Sunday, October 30, 2016


I don’t know (who does?) why FBI Director Comey raised havoc with the almost completed Presidential elections. He admits he acted without significant information, but he must have known he was throwing a lifeline to the Trump campaign.

It does make me think about “context”, and some questions that call for serious investigative journalism.  

This election, as no other in the past, has raised the possibility that it can happen here. 

Well before Trump took center stage, ultra (“alt”) right or incipient fascist tendencies penetrated Congress and the GOP,  as well as state governments and the general political landscape. Now Trump has turned the prospect of a “law-and-order” dictatorship into a clear and present danger. 

Assessing that danger, one should keep in mind that only part of government and institutional political power is visible to the public. There is another largely hidden governing power not really accountable to the public and largely insulated from elections and the democratic process.  These are the institutions empowered to employ the various forms of enormous force that define the “security state”: the Pentagon, the FBI, the police, the whole network of enforcement agencies. Has Trumpism and the alt-right found support within these institutions as well?

All these agencies are constitutionally subject to civilian control. But none are outside the climate of political influence, the attentions of lobbyists, monied interests, contractors, and ambitious demagogues. Trump boasts the endorsement of the major police and law enforcement associations. The history of the FBI features J. Edgar Hoover and a tragic litany of extra-legal assaults on immigrants, the civil rights movement, and political activists. It includes assassinations, dirty trick fabrications, and racist blackmail. The Pentagon has spawned more than a few “outlaw” generals who eventually had to be brought down. As to the police, videos have made visible the racist, often deadly, police violence commonly applied in many black and brown communities. This background gives impetus to the ambitions of Trump and acolytes like Jiuliani and Gingrich.

Comey may or may not have acted on behalf of Trump, but pressures from the extreme right must surely have a presence within “law enforcement”. The FBI has no business interfering in an election. Instead of demanding that Comey supply more “information”, the demand should be that he apologize and retract his improper letter to Congress.

This whole election is bizarre. We didn’t need the FBI to make it a nightmare.