Tag Archives: intelligence

SYNDICATED COLUMN: I Dunno If Hillary is Evil, But She Sure is Dumb

http://legalinsurrection.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Hillary-Clinton-CNN-I-did-not-send-classified-information-large-e1439935808211-620x437.png

To her enemies and many of her supporters, the brief on Hillary Clinton is that she’s evil but smart. “Smart leadership for the 21st century,” declares her website. Cynical and calculating she may be, people say. Sure, she’s an opportunist. But she knows the American political system inside and out — so she’ll be able to work her Machiavellian magic as president. Hopefully, on our behalf.

In this case, conventional wisdom is 100% wrong. Hillary’s intentions may or may not be purely self-serving. But she’s far from the political genius she’s being portrayed.

She may or may not be evil. But she certainly isn’t smart.

Look at the former senator’s vote in favor of the Iraq War. An evil decision? Maybe. While the results were catastrophic, there’s no way to see into her soul. Maybe she wanted to liberate Iraqis from dictatorship. Saddam was a tyrant. We’ll never know what she was really thinking.

What we know for sure is that that vote was political suicide. It caused her to lose the presidency to Barack Obama in 2008. It hobbled her in her primary campaign against Bernie Sanders.

This is not one of those hindsight-is-20/20 things. During the run-up to the war in late 2002/early 2003, many smart people expected the war to go badly exactly the way that it did. Leftist opinion columnists and editorial cartoonists (cough cough) repeatedly scoffed at Cheney’s claim that our invasion troops would be “welcomed as liberators.” Middle East experts correctly predicted the chaos, sectarian violence, regional destabilization and Islamist radicalization that would fill the power vacuum created by the overthrow of Saddam. Millions of citizens marched in the streets to oppose this optional war. It didn’t take a genius to see it coming — but she didn’t.

Only fools believed the Bush Administration’s nonexistent evidence (c.f. random metal tubes) and ridiculous rationale for war (“what if Saddam somehow built a nuke, then made friends with his mortal enemies, then gave those terrorist enemies his nukes as a gift, and then what if they figured out some way to ship them to the U.S.?”). Neocon fools. Republican fools. Fools like Hillary Clinton.

Hillary’s apologists say she had no choice. That, in the face of bloodthirsty voters’ lust for vengeance post-9/11, she had to act tough. But that’s nonsense. Senator Clinton represented liberal New York, where the war was unpopular from day one. She wouldn’t face reelection until 2006 or the presidential race until 2008 — three to five years after casting her vote. Just as the antiwar crowd predicted — yet Hillary was unable to — the Iraq War began going badly within months. By early 2005, most voters thought it was a mistake. A sharp politician would have anticipated that. A smart presidential aspirant, able to anticipate how things would play out in Mesopotamia, would have placed her chips on the antiwar side of the political betting table.

Then there’s her email scandal.

What was she thinking? Can she think?

When Clinton took over the State Department in 2009, she was already planning to run for president in 2016. She and her husband have come under GOP attack throughout their careers. Given the sharp scrutiny she was sure to come under seven years hence, why didn’t she order her staff to follow the government rules concerning email to the letter? A savvy political insider would have gone by the book, erring on the side of conservatism, rather than use a private email server for classified government correspondence. She was a moron. Now she faces a possible indictment.

Incident after incident indicates that the Smart Hillary construct is as much of a fantasy as her supposed record of progressivism.

It’s been obvious for a while now that 2016 was shaping up as the Year of the Political Outsider. Both parties are relying on their base to win, rather than the swing voters who were so important during the Clinton 1990s. The Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movements, and numerous polls, pointed to widespread disenchantment with the establishment. Yet Hillary acted like it was 1993, tacking center-right like the corporatist she is. She solicited the usual old big donors.

She even gave speeches to Goldman Sachs. In 2013!

Hillary radically underestimated the Bernie insurgency. Her messaging has been relentlessly tonedeaf, as when her aging surrogates Madeleine Albright and Gloria Steinem insultingly old-splained to young female voters that they owed her their votes. Less than a year ago, Hillary was still pimping every job-killing “free trade” deal she heard about — even though they were unpopular with voters. Now Hillary is running out of money and losing momentum to a socialist who is eating her lunch in primary states she took for granted.

Time after time, over and over, Hillary proves she doesn’t get it. She’s not intuitive. She has no sense of what people are/must be thinking. She’s incurious, failing to feel shifts in opinion or circumstance. She’s stuck in the past. She wallows in her bubble. Which, when you consider that even the wealthy patrician FDR had a strong sense of what voters cared about, is frightening.

In a Democratic debate, she brags about her bromance with Henry Kissinger, telling liberals — who consider him a war criminal — that she relies on Nixon’s deviant mad bomber for foreign policy advice.

At another debate, she conflates Bernie Sanders’ vote against the Wall Street bailout with a refusal to help the auto industry. Even in Michigan, no one is fooled. Does she think we’ve forgotten how gross that Bush-Obama bailout was?

After Nancy Reagan dies, she gives the Reagans credit for starting a “national conversation” about HIV/AIDS. The Reagans were disgusting homophobes, pleased as punch that gays were dying en masse. They refused to fund research to fight the disease. They started a national conversation about HIV/AIDS the way Hitler started a national conversation on Jews. Now she says she “misspoke,” that ultimate all-purpose meaningless verb.

Could this be similar to her amazing statement to a black voter that no one had ever asked her about her support for the 1994 Clinton crime bill, which sent millions of black people to prison for minor offenses? How is this possible? Did Hillary really not know about the Reagans’ antigay bigotry? Or was she lying but assumed no one would notice? Either way: idiotic.

Vote for Hillary if you want. But don’t vote for her because she’s smart.

She is many things.

Smart isn’t one of them.

(Ted Rall is the author of “Bernie,” a biography written with the cooperation of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. “Bernie” is now on sale online and at all good bookstores.)

SYNDICATED COLUMN: In Defense of Donald Trump’s Namecalling

Donald Trump likes to call people “stupid.” And/or “loser.”

Obviously, it’s juvenile.

Also obviously, Republican primary voters are into it. They like Trump’s short declarative sentences — the secret sauce of which is namecalling.

Trump’s namecalling, so loud and so short on specifics, drives the establishment political writers who dominate corporate media crazy. I suspect this is because it doesn’t give them much to do: no 12-point plans to debunk, no statistics to factcheck, no rhetorical rabbit holes in which to run around in circles at 50 cents a word.

I think it’s fabulous.

Not his politics. Those are reprehensible. For the purpose of this week’s column, however, let’s focus on The Donald’s namecalling.

First, though, I’m not at all into the “loser” thing.

Consider the source: it’s hard not to win when you inherit a fortune from your dad. Trump started the marathon of life at mile 25-1/2.

Competition does more harm than good, especially the way we do it here in America. Consider athletics: everyone who doesn’t win a gold medal or get ranked first in his or her sport is technically a loser. But those “losers” include a lot of superb athletes, many of whom are separated from the gold by random hundredths of a second in some race that easily could have gone another way. Not to mention, competition is subject to the corruption, nepotism and bad taste that determines that neither Patti Smith nor Public Enemy deserve a Grammy while Toto and Milli Vanilli do. If Patti Smith is a “loser,” there’s something wrong with the dictionary.

There is, on the other hand, something wonderfully refreshing about Donald Trump’s gleeful deployment of the S-word.

“She is the one that caused all this problem with her stupid policies,” Trump said, referring to Hillary Clinton. “You look at what she did with Libya, what she did with Syria. Look at Egypt, what happened with Egypt, a total mess. She was truly — if not the — one of the worst secretaries of state in the history of the country. She talks about me being dangerous. She’s killed hundreds of thousands of people with her stupidity.”

Trump is absolutely right. Hillary voted for the invasion of Iraq, which killed a million people. As I’ve pointed out, it wasn’t just an immoral decision — it was a stupid one, since anyone with a half a brain could see at the time that Saddam probably didn’t have WMDs, and that Bush’s war would be a disaster.

As secretary of state, Clinton never met a war she didn’t love. Under her watch and following her counsel, the United States armed radical jihadis who are now terrorists, helped topple Moammar Gaddafi, expanded a civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands of Libyans and reduced one of the most advanced nations in Africa into a failed state. Then she turned around and did the same exact thing to Syria.

Stupid.

Let Hillary’s supporters take offense. How is it unfair, wrong or intemperate to call out a foreign policy record that fits the dictionary definition of “stupid” — doing the same thing over and over, even though it never works? Stupid is as stupid does. Hillary is stupid, especially on foreign policy, and Trump is right to say so.

Winner or loser, Trump has done political debate in America a huge favor by freeing “stupid” from the rhetorical prison of words and phrases polite people aren’t allowed to use.

Interestingly, stupid people aren’t all losers and losers aren’t always stupid in Trumpworld. Hillary Clinton has one hell of a resume, which she has parlayed into a big pile of cash. She is, by Trump standards, a winner (albeit a stupid one). If I met Trump, I’d ask him if a smart person can be a loser (possible example: he called the obviously smart Russell Brand a loser, but also a “dummy”).

Pre-Trump, American politics and culture suffered from a lack of stupid-calling. I am serious.

“There has been a long tradition of anti-intellectualism in America, unlike most other Western countries,” Ray Williams wrote last year in Psychology Today. Insults reflect a society’s values. Americans value macho masculinity, good looks and youth, so our top slurs accuse their victims of being effeminate, weak, ugly, fat, old and outdated. In France, where the life of the mind is prized so much that one of the nation’s top-rated TV shows featured philosophers and auteurs discussing politics and culture over cigarettes, there are few things worse than being called stupid and having it stick. A society that ranks “stupid” as one of its worst insults lets it be known that being smart is at least as important as being tough or hot or buff.

So, Donald Trump, thanks for dropping those S-bombs.

But I’m not voting for you.

(Ted Rall, syndicated writer and the cartoonist for ANewDomain.net and SkewedNews.net, is the author of “Snowden,” about the NSA whistleblower. His new book “Bernie” about Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, is now available for pre-order. Want to support independent journalism? You can subscribe to Ted Rall at Beacon.)

COPYRIGHT 2015 TED RALL, DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

7.9% Fewer Drone Strikes

Automatic budget cuts known as the Sequester mean that the government will no longer be able to afford, for example, as many killer drone attacks.

Vein Rape

The US Supreme Court is currently considering allowing police to draw your blood involuntarily without a warrant in the event that you refuse a breathalyzer test if you are suspected of drunk driving. It is an incredibly invasive procedure, but the authorities and the courts are siding with the cops because, incredibly, they complained that sometimes it is too difficult to get search warrants for your veins and arteries quickly enough before your blood alcohol level dissipates to legal levels.