PowerLine – Why the “scar tissue” excuse for Hillary’s document destruction fail

PowerLine – Why the “scar tissue” excuse for Hillary’s document destruction fail

PowerLine Daily digest - Old Guard Audio.com

PowerLine Daily digest – Old Guard Audio.com

Daily Digest


Loose Ends (1)

Posted: 29 May 2016 01:22 PM PDT

(Steven Hayward)I stumble across lots of little items in my eclectic reading pile that don’t rise to the level of deserving a whole item on Power Line (especially when they are about metaphysics, my weekend hobby), but which might be worth a sentence or two in a grab bag of things. So I’m going to start a new recurrent series called “Loose Ends.” Though I’m sure many readers will think it should be called “Loose Screws” (as in my head).

Take John Dewey, for example. Yes, I know, this sound like a setup for a Henny Youngman joke: Take John Dewey. . . please! Because Dewey is either a crashing bore and/or a scoundrel most of the time. But once and a while he says something halfway interesting or worthwhile, believe it or not. In his early book (1916) German Philosophy and Politics, Dewey argues that this Nietzsche fellow won’t have much of any impact anywhere—certainly not America—but nonetheless has some interesting observations on the differences between 19th century German philosophy and the Anglo and French philosophical traditions. There’s also this sentence:

Outside of Germany, it would be hard to find an audience where an appeal for military preparedness would be reinforced by allusions to the Critique of Pure Reason.

Now that’s funny.

Meanwhile, someone will need to explain to me some day why the French produce so many thinkers like Jacques Ellul, Claude LeFort, Raymond Aron, Pascal Bruckner, Pierre Manent, Bernard Henri-Levy, etc., whose thought is so idiosyncratic and orthogonal to both Anglo-American and German social and philosophic currents, and why their writing style is so much more raucous and discursive. In any event, there’s this passage from early in the 1962 edition of Raymond Aron’s The Opium of the Intellectuals:

The fanatic, animated by hate, seems to me terrifying. A self-satisfied mankind fills me with horror.

To paraphrase an old Woody Allen joke: Terror and horror—let us hope we have the wisdom to choose wisely!

Why the “scar tissue” excuse for Hillary’s document destruction fails

Posted: 29 May 2016 10:06 AM PDT

(Paul Mirengoff)Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post offers a familiar excuse for Hillary Clinton’s insistence on using a private email server. According to Marcus, “the scar tissue built up over years of politically motivated attacks and endless investigations reinforced Clinton’s instinct for the protective crouch.”

Marcus’ explanation sounds plausible, but it happens to be false (except for the part about “instinct for the protective crouch”).

We know the explanation is false because Clinton engaged in similar behavior before she came to Washington as First Lady. I’m referring to her handling of her law firm’s billing records in the Castle Grande matter, which I discussed at length here,” in a post based mainly on the evidence developed by the Office of Independent Counsel that investigated “Whitewater.”

Clinton stole and/or caused to be destroyed the records that established her role as the attorney for participants in the fraudulent Castle Grande scheme. She did so to avoid the political price she feared would be exacted if, with candidate Bill Clinton decrying the “decade of greed” that had brought on the S&L scandals, she was exposed as having been the lawyer for a crooked S&L.

For this purpose, Clinton, working with Webster Hubbell and Vince Foster, stole hard copies of the billing records of the Rose law firm where they were partners. They erased the electronic version of these records. One set of the documents was later found in the White House, just outside Hillary’s private office, by an employee. Another set was found in Foster’s attic by his widow, some years after he committed suicide. Clinton’s time sheets (handwritten, as was the practice back in the day) were never found.

The theft of the billing records occurred on March 7, 1992. It was then that a story on Whitewater/Castle Grande by New York Times reporter Jeff Gerth “hit the wire.” That night, Rose Law Firm documents were passed to a Clinton campaign aide in the firm’s parking lot.

The theft of these documents thus preceded the ugliness of the Clintons’ eight years in the White House. It preceded the “endless investigations” of that era. It helped fuel some of these investigations.

Hillary’s pattern of document destruction seems to have continued during the White House years. The New York Post reports that in 1999, investigators discovered that more than 1 million subpoenaed e-mails had been mysteriously “lost” due to a “glitch” in a West Wing computer server. The hole in the White House archives covered a critical two-year period — 1996 to 1998 — when special prosecutor Ken Starr was subpoenaing White House e-mails.

By then, the Clintons were battled scarred. That’s no defense for destroying records, though. And even this excuse does not apply to Hillary’s theft of billing records that belonged to her law firm.

In sum, Hillary Clinton’s crooked practices cannot be explained by citing “politically motivated attacks and endless investigations.” The New York Times’ Jeff Gerth wasn’t launching a politically motivated attacks, he was simply reporting.

Clinton’s crooked practices are rooted in her personality. It’s that simple.

Chart of the Week: Productivity and Police Action

Posted: 29 May 2016 09:59 AM PDT

(Steven Hayward)Actually, here are two useful charts. With the first quarter’s economic growth being revised upward from the previous 0.5 percent annual rate to 0.8 percent annual rate, the Obama era continues its record as the weakest economic expansion in history. One reason is shown in this chart from the Financial Times, showing U.S. productivity growth turning negative in the first quarter:

Prod Growth copy

You can see that productivity growth has been slow for the last five years. At this rate, the median income household can look forward to a meager rise in real wages around the year 2040 or so. James Pethokoukis has further thoughts here.

Meanwhile, Bill Galston and Elizabeth McElvein of the Brookings Institution put out a short paper a while ago with some facts and figures about the criminal justice reform debate, and this chart jumps out:

Police Shootings copy

Galston and McElvein comment:

Although police killed a disproportionate number of minority individuals relative to the racial composition of the U.S. population, the best available data are too limited to substantiate claims of racial bias.

Full of Schiff

Posted: 29 May 2016 09:35 AM PDT

(Scott Johnson)On FOX News Sunday this morning Chris Wallace pulverized Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff as he sought to regurgitate and reiterate one of the mandatory Clinton talking points on her private email server. Wallace knew that Schiff would play the Colin Powell card from the bottom of the deck and was not amused. In the clip below Wallace draws the line and makes it clear that Schiff is full of it. This is a great moment in Sunday gabfests.

Supplement Wallace’s confrontation of Schiff on this point with Megan McArdle’s Bloomberg News column on the State Department Inspector General’s report.

Via Jesse Hellman/The Hill.

WaPo reporter blasts Rubio as flip-flopper. . .for keeping his promise

Posted: 29 May 2016 09:02 AM PDT

(Paul Mirengoff)Ed O’Keefe of the Washington Post is unhappy that Marco Rubio is ready to support Donald Trump’s presidential bid. He calls Rubio a “shape-shifter” and implies that Rubio’s support of Trump stems from the tycoon’s improving poll numbers.

Rubio has explained that wants to be “helpful,” not “harmful,” to Trump “because I don’t want Hillary Clinton to be president.” He added, “if you can live with a Clinton presidency for four years, that’s your right; I can’t and will do what I can to prevent it.”

A great many anti-Trump Republicans are ready to vote for Trump for just this reason. I’m not at that point and may not get there, but I don’t assume anyone is taking this position in bad faith.

O’Keefe may not believe that Clinton is bad enough to induce Trump’s Republican critics to suck it up and vote for the GOP nominee, but it’s a plausible position for conservatives to take.

O’Keefe cites the back-and-forth between Rubio and Trump when they were battling for the GOP nomination. Rubio famously called Trump a “con man.” He also described Trump as “dangerous” and “unqualified to control the nation’s military codes.” (Trump called Rubio “little Marco,” which is probably the nicest thing he said about any of his main rivals).

The “con man” charge is reminiscent of George H.W. Bush accusing Ronald Reagan of preaching “voodoo economics.” Bush became Reagan’s running mate.

The other rhetoric O’Keefe quotes differs only marginally from Hillary Clinton’s suggestion that Barack Obama couldn’t handle the 3:00 a.m. phone call. Clinton became Obama’s Secretary of State.

Rubio hasn’t signed on for a spot in the Trump administration; he simply says he prefers Trump to Clinton and will therefore back Trump.

In doing so, Rubio is keeping his word. At the beginning of the campaign, he promised to support the Republican nominee regardless of who won the nomination.

It is odd, then, for O’Keefe to call Rubio a “shape-shifter.” The charge would be more apt if Rubio refused to keep his word.

O’Keefe tries to support his charge by citing Rubio’s “abandon[ment] of his own immigration reform bill when it became unpopular among conservatives.” This attack is false and unfair.

Rubio, to my disgust, steadfastly defended his amnesty bill in the face of intense fire from conservatives. He helped push it through the Senate, “abandoning” the legislation only when as it became apparent it lacked the support it required to pass the House. Rubio didn’t lash himself to the mast of amnesty, but guided the ship about as far as he could.

Rubio’s pro-amnesty position was utterly wrongheaded in my view. However, I challenge O’Keefe to point to any position taken by any candidate in this year’s presidential race that involved more political risk.

I don’t mean to deny that Rubio is, in some respects, an opportunist. But so is every serious candidate in this race. Even Bernie Sanders, probably the least opportunistic of the bunch, has effectively admitted that his opposition to important gun control legislation was based on his desire to keep his Vermont constituents happy.

Hillary Clinton is probably the most opportunistic candidate. The issues as to which she has flipped are almost too numerous to list. Has O’Keefe called her a “shape-shifter”?

It’s not the role of a reporter to make accusations like this, even when he’s unhappy. But if a reporter lacks the professionalism to eschew such accusations, he should level them evenhandedly.

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