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

Robbing Us Blind

Why do I get the feeling that we, the American people, are
being royally ripped off by most of our career politicians and even some who
temporarily enter the political arena in the hopes of feathering their nests?
Why have a lot of us been feeling like this for quite some time? We are a long way from the gentlemen farmers who wrote our Constitution and were our first government representatives. These guys left their farms (probably more like estates) and went to make laws and then returned to run their estates and pursue their other activities. Today being a politician is a full time job and a career.  And, although there is a lot of money around politicians, it doesn’t pay very well. Yet people are
serving in government at all levels who, when they leave government, are considerably richer than when they entered. Or
they never leave, they just keep getting voted in year after year and adding to
their stockpile of wealth. It presents a plethora of real problems for the
American people when government office is used as a personal honey pot.  That money comes from somewhere, these days
probably from special interests and political action groups who are trying to
get specific candidates elected in order to control the American agenda and
move it in their direction. Insider trading was a great source of profit until
the laws were rewritten last year. Skimming probably also happens, which is
outright theft and embezzlement. A NYS Senator was arrested this week for
embezzling funds.

This is not something done only by one party. There are
people in both parties who know how to play the system, make personal gains,
and yet look like they are serving the needs of their constituents. It is also
not required behavior for politicians; many do not partake and find legitimate
ways to increase their wealth, through speeches and books, perhaps.

I live in New York State, which is probably one of the most
corrupt states in the US; although I may be naïve about this. A few influential
pols have been controlling the dialogue in NYS for decades as they gradually
get older and older, and even more powerful. They seem to be untouchable and
they throw the occasional bone to their subjects living in New York State. In
spite of all their nest-feathering activities, NYS is not even a terrible place
to live, although it is getting more and more expensive for residents with
fewer and fewer services being offered. But we can see the slide, and even
though part of it is the economy, it started before the recession hit.

For example, we can see what New York has done to one of its
very valuable resources, the State University of New York. They have cut funds
to the University over and over again and have raised tuitions over and over
again. They have forced the colleges to hire more and more part timers and
adjuncts who don’t have to have benefits or vacations. We had excellent state
universities and, if we still do, it is only because of the efforts of the
staffs, including professors, et al, that refuse to offer less-than-excellent
job performances. Our school districts are also not the top priority of our
legislators who have cut school budgets over and over again while piling on
more and more onerous requirements for accountability and even their continued
existence. And we are way past the part where manufacturers fled New York as if
it was the source of the plague. Our governor, who we want to like because he
seems able to make decisions and control the ruling clique, acts more like an
absolute dictator (albeit a benevolent one) than a governor. New laws are
passed without any input from the people whatsoever.

We get so cynical about this under-the-table feast to which
politicians treat themselves because we see ourselves as powerless to change
this system. We may actually have reached a point where we cannot effect any
real change to our system of government which seems to exist on separate planes
from both the Constitution and the people. We even play our role in the system
because we continue to elect the same people who are ripping us off and who
keep passing laws to make the average citizen even more powerless. Can we take
back our government? Can we do it peacefully, with a practical strategy that
will set things right? I believe we are too comfortable and lackadaisical to
change any of it at this point. Viva the “playas”! We had better learn to get
used to fewer and fewer services and more and more things that are not done


From the website on May 8, 2013 is a small
taste of the kind of underhanded activity New York State newspapers publish
regularly in the hopes of exposing corruption and thereby ending it. It gets
exposure, but then we elect the same people again.


Seven government watchdog groups filed a complaint Tuesday with the state,
kept them from a public hearing
on public campaign financing.
Jimmy Vielkind has this blow by blow
At one point when the sergeants-at-arms said the room
was full, people were posting
photos of
empty chairs
on Twitter.
Oneida County became the first
to deny a pistol permit
because of mental health reasons under the
NY Safe Act.
In just two years, political candidates broke New
York’s campaign finance laws
more than
100,000 times
. One example involves hiring “Turdo,
the magician,”
which probably should have counted as more than
one violation.
Thomas Kaplan puts the recent
string of scandals
among Democratic senators in context.
The governor has said he wants a casino in Niagara
Falls. But some Republican senators
would rather
see the proposed gaming site
in Tioga County, near the Catskills or
north of Albany — where state sanctioned racinos already exist.
New York

Not everyone loves New York: Chief Executive Magazine says the state has the
business climate
. Yet tax breaks for businesses rose by 16
in 2011, Joe Spector writes.
Federal prosecutors say eight more
people, including six elected officials
in New York are under