Monday, September 26, 2016

Obama’s Conflict Tanked the Clinton E-mail Investigation — As Predicted

Hillary couldn’t be proven guilty without proving the president guilty as well.

By Andrew C. McCarthy — September 26, 2016
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In this Dec. 1, 2008, file photo, then-President-elect Barack Obama, left, stands with then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., after announcing that she is his choice as Secretary of State during a news conference in Chicago.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

"How is this not classified?”

So exclaimed Hillary Clinton’s close aide and confidante, Huma Abedin. The FBI had just shown her an old e-mail exchange, over Clinton’s private account, between the then-secretary of state and a second person, whose name Abedin did not recognize. The FBI then did what the FBI is never supposed to do: The agents informed their interviewee (Abedin) of the identity of the second person. It was the president of the United States, Barack Obama, using a pseudonym to conduct communications over a non-secure e-mail system — something anyone with a high-level security clearance, such as Huma Abedin, would instantly realize was a major breach.
Abedin was sufficiently stunned that, for just a moment, the bottomless capacity of Clinton insiders to keep cool in a scandal was overcome. “How is this not classified?”

She recovered quickly enough, though. The FBI records that the next thing Abedin did, after “express[ing] her amazement at the president’s use of a pseudonym,” was to “ask if she could have a copy of the email.”

Abedin knew an insurance policy when she saw one. If Obama himself had been e-mailing over a non-government, non-secure system, then everyone else who had been doing it had a get-out-of-jail-free card.

Thanks to Friday’s FBI document dump — 189 more pages of reports from the Bureau’s year-long foray (“investigation” would not be the right word) into the Clinton e-mail scandal — we now know for certain what I predicted some eight months ago here at NRO: Any possibility of prosecuting Hillary Clinton was tanked by President Obama’s conflict of interest.

As I explained in February, when it emerged that the White House was refusing to disclose at least 22 communications Obama had exchanged with then-secretary Clinton over the latter’s private e-mail account, we knew that Obama had knowingly engaged in the same misconduct that was the focus of the Clinton probe: the reckless mishandling of classified information.

To be sure, he did so on a smaller scale. Clinton’s recklessness was systematic: She intentionally set up a non-secure, non-government communications framework, making it inevitable that classified information would be mishandled, and that federal record-keeping laws would be flouted. Obama’s recklessness, at least as far as we know, was confined to communications with Clinton — although the revelation that the man presiding over the “most transparent administration in history” set up a pseudonym to conceal his communications obviously suggests that his recklessness may have been more widespread.

Still, the difference in scale is not a difference in kind. In terms of the federal laws that criminalize mishandling of classified information, Obama not only engaged in the same type of misconduct Clinton did; he engaged in it with Clinton. It would not have been possible for the Justice Department to prosecute Clinton for her offense without its becoming painfully apparent that 1) Obama, too, had done everything necessary to commit a violation of federal law, and 2) the communications between Obama and Clinton were highly relevant evidence.

Indeed, imagine what would have happened had Clinton been indicted. The White House would have attempted to maintain the secrecy of the Obama-Clinton e-mails (under Obama’s invocation of a bogus “presidential communications” privilege), but Clinton’s defense lawyers would have demanded the disclosure of the e-mails in order to show that Obama had engaged in the same misconduct, yet only she, not he, was being prosecuted. And as most experienced criminal-law lawyers understand (especially if they’ve read a little Supreme Court case known as United States v. Nixon), it is an argument that Clinton’s lawyers would have won.

In fact, in any other case — i.e., in a case that involved any other unindicted co-conspirator — it would be the Justice Department itself introducing the Obama-Clinton e-mails into evidence.
As noted above, the FBI told Huma Abedin that the name she did not recognize in the e-mail with Clinton was an Obama alias. For the agents to do this ran afoul of investigative protocols. The point of an FBI interview is for the interviewee to provide information to the investigators, not the other way around. If agents give information to potential witnesses, the government gets accused of trumping up the case.

But of course, that’s only a problem if there is actually going to be a case.

In this instance, it was never going to happen. The president’s involvement guaranteed that . . . so why worry about letting Abedin in on the president’s involvement?

Abedin was startled by this revelation. No wonder: People in her lofty position know that direct presidential communications with high-ranking officials who have national-security and foreign-policy responsibilities are presumptively classified.

To convey this, and thus convey the legal significance of Obama’s involvement, I can’t much improve on what I told you back in February. When the Obama Justice Department prosecuted retired general David Petraeus, the former CIA director, for mishandling classified information, government attorneys emphasized that this top-secret intelligence included notes of Petraeus’s “discussions with the president of the United States of America.”

Petraeus pled guilty because he knew the case against him was a slam-dunk. He grasped that trying to defend himself by sputtering, Clinton-style, that “the notes were not marked classified” would not pass the laugh test. As I elaborated in the February column, when you’re a national-security official engaging in and making a written record of policy and strategy conversations with the president, the lack of classified markings on the documents you’ve created
[does] not alter the obvious fact that the information they contain [is] classified — a fact well known to any high government official who routinely handles national-defense secrets, let alone one who directly advises the president.
Moreover, as is the case with Clinton’s e-mails, much of the information in Petraeus’s journals was “born classified” under the terms of President Obama’s own executive order — EO 13526. As I’ve previously noted, insection 1.1(d) of that order, Obama issued this directive: “The unauthorized disclosure of foreign government information is presumed to cause damage to the national security.” In addition, the order goes on (in section 1.4) to describe other categories of information that officials should deem classified based on the damage to national security that disclosure could cause. Included among these categories: foreign relations, foreign activities of the United States, military plans, and intelligence activities.

Abedin knew, as the FBI agents who were interviewing her surely knew, that at least some of Obama’s pseudonymous exchanges with Clinton had to have crossed into these categories. They were born classified. As I said in February, this fact would profoundly embarrass Obama if the e-mails were publicly disclosed.

Hundreds of times, despite Clinton’s indignant insistence that she never sent or received classified information, the State Department has had to concede that her e-mails must be redacted or withheld from public disclosure because they contain information that is patently classified. But this is not a concession the administration is willing to make regarding Obama’s e-mails.

That is why, as I argued in February, Obama is trying to get away with the vaporous claim that presidential communications must be kept confidential. He does not want to say “executive privilege” because that sounds too much like Nixon. More important, the only other alternative is to designate the e-mails as classified. That would be tantamount to an admission that Obama engaged in the same violation of law as Clinton.

Again, this is why the prosecution of Mrs. Clinton never had a chance of happening. It also explains why, in his public statements about the matter, Obama insisted that Clinton’s e-mailing of classified information did not harm national security. It is why Obama, in stark contrast to his aforementioned executive order, made public statements pooh-poohing the fact that federal law forbids the mishandling of any intelligence secret. (“There’s classified, and then there’s classified,” he said, so cavalierly.) He had to take this position because he had himself effectively endorsed the practice of high-level communications through non-secure channels.

This is also why the Justice Department and the FBI effectively rewrote the relevant criminal statute in order to avoid applying it to Clinton. In his public statements about Clinton, Obama has stressed that she is an exemplary public servant who would never intentionally harm the United States. In rationalizing their decision not to indict Clinton, Justice Department officials (in leaks to the Washington Post) and the FBI director (in his press conference and congressional testimony) similarly stressed the lack of proof that she intended to harm the United States.

As I’ve repeatedly pointed out, however, the operative criminal statute does not call for proof of intent to harm the United States. It merely requires proof of gross negligence. This is entirely lawful and appropriate, since we’re talking about a law that can apply only to government officials who have a special duty to preserve secrecy and who have been schooled in the proper handling of classified information. Yet the Justice Department frivolously suggested that applying the law exactly the way it is written — something the Justice Department routinely tells judges they must do — would, in Clinton’s case, potentially raise constitutional problems.
Alas, the Justice Department and the FBI have to take that indefensible position here. Otherwise, Clinton would not be the only one in legal jeopardy.

I will end with what I said eight months ago:
To summarize, we have a situation in which (a) Obama knowingly communicated with Clinton over a non-government, non-secure e-mail system; (b) Obama and Clinton almost certainly discussed matters that are automatically deemed classified under the president’s own guidelines; and (c) at least one high-ranking government official (Petraeus) has been prosecuted because he failed to maintain the security of highly sensitive intelligence that included policy-related conversations with Obama. From these facts and circumstances, we must deduce that it is possible, if not highly likely, that President Obama himself has been grossly negligent in handling classified information.
That is why the Clinton e-mail scandal never had a chance of leading to criminal charges.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book is Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment.

No figure in a sport was more beloved than Arnold Palmer

By Mike Lupica
September 26, 2016

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Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer at the 1964 Masters.

This was last spring, an event at Jack Nicklaus’ Bear’s Club in Jupiter, Fla., not too long before the Masters tournament.

Barbara Nicklaus, Jack’s wife, was introducing a new cookbook, and she and Jack had acted as celebrity chefs for a small gathering of club guests and their friends. Some friends of my wife and I had invited us and near the end of the night, I was talking to Jack about Arnold Palmer. It has been impossible for more than a half-century in America to talk about one without talking about the other. Arnie and Jack. Jack and Arnie.

Once it had been the rivalry to watch and talk about in golf, the kid from Ohio coming along to take on the acknowledged king of the sport, the guy known to the golf world as “The King” — Arnold — and beat him for the first time at the U.S. Open of 1962, and keep beating him on his way to winning 18 major championships and becoming the greatest golfer of them all.

But out of that rivalry came something more important: A deep and lasting and splendid friendship. Now, in the spring of 2016, everybody in Jack’s world and Arnold’s world knew that Arnold was failing, it was no secret any longer, Arnold had barely been visible at his own tournament at Bay Hill, in Orlando.

There was even some question about whether or not Arnold Palmer, 86 then, would make it to the first tee at Augusta with Nicklaus and Gary Player, for the ceremonial opening to another Masters tournament.

“Oh, he’ll be there,” Jack Nicklaus said that night. “I haven’t said this to him, but he’ll be on the first tee if I have to carry him.”
Jack Nicklaus paused and said, “I’m like everybody else, really. I love Arnold Palmer.”
Arnold made it to the first tee for one last Masters, even if he didn’t hit a drive this time. Nicklaus did. Player did. But he was there. And the crowd cheered the way it always had. Jack didn’t have to carry the man who had carried golf out of the 1950s and not just into the ’60s, but the television age as well. If it was the Giants vs. Colts sudden death championship game in 1958 that made pro football a big deal on television in this country, it was Arnold Palmer who did the same for golf. It all started with him, a leading man built for television, a swashbuckling figure who would take a drag on his cigarette and then either do something to win a big tournament, or do something that broke your heart.
“You want to know the secret to my so-called success?” Frank Chirkinian, the legendary producer and director of golf at CBS for what felt like a thousand years, told me one time. “I put the camera on Arnold and left it there.”
Now Arnold Palmer, one of the giants of American sports, leaves us, at the age of 87, his last birthday a couple of weeks ago. Again: He was not the greatest golfer of all time. He won seven majors and Tiger Woods, who would become the king of televised golf in the 1990s the way Arnold was in the 1960s, won twice that many. Palmer never won the PGA to complete the career Grand Slam. And it does not change a thing with him, starting with his place in history. No figure in the history of American sports ever meant more to one sport than Arnold Palmer, deacon’s son, out of Latrobe, Pa. And no figure in a sport was ever loved more than Arnold was.
There is the famous story, told and retold by the great Dan Jenkins, Arnold’s great friend, about the 1960 Open at Cherry Hills, in Colorado. Palmer was seven shots off the lead, getting ready to play the final round after having played his morning round already. They still played 36 on the last day of the Open in those days. Palmer was sitting with Jenkins and Bob Drum, who covered Palmer for the old Pittsburgh Press, and had known Palmer since his amateur days in Pennsylvania.
Palmer was talking about the short, par-4 first hole at Cherry Hills, and this is the way Jenkins remembered it:
“If I drive the green and get a birdie or an eagle, I might shoot 65,” Palmer said. “What’ll that do?”
Drum said, “Nothing. You’re too far back.”
“It would give me 280,” Palmer said. “Doesn’t 280 always win the Open?”
“Yeah, when Hogan shoots it,” Drum said.
Arnold drove the green and made birdie and kept making birdies, and Jenkins and Drum ran out to the fifth tee to catch up with him; catch up with a roar from the gallery that always meant Arnie was doing something.
When Palmer saw them, he grinned and said, “Fancy seeing you here.”
He won the Open that day. Several years later he lost a heartbreak Open to Billy Casper that he had won. And never won another major after that. It only made people love him more. You should also know this: How much he loved being Arnold Palmer.
He did not just change golf. He and his agent, Mark McCormack, changed the business culture of professional sports. McCormack grew his representation of Palmer into a giant company named IMG, for the International Management Group. You can make the case that not only did Palmer make a fortune for himself because of his immense popularity, he made several fortunes for the future stars of American sports, and not just in golf; make a case that he was as much a champion at business as he was at golf. Maybe more.
I met him one time, at Bay Hill. I was there to write a piece about him for Esquire magazine, and we finally ended up in his office, Palmer talking about his triumphs and his disasters, being as gracious with me as he was with everybody else, because there was never a more available and accessible American sports celebrity. I don’t know how long we were in that office. Maybe it was an hour. Maybe it was a little more. It was one of the best hours I have ever spent in this business.
And there was a moment, near the end, when he was telling another story, and came around from behind his big desk, and grabbed a driver leaning against a wall, and took his stance, and put those bricklayer’s hands on the club, and it was as if all the years between the two of us and my one childhood disappeared.
A few minutes later we were done. He said, “You good?”
And I said, “You have no idea.”
There have been other star athletes who helped grow other major sports in America. No one ever did more for one than Arnold Palmer did for golf. No one was ever a bigger star. Jack Nicklaus had it right, exactly, and of course. Everybody loved Arnold Palmer. 



Sunday, September 25, 2016

Bruce Springsteen - CBS Sunday Morning (18.09.16)

Bruce Springsteen - Sunday Night interview (18 September 2016)

Bruce Springsteen on keeping life honest, real in 'Born to Run' autobiography

September 24, 2016
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Anyone who has ever experienced the uniquely soul-stirring amalgam of musical celebration, spiritual rejuvenation, intellectual provocation and physical release-to-the-point-of-exhaustion that is a concert by Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band will feel right at home in the 508 pages of “Born to Run” (Simon & Schuster, $32.50), his 67-years (as of Friday)-in-the-making autobiography.
On the most superficial level, this richly rewarding rock tome could be subtitled “The Collected and Expanded Between-Song Sermons.” That’s how integral to his fabled marathon performances over the last 40-plus years are his ripped-from-New-Jersey-life fables of spirit-shaping battles with his father, his comradeship with his bandmates, his fitful attempts to unravel the mysteries of love and, binding them all together, his DNA-deep passion for music, specially that strain called rock ’n’ roll.
Throughout his career, the once scrawny kid who was born in Long Branch, N.J., and grew up in nearby Freehold, has relied on music as a source of inspiration, a platform for understanding the world around him and a forum for self-examination and expression.
All of those qualities serve this Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee beautifully in a book that illuminates not just the career, but the full-bodied life of one of pop music’s most valuable artists.
It’s alternately brutally honest, philosophically deep, stabbingly funny and, perhaps most important, refreshingly humble.
We’re told on the book jacket that his 2009 performance at the Super Bowl was what started him writing, specifically about that show and what it meant to him at the time.
“Since the inception of our band,” he writes late in the book about his group’s performance at the event that typically draws the largest global audience of any other, “it’s been our ambition to play for everyone. We’ve achieved a lot, but we haven’t achieved that.
“Our audience remains tribal...that is, predominantly white. On occasion,” he notes, “I looked out and sang ‘Promised Land’ to the audience I intended it for: young people, old people, black, white, brown, cutting across religious and class lines. That’s who I’m singing to today.”
It’s been his hubris from the outset that Springsteen believed to his soul that he had something to offer to the world; and his supreme gift that he fought and scraped his way onto stages across the globe to realize that dream.
Given his Catholic upbringing, it’s fitting that the book is divided into three parts, his own literary Holy Trinity, as he lays out his life story essentially in chronological order.
“In Catholicism, there existed the poetry, danger and darkness that reflected my imagination and my inner self. I found a land of great and harsh beauty, of fantastic stories, of unimaginable punishment and infinite reward. It was a glorious and pathetic place I was either shaped for or fit right into,” he writes early on. “This was the world where I found the beginnings of my song.”
Book One is titled “Growin’ Up,” recounting his early family life and apprenticeship as a budding musician; Book Two, “Born to Run,” continues with his rise to a level of fame and fortune he probably did conceive, but only in his wildest dreams, and Book Three, “Living Proof,” looks into adult life as one of pop music’s biggest stars, and the often diametrically opposed realities of his on- and offstage lives.
Unapologetic rock ’n’ roller that he is at heart, Springsteen often crafts chapters like good pop songs — most take just three or four minutes to finish, there are catchy hooks and typically snappy endings, usually with a grain of life’s truth dropped in along the way.
His book offers none of the surreal flights of imagination found in Bob Dylan’s unconventional 2004 memoir “Chronicles, Vol. 1” or Neil Young’s 2012 self-narrative, “Waging Heavy Peace.” And where Elvis Costello took readers on a trip through the formative events of his life processed through the filter of his formidable intellect in last year’s highly engaging “Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink,” Springsteen speaks predominantly and most powerfully from the heart, and his gut.
roll for their own sake, but to illustrate
What emerges unequivocally is his almost singled-minded devotion not to scoring hits, or finding fame and fortune, but to creating a body of music that matters.
“Born to Run” also goes well beyond frequently illuminating analysis of his career ambitions, and the successful and unsuccessful execution of those aims to paint a picture of a full-rounded life, with all its rough edges, bruised and battered relationships and another theme that’s been ongoing in his music: the redemption that’s possible to those who seek and are willing to sacrifice for it. 
At the core of this story is his combative relationship with his father, Doug Springsteen, whom he describes sitting night after night in the kitchen of their working-class household puffing on a cigarette and sucking down beers until he would unpredictably, but frequently, explode at the nearest target of his outrage, which often was his only son.
“My dad’s desire to engage with me almost always came after the nightly religious ritual of the ‘sacred six-pack,’” Springsteen writes. “One beer after another in the pitch dark of our kitchen. It was always then that he wanted to see me and it was always the same. A few moments of feigned parental concern for my well-being followed by the real deal: the hostility and raw anger toward his son, the only other man in the house. It was a shame,” Springsteen writes evenhandedly. “He loved me but he couldn’t stand me.”
The power in Springsteen’s book emerges from his steadfast refusal simply to create villains who embody the antagonistic forces he railed against as a youth — something every adolescent feels at one time or another. He transcends the bitterness that could have consumed him through an honest curiosity about the life forces that shaped his father, and a real wish not to let the sins of the father become those of the son.
Springsteen is chasing truth and understanding — not scapegoats. 
With active, objective exploration as his guiding principle, Springsteen comes to the conclusion that “I haven’t been completely fair to my father in my songs, treating him as an archetype of the neglecting, domineering parent. It was an ‘East of Eden’ recasting of our relationship, a way of ‘universalizing’ my childhood experience. Our story is much more complicated. Not in the details of what happened, but in the ‘why’ of it all.”
Perhaps the most poignant moment, among many he shares, is their reconciliation, years after his father and mother, Adele, had quit New Jersey and started a new life across the country, with his younger sister, Pam, in San Mateo, Calif.
He recounts a visit from his father, who was increasingly battling various illnesses, yet still made the drive from the Bay Area to see his now-famous son in Los Angeles.
“Bruce, you’ve been very good to us,” the elder Springsteen tells his son, “and I wasn’t very good to you,” to which Bruce responds: “You did the best you could.”
“That was it,” Springsteen writes. “It was all I needed, all that was necessary.” 
Although he reveals that much of this inner and outer-world analysis grew out of psychological counseling he underwent as an adult, the book also gives us a vivid picture of just how crucial music was as a life-renewing force for him.
“I began to feel the empowerment the instrument and my work were bringing me,” he says about wood-shedding his guitar chops. “I had a secret … there was something I could do, something I might be good at. I fell asleep at night with dreams of rock ’n’ roll glory in my head.”
Perhaps it’s the classic Catholic guilt at work, but Springsteen comes off admirably generous in recounting disagreements and outright betrayals that he’s been involved with along the way with family members, friends, bandmates, girlfriends (who remain largely unnamed), business associates, his first wife — actress Julianne Phillips — and his second —  singer and songwriter Patti Scialfa, the mother of their three children.
He wisely avoides the descent into vitriol that sank Creedence Clearwater Revival front man John Fogerty’s autobiography “Fortune Son: My Life, My Music.”  
Instead, he takes his rightful lumps for numerous transgressions, such as disbanding the venerated E Street Band in the late 1980s, after the peak of his massive popularity with the “Born in the U.S.A.” album. An inevitable process of an autobiography, of course, is that we get only his side of those disagreements, as equitable as he is in relating them.
He barely touches on the hurt he caused “The Big Man,” saxophonist Clarence Clemons, who freely expressed in his own interviews his pain at being told by “The Boss” that the E Street Band was being mothballed so he could explore other musical situations. His subsequent meditation on Clemons’ death in 2011 is a masterpiece of love and empathy.
Springsteen has an honest out for his frequent invocation of the better part of valor, noting toward the book’s end, “I haven’t told you ‘all’ about myself. Discretion and the feelings of others don’t allow it. But in a project like this, the writer has made one promise: to show the reader his mind. In these pages I’ve tried to do that.”
For the super faithful, he has supplied a wealth of insight into the creation of many of his greatest songs and albums. The relative lack of commentary on middling mid-career works such as “Lucky Town” and “Human Touch” likely tells us what we need to know about his thoughts on those.
He incorporates thoughts about his two sons, Evan and James, and daughter, Jessica, while wife Patti fulfills the role of near-saintly best friend, lover, muse and life partner, although it’s not hard to want to hear more about how those roles have fed, or derailed, her own musical ambitions, which are left for someone else’s book.
Structurally, “Born to Run” flows elegantly and effectively for the most part. One exception is his chapter about the family’s entrance into the world of high-end equestrian life because of daughter Jessica’s passion for horses. It feels awkward, almost trivial, coming immediately after his eloquently moving chapter about the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and his musical response to that world-jolting event.
A sage no less than Socrates famously observed, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” A more modern corollary also suggests that “The unlived life is not worth examining.”
Bruce Springsteen proves that he has taken on life fully engaged both in living and examining it, and in doing so, he’s delivered a story as profoundly inspiring as his best music.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Why did feds grant immunity to Hilllary’s ‘highly improper’ aide?

September 24, 2016
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Hillary Clinton and Cheryl Mills in 2010.
If anyone would know Hillary consigliere Cheryl Mills’ reputation for obstructing investigations, it’s FBI Director James Comey. He complained about her lack of cooperation while probing Clinton scandals in the 1990s. Yet he agreed to give Mills immunity from prosecution in his probe of Hillary’s illegal e-mails as secretary of state, where Mills was chief of staff.
As a Whitewater investigator for the Senate in the mid-1990s, Comey sought information from Mills; but wouldn’t you know, the then-deputy White House counsel claimed a burglar stole her notes.
Comey concluded that Hillary Clinton ordered Mills to block investigators. The obstruction, the Senate committee found, included the “destruction of documents” and other “highly improper . . . misconduct.”

Two years later, Mills was in the middle of another Hillary scandal, involving the then-first lady’s integration of White House and Democratic National Committee computer databases.
This time the House subpoenaed information from Mills, who not only withheld the documents but, a government committee said, “lied under oath” — prompting staff lawyers to send a criminal referral to the Justice Department demanding prosecutors charge Mills with obstruction of justice and perjury.
In 2000, a Commerce Department official testified that Mills ordered her to “withhold” from investigators e-mails and other documents exposing yet another scandal involving the first lady — the selling of seats on foreign trade junkets for campaign cash.
At the same time, a federal judge suggested Mills helped orchestrate a cover-up that blamed a technical “glitch” in the White House archiving system that conveniently resulted in the loss of 1.8 million e-mails under subpoena in the Monica Lewinsky, Filegate and other scandal investigations.
Fast-forward to Hillary’s tenure as secretary. In October 2012, Mills sorted through key Benghazi documents and decided which to withhold from a review board. She also leaned on witnesses. Deputy ambassador to Libya Gregory Hicks testified before Congress in 2013 that Mills told him in an angry phone call to stop cooperating with investigators.
The FBI chief was fully aware of Mills’ M.O. when he launched his investigation. Yet even after discovering she was in the middle of everything improper, if not illegal, he treated her with kid gloves.
Comey knew it was Mills who had Hillary’s e-mails moved off her private unsecured server and onto laptops, where she decided which ones were government-related and OK for public release and which were “personal.” He knew it was Mills who shredded the e-mails that were printed out and who had the rest of the 31,000 e-mails deleted, and then had the laptops bleached clean.
And he knew it was Mills who told the Denver tech who maintained the server to stop retaining her e-mails and to delete Hillary’s archived e-mails, all of which the tech dutifully performed after Congress subpoenaed them and ordered them preserved.
Even so, Comey agreed to grant Mills immunity in exchange for her cooperation in the investigation. He also agreed to ground rules that left some lines of inquiry off-limits. When agents in April tried to pin her down on the procedures she used to search for Hillary’s e-mails under order, she and her lawyer stormed out of the room. So much for Comey’s cooperative witness.
Mills claimed such information was protected under “attorney-client privilege,” which is ridiculous. Mills was chief of staff for Hillary, not her lawyer, at the time Hillary was bypassing government security and squirreling away state secrets in her basement.
And even though Mills deleted the records after she left State and was supposedly acting as Hillary’s attorney then, privilege does not apply when a client seeks advice on how to commit a crime and the crime is committed.
Yet Comey’s agents abided by her claim and never pursued the line of questioning again. In effect, they gave her a pass on the whole question of the criminal obstruction behind which she looks to be the mastermind. And then, three months later, they let her sit in on Hillary’s interview even though Hillary was represented by attorney David Kendall!
Mills should be dragged before Congress to publicly answer questions the FBI refused to ask her. But she would just lie with impunity like she did in her past testimony involving other Hillary scandals.
Rather, it would be more productive to grill Comey under the klieg lights. Why did he give a key suspect who orchestrated the destruction of government records immunity as a witness? Why didn’t he demand prosecutors convene a grand jury to question Mills under oath? Was he pressured by the attorney general?
Sweating Mills could have cracked the case wide open. No one would have ever let H.R. Haldeman get away with editing the Nixon tapes. Why would the FBI director let Hillary’s chief of staff get away with deleting her e-mails?
Paul Sperry is author of “The Great American Bank Robbery,” which exposes the role of race-based Clinton housing policies in the mortgage bust.

Our Dangerous Drift from Reason

Media distortion of ‘officer involved’ police shootings has consequences.

By Andrew C. McCarthy — September 24, 2016

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In a time when “narrative” has supplanted factual reporting, Fox’s Bret Baier’s evening news program is usually an oasis in the desert. So I winced when he asserted, amid Thursday’s report on the deadly Charlotte rioting — euphemized by the media as “unrest” and “protest” – that blacks are significantly more likely than whites to be killed by police.

It echoed the distortion peddled by the Chicago Tribune in July, when “officer involved” shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana led not merely to “unrest” but to a massacre of cops in Dallas. African Americans, the paper claims, are two and a half times more likely than Caucasian Americans to be killed by police.

Are they really? The Trib says so, but only after adjustments are made for the marked population difference between the two races. But wait a second: If there is so plainly a bounty on black men – if the chances that a young African American will be killed in a police encounter are so uniquely high that our cities are in upheaval, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division is on permanent alert, and black parents nationwide feel compelled to have “the talk” with their kids – then why is statistical fiddling necessary to portray this crisis?

Because there isn’t a crisis – unless we’re talking about one that is wholly manufactured.
The exceedingly inconvenient fact of the matter for the “cops are preying on black men” narrative is that far more whites than blacks are killed in confrontations with police. Last year, in fact, it was roughly twice as many.

The social justice warriors can’t have that, of course. So, making like Olympic judges from the old Soviet bloc they so resemble, today’s narrative repairmen knead the numbers to make the story come out right. The spin becomes “fact,” dutifully repeated in press coverage and popular discussion.

In this instance, the hocus-pocus is to factor in that, although there are 160 million more whites than blacks in the country, this 62 percent portion of our population accounts for “only” about half of “police involved” fatalities (49 percent). Blacks, by contrast account for an outsize 24 percent of the deaths despite being only 13 percent of population.

The premise of this exercise is ludicrous. By and large, police are having lethal interactions not with the nation’s total population but with its criminal population.

The elephant in the room, the fundamental to which we must never refer, is propensity toward criminality. It is simply a fact that blacks, and particularly young black men, engage in lawless conduct, very much including violent conduct, at rates (by percentage of population) significantly higher than do other racial or ethnic groups.

This is not a matter of conjecture. Crime gets reported by victims; the police don’t invent it, they investigate it. Overwhelmingly, the victims of black crime are black people. Indeed, as Heather Mac Donald relates in her essential book, The War on Cops, only 4 percent of black homicide victims are killed in police interactions. If African-American parents were really having “the talk” that is pertinent to protecting their children, it would have to involve the reality that those children are overwhelmingly more likely to be shot by other black youths. The police are having “police involved” confrontations with young black men largely because black communities demand police protection — and understandably so.

What would happen if police were to default from their duty to serve and protect — the position demagogues are increasingly pressuring cops into. Then, naturally, we would hear the alternative “narrative”: that American society had abandoned its most oppressed communities to a dystopia of crime, poverty, drug abuse, and hopelessness — and don’t you dare mention who is doing the oppressing.

To brand the cops as villains regardless of whether they are active or passive is play-acting, not problem-solving.

There’s another infuriating thing about the “cops preying on black men” narrative fed us nightly on the news and daily on the campus. There used to be, if not truth, at least a certain coherence to it: The story line, consistent with a racialized fable, was that white cops are preying on black men.

But the narrative won’t hold. In too many “police involved” incidents, such as the tragic one in Charlotte this week, the involved police are themselves black. So just as “global warming” had to become “climate change” to adjust for, you know, reality, the cops in our narrative have been “whited out,” as it were.

Sadly, this legerdemain has been a boon for the narrative. Now the story is that racism is institutionally ingrained. It is not an individual cop’s race that matters. It is that the profession of policing itself is, to hear the head of the Obama Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division tell it, an enduring symbol of slavery and Jim Crow.

Presto: The African-American cop is no longer a change agent moving us toward a better, more integrated, more harmonious society. When he dons the blue uniform, he is just another perpetuator of a hate legacy. And thus, the real-life fallout of our increasingly perverse, race-obsessed narrative is that all cops become targets.

The supplanting of fact by “narrative” — in race relations, in our politics, in our assessment of national-security threats, in our foreign policy — has become such a fad that we are at the mindless point of skipping past what it portends.

It is all well and good — even necessary — to find thematic ways to express truth, to teach its lessons. “All that glitters is not gold,” for example, is a theme, not a narrative. It is a transcendent bit of fact-based wisdom that allows us to navigate the world as we actually experience it.

A narrative, to the contrary, is an excuse for avoiding reality and acting against our best interests.

The most consequential organization in radical Islam is the Muslim Brotherhood. Laying the groundwork for its American network, the Brotherhood gave pride of place to an intellectual enterprise, the International Institute of Islamic Thought. The IIIT’s explicit, unapologetic mission is the “Islamization of knowledge.”

It is not a slogan or an idle phrase. The mission traces back to the ninth century. Its purpose was to defeat human reason. In this fundamentalist interpretation, Islam is a revealed, non-negotiable truth. Reason, rather than hailed as mankind’s path to knowledge and salvation, is condemned for diverting us from dogma. Knowledge therefore has to be Islamized — reality must be bent and history revised to accord with the Muslim narrative.

But with the demise of reason comes the demise of progress, of the wisdom that enables us to solve problems. That is why Islamic societies stagnated, and why the resurgence of fundamentalism has made them even more backward and dysfunctional.

It is this way with every totalitarian ideology. We’d be foolish to assume it can’t happen to us. Slaves to narrative are fugitives from reason. Their societies die.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior policy fellow at the National Review Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Today's Tune: Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band - Incident on 57th Street - 09/20/78


Nothing says “family man” like assaulting women and children.

September 23, 2016

Keith Lamont Scott was scum.
He had been convicted of assault with a deadly weapon in two different states and convicted of assault in three states. He had been hit with “assault with intent to kill” charges in the 90s. His record of virtue included “assault on a child under 12” and “assault on a female.”
The media spin; “Family and neighbors call Scott a quiet ‘family man.’”
Nothing says “quiet” like “assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill” and nothing says “family man” like assaulting women and children.
Keith Lamont Scott, the latest martyr of Black Lives Matter and its media propaganda corps, was shot while waving a gun around. He had spent 7 years in jail for “aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.”
This vicious monster’s career of crime ended when he was shot by Brentley Vinson, an African-American police officer, protecting himself from the latest rampage by this “quiet family man.”
Brentley Vinson is everything that Scott isn’t. The son of a police officer, Brentley dreamed of following in his father’s footsteps. He used to organize his football team’s bible studies and mentored younger players. Former teammates describe him as a “great guy” with “good morals.” His former coach calls him a “natural leader” and says that, “We need more Brent Vinsons… in our communities.”
Except that Obama, Black Lives Matter, the media, the NAACP and everyone else going after this bright and decent African-American officer has decided that what we really need are more Keith Lamont Scotts. And the streets of Charlotte are full of “Scotts” throwing rocks at police, assaulting reporters and wrecking everything in sight in marches that are as “peaceful” as Scott was a “quiet family man.”
That’s what Hillary Clinton wanted when she tweeted that, “We have two names to add to a long list of African-Americans killed by police officers. It’s unbearable, and it needs to become intolerable.”
What exactly should be intolerable? An African-American police officer defending his life against a violent criminal who happened to be black? Should black criminals enjoy a special immunity? The greatest victims of black criminals are black communities.
Whom does Hillary Clinton imagine she’s helping here? Instead of standing with heroic African-American police officers like Vinson, she’s championing criminal scum like Scott.
Tim Kaine, Hillary’s No. 2, wants us to think about Scott’s family. We should do that. Scott’s brother announced on camera that all “white people” are “devils.” Timmy should check to see if he can get an exemption from white devildom.  But if there are any white devils, it’s men like Kaine and women like Hillary who enable the worst behavior in a troubled community while punishing those who try to help.
Every time the lie about “peaceful” protests is repeated, another black community becomes unlivable.
Twenty police officers have been injured and National Guard troops have arrived to deal with all those “peaceful” protests. Protesters chanted, “Black Lives Matter” and “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” before throwing things at police and then peacefully shooting each other. Stores had their windows broken and decorated with Black Lives Matter graffiti. A Walmart was peacefully looted and trucks were torched.
A police officer was peacefully hit by a car. Another was peacefully hit in the face with a rock. Mobs besieged and attempted to break into hotels. Reporters were attacked and a photographer was nearly thrown into a fire. White people were targeted by the racist Black Lives Matter mob and assaulted.
But all these peaceful rioters are probably just quiet family men too.
The peaceful protests are as big a lie as the “bookish” Keith Lamont Scott reading a book in his car. Police had no trouble finding a gun. They couldn’t have found Scott anywhere near a book. The only thing he could have done with a book is try to beat someone to death with it. Maybe a child.
Scott wasn’t a quiet family man; he was a violent criminal with a horrifying vicious streak. He and the rest of the Black Lives Matter rioters remind us of the monsters that we need dedicated police officers to protect us from.
The spin on what happened between a deranged black criminal and a courageous black police officer fell apart as fast as the Freddie Gray case, where black police officers were targeted and a city terrorized over conspiracy theories relating to the accidental death of a drug dealer.
The claims of racism are absurd. Not only was Scott shot by an African-American police officer, but Charlotte Police Chief Kerr Putney, who has taken the lead in defending him, is also African-American.
Are we supposed to believe that an African-American police officer and an African-American police chief are racists or that these two black men took the lead in a genocidal conspiracy to kill black men?
That’s the laughable premise of the racist Black Lives Matter hatefest that alternates between “Stop killing us” street theater and violent assaults on police officers, reporters and anyone in the area. 
But the truth doesn’t matter. Black Lives Matter rioters are still chanting, “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” long after the Michael Brown lie fell apart. They’re holding up signs reading, “It Was a Book.”  The lie is backed by some of the biggest media corporations in the country, by $130 million from George Soros and the Ford Foundation, by Barack Hussein Obama and by Hillary Clinton.
These are the malign forces destroying Charlotte, as they trashed Baltimore. On the ground there are the vulture community organizers of Black Lives Matter, funded by the left, who parachute in to organize race riots, behind them are the reporters who sell the spin live on the air and the photographers who capture glamor shots of the racist rioters, and after them come the lawyers of the DOJ out to ruin, terrorize and intimidate whatever law enforcement survived the riots.
They did it in Ferguson and a dozen other places. Now they want to do it in Charlotte.
They want to do it because they hate white people and black people. They hate peace and decency. They hate the idea of people getting up in the morning and working for a living. They hate the idea of good officers, white and black men and women, like Brentley Vinson, who genuinely believe in doing the right thing. They want unearned power. They demand unearned wealth. And they thrive on destruction.
This is the real evil in Charlotte. And we need to stand up to it. From the ghetto to the manors of the liberal elite from burning cars to pricey restaurants in exclusive neighborhoods, it plots against us.
It is a lie repeated a million times. Sometimes the lie is simple. Other times it’s sophisticated. But the way to fight it is to begin with the truth.
The truth is that Keith Lamont Scott was a violent criminal who came to a bad end because of his own actions. Just like Michael Brown, Freddie Gray and too many other Black Lives Matter martyrs to count.
The truth is that everything Black Lives Matter does reminds us of why we need police officers.
The truth is that this is not about race, but about those who want to build and those who want to destroy. It’s about the difference between Brentley Vinson and Keith Lamont Scott.
It’s about what kind of country we want to be. Is it a country that celebrates a young black football player who chose to follow in his father’s footsteps, who organized bible study and helped others, who risked his life to keep other people safe. Or is it one that celebrates Keith Lamont Scott, who assaulted a woman, a child and anyone else he could get at, who terrorized three states and died as he lived.
Obama and the left want a nation of Keith Lamont Scotts. But now it’s our turn to choose.