Charles McCullough, the Inspector General of the US Intelligence Community, has informed Congress that Hillary Clinton had "several dozen emails containing classified information determined by the IC element to be at the confidential, secret, and top secret/sap levels" on that private homebrew server she kept in some guy's bathroom closet in Colorado. "Sap" stands for "special access program" and is the level above "top secret" - or, in laymen's terms, super-duper extra-top secret. It's generally accepted that much of that "sap" material made its way from Hillary's inbox to hostile intelligence agencies around the world.
Had anybody else treated years' worth of the most confidential material so recklessly, they would now be in jail awaiting trial. By comparison, General Petraeus shared a tiny amount of "sap" material with just one person - his biographer-cum-mistress. He was prosecuted for breaching exactly the same non-disclosure agreement Hillary signed. As further punishment, it now seems the four-star general is likely to be demoted:
Reducing Petraeus's rank, most likely to lieutenant general, could mean he'd have to pay back the difference in pension payments and other benefits that he received as a retired four-star general. That would amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars over his retirement. According to Pentagon figures, a four-star general with roughly the same years of experience as Petraeus was entitled to receive a yearly pension of nearly $220,000. A three-star officer would receive about $170,000.
I doubt he needs that extra 50 grand. Even so, I wonder how America's best known general of the post-9/11 era feels at being demoted while Hillary is headed for the ultimate promotion. In his shoes, I'd rip off the three remaining stars, hurl them in Ash Carter's face, and demote myself to private.
But look at that new poll from New Hampshire: Bernie 60 per cent, Hillary 33 per cent. Will President Sanders be willing to pardon Mrs Clinton? Or will it be left to Goldman Sachs to demote one zero from her "speaking fee"?
~Six Canadians were slaughtered by Muslim terrorists in Burkina Faso, and Justin Trudeau went to a mosque to "honor their memory". At least one of the bereaved would like a more robust response:
"I want Justin Trudeau, instead of condemning (the attacks) solely with words and his little mouth, to do it with airplanes," Camille Carrier, mother of 37-year-old victim Maude Carrier, told Montreal's 98.5 FM on Monday...
"I'm revolted to have a prime minister who does not participate in combat," she told French-language radio in Ottawa.
Good luck with that. At heart Mme Carrier knows that M Trudeau won't be scrambling the jets - because he's the Royal Canadian Hair Force:
"(Justin Trudeau) walks around with his nice hair spouting his empty theories, he's on television condemning things but he's not capable of joining in with the others who are supporting the French."
"Nice hair spouting empty theories", alas, turned out to be just what Canadians wanted.
~South of the border, primary season is all about insiders vs outsiders. But who's in and who's out is like chasing after a revolving door. Marco Rubio is now every insider's choice to save the party from the outsiders, but once he was the Tea Party outsider who took on insider Charlie Crist - whose fundraisers were hosted by outsider Donald Trump. Trump has been endorsed by outsider darling Sarah Palin over Ted Cruz, for whom she once stumped when he was the outsider trying to bust inside the Senate. Trump calls Cruz a Canadian, which is a wee bit too much of an outsider, but Cruz's wife Heidi co-authored a report on the "North American Union" for the Council on Foreign Relations, which is the ultimate insiders' insidest project.
In, out, in out ....but which one is gonna shake it all about?
~After my recent Campaign 2016 post-debate analysis, I got a bit of pushback for this passage:
John Kasich had pressed his suit and was in reasonably affable mood. He's not as good as Christie on TV, but he's good on the stump. He persists in talking up his experience in Washington and Ohio in a season when the voters' contempt for political experience is the most salient fact of the race. So he must have figured, notwithstanding Trump, Cruz, Carson et al, that there's room for one I've-been-there insider campaign. Given Rubio's underperformance, there's probably a fourth ticket out of the Granite State: Trump, Cruz, Rubio - plus either Christie or Kasich. The latest New Hampshire poll has Kasich tied with Cruz in second place, with Rubio back in fourth. If that were to hold on primary night, Marco would be severely wounded, and perhaps fatally.
Most readers' reaction to this was: Oh, God, please, not Kasich. There was a lot of eye-rolling at my observation that, contrary to his crumpled suit and hangdog body language on TV, he appears to be still in the game. But the focus on the Trump/Cruz outsider showdown this week has obscured the way things have shifted among the insider establishment candidates. On the "moderate" side of the GOP, the thinking since debate season began is that Rubio is the alternative to Bush, and Christie is the alternative to Rubio. But it could be that Kasich is the alternative to all three of them. The latest poll out of New Hampshire:
Trump 27 per cent;
Kasich 20 per cent;
Rubio 10 per cent;
Cruz 9 per cent;
Christie 9 per cent;
Bush 8 per cent.
Christie damaged himself in that last debate by flat-out lying about his support for Sonia Sotomayor, writing a check to Planned Parenthood, etc. It's hard to run as a tell-it-like-it-is guy when you're telling it like it wasn't. Rubio? He's not really much good at retail politics, he's been skipping New Hampshire almost as thoroughly as he skips Senate votes, and his ceiling turns out to be a lot lower than Trump's. Bush? His anti-Rubio ads have done such a great job that disaffected Bush supporters who went to Rubio are now disaffected Rubio supporters heading to ...Kasich: The last mod standing.
A while back, I mocked his "son of a mailman" commercials on Rush, and they mysteriously disappeared from the airwaves shortly afterwards. Now in New Hampshire he's got a new gritty, super-butch ad voiced by that guy who does all the truck commercials: "Guts. Glory. Ram." "Built Ford tough", etc. But instead it's "Built Kasich tough. He's got more mud on his flaps than any other rig in the race." (I quote from memory.) The first time I saw it I scoffed that any candidate could be so desperate as to try something so patently ludicrous. And yet it seems to be working...
Guts. Glory. Kasich?
~I'm really very touched by the response to my new album (in which I share cover credit with my cat Marvin) Feline Groovy: Songs for Swingin' Cats. Here's one of the latest five-star reviews:
What a wonderful CD! I hope that Mark Stteyn [sic] will make more of them. The music was done with a lot of skill. The variety is awesome! Mark's voice is soothing, the music exciting.
There's some nice reviews over at iTunes, too. Feline Groovy is available on CD. But, if you can't wait for the postman, it can be yours in seconds via digital download from Amazon or Apple.