Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Venezuela: The Picture of Failed Socialism

Socialism for the Uninformed
By Thomas Sowell

Socialism sounds great. It has always sounded great. And it will probably always continue to sound great. It is only when you go beyond rhetoric, and start looking at hard facts, that socialism turns out to be a big disappointment, if not a disaster.
While throngs of young people are cheering loudly for avowed socialist Bernie Sanders, socialism has turned oil-rich Venezuela into a place where there are shortages of everything from toilet paper to beer, where electricity keeps shutting down, and where there are long lines of people hoping to get food, people complaining that they cannot feed their families.

With national income going down, and prices going up under triple-digit inflation in Venezuela, these complaints are by no means frivolous. But it is doubtful if the young people cheering for Bernie Sanders have even heard of such things, whether in Venezuela or in other countries around the world that have turned their economies over to politicians and bureaucrats to run.

The anti-capitalist policies in Venezuela have worked so well that the number of companies in Venezuela is now a fraction of what it once was. That should certainly reduce capitalist "exploitation," shouldn't it?

But people who attribute income inequality to capitalists exploiting workers, as Karl Marx claimed, never seem to get around to testing that belief against facts -- such as the fact that none of the Marxist regimes around the world has ever had as high a standard of living for working people as there is in many capitalist countries.

Facts are seldom allowed to contaminate the beautiful vision of the left. What matters to the true believers are the ringing slogans, endlessly repeated.

When Senator Sanders cries, "The system is rigged!" no one asks, "Just what specifically does that mean?" or "What facts do you have to back that up?"

In 2015, the 400 richest people in the world had net losses of $19 billion. If they had rigged the system, surely they could have rigged it better than that.

But the very idea of subjecting their pet notions to the test of hard facts will probably not even occur to those who are cheering for socialism and for other bright ideas of the political left.

How many of the people who are demanding an increase in the minimum wage have ever bothered to check what actually happens when higher minimum wages are imposed? More often they just assume what is assumed by like-minded peers -- sometimes known as "everybody," with their assumptions being what "everybody knows."

Back in 1948, when inflation had rendered meaningless the minimum wage established a decade earlier, the unemployment rate among 16-17-year-old black males was under 10 percent. But after the minimum wage was raised repeatedly to keep up with inflation, the unemployment rate for black males that age was never under 30 percent for more than 20 consecutive years, from 1971 through 1994. In many of those years, the unemployment rate for black youngsters that age exceeded 40 percent and, for a couple of years, it exceeded 50 percent.

The damage is even greater than these statistics might suggest. Most low-wage jobs are entry-level jobs that young people move up out of, after acquiring work experience and a track record that makes them eligible for better jobs. But you can't move up the ladder if you don't get on the ladder.

The great promise of socialism is something for nothing. It is one of the signs of today's dumbed-down education that so many college students seem to think that the cost of their education should -- and will -- be paid by raising taxes on "the rich."

Here again, just a little check of the facts would reveal that higher tax rates on upper-income earners do not automatically translate into more tax revenue coming in to the government. Often high tax rates have led to less revenue than lower tax rates.

In a globalized economy, high tax rates may just lead investors to invest in other countries with lower tax rates. That means that jobs created by those investments will be overseas.

None of this is rocket science. But you do have to stop and think -- and that is what too many of our schools and colleges are failing to teach their students to do.


Venezuela’s Collapse Brings ‘Savage Suffering’

By Anatoly Kurmanaev and  Maolis Castro 

Horrible hospital conditions, dying infants, chronic power outages and empty shelves mark the world’s worst-performing economy
"It feels like this hospital is under siege. We urgently need humanitarian aid.’

—Dora Colmenares, a surgeon at University Hospital of Maracaibo

 CARACAS, Venezuela—In a hospital in the far west of this beleaguered country, the economic crisis took a grim toll in the past week: Six infants died because there wasn’t enough medicine or functioning respirators. 

Here in the capital, the crisis has turned ordinary life into an ordeal for nearly everyone. Chronic power outages have prompted the government to begin rationing electricity, darkening shopping malls. Homes and apartments regularly suffer water shortages.
People wait in line to buy food in Caracas, Venezuela.  Photo:  Meridith Kohut/Bloomberg News
Rosalba Castellano, 74 years old, spent hours this week in what has become a desperate routine for millions: waiting in long lines to buy whatever food is available. She walked away with just two liters of cooking oil. 
Shortages are common at Caracas supermarkets.  Photo:  miguel gutierrez/European Pressphoto Agency

“I hoped to buy toilet paper, rice, pasta,” she said. “But you can’t find them.” Her only choice will be to hunt for the goods at marked-up prices on the black market. The government, she said, “is putting us through savage suffering.” 

The National Assembly, now controlled by the opposition, declared a food emergency on Thursday—an attempt to spur the government of President  Nicolás Maduro to, among other things, ease price controls that have created shortages of everything from medicine to meat.  

“The people are being left without the ability to feed themselves,” said lawmaker  Omar Barboza. 

Inflation in this oil-rich country is expected to hit a world’s-worst 700% this year, according to the International Monetary Fund. The economy shrank by 10% last year and is expected to decline another 8% this year, according to the IMF, the worst performance in the world. And there is no end in sight. 

Economists say Mr. Maduro’s government needs to reverse course on a decade of economic policies that dramatically reshaped the economy. The state took over hundreds of companies, instituted price controls and spent enormous amounts of public money, causing the country’s budget gap to swell to about 20% of annual economic output. 

Despite the deepening crisis, there has been little sign of change from a government that blames the country’s woes on an “economic war” waged by enemies including private firms and the Obama administration. Calls requesting comment from various government ministries and agencies weren’t returned. 

On Thursday, progovernment lawmakers said the food shortages were the fault of private companies hoarding products to try to destabilize Mr. Maduro. Later that night, the country’s Supreme Court gave Mr. Maduro special powers that allow him direct control over the budget and a freer hand in intervening in private companies. Opposition lawmakers said both moves were aimed at preventing them from trying to limit government intervention in the economy. 

In response to growing food shortages, Mr. Maduro last month created a Ministry for Urban Farming. He noted that he has 50 chickens in his own home and that his countrymen also can be taught to farm at home. The move echoes a policy Cuba implemented after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, which cut off aid to Cuba.

Mr. Maduro has hinted at various policy initiatives. This past week, he opened a Facebook account. “I want to expand my direct presence on social media,” he posted, adding two pictures. 

It didn’t take long for ordinary Venezuelans to respond. Some welcomed the president to Facebook. Others asked him to resign. Many asked him to investigate corruption in their cities and states. Some asked for help buying a car, or getting fertilizer, or finding food. 

José Guerra, an economist and opposition lawmaker, called it “a big absurdity for a country that’s in crisis. It shows Maduro doesn’t have his feet planted firmly on the ground.” 

With daily hardships mounting, one in 10 people are looking for a way to leave the country, according to polling company Datanalisis. More than a million Venezuelans already have emigrated over the past decade, according to many estimates. 

Leonardo Briceno said three of the four managers of his Caracas public-relations company quit to leave the country. Next week, he will become the latest departure when he moves to the U.S. with his wife and 2-year-old daughter. 

“It goes beyond the crime and economic deterioration,” he said. “It’s imagining a scenario where my daughter needs a medication and we can’t find it. That scares me the most.” 

The crisis is felt not just in Venezuela’s teeming cities but in places like Toas, a tiny island of palm trees and crystalline waters in far western Venezuela, home to just 8,000 people.

Last December, thieves stole 15 miles of underwater power cable connecting the island to the mainland. The theft severed the island’s telephone connections and idled its water pumps. 

Fisherman  Genebraldo Chacin said his children haven’t bathed or gone to school since then, and they have been eating only one meal a day. His neighbors say the island is close to starvation. 

“Our food rots without electricity, and it’s sad because it’s so difficult to find food here,” said Mr. Chacin’s neighbor,  Sasha Almarza. “When we are able to find any in the store, we eat it all the same day.” 

Venezuela’s murder rate has climbed to 90 per 100,000 residents, according to the Venezuelan Violence Observatory, a nongovernment group that focuses on crime. That would be the world’s second-highest rate after El Salvador, and far exceeds the U.S. rate of about four per 100,000. 

The plunge in the price of oil has hurt Venezuela more than just about any other oil-producing nation. Oil accounts for 96% of its export earnings and funds about half its federal budget. 

For years, the federal budget accounted for oil at $40 a barrel, even in years when the actual price was about $100. The excess money was put into an off-budget fund outside congressional oversight. It was spent, and large sums are believed to have been stolen, according to former Venezuelan government officials and investigators in the U.S. who are probing corruption. The country’s rainy-day oil-savings fund stands at $3 million, compared with funds in some other oil-rich nations that total hundreds of billions of dollars. 

Not only did the country fail to save, it borrowed heavily. It now has a foreign-debt load of about $110 billion. 

Alejandro Arreaza, Latin American economist at  Barclays,  says market data indicates Venezuela has about an 85% chance of defaulting in the next 12 months. He said he thinks the government will pay the $1.5 billion that is due Feb. 26, and will do all it can to honor the $5 billion in principal and interest payments due in October and November. To avoid a messy default and a seizure of oil assets by creditors, he said, Venezuela may have to cut imports further and possibly move to restructure its debt. 

“They already have political problems on the domestic front,” Mr. Arreaza said, “and they want to avoid opening an international front.” 

A shortage of dollars because of currency controls and declining oil revenues has hit the economy hard. Widespread nationalizations and price controls have gutted the private sector, leaving the country more dependent on imports. 

Venezuela used to export rice, coffee and meat. It now imports all three. It even imports its own bank notes, ordered from European firms and flown in on 747 jets. 

The number of private companies in the country shrank by 20% between 2006 and 2014, according to Datanalisis. Multinationals such as  Clorox Co.  have simply left. Others including  Ford Motor Co.  and Oreo-maker  Mondelez  have written down the value of their local businesses to zero.

A complicated system of exchange rates makes the country either one of the world’s cheapest or most expensive—depending on the rate used. At the official rate of 6.3 bolivars per dollar, a McDonald’s Happy Meal costs $146. At the widely used black-market rate, where a dollar fetches more than 1,000 bolivars, it costs just 89 cents. That makes the country dirt cheap for savvy travelers and those who earn dollars, but unaffordable for the poor who can’t access greenbacks. 

The crisis is especially acute in what was once a centerpiece for the socialist country, its health-care system. Medical associations and health-care specialists say preventable deaths have been on the rise because of lack of medication, equipment and doctors. The country’s leading trade group for drugstores says 90% of medicines are scarce. 

On a recent day at the University Hospital of Maracaibo, in Venezuela’s second-largest city, patients lay on bare beds in rooms with dirty floors. There was no running water, medicine, cleaning supplies or food. Feces floated in the toilets. Medical staffers there said gang members roam the halls, forcing underpaid and harassed doctors to lock themselves in the offices to avoid assaults. 

During the past week, six infants died at the Central Hospital in the western city of San Cristóbal, according to officials with the city’s child-protection services office and the union that represents hospital workers. The babies died because of a shortages of medicine and functioning respirators for underdeveloped lungs, the officials said. 

“Until the problem of a lack of supplies and imports is resolved, the neonatal situation here is only going to get worse,” said Karelis Abunassar, the child-protections chief. She said an inspection of a packed maternity ward found just 11 working incubators and seven respiratory machines, insufficient for the number of premature babies born there.

Calls to the Health Ministry weren’t returned. An administrator at Central Hospital said directors weren’t available to comment. 

—Lorena Evelyn Arraiz in San Cristóbal, Sheyla Urdaneta in Toas, Mayela Armas and Kejal Vyas in Caracas and Sara Schaefer Muñoz in Bogotá, Colombia contributed to this article.

Monday, May 30, 2016

This Memorial Day: Remember the Men and Women Who Fought and Died for Us

1. The American Cemetery at Aisne-Marne, France ... A total of 2289
2. The American Cemetery at Ardennes, Belgium ... A total of 5329
3. The American Cemetery at Brittany, France ... A total of 4410
4. Brookwood, England - American Cemetery ... A total of 468
5. Cambridge, England ... A total of 3812
6. Epinal, France - American Cemetery ... A total of 5525
7. Flanders Field, Belgium ... A total of 368
8. Florence, Italy ... A total of 4402
9. Henri-Chapelle, Belgium ... A total of 7992
10. Lorraine, France ... A total of 10,489
11. Luxembourg, Luxembourg ... A total of 5076
12. Meuse-Argonne, France... A total of 14246
13. Netherlands, Netherlands ... A total of 8301
14. Normandy, France ... A total of 9387
15. Oise-Aisne, France ... A total of 6012
16. Rhone, France ... A total of 861
17. Sicily, Italy ... A total of 7861
18. Somme, France ... A total of 1844
19. St. Mihiel, France ... A total of 4153
20. Suresnes, France ... A total of 1541
This is a powerful story in history. 

Only a few Americans are alive now who lived in those times.

Outstanding is a very mild word for this.

Memorial Speech by President Ronald Reagan

As you enjoy family and friends today, please take a moment to watch this great video of a Memorial Day message shared by President Ronald Reagan.

Memorial Day: Honoring Our Fallen Heroes



United States Military Academy

Cadet Glee Club

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Progressives Celebrate Memorial Day

By John Eidson | Memorial Day 2016

Vietnam War memorial honoring 2,273 POWs and MIAs defaced with large white lettering.

What kind of Americans would trash the memory of the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country? Certainly not conservatives, independents, libertarians, or anyone who believes in capitalism, private property rights, border enforcement, free speech, religious liberty and the right to bear arms.
That leaves one class of Americans who would disrespect the military: progressives. Not all of them, but an uncomfortably large number.
The kind of people who despise Memorial Day are cut from the same cloth as retired college professor Bill Ayers, the poster child for the America-hating radicals of the 1960s who burned their draft cards and spit on soldiers returning from Vietnam. A self-declared communist in whose living room Barack Obama began his political career, Ayers can be seen in the picture below demonstrating his lifelong contempt for his country by standing on the flag that more than a million of his fellow citizens died defending.
Likely prospects who would make a mockery of Memorial Day include the growing number of politically-malleable 18-29 voters who have been indoctrinated by pro-Marxist teachers and professors (like Ayers) to loathe America and virtually everything it stands for—its capitalist economy, its two-party system, its constitution, its Judeo-Christian heritage, and especially its military.
The kind of citizens who would vandalize memorials to America’s KIAs, MIAs and POWs can be found in abundance among:
● Protestors who marched in support of the anti-capitalist, pro-communist Occupy Wall Street demonstrations.
● The tens of thousands of left-wing educators who teach impressionable young minds that America is an evil and unjust place.
● Left-wing student activists who use disruptive tactics in attempting to silence conservative thought on college campuses.
● Rank-and-file progressives who are using violence to prevent the GOP presidential nominee from holding rallies.
People with contempt for America and its military have one thing in common: unwavering loyalty to one of the country’s major political parties. Why do the leaders of that party not loudly condemn the anti-Americanism of this large and growing segment of its most ardent supporters?

Lifelong Democrat Bill Ayers stomping on the American flag.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Bad News For Democrats

By Dinesh D'Souza

Coming soon to a theater near you: Hillary's America. Click here to see the trailer.

To keep on top of all the latest news about the progressive crime syndicate, make sure you follow the Hillary's America blog regularly. There's a lot that can happen between now and November! We'll keep you informed.

This was a big news week, and it wasn't good news if you're a Democrat.

On Monday, Baltimore Police Officer Edward Nero was cleared on all counts in the ‪Freddie Gray case. Nero was the second police officer cleared so far in the Freddie Gray case. Isn't race-baiting prosecutor Marilyn Mosby the real offender here?

Also this week, the FBI and the Justice Department announced that Virginia's Democratic governor, Terry McAuliffe, is under investigation over possible campaign finance violations. And like all corrupt Democrats, it appears that McAuliffe was tangled up with the Clintons during at least part of the time that is being investigated. McAuliffe was co-chairman of Clinton's 1996 re-election campaign and chairman of Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential bid. I've vacated my confinement center bunk, so there's plenty of room for Terry!

On Wednesday, a report released by the State Department's Office of Inspector General said that Clinton shouldn't have used a private email server to conduct official business and would have not been allowed to do so had she asked. It also found that she violated department policy. And of course, Clinton and her aides refused to cooperate with the Inspector General, despite claiming on the campaign trail that she's "more than ready to talk to anybody anytime."

In other breaking news, Bill Cosby was ordered to stand trial by a judge in his case this week—now how about an indictment for the other Bill?
If Bill Cosby had stayed on the liberal plantation, maybe the Democrats would have given him a rape pass—just like they did Bill Clinton.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Morning Joe Blasts Hillary Clinton's "Mindboggling" Deceit Over Emails


 As Wednesday’s devastating OIG report made abundantly clear, Hillary Clinton and her aides have been misleading the public about her email scandal from the very beginning. But even as media outlets call Clinton out for her falsehoods, her campaign isn’t letting the facts get in the way of selling their “big spin job.”
In fact, spokesman Brian Fallon went as far to tell Factcheck.org that even though the IG report contradicts a multitude of Clinton’s claims, that “doesn’t make her statements untruthful.” Really, Brian?
Associated Press: “Over the months, Hillary Clinton misstated key facts about her use of private email and her own server for her work as secretary of state…”
Factcheck.org: “The State Department inspector general contradicts several of Clinton's long-standing talking points.”
Washington Post: “Hillary Clinton is sticking to her story on the email controversy. That doesn’t make it true.”


Crooked Hillary Gets Caught Lying Again

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus blasted Clinton over the missing emails.

The Washington Examiner reports: Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, said Thursday Hillary Clinton's defense of her private email use is "crumbling" thanks to a finding from the State Department inspector general that suggested Clinton withheld work-related emails from the government.
 "The fact Hillary Clinton failed to turn over multiple work-related emails directly related to the setup of her secret server is the latest indication she is trying to hide the truth from voters," Priebus said in a statement. "Even now, Clinton continues to repeat falsehoods discredited by Wednesday's damning Inspector General’s report, confirming she did not comply with federal law."
At least three emails belonging to Hillary Clinton that were directly related to the se-up of her secret server were never turned over.
The Associated Press reports: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was supposed to have turned over all work-related emails to the State Department to be released to the public.
But an agency audit found at least three emails never seen before — including Clinton's own explanation of why she wanted her emails kept private.
After 14 months of public scrutiny and skepticism over Clinton's motives in keeping her State Department emails secret, new questions emerged Thursday.
They centered on her apparent failure to turn over a November 2010 email in which she worried that her personal messages could become accessible to outsiders, along with two other messages from 2011 that divulged possible security weaknesses in the private email system she used throughout her term as secretary of state.
The Clinton campaign has previously denied that her home server was breached, but newly revealed emails show aides worried it could have been compromised.
The existence of these previously unreleased messages — which appear to have been found among electronic files of four former top Clinton State Department aides — renews concerns that Clinton was not completely forthcoming when she turned over a trove of 55,000 pages of work-related emails. "I have turned over all my emails," Clinton said late Wednesday in an interview with Univision's Los Angeles affiliate. "No one else can say that."
NYT ON OIG REPORT: “Hillary Clinton, Drowning In Email.” The New York Times editorializes: Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the presidency just got harder with the release of the State Department inspector general’s finding that “significant security risks” were posed by her decision to use a private email server for personal and official business while she was secretary of state.
Contrary to Mrs. Clinton’s claims that the department had “allowed” the arrangement, the inspector general also found that she had not sought or received approval to use the server.
But above and beyond security questions, the inspector general’s report is certain to fuel doubts about Mrs. Clinton’s trustworthiness, lately measured as a significant problem for her in public polls.
This defensive posture seems at play in the email controversy, as well as her refusal, for that matter, to release the lucrative speeches she made to Wall Street audiences.
The reflex she is revealing again now — to hunker down when challenged — is likely to make her seem less personable to many voters, and it will surely inflame critics’ charges of an underlying arrogance.
In New Hampshire, the state’s largest newspaper is blasting Hillary Clinton over the recent OIG report that exposed her lies about her use of a secret email server to conduct government business.
The Union Leader editorializes: This week’s report from the State Department Office of Inspector General will make it harder for apologists to explain away the Clinton email fiasco, but they’ll keep trying.
The internal investigation shows that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton never bothered to get approval to conduct official business using a personal email address, and that staffers felt pressured to shut up about their security concerns.
Clinton’s defenders point out that past secretaries also used personal email addresses, and the OIG report finds “longstanding, systematic weaknesses” with State’s handling of electronic records.
But that does not excuse Clinton’s unprecedented decision to set up her own server, her failure to seek approval for her email chicanery, or her refusal to cooperate with the State Department’s investigation.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Trump Has Officially Clinched the GOP Nomination

By Christine Rousselle

The Associated Press is reporting that Donald Trump has reached the number of delegates, 1,237, needed to officially clinch the Republican nomination for president.

Trump has been the presumptive GOP nominee since May 4, when John Kasich dropped out of the race.

State Department IG Finds Hillary Clinton Violated Government Records Act and Refused to Speak to Investigators

By Andrew C. McCarthy
Politico reports that the State Department inspector general has concluded that Hillary Clinton violated State’s recordkeeping protocols. The finding is contained in a much anticipated report provided to Congress today.
Significantly, the report also reveals that Clinton and her top aides at State — Cheryl Mills, Jake Sullivan, Huma Abedin, and possibly others — refused to cooperate with the IG’s investigation despite the IG’s requests that they submit to interviews.
The report is devastating, although it transparently strains to soften the blow. For example, it concludes that State’s “longstanding systemic weaknesses” in recordkeeping “go well beyond the tenure of any one Secretary of State.” Yet, it cannot avoid finding that Clinton’s misconduct is singular in that she, unlike her predecessors, systematically used private e-mail for the purpose of evading recordkeeping requirements.
“Secretary Clinton should have preserved any Federal records she created and received on her personal account by printing and filing those records with the related files in the Office of the Secretary,” the report states. By failing to do so, and compounding that dereliction with a failure to “surrender[] all emails dealing with Department business before leaving government service,” Clinton, the IG finds, “did not comply with the Department’s policies.”
This articulation of Mrs. Clinton’s offense is also sugar-coated. By saying Clinton violated “policies,” the IG avoids concluding that she violated the law. But the IG adds enough that we can connect the dots ourselves. The “policies,” he elaborates, “were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act.” To violate the policies — as Shannen Coffin has explained here at National Review — is to violate the law.
The IG report elucidates that Clinton and her aides knew this to be the case.
Politico notes: The report states that its findings are based on interviews with current Secretary of State John Kerry and his predecessors — Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, but that Clinton and her deputies declined the IG’s requests for interviews.
Cheryl Mills, Jake Sullivan, and Huma Abedin are among those who did not cooperate with the investigation.
The importance of this goes unstated but we can connect the dots. When a government official or former government official refuses to answer questions in a formal government investigation into potential wrongdoing, this in effect is the assertion of a legal privilege not to speak — otherwise, there is no valid reason not to cooperate.
So what conceivable legal privilege do Clinton, Mills, Sullivan, and Abedin have that would allow them to refuse to answer investigators’ questions? Only one: the Fifth Amendment privilege — i.e., the refusal to answer on the grounds that truthful responses might be incriminating.
I foreshadowed this a few days back in a column, surmising that Ms. Mills must have gotten some form of immunity in exchange for agreeing to be interviewed by the FBI and federal prosecutors:
Earlier this year, a State Department inspector general (IG) issued a report regarding the department’s appalling record of non-compliance with FOIA during Clinton’s tenure. It noted that Mills was well aware that Clinton’s e-mails circumvented State’s filing system and therefore were not searched in order to determine whether some were responsive to FOIA requests.
This was a violation of federal law, which requires each government agency to undertake a search that is “reasonably calculated to uncover all relevant documents.” (See Report at p. 8 & n.29 and pp. 14-15.) Mills not only failed to ensure that such a search was done; she knowingly allowed the State Department to represent — falsely, it turned out — that it possessed no responsive documents.
We now know that, when IG investigators attempted to question Mills to ascertain why she did that, she told them, through her lawyer, that she refused to speak with them. (See January 27, 2016, letter of Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Charles Grassley (R., Iowa) to Secretary of State John F. Kerry.)
She had good reason to take that position: Obstructing an agency’s lawful compliance with a FOIA request could constitute a felony. For present purposes, though, the point is that Mills’s refusal to cooperate with the State Department IG suggests she has concerns about potential criminal jeopardy. It thus seems highly unlikely that she consented to an interview by FBI agents conducting a criminal investigation unless she was given some form of immunity. . . .
So was Mills given at least qualified immunity in exchange for answering the FBI’s questions?
The media was abuzz a few months back when it emerged that Brian Pagliano, the old Clinton hand who was placed on the State Department payroll to service Hillary’s homebrew server, had been given immunity for prosecution in exchange for cooperating with the FBI. Why was it such a big story? Because the conferral of immunity implied that Pagliano believed he’d be incriminating himself if he cooperated with investigators.
Well . . . what are we to make of the refusal by Clinton, Mills, Sullivan, and Abedin to cooperate with the Obama State Department IG?
What are we to make of Mrs. Clinton’s public posturing that of course she is prepared to cooperate — and encourages her subordinates to cooperate — with government investigators?
And how is a former high government official who systematically evaded federal records requirements and then refused to cooperate with a government investigation into that evasion conceivably fit to be president of the United States?



The Wall Street Journal
The State IG finds she knew the security risks she was taking.

·  | Opinion

Hillary Clinton has said for more than a year that her use of a private email server as Secretary of State violated no federal rules and posed no security risk. Only the gullible believed that, and now everyone has proof of her deceptions in a scathing report from State Department Inspector General Steve Linick.
The report obtained by news outlets Wednesday is ostensibly an audit of the email practices of five secretaries of State. But the majority of the report, and the most withering criticism, focuses on Mrs. Clinton. The IG concludes that the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee broke federal record-keeping rules, never received permission for her off-grid server, ignored security concerns raised by other officials, and employed a staff that flouted the rules with the same disdain she did.
“Secretary Clinton should have preserved any Federal records she created and received on her personal account by printing and filing those records with the related files in the Office of the Secretary,” says the report. “At a minimum, Secretary Clinton should have surrendered all emails dealing with Department business before leaving government service and, because she did not do so, she did not comply with the Department’s policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act.”
State still has never received emails from her private account for the first six weeks after she became Secretary, and the IG notes that it found (by other means) business-related emails that Mrs. Clinton did not include among the emails she has turned over.
The report says she has also stonewalled requests to obtain her server. And “through her counsel, Secretary Clinton declined [the IG’s] request for an interview.” Former Secretaries Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and current Secretary John Kerry all sat for interviews.
Mrs. Clinton’s staff abetted her bad practices. The report says the IG “learned of extensive use of personal email accounts by four immediate staff members (none of whom responded to the questionnaire). . . . The material consists of nearly 72,000 pages in hard copy and more than 7.5 gigabytes of electronic data. One of the staff submitted 9,585 emails spanning January 22, 2009 to February 24, 2013, averaging 9 emails per workday sent on a personal email account.”
The IG—who had better hire a food-taster—also found that Mrs. Clinton neither sought nor received permission for her private communications. The former Secretary also understood the security risks this posed because she was warned several times.
In March 2011 the Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security sent Mrs. Clinton a memorandum that warned of a “dramatic increase” in attempts by “cyber actors to compromise the private home e-mail accounts of senior Department officials,” with an eye toward “technical surveillance and possible blackmail.”
Following that memo, security staff twice briefed Mrs. Clinton’s immediate staff on this threat. A June 2011 cable, sent over Mrs. Clinton’s name to all diplomatic and consular posts, warned of this new threat to home accounts, as well as the news that Google had reported cyber attacks on the Gmail accounts of U.S. government employees. Mrs. Clinton and her staff ignored her own warnings.
One official suggested State set up a stand-alone computer for Mrs. Clinton in her office to check the Internet and private email. That never happened. A different official suggested she have two mobile devices—one for personal use and one with a “State Department email account” that would “be subject to [Freedom of Information Act] requests.” Her team said no.
As for Mrs. Clinton’s claim that her private account was secure, the report cites several instances of techies shutting down her server due to hacking concerns. “Notification is required when a user suspects compromise of, among other things, a personally owned device containing personally identifiable information,” says the report. But the IG says it found “no evidence” that Mrs. Clinton or her staff filed such reports.
The Clinton campaign is resorting to its familiar strategy of calling this old news while saying everybody does it because Mr. Powell also failed to keep records of private email while he was in office. “GOP will attack HRC because she is running for President, but IG report makes clear her personal email use was not unique at State Dept,” tweeted Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon. But Mr. Powell’s use of private email was limited, and he never set up an unsecure server in his home.
All of this should bear on the FBI’s email probe and whether Mrs. Clinton understood the security risks she was running. On the IG’s extensive evidence, she clearly did—and then she lied about it. Voters should understand that this is precisely the kind of governance Mrs. Clinton would return to the White House.