Michael Maiello's picture

    The Enemy of The President is Not Your Friend

    Donald Trump tends to turn things upside down just by being Donald Trump. Of late, His Fraudulency has hurled himself into a feud with the Federal Bureau of Investigations, turning the agency into an arm of the resistance.  Except that the FBI is not a leftist organization, not by a long shot, and it never has been and neither is the rest of the security/intelligence apparatus in the U.S.

    James Comey is not a good guy.

    If you believe the absolute worst about Comey, he rigged the election against Clinton, ironically installing a Bull in a China Shop president who then fired him.  I don't quite take that view, but there are enough facts to support it, not the least of which was a well reported anti-Clintonism among rank and file FBI employees in the New York investigative offices.

    The most generous interpretation is that Comey was just trying to be as fair and transparent as possible and helped cost Clinton the election purely by accident and has ever since regretted making public the brief-reopening of the investigation into "her emails." He's never publicly expressed the "regret" part, but as generous souls, we can imagine it.

    The literary interpretation is that Comey helped to cause the Trump presidency because of undenable traits in his personality, which include intentions to do things "by the book" and to pursue justice but that exist in uneasy tension with a desire for public notice and approval. His vanity caused this mess, his vanity kept him from resigning as soon as Trump asked for his loyalty and his vanity has driven his feud with Trump since he was fired.

    Yesterday, Comey Tweeted that the Trumpistas should await the verdict of history --  nobody has named roads or schools after Joe McCarthy.  That's pretty rich, considering that the FBI played the villain's role in the Red Scare and its headquarters is named after J. Edgar Hoover, probably a bigger criminal than McCarthy, in retrospect.

    This feud between the FBI (current and former) and His Fraudulency, will likely not benefit progressives at all because neither party is on our side. If Darth Vader and the Emperor are fighting, it only helps the Ewoks if they destroy each other.  They are no better off if one side wins.

    Yes, we're the Ewoks.

    It's Friday, gimme a break.




    The FBI is trash. Trump creates a Constitutional crisis. Trump is worse trash.

    You've been watching too much third trilogy. The original franchise wasn't so black-and-white. Sure, the Emperor was pure evil, but Vader had a streak of humanity. Luke was impulsive, and Solo was a self-centered mercenary.

    Comey is more of a Lando Calrissian--self-interested and susceptible to pressure but capable of good. He may not be a Jedi, but he's no Sith lord either.

    I believe it was probably more fear than vanity that clouded Comey's judgment so severely in the late stages of the presidential campaign.  It's true that the NYC FBI office was wired in with Giuliani and was virulently anti-Clinton.  That's established.  Comey surely believed, and perhaps knew almost for a fact, that if he did not do what he did in announcing what was understood by voters to be the re-opening of the Clinton email investigation days before the election, he was going to be subjected to a vicious character assassination campaign in the media and in the GOP Congress initiated by the Giuliani wing of the FBI. 

    [And doesn't the existence of such a wing tend to prove Michael's point?  Is anyone surprised that there has been no thorough housecleaning of the NYC FBI office to remove the Giuliani elements who abandoned their professionalism, abused their power, and grossly violated their public trust, to pursue a partisan political agenda?]   

    Jim likes to project an image of himself that is above politics.  And he has done courageous things earlier in his career.  In this case he allowed himself to be politically pressured into doing what he did.  He's an extremely ambitious guy and has just as much of a self-preservation instinct others in politics who is comparably ambitious.  

    The decision Jim made I find comprehensible (not justified, in any way--quite the contrary, it is one of the most outrageous and tragic misjudgments in the history of US law enforcement), in context.  People in public life make colossal misjudgments.  That's just a fact. 

    What I find incomprehensible, or maybe just scary, is his continued insistence (last I knew) that going against all the internal guidance and departmental policy he went against that was established for the very best conservative reasons, and doing what he did, was the only way he could not unfairly interfere in a presidential election.  How Jim could say, and continue to say, that with a straight face leaves me just gobsmacked.  It suggests to me that his ambition remains untempered.

    Perhaps only judgment clouded by fear, a clamoring for the spotlight, and a scary certitude that he was destined to make History, could account for such a disastrous decision and self-deceptive rationalization.  I can detect not one whit of genuine humility in Comey, only a determination to present a public appearance of awe shucks earnestness.  

    I continue to believe that had he remained as FBI Director Jim would have pursued a thorough and vigorous investigation of Trump.  Trump clearly believed that, and fired him for that very reason, as Trump himself has acknowledged.


    Where seeking total 100% ethical, ideological purity can lead, Driftglass:

    When slogging through the chin-deep offal of life in the material Universe starts to make it impossible to see or smell the differences between right and wrong, a shot of Noble Good versus Odious Evil makes for a fine and necessary pallet-cleanser at 56% purity.

    But once purity itself becomes all you care about -- once  it becomes a distillery race to see who can get to 100% -- the chicken farmers are never far behind:

    The main Islamist group in Algeria, the GIA, ended up being led by a Mr. Zouabri, a chicken farmer, who killed everyone who disagreed with him. He issued a final communiqué, declaring that the whole of Algerian society should be killed, with the exception of his tiny remaining band of Islamists. They were the only ones who understood the truth.

    very interesting

    Why I voted to release the Nunes memo

    By Will Hurd February 2 at 11:26 AM @ WashingtonPost.com

    Will Hurd, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the House Intelligence Committee.

    [....] Not all classified information has national security implications. If it does, it should be withheld. But as David Garrow, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, once said, “Just because you see it in a top-secret document, just because someone had said it to the FBI, doesn’t mean it’s all accurate.” [.....]

    [....] My vote to release the memo was not about discrediting the special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. It was not about debasing the hard-working men and women serving in the FBI. Rather, I supported the release because I do not agree that an American citizen’s civil liberties should be violated on the basis of unverified information masquerading as intelligence.

    The Intelligence Committee also voted this week on whether to release the minority response. This secondary memo included many references that would affect existing intelligence activity. I voted against releasing the minority response until revisions are made to ensure that it would not jeopardize national security.

    Let me be clear, special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation must continue to ensure that our democracy was not compromised by Russian interference. [....]

    especially when you read about his background on Wikipedia

    [....] Hurd is the only African-American Republican man in the U.S. House., and one of two black Republicans in the U.S. House [....] Hurd worked for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for nine years, stationed in Washington, D.C., including a tour of duty as an operations officer in AfghanistanPakistan, and India.[3][4] He speaks Urdu,[5] the national language and lingua franca of Pakistan, where he worked undercover.[5] One of his roles at the CIA was briefing members of Congress, many of whom he said could not distinguish the Sunni and Shia divide at the center of Islamic civil wars for centuries.[6] This alleged lack of understanding by members of Congress made Hurd want to pursue politics.[6] He returned to Texas after his CIA service and worked for Crumpton Group, strategic advisory firm, as a partner and a senior adviser with the cybersecurity firm FusionX.[4] [.....]

    After winning re-nomination, Hurd began to distance himself from Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. He opposed Trump's "nasty rhetoric" in reference to Muslims and Latinos and the candidate's proposal to build an $8 billion, 1,000-mile long wall across the American border with Mexico. "Building a wall is the most expensive, least-effective way to do border security," Hurd said in an interview. Hurd said he did not need coattails from his party's presidential nominee: "Anybody who is hoping on coattails or macro trends, is not doing his job."[17] [....]

    This is interesting and I'm sympathetic to the argument.  The Nunes memo wants to argue that the whole wiretapping of Page was based on political hackwork and never should have been approved in the first place.  But, as I recall from earlier FISA arguments during better political times, one of the problems with FISA is that the secret court approves 99.7% of the government's requests.

    Now it may well be, and probably is, that the Page wiretap was based on way more than the Steele dossier. But if the Page and Trump camp argument is "you never should have tapped me in the first place," then welcome to the 99%!

    I'm sympathetic to that argument too, but it's much more complicated than that. There's the Nunes memo and there's a democratic memo rebuttal. Both are reportedly based on classified data. Congress voted to release the Nunes memo but not the democratic memo. If the classified data both are based on shouldn't have been classified in the first place than both should be released.

    I have also read that Page was on the FBI's radar years before the Steel Dossier and the Trump campaign. He was being tapped as early as 2013. The scuttlebutt about the Nunes memo is that it cherry picks from the classified data to make it falsely appear as if the Steel Dossier was that reason the FISA warrant was issued. Selective release of classified data can paint a false picture of situations.


    Totally agree.

    Though, at the root of this is a broken FISA process where the government makes its case for a warrant in the absence of opposition. Did the FISA court grant the warrant because of the Steele dossier?  It's ridiculous to think so.  But one of the reasons it's ridiculous to think so is that it's so unlikely that, under any circumstances, the FISA court would have said no.

    Who would the opposition be, for a FISA warrant or a federal wiretapping warrant, both granted by judges/courts?

    The lawyer for the person under investigation.....? (snark)

    Under a domestic or foreign warrant, if the person involved is not found to be committing crimes, the person involved won't be charged, and the investigation would cease.

    Under a domestic or foreign warrant, if the person involved is not found to be committing crimes, the person involved won't be charged, and the investigation would cease.

    Then an innocent person was snooped upon without consequence!

      It would be easy to appoint a lawyer with knowledge of civil rights to make the case if there is insufficient evidence to justify granting a warrant.

      That'd be such a fun job.  "Secret FISA Target Advocate."  You'd be helping out mostly scum bags who would never know about your efforts on their behalf but what stories for cocktail parties!

      Republicans in congress and in many states won't fund legal protection/lawyers in criminal or civil rights cases for persons falsely accused of crimes,  injured, maimed and/or convicted by unethical prosecutors.

      Here we are just talking about investigating suspects.

      True, both the FISA court and the classification system is broken. Likely a significant amount of classified documents could be released without any national security implications though some people would be embarrassed. But Hillary was tarred and feathered in part because of this system of over classification. I'm loath to give republicans a break when Hillary and other democrats are targeted and held to a higher standard.

      Not saying we should give anybody a break. Just that we should understand the whole picture here.  I wonder how many surveillance targets out there never even get the chance to argue that they're being targeted unfairly?

      How many ever know they were investigated?  The investigations are secret, not publicized.

      Can you explain why you think the FISA process is “broken?”  As far as I can tell from this case, it doesn’t seem that surveillance was inappropriately approved.  The fact that such a high percentage of them are approved might simply mean that the agencies who make the requests are mindful that there is a high bar for approval and they don’t make requests without the certainty that they have all the evidence they need for the court to review.  In fact a rate of about 50% would make me think the requesting agencies were sloppy or unreasonable  

      The next layer of security is a tenured judge, appointed by the Chief Justice to soberly review each case.  I don’t believe that these judges are likely to take this casually.  These cases, after all, are about intelligence used against the US.

      Which brings me to the question of protecting the target of the surveillance.  If nothing incriminating is found then no further surveillance will be approved, and the target’s reputation is in tact because of the secrecy involved (unless Nunes, or someone of his ilk decides to ‘out’ him).  This process takes a leap of faith for all of us who have a reasonable sense of cynicism, but how else can these cases be surveilled?  What process would be better?  By definition they have to be secret, and by law they have to be strictly supported, and then reviewed by a judge, unaffiliated with the originator of the supporting documents, and who had to be chosen by someone who understands the seriousness of the appointment.  

      If you believe that this system is broken, then how would you fix it?

      Thanks CVille. Good points.

      The irony is the purity angels of the left loudly distrust government and attack it as controlled by nefarious forces, a threat to freedom, privacy, etc.......while promoting government as the instrument to lead our troubled health care system to a Denmark-like socialist paradise, and in addition becoming a celebrated, trusted champion of the white working class through income redistribution, market manipulation, and ending free trade agreements.

      This plays into the Republican message that government cannot be trusted to resolve problems, while Koch and the right wing plutocrats very much trust Republican government to serve them.

      This is a gross mischaracterization of the position that progressives take regarding government surveillance and safety net programs. It is precisely the position that libertarians take.

      I agree with you 100% on this point, NCD. It is one of my main topics of interest since I first started participating in the blogosphere in 2003. I have always been aghast at the counter-productive-ness of the purity angels. I think it is a major problem. So I am with you on it.

      All that said, I want you to understand that I come at it from a different angle than you do after having a lifetime of experience with actual government: the reality is that they are too often just plain incompetent. I would like to see competent government, but it is an ideal that is not reality. There is no ideology behind it, it is just incompetence. So as far as actual day-to-day quality of life, I guess I would prefer to see erring on the side of libertarianism. A balance erring on the side of libertarianism. I.E., sometimes you need a Berkshire, Chase and J.P. Morgan to show the way to single payer when an ill-equipped Medicare system is about to crash from massively increased access and an ideological Congress is weakening the few safety valves installed by the compromise Obamacare.

      P.S. On FISA, my takeaway from this short NPR piece giving the position of each purity angel: c'mon guys, no matter how many revisions a judge requests that not a single request is ever turned down tells me something. When in a quandary like this, I always look for the guy who has worked both sides. I find him in this article German is a former FBI agent, and now the ACLU's senior policy counsel. And he says  I don't think it's necessarily a rubber stamp, but it's just that it suffers from these fatal flaws.

      And here's a totally unrelated news piece showing how far U.S. parents should trust that the FBI and your government in general has everything under control: As F.B.I. Took a Year to Pursue the Nassar Case, Dozens Say They Were Molested

      Marcy Wheeler at Emptywheel has made a good dent in describing FBI, CIA and NSA overreach these last 10-15 years, including misleading FISA requests, whack-a-mole shutdown-to-rise-under-another-name abuses, Guantanamo misrepresentation, FBI entrapment, etc. You can be respectfully tough on security and still dislike the deceit and end arounds proper oversight.

       CVille wrote this...

      Which brings me to the question of protecting the target of the surveillance.  If nothing incriminating is found then no further surveillance will be approved, and the target’s reputation is in tact because of the secrecy involved (unless Nunes, or someone of his ilk decides to ‘out’ him). 

      Question: How did Carter Page know back in October that Paul Ryan would use his power to expose in the Nunes Memo the dossier’s inclusion in the Page FISA affidavit? Doesn't Page out himself in this interview?

      MSNBC Published on Oct 30, 2017 (It's at the 7:00 minute mark)



      Wow, OGD.  That is strange.

      If nothing incriminating is found then no further surveillance will be approved, and the target’s reputation is in tact because of the secrecy involved...

      There is a lot of good reasoning in your comment but I guess where I diverge is here... Were I to ever find out that I was the target of surveillance, I would not be satisfied with the explanation that, "but, we found you were doing nothing wrong and you stopped."  I would feel violated.  But even worse is that if anyone were a victim of this surveillance, it'd take a miracle for them ever to find out about it, much less to air a grievance over it and to try and get some amends. It's a bad system for a democracy.

      Yes, Michael, but considering the nature of spying, and the layers of protection (not perfect) that exist, what would you do to fix it, or even make it better?

      The government could just not spy on its citizens.

      If it must, and I'm not convinced, then it should not be able to spy on its citizens without consequence.  First, there should be some sort of "target's advocate" as discussed up thread. Second, if the surveillance leads to nothing, it should be revealed to the target after it is stopped. The target should then have complete access to all records of the spying and the right to sue for damages.

      How would you handle a situation where a foreign government attempted to aid the election of a US political candidate and there was possible contact with that foreign government and members of the political campaign?

      Get a warrant. That's the obvious answer. You go to a regular court with a judge and you show probable cause to believe that tapping this one line or reviewing this one email account is likely to lead to probative evidence that a crime is, was, or will be committed. It devastates me as a progressive/liberal that so many self-identified liberals don't understand that this legal requirement is a bedrock of democracy.

      Didn’t they obtain a warrant on Carter Page?

      Yes, exactly. See below:

      What do you think FISA requires?  The difference is that there is a higher bar, and a specially trained and highly experienced judge making the decision.  It is called a FISA WARRANT, after all, and allows for continued surveillance to discover what (if any) information is passed on to those who want to bring down our government.  Spies don’t chat on the phone every day.  That is why the warrant is for 90 days.

      So the bedrock of democracy is in place.  It just has a more difficult requirement than you would want, which seems like a good thing.

      So why are you devastated?

      FISA Courts are secret. There is virtually no accountability. FISA courts grant broad warrants to conduct massive surveillance sweeps that include thousands of potential targets. All of that is completely different from state or Federal District court warrants which are limited in scope and which defendants have the opportunity to challenge and appeal if the information obtained leads to prosecution.

      Are you concerned that word of the warrant would become public?

      HSG:  No

      But I am


      I think the objection here is more than fair.  The FISA court exists without real public oversight. We have to take it on faith that it is not not issuing unnecessary or abusive warrants. But I see no reason for that leap of faith.  Carter Page can probably be dealt with in a more transparent forum.  He's not exactly a criminal mastermind.

      How do you imagine a more transparent forum?

      Wouldn't a regular court with open records fit the bill?

      MM: Were I to ever find out that I was the target of surveillance, I would not be satisfied with the explanation that, "but, we found you were doing nothing wrong and you stopped."  I would feel violated.  But even worse is that if anyone were a victim of this surveillance, it'd take a miracle for them ever to find out about it..

      Who imagines stuff like this? Four "I"s, a "were I to ever", a "target", a "not satisfied", a "violated", a "victim" and then a "miracle". 

      I hope you can sleep well as I don't think the FISA thing is changing anytime soon, unless Trump kills it so his toadies can more easily network with Putin's guys.

      Fortunately there were a series of judges and FBI investigators who approved the FISA on Carter Page.

      A guy who bragged about working for the Russians, before Trump hired him as a foreign policy advisor for the USA.

      It won't change until Democratic voters prioritize change when deciding for whom to vote in primaries.

      Democratic voters do prioritize their issues. You don’t like their choices. Sanders lost. You can find only one national Democrat that is acceptable as a Presidential candidate, and you list her as a “maybe”.Perhaps you are not a Democratic Party member.

      In anticipation, I have answered your policy question multiple times. You refuse to accept my answer.

      It's not just I who often doesn't agree with Democratic primary voters' priorities. Look around the country, the party's in shambles. Even Trump's ratings are coming back and the generic ballot now suggests that there may not be the Republican rout that Dem strategists were gleefully predicting two months ago.

      Why are you unwilling to criticize the policies championed by Democratic elites? Do you think President Obama's trade deals benefited the only group of Americans for whom you have shown any concern? Would his proposal to cut back on future social security benefits have helped them? Was bailing out big banks in 2009 better for African Americans than actually bailing out homeowners?

      The crumbling Democrats just won a state Senate seat in a deep red district in Missouri.


      Yes. Trump is so bad that Democrats can win in spite of themselves and you completely ignored my questions. So again, was it good for the only group of Americans for whom you have any concern when Obama pushed job-destroying trade deals with South Korea, Panama, and Colombia, through Congress? How 'bout his plan to cut back on future social security payouts was that a good policy in your opinion? Did you like his decision to bail out big banks not underwater homeowners in 2009? Did those decision improve the Democratic brand RMRD? What do you think?

      See below

      Hard to talk about individual rights without talking about I.  Don't worry, I don't sleep in a tinfoil hat.

      When running for re-election, in a district of Texas Trump lost by 3.4%, Hurd "distanced himself from Trump", (your post)...........SINCE winning re-election Hurd has voted with Trump 97% of the time.

      His glowing "distanced from Trump, didn't like nasty rhetoric, speaks Urdu" etc wiki page......was it written by some GOP hack? I would assume so.

      Is this Congressman Hurd, with the sign?

      I will just remind you, NCD, that a civil libertarian stance on government surveillance is one issue that definitely crosses party lines, where far lefties and far righties often agree and everyone in the middle is more worried about security than privacy.

      I should add that I am well aware how you adore Glenn Greenwald just as much as you adore the Freedom Caucus.cheeky

      Republicans have the freedom to say one thing, and do another....!! Would you deny them that..!!!

      Comes to mind on motives for Comey behavior, one shouldn't forget the overwhelming need for such a force to maintain myths about competency to support their continued existence:

      “But there was no denying Purvis’s ineptitude in the Dillinger hunt. Suspects were found then lost. His informants were hopeless. He raided the wrong apartments. He built no bridges to the Chicago police while annoying other departments. He’d had his car stolen from in front of his house.” 
      ― Bryan BurroughPublic Enemies: America's Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-34

      Consider the thought (heretical on a politically-oriented site, like this, I know) that he was always considering his own reputation and the reputation of the FBI over anything else.

      And then there's on his attitudes about privacy, I checked out his Wikipedia entry on "Government Surveillance Oversight":

      He and his agency were criticized for their request to Apple Inc. to install a "back door" for U.S. surveillance agencies to use. Former NSA and CIA director Michael Hayden stated: "Jim would like a back door available to American law enforcement in all devices globally. And, frankly, I think on balance that actually harms American safety and security, even though it might make Jim's job a bit easier in some specific circumstances."[189]

      Comey, speaking at a cybersecurity conference in 2017, told the audience, "There is no such thing as absolute privacy in America; there is no place outside of judicial reach."[190]

      Comey knew of Russian attacks in 2014, as did Obama - they both blew it over and over. Whatever patriot Comey thinks he is, he let renegades steamroll him. Ain't forgiving that. He was so easy to play.

      And I still believe hackers may have put stuff on Weiner's laptop, even though Weiner was convicted - I have an idea how the FBI works the foul lines.


      That "underage girl" from North Carolina who instead of calling the police called a London tabloid - does that sound legit?



      Today, at this time, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.  Some issues are simply a matter of necessity, even if you would in other circumstances consider them appalling.  The fault line is whether it helps or hurts the grander circumstances we're experiencing with a nod towards what tomorrow's circumstances might be.

      I'm not smart enough to know.  But I choose to at least consider anything that Trump disavows arbitrarily - and keep my cynical eyes open.

      Thanks Mike. Good piece. Corey Robin also has an interesting take on this "crisis." He makes the point that the Democratic attack on Trump for alleged collusion and the Republican defense is artifice based solely on partisanship rather than because either party is adhering to principles or even trying to promote a political agenda. http://coreyrobin.com/2018/02/02/a-constitutional-crisis-or-partisans-wi...

      Snowflakes are using a number of tactics to sandbag against the investigation and prosecution of this corruption and crimes. Robin is hoping people so long conditioned with postmodern and post-truth nihilism will swallow the idea this is just BaU. There are still a lot of people in the US, maybe a majority, that think 'the ends justifies the means' is a sick diseased belief shared by too many people today. This is not some petty break-in and coverup or other familiar dirty tricks. This is a group of highly placed government officials conspiring to first smear a candidate and then undermine a sitting president with useful lies and no evidence. Using the FBI and DOJ as partisan power centers for political gain is a direct threat to our Republic and what integrity it still maintains. This is not going away and the stock market dive may show some important people recognise the gravity of these crimes and corruption.

      I wish this was true. I wish democrats had as much power as you're saying. But the fact is that the investigation into the Trump campaign's possible collusion with Russia is totally run by moderate republicans and continues to exist only because a sufficient number of republicans in congress support it. Without those republicans democrats could do nothing.

      The stock market dive had nothing to do with The Memo. Inflation is feared because the Treasury was selling off bonds

      Solid jobs data that underscored the strength of the economy sent bond bulls scurrying and rattled equity investors who haven’t seen a week this bad in two years. The tandem selling accelerated after Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan suggested officials may need to hike more than three times this year to cool the advance. The 10-year Treasury yield popped above 2.85 percent for the first time since January 2014.

      “Yields have risen, inflation evidence is rising rather broadly. It’s that combo of factors that’s starting to mount,” Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Leuthold Weeden, said by phone. “And then you get a report, and that’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back, and that’s kind of what we got into today.” 


      want more proof? this actually started Weds.U.S. Stocks Drop as Treasury Selloff Gains Steam: Markets Wrap

      In addition you have the Fed chief exiting Friday and a new one coming in Monday. Lots of uncertainty.

      If anything, the effect was probably more like this: we have all this uncertainty going on because Congress acts like a bunch of children playing with silly stuff. A friend who plays the market and who used to be a Republican but doesn't know what he is now wrote me this last night: (mutual friend) says GOP now stands for Gerbils on Parade.  The fact is that our elected officials are screwing around with this crap when they should be dealing with important policy issues - they are acting like a bunch of first graders

      p.s. I readily admit I a market economics dummy, but I can read Bloomberg News. Obviously you do not, you don't even try Fox Business which is surely saying the same thing. I happen to know Maiello is the opposite, especially on the market. Maybe Michael will comment or do a quick post on it. Seems to me what's happening is that in the market we are finally getting a confrontation with reality of the low unemployment rate, how traditionally that can't go on forever without inflation happening. The Yellen Fed had remarkable (more like, incredible) skills at handling this. Now the market has an unknown leader at the Fed.  Both "snowflakes" and people with your opinions should be concerned, as this is the main problem of the last decades: need for wages to rise and fear of of wages rising.

      Well, if you say you “know the markets” you probably don’t, right? Also, I take the subway and ride a Citibank like everyone else. But, I agree with you. Good employment numbers and finally some wage growth implies the Fed could tighten faster than expected. Also, we have a new Fed chair, who will hopefully follow the Bernanke/Yellen line but new is always an uncertain thing. It’s also warnings season, a volatile time. I don’t think the recent swoon was especially political except for the looming debt ceiling fight, which is apparently now a Kate March issue but, as it did in 2011, calls into question our credit worthiness.

      I think this is basically right AA. The recent correction perversely reflects the economy's strength since it apparently resulted directly from the Fed's decision to raise interest rates in order to keep the economy from overheating. Investors had anticipated this step for several years but action was delayed until wages finally began to rise meaningfully after years of tepid growth.

      Robin's piece does not mention that the context of the disputes over the publication of the memo is the broad recognition that our election process was influenced by a foreign power. So, for sure, take that element away and both sides are talking about nothing that relates to anything.

      Except that there is not broad recognition that Russia's influence had a meaningful effect on the results of last year's election. Moreover, Robin's point is that when it comes to policy, the differences between the parties are greatly exaggerated. Both ultimately side with the rich and powerful against everybody else. But blaming Russia allows Democratic elites to avoid reckoning with the harm they've done our nation and the party they claim to love.

      Well, the "blaming Russia" to cover the failings of the Democrats meme is the central G.O.P message today. Your curse on both houses really only effects one of them.

      The act of interference was enormous in scope and the implications of partiality and corruption are vast in their consequences. The importance of the issue is not dependent upon measuring whether the interference gave the G.O.P their victory. It is the deals that are made to gain an advantage.

      Read Macbeth for details.

      Thanks for reminding people of this fact.

      Response to Hal from above

      Hal, it is 2018. Trump is a racist and authoritarian. If he scares enough voters into voting for the Democratic Party, I’m OK with it. You see very few viable options for national office. You are the one without hope. I listed a number of Democrats that I could support. You said that there was maybe one. Democrats are winning elections in unexpected places. You see the party crumbling. We are on different wavelengths.

      Who would you trust on DACA? Who would you trust more on healthcare? Who do you trust more to deal with foreign affairs. In each case, I go with the Democrats. Democrats are not perfect. I think that they can do a lot more on issues of race. The Republicans openly hate black people and trot out servile blacks to make GOP racism palatable to moderates. Given a choice between Republicans and Democrats, I choose Democrats. Choosing between Democrats and Bernie, I choose Democrats. Democrats are doing outreach, Bernie is not. Bernie is all hat no cattle. 

      Sanders is your option. Warren may be acceptable.

      You want a cult, not a political party.

      What is your message to the white working class?

      How did Obama's policies regarding bailing out big banks rather than homeowners, cutting future social security payouts, and signing job-destroying trade deals work out for African Americans?

      Do you think that the trade deals that Obama championed were good for black people? Why is it impossible for you to answer any question about Obama that doesn't make him look good?

      From the LA Times:

      In Jeanerette, a primarily African American town of 5,533 two hours west of New Orleans, the Obama years haven't changed much.

      The Fruit of the Loom distribution center shut down in 2010, taking nearly 200 jobs with it. The vast sugar cane fields thrive, but they’re largely owned by outside companies and tilled by migrant workers, often Mexicans. A desolate downtown strip with shuttered storefronts recently celebrated the opening of a Subway sandwich shop.

      Was Obama's and Clinton's decision to topple Gaddafi good for Africans in your view RMRD? From the Root: "The Libyan slave trade is a direct result of the United States’ actions under President Barack Obama, so this is more than just a “them” problem."

      You see RMRD what matters is policies. When you decide for whom to vote, you must consider carefully the policies that the various candidates support and supported if you want to make the best choice. Identity politics is not enough.

      Hal, it is 2018. The overall black unemployment was falling under Obama. The rate rose in January under Trump. Why are you ignoring the greater threat to the black community? Bernie Sanders is not President. Bernie Sanders will never be President. You offer no alternative. Your only response is to remain depressed that Sanders did not win. You imagine that everything would magically improve under Sanders. The rest of us are reality based and are confronting the inept, racist, authoritarian in the White House. We can’t waste time thinking about the never was and the never will be. Democrats are winning races. Are you willing to join with Democrats, or are you sticking to your one candidate purity test?

      Democrats win with good candidates who promote pro-people policies. That's how we just won in Missouri. http://dagblog.com/reader-blogs/how-democrats-win-24417. That's how Obama won in 2008, when Democrats in power, like Hillary Clinton and sometimes Barack Obama, promote pro-corporatist/anti-people policies, Democrats lose lots of seats and black people get hurt. That's why policy is so important and why your refusal to discuss it is so baffling and aggravating.

      McCaskill will win in November.

      You go for the most Progressives candidate who can win. I’m betting that coming from a very red district, he will be more like McCaskill rather than being a Bernie clone.

      Edit to add:

      He only won by 108 votes in a small district.

      Really? More McCaskill than Bernie. Hmmm. From Commondreams:

      "Revis was driven to run after the Missouri General Assembly passed a right-to-work law, weakening labor unions. He promoted funding for public education over charter schools during his campaign, as well as vocally opposing cuts to Medicaid and other social services."

      From the Kansas City Star, 8/14/15:

      Bill Caldwell, a machinist and labor union official in Kansas City, is finished with Sen. Claire McCaskill.

      “I’m not knocking on any doors, I’m not phone-banking for her. Period,” he said. “I think she’s forgotten where she came from.”

      Caldwell’s deep disappointment — prompted by McCaskill’s support for a new U.S. trade agreement with Japan and 10 other Pacific Rim nations — may reflect the ordinary tension between a legislator and a constituent. No lawmaker can make everyone happy all the time.

      But McCaskill is a Democrat. Her party traditionally supports organized labor, relying on it for money and votes.

      "U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill told The Missourian this week [4/3/2016] that while she favors the choice charter schools provide, she does not favor tuition vouchers for students." http://www.emissourian.com/local_news/politics/senator-favors-charter-sc...

      Economic/Bernie Sanders-style populism is how we win RMRD.

      thin gruel, Hal, thin gruel, that that kid running for State Legislature in a little district is the same as the national debate. Sure, the local unions could have made sure that their members got up the couch and voted for him. So? How you can extrapolate that into how all Dems should run? Your argument is looking ridiculous to this one reader is all I am saying. Makes me far less confident to take anything  you say seriously as regards political analysis. All his win says is: we know it's possible for a Dem to win right now in a district what went for Trump. That's all we know. People could have just as well liked the idea of voting for a young honest guy who wouldn't turn out to be another lying asshole for a few years.

      We will see what he does in a district labeled as deeply red when he starts voting.

      McCaskill is running in the era of Trump, I think Trump scares enough people that he makes a McCaskill win easier.

      "Democrats win" is the key.

      Whatever policy or positions work for a district or state, Details can be resolved, policy ironed out,  if and when Democrats have power to move the nation forward.

      Unlike the headline for this blog, we do not need "friends". Politics, fighting the GOP, is not Mr. Rogers Neighborhood.

      We need anyone, any interest group, who will help to stop the would be dictator from destroying our country and its institutions.

      We need to send the Republican Party down to defeat.

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