Happy Father’s Day, fathers!
(What a shame you all belong to a gender that is such an inferior, toxic, useless and exploitative feature of society!)
I’m sorry that yesterday was so light on content here; I was occupied from early morn to late afternoon at a distant funeral (more on that in a later post), and then sufficient fried after I arrived home that I couldn’t brink myself to post….especially since virtually nobody reads the blog after about noon on summer Saturdays. And now I am hopelessly backed up…
1. “Trust us because you need to…” Ann Althouse made what I consider a perceptive, cynical and provocative observation related to the Inspector General’s report on the Clinton email investigation. She wrote in part,
FBI Attorney 2 was asked what he meant by that “Viva le resistance,” and he said:
“So, this is in reference to an ongoing subject. And then following that, like I interpreted [FBI Attorney 1’s] comment to me as being, you know, just her and I [sic] socially and as friends discussing our particular political views, to which I see that as more of a joking inquiry from her. It’s not something along the lines of where I’m not committed to the U.S. Government. I obviously am and, you know, work to do my job very well and to continue to, to work in that capacity. It’s just the, the lines bled through here just in terms of, of my personal, political view in terms of, of what particular preference I have. But, but that doesn’t have any, any leaning on the way that I, I maintain myself as a professional in the FBI.”
Obviously, he’s just asserting what he must (and what the Executive Summary will also assert) that he has political opinions but they don’t bleed into his work because he is a professional…….It really is a convention to believe that people can do that. You can be cynical or skeptical or just plain realistic and think that’s not how human minds function, but it’s a fiction we actually do need to believe in (at least up to a point) if we are going to put human beings in a position of trust.
The IG said that it showed “extremely poor judgment and a gross lack of professionalism” to use the FBI’s systems and devices to send these messages, because “It is essential that the public have confidence that the work of the FBI is done without bias or appearance of partiality, and that those engaged in it follow the facts and law wherever they may lead and without any agenda or desired result other than to see that justice is done.”
Perhaps in the interest in maintaining what is “essential,” the IG “found no documentary or testimonial evidence directly connecting the political views these employees expressed in their text messages and instant messages to the specific Midyear investigative decisions.” I notice the words “directly” and “no documentary or testimonial evidence.” You can read the report yourself and see the basis for inference and suspicion, but you’re on your own. There’s plenty of evidence that does shake our confidence that the FBI does its work without bias and without any agenda or desired result. But — the IG encourages us to think — it’s also possible to maintain your confidence, so why don’t you do that? Because your confidence is essential!
This is, however, why government employees are forbidden by law to engage in conduct that creates “the appearance of impropriety.” These exchanges obviously did that. Some one like “Attorney 2” can claim that the fact that he hated Trump and supported Hillary had no effect on his required fair and objective performance of the job, but we are asked to believe that on faith. We hear the same thing from defenders of the blatantly biased news media: true, they are 95% Democrats, but they’re professionals! Nay, there’s no bias there! This would be easier to believe if the actual reporting didn’t seem so positive in the direction of those they are biased for, and so negative when dealing with those they are biased against.
Ann calls the presumption of professional objectivity a “convention,” which is another way of saying “myth.”
2. More on the report…It is screamingly clear that most of the reporters who characterized the IG’s report only read the Executive Summary. ( I have read a little more than half the pages in the thing, skipping some sections along the way.) This explains the constant repetition of the spin that the AG found no evidence of bias. That’s a misleading summary of a summary. As Ann correctly notes, the report itself contains lots of evidence of bias up and down the FBI. There was just no definitive evidence proving that the results would have been different absent the anti-Trump, pro-Clinton slant of the agency’s employees. Writes Mark Tapscott,
The basic problem for [IG David Horowitz] is that hundreds of pages in his report describe jarring evidence of deep, clear partisanship expressed repeatedly by Peter Strzok, the FBI’s counterintelligence executive who led the email investigation; his workplace lover, FBI attorney Lisa Page; and at least three other key bureau officials involved in the probe…
[Chatty anti-Trump paramours ] [FBI counter-intelligence executive Peter] Strzok and [FBI attorney Lisa] Page were also tapped for special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of allegations of collusion between aides to President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and interests with close links to the Russian government. That means bias expressed in the email review almost certainly could be carried into the Mueller effort…The IG report focused especially heavily on a pre-election exchange in which Page pleaded to Strzok, saying, “[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” Strzok responded “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it.”
Even the IG conceded that the exchange “is not only indicative of a biased state of mind but, even more seriously, implies a willingness to take official action to impact the presidential candidate’s electoral prospects.”
But that’s not proof that such official action was taken…
The approved Democratic talking points are that this was “just talk.” Maybe it was, but if you were Trump, would you want these two on the case, or two “professionals” who had not expressed such biases? If you were Clinton, would you want them in decision-making capacities regarding your possible indictment, or agents who had not made such sentiments known? If you were a member of the fair and objective public–oh, right: you are!—would you want these two (and apparent other agents who expressed similar sentiments) involved in either investigation in any way?
What does it tell you when a journalist writes, “Hey, what’s the problem? I don’t see any problem!” It tells me that either the such a journalist wanted a rigged system, or that they didn’t actually read the report.
3. Poll results! Regarding the poll on vegan mothers-to-be arguing that letting their babies nurse on their breast milk would violate the sacred principles of veganism, the answer option that these mothers’ babies are doomed because there is nothing society can do to protect them from their loony moms is the runaway winner, at 72%.
4. One more note on the IG’s report: Why isn’t this a big story? Hillary Clinton had potentially exposed classified information to malign hacking by using an unsecured, home-brew email server when she was U.S. Secretary of State, risking federal prosecution. In 2015, when President Obama was asked by CBS’ Bill Plante when he learned Mrs. Clinton had used an unsecured email server, he answered, “The same time everybody else learned it, through news reports.”
That was either a lie or a convenient lapse of memory. According to the Inspector General’s report, Obama was one of 13 government officials communicating with Clinton on her private email server. Before former FBI Director James Comey announced that there would be no charges against Clinton, he had drafted the statement with a reference to Clinton’s use of her private email for an exchange with then President Obama while she was in the territory of a foreign adversary. This would not only expose Obama’s untruth, but also make him potentially guilty of a knowing security breach as well. The report tells us that reference was later changed to “another senior government official,’” and ultimately omitted entirely.