Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Inquisition of Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton is one of the most investigated people in the history of the United States, the actionable evidence that has been found against her during all of that investigation does not exist.
There will always be another new bit of information to look at about Clinton’s time in the State Department, there will always be a new thing to look at when she was a Senator, because she is a big deal.  It has been 100 years and we are still finding things on McKinley, it has been 200 years and we are still finding things about Burr.  People who live a life in politics, sadly, live a life that blends service, slander, and often times shady dealings.
All of the things Hillary Clinton has been accused of doing, all of those things that have been found to be questionable, all of those things directly relate either to working in government positions that require subterfuge, or working with technology that is constantly evolving.

For the record, I also really like President Obama.
Let us take a moment to look at her more generally, maintaining a bird’s eye view of her career that is in question.  Clinton (as I said previously) is one of the most investigated people in history.  So logic must dictate that there is a reason for that.  Many of the people who deride her (“Hillary for Prison”) would point to this constant scrutiny as proof of her being corrupt.  Guilty by implication.  They are on some level right.  Just because there is not enough evidence to prosecute doesn't mean she is “innocent” of all wrong doing.
BUT, there has to be a point at which you say, "okay, that is enough investigation. I am satisfied that nothing happened." I don't know what that threshold is for you, or the typical voter, or a Trump supporter, or some guy living in France.  I do not know what that threshold is for most people, but the level of scrutiny Hillary (and her husband Bill) have been under for LITERAL DECADES and the lack of actionable intelligence that has emerged conclusively shows me that there is nothing there.
How many times does a congressional hearing (out for blood) have to be paneled?  How many times does the Justice Department or FBI have to not bother?  How many hours of reading thru email after email has to happen before people just say, “Okay, that’s enough?”  I am sure there are people out there that will never accept the lack of evidence as anything other than a cover up.  I am sure that there are many, MANY people who don’t even understand that you can’t actually prove innocence, you can only assume it until evidence of wrong doing is presented (That is why “Innocent until proven guilty” exists as a concept).  But for ME, there is nothing there, and the continued furious search for something-anything looks more and more like crazy people hunting to justify their irrational biases against her.
Even the stuff they have found that looks suspicious is so thin that I can't hold it up as an example of why Clinton should not be looked at as a fine candidate for public service.  I can’t point to anything of substance that would bar her from elected office. Nothing I have seen looks any worse than the generally complex stuff you see as part of being advised by intelligence organizations and advising on both political and military operations.
There is always going to be some holes in the data, there always be some slip ups in handling that data, there will always be something that does not hold up to casual observation, because regular people who work at banks or grocery stores or whatever, regular people have some idea of what it is like to keep something secure, but they do not understand the level of security and information Clinton has been operating on for DECADES.  Let’s look at a few things I often see pointed out and break them down.

Having a private email server is not treason.
Furthermore, when one considers how many prominent political officials I have seen listed as having a server, a cache, or whatever, I don't even view having the server as irresponsible.  (I know Hillary Clinton has said it was irresponsible in the media, and has apologized and taken the mistake to heart, so maybe I don't know enough about tech security.  OR, the general public doesn't know enough about tech security and Clinton would rather just admit to mistakes and promise to learn from those mistakes rather than explain to people why it isn’t a problem and be accused of “rationalizing her behavior” … as if being able to explain one’s actions rationally makes you a bad person.  Whatever).
Technology moves faster than the agencies that need to use it, and that technology is not always approved of because the policies governing such things are not being written and reformed fast enough.
If her emails were improperly secured, and I am not sure that is true considering the slap dash way things are managed in general.  I have no doubt that such insecurities are still par for the course when compared to the rest of the US government.  I would go further to say that if there were security breaches the fault does not lay at her feet specifically, but is instead a natural (unwanted) side effect of the volume of digital material that is so routinely handled by so many people thru so many points of access.
Hillary Clinton is not a cyber security expert and (call me ageist or sexist if you like) I highly doubt this 60+ year old woman is hunkered down jiggling circuit boards to make sure all the pins connect and then then playing bejeweled on her phone while line after line of self-written code compiles.  She is not the tech professional that should be looked at as having done a bad job.  If the Secretary of State or her staff says she needs some kind of computer hardware, then Lenny the tech support guy has to be there to provide it.

WAS NOT HER FAULT.  I am sorry that a terrorist attack killed personnel in an embassy.  I am sorry that how the attack was handled was insufficient.  I am sorry that serving as an ambassador around the world (and particularly in the Middle East) is dangerous work.  BUT, Hillary Clinton was not in charge of security, she is not a Marine Colonel, she is not even enough of a micromanager to have known who was in those facilities at that time.
There are hundreds of diplomats and support staff all over the world.  While the Secretary of State is ultimately in charge of those people and in turn reports to the President, that does not mean that every attack upon that agency is the fault of the Secretary of State.  Not every attack on a US facility is the fault of the person in charge of that facility.  People were victimized and the confusion around that victimization meant that the whole thing is not only tragic, but looks like some kind of mistake.  I am sorry, but to claim this was the sort of mismanagement that came from the White House or the Secretary is just too high up the chain and is scapegoating for the failures that happened at numerous levels.  Again, this was a HUGE investigation, and it was the FAULT OF TERRORISTS.
In retort you may say, “there should not have been ambassadors in a country that was so unstable.”  I disagree, establishing diplomatic ties with the fledgling government was a priority at the time, and establishing connections within the Middle East and Northern Africa remains a priority.  The United States needs to have both a military and diplomatic presence in the Mediterranean and surrounding areas.  It is dangerous, yes.  It is also necessary to prevent terrorist attacks and the formation of rouge nations down the line.

I actually think Bill was a lukewarm President.  With the fall of the Soviet Union he was kind of playing the game on easy mode.  So I am probably giving him both too little and too much credit.  Time will tell.

Bill Clinton's sexual escapades mark him as a shitty guy.  Even if you are in an open relationship and everything you do with your extramarital liaisons is consensual, there is a time and a place.  That being said, NOT A LOT HERE EITHER.
 If activity related to Bill’s infidelity can be proven to be anything other than consensual (and I do tend to lean toward believing the accuser) I am all for raking Bill over the coals. But, nothing has shaken loose.
Hillary Clinton has been accused of being a monster for attacking the women who have accused her husband of sexual harassment and sexual abuse.  So let me say this, if someone accused my spouse of rape without evidence I would be pretty defensive too, so maybe instead of calling her an apologist or covering up for his behavior, you instead think to yourself how you would react in her place to someone (from her point of view) slandering her husband and endangering both his and her legacy.  I actually have not heard her give any opinion on these affairs except to acknowledge (reluctantly) that Bill cheated and to then forgive him (and really, I am sure they have an open marriage, and I don’t care). 
Regardless of all of that here is the most important thing to remember: HILLARY IS NOT BILL, and she should be judged as herself and not for crimes she was never even arrested for.  She is not her husband’s jailor.  Nor is she his avatar.  The fact that she is being judged for him is indicative of some uncomfortable standards that Hillary herself often alludes to, that it was Bill that cheated and she who is getting picked on.

I really like Bernie.
            Here is the last thing that I see people mentioning as a scandal, that Hillary and the Democratic Party conspired to keep Senator Bernie Sanders from winning the Democratic nomination.  Yeah, they did.  I have no trouble believing that, and I have no ill will towards them for it.  Why?  Cause I totally get it.
            While I will fully admit to being a Bernie supporter (I find his policies to be more ambitious and sweeping) the fact of the matter is: HE IS NOT A DEMOCRAT.  He aligns with them on a majority of things and I can see why his running for their nomination made a lot more sense than trying to run for the Republican nomination, but he is not a Democrat.
            Bernie Sanders did far better than he expected, you can tell because if he had known he was going to give such a good fight he would have made a better opening announcement and done a better ground game 2-4 years ahead of time rather than just being a Bernie come lately that kept Clinton on message and forced her to take more aggressive positions.
            But let’s all put this in perspective, the Democratic party has had a series of long term plans that were supposed to culminate with Hillary being President back in 2008, she was the gifted tried and true policy wonk they had wanted for ages and it was only because of the inexplicable success of Obama that she wasn’t President.  So they pushed back the plan, and low and behold someone else comes along, well, they took it more seriously this time.
            Hillary had the party on her side because she did a good job for them, and they were (by and large) tried and true voters rather than the, “Well, I was excited at first but voting for congress was a hassle” voters from years before.  You don’t win long term strategies banking on a sudden influx of voters who are so obviously flash in the pan.
Followers of a particular candidate who happens to have the right message at the right time tend to not be constant voters, and then tend not to have the stamina for long term hope and change (look at the 2010 congressional blowout against the Democrats, WHERE THE HELL WERE THE OBAMA VOTERS?).
To make real change on an institutional and societal level, you want the tried and true.  It is not dramatic, it is not sweeping, it ain’t exciting, but you know what they are going to do, you know who will vote for them, and you know what they have and haven’t done to earn the position.
THAT’S RIGHT.  For me, Hillary is the boring one because she wasn’t immediately LIBERAL enough.
            The Democratic party is an institution, and while they are a democratic one, they have super delegates specifically because they have a central message they want to stick to over the course of decades.  Sanders did not align with that central message entirely and Clinton did (she helped write it).  So rather than cool grandpa, they went with un-cool grandma.  Is it undemocratic?  Yeah.  But maybe if Bernie had been part of the system instead of just railing at it the DNC would been more supportive of his candidacy.  And considering how many Bernie supporters went against Bernie’s own request and joined up with Trump it is pretty clear that issues and long term goals were not really their bread and butter, those guys were not reliable, and wouldn’t have been useful down the line.  Screw those guys.  I don’t know what caused those guys to jump to Trump as the only thing he and Bernie have in common is that they are running against Hillary.  But they did, so screw’em.
            I am fully acknowledging that the Democratic party did not want their carefully cultivated plan with their carefully cultivated candidate to be knocked out (again) by an X factor, who pushed policy that (while I and many others think it would have been effective) would have been stonewalled (again) by congress.
It was and is unrealistic to have a candidate that has billed themselves as an outsider.  I see this all in retrospect and look at Bernie as a valuable part in the process and a guiding star for the future of liberalism.  But for Bernie to show up with his newly registered fair weather friends and oust all of the hard work that the establish members have put together, that does seem unreasonable.  AGAIN, I say this as someone who was a Bernie voter and continue to look up to him for his long time principled stances.
I do not hold it against the Clinton campaign or the Democratic party for working against Bernie.  It was pretty underhanded, but I get it.  And considering Bernie clearly never expected to get as far as he did and now really wants Clinton to win while he chairs a powerful committee in the Senate, it would be pretty stupid to see this as a scandal worth holding a grudge over as all that will accomplish is losing the white house to American Mussolini and a good chunk of the legislature to a Republican party that is looking more and more like an out and proud Klan rally.

I'm sorry, I do not see the deliberate evil in Hillary Clinton’s actions that others have been pointing to.  I don’t smell the sulfur.  What I see is a candidate that has worked within and thru the system now having her record looked at as a loadstone rather than an asset.  When did having such a deep and robust resume become a detriment?  I do not get it.


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1 comment:

  1. Missed the criticisms over the Clinton Foundation - which does many of the same things other internationally focused 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) organizations do - is anyone all tooth and nails at the Carter Center for working with countries that are decidedly not democracies?

    As for Sanders losing, and the claims of "rigged" primaries... I smell a lot of new voters with a shaky idea about how primaries worked. I've never been on Team Bernie but he is a sensible man, and at that he willingly endorsed her, fair and square.