Wednesday, August 31, 2016

A disturbing pattern of meetings with nobodies

Stone City, VA, May 9 2016, photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters via NBC.
Remember when the big pearl-clutching issue was Secretary of State Clinton meeting with too many nobodies, poor people, and above all persons of that other possibly Not Quite Serious gender? As Isobel Coleman of the Council on Foreign Relations wrote back in May 2013, as part of a general assessment of her work as secretary:
On her trips abroad, she met with women farmers, small business owners, and grassroots activists. On a 2009 visit to South Africa, she spent more time visiting a women’s housing project outside Cape Town than she did meeting with Jacob Zuma, the country’s president.
Some quietly criticized her priorities, complaining that Clinton was devaluing the office of secretary of state by meeting with so many, well, women. But Clinton defended her agenda and continued to bring her star-power to bear on raising the status of women and girls around the world.
That would be quite a few more nobodies than the 85 Clinton Foundation donors she's said to have met during her 1,464 days as Secretary, though I guess we'll never get AP to calculate how many (they could only find information on 154 people other than government officials she met with the entire time she served, or fewer than one person per week, so it must be a pretty difficult research task).

It certainly drove her staff, and the journalists forced to accompany her to these drab and unaccommodating venues (very likely even some AP journalists!), nuts. And it's just one small part of a disturbing pattern she's followed over her career as Arkansas and then United States First Lady, New York Senator, and presidential candidate. She's constantly meeting with the insignificant and ignorable, and apparently listening to them as if she somehow thought their views were as important as those of Thomas L. Friedman, for God's sake.

And there are ominous signs that such people exercise an influence on what she does, leading her to focus on such boring my-eyes-glaze-over Mom issues as early education, children's health, and jobs in the distressed economy of upstate New York (that she wasn't able to produce the 200,000 jobs upstate she promised as Senator might have had something to do with that compassionately conservative Bush administration). She was listening to the most ridiculous people, respectable institutions like the New York Times had to laugh, years later, when voters remembered her:

Unlike voters in other primary states, many people in upstate New York have met Mrs. Clinton.
Joan Shearin, 65, a retired respiratory therapist from Batavia, like many local Democrats, spoke fondly of Mrs. Clinton’s time in the Senate. “When something needed to be done, she was doing it,” she said. “She never hid herself.”
“We have a friend that was a dairy farmer, and they were having all kinds of troubles with different regulations,” she said, adding that Mrs. Clinton showed up and “went through the barn.
“She took a tour of everything,” Ms. Shearin said. “It wasn’t anything beneath her.”
Moreover, some of those very suspicious donors to the Clinton Foundation seem to have the same kind of peculiar interest she has in people who don't have any power or importance, like billionaire philosopher George Soros or the Nobel Prize–winning Bangladeshi ecomist and banker Mohammad Yunus, whom she's known since 1985 (she wanted to open a Yunus-style microcredit loan facility in Arkansas)—she's known Soros since 1993, according to a bunch of wingnut-paranoid sources, and also suggested by the Financial Times:
[Bill Clinton's special adviser on managing the breakup of the Soviet Union Strobe] Talbott compares Soros's impact to that of a sovereign nation. In the 1990s, he says, "When I got word that George Soros wanted to talk, I would drop everything and treat him pretty much like a visiting head of state. He was literally putting more money into some of the former colonies of the former Soviet empire than the US government."
Neither man needed to make a donation to the Foundation to get a meeting with the Secretary.

But anyhow, do you suppose with Clinton openly associating with Yunus, Soros, and thousands of disadvantaged women, we might really be seeing some kind of major conspiracy here to give a voice to the voiceless and threaten our entire comfy way of life?

Hahaha not really, but it's certainly true that she met with more poor people as secretary of state than any secretary of state ever, and isn't that kind of scary? What if the president did that sort of thing?

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