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Sun Aug 25, 2013, 08:11 AM

You can't dispute any FACTS, like him gaining $55 million net worth since leaving White House

Or his $500,000 fee for a 45 minute speech? And don't ignore my main point, which is that the Democratic party OWES support to people who agree to run in races they have no expectation of winning; and people like ex-presidents, who made their post-presidential fortunes from their status as ex-presidents, OWE something back to the party which enabled them to gain office. If Clinton had not been elected President, where would he be today? An ex-governor of Arkansas would not command 1/2 million for a speech. He'd be keynoting Chamber of Commerce state conventions scouting for legal clients for his Little Rock law firm. And if his wife were not considered a likely candidate for president, I doubt people would be nearly as generous in their gifts to his foundation. I believe the New York Times article discussed how potential donors to the Foundation were strong-armed into donating to his wife's campaign fund.

Greed, gluttony and lust are referred to as sins of excess. Clinton seems to have gotten his gluttony and lust under control, but his greed is running rampant. Greed is an inordinate desire to acquire or possess more than one needs, especially with respect to material wealth. Whether it is the obsession of an individual to accumulate boundless wealth, or a politician selling out to special interest lobbyists, or of a corporation maximizing profits by exploiting workers, and/or promoting/marketing weapons of war and violence, it is the premier vice/sin driving our civilization into the mud.

And here's another evaluation of Clinton's "fund-raising" for you:

Jonathan Tobin, Senior Online Editor of the conservative Jewish publication Commentary Magazine, criticized the former president for “shaking down” the charitable group which “raises questions not only of good taste but also of the propriety of one charitable endeavor profiting at the expense of the other.” In an article titled, Bill Clinton's Big Israeli Payday, Tobin writes:

We are constantly reminded of the fact that there’s no better gig in the world than being an ex-president. With lucrative book contracts (for books that don’t always get read but for which publishers feel obligated to shell out big bucks in advances), highly paid speaking engagements and uncounted perks as well as lifetime security, our former commanders-in-chief live the rest of their lives high on the proverbial hog. And when they’re done repairing their personal finances, they can start foundations and shake down everyone who wants their ear or to link their names with a former president. That’s pretty much the story of the last 12 years of Bill Clinton’s life, as he has become a wealthy man as well as one with a personal foundation to which he can funnel almost unlimited amounts of contributions from those who wish to earn his good will or that of his wife, who has her own eye on the White House in 2016.

But there is a point when even the usual post-presidential gravy train becomes excess and it appears that Clinton has reached just such a moment. By accepting a $500,000 honorarium from the Shimon Peres Academic Center, Clinton has exposed himself and his hosts (which include the Jewish National Fund, which is co-sponsoring the event as part of its president’s summit in Israel this summer) to scorn and criticism. Clinton apparently demanded that the Center and the JNF pony up a cool half million and deliver it to his foundation a year in advance to secure his appearance at an event honoring the Israeli president’s 90th birthday. This raises questions not only of good taste but also of the propriety of one charitable endeavor profiting at the expense of the other.

The Center and the JNF attempted to recoup some of the money by charging those who attended the gala to take place on June 17 in Reshoot, Israel approximately $800 a head. But Peres was scandalized by the idea of asking so much from those coming to his birthday party and the Times of Israel reports he said he wouldn’t attend if it was nothing but a fundraiser.

I agree with Tobin that there is something unseemly (a mild term - I would use "offensive" about Clinton, who was scheduled to receive the Israeli President’s Award from Peres at an event scheduled for two days later, shaking down the JNF and its donor base for this kind of money for his personal charity. As New York Magazine noted, that amounts to $11,111.00 per minute. Or as one commenter to the Times of Israel article linked below noted, " $185 per second: even when he coughs, pauses and yawns."

Tobin concluded:
“If Clinton wants to honor his old friend Peres, it shouldn’t require someone who cares about the Peres Center or the JNF to fork over that kind of money to a cause that, for all of its good work, is a vanity project for a former president who would like very much to be the nation’s First Gentleman three years from now,” Tobin wrote. Throughout his post-presidency, Clinton has engaged in this kind of money making taking six-figure fees from all sorts of charities and even churches and synagogues without coming in for much criticism…. But it can also be observed that once again the 42nd president has found another way to diminish the high office with which he was entrusted.”



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