jump to navigation

Hillary Clinton, Haiti Resources, US Thievery and the Female Butchers April 12, 2015

Posted by rogerhollander in Dominican Republic, Haiti, Hillary Clinton, Imperialism.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Roger’s note: So today Hillary Clinton announces, to no one’s surprise, that she is running for president.  Assuming she wins the Democratic Party nomination, she will be running against who, by definition, will be a very dangerous person (the Republican Party is capable of nominating no other).  Many will be tempted therefore to white wash Clinton’s record.  Not me.  Here is just a sample of what the Clintons are all about.  Democrats.  Republicans.  A pox on both their houses.



Hillary and Bill Clinton "open Haiti" to as their private asset to liquidate using the resources of the World Bank, the State Department, USAID, the UN, the Private Military Security Contractors, the US military, passport and visa issuance capabilities, getting kickbacks as "donations" from anyone who wished to buy from them a piece of Haiti lands, oil, iridium, uranium or gold. Photo Source: AP

The economic reasons for the US occupation of Haiti behind the UN and NGO charitable fronts

(Check back often for updates.)

The Obama Administration got rid of its most powerful Democratic rival with Haiti. Hillary and Bill Clinton “opened Haiti” as their private asset to liquidate. They used the resources of the World Bank, the State Department, USAID, the UN, the Private Military Security Contractors (PMSC), the US military, and the Fed’s passport and visa issuance capabilities. They got kickbacks called “donations,” from anyone who wished to buy, from them, a piece of Haiti’s lands, oil, iridium, uranium or gold. They also took in bribes disguised as “donation” from big businesses, some from offshore Swiss Bank accounts, to assign UN guns subcontracted to PMSCs to secure corporate interests in Haiti. The Clintons have used governmental power to conduct their private business and called it “helping poor Haitians.” The evidence is in the results for Haiti’s poor.

The racket is finally being exposed by some US journalists. But not altogether and not simply because most care to step outside the lucrative dumbing down of America they participate in to expose the uncomfortable truth -the US destruction of the lives and health of the Black people of Haiti. No. We’ve explained the racism, neo-feudalism, cognitive dissonance, imperialism terrors and about the US low intensity warfare in Haiti for decades now. (See, The Pain Rush in Haiti; Haiti Riches, the economic reason for the US occupation of Haiti behind the UN and NGO charitable fronts ; Quiet Genocide in Haiti from FDR to Obama: UN a criminal organization from Lumumba to Aristide and Swapping Haiti lives: Interview on US Haiti Exploits.)

The new “revelations” – they’re “new” because some white guy or gal with privilege newspaper distribution and publishing access, says so. They’re new revelations because the Republicans are getting ready to play their musical chair dance at the false 2016 presidential elections for the false US democracy. They will fuel up on false consternation about how the Clintons enriched themselves on Haiti’s traumas to score political points to fuel their own power-grabs for the presidential seat of power in Washington. (See, Former US Ambassador to Haiti lied, Martelly held a U.S. passport;  and the 2004 George W.Bush Bloodbath Brought to Haiti: Coup D’etat Massacres, Victims and Human Rights Abuses.)

One reporter duly noted that it’s not news to the US public that charges of ethical violations are associated with the Clintons. The public is used to:

“the whiff of “Pay to Play” in Clinton World; they’re blind to appearances of impropriety; they feel the rules don’t apply to them; and they aren’t transparent.” (See also, Jan 2015 –Flight logs place Bill Clinton on sex offender’s jet multiple times and Bill Clinton identified in lawsuit against his former friend and pedophile Jeffrey Epstein who had ‘regular’ orgies at his Caribbean compound that the former president visited multiple times and By Ezili Dantò The Western sex push and ethnic cleansing in Haiti)

In 2009, we wrote about the Bill and Hillary many conflicts of interests. One, at the State Department divvying up false aid dollars to beltway NGOs. The other, as UN Special Envoy to Haiti supposedly garnered $3billion in funds for the four back-to-back 2008 hurricanes that killed 3000 Haitians and flooded out the town of Gonaives. Bill Clinton announced he would collect funds to built Gonaives back up and do infrastructure, with flood barriers, embankments and levees against such natural disasters in Haiti. Two years later, by the time of the 2010 earthquake, Gonaives was still in mud and the local residents were asking Ezili’s HLLN to investigate where did the $3billion Bill Clinton collected go to? This was our prelude to what would happen to the earthquake funds under Bill Clinton. No one would listen to ourstory. See, “The Two Most Common Neocolonial Storylines about Haiti, 2007.

Quiet Genocide in Haiti from FDR to Obama: UN a criminal organization from Lumumba to Aristide

In 2011, we again pointed to the stark and unethical Clintons’ conflicts of interests. Asked how would donors know where Bill Clinton would put Haiti funds he collected in the name of quake victims?

Bill Clinton had more Haiti titles and power in Haiti than Haiti’s president. He was the UN Special Envoy to Haiti, the head of the Clinton Foundation, the co-chair of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC). Obama also put him in charge, along with George W. Bush, of the Clinton-Bush Haiti fund. Clinton also directed the Clinton Guistra Sustainable Growth Initiative for Haiti (CGSGI).

Frank Giustra is a member of the Clinton Foundation board and a Vancouver mining magnate. CGSGI was created to conduct “social and economic development programs in parts of the world where poverty is widespread, including Colombia, Peru, Mexico, and Haiti.” All these countries have mining operations in the works. Clinton and Giustra brought in a third investor, the richest man the world, Carlos Slim, who matched their initial $100 million fund. After the 2010 earthquake Clinton, Giustra and Slim established another $20 million fund to finance “small businesses in earthquake-ravaged Haiti.”

Laws against insider dealings and for transparency are raised by these interlocking boards and funds. It is not clear, and one does not know when former president Bill Clinton asks for donation dollars for Haiti earthquake relief and reconstruction whether he was raising monies for the UN country-donor fund as the UN Special Envoy to Haiti and for the IHRC or, for the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, or for the Clinton Foundation, the Clinton Guistra Sustainable Growth Initiative, or the Clinton, Giustra and Slim $20 million fund for Haiti, to name a few blatant conflicts. What’s clear is that even the ethics agreement the Clinton Foundation signed with the Obama administration about not accepting foreign government funds while Mrs. Clinton was Secretary of State was violated. The $500,000 from Algeria for Haitian earthquake relief, violated the ethics agreement with the Obama State Department. But Haitians understand that this earthquake donation is not the only donation the Clintons mishandled. It’s just the only one,  so far, that’s noted unethical by the powers-that-be. What about the World Bank, banking over $9 billion and disbursing these foreign government quake funds collected in the name of Haiti, practically at Bill Clinton’s sole discretion while his wife was directing State Department queries about Haiti to the Clinton Foundation?

Probably in violation of Article I, Section 9 of the US Constitution, multinational businesses and foreign countries bought influence in the US and in Haiti by making bribes, disguised as charitable gifts, to the Clinton Foundation.

Little footprint of that $9 billion collected for quake victims by Bill Clinton can be found in Haiti today, other than luxury hotels and a sweatshop for Korean owners, built with monies given for homeless people. The area where the quake happened was not “built back better.” There’s no well-built permanent housing for the victims, no roads, clean water, local food or a reliable supply of electricity. Less than one cent of every dollar went to the Haiti government. The bulk of responsibility lies with the Clintons and the US government that unleashed them onto defenseless Haiti. One at the UN/WB. The other, at the State Department.

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act prohibits ethics violations and bribery of foreign officials. But Bill Clinton made no attempt to conceal his Haiti aid corruption. Neither did US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. They pushed their own Haiti staff members into nominal positions of power to rubber stamp their Haiti edicts. Haiti Prime Minister Gary Conille, who succeeded Jean Max Bellerive as Prime Minister was the chief of staff for Bill Clinton and a U.N. employee at the time. Cheryl Mills, another Clinton staffer also served as the United States’ representative on the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC) while Bill Clinton was co-chair of the IHRC with Haiti Prime Minister Jean Max Bellerive.

In 2010, under the tenure of Haiti Prime Minister Jean Max Bellerive when Bill Clinton was named co-chair of IHRC, the State Department, run by his wife, began directing parties interested in competing for Haiti contracts to the Clinton Foundation. The Wall Street Journal, wrote that:

Being on the right side of Bill matters if you want to benefit from U.S. foreign aid destined for Haiti” wrote the Wall Street Journal.”

A slew of recent articles are detailing how Hillary Clinton used a private email server from her home to conduct State Department business. There’s been consternation over the big backers of the Clinton Foundation with Swiss Bank accounts, and criticisms of the Clinton Foundation for accepting donations from countries that Hillary Clinton dealt with while Secretary of State, including Canada, Algeria, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Iran. The Keystone XL pipeline Canadians who have an important financial stake in Haiti oil, mining and the US occupation in Haiti, also donated to the Clinton Foundation.

Obama’s State Department acknowledged the ethical violation issue with the Clinton Foundation donations. But it’s doubtful that the lawless Obama Administration, authors of the shocking kill list or rule 1021 of the NDAA, will find lawlessness in the Clintons behavior on this matter or on Hillary Clinton’s failure to comply with the Federal Records Act.

What is clear is that the US occupation behind UN and NGO charitable fronts added to Haiti’s suffering immeasurably even before the earthquake. More than 20-thousand Haitians have been killed by the occupation forces since 2004.  A UN-imported cholera epidemic has killed over 10,000 Haitians, infected over 850,000. A Ferguson-like Haiti militarized police and a brand new neoDuvalierist dictatorship, with Martelly ruling by decree, has annihilated any “change we can believe in” for a new US-Haiti policy under the Clinton-Obama team.

What’s clear is that, just as Gonaives was not built back for the benefit of the storm victims, neither were the earthquake zones.  It’s been eight years since the 2008 storms.  The people at Gonaives Haiti are still living in mud and at risked of another flood crisis each hurricane season. Same thing happened with the earthquake billions. The quake monies benefited Clintons’ cronies, the Clinton Foundation big business donors, the Clintons’ luxury spa resort and hotel partners, the military industrial/intelligence complex and the usual Washington beltway bandits, like Chemonics. The holocaust for Haiti continued. What’s worst was the Clintons’ use of shock and trauma  – the cataclysmic 2010 earthquake and 2010 UN-imported cholera traumas – to push the 2010 doctored elections down the Haitian people’s throats.

That impossibly flawed election had, by Jan 12, 2015, turned from four years of Martelly circumventing Parliament, to outright dictatorship where he was formally ruling by decree with the approval and international force of the Clintons and their Hollywood image makers. In essence, the Clintons’ fraudulently manipulated horrifying pestilence brought upon the people of Haiti, including the starvation that Bill Clinton apologized for, to enrich themselves, strengthen the US occupation, peddled their US governmental access, their UN-World Bank access for the benefit of their cronies, the Clinton Foundation donors and to better steal Haiti oil, golds, underwater treasures, offshore islands and lands. We’ve written about this at: “Haiti Waking Up 5 Years Later“.

Behind the headlines, Haitians continue to strongly protest the Clintons’ brazen exploitation of US foreign aid and quake donation monies meant for homeless people to enrich themselves and secure a regulatory business environment favorable to foreigners that hurts local Haitians. In 2014, two prominent Haiti lawyers, Newton St. Juste and Andre Michel  petitioned Haiti’s Superior Court of Auditors and Administrative Disputes, demanding an audit of Bill Clinton’s management of the IHRC.

But the forces against justice for Haiti are made to look so overwhelmingly innocent. Nowadays the “good ‘ol” boys are white “just-doing-their-jobs” career chicks with blond or red hair with smiley names like Hillary, Samantha or Pamela.

They can be Cheryl Mills, Susan Rice, Condi Rice or gay, LGBT or straight. Doesn’t matter. They work for the Bush dynasty or for the Clinton/Obama group to install dictatorship in Haiti. The terror they’ve brought to Haiti is as familiar as when FDR was running the first US occupation of Haiti for Woodrow Wilson, or when Harding took it over. The UN is a criminal tool of empire that enjoys the immunity of the corporatocracy to readily swap the lives of the global poor in exchange for funding to keep its career bureaucrats in easy jobs and power. (See also, On UN Jobs-Selling Scandal, UN Tells ICP of Suspensions and Butchers of Haiti masked as the saviors of Haiti.)

Hillary Clinton and the other “smiley faced” career chicks are as complicit in supporting brutal US dictatorship and imperialism worldwide as the Manifest Destiny good ‘ol boys who saw no problem with genocide of indigenous peoples and with making alliances with countries like Saudia Arabia known for violence against women and for denying them many basic freedoms. The new dictatorship and US occupation in Haiti, legitimized with the help of Hillary Clinton, Pamela White, Samantha Powers, Cheryl Mills and Susan Rice, brings proportionally greater violence, hunger, disease, rape and brutality into the lives of Haiti women and children.

For us Haitians, the situation won’t change as long as the American people and schooled peoples worldwide believe that elections, as implemented by the US, actually represents Main Street interests or people values over monopolistic Wall Street profits. The Ndòki forces of empire, responsible for engineering group passivity or to leveraging centuries of African enslavement to angelize whites and demonize Blacks must be structurally decoded and removed.

The 2004 Bush regime change in Haiti was further institutionalized by the Obama/Clinton maneuvers from 2008 to present. The World Bank, controlled by the US, amended Haiti mining laws. These laws benefit insiders such as, Hillary Clinton’s brother, Larry Rodham, whose VCS Mining-Majescor received one of two rare gold mining licenses.  Bill Clinton’s co-chair at the IHRC, Jean Max Bellerive also sits on the board of VCS mining, which landed the rare gold permit in Haiti.

The World Bank did not only rewrite Haiti mining laws but at the same time, invested, through the IFC in Haiti mining. It’s really the US multinational mining companies – through the World Bank/IFC – that are writing Haiti mining laws to mine Haiti’s over $20billion in gold while the people are disenfranchised under the US occupation behind UN guns.

The people of Haiti objected to this, with constant calls for these UN rapes, World Bank rapes, US occupation and re-colonization to stop. But the World Bank ruled they have no say. It doesn’t matter to the imperialist World Bank that besides the economic pillage, gold mining causes severe environmental devastation, not needed in Haiti. The World Bank refused to consider the Haitian communities’ complaint about the new mining law. This mining ruling by foreigners will only bring more pain to Haiti. In a recent Letter to World Bank about its accountability, more than 80 organizations from around the world joined with the Haiti Mining Justice Collective, the NYU Global Justice Clinic and Accountability Counsel to demand that the World Bank take responsibility for its actions in Haiti.

Will the World Stop the Clintons: End the US occupation of Haiti behind UN mercenary guns and the NGO charitable fronts?

Hillary Clinton, in the middle of managing the crisis in Egypt, finished interviews on the Sunday morning news shows and immediately flew to Haiti where she insisted Michell Martelly, who had not scored to be included in the run-offs, be included in the run-offs for the sham 2010 elections. Hillary Clinton and her Cheryl Mills’ acolytes brought intense U.S. pressure to bear on the Haitian government and Electoral Council to comply, including, revoking the visas of several Haitian officials she felt were not complying, prematurely announcing the election dispute was over, threatening to cut off aid if the doctored elections and OAS ruling to advance Martelly to the second rounds were not accepted by Haiti. According to special representative of the OAS, Ricardo Seitenfus, the internationals’ “Core Group” for Haiti, even threatened to forcibly remove Haiti president Preval if he didn’t comply and put Martelly in the elections. Seitenfus exposed the international meddling in Haiti in general, and by MINUSTAH and NGOs in particular. Then, the US-installed Michel Martelly ruled against Haiti Parliament prohibitions giving Hillary Clinton’s brother a rare license to exploit Haiti’s over $20 billion in gold.

Meanwhile, Bill Clinton, as UN envoy to Haiti, brought in the World Bank to replace the UN’s regular banker. Bill Clinton with Paul Farmer’s partner at the World Bank, worked to take in all quake monies to increase white foreign presence in Haiti and to create infrastructure for the mining and oil magnates magnates in the North where there was no earthquake, calling it “Caracol jobs” for the people of Haiti. The Clinton used their star power to bring Hollywood with them to celebrate their Haiti sweatshop. (See also, Haiti: Foreign Investment means Death and Repression: A Historical Perspective and Oil in Haiti and Oil Refinery – an old notion for Fort Liberte as a transshipment terminal for US supertankers)

The World Bank privately invested in Haiti’s gold through its for-profit affiliate and used US/UN/PMSCs military guns in Haiti and the NGO charitable fronts to forcibly amend Haiti constitution and Haiti’s laws with a new mining law favorable to the Clinton brother ilks, the mining and oil magnates. In exchange, the mining magnates and other corporations, buying influence in Haiti, gave 100s of millions in kickbacks as “donation” to the Clinton Global Foundation. Meanwhile, Haitians have no sovereignty. Bill Clinton apologizes for destroying Haiti local agriculture with US subsidies to big Arkansas agro-business while Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State brought in Monsanto as a “gift” to Haiti agriculture! Haitians die from UN-imported cholera, quake ravages, UN brutality and rapes. The Clintons provided the traumatized Haiti poor with cholera insurance for destitute Haiti market women to purchase and formaldehyde-laced trailers left over from Katrina.

The Aid Racket: Food Aid and promoting hunger as a Weapon

The World Bank Thievery in Haiti

The World Bank, for its part, brings death to Haitians in various ways besides its traditional endless debts that replaced Haiti’s Independence Debt to perpetually feed the corporatocracy.

It’s graduated to helping US/Clintons/Bushes collect earthquake funds to finance infrastructure for multinational mining magnates and oil barons instead of permanent housing for quake victims. Then uses US military occupation as opportunity to invest in Haiti mining and changes the Haiti mining laws to benefit itself. While the UN brings death through importing UN-cholera and a closed society to Haiti. But does the world care? Oh no. The corporate media focuses everyone on ISIL, Ukraine, Ebola, new wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, et al. While, right here in the Western Hemisphere the greatest terror against an un-armed people, the least violent peoples in the Caribbean and an impoverished, traumatized people without an army, goes unabated.

The World Bank, controlled by the US, also insisted on collecting the Haiti quake donation dollars at the UN. This was supervised by Bill Clinton. This was unprecedented, in the entire history of the UN, as the UN has the UNDP as its own banker that traditionally holds such funds. This duplicity and theft which raised no ruckus allowed both the World Bank and the UN’s banker to pocket an “administrative fee” off the top, from every quake dollar meant for homeless and traumatized Haiti quake victims. We’re told, though we’d like more verification that the fee taken off the top, was 7% or so, by each of these entities (that’s 7% each received of $13 billion in quake dollars.)

There are no laws for the lawless US and their UN-NGO charitable fronts in Haiti. They’re above all laws, all civility – some are obviously brainwashed and engineered to be as depraved and inhumane as their handlers’ wish. No one in power lifts not even a token protest. The UN Security Council is in on the rape. Samantha Powers recently led the UN Security Council visit to Haiti to reinforce the Martelly dictatorship. US Ambassador Pamela White, if she could get away with it, would sign the name of every Haiti Parliamentary member to whatever document the US wants to have a Haiti signature for. She’s been spotted at midnight Parliamentary meetings she’s called to order, working her blackberry to get protesting Haiti parliamentarians to her confab. See, Haiti Message to US Ambassador Pamela White: Stop Blocking Removal of Corrupt Martelly-Lamothe Regime.

Dominican Republic is also not benefiting from foreign mining.

#We Are All Dominicans. Condemn the racist mob lynching of Haiti man in the Dominican Republic. Justice for Tulile

The foreign gold mining exploitation in the Dominican Republic is also not benefiting its people. When the Dominican poor and Haiti poor collide, the instability flames benefit the US-Euro corporatocracy taking advantage of both nations. To that end the US authorities have pushed Haiti quake construction work that’s not gone to the Washington beltway hoards, not to local Haiti construction firms, but to enrich corrupt Dominican Republic politicians like Senator Felix Bautista. The Obama Administration has also ignored the 2013 DR court ruling that denationalized over 2o0,ooo Dominicans of Haitian descent  and, instead,  placed new homeland security guards at the border to inflame both sides of the island as pawns in their colonial games.

Pushing racism helps inept DR state authorities scapegoat Haitians for the country’s economic problems instead of neoliberal economics, unfair trade, privatization of public assets, colonialism, Barrick Gold, their corrupt oligarchs or colonial politicians.

NGO/Charitable Industrial Complex are the crisis caravan: The poverty pimping business – advocacy & activism used to maintain the status quo

Although DR cultural hatred for their own African blood is real, both peoples are also pawns in the colonial game of conquest. Despite the dangers, Haiti migrants flood into the DR as well as the open seas to escape the US occupation and new dictatorship making it harder and harder to breathe in Haiti. This exacerbates an already historical issue of racism in the DR as well as legitimate concerns to control their borders. The ensuring violence kills more Haitians and gives the US-UN military another pretext for destroying both countries for the benefit of mining heavyweights like Barrick Gold, which is exploiting DR gold, leaving the environment ravaged, the DR people sickened from poisoned water and skin rashes. Haiti already has enough pain from UN cholera, skin rashes from tear gas and foul water thrown at human rights demonstrators by the US-trained militarized police. The Clintons’ mining contracts, World Bank mining laws imposed on Haiti with the continuing US occupation, promises more environmental costs – higher levels of lead, sulphur, cyanide and zinc poisoning, more pain rush and poverty for the poor.

The mining area in Haiti’s North lies on a quake fault line. There are already questions about whether mining and oil drilling behind UN/US guns triggered the Haiti earthquake in 2010? Not to mention if the building of the largest US-embassy compound in the Western Hemisphere and the US underground tunnel-diggings did not also trigger the Haiti earthquake?

It’s time for the terror and quiet genocide in Haiti to stop. For the assets of Haiti to be properly used to better the lives of local Haitians. It’s time to stop the use of the US military and charitable fronts to provide corporate welfare to the Bush and Clinton Wall Street corporatocracy. During the 2008 presidential elections, Republican presidential candidate John McCain got no pushback whatsoever for heading the International Republican Institute (IRI) which played a pivotal role in ousting Haiti’s democratically elected government in George Bushes’ 2004 Regime change. The Clintons hammering the McCain nail stuck in Haiti’s back with Martelly’s cholera democracy probably will not raise more than an eyebrow during this 2016 upcoming US presidential charade. It would be nice to be proven wrong.

Ezili Dantò, Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network (HLLN) and Free Haiti Movement
March 9, 2015
The West has two faces. One evil.”

More Background Links
Like” the Ezili Dantò public page. Join the Free Haiti Movement on Facebook.
To help sustain this work become a paid monthly subscriber at $12 per month. Your support is much appreciated. Thank you.

Haiti’s Case Against Bill & Hillary Clinton & their Cholera Democracy.  Distributed by KOMOKODA - Committee to Mobilize Against Dictatorship in Haiti



Clinton Foundation & Canada mining, Big pharma and weapons manufacturers, Saudi Arabia, et al…


Haitian Protest in New York Against Bill & Hillary Clinton


Add a comment:

Clintonians Flock With Vultures Over Argentina July 24, 2014

Posted by rogerhollander in Africa, Argentina, Congo, Economic Crisis, Latin America, Peru.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Roger’s note: I confess to an intense dislike of the Clintons and their retinue.  Whereas right wing ideologues and bigots make no secret of where they stand, the Clinton crowd pose as progressives as they and their close friends and supporters become millionaires whilst enacting and promoting policies that are damaging to the constituencies they claim to represent.  From Bill the president we had drastic welfare reductions camouflaged as “reforms,” and the deregulation that led to the 2008 economic crisis that resulted in thousands losing their homes.  From Hillary the Secretary of State we had super hawk foreign policy, a continuation of the Monroe Doctrine in Latin America, and support for military coup d’etat in Honduras, Egypt and now the Ukraine —  all in the service of US corporate and geopolitical interests.  A pox on their house.



By OpEdNews Op Eds 7/24/2014 at 15:16:53

It is no surprise that right-wing Republican and hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer should be trying to wring hundreds of millions of dollars out of Argentina for a debt that Buenos Aires doesn’t really owe him. He screwed tens of millions of dollars out of poverty-stricken Peru and the Republic of Congo using the same financial sleight of hand. What may surprise people, however, is that key leaders in the administration of former President Bill Clinton are helping him do it.

Singer, who owns Elliot Management, a $17 billion hedge fund, is the leading “vulture investor” — a financial speculator who buys up the bonds of debt strapped nations for pennies on the dollar and then demands payment in full. When Argentina defaulted on its foreign debt in 2001, Singer moved in and bought up $48 million in bonds. He is now demanding that those bonds be paid at full-face value — $1.5 billion — plus interest and fees. It is a move that could derail Argentina’s long climb back into solvency, as well as undermine debt settlements worldwide.

A recent decision by federal District Judge Thomas Griesa in Manhattan may not only force Argentina to pay the vultures, it could unravel a 2006 debt deal between Buenos Aires and other creditors. Under the highly controversial principle of “pari passu” (“equal ranking among creditors”), if the vultures are compensated, so must all the other creditors, even those who settled back in 2006. That bill could reach $15 billion. Given that Argentina has only about $28 billion in foreign reserves, the tab could send Buenos Aires into a recession or force the country into bankruptcy.

The “sleight of hand” involves the fact that the countries the vultures prey on are not really in debt to creditors such as Singer and Eric Hermann of FH International Asset Management LLC. The hedge funds look for distressed countries, then buy their debt at bargain basement prices and sit on it. In the meantime, other creditors cut a deal to take a reduced payment on their bonds, which in turn helps improve the debtor’s economy and allows it to emerge from default.

That’s when the vultures sue, threatening to shut down outside aid programs, seize assets and freeze debtor nations out of international finance if they don’t pay up. Recent examples involving Singer include the Republic of Congo being forced to pay him $90 million on a $10 million investment. Singer’s investment of $48 million in Argentina’s debt would net him a 1,608 percent profit if Buenos Aires pays in full. Peru was similarly plundered.

It is more than dollars and cents at stake in all this. As journalist Greg Palast points out, “In Congo-Brazzaville [the capital of the Republic of Congo] last year, one-fourth of all deaths of children under five were caused by malnutrition.” That $90 million might have made a difference.

Singer’s rap sheet is consistent with hard-nosed vulture tactics. He is a leading Republican fundraiser, and a member — along with former Vice President Dick Cheney and Iraq War designer Richard Perle — of the right-wing Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. He helped bankroll Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and is a bitter critic of “unpayable” social welfare programs, including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

But the people who head up the main lobbying organization behind Singer’s current campaign, the American Task Force Argentina (ATFA), sit on the high councils of the Democratic Party and would likely be part of any Hillary Clinton administration.

The task force is essentially a front for several vulture funds, conservative and libertarian business groups, and agricultural organizations, like the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, which would like to damage Argentina’s cattle export business. And its executive director is Robert Raben, former counsel for liberal Congressman Barney Frank, Democratic counsel for the House Subcommittee on the Constitution and assistant attorney general in the Clinton administration.

ATFA’s two co-chairs are Clinton’s former undersecretary of commerce, Robert Shapiro, and Clinton appointee to the United Nations Nancy Soderberg. Shapiro was an adviser to Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign and a senior adviser to Al Gore’s 2000 run for the White House. Soderberg, who served as a senior foreign policy adviser to Sen. Edward Kennedy, was also a member of Clinton’s National Security Council and an alternative representative to the U.N. with the title of ambassador. She is currently a Democratic Party activist in Florida and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Raben, Soderberg and Shapiro have written numerous opinion pieces on Argentina using their Clinton administration credentials and, depending on the publication, have not always disclosed their lobbying ties. The three snookered the progressive Huffington Post into running opinion pieces until journalists Christina Wilkie and Ryan Grim uncovered their ties to ATFA. HuffPo subsequently removed the articles from its website.

Because of the huge debt burdens borne by nations from Latin America to Europe, the Griesa decision has opened up a Pandora’s box of trouble. A number of financial institutions and countries — including the International Monetary Fund and organizations representing 133 nations — have condemned the vultures or filed amici curiae briefs on behalf of Argentina, fearing that the decision could chill future debt negotiations and threaten economies trying to work themselves out of the red.

Given the ongoing hangover from the 2007-08 international meltdown, there is a lot of vulture food out there.

The key role being played by important Democratic Party activists in this cruel business — for there is no other word to describe taking money from countries struggling to emerge from debt and recession — may seem contradictory. And yet it was the Clinton administration that deregulated national and international finance and fought so hard for policies that ended up impoverishing some of the countries the vultures are now preying on.

In the 1990s, the Clinton administration pushed Argentina to privatize its state-owned industries, tie its currency to the dollar and institute the “Washington Consensus” of combining tax cuts with austerity. The result was economic disaster. From 1998 to 2002 Argentina’s economy shrank 20 percent and half the population fell below the poverty line.

Buenos Aires defaulted on its $100 billion debt in order to staunch the hemorrhage and pull the country out of an economic death spiral. In 2006, it negotiated a deal with 92.4 percent of its debt holders to pay 30 and 50 cents on the dollar. It was that deal that drew the vultures, which swooped in, scooped up some of the debt and then refused to accept the settlement.

The 2001 default blocked Argentina from tapping into international finance to tide it over until the economy recovered, but policies to end austerity and increase government spending eventually did the job. The economy grew at an average rate of 6 percent from 2002 to 2012 and Argentina paid off the IMF in 2006 and the Paris Club countries (representing the world’s 20 largest economies) in 2014.

But the vultures now threaten to undo much of this.

The Obama administration has come down on the side of Argentina because it is worried that financial institutions will shift their business to London if “pari passu” is allowed to stand. Hillary Clinton, however, has been quiet on the subject of international debt and Argentina. Given that her husband’s administration helped push Argentina off the cliff, that is hardly a surprise.

What is disquieting is that Clinton and people such as Raben, Shapiro and Soderberg have an economic philosophy that many times marches in step with that of Wall Street.

According to The New York Times, the financial sector was the second largest contributor to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 run for the White House. She is also close to the center-right Third Way think tank that advocates cutting Social Security and tends to be allergic to financial regulations. It is hard to imagine a Hillary Clinton administration stacked with Wall Street insiders and hedge fund lobbyists coming down on the vultures.

Clinton’s most recent comment on the debt crisis was to complain that she and Bill were “dead broke” when they left the White House in 2001, rhetorically putting herself in the same boat as tens of millions of indebted people in the U.S. and around the world. “Dead broke” in Chappaqua, N.Y., is not quite the same as “dead broke” in Brazzaville, or in the growing number of homeless encampments around the U.S.

Argentina is currently negotiating a compromise with the vultures, who have Buenos Aires over a barrel. The country desperately needs outside financing to exploit its huge Vaca Muerta gas reserves and to underwrite agricultural exports. “These hedge funds are equipped with an instrument [the New York court decision] that forces struggling countries into submission,” saysEric LeCompte, executive director of the anti-poverty religious organization Jubilee USA Network.

Countries are wising up to the hedge funds. Many of them now require that a debt agreement include a collective action clause (CAC), in which a majority or two-thirds vote by creditors is binding on all and would block a handful of vultures from tying up agreements. Because they signal economic fragility however, the CACs will string out negotiations and may result in higher interest rates.

In the meantime, the vultures have backed Buenos Aires against the wall. At a minimum, Democratic candidates for the presidency should make it clear that they stand with Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. One way would be to endorse campaigns by organizations such as Oxfam and Jubilee to forgive foreign debt, and to make it clear they will also press for financial regulations to block vulture speculation.

In the world, vultures are estimable creatures. There is a “yuck” factor, but at least they wait until their prey are dead before making a meal of them, and they do clean up after themselves. The vultures of Wall Street prey on the living and leave behind an unspeakable mess.

Read more of independent journalist Conn Hallinan’s work at his blog, Dispatches from the Edge.

Conn M. Hallinan is a columnist for Foreign Policy In Focus, “A Think Tank Without Walls, and an independent journalist. He holds a PhD in Anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley. He oversaw the (more…)

A Thousand Words April 25, 2014

Posted by rogerhollander in Democracy, Political Commentary.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

Roger’s note: This photo taken at a BBQ in 1983 shows these Three Amigos: racist Alabama governor George Wallace; point man for the MIC and CIA, G.W.H. Bush; and future President and destroyer of what little was left of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, Bill Clinton.  Notice the smirk on Clinton’s face and the all around bonhomie.  They’re having a great time (at whose expense?).  It’s all one big happy family of Republicrats, united to screw ordinary Americans and the peoples of nations around the globe.  American democracy in action.  Eat up!



Here we see Bill having a belly-splitting laugh with his good friend and mentor, Egyptian Dictator Mubarak:


Masters of disaster bring cholera to Haiti and polio to Syria November 1, 2013

Posted by rogerhollander in Haiti, Hillary Clinton, Imperialism, Israel, Gaza & Middle East.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Roger’s note: you will observe that the Clintons are key players in both of the disasters chronicled here.  Full disclosure: they are not my favorite couple.  Hubby as president with his so-called welfare reform paved the way for today’s ongoing destruction of the social safety net, and his foreign policy, like that of the Missus in her role as Secretary of State, was oriented toward protecting U.S. corporate interests abroad at the cost of the social, economic and environmental welfare of the peoples of the various nations involved.  Both Clintons are already there or at least on the way to being multi millionaires, while third world suffering increases abroad and at home.  And these are the Democratic Party’s leadership, the so-called good guys.  Hillary for President.


By (about the author)  http://www.opednews.com,

OpEdNews Op Eds 11/1/2013 at 03:54:20

Haiti and Syria are victims of their rescuers.  The two nations are now sites of major disease outbreaks.  Cholera in Haiti and polio in Syria didn’t just happen.   Through negligence, those who claim to rescue the people imported the disease entities and fostered the conditions for wider outbreaks.

680,000 cases of cholera in Haiti since UN rescue mission

The 7.0 Mw earthquake that devastated Haiti on January 12, 2010 collapsed an already fragile society and infrastructure.   The United States and major European powers sprung into action.  Bill Clinton was the front man for the relief effort.  The United Nations provided the vehicle to deliver much of the aid.  Welcome to the new Haiti said former president Clinton boasting of the relief effort that would transform the near failed state.  Within ten months, the vaunted relief efforts lead to a major outbreak of cholera.

The source of the outbreak was identified quickly.  UN enlisted troops from Nepal set up camp and began their work.  Someone forgot to screen the troops for cholera, a known problem in Nepal.  Prior to these arrival of these peacekeepers, Haiti had never experienced a cholera outbreak.  The recent suit for compensatory relief from the UN describes the situation elegantly:

“In or around October 2010, human waste from the base seeped into and contaminated the Meille Tributary with cholera. From the Meille Tributary, the contaminated waters flowed into the [320 km long]Artibonite River, resulting in explosive and massive outbreaks of cholera along the river and eventually throughout the entire country.”  Haitian citizen class action suit versus the UN, Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Oct 9, 2013

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon responded that the suit was “not receivable” in an attempt to fabricate sovereign immunity for the UN (See Inner City Press, Feb 21, 2013 and Oct 10).  Ki-Moon’s initial gambit was to deny any UN role in the outbreak. When it became abundantly clear that the UN’s failure to screen outside forces for infectious diseases caused the outbreak,  the secretary switched to fictitious legalisms at odds with international law.

The bottom line is simple.  The UN’s negligence caused the cholera outbreak.  It is massive.  The Centers for Disease Control reported that:  “As of October 17, 2013, 684,085 cases and 8,361 deaths have been reported since the cholera epidemic began in Haiti. Among the cases reported, 380,846 (55.4%) were hospitalized.” CDC, Oct 30.

Polio comes to Syria

The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed multiple reports of an outbreak of wild poliovirus 1 in Syria.  The disease is showing up among the very young.  WHO went on to warn of a regional outbreak absent coordinated efforts to beat back the disease.  Due to, “frequent population movements across the region and subnational immunity gaps in key areas, the risk of further international spread of wild poliovirus type 1 across the region is considered to be high.”  WHO, Oct 29

Since the domestic political conflict turned violent in Syria in 2011, the Syrian Arab Army has fought domestic and foreign fighters funded and armed by the Gulf oil oligarchs and the U.S. and its NATO allies.  Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took the lead on U.S. support for the rebels through her insistance that Assad must go.  Clinton traveled the world announcing her command that the elected president of Syria leave the country.

This effort at regime change by the same crew that sought to rescue Haiti is apparently doing an encore in war torn Syria.

A senior WHO official announced that Pakistan was the likely source of the Syrian poliovirus outbreak.  Taliban controlled areas of Pakistan refuse to cooperate with vaccination programs.  One reason for the reluctance was a U.S. organized fake vaccination drive to gather intelligence in the hunt for Osama bin Laden.  Pakistan is a known source of foreign fighters in the Syria rebel cause.

DNA testing will confirm the Pakistan speculation.   Regardless of the source, however, the conditions created by the attack on Syria by the largely foreign fighter manned brigades created the basis for an outbreak of poliovirus and other infectious diseases.

A legion of fools

Imagine that a friend or acquaintance with an opinion on just about everything that turned out to be wrong on a consistent basis.  His actions made any situation worse than it was before he got involved.

Now, imagine that your friend or acquaintance was multiplied by a factor of ten and controlled the most powerful nation on earth.

Instead of an annoying individual with poor judgment, someone whom you could ignore without much effort, the carriers of consistent bad judgment, mistakes, and suffering are everywhere.  Whatever these powerful fools touch turns to utter disaster.

Some rescue; some rescuers.

Clintons’ Pet Project for Privatized ‘Aid’ to Haiti Stealing Workers’ Wages: Report October 17, 2013

Posted by rogerhollander in Haiti, Hillary Clinton.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Roger’s note: Ah, the Clintons, the couple I love (to hate), major destroyers of what little was left of liberal progressiveness in the Democratic Party.  Here they are in Haiti with their bloodsucking “private” capitalistic venture in Haiti, which is the home to one of the poorest peoples in the world, helping to make them even poorer.

“We’re sending a message that Haiti is open for business again,” Hillary Clinton declared upon the announcement of the opening.  What she mean was “open for exploitation.”



‘This calls into question the sustainability and effectiveness of relying on the garment industry to lead Haiti’s reconstruction’


– Sarah Lazare, staff writer

Former President Bill Clinton and then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton attend the opening ceremony of the Caracol Industrial Park in Caracol, Haiti, Monday, Oct, 22, 2012. (Photo: AP/Larry Downing, Pool)

Haiti’s Caracol Industrial Park—the U.S. State Department and Clinton Foundation pet project to deliver aid and reconstruction to earthquake-ravaged Haiti in the form of private investment—is systematically stealing its garment workers’ wages, paying them 34 percent less than minimum wage set by federal law, a breaking report from the Worker Rights Consortium reveals.

Critics charge that poverty wages illustrate the deep flaws with corporate models of so-called aid. “The failure of the Caracol Industrial Park to comply with minimum wage laws is a stain on the U.S.’s post-earthquake investments in Haiti and calls into question the sustainability and effectiveness of relying on the garment industry to lead Haiti’s reconstruction,” said Jake Johnston of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in an interview with Common Dreams.

Caracol is just one of five garment factories profiled in this damning report, released publicly on Wednesday, which finds that “the majority of Haitian garment workers are being denied nearly a third of the wages they are legally due as a result of the factories’ theft of their income.” This is due to systematic employer cheating on piece-work and overtime, as well as failure to pay employees for hours worked.

WRC charges that the wage theft at these 5 factories is “typical” across the country’s garment industry, leading to the suppression of national wages at deep poverty levels. As a result, workers have trouble affording food, shelter, and medical care, the report finds.

Through a series of in-depth interviews, as well as review of pay records, researchers discovered that the problem of wage theft throughout the country’s garment industry is “egregious” at Northern Haiti’s Caracol Industrial Park, which sits at the center of U.S. ‘reconstruction’ efforts and is slated to employ an estimated 20,000 people.

Financers included the Inter-American Development Bank, the U.S. State Department, and the Clinton Foundation, who invested a total of $224 million with promises to uphold high labor standards. Its anchor tenant is the Korean S&H Global factory, which sells garments to Walmart, Target, Kohl’s, and Old Navy, according to the report.

The largest post-earthquake U.S. investment in Haiti, Caracol’s backers have championed it as a model for privatized reconstruction. In a July press release, the U.S. State Department champions the park as a chance to “spur economic growth and bring jobs to Haiti’s underserved regions.”

Then-U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former U.S. President Bill Clinton attended Caracol’s opening ceremony a year ago. “We’re sending a message that Haiti is open for business again,” Hillary Clinton declared upon the announcement of the opening.

The Clinton Foundation did not immediately respond to a request from Common Dreams for an interview.


Clinton Legacy: “Restoring Slavery” at $300m Haitian Industrial Complex October 23, 2012

Posted by rogerhollander in Caribbean, Haiti, Imperialism.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Published on Tuesday, October 23, 2012 by Common Dreams

Re-imagining the “Taiwan of the Caribbean,” again

  – Common Dreams staff

The Clintons are in Haiti to inaugurate the new $300 million industrial facility touted as “transformative” for the quake-ravaged country, but many wonder if this is simply the next round of imperialism in a country that has been plagued (literally) by outside intervention for too long.

The Clinton’s travel to Haiti to celebrate the opening of a new $300 million sweatshop. (Photo by Associated Press)

The Caracol Industrial Park, which is hailed as “the centerpiece of the U.S. effort to help the country recover from the 2010 earthquake,” according to Trenton Daniel for the Associated Press, is slated to be built on a remote 617-acre site of farmland, mangroves and coral reefs in the northern part of the country.

Critics of the project believe that the industrial park does little more than replicate failed efforts from the past and will benefit outsiders more than Haitians. Writing for Haiti Liberte, Mona Péralte notes, (translated) “this park is a direct illustration of the role of imperialism in the country namely for exploit [if it] come cheaply, if not restore slavery.”

Alex Dupuy, a Haiti-born sociologist at Wesleyan University, adds, “this is not a strategy that is meant to provide Haiti with any measure of sustainable development […] The only reason those industries come to Haiti is because the country has the lowest wages in the region.”

Workers are already protesting the wages offered by the park’s anchor tenant, the South Korean apparel company and Walmart supplier, Sae-A Trading Co. Ltd. Etant Dupain writing on the Let Haiti Live website, notes:

Before the official inauguration, several thousand employees have been working in the Caracol park for the last three months at a wage of 150 gourdes ($3.75 US) a day. Since October 1st, the new minimum wage law has gone into effect, with the government setting the minimum at 300 gourdes a day. Despite this, the managers of the factory operating at Caracol aren’t respecting the new official minimum wage.

Sae-A’s Haiti representative, Daniel Cho, told AP that the employees “will be paid almost $5 for eight hours of work.”

In an effort to attract other tenants to the park, the project’s architects are offering duty-free status and a 15-year tax holiday. Dupuy says that because of these tax breaks, “outside investors will have more to gain than Haitians,” from this project.

The Clintons and their celebrity supporters (Sean Penn, Ben Stiller, fashion designer Donna Karan and British business magnate Richard Branson were all in tow) were in Caracol on Monday to celebrate the opening. Government officials have been lauding the Caracol project as panacea for Haiti’s debilitating economic woes. “We had learned that supporting long-term prosperity in Haiti meant more than providing aid,” Secretary Clinton told a roomful of investors. “So we shifted our assistance to investments to address some of the biggest challenges facing this country: creating jobs and sustainable economic growth.”

Backers of the complex estimate that the park has the potential to generate up to 65,000 total jobs; Sae-A Korea, who already employs 400 people, agreed to create 20,000 permanent jobs within six years and build 5,000 employee houses on site.

The project—which was in the works before the earthquake—became a top priority for the Obama administration after the disaster. Washington has since invested $124 million in the project, making it the U.S.’s biggest single investment in the aftermath of the quake. According to the Associated Press, “it is certain to shape the legacy of the Clintons.”

For many local Haitians, there are flashbacks to the baseball factories built in the 1970s and 1980s under the regime of Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier. AP writer Daniel notes:

Those jobs prompted thousands of farmers to leave their fields for the capital, and agricultural areas suffered from neglect. Shantytowns like Cite Soleil emerged to house the new workers. The factories got tax breaks but there was no income to offset Duvalier’s alleged plundering of state coffers. Haiti was supposed to become the “Taiwan of the Caribbean” but instead suffered through economic collapse brought on by political instability.

<div><a href=”http://commondreams.disqus.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.commondreams.org%2Fheadline%2F2012%2F10%2F23-6″>View the discussion thread.</a></div><span id=”mce_marker” data-mce-type=”bookmark”></span>

Bill Clinton’s $80 Million Payday, or Why Politicians Don’t Care That Much About Reelection August 4, 2012

Posted by rogerhollander in Democracy, Economic Crisis.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

Future Millionaires

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


“There was a kind of inflection point during the five-year period between 1997 and 2003 — the late Clinton and/or early Bush administration — when all the rules just went away. You went from a period, a regime, where people did have at least some concern about going to jail, to a point where everything is legal, and derivatives couldn’t be regulated at all and nobody went to jail for anything. And looking back I would say that this period definitely started under Clinton. You absolutely cannot blame this on George W. Bush.” – Charles Ferguson of Inside Job

“I never had any money until I got out of the White House, you know, but I’ve done reasonably well since then.” Bill Clinton

On December 21, 2000, President Bill Clinton signed a bill called the Commodities Futures Modernization Act. This law ensured that derivatives could not be regulated, setting the stage for the financial crisis. Just two months later, on February 5, 2001, Clinton received $125,000 from Morgan Stanley, in the form of a payment for a speech Clinton gave for the company in New York City. A few weeks later, Credit Suisse also hired Clinton for a speech, at a $125,000 speaking fee, also in New York. It turns out, Bill Clinton could make a lot of money, for not very much work.

Today, Clinton is worth something on the order of $80 million (probably much more, but we don’t really know), and these speeches have become a lucrative and consistent revenue stream for his family. Clinton spends his time offering policy advice, writing books, stumping for political candidates, and running a global foundation. He’s now a vegan. He makes money from books. But the speaking fee money stream keeps coming in, year after year, in larger and larger amounts.

Most activists and political operatives are under a delusion about American politics, which goes as follows. Politicians will do *anything* to get reelected, and they will pander, beg, borrow, lie, cheat and steal, just to stay in office. It’s all about their job.

This is 100% wrong. The dirty secret of American politics is that, for most politicians, getting elected is just not that important. What matters is post-election employment. It’s all about staying in the elite political class, which means being respected in a dense network of corporate-funded think tanks, high-powered law firms, banks, defense contractors, prestigious universities, and corporations. If you run a campaign based on populist themes, that’s a threat to your post-election employment prospects. This is why rising Democratic star and Newark Mayor Corey Booker reacted so strongly against criticism of private equity – he’s looking out for a potential client after his political career is over, or perhaps, during interludes between offices. Running as a vague populist is manageable, as long as you’re lying to voters. If you actually go after powerful interests while in office, then you better win, because if you don’t, you’ll have basically nowhere to go. And if you lose, but you were a team player, then you’ll have plenty of money and opportunity. The most lucrative scenario is to win and be a team player, which is what Bill and Hillary Clinton did. The Clinton’s are the best at the political game – it’s not a coincidence that deregulation accelerated in the late 1990s, as Clinton and his whole team began thinking about their post-Presidential prospects.

Corruption used to be more overt. Lyndon Johnson made money while in office, by illicitly garnering lucrative FCC licenses. It was the first neoliberal President, Jimmy Carter, who began the post-career payoff trend in the Democratic Party. In 1978, Archer Daniels Midland CEO Dwayne Andreas convinced Carter to back ethanol subsidies. After Carter lost to Reagan, he faced financial problems, as his peanut warehouse had been mismanaged and was going bankrupt. AMD stepped in, overpaying for the property. But Carter wasn’t nearly as skilled as Clinton, because he didn’t stay in the club.

Over the course of the next ten years after his Presidency, Clinton brought in roughly $8-10 million a year in speaking fees. In 2004, Clinton got $250,000 from Citigroup and $150,000 from Deutsche Bank. Goldman paid him $300,000 for two speeches, one in Paris. As the bubble peaked, in 2006, Clinton got $150,000 paydays each from Citigroup (twice), Lehman Brothers, the Mortgage Bankers Association, and the National Association of Realtors. In 2007, it was Goldman again, twice, Lehman, Citigroup, and Merrill Lynch. He didn’t just reap speaking fee cash from the financial services sector – corporate titans like Oracle and outsourcing specialist Cisco paid up, as did many Israel-focused groups, Middle Eastern interests, and universities. Does this explain the finance-friendly, oil-friendly and Israel First-friendly policies pursued by the State Department under Hillary Clinton? Who knows? But if you could legally deliver millions in cash to the husband of a high-level political official, it wouldn’t hurt your policy goals.

Speaking fee money isn’t just money, it is easy money. In one appearance, for one hour, Clinton can make $125,000 to $500,000. At an hourly rate, that’s between $250 million to $1 billion annually. It isn’t the case that Clinton is a billionaire, but it is the case that Clinton can, whenever he wants, make money as quickly and as easily as a billionaire. He is awash in cash, and cash is useful. Cash finances his lifestyle. Cash helped backstop his wife’s Presidential campaign when it was on the ropes.

And these speaking fees aren’t the only money Clinton got, it’s just the easiest cash to find because of disclosure laws. Apparently, Clinton’s firm apparently had a paid $100k+ a month consulting relationship with MF Global, and Clinton and Tony Blair have teamed up to help hedge funds raise money. His daughter worked for a giant hedge fund and political ally (Avenue Capital). And Clinton has unusual relationships with billionaires and Dubai-based investors.

Bill and Hillary Clinton are the best at what they do, but they aren’t the only ones who do it. In fact, this is what politics is increasingly about, not elections, but staying in the club. Erskine Bowles, former White House Chief of Staff, lost two Senate elections. But he’s on the board of Facebook and Morgan Stanley, as well as authoring the highly influential Simpson-Bowles plan to gut Social Security and Medicare. Tom Daschle, who lost a Senate race in 2004, is a millionaire who in large part crafted Obama’s health care plan. Former Senator Judd Gregg is now at Goldman Sachs. Current Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel made $12 million in between his stint at the Clinton White House which ended in 2000 and his election to Congress in 2002. Former Congressman Harold Ford, now at Morgan Stanley, is routinely on TV making political claims. Larry Summers is on the board of the high-flying start-up Square. Meanwhile, Russ Feingold, a Senator who did go after Wall Street, is a professor in the Midwest. Eliot Spitzer is a struggling TV host and writer.

In other words, Barack Obama and his franchise are emulating the Clinton’s, and are speaking not to voters, but to potential post-election patrons. That’s what their policy goals are organized around. So when you hear someone talking about how politicians just want to be reelected, roll your eyes. When you hear an argument about the best message or policy framework to use for reelection, stop listening. That’s not what politicians really care about. Elections in many ways are just like regular season games in basketball – they are worth winning, but it’s not worth risking an injury. The reason Obama won’t prosecute bankers, or run anything but a very mild sort of populism, is because he’s not really talking to voters. He just wants to be slightly more appealing than Romney. He’s really talking to the people who made Bill and Hillary Clinton a very wealthy couple, his future prospective clients. We don’t call it bribery, but that’s what it is. Bill Clinton made a lot of money when he signed the bill deregulating derivatives and repealed Glass-Steagall. The payout just came later, in the form of speaking fees from elite banks and their allies.

Ironically, Clinton has come to express regret about deregulating derivatives. He has not given the money back.

Topics: Guest Post

Email This Post Email This Post Posted by Matt Stoller at 9:00 am

The deep roots of the war on contraception February 15, 2012

Posted by rogerhollander in Health, History, Religion, Right Wing, Women.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

The uproar over Obama’s decision stems from tensions between Democrats and Catholics that date back to FDR and LBJ

By Ellen Chesler, New Deal 2.0

    (Credit: Library of Congress/The White House)

This piece originally appeared on New Deal 2.0.

Republicans for Planned Parenthood last week issued a call for nominations for the 2012 Barry Goldwater award, an annual prize awarded to a Republican legislator who has acted to protect women’s health and rights. Past recipients include Maine Senator Olympia Snowe, who this week endorsed President Obama’s solution for insuring full coverage of the cost of contraception without exceptions, even for employees of religiously affiliated institutions. And that may tell us all we need to know about why President Obama has the upper hand in a debate over insurance that congressional Tea Partiers have now widened to include anyone who seeks an exemption.

It’s a long time ago, but it is worth remembering that conservative avatar Goldwater was in his day an outspoken supporter of women’s reproductive freedom — a freethinker who voted his conscience over the protests of Catholic bishops and all others who tried to claim these matters as questions of conscientious liberty and not sensible social policy. With Goldwater on his side, Obama sees a clear opening for skeptics wary of the extremism that has captured Republican hopefuls in thrall to the fundamentalist base that controls the GOP presidential primary today. Holding firm on family planning — even if it means taking on the Catholic hierarchy and other naysayers by offering a technical fix that would have insurers cover costs instead of the churches themselves — is a calculated political strategy by the Obama campaign, not a blunder as it has been characterized by many high powered pundits, including progressives like Mark Shields of PBS and E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post.

Recent public opinion polling on the subject is worth reconsidering. For years, it has been perfectly clear that a substantial majority of Americans see the value of expanding access to contraception and reliable sex education as essential tools to prevent unwanted pregnancy and abortion and to help women balance the competing demands of work and family. But unlike a zealous minority on the other side, these moderates have not necessarily privileged these social concerns over important questions of economics or national security that mattered more to them at election time.

That’s what seems to be changing. With his now-famous “nope, zero” response last spring, President Obama simply shut down Republicans in Congress who wanted to defund family planning as part of a deal to reduce the federal deficit. The action elicited a sudden surge in his popularity, especially in the highly contested demographic of women voters between the ages of 30 and 49 who voted for him in 2008 but wound up frustrated by failed promises and disappointing economic policies. Campaign polling has since uncovered a big opening for Obama with this group because they are furious over Republican social extremism. An astonishing 80 percent of them disapproved of congressional efforts to defund Planned Parenthood last spring. Polling among Catholics in response to last week’s controversy shows identical patterns, with 57 percent overall supporting the Obama “compromise” to ensure full coverage of contraception, according to reporting by Joe Conason in The National Memo, and cross-tabs demonstrating much higher margins of support from Catholic women, Latinos, and independent Catholic voters — all prime Obama election targets.

If the numbers are so persuasive, why then have Republican conservatives strayed so far from the greater tolerance of the Goldwater age? Why have they allowed the family planning issue to tie their candidates up in knots in 2012? The answer is in just how outsized the influence of a minority viewpoint can be on a political party, so long as it represents the base of that party’s support.

A bit of history going all the way back to Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal is instructive. Back then, birth control was still illegal in this country, still defined as obscene under federal statutes that remained as a legacy of the Victorian era, even though many states had reformed local laws and were allowing physicians to prescribe contraception to married women with broadly defined “medical” reasons to plan and space their childbearing.

The movement’s pioneer, Margaret Sanger, went to Washington during the Great Depression, anticipating that Franklin Roosevelt, whose wife Eleanor was her friend and neighbor in New York, would address the problem and incorporate a public subsidy of contraception for poor women into the safety net the New Deal was constructing. What Sanger failed to anticipate, however, was the force of the opposition this idea would continue to generate from the coalition of religious conservatives, including urban Catholics and rural fundamentalist Protestants who held Roosevelt Democrats captive, much as they have today captured the GOP. It was Catholic priests, and not the still slightly scandalous friend of the First Lady, who wound up having tea at the Roosevelt White House.

The U.S. government would not overcome moral and religious objections until the Supreme Court protected contraceptive use under the privacy doctrine created in 1965 under Griswold v. Connecticut. That freed President Lyndon Johnson to incorporate family planning programs into the country’s international development programs and into anti-poverty efforts at home. As a Democrat still especially dependent on Catholic votes, however, Johnson only agreed to act once he had the strong bipartisan support of his arch rival Barry Goldwater’s endorsement and also the intense loyalty and deft maneuvering of Republican moderates like Robert Packwood of Oregon in the Senate. Packwood, in turn, worked alongside Ohio’s Robert Taft, Jr. in the House and a newcomer from Texas by the name of George H. W. Bush. Bush would remain a staunch advocate of reproductive freedom for women until political considerations during the 1980 presidential elections, when he was on the ticket with Ronald Reagan, accounted for one of the most dramatic and cynical public policy reversals in modern American politics.

Reagan had supported California’s liberal policies on contraception and abortion as governor, and Bush as Richard Nixon’s Ambassador to the United Nations had helped shape the UN’s population programs. But Republican operatives in 1980 saw a potential fissure in the traditional New Deal coalition among Catholics uncomfortable with the new legitimacy given to abortion after Roe v. Wade and white southern Christians being lured away from the Democrats around the issue of affirmative action and other racial preferences. Opposition to abortion instantly became a GOP litmus test, and both presidential hopefuls officially changed stripes.

Fast forward to 1992 and the election of Bill Clinton as America’s first pro-choice president, coupled with the Supreme Court’s crafting of a compromise decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey that put some limits on access to abortion but essentially preserved the core privacy doctrine of Roe v. Wade. The perceived double threat of these political and judicial developments unleashed a new and even more powerful conservative backlash that took aim not only at abortion, but at contraception and sex education as well.

Exploiting inevitable tensions in the wake of profound social and economic changes occurring across the country as the result of altered gender roles and expectations — changes symbolized and made all the more palpable by Hillary Clinton’s activist role as First Lady — conservatives, with the support of powerful right-wing foundations and think tanks, poured millions of dollars into research and propaganda promoting family values and demonizing reproductive freedom, including emotional television ads that ran for years on major media outlets. A relentless stigmatizing of abortion, along with campaigns of intimidation and outright violence against Planned Parenthood and other providers, had a chilling effect on politicians generally shy of social controversy. And Bill Clinton’s vulnerability to charges of sexual misconduct left his administration and his party all the more defensive.

Since the welfare reform legislation of 1996, aptly labeled a “Personal Responsibility Act,” not only has access to abortion been curtailed, but funds for family planning programs at home and abroad have been capped. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been allocated to the teaching of sexual abstinence, rather than more comprehensive approaches to sex education. Just as tragically, U.S. programs addressing the crisis of HIV/AIDS — admirably expanded during the presidency of George W. Bush — were nonetheless made to counsel abstinence and oppose the use of condoms and other safe sex strategies, leaving women and young people all the more vulnerable to the ravages of the epidemic.

Empirically grounded studies over and over again undermined the efficacy of these approaches, which also flew in the face of mainstream American viewpoints and basic common sense. With Barack Obama’s election they have largely been revoked, enflaming the conservative base that put them in place and has lived off the salaries supported by government funding for faith-based social policy.

Even more disheartening to conservative true believers is the promise that the Affordable Care Act will vastly expand access to contraception by providing insurance coverage for oral contraceptives. This guarantee, endorsed by all mainstream health advocates, also includes emergency contraception, popularly known as the morning-after pill, that holds the promise of further reducing unwanted pregnancy and abortion and was meant to offer common ground in an abortion debate long defined by a clash of absolutes. The strong dose of ordinary hormones in emergency contraception act primarily by preventing fertilization, just like daily contraceptive pills, but in rare instances may also disable a fertilized egg from implanting by weakening the uterine lining that it needs for sustenance, causing opponents to vilify it as an abortifacient.

Supporting the Obama policy changes, on the other hand, is a new generation of progressive activists in reproductive health and rights organizations, energized by the intensity of the assaults against them, and now well-armed to educate and activate their own supporters by using traditional grassroots strategies and more sophisticated social networking. No institution has been more important in this effort than Planned Parenthood, with its vast networks of affiliates and supporters in every state, millions more supporters online, and a powerful national political and advocacy operation based in Washington D.C. that has been put to use to great effect in recent months.

The strength of the Planned Parenthood brand, coupled with the organization’s demonstrated ability to rally hundreds of thousands of supporters when it is attacked, has helped overcome traditional political reticence on reproductive justice issues. The Planned Parenthood Action Fund is already out with a strong new appeal warning politicians that women are watching. “Enough is enough. Back off on birth control,” is the new advocacy mantra.

Mindful of the numbers — and with the added ballast of what now amounts to a daily drumbeat of progressive television talk and comedy that delights in pillorying Republican prudery — Democrats are intensifying their resolve to take on this fight. Two things we can be sure of: Whoever emerges from the bloodbath of the GOP contest will try and backtrack from the birth control extremism of the primary. And Obama supporters, backed up by the advocacy community, will in turn stand ready to pounce on this inevitable flip-flopping.

Both sides may well summon the spirit and words of Barry Goldwater, who cautioned against allowing faith-based extremism to gain control of the Republican Party. “Politics and governing demand compromise,” he told John Dean, who reports on the conversation in his 2006 book, “Conservatives Without Conscience.”But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can’t and won’t compromise. I know. I’ve tried to deal with them.”

Ellen Chesler is a Senior Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute and author of “Woman of Valor: Margaret Sanger and the Birth Control Movement in America.”   More Ellen Chesler

The Puppet, the Dictator, and the President: Haiti Today and Tomorrow January 21, 2012

Posted by rogerhollander in Caribbean, Haiti, Imperialism.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Created 01/17/2012 – 20:13

Submitted by Jemima Pierre on Tue, 01/17/2012 – 20:13

by BAR editor and columnist Jemima Pierre, PhD

There they were, at the official ceremony: the living, breathing banes of Haiti’s existence. “Rubbing shoulders on stage, shaking hands and exchanging pleasantries were Haitian President Michel Martelly, former US President and UN Special Envoy, Bill Clinton, and, Jean Claude Duvalier,” the mass murderer and former dictator. The dictator is hoping for some kind of comeback, and the puppet president “will open up Haiti to permanent US occupation and economic exploitation while terrorizing Haitians who fight back.” Clinton oversees the whole process on behalf of imperialism.


Duvalier has been allowed to roam Haiti’s streets, even dining at the finest restaurants with the likes of Sean Penn.”


Lost amidst the heart-wrenching stories and photographs of the “poor Haitians” living in squalor and misery circulating on the second anniversary of the 12 January 2010 earthquake, another set of images appeared. Few people noticed these other images – they received little attention in the mainstream media – but they offer an insight into the prospects for Haiti’s reconstruction and, indeed, into the prospects for Haiti’s political and economic future.

The images [4] were taken during the official commemoration ceremonies at the hillside ofTitanyen [5] [pdf], north of Port-au-Prince, where former dictators Jean Claude Duvalier and his father, Francois Duvalier, discarded the bodies of their political opponents. After the earthquake, it became the gravesite of thousands of unidentified earthquake victims. During the ceremonies, local delegates and international diplomats paid their respects to the Haitians that lost their lives and pledged to help those who lived. But the most striking image [6] that emerged during the ceremonies was that of an immoral triumvirate. Rubbing shoulders on stage, shaking hands and exchanging pleasantries were Haitian President Michel Martelly, former US President and UN Special Envoy, Bill Clinton, and, Jean Claude Duvalier. To understand the future of Haiti, we have to shift our focus from the “poor Haitians” who dominate Haiti coverage and understand the significance of these three figures to the shaping of US imperial designs on Haiti.

President Martelly is the face – and backbone – of a resurgent Duvalierism.”

Baby Doc” Duvalier returned to Haiti after twenty-five years in exile on 16 January 2010. His arrival was supposedly a surprise, though it is becoming clear that he was given the go-ahead by France and the United States. The Obama administration’s relative silence around the return of Duvalier needs to be contrasted with the noise it made while it forcefully [7] tried to prevent [8] the return of Jean Bertrand Aristide, Haiti’s first democratically elected President. The contrast smacks of duplicity. Let’s remember that under Duvalier (and his father, Francois) nearly 50,000 [9] Haitians were killed, disappeared, and tortured by the reviled tonton macoutes [10], his private army. At the same time, Duvalier embezzled [11] hundreds of millions of dollars, most of which sponsored an exiled life of grandeur [12]. Despite the calls for his arrest and prosecution by Haitian survivors, lawyers, and international human rights organizations, Duvalier has been allowed to roam Haiti’s streets, even dining at the finest restaurants with the likes of Sean Penn.

What does Duvalier symbolize? For Haiti’s elite, he represents a form of totalitarian nostalgia. There is a cultish aura that surrounds Duvalier, a reminder of the era of “macoutized bourgeoisie [13],” as journalist Kim Ives has referred to it, when there was an alliance between the elite and the paramilitary forces of terror. But Duvalierism was also good for US politics and economics. In the 1960s, they needed Francois (“Papa Doc”) Duvalier to offset the rise of revolutionary communist Cuba. Under Jean Claude (“Baby Doc”), they were able to open up the Haitian markets and resources to US businesses, expand sweatshops, and lay the basis for the coming neoliberal economic policies.

Duvalierism was good for US politics and economics.”

This is where the US-selected President Martelly and “Papa” Bill Clinton come in. As we’ve pointed out here [14] on Black Agenda Report, right-wing candidate Martelly was handpicked by the Obama administration to become Haiti’s president in a forced election marred by irregularities and low voter turn out. More importantly, he is the face – and backbone – of a resurgent Duvalierism. His Duvalier affinities are well known as is his animus [15] towards former President Aristide. He has historic ties with Duvalier loyalists, has called for “amnesty [16]” for Duvalier, and is now in the process of reestablishing the Haitian army. Moreover, his erratic and belligerent interactions with his constituency and political colleagues – and, in particularly, his threats against Haitian journalists – are early indications of his repressive tendencies.

But he is a good puppet. As Ezili Danto of the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network reminds us: “Martelly is merely a tool to be used by those ‘more schooled in the patterns of privilege and domination’ than any self-serving Haiti politician could ever dream to be. Martelly is the valve that releases accumulated surface pressure while reinforcing the ‘violent Haitian’ narrative. Brilliant US/Euro move. A no brainer.” In the meantime, he will open up Haiti to permanent US occupation and economic exploitation while terrorizing Haitians who fight back. As the U.S. attempts to consolidate its military presence in the Western hemisphere, control of Haiti is important. For many, this is one of the reasons explaining Haiti’s currently military occupation by the UN-led criminal force, MINUSTAH, the largest UN military force in a country that is not at war. It is also the reason for the massive new US embassy in Haiti, the fourth largest US embassy in the world.

Clinton practically dictates Haitian policy.”

And then there’s Bill Clinton. Clinton provides the “kind [17]” face of US control of Haiti. With his push to turn Haiti into a Western tourist paradise while Haitians become cheap sweatshop labor [18] for making Western goods, Clinton is the arbiter of a new phase of neoliberalism. Clinton practically dictates Haitian policy. In fact, in one of the more absurd and nepotistic twists of Haiti’s political history, Haiti’s Prime Minister, Gary Conille, is Clinton’s former chief of staff [19]. Conille also has a long family [19] history with the Duvaliers: his father was a minister to Baby Doc. As @dominique_e recently said on twitter, everything is set to “kill Haiti with neoliberalism.”

Last week, Glen Ford remarked [20] that in the US media, “Haiti is most often spoken of as a tragedy – when it is actually the scene of horrific crimes, mainly perpetrated by the United States over the span of two centuries.” With the puppet, the dictator, and the president on the scene, it is hard to imaging a more sinister cohort guiding Haiti down the path of US exploitation.

Jemima Pierre can be reached at BAR1804@gmail.com [21].

Get Ready for the Obama/GOP Alliance November 25, 2009

Posted by rogerhollander in Barack Obama, Health, Iraq and Afghanistan, Right Wing.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far
Published on Wednesday, November 25, 2009 by CommonDreams.orgby Jeff Cohen

With Obama pushing a huge troop escalation in Afghanistan, history may well repeat itself with a vengeance. And it’s not just the apt comparison to LBJ, who destroyed his presidency on the battlefields of Vietnam with an escalation that delivered power to Nixon and the GOP.

There’s another frightening parallel: Obama seems to be following in the footsteps of Bill Clinton, who accomplished perhaps his single biggest legislative “triumph” – NAFTA – thanks to an alliance with Republicans that overcame strong Democratic and grassroots opposition.

It was 16 years ago this month when Clinton assembled his coalition with the GOP to bulldoze public skepticism about the trade treaty and overpower a stop-NAFTA movement led by unions, environmentalists and consumer rights groups. How did Clinton win his majority in Congress? With the votes of almost 80 percent of GOP senators and nearly 70 percent of House Republicans. Democrats in the House voted against NAFTA by more than 3 to 2, with fierce opponents including the Democratic majority leader and majority whip.

To get a majority today in Congress on Afghanistan, the Obama White House is apparently bent on a strategy replicating the tragic farce that Clinton pulled off: Ignore the informed doubts of your own party while making common cause with extremist Republicans who never accepted your presidency in the first place.

“Deather” conspiracists are not new to the Grand Old Party. Clinton engendered a similar loathing on the right despite his centrist, corporate-friendly policies. When conservative Republican leaders like Newt Gingrich and Dick Armey delivered to Clinton (and corporate elites) the NAFTA victory, it didn’t slow down rightwing operatives who circulated wacky videos accusing Clinton death squads of murdering reporters and others.

For those who elected Obama, it’s important to remember the downward spiral that was accelerated by Clinton’s GOP alliance to pass NAFTA. It should set off alarm bells for us today on Afghanistan.

NAFTA was quickly followed by the debacle of Clinton healthcare “reform” largely drafted by giant insurance companies, which was followed by a stunning election defeat for Congressional Democrats in November 1994, as progressive and labor activists were lethargic while rightwing activists in overdrive put Gingrich into the Speaker’s chair.

A year later, advised by his chief political strategist Dick Morris (yes, the Obama-basher now at Fox), Clinton declared: “The era of big government is over.” In the coming years, Clinton proved that the era of big business was far from over – working with Republican leaders to grant corporate welfare to media conglomerates (1996 Telecom Act) and investment banks (1999 abolition of the Glass-Steagall Act).

Today, it’s crucial to ask where Obama is heading. From the stimulus to healthcare, he’s shown a Clinton-like willingness to roll over progressives in Congress on his way to corrupt legislation and frantic efforts to compromise for the votes of corporate Democrats or “moderate” Republicans. Meanwhile, the incredible shrinking “public option” has become a sick joke.

As he glides from retreats on civil liberties to health reform that appeases corporate interests to his Bush-like pledge this week to “finish the job” in Afghanistan, an Obama reliance on Congressional Republicans to fund his troop escalation could be the final straw in disorienting and demobilizing the progressive activists who elected him a year ago.

Throughout the centuries, no foreign power has been able to “finish the job” in Afghanistan, but President Obama thinks he’s a tough enough Commander-in-Chief to do it. Too bad he hasn’t demonstrated such toughness in the face of obstructionist Republicans and corporate lobbyists. For them, it’s been more like “compromiser-in-chief.”

When you start in the center (on, say, healthcare or Afghanistan) and readily move rightward several steps to appease rightwing politicians or lobbyists or Generals, by definition you are governing as a conservative.

It’s been a gradual descent from the elation and hope for real change many Americans felt on election night, November 2008. For some of us who’d scrutinized the Clinton White House in the early 1990s, the buzz was killed days after Obama’s election when he chose his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, a top Clinton strategist and architect of the alliance that pushed NAFTA through Congress.

If Obama stands tough on more troops to Afghanistan (as Clinton fought ferociously for NAFTA), only an unprecedented mobilization of progressives – including many who worked tirelessly to elect Obama – will be able to stop him. Trust me: The Republicans who yell and scream about Obama budget deficits when they’re obstructing public healthcare will become deficit doves in spending the estimated $1 million per year per new soldier (not to mention private contractors) headed off to Asia.

The only good news I can see: Maybe it will take a White House/GOP alliance over Afghanistan to wake up the base of liberal groups (like MoveOn) to take a closer and more critical look at President Obama’s policies.

Jeff Cohen is an associate professor of journalism and the director of the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College, founder of the media watch group FAIR, and former board member of Progressive Democrats of America. In 2002, he was a producer and pundit at MSNBC (overseen by NBC News). His latest book is Cable News Confidential: My Misadventures in Corporate Media.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 268 other followers