Here then is a refresher of a few of the incompetencies, deceptions, and dishonest dealings of Hillary Clinton and her Casanova husband, which don't exactly inspire confidence. They're listed more or less in inverse chronological order, starting with the past year's biggies, Hillary's hypocritical Wall Street connection and the email or "Servergate" affair. Since there are so many "incidents", I only have space for a short description of each, but you can click on the paragraph heading, and a Google result for the incident will open in a new window. (Various authorship.)
Laundering some money for the Superdelegates
You've perhaps wondered how it was that when Bernie Sanders whipped Hillary Clinton in Wyoming by 56% to 44%, she wound up with 11 delegates and he with 7. The answer is, as you probably know, "superdelegates", generally state party officials and elected politicians, who in Hillary's case have promised her their vote at the convention, come what may. So how on earth did Hillary manage to obtain all these promises?
There's an old saying that "money can't buy everything." That may be true, but it can buy people, including superdelegates.
When you're the Clintons you're going to find a way to win, especially after an embarrassing loss to a young black whippersnapper the last time out. And when you realize that the superdelegates are people, it won't take long before you figure it out. It's just a matter of setting up a conduit for donations that will benefit the superdelegates, along with some promise to remember them when you win. At the above link Margot Kidder gives the clearest explanation I've seen of the Clintons' complicated money laundering operation that funneled campaign funds from their many donors to the superdelegates. But for a quick taste, the scheme goes (yes, present tense – it's still going) about like this:
To quote Kidder, "In August 2015, at the Democratic Party convention in Minneapolis, 33 state Democratic parties made deals with the Hillary Clinton campaign and a joint fundraising entity called The Hillary Victory Fund. The deal allowed many of her core billionaire and inner circle individual donors to run the maximum amounts of money allowed through those state parties to the Hillary Victory Fund in New York and the DNC in Washington." By donating directly to each state party committee, which passed the money on to the DNC and then to the Hillary Victory Fund, donors could increase their "legal" donation. The money then came under the management of Elizabeth Jones, the head of the Clinton campaign, who would decide how much of the money would be disbursed back to the states. Back to the states where the state leadership, who would benefit from the money, were also the state's superdelegates. Funny - they're all backing Hillary! Do yourself a favor and read Margot Kidder's tale of Hillary's edge-of-the-law scheme to buy delegate loyalty. Ethical or not (NOT!), if you've got money, you can get democracy to work for you!
Update: Now that the Democratic Convention is over, and Clinton has been crowned as the party's nominee, we have all discovered – through the DNC email hack – that the Democratic primary process was fraudulent from the start. Evidently engineered by the Clintons and Hillary's former campaign chair / then DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the DNC in violation of its vow and its mission to function as a neutral promoter of a fair election process, rigged every aspect of the primaries to favor its predetermined candidate, Hillary Clinton. (Let's raise a toast to the then-DNC vice chair, Representative from Hawaii Tulsi Gabbard, who had the moral fiber to resign from the DNC in protest many months ago when she discovered the Committee's fraud.) The DNC defrauded not only Bernie Sanders, but equally the remaining Democratic candidates, Martin O'Malley, Jim Webb, Lincoln Chafee, and Lawrence Lessig. After a few blips of protest by the Sanders delegates at the convention (the Clinton delegates seemed completely unaffected by the revelations of fraud), the non-Clinton delegates were simply sent home and those left could join in a sincere hug.
Here's an updated link from Politico.)
Hillary's campaign finance hypocrisy|
Here we have Hillary Clinton, the candidate who has done by far the most to secure "superpac" money, the one who's into the pockets of Wall Street and the big banks for millions of dollars of contributions, who continues traveling around the country to high ticket "celebrity" donor events, promising that she'll get big money out of election campaigns. No one can possibly take that seriously. In the meantime, Hillary's superpac, "Correct the Record", now admits that it in fact has coordinated its work with the Clinton campaign – and continues to do so, in violation of election laws. She – not any Republican – is the ultimate big-money-influenced candidate, and her administration would be devoted to making good her substantial debt to the financial sector. Read the above link to a recent article by Lawrence Noble, ex-general counsel to the Federal Elections Commission.
The email scandal – or "Servergate" |
Typical above-the-rules behavior by Hillary. What an astounding lack of grasp of basic security rules by a senior official! Here's Hillary as Secretary of State using a private email server, insecurely located in her house, to send and receive sensitive information, and when she's asked to turn it over to the FBI, she erases files of her own choosing. She, of course, claims that this is a non-issue – just political dirt by the Republicans. (She's used that one often enough.) At the time of writing, the State Department has found at least a couple of thousand emails that merited secure handling, including hundreds with highly classified material that may have alerted North Korea to U.S. spy satellite activities and capabilities. The FBI is investigating whether Hillary's casual view of security merits a criminal complaint. (If the answer is "yes", we can assume that Hillary's presidential ambition is toast.) Hillary's lame excuse, that nothing she sent over the private email bore a classified stamp, is a total red herring. The question isn't whether she sent already-classified documents on her private line – I hope she didn't do that – it's about whether the information she sent was classified. It's because such information can be unwittingly passed on that we use secure systems, and that's the type of potential breaches of security by a careless Hillary Clinton that are now being found by the thousands.
One typically devious "explanation" came from Hillary's campaign spokesman Nick Merrill, who wrote in an email to the Washington Post (9/22/2015) that: "Due to her practice of emailing her colleagues on their state.gov email addresses, 90% of her work-related correspondence occurred on the Department's email system." Don't laugh! – the Clinton campaign is actually asking the American people to conclude that email sent to a secure server is secure, so that "90%" of Hillary's emails were OK. What kind of dupes do they take us all for? The affair is developing daily, but a click on the heading should get the latest news.
Update: By now, we know the outcome: the FBI found Hillary to have handled highly classified material "with extreme carelessness", which is a federal crime, but the Obama administration declined to indict her on political grounds because, as the FBI director explained, she didn't understand what she was doing.
(Below, find a relevant ironic incident: Hillary's firing of an Ambassador for ... guess.)
Clinton Foundation – the ultimate Clinton goldmine |
It's a whole new level of corruption in U.S. officialdom, befitting a mid-eastern monarch: No presidential family has come close to making their official positions pay off like Bill and Hillary Clinton. According to a New York Times investigation, the Clinton family has built an estate of a quarter billion dollars after they left the White House. They raked in about $150 million, mostly payments to Bill from banks and foreign sources, between 2007 and 2014. The official story is that Bill was paid to give speeches. But while it's true that Bill gave speeches, which merited some payment, at least 90% of a 500,000 "speaking fee" must be counted as purely a bribe.
Three elements have jelled to make the money-machine work: 1. Hillary's policy level job as Secretary of State, 2. the Clintons' well-known adaptable ethics, which has always attracted mysterious money, and 3. their brilliant stroke of establishing a charitable foundation in the Clinton name. The Clinton Foundation reputedly does some good here and there around the world, but has been especially good for the Clintons' bank account. With the Secretary of State's family name on it, the foundation has acted as a ready receptacle for multi-million dollar gifts from foreign actors – both businesses and governments – that were looking for a favorable ruling from Hillary Clinton's State Department. At the same time, these parties would invite Bill to deliver a short talk, in connection with which he was given sums up to a half million dollar per event into his own pocket. Bill's trips "to give a speech" were really just to pick up the bribe check. The speech was entirely incidental. This is called greasing the skids, and to be blunt, the Clintons are totally corrupt.
Among the many State Department actions potentially influenced by such money transfers to the Clintons (for examples of international arms sales approved by Hillary after payments to the Clintons see this from International Business Times), several have involved mining companies; for example, the approval of the purchase by the Russian Atomic Energy Agency ROSATOM of exclusive mining rights to a large portion of North American and international uranium deposits, including up to half of U.S. uranium resources, according to a N.Y.Times report in April 2015. The deal was accompanied by a huge Russian contribution to the Clinton Foundation, as well as a $500,000 check waiting for Bill in Moscow - and, yes, he did give a short talk. A significant point is that the White House, concerned about possible conflict of interest in the Clintons' financial dealings, had Hillary sign an agreement to the effect that she would notify the White House of all significant private financial dealings with foreign corporations or governments, including specifically speaking fees for Bill or gifts to the family foundation. But she "forgot" to comply with that before she signed over half the U.S. uranium resources to Russia's atomic energy agency! The facts in the Clinton enrichment scheme are still being developed; expect this scandal to erupt big-time over the coming year.
The Ambassador's email – do as I say, not as I do |
In 2010, President Obama appointed his friend and reputed Africa-expert, General Scott Gration, as Ambassador to Kenya. Within months, feedback from the embassy revealed an ambassador out of control. The complaints were serious enough to warrant an investigation by the State Department's Inspector General. The IG's scathing report led to Hillary's State Department firing Ambassador Gration. One of several serious charges against the ambassador was using an unsecured private email service for official business. Must have been a special moment for Hillary.
Billary's big banks - the ethics of greed |
One speaks of having "the ethics of a dog." But a dog only takes what it needs. The Clintons take what they can get their hands on. The Swiss bank, UBS – a giant in world-wide finance, closely tied to the Swiss government – has been Bill Clinton's biggest corporate source of cash since he left the White House. After getting caught up in the money-laundering scandal that was revealed by a whistleblower in 2007, the UBS bank, through the Swiss government, asked Hillary in 2009 to intervene with the IRS to save UBS from prosecution (and save the bank billions). Hillary, in an unusual step for a Secretary of State, did as she was asked, and the IRS wound up settling for substantially less information than they had demanded. Afterwards, UBS paid Bill $1.5 million to participate in discussion sessions with the bank's management, and donated substantial sums to the Clinton Foundation. Of course, this may only have the appearance of impropriety.
The appearance of impropriety was repeated time and again on Hillary's Sec. of State watch. Because of her position, her husband's contract work (i.e., speeches) for foreign governments or corporations needed approval by the U.S. government. That is, they needed approval by the State Department. Bill presented more than 330 such requests, usually for exorbitant fees, to the Department, and all but a small handful were immediately approved by Hillary. Among these were a large number of financial institutions of mixed repute, for example Barclays Bank and HSBC Swiss bank which were under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department, and were found to have engaged in money-laundering and illegal sanction-busting.
Hillary and Benghazi – more lies, obstruction, and prevarication |
Secretary Clinton stonewalls the Congress, which wants to know why the Ambassador to Libya's repeated requests for security improvements at the Benghazi consulate went unheeded, and why the Administration, including Hillary and our Ambassador to the U.N., was eager to cast the blame for the Benghazi riot on a YouTube video. In front of the families of the murdered State Department employees at a Senate committee hearing, Hillary famously screamed "What difference does it make?" to the committee's question about the origin of the uprising in Benghazi where the U.S. Ambassador and other staff were murdered. Those families are probably not among her devoted followers any longer. Now that Hillary has been forced to submit her email server to the FBI, we may get some answers, even though she may have tried to erase any relevant emails.
At the more recent House committee hearing on Benghazi, Hillary was faced with her own emails to her daughter and to the prime minister of Saudi Arabia, both sent within hours of the Benghazi murders. In these, she wrote (certainly a breach of security) that "we" knew that the riots and killings were not inspired by the touted video, but were the work of a terrorist group. Why did the administration then continue for several days to blame the YouTube video? She had no answer, but the answer must be that being struck down by a chance event seemed more palatable to the administration than an attack by the very groups that the Ambassador had vainly sought security assistance against, especially since Mr.Obama's reelection was less than two months away. Since the hearings uncovered the fact that the government knew the cause of the killings (terrorists and lack of security) but continued to blame it on circumstances beyond their control, the clear truth is that Hillary and the administration were simply lying to the world, to the American people, and to the grieving relatives of the victims, evidently for political reasons.
Troops into Syria? – Obama vetoes Hillary |
Hillary encouraged the President to send U.S. ground troops into the boiling hell-hole that is Syria. But Obama had finally – after Iraq and Libya – understood what a losing proposition it is to inject American troops into a middle east tribal-religious war with neither clear goals nor an exit strategy, and he fortunately ignored her disastrous advice.
Bombing Libya – learning nothing from the past |
Hillary strongly encouraged President Obama to bomb Libya and remove Gaddafi from power. She repeated her horrible mistake from Iraq 2002, and had learned nothing from what happens when you remove the strongman and the security apparatus from a tribally and religiously divided country. Obama followed her advice, and Libya was ruined as a result, just as Bush, Hillary, and other members of Congress ruined Iraq. In a recent interview (April 2016), Obama called the action against Libya his "worst mistake", and referred to the bad advice he was given. (That would be by Hillary among others.) Hillary, on the other hand, has listed the Libya operation as one of her greatest achievements as Secretary of State. And it probably is! Jim Webb and others who understood the region had counseled strongly against the Libyan involvement. As a result of our actions, Libya has become an ungoverned center of terrorism and weapon supplies to such groups as the blood-thirsty Boko Haram in Chad and Nigeria, and tens of thousands of deaths have resulted. Who should have those deaths on her conscience?
Bosnian sniper fire – spinning a good war story|
Hillary took a "first lady" junket to Bosnia in 1996, landing in Tuzla on a sunny, peaceful day. Not much sign of the recent war that had largely wound down. A few years later she was running for the Senate, and her visit to Bosnia had taken on a different character: she told election crowds that she landed in the midst of a war under sniper fire and had to run with her head down to avoid being hit. After being outed by the news media (a CBS video of her pleasant and quiet visit to Tuzla helped), she agreed she had "misspoken" (not "lied", mind you, like NBC News anchor Brian Williams, who was fired for a similar concocted story about being shot at), and she claimed that she had merely forgotten the details of her arrival in Tuzla. Forgotten about not being shot at? Sure, that's easy to confuse with being shot at. They're almost the same thing, aren't they?
Here's another good link from CBS News.
Starting the Iraq War – a deadly "mistake" |
In the winter of 2002, President G.W.Bush thought the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was preparing to make "WMDs" – weapons of mass destruction – and decided that the best solution to the situation was to invade Iraq, depose Saddam, and replace him with a "democratic" government, after which the Iraqi people would be grateful to the Americans for their deliverance. What ignorance and plain stupidity! Senator Ted Kennedy spoke strongly about the folly of this course, Jim Webb wrote an eloquent Washington Post op-ed warning of the consequences (all of which eventually came about), and principled members of Congress, like Senators Bernie Sanders and Lincoln Chafee, voted against the congressional measure that would authorize the madness of starting a war in the middle east. (Here's my own later contribution.) But Sen. Hillary Clinton and a majority of both houses of Congress lost their head and disastrously voted to authorize the invasion, one of the century's most evil and most tragic decisions.
She wrote later, "I made a mistake, and I'm sorry." A mistake! And she's "sorry": About 4500 American soldiers have died so far as a result of her "mistake". and an estimated million persons have died in the middle east holocaust that her decision set in motion. Additional millions live unspeakable lives as refugees. Without her vote and those of others who are equally guilty, there would be no "Arab spring" horror, no murderous ISIS, no continuing Islamist conquests, no Syrian war, no European refugee flood. But she's "sorry".
What Hillary didn't understand, and still doesn't grasp, is that a decision to go to war is a decision to kill and be killed, most likely in vast numbers, and that the consequences will certainly be a catastrophic human disaster, as it has been in this case. The Iraq war and its horrendous aftermath must be laid on the conscience of those who started the war, including President G.W.Bush and then-Senator Hillary R. Clinton, along with fellow members of Congress. Each legislator who votes for war must acknowledge that he or she is starting the war and will be fully responsible for it. Individual responsibility for this disaster is not lessened or diluted by being shared; each member of Congress had the question to decide: "Shall I take responsibility for starting a war?" And each of those who voted Yes, answered "Yes, I will start this war. Be it on my conscience." And there it rests after a million dead: on their conscience. Hillary's dismissive "I made a mistake, and I'm sorry." is not enough. That's not taking responsibility for the horrors of the wars she started. Perhaps "I ask you to forgive me for my stupidity that led to so much misery" may bring some sympathy, but we'll never hear that from Hillary Clinton. In the view of this writer, one who was responsible for starting the carnage in the middle east that has destroyed the region ought to have the decency to lay low, rather than boisterously trumpeting her qualification to be American President and Commander-in-Chief. The cheek!
Sandy Berger at the National Archives - just stealing some secret archives|
On four occasions in the fall of 2003 President Clinton's former National Security Advisor, Sandy Berger, walked into the National Archives in Washington, as he had many times during his White House tenure, and asked to see some secret White House notes from the Clinton administration period, which he said he needed to refresh himself on facts before testifying to the Commission investigating the security background of the September 11 attack in New York City. This was a reasonable request, as he was at the time ex-President Clinton's designated representative to the Commission, and as he still held the necessary high security clearance, he was permitted to peruse documents.
But Berger was interested in more than just perusing documents. He was there as Bill Clinton's representative, and the Archives held materials that the Clintons did not want the 9/11 commission to see. Due to slack security at the Archives, Berger was able to secrete on his person an unknown number of papers and carry these out of the Archives to his home. (He had been seen by a staff member stuffing documents into his socks, under his pant legs.) When Archives staff later discovered that documents were missing, Berger was questioned but denied taking any. A day later, however (after conference with the Clintons, no doubt), he returned a few documents to the Archives, admitting to carrying them out for use by the September 11 Commission, and saying that he had made an innocent mistake. The incident was reported to the Justice Department, and by a plea bargain, after Berger had confessed that the theft was preplanned, and that he had in fact destroyed some documents ("copies" only, he said), he incredibly got off with a misdemeanor conviction for removing classified documents, which carried a modest fine and temporary removal of his security clearance. Clearly, the light sentence was adapted to the person of Mr.Berger. Most individuals would have faced a felony charge for theft of classified material. There must have been high-level negotiations involved to reduce the charge, very likely a phone call from Bill Clinton to President Bush, explaining that everyone would be best served if this case did not drag out.
And the connection to Hillary? She had lambasted the Bush administration in speeches for not doing more to take out Osama bin Laden. If the Clinton administration had had the opportunity, she said, they would have closed in quickly. Unfortunately for her, the truth was that they did have that opportunity on several occasions. As the hit movie "The Path to 9/11" showed – before a 3-minute segment was cut by the Disney Co. after threats from the Democratic Senate leadership – they had bid Laden cornered and hesitated to make the move. These episodes were documented in White House notes which were in the Archives. They're no longer there, they were not made available to the 9/11 commission, and they could no longer contradict Hillary's claims. Sandy Berger, working for the Clintons, saw to that.
Absconding with the White House furniture |
The Clintons left the White House in 2001 as they had arrived in 1993: deep in controversy and scandal. In 1993, the White House celebrated its 200th year, and on the occasion a number of donors gave the National Park Service (which "owns" the White House) fine and historic furniture and other furnishings to redecorate the White House. In 2000, in order to qualify Hillary as a resident of New York – so she could run for the Senate – the Clintons bought an upscale house in Chappaqua, which they needed to furnish. Apparently under the misapprehension that no one kept track of White House inventory, they quickly began picking out preferred items of furnishings from the White House and sending these to New York.
After their theft was discovered, Hillary tried the line that they had thought the gifts for the White House anniversary were meant for themselves personally! After wide criticism the Clintons agreed to pay $86,000 for items that the National Park Service decided they could keep, and later they sent back items valued at $28,000, which NPS required to be returned. The total value of what they tried to steal is unclear; New York Times reported it as $190,000, and ABC News described it as "china, flatware, rugs, televisions, sofas and other gifts". Several donors of the furnishings were quoted in the news as being flabbergasted – they had naturally intended the gifts to permanently decorate the White House. What can we say? – they are the Clintons, and ... you don't succeed if you don't try. "It's easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission," etc etc.
The unethical pardons – what's a friend (or a brother) for? |
On January 20, 2001, on his last day in office, President Clinton issued 140 pardons and 36 commutations. While these were within the President's constitutional powers, many of these were highly criticized as unethical, none more than the pardon given fugitive financier Marc Rich, a man on the FBI's ten most wanted list for fraud and tax evasion, and who was hiding out in Europe. The pardon was condemned by ex-President Carter and by the director of the FBI, and was reviled by the press and the public. It seemed awkward that Rich's ex-wife had recently made a donation of several hundred thousands to Hillary's campaign chest and to the Clinton library. But hey, if you can't buy yourself a pardon, what's money for, eh?
By the way, among the rest of the pardoned were an exceptional number of Clinton relatives, personal and political friends and associates, and donors to their campaigns. The President's brother, Roger Clinton, was among the pardoned, as was his Arkansas Whitewater partner Susan McDougal. Hillary's brother Hugh was paid $400 thousand to lobby his brother-in-law (successfully, of course) for two clients, though it's said he paid the money back when the news came out in the press and "shocked Hillary, who had known nothing about it." (The year before, Hillary's other brother Tony had lobbied the Clintons (successfully, of course) for a pardon for two friends who had paid him handsomely. What's a brother for?) Pardoned were also Clinton's associates from the Whitewater/Madison Guaranty affair, Chris Wade and Robert W. Palmer, as well as Stephen Smith, an aide to then-Governor Clinton in Arkansas.
The Clinton impeachment – more lying
No need to retell the story of President Clinton's impeachment here. Just a personal note: I'm no Republican, but Clinton's misbehavior in office deserved impeachment and removal. The Arkansas Bar Association thought so, as they withdrew Bill Clinton's license to practice law. Clinton's lies under oath amounted to perjury, although the Special Prosecutor declined to indict him after the Senate's Democrats declined to convict the President. The connection with Hillary? She identified herself totally with Bill in a common presidency – and more often than not she had a vital role in the President's decisions. She knew Bill lied under oath. She knew everything that happened in the White House. But she played the good wife and stuck by her man, lying when she needed to. In a sense, the impeachment was of both the Clintons. So should we give them another shot? Are we that short of leadership in the U.S? Daniel Halperin said it well in the Washington Post: "The truth is, the Clintons never really change." They just shift positions toward what is expedient. It is not odd that a large portion of the American public find the thought of sending the family that sullied the presidential mansion with bribery, graft, perjury and disgraceful conduct back to White House simply disgusting.
When the Monica Lewinsky scandal surfaced in 1997, Mrs. Clinton insisted she did not know about the affair until afterward. In 1998, she flatly told “The Today Show,” “There isn’t any fire,” to the Lewinsky allegations. But subsequent reports indicate it was Mrs. Clinton’s assistant Evelyn Lieberman who orchestrated Miss Lewinsky’s removal from the White House. In 2000, when Mrs. Clinton was confronted by Tim Russert during a New York Senate race debate about the affair, she still insisted she hadn’t deceived the country:
“Obviously, I didn’t mislead anyone,” she insisted. “I didn’t know the truth.”
1997 and '98 were difficult years, entirely self-induced, for the Clintons. Not only did Bill harass another female employee into providing him sexual services in the Oval Office, which Hillary was fully aware of, but Bill's lies about it required Hillary to lie in turn. The evidence for the harassment came out in Bill's harassment trial against Paula Jones, yet in January 1998 Bill found it necessary to lie to the entire nation at once. On nationwide TV he assured us, "I want you to listen to me. I'm going to say this again. I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky." I remember his marvelously convincing straight face. It was vintage Clinton. Unfortunately there were Linda Tripp's recordings of Monica Lewinsky's side of the story, and eventually the semen-stained blue dress. Bill's approach when he finally had no choice but to confess was typical of both Clintons: he said "it was wrong," and it was "a lapse in judgment," and it was a "personal failure". These are things that happen to all of us, just errors that can easily be forgiven and even overlooked. He never said he lied. He never admitted his act was sexual harassment, for which any CEO of a major firm would have been immediately sacked.
Hillary promptly came to the defense of her husband while he was telling his lies, although she knew the accusations to be true. She went on the offense, accusing the Republican Party of engineering the case. And Monica, said Hillary, had only imagined a relationship with the President – which young girl wouldn't? Rumors to the contrary were, in Hillary's famous phrase, the work of a "vast right-wing conspiracy."
White House Motel – pay (a lot) to stay the night. Breakfast extra. |
Some called it the "Lincoln Motel" or Motel 1600, among the more printable names. We're referring to the Clintons' scandalous practice in the White House to woo political donors with the offer of a night in the Lincoln bedroom. The going minimum donation seems to have been about $200,000. For $100,000 a donor could have breakfast with Bill in the White House (we don't know whether there was a special combination price for Room & Board). The Clintons started this practice as soon as they arrived. A memo from the DNC finance chair, Terry McAuliffe, to Bill Clinton's staff two weeks before his inauguration in January, 1993, proposed using the White House for partisan fund raising. Luncheons of groups of donors with the president also resulted in major cash to the party and to Bill's reelection fund. (The total haul for the party was $10,176,840 according to NY Times 3/2/1997). Even the oldtimers in Washington could not recall a president misusing the White House to that degree for partisan purposes.
Hillary's Health Care Commission – busted by incompetence |
Hillary's first job in the national focus was shortly after the beginning of the first Clinton presidential term, when she was hired by her husband to chair a task force that would develop recommendations for an overhaul of the nation's health care system. Hillary's idea of how to proceed was to form a commission, largely friends from Arkansas, lock the doors and decide how the health care system should be. The project bombed; the Clintons, as the Boston Globe put it, "elbowed aside some of the most experienced health care economists in the world to form a little task force at the pinnacle of the administration to fix the American health care system themselves." After a year and a half of closed-doors work, the Clintons gave up, and it was left to Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell to declare the effort dead. Lack of leadership and appropriate skill, along with secrecy, arrogance toward experts, and minimal consultation was the general assessment of Mrs.Clinton's task force. The current email scandal suggests that the character traits of arrogance, mistrust, and secretiveness have neither gone away nor diminished with time.
"Travelgate" – how not to fire White House staff |
Bill used this line in his presidential campaign: "You get two for the price of one." How true that would turn out. Hillary became a co-president, and made personnel decisions not only on the household staff. The White House had a travel office staffed by non-political career personnel, who arranged and booked all travel for White House staff. The office staff had served with little turnover through several presidential terms. But on a fund-raising swing through California a wealthy Clinton donor, the owner of a travel agency, had shown interest in running the travel business for the White House. The Clintons agreed, and one of the first things they did when they moved into the White House was to fire nearly all the staff of the travel office. But instead of honestly telling the staff she just didn't want them there any longer, Hillary looked for a reason to fire the staff. She accused the office chief of embezzling, asked the FBI to investigate him for criminal negligence, and finally had him removed in a police van.
The honest office chief, Mr.Dale, was charged and stood trial for negligence, and was found not guilty on all counts. His life and reputation were pretty much ruined by the experience. Special Prosecutor Robert Ray's final report on the matter wrote about Hillary's sworn testimony, "The overwhelming evidence establishes that she played a role in the decision to fire the employees. ... Thus, her statement to the contrary under oath was factually false." Translated: she lied. (A good place to mention the Clintons' flexible view of testimony. They're both lawyers, and they recognize two kinds of statements: those given under oath, and those not. If you're not under oath you say what suits your purpose. If you are under oath, you prevaricate and avoid telling a direct lie. It's the Clinton way.)
"Troopergate" – a lady or two for the Governor |
Two Arkansas state troopers on Governor Bill Clinton's security detail testified to the Whitewater Special Prosecutor that part of their job was to supply the governor with extra-marital feminine visits. Gennifer Flowers was the first to draw national attention, and Hillary denounced everyone who believed Gennifer's story. Of course the story was true, and Hillary knew it. Eventually, some of Bill's other mistresses or sexual abuse victims (Dolly Kyle Browning, Elizabeth Ward Gracen, Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey each had a short season of fame) faced strongarm tactics, including burglaries, threats of violence, being shadowed by private dicks and audited by IRS. They all believed the harassment was instigated by the White House, i.e., by Hillary. Today (summer of 2015), Bill apparently still has a "busty blonde" – named "Energizer" by the Secret Service agents – who visits the Clinton home in Chappaqua, NY when Hillary is away (Ronald Kessler: The First Family Detail). And of course Hillary is still aware of his unfaithfulness, and she still denies that it goes on. Kessler says the Clinton marriage is actually just "a business relationship. It’s not a marriage at all. It’s a total fake, like everything else about Hillary. It’s just a big show and a scam."
Whitewater – strange financial doings |
At the same time as Hillary's cattle futures investment was "maturing" (see next item), Governor Clinton and Hillary joined their friends Jim and Susan McDougal in forming the Whitewater Development Corp., for the purpose of investing in land, to be later sold for development. The McDougals were owners of the "Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan" bank in Arkansas. While the real estate scheme did not pan out, the McDougals were investigated and convicted for financial fraud (a fate very common among the Clintons' financial contacts).
This case is too complex to even summarize here, so see the Wikipedia article for details of the sorry affair. It's enough to say that an Arkansas banker associated with Jim McDougal (and later convicted of fraud) accused Governor Clinton of pressuring him to make an illegal loan of $300,000 to Susan McDougal. This triggered the Whitewater investigation by a Special Prosecutor, and at its completion, fifteen friends, coworkers, and associates of the Clintons were convicted of various financial crimes, but the Clintons were not charged. Certain evidence had disappeared (Hillary's records of her work for Whitewater and Madison Guaranty for the Rose Law Firm, for example), and Susan McDougal refused to answer questions about the Clintons' involvement in fraudulent transactions. She was found in contempt of court, and served 18 months in jail – during which time she could have got out on the spot by talking. Now that's friendship, and Bill thanked her with a retroactive pardon. The missing Rose Law Firm files later turned out to have been taken by Hillary, and were kept in the White House office of attorney Vince Foster. After Foster committed suicide, a Secret Service agent testified that the first lady (that's our Hillary) directed the unlawful removal of records related to the Whitewater Development Corp. from Vince Foster’s office – unlawful because the office had been ordered sealed by the FBI.
The matter was wrapped up with the Independent Counsel's final report in September 2000, which, in spite of "the President's abundant and calculating lies under oath, obstruction of justice and abuse of power," gave this ringing endorsement of the Clintons'... uh, innocence: "This office determined that the evidence was insufficient to prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt" that the Clintons had violated the law.
The cattle futures bribe – a little extra for the Governor |
In October, 1978, Bill Clinton was running for the office of Governor of Arkansas. He was leading in the polls, a sure bet to win the governorship. A wealthy lawyer friend of Hillary, James Blair, who happened to be general counsel to Arkansas' largest employer – Tyson Foods, which had business needing the Governor's approval – suggested that she could make good profits by investing as he did, in commodities. He offered to handle the investment if she would put up $1000. She did, and the money was bundled with Mr.Blair's own investments in cattle futures. After ten months, Mr.Blair sent the wife of the new Governor a check for nearly $100,000, said to be the profit on her investment. Pretty good return: a profit of 10,000 percent in less than a year. Several independent market analysts have been sufficiently impressed with this result that they have worked out the statistical chance of this actually happening by the normal workings of the market.
(Summarized from Wikipedia:)
In other words, the 10,000 percent profit did not happen in the market. The only reasonable conclusion is that Mr.Blair or his employer wanted to give the governor's family a "gift" of $100,000. Hillary has explained that she took the profits in good faith, considering herself just lucky in investments. This "explanation" is of course either a barefaced lie, or Hillary is the most easily duped lawyer ever - which she is not. (The futures investment firm handling her account and its local office head were indicted shortly after this episode and convicted of trading and accounting violations, though the sentence was later overturned on procedural grounds.)
The editor of the Journal of Futures Markets said, "This is like buying ice skates one day and entering the Olympics a day later."
- USA Today concluded after a four-week study that "Hillary Rodham Clinton had some special treatment while winning a small fortune in commodities."
- In the Journal of Economics and Finance, economists from the University of North Florida and Auburn University investigated the odds of gaining a hundred-fold return in the cattle futures market during the period in question. They concluded that the odds of such a return happening were at best 1 in 31 trillion. (That is to say, impossible.)
- Financial writer Edward Chancellor noted that Clinton made her money by betting "on the short side at a time when cattle prices doubled" (making the profits essentially impossible).
- Bloomberg News columnist Caroline Baum and hedge fund manager Victor Niederhoffer published a detailed analysis in National Review and concluded that her explanations for her results were highly implausible.
The Nixon Impeachment committee – was unethical behavior an early habit? |
In 1973-74 Hillary Rodham was a 27-year old junior attorney on the staff of the House Judiciary Committee, which was considering whether to report articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon. She had got the job on the recommendation of her Yale law professor, Burke Marshall, who had been Assistant Attorney General under Robert Kennedy and was a legal advisor to the Kennedy family. Jerry Zeifman, chief counsel and chief of staff to the committee, referring to Hillary's staff work, called her "an unethical, dishonest lawyer." His venting came as a result of a brief that Hillary authored for the committee on the question of whether President Nixon had a right to legal counsel in the committee's proceedings. Hillary's direct supervisor apparently told her to support the opinion that Nixon did not have a right to counsel, and that's what Hillary's brief concluded. But Zeifman had shown her that in the most recent impeachment hearings, of Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas in 1970, Justice Douglas had been permitted to engage counsel. Hillary perused the Douglas files and was familiar with that precedent, but she decided to suppress it. Hillary's brief concluded that no right to counsel existed, without mentioning the Douglas case. Zeifman, a Democrat, was no fan of Nixon's, but thought Hillary's intentional effort to hide the relevant precedent and thereby deprive the President of counsel was dishonest. It may be that she had got instructions from her supervisor to bias the brief, but her role as a staff lawyer was still to ensure that the committee had all relevant facts. Hillary clearly subverted justice on this point. Though it may seem a minor matter today, the question Hillary Rodham tried to subvert could have been of critical importance for the future of the U.S. government. As it was, the Democratic House leadership (Speaker O'Neil, et al.) disagreed with her opinion, and Nixon was permitted counsel.
Much has been written pro and con on this matter. Chief Counsel Zeifman's strong view of Hillary as a dishonest lawyer didn't have a political background, since the 27-year old Ms.Rodham was essentially an unknown junior staff member. His view was apparently based on the matter of the biased brief, though there may have been other incidents that fed his vigorous dislike for Hillary. Zeifman nevertheless suspected a political involvement in her (and her supervisor's) work, which ran about like this: Ted Kennedy was at the time a favorite for the 1976 Democratic presidential nomination (which went instead to Jimmy Carter – the Chappaquiddick incident still haunted Kennedy). The Kennedy forces supposedly did not want Howard Hunt – one of the operatives in the Watergate affair – to be crossexamined by President Nixon's counsel at their hearing, since Hunt had also been an operative for President Kennedy in the disastrous Bay of Pigs affair and in "dirty" domestic activities in Kennedy's CIA. Testimony about the Kennedy administration carrying out operations outside the law was not what Democratic leaders wanted to hear in the Nixon hearings. Thus the effort to keep Nixon's lawyer out of the hearing. Zeifman claimed that committee phone records showed Hillary consulting daily with Burke Marshall (who was not employed in government), supposedly in the interest of the Kennedy clan. Whatever the actual facts behind such allegations, it's clear that such scheming does occur, but the only thing well established from the Zeifman-Rodham controversy is that Hillary's background brief for the committee was slanted and intentionally suppressed information that would have contradicted her conclusion. Professional deceit, in other words – but then again, it was a long time ago...