Big Jim TV


The Comey testimony will be riveting for what he says and of course for what he doesn’t say. The stage is set for him to climb out of his mud pit, the one he threw Hillary into while soiling himself. That Comey still has his job is remarkable. The only FBI director in modern American history to overtly influence an American Presidential election will be testifying in front of a Congressional committee while the Department of Justice IG is supposedly investigating him. The chief investigator under investigation as he lays out elements of the investigation. This is Washington but it sounds like Moscow, except in Putin’s village Comey’s detractors would have fallen to the wayside with sudden organ failure. ( Never mind that seven Russians in delicate jobs have been murdered or died suddenly since the Christopher Steele dossier surfaced). 

In an FBI where its director can “lose control” of the New York field office and fall victim to the cult of Giuliani, how is one to believe that he has control of very much, if not everything. How sturdy are the marble columns and how balanced are the scales of justice as they support and serve a man who prosecuted Marc Rich, worked in Ken Starr’s witch hunt factory and hid in the electoral bushes until the last minute so he could rush out and throw Hillary under the bus ? 

Today we get a glimpse. The real story will unfold in the classified briefing, but in a city where trust has no good name even that is a parlor game. The vaunted director of the FBI can’t tell the gang of eight lest they go Jason Chaffetz on him and trigger strategic and tactical leaks, today’s weapons of choice. 

Trump has done everything in his power to sidetrack the investigations coming out of the so-called intelligence agencies, law enforcement and in Congress. He cooked up the Big Lie about Obama to distract everyone and gave red necks and big bellied people across all red state America a new crutch to prop up their already baked notions that those elitists in Washingont are out to destroy their man from Manhattan before he can save them from the rubble of Wall Street and anything with the word global in it. 

All Comey has to do is say “we can find no evidence” on the matter of the Big Lie and he has given the Democrats the lead before the first TV time out. “Yep, Big Jim is playing the game the right way,” folks will say quietly. Then we’ll hear lots about 10,000 paid Russian internet trollers, hackers and manipulators who savaged the feckless Democrats and sidestep the “opposition research” done by MI-6 because “we can’t get into that in a public forum Mr. Chairman” and the score will be tied going into the commercial break, dizzy from tales of computer back doors and server farms in Siberia. 

Comey may even bring some bar charts and pie charts and sit beside some big thick reports that show how hard he’s been working overtime. Carter Page will watch ever so closely as will Roger Stone and Paul Manafort – and Steve Bannon – plus the Trump boys and gals as they individually and collectively try to gauge who is in trouble, who needs a lawyer and who needs a better story. Back in Nevada, Harry Reid will punch a hole in his nice den wall, maybe two.

Some genius will come out and ask, “what did the President know and when did he know it?” And therein lies the game. The four men under arrest in Russia and the overlapping four men indicted here for the massive Yahoo hack will smirk at all of this drama and wonder just how stupid the Americans really are. 

Somewhere in Washington Jeff Sessions will take a phone call and say quietly into the phone, “well you know I can’t dirty my hands with any of that but thanks for the call.” Click. And the person on the other end of that real or implied conversation will know whether or not to start measuring Page and Stone for new striped suits. They’ll let the Ukrainians spend the next five years trying to prosecute Manafort and the US Justice Department will refuse all extradition requests after he’s indicted for crimes against their state. Walk off to prison quietly, Page and Stone will be told and a Presidential pardon and $10 Million will soften the blow when all of this dies down. 

Big Jim will have done the job, on the Russian interference but mostly on the American people. Trump will spend the next three years gutting our country and working on his orange skin and orange hair In Mar-a-largo all the while narrowly dodging the orange suit he so richly deserves. 

Oh there are plausible variations to all of this, about a dozen of them. There’s even one where Comey and Company already have The Donald on his way to an arraignment and the question is how many will join him in the perp walk. Only then does Comey get to balance the scales and the ledgers. The bookies in Britain probably have that at about 1000 to 1 against. 

There will be no balanced budget. More than 20 million will lose their health care. The environment will once again be an industrial dumping ground. The military will get to be 16 times stronger instead of a measly 15 times stronger than the next force on earth. Tillerson will get his arctic oil deal and the sanctions on Vlad the Impaler will slowly disintegrate. And Paul Ryan will make America great again, he and his buddy Mitch, by stopping that reckless infrastructure bill from growing the deficit. After all, they are fiscal conservatives. The new wall will look better than the old wall no more, and no less illegals will come in as more go out via Canada or any other sane country that values hard work, courage and ambition.

The red state stiffs who put Trump in office will fatten up on bowls of bluster until 2020 when the Big Trump Train will crush Elizabeth Warren beneath its tracks however many months before we slip into a recession and in 2024 a Democrat will soak up plenty of angry votes from states red and blue and walk into the White House looking for more mops, soap and a hope that Americans, not a President, will make us feel great again.

Trump Wins and Loses Media War

Wolf and Donald

Wolf Blitzer looks pretty siting in his anchor chair with his rich baritone voice flowing out of his fashionably unshaven 70-year-old muzzle.

He strikes an avuncular pose surrounded by his younger colleagues. The professor and his loyal crew of cable media darlings  dole out the daily news goodies, each and every report considered “Breaking News. And why, you may wonder, is every story considered breaking news ? Well, probably because Fox has been drubbing them in the ratings and Fox breaks everything, traditions, rules, standards and yes, sometimes even news.

Now Mr. Trump is in Washington. He’s been here for about four days and he’s already making Wolf look like same gullible chair warmer he was during the entire presidential campaign. Or maybe it’s not Blitzer. It could be the entire editorial leadership at CNN. Once in a while Jake Trapper gets the sense that all of the news is not breaking and someone may have an agenda lurking in the diatribes unleashed by Kellyanne Conway or Sean Spicer. But Trapper seems inclined to posit the notion and then dive right back into the shallow end of Mr. Trump’s press pool.

This was on full display this weekend. An apparently angry Trump didn’t want the media focusing too much attention, or any at all, on the million or more people who snaked through the same streets he had the day before during his inaugural parade. The problem for Mr. Trump is that any beat cop in DC could tell you he was out-marched by nearly two to one when comparing his turn-out to The Women’s Marchers that painted the town pink and made him see red. 

That means twice as many people were telling him where to shove it than how happy they were to see him. It was a huge, global “take that Mr. Bigley” moment as he came to Washington with a woeful 40% approval rating. Live TV, back to back spectacles, move and countermove, thrust and parry. A massive grass roots movement across the globe in wild weekend of world peace and political poker, a huge game of Texas hold-em. By sunset, the Women’s pile of chips looked a lot bigger than Mr. Bigley’s.  

Well, Mr. Bigley was not about to throw in his hand. When everyone else was about to call it a day, he was upping the ante. He was mad as hell and he wasn’t going to take it anymore, to borrow a phrase, as he and the First Mrs. are want to do. Damnit, his crowds were huge, the biggest ever, in the history of all inaugurations. Any notion to the contrary was the media’s fault. The lying, dishonest media and the fake news he claims it gins up everyday just to slow him down. How dare they steal the biggest day of his life with something so lame as a pink parade of women and some facts. And with one hand fresh off of the Lincoln Bible and the other tied behind his back, he was going to swear in a few facts of his own and change the optics. To do that he got out a new deck like some slick outside a bus station in New York City.  In less time than it takes to say three card monte,  he was moving the cards so fast it would be days, or years, before Mr. Blitzer and his crew could or would catch up.

Mr. Trump had a strategy to get the media’s focus off  of the biggest global protest since days of Martin Luther King and and Mahatma Gandhi.  He was already scheduled for an appearance at CIA headquarters, right in mouth of the lion’s den where he knew 400 folks were coming in on their day off to see their new boss of bosses. So there he was., all orange hair and double thumbs up, Mr. Bigley in person.  He’d come to tell them nobody loves the CIA more than he does and he’s “a thousand percent behind them.” But he’s not just telling them he’s telling everyone on camera. Indirectly, he was telling the CIA to forget about those reckless and nasty things he’d been saying  earlier when he compared  the intel community to the nasty boys from the Third Reich. Plus he was on  TV, at the CIA. 

Without actually saying, “I’m sorry,” he was taking it all back for everyone to see before he got around to why he really came – to fire both barrels at the media. It’s all their fault. The media had the audacity to imply that his crowds were as small as his hands (without exactly saying that because that really gets Mr. Bigley all riled up). And with that, he wasn’t done, not by a long shot.

Since he tells us how smart he is all the time, he had to know he was standing in front of the CIA’s most hallowed ground, the wall of stars that forever commemorates the agents who gave their lives protecting our nation. His staff could have told him to be respectful and skip the political hype and be as solemn as one would be at Arlington Cemetery. But he wasn’t there to be respectful or make nice. He wanted to take their minds off of fighting terrorism and rip the despicable media a new one by letting them know the media is a lying pack of wolves wearing press credentials.

CNN went crazy. This was an apostasy. This was heresy. How dare the leader of the free world make a mockery of the CIA’s great tomb. A correspondent quoted outgoing CIA Director John Brennan who described Mr. Trump’s conduct as despicable. Boy, this sure sounded like breaking news and Mr. Bigley and his team weren’t done yet.

Next, he sent Sean Spicer, his brand new White House spokesman, out to the microphone with a very unhappy face for first press conference, but not exactly. It was less a press conference than a tirade, a blistering rant against the press and it’s endless rude and wrong stories of crowd sizes backed up with a lot of new data on subway ridership, magnetometers, fences and stuff that made Mr. Bigley look bad when, in fact, everything was wonderful and his parade was the biggest by far. The whole time he’s looking like a spoiled, seething brat full of bluster and blarney. Clearly Spicer was very angry, or his boss told him to look very angry – and by the way there will be no questions.

This was hot stuff. The CNN anchors and guests called Spicer out for being a big jerk who clearly doesn’t know where the campaign trail ends and the pubic’s business begins.

Wow, This was breaking news on top of breaking news. CNN was certain it had the high ground, but in the background you could almost hear Mr. Bigley snickering. Nobody was talking about what hours earlier had been the biggest story in the world, The Women’s March.

This farce went on for two day. It was a  torrent of a media frenzies. Trump’s acolytes and managers were on the airwaves all day Sunday and throughout Monday doing and undoing the damage as fast as they could. Kellyanne Conway was on Meet The Press. She smiled and preened and got sweetly huffy with Chuck Todd and sparred with him about everything but the definition of is.  She launched into one of her here is how long I can talk without taking a breath arguments and summed it all up by telling Todd that he and the rest of the lying, dishonest media were wrong because, because, wait for it, she had “alternate facts.” Whoo boy, Todd does not like alternate facts and he told her so, so she told him she might have to “rethink our relationship.”

Are you starting to get it ?

There is a media war already being run inside the White House. And it wouldn’t be surprising to discover that it’s being written and produced by another guy with a grey beard who is a little younger than Wolf Bliter. His whiskers and his message are more than a tad darker. Could it be that Mr. Steve Bannon, the White House Chief Strategist, previously the king of alternative everything, especially facts, was orchestrating this political carnival.  Is somebody in the White House counting on Mr. Blitzer to break his neck breaking a batch of seemingly orchestrated news stories ? Oh sure, Bannon is here to serve the public and create jobs in the Midwest. Uh huh. But don’t be surprised if he’s  breaking the network’s knee caps and every rule in the post Nixon rule book about how The White House staff is supposed to turn into a truth squad immediately after two years of disinformation and distortion on the campaign trail.

Mr. Bigley, Ms. Kellyanne, Mr. Bannon and Mr. Spicer just took Blitzer and the earnest boys and girls at CNN to school this weekend and gave them a media spanking the likes of which they won’t soon forget, if they finally figure it out.  Nobody was talking about the marchers and damn few were discussing Trump’s veiled threat at the CIA to break a handful of federal and intentional laws by stealing Iraq’s oil, a major story they nearly overlooked in their coverage until a former CIA agent tossed it our there as a guest commentator as the segment was about to close.

Trump and his people did what they’ve done for nearly two years. Punch you in the face, listen to you scream, then they make nice.  They and their little tirades and stole the day. They played to the base and sang to their choir and let the world know that there is new sheriff in town who then had a nice party with cocktails and cameras present so he could be seen making nice to Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer and Steny Hoyer along with the GOP’s congressional big shots before pronouncing that “We have a beautiful relationship.” The President then got out a new box of pens and signed some of those terrible executive orders he deemed unconstitutional when Mr. Obama held the pen in his hands.

Finally, Sean Spicer had his second, first press conference. This time he wore his symbolic boy scout uniform and promised never, never, never to tell a lie. He smiled and flirted and acted like the genuine article until it was time to whine for 10 minutes about how rough the media has been on poor Mr. Bigley. Don’t you now how frustrating it is to listen to the media saying nothing but “No” for two years and telling their team what it can and can’t accomplish ? Gee whiz, it gets frustrating, he said, and shucks maybe we got some stuff wrong. But he promised they’d do better and they’d always tell the truth. And that of course was breaking news for Mr. Blitzer, where “THIS IS CNN”

Somewhere off in California you could almost here the suddenly retired 44th President shaking his head and saying to his wife, Michelle. “Honey, are you watching this. Mitch McConnell tells me no for eight years and these guys are fed up in two days You can’t make this stuff up !”

Oh dear. Alas, President Obama, they can. And when they do it’s “Breaking News on CNN.”

By Bradford Brown

A Journey Toward Truth

Why FBI Director James Comey Must Apologize and Resign.

By way of introduction, this is a freedom forum that seeks to find truth and deliver it, receive it and nurture it through rational dialogue among our readers. We are interested in insight from all political, economic and social quarters: liberal, conservative, moderate, green, socialist, communist or independent. If you can help us find the truth, you are welcome here.

One of our goals is both grandiose and in short supply. And that is to let common men and women challenge the world order with fresh ideas. We are at a time of extremes and divisions in our American society that pit Republicans against Democrats as if they were contestants in an NFL game, each one seeking to bludgeon the other without rules, without referees.  Lies are weapons hurled with reckless abandon. Our digital borders have gapping holes through which state-sponsored hackers strive, and perhaps succeed, in altering our democracy.

Now to the point. Our own Federal Bureau of Investigation has suddenly become a threat to our norms. Once sacred boundaries and best practices that have governed our election seasons for decades were cast aside by Director James Comey at the very moment in time when he should have stood down and relied upon out trusted tools of law enforcement: sealed search warrants and grand juries managed by professional prosecutors.

When Comey took it upon himself to turn the searchlight back upon Hillary Clinton, the Democratic front-runner in the 2016 Presidential election, he played right into the hands of her rival, Donald Trump. Comey did so as we know by writing an ill-advised letter to members of Congress in which he suggested, but did not state, that he was re-opening the FBI investigation of Clinton’s private email server. He did this against the recommendation of his boss, the Attorney General of the United States, and with less than two weeks to go before Election Day. The impact of his extra-judicial misconduct was staggering. Clinton had broken free of Trump in their bitter contest and was surging in the polls. Trump was openly talking of a subject he detests – losing. But Comey’s reckless conduct and it’s enormous echo caused millions of voters to pause and consider a very logical assertion from the Trump campaign – why would the director of the FBI take such an unprecedented action unless he had compelling evidence to pursue an indictment.

In fact, Comey had no evidence at all. The FBI knew what it had known for weeks, that it had a laptop owned by the estranged husband of one of Clinton’s aide’s and it contained emails that were unread at the time by the FBI. So essentially it had a box of rumors which would prove harmless, but only after the arc of history had been changed.

So it is late November, and strong winds are blowing us toward inauguration or infamy – or both.  There is talk of recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania where respected computer scientists have found no proof of foul play with computerized voting systems, but they have stronger evidence than Comey had when he left the sidelines where Department of Justice guidelines say he must stay in the final two months of an election, and lunged onto a hotly contested field to interrupt play with the clock winding down.

Comey has been roundly denounced for his actions by dozens of former federal prosecutors, members of Congress and commentators. In response, he has remained silent. And that silence is deafening.

One could surmise that he is pondering his resignation but he cannot bring himself to write the final letter that seals his shame and his career.

But resign he must, in defense of Democracy and here is the reason why. At the very moment when the nation most needed his simple silence and sound judgment, he spoke out and acted in a fashion that was one hundred times more reckless than any of Hillary’s emails. There is no do over for such foolish and devastating acts, no learning curve, no second chance.

So far, we only know that Comey acted in such an impetuous fashion because he claims he told Congress he’d update them if new evidence emerged after he exonerated Clinton during his two year inquiry. But that was a mess of his own making. Comey reports to the AG who reports to the President of the United States. We call this the executive branch of government and it is a hallowed separation of power designed by the framers of our constitution to avoid precisely the type of political meddling to which Comey fell victim. So he clearly did not understand the time tested guidelines which control his official duties, not did he understand the separation of powers in our form of government.

There is some reason to believe that Comey compounded his felony by presiding over the sudden release of the previously confidential Mark Rich documents. Rich was pardoned by Clinton’s husband when William Jefferson Clinton was the 42nd President of the United States after he had been prosecuted by Comey when he was a US Attorney. To some, these two acts, the letter and the FOIA release, were unrelated actions and mere coincidence. To others, the release of the Rich papers was a less than subtle signature writ large by the hand of Comey for everyone to see.

It’s irrelevant whether one voted for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. Comey must resign and he should apologize to the American people for failing our democracy at the exact moment in time when he should have been its undying defender.

As you consider what has transpired, ask yourself what you would be thinking right now if you were reading an article in the New York Times, or listening to a report on Fox News, about the head of the another country’s federal police inserting wild rumors in the final days of an election. Perhaps your first conclusion would be “that could never happen here.”

However it did happen here, in the United States of America, where Big James Comey, all six foot eight inches of him, leaped across our separation of powers to a terrible conclusion. For that, Comey must apologize and resign.

Bradford Brown