Monday, September 19, 2016

Presidential Election 2016 / O+M+G / Observations & Comments (Part Three – Hillary Clinton, Democratic Candidate)

As a FBI Special Agent, working Organized Crime, one of the first things you learn is that the biggest problem facing Organized Crime is how they ‘launder their money’.  This is their weakness.  They aren’t particularly worried about being arrested for their various criminal activities, because they insulate themselves.  They indirectly deal in the sale of illegal drugs, prostitution, extortion, protection, bank fraud, loan sharking and skimming union funds.  But, when arrests are made, it’s usually the underlings that get busted; underlings who know it’s in their best interest to keep their mouths shut.  Most of these types of arrests are made by local law enforcement.

The FBI, however, attempts to take down the organizational structure, the ‘big dogs’ at the top.  And, how do they do that?  They follow the money.

‘Money laundering’ is taking illegally obtained or ‘dirty’ money and converting that money, or ‘laundering’ the money, so crime bosses can use it to buy everything their hearts’ desire:  women, cars, mansions, and even a form of public legitimacy.  But, ‘laundering’ money isn’t as easy as you might first think.  Large deposits to banks are continually monitored by the government.  You could deal in cash, of course; but if you have millions of dollars sitting in your home safe – well, the continual utilization of cash in big number transactions becomes a tip-off too.

So, what has this got to do with Hillary Clinton?  Maybe nothing.  I’m just curious about the Clinton Foundation; and what a cleverly constructed, potential way that said Foundation could be used to ‘launder’ money.  Mind you, I don’t think Bill and Hillary are involved in illegal drugs, extortion, or ‘loan sharking’, etcetera; but they are in a great position to sell access and influence.  It’s clear that hundreds of millions of dollars have flowed into the Clinton Foundation, much of which originated from big corporate or foreign, sometimes dubious, sources for no apparent reason other than it ingratiates them to the Clintons - which equates to access and influence.

Example Tax Avoidance 101:  Let’s just say you were very rich or powerful and some big corporation or foreign government offered to pay you $500,000 for a one hour speech – attended by a few of their chosen colleagues.  What will the speech be about?  Oh, that doesn’t really matter.  It’s just a ruse to pass you money, to have your ear, to be your friend – someone who when they call you, you will pick up the phone.  You give the speech, transcripts of which will never be disclosed; and they pay you the $500,000.  At that point, you are looking at a fairly big tax bill.  So, you donate the $500,000 to your foundation – and it’s all tax deductible – just as if you gave the money to the Salvation Army (who incidentally would have done something meaningful with the money).

Is influence pedaling illegal?  Well, it could be; but it would be extremely hard to prove.  Moreover, the Clintons are in a position to quash any FBI investigations along those lines; unless a ‘source’ within the Foundation came forth.  However, it’s doubtful that would ever happen.  The Clintons are too smart for that.  And if any such thing was contemplated by a source within, the Clintons would unleash a public firestorm that would destroy almost anyone’s reputation and credibility.

OK, I understand that most, if not all, ultra-rich people start foundations.  It is there opportunity to do good works in their area of choice; and, keep in mind, it is a great tax dodge.  You can write off any expense that is even remotely associated with the foundation:  luxurious offices and apartments for ‘work’ or ‘entertaining’; private airplanes and associated travel; fantastic, vastly overpaid jobs for yourself, your children or anyone else who you happen to favor; and the list goes on.

As an aside, isn’t it interesting that Colin Powell, former Secretary of State, was quoted in one of the recently (unauthorized of course) releases of his personal emails in which he commented regarding Hillary’s illegal email server and her irresponsible handling of classified material:  “Hillary’s Mafia keeps trying to suck me into it.”  I realize Secretary Powell never expected his comment to see the light of day; but an interesting turn of a phrase nonetheless.  Probably just joking, I suppose...

Regarding a few other issues of concern for me personally:

+ Democratic Party nominating system was rigged against Bernie Sanders and in favor of Hillary.

+ FBI altering their interview and interrogation rules in the Hillary inquiry to give her a free pass.

+ Bill Clinton will be back in the White House (as Colin Powell phrased it) “dickin” around.

+ National Debt is out of control.

+ Illegal Immigration is out of control.

+ Failure to acknowledge that there is actually “Radical Islamic Terrorism”  And that we need to fight it with every available resource.

I won’t be voting for Hillary for a number of reasons.  Many will vote for her.  Many feel they should vote for someone; and the options to Hillary are not compelling.  I understand that completely.  I actually think that she will win the election.  Unless, and this is a longshot, the so-called ‘silent majority’ decides otherwise and gets out and votes – an American backlash, an American Brexit vote.  If Trump should win, I will be somewhat shocked; but I will not necessarily be dismayed.  Maybe, its time this country had a shakeup.