Sunday, January 31, 2016

Wall Street Doesn't Care If It's Hillary Or Some Republican In The White House-- Just So It Isn't Bernie


There's also this wing of the Democratic Party

Eastern Iowa's Gazette has been around since 1883 and is a major source of news for Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, strongly Democratic Party areas of Iowa. Going into the caucuses this weekend they fact-checked a cynical question from Rove Does Iowa really want Wall Street in the White House?. According to a report by the generally pro-Hillary Washington Post "by Sept. 30, Hillary Clinton had received $6.42 million in donations toward her 2016 presidential campaign from employees and PACs of banks, credit card companies, securities and investment firms, accounting firms and insurance companies-- organizations commonly called Wall Street groups."
The second claim by American Crossroads is that Wall Street interests made Clinton a multimillionaire after her support for a $700 billion bailout. The ad shows the number “$3.15 million” and references a CNN report.

The bailout portion of this claim is easily determined. H.R. 1424, commonly referred to as the bailout of the U.S. financial system, passed the Senate on Oct. 1, 2008. Clinton, then a New York senator, was one of the 74 senators in favor. Two days later, President George W. Bush signed it into law.

For its $3.15 million claim, American Crossroads cites a CNN report from October, which delves into Clinton’s fees for speeches, using her tax returns as sourcing.

Using those returns, specifically the 2013 speech income document, we can see that Clinton charged $225,000 per speech. Fourteen of those speeches were for banks, investment firms or financial companies like Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and USB Wealth Management. The Goldman Sachs Group alone hosted three speeches that year, costing $675,000 in total.

Math for Clinton’s speeches for such companies comes to $3.15 million, which shows where American Crossroads got its number.

It should be noted Clinton charged $225,000 for at least 40 speeches made that year, which included other organizations such as Gap Inc. and Verizons Communications.

And while the ad implies a cause and effect relationship since the bailout. it’s not that simple-- the Clintons have been close to Wall Street groups since the 1990s.


A data search finds the ad’s comparison of Clinton’s donations from Wall Street with Iowa to be right-- the gap is actually larger.

It’s impossible to verify whether Clinton’s financial support from Wall Street groups is tied to the bailout. The numbers, however, show Wall Street interests paid millions in speaking fees to her subsequently.

That said, Fact Checker scores the two claims measured in the American Crossroads ad an A.
I don't know how many caucus goers in eastern Iowa read the New York Times but those who do this weekend will see why the mouthpiece of the Establishment has, very predictably, endorsed the candidate of the Establishment.

Hillary Clinton would be the first woman nominated by a major party. She served as a senator from a major state (New York) and as secretary of state-- not to mention her experience on the national stage as first lady with her brilliant and flawed husband, President Bill Clinton. The Times editorial board has endorsed her three times for federal office-- twice for Senate and once in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary-- and is doing so again with confidence and enthusiasm.

Mrs. Clinton’s main opponent, Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-described Democratic Socialist, has proved to be more formidable than most people, including Mrs. Clinton, anticipated. He has brought income inequality and the lingering pain of the middle class to center stage and pushed Mrs. Clinton a bit more to the left than she might have gone on economic issues. Mr. Sanders has also surfaced important foreign policy questions, including the need for greater restraint in the use of military force.

...Clinton can be more hawkish on the use of military power than Mr. Obama, as shown by her current call for a no-fly zone in Syria and her earlier support for arming and training Syrian rebels. We are not convinced that a no-fly zone is the right approach in Syria, but we have no doubt that Mrs. Clinton would use American military power effectively and with infinitely more care and wisdom than any of the leading Republican contenders.
So, what it comes down to is what we've said all along. She's a woman and she's not as bad as a Republican. They also make the point that she's more "realistic" in her goals than Bernie. That translates to "more conservative," just like the editors who wrote the piece. Her disgusting opposition to single-payer health care shows exactly who she is and what she represents and should be enough for most Democrats to reject her as a candidate. Elizabeth Warren has been careful not to directly attack Hillary's alliance with the Wall Street banksters and the Medical-Industrial Complex, which have largely financed her Republican-lite political career. But I guarantee you, she didn't have Bernie in mind when she was saying this on the Senate floor last week:

Writing today for the New York Review of Books scholar and author Simon Head blew the roof off the Clinton Machine's vast and incredibly corrupt fundraising apparatus. "[F]ew," he wrote, "have been as adept at exploiting this big-money politics as Bill and Hillary Clinton... What stands out about what I will call the Clinton System is the scale and complexity of the connections involved, the length of time they have been in operation, the presence of former president Bill Clinton alongside Hillary as an equal partner in the enterprise, and the sheer magnitude of the funds involved." And it stinks to high heaven of the kind of corruption both common-place among Republicans and of exactly what propelled Bernie Sanders into the race to begin with.
Scale and complexity arise from the multiple channels that link Clinton donors to the Clintons: there is the stream of six-figure lecture fees paid to Bill and Hillary Clinton, mostly from large corporations and banks, which have earned them more than $125 million in the fifteen years since Bill Clinton left office in 2001. There are the direct payments to Hillary Clinton’s political campaigns, including for the Senate in 2000 and for the presidency in 2008 and now in 2016, which had reached a total of $712.4 million as of September 30, 2015, the most recent figures compiled by Open Secrets. Four of the top five sources of these funds are major banks: Citigroup Inc, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase & Co, and Morgan Stanley. The Clinton campaign meanwhile has set a goal of raising $1 billion for her Super PAC for the 2016 election.

...Former US presidents have long used charitable foundations as a way to perpetuate their influence and to attract speaking fees as a lucrative source of income. But the Clintons are unique in being able to rely on the worldwide drawing power of former president Bill Clinton to help finance the political career of Hillary Clinton—with the expectation among donors that as a senator, secretary of state, and possible future president Hillary Clinton might be well placed to return their favors. The annual meetings of the Clinton Global Initiative have provided a prime setting for transactions between the Clintons and their benefactors. Among the corporate sponsors of the 2014 and 2015 CGI conferences in New York City, for example, were HSBC, Coca Cola, Monsanto, Proctor and Gamble, Cisco, PricewaterhouseCoopers, the Blackstone Group, Goldman Sachs, Exxon Mobile, Microsoft, and Hewlett Packard. For sponsorship of $250,000 or more, corporate executives attending the CGI meetings can enjoy special privileges up to and including direct access to the Clintons.

In a 2013 investigative article for the New Republic, Alec MacGillis described the annual CGI meeting as a complicated give and take in which CEOs provide cash for CGI projects in exchange for access to Bill Clinton. MacGillis focused on the activities of Douglas Band [who declared last week that he would support billionaire Michael Bloomberg if Clinton lost the nomination to Bernie Sanders], a former low-level aide in the Clinton White House, who at the CGI meetings arranged favors for selected CEOs such as “getting them on the stage with Clinton, relaxing the background checks for credentials, or providing slots in the photo line.” At the CGI’s 2012 meeting it was Muhtar Kent, then CEO of Coca Cola, who, New York Times reported “won a coveted spot on the dais with Mr. Clinton.”

Along with the Clinton Foundation, lecture fees have offered another way for interested parties such as Citicorp and Goldman Sachs to support the Clintons beyond direct campaign donations. Data drawn from the Clintons’ annual financial statements, the Clinton Foundation, and the banks themselves show that between 2001 and 2014 Bill Clinton earned $1.52 million in fees from UBS, $1.35 million from Goldman Sachs, $900,000 from the Bank of America, $770,000 from Deutsche Bank, and $650,000 from Barclays Capital. Since she stepped down as secretary of state in February 2013, Hillary Clinton has been earning comparable fees from the same sources. Of the nearly $10 million she earned in lecture fees in 2013 alone, nearly $1.6 million from major Wall Street banks, including $675,000 from Goldman Sachs (the payments referred to by Bernie Sanders in the January 17 2016 debate), and $225,000 each from UBS, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, and Deutsche Bank.

Among the most striking and troubling aspects of the Clinton System are the large contributions corporations and foreign governments have made to the Clinton Foundation, along with Bill Clinton’s readiness to accept six-figure speaking fees from some of them, at times when the donors themselves had a potential financial interest in decisions being made at Hillary Clinton’s State Department. An investigation published in April 2015 by Andrew Perez, David Sirota and Matthew Cunningham-Cook at International Business Times shows that during the three-year period from October 2009 through December 2012, when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, there were at least thirteen occasions—collectively worth $2.5 million—when Bill Clinton received a six-figure speaking fee from corporations or trade groups that, according to Federal Government records, were at the time engaged in lobbying at the State Department. These payments to Bill Clinton in 2010 included: $175,000 from VeriSign Corporation, which was engaged in lobbying at the State Department on cybersecurity and Internet taxation; $175,000 from Microsoft, which was lobbying the government on the issuance of immigrant work visas; $200,000 from SalesForce, a firm that lobbied the government on digital security issues, among other things. In 2011, these payments included: $200,000 from Goldman Sachs, which was lobbying on the Budget Control Act; and $200,000 from PhRMA, the trade association representing drug companies, which was seeking special trade protections for US-innovated drugs in the Trans-Pacific Partnership then being negotiated.

And in 2012, payments included: $200,000 from the National Retail Federation, which was lobbying at the State Department on legislation to fight Chinese currency manipulation; $175,000 from BHP Billiton, which was lobbying the State Department to protect its mining interests in Gabon; $200,000 from Oracle, which, like Microsoft, was seeking the government to issue work visas and measures dealing with cyber-espionage; and $300,000 from Dell Corporation, which was lobbying the State Department to protest tariffs imposed by European countries on its computers.

During Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, US defense corporations and their overseas clients also contributed between $54 and $141 million to the Clinton Foundation. (Because the foundation discloses a range of values within which the contributions of particular donors might fall, only minimum and maximum estimates can be given.) In the same period, these US defense corporations and their overseas government clients also paid a total of $625,000 to Bill Clinton in speaking fees. In March 2011, for example, Bill Clinton was paid $175,000 by the Kuwait America Foundation to be the guest of honor and keynote speaker at its annual Washington gala. Among the sponsors were Boeing and the government of Kuwait, through its Washington embassy. Shortly before, the State Department, under Hillary Clinton, had authorized a $693 million deal to provide Kuwait with Boeing’s Globemaster military transport aircraft. As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton had the statutory duty to rule on whether proposed arms deals with foreign governments were in the US’s national interest.

Further research done by Sirota and Perez of International Business Times and based on US government and Clinton Foundation data shows that during her term the State Department authorized $165 billion in commercial arms sales to twenty nations that had given money to the Clinton Foundation. These include the governments of Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Algeria, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, all of whose records on human rights had been criticized by the State Department itself. During Hillary Clinton’s years as secretary of state, arms sales to the countries that donated to the Clinton Foundation ran at nearly double the value of sales to the same nations during George W. Bush’s second term. There was also an additional $151 billion worth of armaments sold to sixteen nations that had donated funds to the Clinton Foundation; these were deals organized by the Pentagon but which could only be completed with Hillary Clinton’s authorization as secretary of state. They were worth nearly one and a half times the value of equivalent sales during Bush’s second term.

Among the most important, and lucrative, business friendships the Clintons have formed through the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiatives has been that with Canadian energy billionaire Frank Giustra. A major donor to the foundation for many years, Giustra became a member of its board and since 2007 has been co-sponsor of the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative, or CGGI. In turn, Bill Clinton’s political influence and personal contacts with foreign heads of state have been crucial to Giustra’s international business interests.

...The record of the Clinton System raises deep questions about whether a Hillary Clinton presidency would take on the growing political influence of large corporate interests and Wall Street banks. The next president will need to address critical economic and social issues, including the stagnating incomes of the middle class, the tax loopholes that allow hedge-funders and other members of the super-rich to be taxed at lower rates than many average Americans, and the runaway costs of higher education. Above all is the question of further reform of Wall Street and the banking system to prevent a recurrence of the behavior that brought about the Great Recession of 2007-2008.

So far, Hillary Clinton has refused to commit herself to a reintroduction of the Depression-era Glass-Steagall Act, which Bill Clinton allowed to be repealed in 1999 on the advice of Democrats with close ties to Wall Street, including Robert Rubin and Larry Summers. The reintroduction of Glass-Steagall, favored by Bernie Sanders, would prevent banks from speculating in financial derivatives, a leading cause of the 2007-2008 crash. With leading Wall Street banks so prominent in the Clintons’ fundraising streams, can Hillary Clinton be relied upon to reform the banks beyond the modest achievements of the Dodd-Frank bill of 2010?
Is America ready for this level of corruption in the White House? Democrats shouldn't be and Iowa Democrats should lead the way in rejecting Clinton's candidacy tomorrow and supporting Bernie Sanders instead.

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At 12:59 PM, Blogger Daro said...

Despite being incredibly detailed, the list still managed to miss out some of my favorite payments to Madame Clinton, i.e from Tata and Infosys (the 2 largest abusers of the H-1B visa scheme) and the Indian business community for near $3Million. Any IT people voting for Hillary are going to look pretty stupid a year later as they sit on the side of their own desk training their grinning replacement.


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