Tag Archives: clinton

Hunt the Right Rabbit

I’m trying to understand the conspiracy of all this.

Yesterday, a friend of mine on Facebook continued to spread (in a forceful and angry manner) the debunked theory (see Snopes’ debunking article and Politifact’s explainer article) that Secretary Clinton sold 20% of the United States’ uranium to Russia for $145 million and she laundered the money through her and her husband’s non-profit Clinton Foundation.

In reality, Russia’s state-controlled nuclear agency purchased a 51% stake in a Canadian-based mining company that had originally been owned by South African interests. The Obama Administration, of which Secretary Clinton was part, needed to evaluate the purchase because U.S.-based subsidiaries of the Canadian company managed a significant portion of the U.S.’s uranium stock. Though her department had a place on the nine-member evaluation board (as did several other agencies), Secretary Clinton did not partake in the meetings, and even if she had, she had no say as to whether the deal went through or not.

Now, one of the previous investors in the Canadian company — a person who at the time of the deal no longer owned any stock in the company — had made a $131 million donation to the Clinton Foundation, but he made it over a year prior to Secretary Clinton even becoming Secretary of State and three years prior to the deal between the Russians and the Canadian-based company even being made. Around $4 million of the donations to the Clinton Foundation, however, were donated by other members involved at the time of the deal, but those members deny accusations of a quid pro quo exchange with Secretary Clinton, claiming that their donations to the Foundation were offered in good faith.

If the exchange was a quid-pro-quo offer, it was made with incredible foresight while also being very poorly managed, seeing that it first required Hilary Clinton to be elected President (which did not happen), and then it required the main investor to own stock in the Canadian company when the deal went through (which also did not happen). If the quid pro quo was about Russia being able to steal our uranium, it was also very poorly managed, seeing as the U.S.-based subsidiary that manages the uranium is not licensed to export it. When the story was first debunked by Snopes & Politifact, they both rated the story “False” or “Mostly False.”

The story came up again recently when The Hill reported on an active case at the Department of Justice involving Russian nuclear officials, Russian donations to the Clinton Foundation, Russian corruption of the U.S. uranium market, and a coverup in the Obama Administration (including by then-FBI Director Robert Mueller, who is the man now most responsible for investigating President Trump’s Russian connections).

The Hill‘s new findings on this many-years-old story are indeed concerning. Essentially, The Hill‘s reporting implies (though does not assert) that the Obama Administration covered up a story that clearly demonstrates Russia’s attempts to manipulate various aspects of our economy and our national security. The story also implies (though does not assert) that Secretary Clinton supported Russia’s efforts in exchange for millions of dollars. It also implies (though does not assert) that the man now responsible for investigating President Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia also played a part in the coverup.

I’m not going to agree or disagree with the facts as reported by both Snopes, Politifact, or The Hill. I believe all of the articles are reported in good faith and provide the facts as they are understood by the writers of those articles.

What I want to do is try to understand the conspiracy here.

Let’s say that high-ranking officials in the Obama Administration actively colluded with Russian agents to provide access to the United States’ uranium. The facts as they’ve been reported do not support the theory that Russians have smuggled, are smuggling, or will smuggle enriched uranium out of the borders of the United States.

They do support the theory, however, that Russians have influenced and may still influence the movement of that uranium within our borders. They also support the theory that a lot of individuals, both Russian and American, received a lot of dirty money in the process. And finally, they support the theory that some of those Americans may have been high-ranking officials in the Obama Administration.

But there are a few other facts we have to deal with too.

Like the fact that high-ranking officials in the Trump campaign and the Trump Administration also received a lot of dirty money in connection with Russian agents, starting with Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and extending to Trump’s former National Security Advisor, General Michael Flynn (Ret.).

Like the fact that the Trump Campaign expressed an interest in colluding with Russian agents to take down Secretary Clinton during the election.

Like the fact that President Trump has significant financial relationships with known friends of President Putin.

Like the fact that President Trump’s Secretary of Commerce is (was?) the major stockholder of a Cyprus bank where Russian oligarchs are known to launder the money they steal from the Russian people.

Like the fact that U.S. intelligence agencies have reached a positive consensus as to whether Russian agents attempted to manipulate the 2016 presidential election in favor of Donald Trump.

Like the fact that President Trump’s continued belligerence towards North Korea, Iran, undocumented workers, and others redirects American anger away from Russia and towards virtually anyone else.

In short, there’s a lot of facts we have to consider, and those facts imply (though do not assert) wrongdoing by high-ranking officials in both the Obama and the Trump Administrations. I’m interested in the conspiracy that connects all these reported facts together.

What’s the common thread here? It’s not Left vs. Right. It’s not Democrat vs. Republican. It’s not Black vs. White or Socialist vs. Capitalist. And with Hilary involved, it’s not even Men vs. Women. It’s what then? What’s the common thread?

Oh yeah. They’re all fucking rich.

Know your enemy people. It’s not who all the rich people on TV tell you it is. It’s not Mexican farmers or Russian cab drivers or Iranian students. It’s not the peasants in North Korea or the poor people in Pakistan. It’s not the people starving through the civil war in Syria or the people surrendering to Iraqi forces in Hawija. It’s not hurricane victims in Puerto Rico or redneck loggers in Montana. It’s not the fishermen who stab the dolphins or the college students who save the whales.

It’s one thing and one thing only.

It’s the fucking rich people. And they’re all in it together.

If there’s an actual conspiracy behind all of these reported facts, any single element that ties them all together, it can only involve the rich.

Is there any doubt that President Putin, President Trump, and Secretary Clinton are all rich?

Is there any doubt that their high-ranking officials are also rich?

Is there any doubt that the individuals who control corporate media are rich? That the individuals who control the military-industrial complex are rich?

Is there any doubt that the individuals who control the pharmaceutical giants, the energy companies, or the banks are rich?

Is there any doubt that the individuals who control the text book publishers are rich or that the ministers who control the megachurches are rich?

Draw any conspiracy you want — make it look like an Oilman’s plot, a Yankee plot, an Islamist plot, a Capitalist plot, a Vatican plot, a Jewish plot, a Hollywood plot, a Monsanto plot, a Banker’s plot, a Patriarchal plot, a White Power plot — draw it any way you like, and what you’ll find is that it only and always involves the rich.

Know your enemy people. And focus your anger thusly.

One Vermonter’s View after Super Tuesday

Here’s what the numbers are telling us: Secretary Hillary Clinton demolishes Senator Bernie Sanders when it comes to African-American and Latino voters. According to Harry Enten at fivethirtyeight.com, Clinton’s worst performance among African-Americans so far was in Oklahoma, where “only” 71% voted for her. In Texas, she defeated Sanders among Hispanics by over 40 points. In a party where the minority vote is absolutely critical to win not only the nomination, but also (via turnout) the general election, it seems as if Clinton is a lock.

It’s tough to dispute that.

It gets even tougher when you consider that the Democratic nominating contest awards delegates on a proportional basis, which means Sanders doesn’t only have to win in more states than Clinton, but he has to win by bigger margins than he is probably capable of.

The only way Sanders wins a significant number of delegates compared to Clinton is if something big changes the dynamics of the race.

The question is: what might that be?

Those on the right would probably argue that Clinton’s biggest potential issue is, as Bernie says, “the damn emails.” As most everyone knows, when Clinton was Secretary of State, she channeled her official email through a private, unsecured server, and some of the emails moving through that private server were classified. If true, Clinton could be indicted and found guilty of mishandling classified information.

But according to MediaMatters, there’s not a whole lot to this particular story that can’t be explained by the media’s need for conservative clickbait. It only has legs because it plays into the right-wing talking point that the Clinton family can’t be trusted. But as the National Law Journal wrote, “It is difficult to find prior cases where the unwise handling of classified information led to a federal indictment.”

So “the damn emails” probably aren’t going to change the dynamic (especially when you add on the fact that Bernie has already said, “Enough with the damn emails!,” signaling that he won’t try to make any hay out of this particular controversy).

What else we got?

The left might argue that Clinton’s biggest potential issue is whatever she said on “the transcripts,” where “the transcripts” is shorthand for Clinton’s apparent ties to (in Bernie’s parlance) the millionaire and billionaire class.

Before she began running for president, Clinton was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to give speeches to a number of Wall Street firms, including Goldman Sachs. The Sanders campaign, as well as the press, including the New York Times, which has endorsed Clinton, is calling for Clinton to release the transcripts of those speeches. Sanders’ supporters suspect that Clinton won’t do so because the transcripts reveal just how much she is in the pocket of those who caused the financial meltdown. According to a report in Politico, that suspicion may be true.

But even if it is true, even if the transcripts show her to be “so far from what she sounds like as a candidate now…more like a Goldman Sachs managing director,” would that be enough to change her appeal to African-American and Hispanic voters? Frankly, I don’t think so. She’s winning by such large margins among those groups that even if the transcripts were a deal breaker for a number of them, the number probably won’t be big enough to swing the election.

Which leaves Sanders with…what?

The only other thing I can think of (outside of some major surprise, such as the mainstream revelation that both Bill Clinton and Donald Trump are widely reported to have visited the private island of a man who is now being charged with keeping underage sex slaves on that island)…outside of something tawdry like that, the only thing I can think of that might change the dynamic of the race is Donald Trump himself.

It’s safe to say that Trump is going to win the Republican nomination: Kasich and Carson are also-rans, and Cruz and Rubio are both too self-involved to sacrifice their campaigns for the good of their party, which means they’ll all keep splitting the anti-Trump vote just long enough for him to win the nomination. Trump will have the whole thing wrapped up by mid-March (unless by some miracle, Rubio chooses to drop out later today, which he won’t do).

The Democrats, however, could be fighting for the nomination until at least May, and Sanders has already vowed that he won’t drop out until all 50 states have voted. That would give Trump a solid two or three months when the only person he has to campaign against is Hillary Clinton, while Clinton will still have to be defending her left flank against Sanders. Those months will give the Democratic electorate a chance to see how Trump plans to go after Clinton, and to decide whether they think her questionable skills as a candidate are up to the challenge.

The New York Times recently put together a graphic showing the differences between Sanders’ and Clinton’s core voters. It reveals, among other things, that Clinton gets voters based on the idea that she “can win.” But if Trump runs as masterfully a tuned campaign as he has throughout the Republican primary, the idea that Clinton “can win” against Trump might start to erode, especially since it’s clear that Trump is going to have a field day with all the skeletons in the Clinton closet.

Sanders, on the other hand, gets voters based on being “honest and trustworthy.” This is a man who has the highest approval ratings in the Senate, as well as the highest “favorable” and lowest “unfavorable” ratings among all the candidates (for what it’s worth, Clinton has the highest unfavorable ratings among all candidates). What this means is that people generally like the guy, and they trust what he says and why he says it. He basically doesn’t have any skeletons in his closet either (we would have heard about them by now).

In essentially every poll, Sanders does much better against Trump than Clinton does. Her unfavorability ratings are a real thing. We all know people who absolutely refuse to vote for her, for whatever reason (and yes, some of those reasons are absolutely sexist, but not all of them are). These are people who would vote for a Democrat, but they will not vote for Hillary Clinton.

What’s more, all of those reasons they won’t vote for her are going to trumpeted near and far by the Donald, and not just in September and October, but starting immediately after he wraps up the nomination, which will be in about two weeks.

That will give Democrats who have yet to vote in the primaries the chance to decide whether Trump’s juvenile tactics will actually do real and lasting damage to Clinton’s electability. If Democrats start to question whether Clinton “can win,” then maybe, just maybe, they’ll be smart enough to nominate Sanders.

But that’s an awfully big “if”.