FBI Director James B. Comey; Friend Or Foe, Self-Serving, or Serving America?

For me, FBI Director James Comey is an enigma.  Being a Democrat and avid supporter of Secretary Hillary Clinton now and during the 2016 presidential race, I was very angry when Director Comey stepped in with about two weeks left until the election and, in my opinion, singlehandedly ruined the election for Secretary Clinton.  He handed it to Donald J. Trump!  Although I have had the opportunity to calm down since the election, I am still upset and concerned that a person with Director Comey’s pristine reputation would take the steps that he took during that election.  I just cannot understand why he was so willing to disregard the norms when it came to Secretary Clinton’s case yet adamantly refused to disregard those same norms in Mr. Trump’s case; a case that had the potential to be exponentially more damaging to the United States as did the one involving Secretary Clinton.

Due in large part to his highly respected reputation on both sides of the aisle, I want to believe that Director Comey is an honest, hardworking and dedicated civil servant who is nonpartisan when it comes to doing his job and that his patriotism is beyond reproach.  That is why I continue to try to figure him out.  A recent article in The New York Times by Matt Apuzzo, Michael S. Schmidt, Adam Goldman and Eric Lichblau entitled ‘Comey Tried to Shield the F.B.I. From Politics.  Then He Shaped an Election.’ attempts to shed some light on why he made the decisions that he made during the 2016 presidential election.  But depending on your perspective, it raises as many questions as it seeks to answer.  Further, it causes one to contemplate the fact that even if Director Comey’s decisions were totally innocent ones that were not at all influenced by partisanship or other nefarious factors, they were bad decisions and he should be held accountable for making them.

Whether or not Director Comey’s decisions were directly responsible for turning the election that, even according to Director Comey’s projection Secretary Clinton would obviously win, into a victory for Mr. Trump, there is little doubt that they played a major role.  In the previously mentioned article, Director Comey said “We’re not considering whose ox will be gored by this action or that action, whose fortune will be helped.  We just don’t care.  We can’t care.  We only ask: ‘What are the facts?  What is the law?'”  It appears, however, that it did matter whose ox would be gored.  Because when it came to deciding whether or not Director Comey’s ox would be gored by way of either indelibly staining or ruining his personal reputation or that of the F.B.I. organization, Director Comey chose to avoid the goring of his ox at all costs.  Many Democrats remain angry that among the oxen that remained to be gored that Director Comey ultimately chose the Clinton ox as the one that would be the, so to speak, sacrificial lamb.  They continue to wonder what Director Comey’s rationale was in helping him to make this choice.

Director Comey made and stood by these decisions even though he knew that he would be bucking his boss and breaking longstanding norms of the Justice Department and the F.B.I.  He made them even though he knew that he was running the risk of shaping a momentous election.  Perhaps the ultimate choices that he made were innocent ones…or perhaps they were not.  Perhaps his choices were not at all unlike those that the head of any other department in government would have made…or perhaps they were not.  But the questions that surround those choices remain unanswered and may never be answered…  Perhaps.  Yet those are the very questions that beg to be answered because they are intricate ingredients in the mixture that comprise the substance of F.B.I. Director James B. Comey’s makeup; the DNA that can explain why he is an enigma and may always remain as such…  Perhaps.

Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line

Senator Elizabeth Warren: This Fight Is Our Fight.

Senator Elizabeth Warren is inspiring whether you agree with her politics or not.  I happen to be among those who agree with her on almost all of the political issues so when I listened to her speak during the course of her interview on the April 19th Rachel Maddow Show I took her message to heart.  I was riveted to the TV as she passionately spoke about how democracy has changed recently and what the masses need to do to assure that Mr. Trump will not ruin our country during his tenure in office.  She said that voters, whether they are Democrats, Republicans, Independents, or Libertarians cannot afford to sit back and just vote every four years.  She said that we must get informed, get involved, and stay informed and involved in order to help preserve our democracy.

I took the title of this article from the title of Senator Warren’s new book because based on the excerpts that Ms. Maddow read from it and the comments that she and Senator Warren made, it explains to voters what we need to do to get organized and stand up to Mr. Trump.  She further said that we will have to fight and that we will be knocked down and that we will lose some fights.  But, she said, we have to get up and keep right on fighting because by fighting – even if we lose, it develops an attitude; a positive attitude that will help us to always remain in the fight.  I plan to purchase her book and I hope that you will do so too; especially if you are among those who do not closely follow politics and tend to only vote during presidential elections.

Senator Warren said that we should not focus on what Mr. Trump says but on what he does because he is a dangerous man who continues to deal blow-after-blow to the middle class and poor and that many of the things that he is doing are having a negative impact on democracy as we now know it.  I agree with her 100%.  This fight is our fight and we cannot just stand back and watch someone else fight it for us!  Senator Warren also said that those who have been protesting against Mr. Trump and fighting back are not all Democrats; many are Republicans and Independents.

If this article strikes you as a promo for Senator Warren and her latest book, it is not meant to be that.  But I do want to do my part, no matter how small, to help her get the message out that all of us must continue to fight.  I want to do that because it is a meaningful message that all Americans need to hear.  It does not matter whether those Americans are Democrats, Republicans, Independents, or Libertarians; a meaningful and robust democracy should be the goal of all of us.

So no matter which team you are on, let’s suit up and fight for those things that are important to us; those things that are near-and-dear to our heart.  Let’s not be distracted from the fact that Russia interfered with our 2016 presidential election by Mr. Trump’s antics and smoke-and-mirrors tactics.  But instead, let’s remain focused and fight.  That way, although it might take more time than we would like for it to take to get to the bottom of this investigation of Russian interference in our election, we will get to the bottom of it.  We will find out which, if any, of those in the Trump administration colluded with the Russians in this nefarious intrusion into our politics.  Although it matters and is an important piece of the puzzle, the point is not whether they did it to help Mr. Trump win the election or to simply obfuscate to destroy the American voters confidence in our election system.  The most important thing is to find out if they actually interfered in the election and if they did, to amass as much proof as possible to support our conclusions.  Any consequences for those involved in this interference can then be determined and dispensed when and as appropriate.  No effort by anyone, foreign or domestic, to weaken America and our democracy should be tolerated.

Are you ready to fight?

Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line

Voters, Calling All Voters; Democrats, Republicans and Independents!

I have said it many times before, I will say it again now, and I will continue to say it as long as he continues to do it.  Mr. Trump continues to thumb his nose at congress and all voters whether they are Democrats, Republicans, or Independents.  He even thumbs his nose at those voters who voted for him when they dare to ask him to explain anything that is not in line with his thinking on how those things should be handled.  Things like his income tax returns, who is visiting the White House, who is visiting him at Mar-a-Lago and other – perhaps less ominous – things like why is he visiting Mar-a-Lago so often and playing golf so much since he complained about how much President Obama’s travel was costing America and how much time he was spending playing golf and then saying how he, if elected president, would just stay at the White House and “work my ass off for the country”.  Mr. Trump is conducting himself more like a king than a president.

While he is making a mockery of the Emoluments Clause and laughing off the longstanding norms regarding the avoidance of nepotism – which his son Eric says is a beautiful thing, he is continuing to busy himself with destroying the State Department, dragging down the Justice Department, ruining America’s reputation and to the greatest extent possible, dismantling everything that President Obama implemented during his term in office.  During the whole time that he has been doing this, the Republican congress has been protecting him.  They have continued to protect him despite the fact that their constituents have been demonstrating against Mr. Trump and demanding that he release his tax return information and demanding that congress not repeal Obamacare.

Mr. Trump’s business dealings and the fact that he continues to refuse to divest himself of his many businesses raises many questions as regards how those businesses impact on him personally: can he be compromised by domestic or foreign enemies as a result of those business ties and/or dealings?  Has he already been compromised?  These are things that we do not know and that is why these questions and others like them need to be answered.  And they need to be answered quickly.  Because Mr. Trump refuses to cooperate and help America to get the answers to these questions and do it as expeditiously as possible, it might be necessary to force him to cooperate.

One way to force Mr. Trump to cooperate is via the Emoluments Clause.  But in order to effectively use this clause as leverage, Mr. Trump will likely have to be sued.  Not just anyone can sue him using this clause; whoever sues him must have standing.  In other words, they must be able to prove to the court that they have been harmed as a result of his shunning of the Emoluments Clause.  That generally means that not just any American citizen, like you or me, can sue Mr. Trump based on this clause.  And it further means that there is a relatively small number of people or entities that can sue him.  Congress is among that number that can.  But with the way that they have been protecting Mr. Trump, the chances of congress investigating him at all, let alone suing him to augment the chance that such an investigation will actually occur, are slim-to-none.  There are some businesses that likely have standing.  And at this point – should they choose to sue him, that is about the best shot available to American voters who want to see this matter cleared up to attain an investigation that is based on Emoluments.

It seems that Republicans believe that because they hold so much power at the federal and state levels and because of all of the gerrymandering that they have done recently that they are invincible.  They have been emboldened by Mr. Trump’s baseline constituents to the point that they feel that they can even ignore the demands of their overall constituents.  This is due in part to them depending upon voters in general to have their usual short memories; especially if come election time Republicans have had some victories and candidates shower voters with sleek sound bites and ads.

I would venture to say that for many years now, far too many of us have opted to base our vote on the sleek sound bites and ads; and especially during the 2016 presidential election.  Look what we got.  A lot of voters are obviously happy with what we got but the majority are unhappy with the results.  Many of those who thought that Mr. Trump was who they wanted to be president based on all of his glowing promises now realize that those were empty promises.  They realize that his promises, just like his word, are not steadfast; both things depend on how much positive attention it will bring him and how popular it will make him if followed through upon.  And because he has failed to deliver on many of his promises because they proved to be unpopular and because he went back on his word for the same reason, those supporters are having voters’ remorse.

So voters, the time will arrive in 2018 and 2020 when we once again will have to decide whether or not we will hold our elected officials accountable.  And once again we will have to decide if we will vote based on candidates voting records and accomplishments or on their sleek sound bites and ads.  We seem to have developed a reputation for voting based on the latter.  If this were not the case, politicians would not spend boatloads of money and time on sleek sound bites and ads during each election cycle.

Let’s surprise them this time by stripping them of their longstanding ability to play political games with us voters.  Let’s get informed now and stay informed.  Let’s take some time to think about the situation between now and the elections in 2018 and 2020.  Then, during each of those election cycles, let’s show our elected officials that we have not forgotten how they have treated us and that we will hold them accountable.  If they have done the job that we elected them to do, then let’s reward them by way of our vote; if they have not done it, then let’s punish them by way of our vote.  And whether you are a Democrat, Republican or Independent; and whether you decide to reward them or to punish them always remember, your vote is the most important one of all…unless you don’t use it!

Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line

Mitch McConnell-Led GOP Theft Of SCOTUS Seat Accomplished

In a GOP fashion that brings back memories of Supreme Court decisions like Bush v Gore, Citizens United and Shelby County – which gutted the Voting Rights Act, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his Republican colleagues sealed the deal on the SCOTUS nomination that they stole from President Barack Obama.  With cunning and prowess that far surpasses that of the world’s best thief in the night, Majority Leader McConnell and his band of modern day Robin Hoods successfully carried out the first step of their rob from the poor and give to the rich GOP agenda.  They will need the Supreme Court to remain stacked in their favor if they are to be successful in continuing to secure decisions like the three previously mentioned ones.

I completely agree with the opinion expressed by E. J. Dion, Jr. in the article that he wrote in the Washington Post on 4/5/17 where he mentioned Bush v Gore, Citizens United and Shelby County.  In the event that you would like to read that article just click on the title; it is ‘The Gorsuch filibuster is about far more than Payback‘.  In previous articles that I posted to this sight I questioned whether the senate should move forward with confirmation proceedings on a SCOTUS nominee selected by Mr. Trump while his administration is under the shadow of numerous scandals, especially the one involving Russia.  Further, although it is less ominous it is still important, the nominee was hand-picked by a hard-right organization and his nomination is supported by millions of dollars in dark money.  Why is this?  Under these circumstances, it is reasonable for senate Democrats to question whether this is a mainstream nominee.

There are Democrats who  openly asked prior to the beginning of the confirmation proceedings whether Democrats should take on this fight since there was little doubt that Neil Gorsuch would be confirmed.  The answer to that question is ‘yes’.  Because bullies will never stop conducting themselves like bullies unless they are forced to do so.  If there is never a price to be paid and nothing is ever extracted from them as a result of their behavior, they will always act this way.  But even when they win, if they are required to pay a price, despite how small – especially when it leaves a scar, they will be more likely to change their ways.

In this case involving the SCOTUS nominee, Republicans won but they received a scar.  That scar can be all but forgotten by them but it cannot be removed.  And from this point forward, each time that they contemplate bullying their way into imposing their will on Democrats simply because they are the minority party without first making a reasonable effort to find common ground, they will look at that scar and reflect on the fact that there will be a price that must be paid should they take that action.  They will realize that Democrats have finally realized that they have a backbone, know what its purpose is, and know how and when to use it.

Senate Majority Leader McConnell used the so-called nuclear option and he and his Republican colleagues are spinning it in such a way as to blame the Democrats for bringing it about.  They said that the Democrats started this fight when former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid used the ‘nuclear option’ in 2013 to allow confirmation of federal judges nominated by President Obama.  However, what Majority Leader McConnell and his fellow Republicans fail to mention is that Republicans and then Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell – who had vowed that his number one priority was to make President Obama a one term president, had said no to virtually any proposed legislation that President Obama offered up even if Republicans had previously supported that very same legislation.  They also failed to mention that Republicans continued to conduct themselves in this same vein until President Obama completed his second 4 years in office and that that is how they preserved the most recent SCOTUS nomination for Mr. Trump.

In a recent article in the Hill by Jordain Carney, Leader McConnell said “Our Democrat colleagues have done something today that is unprecedented in the history of the Senate.  Unfortunately, it has brought us to this point.  We need to restore the norms and traditions of the Senate and get past this unprecedented partisan filibuster.”  Hogwash!  He was being much too kind to himself and his band of merry men in his effort to justify their theft of a SCOTUS nomination and how they had to go about sealing the deal.  That scar will forever remain a part of Leader McConnell’s legacy and, hopefully, will serve to always remind the Republican majority that it was them – led by Mitch McConnell, who opted to change the senate rules without any effort to compromise, in order to secure a stolen SCOTUS seat and thereby hand Mr. Trump and his young administration a much needed victory.

History will provide Majority Leader McConnell and his Republican senate colleagues with an endless amount of time to contemplate whether or not their theft and that ultimate victory was worth it.  Rather than accept Majority Leader McConnell’s spin, I believe that Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley got it exactly right.  According to a Reuters article by Lawrence Hurley and Andrew Chung, Senator Merkley, ‘when referring to Republicans casting aside Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland, who would have tilted the court to the left for the first time in decades said; “Today, for the first time in history, the theft of a Supreme Court seat has been completed, profoundly damaging the integrity of the court.”‘

Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line