Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Hillary Clinton: Anti-Labor, Anti-Working Class

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Brandon Turbeville
February 23, 2016

In general, Clinton’s “silence” as a lawyer and corporate board member, backstage coaching as First Lady, votes as Senator, policies as Secretary of State, and positions as candidate for President in 2016, all lead to one conclusion – that Hillary Clinton is a member of the aristocratic class and is an enemy of the poor and working class of the United States. Clinton is firmly in the grips of Wall Street and, as such, is firmly anti-labor. At least she is “anti-labor” any and everywhere except for the campaign trail.

Hillary’s close connections with Wall Street banks and major corporations notwithstanding, it is important to point out her role as Wal-Mart corporate board member where she “remained silent” about the attempt by the corporation to fight unions and remove the possibility of collective bargaining from ranks of Wal-Mart employees.

As Kevin Young and Diana C. Sierra Becerra of Solidarity wrote in their article “Something That Might Be Called A Neo-Con: Hillary Clinton And Corporate Feminism,”

Hillary Clinton’s record on such issues is hardly encouraging. Her decades of service on corporate boards and in major policy roles as First Lady, U.S. Senator, and Secretary of State give a clear indication of where she stands. One of Clinton’s first high-profile public positions was at Walmart, where she served on the board from 1986 to 1992.[1] She “remained silent” in board meetings as her company “waged a major campaign against labor unions seeking to represent store workers,” as an ABC review of video recordings later noted.[2] 

Clinton recounted in her 2003 book that Walmart CEO Sam Walton “taught me a great deal about corporate integrity and success.” Though she later began trying to shed her public identification with the company in order to attract labor support for her Senate and presidential candidacies, Walmart executives have continued to look favorably on her, with Alice Walton donating the maximum amount to the “Ready for Hillary” Super PAC in 2013.[3] Walton’s $25,000 donation was considerably higher than the average annual salary for Walmart’s hourly employees, two-thirds of whom are women. [4] [5] [6]

In regards to her “remaining silent” on Wal-Mart’s war on labor and labor unions while she served on the Wal-Mart corporate board, it appears that Clinton did much more than merely remain silent. Patrick Caldwell of Mother Jones reports that she was actually involved in these decisions. Caldwell writes,

Clinton was the first woman to serve on the board of the company. As the Village Voice noted in a 2000 article denouncing Clinton Walmart past, Clinton's spot on the board was designed just for her: she wasn't filling any open vacancies, and the company didn't replace her seat when she resigned in 1992.[7] Her ties to Walmart weren't confined to her role on the board, either. Walmart was one of Rose's clients and, according to a 1994 New York Times article, Hillary served as "director" for the firm's representation of Walmart.[8]

In 2007 the New York Times reported that during her time on the board, Clinton pushed for greater representation for women in the company's management and led an advisory group that focused on ways Walmart could improve its environmental practices.[9] During a shareholder meeting the year after she joined the company, Walton said they'd added a “strong-willed young lady on the board now who has already told the board it should do more to ensure the advancement of women.” 
But on unionization—the primary liberal complaint against Walmart—Clinton had little to say. A 2008 ABC review of videotapes from Walmart meetings found that "Clinton remained silent as the world's largest retailer waged a major campaign against labor unions seeking to represent store workers."[10] 

"She was not a dissenter," one of her fellow board members told the Los Angeles Times in 2007. "She was a part of those decisions." [11] [12]

Even while Bill Clinton served as Governor of Arkansas, the Clintons, due to Hillary’s position on the board, traveled for free on the Wal-Mart corporate jet 14 times in the time span between 1990 and 1991. Bill was a widespread defender of Wal-Mart during his tenure as Governor. This is, of course, not surprising, since Bill depended on Wal-Mart for funding his campaigns both on the State and Federal levels. [13]

Hillary’s connections to anti-union sentiment and anti-union practices extend beyond her connections to Wal-Mart, however. During the course of her failed 2008 run for President, Hillary Clinton employed a man by the name of Mark Penn as one of her top political strategists. Penn had been close to the Clintons since 1995, working with them in a number of different capacities ranging from “pollster” to “counselor.” [14]

Penn was also a powerful figure in the public relations and research world. Penn became the CEO of Burson-Marsteller Inc. where he worked with major corporations like Microsoft, Pfizer, and Shell Oil. As Joe Conason wrote in 2008 for SALON,

Among the most controversial aspects of Penn’s firm’s business, from the liberal perspective at least, come under the category of “labor relations,” a traditional euphemism for suppressing workers and thwarting their right to organize. Before Penn scrubbed his firm’s Web site, it advertised this specialty and noted the firm’s capacity to confront “Organized Labor’s coordinated campaigns whether they are in conjunction with organizing or contract negotiating.” Not the most graceful wording, but the idea is clear enough.[15]

Mark Schmitt, writing for The American Prospect, expounded further upon the statements found on Penn’s firms’ website. He writes,

One that might be of interest to liberals thinking about whether to support Clinton is "Labor Relations." In this section, Senator Clinton's top advisor's company says, "Companies cannot be caught unprepared by Organized Labor's coordinated campaigns whether they are in conjunction with organizing or contract negotiating ... That is why we have developed a comprehensive communications approach for clients when they face any type of labor situation."[16]

Even on the question of the minimum wage Clinton has skirted “progressive” economics. Indeed, from any sensible economics program such as the American system, Clinton has ran away as if her life depended upon it.

Still, while Clinton has come out in support of raising the minimum wage for fast food workers (in New York City), she has yet to endorse the “Fight for 15” cause arguing for raising the federal minimum wage so that all workers are able to earn a living wage.

To be fair, Clinton has seemingly endorsed raising the federal minimum wage. When an answer is finally able to be pulled from her, it appears that she is open to raising the federal minimum wage to $12 per hour. While raising the minimum wage to $12 is a step in the right direction, the truth is that, if the minimum wage had kept pace with inflation, it would currently stand at $21.72. $12 simply is not enough in the long run.

Undoubtedly, the federal minimum wage must be raised. However, the minimum wage is not the only issue facing a country suffering under economic stagnation, the national economic depression, and income inequality. In fact, one of the most important issues relating to economics and the current economic depression is the question of the lack of jobs in and of itself. Decades of Free Trade and globalism – a truly global race to the bottom – have gutted the American economy. Unfortunately, Hillary Clinton has come down precisely on the side of Free Marketeers, Wall Street, Corporations, and the world oligarchy time and time again.

While Hillary Clinton was merely the first lady and, admittedly, not officially in charge of making public policy, she nevertheless supported NAFTA and assisted in its promotion from the position she held. In 1996, she visited a gathering of unionized garment workers and stated “I think everybody is in favor of free and fair trade. I think NAFTA is proving its worth.”[17]

During both her presidential campaigns, Clinton has attempted to scale back her past support of an agreement that outsourced American jobs so fast it created a metaphorical traffic jam of companies exiting the country. However, as recently as 2003, Clinton voiced clear support of the agreement, a striking act of defiance of the existence of reality. In her book, Living History, she wrote,

Creating a free trade zone in North America — the largest free trade zone in the world — would expand U.S. exports, create jobs and ensure that our economy was reaping the benefits, not the burdens, of globalization. Although unpopular with labor unions, expanding trade opportunities was an important administration goal.

Clearly, any doubts Clinton has expressed about the effectiveness of the NAFTA agreement are nothing more than political posturing. Clinton is banking on the short attention span and memory of the American public, an aspect of the voting population that has served her well enough over the last two decades.

Clinton’s support of the concept of Free Trade, however, continued during her tenure as NY Senator where she voted in favor of just about every single piece of legislation promoting Free Trade and nearly every Free Trade agreement that came her way. Clinton even stated on the floor of the Senate in 2005, “During my tenure as senator, I have voted for every trade agreement that has come before the Senate, and I believe that properly negotiated trade agreements can increase living standards and foster openness and economic development for all parties.”

Strangely, Clinton voted against the CAFTA deal proposed by Bush but, ultimately, her vote was show to be meaningless political posturing against an agreement that was going to pass anyway. She was able to remain untarnished regarding her CAFTA vote with an election fast approaching for the candidates eyeing the 2008 open presidential seat.

Despite her vote on CAFTA, Clinton voted in support of a bi-lateral agreement with Chile, a Free Trade agreement between the two countries that removed tariffs and other “trade barriers” on agricultural and textile products.[18]

Clinton also voted in favor of a bilateral Free Trade agreement between the U.S. and Singapore and a Free Trade Agreement with Oman.[19] [20] She also vocalized support for Free Trade Agreements with Peru, Jordan, Morocco, and Australia.[21]

In 2005, Clinton traveled to India and defended the outsourcing of US jobs where she stated “Outsourcing will continue. There is no way to legislate against reality... We are not in favor of putting up fences.”

As Domenico Montanaro wrote for NPR in his article “A Timeline Of Hillary Clinton’s Evolution On Trade,”

In 2007, for example, Clinton called the South Korea deal "inherently unfair." Yet, four years later in Seoul, South Korea, as secretary of state, she said getting a South Korea deal done was a "priority for me, for President Obama and for the entire administration. We are determined to get it done, and I believe we will." 
In April 2008, before the Pennsylvania primary, where she was trying to woo white working-class men, she said of a Colombia deal that she "will do everything I can to urge the Congress to reject the Colombia Free Trade Agreement." 
But again, as secretary of state, she changed her tune. 
"We think it's strongly in the interests of both Colombia and the United States," Clinton said two years later. "And I return very invigorated ... to begin a very intensive effort to try to obtain the votes to get the free trade agreement finally ratified."[22]

In her book, Hard Choices, Clinton stealthily defended the practice of Free Trade while, at the same time, acknowledging that powers within the U.S. helped create the “global economy.” She also argued that the global economy was hindered by barriers placed in front of “emerging and developing economies [read: “low wage economies] from being able to enter the “current global trading system.” She wrote,

America worked to create a global economy. The current global trading system is distorted not only by barriers to entry in developing and emerging economies, but by the power of special interests in developed countries, including the US. To make trade fairer as well as freer, developing countries have to do a better job of improving productivity, raising labor conditions, and protecting the environment. In the US, we have to do a better job of providing good jobs to those displaced by trade.[23]

Not surprisingly, Clinton is a vocal advocate of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

In fact, as Secretary of State, Clinton was instrumental in helping craft, negotiate, and push through the final draft of the agreement of which we know very little due to the fact that it was negotiated in secret and its terms have largely been kept secret as well.[24] Clinton was involved so heavily in the negotiation process of the TPP that former Obama top adviser David Axelrod told MSNBC that Clinton “owned” the process.[25]

In an interview on Bloomberg TV, National Security Adviser Susan Rice stated that negotiating the TPP was one of Clinton’s biggest achievements at the State Department.[26]

While attempting to present herself as more tepid on the TPP and Free Trade in general, Clinton has spoken highly of the TPP, which she has labeled the “Gold Standard,” in at least 45 different speeches.[27] [28]

Clearly, Clinton is no friend to working America. Her pathetic campaign commercials attempting to portray a regular “workingman’s friend” is the extent of the connection that Clinton maintains with working America. Hers is a world of American aristocracy and psychopathic “survival of the fittest.” At no time must this woman ever occupy the White House again.

Brandon Turbeville’s new book, The Difference It Makes: 36 Reasons Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President is available in three different formats: Hardcopy (available here), Amazon Kindle for only .99 (available here), and a Free PDF Format (accessible free from his website,

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[1] Harkavy, Ward. “Wal-Mart’s First Lady.” Village Voice. May 23, 2000. Accessed on September 8, 2015.

[2] Ross, Brian; Schwartz, Rhonda. “Clinton Remained Silent As Walmart Fought Unions.” ABC News. January 31, 2008. Accessed on September 8, 2015.

[3] Caldwell, Patrick. “Retail Politics: Hillary Clinton Heads To Costco, Skips Walmart On Latest Book Tour.” Mother Jones. June 14, 2014. Accessed on September 8, 2015.

[4] “Fact Sheet – Wages.” Making A Change At Walmart website. Accessed on September 9, 2015.

[5] “Walmart’s Women Workers Take Case To Supreme Court.” Alternet. Accessed on September 9, 2015.

[6] Young, Kevin; Becerra, Diana C. Sierra. “’Something That Might Be Called A Neocon:’ Hillary Clinton And Corporate Feminism.” Solidarity. March 3, 2015. Accessed on September 8, 2015.

[7] Harkavy, Ward. “Wal-Mart’s First Lady.” Village Voice. May 23, 2000. Accessed on September 9, 2015.

[8] Labaton, Stephen. “Rose Law Firm, Arkansas Power, Slips As It Steps Onto A Bigger Stage.” New York Times. February 26, 1994.

[9] Barbaro, Michael. “As A Director, Clinton Moved Wal-Mart Board, but Only So Far.” New York Times. May 20, 2007. Accessed on September 9, 2015.

[10] Ross, Brian; Schwartz, Rhonda. “Clinton Remained Silent As Wal-Mart Fought Unions.” ABC News. January 31, 2008. Accessed on September 9, 2015.

[11] Braun, Stephen. “At Wal-Mart, Clinton Didn’t Upset Any Carts.” Los Angeles Times. May 19, 2007. Accessed on September 9, 2015.

[12] Caldwell, Patrick. “Retail Politics: Hillary Clinton Heads To Costco, Skips Walmart On Her Latest Book Tour.” Mother Jones. June 14, 2014. Accessed on September 9, 2015.

[13] Harkavy, Ward. “Wal-Mart’s First Lady.” Village Voice. May 23, 2000. Accessed on September 9, 2015.

[14] Harkavy, Ward. “Wal-Mart’s First Lady.” Village Voice. May 23, 2000. Accessed on September 9, 2015.

[15] Conason, Joe. “Hillary Clinton’s Labor Problem.” Salon. June 16, 2007. Accessed on September 9, 2015.

[16] Schmitt, Mark. “Penn Inc.” The American Prospect. March 22, 2007. Accessed on September 9, 2015.

[17] Holan, Angie Drobnic. “Clinton Has Changed On NAFTA.” Tampa Bay Times. Politifact. Feburary 25, 2008. Accessed on September 9, 2015.

[18] “Vote number 2003-319 establishing free trade between the US and Chile
on Jul 31, 2003 regarding bill S.1416/HR 2738 US-Chile Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act Results: Bill Passed 66-31: R 43-7; D 23-23.” On The Issues. Accessed on September 9, 2015.

[19] “Vote number 2003-318 establishing free trade between US & Singapore
on Jul 31, 2003 regarding bill S.1417/HR 2739 US-Singapore Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act .Results: Bill Passed 66-32: R 44-7; D 22-24.” On The Issues. Accessed on September 9, 2015.

[20] “Vote number 2006-190 free trade agreement with Oman
on Jun 29, 2006 regarding bill S. 3569 United States-Oman Free Trade Agreement Results: Bill passed, 60-34.” Accessed on September 9, 2015.

[21] Montanaro, Domenico. “A Timeline Of Hillary Clinton’s Evolution On Trade.” NPR. April 21, 2015. Accessed on September 9, 2015.

[22] Montanaro, Domenico. “A Timeline Of Hillary Clinton’s Evolution On Trade.” NPR. April 21, 2015. Accessed on September 9, 2015.

[23] Clinton, Hillary Rodham. Hard Choices. Simon and Schuster.

[24] Mindock, Clark. “Hillary Clinton And Trans-Pacific Partnership: Obama Aide Calls Her Out On TPP Past.” International Business Times. June 19, 2015. Accessed on September 9, 2015.

[25] “Axelrod: Hillary Clinton Said TPP Would Be ‘Gold Standard’ For Trade Agreements, She ‘Owned’ It.” Real Clear Politics. June 15, 2015. Accessed on September 9, 2015.

[26] “Susan Rice Lists Iraq War Victory, Asia Pivot, Trans-Pacific Trade Deal As Hillary’s Top Achievements.” Real Clear Politics. June 19, 2015. Accessed on September 9, 2015.

[27] Phillips, Amber. “Hillary Clinton’s Position On Free Trade? It’s (Very) Complicated.” June 17, 2015. Accessed on September 9, 2015.

[28] Tapper, Jake. “45 Times Secretary Clinton Pushed The Trade Bill She Now Opposes.” CNN. June 15, 2015. Accessed on September 9, 2015.

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