Thursday, August 25, 2016

Normalizing Corruption

If there is one consolation to be had from the looming election of Hillary Clinton, it's that she'll not so much strut into the White House as she will drag herself across the White House lawn as a mortally wounded animal.

 The constant drip-drip-drip of slimy revelations in the waning weeks of Neoliberal Death Match 2016 will ensure that many, if not most, of her neoliberal and neoconservative objectives will be stymied by one Congressional star chamber after the other -- from the day she takes the oath of office.

So weakened is she as a candidate and as a leader, that her much-vaunted bipartisan cooperative skills and wonkishness will go by the wayside. Impeachment is probably a foregone conclusion. Her electoral chances are still better than they deserve to be, thanks first to the anti-Bernie Sanders machinations of the Democratic Party and now to the imploding Donald Trump. Her chances of outlasting one term? Not so much. This is regardless of whether or not she is ever formally impeached. She will be more punching bag than president. Palace intrigues both large and small will rule the news cycles.

Just as Bill Clinton's mission to privatize Social Security was thwarted by the Monica Lewinsky affair (thanks, Monica!) so too will the financial skullduggery of the Clintons' family foundation prove to be the undoing of their political dynasty. Luckily for us, Hillary Clinton simply does not possess the preternatural ability of Barack Obama to put the screws to the public as he still fools at least half the people into believing he has their best interests at heart.

This would all be so depressing were it not for the entertainment value of watching the liberal media twist themselves into pretzels trying to defend the indefensible. They are as much as admitting that since political corruption is the new normal and Washington could not exist but for its incestuous muck, it is patently unfair to single out the Clintons for their own serial chicanery.

Shooting the messenger is their defensive weapon of choice. Rather than pay attention to the content of the leaked emails showing there is virtually no line between the State Department and the Clintons' money-laundering "global initiative," her defenders are attacking the Associated Press, Julian Assange, the conservative legal eagles of Judicial Watch, Clinton donor Donald Trump, and Vladimir Putin. 

Ruth Marcus, centrist columnist of the Washington Post, takes great umbrage at reports that Hillary's many meetings with many donors to her private charity during her stint as Secretary of State constitute the appearance of criminal influence-peddling. "Obliging a donor is not necessarily criminal," the headline sniffs.

In the first paragraph, Marcus falsely implies that were it not for Donald Trump taking great umbrage at Clintonian wheeling and dealing, nobody else would actually be giving a crap about Hillary's normal, healthy activities:
Doug Band, the Bill Clinton aide and then-foundation official, asked Hillary Clinton’s State Department aides for occasional help on behalf of folks who had written checks to the foundation or associated entities: a meeting with a crown prince here (“good friend of ours,” Band noted), a favor for a Lebanese Nigerian businessman there (“key guy . . . to us,” Band observed).
But for the most part, the Band missives produced . . . nothing. The crown prince of Bahrain got his meeting, but there’s every reason to think that would have happened anyway.
A couple of billionaires are reduced to "just plain folks" whose friendship with the Clintons has absolutely nothing to do with their bank accounts. The crown prince of Bahrain would have gotten a weapons deal from Hillary whether he bribed her or not, whether he tear-gasses his own citizens or he doesn't.

 Marcus pretends to assume that for corruption to actually occur, a bag full of money must change hands, an actual favor must be proven to occur immediately following a meeting. The way corruption really works is that donors buy access to the official, who over time gives out the favors in such a piecemeal or delayed fashion that nobody is ever the wiser. Especially "journalists" like Ruth Marcus, who also seem to care more about gaining access to the powerful than they do in holding them to account.

If only Hillary were a smarter politician, moans Marcus, then she would have known enough not to meet with her donors at the State Department. It's not the corruption that matters, because everyone is corrupt. It's the stupid lack of care in hiding the corruption from WikiLeaks and the Associated Press.

Meanwhile, over at the Clinton-centric Huffington Post, they're slugging the A.P. story on the meetings as a "witch-hunt" against Hillary - even though the HuffPo article, written by Michael Calderone, does not actually use such McCarthyite language. He merely notes that the A.P. sent out a "misleading Tweet" which made it appear that nearly half of all Clinton's State Department meetings were with her private donors - when, in fact, only half the private citizens with whom she met were also her private donors.

So, it's all good. Especially since the private donors were pushing nothing but noble causes.

The Clinton camp is also complaining that the A.P. didn't mention that among the private donors with whom she met were the noble Hollywood star, Ben Affleck, and the late Elie Wiesel. "Scandal!" sarcastically Tweeted communications flack Brian Fallon, who went on to misleadingly assert that Donald Trump is a Russian plant.

The Clinton camp seems to have forgotten that it was the A.P. which prematurely announced her nomination on the eve of the California state primary in June, effectively discouraging Bernie Sanders supporters from going to the polls and artificially increasing her victory margin to the double digits. 

Heads she wins, tails the voters lose.

Although widely criticized by the media for her refusal to hold formal press conferences, Hillary is nevertheless given a platform by the media whenever she snaps her fingers. She called in to CNN's Anderson Cooper Wednesday night to pull a Donald Trump, and complain about the media. Hiding behind the protection of her phone, where nobody could see her face or examine her body language, she insisted that the A.P. story was "a lot of smoke and no fire."

More likely she'd been smoking her own skunk and didn't want the viewers to see the bloodshot eyes competing with the bloodstained hands. 

It wasn't fair, Hill whined to Andy, to exclude the thousands of meetings with very serious important people that she herself chose to exclude from public view before WikiLeaks took it upon itself to share them with the public. They could at least have been more fair about holding her publicly accountable, she paradoxically groused from behind the safe screen of her phone. 

When Cooper complained about her chronic press unavailability, she snapped, "Well, Anderson, I'm talking to you right now!"

And then she went on to bitterly complain about Donald Trump's own overly-constant press availability.

Meanwhile, Julian Assange is promising to release more documents potentially embarrassing or damaging to Hillary Clinton. 

Drip, defend, complain, deflect, repeat. Take frequent selfies with the nobles of the Donor Class. Share widely on social media, and call it Democracy.

Everybody Must Get Stoned

 All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out -- I.F. Stone


Ste-vo said...

Preternatural and umbrage. Two great words used very effectively in todya's update.
Thank you.

Nasreen Iqbal said...

We've never had 4 consecutive two-term Presidents. Ever. We've done 3 two-termers twice (Jefferson/Madison/Monroe and Clinton/Bush/Obama), but never four.

The Clintons love congressional hearings and scandals that last long enough that everyone ends up forgetting why they're there.

I'm worried that she'll take down the Democratic Party with her. But maybe it will be her part of the Democratic Party. Can you imagine the congressional massacre that will happen in 2018 if she's President?

Jay–Ottawa said...

Well, if we're in for exciting times, no matter who gets elected––Trump, Clinton, or Stein––I would prefer a wholly new departure, the Stein way, no matter what, rather than another tour through the hell called RepDem. We have nothing to lose but a whole lot of corruption. And trading in a rusted out junk, no matter how big, for a new but untested compact seems at this point like a no brainer.

annenigma said...

Corruption is essential to the proper functioning of Radical Extremist Capitalism.

Neil said...

"It's not the corruption that matters, because everyone is corrupt. It's the stupid lack of care in hiding the corruption from WikiLeaks and the Associated Press.""

More like hubris: Hillary’s meme - U can’t touch this.

MC Hammer - U Can't Touch This

A theme song, and wardrobe cue: Baggy pants.

Valerie said...

I hope you are right, Karen, and Hill is doomed as president. Both Dems and Repubs should yank their candidates but they are too far in to this thing. Definitely time to vote for Stein.

Jay–Ottawa said...

Corruption under any other name––neoliberalism, globalization, privatization, revolving door, "just politics"–– would smell as putrid.

It has recently been documented by academic researchers using the best tools of statistics that about 80% of the "grand strategy makers" (big shots) of the past three administrations (Clinton I, Bush II, Obama Zero)––theoretically representing "we the people"––were moles of…, oh sorry, were employed by or were intimately tied to the major financial institutions, think tanks and big corporations controlled by the 0.1%. Talk about coincidence.

Paul Street says it all boils down to "policy for the few in the name of the many." Now what do you suppose we can expect from the likely next occupant of the White House, she whom Wall Street affectionately calls "Lady Klynton Kissinger Sachs"?

An abundance of detail and scholarly research with a dash of sardonic comment are packed into the following article. Gnash your teeth as you lol through this read: