• ZipDialog Roundup for Thursday, April 20

    Topics and articles chosen with care. Linked articles in bold purple

     Tillerson, Mattis turn up the heat on Iran. Says it is still sponsoring terrorism throughout the Middle East  (Washington Post)

    But they do not want to overturn the nuclear agreement. They see cheating at the margins but not full-frontal violations

    Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis slammed Iran as a destabilizing influence, particularly in Yemen, during a visit to Saudi Arabia. “Everywhere you look, if there’s trouble in the region, you find Iran,” Mattis told reporters.

    This week, the Trump administration said it will undertake a comprehensive, 90-day review to judge whether lifting sanctions on Iran serves U.S. interests. So expect to hear more about this topic in the coming months.

    In the meantime, amid all the criticism, here’s a development worth noting: Iran has met all of its commitments under the nuclear deal so far, the administration officially told Congress this week. –Washington Post

     The sheer fun of reading a slash-and-burn column. Not good as a steady diet, but, like cheese cake, great fun as an occasional treat.

    Here’s Howie Carr’s take-down of Elizabeth Warren and her new book. The succession of nicknames alone is worth the read, and so is his parody of what she claims is her favorite curse word: poop. Really. That, she claims, is a f*^king curse word. (My own is “drat.”)  Howie’s column is here. (Boston Herald)

    This is a rough week for Chief Spreading Bull to be starting her tour of the trustafarian gated communities and alt-left fake-news media that are her main, make that only, constituencies. The authors of the Hillary campaign post-mortem, “Shattered,” are also making the green-room rounds. Ditto Bernie Sanders and the DNC’s Dumb and Dumber — Tom Perez and Keith Ellison.

    That’s a lot of poop for the non-working classes to be wading through, but nevertheless, she will persist. . . .

    “Trump slammed back at me repeatedly,” she says on page 226, “hitting me over and over with his lame nicknames.”

    Like, what, Liewatha? What kind of poop did he hit you with? Was it something about your, ahem, Native American heritage? Why no mention of that anymore? She’s still demanding that the president release his taxes. Maybe he should agree to — right about the time she puts out her employment applications to the two Ivy League law schools that hired her as a
    “woman of color.” –Howie Carr

    Comment: Cowabonga.

     Scott Walker continues policies opposing mandatory unions, this time on state construction projects (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

    Contractors won’t have to work with unions on taxpayer-funded building projects and parents will have an easier time getting an anti-seizure drug derived from marijuana, under legislation Gov. Scott Walker signed Monday.

    The measure on labor agreements, which passed the Legislature on party-line votes, is the latest in a series of moves to roll back union power by Republican lawmakers in recent years. –Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

    Comment: Wisconsin rises, Indiana Rises, Illinois sinks, California Sinks. Notice a pattern? Local voters do.

    ◆ Terror and the Fresno Murders: A comment 

    Kori Ali Muhammad has admitted killing three people–he was caught in the act–and said he wanted to kill more “white people.”

    Police has said that, although he yelled “Allahu Akbar,” his crime was based solely on race, not Islamic terror.

    What he did IS terrorism, in the sense that he meant to cause terror and did.

    The question is whether it is connected to the broader movement of Islamic terror, included “inspired” lone-wolf actions.

    Right now, it is hard to know whether he yelled the Arabic phrase as

    • A signal of black nationalism (National of Islam style),
    • Pure hatred of America,
    • Support for global terrorism, or
    • Some other motive.

    Since he has already begun talking, he might say more about his motivations. We’ll gain other information, too, as police uncover his internet search history, personal and political affiliations, and more.

    As Fresno police and the FBI release their findings, we will gain a sense of how these murders are is connected to the larger Islamic terrorism issue, as well as Muhammad’s hatred of white people.

     Hillary campaign working to discover who leaked embarrassing info for new book, Shattered (NY Post’s Page Six)

    We’re told the details in the book, which depicts the campaign as inept, “could only have come from someone in the inner circle.” Dennis Cheng, the finance director of Clinton’s presidential campaign, has been sending out messages to determine where the leaks come from.

    One source said, “The knives are out to find the people who spoke about the campaign to the authors of this book. –NY Post

    Comment: In other news, the Adlai Stevenson campaign is doing a “top-to-bottom look at why we lost and what to do next.”



    zd-hat-tip-facing-inward-100px-w-margin♥ Hat Tip for helpful suggestions:
    ◆ Bryan Caisse 
    for the Howie Carr piece on Elizabeth Warren


  • ZipDialog’s Roundup of News Beyond the Front Page . . Friday, January 26

    Hand-picked and farm-fresh–
    Linked articles in bold purple

     Four top State Department officials, all political appointees, fired (NBC) New administration will appoint its own people.

    Comment: Lots of my friends, who know a great deal about foreign affairs, are deeply concern about the resulting loss of experience. I am not.

    Although I have many concerns about Trump’s foreign policy, reorganizing the State Department is not among them. First, these were political appointees, even though they had begun as foreign service officers. A new administration has every right to bring in its own people in top positions. Second, I have real concerns about several of these fired employees, some of whom were enmeshed in Hillary’s email scandals and other policy fiascos. Third, if there is one thing Rex Tillerson, the next Sec. of State knows, it is how to build and control a bureaucracy.

    Bottom line: I am concerned about US policies and several of Trump’s major initiatives, but cleaning house in Foggy Bottom is good news, not bad.

     British Prime Minister Theresa May to meet with Trump on Friday (BBC) The meeting follows May’s very positive speech in Philadelphia urging a renewal of the “special relationship” between the US and UK.

    Comment: Theresa May has proved herself very adroit so far and willing to listen to voters. She opposed Brexit, but, after it was approved by the voters and she entered office (replacing David Cameron), she has moved strongly to implement it. In short, she listens to voters. Second, as Britain leaves the European Union, it needs to renegotiate all its trade treaties (since they are now done through the EU). A strong trade relationship with the US is crucial.

     The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists moves its Doomsday Clock closer to midnight “thanks to Trump” (Washington Post)

    The full, thoughtful statement from the Bulletin’s scientists is here. They have now set the clock at 2 and 1/2 minutes til midnight.

     Google Pixel: onward and upward Pixel 2 said to be faster, stronger, water-resistant,says C|Net, and may be complemented by a new, budget version.

     This is news! Scientists say they have discovered how to put the flavor back in tomatoes  (Business Insider)

    Comment: Today’s tomatoes have been bred for long shelf-life and long-distance transportation. They taste nothing like summertime tomatoes from the backyard. Any tech that can improve this unhappy result will be most welcome.

    ◆ Comment: The US-Mexico relationship is in deep trouble over two big issues, trade and immigration, and is likely to worsen as the rhetoric ramps up.

    The US has tremendous negotiating leverage because Mexico depends on the US market for its goods. But pushing that advantage will surely bring anti-American politicians to the fore in Mexico, pushing left-wing populism. And it may become politically difficult for Mexico’s centrist leaders to push compromise solution.

    In the US, the risk for Republicans is continued alienation of Hispanic voters, a growing segment of the population. Although they generally vote Democratic, some state parties, like Texas Republicans, have won significant Hispanic support and will be very edgy about a deteriorating relationship.




  • ZipDialog’s Roundup of News Beyond the Front Page . . Sat., Nov. 5

    Hand-picked and farm-fresh–
    Linked articles in bold purple

    ◆ PredictIT betting still shows Hillary 73% likely to win. Nate Silver gives her slightly lower odds, but still the favorite.Predictions crystal ball 200px

    ◆ Quote describing this endless election season: “None ever wished it longer than it is.”  That was actually Dr. Samuel Johnson, speaking over 200 years ago about Milton’s Paradise Lost. But it certainly applies to the 24 months leading up to Nov. 8, 2016Samuel Johnson labeled 400px

    ◆ US Gov. Hackers Ready to Hit Back if Russia Tries to Interfere with US Election (NBC)

    Question and Answer about his hacking story: “Why was this leaked?”one reader asks. Answer: To deter the Russians from doing it. This is a threat of retaliation, designed to get the Russians to back off. (Charles Lipson)

    There is a second item of news in the NBC story, that “Guccifer 2.0” is an official Russian government organ.

    On Friday the hacker known as “Guccifer 2.0” — which U.S. officials say is a front for Russian intelligence — tweeted a threat to monitor the U.S. elections “from inside the system.” –-NBC

    weiner-putz-in-the-punch-bowl-300px-no-margins◆ Do the emails on the Abedin/Weiner computer pose serious legal problems for Abedin? Yes, says Daniel John Sobieski, since she signed deadly-serious federal forms saying she had returned all docs and materials to the government when she left. The article is here. (American Thinker)

    Comment: Surely the FBI and DOJ will consider Sobieski’s point. But it all hinges on whether Abedin’s now-estranged husband, former Rep. Anthony Weiner, took those docs without his wife’s permission or subsequent knowledge. It is clearly Weiner who is most in legal danger now–and the most obvious target to flip.

    ◆ Chris Christie’s key aides, Bill Baroni and Bridget Kelly, convicted on all counts in bridge-closing scandal. (NJ.com) Christie is not only NJ governor, he is a key Trump aide and leader of his transition-planning team. Now, Christie’s key aides have been convicted of serious felonies in closing the Geo. Washington Bridge from NJ to NYC as political retaliation. Christie has always maintained he knew nothing, but the jurors (talking after the trial) are not buying it.

    Comment: Christie’s aspirations to become Attorney General just took a torpedo below the waterline.

    ◆ Media bias mea culpa by former co-CEO of National Public Radio. Yes, he says, the media is biased–against Trump, conservatives, and more. (Vanity Fair)

    ◆ The inspiring story I have read this week. A write-in answer to the question: What one sentence can change a life?  (Quora)

    The writer describes an event when she was 18-years old–a “bad” girl who had dropped out of high school, was working overnight at a Frito-Lay plant, and aspired only to live in a bigger trailer. Then, to save money, she sewed her old bridesmaid dress for a friend’s wedding. A marvelous story.


    zd-hat-tip-facing-inward-100px-w-margin♥ Hat Tip for helpful suggestions:
    ◆ Michael Lipson
     for NBC story on US-Russian hackers

  • ZipDialog’s Roundup of News Beyond the Front Page . . Friday, Nov. 4

    Hand-picked and farm-fresh–
    Linked articles in bold purple

    comey-labeled-200px-margins-on-left◆ Reports that Pres. Obama and his key adviser, Valerie Jarrett, are furious at FBI director James Comey and want him out. (NY Post)

    Comment: I’m not surprised they are furious. And they may well be right that Comey made a mistake with his public announcement. The Director has a 10-year term, but the Federal Courts have ruled that the President has the power to fire him. That said, it would be political malpractice of a high order for the president to fire Comey. It would be a repetition of Nixon’s order to fire Archibald Cox, setting off mass resignations at DOJ. If Obama fired Comey, it would look like an attempted cover-up (as the Nixon firing did) and it would immediately open the floodgates of leaks within the FBI.  (Charles Lipson comment)

    hillary-huma-and-weiner-in-envelope-300px-no-margins◆ CBS reports: FBI finds emails related to Hillary Clinton’s State Department tenure on laptop shared by Huma Abedin and her estranged (and strange) husband, Anthony Weiner. (CBS News)

    nyu-logo-joke-large◆ Prof. Michael Rectenwald: “Here’s what happened when I challenged the PC campus culture at NYU” (Washington Post) I commented on this earlier. Outrageous political witch hunt at NYU, led by Rectenwald’s colleagues in “liberal studies” and the NYU administration..

    theo-epstein◆ The professional who built the Chicago Cubs team: Theo Epstein. After the cheering for Chicago Cubs’ championship players subsides, the cheering for Theo will continue. He is the head of baseball operations for the Cubs, after playing a similar role for the Boston Red Sox.  This photo from CBS Sports says it all.

    ◆ Washington Post has a major story on the conflict between Hillary Clinton and Vladimir Putin. On her last day in office as Sec. of State, Hillary Clinton wrote Pres. Obama a memo on how to handle Russia’s leader. The essential point: be firm.

    It was harsh advice coming from the administration’s top diplomat, and Obama would ignore key parts of it. But the memo succinctly captured a personal view about Putin on the part of the future Democratic presidential nominee: a deep skepticism, informed by bitter experience, that would be likely to define U.S.-Russian relations if Clinton is elected. Her lasting conclusion, as she would acknowledge, was that “strength and resolve were the only language Putin would understand.” — Joby Warrick and Karen DeYoung, Washington Post

    ◆ Today in Stupid Criminality: Idiot Steals Cop Car, Streams Chase on Facebook Live (Gizmodo)


    zd-hat-tip-facing-inward-100px-w-margin♥ Hat Tip for helpful suggestions:
    ◆ Terrell May and Gerard Einhaus
    for the Theo Epstein story ◆
    ◆ Robert Lieber and Michael Lipson for the NYU story.
    ◆ Lori Greenberg for the Stupid Criminal story

  • Wall Street Journal on heated dispute between FBI and Dept of Justice over Clinton Foundation Investigation

    The best reporting, by far, on the investigation comes from the Wall Street Journal. (The NYT and Washington Post have been pitiful.)

    Today’s WSJ report by Devlin Barrett and Christopher M. Matthews is headlined:

    Secret Recordings Fueled FBI Feud in Clinton Probe

    Agents thought they had enough material to merit aggressively pursuing investigation into Clinton Foundation

    Here’s the heart of the report:

    Secret recordings of a suspect talking about the Clinton Foundation fueled an internal battle between FBI agents who wanted to pursue the case and corruption prosecutors who viewed the statements as worthless hearsay, people familiar with the matter said.

    Agents, using informants and recordings from unrelated corruption investigations, thought they had found enough material to merit aggressively pursuing the investigation into the foundation that started in summer 2015 based on claims made in a book by a conservative author called “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich,” these people said.

    The account of the case and resulting dispute comes from interviews with officials at multiple agencies. –Wall Street Journal

  • ZipDialog’s Roundup of News Beyond the Front Page . . Thursday, Nov. 3

    Hand-picked and farm-fresh–
    Linked articles in bold purple

    ◆ In Chicago, there is only one story, one very, very big story. It’s like the city let out one giant collective gasp of relief and joy. And what a way to win–coming back f rom a 3 games to 1 deficit against a superb Cleveland team and then playing their hearts out in an extra-inning game 7. Bravo to the team, bravo to the management that assembled it, and bravo to the Ricketts family for putting it all together. “Hey Chicago, whaddya say, the Cubs are gonna win today.”


    ◆ Who says there is no good news internationally? ISIS Throws Hotel Pool Party in Mosul, F-16s Bomb It. 67 Dead. (Daily Caller)

    ◆ A top Iranian military leader says they are infiltrating their troops into Europe and the US. (Washington Free Beacon)

    The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, the country’s elite military force, is sending assets to infiltrate the United States and Europe at the direction of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, according to recent Farsi-language comments from an Iranian military leader. –Adam Kredo, in the Washington Free Beacon

    The Clinton/Abedin Email Imbroglio

    ◆ Of all the stories I have read about the recent Clinton/Abedin emails, this one by Ken Silverstein is among the most interesting. (Washington Babylon website) What’s so interesting? The speculation that, because Anthony Weiner might be facing serious legal problems because of his (alleged) sexting to minors, he would be ready to give up the information he has in return for leniency. Interesting possibility.

    ◆ Powerful column by Judge Andrew Napolitano criticizing FBI Director James Comey’s public letter about the email investigation as an abuse of power, reminiscent of J. Edgar Hoover (Fox) Napolitano is a libertarian who strongly supports civil liberties and due process, even when conservatives prioritize national security. He sticks with that principled approach here.

    ◆Blistering criticism of Attorney General Loretta Lynch and political operatives at the Dept of Justice by Andrew McCarthy, a former Assistant US Attorney for the Southern District of NY.  He says Lynch and her cronies are trying to slow or block criminal investigation of the Clinton Foundation. We already know the State Department has done the same thing. (National Review)

    It was Lynch’s Justice Department that:

    • refused to authorize use of the grand jury to further the Clinton e-mails investigation, thus depriving the FBI of the power to compel testimony and the production of evidence by subpoena;
    • consulted closely with defense attorneys representing subjects of the investigation;
    • permitted Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson — the subordinates deputized by Mrs. Clinton to sort through her e-mails and destroy thousands of them — to represent Clinton as attorneys, despite the fact that they were subjects of the same investigation and had been granted immunity from prosecution (to say nothing of the ethical and legal prohibitions against such an arrangement);
    • drastically restricted the FBI’s questioning of Mills and other subjects of the investigation; and
    • struck the outrageous deals that gave Mills and Samuelson immunity from prosecution in exchange for providing the FBI with the laptops on which they reviewed Clinton’s four years of e-mails.  –Andrew McCarthy in National Review

    The immunity deals were “outrageous for three reasons,” McCarthy says.

    1. Mills and Samuelson should have been compelled to produce the computers by grand-jury subpoena with no immunity agreement;
    2. Lynch’s Justice Department drastically restricted the FBI’s authority to examine the computers; and
    3. Lynch’s Justice Department agreed that the FBI would destroy the computers following its very limited examination.  –McCarthy in National Review


  • ZipDialog’s Roundup of News Beyond the Front Page . . Wed., Nov. 2

    Hand-picked and farm-fresh–
    Linked articles in bold purple

    ◆ The Daily Mail reports that the FBI has separate investigations going on virtually all the people closest to Bill and Hillary.

    clintons-are-the-clintons-corrupt-300px-no-margins◆ Victor Davis Hanson offers a powerful cri de coeur about the Clintons and their corruption. (National Review) His conclusion:

    Epic greed, power, and pride: Where’s the bottom? With Bill and Hillary, there’s no telling. … The Hillary/Bill fortune — generated by pay-for-play influence peddling on the proposition that Bill would return to the White House under Hillary’s aegis and reward friends while punishing enemies — hit a reported $150 million some time ago, a fortune built not on farming, mining, insurance, finance, high-tech, or manufacturing, but on skimming off money. The Clintons are simply grifters whose insider access to government gave them the power to make rich people richer. –VDH in the National Review

    ◆ How does China see nuclear weapons and nuclear proliferation? Carnegie Endowment associate Tong Zhao offers concise insights. His two key points:

    Chinese analysts consider nuclear deterrence and compellence to be indistinguishable in most cases, and thus often criticize the offensive implications of some U.S. nuclear deterrence policies. …. China views nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism as growing national security challenges.  –Tong Zhao of Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy

    ⇒ Comment: If China really does think it has a big stake in preventing nuclear proliferation, that would be a major step in slowing the spread of these weapons. Second, the US (and virtually all serious nuclear analysts in the West) think that nuclear weapons can be used to deter attacks by other countries but cannot be used as a club to make those countries do things (compellence). Prof. Zhao says Chinese leaders still believe compellance can work–which opens the door to dangerous nuclear threats. (Charles Lipson comment)

    school-choice-200px-no-margins◆ School choice is on the ballot in Georgia, reports Kemberlee Kaye at Legal Insurrection.

    On the ballot this year is a constitutional amendment that would create a statewide “Opportunity School District”. In 2012, Georgia passed an amendment creating its charter school program. Opportunity School District (OSD) is one of the last remaining pieces of Georgia Governor Deal’s education reform initiative. Its function? To assist in the turnaround of failing schools.  …. The National Education Association (NEA) — one of the largest labor unions in the country– [is] dumping millions into Georgia’s election cycle, hoping to kill Governor Deal’s education reforms. –Kemberlee Kaye at Legal Insurrection

    Gov. Nathan Deal was originally a Democrat; he switched to the Republican Party in 1995.

    ◆ Photo of the day. “Well, that’s didn’t work out, did it?”  Signed, your lovin’ dog.



    zd-hat-tip-facing-inward-100px-w-margin♥ Hat Tip for helpful suggestions:
    ◆ Clarice Feldman
     for the Victor Davis Hanson article
    ◆ Michael Lipson for the Photo of the Day. I love him like a son

  • Alan Dershowitz offers an intelligent critique of Comey and his letter–and a brief, clear alternative

    Alan Dershowitz is a smart lawyer who has spent a lot of time in the public eye. That experience pays off when he evaluates the pluses and minuses of Comey’s letter. On balance, he thinks that Comey can still send a letter that clarifies what the FBI is doing, now that it has discovered Huma Abedin’s trove of 650,000 emails.

    alan-dershowitz-350-no-marginsDershowitz’s article is here, “Comey’s statements on Clinton emails raise disturbing questions” (The Hill)

    At this point Comey has only two options if he is to maintain his neutrality in the election. First he must either issue a statement of the kind described above, or second he must undertake a crash investigation and make a further disclosure in the coming days so that voters will know whether there is anything in the emails should properly impact their votes. –Alan Dershowitz, writing in The Hill

    The statement he advocates is only three paragraphs, and is so balanced that I wish to reprint it here, in full.

    Alan Dershowitz’ proposed statement by FBI director James Comey:

    The FBI has just learned that there are emails to and from Huma Abedin on the devices we obtained from Anthony Weiner during the sexting investigation.

    Neither I nor my investigators have seen these emails. At this time, we have no idea whether they are duplicates of what has already been produced or whether they contain any information pertinent to the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails. We simply do not know. Nobody should presume therefore that there is anything pertinent to our investigation, or incriminating, in any of these emails. We won’t know that until we have accessed and read these emails and compared them to those previously disclosed. 

    james-comey-labeled-with-seal-purple-background-200px-no-marginsI feel obligated to tell Congress about this development, but because we are not yet aware of the content of the emails, it would be unfair for any candidate or voter to infer from my letter that there is anything in them relevant to the election. This is especially the case since it is unlikely that our investigation will be completed before the election. –Alan Dershowitz

    The article says more, but the heart of it is that Comey can still send a brief statement that would clarify, rather than confuse.

  • ZipDialog’s Roundup of News Beyond the Front Page . . Tuesday, Nov. 1

    Hand-picked and farm-fresh–
    Linked articles in bold purple

    ◆ Confrontation between FBI Director James Comey and Attorney General Lynch before Comey released his letter on the investigation. (Reuters and Daily Mail)

    As Comey and Lynch aides debated last Thursday whether alerting Congress about the emails would comply with longstanding Justice Department policy against announcing overt investigative steps that would influence an upcoming election, Comey asked whether he was being explicitly directed not to do so. Lynch never gave Comey the order not to send the emails, a senior government official said. –Daily Mail and Reuters

    Nor did DOJ try to block the FBI from getting a subpoena to search contents of Huma Abedin emails.


    ◆ Two of George W. Bush’s Attorneys General openly criticize Comey’s decision to send a letter to Congress on Abedin emails. (CNN)

    ◆ How crazed are Hillary’s supporters over the emails? Try this (link here) from a Cal-Berkeley linguistics professor:

    I am mad. I am mad because I am scared. And if you are a woman, you should be, too. Emailgate is a bitch hunt, but the target is not Hillary Clinton. It’s us.
    The only reason the whole email flap has legs is because the candidate is female.  Clinton is guilty of SWF (Speaking While Female). –Prof. Robin Lakoff, Time Magazine

    ⇒ Comment on Feminist Defense of Hillary’s Emails: That is inane, hyperbolic assertion masquerading as insight and argument. It represents the worst streak of identity politics, taken to its logical extreme.

    Btw, it’s not just “email-gate,” as Lakoff terms it. It’s also Hillary’s private server and the blurred lines between her official role, her husband’s rich income, and donors to the family foundation. There are 5 separate FBI offices now investigating the foundation. There are serious ethical and legal questions on multiple fronts here–and name-calling those who highlight them is redolent of an elementary school fight, not a serious public debate.

    ◆ Another story on Hillary’s emails: Department of Justice assigns close friend of John Podesta (Clinton’s campaign manager) to supervise the case. WikiLeaks show the close friendship. (ZeroHedge)

    ◆ How lame is the NYT’s angle of attack on Trump today? Try this: “Donald Trump Used Legally Dubious Method to Avoid Paying Taxes” in the early 1990s.

    ⇒ Comment on NYT: I’m not try to defend Trump’s candidacy here. I’m just saying it is mighty thin gruel for the NYT to launch a major attack that says, “some accountants think Trump used an aggressive tax strategy 25 years ago.”

    biscuits-and-gravy-labled-as-cultural-appropriation-300px-no-margin◆ Attacks on “cultural appropriation,” very fashionable at universities, reach a new low. A college student is offended when non-Southerners use the word “y’all.”  (National Review) Really. I fear she’ll go full postal if some Yankee walks into a Waffle House and orders biscuits-and-gravy.

    donna-brazile-300px-margin-rightDonna Brazile, then a CNN contributor and now interim chair of the Democratic National Committee, saw the questions that would be asked in CNN’s Primary Debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

    • Brazile leaked them to Hillary–in violation of every norm of journalism.
    • She hid them from Bernie, again proving Bernie’s point that the primaries were cooked.
    • Hillary, of course, did not disclose that her friends at CNN had secretly shared the questions with her. (The Quiz Show scandals of the 1950s come to mind.)
    • CNN has now said they are “completely uncomfortable” with what they have learned about Brazile. But they let her resign. They were not so uncomfortable that they actually fired her.

    (Politico story here.)

    Comment on CNN: My hunch is that CNN executives realized that Brazile could be an important figure after November 8 and thought that firing her would be impolitic.


    zd-hat-tip-facing-inward-100px-w-margin♥ Hat Tip for helpful suggestions:
    ◆ Blake Neff, The Daily Caller
     for the Robin Lakoff article
    ◆ Tom Elia for  stories on y’all as cultural appropriation and DOJ attorney on Clinton emails

  • ZipDialog’s Roundup: Lipson Comments on the FBI, Hillary, and Huma . . Sunday, Oct. 30

    Today’s Roundup is focused entirely on the story disrupting the Presidential campaign in its final 10 Days.

    ◆ There is now total confusion among professionals about the election following the FBI story.

    We don’t have polling since the Friday announcement, but the early numbers we will get on Monday and Tuesday should be read with caution. It will take voters several days to mull over the news and figure out whether this really matters or has been vastly overblown. That’s why it is so hard to know if it will suppress turnout among Hillary’s weakest supporters, help embattled Republican senatorial candidates, and so forth.

    ◆ The most immediate impact is to shift the focus away from Trump and his negatives and toward Clinton and her negatives. For several days and possibly longer, this focus on scandal and rumors will overshadow the candidates’ closing messages and swamp any chances of debating policy issues.

    ◆ Renewed focus on the email/corruption/dishonesty questions gives the Republicans their best chance yet at preserving their Senate majority (though their success is far from certain).  It should lower turnout among marginal Democrats and put real pressure on Senatorial candidates who have said Hillary is trustworthy and honest. (Not that Trump could pass that test, either.)

    ◆ The media will be spinning furiously, fearful the election could slip away from Clinton. They love a good scandal–and nothing says scandal more than “Anthony Weiner”–but they loathe Trump even more and genuinely fear his presidency. They know that highlighting Hillary’s dishonesty and untrustworthiness plays into Trump’s hands.

    ◆ Lipson comment of FBI logic in publicly disclosing that it is investigating new emails:comey-labeled-200px-margins-on-left

    One reason the issue potentially very damaging to Clinton is the risks FBI director James Comey took in making a public statement about the email discovery. Comey knew that there would be a firestorm and that the Dept. of Justice opposed a public statement. My inference is that he would not have done that unless his most trusted agents said that the material they had reviewed was very damaging. Comey would then have to ask himself, “If the material is damaging and comes out after the election, then won’t it look like I covered it up to ensure Hillary was elected?” These are simply conjectures. But they are grounded in some understanding of how bureaucracies and their leaders try to protect themselves and their organizations. When they take big risks by acting, they must fear that inaction is even riskier. (Charles Lipson comment)

    ◆ New York Times speculates that Hillary might separate herself from Huma Abedin, her closest aide for two decadeshuma-abedin-300px-no-margins

    ◆ Lipson comment on the risks Huma poses to Hillary: Huma is already in hiding, off the trail. That’s standard practice and sensible for Hillary’s campaign. Why would the candidate want to be seen near her? Why would the campaign risk a reporter yelling questions at Huma, who would remain silent, of course?

    BUT Team Hillary has to be very careful in distancing itself. Why? Because Huma knows everything. Everything. If she is sidelined after Hillary wins, she will be bitter about it. So Hillary’s people better make damn sure Huma is made very rich and very fearful about disclosing any damaging information. Team Clinton has dealt with these problems before, and they know the routine for handling confidantes who feel betrayed. Keep your eyes open for developments on this front.

    Is there an even bigger risk? Maybe. If Huma herself faces criminal charges, she will be tempted to deal with the prosecutors. Fortunately, Hillary’s people have the DOJ nailed down. Look at how they handed out immunity like confetti and refused to convene a grand jury. (Charles Lipson comment)

    ◆ Evidence FBI agents are deeply concerned their agency has been covering for Clinton:

    jos-degenovaWashington D.C. attorney Joe DiGenova said…Friday night that despite the FBI agreeing to destroy the laptops of Clinton aide Cheryl Mills and ex-campaign staffer Heather Samuelson as part of immunity deals made during the initial investigation of Clinton’s email server, agents involved in the case refused to destroy the laptops. –Kerry Picket, writing in the Daily Caller

    That’s stunning. DiGenova is a former US attorney and is very closely connected to FBI insiders. Picket’s story is here.

    ◆ Lipson comment on DiGenova statement that FBI agents refused to destroy computers of Clinton aides: That FBI agents would refuse an order from their superiors to destroy the Clinton aides’ laptops, despite an immunity agreement that required their destruction, tells me these agents thought they were being asked to destroy evidence in a criminal investigation. They must have believed they were being asked to coverup evidence of possible crimes. If DiGenova’s report is true, it tells me FBI professionals are in open revolt against their leadership’s handling of the Clinton investigation. That could be why FBI director Comey felt he had no choice but to go forward with an investigation of Huma Abedin’s emails, once they were presented to him.

    john-podesta-labeled◆ Hillary’s campaign, led by John Podesta, has strongly criticized Comey for his public statement Friday. (Here’s one story from the Washington Post. Many others say the same thing.)

    ◆ Lipson comment: The jury is out on the wisdom of Podesta’s vocal pushback strategy. It undoubtedly reassures Hillary’s supporters, but it has makes the story even bigger. The campaign could have gone with, “Nothing to see here.” Podesta’s strategy carries a second risk. The harder Hillary’s campaign pushes against the FBI, the more likely its agents are to protect the bureau by leaking damaging information about the whole investigation. This focus completely undermines what Hillary’s campaign wanted to focus on: its closing argument.

    ◆ My guess: there are more shoes to fall in this investigation and pretty soon the key players will all be hurling shoes directly at each other.