It’s Official: The Mueller Investigation Is An Ethics Train Wreck

The Russian election  interference  investigation is officially an Ethics Train Wreck, hence forth known here as “The Mueller Investigation Ethics Train Wreck.”

This is the one year anniversary of the official beginning of the Special Prosecutor’s investigation into Russia’ alleged interference with the 2016 Presidential election, and the question of whether the Trump campaign were involved in the effort, to the extent there was one. That the investigation has morphed into a huge, messy, almost perfect example of an ethics train wreck–the Ethics Alarms designation for an episode and its aftermath in which almost everyone who becomes involved in any way ends up compromised, corrupted, embarrassed or exposed as ethically misguided.

The impetus for the arguable late call was Glenn Greenwald’s jaw-dropping story on what he calls “an extremely strange episode.” Here is some of Greewald’s reporting,

Over the past several weeks, House Republicans have been claiming that the FBI during the 2016 election used an operative to spy on the Trump campaign, and they triggered outrage within the FBI by trying to learn his identity. The controversy escalated when President Trump joined the fray on Friday morning. “Reports are there was indeed at least one FBI representative implanted, for political purposes, into my campaign for president,” Trump tweeted, adding: “It took place very early on, and long before the phony Russia Hoax became a “hot” Fake News story. If true – all time biggest political scandal!”

In response, the DOJ and the FBI’s various media spokespeople did not deny the core accusation, but quibbled with the language (the FBI used an “informant,” not a “spy”), and then began using increasingly strident language to warn that exposing his name would jeopardize his life and those of others, and also put American national security at grave risk. On May 8, the Washington Post described the informant as “a top-secret intelligence source” and cited DOJ officials as arguing that disclosure of his name “could risk lives by potentially exposing the source, a U.S. citizen who has provided intelligence to the CIA and FBI.”

The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mark Warner, who spent much of last week working to ensure confirmation of Trump’s choice to lead the CIA, Gina Haspel, actually threatened his own colleagues in Congress with criminal prosecution if they tried to obtain the identity of the informant. “Anyone who is entrusted with our nation’s highest secrets should act with the gravity and seriousness of purpose that knowledge deserves,” Warner said.

But now, as a result of some very odd choices by the nation’s largest media outlets, everyone knows the name of the FBI’s informant: Stefan Halper. And Halper’s history is quite troubling, particularly his central role in the scandal in the 1980 election. Equally troubling are the DOJ and FBI’s highly inflammatory and, at best, misleading claims that they made to try to prevent Halper’s identity from being reported.

To begin with, it’s obviously notable that the person the FBI used to monitor the Trump campaign is the same person who worked as a CIA operative running that 1980 Presidential election spying campaign. [From earlier in the article: “Four decades ago, Halper was responsible for a long-forgotten spying scandal involving the 1980 election, in which the Reagan campaign – using CIA officials managed by Halper, reportedly under the direction of former CIA Director and then-Vice-Presidential candidate George H.W. Bush – got caught running a spying operation from inside the Carter administration. The plot involved CIA operatives passing classified information about Carter’s foreign policy to Reagan campaign officials in order to ensure the Reagan campaign knew of any foreign policy decisions that Carter was considering.”]…Halper, through his CIA work, has extensive ties to the Bush family. Few remember that the CIA’s perceived meddling in the 1980 election – its open support for its former Director, George H.W. Bush to become President – was a somewhat serious political controversy. And Halper was in that middle of that, too….

…Despite how “well known” he is in Washington, and despite publishing so many details about him that anyone with Google would be able to instantly know his name, the [Washington Post} Post and the NYT nonetheless bizarrely refused to identity him, with the Post justifying its decision that it “is not reporting his name following warnings from U.S. intelligence officials that exposing him could endanger him or his contacts.” The NYT was less melodramatic about it, citing a general policy: the NYT “has learned the source’s identity but typically does not name informants to preserve their safety,” it said.

In other words, both the NYT and the Post chose to provide so many details about the FBI informant that everyone would know exactly who it was, while coyly pretending that they were obeying FBI demands not to name him. How does that make sense? Either these newspapers believe the FBI’s grave warnings that national security and lives would be endangered if it were known who they used as their informant (in which case those papers should not publish any details that would make his exposure likely), or they believe that the FBI (as usual) was just invoking false national security justifications to hide information it unjustly wants to keep from the public (in which case the newspapers should name him)….the use of Halper in this case, and the bizarre claims made to conceal his identity, do raise some questions that merit further inquiry.

To begin with, the New York Times reported in December of last year that the FBI investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia began when George Papadopoulos drunkenly boasted to an Australian diplomat about Russian dirt on Hillary Clinton. It was the disclosure of this episode by the Australians that “led the F.B.I. to open an investigation in July 2016 into Russia’s attempts to disrupt the election and whether any of President Trump’s associates conspired,” the NYT claimed.

But it now seems clear that Halper’s attempts to gather information for the FBI began before that. “The professor’s interactions with Trump advisers began a few weeks before the opening of the investigation, when Page met the professor at the British symposium,” the Post reported. While it’s not rare for the FBI to gather information before formally opening an investigation, Halper’s earlier snooping does call into question the accuracy of the NYT’s claim that it was the drunken Papadopoulos ramblings that first prompted the FBI’s interest in these possible connections. And it suggests that CIA operatives, apparently working with at least some factions within the FBI, were trying to gather information about the Trump campaign earlier than had been previously reported….Then there are questions about what appear to be some fairly substantial government payments to Halper throughout 2016. Halper continues to be listed as a “vendor” by websites that track payments by the federal government to private contractors….

Enough. Read the whole thing.

The Mueller investigation, after a full year, has managed to indirectly or inadvertently raise disturbing ethics questions about the intelligence community, Mueller’s choice of investigators, the integrity of FISA courts, the conduct and agendas of multiple justice Department employees, the machinations and foreign contacts of the Clinton campaign, the degree to which the Obama Justice Department was actively trying to influence the election, James Comey’s arguably illegal leaks and his misstatements under oath in Senate hearings, Facebook’s activities, and now this, all compounded by the aggressively anti-Trump news media’s efforts to represent every leak, theory and speculation as smoking gun evidence that revelation of a near treasonous plot by the Trump campaign was imminent. Yet the year’s events have raised more questions about the investigators than the investigated.

I find it impossible to believe that any conclusions coming out of Mueller’s work now will have sufficient credibility before the public to support any substantive action. The investigation has been no more and no less that what it was obviously concocted to be: a political impediment to the ability of an elected President to perform his duties, and part of a continuing, and unethical, effort to  delegitimize his Presidency. Meanwhile, the news media has undermined public trust in its credibility, objectivity, fairness and competence. The FBI has shown itself to be amateurish and politically motivated. Mueller’s handling of the investigation has been incompetent and unethical by, at very least, repeatedly raising the appearance of impropriety.

President Trump, meanwhile, looks better in spite of himself, because his bumbling, unethical, corrupt foes have made themselves look so, so much worse.

 

126 Comments

Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement

126 responses to “It’s Official: The Mueller Investigation Is An Ethics Train Wreck

  1. ” More questions about the investigators than the investigated.” Nice. I am waiting for something of substance to what the original intent of this investigation was about – whatever that is since it is apparently lost in the flotsam.

  2. They haven’t been able to get their shit together enough to hang Trump in the town square in a year, now this. Is implosion imminent?

    • I think as the Mueller Investigation begins to implode and all hope for impeaching Trump is lost we are going to see the anti-Trump resistance completely loose their mental capacity for civility, there will be wide spread mental breakdowns and we are going to see the equivalent to animals that believe they are cornered and have no other options. This is the time those committed to supporting the United States of America system of government and supporting our Constitution should be very aware.

      Speaking of loosing it, have you all seen this book?

  3. Chris

    The Mueller investigation, after a full year, has managed to indirectly or inadvertently raise disturbing ethics questions about the intelligence community, Mueller’s choice of investigators, the integrity of FISA courts, the conduct and agendas of multiple justice Department employees, the machinations and foreign contacts of the Clinton campaign, the degree to which the Obama Justice Department was actively trying to influence the election, James Comey’s arguably illegal leaks and his misstatements under oath in Senate hearings, Facebook’s activities, and now this, all compounded by the aggressively anti-Trump news media’s efforts to represent every leak, theory and speculation as smoking gun evidence that revelation of a near treasonous plot by the Trump campaign was imminent. Yet the year’s events have raised more questions about the investigators than the investigated.

    This is one of the most absurd paragraphs I have ever read on Ethics Alarms. Multiple Trump campaign officials have been indicted since the investigation began. No one from the intelligence community, Mueller’s choice of investigators, the FISA courts, the news media the Clinton campaign, the Obama Justice Department, or Facebook have been indicted, nor has James Comey. And yet you have more questions about them than the Trump campaign, which we have known for a year was sought out by the Russian government to influence the election and sought out help from the Russian government in return?

    Pure bias.

    You didn’t even identify WHY it would be wrong for the FBI to have informants speaking to Trump campaign officials (NOT infiltrating the campaign itself, as Trump falsely claimed) in the first place.

    The fact that the investigation has lasted a long time is immaterial given how long similar investigations lasted.

    • Indeed, in the legal community, the double standards regarding the conduct of lying Justice Department officials and, for example, Michael Flynn has caused considerable ridicule and criticism. None of the Trump associates who have been indicted have been charged with anything related to the alleged objective of the investigation. Indictments, of course, are not proof of ethical prosecuting, as, to name one of many, the Freddie Gray case proved.

      Your description of “what we have known for a year” is pure fantasy. We know nothing of the kind. Trump said his campaign was bugged, and indeed that was true. The bug was human, that’s all. For a Democratic administration to use its agencies to interfere with an opposing party’s campaign is just as outrageous as for a foreign government to hack the computers of US campaign organizations. You want the investigation to be validated after the fact. The fact that other investigations based on actual crimes turned up evidence is not a logical reason to believe that one based on rumor and smears will.

      My assessment is fair and accurate. Deny if it makes you feel better. Since the investigation began, we know of proven misconduct, conflicts, lies and improper conduct by Comey, McCabe, the FBI, Mueller’s staff, Rosenstein, Lynch, Hillary Clinton, the Justice Department, the Obama Administration and the news media.

      With that record, the investigation is already tainted beyond repair. Sorry to disappoint you.

      • Chris

        Your description of “what we have known for a year” is pure fantasy. We know nothing of the kind.

        This is false, sir.

        My description was this:

        we have known for a year [the Trump campaign] was sought out by the Russian government to influence the election and sought out help from the Russian government in return

        Russian spies attempted to recruit Carter Page. This is a fact. Donald Trump Jr. attended a meeting in an attempt to get dirt on Hillary Clinton that he was told came from the Russian government. That is also a fact. That makes the statement you call “fantasy” factually true.

        Please retract your false claim.

        Trump said his campaign was bugged, and indeed that was true.

        No, he said he was wiretapped, and there is no evidence of that.

        Please retract this false claim as well.

        • 1. Planting a mole and wiretapping is a distinction without a difference. Either conduct is spying on the campaign. Your arguments amounts to arguing what the meaning of “is” is.
          2. Carter Page is not the Trump campaign, and attempting to recruit Page does not implicate the President or the campaign.
          3. Russians are not te Russian government. “Ties” to Russia are not the Russian government. Anyone can pass any information to anyone in the Us about anything, unless it is classified. Even if your characterization of the meaningless Trump Jr. meeting was accurate, and it isn’t, it does not describe a crime, a potential crime, an attempted crime, or even unethical behavior.

          • Chris

            1. Planting a mole and wiretapping is a distinction without a difference.

            No it isn’t, and there is no evidence that Trump’s “mole” claims are true. The intelligence community claims an informant spoke to Trump campaign officials; Trump claims there was a mole in the campaign. I realize you are dedicated to bending over backwards to give Trump the most charitable possible meaning of his stupid words while never doing the same for his opponents, but even you can’t pretend THAT is a distinction without a difference.

            2. Carter Page is not the Trump campaign, and attempting to recruit Page does not implicate the President or the campaign.

            He was a part of the Trump campaign, and the fact that Russian spies tried to recruit him is of course relevant to the investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, as it would be if any previous campaign had people who may have been recruited by Russian spies.

            3. Russians are not te Russian government. “Ties” to Russia are not the Russian government.

            This is a complete non-sequitur. We are talking about the Russian government. Junior was told the info came from the Russian government and that the Russian government was trying to help his father.

            • Not what he was told at all. A false and lazy characterization. A party not connected with the Russain government e-mailed about an imaginary official, “the crown prosecutor” who had incriminating evidence about Hillary Clinton to pass along. That does not indicate that “the Russian Government” is involved, and given the inaccuracy, there is no way to know what Donald Jr. thought the e-mail meant.

              And listening to someone reporting dirt on a candidate is not a crime, an attempted crime, or unethical.

            • So you either didn’t read the Intercept piece I quoted, or you just choose To ignore it.
              The term used is the person the FBI used to monitor the Trump campaign. Now, how does a person monitor a campaign? You can monitor it by technology, or in person. A person who monitors personally, and in secret, is a mole, or a spy, through infiltration. Do you know of another way? By technology or in person, both methods illicitly breach privacy and confidentiality.

          • Trump was wiretapped, that is, spied on illegally.

            Waiting for that apology from those who mocked Trump and conservatives for saying so. If what the Obama Administration did to an opposition campaign goes unanswered, we are lost. We ARE Russia, where the full force of governmental power squashes political enemies. We are Venezuela, Cambodia, China, and any number of tyrannies who oppress their people.

            That progressives in power acted this way is simply proof that human nature does not change. Without a moral and ethical compass to restrain the base impulses, human nature will sink to naked ambition, naked power for itself’s sake, and ugly repression.

            If those responsible avoid jail, the common people will lose what little faith in our system we have left.

        • JP

          Actually, I believe Trump said it was ” “Wiretapped” ” . Feel free to correct if I am wrong.

    • TheShadow

      You find nothing disturbing about the FBI, CIA, et al investigating a presidential candidate’s campaign? Should W have investigated the Obama campaign? You completely trust them to always do the right thing, and J Edgar Hoover is one of the greatest Americans? Or do you believe that the government should have unchecked secret power when it does things you agree with?

      • TheShadow

        Doh, disregard the “or” – editing a reply on an iPad is a messy task.

      • Chris

        Should W have investigated the Obama campaign?

        For what? If there were evidence that the Obama campaign had sought out help from a foreign government to win the election, then yes, absolutely.

        • TheShadow

          You completely missed the main point, which is your comfort level with the FBI, CIA, DOJ, etc and their ability to secretly wield power with little to no oversight. Do you hold J Edgar Hoover in high regard? That’s what he did; and I’m sure he was just as convinced as anyone that he was doing the right thing and on the “right side of history.”

      • valkygrrl

        1: Investigations of potentially illegal foreign entanglements, Not a problem. We’re not talking about arresting people for partisan advantage, we’re talking about national security.

        2: If anyone wanted to investigate Trump for partisan advantage though I have no evidence of anyone doing so, allow me to point out a few things.

        Lock her up chants at Trump campaign stops.
        Four years of Benghazi investigations.
        Ken Starr.
        Calls to impeach Hillary Clinton before she ever won the election. https://newrepublic.com/minutes/138165/right-wing-activists-want-impeach-hillary-clinton-even-becomes-president

        3: If you want to change the FISA court rules, FBI use of informants and the threshold to start investigations it might have been nice had you shown care about those things before Trump.

        If you’d like to change those things now, I’d love to have a conversation about it, a national conversation where we start talking about cutting back the massive powers to get someone for something no matter what. Martha Stewart got screwed. But I’ll only have the conversation after whatever happens to Trump happens to Trump. We don’t change things just in time to help him, not after everything else that has happened.

        4: No one who chanted lock her up gets to participate in the above conversation. Or any conversation really. They get to be pariahs for the rest of their lives.

        • Still Spartan

          “No one who chanted lock her up gets to participate in the above conversation. Or any conversation really. They get to be pariahs for the rest of their lives.”

          This x 1000.

          I have refrained from commenting on the Mueller investigation because my personal belief is that we should let investigations run their course and then look to the evidence. I believe that whether the target is a Republican or a Democrat.

          But, let’s not fool ourselves. If we had the same investigation, the same facts, the same everything, with the only difference being President Hillary Clinton being the target? Holy cow. I can’t even imagine the shit storm we would be facing as a nation right now — but I think outright revolt or secession by certain states wouldn’t be off the table.

          • Which states would be in revolt? The ones that voted for Clinton, or for Trump?

          • Who chanted “lock her up” and what does that have to do with anything or anyone here?

            • Still Spartan

              Well, it certainly doesn’t have to do with you personally, but a high percentage of your usual suspects here fall in that category.

              A little self-knowledge goes a long way.

              • How would you possibly know that? I know that I must have spammed a dozen “lock her up” comments in moderation. Hey, let me search for that phrase…

                • Still Spartan

                  Some people are smart enough to not chant “lock her up” here even though they agree. Again, self-knowledge. You work hard at it, and so do I. We’re not perfect by any means, but many of the commenters here are no better than the sheeple at political rallies who chant slogans.

                • Guess what? Exactly ONE commenter who was not referencing the chanters critically used that phrase, and it was obviously tongue in cheek. And THAT comment was in 2015, pre-chant.

                  I detect no sympathy from anyone on this blog for the chanters or their sentiment.

                  • Still Spartan

                    I can’t disagree with you more on your last sentence.

                    • Steve-O-in-NJ

                      With respect, Sparty, when have any of the prominent righties on this sight chanted “lock her up” or even said as much substantively? I never said it, because it was never going to happen and would have made me look dumb, and most of the other prominent righties are wise enough to know this also.

                    • Still Spartan

                      Actually, I think a lot worse has been said here. Most of the people here are wise enough to not buy into chants, but that doesn’t mean that the hatred and vitriol here did not reach epic proportions.

                      Steve, you are someone who is guilty of letting your emotions out of control, but what I respect about you is that you recognize it. Self-knowledge is half the battle, so kudos to you on that.

                    • Nobody gets past moderation with a “lock her up”-type comment. Once someone is in, I’m not censoring bile, as long as a reliable amount of substance accompanies it sooner or later.

                    • Eternal Optometrist

                      Were there “lock her up” dog whistles or micro-aggressions or, God forbid, both?

          • “If we had the same investigation, the same facts, the same everything, with the only difference being President Hillary Clinton being the target? Holy cow.”

            That’s a huge if. Like really huge.

            Why on Earth would a band of never-Trumpers (who would be the exact same people in the exact same roles in a Hillary administration) pursue her? This is an obviously political maneuver, if *their* person was in office, there would be NO investigation. The media would run interference for any questions about why there was no investigation.

            “I can’t even imagine the shit storm we would be facing as a nation right now — but I think outright revolt or secession by certain states wouldn’t be off the table.”

            See, this is a scary possibility. As long as half the nation thinks this is a legitimate investigation and half the nation thinks it is completely illegitimate, then regardless of the outcome, a combatively angry half of the population will believe that a great crime has been perpetuated *by the system, on behalf of the system* in order to secure a great injustice against the Republic.

    • Chris wrote, “…the Trump campaign, which we have known for a year was sought out by the Russian government to influence the election and sought out help from the Russian government in return…”

      That is hyped up political propaganda, a Progressive wet dream and pure unadulterated trolling.

      Troll: Those that post inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion, often for their own amusement.

      Chris aka CST (Chris the Stupid Troll) keep digging…

    • Greg

      About those “miultiple Trump campaign officials” who have been indicted.

      Here’s a list of everybody that Mueller has charged with a crime:

      Flynn had a perfectly legal and appropriate conversation. A month later, the FBI interviewed him (more like a high-pressure interrogation, though the FBI had led him to expect a friendly interview) about the details of the conversation. Mueller then indicted him for misremembering a few sentences of that month-old conversation (the agents thought he had misremembered; Mueller accused him of lying). Flynn pled guilty after he ran out of money to pay his lawyers. This charge by Mueller was unrelated to the Trump campaign, since it took place after Trump had already been elected.

      Papadopoulos had perfectly legal conversations with people who he thought were big shots but who, as it turned out, had no influence with anybody important in Russia. In a high-pressure interrogation by the FBI, he was asked about a trivial matter, i.e., the date when he first met one of these unimportant people). He either misremembered or lied about that date, as many if not most people do in high-pressure interrogations. He also had no money to pay lawyers. This charge by Mueller was only tangentially related to the Trump campaign, since Papadopoulos tried but failed to persuade anybody important in the campaign to follow up on his ridiculous conversations.

      The other two people related to the campaigns who have been indicted were (1) Manafort, who has been accused of tax evasion and related shuffling of money from bank to bank to had the evasion, all of which occurred many years before his involvement with the Trump campaign, and a trivial paperwork offense (not registering as a foreign agent) that normally results in the violator agreeing to file the right papers and pay a fine of a few hundred dollars; and (2) Gates, Manafot’s assistant, who confessed to matters related to the alleged tax evasion and to that old standby, lying to the FBI. Again, these charges had nothing at all to do with the Trump campaign.

      In addition, a hapless Dutch lawyer confessed to lying to the FBI about alleged paperwork violations that assisted the tax evasion. He was sentenced to 30 days, which shows you how insignificant these charges were.

      The only other charges by Mueller so far have been (1) the indictment of 13 Russians who Mueller assumed would never bother coming to the United States to defend themselves and who were charged with engaging in comically ineffective “meddling” that even Mueller admitted the Trump campaign knew nothing about and (2) the confession of a guy who bought and sold bank account numbers over the internet to anyone who wanted one and (unbeknownst to him) sold one to the Russians. None of these people had any relationship with the Trump campaign.

      So, in total, Mueller’s investigation has produced:

      1. Two confessions to horseshit charges of lying to the FBI about trivial details of past perfectly lawful conversations. These charges were for matters related to the Trump campaign either not at all or only tangentially.
      2. Charges related to a decade-old alleged tax evasion completely unrelated to the Trump campaign.
      3. The preposterous “Russian meddling” indictment for activities completely unknown to the Trump campaign.

      I’m waiting with bated breath to learn what charges the prosecutor plans to bring against Cohen. Based on Mueller’s activities to date, we can expect that they will be matters that would never even have been pursued unless the prosecutor hoped it might tangentially tarnish Trump.

      At least when Joseph McCarthy conducted his witch-hunt for Communists, he found some real Communists. Mueller hasn’t found a single “colluder” yet. But every day, you can watch or read obsessed fanatics trying to spin Mueller’s thin stuff into tangled conspiracy theories.

  4. valkygrrl

    So Jack, when are you buying your MAGA hat?

    • How is that not a non-sequitur? Unpack that, if you will. Is the suggestion that objecting to an elected official being unethically harassed and railroaded by government enforcement agencies with biased political agendas requires sympathy and support of the official being victimized? I assume you are above that foolishness. I guarantee that if parties were reversed and this was being done to Obama, my postion would be exactly the same, and I wouldn’t be buying a Hope and Change poster.

      Your question suggests that you think illicit means and abuse of process are acceptible as long as one opposes the target. Do explain why this isn’t the case.

      All of that aside, I have been thinking about wearing a MAGA hat because citizens have been harassed around here in commercial establishments for doing so. THAT really ticks me off, and if I wear one, it will be to support the harassed. Anyone who gives me grief for wearing a hat with a benign message that relates to the nation’s elected leader will regret it.

      • Chris

        You’ve yet to provide any evidence that he was “unethically railroaded and harassed” rather than, you know, legitimately investigated. In fact, previous efforts to prove that parts of the investigation were illegitimate (i.e. the Nunes memo’s claims about the FISA warrant) have proven to be, essentially, big wet farts.

        I’ve little doubt this will produce the same result.

        • Here’s the evidence: a Special Prosecutor can only be justified if there is reason to believe that the Trump administration wouldn’t investigate the Russian interference fairly and justly. There never was any such reason shown, except the innuendos and accusations of the Democrats. Contrast that with the lack of a Special Prosecutor to investigate IRS interference with the 2012 election, to help re-elect their ultimate boss, Barack Obama. So Mueller recruited a team of pro-Clinton registered Democrats to maintain a constant distraction and obstacle to the functioning of the Presidency. At this point, whether anything of substance is found or not is moral luck. It was a fishing expedition from the start, and never should have been commenced. It has done nothing but damage to everyone involved, all to give hope to partisans like you that an election can be overturned yet.

          Disgraceful.

          • Chris

            Here’s the evidence: a Special Prosecutor can only be justified if there is reason to believe that the Trump administration wouldn’t investigate the Russian interference fairly and justly. There never was any such reason shown

            Ahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

            • valkygrrl

              Wow. Just wow.

            • You are hereby suspended for this comment. I am putting all future comments into escrow, until I receive a specific apology. I will not be treated with this kind of disrespect here. Ever. You can argue, respond, debate and use as strong language as you please. Mockery like that will not be tolerated.

              • Sue Dunim

                I’m sorry to hear that. Still, your site, your rules.

                Me? I wouldn’t mock my host, regardless of circumstances, it would be impolite, uncouth, and goodness knows we need more courtesy not less.

                As for whether I’d be tempted here, I’ll not just take the fifth, I’ll take a whole quart. Make it a litre.

                Trying in however an incompetent way to defuse the issue with humour, and probably making it worse instead. Sigh.

              • Steve

                Jack was that valkygrrl or Chris? If valkygrrl I would like to point out that she usually argues in good faith and based on ethics, I may not agree with her but at least she isn’t a troll like Chris. Chris is dishonest and can’t be counted on to bring any value here, I don’t read comments on huffpo because of the same thing. As an example of most progressives lack of ethics he isn’t needed as most of your readers already know that. Liberals such as sparty and tgt are value added and are a true loss when they leave.

                • Steve-O-in-NJ

                  Valky’s been dinged once. She knows where the line is. I’ve gone after her harder than I should have in the past, and probably unfairly. Unfortunately, like myself, sometimes she says stuff she probably shouldn’t when she gets angry or frustrated or triggered. Meeting her at a Renn Faire to talk literature over hot cider might be interesting, though.

                  • Still Spartan

                    We go the MD one every year.

                  • Sue Dunim

                    ” I’ve gone after her harder than I should have in the past, and probably unfairly.”

                    That is, you’re human. But it takes someone of fundamental honesty to admit something like that. I hope to follow your example.

                • “Liberals such as sparty and tgt are value added and are a true loss when they leave.”

                  Thankfully Sparty hasn’t left, she’s just more infrequent (to everyone’s loss).

                  On tgt, don’t you think Chris fills the role tgt played so well?

                  • No, I don’t think so. tgt, who may still lurk, shared with Chris his relentlessness and refusal to let go of a bone once he chewed on it, but he never crossed any civility/respect lines to the extent that I was tempted to discipline him.

                    I miss him a great deal. And Ampersand.

                    • Ah Ampersand. I had flashbacks to those arguments Saturday evening…we were at a charity ball for Leukemia research and the couple we sat with started going off on the awesomeness of socialized medicine… fortunately the evening didn’t end in a massive argument.

                  • Steve

                    Tgt usually had arguments based in reality and although very liberal he had firm arguments. He could be infuriating and could stir up some real emotion but in the end it was a battle of ideas not partisanship.

                    Tgt if you are lurking, I miss your douchebag leftish insights, drop in sometime.

              • Steve-O-in-NJ

                Bravo, Jack. It was about time.

            • Chris wrote, “Ahahahahahahahahahahahahaha”

              In context with the conversation; I think this utterly disrespectful outburst towards our host is proof positive that in the mind of Chris, aka CST (Chris the Stupid Troll), evidence that the Russians interfered in the election proves that the Trump administration, and thus Donald Trump, actively colluded with Russia to steal the election. This is non-logical correlation equal causation thinking. I can think of no other underlying “logical” reason for this outburst. When a mind is so obviously polluted by the anti-Trump biased witch-hunt propaganda this is the resulting outcome…

              Jack is absolutely correct; there is nothing to seriously suggest that the Trump administration wouldn’t investigate the Russian interference into our election fairly and justly, there is only hyped up innuendo and anti-Trump propaganda.

              I think that CST is totally consumed by the most widespread and accepted tactics of modern Progressives, Social Justice Warriors, and anti-Trump – correlation equals causation and/or accused equals guilt.

              We are in for a long haul reprogramming these cult-like consumed people.

              • “actively colluded with Russia to steal the election.” Just a simple sentence that should cut to the meat of the issue. I am prone to sound bites and the Cliff Notes simplification of the issue. I thought – and please correct me – that this whole investigation is linked around Zoltar’s sentence. And – naturally – any obstruction of justice that tails along with it. What I have seen so far is shady characters in the Trump circle of power, his lawyer that apparently is a de facto lobbyist, a sexual entertainer, and other sundry items that merely are a diversion. I really also need a complete and total explanation of the Clinton Foundation actions with Uranium One.

                I did not really find the comment that disrespectful – especially considering the heated exchange. Maybe the CST is of equal disdain? I find the use of vulgarity far more offensive.

          • I can tell you what we need a Special Prosecutor for.

            We need a Special Prosecutor to investigate collusion between the network broadcast and print media and the Democratic National Committee. We need a Special Prosecutor to investigate Access Hollywood.

            That collusion has done far more damage than Russian collusion was accused of doing.

        • Chris

          And before I hear any more bullshit about the FISA warrant, allow me to remind everyone that the basic premise behind the objections to the warrant is that the FBI thought it wise to tell the court that the Steele dossier was paid for by opponents of Trump but also thought they needed to hide the fact that it was paid for by the Clinton campaign, even though that would naturally be the first assumption of anyone in the world, and even though there is reason to believe the FBI didn’t even know who was paying for it at the time; and that the same judge who approved the FISA warrant after being told the Steele dossier was paid for by an opponent of Trump would not have approved the warrant had they known it was paid for by the Clinton campaign.

          Seriously, that’s the objection.

          And the conservatives here took that objection seriously.

          Those same people don’t now get to pretend to know how investigations like this work or what does and does not count as legitimate justification for investigation.

          • philk57

            That’s not even close to an accurate representation of my objections. The FBI made NO effort to substantiate the allegations contained in the document that was presented to support their application. Pretending otherwise is just a lie on your part.

            • The progressive narrative is crap. Chris is the one who does not know how these things work, at least when Trump is not the intended victim.

              The Obama Administration set out to destroy an opposition Presidential campaign, for the express purpose of stealing an election. Simple fact.

              • slickwilly wrote, “The Obama Administration set out to destroy an opposition Presidential campaign, for the express purpose of stealing an election. Simple fact.”

                Maybe, maybe not Slick. Calling it a “simple fact” is nonsense at this point.

                If you actually think it’s a fact, please provide the proof, not innuendo or accusations, to support the claim.

                • The FISA warrant is fact, and the violation of the normal rules they use (verified content) show that the fix was in. There is a lot more than smoke on this one alone, Z.

                  You are about to see the flames, I predict.

                  • slickwilly wrote, “The FISA warrant is fact, and the violation of the normal rules they use (verified content) show that the fix was in.”

                    Oh give me a freaking break Slick; none of that is proof that “the Obama Administration set out to destroy an opposition Presidential campaign”. It “might” be proof that someone or someone’s set out to destroy the Republican candidate.

                    slickwilly wrote, “There is a lot more than smoke on this one alone, Z. You are about to see the flames, I predict.”

                    I tend to agree with you on this part.

                    • I think my statement is fair. I believe Obama knew what they were doing, and had an active role in too many related incidents (unmasking of Americans, for example) to be out of the loop on this. the ma WAS a bit of a control freak: look at how he went after whistleblowers close to his staff during his stint in the White House.

                      Time will tell, Z. Until then I agree to disagree on the point.

                    • slickwilly wrote, “I believe Obama knew what they were doing…”

                      But Slick I didn’t ask you to provide your beliefs, I asked you to provide proof to support your beliefs.

                      At this point in time, your beliefs about whether Obama knew this was going on is rhetorically equivalent to the anti-Trump’ers belief that Trump colluded with the Russians. Don’t be “like” them.

                    • Your opinion and point is well taken. However, asking for proof of an investigation that has not even started is somewhat disingenuous on your part.

                      I can look at the sky and say that a storm is coming. I might be wrong: I am really taking years of life experience and making a judgement call based on probabilities and observations. The storm may turn, or dissipate. Does that make my statement a lie? Where was the proof of my statement?

                      Similarly, I am looking at many related incidents and life experience with progressives in general and specifically the Obama Admin to make a judgement call. The proof is yet to be revealed, but the probabilities are certainly pointing that way, in MY judgement. I may be wrong. Yet the preponderance of incidents, of how the Obama Admin worked (their MO), of things we DO have proof of (Emailgate, Benghazi, IRSgate, Fast and Furious, etc.), all point that way. The recent panics by Sally Yates and Brennan are indicators that the wall are closing in, and the guilty are feeling… unsettled.

                      As far as being ‘like them:’ I am using my God given judgement and talents here. These are not baseless accusations. Just no hard proof… yet. Just a hundred little indicators, coupled with investigative experience and knowledge of human nature. (Have I mentioned that human nature does not change this week?)

                      Let’s discuss the current state of discourse in our society. I believe that taking the high road has all but destroyed the GOP, as ‘Democrat Lite’ establishment types have replaced true conservatives in Congress and the left has taken advantage of our morals and ethics to get their way. Ordinary citizens are afraid to admit they support our President! Progressives have moved the narrative to make any rebuttal of their narrative evidence of stupidity or evil intent.

                      They have progressed to the point where they can speak of jailing citizens for having a difference of opinion. They already can cost you your job, your family, and any number of accomplishments (awards revoked, for instance) for the sin of disagreeing.

                      Being nice may not stop this trend. Being ethical is not a suicide pact.
                      Hitting back may be the only recourse we have. And we will burn for it, as we drag down our norms to match theirs. Absent another course of action, an effective, ethical course of action, what option does the right have?

                      Just think about it.

                    • slickwilly wrote, “Your opinion and point is well taken. However, asking for proof of an investigation that has not even started is somewhat disingenuous on your part.”

                      So me insisting on facts to back up your claim of guilt before an investigation takes place is “somewhat disingenuous” but you see nothing wrong with making those claims of guilt without having the same facts that I’m asking you to provide to support your claim.

                      Slick, if the facts don’t exist then then you have no support for making your claim of guilt.

                      Slick I think you saying that I’m “somewhat disingenuous” is ridiculous based on this conversation.

                    • With Chris gone, do you need someone to pick on?

                      Whatever, Z. I explained my position, and you chose to home in on a minor point… a lot like you complained about how Chris did.

                      I am done with this conversation, as you are not willing to let this go.

                    • slickwilly wrote, “I explained my position, and you chose to home in on a minor point…”

                      It’s really not a minor point when someone makes claims of guilt when there aren’t facts to back it up.

                      No Slick I don’t need someone to pick on, give it a rest.

                      Catcha later.

      • valkygrrl

        Your question suggests that you think illicit means and abuse of process are acceptible as long as one opposes the target.

        Lock her up lock her up.
        But Benghaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazi
        But her emails.
        But Uranium that never leaves the country.
        But the Clinton Foundation
        But but but.

        • Well, there goes YOUR credibility. Or you are having a stroke.

          “But” what? I have never suggested that Hillary should be locked up—but her conduct easily could be judged criminal.
          Hillary, Susan Rice and Obama in fact lied about Benghazi, and deceived the electorate about what happened.
          He handling of her e-mails was dishonest, incompetent, and again, arguably a crime.
          The Clinton Foundation was an influence-peddling scam, and did, in fact accept illicit foreign contributions. I haven’t found anyone in the non-profit world that even tries to defend it.

          I don’t know what any of that has to do with MAGA hats or Trump at all.

          The stroke theory is looking better…

          • valkygrrl

            So investigating democrats is justified and investing Donald Trumps is a terrible abuse?

            Get that hat, what took you so long?

            • Eternal optometrist

              How disrespectful.

              • Close to the line. But the Trump-deranged are getting desperate and frustrated.

                • valkygrrl

                  If something has been said of me and not sanctioned, I would expect to be free to say the same about you without sanction.

                  • And that’s why you aren’t being sanctioned. However, it would be a mistake to assume that the obligation of the guest is not somewhat more restrictive and less flexible than that of the host.

                    • valkygrrl

                      Hosts have duties in regards to how their guests are treated. That’s why I chose the wording that I did.

                      It’s also why I think you overreacted to Chris.

                      I request a boon. Please rescind his suspension.

                    • You are eligible for a boon. But a retort that consists of derision without content is not going to fly with me. Certain levels of disrespect exceed my patience and tolerance. I have banned commenters for less.

                    • Sue Dunim

                      “However, it would be a mistake to assume that the obligation of the guest is not somewhat more restrictive and less flexible than that of the host.”

                      A surprising and significant difference in our philosophies.

                      It’s not transitive though. As a host, I tolerate behaviour by guests I would never tolerate in myself. Only when guests are uncivil to other guests do I lower the boom. Towards myself? I’m rather more tolerant.

                      Vercotti: Doug (takes a drink) Well, I was terrified. Everyone was terrified of Doug. I’ve seen grown men pull their own heads off rather than see Doug. Even Dinsdale was frightened of Doug.

                      2nd Interviewer: What did he do?

                      Vercotti: He used… sarcasm. He knew all the tricks, dramatic irony, metaphor, bathos, puns, parody, litotes and… satire. He was vicious.

                      Including mockery.

                      As a guest though, I am ethically bound to show simple human decency, courtesy, respect, both to other guests but especially to the host who is so generously giving me space.

                      That’s my code. But monster of ego and arrogance that I am, even I don’t insist that others follow it too.

                    • Luke G

                      I would humbly suggest that the recent trend of some commenters to mock Chris’ family medical problems, refer to him exclusively by provocative nicknames, and flood the comment section with the copy/paste equivalent of a child saying “LALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU” could reasonably give him the impression that such behavior is tolerated here. Given the repeated deployment of the last one it seems a bit inconsistent to say that retorts “[consisting] of derision without content” do not fly here.

                      To paraphrase Ken White, it’s your living room, so I won’t say that you’re obligated to have any policies other than what you have, or to allow/censure/ban other than how you do. I’m just saying from an observer’s standpoint it’s starting to look more and more like people who generally agree with you on issues get a lot more leeway to be gratuitously insulting or hostile, while people who generally disagree with you on issues are kept on a tighter leash.

                    • It looks like a commenter who writes, in response to a good faith response from me, “hahahahahahahahahahahahahah” gets suspended until he or she apologizes. Cris can return within the hour. If someone who “generally agrees” writes a similarly derisive comment, watch what happens. I do not require agreement. I require a modicum of respect. I’m the moderator. A lawyer who is insulting to another advocate in court will be admonished by the judge. A lawyer who insults a judge risks getting locked up.

                      Yes, commenters tend not to insult me when they agree with me. I’m not being caught by THAT Catch 22.

                    • And let me add that commenters who cross the lines with Chris or any other participants are usually admonished/warned by me, sometimes privately, if I am aware of them, which is not always the case. For example, I did not read the family member comment you refer to until after Chris ORDERED me to discipline the commenter involved.

                    • “flood the comment section with the copy/paste equivalent of a child saying “LALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU” could reasonably give him the impression that such behavior is tolerated here. Given the repeated deployment of the last one it seems a bit inconsistent to say that retorts “[consisting] of derision without content” do not fly here.”

                      I’m going to explain this one more time, Luke, as I appreciate your insights on these discussions.

                      Chris said, here, “That does not comport with the idea that Michelle Wolf’s jokes were a heinous offense against decency.”. In the context of the thread, that reads that Chris expected Jack to police *that* particular comment because in Chris’s eyes, as long as Jack believed Michelle Wolf’s rant was censure-worthy, then so was Steve-O’s. This popped out because Chris was insistent that Jack had deleted one of his comments.

                      MY comment, that Chris found ‘so offensive’ NEITHER DOES NOR DOES NOT condemn nor condone Steve-O’s comment. I learned early on to ignore intentionally inflammatory comments because they are meant ONLY to inflame. You see, the “Whether or not” and the “may be ” MY comment was purely about the expectation of Chris that the two evaluations MUST be logically analogous.

                      MY entire comment clearly discusses that logical claim. I did NOT read the context of Steve-O’s original insult to even begin to be remotely familiar with where it came from and I am not going to either because I’m not going to comment on intentional flame wars. In the past I used to mention “hey maybe that’s excessive” or in Zoltar’s case of commenting after Chris’s temporary suspension “hey maybe that’s piling on”…but it did no good.

                      Again, MY comment had NOTHING to do with condemning OR condoning Steve-O’s comment because I am not obligated to comment on that as Chris seems to think. Note: Chris is NOT whining about anyone who didn’t even comment at all as he supposedly thinks we were obligated to do.

                      As my comment has nothing to do with approval or disapproval of Steve-O, I will not sit by and be called mealy mouthed for something I was not even commenting on. Again, I was addressing Chris’s claim that Jack had some obligation there because Jack had previously evaluated the White House Correspondents Dinner speech.

                      To reiterate previous posts on this as well: I will handle most insults, I’ll even handle being called dishonest or a liar if the accuser will bother try to show how my comments don’t line up with evidence. I will not stomach being called “mealy mouthed” (a cowardly word smith) for a comment that has nothing to do with what the accuser desperately wanted it to.

                      Sorry it undermines your reading experience here. This can be painlessly solved. A simple retraction of the comments on the grounds he misread or didn’t comprehend my observation suffices…I don’t even expect a #1 Apology at this point. If he can walk back from a supposedly principles-based line in the sand about walking off the blog in a moment of hot-headedness, then he can do the same here. Otherwise, I will continue to remind him he owes a retraction if he wants to interact.

                    • Oooh, I had forgotten about Chris’s recent accusation that I had deleted one of his comments, which I did not do and have never done unless I was banning someone. (The comment had been spammed by WordPress before I ever saw it.) No one has ever accused me of that here.

                    • Michael West wrote, ” in Zoltar’s case of commenting after Chris’s temporary suspension “hey maybe that’s piling on”…but it did no good.”

                      Here’s a picky little detail but I think it’s worth mentioning.

                      Suspension was posted : May 20, 2018 at 11:55 pm

                      My comment that you said was piling on was in a different thread and was posted on May 19, 2018 at 9:35 pm which is a full 26 hours and 20 minutes prior to the suspension; therefore, proving that I was not piling on to a temporary suspension. Your assumption was wrong.

                      I thought you meant I was piling on in general when you wrote “I think it’s just piling on”.

                    • Michael West,
                      If you would like to call my comment above May 21, 2018 at 8:35 am (the one with the trophy picture) piling on, I can accept that; however, even in that “piling on” comment one I raised points about minds being polluted by the anti-Trump biased witch-hunt propaganda & correlation equals causation and/or accused equals guilt that no one else raised.

                    • In a comment floating in moderation I said this: “You see, the “Whether or not” and the “may be ” MY comment was purely about the expectation of Chris that the two evaluations MUST be logically analogous.”

                      That was meant to be edited prior to clicking send:

                      “You see, the “Whether or not” and the “may be ” carry the weight in MY comment of setting apart the two analogs so my comment could be purely about the expectation of Chris that the two evaluations MUST be logically analogous.”

                      That being said, I will walk back from my absolute claim (in the comment still floating in moderation) about “I’m not going to comment on intentional flame wars” to “I’m not going to comment on intentional flame wars that occur outside of any discussion I was actually involved in or read through, and I may comment about their excesses in the ones I am involved in…but that doesn’t obligate me to do so”.

                    • Still Spartan

                      To add on to Luke’s comment, I do think Chris is treated poorly here. To ban Chris but excuse Zoltar is hurting my little gray cells this morning.

                    • To repeat what I wrote Luke: I require a modicum of respect. I’m the moderator. A lawyer who is insulting to another advocate in court will be admonished by the judge. A lawyer who insults a judge risks getting locked up.

                      Yes, commenters tend not to insult me when they agree with me. I’m not being caught by THAT Catch 22.

                      Also, your facts are wrong:

                      1. Zoltar suspended HIMSELF after I admonished him for incivility to other commenters.
                      2. Chris hasn’t been banned.
                      3. Watch what happens to Zoltar if he responds to ME with “hahahahahahahahahahahahah!”

                    • Still Spartan

                      I think everyone deserves respect — moderator included of course — on a blog discussing ethics. Obviously, respect should be increased across the board on the internet, but I think an ethics blog should be held to a higher bar. Chris often is criticized for being quick with his comments. I think that’s fair — even though I usually agree with his sentiment. In general, Chris should pause and be a bit more careful with his responses. But, the same holds true for many of your right of center people here. I think Chris stands out more because he often is a lone voice in the woods (I certainly don’t have the time or energy to comment on every post). This is your blog and your rules, but some basic standards of civility would be well received by me at least. And not just civility, but the sheer laziness of many of these comments is both exhausting and a huge turn-off for me at least. When I see comment after comment with bold face, all caps, and elementary school discourse, it usually causes me to leave Ethics Alarms for a day or so.

                    • You need to read other blogs’ comments more. I moderate more than 99% of them. You don’t have the time or energy to read or comment on every post, but I am supposed to catch every excess? That’s fair…And there has never been a series of “comment after comment” with all caps.

                    • Meanwhile, I just checked out all comments including “Hahahahahahaha! To one of them, I responded,

                      Wait, which Hahahahahahaha is this? The Joker’s evil Hahahahahahaha? The Shadow’s knowing Hahahahahahaha? An H.P. Lovecraft Hahahahahahaha signalling a descent into madness when hope is gone? Or Hillary’s Hahahahahahaha?

                      Chris’s was the “you’re an idiot” version, directed at me. No, I am not an idiot, and that hahahahahaha is not permitted in reference to me, while I work to produce this free and valuable resource. Simple as that.

                    • Still Spartan wrote, “Chris often is criticized for being quick with his comments.”

                      I’ve never seen that; he is criticized for what he writes.

                      Still Spartan wrote, “Chris should pause and be a bit more careful with his responses.”

                      I think Chris should actually critically think more about what is actually written instead of just reacting to what his bias tells him is written.

                      It appears that Chris really doesn’t care about changing his approach to his comments and that looks more and more like it’s quite intentional and that is when the trolling label sticks. Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity. The flip side of that is, never attribute to stupidity that which is regularly proven to be malice. So Spartan, is Chris stupid, a troll, or both; you already know my opinion on that topic.

                      Still Spartan wrote, ” I think Chris stands out more because he often is a lone voice in the woods…”

                      With all due respect; that’s an understatement of epic proportions. I completely reject this PC white-washing of Chris’ comments.

                      Spartan,
                      FYI: Go back through a few threads where Chris has been a prominent participant and follow the discussion and then honestly try to tell yourself that when Chris gets involved that the discussions are not drastically deflected from the initial topic to various other topics including himself, Chris isn’t dragging the goalposts all over the field, and Chris isn’t misrepresenting what others write; go ahead and give it a try, there is a pattern. The trend that I’ve notice over the years is that when a Progressive troll deflects, it doesn’t really matter to them what they deflect to, including shifting the discussion to themself, as long as the discussion shifts away from the original purpose of the discussion; Chris regularly shows us this pattern. Chris Yes, I think it’s very obvious that Chris is a troll, you’re welcome to disagree.

                    • Luke G

                      Except you’re not strictly the moderator- a judge does not begin by setting forth his thesis on the case and then the lawyers argue about it. You begin with a post that asserts your thoughts. Therefore (assuming a two-sided discussion), one side agrees with you and one side disagrees. You, as the moderator/host/judge, then frequently step in to argue on behalf of those who agree with you. Those who argue against you are frequently accused of deceit or of arguing in bad faith, as you sometimes fall victim to the notion that your argument is so clearly correct that anyone who disagrees must be doing so deliberately. Their bad behavior is then seen as symptomatic of their bad character here, and is called to account more often and more harshly. Those who are more on your side are perceived as being more honest, more rational, and more substantive, and therefore are given more leeway for “occasional” bad behavior.

                    • Luke, I never “step in to argue on behalf” of anyone. I step in to moderate, clarify, and supplement the original post, and argue on my own behalf, and the principles I espouse here, no one else.

                      And yes, some positions that I read here I believe cannot be in good faith, or are the product of irrational thinking. I’ve thought about listing them. Wanting Donald Trump to be President was such a position, you may recall. I put arguing that the US should have open borders in that category. And that Bill Clinton was engaged in “personal private conduct” when he got blow jobs from an intern in the White House.

                      Don’t get me started…

                    • Jack is “Judge Dredd” for his own site. And that is not said in a snarky way.

                    • Luke G

                      To bounce off of what Spartan said just then- I absolutely think Chris can be quick on the trigger. My point was that when he is it’s pounced on and chewed to death (including on later posts), whereas when many other commenters do the same it’s allowed and expected to pass without much comment.

                    • Steve-O-in-NJ

                      With respect, Luke and valky, Chris getting dinged has been a long time in coming. Liberal voices on this blog are fewer at this point than they once were. Liberal voices with thought behind them are fewer still. Liberal voices with thought and tact and politeness are getting fewer and fewer. I think that’s partly because the liberal positions are getting harder and harder to defend and some are looking like if the holder leans any farther left, he will fall into the Pacific. The same may be true of the right at times, I wouldn’t have wanted to be here 12 or 13 years ago and trying to defend GWB as the war effort in Iraq got uglier and harder to defend.

                      Chris, for whatever reason, has taken it upon himself to be the loudest and most verbal voice on the left here. He also has a tendency to not let things go and a tendency to always need to have the last word. With that often comes a tendency to get louder, ruder, and more obnoxious. Keep acting like that, and it’s inevitable that you are going to cross the one line you can’t cross, or push the one button that is going to produce an explosion. I warned him, just commenter to commenter, at the beginning of this year that he needed to change and refine his ways. He hasn’t changed much at all. I admit I attacked him HARD recently. As I said at the time, I didn’t do that purely out of anger or out of malice, but to show him what the behavior he was excusing toward others such as the President’s family felt like. His reaction showed I made my point.

                      One other key thing, I said above that Chris always has to have the last word. Sometimes when you’ve run out of substantive words you turn to expressions like “ahahahaha” or “blah, blah blah” or other derisive dismissals. Jack’s previously indicated that expressions like “lol” are a no-no, and he told me at one point that starting a post with “Um,” is also not permitted, even though I meant it more as “With respect, Jack, you’re wrong on that one, and here’s why…” It isn’t like this policy is new or hasn’t been written on the site as clearly as the Hand of God wrote “mene, mene, tekel, u-pharsin” on Belshazzar’s wall. Perhaps that fits here – mene meaning “number” as in God has numbered your days, tekel meaning “weight” as in you have been weighed and found wanting, u-pharsin meaning “measure” as in what you have will be measured out and given to others.

            • Wait, there were special prosecutors investigating Hillary? How could I have missed that?

              Investigating actual misconduct is justified. The Clinton Foundation is a scam, and influence peddling occurred. Hillary admitted to destroying evidence (spoliation), and the private servrr was a breach of policies and protocol. Etc. Trump is being investigated because he won the election. That’s not unethical or a crime.

              • And snark is not an argument. It is lazy defection.

              • Jack wrote, “Investigating actual misconduct is justified.”

                That is a point that anti-Trump resistance doesn’t get. They think that spending millions of dollars to investigate if misconduct exists based on innuendo, accusations, etc is justified when in actuality it’s just a witch hunt trying to find or drum up misconduct with entrapment to prosecute.

          • Steve-O-in-NJ

            No stroke, Jack, Valky is just having one of her moments when she gets super-frustrated and goes all-out harsh. Back up, Valky, take a few deep breaths, have a sip of water, and reassess. Think this through, and don’t, as my father recently warned me after a snarky facebook post, trade credibility for impact.

    • Steve-O-in-NJ

      You know, when I went on vacation in September of 2016 I drove all the way down to Newport News starting at 5 p.m. At about 10 p.m. I stopped to gas up, use the facilities, and get a snack to keep going (it was about midnight when I got there). The gas station market was selling MAGA trucker hats. I debated getting one, but junked the idea because 1. at the time I didn’t think Trump had a prayer and I didn’t want to be seen as backing a loser, and 2. I already own half a dozen “macho” (aviation, navy ship, NCIS) hats and I don’t want to become like Shel Silverstein’s Mr. Spats. When the election turned into the most shocking upset in American politics since Truman held up that newspaper, I was kinda kicking myself for not going ahead, just so I could wear the hat into the office the next day and annoy a few liberal coworkers. Probably just as well, a lot of them were stumbling in bleary-eyed from having stayed up all night and didn’t get a whole lot of work done as they sent emails and banged out comments to the tune of “I can’t f—ing BELIEVE this!” and it’s not ethical to grind someone’s face into something.

  5. Paul Compton

    I tend to agree with Chris that the time the Mueller investigation has taken is neither excessive nor unrealistic. Similarly, if unrelated, I’m not totally convinced that Sessions is asleep in his hamster wheel as so many people claim.

    However, Chris, given the fact pretty much every facet of Mueller’s investigation is leaking sewage like a crashed dunny cart, I have to say that claiming: “Multiple Trump campaign officials have been indicted since the investigation began. No one from the intelligence community” looks far more like confirmation that the entire thing is corrupt than even the faintest hint, far be it from evidence, that it is just!

  6. Chris

    Side note: if it were proven that Trump did this out of revenge against Bezos for negative media coverage, would that be impeachable? (Note that my position thus far has been that he should not be impeached for anything proven at this point).

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/trump-personally-pushed-postmaster-general-to-double-rates-on-amazon-other-firms/2018/05/18/2b6438d2-5931-11e8-858f-12becb4d6067_story.html?utm_term=.8e7193275f46

    • TheShadow

      1) How do you prove his intent? Leaks and rumors?

      2) How would this be impeachable? The president holds no power over the USPS – they’re an independent government organization that basically answers only to Congress.

  7. Tippy Scales

    If Watergate was journalism’s finest hour, Obamagate is its darkest. The NYT and WaPo are literally no better than Pravda now.

    • adimagejim

      Even here, we can see how closely we teeter on the edge of open conflict.

      The Clintons are criminals. She violated the law many times regarding government communications and people have been convicted and served time for far less. Her husband’s campaign collected millions in illegal foreign contributions and laundered them as he thrashed the hapless Bob Dole. Their foundation is clearly a quid pro quo influence peddling and personal enrichment scheme.

      Trump is a boor, but is also the duly elected President. He apparently has not been proven criminal. Whether he ever will be is anyone’s guess.

      The State behaves more and more like a crime family desperately protecting its money laundering and power hungry activities from outsiders exposing it.

      Until Mueller and his investigation produces a real smoking gun, I’ll stand with the guy with ridiculous tweets and poor articulation trying to undo the kleptocracy (among other things).

    • Actually, the parallel of a party in power doing a skeevy investigation of a presidential candidate, looking for ways to derail and defeat them DOES sound familiar, doesn’t it? But this time it’s the OTHER party for both, making all signals of virtue meaningless. It is the same mess as Watergate, with the loser having public scandal that helped them lose. But this time the losers were the ones with their hands in the cookie jar, have no dignity, and show no willingness to lick their wounds and clean up their own act.

      Once I was a supporter, but this is just childish hold their breaths until their faces turn blue because they lost. I don’t want childish people making the important decisions. Dissonance makes the buffoon look good.

  8. When a mind is so obviously polluted by anti-Trump biased propaganda that they intentionally write such nonsense (tweet below) and then blithering idiots retweet it, you’ve got to seriously wonder about their level of intelligence and if that kind of stupid can ever be fixed.

    • adimagejim

      I’d like to pity them, but I’m beginning to worry about what they are willing to do to undo an election.

      The entire investigation appears to be a projection of what the Hillary campaign and, from her coffers, the DNC tried to do.

      The unverified evidence presented by the FBI to get the FISA warrant was bought and paid for without advising the FISA court of its origins.

      Now that is a smoking gun worthy of a real investigation.

      Per the tweet above, how dare we investigate obvious corruption at the highest levels when there is such a thin, vague opportunity to unseat Trump.

    • It’s fun to see what people retweet…

  9. Steve

    Very few people believed that Donald Trump would win. I think it is generally accepted that even Trump was surprised. Just from the point of view of the campaign he was the long shot. Now post election the supposition is what if any influence/information Trump received may result in quid pro quo. These investigations and more importantly those conducting them seem to be compromised by ideology and influence. This should be a concern to all Americans regardless who you voted for. The Russian Investigation should be just that, if Trump the underdog was approached who really believes Clinton wasn’t, especially after the “reset”? To have such great concern about Trumps campaign but to ignore the massive money and ties Clinton had to Russia speaks volumes of many voicing the concern. So much concern about Trumps Campaign and little to no attention paid to the actual sitting President, the President that was head of the executive branch when all this was going down. Donald Trump didn’t have access to all these resources then, and if his campaign was a target of a foreign intelligence operation why didn’t Obama administration step in and alert and assist the Target, a US citizen, of such an operation? Instead sending an informant/infiltrator into a political campaign, which had better have some damn solid evidence to back up such an action. The appearance of impropriety taints everything about all the post election investigations. The concern of many moderates and Republicans is that each bit of information about the scope of the investigation and those conducting it is of greater concern to our liberties than what is expected to actually come out of the investigations.

    • Apologies if this was said upthread, the ball that is almost completely ignored in this is that, at mid-campaign, it was clear that the Obama-Clinton policy toward Russia was both completely misconceived and in a shambles. The years of alternately gushing over Russia and then scolding them (while accepting any old goody offered by them) had earned nothing but contempt from Russia. It was clear that they were, in fact, the foe Mitt Romney said they were, and that their intelligence services had had their way with those led by Obama-Clinton.

      The most critical facts of the campaign were: (1) one of the candidates had operated classified material over a completely unsecured server that had probably been hacked by foreign entities; and, (2) that every entity related to that candidate had shown a complete disregard for security, left open all of their records, and were plundered from pillar to post. These realities required a diversion, and so far it seems very likely that that diversion was simply to claim that the incompetents’ adversary had been working at the behest of their diabolical opponent.

  10. I wish someone, other than me, would go back with a critical eye and take an objective look at how this thread was hijacked.

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