Every Man Has a Price
Here’s a list of several countries: Saudi Arabia, Russia, China, and the United Arab Emirates. What do they all have in common – besides being among the worst human rights offenders on the planet?
Their enthusiastic embrace of American values? Their love of liberty and freedom of speech?
Here’s a list of several financial institutions: Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Cayman Island Alternative Investment Conference and Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS). What do they all have in common – besides being complicit in the financial meltdown that triggered the Great Recession?
Their respect for American laws and regulations? Their passion for capitalism and all the good it does for the world?
Here’s a list of crimes and conspiracies for which UBS admitted guilt and paid billions of dollars in fines: stealing assets belonging to Holocaust victims (1998); illegally transferring and laundering funds to countries with which the U.S. has declared trade embargoes (2004); operating schemes to aid U.S. citizens from paying income tax (2009); rigging the United States municipal bond market (2011); rigging the LIBOR interest rate market (2012); defrauding the Federal Housing Agency (2014); rigging foreign exchange markets (2015).
If UBS were in any other field than banking, most reasonable folks would consider it an ongoing criminal organization, a mafia in the purest sense. That would be when a company’s business is built on breaking the law. Let us charitably call UBS a not very nice corporation, certainly one that men of sterling reputations would wish to avoid – as opposed to having their name and photo displayed prominently on the company’s Website, right next to the logo.
Then again, anyone who wished to be seen as a staunch defender of human rights, including women’s rights, probably wouldn’t want it to be inferred that he supports Saudi, Russia, China, etc. Yet Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton have rented out their international prestige to these countries (and others) for $100,000-$200,000 fees.
Presidents Clinton and Bush were employed by UBS to show up and speak at a series of events between 2011-2015. As well as at that paragon of virtue, the Cayman Island Alternative Investment Conference.
Yes, what all the countries on the list and all the financial corporations on the list have in common is that they were able to induce our two most recent American Presidents to unabashedly announce to the world, “Every man has his price!”
Republican. Democrat. When it comes to scooping up the post-office profits, Bush and Clinton are interchangeable.
They also have one other thing in common. Someone with their name wants to be our next President.