Daily Archives: February 28, 2016

Clinton Aligns with Republicans to Hide Wall Street Influences in Speeches

Donald Trump will use this to attack Clinton’s honesty to the voters if he is the GOP Presidential nominee.

Observer:

In the recent CNN Democratic Presidential Town Hall, Hillary Clinton continued to dodge calls to release transcripts of her private speeches to Goldman Sachs and other large Wall Street firms.

“Sure. If everybody does it—and that includes the Republicans,” Ms. Clinton replied. What she failed to acknowledge is that Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio haven’t given any recent private speeches—let alone to Wall Street—and Donald Trump’s only speeches have been to real estate firms and commercial shopping centers, which makes sense because he works in those industries.

Ms. Clinton’s complaint that she is being unfairly targeted is merely a divergent tactic. The release of transcripts from paid speeches is being pushed on every presidential candidate—but it’s only Ms. Clinton who has something to release that could contradict the campaign platform she is running.

Ms. Clinton’s use of the Republicans as a shield from facing this issue is absurd, and she should be called out by the media for it. She was never a banker and never worked in the financial industry. What was delivered privately to the leaders of Wall Street firms reveals her true intentions regarding financial reform, because she spoke to them as a politician.

The only candidates running on platforms to regulate and reform Wall Street are Ms. Clinton and Mr. Sanders. No voter—a Clinton supporter or otherwise—should take her word until the relationship between Ms. Clinton and Wall Street is transparent. Her refusal to release the transcripts is an impediment to democracy and contradicts her claims that she has been fighting against special interests her entire political career.

 

Clipping the United States’ Hedge Funds

Truthout:

 

Hedge funds and their billionaire managers offer up a powerful symbol of the forces that are driving America’s political and economic inequality. Getting the names and faces of these hedge fund billionaires before the public can help us tell a vivid story of what’s gone wrong with our economy and our politics – and help us build a movement to slice away at that billionaire power.

The “Hedge Clippers” campaign is doing plenty of that slicing. Begun in New York and now active in several other states, the effort is organizing at the state and federal levels around seemingly separate issues that range from school privatization and public sector cutbacks to environmental degradation and the ongoing assault on worker rights.

But these issues have much more in common than a first glance might suggest. They all trace back to the business and political practices of some of our country’s largest and wealthiest hedge funds.

Billionaire hedge fund managers have been leveraging huge amounts of investor capital to extract enormous cash payouts for themselves, the ultimate in “winner-take-all” economics. To squeeze out these payouts, they’ve been pressuring the enterprises they dominate to slash wages, eliminate pension and health benefits, and offshore middle-class jobs.

Snowden Sums Up The Presidential Campaign With Just One Tweet

 

2016: a choice between Donald Trump and Goldman Sachs.
4:07 PM – 27 Feb 2016
5,088 RETWEETS6,351 LIKES

Elizabeth Warren Tells Wall Street It Can’t Write Its Own Rules

Go Elizabeth!

A group of Wall Street insiders is trying to stop the government from limiting their ability to take risks, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is calling them out for it.

The fight is over position limits, which restrict how big a share of the market individual speculators are allowed to have. For example, these rules would limit how many oil futures contracts one hedge fund can own. The Dodd-Frank financial reform law, passed in the wake of the 2008 meltdown, required the Commodities Futures Trading Commission to write position limit rules. (The CFTC regulates commodities and a host of derivatives, including the credit contracts at the heart of the financial crisis.)

So the commission wrote the rules. But of course, the financial industry sued, saying the rules were unfair and unnecessary, and in 2012, a judge threw the regulations out. The CFTC has now proposed a new set that Warren supports, but they haven’t been implemented yet.

The problem is that even though the CFTC is supposed to be reining in Wall Street, some of its committees include industry leaders. The CFTC’s Energy and Environmental Advisory Committee, which includes a managing director at Morgan Stanley and executives from other top firms, submitted a report saying the new position limit rules were really not necessary. As Bloomberg New’s Silla Bush put it, the report’s basic message is that, according to the oil trading industry, “the problem is there isn’t enough speculation in oil, not that there is too much.”

That is a perfectly fine thing for the oil trading industry to think and say. But it is another thing for the CFTC, which not only writes but also enforces any position limits rule, to give its imprimatur to that argument.

Warren, as you’d expect, called bullshit.

The report “is little more than a list of talking points for an industry that hopes to escape meaningful regulation,” she wrote in a letter to CFTC Commissioner J. Christopher Giancarlo.

Read on.

Sanders Urges Closing Private Prisons Citing GEO, CXW Profits

Bloomberg:

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders calls for banning private prisons following report that Corrections Corporation of America and GEO Group made a combined $361m in profits last yr.

  • Public programs to prevent incarceration and support rehabilitation cost much less per inmate than paying private corporations to imprison millions of Americans, Sanders says
  • “Instead of investing in jails and incarceration, our focus should be on providing jobs and education to keep people out of jail and on ensuring prisoners have the resources they need to get back on their feet when they get out,” he says

This Is Why So Many Political Pundits Seem To Love Hillary Clinton

Submitted by Claire Bernish via TheAntiMedia.org,

So-called political pundits are an ubiquitous sight on mainstream news, particularly during the run-up to a presidential campaign — but their ties to the candidates they analyze remain obfuscated, downplayed, or altogether left out by host networks.

As The Intercept’s Lee Fang reported“Several consultants who work at firms retained by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and her affiliated Super PACs appear regularly on the major television networks, frequently touting Clinton.”

This cozy bedfellow relationship might not be an issue if the extent of their involvement with the candidates’ campaigns were forthrightly revealed by the networks. Instead, the failure by omission not only muddies the line between impartial analysis and campaign propaganda, it also marks a failure of journalistic integrity.

“Journalism 101 teaches that reporters and TV news hosts must properly identify their sources and analysts,” Ithaca College associate professor of journalism, Jeff Cohen, told Fang. The Intercept’s requests for comment from NBC, CBS, CNN, and ABC News were not answered.

Precision Strategies, co-founded by Stephanie Cutter, has been hired by Hillary Clinton’s campaign, which has paid the firm $120,049 since June 2015 to perform “digital consulting.” Cutter, meanwhile, made appearances on multiple networks without so much as a hint of her current association with Clinton’s campaign. Instead, she is often introduced as a former campaign official for President Obama. Such association with a campaign doesn’t exactly lend itself to unbiased opinion.

“I think that Hillary Clinton has done everything right,” Cutter told NBC’s Meet the Press prior to the first presidential primaries on January 17. “She has run a good campaign. She has outperformed in debates. She’s raised money. She’s got a great ground game.”

It stands to reason the viewing audience had no knowledge of Cutter’s firm’s affiliation with Clinton’s campaign — and her virtual unavoidable bias in such a proclamation. But had they been aware, perhaps viewers would have been better positioned to judge for themselves whether or not that statement rang true.

As Fang noted, Cutter had previously appeared on Meet the Press, also without any indication by hosts of her association with the Clinton campaign — but also proffering similarly pro-Hillary statements. On ABC News’ This Week, Cutter appeared as a Clinton “supporter,” and on CNN, she was called a “Democratic strategist” — but those networks failed to divulge the direct involvement of Precision Strategies with Clinton’s campaign.

Maria Cardona, who contributes to CNN, has long served as a partner with lobbying firm, the Dewey Square Group. Dewey Square partners have not only contributed and fundraised for the Clinton campaign, the firm has been paid for consulting work for Hillary’s Super PACs. Cardona, Fang noted, contributed the individual maximum to the Clinton campaign — and is a DNC superdelegate who “pledged support for Clinton last year, before any of the primary elections.”

Again, Cardona is most often introduced or presents herself on CNN’s various networks as “a neutral Democratic strategist or CNN contributor,” and occasionally as a Clinton “supporter” — but not once, The Intercept found, as a direct campaign contributor or as a Dewey Square paid campaign consultant.

CEO of Goldman Sachs Lambasted Sanders as Grave Threat, but Not Clinton. Why?

Why? Because Sanders is a threat and a thorn to Wall Street!

According to an article in The Hill a few weeks back, Lloyd Blankfein – head of Goldman Sachs and symbol of Wall Street’s lack of accountability – warned that Bernie Sanders is “dangerous.” Blankfein told CNBC that Sanders is too set in his ways, adding, “It’s a liability [in this anti-Wall Street environment] to say, ‘I’m willing to compromise’… It’s just incredible. It’s a moment in history. Eventually people, the electorate, will notice nothing is getting done.”

At no time did Blankfein, who personally supported Hillary Clinton against Barack Obama in 2008, find fault with Clinton; his alarm is solely focused on the senator from Vermont. He contrasted Sanders with more flexible candidates who are willing to work with Wall Street when he emphasized that a candidate must be “willing to compromise.”

The Sanders campaign – supported by public records – charges that Wall Street donations make up a considerable portion of the Clinton war chest. She is supported by at least one huge Wall Street PAC, and, of course, has made millions of dollars in speaking fees from Wall Street financial firms.  

On February 4, MSNBC reported that Clinton was surprisingly flummoxed – given that this wasn’t a new question – when asked in a debate why she accepted $675,000 for three speaking Goldman Sachs’ engagements:

Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton struggled Wednesday night to answer a question about why she took more than $600,000 in speaking fees from Goldman Sachs in one year.

“Well, I don’t know. That’s what they offered,” she said when asked about the fees by CNN host Anderson Cooper in a forum televised by the network with less than a week away from the Granite State’s first-in-the-nation primary. Clinton had a lucrative turn on the paid speaking circuit after she stepped down as secretary of state, which rival Bernie Sanders has used as fodder against her.

“I wasn’t committed to running. I didn’t know whether I would or not,” she added when asked why she took the money knowing it would look bad if she ran. 

Read on from Truthout website.