Sunday, September 04, 2016

Doom. Gloom. And an answer to my critics.

Many didn't care for my previous post, which declared the election over and Trump the winner. To my critics, this:

You may be familiar with this important piece in the Washington Monthly, which exposes the NYT smear job on the Clinton Foundation. I could try to summarize the argument here, but doing so would distract us from the larger point: The Washington Monthly will never impact the national conversation the way the NYT does.

You may have also read Josh Marshall's take-down of the NYT's lies about Clinton. This is Josh Marshall at his very best; his text deserves widespread readership and lengthy quotation. But I won't quote him here, because doing so would distract us from the larger point: Talking Points Memo will never impact the national conversation the way the NYT does.

You may be familiar with Charles Pierce's classic response to the NYT's war on all things Clinton. Now in this case I will offer an excerpt, because Pierce is a funny guy and I can't resist.
Jesus H. Christ on Dancing With The Stars, that's what this is about? Bill Clinton's mission to get two American journalists out the hoosegow of The World's Craziest Place? Wasn't that a triumph? Weren't we all happy about it? Hell, this was so surreptitious and "questionable" that HRC even wrote about it in one of her books.
Consider how it is constructed—to believe that there is even any smoke here, let alone any fire, you have to believe that the Clinton Foundation was somehow shady in its dealings with HRC's State Department, which is assuming a lot of actual facts not in evidence. That enables you to believe that an unsuccessful attempt to arrange diplomatic passports for what ultimately was a successful mission of mercy is proof of said shadiness. It also forces you to loan your journalistic credibility to a monkeyhouse like Judicial Watch.

This is crazy. This makes the way Dave O'Brien used to run the ball for Joe McCarthy look like Seymour Hersh on My Lai.
Very insightful analogy. But Charles Pierce will never impact the national conversation the way the NYT does.

I invite you to compare this new NYT story to the actual FBI report. On every point, the NYT twists the facts to make Hillary look bad. The NYT does so with impunity, secure in the knowledge that most people -- even most reporters -- won't bother to read the report.

I'll give one example. Here's the NYT version of events:
Colin L. Powell, a former secretary of state, had advised her to “be very careful” in how she used email.
This is worded to make it seem as though Powell were warning Hillary: You're being reckless with classified information. The Chinese and the Russians could be watching.

But that's not what he said, not by a longshot. Here's what the report actually gives us:
On January 23, 2009, Clinton contacted former Secretary of State Colin Powell via e-mail to inquire about hie use of a BlackBerry while he was Secretary of State (January 2001 to January 2005). In his email reply, Powell warned Clinton that if it became "public" that Clinton had a BlackBerry, and she used it to "do business," her e-mails could become "official record[s] and subject to the law." Powell further advised Clinton, "Be very careful. I got around it all by not saying much and not using systems that captured the data."
In other words, when he said "Be very careful," he wasn't talking about the Russians or the Chinese. He was talking about hiding the emails from groups like Judicial Watch!

The NYT piece misleads its readers on many other points, and this post will soon address many of those issues. But right now, let's turn away from the Grey Lady and focus on the AP.

A week ago, you surely noted the brouhaha over the Associated Press's outrageously misleading reportage. AP falsely claimed that half the people Clinton met with as SoS were Clinton Foundation donors. Not only were the numbers wrong, the report gave the impression that the Foundation is a slush fund and that the Clinton family makes money from it.

(It's a charity. It saves lives. Charity Watch testifies to its transparency and effectiveness. The Clintons have not made one dollar from the Foundation.)

AP refused to retract the story even after they were proven wrong. In essence, AP has joined the Trump campaign. (Also see here.) And that's hardly the only lie told by AP. Unfortunately -- and this point is key -- the critics of the AP's reportage will never impact the national conversation the way the original lies did.

What about CNN? Throughout the campaign season, the Trumpers have complained that CNN stands for Clinton News Network. Not lately.

Let's put it this way: Whenever I've tuned in the past couple of days, CNN has offered nothing but news about Clinton -- bad news. Here's an example.
17,500 emails that she lied about turning over. The server wipe. Within weeks of there being a report that she had a private server, it was wiped. She thought that “C,” which stands for classified, stood for cookie or something. She thought that drone strikes are not classified. She said that the reason she used a private server was for convenience, that she only had one device, she used 13 Blackberries and five iPads. This is somebody who is absolutely disqualified from becoming president. They destroyed BlackBerries with hammers in the State Department.
That was from freakin' CNN, folks. It's all bullshit, of course. But the bullshit will carry the day, because the so-called "Clinton News Network" spoke to no-one to counter it. As the ancient Greeks knew, sometimes the bullshit piles up so high that only a Hercules can sweep it away -- and I don't see any Herculeses out there right now. Do you?

Specifically: The media will never stop spewing bullshit about those (c) marks. This angle was explained weeks ago. (Is it months ago by now? I've lost track.) Yet we keep seeing articles which treat the matter as though it were a shocking, brand-new revelation.

Most journalists refuse to tell the public that

1. The emails were sent to Hillary, not by her;

2. The emails were not marked as classified in the headers; and

3. The three paragraphs in question were piffle that should never have received even the lowest classification marks. (Confidential information can be sent via ordinary snail mail -- and believe me, spooks know how to read snail mail surreptitiously.) According to the report, the main paragraph in contention concerned a call of congratulations to the new President of Malawi. No-one in his right mind can honestly argue that this trifling matter should have received any classification stamp.

(By the way: As an Original Classification Authority, Hillary had the power to declassify anything generated by the State Department.)

No emails which mentioned drones contained classified material from CIA; the same drone strikes were widely reported in the news. The FBI report indicates that Clinton's staffers were discussing news articles. (Even if the emails made reference to classified CIA documents -- which they didn't -- such references cannot themselves be considered classified.)  

The FBI report specifically exonerates Clinton of the charge that she discussed classified information about drone strikes.

I've read the FBI report (as you probably have not): It does not accuse Hillary of deleting or wiping anything. Quite the opposite:
CLINTON never deleted, nor did she instruct anyone to delete, her emails to avoid complying with the Federal Records Act, FOIA, or State or FBI requests for information. Concerning the Congressional preservation request on March 3, 2015 for email and other records, CLINTON trusted her legal team would comply with the request.
Since Hillary's Blackberry also allowed her to access the official State Department server for classified material, one could argue that smashing disused Blackberries was the right thing to do, from a security standpoint. That said, the step seems unnecessarily careful to me, since the important information was on the SIM cards, all of which were accounted for. As for the actual, physical devices: Smash 'em, toss 'em, sell 'em on Craiglist -- it doesn't matter: They're just plastic. Only the SIM cards count.

See? Without expending much effort, I was able to rebut each of CNN's points.

Not that it matters. This humble blog cannot hope to impact the national conversation the way CNN does.

As Kevin Drum points out in this Mother Jones piece, the FBI report is actually exonerative. Unfortunately, average people will not read that report. They will read the misleading summaries of the report offered by the NYT and by the many, many journalists who hate Clinton. The armies of calumny are too formidable. Kevin Drum cannot impact the national conversation the way Clinton's enemies are impacting the national conversation.

The details do not matter; average people cannot follow them.

Not long ago (and I wished to hell I had saved the page), I saw a comment on The Hill from a reader (or a troll) who accused Clinton of lying about Benghazi. This commenter thought that Hillary went on Meet the Press to blame the attack on "Charlie Hebdo" instead of terrorists!

You see? People can't keep the story straight. Who cares about mere fact? Ronald Reagan's famous "gaffe" was actually a sublime truism: Facts are stupid things.

Facts don't matter. Perception matters. Character assassination matters. The American mind has become mired in a sludge of half-recalled pseudo-factoids and inchoate, irrational hate. Even MSNBC has become a cesspool of Clinton-Hate.

In this surreal environment, absolutely nobody is pointing out the absurdity of Julian Assange -- Julian Fucking Assange -- scoring Clinton on the grounds that she was insufficiently careful about classification. That's like Charles Manson complaining about a neighbor's unkempt lawn.

It's over, folks.

The situation could not possibly be more unfair: Lying and smears have granted the greatest power in the world to the thoroughly evil and unhinged Donald Trump. I honestly believe that nukes will fly. This won't end well. But we must view our fate realistically.

Think about it: If a Democratic candidate loses the New York Times, AP, CNN and even MSNBC, how can you possibly maintain the delusion that hope exists?

Stop kidding yourselves, dummies. Can the rationalizations; stow the casuistry, drop the strained arguments. It's over. Donald Trump is already president; the inauguration is a mere formality.

Added note:  There's another point which everyone has missed. Hillary Clinton was an Original Classification Authority. This means that if she had truly wanted to be opaque, she could have classified her every email at a single stroke. If she had done so, Judicial Watch would still be "on the outside," guessing as to the contents of those messages. They would be mounting extended FOIA cases only to be granted a drip-drip-drip of emails in which staffers talk about unimportant things. (That's how the FOIA game usually plays out.) Instead, Hillary went way too far in her efforts to seem open and transparent. I criticize her for that.

The truth of the matter is very different from the image being created of Hillary Clinton using hammers and (according to Trump) "chemicals" to destroy allegedly incriminating evidence. She should have just put it all under a blanket classification during that last week. Afterward, the question of how to deal with that stuff would have been Obama's problem (or Kerry's).
You make an excellent prima facie case that troubles me.

However, none of the elite media would be spared in a nuclear war, and they have to realize that. Their multi-million dollar lifestyles would be forfeit, traded at best for life in underground hidey holes if they were lucky enough to be offered that option (and could get there in time).

Recall that the entirety of the MSM pushed very hard for Clinton's removal, and it didn't stampede public sentiment. Some part of that was a desire for ratings from the sensationalism.

I HOPE what we're seeing is simply a business model tactic, to make money from an apparently closer race. Total campaign spending in the media is down some $200 million from this point in the last cycle, as Trump refuses to (or cannot) buy the ads one expects from the R side.

A big lead for her through to the end of the election season would be billings death for the MSM, and they're already well below earnings expectations.

That said, the antipathy toward her is real, as well. As is the witting participation in the propaganda cycle her cynical lying opponents feed them (when they aren't manufacturing it themselves).

That is the hidden factor that Bob Somerby has long documented. It is not just the right wing fringe pushing such lines of attack, but the elite MSM that many assume back her. It isn't that she 'lost' the NY Times, or the WaPost, or the others. The Clintons have not had them, ever.


It's only halftime.

Our team still leads, according to 538 and Electoral-Vote.

Also, Clinton holds a 70-19 edge among Latino voters, the fastest-growing ethnic group in the nation.

One does not forfeit the game at halftime because the other team made a surge late in the second quarter.
Also, what XI said. The Corporate Media has always hated the Clintons (or perhaps despised is a better word). That didn't stop Bill from winning two terms, in a significantly whiter USA than the USA is now.
The elite were never with Clinton. True.
if for no other reason exists people should back the Clintons because of it. I keep hearing about Clinton's troops but frankly I am doubtful. If it existed at all they should have started a movement to boycott CNN and other outlets. I don't think they can stop people from making shitt up but they can have a strong and swift response. Which they don't seem to do.

IBW, I don't do sports metaphors, but it's WAY past half-time. Hillary is losing support even among Hispanics.

As for the Clintons surviving media hatred: Yes, Bill managed to defeat Bob Dole. But what about 1994? What about the years of false reporting about Whitewater? What about impeachment?

Bullshit yourself if your psyche so requires. Don't expect to bullshit ME. I'm a realist.

Yes, I'm a realist with a romantic streak -- one of my favorite scenes in film history was Rhett telling Scarlet that he plans to join the Confederate cause at the very end because he has an affection for a lost cause "once it's truly lost." But Rhett knew what the end would look like, and so do I.
Oh, for Madoka's sake. Did you even read that link I posted to

"Despite polls like this—and this one was not an outlier—the Washington Post ran a story yesterday with the headline: "Clinton isn't doing better than previous Democrats with Latinos—even against Trump." The story quoted the poll cited above, which shows Clinton doing better with Latinos than Obama did. Hmmmmmm. Sometimes you have to take your news with a fair amount of salt. (V)"

They REFUTED the very WaPo article you cited as Gospel.

You've finally managed to convince me of something--namely, that for the sake of my own mental health, I need to quit hanging around with you.

The same sort of thing happened to some former Web acquaintances of mine. They supported Hillary back in 2008. In their anger over the Democratic establishment's shenanigans in favor of Obama, they allowed themselves to start reading/listening to/watching the right-wing media WITHOUT turning their mental deflector shields up to 11 first. They are all Trump Chumps now.

I don't think that you'll ever become a Trump Chump, but between them and you, I'm starting to think it's mentally hazardous to study extremist politics at all.

Farewell, Mr. Cannon. May the LORD bless you and keep you, and may you find the help you need, which I lack the competency to provide.
I pull two issues out of all of this. The media once again has it out for Hillary Clinton. Two, the news media is really hurting financially and by attacking Clinton and making the race closer, Trump gets more donations and therefore more ads will run on cable and on news sites.
I wonder if Hillary Clinton has a plan to bombard the networks with ads a week before the election but ironically has financially starved those who expected a more balanced revenue stream.

what's your problem?
Everyone is entitled to their opinion. It's a forum how it's work everyone express an opinion.
As the saying goes: right and wrong they both opinions. So you calm down
welcome to the future

I think Mr Machi had nailed it. There is no money in a blowout Clinton win. They need to get this race closer to max revenue.

@Anon 9:22 PM:

Go back and take refresher courses in English, Comrade.
It's a blog not grammar school. If you understand the gist of I am saying, that's all.
Congrats Joe it's seems your cause gained heavy hitters.
Yes Joe, you've even got Russian trolls commenting now (see previous two anonymous posts..)
Here is why i think (and hope) that you are wrong. If i understand your position, it is that hillary is being "gored" by the media, as was al gore. But Gore was attacked on silly stuff, like love story, and love canal, and inventing the internet, thereby made to look like a fool. Hillary is being attack on serious stuff (without much truth in it) and that is, as you say, becoming the conventional wisdom. But the electorate is also convinced that they all lie, and spin, and, at least she is not Donald Trump. So i still predicted a Clinton victory. 100 quatloos on the female.
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