I may look like that tarsier by Tuesday…. (More)

Tarsiers aren’t quite monkeys. They’re primates in the suborder of haplorhines – which includes monkeys and apes – but DNA and fossil records suggest tarsiers went their own way about 45 million years ago, when this election season began.

Okay, so it hasn’t been that long. It just feels like it.

Anyway, tarsiers are the last remaining species in their family, after George Lucas killed off Yoda in Return of the Jedi.

Editor’s Note: The Squirrel wrote the previous sentence to please the BPI Teknowhat Department, who are serious Star Wars fans. How serious? They’ve actually watched all three of Lucas’ prequels. They hated them, of course, but watched all the way to the end. That’s what serious Star Wars fans do.

Can I have the keyboard back?

Editor’s Note: Yes. Sorry.

It’s okay. I took the time to nibble a macadamia.

Editor’s Note: They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day.


Editor’s Note: Sorry. We’ll go sort the mail.

I thought you did that on Sunday.

Editor’s Note: It’s not Sunday yet?

I wish. For example….

“The book was funded by one of the organizations Steve Bannon runs inside the Breitbart media empire”

It’s increasingly clear that James Comey has lost control of the FBI. The Wall Street Journal has yet another leak-driven story about rogue agents who want an “aggressive investigation of the Clinton Foundation,” based almost entirely on interviews with Peter Schweitzer, the Breitbart blowhard whose book Clinton Cash has been thoroughly debunked by serious journalists. Talking Points Memo’s Josh Marshall explains:

It is worth noting that not only is Schweitzer a former Bush-era operative, the book was funded by one of the organizations Steve Bannon runs inside the Breitbart media empire. Yes, it really was – Bannon, who ran Breitbart News and is now on leave to run the Trump campaign.

I think a fair read of the conventional wisdom on the Schweitzer book was that it found a number of instances where there could be at least a perception of a conflict of interest between State Department actions and Clinton Foundation activities. But in no cases did Schweitzer demonstrate that there were actual quid pro quos. The Uranium One story was probably the best example of that.

To be clear, the Uranium One story has been debunked both by FactCheck.org and by PolitiFact. Several possibly-former owners of Uranium One donated to the Clinton Foundation before and during the 2008 primary campaign, long before Clinton was Secretary of State. But PolitiFact could not verify that those donors were still involved with Uranium One when the deal came up for approval in 2010. More’s the point, that deal was voted on by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States:

That included Clinton as secretary of state, but also the secretaries of the Treasury (the chairman of the committee), Defense, Justice, Commerce, Energy and Homeland Security as well as the heads of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the Office of Science and Technology Policy. The deal also had to be okayed by the independent Nuclear Regulatory Commission as well as Utah’s nuclear regulator.

There’s no evidence that Clinton urged other committee members to vote for the deal, or that she voted for it herself. She did not, as Schweitzer and others like Donald Trump claim, have “veto power.” Indeed the State Department’s principal representative on the committee, Jose Fernandez, said Clinton never contacted him about the deal. Oh, and the terms of the deal forbid exports from that uranium mine in Wyoming. A Russian company bought the mine, but the uranium does not go to Russia.

In other words, it’s Yet Another Face-Free Anti-Clinton Conspiracy Theory, and Schweitzer has admitted he has no evidence for his claims. Now back to Marshall’s analysis:

The piece goes on to explain that FBI agents interviewed Schweitzer multiple times about his investigation – fairly big red flag right there. They then obtained recordings of a suspect in an unrelated public corruption case who talked about “alleged deals the Clintons made.”

The upshot, from Barrett’s reporting, is that basically everyone at the Justice Department thought the investigators didn’t really have anything. Seemingly, that opinion was shared among senior officials at the FBI. But the agents, who seem to have started the digging basically on their own, were sure they did. They were repeatedly told to move on, they didn’t have anything. But they seemed to keep pursuing it regardless.

In short, the Wall Street Journal has been publishing leaks FBI agents who are parroting conspiracy theories funded by Donald Trump’s campaign manager. Yes, really.

“I think he just couldn’t take the heat from the Republicans”

No wonder House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi thinks Comey is in the wrong job:

PELOSI: I think he made a mistake on this and he clearly has a double-standard when it comes to Donald Trump and – keep him out of it. When it came to the hacking by the Russians, that the highest confidence of our intelligence community says that the Russians did this. I know it privately because being hacked by the Russians and he says, well, it’s too close to the election to talk about that. And yet it’s not too close to the election to talk about the e-mails that he says may not be significant. So I think he made a mistake and these jobs, if you’re not in it for a while, you can’t take the heat. And I think he just couldn’t take the heat from the Republicans. It’s really unfortunate because I do believe he is a good person. Maybe he’s not in the right job.

CNN: Do you think he should resign?

PELOSI: I’m not going to that place. I think we have to just get through this election and just see what the casualties are along the way.

As Marshall concludes:

If investigations remain confidential, the damage of politicized probes is limited. But you seem to have a pretty toxic situation with FBI agents pursuing probes prosecutors believe have little merit, leaking to congressional Republicans and finding various ways to force their probes into the public.
I think the talk about not being able to “take the heat” and maybe not being “right [for the] job” is mainly trolling. But a Director should be able to control this stuff and stand up to political pressure. He has not been able to do either.

“Promising even more unprecedented dysfunction in Washington, which is pretty hard to do”

President Obama scolded Comey as well:

Setting aside the particulars of that case, I know that [Clinton] is someone who has always looked out for the interest of America and the American people first. And I do think it is a norm that when there are investigations we don’t operate on innuendo; we don’t operate on leaks; we operate on concrete decisions that are made.

When this was investigated thoroughly the last time, the conclusion of the FBI, the conclusion of the Justice Department, the conclusion of repeated congressional investigations was that she had made some mistakes but that there wasn’t anything there that was prosecutable.

It’s not just President Obama who maintains “there wasn’t anything there that was prosecutable.” The Cato Institute has criticized Clinton’s economic and foreign policy proposals … but one of their senior fellows analyzed the federal statutes and concluded that Hillary Clinton’s email server setup was not a crime.

And President Obama is more than a bit peeved at Republicans’ announced plans to stonewall, investigate, and even impeach Clinton:

“Right now, because a lot of them think that Trump will lose, they’re already promising even more unprecedented dysfunction in Washington, which is pretty hard to do,” Obama said of Republicans, ticking off a list of statements – “years of investigations, years of hearings, more shutdowns, more obstruction.”

“You’ve got some Republicans in Congress who are already suggesting they will impeach Hillary,” Obama added, his voice rising. “She hasn’t even been elected yet. And it doesn’t matter what evidence they just – they’ll find something. That’s what they’re saying already.”

Yes, they are saying that … and their saying that should matter.

“What’s actually at stake in the election”

This election is about a lot of things. It’s about sexism and racism and religious bigotry. It’s about a lifelong public servant versus a lifelong greedy con artist. And as Vox’s Matthew Yglesias writes, it should be about policy:

The result [of a Trump win] would be a sweeping transformation of American life. Millions would be forcibly removed from their homes and communities as new resources and a new mission invigorate the pace of deportations. Taxes would drop sharply for the richest Americans while rising for many middle-class families. Millions of low-income Americans would lose their health insurance, while America’s banks would enjoy the repeal of regulations enacted in the wake of the financial crisis. Environmental Protection Agency regulation of greenhouse gas emissions would end, likely collapsing global efforts to restrain emissions, greatly increasing the pace of warming.

Millions of Americans would love some or all of these changes, and millions of others would hate them. But most of all, the vast majority of Americans would simply be confused. Someone who’d been following the election moderately closely – scanning headlines, watching cable news, and tuning in to debates – would simply have no idea that this sweeping shift in American public policy is in the offing if Trump wins. Nor would they have any real sense of what the more modest shift in public policy that would emerge from a Clinton win would look like. Beneath the din of email coverage and the mountains of clichés about populism, the mass-market media has simply failed to convey what’s actually at stake in the election.

Yglesias indicts the media:

These stakes are critically important to the future of the country. But they’ve been nearly invisible from coverage of the campaign.

A recent study showed that network television news has dedicated more minutes to Hillary Clinton’s email server than to all policy issues combined. The day after the FBI revealed that it had found some emails that might be copies of emails it had already read but that if they weren’t simply duplicates might be relevant to an investigation of Clinton’s email server, all three above-the-fold New York Times stories were about the new emails, even though there was no information about them.

The obsession with emails might be defensible if it were presented as a call for reforming the federal government’s archaic electronic communication systems and ridiculous classification standards. It might even be defensible if juxtaposed with Donald Trump’s record of destroying evidence in pending court cases, as Kurt Eichenwald documented at Newsweek. The Clinton Foundation story might be defensible if juxtaposed with Trump’s record of corruption, as David Frum does at The Atlantic:

Should I be so appalled by the Clinton family’s access-selling that I prefer instead a president who boasts of a lifetime of bribing politicians to further his business career? Who defaults on debts and contracts as an ordinary business method, and who avoids taxes by deducting the losses he inflicted on others as if he had suffered them himself? Who cheated the illegal laborers he employed at Trump Tower out of their humble hourly wage? Who owes hundreds of millions of dollars to the Bank of China?  Who refuses to disclose his tax returns, perhaps to conceal his business dealings with Vladimir Putin’s inner circle?

But those narratives aren’t as profitable as baseless speculation grounded on the premise that Hillary Clinton must be guilty of something

… the real stakes of this election – what policies our next president will try to implement, and whether Republicans would let President Clinton actually be president – get lost in the din.

And that’s why I may look like that tarsier by Tuesday.


Photo Credit: 7Wallpapers


Good day and good nuts