Of course all the chatter today is about yesterday's big speech by FBI Director James Comey. Comey first laid down the lay-down criminal case against Hillary for putting her classified emails on a non-secure server, and then said he would nonetheless recommend against indictment because her conduct constituted only "extreme carelessness" rather than (the statutory standard) "gross negligence." I certainly hope that you understand that critical distinction!
But wait a minute, you say: How exactly is this "carelessness" at all? Isn't it obvious to everyone that Hillary used her own private server so that her emails would not turn up on the State Department system when its functionaries were responding to subpoenas or FOIA requests from litigants or the curious public? If that was her reason, then "carelessness" had nothing to do with this; her conduct was completely intentional.
Of course Hillary has never admitted that her intent with the private server was to evade legitimate subpoenas or FOIA requests. But then very few criminals ever actually admit to the intent to commit the crime; and yet intent is an element of nearly all serious crimes, and somehow the prosecutors prove it all the time. How does this work? The answer is, most of the time intent is proved with some kind of circumstantial evidence. For example, a witness testifies that the accused had a grudge against the murder victim, or that the missing money has turned up in the accused's bank account. Another excellent form of circumstantial proof of intent is when the accused makes a statement about his intent, and gives a seemingly plausible alternative explanation for what he did; and then other facts emerge that demonstrate that the alternative explanation is clearly a lie. With the alternative explanation blown up, the only reasonable remaining inference is that criminal intent was present. Applying this to the case of Hillary, Hillary in a public statement in March 2015 gave as the reason for the private server that she "didn't want to carry two devices." Multiple sources (including Comey yesterday) have since revealed that at various times she had up to four devices. The alternative explanation was a lie. QED.
So we have a presidential candidate who is perfectly willing intentionally to compromise national security, up to and including "top secret" information, in order to evade legitimate FOIA requests. That seems rather disqualifying for someone seeking to be President.
But is this the thing about Hillary that is the very most disqualifying for her presidential ambitions? It's a hard one to top, but I have a candidate: Hillary has literally no idea how the economy works. Like all good progressives, she does not understand that wealth is generated by the hard work of the people in the presence of property rights, freedom of exchange, and the rule of law. Instead, she thinks that the wealth comes from the tooth fairy; that government taxing and spending is costless; and that it's up to the government to distribute the free money in a way to create a world of perfect fairness and justice. The idea that this agenda might have the side effect of undermining incentives and wealth creation and impoverishing the people has literally never occurred to her.
Am I being too harsh? As with proving criminal intent, we can only proceed by circumstantial evidence. But I think that the circumstantial evidence here is sufficiently damning to meet the standard of "beyond a reasonable doubt." I'll start with Hillary's website, and particularly the part titled "A plan to raise American incomes":
- First, is there a single place here (or elsewhere on her website) where you can find any recognition that the wealth and success of the United States has come from the hard work of the people instead of from the government? If there is, I can't find it.
- The first thing that Hillary will do as President (according to her own statement): "Give working families a raise . . . ." Nothing to it, I guess. It's just all free money coming from the government. Hillary thinks she can make Americans richer by passing out government money.
- Next item in her list: "Create good-paying jobs and get pay rising by investing in infrastructure, clean energy, and scientific and medical research to strengthen our economy and growth." That's right, "good paying jobs" in Hillary world are all funded by government spending. Try to find a counter-example on her website.
- How about the "New College Compact." Under pressure from the forces of Bernie, Hillary now proposes free college for all, or almost all. Cost? $350 billion, according to her website. Whew! But don't worry, it's all free money. Does it ever occur to Hillary that with $350 billion to blow, the state universities will just raise their prices and make it all disappear?
- Take a moment to focus on that part that says "investing . . . in clean energy." Recognize that the government does not need to invest a dime in energy for the U.S. economy to provide all the energy that it uses at the lowest cost that anyone can find. "Investing in clean energy" is obvious code for spending government dollars to subsidize environmentally-correct renewables produced by government cronies at uneconomic cost. This is what competent economists call "wealth destruction." Does Hillary know or understand that government subsidies to uneconomic businesses destroy the wealth of the people and the country? I can't find any recognition of that anywhere.
Not convinced yet? Then consider Hillary's involvement in Haiti. I previously covered that subject here. You will recognize Haiti as one of the very poorest countries in the world, with a per capita GDP at the unbelievably low level of under $1000 in the listings of all of the IMF, World Bank and UN. (By comparison, U.S. per capita GDP is about $55,000.) But Haiti is literally the world champion of foreign aid. You will find more statistics at the link, but at times foreign aid to Haiti has equalled or exceeded its entire annual GDP. If foreign aid or other handouts from government worked to raise people's incomes, Haiti would be one of the richest countries in the world.
What you may not know is that after Haiti's big earthquake in 2010, the Clintons -- both Bill and Hillary -- made Haiti specifically their baby in a massive push to improve conditions. Bill made Haiti the big project of the Clinton Global Initiative. Hillary as Secretary of State saw to directing massive new government foreign aid flows to Haiti. Both Bill and Hillary have made multiple trips to Haiti to showcase their efforts. And what do they have to show for it? After six years of massive spending, Haiti is literally as poor as ever. The money just disappears.
Have you heard Hillary so much as mention Haiti in her campaign? You can understand why she wouldn't want anyone focusing on it. On the other hand, would you think that she might be capable of learning from the experience what works and what doesn't in economic policy? I know that the evidence is circumstantial, but I have no doubt that she still thinks that more and still more foreign aid and government handouts are sure to work sooner or later to make people wealthy. So she proposes programs for the United States that are the analogs of what has worked so well in Haiti. For me, this is more disqualifying than mere compromise of national security.