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Friday, May 27, 2016

Maybe I Will Vote

I've been retired as a voter for some time now. But the Libertarian party has actually put together a plausible ticket: Gary Johnson for President and William Weld for VP are two reasonably okay moderately competent scandal-free ex-governors who are more-or-less libertarian but not too extreme.

I realize that's not the most ringing endorsement ever, but I can see voting for them. When one of the alternative parties does something right, I'd like to support that and I might come out of voting retirement to do so.

It's not like I can write ringing endorsements for Clinton or Trump either. For example, P.J. O'Rourke has decided to vote for Clinton over Trump using the following logic: "She's wrong about absolutely everything. But she's wrong within normal parameters!" And you thought my endorsement of the Libertarians was unenthusiastic!

Another conservative, Charles Murray builds on O'Rourke's logic by stating: "Similarly, I am saying that Clinton may be unfit to be president, but she’s unfit within normal parameters. Donald Trump is unfit outside normal parameters." Also, "Donald Trump is unfit to be president in ways that apply to no other candidate of the two major political parties throughout American history."

In comparison, I think Johnson/Weld are only a tiny bit unfit and that's mostly because of lack of foreign policy experience which could be remedied by a good cabinet and some good advisors.

O'Rourke and Murray are both Establishmentarians (Murray's self-description) so they'll only consider voting for candidates from established parties.

Fortunately, I don't have any such constraint. I may still not bother to vote, but if I do, at the moment I'm leaning heavily towards Johnson/Weld.

29 comments:

erp said...

Any third party vote on the conservative side will elect Hillary and that IMO is why Trump is cavorting and entertaining. He certainly likes center stage, but I doubt he would like the constraints of the presidency and his living quarters would certainly be far south of his present digs.

The interesting thing will be what he'll demand in return for this distraction.

erp said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
erp said...

Double comment genie at work again?

Clovis e Adri said...

Last time you mentioned voting, you also said your vote counts nothing due to your district distribution.

So is it just a symbolic statement?

Bret said...

Yes. At national level races in California, the democrat candidates always win presidential and senate seats and I happen to be in one of the few republican house districts so the the republican always wins that house seat. It's been that way for decades.

On the other hand, if the 3rd party garners more than a certain percentage of the vote, I think they get matching funds in the presidential race. Probably a waste of yet more taxpayer money, but maybe it would be interesting and possibly make things more competitive.

erp said...

Bret, How can percentages for matching funds be tallied before the election? It was fairer and cheaper when pols picked candidates in smoke-filled rooms.

I'm still hoping there's a dark horse riding a white horse out there I can support.

Bret said...

They receive the funds retroactively if they receive more than 5% of the vote and then their party also receives the funds in the next presidential election.

Hey Skipper said...

Trump may be outside the accepted bounds, but if he is elected President, then Congress probably remains Republican.

Which should stop several Constitution-breaking Hillary appointments to SCOTUS.

And I have faith that the separation of powers will restrain Trump to outrageous statements.

Plus, I am somewhat surprised that O'Rourke and Murray seem so willing to gloss over Hillary's felonious conduct. The Federal Records Act (I may not have remembered that name properly) has specific requirements for the preservation and availability of official business materials.

Which Hillary completely traduced. As it happens, if found guilty of violating the FRA, she would be prohibited from every occupying any government office.

(BTW, recaptcha is getting really obnoxious.)

Barry Meislin said...

"But she's wrong within normal parameters!"

That's the short version.

The long version is:
"She really should be in jail for compromising US security and then lying and stonewalling about it (which she continues to do---artfully!); but since she's running against Trump so she has my vote. (Besides, who's perfect?)"...

Hey Skipper said...

From the Federal Records Act:

18 U.S. Code § 2071 - Concealment, removal, or mutilation generally

(a) Whoever willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, or destroys, or attempts to do so, or, with intent to do so takes and carries away any record, proceeding, map, book, paper, document, or other thing, filed or deposited with any clerk or officer of any court of the United States, or in any public office, or with any judicial or public officer of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.
(b)Whoever, having the custody of any such record, proceeding, map, book, document, paper, or other thing, willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, falsifies, or destroys the same, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both; and shall forfeit his office and be disqualified from holding any office under the United States. As used in this subsection, the term “office” does not include the office held by any person as a retired officer of the Armed Forces of the United States.


I hope Harry can tell us why Hillary! is innocent, and couldn't possibly be barred from being President.

Bret said...

Hey Skipper wrote: "...why Hillary! is innocent..."

Because in practice laws don't apply to highly powerful top level government officials. She's innocent because the law just simply doesn't apply to someone like that.

Yes, yes, I know, of-by-for the people, blah blah blah. Nice rhetoric, of course, but utterly unrealistic.

Bret said...

I see I made a slight mistake in writing this post in that it looks like I'm endorsing Clinton over Trump. Not so.

I was just comparing my endorsement of the Libertarian candidates with those "endorsements" of Clinton.

If I was forced at gunpoint to pick between Hillary and Trump? I think I'd say, "just shoot me!" :-)

More seriously, I do understand why people will vote for Trump. For example, Supreme Count appointees and a number of other good reasons. I'll be surprised if he wins, but not shocked.

Bret said...

Hey Skipper wrote: "...recaptcha is getting really obnoxious..."

You're an administrator of this blog, so that's a note to yourself, right? :-)

I'm able to just ignore the reCAPTCHA by not checking the "I'm not a robot" box and just clicking on "Publish You Comment." Have you tried that?

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

Not defending Hillary, but I do not see quite how she fits in your quote of the FRA.

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

I am actually shocked by what I just learned from your reply.

So campaigns are somehow financed with public money too in the USA?

Gee. Things you don't learn watching movies...

Hey Skipper said...

[Bret:] Because in practice laws don't apply to highly powerful top level government officials. She's innocent because the law just simply doesn't apply to someone like that.

[Clovis:] Not defending Hillary, but I do not see quite how she fits in your quote of the FRA.

Notes from yesterday's Meet the Press:

The State Dept Inspector Report on Hillary!'s email server was very critical. She is on record as having said she cleared her server; unfortunately, that could be a lie too far even for her. State insisted she never asked permission, and would have been refused if she had.

She insisted she would be completely forthcoming, then refused to talk to the IG.

And then there is the arrogance on display: people being told never to ask about it again.

This WaPo editorial is very critical, although it concludes far too quickly that she did nothing illegal. The WaPo seems not to understand that violating regulations enacted to implement a law is tantamount to violating the law itself.

(As asides, it is infuriating that the MSM conflates personal email — which other SecStates have done — with a personal, and extremely crappy email server, which is unique to Hillary!. That this editorial did so is either yet another example of unshakeable journalistic incompetence, or a deliberate attempt to do whatever scale-tilting they can. Also, that editorial has over 6,000 comments; of those that I have read, they are almost uniformly hostile to Hillary!.)

This is a steaming pile of merde so deep that the Obama administration may well be stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea. If they bring the charges Hillary! so richly deserves, then her candidacy is sunk. If they don't, then the beating she will take during the campaign will not only damage her, it will make Obama a partner in corruption.

IMHO, the SD IG and FBI are largely professional organizations. If what has been alleged so far turns out to be true, then it could get very ugly for Hillary!, regardless of whether she is formally charged.

Hey Skipper said...

I'm able to just ignore the reCAPTCHA by not checking the "I'm not a robot" box and just clicking on "Publish Your Comment." Have you tried that?

Yes, and got sent three times around the captcha block, despite that. Annnd, the captchas themselves have gotten way more annoying. Used to be you only had to check a couple images. Yesterday, it was six.

I can't understand why there isn't an option to accept any comment from a previously accepted commenter. Captcha once, and done forever, unless an admin deletes a comment.

(Just now, selected I'm not a Robot, got captcha

Hey Skipper said...

Clovis:

Speaking of corruption, what's your take on Rouseff's impeachment? How prepared is Brazil for the Olympics?

(!@#$%^& captcha)

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

Still, the FRA Law you quoted says:

"Whoever willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, or destroys, or attempts to do so, or, with intent to do so takes and carries away any record, proceeding, map, book, paper, document, or other thing, filed or deposited with any clerk or officer of any court of the United States, or in any public office, or with any judicial or public officer of the United States, [...]"

It is the "filed or deposited with any clerk or officer [...]" part that I don't see applying to her case. What am I losing here?


Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

On Roussef's impeachment, I gave my two cents on this thread (after Bret and Erp asked, so it is distributed in my following comments).

The only update from that day to now is that I was proved right: there are audios now that proves the "conspiracy" among the main heads at the vice-president party to depose Dilma in order to save themselves from further investigations. Corrupt politicians are just so predictable, aren't they?


As for the Olympics, the buildings and infrastructure will, apparently, be ready in time. (In Brazilian time, which means they will be working on it up to the very last day)

And the Zika scare is a bit hyped, in my opinion: there are worse diseases to be worried at, unless you are pregnant.

I would bet it will be a messy Olympics, because few things in Brazil aren't, but not necessarily a disaster.

erp said...

Clovis,

My bet is that emails are included in: "any record, proceeding, map, book, paper, document, or other thing."

Peter said...

I had the same reaction as Clovis. The section seems aimed at officially filed documents rather than internal memos and e-mails. But even if we are wrong about that, the section is so sweeping and the punishment so severe that a high level of mental intent would undoubtedly be required. I would expect much judicial ink spent on deconstructing what "willfully and unlawfully" means here. Does unlawfully mean technically contrary to law or for an unlawful purpose such as sedition, subversion, financial gain, etc. Where does reckless arrogance fit on the spectrum from inadvertence to criminal intent? There can't be too many public officials that haven't technically violated that section in some way and I have a hard time believing that an official who snuck a file home to work on during a weekend could never be president.

Also, does the banning from public office include elected office and, if it does, would that survive a constitutional challenge? As erp reminds us frequently, your ultimate sovereign authority is "We, the people". If the people want to elect someone convicted under this section, why should their will be thwarted by a federal statute?

erp said...

Peter, We, the People are subject to the law. If we feel it wrong or unfair, can change it, but if we thwart it, we incur the associated penalties. I just did a quick search and the Constitution apparently doesn't speak to moral values or character only citizenship as a qualification for the presidency, so I guess Hillary is good to go and if convicted can probably govern from her jail cell as some other elected officials have been allowed to do.

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] It is the "filed or deposited with any clerk or officer [...]" part that I don't see applying to her case. What am I losing here?

What I quoted was a portion of the act, and left out its intent:

A 1985 NARA pamphlet describes the Federal Records Act as the "basis for the Federal Government's policies and procedures for creating, maintaining, and disposing of Federal records. The act and its related regulations define Federal records, mandate the creation and preservation of those records necessary to document Federal activities, establish Government ownership of records, and provide the exclusive legal procedures for the disposition of records.

Her server directly and completely contradicted the FRA's intent. According to the IG report (I'm working from memory here), that is one reason she would have been refused had she asked. I doubt anyone will be impressed with an argument that she isn't guilty of violating the law because her violation was so epic she never fulfilled the first requirement: proper retention and storage of required records.

Also, para b is on point. She had custody of the records, and didn't turn them over until compelled — that's willfully and unlawfully concealment. Then she decided which records would be retained — which means we have to take the law's violator at her word she didn't obliterate required records.

The volume of deleted files is so large that if we are to take her claim that they were personal at face value, then she would have to have set some sort of record on waste of company time on personal emailing.

BTW, thanks for those comments on Brazil. I've been traveling so relentlessly lately I haven't been keeping up very well.

[Peter:] But even if we are wrong about that, the section is so sweeping and the punishment so severe that a high level of mental intent would undoubtedly be required.

Setting up a server that would directly violate the FRA — something about which, if we are to take her hyper-competence as read, she surely must have known about — seems to me prima facie evidence of bad intent.

Also, does the banning from public office include elected office and, if it does, would that survive a constitutional challenge?

I'm not sure if being a convicted felon prevents one from holding elected office. I'm also not enough of a constitutional scholar to know whether being 35 yrs. old and a natural citizen are the only eligibility requirements, or the bare minimum.

Regardless, your point is well made. If she wins the election, she is president. I think the biggest obstacle to her being tried in the first place is not so much that the law doesn't apply to top level government officials, but rather that applying the law to them runs the very real risk of ending up in politically motivated prosecutions.

So while I think that, as a practical matter, she willfully violated the FRA and was grossly negligent — an odd quality in someone so hyper-competent — in her handling of classified information, the proper place to adjudicate those charges is in an election, not a court.



I had resigned myself to voting for Trump, then he started mouthing off about the judge handling the Trump "University" case.

I remember being horrified when that constitutional ignoramus, Pres Obama, criticized the SCOTUS in its Citizens United decision.

Trump is far, far worse.

At this point, if I was the RNC, I'd loudly tell Trump to piss off and run on his own, then focus effort on retaining majorities in Congress.

Bret said...

Scott Adams of Dilbert fame endorses Hillary:

"So I’ve decided to endorse Hillary Clinton for President, for my personal safety. ... But Clinton supporters have convinced me – and here I am being 100% serious – that my safety is at risk if I am seen as supportive of Trump. So I’m taking the safe way out and endorsing Hillary Clinton for president.

"As I have often said, I have no psychic powers and I don’t know which candidate would be the best president. But I do know which outcome is most likely to get me killed by my fellow citizens. So for safety reason, I’m on team Clinton.
"

erp said...

... Bret, wasn't it Sandersistas, not Hillarians who attacked Trumpeteers in San Jose? I know it's a Dilbert joke, but like most of the others I've seen, I don't get it.

Bret said...

Yeah, yeah, I'm just collecting weird/lackluster Hillary endorsements:

O'Rourke's endorsement: She's wrong about everything.

Murray endorsement: She's unfit to be president but at least she's unfit within normal parameters.

Adams endorsement: I'm endorsing Hillary because otherwise someone might kill me.

I do generally find Adams humor a little to cerebral and don't follow his blog.

erp said...

Since "Calvin and Hobbes" retired, I stopped looking at the comics.

Hey Skipper said...

[erp:] Since "Calvin and Hobbes" retired, I stopped looking at the comics.