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A verdict on Clinton – or on the USA?

A commentator on Breitbart, ‘Rob’, says of the decision by the FBI not to recommend charges relating to alleged violation of the law relating to the use and security of the Secretary’s private email server:

“Until this election, the corruption, coercion, and sleazy backroom deals were just that… backroom. The Clintons… AND Obama… have revealed who they are: criminals. IF in light of this clear abortion of justice this country elects Hillary, the United States DESERVES to collapse and disintegrate just like Rome. Shame on Comey. Shame on Lynch. Shame on Obama. And shame on that sleazy criminal hag Hillary. Disgusting… all of them, and I would love to watch Attorney General Chris Christie put them all in prison next summer.”

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93 comments to A verdict on Clinton – or on the USA?

  • The law is for the little people.

    And I note your appropriate use of categories on this article 😀

  • What did you expect?

    Certainly I expected pretty much what happened, a slap on the wrist for Shrillary when if anyone else had done this it would have been “Go directly to jail. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200“.

    Lets not forget that Trump is as much a part of the establishment as Shrillary is, it’s just about who do I have to bribe or put legal / political pressure on to do what I want.

    …and yes, campaign contributions or contributions to or from dubious charitable “Foundations” is still just good, old fashioned bribery and corruption.

    I wonder who got knelt on / rewarded to make the “right” decision?

  • It doesn’t surprise me in the least either, but I wonder how much of it is down to “the law don’t apply to Hillary” and how much is the FBI either not wanting to be seen to influence an election and/or not wanting to upset someone who may still, indictment or no end up being the boss?

  • Gene

    Wh00ps,

    I don’t see your two options as two options, but rather as two aspects of the same thing. In the first place, the bottom line is that the law does not, in fact, apply to Hillary. The FBI’s political calculation is simply the mechanism by which that bottom line is made true.

  • Gene, I take your point but can’t help wondering what would have happened if the investigation came to a head this time last year? Or next year?

  • Alsadius

    It’s a really sad statement on this election that I simultaneously want Clinton to be elected and that I want her to thereafter get impeached.

  • By which I mean:if the outcome were the same in all three cases, then the law does not in fact apply to Hillary, otherwise does the law not apply to the presumptive Democratic nominee or the POTUS… not quite the same thing.

  • Mr Ed

    Clinnocent until proven guilty?

  • Gene

    Wh00ps, I see your point and it’s a good one. In my opinion, however, because of their longevity and ruthlessness, the Clintons know about way too many bodies, and where they’re buried, to ever find themselves in the dock — in any time frame or any political situation.

    BTW, my view of the inevitability of today’s outcome does not imply resigned acceptance. A predictable outrage is still an outrage, and this is still a grievous blow to the rule of law in the USA.

  • QET

    One theory being put about that sounds very plausible to me is that the no-prosecute decision was made by the AG (i.e., the President) and communicated to Comey, and that he did everything he could to basically prosecute Hillary in his press conference, going so far as to say outright that others who did what she did will be prosecuted.

  • RRS

    PdeH:

    The law is for the little people.

    Like David Petraeus.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Mr Ed, you’re doing it again. *severe frown* [ Well played, Sir, she said with an approving grin and pinching of the nose ]

    . . .

    What I fear most is Shrill’s likely SCOTUS picks. Yes, Hair might very well renege on his list of choices, but as Richard Epstein among others has pointed out, having even one, let alone three or four, more Sotomayors on the Court for the next 800 years is not to be borne.

    . . .

    JG, here I’m trying to see if I can’t bury my head in the sand even deeper, and you come along and dig me out. :>(

    Gene, final paragraph above: Agree completely, both sentences.

  • A reading of the statement would be profitable. I found the following interesting:
    “To be clear, this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences. To the contrary, those individuals are often subject to security or administrative sanctions. But that is not what we are deciding now.”

    The left is currently lionizing Comey and praising him without doing its due diligence. What, exactly, were the “security or administrative sanctions” that are the norm in those reference cases? If being fired, security clearance permanently stripped, and blackballed from any future government service is the norm, those are not normally judicial punishments in the US. But it’s a blank that no doubt will be filled in over the next few days.

    Will Attorney General Lynch arrange to follow *that* set of recommendations?

    Or are there no actual reference cases? Did Comey not actually research the question? That’s the annoying thing about a known blank spot. You’re never sure what will fill it.

  • J.M. Heinrichs

    According to Mr William Ayers:

    “Guilty as sin, free as a bird — what a country, America.”

    Cheers

  • shlomo maistre

    This outcome with regards to Hillary Clinton was obviously a foregone conclusion. What we have witnessed in the press over the last few months/years has been a charade, an absurd pretense, theater.

    The universal truth is that every society must be ruled by men/women – not ink blots. The “rule of law” is a misnomer and belief in it is indicative of a naive view of how society functions in reality. Law cannot rule; only people can rule.

    What happened here is that partly the people who rule are protecting Hillary Clinton and partly Hillary Clinton rules America currently.

    As I have said before on Samizdata threads, there must always be at least one to whom it cannot be said: “you have erred”. One of those people these days is Hillary Clinton.

  • Laird

    One of the criminal statutes which she allegedly clearly violated has a “gross negligence” standard, and Comey basically recited the textbook definition of “gross negligence” in his statement this morning. Well, obviously the reason for the “no indictment” recommendation is, as has already been noted here, is that Hillary is above the law, as she always has been. But if you parse carefully his statement, he is basically acquiescing to her untouchability while simultaneously laying out the legal case against her. This will provide ample fodder for Trump and the Republicans generally in the fall election campaign. The likely result will be to even further energize the anti-Hillary forces while covering Comey’s backside from now until November.

    He’s playing a very delicate game here; the Clintons are not to be trifled with. There is a very long list of actual dead bodies in their wake, and if Comey doesn’t want to be the latest addition to that list I can’t say that I blame him.

  • As I have said before on Samizdata threads, there must always be at least one to whom it cannot be said: “you have erred”.

    And sooner or later it is January 30, 1649 again 😉

  • About a year after another outrage someone printed up some leaflets and distributed them in downtown Minneapolis:

    A Request

    The very first act that every individual performs upon enlisting in the Armed Forces of the United States is promise to uphold and defend The Constitution.

    For the Army the oath of enlistment was this:

    I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.” (Title 10, US Code; Act of 5 May 1960 replacing the wording first adopted in 1789, with amendment effective 5 October 1962).

    All of us who served in the Armed Forces made this promise to the nation.

    The time has come for us who served to keep the promise.

    In 2008 it was clear to every rational observer that Barrack Obama was absolutely unfit to hold any public office. It was clear that he possessed no valid understanding of human life and of the government that protects it. It was very clear that he had been indoctrinated in the falsehoods of Marxism and was an adherent of the anti-human doctrine of Environmentalism. And finally in office he has opened the way to the nuclear arming of the Islamic dictatorship in Iran.

    As President Barack Obama has acted as an adversary to the nation and a friend to our enemies and to Humanity as a whole. There is no question that he is absolutely unfit to occupy the office of President and must be removed.

    Although Congress has the authority to remove a President through the process of impeachment it will not happen. The Republican Party, which actually represents the People of The United States, lacks the votes and the fortitude to carry out this task. And the other party is simply too depraved to do it.

    There is no question at this point that the Armed Forces must step up and remove Obama from office. We need a military coup–right now.

    Please copy and pass along.

    He may have to print up another batch.

  • shlomo maistre

    Laird,

    He’s playing a very delicate game here; the Clintons are not to be trifled with. There is a very long list of actual dead bodies in their wake, and if Comey doesn’t want to be the latest addition to that list I can’t say that I blame him.

    Let’s not fool ourselves. Comey is not playing a delicate game at all; he is acquiescing to Clinton’s authority. Yes, Comey is voicing the discontent many in the ranks of the FBI feel over being trampled on to mitigate somewhat the outrage of letting Hillary Clinton off the hook, but he is still letting her off the hook. Surrendering reluctantly does not make one’s flag any less white; surrender is surrender is surrender.

    I too can’t say that I blame Comey, though.

  • shlomo maistre

    Perry,

    And sooner or later it is January 30, 1649 again 😉

    The reality is that what transpired on Jan 30, 1649 has led to the current “rule of law” in the Western world – and all of the attendant adverse consequences thereof, which includes the circumstances that produce such “public servants” as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Chopping off the head of one ruler who wins through the system does nothing to fix the system – and, in fact, may only long-term harm the situation. Rephrase: don’t hate the playa; hate the game.

    What’s needed is not a revolution but a restoration.

    That’s why, as happy as I was and am over the Brits giving the global establishment the middle finger with Brexit, I know that any durable, substantial solution to the disorder paralyzing the Western world will not come from the people/masses.

  • shlomo maistre

    In response to the title, the verdict is not on Clinton or the USA – it is actually on the Enlightenment.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    Isn’t the verdict on all those who abetted and aided the Establishment?

    If Clinton was trailing in the polls by 20%, would she be charged? I think the chances would have been much higher.

    The truth is that a significant number of US citizens are now fine with corruption and malfeseance.

    Despite Perry’s hyperbole, nothing is going to happen to make it otherwise. The Gramscians have won, in a fashion.

  • Fraser Orr

    Q: What is the difference between “gross negligence” and “extreme carelessness”?
    A: Twenty years apparently.

  • I’m the first in this thread, but surely I’m far from the first, to say that I guess we now know one side of the deal that Bill and Loretta were discussing. I guess we’ll see what Loretta got later.

    Recently, reading a survey of trouble-spots in the world, I was struck by the repeated observation that corruption, once well entrenched, is very hard to root out, even in the face of much popular discontent. The Mexican militias are a response to corruption even more than to drug gangs.

    Here in Britain, I’d like to get back the de-facto first amendment we had here till a decade-plus ago. (I’d also welcome the de-facto 2nd amendment we had till 80 years ago.) But today, I do feel glad to be British. And you guys across the pond have my considerable sympathy.

  • the frollickingmole

    It Depends on what the meaning of the word is is..
    Or the updated version
    It Depends on what the meaning of the word secret is…

    Weve been here before.
    Move along, nothing to see here.

    /Officer Barbrady off.

  • JohnK

    Nixon said that if the President did something criminal, it wasn’t illegal. He was wrong and had to resign. Now it seems, if the leading candidate for the Presidency does something criminal, it really isn’t illegal.

    Does anyone at all think the American Republic is heading towards a good place?

  • bobby b

    I’d be the first to say that, for what Clinton did, if she were to be treated as the USA has treated others who have erred as badly as she, she should be prosecuted. Indeed, what she did was far more serious than most other similar incidents that have become publicly known.

    But . . .

    It’s the timing.

    We’ve progressed through the early stages of our presidential selection process. We’re down to the wire, with the actual election happening in four months. We’ve winnowed the field down from many to two.

    As much as it pains me to say this, we cannot take the banana-republic step of wiping one of the two remaining candidates out of the election over this.

    I thought Comey did a masterful job with the cards he had. He basically said that Clinton had broken laws, jeopardized our national security, lied about it all, and would have suffered penalties has this been an administrative proceeding.

    And then he said that no reasonable prosecutor would go after THIS offender for THESE offenses at THIS time.

    And he was correct. This – a prosecutorial decision – should not be the determinant of our presidential election.

    But the global knowledge of what she did, and how she lied about it, is now out there for all to see. If we still elect her, well, that won’t speak well of our group ethic.

    But, because of the timing, it’s properly a choice for the voters to make. No decision of some FBI or DOJ employee, no matter how principled or unbiased they might be, should be responsible at this stage for so drastically affecting such an important election.

    Would that they had hurried the process a bit, so that the decision could have been made back when it would have been appropriate. It no longer is.

  • And then he said that no reasonable prosecutor would go after THIS offender for THESE offenses at THIS time.

    And he was correct. This – a prosecutorial decision – should not be the determinant of our presidential election.

    That is actually a fair point.

  • Mr Ed

    But is there any legal or constitutional impediment to an indicted person running for the Electoral College’s nomination for the Presidency?

    I should add that in Wellingborough in the 2015 General Election, nearly 10,000 people voted for a convicted fraudster.

  • Fraser Orr

    bobby b
    > As much as it pains me to say this, we cannot take the banana-republic step of wiping one of the two remaining candidates out of the election over this.

    The banana republic step is allowing someone to skate on criminal charges because of the political situation, this is almost the definition of a banana republic.

    Clinton is not at this time the candidate of the democrats, the candidate will be selected at the conference. Were she indicted she could step back today and someone else could have been the candidate. So a decision to prosecute would not disenfranchise the people, rather it would uphold the fundamental principle that all are equal before the law.

    > I thought Comey did a masterful job with the cards he had. He basically said that Clinton had broken laws,

    I can’t decide what I think of his performance. How can a law officer say she committed a serious crime and not recommend prosecution? But actually I think he was walking on eggshells trying to say she did not break the law, by the breadth of a hair. He said she was extremely careless, but not grossly negligent. He said she deserved administrative punishment but not criminal punishment. I can’t decide how earnest he is in his belief. He seemed to be a guy who couldn’t recommend prosecution but wanted to do everything just short of prosecution.

    So whether the “couldn’t” was due to political pressure or because of his sincere belief I don’t know. All circumstantial evidence would suggest massive political pressure, but I hate to slight the man, since he seems to have a reputation is a decent, honorable man immune to such pressures.

    So, I don’t know. And I might add that he only addressed her crimes with regards to exposing national secrets, he has not at this time discussed the matter of the horrendous public corruption associated with the Clinton foundation.

  • Greytop

    If there is a consequence, or at least a consequence seen within several months, this judgement may just tip a good few votes of the fence-sitters away from Hillary and to the Donald.

    Whether the timing of a court case over this business would put the presidential election in jeopardy is a moot point, but many people have gone to jail for their errors when the timing was anything but favourable to them or a larger group of people. My theory is that while Biden was waiting in the wings to step in as the emergency Democratic choice (though Sanders might well argue he is the next in line) the powers-that-be either thought Hildebeast could ride this one out or in the White House’s eyes Biden had suddenly become unelectable even in a dire emergency.

  • Paul Marks

    “The same law for all, equal rights and equal freedom of speech, and a government that recognises above all the freedom of the governed”.

    The Emperor Marcus Aurelius – “The Meditations”.

    Or.

    Thomas Hobbes – the law is whatever the rulers say it is, the law does not rule men (or women) rule – without fixed law. There is no natural justice under natural law – or these words are twisted (by Hobbes and his followers) into a vile mockery.

    That is the choice.

    And in the Hillary Clinton case the government of the United States has chosen the second option.

    Not the “same law for all”.

    Not natural justice – as Aristotle, Cicero and Marcus Aurelius understood it.

    “What about the slaves” – Saint Patrick answered that question.

    If people with political “pull” are treated differently (as Hillary Clinton is being treated differently) then the Rule of Law is undermined.

    And the Rule of Law is not just words (as the pig Thomas Hobbes maintained) the Principles of the Rule of Law are the foundation of civilisation.

  • Alisa

    A point that seems to be overlooked here (except by Bobby B.) is that the absence of a formal indictment (or recommendation by the FBI to formally indict) in no way makes Hillary more electable or appealing to the voters. The reality is that whoever was going to vote for her, is still going to do so, and whoever was not going to, is still not going to. If anything is going to change their minds, it is not going to be Comey’s speech.

    That, provided she is actually officially nominated – which is yet to be seen. Just as the absence of indictment probably has no bearing on the voters’ inclinations, it probably has no bearing on the intentions of the Democrat PTB with regard to Hillary, either. Bottom line is, everyone and anyone who has had the slightest interest in the matter, have known who and what Hillary is for a very long time. I mean, she is a Clinton, FFS. Comey’s speech told them nothing or very little that they did not already know.

    My guess is that for a long while now (probably since the 2008 Democrat primaries), there have been two camps in the Democrat establishment – one pro-Hillary or pro-Clintons in general, and one against. I further imagine that outside some staunch “true believers”/entrenched interests, the two camps have been quite fluid in their actual “membership”, and they will continue to be so into the Democrat convention and up to the actual nomination. And likely past that (provided she gets the nomination).

  • PersonFromPorlock

    One thing Comey has done is show how general the corruption is: it’s not just Clinton who is corrupt, but the entire Washington establishment, leaning over backwards to accommodate her. A lot of Americans have just had that corruption pushed in their faces, along with the realization that the only way they can register their disgust with it is to vote for Trump.

    From the start, Trump has been more the flag-of-the-rebellion than a candidate; after this, he will be even more so. Selecting a competent president pales into insignificance compared to re-establishing that the government works for us, not for itself and its donors.

  • Snorri Godhi

    One might wonder why Shlomo blames the collapse of the rule of law in the US, on the rule of law. No need to wonder about this, though:

    The reality is that what transpired on Jan 30, 1649 has led to the current “rule of law” in the Western world

    A couple of quotes plainly show the above claim to be wrong.
    From Marcus Aurelius (h/t Paul Marks):

    The same law for all, equal rights and equal freedom of speech, and a government that recognises above all the freedom of the governed

    From Njall Thorgeirsson (as quoted in Njals saga):

    In the Law shall this land [Iceland] prosper, outside the Law it shall be laid waste

    When illiterate* barbarians such as Njall Thorgeirsson understood the rule of law better than American Democrats, that says something about American Democrats … and monarchists such as Hobbes and Shlomo.
    * he might have been able to carve runes.

    Nor were the Romans and Icelanders the only people to uphold the rule of law: the late Plato converted to it, and let’s not forget ancient Israel.

  • Laird

    “And then he said that no reasonable prosecutor would go after THIS offender for THESE offenses at THIS time.

    And he was correct. This – a prosecutorial decision – should not be the determinant of our presidential election.”

    The flaw in that argument is that Comey is not a prosecutor; he is a mere investigator, following the evidence wherever it leads. The “prosecutorial decision” belongs to others, specifically to the Justice Department (either Loretta Lynch or whoever she delegates). Comey can make a recommendation as to whether it is likely that a conviction could be obtained, but I think he was wrong to arrogate to himself the judgment as to what a prosecutor would be likely to do. That wasn’t his call to make (and it still isn’t, come to that; theoretically the DOJ could ignore his recommendation and decide to prosecute, not that it would).

    As to bobby b’s “banana-republic” comment, I disagree; Frazer Orr has the better argument there. Hillary is not yet the nominee, and there are others who could step in even now. Sanders certainly has a legitimate claim, and Joe Biden could take up the mantle (and frankly, I think he would have a better chance of being elected than she does). What sort of message does it send, not only to the citizens of this country but to the world at large, if the Democratic Party nominates someone who a large majority of people know, deep down (even if they are Hillary supporters) has committed serious criminal violations and endangered our national security purely for her own selfish interests?

    Obama was demonstrably unqualified when we first elected him. It was the triumph of hope over experience, and as expected he has proven himself thoroughly unequal to the job. His re-election was nothing short of a national embarrassment. The election of Hillary would complete our country’s utter degradation; it would demonstrate our incapacity for self-rule. I can’t fault Shlomo for laughing up his sleeve.

  • PhilB

    Well, I suppose it is good news for Edward Snowden …

  • shlomo maistre

    And he was correct. This – a prosecutorial decision – should not be the determinant of our presidential election.

    Why not?

  • shlomo maistre

    Snorri,

    One might wonder why Shlomo blames the collapse of the rule of law in the US, on the rule of law.

    I never blamed the collapse of the rule of law on the rule of law.

    The reality is that what transpired on Jan 30, 1649 has led to the current “rule of law” in the Western world

    A couple of quotes plainly show the above claim to be wrong.
    From Marcus Aurelius (h/t Paul Marks):

    The same law for all, equal rights and equal freedom of speech, and a government that recognises above all the freedom of the governed

    From Njall Thorgeirsson (as quoted in Njals saga):

    In the Law shall this land [Iceland] prosper, outside the Law it shall be laid waste

    It’s fucking funny that you appear to think that just because something was said that it must have therefore been so. Actually, it’s ironic that someone arguing that the “rule of law” is a thing would try to substantiate his argument in such a way.

    Everyone gets treated equally according to the law if Marcus Aurelius says it does – just as America is a land of freedom and personal liberty just because Hillary Clinton says it is.

    You have a bright career in comedy ahead of you.

  • Cristina

    “And he was correct. This – a prosecutorial decision – should not be the determinant of our presidential election.

    Why not?”

    Because the show must go on.

  • bobby b

    Why not?

    Because of the worse future excesses such a move would nudge our system into were it to occur.

    How much more common would it become for every candidate for any office to face partisan-driven criminal charges that are timed such that allegations would cover the airwaves pre-election, but no resolution would be possible until the election was over?

    Hell, look at how many Republican politicians have been wiped out by the democrats over the past several years due to spurious criminal allegations and drawn-out processes that clouded names unjustly?

    That’s the heart of a banana republic. The democrats already live by that ethos. Civilized people who value true justice won’t.

    Like I said, it’s all in the timing. This investigation should have been concluded long ago. Our Republican-dominated Congress failed to push for this to happen, and the democrats actively impeded it. Our system failed in that respect. We are rightfully called a banana republic for that alone.

    But to announce actual criminal charges now would mean by definition that no resolution would be possible before the election. We’d have, for our information, only bare allegations. As in all criminal cases, we the public would be denied all knowledge of any pertinent information – as would be proper in allowing a defendant to have due process and a fair trial.

    The only good out of all of this lies in the fact that, having announced that no criminal charges are forthcoming, the USA has released Clinton from legal jeopardy, meaning that all information they have gathered does NOT need to be protected and private to preserve her rights.

    So, we’ll find out more of the specifics of her crimes this way than we would have were she to be prosecuted.

    A little bird tells me that Comey’s crew will start the investigation leaks quickly. As I said, in the face of an impossible situation, I think Comey has done his job as well as he possibly could.

    (And, btw, Comey’s decision of whether or not to recommend charges is a quasi-prosecutorial function, not an investigatory one. Investigation stops right at “here are the facts as we found them”; prosecution starts at “here’s what should be done about those facts.”)

  • shlomo maistre

    Thomas Hobbes – the law is whatever the rulers say it is, the law does not rule men (or women) rule – without fixed law. There is no natural justice under natural law – or these words are twisted (by Hobbes and his followers) into a vile mockery.

    Hobbes was actually one of the main proponents of social contract theory, albeit a more rough a tumble formulation of it. He theorized that individuals give up their individual rights in mutual desire to escape the state of nature – and, in so doing, establish the state. He did believe that it was necessary for overwhelming state power to deter individuals from harming each other, but he was a philosopher who bought into the nonsense of the state of nature and social contract theory hook, line, and sinker – in sharp contract, of many, to Maistre’s well-founded observation that before society man was not what he was to become.

    Hobbes’ contentions were on many matters not all that divergent from those of Locke and others that Paul Marks would consider rather close to his own philosophical perspective. Indeed, implying that Hobbes’ thought presents the ultimate opposition to the argument in favor of the “rule of law” betrays an incomplete understanding of the perspective that informs opposition to such nonsense.

  • Alisa

    I absolutely agree with Bobby B.

  • Cristina

    And what exactly do you think will happen after the leaks?

  • shlomo maistre

    How much more common would it become for every candidate for any office to face partisan-driven criminal charges that are timed such that allegations would cover the airwaves pre-election, but no resolution would be possible until the election was over?

    I’m unsure as to how this would be a bad thing.

    That’s the heart of a banana republic. The democrats already live by that ethos. Civilized people who value true justice won’t.

    In democracy, the right brings swords to gun fights; the left brings tanks. I presume you aren’t surprised why the left wins every significant policy dispute – eventually.

    But to announce actual criminal charges now would mean by definition that no resolution would be possible before the election. We’d have, for our information, only bare allegations.

    As opposed to what we have now lol

    This investigation should have been concluded long ago. Our Republican-dominated Congress failed to push for this to happen, and the democrats actively impeded it. Our system failed in that respect.

    Actually, that is how our system succeeded.

    As in all criminal cases, we the public would be denied all knowledge of any pertinent information – as would be proper in allowing a defendant to have due process and a fair trial.

    You will be denied that anyway, don’t worry.

    And you never really answered my question. Why should a prosecutorial decision be made on the basis of not impacting the presidential election? Hillary is escaping justice on the basis of political connections and you are excusing this abomination on the basis that she is running for President? Shouldn’t the fact that she is running for President make an indictment MORE important because public servants are supposed to have integrity and stuff?

    In any case, one can easily see that by failing to follow the facts, Comey is impacting the presidential election anyway.

  • shlomo maistre

    “And he was correct. This – a prosecutorial decision – should not be the determinant of our presidential election.

    Why not?”

    Because the show must go on.

    Precisely.

  • Julie near Chicago

    bobby b,

    “…[L]ook at how many Republican politicians have been wiped out by the democrats over the past several years due to spurious criminal allegations and drawn-out processes that clouded names unjustly?”

    Yes, and the Sith is a fine example. For a case of sour stomach, recall what he, er, his campaign did to his opponent Jack Ryan in order to nail down the seat in the Illinois Senate.

  • shlomo maistre

    And what exactly do you think will happen after the leaks?

    The only people who will give a shit about the leaks will be the GOP. Republican supporters, pundits, and writers will try to smear Hillary with the contents of the leaks. So what?

    The Democrats along with 90% of the mainstream media will justifiably characterize the GOP as whiners who are using leaks for political ends. They will rightly point out that the FBI doesn’t want an indictment of Hillary and neither does the DoJ so Republicans will be justifiably seen as only wishing to score political points. Yay rule of law!

    Hillary will be our next President. Hillary will be a bad President but America deserves much worse.

  • Cristina

    Precisely

  • Julie near Chicago

    Oh yeah, shlomo? just who-or-what is this “America” that “deserves so much worse”?

  • shlomo maistre

    just who-or-what is this “America” that “deserves so much worse”?

    The whole of it. All Americans, including myself, deserve much worse government than we get or are likely to receive under President Hillary Clinton. I will be proven correct as the quality of governance Americans enjoy continues to substantially deteriorate in the decades ahead.

    There are many layers of understanding behind the justly famous Maistrian phrase: every nation gets the government it deserves.

    The belief that individuals only deserve that which their personal actions merit is a modern conception and not one that entirely explains how reality works. Just one example: yes, the living can and often do pay for the sins of the dead. There are many layers of explanation that I doubt you’d care to hear.

    In brief: over the long run and in aggregate, people get what they deserve.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Ah. I see.

    I have a saying in mind, too. Roughly, “If everyone is responsible for everything, then no one is responsible for anything.”

    So we can have a duel of sayings, though that’s not the best use of my time, nor of yours I imagine.

    It is possible to hold that “everything is interconnected,” which means that in principle everything has an effect on things external to itself (and by “everything,” I mean to include not just objects but also actions, events, states-of-affairs). It seems to me intuitively that in principle one could find some sort of chain of “things” linking “thing A” to “thing B,” for any two “things” A and B. But this I cannot prove and it may not be formally provable.

    However, that does not mean that for any two people A and B, A is necessarily responsible for the conditions in which B finds himself. Even if there is some sort of linkage between what A does and B’s condition, the concept of “responsibility” requires that there exists a credible argument that A could have known that his act specifically would affect B, specifically, in a way at least somewhat similar to what actually happened. If I load my child into the flivver to go to the vet, er, the doc, and on the way an 18-wheeler goes out of control and flattens us, it’s a misuse of the word to say that I am “responsible” for my child’s death (never mind my own). Now if I had The Sight, that might be different–or it might not–but I don’t think we need to discuss the moral philosophy in the world of the occult at the present moment.

    Anyway, it is also a misuse of the word to say that if A takes all the actions that he can think of and that are available to him to try to avoid the occurrence of Condition X, but Condition X comes about just the same, then A is responsible, or partly responsible.

    That particular line of thinking (I can’t say “reason”) is exactly what leads to acceptance of the idea of moral equivalence.

    .

    As for “the living paying for the sins of the dead,” that’s merely a figure of speech that is often mistaken for a true statement about morality or, in fact, about “natural law”–that is, about how the world works. What it means is that sometimes a person brings about a chain of events that affects others for several generations hence; but it’s an abuse of language to say that those others are “paying” for the sins or mistakes or faults (whichever) of the initial actor. Sometimes, of course, that really is the case, as when a son pays out of his own pocket for a debt incurred, and incurred dishonestly, by his father. But that’s not the usual case.

    shlomo, my mother died in 1982. It is conceivable that you did something that was one of the many factors whose confluence ended in her death; but do you really want to say that you, wise shlomo, are responsible for her death?

  • shlomo maistre

    I have a saying in mind, too. Roughly, “If everyone is responsible for everything, then no one is responsible for anything.”

    So we can have a duel of sayings, though that’s not the best use of my time, nor of yours I imagine.

    On the assumption that your saying is meant to contradict mine, I’ll point out that I said nothing about responsibility. Deserving something and being responsible for something are plainly different things. Indeed, I specifically stated that the belief that individuals only deserve that which their personal actions merit is a modern conception that does not explain fully how reality works. To give you a little bit of a taste as to how deep the rabbit hole goes, I’ll note that I’m a secular Jew who believes in original sin. Man is born metaphysically in sin and literally by sin. All punishment is according to the knowledge of the guilty.

    It is possible to hold that “everything is interconnected,” which means that in principle everything has an effect on things external to itself (and by “everything,” I mean to include not just objects but also actions, events, states-of-affairs). It seems to me intuitively that in principle one could find some sort of chain of “things” linking “thing A” to “thing B,” for any two “things” A and B. But this I cannot prove and it may not be formally provable.

    Yes, everything is interconnected – and mostly in ways humans are unable to even imagine. And as far as proof – most great truths are not proven inductively but are rather intuited via revelation.

    However, that does not mean that for any two people A and B, A is necessarily responsible for the conditions in which B finds himself.

    Concur (key word being ‘necessarily’).

    Even if there is some sort of linkage between what A does and B’s condition, the concept of “responsibility” requires that there exists a credible argument that A could have known that his act specifically would affect B, specifically, in a way at least somewhat similar to what actually happened. If I load my child into the flivver to go to the vet, er, the doc, and on the way an 18-wheeler goes out of control and flattens us, it’s a misuse of the word to say that I am “responsible” for my child’s death (never mind my own).

    Again, there is a difference between being responsible for something and deserving something. With respect to your example – in a superficial sense, the sin of the driver of the 18-wheeler was paid for by the life of the child (though of course it’s rather more complex than just that).

    Now if I had The Sight, that might be different–or it might not–but I don’t think we need to discuss the moral philosophy in the world of the occult at the present moment.

    Huh? I’m ignorant as to what is meant by this.

    Anyway, it is also a misuse of the word to say that if A takes all the actions that he can think of and that are available to him to try to avoid the occurrence of Condition X, but Condition X comes about just the same, then A is responsible, or partly responsible.

    Well, I disagree that this is necessarily the case. If I am CEO of Company X and my objective is to hit EPS Y in Q2 of 2016 and I did absolutely everything to get the job done and I failed, then, guess what? I am responsible for failing to get the job done. But in any case, yet again, lets not conflate the term “deserve” with the term “responsibility”.

    That particular line of thinking (I can’t say “reason”) is exactly what leads to acceptance of the idea of moral equivalence.

    Hm. Maybe. Can you explain what you mean more specifically? How this is so?

    As for “the living paying for the sins of the dead,” that’s merely a figure of speech that is often mistaken for a true statement about morality or, in fact, about “natural law”–that is, about how the world works. What it means is that sometimes a person brings about a chain of events that affects others for several generations hence; but it’s an abuse of language to say that those others are “paying” for the sins or mistakes or faults (whichever) of the initial actor.

    Take it how ever you wish. I meant it as being literally true. It is actually true in reality that people tend to pay for the sins of the dead – often, in particular, their ancestors. If you think that’s a mindfuck then read Joseph de Maistre’s explication as to how (and, therefore, why) sacrifice works. Only blood can pay for blood.

    shlomo, my mother died in 1982. It is conceivable that you did something that was one of the many factors whose confluence ended in her death; but do you really want to say that you, wise shlomo, are responsible for her death?

    Yet again, there is a difference between “responsibility” and “deserving”; I was speaking of the latter. And though my wisdom dwarfs my intelligence (and humility) by orders of magnitude, I was born well after 1982.

    As far as death – it is the ultimate price we all must pay for life, which is the consequence of man’s extrication from divine provenance as a result of Eve’s disobedience to the Creator.

  • bobby b

    We no longer speak in terms of Eve disobeying the Creator. It is sexist.

    Now we say that she bravely spit in the eye of the ultimate Patriarchy.

  • bobby b

    “The belief that individuals only deserve that which their personal actions merit is a modern conception . . ”

    The word “deserve” in your usage is throwing me, I think.

    Modern conception or not, the word “deserve” still carries a connotation of an earned debt that is presently due. Promise me ten dollars to paint your house, and once I paint it, I deserve that ten dollars. If I cannot be troubled to inform myself about life and thus vote for democrats, I deserve my democrat government.

    But if I educate myself, and vote for a non-democrat, but my choice receives fewer votes because so many others voted because they liked certain ads or hairdos, do I personally deserve that new democrat government?

    I would say no. I don’t think you can jettison the concept of an individually incurred debt so easily. “Deserve” might as well mean “you get whatever you get.”

  • shlomo maistre

    bobby b,

    I understand your point. I do. But I meant and mean the word deserve. A debt owed by a nation can be paid (in full or in part) by anyone within the aggregate of the people who make up that nation.

    Printing money devalues currency; everyone who holds that currency will pay for the debt incurred by those who supported and executed the policies that led to the debt being accumulated by the government.

    Nobody doubts that you get what you get. The point is that there is a reason – a sin was committed; a debt is owed. Sin must be expiated; debt must be paid.

    The world is complex. The Creator may be many things, but he is certainly not fair – at least according to most of our conventional definitions of the term.

  • shlomo maistre

    Just to clarify – the example I brought up (printing money) I brought up only because it’s such a concrete, exaggerated, apparent illustration of the concept I’m trying to explicate. Most sins, most debts are for more nuanced and even escape our notice as mere mortals.

  • I think bobby b and others are quite wrong to imagine there is any good reason why Hillary should not be indicted. The facts are clear. The duties of the relevant officials to their oaths are clear. The corruption is clear.

    The better to understand this, turn it around. Imagine an alternate reality in which Comey is secretly seeking a victory for Trump. Suppose his true thought were: “She’s the worst possible candidate – so I must avoid giving Democrats any excuse for getting rid of her before the election. It’ll be Donald’s best chance.” Would this be the right decision? Would some on this blog say, “Yes, that is indeed the righteous thing for Comey to do; avoiding the (marginally?) greater electability of a Biden or the (somewhat?) greater danger of a Sanders is a very valid reason why he should take his formal duty lightly.”

    One may argue whether the above would be equally corrupt with what has happened, or would be a bit less so. It cannot be more so.

    Now that Comey’s deed is done – and not for the reason above – all may, with clear conscience, use it to transform Shrillary the Uninditable into Shrillary the Unelectable – if that is possible in the less than perfect circumstances. But it seems to me that no-one can defend what Lorretta and Comey are doing without implying that they would indeed, for their cause, do likewise.

    A free constitution promises rule of law equally over all. Noone expects that promise to be filled in exact literalness. There are however departures gross enough that they communicate not the imperfection of reality but the arrival of a new reality. And I think bobby b very wrong to imagine the opposite recommendation by Comey would have enabled more lawfare. Lawfare is already ranging and this is lawfare: (in)justice for thee, no justice for me.

  • Alisa

    I think bobby b and others are quite wrong to imagine there is any good reason why Hillary should not be indicted.

    I can’t speak for Bobby B., but I took his words not as to mean that Hillary should not be indicted in principle, but as a reason why in practice and as things stand now, it is a good thing that she was not. Like Niall, if it was up to me, I would choose principle over expediency – but it was not up to me, and my principles do not preclude me from recognizing the expediency. Silver linings and all that.

    Also, in his statement Comey makes clear that the FBI found no factual basis for indictment. We may all roll our eyes as to how true that statement was, but that’s what the man said. And frankly, having rolled my eyes, I tend to think that this email scandal is an actual tempest in a teapot, and that there are much worse real transgressions (and possibly crimes) on the basis of which Hillary (and Bill) could be safely indicted.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Closely related to the current Clinton scandal is a remarkable blog post that i recently stumbled upon. (Or, if you prefer: … upon which i recently stumbled.)

    To simplify: the author, herself French, writes that the French ruling classes are, and have always been, above the law; while the Norwegian ruling classes are not. This has nothing to do with socialism, please note.

    Note also that, while Norway has improved sine the time of (Danish) absolute monarchy, the USA has got worse.

    Note also the brazenness of the French press in covering up for DSK, which is related to the quote in the OP:

    Until this [US] election, the corruption, coercion, and sleazy backroom deals were just that… backroom.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Another thing to point out is that this scandal shows Hillary’s mental deficiency: she did not realize that her behavior exposed her to the consequences for herself that we are seeing. If it were the consequences for the country that she neglected, it could be extreme callousness; but she also neglected the consequences for herself. And for what? not for any large personal gain, only because she could not be bothered to follow safety protocols.

  • Laird

    “Also, in his statement Comey makes clear that the FBI found no factual basis for indictment.”

    That is completely incorrect, Alisa. What Comey said is that no prosecutor would bring the case (although he did not explain why). His actual words, though, made it clear that she did in fact violate the law.

  • bobby b

    “I can’t speak for Bobby B., but I took his words not as to mean that Hillary should not be indicted in principle, but as a reason why in practice and as things stand now, it is a good thing that she was not.”

    Yes. This.

    Plus, in the real world, when we purport to act purely according to principle, we’re usually ignoring the fact that many different principles are at issue, and to act “purely” as to one principle does violence to other principles.

    As to the Norwegians’ love of condemnation: if you had to wash your lutefisk down with aquavit, you’d be cranky and judgmental too.

  • bobby b

    “His actual words, though, made it clear that she did in fact violate the law..”

    Yeah, wasn’t he great? He basically set out the elements of the law, pointed out that she had violated all of them, and then implied that, since he couldn’t prove “intent” (which is specifically omitted as a requirement for that violation) he could go no further. It would be a dumb first-year law student’s mistake of statutory interpretation, if it hadn’t come from Comey, who has shown himself to be a very sharp and principled guy. He knew this was transparent.

    He told us all “she did it – oh, boy, did she ever do it!” and then he dumped it into the voters’ laps. Which is where I still think it belongs.

    Heck, maybe he did a better job of indicting her right then and there then the DOJ could have done.

  • Laird

    I agree with your last post, bobby b (and also about the lutefisk!).

    Today’s Wall Street Journal contains a short excerpt from the FBI’s website about a case less than a year ago, in which a naval reservist was convicted of “unauthorized removal and retention of classified materials” and sentenced to two years’ probation, a fine, and permanent loss of his security clearance. Since it’s behind a paywall I’m quoting here the relevant paragraphs:

    According to court documents, Nishimura was a Naval reservist deployed in Afghanistan in 2007 and 2008. In his role as a Regional Engineer for the U.S. military in Afghanistan, Nishimura had access to classified briefings and digital records that could only be retained and viewed on authorized government computers. Nishimura, however, caused the materials to be downloaded and stored on his personal, unclassified electronic devices and storage media. He carried such classified materials on his unauthorized media when he traveled off-base in Afghanistan and, ultimately, carried those materials back to the United States at the end of his deployment. In the United States, Nishimura continued to maintain the information on unclassified systems in unauthorized locations, and copied the materials onto at least one additional unauthorized and unclassified system.

    Nishimura’s actions came to light in early 2012, when he admitted to Naval personnel that he had handled classified materials inappropriately. Nishimura later admitted that, following his statement to Naval personnel, he destroyed a large quantity of classified materials he had maintained in his home. Despite that, when the Federal Bureau of Investigation searched Nishimura’s home in May 2012, agents recovered numerous classified materials in digital and hard copy forms. The investigation did not reveal evidence that Nishimura intended to distribute classified information to unauthorized personnel.

    I guess Comey overlooked that case.

  • Alisa

    Me:

    Also, in his statement Comey makes clear that the FBI found no factual basis for indictment.

    Laird:

    His actual words, though, made it clear that she did in fact violate the law.

    Indeed, and as you well know, these are two different things. The fact that it may be clear to an investigator that a suspect violated the law is far from being the same as ‘there is enough evidence for indictment’. Bobby B. has it, yet again. Like I said before, I’m rolling my eyes as much as next person, but that was what Comey in fact said.

  • Alisa

    Good point about that Nishimura guy.

  • Alisa

    Forgot to add the relevant quote from Comey’s statement transcript:

    Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case. Prosecutors necessarily weigh a number of factors before bringing charges. There are obvious considerations, like the strength of the evidence, especially regarding intent. Responsible decisions also consider the context of a person’s actions, and how similar situations have been handled in the past.

    In looking back at our investigations into mishandling or removal of classified information, we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts. All the cases prosecuted involved some combination of: clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information; or vast quantities of materials exposed in such a way as to support an inference of intentional misconduct; or indications of disloyalty to the United States; or efforts to obstruct justice. We do not see those things here.

  • Laird

    Alisa, that was precisely my point: you asserted that Comey “found no factual basis for indictment.” He most certainly did find such a factual basis; read the first clause of the quote you provided. Comey merely concluded that no prosecutor would bring such a case, which obviously is a political decision. The facts were there, and he laid them out. He just didn’t follow through. And that comment about “intent” is a complete red herring. One of the statutes she violated specifically provides that intent (“mens rea“) is NOT an element of the crime. He said as much at the beginning of his speech, but by the end he seemed to have forgotten it.

    As to that second paragraph, it’s clearly a lie. See the Nishimura case I cited above.

  • Alisa

    Alisa, that was precisely my point: you asserted that Comey “found no factual basis for indictment.”

    Yes Laird, I should have written found no sufficient evidence for indictment. Note again that I am not arguing about the actual facts found or not found by Comey, but merely about what he said and how he said it.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Shlomo:

    I never blamed the collapse of the rule of law on the rule of law.

    I understood that you blame the Clinton scandal on the rule of law, which is the same thing.

    It’s fucking funny that you appear to think that just because something was said that it must have therefore been so.

    * I did not say that: i said that you are wrong to say that the concept did not exist before 1649. In fact, the Roundheads took pretty much all their ideas from the Romans.
    * I did say that there was the rule of law in ancient Israel. As a Jew, you should know about it, and why.
    * In addition, i say NOW that Plato was inspired by Sparta to praise the rule of law: he did not just make it up; unlike you and Hobbes, who make up pretexts for why, in spite of evidence to the contrary, the rule of law cannot exist.
    * In addition, i say NOW that there was rule of law in Viking Iceland, and if you read the Sagas you would know it. You could begin with the Tale of Ale-Hood.
    * In addition, i know for a fact that there was the rule of law, to a limited extent, in fascist Italy, because my grandfather sued the Mussolini government, and won. (It was a Pyrrhic victory, but not due to retaliation from the government.)
    * In addition, there is rule of law in the Nordic countries, as per my comment above.

    Everyone gets treated equally according to the law if Marcus Aurelius says it does

    That is obviously not true: the law was not the same for senators and slaves. There was rule of law (at least that is the consensus about ancient Rome, certainly the Republic, probably the Principate, probably not the Dominate) but not equality before the law.

  • Laird

    Alisa, that’s not what he said, either. There was “sufficient evidence”; he said as much. He merely stated that no prosecutor would bring such a case. He then cited “other factors” as the basis for that conclusion, the primary one being “intent” which, as I have already said, is simply untrue. It’s to those “other factors” where we must look for the explanation for his decision, not the lack of evidence.

  • Alisa

    Yes Laird, you are correct.

  • Fraser Orr

    Alisa
    > I tend to think that this email scandal is an actual tempest in a teapot, and that there are much worse real transgressions

    I disagree with this Alisa. Although some of the corruption and selling of public favors that seem to have gone on in the Clinton foundation are of considerably more import criminally, I actually think the email thing could be substantively much worse.

    Based on what I have read about this email server in public sources it was about as close to insecure as you can get. All that protected it from access was a single password. I promise you even without sophisticated hacker tools I can get any password with a bottle of whisky, a cheap hooker and a video camera. As Comey said that this server was in use was widely known, and she even had the utter idiocy to use it in foreign nations. Remember, her access to the server was NOT EVEN OVER VPN!

    Which is to say that every security agency in the world was in that server. Any agency that did not hack it was in gross dereliction of their duties. That also means that the Kremlin, Pyonyang, Beijing, not to mention or allies, undoubtedly have a copy of ALL those emails, including the deleted ones. Comey said it might have happened, I will go so far as to say that it is insane to think it didn’t happen.

    Now think about that for a second. No doubt some of these deleted emails contained very embarrassing details. We know this because the FBI found 1000 of these emails already and many of them should absolutely have been turned over to the prosecutor (which BTW means she was both in contempt of court and congress, as well as guilty of perjury based on the plain facts.)

    So imagine she is President. Now our adversaries, come to that our allies, have a boat load of material to blackmail her, which effectively gives them deep control over her and consequently the American government. Imagine Kim Jong Un having significant influence over the American government.

    Personally I am of the opinion that the recent release of embarrassing information from the hack of the DNC sever was a shot across the bow, a warning to Clinton that the Russians had her by the balls.

    On the surface such a thing sounds like a crazy conspiracy theory or the plot of a movie. But I’m not making this up. Any reasonable person familiar with computer security and the operation of foreign security services can only conclude that they do have this information and that it is probably quite embarrassing.

    In comparison to that the extraordinary corruption of greasing the wheels to sell a few more fighter jets seems small potatoes.

  • Julie near Chicago

    shlomo,

    1. Putting bobby b’s point another way: One deserves X only insofar as one is responsible for X. People say things liked, “A child deserves a good education.” No he doesn’t. It is right that he have a good education (for some value of “good”), but not because he deserves it. (Pages of explicative detail omitted.)

    Furthermore, there are degrees of responsibility for X. One might argue that I bear a slight responsibility for the election of the Incumbent, but only insofar as I might have done more to persuade people not to vote for him, and to support Mrs. Palin. James Carville is a good deal more responsible. So are the folks who helped to resurrect dead folks and their dogs who then voted for him.

    2. Also, what about all those Americans who were a mere 4 years old in 2008 or 2012? Or who were, as of those elections, not yet present upon the earth? I have trouble seeing how they got “the government they deserve.”

  • Laird

    I’m with Fraser Orr on this. The email issue is not a trivial matter. Mere personal enrichment is.

    Julie, I think that Shlomo’s point is that as a people we get the government we deserve (for whatever value of “deserve” you choose to apply). And I think he’s right. Any polity which could re-elect Obama, regardless of the quality of his opponent, is in terminal decline.

  • Mr Ed

    Is it not the case that one of the reasons that Clinton had a private server was to avoid the Freedom of Information Act and disclosure orders arising from it?

    If so, did she hide sensitive information from the prying eyes of the public in a manner that virtually guaranteed that not they, but the enemies of the United States, would find it?

  • Snorri Godhi

    Mr Ed: good questions.

    But since i am not the person to give answers, i’ll intrude instead in the debate about whether we get what we deserve. I have sympathy for both sides, actually.

    Let me start with a specific claim, ie Shlomo’s original claim:

    All Americans, including myself, deserve much worse government than we get or are likely to receive under President Hillary Clinton. I will be proven correct as the quality of governance Americans enjoy continues to substantially deteriorate in the decades ahead.

    The only way i can understand this is:
    A. Shlomo expects US governance to get even worse than it is likely to be under Clinton 45.
    B. if the US gets bad governance, that is ipso facto proof that the US deserves bad governance.

    On the face of it, B validates Bobby’s claim: when Shlomo says that we get what we deserve, he is saying nothing more than “we get what we get”.

    OTOH … Shlomo’s claim deserves more thought. Suppose that a US citizen can emigrate to a country that is going to be a much better place to live than the US: by assumption, there are no obstacles, such as a spouse refusing to emigrate. There are costs to emigrating, of course, but suppose for the sake of argument that they are worth paying. In this case, if the US citizen decides to stay put, can it be said that (s)he deserves what is coming to him/her? Feel free to discuss, but i want to note that to say that such US citizens do not deserve what is coming to them, is to absolve them of the responsibility of thinking about the future.

  • Laird

    Here’s Trey Gowdy grilling James Comey on “intent” and “gross negligence.”

  • Lincoln’s “You can fool all of the people some of the time” would seem to imply that there is some inverse statute of limitations and only beyond its duration does a polity (but not its politically-incorrect members) become fully responsible for the then-deservedly-bad government they get.

    Laird, July 7, 2016 at 3:30 pm, says: “Any polity which could re-elect Obama, regardless of the quality of his opponent, is in terminal decline.” My wish is to agree that 4 years was more than enough to see through the lie, even for those ill-situated to be informed, but in truth I’m not certain – or still hopeful, however you like to put it.

    bobby b (July 7, 2016 at 11:44 am), still seems to be going beyond “Now Comey has made his (wrong) decision, we must exploit it as best we can” to suggesting that anyone honest (in a perfectly ordinary, everyday, realistic sense of that word – nothing saintly or heroic or anywhere near it) could ever have made that decision. (If I’m misreading, my apologies.) My ‘suppose it were done from the opposite motive’ example in my post was to show why I feel that I (if I were a US voter/commentator) could exploit it with a clean conscience because I would not have done it for any motive.

  • Cristina

    In the democratic societies, the masses choose their government. Through the elections they give voice and body to their preferences, their aspirations, and their vision for the future. In short, they express their culture. That’s why they have the government they deserve. Why is it so difficult to understand?

  • Laird

    Niall, I agree that the anti-Hillary forces (whether supporters of Trump, Johnson, or someone else) can (and absolutely should) with a clear conscience use this event as a weapon against her. She is utterly corrupt, always has been, and any tool is fair game. Frankly, in my opinion the sleazier and scummier the better.

    I know I’m flogging a thoroughly dead horse here, but Comey’s assertion that “we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts” is such a blatant lie that I can’t let it go. Judge Napolitano has cataloged a few more recent examples:

    “Thus, in the past two years, the DOJ has prosecuted a young sailor for sending a single selfie to his girlfriend that inadvertently showed a submarine sonar screen in its background. It also prosecuted a Marine lieutenant who sent his military superiors a single email about the presence of Al Qaeda operatives dressed as local police in a U.S. encampment in Afghanistan — but who inadvertently used his Gmail account rather than his secure government account.

    And it famously prosecuted Gen. David Petraeus for sharing paper copies of his daily calendar in his guarded home with a military colleague also in the home — someone who had a secret security clearance herself — because the calendar inadvertently included secret matters in the pages underneath the calendar.”

    Napolitano doesn’t mention it, but that second example (the Marine lieutenant) is particularly egregious because in that case it was an emergency: he saw the al Qaeda infiltrators but didn’t have access to a secure device so he used his personal phone to alert his superiors. And still he was prosecuted. Yet Comey has the temerity to assert that “no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case” against Hillary?

    Comey should be impeached. His action is a textbook illustration of “high crimes and misdemeanors” (which is basically defined as misconduct peculiar to political office, such as perjury, abuse of authority, dereliction of duty, etc.).

  • shlomo maistre

    Snorri,

    Another thing to point out is that this scandal shows Hillary’s mental deficiency: she did not realize that her behavior exposed her to the consequences for herself that we are seeing. If it were the consequences for the country that she neglected, it could be extreme callousness; but she also neglected the consequences for herself. And for what? not for any large personal gain, only because she could not be bothered to follow safety protocols.

    Hillary knew full well the consequences of her actions; she is a very smart woman. She figured out how she could prevent her transgression of the law from hampering her aspiration to occupy the Presidency and made a calculated decision to use a private email server. I for one have no doubt that she had very good reasons for doing so, for she is no fool and would not have opened herself up to such criticism for no reason at all. The fact is that you have no idea why she did what she did; just because nobody has notified you (or anyone publicly) why she did what she did does not mean there was no reason for her doing it.

    And also as far as the consequences – she will become the next President.

    I understood that you blame the Clinton scandal on the rule of law, which is the same thing.

    Well, you’re incorrect (…again). The only reason it’s a an alleged “scandal” is because some fools still operate under the mistaken delusion that nobody is/should be above the law. As I have said multiple times in this thread, I do not think there such a thing as the “rule of law” which is why I don’t blame anything on the rule of law. Hopefully you understand now.

    I did not say that: i said that you are wrong to say that the concept did not exist before 1649.

    That’s not what you said. And I never said that the concept did not exist before 1649.

    I did say that there was the rule of law in ancient Israel. As a Jew, you should know about it, and why.

    Point taken. Ancient Israel was an exception – a singular, extraordinary exception*.

    In addition, i say NOW that Plato was inspired by Sparta to praise the rule of law

    Feel free to provide evidence.

    unlike you and Hobbes, who make up pretexts for why, in spite of evidence to the contrary, the rule of law cannot exist.

    You have provided no evidence to the contrary.

    In addition, i say NOW that there was rule of law in Viking Iceland, and if you read the Sagas you would know it. You could begin with the Tale of Ale-Hood.

    Maybe I’ll check it out sometime. lol

    In addition, i know for a fact that there was the rule of law, to a limited extent, in fascist Italy, because my grandfather sued the Mussolini government, and won. (It was a Pyrrhic victory, but not due to retaliation from the government.)

    You don’t understand what “rule of law” means. One can sue the government (even a fascist government) and win under a system that is not even purported to operate under such a thing as “the rule of law”. Your example proves nothing. People who believe in the “rule of law” think that ink blots placed on paper can restrain those who are in power. But all of human history shows that laws must be interpreted and even made by those who rule.

    That is obviously not true: the law was not the same for senators and slaves. There was rule of law (at least that is the consensus about ancient Rome, certainly the Republic, probably the Principate, probably not the Dominate) but not equality before the law.

    Which proves my point – that your use of a quote from Marcus Aurelius did not prove what you think it proved.

    when Shlomo says that we get what we deserve, he is saying nothing more than “we get what we get”.

    Reading comprehension skills may need work.

    *as Joseph de Maistre explained:

    To this general rule, that no constitution can be made or written, à priori, we know of but one single exception; that is, the legislation of Moses. This alone was cast, so to speak, like a statue, and written out, even to its minutest details, by a wonderful man, who said, Fiat! without his work ever having need of being corrected, improved, or in any way modified, by himself or others. This, alone, has set time at defiance, because it owed nothing to time, and expected nothing from it; this alone has lived fifteen hundred years; and even after eighteen new centuries have passed over it, since the great anathema which smote it on the fated day, we see it, enjoying, if I may say so, a second life, binding still, by I know not what mysterious bond, which has no human name, the different families of a people, which remain dispersed without being disunited. So that, like attraction, and by the same power, it acts at a distance, and makes one whole, of many parts widely separated from each other. Thus, this legislation lies evidently, for every intelligent conscience, beyond the circle traced around human power; and this magnificent exception to a general law, which has only yielded once, and yielded only to its Author, alone demonstrates the Divine mission of the great Hebrew Lawgiver….

  • shlomo maistre

    And please don’t lump me in with Hobbes; I’m far more right-wing (in the great Plato-Aristotle continuum) than he was.

  • I don’t think Hillary is fundamentally clever but I would agree with Shlomo on the single point that she did what she did of intent, not carelessly – that is blindingly obvious – and therefore had what seemed to her at the time a sufficient reason. I’d guess that – knowing herself and knowing how the Clinton machine operates – she foresaw it would be needful to keep much of that business out of reach of information requests, and doubted her ability to keep it cleanly separate from official business. If so, that doubt would be evidence that she herself did not think she was that clever.

    However I do not in the least think she foresaw the exact situation she is now i. i do not think she confidently reasoned that she could – and should – do it and survive the effects. If some crystal ball had shown her the world of today, I think she would have hired someone to run two email servers and carefully separate Clinton “business” from formal government business. The arrogance of the elite is more unconscious, less reasoned – and so more vulnerable to unexpected consequences, or consequences of unexpected severity.

    +1 to what Laird said (at July 7, 2016 at 10:55 pm). He’s not flogging a dead horse, but an issue that will be relevant till election day – and, one must hope, after.

    Finally, I note what some have said about Hillary’s worst deeds going far beyond disobeying government rules on emails. Lying about Bengazi was malum in se. Disobeying email rules was, in itself, malum prohibitum, and while we can be rationally sure that the motive was malum in se, her whole point of doing it was to make that hard to prove. These are not difficult points, but, if preparing for vicious debate, I think investing time in thinking about them would be wise.

    Meanwhile, the media will circle the wagons. But I think they are vaguely aware they have no holiday job to do, even though the rival is Donald Trump. And I think the logic of their own prejudices will see some of them sometimes saying to themselves: “This is not so easy – even though the rival is Donald Trump!

  • Snorri Godhi

    What Niall said! I did not really think it through yesterday, when i wrote that Hillary’s intent was to save herself the inconvenience of following protocol … or maybe i thought, as i still think, that she was even more demented if, to avoid having to comply with FOI requests, she made the whole of her email available to the entire world!

    Even if she gets elected anyway, she’ll owe lots of people favors (or: lots of people no longer owe her favors) which she would not have owed, had she followed protocol. Not to mention her being exposed to blackmail.

    WRT what Laird said: for all his faults, at least Trump is an attack dog who won’t let this go away … unless he is a Clinton mole, as some people have claimed.

    As to whether this is Hillary’s worst deed, much depends on whether we are talking about the most unethical deed, or the deed most damaging to the country and the world.

  • Rich Rostrom

    Charles Krauthammer wrote today that he thinks Comey flinched from being the effective arbiter of the election – that he decided it was “above his pay grade” (as they say in the U.S. armed forces). I think it was that, combined with the fact that torpedoing Clinton would probably throw the election to Trump.

    And given what Trump is, I can see being very reluctant to do that.

    I think if the Republican nominee was anyone else…

  • I am not prone to conspiracy theories but at times like this I do wonder if Trump was chosen as the only possible “Republican” who might lose to Hillary Clinton 😉

  • Cristina

    She will be the next president, regardless of who the Republican challenger may be.

  • Laird

    Mr Ed, I’ve been out of practice for so long that I’ve lost most of my Latin legal phrases. That’s a good one; thanks for reminding me of it.

    [N.B: I’ve long thought that someone should create a reverse Latin legal phrase dictionary, so those of us who vaguely recall that there’s an apt phrase but can’t remember just what it is could locate it through a key word search. “Someone” should do this, but not me; I’m too lazy!]

  • Rich Rostrom (July 8, 2016 at 8:19 pm) “torpedoing Clinton would probably throw the election to Trump.”

    Torpedoing Clinton before the convention makes it legitimate for another candidate to be chosen, despite her delegate count. That would not obviously be how to “throw the election to Trump”. Clinton is not a strong candidate – especially now. Surely blocking this way of removing her is more helpful to Trump. (I do not think that’s why Comey did it.)