Archive for the ‘Election’ Category
Is the US becoming more like Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, and the like, in terms of the money entanglement between big businesses and the government, with many revolving doors. Of course, no man (we’re told, and presumably it applies to women as well) can serve two masters (e.g., both business and government (the latter being the major social force that supposedly speaks for and protects the people, the public), the dilemma is resolved for many by choosing allegiance to a single master: money.
At least it looks that way from the outside. Lee Fang and Henrik Moulte report in The Intercept:
WHEN HILLARY CLINTON’S son-in-law sought funding for his new hedge fund in 2011, he found financial backing from one of the biggest names on Wall Street: Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd Blankfein.The fund, called Eaglevale Partners, was founded by Chelsea Clinton’s husband, Marc Mezvinsky, and two of his partners. Blankfein not only personally invested in the fund, but allowed his association with it to be used in the fund’s marketing.
The investment did not turn out to be a savvy business decision. Earlier this month, Mezvinsky was forced to shutter one of the investment vehicles he launched under Eaglevale, called Eaglevale Hellenic Opportunity, after losing 90 percent of its money betting on the Greek recovery. The flagship Eaglevale fund has also lost money, according to the New York Times.
There has been minimal reporting on the Blankfein investment in Eaglevale Partners, which is a private fund that faces few disclosure requirements. At a campaign rally in downtown San Francisco on Thursday, I attempted to ask Hillary Clinton if she knew the amount that Blankfein invested in her son-in-law’s fund.
Watch the video:
After repeated attempts on the rope line, I asked the Clinton campaign traveling press secretary Nick Merrill, who said, “I don’t know, has it been reported?” and said he would get in touch with me over email. I sent the question but have not heard a response back.
The decision for Blankfein to invest in Hillary Clinton’s son-in-law’s company is just one of many ways Goldman Sachs has used its wealth to forge a tight bond with the Clinton family. The company paid Hillary Clinton $675,000 in personal speaking fees, paid Bill Clinton $1,550,000 in personal speaking fees, and donated between $250,000 and $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation. At a time when Goldman Sachs directly lobbied Hillary Clinton’s State Department, the company routinely partnered with the Clinton Foundation for events, even convening a donor meeting for the foundation at the Goldman Sachs headquarters in Manhattan.
Mezvinsky, who married Chelsea in 2010, previously worked at Goldman Sachs and started his fund along with two other former employees of the investment bank. Securities and Exchange Commission disclosures show that Eaglevale required new investors to put down a minimum of $2 million.
Clinton has dodged questions . . .
I clicked “military” and “NSA” and “law enforcement” along with “business” because, when they work as a team, they know a lot about use: purchase history, viewing habits, contents of emails and all other Internet-transmitted data… That’s a lot, if they combine all they have, since businesses know more and more about you (web trackers, the trackers that most carry with them (smartphones), which leave a trail of data and location, and so on: that’s a lot of information granular to the individual, as NSA programs evolve to do better and better pattern-recognition and learns the signature track of a would-be terrorist… You can see why they might put a lot of money into that. And, of course, once you have it, you can track anyone. You, for instance.
But you’ll do fine. Just don’t do anything suspicious and watch out for patterns. Piece of cake.
UPDATE: Speaking of the entertwining of moneyed forces across business and government and the public: look at the overt effort to control the memory of the public mind by deciding what things will become known and which will not. From a NY Times article:
The situation is complicated by the fact that these days rich tech companies, their owners or venture capitalists are as much the owners and producers of the media as the subject. With the traditional media in a weakened state, it is a trend that seems to be accelerating.
UPDATE 2: And now venture capitalists are putting money into VR products like this one, and that enables capitalist control of what you experience as well as of what you remember (in terms of knowing the history of how you came to the present state of affairs or any critical information deemed too secret for the public to know. And of course the number of such classified things is itself classified: opacity within invisibility.
UPDATE 3: An example of how much digital information there is about you: “Uber Knows Too Much About You,” by Sarah Jeong
Glenn Greenwald writes in The Intercept:
In January, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon delivered a speech to the Security Council about, as he put it, violence “in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory,” noting that “Palestinian frustration is growing under the weight of a half century of occupation” and that “it is human nature to react to occupation.” His use of the word “occupation” was not remotely controversial because multiple U.N. Security Resolutions, such as 446(adopted unanimously in 1979 with three abstentions), have long declared Israel the illegal “occupying power” in the West Bank and Gaza. Unsurprisingly, newspapers around the world — such as the Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, the BBC, the LA Times — routinely and flatly describe Israeli control of the West Bank and Gaza in their news articles as what it is: an occupation.
In fact, essentially the entire world recognizes the reality of Israeli occupation with the exception of a tiny sliver of extremists in Israel and the U.S. That’s why Chris Christie had to grovel in apology to GOP billionaire and Israel-devoted fanatic Sheldon Adelson when the New Jersey governor neutrally described having seen the “occupied territories” during a trip he took to Israel. But other than among those zealots, the word is simply a fact, used without controversy under the mandates of international law, the institutions that apply it, and governments on every continent on the planet.
But not the New York Times. They are afraid to use the word. In a NYT article today by Jason Horowitz and Maggie Haberman on the imminent conflict over Israel and Palestine between Sanders-appointed and Clinton-appointed members of the Democratic Party platform committee, this grotesque use of scare quotes appears:
A bitter divide over the Middle East could threaten Democratic Party unity as representatives of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont vowed to upend what they see as the party’s lopsided support of Israel.
Two of the senator’s appointees to the party’s platform drafting committee, Cornel West and James Zogby, on Wednesday denounced Israel’s “occupation” of the West Bank and Gaza and said they believed that rank-and-file Democrats no longer hewed to the party’s staunch support of the Israeli government. They said they would try to get their views incorporated into the platform, the party’s statement of core beliefs, at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July.
The refusal to use the word occupation without scare quotes is one of the most cowardly editorial decisions the New York Times has made since refusing to use the word “torture” because the Bush administration denied its validity (a decision they reversed only when President Obama in 2014 gave them permission to do so by using the word himself). This is journalistic malfeasance at its worst: refusing to describe the world truthfully out of fear of the negative reaction by influential factions (making today’s article even stranger is that a NYT article from February on settlers’ use of Airbnb referred to an “illegal settler outpost deep in the occupied West Bank”). And the NYT’s editorial decision raises this question, posed this morning by one man in the West Bank:
— A Man In The Sun (@AManInTheSun) May 26, 2016
The cowardice of the NYT regarding Israel is matched only by the Clinton campaign’s. Clinton has repeatedly vowed to move the U.S. closer not only to Israel but also to its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Pandering to Israel — vowing blind support for its government — is a vile centerpiece of her campaign.
The changes to the Democratic Party platform proposed by Bernie Sanders’s appointees such as Cornel West, Keith Ellison, and James Zogby — which Israel-supporting Clinton appointees such as Neera Tanden and Wendy Sherman are certain to oppose — are incredibly mild, including echoing the international consensus in condemning the Israeli occupation. As the Israeli writer Noam Sheizaf put it this morning, the NYT’s use of scare quotes is “just as pathetic as the Democratic fear that their platform would actually say Palestinians deserve civil rights.”
This craven posture is particularly appalling as Israel just this week has . . .
Lee Fang and Zaid Jilani report in The Intercept:
Three professional influence peddlers, including a registered corporate lobbyist, have been chosen by Hillary Clinton and Democratic National Committee Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., to serve on the committee responsible for drafting the party’s platform.
The 15-member panel has six members chosen by Clinton, five chosen by Bernie Sanders and four chosen by Wasserman Schultz.
Wendy Sherman and Carol Browner, two of the representatives chosen by Clinton, work at the Albright Stonebridge Group, a “government affairs” firm that was created in 2009 through a merger with Madeleine Albright’s consulting company and Stonebridge International, a defense contractorlobbying shop.
The website for the company touts its ability to win favors and influence with government officials throughout the world on behalf of corporate clients, from shaping regulatory standards in the U.S. for a European automotive business to engaging “with the highest levels of the Saudi government.” H.P. Goldfield, vice president at the firm, is a registeredlobbyist for the Saudi Arabian government.
The Albright Stonebridge Group did not respond to a request to provide a client list. But recent reports reveal that the firm has been tapped in recent months to work for Elliott Management, the hedge fund run by billionairePaul Singer, one of the most prolific donors to Republican Super PACs.
Sherman, who took a hiatus from her work at Albright Stonebridge to work at the State Department, filed an ethics disclosure in 2011 that revealed many of her former clients, including Coca-Cola, Wal-Mart, Dow Chemical, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Wasserman Schultz appointed . . .
One is a lobbyist from Covington & Burley, Eric Holder’s firm before and after his stint as Attorney General.
How despicable is Trump? This despicable.
There is also an artificial aristocracy founded on wealth and birth, without either virtue or talents… The artificial aristocracy is a mischievous ingredient in government, and provisions should be made to prevent its ascendancy.
-Thomas Jefferson, third US president, architect, and author (13 Apr 1743-1826)
This interesting piece by Benjamin Wallace-Wells in the New Yorker, which that our political leaders are devolving into a kind of titled aristocracy and royalty in the context, say, of the War of the Roses, during which great struggles were undertaken within the public on which party to support. And those leading the parties might be purely a fiction of position: the person designated to be “x”, but of course succession is never, as we’ve seen, certain. It’s going to make a fantastic miniseries by some future Shakespeare interpreting (and thus shaping) the preceding history of the culture. They have power, but otherwise they are placed by position and cultural role and family connections (just as with royalty and titled artistocrats) and so on. Looking at it from that perspective US political history since (say) 1932 has been extremely interesting.
In his Atlantic column, James Fallows notes:
I’ll vote Democratic this fall, because I disagree with the current Republican party’s stance on tax policy, budget policy, health policy, climate and environmental policy, voting-rights policy, labor policy, educational policy, gun policy, infrastructure policy, foreign and military policy, and judicial appointments too.