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There are at least three dimensions of Hillary Clinton (and Clinton family in general) corruption:
See excellent Clinton Foundation Clinton Email Investigation Timeline compiled by Paul Thompson as well as this site pages:
And it's not only about conflict of interest. Email scandal suggests that the sordid story of Clinton Foundation also touches issues covered by RICO statute
The Clinton Foundation follows up on Bill’s heartfelt promise in Atlanta yesterday to avoid conflicts of interest:
Clinton Foundation officials used an obscure New York state charity board filing amendment to disclose that the non-profit received $17.7 million in donations from foreign governments while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, the Daily Caller News Foundation has learned.
The specific foreign governments involved and the particular amounts they each gave were not disclosed on the document, entitled “Exhibit A” and filed to the public charity division operated by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a Democrat. The money was given between 2010 and 2013 when Clinton was America’s chief diplomat.
“There is no doubt that the foundation purposely refused to make public certain things as a way of protecting the Secretary of State during her tenure,” former U.S. attorney Joseph DiGenova charged. “The entire process to hide information from the public is completely inconsistent with a public charity.”
DiGenova predicted that “the new revelations will up the ante for the FBI. This will just add fodder to the ongoing investigation.”
The former federal prosecutor also doubted that the $18 million figure was accurate. “There is no reason to believe that the $18 million figure is complete,” he said, citing the “unreliability” of past foundation accountings. “It may very well be much, much more.”
“One has to wonder what the New York State Attorney General is doing,” DiGenova said. “He’s a very partisan Democrat. And it is readily apparent that he intends to do nothing about the Clinton Foundation.”
Cleta Mitchell of Foley & Lardner law office in Washington D.C. agreed, saying “the Attorney General of New York has a statutory and fiduciary responsibility to conduct an investigation into the Clinton Foundation to determine whether this entity is engaged in fulfilling its charitable mission.”
Oo-ooh that smell … can’t ya smell that smell?
The book Clinton Cash is one of the few that is devoted to Clinton foundation donations correlation with actions of the former Secretary of State of the most powerful nation in the world. Along this this it also provide interesting perceptive on Hillary Clinton character and actions. As in saying "the most objective coverage of the character of the person usually comes from people who does not like this person".
The book is organized into eleven chapters. Some chapters focus on particular transactions or deals, such as the creation of UrAsia Energy and Uranium One in Kazkakhstan, and the connection shareholders had and have to the Clintons. Other chapters focus on a broader set of relationships, particularly with regard to Bill Clinton’s paid speeches during the years Hillary Clinton served as Secretary of State, and whether those paying for his speeches had significant business before the State Department. Schweizer dubs the Clintons' blend of government service and private remuneration the “Clinton blur.” (Wikipedia)
Writing for The Washington Post, academic and political activist Lawrence Lessig wrote "On any fair reading, the pattern of behavior that Schweizer has charged is corruption." PolitiFact.com confirmed that since leaving the White House in 2001 and 2013, Bill Clinton made thirteen speeches for which he commanded more than $500,000 each. In this is not a bribe I do not know what is. Each of those amount is more then people involved is small scams like mail fraud server years in jail. Eleven of these thirteen speeches were made while Hillary was at the State Department.
Here is another intereting article by Ed Pilkington from Guardian, the newspaper which was one of Hillary Clinton cheerleaders in the Presidential campaign of 2016 Clinton Cash: errors dog Bill and Hillary exposé – but is there any 'there' there? So it is difficult to suspect that it is not objective:
May 05, 2015 | The Guardian
In an interview with the sympathetic Fox News (owned by Rupert Murdoch, who also owns Harper, the publisher of Clinton Cash) it was put to Schweizer that he hadn’t “nailed” his thesis. “It’s hard for any author to nail it – one of the strategies of the Clinton camp is to set a bar for me as an author that is impossible to meet,” he replied.
... ... ...
Certainly, pundits were warning about the problem of the large sums of money flowing into the Clinton Foundation’s coffers even before Hillary Clinton took up her position as Obama’s global emissary-in-chief. A month before she became secretary of state, the Washington Post warned in an editorial that her husband’s fundraising activities were problematic. “Even if Ms Clinton is not influenced by gifts to her husband’s charity, the appearance of conflict is unavoidable.”
Since the foundation was formed in 2001, some $2bn has been donated, mainly in big lump sums. Fully a third of the donors giving more than $1m, and more than a half of those handing over more than $5m, have been foreign governments, corporations or tycoons. (The foundation stresses that such largesse has been put to very good use – fighting obesity around the globe, combating climate change, helping millions of people with HIV/Aids obtain antiretroviral drugs at affordable prices.)
Schweizer may have made mistakes about aspects of Bill Clinton’s fees on the speaker circuit, but one of his main contentions – that the former president’s rates skyrocketed after his wife became secretary of state – is correct. Politifact confirmed that since leaving the White House in 2001 and 2013, Bill Clinton made 13 speeches for which he commanded more than $500,000; all but two of those mega-money earners occurred in the period when Hillary was at the State Department.
Though Schweizer has failed to prove actual corruption in the arrangement – at no point in the book does he produce evidence showing that Bill’s exorbitant speaker fees were directly tied to policy concessions from Hillary – he does point to several glaring conflicts of interest. Bill Clinton did accept large speaker fees accumulating to more than $1m from TD Bank, a major shareholder in the Keystone XL pipeline, at precisely the time that the Obama administration, and Hillary Clinton within it, was wrestling with the vexed issue of whether to approve it.
It is also true that large donations to the foundation from the chairman of Uranium One, Ian Telfer, at around the time of the Russian purchase of the company and while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, were never disclosed to the public. The multimillion sums were channeled through a subsidiary of the Clinton Foundation, CGSCI, which did not reveal its individual donors.
Such awkward collisions between Bill’s fundraising activities and Hillary’s public service have raised concerns not just among those who might be dismissed as part of a vast rightwing conspiracy. Take Zephyr Teachout, a law professor at Fordham university who has written extensively on political corruption in the US.
Teachout, who last year stood against Andrew Cuomo for the Democratic party nomination for New York governor, points out that you don’t have to be able to prove quid pro quo for alarm bells to ring.
“Our whole system of rules is built upon the concept that you must prevent conflicts of interests if you are to resist corruption in its many forms. Conflicts like that can infect us in ways we don’t even see.”
Teachout said that the Clintons presented the US political world with a totally new challenge. “We have never had somebody running for president whose spouse – himself a former president – is running around the world raising money in these vast sums.”
Though Bill Clinton insisted this week that his charity has done nothing “knowingly inappropriate”, that is unlikely to satisfy the skeptics from left or right. They say that a family in which one member is vying for the most powerful office on Earth must avoid straying into even the unintentionally inappropriate.
In the wake of Clinton Cash, the foundation has admitted that it made mistakes in disclosing some of its contributions. It has also implemented new rules that will see its financial reporting increase from once annually to four times a year, while large donations from foreign governments will be limited in future to six countries including the UK and Germany.
But with Bill refusing doggedly to give up his speaker engagements – “I gotta pay our bills” – and foreign corporations and super-rich individuals still able to donate to the family charity, it looks like this controversy may run and run. Politically, too, Hillary Clinton is confronted with a potential credibility gap between her appeal to ordinary Americans on the presidential campaign trail and the millions that continue to flow to the foundation.
“Is she going to be in touch with the needs and dreams of poor America when her spouse and daughter are working with the world’s global elite?” said Dave Levinthal of the anti-corruption investigative organization, the Center for Public Integrity. “That’s a question she will have to answer, every step of the way.”mkenney63 5 May 2015 20:39It would be nice to know how much Saudi and Chinese money her "Foundation" has taken-in. I can tell you how much Bernie has taken - $0. Bernie, the only truly progressive in the race, raised $1.5 million in one day from ordinary working people like you and me who have the smarts to know who's really in their corner. When I look at Hillary I ask myself, do we really want parasitic people like this running our country? Is there anything she has ever touched that isn't tainted by a lust for money?foggy2 gixxerman006 5 May 2015 20:38I am in the process of reading the actual book. He does have actual sources for many things but what is missing is the information controlled by that now cleaned off server and the details of just who contributed to them, their foundation, and who hired them for those gold plated speeches. Those names never were made public and now the related tax forms are being "redone." Wonder how long that will take.
The author was able to get pertinent data from the Canadian tax base information and that is important because some of the heavier hitters are Canadians who needed help in the US and other places to make piles of money on their investments. And many statements made by people are documented as are some cables sent TO the state department.
AlfredHerring raffine 5 May 2015 20:33
It's funny that free-market Tea Party Republicans criticize the Clintons
There's a broad populist streak in the Tea Party. They may be social conservatives and opposed to government telling them they MUST buy health insurance from a private company (that's where it started) but on many issues they're part of the Teddy Roosevelt trust busting and Franklin Roosevelt New Deal traditions.
May 03, 2018 | failedevolution.blogspot.gr
Beware of wolves in sheep's clothing
During the 2016 Democratic party primaries we wrote that what Bernie achieved, is to bring back the real political discussion in America, at least concerning the Democratic camp. Bernie smartly "drags" his primary rival, Hillary Clinton, into the heart of the politics. Up until a few years ago, you could not observe too much difference between the Democrats and the Republicans, who were just following the pro-establishment "politics as usual", probably with a few, occasional exceptions. The "politics as usual" so far, was "you can't touch the Wall Street", for example.
Bernie continuously forcing Hillary to appear apologetic about her campaign funding from big financial interests. She tries hard to persuade the public that she will not serve specific interests. Her anxiety can be identified in many cases and it was very clear at the moment when she accused Bernie of attacking her, concerning this funding. Hillary was forced to respond with a deeply irrational argument: anyone who takes money from big interests doesn't mean that he/she will vote for policies in favor of these interests!
Bernie drives the discussion towards fundamental ideological issues. He forced Hillary to defend her "progressiveness". She was forced to speak even about economic interests by names. A few years ago, this would be nearly a taboo in any debate between any primaries.
After the disastrous defeat by Trump in 2016 election, the corporate Democrats realized that the progressive movement, supported mostly by the American youth, would not retreat and vanish. On the contrary, Bernie Sanders' popularity still goes up and there is a wave of progressive candidates who appear to be a real threat to the DNC establishment and the Clintonian empire.
It seems that the empire has upgraded its dirty tactics beyond Hillary's false relocation to the Left. Seeing the big threat from the real progressives, the empire seeks to "plant" its own agents, masked as progressives, inside the electoral process, to disorientate voters and steal the popular vote.
Eric Draitser gives us valuable information for such a type of candidate. Key points:
One candidate currently generating some buzz in the race is Jeff Beals, a self-identified "Bernie democrat" whose campaign website homepage describes him as a " local teacher and former U.S. diplomat endorsed by the national organization of former Bernie Sanders staffers, the Justice Democrats. " And indeed, Beals centers his progressive bona fides to brand himself as one of the inheritors of the progressive torch lit by Sanders in 2016. A smart political move, to be sure. But is it true?
Beals describes himself as a "former U.S. diplomat," touting his expertise on international issues born of his experience overseas. In an email interview with CounterPunch, Beals describes his campaign as a " movement for diplomacy and peace in foreign affairs and an end to militarism my experience as a U.S. diplomat is what drives it and gives this movement such force. " OK, sounds good, a very progressive sounding answer. But what did Beals actually do during his time overseas?
By his own admission, Beals' overseas career began as an intelligence officer with the CIA. His fluency in Arabic and knowledge of the region made him an obvious choice to be an intelligence spook during the latter stages of the Clinton Administration.
Beals shrewdly attempts to portray himself as an opponent of neocon imperialism in Iraq. In his interview with CounterPunch, Beals argued that " The State Department was sidelined as the Bush administration and a neoconservative cabal plunged America into the tragic Iraq War. As a U.S. diplomat fluent in Arabic and posted in Jerusalem at the time, I was called over a year into the war to help our country find a way out. "
This is a Master's class in blatant historical revisionism and outright dishonesty. Beals was not a soldier unwillingly drafted into service, but an intelligence officer who voluntarily accepted an influential and critically important post for the Bush Administration in its ever-expanding crime against humanity in Iraq.
Moreover, no one who knows anything about the Iraq War could possibly swallow the tripe that CIA/State Department officials in Iraq were " looking to help our country find a way out " a year into the war. A year into the war, the bloodletting was only just beginning, and Halliburton, Exxon-Mobil, and the other corporate vultures had yet to fully exploit the country and make billions off it. So, unfortunately for Beals, the historical memory of the anti-war Left is not that short.
It is self-evident that Beals has a laundry list of things in his past that he must answer for. For those of us, especially Millennials, who cut our activist teeth demonstrating and organizing against the Iraq War, Beals' distortions about his role in Iraq go down like hemlock tea. But it is the associations Beals maintains today that really should give any progressive serious pause.
When asked by CounterPunch whether he has any connections to either Bernie Sanders and his surrogates or Hillary Clinton and hers, Beals responded by stating: " I am endorsed by Justice Democrats, a group of former Bernie Sanders staffers who are pledged to electing progressives nationwide. I am also endorsed for the Greene County chapter of the New York Progressive Action Network, formerly the Bernie Sanders network. My first hire was a former Sanders field coordinator who worked here in NY-19. "
However, conveniently missing from that response is the fact that Beals' campaign has been, and continues to be, directly managed in nearly every respect by Bennett Ratcliff, a longtime friend and ally of Hillary Clinton. Ratcliff is not mentioned in any publicly available documents as a campaign manager, though the most recent FEC filings show that as of April 1, 2018, Ratcliff was still on the payroll of the Beals campaign. And in the video of Beals' campaign kickoff rally, Ratcliff introduces Beals, while only being described as a member of the Onteora School Board in Ulster County . This is sort of like referring to Donald Trump as an avid golfer.
Beals has studiously, and rather intelligently, avoided mentioning Ratcliff, or the presence of Clinton's inner circle on his campaign. However, according to internal campaign documents and emails obtained by CounterPunch, Ratcliff manages nearly every aspect of the campaign, acting as a sort of éminence grise behind the artifice of a progressive campaign fronted by a highly educated and photogenic political novice.
By his own admission, Ratcliff's role on the campaign is strategy, message, and management. Sounds like a rather textbook description of a campaign manager. Indeed, Ratcliff has been intimately involved in "guiding" Beals on nearly every important campaign decision, especially those involving fundraising .
And it is in the realm of fundraising that Ratcliff really shines, but not in the way one would traditionally think. Rather than focusing on large donations and powerful interests, Ratcliff is using the Beals campaign as a laboratory for his strategy of winning elections without raising millions of dollars.
In fact, leaked campaign documents show that Ratcliff has explicitly instructed Beals and his staffers not to spend money on food, decorations, and other standard campaign expenses in hopes of presenting the illusion of a grassroots, people-powered campaign with no connections to big time donors or financial elites .
It seems that Ratcliff is the wizard behind the curtain, leveraging his decades of contact building and close ties to the Democratic Party establishment while at the same time manufacturing an astroturfed progressive campaign using a front man in Beals .
One of Ratcliff's most infamous, and indefensible, acts of fealty to the Clinton machine came in 2009 when he and longtime Clinton attorney and lobbyist, Lanny Davis, stumped around Washington to garner support for the illegal right-wing coup in Honduras, which ousted the democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya in favor of the right-wing oligarchs who control the country today. Although the UN, and even U.S. diplomats on the ground in Honduras, openly stated that the coup was illegal, Clinton was adamant to actively keep Zelaya out.
Essentially then, Ratcliff is a chief architect of the right-wing government in Honduras – the same government assassinating feminist and indigenous activists like Berta Cáceres, Margarita Murillo, and others, and forcibly displacing and ethnically cleansing Afro-indigenous communities to make way for Carribbean resorts and golf courses.
And this Washington insider lobbyist and apologist for war criminals and crimes against humanity is the guy who's on a crusade to reform campaign finance and fix Washington? This is the guy masquerading as a progressive? This is the guy working to elect an "anti-war progressive"?
In a twisted way it makes sense. Ratcliff has the blood of tens of thousands of Hondurans (among others) on his hands, while Beals is a creature of Langley, a CIA boy whose exceptional work in the service of Bush and Clinton administration war criminals is touted as some kind of merit badge on his resume.
What also becomes clear after establishing the Ratcliff-Beals connection is the fact that Ratcliff's purported concern with campaign financing and "taking back the Republic" is really just a pretext for attempting to provide a "proof of concept," as it were, that neoliberal Democrats shouldn't fear and subvert the progressive wing of the party, but rather that they should co-opt it with a phony grassroots facade all while maintaining links to U.S. intelligence, Wall Street, and the power brokers of the Democratic Party .
Info from the article How Clintonites Are Manufacturing Faux Progressive Congressional Campaigns by Eric Draitser
Apr 30, 2018 | www.unz.com
NoseytheDuke , April 23, 2018 at 11:39 am GMT@renfroTwodees Partain , April 23, 2018 at 10:23 pm GMT
I'm on the other side of the planet but a friend in the Mid-West sent me this and I thought I'd ask if anyone else had seen it?
Is there corruption in DC?
From 2001 to 2005 there was an ongoing investigation into the Clinton Foundation. A Grand Jury had been empaneled. The investigation was triggered by the pardon of Marc Rich ..
Governments from around the world had donated to the "Charity". Yet, from 2001 to 2003 none of those "Donations" to the Clinton Foundation were declared.
Guess who took over this investigation in 2002? Bet you can't guess. No other than James Comey.
Guess who was transferred in to the Internal Revenue Service to run the Tax Exemption Branch of the IRS? Your friend and mine, Lois "Be on The Look Out" (BOLO) Lerner.
It gets better, well not really, but this is all just a series of strange coincidences, right?
Guess who ran the Tax Division inside the Department of Injustice from 2001 to 2005? No other than the Assistant Attorney General of the United States, Rod Rosenstein.
Guess who was the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation during this time frame??? I know, it's a miracle, just a coincidence, just an anomaly in statistics and chances: Robert Mueller.
What do all four casting characters have in common? They all were briefed and were front line investigators into the Clinton Foundation Investigation.
Now that's just a coincidence, right? Ok, lets chalk the last one up to mere chance.
Let's fast forward to 2009. James Comey leaves the Justice Department to go and cash-in at Lockheed Martin.
Hillary Clinton is running the State Department, on her own personal email server.
The Uranium One "issue" comes to the attention of the Hillary. Like all good public servants do, you know looking out for America's best interest, she decides to support the decision and approve the sale of 20% of US Uranium to no other than, the Russians.
Now you would think that this is a fairly straight up deal, except it wasn't, I question what did the People get out of it?? Oddly enough, prior to the sales approval, Bill Clinton goes to Moscow, gets paid 500K for a one-hour speech then meets with Vladimir Putin at his home for a few hours.
Ok, no big deal right? Well, not so fast, the FBI had a mole inside this scheme.
Guess who was the FBI Director during this time frame? Yep, Robert Mueller. He requested the State Department allow himself to deliver a Uranium Sample to Moscow in 2009, under the guise of a "sting" operation -- (see leaked secret cable 09STATE38943).. while it is never clear if Mueller did deliver the sample, the "implication" is there ..
Guess who was handling that case within the Justice Department out of the US Attorney's Office in Maryland ?? No other than, Rod Rosenstein.
Remember the "informant" inside the FBI -- - Guess what happened to the informant? Department of Justice placed a GAG order on him and threatened to lock him up if he spoke about the Uranium Deal. Personally, I have to question how does 20% of the most strategic asset of the United States of America end up in Russian hands??? The FBI had an informant, a mole providing inside information to the FBI on the criminal enterprise and NOTHING happens, except to the informant -- Strange !!
Guess what happened soon after the sale was approved? 145 million dollars in "donations" made their way into the Clinton Foundation from entities directly connected to the Uranium One deal.
Guess who was still at the Internal Revenue Service working the Charitable Division?
No other than, Lois Lerner. Ok, that's all just another series of coincidences, nothing to see here, right? Let's fast forward to 2015.
Due to a series of tragic events in Benghazi and after the nine "investigations" the House, Senate and at State Department, Trey Gowdy who was running the 10th investigation as Chairman of the Select Committee on Benghazi, discovers that the Hillary ran the State Department on an unclassified, unauthorized, outlaw personal email server.
He also discovered that none of those emails had been turned over when she departed her "Public Service" as Secretary of State which was required by law.
He also discovered that there was Top Secret information contained within her personally archived email. Sparing you the State Departments cover up, the nostrums they floated, the delay tactics that were employed and the outright lies that were spewed forth from the necks of the Kerry State Department, they did everything humanly possible to cover for Hillary.
Guess who became FBI Director in 2013? Guess who secured 17 no bid contracts for his employer (Lockheed Martin) with the State Department and was rewarded with a six million dollar thank you present when he departed his employer. No other than James Comey. Folks if I did this when I worked for the government, I would have been locked up -- The State Department didn't even comply with the EEO and small business requirements the government places on all Request For Proposals (RFP) on contracts -- It amazes me how all those no-bids just went right through at State -- simply amazing and no Inspector General investigation !!
Next after leaving the private sector Comey is the FBI Director in charge of the "Clinton Email Investigation" after of course his FBI Investigates the Lois Lerner "Matter" at the Internal Revenue Service and exonerates her. Nope couldn't find any crimes there. Nothing here to report --
Then of all surprises, in April 2016, James Comey drafts an exoneration letter of Hillary Rodham Clinton, meanwhile the DOJ is handing out immunity deals like candy on Halloween.
The DOJ didn't even convene a Grand Jury. Like a lightning bolt of statistical impossibility, like a miracle from God himself, like the true "Gangsta" Homey is, James steps out into the cameras of an awaiting press conference on July the 8th of 2016 and exonerates the Hillary from any wrongdoing. As I've said many times, July 8, 2016 is the date that will live in infamy of the American Justice System ..
Can you see the pattern?
It goes on and on, Rosenstein becomes Asst. Attorney General, Comey gets fired based upon a letter by Rosenstein, Comey leaks government information to the press, Mueller is assigned to the Russian Investigation witch hunt by Rosenstein to provide cover for decades of malfeasance within the FBI and DOJ and the story continues.FISA Abuse, political espionage .. pick a crime, any crime, chances are this group and a few others did it. All the same players. All compromised and conflicted. All working fervently to NOT go to jail themselves. All connected in one way or another to the Clinton's. They are like battery acid, they corrode and corrupt everything they touch. How many lives have the Clinton's destroyed?
As of this writing, the Clinton Foundation, in its 20+ years of operation of being the largest International Charity Fraud in the history of mankind, has never been audited by the Internal Revenue Service.
Let us not forget that Comey's brother works for DLA Piper, the law firm that does the Clinton Foundation's taxes.@NoseytheDuke
More on Mueller for renfro, who seems to think that Mueller has some kind of integrity hidden somewhere:
Apr 21, 2018 | www.unz.com
Wednesday's criminal referral by 11 House Republicans of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as well as several former and serving top FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) officials is a giant step toward a Constitutional crisis.
Named in the referral to the DOJ for possible violations of federal law are: Clinton, former FBI Director James Comey; former Attorney General Loretta Lynch; former Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe; FBI Agent Peter Strzok; FBI Counsel Lisa Page; and those DOJ and FBI personnel "connected to" work on the "Steele Dossier," including former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates and former Acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente.
With no attention from corporate media, the referral was sent to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, FBI Director Christopher Wray, and U.S. Attorney for the District of Utah John Huber. Sessions appointed Huber months ago to assist DOJ Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz. By most accounts, Horowitz is doing a thoroughly professional job. As IG, however, Horowitz lacks the authority to prosecute; he needs a U.S. Attorney for that. And this has to be disturbing to the alleged perps.
This is no law-school case-study exercise, no arcane disputation over the fine points of this or that law. Rather, as we say in the inner-city, "It has now hit the fan." Criminal referrals can lead to serious jail time. Granted, the upper-crust luminaries criminally "referred" enjoy very powerful support. And that will come especially from the mainstream media, which will find it hard to retool and switch from Russia-gate to the much more delicate and much less welcome "FBI-gate."
As of this writing, a full day has gone by since the letter/referral was reported, with total silence so far from T he New York Times and The Washington Post and other big media as they grapple with how to spin this major development. News of the criminal referral also slipped by Amy Goodman's non-mainstream DemocracyNow!, as well as many alternative websites.
The 11 House members chose to include the following egalitarian observation in the first paragraph of the letter conveying the criminal referral: "Because we believe that those in positions of high authority should be treated the same as every other American, we want to be sure that the potential violations of law outlined below are vetted appropriately." If this uncommon attitude is allowed to prevail at DOJ, it would, in effect, revoke the de facto "David Petraeus exemption" for the be-riboned, be-medaled, and well-heeled.
Meanwhile, the patience of the chairmen of House committees investigating abuses at DOJ and the FBI is wearing thin at the slow-rolling they are encountering in response to requests for key documents from the FBI. This in-your-face intransigence is all the more odd, since several committee members have already had access to the documents in question, and are hardly likely to forget the content of those they know about. (Moreover, there seems to be a good chance that a patriotic whistleblower or two will tip them off to key documents being withheld.)
The DOJ IG, whose purview includes the FBI, has been cooperative in responding to committee requests for information, but those requests can hardly include documents of which the committees are unaware.
Putting aside his partisan motivations, House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) was unusually blunt two months ago in warning of legal consequences for officials who misled the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in order to enable surveillance on Trump and his associates. Nunes's words are likely to have sent chills down the spine of those with lots to hide: "If they need to be put on trial, we will put them on trial," he said ."The reason Congress exists is to oversee these agencies that we created."
Whether the House will succeed in overcoming the resistance of those criminally referred and their many accomplices and will prove able to exercise its Constitutional prerogative of oversight is, of course, another matter -- a matter that matters.
And Nothing Matters More Than the Media
The media will be key to whether this Constitutional issue is resolved. Largely because of Trump's own well earned reputation for lying, most Americans are susceptible to slanted headlines like this recent one -- "Trump escalates attacks on FBI " -- from an article in The Washington Post , commiserating with the treatment accorded fired-before-retired prevaricator McCabe and the FBI he ( dis)served .
Nor is the Post above issuing transparently clever warnings -- like this one in a lead article on March 17: "Some Trump allies say they worry he is playing with fire by taunting the FBI. 'This is open, all-out war. And guess what? The FBI's going to win,' said one ally, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid. 'You can't fight the FBI. They're going to torch him.'" [sic]
Mind-Boggling Criminal Activity
What motivated the characters now criminally "referred" is clear enough from a wide variety of sources, including the text messages exchange between Strzok and Page. Many, however, have been unable to understand how these law enforcement officials thought they could get away with taking such major liberties with the law.
None of the leaking, unmasking, surveillance, "opposition research," or other activities directed against the Trump campaign can be properly understood, if one does not bear in mind that it was considered a sure thing that Secretary Clinton would become President, at which point illegal and extralegal activities undertaken to help her win would garner praise, not prison. The activities were hardly considered high-risk, because candidate Clinton was sure to win.
But she lost.
Comey himself gives this away in the embarrassingly puerile book he has been hawking, "A Higher Loyalty" -- which
amounts to a pre-emptive move motivated mostly by loyalty-to-self, in order to obtain a Stay-Out-of-Jail card. Hat tip to Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone for a key observation, in his recent article , "James Comey, the Would-Be J. Edgar Hoover," about what Taibbi deems the book's most damning passage, where Comey discusses his decision to make public the re-opening of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
Comey admits, "It is entirely possible that, because I was making decisions in an environment where Hillary Clinton was sure to be the next president, my concern about making her an illegitimate president by concealing the re-started investigation bore greater weight than it would have if the election appeared closer or if Donald Trump were ahead in the polls."
The key point is not Comey's tortured reasoning, but rather that Clinton was "sure to be the next president." This would, of course, confer automatic immunity on those now criminally referred to the Department of Justice. Ah, the best laid plans of mice and men -- even very tall men. One wag claimed that the "Higher" in "A Higher Loyalty" refers simply to the very tall body that houses an outsized ego.
I think it can be said that readers of Consortiumnews.com may be unusually well equipped to understand the anatomy of FBI-gate as well as Russia-gate. Listed below chronologically are several links that might be viewed as a kind of "whiteboard" to refresh memories. You may wish to refer them to any friends who may still be confused.
- Russia-gate's Mythical 'Heroes' June 6, 2017
- The Democratic Money Behind Russia-gate Oct. 29, 201 7
- The Foundering Russia-gate 'Scandal' Dec. 13, 2017
- What Did Hillary Clinton Know? Dec. 25, 2017
- The FBI Hand Behind Russia-gate Jan. 11, 2018
- Will Congress Face Down the Deep State? Jan. 30, 2018
- Nunes Memo Reports Crimes at Top of FBI and DOJ Feb. 2, 2018
- 'This is Nuts': Liberals Launch 'Largest Mobilization in History' in Defense of Russiagate Probe Feb. 9, 2018
- Nunes: FBI and DOJ Perps Could Be Put on Trial Feb. 19, 2018
- 'Progressive' Journalists Jump the Shark on Russia-gate March 7, 2018
- Intel Committee Rejects Basic Underpinning of Russiagate March 14, 2018
- McCabe: A War on (or in) the FBI? March 18, 2018
- Former CIA Chief Brennan Running Scared March 19, 2018
Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He served as an Army Infantry/Intelligence officer and then a CIA analyst for a total of 30 years. In retirement, he co-created Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).
Mike Whitney , April 20, 2018 at 4:15 am GMTThis story appears to be developing very fast. Interested readers might want to look at this short video on the Tucker Carlson show last night: http://video.foxnews.com/v/5773524495001/?playlist_id=5198073478001#sp=show-clipsjilles dykstra , April 20, 2018 at 6:05 am GMT
Will McCabe wind up in jail? Will Comey? Will Hillary face justice? Fingers crossed!A weird country, the USA. Reading the article I'm reminded of the 1946 Senate investigation into Pearl Harbour, where, in my opinion, the truth was unearthed. At the same time, this truth hardly ever reached the wider public, no articles, the book, ed. Harry Elmer Barnes, never reviewed.Greg Bacon , Website April 20, 2018 at 6:54 am GMTRonald Thomas West , Website April 20, 2018 at 7:23 am GMT
Will McCabe wind up in jail? Will Comey? Will Hillary face justice? Fingers crossed!
The short answer is NO. McCabe might, but not Comey and the Killer Queen, they've both served Satan, uh I mean the Deep State too long and too well.Satan and the banksters–who really run the show–take care of their own and apex predators like Hillary won't go to jail. But it does keep the rubes entertained while the banksters continue to loot, pillage and plunder and Israel keeps getting Congress to fight their wars."Hope springs eternal" would be the cynical folk wisdom. FYI we haven't had a functioning constitution since the National Security Act of 1947 brought this nation under color of law, but the IC types wouldn't have you know that. Too tough to square the idea you'd never have had your CIA career in a world where the FISA court couldn't exist either.animalogic , April 20, 2018 at 8:00 am GMT
Consortium News many sops tossed to 'realpolitik' where false narrative is attacked with alternative false narrative, example given, drunk Ukrainian soldiers supposedly downing MH 17 with a BUK as opposed to Kiev's Interior Ministry behind the Ukrainian combat jet that actually brought down MH 17, poisons everything (trust issues) spewed from that news service.
The realpolitik 'face saving' exit/offer implied in the Consortium News narrative where Russia doesn't have to confront the West with Ukraine's (and by implication the western intelligence agencies) premeditated murder of 300 innocents does truth no favors.
Time to grow up and face reality. Realpolitik is dead; the caliber of 'statesman' required for these finessed geopolitical lies to function no longer exist on the Western side, and the Russians (I believe) are beginning to understand there is no agreement can be made behind closed doors that will hold up; as opposed to experiencing a backstabbing (like NATO not moving east.)
Back on topic; the National Security Act of 1947 and the USA's constitution are mutually exclusive concepts, where you have a Chief Justice appoints members of our FISA Court, er, nix that, let's call a spade a spade, it's a Star Chamber. There is no constitution to uphold, no matter well intended self deceits. There will be no constitutional crisis, only a workaround to pretend a constitution still exists:
For those who prefer the satire:
https://ronaldthomaswest.com/2016/01/07/moot-court/^To comprehend the internal machinations s of US politics one needs a mind capable of high level yoga or of squaring a circle. On the one hand there is a multimillion, full throttle investigation into – at best – nebulus, inconsequential links between trump/ his campaign & Russia.Jake , April 20, 2018 at 11:29 am GMT
On the other there is concrete evidence that the Democratic party/Clinton manipulated the primaries to destroy Clinton's challanger. That the DOJ, FBI & other alphabet agencies conspired with Clinton to equally, destroy Trump's campaign.
Naturally, its this 2nd conspiracy which is retarded. Imagine, a mere agency of a dept, the FBI, is widely considered untouchable by The President ! Indeed, they will "torch" him. AND the "the third estate" ie: the msm will support them the whole way! As a script the "The Twilight Zone" would have rejected all this as too ludicrous, too psychotic for even its broad minded viewers.The Deep State will make certain none of its most important functionaries get anything close to what they deserve.redmudhooch , April 20, 2018 at 11:43 am GMTJust a show, nothing will happen. Anything to keep you talking about anything other than 9/11, fake economy, fake war on terror, or Zionists..jacques sheete , April 20, 2018 at 11:49 am GMTDESERT FOX , April 20, 2018 at 12:58 pm GMT
And that will come especially from the mainstream media
I quit reading right there. Use of that term indicates mental laziness at best. What's mainstream about it? Please refer to corporate media in proper terms, such as PCR's "presstitute" media. Speaking of PCR, it's too bad he doesn't allow comments.The MSM is controlled by Zionists as is the U.S. gov and the banks, so it is no surprise that the MSM protects the ones destroying America, this is what they do. Nothing of consequence will be done to any of the ones involved, it will all be covered up, as usual.tjm , April 20, 2018 at 1:06 pm GMTWhat utter nonsense. These people are ALL actors, no one will go to jail, because everything they do is contrived, no consequence for doing as your Zionist owners command.anon  Disclaimer , April 20, 2018 at 1:49 pm GMT
There is no there there. This is nothing but another distraction, something o feed the dual narratives, that Clinton and her ilk are out to get Trump, and the "liberal media" will cover it up. This narrative feeds very nicely into the primary goal of driving Republicans/conservatives to support Trump, even as Trump does everything they elected him NOT TO DO!
We saw the same nonsense with Obama, the "peace president". Obama a man who never saw a Muslim he did not want to bomb or a Jew he did not want to bail out
Yet even while Obama did the work of the Zionist money machine, the media played up the fake battle between those who thought he was not born in America, "birthers" and his blind supporters.
Nothing came of any of it, just like Monica Lewinsky, nothing but theater, fill the air waves, divide the people, while America is driven insane.The best thing about this referral is that it also demands deputy AG Rod Rosenstein the weasel to recluse himself from this case. Rosenstein is the pinnacle of corruption by the deep state. It's seriously way pass time for Jeff Sessions to grow a pair, put on his big boy pants, unrecuse himself from the Russian collusion bullshit case, fire Rosenstein and Mueller and end the case once and for all. These two traitors are in danger of completely derailing the Trump agenda and toppling the Republican majority in November, yet Jeff Sessions is still busy arresting people for marijuana, talk about missing the forest for the trees.anon  Disclaimer , April 20, 2018 at 1:54 pm GMT
As far as where this referral will go from here, my guess is, nowhere. Not as long as Jeff Sessions the pussy is the AG. It's good to hear that Giuliani has now been recruited by Trump to be on his legal team. What Trump really needs to do is replace Jeff Sessions with Giuliani, or even Chris Christie, and let them do what a real AG should be doing, which is clean house in the DOJ, and prosecute the Clintons for their pay-to-play scheme with their foundation. Not only is the Clinton corruption case the biggest corruption case in US history, but this might be the only way to save the GOP from losing their majority in November.@Greg BaconTwodees Partain , April 20, 2018 at 2:32 pm GMT
But it does keep the rubes entertained while the banksters continue to loot, pillage and plunder and Israel keeps getting Congress to fight their wars.
Sadly I think you're right. Things might be different if we had a real AG, but Jeff Sessions is not the man I thought he was. He's been swallowed by the deep state just like Trump. At least Trump is putting up a fight, Sessions just threw in the towel and recused himself from Day 1. Truly pathetic. Some patriot he is.@Nick GraniteTwodees Partain , April 20, 2018 at 2:46 pm GMT
" He's ferreted out more than a few and probably has a lot better idea who his friends are he certainly knows the enemies by now."
He failed to ferret out Haley, Pompeo, or Sessions and he just recently appointed John Bolton, so I don't agree with your assessment. If his friends include those three, that says enough about Trump to make any of his earlier supporters drop him.
Anyway, not having a ready made team, or at least a solid short list of key appointees shows that he was just too clueless to have even been a serious candidate. It looks more as though Trump is doing now what he intended to do all along. That means he was bullshitting everybody during his campaign.
So, maybe the neocons really have been his friends all along.@jacques sheeteAuthenticjazzman , April 20, 2018 at 6:02 pm GMT
It's also telling that Ray didn't mention what was included in the referral regarding an enforced recusal of Rosenstein going forward.
https://desantis.house.gov/_cache/files/8/0/8002ca75-52fc-4995-b87e-43584da268db/472EBC7D8F55C0F9E830D37CF96376A2.final-criminal-referral.pdf@Renomananon  Disclaimer , April 20, 2018 at 7:24 pm GMT
" America is a very crooked country, nothing suprises me".
Every country on this insane planet is "crooked" to a greater or lesser degree, when to a lesser degree, this is simply because they, the PTB, have not yet figured out how to accelerate, how to increase their corruption and thereby how to increase their unearned monetary holdings.
Money is the most potent singular factor which causes humans to lose their minds, and all of their ethics and decency.
And within the confines of a "socialist" system, "money" is replaced by rubber-stamps, which then wield, exactly in the manner of "wealth", the power of life or death, over the unwashed masses.
Authenticjazzman "Mensa" qualified since 1973, airborne trained US Army vet, and pro jazz musician.@Ronald Thomas Westanon  Disclaimer , April 20, 2018 at 7:30 pm GMT
BTW Jeff Sessions is a fraternal brother of Pence (a member of the same club, same [recently deceased] guru) and is no friend of Trump.
That would explain why Sessions reclused himself from the start, and refused to appoint a special council to investigate the Clintons. He's in on this with Pence.Just as it looks like the Comey memos will further exonerate Trump, we now have this farce extended by the DNC with this latest lawsuit on the "Trump campaign". The Democrats are now the most pathetic sore losers in history, they are hell bent on dragging the whole country down the pit of hell just because they can't handle a loss.anon  Disclaimer , April 20, 2018 at 7:34 pm GMTWishful thinking that anything will come of this, just like when the Nunes memo was released. Nothing will happen as long as Jeff Sessions is AG. Trump needs to fire either Sessions or Rosenstein ASAP, before he gets dragged down by this whole Russian collusion bullshit case.SunBakedSuburb , April 20, 2018 at 7:45 pm GMTFormer CIA Director John Brennan is the prime mover behind the ongoing coup attempt against Trump. He gathered his deep state allies at DOJ and the FBI to join him in this endeavor. Brennan's allies -- McCabe, Lynch, Strzok, Yates, ect., may or may not be aware of Brennan's true motive behind creating all the noise and distraction since the 2016 election. It could be they're just partisan hacks; or they're on board with Brennan to keep secret what was revealed in the hack of the Podesta emails.Haxo Angmark , Website April 20, 2018 at 10:38 pm GMT
John Podesta, in addition to being a top Democrat/DC lobbyist and a criminal deviant, is also a long-time CIA asset running a blackmail/influence operation that utilized his deviancy: the sexual exploitation of children.Seth Rich is still dead...utu , April 20, 2018 at 11:33 pm GMTAssange had 'physical proof' Russians didn't hack DNC, Rohrabacher says https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/apr/19/julian-assange-has-physical-proof-russians-didnt-h/UrbaneFrancoOntarian , April 21, 2018 at 12:18 am GMT@anonRonald Thomas West , Website April 21, 2018 at 12:56 am GMT
His cowardice is shocking. I wonder what they have on him? Probably some Roy Moore shit. Some shady stuff happened in the old South.@utuRobinG , April 21, 2018 at 1:02 am GMT
Yeah, and General Kelly won't let Rohrabacher meet with Trump. What do you suppose is up with that (rhetorical question)@utuanonymous  Disclaimer , April 21, 2018 at 2:36 am GMT
What kind of "physical proof" could Assange have? A thumb drive that was provably American, or something? Rohrabacher only got Red Pilled on Russia because he had one very determined (and well heeled) constituent. But he did cosponsor one of Tulsi Gabbard's "Stop Funding Terrorists" bills, which he figured out on his own. Nevertheless, a bit of a loose cannon and an eff'd up hawk on Iran He's probably an 'ISIS now, Assad later' on Syria.I noticed Comey tried to pull a J Edgar-style subtle blackmail on Trump by the way he brought up the so-called "dossier". Anyone could see it was absurd but he played his hand with it, pretending it was being looked at. I would say Trump could see through this sleazy game Comey was trying to play and sized him up. Comey is about as slimy as they get even as he parades around trying to look noble. What a corrupt bunch.Culloden , April 21, 2018 at 2:45 am GMT"The culprit has swayed with the immediate need for a villain "Bennis Mardens , April 21, 2018 at 2:47 am GMT
[What follows is excerpted from an article headlined Robert Mueller's Questionable Past that appeared yesterday on the American Free Press website:]
During his tenure with the Justice Department under President George H W Bush, Mueller supervised the prosecutions of Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega, the Lockerbie bombing (Pan Am Flight 103) case, and Gambino crime boss John Gotti. In the Noriega case, Mueller ignored the ties to the Bush family that Victor Thorn illustrated in Hillary (and Bill): The Drugs Volume: Part Two of the Clinton Trilogy. Noriega had long been associated with CIA operations that involved drug smuggling, money laundering, and arms running. Thorn significantly links Noriega to Bush family involvement in the Iran-Contra scandal.
Regarding Pan Am Flight 103, the culprit has swayed with the immediate need for a villain. Pro-Palestinian activists, Libyans, and Iranians have all officially been blamed when US intelligence and the mainstream mass media needed to paint each as the antagonist to American freedom. Mueller toed the line, publicly ignoring rumors that agents onboard were said to have learned that a CIA drug-smuggling operation was afoot in conjunction with Pan Am flights. According to the theory, the agents were going to take their questions to Congress upon landing. The flight blew up over Lockerbie, Scotland.
"We were in Libya for oil" (only). Who said that:
http://www.firmmagazine.comWithout exception, leftists are degenerate filth.Art , April 21, 2018 at 5:21 am GMT
But they won't be going to jail.
It's kabuki theater.My god – who believes this woman?WhiteWolf , April 21, 2018 at 5:39 am GMT
Hillary says "they would never let me be president" – she is serious. She has gone bonkers with self-pity.
This is no longer laughable – it boarders on the pathological.
Art@Bennis MardensStonehands , April 21, 2018 at 6:20 am GMT
There has been some former high flyers going to jail recently. Sarkozy is facing a hard time at the moment. If it can happen to a former president of France it can happen to Hillary.@Twodees PartainStonehands , April 21, 2018 at 6:42 am GMT
I still read ZH articles, but the commentariat has devolved to lockeroom towel-snapping, barely above YouTube chattering.@Ronald Thomas WestStonehands , April 21, 2018 at 7:56 am GMT
Ronald, thank-you for posting this Doug Coe sermon; l have never heard of him. BTW are you a Christian?@Ronald Thomas WestTwodees Partain , April 21, 2018 at 10:11 am GMT
Ronald, thank-you for posting this Doug Coe sermon; l have never heard of him. BTW are you a Christian?@CullodenRonald Thomas West , Website April 21, 2018 at 1:14 pm GMT
Here's another about Mueller's involvement with the FBI's Whitey Bulger scandal.
Mueller's past is so laden with misfeasance and malfeasance that he should have been disbarred a few decades ago.@StonehandsCIA in Charge , April 21, 2018 at 1:58 pm GMT
Am I a Christian? Well, no. I had some exposure to Christianity but it never took hold. On the other hand, I do believe there was a historical Jesus that was a remarkable man, but there is a world (or universe) of difference between the man and the mythology. Here's some of my thoughts on the matter:
^ It doesn't necessarily go where the title might suggest (for many)@AuthenticjazzmanAuthenticjazzman , April 21, 2018 at 6:06 pm GMT
Nothing uncanny about it. There's a frenetic Democratic cottage industry inferring magical emotional charisma powers that explain the outsized influence of those three. The fact is very simple. All three are CIA nomenklatura.
(1.) Bill Clinton got recruited into CIA by Cord Meyer, who bragged of it himself in his cups.
(2.) Hillary cut her teeth on CIA's Watergate purge of Nixon. (If it's news to anyone that the Watergate cast of characters was straight out of CIA central casting, Russ Baker has conclusively tied the elaborate ratfeck to the intelligence community.)
(3.) Obama was son of spooks, grandson of spooks, greased in to Harvard by Alwaleed bin-Talal's bagman. While he was vocationally wet behind the ears he not only got into Pakistan, no mean feat at the time, but he went to a falconry outing with the future acting president of Pakistan. And is there anyone alive who wasn't flabbergasted at the instant universal acclaim for some empty suit who made a speech at the convention? Like Bill Clinton, successor to DCI Bush, Obama was blatantly, derisively installed in the president slot of the CIA org chart.@CIA in Charge
Excellent post and quite accurate information, however my point being that the irrational fear harbored by the individuals who could actually begin to rope these scumbags in, is just that : Irrational, as they seem to think or have been lead/brainwashed to believe that these dissolute turds are somehow endowed with supernatural, otherworldy powers and options, and that they are capable of unholy , merciless vengeance : VF, SR, etc.
And the truth is as soon as they finally start to go after them they, they will fall apart at the seams, such as with all cowards, and this is the bottom line : They, the BC/HC/BO clique, they are nothing more than consumate cowards, who can only operate in such perfidious manners when left unchallenged.
Authenticjazzman "Mensa" qualified since 1973, airborne trained US Army vet, and pro Jazz artist.
Apr 13, 2018 | www.voltairenet.org
o the Western powers hope to put an end to the constraints of International Law? That is the question asked by the Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sergueï Lavrov, at the Moscow conference on International Security [ 1 ].
Over the last few years, Washington has been promoting the concept of " unilateralism ". International Law and the United Nations are supposed to bow to the power of the United States.
This concept of political life is born of the History of the United States - the colonists who came to the Americas intended to live as they chose and make a fortune there. Each community developed its own laws and refused the intervention of a central government in local affairs. The President and the Federal Congress are charged with Defense and Foreign Affairs, but like the citizens themselves, they refused to accept an authority above their own.
Bill Clinton attacked Yugoslavia, blithely violating Internal Law. George Bush Jr. did the same by attacking Iraq, and Barack Obama by attacking Libya and Syria. As for Donald Trump, he has never hidden his distrust of supra-national rules.
Making an allusion to the Cebrowski-Barnett doctrine [ 2 ], Sergueï Lavrov declared: " We have the clear impression that the United States seek to maintain a state of controlled chaos in this immense geopolitical area [the Near East], hoping to use it to justify the military presence of the USA in the region, without any time limit, in order to promote their own agenda ".
The United Kingdom also seem to feel quite comfortable with breaking the Law. Last month, it accused Moscow in the " Skripal affair ", without the slightest proof, and attempted to unite a majority of the General Assembly of the UN to exclude Russia from the Security Council. It would of course be easier for the Anglo-Saxons to unilaterally rewrite the Law without having to take notice of the opinions of their opponents.
Moscow does not believe that London took this initiative. It considers that Washington is calling the shots.
" Globalisation ", in other words the " globalisation of Anglo-Saxon values ", has created a class society between states. But we should not confuse this new problem with the existence of the right to a veto. Of course, the UNO, while it declares equality between states whatever their size, distinguishes, within the Security Council, five permanent members who have a veto. This Directorate, composed of the main victors of the Second World War, is a necessity for them to accept the principle of supra-national Law. However, when this Directorate fails to embody the Law, the General Assembly may take its place. At least in theory, because the smaller states which vote against a greater state are obliged to suffer retaliatory measures.
La " globalisation of Anglo-Saxon values " ignores honour and highlights profit, so that the weight of the propositions by any state will be measured only by the economic development of its country. However, over the years, three states have managed to gain an audience to the foundations of their propositions, and not in function of their economy – they are the Iran of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (today under house arrest in his own country), the Venezuela of Hugo Chávez, and the Holy See.
The confusion engendered by Anglo-Saxon values has led to the financing of intergovernmental organisations with private money. As one thing leads to another, the member states of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), for example, have progressively abandoned their propositional power to the profit of private telecom operators, who are united in a " consultative committee ".
" Communication ", a new name for " propaganda ", has become the imperative in international relations. From the US Secretary of State brandishing a phial of pseudo-anthrax to the British Minister for Foreign Affairs lying about the origin of Novitchok in the Salisbury affair, lies have become the substitute for respect, and cause general mistrust.
During the first years of its creation, the UNO attempted to forbid " war propaganda ", but today, it is the permanent members of the Security Council who indulge in it.
The worst occurred in 2012, when Washington managed to obtain the nomination of one of its worst war-hawks, Jeffrey Feltman, as the number 2 of the UNO [ 3 ]. From that date onward, wars have been orchestrated in New York by the very institution that is supposed to prevent them.
Russia is wondering today about the possible desire of the Western powers to block the United Nations. If this is so, it would create an alternative institution, but there would no longer be a forum which would enable the two blocks to discuss matters.
Just as a society which falls into chaos, where men are wolves for men when deprived of the Law, so the world will become a battle-field if it abandons International Law. Thierry Meyssan
Apr 01, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org
There is no doubt about it: Stormy Daniels is a formidable woman. Karen McDougal is no slouch either, though she is hard to admire after that riff, in her Anderson Cooper interview, about how religious and Republican she is; she even said that she used to love the Donald. Stormy Daniels is better than that.
How wonderfully appropriate it would be if she were to become the proverbial straw that breaks the camel's back.
Even in a world as topsy-turvy as ours has become, there has to be a final straw.
To be sure, evidence of Trump's vileness, incompetence, and mental instability is accumulating at breakneck speed, and there are polls now that show support for him holding fast or even slightly rising. Trump's hardcore "base" seems more determined than ever to stand by their man.
But even people as benighted as they are bound to realize eventually that they have been had. Many of them already do, but don't care; they hate Clinton Democrats that much. This is understandable, but foolish; so foolish, in fact, that they can hardly keep it up indefinitely.
To think otherwise is to despair for the human race.
What, if anything, can bring them to their senses in time for the 2018 election?
Stormy Daniels says she only wants to tell her story, not bring Trump down. But her political instincts seem decent, and she is one shrewd lady. Therefore, I would not be the least surprised if that is not quite true. It hardly matters, though, what her intentions are; I'd put my money on her.
A recession might also do the trick. A recession is long overdue, and Trump's tax cut for the rich and his tariffs are sure to make its consequences worse when it happens.
To turn significant portions of Trump's base against him, a major military conflagration might also do -- not the kind Barack Obama favored, fought far away and out of public view, but a real war, televised on CNN, and waged against an enemy state like North Korea or Iran. It would have to go quickly and disastrously wrong, though, in ways that even willfully blind, terminally obtuse Trump supporters could not fail to see.
Or the gods could smile upon us, causing Trump's exercise regimen (sitting in golf carts) and his fat-ridden, cholesterol rich diet to catch up with him, as it would with most other sedentary septuagenarians. The only downside would be that a heart attack or stroke might elicit sympathy for the poor bastard. No sane person could or should hope for a calamitous economic downturn or for yet another devastating, pointless, and manifestly unjust war, especially one that could become a war to end all wars (along with everything else), on the off-chance that some good might come of it. And if the best we can do is hope that cheeseburgers with fries will save us, we are grasping at straws.
These are compelling reasons to hope that the accusations made by Daniels and McDougal and Summer Zervos – and other consensual and non-consensual Trump victims and "playmates" – gain traction. If the several defamation lawsuits now in the works can get the president deposed, this is not out of the question.
The problem for Trump is not that his accusers' revelations will cause his base to defect; no matter how salacious their stories and no matter how believable they may be. Trump's moral turpitude is taken for granted in their circles; and they do not care about the myriad ways his words and deeds offend the dignity of the office he holds or embarrass the country he purports to put "first." If any of that mattered to them, they would have jumped ship long ago.
Except perhaps for unreconstructed racists and certifiable sociopaths, white evangelicals are Trump's strongest supporters. What a despicable bunch of hypocrites they are! As long as Trump delivers on their agendas, his salacious escapades don't faze them at all. Godly folk have evidently changed a good deal since the Cotton Mather days.
What has not changed is their seemingly limitless ability to believe nonsense.
And in case light somehow does manage to shine through, Trump has shown them how to restore the darkness they crave. When cognitive dissonance threatens, all they need do is scream "fake news."
The problem for Trump is that what his accusers are saying puts him in legal and political jeopardy. They are claiming, in effect, that he has committed a variety of unlawful and impeachable offenses – from obstruction of justice to violations of campaign finance laws.
In this case as in so many others, it is the cover-up, not the underlying "crime," that could lead to his undoing – especially if the stories Daniels and the others are telling shed light upon or otherwise connect with or meld into Robert Mueller's investigation of (alleged) Russian "meddling" in the 2016 election.
Trump could and probably will survive their charges. His base is such a preternaturally obdurate lot that there may ultimately be no last straw for them. We may have no choice, in the end, but to despair for a sizeable chunk of the human race.
Stormy Daniels would not be any less admirable on that account. She took Trump on and came out on top. For all the world (minus the willfully blind) to see, she, the porn star, is a strong woman who has her life together, while he, the president, is a discombobulated sleaze ball who is leading himself and his country to ruin.
It was different with Monica Lewinsky, another presidential paramour who, almost two decades ago, also held the world's attention.
There was nothing sleazy or venal about Lewinsky's involvement with Bill Clinton; and, for all I know, unless chastity counts, she is as good and virtuous a person as can be. But personal qualities are not what made her affair with our forty-second president as historically significant as it turned out to be.
It would be fair to say that of all the women who have ever had intimate knowledge of that old horn dog's private parts, there is no one who did more good for her country. If only for that, if there were a heaven, there would be special place in it just for her.
The Clinton-Lewinsky dalliance led to a series of events that prevented Clinton from doing even more harm to our feeble welfare state institutions than he would otherwise have done.
Who knows how much progress he would have turned back had he and Monica never done the deed or at least not been found out. Building on groundwork laid down by Ronald Reagan and the first George Bush, he and his wife had already terminated Aid to Families With Dependent Children, one of the main government programs aimed at relieving poverty. This was to be just the first step in "ending welfare as we know it."
With their "donors" pushing for more austerity, those two neoliberal pioneers were itching to begin privatizing other, more widely supported social programs, including even Social Security, the so-called "third rail" of American politics.
The "Lewinsky matter" put the kybosh on that idea, leaving the American people forever in Monica's debt.
Back in the Kennedy days, Mel Brook's two-thousand year old man got it right when he said: presidents "gotta do it," to which he added – " because if they don't do it to their wives and girlfriends, they do it to the nation."
Stormy Daniels made much the same point ten years ago, while flirting with the idea of running against Louisiana Senator David Vitter. Vitter's political career had been almost ruined when his name turned up in the phone records of the infamous "DC Madam," Deborah Jeane Palfrey. Daniels told voters that, unlike Vitter, she would "screw (them) honestly."
What then are we to make of the fact that Trump screws both the nation and his wife (maybe) and his girlfriends (or whatever they are)?
Blame it on arrested development, on the fact that despite his more than seventy-one years, Trump still has the mind of a teenage boy, one with money and power enough to live out his fantasies.
The contrast with Bill Clinton is stark. Clinton is a philanderer with eclectic tastes, a charming rascal with a broad and mischievous mind. Honkytonk women from Arkansas appeal to him as much as zaftig MOTs from the 90210 area code.
Trump, on the other hand, goes for super-models, Playboy centerfolds, and aspiring beauty queens -- standard teenage fantasy fare.
He seems to have had little trouble living his dreams – not thanks to his magnetic face, form and figure, and certainly not to his refinement, wit or charm, but to his inherited and otherwise ill-gotten wealth.
It is money and the power that follows from it that draws women to his net.
Henry Kissinger understood; recall his musings on the aphrodisiacal properties of power. Even in his prime, that still unindicted war criminal (and later-day Hillary Clinton advisor) was even more repellent than Trump. But that never kept him from having to fight the ladies off.
This fact of life puts a heavy responsibility on the women with whom presidents hook up.
Consider Melania. She made a Faustian bargain when she agreed to become Trump's trophy bride; in return for riches and a soft life in a gilded tower, she sold her soul. She might have thought better of it had she taken the burdens she would incur as First Lady into account, but why would she? The prospect was too improbable.
She has, it seems, a very practical, old world view of marriage, and is therefore tolerant of her husband's womanizing. At the same time, as a mother and daughter, she is, like most immigrants, a strong proponent of old world "family values."
Too much of a proponent perhaps; insofar as her idea was to "chain migrate" her parents out of Slovenia and onto Easy Street, or to raise a kid who would never want for anything, there were less onerous ways of going about it. After all, there are plenty of rich Americans lusting after supermodels out there, and it is a good bet that many of them are less repellent than Trump.
She was irresponsible as well. She ought to have realized that the man she married had already spawned two idiot sons, along with other fruit from the poisonous tree, and that four bad apples in one generation are enough.
And so now she finds herself a single mother – not in theory, of course, but very definitely in practice. Unlike most women in that position, she is not wanting for resources. But it must be a hard slog, even so. To her credit, Melania seems to be handling the burden well. More power to her!
She also deserves credit for her body language when the Donald is around; the contempt she shows for him is wonderful to behold. Best of all is her sense of the absurd. The way she plagiarized from Michelle Obama had obvious comic validity, and making childhood bullying her First Lady cause – all First Ladies have causes -- was a stroke of genius.
On balance, therefore, it is hard not to feel sorry for her. Of all the women in Trump's ambit, she deserves humiliation the least.
The rumor mill has it that with all the publicity about Daniels and the others , she has finally had enough. This may be the case; the old world ethos requires discretion and a concern with appearances. That is not the Donald's way, however, and now she is paying the price.
What a magnificent humiliation it would be if she and Trump were to split up on that account. This could happen soon. I would expect, though, that through a combination of carrots and sticks, Trump and his fixers will find a way to minimize the political effects. More likely still, they will channel Joe Kennedy and Jackie O, and figure out a way to head the problem off.
Then there is poor forgotten Tiffany. Her Wikipedia entry lists her as both a law student and a "socialite." I hope her studious side wins out and that, despite the genes from her father's side, she is at least somewhat decent and smart.
I'd be more confident of that if she would do what Ronald Reagan's daughter, Patti, did: use her mother's, not her father's, name. Unless she is a sleaze ball too, a Trump in the Eric and Don Junior mold, that would be a fine way to make a political point.
It would also pay back over the years. With the Trump administration on its current trajectory, who, in a few years' time, would take a Tiffany Trump seriously? A Tiffany Maples would stand a better chance.
Her half-sister, the peerless Ivanka, the Great Blonde Hope, is, of course, her father's sweetie. Let's not go there, however. Her marriage to Jared Kushner is already enough to process.
What a pair those two make; and what a glorious day it will be when the law finally catches up with Jared, as it did with his Trump-like father, Charles. Perhaps he will take Ivanka down a notch or two with him. Despite an almost complete lack of qualifications, Trump made his son-in-law his minister of almost everything; a pretty good gig for a feckless, airhead rich kid. Among other things, Trump enabled him to become Benjamin Netanyahu's ace in the hole. Netanyahu is a Kushner family friend. Netanyahu has more than his share of legal troubles too. Let them all go down together!
Ivanka and Jared are well matched – they share a "business model." It has them exploiting their daddies' connections and money.
Jared peddles real estate; his efforts have gotten his family into serious debt, while putting him in solid with Russian and Eastern European oligarchs, Gulf state emirs, and Mohammad bin Salman – people in comparison with whom his father-in-law seems almost virtuous.
Ivanka sells trinkets and schmatas to people who think the Trump name is cool. There actually are such people; at two hundred grand a pop, Mar-a-Lago is full of them. Ivanka's demographic is made up mostly of their younger set.
Two other presidential women bare mention: Hope Hicks and Nikki Haley. Surely, they both have tales to tell, but it looks, for now, as if their stories would be of little or no prurient interest. Neither of them appear to have been propositioned or groped.
Even though Hicks is said to be like a daughter to the Donald – we know what that could mean! – it is a safe bet that there was nothing of a romantic nature going on between them. For one thing, Hicks seems too close to Ivanka; for another, she is known to have dallied with two Trump subordinates, Corey Lewandowski and Rob Porter. The don is hardly the type to let his underlings have at his women.
Haley had to quash a spate of rumors that flared up thanks to some suggestive remarks Michael Wolff made while hawking Fire and Fury . The rumor caught on because people who hadn't yet fully realized what a piece of work Trump is, imagined that something had to be awry inasmuch as her main qualification for representing the United States at the United Nations was an undergraduate degree in accounting. Abject servility to the Israel lobby also helped.
But the Trump administration is full of ambitious miscreants whose views on Israel and Palestine are as abject and servile as hers, and compared to many others in Trump's cabinet she is, if anything, over qualified. Think of neurosurgeon Ben Carson heading the Department of Housing and Urban Development. He is qualified because, as a child, he lived in public housing.
With the exception of Stormy Daniels, Karen McDougal, Summer Zervos and whoever else comes forward with a juicy and credible tale to tell, the women currently in the president's ambit, though good for gossip and interesting in the ways that characters on reality TV shows can be, are of little or no political consequence.
This could change if any of them decides to "go rogue," to use an expression from the Sarah Palin days. But, while neither Melania nor Tiffany can yet be judged hopeless, it would be foolish to expect much of anything good to come from either of them.
Stormy, Karen, Summer, and whoever else steps forward are a better bet. They are the only ones with any chance of doing as much for their country and the world as Monica Lewinsky did a generation ago.
Among the president's women, they are a breed apart. This is plainly the case with Stormy Daniels; it is already clear that she deserves what all Trump's money can never buy – honor and esteem. To the extent that the others turn out to be similarly courageous, they will too.
Mar 30, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org
"She Doesn't Have Any Policy Positions"
On the Friday after the Chicago Cubs won the World Series and prior to the Tuesday on which the vicious racist and sexist Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, Bernie Sanders spoke to a surprisingly small crowd in Iowa City on behalf of Hillary Clinton. As I learned months later, Sanders told one of his Iowa City friends that day that Mrs. Clinton was in trouble. The reason, Sanders reported, was that Hillary wasn't discussing issues or advancing real solutions. "She doesn't have any policy positions," Sanders said.
The first time I heard this, I found it hard to believe. How, I wondered, could anyone run seriously for the presidency without putting issues and policy front and center? Wouldn't any serious campaign want a strong set of issue and policy positions to attract voters and fall back on in case and times of adversity?
Sanders wasn't lying. As the esteemed political scientist and money-politics expert Thomas Ferguson and his colleagues Paul Jorgensen and Jie Chen note in an important study released by the Institute for New Economic Thinking two months ago, the Clinton campaign "emphasized candidate and personal issues and avoided policy discussions to a degree without precedent in any previous election for which measurements exist .it stressed candidate qualifications [and] deliberately deemphasized issues in favor of concentrating on what the campaign regarded as [Donald] Trump's obvious personal weaknesses as a candidate."
Strange as it might have seemed, the reality television star and presidential pre-apprentice Donald Trump had a lot more to say about policy than the former First Lady, U.S. Senator, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a wonkish Yale Law graduate.
"Courting the Undecideds in Business, not in the Electorate"
What was that about? My first suspicion was that Hillary's policy silence was about the money. It must have reflected her success in building a Wall Street-filled campaign funding war-chest so daunting that she saw little reason to raise capitalist election investor concerns by giving voice to the standard fake-progressive "hope" and "change" campaign and policy rhetoric Democratic presidential contenders typically deploy against their One Percent Republican opponents. Running against what she (wrongly) perceived (along with most election prognosticators) as a doomed and feckless opponent and as the clear preferred candidate of Wall Street and the intimately related U.S foreign policy elite , including many leading Neoconservatives put off by Trump's isolationist and anti-interventionist rhetoric, the "lying neoliberal warmonger" Hillary Clinton arrogantly figured that she could garner enough votes to win without having to ruffle any ruling-class feathers. She would cruise into the White House with no hurt plutocrat feelings simply by playing up the ill-prepared awfulness of her Republican opponent.
If Ferguson, Jorgensen, and Chen (hereafter "JFC") are right, I was on to something but not the whole money and politics story. Smart Wall Street and K Street Democratic Party bankrollers have long understood that Democratic candidates have to cloak their dollar-drenched corporatism in the deceptive campaign discourse of progressive- and even populist-sounding policy promise to win elections. Sophisticated funders get it that the Democratic candidates' need to manipulate the electorate with phony pledges of democratic transformation. The big money backers know it's "just politics" on the part of candidates who can be trusted to serve elite interests (like Bill Clinton 1993-2001 and Barack Obama 2009-2017 ) after they gain office.
What stopped Hillary from playing the usual game – the "manipulation of populism by elitism" that Christopher Hitchens once called "the essence of American politics" – in 2016, a year when the electorate was in a particularly angry and populist mood? FJC's study is titled " Industrial Structure and Party Competition in an Age of Hunger Games : Donald Trump and the 2016 Presidential Election." It performs heroic empirical work with difficult campaign finance data to show that Hillary's campaign funding success went beyond her party's usual corporate and financial backers to include normally Republican-affiliated capitalist sectors less disposed than their more liberal counterparts to abide the standard progressive-sounding policy rhetoric of Democratic Party candidates. FJC hypothesize that (along with the determination that Trump was too weak to be taken all that seriously) Hillary's desire get and keep on board normally Republican election investors led her to keep quiet on issues and policy concerns that mattered to everyday people. As FJC note:
"Trump trailed well behind Clinton in contributions from defense and aerospace – a lack of support extraordinary for a Republican presidential hopeful late in the race. For Clinton's campaign the temptation was irresistible: Over time it slipped into a variant of the strategy [Democrat] Lyndon Johnson pursued in 1964 in the face of another [Republican] candidate [Barry Goldwater] who seemed too far out of the mainstream to win: Go for a grand coalition with most of big business . one fateful consequence of trying to appeal to so many conservative business interests was strategic silence about most important matters of public policy. Given the candidate's steady lead in the polls, there seemed to be no point to rocking the boat with any more policy pronouncements than necessary . Misgivings of major contributors who worried that the Clinton campaign message lacked real attractions for ordinary Americans were rebuffed. The campaign sought to capitalize on the angst within business by vigorously courting the doubtful and undecideds there, not in the electorate " (emphasis added). Hillary Happened
FJC may well be right that a wish not to antagonize off right-wing campaign funders is what led Hillary to muzzle herself on important policy matters, but who really knows? An alternative theory I would not rule out is that Mrs. Clinton's own deep inner conservatism was sufficient to spark her to gladly dispense with the usual progressive-sounding campaign boilerplate. Since FJC bring up the Johnson-Goldwater election, it is perhaps worth mentioning that 18-year old Hillary was a "Goldwater Girl" who worked for the arch-reactionary Republican presidential candidate in 1964. Asked about that episode on National Public Radio (NPR) in 1996 , then First Lady Hillary said "That's right. And I feel like my political beliefs are rooted in the conservatism that I was raised with. I don't recognize this new brand of Republicanism that is afoot now, which I consider to be very reactionary, not conservative in many respects. I am very proud that I was a Goldwater girl."
It was a revealing reflection. The right-wing Democrat Hillary acknowledged that her ideological world view was still rooted in the conservatism of her family of origin. Her problem with the reactionary Republicanism afoot in the U.S. during the middle 1990s was that it was "not conservative in many respects." Her problem with the far-right Republican Congressional leaders Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay was that they were betraying true conservatism – "the conservatism [Hillary] was raised with." This was worse even than the language of the Democratic Leadership Conference (DLC) – the right-wing Eisenhower Republican (at leftmost) tendency that worked to push the Democratic Party further to the Big Business-friendly right and away from its working-class and progressive base.
Of course, Bill and Hillary helped trail-blaze that plutocratic "New Democrat" turn in Arkansas during the late 1970s and 1980s. The rest, as they say, was history – an ugly corporate-neoliberal, imperial, and racist history that I and others have written about at great length. (I cannot reprise here the voluminous details of Mrs. Clinton's longstanding alignment with the corporate, financial, and imperial agendas of the rich and powerful. Two short and highly readable volumes are Doug Henwood, My Turn: Hillary Clinton Targets the Presidency [OR Books, 2015]; Diana Johnstone, Queen of Chaos: The Misadventures of Hillary Clinton [CounterPunch Books, 2015]. On the stealth, virulent racism of the Clintons in power, see Elaine Brown's classic volume The Condemnation of Little B: New Age Racism in America .)
What happened? Horrid corporate Hillary happened. And she's still happening. The "lying neoliberal warmonger" recently went to India to double down on her "progressive neoliberal" contempt for the "basket of deplorables" (more on that phrase below) that considers poor stupid and backwards middle America to be by saying this : "If you look at the map of the United States, there's all that red in the middle where Trump won. I win the coasts. But what the map doesn't show you is that I won the places that represent two-thirds of America's gross domestic product (GDP). So I won the places that are optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward" (emphasis added).
That was Hillary Goldman Sachs-Council on Foreign Relations-Clinton saying "go to Hell" to working- and middle-class people in Iowa, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Missouri, Indiana, and West Virginia. It was a raised middle and oligarchic finger from a super-wealthy arch-global-corporatist to all the supposedly pessimistic, slow-witted, and retrograde losers stuck between those glorious enclaves (led by Wall Street, Yale, and Harvard on the East coast and Silicon Valley and Hollywood on the West coast) of human progress and variety (and GDP!) on the imperial shorelines. Senate Minority Leader Dick Durbin had to go on television to say that Hillary was "wrong" to write off most of the nation as a festering cesspool of pathetic, ass-backwards, lottery-playing, and opioid-addicted white-trash has-beens. It's hard for the Inauthentic Opposition Party (as the late Sheldon Wolin reasonably called the Democrats ) to pose as an authentic opposition party when its' last big-money presidential candidate goes off-fake-progressive script with an openly elitist rant like that.
Whatever the source of her strange policy silence in the 2016 campaign, that hush was "a miscalculation of historic proportion" (FJC). It was a critical mistake given what Ferguson and his colleagues call the "Hunger Games" misery and insecurity imposed on tens of millions of ordinary working- and middle-class middle-Americans by decades of neoliberal capitalist austerity , deeply exacerbated by the Wall Street-instigated Great Recession and the weak Obama recovery. The electorate was in a populist, anti-establishment mood – hardly a state of mind favorable to a wooden, richly globalist, Goldman-gilded candidate, a long-time Washington-Wall Street establishment ("swamp") creature like Hillary Clinton.
In the end, FJC note, the billionaire Trump's ironic, fake-populist "outreach to blue collar workers" would help him win "more than half of all voters with a high school education or less (including 61% of white women with no college), almost two thirds of those who believed life for the next generation of Americans would be worse than now, and seventy-seven percent of voters who reported their personal financial situation had worsened since four years ago."
Trump's popularity with "heartland" rural and working-class whites even provoked Hillary into a major campaign mistake: getting caught on video telling elite Manhattan election investors that half of Trump's supporters were a "basket of deplorables." There was a hauntingly strong parallel between Wall Street Hillary's "deplorables" blooper and the super-rich Republican candidate Mitt Romney's infamous 2012 gaffe : telling his own affluent backers saying that 47% of the population were a bunch of lazy welfare cheats. This time, though, it was the Democrat – with a campaign finance profile closer to Romney's than Obama's in 2012 – and not the Republican making the ugly plutocratic and establishment faux pas .
"A Frontal Assault on the American Establishment"
Still, Trump's success was no less tied to big money than was Hillary's failure. Candidate Trump ran strangely outside the longstanding neoliberal Washington Consensus, as an economic nationalist and isolationist. His raucous rallies were laced with dripping denunciations of Wall Street, Goldman Sachs, and globalization, mockery of George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq, rejection of the New Cold War with Russia, and pledges of allegiance to the "forgotten" American "working-class." He was no normal Republican One Percent candidate. As FJC explain:
"In 2016 the Republicans nominated yet another super-rich candidate – indeed, someone on the Forbes 400 list of wealthiest Americans. Like legions of conservative Republicans before him, he trash-talked Hispanics, immigrants, and women virtually non-stop, though with a verve uniquely his own. He laced his campaign with barely coded racial appeals and in the final days, ran an ad widely denounced as subtly anti-Semitic. But in striking contrast to every other Republican presidential nominee since 1936, he attacked globalization, free trade, international financiers, Wall Street, and even Goldman Sachs. ' Globalization has made the financial elite who donate to politicians very wealthy. But it has left millions of our workers with nothing but poverty and heartache . When subsidized foreign steel is dumped into our markets, threatening our factories, the politicians do nothing. For years, they watched on the sidelines as our jobs vanished and our communities were plunged into depression-level unemployment.'"
"In a frontal assault on the American establishment, the Republican standard bearer proclaimed 'America First.' Mocking the Bush administration's appeal to 'weapons of mass destruction' as a pretext for invading Iraq, he broke dramatically with two generations of GOP orthodoxy and spoke out in favor of more cooperation with Russia . He even criticized the 'carried interest' tax break beloved by high finance" (emphasis added).
Big Dark Money and Trump: His Own and Others'
This cost Trump much of the corporate and Wall Street financial support that Republican presidential candidates usually get. The thing was, however, that much of Trump's "populist" rhetoric was popular with a big part of the Republican electorate, thanks to the "Hunger Games" insecurity of the transparently bipartisan New Gilded Age. And Trump's personal fortune permitted him to tap that popular anger while leaping insultingly over the heads of his less wealthy if corporate and Wall Street-backed competitors ("low energy" Jeb Bush and "little Marco" Rubio most notably) in the crowded Republican primary race.
A Republican candidate dependent on the usual elite bankrollers would never have been able to get away with Trump's crowd-pleasing (and CNN and FOX News rating-boosting) antics. Thanks to his own wealth, the faux-populist anti-establishment Trump was ironically inoculated against pre-emption in the Republican primaries by the American campaign finance "wealth primary," which renders electorally unviable candidates who lack vast financial resources or access to them.
Things were different after Trump won the Republican nomination, however. He could no longer go it alone after the primaries. During the Republican National Convention and "then again in the late summer of 2016," FJC show, Trump's "solo campaign had to be rescued by major industries plainly hoping for tariff relief, waves of other billionaires from the far, far right of the already far right Republican Party, and the most disruption-exalting corners of Wall Street." By FJC's account:
"What happened in the final weeks of the campaign was extraordinary. Firstly, a giant wave of dark money poured into Trump's own campaign – one that towered over anything in 2016 or even Mitt Romney's munificently financed 2012 effort – to say nothing of any Russian Facebook experiments [Then] another gigantic wave of money flowed in from alarmed business interests, including the Kochs and their allies Officially the money was for Senate races, but late-stage campaigning for down-ballot offices often spills over on to candidates for the party at large."
"The run up to the Convention brought in substantial new money, including, for the first time, significant contributions from big business. Mining, especially coal mining; Big Pharma (which was certainly worried by tough talk from the Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, about regulating drug prices); tobacco, chemical companies, and oil (including substantial sums from executives at Chevron, Exxon, and many medium sized firms); and telecommunications (notably AT&T, which had a major merge merger pending) all weighed in. Money from executives at the big banks also began streaming in, including Bank of America, J. P. Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo. Parts of Silicon Valley also started coming in from the cold."
"In a harbinger of things to come, additional money came from firms and industries that appear to have been attracted by Trump's talk of tariffs, including steel and companies making machinery of various types [a] vast wave of new money flowed into the campaign from some of America's biggest businesses and most famous investors. Sheldon Adelson and many others in the casino industry delivered in grand style for its old colleague. Adelson now delivered more than $11 million in his own name, while his wife and other employees of his Las Vegas Sands casino gave another $20 million.
Peter Theil contributed more than a million dollars, while large sums also rolled in from other parts of Silicon Valley, including almost two million dollars from executives at Microsoft and just over two million from executives at Cisco Systems. A wave of new money swept in from large private equity firms, the part of Wall Street which had long championed hostile takeovers as a way of disciplining what they mocked as bloated and inefficient 'big business.' Virtual pariahs to main-line firms in the Business Roundtable and the rest of Wall Street, some of these figures had actually gotten their start working with Drexel Burnham Lambert and that firm's dominant partner, Michael Milkin.
Among those were Nelson Peltz and Carl Icahn (who had both contributed to Trump before, but now made much bigger new contributions). In the end, along with oil, chemicals, mining and a handful of other industries, large private equity firms would become one of the few segments of American business – and the only part of Wall Street – where support for Trump was truly heavy the sudden influx of money from private equity and hedge funds clearly began with the Convention but turned into a torrent "
The critical late wave came after Trump moved to rescue his flagging campaign by handing its direction over to the clever, class-attuned, far-right white- and economic- nationalist "populist" and Breitbart executive Steve Bannon, who advocated what proved to be a winning, Koch brothers-approved "populist" strategy: appeal to economically and culturally frustrated working- and middle-class whites in key battleground states, where the bloodless neoliberal and professional class centrism and snooty metropolitan multiculturalism of the Obama presidency and Clinton campaign was certain to depress the Democratic "base" vote . Along with the racist voter suppression carried out by Republican state governments (JFC rightly chide Russia-obsessed political reporters and commentators for absurdly ignoring this important factor) and (JFC intriguingly suggest) major anti-union offensives conducted by employers in some battleground states, this major late-season influx of big right-wing political money tilted the election Trump's way.
The Myth of Potent Russian Cyber-Subversion
As FJC show, there is little empirical evidence to support the Clinton and corporate Democrats' self-interested and diversionary efforts to explain Mrs. Clinton's epic fail and Trump's jaw-dropping upset victory as the result of (i) Russian interference, (ii), then FBI Director James Comey's October Surprise revelation that his agency was not done investigating Hillary's emails, and/or (iii) some imagined big wave of white working-class racism, nativism, and sexism brought to the surface by the noxious Orange Hulk. The impacts of both (i) and (ii) were infinitesimal in comparison to the role that big campaign money played both in silencing Hillary and funding Trump.
The blame-the-deplorable-racist-white-working-class narrative is belied by basic underlying continuities in white working class voting patterns. As FJC note: " Neither turnout nor the partisan division of the vote at any level looks all that different from other recent elections 2016's alterations in voting behavior are so minute that the pattern is only barely differentiated from 2012." It was about the money – the big establishment money that the Clinton campaign took (as FJC at least plausibly argue) to recommend policy silence and the different, right-wing big money that approved Trump's comparative right-populist policy boisterousness.
An interesting part of FJC's study (no quick or easy read) takes a close look at the pro-Trump and anti-Hillary Internet activism that the Democrats and their many corporate media allies are so insistently eager to blame on Russia and for Hillary's defeat. FJC find that Russian Internet interventions were of tiny significance compared to those of homegrown U.S. corporate and right-wing cyber forces:
"The real masters of these black arts are American or Anglo-American firms. These compete directly with Silicon Valley and leading advertising firms for programmers and personnel. They rely almost entirely on data purchased from Google, Facebook, or other suppliers, not Russia . American regulators do next to nothing to protect the privacy of voters and citizens, and, as we have shown in several studies, leading telecom firms are major political actors and giant political contributors. As a result, data on the habits and preferences of individual internet users are commercially available in astounding detail and quantities for relatively modest prices – even details of individual credit card purchases. The American giants for sure harbor abundant data on the constellation of bots, I.P. addresses, and messages that streamed to the electorate "
" stories hyping 'the sophistication of an influence campaign slickly crafted to mimic and infiltrate U.S. political discourse while also seeking to heighten tensions between groups already wary of one another by the Russians miss the mark.' By 2016, the Republican right had developed internet outreach and political advertising into a fine art and on a massive scale quite on its own. Large numbers of conservative websites, including many that that tolerated or actively encouraged white supremacy and contempt for immigrants, African-Americans, Hispanics, Jews, or the aspirations of women had been hard at work for years stoking up 'tensions between groups already wary of one another.' Breitbart and other organizations were in fact going global, opening offices abroad and establishing contacts with like-minded groups elsewhere. Whatever the Russians were up to, they could hardly hope to add much value to the vast Made in America bombardment already underway. Nobody sows chaos like Breitbart or the Drudge Report ."
" the evidence revealed thus far does not support strong claims about the likely success of Russian efforts, though of course the public outrage at outside meddling is easy to understand. The speculative character of many accounts even in the mainstream media is obvious. Several, such as widely circulated declaration by the Department of Homeland Security that 21 state election systems had been hacked during the election, have collapsed within days of being put forward when state electoral officials strongly disputed them, though some mainstream press accounts continue to repeat them. Other tales about Macedonian troll factories churning out stories at the instigation of the Kremlin, are clearly exaggerated."
The Sanders Tease: "He Couldn't Have Done a Thing"
Perhaps the most remarkable finding in FJC's study is that Sanders came tantalizingly close to winning the Democratic presidential nomination against the corporately super-funded Clinton campaign with no support from Big Business . Running explicitly against the "Hunger Games" economy and the corporate-financial plutocracy that created it, Sanders pushed Hillary the Goldman candidate to the wall, calling out the Democrats' capture by Wall Street, forcing her to rely on a rigged party, convention, and primary system to defeat him. The small-donor "socialist" Sanders challenge represented something Ferguson and his colleagues describe as "without precedent in American politics not just since the New Deal, but across virtually the whole of American history a major presidential candidate waging a strong, highly competitive campaign whose support from big business is essentially zero ."
Sanders pulled this off, FJC might have added, by running in (imagine) accord with majority-progressive left-of-center U.S. public opinion. But for the Clintons' corrupt advance- control of the Democratic National Committee and convention delegates, Ferguson et al might further have noted, Sanders might well have been the Democratic presidential nominee, curiously enough in the arch-state-capitalist and oligarchic United States
Could Sanders have defeated the billionaire and right-wing billionaire-backed Trump in the general election? There's no way to know, of course. Sanders consistently out-performed Hillary Clinton in one-on-one match -up polls vis a vis Donald Trump during the primary season, but much of the big money (and, perhaps much of the corporate media) that backed Hillary would have gone over to Trump had the supposedly "radical" Sanders been the Democratic nominee.
Even if Sanders has been elected president, moreover, Noam Chomsky is certainly correct in his recent judgement that Sanders would have been able to achieve very little in the White House. As Chomsky told Lynn Parramore two weeks ago, in an interview conducted for the Institute for New Economic Thinking, the same think-tank that published FJC's remarkable study:
"His campaign [was] a break with over a century of American political history. No corporate support, no financial wealth, he was unknown, no media support. The media simply either ignored or denigrated him. And he came pretty close -- he probably could have won the nomination, maybe the election. But suppose he'd been elected? He couldn't have done a thing. Nobody in Congress, no governors, no legislatures, none of the big economic powers, which have an enormous effect on policy. All opposed to him. In order for him to do anything, he would have to have a substantial, functioning party apparatus, which would have to grow from the grass roots. It would have to be locally organized, it would have to operate at local levels, state levels, Congress, the bureaucracy -- you have to build the whole system from the bottom."
As Chomsky might have added, Sanders oligarchy-imposed "failures" would have been great fodder for the disparagement and smearing of "socialism" and progressive, majority-backed policy change. "See? We tried all that and it was a disaster!"
I would note further that the Sanders phenomenon's policy promise was plagued by its standard bearer's persistent loyalty to the giant and absurdly expensive U.S.-imperial Pentagon System, which each year eats up hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars required to implement the progressive, majority-supported policy agenda that Bernie F-35 Sanders ran on.
"A Very Destructive Ideology"
The Sanders challenge was equally afflicted by its candidate-centered electoralism. This diverted energy away from the real and more urgent politics of building people's movements – grassroots power to shake the society to its foundations and change policy from the bottom up (Dr. Martin Luther King's preferred strategy at the end of his life just barely short of 50 years ago, on April 4 th , 1968) – and into the narrow, rigidly time-staggered grooves of a party and spectacle-elections crafted by and for the wealthy Few and the American Oligarchy 's "permanent political class" (historian Ron Formisano). As Chomsky explained on the eve of the 2004 elections:
"Americans may be encouraged to vote, but not to participate more meaningfully in the political arena. Essentially the election is a method of marginalizing the population. A huge propaganda campaign is mounted to get people to focus on these personalized quadrennial extravaganzas and to think, 'That's politics.' But it isn't. It's only a small part of politics The urgency is for popular progressive groups to grow and become strong enough so that centers of power can't ignore them. Forces for change that have come up from the grass roots and shaken the society to its core include the labor movement, the civil rights movement, the peace movement, the women's movement and others, cultivated by steady, dedicated work at all levels, every day, not just once every four years sensible [electoral] choices have to be made. But they are secondary to serious political action."
"The only thing that's going to ever bring about any meaningful change," Chomsky told Abby Martin on teleSur English in the fall of 2015, "is ongoing, dedicated, popular movements that don't pay attention to the election cycle." Under the American religion of voting, Chomsky told Dan Falcone and Saul Isaacson in the spring of 2016, "Citizenship means every four years you put a mark somewhere and you go home and let other guys run the world. It's a very destructive ideology basically, a way of making people passive, submissive objects [we] ought to teach kids that elections take place but that's not politics."
For all his talk of standing atop a great "movement" for "revolution," Sanders was and remains all about this stunted and crippling definition of citizenship and politics as making some marks on ballots and then returning to our domiciles while rich people and their agents (not just any "other guys") "run [ruin?-P.S.] the world [into the ground-P.S.]."
It will take much more in the way of Dr. King's politics of "who' sitting in the streets," not "who's sitting in the White House" (to use Howard Zinn's excellent dichotomy ), to get us an elections and party system worthy of passionate citizen engagement. We don't have such a system in the U.S. today, which is why the number of eligible voters who passively boycotted the 2016 presidential election is larger than both the number who voted for big money Hillary and the number who voted for big money Trump.
(If U.S. progressives really want to consider undertaking the epic lift involved in passing a U.S. Constitutional Amendment, they might want to focus on this instead of calling for a repeal of the Second Amendment. I'd recommend starting with a positive Democracy Amendment that fundamentally overhauls the nation's political and elections set-up in accord with elementary principles and practices of popular sovereignty. Clauses would include but not be limited to full public financing of elections and the introduction of proportional representation for legislative races – not to mention the abolition of the Electoral College, Senate apportionment on the basis of total state population, and the outlawing of gerrymandering.)
Ecocide Trumped by Russia
Meanwhile, back in real history, we have the remarkable continuation of a bizarre right-wing, pre-fascist presidency not in normal ruling-class hands, subject to the weird whims and tweets of a malignant narcissist who doesn't read memorandums or intelligence briefings. Wild policy zig-zags and record-setting White House personnel turnover are par for the course under the dodgy reign of the orange-tinted beast's latest brain spasms. Orange Caligula spends his mornings getting his information from FOX News and his evenings complaining to and seeking advice from a small club of right-wing American oligarchs.
Trump poses grave environmental and nuclear risks to human survival. A consistent Trump belief is that climate change is not a problem and that it's perfectly fine – "great" and "amazing," in fact – for the White House to do everything it can to escalate the Greenhouse Gassing-to-Death of Life on Earth. The nuclear threat is rising now that he has appointed a frothing right-wing uber-warmonger – a longtime advocate of bombing Iran and North Korea who led the charge for the arch-criminal U.S. invasion of Iraq – as his top "National Security" adviser and as he been convinced to expel dozens of Russian diplomats. Thanks, liberal and other Democratic Party RussiaGaters!
The Clinton-Obama neoliberal Democrats have spent more than a year running with the preposterous narrative that Trump is a Kremlin puppet who owes his presence in the White House to Russia's subversion of our democratic elections. The climate crisis holds little for the Trump and Russia-obsessed corporate media. The fact that the world stands at the eve of the ecological self-destruction, with the Trump White House in the lead, elicits barely a whisper in the reigning commercial news media. Unlike Stormy Daniels, for example, that little story – the biggest issue of our or any time – is not good for television ratings and newspaper sales.
Sanders, by the way, is curiously invisible in the dominant commercial media, despite his quiet survey status as the nation's "most popular politician." That is precisely what you would expect in a corporate and financial oligarchy buttressed by a powerful corporate, so-called "mainstream" media oligopoly.
Political Parties as "Bank Accounts"
One of the many problems with the obsessive Blame-Russia narrative that a fair portion of the dominant U.S. media is running with is that we had no great electoral democracy to subvert in 2016 . Saying that Russia has "undermined [U.S.-] American democracy" is like me – middle-aged, five-foot nine, and unblessed with jumping ability – saying that the Brooklyn Nets' Russian-born center Timofy Mozgof subverted my career as a starting player in the National Basketball Association. In state-capitalist societies marked by the toxic and interrelated combination of weak popular organization, expensive politics, and highly concentrated wealth – all highly evident in the New Gilded Age United States – electoral contests and outcomes boil down above all and in the end to big investor class cash. As Thomas Ferguson and his colleagues explain:
"Where investment and organization by average citizens is weak, however, power passes by default to major investor groups, which can far more easily bear the costs of contending for control of the state. In most modern market-dominated societies (those celebrated recently as enjoying the 'end of History'), levels of effective popular organization are generally low, while the costs of political action, in terms of both information and transactional obstacles, are high. The result is that conflicts within the business community normally dominate contests within and between political parties – the exact opposite of what many earlier social theorists expected, who imagined 'business' and 'labor' confronting each other in separate parties Only candidates and positions that can be financed can be presented to voters. As a result, in countries like the US and, increasingly, Western Europe, political parties are first of all bank accounts . With certain qualifications, one must pay to play. Understanding any given election, therefore, requires a financial X-ray of the power blocs that dominate the major parties, with both inter- and intra- industrial analysis of their constituent elements."
Here Ferguson might have said "corporate-dominated" instead of "market-dominated" for the modern managerial corporations emerged as the "visible hand" master of the "free market" more than a century ago.
We get to vote? Big deal.
People get to vote in Rwanda, Russia, the Congo and countless other autocratic states as well. Elections alone are no guarantee of democracy, as U.S. policymakers and pundits know very well when they rip on rigged elections (often fixed with the assistance of U.S. government and private-sector agents and firms) in countries they don't like, which includes any country that dares to "question the basic principle that the United States effectively owns the world by right and is by definition a force for good" ( Chomsky, 2016 ).
Majority opinion is regularly trumped by a deadly complex of forces in the U.S. The list of interrelated and mutually reinforcing culprits behind this oligarchic defeat of popular sentiment in the U.S. is extensive. It includes but is not limited to: the campaign finance, candidate-selection, lobbying, and policy agenda-setting power of wealthy individuals, corporations, and interest groups; the special primary election influence of full-time party activists; the disproportionately affluent, white, and older composition of the active (voting) electorate; the manipulation of voter turnout; the widespread dissemination of false, confusing, distracting, and misleading information; absurdly and explicitly unrepresentative political institutions like the Electoral College, the unelected Supreme Court, the over-representation of the predominantly white rural population in the U.S. Senate; one-party rule in the House of "Representatives"; the fragmentation of authority in government; and corporate ownership of the reigning media, which frames current events in accord with the wishes and world view of the nation's real owners.
Yes, we get to vote. Super. Big deal. Mammon reigns nonetheless in the United States, where, as the leading liberal political scientists Benjamin Page and Martin Gilens find , "government policy reflects the wishes of those with money, not the wishes of the millions of ordinary citizens who turn out every two years to choose among the preapproved, money-vetted candidates for federal office."
Trump is a bit of an anomaly – a sign of an elections and party system in crisis and an empire in decline. He wasn't pre-approved or vetted by the usual U.S. " deep state " corporate, financial, and imperial gatekeepers. The ruling-class had been trying to figure out what the Hell to do with him ever since he shocked even himself (though not Steve Bannon) by pre-empting the coronation of the "Queen of Chaos."
He is a homegrown capitalist oligarch nonetheless, a real estate mogul of vast and parasitic wealth who is no more likely to fulfill his populist-sounding campaign pledges than any previous POTUS of the neoliberal era.
His lethally racist, sexist, nativist, nuclear-weapons-brandishing, and (last but not at all least) eco-cidal rise to the nominal CEO position atop the U.S.-imperial oligarchy is no less a reflection of the dominant role of big U.S. capitalist money and homegrown plutocracy in U.S. politics than a more classically establishment Hillary ascendancy would have been. It's got little to do with Russia, Russia, Russia – the great diversion that fills U.S. political airwaves and newsprint as the world careens ever closer to oligarchy-imposed geocide and to a thermonuclear conflagration that the RussiaGate gambit is recklessly encouraging.
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Paul Street's latest book is They Rule: The 1% v. Democracy (Paradigm, 2014)
Mar 11, 2018 | thebaffler.com
A president can be reelected despite corruption, foreign meddling, and sex scandals Bill Clinton was reelected with help from China. / The Baffler Imagine for a moment that special counsel Robert Mueller is unable to establish direct and intentional collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. Or, suppose he proves collusion by a few former campaign aides but finds nothing directly implicating the president himself. In either event -- or in just about any other imaginable scenario -- it seems improbable that Congress will have the votes to impeach Trump or otherwise hold him accountable prior to 2020.
If Mueller's probe drags on and fails to produce a "smoking gun," the whole affair may end up seeming so complex, muddy, and partisan that most of the public would prefer to move on, eager to talk about something else .
In other words, Russiagate could well continue to distract and infuriate Trump without breaking his hold on power.
Is it shocking to think evidence of Russian chicanery could be shrugged off? Don't be shocked. After all, the last major case of foreign meddling and collusion in a U.S. presidential race didn't exactly end up rocking the republic.
In 1996, Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole decided to take a hard line on China -- portraying the nation as a growing economic and geopolitical threat to the United States and a violator of international rules and norms. In response, China tried to leverage its extensive diplomatic , intelligence , and financial networks in the United States in order to sway the election in favor of Dole's rival, Democrat Bill Clinton.
This is not a theory, it is historical fact: there was a major Congressional investigation . In the end, several prominent Democratic fundraisers, including close Clinton associates, were found to be complicit in the Chinese meddling efforts and pled guilty to various charges of violating campaign finance and disclosure laws (most notably James T. Riady , Johnny Chung , John Huang , and Charlie Trie ). Several others fled the country to escape U.S. jurisdiction as the probe got underway. The Democratic National Committee was forced to return millions of dollars in ill-gotten funds (although by that point, of course, their candidate had already won).
It was a scandal that persisted after the election in no small part because many of Clinton's own policies in his second term seemed to lend credence to insinuations of collusion.
Several prominent Democratic fundraisers, including close Clinton associates, were found to be complicit in Chinese meddling efforts and pled guilty to campaign finance violations.
Rather than attempting to punish the meddling country for undermining the bedrock of our democracy, Bill Clinton worked to ease sanctions and normalize relations with Beijing -- even as the U.S. ratcheted up sanctions against Cuba, Iran, and Iraq. By the end of his term, he signed a series of sweeping trade deals that radically expanded China's economic and geopolitical clout -- even though some in his administration forecast that this would come at the expense of key American industries and U.S. manufacturing workers.
Clinton authorized a series of controversial defense contracts with China as well -- despite Department of Justice objections . Federal investigators were concerned that the contractors seemed to be passing highly sensitive and classified information to the Chinese. And indeed, the companies in question were eventually found to have violated the law by giving cutting-edge missile technology to China, and paid unprecedented fines related to the Arms Export Control Act during the administration of George W. Bush. But they were inexplicably approved in the Bill Clinton years.
For a while, polls showed that the public found the president's posture on China to be so disconcerting that most supported appointing an independent counsel (a la Mueller) to investigate whether the Clinton Administration had essentially been " bought ."
Law enforcement officials shared these concerns: FBI director Louis Freeh (whom Clinton could not get rid of, having just fired his predecessor ) publically called for the appointment of an independent counsel. So did the chief prosecutor charged with investigating Chinese meddling, Charles La Bella . However, they were blocked at every turn by Clinton's Attorney General, Janet Reno -- eventually leading La Bella to resign in protest of the AG's apparent obstruction.
The 1996 Chinese collusion story, much like the 2016 Russian collusion story, dragged on for nearly two years -- hounding Clinton at every turn. That is, until it was discovered that the president had been having an affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
The 1996 Chinese collusion story dragged on for nearly two years -- hounding Clinton at every turn. That is, until the Monica Lewinsky scandal came along.
This was Bill Clinton's second known extra-marital affair with a subordinate : in the lead-up to his 1992 election it was also discovered that Clinton had been involved in a long-running affair with Gennifer Flowers -- an employee of the State of Arkansas during Bill's governorship there, appointed as a result of Clinton's intercession on her behalf.
The drama of the inquiry into Bill Clinton's myriad alleged sexual improprieties, the President's invocation of executive privilege to prevent his aides from having to testify against him, Clinton's perjury , subsequent impeachment by the House, acquittal in the Senate, and eventual plea-bargain deal -- these sucked the oxygen away from virtually all other stories related to the president.
Indeed, few today seem to remember that the Chinese meddling occurred at all. This despite continuing China-related financial improprieties involving both the Clintons and the DNC Chairman who presided over the 1996 debacle, Terry McAuliffe -- and despite the fact that the intended target of the current foreign meddling attempt just so happens to be married to the intended beneficiary of the last.
And the irony in this, of course, is that not only do we find ourselves reliving an apparently ill-fated collusion investigation, but the foreign meddling story is once again competing with a presidential sex scandal -- this time involving actual porn stars. (Gennifer Flowers and Paula Jones both posed for Penthouse after their involvement with Clinton surfaced. Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal are well-established in the industry.)
Much like Bill Clinton, our current president has a long pattern of accusations of infidelity, sexual harassment and even assault. However all of Trump's alleged sexual misconduct incidents occurred before he'd assumed any public office. Therefore, although some Democrats hope to provide Trump's accusers an opportunity to testify before Congress if their party manages to retake the House in 2018, the legal impact of these accounts is likely to be nil. The political significance of such theater is likely being overestimated as well.
The danger for Democrats in all this is that they could get lulled into the notion that Trump's liabilities -- the Mueller probe, the alleged affairs, and whatever new scandals and outrages Trump generates in the next two years -- will be sufficient to energize and mobilize their base in 2020. Democratic insiders and fatcats are likely to think they can put forward the same sort of unpalatable candidate and platform they did last cycle -- only this time, they'll win! A strong showing in 2018 could even reinforce this sense of complacency -- leading to another debacle in the race for the White House in 2020.
Democrats consistently snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by believing they've got some kind of lock. Remember the " Emerging Democratic Majority " thesis? Remember Hillary Clinton's alleged 2016 " Electoral Firewall ?" What have the Democrats learned from 2016? The answer is, very little if they believe the essential problem was just James Comey and the Russians.
Here's one lesson Democrats would do well to internalize:
The party has won by running charismatic people against Republican cornflake candidates (see Clinton v. Bush I or Dole, or Obama v. McCain or Romney). Yet whenever Democrats find themselves squaring off against a faux-populist who plays to voters' base instincts, the party always make the same move: running a wonky technocrat with an impressive resume, detailed policy proposals, and little else.
Does it succeed in drawing a sharp contrast? Pretty much always. Does it succeed at winning the White House? Pretty much never: Mondale, Dukakis, Gore, Kerry, and now Clinton.
Democrats could be headed for trouble if they are counting on the Mueller investigation to bring Trump down.
Democrats rely heavily on irregular voters to win elections; negative partisanship races tend to depress turnout for these constituents. More broadly, if left with a choice between a "lesser of two evils" the public tends to stick with the "devil they know." In short: precisely what Democrats don't need in 2020 is a negative partisanship race.
A referendum on Trump might not play out the way Democrats expect. Against all odds, it looks like the president will even have an actual record to run on . He should not be underestimated.
Clinton-style triangulation is also likely to backfire. Contemporary research suggests there just aren't a lot of " floating voters " up for grabs these days. Rather than winning over disaffected Republicans, this approach would likely just alienate the Democratic base.
The party's best bet is to instead focus on mobilizing the left by articulating a compelling positive message for why Americans should vote for them (rather than just against Trump). They will need to respond to Trump with a populist of their own -- someone who can credibly appeal to people in former Obama districts that Hillary Clinton lost . And they need to activate those who sat the last election out -- for instance by delivering for elements of their base that the party has largely taken for granted in recent cycles.
If the Democratic National Committee wants to spend its time talking about Russia and sex scandals instead of tending to these priorities, then we should all brace for another humiliating "black swan" defeat for the party in 2020.
But, you say, isn't Trump the least popular president ever after one year in office? Guess whose year-one (un)popularity is closest to Trump's? Ronald Reagan. He was under 50 percent in approval ratings at the end of his first year; but he went on to win reelection in an historic landslide. Barack Obama was barely breaking even after year one but won reelection comfortably. Bill Clinton was only slightly above 50 percent after his first year.
You know who else had the lowest approval rating in a quarter-century after Trump's first year in office? The Democratic Party.
Musa al-Gharbi is a Paul F. Lazarsfeld Fellow in Sociology at Columbia University. Readers can connect to his research and social media via his website .
Jan 15, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
An alert reader who is a representative of the class that's suing the DNC Services Corporation for fraud in the 2016 Democratic primary -- WILDING et al. v. DNC SERVICES CORPORATION et al., a.k.a. the "DNC lawsuit" -- threw some interesting mail over the transom; it's from Elizabeth Beck of Beck & Lee, the firm that brought the case on behalf of the (putatively) defrauded class (and hence their lawyer). Beck's letter reads in relevant part:
... ... ...
Jan 05, 2018 | thehill.com
The Justice Department has launched a new inquiry into whether the Clinton Foundation engaged in any pay-to-play politics or other illegal activities while Hillary Clinton served as Secretary of State, law enforcement officials and a witness tells The Hill.
FBI agents from Little Rock, Ark., where the Foundation was started, have taken the lead in the investigation and have interviewed at least one witness in the last month, and law enforcement officials said additional activities are expected in coming weeks.
The officials, who spoke only on condition of anonymity, said the probe is examining whether the Clintons promised or performed any policy favors in return for largesse to their charitable efforts or whether donors made commitments of donations in hopes of securing government outcomes.
The probe may also examine whether any tax-exempt assets were converted for personal or political use and whether the Foundation complied with applicable tax laws, the officials said.
... ... ...
One challenge for any Clinton-era investigation is that the statute of limitations on most federal felonies is five years and Clinton left office in early 2013.
Aug 19, 2012 | Corrente
I got to thinking today about how neocon and neoliberal are becoming interchangeable terms. They did not start out that way. My understanding is they are ways of rationalizing breaks with traditional conservatism and liberalism. Standard conservatism was fairly isolationist. Conservatism's embrace of the Cold War put it at odds with this tendency. This was partially resolved by accepting the Cold War as a military necessity despite its international commitments but limiting civilian programs like foreign aid outside this context and rejecting the concept of nation building altogether.
With the end of the Cold War conservative internationalism needed a new rationale, and this was supplied by the neoconservatives. They advocated the adoption of conservatism's Cold War military centered internationalism as the model for America's post-Cold War international relations. After all, why drop a winning strategy? America had won the Cold War against a much more formidable opponent than any left on the planet. What could go wrong?
America's ability not simply to project but its willingness to use military power was equated with its power more generally. If America did not do this, it was weak and in decline. However, the frequent use of military power showed that America was great and remained the world's hegemon. In particular, the neocons focused on the Middle East. This sales pitch gained them the backing of both supporters of Israel (because neoconservatism was unabashedly pro-Israel) and the oil companies. The military industrial complex was also on board because the neocon agenda effectively countered calls to reduce military spending. But neoconservatism was not just confined to these groups. It appealed to both believers in American exceptionalism and backers of humanitarian interventions (of which I once was one).
As neoconservatism developed, that is with Iraq and Afghanistan, the neocons even came to embrace nation building which had always been anathema to traditional conservatism. Neocons sold this primarily by casting nation building in military terms, the creation and training of police and security forces in the target country.
9/11 too was critical. It vastly increased the scope of the neocon project in spawning the Global War on Terror. It increased the stage of neocon operations to the entire planet. It effectively erased the distinction between the use of military force against countries and individuals. Individuals more than countries became targets for military, not police, action. And unlike traditional wars or the Cold War itself, this one would never be over. Neoconservatism now had a permanent raison d'être.
Politically, neoconservatism has become the bipartisan foreign policy consensus. Democrats are every bit as neocon in their views as Republicans. Only a few libertarians on the right and progressives on the left reject it.
Neoliberalism, for its part, came about to address the concern of liberals, especially Democrats, that they were too anti-business and too pro-union, and that this was hurting them at the polls. It was sold to the rubiat as pragmatism.
The roots of neoliberalism are the roots of kleptocracy. Both begin under Carter. Neoliberalism also known at various times and places as the Washington Consensus (under Clinton) and the Chicago School is the political expression for public consumption of the kleptocratic economic philosophy, just as libertarian and neoclassical economics (both fresh and salt water varieties) are its academic and governmental face. The central tenets of neoliberalism are deregulation, free markets, and free trade. If neoliberalism had a prophet or a patron saint, it was Milton Friedman.
Again just as neoconservatism and kleptocracy or bipartisan so too is neoliberalism. There really is no daylight between Reaganism/supply side economics/trickledown on the Republican side and Clinton's Washington Consensus or Team Obama on the other.
And just as we saw with neoconservatism, neoliberalism expanded from its core premises and effortlessly transitioned into globalization, which can also be understood as global kleptocracy.
The distinctions between neoconservatism and neoliberalism are being increasingly lost, perhaps because most of our political classes are practitioners of both. But initially at least neoconservatism was focused on foreign policy and neoliberalism on domestic economic policy. As the War on Terror expanded, however, neoconservatism came back home with the creation and expansion of the surveillance state.
At the same time, neoliberalism went from domestic to global, and here I am not just thinking about neoliberal experiments, like Pinochet's Chile or post-Soviet Russia, but the financialization of the world economy and the adoption of kleptocracy as the world economic model.jest on Mon, 08/20/2012 - 5:55amlambert on Mon, 08/20/2012 - 9:18am
I'm now under the opinion that you can't talk about any of the "neo-isms" without talking about the corporate state.
That's really the tie that binds the two things you are speaking of.
With neocons, it manifests itself through the military-industrial complex (Boeing, Raytheon, etc.), and with neolibs it manifests itself through finance and industrial policy.
For example, you need the US gov't to bomb Iraq (Raytheon) in order to secure oil (Halliburton), which is priced & financed in US dollars (Goldman Sachs). It's like a 3-legged stool; if you remove one of these legs, the whole thing comes down. But each leg has two components, a statist component and a corporate component.
The entity that enables all of this is the corporate state.
It also explains why economic/financial interests (neolib) are now considered national security interests (neocon). The viability of the state is now tied to the viability of the corporation.jest on Mon, 08/20/2012 - 1:37pm
Corporate/statist (not sure "corporate" captures the looting/rentier aspect though). We see it everywhere, for example in the revolving door.
I think the stool has more legs and is also more dynamic; more like Ikea furniture. For example, the press is surely critical in organizing the war.
But the yin/yang of neo-lib/neo-con is nice: It's as if the neo-cons handle the kinetic aspects (guns, torture) and the neo-libs handle the mental aspects (money, mindfuckery) but both merge (like Negronponte being on the board of Americans Select) over time as margins fall and decorative aspects like democratic institutions and academic freedom get stripped away. The state and the corporation have always been tied to each other but now the ties are open and visible (for example, fines are just a cost of doing business, a rent on open corruption.)
And then there's the concept of "human resource," that abstracts all aspects of humanity away except those that are exploitable.
First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma GandhiLex on Mon, 08/20/2012 - 8:28am
I like the term much better than Fascist, as it is 1) more accurate, 2) avoids the Godwin's law issue, and 3) makes them sound totalitarianist.
Yes, I would agree that additional legs make sense. The media aspect is essential, as it neutralizes the freedom of the press, without changing the constitution. It dovetails pretty well with the notion of Inverted Totalitarianism.
I think you could also make the argument that Obama is perhaps the most ideal combination of neolib & neocon. The two sides of him flow together so seamlessly, no one seems to notice. But that's in part because he is so corporate.Hugh on Mon, 08/20/2012 - 3:57pm
Actually, neoliberalism is an economic term. An economic liberal in the UK and EU is for open markets, capitalism, etc. You're right that neoliberalism comes heavily from the University of Chicago, but it has little to do with American political liberalism.
A reading of the classical liberal economists puts some breaks on the markets, corporations, etc. Neoliberalism goes to the illogical extremes of market theory and iirc, has some influence from the Austrian school ... which gives up on any pretense of scientific exposition of economics or rationality at the micro level, assuming that irrationality will magically become rational behavior in aggregate.
Therefore, US conservatives post Eisenhower but especially post Reagan are almost certainly economic neoliberals. Since Clinton, liberals/Democrats have been too (at least the elected ones). You nailed neoconservative and both parties are in foreign policy since at least Clinton ... though here lets not forget to go back as far as JFK and his extreme anti-Communism that led to all sorts of covert operations, The Bay of Pigs, Vietnam, and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Remember, the Soviets put the missiles in Cuba because we put missiles in Turkey and they backed down from Cuba because we agreed to remove the missiles from Turkey; Nikita was nice enough not to talk about that so that Kennedy didn't lose face.
"Don't believe them, don't fear them, don't ask anything of them" - Aleksandr SolzhenitsynHugh on Mon, 08/20/2012 - 10:44pm
I agree that neoconservatism and neoliberalism are two facets of corporatism/kleptocracy. I like the kinetic vs. white collar distinction.
The roots of neoliberalism go back to the 1940s and the Austrians, but in the US it really only comes into currency with Clinton as a deliberate shift of the Democratic/liberal platform away from labor and ordinary Americans to make it more accommodating to big business and big money. I had never heard of neoliberalism before Bill Clinton but it is easy to see how those tendencies were at work under Carter, but not under Johnson.
This was a rough and ready sketch. I guess I should also have mentioned PNAC or the Project to Find a New Mission for the MIC.Lex on Mon, 08/20/2012 - 11:49pm
I have never understood this love of Clinton that some Democrats have just as I have never understood the attraction of Reagan for Republicans. There is no Clinton faction. There is no Obama faction. Hillary Clinton is Obama's frigging Secretary of State. Robert Rubin and Larry Summers, both of whom served as Bill Clinton's Treasury Secretary, were Obama's top financial and economic advisors. Timothy Geithner was their protégé. Leon Panetta Obama's Director of the CIA and current Secretary of Defense was Clinton's Director of OMB and then Chief of Staff.
The Democrats as a party are neoconservative and neoliberal as are Obama and the Clintons. As are Republicans.
What does corporations need regulation mean? It is rather like saying that the best way to deal with cancer is to find a cure for it. Sounds nice but there is no content to it. Worse in the real world, the rich own the corporations, the politicians, and the regulators. So even if you come up with good ideas for regulation they aren't going to happen.
What you are suggesting looks a whole lot another iteration of lesser evilism meets Einstein's definition of insanity. How is it any different from any other instance of Democratic tribalism?
Perhaps it should be pointed out that the Clintons became fabulously wealthy just after Bill left office, mostly on the strength of his speaking engagements for the financial sector that he'd just deregulated. Both he and Hillary hew to a pretty damned neoconservative foreign policy ... with that dash of "humanitarian interventionism" that makes war palatable to liberals.
But your deeper point is that there isn't enough of a difference between Obama and Bill Clinton to really draw a distinction, not in terms of ideology. What a theoretical Hillary Clinton presidency would have looked like is irrelevant, because both Bill and Obama talked a lot different than they walked. Any projection of a Hillary Clinton administration is just that and requires arguing that it would have been different than Bill's administration and policies.
The unfortunate fact of the matter is that at that level of politics, the levers of money and power work equally well on both party's nomenklatura. They flock to it like moths to porch light.
That the money chose Obama over Clinton doesn't say all that much, because there's no evidence suggesting that the money didn't like Clinton or that it would have chosen McCain over Clinton. It's not as if Clinton's campaign was driven into the ground by lack of funds.
Regardless, that to be a Democrat i would kind of have to chose between two factions that are utterly distasteful to me just proves that i have no business being a Democrat. And since i wouldn't vote for either of those names, i guess i'll just stick to third parties and exit the political tribalism loop for good.
"Don't believe them, don't fear them, don't ask anything of them" - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Oct 24, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
AlaricBalth -> Creepy_Azz_Crackaah , Oct 24, 2017 1:03 PM
"Our justice system is represented by a blind-folded woman holding a set of scales. Those scales do not tip to the right or the left; they do not recognize wealth, power, or social status. The impartiality of our justice system is the bedrock of our republic..."
Spewed coffee after reading this quote.
E.F. Mutton -> Gerry Fletcher , Oct 24, 2017 12:57 PM
The Blind Justice Lady is real, she just has a .45 at the back of her head held by Hillary
And don't even ask where Bill's finger is
Sep 21, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
McClatchy points out, since March 2015 Judicial Watch has been engaged in a back and forth battle with the National Archives which argues that "the documents should be kept secret [to preserve] grand jury secrecy and Clinton's personal privacy."
Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group that files Freedom of Information Act requests, wants copies of the documents that the National Archives and Records Administration has declined to release. It filed a FOIA request for the documents in March 2015 and in October 2015 the group sued for the 238 pages of responsive records.
According to Judicial Watch: " The National Archives argues that the documents should be kept secret, citing grand jury secrecy and Clinton's personal privacy."
But Judicial Watch says that because so much about the Whitewater case has already been made public, "there is no secrecy or privacy left to protect."
The documents in question are alleged drafts of indictments written by Hickman Ewing, the chief deputy of Kenneth Starr, the independent counsel appointed to investigate Bill and Hillary Clinton's alleged involvement in fraudulent real estate dealings dating back to the 70's.
Ewing told investigators he drafted the indictments in April 1995. According to Judicial Watch, the documents pertain to allegations that Hillary Clinton provided false information and withheld information from those investigating the Whitewater scandal.
Meanwhile, for those who haven't been alive long enough to remember some of the original Clinton scandals dating back to the 1970's, the Whitewater scandal revolved around a series of shady real estate deals in the Ozarks, not to mention a couple of illegal, federally-insured loans, back when Bill was Governor of Arkansas.
Of course, like with all Clinton scandals, while several other people ended up in jail as a result of the FBI's Whitewater investigation, Bill and Hillary emerged unscathed. Wikipedia offers more details:
The Whitewater controversy, Whitewater scandal (or simply Whitewater), was an American political episode of the 1990s that began with an investigation into the real estate investments of Bill and Hillary Clinton and their associates, Jim McDougal and Susan McDougal, in the Whitewater Development Corporation, a failed business venture in the 1970s and 1980s.
A March 1992 New York Times article published during the 1992 U.S. presidential campaign reported that the Clintons, then governor and first lady of Arkansas, had invested and lost money in the Whitewater Development Corporation. The article stimulated the interest of L. Jean Lewis, a Resolution Trust Corporation investigator who was looking into the failure of Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan, also owned by Jim and Susan McDougal.
Lewis looked for connections between the savings and loan company and the Clintons, and on September 2, 1992, she submitted a criminal referral to the FBI naming Bill and Hillary Clinton as witnesses in the Madison Guaranty case. Little Rock U.S. Attorney Charles A. Banks and the FBI determined that the referral lacked merit, but Lewis continued to pursue the case. From 1992 to 1994, Lewis issued several additional referrals against the Clintons and repeatedly called the U.S. Attorney's Office in Little Rock and the Justice Department regarding the case. Her referrals eventually became public knowledge, and she testified before the Senate Whitewater Committee in 1995.
David Hale, the source of criminal allegations against the Clintons, claimed in November 1993 that Bill Clinton had pressured him into providing an illegal $300,000 loan to Susan McDougal, the Clintons' partner in the Whitewater land deal. The allegations were regarded as questionable because Hale had not mentioned Clinton in reference to this loan during the original FBI investigation of Madison Guaranty in 1989; only after coming under indictment himself in 1993, did Hale make allegations against the Clintons. A U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigation resulted in convictions against the McDougals for their role in the Whitewater project. Jim Guy Tucker, Bill Clinton's successor as governor, was convicted of fraud and sentenced to four years of probation for his role in the matter. Susan McDougal served 18 months in prison for contempt of court for refusing to answer questions relating to Whitewater.
Neither Bill Clinton nor Hillary were ever prosecuted, after three separate inquiries found insufficient evidence linking them with the criminal conduct of others related to the land deal.
Just more attempts to "criminalize behavior that is normal"...
jamesmmu , Sep 21, 2017 6:36 PMknukles -> jamesmmu , Sep 21, 2017 7:00 PM
Understanding The Battle Between The Deep State – And "One Nation Under God" – The Holy War Within The United States Of America.
http://investmentwatchblog.com/understanding-the-battle-between-the-deep...Four chan -> knukles , Sep 21, 2017 7:27 PM
"National Security" Will Prevail Again. Hillary's health and mental condition are at risk.
Holy war? FFS people, this shit's straight out of the End of Days stories or numerous religious, spiritual and philosophical belief systems. Yes, the war between good and evil is real and evil has the upper hand at the moment. Greatly has the upper hand.
Edit and More Importantly, Andre Ward's announced his retirement from boxing Man was a thing of beauty in the ring....booboo -> Four chan , Sep 21, 2017 8:22 PM
the first work the clintons did for the ciaLumberjack -> Lumberjack , Sep 21, 2017 6:48 PM
Didn't Sandy Berger get caught stealing Clinton related documents from the National Archives?
Wonder what else he make off in his socks?
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A16706-2005Mar31.htmlBlankenstein -> YourAverageJoe , Sep 21, 2017 8:29 PM
Was Hillary Clinton Fired from the Nixon Impeachment Inquiry?
In 1999, nine years before the Calabrese interview, Zeifman told the Scripps-Howard news agency: "If I had the power to fire her, I would have fired her." In a 2008 interview on "The Neal Boortz Show," Zeifman was asked directly whether he fired her. His answer: "Well, let me put it this way. I terminated her, along with some other staff members who were ! we no longer needed, and advised her that I would not ! could not recommend her for any further positions."Blankenstein -> insanelysane , Sep 21, 2017 8:23 PM
They owned the property of what was most likely a drug smuggling operation in Paron, Arkansas.
That property has ties with the Rose law firm in Little Rock , in which Hillary Rodham Clinton was formerly a partner. While some observers believe the property was intended as an additional presidential residence - the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, for example, reported it was rumored to be a "White House West"; and contractors who worked on it whimsically tagged it "Camp Chelsea" - there are strong indications something quite different might be taking place in Paron
Simultaneous with this, residents said there was an increase in low-flying airplanes over the property. Unlike the military aircraft that occasionally fly over the area, these were "small Cessna-like" aircraft, according to Hill. He said the planes typically fly through a pass in the Cockspur Mountains on Southeast's property, several miles from the main road.
"After the planes leave, 20 to 30 minutes will go by, and small trucks and Jeeps leave the property at two different entrances," said Hill. He added that neighbors, during a flurry of aircraft activity, had logged the details, which they then passed on to federal authorities
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/993980/postsRebelrebel7 , Sep 21, 2017 7:22 PM
The ones with Vince Foster's fingerprints on them?
" After nearly two years of searches and subpoenas, the White House said this evening that it had unexpectedly discovered copies of missing documents from Hillary Rodham Clinton's law firm that describe her work for a failing savings and loan association in the 1980's.
"The mysterious appearance of the billing records, which had been the specific subject of various nvestigative subpoenas for two year s, sparked intense interest about how they surfaced and where they had been"
"But Whitewater investigators believe that the billing records show significant representation. They argue that the records prove that Ms. Clinton was not only directly involved in the representation of Madison, but more specifically, in providing legal work on the fraudulent Castle Grande land deal."
"Investigators believe this suggests that, at some point, this copy was passed from Vince Foster to Hillary Clinton for her review.
In addition, investigators had the FBI conduct fingerprint analysis of the billing records. Of significance, the prints of Vince Foster and Hillary Clinton were found."
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/arkansas/docs/recs.htmlChippewa Partners , Sep 21, 2017 7:49 PM
It is extremely unfortunate that criminal behavior is now considered normal! The Clintons are responsible for that.
The Clintons were extremely guilty of Whitewater for profiteering on a failed real estate deal at Arkansas' residents expense, in addition to dozens of other crimes! I often wonder how life could be much better if the Clintons were never elected! The invasive and rampant corruption in virtually every sector of our society, has made this country 100% dysfunctional!
There had been criminal activity at the local level in government in some regions, but Clinton nationalized it, and legitimized it. Nixon was impeached, and resigned, giving people belief that nobody was above the law.
Now, Trump has not committed a single impeachable offense, and all that they ever talk about is impeachment!
I recall reading that Starr had DNC loyalties. My guess is that Republicans were more concerned with a President Gore, than a President Clinton.Anunnaki , Sep 21, 2017 8:17 PM
The Rose Law Firm billings records? They were found sitting on her night stand next to her bed FFS...........
This is a great article on her prowess in cattle trading ......all of you wanna-be traders should try to emulate her ability!!!
The real scandal is how Hellary turned 1000$ into 100k in cattle futures. They said it would be like winning the lottery two days in a row
Sep 21, 2017 | www.mintpressnews.com
Although Hillary Clinton has blamed numerous factors and people for her loss to Donald Trump in last year's election, no one has received as much blame as the Russian government. In an effort to avoid blaming the candidate herself by turning the election results into a national scandal, accusations of Kremlin-directed meddling soon surfaced. While such accusations have largely been discredited by both computer analysts and award-winning journalists like Seymour Hersh, they continue to be repeated as the investigation into Donald Trump's alleged collusion with the Russian government picks up steam.
However, newly released Clinton emails suggest that that the former secretary of state's disdain for the Russian government is a relatively new development. The emails, obtained by conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, show that the Russian government was included in invitations to exclusive Clinton Foundation galas that began less than two months after Clinton became the top official at the U.S. State Department.
In March of 2009, Amitabh Desai, then-Clinton Foundation director of foreign policy, sent invitations to numerous world leaders, which included Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, and former President of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev. Desai's emails were cc'd to Assistant Secretary of State Andrew Shapiro and later forwarded to top Clinton aide Jake Sullivan.
The Clinton Foundation's activities during Hillary's tenure as secretary of state have been central to the accusations that the Clinton family used their "charitable" foundation as a means of enriching themselves via a massive "Pay to Play" scheme. Emails leaked by Wikileaks, particularly the Podesta emails , offered ample evidence connecting foreign donations to the Clintons and their foundation with preferential treatment by the U.S. State Department.
Nov 14, 2016 | crookedtimber.org
William Meyer 11.13.16 at 9:40 pm 4Obviously Mr. Deerin is, on its face, utilizing a very disputable definition of "liberal."
However, I think a stronger case could be made for something like Mr. Deerin's argument, although it doesn't necessarily get to the same conclusion.
My observation is that the New Class (professionals, lobbyists, financiers, teachers, engineers, etc.) have ruled the country in recent decades. For much of the twentieth century this class was in some tension with corporations, and used their skills at influencing government policy to help develop and protect the welfare state, since they needed the working class as a counterweight to the natural influence of corporate money and power. However, somewhere around 1970 I think this tension collapsed, since corporate managers and professionals realized that they shared the same education, background and interests.
Vive la meritocracy. This "peace treaty" between former rivals allowed the whole newly enlarged New Class to swing to the right, since they really didn't particularly need the working class politically anymore. And since it is the hallmark of this class to seek prestige, power and money while transferring risk away from themselves, the middle class and blue collar community has been the natural recipient. Free trade (well, for non-professionals, anyway), neoliberalism, ruthless private equity job cutting, etc., etc. all followed very naturally. The re-alignment of the Democratic Party towards the right was a natural part of this evolution.
I think the 90% or so of the community who are not included in this class are confused and bewildered and of course rather angry about it. They also sense that organized politics in this country – being chiefly the province of the New Class – has left them with little leverage to change any of this. Watching the bailouts and lack of prosecutions during the GFC made them dimly realize that the New Class has very strong internal solidarity – and since somebody has to pay for these little mistakes, everyone outside that class is "fair game."
So in that sense–to the extent that you define liberal as the ideology of the New Class (neoliberal, financial-capitalistic, big corporate-friendly but opposed to non-meritocratic biases like racism, sexism, etc.) is "liberalism", I think it is reasonable to say that it has bred resistance and anger among the "losers." As far as having "failed", well, we'll see: the New Class still controls almost all the levers of power. It has many strategies for channeling lower-class anger and I think under Trump we'll see those rolled out.
Let me be clear, I'm not saying Donald Trump is leading an insurgency against the New Class – but I think he tapped into something like one and is riding it for all he can, while not really having the slightest idea what he's doing.
Perhaps some evolution in "the means of production" or in how governments are influenced will ultimately develop to divide or downgrade the New Class, and break its lock on the corridors of power, but I don't see it on the horizon just yet. If anyone else does, I'd love to hear more about it.
Neville Morley 11.14.16 at 7:11 am ( 31 )
A little puzzled by the inclusion of teachers, alongside financiers and the like, in William Meyer's list of the New Class rulers. Enablers of those rulers, no doubt, but not visibly calling the shots. But then I'm probably just another liberal elitist failing to recognize my own hegemony, like Chris.
Chris S 11.14.16 at 7:31 am
I assume he meant certain professors [of economics]. Actually on @4, there's a good chapter on the topic in a Thomas Franks latest.
Jul 10, 2017 | www.unz.com
Over the past quarter century progressive writers, activists and academics have followed a trajectory from left to right – with each presidential campaign seeming to move them further to the right. Beginning in the 1990's progressives mobilized millions in opposition to wars, voicing demands for the transformation of the US's corporate for-profit medical system into a national 'Medicare For All' public program. They condemned the notorious Wall Street swindlers and denounced police state legislation and violence. But in the end, they always voted for Democratic Party Presidential candidates who pursued the exact opposite agenda.
Over time this political contrast between program and practice led to the transformation of the Progressives. And what we see today are US progressives embracing and promoting the politics of the far right.
To understand this transformation we will begin by identifying who and what the progressives are and describe their historical role. We will then proceed to identify their trajectory over the recent decades.
- We will outline the contours of recent Presidential campaigns where Progressives were deeply involved.
- We will focus on the dynamics of political regression: From resistance to submission, from retreat to surrender.
- We will conclude by discussing the end result: The Progressives' large-scale, long-term embrace of far-right ideology and practice.
Progressives by Name and Posture
Progressives purport to embrace 'progress', the growth of the economy, the enrichment of society and freedom from arbitrary government. Central to the Progressive agenda was the end of elite corruption and good governance, based on democratic procedures.
Progressives prided themselves as appealing to 'reason, diplomacy and conciliation', not brute force and wars. They upheld the sovereignty of other nations and eschewed militarism and armed intervention.
Progressives proposed a vision of their fellow citizens pursuing incremental evolution toward the 'good society', free from the foreign entanglements, which had entrapped the people in unjust wars.
Progressives in Historical Perspective
In the early part of the 20th century, progressives favored political equality while opposing extra-parliamentary social transformations. They supported gender equality and environmental preservation while failing to give prominence to the struggles of workers and African Americans.
They denounced militarism 'in general' but supported a series of 'wars to end all wars' . Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson embodied the dual policies of promoting peace at home and bloody imperial wars overseas. By the middle of the 20th century, different strands emerged under the progressive umbrella. Progressives split between traditional good government advocates and modernists who backed socio-economic reforms, civil liberties and rights.
Progressives supported legislation to regulate monopolies, encouraged collective bargaining and defended the Bill of Rights.
Progressives opposed wars and militarism in theory until their government went to war.
Lacking an effective third political party, progressives came to see themselves as the 'left wing' of the Democratic Party, allies of labor and civil rights movements and defenders of civil liberties.
Progressives joined civil rights leaders in marches, but mostly relied on legal and electoral means to advance African American rights.
Progressives played a pivotal role in fighting McCarthyism, though ultimately it was the Secretary of the Army and the military high command that brought Senator McCarthy to his knees.
Progressives provided legal defense when the social movements disrupted the House UnAmerican Activities Committee.
They popularized the legislative arguments that eventually outlawed segregation, but it was courageous Afro-American leaders heading mass movements that won the struggle for integration and civil rights.
In many ways the Progressives complemented the mass struggles, but their limits were defined by the constraints of their membership in the Democratic Party.
The alliance between Progressives and social movements peaked in the late sixties to mid-1970's when the Progressives followed the lead of dynamic and advancing social movements and community organizers especially in opposition to the wars in Indochina and the military draft.
The Retreat of the Progressives
By the late 1970's the Progressives had cut their anchor to the social movements, as the anti-war, civil rights and labor movements lost their impetus (and direction).
The numbers of progressives within the left wing of the Democratic Party increased through recruitment from earlier social movements. Paradoxically, while their 'numbers' were up, their caliber had declined, as they sought to 'fit in' with the pro-business, pro-war agenda of their President's party.
Without the pressure of the 'populist street' the 'Progressives-turned-Democrats' adapted to the corporate culture in the Party. The Progressives signed off on a fatal compromise: The corporate elite secured the electoral party while the Progressives were allowed to write enlightened manifestos about the candidates and their programs . . . which were quickly dismissed once the Democrats took office. Yet the ability to influence the 'electoral rhetoric' was seen by the Progressives as a sufficient justification for remaining inside the Democratic Party.
Moreover the Progressives argued that by strengthening their presence in the Democratic Party, (their self-proclaimed 'boring from within' strategy), they would capture the party membership, neutralize the pro-corporation, militarist elements that nominated the president and peacefully transform the party into a 'vehicle for progressive changes'.
Upon their successful 'deep penetration' the Progressives, now cut off from the increasingly disorganized mass social movements, coopted and bought out many prominent black, labor and civil liberty activists and leaders, while collaborating with what they dubbed the more malleable 'centrist' Democrats. These mythical creatures were really pro-corporate Democrats who condescended to occasionally converse with the Progressives while working for the Wall Street and Pentagon elite.
The Retreat of the Progressives: The Clinton Decade
Progressives adapted the 'crab strategy': Moving side-ways and then backwards but never forward.
Progressives mounted candidates in the Presidential primaries, which were predictably defeated by the corporate Party apparatus, and then submitted immediately to the outcome. The election of President 'Bill' Clinton launched a period of unrestrained financial plunder, major wars of aggression in Europe (Yugoslavia) and the Middle East (Iraq), a military intervention in Somalia and secured Israel's victory over any remnant of a secular Palestinian leadership as well as its destruction of Lebanon!
Like a huge collective 'Monica Lewinsky' robot, the Progressives in the Democratic Party bent over and swallowed Clinton's vicious 1999 savaging of the venerable Glass Steagall Act, thereby opening the floodgates for massive speculation on Wall Street through the previously regulated banking sector. When President Clinton gutted welfare programs, forcing single mothers to take minimum-wage jobs without provision for safe childcare, millions of poor white and minority women were forced to abandon their children to dangerous makeshift arrangements in order to retain any residual public support and access to minimal health care. Progressives looked the other way.
Progressives followed Clinton's deep throated thrust toward the far right, as he outsourced manufacturing jobs to Mexico (NAFTA) and re-appointed Federal Reserve's free market, Ayn Rand-fanatic, Alan Greenspan.
Progressives repeatedly kneeled before President Clinton marking their submission to the Democrats' 'hard right' policies.
The election of Republican President G. W. Bush (2001-2009) permitted Progressive's to temporarily trot out and burnish their anti-war, anti-Wall Street credentials. Out in the street, they protested Bush's savage invasion of Iraq (but not the destruction of Afghanistan). They protested the media reports of torture in Abu Ghraib under Bush, but not the massive bombing and starvation of millions of Iraqis that had occurred under Clinton. Progressives protested the expulsion of immigrants from Mexico and Central America, but were silent over the brutal uprooting of refugees resulting from US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, or the systematic destruction of their nations' infrastructure.
Progressives embraced Israel's bombing, jailing and torture of Palestinians by voting unanimously in favor of increasing the annual $3 billion dollar military handouts to the brutal Jewish State. They supported Israel's bombing and slaughter in Lebanon.
Progressives were in retreat, but retained a muffled voice and inconsequential vote in favor of peace, justice and civil liberties. They kept a certain distance from the worst of the police state decrees by the Republican Administration.
Progressives and Obama: From Retreat to Surrender
While Progressives maintained their tepid commitment to civil liberties, and their highly 'leveraged' hopes for peace in the Middle East, they jumped uncritically into the highly choreographed Democratic Party campaign for Barack Obama, 'Wall Street's First Black President'.
Progressives had given up their quest to 'realign' the Democratic Party 'from within': they turned from serious tourism to permanent residency. Progressives provided the foot soldiers for the election and re-election of the warmongering 'Peace Candidate' Obama. After the election, Progressives rushed to join the lower echelons of his Administration. Black and white politicos joined hands in their heroic struggle to erase the last vestiges of the Progressives' historical legacy.
Obama increased the number of Bush-era imperial wars to attacking seven weak nations under American's 'First Black' President's bombardment, while the Progressives ensured that the streets were quiet and empty.
When Obama provided trillions of dollars of public money to rescue Wall Street and the bankers, while sacrificing two million poor and middle class mortgage holders, the Progressives only criticized the bankers who received the bailout, but not Obama's Presidential decision to protect and reward the mega-swindlers.
Under the Obama regime social inequalities within the United States grew at an unprecedented rate. The Police State Patriot Act was massively extended to give President Obama the power to order the assassination of US citizens abroad without judicial process. The Progressives did not resign when Obama's 'kill orders' extended to the 'mistaken' murder of his target's children and other family member, as well as unidentified bystanders. The icon carriers still paraded their banner of the 'first black American President' when tens of thousands of black Libyans and immigrant workers were slaughtered in his regime-change war against President Gadhafi.
Obama surpassed the record of all previous Republican office holders in terms of the massive numbers of immigrant workers arrested and expelled – 2 million. Progressives applauded the Latino protestors while supporting the policies of their 'first black President'.
Progressive accepted that multiple wars, Wall Street bailouts and the extended police state were now the price they would pay to remain part of the "Democratic coalition' (sic).
The deeper the Progressives swilled at the Democratic Party trough, the more they embraced the Obama's free market agenda and the more they ignored the increasing impoverishment, exploitation and medical industry-led opioid addiction of American workers that was shortening their lives. Under Obama, the Progressives totally abandoned the historic American working class, accepting their degradation into what Madam Hillary Clinton curtly dismissed as the 'deplorables'.
With the Obama Presidency, the Progressive retreat turned into a rout, surrendering with one flaccid caveat: the Democratic Party 'Socialist' Bernie Sanders, who had voted 90% of the time with the Corporate Party, had revived a bastardized military-welfare state agenda.
Sander's Progressive demagogy shouted and rasped on the campaign trail, beguiling the young electorate. The 'Bernie' eventually 'sheep-dogged' his supporters into the pro-war Democratic Party corral. Sanders revived an illusion of the pre-1990 progressive agenda, promising resistance while demanding voter submission to Wall Street warlord Hillary Clinton. After Sanders' round up of the motley progressive herd, he staked them tightly to the far-right Wall Street war mongering Hillary Clinton. The Progressives not only embraced Madame Secretary Clinton's nuclear option and virulent anti-working class agenda, they embellished it by focusing on Republican billionaire Trump's demagogic, nationalist, working class rhetoric which was designed to agitate 'the deplorables'. They even turned on the working class voters, dismissing them as 'irredeemable' racists and illiterates or 'white trash' when they turned to support Trump in massive numbers in the 'fly-over' states of the central US.
Progressives, allied with the police state, the mass media and the war machine worked to defeat and impeach Trump. Progressives surrendered completely to the Democratic Party and started to advocate its far right agenda. Hysterical McCarthyism against anyone who questioned the Democrats' promotion of war with Russia, mass media lies and manipulation of street protest against Republican elected officials became the centerpieces of the Progressive agenda. The working class and farmers had disappeared from their bastardized 'identity-centered' ideology.
Guilt by association spread throughout Progressive politics. Progressives embraced J. Edgar Hoover's FBI tactics: "Have you ever met or talked to any Russian official or relative of any Russian banker, or any Russian or even read Gogol, now or in the past?" For progressives, 'Russia-gate' defined the real focus of contemporary political struggle in this huge, complex, nuclear-armed superpower.
Progressives joined the FBI/CIA's 'Russian Bear' conspiracy: "Russia intervened and decided the Presidential election" – no matter that millions of workers and rural Americans had voted against Hillary Clinton, Wall Street's candidate and no matter that no evidence of direct interference was ever presented. Progressives could not accept that 'their constituents', the masses, had rejected Madame Clinton and preferred 'the Donald'. They attacked a shifty-eyed caricature of the repeatedly elected Russian President Putin as a subterfuge for attacking the disobedient 'white trash' electorate of 'Deploralandia'.
Progressive demagogues embraced the coifed and manicured former 'Director Comey' of the FBI, and the Mr. Potato-headed Capo of the CIA and their forty thugs in making accusations without finger or footprints.
The Progressives' far right - turn earned them hours and space on the mass media as long as they breathlessly savaged and insulted President Trump and his family members. When they managed to provoke him into a blind rage . . . they added the newly invented charge of 'psychologically unfit to lead' – presenting cheap psychobabble as grounds for impeachment. Finally! American Progressives were on their way to achieving their first and only political transformation: a Presidential coup d'état on behalf of the Far Right!
Progressives loudly condemned Trump's overtures for peace with Russia, denouncing it as appeasement and betrayal!
In return, President Trump began to 'out-militarize' the Progressives by escalating US involvement in the Middle East and South China Sea. They swooned with joy when Trump ordered a missile strike against the Syrian government as Damascus engaged in a life and death struggle against mercenary terrorists. They dubbed the petulant release of Patriot missiles 'Presidential'.
Then Progressives turned increasingly Orwellian: Ignoring Obama's actual expulsion of over 2 million immigrant workers, they condemned Trump for promising to eventually expel 5 million more!
Progressives, under Obama, supported seven brutal illegal wars and pressed for more, but complained when Trump continued the same wars and proposed adding a few new ones. At the same time, progressives out-militarized Trump by accusing him of being 'weak' on Russia, Iran, North Korea and China. They chided him for his lack support for Israel's suppression of the Palestinians. They lauded Trump's embrace of the Saudi war against Yemen as a stepping-stone for an assault against Iran, even as millions of destitute Yemenis were exposed to cholera. The Progressives had finally embraced a biological weapon of mass destruction, when US-supplied missiles destroyed the water systems of Yemen!
Progressives turned full circle from supporting welfare to embracing Wall Street; from preaching peaceful co-existence to demanding a dozen wars; from recognizing the humanity and rights of undocumented immigrants to their expulsion under their 'First Black' President; from thoughtful mass media critics to servile media megaphones; from defenders of civil liberties to boosters for the police state; from staunch opponents of J. Edgar Hoover and his 'dirty tricks' to camp followers for the 'intelligence community' in its deep state campaign to overturn a national election.
Progressives moved from fighting and resisting the Right to submitting and retreating; from retreating to surrendering and finally embracing the far right.
Doing all that and more within the Democratic Party, Progressives retain and deepen their ties with the mass media, the security apparatus and the military machine, while occasionally digging up some Bernie Sanders-type demagogue to arouse an army of voters away from effective resistance to mindless collaboration.
(Republished from The James Petras Website by permission of author or representative)Recently from Author
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WorkingClass > , July 12, 2017 at 9:21 pm GMTexiled off mainstreet > , July 12, 2017 at 11:20 pm GMT
But in the end, they always voted for Democratic Party Presidential candidates who pursued the exact opposite agenda.
Thank you for putting your finger on the main problem right there in the first paragraph. There were exceptions of course. I supported Dennis Kucinich in the Democratic Primary that gave us the first black etc. But I never voted for Obama. Throughout the Cheney Admin I pleaded with progressives to bolt the party.
This piece accurately traces the path from Progressive to Maoist. It's a pity the Republican Party is also a piece of shit. I think it was Sara Palin who said "We have two parties. Pick one." This should be our collective epitaph.alan2102 > , July 13, 2017 at 2:04 am GMT
This is an excellent summary of the evolution of "progressives" into modern militarist fascists who tolerate identity politics diversity. There is little to add to Mr. Petras' commentary.Astuteobservor II > , July 13, 2017 at 5:17 am GMT
EXCELLENT.CCZ > , July 13, 2017 at 5:30 am GMT
at this point, are they still progressives though? they are the new far rightCarlton Meyer > , Website July 13, 2017 at 5:56 am GMT
"Progressives loudly condemned Trump's overtures for peace with Russia, denouncing it as appeasement and betrayal!"
Perhaps the spirit of Senator Joseph McCarthy is joyously gloating as progressives (and democrats) take their place as his heirs and successors and the 21st century incarnation of the House UnAmerican Activities Committee.jilles dykstra > , July 13, 2017 at 6:27 am GMT
The great Jimmy Dore is a big thorn for the Democrats. From my blog:
Apr 29, 2017 – Obama is Scum!
Barak Obama is America's biggest con man who accomplished nothing "progressive" during eight years at the top, and didn't even try. (Obamacare is an insurance industry idea supported by most Republicans, which is why it recently survived.) Anyone who still likes Obama should read about his actions since he left office. Obama quickly signed a $65 million "book deal", which can only be a kickback since there is no way the publisher can sell enough books about his meaningless presidency to justify that sum. Obama doesn't get royalties based on sales, but gets the money up front for a book he has yet to write, and will have someone do that for him. (Book deals and speaking fees are legal forms of bribery in the USA.)
Then Obama embarked on 100 days of ultra expensive foreign vacations with taxpayers covering the Secret Service protection costs. He didn't appear at charity fundraisers, didn't campaign for Democrats, and didn't help build homes for the poor like Jimmy Carter. He returns from vacation this week and his first speech will be at a Wall Street firm that will pay him $400,000, then he travels to Europe for more paid speeches.
Obama gets over $200,000 a year in retirement, just got a $65 million deal, so doesn't need more money. Why would a multi-millionaire ex-president fly around the globe collecting huge speaking fees from world corporations just after his political party was devastated in elections because Americans think the Democratic party represents Wall Street? The great Jimmy Dore expressed his outrage at Obama and the corrupt Democratic party in this great video.Call me Deplorable > , July 13, 2017 at 12:06 pm GMT
Left in the good old days meant socialist, socialist meant that governments had the duty of redistributing income from rich to poor. Alas in Europe, after 'socialists' became pro EU and pro globalisation, they in fact became neoliberal. Both in France and the Netherlands 'socialist' parties virtually disappeared.
So what nowadays is left, does anyone know ?
Then the word 'progressive'. The word suggests improvement, but what is improvement, improvement for whom ? There are those who see the possibility for euthanasia as an improvement, there are thos who see euthanasia as a great sin.
Discussions about left and progressive are meaningless without properly defining the concepts.Seamus Padraig > , July 13, 2017 at 12:10 pm GMT
They chose power over principles. Nobel War Prize winner Obomber was a particularly egregious chameleon, hiding his sociopathy through two elections before unleashing his racist warmongering in full flower throughout his second term. But, hey, the brother now has five mansions, collects half a mill per speech to the Chosen People on Wall Street, and parties for months at a time at exclusive resorts for billionaires only.
Obviously, he's got the world by the tail and you don't. Hope he comes to the same end as Gaddaffi and Ceaușescu. Maybe the survivors of nuclear Armageddon can hold a double necktie party with Killary as the second honored guest that day.Seamus Padraig > , July 13, 2017 at 12:16 pm GMT
Discussions about left and progressive are meaningless without properly defining the concepts.
Properly defining the concepts would impede the system's ability to keep you confused.Stephen Paul Foster > , Website July 13, 2017 at 1:28 pm GMT
Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson embodied the dual policies of promoting peace at home and bloody imperial wars overseas.
You left out the other Roosevelt.
Like a huge collective 'Monica Lewinsky' robot, the Progressives in the Democratic Party bent over and swallowed Clinton's vicious 1999 savaging of the venerable Glass Steagall Act
Ignoring Obama's actual expulsion of over 2 million immigrant workers, they condemned Trump for promising to eventually expel 5 million more!
This is a huge myth. All that really happened is that the INS changed some of its internal terminology to make it sound as though they were deporting more people: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2014/04/21/lies-damned-lies-and-obamas-deportation-statistics/?utm_term=.7f964acd9b0dannamaria > , July 13, 2017 at 2:22 pm GMT
The Progressives now, failing electorally, are moving on to physical violence.
See: http://fosterspeak.blogspot.com/2017/07/trumps-would-be-assassins.htmlAnonymous IV > , July 13, 2017 at 2:49 pm GMT
@Carlton Meyer Obama, a paragon of American scoundrelAgent76 > , July 13, 2017 at 3:28 pm GMT
@Seamus Padraig Agree on the bit about Obama as "deporter in chief." Even the LA Times had to admit this was misleading
so it's not just conservative conspiracy theory stuff as some might argue.
Still, the overall point of this essay isn't affected all that much. Open borders is still a "right wing" (in the sense this author uses the term) policy–pro-Wall Street, pro-Big Business. So Obama was still doing the bidding of the donor class in their quest for cheap labor.
I've seen pro-immigration types try to use the Obama-deportation thing to argue that we don't need more hardcore policies. After all, even the progressive Democrat Obama was on the ball when it came to policing our borders, right?! Who needed Trump?Alfa158 > , July 13, 2017 at 5:33 pm GMT
"Who controls the issuance of money controls the government!" Nathan Meyer Rothschild
June 13, 2016 Which Corporations Control The World?
A surprisingly small number of corporations control massive global market shares. How many of the brands below do you use?
"Control the oil, and you control nations. Control the food, and you control the people." Henry Kissengeryeah > , July 13, 2017 at 5:46 pm GMT
@Carlton Meyer If Jimmy keeps up these attacks on Wall Street, the Banksters, and rent-seekers he is going to get run out of the Progressive movement for dog-whistling virulent Anti-Semitism. Look at how the media screams at Trump every time he mentions Wall Street and the banks.TheJester > , July 13, 2017 at 6:18 pm GMT
Mr. Petra has penned an excellent and very astute piece. Allow me a little satire on our progressive friends, entitled "The path to hell is paved with good intentions".
The early socialist/progressive travellers were well-intentioned but naïve in their understanding of human nature and fanatical about their agenda. To move the human herd forward, they had no compulsions about resorting to harsher and harsher prodding and whipping. They felt entitled to employ these means because, so they were convinced, man has to be pushed to move forward and they, the "progressives", were the best qualified to lead the herd. Scoundrels, psychopaths, moral defectives, and sundry other rascals then joined in the whipping game, some out of the sheer joy of wielding the whip, others to better line their pockets.
So the "progressive" journey degenerates into a forced march. The march becomes the progress, becoming both the means and the end at the same time. Look at the so-called "progressive" today and you will see the fanatic and the whip-wielder, steadfast about the correctness of his beliefs. Tell him/her/it that you are a man or a woman and he retorts "No, you are free to choose, you are genderless". What if you decline such freedom? "Well, then you are a bigot, we will thrash you out of your bigotry", replies the progressive. "May I, dear Sir/Madam/Whatever, keep my hard-earned money in my pocket for my and my family's use" you ask. "No, you first have to pay for our peace-making wars, then pay for the upkeep of refugees, besides which you owe a lot of back taxes that are necessary to run this wonderful Big Government of ours that is leading you towards greener and greener pastures", shouts back the progressive.
Fed up, disgusted, and a little scared, you desperately seek a way out of this progress. "No way", scream the march leaders. "We will be forever in your ears, sometimes whispering, sometimes screaming; we will take over your brain to improve your mind; we will saturate you with images on the box 24/7 and employ all sorts of imagery to make you progress. And if it all fails, we will simply pack you and others like you in a basket of deplorables and forget about you at election time."RobinG > , July 13, 2017 at 6:19 pm GMT
Knowing who is "progressive" and know who is "far-right" is like knowing who is "fascist" and who is not. For obvious historical reasons, the Russian like to throw the "fascist" slogan against anyone who is a non-Russian nationalist. However, I accept the eminent historian Carroll Quigley's definition of fascism as the incorporation of society and the state onto single entity on a permanent war footing. The state controls everything in a radically authoritarian social structure. As Quigley states, the Soviet Union was the most complete embodiment of fascism in WWII. In WWII Germany, on the other hand, industry retained its independence and in WWII Italy fascism was no more than an empty slogan.
Same for "progressives". Everyone wants to be "progressive", right? Who wants to be "anti-progressive"? However, at the end of the day, "progressive" through verbal slights of hand has been nothing more than a euphemism for "socialist" or, in the extreme, "communist" the verbal slight-of-hand because we don't tend to use the latter terms in American political discourse.
"Progressives" morphing into a new "far-right" in America is no more mysterious than the Soviet Union morphing from Leninism to Stalinism or, the Jewish (Trotskyite) globalists fleeing Stalinist nationalism and then morphing into, first, "Scoop" Jackson Democrats and then into Bushite Republicans.
As you might notice, the real issue is the authoritarian vs. the non-authoritarian state. In this context, an authoritarian government and social order (as in communism and neoconservatism) are practical pre-requisites necessity to force humanity to transition to their New World Order.
Again, the defining characteristic of fascism is the unitary state enforced via an authoritarian political and social structure. Ideological rigor is enforced via the police powers of the state along with judicial activism and political correctness. Ring a bell?
In the ongoing contest between Trump and the remnants of the American "progressive" movement, who are the populists and who the authoritarians? Who are the democrats and who are the fascists?
I would say that who lands where in this dichotomy is obvious.Ben Banned > , July 13, 2017 at 9:13 pm GMT
@Alfa158 Is Jimmy Dore really a "Progressive?" (and what does that mean, anyway?) Isn't Jimmy's show hosted by the Young Turks Network, which is unabashedly Libertarian?
Anyway, what's so great about "the Progressive movement?" Seems to me, they're just pathetic sheepdogs for the war-crazed Dems. Jimmy should be supporting the #UNRIG movement ("Beyond Trump & Sanders") for ALL Americans:
On 1 May 2017 Cynthia McKinney, Ellen Brown, and Robert Steele launched
We the People – Unity for Integrity.
The User's Guide to the 2nd American Revolution.
Death to the Deep State.
https://www.unrig.net/manifesto/peterAUS > , July 13, 2017 at 10:05 pm GMT
Petras, for some reason, low balls the number of people ejected from assets when the mafia came to seize real estate in the name of the ruling class and their expensive wars, morality, the Constitution or whatever shit they could make up to fuck huge numbers of people over. Undoubtedly just like 9/11, the whole thing was planned in advance. Political whores are clearly useless when the system is at such extremes.
Banks like Capital One specialize in getting a signature and "giving" a car loan to someone they know won't be able to pay, but is simply being used, shaken down and repossessed for corporate gain. " No one held a gun to their head! " Get ready, the police state will in fact put a gun to your head.
Depending on the time period in question, which might be the case here, more than 20 million people were put out of homes and/or bankrupted with more to come. Clearly a bipartisan effort featuring widespread criminal conduct across the country – an attack on the population to sustain militarism.Reg Cæsar > , July 14, 2017 at 1:19 am GMT
If I may add:
"and you also have to dearly pay for you being white male heterosexual for oppressing all colored, all the women and all the sexually different through the history".
"And if it all fails, we will simply pack you and others like you in a basket of deplorables and forget about you at election time. If we see that you still don't get with the program we will reeducate you. Should you resist that in any way we'll incarcerate you. And, no, normal legal procedure does not work with racists/bigots/haters/whatever we don't like".
@CCZ"Progressives loudly condemned Trump's overtures for peace with Russia, denouncing it as appeasement and betrayal!"Perhaps the spirit of Senator Joseph McCarthy is joyously gloating as progressives (and democrats) take their place as his heirs and successors and the 21st century incarnation of the House UnAmerican Activities Committee.
take their place as his heirs and successors and the 21st century incarnation of the House UnAmerican Activities Committee
which itself was a progressive invention. There was no "right wing" anywhere in sight when it was estsblished in 1938.
Jun 26, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
anne -> anne... , June 25, 2017 at 04:31 PM1994libezkova -> anne... , June 26, 2017 at 08:09 AM
China's experience does not show that gradual reform is superior to the shock therapy undertaken in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union....
-- Jeffrey Sachs and Wing Thye Woo
[ Of course, China's experience had already showed and continues all these years after just the opposite. This is very, very important. ]Your discussion just again had shown that there is no economics, only a political economy.Paine -> anne... , June 25, 2017 at 06:30 PM
And all those neoliberal perversions, which are sold as an economic science is just an apologetics for the financial oligarchy.
Apologetics of plunder in this particular case.
In a way the USSR with its discredited communist ideology, degenerated Bolshevik leadership (just look at who was at the Politburo of CPSU at the time; people much lower in abilities then Trump :-) and inept and politically naïve Mikhail Gorbachev at the helm had chosen the most inopportune time to collapse :-)
And neoliberal vultures instantly circled the corpse and have had a feast. Geopolitical goals of the USA also played important role in amplifying the scope of plunder.
No comparison of performance of Russia vs. China makes any sense if it ignores this fact.Lesson for the weekanne -> Paine ... , June 25, 2017 at 07:11 PM
NyetWhile I would argue with the economic advice given the Russian government after 1988, I am simply trying to understand the reasoning behind the advice, no more than that.libezkova -> anne... , June 26, 2017 at 08:15 AMThe reasoning was simple and is not hard to understand: Carthago delenda est.
In a way McCain can be viewed now as a caricature of the Roman senator Cato the Elder, who is said to have used it as the conclusion to all his speeches.
History repeats "History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce."
Jun 25, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
libezkova -> anne..., June 25, 2017 at 06:47 PMAfter 1991 Eastern Europe and FSU were mercilessly looted. That was tremendous one time transfer of capital (and scientists and engineers) to Western Europe and the USA. Which helped to secure "Clinton prosperity period"
China were not plundered by the West. Russia and Eastern Europe were. That's the key difference.
For Russia this period was called by Anne Williamson in her testimony before the Committee on Banking and Financial Services of the United States House of Representatives "The economic rape of Russia"
Paul Likoudis has an interesting analysis of this event: https://paullikoudis.wordpress.com/2011/03/24/the-plunder-of-russia-in-the-1990s/
Sorry long quoteHow Clinton & Company & The Bankers Plundered Russia by Paul Likoudis
May 4, 2000
The other day I was surprised to learn that Jeffrey Sachs, the creator of "shock therapy" capitalism, who participated in the looting of Russia in the 1990s, is now NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo's top adviser for health care. So we in NY will get shock therapy, much as the Russians did two decades ago. Here is a story I wrote for The Wanderer in 2000:
How Clinton & Company & The Bankers Plundered Russia
by Paul Likoudis
In an ordinary election year, Anne Williamson's Contagion would be political dynamite, a bombshell, a block-buster, a regime breaker.
If America were a free and democratic country, with a free press and independent publishing houses (and assuming, of course, that Americans were a literate people), Williamson's book would topple the Clinton regime, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the rest of the criminal cabal that inhabits the world of modern corporate statism faster than you could say "Jonathan Hay."
Hay, for those who need an introduction to the international financial buccaneers who control our lives, was the general director of the Harvard Institute of International Development (HIID) in Moscow (1992-1997), who facilitated the crippling of the Russian economy and the plundering of its industrial and manufacturing infrastructure with a strategy concocted by Larry Summers, Andre Schliefer (HIID's Cambridge-based manager), Jeffrey Sachs and his Swedish sidekick Anders Aslund, and a host of private players from banks and investment houses in Boston and New York - a plan approved and assisted by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
Contagion can be read on many different levels.
At its simplest, it is a breezy, slightly cynical, highly entertaining narrative of Russian history from the last months of Gorbachev's rule to April 2000 - a period which saw Russia transformed from a decaying socialist economy (which despite its shortcomings, provided a modest standard of living to its citizens) to a "managed economy" where home-grown gangsters and socialist theoreticians from the West, like Hay and his fellow Harvardian Jeffrey Sachs, delivered 2,500% inflation and indescribable poverty, and transferred the ownership of Russian industry to Western financiers.
Williamson was an eyewitness who lived on and off in Russia for more than ten years, where she reported on all things Russian for The New York Times, Th e Wall Street Journal, and a host of other equally reputable publications. She knew and interviewed just about everybody involved in this gargantuan plundering scheme: Russian politicians and businessmen, the new "gangster" capitalists and their American sponsors from the IMF, the World Bank, USAID, Credit Suisse First Boston, the CIA, the KGB - all in all, hundreds of sources who spoke candidly, often ruthlessly, of their parts in this terrible human drama.
Her account is filled with quotations from interviews with top aides of Yeltsin and Clinton, all down through the ranks of the two hierarchical societies to the proliferating mass of Russian destitute, pornographers, pimps, drug dealers, and prostitutes. Some of the principal characters, of course, refused to talk to Williamson, such as Bill Clinton's longtime friend from Oxford, Strobe Talbott, now a deputy secretary of state and, Williamson suspects, a onetime KGB operative whose claim to fame is a deceitful translation of the Khrushchev Memoirs. (A KGB colonel refused to confirm or deny to Williamson that Clinton and Talbott visited North Vietnam together in 1971 - though he did confirm their contacts with the KGB for their protests against the U.S. war in Vietnam in Moscow. See especially footnote 1, page 210.)
The 546-page book (the best part of which is the footnotes) gives a nearly day-by-day report on what happened to Russia; left unstated, but implied on every page, is the assumption that those in the United States who think what happened in Russia "can't happen here" better realize it can happen here.
Once the Clinton regime and its lapdogs in the media defined Russian thug Boris Yeltsin as a "democrat," the wholesale looting of Russia began. According to the socialist theoreticians at Harvard, Russia needed to be brought into the New World Order in a hurry; and what better way to do it than Sachs' "shock therapy" - a plan that empowered the degenerate, third-generation descendants of the original Bolsheviks by assigning them the deeds of Russia's mightiest state-owned industries - including the giant gas, oil, electrical, and telecommunications industries, the world's largest paper, iron, and steel factories, the world's richest gold, silver, diamond, and platinum mines, automobile and airplane factories, etc. - who, in turn, sold some of their shares of the properties to Westerners for a song, and pocketed the cash, while retaining control of the companies.
These third-generation Bolsheviks - led by former Pravda hack Yegor Gaidar, grandson of a Bolshevik who achieved prominence as the teenage mass murderer of White Army officers, now heads the Moscow-based Institute for Economies in Transition - became instant millionaires (or billionaires) and left the Russian workers virtual slaves of them and their new foreign investors.
When Russian members of the Supreme Soviet openly criticized the looting of the national patrimony by these new gangsters early in the U.S.-driven "reform" program, in 1993, before all Soviet institutions were destroyed, Yeltsin bombed Parliament.
Ironically, when Harvard's Sachs and Hay started identifying Russians they could work with, they ignored - or shunned - the most capable talent at hand: those numerous Russian economists who for 20 years had been studying the Swiss economist Wilhelm von Roepke and his disciple, Ludwig Erhard, father of Germany's "economic miracle" in anticipation of the day when Communism would collapse. Somewhat sardonically, Williamson notes that one, probably unintended, benefit of Gorbachev's perestroika was the recruitment of these Russian economists by top U.S. universities.
In the new, emerging global economy, it's clear that Russia is the designated center for heavy manufacturing - just as Asia is for clothing and computers - with its nearly unlimited supply of hydroelectric power, iron and steel, timber, gold and other precious metals.
This helps explain why America's political elites don't give a fig about the closing down of American industries and mines. As Williamson observes, Russia is viewed as some kind of "closet."
What is important for Western readers to understand - as Williamson reports - is that when Western banks and corporations bought these companies at bargain basement prices, they bought more than just industrial equipment. In the Soviet model, every unit of industrial production included workers' housing, churches, opera houses, schools, hospitals, supermarkets, etc., and the whole kit-and-caboodle was included in the selling price. By buying large shares of these companies, Western corporations became, ipso facto, town managers.
On another level, Contagion is about the workings of international finance, the consolidation of capital into fewer and fewer hands, and the ruthless, death-dealing policies it inflicts on its target countries through currency manipulation, inflation, depression, taxation and war - with emphasis on Russia but with attention also given to Mexico, Thailand, Indonesia, the Balkans, and other countries, and how it uses its control over money to produce social chaos.
Those who read Williamson's book will find particularly interesting her treatment of the Federal Reserve, and how this "bank" was designed to plunder the wealth of America through war, debt, and taxation, in order to maintain what is nothing more nor less than a giant pyramid scheme that depends on domination of the earth and its resources.
Williamson is of that small but noble school of economics writers who believe that the academic field of economics is not some esoteric science that can only be comprehended by those with IQs in four digits, and she - drawing on such writers as Hayek and von Mises, Roepke and the late American Murray Rothbard - explains in layman's vocabulary the nuts and bolts of sound economic principles and the real-world effects of the Fed's policies on hapless Americans.
Contagion also serves up a severe indictment of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the other international "lending" agencies spawned by the Council on Foreign Relations and similar "councils" and "commissions" which are fronts for the big banks run by the Houses of Rockefeller, Morgan, Warburg, et al.
The policies inflicted on Russia by the banks were cruel to the Nth degree; but the policy implementers - Williamson employs the derogatory Russian word m yakigolovy ("soft-headed ones") applied to the Americans - were a foppish lot, streaming into Russia by the thousands (the IMF, alone, with 150 staffers) with their outrageous salaries and per diem allowances, renting out the finest dachas, bringing in their exotic consumer goods, driving up prices for goods and rents, spurring a boom in the drug and prostitution businesses, and then watching, cold-heartedly, the declining fortunes of their hosts as they lost everything - including the artistic heritage of the country.
Williamson describes brilliantly that heady atmosphere in Moscow in the early days of the IMF/USAID loan-scamming: a 24-hour party. There were bars like the Canadian-operated Hungry Duck, which lured Russian teenage girls into its bar with a male striptease and free drinks, "who, once thoroughly intoxicated, were then exposed to crowds of anxious young men the club admitted only late in the evening."
The Third Level
At a third and more intriguing level, Contagion is about America's criminal politics in the Clinton regime, and, inevitably, the reader will put Williamson's book down with the sense that Al Gore will be the next occupier of the White House.
Gore, who was raised to be President, has impeccable Russian connections. His father, of course, was Lenin financier Armand Hammer's pocket senator, and it was Hammer who paid for Al Jr.'s expensive St. Alban's Prep schooling; and, as Williamson reports, Al Jr.'s daughter married Andrew Schiff, grandson of Jacob, who, as a member of Kuhn, Loeb & Co., underwrote anti-czarist political agitation for two decades before Lenin's coup, and congratulated Lenin upon his successful revolution.
Williamson also documents Gore's intimate involvement with powerful Wall Street financial houses, and his New York breakfast meeting with multibillionaire George Soros (a key Russian player) just as the Russian collapse was underway.
Williamson tells an interesting story of Gore's response to the IMF/World Bank/USAID plunder of U.S. taxpayers for the purpose of hobbling Russia.
By March 1999, Russia was now a financial basket case, and billions, if not tens of billions of U.S. taxpayer-backed loans had vanished into the secret bank accounts of both Russian and American gangster capitalists, and the news was starting to make little vibrations on Capitol Hill. "The U.S. administration's response to the debacle was repulsively similar to a typical Bill Clinton bimbo-eruption operation: Having ruined Russia by cosseting her in debt, meddling ignorantly in her internal affairs, and funding a drunken usurper, his agents denied all error and slandered ('slimed') her," writes Williamson.
"Pundits and academics joined government officials in bemoaning Mother Russia's thieving ways, her bottomless corruption and constant chaos, all the while wringing their soft hands with a schoolmarm's exasperation. Russia's self-appointed democracy coach Strobe Talbott ('Pro-Consul Strobe' to the Russians) would get it right. An equally sanctimonious Albert Gore - the same Al Gore who'd been so quick to return the CIA's 1995 report detailing Viktor Chernomyrdin's and Anatoly Chubais' personal corruption with the single word 'Bullshit' scrawled across it - took the low road and sniffed that the Russians would just have to get their own economic house in order and cut their own deal with the IMF. . . ."
The cost to the American taxpayers of Clinton regime bailouts in a three-and-a-half-year period, Williamson notes, is more than $180 billion! The "new financial architecture" Clinton has erected, she writes, "isn't new at all, but rather something the international public lenders have been wanting for decades, i.e., an automatic bailout for their own bad practices."
As the extent of the corruption of the Clinton-Yeltsin "reform" plan for Russia unfolded last year, with the attendant Bank of New York scandal, the mysterious death of super banker Edmond Safra in his Monte Carlo penthouse, the collapse of the Russian stock market, and the whiplash effect in Southeast Asia, Congress was pressed to hold hearings.
What resulted, as Williamson accurately narrates it, was just a smoke screen, show hearings that barely rose above the seriousness of a Gilbert and Sullivan farce - though they did result in proposed new domestic banking laws that, if passed, will effectively make banks another federal police force responsible for reporting to the U.S. government the most minute financial transactions of U.S. citizens.
In this regard, it is instructive to quote Williamson at length: "If the FBI, [Manhattan District Attorney] Robert Morgenthau, or Congress were serious about getting to the bottom of the plundering of Russia's assets and U.S. taxpayers' resources, they would show far more professional interest in exactly what was said and agreed in the private meetings [U.S. Treasury secretary] Larry Summers, Strobe Talbott, and [former Treasury Secretary] Robert Rubin conducted with Anatoly Chubais [former Russian finance minister, who oversaw the distribution and sale of Russian industries], and Sergie Vasiliev [Yeltsin's principal legal adviser, and a member of the Chubais clan], and later Chubais again in June and July of 1998.
"Instead of allowing Larry Summers to ramble casually in response to questions at a banking committee hearing, the Treasury secretary should be asked exactly who suckered him - his Russian friends, his own boss [former Harvard associate Robert Rubin, his boss at Treasury who was once cochairman at Goldman Sachs], or private sector counterparts of the Working Committee on Financial Markets [a White House group whose membership is drawn from the country's main financial and market institutions: the Fed, Treasury, SEC, and the Commodities & Trading Commission]. . . . Or did he just bungle the entire matter on account of wishful thinking? Or was it gross incompetence?
"The FBI and Congress ought to be very interested in establishing for taxpayers the truth of any alleged 'national security' issues that justified allowing the Harvard Institute of International Development to privatize U.S. bilateral assistance. It too should be their brief to discover the relationship between the [Swedish wheeler-dealer and crony of Sachs, Anders] Aslund/Carnegie crowd and Treasury and exactly what influence that relationship may have had on the awarding of additional grants to Harvard without competition. On what basis did Team Clinton direct their financial donor, American International Group's (AIG) Maurice Greenberg (a man nearly as ubiquitous as any Russian oligarch in sweetheart public-funding deals), to Brunswick Brokerage when sniffing out a $300 million OPIC guarantee for a Russian investment fund. . . .
And why did Michel Camdessus [who left the presidency of the IMF earlier this year] announce his sudden retirement so soon after Moscow newspapers reported that a $200,000 payment was made to him from a secret Kremlin bank account? . . .
"American and Russian citizens can never be allowed to learn what really happened to the billions lent to Yeltsin's government; it would expose the unsavory and self-interested side of our political, financial, and media elites. . . . Instead, the [House] Banking Committee hearings will use the smoke screen of policing foreign assistance flows to pass legislation that will effectively end U.S. citizens' financial privacy while making them prisoners of their citizenship. . . . The Banking Committee will use the opportunity the Russian dirty money scandal presents to reanimate the domestic 'Know Your Customer' program, which charges domestic banks with monitoring and reporting on the financial transactions in which middle-class Americans engage. This data is collected and used by various government agencies, including the IRS; meaning that if a citizen sells the family's beat-up station wagon or their 'starter' home, the taxman is alerted immediately that the citizen's filing should reflect the greater tax obligation in that year of the sale. . . . Other data on citizens for which the government has long thirsted will also be collected by government's newest police force, the banks. . . ."
You see, as this book explains, the Clinton's Russia policy did not just plunder Russians, leaving them destitute while creating a new and ruthless class of international capitalist gangsters at U.S. taxpayer expense; it had the double consequence of bringing all Americans deeper into the bankers' New World Order by increasing their debt load, decreasing their privacy, and restricting their civil rights. If only Americans cared.
Apr 17, 2017 | www.unz.com
Agent76 , April 16, 2017 at 3:19 pm GMT \nOctober 18, 1994 Remarks on the Nuclear Agreement With North Korea William J. Clinton
Good afternoon. I am pleased that the United States and North Korea yesterday reached agreement on the text of a framework document on North Korea's nuclear program.
Feb 21, 2017 | www.zerohedge.comSubmitted via The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity,
General Flynn's tenure in the White House was only slightly longer than that of President-elect William Henry Harrison in 1841. Actually, with just 24 days in the White House, General Flynn's tenure fell a tad short of old "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too". General Harrison actually lasted 31 days before getting felled by pneumonia.
And the circumstances were considerably more benign. It seems that General Harrison had a fondness for the same "firewater" that agitated the native Americans he slaughtered at the famous battle memorialized in his campaign slogan. In fact, during the campaign a leading Democrat newspaper skewered the old general, who at 68 was the oldest US President prior to Ronald Reagan, saying:
Give him a barrel of hard [alcoholic] cider, and a pension of two thousand [dollars] a year and he will sit the remainder of his days in his log cabin.
That might have been a good idea back then (or even now), but to prove he wasn't infirm, Harrison gave the longest inaugural address in US history (2 hours) in the midst of seriously inclement weather wearing neither hat nor coat.
That's how he got pneumonia! Call it foolhardy, but that was nothing compared to that exhibited by Donald Trump's former national security advisor.
General Flynn got the equivalent of political pneumonia by talking for hours during the transition to international leaders, including Russia's ambassador to the US, on phone lines which were bugged by the CIA Or more accurately, making calls which were "intercepted" by the very same NSA/FBI spy machinery that monitors every single phone call made in America.
Ironically, we learned what Flynn should have known about the Deep State's plenary surveillance from Edward Snowden. Alas, Flynn and Trump wanted the latter to be hung in the public square as a "traitor", but if that's the solution to intelligence community leaks, the Donald is now going to need his own rope factory to deal with the flood of traitorous disclosures directed against him.
In any event, it was "intercepts" leaked from deep in the bowels of the CIA to the Washington Post and then amplified in a 24/7 campaign by the War Channel (CNN) that brought General Flynn down.
But here's the thing. They were aiming at Donald J. Trump. And for all of his puffed up bluster about being the savviest negotiator on the planet, the Donald walked right into their trap, as we shall amplify momentarily.
But let's first make the essence of the matter absolutely clear. The whole Flynn imbroglio is not about a violation of the Logan Act owing to the fact that the general engaged in diplomacy as a private citizen.
It's about re-litigating the 2016 election based on the hideous lie that Trump stole it with the help of Vladimir Putin. In fact, Nancy Pelosi was quick to say just that:
'The American people deserve to know the full extent of Russia's financial, personal and political grip on President Trump and what that means for our national security,' House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a press release.
Yet, we should rephrase. The re-litigation aspect reaches back to the Republican primaries, too. The Senate GOP clowns who want a war with practically everybody, John McCain and Lindsey Graham, are already launching their own investigation from the Senate Armed Services committee.
And Senator Graham, the member of the boobsey twins who ran for President in 2016 while getting a GOP primary vote from virtually nobody, made clear that General Flynn's real sin was a potential peace overture to the Russians:
Sen. Lindsey Graham also said he wants an investigation into Flynn's conversations with a Russian ambassador about sanctions: "I think Congress needs to be informed of what actually Gen. Flynn said to the Russian ambassador about lifting sanctions," the South Carolina Republican told CNN's Kate Bolduan on "At This Hour. And I want to know, did Gen. Flynn do this by himself or was he directed by somebody to do it?"
We say good riddance to Flynn, of course, because he was a shrill anti-Iranian warmonger. But let's also not be fooled by the clinical term at the heart of the story. That is, "intercepts" mean that the Deep State taps the phone calls of the President's own closest advisors as a matter of course.
This is the real scandal as Trump himself has rightly asserted. The very idea that the already announced #1 national security advisor to a President-elect should be subject to old-fashion "bugging," albeit with modern day technology, overwhelmingly trumps the utterly specious Logan Act charge at the center of the case.
As one writer for LawNewz noted regarding acting Attorney General Sally Yates' voyeuristic pre-occupation with Flynn's intercepted conversations, Nixon should be rolling in his grave with envy:
Now, information leaks that Sally Yates knew about surveillance being conducted against potential members of the Trump administration, and disclosed that information to others. Even Richard Nixon didn't use the government agencies themselves to do his black bag surveillance operations. Sally Yates involvement with this surveillance on American political opponents, and possibly the leaking related thereto, smacks of a return to Hoover-style tactics. As writers at Bloomberg and The Week both noted, it wreaks of 'police-state' style tactics. But knowing dear Sally as I do, it comes as no surprise.
Yes, that's the same career apparatchik of the permanent government that Obama left behind to continue the 2016 election by other means. And it's working. The Donald is being rapidly emasculated by the powers that be in the Imperial City due to what can only be described as an audacious and self-evident attack on Trump's Presidency by the Deep State.
Indeed, it seems that the layers of intrigue have gotten so deep and convoluted that the nominal leadership of the permanent government machinery has lost track of who is spying on whom. Thus, we have the following curious utterance by none other than the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes:
'I expect for the FBI to tell me what is going on, and they better have a good answer,' he told The Washington Post. 'The big problem I see here is that you have an American citizen who had his phone calls recorded.'
Well, yes. That makes 324 million of us, Congressman.
But for crying out loud, surely the oh so self-important chairman of the House intelligence committee knows that everybody is bugged. But when it reaches the point that the spy state is essentially using its unconstitutional tools to engage in what amounts to "opposition research" with the aim of election nullification, then the Imperial City has become a clear and present danger to American democracy and the liberties of the American people.
As Robert Barnes of LawNewz further explained, Sally Yates, former CIA director John Brennan and a large slice of the Never Trumper intelligence community were systematically engaged in "opposition research" during the campaign and the transition:
According to published reports, someone was eavesdropping, and recording, the conversations of Michael Flynn, while Sally Yates was at the Department of Justice. Sally Yates knew about this eavesdropping, listened in herself (Pellicano-style for those who remember the infamous LA cases), and reported what she heard to others. For Yates to have such access means she herself must have been involved in authorizing its disclosure to political appointees, since she herself is such a political appointee. What justification was there for an Obama appointee to be spying on the conversations of a future Trump appointee?
Consider this little tidbit in The Washington Post . The paper, which once broke Watergate, is now propagating the benefits of Watergate-style surveillance in ways that do make Watergate look like a third-rate effort. (With the) FBI 'routinely' monitoring conversations of Americans...... Yates listened to 'the intercepted call,' even though Yates knew there was 'little chance' of any credible case being made for prosecution under a law 'that has never been used in a prosecution.'
And well it hasn't been. After all, the Logan Act was signed by President John Adams in 1799 in order to punish one of Thomas Jefferson's supporters for having peace discussions with the French government in Paris. That is, it amounted to pre-litigating the Presidential campaign of 1800 based on sheer political motivation.
According to the Washington Post itself, that is exactly what Yates and the Obama holdovers did day and night during the interregnum:
Indeed, the paper details an apparent effort by Yates to misuse her office to launch a full-scale secret investigation of her political opponents, including 'intercepting calls' of her political adversaries.
So all of the feigned outrage emanating from Democrats and the Washington establishment about Team Trump's trafficking with the Russians is a cover story. Surely anyone even vaguely familiar with recent history would have known there was absolutely nothing illegal or even untoward about Flynn's post-Christmas conversations with the Russian Ambassador.
Indeed, we recall from personal experience the thrilling moment on inauguration day in January 1981 when word came of the release of the American hostages in Tehran. Let us assure you, that did not happen by immaculate diplomatic conception -- nor was it a parting gift to the Gipper by the outgoing Carter Administration.
To the contrary, it was the fruit of secret negotiations with the Iranian government during the transition by private American citizens. As the history books would have it because it's true, the leader of that negotiation, in fact, was Ronald Reagan's national security council director-designate, Dick Allen.
As the real Washington Post later reported, under the by-line of a real reporter, Bob Woodward:
Reagan campaign aides met in a Washington DC hotel in early October, 1980, with a self-described 'Iranian exile' who offered, on behalf of the Iranian government, to release the hostages to Reagan, not Carter, in order to ensure Carter's defeat in the November 4, 1980 election.
The American participants were Richard Allen, subsequently Reagan's first national security adviser, Allen aide Laurence Silberman, and Robert McFarlane, another future national security adviser who in 1980 was on the staff of Senator John Tower (R-TX).
To this day we have not had occasion to visit our old friend Dick Allen in the US penitentiary because he's not there; the Logan Act was never invoked in what is surely the most blatant case ever of citizen diplomacy.
So let's get to the heart of the matter and be done with it. The Obama White House conducted a sour grapes campaign to delegitimize the election beginning November 9th and it was led by then CIA Director John Brennan.
That treacherous assault on the core constitutional matter of the election process culminated in the ridiculous Russian meddling report of the Obama White House in December. The latter, of course, was issued by serial liar James Clapper, as national intelligence director, and the clueless Democrat lawyer and bag-man, Jeh Johnson, who had been appointed head of the Homeland Security Department.
Yet on the basis of the report's absolutely zero evidence and endless surmise, innuendo and "assessments", the Obama White House imposed another round of its silly school-boy sanctions on a handful of Putin's cronies.
Of course, Flynn should have been telling the Russian Ambassador that this nonsense would be soon reversed!
But here is the ultimate folly. The mainstream media talking heads are harrumphing loudly about the fact that the very day following Flynn's call -- Vladimir Putin announced that he would not retaliate against the new Obama sanctions as expected; and shortly thereafter, the Donald tweeted that Putin had shown admirable wisdom.
That's right. Two reasonably adult statesman undertook what might be called the Christmas Truce of 2016. But like its namesake of 1914 on the bloody no man's land of the western front, the War Party has determined that the truce-makers shall not survive.
The Donald has been warned.
xythras , Feb 20, 2017 10:02 PMDarktarra -> xythras , Feb 20, 2017 10:11 PM
Assange is about to face censorship from one LENIN Moreno (next Ecuadorian president)
Assange must Reduce "Meddling" in US Policies While in Ecuadorian Embassy
How ironicwanglee -> Darktarra , Feb 20, 2017 10:18 PM
We haven't had deep state (successfully) take out a President since JFK. I am sure they will literally be gunning for Donald Trump! His election screwed up the elite's world order plans ... poor Soros ... time for him to take a dirt knap!
Be careful Trump! They will try and kill you! The United States government is COMPLETELY corrupt. Draining the swamp means its either you or they die!Chris Dakota -> wanglee , Feb 20, 2017 10:59 PM
Let us help Trump's presidency to make America (not globalist) great again.
Not only democrats rigged Primary to elect Clinton as presidential candidate last year even though she has poor judgement (violating government cyber security policy) and is incompetent (her email server was not secured) when she was the Secretary of State, and was revealed to be corrupt by Bernie Sanders during the Primary, but also democrats encourage illegal immigration, discourage work, and "conned" young voters with free college/food/housing/health care/Obama phone. Democratic government employees/politicians also committed crimes to leak classified information which caused former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn losing his job and undermined Trump's presidency.
However middle/working class used their common senses voting against Clinton last November. Although I am not a republican and didn't vote in primary but I voted for Trump and those Republicans who supported Trump in last November since I am not impressed with the "integrity" and "judgement" of democrats, Anti-Trump protesters, Anti-Trump republicans, and those media who endorsed Clinton during presidential election and they'll work for globalists, the super rich, who moved jobs/investment overseas for cheap labor/tax and demanded middle/working class to pay tax to support welfare of illegal aliens and refugees who will become globalist's illegal voters and anti-Trump protesters.
To prevent/detect voter fraud, "voter ID" and "no mailing ballots" must be enforced to reduce possible "voter frauds on a massive scale" committed by democratic/republic/independent party operatives. All the sanctuary counties need to be recounted and voided county votes if recount fails since the only county which was found to count one vote many times is the only "Sanctuary" county, Wayne county, in recount states (Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin) last year. The integrity of voting equipment and voting system need to be tested, protected and audited. There were no voting equipment stuck to Trump. Yet, many voting equipment were found to switch votes to Clinton last November. Voter databases need to be kept current. Encourage reporting of "voter fraud on a massive scale" committed by political party operatives with large reward.
Cashing in: Illegal immigrants get $1,261 more welfare than American families, $5,692 vs. $4,431 ( http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/cashing-in-illegal-immigrants-get-1261... ) DEA Report Shows Infiltration of Mexican Drug Cartels in Sanctuary Cities ( http://www.breitbart.com/texas/2015/09/08/dea-report-shows-infiltration-... ) Welfare Discourages Work( http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/04/27/the-science-is-settle... ) Hillary Clinton Says Bernie Sanders's "Free College" Tuition Plan Is All a Lie ( http://www.teenvogue.com/story/clinton-says-sanders-free-tuition-wont-wo... UC Berkeley Chancellor: Hillary Clinton 'Free' College Tuition Plan Won't Happen ( http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/09/30/uc-berkeley-chancello... ) Bill Clinton Impeachment Chief Investigator: I'm 'Terrified' of Hillary because we know that there were "People" who "Disappeared" ( http://www.breitbart.com/2016-presidential-race/2016/10/30/exclusive-bil... ) Former FBI Asst. Director Accuses Clintons Of Being A "Crime Family" ( http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-10-30/former-fbi-asst-director-accuse... ) FBI boss Comey's 7 most damning lines on Clinton ( http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/05/politics/fbi-clinton-email-server-comey-da... ). Aides claiming she "could not use a computer," and didn't know her email password– New FBI docs ( https://www.rt.com/usa/360528-obama-implicated-clinton-email/ ). 23 Shocking Revelations From The FBI's Clinton Email Report ( http://dailycaller.com/2016/09/02/23-shocking-revelations-from-the-fbis-... ) DOJ grants immunity to ex-Clinton staffer who set up her email server ( http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/02/politics/hillary-clinton-email-server-just... ) Former House Intelligence Chairman: I'm '100 Percent' Sure Hillary's Server Was Hacked ( http://www.breitbart.com/2016-presidential-race/2016/11/06/former-house-... ) Exclusive - Gen. Mike Flynn: Hillary Clinton's Email Setup Was 'Unbelievable Active Criminal Behavior' ( http://www.breitbart.com/2016-presidential-race/2016/11/06/exclusive-gen... ) Clinton directed her maid to print out classified materials ( http://nypost.com/2016/11/06/clinton-directed-her-maid-to-print-out-clas... ) Obama lied to the American people about his secret communications with Clinton( http://www.thepoliticalinsider.com/president-barack-obama-hillary-email-... ) Former U.S. Attorney General, John Ashcroft: FBI didn't 'clear' Clinton ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFYQ3Cdp0zQ ) When the Clintons Loved Russia Enough to Sell Them Our Uranium ( http://www.breitbart.com/2016-presidential-race/2016/07/25/flashback-cli... ) Wikileaks: Clinton Foundation Chatter with State Dept on Uranium Deal with Russia ( http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/10/08/wikileaks-putting-on-... ) Russian officials donated $$$ to Clinton Foundation for Russian military research ( http://www.breitbart.com/radio/2016/12/16/schweizer-insecure-left-wants-... ) Cash Flowed to Clinton Foundation Amid Russian Uranium Deal ( https://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/24/us/cash-flowed-to-clinton-foundation-... ) HILLARY CAMPAIGN CHIEF LINKED TO MONEY-LAUNDERING IN RUSSIA ( HTTP://WWW.WND.COM/2016/10/HILLARY-CAMPAIGN-CHIEF-LINKED-TO-MONEY-LAUNDE... ) The largest source of Trump campaign funds is small donors giving under $200 ( http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-self-fund_us_57fd4556e4... ) How mega-donors helped raise $1 billion for Hillary Clinton ( https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/how-mega-donors-helped-raise-1-b... ) Final newspaper endorsement count: Clinton 57, Trump 2 ( http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/304606-final-news... ) Journalists shower Hillary Clinton with campaign cash ( https://www.publicintegrity.org/2016/10/17/20330/journalists-shower-hill... ) Judicial Watch Planning to Sue FBI, NSA, CIA for Flynn Records ( http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/02/16/judicial-watch-planni... )
President Trump Vowed to Investigate Voter Fraud. Then Lawmakers Voted to "Eliminate" Election Commission Charged with Helping States Improve their Voting Systems ( http://time.com/4663250/house-committee-eliminates-election-commission-v... ) California's Recipe for Voter Fraud on a Massive Scale( http://www.breitbart.com/california/2017/01/27/voter-fraud/ ) California Republican Party Official Alleges Voter Fraud In California, a "Sanctuary" state ( http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2016/11/28/trump-among-those-saying-vot... ) BREAKING: Massive Voter Fraud Discovered In Mailing Ballots In Pennsylvania! See Huge Twist In Results! ( http://www.usapoliticstoday.com/massive-voter-fraud-pennsylvania/ ) "Voting Fraud" revealed during "Recount": Scanners were used to count one vote many times to favor Clinton in Wayne County, a "Sanctuary" county including Detroit and surrounding areas.( http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-12-06/michigan-republicans-file-emerg... ) Illegal Voters Tipping Election Scales ( http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/243947/illegal-voters-tipping-election-s... ) Voter Fraud: We've Got Proof It's Easy ( http://www.nationalreview.com/article/368234/voter-fraud-weve-got-proof-... ) Voter Fraud Is Real. Here's The Proof ( http://thefederalist.com/2016/10/13/voter-fraud-real-heres-proof/ ) Here's Why State Election Officials Think Voter Fraud Is a Serious Problem ( http://dailysignal.com/2017/02/17/heres-why-state-election-officials-thi... ) Documented Voter Fraud in US ( http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/ViewSubCategory.asp?id=2216 ) No, voter fraud isn't a myth: 10 cases where it's all too real ( http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/oct/17/no-voter-fraud-isnt-myth... ) Non-US citizen gets eight years for voter fraud in Texas after "Sucessfully Illegally Voted for at least Five Times" in Dallas county, a "Sanctuary" county( http://www.theblaze.com/news/2017/02/09/non-us-citizen-gets-eight-years-... ) Democratic party operatives tell us how to successfully commit voter fraud on a massive scale ( http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2016/10/james-okeefe-rigging-elections-d... ) Texas Rigged? Reports Of Voting Machines Switching Votes To Hillary In Texas( http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-10-25/texas-rigged-first-reports-voti... ) Voting Machine "Irregularities" Reported in Utah, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, & North Carolina ( http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-11-08/voting-machine-irregularities-r... ) Video: Machine Refuses to Allow Vote For Trump in Pennsylvania ( http://www.infowars.com/video-machine-refuses-to-allow-vote-for-trump-in... ) Electoral fraud ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electoral_fraud ) Voter fraud ( https://ballotpedia.org/Voter_fraud ) Sanctuary Cities Continue to Obstruct Enforcement, Threaten Public Safety( http://cis.org/Sanctuary-Cities-Map ) List of Sanctuary cities( http://www.apsanlaw.com/law-246.List-of-Sanctuary-cities.html ) Map Shows Sanctuary City Islands of Blue In Sea of Red ( http://www.infowars.com/map-shows-sanctuary-city-islands-of-blue-in-sea-... )CheapBastard -> Darktarra , Feb 20, 2017 10:19 PM
I hit some long click bait about famous people IQ
Barack Obama 140
Donald Trump 156
Trump knows whats coming. Rush Limbaugh said "I've known Trump for a long time, he is a winner and I am sure none of this phases him at all. The media didn't create him, the media can't destroy him."Chupacabra-322 -> CheapBastard , Feb 20, 2017 10:54 PM
Flynn has been there for several years. If he was such a threat why did they not take action sooner since Soweeto appointed him in 2012? It must be that Soweto Obama is his spy buddy then, both of them in league with the Russians since Obama has been with Flynn for a much longer time he had to know if something was up.
The entire Russian spy story is a complete Fake news rouse.
I am wondering what they'll say tomorrow to draw attention awya form the muslim riots in Sweden. If the news of Muslim riots in Sweden, then Trump will be even more vindicated and the MSM will look even more stupid and Fake.oncefired -> CheapBastard , Feb 20, 2017 11:07 PM
The Deep State has accentually lost control of the Intelligence Community via its Agents / Operatives & Presstitute Media vehicle's to Gas Light the Masses.
So what Criminals at large Obama, Clapper & Lynch have done 17 days prior to former CEO Criminal Obama leaving office was to Decentralize & weaken the NSA. As a result, Intel gathering was then regulated to the other 16 Intel Agencies.
Thus, taking Centuries Old Intelligence based on a vey stringent Centralized British Model, De Centralized it, filling the remaining 16 Intel Agenices with potential Spies and a Shadow Deep State Mirror Government.
All controlled from two blocks away at Pure Evil Criminal War Criminal Treasonous at large, former CEO Obama's Compound / Lair.
It's High Treason being conducted "Hidden In Plain View" by the Deep State.
It's the most Bizzare Transition of Power I've ever witnessed. Unprecedented.
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-18/jay-sekulow-obama-should-be-hel ...Duc888 -> CheapBastard , Feb 20, 2017 11:11 PM
Flynn did not tell Pence that Pence's best friend was front and center on the Pizzagate list. That's what cost Flynn his job...it had fuck all do do with the elections.
Jan 26, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.comDrDick, January 25, 2017 at 11:07 AMThis is frankly rather disingenuous. Most of the major changes he mentions are clearly and explicitly the consequence of policy changes, mostly by Republicans, starting with Reagan: deregulation, lower taxes on the wealthy, a lack of antitrust enforcement, and the like.
libezkova -> DrDick... January 25, 2017 at 09:29 PMsanjait -> DrDick... , January 25, 2017 at 11:20 AM
The first POTUS who cut tax rates was JFK.Read through the link and it's not nearly that simple, especially when you consider the fact that some trends, though plausibly or certainly reinforced through policy, aren't entirely or even primarily caused by policy.DrDick -> sanjait... , January 25, 2017 at 01:45 PMI did not say they were the *only* factors, but they are the primary causes. If you look at the timelines and data trends it is pretty clear. Reagan broke the power of the Unions and started deregulation (financialization is a consequence of this), which is the period when the big increases began. Automation plays a secondary role in this. what has happened is that the few industries which are most conducive to automation have remained here (like final assembly of automobiles), while the many, more labor intensive industries (automobile components manufacturing) have been offshored to low wage, not labor or environmental protections countries.libezkova -> DrDick... , January 25, 2017 at 05:39 PMBoth parties participated in the conversion of the USA into neoliberal society. So it was a bipartisan move.DrDick -> libezkova... , January 25, 2017 at 07:40 PM
Clinton did a lot of dirty work in this direction and was later royally remunerated for his betrayal of the former constituency of the Democratic Party and conversion it into "yet another neoliberal party"
Obama actually continued Bush and Clinton work. He talked about 'change we can believe in' while saving Wall street and real estate speculators from jail they fully deserved.Clinton contributed, but the Republicans did all the real heavy lifting. I was in my late 20s and early 30s during Reagan.libezkova -> DrDick... , January 25, 2017 at 09:25 PMVery true. Republicans were in the vanguard and did most heavy lifting. That's undeniable.
But Clinton's negative effects were also related to the weakening the only countervailing force remaining on the way of the neoliberalism -- trade unionism. So he played the role of "subversive agent" in the Democratic Party. His betrayal of trade union political interests and his demoralizing role should be underestimated.
Jan 19, 2017 | www.investors.com
hile everyone's been gearing up for President Trump's inauguration, the Clinton Foundation made a major announcement this week that went by with almost no notice: For all intents and purposes, it's closing its doors.
In a tax filing, the Clinton Global Initiative said it's firing 22 staffers and closing its offices, a result of the gusher of foreign money that kept the foundation afloat suddenly drying up after Hillary Clinton failed to win the presidency.
It proves what we've said all along: The Clinton Foundation was little more than an influence-peddling scheme to enrich the Clintons, and had little if anything to do with "charity," either overseas or in the U.S. That sound you heard starting in November was checkbooks being snapped shut in offices around the world by people who had hoped their donations would buy access to the next president of the United States.
And why not? There was a strong precedent for it in Hillary Clinton's tenure as secretary of state. While serving as the nation's top diplomat, the Clinton Foundation took money from at least seven foreign governments - a clear breach of Clinton's pledge on taking office that there would be total separation between her duties and the foundation.
Is there a smoking gun? Well, of the 154 private interests who either officially met or had scheduled phone talks with Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state, at least 85 were donors to the Clinton Foundation or one of its programs.
... ... ...
Using the Freedom of Information Act, Judicial Watch in August obtained emails (that had been hidden from investigators) showing that Clinton's top State Department aide, Huma Abedin, had given "special expedited access to the secretary of state" for those who gave $25,000 to $10 million to the Clinton Foundation. Many of those were facilitated by a former executive of the foundation, Doug Band, who headed Teneo, a shell company that managed the Clintons' affairs.
As part of this elaborate arrangement, Abedin was given special permission to work for the State Department, the Clinton Foundation and Teneo - another very clear conflict of interest.
As Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said at the time, "These new emails confirm that Hillary Clinton abused her office by selling favors to Clinton Foundation donors."
The seedy saga doesn't end there. Indeed, there are so many facets to it, some may never be known. But there is still at least one and possibly four active federal investigations into the Clintons' supposed charity.
Americans aren't willing to forgive and forget. Earlier this month, the IBD/TIPP Poll asked Americans whether they would like President Obama to pardon Hillary for any crimes she may have committed as secretary of state, including the illegal use of an unsecured homebrew email server. Of those queried, 57% said no. So if public sentiment is any guide, the Clintons' problems may just be beginning.
Writing in the Washington Post in August of 2016, Charles Krauthammer pretty much summed up the whole tawdry tale : "The foundation is a massive family enterprise disguised as a charity, an opaque and elaborate mechanism for sucking money from the rich and the tyrannous to be channeled to Clinton Inc.," he wrote. "Its purpose is to maintain the Clintons' lifestyle (offices, travel accommodations, etc.), secure profitable connections, produce favorable publicity and reliably employ a vast entourage of retainers, ready to serve today and at the coming Clinton Restoration."
Except, now there is no Clinton Restoration. So there's no reason for any donors to give money to the foundation. It lays bare the fiction of a massive "charitable organization," and shows it for what it was: a scam to sell for cash the waning influence of the Democrats' pre-eminent power couple. As far as the charity landscape goes, the Clinton Global Initiative won't be missed.
Dec 30, 2016 | www.politico.com
their quarter-century project to build a mutual buy-one, get-one-free Clinton dynasty has ended in her defeat, and their joint departure from the center of the national political stage they had hoped to occupy for another eight years. Their exit amounts to a finale not just for themselves, but for Clintonism as a working political ideology and electoral strategy.
Twenty-five years ago, Bill Clinton almost single-handedly repositioned the Democratic Party for electoral success, co-opting and defusing Republican talking points and moving the party toward the center on issues like welfare and a balanced budget, in the process becoming the first presidential nominee of his party since Franklin D. Roosevelt to win two consecutive terms.
... ... ...
"New Democrat" he'd once exemplified was now extinct, a victim first of Clinton's own successes, and then of the economic and social dislocations of the globalism whose inevitability he foresaw when he predicted that Americans would one day "change jobs four or five times in their lifetimes!"
Bill Clinton's "Third Way" ideology was also undone by sheer geopolitical realities -- there are almost no Blue Dog Democrats left after a generation of redistricting, primary challenges and electoral defeats in the South
...while Hillary Clinton recognized the change intellectually, she seemed unable to catch up to the practical realities of its political implications for her campaign
..."People thought she'd been conceived in Goldman Sachs' trading desk," says one veteran Clinton aide
...Obama had not only largely overlooked the concerns of white working-class voters but, with his health care overhaul, had been seen as punishing them financially to provide new benefits to the poorest Americans. Fairly or not, he lost the public argument.
...Bill Clinton himself was far from an unalloyed asset in Hillary's campaign this year. The rosy glow that had come to surround much of his post presidency, and his charitable foundation's good works around the world, receded in the face of Trump's relentless reminders of his personal and sexual misconduct in office, and his and his wife's tendency toward legalistic corner-cutting-a point Sanders also drove home, even as he disavowed any interest in "her damn emails."
Aug 06, 2011 | nytimes.com
When Barack Obama rose to the lectern on Inauguration Day, the nation was in tatters. Americans were scared and angry. The economy was spinning in reverse. Three-quarters of a million people lost their jobs that month. Many had lost their homes, and with them the only nest eggs they had. Even the usually impervious upper middle class had seen a decade of stagnant or declining investment, with the stock market dropping in value with no end in sight. Hope was as scarce as credit.
In that context, Americans needed their president to tell them a story that made sense of what they had just been through, what caused it, and how it was going to end. They needed to hear that he understood what they were feeling, that he would track down those responsible for their pain and suffering, and that he would restore order and safety. What they were waiting for, in broad strokes, was a story something like this:
"I know you're scared and angry. Many of you have lost your jobs, your homes, your hope. This was a disaster, but it was not a natural disaster. It was made by Wall Street gamblers who speculated with your lives and futures. It was made by conservative extremists who told us that if we just eliminated regulations and rewarded greed and recklessness, it would all work out. But it didn't work out. And it didn't work out 80 years ago, when the same people sold our grandparents the same bill of goods, with the same results. But we learned something from our grandparents about how to fix it, and we will draw on their wisdom. We will restore business confidence the old-fashioned way: by putting money back in the pockets of working Americans by putting them back to work, and by restoring integrity to our financial markets and demanding it of those who want to run them. I can't promise that we won't make mistakes along the way. But I can promise you that they will be honest mistakes, and that your government has your back again." A story isn't a policy. But that simple narrative - and the policies that would naturally have flowed from it - would have inoculated against much of what was to come in the intervening two and a half years of failed government, idled factories and idled hands. That story would have made clear that the president understood that the American people had given Democrats the presidency and majorities in both houses of Congress to fix the mess the Republicans and Wall Street had made of the country, and that this would not be a power-sharing arrangement. It would have made clear that the problem wasn't tax-and-spend liberalism or the deficit - a deficit that didn't exist until George W. Bush gave nearly $2 trillion in tax breaks largely to the wealthiest Americans and squandered $1 trillion in two wars.
And perhaps most important, it would have offered a clear, compelling alternative to the dominant narrative of the right, that our problem is not due to spending on things like the pensions of firefighters, but to the fact that those who can afford to buy influence are rewriting the rules so they can cut themselves progressively larger slices of the American pie while paying less of their fair share for it.
But there was no story - and there has been none since.
In similar circumstances, Franklin D. Roosevelt offered Americans a promise to use the power of his office to make their lives better and to keep trying until he got it right. Beginning in his first inaugural address, and in the fireside chats that followed, he explained how the crash had happened, and he minced no words about those who had caused it. He promised to do something no president had done before: to use the resources of the United States to put Americans directly to work, building the infrastructure we still rely on today. He swore to keep the people who had caused the crisis out of the halls of power, and he made good on that promise. In a 1936 speech at Madison Square Garden, he thundered, "Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me - and I welcome their hatred."
When Barack Obama stepped into the Oval Office, he stepped into a cycle of American history, best exemplified by F.D.R. and his distant cousin, Teddy. After a great technological revolution or a major economic transition, as when America changed from a nation of farmers to an urban industrial one, there is often a period of great concentration of wealth, and with it, a concentration of power in the wealthy. That's what we saw in 1928, and that's what we see today. At some point that power is exercised so injudiciously, and the lives of so many become so unbearable, that a period of reform ensues - and a charismatic reformer emerges to lead that renewal. In that sense, Teddy Roosevelt started the cycle of reform his cousin picked up 30 years later, as he began efforts to bust the trusts and regulate the railroads, exercise federal power over the banks and the nation's food supply, and protect America's land and wildlife, creating the modern environmental movement.
Those were the shoes - that was the historic role - that Americans elected Barack Obama to fill. The president is fond of referring to "the arc of history," paraphrasing the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous statement that "the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." But with his deep-seated aversion to conflict and his profound failure to understand bully dynamics - in which conciliation is always the wrong course of action, because bullies perceive it as weakness and just punch harder the next time - he has broken that arc and has likely bent it backward for at least a generation.
When Dr. King spoke of the great arc bending toward justice, he did not mean that we should wait for it to bend. He exhorted others to put their full weight behind it, and he gave his life speaking with a voice that cut through the blistering force of water cannons and the gnashing teeth of police dogs. He preached the gospel of nonviolence, but he knew that whether a bully hid behind a club or a poll tax, the only effective response was to face the bully down, and to make the bully show his true and repugnant face in public.
IN contrast, when faced with the greatest economic crisis, the greatest levels of economic inequality, and the greatest levels of corporate influence on politics since the Depression, Barack Obama stared into the eyes of history and chose to avert his gaze. Instead of indicting the people whose recklessness wrecked the economy, he put them in charge of it. He never explained that decision to the public - a failure in storytelling as extraordinary as the failure in judgment behind it. Had the president chosen to bend the arc of history, he would have told the public the story of the destruction wrought by the dismantling of the New Deal regulations that had protected them for more than half a century. He would have offered them a counternarrative of how to fix the problem other than the politics of appeasement, one that emphasized creating economic demand and consumer confidence by putting consumers back to work. He would have had to stare down those who had wrecked the economy, and he would have had to tolerate their hatred if not welcome it. But the arc of his temperament just didn't bend that far.
Michael August 7, 2011Bill Levine August 7, 2011
Eloquently expressed and horrifically accurate, this excellent analysis articulates the frustration that so many of us have felt watching Mr...AnAverageAmerican August 7, 2011
Very well put. I know that I have been going through Kübler-Ross's stages of grief ever since the foxes (a.k.a. Geithner and Summers) were...cdearman Santa Fe, NM August 7, 2011
"In that context, Americans needed their president to tell them a story that made sense of what they had just been through, what caused it,...SP California August 7, 2011
Unfortunately, the Democratic Congress of 2008-2010, did not have the will to make the economic and social program decisions that would have improved the economic situation for the middle-class; and it is becoming more obvious that President Obama does not have the temperament to publicly push for programs and policies that he wants the congress to enact.
The American people have a problem: we reelect Obama and hope for the best; or we elect a Republican and expect the worst. There is no question that the Health Care law that was just passed would be reversed; Medicare and Medicare would be gutted; and who knows what would happen to Social Security. You can be sure, though, that business taxes and regulation reforms would not be in the cards and those regulations that have been enacted would be reversed. We have traveled this road before and we should be wise enough not to travel it again!farospace san francisco August 7, 2011
Brilliant analysis - and I suspect that a very large number of those who voted for President Obama will recognize in this the thoughts that they have been trying to ignore, or have been trying not to say out loud. Later historians can complete this analysis and attempt to explain exactly why Mr. Obama has turned out the way he has - but right now, it may be time to ask a more relevant and urgent question.
If it is not too late, will a challenger emerge in time before the 2012 elections, or will we be doomed to hold our noses and endure another four years of this?Richard Katz American in Oxford, UK August 7, 2011
Very eloquent and exactly to the point. Like many others, I was enthralled by the rhetoric of his story, making the leap of faith (or hope) that because he could tell his story so well, he could tell, as you put it, "the story the American people were waiting to hear."
Disappointment has darkened into disillusion, disillusion into a species of despair. Will I vote for Barack Obama again? What are the options?An Ordinary American Prague August 7, 2011
This is the most brilliant and tragic story I have read in a long time---in fact, precisely since I read when Ill Fares the Land by Tony Judt. When will a leader emerge with a true moral vision for the federal government and for our country? Someone who sees government as a balance to capitalism, and a means to achieve the social and economic justice that we (yes, we) believe in? Will that leadership arrive before parts of America come to look like the dystopia of Johannesburg?
We (yes, we) recognise that capitalism is the most efficient way to maximise overall prosperity and quality of life. But we also recognise that unfettered, it will ravage the environment, abuse labor, and expand income disparity until violence or tragedy (or both) ensues.
These are the lessons we've learned since the industrial revolution, and they're the ones that we should be drawing from the past decade. We recognise that we need a strong federal government to check these tendencies, and to strike a stable, sustainable balance between prosperity, community, opportunity, wealth, justice, freedom. We need a voice to fill the moral vacuum that has allowed the Koch/Tea/Fox Party to emerge and grab power.
Americans know this---including, of course, President Obama (see his April 13 speech at GW University). But as this article by Dr. Westen so effectively shows, Obama is incompetent to lead us back to America's traditional position on the global economic/political spectrum. He's brilliant and eloquent. He's achieved personal success that is inspirational. He's done some good things as president. But he is not competent to lead us back to a state of American morality, where government is the protector of those who work hard, and the provider of opportunity to all Americans.
Taxes, subsidies, entitlements, laws... these are the tools we have available to achieve our national moral vision. But the vision has been muddled (hijacked?) and that is our biggest problem. -->martin Portland, Oregon August 7, 2011
I voted for Obama. I thought then, and still think, he's a decent person, a smart person, a person who wants to do the best he can for others. When I voted for him, I was thinking he's a centrist who will find a way to unite our increasingly polarized and ugly politics in the USA. Or if not unite us, at least forge a way to get some important things done despite the ugly polarization.
And I must confess, I have been disappointed. Deeply so. He has not united us. He has not forged a way to accomplish what needs to be done. He has not been a leader.
I've heard him called a mediator, a conciliator, a compromiser, etc. Those terms indicate someone who is bringing divergent views together and moving us along. That's part of what a leader does, though not all. Yet I don't think he's even lived up to his reputation as a mediator.
Almost three years after I voted for Obama, I still don't know what he's doing other than trying to help the financial industry: the wealthy who benefit most from it and the technocrats who run it for them. But average working people, people like myself and my daughter and my grandson, have not been helped. We are worse off than before. And millions of unemployed and underemployed are even worse off than my family is.
So whatever else he is (and that still remains a mystery to me), President Obama is not the leader I thought I was voting for. Which leaves me feeling confused and close to apathetic about what to do as a voter in 2012. More of the same isn't worth voting for. Yet I don't see anyone out there who offers the possibility of doing better.
This was an extraordinarily well written, eloquent and comprehensive indictment of the failure of the Obama presidency.
If a credible primary challenger to Obama ever could arise, the positions and analysis in this column would be all he or she would need to justify the Democratic party's need to seek new leadership.
I knew that Obama was a charade early on when giving a speech about the banking failures to the nation, instead of giving the narrative Mr. Westen accurately recommended on the origins of the orgy of greed that just crippled our economy and caused suffering for millions of Americans, he said "we don't disparage wealth in America." I was dumbfounded.
He should have been condemning the craven, wanton, greed of nihilistic financial gangsters who hijacked our economy. Instead he seemed to be calling for all Americans not to hate rich people. That was not the point. Americans don't hate rich people, but they should hate rich people who acquire their wealth at the expense of the well being of an entire nation through irresponsible, avaricious, and in some instances illegal practices, and legally bribe politicians to enact laws which allow them to run amok over our economy without supervision or regulation.
I knew then that Obama was either a political lemon, in over his head, an extremely conflict averse neurotic individual with a compulsive need for some delusional ideal of neutrality in political and social relations, or a political phony beholden to the same forces that almost destroyed the country as Republicans are.
Perhaps all of these are true.
Dec 26, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.comEMichael : December 26, 2016 at 12:47 PM , 2016 at 12:47 PMYou guys should wake up and smell what country you live in. Here is a good place to start.im1dc : , December 26, 2016 at 01:51 PM
"Campaigning for president in 1980, Ronald Reagan told stories of Cadillac-driving "welfare queens" and "strapping young bucks" buying T-bone steaks with food stamps. In trumpeting these tales of welfare run amok, Reagan never needed to mention race, because he was blowing a dog whistle: sending a message about racial minorities inaudible on one level, but clearly heard on another. In doing so, he tapped into a long political tradition that started with George Wallace and Richard Nixon, and is more relevant than ever in the age of the Tea Party and the first black president.
In Dog Whistle Politics, Ian Haney L?pez offers a sweeping account of how politicians and plutocrats deploy veiled racial appeals to persuade white voters to support policies that favor the extremely rich yet threaten their own interests. Dog whistle appeals generate middle-class enthusiasm for political candidates who promise to crack down on crime, curb undocumented immigration, and protect the heartland against Islamic infiltration, but ultimately vote to slash taxes for the rich, give corporations regulatory control over industry and financial markets, and aggressively curtail social services. White voters, convinced by powerful interests that minorities are their true enemies, fail to see the connection between the political agendas they support and the surging wealth inequality that takes an increasing toll on their lives. The tactic continues at full force, with the Republican Party using racial provocations to drum up enthusiasm for weakening unions and public pensions, defunding public schools, and opposing health care reform.
Rejecting any simple story of malevolent and obvious racism, Haney L?pez links as never before the two central themes that dominate American politics today: the decline of the middle class and the Republican Party's increasing reliance on white voters. Dog Whistle Politics will generate a lively and much-needed debate about how racial politics has destabilized the American middle class -- white and nonwhite members alike."
https://www.amazon.com/Dog-Whistle-Politics-Appeals-Reinvented-ebook/dp/B00GHJNSMUReading the above posts I am reminded that in November there was ONE Election with TWO Results:likbez : December 26, 2016 at 02:49 PM , 2016 at 02:49 PM
Electoral Vote for Donald Trump by the margin of 3 formerly Democratic Voting states Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania
Popular Vote for Hillary Clinton by over 2.8 Million
The Democratic Party and its Candidates OBVIOUSLY need to get more votes in the Electoral States that they lost in 2016, not change what they stand for, the principles of fair and equal play for all.
And, in the 3 States that turned the Electoral Vote in Trump's favor and against Hillary, all that is needed are 125,000 or more votes, probably fewer, and the DEMS win the Electoral vote big too.
It is not any more complex than that.
So how does the Democratic Party get more votes in those States?
PANDER to their voters by delivering on KISS, not talking about it.
That is create living wage jobs and not taking them away as the Republican Party of 'Free Trade' and the Clinton Democratic Party 'Free Trade' Elites did.
Understand this: It is not the responsibility of the USA, or in its best interests, to create jobs in other nations (Mexico, Japan, China, Canada, Israel, etc.) that do not create jobs in the USA equivalently, especially if the gain is offset by costly overseas confrontations and involvements that would not otherwise exist.You are dreaming:
"The Democratic Party and its Candidates OBVIOUSLY need to get more votes in the Electoral States that they lost in 2016, not change what they stand for, the principles of fair and equal play for all. "
The Democratic Party as a Party (Sanders was an outlier) has nothing to do with "fair and equal play for all". This is a party of soft neoliberals and it adheres to Washington consensus no less then Republicans. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington_Consensus
If you read the key postulates it is clear that that they essentially behaved like an occupier in this country. In this sense "Occupy Wall street" movement should actually be called "Liberation from Wall Street occupation" movement.
Bill Clinton realized that he can betray working class with impunity as "they have nowhere to go" and will vote for Democrat anyway. In this sense Bill Clinton is a godfather of the right wing nationalism in the USA. He sowed the "Teeth's of Dragon" and now we have, what we have.
Nov 30, 2016 | angrybearblog.com
What follows is from Today's Democratic Party: Meeting America's Challenges, Protecting America's Values , a.k.a., the 1996 Democratic Party Platform. This is the section on immigration. I took the liberty of bolding pieces I found interesting.
Democrats remember that we are a nation of immigrants. We recognize the extraordinary contribution of immigrants to America throughout our history. We welcome legal immigrants to America. We support a legal immigration policy that is pro-family, pro-work, pro-responsibility, and pro-citizenship , and we deplore those who blame immigrants for economic and social problems.
We know that citizenship is the cornerstone of full participation in American life. We are proud that the President launched Citizenship USA to help eligible immigrants become United States citizens. The Immigration and Naturalization Service is streamlining procedures, cutting red tape, and using new technology to make it easier for legal immigrants to accept the responsibilities of citizenship and truly call America their home.
Today's Democratic Party also believes we must remain a nation of laws. We cannot tolerate illegal immigration and we must stop it. For years before Bill Clinton became President, Washington talked tough but failed to act. In 1992, our borders might as well not have existed. The border was under-patrolled, and what patrols there were, were under-equipped. Drugs flowed freely. Illegal immigration was rampant. Criminal immigrants, deported after committing crimes in America, returned the very next day to commit crimes again.
President Clinton is making our border a place where the law is respected and drugs and illegal immigrants are turned away. We have increased the Border Patrol by over 40 percent; in El Paso, our Border Patrol agents are so close together they can see each other. Last year alone, the Clinton Administration removed thousands of illegal workers from jobs across the country. Just since January of 1995, we have arrested more than 1,700 criminal aliens and prosecuted them on federal felony charges because they returned to America after having been deported.
However, as we work to stop illegal immigration, we call on all Americans to avoid the temptation to use this issue to divide people from each other. We deplore those who use the need to stop illegal immigration as a pretext for discrimination . And we applaud the wisdom of Republicans like Mayor Giuliani and Senator Domenici who oppose the mean-spirited and short-sighted effort of Republicans in Congress to bar the children of illegal immigrants from schools - it is wrong, and forcing children onto the streets is an invitation for them to join gangs and turn to crime.
Democrats want to protect American jobs by increasing criminal and civil sanctions against employers who hire illegal workers , but Republicans continue to favor inflammatory rhetoric over real action. We will continue to enforce labor standards to protect workers in vulnerable industries. We continue to firmly oppose welfare benefits for illegal immigrants. We believe family members who sponsor immigrants into this country should take financial responsibility for them, and be held legally responsible for supporting them.
Nov 18, 2016 | crookedtimber.org
bruce wilder 11.16.16 at 10:07 pm 30
At the center of Great Depression politics was a political struggle over the distribution of income, a struggle that was only decisively resolved during the War, by the Great Compression. It was at center of farm policy where policymakers struggled to find ways to support farm incomes. It was at the center of industrial relations politics, where rapidly expanding unions were seeking higher industrial wages. It was at the center of banking policy, where predatory financial practices were under attack. It was at the center of efforts to regulate electric utility rates and establish public power projects. And, everywhere, the clear subtext was a struggle between rich and poor, the economic royalists as FDR once called them and everyone else.
FDR, an unmistakeable patrician in manner and pedigree, was leading a not-quite-revolutionary politics, which was nevertheless hostile to and suspicious of business elites, as a source of economic pathology. The New Deal did not seek to overthrow the plutocracy, but it did seek to side-step and disable their dominance.
It seems to me that while neoliberalism on the right was much the same old same old, the neoliberal turn on the left was marked by a measured abandonment of this struggle over the distribution of income between the classes. In the U.S., the Democrats gradually abandoned their populist commitments. In Europe, the labour and socialist parties gradually abandoned class struggle.
In retrospect, though the New Deal did use direct employment as a means of relief to good effect economically and politically, it never undertook anything like a Keynesian stimulus on a Keynesian scale - at least until the War.
Where the New Deal witnessed the institution of an elaborate system of financial repression, accomplished in large part by imposing on the financial sector an explicitly mandated structure, with types of firms and effective limits on firm size and scope, a series of regulatory reforms and financial crises beginning with Carter and Reagan served to wipe this structure away.
When Obama came in, in 2008 amid the unfolding GFC, one of the most remarkable features of his economic team was the extent to which it conceded control of policy entirely to the leading money center banks. Geithner and Bernanke continued in power with Geithner moving from the New York Federal Reserve (where he served as I recall under a Chair from Goldman Sachs) to Treasury in the Obama Administration, but Geithner's Treasury was staffed from Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and Citibank. The crisis served to concentrate banking assets in the hands of the top five banks, but it seemed also to transfer political power entirely into their hands as well. Simon Johnson called it a coup.
I don't know what considerations guided Obama in choosing the size of the stimulus or its composition (as spending and tax cuts). Larry Summers was identified at the time as a voice of caution, not "gambling", but not much is known about his detailed reasoning in severely trimming Christina Romer's entirely conventional calculations. (One consideration might well have been worldwide resource shortages, which had made themselves felt in 2007-8 as an inflationary spike in commodity prices.) I do not see a case for connecting stimulus size policy to the health care reform. At the time the stimulus was proposed, the Administration had also been considering whether various big banks and other financial institutions should be nationalized, forced to insolvency or otherwise restructured as part of a regulatory reform.
Here's the thing: the globalization and financialization of the economy from roughly 1980 drove both increasingly extreme distribution of income and de-industrialization. Accelerating the financialization of the economy from 1999 on made New York and Washington rich, but the same economic policies and process were devastating the Rust Belt as de-industrialization. They were two aspects of the same complex of economic trends and policies. The rise of China as a manufacturing center was, in critical respects, a financial operation within the context of globalized trade that made investment in new manufacturing plant in China, as part of globalized supply chains and global brand management, (arguably artificially) low-risk and high-profit, while reinvestment in manufacturing in the American mid-west became unattractive, except as a game of extracting tax subsidies or ripping off workers.
It was characteristic of neoliberalism that the policy, policy intention and policy consequences were hidden behind a rhetoric of markets and technological inevitability. Matt Stoller has identified this as the statecraft of neoliberalism: the elimination of political agency and responsibility for economic performance and outcomes. Globalization and financialization were just "forces" that just happened, in a meteorological economics.
It is conceding too many good intentions to the Obama Administration to tie an inadequate stimulus to a Rube Goldberg health care reform as the origin story for the final debacle of Democratic neoliberal politics. There was a delicate balancing act going on, but they were not balancing the recovery of the economy in general so much as they were balancing the recovery from insolvency of a highly inefficient and arguably predatory financial sector, which was also not incidentally financing the institutional core of the Democratic Party and staffing many key positions in the Administration and in the regulatory apparatus.
This was not your grandfather's Democratic Party and it was a Democratic Party that could aid the working class and the Rust Belt only within fairly severe and sometimes sharply conflicting constraints.
No one in the Democratic Party had much institutional incentive to connect the dots, and draw attention to the acute conflicts over the distribution of income and wealth involved in financialization of the economy (including financialization as a driver of health care costs). And, that makes the political problem that much harder, because there are no resources for rhetorical and informational clarity or coherence.
bruce wilder 11.16.16 at 10:33 pm ( 31 )The short version of my thinking on the Obama stimulus is this: Keynesian stimulus spending is a free lunch; it doesn't really matter what you spend money on up to a very generous point, so it seems ready-made for legislative log-rolling. If Obama could not get a very big stimulus indeed thru a Democratic Congress long out of power, Obama wasn't really trying. And, well-chosen spending on pork barrel projects is popular and gets Congressional critters re-elected. So, again, if the stimulus is small and the Democratic Congress doesn't get re-elected, Obama isn't really trying.
Again, it comes down to: by 2008, the Democratic Party is not a fit vehicle for populism, because it has become a neoliberal vehicle for giant banks. Turns out that makes a policy difference.
likbez 11.18.16 at 4:48 pm 121bruce wilder 11.16.16 at 10:07 pm 30
Great comment. Simply great. Hat tip to the author !
"… The New Deal did not seek to overthrow the plutocracy, but it did seek to side-step and disable their dominance. …"
"… It seems to me that while neoliberalism on the right was much the same old same old, the neoliberal turn on the left was marked by a measured abandonment of this struggle over the distribution of income between the classes. In the U.S., the Democrats gradually abandoned their populist commitments. In Europe, the labour and socialist parties gradually abandoned class struggle. …"
"… When Obama came in, in 2008 amid the unfolding GFC, one of the most remarkable features of his economic team was the extent to which it conceded control of policy entirely to the leading money center banks. Geithner and Bernanke continued in power with Geithner moving from the New York Federal Reserve (where he served as I recall under a Chair from Goldman Sachs) to Treasury in the Obama Administration, but Geithner's Treasury was staffed from Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and Citibank. The crisis served to concentrate banking assets in the hands of the top five banks, but it seemed also to transfer political power entirely into their hands as well. Simon Johnson called it a coup. … "
"… Here's the thing: the globalization and financialization of the economy from roughly 1980 drove both increasingly extreme distribution of income and de-industrialization. …"
"… It was characteristic of neoliberalism that the policy, policy intention and policy consequences were hidden behind a rhetoric of markets and technological inevitability. Matt Stoller has identified this as the statecraft of neoliberalism: the elimination of political agency and responsibility for economic performance and outcomes. Globalization and financialization were just "forces" that just happened, in a meteorological economics. …"
"… This was not your grandfather's Democratic Party and it was a Democratic Party that could aid the working class and the Rust Belt only within fairly severe and sometimes sharply conflicting constraints. …"
"… No one in the Democratic Party had much institutional incentive to connect the dots, and draw attention to the acute conflicts over the distribution of income and wealth involved in financialization of the economy (including financialization as a driver of health care costs). And, that makes the political problem that much harder, because there are no resources for rhetorical and informational clarity or coherence. …"
"… If Obama could not get a very big stimulus indeed thru a Democratic Congress long out of power, Obama wasn't really trying. And, well-chosen spending on pork barrel projects is popular and gets Congressional critters re-elected. So, again, if the stimulus is small and the Democratic Congress doesn't get re-elected, Obama isn't really trying. …"
"… Again, it comes down to: by 2008, the Democratic Party is not a fit vehicle for populism, because it has become a neoliberal vehicle for giant banks. Turns out that makes a policy difference. …"
Nov 14, 2016 | discussion.theguardian.comweejonnie Intheround 11h ago ...In the last 8 years the Democrat party.
Lost control of the Senate
Lost control of the House of Representatives
Lost control of dozens of state legislatures and Governorships.
The Republicans control 36 States of America - One more and they could in theory amend the Constitution.
In Wisconsin (notionally Democrat) the Legislature and Governor are both Republican controlled. And Clinton didn't even campaign there when it was pretty obvious the State was not trending towards her.
Nov 11, 2016 | crookedtimber.org
kidneystones 11.10.16 at 10:39 am 161
... .. ...
@138 The woman is wrong. Chelsea Clinton was not paid $600 k from the Clinton Foundation. Chelsea Clinton was paid $600 k per year from 2011 by NBC for 'work' as a special correspondent, whilst also pocketing $300 k per year plus stock options as a 'board member' of IAC. Chelsea's speaking fees were a mere $65 k per.
The NYT offers a more severe critique of the IAC board deal readable by clicking through the links. There will be those who see nothing improper about a fifth-estate firm paying a 31 year-old graduate student $600 k, or awarding her a board seat and stock options at $300k. Others may disagree, and perhaps with some good reason.
The defeat of the democratic candidate by a rodeo clown is a slap in the face. Contra Manta @71 I do not believe that anything less than a slap in the face of this order would be enough to jar the successful and well-fed out of their state of complacency and indifference to the plight of both the blacks and whites left behind by 8 years of Democratic rule, and far longer when we're talking about urban African-Americans.
As noted, I believe the Republican candidate to be far and away the more sober, safer choice both on domestic and foreign policy. Now we'll find out.
Thanks for the kind words to Rich, Bruce, T, bob mc, and others.
Best to you all.
Nov 11, 2016 | www.moonofalabama.orgKen Nari | Nov 11, 2016 2:51:53 PM | 55Susan Sunflower @ 48h | Nov 11, 2016 2:53:37 PM | 56
Disgusting as it is, yes, my understanding is Obama can do exactly that. My guess is, want to or not, he probably will come under so much pressure he will have to pass out plenty of pardons. Or maybe Lynch will give everyone involved in the Clinton Foundation immunity to testify and then seal the testimony -- or never bother to get any testimony. So many games.
For Obama, it might not even take all that much pressure. From about his second day in office, from his body language, he's always looked like he was scared.
Instead of keeping his mouth shut, which he would do, being the lawyer he is, Giuliani has been screaming for the Clintons' scalps. That's exactly what a sharp lawyer would do if he was trying to force Obama to pardon them. If he really meant to get them he would be agreeing with the FBI, saying there doesn't seem to be any evidence of wrong doing, and then change his mind once (if) he's AG and it's too late for deals.
With so many lawyers, Obama, the Clintons, Lynch, Giuliani, Comey, no justice is likely to come out of this.
Maybe I saw the question about a 9/11 investigation on the other thread, but someone here asked if this is true. Well, it appears to be on a burner -jdmckay | Nov 11, 2016 2:58:20 PM | 57
Ken Nari @ 55Mina | Nov 11, 2016 3:03:16 PM | 58
From what I've read, prez pardon comes with explicit admission of guilt. Highly questionable either (or both) Clintons would accept that.
Simply brilliantSusan Sunflower | Nov 11, 2016 3:12:12 PM | 59
(it could be on the other thread, sorry)
@ Posted by: Ken Nari | Nov 11, 2016 2:51:53 PM | 55
I heard a podcast on Batchelor with Charles Ortel which explained some things -- even if there are no obvious likely criminal smoking guns -- given that foundations get away with a lot of "leniency" because they are charities, incomplete financial statements and chartering documents, as I recall. I was most interested in his description of the number of jurisdictions the Foundation was operating under, some of whom, like New York were already investigating; and others, foreign who might or might be, who also have very serious regulations, opening the possibility that if the Feds drop their investigation, New York (with very very strict law) might proceed, and that they might well be investigated (prosecuted/banned??) in Europe.
The most recent leak wrt internal practices was just damning ... it sounded like a playground of favors and sinecures ... no human resources department, no written policies on many practices ...
This was an internal audit and OLD (2008, called "the Gibson Review") so corrective action may have been taken, but I thought was damning enough to deter many donors (even before Hillary's loss removed that incentive) particularly on top of the Band (2011) memo. Unprofessional to the extreme.
It's part of my vast relief that Clinton lost and will not be in our lives 24/7/365 for the next 4 years. (I think Trump is an unprincipled horror, but that's as may be, I'm not looking for a fight). After the mess Clinton made of Haiti (and the accusations/recriminations) I somehow thought they'd have been more careful with their "legacy" -- given that it was founded in 1997, 2008 is a very long time to be operating without written procedures wrt donations, employment
from 11/08/2016, Batchelor segment page
Oct 29, 2016 | www.unz.com54 Comments Credit: VDare.com.
A couple of remarks in Professor Susan McWillams' recent Modern Age piece celebrating the 25th anniversary of Christopher Lasch's 1991 book The True and Only Heaven , which analyzed the cult of progress in its American manifestation, have stuck in my mind. Here's the first one:
In the most recent American National Election Studies survey, only 19 percent of Americans agreed with the idea that the government, "is run for the benefit of all the people." [ The True and Only Lasch: On The True and Only Heaven, 25 Years Later , Fall 2016]
McWilliams adds a footnote to that: The 19 percent figure is from 2012, she says. Then she tells us that in 1964, 64 percent of Americans agreed with the same statement.
Wow. You have to think that those two numbers, from 64 percent down to 19 percent in two generations, tell us something important and disturbing about our political life.
Second McWilliams quote:
In 2016 if you type the words "Democrats and Republicans" or "Republicans and Democrats" into Google, the algorithms predict your next words will be "are the same".
I just tried this, and she's right. These guesses are of course based on the frequency with which complete sentences show up all over the internet. An awful lot of people out there think we live in a one-party state-that we're ruled by what is coming to be called the "Uniparty."
There is a dawning realization, ever more widespread among ordinary Americans, that our national politics is not Left versus Right or Republican versus Democrat; it's we the people versus the politicians.
Which leads me to a different lady commentator: Peggy Noonan, in her October 20th Wall Street Journal column.
The title of Peggy's piece was: Imagine a Sane Donald Trump . [ Alternate link ]Its gravamen: Donald Trump has shown up the Republican Party Establishment as totally out of touch with their base, which is good; but that he's bat-poop crazy, which is bad. If a sane Donald Trump had done the good thing, the showing-up, we'd be on course to a major beneficial correction in our national politics.
It's a good clever piece. A couple of months ago on Radio Derb I offered up one and a half cheers for Peggy, who gets a lot right in spite of being a longtime Establishment Insider. So it was here. Sample of what she got right last week:
Mr. Trump's great historical role was to reveal to the Republican Party what half of its own base really thinks about the big issues. The party's leaders didn't know! They were shocked, so much that they indulged in sheer denial and made believe it wasn't happening.
The party's leaders accept more or less open borders and like big trade deals. Half the base does not! It is longtime GOP doctrine to cut entitlement spending. Half the base doesn't want to, not right now! Republican leaders have what might be called assertive foreign-policy impulses. When Mr. Trump insulted George W. Bush and nation-building and said he'd opposed the Iraq invasion, the crowds, taking him at his word, cheered. He was, as they say, declaring that he didn't want to invade the world and invite the world. Not only did half the base cheer him, at least half the remaining half joined in when the primaries ended.
I'll just pause to note Peggy's use of Steve Sailer' s great encapsulation of Bush-style NeoConnery: "Invade the world, invite the world." Either Peggy's been reading Steve on the sly, or she's read my book We Are Doomed , which borrows that phrase. I credited Steve with it, though, so in either case she knows its provenance, and should likewise have credited Steve.
End of pause. OK, so Peggy got some things right there. She got a lot wrong, though
Start with the notion that Trump is crazy. He's a nut, she says, five times. His brain is "a TV funhouse."
Well, Trump has some colorful quirks of personality, to be sure, as we all do. But he's no nut. A nut can't be as successful in business as Trump has been.
I spent 32 years as an employee or contractor, mostly in private businesses but for two years in a government department. Private businesses are intensely rational, as human affairs go-much more rational than government departments. The price of irrationality in business is immediate and plainly financial. Sanity-wise, Trump is a better bet than most people in high government positions.
Sure, politicians talk a good rational game. They present as sober and thoughtful on the Sunday morning shows.
Look at the stuff they believe, though. Was it rational to respond to the collapse of the U.S.S.R. by moving NATO right up to Russia's borders? Was it rational to expect that post-Saddam Iraq would turn into a constitutional democracy? Was it rational to order insurance companies to sell healthcare policies to people who are already sick? Was the Vietnam War a rational enterprise? Was it rational to respond to the 9/11 attacks by massively increasing Muslim immigration?
Make your own list.
Donald Trump displays good healthy patriotic instincts. I'll take that, with the personality quirks and all, over some earnest, careful, sober-sided guy whose head contains fantasies of putting the world to rights, or flooding our country with unassimilable foreigners.
I'd add the point, made by many commentators, that belongs under the general heading: "You don't have to be crazy to work here, but it helps." If Donald Trump was not so very different from run-of-the-mill politicians-which I suspect is a big part of what Peggy means by calling him a nut-would he have entered into the political adventure he's on?
Thor Heyerdahl sailed across the Pacific on a hand-built wooden raft to prove a point, which is not the kind of thing your average ethnographer would do. Was he crazy? No, he wasn't. It was only that some feature of his personality drove him to use that way to prove the point he hoped to prove.
And then there is Peggy's assertion that the Republican Party's leaders didn't know that half the party's base were at odds with them.
Did they really not? Didn't they get a clue when the GOP lost in 2012, mainly because millions of Republican voters didn't turn out for Mitt Romney? Didn't they, come to think of it, get the glimmering of a clue back in 1996, when Pat Buchanan won the New Hampshire primary?
Pat Buchanan is in fact a living counter-argument to Peggy's thesis-the "sane Donald Trump" that she claims would win the hearts of GOP managers. Pat is Trump without the personality quirks. How has the Republican Party treated him ?
Our own Brad Griffin , here at VDARE.com on October 24th, offered a couple more "sane Donald Trumps": Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee. How did they fare with the GOP Establishment?
Donald Trump is no nut. If he were a nut, he would not have amassed the fortune he has, nor nurtured the capable and affectionate family he has. Probably he's less well-informed about the world than the average pol. I doubt he could tell you what the capital of Burkina Faso is. That's secondary, though. A President has people to look up that stuff for him. The question that's been asked more than any other about Donald Trump is not, pace Peggy Noonan, "Is he nuts?" but, " Is he conservative? "
I'm sure he is. But my definition of "conservative" is temperamental, not political. My touchstone here is the sketch of the conservative temperament given to us by the English political philosopher Michael Oakeshott :
To be conservative, then, is to prefer the familiar to the unknown, to prefer the tried to the untried, fact to mystery, the actual to the possible, the limited to the unbounded, the near to the distant, the sufficient to the superabundant, the convenient to the perfect, present laughter to utopian bliss.
Rationalism in Politics and other essays (1962)
That fits Trump better than it fits any liberal you can think of-better also than many senior Republicans.For example, it was one of George W. Bush's senior associates-probably Karl Rove-who scoffed at opponents of Bush's delusional foreign policy as "the reality-based community." It would be hard to think of a more un -Oakeshottian turn of phrase.
Trump has all the right instincts. And he's had the guts and courage-and, just as important, the money -to do a thing that has badly needed doing for twenty years: to smash the power of the real nuts in the GOP Establishment.
I thank him for that, and look forward to his Presidency.
Nov 03, 2016 | www.thehill.comTwo sources with intimate knowledge of the FBI's investigations told Fox News Wednesday that a probe of the Clinton Foundation is likely to lead to an indictment.
Fox News's Bret Baier said Wednesday that the FBI probe into a possible pay-to-play scheme between Democratic presidential nominee and the Clinton Foundation has been going on for over a year. Sources told the news network that the investigation, which is conducted by the White Collar Crime division of the FBI, is a "very high priority."
One source further stated that the bureau collected "a lot of" evidence, adding that "there is an avalanche of new information coming every day." Baier also said that the Clinton Foundation probe is more expansive than previously thought, and that many individuals have been interviewed several times throughout the course of the investigation. Sources said that they are "actively and aggressively pursuing this case" and that investigations are likely to continue. Baier added that when he pressed the sources about the details of both probes, they told him that they are likely to lead to an indictment. Additionally, Baier reported that according to Fox News's sources, Clinton's private email server had been breached by at least five foreign intelligence hackers. FBI Director James Comey said in July that he could not say definitively whether her server had been breached.
Nov 03, 2016 | www.zerohedge.comIt's looking increasingly like there is an ongoing mutiny underway within the FBI as the Wall Street Journal is reporting that, according to "officials at multiple agencies", FBI agents felt they had adequate evidence, including "secret recordings of a suspect talking about the Clinton Foundation" , to pursue an investigation of the Clinton Foundation but were repeatedly obstructed by officials at the Department of Justice.
Secret recordings of a suspect talking about the Clinton Foundation fueled an internal battle between FBI agents who wanted to pursue the case and corruption prosecutors who viewed the statements as worthless hearsay, people familiar with the matter said.
The roots of the dispute lie in a disagreement over the strength of the case, these people said, which broadly centered on whether Clinton Foundation contributors received favorable treatment from the State Department under Hillary Clinton.
Senior officials in the Justice Department and the FBI didn't think much of the evidence, while investigators believed they had promising leads their bosses wouldn't let them pursue , they said.
Despite clear signals from the Justice Department to abandon the Clinton Foundation inquiries, many FBI agents refused to stand down. Then, earlier this year in February 2016, the FBI presented initial evidence at a meeting with Leslie Caldwell, the head of the DOJ's criminal division, after which agents were delivered a clear message that "we're done here." But, as the WSJ points out, DOJ became increasing frustrated with FBI agents that were " disregarding or disobeying their instructions" which subsequently prompted an emphatic "stand down" message from the DOJ to "all the offices involved."
As 2015 came to a close, the FBI and Justice Department had a general understanding that neither side would take major action on Clinton Foundation matters without meeting and discussing it first. In February, a meeting was held in Washington among FBI officials, public-integrity prosecutors and Leslie Caldwell, the head of the Justice Department's criminal division. Prosecutors from the Eastern District of New York-Mr. Capers' office-didn't attend, these people said.
The public-integrity prosecutors weren't impressed with the FBI presentation, people familiar with the discussion said. "The message was, 'We're done here,' " a person familiar with the matter said.
Justice Department officials became increasingly frustrated that the agents seemed to be disregarding or disobeying their instructions.
Following the February meeting, officials at Justice Department headquarters sent a message to all the offices involved to " stand down ,'' a person familiar with the matter said.
The FBI had secretly recorded conversations of a suspect in a public-corruption case talking about alleged deals the Clintons made , these people said. The agents listening to the recordings couldn't tell from the conversations if what the suspect was describing was accurate, but it was, they thought, worth checking out.
www.breitbart.comIn an interview with House magazine, Lord Richards of Herstmonceux – the former Chief of the Defence staff – said Mr. Trump is "wise enough to get good people round him and probably knows that he's got to listen to them and therefore I think we should not automatically think it will be less safe".
He added: "It's non-state actors like Isis that are the biggest threat to our security. If countries and states could coalesce better to deal with these people – and I think Trump's instinct is to go down that route – then I think there's the case for saying that the world certainly won't be any less safe.
"It's that lack of understanding and empathy with each other as big power players that is a risk to us all at the moment.
"Therefore I think he would reinvigorate big power relationships, which might make the world ironically safer."
During the interview Lord Richards also discussed the somewhat controversial view that the West should partner with Russia and Bashar al-Assad to take back the Syrian city of Aleppo.
He said: "If the humanitarian situation in Syria is our major concern, which it should be – millions of lives have been ruined, hundreds of thousands have been killed – I believe there is a strong case for allowing Assad to get in there and take the city back.
"The opposition groups – many of whom are not friends of ours, they're extremists – are now intermingled with the original good opposition groups, are fighting from amongst the people. The only quick way of solving it is to allow Assad to win. There's no way the opposition groups are going to win."
Lord Richards added: "We want the humanitarian horror of Aleppo to come to a rapid halt. The best and quickest way of doing that is to encourage the opposition groups to leave. The Russians are undoubtedly using their weapons indiscriminately. If they're going to attack those groups then there is inevitably going to be civilian casualties.
"The alternative is for the West to declare a no-fly zone and that means you've got to be prepared to go to war with Russia ultimately. I see no appetite for that and nor, frankly, do I see much sense in it. It sticks in my throat to say it because I have no love for Assad.
"The fact is, the only way to get it to stop now is to allow Assad to win and win quickly and then turn on Isis with the Russians."
Fox News Channel's Bret Baier reports the latest news about the Clinton Foundation investigation from two sources inside the FBI. He reveals five important new pieces of information in these two short clips:
Nov 03, 2016 | www.zerohedge.com. . . _ _ _ . . . Nov 3, 2016 9:24 AM ," Podesta is also the appointed Congressional lobbyist for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – for the modest amount of $200,000 per month."
Zero HedgeNow that thanks to first the WSJ, and then Fox News, the public is aware that a probe into the Clinton Foundation is not only a hot topic for both the FBI and the DOJ (and has managed to split the law enforcement organizations along ideological party lines), but is also actively ongoing despite the DOJ's attempts to squash it.
In the latest update from Fox's Bret Baier, we learn that the Clinton Foundation investigation has now taken a "very high priority," perhaps courtesy of new documents revealed by Wikileaks which expressed not only a collusive element between Teneo, the Clinton Foundation and the "charitable foundation's" donors, which included the use of funds for personal gain, but also revealed deep reservations by people within the foundation about ongoing conflicts of interest.
As Baier also notes, the Clinton Foundation probe has been proceeding for more than a year, led by the White-Collar Crime division.
White Collar Crime Unit pursuing @ClintonFdn case. pic.twitter.com/PLgNLfF08K
- Fox News (@FoxNews) November 3, 2016
Fox adds that even before the WikiLeaks dumps of alleged emails linked to the Clinton campaign, FBI agents had collected a great deal of evidence, and FBI agents have interviewed and re-interviewed multiple people regarding the case.
"There is an avalanche of new information coming in every day," one source told Fox News, adding some of the new information is coming from the WikiLeaks documents and new emails.
FBI agents are "actively and aggressively pursuing this case," and will be going back and interviewing the same people again, some for the third time, Baier's sources said. Agents also are going through what Clinton and top aides have said in previous interviews as well as the FBI 302 documents, which agents use to report interviews they conduct, to make sure notes line up, according to sources.
As expected, the Clinton Foundation denied everything, and Foundation spokesman, Craig Minassian, told Fox news a statement: "We're not aware of any investigation into the Foundation by the Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, or any United States Attorney's Office and we have not received a subpoena from any of those agencies."
.@ClintonFdn on @WSJ report. pic.twitter.com/8ZqSTDP8sS
- Fox News (@FoxNews) November 3, 2016
Now that details of the infighting between the DOJ and FBI regarding the Foundation probe have been made public, Loretta Lynch may have no choice but to launch an official probe, including subpoeans.
The information follows a report over the weekend by The Wall Street Journal that four FBI field offices have been collecting information about the foundation. The probes – in addition to the revived email investigation – have fueled renewed warnings from Republicans that if Clinton is elected next week, she could take office under a cloud of investigations.
"This is not just going to go away … if she ends up winning the election," Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" earlier this week.
Donald Trump has referenced this scenario, repeatedly saying on the stump this past week that her election could trigger a "crisis."
Separately, Fox News reports that authorities also are virtually certain, i.e., "there is about a 99 percent chance", that up to five foreign intelligence agencies may have accessed and taken emails from Hillary Clinton's private server, two separate sources with intimate knowledge of the FBI investigations told Fox News. If so, it would suggest that the original FBI probe - which found no evidence of breach - was either incomplete or tampered with.
The revelation led House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul to describe Clinton's handling of her email system during her tenure as secretary of state as "treason."
"She exposed [information] to our enemies," McCaul said on "Fox & Friends" Thursday morning. "Our adversaries have this very sensitive information. … In my opinion, quite frankly, it's treason."
McCaul, R-Texas, said that FBI Director James Comey told him previously that foreign adversaries likely had gotten into her server. When Comey publicly discussed the Clinton email case back in July, he also said that while there was no evidence hostile actors breached the server, it was "possible" they had gained access.
Clinton herself later pushed back, saying the director was merely "speculating."
But sources told Fox News that Comey should have said at the time there is an "almost certainty" that several foreign intelligence agencies hacked into the server.
The claims come as Comey's FBI not only revisits the email investigation following the discovery of additional emails on the laptop of ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner – the estranged husband of Clinton aide Huma Abedin – but is proceeding in its investigation of the Clinton Foundation.
In other words, Anthony Weiner may be ultimately responsible not only for the downfall of Hillary Clinton's presidential candidacy, but also the collapse of the entire Clinton Foundation... which incidentally is just what Donald Trump warned could happen over a year ago.
A summary of Baier's latest reporting is in the clip below...
The FBI has unexpectedly published papers from an over ten-year-old investigation of former president Bill Clinton's controversial pardon of a financier, reports NTB.
The case against Clinton was dismissed without charges in 2005, and several Democrats therefore question why the 129-page report of the investigation is published right now, a few days before the election, in which Bill Clinton's wife Hillary Clinton is trying to become president.
The rage against the FBI is already great in the Democratic Party after the federal police last week announced they will investigate new emails relating to Hillary Clinton.
Financier Marc Rich was indicted for tax fraud and lived in exile in Switzerland when Bill Clinton pardoned him on his last day as president on January 20, 2001. Several reacted to the pardon, especially since Rich's ex-wife was a major donor to the Democratic Party.
The FBI started to investigate the pardon the year after.
Nov 03, 2016 | speisa.com
A second FBI investigation involving Hillary Clinton is ongoing. The investigation to uncover corruption by the Clinton Foundation and Hillary Clinton, is given high priority and now runs parallel with the reopened FBI case of her using a private email server to avoid the Federal Records Act.
The FBI's investigation into the Clinton Foundation that has been going on for more than a year has now taken a "very high priority," separate sources with intimate knowledge of the probe tell Fox News .
FBI agents have interviewed and re-interviewed multiple people on the foundation case, which is looking into possible pay for play interaction between then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation. The FBI's White Collar Crime Division is handling the investigation.
Even before the WikiLeaks dumps of alleged emails linked to the Clinton campaign, FBI agents had collected a great deal of evidence, law enforcement sources tell Fox News.
"There is an avalanche of new information coming in every day," one source told Fox News, who added some of the new information is coming from the WikiLeaks documents and new emails.
FBI agents are "actively and aggressively pursuing this case," and will be going back and interviewing the same people again, some for the third time, sources said.
Agents are also going through what Clinton and top aides have said in previous interviews and the FBI 302, documents agents use to report interviews they conduct, to make sure notes line up, according to sources.
Oct 30, 2016 | www.breitbart.comFBI investigators from across the country have been following leads into reports of bribery involving the Clinton Foundation. Multiple field offices have been involved in the investigation.
A report in Sunday's Wall Street Journal (WSJ) by Devlin Barrett revealed that agents assigned to the New York field office have been carrying the bulk of the work in investigating the Clinton Foundations. They have received assistance from the FBI field office in Little Rock according to "people familiar with the matter, the WSJ reported. Other offices, including Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., have been collecting evidence to regarding "financial crimes or influence-peddling."
As far back as February 2016, FBI agents made presentation to the Department of Justice (DOJ), the WSJ's sources stated. "The meeting didn't go well," they wrote. While some sources said the FBI's evidence was not strong enough, others believed the DOJ had no intention from the start of going any further. Barrett wrote that the DOJ officials were "stern, icy and dismissive of the case."
Barrett wrote, "'That was one of the weirdest meetings I've ever been to,' one participant told others afterward, according to people familiar with the matter."
It appears there was rift between the FBI and the DOJ with how to move forward with the investigation. Agents in the Washington office were directed to focus on a separate issue relating to the actions of former Virginia Governor and Clinton Foundation Board Member Terry McAuliffe. Agents inside the FBI believed they could build a stronger case if the investigation of McAuliffe and the foundation were combined.
FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe seemed to be caught in the middle of the fight between DOJ officials who appeared to want to slow down or shut down the investigation and FBI agents who were eager to pour more resources into the investigation.
Barrett wrote, "'Are you telling me that I need to shut down a validly predicated investigation?' Mr. McCabe asked, according to people familiar with the conversation. After a pause, the official replied, 'Of course not,' these people said."
Some of the WSJ sources told Barrett that a "stand down" order had been given to the FBI agents by McCabe. Others denied that no such order was given.
Preet Bharara, an assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, appears to have taken in interest in moving forward from the DOJ side, the Daily Caller's Richard Pollock reported in August.
The New York-based probe is being led by Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. Bharara's prosecutorial aggressiveness has resulted in a large number of convictions of banks, hedge funds and Wall Street insiders.
He said prosecutorial support could come from multiple U.S. Attorneys Offices and stated this was a major departure from other "centralized FBI investigations."
The story gets more complicated when you factor in that McCabe's wife, Dr. Jill McCabe had received a $467,500 campaign contribution in 2015 for a state senate race from McAuliffe .
CNN also reported that multiple field offices were "in agreement a public corruption investigation should be launched" with Clinton Foundation officials as a target. The cable news network reported the investigation would have looked at "conflicts of interest by foreign donors and official acts by Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.
Oct 30, 2016 | www.breitbart.comA former FBI official said Sunday that Bill and Hillary Clinton are part of a "crime family" and added that top officials impeded the investigation into Clinton's email server while she was secretary of state.
Former assistant FBI director James Kallstrom praised Donald Trump before he offered a take down of the Clintons in a radio interview with John Catsimatidis, The Hill reported.
"The Clintons, that's a crime family, basically," Kallstrom said. "It's like organized crime. I mean the Clinton Foundation is a cesspool."
Kallstrom, best known for spearheading the investigation into the explosion of TWA flight 800 in the late '90s, called Clinton a "pathological liar" and blamed Attorney General Loretta Lynch for botching the Clinton email server investigation.
"The problem here is this investigation was never a real investigation," he said. "That's the problem. They never had a grand jury empanelled, and the reason they never had a grand jury empanelled, I'm sure, is Loretta Lynch would not go along with that."
"God forbid we put someone like that in the White House," he added of Clinton.
Kallstrom blamed the FBI leadership under FBI Director James Comey as the reason the investigation was held back, but not the rest of the bureau.
"The agents are furious with what's going on, I know that for a fact," he said.
Oct 30, 2016 | www.breitbart.comSaturday on CNN while discussing the FBI reopening the investigation into Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's use of a private unsecured email server during her tenure as secretary of state, former Assistant Director of the FBI Thomas Fuentes said, "The FBI has an intensive investigation ongoing into the Clinton Foundation."
He added, "The FBI made the determination that the investigation would go forward as a comprehensive unified case and be coordinated, so that investigation is ongoing and Huma Abedin and her role and activities concerning secretary of state in the nature of the foundation and possible pay to play, that's still being looked at and now."
Oct 29, 2016 | www.breitbart.comIt was 25 years ago that Martin Scorsese delighted audiences with his movie rendition of the Jim Thompson novel, "The Grifters."
The story is an ingenious tale of deception and betrayal. By definition a grifter is someone who has made money dishonestly, in a swindle or a confidence game.
After weeks of revealing information behind the Clinton Foundation and their self-motivated fundraising tactics, there is no other word to describe the Democratic nominee for President of the United States. She's engaged in behavior that is disqualifying to be a candidate for the highest office, and yet dozens of American legislators, leaders and even media outlets have endorsed her candidacy.
She's swindled countries out of donations, she's swindled corporate America with her lofty promises and she's swindled the American people – over and over and over again.
So why now, after the knowledge that top-tier corporations and other wealthy supporters paid to meet with both the former president and the now Democratic presidential nominee should we believe that she would change her behavior to act in the best interest of the country? In fact, one could argue that this information is a window into how Clinton would rule the land. She'd have an eye out for only herself and her family, while leaving the American people - who so desperately want a change - with the same old Clinton-first approach.
Beyond her blatant disregard for the American public, Clinton's cavalier approach to national security has come into question from a myriad of angles. From the secret server in her home basement that received hundreds of confidential email communications, to the lack of response she paid to the Congress when asked about the issue, to the suggestion that she made promises to the FBI that would cause them to "look the other way" when ruling on the secret email server. And then how about the millions of dollars the Clinton Foundation took from countries that are of disrepute, not to mention those that show little concern for women's rights.
The most recent set of Clinton emails that have come to light are of such great concern to national security that the FBI has announced they will conduct a new investigation of Clinton's emails. This is just ELEVEN days before the country goes to the polls and decides on our next president.
Where has the leadership gone in this country? Since when do reputable news outlets stand behind candidates who have proven themselves over and over to be out for themselves and dangerous, even? It used to be that newspapers and legislators and leaders who speak from a platform would find themselves offering wisdom. Wisdom about which candidate was best for the job – based on the facts. Instead we find ourselves sifting through the list of endorsements for Clinton with little or no mention of her disregard for the law, her lack of concern for those she serves, and the careless nature in which she has proven herself to lead.
Now that the newspapers know better and have written about the truth in their own words, how can the media and elected officials stand by their decision to endorse her? They need to rescind their endorsement. That includes President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.
In a quote from his book Thompson describes one of the characters, "Anyone who deprived her of something she wanted, deserved what he got."
Sounds all too familiar to the Democratic nominee for grifter-in-chief. If she's not changed by now, who is to say she'd be any different when she was the most powerful elected official in the United States. Once a grifter, always a grifter.
Sharon Day is the Republican National Committee Co-Chair.
Oct 29, 2016 | www.reddit.com
Wow, they clearly state Bill Clinton uses golfing to establish communication with donors
beccairene 2 points 3 points 4 points 9 hours ago (1 child)Wait, isn't golfing what Loretta Lynch claimed to have discussed with WJC on the plane?
robaloie 2 points 3 points 4 points 8 hours ago * (0 children)He also said they were talking about golf when he called Donald trump last year before trump decided to run.
"People with knowledge of the call in both camps said it was one of many that Clinton and Trump have had over the years, whether about golf or donations to the Clinton Foundation. But the call in May was considered especially sensitive, coming soon after Hillary Rodham Clinton had declared her own presidential run the month before." - source
Not_a_Fake 8 points 9 points 10 points 18 hours ago (0 children)Question-Are we to assume that any OTHER speaking engagements that WJC did were not because of the foundation, but from when his wife was SOS?
In total, The Wall Street Journal reports, two dozen companies and groups, plus the Abu Dhabi government, gave Bill more than $8 million for speeches, even as they were hoping for favorable treatment from Hillary's bureaucracy. And 15 of them also gave at least $5 million total to the foundation.
soupy_scoopy 113 points 114 points 115 points 1 day ago (4 children)Has this been cleared by CNN for me to view?
BigLizardz 2 points 3 points 4 points 19 hours ago (0 children)Lol I'm actually too scared to click in wikileak/dikileak links. #1984?
OldDirtyPlastered 14 points 15 points 16 points 22 hours ago (0 children)Good question. I don't want to do anything illegal.
Uncle_Touchy_ 17 points 18 points 19 points 1 day ago (0 children)You'll have to ask Downy McDaterape or whatever that anchor's name is. You know the one.
moreoverhereafter 4 points 5 points 6 points 1 day ago * (5 children)Can someone help me see the shadiness, what am I missing? unless the "foundation donors require significant maintenance to keep them engaged and supportive of the foundation" means they are giving them political favors then it just looks like the clinton foundation is accepting donations and that is it.
5pointlight [ S ] 81 points 82 points 83 points 1 day ago * (4 children)so pro-clinton sources have been propping up the Clinton Foundation for years as the pinnacle of charity while not really being able to explain where all the money goes; because it sure doesn't seem to be going to Haiti or many other charities.
This shows that they require 20 million a year to operate with 8 employees. It shows they have to raid the Clinton Global Initiative for $6M to $11M every year to cover that budget hole... so this gives credence to the suspicion that the CF is hiding money somewhere (laundering money to Clintons and friends). Also this document shows how teneo made Bill Clinton " more than $50 million in for-profit activity we have personally helped to secure for President Clinton to date or the $66 million in future contracts" as of 2011.
This is useful information that is probably not reflected on tax returns. Most importantly it shows that when Bill was offered a shady $8 million dollar over 2 year deal that would appear to be a conflict of interest while Hillary was Sect of State, Podesta and Band suggested hiding the money as payment for speeches. This boosts the accusation that the speeches are payments for quid pro quo.
Fake_Unicron comment score below threshold -12 points -11 points -10 points 16 hours ago (0 children)Any sources on that, like the foundation spending?
How have you compared their spending reports to those from other charities?
In contrast to your unsourced allegations:
How would the charity donations allow the CF to launder money for the donors? Any evidence or is this just guesswork auditing?
Why do you think this is "probably not reflected on tax returns"?
driusan 10 points 11 points 12 points 23 hours ago (0 children)Does any of it contradict the MOU she signed when appointed Sec State? https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/34993
Oct 24, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
Sanjait -> Sandwichman ... October 24, 2016 at 10:35 AMSome paranoid claptrap to go along with your usual anti intellectualism.
Interestingly, with your completely unrelated non sequitur, you've actually illustrated something that does relate to Krugmans post. Namely that there are wingnuts among us. They've taken over the Republican Party, but the left has some too. Fortunately though the Democratic Party hasn't been taken over by them yet, and is still mostly run by grown ups.
Sandwichman -> Sanjait... , October 24, 2016 at 10:42 AMI am confident that what you say here is consistent with your methods and motivations.likbez -> Sandwichman ..."I am confident that what you say here is consistent with your methods and motivations."
Pretty consistent, I agree. IMHO Sanjait might belong to the category that some people call the "Vichy left" – essentially people who are ready to sacrifice all principles to ensure their 'own' prosperity and support the candidate who intends to protect it, everybody else be damned.
Very neoliberal approach if you ask me. Ann Rand would probably be proud for this representative of "creative class".
Essentially the behavior that we've had for the last 8 years with the king of "bait and switch".
May 17, 2015 | sputniknews.com
A sinister atmosphere surrounds the Clinton Foundation's role in Ukrainian military coup of February 2014, experts point out.
It has recently turned out that Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Pinchuk, a vocal proponent of Ukraine's European integration, made huge contributions to the Clinton Foundation, while Hillary Clinton was the US Secretary of State. Although the foundation swore off donations from foreign governments while Mrs. Clinton was serving as a state official, it continued accepting money from private donors. Many of them had certain ties to their national governments like Viktor Pinchuk, a Ukrainian businessman and ex-parliamentarian.
Remarkably, among individual donors contributing to the Clinton Foundation in the period between 1999 and 2014, Ukrainian sponsors took first place in the list, providing the charity with almost $10 million and pushing England and Saudi Arabia to second and third places respectively.
It is worth mentioning that the Viktor Pinchuk Foundation alone transferred at least $8.6 million to the Clinton charity between 2009 and 2013. Pinchuk, who acquired his fortune from a pipe-making business, served twice as a parliamentarian in Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada and was married to the daughter of ex-president of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma.
Although the Clinton's charity denies that the donations were somehow connected with political matters, experts doubt that international private sponsors received no political support in return. In 2008 Pinchuk pledged to make a five-year $29 million contribution to the Clinton Global Initiative in order to fund a program aimed at training future Ukrainian leaders and "modernizers." Remarkably, several alumni of these courses are current members of Ukrainian parliament. Because of the global financial crisis, the Pinchuk Foundation sent only $1.8 million.Experts note that during Mrs. Clinton's tenure as Secretary of State, Viktor Pinchuk was introduced to some influential American lobbyists. Curiously enough, he tried to use his powerful "friends" to pressure Ukraine's then-President Viktor Yanukovych to free Yulia Tymoshenko, who served a jail term.
Viktor Pinchuk has always been one of the most vocal proponents of Ukraine's European integration. In 2004 Pinchuk founded the Yalta European Strategy (YES) platform in Kiev. YES is led by the board including ex-president of Poland Aleksander Kwasniewski and former NATO Secretary General Javier Solana. According to the website of the platform, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, Kofi Annan, Radoslaw Sikorski, Vitaliy Klitschko, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Petro Poroshenko and other prominent figures have participated in annual meetings of YES since 2004.
No one would argue that proponents of Ukraine's pro-Western course played the main role in organizing the coup of February 2014 in Kiev. Furthermore, the exceptional role of the United States in ousting then-president Viktor Yanukovich has also been recognized by political analysts, participants of Euromaidan and even by Barack Obama, the US President.
Experts note that after the coup, the Ukrainian leadership has actually become Washington's puppet government. Several foreign citizens, including American civilian Natalie Jaresko, Lithuanian investment banker Aivaras Abromavicius and Georgia-born Alexander Kvitashvili have assumed high posts in the Ukrainian government. It should be noted that Natalie Jaresko, Ukraine's Financial Minister, have previously worked in the US State Department and has also been linked to oligarch Viktor Pinchuk.
So far, experts note, the recent "game of thrones" in Ukraine has been apparently instigated by a few powerful clans of the US and Ukraine, who are evidently benefitting from the ongoing turmoil. In this light the Clinton Foundation looks like something more than just a charity: in today's world of fraudulent oligopoly we are facing with global cronyism, experts point out, warning against its devastating consequences.Read more: http://sputniknews.com/analysis/20150323/1019905665.html#ixzz3YT3FykcI
See also: US Intelligence Services Behind 2014 Ukraine Coup – EU Parliament Member
Qatar, like most Muslim countries, treats women as second-class citizens, but champion-of-women Hillary never lets a little thing like that stop her from doing business. (See: "On favors.") And a far greater threat than murderous Muslims adhering to a fanatical 7th-century religious ideology lurks right here at home - those pesky Roman Catholics and their silly 2,000-year-old faith. (See: "On Catholics.")
Oct 23, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
An excellent article
It should be remembered that fascism does not succeed in the real world as a crusade by race-obsessed lumpen. It succeeds when fascists are co-opted by capitalists, as was unambiguously the case in Nazi Germany and Italy. And big business supported fascism because it feared the alternatives: socialism and communism.
That's because there is no more effective counter to class consciousness than race consciousness. That's one reason why, in my opinion, socialism hasn't done a better job of catching on in the United States. The contradictions between black and white labor formed a ready-made wedge. The North's abhorrence at the spread of slavery into the American West before the Civil War had more to do a desire to preserve these new realms for "free" labor-"free" in one context, from the competition of slave labor-than egalitarian principle.[…]
There is more to Clintonism, I think, than simply playing the "identity politics" card to screw Bernie Sanders or discombobulate the Trump campaign. "Identity politics" is near the core of the Clintonian agenda as a bulwark against any class/populist upheaval that might threaten her brand of billionaire-friendly liberalism.
In other words it's all part of a grand plan when the Clintonoids aren't busy debating the finer points of her marketing and "mark"–a term normally applied to the graphic logo on a commercial product.
Oct 22, 2016 | www.unz.com
I find the spectacle of liberals heroically mounting the barricades against Trump-fascism rather amusing.
For one thing, liberals don't crush fascism. Liberals appease fascism, then they exploit fascism. In between there's a great big war, where communists crush fascism. That's pretty much the lesson of WWII.
Second thing is, Trump isn't fascist. In my opinion, Trump's an old-fashioned white American nativist, which is pretty much indistinguishable from old-fashioned racist when considering the subjugation of native Americans and African-Americans and Asian immigrants, but requires that touch of "nativist" nuance when considering indigenous bigotry against Irish, Italian, and Jewish immigrants and citizens.
Tagging him as "fascist" allows his critics to put an alien, non-American gloss on a set of attitudes and policies that have been mainstreamed in American politics for at least 150 years and predate the formulation of fascism by several decades if not a century. Those nasty vetting/exclusion things he's proposing are as American as apple pie. For those interested in boning up on the Know Nothings and the Chinese Exclusion Act, I have this piece for you .
And for anybody who doesn't believe the US government does not already engage in intensive "extreme" vetting and targeting of all Muslims immigrants, especially those from targeted countries, not only to identify potential security risks but to groom potential intelligence assets, I got the Brooklyn Bridge to sell you right here:
Real fascism, in theory, is a rather interesting and nasty beast. In my opinion, it turns bolshevism on its head by using race or ethnic identity instead of class identity as the supreme, mobilizing force in national life.
In both fascism and bolshevism, democratic outcomes lack inherent legitimacy. National legitimacy resides in the party, which embodies the essence of a threatened race or class in a way that Hegel might appreciate but Marx probably wouldn't. Subversion of democracy and seizure of state power are not only permissible; they are imperatives.
The need to seize state power and hold it while a fascist or Bolshevik agenda is implemented dictates the need for a military force loyal to and subservient to the party and its leadership, not the state.
The purest fascism movement I know of exists in Ukraine. I wrote about it here , and it's a piece I think is well worth reading to understand what a political movement organized on fascist principles really looks like. And Trump ain't no fascist. He's a nativist running a rather incompetent campaign.
It's a little premature to throw dirt on the grave of the Trump candidacy, perhaps (I'll check back in on November 9), but it looks like he spent too much time glorying in the adulation of his white male nativist base and too little time, effort, and money trying to deliver a plausible message that would allow other demographics to shrug off the "deplorable" tag and vote for him. I don't blame/credit the media too much for burying Trump, a prejudice of mine perhaps. I blame Trump's inability to construct an effective phalanx of pro-Trump messengers, a failure that's probably rooted in the fact that Trump spent the primary and general campaign at war with the GOP establishment.
The only capital crime in politics is disunity, and the GOP and Trump are guilty on multiple counts.
The most interesting application of the "fascist" analysis, rather surprisingly, applies to the Clinton campaign, not the Trump campaign, when considering the cultivation of a nexus between big business and *ahem* racially inflected politics.
It should be remembered that fascism does not succeed in the real world as a crusade by race-obsessed lumpen . It succeeds when fascists are co-opted by capitalists, as was unambiguously the case in Nazi Germany and Italy. And big business supported fascism because it feared the alternatives: socialism and communism.
That's because there is no more effective counter to class consciousness than race consciousness.
That's one reason why, in my opinion, socialism hasn't done a better job of catching on in the United States. The contradictions between black and white labor formed a ready-made wedge. The North's abhorrence at the spread of slavery into the American West before the Civil War had more to do a desire to preserve these new realms for "free" labor-"free" in one context, from the competition of slave labor-than egalitarian principle.
White labor originally had legal recourse to beating back the challenge/threat of African-American labor instead of accommodating it as a "class" ally; it subsequently relied on institutional and customary advantages.
If anyone harbors illusions concerning the kumbaya solidarity between white and black labor in the post-World War II era, I think the article The Problem of Race in American Labor History by Herbert Hill ( a freebie on JSTOR ) is a good place to start.
The most reliable wedge against working class solidarity and a socialist narrative in American politics used to be white privilege which, when it was reliably backed by US business and political muscle, was a doctrine of de facto white supremacy.
However, in this campaign, the race wedge has cut the other way in a most interesting fashion. White conservatives are appalled, and minority liberals energized, by the fact that the white guy, despite winning the majority white male vote, lost to a black guy not once but twice, giving a White Twilight/Black Dawn (TM) vibe to the national debate.
The perception of marginalized white clout is reinforced by the nomination of Hillary Clinton and her campaign emphasis on the empowerment of previously marginalized but now demographically more important groups.
The Clinton campaign has been all about race and its doppelganger -actually, the overarching and more ear-friendly term that encompasses racial, ethnic, gender, and sexual loyalties-"identity politics."
The most calculated and systematic employment of racial politics was employed by the Hillary Clinton campaign in the Democratic primary to undercut the socialist-lite populist appeal of Bernie Sanders.
My personal disdain for the Clinton campaign was born on the day that John Lewis intoned "I never saw him" in order to dismiss the civil rights credentials of Bernie Sanders while announcing the Black Congressional Caucus endorsement of Hillary Clinton. Bear in mind that during the 1960s, Sanders had affiliated his student group at the University of Chicago with Lewis' SNCC, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee; during the same era, Hillary Clinton was at Wellesley condemning "the snicks" for their excessively confrontational tactics.
To understand the significance of this event, one should read Fracture by the guru of woke Clintonism, Joy Reid. Or read my piece on the subject . Or simply understand that after Hillary Clinton lost Lewis's endorsement, the black vote, and the southern Democratic primaries to Barack Obama in 2008, and she was determined above all to secure and exploit monolithic black support in the primaries and, later on, the general in 2016.
So, in order to prevent Sanders from splitting the black vote to her disadvantage on ideological/class lines, Clinton played the race card. Or, as we put it today when discussing the championing of historically disadvantaged a.k.a. non white male heterosexual groups, celebrated "identity politics".
In the primary, this translated into an attack on Sanders and the apparently mythical "Bernie bro" as racist swine threatening the legacy of the first black president, venerated by the African American electorate, Barack Obama. In the general, well, Donald Trump and his supporters provided acres more genuine grist for the identity warrior mill.
Trump's populism draws its heat from American nativism, not "soak the rich" populism of the Sandernista stripe, and it was easily submerged in the "identity politics" narrative.
Trump's ambitions to gain traction for a favorable American/populist/outsider narrative for his campaign have been frustrated by determined efforts to frame him as anti-Semitic, racist against blacks and Hispanics, sexist, and bigoted against the disabled-and ready to hold the door while Pepe the Frog feeds his opponents, including a large contingent of conservative and liberal Jewish journalists subjected to unimaginable invective by the Alt-Right– into the ovens.
As an indication of the fungible & opportunistic character of the "identity politics" approach, as far as I can tell from a recent visit to a swing state, as the Clinton campaign pivoted to the general, the theme of Trump's anti-black racism has been retired in favor of pushing his offenses against women and the disabled. Perhaps this reflects the fact that Clinton has a well-advertised lock on the African-American vote and doesn't need to cater to it; also, racism being what it is, playing the black card is not the best way to lure Republicans and indies to the Clinton camp.
The high water mark of the Clinton African-American tilt was perhaps the abortive campaign to turn gun control into a referendum on the domination of Congress by white male conservatives. It happened a few months ago, so who remembers? But John Lewis led a sit-in occupation of the Senate floor in the wake of the Orlando shootings to highlight how America's future was being held hostage to the whims of Trump-inclined white pols.
That campaign pretty much went by the wayside (as did Black Lives Matter, a racial justice initiative partially funded by core Clinton backer George Soros; interesting, no?) as a) black nationalists started shooting policemen and b) Clinton kicked off a charm campaign to help wedge the black-wary GOP establishment away from Trump.
There is more to Clintonism, I think, than simply playing the "identity politics" card to screw Bernie Sanders or discombobulate the Trump campaign. "Identity politics" is near the core of the Clintonian agenda as a bulwark against any class/populist upheaval that might threaten her brand of billionaire-friendly liberalism.
In my view, a key tell is Clinton's enduring and grotesque loyalty to her family's charitable foundation, an operation that in my opinion has no place on the resume of a public servant, as a font of prestige, conduit for influence, and model for billionaire-backed global engagement.
By placing the focus of the campaign on identity politics and Trump's actual and putative crimes against various identity groups, the Clinton campaign has successfully obscured what I consider to be its fundamental identity as a vehicle for neoliberal globalists keen to preserve and employ the United States as a welcoming environment and supreme vehicle for supra-sovereign business interests.
Clintonism's core identity is not, in other words, as a crusade for groups suffering from the legacy and future threat of oppression by Trump's white male followers. It is a full-court press to keep the wheels on the neoliberal sh*twagon as it careens down the road of globalization, and it recognizes the importance in American democracy of slicing and dicing the electorate by identity politics and co-opting useful demographics as the key to maintaining power.
In my view, the Trump and Clinton campaigns are both protofascist.
Trump has cornered the somewhat less entitled and increasingly threatened white ethnic group, some of whom are poised to make the jump to white nationalism with or without him.
Clinton has cornered the increasingly entitled and assertive global billionaire group, which adores the class-busting anti-socialist identity-based politics she practices.
But the bottom line is race. U.S. racism has stacked up 400 years of tinder that might take a few hundred more years, if ever, to burn off. And until it does, every politician in the country is going to see his or her political future in flicking matches at it. And that's what we're seeing in the current campaign. A lot. Not fascism.
(Reprinted from China Matters by permission of author or representative)
Oct 22, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Cry Shop October 22, 2016 at 4:10 am
Bill Clinton has a mysterious shell-company
Trump could not be the only candidate under reporting family income. It's been pretty common talk among the chambers of commerce in Asia that payments for some of Bill and Hillary's activities (non-speech related and easier to hide), ie lobbying for foreign governments and corporations, were structured through holding companies in Singapore, Hong Kong, etc. http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/03/bill-black-the-clintons-have-not-changed-the-clintonian-war-on-the-ig-watchdogs.html
Certainly having a on-shore tax shell is an important part of repatriation, just in time for Hillary's promised tax holiday.
Jan 30, 2012 | www.wsws.org
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This analysis has been vindicated by scholarly investigations into the causes of the Soviet economic collapse that facilitated the bureaucracy's dissolution of the USSR. In Russia Since 1980, published in 2008 by Cambridge University Press, Professors Steven Rosefielde and Stefan Hedlund present evidence that Gorbachev introduced measures that appear, in retrospect, to have been aimed at sabotaging the Soviet economy. "Gorbachev and his entourage," they write, "seem to have had a venal hidden agenda that caused things to get out of hand quickly." [p. 38] In a devastating appraisal of Gorbachev's policies, Rosefielde and Hedlund state:
History reveals that the grandsons of the Bolshevik coup d'état didn't destroy the Soviet Union in a valiant effort to advance the cause of communist prosperity or even to return to their common European home; instead, it transformed Soviet managers and ministers into roving bandits (asset-grabbing privateers) with a tacit presidential charter to privatize the people's assets and revenues to themselves under the new Muscovite rule of men. [p. 40]
Instead of displaying due diligence over personal use of state revenues, materials and property, inculcated in every Bolshevik since 1917, Gorbachev winked at a counterrevolution from below opening Pandora's Box. He allowed enterprises and others not only to profit maximize for the state in various ways, which was beneficial, but also to misappropriate state assets, and export the proceeds abroad. In the process, red directors disregarded state contracts and obligations, disorganizing inter-industrial intermediate input flows, and triggering a depression from which the Soviet Union never recovered and Russia has barely emerged. [p. 47]
Given all the heated debates that would later ensue about how Yeltsin and his shock therapy engendered mass plunder, it should be noted that the looting began under Gorbachev's watch. It was his malign neglect that transformed the rhetoric of Market Communism into the pillage of the nation's assets.
The scale of this plunder was astounding. It not only bankrupted the Soviet Union, forcing Russian President Boris Yeltsin to appeal to the G-7 for $6 billion of assistance on December 6, 1991, but triggered a free fall in aggregate production commencing in 1990, aptly known as catastroika.
In retrospect, the Soviet economy didn't collapse because the liberalized command economy devised after 1953 was marked for death. The system was inefficient, corrupt and reprehensible in a myriad of ways, but sustainable, as the CIA and most Sovietologists maintained. It was destroyed by Gorbachev's tolerance and complicity in allowing privateers to misappropriate state revenues, pilfer materials, spontaneously privatize, and hotwire their ill-gotten gains abroad, all of which disorganized production. [p. 49]
The analysis of Rosefielde and Hedlund, while accurate in its assessment of Gorbachev's actions, is simplistic. Gorbachev's policies can be understood only within the framework of more fundamental political and socioeconomic factors. First, and most important, the real objective crisis of the Soviet economy (which existed and preceded by many decades the accession of Gorbachev to power) developed out of the contradictions of the autarkic nationalist policies pursued by the Soviet regime since Stalin and Bukharin introduced the program of "socialism in one country" in 1924. The rapid growth and increasing complexity of the Soviet economy required access to the resources of the world economy. This access could be achieved only in one of two ways: either through the spread of socialist revolution into the advanced capitalist countries, or through the counterrevolutionary integration of the USSR into the economic structures of world capitalism.
For the Soviet bureaucracy, a parasitic social caste committed to the defense of its privileges and terrified of the working class, the revolutionary solution to the contradictions of the Soviet economy was absolutely unthinkable. The only course that it could contemplate was the second-capitulation to imperialism. This second course, moreover, opened for the leading sections of the bureaucracy the possibility of permanently securing their privileges and vastly expanding their wealth. The privileged caste would become a ruling class. The corruption of Gorbachev, Yeltsin and their associates was merely the necessary means employed by the bureaucracy to achieve this utterly reactionary and immensely destructive outcome.
On October 3, 1991, less than three months before the dissolution of the USSR, I delivered a lecture in Kiev in which I challenged the argument-which was widely propagated by the Stalinist regime-that the restoration of capitalism would bring immense benefits to the people. I stated:
In this country, capitalist restoration can only take place on the basis of the widespread destruction of the already existing productive forces and the social- cultural institutions that depended upon them. In other words, the integration of the USSR into the structure of the world capitalist economy on a capitalist basis means not the slow development of a backward national economy, but the rapid destruction of one which has sustained living conditions which are, at least for the working class, far closer to those that exist in the advanced countries than in the third world. When one examines the various schemes hatched by proponents of capitalist restoration, one cannot but conclude that they are no less ignorant than Stalin of the real workings of the world capitalist economy. And they are preparing the ground for a social tragedy that will eclipse that produced by the pragmatic and nationalistic policies of Stalin. ["Soviet Union at the Crossroads," published in The Fourth International (Fall- Winter 1992, Volume 19, No. 1, p. 109), Emphasis in the original.]
Almost exactly 20 years ago, on January 4, 1992, the Workers League held a party membership meeting in Detroit to consider the historical, political and social implications of the dissolution of the USSR. Rereading this report so many years later, I believe that it has stood the test of time. It stated that the dissolution of the USSR "represents the juridical liquidation of the workers' state and its replacement with regimes that are openly and unequivocally devoted to the destruction of the remnants of the national economy and the planning system that issued from the October Revolution. To define the CIS [Confederation of Independent States] or its independent republics as workers states would be to completely separate the definition from the concrete content which it expressed during the previous period." [David North, The End of the USSR, Labor Publications, 1992, p. 6]
The report continued:
"A revolutionary party must face reality and state what is. The Soviet working class has suffered a serious defeat. The bureaucracy has devoured the workers state before the working class was able to clean out the bureaucracy. This fact, however unpleasant, does not refute the perspective of the Fourth International. Since it was founded in 1938, our movement has repeatedly said that if the working class was not able to destroy this bureaucracy, then the Soviet Union would suffer a shipwreck. Trotsky did not call for political revolution as some sort of exaggerated response to this or that act of bureaucratic malfeasance. He said that a political revolution was necessary because only in that way could the Soviet Union, as a workers state, be defended against imperialism." [p. 6]
I sought to explain why the Soviet working class had failed to rise up in opposition to the bureaucracy's liquidation of the Soviet Union. How was it possible that the destruction of the Soviet Union-having survived the horrors of the Nazi invasion-could be carried out "by a miserable group of petty gangsters, acting in the interests of the scum of Soviet society?" I offered the following answer:
We must reply to these questions by stressing the implications of the massive destruction of revolutionary cadre carried out within the Soviet Union by the Stalinist regime. Virtually all the human representatives of the revolutionary tradition who consciously prepared and led that revolution were wiped out. And along with the political leaders of the revolution, the most creative representatives of the intelligentsia who had flourished in the early years of the Soviet state were also annihilated or terrorized into silence.
Furthermore, we must point to the deep-going alienation of the working class itself from state property. Property belonged to the state, but the state "belonged" to the bureaucracy, as Trotsky noted. The fundamental distinction between state property and bourgeois property-however important from a theoretical standpoint-became less and less relevant from a practical standpoint. It is true that capitalist exploitation did not exist in the scientific sense of the term, but that did not alter the fact that the day-to-day conditions of life in factories and mines and other workplaces were as miserable as are to be found in any of the advanced capitalist countries, and, in many cases, far worse.
Finally, we must consider the consequences of the protracted decay of the international socialist movement...
Especially during the past decade, the collapse of effective working class resistance in any part of the world to the bourgeois offensive had a demoralizing effect on Soviet workers. Capitalism assumed an aura of "invincibility," although this aura was merely the illusory reflection of the spinelessness of the labor bureaucracies all over the world, which have on every occasion betrayed the workers and capitulated to the bourgeoisie. What the Soviet workers saw was not the bitter resistance of sections of workers to the international offensive of capital, but defeats and their consequences. [p. 13-14]
The report related the destruction of the USSR by the ruling bureaucracy to a broader international phenomenon. The smashing up of the USSR was mirrored in the United States by the destruction of the trade unions as even partial instruments of working-class defense.
In every part of the world, including the advanced countries, the workers are discovering that their own parties and their own trade union organizations are engaged in the related task of systematically lowering and impoverishing the working class. [p. 22]
Finally, the report dismissed any notion that the dissolution of the USSR signified a new era of progressive capitalist development.
Millions of people are going to see imperialism for what it really is. The democratic mask is going to be torn off. The idea that imperialism is compatible with peace is going to be exposed. The very elements which drove masses into revolutionary struggle in the past are once again present. The workers of Russia and the Ukraine are going to be reminded why they made a revolution in the first place. The American workers are going to be reminded why they themselves in an earlier period engaged in the most massive struggles against the corporations. The workers of Europe are going to be reminded why their continent was the birthplace of socialism and Karl Marx. [p. 25]
The aftermath of the dissolution of the USSR: 20 years of economic crisis, social decay, and political reaction
According to liberal theory, the dissolution of the Soviet Union ought to have produced a new flowering of democracy. Of course, nothing of the sort occurred-not in the former USSR or, for that matter, in the United States. Moreover, the breakup of the Soviet Union-the so-called defeat of communism-was not followed by a triumphant resurgence of its irreconcilable enemies in the international workers' movement, the social democratic and reformist trade unions and political parties. The opposite occurred. All these organizations experienced, in the aftermath of the breakup of the USSR, a devastating and even terminal crisis. In the United States, the trade union movement-whose principal preoccupation during the entire Cold War had been the defeat of Communism-has all but collapsed. During the two decades that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union, the AFL-CIO lost a substantial portion of its membership, was reduced to a state of utter impotence, and ceased to exist as a workers' organization in any socially significant sense of the term. At the same time, everywhere in the world, the social position of the working class-from the standpoint of its influence on the direction of state policy and its ability to increase its share of the surplus value produced by its own labor-deteriorated dramatically.
Certain important conclusions flow from this fact. First, the breakup of the Soviet Union did not flow from the supposed failure of Marxism and socialism. If that had been the case, the anti-Marxist and antisocialist labor organizations should have thrived in the post-Soviet era. The fact that these organizations experienced ignominious failure compels one to uncover the common feature in the program and orientation of all the so-called labor organizations, "communist" and anticommunist alike. What was the common element in the political DNA of all these organization? The answer is that regardless of their names, conflicting political alignments and superficial ideological differences, the large labor organizations of the post-World War II period pursued essentially nationalist policies. They tied the fate of the working class to one or another nation-state. This left them incapable of responding to the increasing integration of the world economy. The emergence of transnational corporations and the associated phenomena of capitalist globalization shattered all labor organizations that based themselves on a nationalist program.
The second conclusion is that the improvement of conditions of the international working class was linked, to one degree or another, to the existence of the Soviet Union. Despite the treachery and crimes of the Stalinist bureaucracy, the existence of the USSR, a state that arose on the basis of a socialist revolution, imposed upon American and European imperialism certain political and social restraints that would otherwise have been unacceptable. The political environment of the past two decades-characterized by unrestrained imperialist militarism, the violations of international law, and the repudiation of essential principles of bourgeois democracy-is the direct outcome of the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
The breakup of the USSR was, for the great masses of its former citizens, an unmitigated disaster. Twenty years after the October Revolution, despite all the political crimes of the Stalinist regime, the new property relations established in the aftermath of the October Revolution made possible an extraordinary social transformation of backward Russia. And even after suffering horrifying losses during the four years of war with Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union experienced in the 20 years that followed the war a stupendous growth of its economy, which was accompanied by advances in science and culture that astonished the entire world.
But what is the verdict on the post-Soviet experience of the Russian people? First and foremost, the dissolution of the USSR set into motion a demographic catastrophe. Ten years after the breakup of the Soviet Union, the Russian population was shrinking at an annual rate of 750,000. Between 1983 and 2001, the number of annual births dropped by one half. 75 percent of pregnant women in Russia suffered some form of illness that endangered their unborn child. Only one quarter of infants were born healthy.
The overall health of the Russian people deteriorated dramatically after the restoration of capitalism. There was a staggering rise in alcoholism, heart disease, cancer and sexually transmitted diseases. All this occurred against the backdrop of a catastrophic breakdown of the economy of the former USSR and a dramatic rise in mass poverty.
As for democracy, the post-Soviet system was consolidated on the basis of mass murder. For more than 70 years, the Bolshevik regime's dissolution of the Constituent Assembly in January 1918-an event that did not entail the loss of a single life-was trumpeted as an unforgettable and unforgivable violation of democratic principles. But in October 1993, having lost a majority in the popularly elected parliament, the Yeltsin regime ordered the bombardment of the White House-the seat of the Russian parliament-located in the middle of Moscow. Estimates of the number of people who were killed in the military assault run as high as 2,000. On the basis of this carnage, the Yeltsin regime was effectively transformed into a dictatorship, based on the military and security forces. The regime of Putin-Medvedev continues along the same dictatorial lines. The assault on the White House was supported by the Clinton administration. Unlike the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly, the bombardment of the Russian parliament is an event that has been all but forgotten.
What is there to be said of post-Soviet Russian culture? As always, there are talented people who do their best to produce serious work. But the general picture is one of desolation. The words that have emerged from the breakup of the USSR and that define modern Russian culture, or what is left of it, are "mafia," "biznessman" and "oligarch."
What has occurred in Russia is only an extreme expression of a social and cultural breakdown that is to be observed in all capitalist countries. Can it even be said with certainty that the economic system devised in Russia is more corrupt that that which exists in Britain or the United States? The Russian oligarchs are probably cruder and more vulgar in the methods they employ. However, the argument could be plausibly made that their methods of plunder are less efficient than those employed by their counterparts in the summits of American finance. After all, the American financial oligarchs, whose speculative operations brought about the near-collapse of the US and global economy in the autumn of 2008, were able to orchestrate, within a matter of days, the transfer of the full burden of their losses to the public.
It is undoubtedly true that the dissolution of the USSR at the end of 1991 opened up endless opportunities for the use of American power-in the Balkans, the Middle East and Central Asia. But the eruption of American militarism was, in the final analysis, the expression of a more profound and historically significant tendency-the long-term decline of the economic position of American capitalism. This tendency was not reversed by the breakup of the USSR. The history of American capitalism during the past two decades has been one of decay. The brief episodes of economic growth have been based on reckless and unsustainable speculation. The Clinton boom of the 1990s was fueled by the "irrational exuberance" of Wall Street speculation, the so-called dot.com bubble. The great corporate icons of the decade-of which Enron was the shining symbol-were assigned staggering valuations on the basis of thoroughly criminal operations. It all collapsed in 2000-2001. The subsequent revival was fueled by frenzied speculation in housing. And, finally, the collapse in 2008, from which there has been no recovery.
When historians begin to recover from their intellectual stupor, they will see the collapse of the USSR and the protracted decline of American capitalism as interrelated episodes of a global crisis, arising from the inability to develop the massive productive forces developed by mankind on the basis of private ownership of the means of production and within the framework of the nation-state system.
Oct 13, 2016 | www.washingtontimes.com
"[Qatar] would like to see WJC 'for five minutes' in NYC, to present $1 million check that Qatar promised for WJC's birthday in 2011," an employee at The Clinton Foundation said to numerous aides, including Doug Brand [isc]. "Qatar would welcome our suggestions for investments in Haiti - particularly on education and health. They have allocated most of their $20 million but are happy to consider projects we suggest. I'm collecting input from CF Haiti team."
No doubt! The Clintons sure were working the Haiti angle any way that they could. I wonder how that's playing in Florida?
Donald Trump is accusing the Clintons of cashing in on Haiti's deadly 2010 earthquake.
The Republican nominee cited State Department emails obtained by the Republican National Committee through a public records request and detailed in an ABC News story.
At issue is whether friends of former President Bill Clinton, referred to as "friends of Bill," or "FOB," in the emails, received preferential treatment or contracts from the State Department in the immediate aftermath of the 7.0-magnitude earthquake on Jan. 12, 2010. More than 230,000 people died, the U.S. has said.
Sep 28, 2016 | baselinescenario.comby James Kwak Posted on August 25, 2016 The Baseline Scenario | 59 comments By James Kwak
Imagine that while George W. Bush was governor of Texas and president of the United States, various people and companies decided to write him checks for hundreds of thousands of dollars, just because they thought he was a great guy. Those people and companies, just coincidentally, happened to have interests that were affected by the policies of Texas and the United States. But when he thanked them for their money, Bush never promised to do anything in particular for them. You would be suspicious, right?
Now, that's roughly what has been happening with the Clinton Foundation. Various people and companies have been writing checks for millions of dollars to the Foundation during the same time that Hillary Clinton was secretary of state and, following that, the most likely next president of the United States-a title she has held since the day Barack Obama's second term began. (The Clintons finally decided to scale back the Foundation earlier this week.)
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So the real question is this: Do you think it would be appropriate for people and companies affected by U.S. policy to be writing $1 million checks directly to the Clintons? If the answer is yes, then you should be against any campaign finance rules whatsoever. If the answer is no, you should be worried about the Clinton Foundation.
- Vinny Idol | August 25, 2016 at 8:02 pm | I disagree whole heartedly with this post. The clinton foundation is a big deal, because its proof positive that America was founded on Money laundering, the elite that run this country make and made their money through money laundering; and no one wants that in the White House. Thats ok for the rest of America sociery, but not the government where peoples lives hang on the balance through every speech, law and policy that is conducted on capitol hill.
The Clintons destroyed Libya, Honduras, Haiti through their money laundering scheme called the clinton foundation. Theres no justification for that.
- Ray LaPan-Love | August 26, 2016 at 12:40 am | Trump thinks very highly of Reagan, but very lowly of Mexicans, so if Trump were to win I suspect he will secretly sell some of our nukes, this finally giving him the financial boost needed to overtake Carlos Slim on the list of the world's richest men. This 'deal of deals' then also harkens back to another historical 'deal' (Iran/Contra), and of course Reagan, while simultaneously eliminating Trump's deepest regret which is that of being bested by a Mexican. This being the real reason that he decided to run in the first place.
Probably though, HRC will win. The problem there being that all of the scrutiny that she has been receiving for so long, coupled with Bills' infidelities, and other various setbacks and slights, have left her very angry and bitter. Combining this seething hatred of all humans, especially men, with the fact that there has never been a women president to look up to, HRC's only influence is a secretary who worked for Woodrow Wilson by the name of Mildred Jingowitz, or Ms. Jingo as she was called. Ms. Jingo stands out for HRC because she actually wrote the Espionage Act of 1917 and the the Sedition Act of 1918. Those combining to "cover a broader range of offenses, notably speech and the expression of opinion that cast the government or the war effort in a negative light or interfered with the sale of government bonds."
"The Sedition Act of 1918 stated that people or countries cannot say negative things about the government or the war."
"It forbade the use of "disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language" about the United States government, its flag, or its armed forces or that caused others to view the American government or its institutions with contempt." Most importantly though, these acts gave the Government the legal right to prosecute draft dodgers, and …these could bring an end to at least some of the scrutiny that has plagued HRC for so long just so long as we remain at war.
So, if you are wondering what any of this has to do with the Clinton Foundation, well, HRC used the Foundation to facilitate at least one very large arms deal with at least one Royal Gulfie. But it matters little whether she used the foundation or not, HRC used her tenure at Foggy Bottom to arrange a record number of weapons deals, and of course she is mad as hell and determined to prove just how tough women can be (and there is of course one man who she respects, H. Kissinger).
Anyway, it doesn't take a historian specializing in the build-up leading to the two World Wars to figure out the rest. BOOM!!!
- Philip Diehl | August 26, 2016 at 12:46 am | Dear James,
I'm a long-time reader. I admire what you and Simon have done educating us about the financial crisis and its aftermath, and I agree with most of your political positions, especially related to the corrupting influence of money in politics. I have seen this first hand over my years in politics and government, and I believe it is the single most important issue we face because progress on all others depends on it.
But in taking yet another hack at Hillary Clinton in this post, you've contradicted yourself in a way that unravels your argument, while engaging in false equivalencies and blowing a key fact out of proportion. First, the internal contradiction:
"Bill and Hillary are getting on in years, they only have one child, and she is married to a hedge fund manager. When you have that much money, a dollar in your foundation is as good as a dollar in your bank account. Once you have all your consumption needs covered, what do you need money for?"
You imply, here, that the Clintons' wealth and Marc Mezvinsky's hedge fund income have made the marginal value of another dollar in income de minimis for the Clintons' personal finances. Then you write, paraphrasing, that a dollar donated to the Foundation is as good as a dollar deposited in their personal bank account; therefore, you imply, money that goes to their foundation is as corrupting as money that goes into their personal accounts.
You see the problem in claiming that a contribution to the Clinton Foundation is a powerful incentive for HRC to tilt her foreign policy positions, right? You just made the case for why a donation to the Foundation has little personal value to the Clintons:
MV of $ to bank account = 0.
MV of $ to Foundation = MV of $ to bank account.
But you don't proceed to: Therefore, MV of $ to Foundation = 0. So, according to your logic, there can be no corrupting influence.
You follow this, writing:
"If you're a Clinton, you want to have an impact in the world, reward your friends, and burnish your legacy. A foundation is an excellent vehicle for all of those purposes, for obvious reasons. It is also an excellent way to transfer money to your daughter free of estate tax, since she can control it after you die."
Your imply that the Clintons give equal weight to their desires to reward their friends, burnish their legacy, and have an impact on the world. What evidence do you have of this? Also, you implicitly denigrate their charitable motives by describing them as a desire "to have an impact on the world" without a nod to their clear intent to have an impact that is profoundly constructive. You also speculate, without providing any support, that the Foundation is a tax avoidance scheme to enrich their daughter. I think you've crossed a line here.
Now for the false equivalencies:
"Imagine that while George W. Bush was governor of Texas and president of the United States, various people and companies decided to write him checks for hundreds of thousands of dollars, just because they thought he was a great guy. Those people and companies, just coincidentally, happened to have interests that were affected by the policies of Texas and the United States. But when he thanked them for their money, Bush never promised to do anything in particular for them. You would be suspicious, right?"
Why imagine? We have the real-world case of the Saudis bailing out George W's Harken Energy while his father was president. Of course, this is only one example of how the lucrative Bush-Saudi relationship generated income that went straight into the Bush "coffers".
So you implicitly compare HRC's alleged conflict related to the family's charity with the Bush family conflict related to their own personal bank accounts. While HW Bush, as president, made use of his long friendship with the Saudis for the family's personal gain, HRC gave access to the likes of the crown prince of Bahrain and Nobel Peace Prize Winner Muhammad Yunus. Not equivalent. Not even close. I wonder how routine it is for a Secretary of State to meet with the crown prince of an oil-producing nation or a Nobel Prize winner versus how routine is it for foreign oligarchs friendly to a president to bailout his son.
But at least the Saudis were allies of the US. Today, the GOP nominee has undisclosed but apparently significant business ties to close allies of the president of our greatest strategic adversary, and expresses his admiration for an autocrat who is seizing territory in Europe and terminating his opponents. I've missed your post on this one, though I'm sure there is one.
One last point: This controversy involved some 85 meetings or telephone calls HRC granted to Foundation donors. The media have morphed this into 85 meetings, dropping the "and telephone calls," and made this out to be a pretty big number. Naive readers and Hillary haters have accepted it as such. If fact, 85 meetings and telephone calls over four years are, well, de minimis.
Many of these donors had standing sufficient to get them in the door whether they gave to the Foundation or not. But let's say all of them gained access solely as a result of their donations. Over the four years HRC was Secretary of State, 85 meetings and telephone calls work out to 1.8 meetings/calls per month. Let's make a guess that she met or talked on the phone with an average of 15 people a day. So, one of every 250 people HRC met or had a phone call with each month, or 21 out of 3000 each year, would have secured their contact with her by donating to the Foundation. 85 doesn't look so big in context, especially since no one has presented any evidence of any quid pro quos.
- Ray LaPan-Love | August 26, 2016 at 2:42 am | Philip,
The 85 meetings occurred during about half of HRC's term and I've not heard anyone else dilute things with "phone calls".
Plus, the Bahrainis were approved for a major arms deal after donating. The Prince tried to make an appointment with HRC privately, but was made to go through State Dept. channels before being allowed a meeting.
HRC was also involved in the selling of more weapons in her term than all of those occurring during the Bush 43 terms combined.
- Ray LaPan-Love | August 26, 2016 at 2:50 am | Philip.
Also, there is this:
"You had a situation, that The Wall Street Journal reported, where Hillary Clinton herself intervened in a case dealing with taxes with UBS, a Swiss bank, and then, suddenly, after that, UBS began donating big to the Clinton Foundation. So there are many examples of-I mean, there's oil companies-that's another one I should mention right now, which is that oil companies were giving big to the Clinton Foundation while lobbying the State Department-successfully-for the passage of the Alberta Clipper, the tar sands pipeline."
David Sarota, interview: http://www.democracynow.org/2016/8/25/weapons_pipelines_wall_st_did_clinton
- Ray LaPan-Love | August 26, 2016 at 9:40 am | Other noteworthy donors to the Clinton Foundation:
Chairman & CEO of Telmex, largest New York Times shareholder
Chief Operating Officer of 21st Century Fox
Florida-based conservative media network
Owner of the Reuters news service
News Corporation Foundation
Philanthropic arm of former Fox News parent company
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Richard Mellon Scaife
Owner of Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Former CBS, CBS News and Sony executive
Intermountain West Communications Company
Local television affiliate owner (formerly Sunbelt Communications)
Discovery Communications Inc.
ABC News chief anchor and chief political correspondent
Owner of New York Daily News and U.S. News & World Report
Time Warner Inc.
Owner of CNN parent company Turner Broadcasting
Read more: http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2015/05/clinton-foundation-donors-include-dozens-of-media-organizations-individuals-207228#ixzz4IRfGoJcr
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- publiustex | August 26, 2016 at 10:11 am | Hello Ray,
First, I'd appreciate it if you could provide a cite supporting the statement that move arms sales occurred during HRC's four years than during W's eight years. I'd like to look under the cover of that one.
Also, it's important to note that a lot more people are involved in approving arms sales than the SoS, including Republicans on the Hill.
Second, the AP touted its original story as being "meetings" but when you read the story itself you found it was "meetings and phone calls." Subsequently, the media and commentariat referred to 85 meetings, dropping reference to phone calls.
Now for the arms sales to Bahrain. This one is especially juicy because it's an excellent example of how HRC is being tarred.
The US has massive military assets in Bahrain, which hosts the largest US military outpost in the Gulf. We've been making massive arms sale to Bahrain for many years. So no surprise that we'd make some when HRC was SoS.
And considering the strategic importance of Bahrain, there's no surprise in HRC meeting with the crown prince. The surprise would be if she declined to do so.
Now, if memory serves, and I encourage you to check me on this, the US suspended arms sales to Bahrain while HRC was SoS in response to the Bahrain's suppression of dissent among its Shia minority. Later, we partially lifted the suspension to allow sales of arms Related to protecting our huge naval base in Bahrain. I think this decision also came while HRC was SoS.
So, the arm sales to Bahrain illustrates my objections to the facile claims that contributions to the CF suggest that HRC is corrupt. These claims bring one sliver of information to the discussion: so and so donated money to the CF and then talked to HRC on the phone (or got a meeting). No evidence is produced that there's a causal relationship between the two much less a quid pro quo in which the donation and meeting led HRC to act in an official capacity to benefit the contributor.
All of the examples I've seen so far, the oil companies, UBS, etc. are like this. No context, no evidence of a quid pro quo, all inuendo.
- publiustex | August 26, 2016 at 10:20 am | I consider some of these contributors to be unsavory, and I wish they'd give the Clinton Foundation a lot more money so they'd have less to sink into GOP House and Senate races.
- Philip Diehl | August 26, 2016 at 11:05 am | Ray LaPan-Love: You left out this quote from the interview with David Sirota. Context matters.
'DAVID SIROTA: Well, my reaction to it is that I think that if you look at some of these individual examples, I think Paul is right that it's hard to argue that their donations to the foundation got them access. They are - a lot of these people in the AP story are people who knew her."
- Ray LaPan-Love | August 26, 2016 at 11:21 am | Pub,
I can't remember where I saw the comparison between the arms sales of HRC and the shrub. But, if it comes to me I'll add it later. Meanwhile, here is a link to lots of related info:
And yes, "no context, no evidence of a quid pro quo", and almost as if she knew she might run for the prez job.
- Ray LaPan-Love | August 26, 2016 at 11:41 am | Sorry Phillip, but gee whiz, am I to assume that nobody else has any 'context' on a story that is difficult to miss. Where does one draw such lines? And the spin you are hoping for is somewhat unwound by David using the phrase "hard to argue". That could be interpreted to simply mean that the CF is good at obfuscating. And as someone who has worked in politics and even for a large NPO, I can atably assure you
- Ray LaPan-Love | August 26, 2016 at 11:59 am | ….!!!!!! my cursor got stuck on the previous comment as I tried to use spell-check.
Anyway, I was trying to comfratably assure you that these organizations are commonly structured to allow for deceptive practices. The Sierra Club for example has affiliates that collect donations and then those funds are used to pay the overhead of the affiliate 'before' any money is donated to the Sierra Club. Thus, the Sierra club's solicitation costs are not reflected in the percentage of funds used toward whatever cause. This is not of course very subtle, and a Foundation such the CF could not likely get away something this obvious, but…schemes such those exposed by the Panama Papers should make us all hesitant to assume anything.
- RICK | August 26, 2016 at 12:20 pm | Dear James -
I'm a long-time fan of your smart writing and the important work that you (and Simon) do. But what's with this constant Clinton Derangement Syndrome? Why look so hard to find some morsel of "scandal" with the Clintons when there's an entire herd of elephants in the room with the Republican candidate??
As a wealth manager of many years, I must disagree with your dismissive assessment of the Clintons' personal philanthropy as a personal piggy bank. For sure, in a regular family foundation (many of my clients!) the grants and donations are entirely at the discretion of the controlling family, and very often it's all about shiny brass plaques and photo ops with museum directors or mayors. Fine, that's our system, and at least something gets done. And then the donors die and the plaques fade. A shawl has no pockets.
But the Clinton operation is unique: they choose specific issues, partner with competent outside groups, and then direct enormous extra outside funds - not just their own meager foundation money - to tackle the problems. This is only possible because of their international status; not a Gates nor a Slim nor a Zuckerberg could engineer the same.
One can certainly speculate about who got access (a phone call, seriously?) or who was schmoozed in what way in order to secure their donations. But to broad-brush the whole of the Clinton philanthropy as personal corruption is truly unfair. And it sure doesn't make sense when there's so much worse and genuinely scandalous material on the other side just waiting to be uncovered.
Keep the faith!
- Bruce E. Woych | August 27, 2016 at 2:39 pm | Note: (from Global Research critique @ (eg: https://mail.aol.com/webmail-std/en-us/suite ) cited above: "Philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist, Andre Vltchek has covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. His latest books are: "Exposing Lies Of The Empire" and "Fighting Against Western Imperialism". Discussion with Noam Chomsky: On Western Terrorism. Point of No Return is his critically acclaimed political novel. Oceania – a book on Western imperialism in the South Pacific. His provocative book about Indonesia: "Indonesia – The Archipelago of Fear". Andre is making films for teleSUR and Press TV.
- Ray LaPan-Love | August 27, 2016 at 3:42 pm | Bruce, (been awhile),
High grade stuff there. Yet, I'm not as taken by Caros' comment as you seem to be. Near the end, this part: "The Clinton family business is benefiting themselves AND OTHERS by way of their prominence."
To begin with, the Clinton's influence in arming the royal gulfies may get us all killed, and so his comparison to the Bushs, while apt in a current sense, it may well be…dangerously premature. Then too, Caro is of course taking sides as if the Clintons don't fully realize the P.R. benefits of giving away other peoples money. Which segs the question of how could the Clintons have put so much time and effort into Hillary's run, while creating so many pitfalls for themselves? Did they think the Repubs might get nice? Are they stupid, arrogant maybe? Or just so corrupt that they just can't stop like so many kleptomaniacs? In any case, it isn't only Trump's fitness that we should be questioning.
Sep 15, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
"State Department Delays Records Request About Clinton-Linked Firm Until After The 2016 Election" [ International Business Times ]. "Beacon Global Strategies is a shadowy consulting firm that's stacked with former Obama administration officials, high profile Republicans and a number of Hillary Clinton's closest foreign policy advisers. But beyond its billing as a firm that works with the defense industry, it is unclear for whom specifically the company works, exactly what it does, and if Beacon employees have tried to influence national security policy since the firm's founding in 2013.
UPDATE "New York-based Teneo, with 575 employees, markets itself as a one-stop shop for CEOs to get advice on a wide range of issues, including mergers and acquisitions, handling crises and managing public relations. For its services, it generally charges clients monthly retainer fees of $100,000 to $300,000." [ Wall Street Journal , "Teneo, Consulting Firm with Clinton Ties, Eyes $1 Billion IPO"]. Founder Douglas Band was Bill Clinton's body man . One can only wonder what a body man does to become worth $1 billion to, well, the people who made him worth a billion.
"[I]n many of these [Clinton Foundation] episodes you can see expectations operating like an electrical circuit. The donors expect that their support of the Clinton Foundation will help them get access to the State Department, [Doug] Band see above] expects that he can count on [Huma] Abedin to help, and Abedin seems to understand that she needs to be responsive to Band. This would be a lot of effort for powerful people to expend, if it led to nothing at all. There are two obvious possibilities. One is that the State Department actually was granting important favors to Clinton Foundation donors that the many sustained investigations have somehow failed to detect. The other, which is more likely, is that someone, somewhere along the line, was getting played" [ The New Yorker ]. Surely those two possibilities are not mutually exclusive? And public office is being used for private gain in either case?
UPDATE "Even as the Clintons are touting plans to distance themselves from their foundation and limit its fundraising if Hillary Clinton is elected president, they're planning one last glitzy fundraising bash on Friday to belatedly celebrate Bill Clinton's 70th birthday" [ Politico ].
"Plans called for performances by Wynton Marsalis, Jon Bon Jovi and Barbra Streisand, according to people briefed on the planning. They said that major donors are being asked to give $250,000 to be listed as a chair for the party, $100,000 to be listed a co-chair and $50,000 to be listed as a vice-chair." Sounds lovely! How I wish I could go…
Sep 15, 2016 | www.moonofalabama.org
As one Michael Curry points out , Clinton's social messaging team is simply incompetent.
From a series of Clinton tweets attacking Trump over his assumed foreign policy:Hillary Clinton @HillaryClinton
4. If you were willing to work with Qaddafi-a known terrorist and dictator-is there anyone you aren't willing to make a deal with? Who?
9:32 AM - 14 Sep 2016
---Hillary Clinton @HillaryClinton
Hillary Clinton Retweeted Donald J. Trump
13. How can we know you won't (again) impulsively damage relationships with crucial allies to preserve your own ego? Hillary Clinton added,Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump
Dopey Prince @Alwaleed_Talal wants to control our U.S. politicians with daddy's money. Can't do it when I get elected. #Trump2016
7:53 PM - 11 Dec 2015
9:48 AM - 14 Sep 2016
Is such incompetence in messaging a reflection of Hillary Clinton own confusion? Or are the categories "terrorist and dictator" versus "crucial allies" solely depending on the size of payments to the Clinton Foundation?
Posted by b at 02:03 PM | Comments (6) originalone | Sep 15, 2016 2:08:08 PM | 1Again, B hits the nail on the head. Oh wait, could it be the koolaid by Putin the cause?Terry | Sep 15, 2016 2:21:10 PM | 2
She is sliding to throwing mud ,. what ever will stick will do the trick I guess .This started after some polls showing the Donald ahead a few points .FecklessLeft | Sep 15, 2016 2:52:32 PM | 3
I recognize election season is always crazy in the states, especially as an outside observer looking in, but this cycle seems so far beyond that norm compared even to 4 years ago it makes me quite uncomfortable. It reeks of a growing desperation by the elites to me. The 2012 campaigns of the two major parties were a circus by any measure, but they seem completely measured and intellectual by this year's standards.james | Sep 15, 2016 2:54:25 PM | 4
I understand American culture dwells a lot on violence, but the new standards of political rhetoric disturb me greatly. It seems most of the country's population is either willfully ignorant of the destruction their country creates or cheers it on wildly and willingly. How anybody could advocate carpet bombing without irony or rebuttal is frightenening. That it could drum up support - well that's just depressing.
The two most important topics in this election, nuclear weapons and global warming, both candidates have been decidedly silent about. It scares me that neither party even attempts to appeal to the left anymore, except by manipulating them by fear and non existent 'security' issues. If it's all about PR and perception management anyways, I wonder why Clinton wears her right leaning nature and war mongering history on her sleeve? Maybe content and debate matters less than I assume it does to the average American voter. Maybe it's totally about spectacle and personality now and nothing else. Sad, sad days for those who live in the middle of the Empire but it's hard to be sympathetic sometimes. It seems the hot new consumer electronic device gets more of a thorough analysis and debate than does either major party candidates' platform (if you could even call it that).
Vote republican and catastrophic, irreversible climate change is almost guaranteed, with a hearty chance of more war and more regime change operations (despite attempts to paint the candidate as 'isolationist').
Vote democrat for more wars and regime change, with the status quo of environmental destruction happily maintained (despite the attempts to paint the candidate as an 'environmentalist').
this us election is much more pathetic then usual... witnessing the standing president refer to putin akin to saddam hussain is frankly insane, but shows how depraved the usa has gotten... and, besides that, since when did the average usa person even know where any place outside the usa was on a map, let alone having actually been their? oh - i guess it doesn't matter...Les | Sep 15, 2016 2:57:20 PM | 5
as @1 originalone says basically 'putin did it'...
As everyone knows, the US normalized relations with Qaddafi in 2004.Erelis | Sep 15, 2016 3:18:51 PM | 6
The Obama administration authorized CIA backing of the rebellion almost before it started. In all likelihood, it started several years before the revolt, and the authorization was to provide legal cover for activity that was already ongoing.
@ FecklessLeft 3
Unfortunately, your observations are sharp, correct and to the point. All I can weakly offer is something Ralph Nader said. Ralph Nader once noted that the difference between the democrats and republicans is the difference between a car hitting a wall at 60 miles per hour versus 120 miles per hour. Not so anymore. Now both cars will hit the wall going as fast as they can. And the passengers will jump for joy at the speed.
Nov 01, 2008 | www.slate.com
It was apt in a small way that the first endorser of Hillary Rodham Clinton for secretary of state should have been Henry Kissinger. The last time he was nominated for any position of responsibility-the chairmanship of the 9/11 commission-he accepted with many florid words about the great honor and responsibility, and then he withdrew when it became clear that he would have to disclose the client list of Kissinger Associates. (See, for the article that began this embarrassing process for him, my Slate column "The Latest Kissinger Outrage.")
It is possible that the Senate will be as much of a club as the undistinguished fraternity/sorority of our ex-secretaries of state, but even so, it's difficult to see Sen. Clinton achieving confirmation unless our elected representatives are ready to ask a few questions about conflict of interest along similar lines. And how can they not? The last time that Clinton foreign-policy associations came up for congressional review, the investigations ended in a cloud of murk that still has not been dispelled. Former President Bill Clinton has recently and rather disingenuously offered to submit his own foundation to scrutiny (see the work of my Vanity Fair colleague Todd Purdum on the delightful friends and associates that Clinton has acquired since he left office), but the real problem is otherwise. Both President and Sen. Clinton, while in office, made it obvious to foreign powers that they and their relatives were wide open to suggestions from lobbyists and middlemen.
Just to give the most salient examples from the Clinton fundraising scandals of the late 1990s: The House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight published a list of witnesses called before it who had either "fled or pled"-in other words, who had left the country to avoid testifying or invoked the Fifth Amendment to avoid self-incrimination. Some Democratic members of the committee said that this was unfair to, say, the Buddhist nuns who raised the unlawful California temple dough for then-Vice President Al Gore, but however fair you want to be, the number of those who found it highly inconvenient to testify fluctuates between 94 and 120. If you recall the names John Huang, James Riady, Johnny Chung, Charlie Trie, and others, you will remember the pattern of acquired amnesia syndrome and stubborn reluctance to testify, followed by sudden willingness on the part of the Democratic National Committee to return quite large sums of money from foreign sources. Much of this cash had been raised at political events held in the public rooms of the White House, the sort of events that featured the adorable Roger Tamraz, for another example.
Related was the result of a House select committee on Chinese espionage in the United States and the illegal transfer to China of advanced military technology. Chaired by Christopher Cox, R-Calif., the committee issued a report in 1999 with no dissenting or "minority" signature. It found that the Clinton administration's attitude toward Chinese penetration had been abysmally lax (as lax, I would say, as its attitude toward easy money from businessmen with Chinese military-industrial associations).
Many quids and many quos were mooted by these investigations (still incomplete at the time of writing) though perhaps not enough un-ambivalent pros. You can't say that about the Marc Rich and other pardons-the vulgar bonanza with which the last Clinton era came to an end. Rich's ex-wife, Denise Rich, gave large sums to Hillary Clinton's re-election campaign and to Bill Clinton's library, and Marc Rich got a pardon.
Edgar and Vonna Jo Gregory, convicted of bank fraud, hired Hillary Clinton's brother Tony and paid him $250,000, and they got a pardon. Carlos Vignali Jr. and Almon Glenn Braswell paid $400,000 to Hillary Clinton's other brother, Hugh, and, hey, they, respectively, got a presidential commutation and a presidential pardon, too. In the Hugh case, the money was returned as being too embarrassing for words (and as though following the hallowed custom, when busted or flustered, of the Clinton-era DNC). But I would say that it was more embarrassing to realize that a former first lady, and a candidate for secretary of state, was a full partner in years of seedy overseas money-grubbing and has two greedy brothers to whom she cannot say no.
Does this sibling and fraternal squalor have foreign-policy implications, too? Yes. Until late 1999, the fabulous Rodham boys were toiling on another scheme to get the hazelnut concession from the newly independent republic of Georgia. There was something quixotically awful about this scheme-something simultaneously too small-time and too big-time-but it also involved a partnership with the main political foe of the then-Georgian president (who may conceivably have had political aspirations), so once again the United States was made to look as if its extended first family were operating like a banana republic.
China, Indonesia, Georgia-these are not exactly negligible countries on our defense and financial and ideological peripheries. In each country, there are important special interests that equate the name Clinton with the word pushover. And did I forget to add what President Clinton pleaded when the revulsion at the Rich pardons became too acute? He claimed that he had concerted the deal with the government of Israel in the intervals of the Camp David "agreement"! So anyone who criticized the pardons had better have been careful if they didn't want to hear from the Anti-Defamation League. Another splendid way of showing that all is aboveboard and of convincing the Muslim world of our evenhandedness.
In matters of foreign policy, it has been proved time and again, the Clintons are devoted to no interest other than their own. A president absolutely has to know of his chief foreign-policy executive that he or she has no other agenda than the one he has set. Who can say with a straight face that this is true of a woman whose personal ambition is without limit; whose second loyalty is to an impeached and disbarred and discredited former president; and who is ready at any moment, and on government time, to take a wheedling call from either of her bulbous brothers? This is also the unscrupulous female who until recently was willing to play the race card on President-elect Obama and (in spite of her own complete want of any foreign-policy qualifications) to ridicule him for lacking what she only knew about by way of sordid backstairs dealing. What may look like wound-healing and magnanimity to some looks like foolhardiness and masochism to me.
Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011) was a columnist for Vanity Fair and the author, most recently, of Arguably, a collection of essays.
Dec 12, 2011 | temi.repubblica.it
America won the Cold War. But in addition to the USSR, has it defeated Russia? This question, which is still in the nineties sounded absurd to most people, began to appear in the last decade, thanks to the work of historians such as Dimitri Simes, John Lewis Gaddis, or in Italy, Adriano Roccucci.
In the United States is widely believed that the collapse of the Soviet Union was caused in large part by strategic decisions of the Reagan administration. Surely the military and economic pressure exerted by these contributed to the disintegration of the Warsaw Pact and then the final crisis of the Soviet system. However, according to Simes in the years immediately following the dissolution of the USSR, Washington has made perhaps the greatest error of a winner: sold for complacency.
This has resulted, in retrospect, in an overestimation of U.S. policy choices in the mid-eighties onwards, and in a parallel underestimation of the role played by the Soviet leadership. Gorbachev came to power in 1985 determined to solve the problems left behind by Brezhnev: overexposure military in Afghanistan and subsequent explosion of spending on defense, imposed on an economy tremendously inefficient. But if Reagan pushed the USSR on the edge of the precipice, Gorbachev was disposable, albeit unwittingly, triggering reforms that escaped the hands of his own theorist.
That fact has been largely removed from public debate and U.S. historiography which has led America in the second mistake: underestimating the enemy defeated, confusing the defunct Soviet Union with what was left of his heart - Russia.
In fact, Reagan and Bush Sr. after him fully understand the dangers inherent in the collapse of the superpower enemy, dealing with Gorbachev touch, even without discounts: the Soviet leader was refused the pressing demands for economic aid, incompatible with the military escalation Reagan once to crush the Soviet Union under the weight of war spending.
Even the first Gulf War (1990-91), who saw the massive American intervention in a country (Iraq) at the time near the borders of the USSR, did not provoke a diplomatic rupture between the two superpowers. This Soviet weakness undoubtedly was the result of an empire in decline, but remember that even in 1990 no one - least of all, the leadership in Moscow - the Soviet Union finally gave up on us yet.
Despite an election campaign played on the charge to GH Bush to focus too much on foreign policy, ignoring the economics (It's the economy, stupid), newly installed in the White House Bill Clinton was not spared aid to Russia, agreeing to this line of credit to be logged on to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), from June 1992. Clinton's support was directed mainly toward the figure of Yeltsin and his policies, with the exception of waging war against Chechen separatism, in 1994.
If Clinton with these moves proved to understand, like its two predecessors, the importance of "accompany" the Russian transition, avoiding - or at least contain - the chaos following the collapse of a continental empire, the other part of his administration demonstrated sinful paternalism and, above all, acquired the illusion of omnipotence that he saw in the "unipolar moment" end not only the U.S. opposed the US-USSR, but also of any power ambitions of Russia. Russia simply ceased to be a U.S. geopolitical variable in the equation, Moscow was irrevocably excluded from the strategic horizon.
The result was that the former Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott called at the time the policy of "eat and shut up": the Russian economy was collapsing, the Red Army reduced the ghost of the past and Yeltsin's entourage welcomed with open arms of the IMF aid. In short, Russia is a power failure and as such was treated by administering liberal economic recipes and submitting its projection to a geopolitical drastic weight loss. Everything apart from the feeling of the Russian leadership.
This went hand in hand with growing resentment for the permanent position of inferiority which they were relegated by Washington. To the point that even the then Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev, known by the nickname "Yes sir" for his acquiescence to the dictates of Americans, showed growing impatience with the brutal Russian downgrading by America.
Indeed, the United States administration did not lack critics: former President Nixon, a number of businessmen and experts of Russia expressed skepticism or opposition to the Clinton administration attitude that did not seem to pay particular attention to wounded pride and the strategic interests of a nation that continued to think of itself as empire. However, these positions does not affect the dominant view in the administration of the establishment and much of the U.S., where consencus was that Russia in no longer entitled to have an independent foreign policy.
This approach found its full realization, between 1999 and 2004, the expansion of NATO eastward: they were including Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Romania, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Together with the U.S. intervention in Serbia during the Kosovo war (1999), this move Russia convinced that the cost of the American loans -- a dramatic and permanent reduction of the area of security and its own geopolitical ambitions - was too high .
Sep 04, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.comJulio -> EMichael... Friday, September 02, 2016 at 10:03 AM
Look more carefully at the timeline, UBS upped its cash to Bill and the foundation after the scandal and her intervention as Sec. of State. See e.g.
The whole thing smells to high heaven. The only reason to trust that there are no direct quid pro quos is, perversely, that there are so many donations and so many speeches and interactions that they all begin to seem normal.
Yes, there may be smoke and no fire, in the legal sense, but let us not pretend there are no issues here.
J.Goodwin, August 31, 2016 10:35 am
Low level personnel in the US government are expected to reject gifts, or if culturally they cannot, then they turn them over to their agency, unless it is something like a coffee or a sandwich.
There is an expectation that people are going to not just not actually corrupt their job by doing favors for people who give them gifts or do them favors, but that they will avoid the appearance of corruption that is generated by accepting gifts.
The supreme court doesn't agree with that anymore. Anyone can accept any kind of bribe as long as they don't let it influence their actions. You can't see the desk for the treasure that's being dumped onto political tables to fund campaigns and line their personal pockets.
This is a foreign practice, one that is corrupt and should be rooted out nationally. Accepting gifts creates a corrupting environment, no matter what the recipient does, because EVERYONE understands that the gift is intended to influence policy or gain access so that the person can influence policy. The person giving the gift knows it, or they wouldn't give it, the person receiving the gift knows it, but "deep down in their honest hearts" they're not going to allow it to influence their work and decisions?
No of course not. Buying access is the same as putting a stack of cash into someone's pocket to get them to vote one way or another on a bill of interest.
Does the Clinton foundation do good work? Sure. Does it get money because of the Clintons involvement in raising money? Undoubtedly, without their participation it can't raise anywhere near that amount of money, and the reason is that their high public profile means that people believe that by giving to them they can influence policy, even if those people are not in office (through backchannels and whispers and introductions).
Does every person donating to the Clinton foundation want to influence policy, or are they primarily motivated by wanting to fund it's good works? This is impossible to tell. Even someone as prominent and perhaps morally blameless Elie Wiesel isn't there to eat cookies and have tea and talk about the weather if he's in Hillary Clinton's office. That is not what he is there for. That kind of meeting is not purely a social call, it's an effort to influence policy, whether it is related to statements on the Armenian genocide or the Sudan or god knows what.
Is he a person that she should meet with, whether he gives a donation to her foundation or not? Maybe that is her job. Probably most of these meetings are that way. That's why public officials are expected to put investments and charities into trusts and blinds and under separate management when they're in office, to help establish the boundary between their public responsibilities and their private interests including their charitable interests.
It doesn't matter to me whether she did anything that she shouldn't have done, legally. The letter of the law is insufficient to dictate the actions of moral people. Is it disqualifying? She's already been disqualified in my mind, this is just another thing.
Is it disturbing and annoying to me to see the double standard where promoters are willing to weasel and explain away whatever the Clintons have done that for any person on the other side of the aisle would be moral issues that disqualify them from office?
Sep 03, 2016 | www.nytimes.com
A top aide to Hillary Clinton at the State Department agreed to try to obtain a special diplomatic passport for an adviser to former President Bill Clinton in 2009, according to emails released Thursday, raising new questions about whether people tied to the Clinton Foundation received special access at the department.
The request by the adviser, Douglas J. Band, who started one arm of the Clintons' charitable foundation, was unusual, and the State Department never issued the passport. Only department employees and others with diplomatic status are eligible for the special passports, which help envoys facilitate travel, officials said.
... ... ...
The exchange about the passport, between Mr. Band and Huma Abedin, who was then a top State Department aide to Mrs. Clinton, was included in a set of more than 500 pages of emails made public by Judicial Watch, a conservative legal group that sued for their release.
"Need get me/justy and jd dip passports," Mr. Band wrote to Ms. Abedin on July 27, 2009, referring to passports for himself and two other aides to Mr. Clinton, Justin Cooper and John Davidson.
... ... ...
But a person with knowledge of the issue, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that the three men were arranging to travel with Mr. Clinton to Pyongyang less than a week later for the former president's secret negotiations. Mr. Clinton already had a diplomatic passport as a former president.
... ... ...
Traveling with a former president does not convey any special diplomatic status, the State Department indicated in a statement regarding the emails. "Diplomatic passports are issued to Foreign Service officers or a person having diplomatic or comparable status," the statement said.
"Any individuals who do not have this status are not issued diplomatic passports," it said, adding that "the staff of former presidents are not included among those eligible to be issued a diplomatic passport."
The emails released by Judicial Watch also include discussions about meetings between Mrs. Clinton and a number of people involved in major donations to the Clinton Foundation.
In one exchange in July 2009, Ms. Abedin told Mrs. Clinton's scheduler that Mr. Clinton "wants to be sure" that Mrs. Clinton would be able to see Andrew Liveris, the chief executive of Dow Chemical, at an event the next night. Dow Chemical has been one of the biggest donors to the Clinton Foundation, giving $1 million to $5 million, records show.
Ms. Abedin arranged what she called "a pull-aside" for Mr. Liveris to speak with Mrs. Clinton in a private room after she arrived to give a speech, according to the emails, which did not explain the reason for the meeting.
The person with knowledge of the issue said that this email chain also related to Mr. Clinton's North Korea trip because Mr. Liveris had offered to let Mr. Clinton use his private plane.
A separate batch of State Department documents released by Judicial Watch last month also revealed contacts between the State Department and Clinton Foundation donors. In one such exchange, Mr. Band sought to put a billionaire donor in touch with the department's former ambassador to Lebanon.
Donald J. Trump, Mrs. Clinton's Republican opponent, has seized on the documents, saying they revealed a "pay to play" operation.
Aug 31, 2016 | The New York Times
This is not the typical foundation funded by family wealth earned by an industrialist or financier. This foundation was funded almost entirely by donors, and to the extent anyone in the Clinton family "earned" the money, it was largely through speaking fees for former President Bill Clinton or Hillary Clinton when she was not secretary of state. This dependence on donations - a scenario remarkably similar to that of many political campaigns - means that the motivations of every single donor will be questioned whenever a President Clinton does anything that could conceivably benefit such donors.
... ... ...
This kind of access is the most corrupting brand of favoritism and pervades the entire government. Under both Republican and Democratic presidents, top ambassadorial posts routinely go to campaign contributors. Yet more campaign contributors hound these and other State Department employees for introductions abroad, preferred access and advancement of trade and other policy agendas. More often than not the State Department does their bidding.
... ... ...
The problem is that it does not matter that no laws were broken, or that the Clinton Foundation is principally about doing good deeds. It does not matter that favoritism is inescapable in the federal government and that the Clinton Foundation stories are really nothing new. The appearances surrounding the foundation are problematic, and it is and will be an albatross around Mrs. Clinton's neck.
... ... ...
As for Chelsea Clinton, anti-nepotism laws, strengthened after President Kennedy appointed his brother Robert as attorney general, could prevent her mother from appointing her to some of the highest government positions. But she could give her mother informal advice, and there are a great many government jobs for which she would be eligible. She does not need the Clinton Foundation to succeed in life.
Richard W. Painter, a professor of law at the University of Minnesota, was the chief White House ethics lawyer from 2005 to 2007.
Majortrout, is a trusted commenter Montreal 2 days ago
"When I was the chief White House ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush," You knew exactly where this article was going once you read the first 14 words.
chichimax, albany, ny 2 days ago
I have a hard time focusing on this article. The author was chief ethics lawyer for the George W. Bush Administration. Why does that bother me? I realize this guy's term was from 2005 to 2007 and the Abu Ghraib story pretty much broke in early 2005, but, thinking about those other lawyers for that Bush and what they said was okay, it really gives me the creeps to think about focusing on anything this guy might say about ethics. Just sayin'.
Lori, San Francisco 2 days ago
How much did the Clinton campaign pay for this Op-Ed? 'Every one does it' and 'it's not illegal'. 'It's how business is done.' How about doing a real in-depth investigation on the Clinton Foundation and perceived favors to donors NYT, instead of more opinion?
If the foundation is so squeaky clean there should be no problem. Or has Hilary made it clear you won't get a front row seat at her next mythical press conference? Or has she threatened to stop sending you the press releases from her campaign you report as news?
Ange, Boston 2 days ago
Clearly a planted article. Nice try. Is everyone aware that the Foundation paid off Clinton's '08 campaign debt? They gave $400,000 and considered "payment for the campaign's mailing lists"
Crabby Hayes, Virginia 2 days ago
According to former Justice Department Deputy Assistant Attorney General Shannen Coffin, there are at least three different categories of federal laws which may be implicated.
One, the ethics and government act, which says you can't use a public office for private gain for yourself or even for a charity. So in giving special access to the donors for the Clinton Foundation, the ethics and government act is implicated. So perhaps Mr. Painter is a bit hasty dismissing such claims.
Randy, Largent 2 days ago
If it was only about getting a government post or an arranged meeting, I would agree. But this seems different because significant amounts of money changed hands as a result of State Department intervention. And a lot of that money ended up at the Foundation or as speaking fees to Bill Clinton. How is this not seen as foreign donations effecting an American election - which I believe is illegal.
Isa Ten, CA 2 days ago
Mr. Painter: You say "There is little if any evidence that federal ethics laws were broken by Mrs. Clinton". So if there is even "little" evidence that the laws were broken, then shouldn't American electorate consider it when making their election day decisions?
You did not mention that there was no independent investigation on this subject, so there is no way to know whether there was "little" or "significant" or "overwhelming" evidence that the laws were broken.
Your main argument is that "everyone" does that. Perhaps, it is time to change that and Trump is the man who can do it. Is it fear of this kind of change that frightens so many NeverTrumpsters into rejecting him?
And finally, even if the written laws were not broken, what about the immorality of what Clintons did? Has morality been completely removed from the public square in this once great country?
David Keltz, Brooklyn 2 days ago
If there was no evidence of corruption at the Clinton Foundation, then why did Bill Clinton's speaking fees increase astronomically (from roughly $100,000 to $850,000) during Hillary's tenure at the State Department?
Did he suddenly become more sought after, nearly 8 or 9 years after his presidency? If there was no evidence of corruption, then why did Hillary Clinton use her authority to appoint herself onto the Haiti Relief Fund Board, where her sole relief efforts entailed asking people not to donate to the Red Cross, but to the Clinton Foundation?
John D., Out West 2 days ago
One thing that comes through loud & clear in the comments: a lot of people don't have a clue how non-profit organizations work. For a sector that's responsible for most of the good things in this country these days - as the neocons and neolibs in power withdraw from the govt's former "general welfare" Constitutional role and concentrate on enriching themselves and their friends - it would pay for citizens to become more aware of how the sector works.
James Lee, Arlington, Texas August 31, 2016
The framers of our Constitution had no illusions about the weaknesses of human nature. They carefully crafted our charter of government to pit the officials of each branch against each other, to obstruct the kind of collusion that could undermine the foundations of a free society.
Despite their best efforts, however, the system they devised inevitably empowers some groups more than others. Since democratic theory defines government officials as representatives of the voters, it encourages constituents to influence the decisions of those agents. Ideally, politicians should not favor the interests of some groups over others, but reality dictates otherwise.
In the contest for influence, money inevitably plays a major, although not always decisive, role. In an effort to limit this role, we have developed both formal and informal methods to constrain human greed. The law prohibits bribery, for example. To discourage subtler forms of influence-buying, we have developed codes of ethics that pressure officials to limit financial connections with groups or individuals who might seek their help.
Public opinion can serve as a powerful tool to enforce these codes. This explains the informal requirement that a president divest herself of financial connections that might affect her decisions. If Clinton rejects this tradition, she will undermine an important method of limiting the influence of moneyed interests in government. We have too few such tools as it is.
confetti, MD August 31, 2016
I don't think that favoritism in political life will ever go away, for the simple reason that political power isn't attained in a vacuum. It requires sturdy alliances by definition, and those are forged via exchange of valued items - material goods, policy compromises, position, status, assistance and other durable support. Our laws are relatively stringent and prevent the crassest forms of corruption, and our culture makes lesser but legal offenses dangerous politically. But to imagine that any government, anywhere, could function without either those sorts of alliances or some equally corruptible strongman central oversight is is as naive and dangerously idealistic.
Of course the Clintons wheeled and dealed - but well within the law.
I'm more interested in what end that served and the real consequences than the fact that it occurred. In their case, an effective charity that aided many very vulnerable people was sustained, and no demonstrable compromises that negatively affected global policies occurred.
It's the Republicans and truly sold out Democrats, who have forever been deep in the pocket of big money and whose 'deals' in that department cause tangible harm to the populace, that I'm more concerned with. This is their smoke and mirrors show.
Alexander K., Minnesota August 31, 2016
How would someone feel if they found out that a doctor who prescribed them a medication is also paid large sums by a pharmaceutical company to promote the drug? Or, if the doctors owns substantial amount of stock in the company? Appearances do matter and it is likely that such conflicts do impact judgement. These kinds of allowances are being cleaned up across the country, at least in medicine.
It is time that conflict of interest for politicians at all levels is taken seriously by the public. I am fine if they get higher salaries, but it is time to clean up the political corruption and crony capitalism. It is a shame that we hold our politicians to such incredible low standards and it is not a surprise that so many people don't bother to vote.
Michael Belmont, Hewitt, New Jersey 2 days ago
It doesn't matter how good or bad the work of the Clinton Foundation is. That is not the question. The question is the motivation of many who contribute to the foundation. Are they motivated by altruism or is donating in a big way a ploy to gain access to Mrs. Clinton. The AP analysis suggests that is just what went on. At the very least it looks bad. Appearances are everything in politics.
Hillary doesn't need to appear to be unethical should she be elected. Bad enough she has Bill by her side. She doesn't need a special prosecutor investigator distracting her presidency with an influence peddling scandal. Like it or not, Republicans will be hunting for her political hide. Hillary doesn't need to paint a bulls-eye for them.
Chris, 10013 2 days ago
I doubt that Clinton breached a fundamental legal boundary. However, the Clinton's have always seen the bright line and have decided to test the boundaries. From using police to secure women while governor to taking money from Walmart to major financial institutions to the email scandal, the Clinton's do it again and again and blame a vast right wing conspiracy. The Clinton foundation used Doug Band as a bag man securing commercial contracts for Bill and Hilary while he had a senior role at the foundation (flashing red lights). Huma took money off the state department books as did other Clinton confidants (flashing red lights), etc. They can't help themselves. Are these actives illegal? Probably not. However, we seek to be inspired by our leaders, we want leaders who are better than the average, better than us.
In the Clintons, we have highly competent, experienced, politicians who have repeated shown deep ethical problems. She is the best candidate by far. It's unfortunate that our future President never learned what ethics are.
Robert, Minneapolis 2 days ago
An interesting article. It is probably true that many, if not most, politicians are influence sellers to a degree. I suspect that the Clintons are just better at it. It is fair to say that we do not know if laws have been broken. But it is also fair to say that appearances matter, and that the Clintons are very good at lining their own pockets at the same time the foundation does it's good work.
When Bill can trot off to Russia, get 750k for a speech at the same time that business interests of the donor is before the State Department, it smells. The crux of the matter is the rotten judgement.
You want a POTUS who has good judgement. The relentless chasing of a buck mixed with the appearance of impropriety, real or imagined, is the problem. When mixed with her poor judgement on the emails and her poor judgement on invading Iraq and disrupting Libya, you have a problem which explains her low approval rating. She is just fortunate that she has Trump to run against.
Madelyn Harris, Portland, OR 2 days ago
So glad to see many NYT readers here recognize the hypocrisy in this opinion piece. The message is "All of them do it, it's mostly legal, though it's distasteful and problematic. However, Hillary is the only one who should stop doing it because it looks bad."
The loudest voices of this partisan attack should be under the same scrutiny and be compelled to practice what they preach. If we look back to the Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky scandal, those that were screaming the loudest for justice were having extramarital affairs during the "investigation". Newt Gingrich, Bob Livingston, Henry Hyde. And then there was Dennis Hastert.
Let's start looking into the personal emails of Paul Ryan, Jason Chaffetz, Donald Trump, Trey Gowdy, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz. Imagine what we would find! Legal, but ethically problematic exchanges and clearly illegal exchanges that would justify imprisonment. If they ask for justice, we should provide it.
Lori, San Francisco 2 days ago
You bring up yet another problem with Hilary. She has covered for her sexual predator husband for decades, including harassing and publicly shaming her husband's sexual assault victims. And there are many going back to his Oxford days. How is that ok?
John D., Out West 2 days ago
An excellent piece, actually tethered to reality and non-profit law and practice ... finally! Yes, all the Clinton clan needs to divorce themselves from the foundation, and I'm not sure why they would wait until after the election to do so.
It seems the loudest critics are of the tribe that created campaign finance law as it stands today, with the CU case having created a legal system of bribery across the board in government. C'mon guys, be consistent, or it's the big H word for you!
RNW, Albany, CA 2 days ago
When it comes to ethics and public officials, appearances do in indeed MATTER! Cronyism and conflicts of interest might elicit a big yawn from the political class, their fellow travelers and camp followers but arouse anger and indignation from voters. Remember those guys?
We're the ones that politicians suddenly remember every few years with they come. hats in hand, begging for donations and, most of all, our votes. (The plea for donations is a farce. Except for a few outliers, they don't really need or want OUR donations.)
The Trumpster won the Republican nomination precisely because of voter disgust over the in-crowd culture of politicians and donors. Bernie Sanders came close to winning the Democratic nomination for much of the same reason. Hilary and her entire family need to wake up fast if she has any hope or desire to get elected. We all know where Hilary's money is coming from. Does Hilary know where her voters are coming from and where they are now?
Tembrach, Connecticut 2 days ago
I preface this by saying that I am proud Democrat & will vote for Mrs. Clinton, as Mr. Trump is beyond the pale of decency
To put this in a nutshell, The Clinton's self-enriching behavior- and use of public office for private gain - is troubling in the extreme
During her tenure as Secretary of State (as reported by the AP) of the 154 non-official meetings at least 85 of those individuals were private-sector donors who contributed up to $156 million to Clinton Foundation initiatives.
The report comes on top of other far more incriminating investigations revealing the appearance of quid pro quo with foreign donors to the Clinton Foundation. Perhaps the worst example was when investors who profited from the Clinton State Department's approval of a deal for Russia's atomic energy agency's acquisition of a fifth of America's uranium mining rights subsequently pumped money into the Clinton Foundation.
Mrs Clinton rightly condemns Trump for playing footsy with Putin. But pray tell, what exactly was this?
I hate to say this but the Clintons are America's version of Russian Oligarchs - and their Foundation almost a glorified form of money laundering. I can only pray that in 2020, us Dems may find a better president ,and that the Clintons be soon forgotten.
Thought Bubble, New Jersey 2 days ago
Without seeing the 30,000 deleted emails, how is anyone qualified to say no laws were broken? Besides, who cares what the chief ethics lawyer for a president who authorized torture thinks?
Sep 02, 2016 |
More than half of the people who managed to score a personal one on one meeting with Hillary Clinton while she was Secretary of State donated money to the Clinton Foundation, either as an individual or through a company where they worked. "Combined, the 85 donors contributed as much as $156 million. At least 40 donated more than $100,000 each, and 20 gave more than $1 million," the Associated Press reported.
Does that make Hillary corrupt? Yes. It does.At this writing, there is no evidence that anyone received any special favors as a result of their special access to Clinton. Not that treats were not requested. They were. (The most amusing was Bono's request to stream his band's music into the international space station, which was mercifully rejected.)
That's irrelevant. She's still corrupt.
Clinton's defenders like to point out that neither she nor her husband draw a salary from their foundation. But that's a technicality.
The Clintons extract millions of dollars in travel expenditures, including luxurious airplane accommodations and hotel suites, from their purported do-gooder outfit. They exploit the foundation as a patronage mill, arranging for it to hire their loyalists at extravagant six-figure salaries. Charity Navigator, the Yelp of non-profits, doesn't bother to issue a rating for the Clinton foundation due to the pathetically low portion of money ($9 million out of $140 million in 2013) that makes its way to someone who needs it.
"It seems like the Clinton Foundation operates as a slush fund for the Clintons," says Bill Allison of the Sunlight Foundation, a government watchdog group.
As a measure of how institutionally bankrupt American politics is, all this crap is technically legal. But that doesn't mean it's not corrupt.
Public relations experts caution politicians like the Clintons that the appearance of impropriety is almost as bad as its actuality. If it looks bad, it will hurt you with the polls. True, but that's not really the point.
The point is: access is corruption.
It doesn't matter that the lead singer of U2 didn't get to live out his rocker astronaut fantasy. It's disgusting that he was ever in a position to have it considered. To put a finer point on it, ethics require that someone in Hillary Clinton's position never, ever take a meeting or correspond by email or offer a job to someone who donated money to her and her husband's foundation. Failure to build an unscalable wall between government and money necessarily creates a corrupt quid pro quo:
"Just got a call from the Clinton Foundation. They're shaking us down for a donation. Should we cough up a few bucks?"
"Hillary could be president someday. Chelsea could end up in the Senate. It couldn't hurt to be remembered as someone who threw them some money when they asked."
This, I 100% guarantee you, was the calculus when Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to Hillary for a one- or two-hour speech. She doesn't have anything new to say that everyone hasn't already heard million times before. It's not like she shared any valuable stock tips during those talks. Wealthy individuals and corporations pay politicians for one thing: access.
Ted Rall, syndicated writer and the cartoonist for ANewDomain.net, is the author of the book "Snowden," the biography of the NSA whistleblower.
Sep 02, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
curlydan , September 2, 2016 at 3:52 pmOpenThePodBayDoorsHAL , September 2, 2016 at 4:16 pm
HRC: "The Great Graspy"Skippy , September 2, 2016 at 4:18 pm
Good question, this NC reader is just pretty fed up with the status quo (maybe others want to chime in):Reply ↓
– Unlimited immunity from prosecution for banking executive criminals
– More shiny new undeclared "nation-building" and "RTP" wars
– Globalist trade deals that enshrine unaccountable corporate tribunals over national sovereignty, environmental and worker protection, and self-determination
– America's national business conducted in secrecy at the behest of corporate donors to tax-exempt foundations
– Paid-for quid-pro-quo media manipulation of candidate and election coverage
– Health care system reform designed to benefit entrenched insurance providers over providing access to reasonable-cost basic care.
Based on the above I'd say the 11:2 ratio looks about right.
When did neoliberalism become center left – ?????
Sep 02, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.comMarco , September 2, 2016 at 2:48 pmPat , September 2, 2016 at 3:02 pm
Really enjoyed Atrios easy-breezy summation of Clinton Foundation / State Department skullduggery…
"…a bit unseemly in that way that the sausage factory is a bit gross, but it basically seems to fall in 'this is how things work' territory as far as I can tell…"Kurt Sperry , September 2, 2016 at 3:43 pm
Breezy is right. It does lead me to ask if this were not the Clinton Foundation but was the Bush Foundation or the Rubio Foundation or…would this still be just be the way things work? I do not think so.
Don't get me wrong I have great admiration for Atrios (he is right on the money regarding Social Security and self-driving cars), but the double standard where both Obama and Clinton are concerned is strong at Eschaton, and I'm sorry to say with him as well.
Accepting this as the way things work is just accepting that corruption is the norm and there is nothing to be done about it. So unless you are willing to shut up about supposed misdeeds of all elected officials and political candidates because this is the way it is done, you need to get the f*ck over the idea that this is NORMAL and ACCEPTABLE.
And I don't see that happening over there, or at Daily Kos, or… once the subject is out is out of the tribe.Pat , September 2, 2016 at 3:52 pm
I can understand the "it's OK when our people do it" double standard. Family/tribe/team, we are all trained to do that. What I don't understand is how one could ever arrive at Clinton Foundation = our people prerequisite to applying it in this instance. WT actual F?timbers , September 2, 2016 at 3:45 pm
I think you are coming at this from far too realistic a point of view. You aren't looking at this as the Foundation is a tool, like a speech or a fundraiser, in order to provide
wealthyworthy individuals/groups/corporations/nations a means to expedite access to the government official, in this case Clinton. You think of it as a false charity. But for the greasing the wheels is normal operating procedure, what this was was a gift to open more avenues for the wheels to be greased. It's up to you…or me…or even the people of Flint among others to use that opportunity.
Just saying.pretzelattack , September 2, 2016 at 4:40 pm
Yes. And this too:
Breezy is right. It does lead me to ask if this were not the Clinton War With Russia but was the Bush War With Iraq or the Rubio War With Syria or…would this still be just be the way things work? I do not think so.
Don't get me wrong I have great admiration for Atrios (he is right on the money regarding Social Security and self-driving cars), but the double standard where both Obama and Clinton are concerned is strong at Eschaton, and I'm sorry to say with him as well.
Accepting this as the way things work is just accepting that endless and new wars is the norm and there is nothing to be done about it. So unless you are willing to shut up about supposed endless new wars of all elected officials and political candidates because this is the way it is done, you need to get the f*ck over the idea that this is NORMAL and ACCEPTABLE.
And I don't see that happening over there, or at Daily Kos, or… once the subject is out is out of the tribe.
yeah, very well said. tammany hall, just the way things are done. jim crow laws, just the way things are done. endless etc's.
Sep 02, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.comaliteralmind , September 2, 2016 at 2:13 pmJim Haygood , September 2, 2016 at 2:37 pm
I had the pleasure of interviewing Charles Ortel yesterday:
Charles Ortel: 40 days, 40 pieces of evidence that "the Clinton Foundation is not just a fraud, it's a massive fraud"grayslady , September 2, 2016 at 5:55 pm
"Bill Clinton wrote a book in 2007 called 'Giving' [for which he was paid $6.3 million]."
Give and ye shall receive, as the pious "Bill" is wont to say. /sarc
Excellent interview. I've bookmarked Ortel's website and am looking forward to his forthcoming writings. I was not aware of the differences between laws regulating charities versus other forms of organizations, so the interview as a starting point was very useful for me.
Hillary Clinton's pay-for-play scandal is threatening to derail her campaign. Public outrage follows revelations that the Foundation took foreign cash during Clinton's tenure as Secretary of State, that Clinton aide Huma Abedin was helping Foundation donors get favors and access from the State Department, and that Clinton aide Cheryl Mills was doing assignments for the Clinton Foundation while on the State Department payroll.
In a letter Monday to Foundation president Donna Shalala, Priebus demands transparency.
"I am writing to you to call on the Clinton Foundation and all of the entities under its umbrella to release all correspondence its officials had with the State Department during Hillary Clinton's tenure as secretary of state," Priebus added.
As I am sure you are well aware, a spate of recent news reports involving the Clinton Foundation's relationship with the Clinton State Department has renewed serious concerns about conflicts of interest and whether donors to the foundation benefitted from official acts under then-Secretary Clinton.
Aug 29, 2016 | Democracy Now!
[W]hat Donna Brazile said in that video that you played is nothing short of laughable. It's not questioned when Republicans do favors for their donors? Of course it is. In fact, it's been a core, central critique of the Democratic Party, both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, for years, that Republicans are corrupt because they serve the interest of their big donors. One of the primary positions of the Democratic Party is that the Citizens United decision of the Supreme Court has corrupted politics because it allows huge money to flow into the political process in a way that ensures, or at least creates the appearance, that people are doing favors for donors.
And so, here you have Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton having this Clinton Foundation, with billions of dollars pouring into it from some of the world's worst tyrannies, like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and Qatar and other Gulf states, other people who have all kinds of vested interests in the policies of the United States government. And at the same time, in many cases, both Bill and Hillary Clinton are being personally enriched by those same people, doing speeches, for many hundreds of thousands of dollars, in front of them, at the same time that she's running the State Department, getting ready to run for president, and soon will be running the executive branch. …
And so, the problem here is that the Clintons have essentially become the pioneers of eliminating all of these lines, of amassing massive wealth from around the world, and using that to boost their own political power, and then using that political power to boost the interests of the people who are enriching them in all kinds of ways. And of course questions need to be asked, and suspicions are necessarily raised, because this kind of behavior is inherently suspicious. And it needs a lot of media scrutiny and a lot of attention, and I'm glad it's getting that.
www.nakedcapitalism.comOn numerous occasions we have recognized Congress' legitimate interest in preventing the money that is spent on elections from exerting an "'undue influence on an officeholder's judgment"' and from creating "4he appearance of such influence,"' beyond the sphere of quid pro quo relationships. Id., at 150; see also. e.g., id., at 143-144. 152-154; Colorado II, 533 U. S.. at 441; Shrink Missouri. 528 U. S., at 389.
Corruption can take many forms. Bribery may be the paradigm case. But the difference between selling a vote and selling access is a matter of degree, not kind. And selling access is not qualitatively different from giving special preference to those who spent money on one's behalf.
Corruption operates along a spectrum, and the majority's apparent belief that quid pro quo arrangements can be neatly demarcated from other improper influences docs not accord with the theory or reality of politics.
It certainly does not accord with the record Congress developed in passing BCRA. a record that stands as a remarkable testament to the energy and ingenuity with which corporations, unions, lobbyists, and politicians may go about scratching each other's backs - and which amply supported Congress' determination to target a limited set of especially destructive
Aug 28, 2016 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Scott in MD , August 26, 2016 at 6:20 amIf Clinton gets elected, she will be under investigation prior to the inauguration. The Republicans will use their hold on the house to start several investigations on November 9.collin , August 26, 2016 at 9:47 am
However, the GOP (continuing a party tradition) will cruise right past several true issues, and lock onto the one thing they believe will hold the most shock value. This will turn out to not be provable, or not be all that interesting to anyone but die-hard GOP supporters, and she will exit the investigations as powerful, if not more so, than before.
There are plenty of reasons to investigate the Clinton machine, but if you expect this clown show to do it competently I have a bridge to sell you…No this one is backfiring already as most of the donors were people HRC would have met anyway, including Nobel Peace winners! and the 89 out of 154 people has not been released. And the article does not note any mischief but that there were meetings!
Or that there are a ton of other government officials have spouses that run well run charities. Matt Yglesias has de-bunked this one a lot and my guess disappears relatively quickly.
This is as worthless evidence as Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11.
Johann , says: August 26, 2016 at 9:50 amHillary will win, and it will be more than business as usual. Influence peddling and pay to play will accelerate. The neocon money will flow into the system and foreign policy will be a debacle. We may very well be approaching WWIII.Samuel Hooper , says: August 26, 2016 at 1:06 pm
The economy will continue to hollow out due to central bank hubris, government stimulus, and non-free trade deals. Income inequality will get worse. The middle class will continue to shrink.
We are well on our way to third world status.After leaving office, Bill Clinton could have devoted his energies to Habitat for Humanity (like Jimmy Carter) or thrown his energies into helping an existing organisation (like the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation). He didn't, because he wanted the "fruits" of his philanthropic work to accrue to him and his family. And so it is not unreasonable to ask exactly what those fruits are, especially those gained while Hillary Clinton was serving as the nation's chief diplomat.Steve Thompson \, says: August 26, 2016 at 2:41 pmHere is an article that quite succinctly explains, in her own words, Hillary Clinton's views of America's role in the world:
Under a Clinton II presidency, long-term international turmoil and confrontation lie ahead no matter what their family foundation may attempt to achieve.
The two sources of her problems are beginning to merge much as two weather depressions might collide and become a hurricane. One is the already well-trodden matter of her use of a private email server while Secretary of State. The other relates to the Clinton Foundation and whether donors received preferential access to her while she served in that post.
Two bombs dropped on the Clinton campaign at once on Monday. First it emerged that the FBI has collected and delivered to the State Department almost 15,000 new emails not previously seen and a federal judge ordered the department to accelerate their release to the public. Meanwhile, a conservative group called Judicial Watch released details of still more emails detailing exactly how donors to the foundation set about trying to get Ms Clinton's attention.
... ... ...
Questions have been swirling for weeks about whether or not Ms Clinton was drawn into giving special favours to some of her husband's pals in return for their giving generously to the charitable foundation he set up after leaving the presidency – a pay and play arrangement. On Monday, Judicial Watch unveiled details that showed exactly how that might have happened thanks to emails it had accessed through the courts sent to and from Huma Abedin, a close Clinton confidante and her deputy chief of staff during her four years at the State Department.
... ... ...
In attempt to forestall the trouble that is already upon his wife, Mr Clinton announced this week that should she win the presidency, several things will change at his Foundation. First and foremost it would cease to take money from any foreign governments and donors and only from US-based charities and individuals. He would also step down from the foundation entirely and cease personally to raise funds for it.
...many voters are simply afraid that with Ms Clinton in the White House the whole tawdry cycle will just start all over again and nothing else with get done in Washington
It was only one in a long parade of late-August fundraisers Ms Clinton has attended, but it stands out for the generosity required of those who attended. The price of admission for the 20-odd guests who obliged was a stunning $200,000. That was double the $100,000 charged for guests who mingled recently with Ms Clinton in Omaha at the home of Susan Buffett, the daughter of Warren Buffett, the veteran investment oracle.
... ... ...
As of Monday, she and Mr Kaine had harvested no less than $32 million for the Hillary Victory Fund, which will be distributed to her campaign, the Democratic National Committee and state parties. A lot of was raised in last week as Ms Clinton hopscotched from party to party on Martha's Vineyard and Cape Code in Massachusetts.
Presented with no comment...
Here2Go d nmewn •Aug 27, 2016 8:37 PM
Source: MichaelPRamirez.comIs that Huma in a blue dress under the Resolute desk?Pairadimes d Here2Go •Aug 27, 2016 9:14 PMRamirez is a genius.zeronetwork d debtor of last resort •Aug 27, 2016 8:15 PMThe thought process Donald has started is not going to fade very soon. Still few weeks before election. I am sure Donald got some more cards in his sleeve.are we there yet •Aug 27, 2016 8:36 PMI have a solution for Hillary's in-continuance and mobility declining problems. The chair behind the presidents desk should be a wheelchair with a bedpan. Otherwise the term 'campaign trail' will take on a whole new meaning.
Aug 26, 2016 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Prediction: If Hillary Clinton wins, within a year of her inauguration, she will be under investigation by a special prosecutor on charges of political corruption, thereby continuing a family tradition.
... ... ...Of 154 outsiders whom Clinton phoned or met with in her first two years at State, 85 had made contributions to the Clinton Foundation, and their contributions, taken together, totaled $156 million.
Conclusion: access to Secretary of State Clinton could be bought, but it was not cheap. Forty of the 85 donors gave $100,000 or more. Twenty of those whom Clinton met with or phoned dumped in $1 million or more.
To get to the seventh floor of the Clinton State Department for a hearing for one's plea, the cover charge was high. Among those who got face time with Hillary Clinton were a Ukrainian oligarch and steel magnate who shipped oil pipe to Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions and a Bangladeshi economist who was under investigation by his government and was eventually pressured to leave his own bank.
The stench is familiar, and all too Clintonian in character.
Recall. On his last day in office, January 20, 2001, Bill Clinton issued a presidential pardon to financier-crook and fugitive from justice Marc Rich, whose wife, Denise, had contributed $450,000 to the Clinton Library.
The Clintons appear belatedly to have recognized their political peril.
Bill has promised that, if Hillary is elected, he will end his big-dog days at the foundation and stop taking checks from foreign regimes and entities, and corporate donors. Cash contributions from wealthy Americans will still be gratefully accepted.
One wonders: will Bill be writing thank-you notes for the millions that will roll in to the family foundation-on White House stationery?
"Watchdogs warn of 'serious' conflicts of interest for Clinton Foundation" [The Hill]. "Chelsea Clinton's role on the board will only perpetuate the 'pay to play' perceptions and accusations, the watchdogs said. 'As long as the Clinton Foundation is tied to the family,' [Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist at Public Citizen] said, 'very wealthy' people and special interests 'will try to find a way to throw money at the feet' of the Clinton family. And if Chelsea Clinton remains on the board - especially if she retains a fundraising roll - 'she would be the avenue.'" This is so wrong. How else is Chelsea supposed to raise money for her Senate run? Answer me that!
UPDATE "Chelsea Clinton would remain on the board of her family's foundation even if her mother is elected president, a spokeswoman said Thursday" [AP].
"Hillary Clinton said Friday the charitable programs of her family foundation would continue, perhaps through partnerships with other organizations, if she's elected president, even as critics argue that would present a conflict of interest" [AP]. Because everybody knows Middle East Wahhabists are totes on board with funding programs for women and girls.
"Editorial: Clintons should end ties to charity " [Charlotte Observer]. "[Clinton] seems not to recognize that while a good lawyer focuses on what the law allows, a good politician focuses on what the people want. Her dismal trustworthiness ratings strongly suggest the people want to see stricter ethical standards from her. She ignores that at her own peril."
UPDATE "The key to understanding why good government advocates are upset about the new revelations is to first get past the argument that Clinton Foundation donors were transactionally rewarded for their gifts" [Vox]. "This is not what my sources argued. Instead, the heart of their complaint was that the foundation's contributors appear to have gained a greater ability to make their voices heard by Clinton's State Department by virtue of donating to her husband's private foundation."
In other words, the Clinton Foundation (private) was selling access to the Secretary of State (public).
That's called influence peddling, and if you follow Zephyr Teachout on corruption (and not the majority in Citizens United) that's a textbook case of corruption. The Clinton Foundation enables as capital in the form of wealth to be converted into social capital in the form of access (and reputation laundering). Which is how the Beltway works, and how an oligarchy works. As we have seen, liberals accept this completely, as do conservatives, although the left does not.
"Democrats embrace the logic of 'Citizens United'" [Lawrence Lessig, WaPo]. 2015, even more true today. See also Sirota from 2015.
UPDATE What liberals and Democrats used to believe, before the giant sucking pit of need that is the Clinton campaign made them lose their minds [image of tiny little hands waving, faint screams, as they circle downward in the vortex]. The dissenting opinion from Citizens United: (Twitter)
Justice Stevens' dissent in Citizens United (via @ggreenwald ) shreds the central argument of Hillary's defendersOn numerous occasions we have recognized Congress' legitimate interest in preventing the money that is spent on elections from exerting an "'undue influence on an officeholder's judgment"' and from creating "4he appearance of such influence,"' beyond the sphere of quid pro quo relationships. Id., at 150; see also. e.g., id., at 143-144. 152-154; Colorado II, 533 U. S.. at 441; Shrink Missouri. 528 U. S., at 389. Corruption can take many forms. Bribery may be the paradigm case. But the difference between selling a vote and selling access is a matter of degree, not kind. And selling access is not qualitatively different from giving special preference to those who spent money on one's behalf.
Corruption operates along a spectrum, and the majority's apparent belief that quid pro quo arrangements can be neatly demarcated from other improper influences docs not accord with the theory or reality of politics. It certainly does not accord with the record Congress developed in passing BCRA. a record that stands as a remarkable testament to the energy and ingenuity with which corporations, unions, lobbyists, and politicians may go about scratching each other's backs - and which amply supported Congress' determination to target a limited set of especially destructive
UPDATE From The Blogger Formerly KnownAs Who Is IOZ?
On the AP story about the Clinton Foundation, the State Department refused AP access to all visitor logs. Then Clinton campaign surrogates complained that AP based its story on incomplete visitor logs. And so it goes in HillaryLand [The Intercept]. Lots more detail in this story, well worth a read.
UPDATE "Clinton Foundation Investigation Update: Key Details About Financial And Political Dealings" [David Sirota, International Business Times]. Good wrap-up from Sirota, who's been all over this.
UPDATE "On the campaign trial, Clinton is using a private airplane owned by a Wall Street banker and donor to get to fund-raisers this week on the West Coast" [New York Post]. How cozy.
Aug 26, 2016 | www.ibtimes.com
Emails just released by the State Department appear to show Clinton Foundation officials brokering a meeting between then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and a top military leader of Bahrain - a Middle Eastern country that is a major foundation donor .
Soon after the correspondence about a meeting, Clinton's State Department significantly increased arms export authorizations to the country's autocratic government, even as that nation moved to crush pro-democracy protests .
As the rhetoric about the Clintons' public and private financial dealings intensifies, here is a brief review of the major investigative reporting that has been done about the Clinton Foundation.
Arms exports: Last year, an International Business Times series documented the ways in which many major foreign governments that had donated to the Clinton Foundation ended up receiving a boost in arms export authorizations from the Clinton-led State Department. Federal law explicitly designates the secretary of state as "responsible for the continuous supervision and general direction of sales" of arms, and the State Department itself says it "is responsible for managing all government-to-government transfers of military equipment to other countries." Early in her term, the State Department called one arms deal for a Clinton Foundation donor, Saudi Arabia, a "top priority" for Clinton.
Many of the donor countries that benefited were those that the State Department criticized on human rights grounds, including Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Some of the same countries received boosts in arms classified as "toxicological agents" as they worked to crush pro-democracy protests during the Arab Spring uprisings.
Donor access: The Associated Press on Tuesday reported that a review of calendar items shows "more than half the people outside the government who met with Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state gave money - either personally or through companies or groups - to the Clinton Foundation." Those 85 donors - which did not include foreign government contributors - gave up to $156 million, according to the news service. The AP story followed the release of emails this week that appeared to show Clinton Foundation officials working with State Department officials to broker meetings between foundation donors and Hillary Clinton. It also followed an ABC News report on a Clinton Foundation donor being appointed by the State Department to an intelligence advisory panel "even though he had no obvious experience in the field."
Business dealings: In May, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Clinton Foundation "set up a financial commitment that benefited a for-profit company part-owned by people with ties to the Clintons." The newspaper noted that former President Bill Clinton "personally endorsed the company, Energy Pioneer Solutions Inc., to then-Energy Secretary Steven Chu for a federal grant that year" - and that the company ultimately received an $812,000 grant. While the Clinton Foundation openly works with corporations and governments on its philanthropic projects, the Journal notes that "under federal law, tax-exempt charitable organizations aren't supposed to act in anyone's private interest but instead in the public interest."
Promoting corporate donors: In 2015, IBT reported that while Clinton Foundation donor Cisco faced criticism over its work with China's autocratic government, Clinton's State Department honored the company for "outstanding corporate citizenship, innovation and democratic principles." Her department also delivered