Heather Hastie defends Hillary Clinton

July 5, 2016 • 11:00 am

NEWS FLASH: The FBI has decided not recommend charges against Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server, but criticized her and her aides for being “extremely careless.”

Over at her website Heather’s Homilies, reader Heather Hastie has put together a long post defending the character of the Democratic nominee for President. It’s called “The Honesty of Hillary Clinton,” and, although it’s 4,000 words long, it’s worth reading by those who either support her or denigrate her for dishonesty. I’ll give just one excerpt:—Heather’s thesis:

My contention is that Clinton is no more dishonest than any other politician, and actually more honest than most. The question of her honesty is one that I see as largely manufactured and strongly related to the fact she is a woman. Throughout her life in the public eye, Clinton has been one of the most popular politicians in her country, except when she is running for office.

If you have comments, disagreements, or the like, I’m sure Heather will be glad to hash them out with you in her comment section.

65 thoughts on “Heather Hastie defends Hillary Clinton

  1. I am by no means HRC’s biggest supporter, but I will be delighted to vote for her this November. This was a pretty good and useful article.

  2. “Clinton has been one of the most popular politicians in her country, except when she is running for office.”

    aside from the my opinion that this is not the case, that one statement made your reference to the blog article worth it. i almost peed myself -kia

    1. That statement raises the question: when was she ever not running for office? Since leaving the White House as First Lady, her senate position was primarily to prepare her for and keep her in the public eye for a presidential bid. Likewise, her stint as Secretary of State (for which she abandoned her senate position) was an obvious move to solidify her foreign policy credentials.

      1. I’m a wee bit puzzled by your implied criticism of Clinton’s motives in this comment.
        I’d suggest that anyone seriously seeking to become president of the US has to be a more than averagely ambitious individual and Clinton is no different in that to any of the previous presidents or their electoral opponents. Are you suggesting that any public office held by someone on their path to the presidency is somehow tainted by the fact that their holding it was just some careerist move aimed at furthering their ambitions for power? If not, what makes you think it’s different in Clinton’s case?

  3. I haven’t yet read her post. But based on the description and snippet, I 100% agree with this point of view.

  4. Sady Doyle: “We beg Clinton to run, and then accuse her of feeling “entitled” to win.

    Who are “we”? Is it the same people begging her to run, and accusing her of feeling entitled?

  5. Given that Bill Clinton has often been the target of the same things that Hillary has, I don’t think sexism plays a strong role.

    1. Sometimes Bill has been the source of the sleaze for which Hillary gets blamed. The bone-headed meeting with Loretta Lynch for example. The womanizing in the White House for another.

  6. Heather Hastie: “Although it might be interesting to read them, I don’t see any reason why Clinton should release her speeches. It was her job to make those speeches – it’s not really any different than anyone else releasing their trade secrets.

    That’s piling it on a little thick. It was only “her job” to give those speeches because she accepted money for it. It’s not like it was a duty of office to do so.

    And trade secrets? Pthththththt.

    1. Precisely, and that is the main reason I was inspired by Bernie. To say she’s no more dishonest than others is a very low bar. But that is more a symptom of our system than an indictment of her character.

      She is simply acquiescing to the power structure in order to succeed. I just wish there were a way to change that structure without destroying the whole edifice.

    2. Republicans are all about free enterprise. She was a private citizen and was hired to give a speech to other private citizens. She has no obligation whatsoever to reveal what the contents of that speech were. If I were her, I would respond that I’d be willing to give the speech again. But the price has gone up. It’s now $100 million per ticket, proceeds go to charity. The next available speaking date I have is Dec. 15. Any takers?

      1. She has no obligation whatsoever to reveal what the contents of that speech were.

        No legal obligation, just as Trump has no legal obligation to release his tax records. But if you aspire to the presidency, sometimes you are asked to exceed the bare legal minimum.

    3. Hillary’s refusal to release the transcripts of her Goldman-Sachs speeches is a bridge too far for me. (Do her apologists really want to follow this “it’s her job” reasoning out to it’s logical conclusion?)

      There is almost certainly nothing in those speeches that would qualify even remotely as a “trade secret” under the applicable legal standard. Almost as certainly, the speeches are larded with rah-rah-Wall-Street exhortations that would prove embarrassing to her while running for president.

      For her and her backers to claim otherwise now is precisely the type of insincere pettifoggery that has eroded HRC’s reputation for candor.

  7. I don’t much care about Clinton’s use of an unauthorised eMail server; we have no guarantee that an official state dept server would be any more secure given other Government departments’ performances in the realm of online security. What concerns me about her is that, like John McCain, she’s never seen a war she didn’t like. Surrounded by her acolytes Power, Rice, Nuland and the other neocons at State and her Saudi accomplices I’m very afraid she’ll have us deeper in the clag everywhere – MENA, Ukraine, Caucasus, Far East – when we should be getting out. I cringe whenever she talks about R2P as I’m sure it’s just code to promote bombing of some new area that has the misfortune to be governed by its own people instead of US hegemons. This woman is a serious menace to peace. Her anti-Putin rhetoric alone is greatly worrying.

    As for honesty I’m sure she’s as honest as most other politicians – people like Denny Hastert and Newt Gingrich. I just wish I had her flair for investment.

    1. I do not see how the USA can be “getting out” of Ukraine and Caucasus without getting in there in the first place. As for the anti-Putin rhetoric, I think every leader of a democratic country should display it, and add some deeds to the words (such as sanctions).

      1. so you don’t think state and CIA engineered the overthrow of Yanukovich, the elected leader? “F**k the EU”, “Yats is our guy” ring any bells? Nuland was even on the Maidan handing out cookies FCS. You don’t think it’s the US that is arming the ukrainian neonazis? You don’t think the USA had a hand in the “revolution” in Georgia, whatever “colour” that one was. The bandit they installed there got himself kicked out and has now been parachuted into the Ukraine government even though he’s not even a citizen. No USA support for Karimov, a man every bit as odious as Saddam Hussein? Or does he just run a third world EO torture shop and anyone can “rendition” their torturees there?
        As for Putin he’s certainly an extremely unpleasant individual but he’s no “hitler” and he’s no threat to world peace despite the pronouncements of General (Doctor Strangelove) Breedlove. Look at a map of US bases around the world to see who is threatening whom. Here’s one to get you started:


        1. “so you don’t think state and CIA engineered the overthrow of Yanukovich, the elected leader? “F**k the EU”, “Yats is our guy” ring any bells? Nuland was even on the Maidan handing out cookies FCS. You don’t think it’s the US that is arming the ukrainian neonazis? You don’t think the USA had a hand in the “revolution” in Georgia, whatever “colour” that one was.”

          Probably too much to ask, but….you got any evidence for these claims?

            1. Thanks. I’ll look further into it with these as a start. Have to say so far those articles are nothing more than “meh” (there appears to be quite a back story though). The U.S. has legitimate interest in affairs in Ukraine and there are many ways in which they can get them furthered. It appears from those articles, though interesting in a wonkish kind of way, there is no smoking gun, no evidence of CIA shenanigans, nothing really except international political maneuvering as usual.

              After repeated failures of our intelligence community over the decades (remember these are the people who largely missed the fall of the Soviet Union), I am deeply skeptical of those who claim that they are capable of such finely tuned interference. Sure they can spy on folks and can lob a bomb here and there or get a state to do something underhanded on their behalf from time to time. But engineer the removal of the Ukrainian president? Maybe, but the Guardian hasn’t made the case.

              Understand; it will take more that a few tangentially related news stories from the Guardian to make the connection between the overthrow of a government minister and U.S. State/CIA. Parsimony suggests the Ukrainian parliament – the ones who actually removed Yanulovich from power- were more motivated by Ukrainian politics (Yanulovich was thoroughly corrupt and was even disavowed by his own party, though to be fair neither of these are really any impediment to power) than by CIA spooky stuff. The CIA was able to exert enough power to put pressure on more than 300 elected members of the Ukrainian Parliament? It’s possible, I suppose.

              Maybe I’m being Polly-Annish but I try to never ascribe to malice that which can be explained by incompetence (or in this case, alternative internal political forces).

              1. No nice guys in these affairs and corruption and lies everywhere. Project for the New American Century (PNAC) now called The Foreign Policy initiative gives some background. Nuland (one of many holdovers from the Bush Cheney years) is married to Robert Kagan BTW. Also interesting is the role of NGOs and QUANGOs; the NED, USAID, MacArthur Foundation, Ford Foundation etc. Lot of US Government money flows through them.

        2. Always good to keep perspective.
          Even the Cuban missile crisis was precipitated by the US ballistic missiles right on the border of the USSR, first.

    2. You are right. We should elect someone who will hit that button if he is butthurt by any comment made about him.

    3. chris, thanks for the comments. I followed the Ukraine conflict almost daily and agree 100% with your take. I especially enjoyed your characterization of former NATO Supreme Commander Gen. Philip Breedlove as “Strangelove”. There are vidoes of him visiting hospitalized ‘pro-West’ Ukrainian militia men, neofascists judging by their tattoos, to hand out worthless token medals for their having sacrificed arms and legs fighting for ‘freedom’.

  8. At least three Republican attempts to embarrass the Clintons were based on material they knew was false.

    I think we know now that when the Arkansas project put forward their theories about the alleged murder of Vince Foster they knew they were lying.

    Long before the Whitewater investigation morphed into a pursuit of Monica Lewinsky, the investigators knew there was no impropriety and the Madison Rose law firm.

    And the final Benghazi investigation (the ninth I believe) was simply a calculated attempt to embarrass Ms. Clinton.

    That said, I’m still not a fan. I think she is a bit of an opportunist and has lied about her husband’s sexual escapades, and about her previous voting record in disconcerting ways.

    1. The email thing was not false information, and the FBI statement was pretty telling. I work with classified materials so I can read between the lines on the issue better than some, and what he basically implied was that this conduct (in another person) would not be prosecuted but the person would likely be fired for it. This is certainly true of non-political appointees: if I was caught storing TS material in my personal affects and regularly discussed them in unclassified settings, I’d be gone. With political appointees, of course, the question of firing really comes down to whether their boss wants them gone or not. In her favor is the fact that evidently, Dept. of State employees are more blase about security rules than DOD (or DHS, or DOE…). That’s not really a good thing, but I guess it sort of makes the situation slightly better.

      Don’t get me wrong, I think she’s a better choice than Trump. But I wouldn’t hand-wave this away; it was bad and may significantly affect her popularity ahead of the election. And we should care about political appointees and senior officials who disregard security protocols. Do you think it was okay for Cheney to out Plame? No? So why is it okay for Clinton to discuss equivalently classified information in unclassified channels? Answer: its not. Both did wrong.

      1. eric, FBI Director James Comey lied about the FBI not pursuing indictments in cases like Hillary’s. In fact, if it were almost anyone else, the FBI would have cooked their goose.

        The Department of Justice, backed up by the FBI, has prosecuted similar cases as recently as a year ago. About a year ago a navy veteran charged with downloading sensitive material on his personal computer while stationed in Afghanistan was fined, given a 2-year jail sentence (suspended,) and prohibited from ever again seeking or obtaining a government security clearance. The case is summarized on the FBI website:

        There is some disagreement as to why Comey, said to be a Romney Republican, did what he did. However, the FBI’s letting Hillary off while irredeemably damning her will certainly put Democrats in a bad light if they continue backing the Clinton brand. This election season is getting curiouser and curiouser.

  9. As I mentioned over at Heather’s, if the other side has nothing but complaints, but no plan, no real policies, nothing but BS, what is there to vote for? What they have is bad hair in an expensive empty suit.

    1. Yes. My sister-in-law was complaining about Obamacare, so I sent her a link to Trump’s web page about health care and asked, “How would this be better?” No substantive response.

  10. Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, conspired with garment manufacturers to lower the minimum wage in Haiti from 60 cents an hour, to 30 cents an hour. Her foreign policy consistently serves the interests of arms manufacturers, multinational corporations and the oil industry. She is a neoconservative, as much a warmonger as Dick Cheney or Donald Rumsfeld, who sells herself to private interests and disregards civilian lives in Latin America and the Middle East. She is corrupt, inhumane, and racist.

    1. These are the conspiracy Left’s accusations against her, but I’ve yet to see evidence presented of her crimes. As secretary of state, she didn’t unilaterally set foreign policy, and U.S. policy has not exactly been warmongering during her and Obama’s terms. To compare her to Cheney and Rumsfeld just seems like inflammatory rhetoric. You need to back up your flames with facts.

  11. That web site is not mobile-friendly; there’s an annoyingly large fixed “share” toolbar that appears over the left edge of the text and stays there as you scroll, blocking the leftmost word of every line. I can see no way to remove it.

    If Heather is reading this site’s comments section, I hope she fixes that.

  12. People have gone to the big house for the sort of thing HRC has done (keeping secret stuff on a private server less secure than the State Department’s, where it was easier to copy, yet she skates. Why?

    If Trump was guilty of this the liberal intelligentsia would go balistic.

    1. And yet repeated investigations have found no crimes committed. For what exactly should she be jailed, besides your visceral hatred of her?

      1. He asks “if Trump would be guilty of this”..my thoughts went to how he has shown us that he is guilty of not being able to keep a household intact let alone a country.

    2. The FBI director was explicit in stating no one has been prosecuted for the kinds of things Clinton did. They have faced administrative sanctions, but not criminal charges. Are you saying he’s lying?

        1. Comey specifically said that all prior prosecutions for mishandling of classified materials involved at least one of the following four circumstances: 1) the intentional disclosure of classified material to unauthorized persons; 2) very large quantities of highly classified material recklessly mishandled; 3) disloyalty to the United Stated; 4) an attempt to cover up the mishandling of the classified materials.

          The Bryan Nishimura case you linked to involved circumstances #2 and #4.

          As Comey observed, Hillary Clinton’s case involved none of the four circumstances, and there was, thus, no precedent for criminal prosecution. These are precisely the types of considerations that routinely go into an investigatory agency’s recommendation whether criminal charges should be pursued by federal prosecutors.

          As Comey spelled out in his statement, Hillary Clinton was grossly negligent in her handling of classified information (and, I think, serious questions can be raised concerning her candor with the press and public over this matter). But James Comey has performed the duties of his office to the highest standards in this case.

    3. I take the FBI at their word that someone who didn’t intend to release classified material wouldn’t be put in jail. But his comment “…those individuals are often subject to security or administrative sanctions…” means basically this: such a person would immediately lose their clearance and not be allowed to hold any job requiring one ever again, and two, they would lose their job.

      At least, that’s for us regular folk. As I said in my other post above, political appointees and elected officials play by different rules.

      1. I seriously doubt that Donald Trump could pass the full-field FBI background investigation necessary to obtain a top-secret government security clearance. And given FBI director Comey’s report on her handling of State Dept. email, I’m certain that Hillary Clinton would no longer qualify for such a clearance.

        But one of them will almost certainly be elected US president in November. As such, he or she will become commander-in-chief of the US armed forces and head of the executive branch of government, with all the access to classified information that those positions entail.

        Elections have consequences, as they say, and that is one of them.

  13. “People have gone to the big house for the sort of thing HRC has done (keeping secret stuff on a private server less secure than the State Department’s, where it was easier to copy, yet she skates.”

    Who? Who has gone to the “big house” for doing “the sort of thing” Clinton did?

    Serious question here. Others have made this claim.

      1. Thanks!

        The case of John Deutch comes remarkably close to what Hilary did (ISTM).

        Petraeus, Nishimura and Berger all knew they were mishandling “secret” documents, that makes it a bit more egregious (IMO). Clinton and Deutch SHOULD have known it was possible with their cavalier attitude toward computer security. And it turns out a few may have been secret at the time when Clinton mishandled them…that’s a little murky though. It’s my understanding that almost all of the ones now considered “secret” weren’t at the time, but that’s one of the reasons why she shouldn’t have done it in the first place!

        Deutch got a pardon though so never saw the “Big House”; he may well have if he didn’t get the pardon. Neither Petraeus, Berger nor Nishimura saw it either (though the later two paid fines).

        1. It’s my understanding that almost all of the ones now considered “secret” weren’t at the time

          According to the FBI statement, 110 emails contained information that was classified at the time, and 8 contained top-secret information.

        2. At the time he was pardoned, Deutch was prepared to enter a plea to a misdemeanor offense. As such, he wouldn’t have been eligible for sentencing to a “Big House” (assuming you’re using that term to mean a federal prison).

  14. I agree with Heather that our presumptive Democratic nominee is no more dishonest than most other politicians. What Hillary has is, at bottom, not so much a trust problem as a sincerity deficit.

    My view is that Hillary has been so long in the public eye, and has been forced to make so many awkward public compromises (for, like, forever, owing largely to life with Bill), that she no longer trusts her own instincts to run true, which comes off as insincerity on her part. And she lacks her lip-biting husband’s knack for faking sincerity (to her credit, it being a testament to what shards remain of her self-integrity).

    Hillary’s sincerity gap is compounded the overweening ambition she shares with Bill — the two of them are calculating careerists nonpareil, in a town full of calculating careerists. My biggest beef with both, however, concerns their constitutional incapacity for ever taking a principled political stand that might jeopardize their political futures. There’ll be no entry for either in any updated editions of “Profiles in Courage.”

    Nonetheless, although she wasn’t my first choice, I’ll gladly pull the lever for her in the voting booth this November. Given the dire consequences that could attend the election of her presumptive opponent, I’ll also just as gladly support her campaign in any other way I can, maybe even breaking down to throw a few bucks in contributions her way (likely in $27 Bernie-sized increments). Come next January, I hope we’re all growing accustomed to hearing the new collocation “Madam President.”

  15. If Clinton is about as honest as the average politicians – which may well be true – then that’s a pretty damning indictment of the average politician.

    1. In terms of the election Clinton is a lot more honest than the average. After all the Reblican candidates have all been outrageous liars. Go to a fact checking site to confirm this. The site I looked at made her about as honest as Bernie Sanders.

  16. NEWS FLASH: The FBI has decided not recommend charges against Hillary Clinton

    In other news, a crack squad of Trump necromancers are out trying to dig up and re-animate the bones of Joe McCarthy so they can get the House Un-American Activities Committee going again, once the Coronation is over. not for Hilary, but for those incompetent FBI investigators.

    1. Technically speaking, Sen. Joe McCarthy served on the Senate Government Operations Committee, rather than on HUAC (which, as its full name indicates, was an arm of the lower chamber of congress), although both are generally included within the Red-Scare rubric “McCarthyism.”

      Trump’s team of crack necromancers will eventually figure this out anyway. 🙂

  17. Krugman posted awhile ago about what some think is sensitive or classified is hardly all that secret. Did Clinton let slip we have antigravity warp coils that the aliens gave us…oops I forgot not tell.

  18. http://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/07/01/sad-and-shameful-day-puerto-rico

    “The legislation sends an unmistakable message: If you are a financially struggling Puerto Rican – and that is most of the island’s residents – you will be expected to sacrifice more: fewer government services, lower wages and higher taxes. For the wealthy, it says, in so many words, “We got your back.”
    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton supported this legislation, calling it “imperfect” but nonetheless joining a number of House and Senate Democrats who felt pressured by the July 1 default deadline to agree to many of the demands of conservative Republicans and Wall Street lobbyists.

    Sen. Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, was among the Democrats who voted against the bill, calling it on the Senate floor “legislation smacking of the worst form of colonialism, in the sense that it takes away all of the important democratic rights of the American citizens of Puerto Rico.””

  19. As far as I can tell, HC is a war mongering plutocrat, like most Democrats are in foreign policy. Is this better than the “alternative” on the R side? Yes, somewhat, especially domestically.

    One thing I don’t get about the mail server thing is – those are a real pain to maintain, etc. so why would you *want* to arrange to have one set up? Also, I suppose – wasn’t some of what was done a strict liability offense?

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