Which Hypocritical Billionaire Should Rule America?

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She might meet with you — if the price is right

W.J. Astore

News about the Clinton Foundation and its finances shows the truth of that old adage, “You get what you pay for.”  In this case, giving money to the Clinton Foundation often bought access to Hillary Clinton (or her closest aides), the odds-on favorite to be America’s next president, and sometimes it helped with favors as well.  These revelations illustrate perfectly the “pay to play” nature of the American political scene: the usual influence peddling, the usual FOBH, Friends of Bill and Hillary, coming together to pull the strings while being paid handsomely for the performance.

Here’s what the Washington Post had to say about it:

A sports executive who was a major donor to the Clinton Foundation and whose firm paid Bill Clinton millions of dollars in consulting fees wanted help getting a visa for a British soccer player with a criminal past.

The crown prince of Bahrain, whose government gave more than $50,000 to the Clintons’ charity and who participated in its glitzy annual conference, wanted a last-minute meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

U2 rocker and philanthropist Bono, also a regular at foundation events, wanted high-level help broadcasting a live link to the International Space Station during concerts.

In each case, according to emails released Monday from Hillary Clinton’s time as secretary of state, the requests were directed to Clinton’s deputy chief of staff and confidante, Huma Abedin, who engaged with other top aides and sometimes Clinton herself about how to respond.

The emails show that, in these and similar cases, the donors did not always get what they wanted, particularly when they sought anything more than a meeting.

But the exchanges, among 725 pages of correspondence from Abedin disclosed as part of a lawsuit by the conservative group Judicial Watch, illustrate the way the Clintons’ international network of friends and donors was able to get access to Hillary Clinton and her inner circle during her tenure running the State Department.

Yes, money sure does matter.  If asked why they took more the fifty grand from the prince of Bahrain, among other donors with deep pockets, I suppose Hillary and Bill might just say, “Because that’s what they offered.”  Money is the universal solvent of politics, and Hillary and Bill know this better than most.

Of course, Hillary is trying to position herself as the champion of ordinary people, even as she and her husband have amassed a foundation and position worth roughly $2 billion. Who knows?  Given the nebulous and chaotic nature of Trump’s finances, the Clintons may be richer than him.

Which brings me to this question: Which hypocritical billionaire do you want to rule America?

Update (8/24/16): The Washington Post has another story on how Hillary Clinton is raising big money through various fundraisers.  All you need is $25K or $50K and some good connections and you too might be able to meet Hillary in a semi-private setting.  You might even net a bonus like seeing Cher (in Provincetown) or hearing Aretha Franklin sing (in Birmingham, Michigan).

Remember how Bernie Sanders energized a movement, raising millions by relying on individual donations that averaged (and this is an amount he made famous) $27 per donation?

Those days are gone.  Establishment Hillary is back, and she’s raising buckets of money from the deep pockets of heavy-hitters.

But never fear!  She’s all about helping “everyday people” — a phrase her campaign used until someone noticed it was slightly condescending.

If we’re “everyday people,” who are the Clintons?  Well, I can tell you how they think of themselves by how they act: They are the higher life forms, to borrow a phrase from a friend, a retired Army major who remembers M-48 tanks because he served in one.

That’s one place we won’t see Hillary: in an Army tank.  But if we ever did, I think she’d pull it off better than Michael Dukakis did.

***Photographer
Beware of posing with tanks

 

9 thoughts on “Which Hypocritical Billionaire Should Rule America?

  1. Frankly, it would be a no-brainer, but our dishonest media has focused on Donald Trump’s awkward comments which they have exaggerated to an art form of name calling started by Hillary Clinton and President Obama both of whom have promoted violence against Trump supporters which the media in all of its bias has largely ignored. A case of fomenting or provoking violence against police and political opponents has never been made by our biased media against Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama whose rhetoric on racism has been irresponsible by directly or indirectly labeling the nation as racist. Soon after President Obama’s comments on “racism” in the nation at least eight police officers were ambushed and killed. Our mainstream media ignored the linkage which appeared obvious. They could not embarrass the first African American president, it would be too damaging to the Democrat party and besmirch him as the first of his race to attain the presidency. Bias is a major component of the mainstream news and TV network news making dishonesty its core.

    The only consistent part of Hillary Clinton’s decades of “public service” is unethical conduct which has reached criminality but the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI has a double standard, one for a prominent and powerful political figure like Hillary Clinton and everybody else which has been promoted by Barack Obama, whose truth-telling skills are negligible, a trait he has in common with both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush-43. The government of two political parties appears to have evolved into a system of political patronage linking lobbyists, big business, educational institutions and government all part of the status quo threaten by one Donald Trump.

    Donald Trump has no official public record, only statements which to some are unacceptable while Hillary Clinton’s actions in a long public career were often unethical and wrong. While watching NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN and MSNBC recently their bias is so obvious one wonders whether they are an unofficial arm of the Democrat party. Freedom of the press has meaning only if you own the press because it appears the mainstream press and TV networks have become unified behind one political party in this election. When bias becomes prevalent in news it becomes corrupt adding to failing government because their is no clarity, only obfuscation.

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    1. Henry: I’m less concerned with bias against Trump (the man is an idiot) than I am with the bias against all alternatives, like the Libertarians and the Greens. The debates should include Jill Stein and Gary Johnson, but instead we get two of the most disliked people in America. Talk about a Hobson’s choice. A pox on both their houses, Dems and Repubs.

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      1. Bill, This bias is more than about Trump, it is about a mainstream media ignoring the failures and mistakes of President Obama and Hillary Clinton to preserve and promote them in office while nitpicking endlessly their political opponent. Anyone with a modicum of international experience knew that the Iraq War would be a disaster and that disaster might only be forestalled by massive and costly “nation building.” The elites like Hillary voted on on exaggerated claims against Iraq to foment war and she was a fool, unlike Barbara Lee and others who voted against the war. Where was our media? The media were like obedient servants taking Phil Donahue off the public air waves because he strongly criticized the impending Iraq War. The mainstream media in many instances actually promoted the war with wayward “reporters.”

        The election between Trump and Clinton is more than about these two people, it is about the status quo represented by Clinton and an outsider. The status quo has proven so incompetent and damaging to the nation one would never know it through the mainstream media which props it up. The Iraq War did enormous damage in lives and tremendous financial cost- several trillion dollars- not a word about. The financial bailout of Wall Street which the nation is still financially paying for in many ways has damaged the economy and Bill Clinton was right in the middle of the financial meltdown by signing legislation gutting Glass-Steagal. Donald Trump is not the conventional republican and the fact that the entire status quo of the republican party has abandoned him and tacitly support Hillary Clinton. They abandoned him not because his remarks were awkward and blown out of context but because he represents change disrupting their policies and money to their failed agendas. Whatever change President Obama promoted was either harmful or marginally beneficial to the nation.

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      2. That’s a good point, Henry, about some of the Establishment “outrage” about Trump. It’s not that they object to what he says. They object to what he might do. And they know in office he’ll be both unpredictable and less than tractable. Hillary, by comparison, is one of them, and eminently predictable.

        That said, Trump remains an idiot. Which is not a vote for Hillary. The alternatives are long shots, but I’d rather go for a long shot than the choice we have now.

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  2. Pretty stupid and insulting column. Assumption is that donations to the Clinton Foundation go to the Clinton’s wallets. And how dare they try to do any good in the world! Any mention of the independent rating of the quality and efficiency of the Foundation as a charity? Nope. The specific activities and investments of the Foundation? Nope, just innuendo. I expect much higher quality from the author’s writings as you have delivered in the past. This just mails in the standard derp conservative horse shit. This is just a bullshit hit piece. I guess the only solution is to prohibit all elected officials from meeting and communicating with anyone who has power or money. That, of course, will miraculously break the existing gridlock and get a lot of shit done, right? No, but we’ll all be able to say we’re impeccably honest and stay out of trouble.

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    1. No, the “donations” don’t go directly to the Clintons’ wallets (or purses). But clearly donors had more than a charitable agenda. By donating to the Foundation, they were often buying access to Hillary Clinton, who was then serving as Secretary of State. Furthermore, recent donors are clearly betting she’ll soon be president. Once again, the donations have a political purpose of gaining access and influence, and some of the donors are foreign government officials and business-types.

      In short, The Clinton Foundation is not purely a charity. Not when it’s linked to a former president, a serving State Department head, and soon-to-be president.

      With respect to campaign finances, the Clintons didn’t start the practice of raising millions from a relatively few mega donors, but they sure have perfected it. Even as Hillary and Bill position themselves as champions of the working poor, they are schmoozing with the richest Americans and soliciting “donations” at $50,000 a pop. Everyone knows these donors expect a return on their investment. That’s why banks and investment houses paid Hillary more than $200,000 per short speech — they’re buying access and influence, a perfect example of pay-to-play politics.

      If you think all this is simply BS, so be it. But I see the Clintons as deeply compromised to all those they’ve taken big paychecks from, because everyone wants (and expects) payback. That’s how the system works.

      Bernie Sanders showed it could work differently, and he was beaten by Hillary’s big-money establishment and a Democratic leadership that clearly tilted the table in her favor.

      And of course all this has nothing to do with Trump, who is eminently unqualified to be Mayor of my hometown, let alone to be elected as POTUS.

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  3. Glenn Greenwald on the Clinton Foundation and its many conflicts of interest:

    “That the Clinton Foundation has done some good work is beyond dispute. But that fact has exactly nothing to do with the profound ethical problems and corruption threats raised by the way its funds have been raised. Hillary Clinton was America’s chief diplomat, and tyrannical regimes such as the Saudis and Qataris jointly donated tens of millions of dollars to an organization run by her family and operated in its name, one whose works has been a prominent feature of her public persona. That extremely valuable opportunity to curry favor with the Clintons, and to secure access to them, continues as she runs for president.”

    “The claim that this is all just about trying to help people in need should not even pass a laugh test, let alone rational scrutiny.”

    https://theintercept.com/2016/08/25/why-did-the-saudi-regime-and-other-gulf-tyrannies-donate-millions-to-the-clinton-foundation/

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    1. You beat me to it, Bill. I, too, had thought about citing the article by Glenn Greenwald in partial answer to John Reardon’s comments above. Still, I would go much further than you and point to the horrid record of suffering and death that both You-Know-Her and husband Bill Clinton have inflicted upon many countries over many decades. Yes, their slush-fund “foundation” probably does a bit of good here and there (while providing lavish perks to the Clintons themselves) but that scarcely compensates for all the violence done to literally millons of unfortunate others by their official policies.

      For example: as the entire world knows by now, during the two Bill Clinton presidencies, draconian economic sanctions against Iraq resulted in the deaths of 500,000 (half a million) Iraqi children. When confronted with this fact, Madeleine Albright, former Clinton administration Secretary of State notoriously quipped: “We think the price is worth it.” Such a cavalier disregard for human life only typifies power-drunk sociopaths like You-Know-Her and the sycophantic courtiers in her entourage, as when You-Know-Her pushed for the overthrow of Libya’s government and laughed at the mob murder of its leader Moamma Gaddhafi: “We came, we saw, he died.” Libya, which once had the highest standard of living in Africa, has now descended — thanks overwhwlmingly to Secretary of State You-Know-Her — into chaos and widespread suffering. Has the Clinton foundation descended upon Libya yet to try and make things all nice and peaceful again? I rather doubt it.

      Going even further, I saw the other day where the toll of Iraqi widows had reached 700,000 (almost three-quarters of a million) thanks to the devastating war that You-Know-Her enthusiastically helped Deputy Dubya Bush unleash upon a nation that had never attacked the United States. Three quarters of a million women without husbands and their children without fathers. Quite a record for glib slogans like “women’s rights” and “democracy” and “responsibility to protect” that I assume will only grow more and more obscene as we add in Syria, Ukraine, Somalia, Honduras, Yemen and Afghanistan. Not to worry, though, the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton slush-fund “foundation” will make everything all better real soon now. You only need chip in a few hundred thousand dollars for a speech and your suggestions will get the hearing they deserve.

      I could go on and on citing example after example of Clinton-Bush-Obama-Clinton “humanitarian” bombing for “peace” and “freedom” — for women, homosexuals, and those of undecided gender — but I trust everyone reading this blog already knows about those. As we used to say in Southeast Asia forty years ago: “Fighting for Peace is like Fucking for Virginity.” And “We had to destroy the village in order to save it” didn’t work out so well for the millions of peasants who formerly lived in the now-obliterated villages. Now the Iraqis, Syrians, Yemenis, Palestinians, and Afghans know exactly how the Vietnamese felt. Not that uninvolved hothouse orchids like Bawl and Pillory Clinton ever learned a thing from that cruel and senseless ordeal, or any other of its kind. Perhaps Mr Khizr Khan can wave his dead son’s bloody shirt at them and make them feel all-bad-and-stuff. They didn’t sacrifice anything more than Donald Trump did.

      Some “foundation.” Just a family business like the many owned and operated by Donald Trump.

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