Tag Archives: Hillary Clinton

Ten Ways Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush Are Basically the Same Presidential Candidate

By Jake Anderson
June 20, 2015
The Anti-Media, June 17, 2015

 

Now that Jeb Bush has officially announced his intention to run for president in 2016, the most corporate-funded presidential election in history is set to begin, headed by two prospective frontrunners with eerily familiar names. It’s Bush versus Clinton—again! With third party candidates certain to be relegated to back alleys, we see, yet again, two of the prized families of the great American oligarchy being trotted out as namesake party spokesmen and women. Their purpose: to create manufactured consent for a failed two-party system while furthering a pre-scripted, nationalist, and corporatist narrative.

Are there some differences between Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush? Absolutely. Women’s rights are up there on the list, as Jeb Bush has an appalling history in that realm. While we are sensitive to the reality of Supreme Court nominees and the politics of personal identity, there can be no delusion that the most toxic dangers to our country are large sweeping economic and geopolitical doctrines that consolidate wealth into the hands of the rich elite, who promulgate wars abroad. Even on issues like the environment, while Clinton has a better record than Jeb, her support of corporations and trade agreements that derail environmental progress completely cancels out her hollow sound bytes about renewable energy.

The two candidates are almost identical on the major issues poisoning our republic.

1. They both have blatantly corrupt corporate ties

Like virtually all mainstream politicians in Congress, both Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush are beholden to corporations. This goes beyond simply receiving campaign funds from super PACs. We’re talking the marriage of corporate interests with the government’s foreign and domestic policies, from the military industrial complex to Big Pharma and “too big to fail” financial institutions. As we work our way down the list, corrupt corporate ties will resurface, but for now, let’s simply list these two politicians’ major corporate ties.

Jeb Bush has actually consulted 15 companies, seven of them for-profits: InnoVida Holdings, for which Bush was a board member and consultant, paid him $15,000 a month before collapsing into fraud and bankruptcy (the company’s CEO, Claudio Osorio, is serving 12½ years in prison); five of the companies for which Bush served on the board (or as adviser) have faced class action lawsuits. Some of these cases are ongoing and involve fraud or environmental damage.

Hillary Clinton’s corporate ties include her six-year stint as director of Wal-Mart, during which time the company aggressively fought to destroy union activity. In more recent times, Hillary showed her colors most spectacularly by hiring a former Monsanto lobbyist to run her campaign. She is also exceedingly cozy with some of the more corrupt Wall Street entities, which we’ll get into later. For now, suffice it to note that the Clinton Foundation has received donations of anywhere from $250,000 to $5 million from Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and Bank of America.

2. They are both major war hawks

In today’s America, anyone elected president who doesn’t want to go the way of John F. Kennedy has to serve the interests of the military-industrial complex. Even ostensibly non-hawkish presidents like Barack Obama (who won a Nobel Peace Prize shortly before authorizing military drone strikes that have killed almost 2,500 people) must keep the war machine going.

Hillary Clinton doesn’t even try to disguise her support for on-going war. Her complete embrace of what The Nation calls “destructive nationalist myths” has earned her the label of a “war hawk”. The moniker is well-deserved. She was a vocal supporter of the second Iraq War in 2003, despite the lack of clear evidence that military action was necessary (and, of course, we now know that the entire justification was a completely manufactured web of lies bent on taking advantage of the fear people felt after  9/11). She also supported military strikes on Afghanistan. These two wars took the lives of 174,000 civilians.

Despite finally admitting her vote for war was a mistake, Hillary has not lessened her push for war. As Secretary of State, she was instrumental in facilitating the use of U.S. airpower to decimate Libya. She then did virtually the same thing in Syria. “The results have been anarchy, sectarian conflict and opportunities for Islamist extremists that have destabilized the entire region,”  The Nation observed.

Jeb Bush, of course, supported all of the aforementioned wars and military actions with extreme bravado, then had the extra audacity to claim everything had gone decently in Iraq until Obama ebbed the surge. Hisrevisionism and whitewashing over the decimation of Arab nations post-9/11 is nothing short of pathological.

3. They both support the Patriot Act and NSA mass surveillance

Both Clinton and Bush supported the Patriot Act from the day it was secretly drafted, only days after 9/11. They both voted for its reauthorization in 2006.

This unconstitutional bill granted the government unprecedented powers of civilian detainment, as well as access to private data. When the FISA laws were updated by the Patriot Act, programs like PRISM enabled the NSA to collect millions of phone records from Americans with no suspected ties to terrorism.

Hillary Clinton has expressed concern over privacy issues, but when she has had the chance to take a real stand on  them, she has consistently avoided doing so. Meanwhile, Jeb Bush applauded President Obama’s expansion of NSA surveillance, proclaiming: “I would say the best part of the Obama administration would be his continuance of the protections of the homeland using the big metadata programs, the NSA being enhanced.”

Fret no more, cynics of the American political system. When it comes to the erosion of civil liberties, bipartisanship is still possible.

4. They both support fracking

This one may strike some as surprising considering  Hillary Clinton has a fairly good record (maybe a C+) on environmental issues. Unfortunately, the fact is that both candidates support hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” a practice used by oil and energy companies to extract gas and oil from shale rock by directing a high pressure stream of water, sand, and chemicals underground. The practice wastes incredible amounts of water and may contaminate groundwater with carcinogenic chemicals. Recent studies have also shown that fracking causes earthquakes in normally stable regions.

During a keynote speech at the National Clean Energy Summit, Clinton made it clear she wanted strong regulations on fracking, but as Secretary of State, she was responsible for promoting the practice in countries like Bulgaria, which are unlikely to enforce regulations. As it is, fracking is barely regulated in the United States.

5. They both support the Drug War

Hillary Clinton has been very vague—even evasive—about her stance on the Drug War. She supports the use of medical marijuana in some cases but has consistently spoken out against the decriminalization of marijuana, particularly in the lead-up to the 2008 election. She also made a mind-numbingly strange remark in regard to the black market trade, saying drugs couldn’t be legalized because “there’s too much money in it.

Jeb Bush has virtually the same history and position: support for marijuana use in extreme medical cases but absolutely no support for decriminalization. When push came to shove on an actual ballot initiative, Bush lent his support to opponents of a legalization bill.

Meanwhile, $3.6 billion is spent each year busting and prosecuting people for pot possession, ruining lives and families over a natural herb that has never caused a death. With black people four times as likely to be arrested over marijuana, the issue is a socio-political travesty.

6. They both aggressively support big banks and bailing them out

Unfortunately, despite the fact that their reckless derivatives trading nearly caused a complete global economic collapse, big banks and financial institutions have the complete support of both Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush.

Interestingly, if you remember Bill Clinton’s presidency, you may consider that it was his move to dismantle the Glass-Steagall Act, undoing the regulation of derivatives. His henchman on the repeal was former Goldman Sachs CEO Robert Rubin. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Hillary Clinton has repeatedly signaled she will not change course on financial regulation. In fact, in 2013, Goldman Sachs paid her $400,000 for a speech in which she said that progressives and their anti-Wall Street rhetoric are “foolish.”

Meanwhile, the Bush family has a long and sickening history of colluding with big banks, starting with George H.W. Bush running a deregulation task force with a former Merrill Lynch CEO. The lax policy of bailing out banks has continued unabated. Jeb Bush is on record as a huge supporter of bailouts for the Big Six banks that collectively rig our economic system.

Any disagreement between Hillary and Jeb over this issue during the debates will be for show only—they are both puppets on strings when it comes to the banks.

7. They both support Monsanto and GMOs

This one is fairly obvious, seeing as Clinton hired a Monsanto lobbyist to run her campaign. She’s also a supporter of GMOs, which some evidence shows could be harmful to humans yet are found in the vast majority of the American food supply. Jeb Bush is also a GMO supporter and even opposes GMO labeling. Clinton has been unclear on her position on labeling but supports the idea of selling the whole idea to the public in a different context. During a speech, she openly brainstormed ways to use different kinds of propagandistic rhetoric—such as “drought-resistant” instead of “genetically modified.”

The support both candidates lend to Monsanto is deeply troubling as the multinational agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology corporation has monopolized the seed and food supply across the world withherbicidal and pesticidal toxins. They also use heavy-handed legal tactics and litigation to force local farmers to comply, even to the detriment to their communities.

8. They will both spend billions on the upcoming election

Hillary Clinton has openly stated her goal of raising $2.5 billion for her upcoming presidential campaign. To put that in perspective, in 2012, Obama and Romney combined spent over $2 billion, which is bad enough.

Jeb Bush and the GOP will, of course, match or surpass this number, which means the 2016 presidential election could cost $5 billion dollars. Meanwhile, most Americans are in debt and 14.5% of the nation—45.3 million people—live in poverty.

With super PACs and Citizens United allowing for a virtually unrestricted flow of corporate money into our elections, we are now seeing the full effects of a corporatocracy running our “representative democracy.”

9. They both support the secretive and dangerous TPP agreement

Though initially voicing her support for the ominous trade deal at least 45 times while Secretary of State, Hillary has backed off of her support for the TPP now that it’s become politically advantageous. Basically, she is still politically flip-flopping and will likely continue to do so a through the election.

Given that Clinton was a gung-ho supporter of NAFTA (an agreement that is almost universally agreed upon as being responsible for millions of jobs lost and higher income inequality), it is highly unlikely she will take a stand against TPP. If passed, it would essentially allow corporations to decide trade laws in private tribunals and strip down both worker’s rights and environmental protections. To her credit, Hillary has voiced concerns—and if she reverses course, I will be the first to gladly eat my own words.

Meanwhile, Jeb Bush openly supports the agreement, which, one shouldn’t forget, is so pernicious it was kept secret for years. We only know about it because of a WikiLeaks cable. Bush once said, “We must push privatization [of government] in every area where privatization is possible.” TPP would accomplish that with extreme measures.

10. They both support the death penalty

This one may be surprising as well. Not for Jeb Bush, as he is a proud executioner. This was especially true in his earlier days, before he leaned back to the center of political posturing. He once clearly stated his plans on the death penalty: “I want to accelerate, not slow down, the enforcement of the death penalty in Florida.

In her earlier years as a constitutional lawyer, Clinton fought against the death penalty and the corrupt criminal justice system. In more recent years, she has lent it her “unenthusiastic support.” We will see if she hedges on this in the primaries, where she will face staunch death penalty opponent, Bernie Sanders.

Benghazi Scandal: Obama Administration Knew Weapons Were Being Sent to Al-Qaeda in Syria, New Documents Show

Administration knew three months before the November 2012 presidential election of ISIS plans to establish a caliphate in Iraq

By Judicial Watch
Global Research, May 19, 2015
Judicial Watch, May 18, 2015

 

benghazi-obama-clinton-funeralJudicial Watch announced on 18 May 2015 that it obtained more than 100 pages of previously classified “Secret” documents from the Department of Defense (DOD)and the Department of State revealing that DOD almost immediately reported that the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was committed by the al Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood-linked “Brigades of the Captive Omar Abdul Rahman” (BCOAR), and had been planned at least 10 days in advance. Rahman is known as the Blind Sheikh, and is serving life in prison for his involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and other terrorist acts.  The new documents also provide the first official confirmation that shows the U.S. government was aware of arms shipments from Benghazi to Syria.  The documents also include an August 2012 analysis warning of the rise of ISIS and the predicted failure of the Obama policy of regime change in Syria.

The documents were released in response to a court order in accordance with a May 15, 2014, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed against both the DOD and State Department seeking communications between the two agencies and congressional leaders “on matters related to the activities of any agency or department of the U.S. government at the Special Mission Compound and/or classified annex in Benghazi.”

Spelling and punctuation is duplicated in this release without corrections.

Defense Department document from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), dated September 12, 2012, the day after the Benghazi attack, details that the attack on the compound had been carefully planned by the BOCAR terrorist group “to kill as many Americans as possible.”  The document was sent to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Obama White House National Security Council.  The heavily redacted Defense Department “information report” says that the attack on the Benghazi facility “was planned and executed by The Brigades of the Captive Omar Abdul Rahman (BCOAR).”  The group subscribes to “AQ ideologies:”

The attack was planned ten or more days prior on approximately 01 September 2012. The intention was to attack the consulate and to kill as many Americans as possible to seek revenge for U.S. killing of Aboyahiye ((ALALIBY)) in Pakistan and in memorial of the 11 September 2001 atacks on the World Trade Center buildings.

“A violent radical,” the DIA report says, is “the leader of BCOAR is Abdul Baset ((AZUZ)), AZUZ was sent by ((ZAWARI)) to set up Al Qaeda (AQ) bases in Libya.”  The group’s headquarters was set up with the approval of a “member of the Muslim brother hood movement…where they have large caches of weapons.  Some of these caches are disguised by feeding troughs for livestock.  They have SA-7 and SA-23/4 MANPADS…they train almost every day focusing on religious lessons and scriptures including three lessons a day of jihadist ideology.”

The Defense Department reported the group maintained written documents, in “a small rectangular room, approximately 12 meters by 6 meters…that contain information on all of the AQ activity in Libya.”

(Azuz is again blamed for the Benghazi attack in an October 2012 DIA document.)

The DOD documents also contain the first official documentation that the Obama administration knew that weapons were being shipped from the Port of Benghazi to rebel troops in Syria. An October 2012 report confirms:

Weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the Port of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The weapons shipped during late-August 2012 were Sniper rifles, RPG’s, and 125 mm and 155mm howitzers missiles.

During the immediate aftermath of, and following the uncertainty caused by, the downfall of the ((Qaddafi)) regime in October 2011 and up until early September of 2012, weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles located in Benghazi, Libya were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the ports of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The Syrian ports were chosen due to the small amount of cargo traffic transiting these two ports. The ships used to transport the weapons were medium-sized and able to hold 10 or less shipping containers of cargo.

The DIA document further details:

The weapons shipped from Syria during late-August 2012 were Sniper rifles, RPG’s and 125mm and 155mm howitzers missiles.  The numbers for each weapon were estimated to be: 500 Sniper rifles, 100 RPG launchers with 300 total rounds, and approximately 400 howitzers missiles [200 ea – 125mm and 200ea – 155 mm.]

The heavily redacted document does not disclose who was shipping the weapons.

Another DIA report, written in August 2012 (the same time period the U.S. was monitoring weapons flows from Libya to Syria), said that the opposition in Syria was driven by al Qaeda and other extremist Muslim groups: “the Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.” The growing sectarian direction of the war was predicted to have dire consequences for Iraq, which included the “grave danger” of the rise of ISIS:

The deterioration of the situation has dire consequences on the Iraqi situation and are as follows:

This creates the ideal atmosphere for AQI [al Qaeda Iraq] to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi, and will provide a renewed momentum under the presumption of unifying the jihad among Sunni Iraq and Syria, and the rest of the Sunnis in the Arab world against what it considers one enemy, the dissenters. ISI could also declare an Islamic state through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria, which will create grave danger in regards to unifying Iraq and the protection of its territory.

Some of the “dire consequences” are blacked out but the DIA presciently warned one such consequence would be the “renewing facilitation of terrorist elements from all over the Arab world entering into Iraqi Arena.”

From a separate lawsuit, the State Department produced a document created the morning after the Benghazi attack by Hillary Clinton’s offices, and the Operations Center in the Office of the Executive Secretariat that was sent widely through the agency, including to Joseph McManus (then-Hillary Clinton’s executive assistant).  At 6:00 am, a few hours after the attack, the top office of the State Department sent a “spot report” on the “Attack on U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi” that makes no mention of videos or demonstrations:

Four COM personnel were killed and three were wounded in an attack by dozens of fighters on the U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi beginning approximately 1550 Eastern Time….

The State Department has yet to turn over any documents from the secret email accounts of Hillary Clinton and other top State Department officials.

“These documents are jaw-dropping. No wonder we had to file more FOIA lawsuits and wait over two years for them.  If the American people had known the truth – that Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and other top administration officials knew that the Benghazi attack was an al-Qaeda terrorist attack from the get-go – and yet lied and covered this fact up – Mitt Romney might very well be president. And why would the Obama administration continue to support the Muslim Brotherhood even after it knew it was tied to the Benghazi terrorist attack and to al Qaeda? These documents also point to connection between the collapse in Libya and the ISIS war – and confirm that the U.S. knew remarkable details about the transfer of arms from Benghazi to Syrian jihadists,” stated Tom Fitton, Judicial Watch president.  “These documents show that the Benghazi cover-up has continued for years and is only unraveling through our independent lawsuits. The Benghazi scandal just got a whole lot worse for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.”

Are Leading Economists Corrupt, or Just Mind-Blowingly Ignorant?

By Eric Zuesse
April 24, 2015
Global Research

 

hillary-clinton 2016[This article pertains to political economists in the United States.]

Conservative economists favor Republican candidates because it’s the way for them to rise in power themselves, but what about ‘progressive’ economists: are they psychopaths, too; or do they instead blindly favor ‘Democratic’ candidates because of a sincerely oblivious belief that the mere ‘Democratic’ Party-label indicates that the given politician is actually progressive?

Apparently, the answer is the latter, if one is to judge from assertions by the most-famous ‘progressive’ economists. Even so-called ‘progressive’ economists say that corrupt ‘Democratic’ candidates who have clear records of lying should be judged on the basis of what they say they will do, not on what their conservative record shows they’ve actually done and the interests they have actually been serving and paid by.

For example, Joseph Stiglitz is trumpeted by economists and by the newsmedia as being a ‘progressive’ economist, and he was recently asked in a Huffington Post interview, regarding Hillary Clinton,

“Some people are skeptical as to whether she is really genuine, … whether or not this is a woman who is too cozy with Wall Street?”

And he answered, “Well, she’s clearly much better than the Republican candidates,” and he cited as supposed evidence for that, not just what she is saying to him, but what she is saying to Democratic Party voters in a Democratic Party primary campaign to attract liberal voters and so to win the Democratic Party’s Presidential nomination. He compares to that, such things as the Republican candidate Marco Rubio’s (who, of course, doesn’t consult with such ‘progressive’ economists) campaign statements, which are aimed to appeal to conservative voters and so to win the Republican nomination — as if the task for either candidate (Clinton or Rubio) at present is actually to win, instead, the general-election campaign and so to appeal to the entire electorate, both conservative and liberal. Is Stiglitz really that stupid? Of course not. He knows the difference between a primary campaign and a general-election campaign.

He simply ignored Hillary Clinton’s already established and lengthy record, which is that of a conservative in ‘Democratic’ rhetorical garb, just like Barack Obama (the continuer of George W. Bush’s Wall Street bailouts and most of his other substantive policies), or, for that matter, her own husband, Bill Clinton, who had ended the great Democratic President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s progressive legacy of the Glass-Steagall Act, which placed a firewall between, on the one hand, government taxpayer-insured bank-deposits and checking and savings accounts, versus, on the other hand, Wall Street’s risky gambles and bets to win high profits with proportionally higher risks — and, so, FDR basically blocked any continuation of Wall Street’s then-existing ability to gamble with Regular Joes’ money and so to leave the gambling losses to Regular Joes, while still reaping the outsized gambling profits, which then go to Wall Street’s banksters, alone.

The ‘Democratic’ President Bill Clinton in 1999 helped Republicans ram through Congress the Gramm-Leach-Bliley, all-Republican, bill (which is one of the most corrupt laws in U.S. history), to terminate the Glass-Steagall Act in order retroactively to legalize Citibank’s takeover of Travelers Insurance; and his Treasury Secretary (Robert Rubin) was then hired by Citigroup to help to lead this very same Wall Street firm that had lobbied the hardest for this Republican law to legalize that merger, which violated FDR’s progressivism and violated the American public. If this action by Clinton wasn’t corrupt, then nothing is, except perhaps Wall Street’s continuing lavish spending on the Clinton Foundation and on Hillary Clinton’s political career, first as Wall Street’s junior U.S. Senator, and then as an aspiring U.S. President.

A good summary of the reality about Hillary Clinton was Ben White and Maggie Haberman’s Politico article, on 28 April 2014, “Wall Street Republicans’ dark secret: Hillary Clinton 2016,” which noted that, “The darkest secret in the big money world of the Republican coastal elite is that the most palatable alternative to a nominee such as Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas or Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky would be Clinton.” It’s not that the fundamentalist Cruz or the populist Paul would fail to treat Wall Street fairly; it’s instead that Hillary Clinton would be even more subservient to that big-money than either Cruz or Paul would be — that she’s more corrupt. And she is.

Here is the list of top career donors to Hillary Clinton:

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 10.17.40 AM

That’s Wall Street and the firms which serve it. The ‘feminist’ EMILY’s List is also included, of women who still vote for Hillary for the same reason that Blacks still vote for Obama (despite their being pounded the worst by his economic policies), which has to do with gender or racial identifications instead of any progressive (or even practical) ideology at all, but Hillary is almost entirely Wall Street’s property — bought and paid for, and committed to delivering to them what they have paid for (advantages to big international firms at the expense of small firms and at the expense of consumers and of workers and of the environment), which is the types of services that such ‘Democrats’ as she, and her husband, and Barack Obama, have privately promised to them, and delivered to them. (Actually, Obama is the very worst: During his Presidency, the top 1% income share has soared, and he has been President in the years following an economic crash, which is precisely the period in the economic cycle when the norm has instead been for economic inequality to decrease, not increase. In order for a President Hillary Clinton to outperform his lousy record on inequality, she’d need to reject his policies and turn radically against Wall Street, which has financed her own rise. What you’ve just now read is all documented right there, at that link; any intelligent voter will want to examine it.)

America has become a corrupt country in a corrupt world, nothing unusual in this regard. The first step to America’s becoming less corrupt would be for its voters to recognize that they have been and are fooled by the decades-long big-money indoctrination into “the free market” (actually crony capitalism), and that their top priority should thus be to vote against it — to vote against (i.e., in the exact opposite direction from) the advertisements and ‘news’ media that pump what the super-rich want to be pumped into politics and into government, and so pump the popular votes that enable it all to be legal and ‘democratic,’ no mere oligarchy that mocks America’s anti-aristocratic Founders.

Stiglitz wants to be part of the game that Hillary Clinton, as Obama’s Secretary of State, was playing: working for Wall Street while pretending to be their enemy. He wants to be on Hillary’s team, perhaps even inside the White House. (Like President Obama himself told the banksters in secret, at the start of his Presidency, on 27 March 2009: “My Administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks. … I’m not out there to go after you. I’m protecting you.” And, he fulfilled on that promise. But he doesn’t fulfill on the big ones to the contrary, that he makes in public, and to the public.)

If President Obama were sincere about his opposition to increasing economic inequality, he wouldn’t deceive people by saying that, as The New York Times summed up his propaganda in a headline on 3 February 2014, “In Talk of Economy, Obama Turns to ‘Opportunity’ Over ‘Inequality’.” He would instead acknowledge that equality of opportunity cannot increase while inequality of incomes is increasing, because opportunity depends very largely upon income: the bigger a person’s income is, the more economic opportunities that person tends to have. Instead of acknowledging this basic crucial economic fact, Obama, and the Clintons, and economists, hide it.

The lying permeates not only all of the Republican Party, but also the very top, the national, level of the Democratic Party. Democratic voters were especially deceived by Obama, and by Hillary, and by John Edwards, in the 2008 Democratic Presidential primaries, to think that their plan (it was all basically the same plan) for health insurance would produce “universal health care,” but all three knew that it couldn’t possibly deliver any such result. The percentage of Americans who had insurance then was 85.4% insured; 14.6% uninsured. Currently, it’s 87.1% insured, 12.9% uninsured. Their plan thus increased the insured rate by 87.1%/85.4%, or merely 2% above what it had been when they all started promising “universal coverage,” something which already exists in all other developed countries (100% of the population having health insurance). That’s how corrupt our country is. And they all promised also a public option, something which would enable anyone to opt out of the for-profit corporate model of provisioning healthcare services. But, Obama never really intended to deliver on that promise, either.

Leading economists are not mind-blowingly ignorant.

Perhaps the main reason why the turnout of Democrats at the polls is so poor is that the Democratic Party has sold out so much to Republican Party values, so that the Democratic Party’s voters are giving up hope and giving up on the Party itself as representing them and their interests. The reality now in the United States, has become that there is, now, a choice only between two conservative parties, with the only differences between them being ethnic and gender preferences in order to keep up the fraud that there exists a real political choice and not just a one-party, actually fascist, government, decorated, around the edges, with differences about how deeply into conservatism this nation ought to go.

And, so: what can be expected of the Democratic Party’s economists, except the hope that their next career-move will be upward, instead of downward?

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity, and of Feudalism, Fascism, Libertarianism and Economics.

The Election that Matters will Take Place in the Streets

By Rob Urie
April 19, 2015
Counter Punch

 

Be Gone Labor, Environment

Whether it is broadly perceived at present or not, an economic bomb was just dropped on the loose coalition of political and economic interests— Black Lives Matter, the $15 minimum wage movement, the residual of Occupy and the immigrants’ rights movement, by the political Party that a half-century or so ago nominally represented like issues, the Democrats. With President Barack Obama getting ‘fast-track’ authority for the uber-corporate friendly, anti-labor and anti-environment TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) and establishment candidates Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush the likely contenders for President in 2016, both mainstream political Parties are doubling down on the neoliberal, neoconservative status quo.

As Mr. Obama most certainly understands, the ISDS (Investor-State Dispute Settlement) provisions of the TPP render ‘liberal’ and ‘progressive’ civil labor and environmental proposals moot— issues like a minimum wage and what type of fuels U.S. utilities can burn will be decided by corporate lawyers in tribunals outside of civil jurisdiction. Appeals to Hillary Clinton to oppose the agreement— Jeb Bush and Congressional Republicans have already signaled their support; illustrate the folly of political ‘lesser-evilism.’ Ms. Clinton is a committed neoliberal and any opposition she might offer would most certainly be an election ploy. Given the ‘political capital’ that Mr. Obama is expending to get the TPP passed, it is reasonable to assume that it represents the culmination of the neoliberal takeover that has consumed the Democrat Party for the last half-century.

hrcurie1

Hillary Clinton. Original image source: dailyoftheday.com.

Informing modern political theory, in the late nineteenth century the German philosopher Wilhelm Dilthey developed the ‘telos of becoming,’ the purpose (telos) that becomes evident through subsequent history. When applied to American politics a trajectory from Jimmy Carter’s neoliberal resurgence to Bill Clinton’s social capitulation accompanied by NAFTA and deregulating the banks led to Barack Obama’s current push for the TPP. With polls consistently showing the American public well to the left of mainstream Party policies, modern Republicans lack the finesse for the political long con. With the TPP as soon-to-be-accomplished fact, from bank bailouts to the revived unitary Presidency, from extra-judicial drone murders to endless wars, Barack Obama is the gifted salesperson for a new corporate totalitarianism.

The Rationale

By accounts Mr. Obama does have a rationale for his support of the TPP, a ‘strategic vision’ that illuminates the interests at stake— as well as the utter irrelevance of the electorate and the broader American people in the ‘deal.’ The logic goes approximately like this: multinational corporations— banks, arms manufacturers, oil and gas companies and various and sundry industrialists already rule ‘the world.’ The choice from this point forward is between ‘our’ corporations and Asian, mainly Chinese, state-sponsored corporatism. The problem for the rest of us is that this is an updated eighteenth century European ‘royalist’ view— it is neutron bomb politics where the 99.9% of us who also occupy the planet, and the planet itself, have been assumed away. The ghettoization of the political and economic ‘leadership’ classes has facilitated a deeply delusional internal logic in policy ‘circles.’

From within this view the rest of Mr. Obama’s policies make sense. The bailouts of banks and bankers were to keep the ‘real’ players in the game. U.S. sponsored chaos across the Middle East is a contest for regional, and global, dominance where the lives of the ‘little people’ who are its casualties are irrelevant to the ‘higher purpose.’ Obamacare expands the proportion of the domestic population tied to the corporate model of social relations. Domestic surveillance is the hierarchical model of corporate control applied to a network of engineered social relations— technology defines the realm of social possibility through the inclusion and exclusion of broader social possibility. Left apparently unconsidered is that this unchecked corporatism seems at present the quickest path to mass extinction of most living things on the planet.

Group Hug in Hell

For Democrats in particular the election cycle revives the preference for religious imagination with increasingly toxic results. This imagination has been joined with the capitalist idea of progress through embedded history presented as the new and improved product line. If only we elect a ______ to the Presidency the world will be right. Had these aspirations ever borne meaningful relation to actual outcomes the conceit might make some sense. Margaret Thatcher demonstrated that a woman can force a hard-right turn as well as any man. Clarence Thomas was appointed to the Supreme Court because he proved himself useful to the institutional hard-right by throwing tens of thousands of hard-fought anti-discrimination lawsuits by the poor and disenfranchised into the dustbin without review. Absent a miraculous end-of-term conversion the neoliberal, neoconservative Barack Obama is set to make Jimmy Carter into a retrospective Democrat hero.

puppetsurie2

Puppets negotiate a trade agreement in hell. Original image source: pinterest.com.

It is more than a bit ironic that in a country with nominally democratic aspirations the quest for a leader who will deliver ‘the people’ from their bonds becomes abdication, infinite ‘progress’ that never quite relates last year’s savior to this year’s bonds. Coincident is the want for more emotionally satisfying incantations, better explanations for the facts that are their opposite. Neocons and neoliberals are statespersons and responsible economists when the Blue Party is in office and war-mongers and readers of economic goat entrails when the Red Party is in office. The totality of the ideological distance between Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton can be found in the few names that don’t overlap on their contributor lists. The pragmatists hoping for ‘a seat at the table’ don’t appear to have realized that they are once again on the menu.

The root of this electoral delusion lies in the contradiction between political and economic democracy. Posed as compatible, even complimentary, American democracy was conceived in plutocracy and slavery, in the three-fifths a chattel person slaves accrued to those who owned them. Two centuries before the Supreme Court’s ‘Citizen’s United’ ruling the owner of fifteen slaves held the political ‘personhood’ of nine slaves (3/5 = 0.6 X 15 = 9) plus himself. Fealty to legislative and judicial precedence has antique white guys in fact and spirit communing with the social facts of past centuries that have been so skillfully reconstituted in modern social technologies. ‘Private’ contributions to political campaigns approximate the distribution of income. Representative democracy has the same representatives representing the interests of factory owners and ‘their’ employees. Labor leaders who are paid like bosses act like bosses.

devilurie3

The devil you think you know. Original image source: cinehouse.blogspotuk.com.

The recurring ritual of liberal and progressive commentators pleading with Democrat candidates to consider their policy prescriptions conveys the well-padded chairs in well-appointed offices that will greet their ritual humiliation once the votes have been counted. Self-important distinctions between REDBLUE voters and the ‘irrelevant’ left will be on public display until the first Presidential ‘compromise’ hits the news. The first few compromises will be ‘pragmatic,’ a signal that HILLBUSH wants to ‘reach across the aisle’ to accrue political capital for the important votes. The next few will be accedence to the Conservative / Christian temperament of the voters whose divided vote called for small ‘c’ change. And the next few still will signal the inability for transformative organization by the liberal-left until the current savior needs to rouse the troops for the next election.

The (Corporate) People Will be Heard

For those occupying less hospitable environs, a/k/a the overwhelming preponderance of persons on / in the world, the pageantry of radical irrelevance which is electoral politics retains some entertainment value from the distance. The perpetual chide that not voting accedes political power to those who do accepts at face value that political power is gained at the ballot box. The only major Democrat to win in the 2014 mid-term elections, Pennsylvania’s Tom Wolf, just put forward the most radically neo-liberal state budget in modern history. While ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) has been partially exorcised from the utterly corrupt Pennsylvania state legislature due to bad press, Democrat Wolf’s election victory brought back the ALEC platform without the political baggage. Who says voters don’t have a voice?

While Tom Wolf is but one Governor and Pennsylvania but one state, the tie between the mainstream political Parties and impossible-to-dislodge political and economic interests transcends local politics. The class dynamic at work in Pennsylvania is mirrored nationwide: a group of moderately literate, self-interested neoliberal opportunists are using the residual agrarian / urban, state / city frame to enrich themselves by looting the cities under the cover of neoliberal ideology. How many privatized school cheating scandals, misbegotten student debts and industrial sewers that used to be town water supplies need exist before the distance between words and deeds is obvious?

cowboyurie4

Foreign policy the American way. Original image source: pixels.com.

The political dynamic being brought to the fore is rapidly increasing class antagonism. Those either too busy or disinterested to understand exactly how far down the neoliberal rat hole the Democrat Party has descended will be seeing it in their paychecks and health insurance premiums in coming weeks and months. With fortune (Machiavelli’s ‘fortuna,’ not banker script) in play, the TPP may be Hillary Clinton’s undoing. It places the Democrat Party so decisively in the pockets of the corporate-totalitarian right that the more prescient forces of the liberal-progressive establishment might choke on their continuing support for Democrat policies. Republicans are ‘worse’ in the sense of being less skilled at selling corporate interests as those of ‘the people.’ But given that the actual policies of both Parties are close to identical, the political choice is either for the existing system or against it without the faux distinctions of Party politics.

The present amorphous coalition of Black Lives Matter, the $15 minimum wage movement (why not $21 plus benefits?), the residual of Occupy and the immigrants’ rights movement embody the political with economic issues that sum to true political opposition to the heavily cloistered political mainstream. Crude materialist theories of political interests, the first ______ President, etc., have been the tools of cynical political opportunists selling similar policies with carefully circumscribed difference for some decades now. Barack Obama has his reasons for pushing the TPP. But if you believe that they are ‘your’ reasons you haven’t read the fine print. The only politics likely to matter in the next few years will be decided in the streets, not at the ballot box.

Rob Urie is an artist and political economist. The images that accompany this piece are his iteration of previously existing images. This approach derives from a social theory of art.

Hillary Clinton announces presidential campaign

By Andre Damon
April 13, 2015
World Socialist Web Site

Former First Lady Hillary Clinton officially announced Sunday she would seek the Democratic nomination for president of the United States in the 2016 election.

In addition to being the Democratic frontrunner, Clinton, having served as Secretary of State under Obama, is the candidate most closely tied to the incumbent administration. Given the centrality of the Clinton campaign to the 2016 election and the American political system, the announcement sets the tone for the entire election.

Eschewing a traditional speech at a campaign rally, Clinton made her announcement in a two-minute online video that is almost entirely devoid of political content and noteworthy for its striking banality, even by the standards of American politics.

The first minute and a half of Clinton’s announcement video consists of actors (or people who seem to be actors) portraying “ordinary” Americans speaking about their plans in the coming years. This includes one anonymous couple declaring, “We’ve been doing a lot of home renovations, but most importantly we just want to keep our dog from eating the trash.”

Three quarters of the way through the video, Clinton makes her first appearance, declaring, “I’m getting ready to do something too. I’m running for president.”

In other words, Clinton is declaring her bid for an office from which she could, at virtually her sole discretion, incinerate most of mankind in a nuclear apocalypse, in almost the same breath as random people talking about their dogs.

That the most significant candidate in the election chooses to announce her candidacy in such entirely vacuous fashion is an expression of the well-advanced decay of democratic norms in the United States, and the enormous chasm that exists between official politics and the sentiments and concerns of the great majority of the population.

That her candidacy is announced without calling for any particular policies underscores the fact that the election is not about the American people deciding the course of policy, but rather the vetting of candidates to serve the interest of the financial oligarchy.

Indeed, the utter lack of political content in the announcement is a testament to how little voters actually mean in an election decided by a handful of billionaires, together with the military/intelligence apparatus.

The purpose of the saccharine video is not to convince the population that Clinton represents their interests, but rather to mobilize her base among the affluent upper-middle class while making no statements that would draw criticism from the Republican right.

The remaining content of Clinton’s campaign announcement, in its entirety, is as follows: “Americans have fought their way back from tough economic times, but the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top. Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion.

“So you can do more than just get by, you can get ahead. And stay ahead, because when families are strong America is strong. So I’m hitting the road to earn your vote, because it’s your time, and I hope you’ll join me on this journey.”

There is, of course, no acknowledgment that Clinton was part of an administration that oversaw and continues to oversee the greatest transfer of wealth from the bottom to “those at the top” in US history.

Clinton’s new campaign website is equally empty. There is not a single word on the entire site about what the nominee stands for, only a brief biography of Clinton with personal and family photos and forms to donate and volunteer.

Referencing the content of video, Politico commented that Clinton “is under intense scrutiny, however, to show that she has learned lessons from her unsuccessful prior run, in which she was seen as out-of-touch with middle-class sensibilities.”

In June 2014, Clinton told the Guardian she is “unlike” the “truly well off,” despite the fact that she had made $5 million in speaking fees over the previous 15 months, putting her within the top 0.1 percent of income earners.

Earlier that month, Clinton told ABC News she and her husband Bill Clinton “came out of the White House… dead broke.” Yet between 2000 and 2007, Bill and Hillary Clinton earned a combined $109 million in speaking fees, charging as much as $300,000 per appearance.

The video fails to note Clinton’s record as Obama’s secretary of state between 2009 and 2013. But as Time magazine wrote last year: “As Secretary of State, Clinton backed a bold escalation of the Afghanistan war. She pressed Obama to arm the Syrian rebels, and later endorsed air strikes against the Assad regime. She backed intervention in Libya, and her State Department helped enable Obama’s expansion of lethal drone strikes. In fact, Clinton may have been the administration’s most reliable advocate for military action. On at least three crucial issues—Afghanistan, Libya, and the bin Laden raid—Clinton took a more aggressive line than Gates, a Bush-appointed Republican.”

The benign, motherly posture of Clinton in the video does not quite square with the cold-blooded character of the former secretary of state who upon hearing of Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi’s lynching by US-backed Islamic fundamentalist forces laughingly told a reporter, “We came, we saw, he died.”

Among the main aims of the video announcement is to portray Clinton, a multi-millionaire who is well-connected with the highest echelons of the military and intelligence apparatus, as an “ordinary” American, who is “in touch” with the “middle class.” It is entirely telling that Clinton attempts to convey this phony message without addressing any of the realities of American life, from mass unemployment to falling wages, police killings and the danger of war.

The end result is something that resembles a life insurance commercial more than a political statement, and stands as a testament to the sclerotic character of American politics.

A Frightful Prospect: Hillary vs. Jeb

How to Make the Best of a Bad Situation

By Andrew Levine
March 21, 2015
Counter Punch

 

Bush ClintonAround the world, elections happen; they are scheduled or called and then they are over and done with – all in short order. America is “exceptional.” Even before 2015’s April showers, 2016’s November election is taking shape.

The good news is that the first six months are usually low key. There is no reason to expect that this year will be different.

There is therefore plenty of time to stock up on anti-emetics. If, as seems likely, Hillary and Jeb become the candidates, the need for them will be acute.

There is time too to pray to a merciful God that we will not have to endure that nightmarish scenario, and that neither of those miscreants will ever see the inside of the Oval Office again.

The age of miracles is past, but what the hell. How about this:

“O Lord: in the marketing campaign about to be launched. please make the Democrats’ hucksters promote someone, anyone, less noxious than Hillary Clinton. And, for comic relief, let there be a bevy of certifiable whack jobs on the Republican side, like there was in 2012.”

But where can you find a merciful God?

Indeed, unless God is even more sadistic than past evidence suggests, there is only one conclusion to draw: that the Devil is running the show. For what besides deviltry could account for the fact that guilt by association has lost its sting – even for Bill Clinton’s wife and, more amazing still, for a scion of the House of Bush?

That is the bad news that balances the good news that we still have time. — more time than money, though. In American elections, money is not the main factor; it is the only factor.

And so, the Devil is having His way. In Iowa, South Carolina and New Hampshire, Democratic and Republican operatives are already hard at work preparing for next year’s caucuses and primaries.

Through their efforts and the corporate media’s, we will likely find ourselves saddled with a general election that pits Hillary against Jeb.

In a saner possible world, this would be unthinkable. In the actual world, it is shaping up to be our fate.

Therefore, stock up on those anti-emetics before the stores run out.

* * *

Once upon a time, liberals made Hillary out to be the Eleanor Roosevelt of the Clinton presidency. That fantasy lasted for years.

Unlike the bizarre notion, a decade later, that Barack Obama would superintend a Second Coming of the New Deal, the idea that Hillary was the good one had legs.

Illusions about the Obama presidency barely survived Inauguration Day. But it wasn’t until the Clintons were getting ready to move out of the White House that it finally dawned on the average liberal that, of the two Clintons, Hillary was the one more wedded to neoliberal nostrums, to Wall Street, to the military-industrial complex, and to America’s masters of war.

By then, it had become clear too that she was easily as opportunistic as her better half, as secretive, and as disingenuous.

It was also obvious that she is not very good at what she does.

Of course, the evidence had been there all along. The most obvious example: that, as First Lady, she set the cause of health care reform back a generation.

Instead of making health care a right, she contrived to make it a cash cow for her family’s corporate backers. But she couldn’t pull even that off.

Had she not floundered so badly, Obama would not have been able, twenty years later, to pick up the ball she dropped and run with it – into the arms of the insurance companies and the for-profit health care industry.

The Clintons were dead set on undoing as many New Deal-Great Society advances as they could. They even had Social Security in their crosshairs. Hillary failed at that too – thanks in large part to her hubby’s philandering. In Bill’s last years as President, there was only one woman close to him who served America well: her name was Monica Lewinsky.

By the time the nineties were over, those of us who looked forward to seeing the Clintons fade into obscurity would have been hard pressed to say which one we wanted most to see less of. It hardly mattered, though. The Clintons never went away.

Bill promoted himself and his interests assiduously, while Hillary parachuted into New York State and got herself elected Senator – on the strength of her celebrity, her Washington experience, and, not incidentally, a whole lot of corporate money.

Her Senate career was, as they say, undistinguished.

She was still at it, though, when, having bested her in the 2008 caucuses and primaries, Barack Obama found it expedient to make her his Secretary of State. At the time, liberal pundits explained that the reincarnation of FDR would govern through “a team of rivals,” just as pop historian Doris Kearns Goodwin claimed that Abraham Lincoln had.

The Obama foreign policy team did such a poor job overall that it is hard to know whom to blame for what.   But when real historians finally sort it all out, expect that Hillary will get a lot of the blame for making befuddlement the guiding principle of American foreign policy.

Who, then, would want to see her take on even graver responsibilities?

Remarkably, there are people who do. Maybe some of them are inveterate Obama-boosters who want to see their man look good in comparison. Others are unreconstructed Clintonites left over from the nineties, or Hillary diehards left over from her 2008 campaign in the Democratic primaries.

And don’t forget second-wave feminists worried that, if Hillary somehow fails to gain the nomination again, they will not live long enough to see a woman elected President of the United States.

This will happen too, unless fortune smiles on these United States between now and the Democratic Party’s 2016 convention. From that point on, the way the system works, only a Republican could defeat her and, with Jeb Bush their best shot, they won’t even come close.

* * *

If any of the spawn of the Silver Fox and George the Father seemed destined for the Oval Office, it was Jeb, not George W. George was what is known in polite society as a “fuck up.”

In time, though, he did what many like him had done before – he exchanged chronic dipsomania for faith in the Lord. Meanwhile, Bush family fixers had gotten him out of more than a few jams and set him up on Easy Street.

He gathered his own posse too; its star, Karl Rove, famously became his “brain.” Before long, the wayward son found himself installed as Governor of Texas.

Around the same time, also with a little help from his family and his family’s friends, Jeb became Governor of Florida.

The conventional wisdom, back then was that Jeb was the more capable of the two and the more rightwing. Their careers as governors bore this out.

Indeed, it was not until after 9/11 that George shed his bumbling, “compassionate conservative” image. Under the tutelage of Dick Cheney, the most villainous Vice President in American history, he morphed into a full-fledged (though still dimwitted), blustering, red meat neoconservative.

He then went on to make a mess of everything he did. While this was going on, Jeb, the smarter one, largely stayed out of public view.

This changed when Obama became President. On several occasions, Jeb surreptitiously tested the political waters. Seeing the results, he wisely remained more outside the fray than in – until now.

Because he has been out of public life for so long, evidence of where he now stands is weak. However, most informed observers agree that Jeb remains a shade or two to his brother’s right.

The grandees of the Grand Old Party, the GOP, are OK with this; he is one of them, after all, so they trust him to look after their interests. And while he may be a tad too reactionary for some of them, they do need a candidate who will keep their base on board.

It is far from clear, though, that the base they must appease will find George H.W.’s second son retrograde enough.

Very likely, they won’t; and very likely too, he will be the nominee anyway. Money talks.

Another Mitt Romney situation is therefore shaping up. If events play out this way, Bush will lose, just as surely as Romney did.

Then the good news will be that Hillary will slide through that “glass ceiling” that, for want of anything more positive to say, she and her supporters talk so much about.

That will be the bad news as well.

* * *

In the race to the bottom that our politics has become, the GOP’s smarty-pants du jour, Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, author of the infamous open letter to Iranian legislators that forty-seven Republican Senators signed, wants to overturn the Constitution’s prohibition of Bills of Attainder through which, under Common Law, British monarchs could not only punish perceived enemies without trial, but also – by the doctrine of “corruption of blood” – their spouses, their children, their siblings, and even their grandparents and grandchildren.

Cotton’s intuitions are medieval, but not entirely inappropriate where the Bush family is concerned – at least not from the standpoint of universal justice.

They don’t pertain to the Clintons, however.

Even before she became a Senator and a Secretary of State, Hillary was more than Bill’s spouse; she was, by her own account, a fellow perpetrator – with much to answer for in her own right.

Not only did she help end “welfare as we know it”; she joined her husband in waging a protracted struggle against the entire liberal settlement that coalesced in the Roosevelt to Johnson era and that began to unravel in the waning days of the Carter presidency.

It was during Ronald Reagan’s presidency that the cause the Clintons advanced fully entered fully into public consciousness. Since then, in America at least, “neoliberalism” and “Reaganism” have been synonymous.

The Clintons were never ideologically committed Reaganites. They were opportunists: knowing then, and knowing now, where their bread is buttered.

And indeed there have always been beneficiaries of the Reaganite turn eager to butter their bread. They realize that the Clintons have a knack for bringing the opposition along. All Democrats do, but the Clintons are better at it than most.

Thus Bill was a more effective Reaganite president than any Republican, including Reagan himself; more effective too than Obama has so far been.   Perhaps Hillary will outdo him.

Jeb, on the other hand, has, so far, done little, if anything, to put the United States on a perpetual war footing or to increase the supply of enemies it can fight against. And neither has he done much outside Florida to help banksters and other corporate criminals wreak havoc with the impunity to which they have become accustomed.

Brother George did all that and more. His Poppy began the destruction of Iraq, and the Clinton administration continued, with sanctions, what the first President Bush began with force of arms. But George W. upped the ante many fold.

Whether by design or because he was in over his head, he took aim at the entire Middle East, laying the groundwork for the even broader assault on the Muslim world that the Nobel laureate Obama would later oversee.

He also helped steer the United States into the worst economic and financial crisis since the Great Depression; and, as much or more than his successor, he shredded Constitutional protections of basic rights and liberties whenever it suited his administration’s purposes.

Now, less than eight years later, his brother wants to take up where he left off.

How could such an idea even be floated, much less taken seriously by one of our two semi-established political parties? One can only be amazed.

And, though it means conceding that Tom Cotton’s thinking is not entirely off the wall, the very thought of Jeb running for President makes it hard not to acknowledge what jurists took for granted in the days before progress in the arts and sciences made the idea seem appalling: that Bills of Attainder have a certain appeal.

* * *

However that may be, we have an electoral season ahead in which we can count on major party candidates, distinguished only for their noxiousness, saying little, if anything, of genuine importance on any of the real issues of the day.

This means that our perpetual war regime will again get a free pass, and that it will continue to metastasize.

Forsaking a “peace dividend,” the first Bush set this “new world order” in motion. The Clintons then accelerated the pace of its development. They made the endless wars that would follow inevitable — once a suitable pretext was found.

And so, with the assistance of the Saudi-backed Islamists who drove hijacked airplanes into the Pentagon and World Trade Center, George Bush and Dick Cheney unleashed what they called a Global War on Terror.

This was a godsend for the military-industrial-national security state apparatus; for the neocons who rose to power under Cheney’s aegis, it was a dream come true.

Obama dropped the name and, to his credit, ended some of the more egregious forms of torture that Bush and Cheney had allowed. He made a few minor cosmetic changes as well. He also made the new dispensation truly global.

As for what Hillary will do, we can only speculate – and worry.

An even greater cause for concern is the Clinton family penchant for going after Russia, its nuclear weapons notwithstanding. The Clintons were triumphalists, and they made sure the Russians knew it.

Bill’s provocations occurred when Russia was too weak to offer much resistance; when its empire was lost and its economy was wrecked – less by the version of socialism it used to have than by the version of capitalism it was acquiring.

Now Clintonites in the Obama administration, many of them Hillary’s people, are at it again. The difference is that these days Russia is no longer weak.

It is natural to think of Cold War mongering and nuclear brinksmanship as a neocon thing, something Republicans do. It is an Obama-Clinton thing too. The so-called “humanitarian interventionists” they empowered are neocons under the skin.   They sport a kinder-gentler patina, but they are every bit as dangerous.

* * *

The total surveillance state that goes along with a perpetual war regime will escape serious criticism in the coming election too.

Having means, motive and opportunity after 9/11, Bush and then Obama set their sights on hard won and longstanding privacy and due process rights. Everyone says that they regret that it has comes to this, but no one will lift a finger to do anything that might turn the situation around – no one, that is, in the political mainstream.

Brother Jeb is obviously fine with total surveillance. Don’t expect Hillary to challenge any of it either.

Also, don’t expect her presidency to be more transparent than Obama’s or Bush’s — not if her piqued reaction to the Wikileaks and Edward Snowden revelations is any indication.

Those revelations embarrassed her, and the State Department she ran, but that doesn’t entirely explain her irritation. As the scandal around her emails underscores, she believes that it is her prerogative to rule secretively, when doing so suits her purpose. Keeping the public in the dark is a Clinton family tradition.

The irony is that thanks to the explosion of internet-enabled samizdat journalism, self-serving government lies and prevarications no longer automatically control public opinion.

That the American empire is the problem, not the solution, is, by now, widely understood; also government opacity has come to be widely despised. Infringements of privacy and due process rights in the name of national security fool no one either – except, of course, the willfully misled.

A large and growing segment of the public is therefore more than ready for a profound change of course. It is those who govern that lag behind.

These and other pressing issues are not discussed in the coming election. But that is hardly the worst of it. Presidential elections suck up all the air in the room. At best, they put constructive political efforts on hold — more often, they set them back; more often still they defeat them altogether.

Thus the 2012 electoral season helped do Occupy Wall Street in; this is more the norm than the exception.

* * *

Expect also that nothing constructive for holding back global warming will come from a Hillary versus Jeb election – or, for that matter, from a contest between any Democrat with any chance at all of securing the nomination, running against any Republican.

However, the situation with global warming is not quite the same as it is with war and peace and basic rights and liberties.

With the exception of a few “climate change deniers,” the bipartisan consensus is on the right side of the global warming issue – if anything, the political class is a little ahead of the general population, thanks to corporate media’s diligent dumbing down efforts.

But no leading political figure – certainly not Hillary or Jeb – is prepared to do much about it – not while there are powerful corporate interests opposed, and not so long as it remains easy to kick the proverbial can down the road.

Global warming is like the weather; everybody talks about it, but nobody does anything about it. This used to be because there wasn’t anything anybody could do. With global warming, there is. Nevertheless, Democrats and Republicans won’t.

Certainly, Hillary won’t. Even less can be expected from Jeb Bush.

Fortunately, though, Jeb will never be President – not for “corruption of blood” reasons, compelling as they are, but, incredible as it seems, because too many Republicans think that his views, including his views on global warming, are too far out in left field.

Meanwhile, temperatures rise and the predictable consequences unfold.

It will be this way until some catastrophic event, or series of events, awakens a level of public concern that even Democrats and Republicans can no longer ignore — or unless enlightened statesmanship somehow supersedes politics as usual.

I’d bet on the catastrophes.

* * *

Both parties are also on the same page on rising inequality; they’re all against it.

To be sure, the idea that the love of money is the root of all evil is foreign to Democrats and Republicans alike. Both parties are out for all the “campaign contributions” they can get, notwithstanding the offense to democracy or the plain fact that a great many evils do follow from the corruption that ensues.

At the same time, though, they all pay lip service to the idea that increasing economic inequality is the root of many of the distinctive evils of our time.

High on the list is the sheer injustice of it. On this point, most fair-minded people agree. But not quite all.

Within the Republican fold, there are libertarians who do not object to grossly unequal distributions of income and wealth on grounds of justice.   Quite the contrary; they are wedded to views that suggest that everyone has a right to all they can acquire, provided only that their holdings are acquired through market transactions and inheritance (or other forms of gifting); not from plunder, force or fraud.

But even such doctrinaire free marketeers as these have come to realize that there are good reasons to resist rising inequality, irrespective of their views about what justice requires.

For one, inequalities of the kind and extent that are on the rise lately are bad for business – because a system that enriches only the very few, at the expense of the many, cannot sustain a level of demand conducive to economic growth.

Moreover, thanks to rising inequality, the great fear of centuries past – that too much inequality leads to political instability – is again making itself felt.

Syriza in Greece – and perhaps, before long too, Podemos in Spain, and like-minded political formations in Portugal, Ireland and elsewhere – frighten the ruling classes.   They are still a long way from modifying, much less ending, the neoliberal policies that have made these challenges to their power inevitable, but they are inching forward to that realization.

Unlike global warming, the evils of inequality are a problem now — for nearly everybody, ninety-nine percent of us, or more. It is therefore unsurprising that there is nothing similar to climate change denial where inequality is concerned, nothing nearly as politically debilitating.

But, as with global warming, the solutions the major political parties put forward are, at best, woefully inadequate palliatives.

On the Republican side, there is wrongheaded and frequently incoherent prattle about the virtues of “free markets” and about how even the vestiges of past government policies intended to raise people up actually make them worse off.

The underlying rationale, as best one can be made out, is that these programs somehow thwart equal opportunity, which then somehow leads to unequal outcomes.

It is not worth trying to puzzle through the purported connections; clear thinking is not the Republicans’ strong suit.

Democrats propose what amounts to a modest restoration of the social policies liberal Democrats introduced decades ago, plus modest spending on public works. Wanting to seem “strong on defense,” they don’t dare suggest cutting back on military spending or on any of the other wasteful expenditures that make it fiscally impossible for the state to do anyone much good.

Neither do they have much to say about why inequality is on the rise.

Their silence is puzzling, inasmuch as they know full well how capitalist societies typically counter the inequalities capitalism generates. Like their social democratic counterparts in Europe and elsewhere, they used to do a lot of that themselves — through redistributive taxation and welfare state measures of various kinds. They know too that strong labor movements can also be helpful too.

The consensus view, though, is that the days when these and other left alternatives within capitalism were feasible are over. There is even more agreement that alternatives to capitalism itself are out of the question.

No one in the political mainstream even bothers to say why. Hardly anyone on the fringes does either.

Evidently, it has lately become so widely assumed that, as Margaret Thatcher might say, “there is no alternative,” that it is simply taken for granted that capitalism must always be with us, and that the kind of capitalism we now have is the only kind there now can be.

And so, for all practical purposes, a century and a half of socialist and anarchist and anarcho-syndicalist theory and practice, and many decades of academic research, might as well never have happened.

But, of course, it did happen, and there is much to be learned from all of it.

Just don’t expect any of it to be brought up by Democrats or Republicans during the coming election season.   At least Mrs. Thatcher thought it worth her while to drive the “there is no alternative” idea home. Democrats and Republicans can’t be bothered.

Therefore, instead of a serious discussion of ways of addressing a problem that everyone acknowledges, there will be a whole lot of sound and fury that can be counted on to signify nothing.

* * *

If only the problems facing us were less urgent, the eighteen months ahead would be an excellent time to put politics on hold; to let the electoral spectacle unfold as it must, while, as Nietzsche would say, averting one’s gaze, as best one can.

Why nauseate oneself?

The short answer is because too much is at stake.

Presidential elections are sales campaigns; and the one that will soon be upon us is likely to be sillier, more enervating, and more disgusting than most – especially with Hillary and the Bush family involved.

But, with cunning and skill, even an election about nothing in which worse-than-nothing candidates compete can be put to advantage.

A Hillary versus Jeb election is a frightful prospect indeed. But because presidential elections, even ones as dismal as the one that lies ahead, focus peoples’ minds, the occasion can be used to work towards getting the public to focus on the real and urgent issues of our time – on war and peace, rights and liberties, global warming, and the increasing inequality that is feeding injustice and stifling what little democracy we have left.

Above all, it presents an opportunity for talking about the urgency of making left alternatives within capitalism and alternatives to capitalism itself, socialist alternatives, part of political discourse again.

There is no reason why such a discussion cannot now take place, and every reason why it should.

Impending catastrophes stare us in the face. Unless there is a change of course soon, the dangers will intensify.

But nothing will get better until the underlying causes of the perils we face are exposed and subjected to scrutiny. This cannot happen as long as the lessons gained in the pre-neoliberal age are off the agenda entirely, and as long as socialism is never even mentioned, much less discussed.

Ironically, the sheer inanity of the election we are facing makes the discussion of these and other pertinent issues more, not less feasible; it makes real politics possible. Full speed ahead, therefore; there truly is no alternative.

ANDREW LEVINE is a Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, the author most recently of THE AMERICAN IDEOLOGY (Routledge) and POLITICAL KEY WORDS (Blackwell) as well as of many other books and articles in political philosophy. His most recent book is In Bad Faith: What’s Wrong With the Opium of the People. He was a Professor (philosophy) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Research Professor (philosophy) at the University of Maryland-College Park.  He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

 

Hillary: The New York Times Will Never Tell Us This

By F. William Engdahl
March 20, 2015
New Eastern Outlook

 

H34234234If she wasn’t such an ice-cold-hearted person, one might almost feel sorry for Hillary Rodham Clinton. Now, before she even officially declares her candidacy for the Democratic Party nomination in 2016 to become successor to Barack Obama as President, she lands in the middle of another very ugly scandal. This new scandal might well spell the end of her presidential obsession, and that of her obsessive husband Bill Clinton to get back into the power loop.

The new scandal involves Haiti, that tormented island in the Caribbean which gets hit not only by earthquakes but also by the ravages and looting acts of the Clintons and their friends and relatives. It involves obvious misuse of Bill Clinton’s position in Haiti since the January 2010 earthquake that killed more than 300,000 Haitians. It involves nepotism with the brother of Hillary Clinton. It involves Hillary directly, and it involves a foundation owned by the Clinton family which works closely with a reputed Mexican narco kingpin and some of the dirtiest Clinton political associates from their days in Washington.

Charity begins at home…

The timing of events here is important. On March 5, the popular web blog Breitbart published a story taken from an about-to-be-released new book by award-winning journalist, Peter Schweitzer titled, Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich. The book details facts around an unprecedented award for a gold mine, the first such granted in Haiti by the government in 50 years, to an obscure North Carolina company named VCS Mining to mine the Morne Bossa.

VCS Mining according to Schweitzer, had on its board of directors Tony Rodham. Never heard of him? Hillary Clinton’s family name is Hillary Rodham and Tony is her brother. Not only that, but the mining company also lists another board member, former Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive. Bellerive co-chaired the “charitable” Interim Haiti Recovery Commission with former US President and Hillary’s husband (at least legally), William Jefferson Clinton.

Moreover, the terms of the first new gold mining license granted by the Haiti government were made with no Congressional involvement and the state of Haiti got royally cheated. The terms of Rodham’s gold windfall upset members of Haiti’s senate: The government’s royalties under the deal were just 2.5 per cent, half the customary rate. And VCS mining has an option to renew the terms for 25 years.

On March 6, one day after the March 5 story hit, VCS Mining on its scanty website (which reveals no single name of any officers or directors nor any annual report or financial report), published an “Immediate Press Release.” It denied that Rodham or Bellerive played any role in the highly suspicious and strange deal. Even more bizarre is that the press release is the only statement on the company’s entire website.

Further search in the company directories of Bloomberg/BusinessWeek to find names of the current board turned up…..nothing. In a report on the company dated March 12, 2015, Bloomberg wrote, “There is no Other Board Members data available.” Did the company scrub their records to hinder further embarrassing scandals that would jeopardize Hillary’s presidential bid which, until two weeks ago when the State Department email scandal broke, looked like a done deal?

The Clinton Foundation, State Department and Haiti

It is looking more and more likely that the emails Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton wrote in the years she was Secretary, which she refuses to turn over in full as required by law to the US Government, would contain explosive revelations about her role in Haiti after the earthquake.

It has just been revealed that she used a private email address run on her own server, during her years at the State Department, and never had a ‘state.gov’ address as required for government official business. She ran all her professional emails through her own Internet domain, ‘clintonemails.com.’ When she left office her emails left with her. That included emails that would have dealt with her response to the Haiti earthquake. The Federal Records Act requires employees of executive branch agencies to keep all of their emails and make all of them available for permanent retention.

She was Secretary of State from January 21, 2009 to February 1, 2013. In December, 2012 Hillary’s brother’s company got the lucrative gold mining contract. During her time in State, the State Department through its USAID disbursed $3.6 billion for Haitian “earthquake relief.”

The plot gets uglier. While she was doling out billions in US taxpayer dollars to unspecified projects in Haiti, husband Bill Clinton was serving as UN Special Envoy for Haitian earthquake relief as co-chair with Jean-May Bellerive of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission. At the same time, Bill was head of the Clinton Foundation, which claimed to have raised $36 million from “private contributors” for Haiti relief. However, the Clinton Foundation, at the time Hillary was Secretary of State, also accepted money from countries that Hillary Clinton dealt with while Secretary, including the UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Iran, brazen conflicts of interest should Clinton become president. In one case the Clinton Foundation accepted a “gift” of $500,000 from the Algerian government to “benefit earthquake relief efforts in Haiti.” Hello?

So to sum up, to date Hillary as US Secretary of State handed out billions in USAID money in Haiti. Husband Bill was taking money for his private foundation from foreign governments that Secretary Hillary deals with in an official capacity. Then the day she resigns from the State Department in February 2013, Hillary joined their daughter and Bill to become a named principal in the now named Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation. And brother Tony Rodham just happens to be lucky and land a lucrative gold mining contract in Haiti at the same time? I think the trials and tribulations of Hillary Rodham Clinton have only begun.

The Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation

Then we have to look more closely into the Clinton Foundation and there we find interesting people chosen to be on their Board of Directors. Bruce Lindsey serves as the chairman of the Board for the Clinton Foundation. He has been described as Bill Clinton’s Consigliere, as in the mafia lawyer who cleans up messes in the family. Lindsey has been at Bill’s side since their days in Little Rock when Bill was governor and Hillary a lawyer with the Rose law firm.

Lindsey was Clinton’s White House Counsel for all eight years. Now he is chair of the Clinton Foundation. During the Clinton presidency, Lindsey was accused by Republicans of soliciting Asian money for Democrats and for Clinton’s legal defense fund on the Monika Lewinsky-ted impeachment trial. Lindsey was present at White House meetings with shady Clinton fund-raising figures such as John Huang and James Riady. Republicans at the time also suspected Lindsey–who oversaw White House document-gathering in response to congressional subpoenas–was “cleansing” documents to keep information from the Congressional panels.

Now we continue looking at today’s Clinton Foundation board of directors and lo and behold we find Ms Cheryl Mills. Never heard of her? She was Hillary’s Chief of Staff at the State Department and as it states in her bio, she “served as counselor and chief of staff at the US Department of State where she managed the foreign policy and operational priorities for the $55 billion agency.” Mills was Manager of foreign policy and operational priorities for Hillary Clinton? Did she also play a dirty role in the Haiti scandals with Bill Clinton’s Interim Haiti Recovery Commission when Hillary’s USAID was splashing billions of US taxpayer dollars into something or some ones in Haiti? We may never know because it comes out in the latest State Department “email-gate” scandal that not only Hillary refused to use official US Government internet email for state business. Fellow member of the board of directors of the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, Cheryl Mills also used the private clintonemail.com email address for her government correspondence.

‘World’s Richest Man’

Then another member of the exotic Clinton Foundation board is a mining and motion picture mogul, Frank Giustra. In 2007, Frank Giustra and Bill Clinton launched something called the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership. Their stated purpose was to create “social and economic development programs in parts of the world where poverty is widespread, including Colombia, Peru, Mexico, and Haiti.” That morphed into the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative (CGSGI). The two men then brought in a third, a Mexican named Carlos Slim, who matched their initial $100 million fund. The three men apparently enjoyed working together so in 2010, just after the Haiti earthquake, with Clinton as Special UN Envoy to Haiti, they established another $20 million fund to finance small businesses in earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

According to the annual Forbes list of the world’s richest people, Carlos Slim is probably the richest, just passing Bill Gates to be worth an estimated $81.6 billion. He owns Telmex, the largest telecom in Mexico and a network of banks and companies and airlines. He even bought himself blue-blood WASP respectability several years ago by rescuing the ailing New York Times for a mere $250 million.

As well, Carlos Slim is in the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees of the RAND Corporation, a major Pentagon contractor and leading neo-conservative think tank behind the US CIA strategies of Color Revolutions, “swarming” and such. That has interesting implications for US national security.

The most interesting parts of Carlos Slim’s career however are its overlaps with the Mexican drug cartel. Mexican journalists speak openly that Slim amassed his colossal fortune not just by charging the highest phone rates in Latin America. According to award-winning journalist Daniel Hopsicker, Carlos Slim, the philanthropy partner of the Clinton Foundation, “has long-standing business ties with wealthy Mexican businessmen suspected of involvement in Mexico’s so-called ‘Cartel of the Southeast,’ the drug trafficking organization based in Cancun which came to light two years ago with the crash on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula of an American-registered (N987SA) Gulfstream jet carrying nearly four tons of cocaine.”

According to Hopsicker, Fernando Chico Pardo, a top level business associate of Carlos Slim, left Slim’s employ with the latter’s blessing, to take over Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste, S.A. de C.V., (ASUR), a publicly-traded corporation which Mexican sources say moves large quantities of cocaine through Cancun International Airport, which ASUR runs and manages. ASUR controls a dozen Mexican airports. Pardo, according to these reports, was Slim’s alter-ego and right-hand for 16 years. He still has a seat on the board of Carlos Slim’s holding company and Pardo’s brother, Jaime Chico Pardo, is President of Slim’s major holding, Mexican telecommunications giant Telmex.

Mexican well-researched press reports claim that Fernando Chico Pardo’s Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste, S.A. de C.V., (ASUR) is involved in the drug trafficking major leagues, and was reportedly complicit in the big “drug move” in September of 2007 which ended with an American Gulfstream jet carrying 4 tons of cocaine crashing in the Yucatan.

Hopsicker adds,“the Gulfstream (N987SA) was known to belong to the CIA in Columbia and Central America, and to fly for the DEA as well…according to exclusive reporting in NarcoNews.”

Hillary and ‘Sweet Mickey’ Martelly

Presumptive US Democratic Presidential candidate, Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Clinton Foundation has activities in Haiti with Carlos Slim, Mexican giga-billionaire and reputed business associate of leading Mexican drug cartel figures, who sits on the Executive Board of Washington’s Pentagon and CIA-linked RAND Corporation and who owns a major stake in the New York Times. Hillary’s kid brother, Tony Rodham, wins the sweetheart gold mine concession in Haiti with a company that barely exists. It all begins to stink like the cesspool outside the factory pig farm manure dump of Smithfield Foods in Mexico.

Leading Haitian lawyer and a genuine human rights activist, Ezili Dantò, charges that UN Envoy to Haiti, Bill Clinton as head of the Haitian relief fund was responsible for some $6 billion of international relief aid received. “Less than 1% of this amount made it to the Haitian government. Bill Clinton had total control of the balance.” She adds, “Hillary and Bill Clinton ‘opened Haiti’ as their private asset to liquidate. They used the resources of the World Bank, the State Department, USAID, the UN, the Private Military Security Contractors, the US military, and the Fed’s passport and visa issuance capabilities. They got kickbacks called ‘donations’ from anyone who wished to buy from them a piece of Haiti lands, oil, iridium, uranium or gold. The Clintons have used governmental power to conduct their private business and called it ‘helping poor Haitians.’”

Dantò adds that Bill Clinton made no attempt to conceal his Haiti aid corruption. Neither did US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: “They pushed their own Haiti staff members into nominal positions of power to rubber stamp their edicts. Haiti Prime Minister Gary Conille, who succeeded Jean Max Bellerive, worked as chief of staff for Bill Clinton and as a UN development expert.

“Cheryl Mills, another Clinton staffer named in the Clinton “email-gate” scandal and who today is on the board of the Clinton Foundation, also served as the United States’ representative on the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC).

Dantò elaborated further that, “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Cheryl Mills, her chief of staff at the State Department, brought intense US pressure to bear on the Haitian government and Electoral Council to advance Martelly, who finished third, to the first place in the runoff, insuring his election as President in March, 2011. Hillary Clinton revoked the visas of several Haitian officials she felt were not complying, prematurely announced the election dispute was over, threatened to cut off aid if the doctored elections and OAS ruling to advance Martelly to the second rounds were not accepted by Haiti. The US even threatened to forcibly remove Haiti president Preval if he didn’t comply and put Martelly in the elections.”

Martelly, known in Haiti by his musician name, Michel ‘Sweet Micky’ Martelly, backed the CIA-created right-wing paramilitary Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haïti and proposed to re-instate the Armed Forces of Haiti, which were disbanded by former Haitian President Aristide in 1995 because they were the terror arm of deposed dictator ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier. The CIA ousted the popular Haitian nationalist, democratically-elected Aristide, and forced him into South African exile. According to Ezili Dantò, Hillary and Bill Clinton engineered the Presidency of Martelly, a cocaine-loving rock keyboard musician, to cover up their corruption.

She adds, “The quake monies benefited Clintons’ cronies, the Clinton Foundation big business donors, the Clintons’ luxury spa resort and hotel partners, the military industrial/intelligence complex and the usual Washington beltway bandits, like Chemonics. The holocaust for Haiti continued. What’s worst was the Clintons’ use of shock and trauma-the cataclysmic 2010 earthquake and 2010 UN-imported cholera traumas-to push the 2010 doctored elections down the Haitian people’s throats to outright dictatorship.”

It’s beginning to look like Hillary Rodham Clinton faces far more scrutiny for her dealings than she hoped for. But one thing is certain. The New York Times, formerly America’s most respected newspaper of record, will never tell us this about Hillary’s murky dealings in Haiti. Why? Look no further than Carlos Slim, that paper’s second largest stockowner and long-time business partner of Hillary’s foundation in Haiti.

F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

The “Convenience” of Untruth

Hillary and the Democrats

By Norman Pollack
March 11, 2015
Counter Punch

 

If I may state a vulgarized Leninism, I hope Hillary gets the Democratic nomination, the ideal political “two-fer” in making possible a fresh start for America. Candidate and party are made for each other: a morally bankrupt unity of militarism, corporatism, class dominance of financial elites, all contributing to a national mindset of permanent-war doctrine, global commercial/ideological hegemony, cosmetics as stand-in for a social safety net, and the ruthless disregard of democratic principles of governance. Is it really that bad? Probably worse. Liberal fascism is not an oxymoron, rather a useful description of the perversion of Center-Left politics and thought in America successively enlarged after the New Deal so as to appear sympathetic to principles of equality, social justice, and world peace while achieving opposite results, including systematically supporting a class-state of heightened wealth concentration meanwhile discouraging potential dissident groups, chiefly, blacks, labor unions, immigrants, the working poor from mobilizing to create a more just polity and social order.

Hillary is the poster woman for all that is repellant about class dominance, capitalism’s militarization as starting point for domestic social regimentation to ensure popular acceptance of financial and corporate leadership in US policymaking and definitions of national self-interest. Here add the element of security, a perfect witches’-brew of the Business State assuming global proportions. There is something uncanny in her make-up, an urge to power deliberately left undisguised, as if to impress the people with the duty of authoritarian submission in the name of higher values. Hillary the Statue of Liberty in sunglasses, on the ramparts of freedom to protect us all from dangers open-ended, often unspecified, every pursuit of self-aggrandizement converted into a virtue, most recently, her presumed effort in defense of the rights of women (a sick joke) or her claims of government transparency via the selective release of official USG documents as Secretary of State from her private account.

I want her to run, to win the nomination, and then whatever follows. A Republican victory could not be worse, for at least Americans would know what to expect, and could either acquiesce or fight back. But a Hillary triumph courts the danger of becoming enveloped in a sea of false consciousness—except that it also raises the prospect, finally, after decades of bipartisan consensus, of political upheaval, in which the Democratic party is exposed and the seeds planted for its displacement or, at the very least, a third party in militant opposition. Hillary unwittingly can sound the tocsin, an awakening to the structured loss of democracy, brought about by its putative friends. If by chance Elizabeth Warren were the party’s nominee (I expect little departure from her on foreign policy, but her domestic is something else), that would only postpone the inevitable: the discovery of the rottenness of the Democratic party, which one candidate at the top could not hope to rectify. No, Hillary all the way, in the hope of party-destruction and subsequent realignment.

***

Can one blame her? Hardly; her political antennae have always been up, and, correctly, she has gauged the reactionary pulse of the American electorate (and that of her own party), an ideological framework in which, beyond the personal power-demiurge, she may actually believe, making for a more unitary personality than the mere opportunism which appears on the surface. Too, she wears her reactionary credentials honorably in the sense of being married to, and sharing the principles of, perhaps the biggest fraud in presidential history, the Janus-faced William Jefferson Clinton, whose capitulation to wealth and militarism has become a superb marker for contemporary liberalism. The Foundation is the least of his explorations into Greatness, his dynamic duo of Robert Rubin and Larry Summers and the prodigious gift to Corporate America of deregulation ranking near the top of the dung heap. And when foreign policy is fully scrutinized, we have an indictment of Democrats’ claims to representing a progressive social force, now adumbrated by the consummate forfeiture of democratic principle by the Obama administration on both domestic- and foreign-policy counts.

Hillary is a product of her political-ideological times, no better, perhaps no worse, than her predecessors and surroundings. America has been in the business quite literally of war and war-preparation for some time; it has also done little for the internal democratization of the social system, black leadership today especially callous in that regard. I ask: Would Dr. King favor and employ drone assassination? Would Dr. King provoke regime change, openly court confrontation with Russia and China, unleash covert action to weaken or topple governments with which the US disagrees? Remembering his Poor People’s Campaign I wonder would Dr. King applaud Obama’s closeness to the banking and business communities? Would he see the recent celebration of the 50th anniversary of Selma, in light of America’s overwhelming stance of militarization, even filtering down to the local police, as anything other than a sham. I was in Selma for the interim tensions before the famous second march, the beauty and the genuine eloquence of Dr. King’s memorial in Brown’s Chapel for James Reeb, murdered on the streets of Selma, and as I look back I have only contempt for Obama, Hillary Clinton, and all the humanitarian-fakirs who have trespassed on the rights and dignity of the common people. America has changed, and not for the better.

***

The New York Times deserves commendation for breaking the story of Hillary’s email/federal records deception, even more, following the story closely, as in this article, Alan Rappeport and Amy Chozick’s “Clinton Tries to Quell Email Controversy,” (Mar. 10), which began, “[HRC]… defended her exclusive use of a private email address during her time as secretary of state as a matter of ‘convenience,’ saying about 30,000 of her work-related emails would be made public, but that thousands more that she deemed personal had been deleted.” Savor the element of personal discretion—and will the public see those not deleted and deemed not work-related? Transparency, thou outmoded, obsolete factor in a fast-disappearing democratic system of governance. And for chutzpah: “’I thought using one device would be simpler; obviously, it hasn’t worked out that way,’ she said in her first public comments since the issue emerged last week.” The admission is lame, and even then, forced because she got caught.

Adding insult to injury, because determination of personal-work related remains with Clinton alone, she says: “’I feel that I have taken unprecedented steps to provide these public emails; they will be in the public domain.’” (Sorry, but I hear echoes of Bill’s admission of Lewinski in the background.) Thus in a 20-minute news conference addressed to women’s issues and the Republican open letter to Iran, there was little about the emails, or as she said: “’I fully complied with every rule.’” The State Department announced that it would “publish online [in one batch] the full set of emails provided by Mrs. Clinton from her time as secretary of state.” Again, she is the sole arbiter of relevance. In passing, the reporters noted that after the revelations, “Clinton fielded political questions from reporters, something she had not done since her 2008 presidential campaign.” That will no longer be possible: “But as she shapes her 2016 campaign, Mrs. Clinton must wade back into politics, prompted not by her own careful timing but forced by a controversy over whether she intentionally used a private email account to skirt federal records requests for State Department correspondence.” The best-laid schemes o’ mice and men gang aft agley.

My New York Times Comment on the Rappeport-Chozick article, same date, follows:

Will this stop the Hillary locomotive for the nomination dead in its tracks? Obviously mot, the Democratic party in full damage-control mode will work around Mrs. Clinton’s felonious attempt to evade the LAW. We expect this from the Clintons, a superb training ground as Bill’s wife for grazing the truth, self-enrichment, contempt for transparency. Everything however untoward can be explained by/dismissed as a matter of “convenience”–her damaging admission that she is too used to free passes to notice for what it is: criminal intent disguised as convenience.

Mrs. Clinton’s statement, “I fully complied with the law,” should automatically disqualify her from a run for the presidency, except that that is now par for the course in Washington. Too, that she has been defensive with respect to the press corps augurs poorly indeed for honesty, sincerity, transparency–instead, more like a case of paranoia (to which the Clintons are no strangers).

Should one rally to her defense because the Republicans have proven themselves crypto-fascists, as in their latest anti-constitutional escapade? No, the lesser of two evils is still evil; in this case seeking to cover over strong prowar tendencies with fool’s gold, i.e., the patina of liberalism.

If the Democrats can swallow a potus whose trademark is drone assassination, why not a Hillary who in advocating for troop surges has proven she can belt them down with the big boys? This contempt for the public should be sent packing.

Norman Pollack has written on Populism. His interests are social theory and the structural analysis of capitalism and fascism. He can be reached at pollackn@msu.edu.

 

Clinton Foundation raked in cash from right-wing regimes, corporations

By Tom Hall
February 28, 2015
World Socialist Web Site

 

AFP E FACES 12 CLINTONS GOVERNMENT USA NYSeveral press reports last week highlight details of the major donors to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, including right-wing Persian Gulf monarchies, big defense contractors, and an array of corporations and governments seeking influence with the US political establishment—and potentially in the next White House.

Founded in 2001 after the end of Bill Clinton’s second term as president, the Foundation has raised and distributed huge amounts of money, reaching nearly $2 billion. After a brief drop in fundraising coinciding with Hillary Clinton’s term as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013, when most foreign donations were discouraged because of conflict-of-interest concerns, donations jumped $100 million in 2013, reaching $262 million.

The list of the Foundation’s largest donors, available on the Foundation’s website, is a virtual who’s who of the super-rich and major corporations. The largest donors, having given over $25 million since 2001, include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, well known for its leading role in the dismantling of public education, Chicago multimillionaire and top Democratic Party donor Fred Eychaner, and, strangely, the Dutch national lottery.

Major corporations appear in spades in the list of 168 individuals and organizations that have given more than $1 million. Defense contractors such as Boeing and Booz Allen Hamilton, both gave between $1 and $5 million, joined by Barclays, Goldman Sachs, and the American Federation of Teachers.

The reactionary Persian Gulf monarchies have poured tens of millions into the Clinton Foundation, including Saudi Arabia ($10 to $25 million), Kuwait, ($5 to $10 million), Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates ($1 to $5 million). In addition, several groups and individuals close to the Saudi government have also made tens of millions in contributions.

The Clinton Foundation made an agreement with the Obama administration not to accept new donations from foreign sources during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, a policy which has now expired. However, tens of millions of overseas dollars continued to flow into the Foundation through an exemption which allowed existing donors to continue making contributions at a similar level.

Claims by Clinton Foundation donors that they were genuinely interested in charity are belied by the circumstances of many of the donations. For example, the Wall Street Journal cited an incident in 2009 in which Hillary Clinton convinced Russia to purchase 50 Boeing 737s; seven months later, Boeing made its first-ever donation to the Clinton Foundation, $900,000 to help “rebuild” Haiti’s school system. Perhaps admitting more than she intended, a Boeing spokeswoman said in a written statement, “Secretary Clinton did nothing for Boeing that former US presidents and cabinet secretaries haven’t done for decades.”

In another case, the Foundation received a $500,000 donation from the government of Algeria for its pro-market “relief” effort in Haiti. The Washington Post notes that the donation, which violated the Foundation’s earlier agreement with the Obama administration, came in the midst of a particularly heavy lobbying push from Algeria in Washington in the aftermath of a report by Clinton’s State Department condemning Algeria’s human rights record. The donation was more than the Algerian government spent on lobbying for the entire year.

Two years later, Secretary of State Clinton lobbied successfully on behalf of GE in its bids to construct power plants in Algeria, described by the company as “some of its largest power agreements in company history.” A month later, GE donated from $500,000 to $1 million to the Clinton Foundation.

The focus in the media, especially from Journal and other ultra-right outlets, has been on the fact that foreign countries, companies and individuals comprise a third of the foundation’s major donors, implying that they are purchasing political influence through the Clintons. While there is a degree of truth to this, this is also a two-way street, as the Clinton Foundation is fully integrated into the political apparatus as an instrument of American imperialist foreign policy.

Instructive in this regard is their role in the “rebuilding” of Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, in which some 300,000 died. The Clinton Foundation played a major role, with Bill Clinton himself co-chairing the panel that distributed all international aid to Haiti. The entire aid effort was used to ram through pro-market restructuring, while American and then UN “peacekeepers” patrolled the country to prevent any opposition from the population. The Obama administration made no objection to the Algerian donation to the Clinton Foundation for the simple reason that it was entirely in line with American foreign policy in Haiti.

The Clinton Foundation’s version of “charity” also involves imperialist intrigue. This included secret maneuvers last year against Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapakse, which ultimately led to his electoral defeat last month. The country’s former president Chandrika Kumaratunga, who joined the Clinton Foundation in 2005, played the major role in backroom deals that led to Maithripala Sirisena’s sudden departure from the government and announcement that he would be the “common opposition candidate.” Earlier this month Kumaratunga admitted that unnamed “foreign governments” had urged her to maneuver against Rajapakse.

During her time as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton took the lead in denouncing the Sri Lankan government’s “human rights record” in order to pressure it to move away from its ties with China as part of the Obama administration’s “Pivot to Asia.” She presented resolutions in 2011 and 2012 in her capacity as secretary of state demanding that the UN take action against Sri Lanka for human rights violations during the civil war against Tamil separatist guerrillas.

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