Shakedown: The Clinton money machine

The Clinton’s aren’t public-spirited philanthropists. They’re shakedown artists.

Michael Gerson, a columnist at the Washington Post, recently asked, “..what compels the Clintons to operate so close to the ethical line when public scrutiny is so likely?”

Greed and power, sir, pure greed, a quest for power. and no shame.

Chelsea, Hillary and Bill Clinton bask in the limelight.

Chelsea, Hillary and Bill Clinton bask in the limelight.

When the Clintons moved out of the White House, thy hauled off $190,000 worth of china, flatware, rugs, televisions, sofas and other gifts. Greed without shame.

When Bill Clinton left the White House he initially wanted to lease a fancy high-rise office in midtown Manhattan for $800,0000 a year, $500,000 of that to be covered by taxpayers, more than the annual office rent for ex-presidents Reagan, Carter and Ford combined. Greed without shame.

The Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation has raised about $2 billion since it was founded in 2001. The money has come from foreign governments, corporate tycoons, politically-connected influencers, and other moneyed interests.

Meanwhile, Bill and Hillary have raked in millions from speeches, many to groups with interests in government policies.

Just between January 2001, when Bill Clinton left the White House, and January 2013, when Hillary stepped down as Secretary of State, Bill Clinton was paid $104.9 million for 542 speeches around the world, according to an analysis by the Washington Post. After leaving the State Department, Hillary joined the money rush with speeches for which she earned $200,000 or more per appearance.

Even the Clintons’ daughter, Chelsea, has learned “the family business.” With no media experience, she secured a $600,000 a year job as a “special correspondent” for NBC News in 2011 that lasted until mid-2014. Her uninspiring performance earned her the distinction of being called “one of the most boring people of her era” by Washington Post Style reporter, Hank Stueverof.

“We came out of the White House not only dead broke but in debt,” Hillary said. Not any more.

At its essence, the Clinton’s money haul, both the personal haul and the fundraising for their foundation, are part of a massive pay-to-play scheme.

The foundation’s programs run the gamut from climate change and economic development to public health and woman and girls, and it claims to be impacting lives around the world.

But the simple fact is that thousands of other non-profits in the U.S. and around the world were doing the same work when the Clinton Foundation was created and are continuing to do so, often while starved for funds.

If the Clintons really wanted to advance causes dear to their hearts after leaving the White House, they could have checked Charity Navigator and advocated on behalf of already established, exemplary non-profits, rather than creating another hydra-headed creature focused on promoting the brand of its founders. In short, there was absolutely no need to create the behemoth that is the Clinton Foundation.

The only reason for creating it was to give the Clintons a platform for self-aggrandizement, to allow powerful U. S. and foreign interests to curry favor with a former President and maybe a future one.

NOTE: Charity Navigator refuses to rate the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, noting that “…this charity’s atypical business model can not be accurately captured in our current rating methodology.” Instead, the Foundation has been placed on Charity Navigator’s “Watchlist” in light of issues raised about its operations. “…given that our primary obligation is to donors, Charity Navigator has determined that the nature of this/these issue(s) warrants highlighting the information available so that donors are aware of the issues in question which may be relevant to their decision whether to contribute to this organization.” Another non-profit on the Watchlist is Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, cited for failing to pay payroll taxes. “With the tax liability outstanding, Mr. Sharpton traveled first class and collected a sizable salary, the kind of practice by nonprofit groups that the United States Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration recently characterized as ‘abusive,’ or ‘potentially criminal’ if the failure to turn over or collect taxes is willful,” the New York Times reported in 2014.

Jesse Jackson and the outrage machine: now it’s about Little League

A couple hours. That’s all it took for Jesse Jackson to publicly express outrage about Little League International’s decision to strip the U.S. Championship from Chicago’s all-black Jackie Robinson West team, and to make it a racial matter.

Jesse Jackson at a Feb. 10 press conference spoke out against the decision to strip Jackie Robinson West of its Little League national title.

Jesse Jackson at a Feb. 10 press conference spoke out against the decision to strip Jackie Robinson West of its Little League national title.

Little League International determined on Wednesday that the Jackie Robinson West Little League and Illinois District 4 Administrator knowingly violated Little League International Rules and Regulations. They did so by placing players, otherwise known as suburban ringers, on their team who did not qualify to play because they lived outside the team’s boundaries.

Like the ubiquitous Al Sharpton, Jackson inserted himself into the issue by calling a press conference where he told Little League International to reverse its decision and questioned whether its motivations were racial.

“Is this boundaries or race?,” Jackson asked, before threatening legal action if Little League doesn’t rescind it’s decision.

Rev. Michael Pfleger, a Roman Catholic priest and social activist in Chicago, who joined Jackson at the press conference,  also raised the race issue.

“When you’re going over to voter registration and going to birth certificates and doing all this time of hunting and a witch hunt that’s been going on for the last number of months, I can’t help but wonder the question if the same thing would have been done with another team from another place, another race,” Pfleger said.

Even a player’s parent, Venisa Green, jumped on the bandwagon. “It is amazing to me that whenever African-Americans exceed the expectations that there is always going to be fault,” she said.

Meanwhile, in the true spirit of fun in kid’s sports, Channel 5 NBC Chicago reports that a suburban coach of another Little League Team who raised suspicions about the make-up of Jackie Robinson West said Wednesday that he has received death threats.

So I guess the Jackie Robinson West kids have lost more than the U.S. Championship. They’ve lost their innocence.

Ted Kennedy and Al Sharpton: no excuses

(Addendum: Al Sharpton is at it again. The New York Times reported on Nov. 19, 2014,  that Sharpton “has regularly sidestepped the sorts of obligations most people see as inevitable, like taxes, rent and other bills. Records reviewed by The New York Times show more than $4.5 million in current state and federal tax liens against him and his for-profit businesses.”

“Sidestepped” is too polite a word for how Sharpton has behaved. And this is a man President Obama turns to for guidance?)

Reading all about Al Sharpton’s emergence as a respectable political leader and go-to guy for President Obama, I’m reminded of Ted Kennedy.

Liberal Democrats loved Ted Kennedy.

He was the standard-bearer for the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. He was their beloved champion for his work on health care, education, immigration reform, civil rights, voting rights, workers’ rights and other causes.

TeddyKennedyMaryJo

So what did Democrats do when faced with the news that Kennedy’s actions had caused the death of 28–year-old Mary Jo Kopechne when he drove an Oldsmobile 88 into a tidal channel on Chappaquiddick Island in 1969? They stuck with him.

What did they do when it was learned he had left the scene of the accident, consulted with a high-powered group of political and legal advisors, and didn’t notify the police for 10 hours after the accident. They stuck with him.

What did they do when State police detective-lieutenant George Killen said, “Senator Kennedy killed that girl the same as if he put a gun to her head and pulled the trigger?” They stuck with him.
They looked on without reproof when Kennedy’s only punishment was losing his driving license for a year and receiving a suspended two-month jail sentence.

All was forgiven. The liberal special interest groups that depended on his support in the contentious political arena, even the usually outspoken Liberal women’s rights groups, either stayed silent or defended him then and in the years to come. After all, he was one of them, a supporter of their agendas.

And Massachusetts voters continued sending Kennedy back to the Senate until his death on August 25, 2009, after which liberals eulogized him as a great American and a great senator.

“I can think of no one who engendered greater respect or affection from members of both sides of the aisle,” said President Obama in 2009 remarks on Kennedy’s death.

“I just hope we remember how he treated other people…,” said Vice President Biden, ignoring Kennedy’s reputation on the Hill as a “the rules don’t apply to me” boor whose appalling behavior was well documented.

Joyce Carol Oates suggested that even if Kennedy had caused the death of a young woman, he had redeemed himself by accomplishing so much good work thereafter, by his “…tireless advocacy of civil rights, rights for disabled Americans, health care, voting reform, his courageous vote against the Iraq war.”

Liberal’s willingness to excuse Ted Kennedy, even in the face of his clear guilt in the death of a young woman, reminds me of their tolerance for, and even promotion of, Al Sharpton’s ascension to political prominence.

Sharpton’s infamous rise in public notoriety has been well documented.

A 1987-1988 case that drew national attention revolved around Sharpton’s involvement with 15-year-old Tawana Brawley, a black woman from New York who accused six white men of raping her and leaving her in a garbage bag smeared with and covered with racist words written in charcoal.

Sharpton, who accused government officials of trying to cover up for the rapists because they were white, led the way in spurring a national uproar over the case.

brawley_sharpton_custom-1a3219e3e6986346b22e7fb0aea7ab0f3833f78e-s6-c30

He was later rebuked and fined after a grand jury concluded that Brawley had not been the victim of a forcible sexual assault and that she may herself have created the appearance of an attack.

In 1991, Sharpton stirred up black fury in the Crown Heights area of Brooklyn when a Jewish driver hit and killed a black boy, Gavin Cato, with his car.

At the boy’s funeral, Sharpton vilified Jewish “diamond merchants” who killed black children in Brooklyn.

Days of anti-Semitic riots culminated in the murder of Yankel Rosenbaum, an Australian Jew who had nothing to do with the incident, being stabbed to death in the midst of a mob of about 30.

The New York Post reported that after the driver of the car was cleared of charges and left for Israel, Sharpton flew to Tel Aviv to slap the driver with a civil suit. When a passer-by at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport recognized Sharpton, she shouted, “Go to hell!”
“I am in hell already,” Sharpton replied. “I am in Israel.”

In December 1995, during a Harlem protest stirred up by Sharpton, a black man entered Freddy’s Fashion Mart, a Jewish-owned clothing store, took out a gun, ordered the black customers to leave and set a fire that killed himself and eight other people.

Sharpton was accused of having spurred the devastation by delivering and facilitating incendiary racist and anti-Semitic comments on black radio stations and at the protest.

In Sept. 2013, the New York Post reported that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. had written in a previously secret diary, “Al Sharpton has done more damage to the black cause than [segregationist Alabama Gov.] George Wallace. He has suffocated the decent black leaders in New York. His transparent venal blackmail and extortion schemes taint all black leadership.”

Sharpton, pitching himself as America’s leading advocate of social justice, shows up everywhere there’s a TV camera and a potential racial dispute to be exploited. Most recently, he made himself visible in Ferguson, Missouri.

Now Obama, the Democratic Party and other liberals are legitimizing Sharpton and giving him a highly visible chair at the table.

It’s an appalling comment on their willingness to embrace one of their own regardless of his contemptible actions.