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.

Ajamu Baraka, “Uncle Tom,” and the Pathology of White Liberal Racism

August 21, 2016 at 11:45 AM

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“I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“Letter from a Birmingham Jail”
April 16, 1963

 

When Martin Luther King wrote of the white moderate, he wrote of the enemy of progress, the foe of social justice, the obstacle to the defining social movement of his time. He understood, perhaps better than many of his contemporaries, that the white moderate was the single most pernicious influence in the broader sociopolitical landscape. For it was the white moderate who opposed the essential and necessary radicalism, who blocked attempts at widening the Civil Rights Movement, who enjoined that demands be tempered, grievances be blunted; all while posing as a friend of the movement, a defender of the marginalized and oppressed.

Such was the essence of the white moderate in King’s day. Such is the essence of the white liberal today. For it is the white liberal who finds any excuse to slander and attack radical people of color who challenge the ruling class; who justifies support for white supremacy, imperialism, and neocolonialism; and who does so with the palliative opiate of self-satisfaction – the genuine, though entirely wrongheaded, belief in his/her own essential goodness.

This phenomenon has been on full display in the ongoing attacks on Green Party Vice Presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka, a man who has dedicated more than four decades to resistance against racism and oppression of African-Americans and other African diaspora communities. To watch accusations and implications of racism and bigotry lobbed at him like so many arrows from the crossbowmen of corporate media is to receive a crash course in white liberal racism – that undeniable phenomenon whose name must not be spoken.

Perhaps the best example of this sickening tactic came on CNN’s Town Hall with Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka. The host, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo – brother of Democratic New York governor Andrew Cuomo – deliberately decontextualized Baraka’s use of the phrase “Uncle Tom” to describe President Obama. An obvious smear intended to discredit the Green Party ticket in the eyes of Black (and liberal white) voters, Cuomo smugly implied that Baraka’s usage of Uncle Tom was, in itself, racist.

But even a cursory analysis of the term, the context in which it was used, and Cuomo’s intent in raising the issue, not only vindicates Baraka’s usage of Uncle Tom, it reveals the deep-seated racism of Democratic party shills, and American liberals in general.

Interrogating Uncle Tom

The term itself is generally accepted to mean a person, usually a black man, who is overly eager to please white people, and is quick to betray his own race in pursuit of acceptance among whites. Thus the term is less a superficial racial epithet than it is a psychological and sociological critique, particularly when used by a black man against a fellow black man. To be sure, racially charged language takes on varying levels of meaning and emotional gravitas depending on who uses it. In this case, however, a black leftist uses it to deconstruct the mythology surrounding the first black president.

Does anyone doubt that, from a purely objective perspective, President Obama has indeed abdicated his responsibility to improve the political, economic, and social lives of Black Americans? A quick look at the statistics for Black America reveals that, if anything, the lives of black people have gotten considerably worse under Obama: life expectancy, per capita wealth, employment levels, infant mortality, children in poverty, etc. all point to a deterioration of the living conditions for Blacks under Obama. Do these facts constitute betrayal of black people in the pursuit of serving the white establishment? Certainly, Ajamu Baraka argued that they do. It is hard to counter his assertion.

And how about Obama’s merciless slaughter of black and brown people around the world? From the lynchings, rapes, and murders of black Libyans carried out by Obama’s proxy terrorist forces during the regime change operation against the Libyan Government of Muammar Gaddafi, to the drone bombings of black and brown people all over the world, to the continued militarization of the African continent under the auspices of Obama’s AFRICOM: Do these policies and actions taken by the first black president constitute a betrayal of people of color in the service of the white ruling class and the Empire? Baraka has argued that they do.

So the question then becomes: Is Baraka’s use of the term Uncle Tom truly unwarranted? Or is it rather that liberals, especially white liberals, choose to ignore the material reality of Obama’s presidency in favor of the mythos of the kind-hearted and cool black president with the big smile swooping down on the wings of hope and change like an angel come down from heaven? Perhaps Ajamu Baraka has simply intruded into the dream and, like temperamental children, white liberals shed their crocodile tears in hopes of crying themselves back to sleep.

Liberal White Supremacy

But there is another, even more insidious, aspect to this CNN Uncle Tom moment that must be reckoned with; namely, what the subtext of the question tells us about the pathology of 21st Century American liberalism.

When the white liberal Cuomo implied that the black radical Baraka was somehow engaging in racism or bigotry by referring to Obama as “Uncle Tom,” Cuomo was actually betraying the deeply rooted, almost unconscious, racism at the heart of American liberalism. For, you see, a white man can accuse a black man of racism when said black man critiques another black man who has been anointed by the white establishment. In other words, it’s not Obama’s skin color that makes Baraka’s use of the term unacceptable to Cuomo, it is Obama’s position.

Cuomo here plays the role of sentinel of the establishment, guarding the gates of discourse, dictating to blacks and whites alike what is or is not appropriate when it comes to critiquing the first black president.

Obama is the right kind of black man, while Baraka is the wrong kind. Obama the liberal is deserving of respect, while Baraka the radical is deserving of scorn. Sorry Ajamu, you’re just not the right kind of black man.

And while black men are murdered seemingly every single day by law enforcement, Obama pens op-ed pieces arguing that “Every day, [police] confront danger so it does not find our families … We recognize it, we respect it, we appreciate it, and we depend on you.” This is the right kind of black man, one who is passive and subservient in the face of ongoing, brutal oppression and violence. Baraka on the other hand, a man who has repeatedly lent his vocal support to the Movement for Black Lives among many other pro-black social movements, is caricatured as a bigot and racist.

The white liberal sees no contradiction here. He/she is blind to the irony of utilizing anti-racist verbiage to uphold an inherently racist and white supremacist argument which stealthily justifies the institutions of oppression and coercion while demeaning and slandering those who seek to dismantle them.

This is the white moderate to which Dr. King referred: the liberal more devoted to “order” than to justice. This is the cultural pathology of liberalism, an ideological disease which afflicts millions of people who, in their own self-deception, see themselves as healthy and righteous.

But diseased they remain, in utter denial of their own mental illness. And, instead, they choose to scapegoat those few men and women of the radical cloth who attempt to minister to the sick, to nurse them back to health. For you see, it is not the disease that must be fought, but rather the foul-tasting medicine. That is why Ajamu Baraka is made into the villain while Barack Obama is the cure. Such is the upside-down reality of the liberal.

White supremacy and racism are not mere discursive constructs to be woven into elaborate, but mostly empty, rhetorical flourishes. They are real phenomena existing in the real world of political life. And they are not simply the collective hatred expressed by hooded klansmen or bareheaded neo-nazis, but rather are the underlying assumptions, ideas, and values at the root of American political, economic, and social life – expressed by the police officer, the politician, and the news anchor in the finely tailored suit.

But to say it, and to do so publicly, is to transgress against the social norm. And to do so when speaking of the first black president is to commit the gravest sin against the god of liberalism.

Ajamu Baraka is not vilified for calling Obama an Uncle Tom. He is vilified for refusing not to.

Hillary Clinton: The Anti-Woman ‘Feminist’

August 19, 2016 at 2:26 PM

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Although Hillary Clinton selected Tim Kaine as her Vice President in this campaign, her true running mate might very well be her vagina. Indeed, while Clinton’s support continues to be among the lowest for any Democratic nominee in recent memory, she has managed to position her gender as a focal point of her campaign, a move intended to capture the women’s vote among liberals and conservatives alike. And, considering her opponent is Donald Trump, a man seen by millions of women as a misogynistic loudmouth, she has done this quite successfully.

But beyond the political window-dressing and empty rhetoric, Clinton’s record on women and families should not only lose her the support of American women, it should qualify her as one of the most anti-woman candidates in history. For while modest progress has been made toward some semblance of gender equality, it is the actions of Clinton herself that have done more than any other single individual to harm women and families. Slick public relations aside, Hillary Clinton may very well be the most anti-woman candidate in generations.

Hillary’s Relentless Attack on Women and Families

“I believe that the rights of women and girls is the unfinished business of the 21st Century.” So said Hillary Clinton in a 2011 interview with Newsweek. And this quote, among many others, has been trumpeted by Clinton supporters as the revelation of the angel of feminism, the gospel according to Saint Hillary. But in probing a little more deeply, some disturbing questions emerge which seem to cast doubt on her commitment to the rights of women and girls, both in the 21st Century, as well as at the end of the 20th Century.

As First Lady, Hillary Clinton, along with her then President husband Bill Clinton, did more than anyone to make the lives of poor and working class women and girls all the more precarious. Perhaps no single action taken by the Clintons did more to harm women and families than the evisceration of welfare. As part of a deeply cynical, and unconscionably reckless, strategy to win over racist white voters, the Clintons set their sights on Black and Latino women and children, portraying them as parasitical exploiters of hard-working whites.

After having supported her husband’s goal of “ending welfare as we know it,” Clinton was instrumental in ginning up support for the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA). This bill, passed with the support of a right wing Republican Congress, effectively ended welfare programs designed to provide real assistance to women and children in desperate need. And, despite countless experts denouncing the law, including a close friend and former assistant secretary of social services at the Department of Health of Human Services, Hillary continued to defend it. Speaking of the destruction of welfare, Clinton told the Gettysburg Times in 2002, “Now that we’ve said these people are no longer deadbeats – they’re actually out there being productive – how do we keep them there?”

Such callous disregard for the reality of poverty and the difficult circumstances in which millions of women and children live demonstrates precisely what sort of “feminist” Hillary Clinton is: a neoliberal corporate exploiter without a penis. For Clinton, what matters is not the material reality of women’s lives, but rather how best to exploit them for political gain. As feminist scholars Alejandra Marchevsky and Jeanne Theoharis noted:

“[PRWORA’s] legacy still ripples through the country, where families remain as poor as—or, in many cases, poorer than—before, but with one crucial difference: Today, the “reformed” welfare system provides little safety net, and no hand-up. Instead, it traps poor mothers into exploitative, poverty-wage jobs and dangerous personal situations, deters them from college, and contributes to the growing trend of poor mothers who can neither find a job nor access public assistance. It is our failed social policy—not simply the recession—that is responsible for crisis-level poverty in the United States.”

Of course, such painful realities are taboo subjects for the devout adherents of the Gospel According to Hillary, where the sacred scriptures tell of a crusading archangel come to Earth to protect the downtrodden women from the oppression of patriarchy. Perhaps church dogma will need to be updated to account for the fact that Clinton’s welfare “reform” reduced the percentage of households eligible for assistance from 68 percent to 26 percent, while the value of a Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) check has dropped by 20 percent. Of course, the Church of Latter Day Corporate Feminists will ignore these, and myriad other, statistics which demonstrate that rather than a champion of poor women and families, Hillary has been one of their main antagonists.

But Hillary’s vicious assault on women and families goes far beyond just the gutting of welfare. Indeed, the development of the mass incarceration state and prison-industrial complex is intimately tied to the policies of Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Hillary was the leading edge of the campaign to pass her husband’s infamous 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act (aka the “Crime Bill”) which disproportionately targeted people of color and led to the rise of the mass incarceration state or, as Michelle Alexander famously dubbed it, “The New Jim Crow.” Writing in The Nation in 2016, Alexander explained that the Clinton Crime Bill was responsible for:

  • the largest increase in federal and state prison inmates of any president in American history
  • the 100-to-1 sentencing disparity for crack versus powder cocaine, which produced staggering racial injustice in sentencing and boosted funding for drug-law enforcement
  • the idea of a federal “three strikes” law
  • a $30 billion crime bill that created dozens of new federal capital crimes
  • the mandating of life sentences for some three-time offenders
  • authorizing more than $16 billion for state prison grants and the expansion of police forces
  • African Americans constituting 80 to 90 percent of all drug offenders sent to prison, even though they’re no more likely than whites to use or sell illegal drugs
  • A 50% increase in African American incarceration by the year 2000

While Alexander was highlighting the racial disparities and continued oppression of Black America thanks to the Clintons, embedded in that very same analysis is the obvious fact that Clinton’s Crime Bill devastated Black and Latino families, locking up millions of fathers (and mothers), breaking apart families, displacing children, and doing irreparable harm harm to a generation of minority women and children. And, as if the social impacts weren’t enough, Clinton was quick to refer to the children of these families as “superpredators,” a remarkable two-for-one comment which demonstrated both Hillary’s racism and anti-minority family outlook.

Perhaps real women and children don’t fit into Hillary’s conception of “feminism”? Or, better still, perhaps the real question should be: feminism for whom? Clinton’s domestic track record demonstrates that it is affluent white women who truly are the focus of her brand of corporate neoliberal feminism.

For Clinton, the great triumph of feminist action is not the empowerment of working class and poor women and families, but rather the entry of elite white women into the ruling class. One might call it Feminism for the 1%.

No wonder Madeleine “500,000 dead Iraqi children was worth it” Albright remarked in February 2016 that there was “a special place in hell” for women who don’t support Hillary Clinton. Albright may very well be projecting here as, if there is a hell, her seat at the VIP table is undoubtedly already reserved. Maybe she’ll keep Hillary’s seat warm for her.

Imperial Feminism: Hillary’s Bloody Hands

Clinton hasn’t only built her “feminist” credentials on the oppression and suffering of women and families in the US; her foreign policy achievements have managed to kill, maim, and otherwise destroy the lives of millions of women and children around the world. Such is the record of the corporate imperialist Clinton.

During her husband’s presidency, Hillary was a vocal advocate for the barbaric sanctions regime, as well as the No-Fly Zone and other belligerent actions taken by her husband against the Iraqi Government of Saddam Hussein. In fact, many experts have noted that the Clinton Iraq policy essentially laid the groundwork for George W. Bush’s invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003. In particular, Hillary was a leading proponent of the sanctions which, according to the UN, killed roughly 500,000 children.

And, of course, there’s Hillary’s infamous support for Bush’s Iraq War when she was a Senator from New York. Clinton explained to the Council on Foreign Relations in December 2003, “I was one who supported giving President Bush the authority, if necessary, to use force against Saddam Hussein. I believe that that was the right vote….I stand by the vote.” Of course this was in the immediate aftermath of the invasion of Iraq and subsequent capture of Saddam Hussein, a time when one could still justify support for a war that, just a few years later, proved to be politically unpalatable, to say nothing of it being an egregious war crime, as we all knew from the beginning.

And Hillary was not perturbed in the slightest at the hundreds of thousands of women and children whose lives were irrevocably destroyed by the war and its aftermath, one which is still being reckoned with today.

Hillary and Bill – the power couple tag team of Washington – also led the charge to bomb Serbia in 1999. During the 78 days of “Operation Allied Force” more than 2,000 civilians were killed, including 88 children. Naturally, this was of little consequence to the great feminist heroine Hillary who, according to biographer Gail Sheehy, proudly proclaimed “I urged [Bill Clinton] to bomb [Serbia]. The barbarism and sheer viciousness of someone who gleefully takes credit for the deaths of scores of children and countless thousands of women should give anyone who believes in the Hillary the feminist mythos serious pause.

Who could forget Libya? In the war championed by Hillary Clinton, who is regarded by experts as being the loudest voice in favor of regime change against Gaddafi and the destruction of the country, tens of thousands of women were raped, lynched, and murdered by the glorious “rebels” (read terrorists) backed by Clinton and her imperial coterie. Perhaps the great feminist hero could speak to the children of Misrata, Sirte, and Bani Walid who have now grown up without their mothers and fathers, and explain to them just how “worth it” the war was. Maybe Clinton could look mothers in the eyes and tell them how the deaths of their children from war, disease, and terrorism is a small price to pay for the foreign policy objectives of Washington.

And let us not forget about Honduras, the country suffering under a right wing dictatorship helped into office by then Secretary Clinton. Hillary brazenly, and rather despicably, took credit for her handiwork in her autobiography Hard Choices where she explained that, “In the subsequent days [after the coup] I spoke with my counterparts around the hemisphere, including Secretary [Patricia] Espinosa in Mexico… We strategized on a plan to restore order in Honduras and ensure that free and fair elections could be held quickly and legitimately, which would render the question of [elected President Manuel] Zelaya moot.”

Indeed, Clinton was instrumental in bringing the right wing coup government to power. And that government today carries out systematic oppression of women and indigenous communities throughout the country. In a high profile assassination, renowned indigenous activist and feminist Berta Cáceres was gunned down by assailants tied to the government installed by Clinton. In fact, Cáceres herself called out Hillary Clinton prior to her death. In a 2014 interview, Cáceres said:

“We’re coming out of a coup that we can’t put behind us. We can’t reverse it. It just kept going. And after, there was the issue of the elections. The same Hillary Clinton, in her book, ‘Hard Choices,’ practically said what was going to happen in Honduras. This demonstrates the meddling of North Americans in our country. The return of the president, Mel Zelaya, became a secondary issue. There were going to be elections in Honduras. And here she [Clinton] recognized that they didn’t permit Mel Zelaya’s return to the presidency.”

It would be impossible to catalog all of Hillary’s crimes against women and children in this short piece. One should remember the children of Haiti living in inhumane conditions thanks in no small part to the continued exploitation of their country by the likes of Bill, Hillary, and the Clinton Global Initiative. One should remember the children of Afghanistan living with what peace activist and frequent visitor to Afghanistan, Kathy Kelly, describes as permanent post-traumatic stress disorder. One should remember the women and children of Sudan who died after Bill Clinton deliberately bombed a pharmaceutical factory in that country, thereby depriving women and children of much needed medicines. And Syria. And Venezuela. And Pakistan. And Iran. And Russia. And Ukraine. The list goes on and on.

And let’s recall also Hillary’s support for the Obama Administration’s policy of child deportations. What a champion of the rights of children. Do you wonder if Hillary loses any sleep over the fates of thousands of children from Honduras, El Salvador and elsewhere in Central America, knowing that she is directly responsible for their suffering? And how about Hillary’s cozy relationship with Saudi Arabia, the world’s most oppressive country for women?

Far from being a feminist, Hillary Clinton is a serial exploiter, and serial killer, of women and children; her track record speaks for itself. The ongoing economic oppression and suffering of women and children in poverty can be directly traced to Hillary’s “pioneering work” as an advocate for the welfare reform now almost universally seen as a disaster for poor women and children. Clinton’s record on children in other countries is equally disturbing.

In short, Clinton is no feminist, at least not in the real sense. She is not interested in true empowerment of women, only in the empowerment of herself. And she cares not a whit how many women and children will be trampled along the way.

Corporate imperialism is not feminism, even when done by a woman. Hopefully more American women will realize that before it’s too late. Needless to say, Hillary’s betting that they won’t.

CounterPunch Radio – Nicholas Schou

August 8, 2016 at 2:41 PM

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Listen to CounterPunch Radio (Ep. 52) with Nicholas Schou

This week Eric sits down with author Nicholas Schou to discuss his new book Spooked: How the CIA Manipulates the Media and Hoodwinks Hollywood. Eric and Nick explore the history of CIA manipulation of the media going back decades, and how it has evolved into the propaganda consensus we see today. The conversation touches on everything from Nicaragua and the Reagan counter-revolution to the sycophantic relationship between Hollywood and Langley. From Robert Parry to Robert Kagan, from South Vietnam to Baghdad, the story of CIA information warfare is a long and sordid one, and Schou’s new book is an important contribution in telling it.