
It seems fitting that in the final stretch of a presidential campaign that has been completely indifferent to policy issues, from Russia, China, and the Middle East, to jobs and income inequality at home. Our news outlets are now focused on an apparently impregnable story about the Pant Suit’s private e-mail server, and the Clintons generally.
Since FBI Director James Comey’s announcement, we’ve seen the drip, drip of musings by the cableistas about whether Clinton can hang on to her lead, or if Trump can win on Tuesday.
There have also been a series of leaks by the FBI that appear to be designed to damage Hillary Clinton and benefit Donald Trump. An anonymous source leaked to the Wall Street Journal that there was an FBI investigation — including “secret recordings” — into the Clinton Foundation.
Fox News reported on Wednesday that the FBI is intensifying an investigation into the Clinton Foundation over allegations that it traded donations for access to Hillary Clinton when she was Secretary of State.
The FBI Twitter account was inactive from September 2015 until October 8th. Then there were a flurry of tweets, concluding with the Marc Rich tidbit. It has not been active since that tweet, so:
Candice Will, Assistant Director for the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility, said she was referring the matter to the FBI’s Inspection Division for an “investigation.” Upon completion of the investigation, the Office of Professional Responsibility will be referred back to the Office of Professional Responsibility for “adjudication.”
According to Marcy Wheeler, the Inspection Division and the Office of Professional Responsibility doesn’t have statutory independence from the rest of the FBI, which means their investigation can be influenced (or quashed) by FBI executives. So, nothing will be done, despite the fact that Federal law and FBI policy prohibit employees from using the power of the department to attempt to influence elections.
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.
This was also confirmed to Wrongo recently by an in-law who used to work for the FBI. It’s as if the ghost of ole J. Edgar showed up early in October, and has decided to hang around for a while, even though Halloween is over.
The FBI has now entered parlous political territory. This is law enforcement trying to force its will on civil authority. We need to put a choke collar on this dog, before it tries to bite us all.
We all should care about how FBI’s apparent misconduct is affecting the election.And if the FBI is this politicized, it is an enemy of We the People, and will remain an enemy, even if Comey is ousted as Director.
Wrongo is now beginning to think of Comey as another John Boehner, a guy with decent instincts who is completely ineffective at controlling his team, with disastrous results for the country.
Imagine how The Donald as president, would use a vast public police force that is comprised of Trump true believers.
“God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh” – Voltaire
Many funny memes have emerged after the FBI’s announcement that, in their investigation of Anthony Weiner’s possible sexting relationship with a 15 year-old girl, they turned up emails that may or may not be related to the Hillary Clinton private server investigation.
The internets are having fun associating Weiner and Clinton:
Dickileaks – NY Post
Weiner Probe – WaPo
The only thing that would make this more insane is if Trump’s tax returns were found in Anthony Weiner’s email – twitter
The Cocktober Surprise – twitter
Apparently, HRC’s 33,000 deleted emails were all just dick pics from Anthony Weiner – twitter
Seriously, the NYT reports that officials at the DOJ urged FBI head James Comey not to violate policies and procedural norms by intervening in the presidential election. The linked article contains this rather remarkable set of facts: (emphasis by the Wrongologist)
The FBI offered no comment, and Justice Department officials said they had no idea what Mr. Comey saw as his next move. Justice Department officials were particularly puzzled about why Mr. Comey had alerted Congress — and by extension, the public — before agents even began reading the newly discovered emails to determine whether they contained classified information or added new facts to the case.
Law enforcement officials have begun the process to get court authority to read the emails, officials said. How soon they will get that is unclear, but there is no chance that the review will be completed before Election Day, several law enforcement officials said.
So not only to they have no idea what’s in the emails, they don’t have a warrant to read them yet.
This from the Jane Mayer article at the New Yorker: (brackets and emphasis by the Wrongologist)
According to the Administration official, [Attorney General] Lynch asked Comey to follow Justice Department policies, but he said that he was obliged to break with them because he had promised to inform members of Congress if there were further developments in the case. He also felt that the impending election created a compelling need to inform the public, despite the tradition of acting with added discretion around elections…
In essence, Comey is saying: “Well, I know the rule is designed to make sure that our investigations don’t influence elections, but I think in this case, we should break that rule, because there’s an election, and we should influence it.”
There are as yet no further developments in the case. After the FBI obtains a warrant and reads the emails, there might be, but right now, nada.
What we have so far isn’t a “further development” at all. If a police detective walked into a DA’s office and told the DA the equivalent of what Comey said to Congress, say: “we found a box of Clinton files”. He would get a puzzled look and a question: “Yes? Go on? What did you find?” and if the cop responded with: “We haven’t looked in the box yet” the DA would say: “Why are you HERE, then?”
But that’s not how Congress works.
No one knows what the impact will be on the presidential election; we will see next Tuesday. Comey’s act of partisan bad faith is staggering, and there is no denying that his letter to Congress was a bombshell. This undermines democracy at least as much as anything the Pant Load says on the trail about “rigged elections.” Undermining democracy apparently comes with zero consequences these days.
So, it’s time to wake up America! You could lose your democracy without even knowing it is gone.
To help you wake up, here is Serj Tankian, the lead vocalist of the rock band System of a Down, with “Uneducated Democracy”, released in 2012. Serj lives in California and supported Bernie Sanders this year:
The video for “Uneducated Democracy” is made by Tumo, a technology school in Armenia. All of the crew were teenagers.
In dire need of reason
In a truly deaf nation
In dire need of reason
In a truly deaf nation
Without an education there is no real democracy
Without an education there is only autocracy
Open your eyes
Open your mouths
Close your hands
And make a fist
Down with the system
As we lay helpless against the machine
As sex scandals dictate
The winding road of realpolitik
The bully runs from his corner
Images rule through the media
Hungry hunger further
The hungry hunger further
“Enough already about your damned emails Hillary!”
Apparently not. This, from Booman: (emphasis by the Wrongologist)
FBI Director James Comey just angered everyone in the country by sending a letter to key Republican committee members in Congress:
1) eleven days before Election Day
2) that implies that Hillary Clinton may have committed a criminal act
3) that doesn’t provide any details
4) that makes no commitment to shed any further light on the issue before the voting is over
For Democrats, they wonder why Comey would impugn Clinton’s character while voting is already going on when he can’t even say with certainty that the information is pertinent to the investigation of Clinton’s emails or whether it involves any classified information.
For Republicans, they wonder why the FBI cannot commit to giving the American people more clarity before the election is over. If the information is indeed damning then isn’t it a little late to find that out after Clinton has already become president-elect?
We all need to take a cold shower and help break our fever. Why do the scandals keep proliferating? Because the media loves them. They attract lots of eyeballs for very little work. Partisans love them because they can take their opponent completely out of the political game.
The Senate becomes even more important now, regardless of the outcome of this investigation of the Abudin/Weiner emails.
If Congress is under divided control, there will not be a purely partisan impeachment action, and at least the Senate will not be running nonstop bullshit investigations in its various Committees. OTOH, If Clinton wins and the GOP retains control of the Senate, we will have an immediate, full-blown constitutional crisis on our hands, and bullshit investigations may be the least of our worries. This cartoon says it all about James Comey and her damned emails:
In cases like this, it would require the wisdom of Solomon to determine the precise ratio of malevolence-to-incompetence involved in Comey’s action.
Amon Bundy and friends were acquitted of conspiracy for their white guy, “guns and god” takeover of the Malheur wildlife refuge. The question that must now be addressed is: What does “peaceful protest” mean in America?
Our eyes are blind to what must be seen:
The Pant Load hates what’s on TV:
In October, the witch isn’t always Hillary, and the pumpkin head isn’t always Trump:
The F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, said on Friday that the additional scrutiny and criticism of police officers in the wake of highly publicized episodes of police brutality may have led to an increase in violent crime in some cities as officers have become less aggressive.
Comey is lending his support to a meme called the “Ferguson Effect”. As the “Ferguson Effect” theory goes, police have slowed down enforcement due to public scrutiny, which has led to more crime, including homicides. In the absence of tough policing, chaos reigns.
Ever since Michael Brown was shot in Ferguson, MO last year, people across the country have taken to the streets to protest police brutality and the mistreatment of black men and women. At the same time, police officers and pundits began arguing that demonstrators are jeopardizing community safety, pointing to rising violent crime rates.
This theory for the uptick in violence in some cities is partly based on a cherry-picking of violent crime data, since some increases actually occurred BEFORE the Ferguson demonstrations, and in general, the data are unclear. We know that far more people are being killed in America’s cities this year than in many years. And to be clear, the increases are largely among people of color, and it’s not cops that are doing the killing.
Most of America’s 50 largest cities have seen an increase in homicides and shootings this year, and many of them have seen a huge increase. These are cities with little in common except being in America—places like Chicago, Tampa, Minneapolis, Sacramento, Orlando, Cleveland, and Dallas.
So something big is happening, but what? Comey thinks he knows, and in Chicago, he floated the same idea as Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently floated, that cops are not doing their job because people have started taking videos of police interactions with their smart phones.
Here is snippet of what Comey said:
I spoke to officers privately in one big city precinct who described being surrounded by young people with mobile phone cameras held high, taunting them the moment they get out of their cars. They told me, ‘we feel like we’re under siege and we don’t feel much like getting out of our cars.’…I’ve been told about a senior police leader who urged his force to remember that their political leadership has no tolerance for a viral video.
If Comey’s impression both of the Ferguson Effect, and the role of cameras is correct, cops have stopped doing the job we pay them to do because they’re under amateur surveillance.
If Comey’s right, what he’s describing is the chilling effect of surveillance, the way in which people change their behavior because they know they will be seen on camera. That the Director of the FBI is making this claim is more striking, since the surveillance cops are undergoing is targeted, and by the public. It is not the total government surveillance (such as the use of small planes and stingrays to surveil the Baltimore and Ferguson protests), which both the FBI and NSA use in inner cities.
Comey can’t have it both ways. Since he said in Chicago that surveillance has a “chilling effect”, that it makes cops feel under siege, maybe he should consider the implications of what he is saying about surveillance by his own agency and the NSA of all Americans.
If the targeted surveillance of cops is a problem, isn’t the far less targeted surveillance conducted on Americans a much larger problem?
And why can’t Americans hold two diametrically opposed ideas in their minds at the same time? We love the police, and want them safe. But, the real problems in US law enforcement have to be addressed.
And why does Comey imply that we need to accept a trade-off between a brutal police state and weakened policing? Why can’t we have civilized police who focus on getting the real bad guys, instead of choking a man to death for selling loose cigarettes?
So, wake up Mr. Comey! Show us data that support your feelings, or get in line with the data we have. To help you wake up, here is Humble Pie doing “30 days in the Hole”, from their 1972 album, “Smokin’”. The song was featured in “Grand Theft Auto V”:
For those who read the Wrongologist in email, you can view the video here.