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Monday, May 1, 2017

Hacks Gonna Hack, Part Deux

I'm a little late to the game on this, but Newsweek, this was just plain irresponsible. I hope Kurt Eichenwald finds a job elsewhere soon; he doesn't deserve to work at a place that publishes crap like this.


No. Just no. Nina Burleigh gives is a two-fer: peak hacky laziness combined with peak bothsiderism:

Ever since Ivanka Trump spoke at the Republican National Convention, people have been confused. Looking cool in one of her trademark sheaths (she would soon tweet on how to “get the look”), the daughter of the notoriously sexist billionaire took the stage on a steamy night in Cleveland and talked about working women and their needs. Unease instantly prickled necks on the convention floor, where applause was polite but restrained. The looks on many faces seemed to say: Did I just hear her say “affordable child care?” Who let a feminazi Democrat in here? Lock her up!

I don't recall many conservatives say anything like that. They know that that sort of talk is aimed at making the Nina Burleighs of the world feel comfortable among the scary Nazis that Trump summoned out from under rocks:

The Who Is Ivanka question has trailed her since the beginning of the Trump saga. Is she a Manhattan Democrat bearing the red-state ideological burden just to support her dad? Is she a secret feminist planning to stymie the worst instincts of the notorious sexists in the White House, a secret environmentalist working to save the world from global warming? Does she have her own other agenda, and if so what is it?

John Oliver gave us the proper lens through which to look at Ivanka:

Burleigh does not see through anything resembling that lens.

After 100 days of the Trump administration, Ivanka remains a cypher. Sound familiar?

No, not really.

She is also a White House power without portfolio, working behind the scenes on any number of issues on any given day, from foreign policy to trade. She is so sure of her own goodness that she is oblivious to ethics challenges. She even started her own foundation, and is soliciting foreign donors.
Almost everything about her politics and political style is something that we’ve seen before. In fact, very, very recently.
Let’s review her uncanny similarities with Hillary Clinton.

NO NO NO NO NO. I see what you did there, and NO.

Provides Cover for Sexism. Ivanka is not married to a serial philanderer: You don’t have to lock up your daughters when you see Jared Kushner coming.

How the heck do you know? America has known who Jared is for a few months, and as Oliver pointed out in the video above, we know very little about him, either. For all we know, he could be a cannibalistic serial killer, or he could be Gilbert Gottfried. At the very least, he's a budding kleptocrat with a history of uber-shady business dealings.

But like Hillary with philandering Bill, Ivanka serves to make her own—to coin a euphemism—feministically challenged presidential relative more palatable to women. And among a certain segment of the female population who might have been off-put by the Billy Bush tape, the premise and presence of Ivanka signaled that her father can’t possibly have meant he grabs them literally by the pussy.

There is zero comparison between sexual assault and having an affair. Donald Trump is actively working to take away women's rights. Bill Clinton didn't.
White House Power Without Bounds. In the West Wing, Ivanka has quickly become a White House power center. Trump has said his daughter helps him with the women stuff, but her portfolio actually has no limits. In most White Houses, the spouse figures into the management flow chart somewhere, but not until Hillary came along did White House staff have to figure the powerful unelected relative’s interests into every issue. Ivanka might not be at that level yet, but there don’t seem to be any boundaries to the issues she’s dealing with. And she has face time with the president that no one else gets.

Uh, Nancy Reagan? Eleanor Roosevelt?
Starting on Third Base Thanks to Her Man. Remember when Hillary Rodham Clinton reminded everyone she wasn't standing there by her man baking cookies? She had made it on her own—hence the inclusion of “Rodham,” at least until retrograde Arkansans let it be know at the voting booth that they didn’t like it. The maiden name retention, though, could never obliterate that she was in the White House, in politics at all, thanks to her marriage.

As has been recounted many times, Hillary had quite the career going before she decided to move to Arkansas with Bill. She was probably more qualified to be Governor of Arkansas than he was. She'd been in politics/advocacy on behalf of women and children for several years at that point, and was an accomplished lawyer.

Similarly, Ivanka—who certainly isn’t changing her name—has often implied that she earned her business empire and now, political standing, thanks to old-fashioned hard work. She has even built a brand and is writing a book identifying herself with, as she puts it, #womenwhowork.

#womenwhowork is for nobody but women in the top .1 percent. Hillary helped the poor.

Helping Poor Women Sell More Baskets. In Germany this week, Ivanka advocated for women's entrepreneurial empowerment worldwide. "The statistics and results prove that when you invest in women and girls, it benefits both developed and developing economies," she said in one interview. "Women are an enormous untapped resource, critical to the growth of all countries.”
Such talk is the cut-and-pasted, Davos-approved, market-based solution to gender inequality that was the signature goal and achievement of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She even created an ambassador for women and girls, Melanne Verveer, who spent four years traipsing the planet to push international leaders to invite more women into their economies.

Uh, CHIP was real. "Hillarycare," which came ever so close to passing in 1994, was real. Ivanka's crap is vaporware, like a lot of the stuff her father does. Guaranteed.

Hillary promoted economic empowerment in lieu of actually using her podium to speak out against legalized, traditional misogyny in places like Saudi Arabia, where many donors to the Clinton Foundation happened to reside. Likewise, Ivanka has yet to lend her weight to fighting the egregious sexism of Arabs in the Gulf, where she has advanced various Trump projects.

That's, uh, random.

Soliciting Foreign Donations to a Private Fund. While in Germany this week, Ivanka disclosed that she has begun developing a “massive fund” to benefit female entrepreneurs around the world. Like a global Apprentice, the fund will provide seed capital to small- and medium-sized enterprises that qualify. And it’s relying on foreign donors. Canadians, Germans and a few Middle Eastern countries have already made commitments, as have several corporations, a source told Axios, which broke the story.

Bill Clinton was President, was set to make a lot of money post-Presidency, so he started a foundation. It's saved, at the very least, hundreds of thousands of lives. I don't understand what makes this controversial other than the fact that Bill and Hillary are Clintons, so everything's controversial.

Apparently a Neocon Hawk. The day after President Trump lobbed 59 Tomahawks at a Syrian air base, Ivanka’s brother Eric told a British newspaper that he was “sure” she had urged their father to attack. “Ivanka is a mother of three kids and she has influence. I'm sure she said: 'Listen, this is horrible stuff,'” he said. At a briefing, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer did not confirm or deny that idea, but said there was “no question” she weighed in.

At this point, I feel like a journalist using the phrase "Neocon Hawk" is pretty darned hackish. Besides, IF Ivanka really did that for the reason she did it, that's not being hawkish, that's being humanitarian, if perhaps misguidedly so.
Ethically Challenged. Hillary’s ethical lapses, from Whitewater to the Clinton Foundation, were well known, but unraveling those entanglements is amateur hour compared with the “ethical quagmire” Ivanka finds herself in as a senior White House adviser and a woman with a multinational business of her own. Now a federal employee working without a salary, she is maintaining a stake in Trump’s Washington hotel, whose five-star services are viewed by foreign dignitaries and their staffs as the ticket to win Trump’s favor. But, it is a criminal offense for a federal employee to participate substantially in matters in which they have financial interests. It’s not clear how and whether she can separate herself from her Ivanka Trump clothing and jewelry line. Since her company’s regrettable tweet about how to buy the bracelet she wore on TV a few days after the election, she has ceased brazen marketing. But she has sat in on meetings with Chinese and Japanese leaders while her company was arranging trademark and business deals in those countries. 

Whitewater wasn't real. The Clinton Foundation, as I said above, was a good thing. A VERY good thing. Hillary Clinton only has a problem with ethics in the eyes of Republicans or idiots who believe Republicans.

A Cypher. Like Hillary, there is something unknowable and mysterious about Ivanka, maybe because both women are in the contorted position of supporting men whose real behavior with women has been utterly reprehensible at best, illegal at worst. Like Hillary, Ivanka is deeply, perhaps preternaturally guarded. She has written that she developed a hard shell after enduring the humiliation of her parents’ divorce in paparazzi-infested, tabloid-crazed New York. In public, her face is a smooth, still mask, and she’s never photographed with a hair out of place (unlike HRC), or even with her mouth open in mid-speech. And much like Hillary, who relied on unctuous helpings of personal charm and public “listening” to balance out distrust with her self-protective stance, Ivanka uses an Instagram account loaded with shots of her engaged in the duties of mother and wife to occlude the realities of her seriously powerful life. Only time will tell whether, as with Hillary, resisting the inevitable public urge to breach that shield becomes an obsession.

I don't recall Hillary Clinton being described as a "Cypher." We knew as much about her as we have any other First Lady. She was scrutinized to an extent that was way beyond appropriate. I don't know how old Burleigh is, but I remember the '90s.

I actually didn't know very much about Nina Burleigh, and I had to look her up:

Nina Burleigh is Newsweek's National Politics Correspondent. She is an award-winning journalist and the author of five books. Her last book, The Fatal Gift of Beauty: The Trials of Amanda Knox, was a New York Times bestseller. In the last several years, she has covered a wide array of subjects, from American politics to the Arab Spring.

Wait, the nail your National Political Correspondent has to hang her hat on is A BOOK ABOUT A TABLOID STORY? That explains so much. And depresses too much, as well.

Nina Burleigh, congratulations on having written one of the most hacky columns I've read in a while.

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