Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 7/24/18: Democratic Censorship, Republican Idiocy, Trump Tweets And Baseball Ethics

Good Morning!

1. Good norms, bad norms, good President, bad President…Good: the announcement that the President is “considering” terminating the security clearances of former Obama officials John Brennan, Jim Clapper, James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Michael Hayden, and Susan Rice. Well, mostly good; the message that the President is “looking into it” feels suspiciously like a “Shut up or else” threat. The President should just pull the clearances immediately.

How many of you never realized that people like Comey and Brennan kept their clearances after leaving their jobs? I didn’t, and what a dumb and irresponsible rule that is. Apparently Senator Rand Paul sparked the move by tweeting that Brennan’s ridiculous “treason” accusation warranted a loss of clearance. I’d go further: the demonstrable determination of all of the named former official to assist “the resistance” and oppose the policies and very existence of the Trump administration makes ending their access to classified information mandatory.

If someone has a non-partisan, reasonable argument why the President shouldn’t just do this immediately, I’d love to hear it, especially as it applies to Comey and McCabe, who were fired.

Unequivocally bad, as in irresponsible, incompetent, undignified, unprofessional  and self-destructive, was Trump’s all-caps tweet threatening Iran after another one of that nation’s “mother of all wars” statements. Diplomacy by tweet is per se ridiculous and reckless, so saber-rattling by tweet is obviously worse. If there is a serious message to be sent, then the President should send it formally and in a professional manner. Since all-caps communications are annoying and offensive no matter where they appear, they are doubly so coming from a nation’s leadership. There is no way to interpret that Trump tweet in a way that is complimentary to the President.

2. This is one more reason my wife just told a GOP Congressional Committee fund-raising caller to never darken our phone-lines again: I really thought this story was a hoax, but unfortunately it is not. In the second episode of Showtime’s Who Is America?, Sacha Baron Cohen’s unethical “let’s humiliate people Democrats don’t like by tricking them” TV show, Cohen persuaded Jason Spencer, a Republican state representative from Georgia who apparently has the IQ of a sea sponge, to pull down his pants and scream “Nigger!” on camera.

Georgians must be so proud.

Cohen claimed to be an Israeli terrorism expert named Col. Erran Morad, and recruited Spencer for a training video on how elected officials can protect themselves from terrorists. Cohen as Morad asked Spencer to act like a Chinese tourist in order to take selfie-stick photos up a suspected terrorist’s burka, so he did.  Cohen asked  Spencer to scream the “N-word” because using the “forbidden” word would help ward off terrorists, so the idiot legislator did, and with alarming gusto. (Then Baron Cohen said, “Are you crazy? The ‘N-word’ is “noony,” not this word, this word is disgusting!”)  Morad told Spencer that terrorists are so afraid of gay people that they think they will become homosexual if you touch them with  bare buttocks, so Spencer obediently took off his pants and pressed his hindquarters against his Israeli trainer, shouting, “‘Murica!”

Not surprisingly, there are calls for Spencer to resign; he has already lost his primary. Of course he should resign; an idiot like him should never have been allowed to run as a Republican in the first place, nor should such dolts have won an election, and he won two. What Cohen does is unethical, but it does have its compensations. Spencer, for his part, whined that “It is clear the makers of this film intended to deceive me in an attempt to undermine the American conservative political movement.”

No, you irredeemable fool, idiots like you undermine the American conservative political movement, and always have.

3. The ethical values are diligence and competence, Gary. More baseball ethics! The New York Yankees lost a crucial game last night when their young, talented and perplexing young catcher, Gary Sanchez, twice appeared to loaf on the field, allowing one run to score (by the Tampa Bay Rays) that should not have, and preventing his team’s tying run from scoring in the 9th inning. Failing to hustle is a cardinal sin in baseball, and is a particularly obnoxious trait in players earning millions of dollars, though the same ethical offense would attach if they were earning peanuts, The life equivalent is not trying, shrugging off one’s duties, and treating existence with a muttered “whatever” no matter how much others depend on you.

Particularly galling was when Sanchez, getting thrown out at first for the final out of a 7-6 Yankees loss (the tying run would have crossed the plat if he had been safe), blew a bubble as he crossed the bag…

4.  True: a growing power within the Democratic Party is hostile to free speech. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), the deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee, wrote to Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO and publisher of the Washington Post, and asked,

I am writing to you with my concerns about the amount of money Amazon has made from the sale of literature and music published by entities identified as “hate groups” by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)….Will Amazon stop publishing physical and digital materials from SPLC-identified hate groups in the next three months? 

The SPLC is a blatantly partisan group that recently had to pay damages and apologize for falsely labeling an organization a “hate group.” Amazon is the most prominent and powerful book publisher in the U.S.: Ellison was directly asking that the company pull books that progressives disagree with in the months running up to the November elections. This is signature significance. A party that believes in and respects the Bill of Rights doesn’t seek to win elections this way, or have people like Ellison in leadership positions.

Interestingly, once the link was published by conservative media to the page on Ellison’s House website where the letter’s text was available, Ellison took down the page. Now that link leads to this.

American progressives either trust these people, which does not speak well for their intelligence, or they are these people, which is worse.

79 Comments

Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Government & Politics, Humor and Satire, Incompetent Elected Officials, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, Professions, Rights, Social Media, Sports

79 responses to “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 7/24/18: Democratic Censorship, Republican Idiocy, Trump Tweets And Baseball Ethics

  1. 2)Blecchh. As you say, at least he’s already lost his primary so he won’t be returning. But how in the world do people with an apparent room temperature IQ get nominated and elected in the first place?

    3)Oh my. It took me a while to figure out what happened on that passed ball, but yes that is not acceptable. Not running out a grounder when you have likely hit into a double play — also not acceptable and even less excusable. I don’t know what the situation was there, but it is sort of like a reverse error. You give your team only 2 outs that inning instead of the 3 they would normally have. It’s hard enough to score runs with 3 outs…….

    4)Eternal vigilance is one of the prices of liberty. But note that it would be equally unacceptable for conservatives to try and censor left wing books and publications. Free speech and the 1st amendment exist to protect stuff we hate, not the speech we like.

  2. DaveL

    Again, the argument that an entity like Amazon is private and can regulate speech on its platform without First Amendment entanglements starts to ring hollow when the government starts remarking on what a nice business they have there, and what a shame it is about their lack of censorship.

    • Aleksei

      Can we have digital book burnings please?

      • iTunes had, perhaps has, a little known feature where if you install it on a computer that already has music on it, but iTunes doesn’t recognise it, or recognises it but doesn’t carry the specific version of it, like garage band covers, your kids singing happy birthday, or… say…. 195 different versions of “Paint It Black” iTunes will take the unrecognized audio files, delete them, and give you access to the closest approximation of what they have on the iTunes library. Ostensibly, it was a copyright issue, but seeing as how the River City Rocks class of 2005 was original works, just by indie artists, that rings really hollow.

        I downloaded the music playing program, it deleted my collection of covers, local talent, and Paint It Black (It was really impressive, I had it in 20 odd languages, don’t judge, it was a hobby) and it gave me access to their very sterilised library of things I’m apparently allowed to listen to.

        I don’t know if that’s still the case, but the idea of program led digital destruction of content isn’t even that far out… It’s happened.

        • Aleksei

          And they used to have an inspirational commercial in a 1984 theme about how they break the mold. It’s like they say, first its for a worthy cause, then they get institutionalized, and then they become a racket.

  3. Aleksei

    #1 I also don’t understand how these people can still have clearances. When you get fired, or resign, etc, you usually hand in your key card, and they change the door code, if there is one. What possible other reason would one need such clearance after his service was complete, other than leaking stuff to the press, doing some insider trading based on govt info, etc. I am shocked that this is not current protocol. I am interested in what the media spin will be on why James “A Higher Royalty” Comey needs to keep his clearance for the good of democracy and blah-blah.

    • The idea for retaining security clearances is to afford continuity of protocols, policies, or programs. Dismissal, firing, and other terminations should warrant automatic revocation of such clearances. Why does John Kerry still have clearance? Does Hillary Clinton?

      jvb

    • Rich in CT

      Ordinarily, these are respected professionals leaving solely because of change in administration. They are likely to still have valuable insight into current issues based on past experience, and maintaining the security clearance allows them to be informally consulted. The background check is a months long, grueling process, and ad hoc consultations would be impossible otherwise. Individuals may serve under multiple, if not consecutive administrations, so continuity of clearance eases the transition back into office.

    • Rusty Rebar

      Typically speaking, a clearance lasts for a given period of time. Top Secret is 5 years, Secret is 10 years and Confidential is 15 years.

      To access classified information, you need to have a clearance AND a “need to know”. When you leave a job where you have a clearance it is not revoked, rather it is inactive. If you get another job where you have a need to know, the clearance can be activated. If the time frame has lapsed, you still would require a new investigation. You have to get a re-investigation every 5/10/15 years (depending on the clearance level).

      Revoking a clearance is typically due to cause. Most people just leave the job, the clearance expires and that is that. Having a clearance revoked would seem to be grounds to deny one in the future.

      However, it is inaccurate to say that someone who left a job where they had access to classified information would still have that access, or even be eligible to see that information. You need to have a clearance AND a need to know. As far as I know there are not any exceptions to this, but I would also not be surprised if people at that level (former directors of the CIA type people) for some odd reason retain an active clearance — I am just unaware of how that situation works. Normal people do not get to access classified info after leaving their jobs though.

      • Luke G

        Thanks for the insight! I, as a layman whose knowledge comes from spy movies, would have assumed that having the clearance meant you, well, had the clearance to view the materials. The way you describe it, it sounds more like a professional license that is merely step one in accessing classified materials. The more you know!

        • But they shouldn’t have “Step one.” No other job works that way. You’re out, you’re out. Back to square one. Especially if you’ve been fired for cause!

          • …you are talking logic while discussing the Swamp, Jack. The inbreeding has produced truly odd conventions.

          • JutGory

            I think the idea would be that things may happen NOW that might require you to talk to Susan Rice (to take a random person), who might provide insight on a particular suspect or new piece of information. If her clearance automatically expired, you would need to re-clear her to even talk about the new information. That works against institutional memory. Comey May be a useful source of any number of ongoing FBI investigations. It makes sense to keep clearances active for a period of time.

            -Jut

          • Lots of other jobs work that way. If you’re a pilot for an airline, and you have whatever FAA certifications need to fly a 747, you don’t lose those certifications when you lose your job. Your employer may not let you fly their 747s, but you’re still certified to fly 747s if you can find someone who will let you.

            Similarly, if you have a Department of Defense security clearance, you can use it for any DoD job that requires that level of clearance, in the government or in the private sector, until it expires or something happens to cause it to be revoked.

            It’s not like having a clearance automatically gives you access to classified data. Someone with control over a specific bit of classified data still has to agree that you need to see it. In practice, this means you have to be employed by the government or by a contractor doing classified work.

            So unless these people have done something that makes them a security risk — which is not the same as being incompetent at their last job or pissing off the boss — it’s vindictive to pull their clearances.

            • How is that vindictive? There is no right to security clearance. The issue is whether the individual is trusted. I don’t trust Rice, Comey, Brennan and Clapper, and of course not McCabe. Why would the administration?

              • It’s vindictive because Trump is angry and he’s doing it to get back at them. Unless you’re seriously arguing that Trump is acting solely based on his evaluation of the national security risk — an evaluation that is more stringent than the clearance-granting agencies that did their own evaluation and (in some cases) did not see a need to revoke clearances.

                • They are hostile to the current administration, and their security clearance gives them presumed credibility that they do not warrant. Sure it’s vindictive on Trump’s behalf. That doesn’t mean it isn’t responsible as well.

              • Also…I’ve had a security clearance (expired), and I know lots of people who’ve held national security jobs. Losing your clearance can be the death of your career.

                If you do something stupid, like reading Top Secret documents while flying on a commercial flight with people sitting all around you (real example), you deserve that. But you don’t deserve to lose your clearance and your career just because you’ve pissed off somebody important, not if you aren’t a security threat.

                Of course, the folks we’re talking about today will be alright, because they will get book deals and media gigs, but the fact that they have plenty of good alternatives doesn’t make it any less ethical to revoke their clearances without cause, and it sets a really bad precedent that could hurt ordinary people who hold clearances.

                • But of course, there is cause.

                • Windypundit wrote, “Also…I’ve had a security clearance (expired), and I know lots of people who’ve held national security jobs. Losing your clearance can be the death of your career.”

                  Interesting, a trust me rationalization because you’ve had a security clearance and you know people that have held national security jobs and then you top that off with a statement that implies fact across the board.

                  As I said a couple of minutes ago; You may not be completely informed. Of course because you say it, it must be absolute fact and we shouldn’t contest it.

                  Humbug.

                  Yes loosing your clearance because you did something that violated the clearance is the death of that career and could be very troublesome for that person for many years to come; however, loosing the clearance because it expired (yes that’s loosing the clearance) or was downgraded or eliminated because it’s no longer needed is not the death of your career and implying so is absolutely false.

                  I’ve had two security clearances over the years, one was in Military which expired as normal, the other was years after my military years. Interestingly enough, after the second clearance wasn’t needed any longer that one was “immediately” reduced and guess what Windypundit my career wasn’t ruined and I can still get another one if need be.

            • Windypundit wrote, “Lots of other jobs work that way. If you’re a pilot for an airline, and you have whatever FAA certifications need to fly a 747, you don’t lose those certifications when you lose your job. Your employer may not let you fly their 747s, but you’re still certified to fly 747s if you can find someone who will let you.”

              I can’t believe you actually posted that ridiculous false equivalency.

              Windypundit wrote, “Similarly, if you have a Department of Defense security clearance, you can use it for any DoD job that requires that level of clearance, in the government or in the private sector, until it expires or something happens to cause it to be revoked.”

              The point is that the person is no longer required to have the Top Secret security clearance when they are no longer in the position that requires the clearance level, it should be immediately downgraded or eliminated when it’s no longer required. They can reapply if their next position requires it. Unused Top Secret security clearances are a bad idea.

              Windypundit wrote, “It’s not like having a clearance automatically gives you access to classified data.”

              That’s a rationalization.

              Windypundit wrote, “So unless these people have done something that makes them a security risk…it’s vindictive to pull their clearances.”

              Hogwash. That’s your spin.

              If the person is no longer required to have a Top Secret clearance it should be downgraded or eliminated.

              • “If the person is no longer required to have a Top Secret clearance it should be downgraded or eliminated.”

                If you say so. But that’s not how security clearances actually work.

                • Windypundit wrote, “If you say so. But that’s not how security clearances actually work.”

                  Hmm… You may not be completely informed. Of course because you say so it must be absolute fact and we shouldn’t contest it.

                  • Actually, Z, Windy is right. This IS a vindictive PR stunt by the administration that is intended to hurt Trump’s critics. It is intended to curtail job opportunities in the future (which is also a dead letter for these folks: they don’t NEED such jobs)

                    I don’t care for these guys any more than you do, but the fact remains that having a clearance, sans a valid reason for revocation, does not allow access to classified materials. It merely means you can work in such a job should you get hired.

                    It takes weeks or months to get a Top Secret or above (at least it did when I got my now-expired one) and this would preclude being hired to a position that requires one, given normal circumstances. Such a delay is a catch 22: you have to have a need to get the process started, but the employer triggers the need by hiring you, and they would not hire if they have someone ready to go. As has been stated before in this thread, it is effectively a career killer for normal people.

                    These are simple facts, how things actually work. They are not the ideal, and I am not saying they are.

                    I should also note that someone allowing access to anyone, regardless of clearance, who is not ‘read in’ (officially included into a need to know for that information) is a crime, one taken seriously when the criminal does not have political cover (like, say, Hillary, who DID this and still has not gotten prosecuted).

                    Say someone hands Comey secret documents today. That person would be liable for breaking federal law. Does that still happen? Dunno, but I suspect it does. So what? Until somebody goes to jail for it, it will continue. Also, revoking Comey’s clearance won’t stop this hypothetical crime, as it does not matter who our criminal gives the info to, clearance or not. (Comey would also be guilty in this scenario, for receiving classified information he was not read in on.)

                    • When past administration officials with security clearance start abusing their status like Comey and Brennan—I can’t find any parallel conduct in US history—then an administration has every right to take measures to address the misconduct. Whether it is “vindictive” or not is irrelevant. Is it responsible? Yes. Fair? Also yes.

                    • Jack,

                      We are in violent agreement. Vindictive? Check. Responsible? Check. Fair? Check. Emotionally Satisfying? You bet.

                      I was simply explaining the facts: I personally agree with Trump’s actions in this case. The facts are a symptom of the Swamp, but that does not make them the right way to deal with this sort of situation.

                      Hell, I want these guys in jail for the crimes they have committed.

                    • In my opinion using the word vindictive is spin and is applied to smear and as Jack has pointed out, it’s “irrelevant. Is it responsible? Yes. Fair? Also yes.” I think it’s completely fair to say that if Obama had done the exact same thing, they would be saying it’s being responsible.

                      As for security clearances, here’s my experience which contradicts some of the assertions made by Windypundit.

                    • I accept your experience, and note that the rules vary depending on a great many conditions.

                      I am willing to be wrong. At this point I agree to stipulate that your experience happened.

                    • philk57

                      Jack – Sandy Berger comes to mind for a previous example.

          • Sue Dunim

            ” But they shouldn’t have “Step one.” No other job works that way. You’re out, you’re out. Back to square one. ”

            So if a lawyer leaves a law firm, or prosecutor’s office, they have to retake their degree and then take their bar exam again? Leave job, get law degree revoked?

            Clearance is a procedure to ensure general trustworthiness to be given access to data of that level of secrecy, should the need arise. Like being qualified in a bar exam, should you ever have the need to practice law in that jurisdiction.

            It can take years to go through this process initially, at least, for high level clearances.

            This revocation of security clearances for political reasons would be rather more difficult than it sounds. There are systems in place specifically to stop that kind of thing. Remove them, and nothing would stop any administration from revoking all clearances of registered Democrats for example. Or that of anyone even mildly critical of the Leader. Or anyone who doesn’t donate to the right “charity” or campaign, or who has ever donated to the wrong one.

            About 4 million Americans require security clearances to keep their jobs.

            • So if a lawyer leaves a law firm, or prosecutor’s office, they have to retake their degree and then take their bar exam again? Leave job, get law degree revoked?

              Try again. The law firm didn’t give them their law degree. But they can’t shoot off their mouths publicly about the law firm’s clients or how the firm is representing them, and tell everyone that they could represent them any time they choose to.

            • Revocation for abuse of the privilege and untrustworthiness. The political aspect is just an added reason, but still a valid one.

              Loyalty to the US government is supposed to mean all iterations of it, not just your “team.” And if that doesn’t swing both ways, as it clearly doesn’t with the Obama-ites then they don’t get that benefit orivilege. Paul articulated it well.

            • Michelle Klatt

              Why do people keep using training, education, or certification as an equivalent to clearance? I have security clearance as part of my job. If I leave my job, my clearance is revoked, but I get to keep my training, education, and certifications. It’s really not that confusing.

              • Your access is revoked, and the clearance goes inactive. Otherwise you would have to be investigated all over again every time you wanted to get such a job.

                • Michelle Klatt

                  In my case, my access and clearance are revoked. If I want another job with the same company or similar employment , I do have to go through all the checks again to gain clearance. Clearance should be revoked and regained, having clearance once doesn’t mean my record remains impeccable later.
                  Howevdr, I was referring specifically to the analogys of the pilot and the lawyer. It appears education and clearance were being confused by several commenters.

            • Security clearances are not analogous to professional degrees. That’s all that needs to be said here.

      • Thank you, Rusty. If these guys are accessing classified info that is a crime today, as they cannot be ‘read in.’

        Those sharing the info have likewise committed a crime.

        This is grandstanding by the Administration. They are really saying “I will make it harder for you to rejoin government, or work for someone who does.”

      • Oops. I should have read the comments before commenting.

        You said it better and earlier.

    • doclafayette42c

      The reason they still have their security clearances is the same reason that bank guards and bailffs in Iowa, back in the day, got to retain their concealed carry permits after they left the job. Normal people had to produce a reason for the sherriff to decide if you should have one. I hope that explains it.

      • Not a good analogy, though. It’s not like a driver’s license. They have the clearance to assist with the administration’s policy. Once they are no longer part of the team, they shouldn’t still have the tools the team needed them to have. If the Trump administration could trust in the good will and integrity of the likes of Clapper and Comey, it would be a different question.

        • Sue Dunim

          Actually, it very much is like a driver’s licence, especially for articulated vehicles or oversize ones.

          It doesn’t give you access to one if you’re not employed in that position, but it means you have been checked out and qualified to take such a position if someone has a need for that skillset.

          • Except that when someone hears you have a drivers license, it doesn’t make them assume that you are qualified to criticize where your precious employer is going.

            • Sue Dunim

              Someone qualified to drive an 18 wheeler who criticised a former employer for unsafe work practices, poor maintenance, falsifying logs etc would certainly have more credibility than someone like me who knows almost nothing about driving heavy vehicles.

              A DMV removing that qualification at a former employer’s insistence because of that critique is the very definition of corruption. Especially if the former employer heads the DMV.

          • If you want to strain the driver’s license analogy…Comey et al would be using their “driver’s license” to get a hold of a former employers 18 wheeler rig and drive it into a crowd of people to get the employer in trouble.

            Do you suppose the former employee’s license would then be revoked?

        • doclafayette42c

          I was just kidding with the baliff’s carry permit thing
          …….you didn’t get it, but I of course believe there is no excuse for government officials to retain their sovereign rights after they leave their positions. That would be unless you are a former president, senator, congressman or however far down the “public servant” list you can go to vote for your own perks.

  4. 77Zoomie

    #1. Security clearances stay with you for a set duration, even if you’re not working in the job that originally required the clearance. Of course, having a clearance is only one half of the equation that gives someone access to classified information, the person must also have a need to know, usually the result of another job. I don’t know if the certain positions reflected here are given an enduring “need to know” designation, but it seems like a bad idea.
    #2. The old saw that “no one can make a fool of you without your consent” comes to mind. I wonder if the GOP has to recruit these folks.
    #4. This validates the concern that what starts on US college campuses eventually makes its way into the body politic of the Democrat party.

  5. Re: No. 3:

    Gary Sanchez could learn a few things from José Altuve. José Altuve is the embodiment of hustle. That fellow never gives less than 110% and screams down first-base line to beat out the throws. He is fun to watch and people who know him outside of baseball say that what you see on the field is the same person off the field.

    jvb

    • Altuve is also the embodiment of why MLB has so many rounds in the draft and signs so many players. He was passed over initially by everyone (partly because he is so short), but finally the Astros had a scout who saw some talent in the kid and signed him for a minimal amount.

      Of course, his difficulty in even getting a shot likely has had an effect on how hard he has worked once he did get that opportunity. I just hope I live long enough to see his full career — I will not be surprised if he is the next player to pass the 4000 hit mark.

  6. RWE

    There’s a difference between having a clearance and having access to classified information.
    A security clearance doesn’t expire when you leave a job. Access to classified information ends when you no longer have a need to know, which could include leaving a job.
    For a normal citizen, there is a due process procedure required to lose a clearance, but you can lose access to classified information without due process.
    These talking heads who used to have government positions should no longer have a need to know requirement, thus they should never get access to classified information. Therefore it would seem that the whole argument is political posturing.

    • RWE wrote, “These talking heads who used to have government positions should no longer have a need to know requirement, thus they should never get access to classified information.”

      They don’t need to know and they should never get access, therefore, their security clearance is pointless. People that do not need Top Secret security clearance should not have Top Secret security clearance; therefore, when the need is no longer there, the security clearance should immediately be downgraded or eliminated and the reason for the clearance change in must be noted.

      P.S. Need to know is a slippery slope that gets abused regardless of clearance.

    • Phlinn

      *cough*sandy berger*cough*
      Apparently, need to know isn’t actually checked reliably?

      • Sue Dunim

        Some years ago, someone had the bright idea of making the clearance procedure more efficient by taking it out if the hands of bureaucrats, and outsourcing it to private enterprise.

        With the predictable consequences.

  7. Chris Marschner_

    I understand the idea that even one has a clearance, need to know should ban access. However, who determines need to know. If we assume there are some that wish to leak without having the leak rise to espionage then discussions involving protocol could morp into delving into classified info to describe a given situation. The continuation of security clearances seems to create the ideal circumstance for plausible deniability.

    Remember lack of intent exonerated HRC.

    • RWE

      Most citizens would have had their security clearance immediately suspended had they transmitted classified information on a system other then the classified system designed to transmit that information. An ensuing due process investigation would determine whether to grant the clearance or revoke it.
      I’m just relaying the way the system works. If someone abuses their authority by “inadvertently” relaying classified information it is a sign that they can’t be trusted with classified information.

      • Luke G

        “If someone abuses their authority by ‘inadvertently’ relaying classified information it is a sign that they can’t be trusted with classified information.”

        Amen. Lack of malice does not necessarily translate to lack of consequence, or as I once told a soon-to-be-former employee “I know you didn’t mean anything bad, but we’re firing you because you’re so stupid you’re dangerous.”

  8. #4 If you can control what the public can see and read it’s much easier to brainwash them.

    Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) wrote, “I am writing to you with my concerns about the amount of money Amazon has made from the sale of literature and music published by entities identified as “hate groups” by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)….Will Amazon stop publishing physical and digital materials from SPLC-identified hate groups in the next three months?”

    If you read between them there not so subtle lines there lies a veiled threat of a social justice warrior movement to destroy the top people at Amazon because they are promoting “hate speech” and we all know that…

    Hate speech is murder, murder is evil, evil must be destroyed regardless of whose civil rights are infringed upon or completely destroyed in the process. The ends justifies the means.

  9. Other Bill

    I’m going to presume President Trump has the highest security clearance available. I also assume there was some sort of investigation done before that clearance was issued and that a president doesn’t just get a clearance by winning the election. I also assume asshole John Brennan was the head of the CIA and Comey headed up the FBI when that clearance was issued. If Brennan and Comey knew Trump had been compromised by Putin, why was he, Trump, given a security clearance? Anyone? Beuhler?

    • A President gets a clearance by winning the election. This is part of the natural order of things that “the resistance” and Democrats have been trying to deny. If someone is elected, they are by definition fit to serve, in all respects.

      • Sue Dunim

        There is no way Trump would have gotten any kind of clearance without being elected.

        https://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/investigations/trumps-bid-for-sydney-casino-killed-off-by-mob-connections/news-story/65a0e5289cc924722f988bdca4b01e9b

        ” Cabinet minutes from May 4, 1987, contain a summary of the Police Board’s position and show they considered the Kern/Trump bid to be unacceptable. “Atlantic City would be a dubious model for Sydney and in our judgment, the Trump mafia connections should exclude the Kern/Trump consortium,” the report concluded.”

        The minutes were declassified under the 30 year rule.

        Being fair, it’s likely that no Real Estate Developer from New York who was involved in casinos too would have qualified. Having mob connections was essential for those two situations at the time, though since the mid 90s, the maffya has taken over a good slice of the action, while traditional organised crime has increasingly gone legit.

        • A fair analysis, Sue. I agree Trump had to get a clearance the hard way: convince the American people to give it to him.

          As an aside, Obama had the same issues: living in foreign countries makes it much harder to gain a clearance.

          No commentary in either case: just observable facts

        • I agree, but so what? That doesn’t make his security clearance post election any less valid or necessary.

          • Sue Dunim

            I never said it did.

            It would be imprudent though to pass on to such a person information where you think the risk of it being transmitted to the endangerment of national security outweighs the benefits, unless the person specifically asks for it.

            Certainly some foreign sources to my personal kno9wledge have switched from a default of “tell the US everything they may find useful” to “tell the US nothing unless absolutely necessary, and assume it will be compromised if you do tell”. Not that I know that officially, my own clearances have long expired.

            Bummer as it certainly causes inefficiency in various common causes, but them’s the breaks.

  10. Mrs. Q

    #4 No surprise regarding Ellison’s request. Books stores (especially so called Independent ones) have been privately censoring conservative authors for years. While I understand a private company has the right to self-select, once former bastions of free speech have taken to tactics like mislabeling titles, hiding books so customers can’t find them, over pricing used books, not ordering even popular titles, etc. It’s such an undercover type of censorship only those who keep a sharp eye notice.

    My personal favorite was seeing Burgess Owens shelved in Fascism. Because apparently a black man who questions liberalism is a fascist.

  11. Actually, Bill, being elected DOES mean his clearance is automatic.

    It cannot be otherwise for a President.

    • stoopid nesting…

      I was replying to Bill’s assumption that Trump’s clearance was ‘granted’ after an investigation.

      • Other Bill

        Frankly, I’m kind of amazed. If all these spooks and G-men have the goods on Trump, how is it they sat on their hands and let him be inaugurated? If they are in fact protecting our democracy from a Manchurian candidate, shouldn’t they be a little more forthcoming with that fact? Like indict Trump for espionage or being a foreign agent years ago? Or during the campaign? What were they thinking all those years? It’s okay to launder Russian money as a developer but whoa Nellie, if that guy gets elected president, then we’ll go after him and… get him unelected. Nuts, I say.

  12. Willem Reese

    #2 Just one slightly mitigating clarification on this one puts it solidly in the “Wiiiitch!” category. It was suggested by Cohen that shouting the “forbidden N-word” would attract attention in some situation like a kidnapping, and Spencer was to role-play that. Well, it certainly did get attention. Most of the backlash seems to be against him saying “nigger”, although, like in other instances, he wasn’t actually using the word in the context of exhibiting insensitive or bigoted behavior.

    Now, he was a fool (especially as an elected official) for going along with any of Cohen’s nonsense in the first place, but to brand his speech as “racist” in this setting is as bogus as in the other instances where the word was merely being discussed or mentioned without ill intent. Jehovah!, indeed.

  13. PennAgain

    4. Sanchez’ moves (or non-moves, rather) reminded me of the old steam train – you had to build up heat by making the fire bigger which in turn created more steam – until it got up to speed. In other words, he had the “go” … but failed in the “get up” part. And begging pardon for sounding like one who would dare criticize a athlete for looking coverboy-version out-of-shape, but doesn’t he look out-of-shape?

  14. Isaac

    That congressman was less astute than Random California Gun Store Owner, who just looked at Cohen in disguise, said “You’re Borat” and watched him shuffle out the door like a dork. The kind of people who choose politics…

  15. Re: No. 2: Sacha Baron Cohen.

    Sacha Baron Cohen tricked a moron into showing he’s a moron. Funny, no? Well, that moron paid a political price for his moronity (sp?) and is expected to resign. Good riddance. A person that dumb should not be allowed out of his/her house.

    However, there is a Ocasio-Cortez video taking the internet by storm because it shows Ocasio-Cortez as dim-witted. It is obviously spliced together from her Q & A on PBS’s “Firing Line”, from CRTV:

    It is also obvious that it is satire, parody, and attempting to poke fun at her naivete and inexperience. The Washington Post, though, blasted the mockery as misinformation and misleading. (Ed. note: I can’t link to the story because it is behind a paywall and I don’t have a subscription.) Here is Ann Althouse’s take on the story:

    https://althouse.blogspot.com/2018/07/its-era-of-thats-not-funny-after-fake.html

    Is the take away that you can mock idiots wearing Republican clothes but our young, passionate, and earnest Democratic Socialists are untouchable?

    jvb

    • Watching the Left completely misunderstand the satire has been one of the enjoyable parts of twitter in the past 2 days.

      • They understand it. They just have decided to be offended.

        All of this is backfiring on them, too. Normal people can tell that this was satire: the left does it ALL THE TIME. The left freaking out about it now makes normal, common Americans less likely to accept anything they say.

      • Isaac

        I’m glad she knows the right way to deal with these people. Just don’t show any fear and they disintegrate like vampires in the sun.

  16. “How many of you never realized that people like Comey and Brennan kept their clearances after leaving their jobs?”

    I had a secret clearance as an officer in the Army. They last 10 years. I was in for 6 years. I still had clearance for 4 years after.

    But the thing is, clearances DON’T give you automatic access to information labelled as “secret” or “top secret”. You have to be in a position that the information is relevant to AND have the clearance. A person with secret or top secret can’t just arbitrarily say “I want to see such and such information…just because I have a clearance”.

    These guys with their clearances are still helped by someone who doesn’t care that they aren’t in a position that justifies their access to the information but knows that there are no repercussions from sharing the information because they do have the clearance.

    This is a multi-part problem. But yes, their clearances should be revoked.

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