Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Cruising the Web

Marc A. Thiessen reminds us of another Clinton pal who had a problem with classified information.
It is against the law to remove classified information from government facilities and retain it after you have left office and have no official reason to possess it.

Just ask Sandy Berger.

In 2003, Bill Clinton’s former national security adviser was caught removing five classified documents from a secure reading room at the National Archives, as he prepared to testify before the 9/11 commission.

A Justice Department investigation ensued and in 2005 Berger reached a plea agreement in which he was allowed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material instead of a felony. He was sentenced to two years of probation and 100 hours of community service and was stripped of his security clearance for three years. Prosecutors and defense lawyers agreed on a $10,000 fine, but the judge raised it to $50,000. In 2007, in order to shut down a disbarment investigation by the District of Columbia bar, he relinquished his license to practice law.

That was for unlawfully removing and retaining just five classified documents.

Clinton has apparently been caught removing at least five e-mails containing what we now know to be classified information and retaining them on her personal server in her home in Chappaqua, N.Y., after she left office. And in the weeks ahead, that number will probably grow to the hundreds, if not thousands.
If she were being discussed for a job lower than the presidency, would she even qualify for a top secret security clearance?

Is it at all surprising that Hillary would have an aide whose ethics are in question?
An investigation may have found evidence a top State Department aide to Hillary Clinton took advantage of government employment rules with potential conflicts of interest and overpayments.

In a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry Thursday, Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said an inspector general probe suggested Huma Abedin leveraged her State Department job to benefit her two other employers at the time: the Clinton Foundation and a consulting firm called Teneo Strategies.

Teneo Strategies was founded by a longtime aide to Bill Clinton, Douglas Band, and boasted the former president as a paid board member when it first launched in 2011.

Abedin allegedly sent or received more than 7,000 emails on her government account that involved Band, the letter said.
It's just a coincidence that one of her closest aides was leveraging her job to make more money for herself? Like is attracted to like.

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Robert Tracinski expresses why, as a Republican, he is thrilled at the idea that Biden would jump into the race.
2) Because Democrats need another old white person in the campaign.
I’m joking, of course. Joe Biden is 72 years old. Hillary Clinton is 67. Bernie Sanders is 73. The only Democratic candidate who is not eligible for Social Security is Martin O’Malley, who is the former mayor of Baltimore, which pretty much disqualifies him. Joe Biden doesn’t exactly add diversity to that mix, but by breaking up support for Hillary Clinton, and particularly now, well before the contest has really begun, he opens the slight possibility that someone new and actually interesting won’t be scared out and might enter the Democratic race.

Democrats have been gloating about the disarray of the Republicans’ chaotic 17-person race, where the debates are going to be more an exercise in crowd control than an intellectual exchange. With no clear front-runner or heir apparent, this contest has attracted any Republican with an ounce of political ambition. But at least we’ve got a lot of young, dynamic, viable candidates.

Democrats could use some more of that kind of chaos. Don’t ask me who they’ve got coming down the pike, though. The great political disaster of the Obama administration is the way he has managed to win re-election for himself while hollowing out his party, not just in Congress, but on the state level. That’s precisely why they need any new blood they can find to provide some illusion of vitality.

But of course, Joe Biden provides plenty of his own peculiar brand of energy.

Ryan Lizza just doesn't get the Biden boomlet.
Of course, you could turn that around and ask what the logic is for Hillary's campaign.

Conservatives have been asking what were Hillary Clinton's big accomplishments as Secretary of State. And now we have her answer in her first TV ad.
The ads are an attempt to “soften” Clinton’s image by presenting the personal story of her mother, and reminding voters that Hillary is also a mother, indeed a grandmother. One of the ads, titled “Family Strong,” lists a few of Hillary’s accomplishments. For example: As a lawyer, she worked for the Children’s Defense Fund; as first lady of Arkansas, she “fought for school reform;” as FLOTUS, she backed healthcare for children; as senator, she opposed the 9/11 terror attacks; and as secretary of State…

…she “joined the cabinet of the man who defeated her.”

That, apparently, is her most noteworthy accomplishment as secretary of State. She lost to President Obama. Seems like a bizarre choice to remind voters of the 2008 election, which got pretty ugly at times. Hillary didn’t just lose to Obama, she was brought to tears at the thought of him becoming president, and once suggested during a debate that he had ties to the terrorist group Hamas. When asked during a 60 minutes interview if Obama was a Muslim, Hillary responded: “No…as far as I know.”

The ad says Hillary decided to serve in Obama’s cabinet because “when your president calls, you serve.” Definitely not because she thought it would help her succeed him as president.

Perhaps this explains some of Donald Trump's numbers.
The nation's Big Three networks have lavished news coverage on flamboyant Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, one of the latest to get into the race, according to a review of nightly broadcasts dating to January 1.

The conservative media watchdog, the Media Research Center, found that Trump has received about 10 times the average amount of airtime given to the other 16 candidates combined, with the last one to get in, former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, still waiting for his first second of coverage.
It might not even matter that the coverage is negative since a lot of people who like Trump like the idea that the media do not like him. That's not a negative among Republicans.

Of course, it would be nice if the media bigwigs would ask Trump actual substantive questions instead of process questions. Mollie Hemingway notes the differences between how Chuck Todd interviewed Dave Brat, the guy who defeated Eric Cantor, and how he interviewed Trump on Meet the Press.
Chuck Todd is the ultimate issues guy! So imagine my surprise when the very same Chuck Todd interviewed Donald Trump by phone for the first time on Meet the Press this weekend.

The ultimate issues guy literally didn’t ask a single “issue” question apart from what Trump thinks about Black Lives Matter. And Trump isn’t running for a seat in the House of Representatives. He’s running for president.

For his time with Trump, though, Todd asked the following questions:

-Why do you think you’re resonating so quickly in the Republican field?
-Why do you believe there is this sort of polarizing view of you?
-Why did you downplay your expectations on debating?
-How would you advise a candidate to debate you onstage?
-What is this? Seriously, what kind of silliness is this?

In what world do you put a random economics professor from nowhere through some economic and foreign policy ringer but handle a man with decades of international media experience with kid gloves? I don’t get it....

Needless to say, this line of questioning did not faze Donald Trump one bit. It didn’t elicit anything interesting either. Neither did the discussion of Black Lives Matter, the one “issue” Todd did broach.

If David Brat had to be ready for tough policy questions within hours of his primary victory over Cantor, I’d love to hear the journalistic defense for whatever this interview was.
I wish that we would sometimes hear journalists' answers to these sorts of legitimate criticisms. But they always seem to think that they're above such interrogation.

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Julian Morris of the Reason Foundation explains what is likely to happen if Obama's Clean Power Plan is implemented.
1. The White House asserts, “The Clean Power Plan, and other policies put in place to drive a cleaner energy sector, will reduce premature deaths from power plant emissions by nearly 90 percent in 2030 compared to 2005 and decrease the pollutants that contribute to the soot and smog and can lead to more asthma attacks in kids by more than 70 percent.”

Indeed, in its regulatory impact assessment of the original Clean Power Plan rules, these public health benefits accounted for the majority of all benefits.

But these benefits do not come from reducing greenhouse gas emissions: they come from reducing other emissions, such as particulates. Yet these “public health benefits” would be achieved far more cost effectively by targeting harmful emissions directly. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is already targeting such emissions. To claim such benefits for the Clean Power Plan is either double counting or misdirection, or both.

2. The White House asserts that the Clean Power Plan will, “Create tens of thousands of jobs.”

This may be true, but it will also likely destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Given the enormous capital cost of implementing the plan, it seems highly likely that the net effect on jobs will be negative.

3. The EPA claims that these jobs will be created, “while ensuring grid reliability.”

This is surely a joke, since the Clean Power Plan envisages a significant increase in the proportion of electricity supplied by “renewable” power, much of which will come from intermittent sources such as solar and wind, which as the National Energy Research Council notes, tend to reduce grid reliability. To compensate, grid operators will be forced to spend billions of dollars on new technologies that enable them to balance power generation with demand.

The Clintons' view of charity - avoid using their own money, but pat themselves on the back anyway.
The New York Times notes that the Clintons have decided to contribute between $5 million and $10 million to the Clinton Foundation. “That may reflect their enhanced wherewithal” – they earned more than $30 million in the past year and a half, and, it would seem, want to share the wealth. Actually, as the Times later points out, “They did not write personal checks, however: the money was transferred from a smaller charity, the Clinton Family Foundation, to the larger entity.” Oh. So what then does taking from one pocket and putting the money into another have to do with “their enhanced wherewithal”, which they have not shared with their Foundation? In fact, the story might go, “Despite their enhanced wherewithal, the Clintons have decided against a new donation to their Foundation.”

A high school English teacher explains how she became a conservative as she started to notice liberal hypocrisy and the results of the policies they advocated.
My understanding of liberal versus conservative slowly started to shift. Like one of those optical illusions where there are two images in one, once I started to see the second image, I could not un-see it. Sometimes the second image becomes primary and the first is no longer visible. In the article “Things You Cannot Un-see (and What They Say about Your Brain),” Alexis C. Madrigal writes, “People report this kind of thing all the time, and they use this same phrase: cannot un-see. Someone points out something and suddenly a secondary interpretation of an image appears. There’s something a little scary about this process, even when the images are harmless. We have a flash of insight and a new pattern is revealed hiding within the world we thought we knew. It surprises us.” That’s a duck. NO—it’s a rabbit!

For me, it was “that’s a compassionate and good liberal policy” becomes “that’s a policy of destructive collectivism and government overreach.” Nothing brought this more clearly to light for me than observing the destructive practices and policies implemented at our public schools and in our inner cities. Policies that claim to help but almost always cause irreparable harm: welfare that destroys the black family, school busing that ruins a once-thriving school system that often served even the poorest students well, taxation and regulation that drives out business which take with them jobs that provided a decent living even for not-well-educated citizens, middle- and working-class neighborhoods that become rat-ridden slums. Everyone loses.

Once I started to see, I realized that I was never really a liberal, but always a conservative, a believer in self-reliance, individual freedom, small government, and individual equality of opportunity. Once I started to see, I could not go back. I could not un-see.

So which governors running for president had the strongest impact on improving employment while in office in comparison to the employment rate nationwide? Kevin Hassett does the analysis. It's good news for Bush, Perry, and Kasich and bad news for Huckabee, Christie, and Jindal.
As one can see, there is considerable variation in the “governor effect” on state employment levels. Not every governor generates results in the direction that he would have hoped; others enjoy bright track records. Employment growth when Governor Jeb Bush was in office, for instance, tended to be about 4 percent higher per year than one would have predicted if the average Florida governor had been in office. Governor Perry has a similarly impressive record. (An asterisk on the chart next to a candidate’s name means that our result has passed a standard test of statistical significance: We are 95 percent sure that it was not a matter of chance.)

Those with negative effects should not be too dismayed. No single statistical analysis can provide a complete picture of a candidate’s record as governor. New Jersey was a basket case long before Chris Christie took over, and was on a fiscal path similar to that of Greece. He probably did more for the state than this picture shows, because what would have happened without him would have been so terrible.

Roger Simon watched the Voters First Forum last night that was broadcast on C-Span and provides his grades for the candidates' appearances. His analysis about matches mine, though I didn't watch all of the event. Amazing how a format was found for 14 candidates to appear that didn't have to rely on questionable poll results.

Don't believe the propaganda that Planned Parenthood is necessary to provide women health care. Democrats for Life say this is true only "if you define health care services as abortion." They contrast Community Health Centers which have over 12 times as many facilities as Planned Parenthood and serve over 7 times as many women and provides many more services especially given that Planned Parenthood doesn't provide any mammograms. That's not what you're hearing, is it? The Democratic senators who voted yesterday against defunding Planned Parenthood have something to learn since they're all eager to couch their support of the organization in their concern for women's health services.

Quite a question from Jay Nordlinger, author of the entertaining and interesting Peace, They Say: A History of the Nobel Peace Prize, the Most Famous and Controversial Prize in the World
Idle question: If the Norwegian Nobel Committee gives John Kerry the peace prize for the Iran deal, and Iran goes nuclear, will he throw away his Nobel medal?