Sunday, November 06, 2016

1.1 - What we face with a Clinton administration

What we face with a Clinton administration

Hillary Clinton
This show is going to be a bit odd because I am doing it five days before the election, which means, it being a weekly show, that at least some of you are going to see it after the election is over - and what I'm going to be doing here is looking beyond the election to what will confront us after.

I'm doing this under the assumption that Hillary Clinton will be (or is now, depending on when you see this) president-elect, which despite the breathless blather about tightening national polls - which don't mean a damn thing under our presidential elector system - still seems highly likely.

So the question becomes what we of the left are going to have to deal with during a Clinton presidency.

Because Hillary Clinton, bluntly, is not nearly as progressive as she tried to paint herself during the primaries with her sudden and convenient commitment to populism, a commitment that increased in direct proportion to the shrinkage in the polling gap between her and Bernie Sanders and one which it was clear from the beginning could not be trusted: The last day of the Iowa primary campaign, she declared on the stump "I'm a progressive" only to say the very next day during an interview with Chris Matthews that "We've got to get back to the middle, the big center."

So no, not a true progressive.

Rather, she was the preferred candidate of the political, economic, and foreign policy establishments, the candidate that even though they might not be great fans of all of her proposals, she is still the one that establishment feels comfortable with, the one that establishment has confidence might rearrange the apples on the cart but will not upset it.

So we are going to find ourselves in opposition on a lot of issues and on a lot of occasions. And we had better be ready for that. We will have to watch carefully and be prepared to squawk loudly and to not care when we are told - as we will be - to be quiet and get in line behind Hillary because "OMG! Republicans!" We have got to be prepared to stand firm and not back down because just being better then the GOPpers is not good enough!

You want specifics, let me give you some on a few big issues.

Right at the top, remember that Hillary Clinton was the candidate of Wall Street, which raised $23 million for her campaign, besides having paid her at least $26.1 million in speaking fees over the years.

I have said a number of times that she has so many ties to Wall Street it looks like some kind of kinky bondage party. We are going to have to watch carefully and very likely raise a stink about who she wants to bring on board as advisers and more importantly regulators.

Because in speeches to the bankers and during the campaign she has argued for having the foxes guard the chicken coop, saying that Wall Street executives, not financial or legal experts from outside the industry, not consumer advocates, but the people who run the banks, are the best people to call in to regulate the banks.

Even in 2014, at a time everyone knew she was going to run but hadn't announced her candidacy, Politico was writing that "the big bankers love Clinton, and by and large they badly want her to be president" because she will not tamper with the Street's vast money pot.

In fact, she may even look to add to it: Tony James, president of the Blackstone Group hedge fund and someone whose name has been floated for Clinton's Treasury Secretary, has been openly promoting a plan to give financial firms control of hundreds of billions of dollars in retirement savings - and the word is Clinton's top aides are warming to the idea.

This plan would replace individual voluntary 401(k)s with a requirement that workers and employers to put a percentage of payroll aside, but not into Social Security, into individual retirement accounts to be, in James' words, "invested well in pooled plans run by professional investment managers" - in other words, by outfits like Blackstone, which could collect a fortune in fees.

What George Bush failed to accomplish - privatizing Social Security - Hillary Clinton could help along.

We also have to be prepared to make a stink not only over actions but over inactions, as there is every indication that a Clinton administration will continue the big bank protection racket of the Obama administration, lots of tough talk combined with no action.

And in keeping watch on that, we have to bear in mind that Hillary Clinton has blamed the 2008 crash on most everything except the deregulation championed by Bill Clinton and enacted during his administration and that she continues to oppose reinstating Glass-Steagall.

Beyond that, her entire supposedly "progressive" agenda consists almost entirely of nibbling around the edges, of maybe incremental change that will be presented to us as shockingly dramatic progress but which we will have to be prepared to say out loud is just not good enough.

Consider health care, where she proposes to tweak Obamacare - but she has specifically rejected single-payer in so many words, meaning anything she would do still has the failings of Obamacare in that she still relies on the insurance industry, still depends to work at all on the insurance industry thinking it's profitable enough, and the whole program is actually about health insurance, not about health care. We have to be take the opening offered by any such tweak to demand at least single-payer and even better a national health system because the Affordable Care Act is not good enough.

On climate change, she is all over the map and despite some good rhetoric on the topic, it's policies, not fine words, which matter, and on that count it doesn't look so good.

In a speech, she told an energy group that she wants to "defend natural gas" and, referring people pushing the slogan "keep it in the ground," "it" being fossil fuels, over a concern for global warming, she called them "wild" and said they should "get a life."

She finally came out against the Keystone XL pipeline after dithering about it until it was clearly unpopular, but she said she did it because it was "a distraction," not because it was a bad idea.

During the primaries she was forced to say she is against fracking but she told that same energy group that she wants to "defend" fracking and the fact is that during her time as secretary of state, she sought to export fracking to countries all over the world.

And to show how much we can trust her public assurances on the topic, she picked former Senator Ken Salazar, a big fan of fracking, to chair her presidential transition team.

Which in turn raises another issue where we have to watch and be ready to fight. Because Ken Salazar is also a big fan of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the TPP.

Clinton, as is fairly well known, had been in favor of the TPP; in fact she had called it "the gold standard" for trade agreements. But in the face of clear opposition among the public and Bernie Sanders making it an issue in the primaries, she gradually shifted her position from support to opposition. She even said she was opposed to a vote on the agreement during the lame duck Congressional session after the election.

But there is genuine reason to question how sincere that opposition is and how long past election day it will last.

There was the statement back in January by Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue that once elected, Clinton would flip back to supporting the TPP.

There was the statement in July from Virginia governor and Clinton bestie Terry McAuliffe that once in office, a few tweaks would enable Clinton to support the pact.

Her VP-to-be, Tim Kaine, is a "free trade" zealot who had been the Senate's most fanatical supporter of the TPP.

And of course there was the selection of Salazar to head the transition team.

On top of all that came leaked emails, one which made it clear that she opposed the deal at least in public because her campaign feared she would be "eaten alive" by labor and Sanders supporters if she didn't.

So even if the pact does not pass during the lame-duck session - which, happily, seems likely - that does not mean it will not come up again in the spring with a few "tweaks" that have turned it back into "the gold standard."

We will have to be prepared to fight on matters both of privacy and government secrecy. In Congress, she supported both the Patriot Act and its reauthorization. She has defended NSA spying. She has called American hero Edward Snowden "an enabler of terrorism" who should be prosecuted and imprisoned. During the first debate with TheRump she advocated an "intelligence surge," a new slogan describing, among other things, more intensive domestic surveillance.

In fact, her obsession with official secrecy is so great that as Secretary of State, she once threatened the United Kingdom with shutting off intelligence cooperation if a UK court as part of a then-current case published details of the mistreatment of a prisoner who had been wrongly imprisoned at Gitmo.

That mention of Gitmo brings us to another major concern: Hillary Clinton was not only the candidate of Wall Street, she was the candidate of the neocons - who supported her precisely because she was, in the words of one, "the candidate of the status quo" who would "resist systematic change" - and she was the candidate of the war hawks.

Clinton is a warhawk, far more than Obama ever was - which, when you consider he bombed seven countries during his administration and has troops on the ground in three, is saying something.

For example, by all accounts she was as Secretary of State the strongest voice within the White House for intervention in Libya. That worked out so well that after Qaddafi was killed -an event she quite literally laughed off as "we came, we saw, he died" - Libya descended into the chaos of a multi-sided civil war from which it still has not emerged.

She supported an expansion of the war in Afghanistan, one even bigger than the generals did, and resisted the drawdown of troops.

She has "wholeheartedly backed" the drone war in Pakistan and other nations that has killed at least hundreds of civilians and likely many more; supported so much so that as Secretary of State she had her legal counsel develop a legal rationale for expanding it.

When it comes to Israel, the only fair word is sycophant. From proposing as a candidate in 2008 a US "nuclear umbrella" over Israel, to in 2012, saying "We've gotta support Israel 110 percent here" while getting any mention of the Israeli siege of Gaza scrubbed from a ceasefire proposal, to in 2014, declaring that "If I were the prime minister of Israel, you're damn right I would expect to have [security] control" over the West Bank, she has repeatedly shown a clear bias and declared positions that would make the two-state solution in which she falsely claims to believe, impossible.

She declared a position on Iran's nuclear program that, had it been adopted, would have undermined the agreement that was reached and later said that her policy on Iran would be "distrust and verify." Which is at least consistent: During the 2008 primaries, she called Obama "naive" for saying he would be willing to talk to the Iranians.

And then there is Syria.

She has bemoaned that the US has not been more involved in Syria. As Secretary of State, she devised a plan to arm and train "moderate" rebel factions to create a "credible fighting force."

During the primary campaign she said Obama was "not tough enough" on Syria and called for more special ops troops to train local forces.

During primary debates, she called for a "safe zone" to be established in Syria, something that would require ground troops because there is no other way to secure such a zone.

And she has continued to argue for US-imposed "no-fly zones" in Syria, despite being unable during the third debate with TheRump to say what would happen if a Russian plane violated such a no-fly zone and despite having acknowledged in 2013 that imposing a no-fly zone would mean taking out air defense systems, including in populated areas, and that in doing so "you're going to kill a lot of Syrians."

Here's the bottom line on all this, as reported by the Washington Post on October 20:
In the rarefied world of the Washington foreign policy establishment, President Obama's departure from the White House - and the possible return of a more conventional and hawkish Hillary Clinton - is being met with quiet relief.
That foreign policy elite, which wants a "more assertive" foreign policy, which is eager for a "more interventionist" foreign policy, is actively looking forward to a Clinton presidency.

All of which means under President Hillary Clinton we face the prospect, the very real prospect, of more bombings and more wars in more places, including the clear possibility of a direct confrontation with Russia.

Altogether, silence, here as elsewhere, is not an option.

No comments:

// I Support The Occupy Movement : banner and script by @jeffcouturer / (v1.2) document.write('
I support the OCCUPY movement
');function occupySwap(whichState){if(whichState==1){document.getElementById('occupyimg').src=""}else{document.getElementById('occupyimg').src=""}} document.write('');