Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the White House

By Clarice Feldman
March 15, 2015

Political Cartoons by Henry Payne

The world is accustomed to stock plays and players. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum is but a take on a play written in Rome by Plautus a couple of thousand years ago, and all the key players are stereotypes of characters we see over and again in theatrical comedies. Is there after all much space between Pseudolus, the hero of that hoary work, and Sergeant Bilko? In much the same way, the Clintons tend to be characters in a stock play that we’ve seen over and again for decades. The only question this time around is will there be a new ending?

Act One of the Clinton drama is always one or both of them with their fingers caught in the cookie jar -- that is Bill or Hillary being caught out having done something that would doom lesser mortals to jail and obscurity. On stage we see the Clintons, the press and pundits, the various public and private watchdogs ,and the stock villainous cohorts -- the odious Sidney Blumenthal and David Brock -- and stock spinners -- usually Lanny Davis and James Carville -- who downplay the offense, muddy the legal and factual waters, and accuse the accusers of mental illness (i.e. stalking), ignorance, or evil design.

Act Two is equally predictable: A Clinton takes to the air and gives a carefully parsed denial; one so disingenuous the listener can’t help comparing it to the Governor’s “sidestep” song and dance in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Having been fed incredible pap, the Clinton supporters in the press announce the issue closed, old news, not worth following up, and their less credulous followers are left once again with proof that these Yale law grads are no better than sideshow carnies, but the public, which seems to never sate its love of bread and circuses, falls for the sorry pitch anew.

Act Three has to date been the Clintons triumphant over reality. They continue to enrich themselves as they travel the world mouthing moral pieties and raking in yet more thinly disguised bribes and taxpayer funds. (Bill alone has received $16 million in federal money to bankroll himself and the Clinton Foundation now holds assets estimated at a quarter of a billion dollars. This Foundation is but a charitably named piggybank designed to increase their riches and influence, a great deal of which was received odorously from foreign entities -- often ones engaging in the very conduct the Foundation purports to fight -- while his wife was secretary of state.)

I think this time that Act Three deserves and will get a rewrite. The plot is shopworn and dated and the key players miscast by age and lack of talent. Hillary just isn’t the charming, roguish liar that her husband is, and there’s a big difference between being caught with a stained blue dress and having seriously compromised national security. 
Added to that, any effort to portray herself as an old grandmother befuddled by new technology seems unavailing for a presidential candidate. Even the storyline this time is just different enough to suggest a different ending. Bill’s not standing by his woman. Neither, it seems, is the White House and its staff, a staff well-schooled in fitting yet another erstwhile ally under the bus. Finally, unlike Bill, she hasn’t much to commend her besides an appeal to the kind of weak, ill-informed voter dreaming she’d be empowered by electing such a harridan to the White House, the voters my friend Rick Ballard calls “the lackwitz sisters”.

Still the drama of will she or won’t she drop out of the running is good for a bit longer, the kind of drama which briefly gets the lackwitz cadre and their male counterparts half-heartedly interested in politics, or rather political drama. (You’ve only to watch the numerous videos of interviews of college students who don’t even know what or when the Civil War was or who the vice-president is to realize how unashamedly politically ignorant voters are.) Driving this story onward is the fact that Hillary has sucked so much money and air out of the Democrat party that there is no plausible replacement waiting in the wings, and party adherents for a while at least seem stuck with her. Still, the plot has thickened and not to her advantage.

Lawsuits are about to multiply. Judicial Watch, whose record for wins lately has improved, filed a suit seeking Huma Abedin’s emails, emails also found on the unsecured clintonone email account.

Her emails are of special interest because she is tied by family connections to the Moslem Brotherhood and also because she was strangely permitted to conduct private consulting while working for the Department of State, an arrangement which filled her coffers by about a half million dollars a year.
In all, Judicial Watch has filed 18 FOIA lawsuits against the State Department, 'all of which are being carefully considered in light of Mrs. Clinton’s and the department’s misconduct and misrepresentations,' Farrell said. 
'More strong legal action will follow. Stay tuned,' he added 
At the time the Abedin lawsuit was wending its way through federal court, the State Department said in writing that it had exhaustively searched its archives and provided everything Judicial Watch asked for.  
But with the revelation of a separate email address, the group is demanding a second bite at the apple. 
Judge Emmit Sullivan in Washington, D.C. is expected to grant the request: Judicial Watch writes in its filing that the State Department won't fight it.
I’m not sure how the State Department could fight reopening these cases nor how the Court could decide in its favor.

The Associated Press has also filed a lawsuit requesting the records and this contretemps, like those Clinton sagas which preceded it, will certainly provide increased business for the flagging law firms in town. Other suits are certain to follow.

Should the emails have been unlawfully destroyed, she will have violated federal law and that, along with her anticipated testimony before Trey Gowdy’s Benghazi Committee, will not burnish her thin credentials for anything more than congenital lying and lawbreaking even if  the Department of Justice continues to refuse to prosecute administration wrongdoers. 

The press and some of her prior defenders are less willing to play in her chorus line this time. Sure, NPR seems to be publishing her account without questioning the more preposterous claims she is making, but most of the other news agencies are less supine.

Her factual assertions are not of the he said-she said variety, requiring only a partisan belief in her to resolve in her favor. They are now matters easily determined and they do not sustain her defense. For example the location and invulnerability of her server and emails is and has been easily contested. 
Stirred by the controversy surrounding Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server when she was secretary of state, a determined band of hackers, IT bloggers, and systems analysts have trained their specialized talents and state-of-the-art software on clintonemail.com, the domain under which Clinton established multiple private email accounts, and uncovered serious lapses in security, according to data shared with Fox News.   
The findings call into question Clinton’s confident declaration, at a hastily arranged news conference in New York on Tuesday, that “there were no security breaches” in her use of a private server. One prominent figure in the hacker community, bolstered by long experience in the U.S. intelligence community, has undertaken to build a virtual “replica” of Clinton’s server configuration in a cyberlab, and has begun testing it with tools designed to probe security defenses. This individual has shared details of the Clinton system not disclosed publicly but legally obtainable.  
Indeed, we first learned about the private emails when Sidney Blumenthal’s emails to Hillary offering “sensitive” foreign policy advice were hacked and made public by Guccifer.

The usually reliably Democrat echo, Politico, ran a story quoting an expert on the Freedom of Information Act saying her defense was “laughable”: 
There is no doubt that the scheme she established was a blatant circumvention of the Freedom of Information Act, atop the Federal Records Act,” he said, reviewing a transcript of Clinton’s remarks during her Tuesday news conference. Clinton told reporters she deleted approximately 30,000 personal emails from her private account 
The FOIA expert said if he had heard of a Cabinet member setting up a personal email system and deciding what gets deleted and what gets kept as government record, “I would’ve said, ‘You’ve gotta be kidding me.’” 
“You can’t have the secretary of state do that; that’s just a prescription for the circumvention of the FOIA,” he said. “Plus, fundamentally, there’s no way the people at the archives should permit that if you tell them over there.”’ 
Metcalfe said that Clinton knows how the Freedom of Information Act works, based on his work with the Clinton administration in his professional capacity. 
According to the Canadian Press report, Metcalfe said Clinton’s statements at the news conference were at places impossible to verify, “deceptive” and “grossly misleading.

Even the Washington Post’s Ruth Marcus was taken aback and unwilling to defend Hillary’s conduct. 
To be sure, there were a few new defenders but they lack the practiced finesse of the usual Clinton claque. Take Garance Franke-Ruta, Yahoo News’ Washington editor, who tweeted in such polished crystalline fashion: “Sort of thinking Clinton not following the rules (re email) is also a core part of her message (re:being 1st female president)”. David Burge (Iowahawk) swatted that one out of the park :
Latest spin: Hillary is too much of a strong, independent woman to follow the patriarchy's sexist email "laws".
Should he ever choose to run, Iowahawk has my vote. At least his pressers would be fun.

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