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Heavy-Handed Politics

"€œGod willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world
without the United States and Zionism."€ -- Iran President Ahmadi-Nejad

Saturday, October 20, 2007

What IS IT with the Clinton-China connection?

Campaign donations for Mrs. Bill Clinton was given one large boost earlier this year from New York's Chinatown according to the Los Angeles Times.

Back in April, $380,000 was raked in, and this is for one event. Contrast that to John Kerry who raised $24,000 for the entire 2004 campaign. Not bad, eh?

The Times tries to spin it as the "saga of marginalized ethnic groups and newly arrived immigrants turning to politics to improve their lot."

Despite the fact that, "census figures for 2000 show the median family income for the area was less than $21,000, and that "about 45% of the population was living below the poverty line, more than double the city average," according to the Times, they were ever so perceptive, noting that "dishwashers, waiters and others whose jobs and dilapidated home addresses seem to make them unpromising targets for political fundraisers are pouring $1,000 and $2,000 contributions into Clinton's campaign treasury."

Some more interesting details on these big donors:
Of 74 residents of New York's Chinatown, Flushing, the Bronx or Brooklyn that The Times called or visited, only 24 could be reached for comment. . . .

The tenement at 44 Henry St. was listed in Clinton's campaign reports as the home of Shu Fang Li, who reportedly gave $1,000.

In a recent visit, a man, apparently drunk, was asleep near the entrance to the neighboring beauty parlor, the Nice Hair Salon.

A tenant living in the apartment listed as Li's address said through a translator that she had not heard of him, although she had lived there for the last 10 years.

A man named Liang Zheng was listed as having contributed $1,000. The address given was a large apartment building on East 194th Street in the Bronx, but no one by that name could be located there.

In the busy heart of East Broadway, beneath the Manhattan Bridge, is a building that is listed as the home of Sang Cheung Lee, also reported to have given $1,000. Trash was piled in the dimly lighted entrance hall. Neighbors said they knew of no one with Lee's name there; they knocked on one another's doors in a futile effort to find him.

Salespeople at a store on Canal Street were similarly baffled when asked about Shih Kan Chang, listed as working there and having given $1,000. The store sells purses, jewelry and novelty Buddha statues. Employees said they had not heard of Chang.

Another listed donor, Yi Min Liu, said he did not make the $1,000 contribution in April that was reported in his name. He said he attended a banquet for Clinton but did not give her money.


Clinton's Black-Box Candidacy
(Investor's Business Daily)
via CNN Money.com

"Election 2008: An ambitious presidential front-runner. A hot scramble for campaign cash. A corner-cutting past. And now red lights are flashing that she could be in hock to foreign interests. This is going downhill fast.

How else does one explain the cash rolling in to Hillary Clinton's campaign from residents of Manhattan's impoverished Chinatown?

Clinton's campaign is so full of questionable transactions that even the Nation, a left-wing magazine, has dug up a mysterious influence peddler named Alan Quasha who hires Clinton operatives and has links to top Clinton's top fundraisers.

Meanwhile, the online magazine Salon is wondering why the Clintons are not disclosing the identities of donors to the William J. Clinton Foundation as it increases its cash intake just as Hillary becomes the presidential front-runner. Bill Clinton refuses to release their names because he says they gave anonymously. Could they too be foreign and looking to buy influence?

For the mainstream media, and especially those on the left side of the spectrum, to rouse themselves to such reporting is unusual. It points to something very dramatic, like a threat to democracy.

Sen. Clinton knows that enforcing election laws is difficult. When she gets called out, she returns the cash, pleads ignorance, claims a vetting glitch and returns to normal.

Unfortunately, the odds of getting caught are low, the political costs are slight and the sanctions are so light they invite lawbreaking. Most candidates won't go over the line, but a bounder like Hillary may cynically calculate that voters are easily distracted.

But things aren't the same as they were in the days of Whitewater. That Clinton scandal may have been hard for the public to grasp, but the current shenanigans are not. News outlets are picking them up with ease and can describe them in a couple of sentences.

Also, the advent (NYSE:AGC) of FEC databases and political cash Web sites such as campaignmoney.com and opensecrets.com are providing transparency and easy access to financing information. They show who is buying whom in the electoral races, and bloggers and pundits are on it. If Hillary thinks this will dissipate like Whitewater, she is mistaken.

Voters must pay attention to this because for the first time in our history, we could be electing a Manchurian candidate -- someone who is loyal to foreign and unseen donors rather than voters.

What do these hidden interests want in exchange for marshaling the dishwashers of Chinatown to contribute to Clinton's campaign coffers? What has she promised them in exchange?

Knowing that the Chinese seek greater access to U.S. technology, how will this serve their national interests over our own? Will voters find themselves in the situation of watching a President Hillary Clinton sit on her hands after an American aircraft is shot down because of what someone in Beijing knows about cash she accepted?

For now, Sen. Clinton needs to start answering questions about the mysterious patterns in her campaign donations. Better yet, the electoral system needs to be strengthened with far tougher laws and penalties so that this doesn't endanger our democracy."


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