Tag Archives: The Clinton Foundation

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

Hillary Clinton and the Media – and Bill…

The media seems to salivate every time the Clinton finances are attacked. The most recent tidbit reveals how much money the Clinton’s earned from speaking engagements between January and May (25 million dollars). They act like Bill and Hillary are con artists forcing people to turn out their pockets just to listen to charismatic charlatans for forty-five minutes to an hour.

I would think that perhaps people are willing to pay such large amounts as $250,000 per speech because they want to contribute to the good work being done by The Clinton Foundation and The Clinton Global Initiative. And there is the political celebrity status conferred on these two by holding top posts in our government like President and First Lady and Secretary of State.

Lots of politicians (mostly Republicans) and media people are offering up a silent and not so silent delight that we will soon be able to prove that the Clintons are guilty of that powerful leveler of political careers, “corruption”. The rest of us “everyday” folks out here think that it is almost impossible to participate in politics today without being corrupt. We will only be impressed with corruption on a very grand scale. We expect that our politicians will find ways to make public service pay. We don’t love the idea, but we feel helpless to change this dynamic.

People understand that there could be a conflict of interest here: it is possible that large donations given by foreign governments and by media figures like George Stephanopoulos could lead the donors to believe that favors might be forthcoming if we elect Hillary as our President in 2016. However giving to a charity that tries to mitigate misery around the globe does not seem like the usual road to a quid pro quo.

Hillary and the media have a sort of come here – go away kind of relationship. The press likes to expose the soft underbelly of candidates for public office, Hillary included. However, once you show emotion (fear, resentment) some in the press “smell blood” and like to go in for the kill. Hillary feels that she must exercise caution when reporters are present. We also accept that since she is running for President she cannot avoid the media. News people complain that she seems overly formal and gives off an edgy, annoyed air when confronted with questions which seems accusatory.

While it is true that the press is intrusive and operates without filters, we are all hoping that Hillary gets a bit more comfortable around the media and that she is able to hide the defensiveness she currently reveals. I do not mind if she avoids situations which inspire a feeding frenzy in the media. As for the press they could stop being so thrilled by the shots candidates lob at each other, especially when they are aware that what they are repeating are rumors that have not been and never may be proven to be facts.

We have never before had a Presidential candidate with a partner who is an ex-President and who heads a charitable foundation. Unless this charity is simply a way to bilk donors of their money so it can fatten the personal bank accounts of the Clintons, it would seem that we need to cut them a little slack here.

I believe there is evidence that this foundation takes on real projects both at home and abroad to lift up people in need. I also tend to doubt that there is any criminal activity here worthy of Republican glee. All these allegations will do is force Bill Clinton to stop doing good things out in the world if he wants his wife to win the Presidency. And that will be a true loss for all who currently benefit from The Clinton Foundation and its programs.

Note: Isn’t the phrase “everyday people” from a song by Sly and the Family Stone?

This is the view from the cheap seats.

By Nancy Brisson

Bill and Hill and Clinton Cash by Peter Schweizer

I have always admired the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative. After all, Bill Clinton was fairly young when he finished his second term in office. He always had a larger-than-life quality. Retiring to a farm did not seem like his cup of hooch. I suppose some could see the way that he is so outgoing and the fact that he seems to bask in the limelight as character flaws, but I would think that it is more likely that the world is lucky to have someone as energetic and socially involved, as idealistic and optimistic as Bill Clinton. He does the unexpected. He set up his office in Harlem. He and Hillary decided to make New York State their home base, perhaps because they had to while Hillary was a Senator, but they seem to have settled in and made a niche for themselves. He does not always hang out in the safest, most tony places.

I do not think of either of the Clintons as being the overly ambitious, social climbers, political manipulators that most of their press paints them out to be, although it is clear that they are ambitious. They seem to me like people who see room for improvement for people everywhere, especially women and children, and who have enough good will to find the funding necessary to tackle some of the world’s problems. They don’t come off as missionaries trying to sell religion or ideologues trying to sell the American way; they come off as trying to help families with some things that are quite practical and useful, like fresh water supplies, schooling, health care, defending women, and making microloans so women can start their own businesses.

I have always admired the fact that they did not just retire into what would most likely be a very comfortable lifestyle. They could have attended charity affairs in fancy dress and spent their time on a yacht or at the ballet. But they did not do that. They chose a life of public service long ago and they seem, despite the haters, not to regret their choice.

I do not know if, as the author of Clinton Cash Peter Schweizer apparently claims, the Clinton charities spend 90% on administration costs and only 10% on actual charity. If this is so then I am wrong about the altruism I attribute to Bill and Hillary Clinton. They have lots of expenses including their home, two offices and perhaps a few other dwellings (maybe an apartment in NYC and a home in Washington, DC). They both have big travel expenses I am guessing and spend quite a bit on clothing and personal care. Still a charity that keeps all but 10% for personal use is not usually considered much of a charity. The author of this book, Clinton Cash, admits, however, that he has no proofs for his accusations. Ridiculous – tons of press for a book that is pure speculation – this particular book looks as if it might be just a negative campaign ad that rests on false claims until someone fact-checks it and gets it pulled. We’ll see.

In the meantime Joe Scarborough on Morning Joe is getting on my last nerve. He compares the Clintons to Bob McDonnell and his wife (of Virginia) who were recently convicted for accepting favors from someone seeking their endorsement for a product and perhaps help with getting the product included in some state project, making it a sure-fire success. But no mention has ever been made that these people, who obviously lack the proper subtlety to make themselves rich in public office without getting caught, ever had one altruistic bone in their bodies. It was the blatancy of their greed, their flouting of the laws that sent them to jail. Joe Scarborough obviously feels that their transgressions were so small compared to the grand scale of the alleged exchange of money for favors by the Clintons. Usually I just write Joe off as a yuppie, loudmouth jock with great taste in music, but he does have a pulpit from which to bully listeners, so he has to be taken somewhat seriously.

Bill Clinton, of course, is no longer a public servant and is no longer bound by the rules which governed the McDonnells. That’s why ‘they’ are trying to intimate that Hillary got in on the act and offered favors to foreign governments if they would contribute to the Clinton charity. We’re not talking small favors here either, one such favor involved an agreement on nukes. And since 90% of Clinton charity monies are allegedly the private slush fund of the Clintons then Hillary used the Foundation to basically launder foreign money. My, my, she’s a bad one; Bill too. And if these unsupported charges prove true then Hillary should not ever be our President. But I do not believe that Bill or Hillary are guilty of any of these things.

I choose to believe that there are still people who go to bat for opportunity and progress for those who have no voice of their own. Until someone proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Bill and Hillary are guilty of being generous-in-name-only while they have been quietly plotting to take over America, I will cling to the belief that these are two people who just want to use their skills and power to make a difference in the often violent and unequal world in which we live. I see them as heroes; some see them as villains, and the truth probably lies somewhere between these two extremes.

By Nancy Brisson