1. Item: The Bundy Brothers were acquitted. This was pure jury nullification, because they were guilty as hell. It might be an aberration, but I fear it is not. The jury is a fractal of democracy, and when juries start finding lawbreakers innocent, they are sending a message that those in power ignore at their peril. They say “We don’t like or respect you or your laws, and you better change, or else.” The complete class, regional and ideological estrangement from the Federal government this decision represents shows how completely Barack Obama has divided the nation, and portend a long, long, difficult and, one can only hope non-violent recovery, if some competent leaders emerge who can handle it. As trust in our institutions have collapsed with accelerating speed over the last decade, civility has deteriorated and authorities have increasingly threatened the basic Constitutional rights of citizens while extending privileges to non-citizens for political motives, the connective tissue of our society has been frayed to the snapping point. Responsible leadership, objective and rational citizens must not shrug this verdict off as just a bunch of gun nuts and cowboys throwing a tantrum.
2. Item: Donald Trump keeps saying that the election is “rigged.” This is beyond irresponsible, in isolation not more irresponsible than what Trump has said about other things, but the timing and sheer intensity of this drumbeat from him is truly horrible….and also likely to be effective. Again, it reinforces Ethics Alarms’ conclusion that it is per se unethical for anyone to do anything that does not maximize the chances that he won’t be elected. With rotting trust as our greatest problem, he is trying to tear down what little remains. Knowing that many of his supporters are desperate, uneducated people of the sort who resort to violence because they have no other conflict resolution tools, he nonetheless makes pronouncements calculated to arouse unthinking passion. Typically, Trump is barely coherent and inarticulate. He doesn’t mean that the election is literally rigged, in the sense that the votes will be manipulated. He means that the campaign has been unfair, that the power of the news media and the Obama administration have been unjustly used to manipulate law and information to favor the Democrats, and that this makes a travesty of democracy. That is unquestionably true. On the other hand, as Reason points out in the linked article, if Trump wasn’t such a horrible candidate and human being, he might have overcome such obstacles at the ballot box. He rigged the election against himself, the moron.
3. Though Trump’s inciting more anger and suspicion is the tactic of a lunatic, it may have some salutary effects if we don’t end up with the Capitol in flames. The news media asked for this; its bias has been increasing since 2008, and eventually fair Americans were bound to say “Enough!” along with some journalists and leaders in their profession with integrity. Surely there are some. Right?
4. Item: The latest Wikileaks dump shows how the Clintons merged State Department favors, donor solicitation to the Clinton Foundation, and personal enrichment. This is pure corruption and pay-to-play stuff, and backs Trump’s labeling of Clinton as “corrupt.” Let me see if I can find a non-conservative news source that isn’t trying to blur what’s going on—greater good, you know. Ah! Here’s the LA Times:
“A close aide to Bill Clinton said he arranged for $50 million in payments for the former president, part of a complicated mingling of lucrative business deals and charity work of the Clinton Foundation mapped out in a memo released by WikiLeaks on Wednesday. The report was written by Doug Band, who has transitioned from his job as a Clinton aide to a partner in Teneo Consulting, a firm whose client roster now includes some of the biggest companies in the world. Along the way, Band wrote, he also pushed his clients and contacts to donate millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation, and to help win business deals for Bill Clinton.”
Band simultaneously solicited wealthy donors, individuals, organizations and governments, for the Foundation and to hire Bill Clinton. Other e-mails show that these donors often sought access to the State Department after giving, and sometimes received it.
5. Item: The GAO reports that Obama’s golfing excursion with Tiger Woods cost taxpayers 3.6 million dollars. When will the certifiable incompetence and arrogance of the Obama Administration become an election issue, as it should have been from the start? Never, apparently. Even with that “signature achievement,” the Affordable Care Act, collapsing pretty much as critics predicted, Obama’s popularity has been rising. This is because, presumably, Obama looks great compared to Clinton and Trump, and Obama’s accountability for inflicting Clinton on us has been nicely hidden by the press.
6. Item: Director James Comey released a statement today saying that the FBI is going to continue the previously closed investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails.
“In connection with an unrelated case, the FBI has learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation,” Comey wrote in a letter released today. Comey wrote in the letter that after being briefed on the unrelated case, he agreed, “the FBI should take appropriated investigative steps designed to allow investigators to review these emails to determine whether they contain classified information, as well as to assess their importance to our investigation.”
There goes my head…
I want to take back everything good and understanding I’ve said about James Comey. What an incompetent. What possible good can come out of doing this now? His once respected agency had its shot. He explained in great detail why what Clinton did wasn’t criminal while testing the limits of credulity on the part of those of us inclined to believe that the FBI and Justice wouldn’t “rig” a criminal investigation to let Hillary off the hook. Now, with the election slightly more than a week away, he suggests that they missed something? The Clintons always somehow run out the clock, don’t they? Trump is saying today that one reason the election is rigged is that Hillary is a criminal and “shouldn’t have been allowed” to run at all. That’s nonsense, especially coming from Trump. He, like her, is a plausible criminal who is still innocent in the eyes of the law. Oh, I agree that the Democrats muffed their duty to nominate an honorable candidate, but Republicans breached that duty even more grossly. Nonetheless, the FBI’s decision makes Trump’s argument seem almost fair.
There’s more, but, you know.
Brains on ceiling.