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Clinton Cash: The “Film”

Why do I put film in quotes in the title? Your average 12 year old with his own YouTube channel could have produced a more professional looking product. The roughly hour long documentary has no first person interviews. The only person filmed expressly for the doc is the Clinton Cash book author, Peter Schweizer. Everyone else is featured in stock  footage. 

If we get beyond the cheesy look of the film (disembodied hands exchanging cash, a disembodied hand writing out “$1,000,000”) and focus on content, the best we can say about the Clintons is they have zero trouble with moral ambiguity. 

The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) and the Foundation (which I believe are two related but distinct entities) play footsie with corrupt governments like that of Nigeria.  They go into Haiti after a devastating earthquake and run projects that help donors but do little to help those in need. They get into a complex scheme (that I could not completely unravel) involving uranium going to Russia and a uranium company traded on the Canadian stock market making out like bandits. And then there’s that time in Colombia when Bill just happens to bump into the Secretary of State while they’re on “independent” business trips. 

Connected to many of these arrangements are “coincidental” paid speeches by Bill Clinton, in the six figure range, almost 5 to 10 times as much as he got paid prior to Hillary becoming Secretary of State. So, the very credible allegation made is that CGI work indirectly lined the pockets of the Clintons. 

The film was produced by Steve Bannon, formerly of Breitbart fame, and now CEO of Donald Trump’s POTUS campaign. Hillary fans will call it a hit piece full of circumstantial evidence. They will call it the product of “the vast right wing conspiracy”. Hillary haters may have heard it all before. Folks on the fence though should definitely give the movie a peek to get a preview of how murky an HRC administration might be. After viewing this doc, any reasonable person would have to ask himself, can’t a charity be run without all the moral ambiguity?

I give the film 2 out five R’s for poor production quality and 4 R’s for content being thought provoking. 

Production quality: RR
Content: RRRR

This box office bonanza can already be viewed for free on YouTube. 

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My Political TV Oasis and the Hillary Sex Speech

With All Due Respect

My friend and former political blogger Huck has been taking over blogging duties here lately. His film reviews and pop culture takes on politics have been great and have inspired me to knock off a quick TV review to end the year. As a bonus, I’ve drafted a speech for Hillary to deliver since Trump has her rightfully in his cross-hairs.

First some quick background. From the late 70’s I was a fan of the various incarnations of Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert’s film review programs. Once Gene died I stuck with Roger as he went through a few co-hosts and stayed on the air until poor health forced him out from in front of the camera. We have since lost Roger too. There was something about two guys debating their opinion on a topic that was fun to watch.

Well, film has changed to politics and Siskel and Ebert has changed to Halperin and Heilemann and the show is “With All Due Respect”. Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, co-authors of the two “Game Change” books have the same bouncy back and forth on things political that Siskel and Ebert used to have on things cinematic. Halperin is the nervous one with facial ticks and a certain obnoxious stubbornness to his interview style. Heilemann is the laid back pot smoker. Mark appears moderate, skewing perhaps a wee bit conservative. John seems pretty clearly liberal.

This is pure inside-baseball folks. You don’t get the impression that either Mark or John give that much of a rat’s ass about the good of the nation or the world. This show is not about preaching. It’s about politics as a game and how it is played. Who is winning and who is losing. It reminds me of the great WordPress blogger ChenZhen of years ago who really was just in it for the horse race. When the race got boring he retired. I stuck around trying to argue the right and wrong of things. I think I missed the point. Right and wrong only exist on a personal level. On the macro-level, sadly, it is just a game and we can either be entertained or watch in disgust.

The leading GOP candidate is a master of branding with little else to show. The leading Democratic candidate is a woman most find untrustworthy but will still inexplicably support. How can one approach this political season with any sincere hope for a good outcome? That is why I turn to my oasis in the political desert, a show where the game is indeed just a game and the analysts know exactly how to call the play by play. On a side note, I’ve caught plenty of hell from the bar patrons on my MSNBC habit. “With All Due Respect” broadcasts on the Bloomberg channel but effective January, 2016 the MSNBC snarking will begin again as the show does a dual broadcast on Bloomberg and MSNBC. Regardless, “With All Due Respect” gets five stars from me.

The Hillary Sex Speech

Donald Trump, God bless him, says the stuff everyone wants to say but is afraid to. When Hillary calls Trump crude and sexist, Donald fires back with a hat tip to her philandering husband and former POTUS Bill Clinton. In the Washington Post, Ruth Marcus gave an unconvincing argument as to why Trump was not off base. It seemed to suggest being married to a pig made attacking a pig less credible. Fine, but the better argument is Hillary’s own behavior. Hillary viewed Monica Lewinsky as a “narcissistic loony” and asked that her opinion be documented, as discussed in Lewinsky’s Vanity Fair article from last year. Let’s be clear. Bill was a workplace predator. Lewinsky was a victim. Hillary lashed out at the victim, never publicly acknowledging the harm done to her.

So now in reaction to Trump, I suggest Hillary deliver in prime time, the equivalent of 2008’s Race Speech by Barack Obama. This one should be called The Sex Speech and it goes something like this:

What goes on in a marriage is nobody’s business but the people in the relationship. Donald Trump’s comments about my husband’s behavior are intrusive and rude. But I would like to take this opportunity to address an article published in Vanity Fair last year that expressed the emotional damage done to Monica Lewinsky, the intern whom my husband sexually harassed. I have zero tolerance for workplace harassment and my husband’s behavior back then was inexcusable. I want to take this opportunity to publicly apologize to Miss Lewinsky for the pain and suffering she has gone through. I also want to apologize for not addressing this sooner. As women, we must stand together against workplace harassment. I know that Bill is sorry for his behavior. He and I have made peace with it. I hope that Miss Lewinsky can find peace also.

Of course, Hillary is way too arrogant to ever give such a speech but I think in the words of Halperin and Heilemann, it might be a game changer.

Happy New Year,
Rutherford

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Why Christie or Kasich Must Run

I am faced with a dilemma that any honest liberal faces. We are about to witness the coronation of the next Democratic nominee for President of the United States of America. Hillary Clinton seems to have the nomination sewn up and we are still over a year away from the Democratic Convention. We haven’t even seen a caucus or primary and it feels like we won’t see one. At least we won’t see any credible opposition. Martin O’Malley is far from compelling. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have virtually no foreign policy chops. Jim Webb is remotely interesting but hardly a guy “you wanna have a beer with”. To beat Hillary’s celebrity, we need someone with a winning personality and I’m not sure Webb is that guy.

So what is wrong with Hillary? Not a genuine bone in her body. Political to the core. And, most importantly a proven liar and obfuscater. And there, my friends, is the dilemma. How do we vote in 2016 when the candidate who says she wants to be our “champion” (a manufactured poll-tested line if there ever was one) is so full of crap?

We have to vote Republican. There are only two men on the horizon, who have not yet declared, for whom a vote from me would not kill me. They are Ohio Governor John Kasich and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Here is why:

Kasich passes the “beer companion” test. He’s likeable with a good sense of humor and a strong streak of self-deprecation. He makes a very strong case for his own candidacy — just watch his appearance on Meet the Press from this week. He’s been in and around Washington long enough to know how the place works. He balanced the budget under Bill Clinton. By his reckoning, he has turned around Ohio and as a Governor, he knows how to run stuff. He appeals to blacks. Let me repeat that — he appeals to blacks. I am thoroughly fed up with conservative candidates who make zero attempt to court the black vote.

Christie also has the “beer companion” quality. His record in New Jersey is mixed. The Jersey economy not doing as well as he might like. But he is a straight shooter in a collection of manufactured sound bites and manipulative language. His recent statement about Hillary’s opposition to big money in politics while she rakes in big money is a perfect example of his ability to call out hypocrisy. His willingness to lose a vote for the sake of honesty is admirable. Case in point: his recent trip to New Hampshire where he proposed changes to Social Security and his assertion that we need to take a new look at entitlement programs. Most conservatives will spout this when it comes to the poor (cutting food stamps, for example) but few will broach the middle class and wealthy getting their priorities straight. Christie will.

Above all, I am so tired of being lied to. My radar may be off — it has been in the past — but I feel Kasich and Christie will tell it like it is. They are WYSISYG candidates, not molded by consultants and “thought leaders”. I want a presidential candidate who will tell me the truth and not pander. They are few and far between and I think Kasich and Christie qualify.

Christie and/or Kasich must run because ABH (anyone but Hillary) is not good enough for me. I want to vote in 2016. I consider it my responsibility. But if the Republican party cannot put forward a sane, measured and transparent candidate to oppose HRC, for the first time in my adult life I may need to skip the election altogether.

What do you think? The bar is open.