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Phony Hillary Clinton isn't the answer, she's a part of the problem

By Eamonn McCann

Published 09/03/2016

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton

In a speech last month following defeat to Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton pledged to keep fighting to ensure that "Wall Street can never be allowed to once again threaten Main Street". Sanders seemed rattled by the remark, and no wonder. It is Sanders, not Clinton, who has been hammering away at Wall Street and pointing to his rival's close relationship with banks and the like. What's more, her pledge was shamelessly lifted almost word-for-word from Sanders' stock stump speech.

Clinton and her husband have had their snouts in the Wall Street trough for years. The mazooma the pair has amassed has far exceeded what any previous president, or presidential couple, ever managed to coax from the coffers of the one per cent. Take Goldman Sachs (GS), the epitome of Gordon Gekko's "Greed is Good". If Clinton were serious about curbing Wall Street, clipping the wings of the biggest vulture capitalist of all would be high on her to-do list.

Journalist Matt Taibbi earned an early nomination for quote of the century when in 2010, he described GS as "a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money".

Between 2004 and 2013, the Clintons snorkelled up $2,225,000 (£1,566,006 today) for 12 speeches at functions to GS executives and friends. The first nine were delivered by the former president. The final three were solo gigs by Hillary, for which she was paid $675,000. Asked by CNN's Anderson Cooper what she'd told them that could possibly have been worth such a fee, she responded, "I make speeches to lots of groups. I told them what I thought." But what was it about her thoughts that had made them worth $675,000? "I don't know. That's what they were offering."

The website Politico spoke to executives who had been in Clinton's audience. What she told them was that the "banker-bashing so popular within both parties was unproductive and foolish". Instead of ballyragging the banks for bringing the economy down, everyone should understand that, "We all got into this mess together and we're all going to have to work together to get out of it."

That's what they paid the big money for. She could have subbed it down to three words: "I'm your woman." So, $675,000? For a president who promises to be on your side and deflect blame when you are exposed as a multi-billion-dollar fraudster? Cheap at half the price.

Two months ago, GS reached a $5.1bn settlement with the US government for having stitched together security packages it knew, or ought to have known, could be worthless, and selling them.

In an NBC debate, Sanders said: "Let me give you an idea of how corrupt this system is. Goldman Sachs (is) fined $5bn. Goldman Sachs has given this country two Secretaries of the Treasury, one under Republicans, one under Democrats. The leader of Goldman Sachs is a billionaire who tells us we should cut social security, Medicare and Medicaid. Secretary Clinton, you've received over $600,000 in speaking fees from Goldman Sachs in one year. I find it very strange that a major financial institution that pays $5bn in fines for breaking the law, not one of their executives is prosecuted, while kids who smoke marijuana get jail time."

Many might agree that that's pretty much unanswerable, which is presumably why Clinton didn't offer an answer.

In addition to the goodly sum from GS, the Clintons trousered $1,915,000 from UBS, $350,000 from Morgan Stanley, £1,300,000 from Bank of America and $1,255,000 from Deutsche Bank. Between them, the couple made 729 speeches to corporate gatherings between 2001 and 2013 at an average of $210,000 a pop. There are strike partnerships in the Premier League earning less.

Hillary Clinton is a total phony. Even as she strives to look like she's channelling the spirit of anti-capitalism, her behaviour shows she's more intent on lining the pockets of her Louis Vuitton suit than lifting the poor out of poverty. Nothing necessarily wrong with wearing the Louis Vuitton gear, which the fashion mags say Clinton favours, but possibly a tad inappropriate for a six-year member of the board of Walmart, which can sell cheap clothes at knock-down prices by paying tens of thousands of workers minimum wage for zero-hours jobs and refusing to recognise their unions.

Belfast Telegraph

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