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Republicans are Flummoxed When It Comes to Senator Clinton

Just as the Democrats could never seem to get a handle on Ronald Reagan in his sixteen years as Governor of California and President, the Republicans cannot get a handle on Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.
by Ralph Nader

No matter what they tried-and they were admittedly timid-the Democrats could neither upset, mire, or throw Ronald Reagan on the defensive. He smiled, shrugged his shoulders and tefloned his way to victory after victory.

The Republicans are flummoxed when it comes to Senator Clinton. They could not even mount a hardy campaign against her in 2006, leaving a nominal Yonkers mayor the hapless task to take up the space on the ballot opposite her. She walked to victory, spending over $35 million in the process.

The reasons why Republicans cannot score points against Clinton is that she is so much like them on the key corporate power issues. Although she is on the Armed Services Committee, she took President Eisenhower's description of the "military-industrial complex" and repeatedly rubber stamped the massive, bloated, wasteful and corrupt expenditures.

It was not for her to question any redundant weapons systems, no longer strategically needed in the post-Soviet Union era. It was not for her to act on the scores of investigative findings by the Government Accountability Office of the Congress documenting corporate waste, fraud and abuse and do something about them. Let a thousand weapon systems bloom was and is her mantra.

The corporate crime wave of the past seven years, draining and looting trillions of dollars from workers, investors and pension-holders did not catch her industrious attention either. Notwithstanding the publicized enforcement efforts of her state's attorney general, Eliot Spitzer, whose popularity took him to a landslide win for the Governorship, she refused to extend his efforts in the U.S. Senate by pushing the regulatory agencies for a necessary crackdown on corporate crime. He gave her the ultimate political cover, by showing the great public support for his "law and order" drives, but she lacked the political fortitude and opted instead for the political cash for her campaigns.

Further contributing to the gigantic government deficit in Washington are the dozens of programs providing subsidies, handouts and bailouts to large corporations known as "corporate welfare." One would think that all that experience in her husband's White House, which she touts routinely, would have predisposed her to championing cutting corporate welfare that now amounts to hundreds of billions of dollars a year in an upward distribution of wealth from the have-littles to the have-lots. No way. Hillary lets the tax revenues and the tax loopholes grow and the windfalls swell the coffers of big business.

By this time the Republicans cannot describe her in the least as "anti-business." Why the junior Senator from New York has done virtually nothing about the business crimes against the poor in her state, especially in the inner city where outrageous interest charges on pay-day loans, predatory lending, redlining, landlord abuses and code violations, lead and asbestos abound. Many of these financial scams benefit Wall Street financiers.

What's left for the Republicans to work on? The Iraq war? Senator Clinton voted for the war resolution and refuses to admit her mistake in so doing. She remains generally a Democratic Hawk on foreign policy.

What about global corporate trade? She is a fervent backer of the World Trade Organization and NAFTA, though she now wants to tweak them with some unenforceable labor and environmental qualifications. The evidence behind the treaties' supplanting our nation's legitimate sovereignty and procedural safeguards through these transnational forms of autocratic, secretive governance, is overwhelming. The evidence that these trade treaties have cost good industrial jobs, driven down efforts to keep living wages, and contributed to the country's huge trade deficits is also decisive.

Yet Senator Clinton follows the Republicans and neuters what could be the latter's criticism of any potential demand for renegotiating these vise-like trade shackles that have led to shipping whole industries to the communist dictatorship in China.

Moreover, she has co-sponsored bills with Republicans and received their public praise, including that of former House Speaker, Newt Gingrich.

he new publication, Politico, headlined recently an article by Jim Vandehei and Carrie Sheffield with the words-"Clinton Presidency May be Inevitable, Republicans say." Former House Majority leader, Tom DeLay, is quoted as saying: "If the conservative movement and Republicans don't understand how massive the Clinton coalition is, she will be the next president." He should know about massive coalitions.

The article also quotes other Republican Party bigwigs in the same vein. None of them offered any strategy. Instead they speak generalities that simply prove the point that Senator Clinton has them neutralized and nullified by the very brazen scope of her political expediency and opportunism.

About all these Republican operatives could offer is that a Hillary presidency would prod and shock conservative foot soldiers into action. Such an attitude means capitulation for 2008.

Lesser Evil? 04.Mar.2007 11:58

Greg Palast

There is an actual axis of evil (Republicans and Democrats) and there is an actual vast right wing conspiracy (including the Clintons).

LESSER EVIL?

New York voter Greg Palast is troubled by Hillary Clinton's murky past

Originally printed in The Observer (London), November 5, 2000


I hesitate about Hillary. It all goes back to something Ron Brown, the late Commerce Secretary, said about our dear First Lady: 'I'm not Hillary's mother-f***ing tour guide.'

To know what that's all about, turn back to Arkansas 1976, when Bill Clinton won election to the powerful state post of Attorney General. I hunted down Clinton's old ally Zack Polatt, of Little Rock, to talk about those glory days.
Clinton ran his campaign on fighting the despised local electricity company, Arkansas Power. Funny thing was, Polatt told me, Arkansas consumer organisations were defeated in court by the power company's sharp lawyers, Webster Hubbell and Hillary Rodham of Rose Law.

At the time, Hillary would not use her husband's name. She strategically switched to 'Mrs Clinton' only while crying crocodile tears for the oppressed. The official biography of the 'Flotus' (government-speak for First Lady of the United States) lists her six-month stint on a child-protection task force. Yet nowhere does it mention her six years on the board of Wal-Mart Corporation, notorious during her directorship for alleged abuses of child labour. Sam Walton called her 'My little lady' and paid her fees equal to 60 per cent of her income as a lawyer.

Fast forward to 1994 and the Brown 'tour guide' business. According to Nolanda Hill, the Commerce Secretary's long-time business partner and love interest, Brown, who died in 1996, endorsed a Hillary cash-for-access scheme ($10,000 for coffee with the President, $100,000 for a night in the Lincoln bedroom), but resented the discount rate the Flotus put on US executives joining his lucrative trade missions. 'I'm worth more than $50,000 a pop!'

A reflection of the Brown-Hillary scheme is visible in a document The Observer obtained through the US Freedom of Information Act, dated June 1994. In the memo, Jude Kearney, Commerce Department officer (and Clinton chum from Arkansas) warned someone called 'JCB' of power company Entergy that his employer would be locked out of Brown's upcoming China mission unlessit was 'politically connected'.

By the end of the month, Entergy, whose partner in the China venture was the Riady family of Indonesia, would connect big time to both Flotus and 'Potus' (the President) and get its spot on the China mission, on which it signed a billion-dollar deal with the Chinese.

On 27 June James Riady paid Webster Hubbell, Hillary's former law partner, $100,000. How strange. Hubbell was under indictment for fraudulently inflating his legal bills, a felony. I've conducted investigations of lawyer overbilling. How can one law partner to fake detailed time logs without the complicity of another lawyer in the firm? Hillary's logs were worth close inspection by authorities.

Funny thing about Hillary's billing records: when requested for disclosure in an unrelated matter they disappeared. First, her law firm's computers went ka-blooey. Then the paper printouts vanished, but not before, during the 1992 Presidential campaign, they were secretly combed over, line by line, by two of her partners, Vince Foster and Web Hubbell.

Hubbell knew his own logs were phonied, and he understood the consequences of exposure. Ultimately, bloated hours on those records caused him to lose his law licence, his ministerial post (the President had appointed him Assistant US Attorney General) and his freedom - 21 months in the slammer.

What did Foster and Hubbell see and know about Hillary's logs? Hubbell won't say, except for a cryptic remark, after seeing her bills, that 'every lawyer' fabricates records. Hubbell pleaded guilty, but refused to answer investigators' questions, a requirement in any plea bargain, so the judge had to sentence him to prison.

Why would Hubbell choose to do time on the chain gang over testifying about the Flotus? His prosecutors did not know at the time of a $100,000 Riady payment, the first of over half a million dollars Hubbell would receive from Clinton friends in the weeks up to his entering jail.

Foster didn't speak either - and now he can't. Hubbell, a jovial good ol' boy, had the temperament to suffer a brush with ruin with a grin... and wait for friends of Bill and Hill to stuff his piggy bank. Foster, whom Clinton made a White House counsel, had a less flexible personality. On 20 July, 1993, as Rose Law fake billings were about to become public, Foster committed suicide.
Files of the Flotus were removed from Foster's White House office prior to the arrival of the FBI. Her billing records reappeared two years later just outside her office, right after Hubbell's refusal to testify against her.

By overbilling, Hubbell admits he stole from his partners and clients. Some sued Hubbell, but the Flotus did not. Imagine: Hillary, a supposed victim of the overbilling scam not only refused to sue the thief who cheated her, she helped make him wealthy on his way to prison. The lady's a saint, unless - and I'd never believe this - she was in on Hubbell's scam.

Maybe the Clintons knew nothing about the big money flowing to prison-bound Hubbell. Knowledge of the payments would suggest they were buying Hubbell's silence. In 1996, when the LA Times uncovered the payments, the President stone-cold denied he knew anything about it.

Then, in April 2000, in a deposition by the Justice Department weirdly unreported by the US press, Clinton changed his tune. Investigators confronted the President with this: on 20 June 1994, Hubbell met with the Flotus. Two days later, James Riady met with Hubbell for breakfast, then went to the White House, met again with Hubbell, then made two more treks to the White House. Two days later, a videotape shows the beginning of a meeting in the Oval Office between Clinton and Riady before the tape goes blank. Two days after that, Hubbell gets his $100,000 through a Riady bank.

Lying to journalists is a venal sin, but lying to the Feds is perjury. In his deposition, the President's denial transformed into amnesia. He couldn't remember if Riady mentioned the payment. Then, the President slyly opened the door to the truth. 'I wouldn't be surprised if James told me,' Clinton said. Neither would I.

Riady said other surprising things to Clinton. According to FBI debriefing papers, on 14 August 1992 the Indonesian billionaire, riding with candidate Clinton in a limousine, promised to give $1 million to Clinton's campaign. Riady made good on his promise through sham donors, a violation of US laws against concealed and foreign donations.

What did Riady get? The Flotus herself, says Nolanda Hill, forced Brown to accept the appointment of Riady's bag man, John Huang, as a Commerce Department deputy. Huang's first order of business was to wheedle his way into confidential CIA briefings on Indonesia and China, then call Riady and his Entergy partners.

The very day Riady met the President, diaries show he called on a Clinton crony at the top of the department's Export-Import Bank. 'We just came over from the Oval Office,' is a nice way to provide assurance of the 'political connection' required for help. These and other Riady team meetings at Commerce are marked 'social'. Yet, shortly thereafter, the department agreed to promote and fund the Riady-Entergy China venture.

Influence is not a victimless crime. Riady and his minions' visits to the White House (94 times!) included successful requests for the President to meet Indonesian dictator Suharto and to kill negative reports on East Timor and working conditions in Indonesia. Timorese and Indonesians paid for these policy flips with blood.

For years, Hillary Clinton, has been the voodoo doll pieced by the demonic doyens of the ultra-Right. And, therefore, I will never accept that the $1m slipped to the Clinton campaign and the cash for Hillary's tight-lipped partner Hubbell connect in any way with Clinton administration actions -- no matter what the evidence says.

Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestseller, "ARMED MADHOUSE: Who's Afraid of Osama Wolf? China Floats Bush Sinks, the Scheme to Steal '08, No Child's Behind Left and other Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Class War." The winner of the George Orwell Courage in Journalism Prize, Palast held Orwell's post as columnist and investigative reporter for The Observer newspaper of London -- from which this column is re-printed

original URL link to above-posted CommonDreams article 04.Mar.2007 12:38

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