Breakdown of the Clinton Money Machine

As troubling as Donald Trump’s election may be, it carries greater hope for some positive good than the alternative of Hillary Clinton, who represented a corrupt, money-churning machine, writes John Chuckman.

By John Chuckman

Brushing away the extreme claims and rhetoric of much election analysis, there are some observations, which deserve attention and which unfortunately mostly provide hard lessons (and not a lot of encouragement for people who hold to principles of democracy, enlightenment and progressivity).

The election demonstrated perhaps better than ever, and better than has been generally recognized, that America is, indeed, a plutocracy. It took a genuine American oligarch, a self-proclaimed billionaire, a man with a lifetime’s economic empire-building, to defeat a family which could provide the very definition of being politically well-connected, a family which had laboriously constructed and carefully maintained a kind of deep well ever-flowing with money for their ambitions.

President Bill Clinton, First Lady Hillary Clinton and daughter Chelsea parade down Pennsylvania Avenue on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, 1997. (White House photo)

President Bill Clinton, First Lady Hillary Clinton and daughter Chelsea parade down Pennsylvania Avenue on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, 1997. (White House photo)

It was the ever-flowing well of money, drilled by Bill Clinton with help from some extremely shady friends, such as Jeffrey Epstein, that made the Clintons keystone establishment figures in the Democratic Party. It was not personal charm or exceptional political generalship – although Bill, in his heyday, displayed some of both of those – that earned the Clintons their place, it was the money, the “mother’s milk of politics.” In what is euphemistically called “fund raising,” many hundreds of millions of dollars were provided for the party over the last couple of decades by Bill Clinton’s efforts.

Hillary Clinton fully appreciated the fact that money buys power and influence. She lacked Bill’s superficial charm, but she certainly more than shared his ambition. On the charm front, when she was ready to move into running for office, she adopted, perhaps under Bill’s tutelage, a kind of forced set of expressions with arched eyebrows, bugged-out eyes, and a smile as big as her lips would allow. These expressions were accompanied by little gestures such as briefly pointing to various onlookers or waving helter-skelter whenever she campaigned.

Her gestures reminded me of something you might see atop a float in a Christmas Parade or of the late Harpo Marx at his most exuberant. These were not natural for her. They were never in evidence years ago when she spent years as a kind of bizarre executive housewife, both in a governor’s mansion and later in the White House, bizarre because she indulged her husband’s non-stop predatory sexual behavior in exchange for the immense power it conferred on her behind the scenes over her far more outgoing and successful politician-husband.

Money Talks

Anyway, Hillary knew that gestures and simulated charm do not get you far in American politics. She determined to build a political war chest long ago, and there are many indications over the years of her working towards this end of making this or that change in expressed view, as when running for the Senate, when sources of big money suggested another view would be more acceptable. She was anything but constant in the views that she embraced because when she ran for the Senate she spent record amounts of money, embarrassingly large amounts.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with Saudi King Abdullah in Riyadh on March 30, 2012. [State Department photo]

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with Saudi King Abdullah in Riyadh on March 30, 2012. [State Department photo]

In her years of speaking engagements, she aimed at special interests that could supply potentially far more money than just exorbitant speaking fees. Later, in the influential, appointed post of Secretary of State – coming, as it does, into personal contact with every head of government or moneyed, big-time international schemer – she unquestionably played an aggressive “pay for play” with them all. It appears that covering up that embarrassing and illegal fact is what the private servers and unauthorized smart phones were all about.

A second big fact of the election is that both major American political parties are rather sick and fading. The Republican Party has been broken for a very long time. It hobbled along for some decades with the help of various gimmicks, hoping to expand its constituency with rubbish like “family values,” public prayer in schools and catering to the Christian Right – along with anti-flag burning Constitutional amendments — and now it is truly out of gas.

The Republican Party had been given a breather, some new life, by Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. He had an extremely mixed record as President, but he was popular, held in some affection, and did have a clear vision, but his effect on the party was not lasting. Trump could be seen as another Reagan, but I think the comparison is superficial. Trump literally hijacked the party. He was not deliriously crowned by its establishment.

The Republican Party itself was formed not long before Abraham Lincoln’s candidacy out of the remains of worn out and collapsed predecessors, including the Whigs and Free-Soil Democrats. Parties do not last forever, and here was Trump creating something of a minor political revolution inside a tired and fairly directionless old party, a phenomenon which I do not think was sufficiently noticed.

In the Republican primaries, he was opposed by tired, boring men like Jeb Bush, seeking to secure an almost inherited presidency, and a dark, intensely unlikable, phony Christian fundamentalist like Ted Cruz, and it proved to be no contest. Trump’s capture of the GOP nomination was a remarkable political achievement, but I think it was only possible given the sorry state of the party.

The press was too busy attacking Trump from the start to take notice or do any intelligent analysis, and he was attacked precisely for the potential damage to the Establishment that he represented. His most promising quality was his potential for creating a new coalition of interests and one excluding the continuation of the Neocon Wars that Hillary Clinton embraced and promised to expand.

A Democratic Party in Trouble

But the Democratic Party is in serious trouble, too. It has a great deal of internal rot, as the WikiLeaks material from the Democratic National Committee clearly shows us. Arrogance, lack of direction, ignorance of the people whom the party has always claimed to serve, bad decision-making, and the absolute prostrate worship of money are the major symptoms.

Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at a Democratic presidential debate sponsored by CNN.

Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at a Democratic presidential debate sponsored by CNN.

It would have been impossible for the party to have so made up its mind and committed its resources to Hillary Clinton without serious rot. She has always had strong negatives in polling, always been (rightly) suspected concerning her honesty.

The WikiLeaks material tells us about many internal conflicts, including harsh high-level judgments of Hillary’s decision-making, resentment over the backstabbing character of daughter Chelsea who is said to resemble Hillary in her behavior and attitudes, and the belief of some that Hillary just should not have run.

And, frankly, Hillary Clinton had become for many a rather tiresome, used-up figure from whom absolutely nothing spectacular in politics or policy could possibly be expected. But they not only blindly supported her, they broke all their own party rules by internally and secretly working to defeat a legitimate and viable contender, Bernie Sanders.

Sanders might well have been able to win the election for the Democrats, but their establishment was blind to the possibility and rejected his candidacy out-of-hand. After all, there were Bill and Hillary beckoning toward their running well of money.

In hindsight, it might be just as well that Sanders was cheated out of the nomination. He proved a weak individual in the end, giving in to just the forces that he had claimed to oppose and leaving his enthusiastic followers completely let down. There he was, out on the hustings, supporting everything he ever opposed as personified in Hillary Clinton. Men of that nature do not stand up well to Generals and Admirals and the heads of massive corporations, a quality which I do think we have some right to expect Trump to display.

Public Distrust

Another important fact about the election is that it was less the triumph of Trump than the avoidance of Hillary that caused the defeat. The numbers are unmistakable. Yes, Trump did well for a political newcomer and a very controversial figure, but Hillary simply did badly, not approaching the support Obama achieved in key states, again something reflecting the documented fact that she is not a well-liked figure and the Party blundered badly in running her.

President-elect Donald Trump

President-elect Donald Trump

But again, money talks, and the Clintons, particularly Bill, are the biggest fundraisers they have had in our lifetime. No one was ready to say no to the source of all that money.

Now, to many Americans, the election result must seem a bit like having experienced something of a revolution, although a revolution conducted through ballots, any other kind being literally impossible by design in this massive military-security state.

In a way, it does represent something of a revolutionary event, owing to the fact that Trump the Oligarch is in his political views a bit of a revolutionary or at least a dissenter from the prevailing establishment views. And, as in any revolution, even a small one, there are going to be some unpleasant outcomes.

The historical truth of politics is that you never know from just what surprising source change may come. Lyndon Johnson, life-long crooked politician and the main author of the horrifying and pointless Vietnam War, did more for the rights of black Americans than any other modern president. Franklin Roosevelt, son of wealthy establishment figures, provided remarkable leadership in the Great Depression, restoring hopes and dreams for millions.

Change, important, change, never comes from establishments or institutions like political parties. It always comes from unusual people who seem to step out of their accustomed roles in life with some good or inspired ideas and have the drive and toughness to make them a reality.

I have some limited but important hopes for Trump. I am not blind or delirious expecting miracles from this unusual person, and after the experience of Barack Obama, who seemed such a promising young figure but fairly quickly proved a crushing, bloody disappointment, I can never build up substantial hopes for any politician. And what was the choice anyway? Hillary Clinton was a bought-and-paid one-way ticket to hell.

Trump offers two areas of some hope, and these both represent real change. The first is in reducing America’s close to out-of-control military aggressiveness abroad. This aggressiveness, reflecting momentum from what can only be called the Cheney-Rumsfeld Presidency, continued and grew under the weak and ineffectual leadership of Obama and was boosted and encouraged by Hillary as Secretary of State.

Hillary did a lot of killing during her tenure inside the federal government, advocating and promoting military interventions as First Lady, U.S. Senator and Secretary of State. She along with Obama is responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of men, women and children, many of them literally torn apart by bombs.

Welfare of Americans

The other area of some hope is for the welfare of ordinary Americans who have been completely ignored by national leaders for decades. George W. Bush’s lame reaction to Hurricane Katrina (before he was internationally shamed into some action) has become the normal pattern for America’s national government when it comes to ordinary Americans.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt at a press conference.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt at a press conference.

Inside the Democratic Party, the truth is that the legacy of FDR has withered to nothing and no longer plays any role, and of course never did in the Republican Party. By welfare, I do not mean the kind of state assistance to the poor that Bill Clinton himself worked to end. Nothing can impress someone not familiar with America’s dark corners more than a visit to places like Detroit or Gary or Chicago’s South Side, parts of New Orleans, or Newark or dozens of other places where Americans live in conditions in every way comparable to Third World hellholes.

No, I mean the people’s general well-being. Trump’s approach will be through jobs and creating incentives for jobs. I don’t know whether he can succeed, but, just as he asked people in some of his speeches, “What do you have to lose?” Just having someone in power who pays any attention to the “deplorables” is a small gain.

People should never think of the Clintons as liberal or progressive, and that was just as much true for Bill as it is for Hillary. His record as President – apart from his embarrassing behavior in the Oval Office with a young female intern and his recruitment of Secret Service guards as procurers for women he found attractive on his morning runs – was actually pretty appalling.

In his own words, he “ended welfare as we know it.” He signed legislation that would send large numbers of young black men to prison. He also signed legislation that contributed to the country’s later financial collapse under George W. Bush. He often would appoint someone decent and then quickly back off, leaving them dangling, when it looked like approval for the appointment would not be coming.

His FBI conducted the assault on Waco, killing about 80 people needlessly. A pharmaceutical plant in Sudan was destroyed by cruise missiles for no good reason. There were a number of scandals that were never fully explained to the public.

It was his Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, who answered, unblinkingly, a television interviewer’s question about a half million Iraqi children who died owing to America’s embargo, “We think the price is worth it.” He committed the war crime of bombing Belgrade, including the intentional destruction of the Serb TV building. When news of the horrors of the Rwanda genocide were first detected by his government, the order secretly went out to shut up about it. No effort was made to intervene in that case.

No, any real change in America could never come from people like the Clintons, either one of them.

John Chuckman is former chief economist for a large Canadian oil company.

19 comments for “Breakdown of the Clinton Money Machine

  1. Karl Kolchack
    November 13, 2016 at 23:27

    I only agree with about 20% of Turmp’s supposed agenda, but Lock Her (and Him) Up! is one issue where I am with him 100%.

    • Tsigantes
      November 14, 2016 at 04:35

      Agree. To an outsider it is simply mind-boggling that the mostly young, non-Soros [thus, unpaid] demonstrators for Hillary on the street now seem totally – but totally! – unaware of her crimes, corruption and her baseless, illegal warmongering. They are the mirror opposite of the Vietnam protestors or Occupy Wall Street: 10 years ago one would have assumed they were GOP pro-Wall St. / pro-war Geo.W. Bushites..

  2. nomorewar
    November 13, 2016 at 00:57

    I agree with most of the criticisms of Hillary. But on what possible rational basis do you have hope in Trump “reducing America’s close to out-of-control military aggressiveness abroad. This aggressiveness, reflecting momentum from what can only be called the Cheney-Rumsfeld Presidency, continued and grew under the weak and ineffectual leadership of Obama and was boosted and encouraged by Hillary as Secretary of State.”

    Yes, he says Clinton is overly aggressive toward Russia. But what else? Making Japan, Korea and the Europeans pay more for the US nuclear umbrella – which is what he ultimately claimed he means – is hardly reducing our aggressiveness, and, quite frankly, is an ancient diplomatic leverage game. It will not make any substantive difference in our alliances.

    Meanwhile, Trump insists that the Russian nuclear arsenal is now far more sophisticated than ours and that we need to invest huge sums of money to build more and better nuclear weapons and, generally, increase the war budget.

    He wants to “bomb the shit” out of ISIS, which means out of Iraq and Syria, and in general threatens military action against anyone who he think disrespects the US.

    The people around him on foreign policy are the batshit-craziest of the batshit-crazy warmongers in DC. John Bolton and Michael Flynn make the Kagan neocons who coalesced around Hillary look like Witness for Peace. Flynn is a full-on loon who believes that the US is at global war with an alliance of radical Islamic terrorism, Russia, Cuba and Syria. There is so much wrong in Flynn and Bolton that it is difficult to imagine where to start.

    Trump wants to tear up the Iran nuclear treaty, in effect tripling down on our alliances with the House of Saud and the Persian Gulf monarchies, which will only further destabilize the region. Those alliances have gotten the US into immeasurable messes.

    Yes, Hillary is a warmonger and her “leadership” on Libya was bloodcurdling. But reading Trump’s campaign statements as a retreat from US imperial aggression is embarrassing self-delusion..

  3. Litchfield
    November 13, 2016 at 00:35

    Good article. One of the best I have seen post-election.
    Thanks for being honest about the relative merits of these two candidates and the parallels with FDR and LBJ. He is an unusual man. He certainly has rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, and I was furious at his boorish performance in Scotland regarding his golf course.
    That was then, this is now.
    I have been excoriated by a number of friends who just cannot let go of the “Donald as monster” mantra.
    I think there is some chance that Trump will turn in at least some good results as a president.
    He has already sparked the beginning of a much=needed debate.
    He has gotten rid of the Clintons (I hope, for good). For that alone he is to be thanked.
    He bucked all the prognosticators and experts and did it “his way.” He used his “big” personality in lieu of expensive TV spots. In this sense he is a real New Yorker and a real show man, and New Yorkers should be proud of him for that. The man seems to have a ton of energy and a powerful, commanding ego. He has a thick skin. Not caring what people think of you can be a plus.
    It was far better to wake up on Wednesday with Trump as the president-elect than Hillary,
    Good luck to him! And us and the rest of the world.

    • exiled off mainstreet
      November 13, 2016 at 03:44

      I fully concur with the article and fully concur with your view. I have lost some friendships including with family members based upon these facts.

  4. Robiko
    November 13, 2016 at 00:32

    I wonder if there’s a money back guarantee on the donations given to the Clinton’s Foundation now that Hillary has lost the election?
    The “Winds of The Election” easily blew apart Hillary’s “House of Cards!”

  5. chan
    November 12, 2016 at 22:15

    Except from a piece in the latest issue of Time magazine, by Ian Bremmer, a leading foreign policy expert:
    “Fires in the Middle East will continue to rage like they always have, and while American forays to the region have yielded few tangible results over the last decade-plus, they at least added some semblance of predictability to the proceedings. No longer.”

    The point of the article was that Trump’s foreign policy is worrisome, whereas continuing the same-ole, same-ole would be much more desirable. The “fires in the Middle East” were treated like a natural disaster for which nobody is to blame. Never mind the tens of thousands of humans being killed, as long as we have predictability, that’s good.

    • Tsigantes
      November 14, 2016 at 04:23

      Ian Bremmer is head of the US gov/ CIA “think tank” Eurasia Group. He is paid very well to make this propaganda.

  6. Annie
    November 12, 2016 at 18:56

    I thought this article was incredibly inclusive in providing all the variables that gave us a Trump presidency. It’s great to read an article by an author who is laid back and doesn’t create a sense of hysteria and at the same time expresses a sense of hope.

  7. rosemerry
    November 12, 2016 at 17:13

    Excellent article. I certainly find the prospect of Trump avoiding the USA going to war with Russia a comforting thought.

  8. Gregory Kruse
    November 12, 2016 at 16:26

    It is a revolution, but counter-clockwise.

  9. Thurgle
    November 12, 2016 at 15:49

    Great piece, but in criticizing Clinton’s record one must not forget his most destructive act of all (actually non-act): his refusal to stop the Rwanda genocide. A responsible leader would have airlifted in 5000 troops during the first week and crushed the killing machine. But Clinton was afraid of the criticism he would get from Republicans post-Somalia and valued his political position over the lives of nearly 1 million. How can you beat that?

    • exiled off mainstreet
      November 13, 2016 at 03:43

      The Rwanda thing has been subject to a lot of revisionism and the fact it was later used as an excuse for the creation of failed states such as South Sudan reveal the baleful effect of Clinton’s admission of failure in this instance. Back to the Chuckman article: it is the best, most accurate overview of what happened and best explains my view of it than anything I’ve seen. The useful idiots recruited by the paid Soros goons to create a colour revolution in yankee land are themselves deplorable as apologists for corrupt corporatist war criminals who were a threat to our very survival and whose level of corruption was unprecedented. Chuckman puts his finger on the real basis of the email scandal: that the secret servers were to conceal the corrupt pay to play activities of Clinton as Secretary of State obtaining tons of money for her foundation from foreign leaders using her status as foreign secretary to grease the wheels. I also agree with Mr. Chuckman about Sanders, who, despite the evidence of wikileaks showing he had been defrauded of the nomination, acted as a loyal toady who, unfortunately, gave too many of his supporters an excuse to swallow their pride and, fearing Trump, support a war criminal making fascist-like threats of war with Russia on behalf of el qaeda thugs the yankee imperium was supporting. Due to the organised nature of the demonstrations as shown by evidence from Craigslist Moveon and elsewhere, they have gone over into sedition and our future is at stake from them.

  10. Bill Bodden
    November 12, 2016 at 14:58

    Now, to many Americans, the election result must seem a bit like having experienced something of a revolution, although a revolution conducted through ballots, any other kind being literally impossible by design in this massive military-security state.

    To other Americans it seemed more evidence of a decadent nation continuing its decline at the same time the choice between Clinton and Trump was an ominous sign that there was no lesser evil as an option and a dystopian future was ahead and unavoidable.

    • Kiza
      November 12, 2016 at 21:56

      Well the bad news is that US is in decline, with or without two bad election choices, best illustrated by an almost open criminality of its single-party-two-names ruling elite. I have been arguing since a while back that Clinton would continue the decline (steady-as-it-goes), unless she initiates a nuclear holocaust, whilst Trump has a good chance to slow down the decline. The US system is deeply sick, all correction mechanisms have been captured (compromised), the challenge of correcting this sytem is huge and even Putin could not solve it the way he solved Russia’s generally similar (corruption) but much smaller scale problems. In other words, Trump is less of a Putin than Putin and the US situation requires more of a Putin than Putin. Even in all of eight years, Trump could not reverse the US decline, only slow it down. Think of turning around an aircraft carrier and its whole battle group.

      This is a very good and balanced article, it was a pleasure reading it. Also, I believe that my comment here will not be cens*red unlike on the articles of the Democratic Party hacks on this zine.

      • Kiza
        November 12, 2016 at 22:07

        PS In case you were wondering, the Democratic Party hacks are those writing articles about who is to blame for Hillary’s defeat but without mirrors anywhere in sight. The whole Democratic Party appears in a desperate backorder on mirrors.

      • Peter Loeb
        November 14, 2016 at 08:27


        This article avoids the stranglehold that Israel holds on
        the Democratic party.

        For an analysis read Finklestein’s THE HOLOCAUSY INDUSTRY.
        (The Zionist fabricated claim of “victimhood” no longer washes.)

        —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

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