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Saturday, October 29, 2016

A maniac's hell-broth

My promise: This medium-sized post will be the most sensible thing you'll read all day about the latest pseudo-development in the email pseudo-scandal. But before we start, let me repeat one of my all-time favorite quotations by dear old Aleister Crowley:

"Never forget how simple it is to make a maniac's hell-broth of any proposition, however plain to common sense."

Those words summarize the current state of the Trump campaign. Right now, Donnie's maniacs are all over the media, stirring up that Halloween hell-broth. The cauldron steams and smokes and glows and smells, stirred by Trumpian sorcerers who hope to make this concoction seem very mysterious and spooky and altogether ooky.

In fact, there's nothing new or interesting in this pot. Certainly nothing criminal.

Comey's motive. The NYT has just confirmed (partially) what others have suspected: FBI Director Comey wrote this letter as a CYA exercise.
Comey tells FBI employees in an internal email, obtained by The Associated Press, that he also thinks "it would be misleading to the American people were we not to supplement the record."
Comey reiterates that "we don't know the significance of this newly discovered collection of emails." He also notes he is aware "there is significant risk of being misunderstood" in sending Congress such a letter "in the middle of an election season."
This lawyer's analysis offers further insight. It should be understood that if Hillary wins, Republicans in Congress will continue to investigate every jot, tittle, syllable and phoneme of her emails. (They will treat any other Democratic president the same way, using any excuse available.) Inevitably, they will call in Comey. Since he does not want to be accused of functioning as party to a Clintonian cover-up, he has decided to place on the public record a development which the FBI normally would not mention in public (in the absence of an indictment).

Naturally, Fox News is misrepresenting everything. The piece is nevertheless worth a read, because it includes a Comey memo which buttresses the analysis referenced above.

The L.A. Times reports that the emails were not sent by Hillary or even directly to her.
The emails were not to or from Clinton, and contained information that appeared to be more of what agents had already uncovered, the official said, but in an abundance of caution, they felt they needed to further scrutinize them.
In other words, all of this stuff was already known. Nothing new here.

So how did emails end up on Huma's laptop? Mark Cuban, bless his heart, figured it all out before anyone else. He tweeted his findings to the world yesterday afternoon.

It turns out that everything we needed to know was already contained in this long Politico article on the email controversy. It's one of those in-depth stories that everyone pretended to read but didn't. Cuban, however, did read it. (Give the man credit: He does the homework.)

Here's the important bit:
Abedin, for her part, found that it was difficult to print from the State Department email system, so she’d often forward emails to her Yahoo email, accounts, or even another account that she’d previously used to support the campaign activities of her husband, Anthony Weiner. And there was a lot to print: Clinton didn’t like reading long emails—the BlackBerry font was too small—so she’d often forward such stuff to staff to print. Deluged by tasks and information, Abedin reported that she’d often print and pass along documents to Clinton “without reading them.”
I doubt that Hillary read all of that stuff either.

And that seems to be that. I can certainly understand why Hillary would prefer to read print-outs of longer texts. I do too, and I'm no technophobe.

In all likelihood, none of this material was previously unknown to the FBI investigators. We have no reason to believe that any classified or sensitive material was in any of the batches that Huma decided to print up. As we know, just about everything on Hillary's server was not of great consequence.

(True, some material was later deemed classified, but those texts were already being passed around on a government server tellingly called OPENNET, which serves diplomats around the world. That material was not written by Hillary or her immediate entourage.)

Huma Abedin. Teevee talking heads have castigated Hillary for ducking a question about whether she contacted Huma about all of this. I don't blame her for doing so.

Look: Of course she contacted Huma. Common sense tells us that Mrs. Clinton probably made the call within forty seconds of learning about Comey's letter (unless Huma happened to be standing right next to her at that very moment).

I think that we can also fairly presume that she asked Huma "Was there anything sensitive on that laptop?" and that Huma answered "No."

How can I be so sure of this? Simple: Hillary's first response was to make a public plea for Comey to reveal everything in his possession. She would not have done so if Huma had uttered the phrase "Uh-oh..." As we've seen, the L.A. Times has indicated that the material was already well-known to FBI investigators.

Why, then, did Hillary duck the question? Because answering that question would have led to another and another and another, endlessly. You know how the press is. But this matter is part of an FBI investigation, and she cannot allow herself to be accused of intruding on their territory. That's why she asked for Comey to cough up more details.

Admit it: No matter how much Hillary reveals, no matter what she does, she will always be denounced as secretive. She is the most transparent politician in history, yet she has the reputation as the least transparent. She could install a webcam in her bathroom and her enemies would still accuse her of hiding important details of her toiletry habits.

Maniac time on CNN. On CNN today, I saw Corey Lewandowski (Trump's disgraced former campaign manager) engage in the most shameless display of deception in the history of American political campaigns.

Again and again, he returned to the theme of those legendary "30,000 emails" which, he says, Hillary could release "at any time." He even said that she could do so "within two seconds." According to Lewandowski, she was jealously guarding that cache the way Fafnir the Dragon guarded das Reingold.

What a lie! What hallucinatory nonsense!

Once again, let us look at what really happened. Congressional investigators asked for all emails relevant to the State Department. Nothing else: Just stuff related to the State Department.

Hillary's lawyers -- NOT Hillary -- went through everything and picked out messages which they judged to be purely personal. They made this judgement based purely on the headers; they didn't have time to read every single message.
"[Clinton] then was asked by her lawyers at the end, 'Do you want us to keep the personal emails?' And she said, 'I have no use for them anymore.' It's then that they issued the direction that the technical people delete them," Comey told lawmakers.
As the Republicans expanded their inquiry (which is to say, as they grew ever-more ravenous in their demands for dirt on Clinton), they decided that they wanted everything, including the personal messages. The FBI investigated, using their considerable forensic resources. They were able to retrieve at least half of the deleted material. None of it contained classified information. If those emails were anything other than innocuous, the FBI would have so stated.

I'll put the matter as plainly as possible: Corey Lewandowski got on CNN and lied through his motherfucking teeth. And Donnie is doing likewise.

Let us amend the quote with which we began this post: Never forget how easy it is for a lying sonuvabitch to make a maniac's hellbroth of any proposition, especially if doing so can smear a political opponent.

In the same CNN segment, Lewandowski accused Hillary of exercising poor judgment in choosing Huma as her chief aide. That charge is outrageous, coming as it does from a guy whose scandalous behavior forced him out of his gig as Trump's campaign manaager. If Josef Goebbels had complained about one of FDR's aides, he would have sounded about as hypocritical as Corey Lewandowski.

Trump has surrounded himself with filthy scoundrels. While Lewandowski may not be the absolute filthiest of the lot -- Roger Stone retains that position -- he's still plenty odious.

Will their filthy trickery work? I fear so.
It depends on what you mean by "work".

Electing Kim Jong Orange (h/t Driftglass)? Nah.

However, as Zenger from EV-dot-com suggests, it may help the GOP hang on to the Senate by forcing Clinton to concentrate on her own campaign, instead of helping other Democratic candidates.
I actually disagree. Comey found out on thursday the preliminary results from his agents that were working on the emails. If they were all e-mails already knwon and processed there is no new info.

Which means they had to have found at least some they had not known about. I suspect that the slightly over a thousand and several thousand comments are both correct.

the slightly over a thousand are ones they did not know about. the several thousand are ones they did know about

Clinton should have known not to trust the head of the fucking FBI, even if he is a fellow Methodist. Anyway there are likely to be more surprises. Momentum.

Kaine could probably beat Trump. Clinton? You gotta be joking! If she stays in, she'll lose. The Jennifer Hawkins video - is that all they've got?
Whatever happened to Maniac Hellbroth? I remember they TOTALLY KICKED MAJOR @$$ when they opened for Slayer back in the '90s!

(BTW, Major @$$ survived the attack, and ultimately was promoted to full Colonel @$$ before retirement. He's one of Trump's retired-military-officer supporters now.)
The Jennifer Hawkins thing would have destroyed most other candidates, b. But in this race, it's just another....thing. Besides, she doesn't seem bothered by what happened.
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