At last week's (Feb. 18th) MSNBC Democratic Town Hall in Las Vegas, Nevada, Secretary Clinton was asked, once again, whether she would release the transcripts of her $250,000-per-hour paid speeches to Goldman Sachs, in the interest of being transparent. Clinton responded as she did during the last debate:
I am happy to release anything I have whenever everybody else does the same, because everybody in this race, including Sen. Sanders, has given speeches to private groups. Everybody else does the same because every other candidate in this race has given speeches to private groups, including Sen. Sanders.
Late last night, Senator Sanders sent the following tweet out on Twitter:
|Bernie Sanders's campaign tweet (click the image to view a larger version),
posted at 10:51pm EDT on Feb. 18, 2016 reads:
This is what a paid @BernieSanders speech looks like:Don't worry. The $500 payout was given to charity.
Here is a live version of this tweet:
This is what a paid @BernieSanders speech looks like:https://t.co/g0AaUEu4yn Don't worry. The $500 payout was given to charity.-- Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) February 19, 2016
Judging by the timestamp of this tweet, it appears Sanders was live-tweeting during Clinton's portion of the town hall. In his tweet, which responds directly to Clinton's vow to release her transcripts "when everybody else has released theirs" including the Senator, he didn't just release a transcript but rather published the video of a speech he, like Clinton, was paid to give.
In this paid speech, Sanders talked about his December 10, 2010 filibuster on the Senate floor that lasted an epic eight-and-a-half-hours. Sanders was critical of President Obama's extension of the Bush administration's tax cuts for top earners and diminished estate tax rates. He also lamented the disappearance of America's middle class. In addition to discussing the the filibuster, which was published into a book, Sanders responded to questions from audience members.
During the same hour he tweeted about the above video, Sanders also tweeted something that's a bit of a curiosity: a tweet that consisted simply and entirely of a URL (web site): iwilllookintoit.com. In the Twitterverse, one usually puts a little something along with the URL to explain what it is, as URLs don't auto-expand to show a preview of the web site being tweeted:
When one visits the web site Sanders tweeted (I know, it's clickbait, but it's pretty genius), one is greeted by a simple message, with a running clock:
|Screen capture of iwilllookintoit.com taken at 7:06 am EDT on 2/19/2016. (Click the image above for a larger version.)|
Unfortunately, the video Sanders linked to, which is found with relative ease by searching C-SPAN2's BookTV program's YouTube account, contains only 10 minutes from his hour-long speech. This is not Sanders's fault, though. He linked to a recording of his speech on C-SPAN's own YouTube account (or an account under their control). After a lot of digging, however, I was able to find the entire, hour-long speech, which you can view and see for yourself what Sanders said:
In two quick, back-to-back tweets Sanders effectively removed the obstacle Clinton claims would be overly burdensome and unfair for her in releasing the transcripts of her paid speeches. He also completely obliterated her charge that he, too, has been paid large sums of money to deliver speeches.
Disparities Exacerbate the Issues
Additionally, Sanders voluntarily disclosed the amount of, as well as what he did with, the ginormous payment he received for making that speech: He took the whopping, jaw-dropping total of $500 (that's five-hundred dollars) that he was paid for his one-hour speech, and he donated it to charity.
Contrast that to the $250,000 Clinton made per hour (and we don't know what she did with that money). That's a 50,000% difference in their rate of pay. Most Americans can only dream of making even $500 per hour (which is what Sanders made for his speech). Clinton makes 500 times that amount.
To be fair, let's compare Clinton's pay versus others who've held the same position of Secretary of State. Yahoo News did some digging and found that Clinton's fees were about four to five times higher than any of her predecessor's speaking fees. And yet, she doesn't believe the federal minimum wage should be increased to $15 per hour.
Let me repeat: someone who makes as much money in one hour as the average middle-class family makes in five years does not believe that the federal minimum wage should be raised to $15 per hour, because that is thinking too big.
The stark contrast in pay that Clinton and Sanders receive for their paid speeches is not the only difference that deserves attention. Sanders's paid speech was given in a forum that was open to any member of the public. Clinton, on the other hand, delivered her speeches in private spaces, behind closed doors, with an invite-only guest list consisting of the who's who of the Wall Street wealthy.
While plenty of the paid speeches the former secretaries have given were either streamed or have since been made public, the content of Clinton's talks at Goldman Sachs has been a tightly guarded secret.~Dylan Stableford,
Senior editor, Yahoo News Politics
Truth, Transparency & Time
|"There can be no faith in government if our highest
offices are excused from scrutiny - they should
be setting the example of transparency."~Edward Snowden
Government, after all, is supposed to be open and transparent. One must question why Clinton is so resistant to release the transcript of any of her paid speeches--transcripts we know actually exist because for once, the media actually did its job, given that she is seeking to fill the seat of the world's most powerful leader. Could it possibly be that Sanders's truth to power claims of the political system being beholden to campaign contributors might carry some weight and Clinton does, in fact, have a much cozier relationship with Wall Street than she has been claiming?
The public deserves a right to know what was said in those speeches, and why she is so reluctant to release the unredacted transcripts. The ball is now in Clinton's court, and truth has a way of coming out, in time...
I'd like to thank my very good friends Xander, Lorraine, and David, who've assisted me with proofreading my articles lately. Xander, a native of the Netherlands, knows four languages, and English was not the first one he learned. There's something to be said when a non-native speaker knows "our" language better than a majority of native-born Americans.
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Disclosure: I am an active supporter of Bernie Sanders's presidential campaign.