SocraticGadfly: 5/7/17 - 5/14/17

May 13, 2017

Poor butt-hurt Bernie Sanders

Mondoweiss has the details.

He lied about signing that 100-0 Senate letter that gave a blank check to Israel. He then lied about the content, and lied even more about the slant, of the letter. He then lied about drawing comparisons between Israeli and Palestinian actions.

And, he continues to call BDS evil.

On major issues of foreign policy, Sanders hasn't had an independent thought or idea outside that of the bipartisan foreign policy establishment since he decided he wanted to run for Congress as a fake Independent sheep in real Democrat sheepdogger clothing.

And many Berniecrats continue to get snippy, or per the header, butt-hurt, when Bernie's manifold problems on foreign policy issues are pointed out to to them.

Poor butt-hurt Berniecrats.

People who don't know this at all, and approach Green Party forums, I try to deal with politely, yet directly. Said people who then wave their hands and plug their ears?

Screw them.

#Cardinals look to move on as #Cubs likely overpay Heyward (newly updated)

The Chicago Cubs just signed former St. Louis right fielder (and pretty much ONLY a right fielder) Jason Heyward for $184 million over eight years. ESPN says it has not just one but two different opt-out provisions.

(Update, May 7, 2017: After a suck-ass 2016,  everybody said Heyward had rediscovered his swing in spring training. He must have lost it somewhere between Arizona and Wrigley. And ESPN notes that the Barves, looking at keeping only Heyward or Freddie Freeman, saw holes in Heyward's swing three years ago, and so were willing to trade him to the Cards.)

And, parsing various news, it seems like the Nats could also, instead of, or in addition to, the Cardinals, were that $200M team that was rumored to be in on him.

That said, Heyward reportedly turned down not just one but two offers that were better. However, the Sun-Times may be out of date on that.

Another source says the Just Say Go Away Kid had not 1, not 2, but THREE offers better monetarily than the Cubs

You heard that right:
Weird. But it is what it is.

So, Cardinals GM John Mozeliak, despite my initial anger, may have done OK after all. For whatever reasons, maybe that second opt-out option was the deal swinger, or a joint deal-swinger with the higher average annual value.

(Update, Dec. 22: Color me unimpressed by details of the Mike Leake signing.)

And, per Ken Rosenthal, this is what those opt-outs are:
Jeff Passan of Yahoo has a bit more on those opt-outs:
And, we know how agents sometimes try to sell players on something. Maybe whoever at Excel Sports Management is his representative said something like:
"Hey, Jason, this is kind of like player options, only better. AND, you get to enter history as the first player with not one but two opt-outs!"
And (and assuming I'm right about that second sentence), Jason Wayward (sic) bit.

And, with that said, and appreciating the pyrotechnics of a Cards fan on Twitter, let's get to the two different subjects of the headline.

First, the Cardinals moving on.

To whom?

Sadly, to nobody, it seems, according to Mozeliak, who is now making me angry at him again.

What should he do, instead of "nobody," IMO?

Orioles 1B free agent Chris Davis is my No. 1 choice, albeit with hedges and reservations.

Davis would be ... interesting.

The Cardinals haven't had his type of power bat since 2011, when Phat Albert went to Anaheim and whatever the hell other cities in Southern California Arte Moreno wants named after the Angels. (Sorry, Cards fans, but while Matt Holliday has had decent pop in his bat, he's not in the same slugger class.)

And, a creative, frontloaded six-year contract with option years maybe could land him.

Picture six years, $156M (more than $25M AAV) at $27/$27/$26/$26/$25/$25. Then, two team option years, again front-loaded, at $27M and $23M. Team buyout would be $10M on the first to make Davis and Boras more happy, and $3M on the other one.

But, aren't there options? Alex GordonYoenis Cespedes?

Well, they'd both be cheaper, but, neither plays right. So, is Stephen Piscotty ready to be a right fielder with the Cardinals playing Randal Grichuk in center if Heyward is gone? That said, Cespedes has played some center in his past, which would theoretically let Grichuk go to right, but it's been occasional, and he's been below average. (Per Sportrac, the market for actual right-fielder free agents ain't that good.)

And, no, Ben Hochman of the Post-Dispatch, moving Gordon to first ain't a good option either. Mo will probably claim it is, though, if that's the spinning that needs to be done. (Gordon is now off the market, staying in KC.)

Piscotty in right? I'm sure that's not Mike Matheny's preferred managerial option either, but, it's doable. Piscotty did play primarily right in Memphis and was OK to OK-minus defensively. And, he's not got the arm that would give him plus value to offset OK-at-best range.

That said, Davis would give them that masher that the Cards have had at first base, with Pujols, and Big Mac before him, then Pedro Guerrero (a semi-masher), then Jack Clark back in the middle of Whiteyball. I mean, the 1982 Birds with the Merry Mex at first are the only Cardinals World Series team in the last 50 years to truly skimp on power at first. On the other hand, Davis is a Boras client, and the Cards have generally avoided dealing with him and vice versa.

Is Matt Adams the answer at first? Matt Adams platooning with Brandon Moss and a cameo from Brayan Pena?

Probably not. What Cards fans saw in 2014 is likely near Adams' ceiling, and that involved some judicious platooning. Moss might be worth more as part of a trade to an AL team for whatever. And, with Heyward "walking," and worse, walking within the division, the Cardinals need a real answer, not Band-Aids.

My No. 2 option? Justin Upton. Only two years older than Heyward. Two years younger than Cespedes, and two and a half younger than Gordon. Not a good defender, but not horrible, and can play right and has in the past. Strikes out more than Heyward, yes, but has more pop and almost as much speed. Might he take a three-year deal, straight up, for another taste of free agency after his age-30 season?

My No. 3, risks and all? Denard Span. Yes, also a Boras client. But getting even less buzz than Upton so far. Can play center or right. Might accept a short-term deal to rebuild value. Also has the advantage of not costing a comp draft pick.

(Update, Jan. 9: The Cards whiffed on Span, with the Giants signing him to a relatively non-risky three-year deal, analyzed by me here.)

An old friend of mine wondered about the Reds' right fielder, Jay Bruce. Walt Jocketty hasn't mentioned dumping him yet — he is in the last year of his contract, so he fits that profile. That said, he has badly declined the last two years. And a two-year dry spell, not just one year, makes me very iffy, unless Walt takes a bag of peanuts for him.

That said, on to ...

Part two, and the Cubs possibly overpaying.

How much is Heyward's defense worth, when he doesn't have a corner OF's bat, and when the Braves didn't  play him much at center, for various reasons?

Some might cite Roberto Clemente. Cite away. He had a great arm, but B-Ref gives him "just" 12 career dWAR. Plus, while WAR itself still draws critics, dWAR, and defensive sabermetrics in general, draw even more.

Hence, this piece by Sports Illustrated, attempting to suss out various GMs on just what Heyward is worth. You'll see that they're all over the place.

And, per ESPN, it seems for now the Cubs plan to put Heyward in center, keep Jorge Soler on the team and in right. Dexter Fowler, somewhat defensively challenged, patrolled center for the Cubs last year.

Now, Heyward is moving from the fifth-largest park in baseball, in terms of fair territory, to the second-smallest, per this link. So, he'll have less territory to cover than he would have at Busch, had he played center there.

As for the idea of him playing center?

The Cardinals and Braves combined played Heyward just 32 games in CF. Per Baseball-Reference, going by range factor per nine innings, he was pretty well below average. Call it small sample size or whatever, but the Braves had five years to try to convert him to a center fielder, and didn't.

And, they didn't have defensive geniuses in center in Atlanta. For 2010-11, it was Nate McLouth, not anybody's idea of a great defensive player; for 2012, Michael Bourn, who had one of his good years in CF defensively. For 2013-14, it was Melvin Upton, OK-plus the first year and OK-minus the second, but so much teh suck with the bat that the Barves should have benched him, moved Heyward to CF and started somebody else, like Toe Jam, in right.

Nor did the Cardinals have a defensive genius. Before Grichuk's call-up, it was Jon Jay out there. Jay wasn't bad, but he's not a defensive genius.

So, is Heyward mentally averse to playing center? If so, the Cubs may have overpaid a lot. Per that SI piece, he may have plateaued with his bat. And, per Baseball-Reference, while Heyward's defense in right was valued, especially in a larger park, as far as the perceived defensive worth of the position, Runs from Positional Scarcity treats RF the same as LF.

And, if it was something weird, like a second opt-out (perhaps combined with front-loading the first three years), then let's move on. Far be it from me to agree too often with the Post-Dispatch's Jeff Gordon, but he's halfway right on this (as well as being halfway right about Mo not always being GM genius).

May 12, 2017

What did the president decide and when did he decide it?

If you are my age or older, that phrase has a nice Watergate ring to it, as you remember Sen. Howard Baker's "What did the president know and when did he know it?" question about Tricky Dick Nixon.

Of course, the question proved to be rhetorical bravado as much as anything. When it became more clear what Nixon knew, and how early, Baker's inquisitiveness ran dry.

So, along those lines, what did the president decide, and when did he decide it? And why?

On the Comey firing, of course.

I'm still not convinced that Dipstick Donald did this as part of some conspiracy, let alone one with Russkie connections. Not even close, as I noted yesterday.

But, we're no closer today than we were 24 or 48 hours ago to knowing the why.  Trump's original claim continues to unravel. The latest claim is that Trump asked Comey to be his consigliere, Comey said no, and that was that. This would fit the "timeline" issue, as it was reportedly just a week after Trump's inauguration. And, it makes much more sense than him being the third domino to get knocked down by Trump in a Russia-related conspiracy. Another Times story indicates that Comey's semi-mocking response to Trump's "Obama bugged me" lit the fuse on the firing process.

If true, and if Comey is asked before either the House or Senate intelligence committees, will he swear to it? Or, worried about that, will the Congressional GOP work overtime to block this?

Per the Times account, the "consigliere" link, either Trump or Comey's lying at a Hitlerian level, and my bet on which one is doing that? More interestingly, The Donald is doubling down on either stupidity, paranoia, or some combo, warning Comey about "tapes."

As for the firing itself? Sean Spicer was blindsided by it, yet another reflection of a White House that, contra to Nixon's, can't manage or organize its way out of a wet paper bag. (That, too, should be no surprise. Just look at Trump's business record.)

And, if he is on his way out, Spicer, Sarah Huckabee Sanders is proving to be an even greater hack as a press officer. Given her dad, that also should be no surprise.

Trump is now reportedly dumping on Spicer, per some insider rumors, while other insider rumors say, no, Spicer is in no trouble.

As for claims that Dipstick Donald is facing a "credibility crisis"?

Er, a person has to have a previous storehouse of credibility to later fall into a "credibility crisis."

Sidebar: I don't care how long he's been in DOJ under how many bipartisan administrations, Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein does have a credibility crisis. No, per Watergate, he has a credibility gap — one of his own making, by authoring the "here's your reasons, Mr. President" letter.

Unless he immediately states that the president kept him in the dark on some issues, the idea that the NYT editorial board can appeal to alleged past credibility is a laugher. If he really were going to be an Elliot Richardson or William Ruckelshaus, he never would have written that letter in the first place.

And, no, I won't accept the excuse that Rosenstein is new to his current job, or that he's that far removed from Trump's inner circles.

Speaking of, dear NYT, Rosenstein is not yet willing to admit he got played like a $2 pussy-grabbing by Trump.

Meanwhile, Pro Publica says that Comey, in the Huma Abedin emails investigation, was poorly served by FBI field agents on the case, plus worried about leaks from other, anti-Clinton, agents. The indications are that, if the case had been handled well and correctly, he never would have felt the "nauseous" need to speak — and wouldn't have.

However, at the same time, Peter Elkind also takes special care to throw Comey under the bus — more than once. Elkind has a long reputation as an investigative journalist, but it appears he's using this one for his own ends.

Maybe he should see one of Mike Ramsey's #ButHerEmails Photoshopping editorial cartoons.

That's but one of four pics in this particular Tweet, which in turn is the first of four sets of such.

As Ramsey notes, directly relevent to Eklind's story, one of Hillary Clinton's emails indicate she thought Lynch would give her whatever cover she needed.

Basically, more than half the piece is rehashing old issues with Elkind using his own leakers, presumably old DOJ folks who are friends of Bill and Hillary, to do a takedown of Comey underneath the ostensible takedown of FBI agents.

Well, that's enough for now.

In any case ....

Ultimately, as Jeff St. Clair notes, James Comey is ultimately a figure deserving of little sympathy. Yet Trump has now given him that.

May 11, 2017

Is there a Nixonian conspiracy behind Comey's firing?

In case you haven't been in the United States for the past 48 hours, FBI Director James Comey has been fired by President Trump, Tuesday afternoon.

So, was their some conspiracy behind this, similar to Richard Nixon's Saturday Night Massacre?

CNN, and others I am sure, offer up the Sally Yates and Preet Bhahara firings as proof for some Watergate-type nefariousness. And now, the neo-centrist James Fallows of The Atlantic drinks the Kool-Aid of "Putin Did It."

Likely not, in my book.

(But, there is new interesting stuff, namely that Trump wanted Comey to be his consigliere, and put on the ask just a week after inauguration. Read here.)

Yates, like all deputy attorneys general, is a political and not a civil service hire. Yes, Trump changed his mind on having her continue to help with the transition. No guarantees that was related to the Michael Flynn investigation. Besides, Trump jettisoned him soon thereafter, or was prodded to do so. She does appear to have been fired over Trump's travel ban. But, that's different.

Like other U.S. district attorneys, Bhahara is also a political hire. Yes, he was investigating Trump Tower, so that may have been a cause. However, that too had nothing to do with Russkies or alleged Russkies. And, Trump's narrative that he was spied on by Obama has been rejected by many others. So, no conspiracy there.

So, while friend Brains has a good wrap overall, I have to reject the "this is all about Russia" line, at least Russia of today. Sorry, but I'll stick with the likes of Mark Ames and Yasha Levine on not yelling "Russia" every time I enter into a crowded Trump theater, absent better evidence. 
Yeah, Trump the family may have gotten money from Russia, per his doofus son. Or it may not have. This may just be more Trump family lying. And, if at least halfway true, the Trump family is getting money from China as we speak. So, should we rather think of some conspiratorial way Chinese President Xi Jinping is behind this? You go down that road if you want instead of the Vlad the Impaler one. I'll stay at home and per Robert Frost, keep both such roads less traveled in my itinerary.

Brains himself doesn't think Russia actually hacked the election. He knows that's not possible. We're in agreement on that.

Scarier, though is that Democratic Senator Ed Markey probably thinks all of the above and more are indeed true. Reading the likes of Louise Mensch and the Palmer Report will do that.

Without this being about Russia, or Russian issues, the firing has a mix of schadenfreude and MAGA-grade bullshit. The two combine, as shown in the firing letter by Trump based on the firing recommendation letters of AG Jeff Sessions and Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein. They claim, Rosenstein especially, that he's being fired because he mishandled Hillary's emails, notably overriding AG Loretta Lynch, and that they thus have no confidence in him. More about Rod Rosenstein here

As for Comey's overstatement about how many Huma Abedin emails had gotten to Anthony Weiner's magic smartphone? I'm going to call bullshit misrepresentation on the MSM. And, I'm still betting dollars to doughnuts that Rosenstein was Pro Publica's "law enforcement" leaker.

"Two email chains" is not the same as "two emails." I'm still sure it's not "thousands" of emails in those chains, but ... could be two dozen? That's still more than two.

There's also not a constitutional crisis, certainly not a Watergate-level one. That's the semi-consensus of a group of a dozen or more legal scholars scanning the bipartisan spectrum, per Politico. And I agree. If there is a "crisis," it will be if Trump appoints a total hack as Comey's replacement, especially, to riff on Watergate, if that successor is then, like L. Patrick Gray, left to "twist slowly in the wind."

May 10, 2017

It's Beto vs. Booger Cruz

Beto O'Rourke
And a Green and a Libertarian to be named next year.

Joaquin Castro has already announced he won't challenge El Paso Congresscritter Beto O'Rourke in the Democratic primary for the right to run against Ted Cruz for the U.S. Senate next year. And, it's hard to imagine anybody else other than a possible "perennial candidate" or two getting in that primary.

And today, Matthew Dowd, former Shrub Bush strategerist [sic — think about it], although he has called the two so-called major parties "dinosaurs," has announced he will not run as an independent. He may have figured, as I thought when I first blogged about the possibility, that he was seen as not being on the ground enough in Texas or something.

Beto has some good bona fides — favors marijuana legalization, opposes much of the War on Drugs. He's also, as of Tuesday, House co-sponsor of the "No PAC Act," designed to bar Congresscritters from taking PAC money. Overall, he'd at least be left of the center of today's Democratic Party, per On the Issues. And, he was a good enough campaigner to topple Silvestre Reyes.

On the other hand — and to riff on Idries Shah, we normally need more than two hands, because there are more than two sides or views — per this graphic, O'Rourke has yet to become a co-sponsor of John Conyers' HB676 Medicare for All bill. The Berniecrat type folks at the Down With Tyranny blog (one of the trio is a spinoff from a Digby blogging assistant) would puff Beto's work on the No PAC Act while not noting he's failed to co-sponsor HB676.

And, without Castro challenging him, if O'Rourke hasn't endorsed single-payer by now, he won't by November 2018. And, if he won't by then, he'll never back it. That — the desirability of a Dem primary in hopes of forcing a single-payer endorsement out of either Beto or Joaquin — was the subject of my blogging a month ago.

Admit it, Texas Dems.

That said, Beto's only real shot at winning anyway, IMO, had been with Dowd in the race.

But, it doesn't matter, to me. As long as he won't back single-payer, I'll vote for any legit Green in the general next year.

So, there you go, Texas Greens. Let's hope somebody a cut above the Brandon Parmer level throws his or her hat in the ring next year.

Serbs aren't the only ones who play politics with Serbo-Croatian

But, other people don't like to admit that.

Getting my ire up on this?

A map of second languages in European Union member states. The most common second language in Slovenia is listed as "Croatian."

NOT "Serbo-Croatian."


And yes, Jakub Marian, that's what it is. Calling "Croatian" a "variety" still doesn't make it a separate language. Per many language scholars, the Croatian and Serbian varieties of Serbo-Croatian are closer than Dutch and German. His disclaimer that he's going by EU data listings is passing the buck. 
Wiki gets the big picture right on its entry for Serbo-Croatian. More on that below. 

Suffice this quote to start us:
The linguistic debate in this region is more about politics than about linguistics per se.
I suspect that Marian, a Czech, also knows that.

First, back to his buck-passing.

The EU is passing the buck because Croatia, like Slovenia, is a member of the EU and Serbia of course is not.

As I told him, the parallel would be not to say that "English" is the most common second language in Spain, but rather, "British English." Or "American English."

Second, his map doesn't list Croatia as an EU member, or at a minimum, an EU member for which second-language data were available.

Why? The hyper-skeptic me and the cynic me agree that this is probably because, per the EU's own standards, "Serbian" would then be the most common second language in Croatia, and post-breakup, no Croatian is going to admit that.

And, although they are separate entities, their politics have an overlap.

The "they" is not Serbia and Croatia, but rather the EU and NATO.

Croatia, and Slovenia, are both members of NATO as well as the EU. Serbia (of course) is not.

That's despite Croatia, as well as Serbia, having Bosnia-bloody hands, among other things.

Back to Wikipedia, which has this as its first key point of Serbo-Croatian as one language.
It can be written in Serbian Cyrillic or Gaj's Latin alphabet, whose thirty letters mutually map one-to-one, and the orthography is highly phonemic in all standards.
Simple enough. Culturally, the alphabets — and Croatian Catholicism vs. Serbian Orthodoxy — may divide the two. Still one language.

Let's look further at Wiki's article (which is extensively footnoted):
Daniel Bunčić concludes that it is a pluricentric language, with four standard variants spoken in Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The mutual intelligibility between their speakers "exceeds that between the standard variants of English, French, German, or Spanish". Other linguists have argued that the differences between the variants of Serbo-Croatian are less significant than those between the variants of English, German, Dutch, and Hindi–Urdu.
So, that not just ties into my "British English" and "American English" comment, it trumps it! (Oh, and on the original Wiki page, in that last sentence, speaking of footnotes? There's one for each of the four languages after Serbo-Croatian.

That said, what is a "pluricentric language"?

Glad you asked.

Wiki has an article there too.

Now, at the link, Wiki does note that Serbian and Croatian varieties may be becoming more "autonomic" due to the political separation.

However, that's still different than two entirely separate languages.

Therefore, the likes of Brittanica (other than it also noting politics is involved) is also wrong.


Marian has responded by telling me to not be a dick.

Lemme see.

If he had first responded one way or the other to my British English vs American English analogy, maybe I'd never have written this post.

He then ignores my "politics" comment.

As for Croatia not being shown on his map? He says it's based on 2012 EU data.

So, he's running an outdated map. (And outdated it may well be, based on migration from the Middle East.) And without a link.

Next, he says let people call their languages what they want. That's fine for an imprecise take; however, he bills himself as a linguist. That's not fine in this case. Not in my book.

Finally, he says it's not the first time he's had to debate alleged idiots about his "maps," plural.


May 09, 2017

#Hillbots are still "Shattered" about James Comey

BREAKING (May 9): Comey has just been fired by President Trump. And no, I do not think there's a Nixonian-type conspiracy behind this, conjoined with other Trump firings.

That said, why?

Here's my theory.

Trump knew that Comey was actually an agent of Vladimir Putin. And, he knew that Rachel Maddow was about to find out. Voila! No choice but to fire him.

More seriously, the firing has a mix of schadenfreude and MAGA-grade bullshit. The two combine, as shown in the firing letter by Trump based on the firing recommendation letters of AG Jeff Sessions and Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein. They claim, Rosenstein especially, that he's being fired because he mishandled Hillary's emails, notably overriding AG Loretta Lynch, and that they thus have no confidence in him.

There IS a grain of truth there. They're afraid he'll do the same to Sessions. (That said, remember when Democrats like Chuck Schumer had no confidence in Comey? Schadenfreude!)

And, it appears they shut the barn door after the horses were out. CNN reports that federal prosecutors in Alexandria, Virginia, have issued grand jury subpoenas to associates of Michael Flynn.

Yes, it is Watergate-like, in a small degree. Whether it's like Watergate in a big degree or not depends on whether or not Sessions, through Rosenstein, try to retroactively annul or quash those subpoenas.

And, the newest revelation is that Trump wanted Comey to be his consigliere, and put on the ask just a week after inauguration. Read here.

That said, for the Hillbots? Guess what — more birds come home more tightly to roost.

Finally, don't forget my snark of last week about Comey's secret revelations to the Senate. If there's one thing I love as much as the smell of schadenfreude in the morning, it's the sound of petards hoisting.

Sidebar: I don't care how long he's been in DOJ under how many bipartisan administrations, Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein does have a credibility crisis. No, per Watergate, he has a credibility gap — one of his own making, by authoring the "here's your reasons, Mr. President" letter.

Unless he immediately states that the president kept him in the dark on some issues, the idea that the NYT editorial board can appeal to alleged past credibility is a laugher. If he really were going to be an Elliot Richardson or William Ruckelshaus, he never would have written that letter in the first place.


It's been revealed (by who? some leaker inside the FBI? a minority-side Senate staffer? per Pro Publica, one leaker of two appears to be FBI  scratch that, could be Rod Roseinstein! AG's office is law enforcement) that James Comey overstated to the Senate how many emails of Huma Abedin's wound up on husband Anthony Weiner's magic uncircumcised 7-inch smartphone.

And, as a result, Hillbots like American Prospector Paul Waldman or general inside-the-Beltway hack Chris Cillizza are getting out the long knives to shiv Comey as much as they can. And they're dishing hard.

Of course, none of them yet wants to talk about Hillary Clinton's private email server. Or her generally inept, as well as overly buttoned-down, campaign. (Just like in 2008.)

Per that Pro Publica link, I would like to know more about why Comey said "hundreds" or "thousands" of emails, of course. But, so far at least, PP's story didn't have the leg length of the leakers telling us about any "why," or if this got any pushback within the Bureau — whether in advance, if anybody knew in advance that Comey would mention numbers, or afterward if not, or other things.

That said, PP's story is a story. It's not a column, which Waldman's straightforwardly is, or a column masquerading as a story, which Cillizza's is.

Let’s dig deeper. First, Waldman:
Every time he’s forced to answer questions about his extraordinary decision to inject himself into the 2016 presidential campaign a mere 11 days before the election ...
No mention of Loretta Lynch meeting the Slickster on the Phoenix tarmac. No mention, per the likes of Ted Rall, about Obama himself upset at being blind-sided over Clinton’s private email server.

And Cillizza:
For Clinton and her allies, Comey's mistake is further evidence of his botched handling of the investigation into her private email server and the role he played — wittingly or unwittingly — in shaping the 2016 election. 
Clinton, in a conversation with CNN's Christiane Amanpour last week, blamed Comey's letter to members of Congress on October 28 — informing them that the Weiner-Abedin computer had been found and the investigation re-opened — for her loss at the hands of Donald Trump. 
"I was on the way to winning until the combination of Jim Comey's letter on October 28 and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me but got scared off," Clinton said. "And the evidence for that intervening event is compelling, persuasive."
Again, no mention of the background. But Cillizza DID include this:
But he went ahead with it anyway. 
And concluded with this (emphasis mine):

This misstatement by Comey further muddies the conversation about what exact role he played in the 2016 election and what role he wanted to play.
OK there.

I'm no apologist for Comey. I know he's a bureaucrat par excellence who has polished his own apple pretty well ever since the John Ashcroft bedside scene nearly 15 years ago.

But the reality is? At this point, Comey could emit an Al Gore-style sigh and get jumped on by some people.

In short, they're "shattered" about Comey but not at all about the "Shattered" revelations in detail about all of the above. (And more. From stuff I've read, Clinton may even have thrown Abedin herself under the bus.)

That said, to go beyond the eight facts the Federalist points to from the book, is a fact nine.

Whether it's blaming Comey, or blaming Vlad the Impaler Putin, the blame game continues to come from the Democratic para-Party think tank apparatus.

This, as much as apparatchik retread in Tom Perez as DNC chairman, is half the problem. As long as they focus on the alleged "who kneecapped Hillary" rather than "we helped Hillary kneecap" herself, the think-tank Waldmans and the pundit Cillizzas will help the DNC perpetuate neoliberal dreck as party ideas as well as party leadership. But, when "exposure" actually is good coin of the realm, such stances aren't likely to change.

At the same time, the answer of many Berniecrats is no answer either. Starting a third party when the Green Party already exists? I mean, Rocky Anderson's Justice Party is already one new third party of the left too many, and I still suspect Naderite hands behind its founding.

That said, a TV series based on the book? Kind of laughable to me. If it happened, who plays Hillary. Not Kate McKinnon from SNL, I don't think. Age-appropriate? The Greek goddess, Arianna Huffington.

In any case, per Ted Rall's latest, the blame game and the shivs won't change reality.

At the same time, as Jeff St. Clair notes, James Comey is ultimately a figure deserving of little sympathy.

Yes, we're learning more about how many previously undisclosed contacts Flynn, or other Trump surrogates, had with Kislyak or other Russians. Again, though, none of them illegal. And, really, other than the non-disclosure, none unethical. And, Counterpunch is probably right in that the national security establishment is working hand-in-hand with the mainstream media (whose leakers about Trump's Israeli intell leaking may be worse than Trump's original leaking) to make this nothingburger into a Big Mac.

Update, May 14, 2019: Former Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein has turned both barrels on former FBI Director James Comey, calling him a "partisan pundit" who trampled "bright lines that should never be crossed."

The specific target of his ire is how Comey handled reopening the investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails adn server after then-AG Loretta Lynch had had her conflict-of-interest inducing meeting with Bill Clinton on the Phoenix tarmac.

Rosenstein is totally right. It was grandstanding, as I said at the time, and not SOP, either. Then-Deputy AG Sally Yates, Rosenstein's predecessor should have been contacted by Comey and she should have been asked to get Lynch to officially recuse herself, then take over. If Yates refused to act, then it's out of Comey's hands (other than leaking to the press).

May 08, 2017

TX Progressives talk #txlege, profiling and more

The Texas Progressive Alliance thinks lacking human decency should be considered a pre-existing condition as it brings you this week's roundup with a belated happy Cinco de Mayo:

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 Off the Kuff looks at the already crowded field vying to knock off Rep. John Culberson.

 SocraticGadfly snuck into FBI Director James Comey's Senate testimony hearing and found out the 10 real takeaways.

 CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme notes that Texas Republicans are just as greedy and mean spirited as ever.  Insurance industry over consumers and papers please for profiled people.

 On Star Wars Day (May the Fourth) the Empire struck back, observed PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.

 Dos Centavos calls Greg Abbott a coward for how he signed Senate Bill 4.

 John Coby , on Cinco de Mayo, issued a get out and vote call .

 Neil at All People Have Value attended May Day protests in Houston that called for fair wages for all. APHV is part of


 And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

 The Lunch Tray updates us on efforts to stop the practice of "lunch shaming".

 Therese Odell sums up the first glorious 100 days of the Trump misadventure.

 Michael Li has the latest on the redistricting litigation.

 Paradise in Hell tells us who to vote against next year.

 Grits for Breakfast flags a bad bill regarding police misconduct.

 Georgia Pearle tries to make sense of the Republican contempt for pre-existing conditions.

 Lone Star Ma calls for action after the House passage of Trumpcare.