Tag Archives: Email Issue

67. Is Our Press Losing Its Ideals?

25 Aug

I just saw an interview with former Governor Howard Dean. He expressed a thought that I have had for several years now: that much of USA Press has been corrupted and does not fairly and intelligently present the news. Of course, many individual reporters and commentators do a very good job. Some of the best and bravest are Eleanor Clift, Fahreed Zacharia, Michael Moore, Bill Maher, Arianna Huffington, and a number of others. But there is a major trend to present news that is sensational and sells, rather than an accurate and fair presentation of facts. And often there is a clear avoidance of anything that might offend our rich “Royalty Class”, which includes most leaders of industry and government.

In the case of Hillary Clinton, there is a tendency to overly emphasize innuendo. They repeat over and over things that could be wrong but in fact are not wrong. If, for example, Hillary meets with a company CEO or major donor, it is often reported with an implication of suspicion. The Washington Post (usually an excellent paper) is emphasizing the large number of charitable donors that she meets with, implying that something is wrong. An article title calls her “shady”.  The Clinton Foundation does wonderful charitable work and why the Washington Post wants to tarnish her is beyond me — and it does not help that buried deep in an article they say everything is OK. Further, Hillary is very good at getting political donors and that also is ridiculed by the media. All the best elected officials are great at getting donors and it is not their fault that this is necessary. In these times, a huge amount of financial support is required for all high governmental positions. Message to liberal press: ease up on Hillary or suffer a Trump presidency.

The misinterpretation of emails by everyone including the press is deplorable. For example, an email states that someone (suspicious?) is trying to contact the Secretary of State. The mere fact that someone is trying to make a contact is not worthy of reporting, but it is often reported with unwarranted speculation.

Nasty unreasonable speculation excites the readers and sells newspapers and advertising, but can have the effect of devastating character assassination. Suppose you were walking down the street and a notorious crook just asks if you have the time. What if a reporter sees this and states that you have had a contact with this gangster. At the end of the story the reporter may clarify that there is no proof of wrongdoing — but the damage has been done. People often just remember the headlines and never get to the clarifications.

Sometimes the facts are totally misrepresented or important details are omitted. Wolf Blitzer once remarked that Al Gore called President Obama a failure. The fact is that Al Gore only said that Obama failed in promoting climate-change remedies. Many people, of course, only remember the first statement and never got to the clarification.

In another example, Obama was criticized for not immediately visiting the flooding in Louisiana. This was often reported without mentioning that Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards suggested the delay, as a presidential visit could interfere with rescue efforts. Presenting only part of the story can be very damaging.

One of the most annoying errors is the reporting that Democrats want to raise taxes, implying that the raise would be for everyone. What Democrats actually say is that they want to raise taxes for very rich people and not at all for the rest of us. This can have a profound influence on voters choices.

I have observed Chuck Todd (of Meet the Press) badgering Trump about more superficial issues, but rarely have I seen him attack on the most important issues such as taxation. It seems that most reporters and commentators are afraid to bring up financial issues, perhaps because they could offend the rich owners of their media . Why do they let Trump get away with obvious lies like Hillary is a co-founder of ISIS? He repeated this on several days and finally said he was being “sarcastic.”

We would hope that the Press, a necessary part of any democracy, would be able to help people separate the lies from the truth. I watch many news programs and see spirited discussions of trivia while the profound and history-making issues are ignored. Ask yourself what Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite would say about Trump and today’s reporting of issues.

In researching for this blog, I came upon a couple of wonderful quotes by Walter Cronkite (CBS news anchor from 1962 to 1981) listed on a Google search page.
“America’s health care system is neither healthy, caring, nor a system.”
“In seeking truth you have to get both sides of a story.”
I guess the current problems have been around for a long time. Maybe it is Trump’s bizarre candidacy and his manipulation of the Press that has exacerbated the apparent corruption.

62. GOP Distrust of FBI

13 Jul

The House Judiciary Committee Hearing yesterday, July 12, 2016, was concerned with the final judgment on the Hillary Clinton email issue. (Please see my previous blog.)

FBI and other top investigators from the Attorney General’s office spent many months investigating more than 30,000 Hillary emails. The total effort resulted in a massive amount of data which would take many weeks to examine.

FBI Director Comey, who was originally Republican, and a dozen or so top investigators unanimously agreed that Hillary should not be charged with a crime. This was based on precedence, relevant statutes, interviews, and massive data. Director Comey testified for many hours detailing much of the data behind the conclusions. He is the expert on this information.

YET, Republican Congressmen on the committee rudely berated Attorney General Loretta Lynch for accepting FBI Director Comey’s recommendations after a lengthy meeting. They implied that she should have examined all of the data behind the decisions, and that she should testify on that data. Why would any personal opinion that she arrived at be of more value than the conclusions resulting from an extremely competent investigation?  The desperation of Republicans to ruin the reputation of Democrats is bizarre and ludicrous.

61. “Extreme” FBI Attacks

9 Jul

Powerful and brave Hillary Clinton is still standing and running after many years of ridiculous and malicious abuse by desperate GOP officials. They cannot win on the important presidential issues and are forced to rely on inane character assassination. I have discussed the nonsensical Benghazi issue in previous blogs. Here is my detailed analysis of the email question.

Hillary has always maintained that she did not send out any emails that were marked classified. She did send or receive a number of emails that were as some point classified, but none of them were correctly marked at the time with a classification header. This is consistent with what she has always said.

Hillary sent three emails out of 30,000 with a (C) marking buried in the text — but without required “confidential” headings. That is one minor error per 10,000.

“Guccifer”, the hacker, confessed that he actually did not hack Hillary’s email. This is part of the desperately-lying mentality of Hillary haters.

Rep. John Mica (Republican) hinted at conspiracy, but his nasty innuendo was angrily rejected by FBI Director Comey.

The type of email-server used by Clinton was traditional for  Secretary’s of State and was used by Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice.  It has also been used by many other public officials that did handle classified info.  (So why the “extreme” carelessness)

FBI Director Comey seems to be intelligent and reasonable, and has tried to be impartial, but has had a Republican affiliation. We thank him for not charging her. But does his GOP background explain why he said that the email carelessness was “extreme”. Does three (improperly marked) classified email transmissions out of more than 30,000 seem “extreme” to anyone? Most would say “a little careless” or not careless at all. Who is so perfect that they could do all of 30,000 things, perfectly. Comey might argue that she should have recognized some documents as requiring classification, but that is very subjective. Classifications are not permanent and change at times. There are no specific rules to cover all situations. Testimony at the recent Oversight committee hearing suggests that the (c) classification could be misinterpreted.

My only argument with FBI Director Comey is his characterization of “extreme” carelessness. Most people would accept what she did as just a small number of understandable errors. And certainly this highly intelligent candidate would be even more conscientious in the future handling of documents than other candidates. If Republicans who handled classified info were examined for a year, like Hillary, what would be the finding. Lets have the FBI check-out every email sent by Speaker Paul Ryan and see if he does better than: one error in 10,000.

59. Email Issue vs Policy Disasters

6 Jul

The FBI just published its finding of innocent (July 5, 2016) on Hillary Clinton email practices.  So voters must decide how this issue and a few other trivial negatives compare with the questionable candidacy of Donald Trump.  Here is my summary:

Hillary Clinton:          The FBI found “carelessness by Hillary and her colleagues” in the use of emails, but no criminal actions. There were no serious consequences, just an ordinary imperfection in a few cases out of many thousands. No worse than the imperfection of the FBI director who violated neutrality and made political statements. Remember it is the job of the FBI to find criminals, the more found, the higher their ratings. Also, mistakes made could have been by State Dept. employees and not Hillary. There is no claim that any emails actually marked classified were sent by her, as she has consistently claimed. The classification of communications is not the job of the Secretary, but that of designated others. Hillary’s email server decisions were consistent with long-standing State Dept. traditions and in fact were the same as that of a previous Secretary, Colin Powell, a Republican.  (I have to add that careless emails would not happen when Hillary is president, as all communications are carefully monitored and sent by trained White House staff.)

All of the serious negative talk about Hillary began with her run for President. No one thought much about it before. Unlike Trump, she has many years of experience and service to ordinary USA citizens as First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State. She is enthusiastically supported by the past President and is the most qualified candidate that we have ever had. True, for many years she has taken campaign contributions from rich people, but there is absolutely no evidence that she has supported their agenda. It takes a lot of money to run for office so her strategy is understandable.

Regarding the Benghazi issue, Hillary was accused by Republicans of lying, in her characterization of the attack. The GOP said it was a “terrorist attack” and at only one point she said it was part of a protest against an anti-Islam video. So it all gets down to speculation about what the attackers were thinking: simple terrorism or anti-video protest. How can we know what they were thinking — one captured suspect said the attack WAS revenge for the anti-Islam video. Republicans have no reasonable arguments, they are just desperate to find something negative to say.

Donald Trump:        Vengeful actions and childish name calling of colleagues and others, suggest an inability to deal with foreign nations. He already has damaged relationships with Mexico, Great Britain, and all Muslim majority countries. His written proposed budget includes tax decreases for very rich people. He thinks workers are paid too much and does not want to raise the minimum wage. He lies about past events to suit his political needs. He advocates torture, which the revered President Reagan was against. He disrespects women and finds their biological functions to be disgusting. He frequently changes his mind about major issues, depending on his audience.  As a businessman, he has filed four major bankruptcies and numerous other businesses, such as Trump University, failed.  But here is the kicker, in almost every failed venture, Trump personally benefited by $millions while workers lost their jobs and contracted companies were not fully paid.  Hundreds of lawsuits were filed against him regarding payments and promises unfulfilled.

His goal has always been to make as much money as possible — how does that help us? He brags about making money from bankruptcies.  If the USA goes bankrupt, you can be sure that he and his very rich friends will profit by it, while the citizens will suffer a disaster.  He argues against the TPP, but Democrats are already working on making such treaties better for workers. He says that he is a great negotiator, but does not prove that our problems are the result of bad negotiation. Negotiating with contractors is trivial compared dealing with a nation like China or Russia. Many contractors can do a job, but there is only one China and one Russia and our relationships with them cover finances, defense, treaties, boundaries, human rights, alliances, travel, industrial development, membership in international organizations, etc. (Please see my previous blogs for more information.)

So who should we vote for?          Hillary Clinton is a known quantity, who will at the very least move forward on the Presidents agenda in a reliable and safe way — and could make major improvements, especially if there is a Democratic Congress.  Donald Trump, on the other hand, is fully capable of causing major disasters for our country.  We don’t even know what he is really proposing because he frequently changes his mind about critical policies.  For example,  if his tax plan were implemented as written, there would be a disastrous increase in our national debt and heavy constrictions in basic services.  Can we trust him to make  complicated decisions, such as:  when to go to war, how to make a treaty, when to send in troops, when to withdraw them, when to apologize for killing innocent civilians, when to form a coalition, when to do nothing, etc.  You only understand all the many complications when you have the experience of a leader, such as Hillary Clinton.