Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Thursday, August 27, 2015 9:44 pm

Odds and ends for Aug. 27

I don’t have anything to add to the coverage and discussion of the fatal shootings on live TV of reporter Alison Parker and videographer Adam Ward yesterday in Virginia. The now-dead shooter clearly had problems but, given the state of our laws, probably not the type that would have prevented him from getting a gun. The media too quickly made the discussion about itself, when they weren’t outright endangering people’s lives, and I have no interest in adding to that pile of crap. And I’m beyond tired of people who say nothing can be done, as if we don’t actively choose, every single day, to do nothing. Something can be done — maybe not to have prevented this particular shooting, but to prevent many more like it. The whole racism angle was silly (and, no, I’m not linking to Breitbart, FFS). And I’m just profoundly sad for the victims and their families, friends, co-workers, and industry — the TV news bidness is even smaller than the newspaper bidness, so everybody knows everybody else, or at least knows of everybody else. The two dead victims went out to do a job and were ambushed, and I’ve got nothing.

Moving on …

North Dakota is weaponizing its police drones with so-called “less lethal” weapons such as tear gas, Tasers, and beanbag cannons. Internet, you may hereby consider the fatal wounding of an absolutely innocent civilian reasonably foreseen.

Yes, it’s true that roughly 3% of all peer-reviewed research on climate change differs from the predominant theory. It’s also true that several common errors often appear in that contrarian research.

At least one county court clerk in Kentucky plans to fight same-sex marriage — which, by the way, has been the law of the land for a couple of months without the world’s coming to an end — even unto death. Upon reflection, I’m fine if the door hits ya where the good Lord split ya. In fact, I hope it hurts a little.

If you want to try to indict Hillary Clinton for transmitting classified information via unsecured email during her tenure as Secretary of State, you can try — it wasn’t illegal at the time, but what the hey — but you’re going to have to indict a lot of other people as well. One of them might well have been Colin Powell, but we don’t know because his emails were illegally (although probably not criminally) deleted.

Two Seattle cops tried to get a metro bus driver fired, alleging that he had cursed them. Just one problem: the bus driver was wearing a body cam. Now the cops are the ones who have been fired. But one must ask: How often do cops lie just because they think they can? And if they do it over such chickenshit stuff as this, how likely are they to do it when they could be going to prison?

Just how badly doctored were the so-called “expose” videos on Planned Parenthood? Very badly.

Hurricane Erika could make landfall somewhere on the southeastern U.S. coast — possibly in North Carolina — in the next four or five days. Y’all stay safe.

North Carolina’s unemployment still sucks. Couldn’t be because the legislature keeps taking money from the middle class and the poor and giving it to the rich, could it? Nahhhh.

Blogging is dead? Someone forgot to tell the home of some of the original blogging. (h/t Jeff Sykes)

Stevie Ray Vaughan died 25 years ago today. Still miss ‘im.

And, finally, another reason to keep ISIS out of Greece: a newly-discovered palace near Sparta that dates to the 17th century B.C.E.


  1. Lex, all of Powell’s emails are archived at USDOS. No big deal and certainly nothing criminal .. Period !

    However We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Stray Voltage: Hillary Clinton Now Being Investigated Under the Espionage Act

    Uh roh

    An FBI “A-team” is leading the “extremely serious” investigation into Hillary Clinton’s server and the focus includes a provision of the law pertaining to “gathering, transmitting or losing defense information,” an intelligence source told Fox News.
    The section of the Espionage Act is known as 18 US Code 793.

    A separate source, who also was not authorized to speak on the record, said the FBI will further determine whether Clinton should have known, based on the quality and detail of the material, that emails passing through her server contained classified information regardless of the markings.

    Comment by Fred Gregory — Friday, August 28, 2015 8:02 pm @ 8:02 pm

  2. The source is full of shit. It wasn’t illegal to do at the time Hillary did it, full stop.

    Comment by Lex — Friday, August 28, 2015 11:42 pm @ 11:42 pm

  3. Oh that was a really thoughtful response. Here is someone who says that if HRC is the nominee he will vote for her but give him A+ for honesty

    Hillary Clinton email Scandal Defense is Laughable

    I thought when I retired from the Justice Department in 2007, I was done with records-related scandals. By that point, I had spent more than a quarter-century as founding director of the Justice Department’s Office of Information and Privacy, effectively serving as the federal government’s chief information-disclosure “guru.” In that position, I had weathered many a Clinton records scandal during the 1990s—about two dozen, all told, including two that amazingly have still never become public—and I thought I had seen the last of them. At the very least, I thought I had become immune to being shocked by anything in that vein.
    It turns out I was wrong on both counts.

    First, while it is accurate for Secretary Clinton to say that when she was in office there was not a flat, categorical prohibition on federal government officials ever using their personal email accounts for the conduct of official business, that’s a far different thing from saying (as she apparently would like to) that a government official could use his or her personal email account exclusively, for all official email communications, as she actually did. In fact, the Federal Records Act dictates otherwise.

    That law, which applies to all federal agency employees who are not within the White House itself, requires the comprehensive documentation of the conduct of official business, and it has long done so by regulating the creation, maintenance, preservation and, ultimately, the disposition of agency records. When it comes to “modern-day” email communications, as compared to the paper memoranda of not so long ago, these communications now are themselves the very means of conducting official business, by definition.

    To be sure, this cannot as a practical matter be absolute. When Obama administration officials came into office in 2009, the Federal Records Act certainly allowed room for the occasional use of a personal email account for official business where necessary—such as when a secretary of state understandably must deal with a crisis around the world in the middle of the night while an official email device might not be readily at hand. That just makes sense. But even then, in such an exceptional situation, the Federal Records Act’s documentation and preservation requirements still called upon that official (or a staff assistant) to forward any such email into the State Department’s official records system, where it would have been located otherwise.

    This appears to be exactly what former Secretary of State Colin Powell did during his tenure, just as other high-level government officials may do (or are supposed to do) under such exceptional circumstances during their times in office. Notwithstanding Secretary Clinton’s sweeping claims to the contrary, there actually is no indication in any of the public discussions of this “scandal” that anyone other than she managed to do what she did (or didn’t) do as a federal official.
    Second, the official availability of official email communications is not just a matter of concern for purposes of the Federal Records Act only. It also makes an enormous (and highly foreseeable) difference to the proper implementation of the Freedom of Information Act (known as the “FOIA” to its friends, a group that evidently does not include Secretary Clinton). That is because the starting point for handling a FOIA request is the search that an agency must conduct for all records responsive to that request’s particular specifications. So any FOIA request that requires an agency first to locate responsive email messages sent to or from that agency’s head, for instance, is necessarily dependent on those records being locatable in the first place. And an agency simply cannot do that properly for any emails (let alone all such emails) that have been created, and are maintained, entirely beyond the agency’s reach. Or, as it sometimes is said somewhat cynically in the FOIA community, “You can’t disclose what you can’t find.”

    In this case, which is truly unprecedented, no matter what Secretary Clinton would have one believe, she managed successfully to insulate her official emails, categorically, from the FOIA, both during her tenure at State and long after her departure from it—perhaps forever. “Nice work if you can get it,” one might say, especially if your experience during your husband’s presidency gives you good reason (nay, even highly compelling motivation) to relegate unto yourself such control if at all possible.

    Third, there is the compounding fact that Secretary Clinton did not merely use a personal email account; she used one that atypically operated solely through her own personal email server, which she evidently had installed in her home. This meant that, unlike the multitudes who use a Gmail account, for instance, she was able to keep her communications entirely “in house,” even more deeply within her personal control. No “cloud” for posterity, or chance of Google receiving a congressional subpoena—not for her. No potentially pesky “metadata” surrounding her communications or detailed server logs to complicate things. And absolutely no practical constraint on her ability to dispose of any official email of “hers,” for any reason, at any time, entirely on her own. Bluntly put, when this unique records regime was established, somebody was asleep at the switch, at either the State Department or the National Archives and Records Administration (which oversees compliance with the Federal Records Act)—or both.

    Now, what Secretary Clinton would have one believe is that this is all just a matter of her choosing one available email option over another, that she really did nothing that her predecessors had not done before her and that she can be trusted to “have absolutely confidence” that what she did “fully complied with every rule that [she] was governed by.” In other words, the thrust of her March 10 press conference was: “Everything was fine, nothing to be seen here, so let’s all just move along.”

    But having spent a quarter-century at the forefront of the government’s administration of the FOIA, including its transition to electronic records and its involvement in so many Clinton administration “scandals du jour,” I know full well that both what Secretary Clinton arranged to do and what she now has said about that are, to put it most charitably, not what either the law or anything close to candor requires. At a minimum, it was a blatant circumvention of the FOIA by someone who unquestionably knows better and an attempted verbal “cover” of the situation (if not “cover-up”) that is truly reminiscent of years past.

    Comment by Fred Gregory — Saturday, August 29, 2015 3:10 pm @ 3:10 pm

  4. Hillary IT GuyTaking the Fifth

    A former State Department staffer who worked on Hillary Rodham Clinton’s private e-mail server tried this week to fend off a subpoena to testify before Congress, saying he would assert his constitutional right not to answer questions to avoid incriminating himself.

    The move by Bryan Pagliano, who had worked on Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign before setting up the server in her New York home in 2009, came in a Monday letter from his lawyer to the House panel investigating the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

    The letter cited the ongoing FBI inquiry into the security of Clinton’s e-mail system, and it quoted a Supreme Court ruling in which justices described the Fifth Amendment as protecting “innocent men . . . ‘who otherwise might be ensnared by ambiguous circumstances.’ ”

    The FBI is investigating whether Clinton’s system — in which she exclusively used private e-mail for her work as secretary of state — may have jeopardized sensitive national security information.

    Thousands of e-mails that have been released by the State Department as part of a public records lawsuit show Clinton herself writing at least six e-mails containing information that has since been deemed classified. Large portions of those e-mails were redacted before their release, on the argument that their publication could harm national security.

    “While we understand that Mr. Pagliano’s response to this subpoena may be controversial in the current political environment, we hope that the members of the Select Committee will respect our client’s right to invoke the protections of the Constitution,” his attorney, Mark MacDougall, wrote.

    Two other Senate committees have contacted Pagliano in the past week, according to a copy of the letter, which was obtained by The Washington Post. The requests came from the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Homeland Security Committee, according to people familiar with the requests.

    The Senate Judiciary Committee confirmed Wednesday that it sought to ask Pagliano about his work for Clinton.

    “In response to questions . . . Mr. Pagliano’s legal counsel told the committee yesterday that he would plead the Fifth to any and all questions if he were compelled to testify,” a spokesperson for committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) said in a statement.

    Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), the chairman of the House Benghazi committee, had subpoenaed the computer staffer Aug. 11 and ordered that he appear for questioning before the committee Sept. 10. Gowdy also demanded that Pagliano provide documents related to the servers or systems controlled or owned by Clinton from 2009 to 2013.

    Pagliano, who worked in the State Department’s information-technology department from May 2009 until February 2013, left the agency when Clinton departed as secretary. He now works for a technology contractor that provides some services to the State Department.

    The committee’s ranking Democrat, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), complained yesterday that Gowdy unilaterally issued the subpoena. He said the subpoena of a low-level aide is one of several signs that Gowdy is using the committee for the political purpose of trying to smear a Democratic presidential candidate.

    Clinton has come under fire for using a private e-mail address during her time as secretary of state. The e-mails are being screened and released in batches. Here are some things we’ve learned from them.
    “Although multiple legal experts agree there is no evidence of criminal activity, it is certainly understandable that this witness’s attorneys advised him to assert his Fifth Amendment rights, especially given the onslaught of wild and unsubstantiated accusations by Republican presidential candidates, members of Congress and others based on false leaks about the investigation,” Cummings said. “Their insatiable desire to derail Secretary Clinton’s presidential campaign at all costs has real consequences for any serious congressional effort.”

    MacDougall declined to comment late Wednesday evening.

    Comment by Fred Gregory — Thursday, September 3, 2015 12:10 am @ 12:10 am

  5. If batshit Republicans who openly admit that their goal is to take down Hillary irrespective of her actual guilt or lack thereof wanted to talk to me, I’d take the Fifth, too, whether or not I knew a damn thing about what they were asking about. The Susan MacDougal case is illustrative. These people don’t care whom they hurt.

    Comment by Lex — Thursday, September 3, 2015 10:05 am @ 10:05 am

  6. One other thing: If they really think staffers have info, they can grant them immunity. If they don’t do that, then this really isn’t about fact-finding, then, is it?

    Comment by Lex — Thursday, September 3, 2015 10:15 am @ 10:15 am

  7. And another thoughtful exlletive comment.

    Kool Aid gulping Hillary bots would vote for her no matter what .. and there is there there . Just give’m time Lex.

    Lex no response to Dan Metcalfe’s article ??

    Comment by Fred Gregory — Thursday, September 3, 2015 6:31 pm @ 6:31 pm

  8. Oh and Lex please don’t say this guy is full of shit, batshit crazy, or a right wing nut. Otey ?

    Could This Be the Scandal That Finally Sinks Hillary Clinton?

    “But there are five reasons why Hillary Clinton’s e-mail scandal could finally be the one.

    1) It’s not about Bill.
    People like Bill Clinton. I don’t really know why; he’s always struck me as a smarmy used car salesmen. But people actually do buy used cars from questionable characters, and the general public somehow likes Bill Clinton and wants to cut him some slack. Sometimes there’s just no accounting for these things.

    But Hillary is not Bill. She can’t do that thing where he responds to a scandal with finger-wagging outrage at the unjust accusations one moment, and humble, lip-biting contrition the next, and people buy it. She seems cold and distant, and her lame attempts to laugh off the scandal as a non-issue don’t make her seem buoyantly confident. They just make her seem contemptuous and out of touch.

    There are plenty of people—Democratic Party activists, mostly—who have a vested interest in making excuses for Hillary. But she doesn’t have the kind of mysterious charisma that gets her a free pass with the general public.

    2) It’s about a real issue.
    There were some real issues behind the previous scandals, as we wasted a lot of time explaining to anyone who would listen, which wasn’t many people. But the most famous issue on which the Clintons skated—Bill’s dalliance with a White House intern—seemed like it was all about his personal sex life, not matters of state. So who cared, really?

    This scandal is about national security. It’s about Hillary Clinton casually, recklessly mishandling something that was central to her job as Secretary of State: protecting the secrets of the United States. That’s why the latest revelation is so important: that her unsecure homebrew e-mail server was not merely the passive recipient of classified information sent to her by others, but that she used it to 766 Comments containing classified material.

    3) It’s about something concrete.
    The biggest Clinton scandal by far is the way the family cashed in after Bill left office, raking in hundreds of millions of dollars in speaking fees and consultancies, far beyond the actual value of any work they provided—money that is obviously being laid down in an attempt to secure access and favors from the Clinton family. And all of that money has been washing around between Bill and Hillary and their foundation, which seems to operate mostly as a family slush fund.

    But the thing about influence peddling is that it’s vague and hard to pin down. That’s why people do it. Everybody knows the rules of the game: give money and you get access, you get an ear eager to hear your concerns—but there is never any explicit quid pro quo, no smoking gun that can send anybody to jail. So critics are left pointing to overall patterns that seem suspicious, but it can all just be brushed off as coincidence.

    The e-mail scandal is specific and concrete. It’s about a server and a hard drive. It’s about a specific classified message sent at a particular time from a particular e-mail account. It’s a lot harder to explain away.

    4) It’s something people have been prosecuted for.
    It’s hard to turn back once you’ve made a witch hunt out of mishandling classified information. Too many people have been prosecuted for that under this administration. Most famously, prosecutors went after General David Petraeus for keeping physical notebooks with classified information in his home—which is actually more difficult for our enemies to steal than the contents of a server, which can be hacked remotely. While you might be able to get someone to construct an argument about how that case is totally different from this one, it’s a distinction that isn’t going to hold up.

    5) It turns Hillary’s big accomplishment into a big liability.
    Secretary of State is the only executive office Hillary Clinton has ever held. When she lost the Democratic primary in 2008, this was the position she wanted as her stepping stone back to the presidency. It was an office in which she could rack up experience doing something that seems presidential—dealing with foreign policy—without having to take responsibility for whatever Obama messed up in domestic policy.

    This scandal takes the one big thing Hillary Clinton has done in the past ten years to demonstrate her credentials to run for president, and it turns that one big asset into a big liability. It turns her tenure at the State Department into something she cannot mention without raising questions about all the classified information she potentially laid bare to Russian and Chinese hackers.

    When it comes to actual prosecution, the Clintons are masters at getting off on a technicality, claiming that they didn’t really violate the strict letter of the law because it all depends on what the meaning of the word “is” is. And you know they can afford flesh-eating lawyers who will work every angle for them if this goes to court.

    But we also know just how ambitious the Clintons are. We know that the real punishment for them isn’t prosecution or prison. It is being denied access to power. All this scandal really has to do is to make Hillary Clinton look unfit to be commander-in-chief.

    After all, nobody can keep getting away with this stuff. It’s all got to catch up with them some time.

    Doesn’t it? “

    Comment by Fred Gregory — Thursday, September 3, 2015 6:59 pm @ 6:59 pm

  9. Once again: What Hillary did was not a crime at the time she did it. I’m not sure how many times I have to keep repeating that before it sinks in. Could it hurt her in PR terms? Sure, and that’s exactly what your boy is praying for in his last three sentences, but do voters care? They do not. The market already has priced this “scandal” into the candidate’s polling numbers. It did that months ago, for that matter.

    Comment by Lex — Thursday, September 3, 2015 7:22 pm @ 7:22 pm

  10. Repeat her spin all you want. You are not a prosecutor..Even this highly political DOJ might find a crime here. But not holding my breath.

    Comment by Fred Gregory — Friday, September 4, 2015 12:18 am @ 12:18 am

  11. […] Blog on the Run: Reloaded Lex Go to Source […]

    Pingback by Odds and ends for Aug. 27 | Greensboro 101 — Friday, September 18, 2015 7:08 pm @ 7:08 pm

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