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Risk vs Certainty


from The Case for Trump from William McGurn at the Wall Street Journal

At a time when so much of American “law”—from the Health and Human Service’s contraceptive mandate, to the Education Department’s “Dear Colleague” letters on transgender policy, to the National Labor Relations Board’s prosecution of Boeing for opening a new plant in South Carolina instead of in Washington state—is decided by faceless federal bureaucrats, Mrs. Clinton would stuff these federal agencies from top to bottom with Lois Lerners and Elizabeth Warrens.

Welcome to 21st-century American liberalism, which no longer even pretends to produce results. Whatever the shortcomings of Mr. Trump’s people, non-progressives simply do not share the itch to use the government to boss everyone else around. On top of this, an overreaching President Trump would not be excused by the press and would face both Republican and Democratic opposition.

Fair enough to argue that Mr. Trump represents a huge risk. But honesty requires that this risk be weighed against a clear-eyed look at the certainties a Hillary Clinton administration would bring.


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Clinton’s Security Risk


Gordon Crovitz at the Wall Street Journal writes Clinton’s Information Lockdown The private email server was only semiprivate: Putin likely has  everything.

No public official since LBJ has gone as far as Hillary Clinton to evade public-disclosure laws. In 2010 her adviser Huma Abedin recommended that she use a government email account, as the State Department required. “I don’t want any risk of the personal being accessible,” Mrs. Clinton responded in an email that has since come to light. She used a private email server for all her communications because this kept both official and personal communications off government servers, where they would have been subject to disclosure under FOIA.

FBI Director James Comey concluded that Mrs. Clinton’s mishandling of classified information in her emails didn’t meet the legal test for a crime because he couldn’t prove that she intended to disclose national secrets. But Mr. Comey testified to Congress last week that the FBI determined that Mrs. Clinton did violate the Federal Records Act, which makes his legal analysis of her intent incomplete. Her most relevant intention was to defy disclosure laws. Her actions had the incidental effect of mishandling confidential communications.

Most ominously, Mr. Comey confirmed that foreign intelligence agencies have more access than Americans to what Mrs. Clinton hid on her home-brew computer. The FBI confirmed that foreign hackers almost certainly raided her unsecure server to get the nation’s top secrets. This includes all 60,000 of her emails—not just the 30,000 she chose to disclose.

Mrs. Clinton’s missing 30,000 emails could still become public. Recent reports indicate that Russian agents hacked the servers of the Clinton Foundation and the Democratic National Committee. Vladimir Putin can now triangulate information from the Clinton emails, the Clinton Foundation and the DNC. He could launch an October surprise to affect the U.S. election by disclosing information Mrs. Clinton tried to keep hidden. Or he could keep the information for himself as a sword over the head of a potential next president.


The risk of Clinton’s negligence or intent is far greater than we think.

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A Government of Laws


from Karl Rove in the Wall Street Journal, Clinton is Already Vowing to Overreach:

This is no small matter. “The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive and judiciary in the same hands,” James Madison warned in Federalist 47, “may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.” Madison goes on to paraphrase Montesquieu: “There can be no liberty where the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person.”

Or we might consult Thomas Jefferson, namesake of the Iowa Democratic dinner where Mrs. Clinton spoke. In his “Notes on the State of Virginia,” Jefferson writes that “the concentrating” of the legislative, executive and judicial powers “in the same hands, is precisely the definition of despotic government.”

Progressives long ago came to view the Constitution as a quaint document with no binding power. But until recently, they never were so baldly contemptuous of it. Now liberals consider running roughshod over our governing charter not only fashionable but mandatory. No constitutional niceties will stand in the way of their vision. Which explains why this election will decide whether America will remain, in the words of John Adams, “a government of laws, and not of men.”


When one condones such power being accessible to an elected official, they would be wise to pause and imagine that power in the hands of their worst nightmare from the opposition. How would she feel about the same power in the hands of a Donald Trump?

This is a good example of pragmatism as a political philosophy at its worst.  Every problem is a crisis and something must be done, the constitution be damned.

The dominant political debate today, after you cut through pieties and the noise is constitutionalism vs progressivism.  The progressives since Wilson have viewed the constitution as a dated document that inhibits needed government action, not as a document designed to restrain government power and protect individual natural rights.  While there is clearly room for interpretation in the lights of two and half centuries of progress, the fundamental precepts of liberty and the problem with concentrations of government power remain and should be respected.

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A Hard Shift Left

from The Wall Street Journal, Fred Barnes writes The No-Growth Democratic Party

In 1997 President Bill Clinton signed the Taxpayer Relief Act, cutting the tax rate on capital gains to 20% from 28%. Senate Democrats voted 37-8 in favor of the bill. House Democrats backed it 164-41. In 2015 Mr. Clinton’s wife, Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton, wants to raise the current 23.4% rate on capital gains, nearly doubling it for wealthy investors.

In 1982 Sen. Bill Bradley and House member Dick Gephardt, both Democrats, unveiled an ambitious tax-reform plan that would spur economic growth by eliminating loopholes, broadening the tax base and reducing the top rate on individual income to 30% from 50%. What Mr. Bradley and Mr. Gephardt started, President Reagan and Congress finished in 1986. A bipartisan tax-reform package was enacted, with a top rate of 28%.

Now Democrats have a new definition of tax reform. “They want to broaden the base and raise tax rates,” says Douglas Holtz-Eakin, the former head of the Congressional Budget Office. Rather than promote economic growth—a goal of Mr. Bradley and Mr. Gephardt—this approach is almost certain to hamper it. After nearly seven years of sluggish growth during the Obama era, the party seems to think that even an anemic 2% annual increase in GDP is too much.

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from Cafe Hayek, A Canned Lie:

As ‘responsibility’ is commonly understood in modern English, a responsible person is able and willing to respond to the events in question by personally bearing the bulk of the consequences.

If Ms. Clinton were really to take responsibility, she’d submit herself to a genuinely probing legal investigation or even quit (or at least suspend) her political campaign.  But, instead of her really taking responsibility, her strategic exclamation “I take responsibility” is meant only to make her immune from actually having to take responsibility.

Hillary Clinton, of course, is hardly the only public figure who emits whatever verbal effluvia she or he senses at the moment might distract the public from scrutinizing her or his actions too closely.  Such “I take responsibility” faux-boasts are very common.  But these boasts of responsibility-taking are meaningless at best and, in reality – unless the boaster actually takes a truly responsible action such as resigning from office – are actually more like lies.  Sensible people ought not be soothed or duped by any claim by any public figure caught in some nefarious or reckless activity that he or she “takes responsibility.”

and from Jonah Goldberg at National Review, Who Cares if Hillary Apologized? :

This raises the question: Who gives a rat’s ass? Were you demanding an apology from Hillary Clinton? I wasn’t. I wanted the facts. And those are still in short supply. Which raises a second point: What the Hell is she talking about when she says the State Department “allowed” her private, off-site, server? First off, Hillary Clinton was running the State Department. Does she mean that she allowed herself to do it? If so, this may be the greatest example of Clintonian weasel-wording yet. If she doesn’t mean that, can we have the name of the official who told Clinton it was okay? Can we have the paperwork? Or is the Clinton team still drawing straws to see who gets to take one for the team?

Which brings us back around to this apology business. Note that she’s apologizing for the narrowest definition of her transgressions, which is a clever way of trying to minimize the scandal.​ It was perfectly allowed…but I should have used two email addresses. My bad. This is a strange way to “take responsibility,” after months of saying you did absolutely nothing wrong and attacking anyone who said otherwise.  If she’s going to apologize for anything, she should apologize for that. Or she could apologize for putting national security at risk. Or she could apologize for violating rules rank-and-file people can get sent to jail for. This “apology” is a response to her falling poll numbers and nothing more. That’s because everything she does these days is in response to poll numbers

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