Friday, August 4, 2017

Response to The Day Came

(See: Just Above Sunset: The Day Came)

“What the prosecutors should be looking at are Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 deleted emails,” Trump said, to uproarious applause. “And they should be looking at the paid Russian speeches. And the owned Russian companies. Or look at the uranium that she sold that is now in the hands of very angry Russians.”

That, of course, came from his rally in West Virginia last night, before a crowd of cheering admirers primed to swallow whatever poop he fed them as if it were ambrosia from heaven. The truth about these claims, which Trump must have heard before since he regurgitates all this stuff on a regular basis, did not likely have any advocates in attendance.

Still, if nobody ever revisits it, people will start to believe that the truth is not true, since they never hear anybody say it:

* Clinton’s deleted emails: Trump’s line on the maybe 33,000 private emails that Hillary “deleted” is that she destroyed them under subpoena, which is not true. After she had left office, Congress asked — not subpoenaed — the State Department for copies of any old emails from ex-Secretaries of State having to do with official business, and State onpassed the request to her.

At the same time that she turned over the emails to State in early December of 2014, she ordered that all her old private exchanges having nothing even close to a connection with government business be deleted. Maybe she should have kept them, just so she could later prove they had nothing to do with her job, but there didn’t seem to be a reason to at the time.

In early March of the following year, two days after the New York Times reported that Hillary had used a personal email account when Secretary of State, the House Select Committee on Benghazi issued a subpoena for all emails having to do with Libya. Later that month, an employee of Platte River Networks, the subcontractor who had been charged with dispatching the emails, had what he termed an “oh, shit! moment” when he realized he hadn’t gotten around to the deletions, so he erased the archive at that point, at about the same time that Clinton’s lawyers sent a letter to the committee to inform them that the pertinent Libya emails had all been included in the December turnover.

Did Clinton issue a deletion order after the subpoena had arrived, as Trump claimed? According to Politifact, the FBI looked into that, and
the FBI learned no one on Clinton’s staff specifically asked the employee to delete the emails following the New York Times story and subpoena. Rather, the employee made that decision on his own.
In other words, it’s been checked out already by the FBI, and they decided that there’s nothing to it. Case closed.

* Uranium Hillary sold to the Russians: The uranium story is a convoluted one, but the bottom line is that there wasn’t any. Zip!

This fable originated in the book Clinton Cash, by Breitbart’s Peter Schweizer. Here’s how Snopes summarizes the issue:
The mining company, Uranium One, was originally based in South Africa, but merged in 2007 with Canada-based UrAsia Energy. Shareholders there retained a controlling interest until 2010, when Russia’s nuclear agency, Rosatom, completed purchase of a 51% stake. Hillary Clinton played a part in the transaction because it involved the transfer of ownership of a material deemed important to national security — uranium, amounting to one-fifth of U.S. reserves — thus requiring the approval of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), on which the U.S. Secretary of State sits.
Sounds like trouble for Hillary? Maybe not so much:
Among the ways these accusations stray from the facts is in attributing a power of veto or approval to Secretary Clinton that she simply did not have. Clinton was one of nine cabinet members and department heads that sit on the CFIUS, and the secretary of the treasury is its chairperson. CFIUS members are collectively charged with evaluating the transaction for potential national security issues, then turning their findings over to the president. By law, the committee can’t veto a transaction; only the president can. According to The New York Times, Clinton may not have even directly participated in the Uranium One decision. Then-Assistant Secretary of State Jose Fernandez, whose job it was to represent the State Dept. on CFIUS, said Clinton herself “never intervened” in committee matters.
And as for Trump’s, "look at the uranium that she sold that is now in the hands of very angry Russians”?
Russia doesn’t have the licenses to export uranium outside the United States, pointed out, "so it’s somewhat disingenuous to say this uranium is now Russia’s, to do with what it pleases." The Kremlin was likely more interested in Uranium One’s assets in Kazakhstan, the world’s largest producer.
The fact that Trump keeps making this claim is further proof (as if anybody needs further proof) that Trump is either (1) too stupid to be president of the United States, or (2) too much of a jerk to be president, or (3) possibly both.

* As for Trump’s suggestion that prosecutors "should be looking at the paid Russian speeches" and "the owned Russian companies”, it’s hard to know what the hell he’s talking about.

I wasn’t able to find out if Hillary ever got a paying gig to speak in Russia, although her husband got paid $500,000 to speak there in 2010. Then again, according to Politifact, Bill Clinton has made a lot of speeches in a lot of places, sometimes getting paid even more:
Bill Clinton regularly delivers speeches for fees of $500,000 or higher — such as a $750,000 speech in Hong Kong in 2011, paid for by a Swedish communications company, and a $600,000 speech in the Netherlands, also in 2011, paid for by a Dutch finance corporation.
But none of that has ever been linked with charges that either Bill or Hillary may have helped Russia intrude in our elections, or that they have ever taken any meeting with Russian spies offering quid-pro-quos for helping to repeal U.S. sanctions against Russia.

Nor, by the way, have I any idea what Trump means by “the owned Russian companies”, but sometimes, as evidenced by those phone conversations with the leaders of Australia and Mexico, he just blurts out things that have nothing to do with anything.

Does he actually believe the stuff he says, or is he just playing the village idiot for effect? I don’t know.

But maybe it’s Dada?
Developed in reaction to World War I, the Dada movement consisted of artists who rejected the logic, reason, and aestheticism of modern capitalist society, instead expressing nonsense, irrationality, and anti-bourgeois protest in their works. …

Many Dadaists believed that the 'reason' and 'logic' of bourgeois capitalist society had led people into war. They expressed their rejection of that ideology in artistic expression that appeared to reject logic and embrace chaos and irrationality.
Sometimes I wonder if Donald Trump’s whole life might someday be revealed to be one long Dada-esque “happening”, some early 21st Century example of impermanent “performance art”, and wondered if future generations might celebrate this man as America’s one and only original, home-grown, true creative genius.

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