Another reason why Hillary Clinton does not deserve to be president

Anti-Hillary Clinton political ads are writing themselves on a weekly basis. The latest source is this New York Times report that Hillary’s private email account contained sensitive information. The official name for the information is “sensitive but unclassified” (SBU).

What sensitive but unclassified information did Hillary have in her private account. According to the Times, “that information included the whereabouts and travel plans of American officials in Libya as security there deteriorated during the uprising against the leadership of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi in 2011.”

Considering the fate of Christopher Stevens the following year, it’s safe to say that this information was, indeed, sensitive. And it’s safe to say that it should not have been contained in an unsecure email system.

Noah Rothman at Commentary gets a head start on translating the Times’ story into a political ad. He asks: “Do you deserve to be President after jeopardizing national security?” The question, as they say, answers itself.

Rothman also reminds us of the string of false statements Clinton made about her private emails during her U.S. press conference in March:

Standing before a lectern at the United Nations, Clinton claimed that she only used one mobile device in service to her sense of entitlement while at State. We now know there were at least two devices she used to conduct State business.

Clinton insisted that her system was never “breached,” but information security experts now believe that her “homebrew” server was vulnerable to infiltration and was possibly compromised by foreign intelligence services.

Clinton insisted that she only deleted those emails that were personal in nature; a trove of communications that amounted to the majority of the emails she sent as Secretary of State. One of the recipients of private email communications, she averred, was her husband, former President Bill Clinton. Wrong, the 42nd President’s office contended. He only sent two emails in his life, according to Bill Clinton spokesperson Matt McKenna, and both of those were composed and transmitted while he served as president.

Reporters, as Rothman suggests, will probably tire of this and other Hillary scandals. And once the Republicans settle on a candidate, reporters will likely train their guns almost exclusively on him.

But campaign attack ads, based on what reporters are saying now (and scrupulously sourced to big MSM outlets), should fill the gap.

Washington Post Attacks Rubio: He’s Not Rich!

Every morning the Washington Post sends out an email with links to its featured stories of the day. Today, the Post’s number one story was: Does Rubio Have a Spending Problem? The factual basis for the Post’s article was that according to his financial disclosure forms, Marco Rubio has withdrawn $68,000 from a retirement account:

Marco Rubio made $174,000 as a U.S. senator last year. He earned $52,000 from book royalties and a university teaching position, and at least $5,000 more from rental property.

And yet, the 43-year-old Florida Republican also made what is typically viewed as a desperate financial maneuver — cashing out nearly $70,000 in retirement funds.

As Rubio runs for president, newly disclosed personal finance details have drawn fresh attention to a long-running problem during his political career: his struggles with money.

Yes it’s true: Rubio isn’t rich, like Hillary Clinton and so many others in politics. He has made his money honestly, practicing law, earning a salary from public service and publishing a couple of books. No $300,000 speaking fees for Marco. And unlike Harry Reid, he hasn’t gotten wealthy on corrupt real estate deals. Somehow, the Post spins this into a negative.

In an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Rubio said that he needed “access to cash” for personal expenses and in anticipation of running for president. He said he has at least two other active retirement accounts.

“My refrigerator broke down,” Rubio said. “That was $3,000. I had to replace the air-conditioning unit in our home. My kids all go to school, and they are getting closer to college, and school’s getting more expensive.”

If Rubio were a Democrat, the Post would say that, unlike the plutocrats in the race, he understands the struggles of the average American–or, at least, the average prosperous American. Which is a lot more than you can say for Hillary Clinton.

Rubio and his wife, Jeanette, have four children in private schools. In total, they pay about $40,000 in tuition per school year.

Florida Democratic strategist Christian Ulvert said Rubio’s explanation could be politically problematic.

“Most average Americans are not buying a $3,000 refrigerator,” he said. “Most families don’t have the luxury of sending their kids to private schools.”

The hypocrisy is so thick you can cut it with a knife. Can you name a Democratic presidential contender whose children attend, or attended, public schools? Has the Post ever criticized Barack Obama for sending his daughters to Sidwell Friends, which costs far more than $10,000 per student? Of course not.

In the context of what we now know about the Clintons, this is almost unbelievable:

Rubio’s close relationship with billionaire businessman and philanthropist Norman Braman, a longtime backer, highlights another un­or­tho­dox element of his family’s finances.

Rubio’s wife owns an event-planning business that does work for the Braman Family Foundation. Her business was valued at between $15,001 and $50,000, according to Marco Rubio’s latest financial disclosure. His campaign said her revenue came exclusively from her work for the Braman foundation.

Between $15,001 and $50,000? That’s not even a rounding error for the Clinton Foundation. But that’s different, of course: Hillary is a Democrat.

Brace yourself. We will be seeing hit pieces like this on the Republican contenders on a daily basis, from now until November 2016.

Paging Dr. Emily Litella: Another Science Fraud Exposed

Last December Science magazine published the results of a survey that found people who had a conversation of at little as 20 minutes with a gay person changed their mind about gay marriage. You may well wonder why Science, usually concerned with settled scientific matters like global warming climate change, would jump on a research survey more suited for a public opinion or social science journal, and further you’d wonder why we’d want to rely on social science surveys to advance our judgment of this moral and legal controversy. (What next: open-office plans are really a sneaky gay plot to promote gay marriage, too? Because with no doors, no closets to hide in!)

The full article, “When contact changes minds: An experiment on transmission of support for gay equality,” is in the magazine’s closet behind the magazine’s paywall, but it isn’t very impressive. In fact it looks rather like a first-year graduate student survey project, and the conclusion has all of the usual tropes of such academic work today, including the phrase you see in almost all social science articles that prove a small and obvious point—“further research is needed.”

Our experimental results demonstrate that active contact is capable of producing a cascade of enduring opinion change. Further research is needed to assess the extent to which the strength, diffusion, and persistence of active contact’s effects depend on how groups come together, the salience of their identities, the issues they discuss, and the manner in which deliberation takes place.

Well guess what mom? One of the co-authors has asked Science to retract the article because he claims the data was faked by his graduate research assistant co-author. There’s a more detailed account of how the study collapsed in the Retraction Watch website, and another good account at New York magazine. Apparently some other researchers were intrigued that the study differed from previous similar surveys and attempted to replicate the study, but couldn’t. The graduate student who compiled the data was subsequently hired at Princeton. Let’s see if he keeps his job.

Good thing fiddling with the data never happens in climate science. Oh, wait. . .

Bin Laden had the book on Obama

Being on bin Laden’s bookshelf has become, in a way, the modern version of being on Richard Nixon’s enemies list. Bob Woodward gets a special award. He gained both distinctions, if that’s the right word.

Politico contacted some of the authors in question for comment. Warning: Greg Palast’s response is nausea-inducing.

What should we make of the bookshelf? Above all, it confirms that bin Laden was obsessed with the United States. Unlike ISIS, which strives to capture territory and create a caliphate, bin Laden focused on attacking America and American interests.

But attacking America wasn’t an end in itself. Bin Laden’s overriding goal was to drive the U.S. out of the Muslim world so that al Qaeda and its affiliates could topple hostile governments in these regions.

Once we understand this, we must see bin Laden as more of a success than a failure. And we must see President Obama as the vehicle through which bin Laden succeeded.

Under Obama, the U.S. is basically exiting the Muslim world. We pulled out of Iraq (and haven’t re-entered to any significant degree). We’re pulling out of Afghanistan. We never pulled into Syria, despite the advice of many in both parties that we should.

We didn’t stay in Libya. We’ve been driven out of Yemen. Our influence with Egypt and Saudi Arabia (two countries of special interest to bin Laden, surely) has waned considerably.

As for the toppling of governments, bin Laden’s dream is partially realized. The Afghanistan government hasn’t fallen, but it may well, once the U.S. leaves. And the government’s hold on large portions of the country is weak to non-existent.

The Iraqi government hasn’t fallen, but it has lost huge chunks of territory to Islamic terrorists, with even Baghdad now threatened. The government of Syria is in basically the same condition.

The pro-Western government of Yemen has fallen and, in the battle for control, an al Qaeda affiliate is in the mix. Control of Libya is also up for grabs and an al Qaeda’s affiliate is in the mix there too.

How well did bin Laden understand America? Probably not very. I’m sure he got a lot of stuff wrong.

But I’m also sure he knew there were strong elements in our politics that were weary of involvement in the Middle East and the Asian subcontinent, and that if these elements prevailed, the U.S. would pull out — to the great advantage of al Qaeda and other jidhadists.

Bin laden was right about this. And though he is gone, his broad vision for the Muslim world is alive and kicking.

This Week’s Energy Unicorn

The belief that we can power the world with unicorn flop sweat, Obama’s incandescent speeches, refined banana peels, etc runs deep. I call it “energy romanticism,” and like all other kinds of romanticism it is hard to shake, even with things called facts, which are always inconvenient to the dreams of world-saving liberals.

Typical is the story last year about how we could put solar panels on roads, a really stupid idea that naturally has received federal grant money. (Is there really no adult in the room to ask how solar panels, which need cleaning on rooftops in the best of conditions, would hold up under car and truck traffic?) As usual, the news stories about this venture offer no details about costs or actual power output, which is the principle defect of about 95 percent of all media reports about new energy ideas. It is like reporting on a new car without giving the gas mileage or that it only seats one person.

Solar Bike Path copyThe Dutch have tried to push this idea with a $3.7 million solar bike path that provides enough electricity for  . . . one person.  And after six months, the solar bike path is already starting to come apart.  True, it’s only 70 meters long, but what a bargain for $3.7 million. It has “smart meters”! If we increase spending by an order of magnitude, to $370 million, we can power 100 households.

The predictably depressing part of the story is this:

The group behind the project is now in talks with local councils in the Netherlands to see if the technology can be rolled out in other provinces. A cooperation agreement has also been signed with the US state of California.

Of course. It would only cost about $450 billion to power all of California’s households with solar-powered roads and bike paths. No doubt this has deep appeal to Jerry Brown.

Up next in this new series: Tesla’s new home battery, which is also way overrated.

Delusional White House Calls ISIS Strategy “A Success”

As I wrote on Monday, the administration’s policies on the Middle East are in a state of collapse. This is partly–but only partly–because ISIS is rampaging across Syria and Iraq. So on Tuesday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest was pressed on how the president’s campaign to “degrade and destroy” ISIS is going. Overall, Earnest said, the president’s strategy has been a success:

Because the administration’s strategy has been successful “overall,” Earnest said, there is no reconsideration of that strategy underway.

Michael Ramirez responded this morning to the administration’s declaration. Click to enlarge:

RAMclr-052115-success-IBD-COLOR-FINAL.jpg.cms

The situation would be grim enough if ISIS were our only “setback,” as Earnest says, in the Middle East. Unfortunately, with Iran’s impending nuclear capability, the ongoing slaughter in Syria and the failed state of Libya, ISIS isn’t even at the top of the list.

More evidence, via “Sid Vicious,” of Hillary’s Benghazi deceit

Some of the information Sidney Blumenthal supplied to Hillary Clinton about Libya is said to have been flawed. But “Sid Vicious” got one important thing right.

Two days after the attack, Blumenthal told Hillary that “sensitive sources” in Libya said Ansar al-Sharia, an Al Qaeda-backed terror group, had planned the attacks for a month and used the protest as a cover. (The day before he had advised Hillary that demonstrators protesting an anti-Muslim video were to blame.)

Notwithstanding Blumenthal’s heads-up that terrorists had planned and were behind the attack, Hillary peddled the video-was-to blame line to the families of victims of the attack. And, of course, Susan Rice, standing in for Hillary, peddled it when she made the Sunday talk show rounds.

What was Hillary’s response to Blumenthal’s notification that al Qaeda affiliates were behind the Benghazi attack? She immediately passed the information on to her top aide Jake Sullivan and told him “we should get this around asap.”

Hillary’s instruction to Sullivan can be interpreted in either of two ways. One interpretation is that Hillary viewed Blumenthal’s report as, at a minimum, a plausible account that the White House needed to know of as it tried to nail down who was behind the attack.

A second interpretation is that Hillary viewed Blumenthal’s account — whether plausible or not — as politically dangerous. With the presidential election less than two months away, it contradicted President Obama’s triumphant line that al Qaeda was on its way out. Thus — again whether plausible or not — Team Obama needed to know that sources in Libya were pointing to al Qaeda.

We know from other Clinton emails that she was concerned about the political fallout from Benghazi. Indeed, in October, Blumenthal himself warned her of the Republicans’ intent to exploit the Benghazi attacks in order to damage Obama a month before the election. She forwarded his warning to Sullivan, telling him to “be sure Ben [Rhodes at the White House] knows they need to be ready for this line of attack.”

I doubt, though, that Hillary needed Blumenthal to tell her this in October. Surely she figured it out soon after the September 11 attacks.

If Hillary viewed Blumenthal’s account as plausible, she cannot justify blaming the attack on the video or having aides participate in the process (i.e., fixing the infamous “taking points”) whereby Susan Rice ended up doing so. ( Ed Morrissey makes the astute point that “with Blumenthal’s e-mail in on the 13th. . .Hillary would have known better than to get stuck on video telling the whoppers that Rice ended up delivering on Obama’s behalf.”)

Thus, Hillary, or her backers, will likely argue that she didn’t credit Blumenthal’s account. Instead, she simply wanted to give the White House a heads-up.

But this claim is highly dubious for two reasons. First, we know that Hillary took Blumenthal’s reports seriously, routinely burdening her staff and the Libya diplomatic mission with them. Second, as Ed points out, this particular report was corroborated a few days later by a DIA memo.

This week Clinton explained why she made use of Blumenthal’s Libya “intel.” She said she liked to obtain information not just from sources within “the bubble,” but also from trusted friends like Blumenthal.

In the case of the Benghazi attacks, “the bubble” and her trusted friend were in accord — the attacks were planned and carried out by terrorists. Yet, Clinton, motivated by politics, ducked that narrative and pushed a different one.

As always, politics trumped the truth for Hillary Clinton.