Monthly Archives: June 2016

This was last week’s news, but the WSJ provides a nice summary today so …

hilklaryBosniaImage1How did a top Clinton donor end up as a State Department security advisor? 

Don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of Mr. [Rajiv K. ]Fernando, because you arguably never should have. Mr. Fernando is a one-time Chicago securities trader who in July of 2011 somehow found himself sitting on the International Security Advisory Board, with the ability to access the nation’s most sensitive intelligence.

Mr. Fernando had no background that would have qualified him to sit on the ISAB alongside the likes of former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft, former Defense Secretary William Perry, a United Nations chief weapons inspector, members of Congress, and nuclear scientists. That Mr. Fernando didn’t belong was apparent. “We had no idea who he was,” one board member told ABC News. So how exactly did he get there?

We now finally know, thanks to State Department internal emails that the government was forced to turn over to the watchdog group Citizens United. And thanks to ABC News, which began digging into Mr. Fernando’s bizarre appointment when it first happened.

In August 2011, ABC requested a copy of Mr. Fernando’s resume from the State Department. This, the internal emails show, sent a press aide reeling to find answers to how a trader had ended up on the ISAB. Even the aide noted that it was “natural to ask how he got onto the board when compared to the rest of the esteemed list of members.”

The response came only a few hours later in an email from Wade Boese, chief of staff for an undersecretary of state: “The true answer is simply that S staff ( Cheryl Mills) added him,” Mr. Boese wrote. “Raj was not on the list sent to S; he was added at their insistence.”

S, in this situation, stands for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Ms. Mills, a longtime aide, was her chief of staff. Why would Hillary want to entrust the nation’s secrets to a man with no intelligence experience?

Here’s what we do know: Mr. Fernando, before his plum appointment, had given between $100,000 and $250,000 to the William J. Clinton Foundation. He had been a top bundler for Mrs. Clinton in her 2008 presidential run, and later a major Obama fundraiser. He gave tens of thousands more to a political group that helped Hillary pay off her 2008 campaign debt by renting her email list.

The 2011 emails reveal that the State Department knew it had a problem on its hands. “We must protect the Secretary’s and Under Secretary’s name,” the press aide warned. Ms. Mills, the messages say, asked staff to “stall” the news organization. Damage control came in the form of Mr. Fernando’s quick resignation, on grounds of “additional time needed to devote to his business.” Uh huh.

This is how Hillary Clinton operates. Donald Trump, for all the trouble his out-loud musings cause him, can nonetheless take credit for perfectly distilling, in five short words, what would be the defining nature of another Clinton presidency: The politics of personal profit. Give money to the Clinton Foundation; get special favors. Figure out a way to slip the Clintons some speech money, or cattle-futures trades, or donations; get rewarded in the political arena.

This is also why Mrs. Clinton kept control over her home-brew email server. The Citizens United release shows that messages about ISAB appointments were forwarded to Mrs. Clinton’s personal account—where they fell into a black hole. Were there email discussions about the personal-profit merit of appointing Mr. Fernando? Ask Mrs. Clinton’s webmaster, Bryan Pagliano. Or not. He recently invoked the Fifth during a deposition 125 consecutive times.

News organizations have also noted that Mr. Fernando is missing from the State Department website listing former ISAB members. So the department has also scrubbed the national record of actual facts. Much as it deliberately cut a portion from the video of an uncomfortable press briefing, or as the administration attempted to censor the transcript of the Orlando shooter’s 911 call.

As for Mr. Fernando, a message left on a cell number that appeared to belong to him was not returned. But he’s still bundling—this time for Mrs. Clinton’s 2016 bid. A peek at the Clinton Foundation website shows he continued to donate and is now listed as having given between $1 million and $5 million. If he keeps that up, he’ll likely be in the running to become President Hillary’s own secretary of state.

As I noted yesterday, the State Department has yet to produce a single document or an honest answer about any of Clinton’s secret dealings except under court order. It has stonewalled the press for 7 years, just like the rest of the administration, and continues to do so: Just today, it told the judge who has ordered it to produce all emails concerning the Clinton Foundation by July that it will need 27 more months to comply, We are living under the rule of a completely lawless government.

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It’s business as usual at the Clinton White House

I did not have sex with that woman - is that what you're asking?

I did not have sex with that woman – is that what you’re asking?

Bill meets the Attorney General for a 30 minute private chat on the tarmac in  private (presumably unburied) jet, to “talk about our grandchildren and how old friends are doing”. Nothing whatsoever about the ongoing FBI investigation into his wife’s email crimes, and certainly they didn’t broach the subject of the House Report on Benghazi that was to be released three hours later. “Why, that would be wrong!:

Even National Public Radio is appalled.

A strange thing is uniting Democrats and Republicans in Washington: the widespread disapproval of a meeting between Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Bill Clinton on an airport tarmac in Arizona.

Lynch told reporters that the impromptu conversation on her government aircraft in Phoenix on Monday centered on social issues, from talk of grandchildren and Clinton’s golf game to their recent travels. Nothing came up, the attorney general said, about any ongoing Justice Department investigations.

But the chat took place in the midst of an FBI investigation into the security of Hillary Clinton’s private email server, which she used to conduct government business as secretary of state. And that’s creating a major appearance problem for the presumptive Democratic nominee for the White House and the top federal prosecutor in the coOn CNN, Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., praised the attorney general for her law enforcement bona fides but offered this advice: “I think she should have said, ‘Look, I recognize you have a long record of leadership on fighting crime, but this is not the time for us to have that conversation. After the election is over, I welcome your advice and input.'”

Cornyn said the disclosure of the meeting between Bill Clinton and Lynch only heightened his concerns. “‘This incident does nothing to instill confidence in the American people that her department can fully and fairly conduct this investigation, and that’s why a special counsel is needed now more than ever,” Cornyn said in a statement.

From the standpoint of legal ethics, Lynch did nothing wrong, said New York University law school professor Stephen Gillers. Gillers said he didn’t think the attorney general needed to recuse herself from overseeing the email probe. But Gillers took a sterner tone with Bill Clinton.

“It was the height of insensitivity for the former president to approach the attorney general,” Gillers said. “He put her in a very difficult position. She wasn’t really free to say she wouldn’t talk to a former president,” after Clinton boarded her plane in Arizona.

“He jeopardized her independence and did create an appearance of impropriety going onto her plane,” Gillers added.

Gillers said he takes Lynch at her word that no sensitive law enforcement matters came up in the 30-minute airport chat.

But, he said, the episode “feeds the dominant narrative that the Clintons don’t follow the usual rules, that they’re free to have back channel communications like this one and that’s true even if we assume as I do that nothing improper was said. The public will be suspicious.”

Y’ah think? If there are two more brazen criminals in politics right now than Bill and Hillary, they’ve somehow kept under the radar. Four more years? Really?

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The elite strike another blow at the poor, “for their own good”

Al Gore’s daughter has been arrested for protesting  natural gas pipeline construction project that, when completed, will bring more natural gas to New England.

Miss Gore, her bio shows, is a graduate of The Cathedral School, Harvard University and Columbia Law School, and is married (though now separated) to a biotech venture capitalist. It is unlikely, in other words, that she has suffered financial difficulties in the past nor is she likely, much as we might wish it, to do so in the future. But what about the people she wants to deprive of natural gas?  Different story.

Natural gas produces 28% less CO2 per heating unit than fuel oil which is something Miss Gore and her Buddhist friends who accompanied her to Boston profess to be concerned about. Far more important to real people, as opposed to glitterati nitwits like Gore, is the cost of heating their homes. Here’s the  Massachusetts Department of Energy calculations on the difference between fuels : Natural gas, $879 ; fuel oil, $2,248; propane, $2,569. There are no other heating alternatives in New England (leaving aside wood stoves: impractical in cities, highly polluting elsewhere). There are no unicorn shit/biomass plants, no solar energy plants, nothing. The choice for a New England homeowner is to use one of those three fuels or freeze in the dark. We know what Miss Gore would choose for the peasants – I wonder whether Donald Trump would agree?

estimated-avg-hh-bills

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There’s a buyer for every house, but sometimes it can take a while to find him

48 Locust

48 Locust

48 Locust Road, waaaay up to our west, reports a contract It was asking $1.850 million yesterday, but it started off at $2.950 in 2007 and stayed around there through 2009 before being pulled. It’s been back on for 400 days now at this price, and patience seems to have paid off.

The buyers paid $2,397,500 for it in 2005 and must have spent some real money renovating it, so that isn’t such a good deal. I liked the house, a lot,; but hated the price, back when it was for sale back in 2005 because, although it was in rough shape, it still had a lot of its 1850 charm and the grounds were beautiful. The grounds are still nice, but I don’t see any of the original farmhouse left which, to my taste, is too bad.

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And a sale on Upland

44 Upland Drive

44 Upland Drive

44 Unpland Drive, $3.5 million. It started at $4.5 a year ago June, but what can you do? Except drop the price, of course.

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Sale price reported

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 1.40.54 PM80 Round Hill Road sold for $4.080 on an asking price of $4.250, so pretty impressive. It’s a classic old (1913) house on two beautiful  acres on lower Round Hill, so it has a lot going for it. On the other hand, it’s going to take a lot of money and work to bring it up to date.

Start with the kitchen

Start with the kitchen

But don't forget the master bath

But don’t forget the master bath

 

 

 

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Contingent contract on Jofran

4 Jofran

4 Jofran

4 Jofran, asking $1.895 million. Pleasant house, good mid-country location. Interesting price history here because it illustrates the strengthening of prices in this part of time. The previous owner listed it at $2.395 in 2010, which was not out of line with sales on this street in the 2004-2007 years, but could sell it until 2011, when it fetched $1.580. These owners updated the baths and freshened it a bit, and have found a buyer in about 3 months.

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