Hillary's Emails and the Case of Navy Man Bryan Nishimura

It appears all but certain that Hillary Clinton will not face federal charges over her “extremely careless” handling of emails. FBI Director Comey gave her a stern public reprimand but that came with no recommendations for other consequences. Comey also asserted that no prosecutor would take up her case with the set of facts as the FBI had uncovered them. He may be right. However, others have done very similar things and been prosecuted. One such case is Bryan Nishimura.
Nishimura, a Navy Reserve Commander, violated 18 U.S.C. § 1924 pertaining to the “unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents and materials.” According to court documents, beginning in 2007 while in Afghanistan, Nishimura downloaded classified documents on to his personal devices. He then brought that information back to the United States when he service in Afghanistan ended. The FBI found the classified documents on an unclassified server in his home. As with Clinton, the FBI found no evidence that Nishimura intended to distribute the classified information. He had work related classified information stored on unauthorized servers without intent to distribute. He was extremely careless.
He also faced consequences. Nishimura was fined $7500, placed on probation, forced to give up his security clearance and barred from applying for security clearance in the future.
The relevant statute reads:

§ 1924. Unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents or material (a) Whoever, being an officer, employee, contractor, or consultant of the United States, and, by virtue of his office, employment, position, or contract, becomes possessed of documents or materials containing classified information of the United States, knowingly removes such documents or materials without authority and with the intent to retain such documents or materials at an unauthorized location shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.

The federal complaint against Nishimura reads:

The United States Attorney charges:
THAT BRYAN H. NISHIMURA, defendant herein, from on or about January 2007 through April 2012, while deployed outside of the United States on active military duty with the United States Navy Reserve in Afghanistan and thereafter at his residence located in the County of Sacramento, State and Eastern District of California, being an officer and employee of the United States, specifically: a United States Navy Reserve Commander, and, by virtue of his office and employment as such, becoming possessed of documents and materials containing classified information of the United States, specifically: CLASSIFIED United States Army records, did knowingly remove such documents and materials without authority and with the intent to retain such documents and materials at his residence in the County of Sacramento, an unauthorized 2 location, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1924(a), a Class A misdemeanor.

Could we not substitute Hillary Clinton’s name in this paragraph?
According to FBI Director Comey, Clinton sent emails which were classified at the time she sent them.

From the group of 30,000 e-mails returned to the State Department, 110 e-mails in 52 e-mail chains have been determined by the owning agency to contain classified information at the time they were sent or received. Eight of those chains contained information that was Top Secret at the time they were sent; 36 chains contained Secret information at the time; and eight contained Confidential information, which is the lowest level of classification.

Clinton told the public she did not send classified emails. These emails were stored on vulnerable servers. Comey added:

Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.
For example, seven e-mail chains concern matters that were classified at the Top Secret/Special Access Program level when they were sent and received. These chains involved Secretary Clinton both sending e-mails about those matters and receiving e-mails from others about the same matters. There is evidence to support a conclusion that any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position, or in the position of those government employees with whom she was corresponding about these matters, should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation. In addition to this highly sensitive information, we also found information that was properly classified as Secret by the U.S. Intelligence Community at the time it was discussed on e-mail (that is, excluding the later “up-classified” e-mails).
None of these e-mails should have been on any kind of unclassified system, but their presence is especially concerning because all of these e-mails were housed on unclassified personal servers not even supported by full-time security staff, like those found at Departments and Agencies of the U.S. Government—or even with a commercial service like Gmail.

Like Nishimura, Clinton housed documents (emails) on unclassified personal servers and she should have known better.
Is the difference in outcome because Nishimura downloaded classified digital records and briefings to a device and stored them at his home and Clinton’s documents were classified documents of the email variety? Or is the difference because Clinton is a Democrat running for president and Nishimura was a Navy Reservist?
In Nishimura’s case, he admitted his deeds. Mrs. Clinton told the public she didn’t send classified information. The FBI says she did. The Associated Press has a take down of those claims. Seems like she needs to address her statements which conflict with the FBI’s investigation.
If her defense is that she didn’t know she was breaking the law, it doesn’t help to inspire confidence in her competence.
I am not an attorney but as a layman reviewing Nishimura’s case and the FBI statement about Clinton, I think Nishimura should consider asking for a pardon. Or alternatively, the American people should consider assigning Nishimura’s punishment to Mrs. Clinton: no additional security clearance or access to even more classified information.

Eric Metaxas and the Strange Hitlery Tweet

This so wrong on so many levels:


So many good replies:


Eine dummkopf.
Now Metaxas is up there with those folks who call Trump “Drumpf.”
Then I thought of Mark Noll’s sentence: “The scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind.”*
*Perhaps Metaxas was attempting a joke. In any case, it was a lame attempt. Given his support for David Barton, it is hard to tell when one can take him seriously.
Update: Now Metaxas says he was joking. Alan Noble (Christ and Pop Culture) provides the appropriate commentary.

Polls: Kasich v. Clinton is Best Shot for GOP in November Election

En masse, Republican primary voters may not be acting in the best interest of the party’s chances in the November election. Real Clear Politics tracks all kinds of polls, including how each GOP candidate does against the likely Dem nominee Hillary Clinton. John Kasich consistently polls higher than the other three candidates despite being fourth place in the current delegate count. Even though he has amassed the most votes, Donald Trump consistently loses to Clinton in a head to head match up.
GOPvClinton
So when Donald Trump says Clinton doesn’t want to face him, I think he is overconfident. In current polling among Republicans, Trump leads, followed by Cruz, Rubio and Kasich. However, the same polls show Trump losing to Clinton with Kasich showing the largest winning margin over Clinton followed by Rubio, and Cruz.
If you check the polls back into 2015, all GOP candidates consistently lost to Clinton in most polls conducted in 2015. However, Kasich, Rubio, and Cruz have risen to a winning position in 2016. In other words, they have closed the gap, with Kasich showing a larger margin of victory on average than Rubio and Cruz. Trump on the other hand has only won 5 out of 47 polls against Clinton and has consistently trailed her up to and including the most recent polling. For the full analysis, see the Real Clear Politics pages for each candidate:
Kasich v. Clinton
Rubio v. Clinton
Cruz v. Clinton
Trump v. Clinton
 

Hillary Clinton’s Remarks Calling for Decriminalization of Homosexuality

I am late to this story which unfolded on Tuesday, Human Rights Day. The Obama Administration called on the rest of the world to decriminalize homosexuality, punctuating this call with remarks from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Geneva. The full text of these remarks are here. I am going to pull out some comments that are significant to me.

Clinton directly makes the case that laws criminalizing homosexuality are violations of human rights.

It is violation of human rights when people are beaten or killed because of their sexual orientation, or because they do not conform to cultural norms about how men and women should look or behave.  It is a violation of human rights when governments declare it illegal to be gay, or allow those who harm gay people to go unpunished.  It is a violation of human rights when lesbian or transgendered women are subjected to so-called corrective rape, or forcibly subjected to hormone treatments, or when people are murdered after public calls for violence toward gays, or when they are forced to flee their nations and seek asylum in other lands to save their lives.  And it is a violation of human rights when life-saving care is withheld from people because they are gay, or equal access to justice is denied to people because they are gay, or public spaces are out of bounds to people because they are gay.  No matter what we look like, where we come from, or who we are, we are all equally entitled to our human rights and dignity.

Then she dispels the myth that homosexuality is a Western invention.

The second issue is a question of whether homosexuality arises from a particular part of the world.  Some seem to believe it is a Western phenomenon, and therefore people outside the West have grounds to reject it.  Well, in reality, gay people are born into and belong to every society in the world.  They are all ages, all races, all faiths; they are doctors and teachers, farmers and bankers, soldiers and athletes; and whether we know it, or whether we acknowledge it, they are our family, our friends, and our neighbors.

Being gay is not a Western invention; it is a human reality.  And protecting the human rights of all people, gay or straight, is not something that only Western governments do.  South Africa’s constitution, written in the aftermath of Apartheid, protects the equality of all citizens, including gay people.  In Colombia and Argentina, the rights of gays are also legally protected.  In Nepal, the supreme court has ruled that equal rights apply to LGBT citizens.  The Government of Mongolia has committed to pursue new legislation that will tackle anti-gay discrimination.

Clinton directly addressed the perceived conflict between gay rights to live freely with religious beliefs.

The third, and perhaps most challenging, issue arises when people cite religious or cultural values as a reason to violate or not to protect the human rights of LGBT citizens. This is not unlike the justification offered for violent practices towards women like honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation. Some people still defend those practices as part of a cultural tradition. But violence toward women isn’t cultural; it’s criminal. Likewise with slavery, what was once justified as sanctioned by God is now properly reviled as an unconscionable violation of human rights.

In each of these cases, we came to learn that no practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us. And this holds true for inflicting violence on LGBT people, criminalizing their status or behavior, expelling them from their families and communities, or tacitly or explicitly accepting their killing.

Of course, it bears noting that rarely are cultural and religious traditions and teachings actually in conflict with the protection of human rights. Indeed, our religion and our culture are sources of compassion and inspiration toward our fellow human beings. It was not only those who’ve justified slavery who leaned on religion, it was also those who sought to abolish it. And let us keep in mind that our commitments to protect the freedom of religion and to defend the dignity of LGBT people emanate from a common source. For many of us, religious belief and practice is a vital source of meaning and identity, and fundamental to who we are as people. And likewise, for most of us, the bonds of love and family that we forge are also vital sources of meaning and identity. And caring for others is an expression of what it means to be fully human. It is because the human experience is universal that human rights are universal and cut across all religions and cultures.

Clinton seems on the mark to say that this conflict is challenging. Judging from the reaction of religious right talking heads, I think the challenge is right here in the USA.

Clinton then appeals to the Golden Rule. I like this.

Finally, progress comes from being willing to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.  We need to ask ourselves, “How would it feel if it were a crime to love the person I love?  How would it feel to be discriminated against for something about myself that I cannot change?”  This challenge applies to all of us as we reflect upon deeply held beliefs, as we work to embrace tolerance and respect for the dignity of all persons, and as we engage humbly with those with whom we disagree in the hope of creating greater understanding.

Clinton here is not calling for anyone to agree that homosexual behavior is in line with their religious beliefs. However, she is calling for people to act in accord with their religious beliefs about reciprocal treatment. If you don’t want to be discriminated against for something intrinsic to you, then don’t do it to others.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s statement on death of David Kato; Updated with President Obama’s statement

The President also made a statement which follows Mrs. Clinton’s statement.

Her statement has been placed on the State Department website and is reproduced here.

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Secretary of State

Washington, DC
January 27, 2011

We are profoundly saddened by the loss of Ugandan human rights defender David Kato, who was brutally murdered in his home near Kampala yesterday. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and colleagues. We urge Ugandan authorities to quickly and thoroughly investigate and prosecute those responsible for this heinous act.

David Kato tirelessly devoted himself to improving the lives of others. As an advocate for the group Sexual Minorities Uganda, he worked to defend the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals. His efforts resulted in groundbreaking recognition for Uganda’s LGBT community, including the Uganda Human Rights Commission’s October 2010 statement on the unconstitutionality of Uganda’s draft “anti-homosexuality bill” and the Ugandan High Court’s January 3 ruling safeguarding all Ugandans’ right to privacy and the preservation of human dignity. His tragic death underscores how critical it is that both the government and the people of Uganda, along with the international community, speak out against the discrimination, harassment, and intimidation of Uganda’s LGBT community, and work together to ensure that all individuals are accorded the same rights and dignity to which each and every person is entitled.

Everywhere I travel on behalf of our country, I make it a point to meet with young people and activists — people like David — who are trying to build a better, stronger future for their societies. I let them know that America stands with them, and that their ideas and commitment are indispensible to achieving the progress we all seek.

This crime is a reminder of the heroic generosity of the people who advocate for and defend human rights on behalf of the rest of us — and the sacrifices they make. And as we reflect on his life, it is also an occasion to reaffirm that human rights apply to everyone, no exceptions, and that the human rights of LGBT individuals cannot be separated from the human rights of all persons.

Our ambassadors and diplomats around the world will continue to advance a comprehensive human rights policy, and to stand with those who, with their courage, make the world a more just place where every person can live up to his or her God-given potential. We honor David’s legacy by continuing the important work to which he devoted his life.

President Obama’s statement:

Statement by the President on the Killing of David Kato

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release
January 27, 2011

LGBT rights are not special rights; they are human rights.  My Administration will continue to strongly support human rights and assistance work on behalf of LGBT persons abroad.  We do this because we recognize the threat faced by leaders like David Kato, and we share their commitment to advancing freedom, fairness, and equality for all.

At home and around the world, LGBT persons continue to be subjected to unconscionable bullying, discrimination, and hate.  In the weeks preceding David Kato’s murder in Uganda, five members of the LGBT community in Honduras were also murdered.  It is essential that the Governments of Uganda and Honduras investigate these killings and hold the perpetrators accountable.

I am deeply saddened to learn of the murder of David Kato.  In Uganda, David showed tremendous courage in speaking out against hate.  He was a powerful advocate for fairness and freedom.  The United States mourns his murder, and we recommit ourselves to David’s work.

Hillary Clinton keynotes National Prayer Breakfast; Clinton and Obama condemn Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill

The headline says it all. There can be little doubt that the Fellowship Foundation condemns the bill. They provided one of the most powerful platforms possible to offer specific condemnations of the bill.

In Clinton’s keynote address and Obama’s prepared remarks, they both condemned the bill.

Imagine the potential – Obama's life an anti-abortion tribute

When I saw this ad, I thought of the statements of Hillary Clinton’s former OB-GYN, William Harrison when he told me that a physician conducting an abortion does God’s work because the abortion “cancels a luckless human soul.” Here is his statement:

“Do you ever regret that part of the decision? How do you come to terms with that, or do you not see the fetus as a life or a person? I don’t want to see either one die, and would do my best to save both. But your work on the other hand, seeks the end of one of these lives. How do you justify that decision?”
Here is my answer: Anyone who has delivered as many babies as I have, and has seen hundreds of living and dead embryos and fetuses being spontaneously aborted as have I, knows exactly what we are doing when we provide an elective abortion for our patient. We are ending the life of an embryo or a fetus. Not the life of a person, but certainly a creature that might have become a person under other circumstances. When I am asked this question, I always go back to two of the most insightful and beautiful verses of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khyyam.
Oh, if the world were but to recreate
That we might catch ere closed the Book of Fate
And make the Writer on a fairer leaf
Inscribe our names, or quite obliterate.
Better, oh, better cancel from the Scroll
Of universe one luckless Human Soul,
Than drop by drop enlarge the Flood that roars
Hoarser with Anguish as the ages roll.
When Omar wrote his beautiful and treasured poem over a thousand years ago, mankind had no way of safely canceling “from the scroll of universe one luckless human soul” whose numbers make up that flood of howling anguish; at least, no way of canceling it without risking also the life of the woman carrying it. In this day of medical marvels and, hopefully, ever increasing social justice, we possess such a way.
Embryos and fetuses spontaneously aborted – most, but not all of those “canceled” by “God” – are just such luckless human souls. But a few spontaneous abortions occur in desired pregnancies with no discernable abnormalities. For those girls and women and their families whose circumstances would make their babies “luckless human souls,” I “cancel” them before they become babies.
Physicians who save wanted babies from being spontaneously aborted (and we can save a few now that God once seemed determined to abort), and we who cancel “luckless human souls” are doing God’s work.

This video invokes President Obama’s difficult life as a backdrop for the message, “imagine the potential.”

Obama rolls out the Mod Squad

Modification, that is.
In about an hour, Coach Obama will roll out his team. While he is in charge of the vision-thing, he has assembled a team of independent minded people who barely resemble the change-thing he campaigned on. More like a Modification Squad.
If any PUMA’s and Just Say No Deal folks are still reading, how is the appointment of Hillary as SoS playing with your camps?
Now that the election is over, the New York Times notes that the Bush administration had some initiatives of merit, even if unrealized. In fact, after bashing “the failed policies of the Bush Administration,” Obama is going to make a go at pursuing one of them in Afghanistan.

Several times during his presidency, Mr. Bush promised to alter that strategy, even creating a “civilian reserve corps” of nation-builders under State Department auspices, but the administration never committed serious funds or personnel to the effort. If Mr. Obama and his team can bring about that kind of shift, it could mark one of the most significant changes in national security strategy in decades and greatly enhance the powers of Mrs. Clinton as secretary of state.
Mrs. Clinton may find, as her predecessor Condoleezza Rice and others in the Bush administration discovered, that building up civilian capacity is easier to advocate than execute. [my emphasis]
That problem will be no less acute for Mr. Obama in Afghanistan, where the building projects and job-creation activities that Mr. Bush promised in 2002, soon after the invasion, and then again in late 2005, have ground to a halt in many parts of the country because the security situation has made it too dangerous for the State Department’s “provincial reconstruction teams” to operate.

The security situation must be resolved in order for the statecraft to have a chance to work. To his credit, Obama proposed more troops on the ground in Afghanistan. Given the defense team he has assembled, the change he campaigned on seems less change and more modification. Probably, chanting “the modification we need” would not have been as catchy. I pray it works.

Hillary Clinton to become Secretary of State

Via Drudge, this news comes in. With an eye to 2012 perhaps, Barack Obama offered the Secretary of State position to Hillary Clinton and according to the Guardian (UK), she will accept.
UPDATE: There has been little follow through on this announcement from the Guardian. Politico.com is reporting that the deal is not yet done and is upsetting Progressives.

Democrats for McCain host conference call Sunday with Giulianni and Rothschild

Undecided? Still open to hearing more?
I will be listening in.

Hillary Supporters, PUMAs & Fence Straddlers,
You’re Invited To Join: Just Say No Deal’s Closing Argument Conference Call
Sunday, November 2, 5:00 PM ET
Dial: (218) 486-1662
Access Code: 82114#
Or Listen Online @ BlogTalkRadio hosted by NoQuarterUSA
for immediate release
LIVE LISTENING ONLY – NO CALL-INS
ONLINE, WASHINGTON DC & NATIONWIDE – The Just Say No Deal Coalition, a group of Senator Hillary Clinton’s most ardent supporters, is hosting Closing Arguments a nationwide conference call, Sunday, November 2, 5PM EST. High-profile Democrats Lady Lynn de Rothschild and Dr. Lynette Long join Moderate Republicans Charlie Crist and Rudy Giuliani in an appeal to Hillary Supporters, PUMAs and Undecided Voters to get out the vote for the McCain/Palin ticket during this 1 hour 30 minute call, which will also be streamed live over the internet. (see link above).
Since its inception, on the weekend of Hillary Clinton’s suspension speech, Just Say No Deal has consistently put Country Before Party by vocalizing strong opposition to thuggery on the ground and in the blogosphere, overt sexism, mainstream media bias, voter disenfranchisement, caucus fraud, ACORN fraud and corruption within the Democratic Party.
The distinguished guests will specifically make their case to former Hillary Clinton supporters, who are still on the fence, as to why they should cast their votes for John McCain and Sarah Palin on Tuesday, November 4th.
The panel will cover a host of topics based on questions posed by Just Say No Deal members via email.