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Hillary Clinton’s Corporate Cronyism

Posted in Archive, Journalism, and MintPress News

Originally published at MintPress News.

WASHINGTON — Abby Martin, a leading alternative journalist, accuses Hillary Clinton of being a political shapeshifter who is “morphing her positions to try to capture support” from supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders.

In an April 17 episode of “The Empire Files,” the investigative news program Martin hosts on TeleSUR English, she promised to expose “what Hillary Clinton really represents,” devoting the entire half-hour program to exploring the presidential hopeful’s history and corporate-driven agenda.

Under pressure from Sanders’ unexpected success in his campaign, Clinton has attempted to position herself as an anti-establishment, anti-Wall Street candidate, as well as the best choice to oppose Donald Trump’s open racism and Islamophobia.

However, Martin warned: “Far from being a candidate of the people, she’s the top pick of corporations to do the job of every president: to be the CEO of the empire.”

Clinton herself promoted an Islamophobic narrative during the 2008 election in an attempt to defeat Barack Obama, Martin noted.

She added that Clinton has “mastered media spin” and maintains close relationships with Washington insider journalists, and so the public is unlikely to hear many of these facts in the mainstream media.

Clinton a favorite of ‘fat cat banker’ donors, fossil fuel, big pharma & defense industries

Martin suggested that Clinton is a candidate tailor-made for the modern Democratic Party, thanks to the superdelegate system which allows the party to “vote against the people’s will.”

Many of the 712 Democratic superdelegates are industry lobbyists, and those same industries are often among the most generous donors to Clinton’s campaign and the Clinton Foundation, the controversial nonprofit operated by Hillary and her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

Martin highlighted Jeff Berman, a superdelegate who also helps organize Clinton’s delegate tracking efforts.

“A ‘top lobbyist’ at Bryan Cave LLP, Berman previously worked as a lobbyist for the private prison company Geo Group and as a lobbyist helping TransCanada build support for the Keystone XL,” The Intercept’s Lee Fang reported in a Feb. 17 investigation of superdelegates.

Private prison corporations, including Geo Group, have graciously opened their wallets to Clinton. And the same goes for the fossil fuel industry, which became the source of a tenseconfrontation at a rally on March 31. Other industries that support another Clinton presidency include the pharmaceutical industry, the defense industry, and, as Sanders supporters frequently point out, Wall Street banks.

“Bill and Hillary are quick to exploit themselves for corporate loot,” Martin said, adding that Hillary’s token objections to Wall Street’s unchecked power over American politics shouldn’t be taken seriously. “Her fat cat banker donors aren’t worried in the slightest.”

‘Proud I was a Goldwater Girl’

Before she became a Democrat, Clinton was an active member of the conservative Young Republicans.

In 1996, Clinton declared to NPR: “I’m proud I was a Goldwater girl.” Martin interpreted this as Clinton being opposed to equal rights for blacks and other minorities at the height of the civil rights movement amid backlash to the Freedom Rides and Dr. Martin Luther King’s 1963 “I Have A Dream Speech.” Martin described Goldwater as “the Donald Trump of the 1960s,” a frequent comparison during the current election campaign.

When she made the switch to the Democratic Party, Clinton took her conservative agenda with her as she embarked on her political career after college. Along with her husband, the Clintons were key figures in the “New Democrat” movement, led by the Democratic Leadership Council, which pushed the party to the right by adopting the racist and pro-corporate policies that propelled the Republicans to success in the 1980s and early 1990s under presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush.

Michael Corcoran explained the New Democrats’ agenda in a December 2015 analysis for Truthout:

Within the DLC, populism was not merely out of favor; it was militantly opposed. The organization had virtually no grassroots supporters; it was funded almost entirely by corporate donors. Its executive council, Dreyfuss reported, was made up of companies that donated at least $25,000 and included Enron and Koch Industries. A list of its known donors includes scores of the United States’ most powerful corporations, all of whom benefit from a Democratic Party that embraces big business and is less reliant on labor unions and the grassroots for support.

Bill Clinton took office partly by promising to destroy the country’s social safety net and positioning himself as “tough on crime” — coded language that Martin argued referred to bills “precisely designed to target African Americans.” Hillary’s infamous comments on “super-predators” were originally made in support of legal reforms that helped make the United States one of the world’s leaders in mass incarceration.

Secretary of state ‘spent her time paving the way for war’ & corporate empire

The Clintons’ journey to becoming darlings of Wall Street and the 1% was far from over when Bill left office, Martin explained. Plans for Hillary’s campaign for political office began almost immediately after Bill’s presidency ended, and the husband-wife team set about using their newfound political status to build power in Washington and grow their wealth.

Between 2007 and 2014, the pair made almost $141 million. And, together, they grew the Clinton Foundation, the family-owned nonprofit that has been repeatedly linked to political corruption and bribery, to new heights of influence.
“As Hillary ascends off this corporate sponsorship, the more favors” she gives, Martin suggested.

Some of the foundation’s top donors include Saudi Arabia, Ukrainian billionaire oligarch Viktor Pinchuk, Dow Chemical, Wal-Mart (where Hillary also served on the board of directors), Goldman Sachs, and even agribusiness giant Monsanto.

And she’s been quick to offer favors to her supporters. While serving in Congress, repeated donations from Corning, Inc. resulted in her helping to funnel millions in government contracts into the company. Clinton also helped block banking regulations that would have hurt Wall Street profits.

As she grew from senator to secretary of state, her ability to support her benefactors only grew, Martin suggested.

As secretary of state, Clinton helped agriculture corporations take advantage of Rwandan genocide to create a commercial farming industry in the country. Martin reported that Clinton also helped foundation donors advance corporate mining interests in Kazakhstan and Colombia.

However, Martin suggested Secretary Clinton’s most enthusiastic support for corporate profits came in her aid to the defense industry and advocacy for more war. Last May, International Business Times revealed that 20 countries which donated to the Clinton Foundation received $165 billion in commercial arms deals, with Saudi Arabia among the top recipients. Sixteen of those countries also received $151 billion in Pentagon-backed arms deals, a dramatic increase over the George W. Bush administration.

Clinton’s support for U.S. warmongering and empire building extended beyond arms deals and into direct lobbying for more war. Her policies destabilized Libya even as she helped France and the United Kingdom divvy up the country’s resources. Martin also noted that she pressured the Obama administration to go to war in Syria and was instrumental in “paving the way” for future war with Iran.

“In every part of the world, from Latin America to Asia, Hillary Clinton has made it clear she will choose the path of death and destruction, every time, no matter the consequences,” Martin said.

Democrats are “going to use fear of the Republican nominee” to encourage voters to to support Clinton, she said, reminding viewers that “we can and should fight both sides.”

Martin also rejected the idea that feminists should support Clinton because she’s a woman: “As a woman I completely reject Hillary’s brand of bourgeois feminism, because it leaves out millions of immigrant women, poor women, and the women under her bombs around the world.”