Real Greed, Graft, Grift and Grime

Amid soaring poll numbers for dishonesty and inauthenticity, Hillary Clinton announced last week, “I’m a real person.”

That’s good to know. As a “real person,” she is constitutionally qualified for public office, with or without that husband-ish guy who is sometimes in her vicinity (and often in others’ vicinities).

Personally, I never doubted that she is a real person. Indeed, I think she is very human. Here’s why:

First, the woman gives speeches at $250,000 a pop. You might wonder who would pay $4,166 a minute to hear Hillary talk.

Some of them are well-heeled investors, such as hedge-fund managers. Maybe those graduates of Harvard Business School are paying Hillary (a political science major) for investment advice. Or maybe they are buying influence with a person who could someday regulate their business.

Some who pay the price to endure her speeches are part of the Dem establishment who want to support her with other people’s money. For example, colleges pay her $4,166 a minute in tuition money to rail against the high cost of tuition.

Hillary is very good at making money this way. She raises avarice to an art form. From that, I can only conclude that she is a real person, not a machine, because machines aren’t greedy and don’t do art.

But let’s move past her humdrum human greed. There’s so much more to Hillary than that.

Like graft. When the husband-ish guy occasionally in her vicinity was governor of Arkansas back in the 1970s, there was a big company that was regulated by the state. She gave the company $1,000 to invest in the cattle-futures market. In a matter of months, the company spun her $1,000 into — sit down for this — $100,000.

Hillary might not have learned much about commodity trading in her political science classes. But she certainly learned about political science.

Hillary explained that she did not earn this money the political old-fashioned way, as a bribe. No, she earned it the newfangled modern way — with the commodity-trading acumen she picked up as a reader of the Wall Street Journal.

Uh-huh.

Let’s not leave out grift. When Hillary was secretary of state, the rakish husband-ish person was raking in more for a speech than she ever did. He was scoring half a million dollars a pop.

The people paying him that $8,332 a minute were not just rich investors and poor students. They also included foreign governments such as the governments of Kuwait and Qatar.

Given the Paleolithic misogyny of some of those governments, maybe they were paying millions for the hilarity of stories about an exploited young White House intern in a blue dress. Or maybe it was connected to the approvals they were getting from Hillary’s State Department at the time.

We might never know. Congress asked Hillary for the emails that might have told us but, in response, she deleted 30,000 of them.

The FBI reports that it might be able to recover those emails. If not, maybe we can still get copies from the Russians and Chinese who hacked into her unprotected system. Or maybe they’ll just keep them until they need to blackmail her.

That blue dress beckons us to yet another very real and human aspect of Hillary: the grime.

What used to be called a “smoking gun” is now called a “stained dress.” Until that dress showed up, grimy and stained with identifiable DNA of a certain not-so-husband-ish person in the vicinity, Hillary blamed the peccadilloes of which such person was rumored (not to mention the rapes of which he was accused) on a “vast right-wing conspiracy.”

In her own private war on women, she publicly name-called his victims “narcissistic loony tunes,” “trailer trash,” “bimbos” and “sluts.” After the grimy dress came out of the closet, she finally went quiet for a while.

Now she’s talking again — about living in the White House again. Maybe she’ll bring back the furniture she took when she moved out last time.

Yes, indeed, Hillary is a real person — even though she says she is. She’s a real person, all right, just not a good one.

If you’re a Democrat, then you might ask — as Hillary herself did when a congressional committee wanted to know how our ambassador to Libya was murdered while his pleas for help were ignored by her office — “What difference does it make?”

When Vice President Joe Biden enters the race this fall, we’ll find out.

(Published Sept. 27, 2015 in the Aspen Times.)

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Glenwood Can’t Afford “Affordable Housing”

Upvalley in the People’s Republic of Aspen, they have an “affordable housing” program. The theory is that some people should pay for the housing of other people.

The program is implemented in two ways. In the first, the city uses taxpayer money to buy or develop housing units. So the city is in the residential real estate business. The units of course lose money hand over fist, and require constant cash infusions because they charge rent that is far less than necessary to cover the purchase and development costs. That’s what it means to be subsidized, after all.

The second way is that the city coerces private developers into building affordable housing units as part of their developments. It does this in a crude but effective way: It conditions the building permit on the inclusion of affordable housing units where the rental rates are controlled by a city bureaucracy.

This, too, is in effect a taxpayer subsidy. The developers incur bigger expenses in developing housing in order to include the mandated affordable units. They have no alternative but to pass those bigger expenses on to the buyers of the other units, or else operate their development business at a loss. There’s no free lunch.

The program is fraught with practical problems. For one thing Continue reading

Fetal Positions

phototake_photo_of_12_week_fetusPlanned Parenthood was recently the subject of a series of undercover videos about selling fetus parts.

It casually conducted some of its negotiations above specimen trays of aborted fetuses. In one video, an employee in a cocktail lounge sipped wine and joked that she wanted Planned Parenthood to make enough money from selling fetus parts to buy a Lamborghini. In another, a former employee described an aborted fetus whose heart was still beating before its brain was extracted through its face and sold.

We naturally turn away from the gruesome videos. But they do raise an important question that we should not turn away from.

The question is: What is a fetus? It’s a hard question that involves science, logic and morality. It concludes with a delicate balance of interests.

Before going further, I’ll stipulate that I have never been pregnant and never will be. Continue reading