Tag Archives: Election 2016

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Compares Organized Workers to ISIS

Republican presidential hopeful says battle against organized workers has prepared him to take on foreign militants

By Jon Queally
February 27, 2015
Common Dreams

 

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Feb. 26, 2015. “If I can take on 100,000 protesters,” said Walker, “I can do the same in the rest of the world.” (Photo: H. Darr Beiser, USA TODAY)

Speaking to the audience at the annual rightwing convergence known as CPAC on Thursday, Republican Governor Scott Walker indicated that his ongoing attack on the rights of workers in his home state of Wisconsin is preparing him for a possible future fight with foreign militants such as those aligned with the Islamic State fighters now operating in Iraq and Syria.

“We need a leader who will stand up and say we will take the fight to them and not wait until they take the fight to American soil,” declared Walker, a 2016 presidential hopeful, to the audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, DC.

“If I can take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the same in the rest of the world,” he added in a clear reference to both ongoing protests against new anti-worker laws and a historic revolt in 2011 against Walker’s push to dismantle collective-bargaining rights for the state’s labor unions.

According to the Blaze.com, the conservative web platform created by Glenn Beck, Walker’s speech received “thunderous applause” from the conference attendees. Fox News‘ national political correspondent Joseph Weber reported Walker “delivered the goods” during the speech.

Though Walker and his handlers later tried to re-characterize the comments—claiming the governor was not making a comparison between Wisconsin workers who have opposed Walker’s anti-labor policies by joining public protests and militants who have released gruesome videos of beheading and lighting afire their captors inside a foreign war zone—local union members were not buying it.

“To compare the hundreds of thousands of teachers, students, grandmothers, veterans, correctional officers, nurses and all the workers who came out to peacefully protest and stand together for their rights as Americans to ISIS terrorists is disgusting and unacceptable,” said Wisconsin AFL-CIO President Phil Neuenfeldt in a statement. “To compare hard-working men and women who work for a living to terrorists is a disgrace. Coming together to peacefully protest for freedom, to raise your voice for a better Wisconsin, this is not an act of terror.”

Watch it (h/t ThinkProgress):

According to Reuters:

The Badger State’s 47-year-old governor has emerged as an early favorite in the battle to win the Republican nomination in the November 2016 presidential election. He was among more than a dozen potential candidates due to address activists at CPAC in Maryland near Washington on Thursday and Friday.

Like many other potential candidates, Walker has argued that Democratic President Barack Obama has not been aggressive enough in the U.S.-led fight against Islamic State and other extremist groups in the Middle East.

Jeb Bush Exposed Part 2 – He Thinks Unconstitutional NSA Spying is “Hugely Important”

By Michael Krieger
February 21, 2015
Liberty Blitzkrieg

 

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 3.49.11 PMIn some ways I’m actually looking forward to the imperial spectacle that will be the Jeb Bush vs. Hilary Clinton Presidential contest in 2016. Just like an alcoholic or drug addict is often unable to shake the cycle of addiction until hitting rock bottom, so too it seems the American peasantry must hit political rock bottom before becoming fed up enough to do something about it; and I can’t imagine a more odious, absurd scenario than being forced to chose between another Bush and another Clinton.

I’ve given Hilary a lot of grief here at Liberty Blitzkrieg, primarily because she’s an oligarch coddling embarrassment (links at the end). Jeb Bush hasn’t received the same treatment as of yet, but I’m going to do my best to make up for lost time.

Just yesterday, I highlighted his unsurprising neocon foreign policy chops in the piece, Jeb Bush Exposed Part 1 – His Top Advisors Will Be the Architects of His Brother’s Iraq War. Specifically, we learned that:

According to Reuters’ Steve Holland, Bush has tapped a “diverse” roster of former George W. Bush and George H. W. Bush officials to advise his burgeoning campaign on foreign policy, including key architects of the 2002 invasion of Iraq.

The list of advisers provided to Reuters by a campaign aid includes Paul Wolfowitz and Stephen Hadley, as well as former George W. Bush Homeland Security Secretaries Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff, and Bush adviser Meghan O’Sullivan.

Imperial war monger: Check. What about his view on let’s say the 4th Amendment of the Constitution? He doesn’t seem to want to be bothered with such trivialities. The Wall Street Journal reports that:

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who is seriously considering a run for the White House in 2016, said Wednesday that the National Security Agency’s program that collects bulk telephone records was “hugely important,” throwing his support behind the practice as Congress debates whether to reauthorize or limit it.

At an event on foreign policy hosted by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Mr. Bush, a Republican, said, “For the life of me, I don’t understand the debate” over the metadata program.

The program’s many supporters say it helps the U.S. government prevent terrorist attacks. But its critics believe it exists with little oversight and few boundaries and could allow the government to spy on U.S. citizens.

Interesting, how did the Wall Street Journal fail to mention that former NSA chief Keith Alexander admitted that the spying hasn’t achieved much of anything. In the 2013 article, NSA Chief Admits “Only One or Perhaps Two” Terror Plots Stopped by Spy Program, we learned that:

The Obama administration’s credibility on intelligence suffered another blow Wednesday as the chief of the National Security Agency admitted that officials put out numbers that vastly overstated the counterterrorism successes of the government’s warrantless bulk collection of all Americans’ phone records.

Pressed by the Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee at an oversight hearing, Gen. Keith B. Alexander admitted that the number of terrorist plots foiled by the NSA’s huge database of every phone call made in or to America was only one or perhaps two — far smaller than the 54 originally claimed by the administration.

As we know, never let the truth get in the way of a good story. Back to the WSJ.

Mr. Bush’s comments are significant, as the legal authority that allows the program to exist is set to expire in June. Congress is weighing whether to rework the program in a way that would strip the NSA of some of its powers.

Mr. Bush’s support for the metadata program puts him in sharp contrast with another likely GOP White House candidate, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.

Mr. Bush – as he made evident during his comments in Chicago – supports more government spending on the military and a broader military influence.

Reason accurately covered Jeb’s absurd position in its piece:, Jeb Bush: “I don’t understand the debate” Over the NSA’s Bulk Phone Records Collection Program. Here are some excerpts:

Does Jeb Bush truly not understand that some people—indeed, quite a lot of people—might find a vast, secret, program to spy on millions of citizens to be a little bit creepy? That many in the public might understandably find this to be a potential government overreach, or an abuse of federal power? 

Perhaps he really doesn’t. If so, that should disqualify him from the GOP’s presidential nomination before his run even officially starts. But I doubt that he is truly as flummoxed by concerns about the program as his dismissive remark suggests.

Instead, I suspect he knows all too well what the program entails, what its critics argue, and why it has remained a topic of controversy for so long. But Jeb Bush does not want to defend the particulars of the initiative so much as he wants to publicly stand by his brother’s administration and then settle the issue by declaring that it is not one. Despite his declaration yesterday that he is his “own man,” and not his brother or father, he would not even broach the possibility that his brother’s program might be deserving of any critique. 

Put another way: Jeb Bush claims he doesn’t understand the debate because he doesn’t want there to be a debate. But there is one, and if he is to run for president, he will have to take part in it.

BINGO. It’s like a Jedi mind trick. “These are not the drones you’re looking for…there is no debate, what debate, move along peasants…”

For related articles, see:

First, this would be really funny if it was an Onion article as opposed to real life: Jeb Bush to Present the “Liberty Medal” to Hillary Clinton

Jeb Bush Exposed Part 1 – His Top Advisors Will Be the Architects of His Brother’s Iraq War

This is Why Rand Paul is Hilary Clinton’s Worst Nightmare

Glenn Greenwald on Hilary Clinton: “Soulless, Principle-Free, Power Hungry…”

A Tale from Post-Constitutional America – This is What Happens if You Turn Your Back on Hilary Clinton

Welcome to the Oligarchy suckers:

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 3.47.53 PM

Oligarch Rules: Jeb Bush Surrounds Himself With Architects Of His Brother’s Iraq War

By Michael Krieger
February 20, 2015
Liberty BliztKrieg

 

Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 2.29.56 PMAccording to Reuters’ Steve Holland, Bush has tapped a “diverse” roster of former George W. Bush and George H. W. Bush officials to advise his burgeoning campaign on foreign policy, including key architects of the 2002 invasion of Iraq.

The list of advisers provided to Reuters by a campaign aid includes Paul Wolfowitz and Stephen Hadley, as well as former George W. Bush Homeland Security Secretaries Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff, and Bush adviser Meghan O’Sullivan.

— From the Think Progress article: The Same People Who Lied To You About Iraq Are Now In Charge Of Jeb Bush’s Foreign Policy

It may be hard to believe, but either one of the two status quo choices for U.S. President currently being force-fed down the American public’s throat will be almost unquestionably more imperial and warlike than Barack Obama. The reason is simple. Any society that apathetically stands by as one President after the other tramples on the Constitution will be subject to a litany of increasingly tyrannical, and even insane, leaders. This is why the oligarchy isn’t even pretending that we live in a Republic or a Democracy anymore. They are shoving our pathetic servitude right in our face by putting up these two preposterous and dangerous candidates.

If you still had any doubt, today we learn that Jeb Bush is actively surrounding himself with the exact same people who under the George W. Bush administration, masterminded the terrible tragedy known as the Iraq war.

Think Progress covered this predictable, yet terrifying, reality earlier today. Brace yourself:

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) will deliver a speech on Wednesday that seeks to distance his foreign policy views from the previous two Bush presidents, saying, according to early excerpts, that while he admires his presidential family members, “I am my own man.”

“[M]y views are shaped by my own thinking and own experiences,” Bush will say as he lays out a vision that calls for increased military spending in order to project strength and encourage peace worldwide.

“Having a military that is equal to any threat is not only essential for the commander in chief … it also makes it less likely that we will need to put our men and women in uniform in harm’s way,” he will say. “Because I believe, fundamentally, that weakness invites war … and strength encourages peace.”

Yes, like all the peace the U.S. has unleashed upon the world since 9/11. Such as the creation of ISIS from the smoldering crater your brother left in Iraq.

The remarks come just days after Bush brushed aside questions about his view of President George W. Bush’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and as the Florida governor and presumptive GOP frontrunner works to define himself in the early days of the 2016 campaign.

According to Reuters’ Steve Holland, Bush has tapped a “diverse” roster of former George W. Bush and George H. W. Bush officials to advise his burgeoning campaign on foreign policy, including key architects of the 2002 invasion of Iraq.

The list of advisers provided to Reuters by a campaign aid includes Paul Wolfowitz and Stephen Hadley, as well as former George W. Bush Homeland Security Secretaries Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff, and Bush adviser Meghan O’Sullivan.

Let’s take some of these characters one at a time…

Paul Wolfowitz – Wolfowitz, who served as Deputy Secretary of Defense in the George W. Bush administration, began advocating an attack on Iraq shortly after the Sep. 11 attacks, established “what amounted to a separate government” to push for war and invited journalists to secret meetings in order to lay out the foundation for his plans. Wolfowitz established the Office of Special Plans in the Pentagon that ignored the conclusions of the intelligence community and fed policy makers and the media discredited claims of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

Stephen Hadley – Then-Deputy National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley famously disregarded warnings from the CIA and then-FBI director George Tenet and included references to Iraq’s pursuit of uranium in Bush’s speeches, a claim that proved to be false. Hadley later apologized for leaving the now-infamous phrase in Bush’s 2003 State of the Union address and was promoted to become the president’s National Security Adviser.

Meghan O’Sullivan – Meghan O’Sullivan was as a top adviser to L. Paul Bremer — the U.S. viceroy in charge of the Coalition Provisional Authority that is blamed for mismanaging the occupation of Iraq immediately following the American invasion — and is credited with developing the security agreements and early transfer of sovereignty negotiations between the United States and Iraq. She also served as special assistant to George W. Bush from 2004 to 2007.

In 2003, for instance, Jeb Bush explained to Florida reporters that “in his heart, I know [George W. Bush] is doing what he thinks is right, and I concur with him.” Ten years later, he told an NBC reporter that “history will be kind to my brother [on Iraq] the further out you get from this and the more people compare his tenure to what’s going on now.” And in a joint CNN interview with George in 2010, Jeb said, “I have never disagreed with [George W. Bush]… ‘til death do us part.”

History is being written as we speak, and we can now see that the war in Iraq led directly to the creation of ISIS. Kind indeed.

This is all I have to say about that…

For related articles, see:

America’s Disastrous Foreign Policy – My Thoughts on Iraq

Paralyzed Iraq War Veteran Tomas Young Has Died – Here’s His Final Letter to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney

Ex-CIA Officer Claims that Open Source Revolution is About to Overthrow Global Oligarchy

When Asked if the U.S. is a Capitalist Democracy or Oligarchy, Janet Yellen Can’t Answer…

New Report from Princeton and Northwestern Proves It: The U.S. is an Oligarchy

The Warmongering Record of Hillary Clinton

“I urged him to bomb…”

By Gary Leupp
February 11, 2015
Counter Punch

 

Hillary Clinton, explaining how much of her soul she has left to sell

If reason and justice prevailed in this country, you’d think that the recent series of articles in the Washington Times concerning the U.S.-NATO attack on Libya in 2011 would torpedo Hillary Clinton’s presidential prospects.

Clinton as U.S. Secretary of State at that time knew that Libya was no threat to the U.S. She knew that Muammar Gadhafi had been closely cooperating with the U.S. in combating Islamist extremism. She probably realized that Gadhafi had a certain social base due in part to what by Middle Eastern standards was the relatively equitable distribution of oil income in Libya.

But she wanted to topple Gadhafi. Over the objections of Secretary of “Defense” Robert Gates but responding to the urgings of British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicholas Sarkozy, she advocated war. Why? Not for the reason advertised at the time. (Does this sound familiar?) Not because Gadhafy was preparing a massacre of the innocents in Benghazi, as had occurred in Rwanda in 1994. (That episode, and the charge that the “international community” had failed to intervene, was repeatedly referenced by Clinton and other top officials, as a shameful precedent that must not be repeated. It had also been deployed by Bill Clinton in 1999, when he waged war on Serbia, grossly exaggerating the extent of carnage in Kosovo and positing the immanent prospect of “genocide” to whip up public support. Such uses of the Rwandan case reflect gross cynicism.)

No, genocide was not the issue, in Libya any more than in Kosovo. According to the Washington Times, high-ranking U.S. officials indeed questioned whether there was evidence for such a scenario in Libya. The Defense Intelligence Agency estimated that a mere 2,000 Libyan troops armed with 12 tanks were heading to Benghazi, and had killed about 400 rebels by the time the U.S. and NATO attacked. It found evidence for troops firing on unarmed protestors but no evidence of mass killing. It did not have a good estimate on the number of civilians in Benghazi but had strong evidence that most had fled. It had intelligence that Gadhafy had ordered that troops not fire on civilians but only on armed rebels.

The Pentagon doubted that Gadhafi would risk world outrage by ordering a massacre. One intelligence officer told the Washington Times that the decision to bomb was made on the basis of “light intelligence.” Which is to say, lies, cherry-picked information such as a single statement by Gadhafi (relentlessly repeated in the corporate press echoing State Department proclamations) that he would “sanitize Libya one inch at a time” to “clear [the country] of these rats.” (Similar language, it was said, had been used by Hutu leaders in Rwanda.) Now that the rats in their innumerable rival militias control practically every square inch of Libya, preventing the emergence of an effective pro-western government, many at the Pentagon must be thinking how stupid Hillary was.

No, the attack was not about preventing a Rwanda-like genocide. Rather, it was launched because the Arab Spring, beginning with the overthrow of the two dictators, President Ben Ali of Tunisia and President Mubarak of Egypt, had taken the west by surprise and presented it with a dilemma: to retain longstanding friendships (including that with Gadhafi, who’d been a partner since 2003) in the face of mass protests, or throw in its lot with the opposition movements, who seemed to be riding an inevitable historical trend, hoping to co-opt them?

Recall how Obama had declined up to the last minute to order Mubarak to step down, and how Vice President Joe Biden had pointedly declined to describe Mubarak as a dictator. Only when millions rallied against the regime did Obama shift gears, praise the youth of Egypt for their inspiring mass movement, and withdraw support for the dictatorship. After that Obama pontificated that Ali Saleh in Yemen (a key ally of the U.S. since 2001) had to step down in deference to protesters. Saleh complied, turning power to another U.S. lackey (who has since resigned). Obama also declared that Assad in Syria had “lost legitimacy,” commanded him to step down, and began funding the “moderate” armed opposition in Syria. (The latter have at this point mostly disappeared or joined al-Qaeda and its spin-offs. Some have turned coat and created the “Loyalists’ Army” backing Assad versus the Islamist crazies.)

Hillary, that supposedly astute stateswoman, believed that the Arab Spring was going to topple all the current dictators of the Middle East and that, given that, the U.S. needed to position itself as the friend of the opposition movements. Gadhafy was a goner, she reasoned, so shouldn’t the U.S. help those working towards his overthrow?

Of course the U.S. (or the combination of the U.S. and NATO) couldn’t just attack a sovereign state to impose regime change. It would, at any rate, have been politically damaging after the regime change in Iraq that had been justified on the basis of now well discredited lies. So the U.S. arm-twisted UNSC members to approve a mission to protect civilians in Libya against state violence. China and Russia declined to use their veto power (although as western duplicity and real motives became apparent, they came to regret this). The Libya campaign soon shifted from “peace-keeping” actions such as the imposition of a “no-fly” zone to overt acts of war against the Gadhafy regime, which for its part consistently insisted that the opposition was aligned with al-Qaeda.

The results of “Operation Unified Protector” have of course been absolutely disastrous. Just as the U,S. and some of its allies wrecked Iraq, producing a situation far worse than that under Saddam Hussein, so they have inflicted horrors on Libya unknown during the Gadhafi years. These include the persecution of black Africans and Tuaregs, the collapse of any semblance of central government, the division of the country between hundreds of warring militias, the destabilization of neighboring Mali producing French imperialist intervention, the emergence of Benghazi as an al-Qaeda stronghold, and the proliferation of looted arms among rebel groups. The “humanitarian intervention” was in fact a grotesque farce and huge war crime.

But the political class and punditry in this country do not attack Hillary for war crimes, or for promoting lies to promote a war of aggression. Rather, they charge her and the State Department with failure to protect U.S. ambassador to Libya John Christopher Stevens and other U.S. nationals from the attack that occurred in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. And they fault her for promoting the State Department’s initial “talking point” that the attack had been a spontaneous reaction to an anti-Muslim YouTube film rather than a calculated terrorist attack. They pan her for sniping at a senator during a hearing, “What difference does it make (whether the attack had been launched by protestors spontaneously, or was a terrorist action planned by forces unleashed by the fall of the Gadhafi regime)”?

In other words: Hillary’s mainstream critics are less concerned with the bombing of Libya in 2011 that killed over 1100 civilians, and produced the power vacuum exploited by murderous jihadis, than by Hillary’s alleged concealment of evidence that might show the State Department inadequately protected U.S. diplomats from the consequences of the U.S.-orchestrated regime change itself. In their view, the former First Lady might have blood on her hands—but not that, mind you, of Libyan civilians, or Libyan military forces going about their normal business, or of Gadhafi who was sodomized with a knife while being murdered as Washington applauded.

No, she’s held accountable for the blood of these glorified, decent upstanding Americans who’d been complicit in the ruin of Libya.

This version of events is easy to challenge. It’s easy to show that Clinton skillfully—in full neocon mode, spewing disinformation to a clueless public—steered an attack an attack on Libya that has produced enormous blowback and ongoing suffering for the Libyan people. If a right-wing paper like Washington Times can expose this, how much more the more “mainstream” press? Could they at least not raise for discussion whether what Rand Paul calls “Hillary’s war” was, like the Iraq War (and many others) based on lies? Shouldn’t Hillary be hammered with the facts of her history, and her vaunted “toughness” be exposed as callous indifference to human life?

* * *

While championing the rights of women and children, arguing that “it takes a village” to raise a child, Clinton has endorsed the bombing of villages throughout her public life. Here are some talking points for those appalled by the prospects of a Hillary Clinton presidency.

*She has always been a warmonger. As First Lady from January 1993, she encouraged her husband Bill and his secretary of state Madeleine Albright to attack Serbian forces in the disintegrating Yugoslavia—in Bosnia in 1994 and Serbia in 1999. She’s stated that in 1999 she phoned her husband from Africa. “I urged him to bomb,” she boasts. These Serbs were (as usual) forces that did not threaten the U.S. in any way. The complex conflicts and tussles over territory between ethnic groups in the Balkans, and the collapse of the Russian economy following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, gave Bill Clinton an excuse to posture as the world’s savior and to use NATO to impose order. Only the United States, he asserted, could restore order in Yugoslavia, which had been a proudly neutral country outside NATO and the Warsaw Pact throughout the Cold War. President Clinton and Albright also claimed that only NATO—designed in 1949 to counter a supposed Soviet threat to Western Europe, but never yet deployed in battle—should deal with the Balkan crises.

The Bosnian intervention resulted in the imposition of the “Dayton Accord” on the parties involved and the creation of the dysfunctional state of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Kosovo intervention five years later (justified by the scaremongering, subsequently disproven reports of a Serbian genocidal campaign against Kosovars) involved the NATO bombing of Belgrade and resulted in the dismemberment of Serbia. Kosovo, now recognized by the U.S. and many of its allies as an independent state, is the center of Europe’s heroin trafficking and the host of the U.S.’s largest army base abroad. The Kosovo war, lacking UN support and following Albright’s outrageous demand for Serbian acquiescence—designed, as she gleefully conceded, “to set the bar too high” for Belgrade and Moscow’s acceptance—of NATO occupation of all of Serbia, was an extraordinary provocation to Serbia’s traditional ally Russia. “They need some bombing, and that’s what they are going to get,” Albright said at the time, as NATO prepared to bomb a European capital for the first time since 1945.

*Clinton has been a keen advocate for the expansion of an antiquated Cold War military alliance that persists in provoking Russia. In the same year that NATO bombed Belgrade (1999), the alliance expanded to include Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. But Clinton’s predecessor George H. W. Bush had promised Russia in 1989 that NATO would not expand eastward. And since the Warsaw Pact had been dissolved in 1991, and since Russia under Boris Yeltsin hardly threatened any western countries, this expansion has understandably been viewed in Russia as a hostile move. George Kennan, a former U.S. ambassador to the USSR and a father of the “containment” doctrine, in 1998 pronounced the expansion a “tragic mistake” with “no reason whatsoever.” But the expansion continued under George W. Bush and has continued under Obama. Russia is now surrounded by an anti-Russian military alliance from its borders with the Baltic states to the north to Romania and Bulgaria. U.S.-backed “color revolutions” have been designed to draw more countries into the NATO camp. Hillary as secretary of state was a big proponent of such expansion, and under her watch, two more countries (Albania and Croatia) joined the U.S.-dominated alliance.

(To understand what this means to Russia, imagine how Washington would respond to a Russia-centered “defensive” military alliance requiring its members to spend 2% of their GDPs on military spending and coordinate military plans with Moscow incorporating Canada and all the Caribbean countries, surrounding the continental U.S., and now moving to include Mexico. Would this not be a big deal for U.S. leaders?)

*As New York senator Clinton endorsed the murderous ongoing sanctions against Iraq, imposed by the UN in 1990 and continued until 2003. Initially applied to force Iraqi forces out of Kuwait, the sanctions were sustained at U.S. insistence (and over the protests of other Security Council members) up to and even beyond the U.S. invasion in 2003. Bill Clinton demanded their continuance, insisting that Saddam Hussein’s (non-existent) secret WMD programs justified them. In 1996, three years into the Clinton presidency, Albright was asked whether the death of half a million Iraq children as a result of the sanctions was justified, and famously replied in a television interview, “We think it was worth it.” Surely Hillary agreed with her friend and predecessor as the first woman secretary of state. She also endorsed the 1998 “Operation Desert Fox” (based on lies, most notably the charge that Iraq had expelled UN inspectors) designed to further destroy Iraq’s military infrastructure and make future attacks even easier.

*She was a strident supporter of the Iraq War. As a New York senator from 2001 to 2009, Hillary aligned herself with the neoconservatives in the Bush administration, earning a reputation as a hawk. She was a fervent supportive of the attack on Iraq, based on lies, in 2003. On the floor of the Senate she echoed all the fictions about Saddam Hussein’s “chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program.” She declared, “He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members.” She suggested that her decision to support war was “influenced by my eight years of experience on the other end of Pennsylvania Ave. in the White House watching my husband deal with serious challenges to our nation.” (Presumably by the latter she meant the threats posed by Serbs in Bosnia and Kosovo.) Her loss to Obama in the Democratic primary in 2008 was due largely to Obama’s (supposed) antiwar position contrasting with her consistently pro-war position. She has only vaguely conceded that her support for the invasion was something of a mistake. But she blames her vote on others, echoing Dick Cheney’s bland suggestion that the problem was “intelligence failures.” “If we knew know then what we know now,” she stated as she began her presidential campaign in late 2006, “I certainly wouldn’t have voted” for the war.

*She actively pursued anti-democratic regime change in Ukraine. As secretary of state from 2009 to 2013, Clinton as noted above endorsed NATO’s relentless expansion. She selected to serve as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs the neocon Victoria Nuland, who had been the principal deputy foreign advisor to Cheney when he was vice president. The wife of neocon pundit Robert Kagan, Nuland is a war hawk whose current mission in life is the full encirclement of Russia with the integration of Ukraine into the EU and then into NATO. The ultimate goal was the expulsion of the Russian Black Sea Fleet from the Crimean Peninsula (where it has been stationed since 1783). She has boasted of the fact that the U.S. has invested five billion dollars in supporting what she depicts as the Ukrainian people’s “European aspirations.” What this really means is that the U.S. exploited political divisions in Ukraine to topple an elected leader and replace him with Nuland’s handpicked prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyev, deploying neo-Nazi shock troops in the process and generating a civil war that has killed over 5000 people.

Clinton has increasingly vilified Vladimir Putin, the popular Russian president, absurdly comparing the Russian re-annexation of the Crimean Peninsula following a popular referendum with Hitler’s annexation of the Sudetenland. She is totally on board the program of producing a new Cold War, and forcing European allies to cooperate in isolating the former superpower.

*She wanted to provide military assistance to the “moderate” armed opposition in Syria, to effect regime change, and after leaving office criticized Obama for not supplying more than he did. In 2011 Clinton wanted the U.S. to arm rebels who quickly became aligned with the al-Nusra Front (an al-Qaeda affiliate) and other extreme Islamists, in order to bring down a secular regime that respects religious rights, rejects the implementation of Sharia law, and promotes the education of women. The U.S. indeed has supplied arms to anti-Assad forces from at least January 2014, But as it happens the bulk of U.S. aid to the “moderate rebels” has been appropriated by Islamists, and some of it is deployed against U.S. allies in Iraq. It is now widely understood that the bulk of “moderate” rebels are either in Turkish exile or directed by CIA agents, while the U.S. plans to train some 5000 new recruits in Jordan. Meanwhile Assad has won election (as fair as any held in a U.S. client state like Afghanistan or Iraq) and gained the upper hand in the civil war. U.S. meddling in Syria has empowered the Islamic State that now controls much of Syria and Iraq.

*She has been an unremitting supporter of Israeli aggression, whenever it occurs. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz described her last year as “Israel’s new lawyer” given her sympathetic view of Binyamin Netanyahu’s 2014 bombardment of Gaza and even his desire to maintain “security” throughout the occupied West Bank. She postured as an opponent of Israel’s unrelenting, illegal settlements of Palestinian territory in 2009, but backed down when Netanyahu simply refused to heed U.S. calls for a freeze. In her memoir she notes “our early, hard line on settlements didn’t work”—as though she’s apologizing for it.

In 1999 as First Lady, Hillary Clinton hugged and kissed Yassir Arafat’s wife Suha during a trip to the West Bank. She advocated the establishment of a Palestinian state. She changed her tune when she ran for the New York Senate seat. When it comes to the Middle East, she is a total, unprincipled opportunist.

*Hillary tacitly endorsed the military coup against elected Honduran president Manuel Zelaya in 2009, refusing to call it such (even though Obama did). She made common cause with those who feared his effort to poll the people about constitutional reform would weaken their positions, made nice with the ensuing regime and made sure Zelaya would not return to office.

*She provoked China by siding with Japan in the Senkaku/ Daioyutai dispute. Departing from the State Department’s traditional stance that “we take no position” on the Sino-Japanese dispute about sovereignty over the Senkaku/ Daioyutai islands in the East China Sea, seized by Japan in 1895, Clinton as secretary of state emphasized that the islands fall within the defense perimeters of the U.S.-Japanese alliance. The warmongering neocon National Review in a piece entitled “In Praise of Hillary Clinton” praised her for “driving the Chinese slightly up a wall.”

*She helped bring down a Japanese prime minister who heeded the feelings of the people of Okinawa, who opposed the Futenma Marine Corps Air Force Station on the island. The new president Yukio Hatoyama, whose Democratic Party of Japan defeated the slavishly pro-U.S. Liberal Democratic Party in the general election of 2009, had promised to move the hated U.S. base in the heart of Ginowan city for the noise, air pollution and public safety hazards it causes. Clinton met with him, listened sympathetically, and said “no.” Hatoyama was obliged to apologize to the people of Okinawa, essentially conceding that Japan remains an occupied nation that doesn’t enjoy sovereignty. Nationwide his public support ratings fell from 70 to 17% and he was obliged to resign in shame after eight months in office.

*She made countless trips to India, signing bilateral economic and nuclear cooperation agreements with a country her husband had placed under sanctions for its nuclear tests in 1998. While castigating North Korea for its nuclear weapons program, and taking what a CIA analyst called a “more hard line, more conditional, more neoconservative [approach] than Bush during the last four years of his term,” she signaled that India’s nukes were no longer an issue for the U.S. India is, after all, a counterweight to China.

What can those who revere her point to in this record that in any way betters the planet or this country? Clinton’s record of her tenure in the State Department is entitled Hard Choices, but it has never been hard for Hillary to choose brute force in the service of U.S. imperialism and its controlling 1%.

This is a country of 323 million people. 88% of those over 25 have graduated high school. The world respects U.S. culture, science, and technology. Why is it that out of our well-educated, creative masses the best that the those who decide these things—the secretive cliques within the two official, indistinguishable political parties who answer to the 1% and who decide how to market electoral products—can come up with is the likely plate of candidates for the presidential election next year? Why is it that, while we all find it ridiculous that North Korea’s ruled by its third Kim, Syria by its second Assad, and Cuba by its second Castro, the U.S. electorate may well be offered a choice between another Clinton and another Bush? As though their predecessors of those surnames were anything other than long-discredited warmongering thugs?

GARY LEUPP is Professor of History at Tufts University, and holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Religion. He is the author of Servants, Shophands and Laborers in in the Cities of Tokugawa JapanMale Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan; and Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, (AK Press). He can be reached at: gleupp@granite.tufts.edu

 

 

 

Big Backers of Clinton Foundation Found in Leaked Swiss Bank Files: Report

Whether legal or not, Hillary Clinton’s deep connections with the planet’s financial elite may cast a shadow of her attempts to play the populist in the 2016 election

By Jon Queally
February 10, 2015
Common Dreams

 

Bill and Hillary Clinton on stage during an event sponsored by their family foundation. (Photo: AP)

 

Large financial backers of the Clinton Foundation charitable fund have been found among those named in the trove of leaked documents from a Swiss division of HSBC bank this week, raising questions about the integrity of such individuals and what it says about the relationships they have with the powerful Clinton family.

According to the Guardian newspaper, which broke the story, on Tuesday:

Leaked files from HSBC’s Swiss banking division reveal the identities of seven donors to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation with accounts in Geneva.

 

They include Frank Giustra, a Canadian mining magnate and one of the foundation’s biggest financial backers, and Richard Caring, the British retail magnate who, the bank’s internal records show, used his tax-free Geneva account to transfer $1m into the New York-based foundation.

Hillary Clinton has expressed concern over growing economic inequality in the US and is expected to make the issue a cornerstone of her widely anticipated presidential campaign in 2016. However, political observers are increasingly asking whether the former secretary of state’s focus on wealth inequality sits uncomfortably with the close relationships she and her husband have nurtured with some of the world’s richest individuals.

The newspaper notes that it is perfectly legal for citizens from around the world—including those from the U.S. and Canada—to hold bank accounts in Geneva and reports there is “no evidence any of the Clinton donors with Geneva accounts evaded tax.”

However, with Hillary Clinton now considered the Democratic Party frontrunner for 2016, the revelations may once again cast a special shadow over such dealings.

As Reuters reported last September ahead of a high-profile event for the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City, “When Hillary Clinton rubs shoulders with financial executives and philanthropic giants… it will underscore the tension between her elite connections and populist image likely to feature in her expected 2016 presidential campaign.”

“If you look at her track record from the past, it is out of step with the current Democratic Party,” said Charles Chamberlain, executive director of liberal group Democracy For America, at the time. “Not on social issues, but definitely on economic issues, so we’re going to be watching very carefully.”

As Common Dreams reported last summer:

Clinton has been looked on with suspicion by progressives following high-paid speaking engagements with Goldman Sachs and other powerful Wall Street institutions since leaving her post at the State Department. And last month, Clinton put her weight behind the powerful biotech industry by speaking at their national conference, not only endorsing their business model but offering political advice on how to overcome public opposition to the use of genetically-modified seeds and industrial-scale, chemical-based agriculture.

Also this week, comments made by Clinton suggest her political strategy, if elected, would follow her husband’s well-worn tactic of “triangulation,” tacking to the political right as a way to curry favor with Republican and corporate interests, but doing so in a way that ameliorates the objections of progressives and liberals. Bill Clinton was famous for doing this when he passed “welfare reform” legislation and deregulated the financial industry in the nineties, both of which, according to many experts and analysts, say paved the way for the current economic crisis the country is now suffering.

Asked for comment by the Guardian about the foundation’s receipt of money from donors with Swiss bank accounts, a spokesperson for Clinton declined to comment.

“It is unclear whether the foundation has ever questioned the offshore status of supporters,” the newspaper reported, “although foundation officials stress they thoroughly vet contributors regardless of where the donation originated from.”

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