On Thursday, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a speech in Reno, Nevada, criticizing the “alt-right’s” support for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
The speech was problematic on a number of levels, including the celebration of President George W. Bush as a hero for fighting Islamophobia. But the most bizarre claim came when former Secretary Clinton dubbed Russian President Vladimir Putin the “grand godfather of a global brand of extreme nationalism,” adding that Putin was behind the reactionary politics of the Trump candidacy.
Beyond the problems with grand godfather as a classification, is the notion that American racism and reactionary politics is somehow the result of Russian influence. It is hard to put into words how abysmally stupid Clinton’s claim is. I guess anyone trying to refute it should start with an elementary school history book, which will lay out rather clearly that US history includes genocide and racially-based chattel slavery, as well as discriminatory social and economic policies practiced up to the present day.
Maybe Putin built a time machine and introduced the transatlantic slave trade? Were Columbus and Cortez Kremlin agents? Was Andrew Jackson on Moscow’s payroll? Just asking questions.
Lost in all the frenzied neo-McCarthyite accusations from the Clinton camp this cycle is an inconvenient truth: Team Clinton is up to their eyeballs in connections to the grand godfather.
Much has been made of Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort’s connections to Russia through his shilling in Ukraine. Not-so-well-publicized is that Manafort was working with, among others, the Podesta Group: a lobbying firm founded by Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and currently run by his brother, Tony Podesta.
Yes, that’s right. The chairman of Hillary Clinton’s campaign is involved in the same exact Russian influence-peddling scandal Paul Manafort is. In fact, the Podesta Group announced earlier this month it had hired a law firm to “investigate whether or not the lobbying firm unwittingly did work for the pro-Russian political party in Europe that also hired Manafort.”
This was not John Podesta’s only connection to the grand godfather. Podesta also sat on the board of a Dutch-based energy company that received $35 million from a Putin-linked Russian government fund.
Is Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta a Kremlin agent of the grand godfather? Hard to say, but the connections are troubling.
The Clinton Foundation also has connections to the grand godfather. Cash flowed into the foundation when the grand godfather got a precious deal on uranium from the Clinton-led US State Department.
The grand godfather additionally benefited from investments in his technology initiative known as Skolkovo. Called “Russia’s Silicon Valley,” Skolkovo came under intense scrutiny by the FBI and US Army, which warned that participation by US firms could facilitate Russian industrial espionage, helping the grand godfather get his hands on lucrative US technology with a five finger discount.
According to one analysis [PDF], 17 of the 28 companies participating in Skolkovo “have made financial commitments to the Clinton Foundation or sponsored speeches by Bill [Clinton].” Oh no, is former President Clinton a Kremlin agent? Surely, he wouldn’t fall for a honey trap.
But it’s not like the Clinton campaign is taking money from Putin-linked oligarchs. Actually, it’s just like that.
Hillary Clinton has taken large campaign donations from families linked to the grand godfather. In one case, Clinton took funds from Daria Zhukova, the wife of Russian-billionare Roman Abramovich. Abramovich is estimated to be worth over $10 billion thanks in large part to his friendly relationship with Putin.
Unlike other oligarchs such as Mikhail Khorodrovsky, Abramovich played ball when Putin came to power and is well-situated in the grand godfather’s political coalition.
Now, sure, you might suggest that Hillary Clinton highlighting Trump’s Russian connections is just her engaging in cynical xenophobic politics, just like she did when she called for deporting those children back to war zones in Central America. And, in a global economy, any large player is going to end up doing business with people that control a trillion dollar economy with the largest proven oil reserves in the world. But let us not rule out a global conspiracy of epic proportions.
It is something to consider while sitting down to play a nice game of solitaire.
— Daniel Wright (@DanSWright) August 29, 2016