Never attribute to evil when stupidity will suffice

By WhskyJack, a Trail Mix Contributor

At last somebody is looking at the whole of the Clinton email scandal. While it isn’t pretty it looks way more realistic than all the accusations and rumors. (Politico: What the FBI Files Reveal About Hillary Clinton’s Email Server)

You have a tech shy SOS working with the antiquated tech of the State Department where workarounds have long been the rule. It occurred to me that for the State Department, communication is as essential as weapons are to the military. One would think they would keep their communication devices up to date.  Yet the State Department’s communication systems seem to be the equivalent of the military moving a patriot missile battery around with a team of mules.

This is a good read:

The interviews—taken together and reconstructed for this article into the first-ever comprehensive narrative of how her email server scandal unfolded—draw a picture of the controversy quite different from what either side has made it out to be. Together, the documents, technically known as Form 302s, depict less a sinister and carefully calculated effort to avoid transparency than a busy and uninterested executive who shows little comfort with even the basics of technology, working with a small, harried inner circle of aides inside a bureaucracy where the IT and classification systems haven’t caught up with how business is conducted in the digital age. Reading the FBI’s interviews, Clinton’s team hardly seems organized enough to mount any sort of sinister cover-up. There’s scant oversight of the way Clinton communicated, and little thought given to how her files might be preserved for posterity—MacBook laptops with outdated archives are FedExed across the country, cutting-edge iPads are discarded quickly and BlackBerry devices are rejected for being “too heavy” as staff scrambled to cater to Clinton’s whims.

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44 thoughts on “Never attribute to evil when stupidity will suffice”

  1. For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.

    H. L. Mencken


    and so might be the case for government records, computers and technology gadgets

  2. Great post Jack.  Btw, Mencken was right, pard.

    Craig’s October 2, 2016 at 11:08 pm comment was perfect. We were listening to the nonsense that Trump put out about the tax return, and sent his surrogates out to say how much of a genius he is with respect to taxes. Mrs. P be used to be a tax attorney with the big 8 in Pittsburgh. She said that if he’s saying that poor people also used the tax code like he did, he or they don’t know anything about net operating losses. NOLs are where his loss was, that’s what’s allowed to be applied to the prior 3 years and the next 15. Poor people who don’t own their own busineses do not have net operating losses.

  3. pogo, there was a time when bankruptcy was thought to be shameful.  those who stiffed workers and merchants they owed were considered no better than thieves and brigands.

    now bankrupts are proclaimed “genius” and nominated for prez [sigh] how times have changed

  4. “The best thing is seeing a woman about to become POTUS.  Way down the road, I truly hope a Latino/Latina can be President before I run out of time.”


    I agree, one of the best things in electing HRC is  it hopefully opens the door to other minorities and oppressed peoples to attain our highest office, the Presidency..

  5. Donald Trump: Terroristic Man-Toddler
    Charles Blow

    This man is a brat whose money has stunted his maturation.
    He shouldn’t be ushered into the White House; he should be laughed into hiding. His querulous nature shouldn’t be coddled; it should be crushed.
    America is in need of a leader, not a puerile, sophomoric sniveler who is too easily baited and grossly ill-behaved.
    Go to your gilded room, Donald. The adults need to pick a president.

  6. This really came home to me when I read that the Hillary emails to State Department employees were printed out daily, boxed, sealed and sent for storage at State.  When all the nonsense FOIA requests were coming in, this is what they had to prowl through and why so many of the “missing” emails were nothing but duplicates of ones already released.

    There was enough ignorance to go around to mess up State.  Of course it also explains problems in other areas such as the horrid mess in the Veterans Dept that suffered from the same processing madness of hard copies in stacks and stacks for entries into a computer system from decades ago.


  7. must say I was never worked up about the email stories — way down there with travelgate in the hierarchy of Clinton “scandals”

  8. where does congressional responsibility fall in this failing of oversight and funding for a proper up to date computer system?

    are there “no” votes that we can identify as the same critter who criticizes state’s state of disarray?

  9. Craig

    Thanks for adding the attribution to Politico for the article, a big slip up on my part.

    I’ve been thinking about this article for a couple of days

    Well we know she didn’t forward any classified emails, because she couldn’t use the computer needed to read them, she got all classified emails in hard copy.

    As Mrs Jack pointed out, Nobody in her world is that computer illiterate.  She doesn’t even understand how anyone could effectively function.

    HRC was such a tech phobe that she didn’t do email on her computer. And evidently refused to learn.  My mother was in her eighties and in the first stages of alzheimer’s and she learned to use a computer to read email. Somewhere HRC learned to use her blackberry but was resistant to using new ones.

    IMO her inability to even learn the rudimentary basics of tech disqualify her from the office she is running for.  Really would you hire someone that can’t get on a computer and write an email?

    The only thing that saves her is that she has a really horrid opponent.




  10. WikiLeaks Cancels Expected Clinton-Related Announcement Over ‘Security Concerns’ (New York Magazine): “It looks like Assange will still appear in a video for a press conference in Berlin on Tuesday morning. It’s unclear if he will take that opportunity to make his big reveal.”

  11. IMO she shouldn’t be wasting her time writing emails–that is what staff is for. Her Blackberry is fine (yes they aren’t making machines anymore but will be making software for a variety of machines). Working out a detailed plan for IT upgrade and replacement is a staff problem, etc., etc..

  12. Craig, if such a video presser is performed, i hope it’s staged on the ‘other side’ of the Glienicker Brücke. And, I wonder what Ecuador thinks about letting their embassy being used as the stage–especially after the referendum in Colombia just failed.

  13. Why do I find it ironic that Assange cancels a press conference over security concerns, him living in an embassy to avoid being extradited? Wonder when the last time the Ecuadoran embassy in London was attacked?

  14. “Really would you hire someone that can’t get on a computer and write an email?”

    jack, hell that’s most of the current older ceos, lawyers, deans, judges, congress critters, bankers etc.  you would have junked gen. powell with that criteria.

    btw, she seems to have mastered some of the techie stuff since then… enough for you to allow her in the oval ofc?



    she shouldn’t be wasting her time writing emails–that is what staff is for. 

    Flatus, tell that to the CEO of any up and coming company. Sorry but that attitude is so dated. It just doesn’t happen much any more. And where it does you will find the executives are heritage leaders that are on their way out the door not coming in. For anyone under forty it is a big red flag that screams  old outdated privilege.


  16. Pat

    You put your finger on it *OLD* and yes some one set the bear down and taught her a little dance but it seems to be the only one she knows.

    Are we all supposed to be amazed that she can read email on her old outdated blackberry. As I told Flatus, it reeks of special privilege and incompetence. She is just lucky her opponent stinks worse.



  17. One other thing Pat, Colin Powell used a computer as well as a “PDA” I’ll bet he was even moderately successful at using a word processor program.

    One other thought, Colin Powell had to work for a living.


  18. Friday 09/30/2016 09:16 AM ET – Dow Jones News
    BlackBerry also Announces Discontinuation of Handset Business LONDON, UK / ACCESSWIRE / September 30, 2016 / Active Wall St. announces its post-earnings coverage on BlackBerry Limited (NASDAQ: BBRY).

  19. The Canadian company Research In Motion was a lovely investment for a few years. It and the other pioneer of mobility Palm Inc., are both gone now. Blackberry is the salvage of Research In Motion, and now it is out of the mobility business entirely. And, it’s not even 2017 yet !

    Sheesh, that was quick.

  20. jack, by now I imagine she has learned how to use a computer and send an email…  back then probably did too but maybe not to the liking (criteria) of IT folks….  don’t forget her office at home back then when mac wasn’t talking to Microsoft may have had different devices.

    don’t be such a techie snob….  hurts us little luddite feelings

  21. Jack,

    I’m much in favor of ‘management by walking around.’ Folks who stay in their offices, tied to their technology, just don’t get the big picture of how their organiations are really doing. I’m talking about the larger places with large work  orces in multiple divisions with discrete functions.

    In these situations the way that I’ve found that works best is if the boss goes out with his phone/note carrier/taker; bosses train of thought shouldn’t be interrupted unless it’s urgent. Walking or driving through the work area, boss gives brief notes to the assistant. Seeing people at work, the boss may or may not engage in conversation depending on the situation.

    If the subordinate boss is encountered, specific observations should be given and feedback solicited. If action is required from a third party, subordinate should be directed to prepare a letter/email for the bosses signature. This places the subordinate firmly in the loop for achieving organizational goals while giving the boss a document from which he can verify that he and the subordinate are on the same page before the third party is involved.

    If further coordination is needed between different divisions prior to taking formal action, recommendations can be discussed at this point for the Boss’s subsequent action. The assistant will be taking notes at this point.

    With the boss making 1,000 times as much as an assistant, it doesn’t make sense wasting brainpower on <ctrl>F13. If that disappoints the millennials, they should realize that they will be ancients in the eyes of their own children before they know it.

  22. Flatus, LOL!!Yes, the great 0-0 conflict.

    I have to admit that in our little corner of the world, the higher up you go in our little hierarchy, the less technical expertise you find.  Each ensuing level knows less about the cyber.

  23. Blackberry.  About 10-12 years ago when I was still with the big firm I got my first smart device – a 2nd gen Blackberry.  I thought it was the coolest thing – I could get my email and respond to it so long as had a signal, and back them – that coverage was spotty in WV – and I could access the internet, but at a very rudimentary level.  Problem with those things was the track ball.  Frequent malfunctions and the thing was worthless when that part failed. Now the damn things have come far enough that I’m fully functional on my phone and although I took the computer with me on our honeymoon trip I didn’t even turn it on – used the phone to do everything.

  24. hey, we’re still close to the era of secretaries who typed, took notes, wrote letters over boss sig and who were in most cases female.  a whole generation will have to die out for the concept that  keyboards= woman’s work to fade.

    the drumpf used the term “secretary Clinton” to her face at the debate as a put down not an honorific.


    btw, pogo et al trail tax lawyer types,  if ivana was a joint filer at the time on the leaked tax document, she could legitimately have sent it to nyt… after all the return address is ttower and doesn’t she still live there?  or perhaps it was one of the unhappy spawn desperately seeking daddy’s comeuppance.

  25. The big turd’s now got a new surrogate, a very handsome AF-AM guy, a danney williams, who claims to be bill Clinton’s son.

    This should rile up all the neo-nazis.

  26. let’s come up with a good name for the mysterious source.  something appealing to the media, you know salacious and catchy like “deep throat” was.

    wapo: Who gave Trump’s taxes to the New York Times? The mystery behind a bombshell story.
    The Times’ story was a rare animal, a bombshell based on a source whose identity is unknown even to people at the news organization that broke the story. Although anonymous sources are commonly used by journalists to elicit sensitive information, reporters almost always know their identity, even if they don’t disclose their names to readers or viewers.
    That doesn’t appear to be the case in the Times’ story, which carried the bylines of four reporters, including Craig and David Barstow, an investigative reporter who has won three Pulitzer Prizes.
    While Craig declined to discuss her understanding of who sent the Trump documents, Times deputy executive editor Matt Purdy was definitive: “We do not know the identity of the source.”
    As for Craig, she’s still guessing why the source chose to send her the envelope.
    Some of it might be her experience covering Wall Street for a decade or so for the Wall Street Journal and the Times. Part of it might be her coverage of Trump’s business career for the Times over the past nine months, including an investigation this summer of Trump’s holdings that revealed his businesses are carrying more than twice as much debt as Trump has publicly disclosed.

  27. And now the draft dodging Mr. Trump thinks Vets with PTSD got it because they were weak.  That one should go over well.


  28. If you live in a bubble and never have experiences, if it doubtful PTS will come seeking.  The floater has never stated anything that would be traumatic in its life.

  29. I get the Condom comment, but I was taking the garbage out.  How’d Rachel take the crazy train?

  30. She had this bizarre election scenario going to the supreme court which of course is missing a member.  There is no basis in any fact for her supposition of states so close they end up with the supremes to settle the election ala 2000  it’s stupid talk when there are real issues to discuss

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