CounterPunch Radio – Mark Crispin Miller

October 11, 2016 at 1:34 PM

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Listen to CounterPunch Radio (Ep. 56) with Mark Crispin Miller

This week Eric sits down with author and academic Mark Crispin Miller to discuss the controlled corporate media and its grip on discourse in the United States, conspiracy theories versus conspiracy facts, US elections as both farce and illusion, and much more. Eric and Mark begin with a discussion of the history of media propaganda, and how the corporate media we know and loathe came to be the monolithic servant of power it is today. The conversation then turns to the issue of conspiracy theories and the importance of nuanced analysis that is skeptical of power but also avoids the pitfalls, and outright fascism, of the online conspiracy world. The final part of the program shifts into vote fraud and the controlled and manipulated election system in the US which, Eric and Mark both argue, simply cannot be trusted. So much ground is covered in this wide-ranging discussion on CounterPunch Radio.

Also, check out the Forbidden Bookshelf series edited by Mark Crispin Miller.

Stop Trump! Stop Clinton! Stop the Madness (and Let Me Off)!

September 27, 2016 at 1:34 PM

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“That’s the real issue this time,” he said. “Beating Nixon.  It’s hard to even guess how much damage those bastards will do if they get in for another four years.”

The argument was familiar, I had even made it myself, here and there, but I was beginning to sense something very depressing about it.  How many more of these goddamn elections are we going to have to write off as lame, but “regrettably necessary” holding actions?  And how many more of these stinking double-downer sideshows will we have to go through before we can get ourselves straight enough to put together some kind of national election that will give me and the at least 20 million people I tend to agree with a chance to vote for something, instead of always being faced with that old familiar choice between the lesser of two evils?

Now with another one of these big bogus showdowns looming down on us, I can already pick up the stench of another bummer.  I understand, along with a lot of other people, that the big thing this year is Beating Nixon.  But that was also the big thing, as I recall, twelve years ago in 1960 – and as far as I can tell, we’ve gone from bad to worse to rotten since then, and the outlook is for more of the same.

—Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72

 

Another bummer indeed. It’s been nearly four and a half decades since His Majesty, Dr. Gonzo, wrote those words…and my oh my has the rot turned putrid, the stench overwhelming.

Were it only the fact that a corporate imperialist sociopath and a raving pseudo-fascist gasbag are competing to become the Murderer-in-Chief, one could simply retreat to the friendly confines of the Hobson’s Choice Inn.  There, among the carpets and curtains carrying the stains of elections past, one would watch the political circus in peace while doing the work of organizing against both Tweedle Bum and Tweedle Bummer.

But this time, there’s something even more sinister afoot, something far worse than mere cardboard cutouts in formal dress. No, this time it’s the pompous arrogance and vacuous prattling of “leftists,” “anti-imperialists,” and other assorted mental contortionists doing their damnedest to browbeat everyone within earshot (eyeshot?) that THIS TIME it’s important!

“How can you sit aside so smug and allow the fascist Trump to win? You’re being irresponsible,” they chirp.

“How can you attack Trump and let the Warmongering Witch of the West become President? You know what she’ll do,” they drone.

And the response to the denizens of both camps remains the same: If you’re not opposing both Janus faces of Dillary Crump while working to guillotine the many-headed hydra of the ruling class, then what the hell are you really doing?  Oh, right, I forgot – this is all “strategic,” it’s about avoiding a calamity by accepting a disaster.  I’m sure the children of Libya or Muslim-American and Mexican-American immigrants will understand as they are crushed under the bus beneath which they were thrown by a “progressive left” so quick to speak for them.

But perhaps it might be useful for the Left, of which I consider myself a part, to reflect on just what the sort of ‘sophisticated’ and ‘pragmatic’ politics of lesser evilism hath wrought: the continued evisceration of the working class by both the red team and blue team of the single ruling party, perpetual war for profit and Empire, an immutable rightward drift that makes Richard Nixon look like Eugene Debs, and a parasitical ruling class of finance capital whose greatest trick has been convincing the people that it doesn’t rule them.

And where are the victories?  What can we point to as the great breakthrough justifying the tactical vote?  [crickets]…[a single tumbleweed rolls along an empty desert landscape]

Have we seen anything but an acceleration of the worst aspects of imperialism and capitalism?  The climate is in crisis and we’re told by leftist royalty like the great Noam Chomsky that we should vote for Clinton because she at least recognizes the peril of climate change while Trump wants to put a lump of coal in Pachamama’s stockings.  But the obvious question then becomes: so what?

So what Clinton pays lip service to the global threat? She was an ardent supporter of the “All of the above” energy policy of Obama while promoting fracking around the world, taking massive campaign donations from energy industry lobbyists, and tacitly supporting the construction and expansion of the Keystone XL pipeline until it became politically untenable (thanks in no small part to the Bernie Sanders campaign).  And, of course, who could forget the votes she cast in support for expanded offshore oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, a shameful vote which directly contributed to the Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010.

I suppose the question should be asked of Chomsky: Is a begrudging vote for Hillary to be cast solely on the grounds of her having appropriately progressive and focus-grouped talking points?  It seems that’s just about the size of it. So then the inevitable follow-up question would be: Why f*cking bother rewarding her for knowing the importance of lying well?

And how about that pesky little World War III problem?  I can almost hear the “Oh, don’t exaggerate…Hillary doesn’t want to start a war with nuclear-armed Russia” cries from the tastemakers of the liberal unintelligentsia.  Well, let’s allow the Queen of Chaos to speak for herself.  In a raving, Strangelovian speech given before the mouth-breathing jingos of the American Legion, Clinton explained:

We need to respond to evolving threats, from states like Russia, China, Iran and North Korea…We need a military that is ready and agile so that it can meet the full range of threats — and operate on short notice across every domain — not just land, sea, air, and space, but also cyber space…You’ve seen reports — Russia has hacked into a lot of things, China has hacked into a lot of things — Russia even hacked into the Democratic National Committee! Maybe even some state election systems, so we’ve gotta step up our game…Make sure we are well defended and able to take the fight to those who go after us. As president I will make it clear that we will treat cyberattacks just like any other attack…We will be ready with serious political, economic, and military responses.

Did anyone else feel a shiver run down their spine, as I did?  Clinton literally advocates for war with Russia, arguing that a cyberattack which may, or may not, have originated in Russia be treated as an act of war.  Nuclear-armed Russia should expect a military response from the United States over allegations of hacking?  It’s sort of a pot calling the kettle black and trying to smash it with a goddamn sledgehammer kind of situation.

Now, of course, there are plenty of good people on the Left – Adolph Reed, Noam Chomsky, Arun Gupta, and many others – arguing that Clinton is a necessary evil to block Trump from bringing to fruition a full-fledged fascist movement that would have dire ramifications for social justice movements.  And there is undeniably an element of truth in that.

However, the wisdom of the logic relies on a false premise: Trump represents an existential threat while Hillary does not.  This basic assumption is undeniably flawed as global war with countries like Russia and China is indeed one of the great threats to humanity; this is precisely what Clinton’s belligerent foreign policy leads toward.  And there was a time when anti-war still was synonymous with Left activism.  What happened that we are now told that the pro-war position is necessary in order to stop, er, um, fascism?  How far we’ve fallen.

Trump: The Fascist “Anti-Imperialist”

In the unending search for the most imbecilic political logic, one comes across that rare breed of obtuse ignoramus who suggests that Trump is the anti-imperialist’s choice.  If that word has any meaning left today – something that is very much open for debate given recent developments – its application to Donald Trump is about as appropriate as referring to Clinton as the anti-fascist’s choice.

Trump doesn’t mean no more imperial wars; he simply means no more pretending our wars aren’t imperial.  He’s not for ending the wars, but rather fighting them with the nakedly neo-colonial intentions made overt that Clinton would only secretly share over candlelit dinners with Huma Abedin, Madeleine Albright, and Mephistopheles.  With people like Walid Phares, Michael Flynn, and Keith Kellogg as advisers, Trump will retain a pro-Israel imperial policy in the Middle East while advocating for NATO’s expanded mission of counter-terrorism.  Oh, excuse me, Trump wants Denmark to pay “it’s fair share” of NATO costs – pardon me while I release to the heavens a flight of doves in his honor.

What anti-imperialist isn’t enamored with a candidate who calls for a full military invasion of Syria and Iraq? And, of course, there’s no connection whatever between imperialism, colonialism and white supremacy, right?  Trump can spout the most virulently racist filth heard in US politics since George Wallace and Barry Goldwater went on a Tinder date to the Old Ebbitt Grill, and yet these anti-imperial mannequins swear up and down that Trump is an enemy of the Empire.  Even his complimentary reach-around to Bibi Netanyahu isn’t enough to shake the cobwebs from the faux anti-imperial noodleheads of the commentariat. Sigh.

And so, where does this leave us on the Left?  Everyone wants to bludgeon leftists into supporting Clinton to stop Trump using the familiar cudgel of “necessary evil”, while offering little to no additional direction other than “once the election is over we will…”  Yeaaaaaah, that’s worked out well for us thus far.

Others secretly root for Trump to upset the apple cart and open a space for the Left, conveniently forgetting that the Left remains a fractured and disunited bloc while the fascist right grows in strength and organization every day.  And commentators of the Left rush to tell their readers and fellow travelers that THIS or THAT is what they should do.

I’ve got an idea. How about we take a breath, drink/smoke/snort something nice and strong, close our eyes and listen close to hear the echoes of Dr. Gonzo reverberating off the walls of the Left echo chamber:

Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.

Or, if that’s just too droll:

In a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity.

If Hillary’s Not Able, There’s Always Kaine

September 16, 2016 at 2:43 PM

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If internet speculation is to be believed, Hillary Clinton is suffering from everything from epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease to adverse reactions to chemotherapy and Zika-West Nile-SARS-swine flu. The problem is that, like bellybuttons, everyone’s got a theory; and, again like bellybuttons, most theories are useless. Whatever the case may be with Hillary’s health, the fact is that she remains the likely winner of the presidential election, which means that a potentially sick woman will become the Commander-in-Chief.

So that raises an obvious question: what next? Put another way, the American people deserve to know who the hell Tim Kaine is, and what he would do as president. Because, after the initial “Tim who?” round of questions, citizens will want to understand who this underwhelming ex-Governor and Democratic Party hack is, and what sort of policies he’d pursue.

So boys and girls, break out the crystal balls and glimpse a future with President Kaine. It may seem like some Quaalude-induced waking nightmare to envision this scenario – Clinton and Trump presidencies are, of course, already the ultimate bad acid trips – but this bitter reality must at least be considered, if not prepared for.

President Kaine: Chronicle of Many Deaths Foretold

Despite the Madison Avenue fustian about Hillary’s running mate being a “capable” and “adequate” future vice president – anyone who has ever been called “adequate” knows the implication of that back-handed insult – Kaine is, in fact, a typical Democratic Party apparatchik: self-serving, corrupt, and a liberal imperialist with all the humanitarian trimmings. And the question before millions of Americans is whether or not the country, and indeed the world, can survive another imperial presidency fronted by leaders for whom mass killing is a matter of focus groups and electoral demographic research.

History has shown the danger of mush-headed vice presidents serving under ailing presidents. When Franklin Roosevelt died and the racist mass murderer Harry Truman inherited the presidency, the door was permanently shut to peaceful cooperation with the Soviet Union and the expansion of New Deal-era economic rights, to say nothing of the death sentence for millions of innocent Japanese annihilated by atomic bombs solely to send a message to Moscow. In other words, Roosevelt’s death put in power a man who had no business running a dirt farm, let alone the most powerful country in the world. Similarly, Americans must consider just what President Kaine would do.

On the question of foreign policy – a focal point for Kaine who has served on the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees – Kaine aligns perfectly with the war hawk Clinton and her neoconservative imperialist brethren. In Syria, Kaine has advocated forcefully for No Fly Zones and “safe zones” (as if there’s a difference) which would signify a de facto declaration of war by the US in Syria. He has cheered for regime change against the Assad government, and pressed for a full declaration of war against the Islamic State. One shudders to think of the staggering level of pompous ignorance required to advocate for what would amount to the rekindling of Bush’s disastrous and criminal open-ended “War on Terror.”

In what amounts to a running theme with the Clinton-Kaine campaign, the Democratic ticket has essentially embraced every single foreign policy position of the neocon movement. As I noted previously, this Clinton-Kaine administration would be the imperial frankenstein, Obama’s head on Bush’s body. No HopeTM. No ChangeTM. But more and bigger wars.

Of course, Kaine doesn’t limit himself to warmongering on Syria alone. In Ukraine, Kaine has come out as a vocal supporter of the Kiev Government and the fascist death squads and paramilitaries under its control. He was rather hawkish on the issue in 2014 when the Senate approved a massive aid package to Ukraine. He was also rather blunt in his condemnation of Russia as an aggressor in Ukraine, despite a massive outpouring of support for Russia and anti-Kiev activism that took place in Eastern Ukraine after the coup in February 2014. He also made no mention of how he would react if he were president and half his navy were under threat from a hostile putsch government backed by a superpower.

But the critical, and very worrying, fact is that a President Kaine would have to deal with a Kremlin that may forgive but certainly never forgets. And, considering the danger of the moment, with a potential world war looming on the horizon, the danger of escalating a crisis due to pig-headed political point scoring is very real. Never underestimate the power of a Clintonista to make a bad situation disastrous.

But perhaps nothing illustrates Kaine’s neocolonial mentality in all its blood-soaked glory better than his position, or lack thereof, on Honduras. Considering the fact that he spent an extended period of time as a Jesuit missionary in Honduras in the midst of US-sponsored death squad wars in Central America, and has never bothered to comment about it, is certainly suspicious. Moreover, he now is the wing-man for the woman directly responsible for the bloodshed and political repression now a daily norm in Honduras after the Clinton-managed coup in 2009 removed the Chavista former president Manuel Zelaya. As President, Kaine would need to account for his actions in Honduras, and apologize on behalf of himself, his colleagues, and the rest of the Democratic Party for backing a right wing dictatorship committing war crimes every single day. I won’t be holding my breath for that.

Crooked Clinton, Krooked Kaine

Aside from the apocalyptic vision of a foreign policy that speaks like an asshole and carries a big stick of dynamite, Americans should also consider the fact that Kaine has a long track record of Washington corruption: yet another subject of comradeship with Saint Hillary that likely makes for fascinating dinner conversation.

Kaine and Clinton might laugh over dinner and drinks when discussing the fact that, as Governor, Kaine accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts from high-powered lobbyists. You can almost see Hillary, shrimp cocktail dangling from her mouth, as she cackles at the paltry sum that Kaine could be bought for. “Timmy my boy,” she might say, “It’s time for you to step up to the big leagues…maybe you should consider giving some Wall Street pep talks…or starting a foundation.”

And the retort would undoubtedly please the Goldman-Sachs girl as Timmy Two-Face would remind Hillary that he’s a banker’s boy through and through. He might recall how, as noted by The Intercept, in 2016 he:

“Signed onto two letters, one to federal banking regulators and the other to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, urging them to loosen regulations on certain financial players…In the letters, Kaine is offering to support community banks, credit unions, and even large regional banks. While separate from the Wall Street mega-banks like JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America, these financial institutions often partner with the larger industry to fight regulations and can be hostile to government efforts to safeguard the public, especially if it crimps their profits. They also represent a key source of donor funds, one that has trended away from Democrats.”

And just in case any liberal navel-gazers care to pretend that Kaine was simply defending the “little guy” banks, consider the fact that the second of the two letters was aimed at helping, “major firms including Capital One, PNC Bank and U.S. Bank, all of which control hundreds of billions of dollars in assets,” as noted by Huffington Post and Common Dreams. In other words, Kaine swore his oath of fealty to Wall Street and its junior partners in order to show his allegiance to Hillary and Bill, the svengalis of finance capital’s political vaudeville act.

Many Americans undoubtedly feel that Clinton’s health issues might just mean that the country could dodge a bullet for the next four or eight years. And while that sentiment is understandable given her track record of coming, seeing, and murdering, it is a false hope – a mirage distorting the vision of anti-war, anti-Wall Street crusaders.

Because, right behind Hillary is Tim Kaine, the man whose politics and ethics were made in Her image.

Hillary Clinton and the Russian Specter: Propaganda Politics At Its Worst

September 9, 2016 at 4:38 PM

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General Jack D. Ripper: Mandrake, do you recall what Clemenceau once said about war?

Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: No, I don’t think I do, sir, no.

General Jack D. Ripper: He said war was too important to be left to the generals. When he said that, 50 years ago, he might have been right. But today, war is too important to be left to politicians. They have neither the time, the training, nor the inclination for strategic thought. I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb; 1964

 

While it may no longer be our precious bodily fluids under attack by the big bad Rooskies and their ever-scheming leadership, it is clearly our political system that is in the Kremlin’s crosshairs.

However detached from reality such an interpretation might seem to a clear-headed American, that is precisely the notion that Hillary Clinton and her gaggle of political guinea worms have endlessly droned on about.  Listening to the Clinton campaign, and its public relations employees masquerading as corporate media journalists, one would think that World War Three had already begun on the battlefield of US electoral politics.

And this is not by accident.  The Clinton campaign is trading in the worst forms of chauvinism, paranoia, and conspiracy theory in an attempt to deflect attention away from the rapidly expanding dumpster fires that are the series of scandals plaguing her White House bid.

The Democratic Party conspired with the Clinton campaign to sabotage Bernie Sanders? Why, that’s little more than a Russian-Wikileaks plot to expose, well, the truth. But still, you know, Putin!

The Clinton Foundation is exposed as a pay-for-play scheme involving some of the world’s most powerful politicians and various other assorted degenerates? Why, that is undeniably the work of those borscht-eating ex-commies.

Hillary illegally destroyed emails that were already illegally being stored on a private server? It was her black predecessor’s fault! But Putin was probably behind that too, somehow.  Of course, Colin Powell should take heart – at least Ms. #ImWitHer didn’t call him a superpredator.

The fact is that only the most dim-witted dullards are entranced by the shiny objects of Clintonian propaganda.  The more sophisticated, or even moderately informed, political observers understand that all the talk of Russian espionage is an attempt to both deflect from the scandals as well as the fact that Clinton offers very little that is truly progressive or even moderately beneficial to the vast majority of Americans.  She’s a Goldman-Sachs Girl, and everyone knows it.

Hillary for America? Hillary Fleeces America

If the Russians really wanted to destroy Hillary Clinton’s chances at the presidency, rather than sophisticated spying and subversion, they could simply refer American news consumers to Hillary’s campaign website and note that nearly every single policy proposal listed is a completely and utterly vacuous lie, distortion, or inversion of reality.  Indeed, Clinton has managed to insult the intelligence of Americans while simultaneously papering over a sordid record as one of the country’s most insidious operators on behalf of finance capital against the interests of workers and the poor.

Take for instance the policy plank under the heading “A fair tax system” highlighted by Hillary sitting and chatting with three African-American workers.  Under the heading is a hilariously ironic quote – no doubt the irony is lost on Hillary & Co. – from Hillary in which she stated, “It’s outrageous that multi-millionaires and billionaires are allowed to play by a different set of rules than hardworking families, especially when it comes to paying their fair share of taxes.”  Indeed, it is outrageous Madame Secretary, almost as outrageous as your hypocritical populist pandering while you yourself are a millionaire many times over, one who has also avoided paying your fair share of taxes.

Consider for instance the Clinton Foundation which, aside from being nominally a charity, is in fact a tax exempt money-making venture in which wealth is accumulated, power concentrated, and influence peddled like cheap goods at a flea market, or empty rhetoric at the Democratic Convention. Consider the findings of renowned financial investigator Charles Ortel who recently published a detailed report on the Clinton Foundation.  Among many findings, Ortel noted the following:

[The Clinton Foundation] is a case study in international charity fraud… the Clinton Foundation illegally veered from its IRS-authorized mission within days of Bill Clinton’s departure from the White House in January 2001… All told, declared donations to Clinton Foundation entities from 1997 through 2014 are greater than $2 billion; but this vast amount is likely a pittance when compared to sums sent to affiliated “charities” and relief efforts around the world… the Clinton Foundation entities are part of a network that has defrauded donors and created illegal private gains of approximately $100 billion in combined magnitude, and possibly more, since 23 October 1997.

Perhaps these inconvenient truths are precisely what the Clinton media machine is attempting to hide in plain sight with accusations of Russian meddling and dirty tricks.  Sorry Hil, the Russians aren’t trying to steal your essence, it’s those pesky Americans with some modicum of decency and belief in fair play who are consistently calling out your lies.

Pray tell Madame Secretary, how much did you and your husband pay in taxes on those untold millions you received, and on the billions you raised for the financial elites who line your pockets and pave the way to the White House for you? Oh, that’s right, your foundation is “tax exempt”, so you paid absolutely nothing in taxes. And I presume you’ll claim that you did not benefit personally or financially from those contributions? Thought so. How convenient.

Maybe Vlad, Dmitry and the rest of the gang could also point people’s attention to policy planks like “Fixing America’s infrastructure” and “Hillary Clinton’s plan to strengthen manufacturing.”  No need for sophisticated Russian propaganda, just a recapping of the 25 years of economic devastation wrought by NAFTA, GATT, and other free trade agreements championed by Bill and Hillary Clinton, and the Wall Street hyenas they represent will suffice.

Would Hillary like to take a stab at explaining how she intends to fix America’s manufacturing when her own policies were, according to the Economic Policy Institute, responsible for the loss of at least 700,000 mostly manufacturing jobs, the driving down of wages and slashing of benefits, and the dislocation of millions of Mexican workers who today are scapegoated by the right and, sadly, large segments of the working class?  Yeah, I thought not.

Considering this bitter little pill, it comes as no surprise that the Clintonistas stoop to Cold War-style demagogy to distract attention from the sheer audacity of Hillary’s own hypocrisy.  Russia as the shiny object to be dangled in front of the infantile gaze of America’s liberals.

And then, of course, there’s that eternally powerful election year balderdash known as “reform.”  Saint Hillary includes in her program “Wall Street reform”, “Campaign finance reform”, “Immigration reform”, and energy reform to deal with climate change.

We don’t need the KGB man Putin to highlight the fact that, far from reforming anything, Hillary and her political kaiju are merely going to deepen the problems that already exist – problems they themselves are responsible for – all while looking for an even weaker candidate than Donald Trump to run against in 2020; I hear Charles Manson and Nickelback have been looking to get into politics.

The only reform of Wall Street that Hillary Clinton might be interested in is reforming the fee schedule for her paid speaking engagements for the various lampreys, nematodes, and roundworms that infest Lower Manhattan during normal business hours.  How could we forget the glorious achievements of Bubba and Hil who are directly responsible for the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, the single most important decision leading to the rise of financialization of the economy and the ongoing recession/depression we see today?

As for campaign finance reform, it seems more a cruel joke when spoken by Hillary, rather than a simple campaign promise.  Take a gander at the list of the Joint Victory Fund (Clinton political committee operated in tandem with the DNC) donors to see the likes of the Pritzker Group, Saban Capital Group, and other major players in finance capital and industry.  And how many millions in dark money has flowed into the pockets of Clinton’s fiendish coterie of political ghouls?  Expecting Clinton to reform campaign finance is like asking the energy industry to move away from fossil fuels.  Oh wait…

Clinton actually believes (with some justification) that people won’t notice that when she pays lip service to climate change and the threat to civilization that it presents she is simultaneously propping up the energy industry.  There’s the uncomfortable fact that Clinton has a long track record of pushing dirty, environmentally damaging technologies such as fracking all around the world.  As The Intercept revealed in May 2016:

[Clinton] State Department officials worked closely with private sector oil and gas companies, pressed other agencies within the Obama administration to commit federal government resources including technical assistance for locating shale reserves, and distributed agreements with partner nations pledging to help secure investments for new fracking projects…The [Clinton State Department] campaign included plans to spread the drilling technique to China, South Africa, Romania, Morocco, Bulgaria, Chile, India, Pakistan, Argentina, Indonesia, and Ukraine.

So much for reform in tackling climate change.  And it is only because of the fierce challenge from her left posed by Bernie Sanders and the movement around his campaign that forced Hillary to ditch the “all of the above” energy policy, an un-ironic code word for pro-Big Oil policies.  Don’t worry oil fiends, she’ll be sure to ditch that campaign pledge just as soon as she and her potato sack dress wardrobe ease into the Oval Office.

And before Clinton and her Hillarrhoids start to wax poetic about the need for a path to citizenship for migrant workers, perhaps she might like to explain why the very policies she and her husband championed in the 1990s are directly responsible for creating the wave of migration from Mexico.  Additionally, Clinton could answer for her backing of the right wing coup government in Honduras which has caused untold thousands of refugees to flee for their lives from the Central American country. In short, before the Hillbots pat each other on the back, they should ask themselves whether they are, in fact, counting on the fox to both guard the hen house and oversee its transformation into a hen palace.

And, with typical Clintonian mendacity, Hillary’s program includes “racial justice”.  I wonder whether her policies would include the dismantling of the New Jim Crow and the prison-industrial complex of which she and her husband were the architects.  I wonder whether the mothers and fathers of the “superpredators” know just exactly who it is standing beside them.  As the late Hugo Chavez famously said of George Bush, “The devil came here. Right here. And it smells of sulfur still today.”

Finally, foreign policy should be considered, even though the only mention of it in Hillary’s program is the jingoistic statement “We should maintain the best-trained, best-equipped, and strongest military the world has ever known…And I believe with all my heart that America is an exceptional country.”  There’s a word for what Clinton is describing here, and it rhymes with schmimperialism. Throw in a little neocolonialism and deepening exploitation and oppression under the auspices of humanitarianism and you have a recipe for a continuation of all the worst aspects of US foreign policy from both Democrats and Republicans.  A Clinton foreign policy will be a fire-breathing chimera of neoconservative bloodbaths and liberal imperialist justifications.  Bush’s head on Obama’s body.

“I’m not saying we wouldn’t get our hair mussed, but I do say no more than 10 to 20 million killed, tops.”  General Buck Turgidson, played by the inimitable George C. Scott, hilariously embodied the essence (pun intended) of a major school of military-industrial thinking at the height of the Cold War. Luckily, cooler heads on both sides of the Iron Curtain prevailed and the world was not destroyed.

Sadly, nearly 50 years later, the Strangeloves and Turgidsons are now in command, with Hillary “Queen of Chaos” Clinton the used car dealer selling war and death to the rubes in voting booths.  And somehow it is the Russians who are at fault?

No, America, it’s not Russia…it’s us.

Hillary and the Clinton Foundation: Exemplars of America’s Political Rot

August 26, 2016 at 7:44 PM

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Hillary Clinton may be enjoying a comfortable lead in national polls, but she is far from enjoying a comfortable night’s sleep given the ever-widening maelstrom of scandals engulfing her presidential bid.  And while Clinton delights in bloviating about a decades-long “vast, right wing conspiracy” against her, the fact is that it’s the Clinton political machine’s long and storied track record of criminality, duplicity, and corruption that haunts her like Lincoln’s ghost silently skulking through White House bedrooms.

The latest in a string of embarrassing scandals is centered on the powerful Clinton Foundation, and the obvious impropriety of its acceptance of large donations from foreign governments (and wealthy individuals connected to them), especially those governments universally recognized as oppressive dictatorships whose foreign policy orientation places them squarely in the US orbit.

Of particular note are the Gulf monarchies such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar whose massive donations belie the fact that their oppression of women runs contradictory to Clinton’s self-styled ‘feminism’ and belief “that the rights of women and girls is the unfinished business of the 21st Century.”  Is collaborating with feudal monarchies whose subjugation of women is the stuff of infamy really Clinton’s idea of feminism?  Or, is it rather that Clinton merely uses issues such as women’s rights as a dog whistle for loyal liberals while groveling before the high councilors of the imperial priesthood?

What the Clinton Foundation hullabaloo really demonstrates is that Clinton’s will to power is single-minded, entirely simpatico with the corruption of the military-industrial-financial-surveillance complex; that she is a handmaiden for, and member of, the ruling establishment; that Clinton represents the marriage of all the worst aspects of the political class.  In short, Clinton is more than just corrupt, she is corruption personified.

Clinton’s Dirty Dealing and Even Dirtier Laundry

In a hilariously pig-headed, but rather telling, statement, former President Bill Clinton responded to allegations of impropriety with the Clinton Foundation by saying, “We’re trying to do good things…If there’s something wrong with creating jobs and saving lives, I don’t know what it is. The people who gave the money knew exactly what they were doing. I have nothing to say about it except that I’m really proud.”

Leaving aside the fact that such an arrogant comment demonstrates Bill Clinton’s complete contempt for ethics and the basic standards of proper conduct, the salient point is that the argument from the Clintons is that the foundation is inherently good, that it helps people around the world, and that, as such, it can’t possibly be corrupt and unethical.  Where there’s smoke, there’s fire – except when it comes to the Clintons who stand proudly enveloped in billowing clouds of smoke swearing up and down that not only is there no fire, but anyone who mentions the existence of flames is both a sexist and Trump-loving Putin stooge.

But indeed there is a fire, and it is raging on the American political scene.  And nowhere is the heat more palpable than in the deserts of the Middle East where wealthy benefactors write massive checks for access to America’s 21st Century Queen of Mean (apologies to Leona Helmsley).

Consider the 2011 sale of $29 billion worth of advanced fighter jets to Saudi Arabia, a gargantuan deal that made the feudal monarchy into an overnight air power.  Were there any doubts as to the uses of the hardware, look no further than the humanitarian nightmare that is Yemen, a country under relentless air war carried out by the Saudis.  And, lo and behold, the Saudis had been major contributors to the Clinton Foundation in the years leading up to the sale. And it should be equally unsurprising that just weeks before the deal was finalized, Boeing, the manufacturer of the F-15 jets that were the centerpiece of the massive arms deal, donated $900,000 to the Foundation.

Of course, according to Bubba and Hil, it’s all conspiracy theory to suggest that the Clinton Foundation is essentially a pay-for-play scheme in which large sums of money translate into access to the uppermost echelons of state power in the US.  As the International Business Times noted:

The Saudi deal was one of dozens of arms sales approved by Hillary Clinton’s State Department that placed weapons in the hands of governments that had also donated money to the Clinton family philanthropic empire…Under Clinton’s leadership, the State Department approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to 20 nations whose governments have given money to the Clinton Foundation…That figure — derived from the three full fiscal years of Clinton’s term as Secretary of State (from October 2010 to September 2012) — represented nearly double the value of American arms sales made to the those countries and approved by the State Department during the same period of President George W. Bush’s second term.

The Clinton-led State Department also authorized $151 billion of separate Pentagon-brokered deals for 16 of the countries that donated to the Clinton Foundation, resulting in a 143 percent increase in completed sales to those nations over the same time frame during the Bush administration. These extra sales were part of a broad increase in American military exports that accompanied Obama’s arrival in the White House. The 143 percent increase in U.S. arms sales to Clinton Foundation donors compares to an 80 percent increase in such sales to all countries over the same time period.

Additionally, as Glenn Greenwald explained earlier this year,

The Saudi regime by itself has donated between $10 million and $25 million to the Clinton Foundation, with donations coming as late as 2014, as she prepared her presidential run. A group called “Friends of Saudi Arabia,” co-founded “by a Saudi Prince,” gave an additional amount between $1 million and $5 million. The Clinton Foundation says that between $1 million and $5 million was also donated by “the State of Qatar,” the United Arab Emirates, and the government of Brunei. “The State of Kuwait” has donated between $5 million and $10 million.

The sheer dollar amounts are staggering.  Perhaps then it comes as no surprise just why nearly every single influential figure in the military-industrial-financial-surveillance complex – from General John Allen to death squad coordinator extraordinaire John Negroponte, from neocon tapeworms such as Max Boot, Robert Kagan, and Eliot Cohen to billionaire barbarocrats like the Koch Brothers, George Soros, and Warren Buffett – is backing Hillary Clinton.  Not only is she good for Empire, she’s good for business.  And ultimately, that’s what this is all about, isn’t it?

But of course, Hillary’s devotion to the oil oligarchs of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf goes much deeper than simply an exchange of money for weapons.  In fact, Hillary is deeply committed to the Saudi royal family’s foreign policy outlook and tactics, in particular the weaponization of terrorism as a means of achieving strategic objectives.

Libya provides perhaps the paragon of Clintonian-Saudi strategy: regime change by terrorism.  Using terror groups linked to Al Qaeda and backed by Saudi Arabia, Clinton’s State Department and the Obama Administration managed to topple the government of Muammar Gaddafi, thereby throwing the former “jewel of Africa” into turmoil and political, economic, and social devastation.   To be fair, it was not the Saudis alone involved in fomenting war in Libya, as Hillary’s brothers-from-other-mothers in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates were also directly involved in sowing the seeds of the current chaos in the country.

And of course, this strategic partnership between Clinton and the Gangsters of the Gulf extends far beyond Libya.  In Syria, Clinton’s stated policies of regime change and war are aligned with those of Riyadh, Doha, and Abu Dhabi.  And, of course, it was during Clinton’s tenure at the State Department that US intelligence was involved in funneling weapons and fighters into Syria in hopes of doing to Syria what had already been done to Libya.

Huma Abedin: Clinton’s Woman in Riyadh

Just in case all the political and financial ties between Clinton and the Gulf monarchies wasn’t enough to make people stop being #WithHer, perhaps the role of her closest adviser might do the trick.  Huma Abedin, Clinton’s campaign chief of staff, has long-standing ties to Saudi Arabia, the country where Huma spent her childhood from the age of two.  As a Vanity Fair exposé revealed earlier this year:

When Abedin was two years old, the family moved to Jidda, Saudi Arabia, where, with the backing of Abdullah Omar Nasseef, then the president of King Abdulaziz University, her father founded the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs, a think tank, and became the first editor of its Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs…After [Abedin’s father] Syed died, in 1993, his wife succeeded him as director of the institute and editor of the Journal, positions she still holds… Abdullah Omar Nasseef, the man who set up the Abedins in Jidda…is a high-ranking insider in the Saudi government and sits on the king’s Shura Council, there are claims that Nasseef once had ties to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda—a charge that he has denied through a spokesman—and that he remains a “major” figure in the Muslim Brotherhood. In his early years as the patron of the Abedins’ journal, Nasseef was the secretary-general of the Muslim World League, which Andrew McCarthy, the former assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted the “Blind Sheik,” Omar Abdel Rahman, in the wake of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, claims “has long been the Muslim Brotherhood’s principal vehicle for the international propagation of Islamic supremacist ideology.”

Consider the implications of this information: Clinton’s closest adviser comes from a family connected at the highest levels with the Saudi royal family as well as the Muslim Brotherhood.  While right wing pundits portray the Muslim Brotherhood as some sort of straightforward international terror organization, the reality is much more complex as the Brotherhood is more an international political movement whose tentacles stretch into nearly every corner of the Muslim world. Its vast reserves of cash and political influence, backed by Gulf monarchies such as Qatar, allows the Brotherhood to peddle influence throughout the West, while also being connected to more radical salafist elements.  An obvious two-for-one for Clinton.

In effect then, Abedin represents a bridge connecting Hillary with both the ruling elites in Riyadh, as well as influential clerics, businesspeople, and political leaders throughout the Middle East. Perhaps then it makes sense why Abedin, in contravention of every standard of ethics, was employed by Teneo Holdings – a pro-Clinton consultancy founded by former Clinton aide Doug Band – while also working for the State Department.  Such ethical violations are as instinctive for Hillary as breathing, or calling children superpredators.

Trump, Assange, Putin, and Clinton’s Sleight of Hand

Despite being embroiled in multiple scandals, any one of which being enough to sink the campaign of most other candidates, Clinton and her army of fawning corporate media sycophants, have attempted to deflect attention away from her own misdeeds, corruption, and nefarious ties by instead portraying everyone who opposes them as puppets, stooges, and useful idiots.

Let’s begin with Republican nominee and gasbag deluxe, Donald Trump, who Clinton trolls have attempted to portray as a stooge of Russian President Putin.   While it’s indeed quite likely that the Kremlin sees Trump as far less of a threat to Russia’s interests than Clinton – just look at Clinton’s roster of neocon psychopath supporters to see that Putin has a point – the notion that Trump is somehow a creation of Putin, or at the very least is working for him is utterly absurd.

And the “evidence”? Trump’s connections with wealthy Russian oligarchs.  I suppose those who have made their homes under rocks these last 25 years might not know this, but nearly every billionaire investor has gone to Russia in that time, forged ties with influential Russians, and attempted to make money by stripping clean the bones of what was once the Soviet Union.  Sorry Naomi Klein, I guess the Clintonistas expect no one to have read Shock Doctrine which details the sort of disaster capitalism run amok that took place in Russia in the 1990s.

And then, of course, there’s that great confabulator Julian Assange who has also been smeared as a Putin puppet by the #ImWithHer media somnambulists.  I guess the lords of corporate capital didn’t like the fact that Assange and WikiLeaks have managed to expose countless dirty deeds by Clinton’s Tammany Hall of the 21st Century.  From using the DNC as a political appendage of the Clinton campaign (as revealed by the WikiLeaks dump of DNC emails) to his recent promise to make public the “most interesting and serious” dirt on Hillary, Assange has become a thorn in the side – or thumb in the eye, as it were – for Hillary.

And what would a rundown of the specters haunting Clinton’s dreams be without mention of the rabid bear of Russia, big bad Vlad?  Clinton recently referred to Putin as the “grand godfather of this global brand of extreme nationalism.”  Leaving aside the asinine phraseology, Clinton’s attacks on Putin reveal the weakness of the Democratic nominee, the hollowness of her arguments, and the unmitigated gall of a hypocrite for whom casting stones in glass houses is second nature.

For, at the very moment that she takes rhetorical swipes at Putin, Clinton herself is implicated in a worldwide network of extremism that promotes terrorism, rains death and destruction on millions of innocent civilians, and moves the world closer to global conflict.  If Putin represents the éminence grise of a “global brand of extreme nationalism,” then Clinton is the fairy godmother of global extremism and terror.  It’s a good thing she has access to the best personal grooming products Goldman Sachs money can buy as it is not easy to wash decades-worth of blood off your hands.

And so, the quadrennial danse macabre that is the US presidential election has turned into an embarrassing sideshow of dull-witted infantilism.  But amid the idiocy there is wanton criminality and corruption to be exposed before the world.  For while Trump is undoubtedly the bearded lady of America’s freak show, Hillary is the carnival barker.

She knows the ring toss and other games are rigged, but she coaxes the feeble-minded to play nonetheless.  She knows the carnies are drunk and reckless, but she urges the children to pay for another ride anyway.  She understands that her job is to sell a rigged game, and to call security when someone challenges her lies. And, unfortunately, whether you want it or not, the Hillary Roadshow is coming to a town, or country, near you.