A Higher Loyalty or Self-Justification? – by Amanda S. Green.

A Higher Loyalty or Self-Justification? – by Amanda S. Green.

I planned on finishing up Thomas Sowell’s “Black Rednecks & White Liberals” this morning. That’s not going to happen. I have been struggling with the post and decided it is better to put it aside for a week than try to force it. Sowell’s work deserves better than a quick overview. It is important enough to be given careful consideration, even when he writes about things that might make us uncomfortable.

But that left me wondering what I should do for Sarah today. I didn’t want to leave her without a post. Then I remembered the book waiting in the TBR queue. You might have heard about it. Some fellow who used to work for the government wrote it. It came out earlier this week and has the distinction of pissing off people on both sides of the political aisle. Need another hint? The Clinton camp still blames him for her losing the election and the Trump camp blames him for not indicting Clinton – and others.

That’s right, boys and girls. I’m talking about James Comey and his new book, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership. Before we get started on Comey’s initial comments in the book, I have done my best to put aside my personal feelings for the man and his actions over the last year and a half to two years. I want to give him, or at least the book, a fair shake. I also have promised friends of mine who know him and who are having problems reconciling the man they see on the promotion trail now with the one they worked with.

After a bit of trouble getting the e-book to open – for some reason, it doesn’t want to download to my MacBook Air – I finally opened it through the Amazon product page and started reading. While Comey probably had no input on the front matter, as a reader, the publisher (Flatiron Books, part of MacMillan) has already insulted me. Instead of the standard disclaimers, we are told this e-book is for personal use only and cannot be made available publicly in any way. Wait, what? Does that mean you can’t use excerpts in reviews? They might try to argue it but the wording is too vague. I am going to assume they mean you can’t loan it or share it with anyone.

But then you get to the copyright infringement language. Language the publisher so helpfully bolds just to make sure the evil customer who dared buy an e-book version knows. Talk about telling someone who just paid more than they should for the book that you don’t trust them.

The book opens with a note from Comey. That’s not so unusual in books like this. It seems authors – or their ghost writers – have a need to tell folks why they felt the need to write the book. Now, this is information that could be woven into the text elsewhere but why do that when you can put it right up front, making sure you set the narrative firmly in the reader’s mind?

Comey begins the book by asking a simple question, “Who am I to tell others what ethical leadership is?” He notes that anyone writing a book about this topic can come across as presumptuous and sanctimonious. He’s not wrong there. In fact, as I read the opening paragraph or two, those were my exact thoughts. Maybe it is my own knee-jerk reaction, but I’ve found more often than not that when someone starts off asking such questions, they are more than willing to tell you exactly why they are the one to write the book. But I pushed down that reaction and continued reading. After all, this is just the Author’s Note.

So why did he write the book if not as an exercise in vanity (something he denies). According to Comey, “We are experiencing a dangerous time in our country, with a political environment where basic facts are disputed, fundamental truth is questioned, lying is normalized, and unethical behavior is ignored, excused or rewarded.”

When I first read that statement, I laughed and wondered if he had paid any attention to life in D.C. during his tenure there. Then I wondered if he had ever studied history. To think you’d find ethics and truth in the political hub of a nation is like thinking you will find the proverbial needle in a haystack while standing five miles away and the only tool you have to help you is a standard pair of tweezers. At least he had the decency to note this “dangerous time” isn’t limited to the United States.

In some ways, I can even agree with him. However, the behavior he condemns isn’t limited to the current administration. Nor is it anything new. If you’ve paid any attention to current events over the last several decades, you’ll know that.

This is, according to Comey, a time for “ethical leadership”. He admits he’s not an expert in what that term means. But he has studied it, read about it and thought about it. I guess that is enough, in his mind at least, for him to spend a book telling us what an ethical leader is and how they should act. We’ll see.

An ethical leader, he said, doesn’t run from criticism or uncomfortable questions. Ethical leaders look beyond the short term or the urgent. They take “every action with a view toward lasting values.” These values are found in religious tradition or in a moral world view or an appreciation for history. There must also be a “fundamental commitment to the truth” or we will be lost.

He ends this Author’s Note by discussing how he came up with the book’s title. It seems it came about because of a dinner he had with President Trump. During that dinner, the President allegedly demanded Comey’s loyalty to him personally over Comey’s duties as the FBI director to the American people. I say “allegedly” because, at this point in the book, there is no proof that this discussion ever took place or that the comments were made as Comey lays them out.

So far, however, I have not had a urge to throw the book across the room. That puts it far above Clinton’s book, What Happened. But it does leave me with a number of questions and concerns going forward. While Comey spends a great deal of time in this Author’s Note talking about ethical leadership, he never really defines it. He talks a good game, but he never really gets down to the bottom line.

I also find myself wondering if, as I continue reading the book, I will find it turns more into a diatribe against the man who fired him and less about the purported topic of the book. I will continue reading but my skepticism is starting to rise. Perhaps Comey would have been better served if his editor had decided to put this Author’s Note at the end of the book or, better yet, weave its contents into the book as a whole. As is, Comey comes across not as a dedicated public servant but as someone who wants to lecture and, quite possibly, justify controversial actions he took over the last few years.

If there is enough interest, I’ll do a couple more posts on the book after I finish the Sowell essay. In the meantime, I will continue reading until I either want to toss my tablet against the wall or I finish the book. As I’ve said before, the only way for us to understand what is going on in our country is to educate ourselves. Sometimes that means reading books written by those whose beliefs we don’t share or whose politics we don’t agree with. I look at it as learning what the enemy playbook contains. Whether this book falls into that category or not waits to be seen.

Until later!

[OMG, the reading masochist is at it again.  If you want her to do more snarkage, hit her pourboire jar. – SAH]


82 thoughts on “A Higher Loyalty or Self-Justification? – by Amanda S. Green.

  1. During that dinner, the President allegedly demanded Comey’s loyalty to him personally over Comey’s duties as the FBI director to the American people.

    The term “allegedly” definitely applies here especially since I’ve heard people claiming that Trump “demanded oaths of loyalty to him from others besides Comey”.

    Since that ties into the “Trump Is Hitler” garbage, I’d want hard evidence of it.

    Of course, it’s “amazing” to me that he’s the only person to claim that Trump wanted “personal loyalty”. IE He’s the “only person” in Trump’s White House to believe that a President wanting “personal loyalty” is a Bad Thing. 😦

    1. In fairness, Trump has spent a lot of time in environments where demanding personal loyalty is reasonable, and has apparently not grasped some of the subtleties of high level Federal communication.
      On the other hand, I’m seeing evidence that some of the high level DoJ officials apparently have some of the same issues with these subtleties I allege exist.
      On the gripping hand, I’m not obligated to believe that there is a single honest man involved in this mess.

      1. He worked in NY and NJ with people who probably* had Mafia connections, and he was a businessman. I’d be surprised if he didn’t ask for loyalty.

        *Probably strictly for legal purposes, because construction? NY and NJ? Yeah.

        1. No “probably” about it. He bought the site for the Trump casino in Atlantic City from a made man of the Philly Mob (son of the late former capo), paying twice what the property was worth. In building the casino, he gave a lot of the work to Scarf Construction, owned by the new capo, Nicky Scarfo.

      2. I find it impossible to believe that Obama (or Clinton, or Hillary, or Pelosi, or …) would have continued to work with anyone who didn’t make clear they were “on his team”.

        Also, I’m enjoying the idea of “High Federal” as a linguistic register (if that’s reasonably the right term.) Sort of like low or high Liaden…

        And no doubt at all that Trump does not speak it.

        1. Some defense lawyers recommend that one lawyer up when dealing with federal law enforcement. It is very easy to accidentally perjure oneself when one is compiling one’s testimony using personal resources. A good lawyer can bring a critical outside perspective, help one identify and correct the mistakes, and not make them where Federal law enforcement will hang one for it.

          The fine details matter and will be used against you.

          The counter argument is that if what we have seen is the best and brightest of the FBI, federal law enforcement prosecutions for lying to federal officers may rely a great deal on compliant judges.

          1. But now there’s a chance that the lawyer will need to lawyer up, and so ad infinitum

            1. You know the old saying: if all the lawyers were stacked one upon the other from the bottom of the ocean it would be a start.

          2. I can’t recall where I saw this, but I flipped past a report that Rudy Giuliani had joined Trump’s legal team. He’s an experienced prosecutor (and knows the ways of abusing that power) but I don’t think he’s practiced in a while. Trump’s problem seems to be that any lawyer in the weight class he needs to hire from is almost certain to have conflicts of interest with already existent clients.

          3. The best defense when dealing with the feds is to say nothing. If you make no statements, it follows that you can make no false statements whether inadvertently or by intent. Second best would be to insist on recording the interview. Scuttlebutt has it that this will often terminate the encounter. It seems that if there is the possibility of an alternative, accurate account of the meeting beyond the feebs’ ‘302’ report on the interaction, they lose interest on trying to hang you out to dry.

            But I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV . . .

    2. Given that the president is chief executive officer of the United States Government, it would seem that loyalty to him would entail duties of honesty (giving your honest appraisals of situations without regard to whose private interests are affected) of integrity (keeping one’s word, faithfully fulfilling assigned legal responsibilities, and refraining from leaking private and/or classified information in ways that undermine the chief executive) and diligence. That is the duty owed one’s employer under any circumstances and certainly due to the presidency.

      Personal loyalty to the man, not the office, ought not be assumed. What Eric Holder gave Obama and Janet Reno gave Clinton is a travesty of Constitutional loyalty.

      1. When I no longer could give loyalty to the office (commanders, Secretaries, President), I put in my retirement paperwork. When you break the law, or break the Constitution, or break faith with your subordinates, you lose any right to expect loyalty.

      2. What Eric Holder gave Obama and Janet Reno gave Clinton can’t be displayed in a film without receiving an R-rating, at the very least.

      3. Yup. There’s professionalism, and personal loyalty to the individual. The President can and should demand professionalism of all Federal employees. Personal loyalty can only be demanded of his appointees – but MUST be demanded of them.

    1. Sarah named me the “masochistic reader” for a reason. Honestly, I think it’s important we all read these books, especially when they get as much media play as this one is getting. We need to know what the book really says and not what the media wants us to believe it says. We need to be able to point to chapter and verse, so to speak, to refute the spin. That is the only way we have any hope of convincing those sitting on the fence, those who aren’t already firmly entrenched in the other side, that there is more to the story than they are being told.

      1. Much as we all feel your pain we do appreciate your taking of the metaphorical bullet for the rest of us.
        So, lending a copy of this screed is considered a big no no by the publisher. Cannot help but recall a famous quote from a different medium: I aim to misbehave!

      2. I think I found an explanation of why “Wha Happan?” was so badly edited and unreadable.

      3. “We need to know what the book really says and not what the media wants us to believe it says.”

        Yes. I refuse to give any money.

  2. I have me some interest.

    I also have some prejudices. I appreciate the approach you are attempting with this. I trust you to make an honest effort, and will weight your conclusions accordingly.

    In trying to understand this mess, looking solely at Comey, I have to consider the honest Comey model and the dishonest Comey model. (There’s actually a collection of dishonest Comey models, but it is not clear that the distinctions are important.) Comparing a dishonest Comey model to a dishonest HRC model, and the Comey and HRC books, HRC has spent a long time in an environment where she could force people to pretend to believe her lies. Comey has not had that same infrastructure backing him up, so a dishonest Comey would have focused more on making lies invisible or desirable.

    Thank you.

  3. “We are experiencing a dangerous time in our country, with a political environment where basic facts are disputed, fundamental truth is questioned, lying is normalized, and unethical behavior is ignored, excused or rewarded.”
    No shit, Sherlock. Lets see the palms of those white gloves. I’d like a list of these things that are fundamental truths to you and your ilk. Is your glorious righteousness near the top? This smells like Goldman Sachs claiming to do ‘God’s work’.

  4. The medieval tone set by Comey’s book and the title of same, bending knee to one’s liege lord brings to mind another practice of that age, the whipping boy, obligated to take the beatings for a noble’s son’s transgressions.

    Amanda the whipping boy, my first take of your reading this tripe so we don’t have to (thought I wouldn’t have read it anyway.).

    On second thought, since it’s a self imposed penance, ingesting this and Hillary’s regurgitations (Now that’s a disgusting turn of phrase!), leans more toward self flagellation or perhaps martyrdom.

    Amanda, no matter what evil act your committed, even it is one so horrendous as making a mixed drink using 20 year old Scotch, or even worse, Irish whiskey, you’ve more than absolved yourself just by reading Comnel’y aurthor’s note!

    So! I, for one, am waiting impatiently for another bite of Sowell food.

    1. I got something else from the tone of the “gunman in the house” events relayed as the end of Amazon’s Free Sample:

      Comey is a coward.

      Fundamentally, and all the way to the core.

      The other thing I got from the Free Sample is that this is a highly fictionalized account, ghost-written by someone who is accustomed to stretching fact into fiction, and adept at Making Shit Up to fill in the blanks. If it’s not Michael Wolff, it’s certainly someone from the same camp.

      And yes, Amanda, we are grateful that you’re reading and condensing these …pieces of work… so we don’t have to. Please, carry on!

      1. As I recall from the hearings, over and over again, when Comey was asked why he hadn’t spoken up, or given Trump the correct advice, he would say, “Oh, I just wasn’t strong enough” or “I guess I was too weak” or words to that effect. Which means he was admitting to being incompetent, at best. At worst, this was deliberate sabotage.

        1. Yep. $15, $18, or $29, depending on your preferred injection method, for Comey to whine “I didn’t F*up. I didn’t! I didn’t! I didn’t!!! …” /*picture of him stamping his feet*/, of his mind view of historical events (of pure fiction). YMMV

  5. I’m glad someone else has decided to summarize this. Because I just can’t summon up the gumption to repeatedly bang my head against the wall/desk. It might be interesting, but the man has no honestly as far as I can tell, so anything he says (spoken or written) can’t be taken seriously. He might be telling the truth, he might not. His credibility is shot.

  6. You’ve my sympathy for reading this prostitute’s treatise on the rewards of virtue.

    Were it within my means I would treat you to three sessions of psychotherapy to undo the harm, but given what passes for therapists these days I would be honour bound to pay for an additional three sessions to undo the damage of the first three. And so it goes.

  7. Comey comes across as insufferable prat. Trump had good reason to ask heads of law enforcement and intelligence services how loyal they were because they spying on him before and after election. I reckon Comey has done many sketchy things as head of FBI and he has convinced himself that he truth teller to quieten his conscience.

    1. No kidding. I’ve always thought about the supposed “loyalty questions” from Trump as being part of a reasonable effort to defend against a concerted effort by parties inside the DOJ who were/are miss-using their positions to damage the presidency.

      I admit, I am not/have never been a big fan of Trump, but there comes a time when, for the good of the country, we have to support the President rather than tear him down.

  8. When you find a former public ‘servant’ who wants to lecture, then you’re sure to have found someone in love with the sound of their own voice; who either wants to go on a very well paid speaking tour, or ‘teach’ at a university somewhere that pays amazingly well.

    “toss my tablet against the wall”

    Thereby demonstrating one of the superior aspects of printed books over electronic ones.

    When you’re facing a man who supposedly tells you what’s in his hand, but refuses to actually show you his cards, you know he’s a liar and a scoundrel. Treat him accordingly.

    1. “Thereby demonstrating one of the superior aspects of printed books over electronic ones.”

      The paper ones do make such a satisfying “thump” when you hurl them against the wall.

      1. Ah, but a pad hurled with force against concrete. That’s a very temporary thing of beauty as it sparks and shatters into dozens of pieces. Of course it leaves you with a hundred dollars worth of electronic trash.

    2. Hey, going on a well-paid speaking tour and teaching for big money sounds like a nice post-retirement gig. Where can I sign up? 🙂

  9. This is, according to Comey, a time for “ethical leadership”.

    Golly, a time for ethical leadership. This nation has never needed anything like that before, except maybe once or twice, such as when that madman Reagan was provoking nuclear holocaust with the Soviets, or when that crook Nixon attempted to use the tools of government that were reserved for Democrat presidents, like using the IRS to suppress political opponents..

    1. No kidding, right?

      I got on one of our Senator’s facebook list and he posted this statement when we were going to bomb Syria (if that’s good or bad is not part of this question) and he said that only Congress could make those decisions, and then realizing that people were certainly going to say “But Obama?” he wrote something about especially now when the president is an unbalanced lunatic (no, I don’t recall the terms he *actually* used). Because clearly, the rules weren’t so important when you LIKED the guy breaking them.

      So, you know… ethical leadership isn’t that big a deal when you like what the “leader” is up to.

    2. I actually read Nixon only talked about using the IRS, but never actually did it, but that Kennedy did sic the IRS on him previously.

      1. My understanding is that Nixon wanted the IRS to do that, as in storming, “I oughtta have the IRS audit his blankety-blank-blank” but that aids, staff, and the IRS treated it as a tantrum and refused to act on such “orders.”

        But there is no doubt abut JFK & LBJ using them.

  10. Is it just me, or are there an inordinate number of highly placed officials who appear to answer to a “higher calling” than their sworn oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America?
    But then socialism is a religion masquerading as a political system while Islam is a political system masquerading as a religion.
    Both are the natural breeding ground for radicals and fanatics.

    1. “On my honor, I will do my duty, to God and my country..”

      Not a bad statement of a higher calling.

      Oath of Enlistment:
      “I, (state name of enlistee), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

      This also states a higher calling than to the country.

      Commissioned Officers Oath:
      I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

      Same thing. God over country.

      Now look at the President’s Oath of Office:
      :—”I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

      Several Presidents added, “So help me God”; but that’s not required. Also, for government officials oaths of office in the U.S.; “So help me, God” is optional. It would be interesting if Comey swore “So help me, God” or not.

  11. I recently had a conversation over breakfast with ex-wife #2, and she started talking about the Comey interview saying she has no idea how Trump hasn’t been impeached and thrown in jail yet. So I asked her “Specifically, what for?” Mostly she came up with “lying”, “angry tweets”, “obstruction of justice” and “Trump wanting to fire Mueller”.

    Yea, I couldn’t help myself. I, very carefully least I set off an epic argument, had to answer some of that.

    “lying”? Yea… probably. Politicians all do that, but unless it fits some very specific criteria it isn’t impeachable (or criminal for that matter). On the other hand, HRC sure has been caught in a LOT of lies. “I didn’t have an email server”, “My email server was only for private emails”, “Ok… My email server was only for convenience”, “There was never ANY classified information emailed through my server”, “I gave my email server to my lawyer so he could go through and delete personal emails.”, “None of the deleted emails contained classified information.” etc. etc. etc. Never mind said lawyer didn’t have proper clearance, and never mind that later some of those 30,000 deleted emails were found and if I recall, DID contain classified info. So, by giving the server to her lawyer, HRC LITERALLY, KNOWINGLY, illegally disseminated classified information. (Ex-wife #2 didn’t know about any of this)

    “angry tweets”… yea… Not “nice” or all that “presidential” but also not impeachable.

    “obstruction of justice” is just laughable. The “justice” he supposedly “obstructed” went on to become a well-over-a-year-long special prosecutor investigation that STILL hasn’t found anything worthwhile (not saying it won’t, I don’t know if Trump has any skeletons in his closet or how well they are buried). All investigations should be so obstructed… just sayin…

    And lastly “Mueller”… Ya know, I’ve always wanted to find a gang of drug dealing assholes, wait for them to make a big sale so they have a lot of cash, then murder the crap out of them and escape with the loot (hey, it’s way more moral than robbing a bank), but I haven’t done it because I don’t wanna go to jail if I get caught. Hmm… it’s almost as if WANTING to do something, but not actually doing it, isn’t really a crime.

    Then we got onto the subject of Globall Warmening… Sigh… I won’t bore you with the details…

    1. I’m just amused by the fact that she apparently thinks you can go to jail for angry tweets. We’re going to need a lot more prison space…

      1. Naa… it only applies to angry tweets from a President that she hates because… Fascist? Racist? Hate’s women? Yea… she drank DEEPLY from the anti-Trump coolaid. HRC was going to come fix EVERYTHING… just like Obama did. (one has to wonder, if Obama fixed EVERYTHING, why would there be anything left for HRC to fix?)

        1. Stu, you and I need to share a pitcher of beer and commiserate over progressively influenced spouses.

          1. In my defense, ex-wife #2 wasn’t political when I was around. I think it was her most recent “ex” that got her into Leftist politics. Until him, she just couldn’t give a s#!t about it.

            I don’t think ex-wife #1 is political either, but she lives far far away and we haven’t spoken for a VERY long time. There is no ex-wife #3. I gave up dating at all after ex-wife #2 because my kids weren’t taking it very well (something that didn’t stop ex-wife #2 at ALL).

  12. In a way, reaction to Comey’s book reminds me of the Imperial German Chancellor Bernhard von Bülow, whose posthumously-published Memoirs essentially destroyed a decent reputation. The former Kaiser was said to have commented something along the lines of it was the first time he’d seen somebody commit suicide after being dead. In a similar way, by writing and publishing this book, Comey seems to have destroyed what reputation he retained with the public and the politicians of both major parties.

    1. Apparently, the deciding reason for Lin-Manuel Miranda to write Hamilton was discovering that the first Treasury Secretary “blew himself up.” He wrote his way into high position, then shot himself in the foot the same way.

      1. Strange. I thought Aaron Burr was the one who drilled Hamilton. On the other hand, Hamilton had a long history of duels, some 10 or so prior to his Burr encounter. Which kind of leads me to think that if he had that great a capacity for irritating people, he probably deserved to be shot at.

        1. I’m referring to his pamphlet—that he published widely—in which he talked extensively about his adultery in order to clear himself of embezzlement charges. Even his friends looked at him like, Dude. You didn’t need to say THAT much about it.

          1. True, but that wasn’t what destroyed the man — at least, not according to Ron Chernow’s biography which was the basis for the show. The death in a duel of Hamilton’s son seems to have initiated a break-down in judgement and personality which ultimately led to Hamilton’s duel with Burr.

        2. And oh yes, from reading his biography, he was definitely an Odd kind of person. And also highly intelligent but not wise enough to not rub it in people’s faces. You know, irritating.

  13. At one level I can understand a law enforcement officer claiming a ‘higher loyalty’. Especially if loyalty is to the rule of the law and the Constitution of the US. Loyalty to the President of the US actually should be secondary to the rule of law and adherence to the Constitution.

    In the case of Comey his ‘higher loyalty’ seems to be in service to the Democrat party and his own ego. From what I’ve seen of Comey he has damaged his credibility pretty much every single time he’s opened his mouth.

      1. Can’t argue there is a whole lot of ego going on there. At the same time he actively worked to try swing the election to Clinton. That it didn’t work out quite the way he intended is more a statement to his level of intelligence.

        I’m not sure about the rest of you, but I’m sick to death of listening to Progressives go on about things like integrity, honesty, and broken laws when they actively show that they have no honesty or integrity and are just f*ing fine when ‘their’ people break the law.

  14. What”s the over/under on the number of interviewers who ask Comey about McCabe, or about the issue of the director of the FBI leaking classified material?

    Justice Department watchdog sends criminal referral on Andrew McCabe to US attorney
    The Department of Justice’s inspector general sent its conclusion that former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe misled investigators who were looking into leaks to the media to a U.S. attorney to decide whether the ousted FBI official should face criminal charges, according to reports.

  15. “So why did he write the book if not as an exercise in vanity (something he denies). According to Comey, “We are experiencing a dangerous time in our country, with a political environment where basic facts are disputed, fundamental truth is questioned, lying is normalized, and unethical behavior is ignored, excused or rewarded.” ” Eight years with Obama and Mrs. Clinton can do that to a person.

  16. Sowell’s work deserves better than a quick overview. It is important enough to be given careful consideration, even when he writes about things that might make us uncomfortable.

    Hear. Hear. Looking forward to it.

  17. The Dirty Little Secret is that the FBI has been bent for decades. It’s no particular secret that they were engaged in political surveillance for the last 60 years…it’s how Hoover stayed Director for so long. Blackmail files on half of Congress.

    What bothers me is that we’re now watching open sedition, possibly rebellion. And Trump is not nearly as harsh in dealing with it as he needs to be.

    1. Yeah, one of my reservations about Trump is that he apparently isn’t treating this as seriously and as harshly as he ought to be. On the other hand, that has a positive, in that we can be reasonably certain that he isn’t going to pull an FDR on us.

    1. Comey is stringing one Fallacy of Denying the Antecedent after another if I have my logic fallacies correct.

  18. Very Very Off Topic. 😉

    All I can say is WOW!!!!! [Very Big Grin]

  19. Don’t put *too* much effort into this one, Amanda.

    There’s the very real possibility that nobody involved – Comey, the publisher, or the publisher’s ghostwriter – cares what words are in the book, whether it persuades anyone, or whether it sells.

    A fat book contract now seems to be a legal means of moving payola from one account to another. And since publishers are notoriously unable to account for sales or money, the financial trail is effectively broken.

  20. “According to Comey, “We are experiencing a dangerous time in our country, with a political environment where basic facts are disputed, fundamental truth is questioned, lying is normalized, and unethical behavior is ignored, excused or rewarded.””

    Yup, he is right on one thing. unfortunately, he’s part of it, and doesn’t even realize it.

  21. Oh, Amanda…….
    This book might compliment your review of Wha Happen?!?.

    The excerpt on Hot Mic makes it out to be a bit of an expose.

    1. Didst see this in the WSJ newsletter
      Best of the Web?

      Bill Clinton’s Collusion Theory
      A New York Times writer describes Bubba’s suspicions about Trump—and her employer.
      By James Freeman
      With the Trump-Russia collusion theory seemingly running out of gas—and few reporters interested in pursuing theactual evidence of FBI abuses—along comes a new 2016 election memoir offering more conspiracy fun.

      A story today from the website Daily Beast reports on a new book from New York Times writer Amy Chozick, who reported on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. It seems that Mrs. Clinton and her husband thought the Times was too tough on her, especially in its coverage of her mishandling of classified information and related untruths. According to the Daily Beast:

      When all was said and done, according to Chozick’s book, the somewhat acrimonious relationship between the Clinton campaign and The New York Times continued, even after the campaign ended:

      “After the election, Bill would spread a more absurd Times conspiracy: The publisher had struck a deal with Trump that we’d destroy Hillary on her emails to help him get elected, if he kept driving traffic and boosting the company’s stock price.”

      It’s a little amusing to consider the claim that Ms. Chozick published insufficiently favorable coverage of Hillary Clinton. A review of the book in today’s Washington Post provides additional background on the author during the period before she went to work at the Times:

      The first time Chozick, as a young reporter covering the 2008 campaign for the Wall Street Journal, attended a Hillary Clinton town hall, she briefly stood up and started clapping when the candidate walked in. (“What the hell are you doing?” a colleague admonished, tugging at her coat.)

      Kudos to that colleague, whoever you are. As for Bill Clinton’s outlandish response to his wife’s loss, it’s true that Mr. Trump has been the gift that keeps on giving for all of us in the media industry. And it seems that for a while the Clintons also regarded him as a gift. According to the Daily Beast:

      From early on, the Clinton camp saw Trump as an enemy to encourage, Chozick writes. During the campaign, as had been previously reported, there was an effort to elevate Trump into a so-called Pied Piper in order to tie him to the mainstream of the Republican Party.

      “An agenda for an upcoming campaign meeting sent by [Campaign Manager] Robby Mook’s office asked, ‘How do we maximize Trump?’” Chozick writes, describing a time when the GOP primary was still crowded.

      Even as Trump surged in the polls, the Clinton camp still saw him as a danger to stronger candidates rather than such a candidate in his own right, Chozick reports, so that in August 2015, “when the main GOP debate came on, everyone pushed their pizza crust aside and stared transfixed at the TV set… [Campaign Manager] Robby [Mook] salivated when the debate came back on and Trump started to speak. ‘Shhhhh,’ Robby said, practically pressing his nose up to the TV. ‘I’ve gahtz to get me some Trump.’”

      That thought was perhaps what inspired Bill Clinton to participate in an unusual conversation in 2015, while his wife was the Democratic favorite and just weeks before Mr. Trump entered the race for the Republican nomination. In August of that year, the Washington Post reported:

      Former president Bill Clinton had a private telephone conversation in late spring with Donald Trump at the same time that the billionaire investor and reality-television star was nearing a decision to run for the White House, according to associates of both men.

      Four Trump allies and one Clinton associate familiar with the exchange said that Clinton encouraged Trump’s efforts to play a larger role in the Republican Party and offered his own views of the political landscape.

      Clinton’s personal office in New York confirmed that the call occurred in late May, but an aide to Clinton said the 2016 race was never specifically discussed and that it was only a casual chat.

      The Clintons got the opponent they wanted. But today’s review in the Post ticks off the Democratic candidate’s flaws spotted by Ms. Chozick:

      On Clinton’s apparent disdain for the electoral process: “If there was a single unifying force behind her candidacy, it was her obvious desire to get the whole thing over with.” On Clinton’s ambition: “Her only clear vision of the presidency seemed to be herself in it.”

      The Daily Beast relays that when all was said and done, the most difficult job of Election Night 2016 fell to Mr. Mook:

      “Of all the Brooklyn aides, Jen Palmieri had the most pleasant bedside manner,” Chozick writes. “That made her the designated deliverer of bad news to Hillary. But not this time. She told Robby there was no way she was going to tell Hillary she couldn’t win. That’s when Robby, drained and deflated, watching the results with his team in a room down the hall from Hillary’s suite, labored into the hallway of the Peninsula to break the news. Hillary didn’t seem all that surprised. ‘I knew it. I knew this would happen to me….’ Hillary said, now within a couple of inches of his face. ‘They were never going to let me be president.’”

      Never is a long time, but more than a year after an historic election, American voters seem to be rather comfortable with their decision not to let her become President in 2017. This week the Journal’s Joshua Jamerson compared Mrs. Clinton’s 2016 political standing with the results of a new survey:

      Right before the election, the share of people who viewed Hillary Clinton unfavorably was 10 points larger than those with a favorable view of her, according to the Wall Street Journal/NBC poll — a bigger gap than any other recent losing presidential candidate. Our latest poll is a reminder of just how unusual a figure Mrs. Clinton is in terms of her unpopularity.

      Historical WSJ/NBC polling shows that recent losing presidential candidates — Mitt Romney, John McCain, John Kerry and Al Gore — experienced post-election declines in positive sentiment. But Mrs. Clinton’s dropoff is a bit steeper–her positive rating is at a new low of 27%, compared with 52% who have a negative opinion. That spread of 25 percentage points is greater than President Trump’s, who is under water by 18 points.

      It is a truly remarkable result given the volume of media vitriol directed at Mr. Trump. Also, a President is bound to collect some enemies given the necessity of making difficult and often unpopular decisions. Mrs. Clinton, on the other hand, has the freedom to choose the topic, timing and manner of her communications. She recently chose an upscale overseas venue to express another bitter condemnation of American voters who live in economically-depressed areas.

      Why do bad things always happen to her?

      1. For extra schadenfreude, mit sprinkles, try this:

        ‘They Were Never Going to Let Me Be President,’ Hillary Complained on Election Night
        Hillary Clinton reacted to news of her electoral defeat with a resigned acceptance, claiming she knew victory was out of reach all along.

        “I knew it. I knew this would happen to me,” Clinton reportedly said, according to excerpts from a new book published by The Daily Beast. “They were never going to let me be president.”

        Chasing Hillary: Ten Years, Two Presidential Campaigns, and One Intact Glass Ceiling, by New York Times reporter and author Amy Chozick, also captures Clinton’s remorse after describing a subset of Trump supporters as a “basket of deplorables.”

        “I really messed up,” Clinton told aides after uttering the now-infamous phrase during an October 2016 campaign speech in New York, according to Chozick’s book.

        Chozick, who spent a decade reporting on the Clintons, claims the description of Trump supporters represented a familiar refrain for Clinton.

        “Hillary always broke down Trump supporters into three baskets,” Chozick wrote. “The Deplorables always got a laugh, over living-room chats in the Hamptons, at dinner parties under the stars on Martha’s Vineyard, over passed hors d’oeuvres in Beverly Hills, and during sunset cocktails in Silicon Valley.”

        The book goes on to describe the Clintons’ conspiracy theories about the election.

        “After the election, Bill would spread a more absurd Times conspiracy: The publisher had struck a deal with Trump that we’d destroy Hillary on her emails to help him get elected, if he kept driving traffic and boosting the company’s stock price,” Chozick writes.

        Since her defeat, Clinton has found no shortage of external events and actors to blame, from Misogyny to Russian interference to former FBI director James Comey’s public reopening of the investigation into her email server to the control white Republican men supposedly exercise over their wives and professional subordinates.

  22. Amanda, This is a little off topic, but thanks for writing your Here a Format… blog posts. I found them very useful.

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