The Only Thing Dead Broke Is Hillary Clinton’s Integrity, Part 2

My original commentary on Hillary Clinton’s integrity was supposed to be a one-shot but I’ve gotten such push back from some Democrats who are either overly-avid Hillary supporters or have been hired by her presidential campaign to stamp out negative Hillary comments all over the socialnetworksphere—or both—about my criticism of the Hillary Clinton’s claim that she and Bill were “dead broke” when they left the White House that it justifies a part 2, if only to humble these partisan guardians of Clintondom by waving the Clintons’ 2001 1040 tax return before their denying eyes.

This is a link to the Clinton’s 2001 federal income tax return: http://graphics.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/politics/clintontaxes/2001.pdf

Their TAXABLE income was $14,427,526.00. They paid $5,935,425.00 in taxes on that income. Simple math shows that they cleared $8.5 million. Anyone want to convince me that’s the income of a family that “dead broke”? And Hillary said they were “dead broke” when the left the White House but she didn’t say for HOW LONG, did she? Because they never were. I told you they were making millions in speech making fees, and there was $154,952.00 in wage income. And they had a $152,000 pension fund they drew income from for an total income $16,165,110.00. And we’re not even talking about travel and lodging charged to their various foundations. Please, anyone, defend this as “dead broke” from any perspective you choose, even the argument that their 2001 income was less than that for the years 2000 and 2002 (which I haven’t looked at yet). Those of you who are backing and defending Hillary Clinton are, in the words of Vin Scully, seeing her with your hearts and not with your eyes.

Anyone still want to argue the Semantics of the Rich and Famous? Why is it so important to many of you to believe totally in Hillary Clinton? Just because you view her as the Great Female Democratic Hope of 2016? Total wishful thinking on your part. If she keeps this up, just watch the growing backlash against her from the truly Liberal wing of the Democratic Party along with most Independent voters.

Hillary Clinton has lied about the Clinton non-flow of income for 2001. She finally says as she’s again running for president that her 2002 vote to authorize The Iraq War Resolution was a mistake, based on the intelligence she had at the time. But then, she now says this: “My lack of confidence in the Bush Administration went back to the fall of 2002, when it was boasting of ironclad intelligence about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction. After weighing the evidence and seeking as many opinions as I could inside and outside the government, Democrats and Republicans alike, I voted to authorize military action in Iraq, if the diplomatic efforts, meaning the U.N. weapons inspections, failed.” She also wrote that she “made the best decision I could with the information I had…I feel I was totally briefed.” Except that she never consulted those who dissented with that report, including Florida Sen. Bob Graham, chair of the Senate intelligence committee who also opposed the war.

http://www.propublica.org/article/all-the-things-hillary-clintons-book-doesnt-say-about-iraq

Rewrite history much, Hillary?

The anticipated 2016 presidential matchup is tentatively predicted to be between Clinton and Jeb Bush. We all know that Jeb ALLEGEDLY stole the 2000 election for brother George in Florida. Some Democrats have boosted the GOP terrorist alert to Orange over the prospect that not voting for Hillary (should she get the nomination) is tantamount to electing Jeb Bush president. That scare tactic has GOP written all over it because George W. constantly used it when his approval numbers were dropping. So, Democrats are now being told who to vote for on the basis that our liar is more honest than their liar? That’s where the bar is set now? If some Democrats are afraid that some Republican will be elected president in 2016 then pushing Clinton on us will make it a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The corporate media—including public broadcasting, is pushing the fiction that people now think that Republicans are better on the budget, healthcare, and national security. Sure, it’s a myth based on skewed right wing polling but that’s what the media is preaching all day, every day. The corporate media is utilizing the Nazi propaganda technique that is people hear the same lie repeated enough times they will come to accept it as the truth. There are a lot of independent voters out there who already distrust the Clintons and with that constant barrage of propaganda mixed in with Hillary Clinton’s own lies, they will vote for the Republican who runs against her if and when given the choice. The people who support Clinton now are so close to the subject of their adoration that they can’t see this entire picture, and they refuse to step back far enough to view it in its entirety.

The “dead broke” line was not merely a matter of viewing that financial condition from a wealthy perspective as if that expression is all relative; it was a downright, pandering lie, as I said earlier. Someone who sees herself in that manner or is selling herself in that matter is not someone I want seated in the Oval Office. We’ve had enough of those since 1981. I don’t want another Bush, another Clinton, or another Obama in the White House. I would just like, for once, a liberal running the country supported by a Democratic and fairly liberal majority in Congress. That is exactly what this country needs now.

The Only Thing Dead Broke Is Hillary Clinton’s Integrity

http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/xyf39z/poor—off

Jon Stewart bringing up one of the same points I brought up last week about Hillary’s contention that the Clintons “came out of the White House not only dead broke but in debt.” And “we struggled to piece together the MORTGAGES for HOUSES [my emphasis]”. Stewart jumped on the “houses” quote: “When you’re appealing to the middle class you might want to use the singular…when referring to the most valuable asset most people will come in contact with.” That was my point exactly.

Of course, being a lawyer, Clinton had chosen her words (almost) carefully to try to appeal, in Stewart’s words, to “Reagan Democrats”. Not exactly the Liberal wing of the Democratic Party, more like the shadowland between phony Democrats and real Republicans. She could claim the Clintons were “dead broke” because their millions of dollars in investments and in income from those investments were kept in at least blind trusts for the duration of Bill’s presidency. Since officially left office on 1/20/2001 (after Dubya was sworn in), it might have taken a few days after that to transfer those assets out of those blind trusts so that they were once again accessible. But sadly, during those hard and difficult financial days for the Clintons, they had to make do on the hundreds of thousands of dollars Bill and Hillary eked out from speech making in front of various groups. Bill might even have secured a loan from long-time family friend George H.W. Bush to tide them over. Funny that Democrat Bill Clinton has been palling around for decades with Bushes Sr. and Jr., but not so much the only other Democratic president, Jimmy Carter. I guess Bill would prefer to fly around the globe staying in the finest hotels and ballpark luxury boxes instead of getting down and dirty building houses for the poor with Carter.

Oh, the other carefully chosen words from Hillary: “in debt”. Yes, Bill had lots of legal debt from his defenses against “Whitewater” and his sham impeachment over Monica Lewinsky. As both a credit counselor and a bankruptcy counselor, I worked with people who WERE actually dead broke with or without houses but with overwhelming debt they couldn’t pay. Since these people didn’t have assets in blind trusts or multimillion-dollar incomes from speeches and such, their only option was to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy (for the non-homeowners OR the homeowners walking away from their home mortgages) or Chapter 13 (for the homeowners who wanted to try to keep their homes). There’s no 2001 record of the Clintons filing for bankruptcy (and this was before the 2005 Republican bankruptcy law “reform”) which means that they paid off all their debts just fine on their own, thank you.

I said before that Hillary Clinton sounded as tone deaf as Ann Romney with this quote, and Stewart alludes to this as well. And I’ll say something else again: Clinton will not be the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee (make no mistake—she IS running) if she continues making stupid, thoughtless statements like these to pretend to us common folk that she’s one of us, or has been one of us. The quote reveals that she never was. Hillary supporters unconditionally accept her statements; those of us who look more dispassionately on the woman, see it for the pandering to the poor voter masses that it is. The only thing dead broke is Hillary Clinton’s integrity

Two Balls On Obama But He’s In Danger Of Striking Out

Obama is again making the same mistake he’s made for almost five years now, and his 42% approval rating shows it. He keeps allowing the GOP frame the debate. Or to use a baseball analogy, the GOP keeps throwing fastballs at him: Obamacare, Benghazi, the VA, Iraq, and he keeps fouling them off or doesn’t even get the bat off his shoulder. He hit a grand slam with the killing of bin Laden but didn’t even hit it out of the infield with the capture of Ahmed Abu Khatallah.

Once again, Obama has got to take the field and start throwing fastballs of his own. Where is the GOP most vulnerable? Where are the jobs? Yes, Obama introduced the American Jobs Act in 2011, which was killed off by both Harry Reid in the Senate and the Republicans in both chambers of Congress. He’s avoided introducing anything of substance because of the advice he continually gets from his brain trust: Don’t introduce anything that the Republicans can embarrass you with by killing it. If Obama doesn’t think the Republicans will go for it, he doesn’t make a move, outside of the occasional executive action which, frankly, doesn’t affect most of us. His brain trust also lives in terror of any bill that just might possibly or very definitely increase the budget deficit, because the voters want the deficit paid down, right? No, the average voter could care less about the deficit because it doesn’t affect them personally in the slightest. The average voter is trying to just make it through the day, hoping to keep their job or to find a new one. They see that government services have been cut back, their kids’ schools are overcrowded and the students underperforming. They’re seeing food and gasoline prices rise while their income remains stuck where it’s been for the past 3 years of so. The last thing they care about is Obama paying down the debt.

So, what should he do? Around the beginning of this year he and Harry Reid were swinging some big balls around but since then there’s been some significant shrinkage and the GOP is keeping a close eye on that shrinkage. Obama needs to regrow a pair and submit a far-reaching, effective, and expensive federal jobs creation plan, and then dare the Republicans–in an election year with an unemployment rate that is still too high and an economy still not improving. Of course, the Republicans are responsible for this, but apparently the voters who respond to those approval polls don’t see it that way. They’re tarring Obama with the same low approval ratings brush that they’re also smearing on Congress in general and on the GOP in particular.

Sure, introducing a jobs bill now would make Obama subject to the same Fox and GOP “trying to change the subject” charges they throw at everything he tries to do. So what? If Obama made this bold move and sold it to the American people like it was part of his 2008 presidential campaign platform, that would be a fastball he could blow by the Republicans. What Obama needs to do is watch two movies: “The American President” and “Dave”. OK, he’s no Michael Douglas or Kevin Kline but the point is with those two characters we WISHED they had both been president. The closest we get in real life is Bill Clinton making a speech.

What do the Republicans excel at? Getting the entire party and their surrogates unified behind the same talking points which they spew 24/7 everywhere their voter base turns, watches, listens, or (in a few cases) reads. One of the Achilles Heels of the Obama administration is that his staff, the Democratic Party, and their surrogates continually let their talking points assault drop. Where is Democratic Senator after Senator or Congressperson after Congressperson giving press conferences and interviews? OK, we know in advance Fox won’t cover any of it but what about CNN, MSNBC, PBS, NPR, the three who-used-to-be major networks? If PBS or NPR news editor refuses to give the same coverage they give the Republicans, the Democrats are also fully capable of voting to pull public broadcasting funding, too. And lastly, why the hell is Obama appointing communications industry lobbyists to the FCC instead of professionals who have the public’s interests and rights at heart? Reinstitute the Fairness Doctrine and that would do much to level the playing field.

I don’t see Obama as a master chess player; I see him as a guy who realized his dream but constantly fears it might be taken away from him, even though it can’t except by impeachment and conviction. I see him hemmed in by advisers who advise him on what he can and can’t do—and better not do if he knows what’s good for him politically. I think the GOP recognized this in him way before I did, and that has been the tale of his presidency. In his first term he chose to bend with the GOP wind (negotiate) and it almost broke him and it seriously wounded the Democratic Party in 2010.

Obama’s got two balls on him. He needs to use those balls to start throwing strikes.

Mitt To Hit The Fan Again?

Speculation is rife that Mitt Romney might be thinking the third time’s the charm and try to pull a Richard M. Nixon phoenix rising from the political ashes act in 2016. I don’t think so. I’m seeing the Mitt Romney in 2016 Facebook pages, all the media questions but I think the presumed presidential campaign is a smokescreen. Mitt could be floating this 2016 rumor just to gauge how popular he is. He may be delusional, disconnected and arrogant enough to think he could still be elected president OR he might be thinking his political future lies in PICKING the next Republican candidate for president and bringing him across the finish line. Kingmaker Mitt Romney may be looking better to Mitt than President Mitt Romney. He’s hosting a big Republican confab at a fancy, shmancy resort in Park City, UT, and his old 2012 campaign people are telling the media that Mitt is the head honcho who put this thing together himself. He’s bringing together the old and new faces of the GOP—just for unity and to link the GOP past with its future in the minds of voters, you see? The old and new guards together again for the first time.

The thing is, Mitt can’t run for president in 2015 because he will be 69 years old. So what—Ronald Reagan was 69 when he took the oath of office. True, but Hillary Clinton will also be 69 in 2016 and the GOP wall of propaganda machine—Fox “News”—has been feeding its viewers a steady diet of “Hillary will be too old and infirm to be president in 2016″.  Again, never mind that Reagan was 69 and not-so-slowly sinking into the depths of Alzheimer’s and general dementia right there inside the Oval Office walls. C’mon, Nancy brought in a Taro card reader to help determine federal government policy-or was it because Reagan liked to play solitaire with the cards because he couldn’t tell the difference? We’ll never know.

Anyway, if 69-year-old Romney runs for president with 69-year-old Clinton in the race as well, either Fox has to slam Romney’s age or it has to lay off Clinton—those would be the only two options. And Romney, with his group of powerful old and new guard GOP buddies backing him, wouldn’t take kindly to Fox quips about Grandpa Romney and Grandma Clinton walking—literally walking with walkers—neck and neck in the race. So, I think Romney opts for a behind-the-scenes but in-front-of-the-curtain role in 2014 and 2016, leaving Hillary to the age discriminatory Fox wolves. Does it matter to Fox and friends that John McCain turned 72 before the November 2008 presidential election? Nah, not with the short memories of GOP voters. Besides, why else do you think he chose what he thought was a youthful babe to be his running mate? Because to have picked an older-looking man would have made him look older, and I don’t think any of the younger up-and-comers in the GOP wanted anywhere near the ticket headed by an old man with “Loser” already printed on his forehead before the Republican convention.

And regarding the Nixon analogy I brought up earlier? Well, here’s the thing: this isn’t 1968, we’re not deep in the Vietnam War; LBJ is not the president most of the country has grown to hate, and Romney isn’t Nixon allegedly committing treason by secretly negotiating with both the North and South Vietnamese to stay away from the peace talks table and Nixon would make it worth all their mutual whiles after he was elected president. Romney’s got nothing new in his career or in his personality to make GOP voters take a third look at him like they’re seeing him for the first time. His ideas haven’t changed since 2012 and neither has his tortured rhetoric and stiff attempts at humor. What he does see is his Romneycare a national success repackaged as Obamacare, which means he can’t claim neither credit nor glory for being its genesis since the GOP is staking many Congressional and Senate races this year on trying to sell the Affordable Care Act as a boondoggle that needs to be put to a House repeal vote—again.

And what’s Mitt been doing since 2012, anyway? Well, there was that documentary carried exclusively—and solely—by Netflix. You missed it? So did most of America, every chance they got. So, all this leads me to believe that Mitt Romney will not be entering the political ring as a contender, but as a promoter sitting in a ringside seat smoking a stogie and sitting next to his blonde trophy wife wrapped in mink and diamonds, or, next to Ann Romney. But still and all, if Mitt does run in 2016, it won’t be a phoenix flying in the air, but pigs.

It Could Be Open Season On Open Carry In Texas

http://thedailyshow.cc.com/full-episodes/wnhppp/june-5–2014—tom-cruise

The magnificent Jon Stewart and The Daily Show. Watch the first two segments on Open Carry in Texas where Open Carry meets Stand Your Ground. It’s both laws existing side by side taken to their ultimate lethal absurdity. It’s the NRA as both the Earps and the Clantons in a good old-fashioned, state-sanctioned gunfight (of course that was in Arizona and not Texas but the analogy still works) playing both sides against the middle.

Watch the first two show segments, although the third segment is hilarious and worthwhile. In Texas, you have the right to enter a Mickey D’s or a 7-11 with your AR-15 slung over your shoulder. At the same time, if you’re a parent eating lunch with your young children at said Mickey D’s and you THINK or FEEL that your lives are in danger from those scary gunslinging munchers, with their ball caps, heavy jackets, heavy beards, heavy bulk (or even the thinner guys) because you don’t know if they just came in to munch a Big Mac or to spray everyone with bullets out of their large capacity clips (with more sticking out of their jackets under which you can spy their Kevlar bulletproof vests), you have a legal right to take your .9mm Glock semiautomatic pistol out of your Open Carry shoulder holster and put a round through each of the munchers’ heads if that’s what makes you and your scared children safer.

And chances are no one will convict you of murder or manslaughter in Texas because Stand Your Ground is all about state of mind. If you THINK you are being threatened with bodily harm or FEEL that your life and those of your loved ones are in danger, that’s all the law requires for you to legally terminate the source of the danger that you feel with extreme prejudice.

The Night Right Wing Talk Radio Was Actually Right

Could George Noory of Coast To Coast AM be a closet liberal? Could all the Obama birther nonsense, aliens and ghosts and Bigfoot walking among us all be ratings-building hype? After last night, I don’t know.
He had David Cay Johnston, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter who specializes in economic and tax issues, on his show. The guy made a lot of sense but what made my ears perk up was an exchange with a female caller who called in about Neal Boortz’s elitist-masquerading-as-populist, so-called “FairTax” idea. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FairTax
She smugly talked over Johnston as she stated the tax (without mentioning Boortz’s name) had been endorsed by top economists and it would require everyone from the rich on down to pay their fair share, and that it would then motivate all the companies with offshore accounts and investments to bring it all back home and all our economic woes would be gone. After she was done, Johnston coolly and methodically debunked every assertion of hers point by point, even taking a swipe at the flat tax. He explained in terms that even she could understand that if a rich person as a $10 million annual income that person will not spend that entire $10 million on purchases subject to the FairTax but poorer people WILL spend the majority of their disposable income on taxable purchases because they have to. And besides, for the wealthy, there are many ways to buy things under the table without receipt or computer records.
A male caller claimed that only Eric Holder has let the banksters off the hook and made some other claims.( It is true that Holder wrote what became the “too big to fail” policy in a memo while working in the Clinton Department of Justice.) This is where Johnston blew me away. He responded that every point the caller had made was wrong; every single statement the caller had made was not true. He elaborated that Reagan and the Bushies–daddy and son– had in essence followed the doctrine that to take any actual and meaningful action against banks for their fraudulent actions would make the market “nervous” and hurt the economy. But the moment that won my heart is when he said that people believe these lies because they hear them all the time on right wing talk radio shows. Noory stayed silent after that remark.
But Johnston is an equal opportunity investigate reporter and he also spoke truth to power on the Democratic side as well, sticking a pin in the myth of Bill Clinton as a great liberal president (my description) to let the air out of it. (In fact, in 1996, Clinton and Newt Gingrich had agreed to a tax pact cutting both Social Security and Medicare, and were forming a permanent partnership until Monica Lewinsky came between them. http://www.amazon.com/The-Pact-Clinton-Gingrich-Generation/dp/0195322789)
Under Clinton, the poor and near-poor were more frequently audited by the IRS than were corporations and the wealthy. Why? Because Newt Gingrich hated the Earned Income Tax Credit and part of the budget compromise in 1996 was that those claiming that credit would have to provide proof they were eligible, and kids’ most recent report cards weren’t enough. Johnston stated that, contrary to Gingrich’s assertions, the only persons incorrectly receiving the credit were divorced parents where the ineligible parent had stolen the credit away from the eligible parent by filing their tax return first and claiming it.
But, most importantly, Johnston further confirms what economics experts and pundits like Paul Krugman (“End This Depression Now!”) and Noam Scheiber (“The Escape Artists” How Obama’s Team Fumbled The Recovery”) have said for the past few years: the rise of income inequality and the fall of the average American wage earner’s income, the slide toward this government from being a democracy to an oligarchy has been a bipartisan affair, wending its way from the Reagan administration through every administration—Democratic and Republican—up to the present day.

Sometimes Democrats and Republicans ARE The Same

Reading Paul Krugman’s “End This Depression Now!” He makes it quite clear that the whole income inequality and the 2008 financial meltdown was a bipartisan accomplishment. To keep this short, I’ll give a timeline mentioning just the players and the legislation responsible and you can Google them for more information.

1980: Congress passes and Carter signs into law the Monetary Control Act of 1980 which deregulated and opened up many more kinds of deposits that banks could now pay interest on.

1982: Congress passes and Reagan signs into law the Garn–St Germain Depository Institutions Act of 1982 which relaxed restrictions on the kinds of loans banks could make.

1998: Citicorp merges with Travelers Group to attain both Smith Barney and Shearson Lehman and form Citigroup. The problem was that at that time Glass-Steagall prevented commercial banks from engaging in either insurance or investment banking. Citigroup CEO Sandy Weill pays a visit to and makes sure large contributions are paid to Texas Senator Phil Gramm. The result:

1999: Congress passes and Clinton signs into law the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999, which retroactively authorizes the Citi-Travelers merger. Oh, the key White House figure supporting the bill? Clinton’s Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin. Gramm left the Senate and joined the board of directors of UBS. Rubin was a former co-chairman of Goldman Sachs and after leaving the Clinton White House became vice chairman of…Citigroup.

Also in 1998: Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Larry Summers testifies before Congress that regulating derivatives would be a bad idea and so the issue is tabled. He later endorses the the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999. (In 2009, Summers admits he was wrong about everything. Better late than never? Tell that to all the people worldwide who lost homes, jobs, savings, retirement accounts, lives–everything–before Summers in essence said “Oops.”)

My contributions outside of the book:

2001: Along with the British, Dubya starts a war in Afghanistan. The costs for the war is kept off the federal budget.

2001: Congress passes and Dubya signs into law the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001.

2003: Dubya invades Iraq. The costs for the war are kept off the federal budget.

2003: Congress passes and Dubya signs into law Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003.

2009: Congress passes and Obama signs into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. It authorizes a stimulus payment of what grew to be $831 billion. Economic adviser Christina Romer insisted that the minimum stimulus needed to jump start the economy was $1.8 billion, and she was later proven right although she was gone from the White House by that time. Who overruled her, insisting on the lower stimulus package? Our old friend (and Bill Clinton’s), Larry Summers, along with Peter R. Orszag, yet another ex-Clinton economic adviser who headed the CBO under Obama. After leaving the Obama administration, Orszag took a job with…Citigroup.

So, as Krugman and I have shown, what led to the 2008 meltdown and which continues the basis and continued extension of income inequality (through all the deregulation because yes indeed, as the rich get richer the poor get poorer) has been a bipartisan affair. It is very true: when it comes to the economy, there is no difference between the two parties.