In 2011, Republicans threatened to destroy the Nation’s credit rating unless their budgetary demands were met.
As Ernst Casier, chairman of philosophy at Hamburg University once warned:
Right-wing websites and networks are gleefully buzzing with theories about the state of Hillary Clinton’s health.
The former First Lady, New York U.S. Senator and Secretary of State collapsed after briefly attending a memorial ceremony on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
The unsubstantiated theories include stroke, brain damage, Multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.
But there’s one theory Right-wingers scrupulously refuse to offer: That Clinton might be a victim of poisoning by Donald Trump’s well-known admirer, Vladimir Putin.
It’s a theory that has been offered by no less than Bennet Ifeakandu Omalu, the Nigerian-American physician, forensic pathologist and neuropathologist who was the first to discover and publish findings of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in American football players.
Bennet Ifeakandu Omalu
His struggle to alert the National Football League to that danger met with hostility and derision. Finally, amid growing scrutiny from Congress, the NFL was forced to take the concussion issue more seriously.
NFL owners banned players from striking opponents with the crowns of their helmets. Meanwhile, the NFL is facing concussion lawsuits from nearly 4,000 former players.
On September 11, a Clinton rep stated that she was suffering from pneumonia–and Omalu warned on Twitter: “I must advice the Clinton campaign to perform toxicologic analysis of Mrs. Clinton’s blood. It is possible she is being poisoned.”
And he followed this up with a second tweet: “I do not trust Mr. Putin and Mr. Trump. With those two all things are possible.”
At this point, there is no evidence that Hillary Clinton is the victim of KGB “wet” methods. And it would take lengthy, sophisticated toxicology tests to hopefully learn the truth.
But there is plenty of evidence that Vladimir Putin has used murder–especially poison–to eliminate his opponents.
Putin came to power in 2000. Since then, at least 34 journalists have been murdered in Russia, according to the Moscow-based Glasnost Defense Foundation. Many of the suspected killers are military officials, government officials or political groups.
Being a political opponent of Vladimir Putin can also be dangerous. Among the casualties:
Viktor Yushchenko: In 2004, he was running for president of the Ukraine against Putin’s chosen candidate, Victor Yanukovych.
As the campaign neared its climax, Yushchenko suddenly fell ill–with dioxin poisoning. Flown to Vienna’s Rudolfinerhaus clinic for treatment, he survived, but his face was left greatly disfigured. He went on to win the election, serving as Ukraine’s president from 2005 to 2010.
Aleksandr Litvinenko: A former KGB officer, he had accused Putin of wholesale corruption. Even worse, he charged that–as a pretext for a second war with Chechnya–Putin ordered the bombings of Moscow apartment buildings, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of people.
Litvinenko died on November 23, 2006 in London from a dose of Polonium-210 in his tea. At the time, he was meeting with two Moscow agents, one of whom is now a member of the State Duma.
Boris Nemtsov: An official with a liberal opposition group, he had been arrested several times for speaking against Putin’s government.
Nemtsov had been scheduled to lead an opposition rally in Moscow. But on February 27, 2015, two days before the event, he was shot dead as he walked home from dinner. The killing happened a short distance from the Kremlin.
If Hillary Clinton proved to have a serious medical condition such as Parkinson’s or Multiple sclerosis, the results would be tragic but strictly national.
Mounting pressure within and outside the Democratic party would force her to drop out of the race.
There would be a brief, furious struggle within the Democratic party for the nomination–most likely between Vermont U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and Tim Kaine, Clinton’s choice for Vice President. The winner would face Donald Trump in the coming debates and fall election.
And the Clintons–a force in American politics since 1992–would finally leave the national stage.
But if Hillary is a victim of a KGB assassination attempt, as Dr. Bennet Omalu suspects, then the consequences would be national and international.
Nationally, such a discovery would almost certainly generate huge sympathy for Clinton–a woman singularly unable to arouse sympathy among voters. That alone could ensure her election as President.
And even Americans who hate Clinton would never forgive Russia for daring to interfere with an American Presidential election. They would demand severe retaliation–even all-out war.
For Trump, it would prove a nightmare. He’s made too many admiring statements about Putin to disavow them now and be believed.
National outrage followed in July when Trump invited Putin to “find the 30,000 emails that are missing” on the private server that Clinton used as Secretary of State.
If Clinton died–or was simply injured–because of a KGB plot, few would believe Trump wasn’t a party to it.
And several of Trump’s closest associates have had ties to Putin, such as his former campaign manager Paul Manafort.
Even many Republicans have already declared they can’t support Trump in abandoning NATO–much less his clear admiration for Putin, a dictator who got his start as a KGB agent.
At his first press conference upon becoming President, Ronald Reagan harshly denounced Soviet leaders: “They reserve unto themselves the right to commit any crime, to lie, to cheat.”
A KGB plot against Hillary Clinton would convince many Americans that Republican leaders have become as corrupt as those in the Kremlin.
The Washington Post was angry.
Its reporters and editors believed they had been stonewalled by the 1992 Bill Clinton Presidential campaign.
And now that he had been elected President, they wanted access to a treasury of documents relating to potential irregularities in Whitewater and a gubernatorial campaign.
David Gergen, a conservative adviser to Republican Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan, had been hired by Clinton in 1993 to provide a counterbalancing perspective to his liberal team members.
Gergen had served in the Nixon White House during Watergate. He knew firsthand the political dangers of stonewalling–or merely appearing to stonewall.
So he advised Clinton: Give the Post the documents. Yes, it will be temporarily embarrassing. But in a little while the bad stories will blow over and you can get on with the job.
If you don’t hand over the documents, you’ll look like you’re hiding something. The press will raise a stink. The Republicans will demand a Special Prosecutor. And there will be no end to it.
Clinton agreed with Gergen. But there was a catch: He didn’t feel he could make the decision alone. Hillary had been a partner in the Whitewater land transactions.
“You’ll have to speak to Hillary and get her agreement,” he told Gergen. “If she agrees, we’ll do it.”
Gergen promised to see her.
Two days later, Gergen called Hillary Clinton’s office and asked for an appointment.
“We’ll get back to you,” her secretary promised.
Hillary never did. Finally, two weeks after the canceled December 10 meeting with the Clintons, Gergen got the news he had been dreading: Bruce Lindsay, Clinton’s trusted adviser, would deliver a one-paragraph letter to the Post, essentially saying; “Screw you.”
Events quickly unfolded exactly as Gergen had predicted:
In his 2001 book, Eyewitness to Power, Gergen summarizes the meaning of this episode:
If the Clintons had turned over the Whitewater documents to the Washington Post in December 1993, their history–and that of the United States–would have been entirely different.
Disclosure would have brought embarrassing revelations–such as Hillary’s investment in commodity futures.
“But we know today that nothing in those documents constituted a case for criminal prosecution of either one of the Clintons in their Whitewater land dealings…
“Edward Fiske and Kenneth Starr would never have arrived on the scene, we might never have heard of Monica Lewinsky (who had nothing to do with the original Whitewater matter) and there would have been no impeachment.
“The country would have been spared that travail, and the President himself could have had a highly productive second term.”
Gergen blames President Clinton rather than Hillary for refusing to disclose the documents. Voters elected him–not her–to run the government. He–not she–ultimately bears the responsibility.
Still, his comments about Hillary are telling, considering:
As Gergen puts it: “She should have said yes [to disclosure] from the beginning, accepting short-term embarrassment in exchange for long-term protection of both herself and her husband.
“She listened too easily to the lawyers and to her own instincts as a litigator, instincts that told her never to give an inch to the other side. Whitewater was always more a political than a legal problem.”
The same might be said of her lingering credibility problem with the use of a private email server as Secretary of State.
Both of her predecessors, Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice, used private servers, and neither has been subjected to Republican inquisition.
She could have easily avoided the turmoil that has dogged her for years by simply admitting at the outset: “Yes, I used a private server–just like my two Republican predecessors did. Everyone knows government servers are compromised.”
Instead, she fell back on Nixonian stonewalling tactics–which proved fatal to Richard Nixon and almost fatal to her husband.
This is, in short, a woman who has learned nothing from the past–her own nor that of her husband.
It’s a safe bet that as President Hillary Clinton will continue to stonewall over matters whose disclosure is embarrassing only in the short-term–thus jeopardizing her tenure as Chief Executive.