Point of View Columns

James Comey – Lordy, Lordy, Lordy

Somehow James Comey, the presumably mild-mannered former Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, has morphed into one of the most pivotal characters in the recent history of American presidential politics. Not since the days of the never-to-be-missed J. Edgar Hoover, the venal, vicious and racist cross-dressing founder of the FBI, has the Director of the FBI exerted such history-changing influence. And it is reasonable to ask, Lordy, how did this happen?

Even a cursory analysis reveals that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump thrust the game-changing role onto Mr. Comey, although there is no indication that when the role was offered, he didn’t exhibit any reluctance in fully embracing that role.

Consider James Comey’s role in the 2016 presidential election. Between his midsummer announcement that there would be no further investigation of Secretary Clinton and his stunning reversal 11 days before the election that the FBI investigation of the presidential candidate had resumed, Mr. Comey exerted incredible undue influence on the presidential election and in all likelihood handed an unthinkable upset victory to Donald Tinyhands.

Of course it can be argued that if a private e-mail server was not installed in Secretary Clinton’s bathroom in her Chappaqua home there would have been no story about hidden e-mails, there would have been no death by a thousand cuts disclosure of the content of those e-mails and there would have been no Congressional investigations and there would have been no FBI investigation. And, of course, there would have been no faux savior of democracy role for James Comey to assume.

Similarly, if the coterie of advisors, sycophants and wannabe’s surrounding Donald Tiny hands had not pursued contact with the Russians like besotted sophomore suitors, there would have been nothing for Mike Flynn, Jared Kutsher and Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III to deny. And then there would be no need to cover up surreptitious correspondence, meetings and a rendezvous in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

And then there would be nothing for the FBI to investigate and no reason for Donald Tinyhands to demand a Godfatheresque ring-kissing pledge of personal loyalty from an appalled James Comey. And then there would be no contemporaneous memoranda penned by Mr. Comey and then there would be no Senate Intelligence hearings like the one held on June 7th and June 8th.

However fascinating alternative history might be, it is best left to Harry Turtledove and other authors of that genre. Actual history indicates that Secretary Clinton did create the e-mail server morass giving her sworn enemies just enough morsels of pseudo scandal to bring about the chain of events that resulted in James Comey becoming a key player in her electoral downfall in 2016.

Similarly, by pursuing the fool’s errand of dancing with the devil that is Vladimir Putin, Donald Tinyhands and his henchmen and henchwomen provided his sworn enemies with more than enough reason to sound echoes of Watergate and Iran Contra thereby casting James Comey in the role of Sir Galahad on a mission to save democracy.

By all accounts, James Comey is a decent and dedicated public servant who does not have a devious bone in his body. Nevertheless, Machiavelli himself could not have constructed a series of actions and strategies that resulted in Mr. Comey having such history-changing influence on the fate of over 300 million Americans.

The question is not whether James Comey is a hero or a villain. The question may turn out to be whether the ensuing chaos and turmoil in American politics are the unintended consequences of blind dedication to duty.

Point of View Columns

Word Power

If nothing else, the right wing of the right wing of the Team Teapublican is consistent. It has sought to obstruct, delay and dismember every initiative of the Obama Administration, from the appointment of judges and ambassadors to holding this country hostage to their warped budgetary vision, the Teapublican terrorists never miss an opportunity to travel the path of negative disruption, no matter what the cost to the people of this country. And now, like a spoiled child with yet another new toy, the Teapublicans have discovered the word “scandal”.

For the past few weeks the hoots and catcalls directed at the Obama Administration from the right wing of the right wing have reached an impossibly higher and more hysterical pitch. Such masterminds like Sessions, Rubio, Issa and McConnell clearly come from the school of communication which teaches that the louder that pseudo facts are shouted the more believable they are. In other words, volume equals credibility.

By seizing upon the word “scandal”, the Teapublicans clearly believe that they can bluff the American people into a lemming-like charge over the cliff of reality. The fact that the result of their endgame would be a government that would be even more dysfunctional doesn’t seem to be a concern.

To most Americans, the word “scandal” dredges up images of the Watergate era when President Nixon engaged in a series of disreputable and probably criminal activities including an attempt to use the entire Justice Department apparatus to cover up wrongful acts. Another Republican “scandal” was the Reagan Administration’s cobbling together an arms sleight of hand device that routed arms through Iran to Contras in Nicaragua even though such a scheme was specifically prohibited by Congress.

Richard Nixon was eventually impeached and resigned in disgrace. Even though Ronald Reagan maintained his ignorance of the entire Iran-Contra scheme, even his most ardent supporters will acknowledge this seamy and sleazy move as the low point of his administration.

These presidential “scandals” were seen in the light of day as outright efforts by the White House to ignore the law and to avoid its consequences. These “scandals” most certainly jeopardized the credibility of government and provided a moveable feast for conspiracy theorists across the country.

Now the Teapublicans want to apply the “scandal” tag to the Benghazi episode of last fall. It should be noted that there was an attack on the American consulate in that Libyan city and that communications were understandably unclear and confused as buildings burned and Americans died.

With hindsight being 20/20 it is still not a certainty as to what the proper outcome would have been in conveying information about a terrorist attack that was taking place in real time while the CIA and other government agencies sought to steer attention away from the activities in which they were engaged. But this tragic event is a “scandal” only in the Never Never Land inhabited by the Teapublicans.

The Teapublicans have also seized upon the extra scrutiny by the IRS when it came to tax exempt applications by avid and sometimes rabid Teapublican groups. When deep breaths are taken by all involved, the facts are that the right wing of the right wing has regularly abused 501©(4) tax exemptions in order to pursue blatantly political agendas, agendas specifically prohibited by the IRS rules and regulations.

Once those facts are taken into account it makes all the sense in the world to make sure that the applications by so-called “social welfare” organizations are not stalking horses for multimillion dollar political action regiments secretly funded by the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson and other members of the Billionaires Boys Club who have sworn eternal enmity towards President Obama. In this case the Teapublicans sound like the habitual bank robbers who complain that security guards are watching them too closely every time they walk into a bank.

The right wing of the right wing is doing its damnedest to throw more sand into the gears of government and employ paralysis and well as sequestration strangulation of the government. And we have to wonder, why is the progressive wing of the Congress so silent as these transparently obstructionists tactics are pursued.

It is time for the lambs to stop being so silent.

Point of View Columns

Beware of the Right Wing Head Fake

It is not unusual for an inferior boxer to engage in dirty and illegal tactics in order to distract and possibly defeat an opponent. We have seen lesser football and basketball players pick fights and attempt to injure opposing players when they know they cannot win playing by the rules. Applying sports analogies to politics, one has to wonder if the recent anti-Muslim video has right wing fingerprints all over it.

Lost in the justifiable firestorm stemming from Mitt Romney’s inane and woefully wrong 47% soliloquy is the fact that the recent release of the absolutely hideously and grotesque anti-Muslim video was released less than sixty days before the election and that it has precipitated death and crisis in the Middle East.

What we know so far is that some non-descript Egyptian Coptic yahoo named Nasouli Nasouli managed to put together video that had no purpose other than to inflame tensions in the Middle East. We know that Reverend Terry Jones, the maniacal Koran burner from Florida has somehow become a “promoter” of this video. And for those keeping score at home this would be the same Terry Jones who publicly burned the Koran in 2011 which resulted in dozens of deaths in Afghanistan.

But what we also know is that this Nasouli Nasouli character may be a non-descript Egyptian Coptic yahoo, but he is not a stupid non-descript Egyptian Coptic yahoo. With no track record in the film or entertainment industry, he was able to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars with which he hired actors, built sets, obtained wardrobes, had a script written and scenery designed and constructed.

What we also know is that Nasouli Nasouli was a man with a plan. He deceived the actors and most of people associated with this video monstrosity by filming with a non-offensive script in English and then dubbing in the intentionally inflammatory language in Arabic. In furtherance of his plan Mr. Nasouli, knowing that his video would never get mainstream exposure, put his video on YouTube and other social media sites virtually guaranteeing that his video sewage would spew into the Middle East.

What we don’t know is what motivated Nasouli Nasouli to engage in this rather complicated scheme that has resulted in so much death and destruction. As an Egyptian Coptic Mr. Nasouli might be harboring some resentment of Islam. But his entire life does not reveal any particular political activism. Indeed, the only item of note in his rather skimpy life narrative is a one year prison term for bank fraud – in California.

What we do know is that the resultant firestorm in the Middle East was treated like an all you can eat buffet by Mitt Romney and his fellow Teapublicans. Before the body of slain Ambassador Chris Stevens was cold Mr. Romney was front and center decrying the “disgraceful” conduct of the Obama administration in the midst of the crisis.

What we do know is that Paul Ryan and John McCain and a whole host of Teapublicans have seized upon this sordid affair to proclaim the “weakness” of the Obama administration in the Middle East. This would be the same Obama administration that decimated Al Qaeda and killed Osama bin Laden – but the Teapublicans never let facts get in the way of a good story.

Still, what we don’t know is who paid for this nonsense? Are we to believe that Nasouli Nasouli and Reverend Terry Jones have acted alone? It costs money to hire actors and build sets and write scripts. Neither Nasouli nor Jones seem to have access to that kind of capital.

And isn’t the timing of the release of this anti-Muslim film more than a bit suspect? Less than two months before a close election President Obama suddenly finds himself putting out fires all throughout the Muslim world – a thankless proposition that is filled with the potential of more death and disaster.

The Teapublicans and the Koch Brothers and Sheldon Adelson have made it clear that they will do anything to insure the defeat of Barack Obama on November 6th. Certainly it is plausible that some denizen of the right wing of the right wing would finance and orchestrate this dirtiest of dirty tricks to give the miserable and increasingly pathetic Romney-Ryan team a chance.

We can only hope that major news organizations with the necessary resources will get to the bottom of this. When Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were investigating the Watergate fiasco Deep Throat told them to “follow the money”

When it comes to Nasouli Nasouli and Terry Jones and the anti-Muslim video it is time to follow the money.