SciFi Weekend: Under the Dome; Extant; Jessica Jones; Doctor Who; You’re The Worst

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It is a shame that CBS cannot handle genre on the main network as well as they do on The CW Network. The third season of  Under the Dome totally forgot what made the show interesting, even if the stories were highly flawed. Initially the show was of some interest for showing how relatively normal people would react to an implausible but interesting situation. The third season was basically a third-rate alien invasion story, stealing heavily from Invasion of the Body Snatchers with a touch of the least interesting aspects of The Matrix. Earlier seasons threw in all sorts of mumbo jumbo for the show’s mythology. These are even less interesting in retrospect than at the time as there was no real pay off.

CBS announced the cancellation of the series before the finale aired so I hoped that maybe they had a cut ready which was a clear finale. Instead the dome came down well before the end of the episode, with the major characters next captured by the government until they agreed to keep the alien invasion secret. Then the episode ended with signs that the danger was still there. As usual on such shows, if there is no body when a character appears to have been killed, they will show up again–this time in a scene clearly intended to lead into another season.

extant_taalr

Extant started threatening to be an alien invasion series, but then turned into a story of misunderstood aliens who wanted to live in peace. Virtually every science fiction and many other television troupes were thrown in, including a human gaining powers, artificial intelligence, an evil super-computer, and evil versus foolishly-acting evil government officials. Unfortunately none of this was handled very well, substituting the use of  such troupes for good writing

The episode at least tied up all the plot lines for the season, working well as a series finale, but included a final scene to tease a third season. Apparently TAALAR has taken the form of a Humanick and goes out to coffee shops. No decision has been made on a third season, but the second season renewal was not announced until October last year.

Netflix has announced that Jessica Jones will be released on November 20. Trailer above. Time has more on the series.

The reboot of The X-Files doesn’t premiere until January, but it will be shown on October 10 at the New York Comic-Con.

With Bryan Fuller moving on from Hannibal to American Gods, David Slade, one of the directors of Hannibal will be joining him.

The BBC and BBC America will broadcast a prequel to series nine of Doctor Who the day before it premieres on September 19.

Youre The Worst Sweater People

A couple brief notes on two (quite different) television series which premiered last summer which are returning this fall and are worth catching up on if you haven’t seen them:

You’re The Worst has already returned for its second season with Sweater People. Jimmy and Gretchen now must admit they are in a relationship after moving in together but they are still as self-destructive.

WGN has released more information on season two of Manhattan .

 

Justice Department Brief Saying Clinton Could Destroy Personal Email Means Very Little

Clinton Email Cartoon Deleted

Clinton apologists who have been cherry picking statements to defend her have another claim which I’m sure we will hear about endlessly, even if it doesn’t mean much of anything. Justice Department lawyers, basically doing their job in defending the Obama administration from a suit filed against them said, “There is no question that former Secretary Clinton had authority to delete personal emails without agency supervision — she appropriately could have done so even if she were working on a government server.”

This doesn’t really change anything. First of all, this is an argument made by attorneys whose job it was to protect the State Department from the FOIA suit. Having this statement made does not mean that the judge hearing the case will accept this view.

This argument also is peripheral to the main points of the email scandal. Yes, there is no question under ordinary circumstances that Clinton could have deleted any personal email. However, we are not dealing with ordinary circumstances. It has already been well-established that Clinton violated rules in effect as of 2009 when she used her private server exclusively for government business and when she failed to turn the email over to be archived while in office. References to previous fact check articles on this, along with statements from Justice Department and State Department officials who confirm Clinton violated the policies, have been posted previously including here and here. Among other statements, the top Freedom of Information Act official at the Justice Department has clearly stated that Clinton was in violation of the rules

This is also not an ordinary situation as it has already been established that email related to Libya and terrorism has been altered and has been among the email which Clinton deleted claiming to be personal. While normally a government employee can legally destroy personal email, it is up to the judge in the case to decide if this is altered by her violation of the rules regarding use of private email and by the fact that she has deleted non-personal email among the email claimed to be personal.

Even if Clinton manages to get away with this through any legal technicalities, it does not absolve her for the unethical conduct exhibited, along with the other policies she has violated. Getting around this on any legal technicalities would be damaging to concepts of government transparency and the Freedom of Information Act. This would not affect the other unethical actions and violations of government policy by Clinton, or the other court cases and investigations in progress.

Clinton Sees Decrease in Lead Over Sanders & Now Trails Ben Carson

Clinton Biden Sanders

Hillary Clinton continues to show a downward trajectory in the polls, no longer having a significant lead for the Democratic nomination. The CNN/ORC poll shows:

Hillary Clinton’s lead in the race for the Democratic nomination has fallen to just 10 points, and at the same time, her advantage in hypothetical general election matchups against the top Republican contenders has vanished, a new CNN/ORC poll has found.

The new poll finds Clinton with 37% support among Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters, down 10 points since August, followed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at 27% and Vice President Joe Biden at 20%.

Considering the historic volatility in polls prior to primary election , this remaining lead in the national polls could be erased quite quickly. If Sanders should win in Iowa and New Hampshire, where he currently leads, there is an excellent chance that he could increase his support nationally by well over ten percent.

Many Democrats were already nervous about Clinton’s candidacy, and might become more alarmed by how her support continues to fall compared to Republican opponents. After one recent poll showed her trailing Donald Trump nationally, the CNN poll shows her trailing Ben Carson and losing her lead over other candidates:

In the general election matchups, Clinton trails former neurosurgeon Ben Carson by a significant margin (51% Carson to 46% Clinton among registered voters) while running about evenly with both former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (49% Bush to 47% Clinton) and businessman Donald Trump (48% back each).

Joe Biden is doing better against Republicans than Clinton, which might influence his decision as to whether he will run. While he currently sounds quite undecided about running, there is activity in progress which looks like the organization of a presidential campaign.

Clinton is showing a decrease in support among groups including women and liberals:

The shift away from the former secretary of state stems from shrinking support among women. Clinton’s advantage among women has disappeared in matchups against Bush and Carson. Facing Trump, Clinton still carries women by a large, though tighter, margin. In August, 60% of women favored Clinton to 37% for Trump, but that’s narrowed slightly to 55% Clinton, 41% Trump now. Clinton’s advantage among women against Trump is fueled by independent women, despite that group shifting away from Clinton in the head-to-head against Bush…

Clinton’s fade in the Democratic race comes as an ideological divide within the party grows into a chasm. In August, Clinton held support from 43% of moderates and 46% of liberals. In the new poll, her support among moderates holds at 47%, while among liberals, it has plummeted to just 23%. Sanders has increased his share of the liberal vote (from 42% to 49%), while falling 9 points among moderates (from 24% to 15%). Meanwhile, Biden has gained ground in both groups.

And enthusiasm for Clinton among liberals has fallen nearly 40 points. Just 29% of liberal Democrats say they would be enthusiastic if she were the party’s nominee, down from 68% in an April poll.

Clinton’s decrease in support among liberals comes as she is finally admitting to being a centrist, as opposed to putting on an unconvincing act of being a progressive earlier in her campaign. This might be to appear more electable than Bernie Sanders, but ignores the problem of Democratic-leaning voters being less motivated to get out to vote when Democrats run as Republican-lite.

Democratic Leaders Getting Nervous With Clinton Falling And Sanders Picking Up Support

Clinton Email

The email scandal has some Democrats looking for alternative candidates, according to The New York Times:

If Hillary Rodham Clinton’s new apology for her private email server fails to reassure jittery supporters, it could amplify the chatter among some Democrats who have been casting about for a potential white knight to rescue the party from a beleaguered Clinton candidacy.

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator Elizabeth Warren, former Vice President Al Gore: Each has been discussed among party officials in recent weeks as an alternative to Mrs. Clinton if she does not regain her once-dominant standing in the 2016 presidential field and instead remains mired in the long-running email controversy, with its attendant investigations…

It is not just Mrs. Clinton’s weakness in the polls that has generated talk of other alternatives, but also the strength of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who is routinely drawing huge crowds at campaign events. That has been disconcerting to Democratic officials who believe that Mr. Sanders, a socialist, is so liberal that his presence at the top of the party’s ticket in 2016 would be disastrous.

“If party leaders see a scenario next winter where Bernie Sanders has a real chance at the Democratic nomination, I think there’s no question that leaders will reach out to Vice President Biden or Secretary of State Kerry or even Gore about entering the primaries,” said Garnet F. Coleman, a Texas state lawmaker and Democratic national committeeman.

It also shows the shortsightedness of the Democratic leadership in not realizing that the best alternative just might be the candidate who is creating the most excitement among Democrats–Bernie Sanders, who has now taken a slight lead over Clinton in Iowa. If not Sanders, any of these four would still be better than Clinton.

From the Des Moines Register on Sanders taking the lead in Iowa:

A new poll finds liberal firebrand Bernie Sanders has jumped into the lead in Iowa – by one point.

The Vermont U.S. senator is the favorite choice for president for 41 percent of Iowa likely Democratic caucusgoers, while 40 percent say former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is their current favorite choice, a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday found.

Another 12 percent pick Vice President Joseph Biden as their top choice for president in 2016.

In Quinnipiac’s last poll, in early July, Clinton had 52 percent, Sanders had 33 percent and Biden had 7 percent.

Younger caucusgoers are choosing Sanders in a landslide – 66 percent of those ages 18 to 34 pick him, versus 19 percent who choose Clinton.

And Sanders wins with caucusgoers who describe themselves as “very” liberal, with 59 percent support to Clinton’s 29 percent.

Sanders has risen from obscurity in Iowa to great fame. A recent Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics survey found that likely caucusgoers are sliding over to Sanders not because they don’t like Clinton, the longtime frontrunner, but because they really like Sanders, who thunders about righting injustices. That poll, taken Aug. 23-26 by Selzer & Co., showed Sanders seven points behind Clinton, 37 percent to 30 percent.

In the new Quinnipiac survey, conducted Aug. 27-Sept. 8, Clinton wins with women, beating Sanders by 14 points.

But Sanders beats Clinton with Iowa male likely caucusgoers by 21 points.

“Sanders and Biden have a higher net favorability rating than Clinton and higher ratings for honesty and empathy,” a Quinnipiac news release said Thursday morning. “Clinton has the best scores for leadership and temperament to handle an international crisis.”

Quote of the Day: Jimmy Kimmel on Kim Davis

Jimmy Kimmel

If you don’t feel comfortable signing a license to let gay people get married, that’s all right. Just quit. This was a Supreme Court decision. You’re a government worker. This is like refusing to issue drivers licenses because you’re Amish.–Jimmy Kimmel

Factcheck.org Debunks Clinton’s Claims In Recent Interviews About Email Scandal

Hillary Clinton Interview Andrea Mitchell

After generally avoiding the press since announcing her candidacy, Hillary Clinton granted interviews over the past several days with the Associated Press, Andrea Mitchell of MSNBC News, and with David Muir of ABC News. My previous posts (here and here) noted that Clinton was continuing to be dishonest in these interviews. As has occurred throughout the coverage of this scandal, Factcheck.org, along with other fact check sites, has weighed in to support my criticism of Clinton’s false claims.

In their summary of their report on these recent interviews, More Spin on Clinton Emails, Factcheck.org wrote:

Hillary Clinton directly addressed questions in recent interviews about her exclusive use of a personal email account and server to conduct government business as secretary of state. But her answers only reveal part of the story:

  • Clinton said her personal email account was “allowed by the State Department.” It was permitted if work emails were preserved. Federal rules required Clinton to preserve work emails before she left office, but she did not turn over her emails until 21 months after she left office.

  • Clinton said “turning over my server” to the government shows “I have been as transparent as I could” about her emails. But she did so in August after the FBI opened an investigation. In March, she rejected calls to turn over the server to a neutral party, saying “the server will remain private.”

  • Clinton said “everybody in government with whom I emailed knew that I was using a personal email.” But that ignores those — including President Obama — who did not know that she used it exclusively for government business.

Each of these items was discussed in more detail. The most important point continues to be her false statement that what she did was “allowed by the State Department.”

Let’s look at some of the statements that Clinton made in her interviews, beginning with whether her unusual email arrangement was “allowed by the State Department.”

Clinton, Sept. 4: I know why the American people have questions about it. And I want to make sure I answer those questions, starting with the fact that my personal email use was fully above board. It was allowed by the State Department, as they have confirmed.

Clinton Sept. 7: I understand why people have questions and I’m trying to answer as many of those in as many different settings as I can. What I did was allowed by the State Department. It was fully above board.

The campaign cites a rule issued by the National Archives and Records Administration in October 2009 — eight months after Clinton became secretary of state — that said federal agencies may allow the use of personal emails under certain circumstances.

National Archives, Oct. 2, 2009: Agencies that allow employees to send and receive official electronic mail messages using a system not operated by the agency must ensure that Federal records sent or received on such systems are preserved in the appropriate agency recordkeeping system.

At a March 3 press briefing, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf also cited the 2009 NARA rule in saying Clinton apparently complied with the rules.

“As I said, there’s no prohibition on using this kind of email account as long as it’s preserved,” Harf said. “She has taken steps to preserve those records by providing the State Department with the 55,000 pages, so – I’m not a NARA expert, but certainly, it sounds to me like that has been completed.”

Harf is admittedly no NARA expert, but Jason R. Baron is.

Baron, a lawyer at Drinker Biddle and a former director of litigation at the National Archives, told the Senate Judiciary Committee in May that “any employee’s decision to conduct all e-mail correspondence through a private e-mail network, using a non-.gov address, is inconsistent with long-established policies and practices under the Federal Records Act and NARA regulations governing all federal agencies.”

Also, as we have written, Clinton should have turned over her emails before she left office, but she didn’t.

NARA regulations require federal agencies to maintain an NARA-approved schedule for the disposition of federal records. The State Department Records Disposition Schedule says “incoming and outgoing correspondence and memorandums on substantive U.S. foreign policy issues” should be permanently retained “at the end of the Secretary’s tenure or sooner if necessary.”

Clinton left office Feb. 1, 2013. She did not turn over her emails to the State Department until Dec. 5, 2014, and only after the department in October of that year requested the emails in part to respond to the congressional requests for documents related to the Benghazi attacks on Sept. 11, 2012.

The Clinton campaign has said that she complied with NARA regulations because “more than 90% of those emails should have already been captured in the State Department’s email system before she provided them with paper copies.”

But that assumes that the people receiving an email from Clinton properly preserved the record. Baron, the former director of litigation at NARA, told us for a previous story that Clinton “basically offloaded her burden to others” to preserve her emails. He told us Clinton was out of compliance with the regulations the day she left office.

One last point: The Washington Post Fact Checker wrote that when she was secretary in June 2011 “a cable went out under her signature warning employees to ‘avoid conducting official Department business from your personal e-mail accounts.’ ”

The Clinton campaign noted that that cable was sent after Google disclosed that the Gmail accounts of some government employees were being targeted by hackers originating in China — a situation Clinton described at the time as “very serious.” The cable did not say that the advice was limited to those with Gmail accounts. Asked if the campaign was suggesting that it applied only to Gmail users, Clinton spokesman Josh Schwerin said he was offering “important context” given that the department has said personal email use was permitted under certain circumstances.

It is also notable that Factcheck.org quickly dispensed with a statement from a “State Department spokeswoman” who was clearly unfamiliar with the law. Clinton supporters have used this and similar statements from spokesmen who were similarly unfamiliar with the pertinentt laws and regulations to falsely claim that Clinton has been “cleared” by the State Department. It is clear why they take incorrect statements, which hardly clear Clinton of al the violations she committed, and ignore multiple more authoritative sources.

The full article also goes into further detail debunking Clinton’s claim about wanting to get her email out her claim and that everyone knew she was using a private email account.

It is also of interest that after two interviews in which Clinton refused to apologize, she did apologize in the interview with ABC. The New York Times reveals that, as with so much of what Clinton says, this was in response to a focus group. As David Graham points out at The Atlantic, Clinton’s reboot has been bungled:

It’s a bad sign when your presidential campaign needs a reboot. It’s a worse sign when your advisers announce that reboot publicly.

That’s exactly where Hillary Clinton finds herself this week. In an attempt to right what is universally seen as a listing campaign, the Democratic frontrunner is attempting to reassure her supporters, donors, and party—as well as prospective supporters and donors—that she has what it takes to run and win a race. But so far, the hamfisted execution of that reboot suggests that she hasn’t learned enough from the debacle of her 2008 campaign, and it’s hard to imagine that events of the last two days will do much to reassure major donors and party leaders.

He also noted Clinton’s differing answers on the email in these interviews: “The reversal—two almost diametrically opposed answers to the same question in two days—does not suggest a campaign that is confident and has a plan.” He concluded:

But it doesn’t matter how many times James Carville goes on TV to mock the press or warn his fellow Democrats against overreacting to Clinton’s troubles: His fellow Democrats are already alarmed—and her reboot, rather than assuaging their fears, may be making the problem worse.

 

Hillary Clinton Apologizes For Private Email But Still Needs To Explain Her Actions

Clinton interview ABC News

After two recent interviews in which Hillary Clinton said she would not apologize for her use of a private server, Clinton has now apologized in an interview with ABC News. The problem for Clinton is that an apology given in the face of considerable criticism for failing to do so hardly reverses the damage done.

Clinton has to say far more than that this was a mistake. She needs to explain why she set up the private server after she had criticized the Bush administration of shredding the Constitution for using private email. She needs to explain why she exclusively used private email when there were clear policies set up against this practice. Exclusively is in bold as this is a key word. Clinton supporters have used statements that private email was allowed to obfuscate the fact that while occasional use of private email was not prohibited, the exclusive use of private email was.

Clinton needs to explain why she did not turn over the email for archiving by the State Department while she was still in office, as required. She needs to explain why she failed to comply with Freedom of Information Act requests for information in her email. She needs to explain why she deleted over half of the email, especially when it has been discovered that email related to Libya and terrorism have been deleted or altered. She also needs to explain why she failed to comply with her agreement to disclose the donors to the Foundation while she was Secretary of State.

An apology (or false claims from some Clinton supporters that she was “cleared” by the State Department) are not going to put an end to the various FOIA suits in progress, the RICO suit which is scheduled to be heard in January, or the investigations into the presence of classified email on her server, which was verified again in a report from The New York Times. Politico reports that John Kerry is appointing a new “czar” at the State Department to improve the problems with transparency created by problems with responding with FOIA requests.

My post on the prior two interviews also contains multiple additional links with background information and confirmation of the accusations against Clinton from fact check sites.

Clinton’s apology appears even less sincere coming after reports of plans from her campaign to try to change Clinton’s image once again. The New York Times noted:

It is not clear whether any of these efforts can help Mrs. Clinton revamp her candidacy and regain momentum amid persistent questions about her use of a private email server at the State Department and an electorate in the early nominating states that seems increasingly captivated by the insurgent candidacy of Mr. Sanders.

Previous attempts to introduce Mrs. Clinton’s softer side to voters have backfired amid criticism that the efforts seemed overly poll tested. This time the strategy will compete with news coverage on the latest developments over her email.

The New Clinton appears as phony as The New Nixon. Earlier in the day Rick Klein of ABC News provided this analysis:

Here’s the thing about Hillary Clinton reinventions and new directions: They’ve all been tried before. The latest, per The New York Times, will feature more spontaneity (the scripted kind?), a touch of extra authenticity, and highlight her potential to make history. All worthy goals, though a quarter century in public life and a previous, epic run for president have made surprises harder to achieve than good Chipotle takeout. But she does have some advantages built in that work post-Labor Day. First, having more actual interactions with voters, and having smart reporters ask insightful questions of her, can produce the kinds of moments Clinton needs to produce some excitement. And second, real competition can help. The heating up of the Democratic race can show passions that Clinton backers want to see. If not, there is time left for new directions, again.

Update: Factcheck.org Debunks Clinton’s Claims In Recent Interviews About Email Scandal

Hack Attempt

There was an attempt to hack the blog earlier. In response some files with malicious code have been removed. This could impact some functions of the blog but I don’t have time to check out everything right now. If you notice anything unusual here, please let me know.

Hillary Clinton Again Evaded The Truth On Email Scandal In Two Interviews Around Labor Day Weekend

Hillary Clinton Interview Andrea Mitchell

Hillary Clinton granted two interviews around the Labor Day weekend and was again faced with questions regarding the email scandal.This includes an interview with the Associated Press on Monday and an interview with Andrea Mitchell late last week. In both interviews she declined to apologize for her actions other than for a rather backhanded comment to Andrea Mitchell that, “I am sorry that this has been confusing to people and has raised a lot of questions.”

Andrea Mitchell conducted by far the better of the two interviews, often challenging Clinton’s false claims which were accepted in the AP interview. The most complete transcript I could find of the interview with Andrea Mitchell at time of writing this post is available here.

Early in the interview Clinton again repeated the false claim that what she had done was allowed:

First of all, are you sorry? Do you want to apologize to the American people for the choice you made?

HRC: Well, it certainly wasn’t the best choice.

And I have said that, and I will continue to say that.

As I’ve also said many times, it was allowed, and it was completely above board. The people in the government knew I was using a personal account.

But it would’ve been better if I had two separate accounts to begin with.  And certainly I’m doing everything I can now to be as transparent about what I did have on my work-related e-mails.

I think, you know, they will be coming out. I wish it were a little bit faster. It’s frustrating that it’s taking a while. But there’s a process that has to be followed.

This claim was immediately disputed by Mitchell:

AM:Well since 1995, the State Department Foreign Affairs manual said that all e-mails, all records had to be preserved. In 2005, the manual was updated to say, “Sensitive but unclassified information should not be transmitted through personal e-mail accounts.”
Eight months after you took office, the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations was updated to say that agencies that allow employees to send and receive official electronic e-mail messages using a system not operated by the agency must ensure that federal records sent or received on such existing systems are preserved by the appropriate agency recording system.

So there were a lot of advisories. No laws, correct. But a lot of advisories, written White House guidance, against using personal e-mail, and especially using personal e-mail exclusively.

You say – just now, you said – people in the government knew you used personal e-mail. The recent e-mails that were released indicated the the help desk at the State Department didn’t know. They couldn’t recognize what your e-mail address was

Fact check sites have also debunked this claim from Clinton whenever she made it, including after her interview with CNN. This includes both Factcheck.org and The Washington Post Fact Checker, which  gave Clinton Three Pinoccios for her statement that “everything I did [on e-mails] was permitted.” Previously the top Freedom of Information Act official at the Justice Department stated that Clinton was in violation of the rules.

Clinton also said, “I wish it were a little bit faster” in response to the release of her email. She has frequently made such misleading comments to suggest that she has wanted her email to be released after initially trying to prevent the release. If she was concerned about speed, she might have also turned over the electronic version of her email as opposed to printing it out and forcing the State Department to rescan the documents. The manner in which Clinton did release the email did make it easier to hide alterations. Clinton similarly was deceitful in talking about turning over the server in the AP interview, with Clinton refusing to turn it over until she had no real choice with the FBI beginning its investigation.

Clinton continued to give misleading answers to questions, which very well might have promoted Mitchell to point out in a subsequent question:

There was a Quinnipiac – and I know this poll was everyone, Republicans and Democrats – but the first words that came to mind when asked about you were “liar,” “untrustworthy,” “crooked.”

Mitchell later asked Clinton about the over 30,000 emails which were deleted. Clinton repeated her claim that they were personal, but it has already been found that email related to Libya and terrorism had been deleted or altered.

Mitchell asked Clinton about the classified email which has been found on her system, with Clinton again giving a misleading answer:  “And has been confirmed repeatedly by the Inspectors General over and over, I did not send or receive any material marked classified.” This has not been confirmed at all, with the Inspectors General requesting that the FBI investigate the matter. It has been revealed that there were 213 classified emails in the email reviewed so far, with two emails labeled top secret. It is not yet known how many were labeled classified at the time, but as Secretary of State, Clinton was responsible for knowing what information should be classified regardless of whether it was labeled as classified when she sent the information.

Mitchell debunked Clinton’s frequently used defense that Colin Powell did the same thing:

AM: You have said that Colin Powell did the same thing. He actually had a personal e-mail and a State .gov official e-mail system.

So he didn’t just rely on a personal system. I don’t think there’s any precedent for someone just relying on a personal e-mail system at your level of government.

Mitchell asked about the decision to use a personal server:

AM: Did anyone in your inner circle say, “This is not a good idea. Let’s not do this”

HRC: You know, I was not thinking a lot when I got in. There was so much work to be done. We had so many problems around the world.

I didn’t really stop and think, “What kind of e-mail system will there be?”

This answer is as hard to believe as her earlier (and subsequently debunked) claim that she did this for convenience. The use of private email was a major scandal in the later years of the Bush administration. Clinton herself had attacked the Bush administration over this in 2007:

Our Constitution is being shredded. We know about the secret wiretaps, the secret military tribunals, the secret White House email accounts. It’s a stunning record of secrecy and corruption, of cronyism run amok. It is everything our founders were afraid of, everything our Constitution was designed to prevent.

Clinton again made an issue of the “secret White House email accounts” in 2008 when running for the nomination. In response to the Bush email scandal, the Obama administration instituted new rules to provide for greater transparency. It makes no sense to say she just didn’t think about it when the Obama administration was sending out advisories and working on new policies regarding this.

Andrea Mitchell then asked, “Does it raise judgment questions?”While Clinton denied it, the entire scandal shows a profound lack of judgment even beyond the violations of several government policies. Knowing that this was a scandal before she took office, she should have realized that it would ultimately come out that she was going even further than the Bush administration in violating basic principles of government transparency.

The email scandal is not going to go away with these deceitful answers from Clinton. While on the Rachel Maddow show talking about the interview, Andrew Mitchell pointed out that the Obama White House was surprised by her exclusive use of private email. Tom Brokaw, who investigated the Watergate scandal earlier in his career, was also not fooled by Clinton’s answers and stated on Meet the Press:

She’s made some huge mistakes in my judgment. And that wonderful interview that Andrea initiated, and typically of Andrea she went right after the issue, when she said, I didn’t think about the effect of e-mail, I was stunned. I mean, we were deep into the digital age at that point. She’s Secretary of State.

If the Democrats are foolish enough to give the nomination to Hillary Clinton, coverage of the campaign will continue to be dominated by questions about Clinton’s honesty and judgment.

Update: Hillary Clinton Apologizes For Private Email But Still Needs To Explain Her Actions
Update II: Factcheck.org Debunks Clinton’s Claims In Recent Interviews About Email Scandal

SciFi Weekend: Mr Robot Season 1 Finale; Fall Trailers For Arrow, SHIELD, iZombie, & Doctor Who; Continuum Season 4 Premiere

Mr Robot

The first season finale of Mr. Robot took place after two weeks of big revelations including Darlene being Elliot’s sister and, not only was Mr. Robot imaginary as many suspected from the start of the season, he was based on Elliot’s real father. The hack planned by fsociety took back seat those two weeks, almost feeling like a McGuffin for the season, and it wasn’t clear if this was ever going to be completed. In the finale we never saw the completion of the plan. Instead Elliot awoke to find a changed world with his plan having been successfully completed. For a while I wondered if it was all going to be a dream, but if so it is a dream Elliot never woke up from.

It is often unclear as to what is real in this show, as captured by the return of Mr. Robot and Elliot’s reaction:

You’re not real.
What? And you are? Is any of it real?

The episode was notable for the return of Mr. Robot after confirming that he was not real, and  for the absence of Tyrell Wellick. The scenes with Mr. Robot take on a different meaning now that we know that it is all in Elliot’s imagination. Thus we saw the scene in which Mr. Robot provoked someone into beating him up, with Elliot winding up taking the beating.

Mr Robot Finale Suicide

The episode also has Angela not only working at Evil Corp, but appearing to have much more influence there than expected. Will she be on the opposing side to Elliott next season, or a major ally from within the enemy? Scenes involving Evil Crop also included the suicide scene which led the the finale being delayed a week. Plus the finale included a reference to Ashley Madison, which made it seem more like something really happening in the present.

Mr. Robot was renewed for a second season at the start of the first so we know we will be able to see the ramifications of the hack working, and the economic breakdown this appears to be leading to. Like Hannibal last week, the episode also ended with a surprising scene added on.

Mr Robot Times Square

Sam Esmail discussed the final scene and much more about the finale in an interview at The Hollywood Reporter:

That was a very surprising last scene, with the return of White Rose. What were you trying to illustrate with that very last scene?

The fact that it became a post-credit scene was more out of a negotiation on how to end the season. Do we end on Elliot? Do we end on this scene that sets up what the next season arc is going to be? The story has always been about Elliot, and it should continue to be about Elliot, so I felt weird ending the season on this other scene that had nothing to do with any of our main characters. I was trying to figure out structurally where to put it in the last episode, and because it does such a good job of queuing up our next season arc, I basically came up with the idea of putting it after the credits, which is something not typically done on television shows. I just thought, “OK, that’s a great way to use the classic strategy of creating a coda, which is exactly what it is, and allowing me to end the season properly on Elliot.”

Like you said, that’s not done a lot on TV. How receptive was USA to that idea?

When I wrote the script, I finished Elliot’s scene, and I wrote, “Fade to black, credits.” Then I wrote, “After end credits,” and then I put in the White Rose scene. Then when we got on the phone, their reaction to me was, “You can’t end a season on White Rose. You’ve got to end it on Elliot.” I said, “No, I agree, guys, but it’s after the credits. Don’t you think that would work?” They had no idea. They skipped those two lines, and then there was this moment where it clicked with everyone: “That’s f—ing perfect.” They were so into the idea that they figured out a way to do it.

How does that last scene set up next season and where you’re going with the show?

I’ve always said that the first season was the first act of my feature, so this is what I meant. I wanted the story of Mr. Robot to be Elliot actually accomplishing his goal, setting the world into chaos. What would happen to society if something like this occurred where, basically, if the consumer-debt industry were to be erased? What are the economics of that? What would the world look like? Would there be a revolution? Would governments take over? Would businesses take over? To me, that canvas was something I was interested in exploring, so, for me, that’s what that last scene sets up. We’re about to watch Rome burn. That’s the world Elliot’s going to enter next season…

I think once people figured out Mr. Robot’s real identity, they worried about how much Christian Slater would still be seen on the show. From what you just said, it sounds like he’ll be as much of a presence in season two as he was in season one.

It’s almost more so. It’s freeing because now Elliot is aware that Mr. Robot is this alter ego that he has to deal with. So it actually takes more of like a Jekyll and Hyde trajectory because now the audience is in on it, as well as Elliot, and now we’re going to basically go into that realm. But the story is really about the relationship that he has with his dead father, and how he could never reconcile the pain that caused him? How is he reconciling now as an adult male? Especially in the way that it’s manifesting itself.

It was very interesting to see how the outside world perceives Elliot when he’s having that confrontation with Mr. Robot in the restaurant and specifically Elliot holding himself up against a wall. Why was it important to show that?

Because I want to start stripping the subjectivity of Elliot’s world a little bit, giving us glimpses into what an objective version of this story might look like, even if it’s just slivers of that reality. Because I do think, in terms of telling a show that’s so deeply subjective into this unreliable narration, it can become untethered to a certain extent. As long we have those glimpses, I think that helps us keep track a little bit better and keeps the audience in check. But don’t forget, this is still in the eyes of Elliot, so we’ve started discovering these objective realities along with him. When Mr. Robot says that line, “This looks a little weird,” Elliot’s sort of realizing he’s doing this to himself. And then he proceeds on. So we’re still figuring this out with him, but I think that’s going to be part of this whole journey for Elliot, is trying to get into a more grounded reality…

It also was revealed recently that Darlene is Elliot’s sister, but we haven’t learned a lot about their relationship and why they weren’t close. How much will we learn in season two?

That goes into the whole idea of the emotional journey that Elliot [takes]. We haven’t even cracked the surface of his past. What were the court-appointed therapy sessions all about? What was his family history was all about? Why Darlene helped Elliot create fsociety? There’s a whole backstory. Going even further back to childhood and what his relationship with his father was and how did that devolve? We got a little taste of it at the beginning of episode nine. Not to mention their mother. All of that is still in the wheelhouse of what we’re going to explore in the next few seasons because that’s all going to inform Elliot’s journey and how he battles his demons, aka Mr. Robot.

Angela made a lot of big moves in the finale. Why do you think she chose the path that she did? What can you say is the next step of her evolution?

Because this show is really about identity and about change and about these young people who are trying to find themselves, who are trying to find who they are and how they fit in the world, Angela’s character arc is really fascinating because she’s the path of the American dream. She is the sort of person that has the mentality of, if you work hard enough, you’ll get the big job offers, you’ll get the big job promotions, and you’ll work your way up the ladder. If you want to affect change, you do it within the system because the system allows for that, allows the younger generation to come in and influence society, and the point is to have a bottom-up strategy of having change come from the younger generation. Angela has that levelheaded, American idealism of trying to affect change from within. That, to me, is a very interesting parallel to have running through the series in contrast with Elliot, who’s very much trying to affect change from outside the system. We never try and spell out what’s right and wrong and who the clear good guys are versus the bad guys, and I just think that both the approaches of Elliot and Angela, you can look at from both good and bad sides, and that, to me, is interesting. When those two parallels collide, I think that’s just going to make for great drama and great story.

Can you say how long after the events of the season finale the season-two premiere will pick up?

We will have a continuous storyline, meaning we won’t necessarily time-jump in story and not ever give you the gap. I don’t know where exactly season two will pick up.

Mr Robot Finale Darlene

More on the hack and other topics at Entertainment Weekly:

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: For the finale, you skipped the hack and threw the audience into the deep end. What was the thinking behind that choice?
SAM ESMAIL: We’re shifting down gears into this new world where we’re aware, along with Elliot, that Mr. Robot is his alter ego and that he sort of is this demon that lives inside of him and that Elliot can’t account for all of his actions because of him. That opens up this whole interesting can of worms that we’re basically setting up for next season, one of them being this element of time loss. Let’s not forget that in episode 9, Darlene mentions that he was the one that created fsociety with her. We’re not even aware of that, neither is Elliot. There’s that to explore. Now we’re missing three days. In those three days, what happened? Where is Tyrell? What was the deal between him and Tyrell that allowed the hack to still continue? All of that sets up really interesting questions for the second season. One of the things that I love about the finale is that it’s essentially queueing up where we’re going to go and on top of that, shifting the direction of our story. Now it’s not about this mystery within himself that Elliot’s trying to resolve. Now it’s grown more external. He’s aware of what’s going on inside of him, and it’s leaking out. How’s he going to deal with that?

Is the mystery of those three days the immediate conflict once season two picks up, or is that something you’ll explore over time?
I think everything is going to be looked at over time. The whole backstory of fsociety, as well as those three days, is something that I think we’re going to delve into in the next season. I don’t know exactly when yet, but we’re definitely going to show it…

The finale also pivots Angela and the perspective we’re getting from her, which is from within Evil Corp. Is that something we’ll more of in season two?
Absolutely. The thing about Angela that I think is interesting is that she parallels Elliot in an interesting way because she’s actually embracing the more traditional route of the American dream. You work hard. You’ll get the job offers. You’ll get the promotions. If you really want to affect change, you do it by having a good work ethic and sticking to your principles. Maybe then you can influence and make changes from within the system, whereas Elliot is on the other side of it and trying to change from outside the system. I can see the good and bad of both. You can make arguments for both sides equally. It’s almost 50-50. That morally ambiguous gray area is where I love the show to be, especially where we see those paths collide. That makes for a really interesting story…

The Ashley Madison reference had me laughing. Was that a clever bit of ADR [automated dialogue replacement]?
It was. The weird thing is that in the pilot, Ashley Madison was one of his vices. When this whole thing happened, it was something that I was going to use in the season finale, when I wrote that scene, but then I was like, “Well, I already mentioned Ashley Madison. How many references can we have?” So I kind of edited it out. When we were reshooting it, this whole hack happened, so I thought this was perfect. In post, I thought, “I have to put this back in.”

mr-robot-season-finale-review

An additional interview at Vulture, including that final scene:

Is that why season one ends with that B.D. Wong single-take scene? To keep the audience truly guessing?
I always knew I wanted to end the first season like that. I didn’t want the audience to come away thinking FSociety had won because they took down the bad guys. Evil Corp is done, so the stakes are gone. But I always knew there was another layer. We’re not even half-peeling this whole thing off yet, and we are going to show you a little bit of it. I always had that scene in my head as the last scene of the season, because I wanted to tell the audience the stakes are going to go even higher.

But I felt weird ending the scene not on Elliot. It didn’t feel right to end on these two other characters we barely knew, and that’s when I came up with the idea of putting it in as a coda. It always kind of was a coda, and we put it in the post-credits. It wasn’t trying to break new ground, but it felt natural for that kind of scene.

You’ve spoken about Joanna Wellick having a larger role for season two, but are there any other hints you can give about what to expect next season?
The good thing about the show is that we surprise you. One thing people have been asking is if Christian [Slater] will be around for the second season, and I will say 100 percent. Maybe to add a bit more spice: We will explore a little bit of Elliot’s family life.

In terms of his mother?
His mother, and even Darlene. Also, this show is about this person discovering that he has this disorder. That was what the original feature was going to [be] about, that’s what this show is just about to scratch the surface of. What we are really setting up for the second season is what happens when you become self-aware of your own disorders

We are approaching the fall season with many trailers now coming out. Arrow Season 4 Trailer above. The season starts October 7.

Agents of SHIELD trailer, which returns September 29.

iZombie returns October 6.

Doctor Who returns September 19. The trailer is above and the other big news is that River Song will be returning for the Christmas Special.

Continuum Lost Hours

The first episode of season four of Continuum, Lost Hours, has aired on Showcase, and has been available for streaming for a while. It can even be seen on You Tube. As it has not aired in the United States I will avoid any spoilers. The episode does begin immediately after the season three finale and largely serves to reset things after the confusion of a new time line being established last season. It will be interesting to see how they both tie up the issues raised at the end of season three and conclude the entire season.

While Continuum has five remaining episodes to tie things up, Under the Dome ends for good after this week. A wise move on the part of CBS.