Hypocrisy alert: Billy Clinton and the liberals

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Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens excoriated a conservative Trump supporter today for supporting a reprobate.

“Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council brushed aside the controversy by insisting his support for Mr. Trump rested on “shared concerns” not “shared values,” Stephens wrote. “That marks a milestone: The president of an organization ostensibly devoted to the preservation of family values has endorsed a man who wants to sleep with other men’s wives.”

A milestone? Hardly.

How about a little history here for those who didn’t live through the mess.

When Bill Clinton’s tawdry exploitation of Monica Lewinsky, a 21-year-old White House intern, became public, one of the oddest reactions was that of some liberal women and their organizations.

“President Clinton’s sordid entanglements with Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones, and now Monica Lewinsky have drawn barely a squeak of protest from the powerful writers, lawyers, activists, politicians, and academics who call themselves feminists,” Marjorie Williams wrote in Vanity Fair in 2007. Nor did Bill Clinton’s “… routine use of staff members, lawyers, and private investigators to tar the reputation of any woman who tries to call him to account for his actions.”

The chorus of women who had supported Anita Hill in her charges of sexual harassment by Clarence Thomas was silent or contemptuous when it came to Bill Clinton’s transgressions.

Susan Faludi, the author of Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women, said of Monica Lewinsky, “If anything, it sounds like she put the moves on him.”

 “We’re trying to think of the bigger picture, think about what’s best for women,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation, defending the organizations silence.

 And then there was Senator Carol Moseley-Braun (D- IL) who declared on Meet the Press, “Not so many years ago, a woman couldn’t be a White House intern.”

There was a reason some liberal women excused Bill Clinton. Clinton was on their side on most issues they cared about, like abortion, equal pay and affirmative action. It was more important that they keep an ally in the White House then that they be consistent in their public condemnation of reckless, inappropriate behavior towards women.

In January 1998, The Observer gathered 10 Manhatten women in a private room at Le Bernardin, an expensive French restaurant in New York City, to talk about the Clinton imbroglio. Their issues weren’t with Clinton’s abuse of a 21-year-old intern, which they casually dismissed, but about things like “a virile President…suddenly fulfilling this forbidden fantasy” and why Clinton had sex with a young woman, who might talk about it, rather than a mature woman who would have been discreet.

Then there was this exchange:

Nancy Friday, author of The Power of Beauty – “Don’t we all think that he could have chosen a better place? I mean, come on, I mean in the end, oral sex in the Oval Office … so many O’s-oral sex in the Oval Office is just bad timing, bad placing-

Elizabeth Benedict, author of The Joy of Writing Sex – “But what fun!”

I guess politics trumps morality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trump, Clinton and taxes: saving money the American way

U.S. Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees convention in Las Vegas

According to Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump “abuses power and games the system” by declaring a $916 million loss on his 1995 income tax returns that could be used to avoid future federal income taxes.

But let’s get real here. The Clintons have taken advantage of tax laws to minimize their taxes, too.

According to their 2015 federal tax return, Hillary Clinton reported earning $1,475,500 in speaking fees. To reduce the amount of those earnings, and the amount of taxes owed, she claimed:

  • $93,073 in expenses for commissions and fees
  • $25,000 for taxes and fees
  • $231,498 for travel
  • $1,281 for deductible meals and entertainment
  • $460 for utilities

By claiming these deductions, Hillary Clinton reduced her taxable income from speaking by a total of $352,257.

Bill Clinton took advantage of tax laws to reduce his taxable income, too.

He reported earning $5,250,000 in speaking fees in 2015. To reduce the amount of those earnings, and the amount of taxes owed, Bill Clinton claimed:

  • $359,703 in expenses for commissions and fees
  • $25,000 for taxes and licenses
  • $445,654 for travel
  • $4,155 for deductible meals and entertainment

By claiming these deductions, Bill Clinton reduced his taxable income from speaking by a total of $834,512.

Bill Clinton also reported consulting income of $1,660, 575 in 2015, from which he deducted $84,234 in expenses in order to reduce his taxable income.

The Clinton’s also claimed a long-term capital loss carryover of $699,540, generating a net long-term capital loss of that amount.

In addition, the Clintons took advantage of allowed deductions for charitable contributions. In 2015, they claimed a deduction of $1,042,000 donations for charitable to the Clinton Family Foundation, a non-profit that was formed in 2002 and serves as a philanthropic vehicle for the Clinton family.

The Clintons have also been aggressive in estate planning steps that will minimize taxes. According to Money magazine, they’ve established property and insurance trusts that ensure that, after they die, at least some of their millions of dollars in assets will be shielded from the estate tax.

Money has reported that one way the couple has chosen to limit the tax hit on their estate is via residence trusts, which prevent any growth in the property’s value from being counted in the couple’s estate — and, therefore, from being taxed when passed along to heirs.

The Clintons established two such trusts in 2010 and shifted ownership of their home in Chappaqua, N.Y., into them the following year. If the value of their home continues to grow, the move could save their estate hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes.

So before media and Clinton denunciations of Trump for his tax practices get totally out of hand, let’s remember that tax avoidance is not only common, but respectable.

Even the New York Times, which broke the story on Trump’s tax returns and has editorialized against Trump’s actions, paid no income tax for 2014 and got a $3.5 million refund, despite a pre-tax profit of $29.9 million, Forbes has reported.

As Judge Learned Hand so famously said:

“Anyone may arrange his affairs so that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which best pays the treasury. There is not even a patriotic duty to increase one’s taxes. Over and over again the Courts have said that there is nothing sinister in so arranging affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible. Everyone does it, rich and poor alike and all do right, for nobody owes any public duty to pay more than the law demands.”

Hillary’s money grab (with help from a few Oregonians)

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Bill Clinton must have thought we all forgot his history when he began his 2016 Democratic Convention speech with the cringeworthy, “In the spring of 1971, I met a girl.” Oh my God, where’s he going, millions of viewers probably wondered.

But Bill didn’t continue about his sexual exploits. Instead, he went on to call his wife, a “change-maker”. Given the amount of money she’s raising for her presidential campaign, she’d be better named a “money-maker”.

This despite her proclamation, “Our democracy should work for everyone, not just the wealthy and well-connected.”

“There’s no question that we need to make Washington work much better than it does today,” Hillary said on June 22, 2016. “And that means, in particular, getting unaccountable money out of our politics. … That’s why I’m so passionate about this issue, and I will fight hard to end the stranglehold that the wealthy and special interests have on so much of our government.”

But Hillary Clinton and her supporters have been dogged in their pursuit of campaign money.

Clinton clearly likes the big givers the most and cultivates them assiduously. At an event at the Sag Harbor, N.Y. estate of hedge fund magnate Adam Sender a family photo with Clinton went for $10,000, according to attendees. For a $2,700 donation donors’ children under 16 could ask Clinton a question.

 More than 1,100 elite moneymen and women, called Hillblazers, have together raised better than $113 million for Clinton, operating as bundlers who collect checks from friends or associates, according to an analysis by the Center for Public Integrity.

Hillblazers are individuals who have contributed and/or raised $100,000 or more for Hillary for America, the Hillary Victory Fund, and/or the Hillary Action Fund since the launch of Clinton’s campaign on April 12, 2015.

Among the list of high-profile Clinton bundlers, which includes actor Ben Affleck, filmmaker George Lucas, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and fashion designer Vera Wang, are a few (very few) people who list themselves as Oregonians:

  • Timothy Boyle, president and CEO of Columbia Sportswear, and his wife, Mary Boyle.
  • Peter Bragdon, Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer, General Counsel and Secretary, Columbia Sportswear
  • Carol Butler, Principal, Carol Butler and Associates, Democratic campaign consultant
  • Dwight Holton, former U.S. Attorney for Oregon/ defeated by Ellen Rosenblum in 2012 Democratic primary for Oregon Attorney General, and his wife, Mary Ellen Glynn, chief of staff to Anne Holton, wife of Democratic vice-presidential nominee Tim Kaine.
  • Jane Paulson, a Portland personal injury lawyer at the law firm of Paulson Coletti.

The money has flowed into Hillary Clinton’s campaign organization, Democratic Party committees and so-called independent outside groups.

According to OpenSecrets.org, Clinton and her acolytes had raised a total of $698,169,981 as of the end of last month, and pushing for $1 billion.

Presidential fundraising through Aug. 31, 2016

Category Clinton  
Candidate $373,281,866
National Party $181,378,218
Outside Spending $143,509,897
Total $698,169,981

Most of this money has come from large donors.

Clinton’s campaign, for example, has raised nearly $300 million in large contributions, or donations bigger than $200, the threshold for detailed disclosure of donor information, according to OpenSecrets.

Only about 19 percent of her contributions (roughly $70.7 million) have come in smaller amounts. Obama, in contrast, received about 37 percent of his contributions in amounts of $200 or less through August in his 2012 campaign.

So much for ending the stranglehold that the wealthy have on our government.

Give the Laureate money back, Bill (Clinton)

Priorities USA Action, a major super-PAC supporting Hillary Clinton, just returned a $200,000 contribution it received illegally from a construction company with federal government contracts. The super PAC returned the money after the contribution was disclosed by the Center for Public Integrity.

Hillary’s husband, Bill, should follow Priorities’ example and give up the $16.5 million he collected from Laureate Education Inc., a for-profit company with a sketchy record. Returning the money would also be consistent with Hillary’s condemnation of underperforming and deceptive for-profit education institutions.

Selling out as a corporate shill has rarely been so lucrative as it has been for ex-president Bill Clinton.

In 2010, he signed on to become an “Honorary Chancellor” for Laureate International Universities, part of Baltimore, MD-based Laureate Education Inc.

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Former President Bill Clinton speaking as honorary Chancellor at Laureate Education

Laureate has 86 schools serving about 1 million students online and on physical campuses in 28 countries across the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

bill-hillary-clinton-laureate

In return for serving as a front man for the privately held company, Clinton collected $16.5 million between 2010 and 2014. Laureate also has donated between $1 million and $5 million to the Clinton Foundation.

While Clinton worked for Laureate, he and the company consistently refused to say how much he was being paid, but an analysis of the Clinton’s tax returns revealed the numbers.

In the statement released with their tax returns, Hillary Clinton said of their financial success, “…we owe it to the opportunities America provides.” That’s one way to look at it.

Laureate aggressively marketed its relationship with Bill Clinton and it paid off.

New York Magazine described Bill Clinton as the “face” of Laureate. When Laureate secured approval to build a new for-profit university, Torrens University Australia, in Adelaide, South Australia (where for-profits are called “private” institutions), the headline in The Australian newspaper read: “First private university in 24 years led by Clinton.”

Bill Clinton resigned his Honorary Chancellor position at Laureate in April 2015.

If he’d done his homework before hooking up with Laureate, he’d have found a lot of reasons not to sign on (aside from avoiding blatant money-grubbing).

As New York Magazine put it, “While some of the company’s schools are highly ranked, others have been accused of low admissions and academic standards, “turbocharging enrollment” to boost revenues, and deceptiveness about tuition costs — the same troubling practices that caused the Obama administration to try to stanch the flow of federal-student-loan dollars to for-profit schools in the United States.”

So, Bill, a little advice. Rid yourself of this stain by returning the $16.5 million to Laureate or (preferably) donate it to a worthy education program (Not the Clinton Foundation). It’s the right thing to do.

 

 

 

The truth be told: Bill Clinton and Black Lives Matter

The real truth-teller in Hillary’s political campaign isn’t the candidate. It’s her husband.

Yesterday, Bill Clinton got into quite a set-to with Black Lives Matter protesters in Philadelphia. What set it off was the chants of protesters repeatedly interrupting his remarks to protest his 1994 crime bill on the claim it was anti-black.

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The protesters also held up signs saying things such “Clinton’s crime bill destroyed our communities” and “Black youth are not super-predators,” referring to a remark Hillary made in a 1996 address at New Hampshire’s Keene State College in support of the 1994 Violent Crime Control Act. “We can talk about why they ended up that way, but first we have to bring them to heel,” she said then.

Earlier this year, Hillary backtracked in an effort to pacify Black Lives Matter and other critics. “Looking back, I shouldn’t have used those words, and I wouldn’t use them today,” Hillary Clinton told the Washington Post.

Bill Clinton’s lengthy and spirited response to the Philadelphia protesters was more clearly a full-throated defense of his own administration’s record than an endorsement of his wife, but much of it was right on.

Sounding like a conservative at times, Clinton defended strict law enforcement as something that was necessary to protect black families from marauding black gangs and drug dealers committing black-on-black violence in inner cities.

“Let’s just tell the whole story,” Bill Clinton said, asserting that his crime bill was flawed because of Republican objections, but it was still a critical, necessary bill. “I talked to a lot of African American groups. They thought black lives mattered. They said ‘take this bill, because our kids are being shot in the street by gangs. We have 13-year-old kids planning their own funerals.”

“And because of that bill and the background check law, we had a 46 year low in the deaths of people by gun violence, and who do you think those lives were,” Clinton said. “Whose lives were saved that mattered?”

When the protesters continued interrupting him, Clinton got even more animated and defended Hillary’s use of the term “super predators” in 1996. “I don’t know how you would characterize the gang leaders who got 13-year-old kids hopped up on crack and sent them out into the street to murder other African American children,” he shouted. “You are defending the people who kill the lives you say matter. Tell the truth.”

“When somebody won’t hush and listen to you, that ain’t democracy,” Clinton said. “They’re afraid of the truth. Don’t you be afraid of the truth.”

You got it, Bill.

Benefit corporations: no sure thing

Lots of progressives in Oregon are big on public affirmations of goodness. That’s why they love the idea of benefit corporations, such as Neil Kelly, Rogue Creamery, Metropolitan Group, Medolac and Good Clean Love.

But before Oregonians conclude that benefit corporations are by their nature more socially responsible businesses, think again, and do some rigorous research. The fact is, in some cases the designation is being used as little more than a way to add a patina of respectability to otherwise questionable firms.

For a truly inauthentic attempt at sincerity and goodness, look no further than Laureate Education, Inc. It announced plans earlier this year its plans to do a $1 billion initial public offering (IPO) that would make it the first publicly traded benefit corporation.

If you’ve heard of Laureate, it may be because of its connection to former president Bill Clinton. In 2010, he signed on to become an “Honorary Chancellor”, or paid shill to be more accurate, for Laureate. In return for serving as a front man for the privately held for-profit education company, Clinton collected $16.5 million between 2010 and 2014. Laureate also has donated between $1 million and $5 million to the Clinton Foundation.

In its IPO prospectus, Laureate says, “we may take actions that we believe will benefit our students and the surrounding communities, even if those actions do not maximize our short- or medium-term financial results.” There’s little in its history, however, that suggests such an approach is part of the company’s DNA.

“We recognized the enormous importance that society places on education as a public good,” said Douglas L. Becker, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Laureate. “This inspired us to create a culture that combines the ‘head’ of a business enterprise with the ‘heart’ of a non-profit organization. “

With one million students studying online and on campuses at 88 institutions in 28 countries, Laureate is currently a private company, but it plans to go public. The company grew out of the K-12 tutoring company, Sylvan Learning Systems, in 2004 when Sylvan was spun off.

Laureate was taken private in a $3.8 billion deal in 2007. Investors included KKR & Co., Soros Fund Management, Paul Allen’s Vulcan Capital, Steve Cohen’s SAC Capital Advisors, Citi Private Equity, Sterling Capital and others, all investors whose commitment to corporate citizenship and the public good is unclear.

Registration as a public benefit corporation is also no guarantee that the governance of a company will be friendly to shareholders.

Steven Davidoff Solomon, a professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley, has pointed out that Laureate’s form of governance is especially unfriendly to shareholders. While Laureate is listing its stock as a public benefit corporation, it will also be going public with dual-class stock, which will maintain its current owners’ control over the company. This includes K.K.R. which will indirectly hold a greater than 10 percent interest in the company.

This doesn’t make sense, Solomon argues. K.K.R. is out to sell its stake at the highest price possible, not benefit other causes. So one has to wonder how strongly Laureate will even pay heed to the public benefit standard.

Then there’s the question of whether Laureate’s schools operate in the best interests of their students.

It’s 5 schools in the U.S. include: NewSchool of Architecture & Design, San Diego, CA; Santa Fe University of Art & Design, Santa Fe, NM; Kendall College, Chicago, Il; University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences, St. Augustine, FL; and the online-only Walden University, Minneapolis, MN.

newschool

Consider their records on the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard, an online system designed to help students, parents and advisers make better college choices.

For example, according to the Scorecard:

  • The average annual net cost of attending NewSchool is about twice the national average, only 50 percent of students return after their first year and the graduation rate after six years is only 33 percent.
  • The average annual net cost of attending Kendall College is more than twice the national average, only 57 percent of students return after their first year and the graduation rate after six years is only 45 percent.
  • At the Santa Fe University of Art & Design, only 31 percent of the students graduate within six years and only about half of those graduates subsequently earned, on average, more than those with only a high school diploma.

Laureate also operated The National Hispanic University in East San Jose, CA, but it closed in August 23, 2015. The San Jose Mercury News attributed the closure to the U.S. Department of Education reducing financial aid and online opportunities for students enrolled in programs that did not offer good prospects for employment. Other media reported that the school also failed to meet its goals in enrollment for online coursework.

It will be interesting to see how this company, that has a history of questionable payments to Bill Clinton, is $4.7 billion in debt, is burdened with high interest payments, has lost money every year since 2010 and has a habit of saddling its students with debt and low graduation rates pulls off its public benefit corporation charade.

It may be a hard lesson for a lot of true believers in benefit corporations.

Shameless: Bill Clinton and Laureate Education Inc.

During his 1992 campaign for the presidency, Bill Clinton proclaimed that if he was elected the county would benefit because it would “get two for the price of one”, him and Hillary.

Now there are indications that, with Hillary slipping in the polls, Bill plans to hit the hustings again to reinforce the “two for one” mantra. If that’s true, he may bring more controversy than help given his tarnished past.

Part of that past is his association with Laureate Education Inc.

Selling out as a corporate shill has rarely been so lucrative as it has been for ex-president Bill Clinton.

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In 2010, he signed on to become an “Honorary Chancellor” for Laureate International Universities, part of Baltimore, MD-based Laureate Education Inc. In return for serving as a front man for the privately held for-profit education company, Clinton collected $16.5 million between 2010 and 2014. Laureate also has donated between $1 million and $5 million to the Clinton Foundation.

Logos Laureate

While Clinton worked for Laureate, he and the company consistently refused to say how much he was being paid, but an analysis of the Clinton’s tax returns in July revealed the numbers. In the statement released with their tax returns, Hillary Clinton said of their financial success, “…we owe it to the opportunities America provides.” Well, that’s one way to look at it.

Laureate aggressively marketed its relationship with Bill Clinton and it often paid off. New York Magazine described Clinton as the “face” of Laureate. When Laureate secured approval to build a new for-profit university, Torrens University Australia, in Adelaide, South Australia (where for-profits are called “private” institutions), the headline in The Australian newspaper read: “First private uni in 24 years led by Clinton.”

Bill Clinton at Torrens

Bill Clinton at Torrens

(Subsequent reporting on the school has, however, not been all that positive. The consensus world university rankings for Australia put Torrens dead last in a list of 41 Australian universities in 2015.)

Clinton resigned his Honorary Chancellor position at Laureate in April 2015. “Laureate students represent the next generation of leadership. I have seen a commitment to quality and leadership throughout the Laureate network, and I have enjoyed being a part of it,” Clinton said in announcing his resignation.

Had Clinton not resigned, Laureate likely intended to use its close ties with him to bolster a planned $1 billion initial public offering (IPO). In April 2015,

Clinton may hold the Laureate network in high regard, but if he’d done his homework he’d have found a lot of reasons not to sign on to Laureate’s marketing campaign (aside from avoiding blatant money-grubbing).

As New York Magazine put it, “While some of the company’s schools are highly ranked, others have been accused of low admissions and academic standards, “turbocharging enrollment” to boost revenues, and deceptiveness about tuition costs — the same troubling practices that caused the Obama administration to try to stanch the flow of federal-student-loan dollars to for-profit schools in the United States.”

Even Bill’s wife has been critical of for-profit colleges. “Unfortunately there are some programs that take people’s money and do not produce the results that were promised, and we’ve got to crack down on that and put them out of business,” Hillary said during a June 2015 event at Trident Technical College in South Carolina.

Laureate has 86 schools serving about 1 million students online and on physical campuses in 28 countries across the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. It’s 5 schools in the U.S. include: NewSchool of Architecture & Design, San Diego, CA; Santa Fe University of Art & Design, Santa Fe, NM; Kendall College, Chicago, Il; University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences, St. Augustine, FL; and the online-only Walden University, Minneapolis, MN.

Laureate also operated The National Hispanic University in East San Jose, CA, but it closed in August 23, 2015. The San Jose Mercury News attributed the closure to the U.S. Department of Education reducing financial aid and online opportunities for students enrolled in programs that did not offer good prospects for employment. Other media reported that the school also failed to meet its goals in enrollment for online coursework.

Laureate grew out of the K-12 tutoring company, Sylvan Learning Systems, in 2004 when Sylvan was spun off.

The company was taken private in a $3.8 billion deal in 2007. Investors included KKR & Co., Soros Fund Management, Paul Allen’s Vulcan Capital, Steve Cohen’s SAC Capital Advisors, Citi Private Equity, Sterling Capital and others.

In 2013, the International Finance Corp, part of the World Bank Group, joined the list of supporters when it made an equity investment of $150 million in Laureate “to expand access to career-oriented higher education in emerging markets and support the growth of Laureate’s global network of institutions.”

Warning – miscreant ahead: the Bill Cosby imbroglio

In a variation of the au courant “trigger warnings” spreading on college campuses, the National Museum of African Art, is warning people about Bill Cosby. The Museum, which is displaying art from the collection of Camille and Bill Cosby, said recently it would remove a sign crediting the Cosbys for the exhibit. Instead, the sign will be be replaced with one saying, “Warning- some of the art you are about to see was loaned by Bill Cosby, who has been accused of sexual assault by multiple women.”

In this photo taken Nov. 6, 2014, entertainer Bill Cosby pauses during an interview about the upcoming exhibit, Conversations: African and African-American Artworks in Dialogue, at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art in Washington. The Smithsonian Institution is mounting a major showcase of African-American art and African art together in a new exhibit featuring the extensive art collection of Bill and Camille Cosby. More than 60 rarely seen African-American artworks from the Cosby collection will join 100 pieces of African art at the National Museum of African Art. The exhibit “Conversations: African and African American Artworks in Dialogue,” opens Sunday and will be on view through early 2016. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Not really. The new sign will actually say the exhibition is “fundamentally about the artworks and the artists who created them, not Mr. Cosby.” But the intent is the same.

Are we entering a period when it is obligatory to warn audiences about moral transgressions committed by famous people?

Should the display of Charles Lindbergh’s “Spirit of St. Louis” at the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum include a sign saying, “Mr. Lindbergh, while a great aviator, was a serial adulterer who had multiple wives and children”?

Should showings of Rosemary’s Baby, Chinatown and The Pianist be preceded by a warning, “Roman Polanski, the director of this film, raped a 13-year-old girl in 1977 and is currently a fugitive from justice”?

Should any event or show involving Mike Tyson include a warning, “Mike Tyson was convicted in Indiana of raping an 18-year-old college student and beauty pageant contestant.”

How about Woody Allen?

woody-allen-Soon-yi

Should all his movies, including his newest, “Irrational Man”, begin with a bold statement, “In 1992, it was learned that Mr. Allen was in a relationship with 21-year-old Soon-Yi Previn, the adopted daughter of Mia Farrow, his girlfriend of over 10 years. Ms. Farrow discovered the relationship when she found nude photos of Previn taken in Allen’s Manhattan duplex. Mr. Allen married Soon-yi in 1997 (ewww!)”

For that matter, should a sign go up everywhere former President Bill Clinton appears in public saying, “Mr. Clinton has been credibly accused of both rape and repeated sexual assaults, paid a former Arkansas state worker, Paula Jones, $850,000 in connection with an assault that occurred when he was governor of Arkansas, and had a sexual relationship with an intern while he was President?”

"I did not have sexual relations with that woman."

“I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”

Well, maybe the last one is worth considering.

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.

Hillary & Brian: two peas in a pod

Hillary Clinton surely knows how Brian Williams feels after his lie about being in a helicopter in Iraq that was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade.

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In March 2008, Hillary tried to embellish her foreign policy chops by reminiscing about a trip she made to Bosnia in 1996.

“I remember landing under sniper fire,” she said. “There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base.”

The problem was, that never happened. Instead, she disembarked without any disruptions at all, unless you consider a charming little girl greeting her with a poetry reading.

The Washington Post’s Factchecker reported that the entertainer, Sinbad, who was also on the trip, refuted Hillary’s telling of the story, saying the “scariest” part of the visit was deciding where to eat.

Hillary not only dismissed Sinbad as just “a comedian,” but doubled down on the danger she claimed to have encountered. “I was moved up into the cockpit,” she told reporters. “Everyone else was told to sit on their bullet proof vests. We came in in an evasive maneuver. Those of you who have been on a C-17 or C-130 know that one of their great characteristics is that they can take off very quickly and they can maneuver agilely to avoid incoming fire. There was no greeting ceremony and we were basically told to run to our cars. Now that is what happened.”

Not so. Further media analysis concluded that Hillary and her plane were never confronted by any security threats.

Still, Bill Clinton defended his wife’s recollections on the campaign trail, attributing her possible error to her age.

Perhaps it was age that also led Clinton to claim she was instrumental in bringing peace to Northern Ireland. When challenged and accused of substantially inflating her role, including by Nobel Peace Prize winner Lord Trimble of Lisnagarvey who said her claim was a “wee bit silly”, Hillary dismissed the criticism as “nitpicking.”

Maybe Brian Williams should follow Hillary’s lead; just insist that all the uproar over his lying is nitpicking. Instead of being censured, he could end up a candidate for President of the United States.