Democrats & Liberals Archives

The Embrace of Damnation, or, The Faustian Cheeto

We really need to take the phrase “at all costs” at face value, because as with all things, sometimes the benefit of an action, of a strategy, is outweighed in its value by what is lost to attain it. The Election of Donald Trump has become something like that. All kidding aside, Republicans have paid, and will continue to pay a price for defeating Hillary Clinton the way they did, not to mention having Trump be their winning nominee.

I'd like to know, what is it that drove this judgment call from House Intelligence chairmen Devin Nunes?

I think your average Trump voter needs to realize that this somewhat impulsive action was aimed at them, aimed at giving them an excuse to feel vindicated about Trump's wiretapping claim against former President Obama. A quick gloss of the points, that surveillance did collect information off a wiretap from Trump and/or his employees would seem to back that up, but when dealing with politicians, my advice is always to listen carefully.

Politicians have a way of lying, often enough, that is less about not telling you things that are true, and more about picking things to say that sound one way to the naive and unprepared, but mean something different to those who understand what's being said.

Nunes words immediately raised a red flag for me. He said outright that the warrant was a valid, legitimate warrant, and that there was incidental collection of intelligence from Trump Transition officials. If you don't quite know the system, you might not know the thresholds you crossed, and what they mean.

First, understand this about warrants for activity like this: you are required to be specific. The people it's on, the lines or devices being tapped. Additionally, any intelligence has to be mainly on the target, with other identities of people concealed, especially if they're US citizens. The term "incidental" means that the intelligence collected from others were only gathered because they happened to call the target. If a mob boss under surveillance calls a pizza place, the things the pimply fifteen-year-old high school student says back to the target are incidentally collected. The Student isn't under that warrant, the mobster is. The Mobster getting called by a police chief would also result in an incidental collection of intelligence material from that police chief, unless they were also part of that warrant.

So what sounds like "Donald Trump was under surveillance by the Obama Administration," becomes something more like "Donald Trump's people were contacting or contacted by people under a warranted wiretap." Not even close to "somewhat vindicated."

But then, some of you aren't looking that closely, aren't you? You're looking for every reason to believe him. Believe me, I had my share of twitter fights with folks who took it exactly in that way.

Nunes' behavior was shocking indeed. The Trump White House, and the campaign that came before it (which Nunes was part of!) are currently under federal investigation for possible collaboration with the Russians on the release of material damaging and embarrassing to the Clinton Campaign.

If true, it draws parallels to Watergate, only instead of a bungled third-rate burglary, you have a pretty effective theft of party documents and data committed by a nation who is a rival if not an enemy of the United States. Add the stink of treason to violation of basic 4th Amendment rights, in essence. But what does Nunes do when he learns this information, by his own account? He runs right to Trump to tell him all about it.

It concerns me that Republicans aren't taking this more seriously, or all the other things they've done in the last few years to win elections.

If you sat me down and asked me, point blank, whose election it would take to save the country from decline and disaster, well you know my answer. I would want Democrats to win. I don't post in this column idly.

At the same time, I don't believe that necessity justifies an "Ends justify the Means" mentality. I reject that, because to me, that invites some pretty significant backlash, some pretty disastrous consequences. I lack for neither passion nor dedication to my cause. I just lack for the naivete it takes to believe that availing yourself of certain assistance doesn't come with some pretty serious consequences, consequences that could burn up the progress the expedient methods promise.

If the Trump Campaign and its allies availed themselves of Putin's help, the obvious price is that they can never let that fact come out without destroying the foundation of their authority. Less obvious is the fact that Putin, if he helped them, decided to help them on a provisional basis. The RNC was in fact hacked as well.

If you believe that the RNC had no embarrassing information, nothing that could alienate voters, shock people, I have a Trump hotel to sell you. Especially with people as outspoken and politically incorrect as Trump, you are bound to have something like the [Kitten]-grabbing video, a load of dirty laundry that would turn people against him.

Republicans like to pride themselves on not compromising, on their bitter, partisan opposition to anything liberal, etc., but the truth is Republicans are responsible for their own current, compromised position. Far from being pure, far from being filled with integrity, Republicans have corrupted themselves, corrupted their offices, and corrupted the process, and that, bit by bit, has weakened the party, and it's ability and mandate to lead. It's not been a short process, but the work of decades. What we see here are all the spots of corrosion joining together to create greater, more fatal weaknesses.

Folks looked for the Tea Party to be the redemption of the party, but I would argue it was never meant to be such, and only represented a further corruption of the GOP, a further set of compromises that Republicans shouldn't have made.

The problem for the Republicans was appealing to working class Americans who had become disenchanted with the GOP's promises, in the wake of the disastrous Bush Presidency. No jobs, greater deficits, two wars that, as of 2006 and later 2008, were killing Americans by the hundreds, and then the Great Recession.

To regain popular support, Republicans essentially took a scorched earth approach to any policy that Obama undertook, a scorched earth approach to appointees. They wanted Obama to take the blame for a failed recovery. But that wasn't enough. Obama couldn't merely be portrayed as a well-meaning failure, he had to be somebody deliberately out to destroy our nation, our economy, our national security. He had to be the enemy. Making him foreign was part of that. Making him somebody who has been helped along by naive white people was part of that. Making Benghazi into a failure to come to the aid of American Patriots was part of that.

Each lie, each injection of overheated rhetoric meant giving up on some part of being able to come to reasonable compromises with President Obama. Once you've set somebody up as the enemy, how can you really concede anything to them, work with them?

Republicans succeeded to a certain extent, but the compromises they made started hurting them from the get-go. Because they built it all up around the Tea Party, pushed for an enthusiastic, uncompromising, reactionary political movement to reseat the establishment in the majority, Republicans were not in a position to legislate as adults. Their party caucus only took the majority in the House because the numbers in the Tea Party Caucus allowed them to. By pushing the extremists and extremists necessary to revive their party fortunes, Republicans essentially committed themselves to one set of options, no matter how unpopular they would become, or worse, how impractical.

Republicans built themselves up on the idea that Obamacare was this massive failure. If that had been true, for the most part, they could have done away with it easily. But while the Affordable Care Act turned out to be imperfect in formulation and execution, it was not that imperfect. It improved coverage, it improved insurance for people who already had insurance. It banned some truly unpopular, truly despicable insurance company practices. So, the notion of repealing those provisions carries with it all the charm of an early morning stroll through the local minefield. If they wanted to create bait for negative commercials like "my father was kicked off his policy after he reached the lifetime limit with his cancer treatment" or "my family was kicked off of medicaid just before my mom had her heart attack.", they couldn't do better.

Politically, though, they're committed to repeal. What's their way out? Ideologically, they've committed themselves to the proposition that Obamacare was the dog's breakfast, through and through. Practically speaking, though, it wasn't, and if they get rid of the good stuff, they suffer in terms of the middle of the road voters. And those Tea Partiers? They're being lovely and helpful again, as they've been through multiple debt ceiling, budget, and government shutdown confrontations, essentially demanding that Republicans gut the most popular parts of the Affordable Care Act. Without them, they're short on votes.

The AHCA is a disaster whether it passes or not. (Well, as of this stage in the drafting, it's become an unpassed disaster) But it's only a symptom of a larger Republican problem. The Republicans have committed themselves to being the anti-heroes of American politics, a party of smart-mouthed punks who are always quite sure they can do better than everybody else. Like many smart-mouthed punks, they aggressively seek their own selfish gain, running roughshod on others to get what they want.

That, of course, makes them plenty of friends.

Republicans availed themselves of Trump, I believe, because after eight years of this antagonistic, unsympathetic brand of politics, they had no strong leaders left, no people with much of a charismatic following outside of the far-right of the party. While some tout the fact that Trump defeated over a dozen other candidates to reach the nomination, I would invoke a trope in pop culture called Conservation of Ninjutsu In short, if you have one major, recognizeable character, and an army of mooks being thrown at them, the relative hazard of each opponent goes down. One opponent is serious business, a hundred usually means that all the mooks are going down.

Trump wasn't facing two or three strong, compelling candidates, but over a dozen weaker, low profile candidates, most of whom where haunted by long track records if they were recognizable, or just contributed to the clutter when they weren't. For the same reason it's difficult to choreograph a fight scene with dozens of genuinely threatening enemies (you really can't focus on any one in particular for long.) It was difficult for any of the other Republican candidates to outshine Trump.

Another factor? Trump, ironically enough, benefited from being a horrible, no-good conservative! All these other good conservatives wouldn't promise people the things that Trump would promise them, wouldn't take an anti-trade position, wouldn't attempt the economic populism. He also behaved quite unlike the more controlled, more disciplined opponents on stage, much to the amusement and relief of his audience.

Most importantly, though, Trump was willing to lie his butt off in a way none of the rest would, for fear of being exposed. His lack of reserve on that subject had him promising his followers the moon, like one of the old fashioned politicians you see in movies and TV shows from the first half of the Twentieth Century. Ironically, rather than act completely different from your stereotypical politician, he simply stepped into the shoes of the stereotypes of politicians of another age! The emphasis on fulfilling promises for the last few weeks and months is no accident. Trump wanted to seem like an atypical politician for this day and age.

I get that appeal! I understand how he could sweep the GOP off its feet! Combine hard-sell tactics with showmanship, with that sort of locker-room conspiratorial sort of sense of mischief, and you get a candidate who is almost laser-targeted to appeal to an audience of white, poorly educated men and women who like that sort of macho, politically incorrect bluster, projecting strength through confidence, through the brusque disregard of an already despised political establishment.

Yeah, I get that appeal. But I knew better than most what they were buying into, and it wasn't pretty. You go down through Trump's financial and corporate history, and there were few signs for hope. Stiffed employees, stiffed investors, ethically questionable moves, an allergy to personal responsibility and a repeated track record of atrocious personal and corporate finances.

I could go through all that, but what it seemed like to me was that Trump was a bit of a parasite. He promised the world to people, promised money to people, promised lots of things to people, but didn't deliver on them. He said he was good at making great deals, but in reality he was better at breaking any deals he made, any laws that got in his way, and then using his fortune to buy the billable hours from lawyers he needed to get away with all that. He brought people into no-win situations where it cost more to be made right than to let him get away with his violation of their trust.

In a way, with all the BS the GOP was relying on to sell itself, it made the party prime pickings for Trump. Who better to lead the party than somebody who could lie out his backside to make a sale, to gain investors, to avoid charges based on his corrupt behavior?

And who worse, to actually lead the GOP, to actually lead the country? Trump has never been the most moral or the most loyal of men. He's never been all that constant or intellectually sound in his approach to things. He's just been very good at rabble-rousing, very good at appealing to the lowest common denominator elements of people. Unfortunately, I don't think that's because he's a broad-minded populist. No, I think that's basically because he's a spoiled rich kid at heart, a man who illustrates the distinction between being upper class in economic terms, and being classy in behavioral terms. He sees the rest of us as resources to be exploited, and he was quite willing to sell the rest of us out at any price to buy his own success, his own victory.

Trump was never going to be the messiah to save the GOP, any more than the Tea Party was designed to redeem the Republican Party for real. Each actually served the Establishment to a certain degree. They were the compromise, the Faustian bargain that the leaders of the GOP made in order to get into the position they are now, with both houses of Congress and the White House in their nominal possession.

The trouble is, they let lose something in their party, substituted political discipline for intellectual and personal discipline. The Tea Party's Freedom Caucus, ironically enough, has done what I described it doing so much before, during the Obama Administration, splintering the vote, forcing the more realistic Republicans to accept an awful, awful bargain in order to pass the legislation. Which, it turns out, other Republicans balked at, knowing what it would inflict on them.

Republicans thought a Republican in the White House would liberate them, but what it's really done is expose the fault-lines of the party, and made their lack of cohesion all the more toxic. Now, with all the power in their hands, their toughest, worst opponents aren't the defeated Democrats, it's the Republicans on their side who would misuse all the power the party has. It's those RINOs, or those arrogant bastards in the Tea Party who are destroying the party!

That's what you have to watch for when you reach the top, really. It's a lot harder to stick together when your enemy, who united you, is defeated, and I think we saw today what the GOP is currently, truly made up of. We've seen the corrosive effect of years of politics practiced without the moderating influence of an emphasis on policy and results. When the party dogmas and the party rhetoric overwhelm common sense and political unity, inside and outside the party, then it's not long before a party destroys itself. The Devil takes his due.

Trump was never capable of delivering on his promises, and the Tea Party was always less about redeeming the party than getting it back into the majority as quick as it could. The war against Obamacare was never about the policy itself. They didn't even come close to presenting it truthfully. It was about defeating Obama, turning Obama into an imaginary threat horrible enough to justify throwing the just ejected Republican majority back into power. Democrats like me, or left-leaning independents were never the subject of this con game.

Republicans and Conservatives were. This was all about getting them to back Republicans again, rather than washing their hands of a party that failed them. Now they're back, though, they really don't have the first idea of how to govern like a functioning party. They're fragmented and broken due to the strains and the stresses of keeping their high level of partisanship up, partisanship than inevitably breaks off chunks as members of the party dissent, find common ground with Democrats, etc. They've lost their sense of how to be accountable, lost their sense of shame.

Today's defeat for the Republicans doesn't come at the hands of the Democrats. All we did was stand aside. The Republicans did this to themselves, with the power they were handed. They held all the cards, had all the advantages. If they lost this game, it wasn't because of something Democrats did. If the Republicans lost, it was because they defeated themselves.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at March 27, 2017 1:06 PM
Comments
Comment #414702

Whew…glad Iam a speed reader and skipped quickly through a rewrite from Stephen of his weary and worn proclamations.

I will sum it up for those lacking the time to read for themselves.

Republicans are losers because they are winning too many elections for national, state, county and local offices. The more races they win the happier Stephen seems to be about the future of his party and his liberal ideology.

Republicans are losers because they don’t vote, as a group, in lock-step with their leaders in the White House, congress and the senate.

Republicans are losers because the people’s elected representatives cast their ballot according to the promises that got them elected.

He skipped over the purposeful “unmasking”, and harm done to; innocent people in the surveillance and wire-tapping scandal conducted by the Obama administration.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 27, 2017 5:44 PM
Comment #414704

Still rehashing not only the election, but the entire campaign!

Deep down it still kinda’ stings, don’t it?

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 27, 2017 6:10 PM
Comment #414706

Latest Trump approval rating: 36%

Weakest president in living memory. Lost the popular vote by 3 million, somehow put together a majority in the House despite receiving only 49% of the vote there, and in the Senate just 42%, tried to do a health care bill and cratered, wrote a bunch of EO’s that rolled back regulations for clean air and water and let Big Oil go back to bribing small countries- just what Americans wanted!- saw Immigration EO’s destroyed in court when America showed Trump its birth certificate, and then topped it off with an almost daily presentation of easily verifiable lies about… well… almost everything.

Wait. Did I mention anything about the Russians?

Posted by: phx8 at March 27, 2017 7:12 PM
Comment #414707

“There’s a storm that’s going to hit Republicans in 2018. The only question is if it is going to be Category 2 or Category 5.”—Joaquin Castro AKA Royal Flush’s Senator in 2019

Posted by: Warren Porter at March 27, 2017 7:19 PM
Comment #414708

Warren, the shine on your crystal ball is producing hallucinations.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 27, 2017 7:30 PM
Comment #414709

Warren, the shine on your crystal ball is producing hallucinations.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 27, 2017 7:31 PM
Comment #414711

So Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, recently volunteered that he had met with the Russian Ambassador. Seems he neglected to mention another meeting. Kushner met with a Russian spy, a graduate of KGB school. He was a banker for a bank known as Putin’s bank, one notorious for money laundering. Although Kushner forgot to mention it, the Senate Intel Committee noticed. Kushner will be brought in to testify.

It never fails to amaze me. An innocent party would tackle the problem, demand an immediate and rapid investigation, and instruct, even demand, that every one be open. Do Trump and his campaign do that? Nope. They act like they are guilty. They conceal and deny and lie and try to change the subject by making up stories about Obama, among other things.

Meanwhile, Chairman Nunes of the House Intel Committee switched cars on his way to the White House grounds for some hot info. He won’t reveal his source for the strange briefing he gives the following day, an attempt to exonerate Trump… To this day, no one knows who was Nunes source, and no one has seen his information. Anyway, the whole thing is bizarre. Nunes needs to go. Now.

Posted by: phx8 at March 27, 2017 10:56 PM
Comment #414714

Relax Royal Flush, it’s just a joke.

Phx8,

It never fails to amaze me. An innocent party would tackle the problem, demand an immediate and rapid investigation, and instruct, even demand, that every one be open.

There’s no need to even imagine this. It’s exactly what Obama & Clinton did when faced with the GOP freak show regarding Benghazi.

Posted by: Warren Porter at March 27, 2017 11:23 PM
Comment #414715

Royal Flush-
Nunes visited the White House Grounds to talk with a source he seems to have to relate critical information to Trump about the next day, after alerting the Press to it.

As a writer of dramatic fiction, I abhor unmotivated behavior and unnecessary complication of simply completed actions. Put another way, Nunes could walk next door to relate what his source told him, or what he learned from his source.

There seems to be a lot of this sort of elaborate overcomplication. We learned that Jared Kushner, the President’s son in law and adviser, accepted a meeting with the head of a sanctioned Russian Bank (one involved with espionage, according to indictments handed down by Preet Bharara)arranged by Good ole Ambassador Kislyak, during which, according to Kushner’s assistant…

…absolutely nothing of importance was discussed.

That’s a lot of effort for all parties concerned to talk about the weather, especially with some rather important issues on everybody’s mind. This meeting takes place in November or December, when Kushner at the very least has a hell of a lot on his plate.

Unmotivated overcomplication.

So you tell me, speed reader, why aren’t we getting an independent investigation on this matter? Why?

There seems to be a lot we’re not being told, and a lot that seems to defy common sense. As for unmasking, He said most of the names remained mask, that just a few were. It’s worth stating here a couple of things: 1) There are legitimate reasons to unmask somebody incidentally caught on a wiretap. If names are unmasked, the question is why. 2) The last person he should be telling about unmasked names is the target of an FBI investigation.

Congress has its own SCIF, so it’s not a security issue.

A few things worth stating: This does not have Obama’s fingerprints on it. Obama didn’t choose this surveillance target, and Nunes acknowledges the target was legitimate, the warrant valid. So, this strays pretty far from the charge that Obama wiretapped Trump Tower. Trump Tower, by Nunes’ own admission is not even involved.

Essentially, you’re repeating a lie, or at best a ridiculously incompetent reading of the information at hand.

As for your summing up? Stick to your day job.

The President has managed, with his fantastic deal making skills, to fail to get the party that spent eight years trying to kill Obamacare to vote for it’s repeal. He’s allowed a bill out into the open that openly breaks promises he made, that even got to the point where even Republicans were backing away from it. You boast about all the offices your people got, well, they got those by promising a ****load of things they’re proving themselves incapable of delivering.

Among them, the AHCA. Tell me, how in the hell did your people think that knocking almost the equivalent of almost the entire population of the state of Texas off their healthcare coverage would go over? And just how would doing away with requirements that insurance cover things like maternity care, among other things, would go over with the public?

You had the chance to do something better, but instead, we’re going to have the freedom to buy health insurance that covers less, costs more, raises the overhead that health insurance companies could skim from our premiums, pays more in subsidies/tax breaks to the rich who don’t need it, and, yes, most brilliantly of all has even bigger deductables than any of the Obamacare plans do.

Good job. Make things worse in every way to show how much better Republicans are at policy. This the point at which people are waking up and realizing that the last eight year of partisan politics has lead up to one hell of an epic disappointment. Your party said they’d be better at this. They lied. That’s why your winning President is currently polling worse than even Bush was after Katrina, and this in March of his first year.

blockquote>Republicans are losers because they don’t vote, as a group, in lock-step with their leaders in the White House, congress and the senate.

It’s more complicated than that.

It’s a matter of judgment. It’s a matter of having enough room in the party for negotiations within the party and beyond it. It’s a matter of seeking out more than just political goals to check off the list, but also looking at what pursuits might actually do the most good.

It’s a matter of not leaving things to chance, not pretending that some secondary effect is going to overwhelm the primary effect to save the day. the ACA was, at it’s basis, better designed legislation than the AHCA

The Republicans found themselves facing a real debacle. Some would vote for it just because that’s what they did and wanted to do. Many, looking at that, would feel that they were signing their political career’s death warrant by voting for the bill, alienating tens of million of voters all at once. Others, incredibly enough, felt that the law wasn’t destructive enough.

Long story short, RF, your problem is, your party doesn’t relate well to other people these days, and all that’s been saving you so far has been the promise that you’d make America Great Again, that you’d repeal Obamacare, etc., etc. Now, though, the promises are coming due, and the very fractious nature of the party is setting the consequences of that in motion.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 27, 2017 11:52 PM
Comment #414717

Thanks for sharing the best posts they amazing and very useful to us. You made a good site and giving us such a great information on this topic it’s very help us

Posted by: political news telugu at March 28, 2017 2:52 AM
Comment #414730

Sally Yates, the former acting AG, was supposedly to publicly testify before the House Intel Committee today. Supposedly she was going to say damaging things about Flynn- and remember, Trump waited weeks after knowing about Flynn before firing him, and then only when it was revealed by the media. So the White House sent Yates a letter saying she could not testify because of executive privilege. Her lawyer replied ‘oh yes she can’ as long as she did not reveal classified information.

Nunes cancelled her public testimony as soon as the White House received that letter from Yates. Other testimonies by Comey, Clapper, and Brennan were also cancelled without notice. Nunes did not discuss it with his Committee. He just cancelled them.

At this point the House Committee on Intel is hopelessly compromised by Nunes. Speaker Ryan refused to replace Nunes, which he can do at any time he chooses. If there is a cover up, then Ryan risks participating by standing with Nunes.

Republicans have no intention of naming an independent select committee. Looks like it will be up to the Senate Intel Committee, but mostly it will be up to the media and the IC.

Posted by: phx8 at March 28, 2017 1:16 PM
Comment #414731

“it will be up to the media and the IC”

Seeing how the media already convicted Republicans, Trump and his administration of everything under the sun back on Nov. 9th, and have continued to do it on a daily basis ever since, you guys are halfway there.

Posted by: kctim at March 28, 2017 1:35 PM
Comment #414732

Like Benghazi? There were eight committees, including a select committee. They found nothing new after the first one. There was even a select committee to investigate Planned Parenthood after the fraudulent video! Or like the investigation in to Hillary’s e-mails? Or Fast and Furious? Or the so-called IRS scandal?

In this case, Trump and Republicans have not been convicted of anything. The House Committee is being run by a member of the Trump transition team. He has become hopelessly compromised by his own actions.

Look, openness and transparency would put this entire story about the Trump campaign’s collusion with the Russians to rest in short order. Instead, we see the nearly daily drip drip drip of rolling disclosures. We see a lack of transparency. Under Obama, the White House visitor log was available to the public. Under Trump, it is not. No one will say who let Nunes into the White House the day before he returned to that bizarre briefing.

Posted by: phx8 at March 28, 2017 1:49 PM
Comment #414734

You guys spent years decrying any and all investigations. After each and every one of them, to this very day, you guys downplay or outright dismiss the findings.
But now you want people to take you serious and to be concerned because your not getting your investigations fast enough? Pfft

Yes, openness and transparency are very important and would put this entire story to rest. Perhaps we should submit a FOIA request?

https://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2016/03/02/so-much-for-obamas-pledge-to-transparency/#5aca3b886cf9

Your so-called ‘concern’ rings hollow, my friend.

Posted by: kctim at March 28, 2017 2:15 PM
Comment #414735

kctim-
You guys are like frigging teenagers with that rhetoric. Part of the reason they have such horrible reputations, aside from the facts we already know, is that they seem to think transparency is for suckers and losers.

The public has a right to know what went on with their election. They have a right to know if their governing officials have been corrupted or compromised. If they’re not, the quicker people find out, the less their imaginations are going to fill it in.

It doesn’t serve conservatism to let this drag on. It only makes them look guiltier.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 28, 2017 2:19 PM
Comment #414736
You guys spent years decrying any and all investigations. After each and every one of them, to this very day, you guys downplay or outright dismiss the findings.

Actually, no. After most of them, we didn’t have to, because they exonerated officials for the most part.

But now you want people to take you serious and to be concerned because your not getting your investigations fast enough? Pfft

You folks were quick to investigate the POTENTIAL for a compromise of American intelligence information. Yet the possibility that a compromise has gone all the way to the top, the REALITY that private and confidential information from both parties was stolen, and used to aid one of the two candidates in a blatant attempt to influence our political system against our interests? You play with your responsibilities to help your people get elected, then avoid them when our nation needs answers, critical to our independence and sovereignty as a nation.

So don’t go slinging this hypocrisy crap at us. Your party putting its own interest above that of our nation.

As for your article… it’s from a man whose main job in life is muddying the waters on Climate Change, whose stock in trade is deception and misinformation about a critical issue. Citing him on the subject of Democratic Party Transparency, especially in defense of the least transparent President of modern times, is laughable.

You want to lecture us on transparency? Ask Trump to release his tax returns. Stop b****ing about how mean the Press is, and stop supporting their blatant lies. I mean, when simple checks of transcripts and videos is enough to debunk your lies, you’re showing people real contempt.

Quit insulting our intelligence, put up or shut up. It’s your concern for transparency that rings hollow.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 28, 2017 2:32 PM
Comment #414737

Stephen,
Hate to break it to you, but now you know exactly how those on the right have felt for the past decade or so. Your ‘but BUSH’ and defend Obama at all cost rhetoric was worse than any teenager acts.

And no, those investigations didn’t exonerate officials for the most part. In most cases, they very clearly showed something wrong but you guys just wrote it all off because, well…..Obama. And then, to top it all off, you freaking nominate somebody who was caught in lie after lie, and who was wreckless with national security, to run as President?
You, my friend, are in no position to lecture anyone.

The REALITY is that we have been told that there is an ongoing investigation going on and it is going to take a little time to determine if anything is actually there. Despite the fact that you wanted charges on Nov. 9th, you are just going to have to wait a little longer to see.

“As for your article… it’s from a man whose main job in life is muddying the waters on Climate Change”

Ah, yes. Because we all know that real truth comes from an unnamed source talking about golden showers and the media trying to pass off their opinions as news, don’t we. FFS

For God sakes man, this time last year you were screaming that without a conviction, nothing was wrong.
I’m not lecturing you on transparency, Stephen, I’m pointing out your blatant hypocrisy and laughing.

Posted by: kctim at March 28, 2017 3:15 PM
Comment #414740

kctim-
Vague reversal technique, hmm?

The investigations did not lead to ONE conviction. The wild claims people like you made, like Clinton abandoning people, or that she erased or withheld e-mails deliberately, were debunked. And this was REPUBLICANS doing it! Folks who didn’t want to come to the conclusion.

Your investigations never went anywhere. They were all heat, very little light, and for YOUR benefit.

You fault us for who we nominated, for a person you say was caught in lie after lie. And what did you do? You elected Trump. Trump, who far exceeded Clinton in dishonesty. Trump, who held national security conferences in the open air of Mar-A-Lago. Trump, who is under FBI investigation for possible collusions with a foreign power, a longtime rival.

You cover for him because he is a REPUBLICAN! Because he’s on your team. If you applied your standards on Clinton equally to him, he’d have a select committee shoved so far up his rear end, he’d be picking his teeth with the gavel. But you don’t care. All you ever cared about was defeating us and getting back into power. National security has come second. Economic stability has come second. The Health of the average American has come second.

You reference the dossier. Now while we can’t be sure about the most sensational parts of that document, we do know this: time and time again, the claims it made have been verified, rather than debunked. Time and time again, the claims you and your President have made have been debunked, rather than verified. That’s not media bias, that’s you sticking your head in the sand, like you’ve always done with this scumbag.

Last year I was telling you that you didn’t have a ****ing case for the conviction you’d already determined she should get. I was telling you that your story was a propaganda job, that, for example Hillary did not choose the e-mails to be deleted, but only informed her lawyers that she did not want to keep personal e-mails. And those lawyers, rather than go through every piece of mail individually, performed a search that later turned out to fall short of all her work e-mails.

You made big deals out of phones smashed with hammers and servers wiped of their old information, which might sound sinister to you, but which sounds to a long-time computer tech like me like standards security procedure to protect sensitive information from getting out to hackers, who will often go after hard drives and decommissioned devices to gather precisely that kind of data.

You chalked it all up to Comey being in Clinton’s pocket, or something like that, I imagine. You never went through the evidence and figured out the real logic to it, how it would be difficult, say, to allege Clinton willfully destroyed information, when she did not handle the erasure, did not choose the e-mails, and when her team generally made a good faith effort to deliver materials requested.

I’m not the hypocrite here. I’m asking for Trump to be investigated with exactly the thoroughness you asked for Clinton, for the mere RISK of classified information.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 28, 2017 5:00 PM
Comment #414742

“Trump, who is under FBI investigation for possible collusions with a foreign power, a longtime rival.”

Please provide the factual evidence for your claim Comrade Stephen.

“Hillary did not choose the e-mails to be deleted, but only informed her lawyers that she did not want to keep personal e-mails.”

Stephen, this comment makes me wonder who ties your shoes.


Posted by: Royal Flush at March 28, 2017 6:08 PM
Comment #414743

By the way Democrats. Here’s a brief summary of the lousy year your party had.

“It began with accusations of favoritism leveled by two presidential candidates, continued with the wrenching exposure of hacked emails and abrupt resignation of former chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, then concluded with the shocking defeat of its presidential nominee and a divisive race for the new chairman.

The DNC was also hit with charges that it favored Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders in the Democratic presidential primary while it was supposed to remain neutral in the contest.”

https://www.aol.com/article/news/2017/03/28/embattled-dnc-asks-all-staffers-for-resignation-letters/22016004/

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 28, 2017 6:13 PM
Comment #414745

“I’ve been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. That includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts.”

FBI Director Comey
House Intelligence Committee testimony
March 20, 2017

Posted by: phx8 at March 28, 2017 6:41 PM
Comment #414746

OH, Gee, Golly phx8. Thanks for the quote by Comey.

Now, please furnish the quote regarding Stephen’s claim.

“Trump, who is under FBI investigation for possible collusions with a foreign power, a longtime rival.”

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 28, 2017 6:48 PM
Comment #414752
“Hillary did not choose the e-mails to be deleted, but only informed her lawyers that she did not want to keep personal e-mails.”

Stephen, this comment makes me wonder who ties your shoes.

Royal Flush,
Are you going to start wondering who ties James Comey’s shoes next?

we believe our investigation has been sufficient to give us reasonable confidence there was no intentional misconduct in connection with that sorting effort.

Given the fact that you are so dense as to not recognize that the FBI is investigating possible links and connections between Russia and associates of the Trump campaign, I wonder how you managed to wear shoes before the invention of Velcro?

Posted by: Warren Porter at March 29, 2017 9:33 AM
Comment #414758

Royal Flush-
The FBI director came on national television and told you that the Trump campaign is under investigation for possible collusion with the Russians. That’s a fact. Did we all hallucinate it? Is it fake news?

I also was listening fairly carefully when James Comey described the sequence of events surrounding the supposed erasure by Clinton of her e-mails.

Look up the transcripts. Clinton did not personally delete e-mails. Clintons lawyers asked her a question: do you want to keep your personal e-mails. She said no. They did a search of that collection of e-mails, using keywords and headers to filter work from personal. Given time pressures, this is understandable. Have you ever tried to read tens of thousands of e-mails?

Of course, searches like that are always imperfect, and quite a number of e-mails slipped through.

However, if this is the consistent account, then charging her with deliberately destroying evidence becomes questionable. From the evidence, it doesn’t seem her lawyers acted in bad faith, and as Database searches aren’t their stock in trade, an imperfect search is understandable. Her main role, it seems, was to tell them not to keep her personal e-mails, after being asked if she wanted to. She told them no. Also, the FBI wasn’t involved at this point, so nobody was told to preserve all the evidence.

So, you can’t establish that she did it herself, can’t establish that she ordered it, can’t establish that her lawyers were doing anything less than their best to answer the call for disclosure (they were only asking with her work e-mails), and can’t establish that the shortfall was deliberate. Cases are tried not on conspiracy theory suspicions and prejudicial beliefs, but instead on reasonable doubt. Hillary didn’t handle the e-mail deletions, there’s no evidence she ordered an inappropriate erasure, no evidence she deliberately withheld evidence. They don’t convict people for accidents when the law demands deliberate misconduct.

I tie my own shoes. You can insult me about having a better memory and a finer grasp of the way Comey determined she shouldn’t be prosecuted, but you can’t change what he said or how the law works.

You’re saying, “She must have ordered the deletions! She must have wanted to cover something up about Benghazi or whatever!”

You expect me to take that claim at face value. Why should I? do you have independent evidence to confirm, to verify all that? So far, you’ve furnished little such proof.

Meanwhile you talk about our lousy year without mentioning that the information that fed that embarrassment was illegally acquired, and almost certainly acquired by a foreign power, who then proceeded to favor Trump as Trump’s policy and statements favored Russia’s interests.

There are ways to win that ultimately cost more than they gain, and I think the Republicans went way too far in their quest to win the White House.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 29, 2017 11:44 AM
Comment #414759

Stephen Stephen Stephen,

“People like me” do not bother with the wild claims you are trying to use in order to deflect from the facts. We sure do love watching you squirm to somehow ‘prove’ that YOUR wild claims should be taken as gospel, though. LOL

It was discovered that Clinton used a private server for official government business and an investigation was requested. The left laughed it off and the right thought something nefarious was going on. When Clinton lied about access to the server and about classified information being on it, and took forever to turn over the sever in order to delete half of emails, the right came up with theories about what it all ‘really’ meant, and the left used every excuse in the book to defend her.
Now, it has been discovered that some in Trumps administration had dealings with Russia and the left has ‘theories’ about hacked elections and espionage.
The fact that you refuse to see the glaring similarities only proves how blindly partisan you have become.

Yes, you guys made a huge error by nominating a person who was dishonest and who was ‘extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.’ The fact that all of you knew all of this but still voted for her, is shameful and pathetic.

I did not help to nominate Trump. If it is proven that he did something clearly wrong, I will also support his removal.
Wanting actual proof, rather than blindly accepting your partisan based opinions and accusations, is NOT covering for him.

“All you ever cared about was defeating us and getting back into power.”

Yes, as Constitutionalists have absolutely no chance at ever being elected, I do indeed hope Republicans defeat liberals so that our nations leftward descent might possibly be slowed.

“Last year I was telling you that you didn’t have a ****ing case for the conviction you’d already determined she should get.”

Yes you were, and the investigation you did not want proved you to be wrong. But instead of acknowledging the fact that she lied and that classified info was indeed found on her personal server, you write it off to her stupidity and your guesses at supposed intentions.

“a long-time computer tech like me.”

Oh boy. I like you, Stephen. I understand your opinions, respect our differences, and enjoy reading your topics and comments. But this ‘everybody who isn’t a liberal has to be uneducated,’ is getting old.
I am also in the IT field, Stephen. Been so for around 20 years now. So when I hear that somebody has taken extreme measures to deny others access, it makes me suspicious. Especially when they bypass the proper channels and do it themselves.

“standards security procedure to protect sensitive information from getting out to hackers”

So, behind the scenes, they were trying to protect the sensitive information that they were denying existed on the devices in public?
Interesting.

“I’m not the hypocrite here. I’m asking for Trump to be investigated with exactly the thoroughness you asked for Clinton, for the mere RISK of classified information.”

And he will be, Stephen. IF they find the same level of dam*ing evidence that they found with Clinton.

Posted by: kctim at March 29, 2017 12:25 PM
Comment #414761
It was discovered that Clinton used a private server for official government business and an investigation was requested. The left laughed it off and the right thought something nefarious was going on.

And the FBI concluded there was nothing to prosecute. So, who was closer here?

Comey said the Justice Department shouldn’t prosecute Clinton because there isn’t enough evidence that she intentionally mishandled classified information. FBI investigators didn’t find vast quantities of exposed classified material, and they also did not turn up evidence that Clinton intended to be disloyal to the United States or that she intended to obstruct justice.

However, he called Clinton’s email setup “extremely careless.”

Clinton frequently dealt with sensitive and classified information as secretary of state, and the amount that the FBI found in her email server is miniscule in comparison. It appears that she generally dealt with classified information in an appropriate way.

Out of the tens of thousands of e-mails, only a hundred and thirteen were found to contain info that was classified at the time. A little over a third of a percent. Send a thousand e-mails, and maybe 4 would contain some kind of classified material. That would include e-mail chains, where the information might be somewhere down in the replies.

No indication of deliberate misbehavior, no indication that she sold us out or regularly used inappropriate channels of communication.

In other words, by your strict standards, if applied equally, You were as wrong as I was. But I was more in the right.

As far as taking extreme measures to deny others access… doesn’t the whole DNC and Guccifer debacle illustrate that she has good reason? That her data was sought after by hackers, looking to make a buck, or influence US policy? It might be a good time to remind you that there is more proof that the State Dept. Server was hacked than there was that Hillary Clinton’s server was hacked. Also, the State Dept. System was no less secure for classified communications than any other system.

The best the FBI could accuse her of being was sloppy, and they did not believe that a prosecution was worth the time or taxpayer dollars. They did not fault her for the security measures her administrators took, because they know that if you have a device with sensitive data on it, and you’re retiring it, you need to destroy that data in order to protect the system from hackers that might steal that data. Place I work at wipes drives clean as a matter of course. We are hiding something. We’re hiding confidential customer information from the hackers who would exploit it.

“I’m not the hypocrite here. I’m asking for Trump to be investigated with exactly the thoroughness you asked for Clinton, for the mere RISK of classified information.”

And he will be, Stephen. IF they find the same level of dam*ing evidence that they found with Clinton.

First, the evidence wasn’t damning enough to merit a prosecution. You were chanting “lock her up,” because you were so partisan about the matter that you chose to believe that Comey was just carrying water for the Clintons.

One of the people chanting “Lock her up” lied repeatedly about meeting with members of the Russian intelligence apparatus. And, as it turns out, he was far from the only one.

There is more evidence that members of the Trump campaign and Trump Administration have lied about meetings with the Russians than that Hillary Clinton lied about classified information being in her e-mail.

You need to think long and hard about when you want to start recognizing there’s a problem. I believe there are sufficient grounds for an investigation, and the FBI has come to the same conclusion.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 29, 2017 2:16 PM
Comment #414763

Stephen has changed his tune. Instead of writing that “Trump” is under investigation, he now has correct it to read;

“The FBI director came on national television and told you that the Trump campaign is under investigation for possible collusion with the Russians. That’s a fact. Did we all hallucinate it? Is it fake news?”

Nope, simply Stephen’s attempt to disparage President Trump, or not understanding the difference between the man and the campaign.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 29, 2017 3:44 PM
Comment #414764

Stephen proudly wrote; “Out of the tens of thousands of e-mails, only a hundred and thirteen were found to contain info that was classified at the time.”

Really? Is that similar to be just a little bit pregnant? Do laws governing protecting classified material have a “quantity” exemption clause?

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 29, 2017 4:03 PM
Comment #414774

Stephen, I was pointing out the similarities between the Clinton witch-hunt and the Trump witch-hunt. How you mocked and excused away their ‘proof,’ but now demand they accept your ‘proof’ as fact.

As far as your question of who was closer? Classified government information was found on “unclassified personal servers not even supported by full-time security staff, like those found at Departments and Agencies of the U.S. Government. At first, you dismissed that idea, then you downplayed it by claiming it wasn’t properly marked, and now you are quibbling over the amount of classified information found.
Face it Stephen, you have been wrong at just about every turn and you can blame Clinton’s refusal to be upfront and honest about the whole thing.

“As far as taking extreme measures to deny others access… doesn’t the whole DNC and Guccifer debacle illustrate that she has good reason?”

She was conducting official government business through a personal server. To protect our government, there are strict rules and procedures for accessing, controlling and destroying government property.
Now, you tell me what ‘good reason’ could she have possibly had to have government property improperly handled and destroyed?

“That her data was sought after by hackers, looking to make a buck, or influence US policy?”

This wasn’t, and isn’t, about her personal data. It’s about her official business and the classified information.

Now, let me remind you that the State Dept. servers and the information on them are all the property of the government and it is responsible for its security. Let me also remind you that the government cannot ensure that security if the information is removed from those secured servers and placed on unsecured personal devices.

“Place I work at wipes drives clean as a matter of course.”

And if you are doing it for the government, there are strict rules and procedures that have to be followed. From proper handling, to approved programs to proper clearances.

“There is more evidence that members of the Trump campaign and Trump Administration have lied about meetings with the Russians than that Hillary Clinton lied about classified information being in her e-mail.”

Um, no.
There was an investigation and it was proven without a doubt that Clinton was not truthful.

http://www.cnbc.com/2016/07/07/rep-trey-gowdy-rips-into-fbi-director-james-comey-on-hillary-clintons-intent.html

As of right now, all you have on Trump is at best circumstantial evidence based on partisan hatred and assumptions.

I’ll “start recognizing there’s a problem” when the FBI officially confirms that there indeed is a problem.

Posted by: kctim at March 29, 2017 5:41 PM
Comment #414779
Really? Is that similar to be just a little bit pregnant? Do laws governing protecting classified material have a “quantity” exemption clause?

RF,
The small quantity of classified emails suggests that she did not have hostile intent.

kctim,

I think the comparison to Clinton is apt. Both Clinton and Trump engaged in suspicious conduct, which requires further investigation. In the former case, a select committee was formed in order to ensure the investigation’s thoroughness. I do not see why the case is different now that the shoe is on the other foot?

Another notable distinction is that once the independent investigation was concluded with no recommendation for prosecution, the Right continued to froth at the prospect of sending Clinton to prison even though the investigation had cleared her of any criminal culpability. It remains to be seen whether the Left will react similarly, but I don’t discount the likelihood that the FBI finds enough evidence to recommend that charges be filed.

Posted by: Warren Porter at March 29, 2017 8:29 PM
Comment #414782

Royal Flush-
I was under the odd impression that Trump was part of the Trump Campaign. But I’m glad you’ve cleared up the fact that he had nothing to do with it. Must have been somebody else of that name.

If I spoke of the Obama Campaign, or the Clinton campaign, to be serious, I would expect that there was some separation, but never a complete one. The buck has to stop somewhere, but it seems to breeze right by the Resolute Desk station these days.

As for the significance of the few e-mails that had classified information? I’d say we have to keep in mind that if she had deliberately inserted such information out in the open, with intent to see it disseminated, that would be one thing. Here’s the thing, though. She didn’t e-mail it to anybody uncleared for such information. She didn’t make a habit of it, which is the significance of the almost 4 out of a thousand number. If a person was truly very careless with the information, just not observing the rules at all, we would see more e-mails with classified info in them.

He criticized her as sloppy, but didn’t go further than that. There was no indication that she intended to distribute info to people who weren’t cleared for it, nor that she used that inappropriate channel as a matter of habit. I think the FBI’s conclusion was that it was largely accidental and unintended, not done specifically to broadcast it out.

Violations of the law are rarely as black and white as pregnant and not pregnant. Clinton was wrong to use a private server. She took a risk by using one. It violated the law. But the violation was not so grave, or so deliberate as to merit prosecution. They didn’t find your beloved conspiracies.

kctim-
The difference between a real investigation and a witch-hunt is that a witch-hunt doesn’t take no for an answer. People like you still believe Hillary must have done something terrible. You have no proof to objectively demonstrate this conclusion as valid and sound logic to the rest of us, but you insist, we have to believe it, and if we don’t, we’re bad people.

I can accept that I did not find my ideal outcome at the end of the Clinton e-mail investigation. But I’m still having conversations on Twitter with folks who still think that there are other e-mails lurking on Huma Abedin’s laptop. They don’t take no for an answer.

The Truth often defies expectation. Republicans keep insisting that nothing happened, and we keep getting little tidbits like Jared Kushner meeting with the head of an espionage-involved, sanctioned bank, reportedly to discuss nothing at all, despite it being a Russian Ambassador-arranged meeting.

They keep on saying, there’s an innocent explanation, like the naked guy who’s jumping up from your wife’s bed is apt to say. I mean, why is Devin Nunes unable to tell even the Republican committee members, all with very high clearances, who his source is? Why did he feel it necessary to visit the White House to tell Trump about this source (or at least his information) When he visited the White House complex earlier, before?

The FBI has officially confirmed there is a problem here. What you’re waiting for is enough cover from your own side to catch up with the rest of us.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 30, 2017 12:55 AM
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