Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Hillary Clinton’s Interview by the FBI / It was a farce, a comic play. My opinion…

Having done countless interviews and interrogations for the FBI, and later in my capacity as a Security Manager with a Fortune 100 company, I’m convinced that the Federal Bureau of Investigation ‘jumped in the tank’ on this investigation.  Harsh, you might say.  I don’t think so.  The reports of Hillary Clinton’s interview seem to show every indication that the FBI's interview was choreographed to cause Ms. Clinton the least possible inconvenience, and to create the best possible opportunity for her to rationalize past conduct involving her emails and her personal ‘server.’

First, let us establish a basis.  The FBI was involved in a massive criminal investigation that lasted months, involved numerous FBI Agents and outside experts, and cost the taxpayers millions of dollars.  The ‘subject’ of that investigation, the ‘suspect,’ was Hillary Clinton.  And, the culmination of that investigation was Hillary Clinton being interviewed for a little over three hours; and apparently one, two or three Agents wrote 302s summarizing their understanding of what took place and what was said during the interview.

Ms. Clinton had previously stated that the FBI inquiry was little more than a “security review;” a characterization to which FBI Director James Comey strongly objected.  However, as it turned out that was exactly what the FBI accomplished – a ‘security review’ of the State Department’s dangerously inadequate procedures in handling ‘classified’ and other sensitive documents.  With the primary offender being the US Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

So what is a FD 302 to which the FBI has often referred?  It’s been quite a few years now, but it sounds like the FBI has not progressed from that antiquated system.  It’s basically a blank sheet of paper.  The Principal Special Agent dictates his interview notes, and a stenographer types them up, corrects grammar and structural flaws (without theoretically changing the content), therefore giving the 302 a professional look.  The Agent dictating the 302 reads the finished product and signs it as accurate.  Other Agents that were present during the interview also sign the 302 as being accurate.

The interview format:  FBI Director Comey has stated five or six Agents participated in the interview of Clinton.  Yes, that’s hard to believe.  But, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.  OK, we’d have approximately six Agents, Hillary Clinton (of course) and she probably had two or three attorneys and/or staff people with her.  Reportedly, the FBI’s interview seems more like a get-together, a social gathering, a conclave, rather than an official, fact-finding interview.

Normally, there will be one principal Agent conducting the interview.  If two or more Agents are questioning a subject, it becomes too confusing and the interview begins to lose focus.  Perhaps the Clinton interview was compartmentally separated with Agents conducting their own segment.  But, this too can become very confusing; and usually obscures good follow-up questioning.  The principal interviewing Agent has to manage the interview and be thoroughly prepared.  He or she usually takes the notes because he already knows where they want to go with the interview.  And, he is, should be, the most informed investigator in the room.

Additionally, one Agent is assigned to do the ‘Interview Log.’  What this consists of is a time sheet including notations such as:  What time the interview began and what time it ended.  When breaks were taken and the nature of the break; were breaks taken to consult with attorneys, go to the bathroom, serve coffee, etc.

In HRC’s interview, I imagine that there was at least one assigned woman Special Agent present in the room – if for nothing else than to soften appearances.  The principal Agent would begin with introductions and then establish the foundation.  This might take 30 to 45 minutes – perhaps an hour.  The object being to create a comfortable atmosphere and to lay-out the general ground rules.

The interview:  After the principal Agent finishes his questioning, he would ask other Agents in the room for follow-up questions.  Follow-up questions usually develop other areas of interest based on the subject’s answers and the need for clarification.  In an important case like this, the principal Agent probably would require a private meeting with the other Agents in an adjacent office or conference room to discuss the interview’s progress and to garner suggestions from the other Agents present.  In most instances, this private meeting would generate new areas of questioning that need to be explored in more detail.

Subsequent:  The principal Agent, utilizing his hand-written notes, would then dictate the findings of the interview.  The FBI used to have a ‘five day rule,’ which meant that the interview notes had to be transcribed within five days.

Now, let’s be clear, if this is what occurred in such a very short time (the alleged 3+ hours), the FBI Agents had to have been already briefed that there was to be no prosecution in the matter.  More importantly, they used this antiquated interview method to make sure that Clinton didn’t stumble and somehow throw a wrench into the previously decided decision.  The FBI was simply going through the motions – little more than a PR exercise.

What should the FBI have done?  At the very least, the FBI should have required a verbatim transcript.  Even better would have been a video and transcript.  Now, it’s my understanding that Clinton’s attorneys negotiated (demanded) the interview conditions, prior to the interview; and that there would be no transcript - a condition to which the FBI agreed.  In other words, Clinton’s attorneys and the FBI colluded to establish the least effective interview format; and the most beneficial format for Clinton.  What if Clinton had refused to be interviewed?  From an FBI standpoint that would be fine too.  They would simply refer their investigative results to the US Attorney with the postscript that the subject (Hillary Clinton) refused to be interviewed.  This can also be an indication of guilt when a subject refuses to be interviewed.

Duration:  I’ve undergone depositions, involving civil matters on investigations that I had conducted (civil and criminal matters which were infinitely less complex than the Hillary matter) that lasted more than a day.  Every answer, every word, was transcribed.  If I misstated or embellished under oath that would have subsequently been used against me in court to diminish or destroy my testimony.  This is mentioned to show contrast with the FBI’s ‘hit and run’ interview of Clinton.

Hillary Clinton is an attorney.  She is a master of obfuscation and evasion.  Her attorneys, as is there custom, would object during the interview and ask to confer privately with Clinton.  With breaks and attorney conferences outside the interview room, I would guess Hillary’s interview lasted no more than an hour – if that.

My advice to any Congressional Review Panel evaluating the quality, findings and conclusions of this FBI interview would be to request all hand-written notes completed by Agents, as well as the ‘Interview Log.’  This would be a pretty good indication of how thorough the interview was.  Or should I say that it would probably confirm what most current and former FBI Agents already know.

Yes indeed folks, politics talks and justice walks.

True Nelson

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Presidential Race 2016 / Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton / Day 3 & 4 / Democratic Convention / Part 5

Well, I’m going to wrap this up.  I’m losing steam and quite frankly I’ve lost interest.  The Presidential Conventions are over.  Now, it’s head to head, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.  The Presidential debates could be entertaining.

Just some quick thoughts…

Senator Tim Caine, designated VP for Hillary Clinton, gave kind of a strange ‘acceptance’ speech – trying to mock Donald Trump with the “believe me” line which he used over and over.  It got real tiresome, even embarrassing.  First impression of him is that he isn’t much of a public speaker.  However, he and his wife have a son in the Marines; and that’s a positive as far as I’m concerned.  Too many politicians talk tough, but want to send someone else’s sons and daughters to do the heavy lifting, you know the dangerous stuff.

I heard most of Hillary Clinton’s speech.  I thought she did, presentation-wise, pretty well.  The PBS News Hour staff of commentators seemed to give her about a ‘C’ – kind of average.  No comparison, they said, to Obama.

My thoughts about her speech:  Hillary promised something for everyone to include...  

Free college education for children of the middle class (that’s good for me, I can stop making contributions to my grandchildren’s 529 college plans);

She will expand Social Security benefits (whatever that means);

There will be a living wage and associated benefits for everyone to include child care and maternity leave – if you are working full time (apparently regardless of what type of ‘entry’ position you might have);

There will be massive infrastructure programs - jobs for everyone – good jobs (and, yes ladies and gentlemen, you have heard that one before / remember Obama's shovel-ready promises);

She doesn’t plan to “abolish the Second Amendment” or take our guns away (that’s good, but not sure why she needed to say it – that’s not going to happen as far as I’m concerned) - elaborating on the subject, she said she just doesn’t want guns to get in the hands of criminals (OK, I’m on board with that one – let’s enforce current gun laws);

She practically said that she would pursue amnesty for illegal immigrants and that more would be on the way (brace yourself young folks – especially those needing a job – illegal immigrants will gladly work harder and longer hours then you are prepared to do – and Republican business owners are smiling at the prospect / furthermore, Democrats are smiling about the grateful wave of new Democratic voters moving north to the U.S. - it's a win - win situation - at you young folks expense.)

But, there is no need to worry about how much this will cost because Hillary said the top one percent of the wealthy, plus corporations and ‘Wall Street’ will be picking up the tab for all of this (and, she said it with a straight face – good luck with that one).

Note:  For those recent college graduates who probably don’t know this – corporations don’t actually pay taxes.  People pay taxes.  Any tax placed on a corporation is simply passed on to whoever (or is it whomever) is purchasing their product – yes, young grads, that would be all of us – including you, when and if you get a job.  Additionally, you should know that if a corporation or business can’t pass along the tax (the extra overhead) they go out of business.  That is known as Capitalism.

True Nelson

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Presidential Race 2016 / Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton / Day 2 Democratic Convention / Bill's Life with Hillary / Part 4

I didn’t watch much of the convention yesterday evening; but I did listen to William Jefferson Clinton.  Yes, the old wizard is a pretty good speaker.  He told the story of his wonderful life with his amazing wife Hillary Clinton.  I think most would agree that Bill spread it on a little thick.

Remember, I said the Trump family reminded me of the motion picture, The Stepford Wives (The Stepford Family).  Well, Hillary and Bill remind me of Francis Underwood and his wife, Claire (House of Cards).  Remorseless political ambition.

If you have been living in a cave (with no TV or radio) for the last twenty years or so , you might not know the back story; and, at this point, I suppose there is no real point in attempting to reiterate same.  However...

There was a noteworthy, recent exchange between Jesse Watters and Leslie Marshall – just for the sake of context.

Jesse Watters “is an interviewer at Fox News. He frequently appears on the O'Reilly Factor and is known for his on-the-street interviews, featured in his segment of the show, ‘Watters' World’.”

Leslie Marshall “has been a liberal radio talk host since 1988 and a commentator on national television since 2001. Leslie became the youngest person ever to be nationally syndicated on radio when she replaced Tom Snyder on the ABC Satellite Radio Network in 1992. She was also the first woman to host an issues oriented program nationwide. Leslie is a Muslim. Her physician husband and his family are Muslims. Leslie converted to Islam and that is undoubtedly the basis for her pro-Muslim stance. She goes to great lengths to keep this fact hidden when she appears on TV.”

The following is an exchange from the program:  ‘The O’Reilly Factor.’

Watters asked Marshall whether or not former President Bill Clinton has abused women, but she was left momentarily speechless before she was able to give an answer.

"I think your silence says a lot," Watters said.

But Marshall shot back, "No, I wanted to be very clear because I wanted to think about Monica - although consensual, she was young. I wouldn't say abuse - taken advantage of? Yes. Abused? No."

Watters listed off the facts, "Two women have accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault. Another woman sued Clinton for defamation because he allegedly smeared her after an affair, and, you know as you said, he did prey on a young intern while at work. And he did use state troopers while at office to arrange the relationships. And then we know that he used his political attack machine to go after whistleblowers of the women who accused him of doing the wrong thing. It looks like there is a track record of being very aggressive with women and then using political power to then cover it up and smear. Am I wrong," Watters asked.

Marshall responded, "I missed the part where Bill Clinton's running again. He's already served two terms. His wife is running."

True Nelson

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Presidential Race 2016 / Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton / Democratic Convention / The "Love" Theme / Part 3

Day One of the Democratic Convention was completed.  The biggest issue was Bernie Sanders’ supporters not about to leave with a whimper.  They booed and demonstrated over the news that the Democratic National Committee (headed by Debbie Wasserman Schultz) attempted to ‘rig’ the primary – perhaps actually did ‘rig’ the primary, in favor of Hillary Clinton.  Shouts were heard by Bernie Sanders’ followers like "lock her up;" in apparent reference to the FBI’s questionable investigation into the Hillary email scandal.  Wow – some way to start off a Presidential run.

Michelle Obama gave a good speech during which she threw her ‘whole-hearted’ support to Hillary Clinton; interesting because it has been reported that neither she, nor her husband, particularly like Hillary.  That’s politics I suppose.  And, due to some of Donald Trump’s statements about President Obama, Michelle’s endorsement of Hillary seemed entirely understandable.

I have never heard a complete speech by Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren before last night – both are compelling speakers – crowd seemed to love it.  Corey Booker, U.S. Senator from New Jersey, made a good speech – and had the crowd on their feet.

Regarding the various speeches’ content – just my opinion.  The overriding theme seemed to be ‘love,’ which they mentioned innumerable times.  OK, we the low-information voters, get it.  Love thy neighbor.  It’s in the 'good book.'  Personally, I think ‘respect,’ should come before ‘love,’ that’s how most relationships begin.  And again, just my experience, I’ve seen a lot of the underbelly of our population; and it’s hard to respect someone who doesn’t respect themselves.

Americans have been shown to be the most generous people in the history of the world, but we can only do so much.  I never heard that mentioned by the Democratic speakers.  The ‘love’ theme is a throw-back to the ‘hippie era.’  And, yes, I’ve worked the mean streets of Oakland and Berkeley during that era – and I hope that’s not where we are headed.  The hard-working folks in this country can’t afford to revisit that wasted generation.

There wasn't much talk about ‘leadership;’ more about give-away programs, free college, expanding Medicare, expanding Social Security Benefits, with a brief mention of an expanded national infrastructure, etc.  The U.S. is presently 19 trillion dollars in debt.  Obama has increased the National Debt by about eight trillion.  It appears more debt is on the way.  When does it stop?  And, when it does stop, what will that look like?  It won’t be pretty, that’s for sure.

I suppose more taxes are the answer; but did you notice there was no mention of simplifying the tax code – so that everyone will understand who is paying what.

Taxes:  Let’s see.  We could identify the 25 wealthiest people in the U.S. and take 50% of their money.  They could still live quite comfortably.  But, that won’t cover it.  How about the 100 richest, or 1000 richest; but nope that won’t cover it either.  To keep us out of further debt, the ‘middle class,’ will have to pony-up as usual.  The middle class will tighten their belts.  The rich will do what the rich have always done.  Not sure exactly what that is – I’ve never been rich.

The bottom line is:  This election is probably not my problem.  I was reading an article in Money Magazine.  Did you know that if you’re a man who just turned seventy, your chance of living two more decades is less than one in five?  So, I figure, if I can squeak- by and make it to 80 or 85, Social Security should still be solvent - at least until then.  For the rest of you, all I can say is ‘good luck.’

True Nelson

PS:  Just wondering - must have missed it - who was the babe sitting next to Bill in the Executive Box?

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Democratic National Committee's Computer System 'Hacked' by Russian Operatives / Why? / I'll give you a reason you might not have considered.

Interesting development in the news:  The Democratic National Committee’s computer system was ‘hacked’ allegedly by Russian operatives who are now releasing numerous obtained communications via Wikileaks.  These released emails reportedly show that the DNC was covertly trying to sink Bernie Sanders’ Primary campaign.  This was long suspected by the Bernie Sanders’ campaign organization.  Recently, Debbie Wasserman Schultz (DNC Chairperson) was fired – obviously organizational crisis control.  But, that’s not what I want to discuss.

Hillary Clinton’s Presidential Campaign staff are now trying to spin this new development, and to use it against Donald Trump.  They say that Russian Premier Vladimir Putin, or operatives close to him, are behind this; and that Putin is trying to discredit Hillary and the Democratic Party – therefore influencing the U.S. Presidential election in favor of Donald Trump.  I really doubt that.

Consider this:

Putin has dealt with Hillary Clinton and knows her quite well; but does not know Donald Trump.  Why would Putin try to influence an election in favor of Trump – an unknown entity?  And, do you actually believe that Hillary causes particular concern for Putin?  He probably believes that dealing with Hillary will be much the same as dealing with Barrack Obama – and he is probably fairly comfortable with that arrangement.

Consider this:

If the Russians are responsible for the ‘hack’ of the DNC’s internet system, could the information released by them to Wikileaks be a latent message to Clinton that they have also ‘hacked’ her private email server; and have information on her that could be embarrassing – possibly even cause her subsequent impeachment.  Let’s be honest, most of us now believe that Hillary will be the next President.  Putin also probably believes that Hillary will be the next President.

But, you might ask:  Why now?  Because it is timely and deviously clever.  Down the road, when they (President Hillary Clinton and Putin) meet, he could let her know, or intimate, that they share a secret about emails; and that private servers can, and often are, easily compromised.  Message:  Quid Pro Quo.

Finally:  If the Russians could ‘hack’ the DNC computer system, why couldn’t they ‘hack’ Hillary’s private server?  There were probably innumerable emails, back and forth, between Hillary’s private server and the DNC.  The Russians would know where to look.  Any intelligence service would put the full court press on this opportunity.  Our CIA would.  The Russians, without doubt, would too.

True Nelson

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Presidential Race 2016 / Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton / Republican Convention Thoughts / Show Biz? (Part 2)

The Republican Convention and the official nomination of Donald Trump was completed Thursday night.  I listened to the entire Trump acceptance speech which ran nearly eighty minutes.  Although the microphone system seemed to be quite adequate, Trump was shouting /yelling most of the eighty minutes.  He did pause periodically to encourage the crowd with various chants; and would occasionally pivot ninety degrees to show his profile and determined, resolute countenance – seemed a little phony to me, but that’s show biz.  I was glad I was sitting in a comfortable recliner rather than being on the convention floor.  I thought he’d never stop.  Trump’s speech was way too long.  He covered a lot of bases.  Some of his goals, I agree with.  Some goals outlined seemed impractical, but perhaps worthy of an attempt.  But as someone later said (and I tend to agree), ‘Right message, but probably the wrong messenger.’  Trump stuck to his teleprompter for the most part, and it wasn’t a bad speech.  The crowd seemed to love it.

Trump repeatedly praised, in various ways, military veterans, said how they need to honored.  But, it sounded a little hollow after the way he had previously ridiculed the military service of John McCain.

Let’s see, what else?  The Trump family gave one speech after another; and to tell the truth, they were all pretty good.  But, it reminded me of that old movie, The Stepford Wives; but, in this case, it was the Stepford Family – beautiful, squeaky clean, and compliant – an illusion I’m sure.

Mike Pence was selected as Trump’s running-mate.  He is the Governor of Indiana.  He gave a very good speech – seems like a nice guy; and even has a normal looking family.  His son is a Marine, Second Lieutenant.  It’s unusual for a politician to have a son or daughter in the military.  In my book that is a positive aspect in the Mike Pence story.

Ted Cruz gave a speech and I caught part of it.  Why he appeared at the convention after Trump had previously insulted him, his wife and his father on numerous occasions, I do not know.  Any real man, in my opinion, would have punched Trump in the face or challenged him to a duel (oh the good ole days when men were men); but certainly not appeared at the Trump convention even to offer lukewarm support.  It only goes to show that you have to eat a lot of s—t for a career in politics.  Senator Cruz, come on, wife and family first, then politics.

Compliments should be given to the Cleveland Police Department, and the other law enforcement agencies that assisted.  The police kept a lid on everything, which I’m sure was no easy task – in view of the current climate in this country – including the recent, cowardly murders of police officers.  I think everyone was expecting some serious conflicts, if not riots; but nothing major happened.

In summary, I’m still undecided if I will vote in this election.  But, I’m starting to believe that Trump has an outside chance of being our next President.  The polls now seem to favor Hillary Clinton.  However, I think the U.S. may be potentially nearing a backlash vote similar to what the U.K. just experienced with Brexit.  We’ll see.  World affairs and terrorist attacks will have a lot to do with the Presidential outcome.

To be continued...

True Nelson

Friday, July 22, 2016

Presidential Race 2016 / Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton / So much talk. Why should I even bother? (Part 1)

I understand the offered wisdom from friends, acquaintances, as well as many of the ‘pundits’ (you know the media guys and gals who know everything) is to vote.  If necessary, ‘vote for the one you dislike the least,’ but still vote.  OK, I get that.  But, this is for the President of the United States, not the local school board.  Too bad they never put ‘none of the above’ on ballots.  It would give many of us a chance to express our actual point of view.  Well, I’m going to give you my opinion – although no one asked; and darn few will actually read this – fewer will care.

You see, it’s about my grandchildren (very young) and great-grandchildren (not yet born).  This election is potentially an unusually historic time in American history; one for the books.  Historians will study this election for decades, maybe centuries.  This election could be considered to be an election like no other.  The potential implications for all our futures could be, probably will be, significant.  I’d like my grandchildren and my great-grandchildren to know what I thought.  Hopefully, somehow, this will be saved for them – perhaps unlikely, but there is that possibility.  But, understand, this is not going to be some clich├ęd dissertation on preserving the sanctity of their future.  This is about communication – me to them.

I have often considered that I know so little about what my grandparents’ thought about anything.  And, at this stage in my life, it kind of bothers me.  I don’t know if my grandparents were particularly religious or not.  I don’t know what they really thought about politics, parenting, relationships, music, almost anything – except the very basics of life:  work, eat, a roof over their heads, and the ordinary human comforts of life.  I don’t know if they ever voted.  I don’t know much about their early life – only a few things.  I don’t even know much about what they thought about me.

My grandparents, on my mother’s side, I knew quite well – sort of.  My parents and I spent several years living with my grandparents while I was in grade school.  Later they lived across the street; and, subsequent to that, always in the same town until their deaths.  What was my grandfather like?  He spoke little and worked hard on the small farm he had for many years.  He could be cross with me, but never raised his voice.  He sometimes showed a kindly nature, even instructive to me (particularly about animals and farming); and at other times he was downright mean, but never in a physical sense.  It was the small things I remember.  “You’re in my chair – get up and sit somewhere else.”  “Don’t bother the pigs or the calves.”  “Go feed the chickens – do something worthwhile with your time.”  “You and your friends go play somewhere else.”  Often times, when my grandmother, ‘Ma,’ heard those comments from ‘Pa,’ she quickly chastised him.  It might be something like, “Just leave the boy alone and go do something constructive.”  My grandfather never talked back.  He just headed for the barn.

My grandfather came from a family of seventeen brothers and sisters.  According to my grandmother, who knew all about his family, my grandfather’s father, my great-grandfather, was a despicable and cruel individual.  Kids were expected to work, and work hard, from a very early age – or pack-up their few belongings and get the hell out.  As a result, my grandfather had little in the way of what we might now consider to be a childhood.

My grandparents had many hard times – some of those times were told to me as lessons in how unfair and difficult life can be; how they lost their farm in Wisconsin and had to move West to work in the shipyards during World War II; and how, just before they moved West, their beautiful eighteen-year-old daughter died of 'blood-poisoning' and that they didn’t have enough money to buy her a headstone.

My grandfather, on my father’s side, told me that he was ‘born under a rock,’ and didn’t want to talk about his past life.  For a small boy, the rock comment was memorable.  He died when I was about eight or nine.  I later learned that he left home at fourteen or fifteen, went to work in a logging camp, and never looked back.  His early adulthood was remarkable by hard work and hard living, excessive drinking, cussing and two or three marriages.  As a father, he was by all accounts, remote and showed little responsibility; as well as little interest in his sons and daughters.  As a grandfather, he seemed kind and interested in me, but was known to drink too much.  I had my first trip to a tavern when I was about six, accompanying my grandfather.  My mother made it clear to him that was never to ever happen again.

Why did I bring any of this up relative to the current election?  I suppose to show the contrast between then and now.  Life has become so leisurely for many of us (not everyone of course, but most of us) that we have nearly unlimited time to think about and discuss the so-called ‘important issues’ like what Presidential candidate do we dislike the least; and should we even bother to vote.  Friends can get downright testy about the issue.

And, for my grandchildren and my future great-grandchildren, so that they might not have to guess, I will tell them what I’m thinking about now.

To be continued…

True Nelson

PS:  In case you are wondering, the picture above is Ma and Pa on their wedding day - April 16, 1911.