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morningfog's Journal
morningfog's Journal
May 31, 2016

If the leading candidate suspends their campaign, the runner up should be the nominee, agreed?

Hypothetically, in the unlikely event that the leading candidate for the nomination suspends their campaign for some unforeseeable reason, the voice of the people -- namely, the candidate who is in a close second -- should be made the nominee, right?

Do we all agree on that?

May 31, 2016

Hillary will not "clinch" the nomination unless Bernie drops out or the convention floor vote

Hillary will not "clinch" the nomination unless Bernie drops out or the convention floor vote, whichever comes first.

She will undoubtedly secure the majority of the pledged delegates next week. And, as of now, enjoys the support of enough super delegates to bridge the gap to the number to clinch. Thus, she will become the "presumptive nominee" on June 7. Only if/when Bernie drops out will she have clinched it. Alternatively, she would clinch if/when she receives 2,383 delegate votes on the convention floor.

But Bernie is taking to the convention and for good reason. Not the least of which is the State OIG report release, which publicly raised serious questions and concerns about Hillary as a nominee and her inherent liability to the party. My hope it the FBI wraps up and reports prior to the convention in order for the party to make an informed decision, one way or the other.

To be clear, I hope that Hillary is not implicated in any criminal liability and I hope none of her staff are. However, the OIG report made clear that assuming there was no wrongdoing is erroneous. It remains an open and serious question.

May 31, 2016

On shutting down GDP with a date certain

It seems premature to declare that the primary will end at the last vote, June 14.

Given the liabilities with Hillary and Bernie's renewed declaration that he will take it to the convention and the unresolved FBI investigation, it is plausible/possible/likely that it will not be finally resolved until a vote on the convention floor.

And there will be countless stories and continuing news between June 14 and July 24, perhaps even major events that turn the race upside down.

For the sake of clarity, to the extent Bernie continues the race beyond June 14 up to and including the convention, where will the primary discussions occur?

Further, discussions of the very real FBI criminal investigation into Hillary's server and its use cannot be construed as "attacking the presumptive nominee," would you agree?

May 26, 2016

Evidence from the IG Report: Clinton violated the law, but committed no crime.

* * *

Most crucially, the inspector general directly contradicts Clinton's repeated assertions that she complied both with federal law and State Department policies. "At a minimum," the report finds, "Secretary Clinton should have surrendered all emails dealing with Department business before leaving government service and, because she did not do so, she did not comply with Department's policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act."

The report goes further, noting that while Clinton's subsequent production of 55,000 pages of emails in response to State Department demands partially corrected these violations, the records Clinton turned over were incomplete. Remarkably, the report includes reference to a previously unreleased 2010 email in which Clinton, responding to her deputy chief of staff for operations, Huma Abedin, directly addresses her lack of an official State Department email account and voices a fear of the "risk of the personal being accessible" if she had one. In a briefing, State Department officials were unable to confirm the source of this email, but if it was omitted from the records Clinton produced, it again would raise questions about the process she used to distinguish between "federal records" and "personal records" before destroying the latter.

The inspector general also reveals the comments of State Department records management staff in late 2010 expressly raising concerns that Clinton's private email server "could contain federal records that needed to be preserved in order to satisfy federal record-keeping requirements." A senior official rebuffed these concerns, claiming that Clinton's email arrangement "had been approved by the department legal staff" -- an assertion the inspector general concluded was untrue -- and directed staff "never to speak of the secretary's personal email system again."

Such facts undermine the argument that the significance of maintaining a private server and the negative effects it could have, including on responses to Freedom of Information Act requests or congressional subpoenas, were simply overlooked.

* * *

Yet the inspector general's report also highlights the uncertainty that surrounds the precise scope of the current FBI investigation. To the extent the FBI has limited its inquiry to security issues and the possible mishandling of classified information, for example, the inspector general's report finding violations of the federal records laws potentially implicates a different criminal statute.

Removing, concealing, or destroying federal records, regardless of whether they are classified, can constitute a federal felony. But again, courts have generally required prosecutors pursuing this charge to prove that defendants knew they were violating the law, for which the evidence against Clinton appears to be lacking.

* * *

Based on the publicly available evidence, the reality appears to be nuanced in a way that is satisfying to neither side.

Clinton violated the law, but committed no crime.


The problem is that we know that the FBI has dug deeper than the OIG. Hillary and her inner circle refused to cooperate with the OIG, but the FBI has access to the personnel and emails that the OIG could not get. The focus of the respective investigations is different as well.

The fact is, we don't know what threads the FBI has followed. Picking up from where the OIG left off, the FBI would want to know why the personal emails were destroyed, by whom and what was in them. What the FBI found in those self-selected emails deleted as "personal" could prove to be the make or break point.

May 26, 2016

It is the flagrant skirting of public records law, not security, that is the problem.

The violations of public records law seem to be the more serious violation. There were intentional steps taken by Hillary and her inner circle to skirt those laws. There were lies told by Hillary and her inner circle after the fact. These efforts were in bad faith and two federal judges have found evidence of intentional violations with respect to the public record law.

We know now the private server was, at least in part, to protect and maintain control over the personal email communications.

The security issue, although it sounds more serious, lacks the intentionality, as far as I can tell. It also lacks evidence of any harm done. I don't put any stock in guccifer's claims.

But intentionally hiding public records is a problem. The obvious question is, what is she hiding? The thing is, we will almost certainly find out. And it's going to be a liability for the Dems.

May 25, 2016

Clinton magic number: 256 PDs; Bernie magic number: 526 PDs. 781 PDs left.

This is the true state of the race. The race for the majority of pledged delegates. 2,026. There are 781 pledged delegates to be allocated through 9 more voting contests.

Hillary has 1,770. She needs 256 more to clinch. 32.8% of remaining PDs.

Bernie has 1,500. He needs 526 to clinch. 67.3% of remaining PDs.

Neither has clinched a majority of pledged delegates. That is the measure that should and will determine the nominee. Everything else is window dressing. Popular vote, super delegates, non-binding primaries, etc.

Barring something cataclysmic between now and June 7, Hillary will secure 2,026 pledged delegates when the polls close in California. But until then, the race continues to stay open.

May 25, 2016

The Democratic Platform Committee Now Has a Progressive Majority. Thanks, Bernie Sanders.

Bernie Sanders indicated in early May that his campaign was “going to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia with as many delegates as possible to fight for a progressive party platform that calls for a $15 an hour minimum wage, an end to our disastrous trade policies, a Medicare-for-all health care system, breaking up Wall Street financial institutions, ending fracking in our country, making public colleges and universities tuition free, and passing a carbon tax so we can effectively address the planetary crisis of climate change.”

Win or lose in the fight for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sanders said, “we intend to win every delegate that we can so that when we go to Philadelphia in July, we are going to have the votes to put together the strongest progressive agenda that any political party has ever seen.”

Sanders has won a sufficient number of delegates—and a sufficient opening in the debate—to influence the shaping of that agenda. And his representatives on the convention’s newly selected platform-writing committee share a commitment to make it profoundly progressive.

Take the issue of climate change, as an example. Sanders has secured a place for author, activist, and 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben, on the 15-person Platform Drafting Committee—which is responsible for outlining the platform that will eventually be approved at the party’s late-July convention in Philadelphia.

McKibben will have plenty of allies—among the Sanders-aligned members of the drafting committee, among members who are aligned with Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, and among members who are seeking to strike a balance between the two campaigns. It is fair to say that the drafting committee has a progressive majority.


May 21, 2016

Morningfog's Proposed Primary Reforms

Join in agreement. Add your own. Poo-poo mine.

Many of the nomination issues have been laid bare this cycle. Problems have come to the fore and to a head. To me the greatest problems center around the undemocratic aspects or quasi-democratic aspects. I tend towards greater democracy, more power directly to the voter.

If it were up to me (and rightfully no one has ever asked me) I would propose the following changes:

1. No caucuses. Caucuses are undemocratic, antithetical to the concepts of one person one vote and private vote. Caucuses would be better left to history.

2. No super delegates. 15 per cent of the nominating power rests in the unbridled discretion of 714 individuals. Over 23 million people have voted, more will next month, yet collectively their votes carry only 85 per cent compared to the 714 individuals.

3. Semi open primaries and same day voter registration. We should not be afraid to allow and welcome unaffiliated voters to join in our nomination process. The number who would go through the effort to sow discord is negligible. What it does is indicates to the unaffiliated or new voter that we hear them and are with them. It's a down payment on the general election.

4. Allocate delegates equally. However it is done must be fairer than the metric used now. Now, some states and votes within that stars are more heavily weighted or diluted than others.

Those are my main four.

May 20, 2016

Bernie has won over 10 million votes, 21 contests and 1,499 pledged delegates

He has had an impressive run and made the race competitive against the most monied and party-supported non-incumbent ever.

It is no small feat what he has done, considering he started polling at around 5% and was virtually unknown.

He deserves the respect of the Democratic Party, whose voters have been supporting him in large measure.

He isn't winning the race and won't win, unless something siesmic happens. But he is not Ron Paul, he is not Ralph Nader. Howard Dean even came no where near as close as Bernie has.

Respect it. Respect his supporters. Engage them and encourage them to stay involved. You will need them and you will need Bernie Sanders.

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