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Comment Re:Clinton is above the law (Score 1) 448

Read it again. It isn't necessary for anything to actually be stolen. All that is necessary is that by failing to exercise proper care, the documents under her charge became vulnerable to theft.

The physical analogy is leaving a paper file on your desk when you step away, rather than locking it back up the safe. People get charged with that. And not because anyone actually steals the files. but because their boss walks in while they are away and finds files that weren't properly secured.

Comment Re:Clinton is above the law (Score 1) 448

The really shitty part for Martha is that she had lied about something that wasn't even a crime in the first place.

That law needs to die in a fire. Other than in the very narrow context of sworn testimony in front of Congress or a Jury, or at a sworn deposition, lying should not be a criminal act in itself, not even lying to cops. I have no objection to having a pile-on charge, or a sentence enhancement, for lying to cover up a different crime, but only after (or concurrently and dependent upon) a conviction for that other crime.

(Philosophically, sentence enhancement post-conviction and NOT as a different charge is better. Overcharging is a shitty practice and it intimidates jurors into thinking that "They are charging this guy with 5000 counts, surely one of them is right.")

And as much as I despise her, I don't think that Hillary should face criminal charges for lying either, except for the times (if any) when she did it under oath.

Comment Re:Clinton is above the law (Score 1) 448

What evidence of intent could there possibly be? A signed confession? A stone tablet from God himself handed to Comey personally by an angel? In this case, intent must be inferred. All of her excuses so far have turned out to be lies. Remember how she didn't want to carry two devices? Blatant lie, she had several, and aides to carry them for her. Gowdy would say that false exculpatory statements prove intent. Actually, I think he made Comey say that.

And your second part is stupid. Do you want me to give you a second to think about it?

Don't read any more until you've thought it through.


The Federal Government provides secure systems for handling (aka sending and receiving) classified information. Federal law dictates that they are to use those systems, and only those systems, for classified work. Having to work with classified documents is not cause to use a private, personal, insecure, unclassifed email system.

Comment Re:Clinton is above the law (Score 1) 448

There is no problem with her using a private email server. I've got one in my basement, and I've had it for more than 8 years.

The problem is that she was using her private email server for federal business: first, to evade public scrutiny, which is illegal; second, for sending and receiving classified documents, which is also illegal.

The Colin Powell defense is, as I already said, bullshit. It is true that he had a non-government email address that he used to conduct government business when he was SOS, but there are three differences. First, he didn't use it for classified work - he carried two devices, as we say now. Second, the State Department didn't have a non-classified email server at the time. Third, he used a commercial email service, which means that in the event of a discovery request or subpoena a third party would be in charge of providing the records, not his own lawyers and cleaning crew.

Go read about his email leaks. He tried repeatedly to warn Hillary against using him as her defense. She eventually got the message but, like the Japanese submarine from Gilligan's Island, some of her sycophants are still fighting that lost war.

Public records from the Bush administration were a fucking mess because so many of the departments were on their own for providing email services. In response to this, a bunch of new domains and email servers were set up for official use, and the use of outside email for public business was banned. Once that was complete (2009?), Hillary even sent emails to her staff telling them not to use outside email services for state business.

P.S. Obama should indeed have noticed. StoneTear's reddit request was probably not about obscuring Hillary's email address, but Obama's.

P.P.S. Oh, and her staff knew that their boss was breaking the law, but were told to keep their mouths shut. If we'd learned about this from a whistleblower years ago, instead of from a lawsuit last year, maybe this would have blown over by now and not been a huge topic in her election campaign.

Comment Re:Clinton is above the law (Score 3, Insightful) 448

I don't remember their names. Over the last few months I've heard several radio interviews with lawyers involved in these cases, mostly while driving. I tried google using bits and pieces of the stories that (I think) I remember, but I didn't have much luck.

One guy that with a case still in the process (as in, he wasn't in prison yet at the time, and maybe still isn't) was a mechanic in the Navy who took a picture or a selfie of his (classified) work area so that he could tell his kids "this is where I worked when I was away". No criminal intent, prosecuted anyway. I remember clearly one of the lawyers talking about that case said that they were preparing appeals paperwork for their other clients to have ready depending on how his use of the "Clinton Defense" went.

I mean that no one knows, in the legal sense, if they had intent or not, because it wasn't examined at trial. Criminal trials are narrowly focused on the elements of the crime. Since the laws relating to classified documents were intentionally written by Congress to exclude intent as an element, it never gets examined at trial. Prosecutors don't raise the question because they didn't need to, and defense lawyers don't bring it up because it wouldn't help. At best, it might be in an opening or closing statement, but those are just fluff.

If the courts agree that some level of intent is necessary for a conviction now, all of those cases are appealable because their trial records no longer contain facts sufficient to sustain their conviction.

If you've ever pled guilty to something in court, the judge will ask you to affirm each element of the crime. They won't take your word at it that you are guilty of jaywalking, they want you to agree that "Don't Walk" was lit, that you knew it, and that you crossed anyway. The same thing happens in a real trial. The prosecutor lists the elements of the crime and argues that you did them, the defense disputes those claims (among other defenses). If the prosecutor is successful in establishing all of the elements beyond a reasonable doubt, you get convicted.

Espionage is very hard to prove. A person doesn't have to wrap up a bundle of secret documents in a bow and sign a card saying "Here's the spy work you wanted me to do!", they can do, and have done, things that can plausibly be mere carelessness. For example, you could accidentally leave a document out on your desk instead of locking it in the safe. Oops, careless! Unless the cleaning guy is also compromised and drops it in the trash to be fetched later. Now the secrets left the building, but in a way that both of the people involved can plausibly claim they didn't intend.

And motivation can be tricky too. Cash is obvious enough, but what about blackmail? Or loss of faith in the government? Or anger at a manager or director? Want to impress a girl? Want to experience the thrill of rule-breaking at middle-age?

Because it can be so complicated, Congress also made carelessness with classified information punishable, regardless of intent. That's basically our espionage law: If you give away our secrets, or, if you allow through carelessness the conditions for someone else to steal them, we are going to prosecute you and probably throw you in prison for a while.

Comey is claiming now that the second part should be "...or, if you intentionally allow through carelessness the conditions...", which is just asinine, and if we had honest media in this country, would be seen as such by everyone.

Comment Re:Clinton is above the law (Score 4, Insightful) 448

I can answer #4. Because she fucking hid everything until a lawsuit from Judicial Watch forced the State Department to release some of the public documents generated by her term as SOS. Once the people had access to her public records, they started to notice that her email wasn't entirely on the government servers, but on her own. Then her lawyers and IT people started to panic (the infamous reddit post) because they knew that Congress would get involved soon, and it did.

The answer to #2 is that every agency seems to be in on the coverup to some extent. They have all been dragging their feet producing records, and several have "lost" drives, tapes, records, etc. IRS Commissioner Koskinen is facing impeachment for this same crap, but for a different scandal (not for Hillary's emails). Obama is probably going to need to pardon every single member of his cabinet and most of the senior management, or President Trump is going to need to build a brand new prison to house the "Most Transparent Administration in history (TM)".

#1 is crap. See Powell's email leaks. #3 is no, or at least not that I've heard of.

Here are at least three of the laws that she apparently broke:
18 US Code 793
18 US Code 798
18 US Code 1924

Whoever, being an officer, employee, contractor, or consultant of the United States, and, by virtue of his office, employment, position, or contract, becomes possessed of documents or materials containing classified information of the United States, knowingly removes such documents or materials without authority and with the intent to retain such documents or materials at an unauthorized location shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.

As to your conclusion, there are guys in prison today for violations of the exact same laws, and several are now attempting to appeal their sentences. At the time they were convicted, those laws were seen as strict liability, so their trial records do not include proof of intent. If those same laws, which haven't changed, require mens rea now, at the very least they need a retrial to establish intent.

Comment Re:Asian discrimination?? (Score 1, Informative) 463

This is an American news story. Here, Asian means Oriental, which is where ninjas, samurai and kung-fu monks come from. But we shouldn't say Oriental any more because it reinforces racist notions about which direction the Roman Empire thought the sun rose from in the morning. (Part of that is a joke, but, sadly, not enough.)

If it was a European news story, Asian would mean Muslim and nothing more, though you can usually make a good guess based on the country: English Asians are mostly Pakistani, German Asians are mostly Turkish, French Asians are mostly Tunisian, Algerian, Moroccan, etc, Italian Asians are mostly "Syrian, *wink* *wink*", and so on.

Comment Petty (Score -1, Troll) 463

Thiel spoke at the Republican convention, so now he is getting the Tea Party treatment. And this is why Trump needs to fire 98% of the federal government.

Discrimination is a trap. There is no way to hire more than one person without exposing yourself to charges of discrimination. If he doesn't hire enough Orientals, he's discriminating against them. If he does hire them at the rate they "deserve", he is necessarily discriminating against whites (and no one cares), hispanics and blacks. Note that California colleges all discriminate against orientals, and the courts say it is fine when they do it. If they didn't, there would hardly be anyone else enrolled there.

This melodrama villain monologue sums it up:

Did you really think we want those laws observed? We want them to be broken. You'd better get it straight that it's not a bunch of boy scouts you're up against... We're after power and we mean it... There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted â" and you create a nation of law-breakers â" and then you cash in on guilt. Now that's the system, Mr. Reardon, that's the game, and once you understand it, you'll be much easier to deal with.

Comment Re:so... (Score 1) 665

He made his opinions on the matter pretty clear in his letter, written while he was alive. Unless you've got a peer-reviewed seance showing otherwise, I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and take him at his own word.

By the way, good job on following the playbook. Discredit, disqualify, change the subject. I forget what's next. Are you going to discover that his ghost is racist? Or are you going to call him a paid shill because his widow earned $43 in cashback on her gas station credit card?

Comment Re:so... (Score 1) 665

Apparently less well known in the UCSB and APS communities you are getting your information from is his other impairment. He died on May 26th, 2011, at the age of 87.

In response to his letter, the APS stated that "virtually all reputable scientists were agreed on observations of human caused global warming". Which is funny, because Hal had been one of those reputable scientists, even writing in one of his books (in 1990) that all of the models show the same net effect.

Of course, Hal, being an ethical sort of guy, lost his standing as a "reputable scientist" when he noticed that over the following 20 years the predictions and projections of those models all failed spectacularly.

Comment Re: Asinine. (Score 1) 438

Hmm. Cops seem to think that the benefit of guns outweighs the cons. Hillary's 24/7 armed guards seem to think that the benefits of guns outweigh the cons. I think we can safely extend that to "Every person in a profession that deals with crime, criminals or physical security thinks that the benefit of guns outweighs the cons."

I live on the same planet as those experts, and I'm exposed to the same range of people and range of situations. I defer to their professional, expert opinion, and I adopt as much of their equipment, training, practice, and infrastructure as I practically can. And I'm blessed to live in a place where the people insist that their government respect, however grudgingly, my right to do so.

Comment Re:Asinine. (Score 1) 438

Holy crap! Unlimited weapons for all since 2008? And no one told me until now? I'm going to get a M240 ASAP! Then maybe a GAU-8.

I don't know if you can connect the dots from 1934 to 1968, but if the NRA hadn't shifted gears when it did, by today there would be no guns around to advocate for the safe handling of, nor to promote marksmanship with. Funny story, the Republican Party is just now having the same sort of awakening: if they don't start conserving the nation ASAP, their advocacy of conservative values is about to become moot.

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