Sunday, January 31, 2016

Trump Gives Sanders the Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels

This dubbing idea is brilliant. A Cockney accent fits Trump's rhetoric perfectly. He sounds so good this way, he ought to fund an app for converting all his speeches.

p.s. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is a 2007 movie.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Most Eyebrow-Raising Headline of the Week

How "elaborate" could it be under a trailer in Sitka?

"Fugitive found in 'elaborate tunnel system' at trailer park" - Sitka, Alaska (AP)

Sid "Vicious" Blumenthal: Ineffectual Ectomoph?

So who is Sidney Blumenthal, exactly? He's an old Bill Clinton suck-up and HRC crony from the 1990s, a self-styled political hatchet man ('Sid Vicious') who works as a paid consultant to two groups supporting Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign - American Bridge and Media Matters - and he's someone the Clinton Foundation had on its payroll for $10,000 a month while Hillary was Secretary of State. More to the point, he's someone who sent Hillary what she called "unsolicited" emails that she sometimes passed on to State Department officials.

I believe that they were unsolicited, because their content was plainly nonsense. See for yourself here. Just as plainly, they were really intended to advance Blumenthal's personal business interests by giving foreign clients the impression he was a Beltway influence peddler. Showing his clients that he could send their crap policy advice on Libya to Hillary's personal email account was a way to monetize his access to her. See this? ""!

Considering that motive, look at the email address Sid used for himself in those unsolicited messages, "sbwhoeop", which looks like an imitation of the official White House email address convention: first initial, last initial, White House, Executive Office of the President. Was that just self-important fantasizing, or window dressing for foreign clients who wouldn't know any better?

Last but not least, he's Ichabod Crane. At least, so said Camille Paglia in a 1999 interview about Hillary Clinton and the weird Ichabod Crane men she surrounded herself with:

"Hillary loves eunuch geek men! Oh, my God, look at them all! Sidney Blumenthal, Ira Magaziner, Harold Ickes. They are all these weird Ichabod Crane men, all high-IQ men who have no natural virility ..."

I recall getting an uneasy feeling just looking at Ickes, Magaziner, and Blumenthal back in the first Clinton era. There was indeed something weird about them, but I couldn't put my finger on what it was until Paglia absolutely nailed it.

Norman Rockwell illustration of Ichabod Crane

The Legacy of HRC's Personal Email Troubles

Photo from Flicker

It's not all about the boot-licking sycophants and her frustration with DVRs and secure fax machines. It's about those too, but there are also much larger interests.

The National Security Archive - a non-governmental organization sponsored by The George Washington University which collects and publishes declassified documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act - has a refreshingly sensible take on what is and is not important about Hillary Clinton's email troubles.

Read it here: The Real Legacy of Clinton’s Personal Email: Outdated Government-wide Email Management and Overclassification
Reports have paid particular attention to whether or not she mishandled classified information, speculation that has been buoyed by the retroactive classification of emails that she sent or received over her personal account. While Clinton, her camp, and the State Department’s FOIA office all share blame for her personal email use, the larger – and more complicated – problems of poor, outdated email management and government-wide overclassification have been buried by frenzied reporting on whether or not any of Clinton’s emails were classified.

Some of them were almost certainly overclassified, based on what State Spokeperson/Admiral Kirby has said, but that won't help Hillary's election campaign. Even if true, no excuse will be believed when it comes from a figure the public associates most closely with the word "liar", and the words "dishonest" and "untrustworthy" coming in at second and third place.

Could this be how The House of Clinton goes down? I had not thought so until this week, but now, with the White House giving her no political cover at all, I'm wondering.

Here's a tip: watch for signs of Joe Biden warming up.


Monday, January 25, 2016

Would Teddy Roosevelt Have Endorsed Trump?

I must be missing the point of The New Yorker's cover, the one that shows former Presidents looking shocked and appalled at Donald Trump.

Shocked and appalled? Really? At what, exactly?

Teddy Roosevelt was no fan of immigrants, to put to very mildly. He insisted that immigrants be thoroughly Americanized as quickly as possible ("this is a nation — not a polyglot boarding house") and speak English ("let the immigrant who does not learn it go back"). He was also an avid eugenicist who believed our "society has no business to permit degenerates to reproduce their kind." Does The New Yorker think TR would be aghast at anything Trump has said?

Abraham Lincoln was no respecter of Constitutional limits when it came to national security. In 1861 he had the U.S. Army occupy Maryland and arrest the state's legislators to prevent them from voting on secession. Thousands of Maryland officials were held without trial or charges for the duration of the Civil War. And they weren't held in GITMO, either, but right here, since Lincoln had unilaterally suspended Habeas Corpus, the Bill of Rights be damned.

FDR was another President who had little regard for limits on his power. After the Supreme Court struck down key pieces of his New Deal program, he tried to expand the Court to 15 members so as to appoint his own new majority. And, there was his wartime Presidential Proclamation No. 2537 which permitted the arrest, detention, and internment of enemy aliens - Japanese, German, and Italian citizens residing in the United States - and his Executive Order 9066, which authorized the physical removal of all Japanese Americans into internment camps.

John Kennedy certainly would have traveled in Trump's social circles, and would probably have liked Trump's economic policies. Kennedy strongly advocated for reduced personal and corporate income taxes, and got that reform passed over bipartisan opposition in Congress. He was also a Life Member of the NRA.

George Washington was our greatest President, but, well ... slavery.

Hey, New Yorker, if you dislike Trump just say so. But, if you dislike him, then you really ought to dislike some of those ex-Presidents even more.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Sarah Palin Channels Karl Marx

That is not as strange a pairing as you might think. While everyone else is laughing at Palin's stream of consciousness style endorsement of Trump, think about this part of her remarks, courtesy of a transcript on Buzzfeed:

“Trump’s candidacy, it has exposed not just that tragic ramifications of that betrayal of the transformation of our country, but too, he has exposed the complicity on both sides of the aisle that has enabled it, okay? Well, Trump, what he’s been able to do, which is really ticking people off, which I’m glad about, he’s going rogue left and right, man, that’s why he’s doing so well. He’s been able to tear the veil off this idea of the system. The way that the system really works, and please hear me on this, I want you guys to understand more and more how the system, the establishment, works, and has gotten us into the troubles that we are in in America. The permanent political class has been doing the bidding of their campaign donor class, and that’s why you see that the borders are kept open. For them, for their cheap labor that they want to come in. That’s why they’ve been bloating budgets. It’s for crony capitalists to be able suck off of them. It’s why we see these lousy trade deals that gut our industry for special interests elsewhere. We need someone new, who has the power, and is in the position to bust up that establishment to make things great again. It’s part of the problem.

That is a very cogent statement of class interest and class consciousness, in those exact terms. The "donor class" has direct personal financial interests that are being served by the "political class" of both parties. The working class, meanwhile, can't get the system to protect its own direct personal financial interests.

A billionaire like Donald Trump might seem an unlikely candidate to advance those working class interests, but in fact he is a populist and an economic nationalist. Which only makes sense, since he made his billions in the real estate business and real estate cannot be off-shored or done cheaper in China. Trump is a rich guy, but his direct personal financial interests are more closely aligned with those of Sarah Palin than are those of, say, hedge fund managers. The hedge fund and investment bankers are better off backing Hillary.

Class interests ... economic base and political superstructure ... the elite and the non-elite ... the way the system "really works" to serve the elite and screw the underclass. That is classic Marxist stuff. Or better, it's classic James Burnham stuff, straight from his best work, The Machiavellians.

Burnham's view of politics, very briefly: “The primary object, in practice, of all rulers is to serve their own interest, to maintain their own power and privilege. There are no exceptions.” All societies are divided between a ruling class and the ruled, an elite and the non-elite. The primary goal of every ruling class is to maintain and expand its power and privileges. Therefore, the rhetoric used by these ruling classes should be carefully analyzed for what it says about the political elite’s desire to retain power and exclude the non-elites.

Underestimate this Palin-Trump alliance if you wish, but Marx would have understood and agreed.

A Review Of A Movie I Haven't Seen

I have not seen 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi. But, do I really have to see it in order to post something about it? Naw.

Someone who has seen it wrote a very good piece for the military veteran website Task and Purpose refuting the movie's inaccuracies and distortions. Being a former Marine Security Guard, he gets his information from real life rather than Tom Clancy novels and Call of Duty video games, so he knows whereof he speaks. See As A Former Embassy Guard, Here’s What I Know ‘13 Hours’ Got Wrong. Highly recommended if you plan to see the movie.

Something else I highly recommend is background information on the CIA's Global Response Staff, the employer of those protection contractors in Benghazi. See this WaPo article from 2012 for a description of the GRS.

Above all else, read the Vox piece on how Michael Bay's 13 Hours promotes some of the worst Benghazi conspiracy theories. While the movie is a good action flick for teenage boys - which Michael Bay freely admits is what he makes - it ends up feeding fantasies and conspiracy theories. See this quote:
The point is not that this narrative is overly simplistic and wrong — of course it is — but rather that in trying to wedge the real-life story into this box, Bay ends up distorting what happened in ways that could end up misleading millions of American viewers who are still trying to figure out what happened in real-life Benghazi and how to feel about it. It also ends up dovetailing, deliberately or not, with some of the most common and most persistent conspiracy theories about the incident.

That is the heart of the matter. “No one will mistake this movie for a documentary,” a CIA spokesperson told the Washington Post, but he is quite wrong. Dramatization beats disembodied narrative every time. The public - voters - get their information about current and historical events from entertainment media and will indeed think that they watched events in Benghazi happening before their eyes. You could ask Senator Tom Cotton whether or not the movie validated his unfounded beliefs about what happened.

Regarding those most common and persistent conspiracy theories, Vox included links to the main Senate and House investigative reports on the Benghazi incident, which make for good reading on this snowy weekend. The Senate Intelligence Committee report directly contradicts the main dramatic moment in 13 Hours, which is the charge that the protection contractors were ordered by the Benghazi Chief of Base ('Bob') not to respond to the attack on the Special Mission Facility. Did not happen. See pages 4 and 5 of the report.

The House Armed Services Committee report says the same. Furthermore, it explicitly refutes the movie's other big dramatic theme, which is the purported withholding of U.S. military air support during the incident. At least one of the protection contractors says air support was available. On the other hand, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the general who commanded U.S. Africa Command, and other general and flag officers and senior civilian defense offqicials have testified that it was not. You may decide for yourself which is the more reliable account.

This conclusive rebuttal of the air assets myth is on page 19 of the House report:
The Department of Defense had no armed drones or manned aircraft prepared for combat readily available and nearby on September 11. Secretary Panetta told the Senate in February 2013 that armed Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), AC-130 ground attack gunships, or other similar planes “were not in the vicinity.” Mr. Reid echoed this to the House Armed Services Committee in May 2013 when he declared “[g]iven the time and distance factors involved, dispatching an armed aircraft to Benghazi was not an option available to us at the time." As the result of a specific request from the committee, DOD accounted for the location of each of its AC-130 aircraft in the military’s inventory, DOD reported to the committee that no AC-130s were in the region in the days before the Benghazi attack, including for maintenance, crew rest, or merely transiting through the area. However, DOD also reported to the committee that some of these planes were deployed to “southern Europe” on September 14, in order “to support operations in North Africa.” Similarly, the U.S. Air Force F-16 fighters stationed at Aviano, Italy at the time were configured for training flights. None were on combat alert. Furthermore, unlike typical preparations during the Cold War, NATO allies also had no planes on war-fighting status. This meant other nations could not offer combat aircraft to respond on behalf of the United States.

It should not be surprising that no fighters or gunships were available. Tom Clancy aside, the U.S. is not perpetually at war with every country on earth. And that is before you consider the realities of time and space, logistical limits, manpower availability, the need for intelligence preparation, the wisdom of sending flights over a country where there were thousands of loose MANPADS, and other such grown-up things.

But, sadly, none of that outweighs the evidence of video games where airstrikes are always just a mouse click away. The public will not be convinced otherwise after they've personally seen 'Bob' tell our heroes to stand down.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Most Eyebrow-Raising Headline of the Week

"Google Fixes Bug In Online Tool After It Started Translating 'Russian Federation' To 'Mordor'" - Consumerist

HT to The Snake's Mommy

Massive Truck Bomb Attack in Kabul Escapes Notice

Photo from Reddit

Consumer Notice: This post is certified 100% free of Matters of Official Concern that are not referenced from publicly available sources of information.

Did the Taliban attack a U.S. Embassy Kabul convoy of security contractors on Monday, January 4, as they departed their quarters at Camp Sullivan en route to the Embassy? And did they do so using one of the largest vehicle-borne bombs employed in a terrorist attack in recent history?

I didn't see anything about it in the WaPo. It's like the tree that falls in the forest with no one there to hear the crash. In fact, if Diplopundit hadn't posted about it I would have doubted it even happened.

Some news media did report it, although most reports described it as an attack on the airport in Kabul vice a U.S. Mission facility and personnel. Also, there were three separate Taliban attacks in Kabul on that same day, so the Embassy angle could get lost, I suppose.

So far, Embassy Kabul has had almost nothing to say about this incident. Deafening silence, as some have noticed.

NBC News had something:
A convoy of U.S. embassy guards who live at Camp Sullivan was targeted in the second attack [of the day], the official said, but none of the guards were injured. The Ministry of Public Health said 19 civilians in the area were injured and taken to various hospitals, but there were no indications they are Americans.

The official added that the attacker missed the convoy and detonated the explosives at the gate that leads to Camp Sullivan, a residential compound for civilian contractors attached to Camp Baron.

"The car bomb detonated at the gate of Camp Baron on the military side of Kabul airport," a spokesperson for the Ministry of Interior Sediq Sediqqi confirmed.

The Wall Street Journal had some more:
The attacks, one of which struck near the gates of a compound used by U.S. government contractors, highlight the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan as its government struggles to hold parts of the country against an advancing Taliban.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the powerful evening blast which officials said was likely caused by a truck bomb. Witnesses at the scene said the crater was easily 20 feet deep. Body parts were found at the scene and the shock wave had flattened one of the compound’s walls and buildings inside.

Officials declined to give details on the number of international casualties, but Western security sources said buildings inside Camp Sullivan, one of the compounds along the route, had collapsed and casualties were feared.

An emergency operation to rescue those wounded by debris in the compounds was under way and being handled by the U.S. embassy.

The New York Times mentioned the other, failed, vehicle bomb attack of the same day near Kabul's airport:
Earlier in the day, a suicide bomber detonated his vest near the entrance to the airport, but the vehicle he was driving in, also laden with explosives, did not blow up, security officials said. There were no other casualties.

Stars and Stripes had some description of the bomb's impact:
Several people at a U.S. Embassy compound in Kabul were among the injured in Monday’s massive truck bomb attack, an embassy spokesman said.

Two Afghans were killed in the blast and more than 30 wounded, said Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi.

The blast from the bomb, which contained an estimated 3,000 pounds of explosives, could be felt miles away. Photos by witnesses showed heavily fortified walls obliterated, damaged buildings and a gaping crater in the road. The bomb damaged buildings and shattered glass far from the blast site.

-- snip --

No Americans were killed in the blast, said the embassy spokesman, who did not specify the nationalities of the injured. The Taliban claimed credit for the attack.

There are three compounds close to each other in the area, which is near a major foreign military base. There was confusion initially about exactly what buildings were hit by the bomb. Even a day later, media were kept hundreds of yards away from the blast site by Afghan police, who said foreign troops had ordered them to keep reporters away.

Who, exactly, made that estimate of the bomb's size? The Afghan Interior Ministry, I assume. I further assume the estimate was based on nothing but the size of the crater. My own unscientific guess, based on comparison of that crater to the ones left by the 2008 Marriott bombing in Islamabad and the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Dhahran, is that the bomb might have been even larger than 3,000 pounds.

The best information came from one of the U.S. Government contractors who survived the attack. His first-hand account is on Reddit and was linked by Diplopundit (here).

The contractor, who worked as an Air Traffic Controller at Kabul Airport, related details that tell us something about the bomb's impact:
My entire room imploded around me in a surreal blur of glass and brick. If I had been standing instead of lying in bed, I wouldn't be typing this ... It rendered our compound pretty much useless ... My room was the closest room to it from our building. Probably about 200 feet.

Photo from Freerange International

Here's a photo of Camp Sullivan's quarters when they were new. Prefab trailer-type accommodations, certainly not made of brick.

So, where did the flying brick come from? From Camp Sullivan's perimeter wall, that's where.

Photo from BBC Producer's Twitter feed

That perimeter wall is thoroughly breached. Like, completely destroyed and turned into those high velocity chunks that struck the contractor's living quarters 200 feet away with lethal force.

It's a good thing the Taliban were aiming that bomb at a moving convoy and not launching a dedicated attack on Camp Sullivan itself, or else they could have followed up with a ground attack and or further bombs inside the compound. Merely the one bomb was sufficient - reportedly - to render useless buildings that the U.S. Embassy relies on for support.

A couple obvious takeaways. First, the huge size of the bomb indicates the Taliban have acquired a high level of technical capability. Second, the fact that they can execute multiple coordinated attacks at more or less the same time and place - even though one of them failed - shows a high level of operational expertise.

None of this is the least bit reassuring as we enter the end stage of our long involvement in Afghanistan, and the Taliban ramps up its efforts to persuade us to leave.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Tracking Visa Overstays (Where There's No Will, There's No Way)

Here's a good question for our elected representatives in the U.S. Congress. Why is it that, in this day when visas, refugees, and security screening of travelers are political hot buttons, they continue to ignore the failure of multiple administrations, both Democrat and Republican, to implement the laws and deadlines they have repeatedly passed requiring an entry and exit tracking system for foreign visitors?

I'm tempted to call that question in to the House Government Oversight and Reform Committee hotline, but then, the fault belongs to them most of all. Who oversees the overseers?

It's an old issue, but the New York Times revisited it last week, U.S. Doesn’t Know How Many Foreign Visitors Overstay Visas:
Nearly 20 years ago, Congress passed a law requiring the federal government to develop a system to track people who overstayed their visas. After the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, an entry and exit tracking system was seen as a vital national security and counterterrorism tool, and the 9/11 Commission recommended that the Department of Homeland Security complete a system “as soon as possible.” Two of the 9/11 hijackers, Satam al-Suqami and Nawaf al-Hazmi, had overstayed their visas.

-- snip --

In 2004, lawmakers passed legislation that required Homeland Security officials to accelerate their efforts to create an automated biometric entry and exit data system. [TSB Note: see this GAO Report from 2004]

Congress repeated its demand for a biometric exit system in 2007 and set a deadline for 2009. But the deadline passed, with the department putting into place only a handful of pilot programs.

-- snip --

Despite the call by some lawmakers for an exit system, airports and the airline industry have balked because it would cost airlines $3 billion, according to a 2013 Homeland Security estimate. The Department of Homeland Security issued regulations in 2008 requiring airports to collect biometric exit information, but carriers have largely ignored the regulation, and there have been no sanctions.

Why has practically everyone in all branches of government blown off this matter of national security? Certainly, it would be costly and difficult to reconfigure thousands of airports to place passenger bottlenecks at the departure end of traffic flows, but that's a practical kind of problem and is solvable should we actually want to solve it. 

I'm going to take a wild guess here and suggest that travel and tourism trade groups, hospitality and janitorial services, food processors, big agriculture interests, universities, and the IT industry among others all work to keep their Congressmen and Senators complaisant on this matter. Security is our Number 1 priority, of course of course, BUT, they need low-wage workers.

Our elected representatives like to posture one way during hearings on this matter, but I suspect they talk another way when meeting with lobbyists and donors.

Most Eyebrow-Raising Headline of the Week

He got it to 88 mph but was too lazy to build a time machine first

"Man trying to time travel plows car into Florida businesses" - KOMO News Pensacola

Friday, January 1, 2016

Ka-Ching, Ka-Ching! Bill Clinton Does Abu Dhabi

Ah, an influence peddling story from Hillary's term as SecState. That's something we'll see a lot more of as Election Year 2016 rolls on and the news media absorbs all those Clinton private server e-mails and correlates Hillary's official actions with those of the Clinton Foundation and its principles principals.

The Wall Street Journal described how Speaking Fees Meet Politics For Clintons, noting that after HRC's confirmation as Secretary of State "more than two dozen companies and groups and one foreign government paid former President Bill Clinton a total of more than $8 million to give speeches around the time they also had matters before Mrs. Clinton’s State Department, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis ... Fifteen of them also donated a total of between $5 million and $15 million to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, the family’s charity, according to foundation disclosures."

Despite all that, "The Journal found no evidence that speaking fees were paid to the former president in exchange for any action by Mrs. Clinton, now the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination."

No evidence? That's a very odd statement, since the rest of the article is filled with detailed circumstantial evidence of exactly that kind of quid pro quo. The WSJ is confusing direct evidence with circumstantial evidence, which argues that a series of facts, by reason and experience, is so persuasive that accusations may be proved by inference alone. Courts convict defendants based on circumstantial evidence alone every day. What other kind of evidence would you expect to find of influence peddling, anyway?

Look at one particular pattern of facts the WSJ presented concerning the approval of a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) passenger preclearance operation in Abu Dhabi. Preclearance in Abu Dhabi benefits the UAE's Etihad national airline because it will attract U.S.-bound customers who would otherwise have transited through a regional hub such as Dubai. It cannot benefit any U.S. airline because none operate out of Abu Dhabi. On the contrary, it takes customers away from U.S, airlines, which is why U.S. airline trade groups and unions opposed the operation and lobbied against it in Congress.

A Congressional Research Service report on international air service controversies has this summary of the opposition:
On a separate but related note, there has been debate over a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) preclearance facility that began operation in January 2014 at Abu Dhabi International Airport in the UAE. The presence of a preclearance facility makes an airport more attractive to U.S.-bound travelers, as they are not delayed by the need to pass through immigration and customs controls upon arrival in the United States. The Abu Dhabi facility was strongly opposed by some U.S. air carriers, labor unions, and Members of Congress because Etihad Airways, owned by the government of Abu Dhabi, is the only airline that operates nonstop flights from Abu Dhabi to the United States. Opponents were concerned that U.S. carriers, which rely on code-sharing partners to serve Abu Dhabi via connections in Europe, would be competitively disadvantaged because their passengers are not eligible for preclearance.

With all those reasons to oppose the preclearance operation, why was it nevertheless approved? Consider this pattern of facts the WSJ documented:
The State Department got involved in the Abu Dhabi matter after the capital of the United Arab Emirates asked for a facility to clear travelers for U.S. entry before they boarded planes so they could avoid delays when arriving in the U.S. Only five countries in the world at the time had such an arrangement: Canada, Ireland and three Caribbean countries.

-- snip --

While Mrs. Clinton’s State Department and the Department of Homeland Security were working out a “letter of intent” with Abu Dhabi for the facility, Mr. Clinton sought permission to give a paid speech in Abu Dhabi. The invitation came from the Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative, a group created by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, president of the United Arab Emirates and emir of Abu Dhabi, according to Mr. Clinton’s request to the State Department.

-- snip --

On Dec. 6, 2011, U.S. officials signed the letter of intent. One week later, Mr. Clinton gave a 20-minute talk on climate change to the Abu Dhabi government environmental gathering. He collected $500,000, his wife’s disclosure report shows.

In December 2012, Mr. Clinton sought approval for another speech in Abu Dhabi before the World Travel and Tourism Council, State Department emails show. The request said the speech was sponsored by three Abu Dhabi tourism agencies, all owned by the government. A conference sponsor was Etihad Airways, the chief beneficiary of the inspection facility, the group’s promotional materials said. An Etihad spokeswoman referred questions about the facility to the government of Abu Dhabi.

Mr. Clinton gave a keynote address on the value of tourism. He was paid $500,000, his wife’s disclosure filings say.

One week later, the U.S. and Abu Dhabi signed the final agreement for the facility. Etihad Airways operated its first flight from it last year.

Consider as well that the U.S. Federal government is sending a former Governor of Virginia to prison for accepting $15,000 and some gifts "with corrupt intent" even though it did not even allege he performed any official act in exchange, and even though the gifts were legal under Virginia state law.

Are the U.S. Justice Department and U.S. Attorneys investigating the apparent corrupt intentions of Bill and Hillary Clinton, as they did those of the Republican former Governor of Virginia? That's just a rhetorical question, of course. But if they did, or if a future DOJ should do so, circumstantial evidence alone would be quite enough to convict them.