Friday, May 27, 2016

Most Eyebrow-Raising Headline of the Week

"Saudi father shoots doctor shortly after he delivered his wife's baby because he didn't want a man to see his spouse naked" - Daily Mail

Clarifying HRC's Email Records Violation: "Just Basic Grammar Here"

Check out the first 1 minute and 20 seconds of that video for a montage of Hillary's denials of any wrongdoing in this whole email and private server business. Those previous statements are now inoperative, to quote President Nixon's press spokesman during Watergate.

Yesterday's background briefing on the State Department Inspector General's report on email records management and cybersecurity requirements had its moments, like when the moderators quibbled with reporters over the key finding that Hillary Clinton did not turn over all her official business email records as required by law.
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL TWO: [Moderator], I can take those as well. First, I do believe the OIG report finds that by leaving the Department without turning over all of her emails, Secretary Clinton didn’t comply with the records rules. However, OIG and NARA have found that by (inaudible) back to us, she mitigated those problems. And you’ve heard us say this a number of times over the past year; we worked very hard to put those online to show the work that she did here at the Department.

With respect to that second email, or the email that you were referencing, I don’t think I know exactly where we obtained that email. I think you are correct that it is not in the emails that we put online. We do have it; it is in our custody. But as to why we wouldn’t have it from Secretary Clinton in what she turned over, I would have to refer you to her and her team on that.

QUESTION: Well, but all her emails were – work-related emails were supposed to be turned over. So did she – I don’t understand. Did she not turn them all over? Are there emails we’re not seeing? I mean, [Moderator], can you answer why we would be seeing emails now in an IG report that we did not see in the FOIA releases? I really don’t understand that.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL TWO: I can take that. And I apologize if I didn’t – if I wasn’t clear. Secretary Clinton has said both to us and in a court filing that she turned over work-related emails that she had in her possession. There are instances, and they’re identified in the OIG report, where people are aware of emails that involved her that she did not turn over. The fact that she has said she’s turned over what she had and through other preservation and reviews we’ve identified additional emails, and we only put online through the FOIA process what Secretary Clinton turned over, to the extent that the OIG found an additional email, that’s not inconsistent with what we’d expect.

Huh? Do you mean that's not inconsistent with what we'd expect from someone who is not fully complying with the requirement to preserve and turn over all her official records? Because that's what it sounds like you're saying.

The backgrounder was followed shortly by yesterday's regular press briefing, during which the quibbling continued, along with more abuse of the word "mitigated."
QUESTION: But today the IG is saying that Secretary Clinton was not in compliance with State Department email policy, yet for the past year all we’ve been hearing about from that podium is that the secretary was in compliance.

MR TONER: We haven’t said that either. What we said is that – and I believe – and I’m – Brad can yell at me because I’m wading into the – (laughter) – into the report’s findings, but they did say that the fact that she did turn over this large tranche of emails and made an effort to do so mitigated the lack of compliance previously.

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

QUESTION: Mitigate doesn’t mean negate.

MR TONER: I get it. I said mitigate,

QUESTION: It actually implies the opposite of what you’re saying, that she did do something wrong and that this mitigates – it lessens, it dampens – the effect of that wrongdoing. It doesn’t even out. If you steal – if you rob a bank and you return the money, it’s a mitigating aspect, but it doesn’t mean you didn’t rob the bank.

MR TONER: Well, first of all --

QUESTION: Not that this is necessarily --

MR TONER: First of all – yeah, let me just back away from that claim right there.

QUESTION: I mean, just basic grammar here, Mark.

Yes, please do back away from that old claim about HRC being in compliance with records management requirements. The OIG report directly refutes much of what Team Clinton and HRC herself have been claiming. You can't spin that away, and anyway, why should official Department spokesmen want to? It's Hillary's problem.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Dalai Lama Tactical Tip Tuesday

I like the pragmatic way The Dalai Lama deals with life. He's an absolutely peaceful guy, yet without the absolute pacifism of some moral-posturing fanatics. Call it contingent pacifism.

This is what I take away from what I've seen of his advice to his followers, as it may pertain to defensive gun use:
One should never initiate violence, that much is clear. But it is also clear that one should protect himself or others when attacked unjustly, even if the only way of doing so is to use defensive violence. The person who uses defensive violence must bear the consequences of his actions, such as the risk of taking on karmic soul-debt, but nevertheless must act if he judges that the risks are worth facing to prevent a greater evil.

So then, violence is something The Lama can understand even as he disapproves. I am completely down with that.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Promises, Promises

This is a great compilation of President Obama's increasingly hollow promises (boasts? threats? pleas?) to close GITMO.

Of course, he can close it any time he likes. The only thing he can't do is bring the detainees to the United States, not so long as U.S. law prohibits that. But then, if he closed it, he'd have to dispose of the remaining detainees somehow or somewhere else, and that is a practical problem he is unable to solve.

Congress is highly unlikely to let him off the hook, given the large bipartisan consensus against bringing the detainees here. And that is not even considering the toxic relationship between Obama and Congress in this, his Lame Duck year.

What to do? I say, why not release and kill?

Not Yet Closing Time For GITMO

This week Congress voted down an amendment to the FY17 National Defense Authorization Act that would have struck out existing prohibitions on the use of funds to transfer terrorists housed at GITMO to the United States, or to construct or modify facilities in the U.S. to house detainees transferred from GITMO. The amendment was defeated 259-163 with 21 of the Noes coming from Democrats.

This defeat should not have come as a surprise to the author of the amendment, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), who had tried it before with the same results.

As time runs out on the Obama administration, it is releasing GITMO detainees in a rush and sometimes without due regard for the safeguards that will be applied to releasees in their new locations. According to the administration's own reports to Congress, about one in three former detainees are known or suspected to have reengaged in terrorism. Such reckless disregard has created distrust between the administration and Congress that will be the kiss of death for any more Nadler amendments.

It is not yet closing time for GITMO, but Nadler can dream while he cries in his beer. Shall we open all the doors and let this bunch out into the world?

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Dalai Lama Tactical Tip Tuesday

The 14th and current Dalai Lama is beloved for his clear moral vision and for the pithy bits of wisdom he delivers with a preternaturally calm demeanor. Plus, he is all the rage right now with advocates of defensive gun use.

In May 2001 the Lama spoke to high school students in Portland, Oregon, at an "Educating the Heart Summit." As reported by the Seattle Times, The Dalai Lama said acts of violence should be remembered, and then forgiveness should be extended to the perpetrators. But if someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, he said, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun. Not at the head, where a fatal wound might result. But at some other body part, such as a leg.

The Lama's thinking on defensive gun use has evolved since then, apparently, because now he's a center mass guy.

As a public service, here is the first Dalai Lama Tactical Tip:

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Most Eyebrow-Raising Headline of the Week

I notice they didn't buckle it into the SUV

"Yellowstone tourists put bison calf in car because they’re worried it’s cold" - East Idaho News

A father and son pulled up at the ranger station with a bison calf in their SUV. “They were demanding to speak with a ranger. They were seriously worried that the calf was freezing and dying.”

Law enforcement rangers were called and the father-and-son tourists, who were from another country, were ticketed. Rangers followed the pair back to where they had picked up the bison, and the animal was released.