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Email Servers – No Big Deal

HillaryIt’s amusing to watch people flip-flop their mantras depending on circumstances. In the political world, that happens no matter the ideological bent. The latest comes from the far right’s new-found love affair with government competency.

Well, that’s partly true.

The right loves that the FBI director found that Hillary Clinton was “extremely careless” in hosting her email on a private server. They, of course, are mightily upset with Director Comey for not suggesting she be tried and put in jail for it.

So, suddenly, the right blindly trusts the judgment that private servers are bad and government-run servers are the bee’s knees. Somehow, this government, which can do nothing right in nearly any other venue, has it right if it means Hillary Clinton gets pilloried.

Let’s talk about email servers.

They sound ominous and special and complicated. They are not. I gave away two old computers in the last year. Instead of doing that, I could have kept one, hooked it to my router, and made it a server. That’s what “servers” are – plain ol’ computers hooked to the internet. And, it isn’t terribly complicated to set up a web server. You can find instructions on how to do it in ten minutes here. Setting up email on the server is more complicated, and requires continuous updating, but, it isn’t all that difficult for someone who knows what they’re doing. I’m pretty sure Hillary Clinton wasn’t doing this by herself. If she has her own server, she can use her well-vetted IT guy.

When Hillary Clinton was in the Senate, she, like many other senators, didn’t trust the government-run email system, so she had her own server installed. That way she could have complete control of her email. She could be darned certain nobody got into it just by unplugging it. She could also have complete control over the firewalls she used to protect it. Instead of depending on under-funded government IT departments, she could have complete control over security. When she went to the State Department, she continued to use her server.

Or, in other words, she acted just like a typical far right adherent who distrusts government and thinks government can do nothing right.

And, of course, Director Comey has a vested interest in defending his employer’s competence, so he asserts that Hillary Clinton was “extremely careless” when she failed to trust in the government’s ability to get it right.

When I worked for the government (a school system,) if I had had a concern about somebody getting into my email, I would have done the same thing. As it happened, our school system had a dynamite IT department. It was local and I had enough access to have complete confidence in it. In many school settings, I would have used one of those old computers to host my edwyrick.com email securely.

This is like about all the other “controversies” created by those who hate the Clintons – much ado about nothing. But, as Joseph Goebbels said, “The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly – it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.” The Republicans have done that brilliantly, even affecting the Bernie fans. The Clintons undoubtedly do stupid things on a regular basis — like wear real expensive coats– but all of that is benign negligence.

All that for another day, though. Meanwhile, it’s time to recognize the server issue for what it is – yet another much ado about nothing deal.

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