THE MUGGLEBEE FILES : A MEMO ON INTELLIGENCE

rosenstein

^ the man and his memo : Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein

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The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function. — F. Scott Fitzgerald

 

  • The firing of James Comey defines this political moment. As America continues to unpack his sudden firing by President Trump,what becomes immediately clear is the contradiction in it: the firing of Comey is supported, and unsupported, by almost everyone. Why is that? It’s simple, really, yet nothing in American politics is, or is allowed to be, so simple.The American narrative is based in contradiction. We’re for wars before we are against them. Firing FBI Director Comey was a curveball that almost no one saw coming. No one, except Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, that is.Late last October, you will recall, Comey stepped into the election at a critical time and in a very critical way, one that seemed to most an unprecedented partisan effort to sway an election by speaking about an ongoing investigation. The election then resulted in boosting the very candidate Comey’s move seemed to benefit. Couldn’t be better, right? Not right.Comey had a peculiar set of values and a sterling reputation, but at once his move became a scandal of a type seen in our history but which we hoped we’d never see again : the tyranny of an FBI Director; of J Edgar Hoover. Since Trump had now won, Comey’s role seemed affixed…yet, perhaps, not. Because, you see, Comey had his own conflict. He absorbed so much criticism for his decision to speak on the Clinton e mail matter in a way that had the appearance of impropriety, that he literally felt he needed to make it right. Perhaps, and this is based on his testimony last week on his regrets, his contradiction side began to take command: bent on correcting a perceived error of serious magnitude and, thus, using the only things at his disposal…turned his focus on the focus of much of the nation- the Trump/Russia ties.As Attorney General, Jeff Sessions had already recused himself of handling the Trump/Russia inquiry thanks to his own ties thereto : which made the sudden firing of Comey all the more strange : because the President acting on advice from Sessions would violate the promised recusal. So into the picture steps Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, a 27 year Department of justice veteran. The President solicits a recommendation – a memo -regarding Comey’s actions in November. This, mind you, is on the heels of Comey’s most recent testimony highlighting significant investigation into Trump/Russia collusion and the high level of threat to the country that it presents. No wonder that the timing of James Comey’s sudden firing is immediately suspect.During perhaps the most divisive election in our country’s history, most Trump supporters, who were rabid anti-Hillary, at the time saw Comey’s rogue actions as “saving the country”, and of course acceptable (on their side). But this is how things get difficult: the very same man who helped them defeat Hillary is now helping defeat Trump, possibly.The crux of F Scott’s quote above. Two opposing ideas.Americans are tasked, right now, with understanding the inherent contradiction of two opposing ideas at the same time: Jim Comey deserved to be fired, but not now. Not under these circumstances. This is what makes this so damn difficult- politics loves to sow confusion and divisive thought. If F Scott is right, the very measure of intelligence is also the very lever of anti-intelligence, or forcing people to hold two opposing ideas in mind and retain the ability to function. People like Sarah Huckabee Sanders want you to function on one idea and one alone, and that isn’t intelligent. Rod Rosenstein has chosen a curious duplicity here. While he memo’d what most Americans on each side of the isle truly believe about Comey’s actions (which did indeed stun and worry most of us), Trump wanted to use Comey’s actions when they benefitted him (and so did his supporters)…and then completely reverse direction when it also suited him. He did so on the back of this simple memo from Rosenstein seemingly suggesting firing Comey. Why? You could say Rosenstein merely addressed Comey’s over-steps: an analysis as non-partisan as objective. Yet given the cut-throat culture in today’s White House, the Rosenstein memeo could easily be a trap. It’s been said that the difference between clever and intelligent is that clever is short-sighted and seeks immediate gain at the expense of long-term loss. Intelligence travels the opposite path.What F Scott was talking about, and makes clear, is doing the opposite twice; but taking two different opposing actions at separate times isn’t intelligence: it’s clever. To be intelligent, one must keep two opposing ideas in mind at the same time AND function from there. Trump was for Comey before he was against him. Rosenstein, on the other hand, may be for AND against at the same time. But for and against what? By handing Trump a memo, which seemed to be for firing Comey…He’s also against Donald Trump.Trump firing Comey suddenly may have thrust into him the sword that will end his presidency. As things unfold — and Trump admitted last night he indeed fired Comey to “end the investigation” — undoubtedly it’s clear to everyone that new have obstruction of justice. (clear to everyone but Trump, that is.)As the likely Constitutional crisis unfolds, I end with yet a second Scott Fitzgerald quote, one that I personally like:So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

 

  • — Christopher Mugglebee / The Mugglebee Files for Here and Sphere
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Author: hereandsphere

Here and Sphere is an online journal of news, opinion, reviews, advice, & bits n' pieces of everything else - from HERE to SPHERE...... Co-founded by Michael Freedberg, a long-time Boston Phoenix journalist, and Heather Cornell, a South Coast Massachusetts columnist and editor.

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