Hillary’s E-Mail Trevails

An interesting piece was posted by Charles Gasparino, a Fox Business senior correspondent yesterday concerning the status of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of her private server for State Department work, and the investigation that is ongoing by FBI investigators which is being overseen by FBI Director James Comey.  First, Director Comey is no newcomer to tough investigations having handled those of Frank Quattrone, Internet banker and against Martha Stewart who actually served several months in prison as the result of being convicted on evidence Comey uncovered.

Those who believe she can do no wrong no doubt think that nothing having happened in this respect to this point is solid indication that nothing will happen.  There might’ve been some smoke but there has been no fire damage found so leave Hillary alone!

Those who believe to the contrary are anxious for the disclosure of findings hoping against hope that the FBI will have found at least a smoking gun if not an entire arsenal of smoking guns.

Director Comey is seen as a straight shooter who calls them as he sees them. Unfortunately, he will have to rely upon the Justice Department to bring charges; Comey can only recommend charges.  Leaks are not unheard in Washington, D.C.; as a matter of fact, leaks are the things that keep a lot of news diggers employed and thriving.  Anything can happen at this point in this story.

Obviously, Hillary’s campaign for the Democratic nod as its candidate for President would be affected to some degree depending upon the outcome of this investigation.  As a conservative, I’d like to think that her campaign could end up scuttled if there is some nasty news forthcoming, and everything I see suggests there was skullduggery.

Not only is her State department e-mail in question, but the potential for commingling of that classified mail with her personal e-mail on her private server comes into question.  It is very likely that she was using her private server for her private e-mail.  There is also the question of basic security.  There was not much security from reports that were written shortly after the hosting organization’s name was learned; it was not a high-power super-techy group.

The guy on the hot seat is FBI Director Comey.  If he releases the information and suggests charges be brought, he could find himself in a peculiar situation.  Would President Obama secretly love that or would the Democratic machine insist on Comey’s scalp?

Could this unanswered question hanging over Hillary’s head be the reason that Bernie Sanders is continuing his campaign?  Is he hoping to be around to pick up the pieces and face the Republican candidate?

Today Brussels, Tomorrow?

Brussels has been hit by terrorists as the whole world knows by now.  The airport and the subway system were the targets so far as we know at this time.  Death toll numbers have hit and probably exceeded 34 by now.  The world’s political leaders are in their “cluck-cluck” posture again, both warning us to be wary while they threaten the terrorists with capture and trials.

The terrorists do not seem to have much time for these hollow politically-driven threats.  They do seem to have the time and the inclination to continue these attacks, and so far, at least, they are doing what it is they wish to do with seeming impunity.

We, in the United States, sit here rather smugly thinking that we are impervious to such attacks.  We are less threatened simply by virtue of our physical separation from other continents, but that distance gets eaten up quickly once the terrorists put their mind to an attack.  Our porous borders are just that…porous borders.  The World Trade Center was destroyed even though we have some border security.  Those terrorists simply came to our country ostensibly to attend flight school training and had the proper credentials to do that.

We tend to have very short memories.  We suffer an attack and then, within months, we are back to our same old ways.  We mourn, we bury, we pontificate and we slowly lose touch with that potential reality…until the next time.

Our politicians are eager for the next opportunity to huff and puff.  But, once the cameras are put away, and several news cycles have come and gone, the politicos are on to the next face-time opportunity.  That is how our country works; and, it continues to work that way because we voters do little to nothing to hold feet to the fire for long enough to get something accomplished.

We have a White House occupant that knows his free travel days are coming to an end, so he is off globe-trotting.  There is probably going to be time enough for at least one more Hawaiian vacation unless that pesky Congress comes up with something it believes is the next world-saving law.

By tomorrow, other news will have captured our attention and the politicians will be back into campaign mode.  But, the terrorists will be just as intent tomorrow as they were yesterday.  We need to become perpetually wary but we slip back into our comfortable lives far too quickly after others suffer an attack.  Local law enforcement is wary in each jurisdiction but that is not enough.  Our federal protective elements need to be enforced and they need to understand their mission which cannot be short-changed depending upon the politics of the day.

Pray for those in Belgium, in Europe, and here in America.

A Retirement Pay Raise?

Just as an almost absolutely compelling topic, the NCAA victory moving our Badgers on to the ‘Sweet Sixteen’ hits, there comes a topic that simply has to take precedence.

President Barack Obama has proposed, in his FY2017 budget request, $3,865,000 in appropriations for the expenditures relating to former Presidents.  That is, according to the Congressional Research Service, an increase of nearly 18% (actually about 17.9%) from the FY 2016 budget.

The last budget request called for an increase of $25,000 for this line item.  This new request provides for a line item increase of $588,000 now that he will stand to benefit in short order.  So, the President believes that he needs a raise in his retirement benefit.  I seriously doubt that this proposed raise came with the best interests of earlier retirees from that position at heart, as can be plainly seen in the year-earlier budget request.

Our past Presidents began to receive retirement payments as the result of the Former Presidents Act of 1958.  That was apparently passed in recognition that former President Truman was having financial problems.  That amount currently is $205,700 annually and the House of Representatives apparently has some discussion ongoing over that amount at present.  If that number is increased by this proposed amount without any new actions by Congress, the retired Presidents would receive some $242,500 per year.  President Obama would be gifting himself some $37,500 per year if this proposed budget is accepted by Congress.

Is it possible that there needs be some reconsideration of the 1958 Act to establish some relationship between the amount authorized for former Presidents and their actual needs as established by income/accumulated wealth other than provided by the taxpayers?  I question the wisdom of lifetime rewards to former politicians at any level since that obviously promotes  career politicians.  Too often, it seems that career politicians come to believe that we want what is good for them rather than what is good for us and our country; we do little or nothing to refute this mistaken belief by providing ever-increasing retirement benefits.

Further, If Donald Trump is elected to the Office of the President, we might want to re-consider the retirement benefit in its entirety since he tells us over and over that he is rich.  That $200,000 or so would be lost on his deposit slip.

Wisconsin Supreme Court Race

We Wisconsinites have a clear choice in the coming election as we prepare to cast our votes for the WI Supreme Court.  Our choice, of course, is between current Justice Rebecca Bradley and appeals Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg.

Bradley is a conservative Justice and Kloppenburg is a liberal Judge.  For conservatives, the choice should be very clear.  For liberals, I suspect the choice is also clear.  For those classified as undecideds, let us try to paint the picture as seen from the conservative side of the issues.

First, there is the question of early writings by Justice Bradley.  Early as in a youthful college age person some 24 years ago.  I don’t know about you, but I do know about me and I think I can extrapolate and compare my growth in wisdom to that of Justice Bradley.  I was then dumb as a stump, with all due apologies to stumps.  I was quick to anger, quick to opine and loved to make people look aghast at some of the positions I took.  I believe that most everybody who began  as I did has likely grown to be a somewhat different person than the old person was.  I believe that is very probably what Justice Bradley has been working diligently to communicate, and I believe these present day communications of a changed person.

I understand that Judge Kloppenburg needs to use whatever tools she believes she has available without regard to the time that has elapsed in this case of early utterances, and without regard to the person who is represented today by the name Rebecca Bradley.  Had I not grown to be a different and better person, I can only imagine where I might have gotten to by now…and it probably would not be a place that even remotely resembles my current place.  I believe that to also be the journey that Justice Bradley has experienced and I believe we see the truth of that life journey before us today.

Judge Kloppenburg seems to have some kind of issue about the need for verifiable voter ID (although she avoids an outright statement in that respect) and the various forms of that identification as have been prescribed for Wisconsin voters.  She is not full-throated over that issue but she is also not fully supportive of the need for valid photo ID as is currently prescribed by the Government Accountability Board (GAB), and which has been upheld by the Wisconsin courts.

Judge Kloppenburg has worked diligently to frame Justice Bradly as a favorite of Governor Walker thinking that will apply a bit of sand paper to dim the luster she, Bradley, may carry given current title since that was an appointed position and not one earned through the balloting process.  Governors have that appointment ability by law, and all Governors I can recall in Wisconsin’s history have used that tool to advance the role of their own party’s proven and capable people through valid appointments.

We have had liberal majorities at the Supreme Court level in Wisconsin and we have had conservative majorities at that level.  I believe and hope that you will concur that now is the time to maintain a conservative edge among the Wisconsin Supreme Court Justices.

Elections Take Work

I have become an election inspector in my hometown and am frankly amazed at the work that goes into an election, even a relatively benign election at the local level.  If our statewide and national elections are also run under these types of constraints, there should be no reasonable thought given to the outcomes that we disprove of as having been conducted on the up and up.

Since I have not been on the worker bee side of an election beyond that in our village, I can not say with any certainty that those other elections are conducted with the same close and careful attention given to proper protocol, the verification of the qualifications of would-be voters, and the assurance that outcomes are exactly in keeping with votes cast by qualified voters.  The Iowa caucuses won by the throw of dice are an example of election outcomes that might be rightly challenged.

I have to assume this is the case, even in the hotly contested races such as we’ll be voting about nationally in the not-too-distant future.

That brings to mind the intriguing world of party politics and the determination of the standard-bearers made by the two national political parties.  The Republicans are wrestling with the 800 lb. Gorilla in their world, Donald Trump, and trying to decide the best way to deal with the issues he represents.  Should the rules be changed to try to blunt Trump’s success to date, or should the RNC simply play this the way they have apparently played each election cycle up to now?  There are those party elders who seem to believe that making Trump the party’s candidate for President of the United States is tantamount to destroying the Republican brand.

There are also those who seem to feel almost exactly the opposite; they believe that Trump has won this fair and square and that he, therefore, is the deserving person of the nod as the Republican candidate for President.   This group is, unfortunately for the Republicans, comprised of those who have voted for Trump and/or who have supported him with their voices since he represents that which they believe has been missing in national politics.

There is a real problem, though, for the party and that is the repercussons that will likely flow if the party chooses to somehow deprive Mr. Trump of what his supporters believe is his due, such as through the rejiggering of required primary election victories and resulting floor votes to nominate; 1,237 comes to mind.  And those people are both current members and potentially future members of the Republican Party.  Does the Republican Party owe this to its members and to its sympathizers, or is it compelled for some reason to backpedal in order to do what it might see as ‘saving face’?

That is a tough question and one that the Party elders are no doubt wrestling with today.  From their perspective the questions are likely these:  Are we damned if we do?  And conversely, are we damned if we don’t?  Now that is a Hobson’s choice of a most difficult kind.

A Moderate Judicial Nominee

Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Merrick Garland has been nominated by President Obama for the U.S. Supreme Court seat left vacant by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

He is described as a moderate apparently since his decisions have rankled both sides of the aisle in the past.  This is touted as a peace offering by President Obama who could’ve gone with a much more liberal nominee.  That he didn’t is either a demonstration of his change of heart near the end of his second term or it is a consummate political strategy aimed at permitting the Republicans to find yet another way to embarrass themselves in a Presidential election season.

This sets up an opportunity for the Republicans to avoid appearing to be knuckle-dragging neanderthals who simply ignore the nominee through the rest of this term.  They could do that but that would seem to be contrary to what they ought to do.  They ought to do what they’re supposed to do; they ought to conduct hearings in all earnestness.  They ought to go through the process that is prescribed for such occurrences.  They ought to proceed with all deliberateness to commence with hearings.  They are called upon to do so.  Yes, they could stonewall Judge Garland but they would do that at the political cost the President seeks.

The way the current race for the Oval Office is shaping up, it might well be more prudent to go forward while there is a more known quantity sitting in that office.  We have little in the way of factual information to preclude that we would be further ahead to have President Trump making these recommendations, and we would almost certainly be further behind if the second President Clinton made the recommendation.

We conservatives might well be ahead to go through the process of hearings at this time rather than to engage in our current “we won’t do it and you can’t make us” snit fit.  The Congress can either give a thumbs up or deny the appointment.  In either case, the Congress will have discharged its duties and responsibilities rather than to have simply stuck its collective head in the ground, thus avoiding its duty and being subject to further scorn by the Democrats.

In The Beginning

I have been blogging almost daily since early 2007 (some 3,200 blogs) on a site owned and controlled by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel named GermantownNow.  This news organization is being purchased by Gannett and they have made the decision to end these kinds of relationships before that purchase becomes effective.  I presume this is to assure as clean an opening for Gannett as is possible and that is certainly their prerogative.

Given that blogging has become part of my DNA, I have set up this account and will announce this new site on my old site before the last day arrives to, ideally, attract followers from that site to this new site.  It may well be that some will thank their lucky stars that the GermantownNow blog has met its demise.

My blogging pattern has been to touch anything that grabs my attention with basically nothing off limits except topics that are in poor taste or that would not be compatible with my Christian beliefs.

I am a political conservative and am not at all enjoying the current political season.  I recognize that I might be uncomfortable with the President that is selected by the voters, but I also realize that these things run their course and that our country has survived quite nicely for a long, long time.  I may, though, have to remind myself of that on a nearly daily basis simply depending upon who ends up being sworn in early next year.