Saturday, May 23, 2015

They are really going after Hillary, aren't they?

A couple of days ago, the NYT published an obnoxious piece on Hillary Clinton's correspondence with Sidney Blumenthal. Much of the discussion in that article focuses on -- what else? -- Benghazi.

Quoth the NYT: "In Memo, Blumenthal Initially Blames Demonstrators for Attacks."
The memo said the attacks were by “demonstrators” who “were inspired by what many devout Libyan viewed as a sacrilegious internet video on the prophet Mohammed originating in America.” Mrs. Clinton forwarded the memo to Mr. Sullivan, saying “More info.”
The NYT is here feeding red meat to those right-wing nutcases who, for some unfathomable reason, have made this incident the focus of their lives. As it turns out, Blumenthal had more and better information about the Benghazi attack the very next day.
The next day, Mr. Blumenthal sent Mrs. Clinton a more thorough account of what had occurred. Citing “sensitive sources” in Libya, the memo provided extensive detail about the episode, saying that the siege had been set off by members of Ansar al-Shariah, the Libyan terrorist group. Those militants had ties to Al Qaeda, had planned the attacks for a month and had used a nearby protest as cover for the siege, the memo said. “We should get this around asap” Mrs. Clinton said in an email to Mr. Sullivan. “Will do,” he responded. That information contradicted the Obama administration’s narrative at the time about what had spawned the attacks.
(Emphasis added.) This statement is a lie and I can prove it. Simply watch the video embedded into this Cannonfire post from 2012.
As I document in my video, administration officials told the New York Times the very next day (September 12) that the attack in Libya appeared to be well-organized and pre-planned. Administration officials also said the same thing to ABC. My video includes a brief snippet of that footage.
Repeat: On September 12, the administration's narrative was that the attack was well-organized and pre-planned.

So where does the NYT get this nonsense about the "Obama administration's narrative"? The reference, of course, goes to what Susan Rice said on Meet the Press, which the Republicans consider The Single Most Horrifying Thing Anyone Ever Said On Television. The recent NYT piece neglects to mention a key fact: Rice got her talking points from Victoria Nuland, the neocon darling.

Back in 2013, the NYT did a better job of covering this story. The paper devoted a long-ish piece to the strange disparity in the treatment given Rice and Nuland...
Ms. Rice, the ambassador to the United Nations and the favorite to be President Obama’s next national security adviser, continues to be criticized by Senate Republicans for going on Sunday news programs a few days after the attacks to deliver the talking points, which later proved to be inaccurate. But the e-mails reinforced her lack of involvement in the drafting process.

Ms. Nuland, a former State Department spokeswoman nominated by Mr. Obama to be an assistant secretary of state, was backed by some of the same Republicans, even though the e-mails show she pushed to edit the talking points...
“Toria was buried in the internal bureaucratic ticktock,” Mr. Miller said, using Ms. Nuland’s nickname. “She is also someone who has very good contacts across the aisle, and around Washington. Susan fits the Republican anti-Obama narrative; Toria does not.”

Ms. Nuland, a well regarded 29-year veteran of the Foreign Service, once served as deputy national security adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney and as ambassador to NATO under President George W. Bush. She is married to Robert Kagan, a neoconservative historian and commentator who advised Mitt Romney during the 2012 campaign.
Did Nuland deliberately mislead Rice, setting her up for one of those propaganda narratives that the conservatives love to construct? I can't prove that theory, but let's be honest: Whenever a neocon snake finds a grassy knoll to hide in, that snake is going to bite.

So much for the NYT. Today, Karen Tumulty of the WP steps in...
For those who have worried that Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign would be a repeat of the chaotic operation she ran eight years ago, her advisers have often pointed to her time in between at the State Department — which by comparison was an archetype of crisp managerial efficiency.

But a trove of newly released e-mails suggests that one of Clinton’s tendencies persisted during her time as secretary of state — an inability to separate her longtime loyalties from the business at hand.
This is becoming the new propaganda line. A few weeks ago, all of the mainstream pundits were pounding on the concept of sneakiness: Oh, those sneaky Clintons sneak again! Sneak sneak sneak!"

The public's response to the "sneak" campaign: No sale. Try again.

So now the new key word is "chaos." The Clintons are agents of chaos, just like Heath-Ledger-as-the-Joker.

The big problem with Hillary's 2008 campaign wasn't "chaos." The problem was that Team Obama fought dirty -- as in filthy dirty -- while Team Hillary played fair. In the end, and in the face of an overwhelming media headwind (not to mention the Obama sock puppets who rigged the blogosphere dialogues), she hung in long after everyone screamed at her to quit. And you know what? Her popular vote tally was higher than Obama's (unless one discounts Michigan -- and there is absolutely no reason why one should).

That's not "chaos." That's a campaign.

To my eyes, Karen Tumulty looks like just another anti-Clinton hack. Here she was, back in 1998:
For Bill Clinton to look this good in the polls after six months of sex scandal is a measure of his survival skills, dumb luck and, above all, the wall of silence erected by his personal lawyer, David Kendall.
Bullshit. Those poll numbers had to do with other factors, all of which were perfectly obvious at the time. The public finally understood (with no real help from Tumulty or the WP) that Whitewater was a crock and that Ken Starr had led a disgusting witch hunt. There was also the not-inconsiderable fact that the country was prosperous and at peace. Tumulty may not have noticed that, but the public did.

Just now, I ran across a web site in which a crankish writer asserts that Chelsea Clinton was fathered by Webb Hubbell, not Bill Clinton. Tumulty makes a surprising guest appearance:
I then said to Tumulty, well you do know that Chelsea is the biological daughter of Webb Hubbell and not Bill Clinton? Tumulty’s response was interesting - she did not deny or challenge this blockbuster assertion but rather just seemed to confirm it by her awkward silence and accepting non denial.
Good lord. Is it possible...? Did Karen Tumulty think that such a nonsensical claim might actually be valid?

Let us return to Tumulty's recent Hillary hit piece in the Washington Post:
But a trove of newly released e-mails suggests that one of Clinton’s tendencies persisted during her time as secretary of state — an inability to separate her longtime loyalties from the business at hand.

The e-mails from her private account reveal that she passed along no fewer than 25 memos about Libya from friend and political ally Sidney Blumenthal. Blumenthal had business interests in Libya but no diplomatic expertise there.
"Diplomatic expertise"...? What the hell? Why should that be considered the sole deciding factor?

The CIA often gets information from Americans doing business overseas. Should the Agency toss out what they have to say simply because they are not diplomats? Of course not. Tumulty's argument is an exercise in strained silliness.
Moreover, she did so after the White House had blocked her from hiring Blumenthal at the State Department. The president’s team considered him untrustworthy and prone to starting rumors.
Where did Tumulty get that "starting rumors" bit? Exactly which rumors did he supposedly start? I'm sure that Obama loyalists consider Blumenthal untrustworthy only because he has always been close to the Clintons. The fact that Blumenthal favored one side of an intra-party pissing contest should have no bearing on the question of whether his information on Libya was valuable.

Here's the biggest question: By what standard is Sidney Blumenthal considered untrustworthy while Victoria "Fuck the EU" Nuland is considered trustworthy?

Nuland is still pretty much running the show at State, under John Kerry's figurehead leadership. When Kerry recently made some moves to reverse course in Ukraine, Icky Vicky charged in to make sure that the sitch remained well and truly upfucked.

We return, once more, to Tumulty on Hillary:
But as her earlier presidential campaign showed, the environment she creates is one in which lines of authority and decision-making can be undermined by second-guessers and meddlers.
The Clinton campaign tried to put distance between the former secretary of state and the unreliable advisories that she had passed along.
Notice the trick that Tumulty has pulled here? If you read her piece carefully, she tries very hard to convey the impression that Blumenthal was a wild man filling Hillary's head with all sorts of bizarre claims. But there is something missing in Tumulty's narrative: We don't have a single example of a foolish or bizarre claim made by Blumenthal.

Let's take one more look at the September 12, 2012 Blumenthal memo on Benghazi, as described by the NYT (here):
The next day, Mr. Blumenthal sent Mrs. Clinton a more thorough account of what had occurred. Citing “sensitive sources” in Libya, the memo provided extensive detail about the episode, saying that the siege had been set off by members of Ansar al-Shariah, the Libyan terrorist group. Those militants had ties to Al Qaeda, had planned the attacks for a month and had used a nearby protest as cover for the siege, the memo said.
Pray tell me, Ms. Tumulty: How the hell can any of that be considered "unreliable"? Looks to me as though Blumenthal got it right. And he did so the day after, at a time when the CIA was still trying to figure things out.

Days later, Victoria Nuland was feeding crap to Susan Rice. And yet, according to Beltway wisdom, Nuland is always considered Miss Reliability while Sidney Blumenthal is derided as That Weirdo From Wackyland.

What kind of shit is this? Who sets these standards?

If Hillary wins the election, and if she offers a job to Blumenthal, I predict that Tumulty and other mainstream pundits will respond with outrage: "But...isn't Sidney Blumenthal that unreliable guy? Isn't he the one who said all of that off-the-wall stuff about Libya?" This will become the etched-in-stone perception, despite the lack of examples proving that he said anything incorrect.

Nota bene: At no point does Tumulty offer any proof that Hillary accepted the information she received at face value. Instead, Hillary's response always seems to have been along the lines of "Look into it" or "Check into this."

And what, may I ask, is wrong with that?

As regular readers know, I have long been a harsh critic of Hillary's tenure as SoS. Nevertheless, every time mainstream newsfolk mount these inane attacks on All Things Clintonian, I turn into a Clinton supporter. When the attacks let up, my attitude toward the Clintons becomes less fond; when the attacks begin again, I rejoin the defenders. I suppose it will ever be so in the great circle of political life.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Hillary (despite appearances) must pose a genuine threat to the Powers That Be -- otherwise they would not be so desperate to take her down.


ralphb said...

You are absolutely right. I've never seen anything like this ever. The press was much better even to Gore, who they hated. She has almost the entire DC establishment trying to take her down hard. Like you I believe she must be a credible threat to the so-called "permanent government" inside the beltway and I am firmly on her side.

Anonymous said...

Joseph, try shifting your analysis from Hillary to Obama. Then the birther-Muslim stuff is proof that Obama is a threat to the PTB. Of course we all know that Obama is no threat to the PTB.

ralphb said...

That shift doesn't work. The Birther/Muslim stuff wasn't really propagated by the MSM but by wingnuts on the right and it was reported as crap.

The attacks on HRC are coming directly from the elite media, as well as, the wingnuts on the right.

Joseph Cannon said...

Just so, Ralph. The NYT and the WP never printed birther crap.

More to the point, I disagree with the premise offered by Anonymous. Just because I don't like Obama doesn't mean that the Powers That Be must be happy with him. It was very clear that the PTB wanted America to go to war with Syria in 2013; Obama avoided that. It was very clear that the PTB want Obama to destroy Iran; he just made a deal with them.

Hillary or any other Dem will be a similar case. Controllable and obedient, yes, but only to a point. Dems are robots who cannot self-terminate. Republicans will agree to destroy themselves, or at least to do things that will destroy the country.

OTE admin said...

I have my theory on this, and I believe I am right about it. Sorry about linking to my site, but I really think this is at the heart of the hostility toward the Clintons, as petty as it is:

Never underestimate the pettiness of the Georgetown cocktail circuit.