“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Political Corruption, Your Name is Clinton: A catastrophe for working families, African-Americans, and latinos.

The Clintons' $93 Million Romance With Wall Street

For 24 years Bill and Hillary Clinton have courted Wall Street money with notable success. During that time the New York banks contributed:
  • $11.17 million to Bill Clinton's presidential campaign in 1992.
  • $28.37 million for his re-election in 1996.
  • $2.13 million to Hillary Clinton's senatorial campaign in 2002.
  • $6.02 million for her re-election in 2006.
  • $14.61 million to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign in 2008.
  • $21.42 million to her 2016 campaign. 
The total here is $83.72 million for the six campaigns,i ii disbursed from 11 banks: Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, UBS, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, Wells Fargo, Barclay's, JP Morgan Chase, CIBC, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, and Morgan Stanley.iii iv
Then there were the speeches. Sixteen days after leaving the White House in 2001, Mr. Clinton delivered a speech to Morgan Stanley, for which he was paid $125,000. That was the first of many speeches to the New York banks. Over the next 14 years, Mr. Clinton's Wall Street speaking engagements earned him a total of $5,910,000:v
  • $1,550,000 from Goldman Sachs.
  • $1,690,000 from UBS. 
  • $1,075,000 from Bank of America/Merrill Lynch.
  • $770,000 from Deutsche Bank.
  • $700,000 from Citigroup
After she resigned as Secretary of State in 2012, Hillary Clinton took to the lecture circuit as well. Some of her income has come to light during the current presidential campaign, like the $675,000 she was paid for three speeches to Goldman Sachs. That disclosure, however, belittles her financial achievement and the scope of her audiences. She also addressed the Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, UBS, Ameriprise, Apollo Management Holdings, CIBC, Fidelity Investments, and Golden Tree Asset Management, earning another $2,265,

No other political couple in modern history has enjoyed so much money flowing to them from Wall Street for such a long time—$92.57 million over a quarter century.

During a CNN forum on February 3, Anderson Cooper wondered if Goldman Sachs' $675,000 might impact her prospective presidential decisions. Defending her integrity with undisguised indignation, she described her independence from the banks:
Anybody who knows me, who thinks that they can influence me, name anything they've influenced me on. Just name one thing. I'm out here every day saying I'm going to shut them down, I'm going after them. I'm going to jail them if they should be jailed. I'm going to break them up.vii
Her campaign website confirms her fierce determination to oversee the banks and hold them strictly to account. “Wall Street must work for Main Street,” the website claims, outlining her program for “Wall Street Reform":
  • Veto Republican efforts to repeal or weaken Dodd-Frank
  • Tackle dangerous risks in the big banks and elsewhere in the financial system.
  • Hold both individuals and corporations accountable when they break the law.viii
$675,000 might be insufficient to elicit Ms. Clinton's sympathetic ear, but a quarter century of accepting tens of millions of dollars is not so easily dismissed. It might have some impact on the Clintons’ sense of gratitude and certainly on their social, cultural and political environments. 

Over that period of time, while one or the other held public office almost continuously, the couple accumulated a net worth of $125 million.ix x Measured by family wealth, this inserted the couple into the top 1% of American families by a factor of 16 ($7.88 million is the threshold). 

In New York, their home upon leaving the White House, the Clintons moved easily among other multimillionaires, the celebrated, wealthy, and accomplished people of the city, such as Lloyd Blankfein, Robert Rubin and Henry Paulson, CEOs of the benefactor Wall Street banks. The couple could scarcely avoid adopting the mindset and political perspectives of the people who now constituted their peer group.

Breaking up banks, jailing the lawless executives, forcing Wall Street to work for Main Street: Hillary Clinton's stern proclamations of impartial law enforcement and strict regulation are difficult to take seriously.
Wall Street doesn't. One bank executive assured his clients, “We continue to believe Clinton would be one of the better candidates for financial firms.” He was quoted in a CNN Money article, “Wall Street Isn't Worried about Hillary Clinton's Plan,” which stated, 
Hillary Clinton unveiled her big plan to curb the worst of Wall Street's excesses. The reaction from the banking community was a shrug.xi

There is good reason for the banks’ sanguine view. 

Over the 24 years of the romance, the Clintons first reoriented their political party, gave it a new name, the New Democratic Party, and put it at Wall Street's service. Then they engineered financial opportunities for the New York banks of immense value, running into the hundreds of billions. And through the years as president, senator and secretary of state, the Clintons supported Wall Street’s interests at every necessary turn. 

In the early 1990s, chairing the Democratic Leadership Council, Bill Clinton ushered in the centrist, triangulating New Democratic Party, explicitly to be more business-friendly and to attract the financial support of corporate America. Wall Street supported his 1992 campaign handsomely, and Bill Clinton became the first president under the new banner, with Hillary Clinton at his side.

When he appointed Robert Rubin of Goldman Sachs as Secretary of the Treasury Department, Clinton established a precedent. For the next 24 years, every administration would find Wall Street executives to serve in the position. 

But the working families of America and the African-American and Hispanic communities—the party's historic constituencies—were betrayed and abandoned, deprived of effective representation in Washington. The Clintons' political campaigns over the next decades became monumental hypocrisies, Bill donning sunglasses to play his saxophone for Arsenio Hall, Hillary visiting black churches to hug the parishioners. They speak warmly to the traditional constituencies with carefully scripted political rhetoric, currying their favor, depending on them for electoral victory, but effectively obscuring the truth of their betrayal.

The traditional constituencies were not only betrayed, but targeted. On taking office Mr. Clinton announced, “The era of big government is over.” On that cue he co-opted two issues long used by Republicans to mask their party's racism: “welfare” and “crime.” To address the issues, two laws were passed in Clinton’s first term that savaged the betrayed constituencies. 

The first was the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, which fulfilled Clinton's promise to “end welfare as we know it.” Since the end of the Clinton administration, poverty in the U.S. has nearly doubled: “...the number of Americans living in high-poverty areas rose to 13.8 million in 2013 from 7.2 million in 2000, with African Americans and Latinos driving most of the gains.”xii
To show how tough on crime he could be, Clinton next guided The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 through Congress. A flurry of prison construction quickly followed, an industry of private for-profit prisons took hold and flourished, and a skyrocketing population mostly of young black males soon filled them, most frequently charged with drug offenses, non-violent and victim-free.

Sixteen years later the effects of the law were described in a searing book: The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.
The author of the book is a distinguished legal scholar and human rights activist, Michelle Alexander.

Ms. Alexander well understands how the Clintons and their creation, the New Democratic Party, left working families and communities of color without a political voice. And no one addresses the tragedy more forcefully. Her latest work is an article, “Black Lives Shattered,” in the February 29, 2016 issue of The Nation. She details how the two Clinton laws have devastated African-American families and sent millions—particularly those young black males—to prison. In the article’s caption, she asks, The Clinton's legacy has been the impoverishment of black America—so why are we still voting for them?

The online version of her article carries a different title, Why Hillary Clinton Doesn't Deserve the Black Vote . Her compelling case is abbreviated in the subtitle:
From the crime bill to welfare reform, policies Bill Clinton enacted—and Hillary Clinton supported—decimated black America.

Hillary Clinton now apologizes for the laws, suggesting they are no longer quite so appropriate. But she has not, cannot and will not mention two other laws passed at the bidding of President Clinton's Treasury Secretary, Robert Rubin. These laws enriched the Wall Street banks by hundreds of billions of dollars, but they too devastated working families, African Americans and Latinos.

The first was the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999, repealing the Glass-Steagall legislation of 1933. Now it was legal once more for financial institutions to mix commercial and investment banking. Goldman Sachs et al. could now use depositor’s funds, insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, to buy up “subprime” mortgages, the high-interest debt obligations of typically low-income, black and Latino families.

The next law was the Commodity Futures Modernization Act. Now Goldman Sachs et al. could transform packages of those subprime mortgages into complicated derivatives called mortgage-backed-obligations, have them fraudulently rated as AAA investments, and sell them around the world, without limit, restriction or regulation, at immense profit.

For eight years the bubble inflated, and then it collapsed in the last year of George Bush's administration. Real estate values plummeted. The stock market was hammered. So was the U.S. economy. And so tragically were many low-income, African American and Latino families. $13 trillion in household wealth vaporized. Nine million workers lost their jobs. Five million families were evicted from their homes.xiii
This is what the Clinton administration, and the New Democratic Party, had wrought. The banks were caught with hundreds of billions in mortgage-backed derivatives still in the pipeline, the market values dropping like stones. Wall Street's prospective losses were horrific; bankruptcies loomed. But George Bush's Treasury Secretary was the obligatory Wall Streeter: Hank Paulson, recently CEO of Goldman Sachs. In a heartbeat, Paulson rammed through Congress the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. It was known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program, and it handed Paulson $700 billion of taxpayers' money to buy the near-worthless securities from the banks.
Hillary Clinton, now the U.S. senator from New York, voted for the bill, telling a New York radio station the next day, “I think the banks of New York...are probably the biggest winners in this.”xiv

Paulson started buying, typically paying the banks half again the market value of the “troubled assets.”xv But a presidential campaign was underway, and soon he would have to stop.

Barack Obama, overcoming Hillary Clinton in the primaries, was elected as the second president from the New Democratic Party. Obama's campaign contributions from Wall Street:
  • Goldman Sachs: $1,034,615
  • JP Morgan Chase: $847,855
  • Citigroup: $755,057
  • Morgan Stanley: $528,182
The total is $3.7 million.xvi (Hillary Clinton’s campaign, apparently thought more likely to succeed, was supported with $14.6 million from the banks.xvii)

President Obama's choice of Wall Street bankers to head his Treasury Department was Timothy Geithner, lately the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Geithner wasted no time in resuming the troubled asset purchases, and his execution of the program was no less profitable for the banks than Paulson’s.xviii

Wall Street's grip on the New Democratic Party, however, and its influence in the Obama administration, appeared in the Department of Justice as well. Eric Holder joined the administration from the law firm of Covington Burling, which represents in Washington most of the Wall Street banks. Charged with prosecuting their criminal behavior, Holder found the banks “too big to fail.” Instead of criminal indictments and lawsuits, Holder negotiated with each of the banks a financial penalty to be paid from corporate funds. No corporate executives were jailed, no personal fines levied, no records of criminal conduct filed, no salaries reduced, no bonuses denied. 

Today the Wall Street banks are larger and more powerful than ever, and Holder has returned to Covington Burling. President Obama—of the New Democratic Party—has provided no similar relief to the working families and communities of color. Their struggles continue, the crime and welfare laws have not been repealed, and the title of a recent study tells the tragic truth: "During Obama's Presidency, Wealth Inequality has Increased and Poverty Levels are Higher."xix
Because of the Clintons' romance with Wall Street and their corrupt New Democratic Party, the New York bankers and the Clintons are richer today. Others—betrayed, abandoned, savaged—are not.

i“Two Clintons. 41 years. $3 Billion,” Washington Post, November 19, 2015
ii“Occupy Hillary Clinton's Wall Street Speeches,” Huffpost Politics, February 28, 2016
iii“Hillary Clinton. Top 20 Contributors, 1999-2002,”
iv“Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush Still Favorites of Wall Street Banks,” Huffpost Politics, October 22, 2015
v“$153 Million in Bill and Hillary Speaking Fees, Documented,” Robert Yoon, CNN, Updated February 6, 2016.
vi“Hillary Clinton Made More in 12 Speeches to Big Banks That Most of Us Earn in a Lifetime,”
vii“Clinton Defends Wall Street Speeches at CNN Town Hall,”  Time, February 4, 2016
viiiFrom Hillary Clinton's campaign website, under “Wall Street Reform,”
ix“Hillary Clinton net worth: $45 Million,”
x“Bill Clinton net worth: $80 Million,”
xi“Wall Street Isn't Worried about Hillary Clinton's Plan,”  CNN Money, October 8, 2015.
xii“Poverty Has Nearly Doubled Since 2000 in America,”  International Business Times, August 9, 2015
xiii“Wall Street Reform: Wall Street must work for Main Street,”
xiv“Hillary Clinton's Tough Talk on Wall Street,”
xv“Troubled Asset Relief Program,” Wikipedia
xvi“Barack Obama. Top Contributors, 2008 Cycle,” http;//
xviiWashington Post, “Two Clintons. 41 Years. $3 Billion”
xviiiSee Bailout: An Inside Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street, by Neil Barofsky, passim.
Richard Behan lives in Corvallis, Oregon. He can be reached at rwbehan(at)


  1. It will be interesting to see what financial information Trump releases. Is there law on financial disclosure for POTUS aspirants? For POTUS?

    1. .

      I doubt there is any law requiring it. After all, though as we have seen the IRS doesn't always respect it, the law requires that personal tax information needs to be kept secret by them.

      Interesting that the guy raising this issue, Romney, kept delaying releasing his tax info until late September or so.



  2. Trump plays the game and the system. He plays rough and has made a lot of enemies. He has high visibility also plays in some rough political arenas and has the best legal minds in some of the most regulated states. All that is part of his brand. I would not hold my breath waiting for a smoking gun.

  3. Hillary takes payoffs, Trump make them.

    Trump is very open about it.

    Both are political sycophants of the very first order, both changing their positions according to the political winds over the years. Trump supported Bill Clinton, for instance, has 'donated' to Hillary.

    Hillary is by far the worse of the two, according to all I know. Trump, and Bernie too, are not, far as I know.

    I am a confirmed anti- Hillary voter. I would haved vote for any of all those original Republicans first.

    It's looking like its going to be Trump, so I will vote for Trump, and probably praise him to the winds at times too.

    I have some real sympathy for Trump on payments. It is not that way here in Idaho, but it is not the same in the high population areas he has moved about in.

    There I can well imagine 'it's a cost of doing business'. At least he's honest about it.
    Ash, you should know the answer to your own question, still being an American.

    Now you go look it up, to improve the caliber and value of your American citizen.

    1. that should read:

      Hillary is a criminal. Trump, and Bernie too, are not, far as I know.

    2. I strive to make you fit for American citizenship, not take it away from you, Ash.

      If you wish to renounce your citizenship, that's a call that only you can make.

  4. Hot Air tells me Trump has won in Missouri.

    Beating out even Drudge on the scoop.

    Trump is going to be the Republican nominee, unless the totally unforeseeable should occur, as it might.

    If some Republican establishment types form a third party, I don't know what that means. Supposed to be bad for Trump, but who knows for sure. Perhaps many voters who usually vote Democrat Party but who despise Hillary would vote for it.

    It will certainly piss me off if they do form a third party.

    My wife, who adorned Romney, now thinks he should be tarred and feathered, if not lynched.

    1. To precise, Hot Air has now called Missouri for Trump though there are still votes trickling in and it is very close, 1200 votes or so.

  5. .

    My wife, who adorned Romney...

    Was that during one of your Idaho folk festivals?


    1. Yes, yes, it should have read adored.

      And, yes, she does love our Idaho folk festivals, especially our Basque Festival in Boise.

      You and Maria ought to come to the Basque Festival one of these years, Quirk. You, and Maria too, would love it and the both of you would make passible Basques, good people.

      Lots of drinking and great food, music, art etc.

      You'd love it.

      A possible alternative would be our Descendants of The Original French Mountain Men Festival which takes at The Yacht Club in McCall, Idaho, and attracts maybe 15 stouts, all total drunks, great time had by everyone. The attendees are all obviously mixed racers from French and American Indians, as they wish to be called these days.

      High taste, high capacity for liquor folk.

    2. I'm always glad to see you confirm once again you are continuing to read me, Quirk, one of the only two actually highly informed folks here, the other being WiO.

    3. .

      I'm saving up money so that I can attend the annual Idaho Bigfoot Hunt this fall.


    4. Great idea !

      Everyone out this way are turning to the Bigfoot hunting since all the elk have disappeared thanks to folks like Deuce.

      Want me to buy you one of the better Bigfoot calls on the market now ?

      Happy to do it and I know the best choices, one made by a group calling itself The Bigfoot Brothers.

    5. .

      Won't need the call. I can only afford an 'observer' ticket not the 'participant' ticket.

      If I did need a call, I'd get one from Trump's Bigfoot/Small Hands Outfitters located over in Boise.

      The fact is the only reason I am getting tickets for the Bigfoot Hunt is that in doing so I am guaranteed 'observer' passes to the annual Idaho All Hollows Wicca Festival. I'm especially interested in observing the naked dancing at midnight ceremony. From an anthropological standpoint of course.


  6. .

    Interesting topic Deuce. I'll be out this morning but hope address some of the issues latdr especially how Bill Clinton's 'counter scheduling' policy abetted by Hillary stuck it to blacks and the middle class.


  7. .

    Merrick Garland for SCOTUS.


  8. Trump To Skip Next Debate

    By Niraj Chokshi March 16 at 9:43 AM 

    Donald Trump said Wednesday morning that he will skip next week's Republican presidential debate because he already has plans to deliver a "very major speech."

    "I'm making a very major speech in front of a very important group of people," he said on "Fox & Friends," later confirming that the remarks will be delivered before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Trump said his speech at the powerful lobbying group's conference in Washington "was scheduled a while ago.".........


  9. The Republican establishment is bemoaning that Trump will cost them Hispanic voters:

    Latinos voted for President Barack Obama over Republican Mitt Romney by 71% to 27%, according to an analysis of exit polls by the Pew Hispanic Center, a Project of the Pew Research Center.1

    Obama’s national vote share among Hispanic voters is the highest seen by a Democratic candidate since 1996, when President Bill Clinton won 72% of the Hispanic vote.


    Trump won 27% of the Latino vote in the Florida primary.


    The unifier Romney won 27% of the Latino vote in 2012 and the racist divider Trump won 27% yesterday in Florida.

  10. Trump ought to keep that in mind when he makes the Haj to AIPAC.

    1. .

      Might be looking for that free two week vacation.


  11. Trump is keeping in mind the nearly 70% of ALL American voters who out and out support Israel.

    1. If the average American knew what was going on in Israel and didn’t get the propaganda put out by the lobby, they would poll the same as in every European country.

  12. Feel for this poor guy -

    NKorea sentences University of Virginia student to 15 years hard labor...

    Begs for mercy.......Drudge

  13. The bettors are making it 70-30 Hillary to win the Presidency.

    The 1st. Madame President.

    1. My advise is don't bet your desires this time, galopin2.

      This is a good chance she'll just lose, and then there is a high possibility she'll be indicted. The best legal opinion is she's already before a Grand Jury.

      Keep your money in your back pocket.

    2. advice, so Quirk doesn't quickly descend on me

    3. also, there is

  14. US-led coalition announces liberation of 50% of ISIS-controlled territory

    ( Baghdad – The international coalition announced on Tuesday the liberation of about 50% of the territory controlled by the so-called ISIS in Iraq, while emphasized that ISIS did not made any progress since last May.

    The international coalition spokesman Steve Warren said during a press conference held at the US Embassy in central Baghdad and followed by, “24,000 square kilometers of the Iraqi land were liberated in Tikrit, Baiji, Ramadi, Heet and some other cities,” noting that, “The liberated territories represent nearly 50% of the areas that were controlled by ISIS.”

    Warren added, “ISIS did not achieve any victory or progress since last May.”

    Half Done

    1. Wow, that's a lot of land..

      Israel's TOTAL size is: Israel 8,019 mi²

      SO the amount of land LIBERATED FROM ISIS it 3 time the total land mass of Israel

      The total size of the of Judea and Samaria is: West Bank 2,300 sq mi

      The Arab World stretches across more than 5 million square miles – an area larger than Europe, Canada, China, the United States or Brazil.

    2. Well ISIS hasn't taken much of a beating in Syria, and the Rooskies are pulling out, having safeguarded their naval and air base.

      There is, alas, a long ways to go before wiping ISIS off the face of the earth.

      And even if that should come to pass, it will simmer under the surface among many, like Hepatitis C waiting to bloom.

  15. Continuing my campaign to irritate galopin2 -

    ObamaCare Continuing Fail: Enrollment Way Below Plan

    Investor' Business Daily

    The Bearer of Bad News