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It's time for those who claim to uphold the rule of law (cough-Republicans-cough!) to appoint an independent prosecutor with the goal of determining whether a black-letter violation of the law regarding obstruction has occurred and, if so, to bring charges.

Hillary Clinton wiped her email server "clean," permanently deleting all emails from it, the leader of the House committee investigating the 2012 terror attacks in Benghazi said Friday.

Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., said the former secretary of state has failed to produce a single new document in recent weeks and has refused to relinquish her server to a third party for an independent review, as Gowdy has requested.

It does not matter when Hillary decided to do this.  All that matters is that she knew at the time that the records in question might be requested during an investigation and destroyed them so as to prevent their production.

The law under 18 USC 1519 is extremely broad and does not require that the person destroying (or ordering the destruction) of records know of an investigation at the time or even that said investigation exist.  It is only requires that the item destroyed might have reasonably become subject of a future investigation before any department or office of the United States.

18 USC 1519 was added by Sarbanes-Oxley which, incidentally, Hillary Clinton voted for as a Senator and thus knows damn well applies to both this situation generally and to her specifically.

Stand up America.

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Cut the crap, America.

Monica is having a media moment—courtesy of the same press pack that once pilloried her.

When it comes to Lewinsky, apparently, there is some journalistic guilt coming to the fore.

David Letterman has expressed remorse for mocking Monica, saying it was a “sad human situation.” Bill Maher says, “I gotta tell you, I literally feel guilty.”

New Republic writer Rebecca Traister says: “Whether it’s guilt, or sophistication, or thinking a little harder about sexual power dynamics, I think people have started to think: ‘Oh right, she probably does have a right to tell her story. And that’s a good thing.’ ”

These observations come from a New York Times piece in which Lewinsky shrewdly allowed reporter Jessica Bennett to follow her around, producing a largely sympathetic profile timed to her TED talk.

Of course "TED Talks" are supposed to be about Technology, Entertainment or Design.  Thus the acronym, "TED."

Exactly how does Monica's treatise on "cyberbulling" have to do with such things and exactly how does Lewinsky have any sort of cred in that area, given that her incidents came about before the "on everywhere, all the time" Internet?

Let's cut the crap about Monica generally anyway: Bullying is not the same thing as the foreseeable and expected verbal derision expressed as a consequence of your personal bad behavior.

In other words if you blow the President under his desk, a married man by the way, and get caught doing it (a duh sort of thing, given the consent presence of the Secret Service around said President) whatever ridicule you obtain by doing so is not "bullying."

This is even more-true when said man has a multi-decade public history of treating women in this fashion, apparently for his amusement, and this is known and published far and wide including by you: Gennifer Flowers and Juanita Broddrick anyone?

This is complete and utter crap and what's worse is that it derogates women generally, furthering the claim that if you're female you're infantile and incapable of making your own decisions based on the same information available to everyone else -- and taking either the reward or consequence for having done so.

This sort of horsecrap further does actual harm in that it trivializes the millions of kids who really are bullied, cyber or otherwise.  Kids who are cold-cocked between class because they carry their books in a different way than others or who are attacked for their physical appearance.  It trivializes the very-real problem of criminal assault that occurs when such a kid is attacked or his lunch money is stolen by conflating it with you, who willfully and intentionally, as an adult, engaged in consensual sexual contact expecting a personal benefit from same with a married man who just happened to be the most powerful individual in the free world.

This is an outrage and the real harm done to real crime victims who are almost-always ignored and the perpetrators of such assaults, who almost always go unpunished, are dancing in glee at the media deflecting attention from a very real and present problem that dates back decades, an act you, Monica, are exploiting for yet another 15 minutes in the spotlight.

Screw both you and the media with a rusty chainsaw.

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You have to love the way the media puts a spin on nonsense like this.

Snapchat, the photo-messaging app raising cash at a $15 billion valuation, probably isn't actually worth more than Clorox or Campbell Soup. So where did investors come up with that enormous headline number?

Here's the secret to how Silicon Valley calculates the value of its hottest companies: The numbers are sort of made-up.

Sort of?

Give me a break.  These are not clean numbers or "investments."  They are typically loaded up with all sorts of measures that nobody gets in a real market -- such as multiple layers of protection against the firm not meeting those valuations in the future.

These sorts of provisions include "free" issue of additional shares of stock, preference in the capital structure (which ordinarily wouldn't happen) in the event of a take-out (often forced) and more.  What's even better is that since these are private equity deals the terms are often undisclosed in the public sphere when the so-called valuations are trumpeted in the media.

But the real problem comes when employees or others were given stock or other forms of non-cash compensation on a deferred basis and yet these venture folks effectively cut the line, devaluing their stake.  This sort of hijinks is legal, incidentally, but it smells bad -- and can be quite bad, especially if things go wrong.

The reality is that there's really nothing behind most of these valuations at all.  They're simply a levered bet on finding the next Google before it is, and the "protection" is a means of trying to prevent the taking of a huge bath when (not if!) the so-called "pie-in-the-sky" claims don't pan out.

And in that regard this sort of practice is an awful lot like it was in 1999..... isn't it?

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If you missed the previous installments let me just throw this out there: If you can still find one of these (the '16s are hitting the lots) go buy it if you like a modern, reasonably-full-sized sedan.  The 2016's primary change, and the one that would keep me from buying it, is the "integrated" entertainment system.  This means that your option to remove and replace it if you don't like it for whatever reason has been taken from you, and if it breaks out-of-warranty you're into Mazda for big money to replace it.  No thanks; I insist that the entertainment system in my vehicle be of a reasonably-standard form factor and be user replaceable even if I choose not change it out, as was the case for the Jetta.

I've now clocked over 32,000 miles on mine; other than routine oil and filter changes it's required nothing.  While the oil filter is in the usual (bottom of the engine) location and thus you have to get under the car to change it Mazda was polite enough to provide the room to get a gallon ziplok around it that goes above the filter base while removing it.  This means you can do "no mess, zero spill" oil changes in your garage with a bit of thought which I appreciate.  The air filter element was dirty enough to warrant replacement at 30k; within my normal expectations and the cabin air filter was also changed out.  The factory tires have perhaps another 15,000 miles in them; another couple of oil changes (when I rotate them) and they'll be due for replacement.  My sole complaint remains that those tires are a bit loud on the highway; I'll be looking to put something other than the Advan A83s on when they wear out, although they continue to be reasonably-impressive for stock all-season tires.  Brake wear is nominal; it appears that I'm roughly halfway to contemplating brake pad replacement.  And.... that's it.

Incidentally the ECU's "learning" in this vehicle is pretty impressive.  With a good data logger (which I now have) you can obtain a damn good idea of what the vehicle is doing in real-time (much like you can with the VCDS software for VWs) and I've discovered something very interesting -- when the ECU is reset (say, by a battery pull) you will find that until it re-learns you're down a solid 20HP (and 20ft/lbs of torque!) or thereabouts.  It doesn't take long to get its feet back under it but this is quite the statement in terms of how adaptable modern engine controls really are and how much difference it can and does make.

In addition the amount of data that the ECU has access to is quite impressive in this vehicle, including things you don't usually see -- such as oil temperature.  This makes a full instrumentation package that, for example, could display on your entertainment screen quite possible.  I'm going to start thinking about this and whether it's worth it; I'd love to fabricate up a custom LCD-display pod to go on the A-Pillar and then configure up a nice set of strip displays there but the problem with doing it is that modern cars all have airbags in the A-Pillar and as a result if you wreck attaching anything to that cover risks eating it in a crash.  (I always chuckle when I see some Boy Racer that has put one of these gauge pods on that cover; those kids are, of course, the most-likely to want that airbag protection as they frequently have things go wrong!)

I continue to post up right near 34mpg lifetime in terms of fuel economy.  At nominal freeway speeds I'm seeing around 36-37, depending on how leaded my foot is.  The aftermarket stereo system I put in continues to perform admirably and I've also added a dashcam with concealed wiring, which was easy to do on a tap from the (switched) lighter outlet.

If you're interested in my previous articles on the car the ones that remain open to access beyond the 30-day cut-off are here:

Early Impressions -- Mazda 6

Interesting Observations After A Month With The Mazda 6

2015 Mazda 6 - The 3,000 Mile Odyssey

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If you've been reading me for a while you know that you can count the number of times I've agreed with anything Obama has said or done on the fingers of one hand.

However, the latest Israel kerfluffle is one of those times.

Bibi has, for years, lied on the international stage about his "commitment" to an actual two-state solution with the Palestinians.  He never meant it, however, and in the closing days of his re-election campaign he said what he really meant and thought: Never, so long as I'm in charge.

Ok, fine and well enough.  Israel is an independent nation and is free to make a such a declaration and decision.

However, we and other nations are free to condition our political support for Israel in the international arena on their willingness to formally withdraw from and recognize the sovereignty of a nation and people that were supposed to have been established at the time of the Partition when Israel itself came to be as a formally-recognized state entity.

I fully recognize that a number of Arab nations turned around and declared war when that happened, and that they lost.  However, unless you wish to argue that might makes right in the general sense and toss the Camp David accords on the bonfire of history, along with everything that may (read: probably will) come from doing so then this unilateral declaration of Bibi's with regard to occupation and annexation of land is just as unsupportable as was the decision to attempt the same by the Arabs.

I "get it" that people argue that Israel is the "only friend" we have in the Middle East.  But what sort of "friend" are they?  Israel has made clear for quite some time that it is a Jewish state, not a secular republic.  In this regard it is little different than Saudi Arabia in taking an official government stand on the preference of one religion over another.  The difference between the two is one of degree rather than character, and I find that problematic.

While Israel is free to run their nation as they see fit just as I believe we should not be lending support to Saudi Arabia I cannot, as a matter of consistency and conscience, support Israel either for the same fundamental reason.

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