Comey and McCabe Leap From The Moral High Ground Into The Trump Abyss

440px-Comey-FBI-PortraitAndrew_McCabe_official_photoBelow is my column in USA Today on the rapid demise of James Comey and Andrew McCabe, who have fulfilled the very stereotypes drawn by President Donald Trump.  Comey continues to spin the controversy over his book as fulfilling what he saw as a need for ethical leadership (i.e., Comey himself).  Comey acknowledged that he never asked Mueller if he should wait on the book.  Why? If you are so committed to the FBI and this investigation, why would you not ask about the possibly deleterious effects of a tell-all book (which discussed both public and nonpublic evidence).  Clearly the book was not helpful to the investigation, but that did not matter to Comey who saw the greater need as advancing himself as the personification of virtue and ethics — while cashing in on the first tell-all book from a former FBI Director.

Here is the column:

President Donald Trump has long shown the unique ability to bring out the worst in people. It is by design. Trump will name call, badger, and taunt until critics lose their professional or personal control. They fulfill the stereotypes and caricatures that Trump creates for them. It is a strange skill set that most of us would not want to cultivate but its success cannot be denied this week.

In one week, two of Trump’s most stalwart critics — James Comey and Andrew McCabe — took headers from what most people viewed as moral high ground. Both Comey and McCabe have launched public campaigns attacking their critics and cashing in with people who are willing to ignore clearly unprofessional conduct.McCabe and his GoFundMe windfall

Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe has long been a focus of Trump’s ire. His wife, Dr. Jill McCabe, received roughly $700,000 from a close Clinton ally and the state Democratic party in her campaign as a Democrat for the Virginia legislature. McCabe would later play a key role in the Clinton investigation and is mentioned in emails that are viewed as overtly hostile to Trump.

Trump’s attacks on McCabe were largely exaggerated and unsupported. The nexus between his wife’s campaign and the investigation is tenuous at best. However, equally tenuous is McCabe’s nexus between Trump and his own termination. McCabe was fired after an investigation by the Office of Professional Responsibility and the Inspector General’s Office — both offices run by and staffed by career officials. Moreover, the investigation of McCabe began a week before Trump was sworn in. It preceded and had no connection to Mueller.

After his termination, McCabe immediately attacked the career staff as unfairly targeting him. His attacks became increasingly Trump-like as he described what the president loves to call “a witch hunt.” None of it made sense. Whatever was in the report motivated FBI Director Christopher Wray to push McCabe into an immediate terminal leave after reviewing the summary weeks ago. Furthermore, it was the career staff that recommended his termination — an unprecedented decision for a former acting FBI Director.

With the release of the report looming, McCabe quickly created a GoFundMe page that portrayed himself as a victim before the facts were released by the IG. He repeatedly increased the target goal and quickly raised over $500,000 from the hopelessly gullible. He then shut down the page just before the report was released. The report is now out and the career staff found that McCabe suffered a “lack of candor” (read: lied) not once but four times about leaking information to the media. Moreover, it concluded that he took the action not in the public’s interest but his own personal interest.

Now McCabe’s lawyer is threatening lawsuit in Michael Cohen-like blasts. His attorney declared that he is pursuing possible defamation lawsuits against “the president and senior members of the administration” for “wrongful termination, defamation, constitutional violations and more.” He added the Cohenesque taunt of “Thank you for providing even more material for the defamation suit we are actively considering filing against you and your colleagues. Stay tuned.” Most of us would rather not.

James Comey and the tell-all book

This week Comey became the first former FBI Director to write a tell-all book that is already raking in massive profits. It is not just the tenor but the timing of the book that is so controversial. Comey was in charge of a still ongoing investigation and is a cooperating witness in that investigation. Yet, he decided to rush a book to print to discuss both public and non-public evidence. He seemed to take a lesson from Trump who once said, “Remember, there’s no such thing as an unrealistic goal — just unrealistic time frames.” Waiting for the end of the investigation was simply unrealistic if you wanted to maximize book sales. It did not matter that such a book can only undermine an investigation (and Comey’s value as a witness).

A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership is a transparently self-serving and distorted account of Comey’s struggle with Trump, who is portrayed as a virtual soul-snatcher with a mob-boss demeanor. Yet, the book panders to the most petty elements to sell this story. Consider how he sets the scene for what he describes as a historic meeting:

“His face appeared slightly orange with bright white half-moons under his eyes where I assumed he placed small tanning goggles, and impressively coifed, bright blond hair, which upon close inspection looked to be all his … As he extended his hand, I made a mental note to check its size. It was smaller than mine, but did not seem unusually so.”

Comey goes on in the book and his interview this week with George Stephanopoulosto gratuitously question Trump’s marriage while declaring that there is evidence of obstruction by Trump. He further emphasized that it is “possible” that Trump engaged in a “golden shower” with Russian prostitutes in Moscow and that the Russians have compromising dirt on him. Comey has no evidence to support these claims. He indicates simply that it is “possible” — which predictably caused a sensation … and sales. Of course, it is also possible that Trump did in Jimmy Hoffa and runs a panda-skinning operation in the White House. For a former FBI director to engage in such speculation over salacious claims (in the midst of an investigation) is a new low even in a city plagued by sleazy tell-all books.

Comey has succeeded in proving Trump’s point. After facing bipartisan calls for his termination after discussing evidence against an unindicted person (Hillary Clinton), he is back doing the very same thing with Trump. On both occasions, he acted for his own interest not the public’s interest.

Since being fired, Comey has also been accused of removing memos that he prepared during the investigation against FBI rules. Four of the seven memos are considered classified and he gave four to a friend to leak the information to the media. Instead of giving the memos to investigators or Congress, Comey (the man tasked with finding leakers) became a leaker himself. He then followed Trump to Twitter where he first lurked under a pseudonym and then started tweeting out attacks to the delight of his followers.

Ironically, Trump may prove to be just the moral hazard that Comey describes. After all, both Comey and McCabe ultimately failed the moral hazard that they breathlessly recount in their public campaigns. They yielded to  temptation and will be richer as a result. The cost will fall not on them but on their colleagues and the FBI they used to lead.

Jonathan Turley, a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors, is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University, where he teaches constitutional and tort law. Follow him on Twitter: @JonathanTurley.

963 thoughts on “Comey and McCabe Leap From The Moral High Ground Into The Trump Abyss”

  1. John is arguing some basic points of Austrian economics that some might consider classical economics and others…

    Allan, John doesn’t know economics from tiddlywinks.

    What the two of you have to say cannot be so consequential that it merits 800 comments worth of back-and-forth.

    1. NII, there is absolutely no merit to the discussion which meanders all over the place and never moves an inch. Call me foolish for engaging in such an adventure.

      1. “NII, there is absolutely no merit to the discussion which meanders all over the place and never moves an inch. Call me foolish for engaging in such an adventure.”

        Why should I move an inch from something that is correct ?

        Yes, you are foolish for making poor arguments against something solid.

        You drove alot of the meandering.

        What digression was unrelated to factors effecting growth – aside from trying to address your bizzare absolute relativism.

        1. The start of this meandering discussion was:

          “Dhlii writes: “it requires little more than shrinking the state to only those tasks that actually require the use of force.” Allan responded: “Theory is great and you are big on theory. The problem is the reality is different. The state is not shrinking so other controls must be used. The same goes for the rest of your comments which in an unreal world might sound good but in a real world can be disastrous.”

          This was the statement that took us on a trip all over the cosmos including Newtons Law and a lot of mathematics, Freud and all sorts of things not to forget red balloons in a vacuum.

          “Why should I move an inch from something that is correct ?”

          You shouldn’t. You should stay with red balloons in a vacuum.

          “Yes, you are foolish for making poor arguments against something solid.”

          You provided nothing solid in the arguments under discussion only unbounded theory or a fact that could be dispelled with real examples that for the most part remained entirely unanswered.

          “You drove a lot of the meandering.”

          Don’t make me laugh. A casual look at your responses to a singular short sentence tells the reader you are the Mississippi of meandering.

          1. “the start of this meandering discussion was:”

            We have been exchanging things for a long time.

            The statement you note is one in which we disagree, further “it” clearly is not a start – note the use of the word “it” – that means something came before.

            “It” is not however the one you have repeatedly quoted and called a generalization – which I am likely to accept when you define what a generalization is, where we appear to disagree is on your assertion that all generalizations are false.

            So make up your mind what you are arguing about, and what the words you are claiming refute me mean.

    2. The core subject is more important than anything else here – factors effecting growth.

      The chasing all over because Allan wants to criticise the precision and methodology of a one line argument as if it is a 70 page paper was pointless.

      If admitting that my argument is not Absolutely true will make Alan happy – fine.
      But NOTHING is absolutely true.

      Beyond that Alan was arguing semantics.

      1. “If admitting that my argument is not Absolutely true will make Alan happy – fine.
        But NOTHING is absolutely true.”

        Get over it, John. Economics is more than you suggest. Generalities are not facts or theories. I agreed with many of the ideas you suggest. I don’t consider them facts especially when in specific incidences (as shown on a few occasions) those specific facts or theories don’t work.

        1. “Get over it, John. Economics is more than you suggest. Generalities are not facts or theories.”

          You bemoan my purported lack of precision and yet can not manage precision yourself.

          Is there a difference between a generality and a generalization ?
          You are playing word games so I must take care.

          All P are not Q
          Is not logically equivalent to
          No P is Q.

          Some generalizations are facts or theories.

          Regardless, you need to define

          fact, theory, and generalization.

          Because you are using them as if they have a precise meaning, without sharing what that meaning is.

          “I agreed with many of the ideas you suggest. I don’t consider them facts especially when in specific incidences (as shown on a few occasions) those specific facts or theories don’t work.”

          As noted before, your proposed counters – are not counters.
          If they were you could falsify newton’s laws by drilling holes in the biliard table, or using steel balls and electro magnets.

          If your counter does not control for independent variables it does not falsify.
          I would also note that your counters were hypothetical.

          1. “You bemoan my purported lack of precision and yet can not manage precision yourself.”

            I don’t require precision. I only have to prove a fact or theory wrong under certain conditions. I did that with major issues not minor insignificant ones. I have no beef with you. I like you and the ideas you promote. I don’t like listening to half-baked economic theories or fact.

            1. “I don’t require precision. I only have to prove a fact or theory wrong under certain conditions. ”
              Those conditions require either controling other independent variables of after the fact adjusting for them.
              You did not. Your counters therfore have no meaning.

              “I have no beef with you. I like you and the ideas you promote.”

              I hold the same view of you.

              “I don’t like listening to half-baked economic theories or fact.”

              Most of this discussion has been about how we distinguish between “half-baked” and “fact”.

              Except for the issue of falsification which is specific – i.e. directly related to the specific argument I have made, the rest of the debate has been about the nature of truth, what are the requirements for something to be a fact.

              This is actually a very important debate.

              It is a debate in which the left has taken ownership of a substantial portion of mindshare, while at the same time fomenting a corrupt, contradictory and ambigous process.

              Much of the arguments you are making mirror those of the left – whether you are conscious of that.

              The left constantly asserts there is no absolute truths, that all ideas are equal (a separate proposition), that everything is just an opinion, and that all opinions are equal,
              while concurrently maintaining that their claimed facts, views, opinions, truths are obviously superior and that those of anyone else are false as they do not meet a standard of being absolute truth.

              You can find all of the above assertions in some form in every debate with anyone on the left.

              Too many have crept into our debate.

              Can I presume that you accept there is no such thing as absolute truth ?

              Assuming that is True would you accept the following ROUGH framework

              Those things that are generally true, and have no falsifying conditions
              Those things that are generally true, but can be falsified but not inside some constraints (which are usually assumed).
              Those things that are generally True, but can be falsified with no pattern to the falsification.
              Those things which are not generally true
              Those things that are absolutely false.

              I do not care if you expand on this or clarify – that is not the point.
              The point is that absent absolute truth that truth become probabilitistic, and that there are criteria we can use to asses the relative merits of different things contenting to be truth.

              Can I also presume that your accept that truth is not determined by concensus ?

              What we are debating is epistemology.

              1. “You did not. Your counters therfore have no meaning.

                I provided a real example instead.

                  1. Allan: “I provided a real example instead.”

                    John: “Without controlling for other independent variables it is meaningless.”

                    You stated a fact or theory without ever thinking of those independent variables. That is what one needs to do BEFORE stating a theory or fact.

                    1. “You stated a fact or theory without ever thinking of those independent variables. That is what one needs to do BEFORE stating a theory or fact.”

                      You are confused about a basic facet of science.

                      We control for other independent variables so that we CAN DISREGARD THEM.

                      The objective is NOT to think about them.

                      To the extent they are addressed before during and afterwards it is to construct our validation to neutralize them – so that we do NOT have to mention them.

                    2. “You are confused about a basic facet of science.”

                      Nope. You were too broad.

                    3. “”You are confused about a basic facet of science.”

                      Nope. You were too broad.”

                      That is not true, merely be cause you say so, it should be easy to demonstate, you have failed to provide a counterfactual that would be acceptable in any scientific or statistical debate.

                    4. “Nope. You were too broad.”

                      You claim that not to be true but you aren’t saying much of anything.

                    5. ” it should be easy to demonstate”

                      You made a broad statement: “increased numbers of people accelerates the development of technology”

                      Does it? Israel ~9million Rest of the Mid East ~500million people. Israel produces more technology than the rest of the Mid East combined. It also produces more technology that almost every nation in the world yet its population is quite small. Increased numbers of people can reduce the development of technology as the nation struggles to feed a starving population. It can go both ways and as demonstrated here population counts is not the determining factor. Everything you say may be true in limited circumstances just like anything most people say can be true in limited circumstances. That makes your arguments trite.

                    6. “” it should be easy to demonstate”

                      You made a broad statement: “increased numbers of people accelerates the development of technology””

                      You specifically limited the discussion to the “first” statement I made, now you wish to incorporate others.

                      Make up you mind. All in or not ?

                      Next, the counter claim you make continues to make all the same errors, I have critiqued before.

                      You continue to confuse relative with absolute.

                      Israel with 9m people is developing technology faster than Israel with 5m.
                      The rest of the mid east with 500m faster than the rest of the mideast with 200m.
                      It does appear that Iran is closing in on ICBM’s and nukes, last I checked.

                      Nowhere in the statement you cire does it say that 9m people can not develop technology faster than 500m.

                      Though you can take it to mean ALL OTHER THINGS BEING EQUAL, 500m people will develop technology faster than 9m.

                      But all things are not equal are they ?

                      Finally, with respect to population – though I absolutely stand by the statement, I told you, that if you want to debate that – go read Julian Simon’s
                      https://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Resource-Julian-Lincoln-Simon/dp/0691003815

                      800 pages chock full of data, and links to other studies, and foot notes, and endnotes, and every counter argument you can think of and myriads you have not thought of all addressed in excruciating detail.

                      “Everything you say may be true in limited circumstances”

                      Properly stated:

                      What I have claimed is true – all other things being equal.
                      OR
                      What I have claimed is true – normalizing for all of the things that are different.

                      Speaking of “trite”
                      “just like anything most people say can be true in limited circumstances. That makes your arguments trite.”

                      Something can be true some of the time.
                      Wow! Comic revaliation!!

                      But not equivalent to what I have said.

                      I am not talking about “limited circumstances”
                      I am talking about ALL CIRCUMSTATES – BUT!!!!!! Properly adjusted to be able to compare accross varying circumstances.

                      Again you are far to smart not to be able to grasp the difference.

                      ——————-

                      Now!! Your turn.

                      “Increased numbers of people can reduce the development of technology”

                      Find one actual real world example where any country ever has increased its population while advancing otherwise more slower ?

                      This is pretty close to Malthuses fallacy.
                      Even Malthus ultimately recognized it was wrong.

                      China – more people today – better off. Standard of living otders of magnitude higher than 1974 (or 1900).
                      India – more people – better off.
                      Bangladesh – more people – better off.
                      The US – more people better off.

                    7. “Israel with 9m people is developing technology faster than Israel with 5m”

                      You seem to have discovered that Israel is growing faster today technologically than when it had 5 million people but you haven’t explained why the rest of the Mideast with a population of ~50 times that of Israel isn’t doing the same.

                      I got it. You make a statement and if it works out to be true then you say you were right. If not you say you are still right but other factors intervened.

                      We now have the greatest weather station in the world, the John Say weather station. He says it will be sunny tomorrow, however if it isn’t he says it was sunny but rain and clouds prevented the sun from shining. There are always variables. You have to account for the most prominent of them before drawing your grandiose conclusions.

                    8. “You seem to have discovered that Israel is growing faster today technologically than when it had 5 million”

                      I did not discover anything. There is plenty of evidence of this – you picked Israel as the example.

                      “but you haven’t explained why the rest of the Mideast with a population of ~50 times that of Israel isn’t doing the same.”
                      They are doing “the same” – meaning that with a larger population technology is growing faster.
                      They are not doing the same in that two completely different populations with myriads of other independent variables do not behave in exactly the same way when you change not one but many variables concurrently.

                      “I got it. You make a statement and if it works out to be true then you say you were right. If not you say you are still right but other factors intervened.”

                      Nope, there are methods for testing my generalization, and others have done them many many times.

                      I am not claiming that other factors intervened in Egypt.

                      f1t1 = A1x + B1y + C1z + …
                      f2t1 = A2x +B2y + C2z + …

                      Where f1t1 is Israel’s (t1) standard of living and f2t1 is the mideast’s (t1) standard of living.
                      and A1 is Israels population, and A2 is that of the mideast.

                      We can know that no matter what the changes in B1, C1, … that if A1 is increasing f1t2 will be higher than it would be if A1 is not increasing.
                      and we can know the same about f2t1 vs f2t2.

                      But we can know very little about f1t2 vs f2t2 – without knowing all the other coeficients.

                      f2t2 is STILL higher than it would be if A2 did not change.

                      “There are always variables.”
                      Yes
                      “You have to account for the most prominent of them”
                      Yes
                      “before drawing your grandiose conclusions.”
                      Yes

                      but we account for changes in other variables as part of the process of testing the hypothesis.
                      We do not do so as part of the hypothesis.

                      If the other variables you refer to are truly independent – then their effect is independent.
                      i.e. the variable unders test causes the same change regardless of other variables.
                      But those other variables ALSO cause changes that may be larger or smaller and the absolute result is the sum of all effects.

                    9. NII made a good point a while ago so I credit him with stating the obvious that I didn’t wish to accept. This will be my last post on this thread because obviously it is going nowhere and you will continue to morph your idea until all the variables are mentioned and your fact turns into useless characters.

                      ““You seem to have discovered that Israel is growing faster today technologically than when it had 5 million”

                      I did not discover anything. There is plenty of evidence of this – you picked Israel as the example.”

                      In other words, there is now another variable that you wish to add to your fact. Israel grew from 5 million to 9 million and that is why its technology advanced to its present degree as a world leader. There are countries and periods of time where population growth of the same nation did not cause an increase in technology.

                      You are dealing in junk science and if you approach economics from this direction you are dealing in junk economics as well even though I agree with much that you say. Understand that agreement is based on my mind adding in a whole bunch of variables that you didn’t include and would have otherwise provided the wrong impression.

                    10. This has gone so long it is difficult to remember – but I am pretty sure YOU brought Israel and the mideast into this.

                      I do not use Israel as an example.

                      “In other words, there is now another variable”
                      Multiple other independent variables are your fixation not mine.

                      I do not care how many other independent variables there are.

                      The existance of or the effects of independent variables does NOT falsify any thesis UNLESS they are controlled for in some way.

                      “There are countries and periods of time where population growth of the same nation did not cause an increase in technology.”

                      While not properly a falsificiation – again you would have to have the ONLY change be population OR you would have to normalize your data to cancel the effects of all other independent variables,

                      At the same time – I doubt the example you posit actually exists. All technological gains in a society do no result in nobel prizes.

                      Are you saying as an example that Egypt today is at the exact same technological level as it was in 1976 ?

                      Even without accounting for independent variables, I can not think of a single country that has increased in population that has stayed the same or gone backwards in technology.

                    11. “You are dealing in junk science and if you approach economics from this direction you are dealing in junk economics as well even though I agree with much that you say.”

                      No I am dealing with the scientific method.

                      “Understand that agreement is based on my mind adding in a whole bunch of variables that you didn’t include and would have otherwise provided the wrong impression.”

                      That is correct, all hypothesis’s and the scientific method assume that all variables not part of the thesis are controlled.

                      You can not do science otherwise.
                      You do not need to – add all these things in your mind. You are supposed to REMOVE them from your mind – structure any tests to cancel or neutralize their effects.

  2. http://thefederalist.com/2018/04/19/revealed-robert-muellers-fbi-repeatedly-abused-prosecutorial-discretion/

    By Mollie Hemingway
    APRIL 19, 2018
    Journalist Mike Allen of Axios recently said that one word described Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and that word was “unafraid.”

    The context for his remarks on Fox News’ “Special Report” was that Mueller had just spun off to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York a bit of his limitless investigation into President Donald J. Trump. Allen’s comment was like so many others from media and pundit types since the special counsel was launched. If there’s one word to describe the media’s relationship to Mueller, it’s “unquestioning.”

    Pundits and politicians have said, repeatedly, that he is “somebody we all trust” with “impeccable credentials.” No matter what his office does, from hiring Democratic donors to run the Trump probe to aggressively prosecuting process crimes, he is defended by most media voices. Criticism of Mueller by people who aren’t part of the Trump Resistance is strongly fought, with claims that disapproval of anything related to Mueller and how he runs his investigation undermine the rule of law.

    The media and establishment DC who reflexively defend Mueller haven’t explained how they came to trust him so completely. It’s a question worth asking given the bumpy historical record of Mueller’s tenure as FBI director from 2001 to 2013.

    For instance, as I noted to Allen, Mueller was also “unafraid” at completely botching the anthrax killer case, wasting more than $100 million in taxpayer dollars, destroying the lives of multiple suspects, and chasing bad leads using bad methods. Let’s look at that and other cases involving how Mueller and those he placed in positions of power used their authorities and decided what charges to pursue.

    The Anthrax Bungling
    Shortly after the terrorist attacks in 2001, letters containing anthrax were mailed to media outlets and the offices of Sens. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., killing five people and infecting 17 others. The FBI quickly focused on an innocent man named Steven Hatfill, relentlessly pursuing him for years while the real killer walked free. As Carl Cannon wrote about the botched case, ridiculous and aggressive methods were used to go after the wrong man:

    So what evidence did the FBI have against Hatfill? There was none, so the agency did a Hail Mary, importing two bloodhounds from California whose handlers claimed could sniff the scent of the killer on the anthrax-tainted letters. These dogs were shown to Hatfill, who promptly petted them. When the dogs responded favorably, their handlers told the FBI that they’d ‘alerted’ on Hatfill and that he must be the killer.

    Mueller and his deputy James Comey were certain they had the right guy. They didn’t, and taxpayers had to pay Hatfill $5.82 million for the error. When that settlement was announced, Cannon noted:

    Mueller could not be bothered to walk across the street to attend the press conference announcing the case’s resolution. When reporters did ask him about it, Mueller was graceless. ‘I do not apologize for any aspect of the investigation,’ he said, adding that it would be erroneous ‘to say there were mistakes.’

    The man the FBI decided was responsible for the anthrax killings killed himself as the FBI pursued him, but reports from the National Academy of Sciences and the Government Accountability Office were critical of the bureau’s scientific conclusions used to determine the man’s guilt.

    Mueller placed Special Agent Van Harp in charge of the initial investigation. He had been “accused of misconduct and recommended for discipline for his role in a flawed review of the deadly Ruby Ridge standoff,” according to a Washington Post report. He had helped “prepare an incomplete report on the 1992 Ruby Ridge siege that had the effect of protecting high-level FBI officials, according to a confidential 1999 report by the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility.”

    After Hatfill sued the FBI, Harp admitted that he talked to the media about the anthrax case due to political concerns at the bureau. According to The Atlantic:

    Special Agent Harp, who initially headed the anthrax investigation, conceded after Hatfill sued the government in August 2003 that the FBI had been sensitive to accusations that it had stumbled in other high-profile investigations, and that it had consciously sought to assure the public that it was working hard to crack the anthrax murders. Part of providing such assurance involved actively communicating with news reporters. Questioned under oath, Harp admitted to serving as a confidential source for more than a dozen journalists during the case, but he insisted that he had never leaked privileged information about Hatfill, or anyone else for that matter.

    Hatfill’s attorney’s found the latter claim highly improbable.

    The Democrat Berger Treated Gently
    As aggressive as Mueller can be about pursuing the wrong man, he showed surprising leniency and laxity when it came to the case of Samuel “Sandy” Berger, a Clinton White House national security adviser. In the run-up to testifying before the 9/11 Commission that sought to examine the failures that led to those terrorist attacks, Berger visited the National Archives to review classified documents with his notes on them.

    But instead he intentionally removed and destroyed multiple copies of a classified document the commission should have reviewed for national security purposes, and lied to investigators about it. He was found to have stuffed the documents in his socks and otherwise hidden them. His punishment was that he was allowed to plead guilty in 2005 to a single misdemeanor. He served no jail time but had to give up his security clearance for three years.

    The staff of Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., authored a 60-page report about the theft of the documents, in which he said “The Justice Department was unacceptably incurious about Berger’s Archives visits.”

    Republican Scooter Libby Charged, But Not The Leaker

    As lax and lenient as the Department of Justice was with Berger, the opposite was true in other cases. After Valerie Plame’s identity as a CIA employee was leaked, a special counsel operation was set up to investigate the leak. Mueller’s deputy Comey pressured John Ashcroft to recuse himself from the case on the grounds he had potential conflicts of interest.

    Comey named Patrick Fitzgerald, his close personal friend and godfather to one of his children, to the role of special counsel. Mueller, Comey, and Fitzgerald all knew the whole time that Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage was the leaker. Yet they set things up so Fitzgerald would aggressively investigate the Bush administration for three years, jailed a journalist for not giving up a source, and pursued both Karl Rove and Scooter Libby.

    Comey even expanded the investigation’s mandate within weeks of setting up the special counsel. Libby, who was pardoned by President Trump last week, was rung up on a process charge in part thanks to prosecutorial abuse by Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald encouraged a witness to give false testimony by not providing exonerating evidence to her and Libby’s attorneys. The Wall Street Journal and Commentary have write-ups on the saga.

    Republican Ted Stevens Railroaded
    In 2016, the FBI kept getting involved in the presidential election. Political considerations rather obviously played a role in Comey showing deference to Clinton in July 2016 in the investigation into her mishandling of classified information. Political considerations also played a role — he says subconsciously — in Comey’s decision to announce a probe into Clinton’s mishandling of classified information had been reopened shortly before the election.

    It wasn’t the first time the FBI meddled in a U.S. election. In 2008, Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, was indicted by a federal grand jury following a lengthy investigation by the FBI and found guilty eight days before Election Day. Stevens narrowly lost his re-election bid as a result and died in a plane crash a couple of years later.

    The prosecutors in that case repeatedly withheld exculpatory evidence that would have yielded a different verdict. The convictions were voided by U.S. District Court Judge Emmett G. Sullivan, who called it the worst case of prosecutorial misconduct he’d ever seen. Stevens’ attorney complained about FBI abuses and said:

    ‘To us, while this is a joyful day and we’re happy that Sen. Stevens can resume a normal life without the burden that he’s carried over these last years,’ he said, ‘at age 85, it’s a very sad story too. Because it’s a warning to everyone in this country that any citizen can be convicted if the prosecutor ignores the Constitution of the United States.’

    An Israeli Spy Ring That Wasn’t
    Another black mark on Mueller’s record at the FBI was the pursuit of what the bureau dramatically claimed was an Israeli spy ring operating out of the Pentagon. The news broke in August 2004 that a spy working for Israel was in the Department of Defense.

    It turned out that the bureau had gone after a policy analyst who had chatted with American lobbyists at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Charges were also pursued against two AIPAC employees. Those charges were later dropped and the sentence of the first person was dropped from 13 years to 10 months of house arrest and some community service.

    The Washington Post wrote:

    The conspiracy case against two former AIPAC lobbyists came to an inglorious end in May when the government dropped all charges after 3 1/2 years of pre-trial maneuvers.

    It was a curious case: First, the lobbyists, Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, were charged under an obscure section of the Espionage Act of 1917, a law that had been used only once before — unsuccessfully and never against private citizens for disclosing classified information. Second, they were targets of a bizarre sting in which they were fed false information suggesting that the lives of U.S. and Israeli operatives in Iraq were at risk and that American officials were refusing to take steps to protect them. The accusation was not that they brokered this information to some foreign enemy but that they offered it to everybody they could, hoping, among other things, to get a reporter from The Post to publish it so that it might draw the attention of the right U.S. officials and save U.S. lives. In short, even if the two were guilty as charged, they look more like whistle-blowers than spies.

    It turned out the probe was led by David Szady, the same man who notoriously missed Russian spy Robert Hanssen in his midst while he spent years targeting an innocent man named Brian Kelley, an undercover officer at the CIA. For this good work, Mueller named him assistant director for counterintelligence.

    Incompetent Supervision
    Many of these examples of prosecutorial misconduct and abuse were done not by Mueller but by underlings. He should have been aware of what they were doing, which means he should take responsibility for the errors. If he wasn’t aware, that’s a very bad sign regarding his competence to supervise his special counsel deputy Andrew Weissman………….

    1. “Allan, this has decayed into an absurd exercise.”

      NII, I know. I thought John would have gotten it out of his system by now but he hasn’t. This is mostly based on one statement he considers fact when it is more like conjecture. From that, the discussion kept expanding. I expect the next discussion on that one statement will involve whether the moon is made of green cheese or blue cheese.

      My wife insists I need the exercise but I don’t think this is the type she means.

      1. “NII, I know. I thought John would have gotten it out of his system by now but he hasn’t. This is mostly based on one statement he considers fact when it is more like conjecture. ”
        I do not wish to restart this – but YOU have said that aside from your presumption that the statement was linear, which I can not prevent you from doing, but is really reaching, that you otherwise agree.

        So clearly we are not talking about conjecture.
        All we are dealing with is what degree of probability to YOU need to reach before you call something a fact ?
        That and what do YOU mean by theory and law ?”

        “From that, the discussion kept expanding.”

        I tend to make big bold broad assertions when I can. SOMETIMES, I know they are not PERFECTLY accurate – but as an example it is easier to say government ALWAYS fails, rather than the far less digestable reality that is only marginally different.
        One in a blue moon – or would that be a green cheese moon, someone catches me.
        But that is rare.

        Further bold statements that reflect clear principles are far easier to defend.
        And reality does actually work according to principles. It just does not perfectly conform to them.

        Broad statements generaly get broad responses, and can lead to expanding scope.

        That said – you brought Heisenberger into it.

        1. “So clearly we are not talking about conjecture.”

          That is the crux of the issue.

          “That said – you brought Heisenberger into it.”

          You must be very hungry and want a hamburger so you added a “berger” to Heisenberg.

  3. Allan – let me complicate your problem. Between African countries A and B are countries C, D, E, and F. C and D are at war with each other and E and F also have droughts. Now, do they migrate or make a plea for international help?.

    You might want to make it more realistic. Interstate war isn’t common in Tropical Africa. You’ve had cross-border interventions now and again, but the only inter-state wars have been between Uganda and Tanzania (1978-79) and between Somalia and Ethiopia (1977-8). Both were over in a matter of months.

    1. DSS – it is a thought problem, but if you want to be more realistic, two of them have inter-tribal warfare going on. 😉

      1. Thought problems aren’t much good if they’re completely hypothetical.

        While we’re at it, tribal rivalries have been a vector in intramural conflicts in Africa, But you seldom see unadulterated tribal or regional separatist conflict. The Chad Wars, The Sudan Wars, Rwanda, Burundi, Eritrea, the Ogaden, Buganda, Katanga, and Biafra. That’s it from 1955 to the present.

        1. DSS – the idea of a thought problem is to be hypothetical. If you make it too real, it is no longer a thought problem.

  4. Shlaes is an adjunct associate professor of economics at New York University Stern School of Business.

    No clue why they appointed her.

    Her economic background is extensive.

    No, she has a BA degree from Yale. Reportedly in English literature.

    She is an economic historian of significant stature.

    No, she does not have at her command the conceptual tools to write economic history. She might write biogarphies or business histories or ordinary histories with some economic subject matter. She has never written economic history.

    What she is not is a research economist. She is never going to discover some new economic principle, or win a nobel prize. But she has extensive economic credentials.

    She doesn’t have any credentials and the book’s crippling weakness derives from her unfamiliarity with the actual evolution of production, income, and employment during the period (among other things). She studied a mess of secondary literature on the period.

    1. “No clue why they appointed her.”
      Your lack of understanding does not undermine her stature.

      “No, she has a BA degree from Yale. Reportedly in English literature.”
      And your life ended with your Bachelors ?
      Coase received a bachelors of Commerce – are you saying he is insignificant?

      “No, she does not have at her command the conceptual tools to write economic history. She might write biogarphies or business histories or ordinary histories with some economic subject matter. She has never written economic history.”

      That is your judgement – and bad judgement at that. “the forgotten man” is economic history.
      I suggested you read “how china became capitalist” by Ronald coase, and compare that to the forgotten man. Coase is one of the top 4 economists in the past 100 years. His book is excellent. Shlaes is better.

      “She doesn’t have any credentials and the book’s crippling weakness derives from her unfamiliarity with the actual evolution of production, income, and employment during the period (among other things). She studied a mess of secondary literature on the period.”

      Repeating the same garbage again. I would suggest reading Smith. Bastiat, Hayek, some of Freidman’s work. You could criticize those for much the same reasons – but you would be wrong.
      There is no requirement that economics or economic history be presented as you wish.

      I would suggest reading Coases Seminal papers on economics – all are short and easy to read. All suffer from your criticisms. And yet they earned Coase a nobel prize.

  5. NII, not everyone is an economist. Amity Shales is a writer both of books and magazines. She wrote a book on Calvin Coolidge that was superb. Her abilities as a writer and biographer are excellent.

    So what? Her book on the 1930s was bound to be misconceived because of crucial gaps in her background.

    1. It has since come to light that her knowledge of economics is substantial. John Say made a good case for that. Did you read her book on FDR? I don’t think so. You are blowing wind.

      1. It has since come to light that her knowledge of economics is substantial.

        Come to light where?

        See Mortimer Adler on this subject: not every book requires or should be given a line-by-line read. Adler has a detailed procedure you follow in allocating time to literature of various sorts. A careful line-by-line read is the last step, and undertaken only when you’ve determined the text merits it.

        In her case, I examined her bibliography and thesis statements. The whole project was misconceived. Someone with a ‘substantial knowledge’ of economics would not write this book this way no matter what their thesis was. It’s been years, but as far as I can recall, there wasn’t much reference to archival material either, so it isn’t how a historian (well-informed or no) would approach the topic. It’s a synthesis of secondary literature. It’s about what you’d expect from a writer, and that’s what she is.

        I don’;t think you’re going to locate a single data table in that book.

        1. “Come to light where?”

          Wikipedia would be a very good start.

          “In her case, I examined her bibliography and thesis statements. ”

          In other words you do not read things that argue premises you do not like.

          I beleive Mill had a good argument against that.
          “He Who Knows Only His Own Side Of The Case Knows Little Of That.”

          “The whole project was misconceived. Someone with a ‘substantial knowledge’ of economics would not write this book this way no matter what their thesis was.”

          And yet the evidence is quite compelling that Shlaes has a “substantial knowledge” of economics.

          The structure of the book is an incredibly common one. It is a particularly common means of writing history – which is what the books actually is – a history of the period.

          “It’s been years, but as far as I can recall, there wasn’t much reference to archival material either, so it isn’t how a historian (well-informed or no) would approach the topic.”

          In other words you claim to have any knowledge at all of the book is just made up garbage.
          The book is almost entirely made up of excerpts from the writings, notes, letters, speaches, of the people at the time. It is almost entirely “archival material”, A substantial portion of it is from the communications of members of FDR’s brain trust.

          “It’s a synthesis of secondary literature.”

          No that is pretty much exactly what it is NOT. As I recall, Shlaes makes very little if any use of “secondary literature”. Shlaes book is especially damning because she uses PRIMARY sources – she allows FDR and his brain trust to speak in their own words.

          “It’s about what you’d expect from a writer, and that’s what she is.”
          She is many things – an economist, an economics professor, a historian, and a journalist.
          What she is NOT is Micheal Wolfe.

          “I don’t think you’re going to locate a single data table in that book.”

          That would be correct.
          The book is a history, it tells the story of the events of a period in time, using the words of the people who shaped that period of time. It is supposed to be their own thoughts and observations of themselves.

          BTW there is not a single data table in Adam Smith’s “Wealth of Nations”

          If you want dry tables and data

          A Monetary History of the United States, 1867–1960,
          Milton Friedman and Anna Jacobson Schwartz

          That is the definitive work on the great depression and its causes as accepted by the economics profession. But it is NOT what you are taught in schools.

          1. Wikipedia would be a very good start.

            Start in what direction. It says she’s a journalist who studied literature long ago.

            In other words you do not read things that argue premises you do not like.

            No, I do not engage in close reading of material wherein the author shows no evidence she understands how to approach the topic. I’ve delineated why above. I can explain something to you. I cannot comprehend it for you.

            And yet the evidence is quite compelling that Shlaes has a “substantial knowledge” of economics.

            Where? Quit waving your hands and tell me where this ‘evidence’ is.

            No that is pretty much exactly what it is NOT. As I recall, Shlaes makes very little if any use of “secondary literature”. Shlaes book is especially damning because she uses PRIMARY sources – she allows FDR and his brain trust to speak in their own words.

            She does not have an architecture of footnotes or endnotes. She provides a bibliographic discussion to each chapter and a reference bibliography at the end. She says she consulted four archives, but it’s not at all clear how she used them because there are few if any references to documents drawn from them them in the chapter-delineated bibliographic discussions. The only primary sources I’m seeing are to be found in some published compilations of letters.

            That is the definitive work on the great depression and its causes as accepted by the economics profession. But it is NOT what you are taught in schools.

            My undergraduate professors were quite at home with monetarist explanations and one operated a consultancy on the side whose clients included the Prime Minister’s office during Margaret Thatcher’s time. (And, yes, he appears repeatedly in her memoirs).

            The professor in question, Sir Alan Walters, identified the crucial policy failure as being the maintenance of the gold standard and the failure to maintain M1 as the country careered into a liquidity crisis in 1931. That antedated Roosevelt’s administration. The tonic effects of the devaluation of the pound in Sept. 1931 are not discussed by Shales, nor the divergent experience of the American and British economies in the wake of that.

            1. “Start in what direction. It says she’s a journalist who studied literature long ago.”

              It also says
              she was a journalist in the field of economics for some time.
              she is a professor of economics,
              That she is a director of several economic study projects,
              that she is a senior fellow in economics history
              That she is a jurist for the Hayek and Bastiat economic prizes and a past winner of both.

              What do you need ? Must she win a nobel in economics ?

              “No, I do not engage in close reading of material wherein the author shows no evidence she understands how to approach the topic. I’ve delineated why above. I can explain something to you. I cannot comprehend it for you. ”

              Again you are saying nothing more than I do not read what I expect to disagree with.
              No actually you have not “delinated” why. You do not seem to know what an argument is.
              “I wont like something” might be a statement of fact, it is not an argument.

              Merely from Wikipedia the evidence that Shlaes is knowledgeable of the material is self evident.

              There is no one way to approach the topic. Shlaes used a perfectly valid approach for a historical work with an economic subtheme.
              You have delinated that you do not like that approach. You have made no argument at all much less a credible one as to what that approach is invalid – it is not, it is quite common.

              “Where? Quit waving your hands and tell me where this ‘evidence’ is.”

              Again provided repeatedly – more:

              She was the 2002 co-winner of the International Policy Network’s Frederic Bastiat Prize, an international prize for writing on political economy
              In 2003, she spent several months at the American Academy in Berlin as the JP Morgan Fellow for finance and economy

              Wow! your arguing about the precise way she structured footnotes, bibliography and endnotes.

              I am not aware of a single claim that she has falsified her sources.
              ALL those sources are from people at the time.
              Most of those sources were the specific people making and implementing FDR’s policies.

              Either you can be honest and assert that she has forged material from FDR’s briantrust or you have no argument. All the items you critique serve one of two purposes – to allow you to further explore a given source, or to prove or refute the accuracy of a quote.

              Given no one is saying that the letters and quotes she has used are forged, that leaves you NOTHING.

              With respect to your monetary observations – Shlaes book is primarily about the fiscal policies of Coolidge, Hoover and FDR – and the complete ineffectiveness of the latter two.

              Shlaes does not blame Hoover or FDR for the recession/depression – though she does address Mellon’s poor monetary choices.

              If you want the seminal work on the CAUSES of the great depression – that would be in Friedman and Schwartz.
              Shlaes is almost entirely about the fiscal response.

              With respect to your monetarist and gold standard arguments – those are outside the scope of Shlaes book. She barely addressed gold, and did not address europe.

              Comparisons between the US and Europe – specifically the UK are complex.

              The UK dropped off the gold standard during WWI.
              They disasterously tried to return after the war at the same price level as before.
              The US dusasterously trued to aid in this return – creating serious but quite different monetary problems for both.

              The UK absolutley had to devalue – it was ludicrously stupid to try to return to the gold standard at the same value as before WWI.
              The US was entirely different with respect to gold.
              Further though the term “gold standard” is sprayed all over.
              The actual standards during the 20th century “gold standard” era varied greatly and were not necescarily actual gold standards. If you look into the history of money, even during the purported “gold standard” era of the 19th century countries were playing all kinds of games with their money with disasterous consequences. As Smith noted all money is a matter of beleif. What constitutes money is less important than that its value is stable and not being gamed by government.

              The US and nearly all european economies had radically different experiences with the Great Depression.
              Monetary policy was radically different, fiscal policy was radically different.
              The experience of nations that were part of WWI was different from those that were not.

              But overall the rest of the world did not see the deep and protracted disaster that the US did.

              This despite the fact that the UK’s monetary problems were substantially more significant than the US.

              1. It also says she was a journalist in the field of economics for some time.

                She writes on topics related to the economy.

                she is a professor of economics,

                No she is not. She has a 40% time position at a small evangelical college where she teaches a history course on the 1920s. She had a temporary p/t position at the Stern School of Business, but it’s not clear what course material she taught at that time,

                That she is a director of several economic study projects, that she is a senior fellow in economics history
                That she is a jurist for the Hayek and Bastiat economic prizes and a past winner of both.

                No clue where it says that. She has no history of advanced study in either theoretical or applied economics, so, no clue in what the ‘study projects’ are supposed to have consisted.

                What do you need ? Must she win a nobel in economics ?

                That she show some evidence of any education at all in economics and any evidence of familiarity with important descriptive statistics on the period. She shows none.

                Again you are saying nothing more than I do not read what I expect to disagree with.

                No, that is not what I am saying. I am pointing out the obvious: that she approaches the subject without the requisite background, did not study materials apposite to the task she set for herself, and offered a thesis statement that can be refuted in a paragraph. This isn’t that difficult.

                No actually you have not “delinated” why. You do not seem to know what an argument is.
                “I wont like something” might be a statement of fact, it is not an argument.

                No, I delineated why. It doesn’t penetrate sheer dullness. I can’t do much about that.

                Merely from Wikipedia the evidence that Shlaes is knowledgeable of the material is self evident.

                I’m vending bridges.

                There is no one way to approach the topic. Shlaes used a perfectly valid approach for a historical work with an economic subtheme.

                No, she didn’t. For starters, she shows little awareness of the evolution of production, income, and employment during the period, making no references to sources on that. She shows little familiarity with competing theories of the business cycle, either.

                As for the rest of your Gish Gallop, tl; dr.

                1. Since Fall 2008, Shlaes has served as an adjunct associate professor of economics at New York University Stern School of Business, teaching a course titled “The Economics of the Great Depression”.

                  So NYU stern school is a small evangelical college ? Or is “the economics of the great depression” not a course in economics ? Or is it an unknown course.

                  I beleive Alan Derschowitz only teaches only course at Harvard – is he not a lawyer ?

                  “No clue where it says that.”
                  Wikipedia, also her bio, also the web sites for the specific prizes.

                  “She has no history of advanced study in either theoretical or applied economics,”
                  Nor did smith, or bastiat, or Mill, or Riscardo.

                  “so, no clue in what the ‘study projects’ are supposed to have consisted.”

                  No one is claiming that she is Ronald Coase – who BTW had a bachelor of commerce.
                  His subsequent economic experience was TEACHING.

                  “That she show some evidence of any education at all in economics”
                  So Coase is not an economist ?
                  Keynes has a BA in mathematics and studied philosophy.

                  “any evidence of familiarity with important descriptive statistics on the period. She shows none.”

                  I think that teaching “The Economics of the Great Depression” at NYU Stern pretty much rejects your claim of unfamiliarity with both economics and the era. In fact it pretty much qualifies her as an expert in the economics of the era.

                  There is a massive debate in economics – that runs through to today regarding the importance of statistics. While I think that skill in statistics is absolutley critical for those who use statistics to make their claims – and in feild well beyond economics the lack of skill in statistics of those making claims rooted in statistics is appalling.

                  Regardless, there is also a strong vein in economics that is far less mathematical and more focused on understanding human behavior. While the Austrians are particularly famous for this,
                  Coase who is no austrian is also famous for a body of work that is rooted in the intellectual analysis of human behavior NOT mathematics and statistics.
                  Given that Coase is a nobel winner (as are Friedman and Hayek), I think the claim that knowledge of statistics is an immutable requirement is obviously spurious.

                  If you wish to make a statistical critique of Shlaes – go ahead.
                  But that is not the major critique of her work – as it is more historical and fiscal policy oriented than statistical.

                  “No, I delineated why. It doesn’t penetrate sheer dullness. I can’t do much about that.”

                  Actually you have done very little of that.

                  You have repeatedly demonstrated that you have criticised her while clearly not knowing what you were talking about.

                  We can debate where Shlaes fits in the spectrum of economists. But it is self evident that she fits.
                  It is also self evident that you want to pontificate on things you do not know.

                  Get a clue – we live in the internet era. When you make things up it is usually trivial to demonstrate that.

                  You have NOW delinated your preference for statistics and advanced theoretical education.
                  Those were NOT part of your early objections.

                  Regardless, those are attributes you are entitled to value. They are NOT determinative.
                  Both Coase and Barro are brilliant. Barro has the credentials you are looking for and is the 4th IdeasRespec ranked economist in the world today. Coase is radically different – though not so different in values, Coase is one of the top 4 economists of the past 100 years. Hayek, Friedman and Keynes being the other giants.

                  “No, she didn’t. For starters, she shows little awareness of the evolution of production, income, and employment during the period, making no references to sources on that. She shows little familiarity with competing theories of the business cycle, either.”

                  Again – you define economics incredibly narrowly. By your definition above neither Coase nor Hayek are economists. Actually I think there is plenty of evidence they were aware of your critical factors, and Hayek wrote about business cycle theory. But aside from that the elements you refer to are NOT part of the writings of either.

                  I would strongly suggest reading Coase’s “How China became capitalist”.
                  Except it is about a different country and time, it is incredibly similar to the forgotten man.
                  It is the economic history of a particularly time and place with lessons for all of us regarding what works and what does not.

                  I would further note that BOTH periods/places very effectively demonstrate that those things you desire – though useful are not critical to economics.

                  While there are a few misrepresentations and errors regarding the great depression – all of us are losely familiar with the story. We all know when it began – if not why and when it ended if not why.
                  We know that it was long and drawn out and for a long time any recovery was weak.
                  We know similar things about the great recession.
                  We also know that China went from the bottom of the 3rd world to the bottom of the 1st world from Mao’s death to the present.

                  Maybe alot of the statistics you want would be useful. But we still know the story.

                  We can look at what the Chinese did and said and have an excellent idea of what worked and what did not. Statistics might be nice – but we know that 1.6B people went from abject poverty to moderately well off. We know what the policies were during the great depression and the great recession.
                  And we know they did not work – because things did not get noticeably better.
                  Because a statistical analysis with a minor trend and a miniscule R value only tells us what is self evident – the policies did not work.

                  The things you identify as critical are tools, nothing more. They are not the only tools, they are not even inherently the best tools

                  1. Quit looking at Wikipedia you knucklehead. Look at the Stern site and her site. She doesn’t work there, never worked there f/t, and hasn’t worked there for at least 4 years.

                    Alan Dershowitz is an actual licensed attorney and published legal scholar. He’s also nearly 80 years old, so retired. She never studied economics, has published nothing in the field.

                    Economics is economics. The boundary conditions are well understood to adepts. That it pleases you to fancy journalistic history is economics is of no account.

                    1. Still doubling down on nonsense.
                      Your response – even if True – makes very little difference.

                      As I noted in a prior response – you have narrowed what you will accept so much that there is not anyone who would meet your acceptable criteria.
                      WE both know that is not actually true.
                      If you liked what they said, you would be trying to sell me someone with less worthy credentials than Shlaes.

                      Shlaes is not a noble winner, She is not Coase or Keynes. She is not an econometricain.
                      She is a writer, a historian and an economist in that order.
                      Her area of economic expertise is economic history.
                      Making her an excellent choice for exactly what you say she is unqualified for.
                      Further even her emphasis as a historian is this particular time period.

                      The quesiton is not – is she a god of statistical economics, but is she qualified to write the book that she did. And the inarguable answer is that though the book would be equally significant even if she were less qualified – her book is a type of anthology of the expression of the people of the time – particularly FDR’s policy makers, and as such its credibilty rests on the accuracy of the quotes, not Shlaes personal qualifications. But even on the matter of personal qualifications – she is MORE qualified than your hypothetical to write this particular book.

                    2. “Economics is economics. The boundary conditions are well understood to adepts.”

                      Talk about stupid appeals to authority.

                      No economics is not economics. Go back and read Hayek – or even Mises, or Mill, or Basitat.

                      Everything we do has economic implications, and every economic action has decidedly non- economic impacts.

                      The “boundary conditions” are artificial and subjective. Claiming otherwise demonstrates ignorance.

                      Having lost your prior argument – you really want to venture into another stupid realm ?

                      Shlaes is highly competent – “adept” at a particular domain. That domain includes economics, history, writing and this particular time period.

                      Some part of that competence is in fields that we typically call “economics”.

                      Other things that we call “economics” are far outside her domain.

                      But you can say EXACTLY the same of every single economist.
                      Some have some of the specific traits that you presume are set that defines economics.
                      But many many prominent economists do not meet your criteria.

                      Some of the most brilliant economists are “adept” specifically because their personal domains of expertise are outside of what you have called the boundaries of economics.

        2. “Come to light where?”

          Nii, I don’t understand you. It seems you never read the book and only read the footnotes. Each book is written for a different reason. I read her book on Coolidge which was an excellent book that you might hate. I don’t recall it having the tables that you desire. Based on what John said she has economic credentials (not necessarily needed) and I don’t think you have written anything to dispell what John says. Is she writing this book for economists that want an in-depth discussion of every dip and turn of the economy during FDR’s Presidency? I don’t think so.

          John brings up a great point.” there is not a single data table in Adam Smith’s “Wealth of Nations”. Shall we throw Adam Smith’s book in the garbage? Shall we throw Milton Friedman’s book “Free to Choose” in the garbage as well because it isn’t written for economists rather lay people?

          How did this lengthy argument start? John recommended to a noneconomist: “Try Amity Shlaes “The Forgotten Man” – a history of the FDR administration and the great depression told almost completely in the words of FDR’s “brain trust” it is incredibly damning.”

          In a way “free to Choose” was damning as well ( to certain ideas) and I expect you to look for all the charts, find none and start a similar argument.

          Maybe John hit a raw point in that you like FDR and a lot of people don’t or at least recognize that people are comprised of good and bad. Perhaps you believe his economic program was excellent so your argument starts with the author’s conclusions whether or not the author was a Nobel prize winner. I don’t think you agreed with FDR’s economic policy, but your argument seems nonsensical unless you did.

    2. Your critique has fallen flat – and you keep doubling down, making an ever narrowing, and stupider argument.

      By the time your done I expect an assertion to the effect that you can not write the economic history of the 1930’s if you are not wearing a sombrero, standing on one foot, on a turtle, in the gobi desert.

      You are entitled to whatever oppinion you want.

      But most of us grasp that your real beef is that Shlaes book reveals the incompetence and failure of FDR and his braintrust using mostly their own words.

      While Shlaes is an economist, and an economic historian, that really does not matter.

      The credibility of the book does not rest on Shlaes reputation.
      It rests and the accuracy of her quotes.

      1. John, I’m not interested in conversing with someone having a manic episode who doesn’t know anything. Go converse with Allan. He seems to tolerate you better.

        1. “John, I’m not interested in conversing with someone having a manic episode who doesn’t know anything. Go converse with Allan. He seems to tolerate you better.”

          Of course your not. You made an obvious and stupid error, You doubled down on it – eventually boxing your self into to an argument not far from – I will not view as credible anything on the economic history of the 30’s unless it is written by a nobel winning econometricain with a separate specialty in the 30s

          I am pretty sure said person does not exist.

          Further – honestly – I do not beleive you. You made the mistake of attacking Shlaes on the false assumption that she was some right wing writer dabbling in economics.
          When it became obvious that she was not some diliatant, but an accepted expert in the economic history of this particular period rather than quitely leave things alone – you doubled down making increasingly ridiculous demands with regard to the expertise you required to consider her.
          Demands that the top 4 economists of the past century could not meet.

          And finally – you try to end this with ad hominem.

          Facts, logic, reason. Those are the basis for an argument.
          Not fallacies.

  6. Would make a change to see what is happening outside of America … the world doesn’t revolve around Trump. It revolves around the 28 member states of the European Union with a population of 510 million people i.e. dwarfing the US.

    In nominal terms, the domestic product of the United States exceeds that of the EU countries. It’s about 7% lower when measured according to purchasing-power-parity. That is, 7% lower if you include British production in the EU totals. Ours is about 7% higher if you deduct British production from EU totals.

    https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/935620/Poland-EU-exit-Polexit-will-Poland-leave-European-Union

    https://www.google.com/search?q=beppe+grillo+italexit&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-1

    If Italy, Poland, and Austria follow Britain out the door, your demographic advantage evaporates too.

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