A Real Cluster Fuck

I had ever heard the term “cluster fuck” until I saw the Clint Eastwood movie Heartbreak Bridge but after reading the ENTIRE DOJ inspector general’s report on the Hillary Clinton Email investigation, I can’t find a better term to describe it. Let me start off by stating that Hillary Clinton’s actions by declining to use the official State Department domain for her official communications is a violation of US policy as well as an invitation to foreign actors to penetrate her communications and extract sensitive and classified information. Her intentions were obvious to anyone with any experience in government – to avoid scrutiny. The result was the compromising of numerous pieces of classified information, including at least two that were in the super-secret, higher than Top Secret category. Yet FBI and DOJ investigators determined that Clinton wasn’t guilty of a prosecutable crime.
As I read the DOJ OIG report, it became more and more obvious that the investigators had no intention of finding evidence to indict and convict Clinton. The FBI and Justice Department decided to limit their investigation to determining if Clinton could be charged under 18 US Code 793 (f) – Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, note, or information, relating to the national defense, (1) through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, or (2) having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of its trust, or lost, or stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, and fails to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or destruction to his superior officer— Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both. Instead of examining computers and telephones belonging to members of Clinton’s team, the FBI and DOJ investigators limited themselves to Clinton’s own devices – which were no longer existent – and computers used to cull the former Secretary of State’s Emails prior to turning over her alleged work-related Emails to the Department of State to be archived, as is required by Federal law. As a result, in excess of 30,000 Clinton Emails were allegedly “lost” and could not be scrutinized by the investigators.

Although Attorney General Loretta Lynch instructed the investigators to refer to the investigation as a “matter” and President Barack Obama made like it was a minor incident, it was actually a full-fledged CRIMINAL investigation, even though the report makes it obvious that the FBI investigators and DOJ prosecutors imposed limitations on themselves, apparently so they wouldn’t find enough evidence to warrant charges. Although Inspector General Horowitz “found” that the investigation was unbiased, a reading of the report shows just the opposite – it was intended to be a whitewash from the beginning.

One thing that struck me about the OIG report is that the various subjects seemed to have possible selective memory loss when it came to recalling conversations, phone calls and meetings. Granted, their failure to recall details are in common with the human mind’s many foibles but there is also something fishy about it. “Plausible deniability” is a byword of Federal officials, from presidents on down the chains of command. Even though they took notes in many instances, the notes are so sketchy that even the notetakers have a difficult time understanding them. Of course, this is common with notes taken during a conversation or meeting.

During the investigation, the prosecutors preferred to use voluntary means to persuade witnesses to submit to interview rather than subpoena or warrants to obtain computers and phones. Witnesses were not sworn in and placed under oath. This was also true of Clinton, who was the last to be interviewed and then several months after senior executives in the FBI and DOJ decided there would be a declination to prosecute. Prosecutors allowed Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson to be present at Clinton’s interview even though they were themselves witnesses. Mills and Samuelson were responsible for culling Clinton’s Emails and should have been suspects. They were both Clinton insiders with no experience in government recordkeeping. Mills and Samuelson are both attorneys and were representing Clinton even though they were witnesses. The OIG faulted the prosecutors for allowing the two women to be present.

The investigation was conducted by the Department of Justice and thus under the authority of Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the investigative unit of the DOJ, reported to Director James Comey but Lynch had the final say in the conduct of the investigation. It became apparent early on that Lynch, who had been appointed by and reported to President Barrack Obama, was anxious to exonerate Clinton. Soon after the investigation got under way, Lynch instructed Comey and the DOJ prosecutors to refer to the investigation as a “matter” and to not use the word “investigation”. The Clinton campaign downplayed the investigation as a small matter and Obama himself, who knew Clinton was the subject of a criminal investigation, also downplayed it. After one meeting with Lynch, Comey came away feeling that Lynch was “carrying water” for Clinton. The FBI received information that Lynch intended to exonerate Clinton. The information remains classified, but the OIG revealed that it also claimed that Comey intended to carry the investigation through the election. Investigators believed the information was bogus, but nevertheless classified it and have yet to reveal the information. Comey’s distrust of Lynch would influence his later actions.

Shortly before agents and prosecutors interviewed Clinton, her husband, former President William J. Clinton, precipitated an incident at the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport that caused great consternation for Comey, in particular. Often erroneously called the “Tarmac” meeting, the impromptu meeting took place aboard the Air Force VIP transport carrying Lynch and her entourage on an inspection/speaking tour. (Tarmac is actually the brand name of an archaic paving technique used in the early Twentieth Century. It is commonly used by ignorant journalists to refer to the airplane parking ramp or apron at airports. Such ramps are actually made of concrete. The use of Tarmac is fairly recent. The author spent a lifetime in aviation, civilian as well as military, and not once did I ever hear an aircraft parking ramp referred to as a “Tarmac.”) Clinton’s private airplane was parked near the Air Force transport and the former president took it upon himself to force his way onto the attorney general’s airplane. Both Lynch and President Clinton claim that their conversation was all personal and had nothing to do with the ongoing investigation or anything else of an official nature. However, they were together for some twenty minutes in the cabin of the airplane where the only witness to their conversation was Lynch’s husband. Only Clinton, Lynch and Lynch’s husband know the actual content of the conversation.

The former president also played a role in the establishment of the private Internet server. Although the IG did not explore it and investigators never talked to him, “Slick Willy” claimed that he never thought much of the Email investigation and that the server belonged to him. Regarding the server and the use of Email, FBI investigators stated that they found Mrs. Clinton to be “technologically ignorant.” Investigators excused the use of the Clinton server to send messages containing classified information by rationalizing that the messages were only seen by State Department personnel and that they were sent by people who “talked around” the content during off-hours such as weekends. Bear in mind that at least two of those messages contained information that was classified above the Top Secret level. (Although Top Secret is the official highest level of classification, there is another, unacknowledged, level that is even higher. It is generally applied to information such as military and diplomatic codes.)

During her interview, Clinton claimed that she didn’t know how classified information was marked. Now, Mrs. Clinton had occupied the White House for eight years where she played an active told then served as a US Senator from New York for six years before her appointment as Secretary of State. All government personnel are given instruction on the marking and handling of classified information. Depending on their assignment, most government personnel are cleared for classified information up to the Secret level. Mrs. Clinton’s ignorance was either feigned or she really is ignorant. (Clinton is rumored to be an alcoholic who is usually drunk by mid-afternoon.) There is one thing for certain – ignorant or deliberate, Clinton’s use of an unsecure Email server allowed dozens of classified Emails to wind up on computers where they shouldn’t have been, and exposed them to the threat of interception by hostile powers.

Both the FBI and the DOJ had made up their minds by early 2016 that they were not going to charge Hillary Clinton with any crimes. Director Comey was especially concerned with how the information that no charges would be filed would be released to the public. He drafted a message as early as May 2016 in which he stated that although Mrs. Clinton had exhibited “gross negligence,” “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring charges. On July 5, without approval from Lynch or Yates, Comey addressed the nation. Although he stated that no charges would be filed, he made it very clear that Clinton had violated Federal policy and removal of any and all security clearances and loss of employment would have been appropriate. “Gross negligence” was replaced by “extremely careless” but the message he was sending to his fellow FBI agents and other Federal employees and military personnel was clear – Hillary Clinton had placed the security of the United States at risk by her use of an unofficial and unprotected Email server.

Although the investigating team and the DOJ, not to mention the White House, were fully aware of it, the OIG report ignores that the Clinton Email investigation was truly unique in the history of the United States – a presidential candidate was being investigated for their actions as a senior official in the United States government. Investigators determined that Clinton’s actions – and the actions of others who sent classified information to her unofficial Email account – had violated USC 793(f) but decided to go around it by claiming a requirement for “criminal intent,” which is not spelled out or even mentioned in the law, which only requires a negligent act. By using an unsecure server, Clinton was effectively doing the same as leaving a classified document in a bar in a foreign country – just removing a document from a secure place is negligent conduct. My personal experience with classified information is from the military, where each squadron had a “classifieds” officer. We were required to read the squadron classified information file monthly. Classified documents were kept locked in a safe. We went to the classifieds officer and he removed the file from the safe and we read them in his presence. On aircrews, the navigator was designated as the classifieds officer and all classified documents were in his care, with the exception of technical orders, which were signed for by whoever was using them.

A major finding by the OIG was the possibility of political bias on the part of some investigators. Although the IG determined that there was no evidence that bias had played a part in the investigator’s findings, conversations made on official Federal servers in the form of instant messages indicated the possibility, As it turns, out no less than five of the FBI agents and Federal prosecutors in the investigation – including Peter Strzok, the head of the FBI counter-espionage division – revealed themselves through personal messages recorded on Federal communication systems to be virulent Clinton supporters and, after he became the nominee, Trump haters. Their intent – along with high-level DOJ executives including Loretta Lynch and her deputy, Sally Yates – seems to have been to exonerate Clinton by claiming there wasn’t enough evidence to bring charges. Had FBI Director James Comey not decided to make a public statement, the nation would have never known that although no charges were brought, the investigation revealed that Clinton was “grossly negligent” in regard to classified information (“grossly negligent” was changed to “extremely careless” in the final draft of Comey’s address to the nation.)

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The NFL is Un-Patriotic

I’ve never been so disgusted in my life as I’ve been over the past few days due to the lack of patriotism shown by some 200 players in the National Football League along with coaches, staff and even some owners. Not only does the United States Code make clear that whenever the national anthem is played, everyone present is to stand facing the flag, or the music if no flag is present, at attention with their left hand by their side and their right hand over their heart, (military personnel in uniform are required to exercise the hand salute) the operations manual of the National Football League also makes clear that players are to stand at attention while the anthem is being played. The NFL manual also states that the anthem will be played at all games, and the NFL is supposed to at least consider the national anthem as part of the leagues public persona. Not only are these players demonstrating against the country that allows them to play football and draw exorbitant salaries, they are disobeying the operating rules of their own league.
Playing the national anthem at sporting events has become traditional since World War I when a military band at the 1917 World Series in Chicago broke into the Star Spangled Banner during the seventh inning of the game. At the time, the United States hadn’t adopted a national anthem but sports teams adopted the tradition of playing a patriotic song, usually the Star Spangled Banner, during or before a game. The Star Spangled Banner was officially adopted as the national anthem in 1931. During World War II, sports teams played the anthem prior to all events and the tradition has continued and become institutionalized by professional sports organizations and also by collegiate teams. The purpose is specifically to recognize those who have fought for and often died for this country in all of the many wars since the nation was established in 1776. To refuse to stand for the anthem is to dishonor those who have fought for the country, regardless of the intent.
Not only is kneeling or otherwise demonstrating during the national anthem unpatriotic, the reasons these players give for their actions is based not on fact, but on politics. They claim they refuse to recognize their country because of racial injustice, but they have no evidence of such injustice to point toward. The practice stems from the formation of the ad hoc organization known as Black Lives Matter, which started as a Twitter hashtag sent out by three black California women, all political activists, in protest of the not guilty verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman, who was charged with murder when he shot a black teenager. The irony is that although Zimmerman has a Germanic name and his father is white, his mother is of mixed-race and he is also technically black because he had a black ancestor (his great-grandfather was black.) However, the media and black activists – including the NAACP, which at the time was led by a man whose racial makeup was close to Zimmerman’s – failed to point this out and the perception among blacks was that a black teenager was killed by a white man. In reality, a man of mixed race, technically a black man, shot and killed a black teenager after, as it came out in the trial, the teenager assaulted him and knocked him on the ground then began beating him and shouting “I’m going to kill you.”
The three women who started the “Twitter storm” are not everyday black women, they are actually far left political activists. One is a union organizer and all three are heavily involved in left-wing politics, particularly gay/lesbian activities. At least two – Cullars and Garza – are lesbians and all three may be. They are also anti-police and radical as evidenced by their idolization of Joanne Chesimard, a black New Jersey woman and black radical who was convicted of killing a police officer in 1973. Chesimard, who was involved with the black radical group The Black Liberation Army (she was believed to have been “the mother hen”), escaped from prison and made her way to Cuba, where she has been living as an exile since 1984 Chesimard, who goes by the name Assata Shakur, claims she is “a Twentieth Century escaped slave.” The Black Lives Matter founders, Alicia Garza, Patricia Cullars and Opal Tometti, idolize Chesimard and consider themselves to be part of the Black Liberation movement. In short, they are radicals. All three are essentially Marxist in their beliefs and are openly anti-American. They are also heavily involved in LGBTQ activities.
What the players, coaches, staff and owners who suddenly feel the need to kneel during the anthem either fail to realize or perhaps are conscious of it is that kneeling is an act of submission, in this case submission to left-wing politics and the radical Black Lives Matter movement and, by extension, the Black Liberation movement. By kneeling, they are both showing that they are submitting to radical left-wing politics and expressing contempt for the United States. They are also showing flagrant disregard for their flag, their nation and for those who have served their country. Although NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (who’s salary is far more than that of most CEOs left-wingers love to hate) claims players are unifying, they are actually causing massive division, much of it racial – after all, Black Lives Matter is devoted to race.
For that matter, just what is professional football anyway? Simply put it is exhibition. Although it’s represented as a game, professional football – and all professional sports – is actually an exhibition. Oh sure, they have league standings and play a “super bowl” each year but they are actually putting on exhibitions each time they play for pay. They are entertainers. The NFL, which was a nonprofit until recently, rakes in billions of dollars each year through gate sales and, most prominently, from TV networks and advertisers. The NFL even has its own TV network, which is only available to paid subscribers. As for their tax-exempt status, although the league itself relinquished its tax-exempt status in 2015, the NFL central office maintained theirs. The NFL and other sports entities still receive tax monies from localities and states by coercing the government entities to fund and maintain the facilities in which they play their games.
As for the conduct of players, the NFL operations manual states that they are to respect the national anthem by standing at attention with their helmets held against their left sides and their hands over their hearts while it is being performed. No, this is not found in the NFL rule book, which governs the games, it’s found in the NFL operations manual, the document under which the league itself operates. By kneeling during the playing of the anthem, players are not only disrespecting their country, they are also violating their league official policies. Now, all Americans have the right to protest, which includes acts such as burning the American flag, participating in legally sanctioned gatherings and speaking out but those rights do not extend to public facilities, which many football stadiums are, and to the workplace. Bear in mind that these players are paid employees of their clubs and whenever they’re at a game (exhibition), they’re representing their employers as well as their team and the league. Whenever a player fails to stand for the national anthem, they are sending a message, a message of disrespect for and even hatred for the nation of which they are citizens. If that’s not divisive, I don’t know what is. That football players are seen as heroes by many young people makes their actions even more deplorable. There is also another issue – their actions are racial and they are racist.
In the English language, words have prefixes and suffixes that convey meaning. In regard to race, the word can be modified in a number of ways, including the addition of “ial”, which means “relating to,” ism, which means “state or quality,” – it also means adherence – and “ist,” which means “a person, one who does an action.” (which means that having thoughts does not make one a racist, there has to be an action.) So, by definition, “racial” means “relating to” race, as in Black Lives Matter, “racism” means adherence to a philosophy of race, meaning to focus on race, as BLM and other organizations based on race do, and a “racist” is one who performs actions related to race – as in kneeling during the national anthem or protesting a jury verdict because of racial beliefs, or their actions are based on their racial state. In short, those who are kneeling to “protest racism” are actually racists who are practicing racism by their actions.
The entire fiasco – because that is what it is – is filled with irony. First, we have players pretending to be protesting “racial injustice” in concert with a racist movement, Black Lives Matter. Then there is the irony of Colin Kaepernick, who claimed he was protesting the treatment of blacks and people of color. Kaepernick is of mixed race – his mother was a 19-year old white woman who became pregnant by a black man who left her before the child was born. She gave the baby up for adoption and he was raised by a white family in white society. Ironically, Kaepernick is a professing Christian but he is supporting a movement that is anything but Christian. Black Lives Matter is also anti-semantic and one of its offshoots has branded the nation of Israel as genocidal. Now we have NFL players, some of whom claim to be Christian, protesting in concert with a movement that is as anti-Christian as they come. Another irony is that by protesting, Black Lives Matter and now NFL players are not helping the cause of African-Americans, they are hurting them by causing massive division. Their claims of nonexistent racial inequality are causing racial strife and unless something changes, it is only going to get worse.
Black Lives Matter and the NFL protests claim they are protesting racial injustice but the facts don’t bear out their claims. They claim that blacks are being singled out by police and shot when in fact blacks only account for 28% of those killed by police. Whites account for more than 50% and Hispanics for the remainder. Black politicians also frequently refer to “driving while black” as some kind of evidence that police are quick to stop blacks for traffic violations. In fact, white drivers are also stopped. I am almost 72 years old and have been driving since I was sixteen, a total of almost 56 years. In that time, I have been pulled over by police numerous times. In each case, the officer claimed some kind of justification. In a couple of cases I was driving over the speed limit. In another, I was stopped because the officer didn’t think I was wearing my seat belt and I had out-of-state license plates. I was stopped twice by officers who claimed I “rolled through” stop signs. Granted, in most of those cases the officer’s actions were justified. In the stop sign cases, I don’t think so because I had actually stopped, but the officers said I didn’t’ come to a complete stop – whatever! In neither case was I ticketed – in the first case the officer, an older white woman in Kentucky who stopped me after I had come in late at night from a flight, called my information in to her dispatcher and was told to let me go. In the other, the most recent, I was stopped by a very polite black officer – this was right after the Sandra Bland incident – who was very courteous and let me off with a warning. My point is that drivers are going to be stopped, regardless of race, usually because they have been breaking the law.
With that said, the actions of the NFL, its owners and many of its players are beyond disgusting. An American organization chartered under the codes of several US states – it started out in Ohio then moved to Chicago and is now headquartered in New York City – and of the United States. Until 2015, the league was registered with the IRS as a 501c (6) organization and enjoyed tax-exempt status. As a US corporation, the NFL is bound to obey US laws – and they are bound to obey their own corporate rules as put forth in their company operations manual. Even worse, they have demonstrated their lack of respect for their nation, and particularly for the veterans and dead of the wars that have been fought to keep this country free. The NFL has become un-patriotic and supportive of radical politics.