Clinton 2016 Redux
Benghazi Hearings Bring
to Light Possible Dark Inclinations
Negative Criticism Evaporates
Mrs. Hillary Rodham
Clinton’s supposedly strong prospects for returning to the White House in
2017, this time as president, got much play in the general media in her last
days as Secretary of State in the Obama administration. This was particularly so following her
delivery of testimony before Congress on January 23, on the Benghazi attacks
and killings of four American service personnel, including the ambassador to
Libya (the first time an ambassador has been killed in the line of duty since
hearings attempted to get details on how it was that the U.S. consulate in
Benghazi was almost defenseless despite earlier warnings of looming danger
and requests for fortifications; and why the pre-election explanation offered
by the Obama administration erroneously, but firmly (and coincidentally helpfully
for the campaign) pointed to a spontaneous reaction to a U.S.-made video as
the cause even though there was no certain evidence for it, while there was
early evidence of a pre-meditated assault.
Initial reactions to Ms. Clinton’s evasive, but unapologetic answers
seemed critical of her responses. But
soon, that initial negative view quickly came to evaporate in the face of
strong support for her testimony expressed in various media outlets, pointing
criticism instead to Republicans as being hostile and overly aggressive.
Did She Just Say That?
having witnessed video of the testimony, is that most of the Republicans were
actually largely timid, with the possible exception of two or three senators,
and only one Republican senator actually pursued a strong and also cogent
line of questioning (that would be Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin). Other
senators with tough questions, like John McCain of Arizona, seemed
directionless. Meanwhile, we found Secretary Clinton’s answers to be
uninformative of what happened, and her demeanor to be dismissive and
defiant, particularly when faced with Senator Johnson’s questions. In fact, it was in responding to Senator
Johnson’s persistent (in our view legitimate) queries that Mrs. Clinton indignantly
(imperiously?) let loose her signature line of the hearings:
The fact is we had four dead
Americans! Was it because of a protest? Or was it because of guys out for a
walk one night who decided they'd go kill some Americans? What difference, at
this point, does it make!?
The outburst displayed astonishing
daring and contempt for the people the secretary was addressing (and even for
the people that would be covering the story).
To paraphrase, ‘why does it matter why people are dead!?” Our reaction was “Really, did she just say
Under Any Other Name…
Imagine, if under any other circumstances,
a serious security lapse occurred killing American servicemen including a major
U.S. official, and then public official explanations were offered prior to an
election that just happened to minimize the electoral fallout that might
damage the incumbent, and these explanations later turn out to be false. What would people say to any government official
under George W. Bush if he had answered “what difference does it make why X
or Y happened? People are dead!”
Or, imagine in a case where we don’t
know the facts yet, if someone asked a CEO of a major corporation how client
funds had gone missing, and he replied under oath “the fact is the money is
missing. Was it because of a mistake? Did some guys just throw it in the
trash? What difference, at this point,
does it make?”
Likewise, consider in a case where we do
know the facts, if BP officials replied to investigations of the Deepwater
Horizon oil rig disaster that killed eleven people with “the fact is we had
eleven dead oil workers. Was it because of an unforeseeable explosion? Was it a rogue wave? What difference, at this point, does it
Notice one thing about these replies
(our imagined samples as well as Mrs. Clinton’s actual words): what is
purposely not mentioned at all in the replies is what actually caused the
crisis at issue. In Mrs. Clinton’s
real case and real answer, she carefully did not say “Or, was it
because there had been a pre-meditated terrorist attack for which we failed
to properly anticipate? What difference, at this point, does it make?” Putting it this way, it becomes obvious why
she did not say that – it answers her own question. But many observers, even those critical of
the secretary, failed to note this clever omission.
Mrs. Clinton offered two possible
scenarios, one known to be false, one ridiculous, before asking why it
mattered which one it was. This was
genius, and most certainly planned (no way she was that careful off-the-cuff)
– and it worked far better than even we here would have predicted.
Indeed, Does it Matter?
In any case, in our view, this exchange
was merely the prominent capstone of a hulking edifice of mis-direction and
obfuscation, and clear example of what this woman is capable of doing.
‘Why do we spend time on this now, and
what does it have to do with 2016?’ you are likely asking. Or, in Mrs.
Clinton’s words “what difference, at this point, does it make?” We would answer, precisely because people
died it makes a big difference what the truth is. We should be interested in what actually happened behind
the scenes that made it so that no help ever came for the Americans at
Benghazi, even after several hours of attack, and why the president did not stay
actively engaged with his cabinet once he was informed of the attack. And, we do think it is important for
Americans to know if administration officials were knowingly told to lie to
the American public in an effort to influence a presidential election. Maybe it was an honest error, but we won’t
know if we are simply told “what difference does it make?” And, we do have a
right to know.
Beyond that, we think that Mrs. Clinton’s
opaque answers at the hearing, her almost cavalier dismissal of the serious questions;
and the way she held her head in her right hand as she appeared in a
strangely relaxed thrall to words offered to her in praise, these offer a
view into the personality of Secretary Hillary Clinton.
column 2 >
World Forecast &
Project – ultrapolisproject.com
Editor: Marco Antonio Roberts
Copy Editor: Michael Alberts
From column 1
No Fire in View,
Isn’t That Smoke Familiar?
This view should not be new, but it
seems so because people have long forgotten about the never-resolved
Whitewater deal controversy, the mysterious deaths surrounding so many that
have come across Mrs. Clinton’s path, the strange appearance of Whitewater
documents at the White House that Mrs. Clinton said she did not have, the
known connections to people who in turn had connections to organized crime
(noted with concern by President Bill Clinton’s own FBI Director Louis
Freeh), and on and on. We know of at
least one writer, writing for The New
Republic, a liberal-leaning magazine, claiming he was knocked
unconscious in his hotel room and had all his Whitewater notes stolen while
he was investigating in Little Rock, Arkansas, the Clinton’s home turf.
Now, no one has ever proved that the
Clintons had anything to do with any of the untimely deaths of several of
their former associates, and these could be nothing more than just an
unusual series of unfortunate events (unfortunate for some, anyway). Some of the connections to dark personalities
are real, but even here, most politicians inevitably come across people of
ill-repute or even criminal ties in the course of fund-raising and political
manoeuvring. No one item of suspicion raised in the last twenty years
against Mrs. Clinton has proved anything.
But, over those last twenty years we have formed a view of Mrs.
Clinton that seems to have remained consistent throughout, and appears to have
been re-affirmed this January.
Will “It Take” in 2016?
In UWFR’s assessment, Hillary Clinton very
intensely wants to become president of the United States, and has for a
very long time. She has advocated,
cajoled, charmed, lied, threatened, helped, blessed, and endured her way
past every obstacle that has presented itself before her. We think many of the Republican senators
really did not want to take her on because they do fear her more than they
do any other politician, including the current president himself.
Mrs. Clinton has been reported to be
America’s most popular politician, a remarkable transformation for someone
who not that long ago had high negative ratings. We suspect this is mainly due to her
image of strength, and the general dissatisfaction with the state of
America’s affairs. Historically, in
times of growing unease and economic disarray, nations have been known to
gravitate to a leader that appears particularly strong, willing to do ‘what
it takes.’ (It may also be worth remembering that all too often ‘what it
takes’ turns out be worse than what was before.)
2016 is too far for any hard predictions;
too many unforeseeable events can change the direction of the country or
individual careers. Nonetheless, we tentatively forecast that, barring
illness or some new very damaging revelation (both very possible), Mrs.
Clinton will run in 2016 – and will be desperately opposed by some within
the Democratic Party. If they do not
stop her early on, they will not at all.
And if somehow she manages to win the presidency, we will find ourselves
with our own connection to a dark personality, this one sitting in the Oval
Latest Major News Story
Stirs Little Interest
Americans Remain Unconcerned
A Strange and Stubborn Apathy
The most serious news story since our
last issue back in January was not about the non-event of the
sequester. In terms of practical,
on-the-ground, real, concrete consequences, the news story with the most
ominous omen for the future, even more so than our remarks in this issue on
the rise of second Clinton presidency (really, there are too many Bushes
and Clintons in the country’s political space for our taste), was the
report on the new massive hacking of America’s most secure computers within
many of our prominent public and private institutions. These reports are not new, but they have
increased in frequency and scale.
Still, Americans remain strangely uninterested.
We have seen this same disinterest with
the stories of China eclipsing the U.S. for the first time in certain categories,
such as car manufacturing, and becoming the world’s largest purchaser of
commodities. We even saw this lack
of care when newspapers had front page headline stories in 2009 of China
stealing the plans for our most advanced jet fighters. And, when the media dutifully reported
experts’ concerns of Chinese factories, controlled by the Red Army, placing
malicious code in computers and other computerized products destined for the
U.S., Americans remained un-aroused.
column 3 >
From column 2
Future Comes Anyway
In 1996, in our
last print issue of The Scannapiecan
Times (see portion of cover below) we
predicted that China would become the world’s largest economy by 2025, with
potential serious consequences to how we experience our daily lives. At the time Japan was a distant number
two, after the United States, and China had the 7th largest
economy, just a bit larger than Canada’s.
Then, the U.S. economy was eleven
times the size of the Chinese economy. In the ensuing seventeen years China
has surpassed Italy, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Japan, to
become second largest economy in the world, behind only the U.S. The U.S. economy is now less than twice
as large as China’s. There are now
twelve years left before 2025. Enjoy
Senator Rand Paul Does the Nation a Service
Needed Clarity on Core Principle of Liberty
To Kill or Not to
Kill in U.S.
Last week libertarian
Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky staged an old-fashioned
filibuster, the first in Congress since 2010, to oppose what seemed a reluctance
by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to make clear that the U.S. president
does not have the authority to order the killing of any American citizen, even
if he is declared an ‘enemy combatant’ by the president, on U.S. soil,
without trial. President Barack
Obama has done this on foreign soil, with support that crosses the
political spectrum. But, in a letter
to the senator dated March 4, Mr. Holder said that this could “theoretically”
and under “extraordinary” circumstances be done on U.S. soil.
letter, we believe Mr. Holder was truly sincere in indicating the unlikelihood
of such a circumstance, and intended only to not needlessly and unduly tie
the president’s hands. However, the
letter could have been better worded to make clear that no one not in the
act of actual combat, regardless of presumed culpability, could be executed
without a trial. This is a basic
principle of liberty, and it was remarkable how many conservatives defended
this option on the grounds that no American president would ever misuse
it. What they completely missed is
that the legal principles preserving personal liberty are aimed at
constraining police power that may fall into the hands of corrupt
individuals, and do not assume it will always be wielded by the noble and benign.
We disagree with
much Senator Paul has to say, but on this occasion, we applaud the
attention and clarity he brought to this principle.
Tables Will Turn
‘Chicken’ Game Paradigm
Our late 2012 predictions,
for what President Obama’s post-election strategy - and the Republican
reaction to it - would be, have borne out. He would talk compromise, but
offer little, while Republicans would struggle to find a coherent and
united response, and find their backs against a wall. Now, things will change.
extracted tax hikes without promised cuts in January, the president
continued to drive hard against the Republicans with his sequester strategy. But now the Republicans are seemingly
willing to take a hit in the polls to fight back. In the short term, the president,
especially when he is personally liked, always has the upper hand in these contests
with opposition party legislators.
And, when playing ‘chicken’ it is much harder to keep several
hundred legislators on course than when you are just one executive. However, if the contest goes on too long,
the dynamics turn on the executive. Regardless of how much more easily a
president can initially place blame on opposition legislators for an
impasse, eventually the public expects the president to fix things; and if
he does not, it won’t matter who they think was initially at fault – the
president’s prospects will fall.
Our forecast record cannot be beat. One can follow the herd chasing the
latest hyperbolic, melodramatic, and soon-forgotten micro-trend on Facebook
and Twitter, or one can be wisely and judiciously in front of it with
may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org,
or if you receive the newsletter email, also via a reply to the email
address from which you receive it.
cover of The Scannapiecan Times, fall edition of 1996.