Profiles in Cowardice

 

Back in 1919, William Butler Yeats wrote a poem called “The Second Coming,” which began with the following verses:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The Falcon cannot hear the falconer.
Things fall apart, the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

I think of this poem often. I thought of it when John Roberts turned himself into the legal equivalent of a pretzel in a cowardly attempt to dodge the fact that Obamacare was, on the face of it, unconstitutional. I thought of it later while sitting in a hotel room in Indianapolis as Mike Pence collapsed when Tim Cooke of Apple called him after the Indiana Legislature passed a facsimile of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. I thought of it when Nathan Deal vetoed an act passed by the Georgia Legislature specifying that bathrooms be allocated in that state by sex. And I thought of it today when James Comey, Director of the FBI, recommended that Hillary Clinton not be prosecuted for gross negligence for doing all of her business as Secretary of State via an email server lodged in her home, pleading that the poor girl had not intended harm.

We, too, live in a time when the best lack all conviction, and the worst are full of passionate intensity. It has been ugly the last eight years, and it is going to be uglier still.

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  1. drlorentz Member
    drlorentz
    @drlorentz

    Who, then, is slouching towards Bethlehem?

    • #1
  2. Paul A. Rahe Contributor
    Paul A. Rahe
    @PaulARahe

    drlorentz:Who, then, is slouching towards Bethlehem?

    It is not Donald Trump.

    • #2
  3. Mike LaRoche Inactive
    Mike LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

    The Gods of the Copybook Headings will have the final say.  They always do.

    • #3
  4. James Madison Member
    James Madison
    @JamesMadison

    First of all, this is well done.

    But, Comey made a call based upon the issue of intent.  Most of the Ricochet world does believe intent is required, and they may be right.

    A top public servant, requesting her own email server, having her underlings comply and strip off classifed markings, is guilty in the public eye, but not necessarily in the eyes of the law. We “intent’ers” understand that without intent to harm the United States, the case was a bit shaky, especially before a jury.  That is particularly true even if you try to prove she was “grossly negligent.”  The law is the written law, case law, and procedural law.  You have to place things in context.  Intent is important, no matter how the law is written.

    I disagree with Comey.  But, to pursue this in DC with the intent matter hovering in the background was a road to nowhere.  A DC jury or even a grand jury, was probably unlikely to convict or indict.  Then there is the DC court of appeals that is stacked with Democrats.  We need to face this fact, Comey may have avoided a wasteful pursuit of prosecution to no good purpose that only martyred the defendant.  Hillary has been martyred so many times – including the Benghazi report this past week.

    They say if you are going to strike the king, better get him on the first blow.  Hillary has been beaten purple.  And she lives, on her way to Sainthood.

    • #4
  5. Paul A. Rahe Contributor
    Paul A. Rahe
    @PaulARahe

    James Madison:First of all, this is well done.

    But, Comey made a call based upon the issue of intent. Most of the Ricochet world does believe intent is required, and they may be right.

    A top public servant, requesting her own email server, having her underlings comply and strip off classifed markings, is guilty in the public eye, but not necessarily in the eyes of the law. We “intent’ers” understand that without intent to harm the United States, the case was a bit shaky, especially before a jury. That is particularly true even if you try to prove she was “grossly negligent.” The law is the written law, case law, and procedural law. You have to place things in context. Intent is important, no matter how the law is written.

    I disagree with Comey. But, to pursue this in DC with the intent matter hovering in the background was a road to nowhere. A DC jury or even a grand jury, was probably unlikely to convict or indict. Then there is the DC court of appeals that is stacked with Democrats. We need to face this fact, Comey may have avoided a wasteful pursuit of prosecution to no good purpose that only martyred the defendant. Hillary has been martyred so many times – including the Benghazi report this past week.

    They say, if you are going to strike the king, better get him on the first blow. Hillary has been beaten purple. And she lives, on her way to Sainthood.

    Negligence — gross or otherwise — is a matter of fact. It amounts to “extreme carelessness,” which is what Comey said Mrs. Clinton and her aids were guilty of. The intent to do harm has nothing to do with it. This is as clear-cut as it gets.

    James Comey has disgraced himself and should resign.

    • #5
  6. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    Our new National Seal

    Banana

    • #6
  7. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Yeats says it beautifully, Paul. Somehow reading the outcomes as a poem really pierces my heart. Where is courage? Where is principle? Thank you for speaking to this situation so well.

    • #7
  8. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    We now know what Comey is. We just don’t know what he charges.

    • #8
  9. Nick Stuart Inactive
    Nick Stuart
    @NickStuart

    Paul A. Rahe:

    drlorentz:Who, then, is slouching towards Bethlehem?

    It is not Donald Trump.

    What do you propose should be done?

    What we’ve seen so far is a realistic preview of what to expect to see in a Clinton administration.

    The unpalatable fact is that (barring some Providentially-ordained circumstance) come noon, January 21, 2017 it will be either Trump or Clinton who takes the Presidential oath of office. It will be either Trump or Clinton who appoints the next Attorney General, who oversees Federal Law Enforcement, makes thousands of other Executive Branch appointments, appoints the next Secretary of Defense, oversees national security, appoints the next Treasury Secretary, oversees Treasury functions (including the IRS), etc.

    The question then is: vote for Trump, or Clinton?

    Leaving that space blank on the ballot, voting for a third party candidate, writing someone in, sulking like Achilles in his tent, or whatever isn’t going to change that.

    Not pretty, but there we are.

    • #9
  10. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    I have been on the #NeverTrump side of the argument…until today. I have no idea how bad a President Trump will be; I only know that he will not be a paragon of conservative leadership. But Hillary is well and truly reprehensible and (along with all of her cronies) a daily insult to the rule of law. To hand her the keys to the White House is to complete a national transformation that, if not reversible, will be extremely hard to correct.

    • #10
  11. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    Nick Stuart:

    Paul A. Rahe:

    drlorentz:Who, then, is slouching towards Bethlehem?

    It is not Donald Trump.

    What do you propose should be done?

    What we’ve seen so far is a realistic preview of what to expect to see in a Clinton administration.

    The unpalatable fact is that (barring some Providentially-ordained circumstance) come noon, January 21, 2017 it will be either Trump or Clinton who takes the Presidential oath of office. It will be either Trump or Clinton who appoints the next Attorney General, who oversees Federal Law Enforcement, makes thousands of other Executive Branch appointments, appoints the next Secretary of Defense, oversees national security, appoints the next Treasury Secretary, oversees Treasury functions (including the IRS), etc.

    The question then is: vote for Trump, or Clinton?

    Leaving that space blank on the ballot, voting for a third party candidate, writing someone in, sulking like Achilles in his tent, or whatever isn’t going to change that.

    Not pretty, but there we are.

    And voting will also not change the fact that the next president will be either Trump or Hillary. So why vote if it will give you the same outcome as not voting?

    • #11
  12. Nick Stuart Inactive
    Nick Stuart
    @NickStuart

    Valiuth: And voting will also not change the fact that the next president will be either Trump or Hillary. So why vote if it will give you the same outcome as not voting?

    Appreciate your nihilism. I’m not quite there, yet.

    • #12
  13. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    Valiuth:

    Nick Stuart:

    Paul A. Rahe:

    drlorentz:Who, then, is slouching towards Bethlehem?

    It is not Donald Trump.

    What do you propose should be done?

    What we’ve seen so far is a realistic preview of what to expect to see in a Clinton administration.

    The unpalatable fact is that (barring some Providentially-ordained circumstance) come noon, January 21, 2017 it will be either Trump or Clinton who takes the Presidential oath of office. It will be either Trump or Clinton who appoints the next Attorney General, who oversees Federal Law Enforcement, makes thousands of other Executive Branch appointments, appoints the next Secretary of Defense, oversees national security, appoints the next Treasury Secretary, oversees Treasury functions (including the IRS), etc.

    The question then is: vote for Trump, or Clinton?

    Leaving that space blank on the ballot, voting for a third party candidate, writing someone in, sulking like Achilles in his tent, or whatever isn’t going to change that.

    Not pretty, but there we are.

    And voting will also not change the fact that the next president will be either Trump or Hillary. So why vote if it will give you the same outcome as not voting?

    So you can weigh in on who’s the lesser of two weevils?

    • #13
  14. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    Basil Fawlty:

    Valiuth:

    Nick Stuart:

    Paul A. Rahe:

    drlorentz:Who, then, is slouching towards Bethlehem?

    It is not Donald Trump.

    What do you propose should be done?

    What we’ve seen so far is a realistic preview of what to expect to see in a Clinton administration.

    The unpalatable fact is that (barring some Providentially-ordained circumstance) come noon, January 21, 2017 it will be either Trump or Clinton who takes the Presidential oath of office. It will be either Trump or Clinton who appoints the next Attorney General, who oversees Federal Law Enforcement, makes thousands of other Executive Branch appointments, appoints the next Secretary of Defense, oversees national security, appoints the next Treasury Secretary, oversees Treasury functions (including the IRS), etc.

    The question then is: vote for Trump, or Clinton?

    Leaving that space blank on the ballot, voting for a third party candidate, writing someone in, sulking like Achilles in his tent, or whatever isn’t going to change that.

    Not pretty, but there we are.

    And voting will also not change the fact that the next president will be either Trump or Hillary. So why vote if it will give you the same outcome as not voting?

    So you can weigh in on who’s the lesser of two weevils?

    I loved that movie.

    • #14
  15. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Valiuth:

    And voting will also not change the fact that the next president will be either Trump or Hillary. So why vote if it will give you the same outcome as not voting?

    One vote is to confirm continued and demonstrated lawlessness; the other vote may not get a better result but will not be an affirmation of criminal enterprise.

    • #15
  16. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    I’m comforted that Her time on earth is finite.

    In the meantime I’m rooting for the Col Kilgore of modern politics, Donald Trump,  to have at Hillary’s little oasis.

    • #16
  17. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    One thing to note in all of this is that voting for Trump does not I think repudiate Hillary. Will Trump prosecute her? Will Trump really institute a new and better standard of behavior in the executive branch? From his various statement and threats it rather seems that he will simply embrace the corruption, but supposedly make it work for “us”.

    • #17
  18. iDad Inactive
    iDad
    @iDad

    Thank you for another incisive post, Dr. Rahe.  You are the main  reason I remain a member here.

    • #18
  19. James Madison Member
    James Madison
    @JamesMadison

    Paul A. Rahe: Negligence — gross or otherwise — is a matter of fact. It amounts to “extreme carelessness,” which is what Comey said Mrs. Clinton and her aids were guilty of. The intent to do harm has nothing to do with it. This is as clear-cut as it gets.

    This is not exactly how it works in practice.  Intent, written into a statute or not, comes into play.  Negligence, especially gross negligence, does involve intent to behave in a way that reasonable men would consider being grossly negligence.   The law is not airtight and it is contextual with case law and procedure.  You have to open the lens a bit.

    Petraeus’ prosecutor said he would not have pursued the Clinton case.  Petraeus’ case was different, but the prosecutor is the one with the most experience prosecuting such cases.  Here are his comments on Clinton, sorry- I grabbed them from Media Matters.

    I want to see her indicted, but the law does not always justify what I want.   As for your other examples, Roberts et al., well, I think Roberts erred and I am less sure about the others.  This is not always about courage.

    • #19
  20. Casey Way Member
    Casey Way
    @CaseyWay

    Can someone explain why intent is in question? With planning and premeditation, she knowingly established a computer network outside of government oversight and accountability with the explicit purpose of conducting State business. The server system was not something left behind by the last administration conveniently in the bathroom or basement of her private home. This was devised and constructed with her guidence for the official use of her team.

    The intent was clear: hide her official activity. Her activity included gross negligence in handling top secret information. Intent is never the crime, it merely puts the crime in context, make guilt plausible.

    • #20
  21. civil westman Inactive
    civil westman
    @user_646399

    “Reasonable prosecutors” usually take into account the good faith or lack thereof in exercising discretion as to whether or not to prosecute prospective defendants. Here, the underlying reason for Clinton’s actions was obvious – to subvert federal laws governing keeping of public records. She did not want to be accountable under FOIA. Believing she is above the law, is, in and of itself, very strong evidence of bad faith in a public official. It is corruption and has been used in many instances to justify proceeding with prosecution of public officials.

    • #21
  22. TeamAmerica Member
    TeamAmerica
    @TeamAmerica

    James Madison:

    Paul A. Rahe: Negligence — gross or otherwise — is a matter of fact. It amounts to “extreme carelessness,” which is what Comey said Mrs. Clinton and her aids were guilty of. The intent to do harm has nothing to do with it. This is as clear-cut as it gets.

    This is not exactly how it works in practice. Intent, written into a statute or not, comes into play. Negligence, especially gross negligence, does involve intent to behave in a way that reasonable men would consider being grossly negligence. The law is not airtight and it is contextual with case law and procedure. You have to open the lens a bit.

    Petraeus’ prosecutor said he would not have pursued the Clinton case. Petraeus’ case was different, but the prosecutor is the one with the most experience prosecuting such cases. Here are his comments on Clinton, sorry- I grabbed them from Media Matters.

    I want to see her indicted, but the law does not always justify what I want. As for your other examples, Roberts et al., well, I think Roberts erred and I am less sure about the others. This is not always about courage.

    You mentioned intent, but afaik, where classified documents are concerned, mens rea, or criminal intent, is not necessary to convict.

    • #22
  23. Slygore Inactive
    Slygore
    @Slygore

    I have shared this poem with my friends many times over the past year or time. Truly this is where we are.

    James Madison here says even if they move forward did no one would prosecute or convict, I’m sure he is right. The system is rotten to the core, a friend of mine tells me the FBI director slammed her. All he did was assure his early retirement for not praising her.

    • #23
  24. Robert McReynolds Inactive
    Robert McReynolds
    @RobertMcReynolds

    drlorentz:Who, then, is slouching towards Bethlehem?

    We are more likely slouching toward Gomorah.

    • #24
  25. Robert McReynolds Inactive
    Robert McReynolds
    @RobertMcReynolds

    Rodin:I have been on the #NeverTrump side of the argument…until today. I have no idea how bad a President Trump will be; I only know that he will not be a paragon of conservative leadership. But Hillary is well and truly reprehensible and (along with all of her cronies) a daily insult to the rule of law. To hand her the keys to the White House is to complete a national transformation that, if not reversible, will be extremely hard to correct.

    Thank God!!! Welcome aboard. We don’t necessarily like our ride but we know it’s better than the alternative.

    • #25
  26. Nick Stuart Inactive
    Nick Stuart
    @NickStuart

    Valiuth: Will Trump prosecute her?

    No, even if some Miracle Man deus ex Machina wins the day and becomes president, the new won’t prosecute the old. Bad form don’t you know? Because then when the next crew gets in, his crew might get prosecuted for something.

    Will Trump really institute a new and better standard of behavior in the executive branch?

    Not likely. Probably the best we can hope for is the old crap gets replaced with new crap, just maybe not quite as craptacular.

    I admit a Trump Administration would be a roll of the dice. I just can’t imagine it could be as corrupt as a Clinton administration. The Clintons are the absolute acme of corruption. They make Boss Tweed look like the man Diogenes was searching for.

    • #26
  27. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    Basil Fawlty:We now know what Comey is. We just don’t know what he charges.

    I think he gives it away.

    • #27
  28. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    James Madison:

    Paul A. Rahe: Negligence — gross or otherwise — is a matter of fact. It amounts to “extreme carelessness,” which is what Comey said Mrs. Clinton and her aids were guilty of. The intent to do harm has nothing to do with it. This is as clear-cut as it gets.

    This is not exactly how it works in practice. Intent, written into a statute or not, comes into play. Negligence, especially gross negligence, does involve intent to behave in a way that reasonable men would consider being grossly negligence. The law is not airtight and it is contextual with case law and procedure. You have to open the lens a bit.

    Petraeus’ prosecutor said he would not have pursued the Clinton case. Petraeus’ case was different, but the prosecutor is the one with the most experience prosecuting such cases. Here are his comments on Clinton, sorry- I grabbed them from Media Matters.

    I want to see her indicted, but the law does not always justify what I want. As for your other examples, Roberts et al., well, I think Roberts erred and I am less sure about the others. This is not always about courage.

    James M,

    You persist in your fig leaf. Dr. Rahe has it exactly.

    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    You manufacture a phony explanation to hide ignorance & cowardice. I will have no trouble sleeping tonight. I know I have not given any comfort to a treasonous evil.

    How will you sleep?

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #28
  29. Hypatia Inactive
    Hypatia
    @Hypatia

    Rodin:I have been on the #NeverTrump side of the argument…until today. I have no idea how bad a President Trump will be; I only know that he will not be a paragon of conservative leadership. But Hillary is well and truly reprehensible and (along with all of her cronies) a daily insult to the rule of law. To hand her the keys to the White House is to complete a national transformation that, if not reversible, will be extremely hard to correct.

    Welcome to the light!

    And there may be something good about this stunning proof of corruption and cronyism:  if Mrs. Bill had been indicted, and Uncke Joe with his Jack O’ lantern grin were to parachute in , he could be harder for Trump to beat. “Extremely careless with highly sensitive classified information”. Using private Email “in the territories of sophisticated adversaries”.   Oh, let’s talk!

    • #29
  30. iDad Inactive
    iDad
    @iDad

    James Gawron:

    James Madison:

    Paul A. Rahe:

    This is not exactly how it works in practice. Intent, written into a statute or not, comes into play. Negligence, especially gross negligence, does involve intent to behave in a way that reasonable men would consider being grossly negligence. The law is not airtight and it is contextual with case law and procedure. You have to open the lens a bit.

    Petraeus’ prosecutor said he would not have pursued the Clinton case. Petraeus’ case was different, but the prosecutor is the one with the most experience prosecuting such cases. Here are his comments on Clinton, sorry- I grabbed them from Media Matters.

    I want to see her indicted, but the law does not always justify what I want. As for your other examples, Roberts et al., well, I think Roberts erred and I am less sure about the others. This is not always about courage.

    James M,

    You persist in your fig leaf. Dr. Rahe has it exactly.

    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    You manufacture a phony explanation to hide ignorance & cowardice. I will have no trouble sleeping tonight. I know I have not given any comfort to a treasonous evil.

    How will you sleep?

    Regards,

    Jim

    Well said, Jim.

    • #30

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