FBI won’t recommend charges against @HillaryClinton. R.I.P. Rule of Law

July 5, 2016
Above the rules.

Guilty as sin, free as a bird.

This is a very depressing moment:

FBI Director James Comey said Tuesday that his agency would not recommend criminal charges against anyone involved with Hillary Clinton’s private email network, even after finding that Clinton’s team was “extremely careless” in handling classified emails.

“We cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges,” he told reporters in Washington. Comey added that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring charges.

Still, he said Clinton sent or received dozens of emails that were classified at the time they were sent and noted the former secretary of state did not turn over thousands of work-related emails to the State Department.

Comey said 110 emails contained information that was classified at the time they were sent, including eight emails that were top secret. That finding marked a direct contradiction to Clinton’s previous statements, in which she said she never sent any information that was classified at the time it was sent.

Comey said the investigation focused on whether Clinton violated federal statutes prohibiting the removal of classified information from secure areas, which is a crime whether that is done intentionally or inadvertently.

I have to agree with attorney Gabriel Malor:

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This is the statute in question:

Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, note, or information, relating to the national defense, (1) through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, or (2) having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of its trust, or lost, or stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, and fails to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or destruction to his superior officer-
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

How, I ask, is Hillary Clinton’s unsecured server, which was in her mansion in Chappaqua, in any way, shape or form a “proper place of custody?” And how in God’s name do any of her actions while in charge of national secrets as Secretary of State constitute anything other than “gross negligence?” General Petraeus was prosecuted for less. The information that passed through her servers is likely in the hands of the Russians and Chinese — and who know who else? Clandestine human and technical sources were almost certainly compromised by her “gross negligence.” Intent is immaterial: the existence of the unauthorized server itself is the smoking gun here.

Mere words aren’t enough to convey my disgust.

The Rule of Law may not be dead in this country, but it is gut-shot and bleeding.

RELATED: One small smidgen of good news. While declining to prosecute, Director Comey’s statement point by point demolished all Hillary’s claims of innocence. Not that anyone seems to care that she’s a congenital liar.

 


Sunday Not Quite A Book Review: “The Cultural Revolution: a people’s history 1962-1976”

July 3, 2016

Book Cover Dikotter Cultural Revolution

Since I haven’t been posting much of late, I thought a good way to get back into the swing of things would be to revive the Sunday Book Review series. Great idea!

Trouble is, the book I read is one that I can’t get a handle on the right approach to reviewing it. smiley d'oh! smiley headbang wall

The topic is so large and so complex that I’m left with just one thing to say: if you are ever tempted by the idea that things would be better if we just gave government all the power it wanted, read Frank Dikotter’s “The Cultural Revolution: a people’s history, 1962-1976”. That should slap some sense into you.

The book tells the story of bloody turmoil China was thrown into for over a decade because of the paranoia and whims of one all-powerful man, Mao Zedong. Setting faction against faction, even against his own Communist Party, Mao threw China into such chaos that at times it seemed a second civil war might result — and in some locales, it did.

Fearing that his “comrades” would sideline or even depose him for his horrific errors in the 1950s, worried that a Khrushchev waited in the wings to bring ideological revisionism and a denunciation of Mao’s legacy as Khrushchev did to Stalin in his 1956 “Secret Speech,” Mao and his allies waged war against enemies often made up wholly in Mao’s mind.

The price, of course, was paid by the people. Whether looking for “capitalist roaders,” “revisionists,” members of various “anti-Party cliques” and agents of foreign powers lurking within the Party itself, or merely people of “bad class background” (for example, former landowners under the old regime and their relations), enemies weren’t just found among a few rivals to Mao. Dikotter’s book tells in appalling detail how ordinary Chinese had to suffer because of Mao’s whims: prison camps, “reeducation” centers, thousands of city residents exiled to the country with no relevant skills and yet expected to survive — and never return to the city. People humiliated, driven to suicide or beaten to death by teenaged “Red Guards.” Knowledge, learning, and arts declared worthless, even evil, if they didn’t conform to “Mao Zedong Thought” and serve the class struggle. The horror stories of Lovecraft and King are nothing compared to what really happened in China in the 1960s.

Over and over, we’re treated moments of madness, but also shown how people resisted, or at least tried to survive. When Mao’s insane economics made even basic goods almost impossible to get, many set up secret factories and trade routes, reestablishing an underground capitalism in Communism’s heartland. Secret book clubs meeting to share a copy of forbidden Western literature. Playing Classical music on old phonographs in a closet, hoping no one would hear and denounce you to the authorities.

It’s said that “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” China in the Cultural Revolution is a glaring example of this, and Frank Dikotter’s “The Cultural Revolution: a people’s history, 1962-1976” should be part of any “scared straight” program for anyone tempted by statism.

Highly recommended.

PS: “The Cultural Revolution: a people’s history, 1962-1976” is available in hardcover and Kindle format. I’m happy to say the Kindle book was well-formatted and free of any errors as I recall. Fair disclosure, I get a few cents from purchases made through my links.


California Primary: my last ballot as a Republican, and the cowardice of state Democrats

May 22, 2016
"I get to vote twice? Gee, thanks, pal!"

Thrilled to vote against Trump

Well, that’s that. I’ve just filled in my mail-in ballot and cast my last vote as a Republican, the party I’ve identified with for 45 years. Like I said before, I refuse to be part of a party that nominates an anti-constitutional authoritarian populist demagogue. (1)

Instead I cast my vote for president for… (drumroll) …John Kasich. Not that I would ever vote for him normally (I still think he’s a sanctimonious ass), but what little polling there was for California showed he had the best chance of beating Trump in my congressional district. So, strategic voting it was. Go, Kasich.

"This is my happy face"

“This is my happy face”

 

That aside, there were a few other elections of note. In the race to be among the top two finishers and thus earn a spot in the general election for the federal Senate, we had 34 (!) candidates to choose from. (2) Since there was no way I was voting for Attorney General Kamala Harris or bigoted dimwit Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, and most of the other candidates I’d never heard of, I cast my ballot for Thomas Del Beccaro, a former state chair of (what’s left of) the Republican Party in California. Who knows, with so many Democrats splitting the vote, he just might sneak into the top two.

For the House and  State Assembly races, I voted for the Republican as the only other choice besides the (statist, progressive) Democrat incumbents. Not that the Rs have any chance: there are so few in these districts, I think they can be counted on two hands with fingers left over.

Judicial races are always frustrating: few candidates even have web sites, and I never see them campaigning, so I know next to nothing about them when election day rolls around. My default is to vote for the incumbent or, if there is none, to prefer a prosecutor.

There was only one proposition on the ballot: a constitutional amendment to allow the legislature to suspend members without pay. I voted for it. However, this is also where the “cowardice of state Democrats” part comes in.

This proposition should have been named the “Senator Leland Yee” bill in honor of the Democrat state senator indicted for arms-trafficking. In addition, that same year, another Democrat state senator was convicted of voter fraud and perjury, while a third Democrat was indicted for bribery. 2014 was a banner year for California Democrats.

Funny thing, though. They weren’t expelled from the Senate, even though that body had plenary power and every reason to do so. Why, you may ask? Because expulsion meant special elections to fill those seats and, with all the negative publicity for Democrats these scandals and the expulsions would bring, there would have been a decent chance of Republicans capturing one or more. This, in turn, would have made it harder for Democrats to regain the filibuster-proof two-thirds majority in the state senate (they have that easily in the Assembly) that would enable them to tax-and-spend even more wildly than they do now. So, no expulsions, and the corrupt Democrat senators kept their seats until one finally resigned. (3)

However, to make themselves look good, Senate Democrats under then-Senate President Steinberg proposed this amendment to allow suspension without pay. That’ll show those crooks! This proves California Democrats are tough on political corruption!

Even though they refused to expel three corrupt Democrat senators… smiley well I'm waiting

Cowards.

Still, the bill is worthwhile on its own merits, so I voted for it. Ballot marked, envelope signed and sealed, ready to mail.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to change my registration to “decline to state.”

 

Footnote:
(1) And those are Trump’s good points.
(2) And you thought the Republican presidential primary was overcrowded…
(3) Senator Calderon (D), indicted for bribery, took a “leave of absence” and was term-limited out at the next election. Senator Yee was suspended with pay until replaced in the next election. Only Senator Wright had the decency to resign.


US Landed Gentry demand Medieval Climate Tithes

December 22, 2015

And thus we see the true heart of the Green Movement: cronyism and rent-seeking at the expense of the public. The true believers are being played for suckers.

Watts Up With That?

lake windermere fern forest

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

What could be better than owning a large woodland estate, and making a steady income from harvesting timber? Harvesting an additional tithe of taxpayer’s money, of course.

According to the Huffington Post;

America’s Family Forests: Our Climate Change Solution

Last weekend, 195 nations reached a landmark agreement that will commit the world to limiting its greenhouse gas emissions. Throughout the two weeks of negotiations, we saw significant discussion about how investing in forests can be a low cost climate solution. Unfortunately, these discussions often focused on international forests, and assumed that U.S. forests’ ability to sequester carbon will remain the same without any special action.

That’s why today, the American Forest Foundation and The Trust for Public Land, co-chairs of the Forest Climate Working Group, a coalition of landowners, conservation organizations, forestry advocates, forest products companies and scientists delivered a letter to President Obama calling…

View original post 237 more words


The core of the Paris #ClimateConference is anti-capitalism

November 30, 2015
x

Green consultant

Hey, don’t take my word for it. That’s the assertion of a high UN official overseeing our fight to save the Earth from… something.

At a news conference last week in Brussels, Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, admitted that the goal of environmental activists is not to save the world from ecological calamity but to destroy capitalism.

“This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution,” she said.

Referring to a new international treaty environmentalists hope will be adopted at the Paris climate change conference later this year, she added: “This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model for the first time in human history.”

As the article points out, that “economic development model” is capitalism, which is responsible for vastly improving the lives of billions in the last century-and-a-half.

Why? Well, the answer isn’t “climate change” or “global warming.” That’s just the excuse. Forty years ago, it was the fear of a new ice age, or the myth of overpopulation. Now it’s a super-heating world… that hasn’t warmed for over 18 years.

The real reason is the pursuit of the massive redistribution of wealth from developed countries to the “underdeveloped,” and control of that redistribution through the agency of transnational, democratically unaccountable bureaucracies. Ones from which the leaders, such as Sra. Figueres, will profit handsomely even as our economic prospects are hamstrung.

“Profit?” Oh, yes. This is the Solyndra subsidy and crony investment scheme on a global scale. In Ms. Figueres’s case, her Wikipedia entry provides a clue:

Christiana Figueres has not only been active in the public arena and in the field of NGOs, she also collaborates actively with private sector companies that align themselves with climate friendly goals. Ms. Figueres served as Senior Adviser to C-Quest Capital, a carbon finance company focusing on programmatic CDM investments.[40] She was the Principal Climate Change Advisor to ENDESA Latinoamérica, the largest private utility in Latin America with operations in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Peru. She was also Vice Chair of the Rating Committee of the Carbon Rating Agency, the first entity to apply credit rating expertise to carbon assets.

Do the words “consulting fees,” “board memberships,” and “stock options” ring a bell? I’m sure you can spot the conflicts of interest and self-dealing.

That’s what the Paris conference is really about.


(Video) Campaign finance reform is corruption

November 16, 2015

For Prager University, George Will explains how government regulation of political donations and even political speech (1) is nothing more that an incumbent protection act:

I honestly did not know the origins of campaign finance reform lay in Gene McCarthy insurgency against LBJ. But it shouldn’t surprise us that the Democratic Party, which Michael Walsh describes as a “criminal organization masquerading as a political party,” took the lead (2) in introducing this corruption into our political process.

Footnotes:
(1) See, Citizens United.
(2) Sadly, Senator Feingold (D) found an old fool, Senator McCain (R), to create the bipartisan abomination known as McCain-Feingold.


Well my, my, my. Jerry Brown using state resources to explore for oil on his land?

November 5, 2015
x

Oil Tycoon

No wonder you don’t oppose fracking, Governor:

Gov. Jerry Brown last year directed state oil and gas regulators to research, map and report back on any mining and oil drilling history and “potential for future oil and gas activity” at the Brown family’s private land in Northern California, state records show.

After a phone call from the governor and follow-up requests from his aides, senior staffers in the state’s oil and gas regulatory agency over at least two days produced a 51-page historical report and geological assessment, plus a personalized satellite-imaged geological and oil and gas drilling map for the area around Brown’s family ranchland near the town of Williams.

State regulators labeled the map they did for Brown “Oil and Gas Potential In West Colusa County,” and “JB-Ranch,” referring to the Brown family land in Colusa County.

Ultimately, the regulators told the governor, prospects were “very low” for any commercial drilling or mining at the 2,700-acre property, which has been in Brown’s family for more than a century.

Through the state’s open records law, The Associated Press obtained the research that state regulators carried out for Brown, and the emails among senior oil and gas regulators scrambling to fulfill the governor’s request.

Brown spokesman Evan Westrup declined to discuss the work for the governor, referring the AP to California’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources. That agency said the work was a legal and proper use of public resources – and no more than the general public would get. But oil industry experts said they could not recall a similar example of anyone getting that kind of state work done for private property.

Brown’s request to state regulators amounted to the governor using state workers as “his own private oil prospecting team,” said Hollin Kretzmann, a staff attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity.

In fact, as I’m sure is true in most, if not all, states, it is illegal for state officials to use state resources and personnel for private projects. Usually, that means you’re not allowed to have office staff help your reelection campaign on state time, or pick up your groceries.

But, in this case, our beloved governor (Really, he is the sanest Democrat in Sacramento, which is scary) used public resources and funds to explore for “black gold” on his private land. And, if the site had been found promising, I’m sure Jerry would have been cool with extracting it via fracking. Not that I oppose fracking (I don’t), but this perhaps explains why the famously liberal, environmentally conscious Governor Moonbeam has gone against the Green lobby on this.

This reminds me of something I think Peter Schweizer wrote in his book, “Do As I Say (Not As I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy “, paraphrasing:

“When conservatives violate their principles, they harm themselves. When liberals violate theirs, they prosper.”

Naughty, naughty, Governor!

via Flash Report


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