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Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 18,889

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Dear Senator Franken: You are a hero of American democracy.

Dear Senator Franken,

I don't live in Minnesota anymore, but I was born and raised there, and lived there long enough to understand exactly how Minnesota culture affects the expectations on public servants.

Which is not to say all Minnesota elected officials and bureaucrats are paragons of rectitude, transparency, humility, and moderately progressive values. And I would point out that while at least one of your predecessors, the infamous Norm the Weasel, was NOT born and raised in the North Star State, plenty of gormless numpties nurtured in the Land of 10,000 Lakes have been elevated to office by appealing to the stubbornly contrarian 'well, who do you think YOU are, then' streak of Minnesota character.

You, however, are on the roster that includes Paul Wellstone, Eugene McCarthy, Hubert H. Humphrey, Bruce Vento, Alexander Ramsey, Don Fraser, Floyd B. Olson, and so many more. America is lucky to have you, and we owe Minnesota a debt of gratitude for sending you to Washington.

I'm fairly sure you would say that you were "just doing your job" when you called out JeffyBeau Sessions on his Big Fat Lie during his confirmation hearing.

But the thing is, you did it. You put genuine concern for the quality of public service ahead of good-old-boy Senate traditions, and didn't go along with the 'easy ride' to a former colleague.

And the other thing is, you and your staff did the homework. You foster and uphold the standard of conscientious preparation, investigation, and inquiry, and the day of that hearing you were prepared, with the right information and the right questions. You couldn't be dismissed as a mere partisan hack shooting from the hip in an effort to grab the news cycle. (Well, you could, and were, but only by The Usual Suspects, which is a back-handed form of confirmation of the value of your work.)

The result of that seemed like a minor speedbump, at the time- JeffyBeau had to publicly recuse himself from any DOJ activity connected with the relationship between Russia and >Redacted<'s campaign.

There were a lot of us who'd have preferred to have him withdraw from consideration for the post but it has become increasingly clear that this was far too critical to the >Redacted< Administration's policy plans to be possible. Failing that, we'd have loved to see his confirmation denied. But, again, the current configuration of the Senate, combined with the good-old-boy culture of that institution, made it a forlorn hope.

Instead, he had to recuse himself.

And it's now becoming just how clearly that's put a foot in the churn the Administration was trying to use to obfuscate the whole Russia connection.

You played a big role, Senator.

And you did so because you were just doing your job, as you conceived it. A conception based on your own fundamental decency, intelligence, and respect for democracy.

It's a quiet kind of heroism, but it merits acknowledgment.

Thank you.


You Want My Applause for Firing Comey? Here's What to Do:

Dear GOPpie Lurkers/Trollbots

Let's start from the common ground we have. I agree with those who are saying:

  • Comey has definitely bungled some things. He's made poor decisions and some of them reflect very negatively on his agency.
  • In particular, he bungled reviewing how a Democratic Presidential candidate handled classified materials from her previous cabinet level service, and he did the bungle during the Presidential campaign with catastrophically injudicious timing.
  • Democrats should be (and are) scathingly critical of this particular bungle, among other things, and probably have good reason to say their confidence in Comey as FBI Director was profoundly impaired.

So we're all on the same page there. Am I weeping and planning on sending flowers and a stoutly-phrased note of support to Mr. Comey? I am not. On some level, yes, I'm glad to see him get a little comeuppance for what was either reprehensible ineptitude or inappropriate (and possibly illegal) partisanship in handling of investigations/reviews pertaining to BOTH candidates during the election.

Yes, I am. There, I said it.

Now, HAD those items upon which we share common ground been the actual, motivating force behind the decision to fire Mr. Comey, how would a competent, judicious Administration, conscious of the importance of process in buttressing the rule of law, have handled such a firing?

It is, indisputably, the privilege of a Chief Executive to fire the Director of the Bureau, even in mid-term, if deemed necessary. The key issue is not "whether" but "HOW".

They could have taken precedent from the Sessions firing. They could have begun by having private discussions with him laying out the case for the damage to the Bureau's standing, talking about requesting his resignation (the 'tacit heads-up, here it comes' meeting). Then they could have initiated private discussions with the key leadership in Congress, laying out that case again and planning an orderly transition process.

Over several weeks, with the White House communications quietly signalling that such a case is compelling, and that a transition is under discussion, they could work out the most critical concerns from both sides of the aisle. They could address possible appearances of conflicts of interest, assuring everyone that the transition plan maintains a high level of impartial attention to those concerns.

Of course, that didn't happen.

Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that the motives for firing Comey are ENTIRELY as stated above in the common ground agreement, and that there is not only no fear at all of the still-ongoing investigations into Republican Presidential campaign connections with the Russian government, but that there is no conceivable reason for such fear. So, y'all are genuinely and truly gobsmacked at all the foofooraw about Watergate and Saturday Night Massacres and Independent Investigators and WTF is Kissinger doing in the Oval Office hard on the heels of the Russian Foreign Minister and Ambassador!?!?!

Poor you.

Why are people so suspicious? Let's review:

  • There IS such an investigation ongoing at the FBI, and everyone knows it. Your protestations about "no there there" and "wanting it to continue and be done so we can move on" are all very well, but as long as every single thing you do can reasonably bear the appearance of attempting to obstruct or shut down said investigation, that's the construction that will be put on it. Grow up. You're in Washington. Whether you "won" or not, there's still gonna be politics.
  • Within the past couple of weeks, two important things have happened in connection with this investigation: a) Grand Jury subpoenas have been issued; and b) The guy you fired asked for more resources to conduct the investigation properly and quickly.
  • You involved the Attorney General, who had already recused himself from related procedures and investigations, in the process.

Of course you look like roaches in the midnight kitchen when the light goes on, scuttling for cover. And yeah, it's all just so unfair, yadayada... Poor y'all.

However can you redeem yourselves in the eyes of a suspicious electorate?

Here's a list:

  • Turf JeffyBeau out of the process altogether. Even though this of course had nothing to do with the Russia investigation, the fact remains that he was involved in firing the guy in charge of the investigation he recused himself from having anything to do with. Talk about bad optics. No, he may NOT suggest candidates to replace Comey. No, he may NOT be involved in interviews or discussions thereof.
  • Have ALL of Comey's records and files relating to this investigation placed under seal, NOW, and appoint a special master from the local Federal District Court (Merrick Garland, for example, would be a nice touch) to maintain them sealed until...
  • The horse is miles down the road. Don't try to slam the barn door. If you've truly got bupkis to worry about, it shouldn't matter anyway: request a bipartisan Congressional panel to nominate an Independent Special Investigator and invite the FBI, DOJ, Senate Republicans, and Senate Democrats to each appoint a Special Commission member to take over the investigation under the ISI. FUND IT. Have Comey's records turned over to them.
  • Then, finally, stop whinging about it. Stop commenting on it, tweeting about it, sniping at it. If y'all are asked to testify, do so, with quiet dignity and accuracy.

Give it a try. If you really want to put this to bed, I can't guarantee it'll work but it's the best chance you have to wrest control of the narrative back, spike the guns of the vile, partisanship-motivated character assassins arrayed against you, and reveal the Fake News for what it is.

Worth a try, nyet?


P.S. Major bonus points for releasing the tax returns.

I'm Disappointed in My Party Leadership... Again...

"Yo, Ladies... Hang on Under that Bus, There... We'll Stand up for Your Rights Over Your Own Bodies....... Eventually."

No, sorry, Nancy.

Just letting you know that I'm one of those annoying women who shares the belief that denying women a fundamental human right is, like, a hard line.

In 1992, our Party Platform acknowledged that reproductive choice was a fundamental right, and that ALL women's health care costs should receive the same status with respect to government programs and funding for services. All. As in, yes, if a woman on Medicaid wants to terminate a pregnancy, her Medicaid should cover the cost of doing so in a safe, fully-equipped medical facility.

Of course, we never actually delivered on that.

And we've done a buttload of backpedaling on that since 1992. When some kind of compromise, or concession, is needed, to achieve some kind of "greater good," guess what went under the bus.

Time, after time, after time.

Suppose we backpedal on Jim Crow laws being okay in the South, next time.

Or maybe we go ahead and allow some states to invalidate certain marriages b/c they think they're icky.

You know, just to get over it and move on.

Maybe it should be okay for a candidate to run under our banner even though they're cool with state legislatures implementing racist vote suppression laws, because, you know... fraud!

Maybe it should be cool for someone who loudly sez maybe there isn't really any need to get all worked up about anthropogenic climate change to run as a Dem.

Hey, how about we go ahead and endorse candidates who think it's just peachy-cool for cops to get a few weeks' paid suspension at most for killing brown people? Because Blue Lives REALLY Matter.

And when all the people who are pissed off about that bullshit have joined us under the bus, there will be enough of us under here to STAND THE FUCK UP, and roll that sucker over a cliff.

So think about it, Nancy.

I'm not real happy with you and your enablers right now. Don't you have some real work to do? Like organizing the resistance in Congress?

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