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...Say Anything By: Joseph Klein
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, March 10, 2008


A few days ago, Hillary Clinton said “I’m not sure what the American people should believe.” She was trying to assail Barack Obama’s credibility on Iraq, but she might as well have been talking about her own loose relationship with the truth.

Let’s start with Clinton’s infamous TV ad which showed sleeping children and asked voters who they would want to see answering an emergency phone call coming into the White House at 3 AM. Not Obama, Hillary has said repeatedly on the stump. Only she and John McCain have the requisite experience to be the commander-in-chief, she claims.

Then why is Hillary saying that she would consider running with Barack Obama on the same Democratic presidential ticket with her (presumably as her vice presidential running mate)? She is effectively conceding that Obama would be ready on day 1 to be commander-in-chief if that became necessary. Otherwise, she would be knowingly picking someone unqualified to be “one heartbeat” away from becoming president. As usual, Hillary is trying to have it both ways for crass political reasons – mollifying Barack’s supporters with the consolation prize of vice president while trashing his national security credentials.

No doubt Hillary was an activist First Lady. She visited, as she often reminds us, at least eighty countries in that ceremonial role. However, that hardly qualifies her to be commander-in-chief.

Hillary had no say in any national security matters while in the White House, not even a national security clearance that would have allowed her to attend the most sensitive national security-related meetings. She would like the American people to believe that she was primarily responsible for bringing peace to Northern Ireland, which she touts as an example of the kind of experience that qualifies her to be commander-in-chief on day 1. "I helped to bring peace to Northern Ireland," she told CNN last week. The problem with that assertion is that it is based on the kind of gross exaggeration of her role that Al Gore displayed when he said that he invented the internet.

In fact, Hillary is being a "wee bit silly" for exaggerating the part she played, according to Lord Trimble of Lisnagarvey, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and former First Minister of the province who was very actively involved in the peace negotiations. "I don’t know there was much she did apart from accompanying Bill [Clinton] going around," Lord Trimble said. "She visited when things were happening, saw what was going on, she can certainly say it was part of her experience. I don’t want to rain on the thing for her but being a cheerleader for something is slightly different from being a principal player." [1]

If Hillary wants to take credit for her husband’s foreign policy successes, moreover, then she must assume part of the blame for her husband’s mistakes, including his negligence in allowing Al Qaeda to grow into a global threat and attack the USS Cole and our embassies in Africa without any serious retaliation. Bill Clinton failed to capture or kill bin Laden on any of the eight to 10 chances afforded by CIA reporting. Is this the kind of inaction that Hillary learned in preparing to be commander-in-chief? Hillary’s disdain for the Taliban’s record on women’s rights, by the way, was reportedly mentioned as one reason for the Clinton Administration’s rejection of a State Department idea to have the Saudis pay the Taliban to turn over Bin Laden to the United States – an idea that may have ended up saving many lives. [2]

If Hillary wants the American people to believe that she has the experience to be president based in part on her years in the White House, then why is she letting her husband drag his feet in releasing her schedules and documents from that time? Seven years have passed and Hillary is still not willing to let the American people see for themselves what she was really doing during those years of her ‘co-presidency’ with Bill. For example, it would be very instructive to learn what went on behind closed doors in those highly secretive meetings that Hillary conducted during her failed attempt to push through her Hillary-care health plan.

Then there is the matter of the Clintons’ tax returns. The Obamas have released their tax returns, but Hillary has refused to release the Clintons’ tax returns since she and Bill left the White House. Hillary is trying to hide from the voters as long as possible how much she and Bill have profited from the kind of offshore tax havens and other tax loopholes that she decries on the campaign trail. She and Bill are profiting at the expense of the working class Americans to whom she panders – a fact that she does not want the voters to know before they go to the polls.

For example, we have learned from a report in the Chicago Tribune that Bill made a $700,000 profit from the sale of stock he was given for a speech launching a web-search company partly backed by the Chinese government. The private sale of the stock is shrouded in secrecy. Normally, Bill Clinton receives about $150,000 per speech, on which he is supposed to pay income taxes for services rendered at the same rate as working people pay for the wages they receive. Instead, assuming that the Clintons paid any tax at all on the profit from the sale of the stock Bill received for his one speech on behalf of the Chinese government-backed web-search company - which we would only know when their returns are made public - it would have been at the much lower capital gains rate on compensation that was nearly five times as high as his normal speaking fee.

Hillary is not fighting for the average worker. She is fighting to conceal evidence that she and Bill have exploited the kind of tax loopholes that are costing average working people who play by the rules many millions of dollars in tax revenue that could go toward paying for universal health care, education, housing relief, etc.

Even worse is the mystery surrounding Bill’s relationship with three Cayman Island-based global funds, run by his billionaire pal Ron Burkle. Through WJC International Investments GP, Bill Clinton has invested in Yucaipa Global Holdings and Yucaipa Global Partnership. The Yucaipa Global Partnership Fund “invests in securities of corporations that conduct significant operations in foreign countries.” Bill is one of three owners of the Yucaipa global fund’s general partner. The others are Mr. Burkle, who is the managing member, and an entity connected to the ruler of Dubai.

Bill is reportedly going to make around $20 million if he disentangles himself from this foreign-based relationship, as he said he would do in the event that Hillary wins the Democratic presidential nomination. Yet, in Hillary Clinton’s Public Financial Disclosure Report that she filed with the Federal Election Commission and signed on June 13, 2007, she indicated that the valuation of her spouse’s holdings in the Yucaipa Global Holdings and Yucaipa Global Partnership Fund did not exceed $15,000. Her 2006 Senate disclosure filing for the calendar year 2006, signed on May 15, 2007, lists the valuation of both these holdings at less than $1000! More miraculously than Hillary’s profits in cattle trading decades ago, the asset value of the Clintons’ Yucaipa global investments appears to have risen about two thousand percent in less than a year’s time when those financial disclosure filings were made - unless the filings were misleading in the first place. Of course, Hillary has not sought fit to amend her public financial disclosure filings accordingly.

Hillary has also omitted entirely the valuation of her spouse’s holdings in a domestic Yucaipa private equity fund that would reportedly make more than $170 million from the sale of its shares in the Wild Oats and Pathmark companies, as part of Whole Foods' WFMI buyout of Wild Oats and Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea's GAP acquisition of Pathmark. The proposed sales were announced before Hillary’s June 2007 Federal Election Commission financial disclosure filing. Bill is due a share of the profits for his advisory services to the Yucaipa fund if certain financial benchmarks were met, which they reportedly were. Again, taking advantage of a tax loophole that Hillary repeatedly tells wage-earning voters she is fighting against, Bill presumably will be taxed at the capital gains rate for money he apparently earned in performing services. How many times has this happened since the Clintons left the White House? We do not know. The details are buried in the tax returns that Hillary has so far refused to make public.

Hillary has displayed a monstrous distortion of the truth to date on the campaign trail. She is not willing to trust the good sense of the American people if they were given all of the relevant facts. So she creates non-issues about her opponent’s qualifications to be commander-in-chief, which even she does not believe as evidenced by her willingness to run with Obama on the same ticket. And she portrays herself as the populist fighter against the loopholes for the rich that the Clintons routinely exploit for themselves.

As Hillary Clinton said, she is “not sure what the American people should believe.” If Hillary Clinton will not trust the American people with the truth, why should we trust her?

ENDNOTES:

[1] Nobel winner: Hillary Clinton's 'Silly' Irish Peace Claims by Toby Harnden, Telegraph.Co.UK (March 8, 2008).

[2] The 9/11 Commission Report at p. 125.



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