Monday, December 21, 2015

Why Mrs. Clinton lies

During Sunday night's underground Democrat Party debate, America's most prominent serial liar, Hillary Clinton, lied about ISIS using Donald Trump's rants about Muslims as a recruiting tool.

Since then, the commentariat -- Dick Morris, Rush Limbaugh, the Fox News Gang, and many others on the Right -- have knocked themselves out trying to analyze why Hillary keeps lying. Recall sniper fire in Bosnia, the Rose law firm records, the hapless patsy who made the Benghazi video, and much more.

To me, the answer has been obvious for years. I wrote about it some two-and-a-half years ago:

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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Hillary Clinton: Immoral or Amoral?

During her recent Congressional testimony about the notorious Benghazi Affair Hillary Clinton uttered the now infamous rhetorical question “What difference, at this point, does it make?” Note my emphasis on the word “it.” In the context the question was asked and answered Clinton’s “it” referred at least to the murder of four Americans, and probably the State Department’s antecedent failure to provide adequate security and the White House’s subsequent stonewalling cover-up. 

In other words — according to the former First Lady, United States Senator, presidential aspirant, Secretary of State, and putative 2016 democratic party presidential candidate — it made no difference that the government of which she was then a high-ranking member exposed Americans to high-risk danger, left them defenseless in a hotbed of terrorists, made no effort to rescue them, literally watched them being murdered, and then tried to cover up apparatchik  malfeasance by lying through officialdom's teeth to the people of the United States.

“What difference?” indeed.

But beyond what has become obvious about Clinton’s and her colleagues’ betrayal of the deceased Americans and the rest of the government’s malfeasance, the Benghazi Affair reveals something even more sinister.

Over the years, some of Hillary Clinton’s questionable conduct has not involved issues of morality. She has been a poseur, playing the role of victimized, yet forgiving, wife during the Lewinsky scandal. She has been a hypocrite, castigating George W. Bush for warrantless surveillance but using purloined tapes to her own political advantage. She has been a paranoid, complaining to the world about the alleged “right wing conspiracy.” She has been a conniver, ousting career White House travel office employees in favor of her cronies. She has been a dilettante, presuming to make over America’s health care system. 

While this conduct, and much more like it, has been unseemly and at odds with the dignified and trustworthy image that had been projected by modern-era First Ladies from Bess Truman to Laura Bush, none of Hillary Clinton’s conduct raised serious moral questions.

On the other hand, Clinton has done many other things that have raised serious questions of immorality (immoral defined as “not in conformity with accepted principles of right and wrong behavior; contrary to the moral code of the community” [Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language (13th ed.)]; in other words knowing, but disregarding, principles of morality).

Mrs. Clinton authored a brief reeking with fraud while a staff lawyer for the Watergate Committee. She was a beneficiary of illegal commodities transactions that turned her a large profit.  She fraudulently stung lenders in the Whitewater land scheme. She bought votes and campaign contributions with criminal pardons issued by her husband. She lied about Chinese contributions to her political campaigns. She participated in slandering and intimidating women whom her husband sexually and otherwise abused, and was complicit in covering up his salacious conduct. She blithely desecrated the presidency by selling the Lincoln Bedroom to donors and celebrities. She stole furniture and furnishings from the White House. And much more, including her recent complicity in the murder of four Americans in Benghazi and the attempted cover-up of the entire sordid affair. All immoral conduct.

There’s more, but to elucidate all of it would be to gild the lily. Hillary Clinton’s immoral conduct— rationalized by her adherence to the “Rules for Radicals” promulgated by her mentor Saul Alinsky — has been detailed on the public record for decades, especially since her abortive campaign for the Democratic Party presidential nomination in 2007. 

At that time, I raised the question of whether Clinton’s decades-old questionable character traits and corner-cutting conduct demonstrated that she was merely immoral or, worse: Whether she was amoral—and whether there’s any important difference between the two concepts.
The answer is that there is a difference, a profound one, and with Hillary Clinton’s eye on a 2016 presidential nomination it’s crucially important for the future of the United States of America that the voters of this country understand it.

I begin with the concept of “morality” itself, one which Americans instinctively understand.  Rooted in fundamental notions of “right” and “wrong,” most Americans know (or knew!) that it’s right to pay our bills and protect our loved ones; that it is wrong to defraud creditors and abuse children. It’s immoral to buy votes, lie to investigators, release terrorists for a political quid pro quo, attack the defenseless, steal from the White House — all conduct Hillary Clinton was a party to — as well as to engage in countless other actions which, by anyone’s definition, must be characterized as immoral.  That this prospective candidate for the presidency of the United States has acted immorally time and time again is clear beyond any legitimate disagreement.

But what about amorality?—defined as “being neither moral nor immoral; specifically: lying outside the sphere to which moral judgments apply; lacking moral sensibility . . . .”  (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (10th ed.); emphasis in original.)

A person who is amoral does not accept any moral standard by which her conduct is to be judged by othersShe simply does not care about the concept of morality, about right or wrong, in what she thinks, says, or doesMorality does not apply to such a person. What difference, at this point, does it make?” could well be such person’s mantra.


 Thus, the questions arise: Does all of Hillary Clinton’s dubious conduct over the course of decades reflect a simple, garden-variety immorality—knowing but eschewing the right, and deliberately doing the wrong? Or does Alinsky’s acolyte — the leading candidate of the Democrat Party for the presidency of the United States — at root care nothing for morality and deem it to have no application to her? Is Hillary Clinton amoral?

Her record (let alone her character) leaves no doubt about the answer.  Yet Clinton and her supporters ask: “What difference, at this point, does [morality] make?” 

To ask the question is to answer it.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Is the Army in the tank for Bowe Bergdahl?

[This slightly revised essay is being resent because a glitch in the software program prevented many subscribers from receiving it.]

In a short essay on September  8, 2015 in National Review, headlined "The Pentagon Throws the Book At Bowe Bergdahl," David French writes that "[i]t looks like the Obama administration may have traded five high-ranking Taliban prisoners for someone who was worse than a deserter." Mr. French is referring to Bergdahl having been charged with not only UCMJ Article 85 desertion, but also Article 99.

 The question arises: Why?

I have written before that the Department of the Army, Defense Department, and Commander-in-Chief cannot be trusted to seek, let alone obtain, a just result in the Bergdahl case. (If Bowe Bergdahl is a deserter, not a POW, he needn't worry, Is Bowe Bergdahl guilty of desertion?, No soldier left behind? Don't make me cry. Bergdahl Prediction, Interim Report, NO DESERTER LEFT BEHIND: Some observations about the Bowe Bergdahl case)

 Despite the universal reporting that the Article 99 charge is stiff and could send Bergdahl away for a very long time, events of the last few days further cloud what the military is up to.

Rather than rely on what TV’s talking heads and other media pundits say about those two articles, let’s see what they actually say.

Article 85 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, "Desertion with Intent to Shirk Important or Hazardous Duty," carries a maximum potential punishment of a dishonorable discharge, reduction to the rank of E-1, total forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and maximum confinement of five years

Article 99 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, "Misbehavior Before The Enemy by Endangering the Safety of a Command, Unit or Place," carries a maximum potential penalty of dishonorable discharge, reduction to the rank of E-1, total forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and possible confinement for life.

Under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the specific legal elements for Article 85, "Desertion with Intent to Shirk Important or Hazardous Duty," are: (1) "The accused quit his (or her) unit or place of duty," (2) "The accused did so with the intent to avoid or shirk certain service," (3) The duty to be performed was hazardous or important," (4) "The accused knew he (or she) was required for the duty or service," and (5) "The accused remained absent until a certain date." (my emphasis.)

The text of Article 99 is as follows:

“Any member of the armed forces who before or in the presence of the enemy—

(1) runs away;

(2) shamefully abandons, surrenders, or delivers up any command, unit, place, or military property which it is his duty to defend;

(3) through disobedience, neglect, or intentional misconduct endangers the safety of any such command, unit, place, or military property;

(4) casts away his arms or ammunition;

(5) is guilty of cowardly conduct;

(6) quits his place of duty to plunder or pillage;

(7) causes false alarms in any command, unit,
                or place under control of the armed forces; 

(8) willfully fails to do his utmost to encounter, engage, capture, or destroy any enemy troops, combatants, vessels, aircraft, or any other thing, which it is his duty so to encounter, engage, capture, or destroy; or

(9) does not afford all practicable relief and assistance to any troops, combatants, vessels, or aircraft of the armed forces belonging to the United States or their allies when engaged in battle; shall be punished by death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct.”

Why, in addition to Article 85 desertion, Article 99 “Misbehavior”?

Charging Bergdahl with Article 99 and its much higher penalty gives the prosecution more leverage in obtaining a plea. Then there’s the problem of intent, usually only provable circumstantially. Article 85 expressly requires it. Article 99 does not. Indeed, intent may not be an essential element of Article 99, making conviction easier than on the Article 85 charge.

My guess is that the Army is looking for Berghdahl to cop a plea, which would bury the Bergdahl-for-Taliban affair without the fanfare and embarrassment of a court martial. Given the facts that have emerged, especially the expected testimony of Bergdahl’s fellow soldiers, there’s no way he is going to walk. He and his lawyers know that.

The only question is how severe the sentence will be. The answer will tell us whether all along the Army has been in the tank for Bowe Bergdahl.

Monday, August 24, 2015


Lately, I've been asked about the meaning of Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment.

In the final analysis there are fundamentally two very different aspects to the so-called anchor-baby issue. One is the political, which is a waste of time to discuss because it is driven by stupid voters, avaricious businesses, bleeding hearts, powerful lobbies, corrupt politicians, activist minorities, patrician elites.

Legally, however, there’s a long, scholarly constitutional answer. It relies on what Section 1 of the 14th Amendment meant to those who drafted, supported, and enacted it. The short answer is no instant citizenship for anchor babies.

Moreover, because all issues arising in constitutional decision-making arise only in one way -- from the facts of each case -- it is crucial to understand that no case has ever been brought to, let alone decided by, the Supreme Court of the United States raising the citizen status of a child of illegal aliens. The question is wide open, and if it ever reaches the Court that body will be writing on a clean slate. (So much for the Constitutional-deprived media blowhards who insist, with their ignorance on display, that everyone born in the United States is a citizen no matter the legal status of their parents.)
This lack of constitutional precedent is ground for great fear because to today’s “living constitutionalists,” both on and off the bench, Section 1 means whatever at least five justices say it means.

Yet no Republican presidential candidate has spent time addressing the prospect that the next Chief Executive will probably have the power to reshape the Supreme Court of the United States for decades to come.

What's new?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Happy Memorial Day, or Solemn Memorial Day?

In the last several days some of my friends have wished me "Happy Memorial Day." Well-intentioned as they were, they've made a serious mistake.

Memorial Day, the last Monday in May, is a federal holiday established to remember those who died while members of the United States of America's armed forces (unlike Veterans' Day, which celebrates all those who served).

With its genesis in Decoration Day -- when volunteers decorated the graves of the fallen with flowers --  Memorial Day is not a day for barbeques, baseball games, or used car sales. It's a day for all Americans -- those of us who wore our Nation's uniform, and those who were not so privileged -- to memorialize by thought and/or deed how much the dead have paid . . .  and how much we owe.

Just as the day the United States of America was born on Independence Day -- not the "Fourth of July" -- and should be celebrated with fireworks, patriotic songs, and loud band concerts, Memorial Day is too solemn an occasion for joy.

Requiescat in pace

Friday, March 27, 2015

No deserter left behind: Some observations about the Bowe Bergdahl case

Every pundit, politician, official, press hack — everyone — who regurgitates the mantra that the United States “leaves no man behind” either deceitfully knows better, or is ignorant of American military history. 

Sadly, in the Twentieth Century alone the United States left men behind in World War I, afterwards when our troops fought the Bolsheviks in Siberia, in Europe following WW II, during the Cold War, after the armistice in Korea, and without doubt again when America ignominiously pulled out of Vietnam in the mid-1970s. 

The “no man left behind” mantra is an obscene slogan designed to assuage the consciences of too many of our countrymen, for example Secretary of State John Kerry. (Did you know he spent a couple of months in Vietnam?) For more on the abandonment of Americans to its enemies, see my lengthy essay Archangel 1918 to Hanoi 1972.

The two heavy charges levied against alleged deserter/coward Bowe Bergdahl likely preclude a sweet plea deal, for example AWOL. He will have to do time. I predict no less than 5 years, perhaps as much as 10.

For the same reason, the New York Times-floated idea that in a plea deal Bergdahl could receive an honorable discharge is as fanciful as the notion floated by his defense lawyer that the soldier left his unit in Nowhereville, Afghanistan, in search of a general officer to whom the accused could complain about something or other. This is a confession that there is no defense.

Then there is the suggestion that Bergdahl should receive leniency and be sentenced to “time served.” This is so absurd that I’m embarrassed to repeat this perverse idea, even as I debunk it. The suggestion means that deserter/coward Bergdahl should be credited with the 5 years he spent with the Taliban savages to whom he defected, erasing the distinction between incarceration in a United States prison (which he richly deserves) and his at least initial desire to make common cause with murders who were killing his countrymen and many others.  One wonders whether if Bergdahl had been held, say, 20 years, he would have been entitled to a pension.

Lastly, for now, if even a single American fighter was even wounded in searching for Bergdahl, let alone killed, he should receive the death penalty. That would be appropriate justice. Indeed, it would be lex talonis: "An eye for an eye."

Even the Taliban would understand that.