Patterico's Pontifications

8/24/2016

Hillary Clinton And Her Dirty Deeds

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:05 am

[guest post by Dana]

The hits just keep coming. Whether they’ll make a difference in the election, or anything else, is frustratingly doubtful.

More than half the people outside the government who met with Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state gave money — either personally or through companies or groups — to the Clinton Foundation. It’s an extraordinary proportion indicating her possible ethics challenges if elected president.

Donors who were granted time with Clinton included an internationally known economist who asked for her help as the Bangladesh government pressured him to resign from a nonprofit bank he ran; a Wall Street executive who sought Clinton’s help with a visa problem; and Estee Lauder executives who were listed as meeting with Clinton while her department worked with the firm’s corporate charity to counter gender-based violence in South Africa.

They are among at least 85 of 154 people with private interests who either met or had phone conversations scheduled with Clinton and also gave to her family’s charities, according to a review of State Department calendars released so far to The Associated Press. Combined, the 85 donors contributed as much as $156 million. The 154 does not include U.S. federal employees or foreign government representatives.

Clinton spokesman, Brian Fallon called it “outrageous to “misrepresent” Clinton’s meetings with these donors as anything but coincidental.

Juggling all those favors of access must have been exhausting for the then-Secretary of State, given that Huma Abedin apparently had to remind her to take her nap. All things considered, it sure would have been better for Huma if monitoring nap time for her boss was the only demand made of her.

Oh. Do you know who else donated $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation while Clinton was Secretary of State?

–Dana

8/23/2016

Did Obama Lie About Not Being Able to Wire the Ransom Money to Iran?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:35 am

The lie is relevant to why they paid cash — a mechanism that looks like ransom, but which Obama hastened to explain was necessary for other reasons.

On August 4, Obama said we couldn’t wire money to Iran to settle a longrunning legal dispute:

“This wasn’t some nefarious deal,” Obama told reporters at the Pentagon. He pointed out that the payment, along with an additional $1.3 billion in interest to be paid later, was announced by the administration publicly when it was concluded in January, a day after the implementation of a landmark nuclear agreement with Iran. “It wasn’t a secret. We were completely open about it.”

Obama allowed that the one piece of new information, first reported this week by The Wall Street Journal, was that the $400 million was paid in cash. It was delivered to Iran on palettes aboard an unmarked plane.

“The only bit of news is that we paid cash,” he said. “The reason is because we couldn’t send them a check and we couldn’t wire the money. We don’t have a banking relationship with Iran which is part of the pressure we applied on them.”

Let’s talk about that “additional $1.3 billion in interest to be paid later.” Claudia Rosett at the New York Sun reports that Treasury transferred just under $1.3 billion to State in 13 identical payments, each a penny under $100,000,000. The transfers were made on January 19, 2016 — two days after the announcement of the settlement of the legal dispute.

Congressional investigators trying to uncover the trail of $1.3 billion in payments to Iran might want to focus on 13 large, identical sums that Treasury paid to the State Department under the generic heading of settling “Foreign Claims.”

The 13 payments when added to the $400 million that the administration now concedes it shipped to the Iranian regime in foreign cash would bring the payout to the $1.7 billion that President Obama and Secretary Kerry announced on January 17. That total was to settle a dispute pending for decades before the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal in at The Hague.

The Sun raises the question why the payments were all barely under $100MM. Our pal Morgen Richmond, who brought this story to my qttention, surely has the answer:

So here’s another question. Was that money wired to Iran? The administration says it has already been paid. How? Lee Smith at The Weekly Standard asks the question.

Rosett continues: “State has refused to disclose even such basic information as the date on which Iran took receipt of the $1.3 billion. As recently as August 4, a State spokesman told the press: ‘I don’t have a date of when that took place.'”

However, last week Obama administration officials briefed reporters to explain that, according to Associated Press reporter Bradley Klapper’s Twitter feed, the $1.3 billion has already been paid. And, they said, paid “through [the Department of] Treasury” in an “‘above-board way.'”

It’s not clear what the senior administration officials meant by “above-board” but as the Judgment Fund website explains, the “preferred method” for payments is “by electronic fund transfer.”

If, as Rosett’s story suggests, the 13 payments the Judgment Fund sent to the State Department represents the $1.3 billion in interest, the administration has some questions to answer. Was the interest paid in cash like the $400 million, or by wire? If the latter, why was the $400 million paid in cash?

I think we all know the answer.

It was ransom. A very public and obvious ransom.

Well, I’m sure our brilliant, tenacious, and fair Big Media complex will dig further into it.

8/22/2016

Politico Reporter Marc Caputo Beclowns Himself, Proudly Distributes the Proof

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:10 pm

How lacking in self-awareness must you be to release a video that shows you to be, beyond any doubt, a juvenile twit posing as a reporter?

Apparently, Politico’s Marc Caputo knows the answer.

The apparent purpose of releasing this video is to show that, wow, this Congressman sure did lose his mind! He curses! He yells! Wow!

But here’s the thing. If you can listen to this, I guarantee you will conclude that “reporter” Caputo is the true asshole.

Sure, Bongino goes over the top. Why does he allow this punk to push his buttons like that? It’s a fair question.

But it’s frankly amazing to me that Caputo released this himself, thinking it reflects well on him.

Answer the question. Answer the question. Answer the question. Wow, you sure are a loser. How many times have you lost, loser? Wow, you’re getting upset! Why are you cursing? Why don’t you answer the question? Answer the question! Answer the question!!!

By the end, I was rooting for Bongino to challenge him to a duel. I still am.

Dear Kim

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:55 am

Dear Elena is a blog started in 2006 by a father who had just lost his six-year-old daughter Elena to a sudden and inexplicable disease. I first wrote about the blog in this post. I quoted this post and this passage:

Yesterday, Kim and I were making corrections to the program for Elena’s funeral. Kim decided that she didn’t want a quote on the front page. Just her name and a picture. Oh and the dates.

I wrote “March 3, 1999 -” and then I stopped. How do you complete that thought. How does a father write on paper the date that his daughter died. It was a crippling writer’s block. My hand shook, the tears flowed, others in the room offered to write it for me but I knew that I had to.

Finally, I wrote “February 22, 2006″.

I have kept up with it over the years, and the father has written very occasional posts, with months or years in between. Mostly they commemorate anniversaries of difficult times, or relate memories about Elena, or positive stories about his adopted daughter Maggie.

Last night he published a post about his wife Kim. She was in a horrible car accident Friday afternoon. She lost brain matter and would never recover.

We made the tough decision to honor Kim’s wishes and allow them to turn off the machine.

On the one hand, it was explicitly what she wanted. On the other hand, it was the hardest words I’ve ever had to say.

I invited Kim’s family and friends to come in and say goodbye. My friend Mark also said a blessing over Kim that was familiar and comforting.

Right now the hospital is waiting to line up organ recipients. Once they have done so, Kim will be taken to the operating room and the doctors will will turn off the respirator.

If she is able to breathe on her own for an hour then they will bring her back to her room.

The expectation is that she will not be able to expel the carbon dioxide and it will be a painless death. They will then intubate her, restart her heart and begin to harvest the organs.

The hospital will call us four hours before they take her down to the operating room.

We’re waiting for the call.

Give everyone you love an extra hug today.

Privileged White Woman Who Shamefully Blames Black Man For Her Bad Decisions

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:50 am

[guest post by Dana]

Last week, it was revealed that during an interview with the F.B.I. about her email practices, Hillary Clinton blamed then-Secretary of State Colin Powell for advising her to use a personal email.

In a statement released by his staff, Powell rejected the assertion:

General Powell has no recollection of the dinner conversation. He did write former Secretary Clinton an email memo describing his use of his personal AOL email account for unclassified messages and how it vastly improved communications within the State Department. At the time there was no equivalent system within the Department. He used a secure State computer on his desk to manage classified information. The General no longer has the email he sent to former Secretary Clinton. It may exist in State or FBI files.

This weekend, Powell said enough is enough::

“Her people have been trying to pin it on me,” Powell, 79, told PEOPLE Saturday night at the Apollo in the Hamptons 2016 Night of Legends fête in East Hampton, New York.

“The truth is, she was using [the private email server] for a year before I sent her a memo telling her what I did,” Powell added.

Why does the former diplomat believe this to be the case?

“Why do you think?”

Who knows, maybe when Clinton was taking sniper fire in Bosnia, she got clipped in the head. That might explain her endless lies, obfuscations, and decision to blame Colin Powell.

–Dana

8/21/2016

Is Trump Easing Up On Immigration?

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:23 am

[guest post by Dana]

It would appear he is.

I don’t see how he can possibly change his position and not lose his base, especially as it was his strident “build the wall” stance that won supporters over in the first place. But, he is a master flip-flopper on any number of issues and is seriously trailing Clinton with the Hispanic vote. Certainly softening his stand on immigration might help mend the racist fences he’s built during the campaign as well as garner GOP support from the soft on immigration wing of the Republican party. But at this point in time, would it really make that much of a difference in votes, especially as Hillary Clinton has consistently pushed for comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to full and equal citizenship?

In a Saturday meeting with his newly announced Hispanic advisory council, Donald Trump suggested he is interested in figuring out a “humane and efficient” manner to deal with immigrants in the country illegally, according to three sources. Trump, however, stressed that any new announcements will still be in line with the border security-focused approach that has invited intense opposition from Latinos and immigrants since he launched his campaign.

“He said people who are here is the toughest part of the immigration debate, that it must be something that respects border security but deals with this in a humane and efficient manner,” said Jacob Monty, a Houston-based immigration lawyer who sat in Trump Tower with other Latino supporters and Trump.

“The idea is we’re not getting someone in front of the line, we’re doing it in a legal way, but he wants to hear ideas of how we deal with 11 million people that are here with no documents,” said Jose Fuentes, who was chair of Mitt Romney’s Hispanic advisory committee in 2012, and attended the meeting.

According to Univision News, this Thursday Trump will announce his immigration plan, which will “include finding a way to legalize millions of undocumented immigrants”:

Republican National Committee spokesperson Helen Aguirre was also present at the meeting and confirmed that the candidate is working on unveiling a plan. “Trump was very categorical in saying that he’s seeking a fair immigration reform,” Aguirre said. “He wants to listen to everyone and announce his conclusions in the coming days.”

Trump told the group of conservative Hispanic leaders he would announce a plan to grant legal status “that wouldn’t be citizenship but would allow them to be here without fear of deportation.” said [Jacob] Monty, a Texas immigration lawyer.

Further:

The Republican candidate said that his main priority was how to handle the 11 million undocumented immigrants who are now in the country, the sources said.

“Trump is aware that he cannot deport 11 million people,” says Lola Zinke, wife of Ryan Zinke, a Republican congressman from Montana, who is a former Navy Seal.

Zinke, the daughter of a Peruvian, is a San Diego lawyer familiar with illegal immigration issues, who says she believes deportation is not the solution. “It doesn’t make sense to force undocumented [immigrants] to go back to their countries to regularize their situation. Trump himself mentioned a possible solution: let them do it at the embassies or consulates of their countries,” she said.

A Trump campaign spokesman dismissed the story as “clickbait journalism,” saying:

Mr Trump said nothing today that he hasn’t said many times before … enforce our immigration laws, uphold the Constitution and be fair and humane while putting American workers first.

It indeed may have been “clickbait journalism,” given that the story was being pushed by BuzzFeed and Univision. Except there was this from earlier this morning:

Untitled

I guess we’ll find out on Thursday. But depending on the voters’ response to his announcement, it may change again on Friday. It’s really anybody’s guess.

–Dana

The Big Trump Immigration Pivot…That Probably Isn’t

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:01 am

Sure, it could be coming. It’s not like Trump’s promises mean anything. But the big BuzzFeed story everyone’s talking about doesn’t prove it. Sure, it has a fun, attention-getting headline: In Reversal, Trump Indicates To Hispanic Leaders Openness To Legalization For Immigrants. Wowie! If you don’t read the body of a story, you’re likely to be shocked. But if you do, not so much:

In a Saturday meeting with his newly announced Hispanic advisory council, Donald Trump suggested he is interested in figuring out a “humane and efficient” manner to deal with immigrants in the country illegally, according to three sources. Trump, however, stressed that any new announcements will still be in line with the border security-focused approach that has invited intense opposition from Latinos and immigrants since he launched his campaign.

“He said people who are here is the toughest part of the immigration debate, that it must be something that respects border security but deals with this in a humane and efficient manner,” said Jacob Monty, a Houston-based immigration lawyer who sat in Trump Tower with other Latino supporters and Trump.

“The idea is we’re not getting someone in front of the line, we’re doing it in a legal way, but he wants to hear ideas of how we deal with 11 million people that are here with no documents,” said Jose Fuentes, who was chair of Mitt Romney’s Hispanic advisory committee in 2012, and attended the meeting.

In a statement, Steven Cheung with the Trump campaign dismissed the BuzzFeed News account of the meeting as “clickbait journalism” and disputed attendees’ claim that he opened the door to legalization behind closed doors.

“Mr. Trump said nothing today that he hasn’t said many times before, including in his convention speech—enforce the laws, uphold the Constitution, be fair and humane while putting American workers first,” Cheung wrote. “Today’s conversation was productive and enlightening, and Mr. Trump looks forward to speaking with these leaders again soon and often.”

I agree with Steven Cheung. I don’t see anything in there that says “legalization.” And indeed, further down in the story, we see that Trump didn’t even use the word:

Importantly, Trump did not explicitly use the word “legalization” at the meeting, but sources in the room said they feel it is the direction the campaign is going.

This story is about activists’ feelings, based on nothing objective? Stop the presses!

To the extent Trump said anything to encourage such feelings, I suspect it was more vintage Trump: giving a nod to both sides and letting people believe what they want. Master of Persuasion! Eight-dimensional chess!! The Dilbert guy probably has a 2000-word essay about it on his Dilbert blog.

Trump’s giving a big immigration speech Thursday. I think it will be Delphic; people will read what they want to read into it. I won’t watch it, or care about it, because Trump has proven that literally nothing he says can be relied upon. Plus I will be busy at work. But if you still think for some reason that his words matter, get them from him directly on Thursday, and not third-hand . . . laundered through activists and BuzzFeed (but I repeat myself).

8/20/2016

Trump To Black Voters: What Do You Have To Lose?

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:42 pm

[guest post by Dana]

This week, Donald Trump, who is currently polling in low single digits with black voters, made a direct appeal for their votes while campaigning in an overwhelmingly white community in Michigan:

What do you have to lose? You’re living in poverty. Your schools are no good. You have no jobs. 58% of your youth is unemployed. What the hell do you have to lose?

I will produce. I will produce the inner cities and I will produce for the African-Americans. And the Democrats will not produce. All they’ve done is take advantage of your vote … If you keep voting for the same people, you will keep getting exactly the same result …

No group in America has been harmed more by Hillary Clinton’s policies than African Americans. No group. No group. If Hillary Clinton’s goal was to inflict pain on the African-American, she could not have done a better job.

It’s a disgrace. Tonight, I’m asking for the vote of every single African-American citizen in this country who wants to see a better future

This:

Untitled

Apparently, the GOP candidate is a slow learner.

–Dana

Verbal Whoring Employed To Defend A President Who Would Rather Golf

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:42 pm

[guest post by Dana]

How pathetic to see Jeh Johnson so easily sink to such a low level of bullshit in an effort to defend President Obama from criticism that he hasn’t visited made a flyover of flood-ravaged Louisiana to see the devastation firsthand:

As I said, the president can’t be everywhere. I know he has a very busy schedule this fall and in the coming days, and, um, he is closely monitoring the situation. Uh, when you’re the chief executive of the entire U.S. government, uh, you can’t be everywhere, uh, including places you would like to be.

Oh for f*** sake, just say it already: President Obama is precisely where he wants to be, and doing exactly what he wants to do. Period. He is an adult who made the decision to live out his priorities this week. And he doesn’t seem to have a problem showing us that his priorities are playing golf and eating in expensive restaurants with the one-percenters. So why infantalize him and make excuses for the grown man that a majority of Americans twice deemed mature and responsible enough to become the President of the United States? What, he’s a child now and needs to be treated as such? Verbally debasing oneself to protect this man-child from criticism only speaks to the fact that the president, of his own free-will, has indeed, and yet again, stepped in it. Hysterically, it took a visit by Donald Trump to compel the White House to announce the president would be making his own visit to the state next week. Anyway, it’s the president’s own damn fault that the optics of HIS decisions only reinforce his incredibly tone-deaf arrogance and self-centeredness. At the very least, he could have made a symbolic gesture of sympathy toward suffering Louisianans by, I don’t know, putting up the clubs for the week. But he didn’t. Or he could have interrupted his vacation and returned to Washington. But he didn’t. He wanted to play instead. Play golf, that is… But, please, can we let the adult who has the title of President of the United States assume responsibility for his OWN actions inaction. After all, he just wants to eat his waffles:

Untitled1

Last night, I pointed out the lack of headline coverage in the Washington Post and New York Times regarding Trump’s visit to Louisiana. In such media outlets, all things Trump are typically given top billing. And it’s typically negative because Trump just keeps giving the media so much to work with. I see that Jim Geraghty expands on this, reminding us about Big Media’s litmus test of usefulness, administered when national tragedies and disasters occur:

If you view the national news media, based in New York, Washington, Los Angeles and a handful of other cities, as way too monolithic in its political views and driven by conscious and subconscious agendas, the half-hearted-at-best interest in these stories isn’t that hard to explain. These stories aren’t easily used to advance the narrative that Republicans are bad and Democrats are good.

If a terrible natural disaster in Louisiana can be blamed on a Republican president, then it’s one of the biggest stories of the decade. If the lack of a public statement on a Louisiana disaster during a presidential vacation might reflect badly on a Democratic president, it’s best to treat the flood as a “page A4″ story, check-the-box journalism.

If there really is a giant and widening cultural gap between America’s elites and the rest of the citizenry in “flyover country,” how much of it is driven by narrative-minded journalism? If you die in a particular way that can advance the Democrats’ legislative agenda, your death is going to be an enormously big deal. If the circumstances of your death are politically inconvenient to the Left – Brian Terry or the Benghazi four or those who died on the waiting list for the VA — there are no greater lessons to be learned or need for further action; it’s just an unfortunate set of circumstances. One set of citizens are in the picture; one set of citizens on the periphery get cropped out. It just doesn’t fit the picture that someone wants to create.

–Dana

8/19/2016

Louisiana Floods: Trump Shows Up, Clinton Tweets, And President Obama Does What He Does Best

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:24 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Untitled
Today found Donald Trump and Mike Pence in Louisiana where residents welcomed them to their flooded and ravaged state. Trump spent several hours talking to residents, passing out food and supplies, and encouraging those who lost their homes to the flood. It was a smart move by the campaign. The optics were great, and his presence effectively highlighted the notable absences of Hillary Clinton and President Obama.

Amusingly, given how the front page of the New York Times and the Washington Post are continually littered with Trump stories of a particular sort, this one didn’t make the front-page cut.

Trump’s visit comes on the heels of a blistering editorial by Baton Rouge’s newspaper, The Advocate. The editors took President Obama to task for his hypocrisy, and for failing to visit the state in its time of need:

Now that the flood waters ravaging Louisiana are receding, it’s time for President Barack Obama to visit the most anguished state in the union.

Last week, as torrential rains brought death, destruction and misery to Louisiana, the president continued his vacation at Martha’s Vineyard, a playground for the posh and well-connected.

We’ve seen this story before in Louisiana, and we don’t deserve a sequel. In 2005, a fly-over by a vacationing President George W. Bush became a symbol of official neglect for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. The current president was among those making political hay out of Bush’s aloofness.

[Flashback, 1964: Listen to phone conversation between Sen. Russell Long and President Johnson as the senator begs for the president’s help.]

Sometimes, presidential visits can get in the way of emergency response, doing more harm than good. But we don’t see that as a factor now that flood waters are subsiding, even if at an agonizing pace. It’s past time for the president to pay a personal visit, showing his solidarity with suffering Americans.

Like his predecessors, Obama has no doubt discovered that crises keep their own calendar, even when commanders-in-chief are trying to take some time off the clock. It’s an inconvenience of the presidency, but it’s what chief executives sign up for when they take the oath of office.

And if the president can interrupt his vacation for a swanky fundraiser for fellow Democrat Hillary Clinton, as he did on Monday, then surely he can make time to show up for a catastrophe that’s displaced thousands.

The optics of Obama golfing while Louisiana residents languished in flood waters was striking. It evoked the precedent of the passive federal response to the state’s agony in 2005, a chapter of history no one should ever repeat.

Coincidentally, the White House announced this afternoon that President Obama would be visiting the state on Tuesday. After his vacation officially ends:

“The President is mindful of the impact that his travel has on first responders and wants to ensure that his presence does not interfere with ongoing recovery efforts,” the White House said.

“He is also eager to get a first-hand look at the impact of the devastating floods, hear from more officials about the response, including how the federal government can assist and tell the people of Louisiana that the American people will be with them as they rebuild their community and come back stronger than ever,” the White House said.

Oh, how it must have stung for someone as arrogant and smug as President Obama to be shown up by the likes of Donald Trump.

Interestingly, and also coincidentally, there is a big 70th birthday bash planned for Bill Clinton tonight on Martha’s Vineyard. Exactly where President Obama is currently vacationing and fundraising for Hillary.

As for Hillary, she has nothing on her official schedule until Monday. But lest you think she doesn’t give a rip about the crisis in Louisiana, she tweeted her concern . But even she realized that was a really lame effort, especially in light of Trump making an actual visit to the devastated region, so she upped the ante and published a Facebook post as well.

ADDED: That time Obama criticized President Bush for surveying the Katrina’s destruction from a plane and not on the ground:

We can talk about levees that couldn’t hold, a FEMA that seemed not just incompetent but paralyzed and powerless, about a president who only saw the people from the window of an airplane instead of down here on the ground.”

This from the White House media pool:

At 11:25 am on this bright clear day, the motorcade was on the move. We passed a few walkers and bikers who waved as the president went by.

At 11:40 am, POTUS arrived at Farm Neck Golf Club.

–Dana

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