Thursday, March 5, 2015

"Transparent Hill's" secret email system and more political news


Just received the above picture from the Chair. Despite occasional breathlessness, and running too long, my talk to Pints and Politics was well received. Many people came up and thanked me afterwards. One young woman said she could have listened to me all night. (If they hadn't stopped me, she would have!)

Cataract surgery 10:30 am Friday, so my computer time will be limited for a bit. But after today, the weather here in Madison is supposed to warm, up to 48 degrees high by Tuesday. Spring is God's way of telling us not to give up. ~Bob

General News and Comment

Worth Reading: Why Clinton’s Private Email Server Was Such A Security Fail. By Andy Greenburg
Excerpt: FOR A SECRETARY of state, running your own email server might be a clever—if controversial—way to keep your conversations hidden from journalists and their pesky Freedom of Information Act requests. But ask a few security experts, and the consensus is that it’s not a very smart way to keep those conversations hidden from hackers. ... “Although the American people didn’t know about this, it’s almost certain that foreign intelligence agencies did, just as the NSA knows which Indian and Spanish officials use Gmail and Yahoo accounts,” says Chris Soghoian, the lead technologist for the American Civil Liberties Union. “She’s not the first official to use private email and not the last. But there are serious security issue associated with these kinds of services…When you build your house outside the security fence, you’re on your own, and that’s what seems to have happened here.”

Source: Obama counsel not aware of Clinton's email practice
Excerpt: The White House counsel's office was not aware at the time Hillary Rodham Clinton was secretary of state that she relied solely on personal email and only found out as part of the congressional investigation into the Benghazi attack, according to a person familiar with the matter. The person said Clinton's exclusive reliance on personal email as the nation's top diplomat was inconsistent with the guidance given to agencies that official business should be conducted on official email accounts. Once the State Department turned over some of her messages in connection with the Benghazi investigation after she left office, making it apparent she had not followed the guidance, the White House counsel's office asked the department to ensure that her email records were properly archived, according to the person who spoke on a condition of anonymity without authorization to speak on the record. (Wouldn't anyone getting one notice it wasn't from a government account? The administration had to know. ~Bob)

Clinton’s E-Mail Built for Privacy Though Not Security
Excerpt: A week before becoming secretary of state, Hillary Clinton set up a private e-mail system that gave her a high level of control over communications, including the ability to erase messages completely, according to security experts who have examined Internet records. “You erase it and everything’s gone,” Matt Devost, a security expert who has had his own private e-mail for years. Commercial services like those from Google Inc. and Yahoo! Inc. retain copies even after users erase them from their in-box. Although Clinton worked hard to secure the private system, her consultants appear to have set it up with a misconfigured encryption system, something that left it vulnerable to hacking, said Alex McGeorge, head of threat intelligence at Immunity Inc., a Miami Beach-based digital security firm. (I think we will never know what was in many of her emails, unless Russia, China or Iran releases their copies to us. ~Bob)

Hillary's Emails. By Jim Geraghty, Morning Jolt
On Greta Van Susteren’s show last night, ABC News political director Rick Klein said he was at a loss to come up with an innocuous explanation for Hillary’s “home-brewed” system. There is no innocuous explanation. The whole point of it was to create an e-mail system that Hillary and her team would control completely, that would be beyond the range of federal record-keeping rules and laws and beyond the range of FOIA requests. If any message seemed embarrassing, politically inconvenient, or incriminating, she could erase it, and rest assured it was gone forever, beyond the reach of any investigator, FOIA request, or subpoena. (By the way, in the interim, every imaginable White House official should be brought before Congress and asked why it didn’t seem unusual to them that Hillary Clinton never used a address, ever, at all, in a four-year span. Her use of a private e-mail was not secret within the administration.)

House Oversight chairman: Clinton acting like Petraeus? By Jesse Byrnes
Excerpt: House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) on Wednesday questioned whether Hillary Clinton improperly shared classified information like former CIA Director David Petraeus. Asked on "Fox and Friends" whether Clinton's exclusive use of a personal email address during her time as secretary of State raised national security concerns, Chaffetz said, "It does beg the question: Were there any sort of classified pieces of information that were flowing through her personal email account?"

As House panel issues subpoenas, questions mount over Clinton e-mails. By Rosalind S. HeldermanCarol D. Leonnig and Anne Gearan
Excerpt: A congressional committee issued subpoenas Wednesday seeking information about Hillary Rodham Clinton’s use of a private e-mail account for official business while she was secretary of state, setting up a potential legal clash with the presumptive Democratic front-runner for president.

Excerpt: "I want the public to see my email," she wrote in the Tweet. "I asked State to release them. They said they will review them for release as soon as possible." Obviously the best way to ensure that a public official's emails are seen by the public is to hide them on a privately managed server. Anyway, it's nice, I suppose, that Clinton asked State to review and release her emails, but it's also totally beside the point. The problem is that the Department of State didn't have all of her emails to begin with.

State Department Refusing To Answer How It Handled Open Records Requests For Hillary Emails. By Chuck Ross
Excerpt: The State Department is refusing to provide insight into how the federal agency handled Freedom of Information Act requests for Hillary Clinton’s emails, as fallout from Clinton’s use of a private email account as secretary of state is poised to stretch into a third day.
As The Daily CallerThe New York Times and others noted on Tuesday, Clinton’s use of a personal email account — — thwarted the FOIA request process.

Reminder: If not for GOP resolve in the face of media pushback to get the truth about Benghazi, we would not know about Hillary's emails.

Hillary’s State Dept Ripped an Ambassador for Using Personal Email in 2012. By Josh Feldman 
Excerpt: As Hillary Clinton is being scrutinized for using personal email to conduct official government business, a new report today reveals the State Department inspector general, while Clinton was Secretary of State, scolded the Ambassador to Kenya for––wait for it––using personal email to conduct official government business.

Judicial Watch Sues For Clinton's Emails With Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood. By Katie Pavlich 
Excerpt: After ignoring a Freedom of Information Act request submitted in August 2014, government watchdog Judicial Watch has issued a lawsuit against the State Department for all emails between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, her top aide Huma Abedin and wife of Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Morsi, Nagla Mahmoud, from January 2009 to January 2013. It was discovered earlier this week that both Clinton and Abedine used personal email accounts to conduct government business, potentially violating federal records laws.

White House Works Hard to Cover for Hillary's Crimes. By Onan Coca
Excerpt: The latest Hillary Clinton scandal is in the midst of exploding (right on the heels of the last one – her decision to accept beaucoup bucks from our enemies) about her team's decision to use private email accounts during her time as Secretary of State. The depth and breadth of this scandal is still playing out but one thing is for sure – this is a big bump in the road for the Clinton 2016 campaign.

Jon Stewart Uses Netanyahu Speech To Mock Jewish Women As Frigid
Excerpt: That joke came later in the evening courtesy of The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart, who closed his 9 minute attack on Netanyahu with a joke that was not only sexist but furthered a nasty Jewish stereotype:

Worth Reading: Liquidity evaporates in China as 'fiscal cliff' nears. By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
Excerpt: Nobody can fault China's leaders for lack of bravery. The Politburo has kept its nerve as the world's most giddy experiment in credit-driven growth faces assault on three major fronts at once. Real interest rates have rocketed. The trade-weighted rise in the yuan over the past two years has been spectacular. Fiscal policy is about to tighten drastically as the authorities clamp down on big-spending local governments. Put together, China is pursuing the most contractionary mix of economic policies in the G20, relative to the status quo ante. Collateral damage is already visible in the sliding global prices of iron ore, copper, nickel, lead and zinc over recent months, as well as thermal coal, oil, corn and even sugar. (And do they pull us over with them? ~Bob)

China's Premier Li Keqiang sets out economic goals
Excerpt: China's Premier Li Keqiang unveiled a lower growth target and pledged tighter environmental controls as he opened parliament's annual session. Addressing the National People's Congress (NPC), Mr Li said China would target growth of about 7% in 2015.

Excerpt: The world seems to be becoming more dangerous these days. Not so coincidentally, America's military power continues to decline rapidly. Before considering how and why, here's a snapshot of what's happening around the globe:

Excerpt: At one point the Iranian economy was sputtering due to Western sanctions. Hundreds of thousands of reformers hit the streets of Tehran in 2009 to protest what they believed to be the fraudulent results of a presidential election. The theocracy was worried that its nuclear plans would either cause economic collapse due to the sanctions or prompt some sort of Western military response. But all of that has changed due to the Obama administration’s zeal to conclude an agreement with Iran at any cost.

An Obama legacy of less freedom and more danger? By Jay Ambrose
Excerpt: As the last two years of his tenure move toward their conclusion, President Barack Obama’s increasingly probable legacy — on top of the much-discussed debt he will leave to punish future generations — could be a nuclear-armed Iran and a striking diminution of rule of law and American freedoms. Recently, the great shudder among liberals has been the visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to beg America not to sacrifice his country in its rush to an agreement that would eventually allow Iran to build a bomb.

Rubio-Lee Plan Cuts Taxes on Business Investment to Grow the Economy by 15 Percent. By William McBride
Excerpt: Earlier today Senators Rubio and Lee released their “Economic Growth and Family Fairness Tax Reform Plan.” We have modeled the economic and budgetary effects of the plan and will release our full results Monday, but the following is a preview. On the business side, the plan is strongly pro-growth by design. Instead of taxing net business income at our current high rates, it taxes business cash-flow at a top rate of 25 percent. This is the essential way to reduce the most growth-slowing aspects of our federal tax code:

A-10s lead series of planned rotations to Eastern Europe. By Brian Everstine
Excerpt: The Air Force's response to growing concerns in Eastern Europe includes new deployments and training exercises for airmen, who will train in countries facing down Russia over incursions in Ukraine. New agreements with countries such as Bulgaria, Romania and Estonia lay the groundwork for training missions involving F-15s, F-16s and airlift aircraft, while other aircraft, such as A-10s, are being called on to show the military's force in the region. (I guess someone has decided these "obsolete" aircraft aren't actually ready for the junkpile just yet. Wow... some good thinking at last? (I think the Marine Corps should buy the Warthogs from the USAF, cut rate, and take them over. The Marines believe totally in close air support, and the A-10 is great for that. And it's cheap to run.) --Del)

Not-So-Favorite Son? Scott Walker Catches Jeb Bush in Florida in 2016 Poll
Excerpt: A new poll shows Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is running in a dead heat with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in the Sunshine State as the 2016 presidential race looms. Gravis Marketing released its poll of Florida Republicans this week, which finds Bush ahead with 23 percent but Walker right on his heels with 22 percent. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., places third with 11 percent followed by former Gov. Mike Huckabee, R-Ark., with 10 percent. Huckabee moved to Florida after his 2008 presidential bid.

Task Force Violent: The unforgiven. Part 1: The Tragic Betrayal Of An Elite Marine Corps Commando Unit. By Andrew deGrandpre , Military Times
The link takes you to a detailed article about an incident in Afghanistan that is shameful not to the men who were out in front of the enemy fires, but the brass that did a terrible job in posting them there without proper preparations, and most of all, the brass and media people who convicted them in the headlines of being war criminals. Which they absolutely were not, but they were smeared and harassed, their careers and lives badly affected, and when they were finally cleared, hardly anyone heard about it. One hell of a way to treat our best fighting men! --Del

Gun News

Cop Killer’ Bullets Haven’t Killed Any Cops But that's Not the Point
Excerpt: “In fact, gun rights advocates and law enforcement agencies contacted by WND say they have been unable to document a single incident in which a police officer has been taken down by a criminal using an AR-15 handgun in the 20 years since this particular round, the M855 ball, has been exempted from the federal ban on armor-piercing bullets. It was exempted based on its use for sporting purposes.” Of course, none of this matters to the anti-gun (and now anti-ammunition lobby). The goal is to get a legal foot in the door. If the potential for harm is a factor in determining if one type of ammunition should be banned, then it’s easy to see how some group could make a case for other types of ammunition. Establishing the precedent is the all-important goal.
Excerpt: A violent crowbar-wielding ex-con breaking into a Baton Rouge man’s home should have listened to the armed homeowner when the homeowner ordered him repeatedly to stop.
He didn’t… and left with a new toe-tag instead.

Suspect shot by intended robbery victim: Milford Police
Excerpt: Police said the armed suspect fired a shot which hit one of the group in the neck and then continued to aim the gun at them. One of the group returned fire with a licensed weapon, striking one of the suspects. (I’m sure the criminals were surprised by the fact that some people in Connecticut are still licensed to carry guns. Maybe the legislature can fix that loophole for the crooks. --John Lyliea)

South Fulton homeowner wounds suspected burglar in gunfight
Excerpt: A homeowner on Diann Drive said burglars kicked in his front door after he declined to answer their incessant knocking around 11:45 a.m., Detective Melissa Parker told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The homeowner and the suspected burglars then exchanged what sounded like 40 shots to neighbors. The homeowner thought he wounded one suspect and police found a man “shot multiple times” in woods near the home, Parker said.

Man Says He Shot Burglar In Self Defense
Excerpt: A man witnessing criminals breaking into his neighbor's home takes matters into his own hands and ends up shooting one of the burglars. The incident happened this afternoon in the 6700 Block of Wakefield Drive in Southwest Little Rock. Police identified the burglars as Termaine Braxton and Anthony Roberts. Charles Dorsey held them at gunpoint, waiting on officers, but before they got there things took a dangerous twist.

Race Card News

Going Bananas: A Case Study in Media-Manufactured Racism. By Michelle Malkin

Political correctness is a pathological disorder. You can't say "niggardly" or "black holes" or "chink in the armor" without provoking protests or risking your job. You can't invoke the Constitution or call illegal behavior "illegal" without being accused of hatred. And now, you can't goof around at a high school basketball game in silly costumes without the world accusing you of "racial insensitivity." Last week, thanks to hyperbolic grievance-mongers and irresponsible reporters, the students of Holy Spirit High School in Absecon, N.J., garnered international headlines and Internet infamy. "Shocking moment students at Catholic school dressed as monkeys and a banana and taunted black basketball players ... and DIDN'T get punished," the U.K. Daily Mail blared last week. "Students who taunted black players at New Jersey basketball game get warning, no punishment," USA Today decried. (This is a great article about a terrible situation, and really puts the focus on the despicable behavior of media. Which is not just this single case, but an overall pattern of irresponsible behavior by the media and too many public figures. This damned concentration on seeing racism everywhere, all the time, regardless of the actual situation, is really bad for everyone. --Del. "Unfortunately, we also cry (racism) when a Michael Jackson gets hauled up on charges of child molestation or a white bureaucrat uses the unfortunate, but inoffensive, word "niggardly." --Leonard Pitts, Black Columnist. See below. ~Bob)

From 2008, but worth reading: Wearing The Victim Hat Is Becoming Trendy. By Leonard Pitts Jr.
Excerpt: Someone is going to think this column is racist. That person -- he or she will be white -- will be unable to point to so much as a semicolon that suggests I believe in the native superiority of my, or any other, race. Rather, the accusation will be based in the fact that the column discusses race, period. It's a phenomenon I've seen many times, most recently when a friend of mine told me that a friend of hers regards me as racist because I write about race. To which I gave my standard answer: if that's how it works, I'll start writing about money. Then I'll be a billionaire.

Undocumented Democrat News

Disingenuous Obama grants 100K illegal visas
Excerpt: Newly revealed court documents show that President Obama has granted about 100,000 expanded work permits to illegal immigrants as part of his controversial executive actions before a federal court blocked his administration from implementing the new policies. The Justice Department has revealed that the Obama administration immediately began processing renewals of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program under new guidelines that extended work permit grants from two years to three. Those immigrants had originally applied under the old rules, but renewals processed after Nov. 24 were granted the extension.

"You're Greener than Gore" News

Ethanol: The GOP-Supported Rip-Off. By Larry Elder
Excerpt: Can someone explain why the “party of limited government” continues, with a straight face, to support ethanol? Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa says about the heavily subsided product, “Everything about ethanol is good, good, good.” Really? Really? Really? ... Ethanol increases the demand for corn, which means corn prices go up. This causes prices for farmland to rise. It also raises the prices for animal feed, which makes food prices go up. Not just on meat – prices have gone up on poultry and dairy products, as well as foodstuffs containing cornstarch, cornmeal, corn syrup and other corn products. Meanwhile, the U.S., which as recently as 2007 supplied two-thirds of the world’s corn with its exports, now supplies only a little over one-third. And the amount of corn used to produce the ethanol to fill one SUV’s gas tank could feed one person for one year. (If Ethanol is good, let it stand on its own in the marketplace. ~Bob. It is an undefensible practice, originally put in place at the command of the environmentalists who weren't smart enough to know that while ethanol from sugar cane is efficient at producing fuel energy, it's not so at all from corn. But then the corn guys figured out that this is great for them, and they hired lobbyists, and some of the supposed conservative GOP politicians got on the bandwagon. To their shame, but it has to be said that there are Democrats on the same bandwagon. Money talks for everyone in DC. But we need some upright people to stand up in Congress and scream out the truth about this, and stop the subsidies that are just a waste of taxpayer dollars. I am waiting for someone from either side of the aisle to go for it. --Del)

Religion of Peace News

Excerpt: Only one thing will prevent a nuclear weapon from being used on Tel Aviv or Haifa. And it's not diplomacy or viruses released into nuclear facilities. Those too delay the inevitable. The one thing that will stop it, is the same thing that stopped nuclear weapons from being used on New York, Los Angeles and Washington D.C. Deterrence. Mutually Assured Destruction. The only way to check the threat of force by an opponent with no regard for your life, is by demonstrating equal or superior force. When it comes to nuclear weapons, that means an awareness that any nuclear attack will be met by nuclear attack. (Making a Nuke deal with Iran is like the peace treaty Stalin made with Hitler. Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa as soon as he thought it was a good idea. You can feed a tiger breakfast and it will agree not to eat you--until lunch. ~Bob)

Obama needs to answer Netanyahu. By Dennis Ross
Excerpt: Accepting the mantra that "no deal is better than a bad deal," Netanyahu offers the alternative of insisting on better terms and increasing the pressure on the Iranians until a more credible agreement is reached. He does not fear the Iranians walking away from the negotiating table because, in his words, they need the deal more than the U.S. and its partners.
While the Obama administration is unlikely to accept his argument that it should simply negotiate better and harder, it should not dismiss the concerns Netanyahu raises about the emerging deal. Indeed, the administration's argument that there is no better alternative than the deal it is negotiating begs the question of whether the prospective agreement is acceptable. ... Dennis Ross, counselor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, was a key White House adviser to President Obama on Iran from 2009 to 2011 and Mideast peace envoy for two previous administrations.

Important: What is the Antidote to Radical Islam? By Daniel Pipes
Excerpt: "Radical Islam is the problem, moderate Islam is the solution" has been my watchword since 2002, meaning that Islam's many problems will only be solved when Muslims leave Islamism, an attempt to regress to a medieval model, and favor a modern, moderate, and good-neighborly version of their faith. Plenty of people this analysis, but no one offered an alternate solution. Now Murat Yetkin, editor-in-chief of the Hürriyet Daily News in Turkey, has done so in a recent column, "Antithesis of radical Islam is not moderate Islam, it is secularism.

Video: Isis Leader Was Armed & Funded By Obama White House. By Paul Joseph Watson
Excerpt: A top member of the jihadist group that the US government and NATO armed and funded in the overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi back in 2011 is now leading ISIS forces in Libya.

Older, worth reading: The Greatest Murder Machine in History. By Mike Konrad
Excerpt: When one thinks of mass murder, Hitler comes to mind. If not Hitler, then Tojo, Stalin, or Mao. Credit is given to the 20th-century totalitarians as the worst species of tyranny to have ever arisen. However, the alarming truth is that Islam has killed more than any of these, and may surpass all of them combined in numbers and cruelty. The enormity of the slaughters of the "religion of peace" are so far beyond comprehension that even honest historians overlook the scale. When one looks beyond our myopic focus, Islam is the greatest killing machine in the history of mankind, bar none.

The Saudi king gave a prize to an Islamic scholar who says 9/11 was an ‘inside job.’ By Ishaan Tharoor
Excerpt: The preacher is not short of controversy. His orthodox, Wahhabist views — affiliated closely with the Saudi state — are polarizing in India, which is home to a diverse set of Muslim traditions and sects. His conservatism has led him to make statements endorsing the use of female sex slaves and allegedly expressing sympathy for terrorists.

Nigeria lesbian fleeing sharia court death sentence asks UK judge to save her life
Excerpt: Apata claims her husband's family turned against her when they suspected she was gay, and took her to a sharia court, where she was sentenced to death for adultery. Her brother and three-year-old son, she says, were killed by mobs. She ran away, lived on the streets in Manchester, and now her case has come to the Royal Courts of Justice for a final decision. Will she be given asylum, or will she be sent back to Nigeria where she could face certain death? (Given the fact that she is appealing to the tender mercies of Appeasement Britannia, Aderonke Apata should be prepared to be sent back to certain death in Nigeria so as to ensure that British authorities do not appear “Islamophobic.” --Robert Spencer,

Iran supreme leader said to be in critical condition
Excerpt: Ali Khamenei, 76, suffering from prostate cancer, according to unspecified reports; reportedly assessed to have two years to live

Robert A. Hall is a Marine Vietnam Veteran who served five terms in the Massachusetts State Senate. He is the author of The Coming Collapse of the American Republic. For a free PDF of Collapse, e-mail him at tartanmarine(at) Hall’s eleven books are listed here:

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