Interlude—Rachel's avoidance: When she was secretary of state, was Hillary Clinton "extremely careless in [her] handling of very sensitive, highly classified information?"
Most strikingly, had she participated in email chains which "contained information that was top secret at the time they were sent?" Emails concerning "matters that were classified at the top secret special access program level at the time they were sent and received?"
Had Clinton exposed this "top secret" material to possible hacking by "sophisticated adversaries?" When she was secretary of state, did Hillary Clinton actually do these things?
On Tuesday morning, July 5, James B. Comey—he's commonly known as Comey the God—said Clinton did do those things. Comey, the FBI director, ran roughshod over Justice Department procedures as he strafed Clinton this day.
Two days later, on July 7, Comey repeated his claims before an august House committee. During that high-profile session, it became clear that he had played fast and loose with the truth concerning his claim that some of the material Clinton emailed had been marked classified at the time it was sent and received.
Might we all be honest for once? Comey's deception about the marked emails came close to being a lie. But so these things have tended to go in the past twenty-five years. (More on that tomorrow.)
That one accusation by Comey the God came close to being a lie. That said, Comey had long since been cast in a familiar role within establishment Washington.
He'd been cast in the role of the straight-shooting, upright Republican figure whose obvious rectitude mustn't be questioned. Reversing the flow of ancient myth, the director assumed that godly form as he trashed Clinton that week.
Perhaps because of his godly designation, Comey felt free to intrude on the White House campaign two more times before it was done. Those intrusions in the campaign's final weeks also flew in the face of established Justice Department policy and procedures.
Comey's intrusions produced a troubling assessment. In this campaign postmortem, Kevin Drum rated Comey's behavior as one of the three top reasons for Candidate Trump's narrow win.
Did James B. Comey's peculiar behavior hand the White House to Trump? Given the narrow way the election was decided, this possibility is blindingly obvious.
This possibility becomes more vexing when we consider a further possibility—the possibility that Comey's accusations were bogus, unfounded, deceptive, wrong. But that's what Slate's Fred Kaplan basically said in a July 6 report which, in a familiar pattern, quickly disappeared.
Kaplan's report disappeared because of people like Rachel Maddow. The silly multimillionaire had been summering, en vacance, when Comey delivered his thunderbolts in July. Her guest host, Steve Kornacki, seemed to be auditioning for a prime time spot at Fox as he thundered against Clinton's behavior on the evenings of July 5, 6 and 7.
Maddow returned and strapped on her orange shoes on Monday, July 11. For the rest of the summer, deep into the fall, she never so much as mentioned Comey's name. She never analyzed or critiqued his kill-shot accusations.
Fred Kaplan didn't appear on her TV show, which is entertainment- and porridge-based. His critiques of Comey's claims were never mentioned. As Candidate Clinton was pounded by Comey's claims, the orange-shoed corporate-owned millionaire ran off and hid in the woods. She'd done the same thing in 2012 when Benghazi kill shot was being invented.
In fairness, people who watch the Maddow Show face a difficult critical task. The various things she says and does are highly pleasing on a tribal basis. In part for that reason, it's hard to notice the various things she doesn't say and do.
It's hard to notice the dangerous topics this seller of cars avoids.
Let's be fair to Maddow's gullible viewers and fans. It easier to hear what has been said than to notice what has been avoided.
We'll take a guess. Very few viewers of Maddow's TV show noticed the fact that she never mentioned Comey the God or his accusations. They were too busy being distracted by her silly predictions, by her pointless but pleasing historical excursions, and by the pleasing tribal porridge which is constantly served on her show.
Maddow delivered good rating all summer and fall as she delivered this brew. This justified her bloated salary, which was reported to be $7 million per year quite a few years ago.
(We'll assume it's higher now. Megyn is said to be getting $15 million, wants a raise to twenty. When "journalists" are paid such sums, things rarely turn out well.)
All summer long, then into the fall, our own horrible corporate tool simpered and piddled and played. As the network ran ads saying she was the smartest person on TV, she completely ignored the questions which lay at the heart of Comey the God's kill shot:
She ignored Kaplan's claim that the "top secret" material to which Comey referred was a bunch of piddle and junk.
She ignored the obvious suggestion lodged in Comey's rather small numbers—the suggestion that Clinton really wasn't discussing classified material on her private server.
She ignored the basic questions which still had Drum puzzled several months later. You might call them the roads not taken:
Who said that material was "top secret?" What made their judgment better than Clinton's?
Wasn't this just another example of material being "up-classified"—classified after that fact? What the heck had Comey meant when he said, without explanation, that the material in question "was top secret at the time?"
Maddow ducked these questions, just as she'd done in 2012 when Benghazi was being invented. You see, Comey is an establishment god, and, however she may appear to us rubes, Maddow is extremely devoted to playing it corporately safe.
Maddow continues "selling the car" as she ducks such dangerous topics and questions. But as she avoided Comey the God, his kill shots—and the pre-existing Benghazi scripts—sent Donald J. Trump to the White House.
There's a bright side to this, of course. As Maddow has mugged and clowned and ducked and dodged, her fame, and her bank account, have each continued to grow.
In the early days, she sold herself through the silly claim that she didn't, indeed couldn't, own a TV set. (Not that she was smarter than us, as she constantly said!) Today, she owns this lucre-fueled bathhouse where she splashes and coos and admires herself as she watches her giant TV.
(More on that utterly silly serial con in the week of December 19.)
In 2012, Rachel Maddow ran and hid when John McCain, the morally upright Republican god, invented the Benghazi foofaw. As Maddow ran and hid in the woods, Susan Rice disappeared beneath the bus—and a kill shot was invented.
(On his weekend show, Chris Hayes affirmed the Benghazi con! He reversed himself one week later.)
Four years later, Maddow ran and hid when James B. Comey—Comey the God—assembled a second kill shot. The two kill shots from which the clown hid have now sent Trump to the White House.
We liberals continue to watch Maddow's show, generally failing to discern the way she actually rolls. Tomorrow, we'll consider some of the Comeys who came before Comey—others in the long line of upright Republican gods this corporate clown avoids.
Comey's intrusion was nothing new. You'll never hear it on Maddow's show, but this sort of thing has been routine for the past twenty-five years.
Tomorrow: Fondly remembering "Poppy" Bush; forgetting about Robert Conrad
Where in the world was Matt Lauer: Two more examples of the self-dealing and avoidance which helped send Trump to the White House:
On September 7, NBC's own Matt Lauer hosted the network's Commander in Chief Forum. At one point, Candidate Clinton said this, in a reply to her first citizen questioner:
CLINTON (9/7/16): You know and I know classified material is designated. It is marked. There is a header so that there is no dispute at all that what is being communicated to or from someone who has that access is marked classified.Say what? "I communicated about classified material on a wholly separate system?" "I did exactly what I should have done?"
And what we have here is the use of an unclassified system by hundreds of people in our government to send information that was not marked, there were no headers, there was no statement, top secret, secret, or confidential.
I communicated about classified material on a wholly separate system. I took it very seriously. When I traveled, I went into one of those little tents that I’m sure you’ve seen around the world because we didn’t want there to be any potential for someone to have embedded a camera to try to see whatever it is that I was seeing that was designated, marked, and headed as classified.
LAUER: Let us—
CLINTON: So I did exactly what I should have done and I take it very seriously, always have, always will.
Those statements begged for clarification, begged for an interview with Kaplan.
That interview never occurred. Maddow made no attempt to explain what Clinton said.
That was one point of avoidance in the wake of this horrible forum. At the same time, consider the way this corporate shill avoided discussion of Lauer.
At this event, the unthinkable happened. A major media figure finally went so far over the top in his pursuit of someone named Clinton or Gore that robust push-back occurred.
Amazingly, Lauer came in for considerable criticism in the next few days. Rather, Lauer came in for considerable criticism—unless you were getting your news and analysis from the Rachel Maddow program.
You see, NBC pays Maddow her swag—and Lauer is a major corporate property. Presumably for those reasons, the criticism of Lauer's performance was never mentioned or critiqued on Maddow's show. Rachel Maddow, a corporate tool, was selling the car again.
She served us tribal porridge instead. "I just want to be Comey's girl," our own liberal singing star said.