Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Comey's Audacity Lubes Third Party Hopes

The word of the day, class, is "audacity."

au·dac·i·ty:  see "James Comey's unilateral pardon of Hillary Clinton and her private e-mails"

When Hillary was Secretary of State, her boss was Barak Obama, the author of a book entitled The Audacity of Hope.  Obama wrote it in 2006, when he was still a senator.  Yet the word audacity has come to define his presidency, and not always in positive ways.  And particularly now, as his eight-year tenure in the Oval Office winds down, and the race to replace him surges into overdrive, it's hard to avoid the audacity with which his administration is governing.

Comey, as Obama's FBI director, has rationalized that while Hillary's use of private e-mail servers was "extremely careless," it somehow did not meet the legal threshold of criminal negligence, since he can't prove her intent.  As if the very fact that she ordered private e-mail servers is not, in and of itself, an act of intent.  Hillary intended to avoid bureaucratic scrutiny.  She intended to subvert America's confidentiality laws.

Why else would she need covert e-mail activity than to operate outside the bounds of conventional government security protocols?  Sure, only 110 of the 30,000 e-mails she turned over to the FBI were classified, but it's estimated that the sample provided by Hillary's people was only half of the total number involved.  Nobody but the Clinton camp knows what many thousands of other, unknown e-mails contained.

Intent?  Hillary's intent was as audacious as it was deliberate.  Yet Comey, a registered Republican, can't see it?

America's laws pertaining to classified information are pretty straightforward.  According to Title 18 of the United States Code, Subsection 793:

“Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document... relating to the national defense, (1) through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody... or (2) having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody... and fails to make prompt report of such... Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.”

Not convinced?  How about Subsection 1924:

“Whoever, being an officer... 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.”

These laws usually are enforced without a lot of controversy, such as last year's case involving a Navy reservist who saved confidential material on a personal electronic device.  He was sentenced to two years of probation and a $7,500 fine, and can no longer be granted any governmental security clearance.

See the audacity here?  Not that a Navy engineer got fined and demoted over his mishandling of confidential information, but that if Hillary were found guilty of a similar charge, she could never be president of the United States.  After all, as president, and commander in chief, she'd need to have the highest security clearances in the land.

We all know that, and still, Comey decided Hillary's case didn't merit a trial.  Instead, he opted to publicly admit what both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump have been complaining about all year:  The system is rigged.  And the Clintons are the biggest riggers of them all.

Our media loves the term "optics," and the optics here reveal many things, all of them bad.  Comey has blatantly endorsed the suspicion that laws get applied differently to different people.  That is a dangerous admission for somebody in the Justice Department - of all agencies - to make.  Comey has also validated the long-held suspicion that FBI directors wield too much power, since his action on Hillary's case was mostly his own to take.  Comey has instantly reduced the credibility of his entire department, obfuscated the principle of due justice, and inadvertently done Clinton a grave disservice by condemning her actions, yet not providing her a court of law in which she'd have the opportunity to exonerate herself.

Granted, she looks guilty as sin, but if anybody could muster the legal defense to overturn the charges of "extreme carelessness," it would be her.  Right?  As it is, however, the stain of Comey's unofficial verdict against her will be hard to ignore.  Yet obviously, she's willing to live with it. 

So much for her valuing her own integrity.

The whole sordid mess is one colossally audacious attempt at ignoring the facts.

So, what can ordinary Americans do now?  Well, for starters, perhaps now it's beyond obvious that with Trump heading the Republican ticket, and Clinton still heading the Democratic ticket, there's no better time to consider third party candidates.  America's voters need to show some audacity themselves, and vote for some genuine change.  Not the Tea Party kind of change, in which reckless selfishness rules.  And not the left wing kind of change, in which intolerant tolerance rules.  Instead, voters need to refute the quagmire of stilted partisan gamesmanship that has turned Washington into a sordid morass of hypocrisy.

The options may not be entirely alluring to us, but all things considered, they're at least worth a try:
There is a Green Party candidate, but she's far too liberal for me to even put in this list, and a Veterans Party candidate, but he's woefully unqualified.  Lots of unaffiliated individuals are also running, but their ability to get on every state's ballot is unlikely, a situation which effectively nixes their viability.  I'm not crazy about the Constitution Party, as its platform often sounds as provincial as the Tea Party's.  And I have deep reservations about the bleak humanistic philosophy behind Libertarianism.  Nevertheless, for those of us serious about our vote, the final nails haven't been hammered into the coffin of this year's presidential election yet.

The reasons why you vote for a candidate matter more than who wins the election.  If you believe that, then our FBI director has given you fresh evidence for why one of this year's front-runners doesn't deserve your consideration.

At least the other front-runner doesn't need anybody else to tell you why he doesn't deserve your consideration!

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