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 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. And 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.
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