The Real Clinton Foundation Revelation – The New York Times

By RICHARD W. PAINTER, AUG. 31, 2016

“When I was the chief White House ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush, I asked many prospective administration officials if they would sell stock in companies, give up stock options, step down from nonprofit boards or make other painful choices to enter public service. Some balked. I told them that someone more important than I was, perhaps the president or the White House chief of staff, would ask them, “Do you want this job or don’t you?”

I know about the difficult questions, and entanglements, that crop up in public service. I believe that Hillary Clinton has asked and successfully answered those questions as they pertain to the Clinton Foundation. There is little if any evidence that federal ethics laws were broken by Mrs. Clinton or anyone working for her at the State Department in their dealings with the foundation. Unfortunately, the foundation is still fuel for Mrs. Clinton’s persistent critics.These critics have yet to point to any provision of the federal statutes or ethics regulations that was violated by Secretary Clinton or her staff in their dealings with the foundation and its principals, agents and donors. Was there favoritism? Probably, yes. But laws were not broken. If favoritism by political appointees toward outside persons and organizations were illegal, the United States government would be quite different than it is today.”

Source: The Real Clinton Foundation Revelation – The New York Times

Mr. Painter writes he will support Hillary Clinton, and that she has done nothing wrong at the foundation, but that the Clintons should all stop working there for the rest of their lives. This is a terrible idea, and after a profound analysis. The world will be a better place if the Clintons all work at their foundation after Hillary’s presidency ends. The Clinton Foundation is doing great works around the world.

Here is a great comment I endorse.

dhonig

Indianapolis 4 hours ago

“If only there were such concern about A Thousand Points of Light, which President George H.W. Bush ran while he was President, or the American Red Cross, run by Elizabeth Dole while Bob Dole was the nominee, or any of the other charitable foundations doing great work by major political figures. But there wasn’t, because this isn’t about favoritism, or access, or anything other than The Clinton Rules, which say “anything done by a Clinton is bad.”

As for the “it’s really okay but the optics are terrible” argument shoved down our throat daily by the media I ask, who but you is creating those terrible optics, breathlessly reporting insinuation in the headline and lede, and occasionally noting, in the seventh paragraph or page 9, “but they did nothing illegal or different than anybody else, and they saved 10 million lives in the process?” “

 

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The Unlimited Power of Ocean Winds – The New York Times

‘The first offshore wind farm in American waters, near Block Island, R.I., was completed this month. With just five turbines, the farm won’t make much of a dent in the nation’s reliance on fossil fuels, but it shows the promise this renewable energy source could have. When the turbines start spinning in November, they will power the island, which currently relies on diesel generators, and will also send electricity to the rest of Rhode Island.

Putting windmills offshore, where the wind is stronger and more reliable than on land, could theoretically provide about four times the amount of electricity as is generated on the American grid today from all sources. This resource could be readily accessible to areas on the coasts, where 53 percent of Americans live.This technology is already used extensively in Britain, Denmark, Germany and other European countries, which have in the last 15 years invested billions of dollars in offshore wind farms in the North, Baltic and Irish Seas. In 2013, offshore wind accounted for 1.5 percent of all electricity used in the European Union, with all wind sources contributing 9.9 percent of electricity. By contrast, wind power made up only 4.7 percent of electricity in the United States last year.”

Source: The Unlimited Power of Ocean Winds – The New York Times

The Alt-Right Is All Wrong, by Maureen Dowd – The New York Times. Hillary Hater needs cure.

“RENO, Nev. — HILLARY didn’t hang her head and cry, after she shot a man in Reno just to watch him die.She went outside with a big smile and sampled chocolate truffles served on silver and gold trays by a local sweets shop.After getting steadily bolder at rallies about puncturing her former friend Donald Trump, Clinton channeled Johnny Cash’s song and delivered a coup de grâce so devastating that commentators predicted it will be known simply as the Reno speech. A senior citizen in the crowd raised his fist as he passed the press pen at Truckee Meadows Community College and used a vulgarism to brag that Hillary had kicked Trump in a highly sensitive place.”

Source: The Alt-Right Is All Wrong – The New York Times

Maureen Dowd has really gone overboard in defense of the oranged-haired manatee of hatred, and with her insatiable hatred of Hillary Clinton. Great Comments against Dowd follow the over the top opinion piece.
After Christine McMorrow joined the pile ontop of Maureen Dowd, with her usual unkind words about Hillary’s warts, I wrote in reply: Hillary Clinton has made some whopper mistakes, but who hasn’t?
I love Hillary Clinton, and continue to support her enthusiastically. She is smarter, more prepared, and more concerned with the oppressed and our endangered environment than most politicians and US presidents. I do understand the hatred though. Smart, articulate and powerful women were burned as witches for centuries.

New York’s Disappearing Storefronts – The New York Times

“I’m far from the first person to notice the rapid deterioration of the city’s street-level fabric. A writer who uses the pseudonym Jeremiah Moss has been bemoaning the problem on his blog Vanishing New York since 2007. His organization, #SaveNYC, is trying to hold back the tide through awareness and grass-roots lobbying. You can join in.

Mr. Moss has called for curbs on tax breaks for chain stores, laws ensuring reasonable rent increases and fines on landlords who leave their storefronts empty. He’s also pushing for a cultural preservation program, which would protect businesses that have contributed significantly to a neighborhood’s social fabric.”

Source: New York’s Disappearing Storefronts – The New York Times

Close My Tax Loophole, by Alan Patricof – The New York Times

“My fellow venture capitalists and private equity investors are paying close attention to the heated election-year rhetoric about the future of “carried interest,” which is the performance fee we charge to manage other people’s money. Carried interest is the fund manager’s share of the earnings from a profitable investment, normally paid on top of a much smaller management fee.

It’s also a subject of increasing political disfavor. Over the past year, every major presidential candidate — from Jeb Bush and Donald J. Trump to Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders — has called for an end to a tax loophole that exists for carried interest. Mrs. Clinton has vowed that if Congress does not close the loophole, as president she would ask the Treasury Department to use its regulatory authority to do so.Ultimately, the controversy has to do with tax fairness, or the lack thereof. Instead of being taxed as wages or commissions earned, carried interest is currently taxed as if it were a personal investment, or capital gains. This gives us a significant tax advantage since the capital gains tax rate is about 50 percent lower than the top rate on ordinary income.”

Source: Close My Tax Loophole – The New York Times

Here are good comments from the NYT:

Thomas Zaslavsky

is a trusted commenter Binghamton, N.Y. 8 hours ago

“Mr. Patricof is on the right track, for which I thank him. Has he purchased any Congresspersons that he can get to vote his way? I doubt it. He might even be too honest. I expect no change in the foreseeable future.

I would ask Mr. Patricof to consider one more step: eliminating the favorable treatment of capital gains (both in income tax and estate tax). We don’t actually need to give investors extra incentive. Investment is going along just as one would expect in an economy that is demand-limited. Moreover, most “investment” is just shuffling money around from one security to another; it doesn’t constitute productive investment. It isn’t all speculation, but it doesn’t contribute to investment in the real economy.

Finally, our financial sector is vastly overblown and paying rent (in the economics sense) in huge quantities by skimming off the flow of other people’s money. That has to be stopped. Good tax policy can do it. Forbidding companies from deducting from net income the cost of handing out bonuses and other grossly exaggerated compensation would be a starting point.”

NYT Pick

Nancy Parker

Englewood, FL 4 hours ago

The excess and unfairness and income inequality in this country is so bad that wealthy people of conscious like Mr. Patricof – who suggests this first step – and Mr. Buffet and friends pledging billions of what they refer to as their “personal” fortunes”, are recognizing the obscenity of it.

People insist on saying that because some people are rich does not make others poor, but a snapshot of time, with a finite amount of wealth, shows that the more held by the top 1% means the less to be shared by the bottom 99% and with everyone all the way down fighting for as much as they can get, guess how much is left for the bottom 1%.

A country that can support obscene wealth at the top can afford to make sure that people who put in a 40 hour week make enough money to live in dignity in their communities – and to dream of a future for themselves and their families.

And that same country can afford to make sure that those people who hurt, physically and mentally, who are not capable of being trained as IT techs, who in a past world could have worked on cars, or worked on a factory line, or taken in kids to watch, or punched a cash register – all jobs either on their way out or requiring licensing and/or tech training now, have something useful to do and a wage to earn or financial assistance.

We do have to “change”. But not into the hateful, racist, isolationist, blaming culture Trump would “change” us to. Now, more than ever, we need to kind, innovative, and cooperative.

NYT Pick

MGrantS

Chicago, IL 4 hours ago

Well said. But capitol gains should also be taxed as ordinary income. The idea that we need to give tax breaks to the wealthy to encourage investment in the market is ludicrous. Trickle down economics doesn’t work. What investor is walking away from a good investment due to tax obligations and why is it the taxpayers obligation to subsidize their risk? Income is income.

david

is a trusted commenter ny 7 hours ago

Taxing carried interest as ordinary income is an excellent idea.
This tax preference costs about 10 B /year.
However not taxing capital gains and all dividends as ordinary income costs about 160 B /year.
Not taxing unrealized capital gains at death[step up in basis] costs about
43 B /year.
About 400 B in tax due under the present tax code is not collected.

see http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/03/17/business/tax-breaks-mostly…

http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21578387-irs-has-behaved-bad…

Conservatives will complain that I am assuming that dividend and cap gain income is the government’s money and not the property of the citizen.
But the same could be said about wage income.
People with the same income [no matter the source] should pay the same total tax.

NYT Pick

Peter K

NJ 4 hours ago

What a novel idea that people who move money around for a living, and get incredibly rich in the process, should pay at least the same as the rest of us whose sweat equity, toil and tears earn a fraction as much.

I’m guessing that Mr. Patricof will be vilified by his own, as it’s hard to imagine very many of his fellow investors being so altruistic. No, so patriotic and fair-minded, as to admit openly that they are getting away with cheating the rest of society by not paying their fair share.

The blame however, rest squarely on lawmakers who allow this to continue, as they shamelessly favor their big donor corporate masters over their constituents.

National Monuments From Mr. Obama – The New York Times

“Bill Clinton was like a kid with a new toy when, fairly late in his presidency, and to the great annoyance of Congress, he discovered his powers under the Antiquities Act to create national monuments with a stroke of the presidential pen — and then busily set about protecting areas of great scenic, environmental or historical significance that might otherwise be ignored by Congress or threatened by development. President Obama, to the delight of conservationists, is now very much on the same schedule.

On Wednesday, a day before the 100th birthday of the National Park Service, Mr. Obama designated 87,500 acres of Maine’s north woods as a national monument, to be added to the park system and protected by the service against commercial exploitation. The transaction cost the government nothing. The land belonged to Roxanne Quimby, who lived in the Maine woods before making a fortune as a co-founder of Burt’s Bees and accumulating property with the idea of turning it into a national park. Her family also provided an endowment of $20 million for maintenance.”

Source: National Monuments From Mr. Obama – The New York Times

Anne Frank Today Is a Syrian Girl, by Nicholas Kristof – The New York Times

“AMSTERDAM — On April 30, 1941, a Jewish man here in Amsterdam wrote a desperate letter to an American friend, pleading for help emigrating to the United States.“U.S.A. is the only country we could go to,” he wrote. “It is for the sake of the children mainly.”

A volunteer found that plea for help in 2005 when she was sorting old World War II refugee files in New York City. It looked like countless other files, until she saw the children’s names.“Oh my God,” she said, “this is the Anne Frank file.” Along with the letter were many others by Otto Frank, frantically seeking help to flee Nazi persecution and obtain a visa to America, Britain or Cuba — but getting nowhere because of global indifference to Jewish refugees.We all know that the Frank children were murdered by the Nazis, but what is less known is the way Anne’s fate was sealed by a callous fear of refugees, among the world’s most desperate people.

Sound familiar?

President Obama vowed to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees — a tiny number, just one-fifth of 1 percent of the total — and Hillary Clinton suggested taking more. Donald Trump has repeatedly excoriated them for a willingness to welcome Syrians and has called for barring Muslims. Fears of terrorism have left Muslim refugees toxic in the West, and almost no one wants them any more than anyone wanted a German-Dutch teenager named Anne.”

Source: Anne Frank Today Is a Syrian Girl – The New York Times

Hillary Clinton Says ‘Radical Fringe’ Is Taking Over G.O.P. Under Donald Trump – The New York Times

“RENO, Nev. — Hillary Clinton on Thursday delivered a blistering denunciation of Donald J. Trump’s embrace of the “alt-right” political philosophy, presenting his choice as an especially ominous turn in a presidential election full of them.In her most direct critique yet connecting the Trump campaign to white nationalists and the conservative fringe, Mrs. Clinton is framing Mr. Trump’s run as unprecedented in modern politics.“He is taking hate groups mainstream and helping a radical fringe take over the Republican Party,” she said.

Asserting that a racially-charged and “paranoid fringe” had always existed in politics, she said, “it’s never had the nominee of a major party stoking it, encouraging it, and giving it a national megaphone. Until now.”The speech, at a community college here, comes one week after Mr. Trump named Stephen K. Bannon, the executive chairman of Breitbart News, as his campaign chief. Mr. Bannon has eagerly described the site as “the platform for the alt-right” — a loosely defined and contested term often associated with white nationalist and anti-immigrant sentiment.

Source: Hillary Clinton Says ‘Radical Fringe’ Is Taking Over G.O.P. Under Donald Trump – The New York Times

The Day Peruvian Women Rebelled – The New York Times

“On Aug. 13, Lima’s downtown streets overflowed with women. Many of the abuse survivors, some in wheelchairs because of their partners’ beatings, headed the march and read their testimonies in front of the palace that many in Peru don’t call “of Justice” but “of injustice.” There were also huge demonstrations in Cusco, Trujillo and Iquitos; and in 30 capital cities throughout the world. We now have an app that allows women to report harassment and assaults using their cellphones.”

Source: The Day Peruvian Women Rebelled – The New York Times

The Real Crime Is What’s Not Done, by Chase Madar – The New York Times

“The latest criminal charges of public officials in the contamination of the Flint, Mich., water supply seem righteous. After so much government ineptitude with such hideous consequences — tens of thousands of Flint residents poisoned; elevated blood lead levels in nearly 5 percent of the city’s children, many with possibly irreversible brain damage — surely these criminal charges will bring, at long last, justice for Flint.

Not really. Though these sorts of charges fulfill an emotional need for retribution and are of great benefit to district attorneys on the make, they are seldom more than a mediagenic booby prize. Prosecutorial responses fill the void left when health and safety regulations succumb to corporate and political pressure.

Take the collapse at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia that killed 29 miners in 2010. Flouting safety regulations was an integral part of the corporate culture of the mine’s owner, Massey Energy, and last year its chief executive, Donald L. Blankenship, was convicted of a misdemeanor carrying a one-year sentence. Although some portrayed this as a blow for social justice, it’s difficult to see how it had much impact on mine safety.Far more significant was the West Virginia Legislature’s passage last year of the Creating Coal Jobs and Safety Act, the first statutory loosening of mine safety standards in state history. While on its deregulatory binge last year, the state almost entirely rolled back aboveground chemical-tank safety standards enacted in response to the Elk River contamination disaster of 2014 – which made the water of 300,000 people undrinkable.”

Source: The Real Crime Is What’s Not Done – The New York Times