Not since J. Edgar Hoover’s nefarious ‘60s program, code named COINTELPRO – designed to “expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, neutralize or otherwise eliminate” the activities of civil rights, anti-war and social justice movements and leaders (including Martin Luther King) — has an FBI director used his power to manipulate politics in America as has James Brien Comey.
FBI Director Comey has managed to politically weaponize the FBI and turn the presidential election from a referendum on Despicable Donald Trump’s fitness to serve into a referendum on Clinton’s honesty and integrity, with his unethical and unprecedented letter to Congress about new emails to and from Hillary Clinton confidant Huma Abedin, found on a laptop belonging to her estranged husband, the vile pariah Anthony Weiner.
Amid reports of partisan warfare within the agency, we can only guess the Republican faction that despises Clinton blackmailed Comey into sending the letter to Congressional right-wingers by their possession of iPhone video of Comey cavorting while cross-dressing, in the manner of predecessor Hoover.
Mission Accomplished, Jim.
Secret memo from the Calbuzz Department of Campaign Forecasting and Electoral Vote Abacus Calculation one week before the election (thank Goddess the end is near):
Democrats and every sane person who views the prospect of a Trump presidency as unspeakably horrifying should take a deep breath; barring another extraordinary and unexpected upheaval, Hillary still will be elected, overcoming hysteria and history and defying the pattern of voters changing the party that has occupied the White House for eight years.
Against extraordinary odds, she will be the first woman President of the United States.
By the numbers. Polling results so far are somewhat mixed, but overall the race is tightening at about the same rate it was closing before Comey’s disgraceful letter went public last Friday. As Calbuzz has argued for months, the national popular vote naturally will be close because that’s what happens in a nation fiercely bifurcated between Republicans and Democrats with baked-in biases.
Remember that since 1824, when voters began electing presidents, the average winning percentage of the popular vote has been only 51.36%.
Clinton can win the popular vote by a small margin and still score a landslide in the determinative Electoral College. At press time, Nate Silver’s estimable cast if propellor heads over at FiveThirtyEight deduces that Clinton has a 76% chance of winning with approximately 312 Electoral Votes, well above the 270 required to win.
And late Monday, the NBC News|SurveyMonkey tracking poll reported that “not much has changed (at least not yet). Clinton’s six-point national lead (47 percent to 41 percent) over Trump didn’t budge in the new poll, even among respondents polled over the weekend after the Comey news had broken.” Credit in part goes to Team Hillary’s effective push-back against the rogue FBI chief, including this uncharacteristic blast from Dianne Feinstein, California’s senior senator, who’s never met a cop she didn’t like:
“Director Comey’s announcement played right into the political campaign of Donald Trump, who is already using the letter for political purposes. And all of this just 11 days before the election… The FBI has a history of extreme caution near Election Day so as not to influence the results. Today’s break from that tradition is appalling.”
Her damned emails. Which is not to say that Clinton, politically wounded by her foolish use of a private email server while Secretary of State, has not injected undue fear and distrust into the hearts and minds of America’s voters.
Prophetic as ever, Jerry Brown way back last summer foresaw, with characteristic élan, the political peril that Clinton’s email predicament posed to her presidential bid.
“The email thing, it has kind of a mystique to it,” California’s governor said on “Meet the Press” in August 2015. “You know, an email is just an utterance in digital form, but it has some kind of dark energy that gets everybody excited.”
“It’s almost like a vampire,” he added. “She’s going to have to find a stake and put it right through the heart of these emails in some way.”
Alas for Clinton and her supporters, she failed to dispatch the email Dracula that haunted her campaign. Proving Brown’s point about the tantalizing mysteries of email, politicians and the press alike for over a year have panted after Clinton’s digital trove with near lascivious tenacity, spurred by cognizance of the universal emailer practice of putting private thoughts in writing, often in very rash and indiscreet language.
Thus the tangled web of surmise and speculation over “Hillary’s emails” metastasized throughout her race against the lunatic Trump, who seized on Comey’s October surprise over the controversy for a final thrust against her in the final days of the campaign.
All of which underscored the wisdom of California political icon Willie Brown’s rationale for never using email: “’E’ is for evidence,” he says. (And he should know.)
It never ends. The plain fact is that the alleged email “scandal” carries no evidence of any Clinton criminal wrong-doing But Dirty Donald has not only inanely declared that Clinton’s email problem is “worse than Watergate,” but also has used it to inch upward against Clinton in national polling.
While Clinton is still the odds-on favorite to win the presidency, the email issue will continue to shape Washington political battles for years to come: Trump threatened to imprison Clinton over her emails if he won, while the powerful Utah Representative Jaspon Chaffetz , R-Odium, declared them “target rich” for future partisan witch hunts if she captured the White House.
Beyond this, the specter of Vladimir Putin commanding Kremlin hackers to influence the U.S. election (while the keystroke pirates of Wikileaks pursued the same mission) for the first time has highlighted for many the dramatic dangers of cyber espionage and security.
For those reasons, it’s worth dissecting the alleged “scandal” into its distinct components:
National security. Clinton’s asinine decision as a top government official to use a home-based, private server, the hardware that effectively serves as a post office for ingoing and outgoing email, rather than the government system, led to legitimate inquiries into whether classified information was passed to or from her. An FBI probe cleared her, and found only a few such cases; none of them apparently serious, although the agency did not rule out the possibility her server was hacked by hostile powers without her knowledge.
Transparency. Clinton’s claim that she chose to use a private server as a “convenience” was belied by her shifting explanations, and by recovered emails from staff members suggesting that the true reason for her ill-advised decision was to protect correspondence from Freedom of Information requests — a prime example of the Bill and Hillary penchant for secrecy. On the other hand, her rationale is somewhat understandable given the unrelenting efforts of right-wing legal outfits like Judicial Watch to cripple her politically.
The Russian connection. U.S. intelligence officials concluded that Russian agents conducted the hacking of the Democratic National Committee, and the Wikileaks strike on Hillary campaign chairman John Podesta’s account aligned with Putin’s interests. Despite all the media Sturm und Drang over these emails, there never was much there there, unless you happen to be surprised that a political campaign involves careful, prefatory and self-interested calculation.
Political pocket rocket. And then there were the emails referenced by Comey, in his cryptic letter released to the House committee led by the vicious Clinton-hunting Chaffetz, 11 days before the election. He wrote that these might be “pertinent” to the agency’s previous investigation of the private server, which found no criminal behavior by Clinton, despite the fact he did not even posses them.
Still, the Real Clear Politics average of national surveys (which includes a ridiculous +4% Trump finding in the Los Angeles Times/USC “Daybreak Poll” ) on Monday showed Clinton leading Trump 48-45% in the popular vote and Clinton winning the Electoral College 304-234, even if she loses the battleground states of Florida, Ohio and Iowa.
Partisan divisions and assessments of the candidates’ strengths and weakness already are implanted into voters’ perceptions. And there simply aren’t enough undecided – dare we say brain-dead – voters out there now likely to say, “Enough is enough – I’m voting for the racist, misogynist narcissist because that woman can’t be trusted to set up an email server properly.”
Bottom line. Calbuzz still predicts a solid win for Hillary, but it’s fitting that the bizarre 2016 race would come down to voters determining the importance of some creepo’s dick pics.
Don’t forget to vote. More importantly, insist your friends in states that actually are contested do the same.