Monday, September 14, 2015

HRC email Controversy Way Overblown Compared To bush Admin eMail Scandal (Imaginary Vs Actual Crimes)

You have Democrats beginning to panic about the one thing that a lot of them never worried about, which was Clinton's electability in the general election ...the challenge she faces in the general election is both the trust problem and the likability problem ~ Robert Shrum AKA "Dumb Shrum" (dob 1943) an American political consultant, who has worked on numerous Democratic campaigns, including the losing presidential campaigns of Al Gore and John Kerry.

Regarding Robert Shrum's nickname of "Dumb Shrum", my memory tells me that I heard this on Al Franken's Air America radio program. I might be wrong, however, as I could not confirm this via a Google search. In any case, the nickname comes from the fact that "in eight elections (for either the presidential nomination or for the presidency itself), Shrum's candidates have never won". (Wikipedia reports).

Regarding the quote at the top of this post; it is via the far-Right website 9/9/2009 Newsmax story "Democrats Eyeing White Knight If Clinton Implodes"... which is complete nonsense, as there is almost nothing to this so-called scandal. Despite deluded Righty fantasies of Hillary (and perhaps Obama) ending up behind bars... for their fictional "lawlessness".

Hillary did SOMETHING wrong. As long as the Republicans keep looking, eventually they'll find a transgression with substance. Although they've been looking for the last 35 years and both Hillary and Bill are still free. Not imprisoned for their many imaginary crimes, much to the chagrin of the (real) vast Rightwing conspiracy.

The latest imaginary crime of Hillary Clinton involving her emails, being yet in another in a series of desperate attempts by the Right to derail her POTUS candidacy. Another attempt that will fail, despite what Dumb Shrum sez. Those who do not trust HRC or find her "likable" did not trust or find her likable to begin with. They would not be voting for her even if Congressional Republicans were not continuously investing fake/overblown Clinton misdeeds.

Overblown HRC email Scandal Aspect #1: Used Personal email & Server Which Was Either Illegal Or At Least Shady

This allegation concerns Hillary doing something wrong by using a private email and server. Perhaps even illegal! Except that... no. "Clinton and her staff have stated that her use of the private email account was above board and allowed under State Department rules" and this is indeed the case.

HRC, in using/maintaining a private server broke no laws that existed at the time.

...federal regulations went into effect in late November, 2014 when President Obama signed H.R. 1233, modernizing the Federal Records Act of 1950 to include electronic communications. It was signed two years after [Hillary] Clinton stepped down. (That Story About Hillary Clinton's Private Email Account Isn't as Awful as It Seems by Bob Cesca. The Daily Banter 3/3/2015).

Frankly I think it should have been law long ago that government employees were legally required to communicate using government (and not private) systems. However, until recently it has not been. Hillary Clinton followed the law and is guilty of nothing, nor has anything been uncovered (via the release of these emails) that show she was trying to hide something. At most she could be "convicted" of falling "short of the Obama administration's preferred best practices". (A Crystal-Clear Explanation of Hillary's Confusing Email Scandal).

Which differs significantly with what happened during the bush administration. In 2007 it was discovered that preznit bush (and underlings in the office of the preznit) corresponded "via a non-government domain hosted on an email server not controlled by the federal government... in violation of the Presidential Records Act of 1978, and the Hatch Act". (Wikipedia/Bush White House email controversy).

What the bushies were attempting to hide was that their Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales, fired US attorneys who wouldn't investigate fake/non-existent voter fraud cases.

Investigative journalist Greg Palast: David Iglesias of New Mexico was one of seven U.S. Attorneys fired by the White House for their refusal to bring voter fraud prosecutions. [According to Iglesias] "We took over 100 complaints... We investigated for almost 2 years [and] I didn't find one prosecutable voter fraud case in the entire state of New Mexico".

Specifically, Attorney General Gonzales... wanted him to bring what the prosecutor called "bogus voter fraud" cases. In effect, US Attorney Iglesias was under pressure from the boss to charge citizens with crimes they didn't commit.
(Gonzales "wrong and illegal and unethical" by Greg Palast. GregPalast.com 8/28/2007).

The purpose of prosecuting phony-baloney "voter fraud" cases? According to Greg Palast, Karl Rove "convinced Bush to fire upright prosecutors and replace them with Rove-bots ready to strike out at fraudulent (i.e. Democratic) voters". This was another example of bushie election thievery antics, in other words... which is why this (genuine) controversy was viewed as a possible violation of the Hatch Act... which is a law that says the president or VP can't direct their underlings to engage "in some forms of political activity".

The firing of the US attorneys who wouldn't investigate bullpucky "voter fraud" cases to help Republicans win via cheating (preventing legitimate voters from casting ballots by scarring/harassing them away from the polls) was a purely political act... so here we have actual violations of the law, coordinated via email that the bushies tried to hide... and the only thing that happened was that Gonzales fell on his sword (took the blame and resigned).

With HRC, no wrongdoing of any kind has yet to be shown. Should she have used a private server? No, she absolutely should not have IMO. But did she break the law or do anything shady? There is no evidence she did.

Overblown HRC email Scandal Aspect #2: Classified Info Was Sent/Received Through Private Server

Here there appears to be a little more substance, in that Hillary may have actually sent or received classified information. Although, it should be noted that nothing HRC sent/received was marked classified at the time. "None of the emails we reviewed had classification or dissemination markings..." according to Intelligence Community Inspector General I. Charles McCullough III (Hillary's emails touch off debate about classified documents by Josh Gerstein. 07/24/2015).

It appears, however, that it is possible that some of these sent/received communications should have been treated as classified (even though not marked as such).

...foreign government information [is defined by] The US government... as any information, written or spoken, provided in confidence to U.S. officials by their foreign counterparts. This sort of information, which the department says Clinton both sent and received in her emails, is the only kind that must be "presumed" classified, in part to protect national security and the integrity of diplomatic interactions...

"It's born classified", said J. William Leonard, a former director of the U.S. government's Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO). Leonard was director of ISOO, part of the White House's National Archives and Records Administration, from 2002 until 2008, and worked for both the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations. (Dozens of Clinton emails were classified from the start, U.S. rules suggest by Jonathan Allen. Reuters 8/21/2015).

If HRC is "guilty" of anything, it appears as though this may be the smoking gun. Although I would say this, if it occurred, is most likely an oversight and not due to any nefarious intentions on Clinton's part. Quite unlike bush's email scandal, where the intention was to hide illegal politicking (in the form of election thievery) using the office of the White House (in violation of the Hatch Act).

So we are clearly not dealing with anything of an illegal nature re the Hillary email non-scandal, although a Libertarian blog I read sez that if HRC asserts that she did not know the emails were supposed to be treated as classified "she looks like a total incompetent and a moron".

Personally I do not agree with this assessment. Smart competent people make mistakes all the time. In any case, HRC's team destroyed a large number of communications they deemed "personal", so if there is any incriminating evidence, it's likely gone. "Incriminating" her in regards to what, I do not know. Unlike with the bushies. With this genuinely lawless administration I know they covered up and escaped prosecution in regards to their election thievery.

This is why I predict the Republican investigations will go nowhere (the same direction they've been going thus far). Congressional Republicans know this, of course. They simply want to firmly plant the idea in the gullible base voter's noggin that HRC is getting away with unspecified illegalities. And spread that false meme into the general electorate as widely as they are able. There is no real "investigating" in other words. What is going on is all political in nature.

Hillary Clinton will likely be the nominee as well as our next president... in my estimation. This so-called scandal will not be "devastating" to campaign as the aforementioned Libertarian asserts.

The bottom line here, I'd say, is that I just do not f*cking give a shit. Barring me hearing (at the very least) some sane sounding conspiracy theory concerning ACTUAL wrongdoing by HRC. WHY did she (or her underlings) destroy thousands of emails they say were "personal"? What is she hiding/what is the REAL crime? I mean, the bushies got away with fricking election fraud shenanigans simply by having Alberto fall on his sword and resign.

Although preznit doofus defended him, saying that Gonzales' "good name [was] dragged through the mud", and that he stepped down only because he received "unfair treatment that has created harmful distraction at the Justice Department". Right.

Now we have Hillary-haters who are calling for her head on a pike for significantly lesser transgressions? I am NOT going along with it. She isn't an "incompetent moron" nor a brilliant criminal mastermind who has evaded successful prosecution for 30-plus years for her many (imaginary) crimes... committed as a part of her husband's administration, via the charitable Clinton Foundation, and as a member of the "lawless" Obama WH.

Congressional Repubs just can't seem to get anything to stick. Perhaps because there is (and have been) no wrongdoings by HRC? Call me a partisan, but I say f*ck these Rightwing idiots who think there is even the remotest chance that HRC will end up behind bars for this nothing-burger. Or the even bigger non-scandal of Benghazi.

Which, by the way, was one of the conspiracy theories floated back in March. That a Benghazi stand down order might be found among the HRC emails. A conspiracy that is leagues away from sane sounding, you poor deluded desperate Repub-identifying halfwits.

Video: Alberto Gonzales said "I don't recall" 72 times during his January 2007 Senate hearing. Gonzales resigned on 9/17/2007 (0:52).

SWTD #313. See also OST #71.

Friday, September 04, 2015

Iraq War Based On gwb Lie Of "Disarming" Saddam When IAEA Officials Who Were There, On The Ground, Said Iraq Had No WMD

George W. Bush made 232 false statements about Iraq and former leader Saddam Hussein's possessing weapons of mass destruction, and 28 false statements about Iraq's links to al Qaeda according to a 1/22/2008 study by the Center for Public Integrity and its affiliated group, the Fund for Independence in Journalism. In total the Bush Admin made 935 false statements in run-up to war.

According to the gwb administration, the purpose of the vote on the Iraq War Resolution was to pressure the UN and Iraq into getting inspectors back into the country. At least that's what Hillary Clinton has said when defending her vote on the matter.

Hillary, before voting, asked "If you are given this authority, will you put the inspectors in and permit them to finish their job". She was told that, YES, that was the goal. To show the UN and Iraq that the bush administration was serious, Congress needed to authorize war if the inspectors were not allowed back in (Hillary Clinton Never Supported the Bush/Cheney Invasion of Iraq).

Well, it worked. Inspectors for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) were allowed back into Iraq... and so bush, realizing that the threat worked, allowed the inspections to do their job and the UN to decide what to do if Iraq again balked and did not cooperate (as the UN charter stipulates).

No, wait... that isn't what happened at all. Saddam did drag his feet (as before) and not cooperate fully. Although the inspectors thought progress was still being made. None-the-less the bush administration (already having the Congressional authority it needed) launched an attack.

And the bush administration launched it's attack in spite of (1) telling members of Congress they were voting to get inspectors back in and that war would be a last resort, and (2) The UN charter saying "it is up to the council itself, and not individual members, to determine how the body's resolutions are to be enforced".

bush, in deciding to go ahead with the invasion despite the UN not voting for war, violated articles 33 and 39 of the Charter (33 says disputes are to be resolved peacefully and 39 says that the UN "decides what measures shall be taken" when the resolutions it makes are violated).

Because UN charter does not allow individual countries to act unilaterally a number of UN and IAEA officials condemned the US invasion of Iraq. (Condemned it, or pointed out why it was unnecessary).

Six UN & IAEA Officials Who Either Condemned US Invasion of Iraq Or Confirmed It Was Unnecessary

1. Kofi Annan: The UN Secretary-general from 1/1/1997 to 12/31/2006 said (in regards to the bush invasion of Iraq) "I have indicated it is not in conformity with the UN Charter, from our point of view, and from the Charter point of view it was illegal". This, according to a statement made to the BBC in September 2004. According to spokesman Fred Eckhard this "has been the Secretary-General's longstanding view [because the UN charter] does not allow pre-emptive attacks".

2. Mohamed ElBaradei: The IAEA director from 1997 to 2009, in regards to bush's claim that Iraq had WMD and the invasion was needed to "disarm" Saddam, said, "deliberate deception [isn't] limited to small countries ruled by ruthless dictators" (this is a quote from his book Age of Deception).

3. Hans Blix: The former head of the IAEA (1981–1997) who was called back from retirement by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to lead United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission and was in charge of looking for WMD in Iraq said that his inspectors "found no stockpiles of WMD and had made significant progress toward resolving open issues of disarmament". Iraq was not complying or having difficulty complying (because of misplaced stockpiles) but Mr. Blix was confident that everything would be resolved. The only thing that was needed was time ("a matter of months").

Furthermore Blix said that if "the inspections been allowed to continue, there would likely be a very different situation in Iraq today. As it was, America's preemptive, unilateral actions have bred more terrorism there and elsewhere". (For The Record, Yes, George W. Bush Did Help Create ISIS).

Although, according to Blix, US President george w. bush and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair did not act in bad faith, but only exhibited "a severe lack of critical thinking".

4. David Kay: The Chief weapons inspector said "I think there were stockpiles at the end of the first Gulf War and a combination of U.N. inspectors and unilateral Iraqi action got rid of them" when he resigned on 1/23/2004.

I should note, however that Kay defended the Bush administration, saying that even if Iraq did not have weapons stockpiles, this did not mean the it wasn't dangerous. Was Iraq dangerous? Perhaps, but there are many countries with "dangerous" regimes, and the US isn't invading them all. That Kay also blamed "faulty intelligence gathering" for the prewar WMD conclusions (even though this is pure bullplop) explains why he defended the lying bush administration.

Although the conclusion of the Senate report on prewar intelligence on Iraq (that the bush Administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when in reality it was unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even non-existent) wasn't released until 5/25/2007, so perhaps Kay's idiotic partisan statement is understandable? The US government had not yet confirmed that the bush administration blatantly lied. Even though the IAEA had.

But, and this is the important point, Kay knew Iraq had no WDM because he was one of those on the ground in Iraq who was looking for it (and did not find it). Thus confirming that the war was (if not illegal/based on a lie) unnecessary as per the bush administration reasons for waging it (to "disarm" Iraq).

5. Charles Dulfer: Dulfer, who replaced David Kay as Chief weapons inspector, said "it turns out that we were all wrong [and] I believe that the effort that has been directed to this point has been sufficiently intense that it is highly unlikely that there were large stockpiles of deployed, militarized chemical weapons there".

6. Scott Ritter: A United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991 to 1998, while not a participant in the 2002 inspections, has remarked that "since 1998 Iraq has been fundamentally disarmed: 90-95% of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capacity has been verifiably eliminated". The nuclear program was eliminated and there was no evidence Iraq had retained chemical or biological weapons according to Ritter.

The Republican-identifying Ritter who says he voted for gwb was later (in 2001 and 2010) accused of "soliciting minors for sex on the Internet" (the 2001 charges were dismissed and the 2010 charges resulted in a conviction). For this reason Ritter's critics discount his statements re Iraq having WMD. Obviously the two aren't connected, but still the crime he was convicted of calls his character into question. He desired sex with minors, so he obviously lied about finding no WMD (so say his critics... see SWTD #232 point "5A" for more info concerning what one specific critic said when I brought up Ritter's name in a discussion re the illegality of gwb's Iraq invasion).

**End list of 6 UN and IAEA Officials Who Either Condemned US Invasion of Iraq Or Confirmed It Was Unnecessary**

In regards to ex-preznit bush saying (on 3/19/20013, in an address to the American people notifying them of the beginning of the illegal invasion of Iraq), "my fellow citizens, at this hour American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger"... we knew/know bush was lying and he knows/knew he lied/was lying.

How do we know for certain that bush lied? Mohamed ElBaradei told the Security Council (on 3/7/2003) via written report that the "UN inspections in Iraq worked". Please note that this report was delivered on 3/7/2003 and bush ordered the invasion on 3/19/2003. So bush said "invade to disarm" AFTER the head of the IAEA told the world that the inspections worked and that Iraq was already disarmed!

A fact that the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, as well as everyone at the IAEA (listed above) confirms (despite Kay going along with the "faulty intel" BS). My conclusion is that bush CLEARLY lied. And it was a blatant bold-faced lie.

This is something our own government concluded with a bi-partisan majority report issued by the Senate (on 6/5/2008) that said "the [bush] Administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when in reality it was unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even non-existent".

Yet the bush apologists continue to lie... both about bush lying about Iraq having WMD (it was an "intelligence failure", they say), as well as Iraq having WMD. Iraq really did have WMD these liars/dumbshits say! Wikileaks documents prove Saddam had WMD!

Sorry, but no. bush claimed that we needed to invade to "disarm" Saddam, not that we needed to invade to clean up old, forgotten, buried and degraded chemical weapons. Which is what was actually claimed, and this was NOT what bush hyped (in order to scare the American people into accepting war). According to Wired's Noah Shachtman "Saddam's toxic arsenal [was] largely destroyed after the Gulf War". (WikiLeaks Iraq War Logs: No Evidence of Massive WMD Caches).

What we found after the invasion was "remnants". Remnants are what the Wikileaks documents revealed were found in Iraq post invasion. Would the American people have agreed to war over "remnants"? We all know the answer to that question is NO. Which is why bush ignored what the IAEA was telling him about Iraq having no WMD and lied about "disarming" Saddam.

Wikipedia notes that "In a White House Iraq Group meeting, chief Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson proposes the use of a smoking gun/mushroom cloud metaphor to sell the American public on the supposed nuclear dangers posed by Saddam Hussein".

The "smoking gun/mushroom cloud" metaphor was just one of the 935 false statements, (including 232 lies that bush himself disassembled) the administration used to SELL us the Iraq war. "Intelligence failure" my ass!

Video: Terrorist leader bush scares the shit out of Americans with BS about Iraq possessing nuclear weapons and using them to attack us. Clip from a 10/7/2002 TV address broadcast from Cincinnati's Museum Center at Union Terminal (0:07).

Notes
[1] From an 8/28/2011 discussion on the blog of Willis Hart: When I pointed out that HRC said the gwb WH told her a YES vote wasn't a vote for war, but a vote to pressure Iraq to agree to "complete, unlimited inspections", Willis Hart responded by saying, "My God, wd, what do you expect her to say, I screwed up? You know as well as I do that, if the war had gone better, the lady would have been patting herself on the back till the cows came home. She (and Kerry and Biden) knew exactly what they were voting for".

See also: SWTD #154: Intellectual Honesty Concerning ex-Preznit bush's WMD Lies (5/23/2013).

SWTD #312