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When Barack Obama nominated Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, he made her appointment contingent on her husband revealing the contributors to his foundation in order to avoid any questions about potential conflicts of interest. The foundation subsequently disclosed its donors– after refusing to list them for a decade– and it turned out they included many “governments, corporations and billionaires with their own interests in U.S. foreign policy”.
Yet try getting an answer now from the foundation about its donors. I’ve been trying all week to see if Gulnara Karimova (daughter of the dictator of Uzbekistan) or any companies she owns have given money to the foundation, and I can’t get a reply. I have heard from a source that Gulnara is a donor, directly or indirectly, but I don’t have any solid evidence of that. Either way, the foundation appears to be quite unwilling to honor its pledge of “openness.” It’s all in the tradition of the foundation’s titular head.
Note: Thanks to all the readers who wrote about the story. Many pointed me to sections of Gulnara’s website, like this one on propaganda. A number also noted that the picture on the site showing Gulnara with Bill Clinton mistakenly refers to the former president as “Senator Bill Clinton.” As one reader wrote to the magazine, “It would have been well for Mr. Silverstein to highlight this error, as it displays Karimova’s obvious unconcern to relay factual information.”
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”