The current campaign between two of the most disliked people in America is taking its toll on the reputations of the candidates, but it appears to be hurting Donald Trump more. Not only have his chances of winning the election become astronomically low with under two weeks ago, the campaign appears to be hurting Donald Trump’s business empire. For example, AP reports Trump brand loses luster with affluent:
Event planner Beth Bernstein decided she had had enough with Donald Trump after his 2005 hot-mic boasts about groping women came to light earlier this month. She removed photos of weddings she had thrown at a Trump hotel in Chicago from her website, wrote to hotel staff to remove her from the list of “preferred vendors” and posted a sort of call to arms on her blog.
“I simply cannot bring myself to walk in the door there any longer,” wrote the owner of SQN Events.
Bernstein is not alone. Rates for rooms at Trump’s new D.C. hotel are being slashed as travelers weigh their options, and smartphone data suggest fewer people are visiting his properties compared to rival venues nearby.
The Republican nominee for president is in danger of losing not just the election, but something dear to a man who claims the marketing value of his name alone is worth $3 billion: the many customers, mostly wealthy, who have stayed at his hotels, played a round at his golf courses or held galas at his oceanside resorts.
Experts say the Trump brand is tarnished and at a tricky crossroads as his appeal shifts from the well-heeled, high-income people he has long courted to a more middle-class base, including the fervent fans he cultivated during the campaign.
Racism, xenophobia, and bragging about assaulting women is just not good for public relations. If Trump were a smarter businessman (or a less terrible human being), he might have realized this.
On the other hand, it is too early to tell whether this will be a long term trend, or if views of Trump will soften when we are faced with the probable reality of a Clinton presidency. There has been speculation that Trump has been using his presidential campaign to develop an audience for a new right-wing network to the right of Fox, even if Trump denies having interest in this. If this does come about, this may or may not change Trump’s position. There is no doubt that there will be many opposing Clinton, on both the right and left.
Donald Trump had this to say in an interview with Reuter’s:
U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said on Tuesday that Democrat Hillary Clinton’s plan for Syria would “lead to World War Three,” because of the potential for conflict with military forces from nuclear-armed Russia.
In an interview focused largely on foreign policy, Trump said defeating Islamic State is a higher priority than persuading Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down, playing down a long-held goal of U.S. policy…
On Syria’s civil war, Trump said Clinton could drag the United States into a world war with a more aggressive posture toward resolving the conflict.
Clinton has called for the establishment of a no-fly zone and “safe zones” on the ground to protect non-combatants. Some analysts fear that protecting those zones could bring the United States into direct conflict with Russian warplanes.
“What we should do is focus on ISIS. We should not be focusing on Syria,” said Trump as he dined on fried eggs and sausage links at his Trump National Doral golf resort. “You’re going to end up in World War Three over Syria if we listen to Hillary Clinton,” he said.
“You’re not fighting Syria any more, you’re fighting Syria, Russia and Iran, all right? Russia is a nuclear country, but a country where the nukes work as opposed to other countries that talk,” he said…
On Russia, Trump again knocked Clinton’s handling of U.S.-Russian relations while secretary of state and said her harsh criticism of Putin raised questions about “how she is going to go back and negotiate with this man who she has made to be so evil,” if she wins the presidency.
The proposal of no-fly zones has been fiercely debated in Washington for the past five years, but has never attracted significant enthusiasm from the military because of the risk to pilots from Syrian air defenses and the presence of Russian warplanes.
Many in US national security circles consider the risk of an aerial confrontation with the Russians to be severe.
“I wouldn’t put it past them to shoot down an American aircraft,” said James Clapper, the US director of national intelligence, on Tuesday in response to a question from the Guardian at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Those who have patrolled no-fly zones over the relatively freer skies of Bosnia and Saddam-era Iraq fear that a President Clinton would oblige the US to what one retired US air force three-star general described as an indefinite “air occupation”. Such a move would risk the lives of US pilots – and dare confrontation with a Russian military which is more aggressive than it has been in years.
Critics of the plan also question how using US military power to establish and police a safe space for beleaguered Syrian civilians would contribute to the downfall of President Bashar al-Assad – the explicit goal of US policy in Syria.
“If she is not politically posturing, it’s going to be a disaster. I hope it’s political posturing,” said John Kuehn, a retired navy officer who flew no-fly zone missions over Bosnia and Iraq. Kuehn who called denying an adversary its airspace “the cocktail party military application of power of choice”.
David Deptula, a retired air force lieutenant general who commanded the no-fly zone operations over northern Iraq in 1998 and 1999, said the Russians were a “complicating factor” but considered the problems with a no-fly zone to be more fundamental…
The challenges for a no-fly zone over Syria outstrip those the US has faced over Libya, Bosnia and Iraq. Assad’s surface-to-air missiles, protecting the Mediterranean coast and southern regions the regime still controls, were formidable before the recent Russian addition of what Clapper, a former air force general, called “very advanced” S-300 and S-400 systems that can blanket the majority of Syrian airspace with missiles.
Staging a no-fly zone requires either the assent of regional allies – Turkey is the nearest potential partner to Syria, but it has concentrated in recent months on improving ties with Moscow after Turkish forces shot down a Russian jet in November 2015 – or an expensive, open-ended and risky deployment of aircraft carrier groups to the eastern Mediterranean.
But the most distinguishing feature of a Syria no-fly zone in 2017 would be the aerial presence of another great-power air force with an objective which is diametrically opposed to Washington’s.
Even without the involvement of Russia, a no-fly zone is a major military undertaking, likely to drag us into a larger war in Syria. The added problem of Russia’s involvement very well could lead to World War III. There are many reasons not to vote for Donald Trump, but that does not mean that voting for Hillary Clinton is a wise choice either, as a vote for Hillary Clinton is essentially a vote for war.
Saturday Night Live did a parody of the third presidential debate, video above, on Saturday’s show. Alec Baldwin and Kate McKinnon once again played Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. I discussed the actual debate here. Time looked at how the SNL version compared to the real debate:
McKinnon celebrated the debate’s two biggest sound bytes: Trump’s “bad hombres”? It’s a Bingo board for Hillary Clinton. That “nasty woman” remark in response to Clinton’s comment about how her economic plan would affect the Republican nominee? It’s a mug for sale for her campaign, in a bit that suggested the real Clinton just laughs all the way to the bank when Trump’s statements are poorly received by some.
For Baldwin’s part, he reprised the line “no one respects women more than me,” and Tom Hanks as moderator Chris Wallace had to silence the whole planet’s laughter on that one. But the sketch also presented its Clinton character as the master of the pivot: faking an interruption to get off the topic of her e-mails and onto the allegations of sexual misconduct facing Trump. Most meta of all, Baldwin, gave a shout out to his own brother for being a Trump supporter.
If you want more from Saturday Night Live than the debate parodies, Dan Zak of The Washington Post argues that Black Jeopardy is SNL’s best political sketch this year.
This season has become a huge season for time travel, and this is reflected in most of the items today. One time travel series,Legends of Tomorrow has been rebooted, and the second episode was much more fun with the addition of The Justice Society of America. I had an introduction to its members last week. Marc Guggenheim discussed the meeting between the Legends and Justice Society in the video above.
Another aspect of the episode was the elevation of Sara Lance to the leader of the group, at least while Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) is missing. Marc Guggenheim spoke with Entertainment Weekly about how she handles her new role, along with some teasers about Rip:
“As you start to see her become more and more comfortable in being the leader of this rag-tag group, it’s so much fun to watch her,” EP Marc Guggenheim says. “The character’s embodying the role of a leader, Caity’s performance really embraces it. It turns out to be one of the most successful things we’ve done in season 2.” However, the next mission under her command won’t necessarily be to hunt down Rip Hunter. “That’s going to be something that’s always going on in the background, and in some cases the foreground, of the various episodes,” Guggenheim says. “To a certain extent, we don’t want to change the mission statement from fixing aberrations to going and saving Rip. The bat has been taken out of their hands because there’s no way to find Rip, so what would they do? You will find out [what happened to Rip] before the Legends do.”
The Flash began the season with Flashpoint based upon ramifications of Barry going back in time to save his mother. Todd Helbing, executive producer of The Flash, explained why Flashpoint was only in one episode when it was a much bigger story in the comics:
“I think anytime you do a story like Flashpoint, something as iconic as that, with the character restrictions that we had, it’s going ot be different than everybody expected,” executive producer Todd Helbing told ComicBook.com. “I think for us from a story point, when we talked about it originally it was going to be more episodes but what happens more often than not is that when you break the story you find that it would be a lot better and a lot more satisfying if you pulled up a lot of that information and put it in that first episode….It just became a much stronger episode if we just made it one as opposed to four or five, and then we could really kickstart the rest of the season after that. But Flashpoint or not, there are consequences going forward for Barry for what he did and those ripples he’s going to explore throughout the third season.”
The first cross over of the season was having Oliver Queen appear on the season premiere of Legends of Tomorrow, but a much bigger cross over is coming up. Marc Guggenheim has more information. The villain will be aliens called The Dominators. As for how Supergirl gets involved in events in our universe:
“Last year, Supergirl established that Flash was able to make his way to what I call Earth-CBS, and it stands to reason that, with the proper breach technology, the reverse can happen,” executive producer Marc Guggenheim told reporters Tuesday following a screening of this week’s Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow.
In the crossover, the heroes will team up to fight against the Dominators, who in the comics were a technologically advanced alien race that wanted to invade Earth and eliminate the threat posed by unpredictable metahumans — and they have similar motivations during the crossover. “Once the heroes realize that they’re up against aliens, they decide that they need an alien on their side,” Guggenheim says. “Fortunately, Barry knows a really nice one. I don’t think it’s a big shock that between Barry and Cisco, and all their experiences with Earth-2 and the multi-verse, that they can pluck her from Earth-CBS.”
Guggenheim also revealed that the crossover will actually kick off at the end of an episode of Supergirl, where Cisco (Carlos Valdes) and Barry (Grant Gustin) basically enlist Kara’s help. “Some people call it a four-way crossover because it involves four shows; my ulcer requires me to call it a three-part crossover,” Guggenheim explains. “The story that’s being told has a beginning, middle, and end: a beginning in Flash, a middle in Arrow, and an end in Legends. But Supergirl is very much a part of the whole thing, so we are crossing over four shows — four shows in three parts.”
Agents of SHIELD this year has combined the supernatural, the Inhumans, artificial intelligence, and the public reemergence if SHIELD. It looks like it would be helpful to be up to date on the comics to keep straight how this all fits together, especially with Doctor Strange to be released soon. Screen Rant explained how The Darkhold/Book of Sins fits into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
When Cumberbatch was asked how he saw Doctor Strange fitting into the largest Marvel Cinematic Universe, the actor strayed away from talking specifics to avoid any undue spoilers. However, he did say the sorcerer would be “all over the place.”
“There’s a lot going on this story [Doctor Strange] that will lead you to understand why he’ll play a key role in the next phase,” Cumberbatch explained.
The actor also talked about how he felt now playing Doctor Strange. Cumberbatch said, “Obviously, you want to bring the character to life and tell this really incredible story.”
He continued and stressed that the character’s story is only started in Doctor Strange. “It’s only be the end of the film that you go, ‘Oh my god, this is the beginning.’ It’s an origin story of a superhero that’s going to be part of all of [the MCU].”
12 Monkeys was one of the top time travel shows of the past two seasons, and will add a real veteran of the time travel genre for its third season. Back to the Future star Christopher Lloyd will play the Pallid Man’s father. Showrunner Terry Matalas has more information on the upcoming season in an interview with Blastr:
What can you tell us about how Season 3 is coming along? Logistically how’s it going (as far as shooting, etc.), and creatively what are some things you’re looking to explore?
Matalas: We’ve just started production – right now, I’m surrounded by a small army of incredible cast and crew – but creatively, conceptually, thematically the season’s all there. Last season we really wanted to explore the biology — the psychology – of Time. We wanted to tell a big, ambitious, sprawling time-travel story that ended with a very intimate, heart-wrenching reveal. This season, it’s about going inward.
The stakes are deeply, deeply personal for Cassie and Cole. It’s really the a real time travel dilemma, the fundamental question: “If you knew that your child would one day grow to be the Devil, would you – could you – kill him?” Or is there another way? And what that struggle does to our characters as a team – to Cole and Cassie as a couple – how it divides and unites them – is going to make for some remarkable drama. In some ways it’s a more linear season, and in others, it’s more complex than ever.
What can you tell us about the opportunity to land Lloyd for this new role? Why is he the man for the job?
Matalas: The fantastic thing about this character is that it’s not even remotely stunt casting. Certainly, when you make a time-travel show, you carry an obvious list of influences – Back to the Future, Doc Brown, Marty McFly – but when you cast that show, you never want the actor to distract from the moment. It’s difficult to tell a story or create an emotion if you’re constantly winking at the audience. We aim for levity, sure, but we never put the bullseye on “meta.”
So when we came to this particular character – with this particular set of traits – with this particular heritage – Christopher Lloyd was not only an inspired choice, he was the right choice. Put a photo of Lloyd against a picture of Tom Noonan and there’s zero difficulty imagining them as father and son.
I finally had a chance to check out one of the new time travel series, Timeless, over the weekend. It is certainly not hard science fiction, but it was fun. After watching the first, I did want to immediately watch the other two episodes available. The explanation of how they travel through time was probably under a minute, mainly showing them folding over a sheet of paper as an illustration of how they move from one point to another. They showed by the end of the first episode that events in the past can be changed, and that this can and will impact events in the present. A small ship, which is no bigger on the inside than it is on the outside, holds a three person crew. They quickly dispensed with the idea of going back a few minutes earlier if their first attempt at fixing events in the past didn’t work with ominous warnings of severe consequences if they run into themselves. No mention if a different set of time travelers could go back if they don’t get it right the first time. So far the people in charge haven’t minded the minor changes (from their perspective) from the trips back in time.
Producers Eric Kripke (Supernatural, Revolution) and Shawn Ryan (The Shield),discussed the rules of time travel and other aspects of the show with (including a spoiler for those who have not seen the pilot) with Film:
Is there a butterfly effect every time they go back? Maybe not as drastic as in the pilot, but just being there changes things.
Ryan: Hopefully a lot of times our heroes will be successful and there won’t be any discernible effect. Sometimes there will be. One of our rules is whenever we can, if there’s a change, can it be specific and personal? The best example of that is the pilot when Lucy’s sister vanishes from the timeline. But we also can use it for comedic effect. I won’t give away too much but I think there’s a change in history after the German WWII episode that tickles my funny bone a lot.
We talk a lot about what the changes are going to be. The thing you have to remember is the only people that are truly aware of these changes are the three people that have this institutional knowledge that go away and then come back and find things are different. For everyone living in that world, that’s just the way the world is. For all we know, we know the world the way we know it but somebody could come right now and say, “This isn’t the way it’s supposed to be, guys.” For the audience, our heroes’ job is to preserve a recognizable reality. Things aren’t going to get too crazy and too weird if our heroes do their job. That said, there are going to be times where they can’t control everything and Flynn’s going to do some damage. They’ll come back and something will be different. But the goal is for our heroes to make sure the world stays recognizable.
You don’t have to go that far back to find time periods that aren’t good for black people or women. Is it different in every time they go back to? 100 years and it’s before women’s suffrage, further and it’s still during slavery.
Kripke: Yeah, we are not going to shy away from the reality of what it was like to be African-American or a woman in those time periods. It’s the truth of who these characters are and we don’t want to stylize it or sugarcoat it. One of the goals of the show is to present history as accurately as we can. That said, an incredible amount of history is from the perspective of rich white dudes. There were entire communities of African-Americans throughout all of history. There’s going to be certain doors that our two white characters cannot go through and Rufus can. We’re interested in illuminating some corners and stories in history that haven’t been told, some peoples’ history. Same for women before the suffragette movement and they had incredible challenges but they also had an incredibly sophisticated world of interpersonal relations that in a lot of ways wasn’t recorded by mainstream history. There’s aspects and corners of that world that we can explore too. So I don’t think it’s going to be a one-trick pony of every episode, Rufus confronts racism and Lucy confronts male chauvinism. I think the tapestry is a lot more complicated than that and we have every intention of depicting that.
The Doctor Who spin-off Class premiered on BBC 3 yesterday and will be on BBC America this spring. Peter Capaldi appeared in the first episode. Screen Rant has a spoiler free review of the premiere. They have more on the show, with mild spoilers, here. Plus here are seven reasons to watch Class.
We still have a long wait for the main show. Cultbox summarizes everything we know so far about the upcoming season of Doctor Who with quite an extensive list of links.
Nerdophiles has news from the New York Comic Con on the second season of The Man In The High Castle.
Here’s what she said about her tax plans: “We are going to go where the money is.” And she knows where the money is. It’s where she gives her speeches. –Stephen Colbert
At one point, Hillary Clinton even brought up how Trump said the Emmys were rigged because “Celebrity Apprentice” never won one. Which means the Emmy Award is the only woman who Trump hasn’t grabbed. –James Corden
Hillary Clinton botched health care reform terribly as First Lady, setting us back a generation. She was an atrocious Senator, taking the wrong position on the big issues of the day, including the Iraq war and the Patriot Act, while spending her time introducing legislation such as a bill to make flag burning a felony and working with The Fellowship to further the goals of the religious right. She was a failed Secretary of State, between her disastrous intervention in Libya, her violation of the ethics agreements she entered into, and her violation of rules initiated to promote government transparency. I fear the outcome of her becoming president. However, last night we did see her do one job very well–mocking Donald Trump (who fortunately will never become president) at the Al Smith Dinner.
Hillary Clinton did an excellent job–video above and transcript here. Some of her best lines:
It’s a treat for all of you, too, because I charge a lot for speeches like this.
People look at the Statue of Liberty and they see a proud symbol of our history as a nation of immigrants. A beacon of hope for people around the world. Donald sees the Statue of Liberty and sees a 4. Maybe a 5 if she loses the torch and tablet and changes her hair.
Now, I’m going to try my best tonight, but I understand I am not known for my sense of humor. That’s why it did take a village to write these jokes.
And, you know, because this is a friendly dinner for such a great cause; Donald, if at any time, you don’t like what I’m saying feel free to stand up and shout “Wrong!” while I’m talking.
You know, come to think of it, it’s amazing I’m up here after Donald. I didn’t think he’d be okay with a peaceful transition of power.
And Donald, after listening to your speech, I will also enjoy listening to Mike Pence deny that you ever gave it.
Donald Trump did not receive as good a reception. Video above and transcript here. Some highlights and lowlights:
And even tonight, with all of the heated back and forth, between my opponent and me at the debate last night, we have proven that we can actually be civil to each other. In fact, just before taking the dais, Hillary accidentally bumped into me and she very civilly said, “Pardon me.”
And I very politely replied, “Let me talk to you about that after I get into office.”
You know, the president told me to stop whining, but I really have to say, the media is even more biased this year than ever before — ever. You want the proof? Michelle Obama gives a speech and everyone loves it — it’s fantastic. They think she’s absolutely great. My wife, Melania, gives the exact same speech — and people get on her case.
I’d like to address an important religious matter: the issue of going to confession. Or, as Hillary calls it, the Fourth of July weekend with FBI Director Comey.
Hillary is so corrupt, she got kicked off the Watergate Commission.
How corrupt do you have to be to get kicked off the Watergate Commission? Pretty corrupt. Hillary is, and has been, in politics since the 70s. What’s her pitch? The economy is busted? The government’s corrupt? Washington is failing? “Vote for me. I’ve been working on these problems for 30 years. I can fix it”, she says.
We’ve learned so much from WikiLeaks. For example, Hillary believes that it’s vital to deceive the people by having one public policy — and a totally different policy in private. That’s okay. I don’t know who they’re angry at Hillary, you or I. For example, here she is tonight, in public, pretending not to hate Catholics.
Donald Trump was booed for many of these lines. Was it because he crossed the line, or was it because the audience was not familiar with the content in the leaked Wikileaks emails which were the basis of some of these jokes? Regardless, Hillary Clinton definitely did a much better job at taking down the opponent (much as she has done at the debates), and was even the more amusing of the two, even if it did take a village to write her jokes.
The final presidential debate (transcript here, with fact checking) provided further confirmation that neither major party candidate is fit to be president, but Hillary Clinton is a far better debater than Donald Trump. Even when Trump had a valid point against Clinton, he lacked the ability to stay on target, drifting into irrelevances and lacking a sufficient command of the pertinent facts. On the other hand, I wish the debate included a split screen–one showing Clinton delivering her public policy, and the other revealing her private policy.
It was fitting that the final debate took place in Sin City. Donald Trump reportedly invited the woman who accused Bill Clinton of groping her to the debate. He dwells too much on things that don’t matter. Who is going to vote against Hillary (that otherwise would vote for her) based upon Bill’s sexual indiscretions? It just is not relevant.
Chris Wallace, who might have done the best job of the debate moderators, did start out with real issues. Clinton was far better than Trump on abortion and guns. Trump apparently has no idea how rare late term abortions are, or the reasons they usually occur. Like many Republicans, he does not appear to realize that the Bill of Rights includes anything beyond the Second Amendment, although Clinton also has a rather poor record on civil liberties. Trump was also his usual atrocious self when the debate turned to immigration. When Trump complained about Justice Ginsberg making “statements that should have never, ever been made,” I only thought that Donald Trump is the last person to be able to complain about “statements that should have never, ever been made.”
Clinton was not as bad in terms of evading the questions as she was during the second debate, but that is largely due to the types of questions asked. When she was asked about the emails released by Wikileaks, she pivoted to attack Russia. The leaks may or may not have been due to Russia, but her attacks on Russia remind me all too much of the attacks on Saddam for imaginary WMD by Bush, and false claims by Hillary Clinton of connections between Saddam and al Qaeda. What is important is the content of the leaks, and the dishonesty they revealed about Clinton. Besides, the United States is certainly not above comparable spying and interference in other countries, and I fear Clinton is misusing this matter as part of the overall neocon view on Russia.
Clinton’s belligerence towards Russia, and the increased threat of war, should be one of the major issues of the campaign. Trump would be preferable in his desire for cooperation with Russia if he wasn’t completely incoherent on foreign policy. Instead of rationally debating Clinton on this issue, his argument consisted of “No puppet. You’re the puppet.”
Trump was right on pointing out how Clinton avoided the question of the content of the Wikileaks email, but rather than push the issue, he resorted to his usual nonsense of how Clinton refers to “radical Islamic terrorism,” as if saying the right magic words are needed to defeat them.
As the debate went on, Clinton called for equal pay for equal work, with no explanation for the huge pay gap at the Clinton Foundation which was exposed by Wikileaks. Trump was right in calling out Clinton for her flip-flops on TPP which were exposed by the fact checkers. When Trump was confronted by all the women who have accused him of assaulting them, he was the one to evade and pivot, returning to Clinton’s email.
Both candidates attacked the integrity of the other, and both were right here. Clinton violated the ethics agreements she entered into when she was confirmed as Secretary of State, while Trump appears to have used his far shadier for bribes. Clinton again ignored the significance of the FBI report showing considerable dishonesty on her part when this was raised, and either Wallace or Trump should have brought up the State Department Inspector General report which showed she violated the rules, failed to cooperate with the investigation, and tried to cover-up her actions.
Clinton said she was going to “continue to push for a no-fly zone” in Syria, but there was no discussion of the large number of deaths this would result in, or the risk of a direct confrontation with Russia. Initiating a no-fly zone would be a tremendous military undertaking. Just last month, Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford testified before Congress that imposing a no-fly zone “would require us to go to war, against Syria and Russia.” Clinton admitted that “you’re going to kill a lot of Syrians” in one of her leaked Goldman-Sachs speeches.
The sad thing about the debate, and the entire campaign, is that such major issues of war and peace are being ignored, while the media dwells on the latest stupid thing said by Donald Trump–such as whether Donald Trump will accept the election result. This statement, while imprudent and potentially ominous, is hardly unprecedented. The real story of the election is not sexual misconduct, as reprehensible as Trump’s actions were, but the fact that our democracy has devolved to a point where we are given a choice of an ignorant buffoon like Trump or a corrupt war-monger like Clinton–with alternative viewpoints not welcome.
Wikileaks did reveal that Clinton is a centrist who is hostile to liberal and progressive viewpoints and a supporter of free trade, but that was no surprise. She has spent most of her career as a DLC Democrat and nonconservative working to undermine liberal goals, promote military interventionism, and move the country to the right.
From an ideological viewpoint alone, this might be understandable as Friedman prefers centrist, pragmatic politicians who will not upset the status quo, and who support globalization and free trade. If this is all that Wikileaks revealed, then I might understand his viewpoint, even if disagreeing on many policies.
While it is no surprise that Friedman is happy with this aspect of the Wikileaks releases, he shows no concern for the dishonesty demonstrated. It is one thing for a candidate to campaign as a centrist and promote their viewpoint. It is far more dishonest when the candidate campaigns as a progressive in response to a primary challenge from the left, when it is doubtful she has any intention of keeping her promises. The unethical behavior demonstrated, especially the exchange of “benefits in return for gifts” involving the Clinton Foundation, is even more unsavory. I would hope that journalists should be concerned about such dishonesty in a politician even when she shares their views. The same could be said about many Democrats who are willing to overlook anything Clinton does because she is their candidate.
Can we count on these journalists to adequately question Clinton’s arguments over matters such as going to war? It is rather scary to have someone as corrupt and dishonest as Hillary Clinton likely to be elected president in a few weeks, while the news media shows such little interest in her actions.
It is bad enough that the election campaign has become dominated by stories of Donald Trump sexually assaulting women. Now the National Enquirer is preparing to run a story on Hillary Clinton:
Hillary Clinton is a secret sex freak who paid fixers to set up illicit romps with both men AND women!
That’s the blockbuster revelation from a former Clinton family operative who is sensationally breaking ranks with his one-time bosses to speak to The National ENQUIRER in a bombshell 9-page cover story — on newsstands Wednesday.
The big question is whether they have any evidence of this. Before entirely dismissing the story, we have to keep in mind that they turned out to be right about John Edwards.
Even if the story turns out to be true, there are two key differences between this story and the stories on Donald Trump. First, we have multiple reports regarding Donald Trump, with some people corroborating the stories, and with Trump’s own statements lending credibility to them. Secondly, as far as we know, any actions Clinton is going to be accused of are consensual, in contrast to some of the stories about Trump.
There have been claims that Hillary Clinton is a lesbian from conservatives for quite a long time, without evidence. If the Enquirer does provide evidence to confirm this, it is not all that terribly significant as long as the story is only about consensual sex. We certainly can’t blame Hillary for cheating on Bill. However, it would be an interesting footnote to Clinton’s history of opposition to same-sex marriage until it became politically more convenient to change her view, and Bill’s history of running an anti-gay ad when politically convenient, but this type of hypocrisy is hardly unique from politicians.
The evidence continues to increase that, regardless of how the presidential election comes out, we will have a dishonest and crooked president in the White House. It is much more likely that it will be Hillary Clinton considering the death spiral which Trump’s campaign has gone into. Clinton continues to lead the race despite a steady stream of bad news which receives far less attention than Trump’s sex scandals.
On Monday, however, the various issues associated with Clinton’s email setup came roaring back. According to emails released by the FBI, Undersecretary of State Patrick Kennedy asked the FBI to ease up on classification decisions in exchange for allowing more FBI agents in countries where they were not permitted to go. The words “quid pro quo” were used to describe the proposed exchange by the FBI official. (The State Department insists it was no such thing; “This allegation is inaccurate and does not align with the facts,” said State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner in a statement. “To be clear: the State Department did upgrade the document at the request of the FBI when we released it back in May 2015.”)
The Clinton campaign will, as it has done every time there is any news about whether she sent or received classified material on her private server, chalk this up to an interagency dispute over classification. Typical bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo, they will say. This sort of stuff happens all the time!
Except, not really. First of all, we already know from FBI Director James B. Comey that Clinton sent and received emails and information that was classified at the time. (“110 e-mails in 52 e-mail chains have been determined by the owning agency to contain classified information at the time they were sent or received,” Comey said in his remarkable press conference on the FBI investigation.) Clinton’s explanation has now evolved to this: She didn’t know documents marked with a “c” meant they were confidential (and therefore classified) and, therefore, she never knowingly sent or received classified material — with the emphasis on “knowingly.”
That’s a tough position to hold in light of Kennedy’s attempted quid pro quo, which suggests that at least some people at State were actively trying to fiddle with classification determinations made by the FBI.
That is a huge point. Regardless of whether the FBI agreed to any quid pro quo, the attempt shows that Clinton staffers, if not Clinton herself, were aware of the classified email being sent over Clinton’s private server. This pretty much guarantees that Republicans will continue to investigate the matter and, if they should retain control of Congress and, if they desire to go down that path, there is serious grounds for impeachment. If Republicans control the Senate, I can also see them denying confirmation of long-time top Clinton aides, should they be appointed to posts requiring Senate confirmation, based upon their actions at the State Department.
Clinton’s ethical problems extend beyond her private email. USA Today reports on further evidence of the unseemly relationships between private donors, the State Department, and the Clinton Foundation:
The nexus among private companies, Hillary Clinton’s State Department and the Clinton family foundations is closer and more complex than even Donald Trump has claimed so far.
While it is widely known that some companies and foreign governments gave money to the foundations, perhaps in an effort to gain favor, one of the key parts of the puzzle hasn’t been reported: At least a dozen of those same companies lobbied the State Department, using lobbyists who doubled as major Clinton campaign fundraisers.
Those companies gave as much as $16 million to the Clinton charities. At least four of the lobbyists they hired are “Hillblazers,” the Clinton campaign’s name for supporters who have raised $100,000 or more for her current White House race. Two of the four also raised funds for Clinton’s unsuccessful 2008 presidential bid.
These reports are in addition to the multiple Wikileaks revelations over the past several days. This summary notes issues including the expectation of “benefits in return for gifts,” and a one million dollar birthday gift to Bill Clinton from Qatar.
There have been multiple examples of how the Clinton campaign manipulated the press (often with their complete cooperation). One email revealed how they handled a hit-piece against Bernie Sanders which was published under another name, but actually written by the Clinton campaign:
When the Clinton campaign wrote an op-ed on gun violence to post on Medium, the team strategized to determine who they would use as an author in order to maximize the public relations benefits it would yield Hillary Clinton while criticizing Bernie Sanders. “Here’s the draft, which I edited and can personalize depending on who we want to use as an author. A survivor of gun violence? An advocate or family member?” wrote Podesta in a January 2016 email. The post was published with Clai Lasher Sommers as the author, effectively using the high profile gun victim as a political prop.
It is therefore unlikely that these revelations regarding Clinton will affect the general election at this point, but they very well might have affected the outcome of the Democratic primary battle if this information had been released, providing further proof of the accusations against Clinton made by her opponents on the left.