The conspiracy candidate. Democrats are advising Hillary to ignore Trump when he resurrects the pseudo-scandals of the Starr era.
In my view, this attitude is a mistake. Problems do not go away when they are ignored. Poorly-educated young voters are easily gulled by this kind of nonsense.
The attacks have been winners for Trump, who coasted to the Republican nomination. He went over the top on Thursday, as several media outlets reported he had more than the 1,237 delegates needed to clinch the nod.
But several Senate Democrats said they do not believe the attacks will keep working.
“If he wants to talk about Vince Foster’s death being a suicide, Americans don’t want a conspiracy theorist in office,” Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) told The Hill. “If he wants to talk about that or his belief that President Obama wasn’t born in the United States… these wacky theories, he’s going to be the National Enquirer candidate basically.”
Kaine is being foolish. Many Americans do
want a conspiracy theorist.
Although I've been called a conspiracy theorist myself, the subculture of paranoia has long terrified me. Paranoia is a kind of smack. I've seen it happen: People become addicted -- literally addicted
-- to the rush they get from fear-gasm.
Result: We live in a country where the supporters of Bernie Sanders are likely to shout "How much did Hillary pay you to do that?"
if the guy from Papa John's delivers a pie with the wrong topping. (Think I'm being hyperbolic? Look at this
Trump spews all sorts of nonsense about birtherism and Vince Foster and Ted Cruz' father and God-knows-what-else -- but he himself is well-versed in the conspiratorial arts. Just ask the Indians who competed with his casinos.
Those damned emails.
The best recent post on Hillary Clinton's emails comes to us by way of Dave Emory. He and I have disagreed on a certain items in the past, but this article is spot on
In connection with Hillary Clinton’s e-mail server, we highlight the following details, generally either unknown and/or underreported in the mainstream media:
FACT: None Of The Emails Sent To Clinton Were Labeled As “Classified” Or “Top Secret”
FACT: Emails Originated In State Dept. System, And Questions About Retroactive Classification Would Have Occurred Regardless Of Clinton’s Server Use
FACT: Experts Have Debunked Any Comparison Between Clinton’s Email Use And David Petraeus’ Crimes
FACT: IG Referral To Justice Department Was Not Criminal, And FBI Isn’t Targeting Clinton Herself
In discussion of the “e-mail scandal,” CNBC’s “Morning Joe Scarborough” deliberately distorted statements by Washington Post columnist David Ignatius. Ignatius opined: ” . . . . My only point is I couldn’t find a case where this kind of activity had been prosecuted and that’s just worth noting as we assemble our Clinton e-mail — and more thing, Joe, legally there is no difference between her using her private server and if she’d used State.gov, which is also not a classified system. The idea that, oh this would have been fine if she used State.gov, not legally, no difference. . . . Ignatius responded by explaining that experts he spoke with dismissed as far-fetched claims Clinton committed a criminal offense. . . . As I talked to a half dozen of lawyers who do nothing but this kind of work, they said they couldn’t remember a case like this, where people informally and inadvertently draw classified information into their phone conversations or their unclassified server conversations, where there had been a prosecution. . . .“
But during the rebroadcast of the segment, Morning Joe cut away from Ignatius’ explanation mid-sentence. During the initial broadcast, Ignatius said (emphasis added): “As I talked to a half dozen of lawyers who do nothing but this kind of work, they said they couldn’t remember a case like this, where people informally and inadvertently draw classified information into their phone conversations or their unclassified server conversations, where there had been a prosecution.”
Scarborough, a former Republican member of the House of Representatives, has a long history of hyping the supposed Clinton email “scandal”despite all evidence to the contrary. He edited Ignatius’s statement as follows: “ . . . . As I talked to a half dozen of lawyers who do nothing but this kind of work, they said they couldn’t remember a case like this, . . . ”
I'll add this: Many people do not understand that it is very possible for someone legally
to communicate information which an intelligence agency has marked as "classified."
I know that what I just said sounds like casuistry, but if you give the matter a minute's thought, the principle should be easy enough to grasp.
Consider this scenario: The CIA gets some data -- about, say, the sex life of a foreign leader -- from a Libyan source named Mr. Green. That data goes into the CIA's filing system, where it gets a big, fat "CLASSIFIED" stamp.
Now ask yourself: If I talk about Mr. Green's information in this humble blog, have I committed espionage? Have I revealed secret information?
Nope -- not if I got the information on my own
Mr. Green is not an American. Nobody controls him. He's allowed to say whatever he likes to whomever he pleases. If he talks to me, fine. If he talks to Hillary Clinton, fine. If he talks to one of Hillary's friends -- who then passes the gossip along to Hillary via her private server or via Yahoo or Gmail or whatever -- fine.
The data is classified only if it comes from a classified document or from a U.S. government employee with access to that kind of document.
The hypothetical "Mr. Green" scenario I've just now outlined describes much of what actually happened in the case of Hillary's emails. As you know, there was a revolt in Libya. During this time of turmoil, a Libyan intelligence official named Mousa Khousa spoke about all sorts of behind-the-scenes African matters to anyone who would listen. I presume that he was sending out feelers, looking for a new employer. A lot of intel from Khousa eventually found its way into classified CIA documents.
(Khousa ended up living in the UK, so it's likely that MI6 debriefed him, and passed along his information to CIA.)
But nothing was classified earlier, when Khousa spoke to Sidney Blumenthal, Hillary's friend. Blumenthal did not work for the government at that time. He was perfectly free to send Hillary an email containing everything he learned, and it doesn't matter if the email was on a private server or Yahoo or whatever. Blumenthal was also free to talk about that stuff on the radio, on the internet, on a bus, on a soap box in a public park. Whatever.
I've seen a fair number of formerly-classified CIA documents, as have many of you. They often contain open source material. If the information is out there in the real world, no classification stamp can stop us from talking about it. How would we even know
that it was ever classified?
Unfortunately, it is very difficult to get these basic facts through to members of the general public. It's not easy to explain to the average person that the same piece of data can be both classified and unclassified at the same time. If you try to make that argument briefly
, during the heat of argument, you sound like a flim-flammer. But if you are allowed to develop the point at some length -- as I have just done -- most people will grasp the general concept.
Except, of course, for those who don't want
to grasp it.
Karl and Bernie.
All of this nonsense about Hillary's emails is one of the two Big Lies being told about her right now. The other Big Lie, of course, is the oft-heard fiction that the Clinton Foundation is a personal slush fund.
We often hear BernieBros try to damn Hillary on the grounds that the Foundation has taken money from ghastly people (which it has). My response: If evildoers donate to charity, good
You know what's not
excusable? Bernie Sanders receives support from Karl Rove's group, American Crossroads.
Why don't the BernieBots ever talk about that? Why isn't that match-made-in-Hell ever discussed on MSNBC?
A simple question about Bernie.
Has he denounced the "Bernie or Bust" movement? A pro-forma, yanked-from-the-mouth disavowal is no disavowal at all. I want to see Sanders scream "You fools!"
at the Sandernistas who consider Trump preferable to Clinton. The fact that Bernie refuses to do so tells us much.
A strange story.
An article briefly appeared on HuffPo claiming that Hillary and Bill Clinton will be indicted on Federal Racketeering charges, because “The Clinton Foundation is an ongoing criminal enterprise engaged in money laundering and soliciting bribes in exchange for political, policy and legislative favors to individuals, corporations and even governments both foreign and domestic.”
The article was almost immediately yanked
-- but it was up just long enough for both the Trumpers and the BernieBros to glom onto it, as did Inquisitr
Remember the 1990s? Remember how the right-wing press -- and, too often, the mainstream press -- repeatedly assured us that Bill Clinton was going to be frog-marched to the Big House any day now?
And do you remember how those stories always, always, always
turned out to be bullshit?
This one is bullshit too.
Basically, the original story was pure right-wing wishful thinking masquerading as inside information -- a propaganda meme packaged as a hot scoop.
Capitol Hill Blue used to do that kind of shit all the freakin' time
Nobody is investigating the Clinton Foundation; there is no reason to do so. It's a charity. Charity watchdogs have pronounced it clean.
The emails? Scroll up. We've already discussed that.
The original story is here
; the author is "distinguished film producer Frank Huguenard." (He seems best-known for the new-agey documentary Beyond Belief
, starring Stephen Colbert, of all people.)
As I suspected, Huguenard has no informants
. If a writer is going to announce "Hillary to be indicted," then he damned well better be able to back up that assertion with a quote by an actual prosecutor. We don't get one.
Instead, Hugenard he has simply strung together a series of non-sequiturs from previously-published anti-Clinton hit pieces. Example:
Here’s what we do know. Tens of millions of dollars donated to the Clinton Foundation was funneled to the organization through a Canadian shell company which has made tracing the donors nearly impossible. Less than 10% of donations to the Foundation has actually been released to charitable organizations and $2M that has been traced back to long time Bill Clinton friend Julie McMahon (aka The Energizer). When the official investigation into Hillary’s email server began, she instructed her IT professional to delete over 30,000 emails and cloud backups of her emails older than 30 days at both Platte River Networks and Datto, Inc. The FBI has subsequently recovered the majority, if not all, of Hillary’s deleted emails and are putting together a strong case against her for attempting to cover up her illegal and illicit activities.
Where to start?
Well, let's begin by repeating one basic point mentioned earlier: No-one is investigating the Foundation.
So how does a non-existent investigation lead to an indictment
? The author zooms from the Foundation to the emails, which are two different things, in an transparent attempt to convince gullible readers that a connection exists.
Once again: No investigation. No indictment.
Hugenard stands exposed as a motherfucking liar
-- which is no doubt why HuffPo pulled his piece. (My guess is that he's a fibber of the BernieBro variety, not of the Trumpian variety or the Fox News variety.)
Now that we have established Hugenard's basic dishonesty, I see no reason to do a line-by-line refutation of every false claim in his piece. However, it is instructive to look at his claim that "less than 10% of donations" to the Clinton Foundation actually goes to charitable work.
This turns out to be another lie, previously spread by Carly Fiorina. FactCheck.org looked into this claim, and made swift work of it
Asked for backup, the CARLY for America super PAC noted that the Clinton Foundation’s latest IRS Form 990 shows total revenue of nearly $149 million in 2013, and total charitable grant disbursements of nearly $9 million (see page 10). That comes to roughly 6 percent of the budget going to grants. And besides those grants, the super PAC said, “there really isn’t anything that can be categorized as charitable.”
That just isn’t so. The Clinton Foundation does most of its charitable work itself.
In brief: The Clinton Foundation disperses less than ten percent of its funds to other
charities. But it does a massive, massive amount of charitable work itself
See how Fiorina and Hugenard (and Inquistr) have tried to hornswoggle you?
If you want the truth, don't go to liars like Hugenard and Fiorina. Go to CharityWatch, a well-regarded watchdog organization which has declared that 89 percent
of the donations to the Clinton Foundation end up helping people in need. Most other charities are not as efficient. (75% is standard.) Even NewsMax
agrees with FactCheck:
Watchdog CharityWatch, a project of the American Institute of Philanthropy, gave the Clinton Foundation an "A" rating.
Its president and founder, Daniel Borochoff, said that by looking only at the money the Foundation gave out in grants, Fiorina "is showing her lack of understanding of charitable organizations."
Hugegnard must have known this, yet he deliberately chose to tell porkies. Now that we've exposed the man, do we really need to delve into the rest of his garbage?
Something similar can be said of Inquisitr. That site is rubbish.
The Bottom Line.
Young BernieBots need to learn what their elders learned twenty years ago: The right created a machine capable of spitting out dozens of anti-Clinton propaganda stories each and every day. These stories always turn out to be balderdash.
Except for the one about the blue dress.