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H2O Man

(73,995 posts)
Thu May 30, 2013, 08:41 PM May 2013

Comey: The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly

“I don’t care about politics. I don’t care about expediency. I don’t care about friendship. I care about doing the right thing.”
-- James Comey; US Senate confirmation hearings, October 2003.


On May 29, 2013, it was announced that President Obama would appoint James Comey to replace Robert Mueller III as the director of the FBI. This does not come as a surprise, since Comey is one of President Obama’s potential next choices for a seat on the US Supreme Court. It seems fair to say, however, that not all Democrats are pleased with Comey being appointed as FBI director, and that the possibility of his being placed on the USSC would be viewed negatively by those same folks.

Not surprisingly, a number of forum members here have voiced opposition to yesterday’s White House announcement. Likewise, some expressed support, and still others are taking a “wait-and-see” position. Because of this, I thought it might be worthwhile for me to contribute an essay that takes an objective look at Comey.

There are enough “good” and “bad” things about James B. Comey, Jr., that I’m confident this can only serve to reinforce the opinions people have already had about him. In fact, I’d be shocked if anything that I know about him changes anyone’s thinking about him being selected to serve as the director of the FBI. But I did notice that a few opinions that have been expressed about Comey suggested that he is relatively unknown to many forum participants.

Comey graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1982. He majored in chemistry and religion. Curiously, for his thesis, he wrote a comparison of the theology of Reinhold Niebuhr and Jerry Falwell, a snake oil salesman who was exercising significant political influence at that time. In my opinion, that was an interesting topic for a 22-year old to consider at the time.

Three years later, he earned his degree at the University of Chicago Law School. He served as a clerk to US District Court Judge John Walker, Jr.; and then joined a law firm. Comey also taught at the University of Richmond School of Law.

From 1996 to 2001, Comey was a deputy at the US Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York. He prosecuted the Gambino crime family, and was lead prosecutor in the Khobar Towers bombing case.

In 2001, NY Senator Chuck Schumer helped get Comey appointed as the US Attorney for the Southern District, NY. He started in that position in January, 2002. His primary focus there was prosecuting corporate crimes. One of the cases that came up involved Martha Stewart, who was being investigated for securities fraud and obstruction of justice. Comey would prosecute Stewart for the obstruction charge.

On December 11, 2003, Comey became second in charge of the Office of the Attorney General. Being selected by the Bush White House to serve John Ashcroft gives us good reason to question if President Obama is making a terrible choice now. Let’s take a minute to consider why he was picked then, and how he served Ashcroft.

Let’s start by agreeing that John Ashcroft is a bad example of humanity, and an even worse politician. Uptight, judgmental, and a close personal friend of Injustice Clarence Thomas, Ashcroft is the type of “christian” who would reject Reinhold while embracing Falwell. As two-term governor of Missouri, Ashcroft was a typical “law and order” republican: he increased the number of both police, and inmates serving long sentences in state prison. And he was strongly opposed to “hate crimes” legislation.

Ashcroft also served in the US Senate. His primary role was being a lap dog for industry. However, he did join Russ Feingold in holding hearings on racial profiling, and stated that it was clearly unconstitutional. Ashcroft even recommended that police be ordered to keep statistics on those they pulled over, etc.

Now, let’s be clear: John Ashcroft did not do this for the right reason. Rather, he was ambitious, believing that he had the “right stuff” to win the presidency. After Al Gore won the 2000 presidential election, and Clarence and friends over-ruled the American voters by installing George W. Bush instead, Ashcroft took the position of Attorney General. He hoped it would add to his list of qualifications for high office in the future.

The Bush-Cheney administration included two sects (which did have some overlap). There were Cheney’s necroconservatives, in charge of “foreign policy” ( this included oil interests and war hawks). Another group, which included Ashcroft, had domestic policy as their primary interest; this group included several Yale “skull & bones” fellows, by no coincidence.

This is not to suggest that Ashcroft would oppose the Cheneyites’ war policies in the Middle East. Indeed, his perverted form of christianity was invested in the very concept. However, by mid-2003, the administration was involved in the war in Afghanistan and in Iraq, and dealing with both the Patriot Act and the Plame Scandal at home. This created problems for Ashcroft. Friends told journalists that these events caused as much trouble for poor John as his wife’s discovering that he was engaged in a kinky sexual affair with Michelle Bachman. (Okay: I just made that last part up ….not so much out of thin air, as being the result of the cold beer I am consuming in the 90+ degree upstate New York weather. Still, I have no evidence that it is NOT true, enough to convict many in America.)

It wasn’t only people like Karl Rove and Scooter Libby who were becoming the focus of controversy. Alberto Gonzales and others closer to Ashcroft than Cheney were also sitting on the hot seat. Ashcroft brought in Comey so that he could recuse himself from certain controversies -- a practice that should not inspire trust in Attorney Generals, in my view. And, again, it is important to keep in mind that at this time, Ashcroft was still intent upon a future presidential run.

In March, 2003, the Justice Department deemed the domestic spying program “Stellar Wind” to be illegal. The following day, Ashcroft became seriously ill with pancreatitis, and was hospitalized in rough condition. Comey, as acting director of the Justice Department, refused to sign on to the spy program. Thus, Andrew Card and Alberto Gonzales were dispatched to the Washington University Hospital to have Ashcroft “sign” on to Stellar Wind.

Alerted to this, Comey and Jack Goldsmith (also from Justice), rushed to the hospital to keep Ashcroft’s limp, semi-conscious body from “signing” the papers Card and Gonzales were bringing. At the time, the limp and para-conscious corporate media hinted at what was going on, but it wasn’t until Comey’s May 16, 2007 testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee that Comey confirmed what had happened.

Comey testified that both Robert Mueller and he were prepared to resign in protest, if President Bush had signed the objectionable parts of the NSA’s domestic surveillance program into law. Bush was alerted to the potentially damaging resignations -- more were preparing to join Mueller and Comey -- and so he met with Comey. (His testimony indicated that Comey was shocked at how uninformed Bush was of what was the Cheneyites’ policy.) Bush made minor changes, and over-ruled Justice.

Certainly, one can make a solid case that Comey should have opposed the Patriot Act, and programs like “Stellar Wind” more forcefully, and resigned when Bush decided to follow most of VP Cheney’s unconstitutional plan for the militarization of American society. And that is an important point -- at least in my opinion: the USA is not a police state today, it’s a military state. And as a military state, that Bill of Rights is being crushed and destroyed.

Comey was involved in the investigation of a related series of crimes, known collectively as the “Plame Scandal.” During his confirmation hearings, Senator Schumer had asked James pointedly what he was prepared to do about the scandal? Comey said that he would have an answer for Schumer in early January. In fact, he would appoint Patrick Fitzgerald as the special prosecutor to handle the case.

There were republicans who strongly opposed Fitzgerald’s being appointed to anything. Two examples are Peter Fitzgerald (Senator) and Dennis Hastert ( Governor/ Congressman).Hastert, for younger readers, was a sad excuse for a Speaker of the House. After Newt Gingrich stepped down in utter disgrace in 1998, the republican party picked Bob Livingston to serve as Speaker; Hustler magazine put an end to that. Their next choice was Dick Armey; he was exposed as being himself. Next, they looked to Tom DeLay. Finally, they agreed upon the 4th choice -- Dennis Hastert. (See the September 2005 article in Vanity Fair per Sibel Edmonds’ information on Hastert’s friendship with a Turkish target of intelligence surveillance.)

On December 30, Comey named Fitzgerald to handle the Plame Scandal; Will Pitt wrote what I consider the best article on the scandal to date; and I joined the Democratic Underground.

The investigation began as an effort to determine if the “leak” of Valerie Plame’s name had violated the Intelligence Identities Security Act. Early on, Fitzgerald saw that there was a coordinated effort -- coming specifically from the Office of the Vice President -- to cover-up accurate information on the scandal. Hence, Fitzgerald approached Comey, and convinced him to write a letter that officially expanded the scope of the investigation -- to include going after those engaged in the cover-up.

The rest of that chapter is fairly well-known. Fitzgerald was successful in prosecuting Cheney’s top aide, Scooter Libby, on numerous felony charges. I had hoped that he would also prosecute Cheney, even though it was possible, even likely, that Dick would have been found “not guilty.” (Also, like his soul mate Dick Nixon per Watergate, Cheney believed that multiple claims of “national security” would have prevented his criminal prosecution.) Fitzgerald did offer his documentation of the case to Congress, should the House be interested in considering impeachment.

Since serving during the Bush administration, Comey has been employed by large corporations. Obviously, I think that is a big minus; the overlap between industry and government is the most dangerous threat to the United States. He is a registered republican, and donated to the campaigns of McCain and Romney.

In a perfect world, there would be no need for an FBI. In today’s world, the actual needs for justice should result in someone with the character of Senator Elizabeth Warren serving as the agency’s director -- or as Attorney General. But that isn’t going to happen. And it’s not only because of the repulsive republican jackasses in Washington. It’s because this administration includes people like Eric Holder.

Because of the limited options -- not to mention that people like you and I have no say whatsoever in this -- I think that Jim Comey is probably the very best choice that President Obama could make. At least Comey has, to an extent that exceeds almost any Democrat in DC, stood up on principle a few times. He has advocated prosecuting criminals from the bowels of the corporate government. And, while he is probably not someone that most of us would enjoy having a beer with, he appears to have some respect for the Bill of Rights.

Peace,
H2O Man

71 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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Comey: The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly (Original Post) H2O Man May 2013 OP
Thanks, H20 Man. ucrdem May 2013 #1
I just read H2O Man May 2013 #3
I don't think the ACLU memo accurately characterizes Comey's role in the DOJ signoff. ucrdem May 2013 #6
Except that Comey, despite his reservations, ultimately did endorse torture. Luminous Animal May 2013 #10
No, he did not. Read the memos. Here's the full context for that quotation: ucrdem May 2013 #11
That's not how I'm reading it... dreamnightwind May 2013 #24
There were 2 DOJ opinions. The second was the torture green light. ucrdem May 2013 #26
Interesting. H2O Man May 2013 #28
Weird. Yes, that helps dreamnightwind May 2013 #29
It is weird, isn't it? ucrdem May 2013 #32
Greenwald was clear then that Comey signed off on the use of torture and he is clear now: Luminous Animal May 2013 #39
Wrong. Comey signed off on analysis of individual techniques. ucrdem May 2013 #41
Hahahaha!!! Yes. Analysis. Luminous Animal May 2013 #42
Yes indeed. Forget GG, he can't keep his story straight for the length of one column ucrdem May 2013 #47
Comey signed off on the use of all 13 methods of torture when used individually... Luminous Animal May 2013 #37
The memos are classified. Read the emails. nt ucrdem May 2013 #40
Thanks, I have read this (after I made my post) dreamnightwind Jun 2013 #63
I respect your opinion in this. CaliforniaPeggy May 2013 #2
Thanks! H2O Man May 2013 #4
Kick n/t Tx4obama May 2013 #5
Thanks for this Post...You were out there then posting...so you know what went on. KoKo May 2013 #7
Comey did his job when the rubber met the road, is it time for looking back by any shraby May 2013 #8
Mediocre Republicans are the best we can expect Obama to appoint Bluenorthwest May 2013 #9
+1000 forestpath May 2013 #14
k&r... spanone May 2013 #12
Well written informative OP, and a k&R for the term "necroconservatives" Dragonfli May 2013 #13
I believe that H2O Man May 2013 #56
Jaysus, Obama Has Gone And Picked Another Damn Republican Me. May 2013 #15
PS Me. May 2013 #17
"Because of the limited options" I don't buy that. bahrbearian May 2013 #16
For sake of discussion, H2O Man May 2013 #19
I have no way of knowing any short list or of any possible candidates. bahrbearian May 2013 #34
Solid answer. H2O Man May 2013 #35
To cross to the other side you have to swim against the current sometime. Swimming with the current bahrbearian May 2013 #38
The culture of the FBI itself needs also to be taken into account. scarletwoman May 2013 #49
Interesting. H2O Man May 2013 #50
It is in the upper levels of the bureaucracy where the power games are played. scarletwoman May 2013 #51
Exactly right. H2O Man May 2013 #53
very tiny point of order grasswire May 2013 #18
Great OP! What gets me is that this is the freakin' FBI we're talking about. One of the foundational scarletwoman May 2013 #20
Right. It would seem H2O Man May 2013 #21
Arlo Guthrie is a Republican, last time I heard him talk about it Bluenorthwest May 2013 #43
that sounds impossible. any link? nt tomp Jun 2013 #57
PLEASE don't let THAT be true ... brett_jv Jun 2013 #62
Angela Davis! n/t malthaussen May 2013 #46
I only wish H2O Man May 2013 #54
I respect your opinion on this, H2O Man. I am soo sick of the lesser of two evil choices, but Mnemosyne May 2013 #22
Yep, good, bad, and ugly all wrapped up in one neat package rocktivity May 2013 #23
Good post until last paragraphgh dreamnightwind May 2013 #25
Perhaps I am confused, H2O Man May 2013 #27
Not sure about the confusion dreamnightwind May 2013 #31
The problem with that conclusion is that anyone can apply it to any issue and thus Bluenorthwest May 2013 #44
An activist has to H2O Man May 2013 #45
I did not suggest some 100% devotion to anything, I simply noted that the concluding Bluenorthwest Jun 2013 #61
Post removed Post removed Jun 2013 #64
Cool Story, Bro: And One Damned Funny Letter You Wrote There.... The Magistrate Jun 2013 #65
Message auto-removed Name removed Jun 2013 #66
Of Course It Is, Sir.... The Magistrate Jun 2013 #67
Message auto-removed Name removed Jun 2013 #68
Evidently, Sir, Your Fantasy World Contains A Great Deal.... The Magistrate Jun 2013 #69
Message auto-removed Name removed Jun 2013 #70
"But as for the real men, like me, we can't afford that luxury. We can't afford to mock." The Magistrate Jun 2013 #71
Hollingsworth v Perry H2O Man May 2013 #30
Really? But he also donated to Mittens for President, so what sort of 'favoring' is that Bluenorthwest Jun 2013 #60
morning kick (nt) scarletwoman May 2013 #33
This is concurrently well-written, informative, and highly depressing. bullwinkle428 May 2013 #36
Thanks. H2O Man May 2013 #55
Once he got paid, Angel Eyes always saw the job through. Octafish May 2013 #48
I'd like to think H2O Man May 2013 #52
I fully support Comey. He PHYSICALLY stood up to the bastards in 2003, which is more than.... PassingFair Jun 2013 #58
A Good Rule of Thumb warrprayer Jun 2013 #59

ucrdem

(15,512 posts)
1. Thanks, H20 Man.
Thu May 30, 2013, 08:49 PM
May 2013

From what I've been able to gather I would agree with your conclusion regarding Comey which I'll repost:

Because of the limited options -- not to mention that people like you and I have no say whatsoever in this -- I think that Jim Comey is probably the very best choice that President Obama could make. At least Comey has, to an extent that exceeds almost any Democrat in DC, stood up on principle a few times. He has advocated prosecuting criminals from the bowels of the corporate government. And, while he is probably not someone that most of us would enjoy having a beer with, he appears to have some respect for the Bill of Rights.


I'm not sure I agree with you on all points, for example Holder, but this is a very interesting and thoughtful analysis and greatly appreciated!

H2O Man

(73,995 posts)
3. I just read
Thu May 30, 2013, 08:53 PM
May 2013

another OP on Comey .... the ACLU makes some extremely important points on his connections with torture, etc, in the "war on terror." I certainly recognize that he has serious flaws, and that they are absolutely troubling. But I don't think there is any chance of someone better being named as director -- though there are other, worse options.

ucrdem

(15,512 posts)
6. I don't think the ACLU memo accurately characterizes Comey's role in the DOJ signoff.
Thu May 30, 2013, 09:02 PM
May 2013

Here's my beef with it: http://www.democraticunderground.com/10022923831#post51

The ACLU writes,

Specifically, the publicly available evidence indicates Comey signed off on enhanced interrogation techniques that constitute torture, including waterboarding.


The 2005 Comey torture memos published by the NYT contradict this claim so I'd be interested in seeing the ACLU's "publicly available evidence." Here's a Greenwald column linking to the memos and defending Comey:

http://www.salon.com/2009/06/07/torture_memos/

In this case I'd agree with GG to the extent that Comey clearly isn't signing off on torture.

Luminous Animal

(27,310 posts)
10. Except that Comey, despite his reservations, ultimately did endorse torture.
Thu May 30, 2013, 09:15 PM
May 2013
Then there's Comey's mixed and quite murky role in authorizing Bush's torture program. Internal DOJ emails released to the New York Times in 2009 show Comey expressing serious reservations, and even objections, to the willingness of Albert Gonzales to legally authorize any interrogation techniques the White House wanted, and he warned those officials that their involvement would be condemned by history. But even as he did so, Comey, as the New York Times explained, eventually, albeit reluctantly, gave his legal approval to those techniques:

"Previously undisclosed Justice Department e-mail messages, interviews and newly declassified documents show that some of the lawyers, including James B. Comey, the deputy attorney general who argued repeatedly that the United States would regret using harsh methods, went along with a 2005 legal opinion asserting that the techniques used by the Central Intelligence Agency were lawful.

"That opinion, giving the green light for the CIA to use all 13 methods in interrogating terrorism suspects, including waterboarding and up to 180 hours of sleep deprivation, 'was ready to go out and I concurred,' Mr. Comey wrote to a colleague in an April 27, 2005, e-mail message obtained by The New York Times."


As I wrote at the time, the NYT article significantly overstated Comey's role in approving these torture programs. But it is true that he ultimately acquiesced to their legalization.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/30/james-comey-fbi-bush-nsa

ucrdem

(15,512 posts)
11. No, he did not. Read the memos. Here's the full context for that quotation:
Thu May 30, 2013, 09:22 PM
May 2013


The second opinion is the one approving torture.

p.s. Glenn was right the first time. Be grateful for small favors.

dreamnightwind

(4,775 posts)
24. That's not how I'm reading it...
Thu May 30, 2013, 11:24 PM
May 2013

"That opinion, giving the green light for the CIA to use all 13 methods in interrogating terrorism suspects, including waterboarding and up to 180 hours of sleep deprivation, 'was ready to go out and I concurred,' Mr. Comey wrote to a colleague in an April 27, 2005, e-mail message obtained by The New York Times."

It looks to me that this email was sent out by Comey after the quote you used above, which would mean that, although he had reservations and thought the Justice Department would eventually regret it, he concurred to the 2nd opinion (the one endorsing torture).

If I am wrong, how?

ucrdem

(15,512 posts)
26. There were 2 DOJ opinions. The second was the torture green light.
Thu May 30, 2013, 11:53 PM
May 2013

Comey approved the first but strongly disapproved the second. He expressed this to his boss, AG Gonzalez, who nevertheless went into a May 31, 2005 WH meeting and gave Cheney what he wanted, i.e. approval of both opinions.

The NYT article of June 6, 2009, includes links to three Comey emails discussing this meeting, but in the paragraph you quoted, misrepresents their content so as to make it seem that Comey approved the 2nd opinion when he clearly did not. Link to NYT article (you might need to sign in):

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/07/us/politics/07lawyers.html?hp&_r=0

Comey states his objection several times in the 3 emails, and in the passage I posted here, it's clear that "I concurred" refers to the first opinion, but not the second. Link to the 3 emails, which I recommend reading, here:

http://static1.firedoglake.com/28/files//2009/06/050427-comey-emails-compressed.pdf

Greenwald wrote a June 7, 2009 Salon column pointing out that the NYT was lying, link here, with many thanks to ProSense for her post earlier this evening:

http://www.salon.com/2009/06/07/torture_memos/

Now that Comey is headed into the Obama administration, Greenwald has apparently changed his tune, and wants to pretend that the NYT article was right all along. Well, it wasn't, and here's the proof one more time, from the 2nd email, dated April 28, 2005:



Hope that helps!

dreamnightwind

(4,775 posts)
29. Weird. Yes, that helps
Fri May 31, 2013, 12:39 AM
May 2013

Thanks for taking the time to spell it out. I'm catching up with this a little late. Very sloppy (at best) by the Times.

This isn't going to change my opinion of the Comey pick, I think it's a lousy pick for a number of reasons, but I do like to get things right when possible, rather than base opinions on errors, and your post cleared one up for me, so thanks And though I don't like the pick, it is certainly better that Comey was opposed to torture rather than supporting it.

ucrdem

(15,512 posts)
32. It is weird, isn't it?
Fri May 31, 2013, 01:39 AM
May 2013

But not unusual. You'd think the paper of record would do better, especially when they include a link to the emails in an interactive feature complete with helpful annotations:

http://documents.nytimes.com/justice-department-communication-on-interrogation-opinions#p=1

Luminous Animal

(27,310 posts)
39. Greenwald was clear then that Comey signed off on the use of torture and he is clear now:
Fri May 31, 2013, 11:00 AM
May 2013

The part that you missed:

It’s worth noting that all of the officials involved in these events — including Comey — are right-wing ideologues appointed by George Bush. That’s why they were appointed. The fact that Comey was willing to go along with approval of these tactics when used individually — just as is true of his willingness to endorse a modified version of Bush’s NSA warrantless eavesdropping program in the face of FISA — hardly proves that there was a good-faith basis for the view that these individual tactics were legal.


http://www.salon.com/2009/06/07/torture_memos/

What Comey was unwilling to sign off on was the combined usage of torture on people. What he signed off on was subjecting people to an individual torture technique.

You seem to be under the impression that Greenwald's 2009 article was a defense of Comey.

It was not.

The article was a critique of the coverage by the NY Times' half-assed reporting which didn't reveal the internal debate within the DOJ thus limiting the public's knowledge.

ucrdem

(15,512 posts)
41. Wrong. Comey signed off on analysis of individual techniques.
Fri May 31, 2013, 11:35 AM
May 2013

You need to read the emails which is what Greenwald is writing about. If he's read the memos themselves he doesn't say so.

ucrdem

(15,512 posts)
47. Yes indeed. Forget GG, he can't keep his story straight for the length of one column
Fri May 31, 2013, 05:55 PM
May 2013

let alone four years. He's an idiot but don't take my word for it, read the emails yourself. I suggest the NYT link in post #32 above, very nifty and easy to navigate.

And that my friend is it for today. I hereby declare Friday blowback day and leave the place to, well, let's say to those who see things differently. Enjoy!

Luminous Animal

(27,310 posts)
37. Comey signed off on the use of all 13 methods of torture when used individually...
Fri May 31, 2013, 10:54 AM
May 2013

What he was unwilling to sign off on was the use of torture when the techniques were combined.

dreamnightwind

(4,775 posts)
63. Thanks, I have read this (after I made my post)
Tue Jun 4, 2013, 09:49 PM
Jun 2013

An odd distinction individually vs combined, whatever, not a good Obama pick for many reasons.

H2O Man

(73,995 posts)
4. Thanks!
Thu May 30, 2013, 08:55 PM
May 2013

Sometimes it seems like we are always faced with the lesser of two evils. So, while definitely flawed, I believe he is less severely flawed than other possible choices.

KoKo

(84,711 posts)
7. Thanks for this Post...You were out there then posting...so you know what went on.
Thu May 30, 2013, 09:07 PM
May 2013

I'm on the fence about Comey...He is indeed, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

Being at that Hedge Fund makes him just one more of Obama's Wall Streeters...and that's a big minus with me. What good he might have seemed to do...might have not been reported accurately or that his good deed reminded him not to ever do it again. The Hedge Fund probably wrung out of him whatever instincts he had to "do the principled thing" ...and I may be being harsh on him. But...given what we've seen...I'm not optimistic...but just not seeing him as horrible as Penny Pritsker at Commerce Department writing the TPP Trade Agreement and into other ambitions of her own. But, no one here want to talk about Billionaire President Maker Pritzker...because she WAS the KING MAKER and she is OWED MUCH!

I've said my piece.

shraby

(21,946 posts)
8. Comey did his job when the rubber met the road, is it time for looking back by any
Thu May 30, 2013, 09:10 PM
May 2013

chance? Rachel had the program about the Bush lies to take us to war which was rerun a couple of times. Now Comey is showing up in a position of power...the Comey who knows where the skeletons are buried.
People are better informed because of Rachel and Comey is the one to bring the perps to justice. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

 

Bluenorthwest

(45,319 posts)
9. Mediocre Republicans are the best we can expect Obama to appoint
Thu May 30, 2013, 09:12 PM
May 2013

I'll give you that. Obama rewards the amoral and mediocre with great regularity. As many Republicans as he can pack in there too. Bipartisanship. It's what for dinner.

H2O Man

(73,995 posts)
56. I believe that
Fri May 31, 2013, 08:45 PM
May 2013

it was in the weeks leading up to Scooter Libby's trial that the term "necroconservative" flashed in my mind, as I was typing an OP for this forum. I'm glad that you like it.

Me.

(35,454 posts)
15. Jaysus, Obama Has Gone And Picked Another Damn Republican
Thu May 30, 2013, 09:46 PM
May 2013

Was the response one of my friends had to appointment. I pointed out that he wasn’t a bad choice and at least seemed to have ethics. Aren’t there any dems who have good ethical standard was the next reply? Of course there are and as far as Comey is concerned, I am taking a wait and see approach. I also cannot deny that I admired his standing up to the Cheney gang of thugs. Though his donation to Romney has me questioning his judgment. Overall I wish Obama would decide once and for all what side he’s on and function accordingly. I wasn’t happy with Petreus at CIA and it proved an awful pick. With Comey , as I said to my friend, we will have to wait and see.

As to Ashcroft and Bachmann, you need to put the beer down and head for air conditioning as Ashcroft doesn’t have sex as far as I can tell for he can’t even look at female anatomy. It was he, after all, who had Justice covered with nasty blue curtains so that her breasts would no longer be exposed. And as for Bachmann, she’s married to a gay man for heaven’s sake. It seems to me that neither of those two would know what to put what where.

H2O Man

(73,995 posts)
19. For sake of discussion,
Thu May 30, 2013, 10:12 PM
May 2013

I'm curious if you would consider listing a couple of options ..... people that you think that President Obama might actually consider appointing? I'm not attempting to be snarky; just wondering if there are people who you think would: (a) better better choices; and (b) be seriously considered by this President.

bahrbearian

(13,466 posts)
34. I have no way of knowing any short list or of any possible candidates.
Fri May 31, 2013, 08:38 AM
May 2013

But if its (b) be seriously considered by this President, than It would be a Republican , because they are who he listens too.I myself would have went with Lisa Monaco. I think Obama listened to Robert Mueller and choose Comey. He didn't want a conformation fight. but I think that would have exposed the Republican Obstruction even more.

H2O Man

(73,995 posts)
35. Solid answer.
Fri May 31, 2013, 10:46 AM
May 2013

Thanks.

In terms of qualifications, including experience, Lisa Monaco is clearly at least as good of a choice of James Comey. And, in terms of experience, her previous work with Joe Bidden would make her a far more popular choice with the democratic base.

I am going to speculate here: I think it is likely that in 2008, Monaco supported Senator Obama's campaign pledge to close Guantanamo Bay's "detention center." Today, she reportedly oversees its running, and there is no evidence that President Obama will be closing it before he leaves office. Obviously, republican obstructionists want to prevent that. But they are merely fronting for other forces, that are making the policy decisions behind the scenes, out of public view.

Working as part of that machine changes people. There are literally hundreds of examples of good people, who sincerely believed they could "make changes" and do good things from within the belly of that beast. President Obama included. Lisa Monaco, too. But they all get caught up in its currents .....the only question being to what extent. And it changes them, to the point where they justify doing the very things that they once hoped to change, by believing it is the only way.

bahrbearian

(13,466 posts)
38. To cross to the other side you have to swim against the current sometime. Swimming with the current
Fri May 31, 2013, 10:58 AM
May 2013

just puts you farther downstream.

scarletwoman

(31,893 posts)
49. The culture of the FBI itself needs also to be taken into account.
Fri May 31, 2013, 07:48 PM
May 2013

Frankly, I think of the FBI as a right wing macho snake pit of an organization. Would they accept Lisa Monaco as their leader? Would they accept any woman as their leader?

Obama has to choose someone that the FBI organization won't want to sabotage from within - something well within their power, and most likely their inclination, should they not be happy with who's chosen.

H2O Man

(73,995 posts)
50. Interesting.
Fri May 31, 2013, 08:13 PM
May 2013

Valid points, as well. Thanks for adding this.

In my opinion -- based in part upon knowing my two cousins, now retired, and meeting individuals such as the gentleman who investigated the racial hate assault of my nephew in 1998 (the first of a series of vicious, cowardly attacks by the gang) -- it is also similar, in some ways, to any bureaucracy. There are numerous decent men and women who joined for the right reasons; there are the bullies; and there is the bureaucratic upper levels, who are out of touch with the only good purposes of the agency.

One can learn a great deal about such interesting topics, such as how the news media is used to distract the public's attention (example: when they brought the freak back to the US who claimed he was involved in the death of that little Ramsey girl), in order to keep focus off of something else going on under their noses, talking to the decent ones.

scarletwoman

(31,893 posts)
51. It is in the upper levels of the bureaucracy where the power games are played.
Fri May 31, 2013, 08:30 PM
May 2013

I don't doubt that there are good people in the ranks, just as I don't doubt that the upper reaches are just as subject to corruption as any other large institution entrusted with far-reaching powers.

They are self-protective above all. Obama has to be cautious about his choice for their leader.

(edited for typo)

H2O Man

(73,995 posts)
53. Exactly right.
Fri May 31, 2013, 08:40 PM
May 2013

If we simply examine the post-Hoover directors ...... while none are as toxicly ill with moral rabies as was ole' J. Edgar ..... they tend to be career politicians, and little more. They are "company men."

grasswire

(50,130 posts)
18. very tiny point of order
Thu May 30, 2013, 09:59 PM
May 2013

It wasn't "Hustler" magazine that stopped Bob Livingston. It was investigative reporter Dan Moldea who worked for Larry Flynt on special assignment. Flynt published a special magazine called "The Flynt Report" on the matter. Moldea had the goods on Livingston. Livingston resigned rather than be fully exposed.

As you were.

scarletwoman

(31,893 posts)
20. Great OP! What gets me is that this is the freakin' FBI we're talking about. One of the foundational
Thu May 30, 2013, 10:26 PM
May 2013

pillars of the National Security State! Do people really think that some bleeding heart liberal is going to be appointed to that post?

I can live with Comey as Obama's choice, he may be one the least worst of a bad lot. Since a bad lot seems to be the best we can get, anyway - cf Geithner, Holder, Brennan...

H2O Man

(73,995 posts)
21. Right. It would seem
Thu May 30, 2013, 10:50 PM
May 2013

unlikely that President Obama will pick Arlo Guthrie, Santa Clause, or the late Abbie Hoffman -- even though each might be a more welcome choice.

There are, of course, some differences between the two closely related species of Washington politicians, at least in individual examples. But by and large, there isn't a heck of a lot of difference between Comey and any Democrat that President Obama would be considering for this position. In fact, the most significant difference might be that Comey did stand up to the Cheneyites.

 

Bluenorthwest

(45,319 posts)
43. Arlo Guthrie is a Republican, last time I heard him talk about it
Fri May 31, 2013, 01:11 PM
May 2013

So he really should have been in the running.

brett_jv

(1,245 posts)
62. PLEASE don't let THAT be true ...
Sat Jun 1, 2013, 06:03 PM
Jun 2013

Of all things, please ... tell me Woody's son is NOT a Republican.

To find out that Woody's son turned out to be a right-winger would be as disheartening as discovering that John and Yoko once had a very dirty foursome with Maggie and Ronnie.

Words would fail ...

It simply cannot BE.

Mnemosyne

(21,363 posts)
22. I respect your opinion on this, H2O Man. I am soo sick of the lesser of two evil choices, but
Thu May 30, 2013, 11:03 PM
May 2013

understand that the pukes would block almost anyone the Prez would try to appoint.

One point on the Asshcroft - Bachman comment, Asshcroft would have covered her up cause she's a big boob. And we all know how he feels about boobs.

Necroconservatives -

Have a good night! You sound so relaxed, I'm jealous.

dreamnightwind

(4,775 posts)
25. Good post until last paragraphgh
Thu May 30, 2013, 11:34 PM
May 2013

I appreciate you giving us all some background on Comey, it was well-written and gave me more of an idea of who he is.

My quarrel with your post is that, after taking such care to use reasoned analysis throughout your lengthy post, you negated all of that in the end, by throwing up your hands in resignation and saying we could get no better, without any such reasoned analysis to support that leap.

"Because of the limited options -- not to mention that people like you and I have no say whatsoever in this -- I think that Jim Comey is probably the very best choice that President Obama could make."

You may be correct in that statement. I think you are not, and I expect better of a Democratic president. If Obama cannot get anyone better, he should at least make every attempt to do so, explaining his position to get someone better, making the case, and moving the discussion towards the light in doing so.

To my knowledge he has not done this, which leads me to believe this is who Obama wants. It's certainly not who I want, and no, I won't play the game of "well, who do you want", that's not my job, it's Obama's, but there's no reason I have to like who he picks, in fact I think this choice royally sucks.

H2O Man

(73,995 posts)
27. Perhaps I am confused,
Fri May 31, 2013, 12:33 AM
May 2013

but after reading your post three times, it sounds like you pretty much agree with what I was trying to say in the last paragraph of the OP.

I did not expect Obama to be capable of miracles when I supported him in 2008. I did think that he would do about the best he could, though. And I understand the distinction between "can't" and "won't."

Picking an FBI director is, by its nature, more limited than many (if not most) of the other choices a US President makes. In a very real sense, it is more restrictive than options for that person's supervisor, the Attorney General. (Hence, the swine Ed Meese.) I've yet to see this President go outside the box on any such choice -- he always goes with a company man or woman.

The FBI director is always inside the box. Thus, in looking at the possible choices from in that box, I think that for all his faults -- which are real and significant -- Comey is at very least as good as any other option, because in his rigid manner, he has at times opposed the breaking of the company's written rules.

Again, I'd one thousand times prefer someone with Elizabeth Warren's character. But I recognize that there is zero chance of President Obama picking anyone like that. Thus, my essay is based on the reality of the choices the President might make, not what I want.

dreamnightwind

(4,775 posts)
31. Not sure about the confusion
Fri May 31, 2013, 12:57 AM
May 2013

I'm not in a space where I want to spend much more energy on this, you may have misread my statement or I may not have stated it well, but I'm not going back to figure that out, seems of little importance.

I'm not convinced that Comey is at least as good as any other option.

I did respond in the other thread on this (discussing Comey's emails, after I responded I saw you had just responded to the same post) which cleared up the supported vs opposed torture issue for me. He was willing to stick his neck out about it. So there is that, and it's not nothing. I don't give it as much gravity as you appear to, there are just too many problems I have with this selection. I'm very uncomfortable with the FBI being run by a corporatist from the hedge fund world, who is also a Bush man. Apparently Comey is (was?) also at or near the top of Obama's list for future Supreme Court appointments. That is very disappointing, I'm quite certain he could do much better if he wanted to.

I would respect Obama more if he would stick his own neck out and make choices that we elected him to make, and fight for them, making the case and moving the discussion by doing so (I understand he would lose some of these fights, but he would win some, and he would move things in a better direction simply by fighting for our side of things, even in a loss, it changes the frame of debate). That's a problem I have with Obama on more decisions than not. Sometimes I think he just won't fight. For the most part, though, I think he's just not on our side, and is ideologically aligned with the Hagels and Comeys of the world.

Hopefully I haven't wasted too much of your time, just trying to clarify a little. My main point was that, after reading your well-written OP, you made what appeared to be a logical leap in your summation. I didn't see any supporting evidence that Obama couldn't do better than this guy, and in my opinion he probably sees this as his kind of guy. It's just my opinion, but I've seen too much to give him the benefit of the doubt at this point.

Have a good one, I almost always appreciate your posts.

 

Bluenorthwest

(45,319 posts)
44. The problem with that conclusion is that anyone can apply it to any issue and thus
Fri May 31, 2013, 01:19 PM
May 2013

take no action. Are they destroying the groundwater? Well, we need gas and money and it's the best we can do considering the limited options. No need to even make sure those options are limited, just say that they are, excuse virtually anything and proceed to order a nice lunch.
Not sure it is activist friendly thinking.

H2O Man

(73,995 posts)
45. An activist has to
Fri May 31, 2013, 01:51 PM
May 2013

have a realistic view of what she/he can influence, and what she/he cannot. For example, the said activist could invest 100% of their energy in trying to stop President Obama from appointing James Comey as the director of the FBI. That activist would accomplish exactly as much as the stick-in-the-mud who does nothing at all ..... because not only do activists have no influence on this type of presidential choice, but Comey's selection is made with the expectation of getting a reaction from two groups of citizen-activists.

One must be able to identify the distinctions between: {a} derailing a toxic USSC nomination; and {b} derailing a president's attempt to promote someone who does not have one of the Washington culture's identified scandals. Indeed, if one considers the history of the last century, it is clear that presidents tend to make what they consider "safe" picks, from within the box -- and President Obama's box tends to include a very limited typology: Clinton administration re-treads, Wall Streeters, and career-insiders. One would have to go outside that box to find a democrat who is much different than Comey, and President Obama will not go outside the comfort of that box.

Indeed, very few US Presidents have attempted to go outside the box. The three examples that I can think of were FDR appointing Leland Olds; JFK putting Robert in as Attorney General (although at the time, Robert was a rigid, self-righteous fellow); and when President Carter wanted Ted Sorensen to head that other intelligence agency. Carter, of course, backed down quickly, and stabbed Ted in the back in doing so.

Thus, until someone who thinks outside that box is elected President, there is little if any chance of her/him acting differently.

 

Bluenorthwest

(45,319 posts)
61. I did not suggest some 100% devotion to anything, I simply noted that the concluding
Sat Jun 1, 2013, 04:13 PM
Jun 2013

idea is easily applied to any issue. And I still object to the promotion of the Bush era talent pool without making it my full time job. Got plenty of time to object to the normalization of that which we thought we'd defeated. Do I expect to stop his installation as the latest Republican in the administration? Of course not. But I'm also not going to rush to become a promoter of the man. It is more than possible for him to win my favor by doing his job well and addressing some of the so far eternal issues there, lots of room for improvement. I owe Bush officials nothing, they owe the country on many levels. Perhaps Comey will conduct himself in such a way as to balance some of the harm he and his former bosses did. I expect we will find out.

Response to H2O Man (Reply #45)

Response to The Magistrate (Reply #65)

The Magistrate

(95,381 posts)
67. Of Course It Is, Sir....
Wed Jun 5, 2013, 11:51 PM
Jun 2013

"I can satisfy five different women in one night. Of course, they would have to be completely different."

Response to The Magistrate (Reply #67)

The Magistrate

(95,381 posts)
69. Evidently, Sir, Your Fantasy World Contains A Great Deal....
Thu Jun 6, 2013, 12:47 AM
Jun 2013

"Just when I thought I was out --- they pull me back in!"

Response to The Magistrate (Reply #69)

The Magistrate

(95,381 posts)
71. "But as for the real men, like me, we can't afford that luxury. We can't afford to mock."
Thu Jun 6, 2013, 02:04 AM
Jun 2013

Comedy gold, Sir....

"Mostly I killed time, and it died hard."

H2O Man

(73,995 posts)
30. Hollingsworth v Perry
Fri May 31, 2013, 12:47 AM
May 2013

I should have also noted that in this 2013 case, Comey submitted an amicus curiae to the US Supreme Court, in favor of marriage equality for all Americans. That's important to me. And I think that, if there has to be a republican FBI director, good that he/she is in favor of marriage equality.

 

Bluenorthwest

(45,319 posts)
60. Really? But he also donated to Mittens for President, so what sort of 'favoring' is that
Sat Jun 1, 2013, 03:11 PM
Jun 2013

in the end? Sounds to me like classic 'cake and eat it' centrism. Voice one's 'support' then fund the opposite, vote for the opposite. Sorry if I'm not impressed.

H2O Man

(73,995 posts)
55. Thanks.
Fri May 31, 2013, 08:43 PM
May 2013

I think it is depressing, too. And I hope that the OP showed that it is actually worse, in some ways, than if Comey were 100% good or 100% bad.

Octafish

(55,745 posts)
48. Once he got paid, Angel Eyes always saw the job through.
Fri May 31, 2013, 07:43 PM
May 2013

[IMG][/IMG]

I voted for Barack Obama to change things in Washington. That includes especially the crooks running Justice who allow Rove and Cheney and the rest of the crew that lied America into war and outted a NOC as a warning to the rest of those in government service walk free while Don Siegelman and Richard Scrushy rot in the pen.

Certainly, President Obama has all sorts of pressures working on him, from threats on him from within and without Washington. Really, I try to understand when he says one thing in his speech and something else seems to always happen. That's why the nomination of James Comey to head the FBI is not a surprise as much as it is another disappointment like Lew at Treasury, Pritzker at Commerce and Brennan at CIA.

My specific objections to Comey have to do with his work for John "Crisco Stopped Flying Commercial" Ashcroft. When Pat Robertson was pretty much outted as a four-chicken USMC coward by Pete McCloskey in his run for the pretzelduncy in '88, Crisco became the poster child for the evangelical Reich. The clan that included Jerry Falwell and the rest of the Christian Conservative Coalition or whatever sheet they hid under were to back Ashcroft. Of course, with Falwell and Robertson came Moon and Sgt. John Doe and the rest of Crime and War Inc.

The gross criminal incompetence, at best, of Bush and his madministration should have led to indictments and incarceration for almost all the top officials. The case that we can make, based solely on the public record, demonstrate the Bush cabal were guilty of treason, most likely.

You are correct, H20 Man. We don't have a say-so. Which, in a democracy, is a shame. We the People had always believed that was the point.

H2O Man

(73,995 posts)
52. I'd like to think
Fri May 31, 2013, 08:33 PM
May 2013

that President Obama is basing his decision -- at least in part -- on his belief that Comey will try to be honest in standing up for real justice.

You know, I am reminded somewhat here on DU of the many very negative reactions when people learned who the federal judge would be in Scooter Libby's trial. And I remember saying that sometimes, there are advantages to having strict, almost rigid, law & order republicans as either prosecutors or judges. Just as long as they are honest, and believe in applying that rule of law fairly.

When I say "strict, almost rigid," I am not intending to imply small-minded or closed-minded. I mean it in the sense that they recognize their duty to uphold the law in an equal manner. That doesn't preclude giving a kid a break, nor imply giving the mayor's kid license to break the law without consequence.

I must say that, in the context of "change we can believe in," I think that Obama has set the bar pretty darned low. (And yes, I know some here will point out it's better than having McCain/Romney burying the dang bar.) I believe that, had the Democratic Base carried on with the enery and organization created in 2008, there was a chance President Obama could have, and would have, done much more. Hence, I'm not "anti-Obama," any more than I'm "anti-grassroots." Yet right is right, wrong is wrong, and half-measures never produce anything good.

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