from The Wall Street Journal, The Clinton Rules:
Last week we learned that the Clinton Foundation had accepted donations from foreign governments despite having made a public display of not doing so. The Family Clinton had agreed not to accept such donations while Mrs. Clinton was serving as Secretary of State, with rare exceptions approved by State’s ethics shop.
Then Monday the New York Times reported that Mrs. Clinton used a personal email account for official business as Secretary of State, despite a federal transparency law that requires officials to maintain emails on government servers. A former long-time litigation director at the National Archives & Records Administration told the paper he could “recall no instance” when a high-ranking official had solely used a personal email address for government business.
The real story here is that none of this is a surprise. This is how the Clintons roll. They’re a political version of the old Peanuts cartoon character who was always surrounded by a cloud of dirt. Ethical shortcuts and controversies are standard operating procedure. A brief 1990s roll call: The Riadys, Johnny Chung, Travelgate, the vanishing Rose billing records, a killing in cattle futures, the Marc Rich pardon.
The Clintons and Democrats want Americans to forget all of that. But as the email and foundation discoveries show, the Clintons haven’t changed. They still think they can do what they please and get away with it.
from The Wall Street Journal, The Clinton Foundation Super PAC by Kimberley Strassel:
With the news this week that Mrs. Clinton—the would-be occupant of the White House—is landing tens of millions from foreign governments for her shop, it’s long past time to drop the fiction that the Clinton Foundation has ever been a charity. It’s a political shop. Bill and Hillary have simply done with the foundation what they did with cattle futures and Whitewater and the Lincoln Bedroom and Johnny Chung—they’ve exploited the system.
It’s a body that exists to keep the Clinton political team intact in between elections, working for the Clintons’ political benefit. Only last week it came out that Dennis Cheng, who raised money for Mrs. Clinton’s 2008 bid, and then transitioned to the Clinton Foundation’s chief development officer, is now transitioning back to head up Mrs. Clinton’s 2016 fundraising operation. Mr. Cheng has scored $248 million for the foundation, and his Rolodex comes with him. The Washington Post reported this week that already half the major donors backing Ready for Hillary, a group supporting her 2016 bid, are also foundation givers.
How much of these employees’ salaries, how much of Mrs. Clinton’s travel, was funded by the Saudis? Or the United Arab Emirates, or Oman, or any of the other foreign nations that The Wall Street Journal Tuesday reported have given millions to the foundation this past year? How many voters has Mrs. Clinton wooed, how many potential donors has she primed, how many influential people has she recruited for her campaign via the Clinton Foundation?
Given the Clintons’ past history of fundraising problem, this should be a serious ethics issue. If her GOP opposition has a fraction of a testicle he or she should exploit this.
from The Shiny Object Fallacy by Kevin Williamson in National Review Online
The wise political entrepreneur uses more opaque methods to make his purchases. Hillary Rodham Clinton walked away from the inquiry into her remarkably successful commodities-trading career unscathed, in no small part because commodities trading is a complicated business — a hell of a lot more complicated than giving a guy a Rolex — and complicated stories do not generally capture the public’s imagination. It was suggested at the time that Refco, the firm that handled Mrs. Clinton’s trades, might have been assigning profitable trades to favored customers and losing trades to those without connections. It was accused of that in a lawsuit, and was later charged with that by regulators. Without admitting or denying guilt, the firm paid a $6 million fine to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to settle the case. It would later find itself in even deeper legal trouble only a few months after an initial stock offering; in the end, its CEO and chairman pleaded guilty to 20 criminal counts, largely involving securities fraud, in what was at the time considered the nation’s second-most-significant corporate scandal, after Enron. During the time when Mrs. Clinton was making her extraordinarily profitable trades, Refco was cited for systematically violating margin requirements, and, according to that infamous organ of right-wing conspiracy theory, the Washington Post, it was at the time allowing Mrs. Clinton “to initiate and maintain many trading positions — besides the first — when she did not have enough money in her account to cover them.” There were substantial discrepancies between official records of the trades and the results in Mrs. Clinton’s account, leading the former chairman of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange to suggest “the possibility that some of her profits — as much as $40,000 — came from larger trades ordered by someone else and then shifted to her account,” as the Post put it.
If you ask people about the “Clinton scandal,” you invariable will get lurid stories about furtive intern fellatio in the Oval Office rather than lurid stories about the Clintons’ profiting from thoroughly dodgy commodities trading with the help of a thoroughly dodgy brokerage that was implicated in all manner of felonious shenanigans. Why? Because targeting the intern pool for sexual predation is like giving somebody a Rolex — it’s easy to understand. (How easy? The Big Bang Theory has a plotline about a high-earning wife emasculating her academic husband by giving him a Rolex.) Practically nobody understands commodities-trading regulation, including a great many people who engage in commodities trading. Albert Einstein is reported to have joked that the hardest thing in the world to understand is the tax code — remember that he lived in New Jersey — but the IRS has got nothing on the CFTC.
Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/414199/shiny-object-fallacy-kevin-d-williamson
Whether their views are right or wrong on a particular issue, the scientific community has taken on a partly theological character, with top scientists achieving something of the role of supreme clerics. This approach ignores the reality that widely held “truths” are often found to be, if not untrue, significantly flawed. The numerous assumptions made by prominent academics, such as the MIT team behind the 1972 Limits to Growth study, turned out to be far off- base, as new technologies both made more resources available and increased the efficiency of their use. Similarly the bold predictions of mass starvation due to overpopulation made by the then celebrated Paul Ehrlich in the late 1960s also provided remarkably inaccurate. His call for draconian birth control, including the introduction of sterilants into the water supply, fortunately never was applied.
From The New Class Conflict by Joel Kotkin
Don Boudreaux quotes from David Mamet in his excellent blog, Cafe Hayek:
Government is only a business. Past the roads, defense, and sewers, it sells excitement and self-satisfaction to the masses, and charges them an entertainment tax, exacted in wealth and misery. It cannot make cars, or develop medicines. How can it “abolish poverty” (at home or abroad), or Bring About an End to Greed or Exploitation? It can only sell the illusion, and put itself in a position where it is free from judgment of its efforts. It does this, first of all, by stating inchoate goals, “change, hope, fairness, peace,” and then indicting those who question them as traitors or ogres; finally, it explains its lack of success by reference to persistent if magical forces put in play by its predecessors and yet uneradicated because of insufficient funding.