Thoughts of a Catholic convert

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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Hillary: the emails, bank bailout, and Goldman Sachs speeches

I've been thinking a lot about the election, about Hillary and Bernie and for whom to vote when my state's primary takes place in a couple of months. So far I like Hillary very much more than Bernie.

Today I saw in the news that Bernie believes the reason Hillary has won more delegates and more of the popular vote is because 'poor people don't vote', the assumption being that if a poor person did vote, they would want to vote for him. But poor people *do* vote, it's just that they're voting for Hillary ....

Bernie Sanders Says He’s Lost States Because ‘Poor People Don’t Vote’

Bernie Sanders said many of his primary losses to Hillary Clinton in states with the highest levels of income inequality can be chalked up to the fact that “poor people don’t vote.”

“I mean, that’s just a fact,” the Vermont senator said in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” that aired Sunday .... Host Chuck Todd pointed out that 17 of the 25 states with the highest levels of income inequality have held primaries, and Clinton won 16 of those — even though Sanders has made fighting income inequality the central message of his campaign. Sanders said the outcome would have been different if more low-income and working class people turned out to vote.

The Washington Post fact-checked Sanders’ claim, and it appears he might be mistaken about his popularity among low-income voters. Exit polls show that Clinton has actually won Democratic voters with household incomes below $50,000 by 55 percent to Sanders’ 44 percent in the states that have held primaries so far.

Another disturbing thing about Bernie is his recent bid to flip superdelegates ...

Bernie Sanders' attempt to flip superdelegates greeted with doubt

Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie 
Sanders’ latest strategy — trying to flip Hillary Clinton’s pledged superdelegates — to win the Democratic nomination after Tuesday night’s ugly loss in New York is a “delusional” tactic by a campaign that’s quickly running out of moves, observers said.

“The belief that he’s going to somehow convince superdelegates to vote for him … is delusional, to be honest with you,” said Garrison Nelson, a longtime University of Vermont political science professor who has known Sanders for 40 years. “Superdelegates are born and bred lifetime Democrats and they are wedded to the party. It’s the party of their lives. And Bernie Sanders is not a Democrat.” ...

And ... Bernie Sanders supporter arrested in Seattle protest over superdelegates

A Bernie Sanders supporter was arrested Thursday during a protest against U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott’s refusal to shift his vote as a Democratic superdelegate from Hillary Clinton to Sanders .... The action was part of an ongoing campaign by ardent Sanders supporters, who are demanding the state’s 17 superdelegates abandon support for Clinton, who took just 27 percent of delegates in the April 26 precinct caucuses.

Superdelegates include Democratic Party leaders and the state’s top elected Democratic officials. Under party rules, they’re considered “unpledged” and can support whichever presidential candidate they choose — and while some of Washington’s say they’re neutral, most have backed Clinton.

The campaign by Sanders backers has not convinced any of the local superdelegates to change their position, and some have complained of being harassed ...

But, you say, Hillary is so corrupt .... those emails, bailing out Wall Street, the Goldman Sachs speeches. I have to admit, I've never looked into these allegations against her before, so today I tried to figure out what it was all about.

Here's an article about the emails - ANALYSIS: No, Hillary Clinton Did Not Commit a Crime ... at Least Based on What We Know Today

[B]ased on what we do know from what has been made public, there doesn’t seem to be a legitimate basis for any sort of criminal charge against her. I fear many commentators are allowing their analysis to become clouded by a long standing distrust, or even hatred of Hillary Clinton.

In fact, I recently expressed my view of this investigation to a friend who retorted “I didn’t know you are a Hillary guy?” I guess there is almost no way to analyze this case without being accused of partisanship but then please also mischaracterize me in this context as a Dennis Hastert guy, a George Zimmerman guy, a Brendan Dassey guy, a gun control guy and an anti-Obama guy (just to name a few).

Hillary bashing is good clean political sport but a federal criminal indictment is serious business, saved for serious crimes and hopefully based on serious evidence, which as of yet, has not materialized.

The paid speeches: I'm not sure why these are considered so awful. First, many politicians give paid speeches - guys from Donald Trump to Jimmy Carter to Al Gore to Colin Powell - it's an honest way to make a buck. But, but, but, she's given speeches to banks, Wall Street banks, Goldman Sachs! Yes. banks, not international arms dealers, banks ;) They are not my favorite kind of businesses but we all use them, and sometimes even banks like Goldman Sachs can do the ocassional good thing. Even Mother Jones is underwhelmed by the 'badness' of Hillary's paid speeches ....

Everyone Knows Why Hillary Clinton Won't Release Her Goldman Sachs Speeches

[...] My own guess is that it's vanishingly unlikely Hillary said anything in these speeches that's truly a bombshell. Her entire life suggests the kind of caution and experience with leaks that almost certainly made these speeches dull and predictable. But the Goldman folks knew all that up front. They just wanted the cachet of having a Clinton address their dinner.

Still, when you give speeches to any industry group, you offer up some praise for the vital work they do. It's just part of the spiel. And Hillary knows perfectly well without even looking that some of that stuff is in these speeches—and it can be taken out of context and made into yet another endless and idiotic Republican meme. Remember "You didn't build that"? Sure you do .... As for the odds of a genuine bombshell, I'd put it at about 1 percent. I guess you never know about these things, but literally everything in Hillary's 40-year political career suggests a woman who simply doesn't traffic in bombshells. It's not in her personality, and in any case, long experience has taught her better. It's only barely conceivable that something genuinely damning is anywhere in any of those speeches.

And Politico has more - What Clinton said in her paid speeches

When Hillary Clinton spoke to Goldman Sachs executives and technology titans at a summit in Arizona in October of 2013, she spoke glowingly of the work the bank was doing raising capital and helping create jobs, according to people who saw her remarks.

Clinton, who received $225,000 for her appearance, praised the diversity of Goldman’s workforce and the prominent roles played by women at the blue-chip investment bank and the tech firms present at the event. She spent no time criticizing Goldman or Wall Street more broadly for its role in the 2008 financial crisis .... At another speech to Goldman and its big asset management clients in New York in 2013, Clinton spoke about how it wasn’t just the banks that caused the financial crisis and that it was worth looking at the landmark 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law to see what was working and what wasn’t. “It was mostly basic stuff, small talk, chit-chat,” one person who attended that speech said. “But in this environment, it could be made to look really bad.” ...

So, does the fact that she was hired to give speeches at Goldman Sachs and she gave friendly speeches mean she has been bought by them? I'm not sure why we should believe the banks own her anymore than do the many other entities that have hired her to give speeches ....

According to public records, Clinton gave 92 speeches between 2013 and 2015. Her standard fee is $225,000, and she collected $21.6 million dollars in just under two years. Clinton made 8 speeches to big banks, netting $1.8 million, according to a CNN analysis. There is nothing illegal or unethical about former Secretaries of State earning money on the speaking circuit. And according to sources in the industry, there is nothing unusual about someone with the name value of Hillary Clinton being able to charge so much. The standard fee and her demands are outlined in a memo from the Harry Walker Agency in New York.

There's a Wikipedia page on the bank bailout - Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 - and while there were squirrelly things about it, they didn't have anything to do with Hillary. She was not alone in voting for the bailout ... almost all the Democrats did, including my representatives, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein. President Obama not only voted for it, he gave a speech in favor of it. Those who didn't vote for it were mostly conservatives like Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul, Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr, and yes, Independent (not Democrat) Bernie Sanders, perhaps because they didn't like the idea of Big Government coming to the rescue (see how the Senate voted).

And at that time, Hillary spoke up for people, not banks .....

In a Wall Street Journal opinion piece [Let's Keep People In Their Homes], Senator Hillary Clinton advocated addressing the rate of mortgage defaults and foreclosures that ignited this crisis, not just bailing out Wall Street firms: "If we do not take action to address the crisis facing borrowers, we'll never solve the crisis facing lenders." She has proposed a new Home Owners' Loan Corporation (HOLC), similar to that used after the Depression, which was launched in 1933. The new HOLC would administer a national program to help homeowners refinance their mortgages. She is also calling for a moratorium on foreclosures and freezing of rate hikes in adjustable rate mortgages.

So, in my admittedly limited assessment, Hillary is not perfect but she's certainly not the corrupt evil one portrayed by Sanders supporters, and I still plan to vote for her, not Bernie.


Blogger Susan said...

Thank you for adding to my knowledge about Hillary, and Bernie as well. I never planned to vote for him, but the longer this crazy election year goes on, the more I'm convinced he's not the saint some of his fans make him out to be. It's frustrating to think of all the people who are brainwashed on a daily basis by the right-wing radio voices talking constantly* about how evil Hillary is.

*after all, the worst sin in radio is dead air. Gotta keep talking.

7:13 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Susan. It's good to know I'm not the only one who's a bit wary of Bernie. I think you're the only other person who might vote for Hillary that I know. If he wins the nomination, I'll vote for him, of course - anything to avert the Repub-apocalypse ;)

7:36 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

I'm sorry to hear Hillary is so unpopular among your friends. I've never been overly fond of the Clintons, and she wasn't my first choice to run for President. But I think she'll do a decent job. Her learning curve will be shorter than most, for one thing, and I believe she'll maintain an awareness of the legacy she leaves--reflecting not only her name, but the fact that she would be the first female president.

As for Bernie, he pounds home his ideals, and I think people are seduced by the word FREE. Free college, free medical care, etc. But he doesn't mention a) that these freebies would have to be paid for with higher taxes and b) he'd never get any of them past Congress.

7:02 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Yeah, those are my feelings too. A lot of the Catholics I come across online want Bernie to win. They say he's like a Catholic in his interest in the "common good" and I found it kind of creepy the way Bernie took a trip to the Vatican to meet the Pope. But I can't help thinking they just hate Hillary because she's an unapologeticly smart and strong woman.

9:22 AM  
Blogger Gunn said...

I am following what is happening in USA, and I have to say that I hope she will do very well....
She has changed so much the way she looks/dresses now compared to earlier old images.
Wish you good luck.
I hope you get a good new president, the best one for America!

3:30 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Thank you :)

11:28 AM  

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