A Bad Weekend for Democratic Leadership

by William Skink

The Labor Day weekend has not been a good one for Democratic leadership. First, the FBI used the Friday before a holiday weekend to release its report on Hillary Clinton’s incredibly reckless use of email on unsecured devices. I agree with this conclusion: Hillary is either a liar of she’s grossly incompetent.

There is even a convenient list of the 26 things Clinton “could not recall” during her interview:

When she received security clearance
Being briefed on how to handle classified material
How many times she used her authority to designate items classified
Any briefing on how to handle very top-secret “Special Access Program” material
How to select a target for a drone strike
How the data from her mobile devices was destroyed when she switched devices
The number of times her staff was given a secure phone
Why she didn’t get a secure Blackberry
Receiving any emails she thought should not be on the private system
Did not remember giving staff direction to create private email account
Getting guidance from state on email policy
Who had access to her Blackberry account
The process for deleting her emails
Ever getting a message that her storage was almost full
Anyone besides Huma Abedin being offered an account on the private server
Being sent information on state government private emails being hacked
Receiving cable on State Dept personnel securing personal email accounts
Receiving cable on Bryan Pagliano upgrading her server
Using an iPad mini
An Oct. 13, 2012, email on Egypt with Clinton pal Sidney Blumenthal
Jacob Sullivan using personal email
State Department protocol for confirming classified information in media reports
Every briefing she received after suffering concussions
Being notified of a FOIA request on Dec. 11, 2012
Being read out of her clearance
Any further access to her private email account from her State Department tenure after switching to her HRCoffice.com account

Is Hillary Clinton lying, incompetent, or somehow mentally compromised from brain trauma or a neurological condition? I find it absolutely incredible that these questions are being posed with just over 2 months to go before the election. How anyone can justify voting for her is beyond me.

It wasn’t just a bad Labor Day weekend for Hillary. Obama’s last trip to China before the G20 meeting was an unmitigated diplomatic disaster, starting on the tarmac:

Upon arrival on Saturday in China as part of his last visit to Asia as US Commander in Chief for the periodic photo-op that is the G-20 meeting, something unexpected happened: a very undiplomatic greeting when an unusual tarmac altercation involving Chinese and U.S. officials, including national security adviser Susan Rice, devolved into a shouting match by a member of the Chinese delegation.

It all started with the actual landing: as AP reports, the first sign of trouble is that there was no staircase for Obama to exit the plane and descend on the red carpet. So, as the photo below shows, Obama used an alternative exit. Needless to say, a diplomatic fuck up such as this one, was not accidental – Beijing was sending a loud and clear message.

Back in October of 2011, Hillary managed to carve out some time from whoring out the state department to corporations and foreign governments, like Saudi Arabia, to, to write this piece in FP about the pivot to Asia, titled America’s Pacific Century. Oh the hubris.

Now, five years later, that pivot looks dead in the water, opening a space instead for Russia and China to increase integration. Instead of a pivot, there is a collision coming, and that collision is adeptly described by Pepe Escobar as a choice between either the connectivity of OBOR (one belt, one road) or war:

The heart of the matter in the OBOR-linked South China Sea is not sovereignty over “rocks” or even unexploited reserves of oil and gas; it hinges on the capacity of the Chinese Navy to regulate and eventually deny “access” to the Pentagon and the US Navy. What’s certain is that the US Navy will take no prisoners to prevent China from strategically dominating the Western Pacific, as much as Washington will go no holds barred to ram TPP to prevent China from economically reign over the Asia-Pacific.

Deng Xiaoping’s maxim – “never take the lead, never reveal your true potential, never overstretch your abilities” – now belongs to the past. At the G20 China once again is announcing it is taking the lead. And not only taking the lead – but also planning to overstretch its abilities to make the hyper-ambitious OBOR Eurasia integration masterplan work. Call it a monster PR exercise or a soft power win-win; the fact that humanitarian imperialism as embodied by the Pentagon considers China a major “threat” is all the Global South – and the G20 for that matter — needs to know.

The diplomatic drama in China over the weekend didn’t stop at the tarmac. The tensions continued with another confrontation between Chinese security and members of Obama’s entourage:

At Westlake Statehouse, where the summit was being held, a group of White House staff arriving before Obama was stopped at a security checkpoint. A heated argument between Chinese officials and White House staff, protocol officers and Secret Service, who were trying to enter the building separately from the press, broke out at the security gate.

According to the pool report, U.S. officials could be heard arguing in Chinese with Chinese officials over how many Americans could go through security at one time, how many White House officials were allowed to be in the building before Obama’s arrival, and which U.S. officials were on a security list.

“The president is arriving here in an hour,” a White House staffer was overheard saying in exasperation. A Chinese official assisting the U.S. officials became angered by how the guards were treating the White House staff as the disagreement escalated.

“You don’t push people. No one gave you the right to touch or push anyone around,” he yelled in Chinese at one of the Chinese security officials.

Another Chinese official trying to help White House staff stepped between the two men arguing, as the security official looked like he was going to throw a punch, according to the pool report. “Calm down, please. Calm down,” a White House official said.

“Stop, please,” said a foreign ministry official in Chinese. “There are reporters here.”

As things went from bad to worse, I couldn’t help wondering: where the hell is Max Baucus?

Our former Senator is, after all, the US ambassador to China, so what has he been doing for the past 3 years? At the time of this pick, the Washington Post described 3 reasons Obama picked Max for this important position, but unfortunately those reasons didn’t include Max’s diplomatic skills. The reasons were focused on short-term political goals for Democrats. Too bad. It looks like we could have used an actual diplomat in this role instead of a corporate whore who’s enduring legacy will be destroying any hope of a single payer option and instead saddling the American public with the now proven disaster of the Affordable Care Act.

Has the term “Democratic leadership” become an oxymoron like friendly fire?

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About William Skink

I'm a poet and political cynic living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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4 Responses to A Bad Weekend for Democratic Leadership

  1. JC says:

    Funny you’d mention Baucus. A quick google search turns up only that Obama will do a meet and greet with him and embassy staff. Here’s a great photo of the two as Obama arrived (depicting the obvious importance of Max to the media, as they cut off the left half of his head in photo editing — that’s him to the far right) :

    And then there’s a piece from the FT a few months ago, a typical fluff piece — Montana Senator moves to China, what was he thinking? — with a prescient slip:

    “I say to the Chinese over and over, OK, your defence spending [is increasing] 10 to 12 per cent a year,” Baucus says. “What are we to think? What are your intentions and more than that, you can’t just tell us what your intentions are. You gotta show by deeds. Show that you want to work with us, otherwise there’s going to be a collision . . . I think the South China Sea is a good example.”

    “There’s going to be a collision.” Yeah, unless the Chinese bow to American hegemony, there’s going to be a collision, as the Rand Corporation (the Pentagon’s subconscious brain) plans in their recent hundred page report. From their editorial summarizing the report in Newsweek:

    Recommended Actions for the U.S. Military

    … the U.S. military should not prejudge or limit the president’s options by having only a plan for immediate conventional counterforce attack, nor leave itself unprepared to carry out alternative plans. It would be far better for stability, and at least as good for deterrence, for the U.S. military to emphasize, in general, planning for a prolonged high-intensity war and to make this emphasis known to China.

    Thanks for the heads up Max.

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  2. steve kelly says:

    Here closer to home, we should not forget to thank Baucus and Bullock for encouraging Chinese investors to purchase Montana land, particularly around Yellowstone National Park. The fact that little to no wildlife has been spared in their own country, there remains a strong market for rare and endangered species body parts. Add bears (gall bladders), and deer and elk (antlers in velvet) to elephant ivory, rhino horn, shark fins, and God knows what else. Combined with possible grizzly delisting it’s easy to see how protecting wildlife is going to become that much more difficult. Banana (3rd-world Republic) Montana.

    Like

  3. Big Swede says:

    A Hillary “I can’t recall” classic.

    Like

  4. Failure is simply not in the cards for some. BIll was the fair-haired boy, selected to be president long before being elected, and placed in office courtesy of Ross Perot, who kindly split the Republican vote for him.

    In the meantime, Hillary had a hard time failing too. Even after flunking the DC Bar exam, she was still appointed to the Watergate Committee. She was probably working for the Kennedy’s, then and now. So little technicalities like actually being a lawyer did not stop her advance.

    https://californiajimmy.com/2016/08/30/hillary-serve-watergate-committee-74-failed-dc-bar-exam-1973/

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