Guest post by Eric Zuesse.
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The biggest problem in the U.S. now is corruption. The public know this, and are therefore unprecedentedly cynical about their government; they (as will soon be documented here from a Gallup survey) overwhelmingly view our government as being corrupt. However, conservatives accept corruption as the natural order of things, something that must simply be accepted, because the rich have the most property to protect and therefore (in the view of conservatives) the rich have the right to rule so as to protect their property (since they have the most of it). Furthermore, conservatives think that the rich have earned their wealth by selling what people want, and have therefore already proven their superiority — they’ve earned their control over the government. In the view of conservatives, poor people have the least property to protect, and should therefore have the least say in government. The poor are also failures economically; nobody wants to be poor; and so conservatives are doubly favorable towards rule by the rich. However, conservatives rarely vote Democratic; so, the people who don’t mind our government’s corruption aren’t actually prospective voters for the Democratic Presidential nominee in 2016 anyway. The Democratic Party thus should simply ignore those voters, because they belong, unalterably, to the Republican Party.
Non-conservatives (“liberals”), however, don’t think that the only role of government is to protect wealth; so, since Democrats are overwhelmingly not conservatives, they overwhelmingly do find disturbing that their government is corrupt, and they are therefore much more disinclined to vote for a corrupt person than non-Democrats are. Thus, if the Democratic Party were to nominate a corrupt person to represent the Party in the 2016 Presidential election, voter-turnout for the Democrat against the Republican would be significantly depressed by that fact. The Republican Party can safely nominate a corrupt person (it won’t depress their vote), but the Democratic Party simply cannot safely do that. For example, Barack Obama wasn’t clearly corrupt until he became President; if the public had known back then that he’s corrupt, John McCain might have beaten him, instead of having been beaten by him. Hillary Clinton has a clearly corrupt record, but Barack Obama, back then, simply did not. Obama’s record was ambiguous. This was crucial to Obama’s victory.
The 2006 exit polls showed that 60% of Democratic voters considered corruption “Extremely important,” but only 38% of Republicans did. However, whereas 58% of Republicans considered values “Extremely important,” only 40% of Democrats did. To Republicans, “values” referred mainly to things like sexual preferences, what the Bible focuses on. Democrats were more concerned about corruption.
Now will be presented the latest of the many surveys that show that the U.S. Government is widely recognized by the American people to be corrupt: A Gallup poll issued on 18 October 2013, was headlined “Government Corruption Viewed as Pervasive Worldwide,” and Gallup buried near the end of it in a table (and they didn’t even make note of the fact) showing that among the 129 countries that they surveyed, each of which nation had over a thousand citizens answering their poll in each given country, the United States was viewed by its citizens as being even a bit more corrupt than the people elsewhere in the world viewed their own country. 73% of Americans said “Yes” when asked: “Is corruption widespread throughout the government in the United States?” The people in only 62 other nations answered “Yes” at an even higher rate than 73%, so citizens in the U.S. are actually slightly more cynical about our government than citizens worldwide are about theirs. (Gallup also reported that countries that had a controlled press weren’t able to fool their publics, who recognized their government’s corruption notwithstanding the controlled press’ trying to hide it. Corruption-perceptions were unaffected by press freedom or lack thereof.)
Although Republicans and other conservatives might not be terribly disturbed that the U.S. Government is corrupt (and they therefore aren’t so opposed to “corporate lobbyists,” the Supreme Court’s Republican-majority “Citizens United” decision in 2010, etc.), the people who vote for a Democratic Presidential nominee are very disturbed by our government’s corruption; and those people will be turned off to a Democratic Presidential nominee if that nominee becomes exposed, during the 2016 Presidential campaign, to have a clear record of corruption. Republicans won’t be voting for the Democratic nominee anyway, but non-Republicans will at least consider voting for that person; and, if that nominee becomes exposed during the campaign to have a long record of corruption, then the turnout of voters for that person will be significantly reduced on Election Day, because non-Republicans do
Consequently, it makes no sense at all for a Democrat who has an extensive and incontrovertible record of corruption to be chosen by Democratic voters in the 2016 primaries to become the person who will represent the Democratic Party in the general election contest against the Republican nominee. If Democratic primary voters don’t learn of their nominee’s corruption before the primaries, then the Democratic Party could well end up being stuck, in the general election, with a nominee who will be extremely vulnerable to the Republican Party’s exposure of that person’s corrupt record, during the general-election campaign.
Hillary Clinton’s corruption thus far has not been exposed by the Republican Party, because they’ve had no need to do so: she hasn’t been the Democratic nominee for President. But there is also another important reason:
The Republican Party is naturally reluctant to expose a Democratic politician’s corruption if the chief beneficiaries of it have been major Republican donors. For example, Wall Street has benefited enormously from Obama’s protection; like he told Wall Street’s chieftains in a private meeting at the White House, on 27 March 2009, “My administration … is the only thing between you and the pitchforks.” Obama was courting there the very same people who had donated a far higher percentage of the McCain campaign’s cash than they had donated of the Obama campaign’s cash; Obama might have been aiming to pull more of their money his way next time; but, in 2012, Wall Street went overwhelmingly for Romney, because Romney was offering them an even better deal than Obama did. Republicans won’t accuse Obama of corruption that benefits their own big donors. For example, how would the Republican Party have been able to attack Obama for his corruption, if their own nominee, Romney, was an even bigger sell-out to those very same donors? Consequently, the Republican Party has instead accused Obama only of alleged “corruption” to environmental industries, such as solar-power firms, irrespective of whether any corruption at all was actually involved there.
It is likely to be different if Hillary Clinton becomes the Democratic nominee. In one important respect, however, she is just like Obama: her corruption has been chiefly in service to big Republican donors. Ever since her husband entered the White House in 1993 with that strategy, it has been the dominant strategy for major Democratic Presidential aspirants; Hillary’s corruption in shaping her health-care plan to benefit the private HMO industry, and Bill’s corruption shaping his deregulation of Wall Street to benefit Citigroup and other Wall Street titans, has been a winning political strategy. Obama has merely been doing what Hillary would have been doing if she had become the President. In that sense, they are virtually the same. But here is how the situation would be different if Hillary Clinton would become the Democratic Party’s nominee for the Presidency in 2016:
Hillary has an established record, whereas Obama did not. It is a corrupt record (even more corrupt than her husband’s); and here it is:
I’ll start with the credit-card industry’s passage of “bankruptcy reform,” which was finally voted on in the U.S. Senate on 10 March 2005, while Hillary was the junior Senator from New York. This legislation had begun when Republicans pushed for it under her husband, who clearly and vigorously opposed it. (His wife was typically more conservative than he; and it was so in this case.)
Just before George W. Bush entered office, the AP headlined on 20 December 2000, “Clinton Vetoes Bankruptcy Bill,” and reported that President Bill Clinton did so “because he said it was unfair to ordinary debtors and working families who fall on hard times. … The president said the bill would allow debtors who own expensive homes to shield their mansions from creditors while debtors with moderate incomes, especially renters, must … comply with rigid payment plans. … ‘This loophole for the wealthy is fundamentally unfair and must be closed,’ Bill Clinton said.” Then G.W. Bush became President instead of Al Gore, the U.S. public elected a Republican Congress in 2002, and so the Republicans had their way. Hillary Clinton was planning to run for the Presidency in 2008 and she wanted to have Wall Street’s backing. 17 Democratic Senators voted outright in favor of this Republican legislation, in order to be able to raise enough campaign cash from the banksters so as to retain their Senate seats. The Democratic 2008 Presidential contenders Senators Chris Dodd and Barack Obama, unlike Senator Hillary Clinton, voted against this Republican bill. Senator Joe Biden was amongst the 17 Democratic whores who voted in favor of it, and this alone should have disqualified him from consideration to become the Democratic Presidential nominee, except that he virtually had to vote for it because he represented Delaware and thus relied especially heavily on credit card companies to finance his campaigns.
This is how anti-abortion murderers and CEO crooks finally secured all their sought-for exemptions from “bankruptcy reform,” which offered only Republican “tough love” for the middle class and poor – and an outright kick in the teeth to people bankrupted by medical bills, by job loss, or by divorce, the three biggest causes of bankruptcies, which studies showed accounted for almost all filings. (In fact, nearly half of all personal bankruptcies were due simply to medical expenses; and because of this new law, most of those cases would henceforth produce something akin to slavery capping the patient’s misery.) Still, a large share of the total dollars involved in bankruptcy cases were assets held by the very few super-rich going bankrupt, and the Republican “bankruptcy reform” protected those bankrupts, so that MBNA and the other banks which had pushed so hard for this legislation received only limited real benefit from it. Perhaps the executives of those banks, who were protecting themselves from risks they were imposing upon others, were even more concerned to protect themselves in the event that they might need bankruptcy protection themselves, than they were to enhance the bottom lines of the companies they managed. This was a failure of their fiduciary obligations.
On 30 September 2002, BusinessWeek reported (p. 112), concerning the new U.S. bankruptcy law that seemed about to be passed in a Republican Congress and supported by the Republican President, “The legislation is especially harsh on lower-income debtors.”
The lobbyists who actually shape – if not write – the laws, are hired by the relatively few people who have the financial wherewithal to employ lobbyists’ services. Those lobbyists are real soldiers in this authentic class war. And most of the other real soldiers consist of the think tanks (like the Heritage Foundation, and the American Enterprise Institute), and the numerous political action committees, that the conservative rich hire to indoctrinate, and to pump money into, the election campaigns of their supportive politicians.
For example, was it pure coincidence that the biggest single contributor, at $240,675, to the G.W. Bush 2000 Presidential campaign, was MBNA Corp., the bank that lobbied the hardest for this bankruptcy “reform” bill? (Enron gave Bush less in that campaign, but was his top career giver, because Enron had financed Bush’s Texas rise.) Was it coincidence that, in addition, MBNA’s CEO, Charles Cawley, personally raised $369,156 from others for Bush? Another MBNA executive, Lance Weaver, was also a Bush “Ranger,” having raised over $200,000 for Bush. After all, Bush’s Democratic predecessor, President Clinton, had vetoed similar Republican legislation. But, ironically, the corruptors ended up being defeated this time around, by their own internecine war on this matter: when big-business bucks went up against Religious-Right bucks and votes, the whole deal crumbled. It turned out that violent anti-abortion protesters were seeking a special exemption in the new bankruptcy bill, to protect their assets from bankruptcy seizure by their victims (such as by abortion-doctors they shoot), but the banks (allied with Democrats on this point) opposed such an exemption. The Religious Right, and big business, customary allies, split here, and so the entire bill bombed.
However, this legislation was revived after Republicans increased their majority in the Senate in 2004, and the biggest barrier to passage in its reincarnation consisted of some of the corrupt executives themselves, who were determined to shield their personal assets from possible civil suits by stockholders and by others, including corporate creditors. Thus, on 2 March 2005, The New York Times headlined “Proposed Law On Bankruptcy Has Loophole: Wealthy Could Shield Many Assets in Trusts.” The main sponsor of this revived bill was, of course, a Republican senator, who claimed ignorance of that provision. How odd, then, that his bill would protect banks against only poor deadbeats, while letting the richest ones off. So, whom had these banks been lobbying so hard to protect themselves from? – it was from the kinds of people they never met and didn’t want to meet: the middle class and poor. Bankers seemed far less interested in protecting their institutions against people such as themselves. After all, they’re God’s People; and, as for debtors who might have to lose their homes in order simply to pay catastrophic medical bills, or whatever – God is evidently not so fond of those people anyway. Thus, on 8 March 2005, the U.S. Senate voted 53 to 46 to defeat a proposed Democratic amendment which would have removed the bill’s shield for anti-abortion murderers. Republican Senator Orrin Hatch called this amendment a “poison pill” aimed solely to protect deadbeats by blocking passage of “bankruptcy reform.” The next day, another Democratic amendment aimed to preserve a longstanding bankruptcy provision, which even the SEC acknowledged to be necessary in order to prohibit corruption by investment banks in certain bankruptcy cases. As the Washington Post headlined March 10th, “Senate Delays Action on Bankruptcy: Bipartisan Amendment Would Limit Advice By Investment Banks.” It reported, “Earlier yesterday, five other proposed changes to the bill were voted down. … [Among the] amendments that were defeated, largely along party lines, [was one] would have given elderly people more protection to keep their homes during bankruptcy.”
Passage of this bill, and its signing into law by President Bush, represented Republican victory at the end of a lengthy campaign by large banks against their non-wealthy customers. The final version of this bill passed the U.S. Senate on 10 March 2005, vote #44, at 6:12 PM, and 74 Senators voted for it, and only 25 voted against it — all 25 were Democrats (see this record of the roll-call vote: https://www.govtrack.us/
Each and every Republican in the U.S. Senate voted for it. The only Senator who avoided voting was the Wall Street Democrat Hillary Clinton, who was the only one of the 100 U.S. Senators shown as “Not Voting” on this legislation – so that it could pass but without her vote being recorded on it. Even the senior Senator from her own state of NY, Chuck Schumer, who was well known to support Wall Street on almost everything, voted “Nay” on this monstrosity against the middle class. There were 54 Republicans in the U.S. Senate, and 54 of them voted “Yea” on this. There were 45 Democrats: 19 were “Yea,” 25 “Nay,” and 1 “Not Voting.” There was one Independent Senator (former Republican James Jeffords of Vermont): 1 “Yea.” So, on this bill, which had 100% Republican support, and which was opposed by 25 of the 45 Democrats, or by 56% of the Democrats, Hillary was a no-show.
On 28 August 2006, the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition headlined “Senator Hillary Clinton: All Show and no Substance,” and the well known government whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, along with the organization’s board member William Weaver, condemned her as: “an elected senator who has served six years in her seat, never taking a strong stand in support of her constituents on any serious or controversial issue; a senator who has used her record-breaking TV public appearances to say ‘nothing’ … an elected official who has no record of conducting investigations into cases that are matters of great concern to her constituents and to our country … a politician who has spent all her focus and energy on a campaign of shallow publicity glitz.” Examples cited included James J. DiGeorgio and Carl Steubing, who “were subjected to illegal drug experimentation by employees of the Stratton Veterans Affairs Center in Albany, New York; killed by servants of the very government they fought to protect. Scores of other veterans were injured in these experiments. … Between 2000 and June 2006, numerous contacts with Senator Hillary Clinton over the Stratton tragedy went unacknowledged, or glossed over. … No less than five Clinton staff members heard presentations and received documentation about the experiments, and Senator Clinton is personally aware of the detailed facts of the case. This personal knowledge did not translate into action. … Senator Clinton’s failure concerning Stratton is not an isolated event; it is part of a pattern of studious avoidance of principled action in the face of serious government misconduct, and the refusal to come to the aid of those people who expose the misconduct.” Among the cases also discussed were: Bunnatine Greenhouse, Sergeant Samuel Provance, and Russ Tice – some of the most egregious examples of whistleblowers whom the Bush Administration wronged. Hillary Clinton bent so far backward to win the support of Republicans, that she should have made a Yoga video, but all that she thereby gained (besides support from a large number of Democratic fools who believed – if they believed in anything – that win-at-all-costs was what politics was all about, and that democratic principles don’t really exist) was increased contempt from Republicans.
Click on this, and you’ll see who owns Hillary Clinton; it’s what you would expect from what I’ve just reported. But if you’re too tired to click, here it is, pasted below:
PASTE #1 ATTACHMENT
Here is the similar list for Elizabeth Warren:
PASTE #2 ATTACHMENT
Obviously, no one is owned by such organizations as Emily’s List, MoveOn.org, Harvard University, and MIT. However, Emily’s List is now committed to Hillary Clinton, because they’re purely female-sexist and want only to be with any “winner” who is female and not Republican; all that they care about is the two X chromosomes and the “Democrat” label. But, at least, Wall Street is nowhere to be found there. Perhaps the question is: If Wall Street doesn’t want her in the White House, do we? My answer to that one is easy: YES!
Hillary’s corruption goes beyond that, however.
When a fascist putsch, a coup d’etat, overthrew at gunpoint the popular progressive democratic President of Honduras on 28 June 2009, and all countries of the world except Israel and the United States promptly declared the junta-installed government illegitimate, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton refused to join all other nations in rejecting the fascist regime. As I previously reported this matter in detail, the U.S. Ambassador to Honduras told her in a cable, that President Manuel Zelaya had been illegally replaced by the junta-appointed stooge Roberto Michelettti, yet she still refused. The Ambassador’s urging to her said: “The actions of June 28 can only be considered a coup d’etat. … It bears mentioning that, whereas the resolution [by the junta] adopted June 28 refers only to Zelaya, its effect was to remove the entire executive branch. … His forced removal by the military was clearly illegal, and [puppett-leader Roberto] Micheletti’s ascendance as ‘interim president’ was totally illegitimate.” However, instead, she joined with then-Senator Jim DeMint (now head of the Heritage Foundation and the chief sponsor of the political career of Texas U.S. Senator Ted Cruz) in propping up the fascist regime. Promptly Honduras descended into hell, suddenly having the world’s highest murder-rate, and becoming a haven of narco-trafficking. What was Hillary thinking? She expressed contempt for Zelaya, but what was really happening here was that American international companies liked paying their Honduran contractors sub-human wages to workers at their plants in Honduras. The Honduran aristocrats owned those factories, and the U.S. aristocrats shared with them the profits from this “free-market” slavery. What did Hillary care about the ongoing terror, murders, and soaring narco-trafficking?
Furthermore, as I headlined on 11/11/13, “The Kochs Have Bet Big that the Earth Is Doomed,” and I documented that the Obama Administration were fighting to help them win that bet. Hillary Clinton had been part of that effort. As I reported on 26 March 2013, Hillary Clinton’s State Department produced an environmental impact statement on the Koch-proposed Keystone XL Pipeline that was a triple-hoax: It refused to estimate the impact that the Pipeline would have on global warming; it was itself subcontracted out to an oil company services firm; and that petro-friend subcontractor had no climatologist. The coup de grace of her sell-out on global warming, however, might be this:
On 2 October 2013, Joe Romm at Think Progress headlined “More Bad News For Fracking: IPCC Warns Methane Traps Much More Heat,” and he reported that, “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports that methane … is far more potent a greenhouse gas” than previously known, so bad it “would gut the climate benefits of switching from coal.” And then, just five days after that stunning report, Jon Campbell in upstate New York headlined “In Oneida County, Hillary Clinton Touts U.S. Oil-and-Gas Production,” and he reported that at Hamilton College she praised fracking for methane, by saying, “What that means for viable manufacturing and industrialization in this country is enormous.”
People who don’t mind being raped might want Hillary Clinton to rule over it, instead of Barack Obama or George W. Bush. But everyone else will instead want to give Elizabeth Warren a chance to prosecute such people and to put a stop to the raping of the public that has now become routine by this nation’s aristocracy. When you have the Kochs being served by politicians such as Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, isn’t it time, at long last, for a real change? An authentic change?
Do Democrats want change, or do they want just more of the same? If they want the latter, more corruption, then Hillary Clinton will be a fine choice. Otherwise, they will unite around a progressive 2016 candidate in order to beat her, then beat the Republican nominee, and finally restore democracy to the United States again, with a progressive President in the White House. That will give the nation a President who can use the bully pulpit, because the criminality that has been in charge can finally instead be charged, and most of it will be Republican, which will have them howling and flailing, because the facts will be 100% on the side of that President, no further lies will be necessary in order to win the political battles.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.
NOTE: an earlier version of this report was published here, where hundreds of reader-comments concerning the report can be seen. The main addition to the present version here, is the poll documenting that Democrats care more about reducing corruption than Republicans do. The only occasion where this matter has been studied was in the 2006 congressional election exit polls. Unfortunately, however, no news medium reported on the finding in any way that can clearly be interpreted. CNN reported on the matter, but botched horrendously, in several ways. Fox presented the only reporting on this question that made any sense at all. However, even the version on Fox presented columns, and rows, that didn’t add up to anything near 100% as they should. However, both media agreed that Democrats showed more concern about corruption than Republicans did, and no other media reported anything at all about the values question. So far as I have been able to find, that is the only research that has been done on the relative importance that is attached by Democrats and by Republicans to corruption. Though this question ought to be much studied, and with care, it is instead ignored both by academics and by news media. The general public apparently cares a lot more about corruption than the elite do. Maybe that unconcern by the elite is the most important thing of all to report, and to explain, about the issue of corruption; and maybe it helps, in turn, to explain why America is sinking.