Finally something all Americans can agree on: Former Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta said that former FBI Director Jim Comey was an idiot, “an honest idiot but … an idiot” in an interview on CNN.

Trump supporters have no use for Comey, so if Hillary Clinton supporters have no use for him either, maybe the entire country can agree that Comey was a horrible FBI director who deserved to get fired.

President Donald Trump has gotten himself in a bad spot by not making the right decisions as president-elect and now it’s nearly impossible to go back and fix them.

Trump should have fired Comey on Jan. 20, and it seems likely that at least some of his advisors made that recommendation. He was trying to appear above the fray and wasn’t going to hold Comey responsible for his impossible-to-defend decision not to run an actual investigation of the Hillary Clinton email scandal.

Then Trump doubled down on his mistake by allowing Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from a pivotal issue for the Trump presidency – the investigation into Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.

Trump should have known that Sessions was going to recuse himself. If he didn’t, he should have immediately gotten rid of Sessions for not being honest with him during his interviews. Trump was and appears to still be tremendously naive about the ways of Washington politics. He for far too long has allowed people to work in the White House who are willing to do anything to get Trump out of the White House.

Speaking of working, why on earth do FBI agent Peter Strzok and his lover Lisa Page still have jobs at the FBI? If it’s because they are federal employees, which makes them nearly impossible to fire, certainly they could be placed on unpaid leave until a full investigation of the meaning of their tweets is completed.

*****

Why hasn’t the FBI knocked down former Deputy Director Andy McCabe’s door searched, his house and arrested him? McCabe was fired for lying to the FBI both under oath and not under oath. The report from the Justice Department Office of the Inspector General is out now, and it states in unequivocal language that McCabe lied to the FBI.

When the FBI suspected former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn of lying, he was arrested. When the FBI suspected unpaid Trump campaign worker George Papadopoulos of lying, he was arrested. So does the FBI have two standards, one for friends of Trump and one for enemies of Trump?

If people suspected of lying to the FBI have to be immediately arrested, then McCabe belongs in jail. Maybe Trump needs to call Sessions and find out why McCabe has not been arrested. Or maybe it would make more sense to call Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appears to be running the Justice Department, to ask him.

Or Trump could call the FBI director that he appointed Chris Wray and see if Wray can explain it.

*****

With the search of the office of Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen, special prosecutor Bob Mueller proved, as if any further proof was necessary, that he has no interest in illegal collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. Mueller was interested in Russian collusion only because it was a way to run Trump out of office. Now Mueller is simply looking for anything he can use to force Trump to resign.

It was well established by the left that a president’s personal sexual behavior – even when it is in the Oval Office with a White House intern – is nobody’s business.

In Trump’s case the allegations are that two consenting adults had sex over 10 years ago. This may be causing Trump problems in his marriage, but it was long before Trump had made public any political aspirations.

It is worth noting that Trump denies ever having sex with Stormy Daniels, but his attorney did pay Daniels when she threatened to go public shortly before the 2016 presidential election. Even the hint of a scandal involving a porn actress could have cost Trump the election. It doesn’t prove that they had sex, but it does prove that she is primarily interested in money and is smart enough to know when to ask for it.

What is most puzzling about the search of Cohen’s office, home and hotel room is, what rose to the level to require such a search? What horrible crime was being investigated to outweigh attorney-client privilege? What has been bandied about are accusations of mail fraud and campaign finance irregularities.

Trump being elected has caused huge problems for the deep state, the swamp or whatever you want to call longtime Washington power brokers – the people who actually control the government while voters elect different folks to sit in the public seats.

Trump is cleaning out some of the worst bad actors, like Comey and McCabe. He evidently has the entire swamp disturbed because their supremacy has never been challenged. Presidents could come and go, but they were always there behind the scenes controlling everything.

Trump has barely scratched the surface of the cleaning that needs to be done, and if they can manage to distract him long enough, the hope is that 2020 will come and no real dent in the actual power structure in Washington will have been made.

*****

Comey’s book appears to have been written mainly to get back at Trump.

Trump fired Comey and Comey is vindictive, which was proven by the fact that when he was fired he leaked what may have been classified information about his private meetings with Trump, which he says he wrote down immediately after the meeting. Since the meeting wasn’t recorded and Trump didn’t take notes, it’s a he said, he said. But it worked and a special prosecutor was appointed by Comey’s friend Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who then hired another member of the inside group Bob Mueller to investigate.

If Rosenstein had a little more chutzpah, he would have hired Comey as the special prosecutor just to make certain Trump got the message that he shouldn’t mess with the guys who run the swamp. Since hiring Comey would have been a little hard to explain to the American people, Rosenstein did the next best thing – he hired Comey’s former boss, colleague and friend Mueller.

Trump should have insisted on a team of special prosecutors and appointed Ivanka Trump to be the co-special prosecutor. Ivanka would not be much more biased in favor of Trump than Mueller is in favor of Comey.

But an intriguing part of the book is where Comey admits that he allowed the polls about the presidential election in 2016 to influence his decision-making on the investigation of Hillary Clinton. The polls on a political election should have no effect on an FBI investigation. Who Comey thought would or wouldn’t win should have been inconsequential, and the fact that Comey would admit that the polls weighed heavily in his decision-making reveals exactly the kind of man he is.

*****

House Speaker Paul Ryan took the job because nobody who wanted it could get the votes to be elected; because Ryan didn’t want the job, the Republicans rallied around him. What his speakership is evidence of, more than anything else, is the sharp divide in the Republicans in the House.

Ryan wasn’t actually much more successful in corralling the Republicans than his predecessor John Boehner. The recent spending bill was the second largest in history – so much for reducing spending.

He got the bill through the old fashioned way: He gave the liberals what they wanted – more spending on social programs – and gave the moderate Republicans what they wanted – more spending on the military. It’s a wonder he kept the spending down to $1.3 trillion. Was it really that much worse in the years when lawmakers were bought with earmarks?

However, Ryan’s announcement that he wasn’t running for reelection was extremely disappointing. He is supposed to be a young gun who was going to be different. He’s retiring at 48 after 20 years in Congress where he rose to the top position.

Like Alexander, no doubt he wept because there were no more worlds to conquer in the House, but to say that he was retiring to spend more time with his family is sad. He couldn’t come up with a little originality?

OK, for a couple of weeks after Ryan retires he might be at home more often, then he is going to get itchy feet and – unless he decides to get a job at the local hardware store – he is going to be back out on the road. Just about Ryan’s entire adult career has been in politics in Washington, DC. In Washington he has extremely powerful friends and he can make a lot of money and have power working in Washington and he’s not going to give that up.

*****

Facebook censors conservatives and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg can squirm, apologize and deflect all he wants, but he can’t escape the truth. If Zuckerberg were not testifying before Congress, would Diamond and Silk have been restored to Facebook or would they still be rated as “unsafe.” All the evidence is that they would still be rated as “unsafe” because Facebook had plenty of time over six months to change that ruling before Zuckerberg testified.

It is no secret in conservative circles that Facebook has a bias against conservatives, but then so does the mainstream media.

One of the big complaints of conservatives is that they can’t get their message out via the mainstream media. It’s one reason Fox News and conservative talk radio are so popular. In the mainstream media, support for the Second Amendment becomes support for school shooters; support for fiscal restraint becomes a belief that poor people should be allowed to starve; support for education reform becomes not caring about children.

Crazies who claim to be conservative and are racist and misogynistic are presented as mainstream conservatives. On the left there is a contingent of extreme anti-Semitism but everyone on the left is not called an anti-Semite. On the right there are racists, therefore according to the mainstream media all Republicans are racists. The left ignores the few black Republicans in leadership positions like Sen. Tim Scott from South Carolina, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson or Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

*****

Although the FBI claims that there is no video or recording of the interview that FBI agent Strzok conducted with Hillary Clinton on the homebrew email server – where Hillary Clinton and her staff regularly exchanged classified information on an unsecured, nongovernment server, violating numerous federal laws and regulations – we have managed to come up with a transcript.

Strzok: Secretary Clinton, it is so good of you to agree to this interview. Let me begin by saying I’m a huge fan of yours and although we do have to ask you some questions, we’re going to make this as painless as possible. Shall we begin?

Hillary Clinton’s attorney Cheryl Mills: Secretary Clinton, I advise you not to answer that question.

Hillary Clinton: On the advice of my attorney, I am not going to answer that question.

Strzok: No really. This is not being recorded or anything. I’m not even going to take notes. I’ll have to scribble some things from time to time to make it appear I’m taking notes, but I really am a big fan and I don’t want any record of this interview. I mean, we haven’t asked you to produce any evidence. We haven’t looked at any files or other material other than the emails. Look, we’re doing everything in our power to help you, but you are going to have to answer some questions, just to make it look good. You understand this is an FBI interview, don’t you?

Cheryl Mills: Secretary Clinton, I advise you to say you don’t recall.

Hillary Clinton: I don’t recall.

Strzok: So you’re saying that you don’t recall if you knew this was an FBI interview.

Cheryl Mills: Secretary Clinton, I advise you to answer, ‘I don’t recall.’

Hillary Clinton: I don’t recall.

Strzok: Look, this is not adversarial interview. It doesn’t matter to me if you say you killed Jimmy Hoffa and the body is under the White House Rose Garden. The results of this interview are going to be inconclusive. I guarantee it. Look, I’ve already written the report on the interview.   You can read it. Let’s just start over. Can you give me your name for the record?

Mills: Secretary Clinton, say you don’t recall.

Hillary Clinton: I don’t recall.

The transcript continues for a few more pages where Hillary Clinton either refuses to answer or can’t recall the answers to every question. In the end Strzok thanks her for her cooperation and says it has been a very helpful interview.

*****

Comey’s book proves once again that Trump made a huge mistake in not firing him immediately.

A man cannot serve two masters. Comey was a true believer in Obama and Hillary Clinton. The faux investigation of Hillary Clinton’s homebrew email server and the fact that Comey wrote his exoneration letter before Hillary Clinton and much of her staff was even interviewed is proof that Comey believed the mainstream media that there was no way that Trump was going to be elected.

Comey no doubt cried himself to sleep on Nov. 8, 2016, when the networks could no longer deny that Trump had won and had to admit it on the air. The hours it took for them to announce the obvious gave them time to back off their rosy predictions about Hillary Clinton and make it seem to some viewers that they were not so stunned and disappointed that they could barely speak. None were more disappointed than Comey, who put his career on the line betting that Hillary Clinton would win and be his new boss.

Imagine what Comey was going through. He had completely botched what was really a pretty simple investigation in order to help Hillary Clinton get elected. Then, on election night, he realizes he bet on the wrong horse and instead of winning enough to retire to a Caribbean island, he was going to lose his car, his house and the shirt on his back. Comey must have been devastated. But Comey, for all his faults, is a fighter and he decided to try and convince Trump that Trump would be better off with him than without him.

He pulled the same trick J. Edgar Hoover pulled time and time again. Comey in his first meeting with President-elect Trump told him about incredibly salacious accusations about Trump made in the Steele dossier. He cleverly didn’t tell Trump this was information paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign and, according to what he is saying now, he simply told the president that it was unverified.

So this was the message to Trump from Comey: “I have this incredibly salacious information about you, which is unverified but could be extremely damaging.” The unsaid message was: “I can leak this to the press anytime I want.”

It was leaked to the press and the fact that it had been used in a presidential briefing gave it far more validity than it deserved. When it was released the public didn’t know that the Hillary Clinton campaign paid for it. A congressional committee had to subpoena the financial records of Fusion GPS. It was simply known as a report the FBI had briefed the president about, meaning to most people that the FBI believed that it had some validity.

If not for the work of Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Devin Nunes, the country might still be in the dark about the fact that Hillary Clinton paid for the report and it has no validity at all.

The information came from paid Russian informants, and the more salacious the material they could provide, the more likely they were to get paid. Christopher Steele wasn’t paying people who said they had no information, he was paying those who said, “I understand from a well placed source that this information is true.”

Comey in his first meeting with President-elect Trump tried to blackmail him and Trump, much to his discredit, didn’t fire Comey on day one.

*****

According to the excerpts from Comey’s book, if he were an honest and ethical man he would have quit. What kind of man would work for and carry out the orders of an unethical mob boss? If that was actually Comey’s opinion of Trump before he was fired, he was doing a disservice to himself, his country and the FBI by continuing to work for a man who he held in such low esteem.

As FBI director, Comey had a lot of power. He could have resigned and encouraged his top aides and as many FBI agents as possible to resign to send a message to the American people about what a horrible human being they had elected president.

Had Comey resigned because he couldn’t in good conscious work for Trump, his book would have a lot more validity. As it is, you can’t both believe that Comey is an honorable man and he chose to work for someone that he compares to a mob boss. If those were his feelings he is not honorable and if those were not his feelings he is not honest.

The book comes off as a fired employee doing everything in his power to get back at the man who fired him. Anyone who has been fired, and I have, has some idea of Comey’s emotional state.

If I could have written a book making my old boss look like a fool, I would have done so in a heartbeat. As it was, I had to wait for him to be sued. Then, when he needed my testimony, I didn’t lie, but I didn’t give him the benefit of the doubt either, and his attorney was foolish enough to ask me if I thought he was honest. Asking a fired employee his opinion about his former boss is a mistake that you wouldn’t expect a good lawyer to make. Being asked my opinion allowed me to make some of the comments I had been dying to make on the record in a civil lawsuit. I couldn’t have asked for more.

Comey it appears is doing the same thing with his book. He can both make money and cause some problems for the man who fired him. But most people know that you have to take anything said by a fired employee with a grain of salt. No doubt Comey currently feels the way he reported he did in his book, but the question is, what did he think before he was fired.

*****

The mainstream media can’t accept the fact that Trump speculates. He sends out tweets. He answers a shouted question that other presidents routinely ignored, and if they were Democrats like Obama that was fine with the mainstream media.

Anyone in the media who doesn’t admit that they have more access to the president now than they have had in over a decade isn’t being honest or doesn’t know any better.

Trump answers questions all the time – at photo ops, when walking past the media at an event, wherever he happens to be – and he answers them with what is on his mind at that moment. That is not presidential policy. Because Trump muses about something doesn’t mean he’s going to do it.

I have never been in the White House, much less the Oval Office, but I would imagine that after Trump’s impromptu answers, his aides explain to him why whatever he said he’d like to do can’t be done.

Trump also uses these announcements to press his staff to do what he wants to do. Tariffs is a good example. He announced the US was going to impose tariffs and that sent the stock market spinning.

Trump has always said that he was going to level the playing field as far as trade goes. He can’t force other nations such as China to reduce the tariffs on American products, but he can impose tariffs so that American goods and the goods from foreign nations are treated equally. He said he would do it and my guess is that the staff was dragging its feet because it’s a lot of work and they figured the stock market would drop like a rock. But Trump is committed to leveling the playing field as far as foreign trade goes, and he’s well on his way to doing it.

The idea that China wants to get in a trade war with the US is ludicrous. The entire Chinese economy is dependent on selling cheap stuff to the US. If Trump follows through and Chinese stuff is no longer cheap, Americans will have to pay more, but the Chinese economy will collapse. Trump doesn’t believe that the Chinese will allow their economy to collapse. It seems like a pretty safe bet, but no recent president has had the intestinal fortitude to take on the Chinese.

President Barack Obama was so scared of the Chinese that he allowed them to build military bases on disputed territory in the South China Sea. The time to stop that was before they built the bases, not after. Kind of like the time to stop Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from using chemical weapons on his own people was the first time he did it.

Assad and the Russians can protest all they want, but you can bet that Assad’s Russian handlers are warning him that if insists on continuing to use chemical weapons it’s only going to get worse. The first time Trump destroyed an airbase. This time the US, Great Britain and France destroyed three chemical weapons factories. Next time they may take out a couple of Assad’s palaces.

Trump speculates, but when he actually says he is going to do something, he does it. The difficulty for the mainstream media is determining when he is speculating. The mainstream media also don’t understand that Trump in front of an audience says things to be funny. It doesn’t seem possible to them that every statement out of his mouth is not refined presidential policy written by a team of writers and read word for word off a teleprompter.

If the mainstream media would lighten up a little bit and give Trump room to be Trump, their coverage wouldn’t be so hysterical and would be a lot better for the American people.

*****

Of the many shocking admissions made by Comey in an attempt to push the sales of his book, one is that Comey was under the impression that he was the head of a completely independent organization that didn’t answer to anyone – not the attorney general and not the president.   That’s actually not how the government works. The FBI director reports to the attorney general but can only be fired by the president.

Comey, according to his own testimony, decided to make the announcement about not prosecuting Hillary Clinton on his own. It wasn’t his decision to make. The FBI investigates and turns the information over to the Justice Department and it is up to the Justice Department to make the determination on whether to prosecute or not.

It’s not like Attorney General Loretta Lynch was the only attorney in the Justice Department. Look at what Sessions did. He recused himself from the biggest, most historically significant investigation currently taking place and turned it over to Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein.

If Comey believed that Lynch had compromised herself by meeting with Bill Clinton, he should have had a meeting with her about his belief that she needed to recuse herself and turn the Clinton investigation over to Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates. But he didn’t do that and evidently – since the announcement that Hillary Clinton would not be prosecuted was written long before Lynch met with Bill Clinton – he never intended to turn the results of the investigation over to the Justice Department.

Then Comey decided on his own that he had to make an announcement that the FBI was reopening the investigation because of the emails found on the laptop belonging to Anthony Weiner, who is currently in prison on a sexting conviction. Clinton’s top aide and personal confident Huma Abedin had put those emails on her husband’s laptop. How is that even legal? But since Comey had already decided that Hillary Clinton would not be prosecuted for her many crimes, which he talked about in his announcement, how could Abedin be prosecuted for doing essentially the same thing as everyone else in Hillary-land, which was treating confidential State Department communications like they were grocery store lists?

But Comey could have easily said nothing. Once the investigation of Weiner’s laptop was complete, the FBI discovered they didn’t have any new emails and the investigation was once again declared over.

Comey now says that he announced the reopening of the investigation because he didn’t want it to appear that Hillary Clinton was receiving special treatment from the FBI, since she was going to be the next president. Under no scenario should FBI decisions be made based on polling numbers.

It makes it even worse that the director of the FBI believed the highly partisan polls. One would hope that the director of the top investigative agency in the country would have better sources than the polls published in the Daily Mail, but evidently Comey did not.

However, why didn’t he run that past the Justice Department or the White House? It was a political decision made with political motives, and it would have made sense to ask someone involved in politics. Comey evidently believes that he is a political mastermind.

*****

Republicans are worried about the 2018 elections with good reason, and it’s not Trump. Historically the party of the president does poorly in midterm elections. But there is a salvation for Republicans – Hillary Clinton. If Republicans can get Hillary Clinton out on the campaign trail, they may be able to offset the midterm election curse. Trump’s approval rating is hovering around 50 percent. Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers show that 27 percent have a favorable opinion and 52 percent have an unfavorable opinion of the woman who keeps trying to be elected president and continues to find the only thing standing between her and the White House are the American voters.

Being beaten by the virtually unknown junior senator from Illinois with an unusual name and a history of questionable dealings with unsavory characters was embarrassing for the woman who would be president.

To top that off, eight years later, by losing a race to a loudmouthed real estate developer and reality television show star was absolute proof that the American voters don’t want to see Hillary Clinton in the White House.

If the Republicans can somehow manage to convince the Democrats that Hillary Clinton needs to spend the next six months campaigning across the country for Democratic congressional candidates, the Republicans could turn the tide and win larger majorities in the House and Senate. The problem is that Hillary Clinton wouldn’t even travel across the country to campaign for herself. But then again Hillary Clinton will do anything for money. Perhaps the Koch brothers or some other Republican billionaires could figure out a way to pay Hillary Clinton handsomely for each campaign speech she makes. The traditional way to do this in the Clinton-land is to make large donations to the Clinton Foundation.

Parisian Promenade at Bicentennial Garden