Friday, September 30, 2016

James Madison Was Correct. Lynch To The Supreme Court?

The only thing that makes supporting Trump defensible is that Hillary is such a nasty human being, is a horrible choice for president, an unmitigated liar and has a record of accomplishments built on a pyre of one failure after the other.  As for Trump, I wish he was able to retrain himself from proving how dumb he can be by allowing himself to be sucker punched by Hillary.

This from a dear friend, a fellow memo reader who, like myself, is conflicted. (See 1and 1a below.)


I used to think. (See 1b below)
Obama's 8 years in office proves James Madison was correct when he said our constitution would protect us from the "tyranny of the majority." This is why Obama , during his time in office, sought to thwart the constitution at every turn.
Will Hillary appoint Lynch to The Supreme Court should she be elected president?  Stay tuned and if she does you have my permission to barf. (See 2 below.)
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++1) "Dick,
I know that you spend hours on the computer daily and that you do not need long diatribes from your faithful readers.  But here goes anyway...simply because I have to get this off my chest.
This upcoming election literally has me going nuts.  I have not missed an election since 1960 and will not miss this one.  But my vote this time is one I simply hate.
Donald Trump simply has no business being president of the USA.  All the reasons not to support are out there and I need not list them.  But there is simply ONE reason to vote for him and that is to oppose Hillary who in my opinion, is, along with her pig of a husband, despicable.  The mere thought of them living in the White House again keeps me up at night.  How she can even think of sitting in the oval office behind the desk where her husband received oral sex is mind boggling.  A more disgusting duo in the White House cannot be imagined.
So I will hold my nose, close my eyes, not even breath and cast a vote for Donald...and hope that if he is elected, there will be enough wise folks entering govt. with him to keep him at bay.
Happy New Year to you and your family.  Ina and I wish you all the very best.


The Clinton Chaos State Department

Hillary Clinton’s supporters are about as interested in her email scandal as Donald Trump’s fans are in the details of his tax returns. But anyone who is wondering about what a prospective Clinton administration would be like would be well advised to read Politico’s detailed analysis of the notes released last week by the FBI from their investigation of the former secretary of state’s cavalier use of emails.
While the notes, which were dumped on the public late on a Friday in a manner in that made it plain that the Justice Department is complicit in trying to divert attention from her credibility problems, are missing a lot of pertinent information but they do give us some fascinating insights into the dysfunctional nature of the Clinton State Department.
The Politico deep dive into the FBI notes gives us a lot of information on Clinton’s management style or, to be more accurate, how her inner circle manages her. The stories about her technophobia aren’t by themselves disqualifying but they do illustrate how oddly out of touch she is not only with technology but how information is transmitted in the Internet era. The back and forth as her top aides maneuver around her whims and play fast and loose with secrets shows what the FBI points out was already a State Department that had a culture that treated keeping secrets that seemed more in keeping with the 19th century when gentlemen assumed that other gentlemen didn’t read each other’s mail than the 21st.
What also comes across is that how Cheryl Mills, Huma Abedin and Jake Sullivan simply didn’t think they should be prevented from doing things because of rules. Their sense of self-importance — the hubris that often seems to go along with government power — mixed in with the Clinton’s characteristic belief that their self-proclaimed good intentions allowed them to do as they liked. These are people who think they are so important that they should not be constrained but such minor considerations as the possibility that stepping outside the government’s secure system compromises American security.
The notes also make plain that others in the State Department were aware of how dangerous the Clinton gang’s approach to security had become. One State Department official said it was “business as usual” for the secretary and her cronies to communicate sensitive matters via the government’s unclassified email system. One interpretation of the facts is that her staff wasn’t “actively covering up Clinton’s paper trail” but that, distracted by the press of events and duties, they were just “uninterested in the details” of record-keeping that would keep them in compliance with the law. But given the care they all took to avoid being held accountable, that generous explanation that seemed to be the guiding principle of the investigation is hard to swallow.
But while the Politico story does provide a riveting blow-by-blow of the investigation and a lot of the details it uncovered, the problem is that what it omits from the story of the email scandal is just as if not more important. The explanations about why Clinton chose to shield her emails given by aides fall flat. Left out is the well-known Clinton passion for secrecy and the need to avoid transparency. Also missing is the connection between Clinton Foundation business and donors and the same people being investigated. Nor does this document dump tell us about the tens of thousands of deleted emails or why the Clinton gang got away with destroying evidence that was under subpoena from the House of Representatives. We also don’t know why the investigation was carried out in a way that is different from any normal criminal probe in which Clinton was interviewed last and allowed to bring a key witness — Mills — with her. Nor are there explanations for the offers of immunity.
But leaving aside every other consideration, what the FBI has given us is an idea of how these same people — the out of touch boss and the self-important aides — will function when they all move into the West Wing next January in the event that Clinton defeats Donald Trump. Of course, Trump’s staff — or lack thereof — and the byzantine doings of Trump Tower would probably provide reading that is just as scary. But what we do know from all of this is that a Hillary Clinton administration will probably be flying by the seats of their pantsuits when it comes to security. No matter what you think of Trump, that’s a sobering thought.

1b) I used to think I was just a regular person, but…I was born white, which now, whether I like it or not, makes me a racist.   I am a fiscal and moral conservative, which by today’s standards, makes me a fascist.    I am heterosexual, which according to gay folks, now makes me a homophobe.   I am non-union, which makes me a traitor to the working class and an ally of big business.   I am a Christian, which now labels me as an infidel.   I believe in the 2nd Amendment, which now makes me a member of the vast gun lobby.   I am older than 70 and retired, which makes me a useless old person.   I think and I reason, therefore I doubt much that the main stream media tells me, which must make me a reactionary.    I am proud of my heritage and our inclusive American culture, which makes me a xenophobe.   I value my safety and that of my family and I appreciate the police and the legal system, which makes me a right-wing extremist.   I believe in hard work, fair play, and fair compensation according to each individual's merits, which today makes me an anti-socialist.   I (and most of the folks I know), acquired a fair education without student loans (it’s called work) and no debt at graduation, which makes me some kind of an odd underachiever.   I believe in the defense and protection of the homeland for and by all citizens, which now makes me a militant.  Now, a sick old woman is calling me and my friends a basket of deplorables.


Oh My: Is Hillary Planning to Put Loretta Lynch on The Supreme Court?

By Katie Pavlich

Earlier this year when President Obama was searching for late Justice Antonin Scalia's replacement on the Supreme Court, Attorney General Loretta Lynch was reportedly on his short list of potential nominees. During the process, in which it quickly became clear whoever was nominated would not get a vote in the Senate before the election, Lynch withdrew her name from selection. 
Attorney General Loretta Lynch has asked not to be nominated to the Supreme Court, a Department of Justice spokeswoman said Tuesday.
"The Attorney General determined that the limitations inherent in the nomination process would curtail her effectiveness in her current role," DOJ spokeswoman Melanie Newman said in a statement.
But now with the election just 39 days away, the rumor mill is swirling with chatter Democrat Hillary Clinton is planning to consider Lynch for the Supreme Court should she win the White House. 
There’s been some speculation that Loretta Lynch, the attorney general of the Department of Justice, could be on Mrs. Clinton’s short-list. Mrs. Clinton already floated the idea to The New York Times in July, that she would like Ms. Lynch to stay on and serve in her administration. 
If Clinton were to nominate Lynch to the Supreme Court, it would only bolster accusations of corruption and would put the private, secret meeting between Lynch and Bill Clinton on her private plane just days before the FBI announced a non-indictment over Hillary's email server in July, into a whole new perspective. 
Supreme Court aside, if Clinton wins she is reportedly planning to keep Lynch as Attorney General.

Obama Lost Syria, Elevated Russia Because He Was Fixated on Iran, Then Let Them Off The Hook and Lost Everything. What Do I Know About Advising Trump?

Trump's remaining strategy should focus on the economy, the failure of Obama, Clinton and Kerry's foreign policies, terrorism and Clinton's association with and contribution to Obama's failed presidency. I recently posted an op ed by Caroline Glick who made the point that Obama lost Syria, elevated Russia because he focused on Iran and then allowed Iran to slip off the hook so he lost on all counts.

Meanwhile, the press will always protect Hillary so when Trump goes against her and her husband's past indiscretions he is taking on the mass media and will never come out on top.

He can and should attack her for using a personal server and for her lies about it and Benghazi and their differences regarding taxes, trade, attitude about how to bring back law and order, guns and free speech, failure to name the enemy  etc..

Trump needs to recognize Hillary and Bill are masters at mud fighting and do not fear the consequences of blatant lying (I did not have sex with that girl and is, is , is) which never sticks on them. Consequently, when Trump attacks her and husband Bill, he must do so from the gutter and that takes him off message and returns the target to his back.

One last piece of advice: Donald you need to prepare  and recognize the debate lasts longer than you seemed prepared for in your first entanglement.

It is stupid politics and tactics to attack The Clintons and their hangers on and that is probably why he will resort to it because his  'uge' ego cannot stand being attacked and he seems totally hungry for and sucked in by Hillary's poisoned bait.  Even though Hillary is all he could possibly say about her and the public already thinks of her, I believe it will not elevate him or lower her any further. Why?  The public already overwhelmingly finds her distrustful .

I would think those assisting him with his campaign, including Newt, have told him as much but he is headstrong, has gotten where he is by doing such and mistakenly believes it will help him capture The White House.

What it takes to be nominated is far more narrow than running for the whole enchilada. Trump apparently has never accepted or believes this reality.

In the end, Trump may prove to be correct.  Time will tell but it is an electoral  battle and what Trump needs is to convert the remaining undecided. I believe he will fail by attacking the Clinton's dirty past but then what do I know about politics, elections and how to win them.

Today's politics is a nasty game engaged in  by people with out sized egos who believe they have answers to problems they helped create.  There are very few states-persons engaged in politics any longer because they deem it a useless endeavor and not worth exposing their reputation considering the enormous downsize.


Thursday, September 29, 2016

Glick, Noonan, Rabinowitz and Will - What's Wrong With America, Our Parties and Conservatism. My Rationale For Sticking With Trump.

Glick on Obama's New Middle East and Noonan on what ails America. (See 1 and 1a below.)
One of the world's brilliant minds warns the world. (See 2 below.)
Rabinowitz and Will articulates many of the reasons that conflict me regarding my preference for Trump over Clinton.

However, I am forced to make a choice and am sticking with the one I have made regarding voting for Trump.

In making my decision, I simply cannot overlook  the 7 plus years of the damage Obama has done to our nation and which Clinton was so much a willing partner.

I cannot ignore their feckless and dangerous Middle East policies which have caused so much tragedy and elevated Russia's status.  I cannot excuse how Obama ignored our constitution and corrupted independent agencies through appointments of incompetents who either lied or purposely  misled America . Nor can I dismiss Obama's efforts to pit one American against another through lies, deception and class warfare.  Finally, as a consequence of The Iran Deal, Obamacare , the release of terrorists from Guantanamo and other such acts of downright stupidity and arrogance, bordering on a treasonous disregard of his sworn pledge to defend and protect, Obama  has made the world less safe and then we have Hillary's contemptible comments about those who disagree with her and the fact that she placed her personal gain and privilege above the nation's. (See 3, 3a, 3b and 3c below.)

The candidates our two major parties have flushed up suggests something is radically wrong and rotten with America's political system and thus America's future as a great nation which has offered extraordinary opportunities based on a preferable economic system and a constitution that has served us well for hundred of years.
1)  Obama's New Middle East

Caroline B. GlickBy Caroline B. Glick

A new Syria is emerging. And with it, a new Middle East and world are presenting themselves. Our new world is not a peaceful or stable one. It is a harsh place.

The new Syria is being born in the rubble of Aleppo.

The eastern side of the city, which has been under the control of US-supported rebel groups since 2012, is being bombed into the Stone Age by Russian and Syrian aircraft.

All avenues of escape have been blocked. A UN aid convoy was bombed in violation of a fantasy cease-fire.

Medical facilities and personnel are being targeted by Russia and Syrian missiles and barrel bombs to make survival impossible.

It is hard to assess how long the siege of eastern Aleppo by Russia, its Iranian and Hezbollah partners and its Syrian regime puppet will last. But what is an all but foregone conclusion now is that eastern Aleppo will fall. And with its fall, the Russian-Iranian-Hezbollah-Assad axis will consolidate its control over all of western Syria.

For four years, the Iranians, Hezbollah and Bashar Assad played a cat and mouse game with the rebel militias.

Fighting a guerrilla war with the help of the Sunni population, the anti-regime militias were able to fight from and hide from within the civilian population. Consequently, they were all but impossible to defeat.

When Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to join the fight, he and his generals soon recognized that this manner of fighting ensured perpetual war. So they changed tactics. The new strategy involves speeding up the depopulation and ethnic cleansing of rebel-held areas. The massive refugee flows from Syria over the past year are a testament to the success of the barbaric war plan. The idea is to defeat the rebel forces by to destroying the sheltering civilian populations.

Since the Syrian war began some five years ago, half of the pre-war population of 23 million has been displaced.

Sunnis, who before the war comprised 75% of the population, are being targeted for death and exile. More than 4 million predominantly Sunni Syrians are living in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. More than a million have entered Europe. Millions more have been internally displaced. Assad has made clear that they will never be coming home.

At the same time, the regime and its Iranian and Hezbollah masters have been importing Shi’ites from Iran, Iraq and beyond. The process actually began before the war started. In the lead-up to the war some half million Shi’ites reportedly relocated to Syria from surrounding countries.

This means that at least as far as western Syria is concerned, once Aleppo is destroyed, and the 250,000 civilians trapped in the eastern part of what was once Syria’s commercial capital are forced from their homes and property, the Russians, Iranians, Hezbollah and their Syrian fig leaf Assad will enjoy relative peace in their areas of control.

By adopting a strategy of total war, Putin has ensured that far from becoming the quagmire that President Barack Obama warned him Syria would become, the war in Syria has instead become a means to transform Russia into the dominant superpower in the Mediterranean, at the US’s expense.

In exchange for saving Assad’s neck and enabling Iran and Hezbollah to control Syria, Russia has received the capacity to successfully challenge US power. Last month Putin brought an agreement with Assad before the Duma for ratification. The agreement permits – indeed invites – Russia to set up a permanent air base in Khmeimim, outside the civilian airport in Latakia.

Russian politicians, media and security experts have boasted that the base will be able to check the power of the US Navy’s Sixth Fleet and challenge NATO’s southern flank in the Mediterranean basin for the first time. The Russians have also decided to turn their naval station at Tartus into something approaching a full scale naval base.

With Russia’s recent rapprochement with Turkish President Recip Erdogan, NATO’s future ability to check Russian power through the Incirlik air base is in question.

Even Israel’s ability to permit the US access to its air bases is no longer assured. Russia has deployed air assets to Syria that have canceled Israel’s regional air superiority.

Under these circumstances, in a hypothetical Russian-US confrontation, Israel may be unwilling to risk Russian retaliation for a decision to permit the US to use its air bases against Russia.

America’s loss of control over the eastern Mediterranean is a self-induced disaster.

For four years, as Putin stood on the sidelines and hedged his bets, Obama did nothing. As Iran and Hezbollah devoted massive financial and military assets to maintaining their puppet Assad in power, the Obama administration squandered chance after chance to bring down the regime and stem Iran’s regional imperial advance.

For his refusal to take action when such action could have easily been taken, Obama shares the responsibility for what Syria has become. This state of affairs is all the more infuriating because the hard truth is that it wouldn’t have been hard for the US to defeat the Iranian- Hezbollah axis. The fact that even without US help the anti-regime forces managed to hold on for four years shows how weak the challenge posed by Iran and Hezbollah actually was.

Russia only went into Syria when Putin was absolutely convinced that Obama would do nothing to stop him from dislodging America as the premier global power in the region.

As Michael Ledeen recalled earlier this week, Obama chose to stand on the sidelines in Syria because he wanted to make friends with Iran. Obama began his secret courtship of the mullahs even before he officially took office eight years ago.

After the war broke out in Syria, midway through his first term and in the following years, the Russians and the Iranians told the obsessed American president that if he took action against Assad, as strategic rationality dictated, he would get no nuclear deal, and no rapprochement with Tehran.

So Obama let Syria burn. He let Iran and Hezbollah transform the country into their colony. And he let Putin transform the Mediterranean into a Russian lake. Obama enabled the ethnic cleansing of Syria’s Sunni majority, and in turn facilitated the refugee crisis that is changing the face not only of the Middle East but of Europe as well.

And as it turns out, the deal with Iran that Obama willingly sacrificed US control of the Mediterranean to achieve has not ushered in a new era of regional moderation and stability through appeasement as Obama foresaw. It has weakened US credibility with its spurned Sunni allies. It has undermined the strategic position of Israel, the US’s only stable and reliable regional ally. It has financially and strategically fueled Iran’s hegemonic rise throughout the region. And it has facilitated Iran’s development of a nuclear arsenal.

Far from causing the Iranian to become more moderate, the nuclear deal has radicalized the regime still further.

On Wednesday Ray Takeyh wrote in The Washington Post that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is now grooming Ibrahim Raisi, a fanatic who makes Khamenei look moderate, to succeed him in power.

On Monday night, for the first time, Israel Air Force jets flying over Syria were shot at by Syrian anti-aircraft ordnance.

Air force sources told the media that the aircraft were never in danger and the munitions were only shot off after the aircraft had returned to Israel and were in the process off landing.

The fact that no one was hurt is of course reassuring.

But the fact that Russia targeted the planes makes clear that Putin has decided to send Israel a very clear and menacing message.

He is now the protector of the Iranian-Hezbollah colony on our northern border. If Israel decides to preemptively attack targets belong to that colony, Russia will not stand by and watch. And with the US no longer well-positioned to challenge Russian power in the region, Israel will have to deal with Russia on its own.

To face this challenge, Israel needs to look beyond its traditional reliance on air power.

There are two parts of the challenge. The first part is Iran.

As far as Israel is concerned, the problem with the Russian- Iranian takeover of Syria is not Putin.

Putin is not inherently hostile to Israel, as his Soviet predecessors were. He is an opportunist. Obama gave him the opportunity to partner with Iran in asserting Russian dominance in the Middle East and he took it. Israel is threatened by the alliance because it is threatened by Iran, not by Putin. To neutralize the alliance’s threat to its own security, Israel then needs to degrade Iran’s power, and it needs to emphasize its own.

To accomplish these goals, Israel needs to operate in two completely separate arenas. To weaken Iran, Israel should take its cue from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, and from its own past successful military ties to the Kurds of Iraq in the 1960s and 1970s.

Israel needs to deploy military trainers beyond its borders to work with other anti-Iranian forces. The goal of that cooperation must be to destabilize the regime, with the goal of overthrowing it. This may take time. But it must be done. The only way to neutralize the threat emanating from the new Syria is to change the nature of the Iranian regime that controls it.

As for Russia, Israel needs to demonstrate that it is a power that Putin can respect in its own right, and not a downgraded Washington’s sock puppet.

To this end, Israel should embark on a rapid expansion of its civilian presence along its eastern border with Syria and with Jordan. As Russia’s air base in Syria undermines Israel’s air superiority and reliance on air power, Israel needs to show that it will not be dislodged or allow its own territory to be threatened in any way. By doubling the Israeli population on the Golan Heights within five years, and vastly expanding its population in the Jordan Valley, Israel will accomplish two goals at once. It will demonstrate its independence from the US without harming US strategic interests. And it will reinforce its eastern border against expanded strategic threats from both the Golan Heights and the new Jordan with its bursting population of Syrian and Iraqi refugees.

It is ironic that the new Middle East is coming into focus as Shimon Peres, the failed visionary of a fantasy- based new Middle East, is being laid to rest. But to survive in the real new Middle East, Israel must bury Peres’s belief that peace is built by appeasing enemies along with him. The world in which we live has a place for dreamers.


The Politics of ‘The Shallows’

What ails American democracy? Too much information and too little thought.

By Peggy Noonan 
What impact has the modern media environment had on the 2016 campaign? I know that’s a boring sentence, but journalists and politicians talk about it a lot, journalists uneasily and politicians with frustration. The 24/7 news cycle and the million multiplying platforms with their escalating demands—for pictures, video, sound, the immediate hot take—exhaust politicians and staff, and media people too. Everyone is tired, and chronically tired people live, perilously, on the Edge of Stupid. More important, modern media realities make everything intellectually thinner, shallower. Everything moves fast; we talk not of the scandal of the day but the scandal of the hour, reducing a great event, a presidential campaign, into an endless river of gaffes.

The need to say something becomes the tendency to say anything. It makes everything dumber, grosser, less important.

This year I am seeing something, especially among the young of politics and journalism. They have received most of what they know about political history through screens. They are college graduates, they’re in their 20s or 30s, they’re bright and ambitious, but they have seen the movie and not read the book. They’ve heard the sound bite but not read the speech. Their understanding of history, even recent history, is superficial. They grew up in the internet age and have filled their brain
space with information that came in the form of pictures and sounds. They learned through sensation, not through books, which demand something deeper from your brain. Reading forces you to imagine, question, ponder, reflect. It provides a deeper understanding of political figures and events.

Watching a movie about the Cuban Missile Crisis shows you a drama. Reading about it shows you a dilemma. The book makes you imagine the color, sound, tone and tension, the logic of events: It makes your brain do work. A movie is received passively: You sit back, see, hear. Books demand and reward. When you read them your knowledge base deepens and expands. In time that depth comes to inform your work, sometimes in ways of which you’re not fully conscious.

In the past 18 months I talked to three young presidential candidates—people running for president, real grown-ups—who, it was clear to me by the end of our conversations, had, in their understanding of modern American political history, seen the movie and not read the book. Two of them, I’ve come to know, can recite whole pages of dialogue from movies. (It is interesting to me that the movies our politicians have most memorized are “The Godfather” Parts I and II.)

Everyone in politics is getting much of what they know through the internet, through Google searches and Wikipedia. They can give you a certain sense of things but are by nature quick and shallow reads that link to other quick and shallow reads. Sometimes subjects are treated in a tendentious manner, reflecting the biases or limited knowledge of the writer.

If you get your information mostly through the Web, you’ll get stuck in “The Shallows,” which is the name of a book by Nicholas Carr about what the internet is doing to our brains. Media, he reminds us, are not just channels of information: “They supply the stuff of thought, but they also shape the process of thought.” The internet is chipping away at our “capacity for concentration and contemplation.” “Once I was a scuba driver in the sea of words,” writes Mr. Carr. “Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.”

If you can’t read deeply you will not be able to think deeply. If you can’t think deeply you will not be able to lead well, or report well.

There is another aspect of this year’s media environment, and it would be wrong not to speak it. It is that the mainstream media appear to have decided Donald Trump is so uniquely a threat to democracy, so appalling as a political figure, such a break with wholesome political tradition, that they are justified in showing, day by day, not only opposition but utter antagonism toward him. That surely has some impact on what Kellyanne Conway calls “undercover Trump voters.” They know what polite people think of them; they know their support carries a social stigma. Last week I saw a CNN daytime anchor fairly levitate with anger as she reported on Mr. Trump; I thought she was going to have an out-of-body experience and start floating over the shiny glass desk. She surely knew she’d pay no price for her shown disdain, and might gain Twitter followers.

Guys, this isn’t helping. Tell the story, ask the questions, trust the people, give it to them straight, report both sides. It’s the most constructive thing you could do right now, when any constructive act comes as a real relief.

In a country whose institutions are in such fragile shape, mainstream media very much among them, it does no good for its members to damage further their own reputations for fairness, probity, judgment. Books will be written about this, though I’m not sure they’ll read them.

As to Monday’s debate, Hillary Clinton won. The story leading up to it was that she was frail, her health bad. Instead she was vibrant, confident, smiling and present. Sometimes when Mrs. Clinton speaks you sense she’s operating at a level of distraction, reviewing her performance in real time or thinking about dinner. Here her mind was on the mission. She did not fall into the hectoring cadence that is a harassment to the ear. She said nothing remotely interesting.

Mr. Trump’s job was to leave you able to imagine him as president. You could have, but it would be a grumpy, grouchy president with thin skin.

Neither quite got across the idea that they were in it for America and not themselves.

When you are a politician leaving the debate stage you always know if you won. You can feel it. You know when it worked and when it didn’t. You ask everyone, “How’d I do?” but you know the answer. And you’re happy. What you get after such a victory is the whoosh. The whoosh is the wind at your back that gives the spring to your step. You get the jolly look and your laugh is a real laugh and not an enactment, and all this makes you better at the next stop, which makes the crowd cheer louder, and then you really know you’ve got the whoosh.

The whoosh can carry you for days or weeks, until there’s a reversal of some kind. Then you lose the sense of magical good fortune and peerless personal performance and the audience senses it, gets quieter, and suddenly the whoosh is gone.

But right now Mrs. Clinton has it.

She’ll probably overplay her hand. That’s what she does. Her sense of her own destiny blinds her to her tendency toward misjudgment. She’ll call Trump supporters a bucket of baneful baddies.
Since the debate Mr. Trump is angry and is going straight into junkyard dog mode, which won’t work well.

This tells me the next week or so she’s on the upalator and he’s on the downalator. After that, we’ll see.

The Mutating Virus: Understanding Antisemitism

Below is a transcript of a speech by Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks at “The Future of the Jewish Communities in Europe” Conference at The European Parliament on 27th September 2016 in Brussels.

The hate that begins with Jews never ends with Jews. That is what I want us to understand today. It wasn’t Jews alone who suffered under Hitler. It wasn’t Jews alone who suffered under Stalin. It isn’t Jews alone who suffer under ISIS or Al Qaeda or Islamic Jihad. We make a great mistake if we think antisemitism is a threat only to Jews. It is a threat, first and foremost, to Europe and to the freedoms it took centuries to achieve.

Antisemitism is not about Jews. It is about anti-Semites. It is about people who cannot accept responsibility for their own failures and have instead to blame someone else. Historically, if you were a Christian at the time of the Crusades, or a German after the First World War, and saw that the world hadn’t turned out the way you believed it would, you blamed the Jews. That is what is happening today. And I cannot begin to say how dangerous it is. Not just to Jews but to everyone who values freedom, compassion and humanity.

The appearance of antisemitism in a culture is the first symptom of a disease, the early warning sign of collective breakdown. If Europe allows antisemitism to flourish, that will be the beginning of the end of Europe. And what I want to do in these brief remarks is simply to analyze a phenomenon full of vagueness and ambiguity, because we need precision and understanding to know what antisemitism is, why it happens, why anti-Semites are convinced that they are not antisemitic.

First let me define antisemitism. Not liking Jews is not antisemitism. We all have people we don’t like. That’s OK; that’s human; it isn’t dangerous. Second, criticizing Israel is not antisemitism. I was recently talking to some schoolchildren and they asked me: is criticizing Israel antisemitism? I said No and I explained the difference. I asked them: Do you believe you have a right to criticize the British government? They all put up their hands. Then I asked, Which of you believes that Britain has no right to exist? No one put up their hands. Now you know the difference, I said, and they all did.

Antisemitism means denying the right of Jews to exist collectively as Jews with the same rights as everyone else. It takes different forms in different ages. In the Middle Ages, Jews were hated because of their religion. In the nineteenth and early twentieth century they were hated because of their race. Today they are hated because of their nation state, the state of Israel. It takes different forms but it remains the same thing: the view that Jews have no right to exist as free and equal human beings.

If there is one thing I and my contemporaries did not expect, it was that antisemitism would reappear in Europe within living memory of the Holocaust. The reason we did not expect it was that Europe had undertaken the greatest collective effort in all of history to ensure that the virus of antisemitism would never again infect the body politic. It was a magnificent effort of anti-racist legislation, Holocaust education and interfaith dialogue. Yet antisemitism has returned despite everything.

On 27 January 2000, representatives of 46 governments from around the world gathered in Stockholm to issue a collective declaration of Holocaust remembrance and the continuing fight against antisemitism, racism and prejudice. Then came 9/11, and within days conspiracy theories were flooding the internet claiming it was the work of Israel and its secret service, the Mossad. In April 2002, on Passover, I was in Florence with a Jewish couple from Paris when they received a phone call from their son, saying, “Mum, Dad, it’s time to leave France. It’s not safe for us here anymore.”

In May 2007, in a private meeting here in Brussels, I told the three leaders of Europe at the time, Angela Merkel, President of the European Council, Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, and Hans-Gert Pöttering, President of the European Parliament, that the Jews of Europe were beginning to ask whether there was a future for Jews in Europe.

That was more than nine years ago. Since then, things have become worse. Already in 2013, before some of the worst incidents, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights found that almost a third of Europe’s Jews were considering emigrating because of anti-Semitism. In France the figure was 46 percent; in Hungary 48 percent.

Let me ask you this. Whether you are Jewish or Christian, Muslim: would you stay in a country where you need armed police to guard you while you prayed? Where your children need armed guards to protect them at school? Where, if you wear a sign of your faith in public, you risk being abused or attacked? Where, when your children go to university, they are insulted and intimidated because of what is happening in some other part of the world? Where, when they present their own view of the situation they are howled down and silenced?

This is happening to Jews throughout Europe. In every single country of Europe, without exception, Jews are fearful for their or their children’s future. If this continues, Jews will continue to leave Europe, until, barring the frail and the elderly, Europe will finally have become Judenrein.

How did this happen? It happened the way viruses always defeat the human immune system, namely, by mutating. The new antisemitism is different from the old antisemitism, in three ways. I’ve already mentioned one. Once Jews were hated because of their religion. Then they were hated because of their race. Now they are hated because of their nation state. The second difference is that the epicenter of the old antisemitism was Europe. Today it’s the Middle East and it is communicated globally by the new electronic media.

The third is particularly disturbing. Let me explain. It is easy to hate, but difficult publicly to justify hate. Throughout history, when people have sought to justify anti-Semitism, they have done so by recourse to the highest source of authority available within the culture. In the Middle Ages, it was religion. So we had religious anti-Judaism. In post-Enlightenment Europe it was science. So we had the twin foundations of Nazi ideology, Social Darwinism and the so-called Scientific Study of Race. Today the highest source of authority worldwide is human rights. That is why Israel—the only fully functioning democracy in the Middle East with a free press and independent judiciary—is regularly accused of the five cardinal sins against human rights: racism, apartheid, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and attempted genocide.

The new antisemitism has mutated so that any practitioner of it can deny that he or she is an antisemite. After all, they’ll say, I’m not a racist. I have no problem with Jews or Judaism. I only have a problem with the State of Israel. But in a world of 56 Muslim nations and 103 Christian ones, there is only one Jewish state, Israel, which constitutes one-quarter of one per cent of the land mass of the Middle East. Israel is the only one of the 193 member nations of the United Nations that has its right to exist regularly challenged, with one state, Iran, and many, many other groups, committed to its destruction.

Antisemitism means denying the right of Jews to exist as Jews with the same rights as everyone else. The form this takes today is anti-Zionism. Of course, there is a difference between Zionism and Judaism, and between Jews and Israelis, but this difference does not exist for the new anti-Semites themselves. It was Jews not Israelis who were murdered in terrorist attacks in Toulouse, Paris, Brussels and Copenhagen. Anti-Zionism is the antisemitism of our time.

In the Middle Ages Jews were accused of poisoning wells, spreading the plague, and killing Christian children to use their blood. In Nazi Germany they were accused of controlling both capitalist America and communist Russia. Today they are accused of running ISIS as well as America. All the old myths have been recycled, from the Blood Libel to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The cartoons that flood the Middle East are clones of those published in Der Sturmer one of the primary vehicles of Nazi propaganda between 1923 and 1945.

The ultimate weapon of the new antisemitism is dazzling in its simplicity. It goes like this. The Holocaust must never happen again. But Israelis are the new Nazis; the Palestinians are the new Jews; all Jews are Zionists. Therefore the real antisemites of our time are none other than the Jews themselves. And these are not marginal views. They are widespread throughout the Muslim world, including communities in Europe, and they are slowly infecting the far left, the far right, academic circles, unions, and even some churches. Having cured itself of the virus of antisemitism, Europe is being reinfected by parts of the world that never went through the self-reckoning that Europe undertook once the facts of the Holocaust became known.

How do such absurdities come to be believed? This is a vast and complex subject, and I have written a book about it, but the simplest explanation is this. When bad things happen to a group, its members can ask one of two questions: “What did we do wrong?” or “Who did this to us?” The entire fate of the group will depend on which it chooses.

If it asks, “What did we do wrong?” it has begun the self-criticism essential to a free society. If it asks, “Who did this to us?” it has defined itself as a victim. It will then seek a scapegoat to blame for all its problems. Classically this has been the Jews.

Anti-Semitism is a form of cognitive failure, and it happens when groups feel that their world is spinning out of control. It began in the Middle Ages, when Christians saw that Islam had defeated them in places they regarded as their own, especially Jerusalem. That was when, in 1096, on their way to the Holy Land, the Crusaders stopped first to massacre Jewish communities in Northern Europe. It was born in the Middle East in the 1920s with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Antisemitism re-emerged in Europe in the 1870s during a period of economic recession and resurgent nationalism. And it is re-appearing in Europe now for the same reasons: recession, nationalism, and a backlash against immigrants and other minorities. Antisemitism happens when the politics of hope gives way to the politics of fear, which quickly becomes the politics of hate.

This then reduces complex problems to simplicities. It divides the world into black and white, seeing all the fault on one side and all the victimhood on the other. It singles out one group among a hundred offenders for the blame. The argument is always the same. We are innocent; they are guilty. It follows that if we are to be free, they, the Jews or the state of Israel, must be destroyed. That is how the great crimes begin
Jews were hated because they were different. They were the most conspicuous non-Christian minority in a Christian Europe. Today they are the most conspicuous non-Muslim presence in an Islamic Middle East. Anti-Semitism has always been about the inability of a group to make space for difference. No group that adopts it will ever, can ever, create a free society.

So I end where I began. The hate that begins with Jews never ends with Jews. Antisemitism is only secondarily about Jews. Primarily it is about the failure of groups to accept responsibility for their own failures, and to build their own future by their own endeavours. No society that has fostered antisemitism has ever sustained liberty or human rights or religious freedom. Every society driven by hate begins by seeking to destroy its enemies, but ends by destroying itself.

Europe today is not fundamentally antisemitic. But it has allowed antisemitism to enter via the new electronic media. It has failed to recognize that the new antisemitism is different from the old. We are not today back in the 1930s. But we are coming close to 1879, when Wilhelm Marr founded the League of Anti-Semites in Germany; to 1886 when Édouard Drumont published La France Juive; and 1897 when Karl Lueger became Mayor of Vienna. These were key moments in the spread of antisemitism, and all we have to do today is to remember that what was said then about Jews is being said today about the Jewish state.

The history of Jews in Europe has not always been a happy one. Europe’s treatment of the Jews added certain words to the human vocabulary: disputation, forced conversion, inquisition, expulsion, auto da fe, ghetto, pogrom and Holocaust, words written in Jewish tears and Jewish blood. Yet for all that, Jews loved Europe and contributed to it some of its greatest scientists, writers, academics, musicians, shapers of the modern mind.
If Europe lets itself be dragged down that road again, this will be the story told in times to come. First they came for the Jews. Then for the Christians. Then for the gays. Then for the atheists. Until there was nothing left of Europe’s soul but a distant, fading memory.

Today I have tried to give voice to those who have no voice. I have spoken on behalf of the murdered Roma, Sinti, gays, dissidents, the mentally and physically handicapped, and a million and a half Jewish children murdered because of their grandparents’ religion. In their name, I say to you: You know where the road ends. Don’t go down there again.

You are the leaders of Europe. Its future is in your hands. If you do nothing, Jews will leave, European liberty will die, and there will be a moral stain on Europe’s name that all eternity will not erase.
Stop it now while there is still time.

Office of Rabbi Sacks
PO Box 72007
Tel: +44(0)20 7286 6391

Hillary-Hatred Derangement Syndrome

She alone stands between America and the reign of the most unstable, unfit president in U.S. history.

Hillary Clinton at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, N.H., Sept. 28.ENLARGE
Hillary Clinton at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, N.H., Sept. 28. PHOTO: ZUMA PRESS
There were cheers when Donald Trump assured his Virginia audience last weekend that the wall will be built and, yes, that Mexico would pay for it. But the cheers lacked the roaring ecstasy his promise used to evoke at rallies. No one has the heart, by now, to pretend that such a wall will actually be built, but that’s all right with Mr. Trump’s dauntless fans, who can find plenty of other reasons for their faith in him. The NeverTrump forces, appalled at the prospect of a Trump presidency, are no less passionate.
The NeverHillary forces are another matter entirely—citizens well aware of the darker aspects of Donald Trump’s character but who have nonetheless concluded that they should give him their vote. They are aware of his casual disregard for truth, his self-obsession, his ignorance, his ingrained vindictiveness. Not even the first presidential debate, which saw him erupt into a snarling aside about Rosie O’Donnell, could loosen his hold on that visceral drive to inflict payback, in this case over a feud 10 years old.
The NeverHillary forces are aware, too, of his grandiosity—his announcement that he knows more about Islamic State than any of America’s generals will long be remembered—his impulse-driven character, his insatiable need for applause, the head-turning effect on him of an approving word from Vladimir Putin. The Russian leader’s compliment late last year was of the mildest kind—he referred to Mr. Trump as “talented” and “colorful”—but it was enough to make the candidate’s heart go pitter-patter with gratitude and engender instant expressions of his faith in Mr. Putin’s integrity and leadership. As Mr. Trump himself has explained, “if he says nice things about me, I’m going to say nice things about him.”
Such are the values that drive the Republican candidate’s judgment—a fact interesting to contemplate as one imagines a President Trump dealing with international conflict and rogue heads of state. Still Mr. Trump is now the choice of voters who have concluded that of the two flawed contenders running, he would be far preferable.
Yes, he may be rough around the edges, but he’s a fresh force, the argument goes, unlike the establishment war horse, Mrs. Clinton, with her history of scandal and rumors thereof, and her decades in politics. Mr. Trump is the dynamo who will blow up the old order. He’s authentic, a man with the courage of his convictions.
Mr. Trump has not, of course, shown himself notably reliable as regards the courage of his convictions. It’s by now impossible to count the number of times and ways in which he’s sidled away from his grand plans on immigration, that promise to deport everyone here illegally, not to mention his proposal to institute a total block on Muslim immigration “till we figure things out.” He’s proffered no less than three different views on abortion, one of which called for “at least some punishment” for the woman involved—quickly changed to wait, no, it should be the doctor.
Still, it was the view of Donald Trump as a fearless foe of liberal piety, that image of him as an outsider, untainted by experience in government—itself one of the more remarkable boasts of any presidential campaign in memory—that persuaded so many Americans he is the leader the country needs. As opposed, that is, to Mrs. Clinton—the educated former secretary of state, with lengthy experience in government.
Equally remarkable, even for a change election, that experience, those years of education in national security somehow rank high on the list of defects the anti-Hillary brigades find so objectionable. Here is a flaw apparently even more rankling than her email server history, the questions about Benghazi, or the Clinton Foundation: She offers nothing of Mr. Trump’s aura of free-swinging dynamism, not to mention a mind blissfully uncluttered by facts, knowledge of geopolitical realities, and the like.
Mrs. Clinton hasn’t failed to provide, on her own, cause for concern about her own proclivities and never more intolerably than in that debate Monday when she chose to ramble on, familiarly, about institutional racism, which invariably emerges in her responses on conflagration involving police action. Americans have a right to cringe at this reflexive, factually distorted, and inflammatory sermonizing. The accompanying, deep felt tribute to the police and their heroism, invariably added, can never offset the insidiousness of these messages.
Even so, such proclivities pale next to the occasion for cringing that would come with a Trump presidency. No one witnessing Mr. Trump’s primary race—his accumulation of Alt-Right cheerleaders, white supremacists and swastika devotees—could fail to notice the menacing tone and the bitterness that came with it.
Not for nothing did the Democrats bring off a triumph of a convention, alive with cheer, not to mention its two visitors whose story would lift countless American hearts. They were, of course, the Muslim couple Khizr and Ghazala Khan, whose son, Capt. Humayun Khan—brought here as a child—died in Iraq in 2004, saving his men from an explosive-rigged car.
His countrymen now go streaming to his grave at Arlington National Cemetery to leave notes and flowers. He reminded us of who we are—the nation that takes its newcomers and transforms them into Americans. After 9/11, Capt. Khan, American, could scarcely wait to serve his country. The national response to the Khans injected a sense of unity and affirmation, however brief, into an atmosphere of embittering divisiveness.
The end of the election is now in sight. Some among the anti-Hillary brigades have decided, in deference to their exquisite sensibilities, to stay at home on Election Day, rather than vote for Mrs. Clinton. But most Americans will soon make their choice. It will be either Mr. Trump or Mrs. Clinton—experienced, forward-looking, indomitably determined and eminently sane. Her election alone is what stands between the American nation and the reign of the most unstable, proudly uninformed, psychologically unfit president ever to enter the White House.

3a) Donald Trump’s rise reflects American conservatism’s decay  

Looking on the bright side, perhaps this election can teach conservatives to look on the dark side. They need a talent for pessimism, recognizing the signs that whatever remains of American exceptionalism does not immunize this nation from decay, to which all regimes are susceptible.
The world’s oldest political party is an exhausted volcano, the intellectual staleness of its recycled candidate unchallenged because a generation of younger Democratic leaders barely exists. The Republican Party’s candidate evidently disdains his credulous supporters who continue to swallow his mendacities. About 90 percent of presidential votes will be cast for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, refuting the theory that this is a center-right country. At the risk of taking Trump’s words more seriously than he does, on some matters he is to Clinton’s left regarding big government powered by an unbridled presidency.
His trade policy is liberalism’s “industrial policy” repackaged for faux conservatives comfortable with presidents dictating what Americans can import and purchase at what prices, and where U.S. corporations can operate. Trump “wouldn’t approve” Ford manufacturing cars in Mexico. He would create a federal police force to deport 450,000 illegal immigrants a month, including 6.4 percent of America’s workforce in two years. Yet the 25 million jobs he promises to create would require more than doubling the current rate of legal immigration to fill them, according to economist Mark Zandi. Of the Supreme Court’s 2005 Kelodecision diluting property rights by vastly expanding government’s powers of eminent domain, Trump says, “I happen to agree with it 100 percent.” Even Bernie Sanders rejects Kelo.
When Trump says “people are not making it on Social Security,” he implies that people should be able to “make it” on Social Security for a third or more of their lives, and that he, like Clinton, is for enriching this entitlement’s benefits. He will “save” the system by eliminating — wait for it — “waste, fraud and abuse.” Trump is as parsimonious with specifics regarding health care (“Plans you don’t even know about will be devised because we’re going to come up with plans — health-care plans — that will be so good”) as regarding foreign policy (“I would get China, and I would say, ‘Get in [North Korea], and straighten it out.’ ”).

“Charismatic authority,” wrote Max Weber in 1915, seven years before Mussolini’s march on Rome, causes the governed to submit “because of their belief in the extraordinary quality of the specific person . . . . Charismatic rule thus rests upon the belief in magical powers, revelations and hero worship.” A demagogue’s success requires a receptive demos, and Trump’s ascendancy reflects progressivism’s success in changing America’s social norms and national character by de-stigmatizing dependency.
Under his presidency, Trump says, government will have all the answers: “I am your voice. . . . I alone can fix it.” The pronoun has unlimited antecedents: “I will give you everything. I will give you what you’ve been looking for for 50 years. I’m the only one.”
Urban without a trace of urbanity, Trump has surrounded himself with star-struck acolytes (Mike Pence marvels at Trump’s anatomical — “broad-shouldered” — foreign policy) and hysterics (Rudy Giuliani: “There is no next election! This is it!”). When Ferdinand VII regained Spain’s throne in 1813, he vowed to end “the disastrous mania of thinking.” Trump is America’s Ferdinand.
The American project was to construct a constitutional regime whose institutional architecture would guarantee the limited government implied by the Founders’ philosophy: Government is instituted to “secure” (the Declaration of Independence) preexisting natural rights. Today, however, neither the executive nor legislative branches takes this seriously, the judiciary has forsworn enforcing it, and neither political party represents it because no substantial constituency supports it.
The ease with which Trump has erased Republican conservatism matches the speed with which Republican leaders have normalized him. For the formerly conservative party, the Founders’ principles, although platitudes in the party’s catechism, have become, as former senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, “a kind of civic religion, avowed but not constraining.”
The beginning of conservative wisdom is recognition that there is an end to everything: Nothing lasts. If Trump wins, the GOP ends as a vehicle for conservatism. And a political idea without a political party is an orphan in an indifferent world.
Pessimism need not breed fatalism or passivity. It can define an agenda of regeneration, but only by being clear-eyed about the extent of degeneration, which a charlatan’s successful selling of his fabulousness exemplifies. Conservatism’s recovery from his piratical capture of the conservative party will require facing unflattering facts about a country that currently is indifferent to its founding.

3b) Jim Comey’s Blind Eye

The FBI director can’t defend immunity for Hillary Clinton’s aides—which says volumes.


Two revealing, if largely unnoticed, moments came in the middle of FBI Director Jim Comey’s Wednesday testimony before the House Judiciary Committee. When combined, these moments prove that Mr. Comey gave Hillary Clinton a pass.

Congress hauled Mr. Comey in to account for the explosive revelation that the government granted immunity to Clinton staffers Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson as part of its investigation into whether Mrs. Clinton had mishandled classified information. Rep. Tom Marino (R., Pa.), who was once a Justice Department prosecutor and knows how these investigations roll, provided the first moment. He asked Mr. Comey why Ms. Mills was so courteously offered immunity in return for her laptop—a laptop that Mr. Comey admitted investigators were very keen to obtain. Why not simply impanel a grand jury, get a subpoena, and seize the evidence?
Mr. Comey’s answer was enlightening: “It’s a reasonable question. . . . Any time you are talking about the prospect of subpoenaing a computer from a lawyer—that involves the lawyer’s practice of law—you know you are getting into a big megillah.” Pressed further, he added: “In general, you can often do things faster with informal agreements, especially when you are interacting with lawyers.”
The key words: “The lawyer’s practice of law.” What Mr. Comey was referencing here is attorney-client privilege. Ms. Mills was able to extract an immunity deal, avoid answering questions, and sit in on Mrs. Clinton’s FBI interview because she has positioned herself as Hillary’s personal lawyer. Ms. Mills could therefore claim that any conversations or interactions she had with Mrs. Clinton about the private server were protected by attorney-client privilege.
Ms. Mills was allowed to get away with this “attorney-client privilege” nonsense only because she claimed that she did not know about Mrs. Clinton’s server until after they had both left the State Department. Ergo, no questions about the server.Only here’s the rub: When Ms. Mills worked at the State Department she was not acting as Mrs. Clinton’s personal lawyer. She was the secretary's chief of staff. Any interaction with Mrs. Clinton about her server, or any evidence from that time, should have been fair game for the FBI and the Justice Department.
The FBI has deliberately chosen to accept this lie. The notes of its interview with Ms. Mills credulously states: “Mills did not learn Clinton was using a private email server until after Clinton’s tenure” at State. It added: “Mills stated she was not even sure she knew what a server was at the time.”
Which brings us to the hearing’s second revealing moment. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R., Utah) pointed out that the FBI’s notes from its interview with Clinton IT staffer Bryan Pagliano expose this lie. In late 2009 or early 2010, Mr. Pagliano told investigators, he approached Ms. Mills to relay State Department concerns that the private server might pose a “federal records retention issue.” According to Mr. Pagliano, Ms. Mills told him not to worry about it, because other secretaries of state had used similar setups.
More damning, Mr. Chaffetz held up an email that Ms. Mills sent in 2010 to Justin Cooper,whom the Clintons personally employed to help maintain the server. The email reads: “hrc email coming back—is server okay?” Mr. Cooper responds: “Ur funny. We are on the same server.”
To be clear: When Mrs. Clinton had an email problem, Ms. Mills didn’t call the State Department’s help desk. She didn’t call Yahoo customer service. She called a privately employed Clinton aide and asked specifically about Mrs. Clinton’s “server.” She did this as chief of staff at the State Department. Mr. Chaffetz asked Mr. Comey why the FBI wrote that Ms. Mills was ignorant about the server until later.
Mr. Comey suddenly sounded like a man with something to hide. “I don’t remember exactly, sitting here,” he said, in what can only be called the FBI version of “I don’t recall.” He then mumbled that “Having done many investigations myself, there’s always conflicting recollections of facts, some of which are central, some of which are peripheral. I don’t remember, sitting here, about that one.”
Really? Only a few minutes before he had explained that the Justice Department was forced to issue immunity to Ms. Mills because she had asserted attorney-client privilege. Yet he couldn’t remember all the glaring evidence proving she had no such privilege? Usually, the FBI takes a dim view of witnesses who lie. Had the FBI pursued perjury charges against Ms. Mills—as it would have done against anyone else—it would have had extraordinary leverage to force her to speak about all of her communications regarding the server. It might have even threatened to build a case that Ms. Mills was part of a criminal scheme. Then it could have offered immunity in return for the real goods on Hillary.
But going that route would have required grand juries, subpoenas, warrants and indictments—all things that Mr. Comey clearly wanted to avoid in this politically sensitive investigation. Much easier to turn a blind eye to Ms. Mills’s fiction. And to therefore give Mrs. Clinton a pass.


The Obama-Clinton Coal Bailout

They’re teeing up taxpayers to save the mineworkers’ pension.

Democrats have a three-stage strategy when they want to destroy an industry: Pick a politically vulnerable target, then pile on new regulatory costs, and finally demand that taxpayers bail out the victims of the destruction. We’re now in phase three in President Obama’s war on coal, with Democrats demanding that Congress save the United Mine Workers pension fund.
The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) runs a multi-employer pension plan that has struggled as coal has shrunk under Mr. Obama’s political assault and competition from natural gas. For every worker there are now 10 retirees. Liabilities have exploded as bankrupt companies have stopped paying for their workers and retirees.
Benefits are underfunded by $5.6 billion, or about $600,000 per worker, and the pension plan is projected to go broke by 2025. A retiree who worked 30 years would then receive a maximum of $12,870 per year from the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) versus $24,250.
Congress has tried to help coal miners avoid this fate. In 1992 Congress authorized the U.S. Treasury to divert interest from the Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Fund, which is financed by taxes on coal production, to the union’s retiree health care. In 2006 Congress allowed taxpayers to be billed if interest from the reclamation fund doesn’t cover the cost of the union’s generous health-care benefits. In 2015 interest transfers accounted for $32 million while taxpayers chipped in $142 million.
Now the union wants taxpayers to underwrite the pensions. Legislation propping up the union’s pension fund has gained steam as both parties mine for votes in the Rust Belt. Last week the Senate Finance Committee approved a bill that would allow up to $490 million in taxpayer subsidies and interest from the reclamation fund to be redirected to the union’s retiree health and pension benefits.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that backfilling the pension and retiree health benefits would cost $3.5 billion over the next decade. Although the federal government helped establish the UMWA pension plan in 1947, taxpayers have never been liable for benefits beyond what is guaranteed by the PBGC. Congress has also never provided financial assistance to any private, state or local pension plan.
The mineworkers’ predicament is real, but shoring up their pensions would set a dangerous and expensive precedent. About 1,238 of the country’s 1,361 defined-benefit multiemployer plans are underfunded to the tune of $611 billion.
The PBGC itself is forecast to go broke by 2025, which would result in benefits being slashed by up to 90%. In 2014 Congress passed legislation allowing endangered multi-employer plans to reduce benefits to up to 110% of the PBGC guarantee as long as disabled and elderly pensioners are held harmless. The goal was to prevent a cascade of insolvent plans from toppling the pension insurer.
Yet the UMWA hasn’t proposed adjusting benefits. While reductions might not be enough to salvage the plan at this late stage, PBGC Director Joshua Gotbaum has suggested a “partition” that transfers “orphans” that were offloaded by a bankrupt company to a new plan supported by the PBGC. This would make benefits for current workers sustainable.
But the union figures it can get Congress to cut another check, which Mr. Obama would be happy to endorse. In 2010 a top official at the Department of Interior warned that similar legislation would “add significant new costs, and eliminate savings sought by the Administration.” But having targeted coal for extinction, Mr. Obama and Hillary Clintonhave joined the bailout chorus to reduce the political fallout.
The Senate bill is also backed by at least nine Republicans including Tom Cotton (Ark.),Pat Toomey (Pa.) and Rob Portman (Ohio). Companion legislation in the House has drawn nearly 50 GOP co-sponsors.
The Senate has left town, but the bill may come up during the lame duck. By agreeing to rescue coal miners’ pensions, Republicans would be teeing themselves up for more bailouts. You can bet Democrats will later try to bludgeon Republicans into saving the Teamsters’ pensions too. This is the bigger reason Democrats are suddenly championing the coal miners they did so much to put out of work.