Has any American politician voluntarily and sincerely given up power or the quest for it in the best interests of the nation? I’m searching through my American history materials, and so far, I can’t find one since George Washington, who knew he could have been President for Life, and also knew it was a terrible idea. President Nixon and Johnson both said that they were giving up the Presidency for the good of the nation, but Nixon was toast and knew it, and Johnson, the consummate politician, knew that he faced an ugly rejection by the public and the destruction of his party as a result. I can point to one president who definitely refused to give up power in the best interests of the nation, and thus set us on the divisive and dysfunctional path we are on now: Bill Clinton.
What a coincidence!
Hillary is not Bill, but it is already clear that she is willing to reduce American politics to new lows in blood warfare and polarize the nation even more than it is now, corrupting the news media and her supporters beyond recognition if the carnage can take her to the White House. Surely she realizes that the months between now and November 2016 will consist of a river wild of revelations, accusations, scandals, and search and destroy operations by her opponents as well as objective supporters of honest and responsible government. She also knows that there is plenty of substance—as in evidence of her duplicity and untrustworthiness—to discover. And she knows that she will respond, as the Clintons always have and always will, with carefully worded denials, ad hominem attacks on her critics, dark theories about conspiracies, accusations of sexism, and, of course, cover-ups and lies.
Next to a terrorist attack or a national police announcement that yes, they are hunting down African Americans, this is the last thing the United States needs….which means, in turn, that the next to last thing is the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.
The latest controversy is instructive.
A forthcoming book titled “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story Of How And Why Foreign Governments And Businesses Helped Make Bill And Hillary Rich” pointed the New York Times to a tangled tale—all Clinton corruption tales are deliberately tangled by the Clintons, the better to bore the public into apathy— regarding specific foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation and a half-a-million-dollar speaker’s fee to Bill Clinton that came from parties who wanted the U.S. government to approve foreign ownership of some American uranium mines. They got that approval too, through the State Department headed at the time by…Hillary Clinton.
This sequence is suspicious and creates the appearance of impropriety on the facts alone.
A company named Uranium One, based in Canada, owned uranium mines in the United States and Kazakhstan. An arm of the Russian government called Rosatom wanted the uranium, and was prepared to purchase a 51% stake of Uranium One to get the mines. Some of the mines that Uranium One owned were in Kazakhstan, but others were in Wyoming, and that meant that the purchase required a high level of government approval from the U.S., requiring several agencies, including the State Department, to sign off on the deal.
The men who had built and financed the Uranium One were some of Bill Clinton’s biggest donors. The company’s Chairman donated 2.35 million dollars to the Clinton Foundation, and despite a signed agreement from Hillary as a condition of her becoming Secretary of State that all donations to the Foundation during her tenure would be disclosed and transparent, somehow this very sensitive and potentially inappropriate, potentially suspicious, potentially illegal contribution just happened to fall through the cracks, and wasn’t reported.
That same agreement also promised that the Foundation wouldn’t take any foreign donations while Clinton was Secretary of State, a promise we already know was broken more than once. Renaissance Capital, an investment bank in Russia that with, as they say, “links” to the Kremlin, paid Bill Clinton $500,000 to give a speech, which he just happened to give after the Russians had announced their interest in acquiring controlling ownership in Uranium One and before Hillary’s State Department approved it. The half-million fee is five times Bill’s usual fee, and twice Hillary’s.
Did you ever wonder why Hillary, who isn’t a former President and isn’t half the speaker her husband is somehow commands a bigger fee? Never mind, I’m sure there’s no reason at all. Just one of those things.
Now, this fact pattern stinks. It stinks because it has all the earmarks of money laundering, of foreign interests not only purchasing favors from a high level U.S. officials that happens to be named Clinton, of the Clintons maneuvering around rules, agreements and laws, and of American citizens taking money to allow transactions that risk U.S. interests and security. You know what uranium is used for. And that Russia could sell the element to its ally Iran. The wisdom of allowing the sale is independently open to question, but a process in which the parties to the sale 1) secretly contribute money to Clinton’s family foundation in violation of a signed agreement and 2) give an inexplicably large speaking fee to the husband of the Secretary of State doesn’t merely create the forbidden “appearance of impropriety.” It creates a textbook example of one.
Also suitable for use in a manual, this one The Encyclopedia Of Useful, Deceitful and Official Denials, was the quote from Brian Fallon, the spokesman for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, who said, “No one has ever produced a shred of evidence supporting the theory that Hillary Clinton ever took action as Secretary of State to support the interests of donors to the Clinton Foundation.” Nice. That’s a close paraphrase of what the killers in “Columbo” always said after the detective explained that he knew what they did. “That’s a very clever theory, Lieutenant, but without evidence, no jury will convict me!” This was not usually followed by “Bwahahahahahaha!” because “Columbo” was a better show, but lots of other villains in lesser movies and TV shows have laughed like that.
Now, this story would be ominous even if it did not involve Bill Clinton, who accepted a huge gift to his library from the wife of irredeemable fugitive Marc Rich, right after Clinton pardoned him. Yes, it looked like a quid pro quo deal, but one has ever produced a shred of evidence supporting the theory that Bill Clinton ever took action as President to support the interests of donors to the Clinton Presidential Library. Wait—that sounds familiar! Where have I heard something like that before?
The problem is that we have heard this kind of slippery sequence many times before, and the same excuses. Hillary’s deleting of 30,000 emails is suspicious, but it’s impossible to prove anything, and her violation of her agency’s transparency and communications security policies was suspicious, but, you know, just a mistake, and oops! How did those foreign contributions slip by while she was Secretary of State?
The response by the Clinton Enabling Brigade is so predictable, so dishonest and so brazen. It follows the pattern of every Clinton scandal, including the Monica mess:
1. Say that the accusation came from the right-wing Clinton haters, and attack the messenger—good, old fashioned ad hominem. Salon and others did this the second they heard about the “Clinton Cash” book, attacking Peter Schweizer, a former fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution, as a purveyor of right wing conspiracy theories who couldn’t be believed. However, the New York Times checked his story, and printed it themselves because it checked out. He wasn’t the sole source. The fact that a conservative dug up the facts doesn’t change the facts, but the Clinton spinners will try to make the case that it does. This is always step one.
2. Say that even if the story is true, no wrong-doing has been proven.
3. Say that even if it appeared to be wrongdoing, it was just an innocent mistake, and who doesn’t make mistakes? (I wish I could make a mistake that gets me $500,000…)
4. Say that this is all the result of right-wing sexism, and that accusing Hillary of wrongdoing is just part of the same plan to make abortions illegal and take away women’s right. (This the special Hillary app added to the standard Clinton defense machine.)
5. Put out the word that even if there were some rules broken and even if it wasn’t ethical, at this point, what difference does it make?
6. Keep putting out static and drag out the controversy until the public is sick of it and thoroughly confused, whereupon Clinton allies will say, “Move on! There are wrongs to right and inequities to address! How can anyone who is a true American seek to rob the nation of such a transformative leader because of these technical/personal/ complicated alleged acts that nobody really understands or cares about?” Indeed, this was the origin of Move-On.org.
I’ll admit, it’s a good act. I’ll also admit that I thought it would have already worn itself out through over-use—I mean, how stupid and gullible do the Clintons think the public is? Answer: apparently endlessly stupid and gullible. And the Democratic Party, for some reason, is willing to bet that they are correct.
There will be, as I have already predicted, many, many more of these from the Clintons, each dividing the public and the nation a little more, each harming the culture and our democracy, making us a little more cynical about our leaders and our government. For Hillary to achieve her goal, the battles over these “mistakes,” and “gotchas” and “trumped up theories unsupported by evidence that would stand up in a court of law” will also have to corrupt the values of a large percentage of journalists and at least 50% of voters, who will forever more adopt the rotten position that character, honesty, integrity and trustworthiness doesn’t matter enough to the United States of America for us to insist on it from our leaders. It has been one thing to accept deficits in these qualities from our current President, whom we at least once had a reason to believe was in possession of them when he was elected. If Clinton prevails, the cultural corruption will have reached a new abyss, where the U.S. embraces this vacuum of trust as acceptable, thus permanently lowering our standards and ideals, and the nation’s aspirations to be the light of the world.
If Hillary cared about those aspirations, she would not try to corrupt us further, for it will only be by corrupting us that a Machiavellian fraud like her can achieve the Presidency.