May 1, 2016 by Barbara With
The 2016 race for the Democratic presidential nomination is proving to be rip-tear-claw between those who demand “vote-blue-no-matter-who” party loyalty and those refuse to vote the lessor of two evils and won’t stand with Hillary.
To understand why so many won’t back Clinton if she wins the democratic nomination, one must look past ideology and platforms and consider the startling similarities of the corporate manipulation of both parties. This identical decay comes clear in examining the separate but equal stories of Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker, Democrat Hillary Clinton, their private servers, and their mutual relationship to destroying the waters of the world.
In 2011, the whole world watched as the Koch Brothers and the Republicans took over Wisconsin and began draining the State of its wealth. New Tea Party Gov. Scott Walker declared the state “open for business” and Republicans used their majority to lock-step vote bill after bill into law, bills written by corporations that drained state resources into their coffers and protected them from any liability for any harm they inflict while doing business in Wisconsin. Walker installed corporate cronies on the Supreme Court and in key departments to ensure these new laws would be enforced.
The crown jewel for the corporate cabal was to be the Penokee Hills and Lake Superior, the state’s vast northern watershed. In 2010, a billionaire coal miner named Chris Cline wanted to pay-to-play and had his sights set on the Penokees for his first-ever iron ore venture.
Unknown to the public (but not for lack of trying), lawyers for the mining company, Gogebic Taconite (GTac), were allowed to write a new mining bill. Headed by Bill Williams (former Rio Tinto exec who was fleeing prosecution in Spain for ruining the water of 300,000 Spaniards), GTac wrote a bill that removed all protection for the people, water, air, economy, and democratic process.
Despite overwhelming opposition from every corner of the state, the corporate abusers got their wish as the Republicans used their majority to pass the bill. GTac moved forward with their plans for a 22-mile mountaintop removal open-pit iron ore mine in the middle of a 600-square-mile, pristine watershed that nourishes the entire Lake Superior basin, including the homelands of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe, only five miles downstream of the proposed mine.
The Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe set up the Harvest Education Learning Project (HELP) camp in the hills only a mile from the proposed site, which was their right under federal treaties.
In response, the mining company sent up an unlicensed private security firm from Arizona to guard their drill sites with semi-automatic weapons. The surreal images of guerrilla soldiers in the peaceful north woods was sobering. When had Wisconsin become a third-world country?
In the end, the good guys prevailed—this time. GTac gave up in February 2015 as global iron ore prices were dropping, the Native Americans and their allies were dug into the hills, and state-wide opposition to the mine was at 92%. What might have been the real nail in GTac’s coffin, however, were documents released from a second John Doe investigation of Gov. Walker that revealed illegal campaign coordination going on between Walker’s office and GTac around a $700,000 campaign donation from Club for Growth, a Koch-funded initiative.
The first John Doe investigation sent six of Walker’s associates to jail for embezzlement, money laundering, child enticement, and staffers mixing state business with campaigning to get then-Milwaukee county executive Walker elected to governor. The revelation that Walker had set up a secret email router in his office was uncovered after the investigation released their documents to the public. Walker’s emails revealed the truth.
Fast forward to the race for the 2016 Democratic Presidential nomination. Establishment Democrat Hillary Clinton, who lost the nomination in 2008 to Barack Obama, entered the race early and well-funded. At the 2015 Democratic National Convention in August, the Democratic National Committee unveiled a joint fundraising scheme with the Hillary Victory Fund in order to skirt direct campaign contribution limits. Even without the added cash from the HVF, Clinton’s war chest is an extravaganza of corporate donors and represents a patronage network she and her husband Bill have built since the 1990s. According to Bard College professor Walter Russell Mead:
At a time when globalization and the explosion of non-American wealth has changed the dynamics of wealth and power everywhere, the Clintons have built a machine that facilitates the integration of global power into American politics.
Clinton’s use of that power has been exercised all over the world on behalf of her network of global investors in much the same fashion that Scott Walker foisted his corporate sponsor GTac and their mining venture on northern Wisconsin.
Goldwyn had a long history of promoting drilling overseas—both as a Department of Energy official under Bill Clinton and as a representative of the oil industry. From 2005 to 2009 he directed the US-Libya Business Association, an organization funded primarily by US oil companies—including Chevron, Exxon Mobil, and Marathon—clamoring to tap Libya’s abundant supply. Goldwyn lobbied Congress for pro-Libyan policies.
The details of her international crusade to push fracking onto Romania eerily parallel the fight in Wisconsin to protect the water from GTac. Romanians were going through a similar corporate takeover of their resources in Pungesti, a small, poor section of northeast Romania rich in fracking shale gas. Much like the LCO Ojibwe HELP camp, Romanians were camping out and putting their bodies in front of the fracking pumps that were sent into the area. Police were eventually called in to remove the protesters.
Hillary Clinton personally traveled to Romania and brought Chevron and their money with her to push fracking on the locals against their will. In return, Chevron rewarded Hillary Clinton with hundreds of thousands of dollar for the Clinton Foundation, as well as bundling donations for her 2016 presidential run:
The two Clinton bundlers also were part of a much-criticized campaign by Chevron to manipulate Congress into inserting language into the Andean Trade Preferences Act that would require Ecuador to dismiss a longstanding lawsuit against the company for polluting the Amazon jungle. — Politico, November 16, 2009
Brazil, South America and Gabon, Africa: Iron Ore
A more disturbing tie is to the mining company that is responsible for the Brazilian mining disaster in November 2014. A dam burst at a BHP Billiton-owned iron ore mine in the Rio Doce region and 50 million tons of highly toxic mining waste were unleashed. Brazil is calling it the worst environmental disaster in its history.
The search for bodies and survivors was slow. Mudslides knocked out roads and cellular towers, covered houses, upturned cars, smothered wild and farm animals in their paths, cut off drinking water for a quarter-of-a-million people, and raised health and environmental concerns in cities more than 186 miles downstream. — The Guardian, November 25, 2015
The Brazilian mining disaster was Wisconsin’s worst nightmare come true. The government of Brazil is now suing BHP Billiton for billions.
BHP Billiton is part of a group of 13 major corporations that donated to the Clinton Foundation as they were lobbying the State Department while Clinton was Secretary of State. BHP wanted the US government to protect its mining interests in Gabon, Africa, where it was meeting fierce resistance by concerned Gabon residents. The iron ore deposit was located within Gabon’s Ivindo National Park, a rainforest home to forest elephants, western lowland gorillas, and chimpanzees. Like GTac, it sought to be relieved of any responsibility for the harm it would do.
Grand Canyon: Uranium
In 2013, a group of Canadian mining industry execs donated millions to the Clinton Foundation. They were in the process of building and eventually selling off a corporation known as Uranium One to Russian interests, which has given the Russians control of one-fifth of all uranium production capacity in the United States.
Uranium One’s chairman donated $2.35 million to the Clinton Foundation while they were lobbying for the deal under Clinton’s Sate Department. And despite an agreement with the Obama administration that she would disclose all donors, Clinton did not. After Reuters found the error, Clinton was made to re-file five years of tax returns on how they were reporting all their donations.
Uranium One eventually became Rosatom, the corporation now taking legal action against the US government in order to mine the Grand Canyon. Yes, the corporation Clinton took donations from is now suing the US government for their right to mine the Grand Canyon. Just like the Lake Superior Ojibwe, the Havasupai Tribe, which translates to “blue-green water people,” is downstream of Rosatom and in the fight for their lives to protect themselves and their water.
On January 12, 2010, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti, killing 160,000 people and leaving 1.5 million homeless. Clinton and her foundation swooped in with their “humanitarian” efforts but despite throwing $600 million into Haiti, there is little to show for it. Except that Tony Rodham, Clinton’s brother and a board member of a Delaware corporation called VCS Mining (GTac was also incorporated in Delaware, as were the Clinton’s shell corporations), was granted prime access to Haitian gold deposits:
Another board member of the firm, VCS Mining, was former Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive, who co-chaired the charitable Interim Haiti Recovery Commission with Mr. Clinton.
In similar Scott Walker fashion of over-promising 250,000 new jobs, Clinton’s promise to deliver 100,000 jobs in Haiti fell woefully short. Not only did Clinton’s project, the Caracol Industrial Park, only provide around 6,000 jobs, it destroyed the livelihoods and habitat of hundreds of already poor and earthquake-ravaged local farmers for the construction of the 600-acre sweat shop.
The Oceans: Copper, Gold, Sulfides, Rare Earth
Among the emails recovered from Clinton’s private server were an exchange between Clinton’s son-in-law hedge fund manager Marc Mezvinsky and Harry Siklas, a broker with Goldman Sachs, requesting help from Clinton. One of his friends at Neptune Mining, where he was also an investor, was asking Clinton to intervene on his behalf. At the time, Obama was pushing the “Law of the Sea” treaty, which would have allowed mining companies the right to explore sea-floor mining:
“Hey bud,” Siklas wrote, telling Mezvinsky that Neptune was pursuing sea-floor massive sulfide (SMS) mining in the South Pacific and had just bought out two other mining firms. Siklas said that he and Adam needed “a contact in Hillary’s office: someone my friend Josh (and I perhaps) can reach out via email or phone to discuss SMS mining and the current legal issues and regulations.” Siklas, then registered as a stockbroker at Goldman Sachs in New York, had contributed $2,000 to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 unsuccessful presidential bid.
South Africa: Coal-fired Power Plants
In a story too long and deep to summarize sufficiently, according to DeSmog Blog, “Hillary Clinton approved the construction in South Africa of the world’s two largest coal-fired power-plants, and helped them get Export-Import Bank financing (U.S. taxpayer backing); then, some of her friends received construction contracts to build them.”
Trans Pacific Partnership: The Most Brazen Power Grab in History
While the list goes on of Clinton’s support of corporate domination, her shepherding the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is perhaps one of the most dangerous consolidations of the global corporate power of her patronage network. The TPP amplifies Wisconsin Republicans efforts to remove all local control from communities trying to protect themselves from the corporations that no longer have to be accountable for doing business in the state: local frac sand mining, high-capacity wells, concentrated animal feed operations (CAFOs), and other polluting corporate businesses who are friends of Walker.
Up until it was clear the TPP might threaten her chances to win the White House, Clinton called it the “gold standard” of trade deals. The TPP would allow, among other injustices designed to benefit the corporations at the people’s expense, lawsuits from foreign corporations doing business in the US against our environmental laws:
The Sierra Club issued a statement after the release of the TPP text saying that the “deal is rife with polluter giveaways that would undermine decades of environmental progress, threaten our climate, and fail to adequately protect wildlife because big polluters helped write the deal.”
Walker vs Clinton
Here in Wisconsin, as long as the corporate abusers were aided by Republicans, Democrats were outraged. But when one of their own is clearly colluding with mining companies in exactly the same way that Walker did with GTac, they turn a blind eye. The list of Democrats who support Clinton is staggering, despite her Walker-like behavior:
- Walker had two John Doe investigations, the second now before the Supreme Court; Clinton is being investigated by the FBI;
- A secret email router, when used by Walker, is cause of scandal and corruption; when Clinton employs the same kind of secret server, we are told she has every right to;
- Walker’s pay-to-play with GTac was criminal; with Clinton, suddenly “this is no proof” that the billions of dollars in donations to her foundation influenced her actions;
- Clinton’s habit of obsessive lying (her husband’s record in creating jobs; being under sniper fire in Bosnia) parallels Walker’s penchant for lying (that he balanced the budget; he was attacked by protesters), even about things that have no obvious political angle (how he got his bald spot; how her mother named her after Sir Edmund Hilary).
Won’t Vote Hillary
Hundreds of thousands of people have pledged not to vote for Clinton. The Trump fear mongering and “lesser of two evils” argument fails in the face of Clinton’s allegiance to corporate abusers and her all-out worldwide war against people and the water for the sake of profits. Because of this, she is seen as the greater of two evils and people feel morally impelled to stop the collusion that is destroying the well-being of so many lives and so much water around the world. Like the Lake Superior Chippewa, they look out seven generations, and with Clinton, they barely get two.
Trump is transparent in his racism and psychologically unstable, it’s true. But Clinton professes to be a progressive, when clearly her actions are promoting global corporate domination. Between the two of them, it won’t matter which “evil” wins: one path will be the slower death by a wolf in sheep’s clothing who will destroy the rest of the world first; the other, a faster, more transparent descent into complete chaos here at home.