President Suggests Hillary's Email "a Matter for Voters to Decide"
Irritated that the media would dare to pose a question about the legality of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's unsecured email communications, President Obama refused to comment, suggesting that "whether she did anything that was really wrong is a matter for voters to decide. And from what I've seen so far, she's on her way to securing the Democratic nomination for president. I think that says the majority of Americans are okay with how she's handled it."
The media's unwelcome inquiry was spurred by an 83-page State Department Inspector General's report calling Clinton's email operation an "inexcusable and willful disregard of the rules. Contrary to the Secretary's public statements, her use of a private server was not 'allowed' as she has alleged. It was in direct violation of State Department regulations that the Secretary had previously cited in issuing punishments to lower-ranking violators. There is no record of her receiving a valid exemption from these regulations from any higher-ranking authority."
A key piece of evidence in the IG's report cited Secretary Clinton's warning to all State Department personnel that "personal email accounts could be compromised and officials should avoid conducting official Department business from personal e-mail accounts."
Among the classified information showing up in the Secretary's unsecured email was long-time Clinton family confidant Sid Blumenthal's message urging Hillary "to expedite the overthrow of Libya's Mohamar Qadaffi before his scheme of establishing a 7-billion dollar fund of gold-backed dinars undercuts the US government's ability to control the oil industry." The overthrow was expedited. Qadaffi was murdered and the country thrown into a chaos that later resulted in the assassination of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens in 2012.
Clinton campaign manager Robbie Mook denounced the IG report, calling it "as gross an invasion of privacy that any public figure has had to endure. The staff that were under Secretary Clinton's direction were instructed to never speak to anyone, ever, on the topic of her private email account. That some of these staffers have talked to the Inspector General is a betrayal of the first magnitude. Those undertaking the tasks of governing this country need to know that their orders are heeded and obeyed. Sad to say, the Secretary's orders on this matter were neither heeded nor obeyed. We're confident that voters will correct this injustice by electing Hillary president in November."
In related news, Judge Emmett Sullivan ordered that videos of Clinton aides' testimony on the email scandal "be sealed so as not to unduly diminish Secretary Clinton's chance of being elected president. If we want the best and brightest of Americans to seek and obtain the reins of power we need to protect them from excessive intrusion into their efforts to serve the public." Judge Sullivan said he would allow "written transcripts to be released to the media" in order to "deflect charges of a 'cover-up.' The written word is a format with which the vast majority are not adept. Officially, the information will be available, but few will read it."
Professor Resigns to Protest Freedom of Speech
Contending that "so-called free speech is delusional," DePaul University sociology professor Dr. Shu-Ju Cheng has resigned her post in protest.
The event that spurred Dr. Cheng's protest was the aborted speech of Milo Yiannopolis on the University's campus last week. Despite paying the University for security, student thugs were permitted to seize the stage and disrupt the speech. Cheng was outraged, not that thugs were allowed to drown out views with which they disagreed, but that Yiannopolis was invited "to air his anti-progressive message."
"The whole concept of freedom of speech is an antiquated idea derived from dead white men," Cheng contended. "The University has a social obligation to protect students from exposure to such intellectual pollution. No one has the right to speak out against progressive ideas. No one has the right to oppose social justice. The University's negligence in enforcing correct ideology forced the champions of progressive thought to violently suppress an odious advocate of racist oppression."
Cheng rejected University officials' arguments that "the disruption of Yiannopolis' speech and the confiscation of his $1,000 security deposit" could be an acceptable middle ground. "There can be no compromise with the advocates of 'white freedoms.' Merely making them suffer a little bit falls far short of what should be our goal. Only when the enemies of social justice are crushed beneath a righteous wave of revolutionary action can we afford to relax our efforts."
In related news, MSNBC pundit Chris Matthews praised violent anti-Trump protesters for "rising to the occasion. The prospect of a Trump presidency has got to be terrifying for these outcasts of white society. Just because they lack the skill to articulate their grievances in a civilized fashion doesn't lessen the importance or legitimacy of their cause. In a way, cracking heads can be a very forceful way to change people's minds."
Iowa Supreme Court Bans Life Imprisonment for Teen Killers
In a 4-3 ruling, the Iowa Supreme Court banned lower courts from imposing life sentences for murders committed by teen-aged offenders. The ruling came in the case of Isaiah Richard Sweet, who was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder for fatally shooting his grandparents.
Justice Brent Appel wrote that "a life sentence for a crime such as this is disproportionate. The victims were old and fairly close to a natural death. For their grandson to be sentenced to a life term that could easily amount to multiple decades is a punishment that I believe the victims themselves would have deemed excessive and cruel."
Appel also suggested that "completely neutralizing this segment of the population may have unforeseen long-term effects. Science has found uses for viruses that were not conceived of in earlier periods. Who is to say that there may not be a genuine need that teen-aged murderers might perform for the benefit of the human race in the future? Perhaps their winnowing of the human herd by eliminating the weak or the gullible is a useful element in the further evolution of the species."
Dissenting Justice Edward Mansfield called the ruling "a usurpation of legislative authority. Elected representatives made the law that allowed for these kinds of sentences on a case-by-case basis. The Court has overstepped its bounds issuing a blanket cancellation of the act of the voters' representatives." Dissenting Justice Bruce Zage characterized the ruling as "judicial activism at its worst."
Law Would Let FBI Read Everyone's Email
The 2017 Intelligence Authorization Act would enable the FBI to obtain anyone's email records without a court order. All the agency would need is a National Security Letter, which would allow the FBI get information from companies without their customers knowing they were being investigated. The bill is co-sponsored by Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and Vice Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif).
"If we want the government to protect us we must let go of our obsession with personal privacy," Sen. Feinstein urged. "The police are consummate professionals, not nosy busybodies. Unless you're doing something wrong you have nothing to fear."
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore), the lone dissenting voice on the 15-member Senate committee, said he wasn't reassured by "the bland assumption that government can do no evil. History is replete with incidences of government spying on its citizens for the purpose of repressing dissent and accumulating power. Under our Constitution the Fifth Amendment was expressly intended to require a dispassionate judge to assess the justification before police officials were granted permission to intrude into private matters."
Sen. Burr wondered whether "Sen. Wyden might be unduly paranoid. Doesn't the bipartisan sponsorship of this legislation provide sufficient reassurance of its benevolent intent?" and suggested that "the numerous examples of illegal intrusion into private affairs by government agencies has shown itself to be unacceptably dangerous. Giving these intrusions a statutory foundation will protect government employees from unnecessary impediments to their law-enforcement duties and undesirable repercussions from breaking the law."
VA Waits for Ailing Vets "Not So Bad"
This week, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald rebuffed critics of the agency's long queues for medical treatment of ailing veterans, comparing them to the long lines to get on rides at Disneyland. "No one is on the Disney Corporation's case for the lengthy wait-times at their theme parks," McDonald asserted. "Why should we get worked up over wait-times at VA hospitals?"
"You know, if people can tolerate waiting an hour for something as frivolous as a roller coaster ride shouldn't they be willing to wait a reasonable amount of time for something as crucial as medical care?" the Secretary asked. "As every vet should be aware from his combat experience, sometimes you have to wait for the medic to get to you. Sometimes he can't get there in time. It's all part of the risk that each soldier took on when he enlisted."
McDonald further insisted that "the veterans trying to get care at the VA are the lucky ones. They made it back. The unlucky ones died on the battlefield. I think it's time for the survivors to count their blessings and stop whining about what, in the grander scheme of things, is really their good fortune."
In related news, Reps. Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass) and Bobby Scott (D-Va) have introduced the "Do No Harm Act" in Congress. The bill bars anyone from using a religious objection to decline to perform or participate in a medical procedure mandated by the government. "The health of everyone is of vital concern to the government," Kennedy declared. "No one should be allowed to interfere with the implementation of this responsibility. For example, under our bill, no doctor or health care facility could refuse to perform an abortion requested by a patient. Likewise, no patient could refuse to undergo an abortion if it is determined to be necessary. We need to get past the notion that health is a personal matter. The collective well-being of the whole has got to take precedence over selfish individual prejudices. Our bill will achieve that."