Media turn blind eye to Hillary Clinton’s glaring mistakes

THE WASHINGTON POST

 

 

When Hillary Clinton can study up, work out her one-liners, figure out the best way to deflect questions and fence with inquisitors she does well. She thrives, therefore, in a debate or as a witness. She is the quintessential “A” student. No one will cram harder before the big exam than she.

Left to her own devices, however, she is consistently her own worst enemy. Before she worked out her lines, spontaneous answers about her finances (“We were broke”) or her initial stance toward the Benghazi scandal (“What difference does it make . . .?) disastrous. Refusing to take scandals seriously, her first attempts at brushing back the press come across as evasive, haughty and just plain false. In supposedly friendly settings, with her guard down, she winds up saying ludicrous things that come back to haunt her.

If not for Jeb Bush’s self-immolation this week, more attention would have been paid to yet another clueless Clinton moment. Asked about the Veterans Administration scandal in a softball MSNBC interview, she argued that “it’s not been as widespread as it has been made out to be.” She claimed Republicans were exploiting the situation and wanted the VA to “fail.” Her instinct to cast blame and attack political opponents renders her entirely tone deaf at times.

[Charles Krauthammer: Skip the investigations, win the election]

As you will recall, the scandal first uncovered in Phoenix turned into a nationwide investigation, forcing out the secretary and prompting new legislation. (From the Arizona Republic: “The Office of Inspector General concluded that hundreds of thousands of patients were subjected to unacceptable delays in care, and many died while awaiting appointments; wait-time records were falsified or inaccurate at 70 percent of the VA facilities nationwide; and department leadership was contaminated by bullying, reprisal and a lack of accountability. The public furor forced out VA Secretary Eric Shinseki and other administrators, while prompting the largest reform in department history.”)

It is incomprehensible that she would want to downplay the suffering of vets. A series of officials at veterans groups decried her comment. Stars and Stripes reported:

Veterans groups lobbed criticism at Clinton this week for being out of touch with veterans issues.

The conservative group Concerned Veterans for America charged Clinton with downplaying and ignoring the VA’s problems. Paul Rieckhoff, CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, called her comments on the VA a “head-scratcher.”

The VA scandal that began last year with an agency cover-up of health care delays “was so widespread it has its own Wikipedia entry,” Rieckhoff tweeted Tuesday.

And lawmakers on both sides of the aisle lashed out. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said he was “appalled.” Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.) declared, “The problems we’ve seen at the Phoenix VA are devastating and real. The VA scandal has nothing to do with partisan politics and everything to do with systemic failure, negligence and lack of accountability.” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) blasted her, observing that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), whose Senate committee investigated the VA, was better on veterans issues than Clinton.

Her campaign tried to assure us she understands how “systematic” the problem is. No apology or correction from her was forthcoming.

[Opinion: Republicans are right. We in the media do suck.]

Now imagine if Republicans had said, well “Democrats are just exaggerating the impact of Hurricane Katrina.” The mainstream hardly blinked when it was Clinton, fresh from passing her endurance test at the House select committee on Benghazi.

The Republican opposition research team America Rising later put out a devastating ad, recounting one news report after another detailing the abuses, corruption and ensuing deaths. It ends with McCain saying, “She doesn’t understand veterans, she doesn’t understand what they need, and she is politicizing the issue. Shame on her.”

This episode reminds us of Clinton’s severe limitations as a candidate. It also should prompt Republicans to recognize the media is back in Clinton-rooting mood. Her outlandish statements will become headlines like: “Republicans try to exploit…” The media will shrug its collective shoulders at her inaccuracies and outright deceptions. This is all the more reason to find a superbly skilled nominee, one who can focus on her liabilities and cut through the media chatter.

At the recent debate and in subsequent interviews, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) used his time in the spotlight to focus on the evidence that immediately after the Benghazi attack she told family members and the Egyptian prime minister it was a terrorist attack while the administration perpetrated a false cover story for weeks.

Republicans cannot repeat often enough evidence of her ethical lapses and shoddy record. The press sure isn’t going to dwell on it.

New Book Rips Hillary Clinton – Stephen Lendman

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Make no mistake. A Clinton presidency would be disastrous – the worst of all possible deplorable choices, none worthy of any public office, all aspirants beholden to wealth, power and privilege exclusively.

 

Politically, Doug Henwood would easily be defined as a true progressive, which makes his observations about Hillary all the more compelling.  Most progressives that support Hillary have no concept that she’s a warmonger and spear carrier for global empire and special interests.  But then, one need only watch Marc Dice’s man-on-the-street interviews (e.g., click here) to get a sense for how little thinking goes on in the minds of some Hillary supporters. — Eric Dubin, Managing Editor, The News Doctors

TND Guest Contributor:  Stephen Lendman

Make no mistake. A Clinton presidency would be disastrous – the worst of all possible deplorable choices, none worthy of any public office, all aspirants beholden to wealth, power and privilege exclusively.

Don’t let their duplicitous rhetoric fool you. They’re all cut out of the same cloth. Otherwise, they wouldn’t get public attention. Populist Green Party aspirant Jill Stein gets none.

A Clinton presidency would be nightmarish for the vast majority of Americans and world peace. It’ll combine the worst of George Bush and Obama, an agenda of endless wars of aggression, maybe targeting Russia, China, and/or Iran, corporate favoritism, destroying social justice, and full-blown tyranny against resisters.

Doug Henwood is editor and publisher of the Left Business Observer. It covers “economics and politics in the broadest sense,” discussing what everyone needs to know, suppressed in mainstream reporting.

In November 2014, his Harpers article headlined “Stop Hillary! Vote no to a Clinton dynasty.” It bears repeating. A second Clinton presidency is the worst of all deplorable choices.

Her qualifications “boil down to this,” says Henwood. “She has experience, she’s a woman, and it’s her turn. It’s hard to find any substantive political argument in her favor.”

As first lady, she pushed husband Bill to bomb Belgrade in 1999. The rape of Yugoslavia raged throughout the 1990s, culminating with 78 days of lawless US-led NATO aggression from March 24 – June 10, 1999.

She encouraged her husband to end welfare for needy households. Vital Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) ended. The so-called Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation (PRWORA) followed, changing eligibility rules.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) set a five-year time limit – leaving millions of needy households (many with single mothers) on their own when aid was most needed.

As New York senator and Secretary of State, she “bec(ame) increasingly hawkish on foreign policy,” Henwood explained.

“What Hillary will deliver (as president) is more of the same. And that shouldn’t surprise us…American politics has an amazing stability and continuity about it.”

No matter who’s elected president, business as usual always continues, hardening, not softening deplorably during Bill Clinton’s presidency, worse than ever post-9/11 under Bush II and Obama – certain to be worse than ever no matter who gets the top job next November, especially if it’s Hillary, a neocon, anti-populist war goddess.

Her self-proclaimed progressivism is pure fantasy. Her record as first lady and in public office exposes her real agenda, warranting condemnation, not praise.

She “has a long history of being economical with the truth,” said Henwood. As New York senator, “she voted for the Iraq war, and continued to defend it long after others had thrown in the towel.”

She echoed the Big Lies about Saddam’s nonexistent WMDs and ties to Al Qaeda. She cozied up to right-wing Republicans to ward off criticism. As Secretary of State, she was “less of a diplomat and more of a hawk,” Henwood explained.

She backed escalated war on Afghanistan, pushed for continued US military presence in Iraq, helped orchestrate lawless aggression on Libya, and urged Obama to bomb Syria without required Security Council authorization.

She was involved in developing “pivot to Asia” strategy. “Since leaving the State Department, (she) devoted herself to…Clinton, Inc…(a) fund-raising, favor-dispensing machine” together with husband Bill, said Henwood.

Their style is self-promotion, including “huge book advances and fat speaking fees… And with an eye to the presidency, (she) kept up her line of neocon patter, while carefully separating herself from Obama.”

She deplorably supports Netanyahu’s high crimes – from naked aggression on Gaza to current war throughout the Territories. Palestinian bloodshed and horrific suffering are of no consequence. Israeli imperial interests alone matter.

Henwood concluded his lengthy article, saying “Eight years of Hill? Four, even? To borrow her anti-McCain jab from the 2008 Democratic convention: No way, no how!”

His new book titled “My Turn: Hillary Clinton Targets the Presidency” covers in greater detail what his article discussed. The cover shows her hawkish image, pointing a gun with her arm outstretched.

Her agenda is pure evil, an anti-populist neocon war goddess corporate shill, pretending otherwise.

With Biden out as a potential candidate, she looks like a shoe-in Democrat nominee, despite all the exposed baggage about her. WW III looks increasingly likely with her in the White House.

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Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Click here for information on his new book (editor and contributor) titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”  Mr. Lendman’s articles can be read at is blog:  sjlendman.blogspot.com.  He also hosts the “Progressive Radio News Hour” on the Progressive Radio Network.  His show featuring cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests and airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or achived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.  His other books include, “Banker Occupation:  Waging Financial War On Humanity,” “How Wall Street Fleeces America:  Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War,” and “The Iraq Quagmire: The Price of Imperial Arrogance.

 

‘Ready for Hillary’ Mega-Donor Indicted

Claimed to represent 44,000 clients impacted by BP oil spill

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October 23, 2015 2:50 pm

By Josh Gerstein

A major Hillary Clinton fundraiser has been indicted for false statements and identity theft related to the Deepwater Horizon litigation.

The San Antonio Express-News reported Wednesday that a federal grand jury in Mississippi has indicted Mikal Watts, a Texas attorney who has been accused of using false identities to inflate the number of clients he was representing in the class action lawsuit against BP.

Watts raised more than $100,000 for the pro-Clinton super PAC Ready for Hillary in 2013. He has also hosted high-dollar fundraisers for President Obama.

The indictment comes several months after a top Republican lawmaker questioned whether the Obama administration was slow-walking the case for political reasons. The Secret Service, which investigates identity theft and counterfeiting, initially raided Watts’s office in 2013.

“Although investigations were opened by the Secret Service and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Mississippi, it appears that little action by the Justice Department has been taken since details of the probe surfaced in 2013,” wrote Sen. Ron Johnson (R., Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, in a July 13 letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

“Mr. Watts is a significant political donor, and the Department’s inaction raises questions about why it has apparently declined to pursue charges.”

Watts reportedly claimed to represent 44,000 clients who were impacted by the 2010 BP oil spill. He has been accused of falsifying many of these identities in order to gain a lucrative position on the committee of lawyers representing the oil spill victims, which won a $2.3 billion settlement from BP in 2012.

BP sued Watts in 2013, claiming that he only ended up filing 648 compensation claims, the majority of which were deemed ineligible. The oil giant said it agreed to pay a higher settlement than it otherwise would have based on the belief that Watts was representing tens of thousands of clients.

According to BP, many of Watts’s alleged clients were linked to false social security numbers, were not qualified to receive compensation, were dead, or said they never hired the attorney.

Watts has also been sued by a group of Vietnamese Americans who say he falsely claimed to represent them, according to the San Antonio Express-News.

Watts hosted a fundraiser for Ready for Hillary in November 2013 that drew prominent supporters such as Craig Smith, a longtime Clinton aide who now serves as an adviser to the 2016 campaign. The event brought in $100,000 for the pro-Clinton Super PAC.

State Dept. Cannot Confirm Clinton’s Email Claim At Benghazi Hearing

October 23, 2015 4:16 pm

 

The State Department said that it could not confirm a figure Hillary Clinton cited during testimony to the House Select Committee on Benghazi on Thursday, suggesting that it was fashioned by her presidential campaign.

The Wall Street Journal reported that a State Department spokesman said Friday that the agency could not “confirm” Clinton’s claim that between 90 and 95 percent of her work emails were already preserved in the State Department’s computer system because she emailed other government officials on their work accounts.

The former secretary of state told the committee on Capitol Hill on Thursday that “90 to 95 percent of my work related emails were in the State’s system, if they wanted to see them, they would certainly have been able to do so.”

However, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Friday at a press briefing that he was not “aware” of the figure.

“I’m not aware that we have given that figure,” Toner said. “I’m not in a position right now to confirm that.”

Moreover, the department spokesman said that Clinton’s campaign had been citing the figure and directed reporters to instead question the campaign about “the rationale or the background behind it.”

Clinton said during her testimony that the figure came from the State Department.

“We learned that from the State Department and their analysis of the emails that were already on the system,” she told the committee investigating the 2012 Benghazi attacks. “We were trying to help them close some gaps that they had.”

Clinton has endured criticism for months over her use of a personal email system while at the State Department. The FBI began investigating her private server after the inspector general of the intelligence community determined that multiple emails held on the system contained information that was classified at the time they were sent.

The Democratic presidential candid

Clinton used private email account for State Dept. business

Those emails weren’t archived in official records.

Thousands of emails Hillary Clinton generated as secretary of state were not archived as official government records because she used a private email account to conduct State Department business, the State Department acknowledged Monday.

Aides to the former secretary of state turned over 55,000 pages of emails from her personal account to the State Department in December at its request, a department official said.

Clinton’s use of the personal account for work-related emails and the State Department’s effort to gain control over the information were first reported by The New York Times. Clinton did not use a State Department email account, the paper reported.

“Last year, the Department sent a letter to representatives of former secretaries of state requesting they submit any records in their possession for proper preservation. In response to our request, Secretary Clinton provided the Department with emails spanning her time at the Department,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement.

The Times story suggested that the private email trove came to light as the State Department worked to respond to requests for information from a special House committee probing the deaths of four Americans in a 2012 attack on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya.

However, a State Department official who asked not to be named said Monday night that the request to Clinton and other former secretaries took place in October of last year and was independent of any inquiries from the Benghazi panel.

Psaki did acknowledge that the set of emails Clinton aides gave to the department recently contained some records relevant to the Benghazi committee’s document demands.

“After the State Department reviewed [Clinton’s] emails, we produced about 300 e-mails responsive to recent requests from the Select Committee” on Benghazi, Psaki said.