Former prosecutor Andrew McCarthy has two must-read pieces that describe some of the internal workings of the Department of Justice and explain what is likely going on with the investigation of Hillary Clinton's handling of classified information. The first piece explains why Hillary is not a "subject" or "target" of the investigation.
First, there is one other thing you should know about the designations "target" and "subject" -- one of those things so obvious it is easy to miss. These are not just random words. They indicate that a suspect is a target or a subject of something.
That something is a grand-jury investigation.
In an ordinary case, that would not be a point worth making. The FBI routinely conducts major investigations in collaboration with Justice Department prosecutors -- usually from the U.S. attorney's office in the district where potential crimes occurred. That is because the FBI needs the assistance of a grand jury. The FBI does not have authority even to issue subpoenas, let alone to charge someone with a crime. Only federal prosecutors may issue subpoenas, on the lawful authority of the grand jury. Only prosecutors are empowered to present evidence or propose charges to the grand jury. And the Constitution vests only the grand jury with authority to indict -- the formal accusation of a crime. In our system, the FBI can do none of these things.
The second piece claims that emails between Hillary and President Obama are enough evidence to convict Hillary. This is exactly the crime that General Petraeus was prosecuted for.
If the administration is refusing to disclose the Obama-Clinton e-mails because they involved the secretary of state providing advice and counsel to the president, do you think those exchanges just might touch on foreign-government information, foreign relations, or foreign activities of the United States -- deliberations on which are presumed classified?
Will anyone in the press corps covering the White House and the State Department ask administration officials whether this is the case?
I believe some, if not all, of the communications between Obama and Clinton should be classified. To classify them now, however, would imply wrongdoing on both their parts since they knew they were communicating via private, unsecured e-mail. Essentially, Obama is invoking executive privilege because the effect of doing so -- viz., non-disclosure of the e-mails -- is the same as the effect of classifying them would be . . . but without the embarrassment that classifying them would entail.
Of course, Petraeus did not get executive-privilege treatment. His communications with Obama were deemed classified and he was prosecuted for failing to safeguard them.
Obviously the corruption goes to the top. Seems ripe for a Constitutional crisis.
Megan McArdle, who I really like, says that Trump voters (and other angry Americans) should face reality: nothing in Washington can be changed. Very cynical of her, or as she says, "realistic". Yes, the federal bureaucracy has a huge amount of inertia, but McArdle neglects to mention a few things that a President has significant control over.
Washingtonians, unlike the people making the demands, actually have to analyze the feasibility of these various sorts of requests. When they do, they quickly see that they are impossible, and set about finding innovative ways to ignore them. The insiders who need to get elected nonetheless say, "Yup, I'll get right on that," and then ignore them.
This makes people think that Washingtonians don't care about them. This is false. Washingtonians do care. It's just that they seem to have misplaced their magic wand.
The second problem has to do with Item No. 4: Everything you do in Washington is a compromise. There are a lot of people in the country, and most of them don't care about what you want. To get money spent or unspent, taxes raised or lowered, you have to give those people something they do want. The result is an ugly mess with little resemblance to the original plan.
Don't like it? Welcome to representative democracy. If you have a plan to deal with this problem that doesn't involve fantasizing about the sudden (but nonviolent) disappearance of more than half your fellow citizens, we're all ears. Otherwise, this is what we're stuck with.
But the next president will be able to do lots of things that will have a huge effects:
- Appoint judges
- Appoint various commissioners
- Negotiate treaties and trade agreements
- Direct the military
- Issue (and negate) executive orders
- Set law enforcement priorities for the Department of Justice
- Use federal funding to pull strings on state and local governments
- Sign and veto laws
Food safety expert Bill Marler talks about food safety and gives a list of foods he'll never eat.
In a recent piece, published in Bottom Line Health, he lists six foods he no longer eats, because he believes the risk of eating them is simply too large. The list includes raw oysters and other raw shellfish, raw or under-cooked eggs, meat that isn't well-done, unpasteurized milk and juice, and raw sprouts.
Sometimes I don't get my meat well-done, but I probably will from now on.
"Look, there are a lot of sad stories in my line of work. I've been in ICUs, where parents have had to pull the plug on their child. Someone commented on my article about the six things I don't eat, saying that I must be some kind of freak, but when you see a child die from eating an undercooked hamburger, it does change your view of hamburgers. It just does. I am a lawyer, but I'm also a human."
Iowa caucus results make the Republican primary a three-man race.
Talk of Donald Trump's unstoppable momentum is over. As the race for the Republican nomination speeds into New Hampshire today, the campaign has morphed into a three-man contest.
Ted Cruz won Iowa in such a decisive manner that the Republican National Committeewoman for New Hampshire went so far as to call Trump the "underdog now" while another GOP operative said more donors are suddenly eager to fund an ad campaign against the New York billionaire.
I like Rubio, but I'm apprehensive of his lack of executive experience (see: Obama). I don't much like Trump, but I admire his executive experience. I like a lot of what Cruz says, but could he run the country?
Ezra Klein analyzes the interview styles of Trump and Rubio and concludes:
One reason Trump is ahead in the polls is that he's simply better at this than his opponents are -- he talks directly to the electorates' id, while his establishment-lane challengers keep trying to win over Washington's superego.
(HT: Scott Adams, who should get royalties from Vox.)
The network news almost ignored the annual March for Life while gushing over baby pandas. Baby humans -- who cares?
Tens of thousands of Americans filled Washington, D.C., Friday for the annual March for Life commemorating the nearly 60 million babies snuffed out since 1973's Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. During their nationally broadcast news shows following the march (Friday night to Monday morning) ABC, CBS and NBC totally ignored the event - except as a casual reference to a group stranded in the snow.
At the same time, the three networks dedicated more than nine-and-a-half minutes - 26 times more than the march - on the debut of the National Zoo's cub last weekend. Journalists don't care about the unborn, but they care about the newly born if they happen to be adorable animals.
It seems that Hillary Clinton's team intentionally ignored security markings on highly sensitive information.
The FBI is investigating whether members of Hillary Clinton's inner circle "cut and pasted" material from the government's classified network so that it could be sent to her private email address, former State Department security officials say.
Clinton and her top aides had access to a Pentagon-run classified network that goes up to the Secret level, as well as a separate system used for Top Secret communications.
The two systems -- the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNet) and the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System (JWICS) -- are not connected to the unclassified system, known as the Non-Classified Internet Protocol Router Network (NIPRNet). You cannot email from one system to the other, though you can use NIPRNet to send emails outside the government.
Somehow, highly classified information from SIPRNet, as well as even the super-secure JWICS, jumped from those closed systems to the open system and turned up in at least 1,340 of Clinton's home emails -- including several the CIA earlier this month flagged as containing ultra-secret Sensitive Compartmented Information and Special Access Programs, a subset of SCI.
Ann Althouse (with Glenn Loury) wonder whether there's an imminent preference cascade in favor of Donald Trump among "smart, educated people".
"It troubles me that there can't be a serious discussion about immigration issues because people are afraid of being called racist. People are afraid of being called a bigot. And I think one of the things that people like about Donald Trump -- those who like him -- is that he's going ahead and saying it, and it's creating a kind of inoculation against something people have feared so much, which is being called a bigot. It's just too effective to call people bigots, and a lot of people are very intimidated and silenced and don't even want to talk about certain issues because they don't want to be called that. So I think part of his popularity is: He goes there, he says it, he takes the hit, and it still works for him. So that's a kind of a liberating change in the discourse."
If there's a preference cascade, don't forget that Scott Adams predicted it in August!
Marco Rubio is questioned by an atheist on the influence his faith will have on his potential presidency. I'm super-impressed.
The analysis writes itself. Filmmakers robbed by refugees they're advocating for.
Two Dutch, pro-immigration filmmakers published a video Saturday of themselves getting brutally robbed at a refugee camp in Calais, France, known as "The Jungle."
Journalist Maaike Engels and photographer Teun Voeten were attacked at knife point while obtaining footage for their documentary "Calais: Welcome to "The Jungle." The video shows Voeten getting tackled down by three masked men, before one man threatens Engels with a knife.
The proliferation of welfare programs and the decline of the labor force have crushed America's post-2009 economic recovery. When it's more beneficial not to work, people won't work. Quoting within quoting:
So what accounts for America's anemic economy? Hall has about 50 pages of analysis, but since brevity is a virtue, let's look at some of what he wrote in his final paragraph.Labor-force participation fell substantially after the crisis, contributing 2.5 percentage points to the shortfall in output. The decline showed no sign of reverting as of 2013. ...an important part may be related to the large growth in beneficiaries of disability and food-stamp programs. Bulges in their enrollments appear to be highly persistent. Both programs place high taxes on earnings and so discourage labor-force participation among beneficiaries. The bulge in program dependence...may impede output and employment growth for some years into the future.
In other words, he pointed out that a large number of people have left the labor force, which obviously isn't good since our economy's ability to generate output (and boost living standards) is a function of the degree to which labor and capital are being productively utilized.
And his work suggests that redistribution programs are a big reason for this drop in labor-force participation.
WaPo has posted detailed "will this matter?" article about the numerous allegations of sexual abuse that have been made against Bill Clinton, and how the allegations might derail Hillary's campaign. The article covers several of his accusers:
- Broaddrick had accused Bill Clinton of raping her in 1978, when she was working on his Arkansas gubernatorial campaign.
- Willey, a former White House volunteer, said he had attempted to kiss and grope her in a private hallway leading to the Oval Office.
- Jones, a onetime Arkansas state employee, sued Clinton in 1994 for sexual harassment, saying he had three years earlier exposed his erect penis to her and asked her to kiss it.
And, of course, the biggest of all was the scandal over Clinton's extramarital affair with Monica Lewinsky, who was a White House intern at the time. Diane Blair, a close friend of Hillary Clinton, wrote in her journal unearthed in 2014 that the then-first lady had privately called Lewinsky a "narcissistic loony toon."
But the authors neglect to mention what might be the most damaging scandal: Bill Clinton's close friendship with billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
A new lawsuit has revealed the extent of former President Clinton's friendship with a fundraiser who was later jailed for having sex with an underage prostitute.
Bill Clinton's relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, who served time in 2008 for his illegal sexual partners, included up multiple trips to the onetime billionaire's private island in the Caribbean where underage girls were allegedly kept as sex slaves. ...
Tales of orgies and young girls being shipped to the island, called Little St. James, have been revealed as part of an ongoing lawsuit between Epstein and his former lawyers Scott Rothstein and Bradley Edwards.
It is unclear what the basis of the suit is, but they go on to call witness testimony from some of the frequent guests at Epstein's island to talk about the wild parties that were held there in the early 2000s.
Flight logs pinpoint Clinton's trips on Epstein's jet between the years 2002 and 2005, while he was working on his philanthropic post-presidential career and while his wife Hillary was a Senator for their adopted state of New York.
'I remember asking Jeffrey what's Bill Clinton doing here kind [of] thing, and he laughed it off and said well he owes me a favor,' one unidentified woman said in the lawsuit, which was filed in Palm Beach Circuit Court.
The woman went on to say how orgies were a regular occurrence and she recalled two young girls from New York who were always seen around the five-house compound but their personal backstories were never revealed.
I'm sure there are more details waiting to be revealed.
Walter Russell Mead has written several excellent essays about Christmas this year, but this one is especially worth sharing: on the accessibility of the Gospel. It's hard to quote just a small bit, but here's the most interesting thesis to me:
If the Gospels came out of a culture that was closer to Western modernity, and they had therefore been written in ways that satisfied contemporary academic historiographic models (complete with photos and footnotes), the resulting 900 page biographies of Christ might be more satisfying to us, but perhaps much less accessible to poor farmers in Africa or simple fishermen in Indonesia.
Shockingly, that matters a great deal to God. The story of the Gospels is a story for everybody, not just for sophisticated, college educated citizens of advanced industrial democracies. Just as we find just enough common ground, intellectually and culturally, with these documents to grasp what they are getting at even while we are frustrated by their indifference to some of our cultural expectations, so other people in other places and times have found them clear enough to hear and believe. The Gospels occupy a kind of center point in human culture as a whole: products of a particular time and place, but comprehensible to all.
A Republican-appointed former US Attorney describes what he thinks -- or has heard? -- is going on inside the FBI's investigation of Hillary's secret email server. All speculative and possibly biased, but still interesting to ponder.
But [Joe DiGenova, a Republican U.S. attorney appointed by President Reagan] warned the decision to charge Clinton personally with a crime lies with Attorney General Loretta Lynch, putting the Obama administration in a difficult political position.
"I believe that the evidence that the FBI is compiling will be so compelling that, unless [Lynch] agrees to the charges, there will be a massive revolt inside the FBI, which she will not be able to survive as an attorney general. It will be like Watergate. It will be unbelievable," DiGenova said.
"The evidence against the Clinton staff and the secretary is so overwhelming at this point that if, in fact, she chooses not to charge Hillary, they will never be able to charge another federal employee with the negligent handling of classified information," he added. "The intelligence community will not stand for that. They will fight for indictment and they are already in the process of gearing themselves to basically revolt if she refuses to bring charges."
In his first paid campaign ad, Donald Trump says that he will get Mexico to pay for for a border wall to stop illegal immigration.
How is that possible? Scott Adams points out that almost any deal is possible.
I am not smart enough to know who would do the best job as president. But I do have a graduate degree in business from the Haas School of Business at Berkeley, and one of the things I learned is that you can always make a deal when two parties want different things. The only time you can't make a deal is when people want exactly the same limited resource.
The United States and Mexico want different things, generally speaking, so according to my business training, a deal is possible.
You might be wondering... is this really Trump's first campaign ad? We've been hearing about him non-stop for months! One of Adams' commenters notes:
Trump has gotten the media to fund most of his campaign. No doubt he can get Mexico to pay for the wall.
You've got 10 times as many bacteria in your body as you do human cells, and it shouldn't be surprising that these hitchhikers have a huge effect on health. New research shows that by drugging our gut bacteria we may be able to significantly reduce the incidence of heart disease without changing our diets. Faster, please!
Writing in the journal Cell, researchers from the Cleveland Clinic and UCLA's division of cardiology suggest that disrupting the cascade of events that results in the production of TMAO might also prevent the kinds of fatty buildup in the arteries that leads to heart disease.
They came up with a chemical lookalike to choline, a common chemical compound that plays a key role in processing fatty acids. The lookalike chemical, called DMB, suppresses the first step in the lengthy process of TMAO production. Both in laboratory tests and in mice (where researchers added DMB to the drinking water), they saw that DMB drove down the amount of triethylamine available for liver enzymes to turn into artery-clogging TMAO.
In the study, mice were fed chow that typically doubles fatty buildup in the arteries. Among those mice that got DMB in their water, arterial buildup was significantly reduced; their arteries looked almost like those of normal, healthy mice, the researchers found.
Hillary Clinton says that she didn't blame the internet video for the attack on our embassy in Benghazi when she met with the families of the dead, but the families say she did exactly that. I guess you've got to decide for yourself who to believe.
George Stephanopoulos asked her Sunday if she'd told the victims it was about the film. Clinton gave a flat "no."
She added: "I said very clearly there had been a terrorist group, uh, that had taken responsibility on Facebook, um . . ."
At least four family members disagree.
Tyrone Woods' father said he hugged Clinton and shook her hand. Then "she said we are going to have the filmmaker arrested who was responsible for the death of my son . . . She said 'the filmmaker who was responsible for the death of your son.' "
Sean Smith's mother said Hillary is "absolutely lying . . . She said it was because of the video." Smith's uncle backs her up.
Glen Doherty's sister agreed: "When I think back now to that day and what she knew, it shows me a lot about her character that she would choose in that moment to basically perpetuate what she knew was untrue."
Nina Shea writes of the thousands of Christians being murdered in the Middle East by ISIS. Pray for these martyrs, and pray that the Gospel of Christ will work powerfully in the region for the salvation of millions. Pray that the rest of the world will wake up to this genocide and put an end to it.
On October 1, the grim details emerged of twelve other Christians murdered, this time explicitly for refusing to renounce their faith in Jesus Christ. Christian Aid Mission of Charlottesville, Va., received eyewitness reports from relatives of the victims that, outside Aleppo on August 28, ISIS militants crucified a twelve-year old Christian boy and his Syrian missionary father, along with two other men with the ministry. "All were badly brutalized and then crucified," the Protestant ministry director said. The boy had his fingertips cut off, in an attempt to force his father to convert to Islam. Their bodies were left hanging on the crosses for two days, under signs reading "infidels."
In a separate incident on the same day, ISIS militants publicly raped two Christian women, ages 29 and 33, in front of a crowd summoned by the jihadis, and then beheaded them, along with six men, when they refused to convert to Islam. "Villagers said some were praying in the name of Jesus, others said some were praying the Lord's prayer, and others said some of them lifted their heads to commend their spirits to Jesus," the ministry director, who had baptized some of the victims, said. According to the witnesses, "One of the women looked up and seemed to be almost smiling as she said, 'Jesus!'" Their bodies were then crucified.
Lots of sci-fi spaceships and a few real ones.