Tag Archives: money

Money and Hillary Clinton

money and Hillary Clinton

I actually know very little about Hillary Clinton and money, and neither, apparently does anyone else, although there is plenty of theory and conspiratorial conjecturing going on out there among those who are either very informed or very paranoid. I don’t know what Hillary intended in Libya, or in Africa, or in Honduras. There are many who call her the new Dick Cheney or the new Henry Kissinger and imply that she is a Machiavellian figure, or perhaps one of the Borgias.

To folks in these particular journalistic circles she represents the very worst in American politics which has a secretive dark agenda and sends out our government officials to meddle in the business of nations around the world, build nations up and tear nations down, all for cynical reasons having to do with economics and money. Or perhaps Hillary has no mission to inform her actions but is simply acting on her own. According to these folks Hillary is a sinister figure who ruins nations when their economies are getting too successful and are challenging the America economy. Wow! Who knew Hillary was this powerful and this corrupt? Apparently everyone but me.

Bernie Sanders indicts Hillary for using government service to get rich. He tells his supporters anecdotes which supposedly prove that she has offered influence in return for donations from wealthy nations. Sanders apparently implies that the Clinton Foundation is a front to peddle influence and line the Clinton’s pockets. He believes that accepting money from Wall Street proves that you are absolutely corrupt. His followers believe all this is true beyond a shadow of a doubt and they revile Hillary for this. Again, I did not ascribe to Hillary even this level of villainy. They say that Hillary is a criminal who should be indicted for war crimes, or crimes against humanity, or bribery, or if nothing else sticks, then for the private email server thing (possibly risking national security).

How naïve am I? I see that half of Congress is made up of millionaires, many of whom lined their bank accounts while in government service. I know that Bernie Sanders is solidly against money in politics, feeling that it robs the people of their right to govern. I agree with him. I was shocked when Citizen’s United was upheld by the Supreme Court, giving legitimacy to all the money that floods in and befuddles politics in Washington. But Hillary came up as a politician operating within the system we have now. Bernie is a revolutionary who wants to dump the system we have now. We could possible get money out of politics through a grassroots groundswell, but it is more likely that it will be tough slog, accomplished in baby steps.

Hillary, as the first woman to get this close to being an American President, has a foot in the past and a foot in the future. She cannot be blamed for playing the game according to the rules of the boys club. We are always changing the rules just when a woman arrives at a threshold. Bernie’s purity did not help him shine in Congress although it certainly looks appealing now. But there is no other person in our government like Bernie Sanders and changing the way our government does business cannot be as easy as he makes it sound. If Donald Trump is dividing the nation before he gains the office, then Bernie Sanders is likely to divide it if he becomes our President. People who have been on the gravy train for years are not going to gently step aside. If we the people win the day it might be worth the fight, but we could probably win the day eventually with just good solid strategy if we had a plan.

I believe that people are painting Hillary as a villain based on some pretty convoluted reasoning and theorizing. Of course, if anyone can prove these accusations beyond any doubt then I suppose that Hillary is too byzantine to make a good President. If she actually treats the globe like some kind of calculated game of Risk then that is diabolical and she should be stopped. I just don’t buy it though.

By Nancy Brisson

Going Rogue in Syracuse, NY

Crown

In 2015 Syracuse, NY became known as the city with the most stubborn, concentrated, and segregated area of poverty in the United States. (http://brissioni.com/more-on-poverty-in-our-city-centers/ ) And yet our County Executive used sales tax dollars she virtually stole (https://draft.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=453069755357542576#editor/target=post;postID=2600004978752663093;onPublishedMenu=posts;onClosedMenu=posts;postNum=4;src=postname from city residents to build a fancy outdoor amphitheater that is empty half of the year and which charges prices for tickets that few can afford. There was never a referendum on this project. By the time I knew of it the construction vehicles were already on site.

Joanie Mahoney, our County Executive has let her office go to her head. She has said that she wants to merge the City of Syracuse with the County of Onondaga. While it is possible that there could be financial advantages to ending duplication of services the last thing this area needs right now is to put more people out of work. Such a merger cannot be a move engineered by one person without some careful planning and ways to make up for lost jobs. In Washington our reps are always asking for ‘pay-fors’. If you wish to spend you must tell how you will pay for it. The same should be true of jobs. If you back a policy that puts people out of works you should have a plan for where those people will be employed in the future.

I think that all the power implications of such a merger have not been worked out either. Will there still be a mayor in the city? How will tax monies be shared under such an arrangement? Will the government in the city and county remain the same? It is true that the county has had to extend infrastructure such as sewers, water, roads, signage, upkeep of roads to subdivisions ever more distant from the city center and that these subdivisions generate more tax dollars than the City of Syracuse properties do. In fact, an article in today’s Post Standard (1/3/2016) says that 50% of properties in the City of Syracuse are tax exempt.

When the city recently made a deal to sell land to a developer called COR this developer agreed to forgo a PILOT agreement (payments in lieu of taxes) then turned around and signed a PILOT agreement with our out-of-control County Executive, the same Joanie Mahoney. (This feud was recently the topic of an article in the Wall Street Journal, http://www.wsj.com/articles/two-upstate-new-york-officials-clash-1451092007)

What games is Ms. Mahoney playing? Perhaps she is trying to starve the city of money so that the city will have to make the merger with the county that she has been pulling strings for. She may very well win this city-county power struggle but that same Post Standard article I read today entitled “Blind Allegiances to Tax Breaks Can’t Meet Today’s Economic Challenges” by Tom Buckel, Jr., a former Onondaga County Legislator shows that employment numbers in Onondaga County have gone down under Ms. Mahoney’s reign, and not by just a little bit either, and that our employment figures are the lowest in the entire state at least as far west as Buffalo and as far east as Albany.

It is difficult to see what Ms. Mahoney’s power trip is based on but she was recently reelected (not by me). I am not really against a city-county merger if that will save money and be beneficial in other ways. I just believe that in this case we have a County Executive who has grabbed the wheel, even from the very people she represents, and has gone rogue to throw a high end, gentrified patina over an area that is actually occupied by the poorest of Americans. (See my editorial in the Post Standard entitled “Gentrification and Transparency? http://thebrissioniblog.blogspot.com/2014/12/local-politics-gentrification-and.html)

Ms. Mahoney has lost the thread of Democratic governance and has gotten enamored of her own judgement, taste and self-importance. Indeed, she just got herself a 27% raise and she said that if “we didn’t like it we shouldn’t have reelected her”. (I didn’t.) I suggest that she either adjust her attitude or take a hike. But that’s not the way this works. She can, if she wants, give us the royal wave for several more years.

There was another article in today’s Post Standard which suggested that Syracuse might survive if we have the cooperation of city, county, Syracuse University, and Upstate Medical Center (SUNY). Can Joanie Mahoney be persuaded to stop driving the bus and to take a seat on the bus while some impartial party drives? Let us see what happens next…cover your eyes.

By Nancy Brisson

The End of Democracy – The Koch Brothers

koch brothers2

Did you watch Rachel Maddow last night? She followed the bucks and the negative Health Care ads, appearing both nationally and in some states, to two groups, the Foundation for Government Accountability (sounds quite official and serious doesn’t it) and the State Policy Network (which also sounds like it is part of actual government). Apparently neither of these groups has any connection whatsoever to either our federal government or the governments of our state. In spite of their ad hoc roots these two groups are traveling around America serving as witnesses against the ACA in states where there might be a bit of wiggle room, where a state may be considering signing on to the expanded Medicaid that is part of the ACA (the part that gives insurance to the uninsured). They post internet ads that suggest that signing on to Obama’s health care act will get you in tax trouble. They have another site which attempts to get the residents in the states where they operate to sign a Grover- Norquist-style pledge that says they will never sign up for health care.

Once the money trail was unraveled it led to those billionaire Koch (pronounced coke) brothers who have more money than the rest of Americans-who-are-not in-the-top-1% combined. These brothers who inherited their money from the oil and chemical industry established by their Daddy are solid backers and play-callers in the right wing of the Republican Party. They have their fingers in just about every one of those “we-are-the-true-Patriots pies”.

We have long suspected that our country is not controlled by the American people. We have suspected that monied people (who now include corporations, since corporations are people) call the tunes that our elected “representatives” march to. From time to time proof of meddling has been offered up to us by one party or another and we are temporarily shocked. Then we shake it off and move on. But the machinations of these two brothers seem to be similar to the tentacles of a jelly fish which has twined its way throughout all aspects of our government. The right wing Conservatives don’t just have lots of organizations working to make sure their policies become part of American governance, but these organizations talk to each other. They are not isolated entities. In fact most of them have, at the top, a few names of very rich sponsors, and almost all of them have been traced to the Koch brothers.

Koch brothers3

 

thewebofconservativefoundations2.dailykos

How can the average American fight a steamrolling, bankrolling political machine like this? How can we counteract the influence of wealthy power-brokers on our states and on our federal government?  If you add up all the issues that we the people favor by over 50% (issues like immigration laws, gun control laws, laws to raise the minimum wage and more), issues we favor actually by over 60%, and then see how many of these issues are being taken care of by our Congress, you can see how much power “we the people” actually wield. If anyone needs to “take back our government” it is “we, the people”, but I guess you can see why we feel terribly out-gunned (double meaning intended) and out-maneuvered and out-classed (meaning out-spent, since class equals money in America). How on earth can we root out this pernicious patch of weeds that has spread out like a giant taproot under America? It all feels pretty hopeless. Obamacare is the only thing we have apparently gotten past these people and they are mad (and yes, mad is the correct word here); they want vengeance; they will do anything to stop this law from becoming a successful part of the social safety net in America. Obama did an end run around these secret manipulators, he mowed the grass, and that is not allowed. One thing we can do, therefore, against these rich polluters is support the Affordable Care Ace; be patient about its rollout; sign up for it as soon as we get a chance. We could also repeat over and over again how we want Congress to approve Obama’s court nominees. We can insist that the minimum wage should be raised. I don’t know if we can have much effect on immigration or gun control right now because these bills have very entrenched enemies, but there are probably some other areas where we can be a big old nasty squeaky wheel. Can we win out over all this money? The outlook is not good, but if we just lie down and play dead that may be the end of Democracy.

 

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/watch/new-anti-obamacare-ads-are-classic-koch-65029699643

The last graphic was compiled by Muckety and reprinted by the Daily Kos

This is the view from the cheat seats.

This blog post is also available at http://thebrissioniblog.blogspot.com/