Morning Ed: Society {2016.07.06.Th}

Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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220 Responses

  1. Damon says:

    Meritocracy? Seems to me, anecdotally, our society is descending into Idiocracy.Report

  2. Damon says:

    Bladerunner typeface. WAAAY to much geeking out for me. Although I did hear that the model creation on the set was obsessive in details.

    Spotafriend: so what’s to stop some pervo from registering as a kid and trolling for sexy pics of 18-19 year olds? Oh, and “friend” may mean something else to teens. Several years ago, I witness a 19 year old daughter explain her relationship to a guy. There weren’t BF/FG, they were “talking”, which seemed to be the equivalent. “Friend” could easily be “hooking up with”.

    People: OMG the horrors. If you didn’t want “Graying gardeners and aging hippies; Bernie-or-Bust types; millennial parents, tatted and pierced, shepherding toddlers with names like Arya” you should have taken down the damn thing. You knew who lived in the are.Report

  3. LeeEsq says:

    The two meritocracy articles and the teenage tinder story are strangely related. The elite universities in the United States are the ones with the highest percentage of self-reported virgins. There isn’t any real reason to assume this self-reporting isn’t accurate. The kids who got into the elite universities and will eventually join the meritocracy in some form did so because their parents were able to install a sense of delayed gratification and hard work into them or they naturally developed it themselves. You don’t get into Harvard or MIT by engaging in typical teenage activities or their more wilder cousins like the teenage tinder.

    The real danger of the meritocracy is that it would fall into the same fault pattern as any ruling class. They will simply confuse the national or international interest with their interest and assume whats good for them is good for everybody else. Before the franchise was extended in the United Kingdom and MPs had to be substantial property owners, because it was assumed to guarantee their independence, you had a similar situation.Report

    • Kim in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Are these “self-reported” on entry? Because there is significant reason to think that they’re lying after that. Particularly the “high achievers.”Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to Kim says:

        I knew you were going to respond to this. Even assuming that there is some lying going on, you don’t get into an elite university by not working hard. That tends to take out a lot of time for most recreational activities.Report

    • veronica d in reply to LeeEsq says:

      I think trying to “sum up” the mating habits (or lack of) of MIT “math nerd” types as “delayed gratification” is maybe missing much of the dynamic. It has as a lot to do with ADHD fueled hyper concentration plus a completely lack of social calibration. These folks (many of them) want to have sex. It’s just so fucking hard to make it work. On the other hand, spending 30 hours “down deep” on a math problem is easy and fun.

      (Math brains are not like other brains. They come with certain disadvantages, but I wouldn’t trade.)

      Contrastingly, the idea that these Harvard dudes aren’t having sex seems unbelievable to me. I’ve met them. I’ve seen them at the bars and clubs. They have sex.

      Do you have any links to this data? I know Scott Alexander talks about it, but mostly to grouse about the poor, sad nerd boys and how they can’t help but go redpill. (Yeah I know that’s not a fair summary of his gender stuff, but it’s not as if Scott has ever been fair to my concerns.)

      (Just a theory: I wonder if the kids at elite schools are more likely to be honest, in the sense that they know how statistics work. Plus they have a certain basic commitment to the value of empiricism and free inquiry, which are not concerns you would expect from those without education. I mean, I’m just making shit up at this point, but there are always confounders. A difference in behavior during the study seems plausible.)

      (I wonder how you could control for this?)

      Anyway, I’m not an MIT gal, but from where I sit in my cube farm I can see three MIT grads (among seven people). During breakfast this morning, I could gaze through the window and see the MIT campus. Anyway, around here, those guys are thick on the ground. Plus it’s intern season. I don’t know how many of our interns this year are MIT, but I bet it’s at least 15%. Likewise, local groups such as Haskell Meetup are full of MIT dudes. (I just started playing with Julia. I bet the Cambridge Julia Meetup is MIT-heavy. I shall see.) Furthermore, I’m part of the “scene” around here. My point is, I know plenty of folks from this crowd who find their way to “fetish space” or “poly space” and then nerd-out on sex. It’s pretty cool.

      I wish this culture existed when I was young and pretty. (Actually, it probably did, if I had lived in the right town. I grew up in the wrong town. Where I lived, there was a fetish scene, but it was not “accessible” to someone like me.)


      Anyway, trying to tie the “meritocracy” to how much sex people have seems — well — a bit off. I dunno. This feels like the wrong variable to look at.


      As an aside, did you know there was a Women’s and Gender Studies program at MIT? Pretty wacky, right? Recently I was hanging with one of the folks in the program. They were — well — very good at math. It was a curious experience, having a conversation that included keen insights on gender and culture combined with a commitment to empiricism and the math to back it up.

      Needless to say I admired this person very much.Report

      • Kim in reply to veronica d says:

        Yeah, meritocracy works better as a concept from MIT than from Harvard, and putting the two of them together muddles the issue.Report

        • veronica d in reply to Kim says:

          Well, math skills are easy to measure. But other skills?

          Like, I’ve met people during my career who I can out-math, like I’m in a league they can’t even understand, but who I respect boundlessly, cuz they got skills I don’t. These are “soft skills,” people skill, politics skills — these are the “people who make shit happen” skills.

          I’ve seen rooms full of nerds floundering around with the disparate nerd-interests, and I’ve seen a “make shit happen” person come along and get everything pointed in a good direction. When this happens, products ship.

          (I played that role once, but it was a very particular situation. I cannot do it in general.)

          So yeah. I’ve had managers who could “manage up” just as well “manage down,” and I’ve had managers who could do neither. The former can make a team sing. The latter — change jobs fast.

          I knew a “make shit happen” guy who just made shit happen in such odd ways — they didn’t put him in management, cuz that’s not the kinda shit he made happen, nor did they make him an engineer, cuz having him try to be like me would waste his talent. So they kinda invented a new role for him, where he could make shit happen all over the place. Some days he wrote code, which he could do well enough. Other days he played politics. Other days he just — I dunno. He did things. I don’t understand them. But he is among the most effective human beings I have ever encountered. If he was on your project — just this the best thing that could happen to your project.

          I loved working with this guy. He seemed to like working with me.

          My ex-wife has these talents. Like me, she didn’t attend university. But still, she “makes shit happen,” and now has a professional career in project management, with a specialization in marketing. She’s really fucking good at it and keeps getting promoted. She stays on top of shit. She notices details. Things that need to happen, she knows they need to happen, and when. Plus — and this is big — she knows how to talk to people in a way that 1) does not offend but 2) is nevertheless serious. I cannot do that for shit.

          I’m not sure what role classes at Harvard play in producing “makes shit happen” people. I suspect very little.

          Math nerds are math nerds. MIT is a cool social club for math nerds to nerd-out with other math nerds. Take away the school, we’ll just do it ourselves in our free time.

          (With less budget, of course. I’m not saying you can just replace the physics lab or the supercomputing center, or whatever, with do-it-yourself nerdhood. But I bet you’d get halfway.)

          (Plus I’m talking about now, the world where arXiv exists.)

          (The biotech stuff is something else entirely, I suspect.)

          But anyway, at this point in my life, all I really miss about not attending university is I never got to play with a supercomputer. Except now I kinda-sorta do, at least, a “data center” is a supercomputer of a sort.

          I’d still love to play with a “really actually” supercomputer. That would be fun.


          (I taught myself Julia last night, at least most of it. With a couple more days study, I could probably pass a Julia job interview. Anyway, yeah. If you like numerics, go learn Julia. DEATH TO SCIPY!)Report

          • Kim in reply to veronica d says:

            Pittsburgh has a supercomputer. Write out what you want to use the computer for, and you can get time (yes, it does cost money. not that much). If all else fails, just claim it’s for protein folding.

            Pittsburgh always seems to be looking for people who want to run projects on it. (last I checked, this was because it was slower than a lot of others).Report

            • veronica d in reply to Kim says:

              I could probably finagle some time across the street if I really wanted, should I have a good reason. Right now I’m mostly focusing on the types of problems I can solve using data-center-type-supercomuting. So anyway. Maybe someday.Report

      • Mo in reply to veronica d says:

        Contrastingly, the idea that these Harvard dudes aren’t having sex seems unbelievable to me. I’ve met them. I’ve seen them at the bars and clubs. They have sex.

        Selection bias.Report

        • Kim in reply to Mo says:

          Hence why I put quotes where I did.
          They self-select into certain sexual acts. These acts, being part of so-called secret societies, inevitably finger them as the “successful” people.Report

        • veronica d in reply to Mo says:

          @mo —

          Selection bias.

          Sure. Obviously. But does anyone have the stats? I imagine the students at Harvard vary in how much sex they have, but the notion that they lag behind college students in general, or they face the same difficulties as the MIT nerds, that seems unlikely.

          Numbers, numbers, numbers.

          I mean, I ran this:

          That doesn’t look like very high quality journalism to me. I suppose I could dig in. Or not. How much time do we want to spend on this question?


          But here’s my bigger point: I don’t actually care how often the students at various colleges get laid. That is not how we explore the nature of “meritocracy.”

          Let’s look at who gets in. Let’s look at networks. Let’s look at lifetime earnings.

          Fucking? Meh, whatever. At my age I’d rather get cuddles and a good backrub.Report

  4. LeeEsq says:

    Teenage Tinder, a lot could obviously go wrong. There isn’t anything that can really be done about it though. Some people are just wild. Wild might not be the best term but its what I could come up with. This isn’t a value judgment, its just that they want to live in the here and now and experience as much as possible. Some of them grow out of it and others of them do not. There isn’t really anything you can do about this. There were always and will always be humans that purposefully live on the edge even if its a bad idea or they are very young.Report

  5. Reformed Republican says:

    Regarding the interview with Colbert, it may have went badly, but at least he did not leave the interview only to find his truck on fire. A few months ago, this happened to some guy interviewing with a company that shares a building with ours. It was an exciting morning.Report

  6. Saul Degraw says:

    1. Last month, the Atlantic published an article on the War on Stupid People that argued that our belief in meritocracy is a prime causer of income inequality.

    “Rather than looking for ways to give the less intelligent a break, the successful and influential seem more determined than ever to freeze them out. The employment Web site Monster captures current hiring wisdom in its advice to managers, suggesting they look for candidates who, of course, “work hard” and are “ambitious” and “nice”—but who, first and foremost, are “smart.” To make sure they end up with such people, more and more companies are testing applicants on a range of skills, judgment, and knowledge. CEB, one of the world’s largest providers of hiring assessments, evaluates more than 40 million job applicants each year. The number of new hires who report having been tested nearly doubled from 2008 to 2013, says CEB. To be sure, many of these tests scrutinize personality and skills, rather than intelligence. But intelligence and cognitive-skills tests are popular and growing more so. In addition, many employers now ask applicants for SAT scores (whose correlation with IQ is well established); some companies screen out those whose scores don’t fall in the top 5 percent. Even the NFL gives potential draftees a test, the Wonderlic.”

    I am not sure this is fully right but there is something partially intriguing about it. College is not for everyone but I think we are plum out of answers for those who college is not for or were marginal calls on whether they should go to college or not. The problem is that in a democratic country, politicians can’t say “your lives are going to suck more.”

    2. Re Rent a Friend: I was once talking with Jason about shared housing start-ups that are now popping up in NY and SF. Jason theorized that these are indirect ways for paying to meet friends because the new houses also organize events and activities as opposed to finding a random roommate off of Craigslist.

    3. I did not miss out on alcohol in college but did miss out on sex and I am often in wonder about how much sex happened to people in college.Report

    • Kim in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      “I am often in wonder about how much sex happened to people in college.”
      If you replace sex with sexual assault, it may make more sense.Report

    • Morat20 in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Yeah, I was given IQ test of some sort for a job once. I was…rather surprised that’s what I was doing.

      I was so infuriated that what was SUPPOSED to be a face-to-face interview turned out to be a session with a machine that I didn’t even bother finishing it.

      I didn’t want to work for a company who thought a handful of logic problems and spatial recognition problems was somehow a good screening mechanism.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Morat20 says:

        I didn’t want to work for a company who thought a handful of logic problems and spatial recognition problems was somehow a good screening mechanism.

        They’re so artificial. A good problem-solving interview would be to lock the candidate in a room that starts to fill with water and see how long it takes him to find a way out. This also addresses the problem of what to do with the less intelligent.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      1. There are still lots of jobs available for people not college bound. Its just that they suck for a variety of reasons compared to the mid-20th century factory jobs for the most part. Trying to get policies through that will makes these jobs the equivalent of mid-20th century factory jobs is seemingly impossible and heavily debated.

      2. Rent a friend. There seems to be a big trend of people floundering in their social lives for a variety of reasons and other people having great social lives. Commercial services are appearing to make up for the floundering. Its not that the people who are having horrible or not good social lives are real misfits, many of them are basically average, but something or things are preventing social connection.Report

    • DavidTC in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Rather than looking for ways to give the less intelligent a break, the successful and influential seem more determined than ever to freeze them out.

      I rather suspect two things are going on here:

      One is just the general ‘We have been a buyer’s market at labor for so long that we have added nonsensical requirements to jobs’. Requiring people have a high IQ for jobs that really do require a degree is basically the same thing as require college degrees for jobs that don’t actually require degrees.

      When any market is tilted towards buyers for incredibly long periods of time, the buyers will start putting absurd and unreasonable demands on sellers, because there is no reason not to.

      The second, of course, is the ‘meritocracy’ thing, but it’s more that people want to *see* themselves as smart, so of course anyone who capable of working with them has to be smart…which the they make sure of by literally not hiring dumb people to work with them.

      Of course, if you actually take this at face value, what this *actually* proves is that hiring managers and whatnot *cannot tell how smart people* are and are kinda dumb themselves.

      ‘Hi, I’m incapable of judging whether or not you can do the job we’re thinking of hiring you for. I.e., I’m incapable of doing the thing that is literally my job. So I have had my company purchase this test from someone else to do my job for me, rendering me no more than a scantron machine. Of course, success at the job we’re considering you for doesn’t actually correlate to high intelligence at all, so this was, perhaps, a really poor choice for a hiring filter and I shouldn’t have selected it, but I believe we have *already* determined I’m not any good at my job.’

      Someone should start pointing that out to them.Report

    • DavidTC in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Oh, and somewhat unrelated to that:

      As I keep pointing out, everyone, when looking at the extreme poor living in poverty-stricken area, seems to think we need to figure out a way to lift the incredibly smart and hard-working people out of it.

      Uh, no, we don’t. We need to lift the *average* (By ‘average’ I mean average intelligence and average hard-workingness.) people out of poverty. We need to design something to lift the people getting Bs and Cs to an *middle-class* life.

      Yes, it’s nice to lift the high-performers, but a) They’re the people most likely to get out of there *anyway*, and, b) any program lifting *anyone* will work for them anyway! As long as there is *some* exit, they will take it. The super-smart middle-class guy might go to a good school and get into Harvard, and the super-smart lower-class kid might end up a few tiers down, but that’s not the problem.

      The problem is that the middle-class average guy ends up going to trade school or getting an MBA at a community college or whatever, and the lower-class average guy ends up working min wage jobs or turning to crime.

      Now, I don’t actually have any solutions here. I mean, cheaper, or even free college, sounds nice, but a lot of the problem is that the lower-class can’t afford to *not work* for any amount of time when they are adults. Even if you cover their college cost…where are they living? Who pays for their car? Etc.

      And the same applies to the below-average people. The ones that started middle-class won’t go to college, and probably *shouldn’t* go to college…they will instead get jobs with some family friends, or manage to find some unskilled labor that pays the bills like working for a landscaping company, or just settle for a min wage job. Below-average poor people? Crime. That’s about it. Crime.

      It makes us feel like things are broken when some guy with a genius IQ, some guy demonstrably smarter than most people, is washing our windows because he never had a chance in life. Boo-hoo, so sad, the system is broken.

      Meanwhile, we’re all secure in the knowledge that the guy selling us McDonald only made Bs in school and never went to college, and thus deserves his position in life…ignoring the fact that *we* probably made Bs in school and only were able to go to college because our parents paid for part of it.Report

  7. Saul Degraw says:

    On the other hand, Jesse Signal thinks that the Atlantic article has it wrong:

    Freedman’s argument, to me, creeps close to the idea that our views toward dumb people can at least partly explain recently widening inequality in America, which I think would be a mistake. Moral and cultural arguments for big, complicated societal facts don’t tend to have a great track record, and in this case it’s so overdetermined by so many other factors — big tax cuts for the wealthy, an endless series of state-level budget “crises” (air quotes because they can often be traced back to specific, short-sighted policies) that lead to cuts to things like, well, early-childhood education, and so on — that it’s weird to pluck out this or any other cultural factor as a big part of the story.


  8. Jaybird says:

    For those who wistfully remember the “interns who got fired for their dress code petition” post, there’s a followup!

    And for those who want to seethe in rage against management, there’s a heartwarming story of a manager complaining that his or her best worker quit when s/he didn’t give her the opportunity to go to her own college graduation.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

      I’ve been thinking about it and these letters have to be fake.

      They confirm too many of my prejudices and I feel far, far too much schadenfreude as I read them to come to any other conclusion.Report

      • Autolukos in reply to Jaybird says:

        I was willing to believe the second one was real right up until the concert tickets lineReport

        • Jaybird in reply to Autolukos says:

          Thinking about writing my own. “I went on a company trip with my company and I got stung by a jellyfish and my employee refused to pee on my leg, can I fire her?”

          Pepper some other vaguely relevant details in there (best employee, worst employee, most popular employee, maybe something about attractiveness levels (“I wasn’t hitting on her, she’s a 6 on a 10 scale and I’m an 8.5!”)) and see if my letter gets published.Report

        • DensityDuck in reply to Autolukos says:

          Yeah, that was a little too much gilding of the lily.Report

      • Tod Kelly in reply to Jaybird says:

        I was just having a conversation on FB about this very thing with Hanley and Vikram and many other people. Vikram aside, I find it surprising how many people are not only convinced that these are all real letters, but how many seem emotionally attached to these being real letters.

        My way of looking at this blog is:

        The first red flag should be, “What are the odds that everyone who writes in to the blog writes in the exact same voice — and that this voice also happens to be identical to the person who runs the blog?”

        The second should be, “What are the odds that as a manager you thread the very precise needle of being insensitive enough to forbid your most valuable employee from being 2 hours late to attend their own graduation, but sensitive enough to write to a stranger asking advice about how you might help that employee now that they are gone, but still not quite so sensitive that you might have gone to your HR department with that question first?” Because that’s a pretty damn precise needle to thread.

        The third red flag should be, “Why is everyone who is a manager writing in to have moral questions answered, rather than, say, asking for tips on how to motivate employees, or wondering what the FMLA will and won’t allow in certain circumstances?”Report

        • Saul Degraw in reply to Tod Kelly says:


          I think you are right and the first point is a good one. And to be honest, my reaction to most Dear Prudence letters is that they have to be fake.Report

          • Mo in reply to Saul Degraw says:

            Dear Prudence letters at least have a different authorial voice. In addition, some of them are so out there, that I struggle to believe that Prudence (at least the old ones) were clever enough to come up with the out there situations. Also, Prudie admitted to being had by a letter that was cribbed from Voices Carry.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Tod Kelly says:


          If “ask a manager” were a subset of, I dunno… one of those Yahoo areas or one of those AOL areas or something, it might make sense to me to think that people would mail their letters to there because, hey, they have Yahoo or AOL as their homepage, like many legacy old people do, and they click on the “ask a manager” button as they begin their management days.

          But it’s a standalone website?

          Who in the hell visits a standalone website called “ask a manager”? A freakin’ dot *ORG* website?

          That said, the psych students in charge of it are pretty good. Someone should hire them.Report

        • j r in reply to Tod Kelly says:

          …but how many seem emotionally attached to these being real letters.

          I contend that this is the whole point.Report

        • Kazzy in reply to Tod Kelly says:

          I don’t really know or care one way or the other, but it seems worth pointing out that these letters are curated to an extent. They’re not going to pick the boring ones about which copier to order.

          As a bit of anecdata, Bill Simmons had a very particular writing style and one that many of his letter-writers adopted, at least when writing to him. The result was that his mailbags often had several contributions that were almost indisinguishable from his own writing. At times he actually “submitted” his own letters — always will full transparency — when there were things he wanted to talk about but which no one asked and if you weren’t paying close attention, you’d have just assumed it was another Simmons clone.

          Now, I’d be surprised if this person had the same following that Simmons cultivated (as much criticism as I levy at the guy, he does have a number of talents and connecting with his reader base was one of them)… but it isn’t unprecedented that a writer’s readers would emulate his/her style.Report

        • The Flemish Modern Language Association niet toe dat veel speelruimte.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird says:

        If they were anything like the fake letters I’ve read in the past, the intern and her manager would have wound up having really wild sex.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird says:

      I think Hanley and Lee are right on the second story. Too many managers are absolutely incompetent and don’t think things through beyond rigid rules and rules and also get a psychic wage from petty nos.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        I’m assuming that this also is trending on the facebook?

        What did Hanley and Lee say?Report

        • LeeEsq in reply to Jaybird says:

          What Saul said above. Management positions give people a lot of petty power. There are people that really like using this petty power and do thinks like not letting an employee take time off for college graduation. Managers in large and complex orgsnizations might be bound by more procedural rules and have less flexibility but this is going to be not common. Most could spare an employee a break without much risk.Report

      • Oscar Gordon in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        As the saying goes, there is a difference between a leader & a manager/supervisor. There are a lot of upper level management/executives who constantly assume they are one & the same as they promote or hire people for the roles.Report

  9. Kolohe says:

    Around here, the Little Free Libraries are overstuffed with books, albeit mostly terrible ones, as people shed their dead tree collections for electronic readers. (collections that built up during the period between the initial rise of Amazon to the start of the current download era)Report

    • Hoosegow Flask in reply to noptme says:

      From the article:

      “Mrs. Clinton’s best defense, and one she cannot utter in public, is that whatever the risks of keeping her own email server, that server was certainly no more vulnerable than the State Department’s. Had she held an unclassified account in the State Department’s official system, as the rules required, she certainly would have been hacked.”Report

  10. Tod Kelly says:

    TECHIE BLEG: Does anyone here know how to find out who owns/manages/maintains a website?Report

    • Will Truman in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      If they have it behind a proxy, though, you’re pretty much SOL.

      (Unless it’s by a political campaign or PAC or a non-profit, which there are sometimes disclosure requirements. No idea how you would look into that, though.)Report

  11. Chip Daniels says:

    Blade Runner, Typography, Architecture…
    Geez, how much more Chip-bait can anyone pack into one article?

    Thanks for the link!Report

  12. Jaybird says:

    Am I crazy to think that this is irregular?

    Hillary Clinton did not swear an oath to tell the truth before meeting with the FBI for three and a half hours last weekend, and the interview was not recorded, FBI Director James Comey told House lawmakers on Thursday.

    Morat, explain to me how this is something that usually happens under these circumstances.Report

    • noptme in reply to Jaybird says:

      Not for the elites. You just don’t understand.Report

    • Gaelen in reply to Jaybird says:

      From the article you linked.
      “FBI policy is not to record interviews as part of its investigations.”

      “Under FBI policy — and to the dismay of civil libertarians and staunch transparency advocates — the bureau does not conduct electronic recordings of interviews.”

      “Under the current policy, agents may not electronically record confessions or interviews, openly or surreptitiously” except in rare circumstances, the bureau said in a 2006 memo.”

      Also, as the article stated. It is still a crime to lie to the FBI.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Gaelen says:

        So they don’t make people swear an oath? Just say “it’s illegal to lie to us”?

        Then they don’t transcribe the answers?


        • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

          And, for this, who gives a crap about Hillary?

          How many for-real innocent people get charges pressed against them following such a situation?Report

          • Gaelen in reply to Jaybird says:

            I don’t mean to sound glib, I’m sure there are some innocent people who unknowingly gave false statements to the FBI without realizing it. But, in my limited experience, obstruction of justice (the don’t lie to police state law analogue) is rarely used (or at least not used as often as my clients lie to police–e.g. “the meth was just sitting there on the pavement, I didn’t drop it!”). Domestic violence “victims” lie, people tell cops they know nothing about that stolen property or piece of meth, and the only obstruction charges I’ve dealt with are when a family member or friend tries to hide or destroy property to protect someone.

            The FBI and ‘making a false statement’ statute may be different, though I would still bet very few innocent people are charged, in part because if the FBI can prove they lied about something material they likely have evidence that they violated the law. I’m sure it is used routinely to increase bargaining position though.Report

            • Oscar Gordon in reply to Gaelen says:

              My understanding is it is often a charge used to leverage a confession or plea deal, in that the crime of lying to a federal officer is pretty severe, and it can be used to force compliance/cooperation.Report

        • El Muneco in reply to Jaybird says:

          God may be more powerful than the FBI. But the FBI are right here.Report

    • Morat20 in reply to Jaybird says:

      Why should I when the article just explained it was routine?

      Like your own article stated.

      As for the oaths — when the police ask you questions, either as a witness or a potential criminal, do they routinely ask for oaths? I mean I haven’t been questioned by the police, but I’m pretty sure they don’t sit you down, make you swear on a bible, then ask you where you were Thursday night.

      Your own article answered one of the questions, and a brief period of thought would dredge up that an FBI interview (or interrogation, though I was under the impression this was clearly the former) isn’t a courtroom proceeding and doesn’t involve oaths of any sort.

      It’s like you were so anxious to score some sort of point you didn’t read the article and didn’t think for a second. It’s a conversation, not a timed debate.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Morat20 says:

        I get that it’s policy.

        I can’t believe that it’s policy.Report

        • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

          But in all fairness, that isn’t what you said initially.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

            Fair enough. It immediately struck, and continues to strike, me as irregular.

            Even if there are official memos explaining that this is official FBI policy that date back to 2006.

            Am I crazy on that?

            They do these things as part of a huge investigation and don’t make transcripts and don’t make people take oaths? They make them take oaths for a deposition… is this just one of those things where it’s not even a deposition?Report

            • Morat20 in reply to Jaybird says:

              It wasn’t a deposition. (As I described below, it was just a formality. They already knew they had no basis for an interrogation because they had no evidence of a crime).

              Interviews != interrogations != depositions.

              I think your confusion is that you’re viewing this as the FBI either deposing someone or interrogating someone, but by the time they got to Clinton they didn’t need to do either. So they didn’t. (They might have deposed her earlier in the process, but that was probably handled by her various statements on FIOA compliance and such).Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Morat20 says:

                Just a formality.

                And, in treating it like one, it automatically became one.

                A self-fulfilling prophecy.

                At least Comey gave the speech explaining that anyone else would have been sanctioned for having done this.Report

            • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

              Fair enough. It immediately struck, and continues to strike, me as irregular.
              Even if there are official memos explaining that this is official FBI policy that date back to 2006.

              This, in a nutshell, is the entirety of the email controversy.

              Otherwise highly intelligent and well-read people, are suddenly thunderstruck that a Cabinet level official bypassed government IT protocols, used a private or personal server, then deleted some of the emails.

              Yes, yes, of course everyone agrees it has been going on since email was brand new, and a lot of people in every administration have done it without it being a controversy, but still-

              Its outrageous that Hilary did it, and even more outrageous that she has not been made to do the perp walk.

              Although I gotta agree with the critics- the rules ARE different for the Clintons apparently.Report

              • For Obama too. If Bush said something innocuous about Islam, it’s at worst because was naive about how they all want to kill us. If Obama says the same thing, it’s because when they come he’ll be cheering them on.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                At the end of Bush v. Gore, the Supreme Court left a little note that said “hey, by the way, don’t use this case as precedent for anything because it’s not a precedent for anything”.

                Do you agree that that statement felt like it gave away the game, just a little bit?Report

            • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:


              Seems you’re caught in a bit of an is/ought situation.

              You initially expressed, “That can’t actually be how it works.”

              You were then shown that, in fact, that is exactly how it works.

              You responded by then saying, “But I can’t believe it was setup to work that way!”

              Similar sentiments but also pretty different for the purposes here.

              Was Hillary’s questioning handled as it should have been as dictated by FBI policy? Everything points to yes.
              Was Hillary’s questioning handled as it should have been as dictated by common sense? A harder question to answer but I’d say no.

              But at that point we need to talk about the FBI and its policy and not her questioning.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                I agree that everything was handled as it could well have been, as dictated by FBI policy.

                The policy, apparently, explicitly states that there are circumstances that allow for exceptions…

                But, apparently, this was not one of them.

                And, therefore, there is no evidence that anything happened during the interview. Because there is nothing recorded of the interview, thus creating absolutely no evidence.

                If only everyone received such a benefit of the doubt on the part of law enforcement.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:


                Who is your gripe with?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                God, if He existed.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

                That’s a convenient way to back out of the conversation. It’d be easier if you just said, “Huh… learn something new everyday.”Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                I answered the question you asked.

                If you wish to have asked a different one, please see this as your opportunity to ask that particular question.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

                Regarding Clinton’s interview with the FBI, who is your gripe with?

                Separate question:
                Is this really how you want conversations around here to go?Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Kazzy says:


                Seems to me the question quite easily goes the other way: why was Clinton interviewed under not-oath and with a not-record of the proceedings? It seems to me that at this point she should be bending over backwards to end this quagmire, and could have insisted that the interview be recorded under oath. If she has nothing to hide, of course.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Stillwater says:

                That’s a fair question. The whole thing is messy. But it seems rather clear that her questioning was rather routine. Maybe it shouldn’t have been… at either her or the FBI’s insistence… but suggesting that something out of the ordinary happened just doesn’t jive with the facts.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                Regarding Clinton’s interview with the FBI, my gripe is with Comey.

                Once again, he ought to have made a choice between two fairly binary options:

                A: Spending time giving a speech about how bad what Clinton did was and culminating in “and that’s why we’re going to recommend charges be brought against her”.

                B: Spending time giving a speech about how banal what she did was and about how everyone did it and culminating in “and that’s why we’re not going to recommend charges being brought against her”.

                As it is, Comey brought a big old scoop of A and a big old scoop of B and, in doing so, resolved little.

                I’ve learned, long ago, that conversations around here are not under my direct control.

                Despite my best efforts.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

                Do you think Clinton received special treatment during her questioning?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                Here’s a question for you:

                Would a black corporal in the US Army have received identical treatment?

                If you think on such things and your answer is some variant of “maybe not”, then I think that the answer to the question that you just asked is “yeah, she kinda received special treatment”.

                For what it’s worth, I think that a black corporal in the US army would not, in fact, have received identical treatment.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

                Working off what @morat20 has offered here — who is clearly far more knowledgable about this than I am — I assume he’d receive roughly similar treatment. If it is policy/SOP to not put people under oath and to not record questioning sessions, I’d assume that this is what the vast majority of people undergoing questioning experience absent evidence that it is not.

                Now, I get that there is often a gap between what the rules say and what is done in practice… but I simply have no reason to believe that such is the case here. If you have reason to believe that which you think might be convincing, I’m all ears.

                As for what Comey said in his presser… what does any of that have to do with Hillary’s questioning?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                Look at Snowden. Look at Manning.

                This is political.

                As for what Comey said in his presser… what does any of that have to do with Hillary’s questioning?

                What does any of that has to do with Hillary’s *JUDGMENT*.

                Not her questioning. Her *JUDGMENT*.Report

              • greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                Pretty big difference between what Snowden and Manning did and Hillary.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                I agree.


              • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

                “Am I crazy to think that this is irregular?

                Hillary Clinton did not swear an oath to tell the truth before meeting with the FBI for three and a half hours last weekend, and the interview was not recorded, FBI Director James Comey told House lawmakers on Thursday.

                Morat, explain to me how this is something that usually happens under these circumstances.”

                Let’s go back to square one.

                Are you crazy? No. Are you wrong? Yes, it certainly seems so.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                So this is something that usually happens under these circumstances.

                I stand corrected.

                God help us.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

                Was that so hard? Now we can talk about what the policy ought to be instead of debating objective facts.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird says:

                Would a black corporal in the US Army have received identical treatment?

                I’m torn between

                He’d probably have gotten the Nobel peace prize.


                Think of the corporals!Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                You know, I remember when something similar happened when Clinton was charged with sexually harassing Paula Jones.

                Now that I think of it, I kinda benefitted from that.

                I should probably hush up.Report

              • veronica d in reply to Jaybird says:

                @jaybird — There is no way I’m going to try to pick apart each detail of the investigation and say, “Look here! She got special treatment there, in that place. Oh and here. But not there.” I cannot imagine anything more tedious.

                Here’s the deal: of course any investigation of a major public figure is going to be “special,” in particular someone running for major office. There is just no way we can remove politics from this, because no one actually wants to remove politics from this.

                (Okay, I don’t mean literally no one, but still.)

                My point is, charges against major public figures happen according to their own logic. If this was a black corporal in the US Army, and no one with a big political agenda caught wind of it, and it just went through “channels” — I don’t know what would happen. The Army (no doubt) has a certain amount of politics. One hopes the investigators would follow the rules to find a just outcome.

                I’m not naive. But still, that is so utterly different from what someone such as Clinton faces. (And given the history of right-wing smears against the Clintons,- I think we have to see any charges against them as “fraught.”)

                Is it even possible to be objective here?

                I’m not. Are you? Are you sure?

                Why are we even talking about this? Surely we can find a black private in the US Army that broke some rule. If we want to be “equal” in everything, let’s give each case precisely the same attention.


                Evidently right now there are some accusations swimming around that, years ago, Trump committed pedophilic rape.

                Personally, I’m totally ignoring that story. I just — I don’t want to dig into that. If the accusations are true, then right now is precisely the wrong moment in history to bring it up (but Entropy help the poor victim). If false, then shame on whoever is spreading lies.

                The truth about Trump is bad enough. We don’t need lies.

                The point is, nothing good can come of this. It’s just bad, all the way down bad. A garbage media and garbage people and garbage bullshit.

                Clinton fucked up — I mean, I guess she did, insofar as I understand what happened. All the same, I think she was a pretty good Secretary of State. I think she has the chops to be a good-enough president, to negotiate the shitshow of executive governance. I’m gonna vote for her. Most reasonable people are, cuz Trump. All of this is noise.


                Back during the Bush-Jr years, I very much disliked how my friends on the left used to attack the administration for every dumb thing. It’s like, one should attack them for the big mistakes, instead of freaking out about each verbal “gaff” from Rumsfeld (or whatever).

                Remember how all of that played out?

                The thing is, you do “go to war with the Army you have.” That is true. Do not attack the man for saying true things. Don’t attack him for not having “up-armored humvees,” even though yeah, we should have up-armored humvees. But have you ever tried to manage large scale logistics? I haven’t, but I bet it’s really hard. I bet I wouldn’t do one bit better than the Bush folks did.

                (I assume most of you all remember these non-traversies.)

                I like to think I wouldn’t have invaded Iraq though. Hopefully I’m that smart.

                Bush was a terrible president, all the same.

                I kinda thing that the Bust administration really believed they would find WMDs. In other words, their lies were “stretching the facts toward a truth they were sure of” — except the part where it wasn’t actually true.

                Being wrong feels exactly the same as being right.

                So it goes. You never have all the information, so you need good instincts. The Bush-folks got caught up in a bad narrative, that Hussein was a “supervillain,” and the lack of evidence only confirmed just how cunning he really was. This is a cognitive trap. We should learn from it.

                Clinton is smarter than Bush. She certainly has better judgment in her left toe than Trump has in his entire floppy head of hair, and that’s taking into account her silly email server, which broke the rules.


                So much of this is just a distracting shitshow. Try to rise above.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to veronica d says:

                Clinton being better than Trump being used to justify further erosion is going to be a good thing, I guess, in the short run.

                A bad thing in the long run.

                I suppose I should see Clinton as a symptom of what’s going on.Report

              • veronica d in reply to Jaybird says:

                @jaybird — But wait, do we think it is notably worse now than — well, some other time? Like, was there ever a period of “boss” politics, or backroom deals, or all of that nonsense? Like, when Hoover ran the FBI, do we think that was a paragon of openness and fair play? Was corruption ever absent? Given a long history of “patronage,” and given a society where so many in power attended the same elite universities, where they often formed rather opaque structures of loyalty, were things really better?

                I’ve grown up in a world of never ending manufactured “Clinton scandal,” and honestly I’m jaded. None of these “-gates” have been Watergate, but the right-wing digs deeper and deeper.

                And yeah, BSDI. Of course we do, but so it has always been.

                When McClellan ran against Lincoln, were they pulling any punches?

                When viewed historically, I’m just not convinced that Clinton is actually all that much worse than anyone else. To think otherwise is to believe myths.


                Hint: you know those movies where Jimmy Steward plays some deeply admirable person, who is honest and decent and we love to see that and to imagine a better past — those movies are aspiration, not reality.

                I’m not saying we should lose that aspiration. I like those movies. I like the values they express. But this is about a media climate, not the qualities of Ms. Clinton. She’s basically pretty okay, near as I can tell.Report

              • trizzlor in reply to Jaybird says:

                >>Would a black corporal in the US Army have received identical treatment?

                We know that Colin Powell (who is black, I believe) used an unsecured private email for business and took all of the emails with him. The House Oversight Committee has not launched an investigation nor even bothered to bring him in for questioning. We also know, from the article linked by Greenwald, that when low-level employees stored classified info on an unsanctioned device it’s typically punished non-criminally, with a rank or pay cut. Clinton is no longer an employee, but a national public lecture is effectively much more severe. So the evidence shows that Clinton is being treated worse than her predecessor and worse or on-par with rank-and-file employees. Was that your point?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to trizzlor says:

                I’m not certain that the comparison to Colin Powell is an apples to apples comparison given the whole Snowden/Manning seachange. (From what I understand, Snowden and Manning changed everything.)

                In addition, the whole email thing was, if not in its infancy when Powell was secretary of State, it was in its adolescence from 2001-2005. (If I recell correctly, it was in the mid-to-late 90’s that Gateway made available its first $999 computer.)

                We’re comparing a world where email is new and fresh to one where it’s relatively mature.

                I’m not asking if a corporal back in 2003 would have been treated the same as Clinton today.

                I’m asking if a corporal today would be.

                But I would be happy to agree that Powell was held to a different standard in 2005 than the one we’re holding for Hillary in 2016.

                I’m just not certain that this leads us to an interesting conclusion.Report

              • trizzlor in reply to Jaybird says:

                While it’s true that one of Powell’s aims was to push for regular use of email, State policies on archiving and secure hardware have existed since the 90’s so all of the same violations apply. Qualitatively, thinking that (in 2005) a Yahoo account is secure is pretty much as foolish as thinking (in 2015) that a private secure server is secure, perhaps moreso. And, again, it’s not that Powell was investigated and let off – *he wasn’t even questioned*.

                The Manning/Snowden comparison, on the other hand, is a complete red herring. Nobody left the bank door open so Manning or Snowden could get in. The whole issue was people *with access* intentionally sending information to the media. There was no policy change in the wake of Manning/Snowden that made Powell okay but Clinton not okay. As I said above, when people get busted being careless they typically get a slap on the wrist.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to trizzlor says:

                And, again, it’s not that Powell was investigated and let off – *he wasn’t even questioned*.

                Was there evidence of anything similar to what Hillary Clinton was accused of?

                Did we find evidence of Colin Powell talking about sensitive stuff on his Yahoo email?

                There was no policy change in the wake of Manning/Snowden that made Powell okay but Clinton not okay.

                Were there culture changes in the wake of Manning/Snowden, if not “policy” changes?Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Jaybird says:

                I’m going to reiterate this again:

                Clinton’s server — as Powell’s yahoo address — was there to replace the non-secure, non-classified State email address for routine business.

                Yes, there was contamination of some sensitive material on Clinton’s. (And since we’ve gotten details, we’ve come to learn that it was, in fact, zilch. A conversation about drone strikes reported in the NYT. The fact that Clinton called a foreign leader. Call sheets of Clinton’s planned calls that day) — in short, the minor stuff that does get into the non-classified systems. Nobody was attaching classified documents, it was people discussing things that were either on the lowest end of classification OR was classified-despite-being-public knowledge.

                Was Powell getting classified stuff on his yahoo address? Nobody knows because he deleted it all rather than comply with a FIOA request. We shouldn’t therefore assume he was perfect and let him benefit because he was less transparent than Clinton.

                However, if I were to take a non-partisan guess: Yes, there was classified or sensitive stuff on his yahoo address. Probably the exact same KIND of thing, mostly emails sent to him where people mentioned classified or sensitive stuff along the same “it’s not really classified” level.

                Why? Because State has been notorious for that in the first place, predating Clinton. They’ve always been lazier about classification than the DoD or NSA wants. Which is why they’re throwing snit-fits and claiming “Top Secret” information was on there, because aides used snippets from a NYT story about drone strikes. The drone strikes were classified, therefore talking about the stuff from the story was Top Secret, even though it was solely what had been in the news.

                In essence if you give Powell a pass because “we don’t know”, you’re basically saying the REAL problem was that Clinton kept her emails and turned them over via FIOA. She’s being punished for transparency while GWB’s administration is rewarded for their breathtaking refusal to adhere to FOIA laws. (Powell was not even nearly the worst offender from GWB’s term on that).Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Morat20 says:

                It’s not that I’m giving Powell a pass because we don’t know. It’s that I’m giving Powell a pass because Powell is on the board of and, as far as I can tell, is not running for anything. If Hillary decided to just sit and run the Clinton Foundation, I don’t know what the Republicans on the hill would be saying about the FBI investigation, but I, for my part, would just figure that she’s not particularly interesting anymore.

                (For what it’s worth, I think that not complying with the FOIA should have been actionable. That’s the sort of thing that should have consequences. I’m a big fan of “if we’re not going to enforce the law, we probably shouldn’t have it.”)Report

              • veronica d in reply to Jaybird says:

                If Hillary decided to just sit and run the Clinton Foundation, I don’t know what the Republicans on the hill would be saying about the FBI investigation, but I, for my part, would just figure that she’s not particularly interesting anymore.

                But isn’t that the whole issue? What Clinton did simply is not criminal. In fact, it isn’t a big deal. No one would care if it wasn’t a political football — which is why the Army Private would get treated better (maybe).

                It’s why I didn’t get fired when I checked a “big deal” sensitive password into source control. Shit happens.

                Unless someone was out for my job, and had friendly ears in Infosec and upper management, and if my grand-manager (who thought highly of me and always had my back) was in a political tight spot — then I’d’ve thrown to the wolves. So it goes.

                I wasn’t. I was respected in Infosec. My grand-manager knew how to play the game. He had my back. Upper management, insofar as they knew who I was, knew I had done some important stuff. My name had “good glow” not “bad glow.” Blah blah blah. Change conditions slightly, and then everything changes.

                How do you think the world works?

                We’re playing the game right now, all of us.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to veronica d says:

                Not criminal… but still worthy of a 10 minute speech talking about how if someone else did this, they’d have the book thrown at them.Report

              • veronica d in reply to Jaybird says:

                Not criminal… but still worthy of a 10 minute speech talking about how if someone else did this, they’d have the book thrown at them.

                But would they? You just said that, had Clinton retired from politics, no one would care.Report

              • trizzlor in reply to Jaybird says:

                >>talking about how if someone else did this, they’d have the book thrown at them.

                I feel like we’re living on Earth 1 and Earth 2 again. Where did Comey say this? I interpreted his statements completely differently: In the eyes of the law, Clinton is being treated like everyone else: no evidence of intent means no case. But because she’s such a high-profile figure, we’re going to break from tradition and publicly chastise her for unintentional violation of norms and recommendations. He seemed to re-iterate the same thing in the hearing today.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Jaybird says:

                Actually, no, a ten minute speech about how if anyone else had done this their administrators would have dealt with it.

                Which is both correct and incorrect. Administration would have dealt with it, but from the details given — not very harshly. Not even formally. For starters, because State’s had a problem like this for AGES and you don’t hear about massive crackdowns.

                For second, HRC’s emails showed a very small percentage (0.3%) containing anything even questionable at the time they were sent, and the huge majority of them (if not all of them) she was the recipient. (Which means while she should have reported it, she was off the hook administratively anyways).

                So if she was a rank-and-filer who had 0.3% sensitive stuff in her 30k email box over 4 years, the bulk of which she didn’t even write (just received and possibly replied with a “Thanks” to), her administrative punishment would have been zilch.

                Given the most sensitive stuff was public domain anyways, even the senders wouldn’t have gotten more than an email saying “Tighten up”. And that’s in places that were pickier about that crap than State was.

                That long freaking lecture Comey delivered was more partisan than practical, and was about 50 times more punishment than any other person in State would have gotten had that been the contents of their email box.

                Because again, the only issue was sensitive data in her non-sensitive email address — which would have been an issue if she’d used her own server OR state’s own unsecured system. And it’s such a small amount of such low-end stuff that nobody would have really gotten more than a nasty-gram, at most.

                When you hear people talking about “Oh, X got worse” — you’re going to find (1) those people weren’t recipients, but the people who placed classified stuff onto unclassified systems themselves (2) did it on purpose and knew it was classified to unclassified (3) did it a lot and (4) were dealing with information classified considerably more heavily than the case here.

                (I cannot stress this enough. The most damning, secret bit of information on her emails was discussions of public knowledge of a drone program. That’s the biggest smoking gun. The CIA was running drones over Pakistan and India. We knew it, because it was in the papers. Which was why they were talking about it. That’s not Veronica’s “I left a critical password out” mistake. That’s…”I mentioned our the release date, which wasn’t supposed to go public until it was fully signed off on my management” level crap).Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Morat20 says:

                Given the most sensitive stuff was public domain anyways, even the senders wouldn’t have gotten more than an email saying “Tighten up”. And that’s in places that were pickier about that crap than State was.

                You’re the only source I have for this when it comes to the nature of the contents of the email.

                Politico says this:

                2) How sensitive were the classified emails found on Clinton’s server?

                The intelligence community says at least two emails contained information that was and is classified “TOP SECRET/SI/TK/NOFORN,” a designation for electronic surveillance-based intelligence obtained from aircraft or satellites. The “NOFORN” restriction prohibits distribution to foreign governments.

                The State Department has disputed the classifications, and they are being reviewed by the Director of National Intelligence. Most of the roughly 60 emails classified thus far have been marked “CONFIDENTIAL,” the lowest tier of classified information and one usually reserved for diplomatic communications.

                Now, of course, this might be stuff that was talked about in the NYT… but I can’t find evidence of that anywhere. Well, your claims, of course. But other than those.

                If the above is true, does that mean that giving uncleared lawyers copies of these emails is an infraction? Even if you and I both know that it’s no big deal because they talk about these things in the NYT all the time anyway?Report

              • Damon in reply to Jaybird says:

                “The State Department has disputed the classifications,”

                State can bitch all they want, but the original classifier of the documents gets to decide what level it is and when/if to change it. No one else.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Jaybird says:

                I already linked to a piece that breaks down the top-level classified stuff as 7 emails about the publicly known CIA drone program, and 1 about a phone call between Clinton and a foreign leader.

                But here’s the link again:

                Of these, just eight had material that she should have known was “top secret”; 36 of them had “secret” information; and eight more had stuff that she should have known was “confidential.”
                As anyone who’s ever had a security clearance will tell you, the labels secret and confidential mean next to nothing. When I worked on Capitol Hill in the late 1970s, the government gave me a secret clearance on my first day of work, pending the investigation into my worthiness to hold a top secret badge. As far as anyone knew, I might have been a Soviet spy, carting out confidential and secret documents every night and making copies for my handler. But they also knew the risk was low because there was nothing in those documents that the Soviets would have paid a dime for. The same is true of our various adversaries and stuff marked secret today.

                Top secret information is another matter, but the stuff that showed up in Clinton’s private email wasn’t so special. Seven of the eight email chains dealt with CIA drone strikes, which are classified top secret/special access program—unlike Defense Department drone strikes, which are unclassified. The difference is that CIA drones hit targets in countries, like Pakistan and Yemen, where we are not officially at war; they are part of covert operations. (Defense Department drone strikes are in places where we are officially at war.) But these operations are covert mainly to provide cover for the Pakistani and Yemeni governments, so they don’t have to admit they’re cooperating with America. Everyone in the world knows about these strikes; nongovernment organizations, such as New America, tabulate them; newspapers around the world—including the New York Times, where some of the same reporters are now writing so breathlessly about Clinton’s careless handling of classified information—cover these strikes routinely.

                The other top secret email chain described a conversation with the president of Malawi. Conversations with foreign leaders are inherently classified.


              • Jaybird in reply to Morat20 says:

                Oooh. This is the first article I’ve read that discusses the content to the emails above and beyond their classification markings.

                But I’m left somewhat underwhelmed. If you take out the opinion stuff (e.g., “the stuff that showed up in Clinton’s private email wasn’t so special”), you’re left with a statement of fact that says:

                “Seven of the eight email chains dealt with CIA drone strikes, which are classified top secret/special access program”

                It then goes on to explain that it wouldn’t have been a big deal if this information made it out into the wild because it’s stuff that everybody knows.

                I suppose it’s good that national security was not harmed.

                But he’s saying something to the effect of “this isn’t a big deal because the NYT covers stuff like what was in those emails all the time” and *NOT* saying “the stuff in the emails wasn’t Top Secret/Special Access Program”.

                For example, if the CIA drone struck a guy in city X, the fact that the NYT talks about a drone strike in city Y does not make the city X strike unclassified.

                I suppose we can’t ask for the emails to be released so that everyone can see what’s in the email so that the armchair analysts out there can determine for themselves whether the stuff in the emails was “really” top secret/special access program… but if you strip away the language for why this wasn’t a big deal, you’re left with an article that says that the emails talked about drone strikes like the drone strikes that the NYT talks about and not one that says that the emails were discussing NYT articles.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Jaybird says:

                Okay, so let’s dig into how State department actually handles classified/unclassified material AND does their jobs.

                First off, your regular state department email address (the one Clinton replaced with her private server) is for “unclassified” stuff. People aren’t supposed to send classified stuff to OR from that email address. So lay aside the private server — it’s immaterial at the moment, because the stated rationale was that her server replaced her non-secure State email.

                Secure stuff is not only a different email address, it’s on a different dedicated device and a different, dedicated network and requires a different, dedicated log-in and for some classification levels requires you to be in very specific places to even get it. (BTW, I was mistaken. Clinton didn’t want to juggle two devices for personal and State non-secure email, hence why she went with her server for both. The secure stuff never comes across on anything smaller than a laptop, so that was never an issue).

                So the problem isn’t the private server, the problem is the classified data on her non-secure email. Which is just as against policy as if it were on her official non-secure State email address.

                So then we get to the nut — was this a pattern, or mistake? Now, I think we can clearly agree that the Secretary of State sees a LOT more than 110 classified documents over four years. So that’s pretty solid evidence that the vast bulk of her work with classified information was done properly, over the proper secure laptops/desktops/fax machines, etc. Otherwise there’d be a LOT more more there. Like…thousands of times more.

                So we get into the questions about the material that got onto the wrong system: How did it get there, whose fault is it, and how bad is it?

                Well, it gets there by one of two ways — mistake or deliberate. Mistakes are self-explanatory, and from personal experience I can assure you is common — things like “I read/heard this, but didn’t realize it was sensitive and so when I told you about it via email I was breaching classification” or “I read about this in the paper, and didn’t realize that despite being published it was still classified” or “I had a (c) marked document (confidential, not classified actually) and excerpted a bit I thought WASN’T classified but was (documents are classified according to the most classified portion of the document, but virtually every document — and all digests — would have a mix of classified, non-classified, and such).

                There there is deliberate — of which there are two flavors: “I know this is classified and I don’t care” and “This is classified, but the issue is urgent and we don’t have time/access to secure networks”. The latter is, actually, acceptable but there’s apparently some paperwork later and you can get in trouble if your classification authority doesn’t agree. You’re supposed try to be as vague as possible when you do it, but it’s acceptable.

                So what we have here is a non-secure server, designed to be non-secure, designed NOT to have classified information on it that has…110 emails in 53 chains that have information marked “sensitive” to “top secret”. For leakage, that’s actually…solid.

                Every — EVERY — non-secure email account at State will, under a full audit like this, show the exact same problem. The Secretary of State’s should be worse, because that’s the position that would get the deliberate “We have no time” violations AND be the center of all high-level emails anyways.

                From a real world perspective — from the numbers that get tossed around in my annual training, that’s considered an acceptable amount of leakage. There appear to be no full, secure documents, the most heavily classified stuff was small potatoes (exactly the sort of thing people would either mistake as unclassified or be willing to reference in haste), and nothing was on the server that was marked properly — so realizing it should be classified required a thorough expertise (which no, SecState wouldn’t have. That’s a specialists job. Everyone else relies on markings) and this was after the most thorough possible audit.

                And then there’s the last can of worms — Secretary of State is a originating classification authority. Her authority over anything classified by State is supreme, only the President can override her designations. Which means (among other things) if there’s a crisis and the secure network’s down, and she says “Screw it, talk about X just be vague” as long as X is classified by State (and not someone else), she’s the one that has the final call. (Although in general, the designated classification authorities at State would make that call, just as they’d do all the reviews and audits. Classification is a specialists job).

                So, to sum up: Forget the private/government server thing. In terms of real life — both law, use, and design — the question is solely about classified material on a non-secure email. Everything said about her emails would have been just as true about an official State email address.

                110 emails (actually less. Turns out that at least 2 weren’t confidential anyways) is actually pretty good for 4 years, in terms of leakage. Doubly so considering how crappy State is supposedly about that stuff. It’s certainly many, many, MANY times too small an amount to make it believable that she was routinely using her non-secure email for secure information.

                Now Comey can call that ‘negligence’ and it’s true enough, but I’m not so sure he’s really used to real world practices on that. In the real world, everyone relies on markings (and not buried in the text, they scan the header) and a certain amount of leakage is inevitable.

                I’m also not so certain he’s really aimed at the right person — again, in the real world, it’s not the recipient but the sender that’s at fault and the lack of proper headers forms a solid defense unless the information is so obviously sensitive/classified/proprietary that any reasonable user should have known. And even then, it’s the sender that gets the lion’s share of the crap, not the recipient. And from what’s been said over and over, it appears Clinton wasn’t the sender in the vast bulk of them.

                So the question is: Is 0.3% leakage negligent? How negligent is it? Given what we know of the leakage, is it the sort of information (and in the context) that constitutes either honest mistakes or understandable time constraints? Or does it instead show a pattern of disdain for secrecy?

                Speaking from experience, and having undergone much less thorough audits, 0.3% leakage of low-level proprietary data might have gotten me a mild email from my boss requesting me to take more care — if I was the originator of all 0.3%.Report

              • trizzlor in reply to Jaybird says:

                Powell said he used a private email for business because it was easier, and that it was “mostly housekeeping” stuff which he deleted at the end of his tenure. This is pretty much identical to the defense that Clinton gave. So if the treatment were equal we would have seen Powell deposed for additional information and an effort made to recover the emails to verify if classified info had been transmitted.

                I don’t know about a cultural shift after Snowden/Manning, but I would expect some of that to trickle into policy. I can imagine a scenario where the Secretary says: security *and* transparency are especially critical now so I’m going to undergo a voluntary audit and do X, Y, and Z symbolic steps to demonstrate my commitment. I think that would be great (with the caveat that I have no idea how the State Department actually works). But at this point we’re talking about leadership priorities and not standards under the law. The whole thing is a bit of a moot point anyway because we now know that Russian and Chinese spies were inside the official State Dept emails this whole time.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Jaybird says:

                Would a black corporal in the US Army have received identical treatment?

                Given that it would have been handled under the UMJC and military courts, rather than the FBI — no.

                But since HRC isn’t a soldier, that seems a legitimate difference.

                There’s been a lot of “But look at case X!” stuff floating around, but I’ve noticed “Case X” often has intent (the accused deliberately stored classified material improperly) that Clinton lacks. Given the relatively small percentage of emails containing classified or better information (0.3%), the small number of email chains this represented (53), the fact that she was the recipient and not the sender in it appears virtually all or all cases, that the classified headers were missing in all case (leaving classification to be derived from information within — such as “All info on drone strikes in Pakistan even from the NYT is automatically TS”) or that the only markers were buried in the text and NOT on the header per procedure, and the fact that the most ‘secret’ stuff was discussion over drone strikes as reported in the NYT (literally a discussion over the news story itself)….

                That she used that system to gain access or distribute classified email with intent seems…dubious at best.

                Especially since, as I’ve noted many times — her server was setup to replace her non-classified, non-secure State email, and she seems to have used it as such. And every detail we get on what WAS on her server indicates that (1) it was the low-key, pointless crap that gets cross-contaminated through State’s non-secure stuff anyways (“Did you guys know the NYT reported about our drone strikes? Also, here’s the planned call list for Clinton today”) and (2) it was in such minimal amounts that, bluntly speaking, she was doing a darn good job by State standards and (3) She was SENT this stuff, not sending it.

                I suspect if you wade through 30k emails in my archives at work, I’d be pretty happy (and so would auditors) with a 0.3% rate of containing sensitive or proprietary information. (And yes, like government, business slaps that label on everything).Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Morat20 says:

                But since HRC isn’t a soldier, that seems a legitimate difference.

                You know what? You’re right.

                Does this reflect on the whole CiC thing, though?

                You’ve mentioned before that discussion of the NYT story is disseminating TS, unfortunately, you’re the only person I’ve seen make the claim that this was the TS stuff in question.

                Is there a source that you can point me to that discusses how the TS stuff in question is actually a discussion of stuff already in the wild?Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Jaybird says:

                Hmm. I got the sensitive ones (the DoD’s drone strikes) mixed up with the Top Secret (the CIA ones), but as explained below:

                Fred Kaplan:

                Top secret information is another matter, but the stuff that showed up in Clinton’s private email wasn’t so special. Seven of the eight email chains dealt with CIA drone strikes, which are classified top secret/special access program—unlike Defense Department drone strikes, which are unclassified. The difference is that CIA drones hit targets in countries, like Pakistan and Yemen, where we are not officially at war; they are part of covert operations. (Defense Department drone strikes are in places where we are officially at war.) But these operations are covert mainly to provide cover for the Pakistani and Yemeni governments, so they don’t have to admit they’re cooperating with America. Everyone in the world knows about these strikes; nongovernment organizations, such as New America, tabulate them; newspapers around the world—including the New York Times, where some of the same reporters are now writing so breathlessly about Clinton’s careless handling of classified information—cover these strikes routinely.

                The other top secret email chain described a conversation with the president of Malawi. Conversations with foreign leaders are inherently classified.

                This bit is also worth quoting:

                But Clinton’s actions didn’t break the law or damage national security. It has been widely reported that several senior officials have sometimes used their private computers and servers to conduct official business. Did their emails contain classified information, unwittingly or no? It’s hard to say: Nobody has investigated them.

                For that matter, there has been no FBI investigation into their standard State email accounts, which is not supposed to have sensitive or classified information, to see about that either.

                There’s two moving parts here:

                1) Clinton used a private email address instead of her non-secure, non-classified state email address.
                2) There was some mildly sensitive stuff on her private email, but in terms of legality, wise-decision making, carelessness, etc, it would have been identically a problem with her regular State email address.

                The private server was perfectly legal and in keeping with her predecessors choices. (It is now against White House rules, however). The second is a notorious problem at State (heck, government. And also business), and since we’ve had the FBI scour her freaking email, we can say she wasn’t being particularly careless (she received most of the information, not sent it, and it all seems to be the sort of “classified but it’s in the newspapers anyways” stuff that routinely leaks).

                Which is where Comey was coming from with “administrative penalties”, which in my personal experience, wouldn’t have amounted to squat for such a tiny amount of low-level crap. Bosses get on your butt when you’re routinely using your email to transmit sensitive stuff, not because you have a handful of mistakes over 4 years.Report

              • veronica d in reply to Morat20 says:

                Ha! I checked an enterprise-wide, important password into source control once!

                It was a fucked up situation, and one of those problems that would happen someday to someone, cuz a really bad software design that I inherited. But still, it happened. It was my fault. I should have scrubbed my repository before I submitted the code.

                It got caught by an infosec audit. The guy who caught it was my former mentor, who I’d worked for at two previous jobs and was a big part of my getting where I am. He called me down:

                “veronica, I can’t believe it was you! I was ready to go rant at whatever idiot fucked this up and it was you!”

                I was like, “Yep, I’m the idiot. The whole system is crap and we should rewrite it to use our really nice encrypted password distribution system anyhow. But until then…”

                So anyhow, we fixed the code and removed the need to ever put passwords into files.

                Shit happens. Do you best.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to veronica d says:

                Pretty much. I had to issue a day-one patch for dumb mistakes like that too.

                I’ve also sat through yearly “sensitive, proprietary, and classified” training (among other things, I’ve dealt with rocket flight data which is routinely classified) and bluntly speaking, what’s been reported in her non-secure email wouldn’t even have triggered a retraining.

                Auditors would have just pointed them out to her as examples of stuff to look for, as the sort of common mistakes people make, and moved onto the idiots attaching classified documents.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                I actually disagree JB. I take Comey at his word here that the available evidence didn’t support bringing charges that (eg) she knowingly emailed classified info yaddayadda. And I take him at his word that she is incompetent/corrupt bordering on illegality, but not quite docking at that port. As greg said, it’s a high bar to clear. And it should be, for better and worse.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                Then he was unprofessional in commenting on an investigation that had completed but the paper upon which had ink that was not yet dry.

                Let him wait until December to say “you know, if Staff Sergeant Snuffy had done the same thing, we’d have thrown the goddamn book at him”.

                Don’t try to have it both ways here.

                Either press charges *OR* hold your tongue and say “we looked at the totality of the circumstances and concluded that there wasn’t enough here to go forward, there will be no further questions” and then freaking leave.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird says:

                Yes, it’s completely unprofessional. I presume that’s what Chip meant by “the rules ARE different for the Clintons apparently”. They’re assumed guilty until proven innocent beyond a reasonable doubt, and even then you know they probably did it.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                Yeah, that’s pretty much what I meant.

                Jesu Cristo, is anyone expecting a card-carrying liberal to disagree with the premise that a black/gay/outgroup person would be shipped off to Gitmo for less?

                Hell yeah they would!

                But what, now, just now, as of this very moment, we are supposed to be outraged that a rich and powerful person is allowed to skate for a transgression?
                And just this rich and powerful person, no other-

                Don Blankenfeld, who killed 29 men? Naw, mistakes were made, man.

                Colin Powell, Scooter Libby, DIck Cheney, George Bush…ehh, whatcha gonna do? Lets keep walking.

                But yeah, Hilary- now SHE’S gotta burn.

                I mean, look, its nice that everyone at RedState and Townhall and Fox have discovered their inner Saul Alinsky and are ready to carry pitchforks and stick it to The Elite, but its hard to look at these people as reliable fellow travelers when they are so willing to drop to their knees at the other members of the Stonecutters.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                Don’t try to have it both ways here.

                Yeah, good point. I agree with that. He prolly shoulda bit his political tongue and gone with just the facts, maam. As befitting the role he plays.

                Manoman. We live in a political world. Courage is a thing of the past.Report

              • Yeah, good point. I agree with that. He prolly shoulda bit his political tongue and gone with just the facts, maam.

                He had to throw some red meat to the GOP. He might not believe that this nothingburger was actually horribly negligent, but if the FBI had submitted a report just saying just that then the GOP would have had kittens. Breaking policy and giving a presser where he said mean things about Ms. Clinton was bending over backwards to soothe the inquisition.

                It didn’t actually work, but you can’t fault him for /trying/ to be nice to the inmates.Report

              • trizzlor in reply to Jaybird says:

                Comey’s facing five Republican-lead inquiries next week, which he had to know would happen. The way those work is the speaker puts the worst possible gloss on what you’ve done; then they ask you a non-question like “so, in light of all that, why should Americans trust you at all?”; then they cut you off when you try to clarify and yield their time. The one saving grace you have is that typically the opposition party is trying just as hard to talk about how many stranded orphans you’ve pulled out of trees. Except in this case you don’t even have that, because the Democrats also have an axe to grind. The public lecture was a way for him to have some control over the narrative.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to trizzlor says:

                He looked really ticked when the GOP was asking if he’d been “influenced”.

                I think he didn’t like the shot at his integrity at all.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Kazzy says:

                Was Hillary’s questioning handled as it should have been as dictated by common sense someone trying to defuse a political quagmire by strenuously insisting she did nothing wrong?

                No. No it was not.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Stillwater says:

                I’m not sure I understand.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Kazzy says:

                “not sure” like you think you do but aren’t absolutely certain? Or not sure like you don’t have any idea what the hell’s going on here?Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Stillwater says:

                I read your words in such a way to make sense of them but I’m pretty certain that isn’t what you meant by them. Assuming your comment above was meant to clarify, I understand now.Report

        • Morat20 in reply to Jaybird says:

          Um, why not?

          Interviews aren’t interrogations, and I suspect the latter are likely to be recorded. And the oath thing is…nobody does that, so I can’t imagine you find that surprising. And it wasn’t a deposition either.

          I mean here’s the thing: By the time they got to Clinton’s interview, they knew there was nothing there. Having the private server wasn’t illegal or against the rules (it was for non-classified mail), and her predecessor had done similar, if far less secure, things. They’d gone through her emails at that point, talked to the admins, and already knew that she wasn’t in the habit of parking classified data there.

          So they knew she had no pattern of using it for classified materials, since only about 0.3% of the emails contained anything at all classified and those emails were primarily sent to her (so she had no culpability) and covered stuff that was public knowledge. It wasn’t NOC lists or nuclear codes or troop movements. It was discussion of an NYT article on drones, or that’d she’s spoken by phone. Those 110 included things like “people she might call that day” which was classified only to the end of the day, and talking points.

          Given the number of classified documents she dealt with daily, that’s….pretty indicative that she was pretty secure (especially for State, which was notoriously leaky) and handled documents appropriately, if not perfectly.

          So they come to interview her and they know already that (1) her private server was unusual, but not illegal and (2) her emails showed no pattern of playing fast and loose with classified documents and (3) her response to FOIA and her own lawyer’s analysis was done properly and they couldn’t show she’d hidden anything.

          They lacked any elements of a crime, the closest they could come to a crime was “she wasn’t perfect with classified documents” coupled with “using the private server wasn’t as good as using State’s own servers” (which admittedly was wrong. State’s servers were worse) — they couldn’t even claim it was unusual, because Powell used commercial freemail for that.

          So the interview was a formality. What was the point of recording it?Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Morat20 says:

            They knew that there was nothing there and so, therefore, there was no need to demonstrate to everyone else that there was nothing there because their knowledge was so secure.

            You trust in law enforcement more than I.Report

            • Morat20 in reply to Jaybird says:

              So in short Clinton should have gotten “special” treatment, in the sense that they should have violated procedure to be far, far harsher on her?

              Treated her like a serial liar under arrest?

              Isn’t the point of procedure to remove bias, personal or otherwise, and to treat everyone the same?

              For all the claims of “special treatment” for Clinton, it seems like the sort of “special” people want her to receive is not the good kind, but the other sort. The FBI equivalent of a rough ride or two, just in case.

              But if you’re not going to trust the interviewers, why wouldn’t they just bury the tape if it was inconvenient? Look, if the fix was in — no tape or transcript would be allowed to disprove it. If the fix wasn’t in, what’s wrong with standard procedure?Report

      • DavidTC in reply to Morat20 says:

        As for the oaths — when the police ask you questions, either as a witness or a potential criminal, do they routinely ask for oaths?

        She *couldn’t* be put under an oath for an interview with the FBI. An oath requires the courts.

        Perjury is the crime of swearing something falsely in an official proceeding. (Or doing it on a *form* that Federal law has put under perjury law, or making a signed statement to the court.) An official proceeding, for those who don’t know, involves the courts in some manner.

        To quote the law, to commit perjury, they have to take an oath they will ‘testify, declare, depose, or certify truly’. They only have to tell the truth *during those things*.

        Clinton was *interviewed*, not any of those things.

        Testifying is something you do in court, declaring is something you do WRT things to a court, being deposed is something you do in front of a judge and opposing parties, and certifying is a thing you do in some sort of official capacity (Like certify a document is a faithful reproduction, or certify that someone is mentally incompetent) and not something that person of interest are generally asked to do.

        …and, just as relevantly, she *literally* couldn’t have been put under an oath by the FBI, because, duh, it takes a court official to *administer an oath*.

        Now, what *could* have been done is ask her to write a signed statement *to a court* (Not the FBI), which would be under penalty of perjury automatically. Or they could have transcribed the interview and asked her to sign *that* as a statement to the court…although I think that’s frowned upon. (Because that’s basically trying to do a deposition without following the rules of depositions.)

        But, of course, it’s illegal to lie to the FBI in general, so I don’t know what the point of all this would be.Report

        • DavidTC in reply to DavidTC says:

          Incidentally, fun fact about perjury: The lie is not the perjury.

          Perjury is the *false swearing of the oath*. It happens way before the lie.

          And you can be technically guilty of it if you swore you wouldn’t lie while you were *intending* to lie, even if you didn’t get around to actually lying during the testimony. (Literal thought crime!) Good luck with anyone proving that, though.

          The media and everyone always get that wrong, by claiming that people perjury themselves during testimony. Uh, no, they perjured themselves at the same time everyone perjuries themselves…during the oath. There’s no other place they could have done it.

          This fact also raises the weird technical possibility that if you can prove you weren’t intending to lie when you took the oath, but then lied anyway, you might, *technically*, not have committed perjury. I don’t know if anyone has ever gotten off of a perjury charge on those grounds. (You’re thinking ‘But how would someone prove that?’…but that’s easy. All you have to do is prove you were lying about something you didn’t expect to come up. I.e., you didn’t *know* the prosecutor had figured something out before you took the stand. That situation is pretty common.)Report

    • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

      I get what you’re saying about the weirdness regarding Fedrul BI protocol. What’s even weirder is that Hillary either demanded it or agreed to it. I understand that GreginsoontobeCO mocked the whole drip,drip,drip thing the other day, but personally I think he was wrong to have done so. She’s either really really bad at retail politics (most charitable reading) or legitimately has something to hide. One thing is certain, tho: she didn’t want to go on record under oath.

      Yikes! I fear for muh country!Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

        The only consolation is that her further victories will be equally filled to the brim with “what the hell?” sentiments.Report

        • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

          And if Trump win? Another “what the hell” moment.

          The whole damn thing is degenerating into one of Dante’s circles of hell. Christ, Trump isn’t even TRYING right now and Hillary’s only up by 2 percentage points nationally.

          Sadly, George Carlin was right: “they’re the best we can do folks”.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

            I’m back to believing that he’s done and that he doesn’t have a chance.

            How in the hell did we get here? How in the hell did the people around me have no idea that something like this would happen?

            I’m down with me not seeing this coming, mind. I’m kind of oblivious to this sort of thing. But I thought that I was better at surrounding myself with blivious people.Report

          • “Democracy is that system of government under which people, having 60,000,000 native-born adults to choose from, including thousands who are handsome and many who are wise, pick out a Coolidge to be head of state. It is as if a hungry man, set before a banquet prepared by master cooks and covering a table an acre in area, should turn his back upon the feast and stay his stomach by catching and eating flies.”


      • Don Zeko in reply to Stillwater says:

        I just now realized that his handle meant Greg in AK, rather than just being a weird word, like maybe the name of an ogre or something.Report

      • greginak in reply to Stillwater says:

        @stillwater Yeah i mocked the drip drip thing. I’m fine with that. It should be completely unsurprising that there was no indictment. I read plenty of pieces by unaligned law types who explained the law and the high bar to indict. It was never likely. The various drips were things that might be embarrassing but not illegal and many were also clearly directed leaks which should always be looked at with trepidation. She did wrong, cluelessly so, since she should have learned to be squeaky clean but didn’t’ break the law was always the most likely outcome.

        CO did look good to us, but it was pretty darn hot and some of the denver traffic made me slightly want to shoot myself which generally isn’t good.Report

        • Stillwater in reply to greginak says:

          I’m not sure “high bar to indict” is all that good’a defense at this point, greg. It implies she’s pushing the envelope.

          Denver traffic suggs. So does Boulder traffic. Boulder in particular is terrible. Worse than Chicago, seems to me. My opinion: the Fort. FC is the best of the front range without any of the worst, and prices are very reasonably reasonable. Great town, great folks, easy access to a bunch of great wilderness places. The Springs is also a nice town with easy access and cool stuff.Report

          • greginak in reply to Stillwater says:

            Oh yeah she plays on the edge when it would be smarter to avoid trouble. Then again from what i’ve read i’m not sure she fully understood what a server is. She’s still responsible but i’m not sure she is that much better that Ted ” a bunch of pipes” Stevens. Stil cutting ethical corners, even if the law isn’t broken, is her and a problem.

            We really liked FC. ColoSp was nice but FC better. However for a couple reasons the western D suburbs like Broomfield and Arvada are likely to be better options.Report

            • Maribou in reply to greginak says:

              @greginak Arvada is pretty awesome, has its own (fun, good food, cultural stuff) downtown area. If you’re going to go to Broomfield you might as well go to boulder or FC…Report

            • DavidTC in reply to greginak says:

              It was ‘a series of tubes’, and the thing was, for all that mocking, that is a pretty good analogy for the internet, and is, frankly, a lot better understanding than *other* people had in 2006, which was basically ‘The internet is a thing with web pages and email on it and we pay for access to it.’.

              Granted, Ted Stevens didn’t know *much* about the internet. Immediately before that in his speech, he called an email ‘an internet’, and claimed it had been tangled up with commercial traffic and thus took a long time to get to him (Uh, no.), and then entire premise of his speech was to fight net neutrality, allowing different carriers to charge different rates for traffic from different people. (Which, of course, would have made his email *slower*, at least in theory…in reality, uh, email isn’t being slowed down by other traffic, except possibly over a crappy connection *to* the internet.)

              But he appears to have at least understood basic concepts about it in 2006, which was *way more* than most legislators.

              And, in the end, the internet is actually, basically, a series of tubes. People tend to call them ‘pipes’, not ‘tubes’, but whatever.Report

              • Brandon Berg in reply to DavidTC says:

                I was just talking about this the other day in an internet I sent to my friend. It’s funny how that was the single line of his speech least worthy of derision, and yet it’s the one that got all the derision.

                Which, if I were inclined to be uncharitable, might lead me to suspect that most of those mocking him for it weren’t that much more knowledgeable themselves.Report

              • Listen more carefully. Stevens thought the internet is made of potatoes.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                “Information is sent thru a series of tubers appearing in your home on bulbs.”Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Brandon Berg says:

                I’ve always wondered if someone actually did explain the internet to him using the term ‘pipes’, and the poor guy just tried to make it sound more general with ‘tubes’.Report

  13. noptme says:

    Attorneys Intend to Ask for ‘the Clinton Deal’
    Will other careless security-clearance holders get a pass? Time will tell.

    • Gaelen in reply to noptme says:

      Analogizing Clinton’s case to Bezler’s, as the attorney in the article is doing, is a little silly. Comey specifically said that while criminal charges were a step to far, administrative sanction would have been appropriate. Bezler may have been in the right, but he only faces administrative penalties (even if they do seem draconian).Report

      • Morat20 in reply to Gaelen says:

        Administrative sanctions run from a stern talking to, to a formal letter in your file, to being required to retake security training, to suspension, to loss of clearance, to firing.

        Lots of people jump to the latter, although my experience with proprietary documents has been that it’s generally doors 1 and 3, if there was no malicious intent.Report

      • Mo in reply to Gaelen says:

        Isn’t the Belzer case also different in that the UCMJ applies to Belzer, but not to Clinton?Report

  14. noptme says:

    Report: Homeless Man Called 911 on Alton Sterling after showing him his gun.

    Don’t liberals want folks to us to report others with guns who are brandishing them?

    • Kazzy in reply to noptme says:


      Don’t conservatives defend the rights of individuals to use weapons to protect themselves? Sterling, it seems, was being harassed and used a non-lethal method to stop it. He’s a good guy with a gun!Report

      • notme in reply to Kazzy says:

        Protect himself from a panhandler? Sorry you something better than that before you brandish a gun.Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to notme says:

          That depends. The CNN link in the article you link to suggests the panhandler was being very aggressive in asking for money. Perhaps he flashed a knife at Sterling or made some other threat. That would be grounds to flash a gun in return.

          But unless store security video offers up something about that moment, we’ll never know, because Sterling is dead.Report

          • notme in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

            Except sterling was a felon and shouldn’t have a gun.Report

          • Stillwater in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

            The CNN link in the article you link to suggests the panhandler was being very aggressive in asking for money. Perhaps he flashed a knife at Sterling or made some other threat. That would be grounds to flash a gun in return.

            If the beggar is flashing a knife when asking for money can we atleast agree to not call him a “panhandler”? A panhandler would obviously be wielding a cast iron skillet as a tool of persuasion in that event.Report

        • Kazzy in reply to notme says:

          Tell that to my friend who was stabbed in the head with a corkscrew by a panhandler she opted not to offer money to.

          Really, dude, you aren’t even trying anymore. If tomorrow a good ol’ boy fires on a black panhandler, I have zero doubt you would defend his right to stand his ground.Report

          • notme in reply to Kazzy says:

            Not unless the panhandler was threatening his life.Report

            • Kazzy in reply to notme says:

              I thought he only needs to fear for his life to be justified in shooting?

              But to “brandish”, he actually needs to be threatened? Funny…Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Kazzy says:

                He just needs to subjectively believe he was in grave, life threatening danger, facts be damned. Which, sorta ironically, strikes me as the regular mind-set of the majority of Gun Nutz we’ve been talking about recently.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Stillwater says:

                But notme has definitively declared that panhandlers simply can’t rise to the level of inspiring such fear!Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Kazzy says:

                He’s clearly wrong. Hell, I’ve read accounts from Gun Life Coaches who advise that the proper way to go about your day is by never letting your guard down since (and I quote) “even what appears to be an innocent panhandler may very likely threaten your life by asking for alms at the end of a handled pan.”Report

        • Mo in reply to notme says:

          Flashing a gun and brandishing a gun are two completely different things. It says that he just showed him his gun, which, in an open carry state, is completely legal. Brandishing involves waving it at him.Report

    • Brandon Berg in reply to noptme says:

      IMO, this is important for two reasons:

      1. I’ve seen anti-gun nuts talk about calling the police on law-abiding people engaging in legal open carry. This is what can happen when you do that.

      2. The fact that the police knew he was armed and had some reason to believe that he was inclined to use it helps us to understand what they were thinking at the time. I’m seeing a lot of rhetoric about “murder” and “a war on black people,” or a “state-back campaign of terror,” but I think in the vast majority of cases where the shooting turns out in hindsight to have been unjustified, it’s more a question of police officers wanting to get home alive and making the wrong call, with tragic consequences.Report

      • notme in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        The cops in the Rice case got a similar call, that someone had a gun. They were also told the person was pointing it at people. Sadly it makes better headlines to call it “murder.”Report

      • Chip Daniels in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        So, I see a white guy dressed in camo carrying a gun through Krogers.

        He looks just like one of those Bundy types, y’know, one of those crazed militia members, so I have “some reason to believe that he is inclined to use it”

        Should I call 911, or not?

        Would it change if he was black?
        If he was black, in Dallas, at a protest?

        I’m just trying to figure out here, how we determine when a good guy with a gun switches to become a bad guy with a gun.

        Is there like, a Field Guide to North American Killers or something?Report

      • trizzlor in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        >>it’s more a question of police officers wanting to get home alive and making the wrong call, with tragic consequences.

        But the whole issue is what to do about a system where the wrong call is overwhelmingly made when the suspect is a person of color. It’s pretty much settled science at this point: officers are more likely to react aggressively to the same call if the suspect is black; jurors are more likely to see black suspects accused of the same crime as adults and animalistic; and therefore more likely to assign stricter sentences; doctors are less likely to provide pain relief to a black patient; etc. The effects are felt through all interactions with the state – in aggregate. Saying that any individual act is just one wrong call doesn’t cut it anymore.Report

      • Oscar Gordon in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        As I’ve said before, as long as police operate under a substantially looser standard for the justifiable use of force, this will continue.

        We can craft a reasonable standard that takes into account the fact that police are more likely to encounter people who are not having a good day, but at the same time, they have to be held to account when they act before they have sufficient information to justify the use of force. Yes, it means they will operate at a higher risk. Tough. No one is making them wear the badge.Report

  15. Jack Larson died last September. I had no idea he was so diversely talented:

    an American actor, librettist, screenwriter and producer. He is best known for his portrayal of photographer/cub reporter Jimmy Olsen on the television series Adventures of Superman.Report

  16. Will Truman says:

    In case y’all missed it, all hell broke loose in Dallas. Four cops dead, a man wrongly accused, situation not yet resolved.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Will Truman says:

      Just saw this. Fucking shit. Where did you see something about a false accusation? The guy whose pic they sent out?

      This shit just needs to fucking stop.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to Kazzy says:

        Yeah. They got the guy on video when the shooting started. They’re not confirming that he isn’t a shooter, though.Report

        • Kazzy in reply to Will Truman says:

          Well, since it at least seems like they have a positive ID on who he is and reason to think he might not be the shooter, let’s hope he is brought in peacefully and safefully… for all involved. We don’t need any more dead bodies.Report

          • Will Truman in reply to Kazzy says:

            He apparently turned over his gun and went with the authorities.Report

            • Oscar Gordon in reply to Will Truman says:

              After Ferguson, I started to wonder how long it would be before something like this happened, especially given that the police, the courts, & even politicians didn’t seem to be taking it seriously enough to start pushing reform across the board. Individual flashpoints were being addressed, but nothing regarding the systemic issues. And police seemed to just get more aggressive and, I don’t have the right word, maybe embattled (not paranoid, exactly, maybe cornered?).

              No way this wasn’t gonna blow up. I doubt this will be the last time such an event plays out. And to be honest, neither presumptive Presidential candidate has what it takes to fix this.Report

              • Mo in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                What’s especially sad and disappointing Dallas was one of the cities that was taking these issues very seriously and engaging in reform and better community policing. This is probably why, aside from the snipers*, the protests were very peaceful and well controlled.

                * I know, it’s very much a, “Aside from that, how was the play Mrs. Lincoln,” statementReport

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Mo says:

                That does make me wonder if this was something else. Maybe it’s 12 dimensional chess, but if someone wanted to kick over a powderkeg…Report

              • Kim in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Honestly, it’s a stupid play. Cops will put too much emphasis on finding any conspiracy.

                There are trained agitators out there, but they cause riots.Report

    • greginak in reply to Will Truman says:


  17. Oscar Gordon says:


    Being the architect and all…Report