Archive for the ‘general’ Category
The Clinton Foundation sleaze is finally percolating up to the media's attention. From a Boston Globe opinion column:
This week, the Associated Press reported that half the people outside of government who met with Clinton as secretary of state donated to the Clinton family charity. Also, a judge ordered the State Department to fast-track a review of 15,000 previously undisclosed e-mails the FBI discovered during an investigation of Clinton’s e-mail server. Both stories contradict what Clinton has told the public: that there is no connection between her work as secretary of state and the Clinton Foundation, and that she turned over all her work-related e-mails to the State Department in 2014.
No wonder leading Democratic Senate candidates, like US Representative Ann Kirkpatrick in Arizona and Governor Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire, are reluctant to vouch for Clinton’s trustworthiness on camera.
There is a documentary called Clinton Cash that covers foundation maneuvers, narrated by Peter Schweizer and based on his book of the same name. You might be inclined to blow it off as the latest right wing clintonconspiracymongering, but it's pretty much in line with the critique coming from the center-left (such as the Clinton Foundation Timeline).
Here's a two part review by Nina Illingham of the movie that gives ample reasons to be skeptical of the source while still waving at the stench emanating from Clinton World. Just because the wingnuts are paranoid doesn't mean Bill and Hill aren't working the dark side. Illingham writes:
There is also a curious, off-beat leftist tone to the film as Schweizer repeatedly comes back to the idea that the Clintons are actively professing to help the disadvantaged globally, but are instead actually preying on devastated countries for massive profit and political power. As the author details human rights violations, the swindling of natural resources from the poor for the benefit of brutal oligarchs and the unconscionable murders that donors to the foundation have helped facilitate – it’s hard not to get the sense that Schweizer actually cares about these horrible crimes; as much or perhaps even more than he cares about tearing down a powerful Democrat on the verge of the presidency.
Update: Lauren Weinstein pounds the podium about AP's "half the people outside of government" statistic. This is how it works: if it looks like the AP cooked its numbers, Clinton diehards will howl and thus keep attention off the main story. Possibly Weinstein hasn't seen the Clinton Foundation Timeline website or Clinton Cash and is still living the 1990s "media is so unfair to the Clintons" scenario. He should be happy that the Foundation is finally in the news; people should know what they're voting for.
Just to remind myself in future years how awful Campaign 2016 became after Sanders rolled over, I copied all the headlines currently on the front page of San Francisco-based online rag, Salon, that dealt with the Evil Boogeyman of the hour, Donald Trump. This coverage sells magazines, and sells the supposed lesser-evil candidate, who has so many negatives she can only win by demonizing her opponent well beyond his own obvious negatives.
So here is a collection of mediocre headline writing in the service of bald propaganda, a kind of Day in the Life in Hell of 21st Century journalism. Hard to believe but each of these headlines has an associated article, that you are expected to read!
[photos of Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Trump]
Trump's illegal & insane plan
Donald Trump's "extreme" immigration plan is pretty clearly illegal, and GOP leaders need to answer for it
[photo of Trump]
It’s not Bernie backers: If the U.S. elects Trump, this is who is responsible
It’s convenient to blame Berners for a possible Trump win, but they are the last ones responsible for this mess
[photos of Trump and Trevor Noah]
Trevor Noah on Katrina Pierson: “I really feel bad for her and all of Donald Trump’s surrogates”
"CNN should hire her — that's what they should do," Noah said
[photo of Charlie Sykes]
The danger of the right’s noise machine: Years of misinformation led to Trump’s rise
"Where do you go to have any sense of the truth?" right-wing radio host Charlie Sykes told MSNBC
[photo of Trump]
Trump’s voter intimidation plan: Deploying poll watchers to fight nonexistent voter fraud is a November dirty trick
Trump's camp is calling for "monitors" at polling places to ensure "Crooked" Hillary doesn't rig the election
[photo of Trump]
Of psychopaths and presidential candidates: To what degree do modern candidates resemble psychopaths?
Analysis shows where some of this year's aspirants rank on a standard assessment of psychopathic traits
[photo of Clinton and Trump]
Sad! Breitbart commissions poll to unskew “mainstream media filter,” still finds Trump losing to Clinton
So much for claims of media bias -- even Trump's biggest media booster has Clinton beating him nationally
[photos of Trump and Stephen King]
“If Jesus were around today, he’d turn Trump out with the rest of the money-changers”: Stephen King’s anti-Trump Twitter campaign hasn’t lost steam
America's most prolific author and perhaps Trump's most entertaining Twitter critic never manages to disappoint
[photo of Paul Manafort]
Trump campaign lashes out at New York Times following report of cash payments from Ukraine to top aide, Paul Manafort
Even former Trump campaign head Corey Lewandowski tweeted a story on Manafort‘s work with the former pro-Putin ally
[photo of Trump]
Trump walks back claim Obama “founded” ISIS, says its rise “a direct result of policy decisions made by” administration
The GOP nominee reiterated his call to ban immigrants from "volatile regions," coining the term "extreme vetting"
[photos of Trump and Betsy McCaughey]
Team Trump is a disaster: It’s not just the candidate — his entire staff is ill-equipped for a presidential campaign
Trump has filled out his economic policy team with a long list of wealthy donors and female right-wing cranks
[photo of Trump]
The Trump vote: New data reveals hints as to who is most likely to pull the lever for Trump
A new Gallup analysis undermines some assumptions about Trump voters, and confirms that race plays a huge role
[photo of Trump]
The GOP after Trump: Don’t kid yourself — another candidate with his destructive platform can rise again
Even if Donald Trump is defeated, the xenophobic and bigoted goals of Trumpism will live on
[photo of Trump]
Donald the Terrible: If Trump had a selfie stick, we’d all be in the picture
Trump is the modern incarnation of Narcissus — a terrible-to-behold mirror image of America’s worst public face
We've talked about Dark Patterns in web design (manipulative page layouts that trick you into subscriptions, etc) but we also encounter them in media and politics. The Clintons are masters at them. One example is claiming a "Russian hack" to deflect attention from their dirty tricks against Bernie Sanders. Another is having Muslim parents of a deceased Iraq War soldier speak at their convention. Predictably their opponent spouts some Islamophobic nonsense and this shiny object diverts the media away from the Clintons' support of the war that put the soldier in harm's way.
Rolling Stone decided in its wisdom to deactivate the RSS feed for Matt Taibbi's essays. You know, because of progress and the web being Facebook now, whatever.
Taibbi's employers support the Clintons, so he has to write more gently when he criticizes the improper Democratic National Committee tactics that helped doom the Sanders campaign before Sanders self-doomed. Sadly, Taibbi also seems to have accepted the Clinton disinformation about the leaked DNC emails being a "Russian hack," which they then bizarrely tied to Trump. The proof for the Russian connection is weak but the media ran with it, successfully deflecting the story from the awfulness of the DNC emails. Taibbi at least attempts to walk readers through what was sleazy about the DNC's fundraising practices.
There's much sneering on the interwebs about naive Sanders supporters believing they could ever have free college. It's still a good idea, though, eminently affordable by siphoning off a fraction of US military spending or insisting that top earners actually pay their taxes. The sneerers also had a heyday with crying Sanders supporters at the DNC convention last night. Again, how are they supposed to feel when their guy rolls over at the crucial moment, or worse, plays them for suckers. It was a sad occasion.
Corey Robin has some choice anecdotes from the recent book Speer: Hitler's Architect, by historian Martin Kitchen. The book deflates what's left of Speer's rep as the "good Nazi."
As Minister of Armaments, Speer relied extensively on slave laborers from concentration camps to work in the factories. In 1944, he fell ill for an extended period of time. Himmler seized on the opportunity of Speer’s absence to remove those laborers from the factories -- at the pace of roughly 40,00 per month -- and send them back to the camps. Back at the office several months later, Speer complained about the “kidnapping” of his workers.
Robin also found in Kitchen's book a 1944 quote from German exile journalist Sebastian Haffner:
[Speer] symbolises indeed a type, which among all the belligerents has become increasingly important: the pure technician, the classless, brilliant man without a background, who knows no other goal than to make his way in the world, purely on the basis of his technical and organisational capabilities….This is his age. We can get rid of the Hitlers and the Himmlers, but not the Speers. Whatever may be the fate of each individual man, they will be with us for a long time.
Update: I read Kitchen's book on Speer and highly recommend it. The first part closely follows the architect's day-to-day life as an ambitious Nazi scum, based on Kitchen's careful study of the available documentation, and then the second half explores Speer's self-mythologizing after his release from prison. The first part effectively undercuts the claims in the second, and then the reader gets to enjoy watching the Speer myth begin to fall apart in the last few years of his life, as evidence he assumed was buried or destroyed began to surface.
For the rightwardly inclined, the Clinton email scandal is about "Benghazi" and national security. For normal people, the issue is Clinton Foundation corruption. Erasing all the "personal" emails could have zapped any evidence of improper dealings between the Clintons and various "donors" hoping to influence policy while Mrs. Clinton was Secretary of State. See Michael Hudson [Real News / YouTube] and Greg Palast.
See also Clinton Foundation Timeline.
Bernie Sanders was the only decent alternative to more years of icky Clintons and you'd be forgiven for having a sick feeling in pit of your stomach when he endorsed them ahead of the Dem convention.
We've been talking about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a pro-globalist treaty that Pres. Obama wants Congress to approve after the election, during a lame duck session (I assume this still means he wants "fast track authority" to sign it without Congressional interference). The Clintons supported TPP before they stopped supporting it, clearly for the sake of election appearances, when Bernie Sanders made it an issue. Former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich posted on his Zuckerberg Hoodie page (link via Naked Capitalism) the following conversation with a former fellow Clintonite. A good explanation of what's wrong with the treaty and why Dem fixers want it:
An acquaintance from my days in the Clinton administration, who has been advising Hillary, phoned this morning.
ACQUAINTANCE: “Don’t you think your blog post from last night was a bit harsh?”
[ROBERT REICH]: “Not at all. The Democratic Party is shooting itself in the foot by not officially opposing the Trans Pacific Partnership.”
ACQ: “But you know why. The Party can’t take a stand opposite the President’s. He’s the leader of the Party, for chrissake. And he wants the TPP.”
RR: “Yeah, because he sees the TPP as a way to limit China’s economic influence. So he made a Faustian bargain with big global corporations who want more protection for their foreign investments. But he’s wrong. The TPP won’t crimp China. Global corporations will give China whatever it wants to gain access to the Chinese market. The TPP ….”
ACQ: “Look, it doesn’t matter what you or I think. The President wants the TPP, and the Party isn’t going to oppose him.”
RR: “You mean Hillary won’t oppose him.”
ACQ: “Hillary won’t, and Debbie [Wasserman Schultz] won’t, and neither will Nancy [Pelosi] or Harry [Reid] or Dick [Durbin] or Chuck [Schumer].
RR: “But it’s terrible policy. And it’s awful politics. It gives Trump a battering ram. Obama won’t be president in six months. Why risk it?”
ACQ: “They don’t see much of a risk. Most Americans don’t know or care about the TPP.”
RR: “But they know big corporations are running economic policy. They think the whole system is corrupt. Believe me, Trump will use this against Hillary.”
ACQ: “He can’t. She’s inoculated. She’s come out against the TPP.”
RR: “But it’s her delegates who voted not to oppose it in the Democratic platform. Her fingerprints are all over this thing.”
ACQ: “I think you’re being too cynical.”
RR: “Actually, the real cynic is you.”
Rupert Murdoch's New York Post has long had it in for the Clintons but lately the criticisms don't seem so outrageous. See Clinton Foundation Timeline. Bill thinking it's OK to lobby the Attorney General on the email scandal exemplifies the sleaziness and sense of entitlement that has turned lefties as well as righties against the power couple from hell.
Donald Trump is an ogre but his campaign talking points about the Clintons aren't wrong. As summarized by Lambert at Naked Capitalism, they are:
1. Rigged System (Trump: "It’s rigged by big donors who want to keep wages down. It’s rigged by big businesses who want to leave our country, fire our workers and sell their products back into the United States with absolutely no consequences for them.")
2. Corruption ("Together, she and Bill made $153 million giving speeches to lobbyists, CEOs and foreign governments in the years since 2001. They totally own her and that will never ever change, including if she ever became president, God help us.")
3. TPP ("This is the latest Clinton cover-up and it doesn’t change anything. If she is elected president, she will adopt the Trans-Pacific Partnership and we will lose millions of jobs and our economic independence for good. She’ll do this, and just as she has betrayed the American worker on trade at every single stage of her career, and it will be even worse than the Clintons' NAFTA deal, and I never thought it could get worse than that.")
4. Email ("To cover up her corrupt feelings [sic], Hillary illegally stashed her State Department e-mails on a private server. She’s under investigation, but it seems like nothing is going to happen. Even though other people who have done similar things, but much — at a much lower level, their lives have been destroyed.")