Tag Archives: Clinton

Remind Me Again About That “Judge Not” Admonition?

Surely “Pastor Pence” is familiar with the biblical injunction about not judging other people “lest ye be judged.” But perhaps he missed that particular passage…

During the Presidential campaign, Pence constantly criticized Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server, insisting that the issue was so serious it should be seen as disqualifying her from holding office.

Now we learn from the Indianapolis Star that Pence

routinely used a private email account to conduct public business as governor of Indiana, at times discussing sensitive matters and homeland security issues.

Emails released to IndyStar in response to a public records request show Pence communicated via his personal AOL account with top advisers on topics ranging from security gates at the governor’s residence to the state’s response to terror attacks across the globe. In one email, Pence’s top state homeland security adviser relayed an update from the FBI regarding the arrests of several men on federal terror-related charges.

Cyber-security experts say the emails raise concerns about whether such sensitive information was adequately protected from hackers, given that personal accounts like Pence’s are typically less secure than government email accounts. In fact, Pence’s personal account was hacked last summer.

Let’s see…Clinton used a private server that appears to have been more secure than the State Department’s official server (the State Department server has been hacked, while hers never was.) Pence used an AOL email account (raising the possibility that he also continues to have dial-up and a modem…).

Paul Waldman considers Pence’s hypocrisy to be “only a part of the story.” He begins his column in the Washington Post with an appropriately snarky observation:

I have some disturbing news to share: Republicans might not be as deeply committed to proper email management as you’ve been led to believe.

Waldman quoted Pence’s remarks criticizing Clinton’s private server during the Vice-Presidential debate, and his repeated insistence that cybersecurity concerns prohibited such carelessness, and asked the obvious question:

did he consider adding that he knew what he was talking about since he used an AOL account to talk about sensitive security matters and had himself been hacked?

The parallels don’t stop there…“Pence’s office said his campaign hired outside counsel as he was departing as governor to review his AOL emails and transfer any involving public business to the state.” Which was exactly what Hillary Clinton did — and what Pence and Trump so vehemently criticized her for. When Trump invited the Russian government to hack Clinton’s email to recover what had been deleted, it was those personal emails he was talking about.

Waldman references reports that the Trump administration is not only leaving significant amounts of sensitive information vulnerable, but that it is not in compliance with the Presidential Records Act, which mandates that White House staff members retain their communications — including their emails.

In late January, we learned that top White House officials, including Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Jared Kushner and Sean Spicer, were using email addresses from the Republican National Committee — with a private server! Once the story broke their addresses were deleted, but presumably had it remained secret, they would have continued to use them.

The New York Times reported late in January that Trump was still using his old, unsecured Android phone, which–as Waldman observes– is unbelievably reckless for the president of the United States.

As Wired magazine put it, “All it takes is clicking on one malicious link or opening one untoward attachment — either of which can appear as though it were sent from a trusted source — to compromise the device. From there, the phone could be infected with malware that spies on the network the device is connected to, logs keystrokes, takes over the camera and microphone for surreptitious recording, and more.”

I doubt that these obvious security breaches are intentional. It’s far more likely that they are further evidence–as if we needed any–that America’s government is firmly in the control of the Keystone Kops (or perhaps the Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight). After all, this is the group of whiz kids who couldn’t figure out how to turn on the lights in the White House cabinet room.

In the aftermath of the disclosures about his own reckless email use, Pence has angrily insisted that his own behavior was “nothing like” Clinton’s.

That’s true. Her server was secure. As a post to Mashable put it,

the real crime here is the fact that Pence still uses an AOL account. Does Pence still use dial-up? Does he rub two sticks together to make a fire? I mean, where does it end?



Here’s the Choice

Absent a “November surprise,” this will be my last post about the 2016 Presidential race.

A friend shared a litany that pretty well sums up Donald Trump’s bona fides:

Donald Trump is facing multiple charges of defrauding students at Trump University, one case with a Court date set for November 28, 2016.

Donald Trump is facing a December 16, 2016 Court date to answer for claims he raped a 13 year old girl.

Donald Trump is the subject of multi-state investigations, uncovering fraud and self-dealing related to his Trump Foundation.

Donald Trump has a history of thousands of lawsuits against him over his business practices, in which he bankrupted small businesses and cheated employees.

Donald Trump has a long and well-documented history of harassing and disrespecting women.

But by all means, let’s talk about Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Despite the loose use of the word “scandal,” what Clinton continues to be criticized for was her use of a private server for non-classified official emails, a use inconsistent with State Department rules. Period. Not for leaking state secrets, not for dereliction of duty, not for any sort of malfeasance. (Ironically, James Comey is currently being criticized for precisely the same behavior–ignoring agency rules.) The reason Clinton’s server use was an issue was concern about the possibility of a security breach caused by either the use of that server to transmit classified material (which would have been illegal) or a successful hack; thanks to the FBI investigation, we now know no such breach occurred. (It is yet another irony that the State Department’s network has been hacked, and more than once.)

Let’s stipulate that–as Clinton herself has admitted– she shouldn’t have made that decision, and she shouldn’t have been defensive about it when it was discovered.

Hillary Clinton may be the most-investigated public servant ever, and despite having been the object of right-wing conspiracy theories for over thirty years, she has never been found to have violated any law. She has had a distinguished career as a lawyer, in the United States Senate and as Secretary of State and has been a tireless crusader for women and families.

To paraphrase P.J. O’Rourke, when she’s been wrong, she’s been wrong within normal parameters.

Voters in this election have a choice between a highly qualified woman who–being human–has made mistakes of judgment, and a thin-skinned narcissist with zero relevant experience or knowledge and a documented history of fraud, sexual assault, unscrupulous business practices and frightening volatility–a man with no discernible policy positions who has based his entire campaign on insults, ludicrous assertions of his own superiority, and not-so- thinly-veiled appeals to racism, xenophobia, misogyny and anti-Semitism.

There is no equivalence. This is not a “lesser of two evils” choice. One candidate is amply and demonstrably qualified; the other is simply unthinkable.

If Hillary Clinton had killed Vince Foster, she would still be the better choice.

Can We Spell Misogyny?

Okay, we all know what Donald Trump thinks of women. But how widespread is sexism, and how much Hillary-hatred does it explain?

A recent article in the Huffington Post was titled, “Stop Pretending You Don’t Know Why People Hate Hillary Clinton.”

It began

We go on endlessly about how “untrustworthy” she is, while fact checkers rank her as the second-most honest prominent politician in the country. (And her opponent as by far the least.)

We say that she has trouble with transparency, while her opponent refuses to release his taxes and the current administration sets records for secrecy.

We decry her ties to corporations and the financial industry, while supporting a walking tax shelter or mourning the exit of a president whose re-election was funded by a record-shattering Wall Street haul.

We list so very many explanations, all of them complete bullshit.

The remainder of the article (okay, rant) points out that for every accusation leveled at Clinton, similar or far worse behaviors have been exhibited by male politicians, many of whom are widely considered to have been excellent public servants.

The truth is, Hillary Clinton is held to a wildly different standard than male politicians–even when you discount the fixation with her clothes (pantsuits!), her voice (annoying!), her laugh (too shrill!) and other attributes that rarely merit mention when the politician is a man.

As the author noted,

When the Bush administration was discovered to have erased millions of emails illegally sent by 22 administration officials through private, RNC-owned accounts, in order to thwart an investigation into the politically motivated firing of eight US attorneys, just one talk show covered it that Sunday.

When Mitt Romney wiped servers, sold government hard drives to his closest aides and spent $100,000 in taxpayer money to destroy his administration’s emails, it was barely an issue.

When Hillary Clinton asked Colin Powell how he managed to use a Blackberry while serving as Secretary of State, he replied by detailing his method of intentionally bypassing federal record-keeping laws.

Gee–I wonder what the difference is….

Talk about your double standards: as Clinton is expected to walk an impossible line, we learn that, among his other sexist and predatory behaviors, Trump wanted the restaurants at his golf courses to fire women he found insufficiently attractive. If there was any doubt, the recent disclosure of the taped discussion with Billy Bush made it abundantly clear that, in his opinion, females are merely for decoration, sexual gratification and (inconveniently) procreation.

How dare one of us run for President!

As many of the readers of this blog know, I ran for Congress in 1980. Relatively few women had been candidates, even by that time, although the men who ran for public office depended mightily on the women who staffed their campaign offices, stuffed their envelopes (we actually used snail mail back then) and handled the nitty-gritty of campaign work. I can attest to the double standard that was applied, and to the patronizing attitudes even of many who supported me.

That was nearly 40 years ago. You would think we’d have made more progress.

News flash, misogynists: These days, being President or Congressperson or CEO rarely requires the ability to pound your hairy chest after killing large animals or capturing a mate. What today’s political or commercial jobs require are skills that are as– or more– likely to be found among us “weaker sex” females: intelligence, yes, but also a penchant for collaboration and compromise, an ability to learn by listening, and a genuine concern for the well-being of others.

So–all you men who are uncomfortable with a loss of male dominance and privilege–Get over it.



If Facts Matter….

I’m one of those people who has pretty much “checked out” of the day-to-day hysteria of the Presidential campaign. (I’m old, and there’s only so much I can take….). So I decided not to watch the first debate, reasoning–I think correctly–that my impressions would be irrelevant anyway.

What ultimately matters is the ensuing “conventional wisdom.”

The consensus from all the sources I’ve seen is that Hillary won pretty convincingly. I’m sure the twitter feeds of the white supremacists, and the Facebook feeds of the “deplorables” say otherwise, but reports from credible media, the prediction markets, and  TV news anchors have been pretty consistent.

One news segment was particularly telling. Frank Luntz is a longtime GOP “message mavin.” We have him to thank for the (mis)use of political language: “death tax” rather than estate tax, for example. He is also known for the focus groups he assembles; somehow, in these polarized times, he finds voters who are undecided, has them watch campaign events, and then questions them on their reactions.

The group he’d gathered for the debate was asked, on camera, who won. Five people said Trump; sixteen said Clinton. Luntz said the margin was the largest of any group he’d previously assembled.

For those of us who actually care about substance, there were a number of sites doing fact-checking. Anyone who wasn’t previously aware that Trump occasionally lies (but only when he’s talking) could scroll through the real-time corrections and compare the consistent challenges to Trump’s statements with the virtual absence of corrections to Clinton’s.

For us ordinary people who always, dutifully, did our homework, probably the most confounding element of the 90 minutes was Trump’s obvious lack of preparation–a lack that received a great deal of comment. The Orange One evidently couldn’t be bothered to study, to actually educate himself about the complexities of governance. He apparently believed he could “wing it.” Evidently, he believes Presidents can just “wing it,” too.

The real question, of course, won’t be answered until election day, and that is: how many Americans will base their votes on the best interests of the country, and how many will support an angry, delusional and demonstrably ignorant bigot who defends and deepens their resentment of a  world they find unfair and their conviction that those “others” are to blame?


False Equivalence, Delusion-Grade

Tomorrow night is the first Presidential debate, so this seems like a good time to get something off my chest.

I’m fed up with assertions that the candidates are equally flawed, that either would be a “disaster”–as if there is anything remotely comparable between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. And I don’t think I’m the only one who finds those assertions dishonest and self-serving.

I understand the propaganda when it comes from people who don’t want to admit, even to themselves, that their support of Donald Trump is rooted in his–and their–bigotries. I don’t understand it coming from people who actually understand that we are hiring a chief executive for an incredibly demanding job, and who disclaim support for Trump, but then say they will vote for a third party or not at all–both actions an effective, if indirect, vote for him.

I participate in a listserv focused on Law and Courts. It’s a conversation between political scientists and law professors whose academic research centers on legal and constitutional issues and the ways that judges approach and resolve those issues. A recent thread about impeachment law included a post from a (male) scholar who expressed his distaste for both candidates in a fashion that suggested such a near equivalency; that post generated a response that is worth sharing in its entirety.

I categorically reject the idea that one could put Hillary Clinton in the same category as Donald Trump vis-a-vis “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Absurd. Clinton has been in public service for more 40+ years and, by and large, has abided by the rule of law governing the offices she was in, the roles she inhabited, and the causes she advocated for. Did she do some stupid, wrong and probably illegal things during some of that time? Yes, she did. Was it above and beyond what similarly situated men have done? Men whom we laud as tireless public servants? No, she did not.

Not only that, she has endured a relentless 25 year campaign to undermine, demean and thoroughly discredit her. I defy any male politician in public service as long as Hillary Clinton to come away from such a microscope with nothing more damning than the email nonsense.

We can and should be vigilant about the rule of law and the abuse of political power. But the double standard on display right now is among the worst I’ve seen in my lifetime. I was not a particularly vehement supporter of Hillary Clinton when this campaign started but I bloody well am now.

Sorry. But I just can’t take it anymore.

Like the writer of this post–with which I agree 100%–I was not a particular fan of Hillary Clinton at the beginning of this campaign. My attitude was not based upon her performance in the various offices she’s held, which was in each case highly competent; my reluctance to support her was based upon a concern that she was not–and is not–a gifted candidate.

Not unlike George H.W. Bush (the competent Bush), Clinton’s interest is clearly in governing, and she is uncomfortable “selling herself” on the campaign trail. In her case, the 25-year campaign referenced above has made her defensive and scripted. Understandable but unfortunate behaviors on the campaign trail.

Like the writer of this post, however, I’ve been “radicalized” by the double standard applied to Clinton, the raw misogyny, and the obvious delight in criticizing her every move by our so-called “liberal” media. (Since when is working through walking pneumonia without whining about it a “lack of transparency”?)

There is no equivalency between Trump and Clinton. None.

If you needed an operation, and your choice was between a respected surgeon who had saved numerous lives during a long career during which he had also made a few bad calls, and a local B-list actor with delusions of grandeur who had never performed an operation,  who displayed monumental ignorance of medicine generally and human anatomy specifically, I don’t think your choice would be difficult.

There’s false equivalency, and then there’s monumental intellectual dishonesty.

Think about that as you watch the debate.