Tuesday, August 16, 2016

How Horrible Will Hillary Be As President (Aside From Not As Horrible As Señor Trumpanzee)?


Towards the end of January, Elizabeth Warren penned an OpEd for the NY Times dealing with why corporate criminals routinely escape meaningful prosecution for their misconduct, coming to the conclusion that "weak enforcement by federal agencies is about the people at the top."

In a single year, in case after case, across many sectors of the economy, federal agencies caught big companies breaking the law-- defrauding taxpayers, covering up deadly safety problems, even precipitating the financial collapse in 2008-- and let them off the hook with barely a slap on the wrist. Often, companies paid meager fines, which some will try to write off as a tax deduction.

The failure to adequately punish big corporations or their executives when they break the law undermines the foundations of this great country. Justice cannot mean a prison sentence for a teenager who steals a car, but nothing more than a sideways glance at a C.E.O. who quietly engineers the theft of billions of dollars.

These enforcement failures demean our principles. They also represent missed opportunities to address some of the nation’s most pressing challenges.

...Enforcement isn’t about big government or small government. It’s about whether government works and who it works for. Last year, five of the world’s biggest banks, including JPMorgan Chase, pleaded guilty to criminal charges that they rigged the price of billions of dollars worth of foreign currencies. No corporation can break the law unless people in that corporation also broke the law, but no one from any of those banks has been charged. While thousands of Americans were rotting in prison for nonviolent drug convictions, JPMorgan Chase was so chastened by pleading guilty to a crime that it awarded Jamie Dimon, its C.E.O., a 35 percent raise.

...Each of these government divisions is headed by someone nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate. The lesson is clear: Personnel is policy.

Legislative agendas matter, but voters should also ask which presidential candidates they trust with the extraordinary power to choose who will fight on the front lines to enforce the laws. The next president can rebuild faith in our institutions by honoring the simple notion that nobody is above the law, but it will happen only if voters demand it.
This morning, Hillary announced that conservative lobbyist Ken Salazar will be leading his transition team. Tim Kaine was a terrible choice for running mate. Ken Salazar is ten times worse.

The Salazar brothers were elected to Congress in 2004 and both totally sucked. Ken Salazar was pushed into the Democratic Senate nomination in Colorado with a boost from Wall Street-owned Chuck Schumer, the same year his elder brother, John, was elected to the House. John joined the Blue Dogs immediately and distinguished himself as a key NRA ally within the Democratic conference. One of his biggest goals was to abolish the inheritance tax, something Trump is making a cornerstone of his economic agenda right now. Remember the Stupak Amendment to undermine Choice? John voted for that. Democrats finally kicked him out of office in 2010 by boycotting his reelection bid and letting far right Republican Scott Tipton slip into his seat.

Meanwhile, Ken was distinguishing himself as one of the worst and most corporate-friendly, anti-working family and homophobic Democrats in the Senate. He happily voted to confirm both Sammy Alito and John Roberts to the Supreme Court and he was one of the Democrats who endorsed and campaigned for Joe Lieberman against Ned Lamont-- even after Lieberman lost the primary! He came to national attention by being the primary sponsor for George Bush's unqualified Attorney General nominee, Alberto Gonzales. Salazar was best known during his short stint in the Senate for his fidelity to the pollution industry. In his first year in the Senate he voted with the GOP against increasing fuel-efficiency standards for cars and against an amendment to repeal tax breaks for Big Oil. And the following year he voted in favor of oil drilling off Florida's beaches. He was a particular enemy of anything to do with dealing with Global Warming and is considered one of the culprits in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill both before the spill and afterwards.

Salazar is widely thought to be one of the worst Interior Secretaries in modern times, immediately announcing when he took over that he would uphold Bush policies, like preventing the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. He was America's worst enemy of endangered species and is the poster child for the destruction of the polar bear and turning wild horses into dog food. After Obama appointed him Secretary of the Interior in 2009, I wrote that "Ken Salazar was always a corporate friendly kind of guy. He was especially friendly with the natural resources extraction corporations. They had no reason to feel threatened when Obama appointed him to be Secretary of the Interior, and no reason to think anything would change from the all-you-can-eat days of the Bush Regime. And, basically, nothing has . He was an embarrassment to the Obama adminsitrationand they tried to get him to run for governor of Colorado and eventually pushed him out. He soon resigned to become a lobbyist.

This morning David Sirota, writing for the International Business Times, noted that Hillary's announcement of Salazar as her transition team head, "comes as Clinton has campaigned against the so-called 'revolving door' that allows politicians to shuttle between public and private sector work." I suspect Sirota sees Salazar's appointment as a harbinger of bad things to come under President Hillary.
Salazar’s firm has lobbied for corporations who are likely to have significant business with the next presidential administration. For example, the most recent lobbying filings show the firm in 2016 has represented Cigna as it pursues a controversial merger with Anthem. Records show the firm also has represented Delta Airlines, investment firm Lazard Group, insurance giant Liberty Mutual, telecommunications behemoth Verizon and Newmont Mining.

...Over the course of the 2016 campaign, Clinton has faced questions about her ongoing ties to the influence industry: Despite her anti-lobbyist rhetoric, she has raised more than $7 million from registered lobbyists.

Want reality? click the image

Clinton has also faced questions from environmentalists about her record on pipeline construction, hydraulic fracking and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Salazar’s appointment will not allay those concerns: Since leaving government, he has made headlines promoting the Keystone XL pipeline, promoting the TPP and defending fracking.

In November, Salazar authored a joint oped with former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt saying "The TPP is a strong trade deal that will level the playing field for workers to help middle-class families get ahead. It is also the greenest trade deal ever." Politico reports that Salazar is now opposing a ballot measure designed to restrict fracking in his home state of Colorado. He has previously asserted that "there’s not a single case where hydraulic fracking has created an environmental problem for anyone."
No one is allowed to be a Naderite though, so watch your step... Trump is under the bed-- and he bites (and has rabies). No, really. She's 100% the lesser of two evils. No question about it. None. None. None.

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At 2:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hillary hired D W Schultz for her campaign when she was exposed to have rigged her nomination? Oh that's just less evil. They refused to abolish super delegates that make the nomination process undemocratic. Great it's less evil. The "league of women voters" no longer has a say in Presidential debates. It's better than all evil though. The narrative of our political destruction goes on. Naderite? Does that mean voting for somebody honest and worthy of your vote, instead of someone who is Trump-lite? Maybe next election will be different in 4 years or is that 8 years? Repeat ad nauseum "lesser of the two evils". An ex president once said 56 years ago " NIXON: And I say we can't afford to have the White House as a training ground for an inexperienced man who is rash and impulsive. " Hmm that sounds familar.


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