Sunday, November 19, 2017

San Diego State's Rashaad Penny: The Best College Football Player In America In 2017

A few weeks ago, I wrote here that any sportswriter or other member of the Heisman Trophy voting committee that doesn’t select San Diego State University running back Rashaad Penny as a finalist for the prestigious award for college football's best player should have his or her voting priveledges taken away. 

But after watching last night's game, in which Penny finished with an astounding 429 all-purpose yards, allow me to amend that declaration a bit: Those of you who don't vote for Penny as a Heisman finalist should never be allowed to write about college football again!

Penny is easily one of the best three college football players in the nation in 2017. He deserves to be a Heisman finalist. If you've watched him play this year, you surely agree. It's indisputable at this point. 

San Diego State beat Nevada last night 42-23 in a game that will only confirm and expand the Aztecs’ postseason options. This will mark the eighth bowl game in the last eight years for San Diego State football. But the bigger story last night was the historic performance from Penny, who leads the nation in rushing and all-purpose yards. 

It was a game for the ages for Penny, who ran for 222 yards to bring his total to 1,824, putting him atop the nation's running backs. Stanford’s Bryce Love, a surefire Heisman finalist who Penny outplayed in San Diego State's win over #19 Stanford in September, is in second place with 1,723 yards.

In addition to running for 222 yards last night, Penny also returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown (it was the first punt return of his college career). Not long after that, Penny returned a kickoff 100 yards for another touchdown. The kickoff return for a TD is the seventh of his career, tying the college record. He had four touchdowns total. 

Nevada played well and was shooting for the upset, but Penny sealed the game for San Diego State. His 429 all-purpose yards broke the school record of 422 set 26 years ago by Marshall Faulk during his monster 386-yard rushing game against Pacific. 

I was at that game back in 1991. It was the greatest performance by a running back I'd ever seen in college football. Until last night.

Sports Illustrated college football writer Bruce Feldman wrote yesterday that the top five Heisman candidates in his book are Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, and four running backs: Stanford's Bryce Love, Penn State's Saquon Barkley, Wisconsin's Jonathan Taylor, and Auburn's Kerryon Johnson. 

Now Bruce, before you crack your knuckles and start typing me defensive reasons why I'm wrong and why Penny doesn't deserve to be a Heisman finalist, save it. The only argument you can really come back with when a player who isn't in a Power Five conference has these kind of historic numbers is that he hasn't done this against any legit competition.

But Penny demonstrably outplayed Bryce, who is your #2 candidate on the Heisman list, when San Diego State beat Stanford. Penny finished that game with 206 total yards on offense vs. Love’s 187 yards. Both are great athletes. Penny's just a little better.

Penny also had a remarkable game against Arizona State, another Power Five team that beat #5 Washington and #24 Oregon and is headed for a bowl game this year. Against the Sun Devils, in Tempe, Penny had 353 all-purpose yards, including 216 rushing on just 18 carries, 38 yards receiving and 99 yards on special teams.

The opponent does not matter. Penny dominates all comers. There is simply no sound argument left for Bruce or anyone else to justify leaving him on the outside looking in to the Heisman ceremony in New York City next month. 

Don't let this happen yet again, Heisman voters. You slighted Faulk, the college and NFL hall-of-famer who was easily the best football player in the nation when you gave the trophy instead to Gino Torreta, who quarterbacked a great Miami team but was in no way, shape or form a better football player than Faulk was that year or any year. 

You did it again last year to Donnell Pumphrey, the unstoppable and unbelievable San Diego State mighty might who broke the all-time college football rushing record last season and ran for more than 2,000 yards. He deserved to be a Heisman finalist, too.

But this time y'all are out of even bad excuses. Those of you who didn't vote for Pumphrey embarrassed yourselves, but if you make the even bigger blunder and leave Penny out, you will leave your credibility left hanging by a thread from your wrinkled Dockers.

If I sound pissed... bingo! Enough is enough is enough. I have great respect for sportswriters, generally, and often defend them when I'm in the company of those who have no clue how tough the gig really is. But when it comes to the Heisman vote, sportswriters, and especially ESPN analysts, have been displaying a regrettable amount of ignorance and bias for far too long.

Notice I’m not even saying Penny deserves to win the dang thing. He does, of course. I called him the best player in college football above because he is the best player in college football. But all I am saying here is that he deserves to be part of this ceremony. The Heisman finalists are supposed to include the best individual football players in the country. Penny is one of those. 

Some years, Heisman voters make a reasonable argument when Division One players have amazing stats but haven't played against strong competition. But I will say it one more time: two of Penny’s finest games this season were against Power Five teams. He's great no matter who he is playing.
Heisman voters, please stop shaming the award with your myopic, clueless votes. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Man in the Wilderness: Congressman Walter Jones, the Only House Republican in Deep-Red State to Vote Against House Tax Plan

Rep. Walter Jones, lonely voice of reason and decency
Walter Jones must feel like a man in the wilderness. Jones, a North Carolina Republican in the House of Representatives, has a storied history of speaking his mind, regardless of the consequences. But this week, he really went out on a limb. Jones is the only member of his party from a deep-red state to vote against the current House version of the $1.5 trillion tax bill.
It was a brave move. But also a smart one. Why? Because this tax bill will hurt so many of his constituents. When all is said and done, if this absurd tax bill, or its equally preposterous counterpart bill in the Senate, reaches President Trump's desk, many of Jones' supporters will take a major hit. And probably so will you.
Jones, who's been in Congress since 1994, is someone I have long admired. A moderate, he is a truly decent and independent man. You want examples? For more than a decade, he has been quietly writing personal letters of respect and condolence to the families of thousands of men and women who have lost their lives fighting in the nation's post-9/11 wars. He says he does it because he deeply regrets voting in 2002 to authorize the U.S. to invade Iraq.
As I reported in the International Business Times a few years ago, Jones was one of the few voices in Congress who relentlessly demanded that the government release the redacted pages of the Joint Intelligence Committee 9/11 Inquiry report regarding the Saudi Arabian government's alleged involvement in the terrorist attack.
And once again Jones has been a singular voice with this tax "cut," which he voted against in large part because it eliminates the tax deduction for out-of-pocket medical expenses, which, seemingly unbeknownst to his GOP colleagues, is a very scary proposition for millions of suffering Americans. "There are a lot of seniors in my district, and this is life and death for them," Jones said this week.
Middle Class Hit Hard
So, there you go. A rare moment of clarity and decency among House Republicans these days. The so-called tax "cuts" in both the House and the Senate are the biggest scams for wealthy Americans and multi-national corporations Congress has ever attempted to pull on this country. They will greatly harm the economy, and millions of Americans.
The House bill would raise taxes on millions of middle-class families, punish the elderly, eliminate jobs, increase health insurance premiums, encourage American companies to take their jobs to other countries, which of course President Trump has done his entire career, and explode the debt.
In the House bill, people making less than $30,000 a year would actually pay $4 billion more in taxes, while people who make over $200,000 would pay $90 billion less.
And as Jones noted, the bill would kill a deduction that allows millions of American families of disabled children and elderly people to write off large medical expenses. The deduction is currently allowed if medical expenses exceed 10 percent of a taxpayer's adjusted gross income. About 9 million taxpayers reportedly deducted about $87 billion in medical expenses for the 2015 tax year, according to the IRS.
Few Republicans have had the courage to speak out about this ridiculous idea to repeal the medical-expense tax break. Rep. Greg Walden, the Oregon Republican who chairs the Energy and Commerce Committee, told the Chicago Tribune this week that some of his constituents who live in senior care facilities could in fact be harmed if the deduction is taken away.
But when asked what he plans to do about it, his answer was vague and bizarre. "I think it's one we have to continue to massage a bit," he said. "There's a lot of things out there and there's maybe going to be an opportunity to adjust some of them."
Cancer Patients Threatened
Meanwhile, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has warned that the House tax cut proposal, which passed narrowly on Thursday (13 Republicans opposed it), would cut $25 billion from Medicare spending next year. The reduction would come in the form of automatic sequester cuts designed to prevent the federal government from running out of money.
Oncologists nationwide are very concerned about this. The Republican's plan to slash Medicare would trigger sequester cuts that would drive more independent cancer clinics out of business and reduce cancer patient access to care.
“Policymakers in Washington should note that blunt budget-cutting gimmicks like the sequester cut backfire. They have terrible unintended consequences and do more harm than good for patients and taxpayers,” the Community Oncology Alliance (COA) said in a statement.
As OncLive reported today, the coalition of independent oncology practices stated that the most recent Medicare sequester cut, five years ago, resulted in the closure of nearly 100 oncology practices—many consisting of multiple clinic locations—and caused another 130 to merge with hospitals in order to survive.
Under the House bill, which was not supported by a single Democrat, corporations can benefit by taking their jobs out of the United States. Companies will have the option of paying the new 20 percent corporate rate the GOP is proposing, or move to a low-tax country and pay just 9 percent to that nation and nothing to the United States. Yes, nothing.
Senate Bill Might Be Even Worse
Not to be outdone, the Senate's version of this so-called tax cut, which will be voted on next week, may be even more harmful to working Americans. In this bill, taxpayers who make between $50,000 and $75,000 would pay $3.9 billion more in taxes per year after the individual cuts expire in 2026, according to the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT), while wealthy families who benefit more from the corporate tax cuts would continue to get a tax break after the individual cuts expire.
The JCT said the Senate bill will raise taxes on low-income Americans beginning in 2021, and that taxpayers earning less than $40,000 would see their tax bills go up in the second half of the next decade. The CBO also said that the Senate's tax plan could trigger huge cuts to Medicare and other programs in order to meet budget deficit rules.
The Senate bill will repeal the individual mandate in Obamacare, which will increase the number of Americans without health insurance by 13 million, according to the CBO, and raise insurance premiums by about 10 percent for millions of middle-class families and by over $1,000 per year for millions of seniors.
Senate Majority turtle Mitch McConnell admits he added the elimination of the individual mandate to the bill to help pay for permanent corporate tax rate cuts.
Both of these tax bills are frauds. Scams. But don't take my word for it. Read up on them. See for yourself. Walter Jones did. And he should win some sort of medal for it.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

President Trump's Asia Sojourn: Welcome To Amateur Hour

President Trump and China President Xi
Upon his return this week from a 12-day tour of Asia, President Trump made an unsurprising number of self-congratulatory declarations about the trip's alleged accomplishments.

“Our great country is respected again in Asia,” he Tweeted. "You will see the fruits of our long but successful trip for many years to come!”

But none of that is true. The journey, which took him to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines, yielded no substantive achievements. Zip. Nada. During the trip, which actually set us back on several fronts, Trump gave China a pass on trade, kissed up to a burgeoning dictator in the Philippines, and insulted Japan, our best friend in the region.

What Trump's Asia sojourn did above all was show the world just what an amateur diplomat this President really is. And it didn't give us the first clue what the future holds for the United States and the Pacific Rim. We're no closer to a concrete Asia strategy now than we were before Trump left. We still have no idea, for example, what his plan is with regard to North Korea's development of nuclear weapons. 

And most significantly, every leader he saw on this trip demonstrably had more respect for President Obama than they have for Trump, but they couldn't play Obama as well. Trump is an easy mark.

Trump Is Putty In Xi's Hands

In China, Trump fell hook, line and sinker for President Xi Jinping's Politics 101 strategy to continually flatter the President. That's all it takes for Donald to bite, and speak about you in glowing terms. Just tell him you like his suit. Or his hair. And he's silly putty in your hands.

Politically, Donnie Trump is a freshman, whereas Xi and most of the world leaders Trump encountered on this trip are grad' students. Yes, it's the classic checkers-chess analogy, and I don't need to tell you which one is playing checkers.

After feverishly accusing China of "raping" U.S. workers while on the campaign trail, Trump did a wimpy 180 during this trip and said the trade imbalance between the U.S. and China is "not China's fault." 

He caved, and blamed past U.S. leadership.

I like that we are engaged with China. I have a deep and abiding respect and love for China's people. But Trump is being played by Xi. Trump looked like a fool, much to Xi's obvious delight, and did nothing to challenge the fact that China, not the U.S., is now the number one influential force over the future of the Asian continent.

Trump embarrassingly fawned over Xi, calling him “a very special man” with whom he has “great chemistry.” He even congratulated Xi on the recent Communist Party Congress, which gave Xi sweeping new power as China's leader.

Trump's Asian trade strategy is not a strategy at all. It's a mess. Like virtually everything in this administration. Trump has expressed a desire to make trade deals with each individual Asian state, but there's very little interest in this among any nation in Asia.

Meanwhile, most of the countries Trump visited are involved in healthy new trade deals and/or negotiations with other countries around the planet. Things are moving fast in Asia, and Trump isn't even on the bus, despite having spent 12 days there.

Chummy With One of the World's Worst Leaders

Trump also nauseatingly and irresponsibly made too-nice with one of the world's most despicable and corrupt leaders, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who called President Obama a “son of a whore" and is responsible for a bloody drug war that has led the the deaths of more than 12,000 Filipinos. At least 2,555 of the killings have been reportedly attributed to the Philippine National Police.

Trump never mentioned these glaring human rights abuses during this trip. But he did once again bring up the false claim that Obama “didn’t land” in the Philippines because of his “horrible” relationship with that country.

It was actually Obama who decided to cancel a meeting with Duterte in September 2016 after the two world leaders had a public disagreement over the mass killings in the Philippine drug war.

Trump has a very tenuous relationship with reality and the facts.

“I mean, the Philippines, we just could not have been treated nicer," Trump said, embarrassing himself, again. "And as you know, we were having a lot of problems with the Philippines. The relationship with the past administration was horrible, to use a nice word. I would say ‘horrible’ is putting it mildly. You know what happened. Many of you were there, and you never got to land. The plane came close but it didn’t land."

This simply did not happen. It's fiction.

Blasting Our Best Friend in Asia

But perhaps the most insulting and inexplicable blunder on this trip didn't happen in China, or the Philippines, but in Japan, which has been our greatest ally in Asia for many years. When speaking with a group of Japanese business execs, Trump stupidly said, “Try building your cars in the United States instead of shipping them over. Is that rude to ask?”

Uh, yeah, it's rude to ask. And it's utterly clueless.

Most Japanese cars that Americans drive are already built here in America. Some of the top Japanese automakers, including Nissan, Toyota and Honda, already build millions of their best-selling vehicles here in the states and have brought hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars into the US economy. 

Could they build even more cars here? Yes, I suppose. And is there still some trade imbalances between the two countries? Yes. But Japan contributes an enormous amount to the U.S.

Not that this disrespectful remark is at all a surprise. This President puts his foot in his mouth on a daily basis. But he simply should have known better. He claims to be a smart businessman. He isn't. He's bankrupted businesses five times. And making real estate deals isn't the same as making deals with international leaders.

Trump needs to step out of the 1980's and get with the new program. Try reading. It's never too late to educate yourself, Mr. President. The days of hostilities between Japan and the U.S. are long gone. Sure, trade is a legit issue, but Japan is now a solid partner with the United States, and a strong economic friend.

I was personally offended by his comments. I'm a 26-year loyal customer of Nissan. They're the best cars in the world, and the only ones I drive. And I've gotten to know a number of executives at Nissan in the United States.

The relationship between Nissan and the U.S. has been very healthy for both sides for decades. Nissan is an enormous contributor to the US economy and has 22,000 employees across the country.

"Nissan has vehicle assembly plants in Smyrna, Tennessee, which opened in 1983 and is the largest volume plant of any automaker in North America,” Brian Brockman, director of group communications for Nissan Group of North America, told me this week.

Brockman said there are also "Nissan assembly plants in Canton, Mississippi, powertrain assembly plants in Decherd, Tennessee, R&D facilities in Michigan, Arizona and California, a design studio near San Diego, a sales finance corporation near Dallas, and eight regional sales offices" and other training and distribution centers across the country.

But what impresses me most about Nissan is the active role the company plays at the community level in the U.S. Here in San Diego County (California), Nissan is deeply involved in supporting local police, local veterans and our indigenous surf culture.

Mossy Nissan Kearny Mesa, for example, the car dealership where I've bought and serviced my trucks for more than two decades, recently built a fully equipped Titan truck and donated it to the Oceanside Police Department.

At the Supergirl Surf Pro women's surfing competition this summer, Nissan was one of the primary sponsors and was scheduled to give away a new Nissan Rogue to the winner of the competition. But two surfers tied.

"The chances of a tie were like one in a million," Mossy Nissan Kearny Mesa's Executive Manager, Sean Hogan, told me this week.

Nissan executives were faced with a bit of a dilemma. So what did they do? They decided to give both of the winners new cars. "When we made the announcement, the crowd, and both of the winning surfers, went wild," Hogan said with a proud smile.

Sure, it was a smart public relations move. But the point is Nissan makes the effort. That’s just how the company rolls.

Nissan is involved in countless positive programs throughout the U.S., and the Nissan Foundation provides grants annually to organizations that promote cultural awareness and diversity.

Nissan also has a long-standing partnership with Habitat for Humanity that dates back to 2005. The company has contributed $15 million, donated dozens of vehicles to local chapters and logged more than 97,000 employee volunteer hours building 85 homes in communities where Nissan’s American employees live and work.

On a personal note, my cars have been unbelievably reliable. Not a single mechanical issue with any of them, neither my Pathfinder nor either of my Xterras. I've always been treated well by Nissan dealerships.

And of course it's not just Nissan. Toyota’s largest auto manufacturing plant in the world is in Georgetown, Kentucky. The plant employs 8,200 people. In 2016, Honda manufactured nearly 70 percent of U.S.-sold cars in America.

President Trump needs to open a book, a magazine or a newspaper and spend less time watching "Fox and Friends" and Tweeting. He needs to learn how the world really works.

And he really needs to learn how to treat a friend.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Any Sportswriter Who Doesn't Vote For Rashaad Penny As A Heisman Trophy Finalist Should Have Your Voting Privileges Yanked

San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny leads the nation in rushing

On Saturday afternoon, ESPN posted the six players the network believes have the best shot at the Heisman Trophy, the vaunted award given to the young man who 870 sportswriters and 52 former Heisman winners believe is America’s finest college football player. And preposterously but not surprisingly, San Diego State's Rashaad Penny was not on the list.

Penny, a dominant athlete who can run around you, or through you, leads the nation in rushing, and all-purpose yards. On Saturday night, he ran for 234 yards and three touchdowns to lead San Diego State (8-2, 4-2 in the Mountain West) over San Jose State.

In the process, Penny, who's also a tremendous receiver and kickoff returner and leader on and off the field, passed Stanford's Bryce Love as the nation's top running back. Penny has racked up 1,592 rushing yards this season, 136 more than Love.

While Penny was wreaking havoc, Love and Penn State's Saquon Barkely, who are both virtual locks as Heisman finalists, were looking very average, very human against a couple of good defensive opponents. Love ran for just 69 yards in Stanford’s loss to Washington State, while Barkley had just 68 yards in Penn State’s loss to Michigan State.

But lest you think Penny only racks up big numbers against weak opponents, think again. Penny demonstrably outplayed Bryce when San Diego State defeated #19 Stanford in mid-September. Penny finished that game with 206 total yards on offense vs. Love’s 187 yards.

Penny has shown his greatness against Power Five teams. There is simply no disputing it: He has earned an invite to the Heisman Trophy announcement ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 9 in New York. But Rashaad won't likely be invited. Why? Because when it comes to the Heisman vote, there are absurd biases in favor of the usual suspects: players on the high-profile power conference teams that get all the publicity. 

There is a profound and lamentable lack of awareness among too many Heisman voters of who really is the best athlete in the land. This is supposed to be individual athlete award, not a team or conference award. But far too many sportswriters don't really know how to make that distinction.

Of course, this is all old news for San Diego State football fans. Marshall Faulk, the legendary NFL and College Football Hall-of-Famer, was easily the best football player in the nation when he was a running back at San Diego State in the early 1990s. 

Marshall was the greatest college football player I have ever seen in person. To this day. But he lost two Heisman votes that he should have won. One of them was to Gino Torreta, who quarterbacked a great Miami team that was ranked #1 before the Heisman voting but who in no way, shape or form was a better football player than Faulk.

When it comes to the Heisman, ESPN analysts, specifically, have been doing really dumb things for a really long time. ESPN college football analyst Lee Corso led a laughable, iindefensible campaign in support of Torretta for the trophy and left Faulk off his ballot. Lee, are you Faulking kidding me?

There wasn't a single sportswriter in the country who'd actually watched both Faulk and Toretta play who could say, with a straight face, that Toretta was a better football player. The Heisman went to the wrong man that year. Period. And even Toretta knew it.

A few years ago, Faulk told the San Diego Union-Tribune, "Without a doubt, I won the Heisman. If you call Gino Torretta and ask him right now, he'd be willing to give it (to me)."

But, Faulk continued, "The way I look at it now, not winning the Heisman was probably the best thing that happened to me. It gave me that extra drive, the drive that got me through college when people didn't think I could play running back. It got me through the NFL when people questioned whether I was going to be a good player because I didn't win the Heisman. It fueled the fire throughout my whole career.”

More recently, another exceptional San Diego State player got the royal Heisman snub from the royal Heisman hacks. Donnel Pumphrey was an unstoppable running back for SDSU who last season broke not only Faulk’s seemingly unreachable rushing record at SDSU but, even more impressively, Wisconsin great Ron Dayne's college football career rushing record.

Pumphrey had a phenomenal senior season, during which he became the top college running back of all time. But he wasn't even voted in as a finalist in the Heisman race. That's pathetic.

Again, a reminder: the Heisman Trophy is supposed to be given to the best individual player in the country. It is not a vote for the best team. It is not a vote for the best player on the best team in the best conference with the best TV deal. 

Cynical? Yes, very. The Heisman seems to be reserved for a guy who has the best chance to to well in the NFL, for a guy who meets the cliche' criteria of a college football player (the right size, weight, looks, back story, etc).

Bottom line to the sportswriters who vote for the Heisman: Stop making yourself look foolish. Stop making the Heisman a joke. 

Anyone who doesn't vote for Penny this year as Heisman finalist, please, for the love of all that is good and decent, stop covering college football. I hear the obituary section has an opening.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Stop the Presses: More Juicy, Shocking Details on Hillary and the Uranium One Mega-Scandal

Am I a big fan of Hillary Clinton's? Nope. I alternately admired and admonished her throughout her political career. And now I kinda wish she'd just take up the ukulele, buy an island in the South Pacific someplace, and go away. 

But the breathless, hyperbolic claims from the mainstream right-wing media that Clinton gave 20 percent of our country’s uranium to Russia in some sort of high crime just don't hold up. They are laughably false. This is treason without a reason, folks. Another bogus Clinton scandal. 

There were no secret midnight meetings with Putin. No collusion with Russia. No quid pro quo, as far as I can tell. And actually nothing inappropriate went on. But you are of course free to believe all the preposterous hype. 

This all started when Rosatom, Russia’s nuclear power agency, bought a majority stake in a Canadian company that has mines and land in the US that account for 20 percent of the US uranium capacity, not actual produced uranium. The State Department approved the sale in 2010.

The uranium in question is not for building nuclear bombs, it is for nuclear power. The US has nuclear power plants and of course nuclear weapons, but 90 per cent of the uranium used in the US is imported from countries like Canada and Kazakhstan, according to the Department of Energy.

The sale of the Canadian company was actually approved by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CIFUS). Its nine members unanimously approved the deal. This interagency group actually includes the following departments: State, Defense, Treasury, Commerce, Energy, and Homeland Security. 

The US attorney general’s office also has a say, as does the US Trade Representative, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy. The purchase was ultimately approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), which is also a member of CIFUS.

Clinton's State Department was one of nine federal agencies and several independent federal and state regulators that agreed to this deal. And only Obama, not Hillary, could have formally nixed it, and there was no reason to.

Since Russia doesn't have legal rights to export uranium, its goal with this buy, some experts believe, was to gain access to the company’s uranium assets in Kazakhstan. But there is no security threat here, folks. This was not collusion. It was a business deal that literally no one at any of these many  departments opposed.

The Clinton Foundation did receive some money from at least one Uranium One investor, but the claims made by Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and other reactionary blowhards that this is a quid-pro-quo scandal is nonsense.

The fact that President Bill Clinton was paid $500,000 to give a speech to a conference in Moscow in 2010 is interesting. And I have stated before that some of the Clinton donors are scoundrels and are troubling. 

But in the Uranium One deal, there is no evidence of any sort of returned favor. The primary Uranium One donor to the foundation, Frank Giustra, divested himself from his stake in the company three years before it was sold, and 18 months before Clinton became secretary of state.

There is no evidence that the donations to the foundation or the speaking fee had any influence on the approvals granted by the NRC or the Committee on Foreign Investments. This is just another example of the desperate right-wing media's effort to get folks to pay attention to something/anything other than this profoundly corrupt president.

We are seeing it with the "dossier" business, as well. That's simply a candidate paying for opposition research. Every candidate does it. The difference? The people Clinton paid to find dirt on Trump are legitimate political operatives who were in fact first hired by a Republican opponent of Trump's.

However, the people the Trump campaign apparently sought out for dirt on its opponent were the Russians. That's collusion, with a hostile foreign power, to influence an American election, any way you slice it, and it's despicable and un-American.

The Uranium One business is a non-scandal perpetrated by a desperate, ethically challenged handful of conservative media pundits who are trying to move the negative attention away from Trump, who's wholly corrupt presidency is hanging by a thin thread.