Sunday, February 21, 2016

It is not a “hard choice”

So now Clinton has snatched Nevada from Sanders in once again a narrow victory. Obama’s election slogan was “Hope and Change.” Socialists asked then: Hope for what? Change to what? In 2016, the same questions are being asked again by ourselves.

Hilarity Clinton often garbs US military intervention in the philosophy of “responsibility to protect.” The Russians are portrayed as aggressively attempting to re-establish their old Soviet sphere of influence rather than reacting to the steady march of NATO eastwards. No mention of the roles U.S. intelligence agencies, organizations like the National Endowment for Democracy, and openly fascist Ukrainian groups played in the coup against the elected (albeit corrupt) government of Ukraine. The fact that the U.S. violated promises by the first Bush administration not to move NATO “one inch east” if the Soviets withdrew their forces from Eastern Europe is treated as irrelevant.  nor any mention of the roles U.S. intelligence agencies, organizations like the National Endowment for Democracy, and openly fascist Ukrainian groups played in the coup against the elected (if corrupt) government of Ukraine. The military tension in the South China Sea is viewed as a result of Chinese aggression, not of U.S. provocation. They tell us that Hillary is a flawed but basically progressive candidate who shouldn’t be “demonized.” The fact is that the policies she supported were a disaster for poor people around the world, and especially for poor women. Hilarity’s sales pitch is she casts herself as a pragmatist (“a progressive who likes to get things done”), but what she has accomplished is no achievement.

She takes credit for overthrowing Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, for example, washing her hands of the inevitable aftermath but more importantly ignoring the responsibility to protect when Saudi Arabia wages a horrendous bombing campaign in Yemen. And remaining silent about Saudi Arabia’s intervention in Bahrain to crush demands for democracy by its majority Shiite population.

The consequences of Clinton’s continued acquiescence to American policy as Secretary of State have been dire.

Afghanistan: Somewhere around 220,000 Afghans have died since the 2001 U.S. invasion, and millions of others are refugees. The U.S. and its allies have suffered close to 2,500 dead and more than 20,000 wounded, and the war is far from over. The cost to the treasury alone runs close to $700 billion, not counting long-term medical bill that could run as high as $2 trillion.

Libya: Some 30,000 people died and another 50,000 were wounded in the intervention and civil war. Hundreds of thousands have been turned into refugees. The cost to Washington was cheap at a cool $1.1 billion, but the war and subsequent instability created a tsunami of weapons and refugees — and the fighting continues. It also produced one of Clinton’s more tasteless remarks. Referring to Gaddafi, she said, “We came, we saw, he died.” The Libyan leader was executed by having a bayonet rammed up his rectum.

Ukraine: The death toll now exceeds 8,000, some 18,000 have been wounded, and several cities in the eastern part of the country have been heavily damaged. The fighting has tapered off, although tensions remain high.

Yemen: Over 6,000 Yemenis have been killed and another 27,000 wounded. According to the UN, most of them are civilians. Ten million Yeminis don’t have enough to eat, and 13 million have no access to clean water. Yemen is highly dependent on imported food, but a U.S.-Saudi blockade has choked off most imports. The war is ongoing.

Iraq: Anywhere from 400,000 to over 1 million people have died from war-related causes since the 2003 invasion. Over 2 million have fled the country and another 2 million are internally displaced. The cost: close to $1 trillion, but it may rise to $4 trillion once all the long-term medical costs are added in. The war grinds on its latest incarnation: a bloody turf war with the Islamic State, which emerged from the Sunni insurgency against the U.S.-installed government.

Syria: Over 250,000 have died in the war, and half the country’s population has been displaced — including four million Syrian refugees abroad. The country’s major cities have been ravaged. The war, like the others, is ongoing.

Other countries like Somalia could be added or Mali, Niger, and the Central African Republic where weapons looted after the fall of Gaddafi largely fuel the wars.

In one debate, when asked "which enemy are you most proud of?"  Hilarity answered "In addition to the NRA, the health insurance companies, the drug companies, the Iranians, probably the Republicans."
Putting aside the fact that Clinton has received a lot of donations from big pharmaceutical companies, when she said the Iranians are her enemies, frankly, who exactly is she talking about? Is she talking about all Iranians? There are 78 million people in Iran. 78 million. Are all 78 million of them Hillary Clinton's enemies? If so, that's a lot of enemies. She probably meant the government of Iran. But that's not what she said. She said THE Iranians.

Clinton thinks American exceptionalism gives the U.S. the right to intervene around the globe where it sees fit. She was the most enthusiastic of all of Obama’s senior civilian advisors about the counterinsurgency plan his generals proposed for Afghanistan in 2009; she helped persuade a very reluctant commander in chief to bomb Libya to prevent atrocities there. Clinton is a Cold War-era patriot who believes unambiguously that America is a force for good in the world. . Her belief in the use of American power has less to do with the humanitarian impulse to prevent injustice abroad than with the belief that only coercion works with refractory nations and leaders. On the Armed Services Committee Clinton always treated military officers with great deference. Clinton is tough on the Palestinians accusing them of consistently walking away from credible Israeli peace offers, and she credits Netanyahu for sincerely embracing a two-state solution, and sympathizes with Israel’s unwillingness to yield control over security in the West Bank as a condition for peace. Clinton's murderous record is plain as day to anyone with a passing knowledge of foreign affairs. Yet when it comes down to it, there is not much to choose from between Clinton and Sanders. One thing that came out of the debates is that Clinton wants a no-fly zone in Syria and Sanders doesn't. Other than that both seem to approve of Obama's policies and want to continue to pursue them. Hilarity Clinton’'s job as president will be the same as Obama’s and all his predecessors and that is to sell war. Neither Democrats nor Republican are capable of addressing the crises of the 21st century: climate change; concentration of wealth and power among the 1%, the shredding of the social safety net for the poor to pay for a growing national-security state and its endless war. The difference between a Clinton presidency and a Republican presidency is the difference between driving towards a cliff at 55 mph and driving towards a cliff at 90 mph. The sad fact, though, is that it is all but impossible to disabuse people of the lesser evil idea. No matter how compelling the case against lesser evilism may be, when faced with a Clinton versus Trump choice, what sane person would not succumb? The Democratic Party functionaries and their media hacks will do their best to keep lesser evil thinking alive. No politician can ever confess to the impossibility of the tasks he or she sets themselves. The gap between promises and reality must be bridged by other means. Sometimes, as we said, it might be by a little bit of luck.  Mostly, the gap is bridged by a more calculated method, the public relations and the advertising agencies. You sell yourself and your programs the way a business sells its products.

In the ‘80s and ‘90s, she served on the board of Wal-Mart — a company notorious for its horrendous treatment of workers and union-crushing efforts — and, while the corporation waged a war against its labor force, Clinton said nothing, did nothing, and fought nothing. In 1990, she made the statement: “I’m always proud of Wal-Mart and what we do, and the way that we do it better than anybody else.” This is a company that has used foreign labor (including child workers), stolen its worker’s wages by forcing them to work while off-the-clock, and discriminated against elderly and disabled employees. Clinton asserts that she has “fought for racial justice” her entire life, but, in the 1990s, she supported the now widely regarded as disastrous Crime Bill, saying at the time:
“We need more police, we need more and tougher prison sentences for repeat offenders. The three strikes and you’re out for violent offenders has to be part of the plan. We need more prisons to keep violent offenders for as long as it takes to keep them off the streets.”
Throughout the duration of Bill Clinton’s presidency, the number of Americans in prison rose by nearly 60%. Black Americans are six times as likely to be in prison than white Americans, meaning that this legislation was specifically crippling to Black and Brown citizens. Clinton supported the 1996 welfare reform legislation — now broadly viewed as “a catastrophe for the vulnerable,” especially people of color — and, in the late ’90s/early 2000s, characterized these poor, at-risk recipients of welfare as “deadbeats” who sat “around the house doing nothing” and knew “nothing but dependency all their lives.” This, to put it lightly, is an abomination, and feeds directly into the racist, untrue “welfare queen” stereotype of the Republicans that says poor people want to be poor. Instead of understanding that people cannot get out of generational poverty when the education system is broken, wages are sunk below the floor, and health care is scarce and expensive, Clinton joined the conservative victim-blamers in castigating women who have seen nothing but neglect and abuse from their government their entire lives. Her behavior and support of this welfare legislation is what caused Marian Wright Edelman, head of the Children’s Defense Fund (oft-cited as proof of Clinton’s life-long progressive commitment), to call Hillary “not friends in politics,” and Peter Edelman, Marian Wright’s husband, to resign from the Clinton administration in protest. As recently as 2008, she defended this legislation as necessary and effective, while research clearly shows that the number of American households living with practically no cash income has since almost doubled, and that as many as 1 in 4 poor single mothers are now jobless with no cash aid. She says she “fought the banks,” but, while in the Senate, she voted for a bankruptcy bill that benefited the credit-card and banking industries and harmed working class people (disproportionately single mothers), even though she opposed it when she was First Lady.

Clinton has flip-flopped on a myriad of issues including immigration, the Iraq War, the Patriot Act, gay marriage, the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact, NAFTA, the Keystone pipeline, and gun control, always becoming more liberal as time goes on, and evolving, rather than fighting, “every step along the way.” On foreign policy, Clinton is often called a war hawk. She voted for the Iraq War (which she now says was a “mistake”); championed the intervention in Libya; pushed for escalation of the war in Afghanistan; called for further intervention in Syria; and made the infamous, caustic remark about Muammar Gaddafi, “We came, we saw, he died,” while laughing while leaving the country in shambles.

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