Hillary Clinton -- Career Criminal
At the conclusion of an article on the State Department IG’s findings that Hillary Clinton brazenly violated federal record-keeping statutes, National Review’s Andrew McCarthy asks:
“What are we to make of Mrs. Clinton’s public posturing that of course [emphasis in original] she is prepared to cooperate -- and encourages her subordinates to cooperate -- with government investigators?”
The question is obviously rhetorical, but one problem with rhetorical questions is that we don’t always really answer them, other than shrugging. So allow me in this case to answer that question. What we are to make of Mrs. Clinton is that she is an accomplished career criminal -- and I mean that literally, not rhetorically.
Like a lot of accomplished career criminals Mrs. Clinton has committed so many high crimes and misdemeanors, and gotten away with them to boot, that we tend to forget (or ignore) past acts of lawlessness because the new ones keep on coming. And like skillful felons the world over, Mrs. Clinton takes full advantage of this very human inclination, by sloughing off past accusations as “old news” or the result of biases that have emerged through “misunderstandings.” Anyone who has worked in criminal justice has seen this phenomenon, where repeat offenders get to know police, prosecutors and judges so well that law enforcement tires of them -- maybe even comes to like them a bit -- and so cut the career criminal a break. And the clever crook knows this tendency and plays upon it. It’s this dynamic that led to the development of “three strikes” laws, so such crooks don’t receive unearned or plainly manipulated sympathy.
Donald Trump’s recent faux pas regarding the long-ago apparent suicide of Clinton confidant Vince Foster is an example of this process. Trump, as is his wont, made a poorly thought-out off-the-cuff remark suggesting that Foster was murdered, and that Clinton was behind it. Since this is one crime that the Clintons probably did not commit, Trump’s remark was foolish, since, like accusations about Obama’s birthplace, it just gives the leftist media ammunition to belittle legitimate criticisms. But it was also understandable -- Trump didn’t claim the accusations were true, only that he was aware of them, and given we’re talking about Hillary Clinton, well…
But Trump needn’t speculate about Foster’s fate, nor should we. Rather than trying to pin Foster’s death on Hillary, he ought to remind the public of her other crimes, and launch focused attacks on her documented and provable malfeasances, starting with her cattle futures trading windfall/bribe. Today, Hillary’s cattle trading is usually mentioned casually as an indicator of how far back Hillary’s corruption goes, but that crime (from 1978/79) itself is worth revisiting in some detail.
Like most of Hillary’s wrongdoing, she benefits from the fact that her schemes are complex, superficially boring, and often hard for the general public to understand. In that sense it’s understandable that Trump fell into the trap of talking about the Foster case. Murder and/or suicide is comprehensible and sexy, trading livestock is not. That doesn’t change the fact that Hillary’s $100,000 trading windfall cannot reasonably be seen as anything but a criminal bribe.
Anybody that knows anything about trading commodities understands that what Hillary claims to have done -- turn an initial $1000 investment in cattle futures into a $100,000 profit ten months later -- is as a practical matter almost impossible even for the most skilled commodity operator, and absolutely impossible for a neophyte such as Hillary was. My father traded commodities for decades, was very smart, reasonably good at it, and even ran an advisory service for a time. He managed to stay ahead but not by much. Three quarters of commodity traders lose money, the vast majority inexperienced traders like Clinton.
An inexperienced blackjack player would have a much, much easier time turning a $1000 stake at a casino into $100,000, than would a similarly situated person in futures trading, though of course such a blackjack run would require almost perfect play. What Hillary claims to have done would have required divine intervention, or a criminal scheme. Since I am fairly sure the Almighty is not on her side, we need to go with the latter.
After the trading scheme became public in the 1990s, Clinton and her defenders tried to explain the windfall away as a combination of Hillary’s native intelligence, luck, and good advice. But a scholarly paper put out in 1994 by the Journal of Economics and Finance calculated that the odds of gaining such a profit in ten months under conditions at the time, and giving the investor the benefit of the doubt, at 31 trillion to 1. By way of comparison, the odds that the blood detected on O.J. Simpson’s notorious glove (found after the murders at Simpson’s estate), did not contain the blood of his victims is between 21 and 41 billion chances in one. Thus, at least by this metric, it is far, far more likely that O.J. Simpson is innocent of the murders of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson, than it is that Hillary’s cattle futures profit was not illegal. Even a bored, inattentive and not very bright electorate can understand that. And I understand that some people never will understand it no matter what, which is why O.J. walked.
The futures trading incident is also notable in that after the scheme became a legal and political issue, Hillary’s cool reaction to it proved to be her coming out party as an effective mob boss who could handle herself under intense pressure and scrutiny. She was widely praised in the liberal press for being forthcoming and unflappable, while also giving no ground, a pattern that would repeat itself again and again, up to the present.
Hillary’s cattle futures bribery scheme dates back to the same time frame as she began her other introductory criminal scam, Whitewater. From there came the Rose Law Firm billing records scandal (related to Whitewater), Travelgate, Hillary’s libels against victims of her husband’s predatory sexual behavior, Troopergate (related to Bill’s dalliances), the White House’s missing furniture, the friendly mortgage for the house in Chappaqua, a carpet-bagging Senate run, the Clinton Foundation, pay for play speeches, Benghazi, and the email scandals. (I may have missed one or two others.)
It is a breathtaking history of scandal and criminality that might make Tony Soprano blush, and is certainly the envy of real life mob bosses cooling their heels in penitentiaries jail across the nation. Hillary simply has almost all the traits (and history) of a successful mob boss, including a close knit group of loyal confederates who operate under a code of omerta.
Trump has many flaws, but to my knowledge he is not an outright criminal, much less a mob boss. Trump needn’t concern himself with Vince Foster. He does need to thoughtfully and aggressively hone his attack on Hillary’s enduring criminality. There is plenty to work with.