Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Of all the anti-Clinton smears we've seen, this one is the most vile

It's going to be a difficult balancing act, folks. On one hand, I will continue to criticize Hillary Clinton for her policies on Syria and the Ukraine. On the other hand, we must swat down the nonsensical attacks on her coming from the right.

But not just the right. Mainstream news outlets like the Washington Post are getting in on the act, just as they did in the bad old days of Whitewater. Note this headline:
The inside story of how the Clintons built a $2 billion global empire
The article beneath these words is actually pretty good. Unfortunately, many people read only the headlines. In this case, the headline implies that the Clinton Foundation (perhaps the world's most effective charity) is really just a personal slush fund. That is simply not the case: CharityWatch, an organization which keeps tabs on corruption in that field, gives the Foundation its highest rating.

Yes, it is true that Bill Clinton, pursuant to his charitable efforts, has shared jet flights with scumbag billionaires. You know what they say about the need for egg-breakage in omelette-making. If he can talk the Davos folks into helping poor farmers in Haiti, good.

For those who can read past the headlines, the afore-linked WP story does contain a lot of useful information. As Ed Kilgore writes,
...unlike the scandal-seeking missile that is the New York Times coverage of All Things Hillary, the WaPo take concedes that the Clinton Foundation’s genesis is almost entirely altruistic...
Elsewhere, alas, the Great Anti-Clinton Smear Job is in full swing. Here's The New York Post:
Clinton Foundation raked in over $1M from colleges in three years
This story is illustrated with a picture of Hillary and Bill grinning and laughing in apparent glee over their heist. In fact, this is a story about two people raising money for charity. Seriously. That's all that's going on here.

Now let's turn to the National Review:
The Clinton Foundation Took Money from Saudi Propagandists

The Clintons and Their Royal Saudi Friends: More Dubious Donations to the Family’s Foundation
Has the NRO ever criticized Israel for its partnership with the Saudis? Did the NRO criticize Dubya (good pal to "Bandar Bush") for his closeness to the Saudis? Did the NRO spend much time talking about the Saudi gazillionaire Al-Waleed bin Talal, who (until quite recently) owned a huge chunk of Fox News (and may even have manipulated the reportage)? Has the NRO spoken much about Saudi funding of ISIS and Al Qaeda? Does the NRO seem very bothered by the UK's "Conservative Friends of Saudi Arabia Group"? (Hit that last link if you want to experience the funniest example of British humor since the heyday of Monty Python.)

That stuff never bothers most conservative writers. In Rightwingerland, the Saudis become bad guys only when they can be linked to those awful, awful Clintons. For some reason, we are supposed to be outraged by the Saudi royal family only when a member of the clan tosses a spare million or two toward the poor, not when they toss larger amounts to the Nusra Front.

Continuing with the NRO piece:
Meet Friends of Arabia, or FSA, a thinly veiled public-relations organ of the repressive Saudi regime. In a testament to the Clinton Foundation’s confusing, tangled, and secretive finances, Friends of Saudi Arabia’s former CEO, Michael Saba, denies that the nonprofit ever made the contribution. He suggests, rather, that the group’s founders, which included members of the Saudi royal family, made the donation before filing papers with the IRS.
Saba (who used to work for Mobil Oil) has links to just about everyone, including the St. Jude's Children Hospital, Sanford Children’s Clinics, Avera Health, and other worthwhile causes. Is the NRO arguing that these groups are hopelessly tainted?

Now let's turn to the ever-reliable NYT:
An Award for Bill Clinton Came With $500,000 for His Foundation
Basically, this story concerns a Clinton appearance at a fundraising dinner organized by another charity -- a group devoted to rebuilding infrastructure damaged by the great tsunami. In other words, one charity donated to another charity. Why did they do this? Simple: In order to put on a successful show, they needed to attract that Clintonian star power.
The former president of the United States agreed to accept a lifetime achievement award at the June 2014 event after Ms. Nemcova offered a $500,000 contribution to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation. The donation, made late last year after the foundation sent the charity an invoice, amounted to almost a quarter of the evening’s net proceeds — enough to build 10 preschools in Indonesia.
Of course, no human being on this planet has done more to help the tsunami victims than has Bill Clinton. The NYT doesn't tell you that.

Moreover, the NYT story leaves out one should-be-obvious point: If Bill had been a no-show, no money would have been raised at all -- and the amount given to Indonesian preschools would have been zero.

(As always, the NYT tries to convey the impression that the money went to the Clintons personally, even though that half-mill went to a charity.)

Forbes takes this NYT smear job and makes it even smearier. Here's the headline:
Does Clinton Foundation's Pay-For-Play Violate IRS Tax Law?
Nope. Here's the key info, buried a few paragraphs down:
It is not clear that such deals by and among charities violate the tax law. Each organization is tax-exempt, and each should be able to claim the proceeds as public donations.

Obviously, this Forbes article is yet another example of a propaganda piece designed to have an impact on people who read headlines without looking at the text. The writer goes on to add...
On the other hand, anything that looks unseemly or that smacks of implicit or explicit horse trading by the Clintons is bound to hurt.
It's a fucking charity, dipshit. The Clintons are not trading horses. They are raising money for a goddamned charity.

Let me repeat: If Bill Clinton had not shown up, none of the donors would have shown up. No money raised; no preschools built. Get it? Criticizing the way Bill Clinton handled this event is like criticizing Florence Nightingale for not raising the dead.

Our final example comes from the Washington Times:
Bill Clinton’s foundation cashed in as Sweden lobbied Hillary on sanctions
Bill Clinton’s foundation set up a fundraising arm in Sweden that collected $26 million in donations at the same time that country was lobbying Hillary Rodham Clinton’s State Department to forgo sanctions that threatened its thriving business with Iran, according to interviews and documents obtained by The Washington Times.
Didja see the trick here? The WT wants you to believe that any money donated by any person or entity in Sweden (including purely private individuals) somehow represents an attempt by the Swedish government to bribe Hillary.

The right-wing media wants to convey the impression that Bill Clinton should have raised cash for charity only in those parts of the world completely unaffected by anything that Hillary might have done as Secretary of State. Of course, all countries are potentially affected by what the SoS does.

In other words, the right-wingers are saying that the Clinton Foundation should have done no fundraising whatsoever. Go to hell, poor farmers in Haiti; screw you, disaster relief victims. The right wants you to believe that any and all donations to the world's most effective charity are construable as bribes.

Are we really going to tolerate "conflict of interest" insinuations from the freakin' Washington Times? Remember, this is the same pseudo-newspaper which, for many years, tried to convince the world that ownership by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon never had any impact on how stories were covered.

This coordinated attack on the Clinton Foundation constitutes yet another anti-Clinton "scratch and sniff" pseudo-scandal, of the sort we encountered so often during the 1990s. The right wants to conjure up the artificial odor of nefarious activities, even when the activities in question are anything but nefarious. They want you to hate Bill Clinton because he committed the sin of raising money on behalf of good causes.

Of all the anti-Clinton smears we've seen, this one is the most vile.
They are counting on the public inability read and think for themselves. Headlines are more than enough for most, so....
You're wrong, Dubya was not "aka Bandar Bush". Prince Bandar was also known as Bandar Bush. Bandar, not Bush, was the real part of the name.

It's also probably questionable that the Clinton Foundation is one of the most effective charities in the world. I dare say the International Committee of the Red Cross or Oxfam would knock their rinky-dink operation into a cocked hat.

Charity, in any case, is nothing more than a salve to the conscience when real progress can only be made with the backing of the state and funding from taxation.

I also think it's highly unlikely no human being has done more to help the tsunami victims that Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton is a competent politician and the best President America has had since Carter. He's not Jesus. Could you perhaps criticise the smear machine without the Lewinski impression?

Yes, we've now come to the moment when even charity is criminalized to gain political points. Because no one in their right [twisted] mind really believes that Bill Clinton is trying to help others, particularly the unworthy, unwashed masses around the world. Where's the profit in that??? So Clinton 'must' be be pocketing the proceeds for personal gain, twisting arms, making shadowy deals behind the scenes and using his wife's position as SOS to facilitate these nefarious deals to enrich himself.

Taking from the rich and giving to the poor. That's the crime of the century, doncha know. How absolutely unAmerican!

Same old, same old from the Grind Machine. Keep repeating the same lies and hope they get embedded in the national consciousness.

Guess the name of Vince Foster has lost its magic.

Strephen, you're right about the Baqndar Bush thing; I've corrected the text. My apologies. I must have written too rapidly.

I don't think anyone would mistake me for an uncritical Hillary admirer. I've given her a hard time in these pages, because I was not a fan of her performance as SoS. The more I read, the more troubled I became. But that doesn't mean I'm going to tolerate smears based on nonsense.

As I've said on several occasions in the past: The search for truth is not a game of shirts-vs-skins. I'm not here to root for a team.
Sorry I just don't care about the attacks on hillabillie I will not vote for the lesser 2 evils. Then again the entertainment is fun
I support Hillary almost unconditionally. No scandal short of something about those Epstein trips can put me off her. I just can't countenance a Republican in the White House. Can't do it. The party has gone balls-to-the-wall mad. Its most reasonable candidate is Jeb Bush - and electing him would mean vindication for the Bush clan and his Horseman brother, which I couldn't live with. The anger would actually warp me.

When I read about Mena, and the murky corporate matrix in Little Rock, and its possible oblique links to VP Bush's Iran-contra underworld, I entertain the possibility that the Clintons and Bushes are crime families, either in cahoots or else fronts for rival, parapolitical power nebulas. But I just don't care. The Republicans mustn't win.
Entertainment is fun
That what made Hillary cry 8 years ago. But that never stopped them from complaining when it came back and bite them in the ass
Since the active memory of the American public is no more than six months, probably more like six weeks, this feverish scandal mongering so early in the election cycle will only serve to immunize Hillary further down the road. The news media, for good reason, is not held in high esteem in this country, so there always comes a point when a gang attack by the scribblers backfires and creates sympathy for those being attacked. This is pretty much the history of Bill Clinton and should hold true for Hillary.
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