Obama gets letter from Boehner on Syria

Editor’s Note – John Boehner, Speaker of the House formally challenged President Obama for answers regarding any impending military efforts against the Syrian Regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

His 14 questions are not enough though. SUA wants the President to identify who he is backing in the civil war, and specifically tell us why his administration has never contacted the largest faction of the rebels, the FSA, the nationalistic and sectarian majority.

Far too much attention has been paid to the Muslim Brotherhood backed factions, and the media stays focused on the Jihadists like al Qaeda and the Nusra Brigade, but why is no one but SUA concerned that the most western leaning and largest faction is ignored.tomahawk-cruise-missile-bosnian-genocide

In the past, Obama has side-stepped the Congress at every juncture, especially regarding the Libya action. He was fast to join his comrades on the left when they went after Bush, but now, that song has changed.

The message Boehner also needs to send to Obama is that Congress represents the people, the people who voted for them from their respective districts. So in effect, Obama is not only avoiding Congress, he is avoiding the people, and what about the UN? Bush at least went to the UN, and Congress.

Why are only a few asking MG Vallely about his contacts and recent trips to Syria to speak with the FSA leadership?

John Boehner Asks Obama 14 Questions About Syria

From Business Insider

House Speaker John Boehner sent a strongly worded letter to President Obama on Wednesday, urging him to provide answers to pressing questions about possible military action in Syria.

“I have conferred with the chairmen of the national security committees who have received initial outreach from senior Administration officials, and while the outreach has been appreciated, it is apparent … that the outreach has, to date, not reached the level of substantive consultation,” Boehner wrote in the letter.

Here are the 14 specific questions that Boehner wants answered:

  1. What standard did the Administration use to determine that this scope of chemical weapons use warrants potential military action?
  2. Does the Administration consider such a response to be precedent-setting, should further humanitarian atrocities occur?
  3. What result is the Administration seeking from its response?
  4. What is the intended effect of the potential military strikes?
  5. If potential strikes do not have the intended effect, will further strikes be conducted?Obama-Plans-Full-Scale-War-on-Syria
  6. Would the sole purpose of a potential strike be to send a warning to the Assad regime about the use of chemical weapons? Or would a potential strike be intended to help shift the security momentum away from the regime and toward the opposition?
  7. If it remains unclear whether the strikes compel the Assad regime to renounce and stop the use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people, or if President Assad escalates their usage, will the Administration contemplate escalatory military action?
  8. Will your Administration conduct strikes if chemical weapons are utilized on a smaller scale?
  9. Would you consider using the United States military to respond to situations or scenarios that do not directly involve the use or transfer of chemical weapons?
  10. Assuming the targets of potential military strikes are restricted to the Assad inner circle and military leadership, does the Administration have contingency plans in case the strikes disrupt or throw into confusion the command and control of the regime’s weapons stocks?
  11. Does the Administration have contingency plans if the momentum does shift away from the regime but toward terrorist organizations fighting to gain and maintain control of territory?
  12. Does the Administration have contingency plans to deter or respond should Assad retaliate against U.S. interests or allies in the region?
  13. Does the Administration have contingency plans should the strikes implicate foreign power interests, such as Iran or Russia?
  14. Does the Administration intend to submit a supplemental appropriations request to Congress, should the scope and duration of the potential military strikes exceed the initial planning?

In addition to Boehner, other lawmakers have raised concerns about Obama’s level of consultation on any military action, which appears imminent. More than 100 lawmakers — 97 Republicans and 17 Democrats — signed a letter spearheaded by Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.) that urges Obama to seek Congressional authorization before any strike.

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NSA Review – WH Names the 'Fox'

Editor’s Note – From the ‘Who Do You Trust’ file, a review is slated to look into the broadening NSA Scandal. When the controlling legal authority investigates itself, how can we trust the outcome, especially when Cass Sunstein and other WH insiders are involved. You be the judge, is the ‘fox guarding the hen house’?

White House Picks Panel to Review NSA Programs

By Mike Levine – ABC News/Yahoo

A group of veteran security experts and former White House officials has been selected to conduct a full review of U.S. surveillance programs and other secret government efforts disclosed over recent months, ABC News has learned.

The recent acting head of the CIA, Michael Morell, will be among what President Obama called a “high-level group of outside experts” scrutinizing the controversial programs.

Joining Morell on the panel will be former White House officials Richard Clarke, Cass Sunstein and Peter Swire. An announcement is expected Thursday, a source with knowledge of the matter told ABC News’ Jon Karl.

Samantha Power with Obama and Cass Sunstein
Samantha Power with Obama and Cass Sunstein

The group will “consider how we can maintain the trust of the people [and] how we can make sure that there absolutely is no abuse,” President Obama said two weeks ago when announcing the group’s formation, without identifying who would be on the panel.

The identities of the panelists have been a topic of speculation online, raising questions over whether the group would truly be independent in its review. The White House has insisted the group has full independence.

The president made clear that – in addition to looking at potential abuses by the program – the group will also assess whether the U.S. government “appropriately” accounts for “insider threats” and unauthorized disclosures.

“[Recent] technological advances have brought with them both great opportunities and significant risks for our intelligence community,” President Obama said.

In 60 days, the review panel will provide an interim report to the director of national intelligence, who will then brief the president on the panel’s findings.

A final report and subsequent recommendations will then be provided by the end of the year “so that we can move forward with a better understanding of how these programs impact our security, our privacy and our foreign policy,” President Obama said two weeks ago.

Morell was acting director of the CIA until March, when John Brennan was sworn in as director.

Morell has worked at the CIA since 1980, holding a variety of senior positions, according to the CIA. In fact, he was serving as President George W. Bush’s intelligence briefer on the day of the Sept. 11, 2011, attacks.

fox_henhouse_ObamaScandals

Richard Clarke served the last three presidents as a senior White House adviser, including as national coordinator for security and counterterrorism, according to his private security firm’s website. He became a vocal critic of the Bush administration, causing consternation in some Republican circles.

He has been an on-air consultant on terrorism for ABC News.

Swire recently became a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology. At the start of the Obama administration, he served as a special assistant to the president for economic policy and, during the Clinton administration, he served as the chief counselor for privacy.

Sunstein left the White House a year ago as President Obama’s so-called “regulatory czar,” returning to Harvard Law School, according to the Center for American Progress, where Sunstein is also a senior fellow. As President Obama’s administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Sunstein’s post was considered one of the most powerful in Washington, given its ability to shape how laws were implemented.

Word of the group members came only hours after President Obama’s intelligence advisers mounted a new defense against what they see as a misperception that the NSA is engaged in an “intentional or a wholesale breach of the privacy of Americans.”

There is a system in place at NSA “to rat on ourselves when we don’t get it right and to fix it when we don’t get it right,” a senior intelligence official told reporters Wednesday.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which oversees all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, revealed Wednesday that errors by the NSA meant that tens of thousands of emails from Americans not tied to terrorism were collected and archived for years.

Still, U.S. officials have insisted that the NSA program at issue collects phone numbers, email addresses and other “metadata” related to communications – but no content of those communications.

“We don’t even capture … any conversations, so there’s no ability – no possibility – of listening to conversations through what we get in this program,” a top Justice Department official recently told lawmakers.

Meanwhile, in announcing the review panel’s formation two weeks ago, President Obama continued to defend the NSA programs as a matter of national security.

“We need new thinking for a new era,” he said. “We now have to unravel terrorist plots by finding a needle in the haystack of global telecommunications.”

ABC News’ James Gordon Meek, Steve Portnoy and Ann Compton contributed to this report.

Selling ObamaCare – 'Campaign 2013' Kicks Off

Editor’s Note – Here comes Campaign 2013. No, not an actual election campaign, but one just the same. The topics: Egypt, Health Care, the Federal Budget, the Debt Ceiling, Corporate Taxes, and other “Cornerstone” issues. Of course, it all comes as we come close to the brink as usual.

Its time to go back out on the campaign trail, first to New York and Pennsylvania, then much more, all after six rounds of golf on Martha’s Vineyard with a who’s who list of cronies as Egypt was melting down. Instead of leading, and working with both parties in both branches of Congress, he is forcing the hand of his opponents and preaching to the people how Congress wont work with him. When will the rest of America see that the ’emperor has no clothes’?300px-Barack_Obama_playing_golf2

Part of this tour will involve much rhetoric involving ObamaCare and the attempt by some in Congress to cut off the spending on it. But if it was such a great plan, why is their such a need to sell it again to the masses? Easy, America didoes not want it, and never did.

He will accuse them of wanting to shut down the government but we all know it really is more his style – brinkmanship. But now, the administration is going to be spending hundreds of millions to sell a law already on the books – wait, the law that keeps getting delayed unilaterally by the President, illegally, and the law that has missed 50% of its deadlines already.

$700 Million?, write a song to win a prize for selling ObamaCare, and more, its like a day time TV game show now:

It will make you stronger. It will give you peace of mind and make you feel like a winner. Health insurance is what the whole country has been talking about, so don’t be left out.

Sound like a sales pitch? Get ready for a lot more. As President Barack Obama’s health care law moves from theory to reality in the coming months, its success may hinge on whether the best minds in advertising can reach one of the hardest-to-find parts of the population: people without health coverage.

The campaign won’t come cheap: The total amount to be spent nationally on publicity, marketing and advertising will be at least $684 million, according to data compiled The Associated Press from federal and state sources. (Read the rest here.)

But wait, there is more fun to anticipate. It just can’t stop releasing putrid, rank odors as it rolls out. Look what our friends at Judicial Watch have uncovered – potential corruption in ObamaCare? Cronies getting tons of money to ‘facilitate’, even ACORN:

Obamacare: Multi-Million Dollar Corruption Central

By Judicial Watch

In a frightening glimpse of the potential for corruption in Obamacare, the government is giving dozens of leftist organizations $67 million to help people “navigate” health insurance exchanges that haven’t even been fully established.

The “navigators” receiving the taxpayer dollars will help people shop for and enroll in plans that will eventually be available on the new federal government market places. The so-called navigators will perform their duties in a “culturally competent manner,” according to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the agency doling out the cash.

Obamacare-PigThe money will be divided between 105 mostly leftist groups (surprise, surprise) that will help the uninsured sign up for coverage and understand their options. Here are a few examples of the community organizations receiving navigator grants from the government; an Arizona nonprofit called “Campesinos Sin Fronteras” that provides services to farm workers and low-income Hispanics; a south Florida legal group that will provide navigators in “racially, ethnically, linguistically, culturally and socioeconomically diverse” communities; three Planned Parenthood branches—in Iowa, Montana and New Hampshire—got a combined $655,000 to serve as navigators.

Here are a few other grant recipients worth mentioning; the Arab Community Center in Michigan is getting nearly $300,000 to reach out to and engage uninsured community members through “multicultural” media. A Black Chamber of Commerce in South Carolina is receiving north of $230,000 to “provide outreach around new coverage options” and a Hispanic aging group in Texas will receive over $646,000 help members that are “socially isolated due to cultural and linguistic differences.”

It’s tough not to see that there is a huge racial component in the administration’s efforts. The government is spending big bucks targeting minorities in a seemingly desperate effort to salvage the president’s hostile takeover of the nation’ healthcare system. There is another factor in all of this; for Obama’s healthcare law to succeed millions of people must purchase insurance through the government’s new markets and it doesn’t appear like that’s going to happen.

That helps explain the frantic, multi-million-dollar outreach effort announced this month. HHS has already launched a 24-hour consumer call center in 150 languages. Additionally, the administration has recruited museums and libraries to help out with signing up people for healthcare and community health centers are sharing $150 million in federal grants to help enroll people. The $67 million navigator initiative is simply the latest investment.

“Navigators will be among the many resources available to help consumers understand their coverage options in the Marketplace,” says Obama HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “A network of volunteers on the ground in every state – health care providers, business leaders, faith leaders, community groups, advocates, and local elected officials – can help spread the word and encourage their neighbors to get enrolled.”

Also, this week HHS announced a contest that awards cash prizes—$30,000 in all—to those who create hip videos promoting Obamacare. The goal behind that brilliant idea is to inform young people about health insurance coverage under the new law. After all, Obamacare promises to make health care “more affordable and accessible for 19 million uninsured young adults across the country,” according to an HHS.

There seems to be no limit to the administration’s costly plan to make this disastrous healthcare law work. Just this week the president’s hometown newspaper, the Chicago Tribune, blasted Obamacare in an editorial that referred to the measure as a “clumsy monstrosity.” The bottom line, according to the editorial: “Let’s delay and rewrite this ill-conceived law.”

'Stuxnet' Leaks Lead Straight to White House

Editor’s Note – Eventually, every story about leaks keeps ending up back at the White House itself. Why, because everything they do has a political goal in mind, especially when they need to ‘spike’ another football.

As we have been saying for years now, the current administration is the team that will say and do anything to achieve an end. Not only do they ‘spike the football’, repeatedly, they conflate the event to be solely as a result of their prowess. Allies be damned, sources get burned, methods are exposed, and it matters little, unless it sullies their image. This applies to all things domestic as well.

The Constitution and our nation-of-laws are just something to avoid, circumvent, or just ignore. If that cannot be achieved, they create or contrive some loophole, set up a list of talking points, couch it in some greater good, and then  release their minions and sycophants to the talking head circuit.

Meanwhile, they turn the tables on their detractors and accuse everyone else of the same thing. Then the willing media echos these talking points, forgets to do any investigative journalism, or simply ignores the issue.

In classified cyberwar against Iran, trail of Stuxnet leak leads to White House

By Rowan Scarborough – The Washington Times

The Obama administration provided a New York Times reporter exclusive access to a range of high-level national security officials for a book that divulged highly classified information on a U.S. cyberwar on Iran’s nuclear program, internal State Department emails show.

The information in the 2012 book by chief Washington correspondent David E. Sanger has been the subject of a yearlong Justice Department criminal investigation: The FBI is hunting for those who leaked details to Mr. Sanger about a U.S.-Israeli covert cyberoperation to infect Iran’s nuclear facilities with a debilitating computer worm known as Stuxnet.

New York Times story adapted from the book, “Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power,” quotes participants in secret White House meetings discussing plans to unleash Stuxnet on Iran.

StuxnetExplained

The scores of State Department emails from the fall of 2011 to the spring of 2012 do not reveal which officials told Mr. Sanger, but they do show an atmosphere of cooperation within the administration for a book generally favorable toward, but not uncritical of, President Obama. For example:

“I’m getting a bit concerned about the pace of our interviews — or lack of pace, to be more precise — for the book,” Mr. Sanger said in an email Oct. 30, 2011, to Michael Hammer, a senior State Department public affairs official. “The White House is steaming away; I’ve seen [National Security Adviser Thomas E.] Donilon many times and a raft of people below. Doing well at the Pentagon. But on the list I sent you starting on Sept. 12 we’ve scheduled nothing, and chapters are getting into final form.”

Mr. Sanger’s book debuted in June 2012 and brought an immediate call from Republicans to investigate the leaks. They charged that administration officials jeopardized an ongoing secret cyberattack by tipping off Iran’s hard-line Islamic regime about war plans.

They also charged that Obama aides were leaking sensitive materials on other issues, such as the Navy SEAL-CIA raid to kill Osama bin Laden, to burnish Mr. Obama’s credentials as commander in chief as the 2012 election approached.

The nonprofit Freedom Watch acquired the State Department emails via a Freedom of Information Act request filed days after the book was published. Larry Klayman, its director, said State at first had told him it did not have any documents. He then filed suit in federal court.

In December, U.S. District Court Judge Robert L. Wilkins ordered State to turn over emails relating to its cooperation with Mr. Sanger.

Officials line up

“When you read the totality of those documents, it’s a super-close relationship they are furthering with Sanger,” Mr. Klayman said. “They were literally force-feeding him.”

He said State has yet to provide transcripts of the Sanger interviews.

“I think the thrust of this is this requires a significant investigation,” Mr. Klayman said, adding that he has provided the emails to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

State Department spokesman did not respond to emails from The Washington Times requesting comment.

In one email, a public affairs official said Mr. Sanger wanted to discuss “Cybersecurity — particularly if there’s a legal framework being developed on the offensive side.” Stuxnet would be an example of an offensive cyberweapon.cyberwar_WH

Mr. Sanger’s nudging seemed to do the trick. Over the next several months, Mr. Hammer, the senior public affairs official, arranged interviews with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and a roster of senior aides.

By March 2012, Mr. Sanger had spoken with Deputy Secretary of State William Burns; Deputy Chief of Staff Jake Sullivan, who is now Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s national security adviser; Robert Einhorn, then a special adviser on arms control; Harold Hongju Koh, State’s legal adviser; and others.

In December 2011, Mr. Hammer sent an email summarizing Mr. Sanger’s reporting and reproducing a story from the previous month headlined “America’s Deadly Dynamics with Iran,” which reported on the Stuxnet computer worm.

It is not unusual for authors to request and sometimes win access to administration officials. Mr. Sanger’s access, however, is notable in that its subsequent disclosures prompted an FBI investigation in which agents have interviewed government officials.

The worm on the loose

Mr. Sanger wrote a June 1, 2012, article on Stuxnet that was adapted from his book, which debuted later that week. In the story, he quoted “participants” in White House meetings on whether to continue attacking Iran with Stuxnet, which somehow had broken free into the Internet.

“At a tense meeting in the White House Situation Room within days of the worm’s ‘escape,’ Mr. Obama, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and the director of the Central Intelligence Agency at the time, Leon E. Panetta, considered whether America’s most ambitious attempt to slow the progress of Iran’s nuclear efforts had been fatally compromised,” the story said.

“Should we shut this thing down?” Mr. Obama asked, according to members of the president’s national security team who were in the room.”

Republicans said those passages alone are evidence that Obama aides broke the law by publicly disclosing a covert program.

With the story and book in print, State Department public affairs on June 7 sent to department officials a transcript of a floor speech delivered by Sen. John McCain that week. The Arizona Republican accused the administration of deliberately leaking secrets to portray Mr. Obama as a “strong leader on national security issues” in an election year.

“What price did the administration apparently pay to proliferate such a presidential persona highly valued in an election year?” he said. “Access. Access to senior administration officials who appear to have served as anonymous sources divulging extremely sensitive military and intelligence information and operations.”

‘Drones and cyber’

Citing the book, Mr. McCain said: “The administration officials discussed a most highly classified operation that is both highly classified and still ongoing, an operation that was clearly one of the most tightly held national security secrets in our country until now.”

Asked on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on June 3, 2012, whether the administration leaked to him to bolster the president’s image, Mr. Sanger said:

“I spent a year working the story from the bottom up, and then went to the administration and told them what I had. Then they had to make some decisions about how much they wanted to talk about it.

“All that you read about this being deliberate leaks out of the White House wasn’t my experience. Maybe it is in other cases,” he said. “I’m sure the political side of the White House probably likes reading about the president acting with drones and cyber and so forth. National security side has got very mixed emotions about it because these are classified programs.”

Said Mr. McCain: “I don’t know how one could draw any conclusion but that senior members of this administration in the national security arena have either leaked or confirmed information of the most highly classified and sensitive nature.”

On June 5, The New York Times published a review of the Sanger book by Thomas Ricks, an author and former reporter for The Washington Post.

Mr. Sanger clearly has enjoyed great access to senior White House officials, most notably to Thomas Donilon, the national security adviser,” Mr. Ricks wrote. “Mr. Donilon, in effect, is the hero of the book, as well as the commenter of record on events. He leads the team that goes to Israel and spends ‘five hours wading through the intelligence in the basement of the prime minister’s residence.’”

Three days later, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced that he had appointed two U.S. attorneys to investigate leaks, including the Stuxnet disclosures.

White House press secretary Jay Carney took offense to Mr. McCain’s speech.

“Any suggestion that this administration has authorized intentional leaks of classified information for political gain is grossly irresponsible,” he said.

A ‘target’ in the probe

In May, The New York Times reported: “The investigation into reporting by David E. Sanger of The Times, about efforts to sabotage the Iranian nuclear program, appears to be one of the most active inquiries.”

In June, NBC News reported that the FBI had zeroed in on one of the nation’s highest-ranking military officers at the time that Mr. Sanger was researching his book in 2011.

NBC said that retired Marine Gen. James E. Cartwright, former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and one of Mr. Obama’s closest military advisers, was a “target” in the probe — a designation that often means the Justice Department plans to indict the person.

Gen. Cartwright retired in August 2011.

Mr. Donilon, the national security adviser, submitted his resignation in June and left the post last month.

More than any previous president, Mr. Obama has aggressively gone after leakers — in this case possibly members of his own inner circle.

The Justice Department took the unusual step of collecting data on phone calls to and from the Washington bureau of The Associated Press in an effort to find who leaked information about a foiled terrorist attack.

The Justice Department has charged two former CIA employees and one former National Security Agency worker with providing secrets to journalists. In all three of those cases, the FBI acquired the “smoking gun” by obtaining emails between the reporters and the leakers.

In all, the Obama administration has charged eight people with leaking secrets, the most recent being former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

NY Times Exposes Clinton Foundation

Editor’s Note – Hillary Clinton in 2016? Really? Already? Maybe not so fast. If she is already on the campaign trail as it clearly seems, then its time to vet her, time to educate America again on what would be another dismal failure.

Thank you NY Times for taking the lead on exposing your former NY Senator and our former Secretary of State.

As SUA has been saying for ages, it is amazing how little people actually know or remember about Hillary Clinton. It is equally stunning that she is already in coronation mode three years before the next Presidential election. The media along with the Democrat Party just look beyond all the issues that should completely derail her intentions, but they go on.

Now however, maybe the Main Stream Media is finally noticing that Hillary and her family have a multitude of problems – problems that may just derail her early. When the NY Times uncovers dirty secrets about the Clinton Foundation and reports it, there is more than just smoke, there is fire. Wake up America, Mrs. Clinton is not the answer, she is part of the problem, remember Benghazi and the Watergate hearings to name just a couple of issues?

In the matter of Benghazi, yes it does matter Mrs. Clinton, and in the matter of Watergate, yes we remember you were fired for lying to your boss on the prosecution team. The list is very long and we plan to bring it up at every turn. Obama was not properly vetted by America, and its clear that was a dismal mistake, now we MUST vet Mrs. Clinton, and out all the laundry, again.

Former First Lady, former Presidential Candidate, former NY Senator, former Rose Law Firm, former Secretary of State, former First Lady of Arkansas, former Health Care Czar – former is great word, lets use it often in her case to make sure she stays a ‘former’ in every way, shape, and form!

The New York Times takes down the Clinton Foundation. This could be devastating for Bill and Hillary

By  – Telegraph UK

Is the New York Times being guest edited by Rush Limbaugh? Today it runs with a fascinating takedown of the Clinton Foundation – that vast vanity project that conservatives are wary of criticizing for being seen to attack a body that tries to do good. But the liberal NYT has no such scruples. The killer quote is this:

For all of its successes, the Clinton Foundation had become a sprawling concern, supervised by a rotating board of old Clinton hands, vulnerable to distraction and threatened by conflicts of interest. It ran multimillion-dollar deficits for several years, despite vast amounts of money flowing in.

Over a year ago Bill Clinton met with some aides and lawyers to review the Foundation’s progress and concluded that it was a mess. Well, many political start-ups can be, especially when their sole selling point is the big name of their founder (the queues are short at the Dan Quayle Vice Presidential Learning Center). But what complicated this review – what made its findings more politically devastating – is that the Clinton Foundation has become about more than just Bill. Now both daughter Chelsea and wife, and likely presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton have taken on major roles and, in the words of the NYT “efforts to insulate the foundation from potential conflicts have highlighted just how difficult it can be to disentangle the Clintons’ charity work from Mr Clinton’s moneymaking ventures and Mrs Clinton’s political future.” Oh, they’re entangled alright.

Clinton Foundation

The NYT runs the scoop in its usual balanced, inoffensive way – but the problem jumps right off the page. The Clintons have never been able to separate the impulses to help others and to help themselves, turning noble philanthropic ventures into glitzy, costly promos for some future campaign (can you remember a time in human history when a Clinton wasn’t running for office?). And their “Ain’t I Great?!” ethos attracts the rich and powerful with such naked abandon that it ends up compromising whatever moral crusade they happen to have endorsed that month. That the Clinton Global Initiative is alleged to have bought Natalie Portman a first-class ticket for her and her dog to attend an event in 2009 is the tip of the iceberg. More troubling is that businessmen have been able to expand the profile of their companies by working generously alongside the Clinton Foundation. From the NYT:

Last year, Coca-Cola’s chief executive, Muhtar Kent, won a coveted spot on the dais with Mr. Clinton, discussing the company’s partnership with another nonprofit to use its distributors to deliver medical goods to patients in Africa. (A Coca-Cola spokesman said that the company’s sponsorship of foundation initiatives long predated Teneo and that the firm plays no role in Coca-Cola’s foundation work.)

In March 2012, David Crane, the chief executive of NRG, an energy company, led a widely publicized trip with Mr. Clinton to Haiti, where they toured green energy and solar power projects that NRG finances through a $1 million commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative.

This is typical Clinton stuff. The second thing I ever wrote for this website was about how corporations invest in politicians as a way of building their brand and raising their stock price. It can lead to some funny partnerships. This, from 2011:

Just this month, bedding manufacturer Serta announced that it will be sponsoring Bill Clinton’s keynote address to an industry conference in August. “To us,”’ said the head of the company, “Clinton represents leadership. This appearance shows Serta is a leader and is taking a leadership position. This singles us out.” Some might say that it is beneath a former president to basically endorse Serta’s new “Perfect Sleeper” line, even with its “revolutionary gel foam mattress”.

The cynical might infer from the NYT piece that the Clintons are willing to sell themselves, their image, and even their Foundation’s reputation in exchange for money to finance their personal projects. In Bill’s case, saving the world. In Hillary’s case, maybe, running for president.

It’s nothing new to report that there’s an unhealthy relationship in America between money and politics, but it’s there all the same. While the little people are getting hit with Obamacare, high taxes and joblessness, a class of businessmen enjoys ready access to politicians of both Left and Right that poses troubling questions for how the republic can continue to call itself a democracy so long as it functions as an aristocracy of the monied. Part of the reason why America’s elites get away with it is becuase they employ such fantastic salesmen. For too long now, Bill Clinton has pitched himself, almost without question, as a homespun populist: the Boy from Hope. The reality is that this is a man who – in May 1993 – prevented other planes from landing at LAX for 90 minues while he got a haircut from a Beverley Hills hairdresser aboard Air Force One. The Clintons are populists in the same way that Barack Obama is a Nobel prize winner. Oh, wait…