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November 07, 2016

Comments

I’ve never seen a good explanation of why Sidney Blumenthal was getting $10,000 per month as a staff member of the Clinton Foundation while he was also pulling in about $200,000 a year doing unspecificed ‘consulting’ with Media Matters entities for multiple years–just another case of how being a Clinton loyalist can make you fantastically rich.

Lessee know, that's....why that's $320,000 a year!!!!!!!! Whoever heard of anybody making that much money? Oh, wait, that's chump change in the corporate/lobbying/finance scratch my back and I'll scratch yours world. After all, Condi Rice now sits on the Board of Directors at Dropbox. WTF does she know about the internets business?

But you know, the outrage can only apparently be applied to Democrats.

Christ.

It isn’t remotely clear why the Saudi government was giving tens of millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation.

They plunked down about $10m to help Clinton build his presidential library. They donated the same amount to fund G.W. Bush's presidential library.

But you have never experienced one ounce of outrage about that gift to a Republican, now have you.

Why don't you actually try to look into some of these concerns before artfully expressing them in terms deliberately chosen to make the Clintons look bad?

I don't believe that is too much to ask.

Hard to hear when you don't bother to try.

The Bush family was in bed with the Saudis. One of their ambassadors was called Bandar Bush, iirc. The Saudis spread a lot of money around. Perhaps coincidentally, they are our allies from hell and get away with murder.

The Democrats have pretty much flushed the issue of money in politics down the toilet. I don't mean they are worse than the Republicans.

Donald- That was a general decision by the majority of Democratic primary voters, it's done get over it.

If Trump wins, will you be sitting down, shutting up, and "get[ting] over it"? Somehow, I doubt it. Because, ofc, life doesn't stop when the last vote is cast, and what mattered then still matters. The primary is done, just as tomorrow the general election will be done, but the politics driving them are never done. So no, no reason to "get over it" aside from your desire to quash dissent.

I was kinda kidding. I voted Bernie in the primary. Still it is a fact that we now have trouble disassociating ourselves from being too cozy with the malefactors of great wealth.

NV,

Have I convinced you to vote for Hillary yet? How about a bribe...cold hard cash? Well, I tried. :)

As to the iron law: as I understand it, if those who possess institutional power are given the following choices:

1. Do whatever it takes to achieve your goals, even at the cost of your institutional power. Or...
2. Do whatever it takes to maintain your institutional power, even if it blunts the chances of achieving institutional goals...

...will pick door #2 just about every time. If my understanding is accurate, I'm still not sure how your example applies.

As always, thanks.

Bobbyp, the link you provide appears to be all 2016 election spin, and nothing to do with the reporting at the time (or even as recently as February 2016 when new emails on the issue came to light).

According to contemporaneous emails, the state department official working with the board didn't even know why he had been appointed

Argh my comment got eaten let me try to reconstruct.

Like others above, I am astonished that anyone gets their knickers in a twist about the Clintons parlaying (ex-)political power into wealth and, conversely, those with wealth parlaying that into political access. 'Twas ever thus, at least in my 70+ years on this planet. Indeed, it used to be that wealth could be directly into ambassadorships, though that is somewhat less true nowadays, I understand.

The self-righteous twittering (literally and figuratively) about the Clintons by those who have never objected to these time-hallowed practices I can only attribute to (1) Democratic envy, or (2) as someone pointed out above, a view that regards the non-aristocratic (or at least not originally rich) Clintons as unworthy of the largesse to which the ruling class are justly entitled for their "service to the nation."

Sheesh.

(Anyone who can point to a lengthy personal history of objecting publicly to the garnering of high speaking fees, salaries, and such like perquisites by others in the past - preferably wealthy and/or Republican from the outset - is hereby granted exemption from this rant. The rest of you: you know who/what you are.)

The ABC report here shows that the state department official working with the board didn't even know why Fernando had been appointed. This fact shows that Fernando did not go through the normal vetting process, not even enough to give the liason an explanation.

Regarding Blumenthal, maybe I'm not explaining the problem I have with his hiring well enough. The story on the Clinton Foundation is that it is a charity NOT a political arm of Clinton power. Blumenthal is a political fixer and spinmeister. He is not a policy analyst. He is not fundraiser. He is best known for spreading lies about Lewinsky to the press before the existence of the dress was known and for being involved in a number of key decisions leading to Clinton's loss to Obama in the primaries. Hiring Blumenthal for $120,000 per year for multiple years at the Clinton Foundation (while he also has enough of a job to make $200,000 a year through Media Matters) doesn't fit with the Clinton Foundation as a charity. It fits perfectly with the idea that a part of the Clinton Foundation is supposed to tie into the Clintons' political power in general and Hillary's Presidential run in particular. Also the idea that $320,000 per year for multiple years isn't enough to count is a scary commentary on what is ok.

Which leads us to the Saudi gifts to the Clinton Foundation.

The premise of your paragraph on that issue is very surprising. You seem to be saying either that the Saudis weren't corruptly linked to the Bushes (can the bobbyp I know possibly mean that?), or that the Clintons are no more corrupt than the Bushes so we're ok.

I can't wrap my head around the first one, so I'll assume you mean the second.

The Clintons are much worse than your average Democrat. There are lots of Democrats around, it is troubling that we are so deeply involved with the ones who barely might not be as deeply in bed with the Saudis as the Bushes. I'm relatively confident that none of the other candidates or potential candidates on the Democratic side got 10-25 million from the Saudi government.

My objection to the Clintons is that they are deeply normalizing corruption on a scale that isn't ok. They make us defend things that we would attack if the other side were doing it. They make us defend things that we DO attack when the other side does it.

Trump is MUCH worse. But that is a defense of the choice at this moment. Not a defense of the terrible political system which has brought us to the moment.

I haven't been thinking about htis campaign in terms of first woman President. That is until I saw the video of people putting I voted stickers on Susan B anthony's grave. I actually teared up over that

One thing I like about Sebastian's tribalism explanation, at least from where I stand, is that it absolves any particular person of blame, which accords with the way I think things tend to go down. If you walk into a village that is beset with tribalism, you can't point a finger at someone and say 'It's your fault'. And whoever is going to change that system has to be transformative, or, as is today's parlance goes, 'disruptive'. It also explains why systems fail to change, despite best intentions.

Unfortunately, the transformative politican is a pretty rare occurence, and they usually don't get but one chance, which certainly illuminates the mess we find ourselves in. How we, as individuals, create and support that transformational politician becomes the question and the challenge. Not that I have the faintest idea of how, though...

...will pick door #2 just about every time. If my understanding is accurate, I'm still not sure how your example applies.

The point is that the "pragmatic" centerists have spent years lecturing the "ideological" leftists about how important it is to put aside their particular political preferences IOT elect "electable" candidates, which conveniently happened to be centerists. This cycle, however, "electability" is out and it's all about qualifications, which means that instead of considering someone other than the centerists' choice, we have to defer to their wisdom, as always. It's entirely in keeping with ILoI, but the establishmentarians have traditionally been shocked - shocked! - that anyone could think to suggest they're operating in a ferrous manner. It's not surprising, it's just telling.

Someone once hypothesized to me that Republicans didn't like HRC because she had served on the Watergate Committee. That would be pre-Bill.

My objection to the Clintons is that they are deeply normalizing corruption on a scale that isn't ok.

But you say absolutely nothing about how Republican corruption, or look at the obvious financial elite corruption that is "deeply normalizing corruption" on an unacceptable scale, and this reveals an underlying bias of your premise.

Because you seem to condemn on a very selective and particular criteria. You ignore the systemic implications of your own analysis.

Result? You only pick on f%cking Democrats.

When you unleash a corker about the "corruption" of our elites in general, and place that in some kind of meaningful analysis of how this came to be, then I could take you much more seriously.

I shall reply at more length when I sober up :)

Right now I have election returns to fret about!

Sebastian,

We on the ever paranoid left have always criticized the corruption influence of wealth and power. My god man, I was weaned on C. Wright Mills. Many Bernie Bros (including me) criticize Clinton for her clientism.

But you are determined to demonstrate that her particular corruptions are somehow worse. Are you kidding me?

For more on the ISAB controversy (a board that pays nothing, and is advisory only....something you conveniently omitted to mention) see here:

http://www.vox.com/2016/6/22/11910312/hillary-clinton-donors-isab

http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2016/06/10/how_clinton_donor_rajiv_fernando_got_a_job_as_a_nuclear_expert_he_wasn_t.html

And you explicitly seem to deny the direct testimony of those involved provided in my first link...as "spin". Well, can't argue with somebody insisting on tossing out all contravening evidence.

Again...this is a nothingburger.

if things play out the way they look to be playing out, you'll look back with fond nostalgia on the days when big speaking fees and email servers were considered a scandal.

I remember when congress people over drawing their congressional bank accounts for THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS was a BFD.

good times.

we ain't seen nothing yet.

The premise of your paragraph on that issue is very surprising. You seem to be saying either that the Saudis weren't corruptly linked to the Bushes (can the bobbyp I know possibly mean that?), or that the Clintons are no more corrupt than the Bushes so we're ok.

Again, the question is this: What is an acceptable level of "influence peddling"? You are, by implication, telling me that the Saudis donating to Bush's library is somehow OK, but donating to Clinton's is "(greater) corruption"?

Really?

You first. Make up your mind. Again, the fact that you have NEVER objected to the Saudi donation to the Bush library is revealing.

When you start criticizing powerful conservatives for the VERY SAME THING I will be willing to take you seriously.

Otherwise...not so much.

I still want to know the (R)''s are excluded from Sebastian''s corruption calculus.

really, what the hell?

Now I'm thinking I dislike HRC for the first time. She lost the Democrats the White House.

The Republicans aren't excluded from my calculus. I am saying that Clinton is one of the worst possible Democrats. It appears that the question is moot.

It may be the worst I have ever felt in my life to have been right.

I was writing the above on the assumption that Clinton would win. I thought our country was smart enough that she would. I'm not going to bother following up on it as it appears we need to focus on what the hell we can do to stop Trump from completely destroying us.

you don't miss the water 'til the well runs dry.

“Elections belong to the people. It's their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.”
― Abraham Lincoln

sadly, we will all get to sit on our blisters, regardless of how we voted.

I'm trying to see a silver lining here but I'm coming up empty.

I guess we'll see how it all goes.

...it appears we need to focus on what the hell we can do to stop Trump from completely destroying us.

I think that should be Congress by means of Trump. If the Dems had at least kept the senate, the worst likely could be prevented. But with the GOPsters holding both chambers and the WH (and thus SCOTUS in their hands soon also)...

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