Dr. StrangeRod, or, How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the H-Bomb

The Democratic nominating process has finally begun, which being the Democrats means that the first allegations of impropriety have been lodged.

What happened Monday night at the Democratic caucuses was a debacle, period. Democracy, particularly at the local party level, can be slow, messy and obscure. But the refusal to undergo scrutiny or allow for an appeal reeks of autocracy.

But what’s a potentially stolen primary when measured against the vast tally of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s malfeasance? It’s a credit to her immense and transparent corruption that she’s managed to make a septuagenarian socialist Jew from Brooklyn (by way of Vermont’s Senate delegation) seem like a reasonable alternative for the nomination of the Democratic party (another glass ceiling shattered by Hillary!).

For all that, I find myself almost fond of the diabolical crone, not so much for herself, but for the case she makes against the Democratic party and (especially) the mainstream media. This is, after all, the same media that considered sexual harassment in the workplace a pressing concern… right up until it was time to slip on their presidential kneepads.

With that in mind, let’s look at some issues where Hillary forces her supporters and the mainstream media (but I repeat myself) to swallow positions that they have previously condemned (and in some cases, continue to condemn).

Secret Emails are Shredding the Cons… err, never-mind…

The year is 2007; the battle rages between Hillary Clinton, heir apparent to the Democratic nomination and the upstart Barack Obama. One issue they agree on is the perfidy and secrecy of the bush administration. Obama promises “We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration.” While today Obama’s promises of transparency have increasingly gone from a punch-line on the right to a shared consensus, some forget the clarion call of alarm issued by Hillary.

Clinton said, “We know our Constitution is being shredded. We know about the secret wiretaps, the secret military tribunals, the secret White House email accounts.”

Apparently the Constitution is safe so long as the emails are under the steely eye of Eric Hoteham…

Those who have observed the evolving Clinton strategy of defense on the email matter will note that Hillary has moved subtly from “There is no Classified Material” to “nothing marked classified”. This is, however, a distinction without much legal difference; among the statutes she is suspected of potentially violating is 18 USC 793. Without going too much into things, gross negligence, as well as  willful and malicious action, is enough to secure a conviction for “Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information”.

Put another, simpler way: if the material on Hillary’s server falls under the aforementioned code, then the excuse “it wasn’t marked classified” is about as legally useful as “I swear officer, I didn’t know she was 13…”

Lawyer for Evil, Incorporated;

Critical writers, such as those of Mother Jones magazine, have made a bit of a cottage industry of criticizing GOP candidates for actions they took during their private legal representation of clients. The criticism is especially sharp when directed at Ted Cruz, ranging from who he represented,

…But much of the time, Cruz represented corporate clients.

To the degree he has highlighted his clients;

Cruz’s years as a highly paid private lawyer who often defended powerful corporations. And there are several significant cases he handled—politically inconvenient cases—that he has photoshopped out of his personal narrative.

And the implication that acting zealously for his clients makes him traitor to his Conservative principles;

As a politician, Ted Cruz, the junior Republican senator from Texas, has championed tort reform—the nationwide effort pushed by conservatives and business interests to restrict malpractice and other wrongful injury and death lawsuits, limiting how much a jury can award a harmed individual for pain and suffering and in punitive damages. …

Yet, as a lawyer in private practice, Cruz—at least twice, in 2010 and 2011—worked on cases in New Mexico to secure $50 million-plus jury awards in tort cases prompted by corporate malfeasance. These are precisely the kind of jury awards that the tort reform Cruz has promoted would abolish.

That an attorney has an ethical and legal responsibility to zealously represent the interest of their client seems to be no exculpation… well, at least it doesn’t until they have to explain away Hillary’s representation of Thomas Alfred Taylor. Who’s Thomas Alfred Taylor and why would he appear in Hillary’s biography, you may ask?

In 1975, the same year she married Bill, Hillary Clinton agreed to serve as the court-appointed attorney for Thomas Alfred Taylor, a 41-year-old accused of raping the [12 year old] child after luring her into a car.

The specifics of Hillary’s defense of Mr. Taylor are not the subject of this post (they deserve a specific and in-depth treatment). What is relevant is the simple question: if a corporate attorney’s actions should reflect poorly on his character, how about the defense of the accused rapist of a 12 year old girl? How about securing for that accused rapist a sentence of one year?

Taylor, who pleaded to unlawful fondling of a chid, was sentenced to one year in prison, with two months reduced for time served.

How about securing a one year sentence for an accused rapist of a 12 year old girl when their attorney thinks they are guilty?

“I had him take a polygraph, which he passed – which forever destroyed my faith in polygraphs,” {Clinton] added with a laugh.

No doubt we can look forward to the media expressing as intense an interest in the case of Thomas Alfred Taylor as, say, Mitt Romney’s high school experience. I wouldn’t hold my breath though.

 

The Darker the Money, the Sweeter the Juice…

This is not to say that all of Hillary Clinton’s trespass are all of old vintage, far from it. In the ongoing Democratic party attack of paranoid lunacy regarding the Koch brothers, the new book that is making the rounds is Jane Mayer’s Dark Money. In it, Mayer… well, let’s let the NY Times describe it;

“Dark Money” relates the personal story of the Koch family in considerable detail — an engineer father who made a fortune building oil refineries, then spent the last years of his life as an angry member of the John Birch Society; an early conversion by Charles and David Koch to the radical libertarian economics of Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises; a web of sibling rivalry among all four of the family’s brothers, ending in painful legal confrontations that dragged on for years.

Ah yes, Hayek and von Mises, those dastardly fellows! You can practically smell the mustache wax… Thank goodness Hillary Clinton is, of course, above such shabby and obvious graft, such tawdry peddling of influence for cash.

That’s what the Clinton Foundation is for;

Clinton Foundation Donors Got Weapons Deals From Hillary Clinton’s State Department;

A consortium of American defense contractors led by Boeing would deliver $29 billion worth of advanced fighter jets to the United States’ oil-rich ally in the Middle East. …

The Saudi deal was one of dozens of arms sales approved by Hillary Clinton’s State Department that placed weapons in the hands of governments that had also donated money to the Clinton family philanthropic empire, an International Business Times investigation has found.

Hillary Clinton’s State Department Increased Chemical Arms Sales To Middle East Countries That Gave To Clinton Foundation

As Egyptian democracy protesters massed in the streets of Cairo in 2011, provoking a bloody crackdown from the authoritarian regime of Hosni Mubarak, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presented herself as a champion of human rights. …

But behind the scenes, Clinton pursued contrasting aims. … Her State Department cleared Egypt to continue purchasing arms the U.S. government classified as “toxicological agents,” a broad designation that included chemical and biological weapons, …

The Clinton-run State Department’s approval of chemical and biological exports to the Egyptian government increased in volume just as dollars flowed from Mubarak-linked entities into the coffers of Clinton family concerns.

Foreign governments gave millions to foundation while Clinton was at State Dept.

The Clinton Foundation accepted millions of dollars from seven foreign governments during Hillary Rodham Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, including one donation that violated its ethics agreement with the Obama administration, foundation officials disclosed Wednesday.

This list is, of course, far from comprehensive. Nor is it my point to claim that there is no possibility that any given one of these episodes or elements is evidence of irredeemable corruption. My point is that the Left and the Media (once again, I repeat myself) have established a code of conduct, a framework of right and wrong and applied it strenuously to Republicans whenever they get the chance. It is the unfortunate reality of the moment that these traits, found individually in various people on the right, seem to be present all at once in the person of Hillary Rodham Clinton.

This is the singularity that is Hillary, and the best explanation for the Berne being felt: Hillary embodies all of the traits that the Democratic base has grown to despise, yet the Clinton’s possess such a death-grip on the Democratic Party machine they seem determined to either drag the party to a Hillary coronation, or strangle it in the process.

Will Obama give Biden the Democratic nomination?

It’s becoming increasingly clear that Hillary Clinton’ speech at the United Nations in March about her use of a private email server, was… well, perhaps Clintonian is what she was going for;

QUESTION: Were you ever — were you ever specifically briefed on the security implications of using — using your own email server and using your personal address to email with the president?

CLINTON: I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified material.

So I’m certainly well-aware of the classification requirements and did not send classified material.

We now know that at least half of that statement is untrue: there is classified material in her emails, and not merely classified material, but the most delicate and closely guarded of secrets;

The inspector general for the Intelligence Community notified senior members of Congress that two of four classified emails discovered on the server Clinton maintained at her New York home contained material deemed to be in one of the highest security classifications – more sensitive than previously known.

Remember that the four emails that are classified (two highly classified) were detected in a sample of forty (40) emails, this is not the total number of such records;

The four emails in question “were classified when they were sent and are classified now,” said Andrea Williams, a spokeswoman for the inspector general. The inspector general reviewed just a small sample totaling about 40 emails in Mrs. Clinton’s inbox—meaning that many more in the trove of more than 30,000 may contain potentially confidential, secret or top-secret information.

The inspector general’s office concluded that Mrs. Clinton should have used a secure network to transmit the emails in question—rather than her personal email account run off a home server.

“None of the emails we reviewed had classification or dissemination markings, but some included IC-derived classified information and should have been handled as classified, appropriately marked, and transmitted via a secure network,” wrote Inspector General I. Charles McCullough in the letter to Congress.

We cannot now know, but if the sample examined is representative Secretary Clinton’s emails might be 10% classified and 5% highly classified… in other words, 3,000+ and 1,500+, respectively. So why do I mention this in the context of Joe Biden? Let’s consider what former CIA operative and CNN national security analyst Bob Baer had to say about this matter;

“Seriously, if I had sent a document like this over the open Internet I’d get fired the same day, escorted to the door and gone for good — and probably charged with mishandling classified information,” Baer said.

What does this have to do with Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama? As other have observed, Hillary Clinton is in trouble, but she should be in very big trouble, of the criminal kind. But she’s not, not yet. And she certainly should be;

Even for those of us who hold a very low opinion of Mrs. Clinton’s character, integrity, and judgment, this is a graver offense than many had contemplated. Merely the storage of “Top Secret” e-mails – never mind their dissemination over open channels to some individuals likely not cleared to read them — is a federal felony. On top of that, it is unthinkable that Hillary could have sent such sensitive information and not known at the time that it was sensitive.

At the moment it’s very difficult to see Hillary Clinton’s (relative) lack of legal trouble as anything but the application of double standards so shamefully common in Washington. Obama’s Justice Department could be more aggressive, and indeed, was more aggressive when it came to similar allegations against former General David Petraeus, and far, far more aggressive in pursuing penalties against lower level individuals for mishandling classified information.

So on the one hand we have Hillary Clinton, a walking disaster area of security crimes (at least). On the other hand, we have Joe Biden: late to the field, but motivated by the urging of both sons, including his late and much mourned son Beau.

Hillary would seem to have an almost insurmountable lead in the polls, as well as a frightening amount of campaign cash. Joe Biden hasn’t even begun to run, how can he possible overcome Clinton’s advantages?

The simplest way is for his friend and colleague Barack Obama to… do his job. Or rather, let his attorney general do the job she is sworn to do. It’s actually a win-win for Obama. President Obama has earned a great deal of criticism for his uneven treatment of leakers and draconian treatment of whistleblowers. Dislike of Hillary Clinton is not confined to the precincts of the right wing: plenty of progressives seem eager for anyone but Hillary.

In such an atmosphere, all President Obama needs to do to hand the nomination to his friend Joe is to treat Clinton as the law would dictate she ought to be treated and stop playing along with the Clinton charade. Hillary knows that her only chance at election is to reassemble the Obama constituency, leaving her with little to no ability to strike back at Obama should the White House, State Department and Justice Department spokespeople decide to stop dancing around questions and start answering plainly.

For the second time it seems that Hillary Clinton’s presidential ambitions are controlled by Barack Obama.

Does the State Department think Hillary lied?

The State Department has committed to reviewing and releasing Secretary Clinton’s “after a review”;

Hillary Clinton Asks State Department to Vet Emails for Release, New York Times,

State Department to release Hillary’s emails after review, New York Post, etc etc.

There is one problem with those headlines and the course of action they describe: there is no reason for a review. From Secretary Clinton’s UN press conference yesterday;

QUESTION: Were you ever — were you ever specifically briefed on the security implications of using — using your own email server and using your personal address to email with the president?

CLINTON: I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified material.

So I’m certainly well-aware of the classification requirements and did not send classified material.

In other words, given that she was not using a server and system secured to government security standards, Sec. Clinton voluntarily restricted herself to using her email only for non-classified topics and materials*. Information that could be viewed by the general public. So why is there any review at all?

By Sec. Clinton’s own statements, there is no reason for a review by the State Department, because she never transmitted or received any information that needed security. Which also means that the State Department never needed to redact any of her emails, as Gabriel Malor notes;

The only reason for the State Department to review Sec. Clinton’s emails would be… that her statement at the press conference cannot be relied upon, and there is loads of sensitive and/or classified information in her emails. The test for all this is simple:

-If the State Department reviews the emails, then they think Sec. Clinton’s emails contain material she claims they do not.

-If the State Department simply makes the emails available, without review or redaction, then they actually believe she was telling the truth.

Which do you think they will do?

 

*Yes, there are many divisions of classified and sensitive information, but this entire defense for Secretary Clinton using a private email (of dubious security) is that she rigorously avoided having problematic material in her email.

Will Hillary pimp out the Left?

As new scandals emerge to bedevil Hillary Clinton’s march to power, a question occurs: what exactly is this quality of Hillary’s that actually makes people want to vote for her? Right now it seems that Secretary Clinton is doing her own rendition of Taxi Driver, with her in the role of Matthew and the Democratic Party in the role of Iris (WARNING! Strong Language);

As I pointed out in an earlier post, conservatives have gradually come to terms with the “transparent selfishness and corruption” of Republican politicians, a recognition that the best that government can aspire to is an evil, albeit a necessary evil.

But the Left believes the opposite: that government can be a force for good, that rule by experts can usher in a new age of Aquarius, blah blah blah, etc. As Jonah Goldberg put it, “Liberalism, as an ideology, insists that government can do good and great things for the people and the world, if the people running the government are smart liberals.”

The left must claim that good government comes from good governors. The election of Barack Obama may be excused by his particular brand of practiced obscurity: he was a blank slate coming into office, onto which a majority of voters could project their allotments of “I hope”. Secretary Clinton allows for no such illusions as her history making it explicitly clear that she has a mafioso’s contempt for the strictures of government.

Apparently she was playing Tetris. Damn that L-block!

It is one thing for the Republicans to hold their nose and vote for the lesser of two evils: at the heart of the skeptical outlook of conservatives and libertarians is the idea that government may be necessary, but it remains a necessary evil. This is both a problem and a strength for conservatives: the expectation that the best and brightest are doing something, indeed anything but going into politics puts them at a certain disadvantage, but at the same time… well, it makes possible the “vote for me because my opponent will ruin this country” avenue of attack.

The left cannot so easily accommodate this reality. One of the greatest gifts the Obama presidency has presented to his opponents is, paradoxically, transparency. Not on his part (of course) but on the part of everyone else. Obama has so abused his office, so systematically embraced the machine of government, so taken to the things claimed to abhor that his defenders… well, they have been shown to be not so much principled as partisan.

You thought Obama’s election promised to advance the Anti-War movement he made so many appeals to? Well… that didn’t turn out so well.

You thought the left objected to a president killing people in far off lands with a stroke of the pen? Oops, turns out he’s rather fond of the practice.

With that in mind, let’s ask what offenses against good government Hillary has already committed?

-As MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell observes, the transparency requirements Hillary has evaded with her emails are policies liberals have desired for decades.

James Taranto of the WSJ points out that Secretary Clinton’s decision to provide her emails entirely in paper print-outs has some selling points, although entirely from the view of thwarting public access. Providing her emails in the form of boxes and boxes of paper slows Freedom of Information Act requests to a crawl and makes FYI, if you hear someone reference Hillary turning over 55k emails, correct them: it’s 55k pages of emails. Not at all the same thing.

-Liberals concerned with the power of money in politics will be (no doubt) overjoyed to learn that the Clinton Foundation “has received as much as $81m from wealthy international donors who were clients of HSBC’s controversial Swiss bank.

-Concerned with the plight of women in repressive Middle Eastern nations? Don’t worry, though Bill Clinton’s “friends” in the United Arab Emirates may have thrown some money into the Clinton Foundation coffers, Bill doesn’t “agree with everything they do“.

-Maybe that’s alright, so long as the Foundation abided by the rules set up by the State Department. Except they didn’t. Algeria managed to slip $500,000 into the Clinton Foundation coffers. No doubt it was a coincidence that they gave money to the Secretary of State’s family charity at the same time Algeria “was spending heavily to lobby the State Department on human rights issues.

-Further the Clinton Foundation makes sure to keep company with a, uh, rarefied group of donors. As the New York Times reports (emphasis mine);

The Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation has accepted tens of millions of dollars in donations from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Algeria and Brunei—all of which the State Department has faulted over their records on sex discrimination and other human-rights issues.

-As Mollie Z. Hemingway points out, when American companies do the things that foreign governments did with the Clinton Foundation, it falls under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. As she observes, “it would be weird if we held U.S. companies to far stricter standards regarding bribery than we did our own secretary of state.

Now, don’t mistake any of this: I don’t like Hillary. I haven’t liked Hillary for decades, and for reasons entirely to do with the standards and philosophy she professes to believe. But in a strange way,  all of this makes me a little less worried about Hillary. After all, as a conservative I have no illusions about the integrity of politicians, and there is something refreshing about a politician so blatantly mercenary. But for the left, if you think that the Republicans are the party of big business, why would you want to put in power a politician that has spent decades in Washington establishing that her loyalty is exclusive… to the highest bidder?

As Joe Scarborough of MSNBC asks, no doubt speaking for liberals everywhere, “How stupid do they think we are?”