Anderson Cooper admirably tries to pin down Hillary on why her behavior was acceptable for a Secretary of State but wouldn't be for a President. Hillary strangely decides to use a metaphor about smoke and fire that any other person would invoke to suggest her guilt.

COOPER: Why was it OK for the Clinton Foundation to accept foreign donations when you were secretary of state but it wouldn't be OK if you were president?

CLINTON: Well, what we did when I was secretary of state, as I said, went above and beyond anything that was required, anything that any charitable organization has to do. Now, obviously, if I am president, there will be some unique circumstances and that's why the foundation has laid out additional ...

COOPER: But didn't those unique circumstances exist when you were secretary of state?

CLINTON: ... if I am elected.

COOPER: Didn't those unique circumstances exist ...

CLINTON: No, no. And, you know, look, Anderson, I know there's a lot of smoke and there's no fire.


Apparently Hillary Clinton sold access to herself and the State Department while she was secretary.

At least 85 of 154 people from private interests who met or had phone conversations scheduled with Clinton while she led the State Department donated to her family charity or pledged commitments to its international programs, according to a review of State Department calendars released so far to The Associated Press. Combined, the 85 donors contributed as much as $156 million. At least 40 donated more than $100,000 each, and 20 gave more than $1 million. ...

The meetings between the Democratic presidential nominee and foundation donors do not appear to violate legal agreements Clinton and former president Bill Clinton signed before she joined the State Department in 2009. But the frequency of the overlaps shows the intermingling of access and donations, and fuels perceptions that giving the foundation money was a price of admission for face time with Clinton. Her calendars and emails released as recently as this week describe scores of contacts she and her top aides had with foundation donors.

Isn't it worse that these bribes didn't violate the agreements signed by the Clintons?

This egregious corruption would sink Hillary if her opponent weren't Donald Trump.

On Monday, Bill Clinton said in a statement that if his wife were to win, he would step down from the foundation's board and stop all fundraising for it. The foundation would also accept donations only from U.S. citizens and what it described as independent philanthropies, while no longer taking gifts from foreign groups, U.S. companies or corporate charities. Clinton said the foundation would no longer hold annual meetings of its international aid program, the Clinton Global Initiative, and it would spin off its foreign-based programs to other charities.

If these activities would create conflicts of interest for President Hillary, why weren't they a conflict of interest for Secretary Hillary?


Obamacare has destroyed the insurance market in many areas of the country, and it shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that the hardest hit areas are dominated by President Obama's political opponents. It's no coincidence.

According to an analysis from the consulting firm Avalere, as of now, there will be just one insurer offering ObamaCare coverage next year in seven states: Alabama, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Wyoming, Alaska, North Carolina and Kansas. It is possible that more insurers could enter these markets before next year.

In one county in Arizona, there might not be an ObamaCare plan available at all.

Aetna had been the only insurer offering a plan in Pinal County. Unless federal and state officials can find another insurer to fill the void in 2017, the county's 400,000 residents will not be able to buy coverage on an ObamaCare exchange.

The dearth of options in rural, sparsely populated areas is a far cry from what Democrats promised when selling the Affordable Care Act.


The American birth rate is plummeting. The future belongs to those who show up.

The new birth rate numbers are out, and they're a disaster. There are now only 59.6 births per 1,000 women, the lowest rate ever recorded in the United States. Some of the decrease is due to good news, which is the continuing decline of teen pregnancies, but most of it is due to people getting married later and choosing to have fewer children. And the worst part is, everyone is treating this news with a shrug.

It wasn't always this way. It used to be taken for granted that the best indicator of a nation's health was its citizens' desire and capacity to reproduce. And it should still seem self-evident that people's willingness to have children is not only a sign of confidence in the future, but a sign of cultural health. It's a signal that people are willing to commit to the most enduring responsibility on Earth, which is raising a child.

But reproduction is also a sign of national health in a more dollars-and-cents way. The more productive people you have in your society, the healthier your country's economy. It's an idea that was obvious back in the 17th century, when economist Jean Bodin wrote "the only wealth is people."


Writing from Manhattan, Peggy Noonan calls out the global elites for losing touch with the rest of us. To many, "patriotism" is a dirty word.

Affluence detaches, power adds distance to experience. I don't have it fully right in my mind but something big is happening here with this division between the leaders and the led. It is very much a feature of our age. But it is odd that our elites have abandoned or are abandoning the idea that they belong to a country, that they have ties that bring responsibilities, that they should feel loyalty to their people or, at the very least, a grounded respect.

I close with a story that I haven't seen in the mainstream press. This week the Daily Caller's Peter Hasson reported that recent Syrian refugees being resettled in Virginia, were sent to the state's poorest communities. Data from the State Department showed that almost all Virginia's refugees since October "have been placed in towns with lower incomes and higher poverty rates, hours away from the wealthy suburbs outside of Washington, D.C." Of 121 refugees, 112 were placed in communities at least 100 miles from the nation's capital. The suburban counties of Fairfax, Loudoun and Arlington--among the wealthiest in the nation, and home to high concentrations of those who create, and populate, government and the media--have received only nine refugees.


Michael J. Totten argues that paying ransom to Iran for the four Americans they kidnapped is bad enough, but we shouldn't ever transfer any money to countries that are openly hostile to us.

Even so, let's just say for the sake of argument that this didn't even resemble a ransom payment. Let's pretend, for the sake of discussion, that Iran released its hostages because it had a guilty conscience and that the arrival of the 400 million in cash was a total coincidence. And let's also pretend--while acknowledging that we're venturing deep into an alternative universe here--that the 400 million shouldn't have gone to the American victims of Iranian terrorism and hostage-taking.

Washington was still wrong to pay Iran the 400 million.

Why?

Because the United States shouldn't give money to any nation for any reason that we aren't at peace with. Would Washington have paid back a loan to Nazi Germany in 1943? Of course not. Would the US have given diddly-squat to the Taliban after 9/11? No way. Nor were Osama bin Laden's 100 million dollars in assets ever unfrozen.


Did Hillary's "extremely careless" email practices lead to the execution of an Iranian nuclear scientist who had defected to America?

"The physicist that came out, he defected, he was a treasure trove of information, but the CIA and the Clinton State Department botched it while he was in the States, left him pretty much unsupported," Prince replied, calling it a major mistake to leave Amiri's family in Iran.

"The second time he calls home, the Iranian intelligence service answers the phone. Undoubtedly, they leveraged him. When the guy talks about psychological trauma here in the United States, I'm sure it's because the Iranians were telling him all the things they were going to do to his family if he didn't come home," said Prince.

"Once again, the administration screwed it up. He goes home; of course, he's arrested. And then Hillary's emails, which were in the open, certainly readable by foreign powers, were talking about Hillary's so-called friend, who was a defection, and not an abduction, as the guy was claiming," he added.


Democrats are quick to dismiss fears about voting fraud because Democrats benefit from the fraud.

But there certainly are examples of elections being overturned for reasons of fraud, including mayoral elections in Miami and East Chicago, Ind. We've also seen clear evidence of fraud in more important races. In 2008, illegal felon voters appear to have swung the outcome of the critical 2008 Minnesota Senate election. The day after the election, GOP senator Norm Coleman had a 725-vote lead, but a series of recounts over the next six months reversed that result and gave Democrat Al Franken a 312-vote victory.

Voting should be easy for every eligible citizen, and impossible for everyone else.

Ben Shapiro is right: the Democrats' moral preening over Hillary is absurd.

1. Hillary Is Worse Than Trump. Over the weekend, one major political candidate earned a four-Pinocchio rating from The Washington Post. That same candidate slurred Gold Star families as liars. That candidate was Hillary Clinton, who appeared on national television to explain that FBI Director James Comey had fully cleared her - he had even said she was honest! This, of course, was false. Then Hillary went on to claim that Benghazi Gold Star families must have misremembered her comments to them about a YouTube video being responsible for their children's deaths. Hillary can complain all she wants about Trump's connections with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, but she's the one who handed him a reset button, then cut a nuclear deal that allowed the Russians into our uranium mines. For every Trump sin, there's one just as bad in Hillary's closet - and usually worse, since she was a government actor at the time.

I think we could do better than Trump or Hillary by drawing randomly from the phone book, but alas, that's not how our system works. (Same goes for Congress, and maybe the judiciary -- hey, it works for juries!)

I just figured out a frustrating computer configuration issue so I thought I'd share the solution.

I recently bought a set of Bluetooth headphones but was unable to get them to work with either of my computers. The headphones worked fine with my mobile phone, and would successfully "pair" with the computers. However, once they were paired the computers would not recognize the headphones as an audio device. The computers had the generic Bluetooth adapter drivers from Microsoft, so I assumed that the problem was with the headphones.

But nope, the problem was with the Bluetooth drivers! The generic driver will let your computer pair with any Bluetooth device, but it doesn't know how to use most things, including audio devices. Consequently, even though the headphones showed as paired the Device Manager control panel showed them as unknown devices and the Sound control panel didn't show them at all.

The solution was simple enough: download and install the manufacturer's drivers for the Bluetooth adapter.

I was so used to the generic drivers working for everything -- or Windows Update magically finding the right drivers -- that I just didn't think in this direction early in the troubleshooting process.

Think what you will about Social Security, but your earnings record is a poignant monument to the thousands of hours of your life you spent working. My record shows 21 years of earnings now, and each row on the table brings back memories.

Apparently Target will soon be selling an exclusive Oregon Trail Card Game, or as one commenter called it: "Nostalgia-Driven Impulse Buy: The Card Game". Obviously I'll buy it.

oregon trail.jpg

Lots more pictures here.

Megan McArdle bemoans Trump's negativity and lack of policy detail, but eventually realizes that most people feel negative and don't care about policy details. McArdle and I care about policies, but most people just want their itches scratched, and Trump is doing it. There are a lot of people who are angry at being continually dismissed by the "elite", and they believe that Trump hears them and cares about them.

The big hits were praise of the police, attacks on Hillary Clinton, and anything perceived as making liberals look small. When he got into the part of the speech where he talked about what he might actually do, his audience started to look a bit bored, their clapping to sound dutiful rather than enthusiastic. Lucky for them, the policy section was brief. Trump's account of all the terrible things happening in America hardly left room for an expansive or detailed vision.

He promised to be splendid on trade, fantastic at stopping immigration, and the most magnificent tax cutter you've ever seen. How was he going to accomplish these things? By being awesome, of course. After a year on the campaign trail, Trump still hasn't really gotten beyond his own fantasticality as the basis of his policy agenda.

Of course, I'm not sure how much people will care. What the audience seemed to want was not so much someone to fix their problems as someone to validate their belief that these are problems -- problems that they feel liberals create and then systematically deny. As they say in 12-step programs, the first step is admitting that you have a problem, and if Trump seems like the only one who's willing to make that admission, then, well, isn't he one step beyond everyone else?

In her last paragraph, McArdle also twice applies the word "dark" -- the Left's attempt at a linguistic kill shot aimed at Trump. I wonder if she knows why she chose that word?

FBI Director James Comey testified to Congress that Hillary Clinton lied to them.

During an extended exchange with Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), Comey affirmed that the FBI's investigation found information marked classified on her server even after Clinton had said that she had neither sent nor received any items marked classified.

"That is not true," Comey said. "There were a small number of portion markings on, I think, three of the documents."

Asked whether Clinton's testimony that she did not email "any classified material to anyone on my email" and "there is no classified material" was true, Comey responded, "No, there was classified material emailed."

"Secretary Clinton said she used one device. Was that true?" Gowdy asked, to which Comey answered, "She used multiple devices during the four years of her term as secretary of state."
Gowdy then asked whether it was true that Clinton, as she said, returned all work-related emails to the State Department.

"No, we found work-related emails, thousands that were not returned," Comey said.

"Secretary Clinton said neither she or anyone else deleted work-related emails from her personal account. Was that true?" Gowdy asked.

"That's a harder one to answer," Comey responded. "We found traces of work-related emails in, on devices or in slack space. Whether they were deleted or whether when a server changed out something happened to them, there is no doubt that the work-related emails that were removed electronically from the email system."

Gowdy asked whether Clintons' lawyers read every one of her emails as she had said. Comey replied, "No."

Lie, after lie, after lie. This is a political trial now though, so I hope the American people are paying attention.

The decision not to charge Hillary Clinton for her "extremely careless" handling of classified information is opening a new line of defense for others who stand accused of similar misdeeds.

Mark Zaid, a defense attorney for national security whistleblowers and people accused of mishandling secrets, says he plans to ask for "the Clinton deal" in the future.

And Zaid says he probably can get it.

In 2015, shortly after former CIA Director David Petraeus received a plea deal featuring probation and a fine for sharing highly classified information with his mistress Paula Broadwell, Zaid says he called the Justice Department on behalf of a client accused of taking classified records home.

"We absolutely got on the phone to the prosecutor and said, 'We want the Petraeus sentence. We want the commensurate, parallel sentence.' And we got it!" he says, winning a $5,000 fine and a short probation term instead of possible prison for a now-retired intelligence agency employee.

It's hard to see how this decision makes America safer, and it certainly undermines the rule of law.

Rep. Darrell Issa, the California Republican who is the former chairman of the House Oversight Committee, cited the case of Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Kristian Saucier, who pleaded guilty last week to possession and retention of national security information for taking cellphone photos inside the classified engine room of a nuclear submarine where he worked as a mechanic.

"That person's been prosecuted and he will get five or six years and a dishonorable discharge," Issa told CNN. "There is a double standard."


FBI Director James Comey recommends no charges for Hillary Clinton. She exposed highly classified data to "hostile actors", but there's no "direct evidence" that her servers were hacked -- and none would be expected. Thousands of work-related emails were recovered that weren't turned over in 2014. Hillary was "extremely careless" with highly classified information, but the evidence doesn't show that she was intentionally trying to damage the United States. She broke the law, but "no reasonable prosecutor" would bring a case against her.

Comey seems like an honorable man, and this conclusion seems reasonable to me, even though Comey is clear that there was plenty of evidence to support criminal charges. I don't understand the reasoning for not recommending charges, but it seems that Comey suggests that administrative penalties would be more appropriate. (Of course, no such administrative penalties are now possible.)

In essence, in order to give Mrs. Clinton a pass, the FBI rewrote the statute, inserting an intent element that Congress did not require. The added intent element, moreover, makes no sense: The point of having a statute that criminalizes gross negligence is to underscore that government officials have a special obligation to safeguard national defense secrets; when they fail to carry out that obligation due to gross negligence, they are guilty of serious wrongdoing. The lack of intent to harm our country is irrelevant. People never intend the bad things that happen due to gross negligence.

Despite the lack of criminal charges, I hope that the American public imposes political consequences on Hillary for her reckless behavior. From a political perspective, Comey's statement was probably the best possible outcome for Trump. Video of the FBI director calling Hillary "extremely careless" is powerful stuff.

My opinion is that the people who are lamenting this result are missing the subtlety of Comey's statement and decision: Hillary has been convicted as dishonorable, dishonest, and careless without the need for a trial. No endless motions, no delays, no jury tampering, no arcane court rules, no backroom deals, no plea bargain. If America wants to elect an incompetent, lying crook, then no indictment will prevent it.

Update:

Reason does a super-cut, interposing Comey and Clinton.


I've got a mother, a wife, and several daughters, so let me say up front that I'm all for empowered women. I just think it's interesting to note that the phenomenon of "power couples" didn't exist 100 years ago -- women didn't wield much public power, so marriages weren't a vehicle for amplifying power in democracies. (Of course, marriage was always a tool of power in aristocracies.)

It's not obvious to me how the incestuous corruption of these "power couples" can be reined in. Tracking all the interrelationships adds a level of complexity to the conflicts of interest -- the conflicts would be easy to analyze in a database, but how could the output be understood by a mildly interested human?

It's also worth noting that "power couples" are the cornerstone of cross-generational "meritocracy". The first few generations of meritocracy seemed great, as the decedents of cobblers became software engineers, but those first-order effects are becoming more rare thanks to assortive mating. It seems like we're reaching a stable state, wherein the descendants of the new upper class inherit the power "earned" by their parents.

In forming perceptions about Benghazi, the Iran deal, globalization, or illegal immigration, it is sometimes hard to know who is making policy and who is reporting and analyzing such formulations -- or whether they are one and the same. National Security Advisor Susan Rice is married to former ABC television producer Ian Cameron. Ben Rhodes, who drew up the talking-points deceptions about Benghazi and seemed to boast of deceiving the public about the Iran deal, is the brother of CBS News president David Rhodes. Will 60 Minutes do one of its signature hit pieces on Ben Rhodes?

Secretary of State John Kerry -- who famously docks his yacht in Rhode Island in order to avoid paying Massachusetts taxes on it -- is married to Teresa Heinz, the billionaire widow of the late senator and catsup heir John Heinz. Former Obama press secretary Jay Carney married Claire Shipman, senior national correspondent for ABC's Good Morning America; his successor, Josh Earnest, married Natalie Wyeth, a veteran of the Treasury Department. Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton's "body woman," is married to creepy sexter Anthony Weiner; perhaps she was mesmerized by his stellar political career, his feminist credentials, and his tolerant approach to deviancy? And on and on it goes.

These Christiane Amanpour/Jamie Rosen or Samantha Power/Cass Sunstein types of connections could be explored to the nth degree, especially their moth-to-the-flame progressive fixations with maximizing privilege, power, and class. But my purpose is not to suggest some conspiratorial cabal of D.C. and New York insiders, only to note that an increasing number of government and media elites are so entangled with each other, leveraging lucrative careers in politics, finance, and the media, and doubling their influence through marriage, that they have scant knowledge of and less concern for the clingers who live well beyond their coastal-corridor moats. And so when reality proves their preconceptions wrong -- from Benghazi to Brexit -- they have only outrage and disdain to fall back on.


Jonah Goldberg proposes a brilliant thought experiment: we've got a "No Fly" list, and Leftists want a "No Buy" list for guns -- how about a "No Abort" list?

I have an idea.

The federal government needs to compile a list of women who shouldn't be allowed to get abortions. The criteria for getting on the list must be flexible. If an official at, say, the NIH or FBI think that a woman should be a mother for some reason or other, he or she can block an abortion. Maybe the woman has great genes or a high IQ or the sorts of financial resources we need in parents. Let's leave that decision where it belongs: in the hands of the government.

Heck, there's really no reason even to tell women if they're on the "no abort" list. Let them find out at the clinic. And if they go in for an abortion only to discover they are among the million or more people on the list, there will be no clear process for getting off it, even if it was a bureaucratic error or case of mistaken identity.

As Glenn Reynolds notes: "But the right to an abortion is secured by the courts. The right to own a gun is merely secured by the Constitution."

Goldberg goes on to catalog some of the maddening contradictions that the Left's pro-abortion devotion leads to.

There's a deep and perplexing contradiction here. If abortion is just another aspect of "women's health" -- currently the preferred euphemism for the procedure -- why have higher health and safety regulations for dentists than abortionists? If abortion is just another aspect of 'women's health' -- currently the preferred euphemism for the procedure -- why have higher health and safety regulations for dentists than abortionists?

But that's just the first of many contradictions. The court allowed Whole Woman's Health to sue in the first place, even though the company has no right to an abortion, and third parties aren't supposed to have standing to sue for someone else's constitutional rights. The Left loves to say "corporations aren't people" -- unless they're suing for abortion rights. Then the new mantra is: "Corporations are people, but human fetuses aren't."

Abortion is a shameful evil that stains humanity.


Two disheartening stories -- first, California's high speed rail debacle.

Sold to the public in 2008 as a visionary plan to whisk riders along at 220 miles an hour, making the trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles in a little over two and a half hours, the project promised to attract most of the necessary billions from private investors, to operate without ongoing subsidies and to charge fares low enough to make it competitive with cheap flights. With those assurances, 53.7 percent of voters said yes to a $9.95 billion bond referendum to get the project started. But the assurances were at best wishful thinking, at worst an elaborate con.

The total construction cost estimate has now more than doubled to $68 billion from the original $33 billion, despite trims in the routes planned. The first, easiest-to-build, segment of the system -- the "train to nowhere" through a relatively empty stretch of the Central Valley -- is running at least four years behind schedule and still hasn't acquired all the needed land. Predicted ticket prices to travel from LA to the Bay have shot from $50 to more than $80. State funding is running short. Last month's cap-and-trade auction for greenhouse gases, expected to provide $150 million for the train, yielded a mere $2.5 million. And no investors are lining up to fill the $43 billion construction-budget gap.

Now, courtesy of Los Angeles Times reporter Ralph Vartabedian, comes yet another damning revelation: When the Spanish construction company Ferrovial submitted its winning bid for a 22-mile segment, the proposal included a clear and inconvenient warning: "More than likely, the California high speed rail will require large government subsidies for years to come." Ferrovial reviewed 111 similar systems around the world and found only three that cover their operating costs.

Second, the end of scientific glass blowers.

Here in Caltech's one-man glass shop, where Gerhart transforms a researcher's doodles into intricate laboratory equipment, craftsmanship is king. No two pieces of scientific glassware are the same, and for more than two decades, students and Nobel laureates alike have begun each project with Gerhart's blessing that, yes, he can create the tools to make their experiments possible.

But Gerhart, 71, is retiring, and the search is on to find someone, anyone, who can fill his shoes. In a cost-cutting world of machines and assembly plants, few glass blowers remain with the level of mastery needed at research hubs like Caltech.

"He's a somewhat dying breed," said Sarah Reisman, who relied on Gerhart to create 20 maze-like contraptions for her synthetic organic chemistry lab. "There just aren't as many scientific glass blowers anymore, and certainly not ones that have Rick's level of experience. Even a fraction of that experience, I think, just isn't out there."

We can't build anything new, and we're even losing the ability to build many old things.


I have great respect for the FBI and confidence in their capability -- but they need to wrap up their Clinton investigation soon. I realize that the FBI shouldn't be guided by political concerns... but... but... please finish.

"I hope that this is close to being wrapped up," Clinton said on CBS's "Face the Nation" in May.

But nearly two months later, there have been no reports that an interview with the former top diplomat has taken place.

"I, like other people, am a bit surprised that it hasn't come to a resolution yet," said Douglas Cox, a professor at the City of New York School of Law.

He added that within Clinton's campaign, "I would think internally that there would have to be a little bit of concern."

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