Friday, November 04, 2016

Cruising the Web

We're dealing in an age of leaks. And it seems that there are those at the FBI who are now fed up with how their investigation has been portrayed and so they're leaking about what they're finding on Weiner's computer. CBS reports,
The FBI has found emails related to Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state on the laptop belonging to the estranged husband of Huma Abedin, Anthony Weiner, according to a U.S. official.

These emails, CBS News’ Andres Triay reports, are not duplicates of emails found on Secretary Clinton’s private server. At this point, however, it remains to be seen whether these emails are significant to the FBI’s investigation into Clinton. It is also not known how many relevant emails there are.

We are now hearing about the battles between the FBI and the Justice Department as people from multiple agencies are leaking to the WSJ which reported on the battles over investigating the Clinton Foundation. The Justice Department reportedly wasn't impressed with the evidence that the FBI had uncovered in their investigation and tried to shut it down.
FBI investigators grew increasingly frustrated with resistance from the corruption prosecutors, and some executives at the bureau itself, to keep pursuing the case.

As prosecutors rebuffed their requests to proceed more overtly, those Justice Department officials became more annoyed that the investigators didn’t seem to understand or care about the instructions issued by their own bosses and prosecutors to act discreetly.

In subsequent conversations with the Justice Department, Mr. Capers told officials in Washington that the FBI agents on the case “won’t let it go,” these people said.

As a result of those complaints, these people said, a senior Justice Department official called the FBI deputy director, Mr. McCabe, on Aug. 12 to say the agents in New York seemed to be disregarding or disobeying their instructions, these people said. The conversation was a tense one, they said, and at one point Mr. McCabe asked, “Are you telling me that I need to shut down a validly predicated investigation?’’ The senior Justice Department official replied: ”Of course not.”
And with all the complaints from the Justice Department and President Obama about the investigation being reopened after they found more emails on Weiner's computer, remember that the FBI is part of the Justice Department and they could have ordered Comey not to write to Congress and not to investigate. But they didn't. Perhaps they feared Comey would resign and go public with how they have been blocking the investigation all along.

With the news that the FBI's investigation of the Clinton Foundation is still going on, as Paul Mirengoff points out, Loretta Lynch's meeting on the tarmac with Bill Clinton is even worse than originally thought.
When Lynch met with Bill Clinton, she would have known that the email investigation was just about over, but that the Clinton Foundation investigation was ongoing. If they discussed DOJ activities on the Clinton front, as Bill surely desired to, it’s likely that both investigations came up.

In any event, the existence of the Foundation investigation makes the appearance of impropriety even more glaring.

Just after news of the airplane meeting broke, Lynch said that she would defer to James Comey’s determination on whether to prosecute in the email case. She should now bow out of any role in determining the course or outcome of the Clinton Foundation investigation.
I've been thinking of all the people with supposedly honorable reputations have put those reputations on the line in order to protect the Clintons from being punished for their corrupt behavior. Think of Janet Reno and now James Comey and Loretta Lynch.

Kimberley Strassel looks in details how the Justice Department is laced through with Clinton compatriots who were helping to block the investigation.
The most obnoxious spin of the 2016 campaign came this week, as Democrats, their media allies and even President Obama accused the FBI of stacking the election. It’s an extraordinary claim, coming as it does from the same crew that has—we now know—been stacking the election all along in the corridors of the Justice Department.

This is the true November surprise. For four months, FBI Director James Comey has been the public face of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server. He played that role so well, putting the FBI so front and center, that the country forgot about Mr. Comey’s bosses. Revelations this week build the case that President Obama’s politicized Justice Department has been pulling strings and flacking for Mrs. Clinton all along.

One piece of evidence comes from WikiLeaks, in a hacked email between the chairman of the Clinton campaign, John Podesta, and Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik. It was sent in May of 2015 via a private Gmail account, which has become the favored way for Obama employees to hide communications from the public. “Heads up,” Mr. Kadzik warned, informing the campaign about a coming hearing and a recent legal filing about Mrs. Clinton’s emails.
Strassel details the connections between Kadzik and the Clintons. And this is the guy in the Justice Department who is overlooking the FBI's investigation into the emails found on Weiner's computer. Yet he is also the guy who was helping out the Clinton campaign by giving them a heads up on issues that were coming up as the Justice Department looked at her email scandal. And the FBI second in command has ties to Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe, a big Clinton crony, who donated a lot of money to McCabe's wife campaign for state senator. Apparently, if they're Democrats, they're not concerned about a "culture of corruption." Strassel writes,
The Justice Department has tried to dismiss Mr. Kadzik’s tip-off to the Clinton campaign as a note “about public information,” sent “in his personal capacity, not during work hours.” But Mr. Kadzik is a senior government official. He does not get to feed any information to a potential target of an investigation, at any hour of the day or night.

What the email reveals is the mind-set of the senior officials at the Justice Department. They are in it to win it for Hillary. They have taken a cue from their boss, the president, who has felt free to personally absolve Mrs. Clinton, no matter how inappropriate that is.
There are plenty of officials in the Justice Department who have been running blocks for Clinton to prevent anything bad about come out in the investigations that they were ostensibly conducting.
So what else has the department done? While Mrs. Clinton was under investigation, Mr. Kadzik had the opportunity to feed her campaign plenty during personal meetings with Mr. Podesta at dinner and the latter’s home. In a previous WikiLeaks email, another Clinton staffer references “DOJ folks” who leaked him information. And Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton would have us believe they only talked grandchildren on that tarmac in Arizona.

Or what about those immunity deals for Clinton aides? Mr. Comey told Congress that they were provided by Justice Department lawyers. The Journal reported this week that “from the start” of the FBI probe into the Clinton Foundation, “Justice Department officials were stern, icy and dismissive of the case.” From the start—meaning before evidence was collected. That story says senior leaders (unnamed) pressured the FBI to shut down the investigation. (Aside: For a supposed hotbed of Trump activism, the FBI sure did a good job of keeping this probe quiet for a year.)

Mr. Comey has botched plenty in the Clinton affair. Maybe the biggest was providing a shield for Justice Department shenanigans. Because if this feels sordid now, just wait for the actual Clinton Justice Department.

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Jonathan Last looks at how John Podesta's email files got hacked. He fell for an obvious phishing email - well, he was not the only one who fell for it. The Clinton campaign's IT guys also fell for the phishing.
But what makes this story so priceless isn't that John Podesta got fooled by an fourth-rate phishing scam. After all, he's just the guy who's going to be running Hillary Clinton's administration. What does he know about tech? And Podesta, to his credit, knew what he didn't know: He emailed the Clinton IT help desk and said, Hey, is this email legit?

And the Clinton tech team's response was: Hell yes!

No, really. Here's what they said: One member of the team responded to Podesta by saying "The gmail one is REAL." Another answered by saying "This is a legitimate email. John needs to change his password immediately."

It's like the Clinton IT department is run by 90-year-old grandmothers. I half-expect the next Wikileaks dump to have an email from one Clinton techie to another asking for help setting their VCR clock.

As the other guy likes to say, "only the best people."

Charles C. W. Cooke has a very good essay on how the Democrats seem to have run out of language to attack Republicans. Obama is trying to say that Trump is someone beyond former rivals like McCain and Romney who were normal Republicans. As Cooke points out, Obama certainly attacked Romney in 2012 as if he was a threat to the republic.
To recap: Then? Romney was dangerous and represented a departure. Then? He was no John McCain, that’s for sure! Now? Pah. Romney was a gentleman. A scholar. A safe pair of hands. Sure, in 2012 Obama ran a commercial arguing that Romney wasn’t “one of us.” Sure, Obama was so worried about Romney’s being in the White House that he tried to impose restraints on the drone program that he had run without restrictions. Sure, Joe Biden said that Romney would put African Americans “back in chains.” Sure, Harry Reid accused Romney of being a tax-cheat and a scoundrel. Sure, Obama’s campaigners repeatedly claimed that if Romney were elected he would continue his dastardly spree of killing people with cancer. Sure, the Atlantic characterized Obama’s approach toward Romney as being “My Opponent Is a Dangerous Radical (with a dash of My Opponent Is a Strange Weirdo thrown in).” But in retrospect? He was fine. In fact, he was no threat at all. Chill.
But now Obama can hold up Romney in order to attack Trump. However, he is using the same language to attack Trump as he did Romney.
That I agree with some of Obama’s criticisms of Trump is, frankly, besides the point. Yes, Donald Trump is indeed unlike other Republicans. Yes, Trump is indeed “uniquely unqualified” for the presidency. But when this game is played every single time, regardless of the merits of the candidate in question, the charge becomes hollow. I was mortified last night to watch Hillary Clinton’s anti-Trump advertisement and to acknowledge that almost every claim in it was true. Once again, I thought, “this is the man the Right nominated?” But, fair as the charges against Trump so often are, I couldn’t help but think that I’d be watching similar accusations leveled against the Republican choice regardless of who he or she was. Donald Trump is a bad, bad man. But when a fine man such as Mitt Romney is given the Hitler treatment too, it becomes difficult for that message to resonate. As has been observed by men smarter than I, crying wolf has its drawbacks.

Which brings me to my second observation: Just like the Right, the Democratic party has exhausted its supply of effective political language. As I have already conceded, Donald Trump really is different. And — at least among fair-minded Democrats — the charges that are leveled against him are substantively different than those that are leveled against, say, Marco Rubio. But — and this is key — the language that is used to convey those different arguments is eerily similar. The progressive (and general) case against Trump is that he has said terrible things about women and minorities, and that he has indulged the most retrograde factions within the American polity. The progressive case against Rubio is that he opposes Obamacare, is staunchly pro-life, and has an economic vision that is closer to Paul Ryan’s than to, say, Barack Obama’s. On the face of it, these are dramatically different briefs. But when filtered through the progressive language filter, they tend to be rendered identically.

Thus it is that both Rubio and Trump are accused of “hating women” — Trump because he has said and done terrible things to them; Rubio because he wants to defund Planned Parenthood. Thus it is that both Rubio and Trump are accused of “racism” — Trump because he has attacked judges on the basis of their ethnicity and said ugly things about minorities; Rubio because he — for good reasons — opposes federal programs that disproportionately seek to help minorities. Thus it is that both Rubio and Trump are accused of “caring little for the poor” — Trump because he has a history of shafting his contractors; Rubio because he advocates limited government. Again: I am not for a moment suggesting that honest progressives believe in their hearts that Trump and Rubio are the same person. But when both direct flaws and perceived flaws are explained in the same way — “woman-hating, poor-destroying racist” — it becomes difficult for listeners to do anything but tune out. (A similar problem obtains with the use of “Jim Crow” to describe even the most modest of voting-law alterations.)
So if, in a more ideal world, Rubio were running against Clinton, the Democrats would have employed the same cataclysmic rhetoric against Rubio.
As is often the case, ​C.S. Lewis saw this coming, writing in a 1956 letter:
Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say “infinitely” when you mean “very”; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.
Watching Obama yesterday, I was stuck by how limited were his options — and are the options of those who make an even more explicit case against Trump. Effectively, Obama was reduced to saying, “and I really mean it this time.” Time will tell how effective this will prove to be. Either way, just as the Right might want to consider how its often-apocalyptic language sounds to suburban families and to swing voters, Democrats might take a good look at themselves next time around. When the rhetoric used to describe Donald Trump and Mitt Romney is indistinguishable to all but the most tuned in, something has gone seriously wrong in the culture.
Good advice for both sides.

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While I'm thrilled for Chicago's victory in the World Series, that shouldn't paper over the very real crisis in the city. Fans can celebrate at Wrigleyville, but we shouldn't forget the hundreds of people killed in the city this year. The numbers, as the Washington Post reports, are truly staggering.
As a brutal year continues in Chicago, the city’s spiking homicide numbers have resulted in grim milestones and headlines. It took only until the end of Labor Day weekend for the city to have more homicides this year than it did in all of last year. There are only two American cities with bigger populations than Chicago — New York and Los Angeles — and even if you combine their homicide totals, the tally still lags behind the Windy City.

Recent days have seen a wave of bloodshed that gave the city still more tragedy and, with it, further reminders of how staggering the violence has been this year. Over the weekend, police say 18 people were killed, making it the deadliest weekend for Chicago this year (exceeding the 13 people killed over the long Labor Day weekend and the 13 killed during Father’s Day weekend in June).

Police statistics released Tuesday show that the weekend’s violence pushed the city’s homicide total north of 600 for the first time since 2003, a figure that comes with two full months left in the year. At its current pace, Chicago could have more than 730 homicides this year, possibly eclipsing the city’s highest death toll in nearly two decades.

The weekend’s toll included twin 17-year-old brothers fatally shot during a drive-by and an eighth-grader reportedly killed while helping his father move. Chicago had 78 homicides in October alone, police say, a number that most major cities nationwide did not reach through the entire first half of the year. (San Antonio — which has 1.4 million residents, a little less than half of Chicago’s population — had 70 homicides during the first six months of 2016.)

Sister Toldjah writes to refute the ridiculous notion that people don't like Hillary Clinton because she's a woman. President Obama was the most recent to make that claim as if there weren't any other reasons why people dislike Clinton.
Got that? There couldn't possibly be any other reason that guys might not want Hillary Clinton to be president. It just all boils down to sexism, according to a president who, as a candidate, was once accused of being sexist towards his female opponent in the 2008 primaries: Hillary Clinton.

The former Secretary of State confirmed in a 2014 interview that she addressed it directly with him after she ended her campaign.

There are a myriad of reasons why men and women alike may not support Hillary Clinton, reasons that have nothing to do with the fact that she's a woman: her various email scandals, her trustworthiness (or lack thereof), the Benghazi murders, the way she treats other women, or her questionable tenure as Secretary of State. The list goes on and on....

As to Clinton being treated differently because she's a woman, the president is right - but not in the way he intended. The people who most often treat her differently are other Democrats - especially female Democrats who believe she should be given special treatment and not judged as male candidates are because she's female.

They are like the self-proclaimed “feminists” who think it's sexist to express concern over a presidential candidate who collapsed on a New York City street and had to be dragged into a van. Or those who believe the outrage over her massive email scandal is an attack on women.