By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: February 10, 2016
The world woke up this morning to find that the populist stirrings that were fanned by the leaderless Occupy Wall Street movement, which first galvanized the debate on the wealth and income inequality of the 99 percent, have been simmering in the hearts and minds of voters ever since. Apparently, voters were simply waiting for an authentic presidential candidate to frame their demands into a cohesive message. Yesterday, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont crushed Hillary Clinton in the first presidential primary in New Hampshire, taking 60 percent of the Democratic vote to Hillary’s 38.4 percent with over 90 percent of the vote counted.
Donald Trump took 35.1 percent of the Republican vote, with the current Governor of Ohio, John Kasich, coming in at a distant second with 15.9 percent, based on a little over 90 percent of the vote counted. (See full results here.)
No one is exactly sure what message Republican voters are trying to send, although some suspect it’s that they want a billionaire candidate with the guts to talk dirty in public and insult women and minorities – in other words, they want to live vicariously through Trump in an Archie Bunker remake of America. At a campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, just one day before the primary, Trump repeated into the microphone what an audience member yelled out, calling rival Ted Cruz a “p—y.” Trump has also disparaged Carly Fiorina’s face, bizarrely questioning if it rendered her unfit for the White House, while proposing to temporarily ban all Muslims from entering the U.S., which led to a call to ban Donald Trump from entering the U.K. – not the finest moment in diplomacy for the U.S.
One key finding from the exit polls in New Hampshire is that despite billions of dollars spent by the Koch brothers and their ilk in attempts to make the word “liberal” a four letter word, voters are now prepared to stake their claim to the mantle. In the video clip below, a very animated David Chalian, CNN’s Political Director, explains that exit polls among Democrats in New Hampshire yesterday showed that a whopping 40 percent of Democrats want someone more liberal than Obama.
Equally fascinating, David R. Jones, writing for the New York Times, took the same exit polling facts and turned them into a headline that read: “Most Democrats Do Not Want More Liberal Policies.” Technically, that is true. According to CNN, 41 percent want to continue Obama’s policies; 40 percent want a president with more liberal policies; while only 14 percent want someone less liberal. But Obama is already supposed to be a liberal. If 40 percent of Democrats don’t think he’s walking the walk, then what does that say about Hillary’s chances to win this election when she’s on record telling a big crowd at a Women for Hillary event in Ohio last fall that she’s a moderate. Her exact words were: “You know, I get accused of being kind of moderate and center. I plead guilty.” (See second video clip below. To understand where the Times is coming from, read this.)
Other questions in the exit polling spelled more trouble for Hillary. According to CNN exit polls, three-quarters of Democratic voters said they are worried about the economy. Ninety percent said they felt the structure of the economy favored the wealthy. The legitimate fear is that if Hillary gains the White House, she will appoint guardians of the interests of the wealthy into key posts as Treasury Secretary, head of the Securities and Exchange Commission and U.S. Justice Department – effectively rubber-stamping the gold-plated revolving door between Wall Street and Washington — a replay of the Obama administration in other words.
Politico isn’t helping Hillary’s protestations that money can’t buy her vote. (She’s been silent on whether it can buy cabinet appointments.) Yesterday, Politico’s Ben White wrote an article about Hillary Clinton accepting $675,000 in 2013 for giving three speeches at Goldman Sachs’ functions. One attendee told White that Hillary “sounded more like a Goldman Sachs managing director.” Despite telling debate audiences that she went to Wall Street and told them “to cut it out,” White writes that during the speech Hillary “spent no time criticizing Goldman or Wall Street more broadly for its role in the 2008 financial crisis.”
That’s highly probable. The huge pay for Hillary’s succession of speeches in a short time span for Goldman Sachs came the year after Greg Smith resigned from Goldman Sachs and delivered his exit interview remarks in the OpEd pages of the New York Times, to the horror of the public relations department at Goldman. Smith wrote: “It makes me ill how callously people talk about ripping their clients off. Over the last 12 months I have seen five different managing directors refer to their own clients as ‘muppets,’ sometimes over internal e-mail,” Smith said. He called the current environment at Goldman “as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it.”
Perhaps Hillary would understand the inner workings at Goldman Sachs better if she heard it from a woman. Nomi Prins is a highly respected author and speaker and a former Managing Director at Goldman Sachs. In the opening pages of Other People’s Money: The Corporate Mugging of America, the 2004 book Prins wrote after leaving Goldman Sachs, Prins had this to say:
“When I left Wall Street, at the height of a wave of scandals uncovering scores of massively destructive deceptions, my choice was based on a very personal sense of right and wrong…So, when people who didn’t know me very well asked me why I left the banking industry after a fifteen-year climb up the corporate ladder, I answered, ‘Goldman Sachs.’
“For it was not until I reached the inner sanctum of this autocratic and hypocritical organization – one too conceited to have its name or logo visible from the sidewalk of its 85 Broad Street headquarters [now relocated to 200 West Street] that I realized I had to get out…The fact that my decision coincided with corporate malfeasance of epic proportions made me realize that it was far more important to use my knowledge to be part of the solution than to continue being part of the problem.”
Is Hillary Clinton part of the solution in America or part of the problem? The casualness with which both she and Bill Clinton take multi millions of dollars from a Wall Street that has serially defrauded the public and left the country in the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression, strongly suggests the latter.