A couple of years ago, Hollywood produced two films in the same year based on the idea of an armed takeover of the White House. Olympus Has Fallen posited a North Korean armed assault on the building -- a laughable premise, but cheesy-fun action sequences. White House Down, on the other hand, makes its sister film look like Citizen Kane by comparison.
The Secret Service plot was driven by the “the military-industrial complex” and the Speaker of the House, and only a courageous-but-discredited Secret Service agent and an equally courageous progressive President would derail it. Reruns play nearly continuously on movie channels to the everlasting regret of anyone over twelve years of age.
Oddly, the second film has more parallels to reality, only in this case we have a progressive major-party candidate playing the part of the master broker for the supposed “military-industrial complex.” According to an expose´ by David Sirota of the International Business Times, the State Department under Hillary Clinton approved a number of arms sales to foreign nations, sometimes over the objections of other allies, at the same time that the buyers put millions into the Clinton Foundation’s coffers.
The amounts involved are breathtaking. According to Sirota’s accounting from public records, the Clinton-led State Department authorized $165 billion in sales to 20 nations that donated to the foundation. State also authorized another $151 billion in “Pentagon-brokered deals” with 16 nations that coughed up cash for the family charity. Some of the defense contractors involved also donated to the foundation, and a few of them paid big money to Bill Clinton for speeches.
The US routinely conducts arms sales to allies, but this wasn’t a case of business as usual. Comparing the three full fiscal years of Hillary’s tenure at State to the corresponding timeframe of the Bush administration’s second term, Sirota found that the State Department nearly doubled the sales to those nations, and increased the amount of Pentagon sales by 143 percent.
Remember when Democrats and progressives complained that George W. Bush was a warmonger, one who partnered with oppressive regimes? Sirota notes that the Clinton Foundation took cash from regimes like Saudi Arabia, Oman, Algeria, and Hamas’s diplomatic ally Qatar while approving large arms sales. The Israelis objected strenuously to a $29 billion arms sale to the Saudis, and even Clinton warned about their lack of cooperation on counterterrorism strategy. Qatari cooperation against terrorism was “considered to be the worst in the region,” Hillary also declared in internal memos exposed by Wikileaks years later.
Proving that news organizations cannot count on a Scoop of the Day with the Clinton beat, the Associated Press followed up later in the day with another revelation about the Clinton family’s finances. Despite claiming to have committed to extraordinary transparency, Hillary’s financial disclosures somehow omitted a shell company used to pay Bill’s consulting fees. The Delaware corporation WJC LLC was launched in 2008, moved to New York in 2009, and returned to Delaware in 2013. It exists as precisely the kind of “pass-through entity” that Democrats criticized when Mitt Romney turned out to have used one for nearly $2 million in capital-venture payments.
The only reason that WJC LLC became known because of email discussions among State Department ethics reviewers over the payments made to Bill during Hillary’s term as Secretary of State. In one instance, Bill’s attorney Douglas Band sought clearance for payments from Haim Saban, the principal owner of Univision and a major player in Middle East politics. Saban has gone on record pledging to use all his resources to get Hillary Clinton elected president.
Politico’s Marc Caputo has been warning about the unseemly partnership between the media mogul and the Democratic frontrunner for more than a year, starting when Caputo reported for the Miami Herald. Caputo quoted Saban from an interview with an Israeli newspaper that if Hillary ran for president, “we will of course pitch in with full might. Seeing her in the White House is a big dream of mine.”
The legal requirement to prove corruption usually rests on finding explicit quid pro quo arrangements. With the Clintons, we have lots of quid, lots of quo, and two old pros in between it all. Bob McDonnell was convicted of corruption with less evidence of pay-for-play during his term as governor in Virginia. The Clintons sought millions of dollars in donations, speech fees, and consultancies from foreign countries and powerful industrialists and at the same time approved significant financial deals such as Uranium One and hundreds of billions in arms sales. They got rich off the nexus of power and federal authority. Now they want to get their hands on the highest authority in the US to extend their power and exploitation.
Even if prosecutors never make a criminal case against the Clintons for corruption -- and it’s impossible to imagine the Obama administration’s Department of Justice taking up the case -- that does not let voters off the hook. Do voters want real accountability, checks on power, and national leadership that puts public service ahead of the public trough? Or will they vote for the family that exploits the supposed “military-industrial complex”?
This country needs a four-year rerun of this kind of corruption even less than it needs a four-week run of White House Down.
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