Clinton, Trump, and the Lesser of Two Evils

With elections rigged in the US by the electoral college and big businesses, it often matters little who is most popular. Bernie Sanders has won most of the Presidential debates but the mainstream media and the billionaires who actually run the country behind the scenes refuse to acknowledge him in any meaningful way and will ensure he has no chance of being elected. The media’s obsession with Trump and Hillary is, in part, due to legislation like the Telecommunications Act of 1996, signed into law by Bill Clinton, under which Title 3 allows cross-ownership of media giants. Since then most media outlets have conglomerated into the “big six,” (GE, News-Corp, Disney, Viacom, Time Warner, and CBS, which control about 90% of the American media) consolidating their power and influence and increasing cronyism and lies to serve political ends.

Clinton has been groomed by big businesses and the CEOs who run the country for years because she will continue to do their bidding while distracting people enough with the fact that she’s a woman and her disingenuous, neoliberal rhetoric, so that she appears like the “progressive” choice (which she is relative to Trump but that is hardly saying much) at least to those who don’t pay close enough attention to what she has actually done and who is funding her..

Although the media pretend as if Trump and Hillary are vastly different, Trump supports and is friends with Bill and Hillary. He has gushed about what a “great” woman he thinks she is (though running against her is sure to change that sentiment). Trump even invited the Clintons to his wedding and they often go golfing together. He has also contributed to her campaign on four seperate occasions and given $100,000 to her Foundation. Their faux “rivalry” is contrived simply to boost the ratings of mainstream news organizations and to provide Americans with the illusion of choice.

Trump and Cruz represent the ugliest and most unapologetic aspects of American culture. They are openly racist, reactionary, xenophobic, and sexist. Trump is bringing the dialogue even further to the extreme right, raising money from bigots, and appealing to people’s prejudices as all demagogues do. Meanwhile, establishment democrats like Hillary have convinced a large portion of the population that they are the only realistic alternative to these toxic right-wing reactionaries like Trump. They have also successfully co-opted many leftist movements, taken out their teeth, and made them palatable and manageable for the institutions that control us, and any criticism of these establishment democrats is misrepresented as an attack on the minorities they claim to represent. As we are faced with two evils, the standards of voters decline, ideals are watered down, and reactionary extremes grow. While Trump is a greater and more obvious evil, (at least to those with any sort of common sense or decency) this article will focus on Clinton to show how absolutely bereft we are of any decent choice in American electoral politics.

Regardless of the rhetoric, one must always “follow the money” to ascertain a politician’s true agenda. It becomes clear who Clinton actually represents just by looking at who backs her. According to Robert Yoon of CNN the Clintons “gave 729 speeches from February 2001 until May, receiving an average payday of $210,795 for each address. The two also reported at least $7.7 million for at least 39 speeches to big banks, including Goldman Sachs and UBS, with Hillary Clinton, the Democratic 2016 front-runner, collecting at least $1.8 million for at least eight speeches to big banks.”i This is not because they are such great orators. It is because paying powerful politicians to speak is a legal loophole with which to buy political favors and positive PR, as is donating to “charitable” organizations owned by powerful politicians. All of Bill Clinton’s most lucrative speeches were awarded when Hillary was Secretary of State to buy her political influence. His biggest payday came from Swedish telecom company, Ericsson, which was under investigation by the State Department for selling equipment to Iran and Belarus. Ericsson paid Bill $750,000 for just one speech and 7 days later, the State Department declared it would not broaden sanctions on Iran to telecom equipment.

Hilary Clinton has received enormous campaign donations and contributions to the Clinton Foundation (which in 2014 alone received $2 billion) from some of America’s largest transnational corporations, including the banks that destroyed the economy in 2008 and caused the worldwide financial crisis (and Freddie Mac, the mortgage company partly responsible for the housing market collapse), the world’s largest weapons manufacturers and oil companies, (despite her supposed “support” of alternative energy and her energy plan calling for an 80% reduction of carbon emissions by 2050) billionaires like Rupert Murdoch, Mayor Bloomberg, and David Rockefeller, and governments responsible for abhorrent human rights violations, all who seek to improve their PR and look “green” (greenwash) or “progressive” (to make more money) by donating. Billion-dollar oil companies cannot be “sustainable” but in the age of neoliberalism, the definitions have been changed by establishment democrats and republicans. “Billionaire philanthropist” is simply an oxymoron. It would be more accurate to call them misanthropes. It does not matter if a billionaire has donated to progressive causes if that person continues to hoard billions in a world where 80% of all people live on less than $10 a day. Ironically, despite the millions in funding to Clinton’s campaign from American transnationals, in 2007 she publicly stated “I believe we have to move, eventually in our country, toward a system of public financing that really works for candidates running for federal office. I will support that as president.” It would be incredibly foolish to trust Hillary to reform the system that allows for unlimited campaign contributions from corporations that she exploited to get into power in the first place. The Clinton Foundation doesn’t do anything without the expectation that they will receive something in return, (which this article will demonstrate) as is the case with all billion-dollar foundations. To be clear, Trump as President would seek no such reforms either as his campaign is similarly financed by billion-dollar companies.

Donations to the Clinton Foundation are kept secret and only ranges of contributions have been released to the public, instead of exact numbers, except in a few cases. For example, Canadian mining executive, Frank Giustra, sits on the board of the Clinton Foundation and has given $32.7 million to the Foundation and pledged $100 million to the “Clinton Guistra Enterprise Partnership” in exchange for mining contracts. (Bill Clinton has also borrowed Frank’s private, MD-87 jet fitted with gold fixtures and its own bedroom 26 times.) Days after dining with Bill Clinton and Kazakhstan’s President, Nursultan Nazarbayev, (who has tortured political dissidents and yet been praised by Bill for his “human rights record.”) Frank won $500 million in uranium mining contracts, stretching from Asia to the Western U.S. (consisting of 20% of total US uranium reserves) with his company UrAsia Energy, which later merged with Uranium One, but he insists he didn’t have help from Clinton. However, just days after winning the contracts, Frank made his first $32.7 million dollar donation to Clinton Foundation. In January 2013, these contracts were then sold to a Russian state-owned company, ARMZ Uranium Holding, a subsidiary of Russia’s atomic energy agency, Rosatom. This sale was reviewed by the State Department while Hilary Clinton was Secretary of State. Shortly after which, a Russian investment bank with ties to Uranium One and Russian intelligence called Renaissance Capital paid Bill Clinton $500,000 for a speech in Moscow. Other shareholders of Uranium One (including Guistra) gave a combined total of $145 million to the Clinton Foundation. The Chairman of Uranium One, Ian Telfer, also made a $2.35 million donation to the Foundation along with Frank Holmes, Chief Executive of U.S. Global Investors Inc., which held $4.7 million in Uranium One shares in the first quarter of 2011. Canadian investment firm, Salida Capital, a subsidiary of Rosatom, committed to give millions to Foundation as well and sponsored a speech by Bill in 2010.

This was just one of the many crony capitalist deals the Clintons have brokered with Guistra. As another example, a few hours after a dining in Bogota Columbia with Frank Guistra and Clinton’s husband, Hillary met with Columbia’s President, Álvaro Uribe Vélez, and then announced her support for a free trade deal with Columbia that Frank stood to gain from. Frank bought “control of an oil production firm that worked closely with the Colombian state oil company, which Uribe had recently privatized. [Frank’s company] also signed a pipeline deal with that firm and then won the right to explore for oil in environmentally sensitive areas along the Colombian coast. ”ii Three companies owned by Guistra in total received major concessions: PetroAmerica, Prima Columbia, and Pacific Rubiales. Prima received the permit to cut timber for export to China in the rainforest along the Columbian coast. This permit was revoked by a future president of Columbia after outrage from environmentalists but only after Guistra’s company had logged much of the coast.

Swedish mining investor, Lukas Lundin, made a similar deal with the Clintons after pledging $100 million dollars to the Clinton Foundation in 2007. His largest investments are in the Congo where his mining corporation has destroyed villages to make room for their mining operations. When accepting the donation, President Bill Clinton hailed Lundin’s contribution, saying “today’s generous support by the Lundin Group is to be applauded because it demonstrates the potential of this global initiative to capture the imagination and support of the mining sector.” Lundin Group also displaced thousands of Nuers in South Sudan to drill for oil. The founder of the Lundin group, Adolf Lundin, had initially secured the mining rights in the Congo after making a visit and a donation to the Congo’s former dictator in 1996. When then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited the Congo in 2009, she delayed implementation of a landmark “certification” program under Section 1502 of the Dodd Frank Act, which requires companies using certain minerals like gold, tin, tungsten, and tantalum to determine if they originate from the Congo and if they are funding terrorist groups.

Hillary has also accepted ten to twenty-five million dollars from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, one of the most sexist regimes on the planet, (wherein women cannot leave the house without a man or legally drive and face genital mutilation) and the same amount from Blackwater Worldwide, the private military contracting company that has killed untold numbers of civilians worldwide. One year after the Saudi contribution, the State Department made a $29 billion dollar arms deal with the dictatorship), as did “government aid” agencies in Australia and the Dominican Republic. The Saudi dictatorship also gave Hillary half a million dollars in jewelry, which was illegal to accept but which she did anyway to “avoid causing embarrassment.” Hillary also accepted $10-25 million from the Rockefeller Foundation and Victor Pinchuk, a Ukrainian billionaire who was also a member of the Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada from 1998 to 2006 and who makes pipelines for the oil giant, Gazprom. Mohammed Hussein Ali Al Amoudi, a Saudi Arabian and Ethiopian billionaire and oil and mining tycoon worth $10.8 billion in 2015 also donated $1 to 5 million to the Clinton Foundation.

The Clinton Foundation has received $5 to 10 million from the Coca Cola company and the state of Kuwait, $1-5 million from Bloomberg “Philanthropies,” Barclays plc, Barclays capital, Exxonmobil, Hewlett-packard (which has operations in Palestinian territories occupied by Israel) Monsanto, (which paid Hillary $350,000 to speak in their favor and to promote GMOs around the world as Secretary of State) Goldman Sachs, (which also paid her $650,000 for 3 speeches in 2013) Dow Chemical, the state of Qatar, the sultanate of Oman, the UAE, Gilbert Chagoury, a Nigerian businessman close to military dictator General, Sani Abacha of Nigeriaiii, (who Clinton visited and supported) and the Walmart Foundation. Hillary was also a member of the board of directors of Wal-Mart from 1986 to 1992 and simultaneously a stockholder in the company. Kuwait, Brunei, Oman, Qatar, Taiwan, the oligarchy of Abu Dhabi and the Dubai Foundation, and the Friends of Saudi Arabia have given more than $1 million to the Clinton Foundation as well.

Gilbert Chagoury has committed to donating one billion dollars to the Clinton Global Initiative. It is worth nothing that Gilbert is friends with billionaire Mark Rich who was on the FBIs Most Wanted list before being pardoned by Bill Clinton on January 20 2000, his last day in office. Mark bought $200 million dollars of oil from Iran under the rule of Ayatollah Khomeini when his allies were holding 53 Americans hostage. Mark also sold oil to the apartheid regime of South Africa (making 2 billion over the course of 15 years), and he exported oil from Nigeria under the rule of the military dictator Sani Abacha who allegedly smuggled $4 to 8 billion from the state. Gilbert was convicted in Geneva in 2000 for helping Abacha pilfer these funds and laundering the stolen money. The US forfeited 480 million dollars of this sum that was laundered through US financial institutions when this ruling was made. In March 25, 2011 Bill Clinton was paid $700,000 for a speech in Nigeria by editor-in-chief of the Nigerian newspaper ThisDay, Nduka Obaigbena who was also close with the President of Nigeria. He was paid the same amount for a speech on February 13, 2012 and US aid continued to flow to Abacha’s regime, despite his egregious human rights violations. HR 2638 prevents monetary aid to countries if they cannot show where it’s going and how it’s being used, unless a waiver is granted by the Secretary of State. This piece of legislation likely would have stopped aid to the dictatorship had Hillary Clinton not granted a waiver, essentially exempting Nigeria from this law. Nulsartan and Abacha aren’t the only dictators Bill and Hillary have supported. In 2009 Bill gave the “Clinton Global Citizen Award” for “Leadership in Public Service” to Paul Kagame who is essentially responsible for the genocide of millions in the Congo.

Billionaire steel magnate, and the fourth-richest person in the world, Lakshmi Mittal, has also donated $1 million to $5 million to the Clinton Foundation. Indian politician and friend of Bill Clinton, Amar Singh, who was previously charged with bribing members of Parliament gave one to five million to the Clinton Foundation with money from Sant Chatwal whose son’s wedding was attended by Bill and who was named a trustee of Clinton Foundation. Sant Chatwal owed the FDIC $14 million in unpaid loans. But in 2000 Chatwal organized a fundraiser for Hillary and raised half a million, and a few months later the government settled the case against him for only $125,000. He later plead guilty for making illegal campaign contributions to Hillary Clinton and was removed from the Clinton website. Singh “visited the United States in September to lobby for a deal allowing India to obtain civilian nuclear technology even though it never signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty. He met with Mrs. Clinton, who he said assured him that Democrats would not block the deal. Congress approved it weeks later.iv This deal may endanger Pakistan. During Bill Clinton’s presidency, he had condemned India for testing nukes underground in 1998, saying “India’s action threatens the stability of Asia and challenges the firm international consensus to stop all nuclear testing,” and he placed sanctions on India, restricting India’s access to US nuclear technology until the government would agree to sign the NPT. So this action by his wife to provide nuclear technology to India was a complete reversal in course for the Clintons.

Rajiv K. Fernando, a securities trader, also donated one to five million to the Clinton Foundation, and Clinton made him a member of the International Security Advisory Board (ISAB) in return. He has no expertise for the job and sits among nuclear scientists on the board. Fernando has campaigned for Hillary since 2009. He donated the maximum contributions allowed by law to her campaign and to HillPAC in 2007 and 2008. He also bundled for Clinton’s campaign, acquiring more than $100,000 and in July 2015 he hosted a fundraiser for Clinton at his Chicago home.

Bank of America has paid Hillary Clinton $225,000 in speaking fees. In 2010, Bank of America received a $1.9 billion refund from the IRS, despite making a profit of $4.4 billion. Citigroup is one of Hillary Clinton’s top donors, donating $824,000 throughout her career. Citigroup was the largest recipient of federal bailout money, receiving $2.5 trillion after the financial crisis, despite their role in causing it. According to USUncut: “Citi also paid $0 in federal income taxes in 2010 despite making profits in excess of $4 billion. Had the bank been unable to utilize offshore tax havens, it would have paid $11.5 billion in federal taxes in 2012.v

In 2015 Pfizer executives contributed $40,000 to Clinton’s campaign and the company contributed between one to five million to the Clinton Foundation. “Pfizer paid $0 in federal income tax between 2010 and 2012 and gets a $2.2 billion tax refund, despite posting $43 billion in global profits,” according to USUncut.

FedEx has given $100,000 to $250,000 to the Clinton Foundation. “FedEx receives $1 billion a year in corporate welfare from the U.S. Post Office — its chief competitor — to use its aircraft to transport U.S. Mail. The company was also one of four corporations to bundle a $2.5 million donation to Clinton’s new diplomacy center (Boeing was another).”

Honeywell, another weapons manufacturer, gave $50,000 to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State and Honeywell was shipping weapons to dictatorships and countries ravaged by terrorism. “Despite making over $3 billion in combined profits between 2009 and 2010, Honeywell paid $0 in federal income taxes and received roughly $510 million in refunds. Honeywell CEO David Cote was also one of the loudest voices on the Fix The Debt campaign, calling for the Social Security and Medicare age to be raised to 70.”

After becoming a member of the Clinton Global Initiative in 2006, Merck donated between $250,000 and $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation. It also spent millions lobbying the U.S. State Department during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State. Merck is one of the nation’s largest pharmaceutical companies and biggest tax dodgers. In 2009, Merck pocketed $5.7 billion in profits, yet paid $0 in federal taxes. Merck successfully evaded paying $18.69 billion in federal taxes in 2012 by stashing $53.4 billion of its U.S. profits in overseas tax havens.

Corning has donated between $100,000 and $250,000 to the Clinton Foundation and paid the former Secretary of State $225,000 in speaking fees during her Presidential campaign. While Clinton headed up the State Department, Corning lobbied heavily for multiple policies from which it stood to reap financial gains, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership. “Clinton, in turn, lobbied China to lower tariffs on the type of goods manufactured by Corning. Between 2008 and 2012, Corning paid a 0.1 percent federal tax rate.”

According to data from the nonpartisan group Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ), GE posted $33.9 billion in U.S. profits and received $2.9 billion in refunds at the same time. “According to the book Clinton Cash, as Secretary of State, Clinton lobbied the Algerian government for the construction of a GE power plant contract. After Algeria awarded the contract to GE, Jeffrey Immelt — CEO of GE —gave a donation to the Clinton Foundation. Sanders also pointed out that while Immelt sat on the board of the New York Federal Reserve, the Fed gave GE $16 billion in financial assistance.”

Boeing, one of the most lucrative manufacturers of death machines in the world (with a revenue of $96 billion in 2015) and the second largest “defense” contractor in the world in terms of revenue in the world gave the Clinton Foundation a donation of $900,000 to lobby the Russian government to enter into a $3.7 billion contract to buy Boeing’s aircrafts. Boeing is also one of America’s largest corporate tax dodgers. It made over $5.9 billion in profits in 2013 and not only paid $0 in taxes that year but was paid an additional 3.3. percent of their income ($199 million) as a tax credit by the Federal government, vi which they were allowed to take as a lump sum or apply as a credit to future taxes.

The US Department of State issued a subpoena to the Clinton foundation in fall of 2015. According to the report, the subpoena focused on “documents about the charity’s projects that may have required approval from federal government during Hillary Clinton’s term as secretary of state” and “also asked for records related to Huma Abedin, longtime Clinton aide who for six months in 2012 was employed simultaneously by the State Department, the foundation, Clinton’s personal office, and a private consulting firm with ties to the Clintons”.vii Clinton’s corporate ties are made all the more obvious by her campaign manager, John Podesta, cofounder of the Podesta group, one of Washington’s top corporate lobbying firms, which represents many of the aforementioned corporations and more including Raytheon, Genentech, Nestle, BP, the American Coalition for “Clean Coal” Electricity, Lockheed Martin, and the governments of Kenya and Egypt.

Throughout her tenure as Secretary of State, Hillary used her private, personal, unsecured email address belonging to her website to send and receive thousands of confidential emails. Wikileaks made these emails public in 2016. Of much discussion were her emails on Benghazi that some say resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, information officer Sean Smith, and two security personnel with Navy SEAL backgrounds Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty. One of her emails reads “Stevens will be meeting with MFA in one hour and will make a written request for better security at the hotel and for better security-related coordination. He still feels comfortable in the hotel. They are looking into the idea of moving into a villa, but that is some way off.” Clinton pushed for military intervention in Libya during their Civil war of 2011, which did not receive Congressional approval, thus violating the War Powers Resolution Act.

As Secretary of State, Clinton also pushed for oil privatization of Mexico’s oil reserves in the Mexican gulf owned by state-owned oil giant, Pemex, (Petrole Mexicanos) to benefit American oil companies. In 2009 Hillary Clinton made David Goldwyn, formerly an oil industry lobbyist and consultant, the first International Energy Coordinator who headed the State Department’s Global Shale Gas Initiative where he pushed for fracking across the world. Goldwyn now runs an oil and gas industry consulting firm called Goldwyn Global Strategies. Carlos Pascual, former US Ambassador of Mexico, succeeded Goldwyn as International Energy Coordinator. In a cable released by Wikileaks, the U.S. Embassy in Mexico headed by Pascual wrote “Mexico officials remain extremely sensitive about any public – especially U.S. – comments regarding energy reform and production. We should retain the [U.S. government’s] long-standing policy of not commenting publicly on these issues while quietly offering to provide assistance in areas of interest to the [Mexican government].” Clinton adviser, Cheryl Mills also wrote to the Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment, Robert D. Hormats on October 6 2009, “I wanted to flag one matter now because the Secretary [Clinton] has asked David Goldwyn during her look-ahead meeting regarding energy, to move forward on several energy security priorities — including engaging with key producers like Brazil, Mexico, Angola and Nigeria as well as addressing energy security concerns with consumers like China and India.” On August 17, 2009, Pascual wrote: “While the government of Mexico will portray negotiations on trans-boundary reservoirs to the Mexican public as an effort to defend the country’s natural resources, the government sees a treaty as an important opportunity for PEMEX to work with IOCs [international oil companies] and gain expertise in deepwater drilling. For the first time in decades, the door to the USG’s constructive engagement with Mexico on oil has opened a crack. It would be in our interests to take advantage of this opportunity. “Iii

In August 2013 Goldwyn wrote a report entitled “Time to Implement the U.S.-Mexico Transboundary Hydrocarbons Agreement — Congress: Drop the Poison Pill.” The bill passed just months later and was signed into law by President Obama. The U.S. Mexico Transboundary Hydrocarbon Agreement further opened offshore oil reserves in the Gulf of Mexico to international oil and gas companies and was lobbied for by ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, the American Petroleum Institute, Independent Petroleum Producers of America, and others. Desmogblog.com reported it resulted in “more deepwater offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and onshore fracking in Mexico’s portion of the Eagle Ford Shale basin. It will also flood the electricity grid with fracked gas, emanating from the U.S., a fact proudly proclaimed by Goldwyn and the U.S. Department of Energy.” ix x

Despite Hillary’s rhetoric about the importance of green energy, her actions for big oil say otherwise. When Hillary first became Secretary of State she had to sign an environmental impact statement on the $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline. In late 2008 Bill Clinton received an offer of nearly $2 million from TD investment group to give 10 speeches in Canada. TD was one of the largest shareholders in the Keystone pipeline that had never paid Clinton for a speech before. Just two months later, the State Department released the environmental impact statement supporting pipeline construction. If built the pipeline would have transported 800,000 barrels of tar sands oil from Canada per day.

Another email forwarded by Hillary and released by Wikileaks claimed a Sunni-Shiite war would be good for Israel and the West. The email states, “The fall of the House of Assad could well ignite a sectarian war between the Shiites and the majority Sunnis of the region drawing in Iran, which, in the view of Israeli commanders would not be a bad thing for Israel and its Western allies.” xi

Hillary like most hawks in office is an extreme Zionist who pushes the false narrative that Israel is a “victim” in its conflict with Palestine. In the debates with Sanders she repeatedly mentioned “stabbings” by Palestinians but refused to even mention the thousands of Israeli tanks and fighter jets used to terrorize Palestinians, a people who don’t even have an air force, let alone fighter jets and tanks. During the debate with Sanders when she was asked if she thought the Israeli attacks were disproportionate to the attacks of Hamas, she refused to even acknowledge the IDF’s bombings of hospitals, mosques, children’s schools, and residential buildings. But Israel’s attacks are not only disproportionate, they are war crimes and terrorism.

Hillary is also an outspoken proponent of mass incarceration and regressive, Draconian drug laws that disproportionately harm the poor and people of color and she does not even support medical marijuana and she compares it to cocaine and heroin. Just recently on February 24 of this year, Black Lives Matter activist, Ashley Williams confronted Hillary over a speech she made when campaigning for Bill Clinton’s re-election at Keene State College in 1996, in which she stated “They are not just gangs of kids anymore. They often the kinds of kids who are called superpredators – no conscience, no empathy. We can talk about why they ended up that way but first we have to bring them to heel.” Ashley understandably wanted to address Hillary’s dehumanizing, callous language and her prioritization of “bringing them to heel” over addressing the root causes of gang violence like inequities perpetuated by the state. In the same speech Clinton lauds Barry McCaffrey, a war criminal and drug czar put in power by Bill Clinton responsible for an enormous increase in nonviolent drug-related incarceration, as leading the fight against drugs and crime. When confronted, Hillary had Ashley removed from the fundraiser. Bill Clinton also signed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 into law as President, the largest crime bill in the history of the United States that called for 100,000 new police officers, $9.7 billion in funding for prisons, and the “three strikes law,” which mandates judges must give life to anyone convicted of a third felony. In March Hillary was also endorsed by the “Grand Dragon” of the KKK, Will Quigg, who had initially endorsed Trump but retracted his support as he favored Hillary.xii So it’s truly baffling when people rightly against Trump also foolishly support Hillary. Their actions in the White House would be nearly the same. The only difference would be their rhetoric.

Several lobbying firms and law firms that raise money for Clinton also represent and have cronyist relationships with the private prison industry. The Intercept reported in 2015 that “Richard Sullivan, of the lobbying firm Capitol Counsel, is a bundler for the Clinton campaign, bringing in $44,859 in contributions in a few short months. Sullivan is also a registered lobbyist for the GEO Group, a company that operates a number of jails, including immigrant detention centers, for profit… five Clinton bundlers work for the lobbying and law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. Corrections Corporation of America, the largest private prison company in America, paid Akin Gump $240,000 in lobbying fees last year. The firm also serves as a law firm for the prison giant, representing the company in court. Akin Gump lobbyist and Clinton bundler Brian Popper disclosed that he previously helped CCA defeat efforts to compel private prisons to respond to Freedom of Information Act requests.” Despite the fact that Hillary’s rhetoric on immigrants and immigration is slightly less hateful than Trump’s, the Clintons have done plenty to make the lives of immigrants miserable. For example, Bill Clinton’s Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 penalized immigrants in America illegally the longer they stay. For those here for one year, the Act bars them from legal return for 10 years, unless they obtain a pardon. The Act also makes minor offenses like shoplifting punishable by immediate deportation or as much as two years in prison before deportation. The Act also restricts undocumented immigrants from receiving in-station tuition at public institutions and allows for the use of secret evidence against undocumented immigrants.

Clinton also played a role in Guatamela’s military coup in 2009 and denied calling it a coup, despite doing so several times. In 2009 the Honduran Supreme Court issued an arrest warrant for the democratically elected President, Manuel Zelaya after he had called for a referendum to change the Constitution. Manuel shifted to the left during his Presidency, defying the US government’s agenda of imperialism and resource exploitation in South America. Manuel worked to reduce privatization of the country’s resources and increase citizen participation in government and census taking. According to his son, “He condemned the media owners’ contracts, exemptions from taxes, concessions worth millions, and illegal businesses such as firearms supply firms. He also achieved free education for all children, guaranteed school meals for more than 1.6 million children from poor families, reduced poverty by almost 10 per cent during two years of government, and provided direct state help for 200,000 families in extreme poverty, supplying free electricity to those members of society most in need. His government raised the minimum wage by 80 per cent and, after 16 years of economic stagnation, achieved historically outstanding growth levels. Agriculture – in a country dependent on imports for 70 per cent of its grain – has been strengthened.”xiii Bank interest rates were also reduced by Manuel, the minimum wage was increased by 80%, domestic employees were integrated into the social security system, and poverty was reduced by almost 10% during two years of government. These were the real reasons Manuel was ousted. US State Department officials like Clinton and Thomas Shannon negotiated with the leaders of the coup. According to e-mails released by Wikileaks, Clinton was attempting to establish a line of communication with Roberto Micheletti in October of 2009 shortly after the coup who then became the interim President until January 2010.xiv Thomas Shannon also called Zelaya a “failed leader.” As interim President, Micheletti established a dictatorship and siphoned public funds “earmarked for the health of the elderly, pregnant women, children, sacred funds” for his campaign. Clinton was in Honduras one month before the coup. Clinton and the Obama administration have publicly condemned the coup, despite playing a significant role in it. Porfirio Lobo Sosa became the new President after Micheletti in January 2010. Since then multiple journalists and members of the National Resistance Front have been killed who opposed the new President and in 2011, the US sold $1.39 billion in arms to Honduras to fund the dictatorship.

The Clintons also have a history of profiting from disasters and funds intended for disaster relief. For example, when the earthquake of January 2010 devastated Haiti, relief supplies were delayed from landing at an airport in Haiti so that Hillary could land there to appear for a photo-op and a press conference, make a statement, and then fly back to Washington. $13 billion dollars was raised from international relief organizations for Haiti at the time. Senior Adviser and Counsel for Hillary’s 2008 Presidential Campaign, Cheryl Mills was responsible for the allocation of US tax money to Haiti through USAID. Bill had been previously appointed as special envoy to Haiti for the UN and was now also named co-chair of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission. The Clintons ensured the money intended for disaster relief went to Clinton donors who had investments in Haiti. $124 million went to one textile factory in Caracol in Nord-Est on the north shore of Haiti where the earthquake had no effects. The factory was supposed to create 64,000 jobs but it only created 5000 and the biggest beneficiaries were Gap, Target, and Walmart, which received tariff-free textiles produced via cheap Haitian labor. The New Settlements Program in Haiti was supposed to build 15,000 homes for $53 million but instead built 2600 homes for $90 million. Most of the money was used to build luxury hotels right next to those devastated by earthquake. Dalberg Global Development Advisers was also supposed to relocate people made homeless from earthquake but chose the edge of a cliff as their camp site.

When billionaire and telecom mogul, Dennis O’Brien gave five to ten million to the Clinton Foundation, he was awarded a lucrative contract in Haiti, becoming the largest private investor in the country through Digicel. He applied for a grant for a program to provide cell phone money transfers to Haitians. One month after applying for the grant, Digicell sponsored a speech by Bill Clinton for which he was paid $225,000 and his company subsequently received the contract. The government of Haiti had not granted gold mining concession in 50 years but decided to award VCS Mining such a concession during the reconstruction process. At the time the concession was awarded, Tony Rodham, Hillary’s brother, joined the board of directors of VCS Mining.

Underhanded Clinton involvement in Haiti began well before the earthquake. The Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haïti (or FRAPH), a far-right paramilitary group, established by Emmanuel “Toto” Constant in 1993, a paid CIA informant and spy, was created to reduce support for progressive, left Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who was only President of Haiti for 8 months before being deposed in a FRAPH / DIA / CIA led coup that put Constant in power, beginning his brutal military regime. Due to international pressure, Bill Clinton as president cooperated with other nations that wanted to end Constant’s military regime but the Clinton administration subsequently released him from prison and kept him on CIA payroll until 1994. When Aristide returned to power, the US government used FRAPH to pressure him to abandon his progressive social reforms and instead implement cruel, capitalistic policies that would benefit US corporations.

Hillary also took advantage of the humanitarian crisis in the South Sudan. When Ambassador Joe Wilson, longtime friend of Clintons who endorsed Hillary for president in a 2008 campaign ad, was Vice Chairman of Jarch Capital, the company leased 400,000 hectares of land in South Sudan to extract its precious minerals and oil as well as cultivate the land as food prices rose in the war-torn country. The lease was signed by warlords and company was awarded the contract just after an email was sent to Hillary. Joe also pressed Hillary for a $266 million reconstruction contract from USAID in Afghanistan for his company Symbion according to emails released after an FOIA request. She forwarded Wilson’s email to Jack Lew and Cheryl Mills, endorsing his company. But USAID decided to award it to another company. Wilson also asked Clinton for help securing a $47 million contract Symbion was bidding on in Tanzania in a November 2009 email, and this contract was awarded to his company.

What exactly has Hillary taken a progressive stance on? Not much. She has taken a conservative position on single payer health-care, claiming it would “cost more,” even though that has been proven time and time again to be false (medical care is so expensive in the US mainly because it is privatized) and she supports the TPP. In November 2012 in Australia she called the TPP “the gold standard in trade agreements.xv There is also further evidence the State Department with her as head was deeply involved in advocating for it. The TPP has been called “NAFTA on steroids” by critics and with good reasons as I discussed in my article on the TPP and the TTIP. And though Hillary isn’t to blame for NAFTA, her husband did approve it as President and they do much of their work together. We also can’t forget that on October 11, 2002, Clinton voted in favor of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq to give President Bush authority for the Iraq War.xvi In February 2007, Clinton refused to apologize for this decision, despite the 300,000 to 3 million causalities (by different estimates) in Iraq. Clinton repeatedly voted for Iraqi sanctions, which have killed untold numbers of children. Clinton also says she receives advice from Henry Kissinger, a war criminal and a friend of the Clinton’s, on foreign policy, which would explain her extremely hawkish foreign policy. Kissinger played leading role in the covert bombing of Laos and Cambodia during the Vietnam War, the coup of the democratically elected socialist President of Chile, Salvador Allende, in 1973, and the rise of Augusto Pinochet as military dictator of Chile.

It is astonishing the “team politics” many ascribe to and how little research most voters actually do. They listen to a few speeches and they think they know the candidates. It takes incredible naivety and ignorance to believe their speeches. Simply belonging to one political party or another is enough to get many votes. According to Peter Schweizr’s book, Clinton Cash, Clinton corruption has cost US taxpayers an estimated $5.1 billion dollars and the cost associated to the citizens of countries whose leadership is tied to Clinton corruption is estimated to be $1,446,751,663.70. And the human and environmental damages the Clintons have caused are incalculable. This is not common knowledge. Still, Clinton remains the lesser evil compared to Trump and this is a testament to just how morally bankrupt the entire system has always been. Whoever wins must be challenged. We have to take to the streets and let them know they don’t represent us and that we can govern ourselves. Only through autonomous, organized direct action will we have a chance to bring about a better way of living.

ihttp://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/268478-report-clintons-made-153-million-off-of-speeches

3 responses to “Clinton, Trump, and the Lesser of Two Evils

  1. On the whole, a fairly comprehensive look at the underbelly of La Clinton’s financial arrangements.

  2. This is a great, well researched article. No one is Nostradamus though and the result, like you said….makes little to no difference anyway. Cheers.

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