In politics secrecy is part of the dealing but at some point the public’s business has to be in the open…

Note: Here’s something I composed not long after the last presidential debate but did not post until now for lack of time to proof. I do proof my own stuff, and I know I don’t always catch the typos and grammatical errors (darn near impossible to adequately proof your own stuff I think). But I think it is still timely.


But who checks the fact checkers is what I want to know?

I’m not on the Trump bandwagon and never would be but he charged in the second debate that Hillary Clinton destroyed emails — I think he said 33,000 — that were under subpoena.

The first so-called fact check article I read claimed that was false. But the second one, and it was in the New York Times, said it was basically true.

(I feel it necessary to add here that stories about the Clinton email scandal and fact check articles about it all seem to be rather convoluted and ambiguous. You just have to draw your own conclusions.)

It gets kind of complicated but the way I understand it is that thousands of her emails were destroyed because she deemed them personal but the FBI says that maybe they were not purely personal. And I could see that if you commingle work and personal emails it would be difficult to judge and, anyway, if you are personally emailing people in the same business, well, it might be a mix of business and personal all in the same email.

The right thing to have done, besides not using a private server for government business, would have been to simply have turned over everything — come get it. You look less guilty that way, even if you might be embarrassed or have your privacy disturbed. And I mean this for someone running for president. A private citizen would have every right and reason to demand a search warrant and a specific one at that, and not let authorities go on a fishing expedition. I mean that is what the constitutional  protections on search and seizure are all about. In times past and in some other nations the police can at will ransack someone’s house and use anything they can find to (excuse the expression) create trumped-up charges. But Hillary was a government official and had a special responsibility with information she was handling.

But let’s put this into perspective: Mrs. Clinton, like all politicians, felt a need to operate in secrecy because when every little thing you do or say is made public it makes it impossible to negotiate with anyone and no one wants to talk to you lest they find themselves and their every word in the news. And I never thought I’d write that, having been a news reporter and having the belief that the public has a right to know how its business is conducted. But the reality is that to get anything done and to work with people who may not agree with you there has to be some secrecy. Do we conduct our own lives for all to see?

But the problem is when that secrecy is carried beyond day-to-day interaction and negotiations to actual enactment of laws and policy. I mean I used to cover county board of supervisors meetings and it was apparent that all the discussion on many issues had been carried on outside the public’s ear. Even though California where I worked has an open meeting law (it can be fairly complicated), supervisors routinely broke that by, in my opinion, mis-labeling many items as “personnel discussion” to fit into an exception in the law. So what would happen is that an issue was given an agenda number and then with no public discussion the board would vote it into law, or an ordinance, as it was called at that level of government. Interestingly enough, they also used that trick by labeling things “negotiation (s)”, to fit into another exception in the open meeting law.

On Obamacare (something that I am neutral on, neither for nor against) I think too much of the discussion and wheeling and dealing was done in private, so much so that most members of congress had no idea what they were voting on. And for sure the public did not. It would have been better to be honest about it and get a health care law through that people supported and understood. We did get a nice provision that prevents insurance companies from not insuring pre-existing conditions, and that is good and bad. Good for us, but not for insurance carriers who have to violate the concept of insurance and guarantee to pay for something they know will come to pass. Why didn’t we just skip private insurance and go to government single payer? Or, perhaps, congress should simply, as I suggested all along, have offered Medicare-type insurance to all of those who could not get private or employer-subsidized insurance.

Mrs. Clinton ran afoul of having too much secrecy in the public’s business and may or may have not violated the law or policy on emails dealing with government information.

Mr. Trump on the other hand has proved to be a bigot, a misogynist (in his own words and actions), an ignoramus when it comes to domestic world issues, and an all around poor excuse for a  human being. His public appearances and video tapes clearly demonstrate that. He is not fit to hold public office. And there is little evidence that he is in fact a good businessman. I mean maybe he can make money by playing huckster and by abusing the bankruptcy code and courts, but that is not my idea of a good businessman. That is more my idea of a crook.

So you have Mrs. Clinton’s judgment vs. total unfitness for public office and ability to act with civility.

That charge that Mrs. Clinton has “hate in her heart” made by Trump was a strange one. I mean where did that come from?

It does seem that Mr. Trump is filled with hate and promotes hate.

To be sure, being in politics all her life, and being associated with Bill Clinton, who knows how to turn the charm on but apparently also has a dark side with hints of unseemly behavior and outright sexual abuse of women, has taken its toll on Mrs. Clinton. I’m just not seeing the hate. I mean people seem to hate her, but I have not seen the evidence of it going the other way. Oh, yeah, I guess she is known to snap at staff, and I did see a tape where she snapped at someone asking a loaded question — but hate? No have not seen or felt it.

 

 

 

 

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