The political media are falling for a classic logical fallacy. And I’d rather write about something else. (More)
I’d really prefer to write about the Twitter hashtag #DepressingTVReboots. It’s one of those humor hashtags that goes viral and people add ideas. Many of the entries are not so much depressing as they are yawn-worthy. But there are some gems, like Murder, She Blogged, Left It to Beaver in the Will, and The Incredible Sulk.
That last one should star Gillian Anderson, after she does the X-Files reboot. It should reprise her role from The Fall, but with even more gloom. Yes, that’s possible. She could be assigned to review another case but, because she took two seasons to catch the serial killer in The Fall, this time she’s after a serial jaywalker. And yes, it could take two more seasons to find him, despite his face appearing clearly on dozens of British traffic cameras, because she would be preoccupied with her string of one-night stands, many lovers but no love, her incredible, wounded eyes gazing soulfully as she ponders whether her perfectly-tailored silk blouses reveal only a hint of cleavage or a deeper truth about the emptiness of her life. All of that brought to you by Blyssyfyx.
But I’m doing my thesis on 21st Century Political Nuttitude so I’m supposed to write about that. Heavy sigh.
So in case you missed it, the political media are all gaga over a new book that claims to show Hillary Clinton traded State Department favors for donations to the Clinton Foundation and six-figure speaking gigs for her husband. Except the author admits he can’t actually prove any of that:
Clinton Cash, by former Bush speechwriter and Breitbart.com contributor Peter Schweizer, is billed as a game-changer for Clinton’s candidacy, revealing that the Clinton State Department traded favors for big donations to the Clinton Foundation and speaking fees for Bill Clinton. “The author, Peter Schweizer, says he has evidence of a pay-to-play scheme,” Fox News’ Sean Hannity noted.
ThinkProgress obtained an advance copy of Clinton Cash, which will be released May 5. Schweizer makes clear that he does not intend to present a smoking gun, despite the media speculation. The book relies heavily on timing, stitching together the dates of donations to the Clinton Foundation and Bill Clinton’s speaking fees with actions by the State Department.
Schweizer explains he cannot prove the allegations, leaving that up to investigative journalists and possibly law enforcement. “Short of someone involved coming forward to give sworn testimony, we don’t know what might or might not have been said in private conversations, the exact nature of the transition, or why people in power make the decision they do,” he writes. Later, he concludes, “We cannot ultimately know what goes on in their minds and ultimately provide the links between the money they took and the benefits that subsequently accrued to themselves, their friends, and their associates.”
Thousands of people and groups have donated to the Clinton Global Initiative or its sister organizations within the Clinton Foundation. And lots of people and groups have invited Bill Clinton to speak at their events. Given the scope and mission of the CGI, it’s inevitable that some of those donors also had dealings with the State Department … or didn’t:
Schweizer also zeroes in on some of the foundation’s voluntarily disclosed but somewhat shady donors, including the Lundin Group, a mining, oil and gas company that was investigated for war crimes in Sudan and has reportedly reaped massive profits in the war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo. Lundin committed $100 million to the Clinton Foundation shortly after Hillary announced her presidential candidacy in 2007. Schweizer points to a 2006 law co-sponsored by Clinton and Obama, which gave the secretary of state powers to hold destabilizing forces in the DRC accountable, and notes that Clinton declined to employ those powers after Lundin’s donation.
Now, who was Secretary of State from 2006-2009? Well, not Hillary Clinton, and the State Department declined to go after the Lundin Group then. But because the State Department also declined to go after the Lundin Group from 2009-2013 – when she was Secretary – it was “a pay-to-play scheme.”
The name for that logical fallacy is post hoc ergo propter hoc, a Latin phrase that translates “after this, therefore because of this.” The media version is post hoc ergo printer hoc, a Latin phrase that translates “If someone floats a conspiracy theory about the Clintons, print it first and investigate it later.”
Okay, I fudged the Latin, but you get the point.
Anyway, I’d really rather write about my own #DepressingTVReboot:
Buffy the Vampire Layer … wherein she tries to redeem all vampires as she did Angel and Spike. #DepressingTVReboots
— BPI Squirrel (@bpicampus) April 22, 2015
Set 20 years after the original series Vampire Layer follows Buffy Summers and her friends in their 40s. Injuries and age have caught up with Buffy, and she can’t do all the cool stuff that made her a slayer. Plus Angel and Spike turned into heroes after her relationships with them. So she drifts from hellmouth to hellmouth – accompanied by Willow and Xander, who still have nothing better to do – picking up vampires and other miscellaneous supernatural baddies, trying to convert them into supernatural goodies with her … well … preternatural goodies.
But most of them notice that age has also caught up with her in other ways, so they have a one-night stand or two and then return to supernatural badness, leaving Buffy with many lovers but no love, her incredible, wounded eyes gazing soulfully as she ponders whether her perfectly-tailored silk blouses reveal only a hint of cleavage or a deeper truth about the emptiness of her life.
All of that brought to you by Blyssyfyx.
Good day and good nuts