America’s Biggest Losers: The Right’s Commentariat
It’s looking to be a long hot summer, full of violence against Trump supporters, exposure of Clinton wrongdoing, and continued loathsome behavior by the president, academics, and the media. To its shame, at this crucial juncture many of the once-respected members of the right’s commentariat are failing their readers and proving to be America’s biggest losers.
Space constraints prevent me from detailing all the wrongdoing of Hillary Clinton and her aides and allies, but here are just some turned up this week.
Breitbart reports that it is now clear that Hillary shared the names of covert U.S. intelligence figures on her unprotected server, which had been targeted by “Russia-linked hacker attempts,” jeopardizing their lives and operations. (Compare and contrast her behavior with that of Lewis Libby and the difference in the politicized responses of this administration with Bush’s. Or even with this administration’s response to clear lawbreaking as opposed to scurrilous, baseless claims in the prior administration.)
When Bush commuted the sentence of Libby, who had not leaked the name of a covert agent — and actually he should have pardoned him altogether but failed to — Hillary was quick on the draw:
“This commutation sends the clear signal that in this administration, cronyism and ideology trump competence and justice.” Clip and save this should she be indicted and pardoned on far worse conduct — actually being the source of the leak of real covert agents.
The scandals continue to involve the Clinton Family Foundation as well the emails. As Don Surber observes, however, “Press scrutiny — applies to Republicans, not Democrats.”
The [Clinton] foundation’s latest Form 990 shows that as of December 31, 2014, Hillary and Bill and Chelsea and their hedge fund son-in-law sat on $439,505,295 in assets. That’s pretty good for a “non-profit.”
In 2014, they received $24,313,685 in contributions and $113,957,283 in grants, including government grants.
That $439 million in assets is 17 times larger than that $25 million hedge fund that son-in-law ran into the ground by hedging on Greek debt. That $439 million represents a hefty investment fee for some person or company lucky enough to land the account.
The foundation spent $248,221,698 in 2014:
$95,887,139 on salaries and benefits.
$20,786,529 on travel.
$17,249,876 on professional and consulting services.
$14,200,147 on conferences and events.
$14,196,240 on UNITAID commodities expense
$13,519,824 on meetings and training
Et cetera. Oh and $33,692,599 was spent on direct program expenditures. Sure, this is all legal, but as a charity, this is not on the up and up. The Clintons used this as a way to launder foreign donations (which would be illegal if they were campaign donations) to finance her campaign in absentia.
Compare this to the Trump Foundation, whose latest Form 990 covered the year 2012.
Income: $1,259,851 (all from Trump)
Short. Simple. No staff. No travel. No consulting services. No conferences. No meetings. No training. It’s just, here is the money, here are the charities I want to give to, and here is the audit (which cost $5,305).
Hillary, as we know, is a master of the art of projection — attributing her own misdeeds to her opponents. This week she used a suit against Trump University by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman as a talking point. But there’s a far bigger scandal he’s ignoring — CGI University, “a shady joint venture of Laureate and the Clinton Global Initiative”.
The Laureate Education went private in August 2007, in a multi billion dollar, risky, hugely leveraged transaction, closed in the last gasp of the bubble. The leveraged buyout was completed around August 2007 for approximately $3 billion in debt plus equity. The driving force behind the deal is of Friend of Bill (FOB) hedge fund king Steven Cohen, a poster child for bad hedge fund behavior.
After the deal closed, the schools had great financial difficulties and these capital suppliers grew concerned. Bill Clinton’s pals were feeling squeezed as a profitable exit seemed less and less likely.
To dress the deal up in 2010, Bill Clinton was brought in to serve as “Chancellor,” a part-time position for which he was collecting $16 million through early 2015. This extraordinary compensation was never properly disclosed until 2015. Many of those on the hook paid Bill and Hillary big fees for speeches as well. Bill Clinton was thus collecting from both Laureate equity and debt suppliers. The Laureate CEO, Doug Becker, is involved as a Clinton backer, Clinton Global Initiative and Clinton Foundation donor and involved in the International Youth Foundation, a recipient of favors and money from the Clinton-led Department of State. [emphasis added]
Incredibly, in 2013 the International Finance Corporation announced a record setting $150 million investment in Laureate at a time when its financial condition was rocky at best. Clinton’s involvement sealed the deal. Then the Clinton Global Initiative and Clinton Foundation entered into a joint venture with Laureate to create CGI-University. Yet none of these related party disclosures are included in any of the Clinton Foundation or Clinton Global Initiative filings for relevant periods (starting in 2008 or so).
New York State law requires specific approvals for an entity to hold itself out as being a university. In this case CGI (a fraud) created CGI University (a fraud) in league with Laureate, a fraud.
There’s also a private suit against Trump University in California where Trump’s criticism of the judge handling the case has drawn press rebuke. Of course, that ignores Obama and Hillary’s attacks on judges, as James Taranto notes with examples.
As a rule, a show of public disrespect for judicial authority is a foolish litigation strategy. It worked for Obama with Chief Justice Roberts because, like Mr. Clinton before him, he had virtually all Democrats and most of the media cheering him on. Criticism of a Democratic president for traducing democratic norms is inevitably discounted for partisanship. President Hillary Clinton would get away with it for the same reason.
And I must add to this review by Taranto mention of the inappropriate and unprecedented dressing down Obama gave the Supreme Court justices at a State of the Union Address where they were powerless to respond. This was a display of unpresidential and inappropriate behavior, which I do not recall getting much in the way of media censure.
I stopped watching television years ago, but if you still do and don’t have amnesia, you might remember this video example Andrew Klavan links to comparing Dana Bash’s reaction to the press denouement on the charge Trump hadn’t donated to veterans organizations when he had and her attack on Major Garrett for asking a deservedly tough question of Obama on the Iran deal about which he was flat-out lying. She made clear that tough questioning of a Democratic president on false claims is over the top but fake claims against a Republican candidate are just what the press’s job is. This is why nobody who can think with any degree of discernment pays TV news much mind.
To quote Facebook poster Jennifer Verner about the judge (an activist in MALDEF who appointed to represent the plaintiffs law firms which contributed almost $700,000 to Clinton’s campaign directly and through speaking fees):
So it took me about 10 minutes on the INTERNET to find that the California La Raza Lawyers Association lists MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund) as an affiliate group, and that MALDEF is one of the organizations that have been actively protesting Donald Trump. Lazy Jerks at CNN need to get their facts straight. The La Raza judge needs to go, not because he’s Hispanic, but because his political activity leads to a conflict of interest.”
From the California La Raza Lawyers Association. Look up which groups have been organizing the protests at the Trump rallies. Notice MALDEF? Oops.
Using the courts with the help of partisan prosecutors and judges to beset and discredit their opponents is a standard Democratic trick. It works so often because the folks more interested in keeping their white togas spotless will not ally themselves with a colleague or party official charged with wrongdoing no matter how preposterous and biased the charges. (See the cases against Lewis Libby, Senator Ted Stevens, Congressman Tom DeLay, and Governor Rick Perry.)
This vicious, no-holds-barred Clinton campaign will continue on to November, and what makes it worse is that while we can count on the major media to continue to front for his opponents, hiding their gaffes and wrongdoing and exaggerating his, some people who should be Trump’s allies are joining in the fight against him.
Bill Kristol has put forth National Review writer David French (who in January said he’d vote for Trump if Trump got the nomination) as his third-party choice.
Daniel J. Flynn at the Spectator responded:
What he lacks in experience he lacks in money and name recognition. David French enjoys a level of popularity above Eddie Spanish but somewhat below Jimmy the Greek. Even among National Review’s stable of writers, French ranks, at least in terms of reader familiarity, as something of a b-lister — not appearing, for instance, in the list of the magazine’s “notable” contributors at Wikipedia.
Mistaking the views of a cliquish community inside a 64-mile band of clogged roadway for popular sentiment in the country outside of it, beltway conservatives inflate their influence. They imagine themselves as shaping the opinions of conservatives and quadrennially playing Republican kingmaker. So, imagine the terror of witnessing the rise of a candidate who not only stood them up at their annual CPAC gathering but dared call their bluff on immigration and challenged the orthodoxy of a busybody foreign policy that made the last Republican president and his party terribly unpopular. If nothing else, Trump’s success screams “the emperor has no clothes” at the ruling clique that rules in the way the D&D dungeonmaster imagines he does. French’s failure would further emphasize their impotence.
In sum, whatever else French is, he’s this year’s Admiral Stockdale — a nice man being thrown into the ring without training in boxing or gloves.
Others have gone further and said they’d vote for Hillary over Trump. This, even as the evidence of her corruption, incompetence, and lack of regard for either the rule of law or national security become impossible to ignore.
Oddly enough, these right wing critics did not get behind Ted Cruz in the primaries when it became a two-man race and Cruz was clearly the most conservative of the two choices. My friend “Ignatz Ratzkywatzky” responds to those of the commentariat who assert they are backing French or even Hillary because of their deeply held “principles”:
Is it actually a principle if its result is electing someone diametrically opposed to and intent on destroying those things that the principled person supposedly believes in?
Sounds more like a conceit to me.
Sounds like it to me, too.
Mickey Kaus, a Democrat, has long argued that immigration and open borders were big issues that needed to be addressed. He faults the right for failing to do so:
If they’d stood up to the Democrats — harnessing some of that GOP grassroots anger they knew was out there! — they could eventually have cut a different sort of deal, one that guaranteed enforcement as a precondition for any discussion of legalization, but that did offer eventual legalization to immigration-oriented Latino voters. Why didn’t they do that? ** Answer: Because Amnesty First reform wasn’t just a practical sop to an ethnic voting bloc. It’s what the GOP business elite actually wanted — i.e., a steady flow of eager, wage-restraining workers for the foreseeable future.*** Maybe this is also the reason why the allegedly hard-nosed elite actually believed all the polls ginned up by Latino activist groups (most prominently an outfit called Latino Decisions) designed to show that they really had to cave on immigration fast or else their party was doomed.
Some are even going so far as to suggest that at least one big Republican donor active in the gay rights movement is behind opposition to Cruz and Trump for failing to support his gay rights stance. If so, I think they are making a big mistake and are America’s biggest losers. The right’s commentariat failed over the past eight years to convince voters of their positions and are now doubling down with no real economic consequences to themselves. Perhaps they are already drafting emails and letters dated January 2017 begging for more contributions in order to “fight” Hillary. They seem to be well insulated from the costs the base has borne as a result of their ineffectiveness. And now they are adding “feckless” and “conceited” to any honest description of their work.
As for me — should that horrible-to-contemplate prospect of a Hillary victory come to pass, I will toss the begging letters of these losers into the trash.
correction made: Rick Perry changed to governor