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March 01, 2016

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(we have national forests on the east coast, too.)

"we have national forests on the east coast, too"

Yeah, but they're wet

Carson out of the next GOP debate - more time for Trump! Cruz! Rubes! The Other Guy!

Yeah, but they're wet

oh, no. the forests here in NC burn just fine. seems like every summer, they catch fire. we're 120 miles away and can always tell when there's a wildfire out there.

there are two controlled burns going right now, in fact! http://www.fs.usda.gov/nfsnc

Cleek, thanks for a very interesting summation.

McK, I realize you are real busy. But do you have a feel for how likely it is that something serious hits Clinton over that e-mail server? "Serious" as in criminal proceedings.

WJ, I wish I knew enough to make a valid assessment. That is not my practice area.

the forests here in NC burn just fine. seems like every summer, they catch fire. we're 120 miles away and can always tell when there's a wildfire out there.

If you're only 120 miles away, seeing smoke is no big thing. It the west, we see smoke for three times that or more. 120 miles is more like evacuation distance (unless you are sure you are up wind and will stay that way).

Yeah, reports of a forest fire in NJ this morning. All of SEVENTY-FIVE ACRES!

Whoop-de-do.

And Christie out of state, establishing an alibi.

McK, I understand.

It's just that I keep hearing stuff about it and was hoping for someone reliable with an opinion. It looks/sounds like partisan nonsense. But I can't really tell if there is any fire behind the partisan smoke.

wj - on Clinton's server, it certainly seems like something that should be illegal, perhaps criminal. It's hard to see how a cabinet secretary can conduct official government business over a private server kept in a private residence (or wherever it was) and not be violating the law in some manner.

But, and while I'm a lawyer like McKinney I'm not an expert in this area either, from what I can tell the laws she may have violated are those requiring the preservation of government records and unauthorized disclosure of classified information. She may have also violated "official" State Department policy on record keeping but that's very unlikely to be criminal (or even subject to fines) and, as the head of the Department, query whether she couldn't just change policy on a whim.

On preservation of government records, my guess is that there are no criminal sanctions so long as the records are "preserved." That is, while you might be subject to criminal sanctions for destroying records or (maybe) not keeping copies, you are not going to be subject to any such sanctions for not keeping copies in the exact manner specified, even if such a thing is specified at all. So, it seems, she kept all the emails and is relying on that to avoid sanctions under this law.

On unauthorized disclosure of classified information it seems she might have two defenses. One is that - as she maintains and I have not seen anything to the contrary (not that I've been keeping close track) - none of the information in the emails was classified at the time it was sent. That it might subsequently be classified should not matter for criminal sanctions - indeed it might be unconstitutional to subject someone to criminal sanctions in that manner.

Second, I believe (but don't know) that the criminal sanctions for unauthorized disclosure require you to disclose the classified information to someone unauthorized to receive it (which makes sense of course). So, it could be that any emails, even if they contained material classified at the time sent, were only sent to/from persons with the appropriate clearance and therefore there was no unauthorized disclosure.

The problem is, of course, that this all stinks to high heaven. Why do this? What the hell was running through her mind? No one had the sense to say "wait, WTF are we doing?" and/or "how is this going to look when it comes out?" Perhaps no one wanted to challenge here (which is problematic in its own right).

So she has handed a perfectly legitimate (ISTM), and unnecessary, issue about her trustworthiness, penchant for secrecy, and manner of operating to the GOP in exchange for....what? Not much, if anything, it seems.

But again, I'm not an expert.

(we have national forests on the east coast, too.)

Indeed you do, and I've hiked in some of them, and it's rude of me to overlook them. There is the matter of scale, though. The link at the bottom of this comment is my cartogram of the lower 48, with the state sizes reflecting the size of the federal land holdings. When I had a chance a few years back to talk to the director of Colorado's homeland security organization, the subject of how much I could burn, if I waited for the right day in the right year, and had a couple of dozen people with four-wheel-drive vehicles and a box or two of road flares for each (you can buy road flares by the box, no questions asked). We settled on something over a million acres in Colorado alone.

http://www.mcain6925.com/etc/holdings.jpg

Ugh, fair assessment from what I have read. I will just add that the material doesn't have to be marked classified, if the sender or recipient should know it is classified they are required to treat it as such.

Ugh, thanks for that.

What is the take, from the lefties here, of what some refer to as the transactional relationship between the Clinton Foundation and some of its donors.

Any smoke, any fire, or is it BS?

My entirely inexpert assessment, based primarily on the very informative Wikipedia page -
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillary_Clinton_email_controversy
- is that Clinton violated policy, but quite possibly (likely even ?) didn't break any law.

Having followed the US government's obsession with secrecy over a number of years, and readiness to classify absolutely anything, it seems entirely plausible that the retroactive classification of a number of the email documents doesn't indicate that they contained anything of any great significance.

I'm prepared to be surprised - in the year of Trump, how could I be otherwise ? - but I would guess no more than a 5-10% probability of this resulting in any significant action against Clinton.
And 100% certainty of Trump riffing on this for the next nine months.

What is the take, from the lefties here, of what some refer to as the transactional relationship between the Clinton Foundation and some of its donors.

This would be the idea that individuals or businesses or governments that have business before/some relationship with the State department would donate $$ to the Clinton Foundation when Hillary was SoS and then receive something in return? Or how would you put it?

"What is the take, from the lefties here, of what some refer to as the transactional relationship between the Clinton Foundation and some of its donors."

Scalia-like

My take on that one is that large campaign finance donors likely get a far better deal is we're talking 'transactional relationship'.

Though I don't really identify as a leftie.
Unless in US terms, in which case I'm probably a 'socialist'.

The problem is, of course, that this all stinks to high heaven. Why do this? What the hell was running through her mind? No one had the sense to say "wait, WTF are we doing?" and/or "how is this going to look when it comes out?" Perhaps no one wanted to challenge here (which is problematic in its own right).

Of course, it didn't stink when Colin Powell did it, but IOKIYAR.

I think Hillary should have been ultra-scrupulous, more so than her predecessors, but this email thing is another nothing.

Also, the Clinton Foundation "scandal" is a non-scandal. But that doesn't mean that there won't be investigation after investigation after tax dollar and tax dollar. It's what Republicans do, because that's all they've got.

This would be the idea that individuals or businesses or governments that have business before/some relationship with the State department would donate $$ to the Clinton Foundation when Hillary was SoS and then receive something in return? Or how would you put it?

Something like that, I suppose.

What is the take, from the lefties here, of what some refer to as the transactional relationship between the Clinton Foundation and some of its donors.

It doesn't seem noticably more corrupt than donors to Super-PACs. Either one happens as a result of the desire of the donors to get improved access. And both presumably are successful at that, since the donors keep giving.

sapient, Here is my problem, there is something there on many of these things. Benghazi, emails, Clinton Foundation, hell all the way back to Vince Foster. There is something. I am willing to accept little of it is criminally prosecutable, and some of it is "just like something a Republican did".

But, when it gets the hand wave and "another nothing" from the left, and you, then I want Breitbart or Fox to catch her red handed, full smoking gun, end of career, 27 lawyers trying to keep her out of jail, the *I am halting my campaign to fight these (Trumped) up charges* press conference.

Because there is *something* there.

Your hand wave and cavalier attitude about someone who clearly is hiding something wrong just makes me want her to get caught more.

That's an excellent defense sapient, she's just as bad as the Republicans!

McKinney,

The left critique of the Clinton Foundation is part and parcel of the whole lefty critique of "neo-liberalism" and the tendency on the part of the economic elite (both the "liberal" and "conservative" wings) to promote public policies that neatly dovetail with their material interests. So it's not so much ethics, or quid pro quo, more like backscratching or just a case of shared outlook and interests.

...but this email thing is another nothing.

It was utterly unnecessary, thoughtless, and stupid. It speaks to oodles of hubris and an inability to think through the consequences of one's actions.

Regretfully, it does not do her well. Sometimes perception is reality.

Ugh, Cleek, BP, thanks for your insights. Drinks on me.

Ugh, based on my IANAL review of the laws involved (as cited by her non-disclosure agreement, the narrowness of the offenses as you state is her best protection, and by the look of it very possibly sufficient protection. It certainly does smell off, though.

"Because there is *something* there.

Your hand wave and cavalier attitude about someone who clearly is hiding something wrong just makes me want her to get caught more."

Her enemies are her best defense. Remember butt plugs, dildos, and condoms festooning the White House Christmas trees in the 1990s, according to a former CIA agent.

O.K., O.K., Jesus Christ in a melon patch, I shot Vince Foster and made it look like either suicide or like Hillary Clinton did it!

(Offers up hands to be cuffed)

I just can't stand it any more. Please, dear God, I confess! Take me away and do what you must! What a world, oh, what a world!

Maybe she'll crack:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3jUvL-7F18

Maybe she'll reach her limit under the pressure:

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/energy-ceo-mcclendon-dies-oklahoma-car-crash-day-204344861--finance.html#

Of course, it didn't stink when Colin Powell did it, but IOKIYAR.

It was okay when the Bush administration staff had an email server ran by the RNC because the RNC assured the executive that the emails in question had been irretrievably deleted, but that they had only been party business anyhow, which was good enough for the Republican executive and enough of Congress.

Which is to say it wasn't okay, but Congress wasn't willing to put the President's feet to the fire to try to force something - anything - be done about it. Not so with the current Congress.

Mishandling classified information is an offense so utterly fraught with inequitable and politically motivated prosecution that I would never expect the laws involved to be consistently applied. They should be, Rule of Law, etc., but there's absolutely no sign of willingness to do so from any executive or Congress I've ever seen.

If the Democratic convention has a similar process to the Republican, then the rules committee could adopt a rule that delegates are not bound to support a candidate who is under indictment, subject to legal jeopardy, or some such. I was reading this week of Republicans bandying about the idea of adopting a rule unbinding delegates from being obliged to vote for the candidate they elected to support on the first ballot, as a last ditch means of stopping Trump.

Your hand wave and cavalier attitude about someone who clearly is hiding something wrong just makes me want her to get caught more.

You haven't figured out yet that she does it purposefully to get just that reaction? She didn't trade cattle futures to make money. She did it to make wingers have the vapors! She is so damnned f%cking smart! Can't wait to vote for her, despite how much I loathe her for (many) other reasons.

That's an excellent defense sapient, she's just as bad as the Republicans!

When email is a relatively new technology that only one prior Secretary of State used for work, and that SoS receives NO opprobrium, whereas with Clinton it is a scandal, that is what stinks.

Sure, I wish nobody had this issue to bandy about. Obama is more perfect than any President we've ever have, yet "lefties" here have relentlessly expressed their "disappointment". Somehow your outrage against Clinton isn't very persuasive.

I'd admit to not at all getting why Clinton didn't ask herself in the beginning what her enemies might do with the information that she conducted State business on her private server.

But, given that Powell is still walking around uncuffed for his private email use, not to mention his lying about Iraq, I'm sure if she had used the regular State Department email accounts, there would still be "something there", according to her enemies whose loathing has no bottom.

The coroner's report will show that the demise of the Republican Party (I'm not predicting their demise; indeed, they will gain strength in their Zombie-hood) a case of murder/suicide between star-crossed haters:

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/sean-hannity-loses-his-mind-rubio-staffer

Ailes says he's finished with Rubio, so the rest of the world should be too. He decides, I report:

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/report-ailes-fox-news-finished-rubio

Brietbart brownshirts are now determining FOX and Ailes' next rightward marketing lurch.

As Trump would say, they are bleeding from the eyes and the only way to staunch the flow is to plunge red-hot pokers into their eyes and hope for the cauterizing ratings boost.

Obama is more perfect than any President we've ever have, yet "lefties" here have relentlessly expressed their "disappointment".

Gosh! I'm sure that's just a coincidence, and not telling at all!

Do explain, NV. (Apologies for the quoted typo.)

What a disappointment Obama has been, appointing Supreme Court justices and all.

When email is a relatively new technology that only one prior Secretary of State used for work, and that SoS receives NO opprobrium, whereas with Clinton it is a scandal, that is what stinks.

No. If she had just turned over ALL that stuff immediately when she left the office (as is the law, then the issue would never have come up.

She made a mistake. And it has given the GOP a partisan weapon.

She made a mistake. And it has given the GOP a partisan weapon.

Acknowledged. Someone who has been under a magnifying glass for 25 years (and, yes, because she was gaining experience and gravitas in the meantime, of her own free will) might have some mistakes revealed.

I love Bernie, and would vote for him in a heartbeat. I'm not so dumb as to think he wouldn't have made myriad mistakes, maybe more than Hillary. If you have a political (relatively) innocent, it's easy to avoid public mistakes. That's not a slur on Bernie. I'm just picturing him at any meeting with a foreign leader saying "I didn't vote for the Iraq war." And what else would he say?

Kissinger gained experience, gravitas, and foreign policy experience as Secretary of State. Those things alone do not an endorsement make.

NV, agreed. What's your point?

My point was that if you have a robust record, among the many public things you've done, there will be things that you did that were "mistakes". If you have zero record, there will be zero mistakes. That's why some presidents have nominated Supreme Court justices with few written opinions. Nothing to see here.

I'm with you that Hillary has made mistakes. 90% of her record is positive. But you would have done much better, I'm absolutely certain.

By the way, talking about emails, what's Bernie Sanders position on tech issues? Does he have one? To what extent does he know about email servers? Any idea?

"What is the take, from the lefties here, of what some refer to as the transactional relationship between the Clinton Foundation and some of its donors."

it's where you end up when you start with the idea that money is speech.

An article about the Clinton Foundation.

it's where you end up when you start with the idea that money is speech.

Ironic that you should invoke the anti-Clinton Citizens United case.

Ironic that you should invoke the anti-Clinton Citizens United case.

The ironies are baked in, nowadays.

So, it is kind of cliched (if not actually cliched) to talk about munching on popcorn (as I'm guilty of), but it so fits. From the WaPo today:

Alex Castellanos, a veteran media consultant who earlier in the season had tried unsuccessfully to organize an anti-Trump campaign, said, “A fantasy effort to stop Trump . . . exists only as the denial stage of grief.”

“Trump has earned the nomination,” Castellanos wrote in an email. “Donald Trump whipped the establishment and it is too late for the limp GOP establishment to ask their mommy to step in and rewrite the rules because they were humiliated for their impotence.”

That is phenomenal.

The Republicans are basically down to 4 possible scenarios. In (rapidly) decrasing probability, they are:
1) Trump arrives at the convention with enough delegates to win on the first ballot.
2) Trump arrives with a plurality, but not a majority, of the delegates. And gets the nomination after the first ballot.
3) Trump arrives with a plurality. But the rest of the party manages (eventually) to settle on someone else as the nominee.
4) Trump implodes (insert your fantasy scenario here), and someone else arrives at the convention with a plurality. Or even a majority.

The best hope for the future of the GOP is the wildly unlikely 4th scenario.

The 3rd scenario pretty much guarantees the Presidency to the Democrats. And likely results in a lot of down-ballot losses as well -- due to Trump's supporters refusing to vote for anyone from the party which stiffed him.

The first two scenarios are less starkly clear cut. I'm guessing that Trump not only fails in November, but also takes down some down-ballot Republicans, too. However, it's a long way to November, and lots could happen to change that.

By the way, talking about emails, what's Bernie Sanders position on tech issues?

My civil rights question for candidates these days is, "Where do you stand on strong encryption?"

Look, for $100, using quantity-one prices, I can put together a portable device that encrypts all the user data and is capable of real-time two-way voice communication using strong encryption. Capable of spoofing its Ethernet address for connecting through any of the increasingly ubiquitous open wifi hot spots. Anonymous meet-me servers are straightforward.

The strong encryption genie is out of the bottle. You can deny the average consumer the benefits of strong encryption, in exchange for a chance to maybe catch some stupid terrorists. The smart terrorists aren't -- or at least, aren't for much longer -- using consumer kit.

My civil rights question for candidates these days is, "Where do you stand on strong encryption?"

odds are good that none of them knows what "AES" stands for, what a public key cipher is, or where to find the latest Crypto++.

It's not just that they have no clue what SSL or TLS are. It's that they have no clue what a protocol (even a non-secure one) is, let alone how Internet security might work.

this reminds me of the arguments against firearms regulation.

how can you regulate something that you don't understand, at a basic, hands-on level?

best of luck to all.

A different take on the Clinton Foundation.

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