No, Hillary Did Not Commit a Crime?

I’ve now read two separate articles that definitively state that Hillary Clinton will not be charged with a crime regarding her handling of classified emails. Both articles use this one, originally posted at LawNewz.com, as a major basis for their reasoning.

I found the two linking articles to be full of mushy thinking, so I had very low expectations when I clicked on the linked one. To my surprise, the LawNewz article is extremely well thought out. It’s … reasonable.

That’s a high compliment from this blog.

How is it, then, that the two other articles went so terribly wrong?

Simple. They both either missed or dismissed a major, major qualification in the original, and that despite the qualification appearing in the title!

ANALYSIS: No, Hillary Clinton Did Not Commit a Crime … at Least Based on What We Know Today

Those last six words are important. And if putting that qualification in the title isn’t enough, check out this quote from the Conclusion:

To be clear, none of this means Clinton won’t be charged. There may be a trove of non-public evidence against her about which we simply do not know.

I completely agree with the premise of the article. As I’ve stated before in this blog, I have no idea if Hillary did anything wrong or not. Based on what we do know, there is sound reasoning to state that she absolutely will not be charged with a crime.

What we don’t know, however, is if the FBI has evidence that hasn’t been made public. Fox News is the only source that implies that such evidence exists (all unidentified sources with knowledge of the situation, of course).  No offense to the fine reporters over at FNC, but it’s hard for me to take their word for it when we’re talking about negative press for Hillary.

The fact is, though, none of us, at this point, have any way of knowing if any such evidence exists. I’d agree with you if you say, “Ah, probably not.” On the other hand, it’s hard for a reasonable person to rule out the possibility. Thus, I can’t reasonably make a definitive statement that she will absolutely not be charged with a crime.

I fear I must find that the two aforementioned linking articles are … unreasonable.

Is it Reasonable to Cast a Sexist Vote?

In this post, a fellow WordPress blogger seems tormented over her choice to vote for Hillary and gives readers a chance to convince her if she’s right or wrong.

Here at One Reasonable Person, I care nothing for right or wrong, so I won’t engage her on that front. My concern is whether the decision is reasonable.

Let’s take a look:

Why then, if my own beliefs and interests align more with the Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders, am I voting for the centrist Clinton? One very powerful and completely sexist reason: She is a woman. Yes, the fact that Clinton is female is overshadowing all of her negatives, and erasing all of Sanders’ positives. It is totally sexist. And I know it and freely admit it, even if I am not actually proud of it.

Powerful stuff that raises two questions:

Question 1: If you’ve put as much thought and, dare I say, reasoning into a problem as this blogger has, can the ultimate decision be considered unreasonable? Stated another way: Is reasonableness absolute or subjective?

While I’d like to say that any well-considered opinion has to be considered reasonable, I just can’t get there. Let’s say that I’m a rapper and, after much research, I’ve decided that the evidence conclusively proves that the earth is, in fact, flat.

Since the earth is round, the opposing viewpoint is unreasonable no matter how much time is spent considering it. Granted, my example has the benefit of being on a subject that can be conclusively proven, but I think the point drawn translates.

I respect greatly the amount of consideration the blogger has given this subject, but I have to conclude that the decision could possibly be unreasonable.

Question 2: Is it inherently unreasonable to cast a vote for sexist reasons?

My initial thought is that a male deciding not to vote for a woman due to gender would be roundly criticized as being unreasonable. I’m not sure that popular opinion is best suited to define reasonableness, however, and there are many arguments that could be made about whether my example properly relates to the blogger’s dilemma. For those two reasons, I’m uncomfortable applying the judgment garnered from my initial thought to the situation.

More relevant, I think, is the question, “What factors are reasonable when determining voting choices?” Consider (note that candidates are listed in alphabetical order):

  • Bush! I’ll vote for him.
  • Carson most authentically represents his faith. I’ll vote for him.
  • Clinton has the most experience. I’ll vote for her.
  • Cruz is the most disliked by the Republican establishment. I’ll vote for him.
  • Kasich … uh … has momentum. I’ll vote for him.
  • Rubio is the most visually appealing. I’ll vote for him.
  • Sanders will stick it to the man. I’ll vote for him.
  • Trump makes me laugh. I’ll vote for him.

I think that, if you’re of the viewpoint that you should only vote for the person best able to do the job, you have to find the blogger’s choice unreasonable (given her stated feeling that Sanders would do a better job). If you widen your umbrella, however, and allow people to take their emotions into account or send a protest message or spend their vote how they choose, I think you have to find her choice – and all the choices above – reasonable.

 

Are Voters Angry?

I keep reading in posts like this one that voters are angry.

Trump is an angry man – only god knows why – and he fuels that same anger in his fellow Americans that are voting for him.

As a reasonable person, I think it’s my job to question any statement that is simply stated as fact.

I think that the first part of the quoted statement is false. Though perhaps Trump’s statement seem born of anger when read, they appear to me to be more an attempt at comedy when I hear them in clips.

Trump, I believe, is first and foremost an entertainer. He uses the “angry” statements both as a way to entertain his crowd and to capture media interest. I don’t think that he is, in fact, angry at anything.

I’m not sure about the accuracy of the second part of the statement, however.

Is Trump’s appeal due to anger? Certainly, it appears that some degree of dissatisfaction is at play, but I’m not so sure that voters aren’t responding more to the charisma of an good entertainer in much the same way as they responded to Obama’s excellent skills as an orator.

Maybe We Should be Serious

As a reasonable person, I tend to prefer blog posts that express clear, well-reasoned thoughts. It is to my dismay, then, when I find most so many incoherent posts out there. All the better, though, when I discover a well-written blog like The Front Porch Philosopher, even when I might disagree with a particular sentiment.

In this post entitled Are We Serious?, the author expresses concern over the thought of either Trump or Sanders actually winning the presidency:

My question for America after New Hampshire is, are we serious? Do we realize that we are choosing someone to do a job here, the most important job in the world? This is not reality TV, and it’s not a popularity contest. We are not deciding the next American Idol here, but the leader of the free world.

Okay. That’s a good and valid question that is certainly worthy of consideration.

Would either man be able to accomplish anything at all? Would they stick to their campaign rhetoric? Would they endanger America’s economy and/or safety?

Again, worthy questions, and if you choose not to vote for either of these men based on these concerns, it would be hard for a reasonable person to fault you for it.

I want to call more attention to an issue raised by that very same author, however:

I get it. People are fed up with Washington. They’re fed up with Wall Street. They’re tired of both parties, let down by Bush and Obama. Voters are sending the message that they will not be controlled. They will not dutifully line up behind their party’s Chosen One. This year, people are choosing passion over pragmatism.

Here’s another reasonable question: which is more important – the relatively short term of a single presidency or the long term of a party’s direction?

It seems to me that we consistently have protest candidates. These people rise, give voice to the people’s concerns, and fall back to earth before the general election. The establishment of each party publicly frets about how they understand the people’s frustrations.

Privately, however, I think that each party’s establishment feels something completely different. It seems reasonable to assume they think, “The people threaten and bluster about these protest candidates, but at the end of the day, they put in office the candidates we tell them to elect. Why should we change anything?”

History tells us that Trump and Sanders are protest candidates who will be replaced by a proper establishment figure once it’s time to actually put someone new into the White House. Republicans and Democrats will continue on just as they always have – more concerned with maintaining power than with accomplishing anything for the voters.

In the short run, electing one of these two men might very well be an unmitigated disaster. In the long run, though, will leaving the two parties on their current course be an even worse one?

So no, we’re not serious. But maybe we should be.

Tone Deaf Article on Johnny Manziel?

I can’t believe that I’m writing a post in dense of Roger Goodell, but here goes …

As a reasonable person, I think that a lot of the unreasonableness in American attitudes at the moment can be directly traced to people being so concerned with their hot button issue that they completely ignore all other issues. Take, for example, this article from MSNBC sports calling out Roger Goodell for not taking immediate disciplinary action against Johnny Manziel for domestic violence.

I think that any reasonable person would agree that Manziel absolutely needs to be subjected to discipline for the recent incident with his ex-girlfriend in Texas. His actions are completely reprehensible.

When you have a young man’s father fearing that that young man is going to reach his 24th birthday, however, perhaps it is appropriate to take a step back for a moment to consider what course of action is most likely to lead to that young man getting the help he needs.

Domestic violence is never okay. Period. But what’s more important – making sure he’s punished or trying to save his life?

 

 

 

What to do After Whiffing on a Prediction?

Even though I’m a reasonable person, I admire those who go out on a limb to make bold predictions, even when those predictions are illogical and counter to the best evidence we have. Take this Huffpost entry for example:

I want to make sure that you heard it here first: Donald Trump will lose the New Hampshire primary tomorrow.

Bold words. I applaud the author for taking such a stand despite the fact that polls clearly showed Trump with a lead that greatly exceeded the polls’ margin of error.

What will the author do after being proved wrong, though?

Option 1 – Stick to his guns. Double down by railing against the voters convinced by Trumps’ message.

Option 2 – Admit his mistake.

Option 3 – Remain silent.

It’s hard to admire anyone who responds to defeat by being a bad sport or simply walking away from the table (see Newton, Cam). It’s also hard to respect someone who makes excuses.

Is the only reasonable choice to admit the mistake?

It’ll be interesting to see which choice Huffpost makes.

Vox Agrees with Me

Is it a sign that I’m really reasonable if Vox.com agrees with me?

Uh …

Just found this post:

New Hampshire didn’t just hand Trump a win, it left him perfectly positioned to dominate in South Carolina, Nevada, and other future races.

Basically, the post makes the same points that I made here.

Trump vs. Sanders?

A fellow blogger posted today (here) that Trump vs. Sanders is “the political reality that we face.”

First of all, we only have results from two out of fifty states. Trump and Sanders have each won exactly one of those contests. Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.

Another issue I have with the post:

President Obama is fully and solely responsible for the current political climate that created the Trump Sanders matchup we face in the fall.

Hmm. As a reasonable person, I think that, just as a quarterback gets too much blame for a loss and too much credit for a win, presidents’ actual impact is exaggerated a bit.

But this line, imo, hits the nail on the head:

Perhaps we should all be happy, left and right, that the political machines that make up the democratic and republican parties are taking the hardest hits this election season.

Yes!

The Single Worst Article I’ve Read Regarding Hillary’s Emails

As a reasonable person, I find the reporting on the Email Situation frustrating. If you go over to Fox News, you find that Hillary is in imminent danger of being shipped off to prison.  The other side of the spectrum is that the whole deal is a partisan witch hunt based off her forwarding a New York Times article on the drone program.

Which is it?

I have no idea. The more I read, the harder it is to discern what the heck is going on, especially when I encounter really, really poorly written and reasoned articles like the one Juan Williams penned here.

The article started out pretty well, introducing the fact that each side is representing very disparate points of view. After a few paragraphs, I’m thinking, “This guy understands the frustration I’m feeling.”

Nope.

Instead, the author expresses disdain for those who are even reporting about the issue.

Huh? This shouldn’t even be in the news? Why not?

His first point – The FBI is not actually investigating the emails.

The attacks continue like a steady rain even though the Times reported in August that Clinton is “not a target of the investigation.” In September, the Justice Department put out a brief saying even when Clinton deleted personal emails without “agency supervision,” it was appropriate and legal.

A week ago Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, reiterated that “officials have said… she is not the target of the investigation.”

I have to admit that I have a bit of advantage of hindsight here in that current headlines are all about the FBI officially acknowledging the investigation. Realistically, though, it seemed that, as of the 2/8/16 publication of the article, almost no one was still denying this fact.

His second point – That the two prior secretaries of state prior to Clinton did the same or worse.

Later last week, NBC News reported that emails that had been retroactively declared classified had also been sent to the personal email account of former secretary of State Colin Powell and to key aides of his successor, Condoleezza Rice.

C’mon, man. As a journalist, shouldn’t you try to at least give lip service to being objective? Both Powell and Rice issued strong denials. Fair enough if the author disagrees with those denials, but a reasonable person would at least acknowledge them.

His third point – People are tired of hearing about this issue.

None of it quieted critics. They responded by suggesting a White House cover-up even as an October poll by Monmouth found 59 percent of Americans were “tired of hearing about Clinton’s emails.”

I’m not sure why this is supposed to be a relevant point. If Hillary did break a law and that event could possibly derail her political aspirations, it’s news regardless of whether we’re tired of hearing about it or not.

His fourth point – Using a personal server isn’t a crime.

And of course there is still no evidence that she broke any law.

Legal analyst Dan Abrams recently reviewed the allegations and wrote on the LawNewz.com website that while Clinton was “foolish” to use a private server, “it is also indisputable that it was neither a crime nor even a violation of State Department procedure for Clinton to have used personal email for government business at that time.”

Huh? This one boggles my mind. Does the author have no understanding of the accusation of mishandling classified information? The question that has been raised is whether or not Hillary handled classified information in a way contrary to the way in which she was legally required to handle it.

He concludes by making this point:

The biggest newspapers and networks say they are just reporting the news while spreading baseless venom.

I have no idea whether Hillary did absolutely nothing wrong, whether she committed the equivalent of jaywalking, or whether she should immediately be locked up in Leavenworth. None of us will gain any true understanding of this until the FBI investigation is completed. When a person who has the potential to become the next President of the United States is under criminal investigation, however, it’s not reasonable to complain that the issue isn’t news.

Trump Couldn’t Have Scripted a Better Night

As a reasonable person, I often try to put myself in the shoes of others to consider their point of view. If I’m Donald Trump going into the New Hampshire Primary, I’m thinking, “Okay, this is what I want to happen …”

  1. Win in dominant fashion. Obviously.
  2. Have someone innocuous come in second.
  3. Keep the establishment lane jumbled.

So with the results pretty much in (based in CNN’s estimate of 97% reporting), how did The Donald do?

Step 1 – Win in dominant fashion

Check. 35% of the vote. That’s more than one third of voters in an eight horse race. His nearest challenger got less than half the votes he did.

Step 2 – Have someone innocuous come in second

Check. Other than Carson or Fiorina, neither of whom had a real shot, I don’t there was a better person from Trump’s perspective to finish runner up than Kasich. He’s got almost nothing in the bank and virtually no presence in the upcoming primary states. Talk about being in a woefully bad position to capitalize on momentum.

Step 3 – Keep the establishment lane jumbled

Check. I don’t know how Trump would fare one on one with a single candidate who had the full backing of the Republican party, but I do think most reasonable people would say that he is benefiting from that backing being fractured. If you’re Trump, you gotta love the establishment on establishment crime of Christie taking down Rubio. Instead of the highest placing Approved Candidate in Iowa capitalizing on momentum, you have him falling to the back of the legit contenders in New Hampshire. If Kasich had flopped, he’d probably be out of the race. Bush finished strong enough to keep him going forward but not high enough to produce a ton of momentum. Literally the only thing that could have gone a little better in this regard would have been for Christie to have drawn in some of Carson’s and Fiorina’s support in order to keep the governor around longer.

It’s a long race, and Trump by no means has anything sown up. But I don’t think you could have scripted a better night for him.