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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

"Overclassification Run Amok"

Category: Hillary Clinton
Posted: 01/30/16 03:03

by Dave Mindeman

Those e-mails are back!

Hillary Clinton's e-mails have been the most scrutinized private communication since the invention of spam.

And today's "revelation" has media outlets spinning their wheels to try and make something of it. What we have here is a list of 22 e-mails which refer to upgraded classified information.

The key to this continues to be that the subject of these e-mails were not classified material at the time....and frankly, are only classified now because the intelligence community thinks everything should be classified.

I think a Clinton spokeman, Brian Fallon, probably put it correctly:

"This appears to be overclassification run amok."

The State Department was perfectly comfortable with releasing the information, but the CIA or NSA or some other clandestine operation decided some obscure link might be made to something that is actually classified. So to lock it all up, they upgraded the classification to Top Secret.

We will never know, of course, because now it is sealed up in the spy vault. And, of course, that leaves everything to the fertile imagination of the Republicans and all of their ongoing conspiracy theories.

I have wondered about what is involved with this private server. But the things that have come out have been largely benign personal messages. But out of the thousands and thousands of pages, darn little has even come close to being considered any kind of security risk. And those that are, such as these 22 discussed today, are being classified retroactively. Nobody has ever remotely suggested that any classified material of that time period was ever released, intentionally or inadvertently.

Secretary Clinton probably should not have had a private server involved. She did it for convenience and that is actually understandable, but still not wise. But, as for this idea, that the private server was somehow more dangerous than a regular state department server for being hacked into, well, that was kind of debunked today. An analyst revealed that the state department servers do not have extra security protocols and have just about as much potential for hacking as a private server...and nobody knew about Clinton's private one to find.

Today was supposed to be the last release of the Clinton private e-mail cache. But the State Department has requested one more month because of all the interdepartment scrutiny that has overtaken any kind of simple release.

For her part, Secretary Clinton has requested that today's classification be reviewed for release of these particular e-mails, but in the hands of the intelligence bureaucracy, that is unlikely to happen. So her critics are free to speculate in any way they wish as to what is contained in those reclassified documents.

They can be safely placed in the archive dump...never to be seen again, except in some new conspiracy diatribe.

I know that Hillary Clinton is a complicated political figure. Her every move or gesture is scrutinized to absurd degrees. People complain that she comes off as calculating and aloof - well, given the degree of examination she must endure, that sounds like a wise way to behave in the political sense.

I have watched this e-mail issue unfold...months - nearly a year in the making. There is no scandal. And if the FBI was going to indict her for anything, they most certainly should have done so by now.

Some people have said that today's e-mail news was politically motivated, but given the fact that the State Department has released what they can on a monthly basis and always at the end of the month makes this just another part of the ongoing document release. It was supposed to be over today, but "overclassification run amok" has pushed them into one more release in February.

It has come to the point, as one person put it, you can read whatever you want into these e-mails. It depends on what you want to see.

As they say, there is no there, there.
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Hillary Clinton Goes Deeper On Criminal Justice System

Category: Hillary Clinton
Posted: 04/30/15 09:20

by Dave Mindeman

I understand some of the hesitation by progressives about Hillary Clinton when it comes to the TPP and foreign policy, but one thing she is demonstrating on recent events is an understanding of the deeper issue.

While most Republicans focus on the street clashes, Hillary's recent speech went deeper into the root causes.

I have a long running concern with the inequity in the criminal justice system. African Americans have every right to be concerned about how they are treated by police, because the entire criminal justice system, is quite frankly, deeply flawed.

A major theme throughout Clinton's speech was the shocking incarceration rates of African Americans in the United States. Clinton mentioned this just after she said the country has to face some "hard truths" about race in America. "There is something profoundly wrong when African-American men are still far more likely to be stopped and searched by police, charged with crimes, and sentenced to longer prison terms than are meted out to their white counterparts," Clinton said.

Just look at some of the facts....

Nationwide, African-Americans represent 26% of juvenile arrests, 44% of youth who are detained, 46% of the youth who are judicially waived to criminal court, and 58% of the youth admitted to state prisons (Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice).

African Americans now constitute nearly 1 million of the total 2.3 million incarcerated population.

African Americans are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites.

One in six black men had been incarcerated as of 2001. If current trends continue, one in three black males born today can expect to spend time in prison during his lifetime

Those are incredible numbers. And while some of it can be traced to a larger portion of African-Americans living in poverty, that still cannot explain the huge disparities these numbers represent.

There is a deep seeded prejudice involved, but we can't begin to address that until we fix the legal system that exacerbates the problem.

Hillary Clinton is willing to demand body cameras and an end to the militarization of police. I think she will also work to change the laws that have clearly become outdated in regards to drugs and non-violent offenders.

Ferguson, New York, and Baltimore are just the tip of the iceberg...and we need to have candidates with the political will to tackle the portion of the iceberg we refuse to see.
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Hillary Clinton Leading The Charge Against Citizens United?

Category: Hillary Clinton
Posted: 04/16/15 09:32

by Dave Mindeman

Whatever you think about Hillary Clinton's candidacy or on what scale her progressive tendencies lie....we should all take notice regarding a policy statement she made yesterday.

In outlining her "four big fights" for the 2016 campaign, this one has been getting particular attention:

Third: "And we need to fix the dysfunctional political system and get unaccountable money out of it once and for all, even if that takes a constitutional amendment," she said, breaking some policy ground for her.

That is a big deal. I don't know if some wonky pollster decided that this would make a good campaign theme. I don't know if she is just giving lip service to it while building huge campaign coffers.

Actually I don't care about the motive. The fact is, dark money will finally get an actually hearing in the public debate. If Hillary Clinton follows through and makes this a theme of her campaign, then it will force the topic to be discussed in every political venue in the country.

And that has enormous value.

This "unaccountable money" is the secret money given to PAC's that meet certain FEC guidelines that allow them to keep their donors secret. This crosses any kind of normal line that gives money "free speech" protection and yet, the Supreme Court has condoned it.

Ms. Clinton may be putting this out there as a political stunt, but even if it is, the conversation is needed and she is allowing an opening for that to happen. Campaign Finance reform has been rolled back to the point of being utterly useless. Nobody is willing to take it on again...as McCain-Feingold did during the past decade. But if we can have a national debate regarding this, there is the possibility of building momentum for a Constitutional Amendment which would end this practice once and for all.

I have purposely questioned Hillary's motives in this post because I know there are many who will make that charge. But I believe this is a sincere attempt, by her, to right a wrong in our political system. Ms. Clinton knows first hand how dark money can be used for senseless and endless attacks on any candidate or cause.

If the conversation gets widespread enough, this could be the avenue where we can end "Citizens United" forever.
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