Monday, May 30, 2016

H is for Hypocrisy on the email scandal

As a short preface to this article, I want to make something very clear. I do not hate Hillary Clinton. I don't even hate people in general. I may not like what someone does, but I don't hate them. With Hillary Clinton, I see her as a human being, just like myself. We both have positive and negative attributes, we both have strengths and frailties. Hillary Clinton may very well be charming and sincere as a human being, but I don't really know her. I only know what she presents to the press. Since I can't really know her, I can only infer her character from what the press reports of her. But I most certainly do not hate her, I just don't like the things that she does.

I've been reading up on different accounts of Hillary's email scandal, now coming close to full boil. In recent days, the Inspector General for the State Department issued a report on their review of the matter and found that Hillary had no authorization to run her own private email server. This is distinct from using a private email account, say from Gmail. At least with Gmail, there is a third party arbiter to verify the records. With a private server, we have no way of knowing for sure what was deleted and what was returned to the Department of State.

Further, had Hillary taken the time to ask, any request for the arrangements she made for her email would have been roundly rejected. She never asked and never even activated the account provided to her by her employer. The report confirms that Hillary and her campaign have been lying for a year about whether or not her email setup was even allowed by the State Department.

I have also found several sources suggesting that Hillary was not comfortable with desktop computers for email. I find this ironic since desktop computers have been part of American life since at least 1989, that's when I bought my first desktop computer. There are numerous excuses for Hillary for how she setup her email, but very little initiative on her part to work with the State Department and set it up properly. In fact, the State Department bent over backwards to accommodate her.

Based on my reading of the history surrounding Hillary's behavior, it would seem to me that the objective paramount to Hillary's behavior is due to her desire to keep her emails out of the reach of the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act, as well as out of the reach of the prying eyes of Republican members of Congress. This might not have been an issue at all if a Freedom of Information Act request did not, after exhausting appeals within the agency, go to court, pressing for her emails. Judicial Watch, a conservative organization, has done us all a favor by bringing this issue to light.

I find the entire situation ironic since Hillary Clinton voted for the Patriot Act in 2001 and voted to extend it again in 2006. Here is a woman so obsessed with privacy that even while working as head of a department of the US government, and being trusted with state secrets, she was willing to break the law, several of them, in order to have her privacy. She seems to think that one set of rules applies to her, but everyone else gets the surveillance.

She witnessed firsthand how Congress investigated her husband in the 1990s. She saw hearing after hearing into her husband's affairs (no pun intended), and I'm sure she saw the strenuous objections made by the Clinton Administration to requests for documents concerning Mr. Clinton from Congress and from ordinary citizens with their FOIA requests. During the 1990s, I made more than 300 requests under the Sunshine laws of the federal government and a few state governments. The Clinton era was a great time to be making FOIA requests as the Clinton administration tended to err on the side of disclosure.

The bottom line is that Hillary didn't want her "records", her emails, to be subject to any request under the Sunshine laws of the United States. She didn't want her correspondence to be subject to review by anyone else. This was why she ran all of her official email through her own private server at home. I find it hard to believe that a woman who even knows about setting up a private email server would be uncomfortable using a desktop for email.

Well, Hillary, I got news for you. The Patriot Act you voted for, with many other Republicans, has subjected everyone else to a loss of privacy that has had a chilling effect on the freedom of expression in this great country. I watched in horror as my favorite blog, Groklaw.net, was shutdown just because of your action, your vote, all in the name of national security. Read here, how Pamela Jones, the woman who started Groklaw.net, learned that all of her emails were being collected by the NSA. See how she felt as if someone had broken into her home and went through all of her underwear.

Yes, that's on you, Hillary. Note also, that your opponent, Bernie Sanders voted against the Patriot Act 3 times. Even he could see the perilous path of complete and total surveillance. Seems kind of ironic since he's a "socialist". Your votes on the Patriot Act make you out to be more like a Republican than a Democrat. At best, and I'm being charitable here, you're just another conservative Democrat.

Bernie's votes against the Patriot Act are just one of the reasons why I support him. He sees war as a last resort. He understands that he works for us, not the other way around. He is dependent upon the people alone for his campaign funding. Bernie Sanders' campaign serves as a reminder, a clarion call to all others, that we don't have to go begging for money from the wealthiest among us to ensure election and re-election.

We're not asking for very much from Hillary Clinton. If she had wanted privacy, she would have stayed out of public life. She cannot expect the rest of us to have any empathy for her with her votes for the Patriot Act. She knew what she was getting into when she signed up for the job, yet she insisted on violating the terms of the agreement between her and the people she served. She violated the terms of the non-disclosure agreement that she signed before starting work as Secretary of State. Yes, Hillary Clinton supporters, you really do need to worry about those emails.

I cannot, in good conscience, vote for Hillary Clinton, a woman who does not honor the contracts she signs. In contrast, Bernie Sanders has honored his commitments, and has consistently showed up for the middle class, time and time again.

Holding the office of President of the United States is more than just sitting in a plush chair behind a pretty desk. The person holding the office of the president must also honor the words he speaks and the contracts she signs. If you can't honor a simple NDA, don't even bother applying for the job.

I know that when I vote for Bernie Sanders, I'm voting for a man of his word. I would vote for a woman who honored her words and her contracts. It is unfortunate that Hillary Clinton is not one of them. This is one of the defining differences between Bernie and Hillary and one of the reasons why I support Bernie until the very last ballot is cast.
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