Tag Archives: Bill Clinton

Why the Democrats have finally turned on the Clintons

The C stands for "criminal."

In the winter of ’56, Khrushchev told the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union that Stalin may not have been a very nice guy. In the fall of ’17, the media began to concede that maybe Bill Clinton did abuse a whole bunch of women. And maybe those women weren’t really part of a vast right-wing conspiracy to make a bloated piggish progressive ex-prez seem like he might not be a very nice guy.

Why are Democrats turning on the Clintons? Same reason Khrushchev turned on Stalin. They’re purging the Clintons for the same reasons that they defended them. They’re calling out Bill Clinton for his sexual assaults for the same reasons that they covered them up. It’s about power and money.

The Democrats smeared Bill Clinton’s accusers then. Now they’ll exploit them to throw the Clintons out.

The #MeToo campaign provided an opening. But if you really want to understand why the left is disavowing Bill Clinton, ignore the hashtags and look at the bigger picture.

Earlier this month, the rollout of Donna Brazile’s book raked Hillary Clinton and her campaign over the coals. The former interim DNC boss made the case that the Clinton campaign had rigged the primaries.

Brazile’s outrage at the rigging is laughable. Not only was she caught passing a debate question to Hillary, but the only reason she was allowed to replace Debbie Wasserman Schultz is that she was a Clintonista who had served as a Clinton adviser and was promoted to head Gore’s campaign.

After Hillary’s collapse, Brazile was left out in the cold. Like Schultz, she was one of Hillary’s fall girls. And unlike Schultz, she didn’t have a cozy congressional district to call her own. Her CNN contract was torn up after the debate question leak. (Though if you think CNN was actually surprised that a Clinton ally leaked it to the Clintons, you’re also shocked that there’s gambling going on at Rick’s Cafe Americain. CNN had to disavow Donna who then had to disavow Hillary. Now the Dems are disavowing the Clintons.)

Brazile’s book tour was Act 1 in purging the Clintons from the Dem establishment. Talking about Bill Clinton’s sexual harassment and abuses is Act 2. And the odds are very good that there’s an Act 3. Or 4. Or 5.

Why get rid of the Clintons? Let’s look at what the First Grifters have been doing to the Dems.

In May, Hillary rolled out Onward Together. The new SuperPAC was supposed to fundraise for lefty groups. But the groups don’t actually appear to be getting the cash.

Understandable. The “flat broke” Clintons always have lots of bills to pay and private jets to book. And good chardonnay doesn’t come cheap.

Fresh from that success, a paid advisor to Hillary co-launched something called Party Majority. This wonderful new organization would “act as a parallel structure to Democratic Party committees at the national and state levels,” vacuuming up a whole lot of cash while putting its boot on the DNC.

The Clintons were once again trying to displace the DNC. And that would let them skim a lot of cash from the DNC to fund their political operation and lifestyle. And, even once again, rig the process.

Who’s up for Hillary in 2020?  Party Majority rolled out in early November.  Since then the Clintons are suddenly being hit from all sides by their own party.  Funny how that works.

If President Hillary Clinton were in the White House, the First Gentleman could work his way through an entire nunnery and every media outlet in the country would praise him as our greatest feminist.

If the Clintons had done the decent thing (for the first time in their miserable grifter lives) and stepped away from politics, Bill could have been a bitter, bigoted and befuddled Democrat elder statesman.  Just like Jimmy Carter.  But the Clintons just wouldn’t stop. And so the circular firing squad has finally been convened. Its members are hypocritically pretending that they’re purging Bill because they suddenly care about the women he sexually assaulted over the years.

It only took the Dems an entire generation to figure out that rape is wrong.

Hillary Clinton’s approval ratings are terrible. Every time she goes on television, more people are likely to vote Republican. Her entire existence is a reminder of why the Democrats lost so badly in ’16.

 Not only won’t Hillary Clinton retire to bake cookies and send anonymous threatening letters to her neighbors because their kids occasionally throw a ball over her mansion’s iron gates, but she insists on sabotaging the 2020 candidates who are her party’s best hope to succeed where she miserably failed.

Hillary Clinton’s book, What Happened, took numerous shots at Bernie Sanders. And her entire book tour appeared designed to sabotage his book tour. Then she began attacking Joe Biden.  Both Bernie and Joe, unlike her, are viable 2020 candidates. (Which says nothing good about the Dems.)

The media doesn’t suddenly “believe Juanita”.  Or rather it always knew that Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey, Paula Jones and the other women were telling the truth. It didn’t silence them because it thought they were lying.  It silenced them because they were telling the truth about Bubba Clinton.

Now Bill Clinton isn’t the media’s guy anymore. And he’s becoming a huge problem.

What the media does believe, without question, is that the Clintons will continue to be a liability that might cost them victories in 2018 and 2020. The DNC badly needs money. The Clintons are once again posing a threat to the DNC’s financial viability. And the Dems have become less willing to lose House and Senate seats to sate the insatiable greed of Bill and Hillary Grifter.

Then there’s 2020. The Dems don’t want to risk their nominee facing passive aggressive attacks by Hillary Clinton. Nor do they want to see Hillary Clinton on the air for the entire election period firing shots at their candidates.

The Clintons could have had a nice retirement. Seats on boards and foundations. Occasional smaller scale speaking gigs. Bill could have been a featured speaker at the next DNC convention.  And maybe even Hillary in a lesser role.

But they wouldn’t go quietly. And now the left is making it a mandatory retirement.

Act 1 blames Hillary for rigging the primaries. Act 2 calls out Bill’s abuse of women. Acts 3, 4 and 5 will delve into some other Clinton scandals that Democrats have been denying for over a generation. If the Clintons don’t get the message, the final act will plant a big red boot in their behinds.

And this won’t even be the first time the Dems tried to get rid of the Clintons.

After Bill’s time was up, the Dems and the media tried to head off a Hillary political career at the pass. Let’s flip through the pages of the New York Times in 2001 that describe Hillary’s “calamitous Senate debut” and cautions that “talk about her presidential prospects has ground to a halt.”

“The man is so thoroughly corrupt it’s frightening,” a Times column reads. “The Clintons may or may not be led away in handcuffs someday.”

In AmSoc, history is constantly being rewritten. A few years later, no criticism of the Clintons could be allowed. And everyone forgot that Carter’s chief-of-staff had called them “The First Grifters.”  Or at least they pretended to forget.

It’s not the first time that the Dems have tried to get rid of the Clintons. But it might be the last.

Like Stalin’s Communist successors, Democrats should not be allowed to pretend that they knew nothing or that their purge of the Clintons is motivated by a sudden attack of integrity.  They’re purging the Clintons for the same reason that they covered up for them.

They’re calling out Bill Clinton for his sexual assaults for the same reason that they covered them up.

They did it out of political self-interest then. And they’re doing it out of political self-interest now. There’s nothing clean or honest about what they’re doing. There’s no moral reckoning here. Only a political reckoning. It’s not about the women Bill abused. It’s about DNC cash and the 2020 election.

That’s the dirty, ugly truth. And it’s as dirty and ugly as the Clintons and the Democrats.

Trouble is, dirty and ugly is the only way the Clintons know how to do anything.

 

[From an article by Daniel Greenfield published by FRONT PAGE MAG]

 

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

 

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Hillary starts “dark money” effort to mess things up in Washington a little more

Hillary seeks "dark money"

Failed Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton announces the formation of a nonprofit organization which aims to encourage citizens to “Resist, insist, persist, enlist.”

The former secretary of state unveiled her Onward Together 501(c)(4) non-profit via Twitter, claiming she’s spent the last few months reflecting on her defeat.

On the Onward website, the group claims its mission is to advance “the vision that earned nearly 66 million votes in the last election.”

“By encouraging people to organize, get involved, and run for office, Onward Together will advance progressive values and work to build a brighter future for generations to come,” the site states.

“The challenges we face as a country are real. But there’s no telling what we can achieve if we approach the fights ahead with the passion and determination we feel today, and bring that energy into 2017, 2018, 2020, and beyond.”

By registering as a 501(c)(4), Clinton’s new organization can accept unlimited amounts of money from donors whose names are not required to be disclosed, notes NTKnetwork.com.

501(c)(4)s differ from Super PACs in that the latter must disclose donors.

“If you are a donor looking to influence election but do not want to reveal your identity, the 501(c)(4) is an attractive option through which to send your cash,” writes the Washington Post.

Also, contributions to Onward “are not tax deductible as charitable contributions or as business deductions” as a result of the 501(c)(4) status.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Hillary campaigned against “dark money” being permitted to influence politics.  NTKNetwork notes: “In October 2015, during a town hall meeting in Iowa, Clinton called 501(c)(4) groups ‘unaccountable dark money,’ and even used the left’s favorite boogey-men, the Koch brothers, as an example of a group that operates this kind of organization.”   Now she apparently thinks the more “dark money,” the better.

 

[From an article published by INFO WARS]

 

NORM ‘n’ AL Note:  Here’s another perfect example of what’s wrong with the Democrat approach to politics, and why Hillary Clinton lost the election to Donald Trump.  People were sick to death of hearing Mrs. Clinton speak out of both sides of her mouth.  She has always had a real problem with truth-telling and consistency.  Before the election she didn’t like “dark money” at all, but after losing the election, she thinks there is absolutely no reason not to pursue it.  Bill Clinton started a foundation to provide assistance to worthy causes, but almost immediately discovered the worthiest cause was himself.  (And now that he can’t peddle his connection to a sitting secretary of state any longer, not to mention to a new president, he’s trying to peddle himself as an author of third-rate novels to keep the cash flowing.  The Clintons have no idea what it means to live a life of honor and integrity.  To extend an offer of help to the Trump White House is the farthest thing from their minds; all they can think of is how to impede and destroy anything Mr. Trump wants to do. Of course, Hillary calls it “building a brighter future for generations to come,” but that’s just another example of her inability to distinguish truth from lies.)

 

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

 

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“If you drag a hundred-dollar bill through a trailer park, you never know what you’ll find.”

Those immortal words belong to James Carville, the Clinton Democratic operative who — with Hillary’s approval — set the tone on how the Clintons would treat women who dared accuse former President Clinton of sexual harassment.

And the woman Carville referred to was Paula Jones.

She wasn’t fancy or rich, just a working woman sexually harassed by Bill when he was governor of Arkansas.

But she was denigrated by Clinton’s top advisers as “trailer park” trash, as someone so craven she’d crawl on dirt for the cash to slander Bill.

She was telling the truth. It was a straightforward sexual harassment case. If Bill had been a private-sector CEO, he’d have been fired.

But Hillary and Bill fought back, using the “nuts and sluts strategy,” denigrating Jones and others, including Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey and the intern Monica Lewinsky.

As part of all this, Bill Clinton, as president, lied under oath. He committed perjury. And he was impeached.

Just consider the mental gymnastics it takes to excuse perjury in a sitting president. Consider the lack of character it takes to defend it. Consider the lack of foresight it takes to do this while avoiding the effect it could have on the republic.

Not only was sexual harasser and liar Bill Clinton defended, but he also was politically rehabilitated by many of the same actors, by feminists and by the Democratic insiders. And the damage was done.

Hillary and Bill and their fellow character assassins told us then that character didn’t matter. It was all a private thing.

In essence, they helped give birth to Trump. You might say Hillary — protecting Bill to guard her own ambition — was midwife to the Trump campaign.

Because without a rehabilitated Bill Clinton there could never have been a Trump candidacy. Trump would not have been conceivable, let alone possible, were it not for Bill and Hillary and their continuing “anything goes” lack of character.

 

[From a recent Chicago Tribune column by John Kass]

 

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

 

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West Virginia town doesn’t like Clinton’s intent to put the coal industry “out of business,” tells Hillary and Bill they’re “not welcome”…

There are few people as polarizing as Hillary Clinton. She is one of the most disliked politicians in American history, and while she may be loved by liberals, she is loathed by almost everyone else (even a large number of Democrats). After losing the Democrat presidential nomination to Senator Barack Obama in 2008, many thought she might actually be able to build her image and become a stronger candidate for 2016. However, the opposite has been true. Instead of becoming more popular and less polarizing, she has careened headlong into a cesspool of negative media coverage based largely on her own criminal behavior, bad decisions, and imprudent political ideas.

For example, while Clinton would love to win West Virginia (and other parts of “Coal Country”), her all-out war on coal makes that unlikely. In fact, the Clintons had hoped to travel Logan County, West Virginia ahead of the state’s primary… but the good people of Logan had a different idea. Namely, that the Clintons stay out of Logan County and the city of Logan.

Officials from the city of Logan sent an email to Senator Joe Manchin’s office asking him to make sure the Clintons steer clear of their town in the coming days.

Mike,

While we appreciate all that you and Senator Manchin’s office have done for the City Of Logan over the years we must make the following statement:

Bill and Hillary Clinton are simply not welcome in our town.  Mrs. Clinton’s anti-coal messages are the last thing our suffering town needs at this point.  The policies that have been championed by people like Mrs. Clinton have all but devastated our fair town, and honestly, enough is enoughWe wish them the best in their campaign, however we again state they are not welcome on our city properties.  We hope that you will respectfully consider NOT visiting our community Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions, 304-xxx-xxxx.  I am writing this on behalf of the City Of Logan.  Logan officials feel the Clintons will not adequately support the well-being of our voters.

On March 13, 2014 during a Democratic Town Hall event in Ohio, Hillary Clinton stated “We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.”

Good for the fine folks in Logan! Hillary Clinton and her fellow Democrats have been waging war against the hard working miners in Coal Country throughout the Obama era, and it is literally killing several economies (Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia and western Pennsylvania). These liberal politicians don’t deserve the time or the respect of the people who are being hurt by their policies, and more of them need to speak out against a possible Clinton presidency. I’ll just go ahead and add my voice to the city of Logan – I don’t want the Clintons in my back yard either!

 

[by Onan Coca, writing for EAGLE RISING]

 

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

 

 

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Clinton Foundation will “amend” its tax returns for the last four years, to correct “errors in the report of donations from foreign governments,” according to news reports

America's First Family of CrimeClinton Foundation President Donna Shalala said in a statement that the returns were revised after a voluntary review of the charity’s past tax returns. She added that the corrections were not required by law.

“There is no change in our bottom line numbers: assets, liabilities, and net assets,” Shalala wrote in a statement to the foundation’s supporters that was obtained by Reuters. “There is nothing to suggest that the Foundation intended to conceal the receipt of government grants, which we report on our website.”

The amended Form 990 tax returns were for the years 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013. An affiliated charity, the Clinton Health Access Initiative, also amended its returns for 2012 and 2013.

The foundation now reports receiving $20 million in government funds between 2010 and 2013, most of it from foreign governments. The foundation had neglected to state its government funding separately from other funding sources in its original returns.

The foundation also revealed that it raised $177 million in 2014, the year before Hillary Clinton announced her run for the presidency.

Not bad for a humble little charity founded by the “dead broke” Clintons.

“Founded by former president Bill Clinton initially to raise money for a presidential library, the foundation has become a $2 billion charitable behemoth, devoted to combating global poverty, improving health care and promoting education around the world,” the Washington Post describes the operation with a straight face, while somehow forgetting to mention that the amount of money actually directed to those causes by the Clinton Foundation is such a tiny fraction of the cash it harvests that reputable watchdog organizations hesitate to describe it as a “charity” at all.

The same IRS that investigated the living daylights out of grassroots political organizations and kitchen-table pro-life groups is happy to let the Clinton Foundation “amend” its tax returns whenever they get around to it. Tax-exempt applications were not denied, but delayed until after the 2012 election, while the IRS demanded little neighborhood political groups submit their prayer books for review, while the Clinton cash machine gets unlimited do-overs on its tax returns… and we’re expected to believe power was not abused for political purposes in any way. Funny how that works.

The C stands for "corruption."

“It’s a Hillary super PAC that throws in the occasional good deed,” Kimberly Strassel said of the Clinton Foundation in a June piece for the Wall Street Journal. “That much is made obvious by looking at the foundation’s employment rolls. Most charities are staffed by folks who have spent a lifetime in nonprofits, writing grants or doing overseas field work. The Clinton Foundation is staffed by political operatives. It has been basically a parking lot for Clinton campaign workers—a comfy place to draw a big check as they geared up for Hillary’s presidential run.”

It’s not pressure from our titanic government and its army of weaponized auditors that inspired the Clinton Foundation to redo its books. It’s private watchdogs writing books about the Clinton’s shadowy finances, and doing the necessary diligence on all that paperwork everyone else is expected to get right the first time, no matter how high-minded their goals. It’s also interesting that Hillary Clinton’s foundation is reshuffling its papers right after she started taking some heat from her putative Democratic presidential rivals for her love of big Wall Street money.

As the Washington Post relates, Shalala claimed the adjustments were made out of a commitment to “disclosure and thoroughness.” Why wasn’t that commitment in evidence until November 2015? When most people learn about four years of retroactive adjustments to tax returns, their immediate response probably won’t involve swooning over disclosure and thoroughness.

Their immediate response will more likely run along the lines of, “Wow, I didn’t know you could just revise four-year-old tax returns without penalty!” As they say about crazy stunts on TV shows, I wouldn’t recommend you try this at home. It’s not much comfort to hear that what the Clinton Foundation is doing is perfectly legal… not at a moment when Americans are rising up in trans-partisan fury against rules written to benefit the powerful and well-connected, while the Little Guy can be ruined over small mistakes he didn’t know he was making.

Sure, the partisan wings of that movement have very different ideas about which aspects of this system are most unfair, and which beneficiaries are most objectionable, but the Clinton Foundation’s revenue stream is not something Hillary Clinton wants anyone talking about right now.

Update: The Washington Examiner reports that the Clinton Foundation’s amended tax forms include “$8.8 million in government grants that was not previously listed.”  No doubt each and every one of us would enjoy the same “no harm, no foul” treatment from the IRS if we forgot to mention almost nine million dollars in revenue.

 

[by John Hayward, writing for BREITBART.COM]

 

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

 

 

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Friday NEWSVIEW…

Where politics are concerned, nothing ever seems to make much sense, and today is no different. Let’s take a look:

Major media, having given at least a mention to the fact that Hillary’s email crisis is not going to go away, seem nevertheless to want to help it go away as much as they can.

“After ABC, CBS, and NBC devoted portions of their Thursday morning newscasts to the FBI taking control of Hillary Clinton’s e-mail server, the picture was far different on Thursday night as ABC, NBC, Telemundo, and Univision moved on from this scandal and neglected to mention it during their 2016 coverage.

“As opposed to covering the latest blows in the 2016 presidential campaign, the CBS Evening News found it pertinent to continue keeping their viewers abreast of Clinton’s e-mail scandal in the form of a two-minute-and-one-second segment from congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes.

Cordes explained that Thursday’s developments included news that “[t]he server the FBI picked up was stored not at the Clinton’s Chappaqua, New York home as many assumed but at a data center in New Jersey.”

Citing a lawyer for the firm Platte River Networks, Cordes reported “that the server was moved to the New Jersey facility some time after Clinton left the State Department when the Clintons upgraded their system.” She added that the lawyer told CBS News that “the old server is now blank and likely does not contain usable information.”

NORM ‘n’ AL Note:  This only means that the investigating parties (1) need to be sure they have the server Clinton actually used, and not just any old server she decided to give to the government, and (2) must determine the server, once verified, has not been tampered with deliberately in efforts to make data inaccessible.

The CBS reporter then brought in CNet’s Dan Ackerman to provide an analogy as to how information could have been deleted from Clinton’s server in a way that it could not be recovered:

Almost as if you write something on a chalkboard and then you erase it and then write over it, then erase it, then write over it, then erase it. Eventually, no matter how closely you look, you will never be able to see what the original thing was you wrote.

Cordes also rehashed details that came to light on Tuesday and Wednesday with the intelligence community’s inspector general (I.G.) having found four e-mails from a batch of 40 to have contained classified information with two being “top secret.” 

In the ending to her report, Cordes reminded anchor Scott Pelley and viewers that this determination by I.G. came from only a small subset of her e-mails: “Keep in mind, Scott, that determination was based on a review of just one-tenth of one percent of all of Clinton’s work-related e-mails.”

NORM ‘n’ AL Note:  Almost all media reports have somehow lost sight of the significance of ONE TENTH (ten percent) of a totally random selection of emails containing classified information.  ONE TENTH.  If that percentage proves to hold true through all of the 30,000+ emails turned over thus far, (more than 55,000 pages of them), then the investigators will be sorting through more than 3,000 emails containing classified information.  When Hillary said none of her emails would show ANY use to transmit ANYTHING classified, she lied. The lady is a proven and inveterate liar.

Instead of doing their due diligence and covering the swirling controversy surrounding the former secretary of state, ABC’s World News Tonight and NBC Nightly News focused exclusively on the 2016 presidential campaign with a heavy emphasis on the GOP primary and Donald Trump.

On ABC, chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl brought up Kentucky Senator Rand Paul’s campaign ad criticizing Trump and rumors of a possible presidential run by former Vice President Al Gore.

Reporting for NBC, correspondent and MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell touted the Iowa State Fair as an essential destination for candidates on both sides this weekend plus the growing possibility that current Vice President Joe Biden could join the Democratic field.”

NORM ‘n’ AL Note:  Let us not forget that Mrs. Clinton and her aides are now “on record” and placed “under penalty of perjury” by a federal judge who is obviously a little perturbed by her continual legal shenanigans.  She must preserve all her records, all her emails, and certify that she is in compliance with the judge’s order to do so. Let us also remember that when the government SUSPECTED that General Petraeus kept classified documents in his home, they raided the home forthwith. In the Clinton case, there is no suspecting, there is KNOWING.  Clinton routinely dealt with classified matters, and apparently routinely dealt with them over an unsecured, private email server.

Poor Mrs. Clinton...


Meanwhile, as all this is going on
, the intelligence community wants to see Mrs. Clinton’s security clearance suspended. “Security experts say that if Hillary Rodham Clinton retained her government security clearance when she left the State Department, as is normal practice, it should be suspended now that it is known her unprotected private email server contained top secret material.

“Standard procedure is that when there is evidence of a security breach, the clearance of the individual is suspended in many, but not all, cases,” said retired Army Lt. Gen. William Boykin, who was deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence in the George W. Bush administration. “This rises to the level of requiring a suspension.”

In addition, a large majority of Americans now support a “criminal investigation” of the Clinton email scandal. The hole she has dug is getting deeper.

To top this, we must note that Al Gore is being urged to run against Hillary.  Joe Biden is being urged to run against Hillary.  Other Democrats (Jack Webb, Martin O’Malley have been named) surely must be considering a run as they watch her political and personal reputation go up in flames now that she no longer has any control of what could come forward.  Bernie Sanders, an avowed socialist who is running against her already, is leading her in the polls.  ANYBODY who runs against her will have NO trouble looking more presidential, less encumbered, more patriotic, more honest, more caring.  Bill Clinton got to the Oval Office and was impeached for lying.  Hillary Clinton may never make it to the Oval Office because she could be imprisoned for multiple felonies connected with her time as Secretary of State.  Both of the Clintons are taking in so much money from their self-serving foundation that one might think they would happily slink off into the sunset and enjoy cocktails on the beach, instead of roiling up American politics to an extent previously unheard of. Why is it so hard to find a president who actually wants to HELP the USA instead of HURT it?  Our current president is a prime example: He wants to help himself, and if the country benefits, fine…but that is never his priority.

[From many news sources]

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
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Hillary’s ties to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac are large liabilities as next election approaches…

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are hurtling toward another possible taxpayer bailout, a development that could put an uncomfortable election light on the Clintons’ record of enabling the government-backed mortgage giants to engage in risky practices that led to the 2007 financial crisis.

There is growing consensus in financial circles that the seeds of the mortgage market collapse were sown during Bill Clinton’s presidency in the mid-1990s. That was when he helped push through changes that empowered Fannie and Freddie to give more mortgages to minorities and lower-income Americans, often at below-prime interest rates and with little down payments.

When the Federal Reserve and other respected voices began warning a decade ago that those changes were threatening the mortgage markets, Hillary Rodham Clinton joined fellow Democratic senators, including Barack Obama and John F. Kerry, in providing the votes to block Republican reforms designed to stave off a collapse.

The one-two punch could prove a political liability for Mrs. Clinton’s presidential bid, portraying her and her husband as facilitators for highly compensated mortgage brokers and undercutting her argument that she has been a longtime champion of the middle class.

“I certainly think we’re going down the path of another bailout of the mortgage market. If we keep on this path, it’s inevitable. It’s a concern people have,” said Mark Calabria, director of financial regulation studies at the Cato Institute. “It’s going to be a tough needle for her to thread — people on the left still believe Fannie and Freddie was a good model and that the housing crisis was all about Wall Street greed. She’s got a tough road to walk on this.”

Complicating the picture, the Clintons were benefiting politically from Freddie and Fannie’s largesse. Mrs. Clinton was among the biggest recipients of donations from the mortgage giants in all of Congress, and Mr. Clinton’s charitable foundation received a sizable donation from Freddie Mac in the mid-2000s as the mortgage firm was teetering financially.

Mrs. Clinton’s campaign did not respond to repeated requests seeking comment on Fannie and Freddie.

Homes for the poor

The Clintons’ mortgage policy saga began two decades ago during the booming early Internet era, when concern grew in Washington that minorities and the working poor weren’t reaping the benefits of an improving economy, especially in the housing market.

In a bid to create affordable housing for minorities and low-income residents, Mr. Clinton in 1995 ordered new bank regulations to encourage lending in poor neighborhoods. The Community Reinvestment Act gave banks higher ratings if they lent more in credit-deprived localities.

Maintaining a high CRA score was essential to the banks, pressuring them to give more loans to riskier clients, studies have shown. A lowered CRA rating would make it more difficult for a bank to become licensed to conduct business in other parts of the country, participate in other government lending programs, or complete mergers and acquisitions that needed the government’s approval.

The CRA was the channel through which “a U.S. Congress, worried about growing income inequality, towards expanding low income housing, joined with the flood of foreign capital inflows to remove any discipline on home loans,” Raghuram Rajan, a former chief economist and director of research at the International Monetary Fund, wrote in the Financial Times in 2010.

The National Bureau of Economic Research, a nonprofit organization, examined the impact of the CRA on risky mortgage lending. In a 2012 study, it found “that adherence to the act leads to riskier lending by banks: in the six quarters surrounding the CRA exams, lending is elevated on average by about 5 percent and these loans default about 15 percent more often.”

Three years before Mr. Clinton altered the CRA to encourage investment in lower-income communities, Rep. Barney Frank, Massachusetts Democrat, pushed to impose an “affordable housing” requirement on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The thought was that minorities were being shut out of the housing market because Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were underwriting loans only to banks that were issuing prime mortgages — 30-year fixed mortgages that required healthy down payments. Minorities and the working poor often didn’t have the cash or creditworthiness to qualify for such loans.

A 1992 affordable housing “mission” led by Mr. Frank allowed the government-sponsored enterprises to back riskier loans and make sure a quota of all loans from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were going to this pool, which was defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban development.

“At first, this quota was 30 percent; that is, of all the loans they bought, 30 percent had to be made to people at or below the median income in their communities,” Peter Wallison, who served on the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission in 2010, wrote in an article for The Atlantic. “HUD, however, was given authority to administer these quotas, and between 1992 and 2007, the quotas were raised from 30 percent to 50 percent under Clinton in 2000 and to 55 percent under [President George W.] Bush in 2007.”

“By 2000, Fannie was offering no-down-payment loans. By 2002, Fannie and Freddie had bought well over $1 trillion of subprime and other low quality loans,” Mr. Wallison wrote. “Fannie and Freddie were by far the largest part of this effort, but the [Federal Housing Administration], Federal Home Loan Banks, [the Department of Veterans Affairs] and other agencies — all under congressional and HUD pressure — followed suit.”

This was no accident. The Clinton administration made affordable housing a priority and appointed people in top positions to make it happen.

Mr. Clinton named Andrew Cuomo, now New York’s governor, as HUD secretary. Mr. Cuomo pushed to keep homeownership numbers rising under Mr. Clinton’s watch by increasing the quota of affordable housing loans to 50 percent of the government-sponsored enterprise business.

Under Mr. Cuomo, HUD commissioned a report that showed Fannie’s automated underwriting system disproportionately screened out minority borrowers — and urged the agency to correct the disparity.

Mr. Cuomo also refused to impose safeguards that would have prevented Fannie and Freddie from rushing into buying subprime mortgages, such as requiring lenders to provide details about these types of mortgages. In October 2000, Mr. Cuomo sided with the government-sponsored enterprises, arguing that this sort of transparency would impose an “undue additional burden” on the agencies.

Incentives for Fannie Mae

The Clinton administration also replaced many of Fannie Mae’s top executives, including its chief executive officer with Mr. Clinton’s former White House budget director Franklin Raines. It replaced Fannie’s No. 2 in charge and nearly half of the board of directors.

Fannie Mae then restructured its executives’ salary structures to give incentives to buy more mortgages.

“This was a clear case of the Clinton administration embarking on a massive folly,” said Norbert Michel, a research fellow in financial regulations at The Heritage Foundation. “Fannie and Freddie were relatively unimportant until [Mr. Clinton] blew it up. It was all in the goal of getting homeownership numbers up from 65 percent — where they had been holding stable for years — to somewhere around 75 percent. They made no bones about it — they wanted cheaper loans. To think you can increase homeownership rates with a flip of a switch with nothing to go wrong is completely insane. This is when it started — there’s no doubt.”

A 2002 HUD report says, “From 1993 to 1998, the number of subprime refinance increased tenfold.”

In 1999, Mr. Raines boasted to The New York Times: “Fannie Mae has expanded homeownership for millions of families in the 1990s by reducing down payment requirements.”

The riskiness and sustainability of these loans were highlighted in multiple warnings to Congress while Mrs. Clinton was a U.S. senator.

The Bush administration — although partly culpable for the housing crisis in that it raised the government-sponsored enterprises’ affordable housing goals to 55 percent — also called 17 times for reform of the agencies.

“We at the Federal Reserve remain concerned about the growth and magnitude of the mortgage portfolios of the government-sponsored enterprises, which concentrate interest rate risk and prepayment risk at these two institutions and makes our financial system dependent on their ability to manage these risks,” Alan Greenspan, chairman of the Federal Reserve, testified at an April 2005 hearing. “To fend off possible future systemic difficulties, which we assess as likely if GSE expansion continues unabated, preventive actions are required sooner rather than later.”

From 1998 to 2004, Fannie executives improperly reported $10.6 billion in earnings. Executives such as Mr. Raines were raking in huge paychecks because of the rising number of mortgages they were issuing.

During the six-year period, Mr. Raines received $52.8 million in bonuses, according to a 2006 report of an investigation by regulators at the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight.

Republican reforms rebuffed

Worried that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had grown too independent and bullish under Mr. Clinton’s watch, a Republican-controlled Congress under Mr. Bush tried to rein in the entities.

Yet Democrats including Mrs. Clinton — who were receiving huge campaign donations from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — filibustered reform.

By 2006, a bill to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had passed through the full House of Representatives and out of committee in the Senate, along party-line votes (all Republicans voting for it, all Democrats against).

The bill proposed the creation of a regulator for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks. The legislation would give the regulator the authority to shut down either Fannie or Freddie if they encountered a severe financial crisis, and would give it the power to regulate any new activities. The bill required an annual audit of the mortgage giants’ books and a provision that all directors be elected — not appointed by the president.

Five Senate Democrats needed to step forward and offer their support to end a filibuster and allow a vote.

None did, so the bill never even came to a vote on the Senate floor.

Sen. Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut, then the ranking Democrat on the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee and No. 1 recipient of government-sponsored enterprise lobbying funds, opposed the bill. When Barack Obama entered the Senate in 2005, he was among the people supporting the filibuster.

Mrs. Clinton joined with Mr. Dodd and Mr. Obama to oppose the measure. All the other Senate Democrats lined up behind them.

Clinton’s encouragement

That same year, Mrs. Clinton was actively promoting broader lending to lower-income Americans — along the same philosophical policy lines as her husband did when he was president.

She introduced legislation to strengthen the Federal Housing Administration, specifically proposing to raise the ceiling on loan amounts that could be insured by the government in high-cost areas, and for the entity to be able to offer loans requiring no down payment.

Mrs. Clinton met with credit union leaders across New York in 2006 to congratulate them for making more than $180 million worth of first mortgage loans in underserved areas, exceeding their goal of $150 million. Encouraged, the credit union leaders committed to another $180 million the following year.

During this same period, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae’s political action committee and individuals linked to the companies donated $75,500 to Mrs. Clinton’s senatorial campaign — making her the fourth-largest recipient in Congress of the mortgage firms’ total donations in the years 1989 to 2008 behind Mr. Obama, Mr. Kerry, now secretary of state, and Mr. Dodd, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that studies campaign finance and political influence in Washington.

Freddie Mac also gave the Clinton Foundation a $50,000 to $100,000 donation.

By mid-2006, the Senate Republican sponsors of the regulatory bill became frustrated and wrote an open letter pleading for action from Senate leaders in both parties.

“We are concerned that if effective regulatory legislation for the housing-finance government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) is not enacted this year, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole,” they wrote.

The risky lending escalated. Fannie acquired $135 billion in what was dubbed as Alt-A mortgages — that is subprime or other risky lending — in 2006 and 2007, more than double the sum in all years before 2005, according to its annual reports.

The proposed 2006 reform was never passed, and the market collapsed a year later — with American taxpayers on the hook for $187.5 billion in defaulted loans guaranteed by the two mortgage giants.

Although Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were put in conservatorship and have repaid American taxpayers for the bailout, they have not been reformed.

Blaming the banks

In her 2008 presidential run, Mrs. Clinton spun the reason for the financial crisis into predatory lending by commercial banks that unfairly targeted unsuspecting and oftentimes minority communities — the same communities her husband said he was trying to target with more affordable mortgages during his administration.

“If I were president, I would address abuses across the mortgage industry with a plan to curb unfair lending practices and hold brokers and lenders accountable, give families the support they need to avoid foreclosure and increase the supply of affordable housing,” Mrs. Clinton said in a campaign appearance in August 2007 in Derry, New Hampshire.

Mrs. Clinton outlined a commitment of $1 billion in federal money to help local governments build and renovate more affordable housing, reforms aimed at “cracking down on unscrupulous brokers who lure unsuspecting families into unfair mortgages,” and those aimed at helping homeowners in foreclosure. She never proposed reforming the two entities that many believe led to the mortgage crisis: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

With Mrs. Clinton on the campaign trail again, the housing crisis seems to be a distant memory. She hasn’t addressed it or what her plans would be for Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

Those within the industry, however, say reforms need to be made.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may need another taxpayer bailout in the next few years because they have been undercapitalized by the Treasury Department as they stall out in conservatorship — where 100 percent of their profits has to go to the Treasury, William Isaac, a former chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., warned in a March op-ed in The Wall Street Journal.

On an earnings call in February, Fannie Mae CEO Tim Mayopoulos warned that the company’s lack of capital “increases the likelihood that Fannie Mae will need additional capital from Treasury at some point.”

As for the government’s role in affordable housing — it’s only expanding. This month, HUD introduced rules that allow the government to withhold money from communities that fail to address historical segregation. Communities will be required to submit data analysis of segregation within their borders, set goals on how to reduce it and then track the results.

For many conservatives, this represents — again — an overstep of the government into the private market.

“For whatever good HUD does, it clearly has not won the war on poverty,” Rep. Jeb Hensarling, Texas Republican and chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said in a June hearing. “Only economic growth and equal opportunity can do that. In other words, the greatest housing program in America remains a good career path in a growing economy, not a HUD program.”

 

[by Kelly Riddell, writing for The Washington Times]

 

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

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