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Hillary Clinton’s $675,000 Paean to Marie Antoinette, and Goldman Sachs

| February 11, 2016

hillary clinton

In her own luxury suite. (brwn_yd_grl)

By Martin Dyckman

Madeline Albright and Gloria Steinem need to stop obsessing about young women who won’t vote for Hillary Clinton. There’s a better use for their time and energy if they want her to be elected president.

That’s to take Clinton by the shoulders, shake her until her teeth rattle, and scream into her ear, “Who do you think you are? Marie Antoinette?”

Actually, the ill-fated queen never did say “Let them eat cake.”

But here’s what Clinton did say when asked why she took $675,000 from Goldman Sachs for just three speeches.

“That’s what they offered.”

The poor lady just couldn’t say no.

It didn’t occur to her how that would sound to the average American, who earns less over five whole years than Clinton’s $225,000 for a one-hour speech.

Her tone-deafness persisted when she was asked to release the transcripts.

“Let everybody who’s ever given a speech to any private group under any circumstances release them,” she said. “We’ll all release them at the same time….These rules need to apply to everybody.”

Now for an actuality check.

context floridaIf the Wall Street bankers offered her $225,000 per speech, it’s because that seems to be the least she expects from any outfit that wants to hear her, and her agents aren’t the only ones who know that. McClatchy newspapers reported last week that she was paid that much or more from each of four public universities, with UCLA topping out at $300,0000. The article estimated $21.5 million for her speaking fees from the time she stepped down as secretary of state until she declared her candidacy last year.

As for “everybody else,” everybody else isn’t running for president. She is. Her friendship with Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street institutions is a legitimate concern for voters, and so are the contents of those speeches.

It would be surprising, though, to find in them any sensitive information, anything that the bankers couldn’t get from hearing any other well-informed person, be she a politician, pundit or professor. One of the speeches reportedly was about nothing more out of the ordinary than her views on the status of women.

According to the New York Times, this describes another:

“Mrs. Clinton mainly offered what one attendee called ‘a tour of the world,’ covering her observations on China, Iran, Egypt and Russia. This person said Mrs. Clinton also discussed the dysfunction in Washington, how to repair America’s standing in the world after the government shutdown and also talked a bit about the Affordable Care Act, which had had a difficult rollout.”

One likely reason Clinton doesn’t want to release the transcripts is because they would reveal that she wasn’t paid for what she would say but for who she is — a potential president whose favor Goldman Sachs would value most highly.

Another factor, regrettably, is an instinct for secrecy that keeps getting her in trouble. The stonewalling over her Whitewater transactions — which proved eventually to be insignificant — led directly to an out-of-control special prosecutor and the stunning spectacle of her husband’s impeachment over a sexual affair.

The closed-door gestation of the Clinton Administration’s health care package bred suspicions and lack of trust that contributed directly to its defeat.

That said, it’s time for context.

Clinton isn’t the only candidate with a Wall Street problem.

Jeb Bush went from the governor’s office to the Lehman Brothers payroll at $1.3 million a year just after his State Board of Administration began entrusting the Wall Street firm with – eventually — some $1.5 billion in Florida pension and municipal trust funds. Lehman’s collapse in 2008 left him without that job and Florida taxpayers with huge losses.

Ted Cruz’s wife works at Goldman Sachs. That firm and Citibank sourced low-interest loans of nearly $1 million to Cruz during his successful Senate campaign.

More context: Clinton is hardly the only golden-tongued ex-officeholder. Former President George W. Bush reportedly commands between $100,000 and $150,000 for each of his speeches. From 2001 to 2013 Bill Clinton earned more than $100 million, according to CNN, which added that Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell, Dick Cheney, and Jimmy Carter, among others, have had speaking fees in the five-to six-figure range. (Carter’s exemplary ex-presidency moots that issue.)

Large as those sums seem, they’re small compared to such excesses as the average $5.15 million salary of a professional basketball player or the $254,000 that Alex Rodriguez averaged for each base hit in a single season.

Everyone knows that life isn’t fair. Most people understand that teachers, firefighters, soldiers, police officers and so many others will always be woefully underpaid, particularly when compared to speechmaking politicians, rock stars and hotshot athletes.

But most people also expect those they elect to show some sensitivity to life’s unfairness. The sense of entitlement that Clinton projects through her tone-deaf explanations is quite the opposite of that.

martin dyckmanMartin Dyckman covered local, state and national government and politics and wrote editorials and opinion columns during a 46-year career with the St. Petersburg Times, where he retired in 2006 as associate editor. He is the author of three books. He lives in western North Carolina.

9 Responses for “Hillary Clinton’s $675,000 Paean to Marie Antoinette, and Goldman Sachs”

  1. Jack Howell, PhD says:

    I trust that the FBI, will indeed, have enough evidence on Hillary to end her campaign for President. No question that she is a persistent liar would not know the truth if it bit her in her entitled ass.

  2. TeddyBallGame says:

    Bill and Hillery have raked in over $153 MILLION since 2001 just in “speaking fees”. The arrogance and sense of superiority this women displays is as sicking as it is scary. She is proud to say that she has not driven a car herself in over 25 years. Hillery is a Queen Bee by any other name and is NOT qualified for any position in government.

  3. Sherry says:

    Let’s add just a little context to this article. . . what Martin Dyckman’s bio doesn’t say is that he is a HUGE Sanders supporter.

    My thinking is that Martin should call for ALL the Presidential candidates to disclose ALL their fees and text of ALL their speeches. . . instead of creating a witch hunt ONLY for Hillary Clinton.

  4. Veteran says:

    Thank you Jack Howell.

  5. alp says:

    I distinctly remember Hillary’s campaign for a universal healthcare plan. No secrecy there. I also remember a bunch of white male chauvinist state employees using the FAX machines at the state office where I worked to send out virulent and disgusting cartoons of the then First Lady. Elect Hillary Clinton, who has always been in the forefront working on children, women, and minority rights despite the ugliness of those who opposed her.

  6. r&r says:

    Both Clintons belong in prison.

  7. Sherry says:

    I have some questions for Mr. Trump. . . this from the

    So, Mr. Trump…

    1. You call yourself an “ardent philanthropist,” but have not donated a dollar to The Donald J. Trump Foundation since 2006. You’re not even the biggest donor to the foundation, having given about $3.7 million in the previous two decades while businesses associated with Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Entertainment gave the Trump Foundation $5 million. All the money since 2006 has come from those doing business with you. How does giving away other people’s money, in what could be seen as a kickback scheme, make you a philanthropist?

    2. New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman successfully sued you, alleging your Trump University was an “illegal educational institution” that charged up to $35,000 for “Trump Elite” mentorships promising personal advice from you, but you never showed up and your “special” list of lenders was photocopied from Scotsman Guide, a magazine found at any bookstore.

    Why did you not show up?

    3. You claimed The Learning Annex paid you a $1 million speaking fee, but on Larry King Live, you acknowledged the fee was $400,000 and the rest was the promotional value. Since you have testified under oath that your public statements inflate the value of your assets, can voters use this as a guide, so whenever you say $1, in reality it is only 40 cents?

    4. The one-page financial statement handed out at Trump Tower when you announced your candidacy says you’ve given away $102 million worth of land.

    Will you supply a list of each of these gifts, with the values you assigned to them?

    5. The biggest gift you have talked about appears to be an easement at the Palos Verdes, California, golf course bearing your name on land you wanted to build houses on, but that land is subject to landslides and is now the golf course driving range.

    Did you or one of your businesses take a tax deduction for this land that you could not build on and do you think anyone should get a $25 million tax deduction for a similar self-serving gift?

    6. Trump Tower is not a steel girder high rise, but 58 stories of concrete.

    Why did you use concrete instead of traditional steel girders?

    7. Trump Tower was built by S&A Concrete, whose owners were “Fat” Tony Salerno, head of the Genovese crime family, and Paul “Big Paul” Castellano, head of the Gambinos, another well-known crime family.

    If you did not know of their ownership, what does that tell voters about your management skills?

    8. You later used S&A Concrete on other Manhattan buildings bearing your name.


    9. In demolishing the Bonwit Teller building to make way for Trump Tower, you had no labor troubles, even though only about 15 unionists worked at the site alongside 150 Polish men, most of whom entered the country illegally, lacked hard hats, and slept on the site.

    How did you manage to avoid labor troubles, like picketing and strikes, and job safety inspections while using mostly non-union labor at a union worksite — without hard hats for the Polish workers?

    10. A federal judge later found you conspired to cheat both the Polish workers, who were paid less than $5 an hour cash with no benefits, and the union health and welfare fund. You testified that you did not notice the Polish workers, whom the judge noted were easy to spot because they were the only ones on the work site without hard hats.

    What should voters make of your failure or inability to notice 150 men demolishing a multi-story building without hard hats?

    11. You sent your top lieutenant, lawyer Harvey I. Freeman, to negotiate with Ken Shapiro, the “investment banker” for Nicky Scarfo, the especially vicious killer who was Atlantic City’s mob boss, according to federal prosecutors and the New Jersey State Commission on Investigation.

    Since you emphasize your negotiating skills, why didn’t you negotiate yourself?

    12. You later paid a Scarfo associate twice the value of a lot, officials determined.

    Since you boast that you always negotiate the best prices, why did you pay double the value of this real estate?

    13. You were the first person recommended for a casino license by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Division of Gaming Enforcement, which opposed all other applicants or was neutral. Later it came out in official proceedings that you had persuaded the state to limit its investigation of your background.

    Why did you ask that the investigation into your background be limited?

    14. You were the target of a 1979 bribery investigation. No charges were filed, but New Jersey law mandates denial of a license to anyone omitting any salient fact from their casino application.

    Why did you omit the 1979 bribery investigation?

    15. The prevailing legal case on license denials involved a woman, seeking a blackjack dealer license, who failed to disclose that as a retail store clerk she had given unauthorized discounts to friends.

    In light of the standard set for low-level license holders like blackjack dealers, how did you manage to keep your casino license?

    16. In 1986 you wrote a letter seeking lenient sentencing for Joseph Weichselbaum, a convicted marijuana and cocaine trafficker who lived in Trump Tower and in a case that came before your older sister, Judge Maryanne Trump Barry of U.S. District Court in Newark, New Jersey, who recused herself because Weichselbaum was the Trump casinos and Trump family helicopter consultant and pilot.

    Why did you do business with Weichselbaum, both before and after his conviction?

    17. Your first major deal was converting the decrepit Commodore Hotel next to Grand Central Station into a Grand Hyatt. Mayor Abe Beame, a close ally of your father Fred, gave you the first-ever property tax abatement on a New York City hotel, worth at least $400 million over 40 years.

    Since you boast that you are a self-made billionaire, how do you rationalize soliciting and accepting $400 million of welfare from the taxpayers?

    18. You say that your experience as a manager will allow you to run the federal government much better than President Obama or Hillary Clinton. On Fortune Magazine’s 1999 list of the 496 most admired companies, your casino company ranked at the bottom – worst or almost worst in management, use of assets, employee talent, long-term investment value, and social responsibility. Your casino company later went bankrupt.

    Why should voters believe your claims that you are a competent manager?

    19. Your Trump Plaza casino was fined $200,000 for discriminating against women and minority blackjack dealers to curry favor with gambler Robert Libutti, who lost $12 million, and who insisted he never asked that blacks and women be replaced.

    Why should we believe you “love” what you call “the blacks” and the enterprise you seek to lead would not discriminate again in the future if doing so appeared to be lucrative?

    20. Public records (cited in my book Temples of Chance) show that as your career took off, you legally reported a negative income and paid no income taxes as summarized below:

    Income: $76,210
    Tax Paid: $18,714

    Income: $24,594
    Tax Paid: $10,832

    Income: $118,530
    Tax Paid: $42,386

    Income: ($406,379)
    Tax Paid: $0

    Income: ($3,443,560)
    Tax Paid: $0

    Will you release your tax returns? And if not, why not?

    21. In your first bestselling book, The Art of the Deal, you told how you had not gotten much work done on your first casino, so you had crews dig and fill holes to create a show. You said one director of your partner, Holiday Inns, asked what was going on. “This was difficult for me to answer, but fortunately this board member was more curious than he was skeptical,” you wrote.

    Given your admission that you used deception to hide your failure to accomplish the work, why should we believe you now?

  8. Jim O says:

    Somehow this make sense to post this under comments for a Hillary article?

    Frankly, I read this and had to make sure I was on the Flaglerlive website. It certainly does not lean left… Just looks like it outlines facts.

  9. Sherry says:

    Since it is highly likely that Hillary Clinton will be running against Donald Trump in the general election, I thought pointing out Trump’s probable connection to the mob makes a lot of sense. Everything is relative, and Trump’s sins are quite possibly much greater than Hillary’s.

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