Thursday, August 11, 2016

Cruising the Web

Due to the Freedom of Information Act, we are discovering more and more about Hillary Clinton's email. I just wonder if we would have found out half of what we've learned about her server and emails without FOIA. So now we learn, through emails that Judicial Watch has finally received and publicized, that Clinton's State Department was doing favors for donors to the Clinton Foundation.
Newly released State Department emails appear to show that a top Clinton Foundation official asked Hillary Clinton’s State Department aides for favors for two individuals — controversial multi-million dollar Clinton Foundation donor and for an unnamed associate.

The April 2009 exchanges, which the State Department provided to the watchdog group Judicial Watch, will likely raise more questions about conflicts of interest between the former secretary of state and her family charity.

In one exchange, Doug Band, the former “body man” to Bill Clinton, forwarded an email from an associate to Hillary Clinton aides Huma Abedin, Nora Toiv, and Cheryl Mills.

The unidentified individual had sent an email to Band with the subject line: “A favor.”

“Important to take care of [redacted],” Band, who then served as a top adviser to the Clinton Foundation, wrote to the trio of Hillary Clinton aides.

Abedin replied: “We all have had him on our radar. Personnel has been sending him options.”

Another email released to Judicial Watch shows that Band asked Abedin and Mills for help in connecting Gilbert Chagoury, a controversial Clinton Foundation donor, to a top State Department official in order to discuss events in Lebanon.

Band asked the Clinton aides to connect Chagoury, a Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire who has given at least $1 million to the Clinton Foundation, to the State Department’s “substance person” on Lebanon.

Band wrote that “Chagoury is ‘key guy there and to us.'”

Abedin identified Jeffrey Feltman as the point man on Lebanese issues. Feltman had served as U.S. ambassador to Lebanon during the George W. Bush administration. He took a job as State Department assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs in Aug. 2009.

In the email exchange, Band instructed Abedin to call Feltman to help Chagoury.

“This is very important,” the Clinton Foundation official wrote to Abedin.

In addition to his donations to the Clinton Foundation, Chagoury in 2009 pledged $1 billion to the Clinton Global Initiative, an offshoot of the Clinton Foundation. Band served on the organization’s advisory board.
And here is more evidence that Hillary's State Department was actively channeling money to Bill and the Clinton Foundation.
Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton publicly defended an embattled banker during an official visit to Bangladesh while Clinton Foundation officials tried to steer money from an Abu Dhabi oil company into the banker’s coffers.

A Daily Caller News Foundation investigation traced the convoluted payment by TAQA — formally known as the the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company — to Muhammad Yunus’ Grameen Bank. Yunus is a long-time friend and Clinton Foundation donor.

The oil company deal eventually put as much as $500,000 into President Bill Clinton’s pockets via a speaking fee he got in Scotland.

The complicated set of international transactions is contained in a cryptic May 7, 2012, email chain between Cheryl Mills, then Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff, and Amitabh Desai, the Clinton Foundation’s foreign policy director. The email chain was obtained by Citizens United, the conservative activist group that is the lead plaintiff in multiple federal Freedom of Information Act court cases....

The Mills-Desai email exchange was not unique. The Department of State estimates the number of emails between Hillary’s top State Department staff and Clinton Foundation officials includes more than 12,000 separate communications.
You gotta love that Freedom of Information Act.]

Noah Rothman reminds us of other pay-to-play actions by Clinton's State Department.
This isn’t the first indication that Hillary Clinton did not observe the kind of moiety mandated in that agreement between the family foundation’s activities and those related to American national affairs. In the spring of 2015, the New York Times revealed that Hillary Clinton’s State Department approved (as did a Cabinet-level commission) the transfer of 20 percent of America’s uranium production capacity to a Russian-based firm in 2013 despite national security concerns. But as State was reviewing this deal, the Clinton Foundation accepted a $2.35 million donation from the company purchasing U.S. uranium production, a firm that was soon to be transferred directly into the control of the Russian state.

The Clinton Foundation received donations from unsavory states with checkered human rights records like Brunei and Saudi Arabia while Hillary Clinton served as Secretary of State. “In one instance, foundation officials acknowledged they should have sought approval in 2010 from the State Department ethics office, as required by the agreement for new government donors, before accepting a $500,000 donation from the Algerian government,” the Washington Post reported in 2015.

According to Newsweek’s reporting in 2015, Ukrainian financier and Clinton Foundation donor Victor Pinchuk facilitated the 2011-2012 transfer to Iran of a variety of oil and gas-production materials in violation of sanctions against the Islamic Republic. Pinchuk and the firms he controlled may have been subject to American penalties for these deals. But Pinchuk was also the single largest contributor to the Clinton Foundation at the time. He partied with former President Bill Clinton in the French Alps, attended the inauguration of Clinton’s presidential library, and joined the 42nd President to celebrate his 65th birthday in 2011.
Of course the Obama Justice Department doesn't think any of this merits an FBI investigation. What a surprise.

The WSJ comments,
So the emails involve her husband, her family foundation, and employees who worked for her at the State Department, but we are supposed to believe they have nothing to do with her or her former job as Secretary of State?

Does anyone think Mr. Chagoury would get a meeting with a senior State Department official if Mrs. Clinton wasn’t Secretary, or if he hadn’t given to the Clinton Foundation? This is another example of the Clinton business model of using political influence to get rich and further advance their political careers....

We know Mrs. Clinton didn’t turn over some 33,000 emails that she claimed were about personal matters, but that excuse becomes more doubtful with each new email discovery. If those emails do surface, she will try to blame Donald Trump or Vladimir Putin or WikiLeaks. But the fault will lie with Mrs. Clinton’s willful deception and gross negligence about handling official State business that have left her wide open for an October Surprise.

This is all clearly pay-to-play and evidence that Hillary ignored her promises to the Obama administration to separate such business if she was going to be Secretary of State. Just imagine how any other GOP candidate could take advantage of stories such as these. Instead we get Trump defending himself from his unfortunate Second Amendment remark.

James Taranto reminds us of some other Democrats who intimated that violence might be a solution for political setbacks. And Hillary Clinton was one of them.
That is a standard by which Mrs. Clinton has not always abided: In May 2008, as the New York Times reported, she “defended staying in the Democratic nominating contest . . . by pointing out that her husband had not wrapped up the nomination until June 1992, adding, ‘We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California.’ ” She apologized “within hours.”
I hadn't ever heard that before. If Trump had said something like that, we would have all been horrified and the media would have gone on about that for days. What could Hillary have been thinking to have said that? And why should a quick apology excuse her from even mentioning assassination in that context? Her apology was particularly lame.
“The Kennedys have been much on my mind the last days because of Senator Kennedy,” referring to the recent diagnosis of Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s brain tumor. She added, “And I regret that if my referencing that moment of trauma for our entire nation and in particular the Kennedy family was in any way offensive.”
I can't stand those half-baked apologies when people say they're sorry if someone found their clearly offensive statement offensive.

And then there is that comedian, John Kerry.
The Los Angeles Times reported in November 1988 that then-Sen. John Kerry, speaking at a breakfast for businessmen, was asked about Vice President-elect Dan Quayle’s “ability to govern.” He replied: “Somebody told me the other day that the Secret Service has orders that if George Bush is shot, they’re to shoot Quayle.” He added: “There isn’t any press here, is there?” Kerry apologized too.
Why is it only conservative outlets that remind us of these assassination jokes from Democrats? Well, we all know why that is, don't we?

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If you're having trouble keeping track of all the Clinton scandals, The Atlantic provides a handy primer summarizing some of the major ones. Of course, The Atlantic also dismisses the seriousness of a lot of these scandals. But if even a liberal outlet like The Atlantic thinks it's necessary to compile such a list demonstrates how Hillary is like Pig Pen and travels with a whole cloud of dirt swirling around her.

Add to Obama's mendacity about the ransom paid to Iran this story of how the Obama administration lied about ISIS in order to make it look like ISIS wasn't as dangerous as they really were.
A leading U.S. general pressured his intelligence analysts into playing down the ISIS and al Qaeda threats, according to a congressional task force.

A House Republican task force has found that officials from the U.S. military’s Central Command altered intelligence reports to portray the U.S. fight against ISIS and al Qaeda in a more positive light than lower-level analysts believed was warranted by the facts on the ground, three officials familiar with the task force’s findings told The Daily Beast.

A roughly 10-page report on the controversy is expected to be released by the end of next week, two officials said. While it contains no definitive evidence that senior Obama administration officials ordered the reports to be doctored, the five-month investigation did corroborate earlier reports that analysts felt the leaders of CENTCOM’s intelligence directorate pressured them to conclude that the threat from ISIS was not as ominous as the analysts believed, the officials said....

The task force, led by members of the House Armed Services and Intelligence committees and the Defense Appropriations subcommittee, was created after The Daily Beast first reported that more than 50 analysts had filed a formal complaint alleging their reports on ISIS and al Qaeda’s branch in Syria were being inappropriately altered by senior officials. Some told The Daily Beast they felt they were working in a hostile, toxic office where they felt “bullied” to draw conclusions not supported by the facts.
This is horrific. Cooking intelligence reports for political purposes should be criminal.

Here is more evidence that the Clinton team was recklessly and knowlingly endangering national security.

For all those Trump supporters who like him because he "tells it like it is" and expresses exactly what they believe, should ask themselves which Trump they like. The guy has taken opposite positions on almost everything he says. He just says whatever he thinks will sound good at the moment. Take a few minutes and watch him flip and flop.
David French, from whom I found this link, comments,
He’s on every side of virtually every issue, and the only real constant is that he always advances his current perceived self-interest. We can write about this reality, but sometimes only seeing is believing....

One of the more frustrating and fruitless conversations in modern politics is with a Trump supporter who just insists that Trump can be trusted. But trusted to do what? If you want boots on the ground in the Middle East, Trump’s your guy. If you want America to stop sending its soldiers to die on foreign soil, Trump’s your guy. If you want higher taxes, Trump’s your guy. If you want lower taxes, Trump’s your guy. The list goes on.

The bottom line is that the best one can hope for is that when the time comes to make a decision that Trump’s perceived interests align with yours. Even then, however, you can be sure he’ll execute his plan in the most noxious way possible, alienating even potential allies and bringing your cause into disrepute. Good luck. You can’t say you weren’t warned.

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As an experiment, assistant principals decided to shadow students for a day. The one principal they talked to was struck by how tiring the day is. I can totally relate to that. I don't know how quiet students can stay awake through the day without speaking up in class. That is what keeps me awake. And if I were one of the kids who is too reserved to volunteer in class, I'd be drifting off every period. Even when I have students making presentations and I have to take notes so I can grade them, I find my self fighting to stay awake. I look back on my school years and wonder now how I kept from falling asleep every day. That's one reason we try to have activities at my school that involve the students and break up the period. But a lot of schools don't do that. I have sympathy for the kids who find themselves drowsing off.

Sounds like Carly Fiorina is working to replace Reince Priebus as RNC chair. I think the demonizing of Priebus is really unnecessary. He's had a hard job this past year. It isn't his job to block Trump. No one foresaw Trumpaggeddon so why should he be blamed at setting up a debate schedule and rules that might have worked in a normal primary and convention season. I don't know if there are any rules that anyone was thinking about before Trump that would have made any difference. And those Trumpkins who are angry that Priebus hasn't done more to support Trump should look at their guy. Think of how many times that Trump has sabotaged his own campaign. He's to blame for all his problems, not Priebus. But, if he decides to step down, Carly might be a good replacement. I'm not sure about her behind-the-scenes abilities to organize things, but she is excellent as a spokeswoman for the party. That will be a skill much in demand if Clinton wins the election. It would be good for the party to have a woman with such a strong ability of leading the attacks on Clinton. Fiorina has tried to win electoral office, but it was not to be. This would a good place for her to end up.

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