Sunday, May 03, 2015

Mad About the "Clinton Cash" Non-Scandal? Well Here's Your Alternative.

The Pilot Newspaper: Opinion

So, apparently, an upcoming book, the ponderously titled “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich,” seems poised to set a record for the shortest time between a Clinton “scandal” breaking into national news and its complete collapse into a big ol’ pile of nothing.
Considering the resume of the author, a longtime professional Republican operative named Peter Schweizer, this book is clearly one of those right-wing tomes designed not to put forth any actual agenda or philosophy of governance, but to tear down the Democratic front-runner with an eye toward giving whichever piece of damaged goods is the last Republican standing a shot at the White House.
A pretty dismal strategy, to be sure. But fear not, good friends, I offer you a way out of the gloom. Bear with me for just a bit and I’ll show you.
First, let’s have a look at the allegations. They consist of the usual ginned-up “OK for me but not for thee” scandal-mongering guaranteed to make the hearts of the editors of Clinton-hating mainstream media outlets like The New York Times go pitter-pat.
The former “newspaper of record” breathlessly reported on allegations in the book that donations by officers of a Canadian company to the charitable Clinton Foundation led to the takeover of some American uranium mines by the Russian company that eventually acquired the Canadian company. Meanwhile, Bill Clinton got a big speaking fee of $500,000 from, not the Russian company or the Canadian one, but from “a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.” (I know, it’s convoluted, but most right-wing conspiracy theories are.)
Sounds pretty ominous, right? Sure, until you actually start thinking.
Before the book was even released, Schweizer was forced to admit, on talk show after talk show, that there was absolutely no evidence that there was criminal wrongdoing or any “direct action” by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to influence decisions on behalf of foreign companies that donated to the Clinton Foundation.
Even Fox News’ Chris Wallace had to point out that the decision on the uranium mines was approved by no fewer than nine federal agencies, not just the Clinton State Department. (No, Hillary Clinton did not control all nine of them.)
Pressed to provide evidence, any evidence, of the actual criminality he alleged, Schweizer was forced to fall back on the old right-wing dodge, “Well, I got nothin’. I’m just raising questions.”
Maybe, he suggested hopefully, some good old-fashioned congressional investigations with the customary Blizzard O’Subpoenas will turn something up to discredit Clinton. You know, like they did with Benghazi. Except wait they didn’t.
Big Money is, without a doubt, a pernicious influence in American politics. But if you can say with a straight face that donations to the Clinton Foundation or big speaking fees paid to the Clintons are worthy of congressional investigation while turning a blind eye to Republican pols pandering to billionaires like Sheldon Adelson or the Koch brothers, then, let me put this as politely as I can: You’re full of it.
But, as promised, I offer you a way out of hypocrisy. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Oh, I know, I’ve pooh-poohed the idea of the junior senator from Vermont going for the Democratic nomination. Largely because he wasn’t, you know, a Democrat. But it seems as though that rumpled, lovable old coot is about to throw his hat into the ring with a “D” on it. And boy, does he hate the big money style of politics.
He’s called for a constitutional amendment “making it clear that the right to vote and the ability to make campaign contributions and expenditures belong only to real people, not corporations.”
And he’s “continuously supported the DISCLOSE Act, which would lower the veil of secrecy over campaign finance and prevent foreign corporations, individuals and governments from interfering in our political system.” In Bernie Sanders’ America, political marriage, so to speak, would be between one American man (or woman) and one candidate. Per election, at least.
So, Republicans and Democrats, wingnuts and manic progressives: If you’re disgusted with the Clintons for associating with big donors and getting big contributions, then won’t you join me in supporting the only candidate who actually has a plan to get that kind of big money out of politics?
I mean, surely, you don’t think big speaking fees or contributions to private foundations are only bad or suspicious when Bill or Hillary Clinton are involved, right? If that kind of perceived influence-peddling makes you mad, then Bernie’s the only logical choice, right?