Politics August 24, 2016: Did Hillary abuse her power by meeting with Clinton Foundation donors?

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Did Hillary abuse her power by meeting with Clinton Foundation donors?

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton scandals at the State Department keep growing, but will voters take the warning? A new report by the Associated Press published on Monday, Aug. 23, 2016, shows that outside of government people over half the people former Secretary of State Clinton met with during her tenure were donors or associated with donors to her husband former President Bill Clinton’s foundation.

According to the AP, Clinton tittered on the boundary, ethically violating her role at the State Department but not the legal agreement she made before commencing her post. Donations to the foundation were the ticket to a meeting with Clinton or possible favors from the State Departments. Donors received unprecedented access to the Secretary of State.

The AP discovered that based on the State Department released calendars that of the 154 private people Clinton met with during her tenure, 85 donated to the foundation or pledged donations for “international programs.” The 85 donors contributed a total of $156 million, of those donors 40 donated $100,000 each while 20 each gave over a million dollars each. The donors who met with Clinton each had a request for help from the State Department.

The AP notes, “The frequency of the overlaps shows the intermingling of access and donations, and fuels perceptions that giving the foundation money was a price of admission for face time with Clinton. Her calendars and emails released as recently as this week describe scores of contacts she and her top aides had with foundation donors.”

The AP’s report was hardly complete; it only covered Clinton’s first two years as Secretary of State did not cover government officials and foreign governments. They based their findings on calendars and contacts that the State Department was forced to hand over to the AP. Although the AP added that 16 foreign governments met with Clinton that also donated a total of $170 million to the foundation. Completeness was not the aim; the point was to indicate the unprecedented access private citizens had to Secretary Clinton, as long they paid admission for the golden ticket a donation to the Clinton Foundation.

Clinton’s campaign used the report incompleteness as a means to discredit its very damaging findings calling it “utterly flawed data.”Campaign spokesman Brian Fallon said in a statement, “It is outrageous to misrepresent Secretary Clinton’s basis for meeting with these individuals.” Fallon also said the report “cherry-picked a limited subset of Secretary’s Clinton’s schedule to give a distorted portrayal of how often she crossed paths with individuals connected to charitable donations to the Clinton Foundation.” Fallon also said it “omits more than 1700 meetings she took with world leaders, let alone countless others she took with other US government officials while serving as secretary of state.”

The State Department is also backing their former secretary; spokesman Mark Toner downplayed the report. Toner pointed out, “Individuals, including those who have donated to political campaigns, non-profits, or foundations — including the Clinton Foundation — may contact or have meetings with officials in the administration.”

Republican nominee Donald Trump is seizing on the reports to turn the attacks and attention towards Clinton’s ongoing scandals. First Trump issued a statement, which read, “It is now clear that the Clinton Foundation is the most corrupt enterprise in political history. We’ve now learned that a majority of the non-government people she met with as secretary of state gave money to the corrupt Clinton Foundation. … It was wrong then, and it is wrong now — and the foundation must be shut down immediately.”

At a Tuesday evening, rally in Austin, Texas Trump again assailed the foundation, saying, “Hillary Clinton is totally unfit to hold public office. It is impossible to figure out where the Clinton Foundation ends and the State Department begins. It is now abundantly clear that the Clintons set up a business to profit from public office.” Continuing Trump accused, “The specific crimes committed to carry out that enterprise are too numerous to cover in this speech.”

Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, backed the GOP nominee up, repeating his call for an independent prosecutor to investigate Clinton’s actions at the State Department. Pence in a statement wrote, “The fact Hillary Clinton’s official schedule was full of meetings with Clinton Foundation donors is further evidence of the pay-to-play politics at her State Department. No one is above the law.”

The Republican National Committee and its Chairman Reince Priebus took the opportunity to go after Clinton. In a statement Priebus said, “This is among the strongest and most unmistakable pieces of evidence of what we’ve long suspected: at Hillary Clinton’s State Department, access to the most sensitive policy makers in U.S. diplomacy was for sale to the highest bidder.” Republicans are not the only ones attacking the Clinton Foundation, news publication USA Today’s editorial board is calling for the organization’s closure.

The Clinton campaign is trying to curb the criticism and potential damage to her chances of winning the election. Bill Clinton issued a statement outlining changes to the Clinton Foundation should Hillary be elected president. The former president would step down from the board of directors, stop fundraising, cease taking foreign donations, or even from American corporations and would end “annual meetings of its international aid program, the Clinton Global Initiative.” Daughter Chelsea Clinton, however, would remain on the board.

Former President Clinton again defended his foundation, saying, “We’re trying to do good things. If there’s something wrong with creating jobs and saving lives, I don’t know what it is. The people who gave the money knew exactly what they were doing. I have nothing to say about it except I’m really proud.”

Despite the changes, Clinton still owes favors to 6,000 donors that had combined, donated $2 billion dollars to the foundation since its inception in 2000, when Clinton left the presidency. No matter how many scandals Clinton has had during her tenure at the State Department, never mind her husband’s during his presidency in the 1990s, she still leads in the polls. Whatever, her actions can be called they are a clear warning sign, one voters are ignoring. Instead, the media continually attacks Trump for mere statements and comments rather than actions.

Republicans choosing to defect to Clinton do not realize any Republican president will be more sympathetic to their agenda, than Clinton, who continually views the GOP as an enemy creating conspiracy theories about her. If Clinton wins the election, she truly would be made of Teflon devoid of any consequences for her actions, when any leader is given such a free pass it never ends well. Although different, not so much according to journalist Bob Woodward voters should read a history book on Watergate. Brewing political scandals during an election do tumble over into the presidency.

Politics August 12, 2016: Senate Republicans take on possible corruption over State Dept and Clinton Foundation

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Senate Republicans take on possible corruption over State Dept and Clinton Foundation

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Republican are taking the news that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton might have abused her power as Secretary of State seriously. Senate Majority Whip Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) sent a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Friday, Aug. 12, 2016, questioning why the State Department and Department of Justice refused to investigate a potential conflict of interest between Clinton’s high-ranking aides working at the department and her husband former President Bill Clinton’s foundation.

In the past couple of days, two troubling incidents have shown a possible conflict of interest or at worst abuse of power during Clinton’s tenure. First, was when Conservative Watchdog group Judicial Watch published previously unreleased emails from Clinton’s aide with emails to and from Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills and Deputy Chief of Staff Huma Abedin, two trusted aides to Clinton.

The emails consisted of a request from to find a position for someone close to the foundation by a close aide to Bill Clinton, and to help a donor meet the Lebanese ambassador. Next came the CNN investigation report which uncovered that Mills interviewed candidates to head the Clinton Foundation, while she was Chief of Staff at the State Department.

Although Clinton’s campaign and the State Department defended Mill’s actions, Republicans are not accepting those responses. Cornyn in his letter said the State Dept and DOJ “favors Secretary Clinton.” The Majority Whip wrote, “This contrast does little to instill faith in the Department, part of why I called for an appointment of the Special Counsel in the email matter. But greater clarity for the public on the basis for your decision may.”

The Texas Senator called the recent discoveries “unacceptable” behavior. Sen. Cronyn continued, “It violates the commitment Secretary Clinton made to Congress and the Executive Branch following her nomination to be Secretary of State. That and her proven record of extreme carelessness with national security warrant a careful examination of Secretary Clinton’s other conduct and that of her staff.”

Additionally, Cronyn asked about CNN’s report, and why the FBI asked the DOJ to “open a case and pursue criminal charges,” however, the DOJ decided against an investigation. The DOJ claims they did not investigate because of lack of “evidence.” Cronyn wanted to know if DOJ employee, who decided against pursuing the case were questioned. The Majority Whip was concerned that at Lynch’s meeting with former President Clinton at a tarmac in Phoenix earlier this summer they discussed the conflict of interest.

Politics August 11, 2016: Investigation State Dept aide interviewed job candidates for Clinton Foundation

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Investigation State Dept aide interviewed job candidates for Clinton Foundation

By Bonnie K. Goodman

It is possible the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton blurred the lines with her husband’s Bill Clinton’s foundation while she was serving as Secretary of State. According to a CNN investigation report released on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016, Clinton’s Chief of Staff and longtime aide Cheryl Mills interviewed two candidates in 2012 for a high position at the Clinton Foundation.

In 2009, as Clinton was set to become Secretary of State to she created guidelines about the Clinton Foundation to ensure that it does not “create conflicts or the appearance of conflicts for Senator Clinton as Secretary of State.”

Recent emails, however, released by Conservative Watchdog Group Judicial Watch and CNN investigation prove otherwise. The emails indicate that Clinton’s top aides at the State Department Mills and Huma Abedin, another longtime aide who served as Deputy Chief of Staff may have blurred the lines between their positions at the State Department and the Clinton Foundation showing possible “corruption.”

According to the report, on June 19, 2012, Mills, still serving as Clinton’s Secretary of State Chief of Staff at the State Department took an Amtrak train from Washington to New York. There at executive search firm Mills interviewed two business executives “one from Pfizer and another from Wal-Mart” for the position leading the Clinton Foundation. Both companies are donors to the foundation and “partner” with the Clinton Global Initiative.

Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon downplayed any connection, saying in a statement on Thursday, “Cheryl volunteered her personal time to a charitable organization, as she has to other charities. Cheryl paid for her travel to New York City personally, and it was crystal clear to all involved that this had nothing to do with her official duties. The idea that this poses a conflict of interest is absurd.” Mill’s lawyer also claims that she did the work voluntarily, was not paid and did not use government funds for the trip.

The Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Republican Chuck Grassley of Iowa also wants real answers about Mills trip and her involvement in the job search. In January, Grassley sent current Secretary of State John Kerry a letter requesting further explanations about Mill’s actions but never received a response.

Scott Amey, “an attorney for the Project on Government Oversight,” believes the State Departments needs to provide answers and be accountable to Congress on this potential corruption and abuse of power. Amey stated, “Congress has a rightful right to ask for any information that it wants to from the executive branch of government to keep track of them. And the government should be turning that information over, when you have a breakdown in that system, we have a breakdown in our democracy.”

CNN asked the State Department if Mills had permission or needed it to do what she did with the Clinton Foundation job search. The department responded, “Federal employees are permitted to engage in outside personal activities, within the scope of the federal ethics rules. All federal employees are subject to federal ethics laws and regulations, including rules pertaining to conflicts of interest.”

Mills’ actions are not so innocent. Mills has a long history with both Clintons, and her loyalties have been with them. According to CNN during the first Clinton Administration, Mills served as Deputy White House counsel and defended Bill during his Congressional impeachment hearings. During Hillary’s first run for president in 2008 Mills was her senior legal campaign adviser. Mills also served on the board of the Clinton Foundation before leaving her post at the State Department, after the brief interlude, she is again serving on the board.

Politics August 10, 2016: New Clinton emails released show possible abuse of power

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New Clinton emails released show connection between Foundation and State Dept

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s email scandal is not over yet. Conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch released on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016, more emails from Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State. The 296 pages of emails include 44 emails Clinton did not give the State Department when she handed over the 55,000 pages of work-related emails in December 2014. The emails show a connection between the State Department and former President Bill Clinton’s foundation during his wife’s tenure.

In 2015, Judicial Watch sued the State Department to release Deputy Chief of Staff and longtime Clinton aide Huma Abedin’s emails from Clinton’s tenure. The emails were not directly to or from Clinton but are related more important they shed light on possible impropriety and abuse of power during Clinton’s time as Secretary of State. When Clinton took on the post, she promised that there would be no connection between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department but the emails prove otherwise.

There is three particularly eye-raising emails. The first email dated April 22, 2009, was by Doug Band, a longtime Bill Clinton aide who is an official at the foundation to Abedin. In that email, Band asked Abedin to find a State Department job for an associate, who name was withheld. The email was from Band to Abedin, Clinton’s former Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills and aide Nora Toiv. Band wrote, “It’s important to take care of [redacted],” to which Abedin answered, “Personnel has been sending him options.”

In another email from Band made a request to Abedin and Mills about a Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire, who was a Clinton Foundation Donor. In that 2009 email Band wanted them to connect the donor to the State Department and according to ABC News, “introduce the donor to former U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Jeffrey Feltman.” Band wrote, “We need Gilbert Chagoury to speak to the substance person re Lebanon. As you know, he’s a key guy there and to us and is loved in Lebanon. Very imp.” Abedin responded, “It’s Jeff Feltman. I’m sure he knows him. I’ll talk to Jeff.”

A third email proved how much Clinton and her aides were trying to cover-up that fact that she was using a private email server. In the email, Mills falsely responded to a freedom of information request that asked for all of Clinton State Department email accounts in that response Mills said there were no accounts obviously ignoring the private email account Clinton regularly used.

Judicial Watch President Tom Filton issued a press release along with the emails being made public. Filton wrote, “No wonder Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin hid emails from the American people, the courts, and Congress. They show the Clinton Foundation, Clinton donors, and operatives worked with Hillary Clinton in potential violation of the law.”

State Department spokesperson Elizabeth Trudeau responded defending Clinton, “We feel confident that all the rules were followed.” Trudeau also said, “State Department officials are regularly in touch with a range of outside individuals and organizations including non-profits, NGOs, think tanks, and others.”

Clinton’s campaign also implied there was no wrongdoing. Clinton campaign spokesman Josh Schwerin issued a statement, writing, “Neither of these emails involve the secretary or relate to the foundation’s work. They are communications between her aides and the president’s personal aide, and indeed the recommendation was for one of the secretary’s former staffers who was not employed by the foundation.”

Continuing Clinton’s favorite right wing conspiracy against her and her husband, her campaign blamed Judicial Watch. Schwerin wrote, “The right-wing organization behind this lawsuit has been attacking the Clintons since the 1990s, and no matter how this group tries to mischaracterize these documents, the fact remains that Hillary Clinton never took action as secretary of state because of donations to the Clinton Foundation.”

Clinton’s opponent Republican nominee Donald Trump and his campaign had a field day with the new emails. Trump’s national policy director Stephen Miller commented, “This is yet more evidence that Hillary Clinton lacks the judgment, character, stability and temperament to be within 1,000 miles of public power.”

Continuing Miller said, “She views public office as nothing more than a means to personal enrichment — and every dollar she takes comes at the expense of the public welfare. This latest finding is an unseemly, disturbing window into a corrupt office, and yet more evidence that Hillary Clinton has been lying from the beginning — and by any reasonable definition attempted to obstruct the investigation of the FBI.”

Personally, Trump tweeted, “When is the media going to talk about Hillary’s policies that have gotten people killed, like Libya, open borders, and maybe her emails?” At a Tuesday rally in Abingdon, Virginia, Trump also attacked “Crooked Hillary Clinton” about the emails. Trump pointed out, “A couple of very bad ones came out, and it’s called pay for play. And some of these were really, really bad and illegal. If it’s true, it’s illegal. You’re paying and you’re getting things.”

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus also issued a statement, saying, “Anything less than a full release of these public records before voting begins will only further prove that we have a rigged system that has one set of rules political elites and another for everyone else.”

The FBI supposedly contacted the State Department about a connection between the department and the foundation earlier in the year, but the FBI and its director James Comey denied there was or is any investigation. The State Department OIG is also looking into to seeing if there was any conflict that has to be dealt with an “administrative remedy.”

Although their implication in the emails there is still no concrete proof, that Clinton explicitly abused her power at the State Department. CNN indicated, “For there to be criminal conflict of interest there would have to be evidence showing a government employee received something of value in exchange, such as a job post-employment or money.”

Even if Clinton’s activities were not illegal, she at the very least had a conflict of interest and crossed an official line. Clinton’s whole time at the State Department pushed boundaries and verged on abuse of power. The problem is throughout the campaign; the media is more interested in Trump’s missteps than Clinton’s wrongdoings.

Full Text DNC Day 2, July 26, 2016: Bill Clinton’s Speech at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

2016 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN:

Bill Clinton’s Speech at the Democratic National Convention

Source: Time, 7-26-16

Thank you!

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you!

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

In the spring of 1971 I met a girl.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

The first time I saw her we were, appropriately enough, in a class on political and civil rights. She had thick blond hair, big glasses, wore no makeup, and she had a sense of strength and self- possession that I found magnetic. After the class I followed her out, intending to introduce myself. I got close enough to touch her back, but I couldn’t do it. Somehow I knew this would not be just another tap on the shoulder, that I might be starting something I couldn’t stop.

And I saw her several more times in the next few days, but I still didn’t speak to her. Then one night I was in the law library talking to a classmate who wanted me to join the Yale Law Journal. He said it would guarantee me a job in a big firm or a clerkship with a federal judge. I really wasn’t interested, I just wanted to go home to Arkansas.

(APPLAUSE)

Then I saw the girl again, standing at the opposite end of that long room. Finally she was staring back at me, so I watched her. She closed her book, put it down and started walking toward me. She walked the whole length of the library, came up to me and said, look, if you’re going to keep staring at me…

(LAUGHTER)

CLINTON: …and now I’m staring back, we at least ought to know each other’s name. I’m Hillary Rodham, who are you?

(APPLAUSE)

I was so impressed and surprised that, whether you believe it or not, momentarily I was speechless.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

Finally, I sort of blurted out my name and we exchanged a few words and then she went away.

Well, I didn’t join the Law Review, but I did leave that library with a whole new goal in mind.

(LAUGHTER)

A couple of days later, I saw her again. I remember, she was wearing a long, white, flowery skirt. And I went up to her and she said she was going to register for classes for the next term. And I said I’d go, too. And we stood in line and talked — you had to do that to register back then — and I thought I was doing pretty well until we got to the front of the line and the registrar looked up and said, Bill, what are you doing here, you registered morning?

(LAUGHTER)

I turned red and she laughed that big laugh of hers. And I thought, well, heck, since my cover’s been blown I just went ahead and asked her to take a walk down to the art museum.

We’ve been walking and talking and laughing together ever since.

(APPLAUSE)

And we’ve done it in good times and bad, through joy and heartbreak. We cried together this morning on the news that our good friend and a lot of your good friend, Mark Weiner, passed away early this morning.

We’ve built up a lifetime of memories. After the first month and that first walk, I actually drove her home to Park Ridge, Illinois…

(APPLAUSE)

…to meet her family and see the town where she grew up, a perfect example of post World War II middle-class America, street after street of nice houses, great schools, good parks, a big public swimming pool, and almost all white.

I really liked her family. Her crusty, conservative father, her rambunctious brothers, all extolling the virtues of rooting for the Bears and the Cuba.

(APPLAUSE)

And for the people from Illinois here, they even told me what “waiting for next year” meant.

(LAUGHTER)

It could be next year, guys.

Now, her mother was different. She was more liberal than the boys. And she had a childhood that made mine look like a piece of cake. She was easy to underestimate with her soft manner and she reminded me all over again of the truth of that old saying you should never judge a book by its covers. Knowing her was one of the greatest gifts Hillary ever gave me.

(APPLAUSE)

I learned that Hillary got her introduction to social justice through her Methodist youth minister, Don Jones. He took her downtown to Chicago to hear Dr. Martin Luther King speak and he remained her friend for the rest of his life. This will be the only campaign of hers he ever missed.

When she got to college, her support for civil rights, her opposition to the Vietnam War compelled her to change party, to become a Democrat.

(APPLAUSE)

And then between college and law school on a total lark she went alone to Alaska and spent some time sliming fish.

(APPLAUSE)

More to the point, by the time I met her she had already been involved in the law school’s legal services project and she had been influenced by Marian Wright Edelman.

(APPLAUSE)

She took a summer internship interviewing workers in migrant camps for Senator Walter Mondale’s subcommittee.

(APPLAUSE)

She had also begun working in the Yale New Haven Hospital to develop procedures to handle suspected child abuse cases. She got so involved in children’s issues that she actually took an extra year in law school working at the child studies center to learn what more could be done to improve the lives and the futures of poor children.

(APPLAUSE)

So she was already determined to figure out how to make things better.

Hillary opened my eyes to a whole new world of public service by private citizens. In the summer of 1972, she went to Dothan, Alabama to visit one of those segregated academies that then enrolled over half-a-million white kids in the South. The only way the economics worked is if they claimed federal tax exemptions to which they were not legally entitled. She got sent to prove they weren’t.

So she sauntered into one of these academies all by herself, pretending to be a housewife that had just moved to town and needed to find a school for her son. And they exchanged pleasantries and finally she said, look, let’s just get to the bottom line here, if I enroll my son in this school will he be in a segregated school, yes or know? And the guy said absolutely. She had him!

(LAUGHTER)

I’ve seen it a thousand times since. And she went back and her encounter was part of a report that gave Marian Marian Wright Edelman the ammunition she needed to keep working to force the Nixon administration to take those tax exemptions away and give our kids access to an equal education.

(APPLAUSE)

Then she went down to south Texas where she met…

(APPLAUSE)

…she met one of the nicest fellows I ever met, the wonderful union leader Franklin Garcia, and he helped her register Mexican- American voters. I think some of them are still around to vote for her in 2016.

(APPLAUSE)

Then in our last year in law school, Hillary kept up this work. She went to South Carolina to see why so many young…

(APPLAUSE)

…she went to South Carolina to see why so many young African- American boys, I mean, young teenagers, were being jailed for years with adults in men’s prisons. And she filed a report on that, which led to some changes, too. Always making things better. (APPLAUSE)

Now, meanwhile, let’s get back to business. I was trying to convince her to marry me.

(LAUGHTER)

I first proposed to her on a trip to Great Britain, the first time she had been overseas. And we were on the shoreline of this wonderful little lake, Lake Ennerdale. I asked her to marry me and she said I can’t do it.

(LAUGHTER)

So in 1974 I went home to teach in the law school and Hillary moved to Massachusetts…

(APPLAUSE)

…to keep working on children’s issues. This time trying to figure out why so many kids counted in the Census weren’t enrolled in school. She found one of them sitting alone on her porch in a wheelchair. Once more, she filed a report about these kids, and that helped influence ultimately the Congress to adopt the proposition that children with disabilities, physical or otherwise, should have equal access to public education.

(APPLAUSE)

You saw the results of that last night when Anastasia Somoza talked.

(APPLAUSE)

She never made fun of people with disabilities; she tried to empower them based on their abilities.

(APPLAUSE)

Meanwhile, I was still trying to get her to marry me.

(LAUGHTER)

So the second time I tried a different tack. I said I really want you to marry me, but you shouldn’t do it.

(LAUGHTER)

And she smiled and looked at me, like, what is this boy up to? She said that is not a very good sales pitch. I said I know, but it’s true. And I meant it, it was true.

I said I know most of the young Democrats our age who want to go into politics, they mean well and they speak well, but none of them is as good as you are at actually doing things to make positive changes in people’s lives. (APPLAUSE)

So I suggested she go home to Illinois or move to New York and look for a chance to run for office. She just laughed and said, are you out of you mind, nobody would ever vote for me.

(LAUGHTER)

So I finally got her to visit me in Arkansas.

(APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: And when she did, the people at the law school were so impressed they offered a teaching position. And she decided to take a huge chance. She moved to a strange place, more rural, more culturally conservative than anyplace she had ever been, where she knew good and well people would wonder what in the world she was like and whether they could or should accept her.

Didn’t take them long to find out what she was like. She loved her teaching and she got frustrated when one of her students said, well, what do you expect, I’m just from Arkansas. She said, don’t tell me that, you’re as smart as anybody, you’ve just got to believe in yourself and work hard and set high goals. She believed that anybody could make it.

(APPLAUSE)

She also started the first legal aid clinic in northwest Arkansas, providing legal aid services to poor people who couldn’t pay for them. And one day I was driving her to the airport to fly back to Chicago when we passed this little brick house that had a for sale sign on it. And she said, boy, that’s a pretty house. It had 1,100 square feet, an attic, fan and no air conditioner in hot Arkansas, and a screened-in porch.

Hillary commented on what a uniquely designed and beautiful house it was. So I took a big chance. I bought the house. My mortgage was $175 a month.

(LAUGHTER)

When she came back, I picked up her up and I said, you remember that house you liked? She said yeah. I said, while you were gone I bought it, you have to marry me now.

(LAUGHTER)

The third time was the charm.

(APPLAUSE)

We were married in that little house on October the 11th, 1975. I married my best friend. I was still in awe after more than four years of being around her at how smart and strong and loving and caring she was. And I really hoped that her choosing me and rejecting my advice to pursue her own career was a decision she would never regret.

A little over a year later we moved to Little Rock when I became attorney general and she joined the oldest law firm west of the Mississippi. Soon after, she started a group called the Arkansas Advocates for Families and Children.

(CHEERS)

It’s a group, as you can hear, is still active today.

(APPLAUSE)

In 1979, just after I became governor, I asked Hillary to chair a rural health committee to help expand health care to isolated farm and mountain areas. They recommended to do that partly by deploying trained nurse practitioners in places with no doctors to provide primary care they were trained to provide. It was a big deal then, highly controversial and very important.

And I got the feeling that what she did for the rest of her life she was doing there. She just went out and figured out what needed to be done and what made the most sense and what would help the most people. And then if it was controversial she’d just try to persuade people it was the right thing to do.

(APPLAUSE)

It wasn’t the only big thing that happened that spring my first year as governor. We found out we were going to be parents.

(APPLAUSE)

And time passed. On February 27th, 1980, 15 minutes after I got home from the National Governors Conference in Washington, Hillary’s water broke and off we went to the hospital. Chelsea was born just before midnight.

(APPLAUSE)

And it was the greatest moment of my life. The miracle of a new beginning. The hole it filled for me because my own father died before I was born, and the absolute conviction that my daughter had the best mother in the whole world.

(APPLAUSE)

For the next 17 years, through nursing school, Montessori, kindergarten, through T-ball, softball, soccer, volleyball and her passion for ballet, through sleepovers, summer camps, family vacations and Chelsea’s own very ambitious excursions, from Halloween parties in the neighborhood, to a Viennese waltz gala in the White House, Hillary first and foremost was a mother.

She became, as she often said, our family’s designated worrier, born with an extra responsibility gene. The truth is we rarely disagreed on parenting, although she did believe that I had gone a little over the top when I took a couple of days off with Chelsea to watch all six “Police Academy” movies back-to-back.

(LAUGHTER)

When Chelsea was 9 months old, I was defeated for reelection in the Reagan landslide. And I became overnight, I think, the youngest former governor in the history of the country. We only had two-year terms back then.

Hillary was great. Immediately she said, OK, what are we going to do? Here’s what we’re going to do, we’re going to get a house, you’re going to get a job, we’re going to enjoy being Chelsea’s parents. And if you really want to run again, you’ve got to go out and talk to people and figure out why you lost, tell people you got the message and show them you’ve still got good ideas.

I followed her advice. Within two days we had a house, I soon had a job. We had two fabulous years with Chelsea. And in 1982, I became the first governor in the history of our state to be elected, defeated and elected again.

(APPLAUSE)

I think my experience is it’s a pretty good thing to follow her advice. The rest of the decade sort of flew by as our lives settled into a rhythm of family and work and friends.

In 1983, Hillary chaired a committee to recommend new education standards for us as a part of and in response to a court order to equalize school funding and a report by a national expert that said our woefully underfunded schools were the worst in America.

Typical Hillary, she held listening tours in all 75 counties with our committee. She came up with really ambitious recommendations. For example, that we be the first state in America to require elementary counselors in every school because so many kids were having trouble at home and they needed it.

(APPLAUSE)

So I called the legislature into session hoping to pass the standards, pass a pay raise for teachers and raise the sales tax to pay for it all. I knew it would be hard to pass, but it got easier after Hillary testified before the education committee and the chairman, a plainspoken farmer, said looks to me like we elected the wrong Clinton.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

Well, by the time I ran for president nine years later, the same expert who said that we had the worst schools in America said that our state was one of the two most improved states in America. And that’s because of those standards that Hillary developed.

(APPLAUSE) Now, two years later, Hillary told me about a preschool program developed in Israel called HIPPY, Home Instruction Program for Preschool Youngsters. The idea was to teach low-income parents, even those that couldn’t read, to be their children’s first teachers.

She said she thought it would work in Arkansas. I said that’s great, what are we going to do about it? She said, oh, I already did it. I called the woman who started the program in Israel, she’ll be here in about 10 days and help us get started.

Next thing you know I’m being dragged around to all these little preschool graduations. Now, keep in mind, this was before any state even had universal kindergarten and I’m being dragged to preschool graduations watching these poor parents with tears in their eyes because they never thought they’d be able to help their kids learn.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, 20 years of research has shown how well this program works to improve readiness for school and academic achievement. There are a lot of young adults in America who have no idea Hillary had anything to do with it who are enjoying better lives because they were in that program.

CLINTON: She did all this while being a full-time worker, a mother and enjoying our life. Why? Well, she’s insatiably curious, she’s a natural leader, she’s a good organizer, and she’s the best darn change-maker I ever met in my entire life.

(APPLAUSE)

Look, this is a really important point. This is a really important point for you to take out of this convention. If you believe in making change from the bottom up, if you believe the measure of change is how many people’s lives are better, you know it’s hard and some people think it’s boring. Speeches like this are fun.

(LAUGHTER)

Actually doing the work is hard. So people say, well, we need to change. She’s been around a long time, she sure has, and she’s sure been worth every single year she’s put into making people’s lives better.

(APPLAUSE)

I can tell you this. If you were sitting where I’m sitting and you heard what I have heard at every dinner conversation, every lunch conversation, on every lone walk, you would say this woman has never been satisfied with the status quo in anything. She always wants to move the ball forward. That is just who she is.

(APPLAUSE)

When I became president with a commitment to reform health care, Hillary was a natural to head the health care task force. You all know we failed because we couldn’t break a Senate filibuster. Hillary immediately went to work on solving the problems the bill sought to address one by one. The most important goal was to get more children with health insurance.

(APPLAUSE)

In 1997, Congress passed the Children’s Health Insurance Program, still an important part of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. It insures more than 8 million kids. There are a lot of other things in that bill that she got done piece by piece, pushing that rock up the hill.

In 1997, she also teamed with the House Minority Leader Tom DeLay, who maybe disliked me more than any of Newt Gingrich’s crowd. They worked on a bill together to increase adoptions of children under foster care. She wanted to do it because she knew that Tom DeLay, for all of our differences, was an adoptive parent and she honored him for doing that.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, the bill they worked on, which passed with an overwhelming bipartisan majority, led to a big increase in the adoption of children out of foster care, including non-infant kids and special-needs kids. It made life better because she’s a change-maker, that’s what she does.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, when you’re doing all this, real life doesn’t stop. 1997 was the year Chelsea finished high school and went to college. We were happy for her, but sad for us to see her go. I’ll never forget moving her into her dorm room at Stanford. It would have been a great little reality flick. There I was in a trance just staring out the window trying not to cry, and there was Hillary on her hands and knees desperately looking for one more drawer to put that liner paper in.

(LAUGHTER)

Finally, Chelsea took charge and told us ever so gently that it was time for us to go. So we closed a big chapter in the most important work of our lives. As you’ll see Thursday night when Chelsea speaks, Hillary’s done a pretty fine job of being a mother.

(APPLAUSE)

And as you saw last night, beyond a shadow of a doubt so has Michelle Obama.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, fast forward. In 1999, Congressman Charlie Rangel and other New York Democrats urged Hillary…

(APPLAUSE)

…urged Hillary to run for the seat of retiring Senator Pat Moynihan. We had always intended to go to New York after I left office and commute to Arkansas, but this had never occurred to either one of us. Hillary had never run for office before, but she decided to give it a try.

She began her campaign the way she always does new things, by listening and and learning. And after a tough battle, New York elected her to the seat once held by another outsider, Robert Kennedy.

(APPLAUSE)

And she didn’t let him down. Her early years were dominated by 9/11, by working to fund the recovery, then monitoring the health and providing compensation to victims and first and second responders. She and Senator Schumer were tireless and so were our House members.

In 2003, partly spurred on by what we were going through, she became the first senator in the history of New York ever to serve on the Armed Services Committee.

(APPLAUSE)

So she tried to make sure people on the battlefield had proper equipment. She tried to expand and did expand health care coverage to Reservists and members of the National Guard. She got longer family leave, working with Senator Dodd, for people caring for wounded service members.

And she worked for more extensive care for people with traumatic brain injury. She also served on a special Pentagon commission to propose changes necessary to meet our new security challenges. Newt Gingrich was on that commission, he told me what a good job she had done.

(APPLAUSE)

I say that because nobody who has seriously dealt with the men and women in today’s military believes they are a disaster. They are a national treasure of all races, all religions, all walks of life.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, meanwhile, she compiled a really solid record, totally progressive on economic and social issues. She voted for and against some proposed trade deals. She became the de facto economic development officer for the area of New York outside the ambit of New York City.

She worked for farmers, for winemakers, for small businesses and manufacturers, for upstate cities in rural areas who needed more ideas and more new investment to create good jobs, something we have to do again in small-town and rural America, in neighborhoods that have been left behind in our cities and Indian country and, yes, in coal country.

(APPLAUSE)

When she lost a hard-fought contest to President Obama in 2008, she worked for his election hard. But she hesitated to say yes when he asked her to join his Cabinet because she so loved being a senator from New York.

So like me, in a different context, he had to keep asking.

(LAUGHTER)

But as we all saw and heard from Madeleine Albright, it was worth the effort and worth the wait.

(APPLAUSE) As secretary of state, she worked hard to get strong sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program. And in what The Wall Street Journal no less called a half-court shot at the buzzer, she got Russia and China to support them. Her team negotiated the New START Treaty with Russia to reduce nuclear weapons and reestablish inspections. And she got enough Republican support to get two-thirds of the Senate, the vote necessary to ratify the treaty.

(APPLAUSE)

She flew all night long from Cambodia to the Middle East to get a cease-fire that would avoid a full-out shooting war between Hamas and Israel in Gaza to protect the peace of the region.

She backed President Obama’s decision to go after Osama bin Laden.

(APPLAUSE)

She launched a team, this is really important today, she launched a team to fight back against terrorists online and built a new global counterterrorism effort.

We’ve got to win this battle in the mind field.

She put climate change at the center of our foreign policy.

(APPLAUSE)

She negotiated the first agreement ever — ever — where China and India officially committed to reduce their emissions. And as she had been doing since she went to Beijing in 1995 and said women’s rights are human rights and human rights are women’s rights…

(APPLAUSE)

…she worked to empower women and girls around the world and to make the same exact declaration on behalf of the LGBT community in America and around the world.

(APPLAUSE)

And nobody ever talks about this much, nobody ever talks about this much, but it’s important to me. She tripled the number of people with AIDS in poor countries whose lives are being saved with your tax dollars, most of them in Africa, going from 1.7 million lives to 5.1 million lives and it didn’t cost you any more money. She just bought available FDA-approved generic drugs, something we need to do for the American people more.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, you don’t know any of these people. You don’t know any of those 3.4 million people, but I’ll guarantee you they know you. They know you because they see you as thinking their lives matter. They know you and that’s one reason the approval of the United States was 20 points higher when she left the secretary of state’s office than when she took it.

(APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: Now, how does this square? How did this square with the things that you heard at the Republican convention? What’s the difference in what I told you and what they said? How do you square it? You can’t. One is real, the other is made up.

You just have to decide. You just have to decide which is which, my fellow Americans.

The real one had done more positive change-making before she was 30 than many public officials do in a lifetime in office.

(APPLAUSE)

The real one, if you saw her friend Betsy Ebeling vote for Illinois today…

(APPLAUSE)

…has friends from childhood through Arkansas, where she has not lived in more than 20 years, who have gone all across America at their own expense to fight for the person they know.

(APPLAUSE)

The real one has earned the loyalty, the respect and the fervent support of people who have worked with her in every stage of her life, including leaders around the world who know her to be able, straightforward and completely trustworthy.

The real one calls you when you’re sick, when your kid’s in trouble or when there’s a death in the family.

The real one repeatedly drew praise from prominent Republicans when she was a senator and secretary of state.

(APPLAUSE)

So what’s up with it? Well, if you win elections on the theory that government is always bad and will mess up a two-car parade…

(LAUGHTER)

…a real change-maker represents a real threat.

(APPLAUSE)

So your only option is to create a cartoon, a cartoon alternative, then run against the cartoon. Cartoons are two- dimensional, they’re easy to absorb. Life in the real world is complicated and real change is hard. And a lot of people even think it’s boring.

(APPLAUSE)

Good for you, because earlier today you nominated the real one.

(APPLAUSE)

Listen, we’ve got to get back on schedule. You guys calm down.

Look (INAUDIBLE) a long, full, blessed life, it really took off when I met and fell in love with that girl in the spring of 1971. When I was president, I worked hard to give you more peace and shared prosperity, to give you an America where nobody is invisible or counted out.

(APPLAUSE)

But for this time, Hillary is uniquely qualified to seize the opportunities and reduce the risks we face. And she is still the best darn change-maker I have ever known.

(APPLAUSE)

You could drop her into any trouble spot, pick one, come back in a month and somehow, some way she will have made it better. That is just who she is.

(APPLAUSE)

There are clear, achievable, affordable responses to our challenges. But we won’t get to them if America makes the wrong choice in this election. That’s why you should elect her. And you should elect her because she’ll never quit when the going gets tough. She’ll never quit on you.

She sent me in this primary to West Virginia where she knew we were going to lose, to look those coal miners in the eye and say I’m down here because Hillary sent me to tell you that if you really think you can get the economy back you had 50 years ago, have at it, vote for whoever you want to. But if she wins, she is coming back for you to take you along on the ride to America’s future.

(APPLAUSE)

And so I say to you, if you love this country, you’re working hard, you’re paying taxes and you’re obeying the law and you’d like to become a citizen, you should choose immigration reform over somebody that wants to send you back.

(APPLAUSE) If you’re a Muslim and you love America and freedom and you hate terror, stay here and help us win and make a future together. We want you.

(APPLAUSE)

If you’re a young African American disillusioned and afraid, we saw in Dallas how great our police officers can be, help us build a future where nobody is afraid to walk outside, including the people that wear blue to protect our future.

(APPLAUSE)

Hillary will make us stronger together. You know it because she’s spent a lifetime doing it. I hope you will do it. I hope you will elect her. Those of us who have more yesterdays than tomorrows tend to care more about our children and grandchildren. The reason you should elect her is that in the greatest country on earth we have always been about tomorrow. You children and grandchildren will bless you forever if you do.

God bless you. Thank you.

 

Political Musings May 16, 2015: Out of Touch Bill, Hillary Clinton have made more than $30 million since 2014

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

Out of Touch Bill, Hillary Clinton have made more than $30 million since 2014

May 16, 2015

Hillary Clinton may want to model herself as the champion of the middle class average American, but her and husband, former President Bill Clinton’s earnings in the last year paint a totally different picture. According the public financial…

Political Musings April 6, 2015: New book reveals bloody fight Hillary Clinton had with Bill over Lewinsky affair

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

April 6, 2015

Just as Hillary Clinton is setting up to announce her presidential run later this month, she cannot escape her husband’s former President Bill Clinton’s affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky and the scandal in its…

Full Text Political Transcripts March 19, 2015: Monica Lewinsky’s speech at TED 2015 Conference about Bill Clinton Scandal and Cyber-Bullying Transcript

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

Monica Lewinsky’s speech at TED 2015 Conference about Bill Clinton Scandal and Cyber-Bullying Transcript

Monica Lewinsky speaks at TED2015 - Truth and Dare, March 19 2015, Vancouver Convention Center. Photo: James Duncan Davidson/TED

Monica Lewinsky

You are looking at a woman who was publicly silent for a decade. Obviously that has changed, but only recently.

It was several months ago that I gave my very first, major public talk at the Forbes 30 Under 30 summit.

1500 brilliant people, all under the age of 30. That meant that in 1998 the oldest among the group were only 14 and the youngest just 4.

I joked with them that some might only have heard of me from rap songs. Yes, I am in rap songs. Almost 40 rap songs.

But the night of my speech, a surprising thing happened. At the age of 41, I was hit on by a 27-year-old guy. I know, right? He was charming and I was flattered and I declined. Do you know what his unsuccessful pickup line was? He could make me feel 22 again.

I realized later that night I am probably the only person over 40 who does not want to be 22 again.

At the age of 22 I fell in love with my boss. And at the age of 24, I learned the devastating consequences.

Can I see a show of hands of anyone here who  didn’t make a mistake or do something they regretted at 22? Yep, that’s what I thought. So like me, at 22, a few of you may have taken wrong turns and fallen in love with the wrong person. Maybe even your boss.

Unlike me, your boss probably wasn’t the President of the United States of America.

Of course, life is full of surprises.

Not a day goes by that I am not reminded of my mistake. And I regret that mistake deeply.

In 1998, after having been swept up into an improbable romance, I was then swept up into the eye of a political, legal and media maelstrom like we had never seen before. Remember, just a few years earlier, news was consumed in just three places: reading a newspaper or magazine, listening to a radio, or watching television. That was it.

But that wasn’t my fate. Instead, this scandal was brought to you by the digital revolution. That meant we could access all the information we wanted, when we wanted it, anytime, anywhere. And when the story broke in January, 1998, it broke online. It was the first time the traditional news was usurped by the internet for a major news story. A click that reverberated around the world.

What that meant for me personally was that overnight I went from being a completely private figure to a publicly-humiliated one worldwide. I was Patient Zero of losing a personal reputation on the global scale almost instantaneously.

This rush to judgement enabled by technology led to mobs of virtual stone-throwers. Granted, it was before social media, but people could still comment online, email stories and of course, email cruel jokes. News sources plastered photos of me all over to sell newspapers, banner ads online, and to keep people tuned to the TV.

Do you recall a particular image of me, say, wearing a beret? Now, I admit I made mistakes, especially wearing that beret. But the attention an judgement I received, not the story, but that I personally received, was unprecedented.

I was branded as a tramp. Tart. Slut. Whore. Bimbo. And, of course, “That Woman”. I was seen by many, but actually known by few. And I get it. It was easy to forget that “that woman” was dimensional, had a soul, and was once unbroken.

When this happened to me 17 years ago, there was no name for it. Now we call it cyber-bulling and online harassment.

Today I want to share some of my experiences, and talk about how those experiences helped shape my cultural observations, and how my past experiences can lead to a change that can lead to less suffering for others.

In 1998 I lost my reputation and my dignity. I lost almost everything. And I almost lost my life.

Let me paint a picture for you. It is September of 1998. I am sitting in a windowless office room inside the Office of the Independent Counsel, underneath humming flourscent lights. I am listening to the sound of my voice. My voice on surreptitiously taped phone calls that a supposed friend had made the year before. I am here because I’ve been legally required to authenticate all 20 hours of taped conversation. For the past eight months, the mysterious content of these conversations has hung like the Sword of Damocles over my head.

I mean, who can remember what they said a year ago?

Scared and mortified, I listened. Listened as I prattled on about the flotsam and jetsam of the day. Listen as I confess my love for the president. And of course, my heartbreak. Listened to my sometimes catty, sometimes churlish, sometimes silly self being cruel, unforgiving, uncouth. Listened deeply, deeply ashamed of the worst version of myself. A self I don’t even recognize.

A few days later, the Starr Report is released to Congress and all of those tapes and transcripts, those stolen words, form a part of it. That people can read the transcripts is horrific enough. But a few weeks later the audio tapes are aired on TV, and significant portions are made available online.

The public humiliation was excruciating. Life was almost unbearable.

This was not something happened with regularity back in 1998. And by this, I mean the stealing of people’s private words, actions, conversations or photos, and then making them public. Public without consent, public without context, and pubic without compassion.

Fast forward 12 years to 2010 and now social media has been born. The landscape has sadly become much more populated with instances like mine, whether or not someone actually made a mistake. And now it is for both public and private people. The consequences for some have become dire. Very dire.

I was on the phone with my mom in September, 2010 and we were talking about the news of a young college freshman from Rutgers University named Tyler Clementi.

Sweet, sensitive, creative Tyler was secretly webcammed by his room mate while being intimate with another man. When the online world learned of this incident, the ridicule and cyber-bullying ignited. A few days later, Tyler jumped from the George Washington Bridge to his death. He was 18.

My mom was beside herself about what happened to Tyler and his family and she was gutted with pain in a way I just couldn’t understand.

And then eventually, she was reliving 1998. Reliving a time when she sat beside my bed every night. Reliving a time when she made me shower with the bathroom door opened. And reliving a time when both of my parents feared I would be humiliated to death. Literally.

Today too many parents haven’t had the chance to step in and rescue their loved ones. Too many have learned have of their child’s humiliation and suffering after it was too late.

Tyler’s tragic, senseless death was a turning point for me. It served to recontextualize my experiences and I then began to look at the world of humiliation and bullying around me and see something different.

In 1998 we had no way of knowing where this brave new technology called the Internet would take us. Since then it has connected people in unimaginable ways, joining lost siblings, saving lives, launching revolutions.

But the darkness, cyber-bullying and slut-shaming that I experienced had mushroomed. Every day online people, especially young people who are not developmentally equipped to handle this, are so abused and humiliated that they can’t imagine living to the next day. And some, tragically, don’t. And there is nothing virtually about that.

ChildLine, a UK-based service that is focussed on helping young people on various issue, released a staggering statistic late last year. From 2012 to 2013, there was an 87 per cent increase in calls and emails related to cyber-bullying. A meta analysis done out of the Netherlands showed that for the first time, cyber-bullying was leading to suicidal ideations more significantly than offline bullying.

And you know what shocked me, although it shouldn’t have, was other research that determined that humiliation was a more intensely felt emotion that either happiness or even anger.

Cruelty to others is nothing new. But online, technologically-enhanced shaming is amplified, uncontained and permanently accessible.

The echo of embarrassment used to extend only as far as your family, village, school or community. But now it is the online community too. Millions of people can stab you anonymously with their words, and that is a lot of pain. And there are no perimeters around how many people can publicly observe you and put you in a public stockade.

There is a very personal price to public humiliation. And the growth of the internet has jacked up that price. For nearly two decades now we have slowly been sowing the seeds of humiliation and shame in our cultural soil, both on and offline.

Gossip websites, paparazzi, reality programming, politics, news outlets and sometimes hackers all traffic in shame. It has led to desensitization and a permissive environment online which lends itself to  trolls, trolling, cyber-bullying and invasion of privacy. This shift has created what Professor Nicolas Vilas calls a culture of humiliation.

Consider a few common examples just from the past six months alone.

Snapchat, the service which is mainly used by the younger generations and claims that its messages only have the life span of a few seconds. You can imagine the range of content that gets. A third-party app that SnapChatters used to preserve the life span of the messages was hacked, and 100,000 personal conversations, photos and videos were leaked online to now have a lifetime of forever.

Jennifer Lawrence and several other actors had their iCloud accounts hacked and private, intimate nude photos were plastered across the internet without their permission.

One gossip website had over one million hits for this one story.

And what about the Sony Pictures cyber-hacking? The documents that which received the most attention were private emails that had maximum public embarrassment value.

But in this culture of humiliation, there is another kind of price tag attached to public shaming. The price does not measure the cost to the victim, which Tyler and many others, notably women and minorities and members of the LGBTQ community have paid, but the price measures the profit of those who prey on them.

This invasion of others is a raw material efficiently and ruthlessly mined, packaged and sold at a profit. A marketplace has emerged where public humiliation is a commodity and shame is an industry.

How is the money made? Clicks. The more shame, the more clicks. The more clicks, the more advertising dollars. We are in a dangerous cycle. The more we click on this kind of gossip, the more numb we become to the human lives behind it. And the more numb we get, the more we click.

All the while, somebody is making money off of the back of someone else’s suffering. With every click we make a choice. The more we saturate our culture with public shaming, the more accepted it is, the more we will see behaviour like trolling, cyber-bullying, some forms of hacking and online harassment.

Why? Because they all have humiliation at their cores. This behaviour is a symptom of the culture we’ve created. Just think about it.

Changing behaviour begins with evolving beliefs. We’ve seen that to be true with racism, homophobia and plenty of other biases today and in the past. As we have changed beliefs about same-sex marriage, more people have been offered equal freedoms. When we began valuing sustainability, more people began to recycle.

So as far as our culture of humiliation goes, what we need is a cultural revolution. Public shaming as a blood sport has to stop. And it is time for an intervention on the internet and in our culture.

The shift begins with something simple, but it is not easy. We need to return to a long-held value of compassion. Compassion and empathy. Online we have a compassion deficit and an empathy crisis.

Researcher Berne Brown said, and I quote, “shame can’t survive empathy. Shame cannot survive empathy.”

I have seen some very dark days in my life. It was the compassion and empathy from my family, my friends, professionals, and even strangers, that saved me.

Even empathy from one person can make a difference. The theory of minority influence proposed by social psychologist Serge Muscovici says that even in small numbers, when there is consistency over time, change can happen.

In the online world we can foster minority influence by becoming “up standers”. To become an upstander means instead of bystander apathy, we can post a positive comment for someone or report a bullying situation.

Trust me, compassionate comments help abate the negativity. We can also counteract the culture by supporting organizations that deal with these kinds of issues, like the Tyler Clementi Foundation in the US. In the UK there is anti-bullying Pro, and in Australia there is Project Rocket.

We talk a lot about our right to freedom of expression. But we need to talk more about our responsibility to freedom of expression. We all want to be heard. But let’s acknowledge the difference between speaking up with intention and speaking up for attention.

The internet is the superhighway for the Id. But online, showing empathy for others benefits us all

and helps create a safer and better world.

We need to communicate online with compassion, consume news with compassion and click with compassion. Just imagine walking a mile in someone else’s headline.

I’d like to end on a personal note. In the past nine months the question I have asked most is why.

Why now, why now was I sticking my head above the parapet. You can read between the lines in those questions, and the answer has nothing to do with politics. The top note answer answer was, and is, because it is time. Time to stop tip-toeing around my past, time to stop living a life of oppoprium, and time to take back my narrative.

It is also not just about saving myself. Anyone who is suffering from shame and public humiliation needs to know on thing. You can survive it.

I know it is hard. It may not be painless, quick or easy. But you can insist on a different ending to your story. Have compassion for yourself.

We all deserve compassion. And to live both online and off in a more compassionate world.

Thank you for listening.

Political Musings January 12, 2015: Monica Lewinsky at Golden Globes after party, as new Clinton sex scandal emerges

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Monica Lewinsky at Golden Globes after party, as new Clinton sex scandal emerges

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Monica Lewinsky is back in the limelight in a big way attending the Golden Globes after party at Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles, California on Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015 with her long-time BFF Alan Cumming, who had been nominated…READ MORE

Political Musings January 9, 2015: Sex scandal Bill Clinton’s Jeffrey Epstein friendship upsetting Hillary 2016 run

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Sex scandal Bill Clinton’s Jeffrey Epstein friendship upsetting Hillary 2016 run

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Where there is a sex scandal Former President Bill Clinton is never too far behind, now it has been revealed Clinton was another of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein’s buddies. On Jan. 5, 2015, the news media reported…READ MORE

Political Musings June 16, 2014: Obama is now just as loved or not as Bush as favorable ratings hit new lows

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Political Musings June 9, 2014: New poll finds Obama less competent than both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Recent polls are giving President Barack Obama a stream of bad news, now a new Fox News poll released on Wednesday, June 4, 2014 finds that Americans consider Obama less competent than his recent predecessors. The new Fox News poll…Continue

Political Musings May 7, 2014: Monica Lewinsky returns with Vanity Fair tell all as Hillary Clinton tops polls

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Monica Lewinsky returns with Vanity Fair tell all as Hillary Clinton tops polls

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Political Musings March 22, 2014: Gallup says Hillary Clinton set for history making first woman president in 2016

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Americans are looking to make history again in 2016, at least according to a new Gallup survey released on Friday, March 21, 2014, this time by electing the first female president. According to the new survey part of what excites…READ MORE

History Headlines February 28, 2014: Thousands of Bill Clinton White House Papers Released

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY HEADLINE NEWS

History Buzz

HISTORY MAKING HEADLINES

Thousands of Bill Clinton White House Papers Released

Source: NYT, 2-28-14

Newly released papers underscored what a pivotal force Hillary Rodham Clinton was in her husband’s White House, intimately involved in the policy and politics that shaped Washington in the 1990s….READ MORE

Political Musings February 17, 2014: Romney talks Bill and Hillary Clinton, 2016, Olympics on NBC’s Meet the Press

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Romney talks Bill and Hillary Clinton, 2016, Olympics on NBC’s Meet the Press

By Bonnie K. Goodman

As part of former 2012 Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s recent increase in public appearances, he sat down for a short interview that lasted 11 minutes and recorded from a studio in Salt Lake City, Utah on Sunday…READ MORE

Political Musings January 1, 2014: Obamas, Clinton send hospitalized former First Lady Barbara Bush recovery wishes

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Obamas, Clinton send hospitalized former First Lady Barbara Bush recovery wishes

By Bonnie K. Goodman

A Bush family statement released on New Year’s Eve, Tuesday Dec. 31, 2013 made public that beloved former First Lady Barbara Bush was hospitalized on Monday, Dec. 30, 2013 at Houston Methodist Hospital in Texas Medical Center. She…READ MORE

Political Musings November 21, 2013: Obama honors John F. Kennedy on the 50th anniversary of his assassination

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Political Musings November 13, 2013: Former President Bill Clinton joins circle critical of Obamacare

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Former President Bill Clinton joins circle critical of Obamacare

By Bonnie K. Goodman

President Barack Obama’s circle of critics regarding his health care law, the Affordable Care Act is widening. On Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013 former President Bill Clinton called on Obama to change a key element of his law to…READ MORE

Political Headlines August 28, 2013: Former President Bill Clinton praises Martin Luther King, implores people to ‘push open those stubborn gates holding America back”

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Clinton praises King, implores people to ‘push open those stubborn gates holding America back”

Source: Washington Post, 8-28-13

For President Bill Clinton, this day 50 years ago in the shadows of the Lincoln Memorial, marks “one of the most important days in American history.” Clinton joined President Barack Obama and the family of Martin Luther King Jr. Wednesday….READ MORE

Political Headlines August 9, 2013: White House Announces 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipients

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Announcing the 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipients

Source: WH, 8-8-13

President Barack Obama talks with former President Bill Clinton before an event in McLean, Va.President Barack Obama talks with former President Bill Clinton before an event in McLean, Va., Sunday, April 29, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

What do baseball player Ernie Banks, former President Bill Clinton, and Oprah Winfrey all have in common? Later this year, they will be honored by President Obama as three of the sixteen recipients of the 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Fifty years ago, President Kennedy signed an Executive Order establishing the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the Nation’s highest civilian honor. President Obama said, “The Presidential Medal of Freedom goes to men and women who have dedicated their own lives to enriching ours. This year’s honorees have been blessed with extraordinary talent, but what sets them apart is their gift for sharing that talent with the world. It will be my honor to present them with a token of our nation’s gratitude.”

President Obama greets former astronaut Sally Ride at the launch of the "Educate to Innovate"Nov. 23, 2009President Obama greets former astronaut Sally Ride prior to the launch of the “Educate to Innovate” Campaign for Excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (Stem) Education, in the South Court Auditorium of the White House, Nov. 23, 2009. (Official White House Photo)

This year, the Presidential Medal of Freedom will be awarded to:

  • Ernie Banks
  • Ben Bradlee
  • Bill Clinton
  • Daniel Inouye
  • Daniel Kahneman
  • Richard Lugar
  • Loretta Lynn
  • Mario Molina
  • Sally Ride
  • Bayard Rustin
  • Arturo Sandoval
  • Dean Smith
  • Gloria Steinem
  • Cordy Tindell “C.T.” Vivian
  • Patricia Wald
  • Oprah Winfrey

Learn more about each of the 2013 Medal of Freedom recipients here.

Political Headlines April 9, 2013: Stephen Colbert introduces Bill Clinton to Twitter as @PrezBillyJeff

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Stephen Colbert introduces Bill Clinton to Twitter as @PrezBillyJeff

Source: New York Daily News, 4-9-13

Stephen Colbert has signed former President Bill Clinton up for Twitter with a not-so-presidential handle: @PrezBillyJeff. Clinton joked that he had been reluctant to jump on the Twitter bandwagon during the interview that aired on “The Colbert Report”….READ MORE

History Buzz January 16, 2013: Martha Joynt Kumar: Historian Says President Barack Obama Held Less Press Conferences in First Term than Most of Previous Presidents

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

Press Conferences Not Obama’s Cup of Tea

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

According to presidential scholar Martha Joynt Kumar, Obama has given 79 pressers during his first term in office.  Obama said that his press conference on Jan. 14 was the last one he’ll do until after his second inauguration on Monday.

How does the president stack up against the three previous commanders in chief?  He certainly wasn’t as anxious to meet the press in Term One as George W. Bush, who appeared 89 times, Bill Clinton, who held 133 pressers and the all-time winner, George H.W. Bush, with 142 press conferences….READ MORE

Campaign Headlines November 4, 2012: Obama on Final Campaign Swing, Jokes He’s Just a ‘Prop’ for Voters

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Obama on Final Campaign Swing, Jokes He’s Just a ‘Prop’ for Voters

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

President Obama kicked off his final 48-hour push to the finish line Sunday morning in New Hampshire, telling a crowd of 14,000 that at this stage in the campaign he’s just “sort of a prop in the campaign.”

“It’s now up to you,” he said at his last rally in the Granite State, where he was once again joined by former President Bill Clinton.  “That’s how a democracy works, right?  That ultimately, it’s up to you.  You have the power.  You are shaping the decisions for this country for decades to come.  Right now.  In the next two days.”

The president departed the White House for the last time before Election Day Sunday morning and spent close to 11 hours in the air Sunday as he flew from New Hampshire to rallies in Florida, Ohio and Colorado….READ MORE

 

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