Hillary Clinton, CGI and the Relationship with Monsanto
Monsanto uses money to grow money (source)
by Gaius Publius
As many of you know, I've been following the "Clinton & Sanders" story for a while, but also the Clinton story by itself as it relates to the candidate, the family (since all are principals of their foundation), and the foundation itself. The most recent entries are here:
I was therefore very pleased to find this comprehensive article by Judy Frankel comparing Clinton and Sanders on the issue of food. I actually follow food issues from time to time, especially as it relates to Monsanto and the politics of the farm states, and also what I increasingly think of as "our broken food system."
Ms. Frankel's article is entitled "Hillary vs. Bernie on Frankenfood" and as I said, it's fairly comprehensive. I'll return to its main points later, but I want just to focus here on one aspect, Monsanto, Clinton, and the Clinton Global Initiative.
Here's Ms. Frankel (my emphasis):
Is Hillary a Shill for Monsanto?As I said, I'll return to the food aspect of this issue later. For now, though, consider what this says, or reinforces, about the Clinton Global Initiative. I earlier wrote (in the first article listed above):
How is Hillary personally involved in supporting big agriculture? The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), which gathers leaders to solve the world's problems, promotes Monsanto, the maker of RoundUp® and RoundUp Ready® seeds. Hugh Grant, Monsanto's Chairman and CEO spoke at the Clinton Global Initiative conference in September, 2014. Ms. Clinton's top campaign advisor, Jerry Crawford, was a lobbyist for Monsanto for years and is now the political pro for her Super PAC, "Ready for Hillary." Clinton spoke in favor of the government's Feed the Future (FtF) program, a USAID funded, corporate-partnered program that brings RoundUp Ready® technology to the most vulnerable populations of the world. Monsanto and Dow Chemical support Hillary and Bill's 'Clinton Foundation' with generous donations.
Last year, at a San Diego biotech conference, Hillary coached her audience in messaging. "Genetically modified sounds Frankensteinish. Drought-resistant sounds like something you'd want. Be more careful so you don't raise that red flag immediately."
It's also highly unlikely for Hillary Clinton to stand up against her benefactors, saying she favors a review of RoundUp, 2,4-D, and the even more toxic poisons used by farmers worldwide when she has friends in the industry telling her that they will "feed the world" someday with their agricultural methods.
The do-gooder aspect of the Clinton family's CGI — yes, family; the official name of the umbrella organization is "Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation" — obscures its definition of "good." The organization promotes these "good" things — more carbon emissions in the form of fracked methane ("America's natural gas"), privately-owned schools, privately-owned public infrastructure like bridges and roads — and it does so by hosting forums presented people like Robert Rubin, fracked methane CEOs, and other billionaire beneficiaries of these policies. ...And about Ms. Clinton more generally, from the fourth piece listed above:
[Examples provided in source article]
What's the goal of CGI? The answer has to be — to prop up the One Percent (actually the 0.001%, the 1% of the 1%) while appearing to do good, or by doing enough good to appear to be all-good.
As to CGI's managers, from the Clintons on down, are they failing to solve global economic problems out of ignorance of the obvious — that their proposed "solutions" are in fact the cause? Or are they failing for some other reason? If trade deals, to pick just one issue, are so bad for the average worker, are they too ... what, dumb? ... to see that, or too venal to cop to it?
And what about the Clintons themselves? What causes this family to collect millions for a foundation loved by "do-gooder" billionaires — and likely funded by them — a foundation that promotes policies that keep these people rich and the rest of us poor, despite its stated objectives?
There are several ways to answer these questions, some social, some intellectual, some financial. None is flattering.
The "Wall Street wing" of the Democratic Party is really the Money wing and represents Money wherever it is found. Though some dispute the claim, it seems to me the split between the Warren wing and the Money wing is huge, a chasm, and shows little sign of healing at the moment. It may heal later, artificially and for a time, around a Clinton candidacy, but that time isn't now.So the first point was about the foundation, the second about the 2016 presidential contest. What are the takeaways so far?
Hillary Clinton and the Money Wing
I think it's fair to say, regardless of how you view Hillary Clinton as a presidential candidate, that her biggest hurdle on the Democratic side is her perceived connection to Big Money, and lots of it. Her family grew rich by cultivating people with money; her foundation grew fat by cultivating people (and nations) with money; and her donor list has historically included holders of big money, especially Wall Street holders (though Obama seems to have out-raised her on Wall Street in 2008).
She may be able to shed these concerns — there is much time left, too much in fact, until the Democratic primary elections. But she may not need to shed them; for example, the specter of "Republicans in the White House!" may be too much for even the most progressive of voters. We'll have to see how this plays out. Nevertheless, it's fair to say that the tag "friend of money" is one of the vulnerabilities Ms. Clinton may have to overcome.
Two Bottom Lines
I'm presenting Clinton's connection to Monsanto because Ms. Frankel's piece adds one more data point to two broader statements, namely:
- The Clinton Global Initiative, whatever else it is, is also a very well funded promoter of the global neo-liberal project, in the same way that the Gates Foundation aggressively promotes the neo-liberal transformation of the world.
- Ms. Clinton's connection to the world of money, through her family's foundation and in other ways, is both her greatest liability in the race between her and Sanders and a glaring one.
Schedule note: I'll be transitioning for about a week to a new location, after which I'll be working remotely through the end of July. There may be some interruption in posting until I'm resettled. After that, we're back to the regular schedule.