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The Irony of Clinton's Comparison of Putin to Hitler

Chris Ernesto   |   March 6, 2014    6:36 PM ET

Read More: ukraine, russia, crimea, clinton

Clinton's US colleagues are supporting neo-Nazis in Ukraine

When Hillary Clinton compared Russian President Vladimir Putin's actions to Adolf Hitler in remarks this week, you wonder if she was aware that the US government is supporting a government with ties to neo-Nazis in Ukraine today.

Claiming that Putin is acting like the former Nazi leader is unsophisticated and preposterous, particularly for a seasoned official like Clinton. But did she really not know that the US is openly supporting the anti-Semitic Svoboda party in Ukraine and that any mention of Hitler could bring attention to America's ties to the neo-Nazi movement in the former Soviet Republic?

You wonder if Clinton was aware of the phone call between her former State Department colleague Victoria Nuland and US Ambassador to Ukraine Jeffrey Pyatt in which they discuss Oleh Tyahnybok, the leader of the Svoboda party who has a history of anti-Semitic remarks (Tyahnybok is the person John McCain was criticized for meeting with in Kiev in December). Nuland describes Tyahnybok as one of the big three within the opposition leadership that the US was assisting in overthrowing the government in Ukraine. This is the same Tyahnybok who was expelled from the Ukrainian parliament in 2004 because of a speech he gave praising World War II partisans who fought Jews and "other scum." Tyahnybok also claimed that the "Jewish-Russian mafia" were running Ukraine at the time, and is the person who declared that Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk was a hero who was "fighting for truth." In 2005 Tyahnybok wrote open letters demanding Ukraine do more to halt "criminal activities" of "organized Jewry."

The ultra nationalist Svoboda party has a "history of anti-Semitism and [has a] platform of ethnic nationalism," according to Abraham H. Foxman, National Director of the Anti- Defamation League. Maybe Clinton was just ignorant of this fact, and the fact that "white supremacist banners and Confederate flags were draped inside Kiev's occupied City Hall, and demonstrators have hoisted Nazi SS and white power symbols over a toppled memorial to V.I. Lenin." Openly anti-Semitic parties include White Hammer and C14, the neo-Nazi youth wing of the Svoboda party, according to Haaretz.

2014-03-06-svoboda.stepan.bandera.neo.nazi.march.jpg

It could be that Clinton is simply uninformed, like some others, as described by Seumas Milne of the British Guardian, "You'd never know from most of the reporting that far-right nationalists and fascists have been at the heart of the protests and attacks on government buildings."

But Clinton had to have known that a 2012 European Parliament resolution condemned the Svoboda party for its racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic views, and that the US is today supporting that same party. "The [Svoboda] party traces its roots to the Ukrainian partisan army of World War II, which was loosely allied with Nazi Germany, and its debut in Parliament [in 2012] elicited objections from Israel and groups that monitor hate speech," according to a recent New York Times article by Andrew E. Kramer. Kramer continued, "Until 2004, Svoboda had been called the Social-Nationalist Party, which critics said was just a word flip away from its true ambitions and a deliberate reference to the National Socialism of the Nazis. Unabashed neo-Nazis still populate its ranks, organizations that study hate groups in Europe say."

Wasn't Clinton aware that another top Svoboda member, Yuriy Mykhalchyshyn, a deputy in parliament, often quotes Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, as well as other Third Reich luminaries like Ernst Rohm and Gregor Strasser?

It's clear that people like Hillary Clinton are pushing for more US influence in Ukraine, and attempting to make Russia look bad is one tactic to achieve this goal. But by ridiculously comparing Putin to Hitler, Clinton unwittingly brought to the surface the ironic fact that it is her own country's government -- not Russia's -- that is supporting forces in Ukraine who embrace the Nazi philosophy.

Hilary Miller   |   February 17, 2014    9:00 AM ET

What better way to celebrate President's Day 2014 than with a look back at our last 14 men in office and their famous friends? Let's be honest (for old Abe's sake), there's nothing more patriotic than Katherine Hepburn sitting down to dine with President Roosevelt.

Enjoy these vintage gems.

President Barack Obama with Jay Z and Beyonce
obama jay z beyonce

President George Bush with Dr. Phil and Carrie Underwood
george bush carrie underwood

President Bill Clinton with Brad Pitt
president clinton actor

President George H. W. Bush with Bono
george h w bush singer

President Ronald Reagan with wife Nancy and Michael Jackson
reagan michael jackson

President Jimmy Carter with Kirk Douglas
jimmy carter actor

President Gerald Ford with wife Betty and Brooke Shields
gerald ford actress

President Richard Nixon with John Wayne
nixon john wayne

President Lyndon B. Johnson with Maureen O'Hara
lyndon johnson actress

President John F. Kennedy with Frank Sinatra
john f kennedy actor

President Dwight Eisenhower with Bob Hope
eisenhower actor

President Harry Truman with Spencer Tracy
president truman actor

President Franklin D. Roosevelt with Katherine Hepburn
president roosevelt actress

President Herbert Hoover with Gertrude Lawrence
president hoover actress

Movie Review: Hank: Five Years From the Brink

Marshall Fine   |   January 28, 2014    9:23 AM ET

2014-01-28-hank2.jpg

Almost from the moment the economy collapsed during the 2008 presidential campaign, there has been a war to control the narrative of what led to the disaster -- nearly a catastrophe -- that almost brought down the nation's (and the world's) economy.

One of the earliest was Charles Ferguson's Oscar-winning Inside Job and there have been others -- documentaries and dramatizations such as Too Big to Fail -- that have tried to explain what actually happened.

Now, five years after the fact, we get Hank: Five Years from the Brink, in which former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry "Hank" Paulson gives us a play-by-play of how he, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and Federal Reserve chairman Timothy Geithner, kept everything from collapsing while alternately massaging and challenging the various egos that ran the nation's largest banks.

Filmmaker Joe Berlinger keeps it simple.

This review continues on my website.

Christie Is an Amateur

Mike Smith   |   January 27, 2014    1:25 PM ET

2014-01-27-Smith_C20140117.jpg

Mollie Reilly   |   January 27, 2014   12:27 PM ET

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Monday that the 2011 attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya was the "biggest regret" of her tenure at the State Department.

"My biggest regret is what happened in Benghazi," Clinton said during an appearance at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in New Orleans, La. "It was a terrible tragedy, losing four Americans, two diplomats, and now it's public, so I can say, two CIA operatives. Losing an ambassador like Chris Stevens, who was one of our very best."

Clinton remains under scrutiny from Republicans who insist she should be held accountable for the attack. Democrats, including Senate Intelligence Committee chair Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) have come to Clinton's defense, saying she is not to blame for Benghazi.

When asked about her potential presidential aspirations, the former first lady remained mum on whether she plans to seek the Democratic nomination in 2016, as many political observers expect her to do.

"I have to say I don't know," Clinton said. "Not a very satisfactory answer."

She was slightly more candid on a topic relevant to her auto industry audience.

"The last time I actually drove a car myself was 1996," Clinton admitted.

Joking, she continued, "I remember it very well. Unfortunately, so does the Secret Service, which is why I haven't driven since then."

  |   January 24, 2014    9:28 AM ET

The gravitational pull of a possible 2016 campaign is bringing all the old Clinton characters into her orbit. Can she make the stars align, or will chaos prevail?

  |   January 14, 2014   11:07 AM ET

CLINTON, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut man faces numerous drug charges after police say he posted a YouTube video of himself giving a tour of what he calls his marijuana garden.

Police in the shoreline town of Clinton, about 20 miles east of New Haven, arrested William Bradley, 46, on Monday following a six-month investigation.

Medal of Freedom for Clinton

  |   November 23, 2013    1:17 PM ET

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Wherefore Romeo -- Dallaire, That Is!

  |   November 5, 2013    3:51 PM ET

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Rajiv Narayan   |   November 1, 2013    8:50 AM ET

Read More: clinton

I can just imagine this guy's thought process.

The Case Against Clinton 2016

  |   October 22, 2013    1:10 PM ET

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  |   October 11, 2013    5:10 PM ET

LONDON -- LONDON (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton has supported Saudi women who this week defied their kingdom's ban on female driving.

The former U.S. secretary of state told an event in London: "I'm all for it. It is an issue that is symbolic." She added that the ban is "hard to even rationalize" in today's world.

Cautionary Tale in Shutdown for Both President and Speaker

Steven M. Gillon   |   October 4, 2013   11:19 AM ET

The last government shutdown in 1995 offers cautionary lessons for both sides in the current standoff.

The two men at the center of the last shutdown, Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich, shared a closer, but also more explosive, personal relationship then the protagonists in the current Washington drama. Yet even they managed to stumble into an unwanted shutdown.

Then, as now, miscalculation and misunderstanding -- and a large degree of hubris -- helped create the crisis. For all of their superficial pleasantries and private conversations, Gingrich and Clinton did not really understood each other, and they remained supremely confident in their ability to dominate the other. Gingrich accepted the popular view circulating among Republicans that the president lacked backbone. Privately, he dismissed him as "a frat boy who reads books." Fresh off winning a major victory in the 1994 midterm elections, he believed he could force a chastened president to accept a balanced budget in seven years. His whole strategy was based on the unquestioned belief that Clinton lacked the backbone for a budget battle and that the public supported his conservative agenda -- even if it meant painful sacrifice.

For his part, Clinton was confident that he could manipulate Gingrich's ambition and grandiosity and turn it to his advantage. He understood that Gingrich needed to be seen as a rebel, but that he also wanted to be taken seriously as a member of the Washington establishment. He sensed that, despite his tough public posture, Gingrich was in many ways very needy and eager to please.

Their mutual misunderstandings led to two government shutdowns. Clinton proved more resourceful and stubborn than Gingrich had expected. Anyone who had studied Clinton's career would have known that his affable exterior disguised a tough and resilient core. Against the advice of liberals in his own party, Clinton embraced the Republican goal of achieving a balanced budget, but he insisted that basic Democratic programs be protected. At the same time, while Clinton may have accurately diagnosed Gingrich's private psychology, he failed to appreciate the fervor and anger of the Republican caucus that was in no mood for making deals.

We all know that Gingrich and the Republicans paid a heavy political price for their miscalculations. After two shutdowns, public disapproval of the Republican House dropped 20 points, and Gingrich's unpopularity ratings rivaled Richard Nixon's at the depth of the Watergate crisis. Speaker Boehner could confront a similar backlash. Clinton entered the contest as a weak president, but he emerged invigorated and strengthened. Many in the White House are hoping for a similar bump from this confrontation.

The 1995 budget shutdown, however, holds cautionary lessons for President Obama as well. He lacks the ideological wiggle room that Clinton used so brilliantly to frustrate and eventually defeat Gingrich. In the weeks leading up to the shutdown, Clinton triangulated and coopted the Republican message, agreeing to a balanced budget while promising to fight for popular middle class programs. Obama lacks that same flexibility. He cannot embrace the Republican goal of gutting his most significant legislative achievement.

The White House should avoid the mistake of assuming that history will repeat itself and that Obama will be able to dominate Boehner the same way Clinton bested Gingrich. The outcome of that struggle was by no means inevitable. When the government shut its doors for the first time in mid-November 1995, many in the White House, including President Clinton, feared that the public would blame him for the impasse. "I was afraid they'd get away with it," Clinton reflected, "given their success at blaming me for the partisan divide in the '94 election."

Both sides were playing a high stakes poker game. It was unclear who would win.

The 1995 budget showdown could have had a very different ending had Newt Gingrich not made one colossal mistake. While in the final hours of the debate over the budget, Clinton took a delegation of American leaders, including Gingrich and Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, to Israel to attend the funeral of assassinated Israeli leader Yitzhak Rabin. Gingrich assumed that they would use the 25 hours trapped on a plane to hammer out a compromise. But Clinton's advisors plotted to keep them apart, fearing their boss would go searching for a deal. When they landed back in Washington, Dole and Gingrich were forced to exit Air Force One by a rear ramp.

Gingrich was furious. Meeting with reporters after they returned, Gingrich lashed out at Clinton. He told startled reporters that he took a tougher line in the final round of budget negotiations because of the rude treatment on Air Force One. "This is petty," Gingrich confessed. "I'm going to say up front it's petty, but I think it's human. When you land at Andrews and you've been on the plane for 25 hours and nobody has talked to you and they ask you to get off by the back ramp . . . you just wonder, where is their sense of manners, where is their sense of courtesy?"

Gingrich's childish verbal tirade was a public relations disaster for the Republicans. "Cry Baby," screamed the New York Daily News, next to a picture of Gingrich in a diaper. That afternoon, the White House released a photograph of Clinton, Dole, and Gingrich chatting on the plane.

Coming in the second day of the shutdown when public opinion was still malleable, the outburst made Republicans seem petulant and stubborn, while allowing Clinton to appear presidential by comparison. Polls shifted dramatically in the president's favor. Gingrich emboldened the president, angered the pubic, and destroyed the morale of his own troops. The shutdown lingered for a few more days, and another ensued, but the Republicans had lost the debate.

Had the Gingrich temper tantrum not taken place the budget shutdown could have had a very different result. There seems to be a misplaced confidence in the White House today that Republicans always get blamed. That may not be true. Its unlikely that Speaker Boehner will repeat the mistakes of his temperamental predecessor. That means that the political consequences of the shutdown in 2013 could be very different from 1995.

Obamacare Is Making Republicans Sick

  |   September 30, 2013    1:51 PM ET

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