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JonLeibowitz's Journal
JonLeibowitz's Journal
May 27, 2016

FactCheck.org: "The State Dept IG contradicts several of Clinton's long-standing talking points"


Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said that her decision to use a private email account and server for government business while secretary of state was “allowed” by the State Department. She has said “my predecessors did the same thing,” and insisted she “fully complied with every rule” in preserving her work emails.
We have taken issue with those claims, and now so does the State Department Office of Inspector General, which issued a report on May 26 that contradicts several of Clinton’s claims about her emails:

* The IG report cited department policies dating to 2005 that require “normal day-to-day operations” to be conducted on government servers, contrary to Clinton’s claim that her server was allowed. It also said she “had an obligation” to discuss her email system with cybersecurity officials, but there’s “no evidence” that she sought or received their approval.

* The IG report said Clinton should have turned over her emails before she left office — not 21 months after she left. “[S]he did not comply with the Department’s policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act,” the report said.

* Clinton has said her emails “were captured and preserved immediately on the system at the State Department” because she emailed department officials at their government accounts. The IG report said that is “not an appropriate method of preserving any such emails that would constitute a Federal record.”

Much more: http://www.factcheck.org/2016/05/ig-report-on-clintons-emails/
May 23, 2016

Did DWS unintentionally do us a favor with the DNC platform commitee picks?

Sanders also picked Cornel West, a liberal author and racial justice activist who has been a Sanders surrogate. Sanders also named Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, among his most prominent elected backers, author and environmental activist Bill McKibben and Native American activist Deborah Parker.

The Clinton campaign’s choices are Wendy Sherman, a former top State Department official and Clinton surrogate; Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress and longtime Clinton confidante; Rep. Luis Guttierez of Illinois; Carol Browner, a former former director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy; Ohio State Rep. Alicia Reece and Paul Booth of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union.

Wasserman Schultz also named former California Rep. Howard Berman; California Rep. Barbara Lee and author and executive Bonnie Schaefer.

Each campaign also has a non-voting representative at committee meetings.


So DWS picked Rep. Barbara Lee, who so far has never declared a preference amongst the candidates; but it's hard to conclude she is truly neutral, and certainly not on the issues and platform. In fact, I recall this bit from a Politico article from a few months back, detailing the first campaign meeting:

They were sitting around two years ago on couches and armchairs in liberal radio host Bill Press’s rowhouse near Eastern Market in Washington, picking at dinner. Sanders, his wife Jane, and all of his top people were there, except for campaign manager Jeff Weaver, who wouldn’t be hired for a year.

Sanders had asked Press to pull in a few others, too, including then-American Bridge president Brad Woodhouse, former Harry Reid chief of staff Susan McCue, Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.). They spitballed and listened as the Vermont senator laid out what he wanted to do, talked about what a race would really entail, how tough running against Hillary Clinton would be. Jane Sanders gave off the distinct impression she was collecting information she hoped to use to talk him out of it.


My question is: does DWS know this?

Either way, this is great news!
May 11, 2016

Lucia Graves is a pathetic hack who dismisses the votes of desperate, poor WV voters in her column

All to diss Bernie's cause and promote Clinton-style neoliberalism using factually-incorrect identity politics to ignore the issues entirely: exploitation of rural communities, extreme poverty, education access, a broken criminal justice system.

Her latest piece(1) is titled:

Hillary Clinton may have lost West Virginia by a landslide. The truth is, she doesn't need it

In a way, this title is peak establishment politics: it is the candidate who "needs" a state, not the state nor its population which are to be represented by the politician. But let's hear what she has to say first; the subtitle is:

The white, male voters of this coal-mining state left us in no doubt of their support for Bernie Sanders. But among every other demographic, Hillary leads

This headline is factually untrue, as CNN's exit poll confirms:

He also beat Clinton among women 52% to 38% and also among independents, by nearly 40 percentage points.(2)

But amazingly, this isn't the worst part of her column; she does not discuss, and perhaps is unaware of, entrenched poverty in rural West Virginia. That is, labor has not benefited in a fair way from the successes of coal over the past century as compared to the coal industry. The NYT did a story on McDowell County in 2014(3), "50 Years Into the War on Poverty, Hardship Hits Back". This should be required reading for anyone commenting on the West Virginia primary.

TWIN BRANCH, W.Va. — When people visit with friends and neighbors in southern West Virginia, where paved roads give way to dirt before winding steeply up wooded hollows, the talk is often of lives that never got off the ground.

“How’s John boy?” Sabrina Shrader, 30, a former neighbor, asked Marie Bolden one cold winter day at what Ms. Bolden calls her “little shanty by the tracks.”

“He had another seizure the other night,” Ms. Bolden, 50, said of her son, John McCall, a former classmate of Ms. Shrader’s. John got caught up in the dark undertow of drugs that defines life for so many here in McDowell County, almost died of an overdose in 2007, and now lives on disability payments. His brother, Donald, recently released from prison, is unemployed and essentially homeless.

“It’s like he’s in a hole with no way out,” Ms. Bolden said of Donald as she drizzled honey on a homemade biscuit in her tidy kitchen. “The other day he came in and said, ‘Ain’t that a shame: I’m 30 years old and carrying my life around in a backpack.’ It broke my heart.”

McDowell County, the poorest in West Virginia, has been emblematic of entrenched American poverty for more than a half-century. John F. Kennedy campaigned here in 1960 and was so appalled that he promised to send help if elected president. His first executive order created the modern food stamp program, whose first recipients were McDowell County residents. When President Lyndon B. Johnson declared “unconditional war on poverty” in 1964, it was the squalor of Appalachia he had in mind. The federal programs that followed — Medicare, Medicaid, free school lunches and others — lifted tens of thousands above a subsistence standard of living.

But a half-century later, with the poverty rate again on the rise, hardship seems merely to have taken on a new face in McDowell County. The economy is declining along with the coal industry, towns are hollowed out as people flee, and communities are scarred by family dissolution, prescription drug abuse and a high rate of imprisonment.

Sanders' response is to say simply that while his environmental policies may harm the West Virginian economy, the government has an obligation to financially assist these communities and get them back on their feet. It is a LBJ approach to the problem. Clinton's approach includes her now infamous statement about putting coal miners out of work. I think that statement is unfair to her, but still she only commits to 'not wanting to forget' about them. Hardly encouraging!

In short, I do not believe these voters are stupid, or misinformed. When Bernie talks about CEOs receiving a different standard of justice than the neighborhood kid with a drug problem, this resonates. Why?!? Give this a listen (after the Blankenship sentencing[4]):


What is this voter upset about (and what does the local media miss, and evidently Lucia Graves as well) ? Well, here's what the NYT reports about this sentencing:

Mr. Blankenship, however, was also defiant and told Judge Berger, “It’s important to me that everyone knows that I am not guilty of a crime.” (4)

Now you tell me: which candidate is a person like this going to respond more to?


In conclusion, Lucia Graves is a hack shilling for Clinton using transparently false "data" to pretend as if an entire state with systemic problems didn't just reject Clinton's candidacy. Meanwhile, she ignored a perfect opportunity to detail some of the above problems in West Virginia which may have been on voters' minds. Journalism is supposed to inform, not just provide a horse-race description. I can always look at the scoreboard after the race is over if I wanted that.


(2): http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/10/politics/west-virginia-nebraska-primary-highlights/
(3): http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/21/us/50-years-into-the-war-on-poverty-hardship-hits-back.html
(4): http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/07/us/donald-blankenship-sentenced-to-a-year-in-prison-in-mine-safety-case.html

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