Letter 2 America for April 24, 2018

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I have been reading James Comey's book for the past few days, and to start with my overall reaction, Comey isn't that great a guy.  The book is almost entirely self-promotional, even when he admits his own character flaws, which I sense he's done so as to defuse any claim that he wrote and published it out of conceit and egotistical need for validation of his sanctimony.  I am just getting to the part of the book that's about Donald Trump, for whom I also have no esteem, but when I have read that portion of Comey's self-authored apologia, I'll have something to say about our beloved president too.  Overall however, I assume there will be no surprises in Comey's treatment of that subject, and on that basis I can say that Trump and Comey deserve each other.

Comey speaks of every controversial decision he has made as if he had no good options, but the traditional conduct of the FBI would have prevented the havoc he has wreaked on both his life and ours.    As a matter of standard practice, in what the FBI as an institution has effectively determined to be the best practice, the FBI neither confirms nor denies the existence of any investigation.  Comey claims that there is a convenient exception for matters of high public interest and significance, and I can't say that such an exception doesn't exist.  But like every American who wishes that the results of our 2016 presidential election could have been more reflective of the majority of Americans'  values and will, I believe that neither the public interest nor the significance of the Clinton emails "matter" were served by Comey.  He voluntarily went before the press and told the world what the FBI was doing, twice in person and twice via letters to congressional leaders that were certain to be leaked the second they left his office, and they were.  His ostensibly tortured deliberations in choosing between what he calls a bad option and catastrophe were a contrivance of his own making.  He justifies his actions by invoking the raging public and media-promoted dialectic over Hillary Clinton's probity, but the choice he made did nothing to mitigate the partisan struggle for popular credence.  No matter what they thought they knew over at Fox News, Comey should have remained invisible instead of strutting before the public like a 6'8" NBA forward at a championship game.  Comey should never have been the story, but he was and is.  That is his doing, not his ineluctable fate.  If he had just said when asked, if asked, that the FBI never either confirms or denies the existence of an investigation, none of this would have happened: no controversy, no autocratic appearances by a star bureaucrat to aggrandize himself, no star status, and no book, nor the money he is going to make from it.  To be honest, I wouldn't have bought it out of a desire to deprive the guy of ill gotten gain, but my wife knows my interest in politics so she got it for me, and I am grateful.  Now I feel that I know that what I suspected is true: both our former FBI director and our president are ignoble people, and their ignoble war of personality has had hundreds of millions of casualties.

If nothing else, the book makes manifest Comey's ability to fool himself into thinking that the typical prosecutor mentality is morally valid.  He discusses one case in which a corrupt but eminent clergyman enlisted some of his minor colleagues to process illicit funds for him.  The schemer was prosecuted and imprisoned, but so was one of his abettors.  Comey speaks of the latter man as an innocent naive victim of the conniving star preacher, but he oversaw the man's prosecution and ruination, as well as his imprisonment.  In a hypocritical flourish meant, I'm sure, to exculpate himself, he made reference to General Patraeus's  suspended sentence for a far worse crime--voluntarily providing state secrets to his lover, who was also his biographer--as if it were evidence of a double standard which prevented Patraeus from getting his just deserts.  It never occurred to him that perhaps it was two standards for two different felonies, and that the na├»ve preacher should have gotten the treatment that Patraeus got instead of the other way around.

I hesitate to use a colloquialism like "weasel" when writing about public figures.  It's too comical in its implication and two informal to be taken as a serious indictment of character.   But to put it bluntly, I can't think of a better word for Comey, and having seen Donald Trump on television news being what he is since I was thirty, I think I would have to include him in the weasel class as well.  Fortunately, they aren't of different sexes or we might have been scourged with a whole family of weasels once they met face to face.  Trump apparently will sleep with anything, and Comey will do anything to get talked about.

Your friend,

Mike

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Wolf published on April 25, 2018 11:10 AM.

Letter 2 America for April 11, 2018 was the previous entry in this blog.

Letter 2 America for May 4, 2018 is the next entry in this blog.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Michael Wolf published on April 25, 2018 11:10 AM.

Letter 2 America for April 11, 2018 was the previous entry in this blog.

Letter 2 America for May 4, 2018 is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.