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Divernan's Journal
Divernan's Journal
July 16, 2015

HERE is why HRC's $$$ will NOT buy this election.

This extensive interview is quite revealing - I'm just posting his comments on money in campaigns - he also does a brilliant explanation of lobbying's corrupting impact on politicians. "He" is Bruce Bartlett, the historian and former member of the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations who has since become one of movement conservatism’s most scathing critics.


Q. - Does your skepticism apply beyond presidential campaigns? The idea that the impact of money is overstated when it’s a high-profile race is pretty mainstream; but do you take it further?

A - Well, in general, I think that people overestimate the value of money in politics. I think that there is a threshold effect; that is to say, you need a minimum amount to be competitive. And I think up to a certain point, in any given race, there’s enormous value to each additional dollar that is raised, because it will be spent efficiently in increased votes. But I do think that there is a point at which it levels off and at which point each additional dollar doesn’t really help very much, if at all. I think that there’s also a downward point at which you have too much money, and you actually start alienating potential voters by running too many ads, doing too much stuff that just alienates, irritates them, so you actually end up being worse off.

Q. - Why do you think that understanding is not reflected more in political analysis?

A. - I think campaign consultants basically know this, but there’s an enormous bias in the system. That results from the fact that basically campaign consultants make their money, by running as many ads as you can possibly raise the money to run. I’m not sure how many contributors really understand how the system operates.

See, what happens is, these consultants, they own the advertising companies that buy the advertising time and so they get a commission of like 15 percent on every dollar of advertising that a campaign buys. The more advertising that they buy, the more money that goes into their pockets. So it’s in their interests to keep buying more and more advertising, long past the point at which diminishing returns have set in . I’m not sure very many contributors understand this; and also I think candidates are just sort of conditioned to believe that more is always better. Advertising is something you can do pretty easily these days. You can cut an ad today and have it on the air tonight. It’s something you can always do right up to the very last minute that you think might help and probably won’t hurt. So there’s always tremendous pressure inside the system to keep doing more and as long as there’s somebody out there willing to write the check, there really isn’t any way of stopping it.

Q. - When Jeb Bush’s campaign was still more of a rumor than an unofficial reality, I heard murmurings from within GOP circles that the folks most enthusiastic about him running were campaign consultants and the very people who you’re talking about.

A. - I’ve often used this analogy: The whole campaign finance racket is a bit like the “Producers.” You’re selling hundreds of percents of the candidate, but the difference is that, in the “Producers,” you had to actually distribute profits at the end of the day, and there weren’t enough profits to go around. But with a campaign, it comes to an end at some point and you either win or you lose. Some campaign contributor is not going to look at a campaign after the campaign is over to audit the books and see whether the money was spent efficiently or even to see how his own contributions were spent; they simply don’t care. They probably wouldn’t have any legal standing to look into these things anyway. It’s just really a system that is ripe for corruption and waste and inefficiency.
July 16, 2015

But, but, but HRC stands for a less sexist oligarchy.

I agree with this comment following an article in Daily Kos:

It's all about money when a candidate doesn't stand for anything but a less sexist oligarchy.

Hillary: Making sure women get a bigger piece of the middle-class pie that her neoliberal, DLC, pro-Wall Street, pro-Pentagon, pro-TPP, Republican-lite economic policies are designed to shrink.

As a lifelong Democrat, progressive Democrat, feminist and an elected female official in my own local government, I am actively working for 2 female candidates - one for a county office, and one for U.S. Congress - both facing primary challenges from old, machine-style male Democrats. I'm NOT supporting them because they are female, but because they are hands down the best candidates - we're talking not only demonstrated intelligence & competence, but personal integrity. Those same characteristics are what I find in Bernie Sanders. Added to those, he does now and always has supported progressive policies. He is a perfect candidate, as far as I am concerned.
July 15, 2015

HRC stands for a less sexist oligarchy.

I agree with this comment following an article in Daily Kos:

It's all about money when a candidate doesn't stand for anything but a less sexist oligarchy.

Hillary: Making sure women get a bigger piece of the middle-class pie that her neoliberal, DLC, pro-Wall Street, pro-Pentagon, pro-TPP, Republican-lite economic policies are designed to shrink.
July 15, 2015

HRC's corporate quid pro quos will be called in on her Supreme Court appts.

As to the Supreme Court argument from Clinton supporters:

Who does not recognize that corporate/Wall Street donations/quid pro quos will come home to roost with a profiteering vengeance on any presidential candidate who has accepted tens of millions of dollars from them in a combination of campaign donations, personal payments for speeches to said candidate and spouse, and "gifts" to said candidate's family "non-profit" organization. Nowhere is this more vital to said corporate interests than in appointments to the Supreme Court.

Here's the script, kiddos!

(Corporate input/expectations on Supreme Court appointments)

"Here's the deal. Your supreme court nominations can be soft on social issues. We don't give a fuck if gays marry or women can get abortions. Makes no difference to our profiteering. But by god they better leave Citizens United in place and not approve prosecution of war crimes."
July 11, 2015

Why Hillary Clinton is moving left on every issue except Israel

That is the title of the thread I just started on GD Primaries. I cross listed it from a thread in the Israel/Palestine group because it is directly related to primaries and I was concerned that the original thread would be locked and lost. The article quotes from HRC's letter to a deep pocket Israeli who is described in the Haaretz article as "has so little regard for Palestinians that at an event last November, he endorsed Sheldon Adelson’s contention that they are an “invented people.” This same man co-sponsored an anti-BDS Summit with Adelson whose “diverse array of voices” ranged from establishment Jewish groups that defend Israeli policy in the West Bank to right-wing Jewish groups that muse about whether Barack Obama is Muslim.
Left out were those American Jewish organizations, like J Street and Americans for Peace Now, which think Israel’s undemocratic control of millions of stateless Palestinians constitutes a moral problem. Left out, in other words, were the only American Jewish groups that enjoy any credibility among the progressives to whom the BDS movement appeals. If Hillary really wanted to combat BDS — as opposed to raising money by pretending to combat it — Saban is among the last people whose advice she’d seek.

Would appreciate some recs for this in GD Primaries, if you feel it is rec worthy.

July 11, 2015

Haaretz headline: Why Hillary Clinton is moving left on every issue except Israel

Cross-posting this from the Israel/Palestine group because it is about HRC's fundraising attempts for the primary. http://www.democraticunderground.com/1134108564#post1
Peter Beinart: Why Hillary Clinton is moving left on every issue except Israel
Source: Haaretz
In a letter to hawkish donor Haim Saban, she hints she may oppose a two-state resolution at the UN.

From immigration to campaign finance reform to criminal justice, Hillary Clinton’s campaign strategy is clear: Move to Barack Obama’s left, to energize liberal voters. Except on Israel, where she’s moving to Barack Obama’s right, to energize hawkish donors.

The latest example is a just-released letter about her opposition to the movement to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel (BDS). Among the most significant things about the letter is one of the people to whom it’s addressed: Haim Saban. (Hillary sent similar letters to at least two other Jewish organizational officials, Malcolm Hoenlein and Jack Rosen). Saban is neither an expert on the Middle East nor on Jewish law or culture. He’s a guy who writes large checks. These days, if Joseph Ber Soleveitchik or Abraham Joshua Heschel wanted to correspond with a presidential candidate, they’d first be asked to donate to his Super PAC.

And Saban isn’t just any mega-donor. He’s a mega-donor who thinks Barack Obama has been bad for Israel. As Connie Bruck reported a few years ago in The New Yorker, Saban was so suspicious of Obama’s views on Iran in 2008 that he considered backing John McCain. [b]Saban’s preferred approach: “I would bomb the daylight out of these sons of bitches.” Not surprisingly, one Saban advisor told Bruck, “I don’t think Haim feels particularly positive about Bibi’s performance. But he certainly isn’t happy about Obama’s.”

Read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.665148

Note: Premium article, I hope you know what to do.
July 9, 2015

HRC don't need no stinkin' Geneva Conventions! Never did - never will!

Senators Schumer and Clinton were sent several letters begging them to help remove the Iraqis from Abu Ghraib as it was in violation of the Geneva conventions regarding protecting those under an army's charge and keeping them from harm and away from the field of battle. Crickets on that one folks, big crickets.

Also evidenced by Hillary's support for the use of land mines and cluster bombs, regardless of how many children were killed and maimed by same. Guess she hadn't "evolved" into being a self-proclaimed champion of children yet.

"The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under international law: wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or destruction not justified by military necessity." -- Nuremberg conventions, Principle VI

Combatants "shall at all times distinguish between the civilian population and combatants and between civilian objects and military objectives and, accordingly, shall direct their operations only against military objectives." -- Geneva Conventions, part IV, Article 48

as per http://www.democraticunderground.com/1251413864

The main point: Hillary Clinton voted to let our military continue to use cluster bombs in areas with concentrated civilian populations, despite the thousands of innocent children who have died or been handicapped due to picking up unexploded cluster bomblets.

This vote was cast in September 6, 2006 on an amendment to the Defense Appropriations act by Senator Dianne Feinstein.

Before I get into why this was such an important amendment and why a no vote was so terrible, I just want to post the vote totals with presidential candidates in bold.

30 Democrats voted YEA: Akaka (D-HI), Baucus (D-MT), Bingaman (D-NM), Boxer (D-CA), Byrd (D-WV), Cantwell (D-WA), Carper (D-DE), Conrad (D-ND)
Dayton (D-MN), Dorgan (D-ND), Durbin (D-IL), Feingold (D-WI), Feinstein (D-CA), Harkin (D-IA), Jeffords (I-VT), Johnson (D-SD), Kennedy (D-MA), Kerry (D-MA), Kohl (D-WI), Leahy (D-VT), Levin (D-MI), Menendez (D-NJ), Mikulski (D-MD), Murray (D-WA), Obama (D-IL), Reed (D-RI), Reid (D-NV), Sarbanes (D-MD), Stabenow (D-MI), Wyden (D-OR)

15 Democrats and every Republican voted NAY (R's not listed):
Bayh (D-IN), Biden (D-DE), Clinton (D-NY), Dodd (D-CT), Inouye (D-HI), Landrieu (D-LA), Lautenberg (D-NJ), Lieberman (D-CT), Lincoln (D-AR), Nelson (D-FL), Nelson (D-NE), Pryor (D-AR), Rockefeller (D-WV), Salazar (D-CO), Schumer (D-NY)
July 8, 2015

Hillary Clinton's brothers could cause major problems for her presidential campaign

"Will they be a problem? Yes. They underscore everything that people fear and hate about the Clintons," the aide said. "They're essentially the id of Bill and Hillary Clinton. A bunch of money-grubbing and opportunistic hillbillies with no sense of ethics, decency, or even legality."

Indeed, while Hugh Rodham has yet to make headlines this cycle, last weekend, the New York Times published a story delving into Clinton's youngest brother, Tony Rodham. The paper reported he had repeatedly tried to profit from his connection to the former first family.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's two brothers, Tony and Hugh Rodham, could be a problem for her presidential campaign. Over the years, the pair has been at the center of multiple controversies for their business dealings and Republicans are already using them to attack Clinton.

One aide for a rival 2016 campaign told Business Insider that Clinton's brothers will definitely cause issues for her White House bid.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/hillary-clintons-brothers-tony-and-hugh-rodham-2015-5#ixzz3fL4F7D98
July 8, 2015

Role of Hillary Clinton’s brother in Haiti gold mine raises eyebrows


It also has become a potentially problematic issue for Hillary Rodham Clinton as she considers a second presidential run, after it was revealed this month that in 2013, one of her brothers was added to the advisory board of the company that owns the mine.

Tony Rodham’s involvement with the mine, which has become a source of controversy in Haiti because of concern about potential environmental damage and the belief that the project will primarily benefit foreign investors, was first revealed in publicity about an upcoming book on the Clintons by author Peter Schweizer.

In interviews with The Washington Post, both Rodham and the chief executive of Delaware-based VCS Mining said they were introduced at a meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative — an offshoot of the Clinton Foundation that critics have long alleged invites a blurring of its charitable mission with the business interests of Bill and Hillary Clinton and their corporate donors.
Asked whether he attends CGI meetings to explore personal business opportunities, Rodham responded, “No, I go to see old friends. But you never know what can happen.

Before anyone starts waxing indignant about the writer/researcher who initially broke this story, please try to face the reality that both the New York Times and the Washington Post vetted the facts of the story and did their own interivews of Hillary's baby brother and the chief executive of the mining company.

And that "blurring" referred to above is known by inside-the-Beltway-types as The Clinton Blur.
July 8, 2015

Tony Rodham’s Ties Invite Scrutiny for Hillary and Bill Clinton


When Mr. Clinton worked as a co-chairman of Haiti’s earthquake recovery commission, Mr. Rodham and his partners sought a $22 million deal to rebuild homes in the country. In court proceedings three years ago in an unrelated lawsuit, Mr. Rodham explained how “a guy in Haiti” had “donated” 10,000 acres of land to him and described how he had leaned on Mr. Clinton to get the rebuilding project funded amid bureaucratic delays.

“I deal through the Clinton Foundation. That gets me in touch with the Haitian officials,” Mr. Rodham said, according to a transcript of his testimony. “I hound my brother-in-law, because it’s his fund that we’re going to get our money from. And he can’t do it until the Haitian government does it.

“And he keeps telling me, ‘Oh, it’s going to happen tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow.’ Well, tomorrow hasn’t come yet.”

Mr. Rodham’s Haiti project never did happen. The Clinton Foundation said in a statement that it was not aware of Mr. Rodham’s Haiti project and had no involvement in it. Mr. Clinton’s office said he had not been involved in any of Mr. Rodham’s pursuits in Haiti.

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