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Just Trust the Bureaucrats

Stewart Baker, who often writes as if he never met a bureaucrat or government program he did not trust, is at it again.

He notes that a Peter Strzok text has been the object of alarmed concern on the right.  The text stated:

I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office [Andy McCabe is the FBI deputy director and married to a Democratic Virginiia State Senate candidate] for that there’s no way he gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40….

Baker says that this text is innocent.  It is merely reacting with horror at the possibility that Trump could win.  As Baker says,

Strzok is reacting to the argument that there’s no point getting worked up because Trump is bound to lose. To which he says that the odds may be against a Trump victory but that’s no reason to be complacent. Then he gives an example: The odds are very much against you dying before the age of 40, but you probably bought insurance at that age because dying with a young family would be such a disaster. It’s a reasonable concern even if the event is unlikely. For the same reason, in Strzok’s view, horror at the prospect of a Trump presidency is reasonable even though the prospect is remote.

I agree with Baker that it could have the innocent meaning that he gives to it.  But surely it does not have to have that meaning.  It could also mean that Strzok is in favor of taking action against Trump – the insurance policy – in case he should be elected.  And when combined with Strzok’s central role in many recent politically charged investigations, including his possibly partisan behavior in various questionable actions (e.g. Flynn is interviewed and charged with lying to a government official; Abedin and Mills are interviewed, apparently lied, but do not get charged), there is reason to be concerned.

So what justifies Baker in apparently claiming to know for sure that Strzok’s text is innocent?  I don’t know.  Perhaps Baker can explain.  Otherwise, I am forced to chalk it up to his characteristic bias in favor of government officials.

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on December 15, 2017 at 14:12:34 pm

Excellent point.

Likewise, when U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel ruled against Trump University, Trump declared that the judge had “an absolute conflict” in presiding over the litigation because the judge was “of Mexican heritage.”

Now, everyone from Paul Ryan on down concluded that there was insufficient basis to demonstrate any such bias. I am forced to chalk that up to their characteristic bias in favor of government officials. After all, did any of them PROVE that the judge lacked a prejudice against Trump?

Suspicion = guilt. Case closed.

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nobody.really
on December 15, 2017 at 14:37:40 pm

When I read your discussion of a web post by one Stewart Baker I said: "Who's that?''
When I checked him out I said: "Who cares?"
When I read what Baker said, I said: "So what?"

It's hard to bother with a patently silly comment (actualy nonsensical, utterly irrational) by an inconsequential person whose opinion is of no consequence.

He'd say the same about me, no doubt, but there's a difference: my thinking is not irrational and my comments are not nonsensical.

The moral: get it right; rational thought clearly stated is important whether or not one is important.

As for Strzok: 1) I feel for him, I deplore the destruction of his right to privacy which the improper public disclosure of his private communications reflects, and I doubt both our government's capacity to keep anything secret that should be kept secret and our government's willingness to reveal what the public has a right to know; 2) the man's own words constitute significant admissions of a legally inappropriate (per DOJ regulations) "appearance of bias" in favor of Clinton and against Trump; and 3) because the clear legal impropriety of Strzok's participation in both the Clinton investigation and the "Russia collusion" investigation was reasonably knowable (if not known) by the men charged with those investigation, Strzok's involvement is res ipsa loquitur on the very material issues of a) whether Comey was managerially-competent and ethically-suited to investigate Clinton and b) whether Mueller is managerially-competent and ethically-suited to investigate Trump.

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timothy
on December 15, 2017 at 18:43:08 pm

Agree with the exception of Strzok's *privacy*

From the Chicago Tribune, 6/17/2010:

" People who want to send highly personal notes to a romantic partner were given a word of warning Thursday by the Supreme Court: Do not use the messaging system supplied by your employer if you want to keep them private.

In a 9-0 ruling, the justices rejected a broad right of privacy for workers and said a supervisor may read through a public employee's text messages if he or she suspects work rules are being violated.

The decision was the high court's first to consider the privacy rights of employees who send messages on the job. It comes at a time when millions of American workers spend at least part of their day talking on phones or sending messages on computers or cell phones, many of which are supplied by their employers.

At issue was whether the Fourth Amendment's ban on "unreasonable searches" puts any limits on searches by public employers. The court said the limits were minimal, so long as the employer had a "work-related purpose" for inspecting an employee's desk or reading the messages sent by the employee on its paging system.

This decision applies directly to the more than20 MILLION EMPLOYEES of STATE and LOCAL governments, as well asFEDERALWORKERS. And in the past, the court's decisions on the right to privacy have also influenced decisions in the private sector as well."

These were phones, both for Strzok and his lover, that were supplied by the FBI.
Heck, if you want to make "mushy talk" OR patently biased comments, have the minimal sense to do it on your own devices ,EVEN IF YOU ARE IN A SWAMP OF LIKE MINDED CRITTERS!

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gabe
on December 15, 2017 at 19:19:11 pm

Good point. You're right, and the Court was right. Certainly their using DOJ smart phones makes their communications subject to government monitoring and public property. Indeed, Strzok's personal use of DOJ's smartphone was improper. That's what makes so bothersome the "special treatment" that Hillary received when the State Department treated the government's smart phones as her personal property and her personal emails on government smart phones as her property and not subject to public disclosure.

Yet, while the government has the right to Strzok's text messages I am very bothered by the government's public disclosure of those personal communications. That they were obtained through an internal DOJ investigation is proper. Their public disclosure seems tawdry and bothersome.
Hate to defend a guy I find loathsome. It's the principle, not the man.

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timothy
on December 15, 2017 at 20:31:24 pm

Agreed!

The "leaking' is so widespread, one would think that SOMEBODY, somewhere would have heard of *Flomax* (TM). Ha!

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gabe
on December 18, 2017 at 16:14:04 pm

[…] Read more[…] […]

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