July 6, 2016

Wondering, on Wednesday (v57)

It's Wednesday and in keeping with how things have gone historically here at veritable pastiche, I'll do some wondering. Maybe even some historical wondering.

First: did anyone really think Hillary Clinton was going to be indicted? I mean, seriously, did anyone really think that was going to happen?

Here are the relevant paragraphs from FBI Director James Comey's statement on not charging Clinton (emphasis added):
Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statuses 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 information exposed in such as 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. 
Of course she wasn't going to be indicted, based on the threshold of precedent. Hillary Clinton is paranoid, and knows that she's the most hated woman in America and has been for years - but she's not disloyal to the country nor did she intentionally mishandle information - she did, in true over the top paranoid Clinton style, what several of her predecessors also did. Stupid? Yes. Criminal? No.

If there was any chance of an indictment, she never would have run for President.  No one - not Bill, not close advisers Huma Abedin and Sidney Blumenthal, not Chelsea, not the hated Debbie Wasserman Schultz or even Barack Obama - no one would have let her run if there was even the remotest chance there would be an indictment.

Ask me, and I'd say the reason why she took so long to announce her candidacy was because they were sticking wet fingers into the air to see which way the legal wind was blowing. Well, that, and to keep other Democrats out of the race, which they managed to do.

Furthermore:

  • It's not like she gave multiple high classified briefing books containing military strategy and other top secret stuff to her lover so it could be published, and then give false statements to the FBI, but still got to keep her 200K pension and collect who know how much money working in the private sector and for think tanks and universities east coast and west.  She didn't do that: General David Petraeus did. 
  • It's not like she disclosed the name of an undercover operative in apparent retaliation for someone writing an article that showed there was no smoking yellow cake uranium, gave false statements to the FBI, lied to a grand jury and likely fell on his sword to protect his boss, the Vice President. That was Scooter Libby.
  • It's not like the State Department under her watch was using a private email server housed at her political party's National Committee and deleted 22 million emails.That was Dubya's White House, the Republican National Committee and Karl Rove, who initially reported deleting maybe five million emails.

But really, why no indictment, you wonder?

Because in America, whether we like it or not, we don't generally indict people who are careless - even those who are extremely careless, and particularly not politicians who are particularly or extremely careless.

We don't indict politicians generally, even ones who lie about weapons of mass destruction that don't exist, or ones who attack the wrong country after we're attacked, or ones who sell guns to terrorists, money launder for foreign governments, turn the other eye when our military does bad things, justify torture, and on and on and on. Those politicians haven't been indicted. Why would Clinton be?

Because, in America, whether we like it or not, we don't hold politicians to a higher standard. And, of course, when someone tries to, the case gets tossed on appeal, or if it sticks, it gets decried as a witch hunt and politicians use it for fundraising, proving the point yet again why it is that we do not hold them to a higher standard.

We accept at face value Moral Majoritarians with multiple affairs, multiple divorces, gay lovers and wide stances. We accept scandal-ridden preachers (who are not all that much different than politicians in the end -- with the money and the fame and the glitz and the lies) and then we put them together with the politicians and pay good money to see them call other people sinners.

We watch our political class hold 'audiences' and go ring-kissing with money men, with other politicians, with movie stars. We watch the money come in and go out, we watch the politicians stay for life, pretending to themselves that was what was intended by the Founding Fathers.

I watched the UK's David Cameron announce his resignation practically within hours of his country voting to leave the EU, and thought, gee, wouldn't that be a breath of fresh air for America? But no, here we treat politicians like guns - we have to pry them out of office, as if their desks were cold dead hands.

We investigate the people who are in the Executive Branch if they're a different party than we are, but we allow the government to be shut down because a politician has a bee in her bonnet or a bug up his ass?  Yeah, that's OK. Because love her or hate him, they're one of us in the end, right? And we'll get re-elected.

We don't investigate politicians for voting 50some odd times to kill a law they don't like, or making countless other bad votes and self-serving, bad decisions, at a cost of probably billions of taxpayer dollars over time because, well, because we don't indict politicians for lying to Americans.

Even if they are careless liars. Even extremely careless liars, even if a "reasonable person" should have know better than to do what Hillary did with the email, and with topics that a two bit monkey should have known better than to share outside proper government channels.

Some people may be wondering if Speaker Paul Ryan and the House Republicans would have any response to the report from the FBI. Well, of course they do - they're going to investigate the FBI! Let's schedule hearings to get our questions answered!

There's no way they could not further investigate this, after a Republican FBI director with a sterling reputation for ethics and honesty announced his conclusion that, after the investigation by professional people (not politicians), there would be no indictment of Clinton for bad judgment and carelessness.

From Comey's statement again, speaking to the Paul Ryans in Washington and elsewhere:
I know there will be intense public debate in the wake of this recommendation, as there was throughout this investigation. What I can assure the American people is that this investigation was done competently, honestly, and independently. No outside influence of any kind was brought to bear.
I know there were many opinions expressed by people who were not part of the investigation - including people in government - but none of that mattered to us. Opinions are irrelevant, and they were all uninformed by insight into our investigation, because we did the investigation the right way. Only acts matter, and the FBI found them here in an entirely apolitical and professional way. I couldn't be prouder to be par of this organization. 
Ah, but the Republicans in the House are biologically incapable of leaving this one alone - it's in their DNA and they like it, like it, yes they do.

They hate Hillary more than they hated John Boehner. They were able to get rid of him, but they haven't yet figured out a way to get rid of her. And nothing will keep them from trying, I think that's part of the special oath a Republican swears: if it's a Clinton, it's got to go. Chelsea should take note now.

They definitely hate Hillary more than they like their own party's nominee for President, and anything they can do to talk about something other than uim is better, even if it's talking about HER.

And, not for nothing, I think they'd rather talk about anything other than 'A Better Way' the agenda they worked so hard on, and about which their nominee couldn't possibly care less and has expressed zero interest in promoting.  He'd rather talk about Saddam Hussein.

Wondering? Nope. I'm not really wondering at all. I think it's pretty obvious we're screwed.