Saturday, October 29, 2016

Significant risk of being misunderstood

Cassoulet stage 9, via Meilleur du Chef.

There is no chance, as far as I'm concerned, and based on what actual journalists are reporting, that the FBI has any new information that is of any relevance to the question whether or not Hillary Clinton ought to be president, regardless of your feelings about that question, since the emails that "may have been related to" Clinton's private server, which Huma Abedin seems to have chosen to print from a home laptop that was also used by Anthony Weiner to transmit pictures of his penis, or not, as the case may be, are neither from Clinton nor to Clinton, and are absolutely not documents that have been withheld from the investigation; the FBI is already perfectly familiar with their content, at least so far (there are thousands, naturally, and it will take many weeks, until long after the election is over, to finish looking at them). They could conceivably be relevant to the question whether Huma Abedin mishandled classified data, but nobody's saying that there's any likelihood of that either; they're just checking them out from an "abundance of caution".

Comey's conduct in making this non-information public 11 days before the presidential election is said to be from an "abundance of caution" too, or, as we say in English, covering his ass against accusations that he ended the Clinton investigation too early, just in case the Bureau does somehow learn something of interest to somebody. Yes, it's really improbable, but Comey's going to be ready. Not only does he wear a belt and suspenders but he also has his trousers surgically attached to his waist and ankles:
In trying to strike that balance, in a brief letter and in the middle of an election season,” he noted, “there is significant risk of being misunderstood.”
(Via Jane Mayer's piece in the New Yorker, which you need to read.) Comey seems to think the worst thing that could ever happen to our republic would be if somebody criticized him. With the result, naturally, that he comes in for a lot of criticism, much of it very richly deserved.

It seems really unlikely also that these events should stop Clinton from getting elected on November 8 (to me and others, including BooMan; even Steve M doesn't really think so, though he comes up with some scary scenarios, as always). In fact, if I try to think of this as a conspiracy (between some rascally conservative FBI agents and some Republican congresspersons like the unspeakable weasel Chaffetz, I don't see that frantically self-protective bureaucrat Comey as being personally involved in anything so disgraceful) I don't think of it as aiming at that, though it might be aimed at holding Congress for the Republicans by discouraging voters with the sense that everybody's no damn good and depressing turnout.

It's the same thing with the maneuvers of Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. Of course he doesn't want Trump to be president; instability on that scale wouldn't do him any good at all. What he wants is the weakest President Clinton he can get, so he works on that by fomenting suspicion and disrespect, stories of her criminality and greed, hostility with the press, conflict to her left, and so on.

As also do the sincere small-government conservatives and the wingnut grifters hoping to build up their nest eggs between now and the total Republican collapse that demographics are going to bring on sooner or later—should there be any effective difference between the two groups.

In that connection, you know how I was wondering a couple of weeks ago about that WikiLeaks Friday night news dump, released during the "death slot" of news you don't want to circulate? Maybe there's a new concept on that, where you release a flimsy story late on Friday to give it time to ripen in the Twitter, to let its flavors commingle like a Sabbath stew or cassoulet, so that by the time the reading public gets a full sense of it on Monday morning it's achieved a complexity and grandeur beyond any of its individual elements.

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