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without declaring she is a candidate. As long as HRC is not an official candidate, her income from these speeches and her use of the fees does not have to be declared in the financial disclosure reports that are required of candidates. (And since the Clintons' personal income tax returns are not public knowledge, we have no idea what salaries and benefits they receive from their foundation, but which ultimately originate with these huge "donations".) Please note that I use the qualifier "MAY". I could be totally wrong; she could be bound and determined to run again, and she is simply delaying declaring her candidacy so she can hide the identities of the individuals and corporate/business interests who have paid her off with millions and millions of dollars, in the expectation of substantial consideration from her in the Oval Office.
These $$$ can be in the form of speaking fees or book income to her as an individual, or donations to the Clinton Foundation. Please note that if she is paid $$$ for speaking engagements and then "donates" it back to the Foundation (although she has provided no documentation to back up this claim), which pays the Clintons' salaries and for 5 star accommodations (hotel/private jet/first class airfare/5 star restaurants, etc. whenever and wherever they travel, as long as it involves Clinton foundation activities - which the 3 Clintons totally control, she gets a very substantial personal income tax deduction.
What I am saying is that if she has decided not to run, basically because of her age, energy level, poor health, her husband's fragile health or some combination thereof - it is in her financial interest to delay revealing this decision as long as possible, to prolong charging the exorbitantly high fees she is receiving for speaking, as well as to encourage wealthy individuals and business interests to make large donations to the Clinton foundations, all in anticipation of quid pro quos should she become president.
The only reason I have seen reported that she gives for not announcing her candidacy is that whether she runs depends upon her health. Does anyone have any other explanation she has given? The "health" reason has reinforced my belief that she may be lining up her ducks for NOT running. I can just hear her: "As I said all along, my health would be the determining factor." And meanwhile, one expects that her super PAC is raising money, as well. I gave a link in my other response detailing that candidates keep their PAC money should they not run. Bottom line: the Clintons have shown themselves to be all about increasing their personal wealth, and the wealth of the family foundation they completely control. They are both brilliant, and they've hung around with the One Percenters long enough to understand that with money comes power, and if you have enough money, you don't have to "lower yourself" and make yourself available to public scrutiny by being a politician. You can buy and control all the politicians you need. We don't see Bill Gates running for the Senate, do we?
Whether she runs or not, here is an interesting article about the lack of transparency about the millions and millions she and Bill have raked in and continue to rake in. It is from the Nonprofit Quarterly, July 11, 2014.
The Philanthropic Problem with Hillary Clinton’s Huge Speaking Fees
Written by Rick Cohen
Created on Friday, 11 July 2014 14:16
Because the foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity, however, it is not required to reveal the names of its donors and the amount they are giving the Clinton Foundation. For Hillary Clinton to fulfill her pledge of transparency, the foundation would have to take a step that it is typically not required to do. In light of the political backdrop of the Clinton Foundation, this additional voluntary transparency is very important. ]Disclosure of donations to charities and foundations controlled by powerful political figures should be done as a matter of course, whether they are the Clintons’ speaking fees or the six- and seven-figure contributions of corporate and other donors who might have expectations of something in the future.
One issue may be the ultimate sources of the payments for the Clinton speaking fees, who might be anticipating a good word, a positive reaction, or a business-world endorsement from the most powerful political couple in the nation. But there is another issue: These donations to Hillary Clinton’s income that are then transferred to her family foundation are not simply private contributions. In many cases, and particularly the most recent, these mammoth speaking fees are not from individual (or corporate) charitable donors, but from universities. Hillary Clinton defended the dynamic:
“I have been very excited to speak to many universities during the last year and a half, and all of the fees have been donated to the Clinton Foundation for it to continue its life-changing and lifesaving work,” Clinton told ABC. “So it goes from a Foundation at a university to another foundation.”
In other words, through her speeches, Hillary Clinton is in a way “repurposing” the donations others are making—or taxpayers are making—to these colleges and universities. The universities, like UNLV, take pains to suggest that, according to Michael Wixom, a member of the Nevada Board of Regents, “no student funds, no tuition funds, no state dollars are being used in any way to pay her fee,” but that only works in cases like UNLV’s where the venue is a fundraiser at which moneyed interests pay big sums, partially tax-deductible, for the honor of hearing Clinton’s speech. In other instances, the universities point to privately funded endowments or trusts that pay for Clinton and perhaps other speakers as well—or in many cases, they don’t even reveal how much they are paying or where the money for the speaking fees comes from.
Nonetheless, the optics aren’t good. Money is largely fungible. Students and their parents are hard-pressed by tuition increases—a four-year increase of 17 percent in the Nevada higher education system, a 6.5 percent increase announced this year for the University of Connecticut, the imposition of “student success fees” at many University of California system campuses as substitutes for formal tuition increases—making the Clintons’ speaking fees look problematic. Universities have squirmed under Congressional scrutiny but largely left unchanged such policies as amazingly high salaries for university presidents (41 of whom had compensation packages of more than $1 million as of 2011) and very low spending rates despite huge growth in their endowments in many cases, an issue constantly raised by Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, pressing universities, much like foundations, to spend more from their endowments.
The Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation may be doing extraordinarily wonderful things for communities around the world, but additional transparency is needed, especially now that Hillary Clinton is just about guaranteed the Democratic nod for the presidency; her speaking fees from nonprofit and public universities raise questions about what the universities (or some of their well-healed donors) might want from the Clintons.
Posted by Divernan | Sun Aug 10, 2014, 06:48 PM (0 replies)
Speaking as someone who: is just a couple of years older than HRC; who has NOT had the major health problems she has had; who is in better physical condition, at least as far as health being a function of maintaining healthy weight; and who worked the last ten years before retirement in the heart of the political process at a state legislature and therefore has observed in person the 24/7 stress for top elected officials - this is what I think is a very real possibility.
HRC, along with her husband and daughter, are commanding very top dollars both for their speaking gigs, as well as soliciting hefty contributions to their gold-plated family corporation - oh, I mean non-profit "charity" - only as long as the world perceives HRC as having a shot at occupying the oval office. Those top dollar Quids will come to a screeching halt without the prospect of Quos from a US President.
So IF she pragmatically admits to herself that her age, health history and overall poor physical condition (as well as her cherished husband's very poor physical condition) mean that another 4 year stint in the White House could be more than either or both of them could handle, what would she do? Would she announce it immediately following her fall/concussion/blood clot? That would be the right thing if she cared about the Democratic party having time to come up with a strong candidate. That would be the right thing to do if she didn't want to siphon off available political donations from the eventual candidate. Or would she drag out as long as possible announcing she would not run, thereby socking away millions more in the Clinton coffers.
Certainly be interesting to see how this all plays out, both on DU and in the world at large.
Oh, and FYI, politicians who leave office/retire/whatever can hang on to all those campaign contributions/war chests for a variety of uses. Here's an article from 2010 on that topic:
Senators and House Members Can Keep Campaign Funds When They Retire.
Between these two sources of money, authorized campaign committee funds and leadership PACs, and considering that there are very minor restrictions, I would say that any retiring lawmaker with even an ounce of common sense can do just about anything they want with the unspent money," said Meredith McGehee, policy director at the Campaign Legal Center in Washington
Posted by Divernan | Sun Aug 10, 2014, 03:12 PM (1 replies)
It’s impossible to know what happens in the fog of war," Clinton said. "Some reports say, maybe it wasn’t the exact U.N. school that was bombed, but it was the annex to the school next door where they were firing the rockets. And I do think oftentimes that the anguish you are privy to because of the coverage, and the women and the children and all the rest of that, makes it very difficult to sort through to get to the truth.
HRC is surely on a rampage. In addition to trashing Obama's foreign policy (now, remind me, WHO was his Secretary of State?), she dismisses the United Nations' protests about bombing civilians in pre-identified shelters because it's "impossible to know what happens" "in the fog of war". Would that be the same bogus "fog of war" wherein she claimed she had to duck and run for cover under sniper fire at a Bosnia airport? The difference being she was never shot at, but hundreds of children were blown to bits in their sleep. You know the Clintons : It depends on what your definiton of "is" is, or in this case your definition of "fog of war".
And she trashes those of us who, because we feel anguish at the coverage of the plight of "women and children and all the rest of that" - well we softies are unable to sort through to get the truth. Interesting turn of phrase "all the rest of that", which is meant to cover the vast destruction of whole blocks of residences, destruction of the infrastructure, bombing of hospitals, and all the other facts documented by news coverage.
But to me her most offensive comment was that there is "no doubt in her mind that Hamas initiated this conflict". Let us consider the opinion of one of the world's leading and most respected and most quoted intellectuals, MIT professor emeritus, Noam Chomsky. And I remind you that he is an American of Askenazi Jewish family heritage. Even HRC would not dare state that this brilliant man lets concern for "women and children and all the rest of that" keep him from sorting through to the truth. Or perhaps she would.
"A Hideous Atrocity": Noam Chomsky on Israel’s Assault on Gaza & U.S. Support for the Occupation
(In reply to Amy Goodman's request that he comment on the current Israeli assault on Gaza.)
NOAM CHOMSKY: It’s a hideous atrocity, sadistic, vicious, murderous, totally without any credible pretext. It’s another one of the periodic Israeli exercises in what they delicately call "mowing the lawn." That means shooting fish in the pond, to make sure that the animals stay quiet in the cage that you’ve constructed for them, after which you go to a period of what’s called "ceasefire," which means that Hamas observes the ceasefire, as Israel concedes, while Israel continues to violate it. Then it’s broken by an Israeli escalation, Hamas reaction. Then you have period of "mowing the lawn." This one is, in many ways, more sadistic and vicious even than the earlier ones.
(Next, co-host, Juan Gonzalez asked Chomsky to comment on the pretext Israel used to launch its attacks, and to comment if Chomsky felt it had ANY validity.)
NOAM CHOMSKY: As high Israeli officials concede, Hamas had observed the previous ceasefire for 19 months. The previous episode of "mowing the lawn" was in November 2012. There was a ceasefire. The ceasefire terms were that Hamas would not fire rockets—what they call rockets—and Israel would move to end the blockade and stop attacking what they call militants in Gaza. Hamas lived up to it. Israel concedes that.
In April of this year, an event took place which horrified the Israeli government: A unity agreement was formed between Gaza and the West Bank, between Hamas and Fatah. Israel has been desperately trying to prevent that for a long time. There’s a background we could talk about, but it’s important. Anyhow, the unity agreement came. Israel was furious. They got even more upset when the U.S. more or less endorsed it, which is a big blow to them. They launched a rampage in the West Bank.
What was used as a pretext was the brutal murder of three settler teenagers. There was a pretense that they were alive, though they knew they were dead. That allowed a huge—and, of course, they blamed it right away on Hamas. They have yet to produce a particle of evidence, and in fact their own highest leading authorities pointed out right away that the killers were probably from a kind of a rogue clan in Hebron, the Qawasmeh clan, which turns out apparently to be true. They’ve been a thorn in the sides of Hamas for years. They don’t follow their orders. But anyway, that gave the opportunity for a rampage in the West Bank, arresting hundreds of people, re-arresting many who had been released, mostly targeted on Hamas. Killings increased. Finally, there was a Hamas response: the so-called rocket attacks. And that gave the opportunity for "mowing the lawn" again.
I urge you all to read the entire interview. Chomsky does not leave the Israeli apologists for the Palestinian holocaust a scintilla of a justification for Israeli's actions.
Posted by Divernan | Sun Aug 10, 2014, 02:40 PM (0 replies)
The Irish Senate was called back into special session to address the current I/P bloodbath and particularly Ireland's abstaining from voting on a UN resolution. Specifically, The UN Human Rights Council voted to establish an independent commission of inquiry to investigate violations of human rights and it also condemned Israel for potential infractions of international law. Ireland abstained from this vote, which abstention went against the majority of Irish public opinion.
There is a brief shot at about 2'43" into the video of the Irish Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, sitting in the "hot seat" in the front of the Senate chamber. That is the person she's addressing. One of the great beauties of the Irish Senate, and one I had the privilege to personally observe at a different emergency closed session, is that the relevant Cabinet Minister for the topic under discussion, is required to sit in the front while any Senator who wishes to can address him directly, and basically, ream him a new one.
It's a beautiful sight to see. Imagine if we did that in our Senate. Imagine if then Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld were to be publicly, personally, in-his-face, excoriated by senator after senator for Abu Ghraib and the his role in the US war on Iraq & involvement in Afghanistan - broadcast live.
As John Lennon said, imagine.
Posted by Divernan | Sun Aug 10, 2014, 08:07 AM (1 replies)
And it is his bravery and integrity in that long fight, which gives his opinion quite considerable influence on the world stage. It was a very long fight, and he never gave up, eventually winning his case not only on behalf of gays in Ireland, but throughout the entire European Union!
Campaigning and activism15]
Norris represents the University of Dublin/Trinity College constituency in the Seanad as an Independent. He was first elected to the Seanad in 1987, and has been re-elected at each election since.
Posted by Divernan | Sat Aug 9, 2014, 03:22 PM (1 replies)
I was in Dublin taking a summer CLE class on law of the European Union, and wangled a rare invitation to attend an emergency closed session of the Irish Senate (Seanad Eireann). That was indeed a privilege, since I was one of only 5 observers allowed to attend. At a break in the session, my sponsor took me to the pub for members/guests in Leinster House, the 18th century ducal palace where the Irish legislature meets. I was really honored to be introduced to Senator Norris, who came up to our table to discuss the impact of the proposed legislation on young gay men.
David Patrick Bernard Norris (born 31 July 1944) is an Irish scholar, independent Senator, and gay and civil rights activist. Internationally, Norris is credited with having "managed, almost single-handedly, to overthrow the anti-homosexuality law which brought about the downfall of Oscar Wilde", a feat he achieved in 1988 after a fourteen-year campaign. He has also been credited with being "almost single-handedly responsible for rehabilitating James Joyce in once disapproving Irish eyes".
Norris is a former university lecturer at Trinity and a member of the Oireachtas(Irish parliament), serving in Seanad Éireann since 1987. He was the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in Ireland. Founder of the Campaign for Homosexual Law Reform, he is also a prominent member of the Church of Ireland.
Posted by Divernan | Sat Aug 9, 2014, 03:14 PM (0 replies)
Chomsky grew up in a Ashkenaz Jewish family in Philadelphia. He has spent most of his career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he is currently Professor Emeritus, and has authored over 100 books. He has been described as a prominent cultural figure, and was voted the "world's top public intellectual" in a 2005 poll. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noam_Chomsky
In this interview with Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales for Democracy Now!, he lays out chapter and verse how "hideous, sadistic, vicious and murderous (IN HIS WORDS) has been Israel's land offensive in Gaza. This is such a powerful piece, and leaves Israel without a shred of justification to hide behind.
Just a sample from midway through the interview - interviewer Juan Gonzalez quotes the Israeli rhetoric/claim that it no longer occupies Gaza. He refers to interviewing Joshua Hantman, senior adviser to the Israeli ambassador to the United States and a former spokesperson for the Israeli Defense Ministry. He quotes Hantman saying "Israel actually left the Gaza Strip in 2005. We removed all of our settlements. We removed the IDF forces. We took out 10,000 Jews from their houses as a step for peace, because Israel wants peace and it extended its hand for peace." Chomsky proceeds to blow this claim out of the water.
NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, several points. First of all, the United Nations, every country in the world, even the United States, regards Israel as the occupying power in Gaza—for a very simple reason: They control everything there. They control the borders, the land, sea, air. They determine what goes into Gaza, what comes out. They determine how many calories Gazan children need to stay alive, but not to flourish. That’s occupation, under international law, and no one questions it, outside of Israel. Even the U.S. agrees, their usual backer. That puts—with that, we end the discussion of whether they’re an occupying power or not.
Posted by Divernan | Fri Aug 8, 2014, 01:46 PM (1 replies)
It also reminds me of the crap one would find at one of the blogs like Free Republic which have made a career of attacking Will Pitt. I'm sure that Mr. Pitt, like all of us, has had his ups and downs, and made a few mistakes along the way. I certainly didn't always agree with his POV in the early days of DU. However he has grown and matured with the years - particularly with his marriage and parenthood, and is a rare stalwart for progressive Dems. You don't have to like him, but I don't care about your personal opinion of him. This is not Dear Abby. Respond to the facts and opinions in his writings, if you disagree with those. Otherwise DU is not the venue for personal call-outs.
Posted by Divernan | Thu Aug 7, 2014, 06:12 PM (1 replies)
I explained in detail in post 83 on this thread why Obama has no cred to call himself (or allow others to call him) a constitutional law PROFESSOR or SCHOLAR.
And I would add to that, that Obama was neither an actual trial lawyer NOR a constitutional lawyer
Senior attorneys at the small firm where he worked say he was a strong writer and researcher, but was involved in relatively few cases -- about 30 -- and spent only four years as a full-time lawyer before entering politics.
For purposes of comparison, i.e., Obama worked on 30 cases in 4 years - the first law firm which I worked for upon being admitted to the bar was a civil litigation firm. By the end of my FIRST year, I had a caseload of 40 cases for which I was the attorney of record, i.e., with full responsibility/client contact/handling depositons/ arguing motions/working with expert witnesses/ and, if the case didn't settle/ trying the case. That was the norm in my firm. My clients included Chrysler, General Electric, Otis Elevator, Remington, national construction firms, and were primarily product liability and commercial construction cases. I'm not comparing O's 30 cases in 4 years to a bunch of slip & falls/whiplash claims. By the end of my second year I had argued cases in the federal district court and federal court of appeals, as well as state trial and appellate courts. This was not a big deal - this was the norm for the lawyers my firm hired.
The name partner who recruited Obama described O thusly:
Judson Miner, head of the firm that bears his name, recruited Obama. Obama took time to complete "Dreams From My Father," then joined the 13-attorney firm. "He was doing the work that any first-year or second-year associate would do," Miner said. "In litigation, he was doing basic research and writing memos. . . . In the first couple years he would play a very minor role. He wouldn't know , so he would take the lead from whoever was supervising his work."
Obama arrived in Chicago in 1993 with a degree from Harvard Law School and was hired as a junior lawyer at the firm then known as Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Gallard. He helped represent clients in civil and voting rights matters and wrongful firings, argued a single case (not a constitutional law or civil rights case) before a federal appellate court, and took the lead in writing a suit to expand voter registration. No mention that he ever went to court on that lawsuit. That one appellate case he touts? He fought the good fight for a securities trader. How did that fit in with his claims re community organizer, fighting for civil rights?
" He took the lead arguing a 1994 case before the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of a securities trader who had been improperly fired. The court ruled for his client." Yeah he had cases in the projects, but it was defending a slumlord from a tenant and in another case, defending a slumlord for failing to provide heat for low income tenants on the South Side in the winter.
Posted by Divernan | Thu Aug 7, 2014, 05:59 PM (1 replies)
I just went back and reread the NYT article I linked to above and came across this absolute gem from O's teaching days re the negative impact of bipartisanship on the needs of the poor and that bipartisanship means abandoning the idea that the govt. can play a role in issues of poverty, race discrimination, sex discrimination or environmental protection.
So we see, he made very informed choices throughout his presidency when it came to caving to the GOP. He has more than proved himself correct in the way that his overwhelming bipartisanship has played out with elevating the wealthiest at the expense of the rest of us, i.e., "the poor", and his concommitant choices re supporting fracking, Keystone and opening up the Atlantic Coast to drilling.
Posted by Divernan | Thu Aug 7, 2014, 12:52 PM (0 replies)