Hillary Unfazed by Mounting Evidence of Email Crimes
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton brushed off new revelations that the 30,000 "personal" emails she deleted may have included official Department business as "nothing to concern the American people."
A deleted email of particular note was a memo from her Deputy Chief of Staff Huma Abedin to Clinton's State Department subordinates regarding problems caused by Clinton's use of a private unsecured email server. The former Secretary claimed to have "no knowledge of either the original email or its illegal deletion," but offered a hypothesis suggesting that the IT specialist who set up the server "may be the guilty party."
"Earlier this week Bryan Pagliano, the man who set up my off-site email system 'took the 5th' over 125 times during a 90-minute, closed-door deposition," Clinton pointed out. "While not admissible in court, this is practically a confession. Rather than harassing me, wouldn't it make more sense to pursue this 'smoking gun?'"
Missing emails aren't the only problem. Comparison of what Clinton attempted to pass off as undeleted official records with planning schedules assembled by the Secretary's aides show major discrepancies. Specifically, the names of more than 100 outsiders who were scheduled to meet with Clinton were scrubbed from her version of what she was doing. Most of the missing names turned out to be executives of firms that were seeking government favors and had donated to the Clinton Foundation.
Clinton campaign spokesman Nick Merrill maintains that "these discrepancies are no big deal. People need to understand that a Secretary of State could have valid reasons for keeping selected meetings and communications secret. Instead of casting suspicions on a great American who has devoted her entire adult life to the difficult job of governing this country, the media and the voters ought to be showing more trust."
In related news, Clinton warned Americans "not to get any ideas from the Brexit vote. I will not abide presiding over a 'rump republic.' Any state or states that imagine they might vote their way out of our North American Union should remember they won't be dealing with a weakling like Cameron at the helm. I had no qualms about taking down Gaddafi and, like Lincoln, I will not hesitate to use every weapon at my disposal to preserve this Union."
Illinois to Create Advisory Council of Muslims
A bill approved by the state Legislature creates a 21-member Illinois Muslim-American Advisory Council. Co-sponsor of the legislation Sen. Jacqueline Collins (D) hailed the measure as "a sensible way to ensure that the activities of state government have a chance to get Muslim buy-in at an early stage. A lot of what we do without thinking is offensive to the followers of Islam. Clearing policies and programs ahead of time will prevent Muslims from having to resort to violence after-the-fact as a means of expressing their displeasure."
Republican Rep. Barbara Wheeler voted against the bill, calling it "a wrong turn down a dangerous road. We don't have a Catholic Advisory Council or a Jewish Advisory Council. Making a special effort to set up a council for one particular religion strikes me as an inappropriate mingling of church and state."
Collins labeled Wheeler's views "short-sighted. If we mess up and pass policies that offend Catholics or Jews they'll just take us to court or vote us out of office. If we mess up with Muslims we could end up getting killed. Muslim's dedication to their faith is passionate. Many have no hesitation in martyring themselves to defend their beliefs. Unfortunately, this martyrdom usually entails suicidal attacks on unbelievers. Rather than let things get out of hand it is better to establish a mechanism to assuage their sensibilities before blood is shed."
In related news, the US Department of Homeland Security announced plans to ban the use of the words "jihad" and "sharia" in its anti-terror campaign. Secretary Jeh Johnson said "the use of these foreign words conveys the wrong message and diverts our attention from the much larger threat from home-grown enemies. As nasty as the few attacks carried out by persons with some connection to Islam may be, there are millions of armed non-Muslims with anti-government views. Even worse, these right-wing zealots are the tip of an ice berg of tens of millions who oppose what we are trying to do for this country and who may overthrow us at the ballot box."
Dems Stage Sit-in Against Guns
Democratic members of the House of Representatives staged a sit-in to publicize their quest for stricter gun controls. Distressed that the murder of 50 night club patrons by an Islamic terrorist in Florida has not sufficiently weakened GOP support for the Second Amendment, more than two dozen Democrats seized the House floor for more than a day, vowing to block House business until their demands are met.
Sit-in participant Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa) used the event to call for "a major revision of the Second Amendment, because Americans don't agree with it and we've had it. The Amendment may have made sense when the average person needed a firearm to shoot dinner or resist the oppression of King George, but it's clearly outdated today. We get our food from the supermarket and no one needs guns as protection against a government elected by the voters."
Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga) brushed aside charges of hypocrisy among the well-guarded members of the government. "The average person is at low risk compared to us," Lewis contended. "Poll after poll shows the members of Congress are held in very low esteem by the general population. If that population is armed we are all in grave danger. The people are many and we are few. We need the protection of armed bodyguards and a general disarmament of the rest of the population just to even things up."
The claimed "reasonable" proposal to bar those on the government's "no fly" list from obtaining firearms has some significant flaws. For one, the list is secret. Only the government knows who's on it. Placing a person on the list is solely at the discretion of the government. Errors appear to be frequent. Awareness that one is on this list often comes unexpectedly as a person tries to board an airline. Getting off the list involves lengthy and expensive court proceedings. Chris Anders, senior legislative counsel at the ACLU, characterized the proposal as "unreasonable and unfair. It is akin to a 'secret enemies list' that can be used by the government to selectively deny the Constitutional rights of individuals it doesn't like."
Ironically, the trend in gun ownership is inversely related to the murder rate. In the 20-year period from 1993 to 2013 gun ownership rose by 54% while homicides committed with guns fell by 49% and the non-fatal injuries inflicted by armed criminals fell by 76%. However, according to sit-in protester, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif), "these nonsensical numbers will never persuade me to accept private gun ownership as a normal or useful behavior in our modern society."
Samaritan Billed for Aiding Injured Family
When Derrick DeAnda helped a family escape from their rolled-over car he was just trying to be a good Samaritan. He didn't expect to be billed $143 by the late-arriving EMTs for "medical care." "I didn't need any 'medical care,'" DeAnda said. "I had one small cut on one of my hands. The EMT gave me a band aid. I can't see how that could possibly cost so much."
The bill from Cosumnes Community Services District was described as "standard practice" by Cosumnes Deputy Chief Mike McLaughlin. "If you're at the scene of an accident that we attend you're going to be billed. The $143 assessed to Mr. DeAnda was the minimum charge. Whether he got a band-aid or not is irrelevant. As a verified participant at the site we have to extract a fair share of our costs from him."
McLaughlin dismissed concerns that his agency's billing policy might deter others from stopping to help. "First of all, no one knows in advance that they will be charged a share of the cost if they get involved," he said. "Second, even if they did, most people are not mercenary enough to put such a possibility ahead of aiding an injured party. Finally, even if people were to refrain from assisting due to fear of the financial consequences it would further serve to bolster the case for a bigger allocation for us in next year's budget."
Senators Demand to Know Where Companies Keep Their Cash
Concerned that some of the nation's resources may be out of their reach, Sens. Al Franken (D-Minn) and Chris Coons (D-Del) are demanding that "all businesses fully disclose where all their money is."
"As President Obama said when he was nominated for his second term, government is the only entity we all belong to," Franken recalled. "It is every business' and every individual's duty to do the utmost to ensure the survival of this single unifying entity. At a minimum, this means making all of their financial resources known to the government so they may be appropriated if the need to do so arises."
Franken professed to understand the need for privacy, but maintained that "it is one thing to insist on privacy from the prying eyes of business rivals. It is quite another to keep secrets from the government. Should we sit by and allow the government to default when we could save it by seizing the money businesses and individuals are hoarding? How could we justify letting the selfish interests of the private sector impede the collective obligation of all of us to support the government?"
In related news, President Obama averred that "entitlements are necessities of a 21st century economy" and that "we need to retool our laws to ensure that this vital cog in the machine is well-oiled. Knowing where all the money can be found is a crucial component of making this happen."