The real scandal is that the FBI still even exists, in my opinion.
We should be able to acknowledge this. The FBI, including Strzok and Comey himself, emphasized that they wanted to get the “Midyear Exam”, as they called the Clinton email
investigation matter, resolved as early as they could to avoid colliding with the election. They were never interested in seriously investigating Clinton and they found plenty of excuses to avoid charging anyone with lying to agents even when they weren’t handing out immunity to anyone who would say two words to them.
“But, WG, the IG said that they were unbiased!” you might say. There’s absolutely nothing the IG saw that clearly proved bias. Nobody was stupid enough to write an email that said something like, “We have to end the Midyear Exam so we can get the Russia investigation going and keep Trump from winning.” Where they did say things that implied it (there certainly were implications), it can be argued that they were or weren’t motivations for bias. Depending on the reader’s own bias, of course.
It’s only by looking at the totality of circumstances that it becomes obvious how biased the FBI was and you will see it the more deeply you read the IG report and balance the behavior of the FBI in the Clinton…thing…versus how it has conducted itself in the Trump-Russia case. The IG even stated how grievously the FBI set itself up for accusations of bias.
They did that. Then they made it worse by their own conduct. Where they were as gentle and credulous as they could be with Clinton’s people, they came at Trump’s with a vengeance. There were no warrants, no raids, no grand jury subpoenas, and no kicking in doors in the early morning and frisking anyone’s wife in bed like they have done to Trump associates.
There was no intense surveillance comparable to the FISA warrant fraudulently obtained against Carter Page. This by itself is a stark comparison to how cautiously the exact same FBI officials behaved in the Clinton case. Nobody in the Trump campaign got immunity and–importantly–those who were suspected of lying have been charged by Mueller’s FBI agents.
The only aspect of the Russia investigation they didn’t pursue aggressively was inspecting the hacked DNC server that started the whole mess. Why not? Probably worried that they might find something that they’d have to ignore like they nearly did with Weiner’s laptop.
Maybe you’d like to argue that it’s because the FBI already knew that there was no underlying crime with what Clinton had done? Fine. You also have to acknowledge that there was no underlying crime that prompted Mueller’s appointment. There is no crime of collusion and the president is allowed to fire shitty FBI directors without it being a federal offense for obstruction.
The point is that the FBI showed absolutely zero interest in uncovering any potential crimes during the Clinton investigation and went out of its way to avoid even nailing a single staffer for even the most incidental process crimes. Whether they did it because they wanted to let the voters make up their own minds at the polls or because they really were trying to help Clinton win is irrelevant.
The FBI chose to serve the cause of politics, not justice.
Comey says this was a “500 year flood”. Right. Maybe I’d be reassured if not for the observation that the FBI isn’t 500 years old. Their pattern of engaging in politics and abusing their authority has been present since the Bureau’s very beginning and only worsened as they’ve gotten more powerful. You can say that certain people in the Obama Administration played a role in this–including the president–and be right, but the FBI itself is sick and needs to be put down. It’s an institutional problem that’s always going to be there. I’m not convinced that what happened is as rare or surprising as Comey does. Unfortunately, his successor is as much as a jackass as he is.
“Nothing in the report impugns the integrity of our workforce as a whole or the FBI as an institution,” said Wray, who succeeded James Comey as FBI director in 2017 after President Trump fired Comey.
How can he say that? Strzok still works there. In human resources, no less, where he does what? Determines discipline? Yeah, he’s a role model. Maybe he helps in hiring more people like himself?
Who else who helped squash the Clinton case is now working on the Trump-Russia one? Are they still working for the FBI? How many of the dozens of leakers are still employed by the FBI? What about these two assholes?
Neither of them is the FBI lawyer who got kicked off of Mueller’s team for this sort of thing, incidentally. I have no reason to think that the remainder of FBI agents on Mueller’s team are any different, just more careful about which devices they use. Wray has done nothing to reassure me otherwise. Just the opposite, really.
Reportedly, Wray threatened to resign if McCabe was fired. The guy whose conduct was so egregious that the IG recommended he be charged with a crime (so far, he’s the only one). You really think Wray is interested in doing anything more than some Starbuck’s-style “Okay, no being biased, you guys” seminars?
For all of this, I’m expected to care about Trump’s supposed scandals. Not one single official who abused his authority, leaked information, lied or refused to equally enforce the law has truly been held accountable for it.
Oh, look, another Trump scandal! This time involving the Trump Foundation! It originated with the New York Attorney General Office, which until recently was headed by an accused rapist!
Yeah, I don’t care. I hope this matter is investigated as fairly and competently as the Clinton matter was should the IRS or FBI look into it. Until I see some accountability restored to the federal bureaucracy, I do not care. Even on the eve of this report, the FBI and DOJ were still obfuscating Congress about the information they should have handed over months ago.
They didn’t because, again, they were more concerned about politics and their own power than anything else. Only Congress can fix this but I wonder even now if they have the balls.
Ah, well. I probably spent too much time on this open thread on that topic. Let’s talk about one of the lesser scandals then. Salutegate.
Okay. Usually, when the issue about presidential saluting becomes an issue, it’s because something was done improperly that’s seen as disrespectful toward the military. You know, like this:
Every time it comes up, I make the same point, whether I like the president in question or not: the POTUS is a civilian and should not be saluting anybody at all. Neither US servicemembers or anyone else. Reagan started it, I disagree with it, and I wish they would all stop doing it. In fact, I’ll know for sure that we’ve finally elected a Constitutionalist president again when he or she immediately ends the practice. Trump definitely won’t.
For now, I accept that I’m on the losing side of this argument. Presidents gonna salute. What about this situation?
I don’t see anything wrong with it on the grounds that Trump only returned the salute. If you don’t know anything about military customs and courtesies, it’s the lower-ranking person who salutes first. In this case, the Nork general saluted Trump first and he saluted back. Had Trump saluted first, it would have sent the wrong message, to be sure. Still wouldn’t have been as ridiculous as bowing, but it would have been wrong. Or wrong-er.
Can he salute a foreign officer, consistent with customs and courtesies? Yes. American soldiers salute foreign officers. I don’t think Marines do, but I can verify that Army soldiers do. One time when I was on an Army post, I I saw an American sergeant recognize a German officer’s rank and salute him as they passed each other. It was funny because the German was completely surprised but he managed to belatedly return the salute. It usually didn’t happen, but every now and then a US soldier who served in Germany and learned their rank insignia would salute their officers. Wasn’t expected or required, but wasn’t considered problematic either. Of course, I was an MP and routinely saluted foreign officers while on gate duty. Never thought anything of it.
What about the fact that he saluted a military officer who is technically in a state of war with the US? It doesn’t matter. During a truce or peace talks or whatever, it is common for the opposing troops to salute each other. Union General Joshua Chamberlain ordered his troops to salute the defeated Confederates during the surrender ceremony at Appomattox, for example. There are instances I’ve heard of about saluting between Americans and enemy officers occurring as recently as the Iraq War.
Yes, I know he’s not a soldier. But every president has been saluting since Phil Collins released his first solo album so we pretty much have to evaluate it according to what we expect military officers to do rather than politicians. On that basis, I don’t think Trump did anything wrong, besides the fact I don’t think he should be saluting anybody, to begin with.
Instead, I think the incident is remarkable because a North Korean general saluted an American president right in front of Kim Jong Un. Holy balls. Given how much the North Koreans hate and fear the United States, it’s amazing that a general did that and it sent a powerful message to his people (assuming they’re allowed to see it). It’s deeply significant, whether you like it or not.
I mean, they said this about Obama:
Here we are in the post-dotard age:
Hey, we call him “God Emperor Trump”. Get it right, Commies.
Maybe it’s just an exercise in flattery, but gestures like this matter–just as the conduct of the victorious did at Appomattox. It fills me with as much optimism as it does fake-outrage for Trump’s domestic foes. Salutes or Fire and Fury. Pick one, geniuses.
Speaking of Trump’s critics, it’s about time they became more supportive of Trump’s efforts in North Korea. You know, given that if he fails, some of us are going to die in a nuclear fireball and all.
Trump, the ignoramus, is right that the relationship between America and North Korea matters more than the technical details of denuclearization. And by ridiculing Trump’s efforts because those details don’t meet their standards, Democrats are strengthening Bolton, who sabotaged the Trump–Kim peace process once, and may try to again. So, painful as it is, Democrats should give Trump the credit that, in this rare instance, he is due. In Singapore, two of the worst leaders in modern history met. And they made the world a safer place.
Not a pro-Trump author, as you can see. Read it with an open mind.
On the topic of foreigners who Trump is too cozy with for some, here’s what helped lead to our current woes with Russia.
Of course, the Clinton administration delayed the first round of NATO expansion by a few months to help Russian President Boris Yeltsin in his domestic political struggles, crafted consultative diplomatic channels, and capped deployed troops in Eastern Europe. Yet these were largely tactical adjustments. Faced with Russian opposition to NATO expansion as a strategic matter and given warnings of the dangers that could result, the U.S. stayed the course.
To be sure, Kirchick is correct to ask, “What right does Russia have to decide whether its former satrapies can join a defensive military alliance of their own free will?” Still, the thought exercise also works in reverse: Ultimately, the United States had the right to decline NATO membership for Eastern European states whose inclusion in the Western alliance could spoil U.S.-Russian relations. The United States chose one course and now lives with the consequences.
I’m proud of myself for making it over a week without any commentary on droid fucking. Here’s a video on how to fix Star Wars with science and with no robosexuality.
Their explanation for the timelines in Terminator: Genisys was better.
Some things cannot be saved. Such as Roseanne.
ABC and producer Carsey-Werner are insisting that Barr not participate financially or creatively in the proposed spinoff, which is said to revolve around the character played by Sara Gilbert. OtherRoseanne writer-producers and cast members, including John Goodman and Laurie Metcalf, are said to be tentatively on board (they would receive the same fees as previously negotiated for the second season of the Roseanne revival, which was ABC’s top-rated program this season).
But since Barr would be entitled to substantial fees and backend on any spin-off of Roseanne(the original series was created by Matt Williams but it is also credited as being “based upon a character created by Barr”), she must waive those rights before any such show could proceed. With Roseanne having tentatively agreed to do so, now the negotiation is over what, if any, one-time payment Barr should receive as “go-away money,” as one source puts it.
Roseanne should sell what rights she has if offered, but ABC is delusional if they think anybody who was enjoying the revival is going to watch a show revolving around fucking Darlene. Much of the core audience will refuse to watch because of how quickly ABC dumped her for perceived racism.