Sunday, May 15, 2016

On 'Clinton Cash', Or, It’s Always Worse Than You Think


In his column for PJ Media, my friend Ron Radosh, the distinguished historian, outlines the case for believing that Hillary Clinton is the “lesser of two evils” compared to Donald Trump. Ron says that he is “fully aware” of Hillary’s liabilities, yet concludes:
On foreign policy, there is more hope that [she] will take a course that asserts American leadership abroad.
Ron is not alone in asserting this. Several prominent conservatives have, with varying degrees of hesitation (not to say repugnance), embraced Hillary Clinton as the less bad alternative to Donald Trump.

A new film, which will debut Monday at Cannes, may force them to reconsider that judgment.

Clinton Cash, the documentary film which I watched in previews yesterday, is based on the best-selling exposé of the same name by Peter Schweizer, the tireless investigative journalist who has devoted himself to confronting political corruption and crony capitalism regardless of the political affiliation of the perpetrators. Produced by Breitbart’s Stephen K. Bannon and directed by M. A. Taylor, Clinton Cash is crisply narrated by Schweizer and provides a relentless and devastating portrait of brazen financial venality in exchange for political favors.

I read through Clinton Cash quickly when it came out last May. This was no right-wing hit job (as the Clinton campaign asserted) but rather a methodical and exhaustively sourced chronicle of how the Clintons parlayed Bill’s celebrity, Hillary’s position as secretary of State, and her possible future tenure as president of the United States into a veritable Niagara of cash.

Eye-popping speaking fees for Bill -- $250,000, $500,000, even $750,000 a pop -- and millions upon millions directed to the Clinton Foundation and its offshoots. Where was the money coming from? Did they actually find his "wisdom" that valuable?

No. The money came from multinational corporations that needed a favor. Shady foreign financiers. Dubious state entities in Africa, Saudi Arabia, Russia, South America, and elsewhere.

Are you worried about “money in politics”? Stop the car, get an extended-stay room, and take a long hard look at the Clintons’ operation for the last sixteen years.

The Associated Press estimated that their net worth when they left the White House in 2000 was zero (really, minus $500K). Now they are worth about $200 million.

How did they do it? By “reading The Wall Street Journal” (classical reference)?

Not quite. The Clintons have perfected pay-to-play political influence peddling on a breathtaking scale. Reading Clinton Cash is a nauseating experience.

At the center of the book is not just a tale of private greed and venality. That is just business as usual in Washington (and elsewhere). No, what is downright scary is way the Clintons have been willing to trade away legitimate environmental concerns and even our national security for the sake of filthy lucre.

Do you doubt the authority of Peter Schweizer, a research fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution? How about The New York Times, then?

Last year, following up with independent investigative research based on revelations in Clinton Cash, the Times published a long and devastating story about the how the Clintons sold out some twenty percent of American uranium assets to a Russian company controlled by Vladimir Putin. “At the heart of the tale,” the Times reported:
... are several men, leaders of the Canadian mining industry, who have been major donors to the charitable endeavors of former President Bill Clinton and his family. Members of that group built, financed and eventually sold off to the Russians a company that would become known as Uranium One. 
Beyond mines in Kazakhstan that are among the most lucrative in the world, the sale gave the Russians control of one-fifth of all uranium production capacity in the United States. Since uranium is considered a strategic asset, with implications for national security, the deal had to be approved by a committee composed of representatives from a number of United States government agencies. Among the agencies that eventually signed off was the State Department, then headed by Mr. Clinton’s wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Worried yet? It gets worse:
As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties to the company made donations as well. 
And shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.
It gets still worse, much worse. Read the book. But then watch the documentary, coming to a television screen near you much sooner than the announced release date of July 24.

It gives a detailed analysis of how the Clintons hypocritically mouth progressive pieties while selling out those values to multinational corporate interests on the one hand, and some of world’s creepiest political actors on the other.

Clinton Cash should outrage not only conservatives but also supporters of Hillary Clinton’s Democratic opponent Bernie Sanders. Despite its thriller-like scenarios, this brilliant documentary is not a partisan melodrama. It is a public service.

This should be watched by anyone who cares about restoring basic trust and accountability to our political life. The sad truth is, I conclude, Hillary Clinton is ostentatiously unfit to be President of the United States. We do not, pace my friend Ron Radosh, possess instruments delicate enough to determine that she is the "lesser of two evils."

What we do know, however -- what this documentary demonstrates beyond cavil -- is that Bill and Hillary Clinton are as corrupt as they are hypocritical, lining their pockets by selling out the values they pretend to cherish. It makes for a repellent spectacle.

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