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Why I'm angry, part 2... - John [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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Why I'm angry, part 2... [Nov. 17th, 2016|06:16 pm]
It's normal in politics to attack, even slander, one's opponents. "Politics ain't beanbag" is a common statement. It's part of the "game"... and even if it was considered a terrible breach of character, it would still happen; it just would happen through surrogates.

But there's a bright red line in the sand that was crossed this election. Two people at the Republican Convention stated that, as prosecutors, they knew Hillary Clinton could be charged and prosecuted for crimes. Their Presidential candidate took up the cry, declaring that, were he President, his political opponent would be in jail. To add gasoline to the fire, Republican James Comey decided to state that he had to investigate e-mails that had effectively no chance to impact his investigation. He could have investigated them first - heck, maybe he already had. It is possible to search a file to determine if there are any parts not covered in another database.

Of course, he didn't even have a warrant to look for the e-mails - but who cares about this?

(What's that you say? He did get a warrant? Yes, after making the announcement - he should have sought it beforehand, to verify that he was on solid legal ground. Under the circumstances, the Hillary Clinton campaign would have had little choice but to urge the warrant be granted, as it was the only chance to clear her.)

Of course, to no one's surprise - the whole investigation was a sham.


Basically, Hillary Clinton would not be prosecuted by any rational prosecutor. Oh, the GOP certainly had some scary sounding verbiage that, stripped of context, may have sounded like she faced prosecution. There are a lot of times when legal terms contradict common sense. For example, a law declared that "no...other tangible thing[1]" could be destroyed or hidden to prevent a criminal investigation. A collection of illegally caught fish were decreed to be not "a tangible thing". Total nonsense, right? Except - the law was speaking of records - written records, copies of data on disks or USB drives, etc.. So the plain English reading of the law declared that the defendants were guilty - but the law was clear, and the Supreme Court ruled accordingly, that fish were not "tangible things" in this case.

So: they spread a lie. And a particular kind of lie: that criminal charges were reasonably possible, rather than "...would only be brought by a malicious prosecutor," and remained silent while their standard bearer made the threat explicit.

All the while, they, and the entire news media (or rather, the competent news media who bothered to ask a few lawyers) knew better. (Well, Trump may not have known better, but he's not exactly versed in the law, in governance, in our justice system, in... well, the list goes on.)

What's absolutely infuriating is, now they're going to claim credit for failing to prosecute when prosecution would be a huge ethical lapse, and probably claim they won't hold Congressional hearings because they want us to move forward, together - rather than because they already knew darn well that this was a bogus charge. How many hearings did they hold on Benghazi without any information being revealed? If they hadn't come up with the e-mail faux-scandal, it'd still be all Benghazi all the time.

The sad thing is, they'll pay no price for it. Meaning it's fair game to do it again.

It was pointed out that this is third-world style politics; and it is. Functional democracies do not threaten frivolous criminal charges. And while the news media isn't supposed to do Hillary Clinton's work for her - so they have no duty to report that, no, she's not a "bitch," for example, or pointing out that there's no reason to think Trump can renegotiate trade deals that took years of work... but failing to report that a major political party was making baseless threats and accusations of criminal sanctions was failing to do their due diligence in reporting the story.

If one candidate is reporting that the other is using mind control powers (and if there are enough people who believe such powers exist), it's a lapse of journalistic responsibility to fail to report that there is no evidence that mind control powers exist, or are in use.

How does the news media hold people to account, if it only decides to report he-said, she-said, views differ, when there are hard, solid, facts to report?

So: I'm very angry with the Republican Party for crossing a crucial line in the sand. But I'm even more angry at our news media for failing to stand up and do the right thing, when it was trivially easy to do so. The proverbial scorpion stings because it's the nature of a scorpion - and there has been a lot of misinformation put out by the GOP. But knowing a scorpion is a scorpion means one should not hold one up to the body politic, and hope it doesn't sting *this* time.

[1] My quote might not be correct - the key item is that the law forbade destruction or removal of any "tangible thing" - which a fish is! - and not the specific phrasing)