WHAT'S NEW WITH CONSERVATIVE MUSINGS

Hi Everybody,

The Conservative Musings team has decided to experiment with some new features on our site. We have listened to our followers and are open to what you, the general visitor to our site, would like to see in the future.

Notice on the right, our new "Welcome To Conservative Musings". Here, we present a "rough cut" as they say in the industry of 2 introductory Conservative Musings Live videos. We know some adjustments are needed and they will appear in the next week or so.

Drop us a quick e-mail to share your reaction to this new feature and other recommendations to create an awesome experience for you and others. Send it to:

tom@vorenbergassociates.com

Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Not Enough Young People In Developed Countries Complicates Government Debt Issues

Goldman Sachs Exec: Staggering Global Debt Needs Creative Solutions

Tuesday, 26 May 2015 10:12 AM
By Cathy Burke
Huge and growing debt – and not enough young working people to pay it down – is threatening to crush the global economy, a Goldman Sachs executive is warning.

Andrew Wilson, the European chief executive of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, is urging "new ways of thinking" to generate growth to work off the debt – especially in light of an aging population, the Telegraph reports. 

"The demographics in most major economies – including the [United States], in Europe and Japan —  are a major issue —  and present us with the question of how we are going to pay down the huge debt burden," he says, the Telegraph reports.
Latest News Update

"With life expectancy increasing rapidly, we no longer have the young, working populations required to sustain a debt-driven economic model in the same way as we've managed to do in the past."

A case in point, he says, is Japan, where gross government debt has gone above 200 percent of gross domestic product, and where an aging population is adding pressure, the Telegraph reports.

"[This] is evidently not sustainable over the long term," he said.

The Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development's secretary-general, Angel Gurria, said a cash stimulus and stronger growth alone won't be enough, the Telegraph reports.

"Japan's future prospects depend on ensuring fiscal sustainability over the long term. With a budget deficit of around 8 percent of GDP, the debt ratio is set to rise further into uncharted territory," he said.

It's not all doom and gloom, Wilson says.

"The demographic shift means that we need to look to more creative policy, including immigration and workforce expansion in order to find ways to pay down debt," he says, the Telegraph reports.

"This is happening in Japan in the form of [prime minister] Shinz┼Ź Abe's drive to increase female labor participation and via efforts to boost inflation."

The bank executive also said bouts of volatility when the U.S. Federal Reserve starts to raise interest rates should be expected – and that may not be a bad thing.

"In fact, I would view this as getting back to a more normal world," he says, the Telegraph reports.

"Moving out of an environment where there is a huge amount of government and central bank policy designed to provide certainty and liquidity and to dampen volatility is a healthy sign, not an unhealthy one."

Related Stories:
© 2015 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


"Established By The State" Could Doom ObamaCrapCare

NYTimes: Four Words Could Sink Obamacare

Tuesday, 26 May 2015 10:21 AM
By Melissa Clyne
Four words "carelessly" included in the 900-page Obamacare law stand to derail the president’s signature piece of legislation, according to The New York Times, which spoke to people on both sides of the aisle about the genesis and potential impact of the phrase in question: "established by the state."

The Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling this summer on the legality of providing health insurance subsidies to people in 37 states that did not set up their own healthcare exchanges. The 13 states that operate their own exchanges would be unaffected.

The plaintiffs in the case opposing the subsidies argue that the law’s "literal wording" of "established by the state" means that tax subsidies are only available to consumers in states that established their own health insurance marketplaces, according to the Times.

Regardless of how the high court rules, lawmakers who participated in drafting the law say there was never meant to be a demarcation for subsidies for those who purchased their health insurance on state-run exchanges versus the federal marketplace.

"I don’t ever recall any distinction between federal and state exchanges in terms of the availability of subsidies," said former Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe, a Republican who helped write the Finance Committee version of the bill. She voted against the final version of the Senate bill but maintains that there was never any discussion of or intent to "deny people subsidies."
Latest News Update

"It was not their fault if their state did not set up an exchange," Snowe told the Times, blaming the confusion on "inadvertent language" that was tweaked over and over again.

Former New Mexico Sen. Jeff Bingaman, a Democrat, chalked the now controversial four words up to an oversight that "escaped everyone’s attention, or it would have been deleted, because it clearly contradicted the main purpose of the legislation."

Others who spoke to the Times characterized the amorphous wording as "inadvertent, inartful or a drafting error … but none supported the contention of the plaintiffs."

Senators initially assumed that all states would set up exchanges and added a section to the IRS Code to provide subsidies, in the form of tax credits, for insurance purchased through an exchange, according to the Times. Upon realizing that perhaps "five or 10" states would opt not to create exchanges, a backup plan was created to establish a federal exchange.

But the Senate Finance Committee neglected to include language in the tax code providing for subsidies on the federal exchange, according to Christopher Condeluci, a staff lawyer for Republicans on the Finance Committee at the time.

"We failed to include a cross-reference to the federal exchange," he told the Times. "In my opinion, due to a drafting error, we overlooked it. It was an oversight. Congress, in my experience, always intended for the federal exchange to deliver subsidies."

Nonpartisan lawyers and experts in tax law and public health, working on separate tracks, crafted the legislation’s verbiage, according to the Times, and "it appears that the four words now being challenged … were carelessly left in place as the legislation evolved."

The Obama administration contends that "established by the state" is "a term of art" that encompasses the federal exchange, according to a March Bloomberg story on the four words.
U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli has asked the high court "to look beyond" the phrase and instead view the legislation’s "broad purpose of providing coverage to tens of millions of uninsured Americans."

"Congress designed the law with the goal of offering tax credits nationwide and argues that no member of Congress suggested otherwise during the debate over the measure, which is President Barack Obama’s biggest legislative initiative," Verrilli maintains, according to Bloomberg.

Related Stories:
© 2015 Newsmax. All rights reserved


"Missing In Action" Kerry Proves He Is NOT A Diplomat Nor A Negotiator. He Is What He Has Always Been, A Self Promoting Opportunist.

Whatever Happened to John Kerry

John Kerry returns from his latest Russian visit bearing two baskets of potatoes and a t-shirt.
The t-shirt, given to him by Foreign Minister Lavrov, might as well say, “I wasted my time in Russia and all I got was this shirt.”
It’s a diplomatic success only in relation to Kerry’s previous humiliations such as the time that Russia’s adeptly slimy foreign minister kept him waiting for a week before returning his call while the State Department spokeswoman announced to the world that Kerry was “ready to talk whenever Foreign Minister Lavrov can find the time.”
The Putin regime enjoys humiliating the United States, but even it seems to have tired of degrading Kerry who ruins their fun by failing to realize what is going on. Instead Kerry has become a nonentity; a forgotten messenger boy. It’s a fitting purgatory for the formerly tireless leftist activist in the Senate.
It wasn’t all that long ago that John Kerry was being touted as the last best hope for diplomacy. No one could quite admit that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama had made a complete mess, but the sighs of relief when John Kerry got the job instead of Obama’s dishonest crony Susan Rice spoke volumes.
American diplomacy had never before hit the low point that it had under Obama and Clinton. Liberals with an interest in foreign policy had expected professionalism; instead the two politicians used it as their private piggy bank. Obama handed off ambassadorships to key countries to big donors while Hillary spent more time seeing to the interests of Clinton Foundation donors than to our national interests.
Obama had campaigned as an internationalist who would put aside the provincialism of the Bush years to build meaningful multilateral relationships based on his experience with other countries and cultures. But once in office, he treated visits to other countries like domestic campaign trips to obscure states.
Foreign leaders soon found out that an Obama visit was usually a cross between a photo op using their historical landmarks as background and a vacation. While his gaffes and embarrassing behaviors got the most attention, the underlying problem was that he didn’t understand what his job was. His routine of self-important speeches and announcements of billion dollar programs that would never materialize was built for his endless domestic campaign and its lapdog media. And it didn’t play well internationally.
Obama refused to understand how international relationships work. His grand plans for an end to nuclear weapons, wars and industry were big ticket progressive items with no relevance to events in the real world. Two out of three of them quickly ended up being scrapped. His undermining of American allies in the Middle East with the Arab Spring poisoned diplomatic relations in the region. His weak and erratic response to Russian aggression discredited his administration in Eastern Europe.
As it turned out, Obama did not have a foreign policy, he had a domestic policy. His failure to work together with Republicans at home was more than equaled by his failure to work with allies abroad. At home or abroad, he came with a pre-approved progressive program that ignored emerging crises and which he refused to budge from until a crisis became severe enough to threaten his popularity.
An experienced White House staff might have eased the problem, but Obama was surrounded by fellow amateurs and egomaniacs putting the progressive agenda ahead of pragmatic diplomacy. And his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton had little real experience. In the past, she had told a number of lies to compensate for that by manufacturing imaginary achievements.
Hillary claimed that she had “helped to bring peace to Northern Ireland” and negotiated open borders for Kosovo refugees. In the real world, her practical experience was extremely light, but heavy on theory. Hillary Clinton was anxious to present herself as extremely knowledge about foreign affairs, but she preferred to avoid actually putting theory into practice because it might interfere with her future political campaign.
To the misfortune of America and the world, both the White House and the State Department were led by politicians with little understanding of foreign affairs who wanted photo ops for their domestic political campaigns more than they wanted to actually put in the work to get things done. John Kerry was supposed to change all that. An unlikely repeat presidential candidate, Kerry was not holding down the job as a platform for seeking higher office. Instead the career activist would finally have a direct line for putting his feverish foreign policy obsessions into practice.
And Kerry did not disappoint, immediately diving into deep waters, aggressively trying to revive the corpse of the dead peace process between Israel and the terrorists, circling frantically around Syria and even chasing after Russia. It was a striking contrast with Hillary’s empty tours or Obama’s vacation diplomacy. There was finally a Secretary of State willing to take on the big issues.
Kerry cheerleaders had forgotten that while he genuinely did care about foreign affairs, unlike Hillary, his diplomatic adventures had been that of a professional patsy for assorted totalitarian states. It took the rise of a genuinely delusional Democrat like Obama to make Kerry seem like the voice of reason.
Obama was oblivious to the way things were done. Kerry was just oblivious. He understood the forms of diplomacy, but was as inept at assessing the sincerity of the other side as a sucker at a used car lot. When it came to Syria, no one could forget his pandering to Assad, and his confused statements made an already incoherent administration policy seem like it was coming apart at its contradictory seams.
And Kerry couldn’t keep his big mouth shut. Before long the real job of the State Department spokespeople became explaining what Kerry had really meant. Kerry’s infamous ‘for and against’ gaffe had helped take down his presidential bid, but miscommunications in diplomacy are far more damaging. Most governments read comments at a more subtle and convoluted level than the United States does. Kerry’s statements, misstatements and corrections were interpreted as double-dealing by America.
Kerry’s sympathy for the Muslim Brotherhood alienated Egypt. His sympathy for Assad then alienated the Muslim Brotherhood. Iran became his only option because he had alienated everyone else.
Obama let him have his way on Israeli and even lent some of his personal prestige with a visit, but Kerry botched the negotiations by letting the terrorists walk all over him and then insisting that Israel do the same. Then he made the mess into an even bigger disaster by blaming Israel for the failed talks.
That incident reinforced Netanyahu’s conviction that Obama could not be trusted. Netanyahu had gone out on a limb for Kerry by making unpopular concessions while receiving nothing in return. And after all that, Kerry had turned around and stabbed him in the back. Not only had Kerry precluded further Israeli participation, but his promises on Iran were viewed as worthless in Jerusalem.
Obama stopped paying whatever little attention he had to Kerry. And Kerry became the man who totes potatoes back from Russia while imagining that he is changing the world. A clown in a diplomatic circus he is too oblivious to see.
The agenda isn’t set by Kerry. It isn’t even set by Obama. It’s set by anyone and everyone else.
Iran has gotten its way on the nuclear program. The Saudis have turned up their noses at Obama’s summit. Israel has led a loud protest campaign against the nuclear deal. The Saudis still insist on bombing Yemen. Iran insists on raising tensions with its expansionism around the region. The United States is unable to do anything about this because, aside from everything else, it no longer has any relationships abroad or credible voices to carry its message.
Kerry finally had the power to make the changes that he always wanted and proved once and for all that he is not a brilliant diplomat or a deep thinker, but a miserable failure.
And American diplomacy has failed with him.
Reprinted with author’s permission from Sultan Knish

Read more at http://www.breakingisraelnews.com/41176/whatever-happened-to-john-kerry-opinion/#SohTzGE4xmULAKrI.99

Pay To Play Seems To Be The Mantra Of The Clinton Foundation. Hillary Is Scum And If She Becomes President, It Will Only Get Worse.

Clinton Foundation Donors Got Weapons Deals From Hillary Clinton's State Department

466520736
Under Hillary Clinton, the State Department approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to 20 nations whose governments had given millions to the Clinton Foundation. Yana Paskova/Getty Images
Even by the standards of arms deals between the United States and Saudi Arabia, this one was enormous. A consortium of American defense contractors led by Boeing would deliver $29 billion worth of advanced fighter jets to the United States' oil-rich ally in the Middle East.
Israeli officials were agitated, reportedly complaining to the Obama administration that this substantial enhancement to Saudi air power risked disrupting the region's fragile balance of power. The deal appeared to collide with the State Department’s documented concerns about the repressive policies of the Saudi royal family.
But now, in late 2011, Hillary Clinton’s State Department was formally clearing the sale, asserting that it was in the national interest. At a press conference in Washington to announce the department’s approval, an assistant secretary of state, Andrew Shapiro, declared that the deal had been “a top priority” for Clinton personally. Shapiro, a longtime aide to Clinton since her Senate days, added that the “U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army have excellent relationships in Saudi Arabia.”
These were not the only relationships bridging leaders of the two nations. In the years before Hillary Clinton became secretary of state, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia contributed at least $10 million to the Clinton Foundation, the philanthropic enterprise she has overseen with her husband, former president Bill Clinton. Just two months before the deal was finalized, Boeing -- the defense contractor that manufactures one of the fighter jets the Saudis were especially keen to acquire, the F-15 -- contributed$900,000 to the Clinton Foundation, according to a company press release.
The Saudi deal was one of dozens of arms sales approved by Hillary Clinton’s State Department that placed weapons in the hands of governments that had also donated money to the Clinton family philanthropic empire, an International Business Times investigation has found.
Under Clinton's leadership, the State Department approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to 20 nations whose governments have given money to the Clinton Foundation, according to an IBTimes analysis of State Department and foundation data. That figure -- derived from the three full fiscal years of Clinton’s term as Secretary of State (from October 2010 to September 2012) -- represented nearly double the value of American arms sales made to the those countries and approved by the State Department during the same period of President George W. Bush’s second term.
The Clinton-led State Department also authorized $151 billion of separate Pentagon-brokered deals for 16 of the countries that donated to the Clinton Foundation, resulting in a 143 percent increase incompleted sales to those nations over the same time frame during the Bush administration. These extra sales were part of a broad increase in American military exports that accompanied Obama’s arrival in the White House.
American defense contractors also donated to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state and in some cases made personal payments to Bill Clinton for speaking engagements. Such firms and their subsidiaries were listed as contractors in $163 billion worth of Pentagon-negotiated deals that were authorized by the Clinton State Department between 2009 and 2012.
The State Department formally approved these arms sales even as many of the deals enhanced the military power of countries ruled by authoritarian regimes whose human rights abuses had been criticized by the department. AlgeriaSaudi ArabiaKuwait, the United Arab EmiratesOman and Qatar all donated to the Clinton Foundation and also gained State Department clearance to buy caches of American-made weapons even as the department singled them out for a range of alleged ills, from corruption to restrictions on civil liberties to violent crackdowns against political opponents.  
As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton also accused some of these countries of failing to marshal a serious and sustained campaign to confront terrorism. In a December 2009 State Department cable published by Wikileaks, Clinton complained of “an ongoing challenge to persuade Saudi officials to treat terrorist financing emanating from Saudi Arabia as a strategic priority.” She declared that “Qatar's overall level of CT cooperation with the U.S. is considered the worst in the region.” She said the Kuwaiti government was “less inclined to take action against Kuwait-based financiers and facilitators plotting attacks.” She noted that “UAE-based donors have provided financial support to a variety of terrorist groups.” All of these countries donated to the Clinton Foundation and received increased weapons export authorizations from the Clinton-run State Department.
Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Clinton Foundation did not respond to questions from the IBTimes.
In all, governments and corporations involved in the arms deals approved by Clinton’s State Department have delivered between $54 million and $141 million to the Clinton Foundation as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments to the Clinton family, according to foundation and State Department records. The Clinton Foundation publishes only a rough range of individual contributors’ donations, making a more precise accounting impossible.
Winning Friends, Influencing Clintons
Under federal law, foreign governments seeking State Department clearance to buy American-made arms are barred from making campaign contributions -- a prohibition aimed at preventing foreign interests from using cash to influence national security policy. But nothing prevents them from contributing to a philanthropic foundation controlled by policymakers.
Just before Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State, the Clinton Foundation signed an agreement generally obligating it to disclose to the State Department increases in contributions from its existing foreign government donors and any new foreign government donors. Those increases were to be reviewed by an official at the State Department and “as appropriate” the White House counsel’s office. According to available disclosures, officials at the State Department and White House raised no issues about potential conflicts related to arms sales.
During Hillary Clinton’s 2009 Senate confirmation hearings, Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., urged the Clinton Foundation to “forswear” accepting contributions from governments abroad. “Foreign governments and entities may perceive the Clinton Foundation as a means to gain favor with the secretary of state,” he said. The Clintons did not take Lugar’s advice. In light of the weapons deals flowing to Clinton Foundation donors, advocates for limits on the influence of money on government action now argue that Lugar was prescient in his concerns.
“The word was out to these groups that one of the best ways to gain access and influence with the Clintons was to give to this foundation,” said Meredith McGehee, policy director at the Campaign Legal Center, an advocacy group that seeks to tighten campaign finance disclosure rules. “This shows why having public officials, or even spouses of public officials, connected with these nonprofits is problematic.”
ADVERTISEMENT
Hillary Clinton’s willingness to allow those with business before the State Department to finance her foundation heightens concerns about how she would manage such relationships as president, said Lawrence Lessig, the director of Harvard University’s Safra Center for Ethics.
“These continuing revelations raise a fundamental question of judgment,” Lessig told IBTimes. “Can it really be that the Clintons didn't recognize the questions these transactions would raise? And if they did, what does that say about their sense of the appropriate relationship between private gain and public good?”
National security experts assert that the overlap between the list of Clinton Foundation donors and those with business before the the State Department presents a troubling conflict of interest.
While governments and defense contractors may not have made donations to the Clinton Foundation exclusively to influence arms deals, they were clearly “looking to build up deposits in the 'favor bank' and to be well thought of,” said Gregory Suchan, a 34-year State Department veteran who helped lead the agency’s oversight of arms transfers under the Bush administration.
As Hillary Clinton presses a campaign for the presidency, she has confronted sustained scrutiny into her family’s personal and philanthropic dealings, along with questions about whether their private business interests have colored her exercise of public authority. As IBTimes previously reported, Clinton switched from opposing an American free trade agreement with Colombia to supporting it after a Canadian energy and mining magnate with interests in that South American country contributed to the Clinton Foundation. IBTimes’ review of the Clintons’ annual financial disclosures also revealed that 13 companies lobbying the State Department paid Bill Clinton $2.5 million in speaking fees while Hillary Clinton headed the agency.
Questions about the nexus of arms sales and Clinton Foundation donors stem from the State Department’s role in reviewing the export of American-made weapons. The agency is charged with both licensing direct commercial sales by U.S. defense contractors to foreign governments and also approvingPentagon-brokered sales to those governments. Those powers are enshrined in a federal law that specifically designates the secretary of state as “responsible for the continuous supervision and general direction of sales” of arms, military hardware and services to foreign countries. In that role, Hillary Clinton was empowered to approve or reject deals for a broad range of reasons, from national security considerations to human rights concerns.
The State Department does not disclose which individual companies are involved in direct commercial sales, but its disclosure documents reveal that countries that donated to the Clinton Foundation saw a combined $75 billion increase in authorized commercial military sales under the three full fiscal years Clinton served, as compared to the first three full fiscal years of Bush’s second term.
The Clinton Foundation has not released an exact timetable of its donations, making it impossible to know whether money from foreign governments and defense contractors came into the organization before or after Hillary Clinton approved weapons deals that involved their interests. But news reportsdocument that at least seven foreign governments that received State Department clearance for American arms did donate to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was serving as secretary: Algeria, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Thailand, Norway and Australia.
Sales Flowed Despite Human Rights Concerns
Under a presidential policy directive signed by President Bill Clinton in 1995, the State Department is supposed to specifically take human rights records into account when deciding whether to approve licenses enabling foreign governments to purchase military equipment and services from American companies. Despite this, Hillary Clinton’s State Department increased approvals of such sales to nations that her agency sharply criticized for systematic human rights abuses.
In its 2010 Human Rights Report, Clinton’s State Department inveighed against Algeria’s government for imposing “restrictions on freedom of assembly and association” tolerating “arbitrary killing,” “widespread corruption,” and a “lack of judicial independence.” The report said the Algerian government “used security grounds to constrain freedom of expression and movement.”
That year, the Algerian government donated $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation and its lobbyists metwith the State Department officials who oversee enforcement of human rights policies. Clinton’s State Department the next year approved a one-year 70 percent increase in military export authorizations to the country. The increase included authorizations of almost 50,000 items classified as “toxicological agents, including chemical agents, biological agents and associated equipment” after the State Department did not authorize the export of any of such items to Algeria in the prior year.
During Clinton’s tenure, the State Department authorized at least $2.4 billion of direct military hardware and services sales to Algeria -- nearly triple such authorizations over the last full fiscal years during the Bush administration. The Clinton Foundation did not disclose Algeria’s donation until this year -- a violation of the ethics agreement it entered into with the Obama administration.
The monarchy in Qatar had similarly been chastised by the State Department for a raft of human rights abuses. But that country donated to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was running the State Department. During the three full budgetary years of her tenure, Qatar saw a 14-fold increase in State Department authorizations for direct commercial sales of military equipment and services, as compared to the same time period in Bush’s second term. The department also approved the Pentagon’s separate $750 million sale of multi-mission helicopters to Qatar. That deal would additionally employ as contractors three companies that have all supported the Clinton Foundation over the years: United Technologies, Lockheed Martin and General Electric.
Clinton foundation donor countries that the State Department criticized for human rights violations and that received weapons export authorizations did not respond to IBTimes’ questions.
That group of arms manufacturers -- along with Clinton Foundation donors Boeing, Honeywell, Hawker Beechcraft and their affiliates -- were together listed as contractors in 114 such deals while Clinton was secretary of state. NBC put Chelsea Clinton on its payroll as a network correspondent in November 2011, when it was still 49 percent owned by General Electric. A spokesperson for General Electric did not respond to questions from IBTimes.
The other companies all asserted that their donations had nothing to do with the arms export deals.
“Our contributions have aligned with our longstanding philanthropic commitments,” said Honeywell spokesperson Rob Ferris.
"Even The Appearance Of A Conflict"
During her Senate confirmation proceedings in 2009, Hillary Clinton declared that she and her husband were “committed to ensuring that his work does not present a conflict of interest with the duties of Secretary of State.” She pledged “to protect against even the appearance of a conflict of interest between his work and the duties of the Secretary of State” and said that “in many, if not most cases, it is likely that the Foundation or President Clinton will not pursue an opportunity that presents a conflict.”
Even so, Bill Clinton took in speaking fees reaching $625,000 at events sponsored by entities that were dealing with Hillary Clinton’s State Department on weapons issues.
In 2011, for example, the former president was paid $175,000 by the Kuwait America Foundation to be the guest of honor and keynote speaker at its annual awards gala, which was held at the home of the Kuwaiti ambassador. Ben Affleck spoke at the event, which featured a musical performance by Grammy-award winner Michael Bolton. The gala was emceed by Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe show. Boeing was listed as a sponsor of the event, as were the embassies of the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar -- the latter two of which had donated to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state.
The speaking fee from the Kuwait America Foundation to Bill Clinton was paid in the same time frame as a series of deals Hillary Clinton’s State Department was approving between the Kuwaiti government and Boeing. Months before the gala, the Department of Defense announced that Boeing would be the prime contractor on a $693 million deal, cleared by Hillary Clinton’s State Department, to provide the Kuwaiti government with military transport aircraft. A year later, a group sponsored in part by Boeing would pay Bill Clinton another $250,000 speaking fee.
“Boeing has sponsored this major travel event, the Global Business Travel Association, for several years, regardless of its invited speakers,” Gordon Johndroe, a Boeing spokesperson, told IBTimes. Johndroe said Boeing’s support for the Clinton Foundation was “a transparent act of compassion and an investment aimed at aiding the long-term interests and hopes of the Haitian people” following a devastating earthquake.
Boeing was one of three companies that helped deliver money personally to Bill Clinton while benefiting from weapons authorizations issued by Hillary Clinton’s State Department. The others were Lockheed and the financial giant Goldman Sachs.
Lockheed is a member of the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt, which paid Bill Clinton $250,000 to speak at an event in 2010. Three days before the speech, Hillary Clinton’s State Department approved two weapons export deals in which Lockheed was listed as the prime contractor. Over the course of 2010, Lockheed was a contractor on 17 Pentagon-brokered deals that won approval from the State Department. Lockheed told IBTimes that its support for the Clinton Foundation started in 2010, while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state.
“Lockheed Martin has periodically supported one individual membership in the Clinton Global Initiative since 2010,” said company spokesperson Katherine Trinidad. “Membership benefits included attendance at CGI annual meetings, where we participated in working groups focused on STEM, workforce development and advanced manufacturing.”
In April 2011, Goldman Sachs paid Bill Clinton $200,000 to speak to “approximately 250 high level clients and investors” in New York, according to State Department records obtained by Judicial Watch. Two months later, the State Department approved a $675 million foreign military sale involving Hawker Beechcraft -- a company that was then part-owned by Goldman Sachs. As part of the deal, Hawker Beechcraft would provide support to the government of Iraq to maintain a fleet of aircraft used for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. Goldman Sachs has also contributed at least $250,000 to the Clinton Foundation, according to donation records.
“There is absolutely no connection among all the points that you have raised regarding our firm,” said Andrew Williams, a spokesperson for Goldman Sachs.
Federal records show that ethics staffers at the State Department approved the payments to Bill Clinton from Goldman Sachs, and the Lockheed- and Boeing-sponsored groups without objection, even though the firms had major stakes in the agency’s weapons export decisions.
Stephen Walt, a Harvard University professor of international affairs, told IBTimes that the intertwining financial relationships between the Clintons, defense contractors and foreign governments seeking weapons approvals is “a vivid example of a very big problem -- the degree to which conflicts of interest have become endemic.”
“It has troubled me all along that the Clinton Foundation was not being more scrupulous about who it would take money from and who it wouldn’t,” he said. “American foreign policy is better served if people responsible for it are not even remotely suspected of having these conflicts of interest. When George Marshall was secretary of state, nobody was worried about whether or not he would be distracted by donations to a foundation or to himself. This wasn’t an issue. And that was probably better.”